Well that was a big load of coal in my stocking. The football season is essentially over as the Lions lost to the Bengals in Cincinnati in embarrassing fashion to miss out on a playoff chance on Christmas Eve. The Vikings shut out the Packers to move towards a first round bye. The Bears beat the winless Browns for their fifth win. Let’s take a look at what happened.
Vikings 16 Packers 0
In an ugly game at Lambeau, the Packers defense showed signs of life. However, Brett Hundley and the Packers run game couldn’t do anything against the Vikings defense. Minnesota didn’t get the best game from Keenum with 139 yards but he didn’t turn the ball over. Keenum tossed one TD to Stefon Diggs and the Vikings nailed three field goals as well with two of them from shorter drives. It was cold and ugly and the Vikings keep hope alive for home field. The Eagles won on Monday night to stay in control of NFC home field for now.
Bears 20 Browns 3
Chicago played well defensively and Trubisky earned another win with an 87.8 rating on 23 attempts. Chicago didn’t run the ball well at 3.1 YPC but they played good defense on Cleveland. Kizer had a 41 rating with 2 interceptions and the Browns also lost a fumble. Chicago is now 5-10 with a game to spoil the Vikings home field party.
Bengals 26 Lions 17
This was awful. Detroit led 17-16 and then blew the 4th Quarter lead. They couldn’t convert two 3rd and short attempts and Ebron dropped a big 3rd down despite a good game (83 yards and TD) in the first half. Jones, Tate and Golladay each dropped a ball as well as the Lions dropped the ball for a playoff chance. Penalties killed two drives as well and Caldwell didn’t challenge a 3rd and 28 miracle heave to Tate that appeared to possibly be caught.
The Lions were missing three offensive linemen with Swanson, Lang and Wagner all hurt. Don Barclay was awful and Robinson and Decker gave up late sacks on the last drive. Stafford has been sacked 45 times which is 2nd most in the league. The Lions offensive line was way too banged up all year. Detroit couldn’t run the ball other than a few runs from rookie Tion Green who had a nice TD and 4th down run.
Andy Dalton had time in the second half and picked the Lions apart. Ziggy Ansah had 3 sacks to move to 9 sacks on the year but it wasn’t enough for Detroit. Nobody else got pressure and the Lions run game allowed the worst running team to run for 142 yards on the day.
Giovanni Bernard had a big day and earned the back breaking TD on 3rd down. Randy Bullock hit his first 50-yard field goal in two years for the 19-17 lead and Prater missed a 50 yarder earlier in the game. Bullock made four field goals on the day in wintry weather.
Detroit blew a great chance and now Jim Caldwell could be fired because of this game. The Falcons lost and play the Panthers next week. Detroit would have made the playoffs if they were able to win out and Atlanta lost to the Panthers.
The Lions failed and the 10 second run off rears its ugly head. Not being able to convert in the red zone against Pittsburgh rears its ugly head. The turnover filled day against the Saints with Stafford hurt and allowing Cam Newton to have a big day was costly. An 11-5 good season can turn into 9-7 due to two yards and O and Dline injuries. And Detroit now will play a meaningless game in Week 17 at home against a Rodgers less Packers team. Detroit should feel bad for being terrible on Christmas Eve.