A moving tribute in Denver, a pair of overtime TDs, and Urban Meyer sure doesn’t look like a winner. All that and much more from Week 14:
MIN 36 – PIT 28
We finally get an answer to the age-old question, “What happens when a team who can’t hold a lead goes up by 29?” Dalvin Cook has a monster game (27 Carries/205 Yards/2 TDs including this 29-yarder where he doesn’t even come all that close to being touched) just 4 days after missing the Vikings’ brutal Week 13 loss to the Lions. A pair of Greg Joseph 3rd quarter field goals extend the lead to 29-0 and then the wheels completely fall off because of course they do. The Steelers outscore the Vikings 20-0 over a 9-minute stretch culminating in this sweet grab by James Washington over the middle. The Jekyll-and-Hyde Vikings answer right back on this bomb to K.J. Osborn, but that still isn’t enough to put away the Steelers. Even Chase Claypool celebrating a first down at the worst possible time isn’t enough to put away the Steelers but Pat Freiermuth can’t quite hold onto the game-tying touchdown and Minnesota barely escapes.
DAL 27 – WAS 20
Taylor Heinicke hits Adam Humphries for 14 yards on Washington’s first play from scrimmage. No, we don’t usually waste precious column space on that mundane a play, but we’re making an exception here because that would end up being Washington’s biggest gain until midway through the 3rd quarter. The brutal first half stat line: 28 plays, 30 total yards, two turnovers, one of which comes all the way back. Full credit to the Football Team for getting back into the game in the second half behind Cam Sims’ tribute to Randy Moss and a defensive touchdown of their own. But a late Randy Gregory sack seals the win as Dallas ends Washington’s 4-game winning streak.
TEN 20 – JAX 0
Urban Meyer fails spectacularly in his attempt to prove that he’s a winner, but he may be onto something regarding his assistants not being winners either. Just an awful day for the visiting team all around, as Jacksonville’s offense posts nearly as many interceptions (4) as rushing yards (8.) Tennessee continues to look fairly unremarkable without Derrick Henry (who may well be back sooner than we thought but then again you don’t really have to be remarkable to beat the Jags. And in that spirit, here’s D’Onta Foreman doing his best Derrick Henry impression to cap off the Titans’ first drive and give the Titans the lead for good.
SEA 33 – HOU 13
No 3-8 team has ever made the playoffs, but the now 5-8 Seahawks are suddenly back within a game of a playoff spot after winning back-to-back games for the first time all season. Rashaad Penny (16 carries/137 yards/2 TDs) and Tyler Lockett (5 catches/142 yards/1 TD) do most of the work in this one, including those 3 TDs, all on long plays- this stiff-arm aided 32-yard run, a 55-yard bomb to Lockett just before halftime, and this 47-yard Penny burst which puts the game out of reach.
KC 48 – LV 9
The entire Raiders team stomps on the Chiefs’ midfield logo at the end of pregame warmups, and Karma responds by gifting Kansas City a defensive TD on the game’s first play from scrimmage. The Chiefs go on to score the game’s first 35 points, culminating in this nifty Clyde Edwards-Helaire run and cruise from there. The Raiders, now 1-5 in their last 6, can only look back at the midseason standings and wonder where they went wrong. Well, other than the whole Karma thing.
NO 30 – NYJ 9
The Saints, who like the Raiders were 5-2 at one point before the wheels came off, get a couple of those wheels back, as Alvin Kamara suits up for the first time since Week 9. Kamara picks up right where he left off with 31 touches for 145 yards and one of those touchdowns where he looks like a man among boys. Taysom Hill continues to do relatively little with his arm, but at least plays mistake-free ball a week after throwing 4 interceptions against Dallas, and adds two rushing TDs, including this late 44-yarder which doesn’t matter at all to the final outcome but almost results in a miracle Over (41.5) until Zach Wilson gets tackled at the New Orleans 1 on the game’s final play.
ATL 29 – CAR 21
All of the hype around the Camback (which we contributed to, to be fair) makes it easy to forget that Cam Newton hasn’t actually won a game as the Panthers’ starter in a really long time- he’s now up to 11 straight losses dating back to Week 9 of the 2018 season. Newton runs it in from 12 yards out to cap the Panthers’ opening drive, but later gives those 7 points right back on this pick-six. The Falcons eventually extend that lead to 15 when Hayden Hurst is left all alone after briefly pretending to throw a block. P.J. Walker mounts a late comeback, but Matt Ryan seals the win by converting a pair of 3rd downs in the game’s last 3 minutes.
CLE 24 – BAL 22
Cleveland becomes the first team in 30 years to play consecutive regular season games against the same opponent. And presumably the Browns learned something from spending two weeks studying game film of their 16-10 Week 12 loss, as they match that 10-point output in a single quarter and eventually jump out to a 24-3 lead when Myles Garrett breaks the Browns’ all-time single-season sack record in style. Tyler Huntley gamely leads the Ravens back, throwing for 270 yards and a TD after Lamar Jackson is carted off early in the 2nd quarter. A late onsides kick puts Baltimore a single first down away from Justin Tucker field goal range, but they never get that first down as Greg Roman inexplicably calls a 2-yard pattern on 4th & 6.
TB 33 – BUF 27 (OT)
The much-anticipated duel between Josh Allen and Tom Brady doesn’t disappoint. The first half is all Bucs, with the defending champs jumping out to a commanding 24-3 lead behind Brady’s stellar QB play and a 47-yard TD run by Leonard Fornette The second half is all Buffalo though, and more specifically all Allen. Allen tosses 2 TDs and uses his legs to pick up 109 yards on the ground including a third TD. A late potential game-winning drive stalls out inside the 10, but a Tyler Bass chip shot sends the game to OT. In overtime though, the Bills’ offense goes 3-and out and never gets back on the field as Breshard Perriman sends everyone home by converting this short crossing route into a 58-yard game-winning TD. That game-winner is Brady’s 700th TD all-time, including playoffs. And yes, this time, they got the ball.
LAC 37 – NYG 21
It’s the Justin Herbert show at SoFi Stadium once again. Herbert’s spectacular arm is on full display from the start. On 3rd & 11 from their own 41 with only 25 ticks left in the first half, the QB tosses a phenomenal 59-yard bomb to rookie wideout Jalen Guyton. Herbert finishes with 3 TDs on the day but really doesn’t need to do much. The game isn’t as close as the 37-21 final indicates, with Saquan Barkley catching an 18-yard garbage time TD and Giants’ backup Mike Glennon rushing for another. The Giants limp home to face the Cowboys next Sunday while the Chargers have a short week, hosting the Chiefs Thursday night.
DEN 38 – DET 10
On the first play of the game, the Broncos line up only 10 men to honor former WR Demaryius Thomas, who passed away suddenly last week. A big standing ovation from all of us at Chuck both for the moving tribute and to the Lions for declining the resulting delay-of-game penalty. When the game resumes, Denver gets to work. Short TD runs by Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon put the Broncos up 14-0 in the first quarter, part of Gordon’s 111-yard rushing day. Detroit fights back and actually closes the gap to 14-10 with help of a nice swing pass TD from Goff to Kalif Raymond, but that’s as close as the Lions get as the Broncos score 24 unanswered points from there. Denver closes out the romp with a nifty pylon TD from big TE Albert Okwuegbunam- a near carbon-copy of his Week 1 TD against the Giants.
SF 26 – CIN 23 (OT)
The 49ers head into Cinicinnati and win a thriller against the Bengals. Down 10-6 late in the second quarter, the Bengals’ Darius Phillips muffs his second punt of the half. A few plays later, Jimmy Garaoppolo hits George Kittle for a TD at the pylon, giving San Fran a 17-6 lead at halftime, part of Kittle’s monster 13 catch, 151-yard receiving day. In the second half, it’s 20-6 before Burrow and Ja’marr Chase take over. The pair hook up for a couple of spectacular TDs, including this strike with 1:19 left to tie the game at 20. A last second FG miss by normally reliable Robbie Gould sends the game into OT. After a field goal gives the Bengals the lead, the Niners end it on with Brandon Aiuyk somehow staying in bounds for his second TD catch of the game.
GB 45 – CHI 30
The Bears only need 30 minutes to tie their season high of 27 points thanks to trio of long TDs, each on innocent-looking plays- first this little flip to Jakeem Grant, then a short slant to Damiere Byrd, and finally a punt return by Grant from inside his own 5. But the Bears only have a 6-point lead to show for all that, thanks partly to a Rasul Douglas’s second pick-six in as many games. The Packers overcome that 6-point deficit quickly with a pair of touchdowns just a minute apart early in the 3rd quarter, and put the game away with a backbreaking 8:38 4th quarter drive culminating in Aaron Rodgers’ 4th TD pass on the night. Apparently he still, still owns the Bears.
LAR 30 – ARI 23
The Packers also now own the NFL’s best record (on tiebreaks) as the Rams get some sweet primetime revenge for their 37-20 home loss to the Cards back in October. Odell Beckham Jr. (6 catches/77 yards/TD) goes over the 5-catch mark for the first time in almost exactly two years, dating back 19 games to his last trip to the desert. Cooper Kupp also goes over the 5-catch mark. By a lot. Kyler Murray keeps the Cards in the game with 383 yards in the air and another 61 on the ground, but a pair of costly picks- one at the goal line in the first quarter, and another on the Cards’ second play of the second half– both lead to Ram touchdowns, which ultimately end up deciding this one.