Yours truly went on vacation for Thanksgiving and got abducted by a turkey, three kids and a brother-in-law who loves beer as much as I do. But I wrestled myself free in time to take a late look at Week 11, before the Steelers take on the Packers in Week 12.
Countdown List of the Week: Ways the Browns Could Get Their First Win of 2017
3) Play the Green Bay Packers at Tiddly-Winks -- in Green Bay
Given how cold it gets in Wisconsin this time of the year, playing a game that requires manual dexterity with numb digits could be a way to score that first victory. However, Cleveland may need to stack the deck by hiding Hot Hands hand warmers in their pockets.
2) Challenge Mrs. Davis’ third-grade class to a game of Red Rover
If they add the stipulation that the game must be played in each group’s full, official uniforms, the well-padded Cupcakes should have a slight advantage over the khaki-and-polo-shirted elementary students.
1) Convince the Bengals that the Brown family sold them to an investor in Provo, Utah
Complete the charade by parking a dozen trucks from Allied Van Lines in front of the stadium two days before the game. Then, the Browns will be the only team to show up to a shocked Cincinnati crowd, and will win by forfeit.
Meme Tweets of the Week
You can’t spell “internal meltdown” without #INT.
As a Pitt fan, this hurt. As someone who felt, as the 2016 Panthers season rolled on, that Peterman was ready for the NFL, this REALLY hurt. As a person who knows we have yet to see the Bills tank like the Bills always tank...this was friggin’ hilarious.
Despite a 9-1 record, there is a #PitOfMisery joke in here somewhere.
Now this is a Dilly Dilly reference I can get behind.
The Cowboys are currently worse than the E.T. Atari game. #CantPhoneHomeWhenYouJustLostThere
Every time the Cowboys hand off to Alfred Morris, a nonviolent extra-terrestrial visiting Earth dies.
Winless Team Watch
The Browns Browned. Again.
Granted, there’s no shame in losing to the Jaguars this year. Still, Cleveland is 0-10 on the season, and will be eliminated from the playoffs if any one of 47 different things happens over the remaining six weeks. The more depressing stat in that statement, of course, is the Browns can;t do any better than 6-10, but are still not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. That speaks volumes to the quality of the AFC behind the Steelers, Patriots and maybe the Jaguars.
Stat of the Week
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown can make history this season by being the first player ever to have at least 100 catches in five straight seasons. He’s averaging seven catches per game right now, and only needs to average five per game over the final six weeks to reach the century mark. But perhaps more impressive than that is the fact Brown is currently averaging 14.7 yards per catch despite the Steelers not faring all that well in the yards-per-play category as a team. Why is that number so significant for someone considered among the best receivers in the history of the game after less than eight full seasons? Because it’s 1.3 yards higher than his career average of 13.4 yards per catch, and better than every single season of his career except 2011, only his second year in the league and at a point before he became a full-time starter. Despite teams often rolling two and even three defenders toward Brown, he’s still among the league leaders in receptions, yards and yards per catch.
This week’s beer excursions were epic and included Dogfish Head’s Oak-Aged Vanilla World-Wide Stout, Goose Island’s much-anticipated Bourbon County Stout (also had the 2016 edition, which is much more mellow after a year of waiting), and -- brace yourselves, beer enthusiasts — Sam Adams’ Utopias. My beer-loving brother-in-law and I ventured to a place in New York that had it available in one-ounce pours, which is unheard of. I can now say, proudly, that Utopias is as close to perfection as an alcoholic beverage can possibly get. I can also say, though, that I’d rather have a pint of 2016 Bourbon County, because of how easy it drinks. Do yourself a favor and splurge this holiday season on any one of the three. You’ll be very happy you did.
- Jay Cutler is down with a concussion. My only question is, what criteria did they use to determine it? If it has anything to do with his accuracy when healthy versus his accuracy when concussed, I don’t think there could possibly be enough of a difference to warrant a diagnosis.
- A coaching change may be what’s needed in Dallas. I’ve always been a fan of Jason Garrett, who worked his way from third-string quarterback to starter to offensive coordinator to head coach. He knows what he’s doing. But he’s a coach who would be better served heading up a team in a smaller market, or at least one where the owner isn’t as big of a media whore and PR nightmare as Jerry Jones. If Garrett could get two consecutive weeks where his team wasn’t the butt of some national joke, he might actually be able to lead them to something meaningful. He’d be a good fit for the Cardinals or the Buccaneers, perhaps. He’s been sabotaged from day one in Dallas, though, by an owner who keeps cutting off his nose to spite his face.
- The Chiefs started the season 5-0. The Raiders began 3-0. The Packers were once 4-1. They are a combined 3-14 since. Meanwhile, the Steelers started 3-2, the Jaguars began 3-3 and the Patriots kicked off their season 2-2. They are a combined 16-0 since. If you ever needed proof that the NFL season is less about how you start than it is about how you finish, there’s your proof.
Let’s take a break from all the “serious” notes I place here each week. In the spirit of the holidays and general goodwill, might I suggest: talk to your neighbors about something other than sports and politics; volunteer at a shelter; take in a stray; open your home to a friend in need.
Spread joy. Love others. Be awesome.