Tuesday, January 1, 2013

3 comments MMQB Review: Much to Peter's Surprise, Week 17 Was Exciting Edition

Peter King thought this was a better-than-expected Week 17 and this surprised him. I guess he thought the last week of the season was going to be boring, outside of him getting to see J.J. Watt and Andrew Luck in person of course. This week in MMQB, Peter talks about the surprising Redskins (why didn't anyone tell the media that was too busy covering the Jets that the Redskins were a good team?), reviews his preseason picks, and then does a really strange listing of eulogies for those who died during 2012. Along with including haikus in MMQB this has been a kind of strange year for Peter and MMQB.

What a regular season. What a year. What a Sunday.

J.J. Watt? As Salt-N-Pepa say, what a man.

And there was Adrian Peterson, beat up, needing 208 yards to break the all-time single-season rushing record, which seemed the impossible dream.

Peter King refers to Adrian Peterson's hunt for the single-season rushing record in hyperbolic terms as "the impossible dream." This from a guy who expects us to take him seriously when he starts talking about political matters. Perhaps when he stops referring to a sports record as "the impossible dream" I can take his opinion on gun control more seriously.

That was about it. Where was the drama in the AFC? All six playoff teams locked.

Yeah, where is the drama? You can't expect MMQB to write itself, people. Make it easy to write MMQB and give Peter King manufactured drama. Otherwise, there is no reason for him to continue writing on a weekly basis about the NFL and we would get an entire MMQB about Peter describing his coffee habits and complaining about the people he meets in public.

it's Denver, New England and Houston, and the Texans have to come to work today to prepare for a wild-card game they had no desire to play.

This must be as opposed to AFC teams like Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis who didn't want to get a first round bye and really, really, really wanted to play a wild-card game this weekend.

Not to mention the fact that the Patriots and Broncos are one home win from a Manning-Brady AFC title game in the Rockies.

DRRRRAMA! Super-good times for Peter!

And we didn't count on Green Bay-Minnesota being one of the three or four best games of the year ... and Peterson making us hold our breath as he climbed toward a record he had no business breaking,

Well, it was the impossible dream after all.

and Minnesota trying to beat its arch rival to scratch and claw into the playoffs, and Peterson making a mess of what should have been a Peyton Manning MVP-walkaway.

Doesn't Adrian Peterson know the narrative was already written? Peyton Manning was going to win the MVP award this year. But noooooooooo, Peterson has to go and show how he may deserve the MVP trophy for 2012. Selfish prick.

On the field as time ticked down late Sunday night and FedEx Field rocked, Griffin said to Morris: "We came here as rookies this year, and they hadn't won the NFC East in forever. And we won it. Now look at us -- the sky's the limit!''

Look at Robert Griffin speaking English in a most fine manner...just like a good ol' cornball brother would do. Being all literate and successful and shit. Help "the cause" Robert Griffin and start "acting black," whatever the fuck that means.

The end of the Tebow Error with the Jets;

I see what you did there Peter! The Sportswriter of the Year award is now yours for the taking.

The Chiefs getting the first pick in the quarterback-starved 2013 draft -- just not knowing who will make that pick with the fate of GM Scott Pioli still up in the air. Peyton Manning finishing the second-most prolific passing season of his life (4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns), an event made all the more impressive by the fact he had his first padded practice with the Broncos five months ago.

And here we all thought Peyton Manning had forgotten how to play football while watching during the entire 2011 season.

The whole nine yards.
(Stole that from Sam Farmer of the LA Times. More about that later.)

More on Peter King stealing a headline later, but for now he's stealing the last bagel off the hotel buffet and hurrying to make it to Starbucks in time to complain about the long lines and criticize how other people dare to live their lives.

Fifteen seconds left. They unpiled. Peterson got up, quickly for a man who'd just carried for the 34th time with a sore groin and abdomen. Thirteen, 12, 11 ...

Would Vikes coach Leslie Frazier, who'd said he'd do nothing out of the ordinary to get Peterson the record, call time and run another play?

Sean Payton would have had Christian Ponder run backwards for 20 yards out of bounds and then try to get Peterson the single-season rushing record on the next play or two. Sean Payton thinks no one will remember the Vikings made the playoffs, but everyone will remember the Adrian Peterson personal achievement in breaking the single-season rushing record.

Frazier played it exactly right. If the record was going to happen, it'd have to come within the confines of doing everything to try to win the game. This wasn't going to be some cheap Nykesha Sales kind of record.

Or like Brett Favre taking a dive so Michael Strahan can get the single-season sack record? That's probably the first cheap record that comes to a lot of NFL fan's minds, but Peter can't go about criticizing Lord Favre like that. Favre didn't take a dive at all. He just fell. If you believe that...

I told Peterson I liked how he went for the record, but I also liked how he and Frazier didn't do anything to force it.

You mean like run up the score on two teams at the end of the season so your running back and quarterback can achieve personal records? Who ever would do that?

(Sorry to read me constantly complain about that, but Sean Payton had a complete lack of sportsmanship in mind last year over the last two games and I will be over it at the approximate time Payton retires as an NFL head coach...which depending on how the Saints defense plays over the next few seasons could be 2-3 years. From now on, I will do my best to discontinue the angry, bitter criticisms of Payton...maybe.)

Such a tough call. I think it comes down to Manning and Peterson;

I don't know. Replace Peyton Manning with an average quarterback and I can see the Broncos still making the playoffs. After all, they play in a bad division and made the playoffs last year with a running back as their quarterback. Take away Adrian Peterson and replace him with an average running back and do you think the Vikings make the playoffs? I'm not so sure about that.

Quick thoughts on the four games in the Wild Card round:

Well, make it quick. I want to hear more about how you steal headlines from other writers.

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC), AFC: Cincinnati (No.6, 10-6) at Houston (No. 3, 12-4). The Texans have been thinking for weeks they were in line for a first-round bye, and so it has to be demoralizing to know that, instead of getting four or five days off this week, they have to get right back to work -- and on a short week, no less, with the Saturday game -- and prep for Cincinnati.

The reason I don't trust the Texans in the playoffs is because of this. They have lost three out of their last four games and played on Sunday like they just expected the Colts to roll over. I get they may not have wanted to show off any super-special bootleg plays they have in their playbook, but they have to do better than they did on Sunday. So to me, the Texans are a struggling team that seems to lack the ability/movation to win a playoff game right now. Plus, the game is on national television and Matt Schaub usually sucks when he is on national television.

I expect J.J. Watt will have something to say about that. Not only did he have a league-high 20.5 sacks this year, but also he added 39 tackles for loss or no gain on running plays. Think of that: 60 tackles of quarterbacks or backs at or behind the line of scrimmage. Almost four per game. Very close to call, but I'll go with Houston.

J.J. Watt is pretty much the difference in this game according to Peter King. Not a shocking pick or reasoning used coming from Peter.

The Packers can expect limited possessions, because Minnesota's game plan will surely be to have Adrian Peterson eat the clock with carry after carry, and Christian Ponder (with his newfound confidence) throw short and intermediate. If Rodgers is Rodgers, I expect Green Bay to move on.

Yes, but Rodgers was Rodgers on Sunday and the Packers still lost.

My reality: I voted Adrian Peterson for MVP (edging Manning), Peterson and J.J. Watt offensive and defensive player, twin 'Hawks Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner offensive and defensive rookies, a tie between Manning and Peterson for comeback player,

Adrian Peterson played 75% of the year last year. Give the award to Peyton Manning. It's ridiculous to have Manning and Peterson tie for the Comeback Player of the Year award, but then give the MVP to Peterson. I realize Adrian Peterson coming back from his knee injury was very, very incredible, but he played the majority of the 2011 season. I wouldn't vote for him as Comeback Player of the Year.

and a tie between Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians as coach of the year.

Just give the damn award to Bruce Arians. He coached the Colts for nearly the entire season. Yes, we all love Chuck Pagano's story and how inspirational he is, but he didn't coach the entire year. I don't see a reason to split the Coach of the Year vote in this situation. Just give it to Arians. You aren't being an asshole by not having Pagano share it with Arians.

Remember when we all looked at the Vikings' schedule a month ago, and we said the Vikings would never survive December, with Green Bay twice, Chicago once and Houston and St. Louis on the road? With Percy Harvin out for the year and Christian Ponder playing like -- Jimmy Johnson's words, not mine -- the worst quarterback in the league (non-Sanchez division, of course), what real hope did the Vikings have?

To be fair to Mark Sanchez, he doesn't have a running back like Adrian Peterson sharing the backfield with him. Without Adrian Peterson I think Christian Ponder could be worse than Mark Sanchez.

Defensive rookie: Bobby Wagner, edging Green Bay cornerback Casey Hayward and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly. Wagner turned a suspect group of Seattle linebackers, the weak point of the Seahawks defense, into a competitive group by being great against the run (more tackles than Patrick Willis) and good dropping into coverage (three interceptions, excellent instincts).

I'm not saying Kuechly should be Defensive Rookie of the Year, but once he took over from Jon Beason as the middle linebacker the Panthers defense went from the lower 20's in total defense to being #10 in the NFL in total defense. Kuechly had 24 more tackles than Wagner, recovered three more fumbles, had one less interception than Wagner but had more passes defensed and stuffs, and also had excellent instincts. Okay, maybe I am saying Kuechly should be Defensive Rookie of the Year. Either way, I don't care really, but if Peter wants to use this criteria then he should also acknowledge Kuechly was better than Wagner in nearly every important defensive category. Of course Wagner's team made the playoffs, which we all know is very important when discussing individual awards.

Coach: Some might pick Arians alone; some might pick one of many other deserving candidates. Some might say Pagano was 2-2 in the games he coached;

Some people may throw out "facts" or obvious reasons that Peter's line of thinking is wrong, but what these people don't understand is the emotion of the pick. Exclude all of the facts as to why Arians should win this award alone and just base it on emotion. That's all Peter King asks.

After traveling to Indianapolis in November for an SI story on the unexpected rise of the Colts in the absence of the leukemia-stricken Pagano, I saw how involved Pagano was. Scores of texts and phone calls, hours of watching practice tape, every day, while the chemotherapy flowed into a port in his chest ... And when I was out with GM Ryan Grigson one night, the phone rang, and it was Pagano. He was telling Grigson to remember to get a ball painted for reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week Darius Butler, a player Pagano had never met. In other words, he was painstakingly involved in everything that happened with the team this season. Arians, 9-3 in his absence, was the hands-on coach who piloted the Colts into the playoffs. There you have the reason for my split vote.

The Colts trainer and assistant GM is also involved with the day-to-day operations of the team. Should they also share the Coach of the Year award with Bruce Arians? I get Pagano did some scouting and coaching from the sidelines, but Bruce Arians was the day-to-day head coach. It takes nothing away from Pagano and his fight against leukemia if he doesn't share this award with Bruce Arians.

Fine Fifteen

2. New England (12-4). One win by the Broncos and one by the Patriots ... That's all that stands in the way of a Peyton Manning-Tom Brady AFC Championship Game Jan. 20.

And really, after that game is there a reason to even play the Super Bowl? It would just be a let-down.

4. Green Bay (11-5). Tough one to lose at the Metrodome, but I don't see the loss hurting the Pack in the wild-card rematch at Lambeau.

As long as Rodgers is Rodgers. If you don't know exactly what that means, you aren't the only one.

7. Washington (10-6). I can see Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and his staff firing up the tape this morning and wondering how they're going to stop the unstoppable Redskin in their wild-card meeting Sunday. "Anybody got any ideas about putting a lid on Alfred Morris?'' he'll ask.

And? There has to be more, Peter! You have set up the beginning of an absolutely enthralling novel and just end it like that without any resolution?

15. St. Louis (7-8-1). A total makeover, and still Steven Jackson proved he's the perfect back for Jeff Fisher. He needs to return in 2013, and he sounds like he will.

Since Peter and Jeff Fisher share the same agent, the fact Peter talks up the Rams nearly every week isn't suspicious at all.

"Sean Payton might want to invest some of that $8 million in buying a defense for next year.''

-- Jim Szoke of the Carolina Radio Network, as the Panthers ran through the Saints Sunday, as relayed by ESPN NFC South blogger Pat Yasinkas from New Orleans.

Poking the bear that is Sean Payton never gets old to me. Well, it probably will get old at some point (and I know, I know, we are currently at that point), but I still enjoy it. I heard all year that the Saints defense was having trouble grasping the intricacies of Steve Spagnuolo, but I think it is more possible the Saints defense just wasn't very good during the 2012 season.

Sean Payton can't start working with his team again until approximately April 19, the start of the official Saints' offseason program, and that must be maddening for such a micromanaging worker bee. But when he does, he has to start working anew with Drew Brees on his efficiency.

Yes, Sean Payton should work on the quarterback who threw for 5000 yards this year, while ignoring the defense that gave up over 7000 yards of offense to opposing teams.

I've heard Payton noticed one glaring thing about Brees when he watched Saints' games this year while serving his year suspension -- how many times he took chances downfield when the chances really were long shots, and when his focus should have turned from the deep ball to the checkdown or intermediate ball. That's a big reason his completion percentage without Payton was a shell of what it was with him.

Drew Brees completion percentage was 63%. Yes, he had a higher completion percentage with Payton as his head coach, but it isn't like Brees was terrible. Brees is a terrific quarterback and will be fine. If anything, Sean Payton needs to notice from watching Saints games is how the hell he is going to fix the Saints defense.

Then Peter writes a travel note about someone else's traveling difficulties. It's bad enough when Peter tells us about his travel issues during a given week, but relaying a travel note from a sportswriter who isn't himself seems like something that is completely irrelevant for Peter's readership.

"Brings new meaning to the term 'the whole nine yards.' "

-- @LATimesfarmer, football writer Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, just after Adrian Peterson finished nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record.

Apparently this was such an interesting Tweet that Peter felt compelled to steal it and then tease us about why he stole it. A lot of buildup for this one.

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 17:

c. On the first play of Colts-Texans, it was fitting J.J. Watt broke through the line and broke up the handoff play, leading to a one-yard loss.

Yes, it was very fitting. Then after that? What did Watt do after that Peter "Cherry-Pick" King? He had three more tackles and a pass defensed. Much like the Texans team as a whole, Watt started off strong and then didn't do a whole lot after that. It's not terrible for a defensive lineman to only have four tackles, but Peter picks one play and then tries to make it seem like Watt had a terrific game.

d. Rueben Randle. Two touchdowns in the first nine minutes. Just 21 years old.

Wow, more fun with numbers. Peter leaves out the fact Randle had 250 yards and one touchdown prior to this game. Randle may have a bright future, but two touchdowns in the first nine minutes of one game does not a career make.

n. Michael Crabtree: eight catches, 172 yards, two touchdowns. We're seeing the dawn of a great receiver's career, I believe.

Yes, and he is only 25 years old. I hope Michael Crabtree makes the Hall of Fame so Gregg Easterbrook can continue to pretend he didn't invent the "Crabtree Curse" and didn't repeatedly tell us Michael Crabtree was dragging the 49ers team down.

2. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 17:

b. Nnamdi Asomugha, who has had 17 forgettable (but profitable) months as an Eagles savior.

Remember back when Peter King said Asomugha was a Top 10 NFL player? I do and I bet Peter King would like to forget that comment.

h. Too many officials look too heavy to me.

Pot, meet kettle. Of course Peter's job doesn't require him to keep up with world-class athletes, but that shouldn't really matter. Either way, NFL officials are probably in better shape than Peter King.

It's absurd that a guy gets in on name recognition while missing 44 percent of the games one year and 38 percent of the game in another year. That's one of many reasons -- but a big one -- why I treat the Pro Bowl with back-of-the-hand deference. It deserves it.

I could probably get upset about my favorite team's Pro Bowl snubs, but that would mean I think the Pro Bowl actually means something for me to get worked up over it. The Pro Bowl is pointless and I haven't watched it in a decade. I don't need voters to tell which players are the best at each position. There are better measurements to tell me this then what a popularity contest tells me. 

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. You never told me about Homeland.

Because it is the responsibility of Peter's readers to inform him of what is or is not a good television show. We are all Peter's servants who only exist to hear his weekly complaints and give him information upon demand. If Peter is a fan of television and hasn't heard how good "Homeland" is then that's on him.

Daughter Laura gave me the first season of the show on DVD for Christmas,

On DVD? I didn't realize it was 2002.

c. Saw two movies over the holidays. Silver Linings Playbook I liked a lot; Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were superb, and the story felt real. And I saw on a movie channel Contagion, the doomy Matt Damon/Laurence Fishburne job. Liked that one too, particularly the way the contagion is researched and sourced back to bats.

Thank you for updating us on the movies you watched recently. Of course I shouldn't expect anything different from a man who tells us in-depth about his bowel troubles while on a plane.

g. Coffeenerdness: Just my luck Sunday to get behind the Parisians with the $47 order in line at Starbucks in Manhattan. They must love that bisciotti. Got nine of them.

I know. Peter is such an unlucky guy. He gets paid enough money to purchase expensive, mediocre coffee everyday. Gosh, when will Peter ever get a break in his life?

Among those we lost in a particularly sad year for deaths:

Is this as opposed to a year that doesn't have a lot of sad deaths? I remember back in 2005 when it wasn't really sad to have a bunch of people die. These people all deserved to die. 2012 though? What a sad year for deaths.

Vidal Sassoon, hair guy. Cut and sprayed a lot of famous people's hair.

Thanks for the tribute, Peter. Touching and heartfelt.

Why even do these eulogies if Peter is going to be snide about some of the deaths? What does it contribute?

Donna Summer, singer. She worked hard for the money.

Yes, she did Peter. Yes, she did. I'm surprised Peter didn't get a chance to speak at Donna Summer's funeral. I'm getting teary right now just thinking about song titles he would have magnificently placed into his tribute to her.

Adieu Haiku

BobGriff v Wilson
Wild Card dream is coming true.
Will Obama watch?

Will Obama watch?
Who cares? Real question might be
Will Texans show up?


rich said...

Where was the drama in the AFC?

Seeding? Denver won and got the top seed, Houston lost and is now playing in the first round. The team Houston lost to jumped to the 5th seed.

I told Peterson I liked how he went for the record

Yes, admirable for Peterson to continue running the ball. I don't get what there is to "like" about it. He's a RB, it's kind of his job to get rushing yards.

Just my luck Sunday to get behind the Parisians with the $47 order in line at Starbucks in Manhattan. They must love that bisciotti. Got nine of them.

Ya, fuck people who want to buy things at stores! They should know Peter is a very busy man with all his travel by train.

This entire transaction probably cost him 3 minutes of his time. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you aren't willing to stand in line for coffee, don't go to the goddamn Starbucks in Manhattan.

I remember back in 2005 when it wasn't really sad to have a bunch of people die.

I know this is going to be a minuscule statement, but you sir gave me my first laughing out loud moment for 2013.

JimA said...

Poking the bear that is Sean Payton never gets old to me.

Me either. Keep it up.

Where was the drama in the AFC?

Really. No big Manning or Brady news. How do we go on?

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I thought it was pretty exciting too. The way Denver took a hold of the top seed while Houston puttered away, was pretty interesting.

It's very admirable for Peterson to continue running the ball. Since he plays for the Vikings and Christian Ponder is the QB of that team then he pretty much has to run the ball a lot for them to win games.

Very much so. If you don't have time to stand in line, then don't go to Starbucks. Make coffee at home.

Glad to make you laugh. I thought the eulogies were really weird and the idea 2012 was a really sad year for deaths was even more weird. What the hell?

Jim, if you insist I will keep it up. I know the Saints are going to be back going 11-5 soon, so I have to get my shots in while I can. Plus, I can't stand Sean Payton. I've disliked him for a while now and he keeps giving me reasons to reinforce my preconceived notion that I shouldn't like him.

It's hard to imagine we could go on this weekend too. Brady and Manning don't play. Fortunately, Peter has J.J. Watt to hold him over.