Philadelphia got some brotherly love from Dallas’ predominately Dak Prescottless Cowboys with a 27-13 win that featured the return of the Lone Star State’s veteran son, Tony Romo, who triumphed on his first drive completing 3 of 4 passes, capped by a 3 yard touchdown pass. Third string quarterback Mark Sanchez was business as usual struggling against his former team, not making a compelling case for a roster spot next season. Carson Wentz set the record for most completions by a rookie, as the Eagles exit on a high note with a mini two game winning streak.
New England’s undefeated road record dealt the Dolphins a 35-14 lopsided loss, giving the Brady/Belichick boys a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the AFC postseason. Wide receiver Michael Floyd’s monster block was a thing of beauty, allowing Julian Edelman to score on the longest reception of his career.
These days it’s a tale of two Manning’s, and that’s not including Peyton. Eli’s regular season finale was interception free and the running game did some talking to the tune of a season high 161 yards. McAdoo’s men mailed in a 19-10 win at Fed Ex Field, and the former offensive coordinator turned rookie coach has himself an 11-5 record, a NY 2nd finest since going 12-4 in their 2008 Super Bowl banner year.
In the final game of their futile season interim coach John Fassel’s rudderless Rams were routed by Arizona’s red-bellied birds, 45-6. Jared Goff could not win one for the Gipper, or anyone for that matter, as six sacks were on sale, and touchdowns were more elusive than a lost contact lens in shag carpeting. And the million-dollar question looming over LA? Will Jon Gruden trade in his Monday Night Football analyst headset for a coaching mindset next season?
In a meaningless win and go home for both struggling teams, Andy Dalton came out on top 27-10, and despite his franchise setting career stats, the Bengels miss the playoffs for the first time in 6 years, while John Harbaugh’s rusty Ravens look to change their offensive coordinator for the sixth time in 6 years. Will 2×3 be the charm?
Cam Newton ended an undabulous season on a down note, playing through pain with a 17-16 loss to Jameis Winston’s building block Buccaneers. A two-point conversion gone badly gave the controversial quarterback another dose of disappointment a year after his Super Bowl debacle. The flamboyant fashionista will have much to contemplate during the off-season as he hopes to regain the form that made him last year’s NFL MVP.
Steelers rest offensive stars and steal a 27-24 overtime win over the comically bad Cleveland Browns. With Ben Roethlisberger playoff preserved on the sidelines, back-up quarterback Landry Jones connected with wide receiver Cobi Hamilton for the walk off TD to seal a first round playoff date with the Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders, reeling from the loss of Derek Carr, were decimated by the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos 24-6, and by the looks of their quarterback replacements, Jack Del Rio’s Cinderella season is in desperate need of a golden slipper. And even if they get past the Houston Texans, who have QB quandaries of their own, Oakland won’t make a playoff dent without Carr in the driver’s seat.
The return of Andrew Luck brings no good fortune to Indianapolis as they get to .500 in their final game of the season with a 24-20 victory over a junky Jacksonville Jaguar team. Linebacker Robert Mathis hangs up his cleats after a prolific 14-year career.
Minnesota mauled the Bears 38-10 to claw their way to an unsatisfying 8-8 record. Viking’s first year quarterback, Sam Bradford, took the torch from the injured Teddy Bridgewater, but a 5-0 start quickly went south when an injury-plagued roster, coupled with the league’s worst rushing game, and piles of penalties resulted in 8 of 10 losses putting them out of the playoff picture.
Jets got redemption over their former forlorn coach, Rex Ryan, who along with his brother Rob, were shuffled out of Buffalo. NY’s 30-10 win may have momentarily boosted moral, but they are a long way from being great again. The 5-11 Jets will likely rid themselves of Ryan Fitzpatrick, which they should have done last season, and stick with Todd Bowles, who is part of a long list of clueless head coaches keeping their jobs.
Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins had a banner day despite a 24-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Hopkins caught 7 passes for 123 yards, recording his longest pass of the season, a 51-yard catch and run in the 3rd quarter. Next Sunday they will attempt to play Texas hold ‘em at home against the Derek Carrless Raiders.
Kansas City was in charge of San Diego with a 37-27 win to catapult them into first position atop the AFC West. Philip Rivers falters once again with 2 interceptions, boosting his season total to a career high 21. Playing in what could be his final game in Qualcomm Stadium, Rivers has turned his second half fade into a common occurrence, leaving his head coach Mike McCoy out of a job after four seasons.
The Seahawks were almost sleepless in Santa Clara rallying from an 11-point deficit to edge the 49ers 25-23. In an effort to preserve key players for the playoffs, Pete Carroll plays with fire, but doesn’t get burned. After pulling Russell Wilson in the 4th quarter, back up QB Trevone Boykin converted a couple of 3rd downs to run out the clock and secure their 2-point lead. Chip Kelly was another head coach casualty, a one and done after a disastrous 2-14 season. Kelly’s astute take on his firing, “It’s a bottom line business, so, we probably didn’t win enough games.” You think?
The Saints marched out of the playoff picture for the third straight year losing to the Falcons 38-32, despite a 19-point surge in the 4th quarter. The Matt Ryan express keeps rolling on with a much-needed first round bye week to rest their injured, weary bones and prepare for their one step closer to Super Bowl destiny.
The Lions lose the NFC North, but are still alive in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy as they fall to the Packers 31-24. With the help of the Washington Redskins, Detroit pulled a wild card out of the deck and will sink their teeth into the Seahawks on Saturday. After an auspicious start to the season, Aaron Rodgers saved the best for last taking a 6 game winning streak into Wisconsin on Sunday for a Wild Card showdown against the NY Giants.