The 2016 season of the NFL is now in its final two weeks where a christian holiday known as Christmas and the new year is celebrated. The last normal Sunday of 2016 saw noteworthy events that are explained below.
In his close to 4 seasons as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gus Bradley put up a .226 winning percentage. That is a record of 14 – 48 including the 2-12 start the Jags had this season. Bradley was hampered with a bad high draft pick QB in Blake Bortles, but the Jags have a lot of talent on their roster and are better than 2-12. It’s a bummer to get fired right before the holidays, especially being told before the flight home with the team. Doug Marrone, former Bills and Syracuse head coach will fill in for the final two games of the season. As of now, it is rumored that the Jags are looking at young and fresh Tom Coughlin to come back to the team and become the new head coach.
Brock Osweiler received a $72 million contract ($37 million guaranteed) over the summer of 2016 from the Houston Texans. The Texans out bid the super bowl winning Denver Broncos for the right to pay an unproven quarterback a lot of money. For the season Osweiler has thrown for 2,704 yards (193 per game), 14 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, all on 59.6 passing completion percentage. That is not good. All season while watching redzone, the feed would go to the Texans game to show a replay of a bad interception or a 5 yard completion to a nameless white tight end by Osweiler. On Sunday Bill O’Brien finally benches Osweiler and played back up Tom Savage who played decent and led the team to a win. I think the most depressing part about this Osweiler story line is that one of the best wide receivers in the game, DeAndre Hopkins, has had a horrendous season due to Osweiler’s inability to throw the ball down field. Osweiler is going to be an expensive back up next season.
Just a few weeks ago the Packers were sitting on a 4-6 record suffering 4 straight losses. They were lining up a wide receiver at running back and Rodgers appeared to be in a funk. When asked about the 2016 season Rodgers stated he thinks the team can win out the final 6 games of the season. Now four weeks later the Packers are riding a 4 game win streak and Ty Montgomery has become a competent running back.
That winning streak was in doubt on Sunday when the Packers were lined up on the 26 yard line with the game tied at 27, no time outs and 37 seconds left on the clock. Rodgers heaved a 60 yard pass to a wide open Jordy Nelson, hobbled down the field on his bad calf and spiked the ball with 3 seconds left. Mason Crosby made the game winning field goal.
The Packers have just two games left against the Vikings and the Lions, two divisional rivals who are also looking for a playoff spot.
The Patriots didn’t play well at all on Sunday but were still able to gain a victory over the super bowl champion Denver Broncos. In this win LeGarrette Blount scored his 15th rushing touchdown on the season, a Patriots record (Curtis Martin scored 14 in 1995). The team also clinched their 8th straight divisional title and their 13th out of the past 14 years (Brady missed all of 2008). Gronk is out, but Dion Lewis is back and the Patriots have proven they can win despite a mediocre performance from Brady. They get to rest during the first round of the playoffs and will likely make a 6th straight appearance in the AFC Championship game.
The Cardinals have been the most disappointing team this season. They were primed to have a Super Bowl run but instead are going into week 16 with a 5-8-1 record. The one bright spot on the Cardinals season is second year back David Johnson. On Sunday he became the first player ever to accumulate 100 yards from scrimmage in the first 14 games of a season. The dude is big, fast, has the hands of a receiver, and is young. He probably has about 4 more years left before his body breaks down, so lets all enjoy him while he is here.
The Cowboys are having their best season since their super bowl days of the 90’s and are doing it with a rookie QB and running back. Everyone has been focused on the Bledsoeing of Tony Romo, but Ezekiel Elliott is having one of the best rookie campaigns for a running back ever. With two games left in the season Zeke has 13 touch downs on 1,551 yards with a 5 yards per rush average. Zeke’s ability combined with the best offensive line in football is unstoppable. He has a real chance of surpassing Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 1,808 yards in the final two games of the season.
On Sunday night he celebrated a touchdown by jumping into a large Salvation Army kettle on the sidelines. This celebration was strangely not fined by the NFL and offered a lot of exposure to the charity.
Michael Crabtree made an amazing touchdown catch against the Chargers on Sunday in a close game. Watching the catch live it looked like he was way out of bounds, but on the replay you could see he had possession of the ball and as described by the ref “a slice of blur” between his shoe and the sideline.
It was cold all over the United States making the games played in Chicago, Denver, and Kansas City brutal to play in.The game in Chicago was so cold, the stickers and pieces of helmets were cracking off the Bears and Packers.
Justin Tucker is extremely valuable in a league where field goal kicking has become inconsistent. Tucker made his 10th straight 50 yard field on Sunday (tied for most all time for a season) and has made 33 out of 34 kicks this season. That moves his career total to 163 out of 182 which is now the best career percentage in NFL history at 89.5%. Everyone wishes they had Tucker on their team, especially the ones going to the playoffs.
Jason Witten passed Terrell Owens for 7th all time in career receptions and Odell made another one handed touchdown catch.