The playoffs drew a little closer this past weekend with several teams solidifying their place in the hunt for the postseason, but the Eagles and Seahawks suffered significant hits to their Lombardi Trophy dreams.
Here is a look at the highs and lows of a fun weekend in the NFL:
3. Bills and Colts play Snow Bowl
It’s not always fun to watch football in poor weather, especially in the rain. A slick football and wet conditions often make the experience a miserable one. However, there is something special about football in the snow. The Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills took the field in a snow storm on Sunday afternoon, providing a spectacle for anyone tuning in live or following on social media.
The conditions were so poor that the two teams combined for only 161 passing yards between three quarterbacks.
Instead, the Colts and Bills transported the sport back 80 years into history. Together, they rushed 97 times for 390 yards, including 156 rushing yards from Bills running back LeSean McCoy.
This type of game isn’t something we’d enjoy every week, but as a novelty, it was a blast.
2. No surrender from the Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins’ slim postseason hopes hinged on somehow beating the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Monday night. Unbelievably, they did in rather dominant fashion.
The Dolphins held future Hall of Famer Tom Brady to 24 of 43 passing for 233 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Meanwhile, the Dolphins run defense bottled up the Patriots’ rushing attack for only 25 yards on 10 carries.
Miami turned in their performance of the year on primetime television against one of the best teams in the NFL. If they can stay in the race a little longer in the rather weak AFC, they should be interesting to watch.
1. Eagles and Rams deliver instant classic
The Philadelphia Eagles entered Week 14 coming off a troubling 24-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. If they had any hope of finishing with the number one seed, they had to beat the Los Angeles Rams.
Meanwhile, the Rams needed to beat the Eagles to maintain a cushion over the Seahawks in the NFC West and take control of a bye. The showdown between the league’s two highest scoring teams proved to be the classic it was billed to be.
The Eagles controlled much of the first half, heading into the break with a 24-14 lead. Los Angeles responded with their normal third quarter charge, scoring two touchdowns in 94 seconds to take a 28-24 lead. The two teams battled it out for the remainder of the game in a tough, physical war, eventually resulting in a 43-35 Eagles victory.
The NFL once put on shows like this all the time. Great football between good teams. Instead, we’ve been subjected to plenty of silly controversies and horrible injuries this season. Hopefully, the NFL gets past its current struggles and takes its fans back to a day when football was a getaway for its fans.
3. More stupid behavior
The Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars engaged in some extracurricular activities at the end of their game on Sunday.
With a loss nearly in the books, Seahawks defensive tackle Michael Bennett dove at Jaguars center Brandon Linder’s legs. This set off a melee between the two teams that eventually moved to the stands
Let’s be real about this. Behavior like Bennett’s and the other players involved continues to be a black eye for the league. Bennett’s decision to dive at a player’s legs was done on purpose and only serves to do one thing: harm another player. Nonetheless, as of this writing, the NFL did not suspend him or anyone else involved.
What will it take for the NFL to be consistent when holding players accountable when they behave poorly? Bennett should be suspended, and he’s not the only member of the Seahawks that should after that game.
On top of that, the loss puts Seattle, a preseason Super Bowl favorite, in danger of missing the postseason altogether.
2. Time to move on, Cincinnati
Quarterback Andy Dalton completed only 14 of 29 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Star wide receiver A.J. Green caught five passes for 64 yards, but Dalton targeted him 12 times. Meanwhile, the now 4-9 Chicago Bears rushed for 232 yards, and quarterback Mitch Trubisky produced one of his best days as a rookie (278 yards).
What has happened to the Bengals? This franchise is littered with stars. The talent is there for the Bengals to compete for a division title, but the only team they seem able to handle is the Cleveland Browns.
I defended Marvin Lewis for years. He remains one of the best coaches in the NFL. However, it’s time for a change in Cincinnati. Lewis has lost the team. It’s clear now more than ever.
1. Another devastating injury
Eagles second-year quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL in the victory over the Rams. Wentz was on his way to a Pro Bowl and possibly an MVP season prior to the injury. Now the Eagles must find their way to the Super Bowl without the centerpiece of their offense. Wentz’s injury casts another shadow over a sport hit hard by devastating injuries in 2017.