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NFL Week 13 recap: When life hits hard

Members of the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers pray together following their game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Rob Woodfork, wtop.com

The 2012 NFL season has seemed especially difficult.

For the second time this season, something serious has forced us all to stop and take inventory of life outside the white lines.

First, it was Colts coach Chuck Pagano’s cancer struggle. Now, it’s the tragic tale of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.

When real life hits this hard, it’s not only a time to grieve. It’s a time to reflect and try to gain some perspective. It’s a time to consider what we’re doing and perhaps what we should be doing.

Chiefs QB Brady Quinn showed such perspective after Kansas City’s 27-21 win over Carolina. Quinn hasn’t exactly been a big name since college, but he came up huge not only in a rare Chiefs victory, but at the podium when he spoke to the media after it. If you haven’t seen his postgame comments, here’s the meat of what he had to say:

    “It was tough. I think it was an eerie feeling after a win because you don’t think that you can win in this situation. The one thing people can hopefully try to take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people. I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth? We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to- day basis.”

Well said, Brady.

This is part of why I think the team and the league were right to play this game as scheduled even though it came just 28 hours removed from an unspeakable tragedy. For some, their work is their sanctuary. For some, playing this game was therapeutic and necessary.

I’ve dealt with loss before. When my grandmother died, I went to work that day. When my father passed away unexpectedly, I missed less than a week even though I lived out of town. Right or wrong, my way was my way. People should have the right to choose.

The Chiefs asked to play this game, and we saw why. People deal with grief differently, and this is what Kansas City needed on this day. No grief counselor in the world could have given that locker room a three-hour diversion like this.

Plus, with the game now in the rearview mirror, all thoughts can now turn to where they belong: the family of Jovan Belcher, the family of Kasandra Perkins and the innocent little 3-month-old who very quickly and tragically became an orphan after a senseless act Saturday morning. Thoughts go to the Chiefs organization as well – nobody should have to witness what that team did Saturday.

Now, we respectfully move on to the Week 13 recap (sans the Chiefs/Panthers game for obvious reasons):

Saints 13
Falcons 23

Still doubting the Atlanta defense? They picked off Drew Brees five times and snapped his record of consecutive games with a TD at 54. Either that or New Orleans played a prank on fantasy owners and put Tony Romo in a Brees jersey.

Jaguars 18
Bills 34

Make that three solid efforts in a row by Buffalo’s defense. I’m far from a Bills fan, but I hope they keep coach Chan Gailey around long enough to see what he can do with a legit starting QB in the fold.

Seahawks 23
Bears 17 (OT)

The Offensive Rookie of the Year vote just got a lot closer. First, Russell Wilson engineered a huge win in Chicago…

Colts 35
Lions 33

…then Andrew Luck’s game-winning drive to beat Detroit might have just closed the gap on an award that once seemed like a lock to go to RGIII.

Vikings 14
Packers 23

Memo to Minnesota: Adrian Peterson can’t do it all by himself. He’ll get you close. But he can’t do it by himself.

Texans 24
Titans 10

I won my fantasy game this week almost entirely on the back of the Houston D. That’s all I’ve got for a game of which nobody seemed to want to play highlights.

Niners 13
Rams 16 (OT)

Don’t look now, but St. Louis just played its way right back into the playoff picture. With Minnesota, Tampa, and Seattle lined up for the last three weeks of the season, and a tiebreaker advantage over Washington, the Rams can make the chase for the sixth seed in the NFC very interesting…

Patriots 23
Dolphins 16

For those keeping score at home, that’s nine AFC East titles in 10 years for New England. Boy, the downward spiral is gonna hurt once the Brady/Belichick tandem leaves town…

Cardinals 6
Jets 7

“Oh, now you pull Mark Sanchez!” — Tim Tebow

Bucs 23
Broncos 31

Congrats to AFC West champion Denver. I still think Houston represents the AFC in the Super Bowl, but the only team in the conference that could make me second- guess that pick is the Broncos.

Browns 20
Raiders 17

Only because somebody had to win.

Bengals 20
Chargers 13

Another week, another fourth-quarter lead blown by the Chargers in San Diego. It’s become so unremarkable that I’m not even making a Norv Turner statement this week. Even I have a limit.

Steelers 23
Ravens 20

For whatever reason, Harbaughs and handshakes just don’t mix.

Eagles 33
Cowboys 38

Casey Matthews openly talks about a potential candidate for the next coach. Someone in the organization gets fired after every loss. Is this still an NFL team or “Survivor: Philadelphia”?

Giants 16
Redskins 17

It’s a charmed life for RGIII. Even when he screws up, he manages to do things right. Washington … NFC East doormat no more.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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