As the last few seconds of the Rams-49ers game ticked off the clock, I was thinking the same thing every other person in America was: This blows. Sunday’s matchup resulted in the NFL’s first tie game since 2008. No one wants to see a hard-fought game end in a tie. It is a competition for a reason and that is to find a winner. As Herm Edwards once said, “You play to win the game!”
Ties in sports suck. They should be reserved for soccer and chess, not football. No fan wants to go to a game and say they saw a tie. Even college football is more progressive than the NFL, with no game ending this way. Call this an overreaction, but something needs to be done to eliminate ties in the NFL. In the end, with the way both teams executed in the late moments of the game, neither team truly showed they deserved to win.
While the end result of Sunday’s game was disappointing, the actual game itself was quite surprising and could have major implications on the NFL postseason. For one, the 49ers have a tie in its record now instead of a win or loss, which can either help or hurt them come the final week of the season. Most importantly, however, quarterback Alex Smith went out with a concussion during the game. Smith’s status for next Sunday’s matchup against the Bears is up in the air. In what looked like perhaps the game of the week, featuring the best defenses in the league, we may see two replacement quarterbacks filling in for their concussed starters.
St. Louis, meanwhile, showed an improved offensive attack coming off a bye week. Danny Amendola is once again one of the top slot receivers in the game after missing three games due to a broken collarbone. Sam Bradford found Amendola 11 times for 102 yards while Steven Jackson ran the ball for 101 yards and a touchdown. If the Rams can continue to execute offensively and pressure the quarterback as they did against the 49ers, they can most definitely be one of the more improved teams late in the year and a playoff team come next season.
Pickups of the Week
Danario Alexander, Wide Receiver, San Diego
Alexander exploded on Sunday for a limited Chargers receiving corps with five catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. On the opening possession of the game, Alexander broke a tackle en route to an 80-yard touchdown. Despite most of his stats resulting from one play, Alexander was still able to rack up 54 yards on four catches during the remainder of the game.
Danario was tied for the lead among Chargers receivers with seven targets, and along with Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates, is expected to be one of the leading offensive weapons for San Diego. During week nine, Alexander caught three passes for 61 yards. He has shown he can be a threat when healthy, and with a high-octane passing offense in San Diego, Alexander has the potential to become a relevant and important late-season addition for many teams.
Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Miami
Tannehill was abysmal this past Sunday against the Titans, throwing three interceptions against a less than intimidating Tennessee defense. Despite this, the rookie quarterback still managed to throw for 217 yards while completing 23 of 39 pass attempts. This week features a favorable matchup against Buffalo, the second worst team defensively in terms of points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
Miami may not have the best receivers, but it features reliable targets in Davone Bess and Brian Hartline. If the Dolphins can get Reggie Bush involved in the passing game with some open space, Tannehill could be a major beneficiary in terms of both fantasy points and on-field success.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of November 14th, 2012’s print edition of the Nexus.