First off, today being Christmas Eve and all, a merry Christmas goes out to any and all of you who celebrate it! Hope it's a fantastic one for you and your families.
How does a disappointing 4-11 team snatch the headlines away from the elite NFL squads? You have your wide receiver break one of the greatest players in NFL history’s single-season receiving records. Saturday night against the Atlanta Falcons, the Detroit Lions’ WR Calvin Johnson eclipsed Jerry Rice’s single-season record for most receiving yards. Many wondered if “Megatron” had what it takes to break the record in his final two games of the season – Johnson shut everyone up in grand fashion when he went ahead and decided to finish the job with a week to spare. The Madden cover boy had 11 receptions for a whopping 225 yards which also extended two other NFL records of his. He now has eight straight games with at least 100 yards receiving and four games in a row with 10+ catches.
With one last game against the Chicago Bears next week, Johnson currently stands with 1,892 receiving yards on the season and could be the first WR in the history of the NFL to break 2,000 yards in one season. This campaign has been a less than impressive one for the Detroit Lions who find themselves back in the cellar of the NFC after a playoff appearance a year ago. Their WR core has been riddled with injuries (Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles both on IR) as well as a rogue idiot in Titus Young who thought if he threw hissy fits then he would get his way. Calvin Johnson has faced double and triple-teams from defenses week in and week out and has continued to dominate. The Lions made a huge splash less than a year ago when they invested the next eight years to their star WR when they signed Johnson and agreed to pay him up to $132 million. Major credit goes to him for nabbing such a gaudy contract and still managing to live up to it. The Atlanta Falcons solidified themselves at the top of the NFC with the victory over the Lions Saturday night, but it was Calvin Johnson who made history.
• The New York Jets continue to make news for all the wrong reasons. They lost again yesterday, this time to the San Diego Chargers 27-17, but we’ve all come to expect that. After they decided to bench Mark Sanchez at QB and went with Greg McElroy as his replacement, Tim Tebow decided he was done. Tebow asked Rex Ryan to take him out of their Wildcat packages which effectively means he told the Jets to stop playing him. Tebow wants nothing to do with this pitiful excuse for a team. The season has been an unmitigated disaster for New York and Tebow wants out. At this point, he's trying to salvage his career and luckily the Jacksonville Jaguars are reportedly interested in acquiring the former Heisman Trophy winner. Here’s hoping it happens. I’m not a Tim Tebow fanboy by any means, but the way he was treated by the Jets this season was unfathomably bad.
• God knows I have spent plenty of time here on TJRSports ridiculing the disastrous season the Los Angeles Lakers have put forth so far, but credit where credit is due. They have won four games in a row after defeating the Golden State Warriors on Saturday in overtime 118-115 in a thrilling comeback victory. This isn’t your older brother’s Warriors – they’re currently eight games over .500 and in the playoff picture in the West. Certainly an impressive win for LA. Steve Nash returned for the Lakers and provided 12 points and 9 assists in a winning effort. Kobe Bryant threw up a staggering 41 shots and only made 16 of them for a very inefficient 34 points, but a win is a win. This is a team learning on the fly right now with a very sporadic rotation and little to no chemistry. Could be a few months until we see them at their peak.
• “DeMarcus Cousins has all the potential in the world but may be the most immature player in the league.” I wrote that in my NBA preview for the Sacramento Kings almost two months ago and it’s holding true. Cousins was suspended by the Kings over the weekend – his third suspension of the season and fourth (that we know of) disciplinary sanction placed against him by the team. The Kings, as a franchise, are in shambles and it’s ironic that they drafted DeMarcus Cousins to be their star poster-boy player. He’s a perfect face of this once great franchise. I feel bad for Sacramento as they’re caught here in between a rock and a hard place. They can continue babying this oversized man-child or trade him while he’s young and barely get anything back in return. Which would be effectively cutting their losses and allowing him to potentially flourish into a star with another team while they’re left with nothing. You would hope he would learn to be more mature, but apparently that’s asking too much of DeMarcus.
• Several NFL teams punched their playoff tickets yesterday as teams begin jockeying for position. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants 33-14 handing the Giants their second straight blowout loss. Back-to-back AFC North division crowns for the Ravens. The Indianapolis Colts are back in the playoffs thanks to number-one overall pick Andrew Luck’s record-breaking season. Luck broke Cam Newton’s record for most passing yards by a rookie in a season in the Colts’ 20-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. From 2-14 to the playoffs for the Colts – if anyone thinks RGIII is a lock for Offensive Rookie of the Year, they’d better think again. The Cincinnati Bengals are back in the playoffs for the second straight year as they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10. Andy Dalton has two seasons now under his belt as QB for the Bengals and two playoff berths. And last, but not least, the Seattle Seahawks beat down the San Francisco 49ers on primetime last night 42-13 as Russell Wilson and company continue to impress. The stout Seattle defense is dominating as the Seahawks clinched a playoff berth capping off a very eventful second to last week of the NFL season.
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