Good morning. Merry Christmas. Happy holidays.
We'll get right to it with some links, then talk to you tomorrow. Enjoy the day:
> Our John McGrath says to embrace adversity, then kick it to the curb. He also points out that the thought a team has to be "hot" at the end of the season to win the Super Bowl is essentially a myth. From McGrath:
The 1985 Chicago Bears, regarded among the best NFL teams ever assembled, suffered their only loss in a game in December. Of the 198 points scored against them, 71 were given up in the last four games. They surrendered 10 in the postseason.
More recently, six of the past seven Super Bowl champions have lost at least two games after November. The 2006 Indianapolis Colts went 2-3. The 2009 New Orleans Saints, at 13-0, were flirting with history before the Dallas Cowboys beat them on Dec. 19.
“This is going to sting for a while, but we’ve got to put this behind us,” quarterback Drew Brees said when the Saints were denied perfection. “It’s all about the next game.”
The next game was lost, in overtime, to Tampa Bay, and the season finale was a 23-10 drubbing taken at Carolina.
Speeches made by Saints players, after the parade that snaked through the streets of New Orleans, did not dwell on the three defeats at the end of the regular season.
Of the 47 teams that have won the Super Bowl, 17 went undefeated in regular-season games after Nov. 30.
> I wrote about the hand-in-hand process of running well and converting on third down.
> The Dallas Cowboys made it a merry Christmas for Lincoln High School teacher and former Seahawk Jon Kitna. He'll pick up a game check since he's joining them for the week as the third-string quarterback. It's likely to rival his annual pay as a teacher.
> Seahawks.com writes that coaches and teammates expect Russell Wilson to bounce back.
> ESPN writes that Golden Tate expects trash talking Sunday.
> Peter King's mailbag, where he says he's OK with a team like Arizona missing the playoffs despite 10 or more wins.
> Two 49ers changed calls on crucial plays Sunday night.
> NFL.com writers submit their Pro Bowl ballots. Pro Bowl fan voting wraps up Dec. 26.