Upon Further Review - Week 16

By: Jen Halvorson

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Colts @ Ravens

In a battle of many field goals, the Baltimore Ravens snuck past the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday 23-16 .

Ravens QB Joe Flacco went 29 for 38 and threw for 237 yards with two touchdowns, paired with three field goal completions from Kicker Justin Tucker ultimately lead to the Baltimore victory.

Flacco kept his team afloat when the Colts came within striking range, 16-13, in the third quarter. The quarterback threw a four-yard touchdown to Maxx Williams in the fourth, but it wasn’t quite over yet. Just when you thought it was over, late in the fourth Anthony Walker blocked a Raven’s punt and got the all back to the Colts with under three minutes to go the ball was on Baltimore’s 27-yard line. Indianapolis pushed to the 10, but was unable to make the final completion for a score and the Ravens left with the W.

The win will place Baltimore within reach of a wild card seating in the play-offs if they can take one more win next week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Vikings @ Packers

It was all Vikings, all night long. Again without Aaron Rodgers, among many other key players such as Linebacker Clay Matthews and leading receiver Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers had a difficult time matching up against their biggest rival in the National Football League.

Minnesota’s Case Keenum completed a quick 4-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs early in the game to take the immediate lead, which they would hold for the full 60 minutes of play.

Keenum went 14 of 25 for 139 yards and Diggs finished with 5 catches for 60 yards.

With the Vikings 16-0 shutout win over the Packers, it was their first shutout since they beat the Detroit Lions 24 years 13-0 and the last time they shut out Green Bay was Nov. 14, 1971. Not a bad weekend for Minnesota, by any means, as the Vikes look to secure a first round bye in the playoffs after already obtaining the NFC North title.

Dolphins @ Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs were on the hunt for their second AFC West title in two years and they were able to deliver on Sunday against Miami 29-13 for back-to-back division titles, the first time in franchise history. Not a bad way to enter the holidays for Kansas City.

Alex Smith did not disappoint, throwing for 304 yards plus a touchdown, combined with 91 yards rushing from Rookie Running Back Kareem Hunt, plus his own touchdown, Dolphin defense quickly grew weary.

Miami Quarterback Jay Cutler was frustrated about a number of plays that could have gone differently for the Dolphin offense, but it just wasn’t clicking for them and the actions resulted in a loss. Cutler threw for 285 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough to get Miami past a focused and tight Kansas City defense.

The Chiefs will get to play on their homefield at least one more time moving into the playoffs and that advantage is a good one. The home of the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium has a longstanding reputation of being the loudest stadium in the league, opponents should mentally prepare before their game day arrival.

Rams @ Titans

Watch out! Here come the Rams!

It’s been 14 years since the Rams last left their mark in a major way, it was 2003 and they took the NFC West division title. Now that time has returned, in L.A.’s 27-23 win over the Titans on Sunday the Rams reclaimed that title.

Lead by the dynamic duo of Todd Gurley II and Jared Goff, it was a tight battle throughout the entire game, but these two players took advantage of every opportunity the Tennessee defense gave them and capitalized each time.

Gurley delivered 118 yards rushing and 158 yards receiving, including an 80 yard reception which was the best of his career. Gurley is proving exactly why he should be considered for the NFL MVP award this season.

Goff added his own set of stats that aided in a Ram’s victory. He threw 301 yards passing and completed four touchdowns.

The Titans host the Jacksonville Jaguars next week and will need a win to make the playoffs.

Browns @ Bears

The Cleveland Browns get blown out, yet again, and it’s sad to say no one was surprised. The Bears controlled the game from start to finish, ending with the W, 20-3.

Neither team can say they’ve had a winning season, but after this loss to the Bears, if the Browns lose one more game they will end their season 0-16, joining the ‘08 Detroit Lions as the only other team in league history to not win a game all season.

Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky completed 14 for 23 passing and threw for 193 yards plus a touchdown to help Chicago glide past the Browns.

Lions @ Bengals

The Detroit Lions fall short to the Cincinnati Bengals 26-17 and are eliminated from a playoff spot, yet again.

Matthew Stafford threw just 19 for 35 with 209 yards, including a touchdown and interception. Stafford’s passer rating was 69.1, the lowest in his last six games. Careless mistakes lead to the eminent downfall for the Lions on Sunday, those mistakes Cincinnati took advantage of, sealing their win.

Giovani Bernard was a huge part of that victory for the Bengals, running for 116 yards plus a touchdown.

The Bengals will end their regular season facing off against the Baltimore Ravens next week.

Chargers @ Jets

There are still a number of things that need to happen for the the Chargers to make the playoffs, but after there 14-7 win over the Jets, they are one step closer.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers finished the game passing 22 for 40 and 290 yards. Melvin Gordon rushed for 81 yards with 19 carries, but left early with a mild ankle injury.

The Jets stayed above water with the help of 19 carries and 145 yards rushing from Bilal Powell. New York was contenders throughout the entire game, holding their own with Los Angeles.

The game was tied 7-7 at one point and even when the Chargers went up 14-7, the Jets were close to tying the score again but fell short in an incomplete pass attempt in the endzone on fourth-and-7.

Falcons @ Saints

Another rivalry game? Sure to be an intense battle to the end. This time around the Falcons fell from the sky, and the Saints took their victory lap, 23-13.

Drew Brees became the third quarterback in history to record 70,000 career yards passing, joining the likes of Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. He threw 239 yards and completed 21 for 28 of his passes.

Atlanta’s Julio Jones accounted for seven catches and 149 yards rushing.

The Falcons will need to win next week against the Carolina Panthers to get a wild card slot in the postseason.

Bills @ Patriots

It’s never an easy feat when the matchup involves Patriots in the headline. Combine that with a home field advantage at Gillette Stadium and the consistent lethal weapons of Tom Brady with Rob Gronkowski, you’re in for a night.

It seems difficult to remember a time when New England wasn’t a dominant force, which still proved true in their 37-16 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Patriots Dion Lewis rushed for 129 yards with 24 carries. The duo of Brady and Gronkowski connected for a 17-yard touchdown pass, which noted their 75th completion for a score, that being the fifth all time between a quarterback and receiver.

New England has already secured a first-round bye in the postseason.

Broncos @ Redskins

A comfortable win for the Washington Redskins, 27-11 over the Broncos. Kirk Cousins credits his strong defensive line for the smooth sailing game.

Aside from a stingy defense on the Redskins front, Cousins completed 19 for 37 passes, and Washington combined for three touchdowns and 386 yards against Denver to pull out the win.

Brock Osweiler started as the quarterback for the Broncos, he went 22 of 38 for 193 yards with a fumble and interception.

Buccaneers @ Panthers

After the Panthers were down the majority of the first half to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton pioneered his team to a 22-19 victory and secure a place for Carolina in the playoffs.

Jameis Winston threw for 367 yards and a touchdown, but also was sacked six times and fumbled three times.

Cam Newton’s numbers weren’t anything magical either, he threw 160 yards and carried the ball 14 times for 52 yards.

At the end of the day, Panthers were the one to find a way to win, sending the Bucs home with yet another loss.

Jaguars @ 49ers

There’s no denying the young energy of Jimmy Garoppolo has set his team on fire. Mentored under Tom Brady while on the Patriots and now getting his chance to prove himself on his own team. Garoppolo is definitely not showing signs of squandering that opportunity.

Another solid win for the 49ers, who have now won four-straight after obtaining Garoppolo. A descent margin for San Francisco in their 44-33 win over a Jaguar team with a winning season.

Garoppolo completed 21 for 30 passes 242 yards.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles threw fro 382 yards and two touchdowns, as well as, three interceptions. It just wasn’t good enough performance to pull out the win for Jacksonville.

Seahawks @ Cowboys

The Seahawks capitalized on Dak Prescott and the Cowboy’s costly mistakes all game, ultimately putting Seattle on top and eliminating Dallas from the postseason, 21-12.

Russell Wilson only passed for 93 yards, but still managed to squeeze two touchdowns within those statistical boundaries.

Despite a return from running back Ezekiel Elliott from a six-game suspension, Dallas could not pull it together. Elliott had 24 carries for 97 yards.

Prescott throwing a pick-six in crucial third quarter minutes, which did not help the Cowboys offensive efforts. He finished with 21 of 34 for 182 yards.

Giants @ Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals made their Christmas something special this season, shutting out the Giants 23-0, their first shutout in 25 years.

Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 118 yards plus a touchdown. Towards the end of his 14th season in the NFL, Fitzgerald has become the oldest player in a season to obtain 100 receptions and 1,000 yards receiving.

New York Giants QB Eli Manning threw for 263 yards and complete 27 of 45 passes, with two interceptions.

Both teams will not compete in the playoffs and finish their regular season games next week.

Steelers @ Texans

Without Antonio Brown, the Steelers were not the same team, but it didn’t matter. Lead by Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh secured their first round bye with 34-6 win over the Texans.

Roethlisberger threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers lead 20-0 at the half. Le’Veon Bell added his contributions to the victory with 14 carries for 69 yards, along with JuJu Smith-Schuster’s six receptions for 75 yards.

Houston’s QB T.J. Yates was 7 of 16 for 83 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough for the Steelers star line-up.