CHRISTMAS is a time for giving…and it seems the presents are being handed out early in the National Football League.
Buffalo Bills quarterback JP Losman gifted the New York Jets victory at the Meadowlands and quite possibly saved coach Eric Mangini from Santa’s sack.
Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher’s puzzling decision not to allow Rob Bironas to attempt a 49-yard field goal in the last two minutes in Houston resulted in his team’s second defeat of the season. Bironas, remember, kicked one from 60 yards in 2006.
And the officials in Baltimore overturned the ruling on the field that Santonio Holmes had caught Ben Roethlisberger just outside the end zone when TV replays failed to provide any conclusive evidence that the ball had in fact broken the plane of the goal line.
Such is the margin between victory and defeat, success and failure, in the NFL.
So what have we learned from week 15? That some teams are not as good as we thought they were – and that some are even worse than we could imagine. Take a bow the Detroit Lions, St Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.
Just as winning is a habit, so is losing. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised that the Chiefs managed to blow yet another lead – this time a 21-3 advantage over the struggling San Diego Chargers in the third quarter.
Giants lose their aura of invincibility
“I’m still in utter shock right now,” said linebacker Rocky Boiman. “How we can come so close and still somehow let it slip away. It doesn’t seem possible.”
Anything is possible for Herm Edwards’
hapless Chiefs, who have lost 21 of their last 23 games.
The Jets, who looked like world-beaters when they were winning in Tennessee and New England, have been made to look distinctly average by the 49ers and Bills.
And, without Plaxico Burress and Brandon Jacobs, the previously invincible New York Giants were left battered and bruised by the Dallas Cowboys.
For the second week running, the Giants offense was awful, leading to Eli Manning being sacked no fewer than six times.
Two weeks ago, a second successive Super Bowl looked a distinct possibility. Now the momentum has shifted to teams such as Pittsburgh, Dallas and the Carolina Panthers – the Giants’ next opponents on Sunday.
That word momentum holds the key to success in most sports. And now that the Giants have lost it, they’re not going to find it easy to get it back.