NFC North Game Balls and Goats: Week 14

By
Updated: December 12, 2012

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson embarrassed the Chicago Bears defense in Week 14, earning himself Water Cooler Sports NFC North Offensive Game Ball honors.

The Coolies

They have rolled out the red carpet, and the celebrities are resplendent in their expensive tuxedos and gowns. The music swells, the drum roll sounds, and our panel takes it seat in the front row. The buzz in the room noticeably quiets and breathless anticipation is in every face.

The lights dim and a single spot traces the footsteps of our master of ceremonies as he strides confidently up to the podium and welcomes us to the Week 14 Water Cooler Sports NFC North Game Balls and Goats awards ceremony.

With a broad grin, he opens the first envelope and announces . . .

Game Ball: Offense

At this point, he has to be running away with the Water Cooler Sports NFC North Offensive Player of the Year. I speak, of course, of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who yet again blew away the opposition as if it were hardly there. This time the victim was the vaunted Chicago Bears defense, which he shredded to the tune of 154 yards on 31 carries (5.0 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. It wasn’t as dramatic a performance as his 21-carry, 210-yard outing against the Green Bay Packers the previous week, but it was more than respectable. He single-handedly carried the Vikings on a day in which he got no support from the rest of the offense.

Peterson now has 265 carries for 1,600 yards, averaging a mind-boggling 6.0 yards per carry through 14 games, and 10 touchdowns. That puts him on pace for 1,829 yards on the season, but considering his final game will be against a Packers defense that could be resting starters, it’s entirely conceivable that he could challenge the all-time NFL rushing yardage record.

Game Ball: Defense

Normally, we shy away from handing out awards for single plays, but in this case, the play decisively shifted the momentum of the game and materially contributed to the win.

On 1st down from the Green Bay 42-yard line, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford went back to pass. In the slick conditions at Lambeau Field, he lost control of the ball, despite not being under duress, and was unable to fall on it at his own 45-yard line. The ball bounced all the way back to the Detroit 42-yard line, where rookie Packers defensive end Mike Daniels scooped it up and rumbled, virtually uncontested, 43 yards for a touchdown. This play sparked a comeback that allowed Green Bay to take control of the game and ultimately win.

Green Bay Packers rookie defensive end Mike Daniels attempted a Lambeau Leap after returning an interception of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford for a touchdown.

Game Ball: Special teams

Here in the Awards Department, we hold players in high esteem who are able to take over extra duties, to go above and beyond the call when necessary. Chicago Bears punter Adam Podlesh did just that, stepping in for injured kicker Robbie Gould on kickoffs. By picking up the slack for his fellow special-teams specialist, he freed Gould to focus on point-after tries and a last-ditch onside kick attempt. He wasn’t able to spare Gould from going on injured reserve the following day, but he did ease the Bears through a tight patch.

Goat: Offense

It’s probably safe to say that after all the times he has had to bear up under the burning shame of our stern dishonor, this player won’t be showing his face around here in the offseason. Just when you think he can’t find another way to trip over his own feet, you find him prying his face out of the soggy turf. Perennial offensive goat Christian Ponder, floundering quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, turned in yet another atrocious performance in Week 14, completing 11 of 17 passes (64.7 percent) for 91 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception.

His passer rating on the season is now a scintillating 78.3. If his inability to produce were not overshadowed by the dazzling season Adrian Peterson’s is having, the calls for Ponder to be benched would probably be thunderous by now. At this point, the coaching staff should probably consider just letting him loose to do what he does, since he couldn’t play worse than he has been under their tutelage.

Dishonorable mention goes to Matthew Stafford, whose interception and fumble destroyed the Lions’ chances in a game they probably should have won.

Goat: Defense

We don’t enough space to detail all the ways in which the Detroit Lions defense defecated in their footwear against the Packers on Sunday Night Football. Lions beat writer Russ Thomas has chronicled their failings in excruciating detail for us already. Needless to say, a team that cannot maintain its composure against a division rival is not going to win many games (yes, I am looking right at defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh), and under the lights, the Lions showed once more why they are anything but the class of the NFC North. Anyone who has watched the Detroit defense this season has to conclude that the clock is ticking on the tenure of certain Lions coaches and very probably, a sizable portion of the roster as well.

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh didn’t improve his reputation with his shove of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 14.

Goat: Special teams

We don’t want to make a player our whipping boy, but there are only so many times a professional place kicker can miss on field goal attempts in a single season before he runs out of grace. Green Bay Packers missed wide left on a 51-yard attempt in the blustery conditions of Lambeau Field. It was by no means an easy kick, but at some point, Crosby needs figure out how to put more of his kicks inside the uprights or else start polishing his resume. Crosby has now missed 10 field goals on the season, bringing his average down to an abysmal 63 percent. The old joke is that NFL stands for “Not for Long,” but in Crosby’s case, it seems to stand for “Not a Fine Leg.”

Goat: Coaching

Has there ever been a more disingenuous offensive coordinator than Mike Tice of the Chicago Bears? After promising a sea change from predecessor Mike Martz’s aggressive, sometimes reckless, scheme, Tice has managed to find novel ways to misappropriate the resources available to him on a weekly basis.

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby needs to rectify his inaccuracy issues before they endanger his career.

Against the Vikings, the Bears offense lined up on 3rd-and-1 near midfield. Instead of calling the number of one of his dominant running backs, Matt Forte or Michael Bush (who was brought in to be the 3rd-down back), he lined up quarterback Jay Cutler in the shotgun with four wide receivers and third-string running back Armando Allen in the backfield. He sent all the receivers 10 or more yards deep downfield, keeping no one in for the dumpoff routes. Under intense pressure, Cutler forced the ball to wide receiver Brandon Marshall, but the ball sailed off target and was intercepted by rookie safety Harrison Smith, who returned the ball 56 yards for a touchdown.

Dishonorable mention goes to Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, who after a 3rd-down sack of quarterback Aaron Rodgers forced the offense back to the 34-yard line, elected to attempt a 51-yard field goal in the swirling winds of Lambeau Field instead of kicking it away. Predictably, the kick missed, setting the Lions up with excellent field position.

Jury summons

If you want to be on the panel for next week’s NFC North Game Balls and Goats, be sure to show up for the Monday Night Football match-up between the New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans. Anyone present is welcome to nominate and vote on candidates for the awards and dishonors. We look forward to having you there!

About the author(s)

Rourke Douglas Decker covers the Green Bay Packers beat for Water Cooler Sports. He resides with his family in the Twin Cities. He can be reached for questions or comments at . Connect with .

230 comments
BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

It feels like the morning doesn't start until I read the BBAO.

niemerg1
niemerg1

if the bears lose this sunday bears fans, just remember...

Kenny Fucking Powers, Bitch!
Kenny Fucking Powers, Bitch!

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel ,

"Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land."

 

Nearly 75 years ago, (when Welfare was introduced) Roosevelt said,

"Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land."

 

Today, Congress has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of Camels and mortgaged the Promised Land!

 

I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Care Laws, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, the growing national debt, the fiscal cliff, etc ....

 

I called a Suicide Hotline.

 

I had to press 1 for English.

 

I was connected to a call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal.

 

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck......

 

Folks, we're screwed.

Pat Fenis, Esq.
Pat Fenis, Esq.

Last final of the semester this morning, bros! Get on my level.

Kuato Face
Kuato Face moderator

Where are all the bitches at?

zombienunya
zombienunya

well im out. eyes dont want to focus very well. man im stoned

SDL
SDL

  

 

A good early-morning fap-session would probably be good for you

 

 

Preparation_A
Preparation_A

  

 

Too grammary. It's "Where the bitches at?"

Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days
Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days

Oh Doyle.

Did you get my e-mail I sent out from FF? I am not sure if people are getting them and I just want to be sure. 

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     I'm gunna start rooting for the Skins, home team and all.

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

   I did get it, was depressing.

Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days
Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days

    He is 400 yards away from 2,000 and he has been the entire offense for the Vikings. Playoffs or not, the guy has been the most consistent player in the NFL period this season. 

Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days
Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days

    LOL. No. I am just tired of people suggesting he should win the MVP when in all actually, Him and brady are extremely close statistically.

 

But if AP gets to the post season, I see reason for why he is less deserving than Manning. 

zombienunya
zombienunya

   

 d like to take a needle and pop their egos

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     I like Payton, but not Eli. Don't know why.

zombienunya
zombienunya

   

 ive never liked either manning.

zombienunya
zombienunya

    

 hes got my vote. to still play at that level when he tore up his knee as nothing short of amazing

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     Broncos are winning though. It's going to be Manning. And you don't like him because he takes more of the spotlight from Rodgers.

zombienunya
zombienunya

    

 me either but i think the donkeys go because of manning. kinda like when oakland and tampa went with gruden

Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days
Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days

    I think they have been one of the more exciting teams to watch this season. 

 

imagine if the SB has two rookies

 

RG3 vs Luck.

That would be insane. I couldn't get get made at the match up. 

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     Nah, Gb would crush the skins I think. Skins pass D is horrible.

Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days
Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days

    Skins are one of those teams though that you like to watch play for now but fear can beat you if they get to the post because they are just playing with great motivation. 

zombienunya
zombienunya

   

 all we need is two corners and another safety. once we get our injured players back, the line will be dominent

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     That comes from a team that plays to the level of their competition. And the Skins only beat them because they couldn't adjust to RG3's playing style. 

 

Who knows, but if I were a Packers fan, I'd REALLY be rooting for the skins.

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     It's all you can do. And if they do lose, they will look even better next year. Really good building blocks there.

zombienunya
zombienunya

 

 i stiil have hope. until they are mathamaticly eliminated anyway

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     Giants are looking good though. I think the skins have all the tie breaks though.

Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days
Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days

  Yeah it really does suck. Still not the worst in the NFL from what I have seen. If the Bears lose this week, you have a shot to get the WC but I think it may come out of the East. I think the Skins are going to win the NFCE and the Giants fall off.

zombienunya
zombienunya

   

 we need a win badly. we still have a slim chance at the playoffs. dont think we get past the first round if we do, but it would be nice

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     You never know with big games like that. Saints might be looking for a moral victory though.

zombienunya
zombienunya

 

 im hoping they beat the saints sun. we usualy split. but i dont know about this year. our pass d sucks

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

     sign of a football lover.

Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days
Reesypieces Graduates in 14 days

  I can't recall the player but he should have had that INT at the very end. It was right in his damn hands. I was super pissed and I am not even a fan of them. Just really rooting for them. 

zombienunya
zombienunya

 

 i was slack jawed, open mouth stunned

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

   I'm in it, as in my team was not erased.

zombienunya
zombienunya

 

 im toasted. thought id drop in and see whats being talked about