NFL Best and Worst of Week 12

Best: The Bengals weren’t messing around this week, dominating the Steelers in a 41-10 victory. This is Cincinnati’s largest win over Pittsburgh since 1989. That 31-point difference is one of the largest victories we’ve seen this season. It’s also the first time the Bengals have swept the Steelers since 2009. Joe Burrow didn’t even need to try thanks to the defense. The Steelers defense may be top 5, but it was the Bengals defense that actually played like it. They sacked Big Ben three times and forced three turnovers including a 25 yd-pick six by former Steeler Mike Hilton that gave them a 31-3 lead right before halftime. Pittsburgh strength on offense is the run game, courtesy of Najee Harris, but the Bengals limited him to just 23 yds on 8 carries. The Steelers offense only had 51 total rushing yards. Ben is near geriatric and asking him to throw 41 passes in a game is not a good strategy. He’s as mobile as a tree and has the arm strength of a girl scout. The Bengals quick start forced the Steelers to throw more than they would’ve liked. Now Cincinatti sits in 2nd place in the division. “The Future is now, old man.” – Joe Burrow to Ben Roethlisberger, probably.

Worst: I’m a big Cam Newton supporter, but I have to put him here after the horrendous game he had this week. He completed just 5 of 21 passes for 91 yds and 2 interceptions, with a passer rating of 5.8. What a fall from grace. Miami isn’t a top ten defense, but Cam made them look like one this week. He was pulled in the 3rd quarter and replaced with PJ Walker, who didn’t fare much better. Carolina may now be stuck in QB purgatory. They had a chance to snag Justin Fields or Mac Jones in the draft but decided to invest in Sam Darnold and draft a CB. Darnold is now injured and on the bench. They are still paying Teddy Bridgewater, their starter last year, who is now with Denver, and Cam already seems to have run out of juice. To make matters even worse, there seems to be no clear NFL caliber QB in the next draft for them to take. If Cam can’t return to his old self, it may be a while before Carolina is at all competitive.

Best: The Broncos may have made a mistake passing on Fields or Jones, but unlike Carolina, the player they drafted instead is already paying dividends. Patrick Surtain II has taken some of the sting off of the regret Denver fans may have, as he’s been one of the most underrated Cornerbacks in the league. The rookie allowed only 3 catches for 25 yds, a passer rating of 6.8, and a pair of interceptions, one of which was a 70-yard pick six. His other interception came in the endzone as the Chargers were attempting to tie the game late. The young CB is getting better and better with every game. He has recorded 3 total interceptions, 11 passes defended, 37 total tackles and a TFL in just 11 games. Keep in mind that the Broncos secondary was already loaded with talent before they drafted Surtain. Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, and Ronald Darby are all in that secondary. That’s a lot of talent that he is competing with in terms of snaps, yet he has started in every game but one this season. That should speak to his ability to play in the most difficult position in the NFL, not counting QB. Many rookie CBs take several years before they find their footing and shine in the NFL. Surtain is a stud and that should make Denver fans happy.

Worst: The Thanksgiving games were all incredibly awful. I think I may have enjoyed speaking with my relatives over suffering through these snoozefests. To start of the Thanksgiving games, we had the Bears vs. Lions. Two of the most poorly coached teams in the NFL who don’t know how to use timeouts and generally just sucking at coaching. That game ended 16-14. Ugh. Next. The Raiders Cowboys game actually wasn’t too bad, but then the officials once again decided they wanted to be the focal point of the game, not the players. There was a total of 28 penalties in that game, for an insane 276 yards. Good Lord, that’s more than some offenses produce in a single game. I believe I saw more yellow flags in that game than I saw of my family all day. So, to recap, the Raiders had 509 total yards, the Cowboys had 437 yards, and the Officials had 276 yards. The final Thanksgiving game was a blowout in New Orleans. The Saints didn’t stand a chance after declaring Kamara and Ingram out. Let’s try a little better next year OK NFL?

Best: The best and most entertaining game this week was the Bucs Colts game. There were big plays, turnovers, flying teeth, the return of vintage Gronk, a lot of scoring and lead changes, and an insane ending. It seems that we’ve barely had any really close games this season. And I’m not talking about close in the final minutes, this game was 60 minutes of competitive football. Leonard Fournette was the player of the game with 131 yards from scrimmage and scoring 4 of the Bucs 5 TDs, with the final touchdown being a 28-yd run with 20 seconds left. In a normal game, that would have been the end. But an incredible 72-yd return by Isaiah Rogers put the Colts in prime position to tie the game. It seemed like the Colts would send the game to overtime, but the Bucs D held. Being able to keep pace with the reigning Super Bowl champs is nothing to sneeze at. despite falling to 6-6, they are still in the playoff race. Here’s to more games like this.

Worst: It seems like every time I have faith in the Chargers, they let me down again. This team was supposed to contend this year. Why are you losing to bad teams? I guess this team just needs a few more years to build rapport, with a second year QB and a first time HC, but I had high expectations for you this year, LA. Is it too soon to say better luck next year?

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