Jake Morgan’s NFL Weekly Rundown: Week Thirteen

Jake Morgan, Sports Editor

Noon Games:


Saints vs Falcons: With no Thursday night game due to a week 12 one on Wednesday, we kick off in Atlanta where the Saints took care of business over the Falcons 21-16. Taysom Hill got the start at quarterback for New Orleans once again, as Drew Brees has not been activated from the IR quite yet. Hill, at 31, was finally able to complete the first touchdown pass of his career. Granted he’s never really played quarterback consistently (usually used as a tight end), Hill would sometimes get snaps there when the Saints were feeling tricky. Nonetheless, he found Trequan Smith in the first quarter and then Jared Cook in the second. The Saints were up 21-9 for most of this game, as the Falcons never really made it interesting. A garbage-time touchdown made it closer, but the Saints and their stout defense were able to grab the win. 


Bengals vs Dolphins: Sometimes when I look back at previous weeks, there are some games where I just think to myself “these teams played?” This game was definitely one of them, as the most action we saw was an ejection from both sides. After a Bengals player was flagged for foul covering during a punt, things got heated and led to five ejections between the two teams. We then saw Miami’s head coach Brian Flores come out onto the field and start screaming at Cincinnati’s players. The Dolphins did win 19-7, but, other than the bench-clearing kerfuffle, it was far from an exciting game. 


Raiders vs Jets: For once this season it is acceptable to talk about the Jets. New York, who is 0-12, had their first real chance to win a game this week against the Raiders. Up 28-24 with only seconds left, it seemed like the Jets were actually going to do it. Instead, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (who was immediately fired after this game) decided to run a man blitz and have no one over the top to defend the endzone. Wide receiver Henry Ruggs was able to get open and Derek Carr hit him in stride for a touchdown with only five seconds remaining! If that doesn’t summarize the Jets season I don’t know what does. Some fans, however, are rejoicing at the loss. New York was able to maintain a one-game lead for the first overall pick in next year’s draft, as Trevor Lawrence is the reward for such an awful, awful year. 


Colts vs Texans: Leading for most of this game, the Colts were able to sneak out a much-needed victory, but not after some late-game drama. Down by six and driving, the Texans looked like they could actually win. Deshaun Watson kept finding his receivers, as they marched 73 yards to the two yard-line of Indianapolis. On a second and goal, Watson received the snap, but lost it on the transfer and fumbled! The Colts caught a huge break as they scooped it up and secured the 26-20 win. Watson was seen with a towel over his head, unable to get up off the bench afterward, as the Texans now move to 4-8 with their playoff hopes gone. 


Browns vs Titans: A high scoring affair saw the Browns solidify their legitimacy with a 41-35 win over the Titans. This game was not as close as some may think, as the Browns were up 38-7 at one point. I give credit to Cleveland: as bad as their franchise has been over the last decade, it’s finally looking like they have a legitimate playoff team. The Browns, clinching their first winning season since 2007, did it in style. Baker Mayfield was amazing, throwing for 334 yards and four scores. Cleveland’s defense was also dominant, as they held one of the best running backs in the league, Derrick Henry, to only 60 yards. Overall just an awesome game from the Browns, as they will for sure be America’s team come playoff time. 


Lions vs Bears: One week after firing head coach Matt Patricia, the Lions put up 34 points and a comeback win against the Bears. Down by ten at halftime, Matthew Stafford had had enough. He found Jesse James for a nine-yard score in the third. Then, down by 10 once again late in the fourth quarter, he led Detroit down the field and pulled within three with about two minutes left. Detroit decided not to onside kick it and trusted their defense to get a stop. They did something better than that, however, as they forced a fumble out of Mitch Trubisky. Adrian Peterson scampered in to win it for the Lions and left the Bears stunned, as Chicago has now dropped six in a row after starting the year 5-1. 


Jaguars vs Vikings: The Vikings, once again, played down to their competition this week and made it a game against the Jaguars. Going down 16-6 after a Jacksonville pick-six right out of halftime, Minnesota was able to make a run and was up 24-16 in the final minutes. However, the poor Vikings defense has made any quarterback look good this year, and that was more true than ever as Mike Glennon (yes, really) drove down the field and tied it up, onto overtime. After a quick three-and-out by the Vikings, Glennon fell back down to Earth, throwing an interception. That led to the Vikings repeatedly giving hand-offs to Dalvin Cook until they got to the three-yard-line and Dan Bailey (who had missed two extra points in this game) kicked the game-winning field goal. 


Afternoon Games:


Rams vs Cardinals: Two NFC West playoff hopefuls took to the turf in the first afternoon game of Sunday, as the Rams were able to maintain the three seed in the playoffs with a 38-28 win. The Rams looked back to their 2018 ways, as they were able to maintain control after going down 7-0. The Rams tied it in the second quarter and took a 14-7 lead going into halftime. The second half was all Rams, as cornerback Troy Hill sealed the deal with a 35-yard pick-six to clinch the win. Arizona now slides out of the last spot in the playoffs and look to get back on track next week against a Giants team that has won four straight. 


Giants vs Seahawks: One of the more surprising games of Sunday was the 17-12 Giants win over the Seahawks. Seattle had all the advantages coming in, most notably that Daniel Jones was out for New York, withColt Mccoy as the signal-caller. Not to mention, the Seahawk’s offense is one of the best in the league. However, New York was up to the task, as Russell Wilson was sacked five times. With such a low-scoring game, no one really shined on offense, as play-calling was limited due to Colt Mccoy being under center. Nonetheless, the Giants picked up a huge win that boosted them to the top of the NFC East, even with a 5-7 record. 


Patriots vs Chargers: Let’s take a moment of silence to remember the Chargers, as they got absolutely whooped against the Patriots (45-0)! The Chargers, who were actually favored, had no answers on offense as they gained only 251 total yards. As for the Patriots, they filled up the stat sheet. A Gunner Olszewski punt return was the start of a downhill catastrophe for the Chargers, as just before halftime Devin McCourty was able to block this field goal and return it all the way to the house for a 44-yard score. Leading 28-0 going into halftime, it only took a N’keal Harry five-yard touchdown to officially call this game over. Two more touchdowns in the fourth (by New England’s second team) just added insult to injury. The Chargers, who have the potential rookie of the year in Justin Herbert, are now 3-9, and it may be time to look somewhere else for a new head coach. 


Eagles vs Packers: What Aaron Rodgers does best is destroy bad teams. That was the case again here as the Packers cruised to a 30-16 victory over the Eagles. However, after only scoring three points in three quarters, Philly did make it a one-score game. But a quick Aaron Jones 77-yard touchdown put it out of reach. Perhaps the bigger story of this game was Carson Wentz being benched for 2020 draftee Jalen Hurts. Wentz had been terrible all year, even turning the ball over more than whole teams, and it was finally time to pass the torch. Hurts threw for 109 yards and a score and even led them during their mini-comeback. 


Sunday Night Game:


Broncos vs Chiefs: It seemed like this was a “just get it done” type of game for the Chiefs as they only narrowly escaped with a 22-16 victory. It was field goal mayhem on Sunday night, as both teams combined for six of them. With touchdowns scarce, the Broncos were able to keep it close for most of the game as they even led at halftime. Kansas City finally had had enough though, as a Harrison Butker 31-yard field goal was enough to maintain the lead for good. Denver did have a chance to win on the final drive, but the inexperienced Drew Lock threw right into Tyrann Mathieu’s hands to seal the deal for the Chiefs. 


Monday Night Games: 


Washington vs Steelers: Another wacky week of football saw two Monday night games, with the first being Washington upsetting the undefeated Steelers 23-17. Washington, coming into the game 4-7, seemed to be picking up steam, as their defense is nothing to joke about. While being down for most of the game, a late fourth-quarter comeback was just what Washington needed. After a Logan Thomas touchdown, Washington’s defense was able to force a stop and get the ball back. Alex Smith then led them on a nine-play, 45-yard drive but was unable to help his team score a touchdown. Instead, they settled for a Dustin Hopkins field goal that put them up by three with two minutes left. The Steelers offense trotted back onto the field looking to stay undefeated. However, they didn’t stay on the field for long, as the first play was an interception. Washington added a late field goal to push the lead to six as Pittsburgh’s undefeated season is no more. 


Bills vs 49ers: The 49ers played host to the Bills to close out the Monday night schedule, as Buffalo was able to make sure everyone went to bed sooner rather than later. This game was never a contest even though it was only a ten-point game at halftime. After that though, it was all Bills. After a quick Robbie Gould field goal for the Niners, Buffalo went on a 10-0 run before a Kyle Juszczyk touchdown made it another ten-point game. Overall, it was a game that was kind of annoying as it seemed like San Francisco was always a defensive stop away from making things interesting. Unfortunately, that did not happen as the Bills cruised to a 34-24 victory.


Tuesday Night Game:

Cowboys vs Ravens: The reeling Ravens looked to get back on track this week, and the Cowboys were just the right matchup, as they won easily 34-17. Baltimore was able to run all over Dallas’ defense as three players were able to reach 70+ rushing yards. Lamar Jackson played well, throwing for 107 yards while rushing for 101. As odd as it may sound, Lamar has still not returned from his 2019 form quite yet. With the win, the Ravens are now 7-5, but many people, including myself, would think they would be a top seed in the AFC. Instead, they are on the outside looking in, but will try and fix that next week against a tough Browns team.