After being down 21-7 at halftime and heading to what looked like their 4th loss in a row, QB Ben Roethlisberger was able to rally the offense and put some points on the board. He threw for 342 passing yards and had 3 touchdown passes in the second half. The win helped Pittsburgh FINALLY lock up the AFC North and secure the division title, the teams first since 2017. After weeks of looking lifeless, Pittsburgh was able to find some answers and look impressive for really the first time all year. Let’s see if they maintain during the playoffs.
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs
Arguably the best QB-WR duo outside of Green Bay, the dynamic duo sent an emphatic statement to their longtime rivals, the New England Patriots. Allen had a spectacular day through the air, completing 75% of his passes for 320 yards and 4 scores. 3 of those scores went to Stefon Diggs who had 145 receiving yards off of 9 catches. The duo has Buffalo riding high and looking like the most likely team to knock off Kansas City to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Allen has been on an MVP like tear all year, and the acquisition of Diggs definitely worked out for Buffalo. These two should terrorize the AFC for years to come.
Miami is a winner for multiple reasons. One, they won this week which not only helps maintain their playoff seeding, it has all but eliminated the Las Vegas Raiders from the playoffs. Two, the Houston Texans lost this week, their 12th loss of the season, which pushes their draft pick(which Miami owns due to the Laremy Tunsil deal) into the TOP 5. And finally, they’ve all but clinched themselves a trip to the postseason, their first bid since 2016. Brian Flores and management deserves all the praise for what they’ve done with this Dolphins squad. In only Year 2 of the Flores era, the Dolphins started 1-4 but Flores willed his team to 5 straight wins which would spark the Dolphins’ current playoff run. He’s a serious Coach of the Year candidate.
It’s time to accept it everyone: Cam Newton is no longer a starting NFL QB. Not only does Newton have 16 turnovers by himself but he’s only thrown 5 passing touchdowns all year. Newton has had great success on the ground with his 12 rushing scores and 4.1 yards per carry, but he has looked far worse than the MVP form he showed years ago. Passing was never really Newton’s forte, and when you add in age and injury concerns, both play a major role in Newton’s decline. Bills QB Josh Allen has more touchdowns in Gillette Stadium than Newton, to put his struggles into context.
With playoffs approaching fast, all the Cards had to do is beat a 6-win 49ers team with nothing to play for. Pretty easy right? NOPE. This team lost to CJ Beathard and a 49ers team riddled by injuries. Beathard was previously 1-9 in his last 10 starts before upsetting Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. The Cardinals no longer control their fate with this loss. The Cardinals allowed not only QB CJ Beathard to throw for 3 touchdown passes but they allowed RB Jeff Wilson to rush for 183 yards and a score. The Cards better call Bon Jovi because as of now, they’re living on a prayer for the last NFC playoff spot.
The longest active playoff drought in the NFL currently belongs to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, 18 years ago. Their playoff chances took a HUGE hit with their Week 16 loss to the New York Jets. Despite having 10 wins, the Browns can no longer control their fate either. The Browns lost in the most Cleveland way by QB Baker Mayfield fumbling the ball on a 4th and 1 QB sneak. While RB Kareem Hunt did indeed recover the fumble, it was under 2 minutes in the final quarter, making Baker Mayfield the only one eligible to pick up the loose ball. While the Browns did miss some key players such as Jedrick Wills, BJ Goodson, Jarvis Landry, and Rashard Higgins, that’s no excuse to lose to a team that only had one win all year. Cleveland must beat Pittsburgh next week and hope for a little luck to get into the postseason. It appears “The Fumble” has returned to haunt Cleveland.
What an absolute embarrassment this week. 40-0 at halftime? 47-7 loss. I understand that interim coach Darren Bevell didn’t coach the game and I understand QB Matt Stafford also exited the game early but that’s no excuse to lose by 40. This team has no heart and no passion. Lions QB Chase Daniel couldn’t even get the offense past midfield. Their only score came from a Jamal Agnew punt return touchdown. Bucs QB Tom Brady had 348 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns at halftime. Even Bucs backup QB Blaine Gabbert came in and threw for 2 touchdowns. The Lions allowed 588 yards in this game, the 2nd highest in team history and the most in a regular-season game. Yes, the Lions are 5-10 but to be completely humiliated like this is absolutely pathetic. Looks like the Motor City will be set up for lots of changes this off-season.
It’s been a terrible week for the former 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was stripped of his captain patch last week for violating COVID-19 protocol after he was seen partying maskless at a club. This week, Haskins threw 2 interceptions against the Carolina Panthers and was benched for backup QB Taylor Heineke. Haskins was released on December 28th, 2020, and went unclaimed through waivers. Haskins finished up his Washington career with just over 2800 passing yards, 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. Only time will tell what the future holds for the former 1st Round QB.
New York Jets
They won again this week which officially locked them into the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. What are they doing? What kind of sense does this make? If you wanted to prove you could win, why not do that at the beginning of the season? Now they have decisions to make with that 2nd pick. Do you move down? Select a QB? Maybe go Penei Sewell out of Oregon?
Head Coach Adam Gase better be gone in the off-season. This team was an absolute joke all season. How do you start off 0-13 and you don’t get the #1 pick? What are they gonna do with Sam Darnold? So many questions. They need to clean house and start over. This fan base deserves better than this.