While the Eagles and Giants smile after watching Sunday’s results, here are your Week 14 early quick slants:
1. The Steelers offense didn’t score a touchdown Sunday. Their defense was absolutely dominant after giving up a first drive touchdown to the Bengals, but the offensive line is a problem Pittsburgh has yet to solve.
The Bengals hit Ben Roethlisberger repeatedly, whether they sent pressure or not. Not all opposition will self-destruct like the Bengals.
2. With that negativity out of the way, let’s point out that the Steelers defense was really, really impressive Sunday. After a bit of a midseason lull, they have put together some impressive performances against the Raiders, Ravens, and Bengals. Lamarr Woodley had two sacks and a pick six. Troy Polamalu is back to making big plays weekly.
3. A hat tip to Falcons defensive end John Abraham, who topped ten sacks again with two on Sunday in Carolina. (He’s at eleven.) Atlanta’s pass rush usually doesn’t look the same on the road, but they did a great job pressuring the Panthers in a 31-10 win.
The only game that really matters for the Falcons now is Week 16 against the Saints.
4. Mike Shanahan didn’t bench Donovan McNabb and he no longer has Albert Haynesworth to kick around. The Redskins lost for many reasons, but Shanahan’s brutal clock management at the end of the first half is near the top of the list.
Washington dominated play in the first half, but only led by seven at the break. Shanahan was one of the biggest reasons why.
5. The Bucs won the battle Sunday in Washington, but they are running dangerously low on defenders. They lost two more starters — defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Quincy Black — for the season.
Still, they have an absolute shot at the playoffs because their next two games are against Detroit and Seattle. With the Packers and Bears faltering, perhaps 10 wins and some tiebreaks can get the Bucs in.
6. The Jaguars ruined an incredible individual performance by Darren McFadden Sunday. He put up 209 total yards and three scores, the shortest of which was 36 yards. McFadden is finishing his runs again. He’s been a revelation this season.
7. Jacksonville can clinch the division next Sunday in Indianapolis. Then again, the Colts control their fate if they win. Regular season games don’t get any bigger.
8. All is not lost for the Packers after their 7-3 loss in Detroit. After all, the Bears’ remaining schedule is just as tough as Green Bay’s. With that said, Mike McCarthy has had some troubling “let down” games in his tenure. It’s embarrassing that offense could only score three points in Detroit. They didn’t score while Aaron Rodgers was in the game.