Photo By: Adrian Curiel from Unsplash
Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers will be discussed in next week’s edition of this column.
(Funniest) Game of the Week – Detroit Lions @ Pittsburgh Steelers
With Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger missing Sunday’s action due to health and safety protocols, the black and yellow turned to backup Mason Rudolph to try and carry them past the winless Detroit Lions. It’s clear that the Lions have been hungry for a win, as indicated by them throwing the kitchen sink (fake punts, two point conversion attempts, etc…) at the Rams a few weeks ago. This seemed like a perfect opportunity for Jared Goff and co. to get on the board, and it looked like that might be the case throughout regulation. A nagging missed extra point did prove to be costly for the Lions though, as the two teams headed to overtime tied at 16.
What followed was a complete comedy of errors from both sides. To be fair, it was freezing cold and raining pretty heavily during overtime, but the last 10 minutes of this one had almost every error you could think of. Here’s a summary of how each drive ended in the extra period: Lions punt, Steelers fumble, Lions missed field goal, Steelers punt, Lions punt, Steelers fumble. That’s not to mention the bad snap resulting in a 20-yard loss, the multiple dropped interceptions, the penalty flags, and the fact that the missed field goal barely made it to the crossbar from less than 50 yards away. Eventually time would expire and the teams would have to settle for a 16-16 tie, the first of this NFL season. It was truly awful football, but at least it was spectacularly awful. Watch for yourself if you want to have a good laugh.
Another frontrunner for funniest moment of the season came during Thursday night’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens, when Dolphins o-lineman Robert Hunt took matters into his own hands, rumbled past the Ravens defense, and executed a gravity-defying flip into the end zone, even though he wasn’t an eligible receiver.
Eagles take flight
Might as well give some love to another team that hasn’t been talked about all that much this season. The Philadelphia Eagles have looked great at times so far this year — including some competitive games against the Chargers, Raiders and Buccaneers — but have looked atrocious at other times. This week’s matchup with the Broncos delivered the Eagles another opportunity to pad their resumé against an average-to-below-average team.
The first half was a breakout game for rookie WR DeVonta Smith, who finished the game with 66 receiving yards on four catches and two touchdowns. Smith is finding his footing after a slow start to the year, and he could be the WR1 for Philadelphia in the next few years. The Eagles defense, despite no headline-grabbing plays, kept the Broncos in check as well, which is impressive considering Denver’s explosion last week in Dallas.
The Eagles won the game by a score of 30-13, and while they won’t be winning the NFC East this year, they have a punter’s chance at one of the NFC Wild Card spots if they can take advantage of a soft end of year schedule (Saints-Giants-Jets-WFT-Giants-WFT-Cowboys). This was also the first time when all three recent Alabama quarterbacks (Hurts, Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa, and New England’s Mac Jones) all won in the same week. Roll tide, I guess.
Titans getting it done without Henry
The Tennessee Titans tacked on another two wins to their AFC South divisional lead in the last week, both against teams with winning records out of the NFC. To the surprise of many, Tennessee took down the Rams last Sunday night in their first game without the best running back in the league, Derrick Henry. This week’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints was a nailbiter, with the Titans eventually winning the game 23-21. Despite a big drive from Saints QB Trevor Siemian to score a touchdown, an incompletion on the two-point conversion for the tie handed the Titans the win, their sixth in a row.
The Titans have now won four games against teams in playoff position, including statement victories over the Chiefs, Rams, and Bills. With an apparent easy end to the season, the Titans may be challenging for first place in the AFC, which would be huge in their quest for a long playoff run, especially if it buys Henry an additional week of rest rehabbing his knee injury. It remains to be seen whether or not Henry will be able to play down the stretch, but it would certainly be a big boost for a team that already holds the best record in the conference.