Aaron Rodgers. Wow. It's funny when the all-time greats have moments that remind all of us that they are all-time greats. That was Rodgers on Sunday against Oakland. Rodgers was 25-of-31 for 429 with five TDs. He also ran for a score.
Jose Altuve. Dude hit a walk-off homer to push the Astros to the World Series. Crazy stat alert: Did you know that 2010s is the first decade since the 1910s — pre-Ruth — that the Yankees did not play in a World Series? Nuts right? To make it more magnified, want to guess which franchise has the most MLB wins in the 10s? Yep, the Yankees.
Casey O'Brien. The walk-on Minnesota quarterback got a snap in Saturday's romp of Rutgers as the holder on a PAT. It may seem like a "what?" moment for most, but watch this clip. The former high-profile recruit has batted back cancer four time, had countless surgeries, has a metal rod in his left leg and battled back to get on the field Saturday. It brought coach P.J. Fleck to tears on the sideline. Cool moment. Side note: We all giggle at the Fleck motto about rowing the boat, but dude is doing work with unbeaten Minnesota.
This coach and teacher who disarmed a kid. The video and story are amazing. He hugged the kid the entire time.
Dan Quinn. Dude has to go. Period. The Falcons have quit on their coach, a defensive specialist mind you, who allowed the Rams — a team with monster O-Line questions which threw for 78 yards last week — to scored 37 points. In Atlanta. How bad was it? Well, I do the grocery shopping for the 5-at-10 clan. It was relatively empty. There were a couple of older folks and there was me and a guy named Mike dressed in a Falcons T-shirt and Falcons cap. We discussed how bad the Falcons truly are. When you got guys at Food City rather than watching how bad your team is — a team with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, mind you — well, changes must happen.
Alabama. For those of us — cough, cough — who have thought/said, "Well, Tua's good and all, but anyone can throw to those wide receivers?" Saturday night was an eye-opener. Yes, the news was not terrible and there is hope for Tua to return for LSU. But that offense with Mack Jones at the helm against Tennessee was stagnant. (That said, if Tua does not play, that clearly re-opens the door for the SEC to get two teams in the playoff. LSU wins by a field goal in T-Town against a Tua-less Bama, then Coach O's bunch runs the table and locks down the 1 seed. That 11-1 Bama or a 12-0 Clemson for the 4 seed — assuming THE Ohio State and Oklahoma run the table — would be a boss debate.)
Wisconsin and the Big Ten's hopes for two teams in the playoffs. On the other end, Wisconsin looking by Illinois — the Badgers lost outright as a 31-point favorite with THE Ohio State on deck this Saturday — truly hurts that leagues chance at two playoff teams.
Jim Harbaugh. Another loss to a team Michigan expects to beat.
Melvin Gordon. Dude held out to get paid like a top RB. The Chargers have 106 rushing yards in the three games Gordon has been on the field. The Chargers are just the second team in the Super Bowl era to rush for fewer than 40 yards in three straight games (2005 Eagles).
Speaking of the Chargers-Titans, the Titans pulled out a 23-20 win because Gordon lost a fumble inside the Titans' 1 late in the game. If you think Gordon and/or the Chargers were upset about it, imagine being the guy who put $150 down on a 10-team parlay that would have paid $58K. The bettor hit the first nine legs and had the Chargers on the money line. Ouch-standing.
There were several interesting storylines from the college football world over the weekend.
There was Will Muschamp offering a season's worth of fuel to the conspiracy theorists among us. Muschamp alluded to a double standard among SEC teams after Florida was not flagged on a pair of long TDs. (The pick play was debatable, how there was not holding called on that long TD run was a joke.)
That noise did not die down when Tennessee fans were irate about the officiating as Alabama sleep-walked to a 35-13 win over UT.
Of course there was more news from that one considering that after Jarrett Guarantano fumbled at the Bama goal line — the fumble was returned 100-plus yards for a back-breaking TD — Jeremy Pruitt had kittens on him on the sideline and jerked him by the facemark.
The reaction has been predictable.
There's the faux outrage. Then there is the UT backlash and the 'old-school football' blowback to that.
In the grand scheme of things, I don't really care either way.
But the double standard is striking.
Would you want your boss to put hands on you?
What if Guarantano, who has struggled mightily this year lost it to the degree that his coach did and put hands on Pruitt?
We demand passion from the coaches — Mark Right averaged 10 wins a year and was walked to the door because in large part he did not have enough fire — but when they lose it, like Pruitt did in a fit of rage and frustration Saturday night we forget the dramatic double standard it creates.
We demand the players be physical, but when the whistle blows to stop it on a dime.
For example, Dabo Swinney humiliated and is going to continue to punish a player who was ejected Saturday for throwing a punch.
That was a personal foul of course.
What to know what else is a personal foul? Grabbing someone's facemask.
I get it, and I'm ready for the "Jay, I didn't think you were a snowflake" Yada-yada-yada.
Don't really think I am.
But my question is, where is the line between impassioned coach and Woody Hayes?
And, we'll ask it again, if your boss did that to you, how quickly are you beating feet to H.R.?
This and that
— Speaking of the Astros, they host the Nationals in Game 1 on Tuesday. With Cole-Verlander-Grienke on one side and Scherzer-Strasburg-Corbin on the other, the first team to 3 in every game wins. (Astros in 6; but hey, what do I know. Vegas has Houston at minus-235 — bet $235 to win $100 — which makes the Astros the biggest World Series favorite since 2007, when the Red Sox were minus-240 against Colorado.)
— Matt Stafford became the fastest NFL passer to get to 40,000 yards in a career He was good in a loss to Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday. Is Matt Stafford a Hall of Famer?
— NBA starts tomorrow night. Preview coming Tuesday.
— College picks started super strong before limping to the finish at 5-5. (Hit Auburn — which was may favorite pick of the season — La Tech-So Miss over, Memphis-Tulane over, Navy and Pitt. Miss Tulane, A&M-Ole Miss over, Clemson-Louisville over, Miami and Oklahoma State.) Sigh. That said, the NFL picks continued to sizzle — 4-1 with under-42 in San Fran-Washington, New Orleans plus-3.5 (long live Teddy Bridgewater), Rams minus-3, and Vikings minus-1.5. Missed on Seattle minus-3 over Baltimore.
— Speaking of gambling oddities, ESPN betting writer David Purdum had this great stat: The Redskins, who were getting 10 at home in the driving rain, lost to San Francisco 9-0 on Sunday. In doing so, Washington became the second team in the last 25 years to cover without scoring. The Dolphins were a 16-point underdog against Pittsburgh in 2007 and lost 3-0.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
On this day five years ago, longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee died.
Rushmore of all-time newspaper writers/editors/people.