Five Wide: 2023 Week Thirteen
By Thomas Willoughby
Now, I don’t know if there’s any truth in this, but it certainly felt like this weekend was the wettest in recent NFL history. Seemingly every outdoor game was played in some sort of downpour, which made for some pretty horrendous showings. Didn’t stop me watching intently, mind. But still!
A couple of big moments in the NFL this weekend. Fresh questions over Philadelphia and Kansas City after their respective defeats. Who’s actually good this year? I don’t know! Here’s Five Wie.
Sunday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
49ers/Eagles was billed as the game of the week, and it’s hard to argue that it really lived upt to billing. Like it started out pretty even, but the 49ers soon took over and, well, you already know what happened there. Didn’t expect that sort of result, did you?
I don’t really have much to say on the game itself, on the basis that it kind of felt over just after halftime. Clearly, both sets of players had that same feeling, because minutes later they started swinging. To the point security got involved.
Tempers are flaring between the 49ers and Eagles in Philly. pic.twitter.com/rnylqh4pWY— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 3, 2023
I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit to now knowing who Dom DiSanto was until literally Sunday night, but he’s the face of the Philidelphia Eagles now. A big ol’ random guy squaring up to Dre Greenlaw in the middle of a freezing cold night. You don’t get more Philly than that.
At the time of writing, we don’t know what punishment awaits DiSantos for doing his job (I guess?), but he’s gonna be on t-shirts and banners for the rest of the Eagles season. “Do it for Dommy”, they’ll no doubt say. And if they do do it for him, get that man a ring.
Well, there goes the Carolina Panthers- a team I’ve highlighted far too often this season, despite just how bloody awful they are. One win! In Twelve games! Horrendous. Despite that, they went into last night knowing they could still, against all odds, mathematically win the NFC South. Which speaks volumes to how pathetic that division is. Anyway, could they overcome the odds, and themselves, to end the season strongly? Lol.
They made a game of it, though. In torrential conditions, the Panthers took on the Buccaneers and, for my money, outplayed the divisions now-2nd-placed team for long stretches, and just couldn’t get over the line. A 21-18 defeat in the rain. Better luck next time, boys!
So where next for the Panthers? Not to rehash my own words from last week, but there’s a lot to be done. For presumably a young offensive mind with no head coaching experience. 2 Sean 2 McVay, or something.
Wilson Watch, Episode Four
Didn’t expect to revisit this segment this season. Despite being unceremoniously dropped to the role of “emergency 3rd QB”, Zach Wilson hangs over the New York Jets like the Goodyear blimp. And he didn’t even play this weekend!
The Jets got slapped by the all-conquering, supremely talented Atlanta Falcons, 13-8 in New Meadowlands. Tim Boyle started the afternoon as the sides quarterback, and Trevor Siemian ended it. The results speak for themselves. And where did that lead them? Back to Zach, apparently. But there’s a twist! Zach Wilson isn’t so keen on stepping back into the ring, citing the injury risk involved with it.
And let me be the first to say: good for you, Zach! The Jets have done a really bad job of developing his talents over the past three seasons, and, as far as I’m concerned, there’s next to no chance he’s a Jet in 2024. And his stock is basically zero as it is. Why risk his health (and his future career prospects) for a team that doesn’t respect him, for a season that has no positive ending in sight? Ride that bench, boyo.
I’m interested to see what happens with Wilson next. As I said, he’s likely not going to be a Jet next season, and the best-case scenario would be for him to be released rather than traded. Go to a team with an established starter, with an established coaching setup, and take some time to just learn for a bit. He’s going to get the opportunity to compete for a starting gig again in the future, I promise you. Hopefully then he’ll be ready.
And THAT’S the final episode of Wilson Watch. He says.
AFC South opening up
Monday night football served up a bit of a corker, with the Cincinnati Brownings walking into Jacksonville and stealing a win in the AFC’s Jungle Cat Derby. 34-31, and their seasons alive. That’s not what we’re talking about, however. What we’re talking about is the tumble Trevor Lawrence took in the 4th quarter. A concerning fall that he struggled to get back up from, and didn’t see him return to action at all.
The morning after the night before, and it’s reported Lawrence has suffered from a high ankle sprain, which is not considered to be season-ending, but does leave his immediate availability uncertain. Which, all of a sudden, makes the AFC South pretty interesting.
C.J. Beathard is a clear downgrade at the position, and they face a terrifying Browns/Ravens doubleheader over the next two weeks. For Lawrence’s long-term health, those games couldn’t have come at a better time. For the Jags divisional prospects, with the Texans and Colts both lurking only a game behind, that final stretch over Christmas and the New Year is going to become paramount. It’s not their title just yet.
The European Invasion
Just want to end this week’s edition by highlighting some of the cool moments European NFL fans got to enjoy this past weekend. Not in Europe, but in the States, at the games. Because, no, we’re not content with having a handful of games played in our continent every year.
Starting the New Jersey, and pre-match jersey swap was organised between fans representing the UK & Irish Jets, and Atlanta Falcons Germany. Down on the field, a quick picture in the freezing rain, and on we go. I can’t speak for the Jets, but I know the Falcons have been incredibly accommodating to the German-based club that took in two Falcons games (and wins) over 10ish days. Keep them over there, I say. We’ve found our lucky charms.
International jersey swap! 🇬🇧🇩🇪— New York Jets UK (@NYJetsinUK) December 3, 2023
UK-based Jets fan Luke and Germany-based Falcons fan Alesantoz met up for a pre-game jersey swap on the field at rainy MetLife! 🙌
Thanks so much for your support and to all of the fans who travel to see us play live! 💚 pic.twitter.com/jDEmeHtBIz
Meanwhile, down in Florida, a Welsh Buccaneers fan got enough retweets to make the organisaiton agree to her becoming a flag runner pre-match ahead of the Panthers game. It looks absolutely knackering, so better her than me, but it sounds like she had a blast, at the very least.
Yesterday Welsh @Buccaneers superfan @AllAboutBucs was a flag runner at Raymond James stadium!— NFL UK (@NFLUK) December 4, 2023
Representing @BucsUK and NFL UK fans on her team's home field, we love to see it! 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/wulKv3qsD0
Feels quite cool for the overseas fans to be recognised outside of the London and German games. When someone is brave enough to send me to Atlanta, I hope Arthur Blank will notice and ask me to call offensive plays. If i get 5000 retweets will you let me do it, Art?
Features Image Credit: Adam Hunger-Associated Press