NFL Week 16: Browns win, Browns win, Browns win! But Titans lose QB and key game.
NFL Week 16
The New England Patriots moved closer to securing homefield advantage and another AFC team rescued its playoff hopes from jeopardy in thrilling fashion on Christmas Eve, but the Cleveland Browns may have produced the most memorable game of the day against the San Diego Chargers.
The Browns blocked one would-be game-tying field goal attempt in the fourth quarter and Chargers kicker Josh Lambo pushed another wide right as time expired, giving the previously 0-14 Browns their first victory of the season, 20-17. The win prevents Cleveland — a city that has enjoyed the recent successes of MLB’s Indians and NBA’s Cavaliers — from joining the Detroit Lions in NFL infamy as the only teams to go winless over a 16-game scheduled.
The win did come at a cost, the win now puts the San Francisco Niners in position to receive the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL draft should both teams finish with just one victory this season.
There was another loss as well: quarterback Robert Griffin III was knocked from the game and diagnosed with a concussion. He was not the only signal caller to not finish the game Saturday.
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty battled through a chest injury to return to face the Patriots in Week 16, but was taken to the locker room after suffering an injury while making a tackle following a Patriots’ fumble recovery. Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for the Jets and continued their downward spiral, ultimately falling to the Patriots 41-3.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn’t finish the game either, but for very different reasons. With New England blowing out New York by 34, the Pats opted to rest their starter in the fourth quarter, bringing in backup Jimmy Garoppolo to finish the game. Garoppolo promptly led the Pats to another touchdown, capped by a run by LaGarrette Blount, his second rushing score of the day.
Though the Patriots’ rout of the New York Jets was far from surprising, a blowout by the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars over the Tennessee Titans, 38-17, imperiled the Titans’ playoff hopes and set up a clinching scenario for the Houston Texans when they face the Cincinnati Bengals at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. Worse for Tennessee, Titans starting quarterback Marcus Mariota was carted off the field at the end of the third quarter with an air cast reportedly being applied to his right ankle. The Titans later announced that he is out with a fractured fibula.
Matt Cassel replaced him at quarterback and scored a touchdown on his second drive to trim Jacksonville’s lead to eight points. The Jags answered in surprising fashion, with Marqise Lee throwing the touchdown pass to quarterback Blake Bortles in a role reversal. The Jags missed the extra point, but on the ensuing Tennessee possession, Jalen Ramsey returned a Cassel interception for another Jacksonville score. Tennessee’s playoff chances are looking very dark at the moment.
The Miami Dolphins nearly watched their playoff hopes take a big hit before a miraculous field goal at the end of regulation pushed their game against the Buffalo Bills to overtime and gave them another shot at…