There wasn’t a ton of scoring on Monday Night Football this week, as the New Orleans Saints scratched in Charlotte over the Carolina Panthers. The win takes the Saints to 12-2 on the season, one step closer to the a bye for the first round of the playoffs, and it made Drew Brees and Sean Payton #2 all-time on the most wins a coach/QB duo have had together list. However, it could have ended much differently than it did. On a night where Brees and his offense could not get going, yet again, it was the defense that stepped up in a huge way to hold Cam Newton to just 131 yards in the air. The former MVP was taken to the ground four times and the Saints forced two turnovers as well as they grinded out a win in championship fashion away from home. The Panthers’ only TD of the night came in the first quarter on a trick play that saw Christian McCaffrey throw to Chris Manhertz for a 50 yarder. Two field goals came next for the Saints to make it 7-6. Then it got crazy. Alvin Kamara scored to give them a 12-7 lead after a 16-yard run, but they would go for two and fail. Not only did they fail, but Brees was picked off by Donte Jackson who ran it back. In the end, the score stayed put and the Saints defense put a stop to the Panthers one more time to seal the win.
James Harden might be a little bit controversial right now, what with his travel issues and accusations being thrown around, but there is no questioning just how good he is. He showed that on Monday night as the Rockets once again won thanks to a big night from their star man.
The Beard had 47 points in a 102-97 victory over the Utah Jazz. The turning point of the game came when he quite possibly should have been called for traveling but wasn’t, leading to him earning three free throws in a one possession game with under a minute left. Ricky Rubio was left furious, but Harden, and other stars for that matter, have been getting away with it for a while. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Harden, for his part, refused to “tell on himself” and sought to stay above the fray. As a game winner, no least.
And finally, likely the biggest sports story in the world right now, Jose Mourinho has been fired as manager of Manchester United. The Portuguese manager had been the third such coach since Sir Alex Ferguson’s decades long reign, but he was ultimately unable to bring past glories back to the club. The American-owned team lost to Liverpool on Sunday 3-1 in an embarrassing display, and that seems to have been the final straw for those in charge. Mourinho leaves behind a legacy of intense scrutiny toward his own players and officials, leading many, like Paul Pogba, to be overjoyed by the sacking.