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#pounditFriday, March 5, 2021

Biggest disappointments of NFL Week 17

Andy Dalton

We made it to the end of the 2020 NFL season, and we’ll certainly remember it for lots of different reasons. Despite the circumstances that surrounded it, we saw a whole lot of memorable performances all season, and Week 17 was no different. Some teams and players rose to the occasion, but others just couldn’t do it, whether they had nothing to play for or everything.

Here are the disappointments from the final week of the 2020 season.

Doug Pederson, head coach, Eagles

Pederson said he wanted to get a look at Nate Sudfeld in the Eagles’ season finale. But Pederson showed no regard for the integrity of the game by playing Sudfeld for the entire fourth quarter of a game that had playoff implications.

Pederson sat Jalen Hurts for the entire fourth quarter despite the Eagles being in a one-possession game the whole time. Sudfeld turned the ball over twice and did not produce any points in four possessions. It felt a lot like Pederson gave the game away, which was disappointing to most people outside of D.C.

Miami Dolphins

It’s fair to say that the Dolphins arrived a year earlier than they may have expected to. Still, they entered the day with a chance at a playoff spot. The Buffalo Bills team they were playing looked set to limit their starters. The Bills did that, and it didn’t matter. Buffalo scored 28 points in the second quarter, and things didn’t even improve much once Matt Barkley entered the game, with the Bills ultimately winning 56-26. To come so close and then get throttled like that has to be disappointing for Miami, but ultimately, it seems they just weren’t quite ready for the big stage yet.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cowboys

It turns out there was a reason Dalton failed to land a starting job last offseason. He still had the chance to lead the Cowboys to a surprising NFC East title, or at least position themselves for a chance at one with a win. That didn’t happen, and Dalton was a big reason why. Ineffective and inconsistent, he threw for 243 yards and was intercepted once.

Dalton will have to find another backup job, because he didn’t do much to convince anyone that he had the skills to remain a starter in this league. It’s not his fault he was thrown into the job he was due to Dak Prescott’s injury, but it did serve as a reminder of what he really is.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Panthers

The Panthers are going to have to seriously consider whether they want to stick with Bridgewater in the future. Yes, he was playing behind a battered offensive line, but he has thrown one touchdown since the end of November and isn’t getting it done. He doesn’t really look like an NFL starter. He was ultimately removed from Sunday’s game due to the blowout and the fact that Carolina had nothing to play for. His status will be worth watching going into the 2021 season.

Cincinnati Bengals

Sure, the Bengals didn’t have anything to play for Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, who were looking to solidify a playoff spot. Still, the team has looked a bit more lively in recent weeks. That was not the case on Sunday, as they simply got steamrolled 38-3. Quarterback Brandon Allen completed just 6 passes on 21 attempts. There is some chatter that coach Zac Taylor’s job security may be iffy. If that’s true, Sunday didn’t do much to prove to ownership that they’re on the right track and still fighting.

Houston Texans’ defense

The Texans have a lot of work to do. They remain exciting on offense at the best of times, but awful on defense, as evidenced by how the end of this game went. The Texans had fought all the way back to a 38-38 tie and seemed to have done enough to get the game to overtime with 18 seconds left. Enter the defense, which somehow left space in the middle of the field and allowed Titans QB Ryan Tannehill to find A.J. Brown with what was essentially a 52-yard Hail Mary. The Titans hit the field goal, and the Texans lost thanks to their horrific defense once again.

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