Monday Morning Quarterback Week 17
Tampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta Falcons
Josh Freeman steadied the ship for the Bucs after enduring a rough second half of the season. Freeman completed 19-of-35 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown in leading the Bucs to the meaningless victory.
Here’s the problem for Matt Ryan: He goes into the bye week having lost his last game of the season and now he and his teammates will have to turn it back on in two weeks. Many top seeds have found that it’s not always easy to do just that.
Buffalo BillsNew York Jets
Ryan Fitzpatrick did not have a stellar game for the Bills in the season finale, but he led the Bills to an easy victory. Fitzpatrick threw a touchdown pass and he did not throw an interception.
Mark Sanchez was forced back into action because replacement Greg McElroy was out after suffering a concussion. It was more of the same for Sanchez, who completed less than 50 percent of his passes, fumbled twice and threw an interception.
Cincinnati BengalsBaltimore Ravens
The Bengals go into their Wild-Card playoff game against the Texans on a high note. Andy Dalton played just one half and completed 10-of-15 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor played most of the game, completed 15-of-25 passes and ran for 65 yards and a score.
The Ravens lifted Joe Flacco after just a couple of series. Flacco has been good but not great this year and it might have been better if he went into the Wild-Card playoff game against the Colts with some momentum.
Chicago BearsDetroit Lions
The Bears were desperate for a win, and Jay Cutler led them to it. His passing numbers were not special – 18-of-31 for 257 yards with a touchdown – but his 19-yard run in the late stages of the fourth quarter allowed the Bears to run out the clock. Matthew Stafford threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns and played hard for 60 minutes.
The Bears had plenty of chances to put the game away early, but they had to settle for four field goals because Cutler could not turn excellent field position into touchdowns.
Indianapolis ColtsHouston Texans
Andrew Luck has shown the propensity for making big plays all season. That trend continued in this game as he threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns and he did not throw an interception. He has proven that he’s a legitimate deep thrower who has the courage to make the toughest throws.
Matt Schaub had a stellar season until December, but the Texans lost three of their last four games and could not secure one of the top two seeds in the AFC. Schaub has looked dull and somewhat lifeless. He threw two interceptions in the loss to the Colts and did not throw a TD pass.
Carolina PanthersNew Orleans Saints
The Saints went out firing and Drew Brees had a huge game in the loss to the Panthers. Brees completed 29-of-43 passes for 396 yards with four TDs and just one interception. Cam Newton threw for 248 yards and kept the Saints on their heels.
Newton has been solid over the second half of the season, but he did not have his best game against New Orleans. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and did not throw a TD pass.
New York GiantsPhiladelphia Eagles
Circumstances did not break right for the Giants to make the playoffs, but Eli Manning came through with a sensational effort in the season finale. He threw for 208 yards and had five TD passes without an interception.
Mike Vick returned to the lineup after being forced out with a concussion in November and he was ordinary. He fumbled once, threw one interception and one touchdown. Vick rushed for 25 yards and was not consistent
Pittsburgh SteelersCleveland Browns
The Steelers had little to play for after getting knocked out of the playoff chase last week, but Ben Roethlisberger was a solid pro as he completed 15-of-23 passes and had three TDs and no interceptions.
Unknown quarterback Thaddeus Lewis got the start for the Browns and he put on a decent show, completing 22-of-32 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown and an interception. However, Lewis did not give you the feeling that he was capable of leading his team to a win.
Tennessee TitansJacksonville Jaguars
Jake Locker did not have to do much since the Titans had two punt returns for touchdown and two interception returns for touchdowns. Locker did not screw up the situation, as he threw for 152 yards and he did not throw an interception.
Chad Henne made several huge mistakes. He threw three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Henne may be a decent backup quarterback, but he is not the long-term answer as a starter.
Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay Packers
Christian Ponder played his best football when the Vikings needed him most. He completed 16-of-28 passes for 234 yards with three TDs and did not throw a pick. Aaron Rodgers was sensational in defeat, throwing for 365 yards and four TDs and he did not throw an interception.
The Packers would have been the No. 2 seed in the NFC had they won this game. They failed and now must face the Vikings in a rematch next week.
New England PatriotsMiami Dolphins
The Patriots were expected to secure an easy victory against the Dolphins and they did just that. Tom Brady did just what was expected, throwing for 284 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception.
The Dolphins got shut out by the Patriots. New England has improve d defensively quite a bit this season, but some of that is on quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He completed 20-of-35 passes for 235 yards, he was intercepted once and he also fumbled.
Denver BroncosKansas City Chiefs
When the Texans lost to the Colts, that opened the door for the Broncos to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Peyton Manning did not slip up as he completed 23-of-29 passes for 304 yards and three TDs.
The awful season for the Chiefs ended in miserable fashion. Brady Quinn was incapable of performing, completing 7-of-16 passes for 49 yards.
San Diego ChargersOakland Raiders
The Chargers dug themselves a huge hole this season that they were unable to dig their way out of, but Philip Rivers closed on a high note. He completed 13-of-17 passes for 151 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Terrelle Pryor did a nice job for the Raiders, throwing two TD passes and running for another.
Pryor did well, but they fell behind early and could not come all the way back. He should have more opportunities next season.
San Francisco 49ersArizona Cardinals
Not much was required of the 49ers, since all they had to do was come away with a victory over the Cardinals to secure the division title. Colin Kaepernick helped them secure that as well as the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs as he threw two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Brian Hoyer threw for 225 yards in defeat and never gave the Cardinals a chance to compete with the 49ers. Hoyer struggles to read defenses and has not shown the ability to make big plays.
Seattle SeahawksSt. Louis Rams
Russell Wilson completed his brilliant regular season with a win that allowed the Seahawks to finish 8-0 at home. Wilson completed 15-of-19 passes for 250 yards with a touchdown and he also ran for a touchdown.
Sam Bradford was under pressure throughout against Seattle’s tough defense and while he was able to move the ball and avoid sacks, he only threw one TD pass as the Seahawks outlasted the Rams.
Washington RedskinsDallas Cowboys
The Redskins nailed down the NFC East crown as they outlasted the Cowboys. While RGIII was slowed by his banged-up knee, he avoided mistakes and ran for 63 yards and a touchdown.
RGIII only threw for 100 yards, which was his second-lowest total of the season. Tony Romo was competitive and tried to will the injured Cowboys to the win, but he threw three interceptions that cost his team. Romo’s late fourth-quarter pass was intercepted by Rob Jackson, and that insured the Cowboys’ painful defeat.