Top 5 Games of Last Week (11/25/13 – 12/1/13)
Raise your hand if you didn’t think this week would be all about football. Now raise your hand if you didn’t think this week’s number one would be the Iron Bowl. If you raised your hand for both, get out. You know nothing.
#5. Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
A 20-10 lead against Minnesota has to be safe, right? Especially with perennial backup Matt Cassel left to lead the comeback charge. You know what I learned in this game? Never count out the Bears defense. As in, no matter how straightforward the game plan appears to be – in this case, stop Adrian frickin’ Peterson – you really can’t expect the Bears D to recognize that. Never count them out, because in 2013, they’ll find a way to fail. Still, it’s the kicking that made this game particularly exciting. Tied at 20-20 in overtime, the Vikings made a 39-yarder, had a penalty call it back, and then missed a 57-yarder. Naturally, the reliable Robbie Gould would make the 47-yarder and end the game. Except he didn’t. Given one more chance, Blair Walsh nailed a 34-yarder and handed the struggling Bears yet another loss. Bang-for-your-buck bonus: it was only $117.16 on average per ticket.
#4. Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
If you’re a Broncos fan, this was one of those pleasant games where your worst fears weren’t realized, and your opponent’s comeback attempt didn’t succeed. Remember the New England game? Yeah, you do. Be honest: you thought Kansas City was going to pull off the same thing. Lucky for you Alex Smith isn’t Tom Brady. Of course, you had a little comeback work to do yourselves, didn’t you? Down 21-7 against one of the NFL’s best defenses isn’t the best situation to be in. But you did it, before holding the Chiefs at 35-28 to finish the game, Smith’s final pass clanging to the ground in the end zone. Hope you made it out to the game – at just $163.68 per ticket, it’s one of the cheapest Broncos games this season.
#3. Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
God these teams hate each other. Isn’t that kind of refreshing? I can’t think of two other teams that dislike each other more these days, and honestly I can’t think of anything I miss more from my childhood. Take away the head-banging and civilize the game with more rules if you want. I don’t care. But I want the hate, I want the rivalries. When I was young, Dallas and Washington threatened each other, the Bears and Vikings mauled each other, and the Raiders hated everyone. It was great, and these two teams still have it. Throw in a little Mike-Tomlin-interfered-with-a-Ravens-kickoff-return-touchdown, and you’ve got the recipe for a delicious Thanksgiving football game. Add in a Steelers failed two-point conversion to end the game, and you really won’t find a better recipe for football excellence.
#2. Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
Most weeks, this is hands down the best game of the week. Most years, this is the best game of the year. Not this week; not this year. In a game featuring one of college football’s biggest rivalries (you know I like those), the play lived up to the hype. In a game featuring eight lead changes and over 80 points combined, the most exciting moment happened – would you believe it? – at the end. Having scored a touchdown, all Michigan had to do was kick the extra point, and the game would go to overtime. What are extra points, something like 97 percent successful? Instead, Michigan went for two and the win. As we found out after the game, Michigan’s Hoke polled the seniors, asking them what they wanted to do. They wanted to go for it. They failed to convert and lost, but don’t ever accuse Hoke and Michigan of being afraid.
#1. Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers
Maybe you heard about this one? Yeah, it’s being compared to the Immaculate Reception, the Music City Miracle, Hail Flutie, and all the rest. And rightfully so. If you’ve seen Friday Night Lights, it’s like the most improbable game-winning final drive in that show, except times a thousand because it actually happened. If you want a recap of the game, a play-by-play, look for one of the 1,000 articles covering it. I’m going to focus on the end, because that’s where sh*t got cray. Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon ran to Auburn’s 39-yard line, score tied. Initially, the refs failed to stop the game clock, meaning the two teams were headed for overtime. Alabama’s Nick Saban argued that Yeldon’s foot had touched out of bounds with one second left on the clock. He won, and decided to trust his kicker with a 57-yard kick, going for the win instead of waiting for the uncertainty of overtime. Alabama’s Adam Griffith’s kick fell short, and Chris Davis caught the ball nine yards deep in his end zone, returning it 109 yards for the win. Ahem. Whaaat?!?!?!?! In a word, unbelievable.