NFL Quick Hits: Week 14
Let's go over my immediate reactions and takeaways from week 14 of the NFL season:
Shootout in NOLA
- WHAT. A. GAME. An instant classic in New Orleans saw the 49ers top the Saints on a last-second field goal for a 48-46 win. The 49ers showed poise and maturity to travel the length of the field with such little time remaining. However the Saints also looked real strong despite the loss. They just left too much time on the clock for the 49ers. Both Drew Brees and Jimmy Garoppolo looked absolutely fantastic. Definitely want to see this matchup again in the playoffs.
Bills Close... But Not Quite There
- The Bills are solid. They are not elite.The defense is, but the offense is so limited. Yes, they've been humming the past few weeks, but when you play the Redskins, the Dolphins, the pre-Drew Lock Broncos, and the increasingly poor Cowboys, is that difficult at all? Still, they gave the Ravens a run for their money. The Ravens are just a step above everyone else.
A Bittersweet Victory
- I'm not getting too excited about the Chiefs beating the Patriots.The Chiefs only scored three points in the second half of that game, and were a few dubious calls away from losing. They did not adjust as the game went on. It's true that the Patriots just don't have great firepower this year, but as Colin Cowherd put it on his radio show Monday, the Patriots were "fact-finding" in this game. If this game happens again in Foxboro during the playoffs, I think the Patriots win it.
The Most Underrated Team in the League
- The Tennessee Titans are the hottest team no one is talking about. Disclaimer, I am a Titans fan, however even from a neutral standpoint, you have to view the Titans this way. They're 6-1 since Ryan Tannehill became the starter. The team has scored 30 points in their last five games, and more than 40 points in two of their last three. Tannehill is playing out of his mind, with four straight games of a 130+ passer rating. Derrick Henry is the best back in the league right now. AJ Brown is on a hot streak. The defense/special teams have a touchdown in three of the last four games. The wildest part: this team could technically still miss the playoffs. I'm sure that would please everyone else in the AFC. No one wants to play this team right now.
Here's who we're giving the honors to this week:
Offensive Player of the Week: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans
Jimmy Garoppolo got the win, and I'm sooooo close to giving it to hime, but Drew Brees was my player of the game. Here's why.
The two had comparable stats (both throwing for 349 yards by the way!). Garoppolo led the 49ers down the field in no time at all, but the majority of that was because a wide open George Kittle and his quite frankly yards-after-catch prowess.
The Saints' final drive to take the lead was classic Drew Brees. He completed five of seven passes to take the team 76 yards down the field in just 1:30 and notching his fifth touchdown pass of the day. He carved apart a Super Bowl caliber defense in no time at all in crunch time. The only downside is that too much time is left on the clock.
I love the Saints chances to make the Super Bowl, and the early season Drew Brees injury is a big reason. In recent years, Drew Brees normally slows down this time of year because of the long, bruising season taking a toll on his aging body.
This year, though, Brees essentially is only playing two-thirds of a season. He's more fresh. You can see it on the field. Look out for the Saints.
Runners Up: Jimmy Garoppolo (26/35 for 349 yards, four touchdowns, one interception), Ryan Tannehill (21/27 for 391 yards, three touchdowns, one interception), Joe Mixon (23 carries for 146 yards and one touchdown), Derrick Henry (18 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns), AJ Brown (Five catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns), Phillip Rivers (16/22 for 314 yards and three touchdowns), Drew Lock (22/27 for 309 yards, three touchdowns, one interception), Aaron Jones (16 carries for 134 yards, one touchdown, six catches for 58 yards), Austin Ekeler (Six carries for 101 yards, four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown), Michael Thomas (11 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown), Emmanuel Sanders (Seven catches for 15 yards and a touchdown), Darius Slayton (Five catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns), Noah Fant (Four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown), Zach Ertz (Nine catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns), Tyler Higbee (116 receiving yards)
Defensive Player of the Week: Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts
Rookie of the Week: AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans
Brown did not get the draft buzz and publicity that his Ole Miss teammate DK Metcalf did. I'm not complaining about that. Metcalf's combine was absurd.
However, Brown was more productive in college, and is more refined than the raw Metcalf.
With the entire Titans team on a hot streak, watch this space for more of AJ Brown.
Runners Up: Drew Lock (22/27 for 309 yards, three touchdowns, one interception), Darius Slayton (Five catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns), Noah Fant (Four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown), Diontae Johnson (Six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown), Devin Singletary (20 carries for 86 yards, six catches for 29 yards), David Montgomery (17 carries for 84 yards), Olamide Zaccheaus (One catch for 93 yards and a touchdown), DK Metcalf (Six catches for 78 yards)
Best Uni Matchup of the Week: Steelers vs. Cardinals
Runners Up: Cowboys vs. Bears, Redskins vs. Packers, Chiefs vs. Patriots
Most Barfy Uni Matchup of the Week: Ravens vs. Bills
I've made my feelings known about the mono-red Bills uniform, so I'll keep it brief.
Most of the NFL Color Rush uniforms are bad, and this is among the worst. It needs to be cast into a fire, and never touched again.
The Bills normal uniforms are great. The throwbacks are just as good. Please retire the mono-red.
Also. I've never been a fan of the Ravens' white pants with black pants combination. I can't really explain why I don't like it, all I know is that I don't.
Runners Up: Chargers vs. Jaguars, Dolphins vs. Jets
*All stats are from ESPN.com, unless otherwise noted