Legendary QBs renew their ownership of rivals, a flaccid guarantee gets validated and a beautiful tribute sparks a playoff push in the NFL Week 14 Recap.
2021 NFL Week 14 Recap
I don’t know what’s more incredible: Matthew Stafford playing a near-flawless game on the road for his first-career win over an opponent more than five games over .500 or Andrew Whitworth becoming the league’s first 40-year-old left tackle. I’m leaning toward Whitworth — and if he keeps his vow to keep playing, his presence in the trenches will be far more impressive than Tom Brady playing QB at 45.
Still questioning whether Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears? He has more 4-TD games against Chicago (7) in his career than losses (5). And, Green Bay owns Chicago in the league’s longest rivalry. The Bears’ next head coach needs to be someone capable of changing all of that.
Bucs 33 (OT)
If Buffalo’s safeties were salty before, they really have to be seething over Tom Brady breaking the career completions record at their expense, throwing his 700th touchdown pass to win the game and improving to an unprecedented 33-3 record against the Bills all-time. If Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears, Brady is the crowned king of Buffalo.
Bengals 23 (OT)
We may look back on this game as the one that got San Francisco back in the playoffs and kept Cincinnati out.
Justin Herbert is the first player to throw for 30+ touchdowns in each of his first two seasons and joins Dan Marino as the only ones to total 60 passing touchdowns over their first two years. I find this fitting; Herbert seems on pace to be what Marino once was — a prolific passer without the ultimate success.
Even as Detroit was outmanned, this game was defined by Denver’s 10-man salute to gone-too-soon Broncos great Demaryius Thomas that should look all-too familiar for longtime Washington fans. This game was everything the Burgundy and Gold needed that emotional day in 2007 to be.
All the focus was on Mike McCarthy’s flaccid guarantee but he was right to be confident with Dak Prescott playing against Washington — he didn’t play in either of the Cowboys’ blowout losses to the Burgundy and Gold last season and now Dak has an 8-1 record against Washington with a 14:3 TD-to-INT ratio. Dak is back, the NFC East race is basically over — but this game also showed why Dallas better deliver a deathblow to Washington in Week 16, lest failure to do so comes back to haunt them in the playoffs.
Baltimore was definitely screwed by the schedule here but if the Ravens are going to get back to the playoffs, they’re going to have to stop turning the ball over so much — six turnovers in the two games against Cleveland and six straight games with at least one — and pray to the football gods Lamar Jackson’s ankle can withstand the next month. Baltimore’s injury list is long but having No. 8 on it all but ends any hope of a fourth straight trip to the postseason.
Seriously, why do professional teams still mess with a division rival’s logo? I don’t know how much the Raiders’ lousy decision led to the beatdown Kansas City laid upon them, but Las Vegas lost the two-game series by a combined score of 89-23. The Raiders need to have a nice, quiet month until they can find someone crazy (or desperate) enough to take the head coaching job there.
Alvin Kamara’s return got him the record for most catches by a RB in his first five seasons and got New Orleans back in the thick of the wide-open NFC wild card race. If the Saints can at least split their next two games (primetime meetings with the Bucs and Dolphins) one has to love their playoff chances.
Meanwhile, the Jets became the third team in the AFC to be eliminated from playoff contention. It’s starting to feel like this franchise will never get its act together.
Atlanta being winless in five home games but sporting a 5-2 road record is the most Falcons thing ever.
Houston getting steamrollered by Seattle doesn’t necessarily show the Texans are tanking. Now, if they lose to the spiraling Jaguars next week in a “battle” for a top two pick in the upcoming draft, then we can accuse the Texans of tanking. Speaking of the Jags …
How ugly is it for Urban Meyer in Jacksonville? The Jaguars’ first shutout loss since 2009 isn’t even the worst part of their weekend. I don’t want to say I told you so (even though I did … so actually, I do want to say I told you so), but the Jaguars clearly need to own this mistake and move on from it ASAP.
This game was an outlier of an outlier — as much as NFL players hate playing on Thursdays, Ben Roethlisberger entered this game with an 8-4 record on three days rest with three straight wins. But Pittsburgh’s “Groundhog Day defense” and Chase Claypool’s selfish idiocy let them down and perhaps doomed the Steelers to their first last place finish since 1988. Mike Tomlin deserves better.