The Sauce Awards - Week 17

January 05, 2018 | Leave a Comment

Well, we made it, folks. Week 17 of the NFL season has come and gone. It has been a great honor to deliver you the Sauce each week, so I promise to provide the hottest takes this go around. Let's get saucy:

Loco Bueno - Bills end 17-year playoff drought

Well, I was wrong, folks. I'll admit it. There's no hiding from the post-game press conference here. They pay me the medium-sized bucks to call 'em as I see 'em and I misread the palm of the AFC. But like every good psychic, when the palmar flexion creases aren't cooperating, you bet on the rich, 17-year history where the AFC playoffs don't include the Buffalo Bills. Now, did I do a little too much scoreboard pointing when the odds looked to be in my favor? Sure, maybe. But who wouldn't when Nathan Peterman was throwing five interceptions per half? I'm only human. I'll tell you what though, I am happy to be wrong. There is no more deserving fan base than the #BillsMafia. And after Andy Dalton led the comeback against the Ravens that secured the Bills a playoff berth, they've donated more than $200,000 to his charity. Congrats Buffalo, and congrats to my co-worker whom I now owe a Kelvin Benjamin jersey.

Gold Rush - Mac Loudermilk parties after an undefeated season

Every so often, about as often as Mac Loudermilk cuts his hair, I'll have a dream that I attended undergrad at UCF. The dream usually begins with myself, a sprightly, wide-eyed freshman, entering my first college party. I walk in and head to the keg because that's what everyone else does and I don't want to break protocol at my first college party. Weaving through hordes of teens filled with their first taste of freedom and Natural Light, I enter the kitchen. And there's Mac; sitting on the keg, air-guitaring along to 'My Girl' by the Temptations while he administers beverages to partygoers. He looks like he's been there a thousand times before because he has. When it's my turn, he says, "'sup, boss," and I say "'sup, dope hair" and then he says, "thanks" and flips his hair back like the antagonist in every Disney channel original movie I'd ever watched. I put my cup underneath the tap, and he begins to pour. Mostly on the ground but he gets a tablespoon or so into my cup. At this point, he is trying to play along to every instrument. Then I say, "boy the NCAA needs to go to an 8-team playoff, so teams like UCF don't get screwed for lack of schedule strength." A sober look would overcome his face like he is about to give a detailed answer, but before he answers, I wake up. Someday we'll talk, Mac.

The General(s) - Handshake showdown

The structure of the NFL game itself doesn't really put you in the Kumbaya spirit. At least I've never been hit in the head with someone else's head and applauded my aggressor's form. It's only natural to get upset losing in anything you care about. Just mic up any little leaguer shaking hands, and you'll get a "good game, good game, you throw meat, good game, benchwarmer, good game" every time. But who's really surprised there's a lack of sportsmanship in a league where you can play duck-duck-goose in the end zone to celebrate touchdowns? No player appreciates being clowned like that, and no coach wants to be talked down to by a coach with more experience. It's the same reason why Kyrie left LeBron. We should give division-rival coaches gloves and let them settle it NHL style.

Atomic Meltdown - Bryce Petty is, well...

The perfect metaphor for the Jet's 2017 season came right before the clock struck midnight.

Wild West - The Granddaddy of them all

For a while, I wasn't sold on Baker Mayfield. But Baker Mayfield has proven to be a winner, a leader, and is now a member of the Heisman fraternity. He is an excellent COLLEGE quarterback. That being said, for a guy who in my opinion, really needs to be drafted into the right situation to be an effective pro, he comes across a tad flamboyant as seen above... I know he plays with a chip on his shoulder, but enduring intense criticism and scrutiny is part of being a quarterback in the NFL. You have to be able to shrug off the preseason predictions from a guy who wears mascot heads every Saturday morning. That, or prepare to face criticism like this: Georgia LB Julian Bellamy tells Mayfield to, "humble yourself!" after they completed their comeback in the Rose Bowl. But don't get me wrong, I like Baker's intensity. And I will always be an advocate of hitting opponents with footballs during warmups, but he has to know that comes with the territory. Good luck in the NFL, Baker, your talent has made a fan out of me.

Well jeez, that's it, guys. For the regular season, anyway. You didn't think I was going to skip out on the best part of the season, did you? H*ck no. We'll recap the entire season the week before the Super Bowl. See you then.