Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers also fall to demoralising defeat against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Green Bay Packers defenses shines against the Los Angeles Rams, and Dalvin Cook is dealt an injury setback – Week 12 concludes with the Seahawks @ Washington in MNF from 1.15am.
Leonard Fournette hit the Indianapolis Colts for four, Deebo Samuel and Cordarrelle Patterson produced more ‘in their own category’ magic, a Dolphins duo continued to blossom, Joe Mixon ran riot, Vita Vea lost a tooth and Lincoln Riley packed for LA – we look back on Sunday’s NFL action.
WEEK 12 RESULTS
Chicago Bears 16-14 Detroit Lions
Las Vegas Raiders 36-33 Dallas Cowboys (OT)
Buffalo Bills 31-6 New Orleans Saints
Pittsburgh Steelers 10-41 Cincinnati Bengals
The second quarter of the clash between the Browns and Ravens included three Lamar Jackson throws which were intercepted, and two Browns fumbles.
Nobody wants to watch this Steelers offense – nobody. They drafted the best running back in the nation and are yet to find a way to unleash him, while Ben Roethlisberger’s arm looks more rickety by the week. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada probably pays the price without ever really knowing what his orbiting and motioning, disguising and diverting scheme – which isn’t void of blame – would look like with a quarterback better suited and more immersed in it than Roethlisberger.
What has been evident for some time this season seemed grimacingly obvious in Sunday’s 41-10 humiliation against the Bengals; Big Ben’s NFL career, and what a career it has been, is drawing to a close. Two Super Bowl rings, six Pro Bowl selections, an Offensive Rookie of the Year award, two single-season passing yards titles and top 10 in all-time passing yards is some haul.
Where one door closed by another inch, the 49ers’ postseason credentials continued to march in the opposite direction with a 34-26 win over the Vikings. Kyle Shanahan’s coveted run game was back to its vibrant, zesty best behind Elijah Mitchell’s 133 rushing yards for a touchdown from 27 carries and an all singing and dancing Deebo Samuel, who ran for 66 yards and two touchdowns as well as making one catch for 12 yards.
Samuel now has a combined 181 yards and four touchdowns on the ground to just 124 receiving yards and one touchdown catch over his last three games. He also has 1,006 receiving yards for five touchdowns and 203 rushing yards for five touchdowns on the year. He and Patterson are two for the ‘in their own category’ category.
USC QB INCOMING…
Riley has long been linked with head coaching openings at both collegiate and NFL level having mentored former No 1 overall picks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray as well as coaching Eagles starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. This season had seen him work with Caleb Williams after the five-star recruit quarterback won the starting job under center from Spencer Rattler, who struggled early on having been widely-projected as a first-round pick come April’s Draft.
His arrival in California immediately boots the programme’s hopes of securing the services of local quarterback talent, with Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei having all left the state in recent years.
Might one of Williams or Rattler follow Riley to Los Angeles? Could Malachi Nelson, the No 2 quarterback in the 2023 recruiting class, retract his verbal commitment to Oklahoma in favour of a Riley union? Either way, there’s a future USC starting quarterback coming to an NFL team near you.
Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea lost his front tooth after taking a helmet to the face while engaging Colts guard Mark Glowinski. He walked off smiling, which tells you all you need to know about Vita Vea.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea gets hit by a helmet and loses a tooth in the middle of a play during the game. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea gets hit by a helmet and loses a tooth in the middle of a play during the game.
The Vikings were dealt a major scare when star running back Dalvin Cook had to be carted off with a shoulder injury in the third quarter of Minnesota’s defeat to the 49ers, who also lost receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and linebacker Fred Warner (hamstring).
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported after the game that Cook suffered a dislocation and is due to undergo an MRI to determine the full extent.
Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb meanwhile suffered a game-ending groin injury against the Rams having recorded his best figures so far this season.