Photo Credit: ESPN/SportsCenter
In an FMQB first, I’m switching the picture and title after a Thursday night game (most of my blog is written by Friday morning). What a game last night! I would typically turn off any game that’s 20-0 in the 3rd quarter, but I’m sure glad I kept with it. Granted people will be harping on the facemask penalty on Rodgers to give them an extra shot, but it was an incredible final hail mary (albeit lucky) to end the game. Successful game winning hail marys are extremely rare in the NFL. The last one was the “Fail Mary” in 2012, then the Jags Titans in 2010, and then you have to go all the way back to 2002. So that’s only 3 endings like this in the last 13 years! Here’s a list of all successful hail marys if anybody is interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Hail_Mary_passes_in_American_football#Professional_football . Huge division game though, it was a must-win for the Packers (although they didn’t act like it in the first 40 minutes of the game).
We’re into the nitty gritty, with only 5 games left in the season. The playoff push will be strong, with most divisions having a fairly clear winner, but about 10 total teams vying for 4 total Wild Card spots. Let’s dive into last week.
Broncos vs. Patriots:
Last night’s game is kind of overshadowing the bulk of my blog, but the Denver Patriots game was also an instant classic. The Broncos fell 21-7 in the 4th quarter in the snow, and it looked like this one was in the bag as well. But then the Broncos defense showed up and harassed Brady everytime he got the ball. He was visibly frustrated multiple times on the field, which was sort of amusing to watch. The Broncos scored a quick 10 points, and were soon down 21-17 and given the ball with 2:31 left in the game. Two deep plays later had them go 70 yards with a first and goal. They punched it in but left Brady with 1:09 to tie it up with no timeouts. Brady is the best in the business, and he got them to the 29 yard line for a game tying FG as time expired. The second possession into OT, CJ Anderson broke a 48 yard run for the win (and Patriots first loss). It felt like all night that Anderson had no issue with the snow and making cuts like it was 80 degrees out, where the Patriots D was stutter stepping to avoid slipping. It worked out again, as he froze the last safety and easily made him miss.
Some interesting game notes:
- In a snowy game, Denver ran it 32 while the Patriots threw it 42 (only running 16). That’s playoff football right there.
- Brock Osweiler is now 2-0 as a starter, and beat teams on a combined 12-0 run
- The Broncos have also now taken down 2 late undefeated teams, beating the Packers and Patriots (combined 17-0)
- On the game winning TD, 2 plays were called into the huddle. Osweiler killed the first play and audibled to the game winning call
Second Half Surge:
- Washington started 2-4, and are now leading the NFC East
- Texans started 1-4, have since won 5 of 6 (including 4 in a row) and are tied for 1st in the AFC South
- Lions started 1-7, had won 3 in a row and should have won last night
- Chiefs started 1-5, have won 5 straight and would be the #5 seed right now
- Bears started 2-5, and are 3-1 since. Only 1 game out of a Wild Card spot
- What was Blake Bortles thinking? He threw the ball twice when he was 3 yards past the line of scrimmage. It wasn’t close, it was a full 2 seconds after he had crossed the line.
- Carolina and New England can both clinch their devisions on Sunday. Meanwhile the NFC East has a tie for first place at 5-6, and the Cowboys aren’t mathematically eliminated from winning the division at 3-8.
- With how many Patriots have gone out with injury, it’s almost a wonder that they made it this far in without losing
- Matt Hasselbeck is 4-0 as the Colts starting QB.
- After starting the season so terribly, and being 3rd in their division. The Seahawks would be in the playoffs if the season ended today
- Odell Beckham isn’t human. That ball is dropped by every other receiver in the league, and ¾ of them don’t even dive for that ball
- I had to re-read the stat line when I saw that Russell Wilson had thrown for 5 TD’s
- I also had to re-read the stat line when I saw that Roethlisberger threw for 456 yards against the Seahawks defense
Quote of the Week:
“At least our guy really caught the ball” Mike McCarthy, in a nod to the “Fail Mary” he was on the losing side for
Stolen Stat of the Week:
When Jameis Winston was born, Matt Hasselbeck was a starting QB in college
Stat of the Week #2:
Ryan Fitzpatrick became the first QB to throw 4 TD passes in a game for 4 different teams
Stat of the Week #3:
Kirk Cousins has 10 TD passes and only 2 INT’s in his last 5 games
Stat of the Week #4:
The Texans held the Saints without a TD for the first time since 2005
Stat of the Week #5:
The Packers were held scoreless for 66 minutes, and then scored 14 points in 1:38.
Stat of the Week #6:
The Seahawks had 6 TD’s on Sunday. One would figure that they scored at least 42 points (6 TD’s times 7). But they only scored 39. They had two failed 2pt conversions, and a blocked extra point.
Wild Card Madness:
The AFC has 10 teams within 2 games of each other, all going for 3 playoff spots. Somehow both the Dolphins, Ravens and Jaguars are still in the hunt at 4-7 and only 2 games back. Then the Chiefs, Texans, Jets, and Steelers are all at 6-5, with the Raiders and Bills just a game back of them. There could be a lot of juggling and deciding games for this group.
The NFC is a bit less convoluted, with the top 5 seeds fairly set (minus the NFC East winner). But the Seahawks and Falcons are fighting for the final Wild Card spot with the same record, and the Bucs, Giants and Bears are creeping at 5-6. If anybody is complaining about the mediocrity of the NFL right now, they’re about to get a fun final push to the playoffs with so many teams still in it this late in the season.
Questions for the NFL:
- What is the Concussion Spotter actually doing up there? He/she missed a second one last week, and Roethlisberger continued playing and then self-reported his concussion
- Sort of ironic to see the movie previews for Concussion during NFL games. I’m guessing Roger Goodell can’t be too happy about that
- Please sign whoever schedules your primetime games to a long-term deal. On paper they look mediocre, but the last 3 primetime games have come down to the final play! (Broncos walk off TD in OT, Ravens returned a FG for a TD, Packers Hail Mary).
- Really, Coldplay? It’s the 50th Super Bowl. Makes it easy to get up and get food
Games of the Week:
Jets at Giants: New York vs New York happens once every 4 years, and this time both are fighting for a playoff spot
Falcons at Buccaneers: Neither can win their division, but both are fighting for a Wild Card spot
Seahawks at Vikings: Could be a pre-cursor to the first round of the playoffs (if the season ended today, this would be the matchup in MN).
Texans at Bills: Fighting for a Wild Card Birth
Chiefs at Raiders: Fighting for a Wild Card Birth
Colts at Steelers: Both teams fighting