Rob’s Raw Recap – Week 14

Rob’s back again to recap all the Week 14 action.

I meant to weigh in on this last week but the whole McNabb thing seemed a bit more appropriate at the time. Since the suspension is just wrapping up, I figure I’m better late than never.

I get that Ndamukong Suh screwed up by kicking a dude while he was down. I know that he’s got a reputation for being a dirty player and that he’s got a penchant for tossing QBs around like rag dolls. But I think people are waaaay overreacting to his actions over the last year and a half.

Before you get all indignant, hear me out.

Let me start with the incident itself: the dude who got stomped, Evan Dietrich-Smith, started the whole thing by blocking Suh while he was already down. Shit like that gets guys hurt. And if a player thinks you’re trying to hurt him, he’s gonna get up and try and hurt you. That’s the way it works.

Did Suh take it a step too far? Probably. So his suspension doesn’t necessarily bother me.

What bothers me is the blatant disregard for what sport this is and what sets apart the legendary, transcendent players from the “pretty good” players that will inevitably become trivia questions.

The incessant pontificating from the talking heads about how Suh somehow needs help is unbearable. Feeding me crap about the Lions having enabled him insults my intelligence.

Suh had a meltdown in the heat of the moment. Kyle Turley did too about 10 years ago, when he ripped off a guy’s helmet and whipped it across the field like a frisbee. I don’t know about you, but I deem that way more “out of control” than anything Suh has done, and yet Turley was never suspended for that brain fart.

I’d go on with more examples, but there are too many. Hell, some guys actually made entire careers out of doing worse shit than Suh.

Do your homework on Lawrence Taylor. And Conrad Dobler. And Bill Romanowski. Ironically, some of these same analysts and observers browbeating Suh played in the same era as those notoriously nasty players.

Go further back than that, and you’ll find guys that were so bad ass that they actually had to enact new rules to keep them from hurting other players. Seriously. Go back and look at Deacon Jones. His pet move was to literally slap you in the head until you were too dizzy to block him. Not only was that outlawed years ago, but today’s emphasis on concussions all but guarantees such a tactic would get you banned from the league altogether.

Google the name Dick “Night Train” Lane. He didn’t get the nickname “Night Train” because he had a long commute to work. It’s because he hit you like a runaway train. His pet move? The Night Train Necktie, which is best summed up as clotheslining an opponent at full speed. And that’s the reason–you guessed it–that maneuver is currently illegal in the NFL.

Investigate the Raiders of the 70s. Their whole defensive backfield was brutal, starting with Jack Tatum.

While you’re at it, look into Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense in the 70s. And the ’85 Bears.

Hell, Suh might not even be the nastiest player in the history of his own team. Look up Alex Karras and get back to me. I guarantee he wasn’t nearly as nice to opposing offensive lineman in the 60s as he was to Webster in the 80s.

The truth of the matter is Suh isn’t some arch-villain sent to destroy the moral fabric of the NFL. He’s nothing more than a throwback to a time when defensive players were the roughest, toughest, maniacs on the field. While I’m not excusing Suh’s actions, I am trying to provide you with some context for just what the hell we’re talking about here.

This is football. This ain’t basketball, where the antics of the Detroit Pistons of the late 80s/early 90s clearly cross a line. Or baseball, where there’s contact with another player maybe once every leap year. On the gridiron, aggression and attitude is everything. And if you’re nastier than the guy in front of you, chances are you’re better than he is too.

In this oversensitive and reactionary society, people are getting worked up and making Suh out to be a villain when in reality, he’s doing his job. He’s not doing anything Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, and Chuck Bednarik didn’t do in their day. And last time I checked, those guys are still widely celebrated for their exploits.

I’ll remind you again: this is football, people. Any player on that field is being paid a king’s ransom to do one of two things: beat someone up so your team can get the ball in the end zone or beat someone up trying to stop them from getting the ball in the end zone. The steps necessary to make either of those a reality invariably involves someone getting their block knocked off. That’s the nature of the game. And it’s a large part of why we love it.

So let’s all just get off our soapboxes regarding who is or isn’t dirty. Because chances are, if you’re currently wearing a throwback jersey, you’re probably celebrating the legacy of a guy who by today’s standard would be way dirtier than Suh.

Speaking of dirty…on to the recap:

Browns 3
Steelers 14

If there’s a tougher QB than Ben Roethlisberger, I don’t know who it is.

Texans 20
Bengals 19

Well, Houston…I’m impressed. You lost your starting QB, his backup, and have been forced to roll with your rookie third-stringer. Yet you still managed to clinch your division. Well done. If you can nab a wild-card bye, you might even win a playoff game. Maybe…

Vikings 28
Lions 34

I seriously can’t believe how bad Minnesota is. I thought they’d be mediocre, but 2-11 is just astounding. Should be interesting to see if they still think they’re a QB away or if they finally own up to the reality that they need to totally rebuild.

Saints 22
Titans 17

Memo to Matt Hasselbeck: if you keep getting hurt without anyone touching you, it’s time to retire. Save a Hasselbeck…start the Jake Locker Era.

Eagles 26
Dolphins 10

Here’s what Miami fans were saying after this game. And in reply, the team fired the coach.

Chiefs 10
Jets 37

Ditto for Kansas City fans. And ditto for firing the coach.

Patriots 34
Redskins 27

Washington’s defense definitely took a shit on Sunday, but the refs blew at least 3 crucial calls that went against the Skins. Whatever…just one step closer to getting Robert Griffin III in burgundy and gold.

Falcons 31
Panthers 23

At this point it’s hard not to see Atlanta snatching up one of those NFC wild card spots. If they can stay hot down the stretch, they could be one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs.

Bucs 14
Jags 41

You want me to recap this? Ok…Maurice Jones-Drew’s 4 TD performance singlehandedly killed my fantasy week. There, ya happy?

Colts 10
Ravens 24

Remember last week when I said Indy should have played Orlovsky all along? Nevermind.

Bears 10
Broncos 13 (OT)

While most people are going to give the guy who wears #15 for Denver all the credit, he never gets the chance to be the hero of this game if not for Marior Barber making himself the goat. That, or God really does have a rooting interest.

Niners 19
Cards 21

Sure must suck for Arizona to know it blew a bunch of money and draft picks for Kevin Kolb when they had John Skelton already in the fold. Buyer beware when Andy Reid is offering you one of his QBs…

Raiders 16
Packers 46

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see Green Bay going 16-0 as a possibility…it’s more like an inevitability. Even if they lose Greg Jennings for the rest of the season, this team is too loaded to fail–especially when the defense plays like it did Sunday.

Bills 10
Chargers 37

Too little too late, San Diego. Oh, and that beeping sound you hear is Buffalo flat-lining. At this point, I’m not sure they can win another game.

Giants 37
Cowboys 34

At least this week the other team’s coach was the one to ice Dallas’ kicker…

Rams 13
Seahawks 30

Who gives a shit? (And who at ESPN keeps green-lighting these shitty Monday night matchups?)

Rob Woodfork writes for TheFanManifesto. Follow us on twitter.

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