NFL C.A.S.E. of the Mondays: Week 6
Cooler: Devin Hester, who continues to cement his status at the greatest return man in league history, and the single dumbest decision any placekicker or punter can ever make. Hester caught a 48-yard touchdown before his career-best 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Bears’ 39-10 win. Hester now has 16 combined kick and punt returns in his six years in the league.
Hester is so cool because he’s so unique. There’s no other weapon like him, that can change a game in 15 seconds or so. His teammates on special teams take so much pride in helping him take it to the house:
‘‘When he’s back there and the music comes on and he’s on that big screen, I even get goosebumps — I’m about to block for the best kick returer who’s every played the game,’’ said Dom DeCicco, who helped block for Hester’s touchdown. ‘‘It makes you want to do your job that much more.”…
Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd said he could tell Hester was going to break something.
‘‘Because right before we got out there, he smiles and has that look like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s eat. To the house,’’’ Hurd said. ‘‘That means every play can go to the house and I’m going to do my best to [make it happen]. He’s phenomenal.’’
On that note, from now on, whenever I’m having friends over for dinner, I shall say, “Let’s go. Let’s eat. To the house!”
Animal: Tom Brady on the final drive of the Patriots’ 20-16 win over the Cowboys. I sat at work watching the drive start at the 20, with a weird combination of nerves and hope. I couldn’t remember the last time New England was in a situation like this, the kind of situation Brady built his legend on. As he picked apart Dallas’ defense, eight or nine or ten yards at a time, I started to get giddy. It’s happening! Then I brought myself back to Earth, remembering the offense already had four turnovers.
Then, as he found Aaron Hernandez with great throw in the back of the end zone, I made some weird hand gestures, grinned, and gently high-fived the fellow Pats fan next to me. We’re not allowed to cheer at work, you see. I do a little happy dance, and get back to work. Just another day at the office, for me and for Tom.
Stinkbomb: The Minnesota Vikings. I was reading the game recap, and saw one team allowed five sacks, and assumed it was the Bears, because, well, they’re the Bears. But it was Minnesota who allowed Donovan McNabb to get slammed and eventually benched for rookie Christian Ponder (Cutler was only sacked once).
Adrian Peterson ran for only 39 yards against a Bears defense that ranks 28th in the league against the run (and 29th overall). Ponder didn’t lead the offense to any points either.
Eloquence: From 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who got a little fired up and paid for it after the his team handed the Lions their first loss:
“I don’t think I’m that emotional,” Harbaugh tried to claim before realizing that sentiment was ridiculous and laughing at himself. “I am very emotional about the outcome and the way our players played. I’m really proud of that. Hopefully you can understand.
“When you’re with a group of guys, you’re on a team, you’re trying to do something special and to see your guys go out and perform that way, yeah, you do get emotional.
“I’m not going to apologize for that. If that offends you or anybody else, then so be it.”
Harbaugh definitely isn’t in Palo Alto anymore. Lions coach Jim Schwartz took umbrage with Harbaugh jumping around and untucking his shirt, and his very, very firm post-game handshake. Schwartz is known for getting fired up, so seeing him get in Harbaugh’s face is kind of funny to me. It’s obviously very different on the losing end. Personally, I hope the sassiness continues.