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TMF: On Joe Burrow’s Historic Day: "I wouldn't go around pissing that guy off,” Plus: Josh Allen Delivers, More From Week 16
Joe Burrow beats Ravens with a giant exclamation point. Josh Allen has his moment, carrying the Bills past the Patriots in an AFC deciding game. Plus: 10 takeaways from the week and more from Week 16.
Before we plunge into a slightly thrilling Week 16, let’s rewind the clocks back to Week 7 for a brief moment. Joe Burrow’s return to the field from his season ending knee injury a season prior had gotten off to a good start. Cincinnati traveled to Baltimore in a highly anticipated Week 7 clash with a 4-2 record. For Baltimore, Lamar Jackson had them rolling early, entering their home stadium sitting nicely at 5-1.
Bengals led at halftime 13-10. On the very first possession of the second half, it took the Ravens just three plays to score. Lamar Jackson found rookie receiver Rashod Bateman for a 35-yard gain. On the very next play, Jackson connected with Marquise Brown for a 39-yard touchdown. Ravens 17-13.
It was all Joe Burrow’s Bengals from that point on. Four of the Bengals’ next five drives resulted in touchdowns. Cincinnati ran away with a statement 41-17 win. Burrow looked impressive, that much was obvious to us all. But it was Burrow’s belief in his old friend, Ja’Marr Chase, that made this game that much more memorable.
“We’re starting to earn respect,” Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor said after the Week 7 win.
Burrow threw for a career-high 416 yards and three touchdowns, including the vital 82-yarder to Chase in the third quarter. The Bengals not only drew even with the Ravens (5-2) atop the AFC North division, but they also put the entire AFC on notice. Because maybe, the tandem of two former LSU teammates is precisely what’s needed to uplift a struggling franchise in Cincinnati.
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Favorite Stories from Week 16:
More on Cincinnati: Joe Burrow’s performance on Sunday was one for the ages. One for the history books, too. Burrow’s day was one in which even Joe Montana, Brett Favre, or Tom Brady has not had. Extraordinary is an understatement.
The Kansas City Chiefs have won eight straight games. The scary part? It’s not all Patrick Mahomes this go around. KC’s defense is genuine. Scary, right?
The Cowboys scored more points in the first half (42) than any other team did in a game in Week 16. Dak Prescott looked better as the high-powered Dallas offense looks to be clicking together as the playoffs creep closer.
The Bills will go as far as Josh Allen can take them. He’s that special. But again, he’ll need to continue to play mistake-free spectacular football in order to carry Buffalo on a deep postseason run.
In a shocking plot twist, Bill Belichick doesn’t like talking about New Year’s resolutions after a loss.
TMF FRONT PAGE: "I wouldn't go around pissing that guy off."
As mentioned earlier, the last time the Ravens faced Burrow and the Bengals, things didn’t work out so well for them. So, one would assume that both the players and coaches would get up for this one. Even in games played without their star quarterback on the field, Baltimore has fought teams hard this season. But evidently Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale didn’t feel the need to show Burrow and Cincinnati’s offense much of any respect leading up to the second divisional game of the season.
Earlier last week, Martindale was asked if he’d play the Bengals like he played the Packers in a no-blitz zone that nearly pulled out in a 31-30 loss to Green Bay in Week 15.
"Aaron Rodgers is a Hall of Fame quarterback, and I don't think we're ready to buy a gold jacket for Joe yet,"
Crunch cut to Burrow relentlessly ripping apart the Ravens defense while setting NFL records in the process.
525 passing yards
4 TD, 0 INT
143.2 passer rating
My two cents: It’s easy to look back in hindsight, but that was an interesting comment to make when the guy you’re not ready to buy a ‘gold jacket’ for torched your defense earlier in the season.
The Bengals didn’t seem too pleased with the comment either. So, it wasn’t a huge shock when Burrow lit up Martindale’s defense yet again on Sunday. And this time, in historically prolific fashion. Burrow broke the Bengals franchise record with 525-yards passing. Only three quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown for more yards in a single game. Burrow’s 941 passing yards versus Baltimore is the most by a QB against one opponent in a single season. Both of Burrow’s career 400-plus pass yards games came against Baltimore and Martindale’s defense this season.
"I wouldn't go around pissing that guy off." Cincinnati edge rusher Trey Hendrickson said after the game.
Also after the game, a reported asked Burrow if Martindale’s comments were on his mind during the game?
In a big moment, Josh Allen delivers for Buffalo
“We know who’s up next,”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said in a team video of the postgame locker room after Week 15’s win over Carolina. The next game on Buffalo’s schedule was the team that embarrassed them just weeks prior. A visit to Foxboro, MA. The division rival coached by who many believe to be the best head coach in the history of the sport. The AFC East crown was on the table for both the Patriots and the Bills. And Josh Allen delivered. In a big way, at that.
There wasn’t really much Buffalo’s defense did differently this time around. Patriots still had success running the ball. Even when down on the scoreboard, New England’s offense still pieced together drives to keep themselves in the game, for the most part. Mac Jones didn’t have his best game, as the rookie quarterback out of Alabama looked the part of a rookie quarterback.
The important story, and reason for the Bills’ win, is just how special Josh Allen is a football player. Truthfully, Allen may be the only reason Buffalo is even in contention for the playoffs at all. More often than not, the Bills find themselves making critical mistakes in the most inopportune times each week. Yet, when you have a guy behind center who can alleviate those mistakes, lifting his team consistently, it doesn’t matter much.
Allen earned it on Sunday after racking up 314 passing yards and three touchdowns while adding 64 yards rushing. Allen had his way with the Patriots’ defense. His efficiency and decision making were on point; taking what the defense gave him with patience and decisiveness.
MMQB’s Albert Breer had the opportunity to speak with Bills head coach Sean McDermott after the game.
“I’ll talk about that quote, first of all. I know what I meant to say, and I have the utmost respect for Bill. And it was more about what I and our team didn’t do. And things sometimes take on a life of their own, I guess. But look, Bill Belichick makes me a better coach. He’s the standard. And so, he just … he challenges even the opposite coach to continue to grow. It’s so hard to beat his team.”
“And at the end of the day, I’m just very thankful for the opportunity to bring our team here, and I thought our guys played really hard today.”
This was a massive win for the Bills. After the game, a few key Bills players made sure to let it be known. The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn overheard multiple Bills players, Josh Allen included, shouting while running back to their locker room.
Josh Allen: “I don’t know who the (expletive) they thought I was!”
Jordan Poyer: “That (expletive) was embarrassing!”
Jerry Hughes: “It would suck to be in Boston tonight!”
It was certainly Buffalo’s night. And if any player is deserving of talking the talk after that game, it’s undeniably Josh Allen. What Buffalo does with the win, however, might be the next defining moment in this team’s chapter.
TEN THINGS FROM THE WEEK
In the Bill Belichick Patriots era, two opposing quarterbacks have gone to New England and scored 3+ touchdowns, beat the Patriots by double digits two consecutive seasons: Peyton Manning and Josh Allen.
The road to the Super Bowl for the NFC will go through Lambeau field, Green Bay Wisconsin. With how Aaron Rodgers is playing this season, home playoff games could be the ticket to another Super Bowl appearance for the former Jeopardy guest host.
Quote of the week goes to the guy we’ve talked about a lot in this week’s column: Joe Burrow. After the game, Burrow was asked about running up the score on Baltimore: “They did it to us last year, no sympathy from me.”
In a season where there’s no team labeled as a Super Bowl lock; the Chiefs still feel like the underrated Cinderella story. Forget the AFC, would you really argue with me if I said that the Chiefs would be favored over Green Bay or Tampa Bay if they met in the Super Bowl tomorrow? You could make a strong case either way, and that’s my whole point here. KC’s defense is a big reason for the massive turnaround, and we shouldn’t expect them to slow down anytime soon. A Chiefs team not needing to rely on Patrick Mahomes’ greatness is a scary, scary thing.
Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp probably won’t win it, but he will certainly receive MVP votes this season.
If Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense can build off of Sunday’s annihilation of WTF, the entire NFC has to pay close attention. As we’ve pondered about all season, Dallas has the talent to surprise people come January.
In Antonio Brown’s first game back, Tom Brady targeted him 15 times. Sure, Tampa Bay missing Chris Godwin and Mike Evans played a part in that. But make no mistake about it: Antonio Brown plays a critical role in this Bucs offense. Oh, and Brady adores him, which helps Brown tremendously.
If the Texans draft a QB in the first round next year, I’ll personally send every TDS subscriber a signed Davis Mills photo. Kidding, of course. Come on, I’m no Jack Easterby. In all seriousness, I’d be stunned if Nick Caserio hasn’t seen enough from Davis Mills to reward him a full season in 2022.
You could make a strong argument that the New York Giants are the worst NFL team and I’m not sure I’d emphatically disagree with you. In today’s high scoring league, scoring an average of 10.5 points per game over the last six is flat out putrid, no matter which way you slice it. If you want to sell me on retaining Joe Judge for one more season, I’ll listen. But GM Dave Gettleman has to go, and a new approach needs to be installed before the 2022 draft rolls around.
Bill Belichick didn’t care to share any New Year’s resolutions after Sunday’s 33-21 loss to the Bills.
ASK ME ANYTHING FROM THE WEEK
–If you’re running the Texans, would you consider taking a QB early in the 2022 draft? Not Rd one but maybe Rd 2 if Willis or Howell are sitting there?
What makes you believe that any of the 2022 QB prospects are definitively better than Davis Mills is right now? I’d roll with Mills for the next season and build a team ready to help him, or the next guy, succeed long term.
–Not a ‘what would you do’ question, but who do you believe David Tepper will hire to replace Matt Rhule if he’s let go after the season?
–How would you rank the top QB’s in the AFC 1-5?
–Could Denver look to trade Drew Lock in the offseason? If so, what could they expect in return?
Maybe a day three draft pick. And even that’s quite generous.
–If the Saints traded for Russell Wilson this offseason, where would they rank in the NFC?
A lot higher than they are right now, I can guarantee you that.
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