5 NFL Teams Coming Apart at the Seams During Season's Final Weeks
As the regular season winds down and the playoffs approach, many NFL teams come together and stand united, working as a group to accomplish their goals.
Then there are the teams that prefer to style themselves after Congress.
For those teams, it's more about flat performances, finger pointing and infighting than winning football games right now.
Whether it's a playoff contender or a postseason pretender these teams picked the absolute worst time to spring a leak or two.
A few weeks ago, after an emotional win over the hated Baltimore Ravens, it appeared that the Pittsburgh Steelers had righted the ship and were well on their way to making their annual pilgrimage to the playoffs.
On second thought.
The Steelers looked flat two weeks ago in a home loss to the San Diego Chargers, and after Sunday's overtime loss in Dallas the Steelers are on the outside looking in heading into a must-win game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The team also heads into that game with a controversy that has dogged the team much of the season flaring up again.
The strained relationship between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley took another hit when Roethlisberger told reporters he was "disappointed" in some of the play-calling against the Cowboys according to Marc Sessler of NFL.com.
Speaking of the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday's loss by the Steelers sent the Ravens to the postseason, but there wasn't much cause for celebration in Baltimore.
That's because the Ravens were handed their third straight defeat in Week 15 in convincing fashion by the Denver Broncos in a game that led safety Ed Reed to tell Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun that he was "embarrassed for our city."
Mind you, there's no dissension afoot (at least not that we know of), but the team recently fired their offensive coordinator, their quarterback's ineptitude is inspiring internet fads and the defense has been absolutely shredded by injuries.
Oh, and they play the defending Super Bowl champions this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When you're winning it's a love-fest, but in the NFL once the losses start piling up the kid gloves come off and it's under the bus you go.
At least that appears to be the case with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A month ago the Buccaneers were fighting for a playoff spot and patting one another on the back, but after the Buccaneers four-game skid hit rock bottom with a 41-0 pasting at the hands of the New Orleans Saints it was a much different mood on the sidelines and in the locker room.
Linebacker Adam Hayward and assistant coach Bryan Cox had to be separated after getting into a shoving match during the game, and after the game at least one Tampa Bay player was quoted by Pro Football Talk as asking “Can we send these coaches back to college?”
Can you feel the love?
Mired in a five-game losing streak, it appeared that the Detroit Lions had bottomed out in what's been a very disappointing season in the Motor City.
But actually it turns out there was a whole new level of futility that the Lions had only begun to scratch.
Detroit plowed into that level at maximum warp in Week 15, getting destroyed by an Arizona Cardinals team that had lost nine games in a row in a contest where Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw more touchdown passes to Cardinals players than any Arizona quarterback had.
In the past month.
San Diego Chargers
It almost feels mean to say that the San Diego Chargers are still unraveling. You would think by now they'd be all raveled out.
However, the Chargers appeared to have re-raveled a bit two weeks ago in a surprisingly decisive road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Apparently that was so the team could unravel that much more.
The Chargers were absolutely smoked in Week 15 by a four-win Carolina Panthers team in a game in which running back Ryan Mathews broke his other clavicle and quarterback Philip Rivers fumbled four times.
That brings Rivers' fumble total to 15...this year.
This is what happens when you let Norv Turner coach stuff.