XV Judgments: With Bucs Losing, Christmas Comes Early To Green Bay
Thanks, Dennis Allen.
With New Orleans’ stunning 9-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night, Green Bay is suddenly alone atop the NFC and in a perfect position to lock in the No.1 seed in the conference. That’s important for two reasons: 1) The Packers would win a first-round pass, and 2) they wouldn’t have to travel to Tampa Bay, where the Bucs hadn’t lost this year.
Until Sunday night, that is.
And that’s where Dennis Allen comes in. The Saints’ defensive coordinator, he replaced Sean Payton as the team’s emergency head coach (Payton tested positive for COVID) and wrapped an early Christmas present for Green Bay. In one of the more unlikely surprises, he knocked out the reigning Super Bowl champions where they hadn’t lost in their last nine games (including Super Bowl LV) and where they hadn’t scored less. of 30 points in no game this season.
More than that, he completely baffled Tom Brady.
Of course, that’s not unusual when it comes to Brady, the Bucs, and New Orleans. With the loss, Brady is 0-4 in the regular season against the Saints, with six TDs and eight interceptions. Plus, the last time the two teams met in Tampa, Brady and the Bucs were hammered, 38-3.
But it was with Drew Brees. It was with Taysom Hill. It was with Sean Payton. It was with Dennis Allen. This was when the Saints were division heads. It was then that the Bucs became division chiefs. It was with Brees pitching for four scores. It was with the Saints not producing a touchdown.
Anyway, it was the shock that wasn’t meant to happen. No team leading the NFL in points – aka Tampa Bay – had been ruled out at home in December and January. Now it does, and the Saints players have high-fiveed and hopped afterward. But the big winner here wasn’t New Orleans.
It was Green Bay.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. Herman Edwards was wrong. You don’t have to play to win. Kansas City is proof of that. The Chiefs didn’t play on Sunday, but they won. How? ‘Or’ What? They passed Tennessee for the AFC’s No.1 seed. They are on a seven-game list and the only AFC team with less than five losses.
2. Jacksonville is No. 1. I know the Jags are bad. But it’s good. With their loss to Houston and the loss to Detroit in Arizona, the Jaguars now hold the No. 1 pick for the 2022 draft. Sound familiar? It should. They also had the first choice this year.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers refuse to leave. Two weeks ago, they had a game to win against Baltimore. They won it in the dying seconds. Then they rewound the videotape on Sunday with a game up for grabs against Tennessee. They won that one tooâ¦ in the dying seconds. My guess: The Steelers aren’t making the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean they don’t play hard. They do. It’s a 6-1 playoff teams against 2020. Next stop: Kansas City.
4. Jared Goff is Arizona Kryptonite. The Cards hadn’t lost once in seven previous road games, beating each opponent by 10 points or more. Then they traveled to Detroit, home of the hapless Lions. One problem: It’s also the home of quarterback Jared Goff, and say goodnight. With Sunday’s surprise, he went 8-1 against the Cards and 4-0 against Kliff Kingsbury.
5. Tyler Huntley canâ¦ and shouldâ¦ be a starter in this league. I have no idea how he wasn’t drafted, but I do know this: When his contract expires after this season, there will be a lot of people interested in saving the Ravens. He sliced, diced and spliced ââthe Packers’ defense, looking like Lamar Jackson II and coming so close to pull the upheaval.
THIRD AND 20
1. He won’t win Coach of the Year, but Miami’s Brian Flores deserves a mention. He turned a 1-7 team into a 7-7 playoff contender, and, no, I don’t think the Dolphins make it. But I’ve never seen them win six times in a row either. Since taking over the Dolphins in 2019, Flores is 18-7 in November-January.
2. Scratch Kyler Murray from the MVP race. The last two games finished him.
3. We’re not exaggerating the hiring of Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. He turned a leaky passive unit into a difference maker, with Sunday’s victory in play A. The Cowboys forced four takeaways to bring their season total to 31. That includes 23 steals, more than double the number. last season’s number (10). Make no mistake, it’s Quinn’s defense that puts Dallas atop the NFC East.
4. Don’t sleep on San Francisco. The 49ers are quietly back in the playoff table, winning six of their last seven and crediting their defense. In four of those wins, San Francisco allowed just 13 points.
5. Analytics is not John Harbaugh’s friend. It is the second time in three weeks that he has lost after allowing an extra tying point at the last minute. Harbaugh will be gutted for scoring two runs, but it wasn’t that decision that was the problem; that was the call of play.
6. The team that causes the most problems in Tennessee is Tennessee. The Titans should have won on Sunday. They did not do it. Why? Three turnovers in 10 second-half snaps and four in total that turned a 13-10 deficit into a 19-13 loss. It was the fifth time this season that Tennessee had three or more giveaways, and it went SOP for these guys. They are under-9 in the last four games in the turnover differential and 1-3 in those games.
seven. The AFC is so wide open that the four teams are within half a game of each other. Unusual? You bet. Now understand this: Baltimore is not first; Cincinnati is under a one-on-one tiebreaker. But stay tuned. The two will meet next week in Cincinnati, where the Bengals are 3-4.
8. I can’t imagine where the Steelers would be without kicker Chris Boswell. He scored 30 consecutive goals in the fourth quarter or in overtime, including two on Sunday that notched another Steelers victory.
9. Believe it or not: This was the first time in the last six games that the Cowboys’ Zeke Elliott has eclipsed 50 yards rushing. He was 52.
ten. Nick or Joey Bosa?
11. Indianapolis coach Frank Reich may not be “worried” about his passing game, but I am. I don’t see how the Colts get into the playoffs – provided they get there – if they’re going to trust Carson Wentzâ¦ and, at some point, it’s going to happen.
12. A sure sign that Josh Allen’s ankle is not doing well: he ran once.
13. More proof that Jason Garrett wasn’t the problem with the Giants: in three games with Freddie Kitchens as the offensive coordinator, Big Blue has one touchdown on 32 possessions, with four interceptions, one fumble and 28 points. Conclusion: they stink.
14. Apparently what Bruce Arians meant was, “If Antonio Brown shit a second time, he left.”
15. Denver is toast. No Teddy Bridgewater, bad luck.
16. The Atlanta Falcons need a reconciliation. They have scored two touchdowns in the last six games. Someone calls Will Smith of the Braves.
17. Another bad year for the New York teams, but there is hope. The Giants and Jets have four of the top eight picks in the 2022 Draft.
18. Say this about AFC North: No division has better kickers. There’s Justin Tucker in Baltimore. You already know the Pittsburgh Boswell. And Cincinnati rookie Evan McPherson has nine baskets from 50 yards or more, one short of the rookie record.
19. I still don’t know what to think of Buffalo, but we won’t have long to find out. Next week’s game in Foxboro should decide the AFC East.
20. Memo to Frank Gore: When we said it was time to step in the ring, we meant with the 49ers Ring of Honor, not Deron Williams.
STAT WHICH CAN ONLY INTEREST ME
The Steelers haven’t scored a first-half touchdown in the last four games, the first time since 1993-94.
STAT THAT MAY INTEREST YOU
Miami are 19-0 since 2015 when they scored 30 or more points, the only team in those games unbeaten
AND ONE FOR US TWO
According to Elias Sports Office, the Ravens are the first team to attempt multiple two-point conversions when they lost a point in the fourth quarter.
SUNDAY GOLD JACKET QUOTES
“We’ve lost about seven starters in this game. I’m more worried about that.” – Tampa Bay Coach Bruce Arians.
We just weren’t good enough in any areaâ¦ It wasn’t what we’ve been all year, especially on the road. We have to figure this out before next week. â- Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury.
âOur offense has changed a lot since the start of the season, but that’s what good attacks do. – San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
âIt’s not all up to Zach (Wilson). It’s all of us. – New York Jets coach Robert Saleh on the offensive struggles of his team.
“I thought our chances of winning were better than in overtime.” – Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh in progress for converting to two points.
BENEFICIARY OF THE GOLDEN JACKET FOR SUNDAY
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With three touchdown passes, he tied Hall of Famer Brett Favre for most Green Bay Packers in history (442) and led Green Bay to a decisive playoff victory. Rodgers is supposed to be suffering from a broken toe, but he’s rarely been better than the past four weeks, and wraps it up, please: 13 touchdowns, no interceptions, 1,301 yards, one odds of 127.7 and four wins. “It was a special race for me to be able to follow a legend,” he said afterwards. “I hope I can break the record at home over Christmas next week.” To book.