Winners and Losers of NFL Week 13

Each week of the 2022 NFL season, we are going to have a good time the electrical performs, examine the colossal blunders, and clarify the inexplicable moments of the newest slate. Welcome to Winners and Losers. Which one are you?

Winner: Mr. Irrelevant

We live in a golden age for Misters Irrelevant. Traditionally, these gamers have been the equal of the final child picked in a playground pickup recreation, simply hoping to be fortunate sufficient to make the roster of the crew out of coaching camp. However the tide is popping. Giants linebacker Tae Crowder, the 2020 Mr. Irrelevant, received New York’s beginning center linebacker job; the 2009 honoree, Ryan Succop, received a Tremendous Bowl two seasons in the past with the Buccaneers. Final yr, the 2021 Mr. Irrelevant, Grant Stuard, starred in an Uber Eats advert, after which received traded to the Colts for a sixth-round decide. That’s proper! A sixth-round decide! A full spherical increased than he was picked! And Chad Kelly, the 2017 Mr. Irrelevant, simply received the Gray Cup with the Toronto Argonauts. (It’s the CFL, however nonetheless!) Earlier than Sunday, a Mr. Irrelevant had by no means thrown a landing cross in an NFL recreation—and now, one is QB1 for the San Francisco 49ers. Brocktoberfest is underway:

Having to play a lowly-drafted rookie is mostly an auto-loss for an NFL crew. In line with TruMedia, the one crew to win a recreation after being pressured to show to a seventh-round rookie for significant snaps was the 2005 St. Louis Rams, who received one recreation with Ryan Fitzpatrick. When the Dolphins have been pressured to play seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson in October, they received walloped by the Jets.

However the Niners are coached by Kyle Shanahan. They didn’t drop off when Trey Lance suffered a season-ending harm and gave strategy to Jimmy Garoppolo, and so they didn’t drop off when Garoppolo suffered a season-ending foot harm in Sunday’s recreation in opposition to the Dolphins. They have been trailing in opposition to a playoff crew once they turned to Brock Purdy, the 262nd decide on this yr’s NFL draft … and received comfortably, 33-17.

Purdy went 25-for-37 with two touchdowns and an interception. He averaged simply 5.41 air yards per try, simply the bottom of any QB with no less than 5 passing makes an attempt on Sunday. However that was the plan. Shanahan had a method prepared for a third-stringer to place up strong numbers on a crew with a profitable file.

“Brock Purdy” is now a big a part of the NFL playoff image. In spite of everything, San Francisco is in first place within the NFC West, and there aren’t many different choices obtainable. The NFL commerce deadline handed a month in the past, and there merely aren’t that many free-agent QBs. (On Sunday evening, ESPN reported the team planned to sign journeyman QB Josh Johnson off the Broncos’ apply squad.) San Francisco does have a fourth-stringer, Jacob Eason, however he has in some way managed to throw two interceptions on simply 10 NFL passing makes an attempt. However the Niners have received video games with C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens at QB, and made the NFC championship recreation final yr with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB.

Mr. Irrelevant shouldn’t be the title of the final decide within the NFL draft, contemplating a number of supposed irrelevants are making impacts on NFL rosters. The true Mr. Irrelevant is whoever performs quarterback for Kyle Shanahan—the Niners will most likely be positive regardless of who’s below middle, even when he was the final decide within the draft.

Loser: Jeff Saturday and the Colts

The whole lot fell aside so shortly for the Colts. It wasn’t so way back that they have been one of many league’s mannequin franchises—elite quarterback play, a universally revered entrance workplace, strong teaching, and 10 wins nearly yearly. Now they’re 4-8-1, main the NFL in turnovers, and coached by Jeff Saturday, who was an ESPN speaking head final month.

Issues fell aside even faster Sunday evening in Dallas. Within the third quarter, the Colts strung collectively a 15-play, 90-yard drive to chop the Cowboys’ result in 21-19, falling simply quick on a two-point conversion that may have tied the sport. After which they allowed 33 unanswered factors—committing 4 turnovers and permitting 5 touchdowns—to lose 54-19. (Yep, that’s Scorigami!)

The Cowboys have been the primary crew to hit 50 factors in a recreation this season, and so they did most of it in about 11 minutes of recreation time. The Colts have been outscored by 33 factors within the fourth quarter, which might be an NFL file, relying on how you’re feeling a couple of sure soccer travesty that befell nearly 100 years in the past. In 1925, the Chicago Cardinals outscored the Milwaukee Badgers 33-0 within the fourth quarter of a 59-0 shutout—however that recreation was the results of one of many early NFL’s greatest controversies. The Cardinals scheduled that recreation in a late-season try to play the flimsiest opponents doable to win the league’s championship, however the winless Badgers had already given up on the season and despatched many gamers again to their day jobs. To fill out the Milwaukee roster, a Chicago participant recruited some native excessive schoolers and gave them faux names. The scandal almost tore aside the NFL, which didn’t have a foothold but in American tradition. The league’s commissioner ordered the sport stricken from the league’s file books … however apparently they forgot to really erase it. The sport continues to be technically part of NFL historical past, and is now tied with Colts-Cowboys for essentially the most lopsided fourth quarter in league historical past.

It’s laborious to place all of it on Jeff Saturday—there have been interceptions off unusual bounces and funky fumbles, which no coach may’ve prevented. However the concept behind Jeff Saturday, Interim Head Coach, was {that a} former All-Professional lineman would be capable to hearth up a Colts squad struggling by way of a misplaced season in ways in which a lifer coach won’t. After hiring a non-coach to be a coach, you’d count on to lose some video games due to poor scheme, or unhealthy recreation administration, and hope to make up the distinction attributable to that further hearth.

However that’s not what occurred Sunday evening. Within the fourth quarter, the Colts gave up and received out-fought and out-gritted. Are there any Colts defenders who didn’t look silly on this Tony Pollard TD run?

Who needs to be extra embarrassed—Matt Ryan for this ugly throw, or the receiver for having the ball wrestled out of their palms by a Dallas defender that needed it extra?

How did the Cowboys’ backups make this landing in opposition to the Colts’ starters look really easy?

If Saturday was employed for his motivational abilities, why did his crew get bullied so laborious that it regarded like they couldn’t look forward to the clock to hit triple zeroes? This shouldn’t occur to professionals—in actual fact, it’s actually by no means occurred to professionals. The final time any individual received overwhelmed this badly to finish a recreation, it was a bunch of excessive schoolers going up in opposition to professionals 100 years in the past in a recreation so ugly and unfair that it almost received the NFL canceled.

Winner: Joe Burrow, KC Killer

I don’t need to base a story on three video games determined by a complete of 9 factors. However dammit, we’re about to. Why can’t Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs shut video games in opposition to Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals?

In Week 17 final January, the Chiefs had their eight-game win streak snapped in Cincinnati. After taking a 28-14 lead within the first half, Kansas Metropolis went punt-punt-field objective on their solely second-half drives and misplaced on a last-second Evan McPherson area objective. The loss dropped Kansas Metropolis out of the no. 1 seed within the AFC standings—however that wouldn’t matter. They nonetheless hosted the AFC championship recreation, a rematch in opposition to the Bengals, and this time they blew an excellent larger lead. After taking a 21-3 first-half lead, the Chiefs went punt-punt-interception-punt-punt-field objective and misplaced, 27-24, in additional time.

Sunday wasn’t fairly as dramatic, however details are details: As soon as once more, Kansas Metropolis had a landing lead coming into the fourth quarter, however Burrow and the Bengals scored final. Mahomes had a season-low 223 passing yards, the Chiefs protection couldn’t cease Burrow or Cincinnati’s backup working again Samaje Perine, and the Bengals scored 10 unanswered factors within the fourth quarter to win 27-24. (Sure, the identical rating because the AFC championship recreation.)

The Chiefs are a league-best 59-18 since Mahomes took over as beginning QB in 2018; if we embrace the playoffs, they’ve overwhelmed 29 of the 31 different groups within the league. (They’re 0-1 in opposition to the Seahawks and haven’t performed the Vikings.) There’s just one crew they’ve misplaced to 3 occasions since Mahomes took over: the Bengals. They usually’ve misplaced all three since 2022 began, and led all of them within the second half by no less than a landing.

This loss means the Chiefs now not lead the AFC—the Payments have retaken the no. 1 seed, for now. However I’m not nervous about that. It seems like the neatest factor the Chiefs can do is get as distant from the Bengals as doable within the postseason—or hope the NFL decides to begin calling video games on the finish of the third quarter.

Loser: The Texans Offense

Sunday marked the Cleveland Browns debut for Deshaun Watson, who served an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s private conduct coverage after greater than two dozen ladies filed lawsuits in opposition to him describing sexual assault and harassment by the quarterback. There’s no quarterback on earth whose play can be adequate to justify the ethical baggage related to Watson … however, like, Watson wasn’t even good. In reality, he was legitimately terrible. In opposition to the lowly Texans, Cleveland had precisely one journey to the crimson zone, and that drive ended with Watson throwing an interception. The Browns offense failed to succeed in the opposing finish zone, however did get stopped in their very own finish zone for a security. In line with TruMedia, their offense had minus-19.76 anticipated factors added, that means a median crew would have been anticipated to attain about 20 extra factors than Cleveland did.

And the Browns received, 27-14, as a result of the Texans offense can not cease giving factors to the opposite crew. Kyle Allen threw a pick-six to a Browns protection that until that time had simply three interceptions on the season:

Denzel Ward had a scoop-and-score:

And Donovan Peoples-Jones had a 76-yard punt return landing, Cleveland’s first since 2015:

All in all, it was one of many strangest video games in league historical past. The Browns are simply the seventh crew in NFL historical past to return an interception, fumble, and punt for touchdowns in the identical recreation. Their 27 factors are the fourth most by a crew with out an offensive landing within the Tremendous Bowl period.

And that is changing into commonplace for the Texans, who’ve allowed defensive touchdowns in every of the final three video games. They’ve scored a complete of 39 factors in these video games and allowed 35 factors off of their very own passes, fumbles, and kicks. Subsequent up for the Texans? The Cowboys, who pressured 5 turnovers and scored a defensive TD in opposition to the Colts on Sunday evening. The Dallas offense won’t even want to come back to the sport.

Winner: The 4-Group NFC East Playoff Dream

After the NFL expanded its postseason to seven groups per convention two seasons in the past, it’s now doable for one division to get all 4 of its groups into the playoffs: the division champion, and three wild-card entries. However it’s nearly unattainable, as a result of roughly 40 % of NFL video games are intra-divisional matchups—and any individual has to lose these, proper?

Truly, no! All 4 groups within the NFC East performed on Sunday, together with a matchup between the Giants and Commanders, and but none of them misplaced. The Eagles crushed the Titans 35-10, the Cowboys simply dealt with the Colts 54-19, and the Giants and Commanders tied, 20-20. That recreation was nonetheless up for grabs till the ultimate play in additional time, when Graham Gano’s 58-yard area objective try got here up approach quick:

Clearly, each the Giants and Commanders may have improved their particular person playoff probabilities with a win. However what in case you’re somebody whose major rooting curiosity is getting all 4 NFC East groups into the playoffs? (Absolutely, this particular person is a TV govt.) Sunday was excellent. Washington is now final within the NFC East, however solely a half recreation out of the seventh playoff spot.

Loser: Baltimore’s No-Lamar Trick

The Ravens misplaced QB Lamar Jackson to a knee harm within the first quarter of Sunday’s recreation in opposition to the Broncos. With out their star, the playbook was restricted—backup Tyler Huntley can run, however no person can run like Lamar. Which could clarify why the Ravens needed to bust out one of many worst trick performs of the season within the fourth quarter:

The factor about trick performs is that they’re speculated to “trick” the opposition. And for no matter purpose, completely no person on the Broncos believed that large receiver James Proche II was going to run this ball. When you watch this clip, from the very second the ball is pitched to Proche, the Broncos’ defenders start bailing downfield to defend the cross regardless that Proche nonetheless may’ve taken the reverse downfield if he needed to. I’m undecided why the Broncos have been so positive this was going to be a cross—I regarded it up, and the Ravens don’t run WR passes … ever. The final Ravens large receiver to file a cross try was Anquan Boldin in 2010.

Perhaps that’s why Proche was so rattling decided to throw this cross. This was his time for glory. Even because the Broncos waited eagerly for his throw, Proche took a particularly dramatic run-up into essentially the most doomed cross of the yr. He launched the ball nearly 40 yards within the air; it was basically a leap ball for working again Kenyan Drake with 4 defenders within the space. Broncos security Justin Simmons received the lotto and got here down together with his second decide of the day.

Proche actually, actually ought to’ve held onto this. The Ravens have been in field-goal vary, and a Justin Tucker kick would’ve lower Denver’s result in three, which might’ve helped put Tucker in place to kick one other area objective later within the last quarter. Fortunately for the Ravens, they have been enjoying the Broncos, whose depressing offense failed to attain a landing but once more. Baltimore received on a last-minute Huntley speeding TD—hopefully Jackson can return quickly so the Ravens don’t try any extra performs like that failed WR cross.

Loser: The Pyrrhic TD

The NFL is now not within the enterprise of sharing movies of concussions and the upsetting after-effects of traumatic mind accidents. Whereas huge hits was once highlights—keep in mind ESPN’s JACKED UP! segments?—the league now is aware of that concussions are one of many few threats to its dominant place in American society, and tries its greatest to keep away from replays and clips of unconscious gamers splayed out on the sphere. However on Sunday, that they had no alternative: Titans receiver Treylon Burks made one of the vital excellent catches of the day whereas receiving a brutal headshot that appeared to knock him unconscious:

It was the primary landing catch of Burks’s profession, and he most likely received’t keep in mind it. Eagles security Marcus Epps hit him excessive, and after that, Burks appears to haven’t any management over his physique. After he involves a relaxation, the ball slips out of his immobile hand and dribbles onto the bottom. The unconscious man mendacity on the turf had scored a landing. When this occurred in Jerry Maguire, Rod Tidwell ultimately received up and began dancing; that film is notably not a documentary.

Burks was, in fact, dominated out for the remainder of the sport with a concussion. The Titans had already listed certainly one of their 5 large receivers, Cody Hollister, out of Sunday’s recreation with a neck harm, in order that they have been left with simply three energetic receivers: Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and C.J. Board, a particular teamer who hadn’t performed on offense all season. They mixed for simply three catches for 16 yards; regardless that Burks’s landing was his solely catch of the day, he had extra receiving yards than the remainder of the Titans’ receivers mixed.

The cross to Burks was the one TD of the day for the Titans in a 35-10 loss; they most likely want it had by no means occurred.


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