NFL Week 14 Review: Cowboys Get Leg Up in NFC East

Mike McCathy’s strategy may have seemed crazy. After back-to-back double-digit win seasons that fizzled out in the playoffs with losses to the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys head coach was in danger of possibly losing his job with another postseason disappointment. So, the Cowboys fired offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and put McCarthy in charge of playcalling.

Dallas’ offense has responded positively to the change. The Cowboys lead the league in scoring at 32.4 points per game, and Dallas put up 33 points in a beat-down of Philadelphia last Sunday. The win, the fifth straight for the Cowboys, put Dallas in first place in the division.

While Philadelphia still has the inside track to the NFC East championship due to tiebreakers, Dallas has a real opportunity to win its first division title since 2021. Week 14 was full of wild moments in the NFL. 

While several contenders stumbled, many teams were able to grab positive vibes by picking up a significant victory. How those teams can carry that momentum forward will have a large impact on which team will win the Super Bowl.

 

Mahomes Loses His Cool

 

 

It was startling to see Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes spiking his helmet into the turf last Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Mahomes was incensed after an offside penalty on Kadarius Toney overturned a potentially game-winning touchdown. Kansas City’s drive stalled out soon after, and Buffalo was able to grab a 20-17 win.

The Bills were desperate for a win, but that panic may be catching up to the Chiefs. Kansas City has lost two games in a row and only had a one-game lead over Denver for the AFC West Division lead. This kind of struggle is foreign to members of the Chiefs franchise.

Kansas City has won the AFC West Division every year since 2016. The Chiefs have also played in three of the past four Super Bowls, winning two. Kansas City has seen its wide receivers struggle to make plays this season. Toney’s miscue was only the latest in a long line of errors by the Chiefs’ offense.

 

Belichick Continues to Torment Tomlin

 

New England coach Bill Belichick and Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin have been two more successful NFL coaches since the turn of this century. But when it comes to head-to-head meetings, Tomlin hasn’t tasted much success. What happened last Thursday won’t make Tomlin feel much better.

Playing the lowly 2-10 Patriots at home, Pittsburgh allowed 21 first-half points en route to a 21-18 defeat. The Steelers, who also lost to the then 2-10 Cardinals the week before, became the first NFL team over .500 to lose consecutive games to teams at least eight games below .500.

New England quarterback Bailey Zappe enjoyed one of his best games as a pro, passing for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. The loss put the Steelers in a precarious position for the playoffs. While Pittsburgh isn’t out of the race, the Steelers must work hard to return to the playoffs.

 

Flacco Keeps the Browns Afloat

 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco was sitting on his couch just a few weeks ago. Flacco, 38, may have saved the Browns’ season. Instead of trying to sweat out wins over rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Cleveland kicked the tires on Flacco to see what he had left.

The Browns were stranded when starting quarterback Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending injury. Flacco is back in the saddle, leading Cleveland to victories over legitimate contenders. Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence returned less than a week after an ankle sprain.

Lawrence didn’t play up to his usual ability, throwing three interceptions in a 31-27 loss to Cleveland. Flacco looked the part of a legitimate NFL quarterback. He threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns in the win. If Flacco can keep this up, Cleveland may be a contender in a weak AFC.

 

Miami Loses in Horrifying Fashion

 

 

Leading by 14 points with less than five minutes remaining at home should have resulted in a fourth straight win for Miami. But the Dolphins did the improbable. Only minutes after turning consecutive turnovers and cashing in for touchdowns to build a 27-13 edge did everything fall apart quickly.

Rookie quarterback Will Levis showed he’s ready to make his mark. Levis led a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with a three-yard touchdown catch by DeAndre Hopkins on a pass from Levis. Tennessee’s coach decided to roll the dice by going for two points to cut the lead to six, converting on a pass from Levis to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.

Tennessee’s defense then stopped Miami’s defense. The Titans would then go 64 yards in 26 seconds to take the lead. Tennessee running back Derrick Henry scored the go-ahead touchdown on a three-yard run with 1 minute, 49 seconds remaining. Miami’s final drive would end up stalling out before it could attempt a field goal to win the game.

 

Vikings and Raiders Set Football Back 100 Years

 

Minnesota and Las Vegas both have quarterback issues. The Vikings and Raiders’ offenses show they suffer from a lack of leadership. Despite playing in a dome that doesn’t suffer from bad weather or the elements, neither team could score for nearly four quarters last Sunday.

Greg Joseph would make the go-ahead field goal for Minnesota late in the fourth quarter of a 3-0 victory. It was the first time since 2007 that an NFL game ended with a 3-0 final score. But that game between the Steelers and Dolphins was played in a torrential downpour that saw the field ruined.

The Vikings were forced to make a change at quarterback, bringing in journeyman Nick Mullens after Josh Dobbs struggled to move the ball. Mullens didn’t put up big numbers. He finished with 83 passing yards and was 9-of-13 on his attempts, but made several big plays to extend drives.

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