What We Learned in Week 13 In The NFL:
- Kansas City earns first home victory after tragedy
- Several teams clinch playoff spots
- 49ers gamble at QB does not pay off
- Charlie Batch leads Steelers to victory in Baltimore
What a great day to be a Steeler fan! Never had a doubt in my mind about Charlie. Ok so maybe I had a few doubts, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. Halfway through the game I kept thinking that the defense needed to score in order to give the Steelers a shot to win but clearly that wasn’t necessary. Who could have asked for a better football Sunday with both Harbaugh’s losing and the Steelers winning in Baltimore? We’ll definitely get more in dept into that but first; let’s take some cheap shots shall we?
There are no cheap shots worth taking in regards to the awful events that transpired in Kansas City on Saturday morning that lead to the murder of a young mother and a suicide of an NFL player. Chief’s LB Jovan Belcher reportedly shot and killed his girlfriend and mother of their 3 month old daughter before traveling to the Chiefs facility and taking his own life in front of HC Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli. Crennel and the rest of the team decided to go on with the scheduled game the following day against Carolina and came away with their first home victory of the season. I can’t even wrap my head around Crennel or the rest of the team’s ability to function after something like this. I’m not going to do any clichés about having perspective on what’s important or anything like that for fear of Bob Costas coming to scold me like he did to the nation during his halftime sanctimonious rant on gun control during the Sunday Night game. It’s a tragedy that the couple’s 3 month old daughter will have no memory of her parents and it’s a tragedy that a young mother lost her life. Get over yourself Bob Costas; it’s not your job to inform us on how we should feel about things.
The playoff picture in the AFC is coming into focus thanks to a couple of teams clinching their spots this Sunday. The Texans clinched their playoff berth and are most likely headed to a first round by with still only one loss. The Patriots clinched the AFC East for the 1000th time this decade or something like that. The Bungles were able to stay on track with the Steelers after their win against the Chargers. The Chargers had the ball with a chance to tie with less than 2 minutes left on the clock but then Philip Rivers had to go all Philip Rivers and throw an interception in the endzone to seal the victory for Cincy. I’m sure he’ll be just as generous next week in Pittsburgh. The Jets finally benched Mark Sanchez after he threw 3 interceptions against the only other team with as pathetic of a QB crew as them, however he managed not to butt fumble the ball again.
Nothing brings joy quite like a frustrated Harbaugh. Jim Harbaugh made the choice to switch to Colin Kapernick at quarterback from Alex Smith for no other reason than he just prefers Kapernick. His press conference announcing the decision was hilarious as he was trying very hard to not knock Smith but making it clear that Kapernick would get the start. For a guy that’s so high strung and emotional, he sounded like a bumbling idiot trying to sound like he didn’t want to hurt Alex Smith’s feelings. The 49ers found themselves in a familiar situation heading into overtime against the Rams and I don’t know about you but I was hoping against hope that they’d end up in another tie. Fortunately, the Rams were able to eventually get into field goal range and kick the winning score, keeping the 49ers from clinching the NFC West along with the Seahawks win in Chicago.
The Steelers snapped their own 2 game losing streak as well as Baltimore’s 15 game home winning streak and their 13 game AFC North winning streak behind everyone’s favorite backup quarterback, Charlie Batch. Batch went from being last week’s goat to this week’s hero outplaying Joe Flacco by going 25 for 36 and 276 yards including a game-tying touchdown pass to Heath Miller. The Steelers had control of the ball in the final minutes and with the Ravens out of timeouts were able to wind down the clock and get into position for Shaun Suisham to kick the game winner and keep the Steelers playoff hopes alive and provide Charlie and Ben with the perfect opportunity for a bro-hug we all wanted to be in on.
Anybody catch the video of John Harbaugh trying to give Mike Tomlin the world’s douchiest congratulatory hand shake? It’s priceless. Following the Steelers 23-20 victory over the Ravens in Baltimore, the two coaches headed to midfield for their obligatory handshake. Harbaugh said, “Congratulations” to Tomlin but apparently wasn’t pleased with Tomlin’s acknowledgement of said congratulations so he screamed out to him again, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Congratulations!” as Tomlin was walking away to which Tomlin replied, “Thank you. That is all.” Perfect. Also, anyone else catch the Ravens male cheerleaders? Yeah that happened. They have male cheerleaders. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
What wasn’t perfect was the Steelers performance against the Ravens, but the results were. The Steelers turnover problems crept back up with a costly fumble by Emmanuel Sanders and an interception by Charlie Batch in the endzone. The defense played another stout game, forcing two turnovers and keeping the Ravens offense in check again. Mercifully, the Steelers shrugged off all of their earlier miscues once the fourth quarter started and put together one of their best quarters of football the entire season. The Steelers held the ball for over 34 minutes and the majority of that time was the 4th quarter. After scoring the game-tying touchdown with a catch and run by Heath Miller, Charlie Batch put together a signature Steelers-style game winning 61 yard drive that ended with a 42 yard field goal by Shaun Suisham. Charlie Batch outplayed Ratbirds QB Joe Flacco and gave the Steelers quite possibly their most important win of the season. The Steelers have decidedly the easier schedule for the last four games than the Ravens and with Ben coming back healthy and the defense playing as well as they are, there could be a magical run in the works. Next up is Philip Rivers and the Chargers, bring it on Week 14!
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