Every game during the NFL season tells a story. GIFs -- pronounced "gifs", "jifs" or "gee-oafs" -- can do the same thing. Let's explain the world of Week 16 through GIFs.
He played dumb after the game, but that's Baker Mayfield staring down former-Browns-coach-turned-Bengals-assistant Hue Jackson after a game-icing connection with tight end David Njoku. Mayfield is on record that he took issue with Jackson's decision to join Marvin Lewis' staff, but you have to think it goes beyond that.
My guess: Mayfield played the good rookie over the summer, but was probably annoyed as hell that Jackson never gave him a chance to beat out the inferior Tyrod Taylor for the starting job in Week 1. The Browns could be a playoff team if Jackson didn't botch that decision. My goodness, Hue botched so many decisions.
On the other side of the spectrum, there's Sean McVay, who has a habit of making the right decisions. Like, for instance, his decision to rest Todd Gurley and his ailing knee on Sunday against the wretched Cardinals. And, wouldn't you know it, it all worked out for the Rams. They took care of Arizona with ease, newly signed running back C.J. Anderson went off for 167 yards (one shy of his career high) and Gurley got the break he needed. The Ramsaren't locked into the No. 2 seed just yet, so it will be interesting to monitor Gurley's status in Week 17.
Poor Roosevelt Nix. The Steelers fullback took the direct snap on Pittsburgh's audaciously ballsy fake-punt call and shot through the line for a 4-yard gain. The only problem ... Pittsburgh was facing a 4th-and-5. What you see above might be my favorite premature celebration since DeSean Jackson's hasty ball dump. One day, Nix and his Steelers teammates will look back on this and it will all seem funny. Probably not right now, though.
While we're here, the Steelers might end up being the best team to miss the playoffs this decade. Maybe this century. I am fully confident they could beat the top two seeds in either conference in a playoff game. Too bad they've repeatedly shrunk in the moment. With Ben Roethlisberger locked in on Sunday at the Superdome, the Steelers had no business losing that game. But they found a way. Just an incredibly frustrating season.
The pylon cam is a Christmas gift that keeps giving to NFL fans. Gorgeous!
Who is the menace to society? Throw it in a cell and shut off the lights.
Where is Eli Manning as a quarterback in December 2018? He's finished the season much better than he started, mostly a product of improved Giants O-line play. At 37, his physical skills have eroded somewhat, and the above GIF illustrates the level of body torque now necessary on a downfield throw. It doesn't come out easy like an Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes, but the ball landed in Sterling Shepard's hands for a 55-yard gain.
Just when you thought the Panthers' 2018 season couldn't sink any lower, here's Falcons punter Matt Bosher absolutely ending Carolina return man Kenjon Barner with a clean hit. Matt Bosher is celebrating above you. MATT BOSHER. The Panthers should forfeit Week 17 and retire to a private bunker for six months of rest and rehabilitation. Bosher, meanwhile, was asked to take a drug test immediately after the game.
It's not happening again ... is it? It couldn't be!
There's the Ravens waving goodbye to your overwrought narrative about the offensive revolution of professional football. Turns out bad-ass defense and a great running game still have a seat at the table. Who would've thunk it?
Until next week. Merry Christmas!