By Josh Kramer
“Tebow Time” finally struck midnight. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are no longer invincible. Plus the Cincinnati Reds just made the blockbuster trade of the offseason thus far (Pujols, Reyes, and Wilson signing were free agent moves). It has been a wild past few days to say the least. Here are the items that have caught my attention.
Rivers has finally arrived
-Have you ever heard the expression “Too little, too late?” In the case of Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, this may be the case. You better believe the franchise that had won four straight AFC West crowns before last season and has not experienced a losing season since 2003 is not going to go down without a fight though. Many, including myself, had anointed Philip Rivers as “the guy” this year in the NFL. He was going to take home the MVP honors and lead San Diego to a deep playoff wrong. Many, including myself were incorrect.
-Philip Rivers and the Chargers started out the year as expected, winning four of their first five (very atypical for a franchise that has typically been known as slow starters). Then the “Nightmare on Elm Street” hit San Diego, as the Chargers dropped an astonishing six straight games. Nobody had any idea what was going on in San Diego and many were shocked to see that Norv Turner still had his job.
-Over the past few weeks, the Chargers have righted the ship and have launched themselves back into the playoff hunt. Though the Chargers will need some help, they are at least a part of the conversation, which seemed like an impossibility a mere three weeks ago. Much of this recent run is thanks in large part to their star player, Philip Rivers.
-Now many heading into Sunday Night were not so sure that Rivers had finally decided to play like the Philip Rivers we have all come to know and love (sadly no non-Chargers’ fans love this guy) over the past few years. Good for Rivers, he can put up big numbers against the so-so defenses of the quickly fading Bills and Jaguars. Well on Sunday night, Rivers left no doubt, against a much-revered Baltimore Ravens defensive unit. Rivers became just the third quarterback in NFL history to eclipse the 4,000 yard plateau in four consecutive seasons (Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are the other two). Not bad company for the Chargers 8th year player out of North Carolina State. In addition, Rivers has put up MVP-like numbers during this impressive San Diego run. He has completed a remarkable 75% of his passes (63 of 84), thrown for 808 yards (an average of 269.33 yards per game), and has tossed 7 TDs (0 INTs). Not to mention his QB passer ratings over this stretch have been an out of this world 14 good at 146.1, 123.3, and 127.1 (average of 132.2). Many have proclaimed the AFC West the “Land of Tebow Time.” Well there are still two games to go, and you better believe the Chargers will apply pressure on the “Gator God” to win out.
Ohio State football is back on the map
-Anybody who thought that it would take Urban Meyer a year or two to the right the ship in Columbus was hallucinating. On paper, it seems that Meyer already has the Buckeyes ready to contend for the Big Ten title in 2012. Since November 17th, the Buckeyes have acquired an astonishing four ESPNU 150 prospects (yesterday they got #4 Noah Spence). Many commonly refer to the “former” football powerhouse that resides in Happy (or not so happy) Valley as “Linebacker U.” Well Ohio State has not been such a bad factory for NFL linebackers in their own right. And it appears that things will only get easier for the Ohio State linebackers and the entire defensive unit next season.
-Meyer is stealing the show on the recruiting tour, and really solidifying the future of the Ohio State defensive line. As you are all more than aware of, a team that can get pressure on a quarterback consistently can be very dangerous. Quarterback pressure eases the job of the entire defensive unit. Well it appears Urban Meyer is on his way to putting out a Florida-SEC-esque defensive line in Columbus from Day 1. Put defensive ends like Meyer typically had at Florida with the linebackers that commonly reside in Buckeye Nation and Big Ten offenses better beware. Ohio State could be flat-out scary in 2012.
-On Sunday, “Tebow Time” finally came to a close, or at least temporarily. After six consecutive Denver Broncos victories, it had been all but a foregone conclusion that the Broncos were not to be denied by anyone. With the “great” Tim Tebow behind center, this team could not be beaten. Ironically, the Broncos taking a beating was not even the weirdest part of what was a wild Week 15 NFL Sunday.
-First of all, the Indianapolis Colts decided they did not want to become the second “defeated” 0 and 16 team in NFL history. By defeating a Tennessee Titans teams that may have shot themselves in the foot in terms of the playoffs, the Colts are officially better than the 2008 version of the Detroit Lions. And possibly in even more shocking news, the “Unbeatable Cheeseheads” lost a game. In Romeo Crennel’s debut as the Head Coach in Kansas City, the Chiefs shocked the world in defeating the Green Bay Packers.
-It is safe to say that nobody saw all three of these wild events occurring in the same day. And if someone claims they did, they are likely lying to themselves. Days like Sunday are the reason why the NFL is King in American sports.
Baron Davis is a Knick
-Baron Davis was once a great player without question. The two-time All Star and former UCLA Bruins star could once do it all. Now at the age of 32 with an injury-riddled body, I am not so sure what he brings to the table. Hopefully the Knicks know for a fact that Baron’s body will be able to hold up for at least a good chunk of the upcoming 66-game season.
Lob City will be fun
-The Los Angeles Clippers we once knew are ancient history. With the arrival of CP3, the Clippers have begun a brand new era. The “Lob City” era. It appears “Showtime” has migrated from the Lakers to the Clippers now. Luckily, for Kobe and the Lakers, style points do not mean anything when push comes to shove. Winning is all that matters. The Clippers are now most definitely a playoff team and likely a six or possibly five seed in the West, but they are still just the second best team in their city.
If you don’t know, now you know
-Most people would consider Jared Sullinger the best player in College Basketball this year. You would be hard pressed to find too many people who would disagree with you. Guys like Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb have been outstanding thus far. And then players such as Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and others have shown glimpses. But I think it would be difficult to find a player who has looked better than Memphis sophomore star, Will Barton. The Memphis Tiger guard has simply been sensational. If you had not heard of this rising star Barton, now you have.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.