Welcome to Week 11 Blitzers. Raise your hand if you watched that Monday Night game. If you didn’t, you missed one hell of a fireworks show. It was haymaker after haymaker of offensive prowess that in this bartender’s opinion could have used a little less referee interference. My prediction may have been off regarding the outcome, but Kansas City had more than enough opportunities to put LA away and/or pull off the last second-come-from-behind-victory (can you call it that in this type of game?). I think it should be mandatory that these two teams meet every year for the next 10 years as long as Mahomes and Goff are at the helm. While we’re at it, let’s start with a rematch on February 3, 2019 at Mercedes Benz Stadium for Super Bowl LIII. If that happens, then at least the Patriots won’t be in it! I think the guys felt the same way on the podcast. If want to know why, then you must have missed this week’s episode. You can catch it here:
I’m thankful for a lot of things in my life. I’m thankful for the guys here at Blitzed NFL for giving me this opportunity to write each and every week about football (even though they blame me for anything that goes wrong now… thanks guys). I’m thankful for my family, friends, career and health. I’m also thankful that I was able to actually stay awake here on the east coast to watch the end of that Monday Night game. I’m seeing a theme here… Seeing as its Thanksgiving, I got to thinking “What are NFL teams thankful for this season?” Watching this past week, I decided this week’s blog should be dedicated to this year’s rookie class because let’s face it: Its hit or miss when a team’s draft pick actually becomes a star. Hello Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf. However, when a draft pick does pan out (Shannon Sharpe -7th Round or Joe Montana- 3rd Round), there’s certainly a lot to be thankful for. Here are my Rookie Thanksgiving Feasts from 2018 so far that their respective teams have a lot to be thankful for.
2018 Rookie Thanksgiving Feasts
Darius Leonard (IND)
Can you say 2nd round steal? Leonard has been absolutely dominant in his rookie season and has given Indianapolis every reason to give thanks this holiday season. Currently one of the top dogs in the Defensive Rookie of the Year chase, he’s one of the main reasons (outside of the miraculous return of Andrew Luck) the Colts have surged back into the AFC wild card race. The front office in Indy is certainly raising their glasses at their Thanksgiving table and saying thank you to the 36th overall pick out of South Carolina.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 104 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 INT, 3 PD
Phillip Lindsay (DEN)
If you think a 2nd round pick is a steal, this next rookie is grand larceny in terms of draft picks. This undrafted free agent from Colorado stayed local and signed with his hometown Broncos. Elway is drunk with love (not vodka unfortunately) this Thanksgiving thanks to the production Lindsay has given him all while splitting time with another drafted rookie- Royce Freeman. It's Lindsay, however who seems to be more explosive and given the team better stats each week. Expect Lindsay to see more touches the rest of the way.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 670 yds rush, 5.5 avg, 5 TD; 24 rec 187 yds 1 TD
Saquon Barkley (NYG)
Saquon Barkley is the significant other that is invited to Thanksgiving dinner and meets the family for the very first time. Tons of pressure. Crazy environment. Every move analyzed. I don’t know about you, but the 2nd overall pick from Penn St has made the Giants forget about Sam Darnold (or any of the other QBs taken in the draft that the Giants may have stupidly considered taking instead of Barkley) and has passed the tests with flying colors. The Giants love him. NY loves him. This bartender loves him and now he’s in the other room taking shots with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Shirley. Tests passed.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 728 yds rush 7TDs; 64 rec 540 yds 3 TDs)
Derwin James (LAC)
Quick question Blitzers- who is currently leading the Pro Bowl voting for safety in both the AFC or NFC? That’s right, the 17th overall pick from Florida State is the leading vote-getter thus far (I know its still early but that’s crazy for a rookie considering the other established safeties in the NFL). San Dieg-er- Los Angeles is very quietly putting together a great year and James is leading a defense that is extremely difficult to pass on. The reason the Chargers are so thankful for James is he fell to them at pick 17 when he was projected to go in the top 10. That’s like having your favorite dessert all to yourself at Thanksgiving, after you come out of your food coma from dinner. Or maybe you just hid the dessert like I do every year. SHH.. don’t tell my Mom. I promise you, though, no one hid Derwin James from the other 16 teams who passed on him.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 62 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 7 PD
So onto the game of the week. This week’s game features two teams that do not have much to be thankful for this year other than, well, hoping to position themselves to land a guy like one of the Feasts above. Folks, I give you the San Francisco 49ers (2-8) vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) as my Boozy Game of the Week. Why, Barkeep? Why would you do this to us? Well, because sometimes you just need a reason to drink - and this drink looks awesome.
1 ½ oz. Kraken Black Spiced Rum
2 oz. Guinness Stout
Blitzed Build: Combine Kraken and Coke in a half pint glass, top with Guinness
Unlike last week, this is not a preview of Super Bowl XLIII. The Niners lost their top offseason acquisition in the preseason, then their stud, adult-actress-dating quarterback during Week 3 (both to ACL tears). They are also the current holder of the top pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The Bucs have rotated starting QBs this year more than the Kardashians have rotated NBA players through their bedrooms. Neither have been good decisions and neither seem to have ended very well. Regardless, both teams had promising starts to the season that were derailed very quickly, which gives both teams reasons to drink.
So lets drink! Jameis Winston gets the start for Tampa Bay again. After throwing several passes to the wrong red-colored jerseys, he decides to take a cab ride (alone) to the super market for some delicious crab legs. Ryan Fitztragic continues the tradition of great season starts and terrible season finishes (I’m a Bills fan, I know.) and comes in to save the day, or so it would seem. After leading Tampa to back to back touchdown drives to take the lead, he proceeds to throw back to back interceptions, raising San Francisco’s total to 7 on the day. Coach Koetter has had enough and decides to instill a run only offense for the rest of the day. With San Francisco leading by 3, Fitzpatrick somehow still throws a 3rd interception without throwing the ball, with under a minute left. San Francisco wins the game, moves to 3-7 and ruins its chances to tank the season for the 1st overall pick in next year’s draft.
No seriously, that was close to my prediction. Except Winston isn’t going to go steal any crab legs. Or take a cab ride… alone… again. I do think this is going to be a sloppy game with several turnovers on both sides. We may see a QB switch AGAIN if Winston can’t produce. San Francisco has turned its offense over to undrafted-free-agent-wonder Nick Mullens (will he become a Thanksgiving feast?) and Tampa Bay still has a really good offense if they can clean up the mistakes. I think San Francisco keeps the first overall pick for the time being and Tampa pulls this one out at home.
Final Score: Tampa Bay 30 San Fran 21
Well Blitzers, that’s all from your Blitzed Barkeep for now. Remember to drink responsibly, take Brady’s name in vain and always give your keys to a friend if you’ve had too much. Tune in to the Blitzed NFL podcast this Tuesday to hear the guys review this week’s drink of the week and recap all of the action during Week 12.
The Blitzed Barkeep is a #TeamBlitzed All Pro from Bills Mafia. You can follow Blitzed Barkeep on Twitter here.