NOTE: Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on The Bill Smith Radio Show or the archive of the shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. On Monday Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discuss the Browns game and the results of the weekend. On Friday Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York joins Samantha and me to preview the upcoming games.
Broncos HC John Fox is back with the team. It was great to see him back and the staff at FPS wishes him the best of health.
RB Trent Richardson was benched by Colts but they say they still believe in him. KFFL.com reports that Richardson was “awesome” and “a pro” about being demoted from the starting lineup. All that means is the GM and staff is covering its hind end about giving up a #1 pick for him.
Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weeden (concussion) completed 24 of his 40 passes with 3 TDs and 3 turnovers but no one was quite sure which hit caused the condition. It was not a coincidence that NFL rules prohibit a concussed player from doing a press conference.
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan benched QB Geno Smith after the first half of bad play but said he will start next week.
Vikings QB Christian Ponder (head) did not return to the game last week and is questionable for the next contest.
Seahawks WR Percy Harvin (hip) will be a game-time decision for the game against at the 49ers next week. Based on their crushing win over the Saints, that is not good news for the league.
Broncos DE Derek Wolfe (illness) suffered seizure-like symptoms Friday, Nov. 29. He is out of the hospital but there is no word about when he might return to the field.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin was fined $100,000 by the NFL for Sideline-gate when he stepped onto the field during a kick return.
Lions 40 Packers 10 – The Pack got Flynned. QB Matt Flynn showed everyone why he has been cut twice this season. He was sacked 7 times, lost 2 fumbles and threw a pick. There was no way the Packers could overcome his play and win. The Packers should get QB Aaron Rodgers back next week but at 5-6-1 it may be too late to get them into the playoffs. The Lions played just OK but thanks to the errors of Flynn, they were able to win comfortably.
Falcons 34 Bills of Canada 31 OT – The game was back and forth until the Falcons got a series of pass interference calls to score their final TD with 1:28 left in the 4th. The Bills got the ball into field goal position for the win with less than 30 seconds left but WR Stevie Johnson lost a fumble. Falcon QB Matt Ryan threw for 311 yards and got the critical calls on the last TD drive. The win hurts the Falcons’ draft position.
Bengals 17 Chargers 10 – This was a good win on the road for the Bengals. They have lost these games on the west coast in the past. The Chargers were coming off a big win over the Chiefs in KC. The Bengals used the running game to get the critical yards. They have a very good defense, lots of offensive weapons and a good O line. But the weakness of the Bengals is QB Andy Dalton. He will be the reason they will not go far in the playoffs if they make it.
Broncos 35 Chiefs 28 – Both team’s flaws were exposed in this game. The Chiefs ran for an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Their special teams returned a kickoff for a TD. The Chiefs defense held RB Knowshon Moreno to 1.2 yards per carry on 15 attempts. All of those areas are concerns for the Broncos. The Chiefs had a 21-7 lead and their vaunted defense let the lead evaporate. Despite playing an immobile QB with an ankle issue, D failed to get a sack. And worst of all after beating up on backup QBs for a 9-0 record, they have lost 3 games in a row two of which were at home. The Chiefs D is very over rated. The Broncos will have trouble winning in the cold because QB Payton Manning has never done well outside in the playoffs. The Chiefs might have won if their WRs could have caught the ball better. Both teams will make the playoffs but even with home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, I doubt the Broncos make the Super Bowl.
49ers 23 Rams 13 – The 49er O is getting back to 2013 productivity but the O line is horrible. Don’t believe what you hear from “experts” that talk about how good it is. QB Colin Kaepernick has been running for his life and RB Frank Gore had gotten hit at or behind the line often. The Ram D line is as good as it gets but Kaepernick beat the blitz often thanks to one more quality receiver on the field. WR Michael Crabtree was back. While he only caught 2 passes, his presents on the field forced the Rams to pick which WR got doubled. Kaepernick found the single covered WR often. He threw for 275 yards and a TD.
Seahawks 34 Saints 7 – While the Hawks win was more than impressive there is a major warning flag. QB Russell Wilson was outstanding throwing the ball but he was also the top rusher in the game. RB Marshawn Lynch and the rest of the backs averaged 2.6 yards per attempt on 30 rushing plays. The Hawks are going to have to run better if they want to get into the Super Bowl.
Jaguars 32 Browns 28 – This was one of the worst performances by the Browns I have seen. And I have been watching the team since 1956. To see why the Browns blew a winnable game, check out my Live Game Notes right here on http://fryingpansports.com.
NFL.com reported that the suspension to OG Richie Incognito will be paid in exchange for him agreeing to postpone the hearing until after the NFL reports on the investigation into the harassment charges. This indicates that he will be back on the field long before OT Jonathan Martin will. Look for several teams to be interested in Incognito.
The NFL came down hard on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for being on the field during a kick return by the Ravens. But the NFL should come down harder on the officials that cost the Redskins a critical first down on a nationally televised game due to bad official mechanics. The officials have had a HORRIBLE year and the NFL needs to fix the issue or at least suspend those responsible for major screw-ups.
If the Packers can’t get QB Aaron Rodgers back next week, they may put him on IR for the season. Another loss will put the team out of the playoff picture. Rodgers will have another MRI this week to see how well his healing is progressing.
With two CBs suspended in the NFL drug program, the Seahawks may sign veteran free agent CB Antoine Winfield.
Colts OC Pep Hamilton is feeling the heat after the offense has struggled badly over the last few games. But no OC can fix an offensive line that leaks like the Titanic. Without protection, no QB can be successful.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.