The Steelers are in trouble, Cutler is a difference-maker and more in a hectic Week 12.
THE (SPORTS) GODS MUST BE ANGRY: Somewhere between star defender Ndamukong Suh spending his second straight Thanksgiving trying to maim his fellow man and continue his pattern of unnecessarily roughing up star quarterbacks, karma kicked in when Lions, more or less, lost the game in the most heartbreaking way. At least Suh seems to get his undisciplined nature earnestly. Coach Jim Schwartz couldn’t even keep his hankie in his pocket long enough to give his team a chance.
FORCE OF ONE: A recuperated Jay Cutler had as many INTs as TDs in his return and Chi-Town’s brutal beat-down of division rival Vikes. And yet, his swag and impact was off the chains. More than anything, it was Cutler's feisty relentlessness that transformed his crew from a group of bungling incompetents and into a squad that again looked every bit the equal of any of the NFC’s other frontrunners.
GOING FRUGAL RATES AS COSTLY: Hard to sell fiscal principles to a fan base that sees Super Bowl visions going up in flames. That’s precisely the vibe in Steelers Nation where would-be Big Ben replacements Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch have fallen so woefully short that one of the best teams in the league now finds itself virtually on the outside looking in for the postseason.
A WIN IS A WIN, BUT…: In my best Chris Tucker girl Debbie hooked me up with voice from Friday: Have you ever, ever, ever seen a more suspect 10-1 team than the Falcons?
WHY ALEX SMITH HAD TO GO: Sometimes players simply respond to one guy better than they do another. I say that to say this: You think it’s just coincidence that the Niners steamrolled the Bears and victimized Drew Brees to the tune of returning two interceptions for touchdowns only days after anointing Colin Kaepernick as shot-caller? I mean this is the same team that couldn’t even put away the Rams at home just two weeks ago.
LET DEZ BE DEZ: Since Cowboys owner Jerry Jones granted star wideout Dez Bryant room to mingle earlier this month (not to mention added permission of being able to go clubbing to celebrate his 24th birthday,) he’s posted back-to-back career games and – at least at times – again has mercurial star QB Tony Romo looking somewhat legit.
THE BOOK ON ELI: From the cradle to the grave, Eli Manning will always feel the pinch. That’s to be expected when your Big Bro is Canton-bound for doing the exact same thing you strive to. But know this about younger sib, whenever his back is against the wall he mans up to lead in such a way even his lifelong tormentor has to take note.
QUOTE THE RAVEN: After his fourth-and-29 game-saving jaunt against the Chargers, Baltimore star back Ray Rice was moved to the point of spoken-word. “Check down, hey diddle, diddle Ray Rice up the middle,” he waxed in summing up his heroics. After blowing a lead of double digits in the second half for the third time this season, shocked Chargers fans must be wondering when their team will ever measure up to high-flying Ravens. Nevermore, I say.
RESTLESS IN SEATTLE: How else can you explain how starting DBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner could both be facing four-game suspensions for violating the league’s drug policy by testing positive for the attention-deficit treating drug Adderall.
CAM MAN STILL CAN: Cam Newton morphed into Lupe Fiasco in primetime. After amassing nearly 400 all-purpose yards and having a hand in four TDs in Monday night road win over Eagles, Newton rendered all his fair-weather critics voiceless. Somewhere Mike Vick had to be smiling---or not. Your move RG3.