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Fan Notes From Around the League

Notes, musings, and observations from the rest of the games around the league as the Patriots enjoyed their bye week.

Joe Robbins

So you know how I made that bye-week to do list with all of those suggestions for things to do while the Patriots are off? And you know how most of those things didn't involve watching football?

Well I should have put "lie on the couch all day watching The Red Zone Channel" on that list, because that's the only thing I did yesterday. I figured that I would feel guilty about it this morning or think that I wasted a great opportunity to get outdoors and do something useful with my life, but I'm surprisingly pretty okay with it.

When I was motivated to move, I managed to jot down a few notes about yesterday's slate of games, mostly the early ones. I didn't pay all too much attention, as I discovered that the act of watching football from a horizontal position leaves me significantly less motivated to type, and plus we all know what happens when you've been lying down for a long time and you sit up too fast; some of what I was going to write got lost in a pretty sea of swirling colors and tunnel vision.


  • First things first: a very happy birthday to Vince Wilfork, who turned 31 yesterday. I'm sure you celebrated with a piece of birthday cake or 20.
  • It's days like yesterday that really make me appreciate just how far football viewing technology has come. Without even having to change the channel, I can watch every game of the week in high definition as every fantasy number I need scrolls across the bottom of the screen. And we wonder why America is the world's fattest nation...
  • When did the NFL become so obsessed with old-school WWF moves as end zone dances? I saw Ray Rice doing the Bushwhacker walk after scoring against Cleveland and it was awesome.
  • One need look no farther than Brian Hartline and Alfred Morris to prove without a shadow of a doubt that absolutely no one has any clue whatsoever about fantasy football.
  • Two of the most exciting young quarterbacks of the last 10 years squared off against each other yesterday in Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III and I couldn't have been less excited to watch them play.
  • Remember how depressed a lot of people were when the Patriots didn't bring BenJarvus Green-Ellis back? Looks like we can add Benny to the ever-growing list of players who left New England and failed to live up to expectations.
  • While I agree that there is no truly dominant team in the NFL, there are definitely some really, really bad ones. Looking your way, Jacksonville.
  • The Miami Dolphins look pretty legit. Never thought I'd say that this year. The Patriots are still a much better team and should be able to absolutely shred their secondary, but Miami has a lot of receiving weapons that New England probably won't be able to cover and a pretty solid pass rush. There's definitely a chance that the Pats split that series if they don't play well.
  • The Bills, on the other hand... um...yeah.
  • What the hell has gotten into the Bears' defense this season? I feel like that unit has more interceptions than Jay Cutler has completions.
  • If I was an NFL offensive lineman, I think I'd go on a crime spree. I mean what would people say when describing me to the police? Big white guy, flat nose, close-cropped hair, and a mustache?
  • The Red Zone Channel only switched to the Lions/Jaguars game a few times, and each time it did Mikel Leshoure ran untouched into the end zone.
  • Yesterday could easily have been dubbed The Sunday of Missed Field Goals. All the more reason to be glad none of us had to sweat out a Stephen Gostkowski attempt.
  • There seems to be a significant distinction between stressing-over-the-Patriots sweat and what I experienced yesterday, which can only be described as it's a-little-too-warm-in-my-mancave sweat. I just thought I'd share that with you all.
  • I think Frostee Rucker has replaced D'Brickashaw Ferguson as my favorite non-Tedy Bruschi football name.
  • As glad as I am that the Patriots don't play in a dome, it would be pretty sweet to go to a game in December in short sleeves.
  • Wasn't Jacob Tamme supposed to be Peyton Manning's favorite tight end? Thanks for the brilliant fantasy advice, Mathew Berry.
  • I'd rank the Washington Redskins' throwbacks right up there with New England's. I especially like the solid rust-brown helmets; they just look tough as nails (probably because they are the same color as nails).
  • In terms of helpful wins, it wasn't a horrible day for the Patriots. It would have been nice if the Broncos and Ravens had gotten upset, but at least the Bills and Dolphins both lost.
  • RG3 sure does like to run out of that option attack.
  • I don't know if it was fan thing or a matchup thing or what, but Lucas Oil Stadium was pretty damn quiet yesterday. Kinda makes you think back to the 2006 AFC Championship Game and how loud it was in there and scatch your head a little bit.
  • While it was nice to get an extra hour of sleep as we set the clocks back, there's something very depressing about the sun already being down by the end of the first quarter of the later games.
  • I also noticed that this side of Daylight Savings Time is much, much more conducive to afternoon naps. Whether or not that's a bad thing depends entirely on how much you like to get accomplished on weekends.
  • Along with yesterday's Steelers victory comes the annual "are the Giants slumping" conversation. It's just a matter of time before they make the playoffs as a wild card, get hot, and win the Super Bowl on a Hail Mary pass that gets redirected by the sudden and inexplicable invasion of a large flock of seagulls tearing across the SuperDome and lands easily in the waiting arms of Victor Cruz.
  • I don't think I've ever heard John Lynch call a football game. He isn't terrible. Granted, the competition isn't all that stiff, but give credit where credit is due.
  • While I missed the majority of the afternoon games, overall absolutely nothing I saw yesterday led me to believe that the Patriot don't have as good a chance as anybody to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. What it's going to come down to is who is playing their best football late in the year, and that is when New England tends to shine.