Strange days in Green Bay.
The Scott Tolzien era won't last long if Aaron Rodgers proves to be a quick healer, but Green Bay, for now, will lean on this one-time practice squader to keep the Pack afloat in the NFC playoff hunt.
The good news? Tolzien wasn't a disaster in Sunday's 27-13 loss to the Eagles. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements acknowledged that the bulk of plays he called against Philly were run by Tolzien for the very first time. He also was quick to praise his young passer as "inquisitive" and detail-obsessed, something we've heard about Tolzien before.
If nothing else, Green Bay has found a young arm to groom behind the greatest passer on Planet Earth. Here's what else we took away from this week's flood of Game Rewind film (which, incidentally, is free to try for a limited time):
Just seven teams in the league have piled up more sacks than Carolina, but the Panthers have found creative ways to pressure the quarterback all season.
Behind one of the NFL's fiercest front sevens, Ron Rivera's defense -- holding teams to 9.5 points per game in their six wins -- used different combinations and looks to hassle San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick in a 10-9 Week 10 win over the 49ers.
The Panthers' six sacks on the day were the product of defensive tackle Dwan Edwards winning battles along the interior line, edge rusher Charles Johnson getting the best of 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis and Luke Kuechly doing the rest. Feast your eyes on the wreckage wrought at Candlestick:
Pittsburgh's O-line: Still a disaster
The Steelers' offensive line is killing this team. The problem starts on the edges, where left tackle Kelvin Beachum has struggled mightily of late. He was victimized against the Patriots in Week 9 and gave up his sixth sack of the year against the Bills on Sunday. Same story on the right side, where Marcus Gilbert was blown up by New England's Rob Ninkovich two weeks ago before allowing a sack and two hits on Ben Roethlisberger in the Buffalo tilt.
Pittsburgh took care of business against the Bills, but the Steelers are 3-6 partly because of shoddy protection that's led to an outrageous 35 takedowns of Big Ben. Beachum plays the fool on this sack by Buffalo's Jerry Hughes:
Jordan Reed: Rainmaker
One of our favorite young players to emerge during the season has been Jordan Reed. The Redskins tight end has spiced up Washington's offense and given Robert Griffin III a dynamic weapon who Chris Wesseling compared to the onfield version of Aaron Hernandez.
Reed entered Week 10 catching 79 percent of his targets, the highest rate among any receiver or tight end in the league. He's third in the NFL in yards per route run, behind just Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis, per Pro Football Focus.
Reed hauled in six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but let's look at Reed's tape from Washington's previous game against the Chargers. We saw the rookie used all over the field against San Diego, showing an ability to find the first-down marker, get open in tight spaces and contribute to the read-option:
Cowboys D + key injuries = tire fire
Mark Ingram hadn't rushed for more than 20 yards in a game all season. Then came Sunday.
The real estate came easy. Ingram banged through the Dallas D for runs of 13, 14, 15, 31 and 34 yards.
The New Orleans line did its job, but Ingram's big night was helped by gap-integrity issues and countless missed tackles by the Cowboys. Much of the damage came with Sean Lee sidelined, Jason Hatcher out of the mix and pass rusher DeMarcus Ware missing snaps. Still, Dallas was a pure disaster in a 49-17 loss.
Watch Ingram roll at will through this Dallas front: