Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Any dreams of Denver stealing the AFC's top playoff seed have likely evaporated in the past five days, and in dramatic fashion.
After having survived a shootout during which Jacksonville had led by 14 points in the fourth quarter, before Mike Mularkey questionably went for it on 4th and 10 in overtime, Houston (10-1) again escaped - this time, with a 34-31 OT win over the Lions (4-7) in Detroit.
Yesterday, Kubes & Co. benefitted from an epic blown call by Walt Coleman's crew, a hotheaded brain fart by Jim Schwartz, and one of the dumbest rules on the NFL's books, to gain a free 81-yard touchdown on what should have been marked a seven-yard gain.
With Detroit up 24-14 midway through the third quarter, and the ball on the 19-yard line, Justin Forsett took a handoff and was clearly tackled at Houston's 26-yard line, but no whistle was blown. The back got up, ran the remaining 74 yards, and was awarded a touchdown.
The TD would undoubtedly have been called back, except that Schwartz had thrown a challenge flag on the play, and as everyone knows by now, all scoring plays are reviewed in the NFL in 2012. Coaches are penalized for unnecessarily throwing challenge flags, to prevent them from cheating their way to what are effectively free timeouts.
Of course, with the clock stopped following a score, there is no such illicit gain to be had by throwing the red beanbag. It's pretty safe to say that the scoring play aspect of this penalty will be eliminated by the competition committee in the offseason.
Detroit still blew plenty of opportunities to win the game on the field though, most notably on a 47-yard clanger from Jason Hanson in overtime, which had followed a 51-yard miss by Houston's Shayne Graham.
The Broncos were thisclose to trailing Houston by a single game in the AFC standings, but instead are three back, although the Texans hold the head-to-head edge on top of either lead, imaginary or real alike.
PS. Ndamukong Suh is still a blatantly dirty player.
There was no such drama involved in New England (8-3) remaining ahead of Denver in the playoff standings (also owning the head-to-head tiebreaker). Instead, it was pure comedy, as the Pats drubbed the LOLJets (4-7) by a score of 49-19 by piling 35 points onto them in the second quarter, including three touchdowns within a span of 52 seconds.
The biggest yuk of the night came in the form of the Sanchize attempting to scramble, but instead running into the large posterior of Jets guard Brandon Moore, falling like he'd hit a brick wall, and losing the football for a New England fumble return touchdown. Joe McKnight fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the Pats got another easy return touchdown, and the rout was on.
To the chagrin of Jets fans who chanted his name, Zombies, and schadenfreude-thirsty haters everywhere, the Ultimate Teammate™ did not play, due to a pair fractured ribs. This, despite being the strongest, most durable player (and best human) in NFL history.
But that wasn't all - the chowderheads who were still watching, and the Thanksgiving hosts hoping their guests would finally GTFO, were treated to a final laugh - Cris Collinsworth offered up a KSK-approved fat joke at the expense of one Peter King in the closing seconds.
As for the middle act of the Thanksgiving footballfest, RG3 tossed four touchdowns, Dallas (5-6) made things look respectable with another signature empty comeback try, and Washington (5-6) won 38-31.
Omar Bolden made a limited return to practice, while the remaining 52 all practiced fully, including Tracy Porter and Chris Kuper. Porter has been cleared to play and will travel to Kansas City, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be among the 46 active players. That decision could come down to the health of Bolden, who has been dealing with the effects of a concussion he suffered Sunday.
Had the Broncos found enough time to spike the ball before halftime against San Diego, Matt Prater would have gotten the rare opportunity to attempt a 67-yard field goal.
Elvis Dumervil's six forced fumbles this season have him tied for the most in franchise history in a single season, with Dennis Smith.
According to PFF's accounting, Ronnie Hillman hasn't allowed a pressure in the 19 times he's been called upon to pass block (miniscule sample alert).
KC again practiced without key linemen Branden Albert and Ryan Lilja, but hope to have them back today and for Sunday.
In this week's Jamboroo, Drew Magary considers the very real possibility that Peyton Manning someday is caught having sexytime on the sideline.
Since you've always wanted to know, the videoboard at SAF@MH is the 12th largest among those at the NFL's 31 stadiums.