Analysis

Week 11 First-and-10: What You Missed Over a Wild Weekend of Football

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Ten wonderful, weird and wacky items from a wild weekend of football:

1st Down

Bills Mafia: Snowplow Specialists

Most of the time, weathermen are unreliable and completely off with their forecasts. But, let’s give them credit where credit is due. The forecast was called to dump six feet of snow in the Buffalo area by Sunday, causing the NFL to relocate the Bills’ game to Detroit. Many turned their noses up at the decision to move the game, with past players and fans pointing out football should be an all-weather sport.

The takes were all fun and games until the photos started rolling in. By 10:45 on Saturday morning, 77 inches of snow was recorded on Buffalo’s stadium. Bills players opened their garages to leave for the airport to find several feet of snow blocking their exit. With one social media post, Bills Mafia went to the rescue with snowblowers and shovels, digging players out of their driveways. Thanks to them, all Bills players made it on time for their flight to Detroit.

2nd Down

Spartan Snowball Fight

The weekend snowstorm that buried Buffalo also hit 320 miles west in East Lansing, Michigan. While the storm didn’t hit quite as hard at Spartan Stadium, there still was plenty of snow for Michigan State fans to get into a fight.

3rd Down

Jimbo in Limbo

An attendance of more 90,000 was announced before Texas A&M took on UMass Saturday. Once halftime hit, there was a stampede for the exits as the Aggies only maintained a 7-point lead on the 10-loss Minutemen. Even though A&M ended up winning the game, it’s been a disappointing season to say the least. A 4-7 record isn’t exactly going to get them into the College Football Playoff, and fans are calling for the firing of head coach Jimbo Fisher. However, if they fired Fisher this season, the boosters would need to come up with a spare $86 million. Easy money.

4th Down

The Game

Saturday at Harvard Stadium was the 138th meeting of Harvard and Yale in an historic matchup known as “The Game”. Built in 1903, Harvard Stadium was the venue that set the standard for field size because it already existed when Teddy Roosevelt demanded the rules of football be reformed in 1906. The rule changes were called for to make the game safer, as players were dying from injuries sustained during play. The most notable change was the legalization of the forward pass.

5th Down

Spencer Rattler is Back

South Carolina routed fifth-ranked Tennessee, 63-38, with the help of a career performance from Spencer Rattler. “Swiss cheese” could be a term used to describe Tennessee’s defense Saturday as Rattler went 30-for-37 for 438 yards and six touchdowns. The Gamecocks scored so many points the stadium ran out of fireworks. South Carolina is buzzing.

6th Down

Punt Return for the Win

The lack of action in the Jets-Patriots game on Sunday would bore even the most loyal fan to sleep. Tied 3-3 with 24 seconds left in the game, the Jets executed the 16th punt of the game to Marcus Jones, who returned it for the winning touchdown. Next Gen Stats had the Patriots’ chances of winning at 51% until Jones broke free, returning the punt to the end zone with five seconds remaining. This 84-yard punt return jumped New England’s chances of winning 47.8 percentage points (from 51% to 98.8%), the most win probability added on a punt return in the Next Gen Stats era.

7th Down

Kick Return for the Record

Cordarrelle Patterson now holds the record for the most kickoff return touchdowns in NFL history. This 103-yard return is the ninth of his career, which surpassed the eight scored by Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington.

8th Down

The 60-Yard Man

Right before halftime, Cowboys kicker Brett Maher was called on to boot a 60-yard field goal. He split the uprights, but before the snap, replay officials called for the previous CeeDee Lamb catch to be reviewed. The catch stood, and Maher had to trot back out to attempt the field goal again. Maher nailed it, giving him his fourth career make from 60-plus yards  — an NFL record — in as many tries. The Cowboys rolled the Vikings, 40-3.

9th Down

Lions are Lit

One of the best scenes of the weekend came from Detroit’s locker room. The Lions smacked the Giants, 31-18, with Jamaal Williams leading the way with three touchdowns. That’s three wins in a row for Detroit, and they are feeling the momentum.

10th Down

Just Montana Things

College Football GameDay took a trip to Montana and brought a relatively unknown rivalry to center stage. Montana and Montana State play in the “Brawl of the Wild”. With the beautiful mountains in the backdrop, MSU went on to beat Montana, 55-21, clinching a share of the Big Sky championship.

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