NFL Week 16 Roundup

Week 16 gave a couple teams playoff spots, which sets up an even more exciting Week 17.  We’re at the point, where it’s meaningful games, exciting games or nothing.  It’s all about what games have playoff implications.

Games not being written about: Jaguars vs. Titans, Packers vs. Buccaneers, Browns vs. Panthers,  Texans vs. Ravens, Lions vs. Bears, Patriots vs. Jets, Bills vs. Raiders, Giants vs. Rams, Colts vs. Cowboys, Seahawks vs. Cardinals

Washington-27 Philadelphia-24

The Redskins have been one of many spoiler type teams this season.  They’ve beat a couple of really good teams this year.

And Saturday (Yup, Saturday), they did it again.

The Redskins kicked an early field goal, going up 3-0.  Soon after, the Eagles responded with a LeSean McCoy TD run, capping a nice drive by Philadelphia.  McCoy had 88 yards on the night.

But don’t leave Alfred Morris out!  A short drive later, Morris was in the end zone on a 28 yard run, putting the Redskins up 10-7.  He’s had a nice season.  I believe he’s a great running back, and will only get better.  Morris finished with 83 yards and that TD.

The second quarter was quite dull.  The only score was a Riley Cooper TD catch from Mark Sanchez with 3:39 left.  I can’t believe how much the Eagles have trusted Sanchez.  He threw a football 50 times Saturday! 50!  He completed 37 of them, and threw for 374 yards, 2 TD’s and a interception.  The Eagles knew that this was a must-win.  They had to do all they could in this game.  The TD gave the Eagles a 14-10 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, it was all Washington.  Two Darrel Young (Yes, two!) running TD’s put the Redskins up 24-14 at the end of the quarter.  in addition to his two TD’s, Young had, well, two yards rushing.  Both TD’s were one yard rushes!  Those were his only carries of the game!

Philadelphia though, didn’t go away.  A TD with 10:27 left cut the lead to 24-21.  It was Mark Sanchez’s 2nd TD of the day, this one going to Riley Cooper, again.  Even with Cooper’s two TD’s, Zach Ertz lead the Eagles in receiving yards.

With 6:17 left, Cody Parker kicked a field goal to tie the game at 24.

Now this was RG3’s time to shine.  After being injured and benched this year, he started due to injuries to Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins.  His day was decent.  With a 76.2 QBR, he threw for 220 yards.  The main highlight was his sacks.  He was only sacked twice during the game, which is a dream compared to the rest of the season.  Whether it’s RG3 or the offensive line, it’s better than usual.

The Redskins got the ball with 1:31 left at their own 42, due to a Mark Sanchez interception.

So yea, I pretty much said a turnover would end up deciding this game.  And it did!

So RG3 made some big-time plays, and Kai Forbath kicked the game-winning with five seconds left.  The loss eliminated the Eagles from playoff contention, as the Cowboys on Sunday went on to destroy Indianapolis and win the NFC East.

Look, the Eagles beat my expectations after Nick Foles went down.  I can’t believe they hung in there.  It’s a disappointing end to the season.

San Diego-38 San Francisco-35

This just might be the game of the year.  Just maybe.

The 49ers came out of the gate on fire after blowing multiple games in a row, and really not playing good football.  Frank Gore had a 52 yard TD run early in the 1st quarter, putting the 49ers up 7-0 early.

In the second, Colin Kaepernick found Bruce Ellington in the end zone after a long drive.  The TD catch put the 49ers up 14-0, as San Diego couldn’t get going.  This was a must win for the Chargers.  A loss made it close to impossible they would make the playoffs.  It sure looked like their season was over before halftime.

Right after, the 49ers picked off Philip Rivers, and Antoine Bethea took it 49 yards into the end zone.  21-0 San Francisco.  Who saw this coming?  This team had been dead for the past three weeks.  Where was this coming from?

Really, San Diego’s defense is just bad.  Even with the result of this game, it’s really bad.  It’s not playoff worthy.

The Chargers finally scored with 5:09 left in the 2nd quarter.  An Eddie Royal TD catch cut the lead to 21-7, but the 49ers had to score one more time before half.  Just to embarrass the Chargers.

So that’s what they did!  Bruce Ellington, who’s turning into a speciality type guy, ran in a TD, making it 28-7 at halftime.  I was about ready to shut the game off.  The 1st half was laughable for the Chargers.  Philip Rivers was playing horribly.  San Diego couldn’t run the ball as usual.

But fear not!  Philip Rivers doesn’t care how he’s playing.  He’s going to try to get his team back in it.  And he did.  He got his stuff together in the 2nd half, and did just that.

A TD pass to Antonio Gates made it 28-14 with 5:49 left in the 3rd.  Gates had great day with seven catches for 92 yards and 2 TD’s.  He may be entering his final stages, so why not give him some action?

Right after, the Chargers sack/fumbled Colin Kaepernick in the red zone, and San Diego picked it up and took in.  One.  Possession. Game.  28-21.

San Francisco has been like Dallas this year.  Though Dallas is the better team, they can’t hold on to leads.  They can’t start fast.  We’ve seen it from both teams multiple times.

Even with the 49ers and Kaepernick’s struggles, they still have his legs.  Kaepernick’s legs.  And he showed them off.

On the second play of a drive that started inside the 49ers 10 yard due to a penalty, Kaepernick escaped the pocket, and took off.  10 seconds later, he was in the end zone.  He scored on a 90 yard run.

I’m not really sure there is any else in the league who can do that (Terrelle Pryor, maybe. Is he on a NFL roster?) He’s not someone who can lead a team by himself, but can make incredible plays at the right time.  That’s what he did here.

The score put the 49ers up 35-21 at the end of the 3rd quarter.  What happened over the course of the next hour might have just changed the Chargers season.

Let’s just say, the 49ers never scored again.

Another Antonio Gates TD catch with 5:15 left in the 4th made it a one possession game.  At this point, you knew what might come of this.

The 49ers got the ball back, and did nothing with it.  They punted, and San Diego retained with 3:30.

This whole San Francisco team crumbled right in front of us.  It was like the defense wasn’t on the field.  The Chargers scooted down and scored the game-tying TD with 32 seconds left.

So we went to OT.  You saw this coming at halftime, right?

At this point, San Diego had the momentum.  San Diego was playing better football.  The 49ers had collapsed.  It was like they wanted to lose this game.

The 49ers got the ball to start OT, and on the second play of the drive, Quinton Patton caught a big pass play and fumbled it.  Eric Weddle recovered, and the Chargers got the ball.  Next score won.

So Philip Rivers took his team down the field, and Nick Novak kicked the game-winning, 40 yard field goal in OT.

The 49ers had a very good box score giving what occurred at the end.  San Francisco rushed for 355 yards as a team, with Frank Gore having 158 of those.  Kaepernick followed him with 151.  His QBR was 97.7, but he only threw for 114 yards and TD.  His completion percentage was high, which drove up the QBR.

Honestly, the Chargers box score doesn’t matter.  It stinks.  The Chargers won this game due to San Francisco mistakes.  They shouldn’t have won.  I’ll say that.  I also keep saying this:  The 49ers aren’t good.  Something needs to change, whoever and wherever that may be.

Pittsburgh-20 Kansas City-12

(Homerism Possible)

What a horrid game.  Warning: There were lots of field goals in this one.  That’s all the Chiefs scored were field goals.

Neither team ran the ball in this game, surprisingly.  Kansas City ran for 39 yards, while Pittsburgh ran for 68.

The first quarter featured field goals by both teams, making it 3-3.  The second quarter wasn’t much better.  Man, this game was boring.

Another Chiefs field goal put them up 6-3 after a long drive.  Something that bugs about the NFL is that, you have these teams that go on four minute plus drives, then they go on and kick a field goal.  Honestly, if you kick a field goal after 4+ minute drive, you should be ashamed of yourself.

That’s what the Chiefs did, by the way.

Though the Steelers didn’t run the ball well, Le’Veon Bell took a run into the end zone, putting Pittsburgh up 10-6 at halftime.

Though Ben Rothlisberger’s stats weren’t crazy, his QBR during this game was 89.7.  He continues to be excellent this season.  He’s taking this team into the playoffs, and teams should fear them.

No one scored until the end of the third quarter, when Antonio Brown caught a TD pass, putting the Steelers up 17-6.  The Chiefs never came back from the lead, capping a disappointing season.

Look, this Chiefs team this year has not been good, at all.  They can’t throw ball.  It’s not Alex Smith.  They need some weapons besides Jamaal Charles.  I expect them to use their 1st round pick on a wide receiver.  The defense is great; that they need no help on.  It’s the offensive side that needs help, and in this league, you can’t succeed without it.

Atlanta-30 New Orleans-14

Man, this was another horror show.

I’m not sure what’s up with the Saints.  This was not what we expected this season.  I had them in the NFC Championship Game.  I’ll probably write about it later.  Let’s get to the game:

Mark Ingram scored 20 seconds into the game after the Saints returned the opening kickoff 99 yards to the one yard line.  The Saints had a early 7-0 lead.  It might have just been the highlight of their day.

Coming into this game, we knew there would be a lot of passing.  Neither team can run the ball well; Atlanta being terrible all year.  The Falcons only ran for 81 yards as team, while the Saints ran for 57.

Then, three straight Atlanta scores followed over the course of the end of the first quarter and second.  Two Matt Bryant field goals and a Matt Ryan TD pass put the Falcons up 13-7 at halftime.

Julio Jones has been a monster when healthy, and Sunday, the Saints terrible secondary just helped him out.  Jones caught seven passes for 107 yards.  This New Orleans secondary is just horrid.  Benching Kenny Varccaro two weeks ago was pretty much the sign of giving up.  It’s likely that Rob Ryan gets fired after this season.  They’re a mess on the defensive side, and they don’t have the cap room to do anything.

Halfway through the 3rd quarter, Devonta Freeman broke off a 31 yard TD run, putting Atlanta up 20-7.  New Orleans never came back from it, eliminating themselves from the playoffs.

This division is horrible, no matter what.  Next Sunday, Atlanta will play Carolina for the division title.  Winner will host a playoff game.  Good lord.  That’s scary to think about.

Statistically, Matt Ryan had a 92.1 QBR, completing 30/40 passes and throwing for 322 yards.  Drew Brees, on the other hand, had a 40.3 QBR and two picks.  He’s been a disaster this season.  His offensive line isn’t great, but his performance has dipped significantly.

It’s a disappointing season for the Saints, and really, how much better do we expect it to be next year?  They have no cap room, and cutting guys won’t do them any good.  It’s not looking pretty next year.

Miami-37 Minnesota-35

This was one of many great games in Week 16.  The ending though, was unpredictable and disappointing.

The Vikings started the game by scoring two TD’s, going up 14-0 in the second quarter.  A Matt Asiata TD run was the first score, and a 21 yard TD pass by Teddy Bridgewater was the second.

The Vikings running game hasn’t been great this year due to Adrian Peterson’s absence, but it’s been better than I expected.  Asiata and Jerick Mackinnon have stepped up, though MacKinnon has been hurt lately.  This is a team that will need a running back, whether that be through free agency or the draft, even if Adrian Peterson does return to them.

The Dolphins got something going just past the halfway mark of the 2nd quarter with a Ryan Tannehill TD pass.  The score cut the lead to 14-7 Minnesota.  I say this every time I write about the Dolphins, but Ryan Tannehill’s improvement this year has been great, and I really do believe he’s the future of this team.  Though he still may be a project, he’s definitely developing, and that’s what the Dolphins needed to see.

A Blair Walsh field goal put the Vikings up 17-7 at halftime, in what was a pretty dull first half for the Dolphins.

Miami ran the ball very well in this game; better than they have all season.  Miami, like Minnesota, is another running back-needy team.  I expect them to draft someone, because youth is what they’re shooting for.  It’s possible, with their draft pick though, that their position may set them up in an awkward situation to take a running back.  If they fall in between No.20-25 in the draft order, then it’s too high to take a running back in the first round.  In the second, the guy they want might be gone.

Miami cut the lead to 17-14 after another Ryan Tannehill TD pass in the third quarter.  He finished the day with a 81.8 QBR, throwing for 396 yards and 4 TD’s.  He did throw a pick too.

It’s 4th quarter time.  This was a fun one.

We had SEVEN scores in this quarter!  SEVEN!  A Lamar Miller TD run kicked it off, giving Miami a 21-17 lead.  After a five minute drive by the Vikings, Blair Walsh kicked a field goal, cutting the lead to 21-20.

Then, the remaining 9:52 of the game featured 30 points of scoring between the two teams.  Mike Wallace caught a TD pass, putting the Dolphins up 28-20.   Right after, Teddy Bridgewater threw another TD pass, and the Vikings converted the two point conversion, tying it at 28.

Then, disaster struck for the Dolphins.  On the kickoff, Jarvis Landry fumbled the return, and gave it to the Vikings.  The next play, Matt Asiata ran in for a TD, putting Minnesota up 35-28.  We were still far away from the final of this game, even though there was only 4:35 left.

Miami got the ball, and Ryan Tannehill continued to prove himself.  Leading the Dolphins down the field, he threw a three yard TD pass at the end of the drive, tying the game at 35 with just 1:11 left.

Miami kicked, and Minnesota did nothing with it.  That proved to be costly, but in a completely insane way.

The Vikings set up to punt at their own 11.  It didn’t go well.  One, the snap was dribbled back to Jeff Locke, allowing him minimal time to get the punt off.  It wasn’t enough.  Terrence Fede, a seventh round pick in this past year’s NFL Draft, blocked the punt, and it went out the back of the end zone for a safety.  37-35, Dolphins win.


So yea, it was pretty crazy.  The Dolphins announced after the game that Joe Philbin will be their head coach next year, which is the right decision.  Unfortunately, the Dolphins have been eliminated from the playoffs.  I really liked this team this year.  They were really fun to watch.  It’s a big bummer they didn’t get in.

Cincinnati-37 Denver-28

What a crazy and unpredictable game. I mean, who saw this type of game coming?  With turnovers left and right and an exciting third quarter?

An Andy Dalton pick-six started the game for the Broncos, on a incredible catch and return by Aqib Talib.  This might have been a predictable start for the Bengals, but really, it didn’t affect him.

Just minutes later, Jeremy Hill broke off on a 85 yard TD run, putting Cincy up 7-3.  The run was incredible, and it was a great way to start off a thrilling game.  Have a day, Jeremy Hill.  He ran for 147 yards and that TD.  I haven’t given up on Giovanni Bernard yet.  He’s still a good running back, but there is a possibility Hill is better.

The second quarter was all Cincinnati.  Two field goals and a Andy Dalton TD pass put them up 20-7 at halftime.  One of the field goals, came on a five minute drive.

The touchdown was set up by a Peyton Manning interception.  That was only one of Manning’s FOUR on the day.  Yes, you read that right.  I’ll get into that later.

Coming out of halftime, the Broncos answered on a C.J. Anderson TD run.  I don’t know how many big time punt, kick or turnover returns there were in this game.  It seemed like every return went 20+ yards.

Minutes later, the Bengals scored on a Giovanni Bernard TD catch, putting them up 27-14.   The rest of the quarter, was all Denver.  Two Emmanuel Sanders TD catches gave the Broncos a 28-27 lead going into the 4th quarter.

Then it flipped.  The whole game did.  A huge shift of momentum took place. First, Cincy kicked a field goal to go up 30-28.  It wasn’t a crazy start, but it did make a difference.

With Denver down by two with 4:04 left, the Broncos needed a score, and fast.  Peyton Manning had already had a bad game, and nobody thought it would get worse.

Well, it did.  Manning threw a pick-six with 2:50 left, putting the Bengals up 38-27, the final score.  It was a killer way to end the game, and a killer way to put the Bengals in the playoffs.

Even with the win, Andy Dalton had another bum primetime performance.  With a QBR of 29, he had 146 yards and 2 TD’s.  He wasn’t sacked, and his stats were okay, but QBR measures everything a QB does.  This ESPN stat is great.  It takes into account what stats don’t.  I love the tool.

Peyton Manning finished with a 24.1 QBR, just adding to a horrible night.  Denver couldn’t run the ball, which didn’t help out Manning in the rainstorm that cruised through during this game.

I hate to be a downer, but if your John Elway, or a Broncos fan, you have to be concerned with Manning.  I’m not saying he’s done, but he has not looked good these past couple weeks.  He may start to decline.  The possibility of this being his last season is going up, unfortunately.

On to Week 17, where we have three division title games.  Let the madness begin!