There is time carved out of every Sunday for me to plan my week ahead. Yesterday was no different, but today I woke up with a pounding headache that kept me in bed for hours after I intended to get up. It was painful. But after finally pulling it together after breakfast and some morning meditation, I feel better. Now, let’s see if it can last for the whole day.
- Death. Taxes. And the New Orleans Saints being eliminated from the postseason in the post painful way imaginable:
FINAL: @Vikings win in New Orleans.
— NFL (@NFL) January 5, 2020
- Imagine going 13-3 and entering the playoffs on a heater, only to be toppled by Kirk Cousins and the Vikings. OUCH.
- I mean, look at the history Cousins erased on Sunday:
Kirk Cousins in Notable Games
Entering 2019 Wild Card
Playoff Games: 0-1
Vs Winning Teams: 6-30
Road Games: 17-26-2
Overtime Games: 0-2-2
– – –
Cousins defeated the 13-3 Saints in the 2019 Wild Card on the road in overtime.
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 5, 2020
- You like that? No, not really. But here it is anyway:
Good for him. @KirkCousins8
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 5, 2020
- What an image:
- Yesterday marked the first time a Cousins-led team knocked off an opponent who finished the season with an above-.500 record while on the road. Cousins silenced his many critics (myself included) by making two HUGE passes in overtime to secure the win. I already hate that I can’t bag on Cousins anymore. Thanks for nothing, Saints.
- Frankly, the only takeaway I had yesterday is that — when it comes to playing the Vikings while at home — Chase Daniel >>> Drew Brees.
- This has to be hard to stomach:
Saints are now the first team in NFL history to have six straight playoff eliminations by one score and the second team since the Packers from 2013-15 to be eliminated in three straight postseasons on the final play of the game.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 5, 2020
- Would you rather be good enough to make the playoffs constantly with a mediocre quarterback or lose in heart-breaking fashion every time your team makes the postseason despite having an all-time great at the position?
- So … about that pass interference penalty the Saints wanted called on the game-ending touchdown pass:
You know what would help the NFL?
A rule that allowed them to review PI. Maybe someone should propose it this offseason to prevent officials from ruining playoff games. pic.twitter.com/u7OPL1xbz7
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 5, 2020
It is illegal for an offensive player to extend his arm or arms and create clear separation from the defender. That was OPI. #MINvsNO
— Terry McAulay (@SNFRules) January 5, 2020
- As for Al Riveron’s explanation:
NFL’s Senior VP of Officiating said there was not enough contact on Vikings’ final TD to rise to the level of a foul. pic.twitter.com/fZxaiXOY4L
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) January 5, 2020
- If anyone needs me, I’ll be searching for my eyeballs that rolled through the back of my head after reading this explanation. By letter of the law, that’s pass interference. Then again, OPI is so sparsely called that I wasn’t surprised that this one didn’t draw a flag. Frankly, the bigger picture story here is that the league really needs to set some guidelines as to how to rule on pass interference from the replay booth. There were a dozen plays this year that were clear calls (far clearer than the example above) that were not overturned. It feels as if the league went into this to make a rule just to get folks off their back. And that’s not a good way to put together a rule book.
- Here is my hope: The NFL uses the conclusion of that game to re-vamp its overtime policy. Just say no to immediate sudden death. Let both teams get the ball. Play a full period if needed. For my money, hockey does playoff overtime the best. A close second would be a re-configured NFL extra session that has both teams getting the ball. Besides, who DOESN’T want to see more playoff football?
- Lost in the madness was Taysom Hill unleashed this bomb:
Taysom Hill is QB3 on the Saints depth chart. pic.twitter.com/bzLjNRAObC
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 5, 2020
- Not bad, QB3.
- Elsewhere in Sunday’s games, former Bears great Josh McCown was doing work in relief of Carson Wentz:
- And this is how McCown ended up in the game in the first place:
— Jamie Apody (@JamieApody) January 5, 2020
- Things look worse in slow motion, but that this wasn’t called a penalty feels like a miss by the officiating crew that was at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. That’s a forceable helmet-to-helmet blow. I’m sure Jadeveon Clowney didn’t intend to give Carson Wentz a concussion, but the only way to slow down guys from leading with their head is by penalizing them enough for them to re-consider doing it.
- This artwork was my favorite thing the Bears did in 2019:
- In case you missed it, the Bears officially announced the hiring of Juan Castillo to be the team’s new offensive line coach. We wrote about the hire on a cursory level here. Expect more later today.
- Kyle Long is stepping away from the game, so he tweets. The long-time Bear was a staple on the offensive line until injuries piled up and took their toll on him. There were plenty of folks who reached out to long in the wake of the news:
Congrats to “lil” bro @Ky1eLong. I could go on + on about how proud I am, how I loved watching you or how much I respect your wildly successful career – but remember, I’d be proud of you even if you never played a down. Congrats on ONE chapter. On to the next thing. Love u bro!! pic.twitter.com/N2KqxQAKgZ
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) January 6, 2020
One time for @Ky1eLong! Terrific player, great teammate, even better person! Enjoy retirement, brother! 👏🏾
— Lance Briggs (@LanceBriggs) January 6, 2020
— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari) January 6, 2020
- And shout out to Brett for covering the news while I was in the middle of cooking up dinner. Otherwise, I’d be dealing with a burned up kitchen and a headache.
- We’ve had a newsy day today. The Cowboys hired long-time Bears nemesis Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett as the head coach. That led to this from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith:
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) January 6, 2020
- A rare moment when Smith’s impassioned arguments are worth the bluster that comes with them.
- Tua Tagovailoa is forgoing his senior season at Alabama to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. You interested?