NFL scores, Week 14: Catch up on Sunday’s highlights, news, and results
The Cowboys lost. The Bucs, Lions and the Titans are red hot. Harry Douglas took a cheap shot, and he wasn’t the only player. Let’s digest Week 14 together.
The Cowboys lost for only the second time this season. And they lost to the Giants, again, coming up short with a chance to clinch the NFC East. Dallas fell to 11-2 after a 10-7 loss, and the Giants get the sweep over their rivals for the season series.
Credit the Giants defense for playing one hell of a game. The secondary didn’t give Dallas’ receivers any room to work. The pass rush, without Jason Pierre-Paul, gave the vaunted Cowboys offensive line no quarter.
Down by three in the fourth quarter, Dak Prescott finally hit Dez Bryant for what should’ve been a much-needed first down. Dez even caught it this time! But then he fumbled it. The Giants recovered and burned one critical minute off the clock, giving Dallas the ball with barley a minute left.
It looked like Dez caught a 17-yard pass on a critical fourth-and-10, but the ruling was overturned. No catch.
Prepare yourself. The Tony Romo takes are coming. They’ll be here all week, probably beyond that.
“Dallas would’ve won that game with Romo at quarterback” is the general theme.
Whatever. Prescott helped get the Cowboys to 11-2 and probably to a No. 1 seed in the NFC. That hot take also ignores the fact that the Giants defense was very good on Sunday night, and there’s no guarantee that Romo or any other quarterback would’ve played any better.
Rise of the forgotten teams
The next biggest story from Sunday, the overarching theme that will have ramifications for the playoffs and beyond, was the surprise teams showing up to tell us that they aren’t really a surprise anymore. They are, to use the old cliche, for real.
Realest of the bunch may be the Tennessee Titans, a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2008, when Jeff Fisher of all people, was still running the team. All the Titans did this week was embarrass the Super Bowl champion Broncos, their defense in particular.
Tennessee had 138 rushing yards on 26 attempts in the first half this season (Denver had 12 rushing yards through the first two quarters). They also had a 13-0 lead. Their passing game didn’t do much, but it never really needed to.
They’re tied with the Texans at 7-6 in the AFC South. However, Houston has an edge because they’re 4-0 against the division while the Titans are 1-3. The Titans play the Jaguars in two weeks and then it’s a Week 17 showdown with the Texans, in Nashville, that could determine the division winner.
Also in the department of WTF, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers keep on winning, beating the Saints 16-11 and making Drew Brees look all too human in the process. Keith Tandy intercepted Brees in the final minute of play to seal the win. Their defense is quietly pretty damn good.
Roberto Aguayo didn’t even miss any kicks!
Tampa is tied with Atlanta, which also won this week, at 8-5, but the Falcons have the edge after sweeping their series with the Bucs this year. The Bucs and Cowboys are playing next Sunday night in primetime.
The Bucs and the Titans vying for playoff spots. The Broncos and Packers holding on for dear life. The 2016 NFL season is starting to get fun!
Deflated balls and defeated Rex Ryan
Before the games kicked off on Sunday there were two stories commanding most of the oxygen.
The biggest one was the revelation that the Giants had measured the Steelers’ game balls and found them to be a little under-inflated. Deflategate 2? Maybe not. The matter hasn’t been officially reported to the league, so it hasn’t quite risen to that level yet. Ben Roethlisberger laughed it off after beating the Bills on Sunday, telling reporters that they used “Nerf balls.”
Bills head coach Rex Ryan needed a big game after a report went around Sunday morning said that he could be fired this week.
Ryan needed a big performance from his team. Instead, the Bills allowed Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell to rush for 236 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 62 receiving yards, making him the only player besides Jim Brown with at least 225 rushing yards, three touchdowns and at least 50 receiving yards in a game. Yes, Le’Veon Bell may have gotten Rex Ryan fired.
Aqib Talib had a good reason for going after Harry Douglas
Cheap shots happen every week. Usually, you just don’t see them or for one reason or another they aren’t as blatant as the one Broncos cornerback Chris Harris took from Harry Douglas.
There’s no excuse for what Douglas did to Harris, but he found one anyway, saying the Harris should have known it was coming.
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) December 11, 2016
I’ve heard better excuses from children, or even Jeff Fisher!
Aqib Talib took it upon himself to retaliate. I honestly can’t say that I blame him. Douglas didn’t get penalized for that play. He’ll probably get a fine, which is kind of meh.
I wish I had some salient point about how the league could deal with this. I’m not sure there really is an easy way. An eye for eye usually causes more problems than it solves, but if someone’s going after a teammates knees, what do you expect to happen.
Ryan Tannehill goes down
Douglas’ play was dirty.
Deshazor Everett’s hit on Darren Sproles was a dirty one too.
K.J. Wright’s hit on Richard Rodgers falls into that category as well.
A lot of people thought Calais Campbell’s hit on Ryan Tannehill was a cheap shot, but it really wasn’t. Campbell went low, and it looked like he might have even been pushed into him.
This was the hit on Tannehillhttps://t.co/bcwMcWFYcy
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) December 11, 2016
It’s virtually the same hit Campbell put on Cam Newton, one that Newton complained about because it didn’t get called in the game. Campbell did get fined for that one, and he may get fined for this one too. But it doesn’t look like a dirty play and Campbell doesn’t have a reputation for those kind of hits either.
The Dolphins quarterback probably has a torn ACL, leaving Miami to chase a Wildcard spot with Matt Moore under center. It’s probably not a death blow to their playoff hopes, at least not as bad as it seems on first glance.
Tannehill had 10 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 96.9 QB rating since the Dolphins started their 7-1 run back in Week 6. It means more work on the offensive line and the running game, but with their next two against the hapless Jets and Bills, it’s possible. They catch the Patriots in Week 17, but New England could be resting its starters at that point.
Tough break for the Dolphins. They finally seemed to be evolving into something better than an ongoing disappointment.
Seahawks have become the Steelers of the NFC
One thing I’ll never understand about the Steelers is how they can be such a great team, loaded with talent, and then go on the road and lose a game where they should’ve won. I realized something watching Russell Wilson’s five-interception day in Seattle’s 38-10 loss to Green Bay: this is what the Seahawks have become.
This is an immensely talented team that takes fans to the highest of highs, like a beatdown of the Panthers last week at home and 31-24 road win over the Patriots in Week 10. And then they’ll lose a game like this one or one against the Buccaneers in Week 12.
The Seahawks have weaknesses. It certainly doesn’t help trying to defend against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers without Earl Thomas. They didn’t have him against the Bucs either. And that offensive line, woof! But they seem to able to muddle through with whatever terrible o-line they have from time to time.
Russell Wilson threw a career-high five interceptions. His passer rating over his last three games is 53.3, a mark only Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer have bested. The difference is Wilson is a perennial MVP favorite, deservedly so.
Every team has bad games, terrible stretches and forgettable seasons. It’s just weird to see a team go from such extremes week to week, but the Steelers and Seahawks are doing their best to normalize it.
Aaron Rodgers is the real MVP
How’s this for a not-so-hot take, Aaron Rodgers is playing his hobbled legs off and the Packers are right back in the thick of a playoff race. He is once again immune to Mike McCarthy’s Midas touch of mediocrity.
His 32 touchdown passes lead the NFL, and he’s on pace to match his 2014 MVP numbers. There’s nothing else to the Packers offense right now. Rodgers is doing the heavy lifting and they’re going places because of it. Is there anything more to being an MVP than that?
Let us praise the losers
It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you win or lose. Or something like that.
Cleveland Browns — Give them credit for pulling out all the stops, giving no fucks and going for it. At one point they even went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 21-yard line. They did this stupid flea flicker that ended with an interception. They blocked a kick, made a bunch of laterals and still got nowhere on the return. Even the mascot, Brownie the Elf, couldn’t get ahold of the ball.
Jeff Fisher — You feel sorry for the Browns. You feel satisfaction when the Rams and Jeff Fisher lose. Sunday’s 42-14 loss to the Falcons wrapped up Fisher’s fifth straight losing season with the Rams and tied him for the most losses by any NFL coach ever!
Arizona Cardinals — It rained and rained and rained on the Cardinals. “But when it continually pours when you have the ball, which was kind of odd, it’s tough, it makes it tough,” Arians said after the game.
San Diego Chargers — Just when you think things couldn’t get worse for the Chargers, they do. This week it was Melvin Gordon who had to be carted off the field with a hip injury. We still don’t know how severe it is. They had a chance, but that slipped away too when a pick-six turned into a safety for the Panthers.
New York Jets — Beating the 49ers in a battle of also-rans dropped them from the fourth spot in the draft order to the eighth.
Eli Manning — Why, Eli, whyyyyyyyy?
And the Worst Throw of the Season Award goes to… pic.twitter.com/4dv7EjUMJp
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) December 12, 2016
Full scores and schedule (all times Eastern)
Kansas City Chiefs 21, Oakland Raiders 13
Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Buffalo Bills 20
Carolina Panthers 28, San Diego Chargers 16
Cincinnati Bengals 23, Cleveland Browns 10
Detroit Lions 20, Chicago Bears 17
Houston Texans 22, Indianapolis Colts 17
Minnesota Vikings 25, Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Miami Dolphins 26, Arizona Cardinals 23
Washington 27, Philadelphia Eagles 22
Tennessee Titans 13, Denver Broncos 10
New York Jets 23, San Francisco 49ers 17 (OT)
Green Bay Packers 38, Seattle Seahawks 10
Atlanta Falcons 42, Los Angeles Rams 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16, New Orleans Saints 11
New York Giants 10, Dallas Cowboys 7
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, Monday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Dez Bryant’s only catch of the game came with two minutes remaining, and was immediately fumbled away.
Odell Beckham Jr. sprinted by the Cowboys for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown, then did the moonwalk in the end zone.
Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey could only laugh after his 55-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar and missed.
Eli Manning fumbled because Giants tackle Ereck Flowers barely even blocked a Cowboys defender.
Giants running back Shane Vereen left in the second quarter with a concussion.
That first quarter touchdown pass to Terrance Williams might have been the Cowboys’ easiest TD of the season.
Aaron Rodgers was 18-for-23 with three passing touchdowns in Green Bay’s blowout of the Seahawks. With 10 TDs and no interceptions over his last four games, Rodgers is playing at an MVP level again for the Packers.
The Buccaneers’ win over the Saints has them tied atop the NFC South with the Falcons, and has Tampa Bay looking like legitimate contenders.
After San Francisco blew a 14-0 lead against the Jets to lose in overtime, Chip Kelly now has a worse record than Jim Tomsula as head coach of the 49ers.
The Rams’ loss to the Falcons guaranteed a fifth straight losing season for head coach Jeff Fisher.
Falcons LB Vic Beasley had a Von Miller-type game against the Rams, with three sacks.
Packers TE Richard Rodgers made an amazing catch and held on despite taking a cheap shot to the head from K.J. Wright.
Russell Wilson was looking forward to returning to the cold of Wisconsin, but be careful what you wish for — he threw five interceptions for the first time in his career against the Packers.
Ezekiel Elliott of the playoff-bound Cowboys tried to eat snowflakes before their game against the Giants.
Elliott wasn’t alone; several Cowboys had fun in the snow before the game.
Bengals cornerback Adam Jones was the latest player to trash Terrelle Pryor, whom he called ‘garbage.’
Ben Roethlisberger laughed off accusations of deflated footballs, says Steelers use Nerf balls.
This is probably the horrible start that Rams fans expected in this week’s game.
David Johnson has had 13 games with 100-plus total yards. That ties the NFL record!
The Eagles had to dig deep in their long snapper depth chart on this field goal.
Matthew Stafford weaves around foes, plows over teammates on his way to a TD.
This strip sack by Jadaveon Clowney is what defensive coordinators dream of.
DeSean Jackson channeled Willie Mays on this over-the-shoulder catch.
If you’re going to make an incredible catch, you might as well make it look like this.
Here’s the story of Ryan Tannehill and the ugliest little pass attempt of all time.
Cheap shots are the worst. So are stupid fights between the Broncos and Titans.
That cheap shot was so dirty that Aqib Talib wants to fight Harry Douglas, in their agent’s office.
The Browns show everyone how NOT to run a flea flicker.
Aren’t you supposed to throw the flag on the guy who committed the penalty?
Block that kick, Browns! Block that kick! Uh… lateral that ball! Lateral that ball!
The first career interception has to be one of the sweetest, especially against Big Ben.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers limped off the field late in their blowout of the Seahawks.
49ers receiver Torrey Smith suffered a concussion against the Jets.
Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb was carted off the field with an ankle injury in the second quarter against Seattle, though he returned before halftime.
Miami QB Ryan Tannehill limped off the field with a knee injury.
Darren Sproles took a dirty hit to the head and is out of the game for Philly.
Joey Bosa left the Chargers game to get concussion evaluation and will not return.
Matthew Stafford reportedly dislocated his thumb joint and tore ligaments in his middle finger in a win over the Bears, and will have to wear a glove for the remainder of the season.
Safety Mike Mitchell injured his knee and but returned for the Steelers.
Devin Funchess had a mouth injury but returned for the Panthers.
Melvin Gordon has been carted off the field in the Chargers game.
In this Storystream
- Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright fined for hits against the Packers
- NFL scores, Week 14: Catch up on Sunday's highlights, news, and results
- Dez Bryant fumbles his 1st catch against the Giants on a crucial 4th quarter drive