Will we get a “Game of the Year” rematch?
If you missed the game on Monday night between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, you missed one of the best games of the season. It’s becoming increasingly likely that this could end up being a Super Bowl matchup in just a few months, but the Saints might have some other plans. The Rams are one of the favourites to come out of the NFC, along with the Saints, and the Chiefs have one of the best offenses in the AFC. It was clear early in the season that the Week 11 game between these two teams would be the most entertaining game of the regular season, and it definitely lived up to the hype.
While the old saying goes that “defense wins championships” clearly neither of these teams have bought into that philosophy just yet. While the Rams went all out on trying to improve their defense in the offseason, things just haven’t seemed to click for them once they face another high octane offense. They gave up 45 points against the Saints and now 51 against the Chiefs. I get that offense wins games, but defense really does still win championships, and if you need any proof look no further than the Panthers vs Broncos Super Bowl from a few years ago. Denver won that game based on the play of their defense alone. But back to Monday night, both quarterbacks put up Madden numbers.
While both teams usually get a strong performance in the ground game since Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt are two of the NFL’s elite running backs, Monday night was all about the quarterbacks. Mahomes became the first quarterback to throw for 6 touchdowns on Monday Night Football, and his two favourite targets both had monster games as a result. Tyreek Hill had 215 yards and two touchdowns and Travis Kelce had 127 and a touchdown himself. One player who didn’t make much of an impact was Sammy Watkins, who only had one catch for 4 yards against his former team.
Even with Cooper Kupp on IR, the Rams offense clearly showed no signs of weakness. Brandin Cooks led the team in receiving yards at 107 but was held without a touchdown. Instead, Goff connected with Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds, and Gerald Everett twice for his four passing touchdowns on the day. The defense was also getting into the action for the Rams, specifically linebacker Samson Ebukam, who had two touchdowns in the game.
I know Saints fans are probably pretty pissed off today reading all of the “This would be a great Super Bowl!” tweets, but seriously, if I have to watch a Super Bowl that doesn’t involve my New England Patriots, then I definitely wouldn’t mind watching a rematch of last night.
Heading into this season, the NFC North seemed to be the strongest division in the entire league. The Minnesota Vikings looked poised to be even better than last year, in large part due to the addition of Kirk Cousins. The Packers had a healthy Aaron Rodgers back in the lineup which was sure to put them back into playoff contention. The Chicago Bears were an up and coming team led by Mitch Trubisky, and the Lions were hoping that a new head coach would be enough to turn things around, but really it was a tossup between the Vikings and Packers for the division. Fast forward to now, and it’s just about time to start calling the Chicago Bears division champs, while the Packers and Vikings are still fighting for their playoff lives.
The Bears and Vikings played each other on Sunday afternoon, in a game that had a big impact on the division standings. If Minnesota won they would have jumped ahead in the standings, and no team ever wants to lose to their division rivals. Through 30 minutes, the game didn’t exactly live up to expectations. The Bears were up 14-0 heading into halftime, while the Vikings weren’t able to generate much of anything offensively. The third quarter wasn’t much different, except now neither team was able to move the ball well. The Vikings managed to break the shutout with a field goal, but it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that they finally found the endzone. They scored 17 in the fourth quarter, but it still wasn’t enough as they lost 25-20.
Neither quarterback really had a good game. Kirk Cousins threw for 262 yards with two touchdowns, but also two interceptions that proved to be costly. Meanwhile, Trubisky threw for just 165 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. One of the biggest issues for the Vikings is their lack of a running game, and this isn’t anything new. In his brief rookie season, Dalvin Cook showed that he has the talent to be an elite running back in the NFL. While his season was cut short due to an ACL injury, there was still hope that this year would be a fresh start for the former Florida State Seminole, but he has just 199 yards and no touchdowns this year. While it’s possible that he’s still not 100%, the Vikings have been left without a decent running game for most of the season.
Another guy that won’t be 100% for a while is Alex Smith. I realize that’s a horrible transition but we’re gonna go with it. If you haven’t heard yet, Alex Smith broke his leg on Sunday. If you wanna see it, look below. If not, close your eyes and keep scrolling.
I feel like Alex Smith doesn’t get a lot of love from NFL fans because he’s been replaced as a starting quarterback twice, first by Colin Kaepernick with the 49ers and then by Patrick Mahomes with the Chiefs. Smith has been a good quarterback throughout his NFL career, maybe not always the most exciting but he’s had some good numbers, and had the Redskins in first place in the NFC East entering Sunday. While the injury is horrible, things get weird the more we learn about it. Why you ask? Check this out.
Now, things could change quickly without a starting quarterback, so Washington looked to solidify their backup options. They already have Colt McCoy, and there were a handful of free agents to choose from. Maybe Kaepernick? Last time he replaced an injured Alex Smith he took the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Maybe Sam Bradford? Sure he didn’t look great with the Cardinals, but he has experience as a starter. But nope. Instead, the Redskins went and signed Mr. Buttfumble, Mark Sanchez. Apparently Sanchez had connections with some of the coaches in Washington, but there’s no way that he’s the best quarterback available. The best part about this whole thing is that Sanchez is now set to make his debut on the anniversary of his most famous play.
In case you missed it, check out the Week 10 recap here.