The playoff picture is set and Black Monday is looming

The good, bad and ugly of NFL week 17

Mahomes for MVP? Jim Berry, Chiefs website

Just when you thought the NFL couldn't get any more exciting, week 17 said "hold my beer" and proceeded to wow us. Here's how I saw it play out:

The Good

- Chiefs' quarterback Pat Mahomes secured only the third 50 passing touchdown season in NFL history in their 35-3 dismantling of the Raiders. He's only in his first full season as the starting quarterback and is widely considered the frontrunner for league MVP.

-Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield broke the rookie passing touchdown record in a losing effort. He threw his 27th touchdown pass of the season as they tried to keep the Ravens out of the playoffs. Mind you, he didn't start the season. He had to "Wally Pip" Tyrod Taylor to get the starting job.

-In the "Loser Leaves Town" match, the Colts beat the Titans 33-17 to get the final playoff spot in the AFC. Props to the NFL for adjusting the schedule to allow for games this important to take place between division rivals and allowing it to be flexed into the Sunday night time slot.

The Bad

- Jags executive vice president Tom Coughlin called running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon's behavior on the sideline "disrespectful, selfish, and was unbecoming of a professional football player." Fournette and Yeldon sat on the bench the entire game and generally seemed uninterested in the game as one was inactive and the other didn't play. Is this Coughlin being an old, or the players being millenials, or both?

-The Steelers barely edged out the Bengals 16-13 and missed the playoffs. One can point to their horrible loss to the Raiders a couple weeks ago, or the come from ahead loss to the Saints, or even their tying of the Browns on opening week. No matter how you slice it, this is completely on them.

-Rumor has it that the Dolphins may get rid of head coach Adam Gase. It would be a terrible decision considering what Gase has done for all the quarterbacks he worked with. If Ryan Tannehill had been healthy, their season may have turned out differently. I know of a certain quarterback and head coach combo that could use a guy like Gase.

The Ugly

-Without a shot at a playoff spot and only a little more than pride on the line, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers started the final game of the season against the Lions. He did not finish however because he was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion. What a terrible way to start your offseason when you're also looking for a new head coach.

-The Skins were blanked by the Eagles 24-0. If that wasn't bad enough, they only put up 89 yards of offense! Their 68 yards passing was only nine more than Eagles leading receiver Alshon Jeffrey had. Their 21 yards rushing was three less than Eagles third leading rusher Darren Sproles totaled.

-Black Monday is already upon us. The Jets fired Todd Bowles and the Bucs fired Dirk Koetter. Several other coaches are expected to be let go. Among them are Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, who was only given one year to work with an inferior roster, Broncos' Vance Joseph and previously mentioned Gase in Miami.

The playoffs are set and will be exciting to see. The road to the Super Bowl goes through New Orleans in the NFC and Kansas City in the AFC. Number one seeds have been nine of the last ten Super Bowl participants, but this season feels different. Guess that's why Herm Edwards gave us his famous line.

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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