NFL Week 14: Santa Claus is Dead
Join NDL managing editor Dimas Diaz as he takes you through all the Week 14 NFL action
One December long ago, when I was 10ish, my mom asked me to go to her room to get her something — her jacket or robe. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere except under the bed. So, I lifted the side skirt to peek underneath and didn’t see what she had sent me for, but lo and behold there were several festively wrapped boxes that said “To Dimas, From Santa” and my jaw hit the 1980’s Georgia Peach colored carpet. I have done some acting in my life, on both stage and screen, but my first big performance was Christmas morning of ‘86, feigning surprise and unabashed joy when I unwrapped that Nintendo system (with Super Mario Brothers included!) and said “Thank you, Santa!” out loud to a man I once thought could hear my every word, but whom I now knew never existed. (I mean the NES box says “Made in Japan”. How was anyone going to explain that one had I asked?) The feeling that 10-year-old me felt on the day I found those gifts under the bed was similar to what I went through Sunday as a Lamar Jackson (pictured above) owner. A man who, like clockwork, brought me gifts of fantasy points and rushing scores week in and week out had suddenly disappeared into thin air, as his ankle buckled, bringing down the myth of Lamar with it. I should have seen it coming. Lamar hadn’t been the same since week 10 when he limped through the Miami matchup. Then he missed week 11 due to an “illness”, and has played mediocre football ever since. But like that 10-year-old who didn’t want to see the writing on the wall (or the holiday package), I didn’t/don’t want to believe that Santa/Lamar doesn’t exist. I want to keep waking up on Sunday morning in blissful ignorance, excited for the gifts being brought by that jolly Black man in the purple suit. I also want to make the fucking playoffs! Alas, he is now gone. They’re saying there’s a “chance” he’ll play. Sure. Just like there’s a chance that Santa had an affiliate toy shop in Japan back in 1986 that made Nintendo Entertainment Systems for good little boys and girls.
Now let’s peel back the wrapping paper on Week 14 in the NFL and see what other childhood dreams were crushed…
Week 14 Observations:
*Dalvin Cook (27-205-2) ran angry on Thursday in his return to action. Hopefully he didn’t do any post game celebrations with Alexander Mattison (Covid-19).
*Melvin Gordon (24-111-2) and Javonte Williams (15-73-1, 1-10-1) prove that timeshare backfields can find a way to successfully co-exist. We need this. There is just not enough love in the world.
*It was nice to see the Broncos go out there for the first play with 10 men to honor the passing of Demaryius Thomas. Then the Lions declined the penalty. Class move. RIP, DT.
*Justin Herbert (275 pass yards, 3 TD’s, 19 rush yards) had no Keenan Allen (Covid-19) and was fine. Keenan’s stand-in, Jalen Guyton (3-87-1), scored on a 63 yard bomb, proving that Herbert makes the receivers, not the other way around.
*Austin Ekeler (12-67-1, 2-17) tweaked his bum ankle and was removed. Josh Kelley and Justin Jackson split carries after he left. Good luck on figuring out who the “true” back up is if you own Ekeler.
*Lamar Jackson (17 pass yards, 5 rush yards) left the game early with a sprained ankle. He kind of needs un-sprained ankles to run. Even with the news that he has a “chance” to play this week, you can’t trust him. The upside is gone. May want to see if Tua is on waivers. Miami’s next 3 weeks are cherry: NYJ, @NO, @Ten.
*Jarvis Landry (5-41-TD) helped his team defeat the Ravens to stay alive in the playoff race. Now he’s on the Covid list.
*DK Metcalf (4-45) had another snoozer. At what point does past performance cease being indicative of future returns? Tyler Lockett (5-142-1) continues to get all the love.
*Seattle’s backfield is like a box of chocolates. You don’t realize how awful one of them is until you’ve already bitten into a running back like Alex Collins (7 carries, 16 yards) and realize he is full of that gross cherry ooze shit that no one likes. I guess Rashaad Penny (16-137-2) was the one with nuts and nougat this week? Now Pete Carroll is saying Penny “deserves” shot to be lead back. Avoid.
*Taysom Hill (175 pass yards, 73 rush yards, 2 rush TD’s) is like the 1A to Alvin Kamara’s (27-120-1, 4-25) 1B at RB, even though he is a “QB”. Like Gordon and Williams, these two can co-exist. Although they won’t get the Jets every week.
*Josh Allen (308 pass yards, 2 TD, 109 rush yards, TD) and the Bills in general did not look in sync until the 4th quarter, but damn those rush numbers. The spirit of Lamar lives!
*Tom Brady (363 pass yards, 2 TD’s, 16 rush yards, 1 rush TD?) is probably going to win the SB. There are just too many weapons. Mike Evans (6-91-1) for example.
*Hunter Renfrow (13-117-1) doesn’t deserve to be on the wrong side of a 48-9 loss. Neither does Derek Carr (263 pass yards, TD).
*Chase is back on the case. Ja’Marr Chase (5-77-2) may have broken through the rookie wall.
*George Kittle (13-151-1) is putting the 9’ers on his back. And Atlanta is coming to town. Not fair, Kittle owners! Not fair!
*Aaron Rodgers (341 pass yards, 4 TD’s) does in fact own the Bears. Which makes Davante Adams (10-121-2) the guy that goes to collect Aaron’s rent checks.
*We ask this every week, sometimes to ourselves, sometimes out loud: Why, oh why, don’t we have any shares of Cooper Kupp (13-123-1)??
*Btw, everyone but your mom is on the NFL Covid-19 list. How much fun was it to watch Tyler Higbee (Covid-19) owners have to scramble to add some guy named Kendall Blanton (2-29)?
*Someone tell AJ Green (7-102) he shouldn’t be kicking so much ass at his age. He may pull something.
*Kyler Murray (383 pass yards, 61 rush yards) was out for 3 weeks and looks none the worse for wear, but all TD’s went through James Conner (13-31-2, 9-94). Detroit is on tap this week.