Week 17 is the playoffs before the playoffs for some teams and a minor nuisance before a six month vacation for most. This latest season’s mix of mediocrity in the AFC and haves versus have-nots in the NFC led to more meaningful games than usual for the last regular season hurrah.
In the NFC, the division title was on the line as Philadelphia visited the Jerry Jones mega church in Dallas. As they’ve been prone to do the last, oh decade or so, the Eagles didn’t show up for the big game as Dallas rode Miles Austin and the suddenly staunch Cowboys defense with a 24-0 win. Dallas hosts Philly again next week, so we’ll see if Romo and the ‘Boys can return the favor. Philly’s no-show allowed Minnesota to slip into the second seed, with a little help from the Giants’ own no-show. It’ll be interesting to see if heads will roll for the Giants, specifically Tom Coughlin’s.
In the AFC, a whole bunch of teams bunched up for the last two playoffs spots looked to take care of business. Many failed, some in embarrassing fashion. Denver coach Josh McDaniels’ decision to bench troublesome receiver Brandon Marshall didn’t rally the troops as anticipated as Kansas City rolled over the rival Broncos behind Jamaal Charles’ 250 yards rushing.
The Patriots suffered through one of the worst meaningless game losses ever. Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker busted his knee without even being hit on the first offensive drive. The Pats recovered to take a 14 point lead going into the fourth quarter, than disintegrated in all facets to allow the Texans to come back and win. Part of the problem was Bill Belichick couldn’t commit to winning the game, resting injured starters and randomly asserting backup QB Brian Hoyer into the game.
The Texans fans were so overcome with joy at their team finishing over .500 for the first time ever, that they forgot how to spell. Or people from Texas are just that dumb.
The Ravens took care of business with a ho-hum win over the Raiders. Willis McGahee led the way scoring three times as well as stealing safety Hiram Eugene’s manhood with the stiff arm/pimp slap seen in the above video. The Ravens will look to avenge an early season loss in New England next week in the playoffs.
In the large slate of meaningless games, a few interesting things did happen.
— The Rammies clinched the Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes with a thrilling loss at home to San Francisco.
— Jay Cutler gave Chicago fans a much needed boost of fake Midwestern optimism for the 2010 season throwing 4 TDs against the Lions.
— Chris Johnson broke all-time great Marshall Faulk’s record for yards for scrimmage in a season.
— The Colts played their starters in blizzard conditions in Buffalo before pulling them to start the second quarter. Of course, none of them got hurt. The Bills feasted on the backups for a 30-7 win.
— Miami backup QB Pat White got in the game yesterday…and got his snotbox rocked by the Steelers Ike Taylor. Hopefully, he’s recuperating today but he’s got the whole offseason to recover.
Look for the playoff preview from TSS this week. I’m off to start a vigil for Wes Welker’s ligaments.