Welcome to the Week 18 version of the Sunday FreakOut, the place we react and overreact to all the things that occurred within the Sunday afternoon video games. For the total Sunday roundup podcast-style, be sure you subscribe to The MMQB Podcast, in your feed each Monday morning…
Table of Contents
Issues That Made Me Giddy
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Season-Saving Drive: Needing to go 88 yards for a landing, with no timeouts, in 87 seconds, the 49ers wanted solely 61 seconds to get into the tip zone and prolong their season. Garoppolo’s late-in-the-down throw to Deebo Samuel, simply previous the fingertips of a diving Jalen Ramsey and leading to a 43-yard catch-and-run, ended up being the drive-defining play. On a day when the dashing assault wasn’t as dominant because it has been at occasions this season, the 49ers wanted Garoppolo to ship within the fourth quarter. And even regardless of a fluky tipped interception that erased a scoring probability early within the fourth, Garoppolo and the offense did simply that.
That 49ers Go Rush: It regarded like 2019 once more, and the Niners will want that entrance 4 to dominate within the postseason like they did on Sunday in the event that they’re to cowl up for his or her shaky cornerbacks.
Jauan Jennings Emerges: I like a dependable veteran acquainted with a extremely schemed system simply as a lot as the subsequent man, however how was Mohamed Sanu taking part in over this man? Jennings’s two touchdowns had been largely schemed up, however he was additionally a handful after the catch on plenty of performs.
The Steelers, By some means, Live: A minimum of heading into Sunday night time, when solely a Raiders-Chargers tie can eradicate them. That’s an accomplishment. This can be a staff that goes into nearly each sport needing a number of takeaways or a punt block or one thing alongside these traces in the event that they’re going to beat a high quality opponent, they usually simply kinda… did it. They squeaked by in Baltimore due to a 3–0 benefit in turnover margin—together with a key end-zone interception on a really ill-advised Tyler Huntley throw within the fourth quarter. And now, the Steelers will (possible) head into the playoffs and attempt to ugly their manner to a couple extra wins.
T.J. Watt’s File-Tying Day: Sacks aren’t the end-all-be-all, however Watt’s 22 sacks in 15 video games fairly properly mirrored simply how dominant he was this season. And a Steelers staff that couldn’t rating factors or cease the run wanted each play they acquired from him this 12 months.
The Jaguars Simply Punched the Colts within the Mouth: It was a borderline dominant efficiency by the Jaguars’ entrance 4, holding Jonathan Taylor in verify (together with a fourth-and-goal cease from the 1) and operating circles round Indy’s beginning tackles within the cross rush.
Trevor Lawrence Is a Stud: Sunday was a reminder that this man was as near idiot-proof because it will get for a QB prospect (however, as we realized, not 100% idiot-proof). He carved up the Colts on a few third-and-long throws, and his second landing cross began with a nasty snap and ended with an escape after which an ideal contact throw to Mavin Jones working the again line. (And, as ordinary, the Jaguars combined in two dropped touchdowns, however on Sunday it didn’t matter.)
Stafford to Kupp: With the Rams reeling within the fourth quarter, Stafford dropped two good throws to Kupp. The primary was on a 3rd down with Arik Armstead bearing down on him to maintain the drive alive, the opposite within the again nook of the tip zone to regain the lead.
Texans Have One thing in Davis Mills: One thing ok that they’ll largely ignore the underwhelming quarterback draft class coming in—if you happen to dropped Mills into that group, he’d undoubtedly be No. 1.
Danny Amendola: He had seven catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns in opposition to the AFC’s high seed. He additionally as soon as caught passes from a rookie Sam Bradford, as a three-year veteran.
Rashaad Penny, Lastly: An ill-fated first-round choose again in 2018, Penny lastly delivered on that draft billing late within the 12 months (we’ll ignore the truth that it was solely when the video games had change into meaningless). In Sunday’s season finale in Arizona, Penny carried 23 occasions for 190 yards, together with an almost-clinching 62-yard landing run, then a game-clinching first-down conversion on the ultimate possession.
Sean McVay Excessive 5:
Week 18 Was a Travesty: It’s the second weekend in January, the vacations are far within the rearview mirror, and nobody has any urge for food for the type of preseason-caliber soccer we acquired within the majority of this weekend’s video games. And within the one sport that had playoff implications for each groups till the tip, contractual obligations compelled the NFL to close down the printed in all however the Pittsburgh and Baltimore markets. Sadly, Recreation 17 isn’t going wherever; in actual fact, Recreation 18 is an inevitability. The NFL goes to need to pair it with playoff enlargement although (one other bummer, we virtually had Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Siemian beginning postseason video games this 12 months!), as a result of this was far an excessive amount of meaningless soccer.
This Colts Receiving Corps: Michael Pittman has change into a superb participant, however apart from that T.Y. Hilton is just about finished, and Parris Campbell has given them so little—his fourth-down drop (a troublesome catch wanting over his shoulder up the seam, however a play it’s a must to have) just about ended their season.
Ban the Carson Wentz Shovel Go: It resulted in three horrific turnovers this season, the newest one a turnover on the opening possession of the second half.
The Steelers Season Virtually Ends As a result of They Can’t Cease the Run: Pittsburgh allowed 249 on 36 makes an attempt in Baltimore. On the season, they gave up 4.99 dashing yards per try, worst within the NFL and worst within the 89-season historical past of the franchise (“surpassing” the 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates). They’re (possible) within the postseason, which is an accomplishment. And possibly the return to well being on the line of defense makes issues higher subsequent season, however the Steelers have to take an extended, laborious have a look at their linebackers this offseason, even after buying and selling for one and spending a first-round choose on one other.
I’m Not Positive If Joe Decide Is Making an attempt to Get Fired…: But when he was, wouldn’t it look precisely like this? All Decide needed to do was preserve his head down and keep away from whole embarrassment within the ultimate two weeks of the season—it shouldn’t have been tough contemplating nobody cared about both of the Giants’ final two video games—however as an alternative he managed to humiliate himself, his gamers and the group twice in a seven-day span. Final week, there was the off-the-rails post-game press convention. This week, he oversaw a staff that known as back-to-back QB sneaks (on second-and-11 and third-and-9) within the second quarter of a 3–0 sport. Perhaps this blows over. However in case you are John Mara, it’s awfully tough to face behind this man in the mean time.
Hand-Wringing Over Matthew Stafford: By the two-minute warning of extra time the Rams had already formally clinched the division. Contemplating the beating Stafford was taking in opposition to the Niners, chucking a Hail Mary was certainly one of two viable choices. The opposite was a collection of kneeldowns. So… contemplating the variety of eye-popping throws Stafford made below heavy strain on Sunday, ought to anybody be anxious about him being something lower than a famous person quarterback proper now as a result of he threw a meaningless game-ending interception? No. Will that cease daytime basic-cable debate reveals from suggesting it? Most likely not.
The Saints Do Not Just like the Rams: As if the controversial 2017 NFC title sport wasn’t sufficient, all New Orleans wanted this time was for L.A. to hold on to a 14-point halftime lead to be able to get into the postseason.
Cardinals at Residence: Numerous points for this Arizona staff, however they’re 8–1 on the highway this season in comparison with 3–5 at house, so settling for a wild-card spot isn’t the worst factor on the planet. (They return to L.A. for the wild-card spherical, the place they received a regular-season sport roughly a million years in the past.)
Go For Two, Darrell Bevell!: With a 19-point lead late within the third quarter. Oh properly, we received’t nitpick. A pleasant win for the interim coach.
Colts Followers, Typically Life Isn’t Honest: Indy was undoubtedly one of many top-five groups in soccer this season. They had been finished in by, amongst different issues, some weird red-zone gaffes, a mid-game kicker damage in Baltimore, and absolutely the rock-bottom for NFL officiating in an upset house loss to the Titans. However finally, they wanted to shut issues out with a house win over the Raiders or a highway win in Jacksonville, they usually didn’t get it finished. Now they’ve an offseason to attempt to get their passing offense as much as a suitable stage, however you simply need to hope the protection can proceed to keep up this present stage of play, which isn’t all the time a assure whenever you get so many takeaways, and that Jonathan Taylor stays wholesome.
Moments We’ll Inform Our Grandkids About
Jalen Ramsey’s One-Man Tip Drill:
What We’ll Be Speaking About This Week
Simply How Good Are the Titans?: The coach is excellent, and he made it work with a protection filled with holes. Every little thing else? It’s just about pray Derrick Henry is again and near his outdated self in two weeks. In any other case, it’s tough to image this staff knocking off a high quality opponent, even in their very own constructing.
The Final Days of Vic Fangio: Revered personal citizen Conor Orr summed it up properly—the Broncos needed an elite protection to make issues uncomfortable for Patrick Mahomes and win ugly, and that’s what Fangio (and, earlier than him, Vance Joseph), gave them. Any coach would have been doomed with Denver’s current quarterback scenario. That stated, firing Wealthy Scangarello and bringing in Pat Shurmur to run an ultra-conservative offense was a self-inflicted wound, even when one thing extra daring wasn’t going to work with these quarterbacks. The way in which the Broncos had been constructed the previous three years, they didn’t simply have to cease opponents from scoring, they wanted the protection to generate offense by taking the ball away a number of occasions each week. That’s a recipe for changing into, indisputably, the fourth-best staff within the AFC West.
Rams Enter the Postseason on a Bitter Word: And doubtless slightly sore after having to go extra time with the 49ers. (The sight of Matthew Stafford limping downfield on their final landing drive was not a pleasing one.)
What Does Indy do at Quarterback?: Each Carson Wentz and left sort out Eric Fisher had been disasters on Sunday—the latter struggled all through the season, the previous merely had too many cases of doing the worst doable factor on the worst doable time this 12 months. If, say, Russell Wilson desires to get free, you’d assume that is the type of Tremendous Bowl–prepared staff he’d be blissful to hitch up with. If not . . . there’s actually not an awesome various on the market this offseason, with an underwhelming draft class coming in. You hope that Wentz can get extra snug with a extra conventional offseason (bear in mind, he missed just about all the summer time with a foot damage) and you’ll proceed to teach his worst instincts out of him.
What Occurred Sunday Night time?!?!?!: I don’t know as of this writing, as a result of this column solely covers the afternoon video games. However the Raiders and Chargers ought to commerce kneeldowns for a 0–0 tie and take their playoff berths. And the NFL, which has (amongst different issues) constructed a draft-plus-rookie-wage-scale mixture that not solely condones however encourages groups to throw away total seasons, would haven’t any grounds to do punish them for it. Somebody should inform me what occurred.
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