Cleveland Ends Their Playoff Drought, Derrick Henry Shows Out and Other Takeaways from Week 17 of the NFL

Nick Chubb #24 of the Cleveland Browns rushes for a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 29, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida.
Nick Chubb #24 of the Cleveland Browns rushes for a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 29, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida.
Photo: Julio Aguilar (Getty Images)

Damn, the regular season is over already? I guess let’s get to what all went down this weekend.

Cleveland, Rejoice!

The last time the Browns were in the playoffs, Tobey Maguire was Spider-Man, Nelly was still a thing, and my Black ass was still in the military. But a new day is upon us because after suffering through the longest postseason drought in the entire league, Cleveland will be going to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Advertisement

I know, I can’t believe it myself.

Did I mention this is also their first winning season (11-5) since 2007? Cleveland’s quarterback turnstile has featured 29 players since it returned to the league as an expansion team in 1999, but armed with stout complementary pieces in running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, as well as targets like Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper—with Odell Beckham Jr. set to return from injury next season—it appears that the Browns have finally found their signal-caller in Baker Mayfield.

Advertisement

“I am really just happy for our fans,” first-year coach Kevin Stefanski told ESPN on Sunday. “They deserve this. They have been waiting for this and we are happy to deliver that to them.”

As for Mayfield, who’s faced plenty of criticism for his inconsistent play over the course of the past three seasons, he’s just ready to get back on the field and play the Steelers now that playoff matchups are set.

Advertisement

“We’re not satisfied,” he told ESPN. “We expected to be here. [...] All we wanted was a chance, and now we have one.”

The Browns are a sleeper pick to make some serious noise in the postseason, so hopefully, their first playoff trip in eighteen years doesn’t disappoint.

Advertisement

At Least Jason Garrett Is Consistent

For over a decade, former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made it his mission in life to do everything humanly possible to keep America’s team out of the playoffs. During that period he served in a variety of roles—from offensive coordinator to assistant to head coach—but those titles meant nothing since we all knew that his role within the organization was actually to serve as a full-time saboteur.

Advertisement

Delighted by his innate ability to make the Cowboys self-destruct at a moment’s notice, the Giants lured Garrett away—okay, fine; he was fired—from Dallas this past offseason with one goal in mind: to become their new offensive coordinator and continue his legacy of terrorizing the Cowboys. And on Sunday, with the Giants facing Dallas in a must-win game for both teams to keep their playoff hopes alive, Garrett stared fate in the face and fulfilled his destiny.

It was a hard-fought game that Dallas nearly stole in the end, but with the Giants up 23-19 with a little over a minute left in the fourth quarter, Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton did a very Andy Dalton thing:

Advertisement

That sound you hear is the all-too-familiar heartbreak of being foolish enough to still be a Cowboys fan in 2021. Game over, ladies and gentlemen.

And as to be expected, Twitter let the Jason Garrett jokes fly:

Advertisement
Advertisement

In a cruel twist of fate, however, the Giants didn’t make the playoffs either, despite winning the game. That playoff berth belongs to the Washington Football Team.

Advertisement

The Devil has a sick sense of humor.

Did Somebody Say Broken Records?

In a season full of ridiculous plays and gaudy numbers, it should probably come as no surprise that a few records were broken along the way, too.

Advertisement

On Sunday, after destroying the Texans with 250 rushing yards, Derrick Henry became the first player since 2012 (and the eighth ever) to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. But if you ask Henry, it was just business as usual.

“I got it. I did it,” he told reporters after the game. “I [...] wasn’t pressing for it, just wanted to be able to win the game as a team and make [it] to the playoffs, win the division.”

Advertisement

Mission accomplished.

Advertisement

On the same day that Henry made the Texans reconsider their line of work, Lamar Jackson obliterated the Bengals and became the first quarterback in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

Advertisement

But refusing to miss out on the record-breaking festivities, phenom Justin Jefferson broke Randy Moss’ record for most receiving yards by a Vikings rookie after finishing the season with 1,400 receiving yards. He also set a record for the most receiving yards for a rookie in the Super Bowl Era.

Advertisement

“He’s a great weapon to have and should be for many years,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said on Sunday.

That’s all I got for this week. See y’all in the playoffs!

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

forgetable8u
All new, soon to be forgotten

I am a Bills fan, and waiting for the rug to get yanked out from under me.  Not even in a soul crushing playoff loss (I am prepared for that).  No, I am talking about a giant reveal that this season was all a prank played on us, and we didn’t really finish as the 2 seed (hey Goodell, thanks for completely devaluing that by the way, ya asshole) and that now teams are going to try again.