Different quarterback, same sh*t.
The Dallas Cowboys consistency is actually pretty amazing. Since 1997 they are exactly .500 and for three straight years they have went 8-8 and lost in week 17 with a chance to go to the playoffs on the line. This time it was a Kyle Orton interception that was the nail in this season’s coffin, after the Cowboys fought and clawed back all game and finally had the ball with a chance to win the game. Needing only a field goal to win the game and the division, with 1:52 to go and a timeout in tow, Orton proceeded to throw a crushing interception on the very first play of the drive, season over.
The Eagles, under first year coach Chip Kelly have officially completed their worst to first turnaround, from 4-12 last year to 10-6 and a NFC East division title this year. Many wondered if the high powered spread offense he ran in college at Oregon could work in the NFL, and, well, now he is the architect behind the offense that produced this year’s leading rusher and highest rated passer. The Eagles will host the Saints on Saturday, in a matchup between the #2 passing offense in the league (New Orleans) and the 30th ranked passing defense. So the celebration might not last long in Philly.
The Packers lost Aaron Rodgers for seven games, and seemingly all hope of making the playoffs last time they played the Chicago Bears way back in November. Rodgers went down with a broken collar bone on his first series that night, and the Packers used a combination of Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn to unbelievably squeeze out two wins and a tie in Rodgers absence. Somehow, thanks to the Lions and Bears dual choke job, that was just enough to give Rogers a chance to punch the Packers playoff ticket in his return.
The Packers weren’t perfect in their 33-28 victory over the Bears, but they had a little bit of luck on their side. Rodgers threw two picks and fumbled once, but Green Bay scored their first TD of the day on that fumble, as Jarrett Boykin picked the ball up while every other player (including Boykin for a second) quit on the play and simply walked into the end zone. Rodgers ultimately carried his team into the playoffs on a 15 play drive that saw him convert two fourth downs threw the air, including the game winning 48 yard TD pass to Randall Cobb.
The Bears were 8-6 two weeks ago and in the drivers seat in the NFC North, now have a very expensive starting QB who might not be the answer long-term and a 34-year-old backup who has earned long-term money from somebody. Where they go from here is anybody’s guess, as both quarterbacks are free agents and their collapse out of the playoffs may have first year head coach Marc Trestman on the hot seat. The Packers will welcome the San Franscisco 49ers into Lambeau field next week, and they have yet to beat a Jim Harbaugh coached 49er team, including a week one loss this year.
Quick Hits | Words By TSSCrew
– The nightmare of a season is officially over for the Texans as they suffered their 14th consecutive loss to the Titans 16-10. It’s not all bad though. Houston officially secured the number one overall pick next spring and they are in the process of bringing in Penn State’s Bill O’Brien as the franchise’s new head coach.
– In another bit of interesting news from the same game, Chris Johnson joined LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin and Corey Dillon as the only running backs in history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in his first six seasons. As NBH points out, however, CJ2K could have played his last game as a Titan for financial reasons.
– Speaking of losing streaks, the Washington Redskins closed 2013 with nine losses in a row, culminating in a 20-6 defeat at the hands of the Giants. And by many reports, Mike Shanahan coached his last game with the franchise.
– Minnesota ended their season on a positive note with a 14-13 win over division rival Detroit. The Vikes were led by Cordarrelle Patterson (who was screwed out of a Pro Bowl nod) and his two TDS, including this extra long 50-yard scamper.
— Peyton Manning set NFL record for passing yards in a season, one week after he broke the NFL record for passing touchdowns in a single season. Manning eclipsed Drew Brees’ record of 5,476 yards set in 2011 with after he finishes the regular season with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes. The Broncos rolled the Raiders 34-14.
– All Miami had to do was win and their plane ticket to the playoffs was stamped. So what do the Dolphins do? They lose to the Broadway Geno Smith and the Jets 20-7 because of course they would.
– The 30-10 dub over Jacksonville was great and all, but Sunday was all about playoff positioning for the AFC South Champion Colts. With Cincy and New England winning, the Colts can kiss a first round bye goodnight, but at least they’ll open wild card weekend at home.
– Speaking of Cincy, they beat Baltimore 34-17 in a game that combined for seven interceptions between the two quarterbacks. And therein lies the concern with the Bengals. For as great as they have looked at times, how much trust can one really put in The Red Rocket Andy Dalton (who threw four of the seven INTs)?
– Saints fans everywhere are giving Falcons fans a vicious side-eye. That’s because their 21-20 loss to Carolina gave the Panthers the NFC South crown, the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.
– And then, Mike Ditka took a nap during the middle of Sunday NFL Countdown and Keyshawn had to wake him up.