Titans can be even more dangerous; Giants coach Joe Judge under fire
The NFL’s huge concern on the last week of the routine season is that some video games would be rendered useless due to the fact that groups don’t always have any reward to go for it and win.
We saw a tip of that on Saturday, when the playoff-bound Philadelphia Eagles picked to rest a number of their beginners and were burnt out in prime-time show.
With just 3 of the 14 offered playoff areas up for grabs and just 3 of the day’s 14 matches pitting groups with winning records, the league’s issues appeared legitimate. However then … you never ever understand what can take place on any provided Sunday.
Here are the winners and losers from Week 18:
Tennessee Titans: Concluding the AFC’s front runner and home-field benefit through the championship game video game might pay significant dividends down the roadway. The Titans’ 27-3 house win in Week 7 versus the second-seeded Chiefs was the tiebreaker that guaranteed they’d host a prospective rematch for an area in the Super Bowl.
In addition, the bye that comes with winning the No. 1 seed will permit an additional week of rest for star running back Derrick Henry, who’s been sidelined by a foot injury considering that Week 8 however is really almost prepared to return.
Henry has generally end up being an almost unstoppable force late in the season. The 12-5 Titans might be a lot more powerful with their workhorse rested and back in the lineup.
Justin Herbert: Speak about leaving whatever on the field. The Los Angeles Chargers quarterback led his group on a 19-play, 83-yard drive to send out the last video game of the NFL’s longest routine season into overtime with no time at all left in guideline.
That, after topping a 14-play drive with a 23-yard goal hand down 4th-and-21 and a two-point conversion to remove a 15-play deficit.
In a win-or-go house video game, Herbert succeeded on 4 different fourth-down conversions in the last quarter and another in overtime, any among which would have most likely ended the video game had it been not successful.
Despite the fact that his group wound up losing a 35-32 thriller to the Las Vegas Raiders, the second-year quarterback ended up the video game with a career-high 64 pass efforts, finishing 34 for 383 backyards and 3 goals.
Sports books: The opportunities of any NFL video game completing in a tie are exceptionally remote. There was just one tie out of the 272 video games this season.
Nevertheless, the possibility that the Raiders and Chargers might BOTH go to the playoffs if they connected made it simply somewhat most likely. Nevertheless, the long chances, plus the groups equally taking advantage of a tie made it an appealing longshot for wagerers.
Had the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson missed the 47-yard field goal attempt as the clock expired in overtime, sports books would have taken a massive hit.
Jacksonville Jaguars: A hugely disappointing season ended on a high note when the Jags knocked the Indianapolis Colts out of the playoffs with a 26-11 thrashing. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence played perhaps his best game of the season as Jacksonville won for just the third time all season.
However, the victory could have been a costly one for the Jaguars, who entered the game with the NFL’s worst record and the inside track to the No. 1 overall draft pick. Fortunately for them, the Detroit Lions pulled an upset of their own to lock in the Jags at No. 1 for a second consecutive season.
Week 18 record-breakers: One ripple effect of the NFL adding an extra game to the regular season is that players would have one more opportunity to add to their stats – and potentially rewrite the record books. Several took advantage.
— Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan’s record for sacks in a season with 22.5.
— Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle began the day just two receptions behind Anquan Boldin’s rookie record. He took care of the suspense quickly with three catches on the Dolphins’ first four plays. He later added a touchdown reception and finished with a total of 104.
— Although the Cincinnati Bengals rested most of their key players, rookie wideout Ja’Marr Chase played long enough to catch two passes for 26 yards and break Chad Johnson’s franchise record for receiving yards in a season with 1,455.
— In Detroit’s upset of the Green Bay Packers, Amon-Ra. St. Brown caught eight passes for 109 yards and his sixth touchdown in his last six games (five receiving, one rushing). In the process, St. Brown set a Lions record for receiving yards by a rookie – doing it with his parents in the stands and his brother Equanimeous, a Packers wideout, on the other sideline.
— The Packers’ Davante Adams surpassed Jordy Nelson’s team single-season receiving yards mark. He finished with a franchise-record 1,553.
— Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews broke the team reception record previously held by Derrick Mason, finishing with 107.
Flea-flickers: One unexpected benefit of some groups playing for nothing but pride is that it makes coaches a little more likely to go deep into their playbooks. Lions coach Dan Campbell called for a little trickery not once but twice – and both times, it resulted in touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Texans called for a flea-flicker of their own against the Titans – and quarterback Davis Mills connected with wideout Chris Moore for another score.
Stefon Diggs’ feet: The Buffalo Bills’ All-Pro wide receiver paid tribute to legendary entertainer Betty White, who died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 99, by featuring her picture on his cleats before the game.
On the Bills’ first series against the New York Jets, Diggs capped off a touchdown drive with a 10-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Josh Allen on a beautiful sideline toe-tap to stay inbounds.
Joe Judge: One week after his team totaled minus-6 yards passing, but still found a way to insist the Giants “ain’t some clown show organization,” the embattled New York Giants coach felt the heat once again for his team’s offensive ineptitude against the Washington Football Team.
One series in the second quarter typified Giants fans’ frustrations. Backed up inside their own 5-yard line with more than five minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Giants threw an incomplete pass, committed an offensive penalty, and then ran back-to-back quarterback sneaks before punting on fourth down.
The Giants did snap their six-quarter scoreless streak with a third-quarter touchdown pass from Jake Fromm to Darius Slayton, but they fell to Washington 22-7 and were outscored 106-26 over their final four games to finish the season with a record of 4-13.
In two seasons, Judge is 10-23 as Giants head coach.
Carson Wentz: Needing just one win in his final two games, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback turned in arguably his worst games of the season. A fumble and an interception on consecutive possessions in the second half opened the door for lowly Jacksonville to take a commanding lead over the Colts. Then Wentz couldn’t rally his troops against a team with an interim head coach and the worst record in the NFL.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans’ nerves: After experiencing the highs of winning in overtime and knowing that only a tie could keep them from making the playoffs, Steelers Nation was tortured for four hours of Sunday Night Football as the Raiders and Chargers battled into overtime.
There was even the false sense of security when a failed two-point conversion by the Raiders made the score 26-14 early in the fourth quarter. How can a 12-point game end up going into OT?
Yet that’s exactly what happened when the Raiders kicked a basket to go up by 15, and Herbert rallied the Chargers to a pair of late touchdowns and a tying two-point conversion.
Even after the Raiders kicked a field goal in overtime, the Chargers came back to tie it up once again. The Steelers might finally exhale when Carlson split the uprights with no time left on the clock to send both his team and Pittsburgh to the postseason.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL Week 18 winners, losers: Bye makes Titans even scarier
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long included to this report.