NFL Week Fourteen: Benching Brock Bodes Well
– Matt Magill
After being down to Jacksonville, the Texans and head coach Bill O’Brien decided to pull the plug on the Brock Osweiller experiment (for one week at least). That energized the Texans enough to pull out a one point win against the floundering Jaguars and ignite a quarterback controversy regarding a team that only six people really care about anyway. The real question is, does this affect the way teams approach their quarterback search moving forward. Maybe the days of way overpaying for a quarterback after a few decent games are over (which leads to the question, did Osweiller just cost Jimmy Garoppolo a couple million dollars this offseason?)
It apparently doesn’t matter who the head coach is, the Rams are still the Rams. Seattle’s path to the playoffs will be paved in NFC West creampuffs.
Matt Moore fit right into the Dolphins lineup, at least against a Jets team that stopped playing meaningful football two months ago. Todd Bowles should have more than two years to turn things around, but it might be hard to justify that at season’s end with how bad the defense has played.
In a hard-fought divisional game, Green Bay was able to come out on top and the Bears proved that they might just be a couple pieces away from a trip to the playoffs next year. John Fox has done more with less this year, and you cannot accuse the boys from Chicago of not playing their asses off every week.
Buffalo beat Cleveland in a game no one was really paying too much attention to. Tyrod Taylor was lucky to have LeSean McCoy to carry the load as he is not looking like a long term solution at quarterback.
The Eagles found their running game and nearly stole one from the Ravens. As good as the Steelers have trended lately, the Ravens seem to be going in the other direction, regardless of the outcome of their games. It’s hard to trust this team to have any sustained success. The Eagles are playing for pride, and will need every ounce of it against the Giants this Thursday.
As soon as I proclaim the Chiefs a sleeper Superbowl pick, they go out and lay an egg against the Titans. I still think the Chiefs can make some noise, and maybe this loss is good for them in the long run, but it can’t feel good to have the division title in sight and be sidetracked by a poor performance (at home, no less!)
I can almost understand the Vikings only scoring six points in a game (maybe not against the Colts, but stranger things have happened) but to give up 34!? Seriously? The Vikings have been out of it for a few weeks now, but they will be out of it for a lot longer if they don’t figure things out in the offseason. This team is not a good one and should really start a rebuilding process before all their young talent is too old to be of any use.
The Steelers survived a scare in Cincinnati, and they didn’t even need Le’Veon Bell to run for over 200 yards this time. Look for Marvin Lewis to be taking a much deserved vacation come black Monday this year.
Drew Brees came roaring back to life, and the Cardinals just continue to add to their misery. Can they find a quarterback in the draft or do they go after someone like Jimmy Garoppolo or Tony Romo this offseason?
A result that surprised no one had the Falcons hanging 41 points on the 49ers. Chip Kelly should be fired, in fact, as soon as the Oregon job opened up, he should have packed his bags and went back to college. He has proven, in Philadelphia, that he cannot build a team, and that is what San Francisco needs, is a whole new team.
I think everyone expected New England to win against the Broncos on Sunday, but I don’t think anyone expected the Broncos offense to be as punchless as they were. Siemian had nearly 300 yards, but couldn’t get into the endzone. Is it a problem with the young quarterback, or are there pieces around him that need to be upgraded in the offseason. This might be John Elway’s toughest offseason as General Manager yet.
The Redskins couldn’t capitalize on the playoff dominoes falling their way, and looked bad in the process. I think that Gruden is safe in terms of his job, but bad losses like this that by all accounts should have been wins will certainly count against him. The Panthers finally played with some pride, which makes you wonder where that was all year, and also bodes well for next year.
Rising like a Viagra binge:
As much as it pains me to say it, a close second to the Packers on the list of teams I wouldn’t want to see in the playoffs is the Giants. Eli has clearly lost something this year, but that defense is really playing well. If they can find a semblance of a running game over the next two weeks, they might be able to make a run at this. They held a decent Lions team to six points and were able to do just enough to win the game on offense.
Sinking faster than the Titanic:
It’s not like San Diego was on a fast track to the playoffs or anything, but they certainly have fallen off quite a bit over the last few weeks. A team that no one wanted to play has quickly turned into a team that can’t string much good together. They were able to hang in with the Raiders, and I’m sure Raider-nation was holding its collective breath in that divisional matchup, but they were clearly outmatched. The big question now is whether Mike McCoy gets a chance to turn this around with a healthy team next year or not. They handed a playoff berth to the Raiders on Sunday.
Coaches on the hot seat:
Okay, lists are easier, let’s go to a list:
Fisher – Rams – 100% gone
Bradley – Jaguars – 100% gone
Pagano – Colts – 90% gone
Lewis – Bengals – 85% gone
McCoy – Chargers – 60% gone
Ryan – Bills – 33% gone
Bowles – Jets– 25% gone
Rivera – Panthers – 10% gone
Kelly – 49ers – 20% gone
A quick word on the Cowboys:
I’m an unabashed Cowboys fan, have been since my youth and the time of the “triplets”. So I would like to say something about the worst-run team in the NFL this side of Cleveland.
Brandon Carr owes David Irving a pretty sizable Christmas present after bailing him out time and again on Sunday night. It looked like it got to the point where defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli told Irving to go nuts because Carr can’t cover shit anyway. Our only hope is to disrupt Winston enough before he gets the pass off. When the Cowboys eventually lose in the playoffs, it will be because Brandon Carr is a terrible cornerback. Can the Cowboys mitigate some of that damage if Mo Claiborne comes back? Maybe…hopefully…but it feels like they are going to bench the rookie Brown (who has outplayed Carr by a long shot) over the veteran, then wonder why Jordy Nelson or Odell Beckham has 150 receiving yards in the first half of a playoff game.
Hey, at least the offense looked like it was back on track. Dak had one of the most efficient passing games of all time, and he got all of his weapons involved. If they can cut out the stupid penalties, they can get back to their early season form just in time for the games to count.