What a crazy week of football!

The good, bad, and ugly from NFL Week 14

The good, bad, and ugly from NFL Week 14
Miami pulled off the improbable. Miami Dolphins Team Website

Wow! What a week of football! We had upsets, blowouts, and some of the most exciting plays to date! Here's how I saw it go down:

THE GOOD

-The Dolphins pulled off a dramatic 34-33 upset of the Patriots on the final play of the game. They completed a 69-yard hook and ladder play using two laterals to score a touchdown. If you haven't seen the play by now, I question whether or not you are connected to society. Belichek took responsibility for the play, as he should've.

-Chief's quarterback Pat Mahomes Jr. is the league MVP. Not only is he on pace for 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards passing, but he has highlight reel plays damn near every game. Case in point: his no-look pass for a first down, and his unbelievable 4th down completion to Tyreek Hill that goes against all conventional wisdom.

-The Bears stifled the Rams in an old school, hard-nosed football game. Final score was 15-6. It was the first time the Rams had been held under 23 all season, much less under 10. Whoever said the league is more flag football should watch this Bears team, or the Ravens, the Cowboys play defense.

THE BAD

-The Steelers inexplicably lost, again. This time, it was to the lowly Raiders by a 24-21 margin. The Steelers came into the game 7-4-1 and in control of the two seed via the Pats loss. They left with their third straight one score loss. A play here or there and they could easily be the one seed in the AFC.

-Speaking of the Raiders, they decided to fire general manager Reggie McKenzie. This appears to have been the end of the McKenzie/Jon Gruden power struggle. Ever since the team rehired Gruden as its head coach, he's been in a constant pissing match with those in the front office. Game over. He's won. Here's to hoping the Raiders spent that $100 million dollars on Gruden wisely.

- The Lions won 17-3 over the Cardinals. Your fifth win in the thirteenth game of the season over a three-win team is bad enough, but to do so with only 96 yards passing? That's reason to make your fanbase wear bags over their heads, even in a win.

THE UGLY

-The Skins benched recently acquired quarterback Mark "Butt Fumbler" Sanchez in their 40-16 blowout loss to the Giants. Josh Johnson, also recently acquired, will now be the starter for a team that's down to its fourth option at quarterback. I wonder if they'll call…Tony Romo. Gotcha!

-The Panthers were once 6-2 and being talked about as an NFC contender. Then the Steelers blew them out 52-21 on Thursday Night Football and that started their five game slide. Now 6-7, they'll most likely miss the playoffs and head coach Ron Rivera should be on the hot seat. This team is more up and down in recent years than teenage girl's emotions during prom season.

-Cowboys running back Ezekial Elliott was flagged for lowering his helmet and initiating contact in their 29-23 wild win over the Eagles. He was running towards the sideline and did what comes natural to every running back: lowering himself to brace for contact. However, the refs decided to flag him on the play and negate a would-be first down. Excuse my language, but this s*%# is pissing me off!

Some teams have clinched their playoff spot and/or division already. Others are struggling to the finish line. Then there are the ones who once looked promising and now look like life came at them fast, similar to the former beauty queens/kings in high school that look like life whipped their ass with an ugly stick. Sure is going to be a great finish and playoff run!

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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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