There were a lot of football stories this weekend that included some surprise performances from players and teams. There were also some other shocks of the weekend that were very surprising as we head into winter. As is always the case, we miss some shocks but that is when we like to hear from you about what you felt should have made the cut.
10. Kyrie Irving is back
The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping this day would come sooner rather than later, but Kyrie Irving is finally back for the team. He announced through his Twitter account that he is back, following a report earlier in the week that he would play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) December 19, 2015
9. Tyrann Mathieu injury
It wouldn’t be a shocks of the weekend without another injury, right? Injuries themselves aren’t shocking, but when they occur is, and Mathieu’s injury is no different. The Arizona Cardinals clinched the division and a playoff spot last night after beating the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, but losing Mathieu would be a huge loss for this team.
8. National spotlight for North Carolina A&T
The biggest thing we learned from the first bowl game of the season is that North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen is a beast. In the inaugural Celebration Bowl against Alcorn State, Cohen rushed for 295 yards and three touchdowns with TD runs of 74, 83 and 73 yards to lead the Aggies to a 41-34 victory.
7. Odell Beckham Jr.’s true colors?
OBJ was matched up against Carolina Panthers‘ cornerback Josh Norman and it was a battle for the ages. An early drop that would have been a touchdown led to a physical altercation on almost every down between the two players. Norman says that the NFL and its fans have finally seen who Beckham really is. We aren’t sure that’s really the case, but there was more than enough extra curricular activity going on to land Beckham in some hot water. Has Norman become a more physical version of Darrelle Revis as a shutdown corner?
6. Pistons-Bulls overtime thriller
The Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons provided one of the best games of the 2015 NBA season; a game that went to four overtimes before declaring a winner. The Pistons pulled out a 147-144 win that was the longest game in franchise history but the Bulls didn’t let them walk away with the win. Andre Drummond had a career-high 33 points and 21 rebounds for the Pistons, and the Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler’s 43 points. Five players eclipsed 30 points in the game also.
5. Washington Redskins at 7-7
The surprising thing about the Redskins leveling their record is how dominant their offense looked against a good Buffalo Bills defense. It was Kirk Cousins early and often for Washington and they never looked back after jumping out to a 21-0 lead. The Redskins may have found their franchise quarterback in Cousins and he has helped give the team a one game lead in the NFC East.
4. Manchester United falling
After getting knocked out of the UEFA Champions League field, the Reds followed it up with a 2-1 loss to Norwich City. Louis Van Gaal’s team is struggling and falling quickly down the Premier League table and it could cost the manager his job. Could Jose Mourinho be headed to Old Trafford? Rumor has it that the club has already contacted Mourinho about taking over. If that does happen, Mourinho will face his former Chelsea club in the first match.
3. Colorado Avalanche on fire
The only thing worse than an avalanche is a flaming avalanche, which is exactly what Colorado is at this point of the NHL season. The team is riding a five-game winning streak with wins over the Oilers, Islanders, Blackhawks, Blues and Predators. They also were able to put an end to Patrick Kane’s point streak in the win over Chicago. With the most wins of any NHL team in the month of December, it seems that the Avalanche are hitting their stride when they needed it most.
2. Steven Jackson signs with Patriots
The New England Patriots have signed running back Steven Jackson to a one-year deal and it allows Jackson to go to the playoffs for the first time in his career. It is worth mentioning that Jackson has yet to play a snap this season and still is headed to the playoffs. Congrats on a career first, and we are sure that he is glad that the Cowboys didn’t sign him earlier in the season.
1. FIFA ethics committee drops the hammer
Soccer fans were waiting for a ruling from FIFA in the corruption case of President Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, and we finally have an answer. BBC Sport reports that Blatter and Platini have been suspended for eight years, but the men will appeal the ruling. With their suspension, it is possible that soccer around the world can clean up its act in their absence, and become an organization that can kill corruption.