Imagine this scene: I’m at a bar, sitting with my flag football teammates after getting crushed 30-something to 6, trying to console ourselves. There are three games on TV. In the middle is Chicago-Seattle on the big screen. On the left is Washington-Dallas. On the right is Pittsburgh-NY Jets. Strangely, almost all of us were rooting for the same teams, though each of us has a different home team. But the bar was mostly unified in rooting for Washington, Chicago, and Pittsburgh (I only cared about Pittsburgh because if they lost, it would kill me in the office pool). And while there were at one point something like 30 seconds left in New York, 3 minutes in Dallas, and 6 minutes in Seattle, all three games were decided pretty much at the same time. The Steelers took it into overtime, the Redskins took it down to the wire, and Chicago had the last-ditch fourth down, pretty much all at once. And all three lost.
So it’s hard for me to be optimistic. That’s my point. But the fact is, there were a lot of great, exciting finishes this week, and the NFL players deserve to be toasted as always. I’m writing from home today, so I could theoretically actually toast with booze, but that would make me an alcoholic. It’s 11 in the morning, for God’s sake.
I’ll start with the most reluctant toast of all: Here’s to you, Terrell Owens, Tony Romo, and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The strategy was simple, but so effective. Spend a few plays working the short stuff, then take advantage of the fact that Sean Taylor is out by bombing it to T.O. Rinse, repeat. Worked perfectly, and got them the win over a division rival.
But I have to say, the Redskins’ front seven played a heck of a game for all but four plays. So here’s to you guys.
Here’s to you, Maurice Morris. I think you’re your team’s best running back this year.
Here’s to you, Matt Hasselbeck, for looking like your old self again, and to you, D.J. Hackett for being a reliable receiver all day, to the tune of 136 yards on 9 catches.
And here’s to you, Rex Grossman and Cedric Benson, for putting up solid efforts in defeat. This is one they can’t blame on you guys.
Here’s to you, Kellen Clemens. Your ability to throw the deep ball is what gives your offense a chance, and gave Thomas Jones room to run.
Here’s to you, David Harris, Shaun Ellis, DeWayne Robertson, Kenyon Coleman, David Bowens, and C. J. Mosely. Your team doesn’t win without those 7 combined sacks.
Here’s to you, defensive player of the week Antrel Rolle, for picking off Carson Palmer THREE TIMES, and returning 2 for touchdowns and over 100 INT return yads. In what was supposed to be a huge offensive battle, 21 of the total 62 points were scored on defense.
Here’s to you, Devard Darling, for coming out of nowhere and being the receiver that makes the difference for the Ravens. In a 33-30 game, Darling had the only receiving touchdown.
Here’s to you, Ray Lewis, for a 12 solo tackle, INT, TD, FR, very, very, good performance. If your guys had won, you’d give Antrel Rolle a run for his award.
Here’s to you, Brodney Pool. I wish I’d seen that 100-yard pick return.
Here’s to you, Phil Dawson, for giving us yet another exciting finish to a Browns game. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the ball bounce off of that part of the crossbar before.
Here’s to you, Brett Favre – mostly for the completion percentage of 73.3. You played a very efficient game and had control from the start.
Here’s to you, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Good to have you two back.
Here’s to you, Earnest Graham, for breaking 100 yards on only 17 carries. You deserve for people to know who you are.
Here’s to you, Mike Peterson. I hope your hand heals quickly, you’ve had a heck of a season.
Here’s to you, David Garrard. Also good to have you back.
Here’s to you, Chester Taylor. You shut me up good.
Here’s to you, Tarvaris Jackson. Nice percentage – 17 of 22 for 77.3% completions.
Here’s to you, Ted Ginn, Jr., for getting nearly half of your team’s receptions and its only touchdown on a return. Build on that.
Here’s to you, Brian Westbrook, though I’m a little confused to see your rushing yards-to-receiving yards looking normal for a running back. Though it wasn’t your style, it was a great, clock-eating performance.
Here’s to you, A.J. Feeley, for a solid job in relief for the Eagles, ensuring they wouldn’t get embarrassed by the Dolphins.
And here’s to you, Sheldon Brown, for disrupting nearly every pass thrown your way.
Here’s to you, Michael Strahan, for kicking Jon Kitna’s tail all day long. You had more sacks than the Lions combined!
Here’s to you, James Butler, Gibril Wilson, and Sam Madison, for picking off Kitna 3 times. Well done keeping a potent offense down.
Here’s to you, Tom Brady and Randy Moss – Romo and Owens get co-Offensive Player of the Week because their numbers were actually needed to win the game, but your numbers are better as usual. Can’t imagine how anyone’s going to stop you two.
Feel free to add some toasts of your own below, just make them positive, and try not to mention the words "fantasy football." Not together at least. You can say "Tom Brady, you're so good I'm starting to have fantasies about you," or use "football" in a sentence, though I doubt you'll need to - I'm pretty sure we all know we're talking about football.