22 Dec Week 15 Recap with Matt Lownes
Yesterday we lost a football legend, Kevin Greene the Hall of Fame linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers. At 58 years old, we lost Greene far too soon. The five time Pro Bowler, three time 1st team All-Pro, 1996 Defensive Player of the year, and two time sack leader was inducted into the Pro Football HOF in 2016. Rest in peace Kevin Greene, our thoughts are with the Greene family.
Trubisky is on fire, Bears win
Yes, you read that right – Mitchell Trubisky is on fire right now. On Sunday, Trubisky went 15/21 for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception. While that may not seem great, he is playing well right now and his confidence is building. While the Bears probably will not make the playoffs this year, the organization needs to make significant decisions regarding Trubisky and head coach Matt Nagy.
Will the Bears continue to go with Trubisky into 2021? Maybe, now that he is playing pretty well. Will they keep Matt Nagy? Probably, because they are on a hot streak right now to end the season. The Bears have the Jaguars next, a must-win if they want to keep the streak going, and finish with a home game vs the Packers in Week 17.
The Vikings did not play awful against the Bears as Kirk Cousins played well and Dalvin Cook ran for 100-plus yards. The offense is not the problem, it is the defense that needs to be revamped in the offseason. The Vikings defense just is not good.
Jets Shock Rams, crush Jets fans dreams
If you have read my weekly recaps, you know I am a Jets fan. I am crushed. How in the heck did we beat the Los Angeles Rams!? The Jets were 17-point underdogs and completely controlled the Rams in the first half, intercepting Jared Goff, forcing a blocked punt, and playing lights out defense.
The Rams made a ferocious comeback, but two penalties on two separate touchdowns forced them to kick a field goal late, and they could not get the ball back. The Rams should be embarrassed as they lost a game against the Jets on 10 days of rest.
Jets fans, I have no idea what they are going to do. I am sad because we all wanted Trevor Lawrence. With two weeks left the only thing Jets fans can do is hope the Jaguars win a game and the Jets lose out. The Jets may keep Sam Darnold, but I am going to save my thoughts for the offseason as I need time to even consider what the Jets will do now.
Tanking is a fan’s game and I do not blame the Jets for playing hard and winning. Most games this year the Jets have played hard, it is just unfortunate for the fans because there is a generational prospect at quarterback in this year’s draft.
Brady Leads Another Comeback over Falcons
The Falcons blew a massive lead in the second half against a Tom Brady offense again. Down 17-0 at the half, the Bucs scored 31 points in after halftime to beat the Falcons 31-27. The Falcons have a serious issue when playing with a big lead and at this point you have to just laugh because there is no other proper way to react.
Tom Brady went 31-45 with 390 yards and two touchdowns in a wild game where they could not muster up much of anything in the first half.
I have said it a lot but I do not believe in the Bucs in the playoffs. Week 15’s performance showed they do not quit and will not quit. The Bucs need to run the ball successfully early or else Tom Brady will have to do exactly what he did Sunday, throw 45 times.
Steelers want to forget December
JuJu Smith-Schuster needs to stop dancing at midfield pre-game because the Steelers just lost their third straight game to the Ryan Finley-led Bengals. Last night the Steelers defense was so bad that they gave up a 23-yard touchdown run to Ryan Finley. The Steelers managed to make Finley look like Josh Allen, while Ben Roethlisberger looked like David Carr.
Big Ben was missing throws left and right in the first half. He should have had two interceptions in the first half, but the Bengals let him off the hook. Big Ben just needs to forget about last night’s game because that was one of his worst performances I have seen.
The Steelers need to figure it out fast on both sides of the ball or else they will be a quick playoff exit after starting the season 11-0. Nothing is working for them right now, and it does not get any easier with the Colts next week and Browns to finish the season.
The Chiefs are easily the best team in the NFL and it is evident because they can outscore anyone and get stops when they need to. Their defense is not elite by any means, but they have elite talent and play well together when it matters most. Patrick Mahomes is my MVP choice because he plays like the best quarterback week in and out, besides one game this year.
Mahomes went 26-47 on Sunday with three touchdowns. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell both got hurt in the second half of the game, so there is worry with their run game moving forward. Obviously, it does not matter as much as they have Mahomes and we all know how well he can throw it, even when down big in the game.
The Saints played hard but could not get the win. While statistically Drew Brees played well, throwing 15-34, three touchdowns and an interception, he did not look 100% healthy, which is bothersome because the Saints said they would not play him until he was 100% healthy. This would be a fantastic Super Bowl matchup and fans would be lucky to have these two teams go at it again.
NFL Condensed Soup
Saturday football was back in the NFL this past weekend as the Bills destroyed the Broncos in Denver proving they are an elite team, winning their first AFC East Championship in over 20 years.
The Packers beat the Panthers 24-16 in a game that was actually fun to watch. I feel bad for Teddy Bridgewater as he has been missing Christian McCaffrey for most of the season. I think Teddy deserves one more year but owner David Tepper does not seem keen on the idea. The Packers are the NFL’s version of the Clippers, a very good team that could/should be playing for it all, but somehow always finds a way to blow it in the playoffs.
The injury-plagued Cowboys beat the injury plagued 49ers. Tony Pollard is a freak and the Cowboys sat Zeke. Why? I am not really sure but moving forward this is a storyline to watch.
The Titans and crushed the Lions. Matthew Stafford is the toughest quarterback in the NFL (do not @ me). The Titans are hotter than a fox in a forest fire and Ryan Tannehill is playing his best football ever.
Tua and the Dolphins beat the Patriots, ending the Patriots historical consecutive playoff streak.
The Seahawks played an ugly game, again, but beat the Washington Football team 20-15. Why must the Seahawks make all their wins so difficult? One note for Washington, the Panthers agreed to move on from their GM Marty Hurney, and he is likely to go to Washington to work with Ron Rivera again.
Jalen Hurts is a fantastic quarterback and I was so wrong about him at the NFL level. The Eagles lost to the Cardinals 33-26, but there is serious quarterback drama in Philly that will last throughout the offseason. The Cardinals have had some tough losses to swallow this year but are doing everything in their power to try and get into the playoffs.
The Ravens crushed the Jaguars, a good thing for the Jags as they now own the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Ravens are finally catching fire after a weird season.
In the week’s most boring game the Browns beat the Giants 20-6 on Sunday Night Football. The Giants need to fire general manager Dave Gettlemen. The Browns are the best Browns team we have seen in who knows how long. Congrats to Browns fans, you guys really deserve a team like this.
2021 NFL Draft
As I mentioned, the Jaguars own the first pick and will draft Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence if they maintain the pick. The Jets could draft quarterback Justin Fields out of Ohio State, or Zach Wilson out of BYU, or even keep Sam Darnold. It will be fun to see what the Jets do, although like I said Jets fans should feel crushed and deserve to feel crushed.
While those two teams are set in stone, it will be interesting to see who retires and who else drafts a signal caller, as the 49ers could let Jimmy Garoppolo go, the Washington Football team need one, and several other teams need a quarterback for the future. Someone will end up with Trey Lance out of North Dakota State and have a real opportunity to groom him into a starter.
He is the furthest behind because he played below a level in college and only played one game this year due to COVID-19. This year’s draft will be fun to follow, so follow XTB all offseason for great draft content.
Matt’s Life Advice
To Jets fans: Get a therapist. Follow me on twitter @Lownesmatthew and ask me any questions you may have! Have a great week everyone!