If you’re a Denver Broncos fan—this would be the part where I reluctantly raise my hand—there wasn’t much to look forward to on Sunday other than when I hurled confetti at the announcement that head coach Vic “I Don’t See Racism at All in the NFL” Fangio, trash-ass offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, and alleged special teams coordinator Tom McMahon were all relieved of duty.
Praise sweet baby Jesus.
But throughout the rest of the league, with playoff seedings still at stake for teams that actually win games, there was plenty of meaningful football still waiting to be played.
Carson Wentz Is Who We Thought He Was
In order to make the playoffs, all the Indianapolis Colts had to do on Sunday was beat the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. The same Jacksonville Jaguars who entered Sunday’s contest with a 2-14 record, no head coach, and a stadium full of pissed-off fans who are so disgusted by their team that they dressed up for the occasion as clowns. No, really.
Yet somehow that didn’t happen, because God has a twisted sense of humor and eliminating the Colts from the playoffs was exactly what he needed to burst into a maniacal fit of laughter.
“It sucks, honestly, walking off kind of in disbelief,” Wentz said after turning over the ball twice, getting sacked six times, and otherwise looking like a steaming pile of ostrich shit. “It hurts right now. A lot of reflection to come over the next handful of days, unfortunately. But, yeah, it’s not a good feeling right now.”
It was also exactly what the Steelers needed to crack open a back window and sneak into the playoffs—as well as what will precipitate Ryan Clark’s exit from ESPN.
Speaking of which...
Ben Roethlisberger’s Retirement Party Is Suspended Indefinitely
In recent weeks, the fossilized tree that moonlights as the Pittsburgh Steeler’s starting quarterback has hinted that after 18 seasons of NFL football, his career is inching towards its series finale. Unfortunately for him, all his head coach Mike Tomlin does is channel his inner T-Pain and win, win, win no matter what—as evidenced by his NFL record 15 consecutive seasons without a losing record.
This, of course, meant Roethlisberger was in for a rude awakening on Sunday, when instead of playing his last NFL game, the Steelers opted to instead hand the depleted Baltimore Ravens their ass—as well as their sixth consecutive loss—in overtime.
With kicker Chris Boswell coming through in the clutch, this meant that unless the Los Angeles Chargers’ game against the
Los Angeles Oakland Las Vegas Raiders inexplicably ended in a tie—more on that later—the Steelers were heading to the Super Bowl playoffs—which, I suppose, is cause for celebration.
“I’m just happy for Ben,” Boswell said. “We’re sending him to the playoffs. This team deserves it.”
Oh, is that right?
DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN.
Thanks for Nothing, Chargers
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers had one goddamn job: Do not lose to the punk-ass Raiders and allow them to earn a playoff berth.
Sadly, fate had other plans.
That’s not to say that the Chargers didn’t put up a valiant effort, as evidenced by Justin Herbert working miracles all afternoon with a seemingly infinite supply of fourth-down conversions and this beautiful throw to force the overtime:
But once OT came around, well...
To get to the playoffs, all the Raiders needed was four consecutive wins, to fire their coach, ditch their best receiver, and for Chargers head coach Brandon Staley to become an absolute dumb ass with 38 seconds left on the clock:
“We’ve had ups and downs all season but we have guys who love football,” Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby told reporters after the game. “We have dudes with heart.”
You also don’t have a coach who calls timeouts with 38 seconds on the clock, but I digress.
So About These Playoffs
So with the NFL’s first-ever Week 18 officially in the books, here’s how the playoffs will shake out this upcoming weekend:
- (7) Philadelphia Eagles at (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- (6) San Francisco 49ers at (3) Dallas Cowboys
- (5) Arizona Cardinals at (4) Los Angeles Rams
- Bye: (1) Green Bay Packers
- (7) Pittsburgh Steelers at (2) Kansas City Chiefs
- (6) New England Patriots at (3) Buffalo Bills
- (5) Las Vegas Raiders at (4) Cincinnati Bengals
- Bye: (1) Tennessee Titans
And since It’s Black Monday, I suppose we can talk about who’s still gainfully employed.
On the same day that New York Giants coach Joe Judge was inexplicably extended grace by the powers that be, Brian Flores learned that the Miami Dolphins don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.
Yes, the same Brian Flores who’s finished 10-6 and 9-8 in consecutive seasons as coach of the Dolphins, and who has absolutely no business spending his Monday morning alternating between cussing under his breath and updating his resume. But instead of letting the chopper spray and saying what I really wanna say, I’ll leave it to USA Today’s Mike Freeman:
That’s that on that.
Elsewhere, furiously clicking “apply” on LinkedIn, we have Chicago Bears saboteur Matt Nagy and his accomplice, general manager Ryan Pace, as well as Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman.
Could Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll be next? That remains to be seen. But if you let him tell it, he’s “in great shape.”
I’ll catch y’all next week.