Monday Morning Quarterback: The Good, The Bad Of Week 17
Carolina PanthersAtlanta Falcons
Cam Newton did it again. While the Panthers have a powerful defense, Newton’s ability to make big plays has been the key to the Panthers’ surge that saw them win 11 of their final 12 regular-season games. Newton completed 15-of-27 passes for 149 yards with two TDs and one interception. He also ran for 72 yards that helped the Panthers survive against the Saints and win the NFC South and earn the second seed in the NFC playoffs.
Ryan While Matt Ryan kept the Falcons competitive, the story was a familiar one. The Falcons could not finish the job and their disappointing season came to an end. Ryan completed 28-of-40 passes for 280 yards with two TDs and an interception that was returned for a touchdown. He was also sacked nine times.
Cincinnati BengalsBaltimore Ravens
The Bengals finished the season by eliminating the Ravens and having a perfect 8-0 season at home. Andy Dalton directed the win and threw two TD passes, but he had some issues in this game.
Dalton threw four interceptions against the Ravens and he’s not going into the playoffs against San Diego off a solid outing. Joe Flacco was unable to lead his team to clutch victories down the stretch against New England or Cincinnati. He completed 30-of-50 passes for 192 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Indianapolis ColtsJacksonville Jaguars
The Colts go into the playoffs with plenty of momentum as they put away the Jaguars with no trouble. Andrew Luck completed 26-of-37 passes for 282 yards with one TD and he did not throw an interception.
Chad Henne once again came up with a big effort as he completed 30-of-51 passes for 331 yards with one TD and one interception, but it was not enough to keep the Jaguars in the game against a very good opponent.
New York JetsMiami Dolphins
The Jets ruined the Dolphins’ season by coming up with a big effort in the season finale and Geno Smith had one of his best games as he completed 17-of-27 passes for 190 yards. While he did not throw a TD pass, he ran for one and he did not throw an interception.
Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense collapsed in the final two weeks of the season and could not take advantage of their opportunity to secure a playoff berth. Tannehill completed 20-of-40 passes for 204 yards with one TD and three costly interceptions.
Minnesota VikingsDetroit Lions
The Vikings closed out the Metrodome with a win and Matt Cassel has made a claim for the starting QB position in 2014. He completed 20-of-33 passes for 189 yards with one TD and one interception.
Matthew Stafford was supposed to show he was an elite quarterback this season, but he failed to play well in clutch games. Stafford completed 22-of-33 passes for 217 yards with one touchdown against the Vikings, but the Lions once again came up losers.
New York GiantsWashington Redskins
The Giants finished the season on a winning note, but Eli Manning injured his ankle late in the first half and could not play in the final 30 minutes. Manning completed 10-of-24 passes for 152 yards with one TD and one interception before he got hurt, and that was enough against the stumbling Redskins.
Kirk Cousins tried to keep the Redskins in the game, but he was off-target throughout the game as he completed 19-of-49 passes for 169 yards without a touchdown and two interceptions.
Pittsburgh SteelersCleveland Browns
The Steelers certainly ended the season on a positive note and would have earned a spot in the playoffs if Kansas City placekicker Ryan Succop had made his FG attempts at the gun against the Chargers. Ben Roethlisberger was quite solid in the second half of the season and he completed 19-of-31 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Jason Campbell was once again competitive, but his team simply did not have the firepower to win this game. Campbell completed 23-of-41 passes for 240 yards with one TD and one interception.
Tennessee TitansHouston Texans
Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to lead the Titans to a win in their season finale over the lowly Texans. Fitzpatrick completed 15-of-24 passes for 166 yards with one interception.
Matt Schaub had little spark in the season finale as the Texans ended the season with their 14th consecutive defeat. Schaub 22-of-34 passes for 229 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Green Bay PackersChicago Bears
Aaron Rodgers was somewhat rusty in his first game back following a shoulder separation, but he saved his best for last as he threw the game-winning TD pass to Randall Cobb that gave the Packers the victory in the final minute and earned them the NFC North title. Rodgers completed 25-of-39 passes for 318 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
While it can be argued that Jay Cutler and Bears deserved a better fate, they found a way to lose this game in which they appeared to be the better team. Cutler completed 15-of-24 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and he seemed unsure of himself at several moments throughout the game.
New England PatriotsBuffalo Bills
The Patriots came up with a professional effort in the rainy conditions in Foxboro as they secured the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. Tom Brady completed 14-of-24 passes for 122 yards with one TD and one interception.
Thad Lewis did what he could to keep his team in the game, but it was not enough. He completed 16-of-29 passes for 247 yards with one touchdown.
New Orleans SaintsTampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints figured to overpower the Bucs because they needed this game to secure a spot in the playoffs. Drew Brees was razor sharp as he completed 24-of-31 passes for 381 yards with four TDs and no interceptions.
Mike Glennon was not good enough to compete with Brees. He completed 22-of-41 passes for 219 yards with two TDs and one interception as the Bucs fell woefully short.
San Francisco 49ersArizona Cardinals
The 49ers are rolling as they go into the playoffs, as they ended the regular season with a hard-fought win over the Cardinals. Colin Kaepernick had one of his best games as he completed 21-of-34 passes for 310 yards with two TDs and no interceptions.
Carson Palmer had a solid season in the desert, but he could not bring the Cardinals a win in the season finale against a tough opponent. Palmer completed 28-of-49 passes for a robust 407 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Still, the Cardinals fell behind early and couldn’t sustain their comeback.
Denver BroncosOakland Raiders
Peyton Manning had another sensational game in what will almost certainly be an MVP season. Manning completed 25-of-28 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Manning set the record for most yardage (5,477) and TD (55) passes in a season.
Terrelle Pryor ended up with decent numbers as he completed 21-of-38 passes for 207 yards, but both of his TD passes came late in the game when the outcome had already been decided.
San Diego ChargersKansas City Chiefs
The Chargers may not have played their best game, but they were good enough to take advantage of a couple of late breaks to survive in overtime and earn the sixth and final spot in the AFC playoffs. Philip Rivers completed 22-of-33 passes for 229 yards with three TDs and one interception.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel played the entire game as head coach Andy Reid rested starter Alex Smith. Daniel was solid and nearly led the Chiefs to the win as he completed 21-of-30 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown. He did not throw an interception.
Seattle SeahawksSt. Louis Rams
Seattle clinched the NFC West crown and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs in this victory. Russell Wilson completed 15-of-23 passes for 172 yards with one touchdown and he did not throw any interceptions or fumble the ball.
Kellen Clemens has been gutsy for the Rams since taking over for the injured Sam Bradford. However, he could not overcome Seattle’s aggressive defense as he completed 21-of-30 passes for 157 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Philadelphia EaglesDallas Cowboys
The Eagles completed their mission and held on to get the victory and take the NFC East title. Nick Foles was not spectacular, but he avoided mistakes and he completed 17-of-26 passes for 263 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles did a good job of reading the Cowboys defense and finding his open receivers.
Backup Kyle Orton had the responsibility of getting the Cowboys to the playoffs and he had a solid game in throwing for 358 yards and two touchdowns. However, when the Cowboys had their opportunity to win the game in the final two minutes, he threw a brutal interception that clinched the game for the Eagles and ended the Cowboys' season.