Wed. Feb 8th, 2023

The 32 issues we realized from Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season:

1. Six days faraway from Buffalo Payments S Damar Hamlin’s terrifying on-field collapse after he suffered cardiac arrest, how good was it to get again to full-blown soccer this weekend – with an alert and recovering Hamlin watching from his hospital room?

2. Hamlin was clearly in ideas and prayers across the league … to not point out his No. 3 adorning T-shirts (which additionally learn “Love For Damar”) of gamers, coaches and staffers whereas getting spotlighted in blue and pink on the 30-yard traces of stadiums all through the nation.

3. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans convened at midfield for a pregame prayer honoring Hamlin on Saturday night time previous to kicking off their AFC South title recreation.

NFL SATURDAY WINNERS, LOSERS: Damar Hamlin, protection and punters loom giant

4. However laborious to think about something a lot better than the Payments returning the opening kickoff for a landing towards the New England Patriots – Buffalo’s first play since Hamlin went down halfway by way of the primary quarter of final Monday’s recreation with the Cincinnati Bengals.

4a. Buffalo’s Nyheim Hines really took a pair of kickoffs to the home within the Payments’ 35-23 win over New England, the primary time a participant had completed that in additional than 12 years.

5. After the NFL canceled the Payments-Bengals Week 17 recreation on Thursday night time, the league went to unprecedented lengths to construct in situations that might create some stage of equity given the huge playoff implications the Buffalo-Cincinnati contest carried. Nonetheless, no coin flip can be wanted to find out a number metropolis within the wild-card spherical, and just one situation stays for a possible neutral-site AFC championship recreation – if the Payments are matched up with the top-seeded Kansas Metropolis Chiefs.

6. The league will start exploring impartial web site venues in earnest this week now that that risk is viable. Detroit and Indianapolis have been floated as potentialities, whereas Las Vegas Raiders proprietor Mark Davis has additionally supplied up Sin Metropolis’s Allegiant Stadium instead. “We’re right here for the NFL in the event that they want us,” Davis stated Friday.

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7. Sunday’s finest celebration? Needed to be the one from Indianapolis Colts S Rodney Thomas II, a highschool teammate of Hamlin’s, after he picked off a move towards the Houston Texans.

7a. Sunday’s second-best celebration? How about Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon sarcastically tossing a coin in the long run zone? Not wanted now because the Bengals will host the Ravens once more subsequent week … and it stays to be seen if Baltimore can have QB Lamar Jackson as soon as the playoffs start.

8. Bengals QB Joe Burrow threw his thirty fifth TD move of the season Sunday, a brand new workforce document. He’d beforehand set the document Monday night time within the first quarter towards Buffalo … however that TD was worn out by the sport’s cancellation.

8a. Previous to that, Burrow had set the single-season franchise mark of 34 TD passes … final 12 months.

9. It took longer than anticipated, however the Philadelphia Eagles lastly sewed up the NFC’s prime seed and the home-field benefit and first-round bye that include it. The final time Philly gained the convention’s regular-season crown was 2017 … then they went on to win Tremendous Bowl 52, their first championship since 1960.

10. The Eagles’ 14 regular-season wins are probably the most in franchise’s 90-season historical past.

Philadelphia Eagles broad receiver A.J. Brown (11) reacts after maiking a catch towards the New York Giants throughout the first quarter at Lincoln Monetary Discipline.

11. The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8) missed out on the postseason discipline by a tiebreaker however did avert coach Mike Tomlin’s first dropping season by profitable six of their remaining seven video games. Pittsburgh’s 19 consecutive campaigns with no sub-.500 document at the moment are two shy of the Dallas Cowboys’ 21-year non-losing run between 1965 and ’85 below Corridor of Fame coach Tom Landry.

TB12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, who set single-season NFL information Sunday for move makes an attempt (733) and completions (490), is a member of his nineteenth divisional champion, and his Bucs will host the Cowboys on wild-card weekend.

12a. Brady is 7-0 all-time towards Dallas, together with a 19-3 win to open the 2022 season.

13. TB12’s former workforce, the Patriots, was eradicated from the playoff race Sunday and haven’t gained the AFC East since Brady bolted following the 2019 season.

14. Congrats to Atlanta rookie QB Desmond Ridder, whose first two NFL TD passes enabled the Falcons to beat Brady’s Bucs 30-17 on Sunday.

15. Within the 5 seasons since Patrick Mahomes turned the beginning quarterback in 2018, the Chiefs have earned the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed 3 times and have secured a first-round bye on 4 events.

16. Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler completed with a workforce document 107 catches.

17. Chargers QB Justin Herbert threw his twenty fourth and twenty fifth TD passes on the season, permitting him to hitch Peyton Manning as the one gamers ever with a minimum of 25 in every of their first three NFL seasons.

18. In fact, it is positively value questioning why Herbert, Ekeler and different key Bolts had been taking part in in a recreation that had no bearing on their playoff seeding … particularly since WR Mike Williams was carted off with a again harm. Ekeler even wound up making two tackles on misplaced Chargers fumbles, one among them his personal. Not nice, Brandon Staley.

19. With rookie QB3 Skylar Thompson on the helm, the Miami Dolphins did not rating a landing Sunday – nor did they give up one – however their 11-6 victory over the New York Jets was sufficient to safe the AFC’s remaining playoff berth.

20. The Fins haven’t gained a playoff recreation in additional than 22 years, the longest drought with no postseason win within the AFC.

21. Solely the Detroit Lions, who final gained a playoff recreation following the 1991 season, have an extended dry spell.

22. Naturally, the sport of the day occurred between the also-ran Texans and Colts, arguably the league’s two worst groups. However credit score the Texans, who clawed to a 32-31 victory, together with the game-winning two-point conversion within the remaining minute, regardless that the win value them the No. 1 choose of the 2023 draft.

23. So what’s going to the Chicago Bears do with that No. 1 choice, the primary time they’ve held it since 1947? There’s certain to be commerce chatter given they already appear to have their franchise quarterback in Justin Fields. But when they stick and choose? Get to know Georgia DT Jalen Carter and Alabama OLB Will Anderson Jr., Chicago followers.

24. In case you are counting, that is seven TD catches previously 4 video games for San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle. Would appear to portend good issues within the postseason for the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

25. In case you are counting, that is seven consecutive video games with a minimum of one interception for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. Would appear to portend ominous issues in postseason for the NFC’s No. 5 seed, who should journey to Tampa subsequent weekend.

26. The AFC South champion Jaguars are the primary workforce for the reason that 2008 Dolphins to win a division the season after having the league’s worst document.

26a. This marks the 18th time previously 20 seasons a minimum of one workforce has gained its division the season after ending in final place or tied for final.

27. That is additionally the thirty third consecutive season a minimum of 4 groups certified for the playoffs the season after failing to succeed in them. The Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville, Chargers, Miami, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants all missed postseason in 2021.

28. RB Josh Jacobs and WR Davante Adams of the Raiders turned the primary teammates this century with 1,500 yards dashing and receiving, respectively.

28a. The final 1,500-yard dashing/receiving teammates had been Corridor of Famers Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison for the 1999 Colts.

29. Memo to the New Orleans Saints: You could have nice uniforms … however you shouldn’t be sporting the all-white pants with black jerseys. Do not allow us to see this once more.

30. Shoutout to Carolina Panthers interim HC Steve Wilks, who went 6-6 after inheriting a squad that seemed like roadkill after Matt Rhule was fired following a 1-4 begin.

31. Have we seen the final of Rams coach Sean McVay on LA’s sideline? If the whispers are true and he opts to maneuver on from the franchise with which he gained the Lombardi Trophy final season, his remaining marketing campaign can be the worst ever for a defending Tremendous Bowl champion. The Rams’ 12 losses are two greater than another workforce endured the 12 months after a Tremendous Sunday triumph.

32. Lastly, however most definitely not least, a salute to retiring Arizona Cardinals star J.J. Watt, who collected two sacks in his one hundred and sixtieth (playoffs included) recreation. His 12½ sacks in 2022 had been Watt’s second most previously seven seasons.

32a. But it surely have to be reiterated that, regardless that Watt is sort of a surefire first-ballot Corridor of Famer in 2028, he ought to be remembered as a greater particular person than soccer participant.

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Comply with USA TODAY Sports activities’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: NFL scores, extra Week 18: 32 issues we realized; NFL playoffs set

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