About Last Weekend: Welcome Back, Mamba

In case you were busy finding a new locker room from which to ban stat sheets, here’s what you missed in sports last weekend:

  • Kobe Bryant returned to action after rehabbing from last year’s Achilles tear, but his Lakers suffered a rare home defeat to the Toronto Raptors 106-94. “It’s OK that we lost,” Bryant said after the game while sitting in the locker room. “Fear can be a very powerful motivator.” Suddenly the lights in the locker room went out, and horrifying screams echoed through the facility. The lights flickered on briefly, and a young girl was standing with her back to Lakers guard Nick Young, singing, “Do you want to play with me?” in a sweet tone. Then the lights cut out again before quickly coming back on. The girl had turned around, and instead of a child’s face, she had the face of Popeye Jones. “Do you want to play with me?” the little girl with Popeye Jones’s face sang in a scratch baritone to a terrified Nick Young. The lights cut out again, before coming back on to reveal everything back to normal. As Nick Young curled into a ball on the locker-room floor, Bryant chuckled to himself by his locker, and said, “Yes, things will be all right. Fear is a very powerful motivator.”
  • Between blizzard-like conditions in the first half and five touchdowns in the final 125 seconds of the game, the Ravens’ 29-26 win over the Vikings ranks among the most thrilling games of the NFL season. “Was it thrilling?” asked Minnesota super-fan Anna Matthews, “I wasn’t thrilled, that much I can tell you. Because I’ve lived in Edina my entire life, and let me tell you there was nothing thrilling about that game. First of all, you call that a blizzard? No, siree. Not here in Edina. Second of all, my brother Mark, he and I were watching together with my ma, Chris. And all of us were saying, ‘They’ll find a way to lose.’ We all said it. Even my pops, Big Mark. He said it. He said, ‘This is not thrilling as the outcome is certain.’ Not my brother’s wife though. Sandra. She’s from Wisconsin. She said, ‘Don’t be so negative.’ I swear to you that’s what she said. Now, I don’t want to say anything mean, but she found it thrilling.” Anna then shook her head and added, “I really didn’t want to say anything mean about Sandra. I really didn’t.”
  • Ohio State dropped its first game of Urban Meyer’s tenure, losing 34-24 to Michigan State, which cost the Buckeyes the Big Ten championship, a shot at the BCS title, and a Rose Bowl berth against Stanford. “Other than that, how was the game, Mr. Meyer?” Meyer joked to a silent press corp after the game, before looking around and adding, “What? Are we still too soon on Lincoln? Come on, give me that one. I could really use it. I mean, Sic Semper SEC, am I right? No? Nothing? Screw this.”
  • Auburn took advantage of Ohio State’s slip-up, beating Missouri 59-42 to grab the second spot in the BCS standings, ensuring the SEC will once again have a representative in the national title game. “It’s all working out just as I planned,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban as he looked over the final BCS standings. “Now all I need is for Auburn to defeat Florida State, and then we’ll get another crack at those Tigers to reclaim our spot atop the standings. Isn’t that right, Doug?” Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier froze with fear before sputtering out, “Yes, yes, Nick, exactly. Perfectly well planned. Nothing about your plan could possibly go awry.”
  • Denver kicker Matt Prater hit an NFL record 64-yard field goal in the Broncos’ 51-28 win over the Tennessee Titans. “But what about me?” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said to himself after the game as the media rushed to interview the team’s kicker. “I’m so lonely.” Manning then thought for a second before saying, “Oh! This must be what it feels like to be Eli. Why have I been so cruel?” Manning then went to send Eli a text apologizing for all the years of brotherly abuse he had doled out, only to see Eli’s face on his phone. After another moment of reflection, Peyton quickly typed out a text saying, “smell ya later, brah,” before laughing to himself and hitting the showers.
  • Zach Johnson stormed back from a four-shot deficit with eight holes to play to stun Tiger Woods in a playoff at the World Challenge at Sherwood. “Well, this feels like a turning point,” Woods said of the rare late collapse. “Time, she is a cruel mistress.” Woods then paused and added, “I, um, I really didn’t mean to phrase it like that.”
  • Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers kept their NFC West hopes alive with a nail-biting 19-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks. “God, that win felt good,” Harbaugh said after the game. “I just can’t stand their head coach. It’s like, just calm down, Pete, and coach the fucking game!” When asked if he thought his complaints were a touch ironic, Harbaugh said, “No, why? Am I overly energetic during the games? Am I other than calm? No? Right?” Harbaugh then cast his mind back over the previous three hours. “Oh, god,” he whispered. “I am. Pete Carroll and I, we’re not so different after all.” Suddenly, major chords swelled under Harbaugh as he began to sing, “Could it be? My enemy is just like me? That hate was all that I could see. True love is our real destiny! Me and Pete, Jim and he! Frolicking down by the sea! We’ll tear down all the referees! Best friends into eternity! Me and Pete! Jim … and … he!” Harbaugh then cleared his throat and added over thunderous applause, “JIM HARBAUGH, JIM HARBAUGH, JIM HARBAUGH!”

Filed Under: About Last Weekend, Auburn, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Michigan State, Minnesota Vikings, Missouri, Ohio State, San Francisco 49Ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Tiger Woods, Toronto Raptors

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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