I got a bad feeling for my friend Gabe as we drove to Squaw Valley for dinner Saturday night. Gabe said he was sitting Ben Roethlisberger in deference to Austin Davis, thinking Ben would have a tough time against the Colts, noting every time he had a hunch and sat Davis anyway, he was wrong.
I compartmentalized differently: I would not want to go up against the Chiefs, even less so than face the explosive Indianapolisians.
So, Sunday morning, as we cleaned up the Tahoe house, I was indeed able to stream the NFL Network live till around noon when we hit the road for the third week in a row (how could I plan to be away so much in October?). Gabe and his wife Kelli had left a few hours before we got all the dogs in the car by noon, and since I knew the Raiders were playing the struggling Browns this week, I tracked the games on my iPhone with visions of listening to perhaps a Raiders win.
Short lived, for as we lowered in elevation, it was wild to see the Bears get completely chewed up by Tom Brady and the Patriots. Of course, it is amazing to see an NFL team score 50 points. Unfortunately, the Roethlisberger gods were not so happy with me either, as I picked up the Bears defense this week (my regular SF defense had their bye), giving me minus 13.5 points, my third negative this year in one league.
We did make it home in time for me to actually watch part of the Raiders final quarter, but in Auburn I already knew of Gabe's travail, having seen Big Ben had four TD passes already.
I stomached what I could of the Oakland game, then flipped to the Colts, where Andrew Luck had brought his team within 10 of the high flying Steelers. But, as soon as I noticed the throw-back bumble bee jerseys the Steelers had donned, I just had a feeling this was Roethlisberger's day.
It was, and again, so exciting to see two teams score 50 points over four periods. And, despite the Colts loss, a shootout football game is just great to watch.
Over the past weeks, I have been trying to cover a handful of players to pick up or track come Sunday.
This time it is back to basics for players who are probably rostered in every league.
They are Roethlisberger and Brady, now wily veterans who can indeed deliver big games in a Peyton Manning way (much more readily than the Russell Wilsons, Cam Newtons, and Colin Kaepernicks for another season).
If you have them, play them. Plain and simple.