Somehow, another NFL regular season came and went. There was no way to make sure we would make it here when the first game in the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic started on September 10th.
Some teams (like the Browns) are sure to be as happy as we are. Others (like the Jets) might have been fine with not liking, if that was the option.
At any rate, an unprecedented 14 teams advanced to the playoffs, 16 teams left for home, washed out their golf clubs and could probably join a fantasy hockey league or something.
Here’s our original take on the last day of one of the NFL’s anything-but-regular season events.
The Browns are partying like they did in 2002
Three years ago, Cleveland Browns fans held a parade to pay their respects to the team’s 0-16 season. Now, there is something real to celebrate them.
Baker Mayfield – Cleveland’s first overall draft award in 2018 after a winless season – led the Browns to their first playoff berth since Sunday 2002, with a game seal for the first time in a 24-22 win at the last minute.
Sunday’s goal was easy for Cleveland: beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (Sun rested Ben Rothlisberger at rest, who didn’t even travel to Ohio) and a place later in the season. In ordinary browns fashion, though, the process is much more complicated than it should be.
Cleveland never backed down, but gave the Steelers a chance when Browns coach Kevin Stefansky chose to go left in the final-seven-seven: 40:00 – instead of scoring a 52-yard field goal for a 52-run game.
The Steelers held on to the defense, then went on to score their offense 1:23 left. Mason Rudolph, however, failed to connect to the four-point attempt at a two-point conversion with Kleppul, which gave the Brown their much-needed separation.
Make it live, Brown’s fans. For those of you who gritted through the litany of medieval signal-collars from Hallcomb to Hoyer and Fry to Weiden, this is for you.
In Steel City – you know you’ll see a full-strength Pittsburgh bunch next week
DH2K, the Titans are the king of the AFC South
Forgive me for not knowing exactly how to describe the works of the literal Titan Derrick Henry of Tennessee, who sometimes becomes both an immovable force and an immovable object.
Despite packing 247 pounds in a six-foot-three frame, Henry Hall, who owns the brake speed, is a player’s job just like you build at Madden. So it’s probably no surprise that he’s tearing up NFL defenses and looking for milestones along the way.
With a 250-rushing yard win in Sunday’s shootout against the Houston Texans, Henry became the only eighth player in NFL history to collect more than 2,000 rushing yards in a single season. He became the first NFL player since Adrian Peterson (2012) and this is not an achievement to be taken lightly.
On Sunday Tennessee certainly needed every yard from him. His final four yards could hit Rocky kicker Sam Sloman with a game-winning field goal over time.
Next week, Henry and the AFC Southern Champion Titans will host the Baltimore Ravens on a glorious track match. The Titans certainly have the league’s top runners. But the offense of running at the top as a team has made the Ravens because of the stability of Lamar Jackson and a stable tailback.
Soccer team joins forces to help Washington win NFC East
“Can you become a member of the New York Giants and watch (imagine) this game?” Chris Collinsworth asked their broadcast partner, Al Michaels, on NBC on Sunday night.
“No,” Michaels pointed out in response
Somewhere in or around East Rutherford, NJ, the Giants players watched with interest the prime-time matchup between the Washington football team and the Philadelphia Gols. After beating the Dallas Cowboys earlier in the day, the Giants were able to hold on to the formidable NFC East after Washington lost to Philadelphia.
The problem is here though: a win in Washington was beneficial for both teams playing Sunday night. And it happened because the team won the division with a 20-14 victory in football.
For the football team, of course the motivation to win was the divisional title and the home play-off game. For Ag Gols, the excitement of not being able to win was a three-spot bump from ninth to sixth in the 2021 draft order.
So with the Eagles trailing by just three points with 123:35 left in the game, they will replace quarterback Jalen Harts for third stringer Nat Sudfield. Sudfeld gives a break after three plays.
In the next possession of Philadelphia, Sudfield trimmed a shake and Washington randomly recovered, reaching the field goal. All that being said, the Philadelphia offense was first conducted on four Philadelphia properties by pledging two properties.
It seemed sadly clear that Philadelphia was playing to lose, at least in the eyes of some giant players:
Post Gulls coach Doug Pederson said at a post-game press conference that he was “training to win” and that the Sudfield game was his decision. Whether that’s true or not, Giants fans won’t soon forget what happened here.
Meanwhile, Washington (–9) became the fifth team in NFL history – albeit the third since 2010 – to reach the playoffs with a losing record. For what it’s worth, both the 2010 Seahawks and the 2015 Panthers have won their wild-card round matchups.
Radames climbs the anonymous quarterback playoff berth
John Wolford has a LinkedIn profile that, like many of us, has the feature “Quarterback for Los Angeles Rams” as the title of his current work. After Sunday, he can go ahead if he wants and “lead my team to a play-off clean win”, if he wants to.
Earlier this week, the 25-year-old Wolford, who had just zero NFL, was called up to replace LA’s injured starter Jared Goff (broken thumb) in the post-season post.
In the 18-7 win against the Cardinals (who were also fighting for their playoff lives), Wolford wasn’t exactly the star: 231 passing yards, 56 rushing yards and one interception. That was enough, however, as the Reds picked up a defense force and a 64-yard six to claim protection.
Troy Hill took it 84 yards back. RadamsNFL leadership! #RadhamHouse
: #AZvsLAR on CBS
: NFL App // Yahoo Sports App: https://t.co/fohj8JnptQ pic.twitter.com/SddICNwSIl
– NFL (@NFL) January 3, 2021
Arizona had its own fun quarterback situation as Killer Murray was out and back as he was when he was battling an ankle injury. Between Murray and his backup – former CFLR Chris Straveler – the Cardinals have amassed just 214 total yards, their highest in a game this season.
If the Rams keep their way, Goff will be healthy enough to start next week’s wild-card game against the Seattle Seahawks. But if that doesn’t happen, it’s time to dump her and move on.
Does Equity-Analyst-Mature-NFL-Quarterback still need a LinkedIn account? Probably not. But thanks to a bit of superstition, he’s keeping it active for now.
John Wolford says he will not actually delete his LinkedIn account because he is 1-0 because it is active
– Jordan Rodriguez (@JordanRodriguez) January 4, 2021
Rogers, Packers are NFC class
How would you inspire a quarterback in the mid-30s to get the MVP form back? The replacement draft must be traded!
Funnily enough, we don’t think Jordan Love will be given most of the credit for Aaron Rodgers’ significant season at the front office in the first phase of the April draft. Praise be to Rogers alone, and soon the third MVP trophy should be his.
Rogers’ 13th season in Green Bay’s opening quarterback included an NFL-best 48 passing touchdown (his career high) with just five interceptions per game and about 270 yards. His 2020 campaign was an exciting trend, with Marachino Cherry at the top in its 17th week.
Green Bay needed a win to lock up the home field facility and, as a result, said goodbye to the wild card just next week of the conference. Rogers had four touchdown passes and 240 yards in just 24 attempts to play on the road against rival Chicago Bears, who advanced to the playoffs with the win.
He was linked with Davant Adams for the 18th connection in a 14-game match this year – a touchdown and helped Adams break Sterling Sharp’s single-season franchise record for the reception.
Green Bay may be drafting for the future, but Rogers has confirmed that there could be a lot of uproar in Titleletune right now.
Oh, and for the bears, their loss was strangely their gain. Despite losing to the Packers, and failing to win a winning season for the seventh time in the last eight years, Chicago (6-7) is the No. 7 seed for the loss of Arizona.
Don’t say that to poor dolphin fans, whose 10-6 group didn’t cut into the AFC.