NFL from Sunday says, “I’m not sure what I am looking at”, but we see Panthers(6-9) at Bucs(7-8) going for the NFC South Title/DJ Reader, called “The Leader” of the Bengals’ defense

Chris Collinsworth, the NBC broadcaster had what might have been the line of the day on Sunday, when he said, “I’m not sure what I am looking at” as Collinsworth was watching Tom Brady try and run the Tampa Bay Bucs’ offense…Chris wasn’t sure what the Buccaneers were trying to do out there, but they did bounce back and beat the Arizona Cardinals, in Overtime…

Bucs over the Cardinals, and now the Carolina Panthers(6-9) will travel and face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(7-8) next Sunday, and the two teams will be fighting for the NFC South Title, and a home field spot, in Round One of the NFL playoffs…

Panthers-Bucs, and this might be the season-decider…The Panthers topped the Lions, back on Saturday to reach this stage of the season…Panthers are playing up, while many other teams are playing down…Baker Mayfield, the Panthers starting QB from earlier this year, led the LA Rams way past the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson on Sunday…Mayfield is playing up and may have found himself a spot, while Wilson is playing down, and he may be lucky to keep his spot….

DJ Reader(Grimsley HS/Clemson) shined on Saturday for the Bengals in their win over the New England Patriots, but DJ only had one tackle and one QB Hit, but big #98 for the Bengals was all over our TV screen, and the game announcers were calling out his name all afternoon long, and continued to say, “DJ Reader was the leader of the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense”…..DJ was all over the television…

On another Sunday note, the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers sure look like they are working their way back into the Playoff Picture….Packers over the Dolphins, 26-20….

On the loss of Franco Harris, from Gene Collier, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Gene Collier: The death of Franco Harris turned a momentous weekend into a staggering loss

Deep in the pages of Art Rooney Jr.’s book about his clan — “Ruanaidh” — there is described one of the rare scouting trips that included his wife, Kay, who accompanied him across a hundred and some miles of bad road to Penn State.

At the end were a revelation and perhaps a momentary switch of sensibilities.

“On a gorgeous fall day, the hills that enclosed the campus were blazing with color,” the passage begins. “Somehow this background seemed perfect; it was just the right setting to view an athlete who might have been carved out of marble by, oh, Michelangelo, let’s say. Later, describing Franco to Kay, I remarked, ‘There’s something classical about him.”

“That’s nice,” she replied, “but can he play?”

Oh could he play.

Just about every description of the enduring impact of Franco Harris on the team and the city he became part of has long since worn thin, but a compulsory summation might include that there were zero winning seasons in the nine prior to his arrival, zero losing seasons in the 12 he played for Pittsburgh, and by no coincidence whatsoever, no city anywhere has won more NFL games in the 50 years since Art Rooney Jr.’s scouting department won a fierce internal argument to draft Harris out of Penn State.

That no athlete did more for the pride and soul and quotidian needs of this city than Franco Harris is beyond dispute, but the ways in which he executed the mission was rarely for show; they were laced with conviction.

Just four years ago, by example, the great Pitt Olympian Herb Douglas came back to Pittsburgh on the 70th anniversary of his medal-winning long jump in London. “I hosted a surprise lunch for Herb on campus, but the truly memorable event was the small dinner that Franco hosted for six of us that night,” former Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said Friday. “We talked for hours, and the main topic was not sports. Instead, we discussed poverty, discrimination, and the power of education. That was a clear reflection of the kind of person that Franco was — deeply committed to confronting the major social problems in our society, reflecting how much he cared about ensuring that everyone had a fair opportunity to pursue the American dream.”

Franco and his wife, Dana, had delivered to Douglas’ Philadelphia condo the big recliner the great Olympian and American businessman reclines in to this day, at age 100.

So this week, maybe you’ve heard, the sport that gave us sudden death delivered to Pittsburgh the absolute worst version possible, taking Franco just one stride from maybe the greatest weekend of his life.

As we learned from one miraculous, almost unthinkably athletic play 50 years ago, Franco Harris’ timing is just not of this world.

CLICK HERE to read more from Gene Collier, great article…Take the the time to give it a read….Side note:Steelers over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night, 13-10 Pittsburgh…..This was the “Immaculate Reception” 50-Year tribute game……

Lots of talk about what the Carolina Panthers are doing, they are part of a Big Playoff Push…From
Panthers’ playoff push is one of NFL’s most improbable storylines this season
from Adam Gretz with

Thanks to their 37-23 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday, the Carolina Panthers find themselves in a fascinating position.

Their record is only 6-9 on the season and they are guaranteed to finish with a losing record for the fifth straight year and sixth time in the past seven years.

But because the rest of the NFC South is so bad, they are in a position to not only make the playoffs, but also host a playoff game if they can just win their last two games of the season at Tampa Bay and at New Orleans.

Is that asking a lot for a 6-9 team to go on the road against divisional opponents and win out? Maybe. But it’s also entirely doable, especially given their recent run.

After Saturday’s convincing win over a Detroit team that has been one of the hottest teams in the league in the second half of the season, they are now 4-2 in their past six games, with the only two losses coming in close games to Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

They are very much in it, and even in the driver’s seat not needing any help from anybody else. All they have to do is win.

What makes all of it so improbable is the sequence of events that has led them to this position.

For starters, they play in the worst division in football where every team entered the weekend at least two games under .500.They have also completely gutted significant parts of the organization in season and been using a revolving door of mediocre quarterbacks.

They fired head coach Matt Rhule after a 1-5 start and replaced him with Steve Wilks, who has taken a team that looked totally defeated and led them to a 5-5 record in his first 10 games.

As for the quarterback situation, they started the year with Baker Mayfield under center, eventually replaced him with P.J. Walker, waived Mayfield, and then turned to their other reclamation project in Sam Darnold.

Darnold has not been a game-changer, but he has played mistake-free football and not thrown an interception in his four starts, in which Carolina has a 3-1 record.

As if those changes were not enough, they also traded away two of their top skill position players when the season looked lost by sending Robbie Anderson to Arizona and superstar running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers.

While the McCaffrey trade seemed like the true give-up moment for the Panthers’ season, the new running back duo of D’Onta Foreman and Chubba Hubbard has been sensational in his absence. The two have combined for six 100-yard games while the Panthers have been one of the best running teams in the league over the second half of the season.

The Panthers are still a very flawed team, but the fact they did not give up on their season and now have a very real chance of hosting a playoff game in a couple of weeks is one of the more improbable storylines of the season.