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Thursday, April 9, 2020

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 13

Bill Belichick

There are only four weeks to go in the NFL regular season, which means we’ll be watching a lot of huge games in the weeks to come. With bye weeks finished and everybody in action the rest of the way, every game is big in some way, even if the outcomes only affect draft position. Sunday was no different, effectively kicking off the stretch run of the season.

Here are 10 big disappointments from Week 13.

New England Patriots

The Patriots entered Sunday night with the best record in the league at 10-1 and the No. 1 defense. But they looked nothing like the best team in the league during their loss at Houston. The offense struggled to get anything going for most of the game, with Tom Brady taking sacks and complaining about his receivers’ inability to get open. The defense allowed four touchdowns in what was their worst performance since the Baltimore loss. Even kicker Kai Forbath missed an extra point. The Pats are 2-2 in their last four and their 22 points (mostly in garbage time Sunday night) was their high mark during that span. Brady seems to have seen this coming.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles looked like a disaster, particularly on defense, against the lowly Miami Dolphins. They were victimized by one of the better trick plays we’ve seen, sure, but Miami also put up 409 yards of total offense on them and totally deserved to win the game. Add in lingering concerns about how good Carson Wentz really is, and the Eagles have a lot to think about. Losses like this tend to cause a reckoning in Philadelphia.

Nick Foles, QB, Jaguars

Foles lasted just three games before being sent to the bench in favor of Gardner Minshew. It was an entirely deserved demotion as well, which makes things worse. He turned the ball over three times in the first half and failed to lead any scoring drives. The fact that his bad game came against a porous Tampa Bay secondary makes matters worse. Foles doesn’t deserve to get his job back after this one, and it’s fair to say he’s been a total bust for Jacksonville this season.

Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts

Injuries definitely hindered Brissett’s efforts on Sunday, and his offensive line wasn’t quite up to par, but there was no hiding that the quarterback’s performance wasn’t good enough. Brissett threw two interceptions in the loss, both of which were largely on him. He was also sacked three times. The Colts couldn’t really afford to lose a home game like this, and Brissett, as solid as he’s been all season, was disappointingly below par.

Indianapolis Colts’ kicking game

At least it wasn’t simply Adam Vinatieri this week. Having the veteran kicker attempt one from 55 with all the issues he’s had was silly, and it’s hard to blame him for that inevitable miss. He was blocked from 53 and 46, an indictment of both the kicker and the Indianapolis special teams. One blocked kick in a game is too many. Two is abominable, especially when the second one was returned all the way for a Tennessee touchdown.

Carolina Panthers

Legitimate playoff contenders do not lose to the Washington Redskins. It is that simple. The entire team was below par on Sunday, from a defense that was gashed by Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice to an offense held below 300 yards by a mediocre defense. Particularly frustrating was Christian McCaffrey, who barely surpassed the 100 all-purpose yard mark he usually demolishes. This loss should cast aside any notion that the Panthers are a playoff team, and raises serious questions about Kyle Allen’s future as Carolina’s quarterback.

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets

Adam Gase went out of his way to praise Darnold during the week in light of the quarterback’s response to the criticism he faced a month ago. So much for that. Darnold was terrible against the Bengals, who came into the game winless. Darnold was hindered by a terrible performance from his offensive line, and few of his players made plays for him. He looked lost against a defense that has not given opponents trouble all year. This was a bad one.

DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Broncos

Few Broncos players will be more relieved by their late escape than Hamilton, who had the game on his fingertips and dropped it. Hamilton had a first down and possible touchdown thrown to him with 4:36 left and the game tied at 17. There was no excuse for what happened next — Hamilton simply dropped the pass. The Broncos managed to fend off the Chargers and win anyway, but Hamilton will be seeing that one in his nightmares.

Casey Hayward, DB, Chargers

It is, in fact, fair to say that the NFL’s rule for defensive pass interference is unfair. However, the reality is the rule is what it is, and players have to adapt to that. Casey Hayward committed a clear penalty in a situation where it was basically one of two things he could not afford to do in that spot. The penalty cost the Chargers the game, and whether that’s right or not, Hayward played it poorly. This one may be tough to swallow, but the cornerback has to show more discipline.

Freddie Kitchens, coach, Browns

As a coach, you never really want to be the headline, because that usually means you did something wrong. Kitchens was a headline after Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. Yes, his team played a bad game, and that is partly on him, especially since the offense went to sleep after jumping out to an early lead. However, his “Pittsburgh Started It” shirt provided an unnecessary talking point that Steelers players admitted fired them up. Of course Kitchens wouldn’t blame the shirt for the loss, but it didn’t need to be a factor at all.

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