1. I think this is what I liked about Week 13:
a. Ross Tucker's news sense. The former player and current SiriusXM, YES and Versus announcer was the first one to tweet there would be more interest in Sage Rosenfels than Donovan McNabb last Friday ... and then Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com broke the story of the Vikings claiming Rosenfels -- while no one claimed McNabb. Good gets by both men.
b. The Seahawks, who are better than we think.
c. Especially you, Marshawn Lynch.
d. Great scoop, Jim Trotter, breaking the story of the two Redskins being banned for four games.
e. Great challenge, Leslie Frazier, barely getting the challenge flag out on the McGahee fumble.
f. Looking more and more like yourself, Chris Johnson.
g. Dan Orlovsky's second drive at Foxboro (even though he missed a wide-open Jacob Tamme for a touchdown): 19 plays, 67 yards, field goal.
h. Good ruling/clarification by FOX's Mike Pereira on Twitter after the Tim Tebow fumble in Minnesota: "The ground can cause a fumble if the runner is not down prior to the ball coming out. Tebows knee was not down when the ball came out.'' Other than the missed apostrophe in "Tebows,'' that was a heck of a tweet.
i. Congrats to FOX info man John Czarnecki on the wedding of his daughter Vanessa Friday night. And a lovely bride she was.
j. What a catch by Jordy Nelson on the sideline in the fourth quarter, with the Pack driving to add to a one-point lead. The hands, the feet on the sidelines --perfect.
k. And a better one by Donald Driver, channeling his inner Cris Carter to catch a bullet from Rodgers, jousting with Corey Webster (the '07 championship game hero, intercepting Brett Favre at the start of overtime) in the end zone, then catching a pass almost parallel to the ground and getting both feet down. An absolutely great catch.
l. Travis Beckum: Didn't know you had that speed.
m. Victor Cruz entered the league as a free agent from that football hotbed, UMass. He's now a legitimate No. 1 receiver for a playoff contender, albeit one that's lost four in a row.
n. Laurent Robinson. Someone please tell me how the Rams and Falcons gave up on Laurent Robinson. I've got to know. His hands, his deep-threat ability and his ability to rise to the occasion on big throws downfield all show he's a starting receiver for a good team in the NFL. Mind-boggling two teams didn't think he was good enough.
2. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 13:
a. The Texans' skimpy cheerleader uniforms, with the word "CHEERLEADER'' on the backs of each. What, did some executive think heavily made up, beauty-pageant-type 20-year-olds would be confused as ushers?
b. Worst uniforms in NFL history made a one-week comeback, regrettably, in Tampa: the creamsicle jobs. Why, oh why, would you embarrass the franchise by reminding people you used to wear those pukey things?
c. Matt Ryan. Wild high all day in Houston.
d. Matt Ryan. Outplayed by T.J. Yates.
e. The Bucs offensive line. Josh Johnson never had a chance.
f. Richard Seymour who, again, couldn't control himself, though he should certainly know better. Threw a punch in the game at Miami and was ejected. I will give him credit for apologizing after the game.
g. The story of Nick Folk's life: makes the 51-yard field goal attempt, misses the 40-yarder.
h. Way to cover Roddy White, Texans. He's a receiver for Atlanta. Pretty good one. You're not supposed to let him run around with no defender within 10 yards, Houston.
i. Jermichael Finley's not in the class of Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, in my mind. Drops too many.
j. Contagious. Greg Jennings even dropped one with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, and he never has the dropsies.
k. The mental and physical mistakes of the Lions. Three offensive pass-interference penalties against Nate Burleson. (Don't know if I've seen that before.) Brandon Pettigrew shoving an official. Ridiculous.
3. I think Jared Allen would play hard if the game were checkers against his niece on a beach in Florida in July. What a competitor.
4. I think we're going to have an interesting call in Canton one day as one of the most interesting careers of this era is moving toward a significant landmark. Hines Ward's five catches in the rout of Cincinnati left him 10 receptions shy of 1,000 for his career. He'd be the eighth player in history to catch 1,000 balls.
5. I think I was stunned to hear the other day that the Army-Navy game had never been played in Washington in 111 meetings, and I don't think I was the only one. "It's shocking the game has never been here before,'' Redskins owner Dan Snyder said at an Army-Navy luncheon the other day.
Snyder was the driving force behind bringing the game to FedEx Field (suburban Maryland, not Washington; but close), which made the 43 Army and Navy bases in the Washington area happy. The game has mostly been played at a stadium not in one team's backyard; the Naval Academy is in nearby Annapolis. But it does seem a natural to play it in the nation's capital at least once in a while. Good for Snyder for getting it there.
6. I think I would be surprised if Andy Reid either is fired or chooses to quit. I noted Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk said Sunday that Reid will have to fire or demote defensive coordinator Juan Castillo to save his job. After the last two or three weeks, that has seemed like a gimme; Reid hasn't hesitated to fire coaches on low-achieving units before, as he did with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott last year.
7. I think I would be surprised if Raheem Morris isn't in trouble right now. That is a dreadful-looking team, and Morris kicking defensive tackle Brian Price off the sideline after his personal foul in the third quarter just shows the unraveling of this team in the last few weeks. Morris called Price's behavior foolish, selfish and terrible. That's six losses in a row for the Bucs. One looks worse than the next.
8. I think it was a bit of a stunner to see the Patriots on Saturday whack wideout Taylor Price, the third-round pick in 2010 (chosen before NaVorro Bowman and Jimmy Graham), before ever really giving him a regular-season chance to play. The top three rounds of the Pats' draft in 2010 -- in which they ended up taking five players and trading one third-round pick in a package for a pass-rusher, Derrick Burgess, who didn't pan out -- are just more ammo for those who think that when Bill Belichick lost trusted scout Thomas Dimitroff and de facto GM Scott Pioli in back-to-back seasons (2008, 2009), he never replaced the brainpower and the ability of those guys to argue him out of picks.
Jimmy Johnson has been a close adviser to Belichick over the years, and I'm sure he's told Belichick what he told me long ago: Stockpiling picks allows you to make mistakes and get rid of the mistakes without hanging onto them for a long time. Just cut your losses. That's what Belichick did with Price.
9. I think what Aaron Rodgers said on his weekly ESPN radio show in Milwaukee and Madison the other day, about wearing religion on one's sleeve as Tebow does, shows why he's such a compelling figure. He's just smart, and he doesn't have to say, "Hey, I'm smart,'' for you to understand. Not when he says things like this:
"Well I started playing before Tim, so these are things I've thought about for a long time, and I think one thing that I try to look at when I was a younger player, and I mean, in high school, junior college and Division I, I was always interested in seeing how guys talked in their interviews, talked about their faith, or didn't talk about their faith. And then the reactions at times, I know Bob Costas at one point was critical about a player thanking Jesus Christ after a win, questioning what would happen if that player had lost, or do you really think God cares about winning and losing.
"I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, 'Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.' So basically, I'm not an over-the-top, or an in-your-face kind of guy with my faith. I would rather people have questions about why I act the way I act, whether they view it as positive or not, and ask questions, and then given an opportunity at some point, then you can talk about your faith a little bit. I firmly believe, just personally, what works for me, and what I enjoy doing is letting my actions speak about the kind of character that I want to have, and following that quote from St. Francis.''
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
a. My favorite color in sports: Toronto Maple Leafs blue.
b. How fast is LSU? Amazing. Every corner, every skill player on offense: NFL-fast.
c. Montee Ball, 13 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns -- in the first 12 minutes of the Big Ten championship game.
d. Donald Trump to host a Republican debate. Now that's a good way to be taken seriously.
e. Herman Cain blames the media. He's right. We force these women to come forward. Didn't you know?
f. The longer Seinfeld is in the rear-view mirror, the more I hear it quoted. And the more I like it.
g. Glad I don't have a Heisman vote. If I did, I'd have to watch tons more college football, and I'd have to make what seems like an impossible choice between all these good quarterbacks and players like Montee Ball, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon. Tough, tough year.
h. Football fan to me on Second Avenue in New York Saturday night: "Hey Peter! Manning or Luck for the Colts?'' Me to fan: "Both.''
i. Coffeenerdness: You know it's Week 13 of the football season when, one day in midweek, you realize the reason you've got the 11 a.m. headache building is because you've been pre-occupied and haven't had a strong cup of Italian Roast.
j. Beernerdness: Need to catch up on my winter beers. How depressing that I've been working so much I'm falling behind on my consumption.
k. Jose Reyes to Miami: It had to happen. The Mets weren't going to pay him real money.
l. Bobby Valentine to the Red Sox: Seems like the most logical manager for that team at this time. He's going to discipline guys, I would think. This reminds me of a football team changing coaches. If the team had a laid-back guy last time, the team would hire a butt-kicker the next time. Glad to hear he's not going to look the other way when players aren't doing what they should be doing.
San Diego 27, Jacksonville 16. I can't see the Jags generating enough offense to win, unless Maurice Jones-Drew runs wild, which he might do. Interesting. As bad as the Chargers have been -- and they've been awful and disappointing in losing five straight -- they'd be only two games back with four to play.
Jacksonville's attention, rightfully, is on its new prospective owner, Shad Khan, a 60-year-old auto-parts magnate from Champaign, Ill. Good story on Khan by the Florida Times Union's Tania Ganguli Sunday.
Khan came to the United States as a 16-year-old college freshman with very little money, staying at the Y in Champaign his first night, and starting his first American job -- washing dishes for $1.20 an hour -- the next day. Wrote Ganguli: "In an unfamiliar environment, most humans cling to others like them. It's comfortable in a time of a difficult transition." Khan took a different route. Instead of seeking others who could relate to his immigrant story, Khan signed up for fraternity rush as soon as he could, eager to meet people who weren't like him in his new home. 'The Beta Theta Pi house, which was a very selective house, and all traditionally white Anglo Saxon Protestant, invited him either out of curiosity, for fun or to see who he was, and they loved him,' said David Sholem, one of Khan's close friends.'' Interesting stuff.
Last week I was told by a business acquaintance that Khan will enter the NFL -- assuming he passes NFL muster and his $760 million bid for the franchise is accepted -- as one of, if not the biggest football fan in the league. Looking forward to meeting him.
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