December 14, 2021
Week 14 of the NFL season didn’t look like much early in the action. Most games were blowouts, and it felt like one of the more disappointing weekends this season. Hopefully you stuck around until the end of those games though because four or five of them closed to one-score contests in the late fourth quarter.
Today, we’ll look at how Week 14 changed the standings in some of the league’s most competitive divisions.
The Baltimore Ravens took a heavy blow when former MVP Lamar Jackson left the game with an ankle injury. Tyler Huntley replaced the dynamic quarterback and almost led a dramatic comeback against Cleveland after a late touchdown and onside kick recovery.
Unfortunately, Huntley couldn’t overcome Cleveland’s talented defense. The Browns winning opened the door for Cincinnati to overtake Baltimore for the AFC North lead. However, the Bengals failed to capitalize on the opening.
Two muffed punts contributed to Cincinnati’s 23-26 overtime loss to San Francisco. At 7-6, the Bengals fall behind Cleveland in the AFC North standings.
Cleveland winning and Pittsburgh losing on Thursday dropped the Steelers to the division’s basement. However, the Steelers are only half a game behind Cincinnati and Cleveland.
The Dallas Cowboys traveled to Washington for a divisional matchup with significant implications. If they won, the Football Team wouldn’t have surpassed Dallas in the NFC East standings, but Mike McCarthy’s team would’ve only had a one-game lead.
Ron Rivera’s team couldn’t take advantage of two Dak Prescott interceptions. Washington turned the ball over four times in a 20-27 loss, including a fumble where they had a chance to tie the game. Washington has the same record (6-7) as Philadelphia, while the Cowboys have a three-game lead in the NFC East.
The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks led the NFC West to a 2-0 start in Week 14. Russell Wilson played well as Seattle topped Houston in the opening slate. San Francisco nearly surrendered a massive comeback to the Bengals but survived an overtime rumble.
Seattle is 5-8 after back-to-back wins, but the Seahawks don’t really have playoff aspirations. Meanwhile, the 7-6 49ers are in Wild Card positioning.
Arizona and Los Angeles faced off for the second time this season. Their Monday Night Football matchup was tied 13 apiece at halftime, but the Rams began pulling away after Kyler Murray’s second interception.
The Cardinals mounted a comeback that closed the score to 23-30. They even recovered an onside kick to have the game’s final possession, but Aaron Donald sacked Murray as time expired.
Arizona is 10-3 and still holds the top seed in the NFC West, but the Rams are only one game behind them.
Dalvin Cook kicked off the best performances of Week 14 with a massive game on Sunday Night Football. The Florida State product had plenty of energy after missing a few games. He ran all over Pittsburgh for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries (7.6 yards per attempt).
We saw two tremendous defensive performances in the Dallas game. Micah Parsons cemented himself as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate with two sacks and a forced fumble. Washington safety Landon Collins also had a big game, registering two sacks and an interception.
A pair of stud tight ends set the tones for their teams on Sunday. Mark Andrew caught all 11 passes that went his way for 115 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, George Kittle caught 13 of his 15 targets for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Some wide receivers deserve honorable mentions. Davante Adams snagged ten receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter Renfrow caught 13 of 14 targets for 1117 yards and a touchdown. A.J. Green wasn’t quite as dominant (seven receptions for 102 yards), but he passed 10,000 career receiving yards.