It was a night for young guys. College football. A rookie NFL quarterback. Kevin Durant (yeah, feels like he’s been around forever already, but he just turned 24 in September – he’s only a year older than Andrew Luck). Pity you missed it all. As usual, though, we’ve got you covered – let’s get down to our morning business and take a look at last night’s action. As always, you’re welcome.
How ’bout them Co[lt]s?
Granted the Jaguars have been beyond awful at home, so a 5-3 team should be expected to come out of Jacksonville with a win, but it’s still hard not to be impressed with what the Colts are doing. They’ve won three times as many games as last year, they’re firmly entrenched in the AFC playoff picture, and they thoroughly avenged an earlier loss to the Jaguars this season, winning 27-10. Andrew Luck completed 18 of 26 passes, and while he threw a pick and lost a fumble, he also ran for two scores. It was another effective outing in a increasingly impressive year, and while the Colts have some tough games remaining (two games against the Texans, for example), there’s much to be excited about in Indy.
In Jacksonville? Well… not so much. The Jags are 1-8. Maurice Jones-Drew is out. Top draft pick Justin Blackmon hasn’t done much of anything. The offense isn’t scoring. The defense isn’t stopping. And now coach Mike Mularkey is losing it. Is there a more depressing franchise in the NFL? If there is, we don’t even want to think about it. It’s too early for that kind of sadness.
Kevin Durant: good.
Tempting as it might have been to sound the alarm for the Thunder after they traded away James Harden, last night Kevin Durant showed why you still underestimate the Western Conference champs at your peril. Sure, it could be argues that needing a fourth-quarter rally to put away the Rose-less Bulls is a troublesome sign in and of itself, but we’d suggest it’s more than outweighed by the presence of the NBA’s best pure scorer, who put up 10 points in that final period to power the Thunder to a 97-91 win. Managing a victory when Russell Westbrook shoots 7-for-22 is promising. And hey, the Bulls still aren’t bad without Rose, they’re just not as good. All things considered, a good night for OKC.
And in the NBA’s other action last night, the Clippers topped the Trail Blazers 103-90 in Portland. Damian Lillard (16 points, four assists, three steals) continued to make the Blazers look smart, but he was going up against Chris Paul, and in general, it’s smart to bet on the team that has Chris Paul on it. And DeAndre Jordan being unstoppable (21 points on 8-of-10 shooting) didn’t hurt either, nor did Jamal Crawford’s 25 points off the bench. But the Clippers are a threat to actually do anything playoff-wise because Paul is on their side now. If he winds up skipping town as a free agent, that would… just be so Clippers, really.
Florida State escapes.
For the first time in a long time, a Florida State team is pretty much living up to the hype. Sure, there was that crushing loss to a middling North Carolina State team that knocked the ‘Noles out of the national title picture, but following a 28-22 nail-biter of a win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last night, it’s safe to say: Florida State is good. Sure, Virginia Tech isn’t that good for the first time in several years, but they’re still a dangerous team to play on the road – and with a coupe minutes to go, it looked like they might pull the upset.
But again, this Florida State team is a bit different from the several that came before it, and E.J. Manuel marched his team down the field and connected with Rashad Greene for a 39-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left. Virginia Tech followed that up by threatening to score but ultimately throwing a pick, and that was that. Maybe it’s too soon to say Florida State is back, but Jimbo Fisher sure seems like he has them on their way.
Photos via Getty