After 18 long weeks of hard-fought football, the NFL regular season has finally concluded. I think I speak for all football fans when I say – what a week it was. For as much criticism as there was about the NFL’s decision to add an extra week to the regular season in a league as punishing as the NFL, I cannot help but applaud the decision. This week’s games were nothing short of exhilarating, and the players won’t really realize the difference in the schedule once the CTE sets in as all the numbers after 10 will blur together.
Colts clawed by the Jaguars, eliminated from the playoff contention
The Indianapolis Colts had one goal going into their game against the NFL-worst Jacksonville Jaguars: secure a playoff berth by the beating Jaguars. Unfortunately for the Colts, they executed that gameplan about as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology executes safety precautions. The Colts fell behind early, entering halftime down by 10, and were never able to regain their footing. The early deficit was a large part as to why Jonathan Taylor, the NFL’s leading rusher, only received a paltry 15 carries. The Colts will have all offseason to think about what Wentz wrong in this game. As for the Jaguars, who finished the season at 3-14, they will again pick first in the NFL draft and desperately need to implement a complete cultural overhaul, lest they waste the talent of wunderkind QB Trevor Lawrence, who struggled this season in a similar vein to how a kid with newly-divorced parents struggles to complete his homework.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) January 9, 2022
Steelers survive against the Ravens, sneak into playoffs
At the beginning of the day, the Steelers’ playoff chances looked slim to none. They not only needed the 14-point underdog Jaguars to take care of business but also needed to top their archnemesis, the Baltimore Ravens. In typical Steelers-Ravens fashion, the game proved to be a low-scoring, hard-hitting matchup, where every inch is rationed like it is a can of baked beans in 1930s America. QB Ben Roethlisberger, whose body must feel like a ford pinto after 18 seasons in the NFL, completed a 10-yard pass to WR Ray Ray McCloud on a crucial fourth-and-eight attempt to set up the game-winning field goal in overtime. The Steelers will head to Kansas City in the Wild Card round, looking to once again extend Roethlisberger’s final season.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 10, 2022
49ers rally from the brink of defeat to top Rams, keep their season alive
With New Orleans topping the Falcons, the 49ers needed to win to make the playoffs. For much of the game on Sunday, that result seemed to be in serious jeopardy. The 49ers fell into a 17-0 hole early in the game. They battled back valiantly only to once again find themselves down 7 with a little over 2 minutes left in the game. Much-maligned QB Jimmy Garoppolo answered the call by connecting with WR Jajuan Jennings with 26 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. In overtime, the 49ers capped a 12-play, 69-yard drive with a 24-yard field goal by Kicker Robbie Gould to take the lead once and for all. With the win, the Niners will head to Dallas in the Wild Card round, while the NFC West-winning Rams will play host to divisional foe Arizona.
Raiders top Chargers in an overtime thriller, exhale all the way to the playoffs
When the Raiders topped the Chargers on Sunday night in primetime to clinch a playoff berth, the residents of Las Vegas collectively exhaled – not because they feared their team not making the playoffs but because they feared the possibility of the Raiders’ players having even more time for recreation. In a game that can only be described as an instant classic, Raiders Kicker Daniel Carlson nailed a 47-yard field goal as overtime expired to give the Raiders their fourth overtime victory of the year, setting up a matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round. The Chargers absence from the playoffs is not from a lack of effort. The Chargers rallied from 15 down with under 5 minutes left in the game to send the game to overtime. Pundits such as myself will question the decision by Chargers Coach Brandon Staley to take a timeout in the waning moments of overtime, when the Raiders seemed content to run out the clock and take the tie. They say taking a tie is a lot like kissing your sister. Given that I have “the blessing” of having three sisters, I am expertly qualified to comment on Staley’s decision. I don’t blame him one bit for not wanting to kiss my sisters.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) January 10, 2022