What We Learned in Week 16 in the NFL:
- Peyton breaks Brady’s TD record
- Dolphins crap the bed to help Steelers
- Cam Newton and the Panthers take care of the Saints
- Patriots embarrass Ravens
- Steelers win thriller in Green Bay to stay alive in playoff hunt
What a great day of football. At this point all of the AFC Division titles are won but none of the NFC is settled. Playoff chances were lost, won, and kept alive all in one day. The Steelers finally won in the snow in spite of some puzzling and crappy officiating. To all of you who asked Santa for a Steelers victory, we thank you.
The Denver Broncos were able to secure the AFC West division title along with a first-round bye on Sunday with their 37-13 victory over Houston. Fun fact: Houston has lost 13 straight games since having Vanilla Ice perform at their Week 3 halftime game. Also fun is to see Peyton Manning enter this game three touchdowns behind Tom Brady’s single-season touchdown record of 50 and toss four touchdown passes to beat it with one game still to play this season. The day wasn’t all great for Denver as they may have lost Von Miller to a knee injury that could be severe. The team went 6-0 in his absence earlier this season. The Broncos will be going out next week to try and break the Patriots 2007 scoring record as well as Drew Brees’ single-season passing yards record as both are pretty doable for the team.
The Dolphins played quite possibly their most important game in the last few years after their win over New England last week they just had to take care of business on the road against Buffalo to keep their playoff hopes alive. Instead they crapped the bed and got shut out 19-0 to the Bills. The Thad Lewis-led Bills. Ouch. Thankfully, the win by Buffalo helped keep the Steelers’ playoff chances afloat. Thanks Buffalo.
The Carolina Panthers clinched their playoff spot on Sunday after a big win over division rival New Orleans. A torrential downpour couldn’t stop the Panthers from outplaying the Saints in the fourth quarter as Newton led the team to the win with a 65-yard touchdown drive in the final minute. Drew Brees and the Saints could have clinched the playoff berth and division with the win but instead the NFC South is still up for grabs and the Saints most likely won’t have the comfort of home playoff games.
There should be a warrant for the arrest of Joe Flacco in Baltimore for grand theft of $120 million with that contract. The Ravens got their asses handed to them at home by the Patriots 41-7 giving New England the edge up for the second seed in the playoffs. Flacco was so elite in his 22 for 38 for 260 yards and 2 interceptions. Brady only threw for 172 yards but the Patriots didn’t need their offense to come from the air because Baltimore couldn’t stop them on the ground at all. Good news for Baltimore is that apparently they can score touchdowns. They were able to get into the endzone in the fourth quarter after not seeing the endzone for the previous seven quarters with Flacco’s 1-yard touchdown run so, good job guys.
Still friggin alive. Can you believe that after all that has happened this season, losing so many starters in the first friggin game, starting 0-4, the Swiss cheese defense play, the Steelers are still somehow still in the playoff hunt. Thanks to wins by the Jets, Bills, and Patriots the Steelers can still clinch the sixth seed in the playoffs with a win next week followed by a Ravens, Dolphins, and Chargers loss. So you’re saying there’s a chance?
The Steelers were able to outlast the Packers in frozen Green Bay in a crazy game that featured a blocked field goal that eventually turned into a touchdown for Green Bay thanks to a bizarre call on and even more bizarre play. Even Mike Pereira for Fox Sports, thinks the Steelers got screwed on this one. His explanation of the play based on the rules kind of reminds you why no one actually reads the directions to the Monopoly game but the point is that the refs blew the call by ruling that the Steelers never possessed the ball and made Hood’s batting of the ball illegal. What happed was that the Packers attempted a field goal from the 5-yard line on a fourth down. The kick was blocked and recovered by Ryan Clark who pitched it to William Gay. Gay couldn’t hold onto the ball and it fell back to Ziggy Hood who batted it out of bounds. The refs ruled the batting of the ball illegal and gave the Packers possession and a first down half the distance to the goal. They scored on their ensuing play. Mike Tomlin attempted to challenge the call but was unable to because apparently the recovery of a loose ball is not reviewable. Many will want the NFL to change the rules to include this type of play in their replay system but that only solves half the problem. The officiating in the NFL is worst of the major sports and it should be embarrassing for the league. If there’s nothing changed to improve the officiating on the field, there are no amounts of replays that can fix it.
The Steelers got their first 100 + yard rushing performance out of Le’Veon Bell with his 124 yard on the ground. Bell also scored the winning touchdown with 1:25 left on the clock. The Packers were able to get down within scoring range in the last minute but Matt Flynn should have maybe “double-checked” his line to make sure they weren’t dumb enough to jump before the snap causing a penalty with no timeouts and under one minute, causing the clock to run out on them. The Steelers got a little bit of redemption from the Super Bowl XLV loss to Green Bay and were able to keep themselves alive, albeit improbably in the playoff hunt. Add bacon to that and you have a fantastic Sunday.
Here we to Steelers! Here we go!