Last Week in Sports | 1/8/17 – 1/15/17
Restful long weekend? Not if you were on one of the eight NFL teams left in the playoffs.
Crimson Tide Rolls Again
In one of the most dramatic College Football National Championships in recent memory, Alabama produced a rabbit-from-a-hat comeback to beat the Georgia Bulldogs. At the half, with Alabama down 13 – 0, coach Nick Saban made a controversial change at the quarterback position, sitting Jalen Hurts for true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa got Alabama on the boards quickly with a few impressive QB sneaks and precision throws that led to a touchdown and a field goal in the 3rd. A tie game by the end of the 4th sent it to overtime where Tua threw a 41 yard game-winning touchdown pass. In a single evening, a 19-year-old freshman with almost no college experience eclipsed a starting QB and became the best college football team’s best player.
Sweet Lou Can’t Miss
LA Clippers’ guard Lou Williams is making his case for the starting five after lifting the Clippers past a hobbled Warriors’ lineup. Sweet Lou scored 50 points – including 27 points in the 3rd quarter alone – on 16 of 27 shooting, 8 threes, and 10-10 free throw shooting. This is a career-high for the 31-year-old NBA lifer who’s been in the league since 2005 (on a 76ers team that season where Iverson averaged 33 points per game). Lou is gunning for a starting spot either with the Clippers or elsewhere, being named Western Conference Player of the Week last week and jumpstarting some All-Star buzz. Watch the highlights from his game against the Warriors below.
The Ball Brothers in Lithuania
LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, youngest sons of controversial NBA dad LaVar Ball, have played their first official game since joining the Lithuanian League last week. While they’ve been relatively dominant (combining for 60 points in their third game), their immaturity is still on full display with goofy shot selection and inconsistent defense. However, the youngest of the bunch in LaMelo (still only 16 years old) may be the brightest prospect of the three brothers, showing confidence and style on his road to 31 points yesterday.
Even with LaVar in Lithuania, he doesn’t stop making news in the states. He called out Lakers’ coach Luke Walton (who everyone loves to death) and suggested he doesn’t have control of the locker room in LA. Lakers’ owner Jeanie Buss came out in support of Luke, as did Lakers’ GM Magic Johnson. If his dad keeps wreaking havoc with his mouth, Lonzo may find himself with a one-way ticket out of LA (though probably not to Lithuania just yet).
The Cavs Are Struggling
They lost two back to back games by 25 points or more last week, something no team has ever done during a regular season and gone on to win the Finals. And last night they lost to the Warriors once again. While it’s definitely going to take some time to incorporate a major offensive and ball-dominant piece in Isaiah Thomas, no one expected Cleveland to go 2-8 in their last 10 games after adding IT. Allowing the Raptors’ 133 points and the Timberwolves’ 127 points just goes to show that the problem is on the defensive side of the ball, where Isaiah can’t really help much.
Best NFL Divisional Playoff Round in History?
Long live parity! The NFL shows us once again how absolutely no one knows what is going to happen in the postseason. Under any circumstances. Ever. The weekend began with a shocking Falcons’ loss to the rested Eagles. Philadelphia relied on half-man, half-bowling ball Jay Ajayi and incredible cornerback and safety play that held Matt Ryan to 10 total points. Follow that game with the Titans/Patriots game, where a Tom Brady offense picked apart the Titans’ secondary for over 300 yards.
Come Sunday the drama hit the fan. The Jaguars dropped 45 points on a Steelers’ team that was called out for looking forward to the Patriots. While you can’t blame the Steelers’ offense–after scoring 42 points in a loss–you can definitely take a look at a defense that allowed Blake Bortles 214 yards and Leonard Fournette three touchdowns.
The weekend closed with an absolutely stunning finish to the Saints at Vikings game. Down 23 to 24, with only 10 seconds left and at their own 40-yard line, Vikings’ QB Case Keenum hit WR Stefon Diggs with a 20 yard pass at the sideline. Saints’ safety Marcus Williams missed an easy tackle and Diggs landed inbounds with enough grace to turn downfield and sprint into the end zone as time expired for a 61 yard game-winning touchdown play. New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, featured a spot-on headline about the Saints’ loss: “EXPLETIVE. EXPLETIVE. EXPLETIVE.” The Vikings now have only one game between them and the first time a team has ever played a Super Bowl home game.
(Cropped image courtesy Sam Howzit via Flickr.)