NFL Week 14 Games Review
Early Blowouts & Late Thrillers. This Week Had It All
This Sunday's matchups mostly consisted of blowouts in the early slot, but the late afternoon saw plenty of excitement. Week 14 saw many stars stand out for their respected teams, while we had to eliminate four teams from playoff contention (Lions, Jets, Texans, Jaguars). There's a lot to take in this weekend, so let's recap all the action starting with Thursday's contest.
Steelers: 28 (6-6-1), Vikings: 36 (6-7)
Final Line: MIN -3.5 Jake's Pick: PIT
The Vikings dominated this game if you take the second half out of consideration. Minnesota got off to a 29-0 lead due to a dominating offensive performance; RB Dalvin Cook had 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone on just 14 carries. In his first game back since injuring his shoulder two weeks ago, Cook finished the day with 205 total rushing yards and two touchdowns. However, this is the Vikings, which means they will blow their lead eventually. After giving up 21 unanswered in the third quarter, it seemed as if the Vikings were going to let another lead slip through their fingers, but Kirk Cousins got it together. Despite a lackluster performance, Cousins was able to find K.J. Osbourne for a 62-yard touchdown that would ultimately seal the victory for the Lions. For now, Mike Zimmer still has a job.
ONE MORE YEAR! ONE MORE YEAR! In the last couple of weeks, Ben Roethlisberger has shown us why he is one of the best quarterbacks in this generation. Sure, he's not what he once was, but he still genuinely wants to win. The Steelers' defense was nonexistent the first half mainly because of T.J. Watt exiting the game with a groin injury. That didn't stop Roethlisberger and the Steelers from fighting their way back into the game. Najee Harris accounted for two touchdowns, as well as 94 rushing yards. With about 30 seconds left in the game, Roethlisberger connected with Chase Claypool for a first down. Rather than rushing back to the line of scrimmage to get set for the next play, Claypool decided to celebrate reaching the first down. In that case, the Steelers had no timeouts, and the Steelers saw about eight seconds run out of the clock. Ultimately, Roethlisberger's pass to Pat Freiermuth missed the mark, and the Steelers fell short. While the Steelers may have lost the game, Big Ben won all of our hearts.
RIP DEMARYIUS THOMAS:
During the game, news broke that former Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas died in his home at 33. Thomas was truly one of the best receivers of this generation and his quiet demeanor off the field was always overshadowed by his play on the field. Rest in Peace to Demaryius Thomas; Gone too soon.
The Vikings have a divisional matchup with the Chicago Bears.
The Steelers go back home to take on the Tennessee Titans.
Falcons: 29 (6-7), Panthers: 21 (5-8)
Final Line: CAR -2.5 Jake's Pick: ATL
While the Falcons didn't play all that well offensively, their defense more than made up for it as LB Mykal Walker returned a Cam Newton interception 66 yards for a touchdown to help the Falcons beat the Panthers and keep their playoffs hopes in check. Matt Ryan kept the turnovers to a minimum as he threw for 190 yards and a touchdown to Hayden Hurst. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to blossom in the Falcons running game as he added 58 rushing yards and a touchdown. The weird thing about the Falcons this season is that while they are 0-5 at home, they are 6-2 on the road. They have to figure out how to win in front of their home crowd.
Remember a few weeks ago when Cam Newton proclaimed he was back? Cam has failed to win a game since returning to Carolina as the starting QB. Not only that, he got benched for the second-straight week in favor of P.J. Walker. Joe Brady might not have been the problem after all. The loss puts the Panthers in a deep hole as now they have to face the Bills in Buffalo.
Next week, the Falcons will have a road test against the Niners in another matchup with playoff implications.
The Panthers will have to travel to Buffalo to take on a determined Bills team.
Cowboys: 27 (9-4), Washington: 20 (6-7)
Final Line: DAL -6.5 Jake's Pick: DAL
The Cowboys came into D.C. with a lot of swag and their heated benches. After Mike McCarthy had guaranteed a win at Washington, Dallas had to live up to his word. At first, they did; Micah Parsons is a beast on the defensive side as he sacked Taylor Heinicke twice, and the Cowboys' defense forced four turnovers. Parsons is on pace to break Jevon Kearse's 1999 rookie sack record, and he is making a solid case for both DROY and DPOY.
Dallas led 24-0 at the half and looked to be well on their way, but Washington clawed their way back in it, and their lead was seven. Dallas's defense was clutch all day, while Dak Prescott and the Cowboy offense could not get anything going. Prescott had one TD against two INTs on 211 yards, and Ezekiel Elliot managed 45 rushing yards. Despite the lack of production on offense and almost blowing their big lead, the Cowboys held to their word and kept a firm grasp on the NFC East.
Despite being down early, Washington hung in tough. A 43-yard pass from Taylor Heinicke kicked things off in the third quarter. Heinicke would cash in on the two-point conversation to make it 24-8. However, Heinicke struggled for most of the day, and it didn't help that WR Terry McLaurin left the game due to a concussion. Heinicke would get replaced in the fourth quarter in favor of Kyle Allen, who led them on a 73-yard scoring drive to cut the deficit to 13. A pick-six would see the Cowboys lead trimmed to just a touchdown. However, Washington's comeback would end when Dallas forced Allen to fumble with 2:21 left in the fourth. For Washington, their four-game winning streak has come to an end.
The Cowboys will travel to East Rutherford for a matchup with the G-Men.
Washington will have a crucial divisional matchup on the road against the Eagles.
Ravens: 22 (8-5), Browns: 24 (7-6)
Final Line: CLE -3.0 Jake's Pick: CLE
The Browns came into this game feeling like they still had a lot left in the tank, despite many people believing that their season is over. Well, Myles Garrett shut all of those doubters up by shutting down the Ravens' late comeback with his first career touchdown. As the Browns stayed in the playoff race, QB Baker Mayfield also contributed two TD passes. The bye came at the right time for Mayfield and the Browns, and they went into this game looking healthy. Cleveland got off to a hot start, while Baltimore struggled on both sides of the ball. To make matters worse, QB Lamar Jackson injured his ankle and replaced Tyler Huntley, who pulled the Ravens within two after an 8-yard TD pass to Mark Andrews. However, the dagger came early in the second quarter when Garrett strip-sacked Huntley and returned it to put the Browns up 21.
I pretty much covered it already, but when you thought it couldn't get any worse for the Ravens, their star player goes down. After injuring his ankle, Lamar Jackson was carted off the second quarter. Despite Jackson going down, Tyler Huntley proved to be a worthy backup. He spent most of the second half scrambling away from danger, but he helped keep the Ravens in the game. After getting the Ravens within, they converted on the onside kick; however, Huntley couldn't convert on the ensuing fourth down, and they fell short. After the loss, the Ravens find themselves in deep trouble, but the good news is that Jackson sprained his ankle, which means it's not as severe.
The Browns will take on the Raiders in the first of two consecutive games on Saturday.
The Ravens hope Lamar will be ready for Sunday's game as they play host to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Jaguars: 0 (2-11), Titans: 20 (9-4)
Final Line: TEN -8.5 Jake's Pick: TEN
I don't have much to say about this game other than the better team won. The Titans didn't have to do much in this game, as all they had to do was score, and they did just enough of that. The Titans didn't do anything special, but they succeeded in getting their ninth win of the year.
Oh boy, where do I even start with the Jags? Urban Meyer isn't the answer, as his selfish attitude after the game was uncalled for. After their loss, Urban didn't even make eye contact with Titans' HC Mike Vrabel when shaking his hand. Also, he referred to his entire coaching staff as "losers" after the game. He went on to deny all of those comments. If you still think Meyer is a good coach after that, may I suggest looking at Trevor Lawrence this season? The number-one overall pick hasn't shown any signs of progression this season as he threw for 222 yards and 4 INTs on Sunday. That's not on Lawrence; if anything, it's on the coaching. I expect Urban Meyer to get the boot sooner rather than later.
The Titans go to Pittsburgh to take on Big Ben and the Steelers.
The Jags will take on the Texans in a special edition of The Tank Bowl.
Raiders: 9 (6-7), Chiefs: 48 (9-4)
Final Line: KC -10.0 Jake's Pick: KC
The Chiefs' defense wasted no time in getting involved in this one as on the first play of the game, they returned a fumble for a TD. From that moment on, it was all Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes was firing on all cylinders, and the Chiefs' steamrolled the Raiders. While the offense finally showed up, the defense continues to be the main focal point of the Chiefs this season. No one stands out on that defense, but they do an excellent job of playing as a cohesive unit. The Chiefs have won six in a row, and they are quickly emerging as one of the best teams in the AFC.
The Raiders thought it was good to have a team meeting on the Chiefs logo before the game. That idea proved to be ineffective. For the second time this season, the Chiefs owned the Raiders. Maybe next time, don't have a team meeting on the opposing team's logo.
The Chiefs have a crucial TNF showdown with the LA Chargers to decide the AFC West.
The Raiders will take on the Browns as part of a Saturday doubleheader.
Saints: 30 (6-7), Jets: 9 (3-10)
Final Line: NO -4.5 Jake's Pick: NO
Alvin Kamara wasted no time in his return to the field. The running back rushed for 120 yards and scored after missing four games due to an ankle injury. QB Taysom Hill also provided two rushing touchdowns, including a 44-yard run in the fourth to put the game on ice. For the Saints, the win ends their 5-game losing skid, and they will look to sweep their season series against the Bucs next weekend.
As for the Jets, there's not much to say other than they are who we thought they were. Eddy Pineiro made three field goals in his Jets debut in other news.
The Saints have an SNF showdown in Tampa against Tom Brady and the Bucs.
The Jets have a matchup with the red-hot Dolphins!?! Huh, I could've sworn this was a Tank Bowl matchup.
Seahawks:33 (5-8), Texans: 13 (2-11)
Final Line: SEA -9.5 Jake's Pick: SEA
With the win on Sunday, the Seahawks have won consecutive games for the first time this season. Russell Wilson threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyler Lockett became the first Seahawks receiver since Steve Largent to have at least 1,000 receiving yards in three straight seasons. Lockett had 142 yards and two touchdowns on the day, and he now has 1,023 yards this season. Rashaad Penny also had a career day running the ball as the RB finished with 137 yards and two TDs.
The Texans fall to 2-11 and show why they are one of the worst teams in the league. Davis Mills showed some good moments as the QB threw for 333 yards and one TD. They also saw their kicker nail a 61-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
The Seahawks hope to keep their playoff aspirations alive as they travel to LA to take on the Rams.
The Texans will go to DUUUUVAAAAL to take on the Jags in a matchup of two fantastic teams. Just Kidding!
Giants: 21 (4-9), Chargers: 37 (8-5)
Final Line: LAC -9.0 Jake's Pick: LAC
Man, Justin Herbert has a cannon of an arm. With Herbert and his luscious lox at the helm, the Chargers' offense is unstoppable, and they can run deep passes thanks to Herbert's arm consistently. Herbert finished with 275 and three TDs even without Keenan Allen, his favorite target. The Chargers now find themselves in a prime position to win their division if they can get past the Chiefs on Thursday.
The Giants are dead as they couldn't muster anything with backup Mike Glennon. There is not much else to say here, except the Giants will have to wait till next year, once again.
The Chargers have a crucial AFC matchup with the Chiefs on Thursday.
The Giants have a divisional showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.
Lions: 10 (1-11-1), Broncos: 38 (7-6)
Final Line: DEN -12.5 Jake's Pick: DEN
The spirit of Demaryius Thomas was present in Denver this weekend as the Broncos paid tribute to the former Bronco by lining up with ten men on the first play from scrimmage. Their defense paid their respects by placing the ball down on the #88 painted on the side of the field after their two interceptions. It also helped that the Broncos destroyed the Lions. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams combined for four TDs, and QB Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes. Although the Broncos won the game, the main focus was on Thomas, who passed away on Thursday at his home in Georgia. He was 33.
The Lions couldn't keep their momentum going, as they had to play without most of their lineup on offense. Jared Goff couldn't get anything going, as the Lions are fighting for a chance for the first pick in next year's draft.
The Broncos have an enticing matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals next week.
The Lions have a tough matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.
49ers: 26 (7-6), Bengals: 23 (7-6) Final/OT
Final Line:SF -2.5 Jake's Pick: CIN
The Niners kept their playoff hopes alive after Jimmy Garoppolo's eight-yard TD to Brandon Aiyuk in overtime was enough to lift them past the Bengals. George Kittle added 151 yards and a touchdown on 13 catches. Deebo Samuel made his return to the lineup and had a rushing TD. To sum it up quickly, the Niners dominated this game in the first half, but the Bengals came back in the second half and tied the game thanks to the Joe Burrow-Ja'Marr Chase Connection. San Fran had a chance to win it in regulation, but Robbie Gould missed the field goal.
Cincy got the ball first in overtime and drove the ball down the field but settled for an Evan McPherson field goal. The Niners responded with the Aiyuk TD to win the game. A fitting end to a well-fought game.
On the other hand, the Bengals now have a tough road ahead of them if they want to make the playoffs. Cincy couldn't get anything going in the first half, as the Bengals had to settle for six points from the kicker McPherson. Now down 20-6 in the fourth quarter, Burrow knew he had to make something happen as he caught fire. He connected with his favorite target, Ja'Marr Chase, on two TDs to tie the game at 20-20. Burrow finished the game with 346 yards and two TDs. Despite a valiant effort late in the game, the Bengals fell short and are in deep trouble.
The Niners will play host to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Bengals will look to bounce back against the Broncos next week.
Bills: 27 (7-6), Buccaneers: 33 (10-3) Final/OT
Final Line: TB -3.0 Jake's Pick: TB
The Bucs aren't the best team in the NFC, but as long as Tom Brady is still on the team, they will always be a Super Bowl contender. Brady showed why he is the GOAT by becoming the NFL's all-time leader in completions and throwing his 700th touchdown to Breshad Perriman for the winning score in Tampa's 33-27 overtime victory. Brady was phenomenal in this game, throwing for 363 yards and two TDs. Tampa overcame adversity throughout the second half as Buffalo came roaring back in the fourth quarter. However, Brady showed why he is the greatest of all time as the Bucs pulled out the overtime stunner. With the win, the Bucs are in a good position to clinch their first NFC South title in 14 years.
For the Bills, it's back-to-back heartbreaking losses to top-five teams. Josh Allen overcame a slow start to throw for 308 yards and 2 TDs, while rushing for 109 yards and one TD, making him the fourth player in league history to throw for over 300 yards and rush for 100-plus yards in the same game. After getting down 24-3 at halftime, Josh Allen started the scoring with a rushing TD to cut the lead to 14. After a Bucs field, Buffalo racked up 17 unanswered to tie the game at 27 apiece and force overtime. The Bills had to punt despite getting the ball first, leading to Brady's game-winning TD pass. The problem with the Bills has been the lack of consistency at running back. If you watched the game on Sunday, you would've seen the Bills continuing to run the ball with their QB. They can't continue to do that because he's eventually getting hurt.
The Bucs have a divisional matchup with the Saints on SNF.
The Bills are in must-win mode moving forward as they play host to the Panthers next week.
Bears: 30 (4-9), Packers: 45 (10-3)
Final Line: GB -11.5 Jake's Pick: GB
In a game that saw 42 points scored in the second quarter, Aaron Rodgers proves to own still a significant portion of the city of Chicago as the Packers pulled away from the Bears, 45-30. Rodgers threw for 341 yards and four TDs, while the Packers defense forced Justin Fields to cough it up twice in the second half. In the first half, specifically the second quarter, both teams exchanged body blows, but in the second half, the game turned into what most people were expecting: an Aaron Rodgers beatdown.
I know you're wondering why the second quarter was so special. Well, it was because of one man: Jakeem Grant. In addition to a 46-yard end-around in the second quarter, Grant scored on an emphatic 97-yard punt return. At that point, the Bears were up 24-14 with a minute left to go. Justin Fields proved that he has a bright future ahead of him as the rookie threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns with 74 rushing yards. Fields did turn it over four times, but many of his mistakes weren't his fault. Despite the unreal second quarter, the Bears returned to their usual ways, with Bears fans calling for Matt Nagy's head.
The Packers will travel to Baltimore to take on the banged-up Ravens.
The Bears have a divisional matchup with the Vikings on MNF.
Rams: 30 (9-4), Cardinals: 23 (10-3)
Final Line: ARI -3.0 Jake's Pick: ARI
Last night, the Rams finally proved all the doubters wrong by beating a good football team. Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald showed they're still a heavyweight in the NFC West. Donald made his presence feel right as the six-time All-Pro finished with three sacks, including sacks on scrimmage's first and last play.
On the other hand, Stafford threw for 287 yards and three TDs to help lead the Rams past the Cardinals. Odell Beckham continues to impact his new team as the receiver has hauled three TDs in three games, and Cooper Kupp continues to rack up the receiving yards. With the win, the Rams move to 9-4 and are now within one game of the Arizona Cardinals for first place in the NFC West.
After recovering an onside kick, the Cardinals had a chance to tie the game. But after a couple of bad penalties neglected a couple of Kyler Murray runs, the Cardinals failed to get anything going. Murray struggled for most of the day, throwing two costly interceptions, despite throwing for 383 yards. RB James Connor contributed nicely with a couple of TD runs, but the Cardinals were overpowered by the Rams pass rush. I still believe the Cards have a good chance to win their division; the loss makes things a little more complicated.
The Rams will take on the Seahawks in a high-stakes divisional matchup.
The Cardinals will face the Detroit Lions at home next week.
Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake. Follow him on Twitter @jake_klausner Want more US Sports content? Check this out:
Show your love for thepyrrhic.com with this sweet branded t-shirt