As teams start jockeying for playoff position, a few teams made strides as clear favorites. The Saints crushed the Eagles, 48-7, while the Rams and Chiefs had an epic battle which could be a Super Bowl preview. In Baltimore, the Ravens took home the win despite the absence of Joe Flacco and in Jacksonville, the Jaguars questionable late game approach on offense proves costly.
Sound and Fury
Joe Flacco was on the sidelines for the Raven’s with a hip injury in Sunday’s game versus the Bengals. Rookie Lamar Jackson out of Louisville got the start and played well enough to lead the Ravens to a 24-21 win. Jackson passed for a modest 150 yards and an interception, completing 13-of-19 passes. However, he was extremely impressive and racked up significant fantasy points on the ground, totaling 117 yards rushing. The win was instrumental for the Ravens, who are now 5-5, with playoff hopes still alive. A loss would have put them behind both the Steelers and the Bengals in the AFC North.
In the game between the Jaguars and the Steelers, Jacksonville had a great chance to run out the clock and win the game. Following an 80 yard drive for a touchdown to cut the Jaguars’ lead to 16-13, the Jaguars got the ball with 2:22 remaining. The Steelers had all three timeouts remaining, but a first down ices the win. Inexplicably the Jaguars run Leonard Fournette, not just once or twice, but three consecutive times right up the gut. With runs of only four, one and one yard, the Jaguars fail to convert run only 46 seconds on the clock. The Steelers get the ball back, drive the field and score the game winning touchdown.
In last season’s AFC Divisional Playoff round, the Jaguars outgunned the Steelers in a shootout, 45-42. Pittsburgh had a chance to bury the Jaguars, who look nothing like that team that nearly defeated the Patriots in the AFC Title Game.
Firmly in control of the game for three quarters, the Jaguars entered the fourth with a 16-6 lead. Even after an 11-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Vance McDonald, the Steelers still trailed 16-13 with 2:28 remaining.
As mention in the above “WTF Moment”, the Jaguars showed why they are in the basement in the AFC South. Doing what bad teams do, they pretty much gave the game away, losing 20-16 for their sixth straight defeat.
At 3-7, Jacksonville’s playoff hopes are pretty much gone barring a miracle turnaround. The men and yellow and black from Pittsburgh delivered the late knockout blow, getting their revenge and doing it in Jacksonville likely made it that much more sweet.
Best of the Week
While this section is generally for the best plays of the week, this goes for the best game of the season and likely one the top of all-time. In a showdown between the 9-1 Rams and the 9-1 Chiefs, the teams put up a record number of points for a Monday night showdown. Their 105 combined pints was the third most in a game in NFL history.
The teams combined for 14 touchdowns, five of those in the final quarter. Quarterback Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes combined for 891 yards and count them “ten” touchdown passes. Neither team surpassed 100 yards on the ground, so it was clearly a “which team can out throw” the other.
The Rams defeated the Chiefs by the score of 54-51. The Chiefs had two chances late, but Patrick Mahomes was intercepted twice and three times for the game. He finished with 478 yards and Goff had 413 with four touchdowns without an interception.
The receiving totals were staggering. Tyreke Hill had 215 yards on 10 receptions while Travis Kelce added 127 yards on 10 receptions for the Chiefs. Seven players had at least one touchdown receptions, while three players had two.
The amazing part about the Rams offensive attack was that much of it was done without Todd Gurley, who had only 55 yards rushing and another 39 receiving and didn’t reach the end zone.
There were five touchdowns of at least 20 yards and in a game with a record amount of offense, there were three defensive scores, the Rams scoring on an interception and a fumble recovery, while the Chiefs scored on a two yard fumble recovery following a strip sack of Goff.
With the win, the Rams improved to 10-1, while the Chiefs fell to 9-2. This may not be the last time these teams meet. It would not be a surprise to see a rematch in February in Super Bowl LIII.