NFL Midseason Review Nov 17, 2014
The Cleveland Show:
After Week 11 of the NFL season, the biggest surprise this season has been the surging play of the Cleveland Browns.
In the offseason, the Browns made some solid roster moves. They signed 2-time Pro Bowler safety Donte Whitner, running back Ben Tate, and a combo of veteran wide receivers in Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins. They continued this trend at the draft, as they picked Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winning party-boy as their quarterback of the future. This began a media frenzy during the pre-season between Brian Hoyer and “Johnny Football.” The former was a reliable yet unspectacular veteran, while the latter was an eccentric yet exciting party-boy, who had boatloads of potential. The two competed for the starting QB position, where Hoyer eventually won out with his steady play and veteran leadership.
The Brown’s season took a turn however, when Josh Gordon was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Leading the NFL in receiving yards in just 14 games the previous year, Gordon their undisputed go-to star wide-receiver. This was hence a huge blow to the Browns organization, and led most to believe that their season was over before it even started.
The Browns however, had different ideas. They regrouped and with a three game winning streak from week 8 to week 10 and now find themselves at a surprisingly solid 6-4 record, good enough for 6th in the AFC Conference.
They now go into week 12 with a matchup against the Atlanta Falcons… with Josh Gordon back in the lineup! They will surely be a team to watch as the regular season winds down.
The Underachieving Bears:
There is no doubt that the biggest disappointment this season has been the Chicago Bears.
The Bears came out of the offseason with high aspirations. They had arguably one of the best offenses in the NFL, led by the tandem of 2013 Pro Bowlers in their receiving core: Alshon Jeffery & Brandon Marshall. They also have one of the better running backs in the league in Matt Forte, as well as Martellus Bennett at tight end, and Jay Cutler at quarterback. They also got a boost to their defensive backfield by drafting cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Unfortunately, the Bears find themselves at a dismal 4-6 record post Week 11 and have allowed an outrageous 63 points in their last three games. The man who recently got a $100 million contract, Jay Cutler has been egregious in his play, leading the league in fumbles. Clearly, the Bear’s fan base is not receiving what they expected from their team.
The Steelers: Are They For Real?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently 6-4 heading into Week 11 of the NFL season, and have faced a bumpy journey along the way.
The Steelers looked great in week 3: a blowout win on the road against the Carolina Panthers. The next week however, they lost to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a of 27-24 on their home field. They quickly turned their game around in weeks 8 & 9. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw 6 touchdown passes in consecutive games, the first time that had happened in NFL history. At this point, the Steelers seemed to be a legitimate threat going forward. However, the Steelers then lost to the dysfunctional New York Jets in week 10, which fans thought would have been an easy win. The Pittsburgh Steelers are showing a complete lack of consistency and teamwork. It has an up-and-down rollercoaster ride for the organization and its fans.
However, setting all statistics aside, in the NFL nothing can be guaranteed. Seven weeks are left in the season, which leaves a plethora of time for every team to improve their chances to win the 2014 Super Bowl. All in all, the first half of the NFL season has been phenomenally entertaining and the fans can’t wait for more!
Written By: Aftaab Dhillon