Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, December 3, 2012 at 4:35 PM
In case nobody had informed you, 12 of the 14 NFL games played on the first Sunday in December were "one-score" games but yet that barely tells the story on a day when underdogs Seattle and St. Louis both nabbed overtime wins and Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck experienced his own "Rookie of the Year" moment in Motown while fossil-like Pittsburgh Steelers QB Charlie Batch had his so-called time in the sun too!
And if we chimed in and told you that neither Mark Sanchez nor an injured Tim Tebow led the New York J-E-T-S to the winner's circle in their Week 13 game - that was Greg McElroy throwing the game-winning touchdown pass there, folks - than you just know that Sunday's action could not possibly have been scripted.
In the league where they play for pay, the Kansas City Chiefs topped off an emotionally-draining 48 hours with a win against Carolina and the coaching likes of San Diego's Norv Turner and Philadelphia's Andy Reid fell deeper and deeper into their own personal abyss - isn't there someone out there that could put both Turner (a 20-13 loser to Cincinnati) and Reid (a 38-33 loser on Sunday Night in Arlington) out of their miseries before we have to go on all that much longer?
Okay, maybe we're "all over the NFL map" right at the start of this Jim Sez column but let's zoom in an concentrate more on three of the big Sunday winners and than we'll get you that Giants-Redskins game preview ... okay?
SEATTLE 23, CHICAGO 17 (OT) - Did someone out there say gut check?
The Seattle Seahawks - yes, the team that came into Soldier Field with just one road win this year (Seattle 16, Carolina 12 way back in Week 5 action) - marched 97 and 80 yards with fourth-quarter/overtime touchdown drives although many of Pete Carroll's players said afterward the biggest part of this win was simply getting the overtime coin flip.
You see, the Bears never did get their hands on the ball in the extra session as Seattle's cool, calm and collected QB Russell Wilson engineered a nearly seven-and-a-half minute OT drive capped by a 13-yard scoring strike to WR Sidney Rice - and, boy, did he take a shot at the goal line! - and so on an afternoon in which Wilson threw for 293 yards and rushed for another 71 yards, the 'Hawks became the media's "flavor of the week" as everyone later in the day began singing Seattle's praises and stating how now this NFC West club has big-time tie-breakers including wins against Green Bay, Dallas, Minnesota and now Chicago.
Tell us something we didn't know!
Maybe someone else is gonna win that NFL Rookie of the Year trophy this year - you know, someone from the nation's capital or maybe a guy in "Nap City" - but if you need to know why Wilson and not minted free-agent QB Matt Flynn is starting (and starring) for this team from the great Northwester, guess we now have our official answer!
ST. LOUIS 16, SAN FRANCISCO 13 (OT) - Heaven forbid that we almost had two ties in the NFL this year and both would have been Niners-Rams tilts!
It looked like we were headed for yet another draw on Sunday but rookie kicker Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein booted a 54-yard field goal with just 26 seconds left in the extra session and so if the 49ers don't wind up getting home field throughout the playoffs, you'll know whom to blame!
The fact of the matter is this whole QB Colin Kaepernick "experiment" more or less blew up in the face of know-it-all San Fran head coach Jim Harbaugh once Kaepernick air-mailed an errant pitchout that was fallen on for a two-yard score by Rams CB Janoris Jenkins plus toss into the mix that intentional grounding penalty in the end zone by Kaepernick in the third quarter (a two-point safety) and so we see what separated the winner from the loser in this NFC West nail-biter.
Maybe what you didn't realize is the Niners (8-3-1) totaled 97 penalty yards in all and scored just one offensive touchdown in nearly 75 minutes of game time - a one-yard rush by RB Frank Gore in the first quarter - against a Rams team that's allowed five foes to score 27 points-or-more against 'em this year.
Could the Niners be getting a bit tired these days ... or might it be time to switch back to QB Alex Smith for Sunday's game in Buffalo? Just asking!
PITTSBURGH 23, BALTIMORE 20 - Did anyone in Steelers Nation really think it was possible that one of their ancient quarterbacks - either Byron Leftwich or Charlie Batch - really could turn back the clock and rally Mike Tomlin's sputtering club when it was most needed?
Well. the 37-year-old Batch - he only seems to be older! - threw three interceptions last weekend in an ugly-as-sin 20-14 loss in Cleveland and so no wonder there wasn't a whole lot of confidence surrounding the Steelers for this Week 13 game but get a load of Batch's numbers in this divisional road win: 25-of-36 for 276 yards with one TD and one INT and one hellacious 61-yard drive that was capped with PK Shaun Suisham's 42-yard field goal on the game's final play.
Batch not only outplayed Baltimore QB Joe Flacco (16-of-34 passing for 188 yards) but he really inspired the Steelers and should have posted bigger/better stats had not butter-fingered WR Emmanuel Sanders simply dropped a ball in the wide-open field near the 50-yard line that would have gone for a score but instead wound up being a lost fumble.
See, that's what Ben Roethlisberger's been doing for years as the captain/leader of this Pittsburgh offense - rescuing any teammate that needs to be rescued and on this at-times rainy day in Baltimore there was Batch giving the TD-underdog Steelers (7-5) the emotional lift of their lives.
Afterwards, nobody was talking about that Batch miss in the end zone of a wide-open WR Mike Wallace late in the first half or the fact that Pittsburgh converted a modest 5-of-13 third-down plays.
All they know in Pittsburgh is that Charlie Batch is the town's reigning cult hero - even though Big Ben's still welcome back any time!
On Monday Night Football, it's ...
NEW YORK GIANTS (7-4) at WASHINGTON (5-6) - 8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so we've come to the following conclusion: The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants don't necessarily receive the respect they seemingly deserve because they bungle around too much in regular-season play under head coach Tom Coughlin - heck, last year's Giants lost twice to a Redskins team that posted a 5-11 SU (straight-up) season.
Yet the Giants come into Landover this evening as the 3-point betting favorites and fresh off that dominant 38-10 prime-time win last Sunday Night against Green Bay in which QB Eli Manning threw for 249 yards and three TDs and strangely nobody was asking him about a "tired arm" after that tilt!
If Manning can get WRs Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz - both of whom grabbed touchdowns last week against the Packers - to become central figures here, than the Giants could well get a season's sweep against Mike Shanahan's team (see Giants 27, 'Skins 23 back in Week 7 play at MetLife Stadium) but what is this NYG defense gonna do about handling rookie QB Robert Griffin III who comes off back-to-back four-TD passing performances in NFC East wins against Philadelphia and Dallas (yes, the 'Skins have been idle since Thanksgiving Day!)?
Griffin III is hoping to get a major hand here from a Redskins ground game that totaled 248 yards rushing in that earlier game back in October - will the Giants have the answers for rookie RB Alfred Morris who gauged the New Yorkers to the tune of 120 rushing yards on 22 carries?
If Morris is a (Jon) "Gruden Grinder" here, than the Giants have reason to fret!
Spread Notes - The Giants are a dead-even but vig-losing 5-5-1 ATS (against the spread) so far this season and note the G-men are just 6-9-1 against the odds in divisional play since the start of the 2010 season. On the flip side, the Redskins enter this MNF tilt at 6-5 spreadwise so far this season and did you know that Washington's 19-30-4 ATS as hosts the past six-plus seasons?
NOTE: Catch our NFL Week 14 Thursday Night Preview - that's Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Oakland -- in the next edition of Jim Sez and watch out this week for our Heisman Trophy Watch List and all the Bowl Talk and much more!