What We Learned in Week 13 in the NFL:
- Detroit blows out Green Bay and Thanksgiving losing streak
- Josh Gordon sets NFL record; Browns hit new low
- Cincy takes care of San Diego
- Tomlin faces fine
- Steelers regrouping after Thanksgiving loss
Thanksgiving came and went and Ndamukong Suh didn’t stop on anyone’s head or junk. It’s a holiday miracle. While the Steelers and Ravens game certainly didn’t disappoint with intensity and suspense, it didn’t end as well as the Thanksgiving Day is ended with a nice slice of pie or three. Things aren’t looking great for the Steelers now with more injuries to deal with and the playoff chances getting more complicated but things played out on Sunday in Pittsburgh’s favor.
The Detroit Lions hadn’t won their traditional Thanksgiving Day game at home for nine straight years. Lions DE Ndamukong Suh has gone two straight years with some kind of kick to the groin or stomp involved. Records are made to be broken. The Lions blew out the Packers 40-10 on Thursday do get a leg up on the rest of the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers remains on the sidelines for the Packers and reports started circulating on Sunday afternoon that his return to the team isn’t a certainty. The Lions are rooting against his collarbone.
Another week for the Browns being the Browns. Wide receiver Josh Gordon set an NFL record by becoming the first player in league history to have back-to-back 200+ yard receiving games. Surely the Browns could turn that kind of milestone against a sorry team like Jacksonville into a home win for the crowd at the Factory of Sadness. Not so much. Brandon Weeden had some respectable numbers with 370 passing yards and three touchdowns but also managed to turn the ball over three times in just over two and a half minutes. Only in Cleveland. The Browns have gone from being in discussion for possibly having meaningful games to play in November and December to vying for the top draft pick, again.
The Bengals have possibly the toughest December schedule for the AFC North teams and were determined to start the month off right. They accomplished that by going into San Diego and coming away with a 17-10 victory, giving themselves a full two game lead over the Ravens and three games up on the Steelers. They’re hoping to turn their December into a first round playoff bye.
The internet has had a lot of fun with the Mike Tomlin “stanky leg” from Thursday night but Tomlin probably won’t have any fun with the fine that’s most likely going to come down from the league from the incident. Obviously, the league is reviewing the play to determine the severity of the punishment but Fox Sports Jay Glazer reported that the idea of the Steelers being fined a draft pick isn’t on the radar at all for the league. Everyone remembers the Sal Alosi incident with the Jets a few years back where the strength and conditioning coach actually went as far as tripping a player from the sidelines so Tomlin being on the “white area” and having to get out of Jacoby Jones’ way during his return will get some kind of discipline, and deservedly so. Obviously, I haven’t lit my torch and gone on the hunt for Tomlin like others have acting as if he’s committed some kind of cardinal sin. As Glazer reported, the league actually sent out a video to teams on Wednesday afternoon to remind coaches where it is acceptable for them to stand because, whether or not any of the angry yinzers want to admit it, this is actually pretty common among head coaches to be in the field of play like that. The Steelers likely didn’t review that video last week as they were traveling to Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon for the game. There will be a fine, Tomlin will pay it, and we’ll all move on from it. Well, most of us will.
The Steelers got some help on Sunday with teams like Tennessee, New York, and San Diego losing their games but they certainly don’t control their own playoff destiny sitting at 5-7 instead of 6-6. Backup center Fernando Velasco was placed on IR and the Steelers had to sign some new offensive lineman to a line that has certainly lacked continuity for…about five years or so. Still, there is a chance and the Steelers are going to play for it. So Steeler Nation can either hope for wins and help to get into the playoffs or continue to bitch and moan about how everyone needs to be fired and we should throw the final four games for a better draft pick. Which one will you be?
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!