Game Balls and Goats: A.J. Hawk sinks talons into Baltimore Ravens
- Updated: October 15, 2013
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for! It’s time for the weekly NFC North and NFC South Game Balls and Goats awards ceremony.
Well, actually, it’s just the NFC North Game Balls and Goats this week.
In what is perhaps a reflection of just how poor the NFC South has looked so far this season, with only the New Orleans Saints notching more than two victories, the NFC South jury decided to take a one-week recess. Hopefully, they will come back next week rejuvenated and refreshed for the long and grueling year ahead.
But since we’re overflowing with Week 6 awardees and dishonorees in the Black and Blue Division, let’s get right to it.
You know it’s been a good week of football when the jury gets gridlocked in a three-way tie. That is what happened last night, as the voters were unable to come to a consensus on who should receive this week’s Offensive Game Ball. So for the first time in the history of this ceremony, we are awarding a three co-OGBs for Week 6.
Our first recipient is rookie Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who kicked off the first series against the Baltimore Ravens with an impressive set of 10- and 37-yard runs to set up Green Bay’s first field goal. Although Baltimore succeeded in largely containing him the rest of the way, Lacy finished with 120 yards on 23 carries for an excellent average of 5.2 yards per carry. If he’d managed to get into the end zone, he probably would have been the unanimous Game Ball recipient this week, but he did not.
A player who did get into the end zone this week — repeatedly — was Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria, who caught three passes for 34 yards and three touchdowns, proving himself the pinnacle of scoring efficiency. If he had been anything other than a red-zone specialist, he would easily have been the unanimous Game Ball awardee, but he wasn’t.
Eddie Lacy piled up the yards, Joseph Fauria racked up the touchdowns, but our third co-OGB did both. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall carried the Chicago Bears on a day in which the defense struggled terribly. Wearing fluorescent green shoes for Mental Illness Awareness Week, he caught nine passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. The fact that his individual numbers weren’t stellar probably kept him from taking home sole OGB honors this week, but it’s undeniable that without his contributions, the Bears would have fallen to the New York Giants.
In contrast to the Offensive Game Ball, there wasn’t much debate about this award.
With star outside linebacker Clay Matthews III on the bench, inside linebacker A.J. Hawk did it all for the Green Bay Packers. He was aggressive and fierce at the point of attack, wrapping up ball carriers and driving them into the turf. He lead the Packers with ten tackles, including an amazing five tackles for loss, and three sacks. he was a major reason the Packers held the Ravens scoreless through much of three quarters.
Honorable mention goes to Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy, who finished with seven tackles and two interceptions, and Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, who also came up with two interceptions, including an important pick-six.
There were plenty of special teams kudos to go around in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers punter Tim Masthay takes the game ball honors for an outstanding job of punting on a day when the offense wasn’t able to get much done. He averaged an amazing 54.8 yards with a net of 41.8 yards per punt on six punts, including two downed inside the 20-yard line. He repeatedly pinned Baltimore back deep when Green Bay drives stalled in Baltimore territory.
Although he only kicked two field goals, honorable mention goes to Chicago Bears placekicker Robbie Gould for tying the NFL record for most consecutive 50-yard field goals without a miss at 12.
Mason Crosby of the Packers also gets a nod for connecting on four of five field-goal attempts following a week in which he tied the franchise record with five in one game.
For some reason known only to the football gods, Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks seem to have a near monopoly on this award.
This week the dishonors are heaped on Matt Cassel, who was utterly ineffective against the Carolina Panthers. His individual numbers don’t look terrible (72-percent completion rate on 44 attempts for 241 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions), but he was repeatedly unable to mount extended drives, and the turnovers crippled Minnesota’s chances of scoring.
Quick, what are the Vegas odds on Josh Freeman pulling down a couple of Goats this season?
Our voters couldn’t seem to find words strong enough to express their frustration with the Chicago Bears defensive line this week. Depleted by injury, this unit allowed the New York Giants’ third-string running back, Brandon Jacobs, who wasn’t even in the league for most of last year, to run all over them. For one embarrassing night, they made Jacobs look like a superstar: he rushed 22 times for 106 yards (4.8 ypc) and two touchdowns.
As one voter wrote, this was “inexcusable” on their part. Another added, “Brandon Jacobs should not gain 100 yards in a season, much less one game.”
Dishonorable mention goes to Green Bay Packers safety Jerron McMillian, who was repeatedly caught out of position and failed to meet his assignments.
There was no debate here. Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn was unquestionably the Special Teams Goat of the week. After tight end Ryan Taylor blocked a Baltimore punt, Kuhn inexplicably went to recover the ball instead of simply letting it roll dead. He muffed the recovery, giving the ball right back to the Ravens with excellent field position. As one of our jurors wrote, “That might be the single dumbest play I’ve ever seen anybody try to make on special teams. No possible benefit, other than losing yards on a return. ”
Fortunately for Green Bay, the defense was able to make a goal-line stand to prevent Baltimore from capitalizing on this boneheaded mistake.
Cast your vote
How do you think the jury did in Week 6? Do you disagree with any of their selections or think they overlooked someone important? If so, be sure to show up during Monday Night Football next week to make your voice heard. Anyone present for game coverage is eligible to cast their ballot.
@Buhlitz so..... Nelson > CJ then right.
So QBs are averaging a 75.4 passer rating against the Lions this season but the Lions have given up 749 yards on the ground at a league worst 5.4 yards per carry. Forte ran it 14 times against the Lions...
@adambballn Bears passed 3 times as much as they ran in that Lions game.
@adambballn I thought Trestman was going to be the savior for that offensive inbalance??
@jwoude23 bear down i will stab you.
@jwoude23 bear down derp
@jwoude23 bear down Arrrggggghhhh......seizure!!!!
An arm should not 'bend' like this:
@BearsSaveLives those sons of bitches
I love the double edged sword out there for Lion's fans...
"CJ is the best WR in the NFL because he plays with a bunch of no bodies and still has amazing numbers every year"
"OMG BUrleson, Broyles, and (random guy off the streets) are amazing to add to this team.. they will help open the field... good pick up Mayhew"
how does that work?
Burleson was great for us until pizza
So, last time the Lions played the Cowboys they had two pick sixes against Romo and still only won by 4 points. Sounds like Romo got confused and thought he was playing the Bears.
My life summed up in a picture
@Staffords_Glove that cat looks hungry
@Staffords_Glove You knit costumes for turtles?
Sounds like an interesting, albeit boring, life.
@TheMostOffensiveHorse that was news 2 hours ago....
@TheMostOffensiveHorse And Greg Salas. Gates on IR.
@TheMostOffensiveHorse OH SNAP SON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LIFE IS OVER
All you Detroit fans keep saying when CJ gets healthy.... yeah healthy CJ will help.. but what about getting Burleson back
@Childerz... funny how suh might be the better driver
Burleson will help a lot too.. he had more yards than CJ when he went down
@J MF Vince11 Yeah whats up?
@J MF Vince11 yessir
@BearsSaveLives *throws self off bridge*
@Childerz... @J MF Vince11 rumors on twitter have an interesting trade possibly brewing.... EDM's Nail Yakupov the first overall pick from a few years back... Has been a healthy scratch for them and hasn't "impressed" their new coach... with EDM leading the NHL in goals given up.... there is serious talk of..
Yakupov for Miller and a D prospect.
@J MF Vince11 It'd be a good trade... Miller would help that team tremendously... and Buffalo already sucks so any prospect or draft pick up they can get is bonus material.
@J MF Vince11 Its what the Wild did with Nino Neiderreiter from the Islanders and so far he's got 1 goal 5 assists. hoping his goal production comes along but thats decent for first year with a new team for a play many thought was a bust
@J MF Vince11 Didn't help that the GM and coach hated him..
I'm going to the Det vs Dallas game. Cant wait to see Romo throw 7 pick sixes like last time the lions played the cowboys
@Buhlitz that was the right choice. the offense fest will be way more fun to watch then this weeks
@Buhlitz That was the last time the Boys played the Bears.
@Buhlitz Something tells me your brain does not recall things with much accuracy.