Weekend Roundup: Patriots Survive, Ohio State Wins a Wild One, Iron Bowl Disappointment
By Peter Santo
Well it was quite the weekend in both College and Professional football. We got a better idea of the four best teams in college football, while the NFL playoff picture didn’t really get any clearer with the Patriots and Raiders both barely beating mediocre teams.
No. 1 Alabama 30, No. 13 Auburn 12
We’ll start with the biggest SEC rivalry game, the Iron Bowl. The outcome of this one was largely predetermined, the Tide came in as the clear cut number one team and would be playing at home against a depleted Auburn squad.
With starting quarterback Sean White and top corner Josh Holsey both out due to injury, and with SEC leading rusher Kamryn Pettway running on one leg, the Tigers didn’t stand much of a chance in this one.
The defense kept them in it for a half, and John Franklin III provided a bit of a spark in the second half, but it was an excellent win for the Tide in a game that was closer than the score would indicate.
The Tigers will likely finish their season in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans while the Crimson Tide looked to have locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff.
No. 2 Ohio State 30, No. 5 Michigan 27 (Final/2OT)
Well when two top five teams go at it this late in the season, you’re bound to have some fireworks. Combine that with one of the biggest rivalries in the sport, and you’ve got controversy just waiting to happen.
The Buckeyes survived a double overtime thriller to knock off their arch-rivals and likely clinch their spot in the College Football Playoff.
I still think JT Barrett was stopped short on that fourth down play in OT, but the Buckeyes got it done when it mattered most.
That play showed what an advantage having Urban Meyer on the sideline gives the Buckeyes. A lesser coach trots his kicker out there in that situation to try and tie the game. But Meyer used his head, he said I’m going to put the ball in my hands of my star QB rather than my struggling kicker and play to win this game.
I think the Buckeyes are a top four team in the country, I think Michigan is as well but they won’t be in the playoff, Michigan can keep blaming the officials, but the turnovers cost them that game, not the refs.
Patriots 22, Jets 17
Tom Brady was playing on one leg, Rob Gronkowski left the game in the first quarter with a back injury (shocker), the Jets played what was by far their best game of the season in what was their Super Bowl, and the Jets still couldn’t find a way to beat the Patriots.
Great teams win these types of games, great teams go on the road with all your star players injured and beat teams that have nothing to lose. Brady struggled mightily yesterday, but he willed his teammates to steal that game on the road.
It’s crazy how far Darrelle Revis has fallen, two years ago he was the difference maker for a Patriots team that won a Super Bowl title. However Revis struggled in Super Bowl XLIX, he got torched by Doug Baldwin and had to be bailed out by an undrafted rookie from West Alabama named Malcolm Butler.
He then signed with the Jets for huge money, and has been a shell of himself ever since. Revis is headed to Canton one day, but yesterday was not his best game. Brady went straight at Revis with rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, and Mitchell flat out beat Revis one-on-one twice for touchdowns.
Not the best day for the Patriots, but a win is a win, especially on the road in the NFL. Now they’ve got a date with the Rams and rookie QB Jared Goff at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, a good chance to get everyone healthy.
Raiders 35, Panthers 32
I never thought I’d say this, and I picked the Raiders to win the AFC West this season, but the Raiders reminded me a lot of the New England Patriots yesterday.
Derek Carr is becoming more of a superstar with every passing week, and playing through a dislocated finger and getting a win over a Panthers team that isn’t as bad as everyone thinks was his best performance to date.
I know the Panthers’ record isn’t good, but they have an excellent quarterback, a competent coach, and two superstar linebackers. They are better than their record suggests.
I only watched one possession of this game yesterday, the last one, and it looked like Cam was going to throw it back to his days on the Plains at Auburn before Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack took over.
The Raiders are an excellent football team, they have a stellar offense led by Carr and Amari Cooper, and the sight of Mack and Irvin rushing the passer could have Brady shaking in his boots.
As long as they don’t beat themselves, the Raiders are the Patriots biggest road block between here and Super Bowl LI in Houston.