Christmas miracles, Grinches in green and South Pole Saints headline a holiday-approved NFL Week 16 Recap.
2022 NFL Week 16 Recap
We surely didn’t get a good game but here’s what we got: A player ejected after two personal fouls in three plays, a team coached by an ESPN personality that committed as many turnovers as points scored and the Chargers making a return to the postseason for only the second time in the last nine years. I really wish there was a way to flex schedule games like these off the Monday night slate.
Bucs 19 (OT)
This result sucks for Trace McSorley and his family at Christmas. The kid from Ashburn, Virginia, made his first NFL start in a nationally-televised game and did enough to help Arizona get the win. But alas, it was not in the cards (pun intended).
All because apparently Tom Brady can’t retire until he has every NFL record. Tampa’s overtime victory ties him with Drew Brees for the most overtime victories in NFL history (14). So basically, all the Bucs have to do to make the playoffs is stay close in their final two games and turn on the scoring at the end.
Imagine giving up the bevy of picks, players and money for Russell Wilson that Denver did, only to watch Baker Mayfield – just 12 days with his new team – play twice as well as Russ (and I mean that quite literally; Baker’s 124.7 passer rating was more than double Wilson’s 54.2) to lead the Rams to the biggest blowout victory in Christmas Day history that also drops the Broncos to 4-11. Denver needs a hard control-alt-delete – top to bottom.
Before Tua Tagovailoa’s Pro Bowl snub, he tossed five interceptions all season – but Miami’s final three possessions ended in Tua picks to gift wrap and deliver Green Bay its 15th straight December victory and keep its slim playoff hopes alive. Talk about Christmas miracles (or Grinches – the Packers do wear green, after all).
In a fitting tribute to the late Franco Harris, another Steelers back named Harris (Najee) led a 100-yard rushing effort to beat the Raiders in a low-scoring affair capped by a clutch catch. Rest in power, No. 32.
In a season full of double-digit comebacks, Dallas staged theirs not only in this game but in the division, leaving open the possibility of winning the NFC East if Philly has another letdown without Jalen Hurts and the Cowboys win out.
Oh, and let’s take note that in the No Fun League Cowboys celebrating a touchdown by jumping inside the Salvation Army bucket is a fine, so let’s see if the consistently inconsistent league levies more against the opposition pretending to rob the charity.
Devonta Smith put on a ski mask, kicked open the door, and pretended to steal out of the Salvation Army bucket after scoring his second TD of the game.pic.twitter.com/GEMiud7qWc
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 24, 2022
Washington didn’t lose command of the last NFC wild card (pun intended) but it’s thrown some serious questions about the quarterback situation. Even if the Heinicke magic carpet ride isn’t over, it’s hit some serious turbulence and it’s hard to see the Commanders winning their final two games.
Meanwhile, San Francisco’s eight-game win streak has to make them the favorite in the NFC, right? Nick Bosa leads the league in sacks, the defense is a firm No. 1 and Brock Purdy is doing Kurt Warner things. The Niners look legit.
Let’s be real, Baltimore. The only way the Ravens have ever won a Super Bowl is as a wild card. So now that you’ve clinched a playoff berth, don’t worry about winning the AFC North as much as getting Lamar Jackson healthy and ready to lead another underdog Super Bowl story.
Given how half the football world was picking Detroit to win out and make some noise in the playoffs, Carolina laying this beatdown on the Lions – the Panthers had 240 of their 320 rushing yards in the first half – to stay in the NFC South race should absolutely give Steve Wilks the Panthers’ head coaching gig without the interim tag. If it doesn’t, it confirms everything we already know about the plight of Black coaches in the NFL.
This was surprisingly close for a game in which Cincy amassed nearly 500 yards of offense, but watch the Bengals – this team is a legit threat to grab home-field advantage in the AFC.
Minnesota’s NFL record 11 one-score wins means either this is a team of destiny or the luckiest team in league history. At this point, neither would surprise me.
Can we just give Patrick Mahomes the MVP trophy now and get it over with?
What can't @PatrickMahomes do?! 😱
📺: #SEAvsKC on FOX
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/qBUT4jhCGQ pic.twitter.com/lJYYQb23tO
— NFL (@NFL) December 24, 2022
The most amazing thing about the AFC South is that Houston somehow has the worst record in the league but still has a chance to finish with the best division record within the AFC South – while still finishing last in the division. Yay?
In conditions colder than the South Pole, Cleveland somehow lost at home to a dome team from the South to get eliminated from playoff contention. Now the Browns can focus on what I said it would be before the season: Deshaun Watson getting up to speed and building for 2023.
Turns out the biggest bomb cyclone to hit Chicago was the Buffalo Bills.
The win is Buffalo’s sixth straight to clinch their third AFC East title in a row. But the Bills’ ride here has been plenty bumpy (especially for Josh Allen) and I have no confidence they can beat the Chiefs or Bengals in the playoffs – regardless of how the seeding ends up.
There’s an irony to this game being broadcast on Amazon Prime because the Jets are a prime example of how far a team can be set back by making the wrong decision at quarterback. Can you imagine where Gang Green would be right now with Justin Fields at QB?!