15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 13
Week 13 of the NFL season came with no shortage of surprising. One of the most disappointing results led to a major coach firing, some QBs who had been playing well stunk up the joint, and a franchise did something they had never done before — and not in a good way. Whether they were teams or players or units, there were several disappointments from Week 13 of the NFL season. Let’s take a look at them.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Much will be speculated about Newton’s health, but whether his shoulder was a factor or not — and there is some reason to believe it was at least partially — he was really poor on Sunday against a vulnerable Tampa Bay secondary. While he threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns, he was picked off four times, and it could have been more. The turnovers are unacceptable and were the primary reason the Panthers couldn’t break their losing streak in a winnable game. He certainly bears watching going forward.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
Of the five rookie quarterbacks to see action this season, Mayfield has probably been the best and most consistent. However, the life of a rookie NFL player usually involves a stinker here and there, and the Texans put it on the first overall pick on Sunday. Though he threw for 397 yards, Mayfield was picked off three times, all of them coming in a first half performance where he only completed three passes. Mayfield was always going to have a game like this. It’s hardly the end of the world.
Green Bay Packers
What are the Packers even doing anymore? They inexplicably gave Jamaal Williams a bunch of touches to no avail, limited one of their better performers in Aaron Jones, and generally let Aaron Rodgers try to bail out their mediocre offense. It didn’t work, as the Packers didn’t complete a pass of 20 yards or more despite Rodgers getting 50 attempts in a loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals. This isn’t even all his fault at this point. The offense needs a total overhaul at this point, and given how quickly Mike McCarthy was booted, it seems the organization knows it.
Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half
For the first time in their history, the Steelers blew a lead of at least 14 points at home during the regular season. Prior to Sunday night, the Steelers were 220-0-2 in their history when leading by 14+ points during the regular season at home. Then the Chargers got them. It’s wild to imagine how it happened. Pittsburgh dominated on the line of scrimmage and had all the momentum after throwing a long touchdown pass before halftime. They were up by 16 at halftime — 23-7. Then they started committing penalties, gave up a sack, and stopped moving the ball. The real back-breaker, as always, was allowing a special teams touchdown on a punt return. That was the big difference maker that helped the Chargers tie the game and change all the momentum. Who saw this comeback coming?
Indianapolis Colts’ offense
Nobody really saw the sudden renaissance of the Jacksonville Jaguar defense coming, least of all the Colts, who were downright awful on Sunday. Their receivers were often covered and their offensive line was thoroughly shredded, as Luck was hit nine times and sacked on three of those occasions. Little time to throw plus few options to throw to is a recipe for disaster. Just to cap off the day, they fell victim to some awful refereeing to end the contest. It was truly a day for them to forget, and it’s bad news for their lingering playoff hopes.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
The Falcons lost this game, but they demonstrated one way to limit Jackson’s effectiveness. They did a decent job keeping him in the pocket and forced him to throw, where he still has some work to do. He completed just 12 of his 21 passes for 125 yards, ran for 75 more, but fumbled twice, losing one for a touchdown. His arm, particularly his accuracy, still needs some work. The good news was that, despite entering concussion protocol, he came back, so he appears to be healthy.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
There was precious little to say that Ryan’s performance against the Baltimore Ravens that could be viewed positively. He was limited to 131 yards passing and was the victim of a backbreaking strip-sack in the fourth quarter that essentially put the Ravens out of reach. Baltimore is an excellent defensive team, and Ryan was not helped at all by his lack of weapons, particularly a running game that is increasingly non-existent. That said, this goes down easily as his worst performance of 2018.
The reality is that the Vikings’ entire season has been a huge disappointment. They were one win away from a Super Bowl appearance last season and seemed to boost their chances by acquiring Kirk Cousins in the offseason. But once again, they were faced with quality opposition on Sunday and folded at New England. Cousins was held to 192 yards passing, they had no run game to speak of, and the vaunted Minnesota defense was shredded for 420 total yards by Tom Brady and company. The division continues to look like an uphill battle, and they’re going to have to buckle down just to make the playoffs.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
Hill had by far his worst receiving day of the season. He was held to 1 catch for 13 yards on six targets and missed out on two big play opportunities. Usually great for a long hookup with Patrick Mahomes, Hill dropped one sure touchdown and was unable to come down with another. That’s why his stats were so off in this one. At least he gained 37 yards on two runs, including one that went for 33 yards.
The collapsing New York Jets
The Jets led the Tennessee Titans 16-0 three minutes before halftime and 22-13 at the end of the third quarter. It was all downhill from there. The backbreaking drive came very late, when Marcus Mariota drove the Titans 86 yards downfield for a go-ahead touchdown pass to Corey Davis with 36 seconds left, aided by 20 yards worth of New York penalties. The draft position improves, but it’s another gut punch of a loss for a team that has become far too accustomed to them. Todd Bowles is slowly marching toward his dismissal, and despite Sam Darnold’s apparently bright future, it’s very clear just how far this roster has to go before they’re close to contention.
Oakland Raiders running backs
What’s more surprising: That the Raiders scored 33 points in a game? Or that they scored 33 points despite turning the ball over three times? The Raiders lost three fumbles in the game — one by each of their running backs. Jalen Richard, Doug Martin and DeAndre Washington all lost fumbles. Two of the fumbles came in the first half to put the Raiders in a hole, as the Chiefs ended up scoring 13 points off the three turnovers.
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Bears
Down a touchdown with 2:26 left in regulation, the Bears had a chance to drive downfield and tie the game. That opportunity fell apart after just one play, when Gabriel made a catch but fumbled the ball away inside his own 15 yard line. The Bears were lucky the Giants could only turn it into a field goal. It was representative of a bad day for Gabriel, who caught just three passes for 17 yards. The Bears ended up losing in overtime, though they came back after Gabriel’s blunder; the only good news for him was that it could be looked at as not totally his fault.
Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
Edelman had trouble holding onto the football against the Minnesota Vikings. He had a bad drop on a third down to kill a drive. He also let the ball come out at the end of plays on two occasions. Overall, he caught just 3 passes for 25 yards on 8 targets. He did have two runs for 35 yards though, which helped. Edelman leads the Patriots in drops this season, which is a bad sign for a guy who missed he first four games of the year due to a suspension.
Kansas City Chiefs’ defense
The Chiefs won this game by a touchdown, putting up 40 points once more as their offense continues to chug. That’s not unexpected, especially against the lowly Oakland Raiders. The problem is that those same lowly Raiders were able to put up 33 on the Kansas City defense, with oft-maligned Derek Carr posting one of his best games of the season, a three-touchdown, 285-yard performance. Jalen Richard needed just six carries to go 95 yards. KC had no answer for Jared Cook. In total, the Raiders posted 442 yards. Kansas City will be facing better offenses than this in the playoffs. Nobody’s expecting them to be elite, but they’re going to have to be sharper than this.
New Orleans Saints’ offense
Full credit to the Dallas Cowboys, who played an outstanding defensive game to limit the high-octane New Orleans offense to just ten points. That said, some criticism has to go the Saints’ way, because you have to do a lot of things wrong for Drew Brees to come up with a mere 127-yard passing day. Alvin Kamara got nothing going, and neither did Mark Ingram. The team didn’t even hit 200 yards of total offense, and Sean Payton’s game mismanagement was the cherry on top. It’s one to forget, but it may also be something of a warning sign going forward.