There were eight games this week whose outcomes truly surprised me. One game was the Bengals' punishing of the Titans, which has no explanation, except that perhaps no non-quarterback in the NFL is more important to his team than Albert Haynesworth (maybe Orlando Pace). The other seven can each be explained by one of the seven deadly sins.
PRIDE - Denver Broncos. This is the biggest one. There is absolutely no other reason that a coach would kick the ball to Devin Hester. "Yeah, he's burned a lot of people, but he's not going to burn my guys. There's nobody we can't stop." Oh really? When you're lying on the ground, and Hester is hurdling your face, are you still going to think that? Seriously, no one's going to think you're not a man for kicking it away from him. It's SMART.
ENVY - New York Giants. Several years back, they looked at Indianapolis' establishing itself as a regular contender and thought to themselves, "Man, I want one of those Manning quarterbacks." Well, they found a way to get him, at the cost of many draft picks and a better QB in Philip Rivers, and it's proven to be a bad decision that keeps on hurting. Like when Eli throws 4 interceptions, leading directly to 21 points, and slightly indirectly to another 7.
AVARICE - Washington Redskins. Sure, many people expected this sort of result, but I expected better from the team that nearly beat Dallas a week ago, so it goes in this blog. This is another case of past personnel mistakes continuing to haunt a team. If the Skins had actually had some draft picks in recent years, the depth might not be such a problem. They'd have some linemen who could fill in when the starters go down. Furthermore, the decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 when they could have kicked a field goal and made it a 6-point game was pure greed. Momentum was going their way, and a bad decision was made.
WRATH - Kansas City Chiefs. It was an almost identical situation for Herm Edwards, choosing to go for it on 4th-and-short instead of kicking a field goal, but in this case I'm calling it wrath. First, it was against a division rival, and smelt of an attempt at humiliation, and second, the choice to not kick the field goal was a punishment to Dave Rayner for having missed a field goal previously. Of course, we'd all be calling Edwards and Gibbs geniuses if they'd made it and won their games, so I'm not going to be terribly hard on them.
GLUTTONY - Philadelphia Eagles. It's second down and four with three minutes to go and you're up by four against the best team in the league, inside their 30-yard line. You'd just run it for six yards with your trusty tailback, Brian Westbrook. Why on earth would you pass, let alone with a backup QB and in the direction of last year's co-interceptions leader? If you thought Andy Reid was a glutton at the Thanksgiving dinner table, think again.
SLOTH - Arizona Cardinals. One stupid delay of game penalty. That's all it took to nullify the game-winning field goal. If Ken Whisenhunt had looked at the clock and called a timeout, San Francisco would have lost their ninth straight and the Cards would still be in the running for the division lead.
LUST - New York Jets. Yes, I expected them to lose, but not by this much. The only reason I can think of, in the whole wide world of possibilities, that the Jets could beat Pittsburgh and barely lick the cleats of the Cowboys, is that Tony Romo is prettier than Ben Roethlisberger. Whatever kind of magic Romo works on female pop singers also worked on the Jets. That's all I can imagine.