No contender was safe on a wild N.F.L. Sunday with several close games, a few major upsets, and a highlight-reel touchdown catch by an offensive lineman. Here’s what we learned in Week 14:
• It was a bad day to be one of the A.F.C.’s best teams. The Texans’ nine-game winning streak ended, and the Patriots had to watch the Dolphins lateral their way 69 yards to a last-second victory. The Chiefs had a bad enough day on their own, very nearly losing to the Baltimore Ravens, but their overtime victory, combined with the losses of their chief rivals, makes it far more likely that they will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Dolphins win on a miracle TD! pic.twitter.com/5UjWO8WXvY
• George Kittle > Denver Broncos. Kittle, the 49ers’ breakout star at tight end, almost single-handedly beat the Broncos. He finished the day with seven catches for 210 yards and a touchdown. He fell just 4 yards short of Shannon Sharpe’s N.F.L. record for receiving yards by a tight end and was the centerpiece of an offense that raced to a 20-0 lead and then watched as the team’s defense held on for the upset win.
• The Cowboys traded a first-round pick for a division title. A lot of people laughed when Dallas paid a huge price for Amari Cooper, but the team is 5-1 since his arrival and now has a two-game lead in the N.F.C. East with just three games remaining. Cooper’s performance on Sunday was one to remember, with 217 receiving yards, a 75-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and a game-winning touchdown in overtime in which he snatched a tipped ball out of the air and ran it into the end zone.
• The league’s interim coaches are doing just fine. It took Gregg Williams just five games to get as many wins for the Cleveland Browns (three) as Hue Jackson had in three seasons and 40 games. Meanwhile, in Green Bay, where they are trying a midseason replacement coach for just the second time in franchise history, Joe Philbin led the team to a blowout win over Atlanta.
• Josh Johnson still exists. He had not thrown a pass in the N.F.L. since 2011, but thanks to injuries over the last few weeks to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, and the ineptitude of Mark Sanchez, the Redskins put their offense in Johnson’s hands. In garbage time against the Giants, Johnson did decidedly O.K., completing 11 of 16 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. Presuming the Redskins will move on from Johnson soon as well, perhaps the Redskins can try out Josh Freeman or Daunte Culpepper or maybe see if Steve Young wants to take a break from his broadcasting career.
• The Saints can wake up in the fourth quarter and still cover the point spread. New Orleans was trailing Tampa Bay by 14-3 at halftime, and by 14-11 after three quarters, but a 17-point fourth quarter gave the team a 14-point win. While the offense waking up was nice, the defensive effort after Tampa Bay’s second touchdown was far more impressive. The Saints blocked a punt, grabbed an interception, and held Tampa Bay to less than 10 yards on four separate drives, with the longest drive after the second touchdown going just 39 yards.
• If you’re going to score a touchdown, you should have a dance ready. The Bears’ defense completely humbled Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the high-flying Rams offense. In fact, the game’s only touchdown came when Bears lineman Bradley Sowell caught a touchdown pass and then showed off his best dance moves.
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