After every Chicago Bears touchdown at Nisei Lounge, a friendly, comforting little dive bar tucked into Clark and Sheffield in Chicago’s bro-ey Wrigleyville neighborhood, the patrons - many of which donning the orange and blue - happily sing “Bear Down, Chicago Bears”, the proud fight song of the hometown team. Once the song gets to its second verse, however, the song changes from “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” to “Fuck Tom Brady, Fuck Tom”.
Now I don’t participate in the remix because it goes against my hidden-but-not-so-hidden-anymore man crush of Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. But I’m impatiently waiting for Dec. 16th to arrive when the 8-3 NFC North-leading Bears host the arch-rival Green Bay Packers, so I can finally join in on the second verse with some lyrics of my own…
“FUCK AARON RODGERS! FUCK A-A-RON!”
Since breaking Chicago’s hearts in Week One with his improbable comeback in Lambeau, Rodgers and the Packers have gone 3-6-1, leaving them with only a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs. They’re tied for the easiest schedule remaining in football, with their hardest contest being the Bears match-up in three weeks, but while Rodgers thinks “with a little help” his team can win out and make the playoffs, the Packers look dead in the water in 2018, and Bears fans are enjoying every second that Packers fans are in pain.
The scapegoat has been head coach Mike McCarthy, who will likely be fired at season’s end despite a .621 winning percentage, a Super Bowl win and multiple trips to the NFC Championship Game. For years, McCarthy has been accused of running a stagnant offense, and that’s partially true, but McCarthy’s offense doesn’t mask Rodgers’ inconsistencies this year.
Has McCarthy’s coaching decisions been baffling? Sure. Here the Packers line up in a jumbo set on 4th and inches and run the ball right into a waiting 10-man box, costing the Packers an opportunity to drive down the field and take the lead, and giving the Vikings the ball back with good field positioning.
But it’s not just McCarthy, or the depleted talent in Green Bay. Much of the Packers struggles fall on their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback.
Rodgers completed 17 of 28 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown in last night’s 24-17 loss to the Vikings. He hasn’t looked well all season; despite already eclipsing 3200 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and throwing just one interception all year, Rodgers has been wildly inconsistent throwing the football On back-to-back plays late in the game with Green Bay needing 10 points to tie, Rodgers badly missed Equanimeous St. Brown on a throw into the turf, and then overthrew a wide-open Davante Adams in the endzone.
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t normally miss those throws. Those key plays we’ve grown accustomed to Rodgers making, aren’t being made. You can’t blame it on injury; he’s looked relatively healthy since Week Two. It may be the offense, the lack of talent surrounding him, father time, or all three… but you can’t sugarcoat it: Aaron Rodgers is having the worst season of his career, and his poor play will cost a lot of people their jobs after the season.
After two-and-a-half years of Hue Jackson (on top of three decades of ineptitude) and an 0-16 season, the Cleveland Browns deserve good things to happen to them. They took a step towards turning the corner Sunday with a 35-20 win on the road over in-state rival Cincinnati. The AJ Green-less Bengals looked like they have every game in which AJ Green has been inactive: terrible. I didn’t think they could look worse, and then Andy Dalton went out with a thumb injury, and the Bengals inserted Jeff Driskel (yes, THAT Jeff Driskel) in at quarterback. All the good things kept happening for Cleveland, and not only did they take advantage of it, they shoved it right back into their former coach's face.
After the ass-whupping, Browns QB Baker Mayfield got up to the podium and let his feelings be known about his old ball coach.
Good for Baker. He dealt with the stupidity of Hue starting Tyrod Taylor over him the first few games before he pulled the franchise out of the darkness in one half. The Browns now have back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014. Slowly, Cleveland football is returning to respectability.
And good for them to stick it to Hue. It was obvious during the taping of Hard Knocks that Hue - after one win in two seasons - was not for long in Cleveland. He got canned and went back to Cincinnati, a team the Browns had to play twice this season, knowing all their tricks and personnel, and STILL got blown out. Now there’s rumor Hue could be the one to FINALLY replace Marvin Lewis at the Bengals head coach. I hope I’m apart of the majority that hopes he gets the job, so Baker and the Browns can beat up on Hue twice a season for the foreseable future.
Wilson, Luck ELITE
I would like to personally apologize to two QBs from the 2012 Draft; one I’ve been a big fan of for years, the other I’ve disrespected for way too long.
Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck… I’m sorry.
The both of you are elite quarterbacks.
The Seahawks have battled everything from dysfunction to injury and everything in between to stay in the NFC Wild Card race, with Sunday’s 30-27 win in Carolina being the biggest so far for the 6-6 Seahawks. Trailing 27-20 with under four minutes left in the game, Seattle needed to convert on 4th and 3, or they give the ball back to the Panthers up 7. Forever clutch, Wilson took over, first on this 35-yard bomb to David Moore…
…and then on this huge third down pass to Tyler Lockett that set up Sebastian Janikowski for the game-winning field goal.
Before the season, I was hesitant to put Russell Wilson in that elite QB category with Brady-Brees-Rodgers, but the way he’s willed Seattle this season magnifies his importance to the team and the league. Over Seattle’s NFC dominance, it was easy to forget Wilson’s ability to make special plays on every snap because of the presence of so many other special players - Lynch, Bennett, Wagner the Legion of Boom, etc. - but now that most of those players are gone, Wilson stands alone as the star in Seattle, and he’s shining brighter than ever this season.
Also, he does sweet shit like this…that even the most dedicated Future fan can’t hate on.
Now it’s time for Andrew Luck…
I’ve never found Luck to be a special quarterback. GOOD, for sure, but not special. After a year away, he’s making me eat my words… and quietly inserting himself into the League MVP conversation. Luck completed 30 passes for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns, becoming the first to throw for 3 or more TD’s in eight consecutive games since Tom Brady did so in 10 games back in 2007. It was Luck’s 20th comeback win, his tenth comeback of 10+ points. Oh yeah, and he caught a pass Sunday. Probably not ideal for a man coming back from shoulder surgery, but cool as hell.
The Colts have won five straight, and not only are they in Wild Card contention in the AFC, a loss tonight by the Texans would put them a game behind Houston in the division with one more game between the two teams in two weeks. The Colts are in good position to sneak up and surprise some teams in December.