Here are five things to love about the NFL from the 15th Sunday of the regular season:
One. Symmetry. On this given Sunday, two polar-opposite questions were answered. Will the Packers go 16-0? No, because the Chiefs – yes, the team that just fired it coach last week – were able to juggle all the things the Packers’ offense can throw at you and come away with a 19-14 upset. Will the Colts go 0-16? Another no, because the Titans became the Colts’ first victim, 27-13. The best part? Now we don’t have to put up with the perfection/putrid hype heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Two. The two-hundred-yard guys. The Lions’ Calvin Johnson caught nine passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns as the Lions (drats) outlasted the Raiders, 28-27; while Reggie Bush had 25 carries for 203 yards and a TD in the Dolphins’ 30-23 victory of the Buffalo-ed Bills. Johnson became only the second receiver to top 200 this season, joining the Patriots’ Wes Welker (16 for 217 on Sept. 25); and Bush is the fifth back to crack 200, joining the Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray (252 on Oct. 23), the Cardinals’ Beanie Wells (228 on Nov. 27), the Bears’ Matt Forte (205 on Oct. 2) and the Ravens’ Ray Rice (204 on Dec. 4).
Three. Drew Brees. The Saints’ QB continues to use his constantly-in-motion right arm to pull his team to one victory after another. Somewhat overshadowed by the near-perfection of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and the stunning success of the 49ers, Brees and the Saints are 11-3 after Sunday’s 42-20 beat down of the Vikings in Minnesota. Brees’ stat line: 32 of 40 for 412 yards, with five touchdowns and no interceptions, for a passer rating of 149.2. Just another Sunday at the office for Brees, who needs 304 passing yards in his final two games to break Dan Marino’s single-season record that was set in 1984. He also became the first player in league to throw for more than 400 yards and five TDs while completing 80 percent of his passes with no interceptions.
Four. Tamba Hali. We interrupt this avalanche of offense to give a little love to the defense, so Tamba Hali come on down. All the Chiefs’ pass-rusher did in the upset of the Packers was collect three sacks, get two more hits on Rodgers and add a tackle for a loss. And speaking of defense …
Five. Red Bryant. Seeing Big Red block four kicks and grab his first career interception this season has been over-the-top stuff. But Bryant one-upped himself in the Seahawks’ big win over the Bears on Sunday, when he picked off a pass and then broke into his best Deion Sanders’ strut as he crossed the goal line. “That’s a fat kid’s dream right there,” Bryant then offered in the locker room.