In case you were busy watching a Hobbit reference defeat a reappropriated Anchorman quote in your fantasy football title game, here’s what you missed in sports this weekend:
- Cam Newton and the Panthers clinched a playoff berth, overcoming the elements and a stout New Orleans effort to beat the Saints, 17-13. “This is great for my team and me,” Newton said after the game. “We’re in the playoffs, and I can finally get the publicity I need to get my other dream off the ground.” Newton then pulled out a package of “Cam Newtons” and explained: “Look, they’re tiny cakes that taste like chamomile tea. They’re like dessert, but they also help you wind down.” When asked if they were basically tea cookies, Newton glared and said, “I cannot believe you just said that. It’s not a cookie, man. It’s a Cam Newton. It’s tea and cake. You just made an enemy for life.”
- The Dallas Cowboys came from behind to stun Washington, 24-23, giving themselves a de facto one-game playoff with the Philadelphia Eagles next weekend for the NFC East title. But owner and general manager Jerry Jones won’t be there to see the game, as he’ll be too busy giving his vast fortune to the disadvantaged, having been visited before the game by “The Ghost of Boxing Day Past,” in the form of a terrifyingly distraught Quincy Carter.
- Despite intercepting Carson Palmer four times, the Seattle Seahawks lost their first home game in nearly two years, falling 17-10 to the Arizona Cardinals. “This is impossible,” said die-hard Seahawks fan and Mercer Island native Noah Ferron. “We’ve never lost at home ever as I understand it. I don’t even know what to feel. I have anger in me and also sadness and also confusion as to why certain refereeing decisions happened. These are not the emotions of a Seahawks fan!” Ferron then tore off his ironic throwback Brandon Browner jersey and wailed, “I cannot imagine a loss crueler than this one,” in reference to a loss that does not prevent the Seahawks from grabbing the top seed in the NFC. “Surely there shan’t be more turbulent times ahead! Not for I, Noah Ferron, Seahawks fan! These are the most turbulent of times!”
- Third-ranked Ohio State overturned an eight-point deficit in the final minute to beat Notre Dame, 64-61, at Madison Square Garden. The Ohio State Buckeyes are now 12-0, with a record that perhaps overstates the quality of a still very good team, thus making Ohio State the Ohio State of college basketball.
- Washington State suffered one of the cruelest defeats in bowl history, giving up a 22-point lead on a series of improbable fumbles to lose the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, 48-45, to the Colorado State Rams. “Look, I don’t want to blame anyone,” a visibly itchy Washington State head coach Mike Leach said after the game. “But the real loser here is Gildan and its cut-rate cotton T-shirts. These things are basically sandpaper.” When asked if he was trying to shift attention away from his team’s poor late-game management, Leach shook his head and said, “Absolutely not. These are garbage shirts, which has nothing to do with the fact that we did literally everything wrong you can do wrong in the final two minutes of a football game. I hate Gildan, and I will curse its name to my grave.” Leach then shrugged and added, “Man, that’s a great angle. ‘Coach hates itchy-shirt sponsor.’ So print that, and don’t talk about the game.”
- Peyton Manning set the record for touchdown passes in a season as the Denver Broncos clinched the AFC West title with a 37-13 win over the Houston Texans. Unfortunately, Manning could not savor his record, as he was visited after the game by the “Ghost of Boxing Day Present,” in the form of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter and a large Tuscan Six-Cheese pizza. “I mean, the guy’s OK,” Manning later said of Schnatter. “I think he thinks we’re best friends, but we’re just business partners. Also, how did he even get in the locker room? Spooky.”
- Luis Suarez continued his tear through the English Premier League unabated, scoring two goals and assisting on another in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Cardiff City. Suarez now has an unprecedented 19 goals in 12 league matches while maintaining a relatively clean disciplinary record. “No, I am planning nothing,” Suarez said with an impish grin after the match. “What would I be planning? I am playing the best football in the league now. All my — how would you say it? — misfortunes are behind me. My only plans are scoring more goals and releasing a falcon above Manchester to attack Joe Hart when we play City on Boxing Day.” Suarez then looked both ways and added, “I think I misspoke. What I meant was that I will be releasing a bird of prey who is at my — how would you say it? — beck and call, to attack Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart from above with sharp foot things. How would you say it? Talons. Was that clear?”
- The Los Angeles Clippers withstood a 45-point outing from Kevin Love, beating the Timberwolves, 120-116, in overtime. Unfortunately, team owner Donald Sterling was not there to see the game, as he was consorting with what he called the “Ghosts of Boxing Day Future.” These ghosts took the form of the hired goons who Sterling employs to ensure that his real-estate investments remain a consistent source of rental income during the holiday season.