JERMAINE EVERY'S OBSERVATIONS

The good, bad and ugly from the NFL's Week 13

The good, bad and ugly from the NFL's Week 13
Russell Wilson had a big week. Getty Images

Week 13 in the NFL is in the books. The playoff picture still isn’t crystal clear. In fact, it may be murkier than before. Here’s how I saw things:

The Good

-Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes in their 43-16 beatdown of the 49ers. Sure, others have thrown for more touchdowns in a game, but the fact that he was 11 of 17 and threw four touchdowns was the impressive part. Wilson was knocked for his size and proved the doubters wrong. He’s also proving he can do it without a once stout defense and run game.

-Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald may have solidified his stronghold on the Defensive Player of the Year Award with a two sack performance in their 30-16 win over the Lions. Donald has a league-leading 16.5 sacks on the year. With a 1.375 per game average, he’s on pace for 22 this season, one shy of the record.

-Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay led them to a 24-10 win over the Broncos. The hometown hero (born, raised, and played college ball in the Colorado) had 19 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Lindsay was an undrafted free agent who is fourth in the league in rushing. Talk about living the dream.

The Bad

-Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson left the game under concussion protocol after being kicked in the head by a teammate. Although he was cleared an came back, running him as much as they have in his two starts this season leave him exposed to unnecessary contact. The Ravens may want to rethink how they use him.

-The Bengals are now 5-7 and have lost stud wideout A.J. Green for three to four months. Head coach Marvin Lewis’ tenure may finally be over and I believe it’s time. However, team owner Mike Brown is notoriously cheap and may not want to pay Lewis to go away.

-The Panthers fired two defensive coaches following their 24-17 loss to the Bucs. Head coach Ron Rivera will take over calling the plays on that side of the ball. Strange to say the least considering quarterback Cam Newton threw four picks and the defense still held the Bucs to 315 yards.  

The Ugly

-The Jags beat the Colts 6-0 in an awful game. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw the ball 52 times and they still couldn’t score! The Jags had more penalties accepted on them (eight) than points!

-Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy less than three hours after his presser following an embarrassing loss to the Cardinals. The team is now 4-7-1, fully invested in quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and now in need of a new coach. McCarthy accomplished a lot in his tenure, but this is a “what have you done for me lately” league.

-The Chiefs have parted ways with running back Kareem Hunt following the release of a video showing him assaulting a woman in a hotel. Hunt is an incredible talent who committed a heinous act and will be another example of an athlete squandering the opportunity of a lifetime because he chose to be stupid.

Both conferences are top-heavy, with a cluster of teams fighting for the final few spots. Four division races are just about done, while the other four are up in the air. Last few weeks will be exciting to watch because so much will be at stake. Congrats NFL on making the end of the season matter by scheduling division games in week 17.

 

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Allen had high praise for Diggs. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images.

Impersonal as it might seem to have their dynamic on-field relationship end with an exchange of phone texts, Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear on Thursday how much receiver Stefon Diggs meant to him during their four seasons together in Buffalo.

Allen made no mention of Diggs’ mercurial temperament or the occasional sideline flare-ups by expressing only praise in his first opportunity to discuss his now-former teammate being traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month.

“Just thanking him for everything that he did for me, and (I’ll) always have a spot in my heart for him. I’ll always love that guy like a brother. And I wish him nothing but the best,” Allen said, in disclosing what he texted to Diggs. “My lasting memory of Stef will be the receiver that helped me become the quarterback that I am today.”

Brought together in March 2020, when Buffalo gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, the duo went on to re-write many of Buffalo's single-season passing and scoring records, and lead the team to four straight AFC East titles.

Diggs, now 30, also brought an inescapable sense of drama with him in raising questions about his commitment to the Bills and whether his tight relationship with Allen had soured.

A day before being traded, Diggs posted a message, “You sure?” on the social media platform X in response to someone suggesting he wasn’t essential to Allen’s success.

Whatever hard feelings, if any, lingered as Buffalo opened its voluntary workout sessions this week were not apparent from Allen or coach Sean McDermott, who also addressed reporters for the first time since Diggs was traded.

“Stef’s a great player, really enjoyed our time together. Won a lot of games and he was a huge factor in winning those games. We’ll miss him,” McDermott said. “You never replace a player like Stef Diggs, and we wish him well.”

Allen turned his focus to the future and a Bills team that spent much of the offseason retooling an aging and expensive roster.

Aside from trading Diggs, salary cap restrictions led to Buffalo cutting respected center Mitch Morse, the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017, and the team unable to afford re-signing No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis.

“I don’t think it’s a wrong thing or a bad thing to get younger,” said Allen, entering his seventh NFL season. “I think it’s an opportunity for myself to grow as a leader. And to bring along some of these young guys and new guys that we’ve brought in to our team. And that’s an opportunity, frankly, that I’m very excited about."

Despite the departures, the Bills offense is not exactly lacking even though general manager Brandon Beane is expected to target selecting a receiver with his first pick — currently 28th overall — in the draft next week.

Receiver Khalil Shakir enters his third year and tight end Dalton Kincaid enter his second following promising seasons. Buffalo also added veteran experience in signing free agent receiver Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

While Beane acknowledged the Bills lack a true No. 1 receiver, he noted there’s less urgency to fill that spot now than in 2020 because of how much the offense has developed under Allen.

“Now that Josh has ascended to the player he is, is that a requirement? I don’t think so,” Beane said.

Diggs’ role also began diminishing in the second half of last season, which coincided with Joe Brady replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator. Brady placed an emphasis on adding balance to a pass-heavy attack and getting more receivers involved, which led to an uptick in production for Shakir and Kincaid.

While Diggs’ numbers dropped, Buffalo’s win total increased.

With the Bills at 6-6, Diggs ranked third in the NFL with 83 catches, seventh with 969 yards and tied for third with eight TDs receiving. Buffalo then closed the season with five straight wins in which Diggs combined for 24 catches for 214 yards and no scores.

”(Diggs) meant a lot. You look at the statistics, they don’t lie,” Allen said, in referring to Diggs topping 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons in Buffalo. “I don’t get paid to make changes on the team. I get paid to be the best quarterback that I can be and try to lead the guys on this team.”

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