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What we learned from Sunday's Week 14 games

*Here's what we learned from Sunday's Week 14 games: *

  1. The Rams, as we remembered them, are back. Since their ransacking at the hands of the Ravens in Week 12, Los Angeles has combined to beat division rivals Arizona and Seattle by the score of 62-19 and outgained them 1,004-506 in the process. Todd Gurley (24 touches, 113 yards, TD), after weeks of "idiot" Sean McVay holding him back, is carrying the team on long drives and finishing runs. Robert Woods (98 yards, TD) and Tyler Higbee (116 yards) are morphing into two of the most reliable late-down targets in the game. The Rams are picking up first downs (20-plus in back-to-back games) and closing in the red zone (4-of-5 vs. SEA). L.A.'s front seven is getting home (five sacks), with Aaron Donald and Samson Ebukam leading the way, and is being complemented by a stauncher secondary led by Troy Hill and Jalen Ramsey. With Sunday night's win, the Rams (8-5) stayed a game behind in the wild-card race and simultaneously dashed, albeit briefly, San Francisco and Seattle's hopes of clinching playoff berths in Week 14. With two playoff contenders and two division rivals left on its schedule (at DAL, at SF, ARI), the Rams have their work cut out for them to reach January football. But their chances of advancing if and when they get there have not been greater this season.
  1. After opening with an 11-play field-goal drive, Seattle's offense suffered a major blow and never recovered. Seahawks tailback Rashaad Penny left the game on Seattle's first drive with a knee injury and was quickly ruled out, a big letdown considering the second-year back was coming off back-to-back games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage. Following its first march, Seattle went seven drives with scoring, picking up just six first downs on those possessions. The Seahawks finally reached the red zone with just over seven minutes left and settled for a field goal. Russell Wilson had one of his worst nights of the season behind a leaky offensive line, though his connection with D.K. Metcalf (78 yards, six catches on six targets) continues to blossom. Seattle likes to make things interesting, but after going down early in Los Angeles, the Seahawks couldn't muster the comeback we've grown accustomed to them making and finished with just six points on offense. Their first loss since Oct. 10 doesn't portend doom for a Seattle squad inches away from a playoff berth -- the limping Panthers and Cardinals await before a finale against San Francisco -- but it is a reminder that the Seahawks (10-3) won't always catch all the breaks.
  1. What were the Lions thinking when they traded away Quandre Diggs to Seattle for nickels on the dollar? Diggs picked off Goff twice on back-to-back possessions on Sunday night, with the first interception on L.A.'s first second-half possession going for six. Diggs has three picks in his first four games in Seattle, tying a franchise mark set by Earl Thomas in 2010. Carroll gave Diggs credit this week for improving not only Seattle's secondary but bolstering its pass rush as well since he joined the Seahawks. That was more than evident on Sunday night, when, with the Seahawks' pass rush non-existent, the do-it-all safety did all he could to pull Seattle back into the loss. If Wilson is Seattle's MVP on offense, then Diggs is that on defense in the season's second half.

-- Jeremy Bergman

  1. All hail the AFC West champs. Kansas City corner Bashaud Breeland bopped the ball away from Julian Edelman in the end zone on fourth down with just over one minute remaining to thwart a Patriots late comeback bid, ending New England's 21-game home win streak and clinching the AFC West division title. The Chiefs used a 23-point unanswered run in the middle of the contest to give Andy Reid's team enough cushion to withstand the Pats comeback. Against a good Pats defense that played a lot of Cover-2 to keep the deep shots under wraps and smothered the Chiefs in the second half, Patrick Mahomes was forced into a bevy of short throws. Mahomes' one big shot, a 48-yard TD to Mecole Hardman, made New England pay early after the Chiefs blocked a field goal. Outside of the second quarter, however, it was a struggle for K.C.'s offense against Bill Belichick's defense. The Chiefs' final four possessions before the end-of-game kneels went three-and-out, blocked punt, fumble, three-and-out, three-and-out. Mahomes (283 yards, TD, INT), however, did enough damage early, and the Chiefs defense clung to the lead down the stretch. Mahomes told reporters after the game that he played through an injury to his right hand and will undergo X-rays. Reid's offense hasn't been picture-perfect the past few weeks, but the defense -- holding Tom Brady to 169 passing yards, one score, one INT, and three sacks -- has played splendidly. Sunday, they pestered the QB incessantly and clawed out the win late. It's the type of victory the Chiefs might need to lean on come January.
  1. The Patriots' defense and special teams made plays to get back in the game, but once again the offense, marred by inconsistency at the receiver position and a leaky offensive line, came up short. New England's only two plays over 20 yards the entire tilt came on trickeration plays: a 37-yard TD on a flea-flicker to Julian Edelman on the opening drive, and a 37-yard halfback pass from James White to Jakobi Meyers that went 35 yards to set up the end-of-game theatrics. Outside of those two plays, it was a slog for Brady and Co. After the opening drive, the Pats went seven possessions barely threatening, picking up just six first downs. A blocked punt by New England's special teams, gave them life, with a touchdown two plays later, but lulls -- including a 17-0 second quarter -- proved too much to overcome once again.
  1. New England was burned twice by officiating calls that cost two potential touchdowns late. The first came on a quick whistle on a Travis Kelce fumble. Refs blew the play dead ruling the Chiefs TE down by contact. The play was overturned, but it negated a return in which it appeared Stephon Gilmore had a free run to the end zone. On the ensuing drive, Patriots receiver N'Keal Harry appeared to reach out for a touchdown but was ruled out of bounds. Replays showed the wideout's foot in bounds, but with no challenges left, Belichick couldn't contest the call. New England would end up settling for a field goal, which changed the tenor of the end of the contest. The Chiefs' big road win pushed them to 9-4 and clinched the AFC West title for the fourth straight season. It also moved them within a game of passing New England for a potential first-round bye. The loss sent the Pats to 10-3 on the season, and essentially two games behind the Ravens for the top spot in the AFC. For next week, it's "On to Cincinnati" for Belichick's team that needs to get back on track after back-to-back losses.

-- Kevin Patra

  1. A matchup between two 10-2 NFC heavyweights lived up to the billing with massive blows struck by each side and fireworks exploding at every turn. With both offenses marching seemingly at will, it was apropos that the team with the ball last would pull out the victory. After Drew Brees once again led an exquisite go-ahead touchdown drive in the final minutes to give the Saints a 46-45 lead with 53 seconds remaining, it was Jimmy Garoppolo's turn to answer. In a tilt littered with big plays, the game fittingly hinged on a monster catch-and-gallop from George Kittle that went for 39 yards, plus a 15-yard facemask, on fourth-and-2, in which the tight end carried defenders down the field. The play set up Robbie Gould's game-winning 30-yard field goal. The 49ers splashed big plays all game, with Garoppolo divebombing the Saints defense for 349 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception. After going down 20-7 to open the second quarter, the Niners offense answered the call with three straight TD drives to take the halftime lead. Emmanuel Sanders (7/157/1, and a TD pass) and Deebo Samuel (5/76) got open all game versus New Orleans' DBs, as the Niners piled up 517 yards and a whopping 9.1 yards per play (14.5 YPP at halftime). On a day its defense didn't play up to its lofty standards, Garoppolo showed he can win a huge road shootout. Once again, the 2019 San Francisco 49ers proved they can win in every way imaginable.
  1. Brees played a sterling game, dropping four straight touchdown drives to open the game with some gorgeous throws, including a 26-yard touchdown to Jared Cook (the TE would leave the game with a concussion after his second TD). With Alvin Kamara stymied on the ground, Brees diced up the NFL's No. 1 pass defense with a bevy of strikes, hitting quick passes and a few pretty downfield throws, including a dime to Michael Thomas (11/134/1) late that helped lead to a TD to pull within one score after the Saints got down nine points. Brees matched Garoppolo's 349 yards and threw five TD passes, adding a rushing score on a fourth-down sneak from the goal-line early. On a day in which the offense, which has been touch-and-go much of the season, played well against one of the NFL's top Ds, it was the previously stalwart defense, however, that couldn't get a stop when needed.
  1. In a game with 10 TD passes and 12 total touchdowns, the explosive, intense, exciting match could foreshadow what we're in for in January. Sunday's result will have an immense influence on the playoff seeding in the NFC. Moving to 11-2, the 49ers could leap back into the top slot in the NFC West if the Seahawks lose Sunday night in L.A. If Seattle comes out on top, the 49ers would remain in the No. 5 spot, which is a brutal proposition for one of the best teams in the league. The loss pushes New Orleans (10-3) to third in the conference, behind the NFC West leader and the Green Bay Packers, and out of a playoff bye heading into Week 15. With the NFC South division already wrapped up, New Orleans still has plenty to play for in the final three weeks of the season.

-- Kevin Patra

  1. The Ravens are navigating the teeth of their schedule with aplomb and now have a playoff berth to show for it. Baltimore (11-2) now has beaten the Patriots, Texans, Rams, Niners and Bills since its bye week and has won nine games in a row. The Ravens have shown they can navigate just about any style of game and come out victorious. While in November it was their high-octane offense carrying the way, the Ravens have grinded their way through defensive slugfests in back-to-back December wins. On Sunday, they held the Bills to 209 yards on 68 plays, sacking Josh Allen six times and limiting Buffalo to 4 of 17 on third down. Allen's deep ball was non-existent against the Ravens' stingy secondary, while Lamar Jackson turned in an efficient outing against Buffalo's third-ranked pass defense (16-of-25, 145 yards, three TDs).
  1. The Bills can take solace in the fact that they were driving to tie the game late, but their offense will have to perform better if they want to make a run in January. Buffalo had five three-and-outs Sunday and only saw one drive last longer than seven plays. With the Ravens doing a good job of limiting John Brown (three catches on eight targets for 26 yards), Allen struggled to sustain drives and capitalize on the few times they threatened. Buffalo kicked three field goals until Cole Beasley's touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter. As good as Buffalo's defense is, field goals won't lead to wins come playoff time.
  1. Buffalo (9-4) did an admirable job of bottling up the Ravens' big-play offense for most of the afternoon, but shutting Baltimore down for a full 60 minutes is too tall a task for even the best defense. On the third play of the second half, Jackson hit tight end Hayden Hurst over the middle off play action. Hurst turned it up field with nothing but open space in front of him and sprinted to the end zone for a 61-yard score. Hurst is now the fifth Raven to have a catch of at least 50 yards this season.

-- David Ely

  1. The Broncos (5-8) are officially The Team You Don't Want to Face in December. Drew Lock made a handful of impressive throws under pressure early and Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello repeatedly schemed open receivers in a pass-first approach for the Broncos that resulted in 31 points in Denver's first five possessions and a 38-3 lead early in the third quarter. Noah Fant rumbled for 113 yards on only four catches before suffering a foot injury, with most of the second half amounting to an extended version of Lock's Toy Story celebration. The next three weeks for Denver are all about Lock auditioning to keep this job for 2020.
  1. Kareem Jackson makes his money in this matchup. He played so well against Denver last year -- possibly the best single game by a defensive back all year -- that the Broncos awarded him a big contract in free agency. He made a similar impact Sunday, finishing with a long touchdown after being handed the ball by teammate Jeremiah Attaochu, picking off Deshaun Watson and ending multiple other drives with three passes defensed and a tackle for loss. The Texans' overmatched secondary could desperately use him.
  1. It's tough to take the 8-5 Texans seriously as a Super Bowl contender with performances like this. The offense isn't the same when Will Fuller is out and the defense has no juice when coordinator Romeo Crennel can't scheme up pressure. Any chance for a bye ended Sunday and the Texans now have to worry about the Titans stealing the AFC South.

-- Gregg Rosenthal

  1. There was no Le'Veon Bell and there was no Jamal Adams, but there was enough in the leg of Sam Ficken to lift the Jets to a 22-21 victory over the Dolphins as he booted a 44-yard field goal -- his third of the day and the 10th field goal between the teams -- with no time left. As the jubilant Jets (5-8) briefly lifted Ficken in the air, New York had edged past Miami (3-10) to avenge an earlier defeat and give Gang Green coach Adam Gase a victory over his former team. Sam Darnold (20-for-36 for 270 yards and two touchdowns) led the game-winning drive, which began at the Jets' 25 with 1:29 to go. It was a booth review that loomed largest on the drive, however, as a Darnold offering to Vyncint Smith was originally ruled incomplete. Upon further review, the call was overturned and reversed to defensive pass interference. From a fourth-and-17 to a first-and-10 the Jets went and then onward to victory via the foot of Ficken. In a season in which everything from injuries to the absurd have seemingly plagued the Jets, they got a deserved call that went their way, Darnold led a game-winning drive and Ficken, who missed his first kick (a failed PAT in the second quarter), was the hero.
  1. A week prior, Jason Sanders caught a touchdown pass for this rag-tag pod of Dolphins. This time around, he flexed the might of his leg time and time again to the tune of seven field goals in eight attempts, including a 53-yarder. Of the Dolphins' 21 points, all were had by Sanders. Highlight as it might well have been for the booter, it was hardly so for the Dolphins. Against the No. 1 rushing defense, Miami mustered a season-high 122 rushing yards, led by team-high rusher Ryan Fitzpatrick's 65 yards. But finding the end zone proved problematic just as it's been all season for the Fins.
  1. At one point in the season, it seemed as if Robby Anderson was a borderline certainty to be shipped out of New York. But he's still in Gotham and on this Sunday he showed once more how dynamic he can be. Anderson tallied game-highs of seven catches and 116 yards receiving, keyed by a 26-yard score in the second stanza in which he worked himself wide open to garner a Sam Darnold floater. Anderson has hardly been at his best on a consistent basis, but Sunday showed that when he is, he's still pretty darn good.

-- Grant Gordon

  1. Matt LaFleur is the first coach in the storied Green Bay history to win at least 10 games in his first season with the Packers. Considering the offensive ineptitude of the opponent, the victory should have been more convincing in nature. The Packers jumped out to an early lead only to backslide into that familiar zone in which they don't move the ball for quarters at a time while we're left to wonder if the receivers simply aren't getting open or if Aaron Rodgers is stubbornly clinging to the notion of a bigger play than the defense will allow. No matter who's calling the plays at Lambeau Field, the story remains the same: a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. That talking point might have been shelved had Rodgers not thrown behind rookie Jace Sternberger on a potential touchdown and just missed big third-down connections with Jimmy Graham and Aaron Jones. Fortunately for LaFleur and Rodgers, play-making tailback Jones continued to build on his breakout season, accounting for 56.3% of Green Bay's total yards (192 on 22 touches). With the (9-4) Vikings beating the Lions on Sunday, the Packers (10-3) maintain a one-game lead in the NFC North heading into next week's matchup versus the surging Bears.
  1. If Redskins fans squinted just right, they could finally envision an intriguing offensive nucleus in last week's stirring victory over the Panthers. Terry McLaurin has been the most impressive rookie receiver in the league, power back Derrius Guice exploded for 137 yards and a pair of scores and quarterback Dwayne Haskins' arm talent was evident. On a day when their team was officially eliminated from postseason contention, those Washington fans may need to ditch the squint in favor of a magnifying glass. McLaurin continued to impress with a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch, but Guice exited with yet another knee injury and Haskins limped through the latest in a string of disappointing pocket performances.
  1. Haskins has a major sack problem. It hasn't been an easy transition to Bill Callahan's old-school, I-formation offense when he's more comfortable running a spread attack, but the rookie simply has to get rid of the ball with more urgency and sense of purpose. Haskins owns a debilitating sack rate of 14.0 percent on 186 dropbacks compared to veteran Case Keenum's 6.0 mark on 200 dropbacks behind the same offensive line. For perspective, Texans QB Deshaun Watson recorded a sack rate of 10.9 percent when he took the fifth-most sacks (62) in a single season last year. This will be an area of concentration for the next Redskins coach in 2020.

-- Chris Wesseling

  1. If you polled the average Browns fan on their greatest complaints about their team this season, it's likely you'll hear about their issues with run-pass distribution. Against the league's worst rushing defense, it was as if Freddie Kitchens and his staff didn't know who they were facing. But then, the Browns opened the second half with a six-play, 75-yard drive that included just one pass attempt. Nick Chubb racked up 57 of those yards with one run, and Kareem Hunt finished it off with a touchdown around the left end to push Cleveland's lead to 21-13.

This is the Browns' greatest offensive strength, and illustrates just how important it will be for the team to secure the services of Hunt long-term after this campaign ends. A one-two punch of Chubb and Hunt will cause problems for every team in the NFL, provided Cleveland can block well enough up front.

  1. Cincinnati's first victory of 2019 definitely provided its players with a boost in the week that followed, but in the key moments, it still didn't play winning football. After an officiating gift gave the Bengals an interception by Nick Vigil, Andy Dalton's pass deflected off his intended target's hands and was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Browns corner Denzel Ward. With the Bengals down just eight in the second half, a long Joe Mixon run was wiped out by a holding call on John Ross. And finally, what would have been a massive third-down stop was overturned when William Jackson was flagged for pass interference upon review.

This is the difference between winning and losing teams. The Bengals competed but didn't do the little things correctly, and that was how they left Cleveland with their 12th loss of 2019.

  1. Credit is due to Dalton, whose play dominated the halftime discussion on CBS and rightfully so. Dalton and the Bengals don't appear to be long for each other, but he'll make a QB-needy team happy elsewhere. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 262 yards and an interception, and yes, he had a few misses, but the Bengals are significantly better with him under center.

Cincinnati battled for the entire game with a team in Cleveland that has disappointed but also competed with a healthy amount of playoff-bound squads. The Bengals aren't as bad as 1-12 says, at least not lately, which should be encouraging for the Taylor era going forward -- even if it doesn't include Dalton.

-- Nick Shook

  1. All aboard the Jameis Winston roller coaster ride. For all the action-adventure movies that every Winston outing seems to be, Sunday's was one to remember. Winston threw the first of his three interceptions on his first pass, sustained a small fracture in his hand that saw him miss a series before coming back and ended it all with a career-high 456 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winning 12-yard score to Breshad Perriman as the Buccaneers bested the reeling Colts, 38-35. Just like that, the Buccaneers (6-7) have won three in a row and Winston is as befuddling as ever. He tossed his second 400-yard game of the season (his ninth game of 300-plus) and had five total touchdowns (one rushing). And he now leads the NFL with 28 giveaways after his league-leading seventh game with multiple interceptions. The Bucs won and Winston showed his fortitude and his phenomenal talent. He also showcased every fit-inducing reason why he shouldn't be the team's franchise signal-caller. As Winston's right-hand injury remains in question, so too does his status leading the Bucs. Yes, even after a five-touchdown victory.
  1. As Mike Evans raced to a 61-yard touchdown, he finished the score with a limp, eventually coming to rest in the end zone, grabbing his right hamstring as trainers attended to him. He was lost for the game. However, Evans' loss for the game also lent itself to showcasing how talented the crop of targets is for Jameis Winston to throw to (and for at least one drive backup Ryan Griffin, who made his NFL debut). Chris Godwin continued his splendid season with seven catches for 91 yards, O.J. Howard gave another glimpse of his potential with four grabs for 73 yards and Breshad Perriman hauled in three balls for 70 yards and the aforementioned game-winning score, which came with 4:22 to go in the game. In all, nine Buccaneers caught passes on Sunday, six had four or more receptions and four had touchdowns. The weapons are there for Tampa Bay, it just needs the consistency.
  1. It's unlikely Jameis Winston is planning to send a Christmas card to Darius Leonard and there's a good chance that if he sends any others, Leonard might come away with one. Or two. Leonard, in addition to nine tackles, had two interceptions, including an 80-yard return to the house. Since coming back from a concussion, Leonard has proved to be among the best of the best at the linebacker position and became the first player since at least 1982 to record 10-plus sacks and five-plus interceptions in his first 25 career games, per NFL research. Alas, on a sleepy Sunday in northern Florida, the Colts (6-7) needed to wake up to maintain a glimmer of hope to save their season. Instead, Indy lost its third in a row and fifth of the last sixth. Depleted by injuries and losers of six games by one possession, the Colts playing meaningful games in 2019 is all but mathematically done.

-- Grant Gordon

  1. Dating back to Week 8, the Falcons defense has been playing some pretty solid football. Their best performance in that span came on the road against the Panthers in Week 10 when they prevented a TD, held Christian McCaffrey to 70 rush yards and registered four picks and five sacks on Kyle Allen. In Week 14, Atlanta tried their best to outdo their performance from a few weeks ago, and they came very close to doing so. Save for a pair of TD drives -- one in the first half, the other in garbage time -- and FGs that came a quarter and a half a part, the Falcons defense rarely slipped up. Linebacker Takkarist McKinley recorded a season-high two sacks while fellow LB Vic Beasley terrorized Allen on two strip-sacks; one was recovered by Atlanta and eventually led to a TD. Safety Damontae Kazee also came walked into one of his best outings of 2019, snagging a pick off a bobbled catch by Panthers TE Ian Thomas, and then adding another on a poorly thrown deep ball. As a whole, Atlanta also added six passes defensed, and limited McCaffrey to 53 rush yards. Winning division games always bring the added element of bragging rights and, for Atlanta to both sweep the season series and officially eliminate Carolina from playoff contention at the same time, made this one that much sweeter.
  1. The first game of the post-Ron Rivera era didn't go to well for interim coach Perry Fewell and the Panthers. Allen (28/41, 293 yards, TD, 2 INTs) continued to be afflected with a bad case of the "fumbles", coughing up two and losing one. This was his fourth multi-fumble game of the season. The aforementioned McCaffrey (11/53 on the ground; 11/82 in the air) was held scoreless for a second straight week, a clear indicator of how the Panthers offense operated as a unit. Carolina converted just three of their 10 third-down attempts was outgained by 116 yards -- 345 to Atlanta's 461 -- despite having one more offensive play. A lone offensive bright spot came via receiver DJ Moore (4/81) who became the first Panthers wideout since 2014 (Kelvin Benjamin) to record over 1,000 receiving yards in a season. On the defensive side, corners James Bradberry and Donte Jackson notably had a rough day, surrendering scores and getting beat in coverage on a few crucial plays. The defensive line also got gashed multiple times by RBs Devonta Freeman (17/84/1) and Brian Hill (9/62/1). As if things weren't bad enough, special teams poured salt on the wounds created by the other two phases with a big-time gaffe in the third following a Falcons TD. Kazee punched the ball out of the hands of return man Greg Dortch on the kickoff return, opening the door for K Younghoe Koo to recover the loose ball and put Atlanta on the CAR 16. The Falcons would score a FG four plays later. With the playoffs out of the question, the questions surrounding the team's future will continue to get louder.
  1. Atlanta's offense hasn't exactly lit up the NFL this season but that hasn't stopped Matt Ryan and Julio Jones from showing the world how special they are. Ryan (20/34, 313 yards, 2 TDs) became the 10th QB in NFL history to surpass 50,000 career yards in the victory while Jones (5/66) solidified his sixth-straight 1,000-yard season. The second of Ryan's score came on an incredible 93-yard pass to rookie wideout Olamide Zaccheaus (first of his career). This play was not only the longest of Ryan's career but it also happens to be the third-longest pass in franchise history, per Kelsey Conway of Falcons.com. Ryan's milestone day was made more impressive by the fact that he distributed the wealth about as well as he has all year, finding seven different targets for receptions.

-- Jelani Scott

  1. Short rest? No problem. The Vikings bounced back after their devastating Monday Night Football loss, blowing out the lowly Lions at home. It was an affair that had the Vikings' mascot, Viktor, whipping off his mustache in celebration. The Vikings struck first on a Kirk Cousins nine-yard pass to 2019 seventh-round pick Bisi Johnson. Cousins, still without Adam Thielen due to a hamstring injury, connected with Stefon Diggs on six receptions for 92 yards and a committee of fellow pass catchers in their balanced offensive attack. Dalvin Cook, who exited last week's contest early due to injury, rushed for 62 yards on 18 carries. Playing a Lions defense that allowed opponents 26.3 points per game, it is surprising the Vikings' offense was stifled several times throughout the game -- including when the Vikings settled for a field goal in second quarter after pushing down to the Lions' four-yard line. But this is the Vikings' story this season.
  1. Rookie quarterback David Blough got the start again for the Lions. Facing a stingy Vikings defense, Blough's outing was an uphill battle from the start. The signal-caller had more sacks than completions in the first quarter. Blough finished the tilt 24-of-40 passing for 205 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Lions' lone TD came with 2:09 remaining in the game on 10-yard pass to Kenny Golladay, avoiding the shutout. To Blough's credit, he did march the offense down the field once again but was picked off by Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo in the end zone. Blough did maintain poise despite being sacked 5 times and playing from behind the entire game, which is certainly impressive considering he was thrown into the mix just last week. Running back Bo Scarbrough continues to be an asset for the struggling Lions offense. The Alabama product, who signed with the club last month, toted the ball 19 times for 65 yards. After another impressive outing for Scarbrough it's safe to say he'll draw attention for RB-needy clubs this offseason.
  1. It was a sack party in Minneapolis Sunday as the Vikings' defense took down Blough five times. In addition to sweeping the series, Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter made history by becoming the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50.0 career sacks -- a record previously held by Robert Quinn. The 25-year-old accounted for three of the five sacks on the day. Everson Griffen and Jaleel Johnson both jumped in on the action too, taking advantage of a porous Lions' offensive line and inexperience signal-caller.

-- Andie Hagemann

  1. Philip Rivers celebrated his 38th birthday by mercilessly carving up Jacksonville's floating-away defense. One week after rumors swirled of his benching, the Chargers ironman unfurled a flurry of aggressive ropes that resulted in 314 yards, three scores and his finest game of the year before Tyrod Taylor took over with miles to go. This was the Rivers you know and love, finding Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry for laser-beam touchdowns and pumping his fists after hitting Austin Ekeler for an 84-yard score, the longest of Rivers' marvelous career. Questions about his future can wait another week.
  1. We get it, Jaguars: You don't like stopping the run. After being fried on the ground by the Texans (216 yards), Colts (264) and Titans (219), Jacksonville morphed again into a wide-open barn door. Ekeler ran with holy fire, blasting away with volts of 35, 27 and 23 yards in a game that saw Los Angeles bully Jacksonville. The consistently enjoyable Ekeler piled up a wild 213 total yards off just 12 touches.
  1. I'm a fan of Gardner Minshew's mobility and early season derring-do, but the magic act never materialized on Sunday. Throwing for just 69 yards in the first half and 162 on the day, Minshew -- like Nick Foles before him -- is stuck inside a broken attack that can't reliably protect him or sustain marches with the run. It's fair to wonder if we might get another look at the uber-expensive Nick Foles.

-- Marc Sessler

  1. Man, oh, man, the Steelers' surging defense brought the heat in this one. As one of the better defensive teams in the league, Pittsburgh largely rendered Arizona ineffective, limiting them to 265 total yards and forcing either a punt or turnover on six of the Cards' nine series. Kyler Murray displayed his quick feet, as he's done often throughout his rookie campaign, but in the end, it was the Steelers' D who stepped up in what wound up being a close contest. On the final drive of the game, the Steelers notched two sacks -- giving them five on the day -- and a game-sealing pick by Joe Haden (four tackles, two PDs, two INTs) to secure the six-point win. Linebacker TJ Watt applied the pressure on the final Murray pass attempt, adding a QB hit to go with his PD and an impressive goal-line INT late in the fourth. At 8-5 with control of a wild card spot (for now), the Steelers are looking like the team to avoid in the postseason.
  1. Kyler Murray (20/30, 194 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs) did all he could but the rookie QB fell short at home. He demonstrated good chemistry with wideout Christian Kirk (8/85) and running back David Johnson on a 24-yard TD strike late in the game but outside of that the Cards offense was stagnant. Johnson finished with 19 yards on three carries, and two catches for 34 yards; fellow RB Kenyan Drake added just 37 yards on 11 carries. A bitter end to a home game that looked and sounded more like a Steelers home stand for the majority.
  1. The surprise impact of quarterback Devlin Hodges (16/19, 152 yards, TD) may be more notable but the game ball goes to Diontae Johnson. The rookie receiver was sensational, returning an 85-yard punt return to the house in the first quarter and finishing the day with a receiving TD and a team-high 60 yards. Kudos to Duck, who continued his solid play and is now 3-0 as a starter, but Johnson stole the show in this road win.

-- Jelani Scott

  1. It started nearly a month ago, but Sunday was shaping up to be another prime example of the most wonderful time of the year: Derrick Henry Season. Henry stormed out of the gate in the first half, rushing 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown as the two teams engaged in a shootout, but he was hampered in the second half by an apparent hamstring issue. Henry finished with 103 yards and two touchdowns on just 18 carries, helping the Titans salt away a game which they ran away with in the final quarter. He did so by objecting to coaches' desires to keep him sidelined due to the hamstring, forcing his way onto the field to carry Tennessee's rushing attack and strapping a heating pad to his hamstring and pacing the sideline to prevent stiffness between possessions.

This Titans team isn't the most talented in the AFC, but it will win games with the toughness exhibited by its bell-cow back and its head coach.

  1. Ryan Tannehill is becoming one of the legitimate stories of the year in the NFL. He completed the longest pass of his eight-year career Sunday, a 91-yard touchdown to A.J. Brown, who shed an Oakland tackler and won the footrace to the end zone. He finished with a passer rating of 140.4, came nine yards shy of breaking 400 through the air and threw three touchdowns. Tennessee is 8-5 and a legitimate threat to both the rest of the AFC South and the conference as a whole, and a ton of that credit is due to Tannehill. I know, I can't believe it either.
  1. The Raiders have one final game left in Oakland, and for a second-to-last contest in the Bay Area, this one sure turned out to be disappointing. Derek Carr played admirably, completing 25 of 34 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns, but the Raiders sure did miss Josh Jacobs. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard attempted to fill the void by carrying the ball 21 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, but this was a game played through the air -- and unfortunately for those in the Black Hole and beyond, the Titans were better in that department.

Pin it on Oakland's defense, or on untimely turnovers -- a Darren Waller fumble returned by Jayon Brown for a touchdown essentially iced the game -- but whoever receives the blame, two things are certain: There's one game left for the Silver and Black at the Oakland Coliseum, and the Raiders' playoff odds just got much slimmer.

-- Nick Shook

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