Top 5 Games of Last Week (12/2/13 – 12/8/13)
What does fall rhyme with? Football. Well, not quite, but it might as well. Everyone associates the two. So it shouldn’t surprise you that this week (spoiler alert!) – like every other week this fall – is pretty much all about the pigskin.
#5. Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
This one was a bang-for-your-buck lock the second it ended. Hands down. No question. “Hi, yes, question for you: Would you be willing to pay $135.26 to attend a game that featured five touchdowns in the final 2:09? Um, “Heck yes!” should be your response, and with all of Napoleon Dynamite’s gusto. This game was ridonculous, and I say that with full knowledge of Joe Flacco’s participation in said game. Even he couldn’t suck the fun out of it, it was just that good.
#4. North Carolina Tar Heels at Michigan State Spartans
At first blush, I wanted to call the 2013 Tar Heels mercurial, because they’re certainly unpredictable. After all, they’ve now beaten Louisville, ranked number three at the time, and number one Michigan State, while losing to Belmont and UAB. Huh? Bad teams aren’t supposed to beat top 5 teams consistently, and good teams aren’t supposed to lose to teams in the Ohio Valley – East conference. So my initial reaction was to call them mercurial. But now, upon further consideration, I don’t think they’re mercurial. I think they’re fickle. See, fickle implies that they’re knowingly, willingly unpredictable, which both gives the Tar Heels more agency in their surprising wins and more responsibility for their shocking losses. Simply put, it’s up to them to be either great or terrible in the rest of 2013. Wednesday’s game showed their potential – let’s see what they do from here.
#3. Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers
Being from Miami and all, you’d think the Dolphins would look like a fish out of water in the snow of Heinz field. Instead, the Dolphins made it a dog fight, overcoming deficits three times to win a pivotal road game in Pittsburgh. No question – they showed guts in a physical football matchup, but that’s not why this game makes the top five. No siree, this one’s on here because of the last play, because of what almost happened. The lateral heard round the world touched five people before making it to Antonio Brown, who appeared to race down the sideline in bounds and score the game winning touchdown as time expired. Except he stepped out. Poor little bugger. Born slightly bow-legged, Mr. Brown doesn’t run with both feet facing forward. They point out. And because they point out, Brown’s left pinky toe landed on the sideline before entering the end zone. If he hadn’t stepped out, it would’ve been the greatest lateral finish since the Music City Miracle. Too bad.
#2. Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans
Oh, the humanity. Just one game from locking up the BCS National Championship, the Buckeyes couldn’t lose, could they? After all, the Spartans lost to Notre Dame, and the Buckeyes hadn’t lost in 24 games. Denied a bowl game in 2012 because of NCAA sanctions against the school, surely the Buckeyes would have enough bitterness left in the tank to make it to the National Championship and stick it to the man. In the words of Borat: NOT! Those pesky Spartans wouldn’t play along, and to add insult to injury the Buckeyes are now not only out of the BCS game – they didn’t even win their conference. The only reason this game isn’t number one? The Spartans won by too much, besting the Buckeyes 34-24.
#1. Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots
In a game of “Would you rather,” 10 bucks says the Pats would rather lose to the Browns and keep Gronkowski healthy than beat the Browns and lose Gronkowski for the season. Alas, up 26-14 with 2:39 left in the game, the Browns had to lose. It’s like, predestined or something. It’s what they do. So the Patriots drove down the field at will – finishing the first drive in 80 frickin’ seconds – and scored two touchdowns to go up by one point. Then, to add insult to injury – or more aptly, to turn the knife 360 degrees in the wound – the Browns had a chance at a field goal to win, and the kick was on target but fell short by about five yards. If you’re a Browns fan, you paid about $189.44 to watch that. My God the Browns are unlucky.