NFL Week 15 Review: Staley Falls Deep into the Black Hole

Brandon Staley couldn’t find any place to hide last Thursday night at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada. The Los Angeles Chargers coach knew his fate was sealed well before the final whistle. Playing without star quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers were embarrassed by long-time rival Las Vegas.

The Raiders forced the Chargers into five turnovers. Many of those miscues were quickly capitalized on by scoring drives. In a night Staley wishes could have ended much sooner than it did, Las Vegas stormed out to a 42-0 halftime lead on its way to a 63-21 win, according to up-to-date sports news. Staley and Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco were fired the next day. Staley’s tenure lasted nearly three seasons and finished with a 24-24 record. 

The lone playoff appearance during Staley’s tenure ended with a 31-30 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Wild Card round last season. That defeat may have been worse than the one against the Raiders that got him fired. Los Angeles stormed to a 27-0 lead before collapsing in the second half.

While the Chargers’ defeat was humiliating, it was a wild week in the NFL that saw many teams improve their playoff hopes while others sunk closer toward getting an early start to their offseason. 

 

Locking in on a Win

 

 

Drew Lock has faced a lot of scrutiny during his NFL career. But leading the Seattle Seahawks to a 20-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night will be a nice feather in his cap. Lock led Seattle on a 92-yard march in the final two minutes, throwing the winning touchdown pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba with 29 seconds remaining.

Lock was picked in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. However, the Broncos have yet to find a way to utilize Lock properly, and he was traded to Seattle in the Russell Wilson deal. But a change of scenery saw more struggles, and Lock was beaten out for the starting spot by fellow journeyman Geno Smith.

But Lock made plays when it mattered to help Seattle outscore Philadelphia 10-0 in the fourth quarter to steal a win at home. Eagles’ new defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was criticized for his cover on Smith-Njigba’s touchdown.

 

Call Me Mr. Perfect

 

 

Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield is in the middle of an attempt at a redemption arc. Mayfield was forced to split time between the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams last season after issues with injuries and ineffectiveness. But landing in Tampa Bay has rejuvenated the former Heisman Trophy winner.

Mayfield added another joyous moment to his comeback story Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Mayfield completed 22 of 28 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns. The Buccaneers have improved to 7-7 on the season and are now in first place in the NFC South Division. 

This has been an up-and-down season for Tampa Bay this year. The Buccaneers are now back on the right track following a 34-20 win over the Packers. If Mayfield can continue to play well, Tampa Bay may be a team only a few people want to deal with come playoff time.

 

Browning Has Bengals on Fire

 

There isn’t a Cincinnati Bengals fan who’s not concerned about Joe Burrow’s injury and future with the team. But for now, Cincinnati is going to enjoy Jake Browning’s run at quarterback. Things weren’t going well for the Bengals against Minnesota last Saturday at home. 

Cincinnati trailed 17-3 at the end of the third quarter. Browning found his footing in the fourth quarter. He helped lead three scoring drives, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins with 39 seconds remaining to tie the game and force overtime. Cincinnati would end up winning in overtime.

Browning finished with 324 passing yards and two touchdowns. Cincinnati has moved into a position for a Wild Card and will be in a position for a fantastic rally to make the playoffs, according to top sports news today.

 

Bills Beat Down Cowboys in Rain

 

The Dallas Cowboys went into Buffalo looking to make an empathic run at the NFC Division crown. The Cowboys had won five straight games and were coming off their biggest win of the season, a 33-13 beatdown of their rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. But going into Buffalo turned out to be a nightmarish experience.

The Cowboys struggled with turnovers and wilted in windy conditions in Western New York. Buffalo needed to win to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Bills decided to take the football out of star quarterback Josh Allen’s hands. The Bills only asked Allen to attempt 15 passes.

Buffalo instead bullied the Cowboys with their running game. The Bills’ offensive line paved plenty of space for running back James Cook to maneuver. He finished with 179 yards on 25 carries.

 

The Standard isn’t the Standard Anymore

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers raced to a 13-0 run against the Indianapolis Colts. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin may have found the recipe to help snap Pittsburgh out of its two-game slide. But the lead was gone by halftime.

Pittsburgh needed several key defensive players and was without quarterback Kenny Pickett. But the Steelers’ struggles haven’t been limited to one group of players or coaches. Since the Steelers fired their offensive coordinator a month ago, Pittsburgh is still struggling to put up points.

The Colts made their lives miserable as well by running the ball effectively. With limited possessions, Pittsburgh suffered a 30-13 loss to fall out of the playoff standings. 

 

Texans Survive Without C.J. Stroud

 

Houston’s top draft pick, C.J. Stroud, was forced to miss last Sunday’s game against Tennessee with an injury. Veteran Case Keenum stepped in and saved the day. Keenum didn’t put up spectacular numbers but did enough to help Houston rally in the fourth quarter and steal a 19-16 win in overtime.

The Texans, who are 8-6 on the season, are in an excellent position to make the playoffs. 

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