NFL Week 14 Report Cards: Grades For Every Team
NFL Week 14 began with a roof collapse, saw the Browns offense collapse, Oakland and Jacksonville slug it out, and Aaron Rodgers go down with a concussion.
The Colts pulled it together on Thursday night, and the Titans owner Bud Adams already is talking about major changes. The Titans' grade this week probably won't help matters in Tennessee, either.
Some teams did really well considering the weather over much of the eastern half of the United States, but other teams struggled with it.
How did your team fare in this week's report card? Click on to find out.
New York Jets
The Jets still haven't gotten over the Monday night beatdown from the Patriots. Mark Sanchez looked terrible, but he wasn't the only one.
It says a lot about a team in the way they get past defeats, so I think we learned a whole lot about the Jets today.
The Browns came out on their first drive and ran Peyton Hillis down the field before being stopped at the goal line. That's about it for the Browns offense. No adjustments, a few downfield throws and a completely uninspiring day.
While the Browns receivers may not be the best and Jake Delhomme clearly isn't the quarterback he used to be, to only score six points on the Buffalo Bills means the problems go a lot further than player execution.
So you have home-field advantage in a snowstorm, your division rival (Packers) just lost and you have a chance to lock the division up and take a giant step toward a first-round playoff bye. What do you do?
Get outplayed, outgunned, outmanned and outcoached by the New England Patriots.
Bill Belichick does not care if it's snowing. If he wants to throw the ball downfield, he makes it happen. Tom Brady is a machine and the Bears now know what it's like to face a real playoff team.
Kansas City Chiefs
Brodie Croyle had 40 yards passing.
Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, who combined make up one of the best backfields in the league, ran for a total of 41 yards.
How does that happen?
I know the Chargers defense still is pretty good, but if I thought the Chiefs were going to lay that big of an egg without Cassel on the field, I would've changed my pick when Cassel went under the knife.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers gets injured and the Packers no longer can score a touchdown?
Against an equally banged up Detroit Lions?
The Packers are no longer are a playoff team with this loss, even if they're still mathematically in it. If they can't score without Rodgers, it's time to fold the tents and go home.
Wait, the Packers already did that.
You have one NFC West team facing another NFC West team. The score was 40-21 and it still wasn't that close.
The Seahawks, in any other division, would be out of the playoff race. But in the NFC West, they still are mathematically in it.
The Washington Redskins just don't have the tools to put together a complete game. The suspension of Albert Haynesworth was a non-issue since he pretty much hasn't played all season, but the team now has entered the official "Finding New Ways To Lose" club that no NFL team wants to find itself in.
Donovan McNabb played relatively well, but overall it just wasn't enough. And there are serious marks against the Redskins for that botched extra-point attempt. You just can't do that.
The Bengals actually held a lead versus Pittsburgh, and the game was nowhere near as ugly for the Bengals as I expected, so they escape a failing grade. But Carson Palmer still is doing more to hurt this team than help it.
Three interceptions, including two being returned for touchdowns, doomed the Bengals. The self-inflicted wounds ended up being more than the team could bare.
The Broncos normally would get an "F," but they have a new head coach coming off of a hard week working with a team that probably already is done for the year in their heads. So the fact they didn't get shut out keeps them from getting a failing grade.
Knowshon Moreno had a decent day but now that Kyle Orton has had two bad weeks in a row, the Denver brass may want to see Tim Tebow in action so they have a better idea of what they need to do in the offseason as far as the quarterback position goes.
The Panthers avoid a failing grade by not getting shut out. But other than that, they got completely dominated in every aspect of the game, and Jimmy Clausen did nothing to impress anybody by throwing for only 107 yards and one interception.
All things considered, it could've been worse. After all the attention given to Peyton Manning and his interceptions, the chances of him throwing another four picks were pretty small. Something had to change.
But the Titans still are trying to find rock bottom as their offense succumbs to injuries and the defense quietly has packed it in for the year while owner Bud Adams decides if he is going to blow everything up.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams played about as well as you could expect an NFC West team to play versus the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Sam Bradford didn't have his best day, the defense couldn't stop Drew Brees, but the Rams hung in there, scored 13 points, and almost had 14 more if Bradford doesn't throw two picks.
The Raiders offense really did have a pretty good day, but at some point the defense needed to stop Maurice Jones-Drew, David Garrard and Rashad Jennings.
The Raiders tied it up with less than two minutes to play, but immediately allowed a huge runback by the special teams and then MJD to get the easy go-ahead score.
The Raiders are out of the playoff hunt, and that's just the way it is.
The Detroit Lions may have gotten the win, but it certainly wasn't pretty. The Lions won on the strength of the defense and that's something that needs to be recognized, but for the Lions to barely win because of one touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter just doesn't look good when it comes to the grades.
Drew Stanton is Drew Stanton, and that's something Lion's fans have to live with until Matthew Stafford returns.
The Buffalo Bills once again played better than they were supposed to and pulled out a victory. The Bills have played well enough this season that the Browns should have been prepared, but they weren't.
The Bills didn't play spectacular, but they didn't have to. The defense kept the Browns from crossing midfield in the second half and when you have field position like that, it makes everything easier.
The Cowboys really brought it Sunday night versus the Eagles, keeping the game close, harrassing Michael Vick, and once again letting the world know this is a completely different team from the one Wade Phillips led a few weeks ago.
The Cowboys had their chances, but they came up short.
The Steelers should have gotten an "A," but they won that game more because the Bengals—Carson Palmer specifically—gave the Steelers the game.
The Steelers offense just wasn't that great on Sunday, and that's a problem the team has had all season. The Steelers defense is so good, it masks a lot of the problems on offense. The thing in the Steelers' favor is that defenses win championships.
San Francisco 49ers
Let's celebrate, but also let's remember the 49ers beat the Seahawks so that can't possibly earn an "A."
However, credit where credit is due: Alex Smith came out and threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns, and the 49ers made sure that even a late surge by the Seahawks wasn't worth getting excited about.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another fourth-quarter deficit, another fourth-quarter comeback by Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While the Bucs almost let it slip away, there's no guarantee the Redskins would've won the game in overtime. Instead, a botched snap help seal another victory for the Buccaneers and keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Cardinals not only won a game, they moved down the field and scored touchdowns. John Skelton played well and managed the game, avoiding turnovers. By that count alone Skelton should have earned another start next week.
The defense still is giving up too many points, especially to a Denver team that is reeling right now, but you take the good with the bad when your team is in this position.
The Colts broke out of their slump and so did Peyton Manning, who threw two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Colts held it together, took advantage of mistakes and looked more like the "old Colts" again Thursday night.
The Dolphins followed up their loss last week to Cleveland by taking it to the Jets on Sunday. The Dolphins didn't play like the Patriots, but they didn't need to.
However, their shutdown of Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense in the fourth quarter is deserving of an A.
The Jaguars held off a charging Oakland Raiders team with some fourth-quarter heroics from Maurice Jones-Drew, but MJD wasn't the only one who had a good day.
David Garrard had three touchdowns on the day and running back Rashad Jennings had more yards rushing (109) than MJD (101).
New Orleans Saints
While it was an NFC West team, the Rams happen to be one of the better NFC West teams . . . nevermind, bad point.
The Saints went in and beat up a bad team, something they're doing a much better job of right now than they were early in the season. The Saints look like they're a playoff team again, so the NFC South race should stay interesting.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers came out and destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs, who appear to be just as impotent as the Green Bay Packers without their starting quarterback.
The Chargers outgained the Chiefs on offense, 426-67, didn't allow the Chiefs to even get a field goal and only allowed five first downs the whole game.
Under Jason Garrett, the Cowboys are a much more effective team, and they gave the Eagles a tough contest. Michael Vick took some big shots, threw two picks, but he hung in there and the Eagles held on for a 30-27 victory.
I guarantee you Andy Reid is glad the Eagles don't have to play Dallas again this year.
The most complete team in the NFL continues to prove why they're the best. They took care of business with Carolina, and now it's time to move on to the next game.
Michael Turner had 112 yards and three touchdowns, while Matt Ryan threw for 227 yards and one touchdown.
The Falcons' quest for the Super Bowl continues while the Panthers' quest for the No. 1 overall pick may now be firmly in their grasp.
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick just wants you to know that his team is better than yours. Despite the snow and adverse conditions, Tom Brady and the Patriots might have been playing in Miami Beach for the effect it seemed to have on them.
The defense put pressure on Jay Cutler and intercepted him twice, while the Bears running game was rendered ineffective as well.
It's now debatable as to who is the best team in the NFL: the Patriots or the Falcons.