I Like Dak Prescott

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It’s the day after Christmas, and I’m watching Dak Prescott and the Cowboys try to get to 13-2 against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football.

I really like how Prescott throws the football. He’s just really smooth. Now that the Buccaneers are out of the playoff chase, and Derek Carr is out for the season; I’m pulling for the #1 seed Cowboys to pull this off and make a Super Bowl run.

With Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, those White uniforms, a ton of strength in the trenches, and the best stadium in football; I am all for these guys making a run. They’re downright fun to watch. It’s been a long time since I had interest in the Dallas Cowboys. They’re like the Yankees in baseball. When they’re relevant, it’s good for the sport.

Prescott is zipping the ball all over the field and running for first downs. Dallas just went up 35-21 on a Dez Bryant end around pass to Jason Witten. These guys are bad asses and fun to watch.

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Marcus Mariota the hero Sunday in Detroit

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[Gamebook]
[PFT]

Man the Titans play some ugly football. But I love their Quarterback, the Oregon Quarterback as he’s called by Gil Brandt. And he made two unbelievable throws today which was enough to beat the Detroit Lions in Motown.

The first was a TD strike to Delanie Walker to cut the deficit to 15-10.

Here is video of the game-winner to Andre Johnson:

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The Tennessee Titans are 1-1. It was a fun Sunday with my kids, my dad, and my wife. One of my favorite players led a game-winning drive. For today at least, life was good.

The Carolina Panthers are for real

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The Carolina Panthers were my afternoon watch today – I’ve always loved Cam Newton – I think he’s the most captivating character in football and throws the best ball of any quarterback I’ve ever seen. The Panthers beat the Lions in their Charlotte home opener, 24-7.

That was an absolutely dominating performance by the Panthers today. It might not have been Cam Newton’s biggest statistical day as a pro; but this was about as fundamentally as good as I’ve ever seen him throw the ball in the pocket as a passer. He just stroked the ball all over the stadium, accurately and making tight window throws down the field that were through the deep flanks of the Detroit defense.

This team is legit. After picking against them last week and then this week again; I think I’ve finally bought in. While I’m also old enough to now know that it’s a long season and every team will face a crux of peaks, valleys, and drama all of their own; the Panthers with this current core are here to stay for a good long run.

This is a team that has now won 13 of the last 14 regular season games. Within that have been some unbelievable tests. This was as high-powered (albeit streaky) of an offense as there is in the NFL in the Detroit Lions. The Panthers just smacked them around up and down the field between the 20’s like it was routine. They were ‘dominant’. They didn’t have Greg Hardy; but the guy who filled in for him Mario Addison had 2.5 sacks.

The Panthers will still slip like every team in the NFL does. But they’re here to stay. They absolutely have the inside path on their division once again this season, and it appears that they could be the team quietly in the best position to challenge Seattle for the NFC dominance.

William Clay Ford passes away

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One of the league’s most beleaguered owners, William Clay Ford has died of pneumonia. He was 88.

Ford purchased the Lions in 1963 and oversaw their move out of the city from Tiger Stadium to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975, and then oversaw their move back into downtown Detroit with the opening of Ford Field in 2002. Ford was the youngest son of Edsel Ford and the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford, and he was the largest individual shareholder in Ford Motor Company.

It will be interesting to see if the Lions are able to make some progress with their on-field performance in the wake of his passing. He was the last surviving grandson of Henry Ford, the automobile pioneer.

Saturday Night Football

I miss Saturday afternoon NFL football (like Drew on Deadspin) on this Saturday when the college season is over. I remember watching the New York Giants (Snowball Game, anyone?) on so many Saturdays just before Christmas growing up. It blended in perfectly with the holiday season. There’s something wonderful about the NFL on Saturday.

Tonight, it’s a showdown in Motown. The Lions and record-chasing Calvin Johnson against the Atlanta Falcons who are trying to lock-up home-field advantage. I got the Falcons in a close one tonight.

Tomorrow is the big showdown between the Bengals and Steelers. The future is now for the team from the Queen City.

I’ll Say it Again: Andrew Luck is unbelievable.

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[Game book]
[Andrew Luck highlight package]

Andrew Luck isn’t going to be able to do this every week. He’s just not. But at the end of games, he’s just an assassin. Yet this tweet was cool to see on my iPhone.

There aren’t many better watches in the NFL today, and after I flipped the channel on the Panthers there was just 2:33ish left in this game. The Colts trailed by 12. And as they’ve done all year, they just remained a tough out.

By the final play of the game, the game-winner to Donnie Avery with no time left; you just had the feeling that Luck was going to do it. He operates like a future Hall of Famer in those situations. He doesn’t fail.

He makes some of the prettiest touchdown throws I’ve ever seen. My favorite today was his scoring pass to Colby Fleener. The 42-yard TD bomb to Brazil was right there too.

The Colts are one of the best stories in the NFL in a recent number of years. I mean, this team isn’t particularly special in any way other than heart. They’re a bunch of guys and a young Elway-type Quarterback. And the quarterback doesn’t put up stats that are pretty each week (four TD’s, three INT’s this week). But he wins. And when he makes a big time throw it’s beautiful.

The defense is slop-heap. The offense has some pieces, but it’s far from a finished product especially on the line. Luck took a ton of huge hits today. I mean the kid took an absolute beating. This is not a team that will go down in history in any way shape or form for having a great unit on either side. But they’re memorable. And with Luck on the field; as long as he’s healthy, you just feel like they can play with anyone.

If they get into the playoffs–and they certainly should at this point–if the game is on the line and Luck has the ball at the end of the game, I feel sorry for the other team.

Lions lose Bayou Shootout to Saints in Wildcard Playoffs

In the end, a really great offensive team was damned by their defense; and all that remains from the 2011 Lions is some great memories of some entertaining football. 
The Lions carried a 14-10 lead into halftime Saturday night. But bad calls by the officials doing the game along with Detroit forgetting how to cover and make crucial stops ended up being their undoing in the end. 
I thought Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford were phenomenal the other night. The Lions didn’t try any semblance of a run game, they lined up 5-wide many times and just chucked the ball. Megatron beat triple coverage a number of times.
Stafford tweeted the morning after the game, saying thanks to the Lions fans and that the Lions will be back. 
I have to say, he’s right. This team will be a force once they build a defense. They showed a lot this year and were generally a great story to get behind in 2011. They just fell short of the end goal.