Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened on Sunday afternoon. Get the full Sunday breakdown from Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling on The Monday Morning NFL Podcast. Subscribe to The MMQB Podcasts now and it will be in your feed first thing Monday morning
Things That Made Me Giddy
Patriots In Control: They got their lead and it just never felt like the Vikings were threatening in the second half as New England kept everything in front of them and didn’t miss a tackle. Really, even with Gronk limping through another one, the Patriots outclassed the Vikings in this one.
Jalen Ramsey’s Game-Sealing Tackle: The forward-progress-stopped-before-he-was-out-of-bounds call officials looooooove to make remains as obnoxious as it is arbitrary (the offense will trade the four inches of progress for the clock stoppage, guy), but good on Ramsey for recognizing the Colts trying to get a few cheap yards to set up a last-ditch throw to the end zone. With that play, the Jaguars snap a seven-game losing streak.
Andre Hal Gets a Pick: With a receiver-like toe-tap in the back of the end zone. Nice story!
Cody Kessler Is on the Board!: Moves to 1-8 as a starting quarterback. Pay no mind to the 150 passing yards for Kessler and 3.9 yards per play for the Jaguars. Jacksonville can win games with Kessler as long as they shut out every opponent.
Tarik Cohen Finds a Throwing Lane: The receiver was open, but Cohen had to deliver a tough throw through a tight lane for the game-tying touchdown as time expired in regulation. Although it turns out it was all for naught as the Bears lose in overtime.
Lions Snuffing Out That Rams Screen Game: Detroit played a pretty good game at home against a really good offense (again). If only the offensive line that they put all those resources into could actually block, the Lions wouldn't have lost by two touchdowns at home.
Rob Griffin Jr. Jr. Out of the Bullpen: It wasn’t a spectacular performance, but the artist formerly known as RG3 did lead a scoring drive while Lamar Jackson was being examined for a concussion. That helped the Ravens create a little separation in what ended up being a comfortable win in Atlanta.
Tom Brady Gets Career Rushing Yard 1,000: Which was an internet thing, I think?
Giants Downing a Punt: A double save from the end zone and downing it at the 2. The Giants got a turnover on the next play and sealed the game (right? RIGHT?!).
James Develin Finishes: The Vikings are tough on the goal line, but the Patriots beat them to the punch twice with the give to the fullback.
You All Slept on the Seahawks This Year: Not sure you can get to a Super Bowl with that 1994 playbook, but they’re going to beat up on some of these second-tier teams. They had no issues handling a division opponent at home this week.
Mariota Delivers: It’s been a struggle all season for the banged up Titans, and it was an epic struggle on Sunday after sleepwalking through the first half. It was incredibly ugly, but ultimately Mariota gutted out the comeback victory, finishing with Corey Davis—invisible in the second half—powering into the end zone with 36 seconds left. With the home win over the Jets, the Titans are still alive.
Josh Allen Going All Globetrotters vs. Generals: It’s been a rough year for the various Twitter turds who were worked into a tizzy over the “poor man’s Cam Newton” comps for Allen last spring. Because Allen’s skillset is almost identical; 135 yards on nine rushes in Miami.
Rams Clinch the NFC West: Thank goodness. That was a close one.
Baker Mayfield’s ‘Tribute to Nathan Peterman’ First Half: The good news is, Mayfield won’t have to spend much time looking for mean things about him on social media this week. The bad news is, garbage-time stats notwithstanding (yes, I know, he still helped your fantasy team), this was as bad a day as you’ll see from a quarterback in 2018, all but erasing Cleveland’s (admittedly slim) playoff hopes and really deflating Browns fans still telling themselves I’m glad we didn’t take Deshaun Watson. The interception below even had Peterman shaking his head. Late, across-the-body arm throw like he thinks he’s Mahomes, and with three defenders camped out back there.
Packers Go Gently Into That Good Night: Injuries to Bryan Bulaga and Byron Bell for an already banged up line didn’t help things. It was written earlier this week, but here’s the deal with Green Bay's lost season.
Whoa Boy, Chase Daniel: The comeback happened (even though they came up short in overtime), but that was a brutal day for Daniel, struggling as a thrower and fumbling four times for good measure. Good luck with that QB depth chart, Matt Nagy.
Greg Olsen Goes Down: The Panthers are absolutely sputtering toward the finish line, losing their veteran tight end again and falling to the Bucs in Tampa.
Rough Day for the NFC North: 0-for-4, with one head coach on the way out.
This Falcons Offense Is Terrible: That’s four straight games failing to reach 20 points for one of the most talented offenses in football. After an ugly home loss to Baltimore, Steve Sarkisian’s time is short.
Odell Reverse Brandon Bostick-ing This Onside Kick:
Not Cam’s Day: It was a chance for Carolina to get right after back-to-back heart-breaking losses. Instead, Newton ended up throwing four interceptions, three of them in Bucs territory, in a costly loss.
That Oh-So-Close-Allen-to-Clay Near-Connection!: The ball was a mess coming out of Allen’s hand. Clay still got his hands on it but couldn’t hang on. They both said it was their fault because they’re swell guys. It happens. Oh well. The Bills come up short in Miami.
Chris Harris Breaks His Leg: A huge loss for a Broncos team flirting with a Wild-Card spot after handling the Bengals in Cin City.
A.J. Green Hopping Off After a Non-Contact Injury:That will ruin your holiday spirit.
That Lions Offensive Line: This unit was supposed to be really good. Ironically, they are not. They are the opposite of good: specifically, bad. Granted, it was the Bears last week and Aaron Donald this week, but they were hopeless in both games.
“Sunset Heart Hands. Sunset Heart Hands! Sunset Heart Hands!”: I will agree to purchase all the chalupas money can buy if Taco Bell will stop running that commercial.
Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About
Bill Belichick and Adam Thielen Yell at Each Other: But if they just got to know each other, they’d realize that they have a lot in common. For instance, Belichick is a professional football coach, and Thielen is a professional football player.
Vic Beasley’s Wheels: But not so much the Grant Hill Drinks Sprite dunk at the end.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s Passer Rating:
This Allen Robinson Catch: On which it looks like everyone loses control of their limbs (not exactly “late hands”), but then he grabs it and toe-taps the sideline.
DeAndre Hopkins Un-Helmeted Catch: Seems like way too much violence is involved in every Hopkins catch.
Jerry Hughes Doesn’t Like NFL Officials Either: He says an official called him a b----. If true, that’s a bad move by that official for so, so many reasons.
Akiem Hicks, Goal Line Back!: Just like that guy who used to do it for the Bears back in the 80s! You remember him, right? No. 72 for those Ditka teams? Scored in the Suepr Bowl? Ira “Ice Box” Sandoval, if I remember correctly.
Holiday Wishes From Kyle Shanahan:
What We’ll Be Talking About This Week
Ravens Keep Rolling With Lamar Jackson: Again, they haven’t been matched up against any world-beaters, but that’s three wins with a ball-control offense that complements the defense nicely. It’s going to be a tall order to keep up with the Chiefs next week if you can’t throw for 200 yards, but the Ravens are putting a lot of pressure on defenses to play disciplined, assignment football on defense.
Upset Losses the Colts, Panthers and Packers Couldn’t Afford: The Colts, now a game back in the wild-card race, have a trip to Houston then Dallas. The Panthers are a game back and still have a pair of matchups with New Orleans left this year. The Packers are, of course, done.
Is Aaron Rodgers In Decline?: Uh, no. Aside from the knee injury he hasn’t fallen off physically. He needs healthy receivers, and the team needs to settle on a new offensive identity with their next head coach. (He also needs to take a chance every now and then rather than resorting to Tyrod Taylor ball again and again and again.)
Jaguars Play Spoiler: Fitting for the NFL’s troll squad.
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