The Biggest Storylines From Week 14
AFC North shootout?
The 43-35 Rams vs. Eagles final score was expected but a 39-38 final score from a Ravens vs. Steelers game? How did that happen? Those two teams could play ten times and not accumulate that many combined points but they did so in one game.
For the winning Pittsburgh Steelers, Le’Veon Bell played like…Le’Veon Bell. Antonio Brown played like…Antonio Brown. Ben Roethlisberger set an NFL record by throwing for over 500 yards for the third time in his career. For the losing Baltimore Ravens, Joe Flacco matched his season high with 269 passing yards while running back Alex Collins ran for 120 yards on just 18 carries and scoring a touchdown. Who would have guessed these two teams would engage in another epic battle that finished as such a high scoring affair. That’s why they play the game.
Another week, another quarterback injury
When will it stop? The second overall pick in the 2016 draft, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz was playing lights out football in his matchup against the only player picked before him in the draft: Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams. Wentz’s final stat line: 23-41, 291 yards, four touchdowns with one interception. Quite an impressive day for the second-year signal caller.
Unfortunately, both his day and season came to an abrupt and premature end after he suffered a torn ACL on a hit during a touchdown run which was called back on a penalty, literally adding insult to injury. The list of injured quarterbacks only kept growing. In snowy Buffalo, the Bills began the game against the Indianapolis Colts with starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor on the bench due to injury. His replacement, rookie Nathan Peterman, fell victim to injury which forced the Bills to go to their third-string quarterback Joe Webb. Fortunately for the Bills, Webb was able to finish the game upright. In Denver, New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown suffered a hand injury, paving the way for Bryce Petty to get some playing time. Quite the year for quarterback injuries I must say. Unbelievable.
Ugly ending in Jacksonville
The Seattle Seahawks went into Jacksonville looking for a win. The Jacksonville Jaguars had other ideas. Both teams played hard but Jacksonville did enough to come out with the victory. What will be most remembered, is how the game ended on such an ugly note. Things deteriorated after the Jaguars lined up in the victory formation to run the clock out and end the game. Some Seahawks players made the ending a little interesting by making an attempt to dislodge the ball which led to a number of skirmishes.
As the referees made attempts to get things under control, some fans chose to show their displeasure by throwing objects onto the field. Seahawks player Quinton Jefferson became so enraged after being hit by something that he attempted to enter the stands to confront the fan. Thankfully, he was not successful as security was able to get him before he could do so. This was both disrespectful and unacceptable behavior on part of the fans. They need to be quickly identified, reprimanded and not allowed back into a stadium to have an opportunity to do something as foolish, dangerous and egregious in the future.
Miami Dolphins accomplished their mission
“My job is to piss off Tom Brady.”
That is what Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said leading up to Monday night’s game against the Super Bowl champions New England Patriots. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finished the game 24-43, 233 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked twice, one of which came courtesy of the aforementioned Suh. Perhaps South Beach is Brady’s kryptonite as he has a 7-9 record while having thrown 15 interceptions when playing the Dolphins in Miami. Even after Monday’s loss, the Patriots sit at 10-3 heading into Sunday’s showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers. For the Dolphins, maybe this win serves as their Super Bowl. While they get satisfaction in not only defeating a division foe Tom Brady but for one week, they can say they were the better team. Their 27-20 victory gives them all the validation they need and keeps their distant playoff chances alive.
The Browns were so close but still so far
The Cleveland Browns began Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers with a pitiful 0-12 record. Earlier in the week, they fired executive vice president Sashi Brown and replaced him with former Kansas City general manager John Dorsey. The Browns have nothing to play for with the exception of earning a victory to avoid finishing the season winless. So who could have predicted such an inspired performance they demonstrated this past Sunday. The Packers came into Cleveland desperate for a win to keep their fledgling playoff hopes alive especially with Aaron Rodgers returning from injured reserve the following week.
No one bothered to tell this to the Browns, as they enjoyed a 21-7 lead entering the fourth quarter. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer played well (though he did throw two interceptions to go along with his three touchdowns). Recently reinstated wide receiver Josh Gordon scored a touchdown for the first time in nearly four years but alas, we are talking about the Cleveland Browns. Unsurprisingly, they allowed the Packers to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns to send the game into overtime. This thriller came to a predictable end when Packers quarterback Brett Hundley found wide receiver Davante Adams with a pass in traffic that Adams turned into a spectacular catch and run. He outran Browns defenders and ended the game with a touchdown. As for the Browns, there’s always next year.