Melissa’s Monday Musings Week 10: The Good, Bad, Bizarre and Tragic

Before I get to some footballish stuff a special note about a tragedy that reminds us of what’s important. Spoiler: It’s not your fantasy player fumbling or an officiating mistake.

49ers WR Marquise Goodwin caught a beautiful 83-yard TD strike in the second quarter. As he strode into the end zone, Goodwin blew a kiss to the sky, kneeled, prayed and dramatically pressed his helmet into the ground.

Many, myself included, initially believed Goodwin was simply unleashing repressed emotions after he and the 49ers’ offense had been in a straight jacket the previous 9 weeks. Tragically, it was not.

Shortly after the game, Goodwin announced in an Instagram post that he and his wife had suffered the unimaginable just hours earlier.

“Unfortunately we lost our baby boy due to some complications, and had to prematurely deliver him early this morning around 4am. Although we are hurt, I am grateful for the experience and grateful that God blessed me with a wife as courageous and resilient as Morgan. The pain (physically, mentally, & emotionally) that she has endured is unbelievable. Please Pray for the Goodwin family”


There is no loss more imaginable than that of a child. How Goodwin had the strength to show up at work is beyond belief. Let us all hug our children tighter and send lots of prayers to the Goodwin family.


– In a twist we can begin the ‘Good’ portion of the proceedings with Goodwin’s team, the victorious 49ers. When the new regime of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan took over this year they were abundantly clear that the future was bright but that this was a rebuild. Be patient. #BrickbyBrickcwas plastered all over Santa Clara; heck the 49ers website had a series by the same name.

Lynch and Shanahan have a long term plan, part of which is figuring out the value of the current roster and wheeling and dealing when talent and salary don’t align (see NaVorro Bowman). This team is in no way built to make a run right now. However the notion that the Lynch and Shanahan, with their six-year deals, would be remotely interested in calling it a season to strategically vie for the no. 1 pick is preposterous.

These two were yearning for a win. Shanahan just came from a team that played in the Super Bowl. He hated 0-9. You could see it on his face, in his body language at press conferences. But unlike so many losing coaches he never lost a step in terms of zest or confidence. He didn’t rip up his scheme and start throwing darts. In fact, the coaching has been spot it; the lack of players to execute has been the issue.  Shanahan has sounded frustrated at times but never somber or defeated. The locker room has had his back ever step of the way, which was quite evident in the locker room revelry that followed the 31-21 win over the Giants. As some team reporters noted, the veteran guys looked more happy after this win than they did when they were collecting them in the Harbaugh days. Good for Shanahan and Lynch who have been very honest and poised about the process. The future of the organization is in great hands. Finally.

– Hard to find a better sight Sunday than Teddy Bridgewater suited up on the Vikings sideline as the backup QB. Cameras captured him overcome with emotion upon returning from a severe knee injury (torn ACL, dislocated knee) suffered last offseason that many thought would end his career.

Case Keenum, who has been incredibly supportive of Bridgewater, put up 304 yards and 4 TDs (the most in a game in his career) to help guide the Vikes to a 7-2 record. Though the play calling and stud WR Adam Thielen saved Keenum in a couple of spots. Mike Zimmer already insinuated that the would make a midseason switch to Bridgewater at some point soon but after the game said “plans can change.” I don’t envy Zimmer’s decision between a potential superstar and career backup who’s executing the playbook. On the flip side Zimmer has a luxury no other head coach has: pick the guy who could be better vs. the one who will be less worse.

– The 7-2 Saints are among the league’s many pleasant surprises, largely because they may be the most balanced team in the NFL. Try finding a more stunning stat than this: The Saints crushed the Bills 47-10 and Drew Brees threw no touchdowns and only 184 yards. Brees is still sixth overall in passing yards and throwing with accuracy and zip but it is the defense and stout running game that shined Sunday and has for much of the season. Watching Mark Ingram manhandle defensive fronts, I’m still unsur why the Saints thought they needed Adrian Peterson. The Saints’ schedule gets intense the next four weeks with the Redskins, Rams, Panthers and Falcons on the docket. If they thrive in that stretch we can safely consider them legit Super Bowl contenders. We probably should now.

– Sunday was a perfect reminder of how a great left tackle can make or break your team. Rams LT Andrew Whitworth had another double block and may have been the best free agent pickup this offseason. The 6’7″ mountain has been paramount to Jared Goff’s MVP run. In Atlanta we saw what happens when you try to replace generational Cowboys LT Tyron Smith as Chaz Green made Adrian Clayborn a Pro Bowler in a day after allowing an embarrassing six sacks. 49ers LT Joe Staley returned from injury Sunday and was largely responsible for the Gants getting no sacks on QB C.J. Beathard after Beathard had been sacked 14 times in his first three starts. LT is the most important position after QB. Repeat: LT is the most important position after QB.


– I’m posting this Sunday night and by the time I wake up Ben McAdoo should be fired. What a pathetic effort against the 49ers, particularly the Giants secondary and Janoris Jenkins who couldn’t tackle a yogi in a 3 minute downward dog. Couple that with anonymous leaks within the Giants building and things are too toxic to wait until season’s end.

– While we’re on the subject of hot seats, can we fire Marvin Lewis in January? That organization needs a new direction and energy. How about starting with a real disciplinarian who won’t put up with Vontaze Burfict’s crap.

John Fox can join the club after one of the most idiotic challenges in recent history. RB Benny Cunningham was called out at the Packers 3 instead of granted a touchdown. Fox challenged and film showed that Cunningham was not out but instead bobbled the ball as he crossed the pylon, which resulted in a touchback. Packers ball. Fox inspires zero confidence.

– One of the many issues of the NFL’s QB shortage is that so many feel temporary, be it because they’re backups (Brett Hundley) or stopgaps until the draft or the new guy is ready (Brock Osweiler, Beathard). I believe one of the pinnacles of NFL fandom is a strong, lasting connection to your team’s starting QB, and i’ts hard for so many to have one in the current climate

– We missed you, Tony Romo.

– I’ll be writing more about Roger Goodell‘s pending contact extension but asking for $50 million/year and a private jet for life? Damn.

– The fringe fantasy picks I made on IG Sunday were pathetic. I apologize if you actually listened to me.


– Some women crave ice cream or pickles or fried chicken when pregnant. I craved pineapple to the point where I inhaled the cut up version every day for six months. So of course I was strangely drawn to this fine Titans fan.

Pineapple man at the latest Titans game.

As my new friend later explained via Twitter, he used to be The Titans Man but pivoted to The Pineapple Man once the team drafted Hawaii native Marcus Mariota.

– Why exactly did Martellus Bennett play Sunday, albeit for only 10% of the Patriots’ snaps? Quick recap: Bennett claims he was released by Packers because he wanted to get shoulder surgery after injuring it over the course of the season in Green Bay. The Packers released him last week for “failing to disclose a medical condition” and are going after Bennett’s signing bonus. Bennett agreed to sign with the Patriots after Bill Belichick and Tom Brady persuade him. He played on a bum shoulder. After the Patriots win, Bennett told The MMQB’s Robert Klemko, “you get that vengeance in your heart and you say ‘fuck it, let’s go ball.'” There is going to be so much more to this story.

The NFL standings are insane. Raise your hand if you predicted the NFC leaders would be: New Orleans (South), Minnesota (North), Los Angeles (West), Philadelphia (East)

 – Tom Brady’s Facebook team crafts braggadocio drawings after every Pats win (in other words, they work nonstop). This one may be the creepiest yet.

Tom Brady celebrates a win over the Broncos.

Enjoy your nightmares!