Decyfr’s Week 14 Roundup

With exceptional individual performances, controversial officiating and upset wins that left fans with an array of emotions, Decyfr breaks down six action-packed games from Week 14.

New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Final Score: 21 – 18

Thursday Night Football saw the two most successful franchises in NFL history – the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers – go head-to-head. Fresh off of an unexpected loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh returned to Acrisure Stadium with the hopes of regaining their confidence and clinching a win over a struggling Patriots team.

New England, however, weren’t going down without a fight. Bailey Zappe threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns – becoming the first Patriots quarterback to throw for three touchdowns in the first half since Tom Brady in 2018. Meanwhile, Hunter Henry had three catches for 40 yards and two touchdowns as he became only the fifth player in NFL history to score at least two touchdowns on their birthday. Despite the win coming on his 507th game as a head coach – second all-time behind only Don Shula – Bill Belichick will have to move into Week 15 with his tenure as a Patriot potentially coming to an end – given their disappointing 3-10 record. The Steelers and Mike Tomlin, however, sit at 7-6 and third in the AFC North.

Player of the Game: Hunter Henry, Tight End, New England Patriots.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cleveland Browns

Final Score: 27 – 31

Only a few weeks ago, Joe Flacco was a free agent contemplating his future in the league. However, after a flurry of injuries for the Cleveland Browns, he’s back on the field – leading the team to victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Flacco threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns – two of which were to David Njoku, who finished the game with six receptions for 91 yards and an average of 15.2 yards per reception. The Browns are now second in the AFC North, looking to make a late playoff push. Whilst the Jaguars remain atop the AFC South at 8-5.

Player of the Game: Joe Flacco, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns.

Los Angeles Rams @ Baltimore Ravens

Final Score: 31 – 37

In a closely contested shootout between the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens, a moment of overtime magic would be needed in order to separate the two sides. To start overtime, the Ravens were unable to move the chains – punting the ball on their opening drive. The Rams then met the same fate, turning to punter Ethan Evans on fourth down. With the rain spitting down, Tylan Wallace returned Evans’ punt 76 yards for a punt return touchdown to win the game for the Ravens – becoming only the fourth-ever player to score a walk-off punt return in overtime. With the win, the Ravens overtake the Dolphins for the top seed in the AFC, whilst the Rams are now 6-7 and second in the NFC West.

Player of the Game: Tylan Wallace, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens.

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs

Final Score: 20 – 17

The rivalry between Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes is infamous, with the pair headlining some of the most exciting match-ups in recent memory. This time, however, the spotlight was on Kadarius Toney, who was controversially flagged for offside – negating not only one of the best touchdowns of the season, but a potential game-winner for the Chiefs. Mahomes had found Travis Kelce in the middle of the field, who then completed a lateral pass to Toney who was primed and ready to seal the game for Kansas City. Mahomes and Reid were particularly furious at the decision – with the pair expressing their thoughts post-game. The Chiefs drop to 8-5 but remain atop the AFC West, while the Bills move above .500, with a 7-6 record.

Player of the Game: Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

Final Score: 13 – 33

With news circulating that Mike McCarthy could be replaced as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys if the team doesn’t make a deep playoff push, Sunday night’s divisional match-up with the Philadelphia Eagles came at a pivotal point in the season. The Cowboys defense managed to stifle the dual-threat that is Jalen Hurts – holding him and his tandem of star receivers, DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown, to zero points. The Dallas offense then capitalised on this momentum, as Dak Prescott threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns whilst Rico Dowdle scored on the ground. Following the clash, Dallas are now in pole position in the NFC East – overtaking the Philadelphia Eagles.

Player of the Game: Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins

Final Score: 28 – 27

The Miami Dolphins were leading the game by 14 points with just under five minutes left on the clock – all signs were pointing towards a Dolphins victory. That was until quarterback Will Levis led the Tennessee Titans on a 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in a successful two-point conversion and reduced the Dolphins’ lead to just six points. Following a three-and-out, Miami were forced to punt and give the Titans a chance to win it all. With the game on the line, the Titans turned to Derrick Henry who completed the comeback with a three-yard touchdown run. The Dolphins now hold the number two seed in the AFC playoff race, while the Tennessee Titans move to 5-8 but remain bottom of the AFC South.

Player of the Game: Will Levis, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans.

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