After the Jacksonville Jaguars win on a last-second Field Goal last week in London, the Dolphins must have been feeling some déjà vu this week. With 2:00 minutes left in the 4th quarter and holding onto a one-point lead, they once again found themselves in a familiar situation.
The defense needed to keep the Atlanta Falcons out of field goal range. However, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan only took nine plays to drive the Falcons 57 yards, setting up kicker Younghoe Koo’s game-winning field goal from 32 yards as time expired. This dropped the Dolphins to a 1-6 record.
For the second week in a row, the Dolphins have given up last-second game-winning field goals. After the game Coach Brian Flores was asked about his team taking the lead with 2:00 minutes left.
For two weeks we heard nothing but Mahomes vs Brady. New kid vs GOAT. New legacies vs old legacies. But what we soon discovered, and were not all that surprised by, is that it was more than just the quarterbacks who made an impact on the field. In the crazy world of Super Bowl mania, no matter how the media spins it, it’s still a team sport.
It’s not like I don’t understand the reason for the hype. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is, almost without question, the greatest QB to play the game versus Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the fantastically talented, young superstar of the league. A possible changing of the guard right before our eyes.
It was dubbed the “Old Man Battle”. Two quarterbacks, both over 40, both first-ballot Hall of Famers. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs the New Orleans Saints game was about more than just aging QBs, it was about two teams with something to prove. A chip on their shoulders. Two teams that had been written off and came back swinging.
I’m not going to go over these men’s careers. As I said, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Saints QB Drew Brees are first-ballot Hall of Famers, we all know the impact they have made on the league. However this was more about the impact they could make in this particular game, and Brady came out on top.
During the regular season, it was New Orleans that had the upper hand in this matchup, winning 34-23 and 38-3. However, that was prior to Brees breaking 11 ribs and puncturing his lung. While his return to the field was miraculous and insanely fast, Sunday’s game showed that he wasn’t at full strength. He seemed to struggle during the game, definitely not the Brees we have gotten used to seeing.
The Chicago Bears limped into the playoff with an 8-8 record, mostly due to back to back losses by the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears drew quarterback Drew Brees and the NFC South division champion New Orleans Saints.
Let’s face it, not many people had the Bears coming out on top in this week’s wildcard round. However, the Bears stayed around to make this a very winnable game for them going into the 3rd quarter, where they only trailed the Saints by 4 points.
The Bears failed to take advantage after receiving the ball in the second half. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense could only muster up 27 total yards during their first drive of the second half, ultimately punting the ball back to the Saints.
The NFL playoffs have begun! With the expanded playoff field, there were two full days of football, with three games on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday featured two games for the NFC, bringing together two heated division rivals, a goat, and a hungry 7-9 team.
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the expanded playoffs. I believe that the top two teams in each conference deserved a bye week. However, the expansion does let some of those fantastic teams who would just miss out on the playoffs in the old system, fight for the Lombardi. Let’s take a look at Saturday’s NFC battles.
Just so you know, I am NOT a fan of two-part episodes of tv shows. Or movies with a huge cliff-hanger that you have to wait years to see. (Thanks “Empire Strikes Back” for traumatizing my teen years!)
At the same time, who really likes the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas?” It’s soooooo long…. and repetative… and boring…
So this one time, I made an exception and broke my article into two parts.
Welcome to Part Two!
On the 6th Day of Christmas the NFC South gave to me… Six Mike Evans Receptions
Have we seen this story before? The Atlanta Falcons get off to a 17-0 lead at halftime only to let a Tom Brady team (this time the Buccaneers) back into the game to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…. That was the story this week. And frankly, I blame the lack of targets to wide receiver Mike Evans. With only seven targets and six receptions, quarterback Matt Ryan just couldn’t get the ball to Evans enough in the home stretch to get the win.
It’s that time of year… the NFL season is winding down and we writers are trying to find new and interesting ways to recap the past week and look forward to the week ahead. Plus, the holidays are right around the corner.
And so, I present to you: The 12 Days of Christmas – NFC South Style!
On the 12th Day of Christmas, the NFC South gave to me… TOM BRADY winning 8 games
Who else would we start with but “TB12” himself! There are more wins on the horizon for the Buccaneers but last’s weeks beat-down of the Minnesota Viking was just classic Brady. 15/23 for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns. They are sitting at 8-5 with the Detroit Lions and two chances to beat the Atlanta Falcons. Should finish the season 10-6!
The NFC South saw some teams struggling to get going this season but one of them has started to stand out and separate itself from the pack: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While the New Orleans Saints (after a bye week) and the Carolina Panthers are hot on their heels, the Buccaneers just LOOK better than everyone else at this point.
And don’t even get me started on the Atlanta Falcons. Firing head coach Dan Quinn and promoting defensive coordinator Raheem Morris from to the interim head coach position may have been a no-brainer after an 0-5 start, but PLEASE don’t let their victory over the Vikings this past weekend make you think much has changed.