Tom Brady Does it Once more and Once more and Once more

NFL Week 14 – Excellent news: The Buffalo Payments rediscovered the dignity that the New England Patriots stole from them in Monday night time’s atomic wedgie.

Unhealthy information: The Payments nonetheless misplaced to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and dignity alone might not be sufficient to save lots of them.

Recreation of the Week: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33, Buffalo Payments 26 (OT)

What Occurred: The Payments performed the primary half like they wished to curve into a little bit ball and cry the remainder of 2021 away. They’re run protection and tackling have been pathetic. They went 0-for-5 on third-down conversions. The Buccaneers took a 21-3 lead, they usually appeared poised to romp away with the sport after they obtained the ball close to midfield after a foolish Payments pretend punt early within the third quarter.

Then the Payments remembered that this was purported to be a possible Tremendous Bowl preview as just lately as a month in the past. They shut down the Buccaneers operating recreation and (lastly) opened up their very own. Josh Allen made good performs along with his arm and his legs to get the ball to the Buccaneers’ 7-yard line within the waning seconds, however the Payments have been compelled to accept a area purpose to pressure time beyond regulation.

That arrange the inevitable Brady magic. The Bucs protection compelled a cease. Leonard Fournette barely transformed on third-and-short to increase a drive. (Ball-spotting necromancy is one element of Brady magic). Three performs later, Brady related with Breshad Perriman on a crossing route, and The As soon as and Future Buccaneer outraced the Payments secondary for a game-winning landing.

What it Means: To start with, phew, what a recreation! The following section in at present’s Walkthrough is all about the truth that the 2021 season feels prefer it’s dragging on. However from halfway by way of the third quarter on, this was NFL soccer at its best. Even this unrepentant outdated Brady-basher felt the tingle throughout that Perriman landing.

The Payments are actually trapped within the 7-6 wild-card pool, two video games behind the Patriots for the AFC East crown. It is onerous to think about the Payments surviving a postseason highway gauntlet after they almost gave up the ghost earlier than halftime on Sunday. However at the least they as soon as once more seem able to reaching the playoffs. And maybe they found a brand new system for fulfillment towards the Buccaneers: commit a little bit extra fervently to the run and to Josh Allen designed runs, cease taking part in like a bunch of weenies on protection.

That is not precisely a exact system, however the sheer physicality they’ve lacked in a number of of their losses however regained within the second half may get them previous some powerful opponents. Together with their subsequent one.

It is a waste of time nitpicking all of the little methods the Buccaneers handle get in their very own manner, as a result of they’ve all however locked up the NFC South, and Brady Brady Brady Brady Brady.

What’s Subsequent: The rematch to finish all rematches! Payments-Patriots II: Stress Set off Immersion Remedy.

The Buccaneers are additionally searching for revenge towards a crew that beat them earlier within the season. Prepare for Saints-Buccaneers II: The Humiliation of Taysom Hill XVIII.

The Countless Season: A Gritty, Prolonged, Streaming-Service Authentic

Bear in mind when streaming companies started broadcasting authentic status dramas, and each considered one of them was a somber 12-part saga with hour-and-fifteen-minute-long episodes? At first, everybody cherished these “lengthy motion pictures.” However viewers quickly grew bored of the sluggish pacing and countless rehashing of plot factors and character beats. What’s tight and thrilling at eight 52-minute episodes turns into a self-indulgent chore to look at if it drags on for too lengthy.

That is what the 17-game, 18-week 2021 NFL season is beginning to really feel like.

Sure, the Payments-Bucs recreation (ultimately) changed into gripping, high-quality soccer with significant stakes. However a lot of Week 14 felt like a warmed-over abstract of issues we now have seen again and again for months. There are nonetheless simply over 4 strong weeks to go, however Walkthrough is able to fast-forward to the top, as a result of all the drama has been sapped from all the following storylines and character arcs:

Baltimore Ravens as The Strolling Lifeless
Nothing says “this season is at the least one week too lengthy” like Lamar Jackson struggling a significant-looking ankle damage for a Ravens crew already with out each beginning cornerbacks, each beginning offensive tackles, and each operating again that ever set foot contained in the I-695 beltway.

Jackson was a viable MVP candidate two months in the past, however watching the Ravens offense recently has been like watching three-and-a-half hours of reconstructive dental surgical procedure. And if understudy Tyler Huntley is compelled to start out video games down the stretch, there’s nothing left to do whereas watching the Ravens slowly sink from rivalry however bear in mind how a lot enjoyable they was.

Baker Mayfield as The “Different Man” in a Romantic Comedy
the man: good-looking and bland, superficially profitable however unlikely to get the heartbeat racing, like Paul Henreid’s Victor Laszlo in Casablanca. Significantly: what did that slice of milk toast ever do for anybody, besides save untold a whole bunch of lives from the Nazis off digicam? (Additionally, Casablanca is not a comedy. Walkthrough hasn’t watched a romcom since Meg Ryan was a number one woman. Simply roll with it).

Mayfield had an opportunity for a “assertion” win however as an alternative threw an interception quickly after Jackson was carted off the sphere and failed to maneuver the Browns offense because the Ravens almost got here again in what changed into a 24-22 nailbiter. Mayfield completed 22-of-32 for 190 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Did we point out that that the Ravens have been with out each beginning cornerbacks and Mayfield may have put the sport away at any time with yet one more large play?

Mayfield left school as an enthralling, troublesome rogue: the sort the lady in most romcoms falls head-over-heels for. Perhaps Mayfield ought to attempt being that man once more to spice issues up within the ultimate month, for Browns followers and the remainder of us.

Varied NFL Frontrunners as Finish-of-Season Massive Bads With Nothing to Do:
Walkthrough is considering right here about Kingpin Wilson Fisk, a seminal comedian e-book villain portrayed by the incomparable Vincent D’Onofrio within the outdated Netflix Daredevil collection. He was a thrill to look at in his first few episodes of the collection. Then we saved checking in on him again and again. Kingpin is consuming a meal! He is watching a portray! He is slowwwwwwwly pulling strings of some inscrutable scheme behind the scenes! He is consuming one other meal! Can we please get to the half the place he fights the hero or turns Karen Web page right into a druggie or one thing? Fairly please?

We touched on the Buccaneers already and can focus on the Cowboys in additional element in a second, however it’s getting onerous to care concerning the week-to-week ups, downs, and hiccups of the NFC divisional leaders. The Titans, coming off a 20-0 shutout and destined to get laughed out of the postseason, fall into the identical class.

Wake us up when these groups are dealing with one another, not Washington or the Jaguars.

The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs as Hawkeye
Walkthrough is having fun with Disney Marvel’s Hawkeye, the story of a superhero who now not desires to be a superhero, portrayed by an actor who now not desires to play a superhero. However Hawkeye is customary “underdog hero’s redemption arc” storytelling: our pal Clint Barton has gotten a little bit older and is making an attempt to beat previous errors and tragedies, so issues do not fairly come so simply anymore, however he’ll save the day ultimately with the assistance of some plucky new associates! It is enjoyable as a result of it is a tight six episodes of automobile chases and quips, not 14 hours of somber mumbling.

Patrick Mahomes can also be overcoming the percentages and ready to tackle the large bads. The Hawkeye TV collection is scheduled to wrap up whereas the Chiefs spin their wheels towards the Chargers, Steelers, and others down the stretch.

Hawkeye viewers know that this analogy makes the Raiders the Tracksuit Mafia. After Sunday’s 48-9 beating, that go well with positively suits.

City Meyer as David Brent
Welcome to the multi-car pileup you noticed coming the second Meyer obtained behind the wheel of the Jaguars final January. The one people who weren’t sure that Meyer’s NFL tenure could be transient and finish in some form of embarrassment have been Shad Khan; whichever speaking heads misplaced the coin flip on noon debate reveals; and hypothetical Tebow-era Florida Gators followers/alums who have been mulling a Jaguars season ticket buy. (That final group understandably swayed Khan’s opinion.)

The one query left as of a month in the past was how Meyer would in some way make issues worse in Duval. All of a sudden flitting off to UCLA? Ordering the Jaguars NFLPA rep to hold Spirit Week streamers within the locker room? Tim Tebow as Taysom Hill? Skipping crew obligations to as soon as once more try the nightlife at Tipsy MacFondle’s Tavern? Would you imagine: enraging Marvin Jones (the George Harrison of NFL broad receivers) till he almost stop the crew and ordering assistant coaches to humiliate themselves to assuage his bruised ego? Walkthrough assumed, erroneously, that Meyer was far too checked out for that form of factor. But right here we’re.

The Jaguars want to fireplace Meyer earlier than you learn this within the title of Trevor Lawrence preservation and primary organizational dignity.

Matt Rhule as Invoice Lumburgh
Rhule is City Meyer, besides with shlubby stubble-bearded allure.

Cam Newton began the 29-21 Panthers loss to the Falcons with a reliable landing drive consisting of some display passes and a rugged designed landing run. However Newton threw an unpleasant pick-six within the second quarter. Rhule, who fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady and promoted his bestie Jeff Nixon early within the week, benched Newton for P.J. Walker one full collection later. Walker promptly barfed out an excellent uglier interception.

Newton returned within the second half and led one other semi-competent drive. Then issues like this began occurring:

Golly, if we did not know higher, we’d counsel Pop Warner-caliber execution errors like that one are the results of altering coordinators midway by way of a bye week and yanking quarterbacks (considered one of whom joined the crew in midseason) out and in of the sport. Rhule’s resolution? Bench Newton for Walker once more.

After which, when Walker led the late-game landing drive that the Falcons spot to each opponent they face, Rhule reinserted Newton for the two-point conversion! Goes for 2 whereas trailing by 9 the fitting name late within the fourth quarter? That is debatable. Did a Panthers false begin pressure the Panthers to kick an additional level anyway? You betcha.

The 2021 Panthers saga is beginning to get a little bit too grimdark: Ozark, however with some slapstick moments. At the least the Panthers are basically eradicated from playoff rivalry, making it simple to look away.

Ben Roethlisberger as King Lear
Roethlisberger is crumbling like a vampire at dawn earlier than our eyes, but he can nonetheless ship a couple of correct floaters per recreation. The Steelers group and a vocal contingent of their fanbase exist in a time bubble the place it is completely 1977, in order that they’ll desperately cling to any signal that Massive Ben is Clint Eastwood and might defeat opponents with a glare, a grunt, and one well-placed proper hook.

The Steelers are 1-3-1 of their final 4 video games and obtained the stuffing punched out of them by the Vikings for 3 quarters, however you higher imagine people are rationalizing about that fourth-quarter near-comeback towards a sub-.500 opponent, blaming Chase Claypool for every thing, and nonetheless eyeing up that ultimate wild-card berth. Just like the Panthers saga, Massive Ben’s Final Stand is getting unhappy and determined, and it may get even worse if a late run convinces everybody to interrupt out the IcyHot and drag this saga out for one more yr.

The Wild-Card Weaklings because the Colourful Residents of Twin Peaks
When the unique Twin Peaks launched the idea of an entire city filled with oddballs with one or two entertaining character traits, it was recent and fascinating. The Simpsons expanded the thought to hilarious impact within the present’s first dozen seasons or so. However now, for each Parks and Recreation that makes use of its townsfolk to nice impact, there are many different comedies and dramas begging us to fall in love with their far-too-deep roster of “unforgettable” one-note aspect characters.

We have now coated the geezer-pleaser Steelers and the Cleveland Beige, however there are many different groups whose shtick has worn skinny. The Denver Broncos grasp round and beat dangerous opponents! So do the freakin’ Falcons! And the Saints with goofy neighbor Taysom Hill! The Chargers are good, however gosh they do the darndest issues on particular groups and within the pink zone! The Bengals both stink or are superior, and generally they’re each in the identical recreation! The 49ers go to hilarious lengths to cover their quarterback! Cannot you look forward to 4 extra episodes of their hijinks?

The 49ers-Bengals recreation illustrates the issue with the 17-game season/14-team playoff combo. It had every thing a fan may ask for: two wild-card hopefuls, contrasting offensive kinds, a fourth-quarter Bengals comeback, Ja’Marr Chase heroics, a back-and-forth time beyond regulation interval, a wild end. If solely it felt prefer it meant one thing. However the Bengals and 49ers are simply going to play one other month of comparable video games. The 49ers will then tumble into the playoffs as a result of there aren’t sufficient first rate NFC groups, whereas the Bengals are headed for a similar multiteam 8-8 AFC tiebreaker clusterhump coming into Week 18 that they’ve been aiming for since they misplaced to the Browns.

You get the thought. We have now identified for weeks there are 5 sturdy groups within the NFC. The AFC playoffs are seemingly coming all the way down to the Chiefs and Patriots. Almost every thing else is a manufactured, recycled B-story.

After all, Walkthrough will proceed to look at each second of it and breathlessly report on every twist and switch. And the NFL should still pull a couple of surprises and delights (MinshewMania! Some Patriots upsets! Joe Decide’s head exploding throughout a press convention! A MATT RYAN CONTRACT EXTENSION!) out of its hat.

But when the NFL expands to 18 video games, we’re actually gonna study what an excessive amount of of a superb factor seems like.

Recreation Highlight: Dallas Cowboys 27, Washington Soccer Workforce 20

What Occurred: The Cowboys introduced their very own warming benches to the sideline as a result of the warming benches at FedEx Subject reportedly can’t be counted upon to, you realize, heat. The Workforce That Nonetheless Has No Title then performed many of the afternoon just like the product of a franchise so mismanaged that they can’t even get fundamentals like furnishings (or selecting a reputation) proper.

Alongside the way in which, Washington misplaced beginning quarterback Taylor Heinicke and high broad receiver Terry McLaurin to accidents. If both misses important time, Washington’s slim playoff hopes are dashed.

Additionally, Walkthrough walked the doggo in a hoodie right here on the East Coast this morning, so the warming benches weren’t all that crucial. However you understand how people from Texas are about chilly climate, and we approve of something that additional shames the Washington group.

What it Means: The Cowboys have been sloppy on either side of the ball for lengthy stretches, settling for punts and area targets and permitting Washington to get again right into a recreation that the Cowboys dominated for many of three quarters. However as talked about earlier, it is almost not possible to get emotionally invested with the weekly adventures of the NFC frontrunners. The Cowboys will spend the following month jockeying for playoff seedings, which is all they’ve accomplished for many of the yr anyway.

Heinicke threw precisely one nice cross (the landing to Cam Sims) throughout an in any other case pitiful afternoon of overthrows, underthrows, sacks, interceptions, and near-interceptions floated into middle-of-the-field zone protection. The Fireplace Excessive Heinicke phenomenon is over, and that is a superb factor for Washington transferring ahead.

What’s Subsequent: The Cowboys ought to carry working headsets with them as they drive up I-95 to face the Giants. Washington ought to carry a little bit little bit of the soil from Dan Snyder’s Transylvanian homeland with them as additionally they drive up I-95 to face an Eagles crew whose playoff hopes are nonetheless alive.

Week 14 Awards

Walkthrough has loads of {hardware} to dish out this week.

Defender of the Week
Micah Parsons recorded two sacks and compelled the fumble which Dorance Armstrong returned for a second-quarter landing to present the Cowboys an 18-0 lead. Parsons now has 8.5 sacks and three compelled fumbles in his final six video games.

Offensive Line of the Week
The Saints offensive line has battled accidents all season lengthy, however the makeshift mixture of Terron Armstead, Calvin Throckmorton, Eric McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, and James Hurst helped Alvin Kamara rush for 120 yards and one landing and Taysom Hill appear like a semi-capable quarterback in a 30-9 victory over the Jets. After all, this may solely additional feed Sean Payton’s Taysom delusion, however the offensive line can solely do what it is paid to do.

Particular Teamer of the Week
Jakeem Grant. 97-yard punt return landing for the Bears within the late recreation. ‘Nuff mentioned.

Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn earns honorable point out for a 61-yard area purpose simply earlier than halftime in a 33-13 Seahawks win which was shut for some time.

How lengthy do you assume the Texans 2021 spotlight reel will likely be? And the way a lot of it do you assume will likely be particular groups performs? The Texans have a behavior of that includes punts downed contained in the 5-yard line amongst their greatest performs of the week, as a result of there’s not a lot else for them to have fun.

Walkthrough is setting the over-under at 30.5 minutes of highlights (20 of them Jack Easterby Laff Alongside With the Disciples sermons) and 4.5 particular groups performs.

Greatest Supporting Actor in Somebody Else’s Spotlight
Justin Tucker executed the onside kick. Chuck Clark recovered it. However Andy Janovich earns this week’s honors with some intense ricochet-off-the-facemask goodness:

Eh, it feels a little bit mean-spirited to single Janovich out when the Browns gained. So let’s give Honorable Point out to Jadeveon Clowney for his work because the intermediary on Myles Garrett’s strip-six:

Clowney additionally picked up an important sack after that onside kick to assist the Browns scratch out a win. However his work on Garrett’s landing, like a ahead taking the entry cross on a give-and-go or a second baseman on a 3-4-3 double play, is the form of doesn’t-show-up-on-the-stat-sheet contribution we now have come to count on from Clowney. (Simply kidding! The ball simply bounced throughout him. However he did have a high-quality recreation.)

Burn This Play!
We start with that pleasant Payments misdirection pretend punt:

The second-biggest downside with that pretend is that it is over-engineered silliness that the Buccaneers particular groups clearly sees coming. In case your pretend punt requires a unusual formation which telegraphs that trickery is coming, it is much less a “pretend” than an offensive play, besides together with your dual-threat Professional Bowl quarterback changed by a punter.

The largest downside with the pretend is that it demonstrated that the Payments had zero religion in Josh Allen and their offense to select up 2 powerful yards. Beginning with the following collection, they have been in a position to run everywhere in the Buccaneers. So Sean McDermott outsmarted himself, which is beginning to turn into a behavior.

Honorable point out to Washington for going for it on fourth-and-3 early of their loss to the Cowboys. That is high-quality. They emptied the backfield, which isn’t so high-quality, as a result of it robbed them of a possible pass-protector or any risk of a run or a swing cross. Taylor Heinicke then drifted backward indecisively, which isn’t in any respect high-quality: an interception is normally higher than a sack on fourth down, and a strip-sack that ends in a landing is, after all, inexcusable.

Watch the fitting aspect of the display for the Burn This Play coup de grace: Curtis Samuel and Ricky Seals-Jones colliding with one another on what are purported to be rub routes:

One other honorable point out goes to wherever the hell this was:

That is what it seems like when a high quarterback prospect will get ruined as a result of his crew stop on their belligerently incompetent head coach.

Anchors Aweigh Burn This Play!
Congratulations to Navy, who beat Military 17-13 thanks largely to this gutsy run on a pretend punt by star linebacker Diego Fagot:

Besides that Navy’s coaches didn’t name a pretend punt. The lengthy snapper simply whizzed the soccer to Fagot!

Approach to improvise, adapt, and overcome, Cadet Fagot! As for the lengthy snapper who both took issues into his personal fingers or misunderstood his directions, properly … that younger man may very well be pushing buttons on a nuclear submarine in a couple of years. Maybe he ought to go away the inventive problem-solving to the highest brass?

Eh, Captain Picard obtained stabbed by way of the center after he picked a combat with a Nausicaan when he was on the academy, and he turned out alright. Maybe the second of youthful exuberance that led to his look in Burn This Play! will simply be a part of that younger snapper’s wealthy life tapestry.

Monday Night time Sportsbook: Los Angeles Rams +2.5 at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are 17-25 as residence favorites for the reason that begin of the Bruce Arians period manner again in 2013. They’re 4-10 since 2018. Whereas neither the Carson Palmer nor Josh Rosen Cardinals inform this crew in any significant manner, these splits are a reminder that the Cardinals group does not have a formidable big-game portfolio. The Rams, in contrast, are 8-4 as highway canines since Sean McVay took over in 2017.

Walkthrough is extra swayed by the Cardinals’ 37-20 Week 4 victory than the splits, however we’re cautious of this recreation and are subsequently extra prone to play some props than lay factors towards the Rams. (For as soon as, the same-game over-under parlay is not beckoning us towards the rocky shoals).

The Deandre Hopkins quantity is 58.5. Nuk gained 65 yards in Week 4, and the Rams protection ranks twenty sixth towards No. 1 receivers as a result of Jalen Ramsey performs a hybrid/slot function, so we’re going over at -115. We could hedge that guess with Zach Ertz over 40.5 at -120 towards the third-worst protection within the league over the brief center of the sphere.

And at last, since this does not match anyplace else, we must always acknowledge that Andrew Whitworth will turn into the first 40-year old to start an NFL game at tackle when he takes the sphere for the Rams on Monday night time. Joyful birthday, Andrew! Monday night time will be the capstone to your Corridor of Fame portfolio: it is onerous to argue towards a participant’s profession worth when he is having a Professional Bowl-caliber season for a playoff crew at an unprecedented age.

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