Good Ol’ Fashioned Barn Burner
You wouldn’t have thought going into Week 16 that a matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills would be a high scoring back and forth affair. Ultimately it ended with a game winning field goal in overtime in favor of the Dolphins. Running back Jay Ajayi ran for 206 yards and one touchdown in Miami’s victory. You might recall he ran for 214 yards in their previous matchup with Buffalo in Week 7. Miami almost gained a total of 500 yards for the game while Buffalo amassed 589. The Bills were playing for their playoff lives and came up short. The Dolphins with that win and Denver’s loss to Kansas City ended up clinching a playoff spot on Christmas day. Heading into the final week of the season, lets hope we see more of this.
The Injury Bug Bites Hard
There were three notable injuries during Saturday’s games. The first was when Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota suffered a broken fibula. With the Titans eventual loss to Jacksonville, they were out of playoff contention. The next one happened with Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett. Like with Mariota, a broken leg when the defender landed right on it diving for the ball. Lockett is a big part of their aerial attack and on special teams. The last and biggest headline was Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr breaking his fibula while being sacked from behind. The obvious point is that this will affect the Raiders Super Bowl aspirations, but with their victory against the Indianapolis Colts they ran the ball effectively and will need to do so consistently in the playoffs. You never want to see a team lose their best player. Especially just before the playoffs get under way.
Early Playoff Motivation
I’m going to give former Steelers Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw the benefit of the doubt and say that his comments about current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was his way of motivating the players. It is bizarre to say that a head coach of any sport is just a ‘cheerleader’ because that’s part of the job, isn’t it? You’re supposed to motivate your players to perform at their highest level and be prepared for all possibilities. To no ones surprise, the Steelers players afterwards said that Bradshaw’s comments were strange to say the least and that it was an added factor to their victory of division rival Baltimore to win the AFC North on Christmas day. If Bradshaw was truly criticizing Tomlin, I have no idea why. Bill Cowher, who coached Pittsburgh before Tomlin, is viewed by Bradshaw as a better head coach. He has one Super Bowl victory to his credit and has appeared in another. The same can be said for Mike Tomlin and the Steelers. This whole thing was just bizarre. I’m not going to pile on Bradshaw here, but if his goal was to light a fire under the Steelers players, he succeeded. If he goes after Tomlin again in the near future, then I’ll be more critical of the Hall of Famer’s opinion.