By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond
NEW YORK(RushPRnews)12/29/08- It was a perfect finish to a season filled with the most improbable. Teams such as the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins all took care of business in week 17 and secured themselves a playoffs spot while others such as the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets, all crumbled under the limelight. As one season ends, another begins in the form of the postseason. And this one is for all the marbles.
Dolphins 24, Jets 17
Miami finally puts an end to the AFC East race
The New York Jets were looking for some of that Brett Favre magic to stay alive in the playoff hunt, but the rabbit never came out of the hat. Instead, the mistake prone Brett Favre showed up at the most inopportune time. When you have a quarterback like Favre, the team must live with him throwing interceptions. The Jets were unable to get over the 3 picks he threw and it cost them dearly. But don’t put the blame solely on Favre’s shoulders (bad shoulder or not) as Thomas Jones and Leon Washington could not muster anything on the ground combining for only 83 yards.
On the other hand, the Miami Dolphins challenged themselves to play better against the New York Jets the second time around and they did just that. After the Jets showed Chad Pennington the door a couple of months ago, it was his turn to return the favor and send his former team on an early vacation.
Pennington did a good job not turning the ball over and took what the defense gave him. He went 22-for-30 for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. His favorite receiver was Davon Bess, who hauled in a team high 6 receptions.
The Dolphins capped a remarkable turnaround season after going 1-15 last year and are rewarded with a playoff berth.
The Dallas Cowboys controlled their own destiny and were in perfect position to clinch a playoff berth with a win in Philly. But once again, Tony Romo and the Cowboys failed to rise to the occasion and come up big when needed. No more turmoil in Dallas? Is Romo the right man for the job? The chatter and these questions are back and rightfully so. Yes, winning cures everything, but the Cowboys did not win. It wasn’t even close.
Dallas’ offense and special teams seemed off-rhythm and they hurt themselves.
Romo went 21-for-39 for 183 yards and one interception. He had two costly turnovers, including a fumble that was recovered by Chris Clemons and returned 73 yards for the score at the beginning of the second half. Then things got worst as Marion Barber fumbled the ball on the next possession and it was scooped up and brought back 96 yards into the endzone by Joselio Hanson. Nobody sporting a Cowboys uniform wanted to hold onto the ball.
Donavan McNabb ended the season on a positive note finishing 12-for-21 for 175 yards. He also tossed two touchdown passes.
Colts 23, Titans 0
Playmakers get the day off.
In a game that meant nothing in regards to the playoff picture, the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans with ease. Coming into the last game of the season, both teams secured their playoff spots regardless of a win or loss. Their standpoint was to keep their rhythm and momentum heading into the post season. Not a problem for the Colts (12-4), who ended the season on a nine-game winning streak.
But most importantly, staying healthy was the focal point for both teams. As expected, both head coaches elected to give their star players a short day’s work. Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning was impressive in his brief appearance and went 7 for 7 for 95 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Addai in the first quarter. Backup Jim Sorgi took over for Manning shortly after.
As for the Titans (13-3), franchise quarterback Vince Young, saw his real first action since suffering a knee injury in week one against the Jacksonville Jaguars. No question that he had a little rust, but getting valuable playing time will be a tremendous boost if something were to happen to their starter Kerry Collins.
Patriots 13, Bills 0
11 wins was not enough
First step in making the playoffs was to get a win over the Buffalo Bills. The New England Patriots took care of that. Second on the list: hope the New York Jets beat Miami or that Jacksonville pulls the upset over the Ravens. That didn’t happen. The situation leaves the Patriots, an 11-5 team, to miss the playoffs.
Shutting out the Bills will be little consolation for New England as the win means nothing in terms of the playoff picture. Quarterback Matt Cassel did not have big day throwing 6-for-8 for 78 yards. Instead he handed the ball off 44 times to his running backs that plowed ahead and consistently moved the chains. Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan combined for 149 yards. This will be the first time in seven seasons that Belichick’s Patriots fail to make it into the postseason.
Packers 31, Lions 21
Worst distinction in NFL history
It was a valiant effort from the Detroit Lions but in the end, Green Bay wrote the final chapter in the history books. No way that the Packers, who wrapped up a disappointing season, were going to be the first team to lose to Detroit this season. It just wasn’t going to happen. After all, the Lions have officially been tamed and will go down in NFL history as the first team to go 0-16.
Green Bay (6-10) got the ground game working early and running back DeShawn Wynn scored on a 73-yard run in the first quarter. No surprise there, as the Lions have not been able to stop the run all season long. Greg Jennings and Donald Driver from Green Bay had over 100-yards receiving. Both receivers helped the Packers end a five-game losing streak.
All Detroit can do now is hope that fortunes change next season. Head coach Rod Marinelli is on the hot seat. No question that a fresh set of eyes at the head coach position might do the Lions some good.
The action continues on Sunday. Look for our update, right here at RushPRnews.
Photo courtesy of the National Football League.