Week 17 was a crazy one in the NFL. There wasn’t a lot of unexpected outcomes, but a lot of teams were eliminated from the playoffs after winning their games. Here’s a recap!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Buccaneers 22, Falcons 17…The Falcons had clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs before this game ever started. I didn’t expect to see Matt Ryan and the rest of the starters for more than two series. When they stayed on the field, I expected a vanilla script because they’d, obviously, save the good stuff for the playoffs. Well, even with a vanilla script, the Falcons did not look like a one-seed. Their leading rusher had 28 yards, and Matty Ice had to throw the ball 44 times. The Bucs, on the other hand, rushed for 80 more total yards, threw for nine more yards, and gained three more first downs on only three more offensive snaps. Atlanta has some work to do before the playoffs start. Oh. And they also lost John Abraham to an apparent ankle injury and Dunta Robinson to a head injury. Neither are believed to be serious.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Bills 28, Jets 9…Look, I knew the Jets were a bad football team, but I was stunned to see just how bad they’ve become. I haven’t watched a lot of Jets football (as evident by my pick this week), but I really didn’t think it was this bad. They managed to lose by 19 points to a team with a quarterback completing 12 of 26 attempts and a leading rusher (C.J. Spiller) going for 59 yards. Early reports have Rex Ryan staying put next season and the GM will be the fall guy. Either way, this Jets team will be rebuilding for years to come…hopefully without Mark Sanchez. It’s good to have the real Jets back, though, right?
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals 23, Ravens 17…Both teams played their backups for at least a portion of the game and the outcomes weren’t surprising. Ray Rice did not get a single carry. Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco threw a combined 23 passes.
A not unrelated to the game…the sixth sellout crowd in eight home games for Cincinnati is awesome! Last season, the Bengals sold out two games on their way to the playoffs. It’s good to see fans getting excited about their team.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Bears 26, Lions 24…The Bears needed some serious help to get into the playoffs. Lovie Smith was fired today, and for good reason. This football team looked like a sure thing earlier in the season and they just couldn’t stay motivated or fill in around the field with mounting injuries. The Lions ended the season on a horrific losing streak and they have some serious holes to fill as well.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Titans 38, Jaguars 20…The Titans scored four times in a row without their offense taking the field. They returned two punts and two interceptions for touchdowns in that time. No team has ever returned two punts and interceptions in the same game before. The Titan offense scored one touchdown. That’s all you need to know about the Jaguars and Titans of 2012.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Colts 28, Texans 16…You don’t mess with things like #ChuckStrong. If you’re the Texans, though, you should be worried going in to the playoffs. There won’t be a third-string quarterback trying to win this playoff game, but it could still be ugly. Andrew Luck did not have a great game, but he didn’t throw an interception for the third straight game and got some good run support from fellow rookie Vick Ballard. This offense starts four rookies total, but you wouldn’t know it when you’re watching them play. Isn’t that right, Houston?
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Panthers 44, Saints 38…The Saints defense might be the worst defense in the history of the National Football League. Carolina rushed for 273 yards and passed for 260. Oh, and they also scored FIVE TIMES on the ground. The Saints have some work to do when Sean Payton gets back. He’ll earn every penny of that $8 million per year.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Giants 42, Eagles 7…A fitting way for both seasons to end. The Eagles got embarrassed by a division rival that hasn’t played well in weeks; meanwhile, that same division rival is knocked out of the playoffs. Eli Manning threw for a career-high five touchdowns in this contest. That speaks volumes to both his ability in big games and the failure of the secondary project in Philly. Both teams will have some serious questions to answer in the postseason.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers 24, Browns 10…Thad Lewis went 22 for 32 for 204 yards and a touchdown. If I said I was surprised that he did that well, I’d be lying. Watch out Brandon Weeden, your job could be up for grabs. The rest of the Browns didn’t play well, though, and Ben Roethlisberger’s three touchdowns were the dagger that killed the Browns…and helped the Steelers avoid a loosing season.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Broncos 38, Chiefs 3…Did I call it or did I call it? I said the Chiefs would lose by thirty and I wasn’t too far off. The Broncos are playing at a level I haven’t seen since the 2007 Patriots. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are ten times better than they were last season. The offensive line can block anyone. The Chiefs on the other hand sealed up the number one pick in the draft and need a quarterback. This team has talent all over the field. This might be my Eagles bias shining through, but I think they should shoot for Andy Reid. He can help develop Geno Smith and bring in a great defensive mind to bring the defensive talent together a little more.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Vikings 37, Packers 34…The Vikings needed to win in order to make the playoffs and keep the Bears out. Adrian Peterson had 199 yards rushing and dominated the last drive to ensure the Vikings would win…and that he’d miss the all-time rushing record by eight yards. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t get it. With the Vikings pushing in to the playoffs, Peterson should win the MVP trophy. The Packers will play the Vikings again next week and that should worry them.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Patriots 28, Dolphins 0…Ryan Tannehill didn’t play poorly, but the Dolphins couldn’t seem to muster any points. Some people may say that’s due to an improved Patriot defense. I’d say it’s due to zero running game, an average-at-best offensive line, and a not-so-good defense.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers
Chargers 24, Raiders 21…This may have been the most unwatchable game ever. Terrell Pryor went 13-28 for 150 yards and two touchdowns but it was worse than it looks. Philip Rivers went 13-17 for 151 yards and two touchdowns. The leading rusher on either side had 57 yards. There was a combined 475 yards of combined offense. Twenty-two more than the Patriots had against the Dolphins. Both of these teams have a lot of work to do next season.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
49ers 27, Cardinals 13…Colin Kaepernick completed 16 passes for 276 yards. Michael Crabtree caught eight of those for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Something tells me that they didn’t miss Mario Manningham as much as I thought they would. The 49ers will be just fine heading into the postseason. Cardinal fans should be happy about the performance of some of their offensive stars, though. Brian Hoyer wasn’t awful and Michael Floyd had a great day.
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks 20, Rams 13…Russell Wilson tied the rookie record for touchdown passes in a season. There’s a reason that people are finally starting to say his name in the Rookie of the Year conversation – he’s damn good. For some reason, though, not enough people are talking about Marshawn Lynch. He only finished the season with 1590 yards and 11 touchdowns. There were some teams who didn’t do that well! No, seriously. There were nine teams that rushed for 1,593 yards or less.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Redskins 28, Cowboys 18…Always go with your first instinct. Damn it. Although, I’ll be honest…I thought Robert Griffin III would be the reason they won this game, not Morris running for 200 yards. RGIII still doesn’t look completely healthy and that’s good news for the Seahawks this week.
There’s Week 17, folks! This week, we have columns on the coach firings around the league, a Wild Card preview, and other news! Stay tuned!
Make sure you head over to our Facebook page and click the like button. While you’re at it, click that follow button on our Twitter page