Let’s be honest, unless your entire family right down to your three year old niece is a sports junkie, there is a good chance you didn’t get to fully take in these four whirlwind in the sports landscape. Was it your turn to monitor the kids table when the Steelers were driving? Did course after course of leftovers send you into a food coma during the Civil War? Did a Thanksgiving church fundraiser cause you to miss the final quarter of the Iron Bowl? If so we’ve got you covered with a recap of everything you may have missed.
Blazers 106, Suns 120.
I was at the game against the Knicks and two things stuck out. The first thing was that the bench isn’t playing with the confidence we are seeing from the starting unit. The other they looked tired and if they had played a team that runs, takes good shots and exerts energy defensively (basically the anti-Knicks) they would have lost. On Wednesday they took on a team does all that, and broke the Blazers down. The Suns have played Portland four times now and have figured out that the way to beat them is to execute of the pick and roll on offense and pressure the ball on defense. The Suns dominated in nearly every facet of the game and dropped 43 bench points in a commanding win. Nevertheless, I am thankful that no Oregon team travels to the state of Arizona February.
Box Score Stud: Hey look Thomas Robinson (10 points in 14 minutes) is back from injury. Wait he has been healthy all year? This bench might be in trouble if CJ McCollum is doesn’t heal up soon.
Lasting Moment: Mike Rice saying the Blazers need to cut the lead to 10 in a 4 minute span, then watching the Suns extend the lead to 20. Pop quiz did he:
A) Analyze the strategic deficiencies that lead to the deficit.
B) Throw superlatives at Goran Dragic’s command of the pick and roll
C) Complain about the referees.
The answer is, of course, C because Rice can’t even spell deficiencies and the only thing he ever sees in opposing players is how many calls they get.
Holiday Food the Game Most Resembled: Pumpkin Loaf. Everybody knows you end a thanksgiving dinner with either pie or regret, not glorified bread that always has weird goopy chunks (raisins?)
Packers 10, Lions 40
Raiders 24, Cowboys 31
Steelers 20, Ravens 22
Pretty weak slate of games, leading our family to flip to the Jayhawks game, where none of us could tell which one was Andrew Wiggins because he cut his hair. Wiggins may be a better talent, but Jabari Parker has a much bigger wow factor. I have seen Wiggins play twice now and have seen nothing that deserved more than a nod and a golf clap. The Packers aren’t watchable without Aaron Rodgers and even though second game was close, it was still more of a snoozer than a classic. The nightcap was a good game, but it lacked the star power that the hype suggested. I love new talent as much as the next guy, but seeing Ravens without Bernard Pollard, Ed Reed, or Ray Lewis isn’t nearly as exciting. Throw in a struggling Big Ben and this rivalry game was highly disappointing.
Box Score Hero: Justin Tucker, who hit all five of his field goals. I mean, if you’re into that kinda thing.
Lasting Moment: Some people think this was a cheap play. My feeling is that if it were wrong, it would either be illegal, or no one would have thought of it yet. All these little rule glitches like Tomlins block and Kidd’s spill are bring games closer and show us something we have yet to see, and who doesn’t want those two things in every game they see.
Holiday Food the Game Most Resembled: Sweet Potato Pie. You think you’re getting pumpkin pie and at times it tastes like pumpkin pie, but it just doesn’t cut it. Bring on the real desserts!
Oregon State 35, Oregon 36.
I know that was a great comeback by Oregon but as a Ducks fan the only way I am happy with the result of this game is if Mariota and Co. come out and dominate for four quarters like they did at the beginning of the year. This isn’t because I am spoiled. This is because this Ducks team unlike that Dennis Dixon team and the LaMichael James teams, this team showed me no heart during the second half of the year. After Aliotti complained about Wazzu running up the score, the Ducks sulked on the sidelines after just the first touchdown against Stanford, then had the nerve, after not showing up in their biggest test of the season, to bitch about how they weren’t going to the national championship game and would have to settle for the Rose Bowl. I don’t think I’ve ever been more ashamed to be a Ducks fan. There are three trajectories for the Ducks right now. First is the USC fall from grace. Second is the Virginia Tech “Hang Around the Top Ten for a Decade After Your Big Splash.” Third is the Florida route, where you weather a coaching change or two and figure out how to reach the mountaintop. Here’s hoping Helfrich has a little Urban Meyer in him.
Box Score Dud: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu held Brandon Cook to two yards on as many catches and had a pick. This was key for the Ducks win, but also earn a good enough evaluation to coax him into entering the draft.
Lasting Moment: Josh Huff redeeming himself from his earlier comments. I hope they enjoy the Alamo Bowl.
Holiday Food: Apple Pie. But I had apple pie last thanksgiving. I know I was supposed to bring the pumpkin pie, but I came up short, so I am going to sulk in the corner and eat some shepherd's pie which isn’t even a real dessert, because YOLO.
Alabama 28, Auburn 34
I am sorry, but if you missed this game or the ending to this game, there is no way I can even begin to describe the end of that game. I still have some residual hate for Auburn, but the way this team played, combined with the inherent evil of ‘Bama made it impossible not to root for the Tigers. Games like these reward us for looking at recruiting pages, reading about spring camp and doing all those obsessive things sports fans do to fully appreciate the narrative of the game.
Lasting Moment: I saw the last two Auburn games. I almost left for the bathroom the end of the game against Georgia, and my patience was rewarded with what I thought was the greatest ending to a game that we would see all year. I was wrong.
Box Score Stud: Chris Davis Jr. Duh.
Holiday Food. Is that Pumpkin Pie? Did you bake Pumpkin Pie? OH MY GOD THAT’S PUMPKIN PIE!
Broncos 35, Chiefs 28.
Another weakish day in the NFL, which is surprising given that bye weeks are over and NBC can flex into any broadcast game. This game was the only one worth watching. It was hard for me to get into this one, partly because I was in three eBay bidding wars during the first half, and partly because nothing could top the end of the Iron Bowl. Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning, his running game came up big and the Chiefs played well for 53 minutes before failing in its comeback attempt. If I am Andy Reid, I am hoping that the Colts continues his winning ways because it doesn’t look like this team can mount a comeback through the air and Andrew Luck is unstoppable at home. Denver, on the other hand, they might have to win out to win the one see. The Pats had to comeback in Houston, but as long as they keep their banged up players on the field they have to be feared.
Box Score Stud: Eric Decker’s four touchdowns bring him to seven on the year. That’s still only fourth on his own team. How has this team lost two games?
Holiday Food: Mashed Potatoes. But with lumps.
Blazers 114, Lakers 108
If the Blazers clunk their way through their match-up against the Pacers, blame the Portland Bench, which couldn’t hold off the two leads of 17 or more and was outscored 23-60. SIXTY! The starters played well, but they logged way too many minutes. It might have been enough to beat a pesky Laker team, but they will have to step it up against Indiana and then again Wednesday against the Thunder.
Box Score Stud: Nic Batum. Nine points, nine rebounds, nine assists. Batum also had an 8-8-8 in Milwaukee two weeks ago. I submit that any performance in which a player has the same number of points, assists and rebounds should be called a “Batum Supreme.” However, if that player has a 0-0-0 game, it shall be referred to as a “Dudley.”
Lasting Moment: Batum’s wing-to-wing double-bounce pass to lillard for the open three in transition. Batum may never make an all-star team or average 20 points, but no one in the league puts up more inconsistent, insane and sneaky good box scores. I scored 100 level seats for the home opener and I left the game thinking Batum had a quiet, if not bad game, only to realize to my amazement that he had a triple double. Batum is my favorite blazer for the same reason Bill Hader is my favorite SNL cast member; they both understand their roles so well that they don’t have to be the most spectacular player on the floor to be the most effective. Here’s hope Batum doesn’t basketball to pursue his lifelong dream of doing T-Mobile commercials.
Holiday Food: Stuffing. Sometimes amazing but very inconsistent.
Tonight we get two big games. One is a barometer for how good this Blazers team is, the other is a playoff preview between the two best teams in the NFC. If there is one thing I learned during my family’s thanksgiving, it’s that when there are two main meats choose the one that will have the least leftovers. Watch the football game. At the very least it will ease you into the dreaded “Full-Week” and distract you from the hundreds you will have to(/have) drop(/dropped) on presents. And if that’s not enough, you’ll always have your leftovers.