Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 11. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay awhile!
Let’s not pretend like there’s anything else to talk about today other than the game-ending fracas between the Steelers and Browns on Thursday Night Football. Here’s my summary: Myles Garrett is an animal, Mason Rudolph and Larry Ogunjobi are punks, Mike Tomlin is an idiot, and Maurice Pouncey is a hero.
Let’s begin with Tomlin: why is he calling for a screen pass down 14 points with 15 seconds left to play in the game? Did he have Rudolph starting in his DFS leagues or something? This fight, much like winning and losing games in the NFL, started with the play-calling. If Tomlin isn’t questioning his own decisions at the end of that game, he is truly an idiot– and I’m somewhat of a fan of Tomlin, but sometimes the truth hurts.
On to Rudolph and Ogunjobi: both are punks in that their actions merely threw fuel on the fire when there was no need to do so. Rudolph may have had every right to be angry at Garrett’s take down of him; he might have gotten his fingers caught in Garrett’s mask as they fell to the turf… but with Garrett and David DeCastro tied up, a helmet-less Rudolph decided it’d be a good idea to bum rush Garrett. Ummm, no. Not only was it stupid to rush headlong into a scrum without your helmet on, but the whole “I’ll act the bee that antagonizes the elephant” routine was really stupid. Ogunjobi is a punk simply because he blind-sided Rudolph. One game suspensions & fines for each of them seems about right as far as punishments go.
Now to Garrett: what in the world was he thinking? Again, 15 seconds left in a game you’re winning by two TDs… why hit Rudolph well after the ball was out of his hands? And even if Rudolph was clawing at the back of your helmet, why rip off the guy’s helmet? And once you’ve got it off, why use it as a weapon? I mean, even playing high school ball we all knew enough to let up on a guy who lost his cap… in the dark recesses of my mind, I seem to remember Mark Gastineau once ripping a lineman’s helmet off during a scuffle; but he didn’t then use it as a weapon. He simply tossed it 20 yards downfield. While I didn’t necessarily view Garrett as a dirty player heading into the game, it is worth noting that he had been fined over $40K in September of this season for personal fouls. Garrett deserves to be suspended for the rest of the regular- and post-season; I also think the NFL should suspend him for the first eight games of next season.
The only guy who comes out looking good in this ugly incident is Pouncey. He did what every offensive lineman has drilled into his head since Pop Warner: protect your quarterback at all costs. If you watch videos of the incident, Pouncey really didn’t get involved in the scuffle until after Garrett decided to attempt manslaughter on Rudolph. Once Garrett did what he did, Pouncey flew in and did what DeCastro was struggling to do: get Garrett away from his QB in the quickest, most effective way possible. I know those punches and kicks looked violent, but Garrett still had his helmet on and probably wasn’t at all hurt; I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Pouncey who got hurt, breaking a finger or toe on Garrett’s helmet. I mean, I certainly understand why the NFL suspended Pouncey for three games, but I guarantee you Pouncey is a hero to his teammates; Rudolph should give him a check for the three week’s pay his center sacrificed to protect him.
One final note: can the various commentators, news anchors, and internet narrators please stop with the overly dramatic nonsense? No, this isn’t the most difficult thing I’ve ever watched on the football field; it’s not even in the top 10. Is it the most heinous? Perhaps. But it wasn’t difficult to watch– no blood, no broken bones, no paralysis. I’m old enough to remember Albert Haynesworth and Ndamukong Suh use their cleats to stomp on prone opponents; I’ve seen two players (Darryl Stingley and Mike Utley) paralyzed for life while playing; I once saw George Atkinson run up behind Lynn Swann (away from the play) and deliver a clothesline so devastating it knocked Swann out of the game and almost initiated criminal proceedings against Atkinson. I’ve seen players hit so hard I honestly thought I’d witnessed a murder… and that’s coming from someone who grew up in the Bronx in the 70s.
So let’s go easy on the trigger warnings prior to showing the clip of the fight, shall we?
Laughter that Makes You Think
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I’d like to keep marching towards that goal of 500 new subscribers by season’s end. So please consider helping out… thanks! Meanwhile, check this video on how American businesses can return to greatness.
Interesting Players for This Week
Straight from the flawless algorithms of Mighty Max come the top match-ups at every position for this weekend’s games …
Note #1: The value associated with each player indicates the likelihood of that player having the best score at his position that week; it’s not a representation of his score for the week. A carat (^) symbol next to a player’s name indicates an injury designation negatively impacting his ranking.
Note #2: Computers don’t deal in “hunches”; all projections are data based… so only players who have at least one game of statistics are considered in my models.
Teams on bye this week: GBP, NYG, SEA, TEN.