Sunday, December 29

Sunday Thoughts: Week 17

Week 17. Any fantasy league worth its salt has already wrapped up, and teams all around the league are resting people, so games are usually duds. BUT, since so many teams are pathetically mediocre this year, we got a lot of barn burners in the last week of the regular season. Let's get to the action!

-It's only fitting that the Chicago Bears' Chris Conte messed up on what turned into the game-winning play. After all, he's been doing it all season. Da Bears gave great effort in a 33-28 loss, with Matt Forte scoring three touchdowns (just one score last week woulda been swell for the fantasy team, Matt). Aaron Rodgers looked rusty as all getup but still made the plays when he needed to, and a Packers/Niners rematch in round one should be pretty interesting.

-The Bears and Packers gave us our Stupid Play of the Week as well, courtesy of the entire Bears defense (most notably linebacker James Anderson). Jarrett Boykin scored a really weird touchdown on an Aaron Rodgers fumble because nobody on defense thought to pick up a ball that was just hanging out on the ground, even though I'm fairly certain diving on a loose ball is the second thing any defensive player learns. The first being tackling, of course. Which is something else the Bears don't really do well, so maybe it makes sense. Anyway, the Bears, as you read last paragraph, lost by five, so...not giving up a stupid touchdown would have been nice.

-Entering play today, somehow if the Dolphins, Ravens, Steelers and Chargers all won, the Dolphins would make the playoffs, but if they all lost, the Ravens would instead be the AFC's sixth seed. Those wacky tiebreakers! Fortunately, we didn't have to worry about that, as the Ravens and Dolphins both laid stinkers: the Ravens respectablyish lost 34-17 to a Bengals team that went undefeated at home this year, while the Dolphins, fresh off a 19-0 loss at Buffalo when they controlled their playoff fate, turned in just as putrid a performance in a 20-7 defeat at home to the Jets, who might be the worst team in the history of the NFL and still finished 8-8. Rex Ryan oughta win Coach of the Year. But that still won't stop the Dolphins from winning our Worst Team of the Week for consecutive weeks. Way to go, fellas.

-At the end of the day, the Chargers did everything they possibly could to lose to a Chiefs team playing virtually all second-stringers, but they snuck out a 27-24 overtime victory and will head to Cincinnati for the first round of the playoffs. I fully expect them to lose like 28-17, but they'll be a pesky out.

-The Chargers making the playoffs means the Steelers are out, as well. So Pittsburgh likely won't be docked a draft pick, as was insinuated when Mike Tomlin hopped onto the field "accidentally" to stop a Jacoby Jones return. The fact they were even in the hunt after being 5-8 three weeks ago just goes to show how awful the AFC has been this year.

-The Houston Texans are getting a mention only because they lost their last 14 games of the year. And a graphic from that game reminded me: they were actually shockingly close to going 0-16. In Week 1, they mounted a massive comeback and scored the last 24 points in a 31-28 win against San Diego, then in Week 2 they needed an Arian Foster touchdown and two-point conversion with under two minutes left to force overtime against the Titans before winning 30-24 in the extra frame. They're also getting a mention because their rematch with the Titans was a boring 16-10 loss, boring enough to win our Most Boring Game of the Week. Even Matt Schaub's last second comeback attempt fell flat, with an interception on the first pass from scrimmage. Enjoy that first pick in the draft, Houston.

-Peyton Manning set another record this week, and he did it in just one half of play. Manning went 25 for 28 for 266 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos demolished the Raiders, 34-14. He finished with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes on the year, both single-season records.

-The Patriots, Colts, Seahawks and Saints all got solid wins to build some momentum heading into the playoffs. Of course, both the Pats and Seahawks have a week off anyway, and the Saints head on the road, where they're shakier than a Broadway show about blind trapeze artists.

-I'm kinda glad Arizona lost, because I'd be sad if they finished 11-5 and missed the playoffs. They were down 17-0 to San Francisco before bouncing back and tying things, but then their defense, which had been so great all year, allowed the Niners to march down the field in about 30 seconds and kick the game-winning field goal. San Francisco has looked rough at times this year, but they're a playoff-tested team that can do some damage, even on the road.

-One day, Dallas won't lose a game in heartbreaking fashion. That day was not today.

-Here's your last touchdown montage of the season. LET'S GET THE PLAYOFFS STARTED ALREADY.

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