15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 17
The NFL’s regular season is over, and we now know how the playoffs will look. We also know who went out with a bang and who went out with a whimper in what was the last chance for many to make an impression until next September.
For the final time of the regular season, let’s take a look at 15 big disappointments from the week that was in the NFL.
Things were set up nicely for the Ravens — beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home and a playoff appearance would be theirs. Cincinnati knocked the Detroit Lions out of playoff contention a week ago, and that should have served as a warning to the Ravens. Baltimore came out flat, fell behind, fought back to take the lead, and then got burned by a late Andy Dalton touchdown pass on 4th and long. The defense will be replaying that moment in their heads for the entire offseason. The offense, particularly Joe Flacco, will be reliving an 89-yard pick six and two failed drives at the end of the game.
Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
Fairly or not, Coleman will live long in NFL folklore for all the wrong reasons. His fourth down drop on a pass delivered right to his hands ended Cleveland’s last hope of getting a win in 2017. It was typical Browns, really — a play that looked like it was falling apart was salvaged just enough to allow Coleman to make his dreadful error. There were plenty of reasons the Browns lost on Sunday and all season long, but Coleman’s drop will be remembered as the tipping point.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars
You have to wonder how much confidence the Jaguars have in Bortles with the playoffs looming. One week he looks great, and then there are weeks like this one in which you wonder how Jacksonville will have any chance in a playoff game with him under center. Bortles looked hopeless against the Titans, throwing for only 158 yards while tossing two bad interceptions. Which Bortles will show up next week? If it’s this one, the Jags are in trouble.
Byron Bell, T, Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys had issues in 2017 beyond Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, and one big one was injuries giving way to inconsistent offensive line play. Bell had a rough time against the Eagles on Sunday, taking three holding penalties and giving up five hurries over the course of the game, according to Pro Football Focus. Dallas needs a healthier offensive line in 2018. Barring that, they need better depth in the event that they endure another injury-plagued season like this one.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
Amid rumblings that he may have been playing his final game for the Cowboys, Bryant turned in what a rather indifferent performance in which he failed to forge any real connection with Dak Prescott. Targeted eight times, he caught only three passes for just 24 yards. Sure, the game was a struggle for both offenses, but things really didn’t click for the receiver, both Sunday and on the season as a whole.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins
If this turns out to be Cousins’ final game as a Washington Redskin, it won’t prove to be a memorable one. Yes, many of his weapons and much of his protection were shelved due to injury, but against a depleted New York Giants team, he threw for only 158 yards and three interceptions, failing to score a touchdown. Cousins should be remembered as a quality quarterback for Washington, but his swan song was not a memorable one.
Kenyan Drake and Jarvis Landry, Dolphins
In a fitting end to a tumultuous and underwhelming season for the Miami Dolphins as a whole, Drake and Landry were both ejected during the fourth quarter of their game against the Buffalo Bills for getting involved in a post-touchdown fight. Landry struggled for parts of the season and clashed with coach Adam Gase, so this is pretty emblematic of issues that have plagued this team all season long. The organization is going to have to take a long, hard look at some of these players.
Rasul Douglas, CB, Eagles
The Eagles have some growing concerns as the playoffs loom, and Douglas’ performance against the Cowboys on Sunday will do little to inspire confidence. ProFootballFocus gave him a 30.8 overall grade, owing to a pair of missed tackles, a bad penalty, and big plays allowed in a game that had few of them. Douglas was burned for 127 yards and a touchdown in this one, and it’s safe to say the Eagles may look to hide him a bit once the playoffs start.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
Foles was never likely to play much in the Eagles’ regular season finale, as the team had already locked up both the NFC East and a first-round bye. Still, Philadelphia won’t be particularly encouraged by what they saw from Foles this week. He was 4-for-11 for 39 yards with an interception and did not look particularly steady or confident. Couple that with a less-than-impressive performance last week, and the Eagles will be holding their breath a bit with the playoffs looming.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
Atlanta had to lean on their passing game to play them into the playoffs, because Freeman couldn’t get much going on the ground against Carolina’s dominant front. He picked up just 22 yards on 11 carries. It was his second-lowest total of the season, and the only one worse came in a game in which he got just two carries before being knocked out with a concussion. The matchup definitely played a role here, but Freeman will have wanted to do more with a playoff bid on the line.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
Ingram will be feeling rather relieved that the Carolina Panthers lost, ensuring that New Orleans’s flat running performance didn’t cost them a division title. Tampa Bay limited the Saints’ run game on Sunday, though Alvin Kamara did have a huge all-around game as a returner and receiver. Ingram was hit hard, managing only 35 yards on 13 total carries. Ultimately, it was Ingram’s third-lowest rushing total of the entire season. With the Panthers looming in the playoffs, his task won’t get any easier next week.
Eli Manning, QB, Giants
Manning had nothing to play for, but that was no excuse for a stinker of a performance. Though his team won, he only managed to complete ten passes on the day, throwing for an extremely modest 132 yards and one interception to go with a touchdown. This was a lost season for Manning, and he can afford few of those at his age. One has to wonder what there was to gain from playing him in this one. Either way, it was a fittingly bad end to one of the worst seasons of Manning’s career, both statistically and otherwise.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
With the chance to clinch the division at his feet, Newton laid an egg. He completed just 14 passes in 34 attempts and threw three interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. His accuracy was often terrible and he missed a number of open receivers for no discernible reason. It was made even worse by the fact that the New Orleans Saints ended up losing, meaning Newton and the Panthers missed the chance to win the NFC South with their defeat.
Blair Walsh, K, Seahawks
Oops he did it again. Blair Walsh missed a big-time kick that likely cost the Seahawks a win over the Cardinals on Sunday. Even though Seattle needed help in the form of an Atlanta loss in order to get into the playoffs and wouldn’t have made the postseason anyway, it was still a major disappointment to see Walsh blow a clutch kick. With 37 seconds left in the game, Walsh missed a 48-yard kick that could have put the Seahawks up by one. After seeing him go 20 for 27 on field goals this season, one has to wonder whether the Seahawks will bring Walsh back next year.
T.J. Yates, QB, Texans
It’s not fair to expect much of Yates even when he has a good matchup, but this was really disappointing. Pitted against a Colts team that was playing out the string and being coached by a man who knew he was about to be fired, Yates did nothing, completing 14 of 23 passes for 137 yards. There’s no indication he should be anywhere near a starting job in the NFL, and after so much of the season with Yates and Tom Savage under center, the Texans will be utterly thrilled to get Deshaun Watson back next year.