NFL’s Greatest Weekend Of The Season Delivered Excitement, History, And Playoff Clarity

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How are you feeling after the NFL’s most amazing weekend of the season? Because what you just witnessed was heroes (Josh Allen, Trevor Lawrence, the Vikings) and goats (the Colts, Cowboys, Bill Belichick) giving us games worthy of attention.

We just saw a Roger Goodell dream punctuated by great athletic feats, bonehead decisions and heart-stopping drama.

This weekend we saw the greatest comeback in NFL history.

We saw three games decided in overtime.

There was another three games decided as time ran out on the final play. And two more games were decided in the final minute.

All 15 NFL games played from Thursday night to Sunday night were decided by 11 points or fewer while 12 were decided by one score. The league said late Sunday those facts made this the most competitive weekend of games in NFL history.

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on December. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Vikings Establishing Mark Started Great Weekend

Let’s look at some of the action:

Saturday

Vikings 39, Colts 36 in OT: The Vikes trailed 33-0 at halftime and Kirk Cousins said, “I felt we were losing in a lot of ways.” But that was before Minnesota scored six times in the second half and overtime, including five touchdowns. “Something like that doesn’t happen to average people,” Cousins said afterward. “So, I’m proud.” The outgrowth of this loss for the Colts is there is practically no way Jeff Saturday is going to be the head coach next year.

Bills 32, Dolphins 29: Tyler Bass kicked a game-winning 25-yard field goal as time ran out to give the Bills their fourth-quarter comeback victory and a berth in the playoffs. Josh Allen threw 4 TD passes. The Dolphins and Bills split their season series and the total points differential in those two games is a combined 1 point.

Sunday

Chiefs 30, Texans 24 in OT: The Chiefs are good, as evidenced by them winning the AFC West for the seventh consecutive time. The Texans are bad, as evidenced by their 1-12-1 record. But the Texans have been playing with desire and motivation for several weeks now. The Chiefs delivered kind of a lifeless, inconsistent performance. “Obviously, we know we have a lot to work on,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. Whatever. There’s a name for a win on a day one performs poorly. It’s called a win.

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins returns an interception for a touchdown during overtime in the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jaguars Learning Something Important

Jaguars 40, Cowboys 34 in OT: The Cowboys have as much talent as any NFC team, including the Eagles. But something is clearly off. Maybe it’s distractions, lack of discipline, something. They almost lost to Houston last week and, faced with a legitimate quarterback and more resilient defense this week, the Cowboys bowed. The Jaguars? They’ve been in a lot of close games this year and now they’re learning to close out those games.

Lions 20, Jets 17: While Zach Wilson’s return was intrigue enough, it came down to kicker Greg Zuerlein drifting a 58-yard game-tying field goal attempt wide left as time ran out. Oh, yeah, Wilson had his moments, including two TD passes to C.J. Uzomah, but obviously 17 points is usually not going to be enough. Wilson probably gets the chance to prove himself more Thursday against the Jaguars. but if he doesn’t ball out in that one, look for a Mike White return to the lineup.

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots looks on after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

All Blame On Bill Belichick

Raiders 30, Patriots 24: Bill Belichick is a real genius of a coach, just not on Sunday. I mean, what was he thinking when somebody drew up that game-losing lateral in training camp? “We’ll lateral a couple of times, then send it back to Mac Jones, then … Chandler Jones intercepts one of the laterals (it was called a fumble by Jakobi Meyers and recovery by Jones) who returns it 48 yards for a winning TD. This was the most bizarre finish to a football game, perhaps since Cal’s Kevin Moen took the last of five laterals and ran through the Stanford band in 1982. Note to Bill: Overtime is an option in the NFL.

Chargers 17, Titans 14: Justin Herbert threw two interceptions which means he looked no better than Ryan Tannehill much of this game. But on 44 seconds to play, Herbert completed passes of 16, 6 and 35 yards to put his team in field goal position. And kicker Cameron Dicker connected on a 43 yarder to give the Chargers the lead with four seconds to play.

Darnay Holmes of the New York Giants breaks up a pass intended for Curtis Samuel of the Washington Commanders during the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

Weekend Not Complete Without Controversy

Giants 20, Commanders 12: The Commanders were inside the Giants’ 10 yard line twice in the fourth quarter, including with just over a minute to play. And the Commanders scored a touchdown on that second red zone trip, but the 1 yard run was nullified by penalty. Amazingly, a fourth-down Taylor Heinicke pass into the end zone was not flagged for pass interference even though the Giants defender was draped all over the Washington receiver on the play.

And what is the fallout from all this craziness?

In the AFC, the Chiefs clinched the AFC West and the Bills clinched a playoff spot.

In the NFC, the Vikings clinched the NFC North, the 49ers clinched the NFC West, and the Cowboys clinched a playoff berth. The Eagles had clinched a playoff berth last week.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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