It was not a good week for fringe contenders who wanted to establish themselves as the season gets into its final few weeks. The Cardinals, Rams, Raiders, and Colts were among the teams who really let themselves down and made their tasks much more difficult heading into the last five weeks.
That wasn’t all, though. Here are five big letdowns from Week 12.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets
Darnold’s return from injury was supposed to bolster the Jets’ offense. It did anything but that. Darnold went just 16/27 and failed to find the end zone in a 20-3 loss to Miami. He did, however, throw two interceptions. It’s true that Darnold has few weapons and is in a terrible environment, but he found some success in the past two years in spite of those hindrances. That’s not happening anymore, and it’s why he may be on his way out of New York.
Las Vegas Raiders
If the Raiders want to solidify a playoff spot, beating teams like the Falcons is what they have to do. Not only did they fail on Sunday, but they did so in spectacular fashion. An Atlanta offense without Todd Gurley or Julio Jones still managed to post 43 points on the Raiders, and Las Vegas only mustered six points on offense. The Falcons have improved lately — that much is clear. This was, however, a brutal showing from Vegas.
Anthony Lynn, coach, Chargers
The Chargers leave a lot of observers confused because they lose so many close games. In tight contests, every little thing matters more. One of those things is clock management, and Lynn is terrible at it. The Chargers looked truly clueless in the final minute of their game against the Bills, which you can see here. The only solace is they probably wouldn’t have won the game anyway. Their end-of-game play is inexplicable, and it’s the reflection of a poorly-coached team.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Murray almost looked intimidated by the New England defense on Sunday. He failed to find the end zone for the first time all season, lacked aggressiveness, and seemed unwilling to run. Perhaps that’s down to the shoulder issue he’s dealt with, or maybe he really was just that thrown off by the New England defense. Regardless, it cost Arizona in a game they probably should have won given how much the Patriots offense sputtered as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary
The Kansas City Chiefs have victimized many a secondary in recent years, but rarely have they put a beating on anyone like they did Tampa Bay on Sunday. Tyreek Hill had 203 yards and two touchdowns before the end of the first quarter. Patrick Mahomes looked to have a realistic chance of breaking the single-game record for passing yardage. In the end, he finished with 462 yards, and Hill had 269 of them on the receiving front. The fact that the Buccaneers only gave up 27 points is a minor miracle. That has to get better if they want to make a playoff run.
Bonus: Mitch Trubisky, QB, Bears
The Chicago Bears put up a stinker in primetime on Sunday night, and Mitch Trubisky did not look too hot. Trubisky was playing in his first game since September, and Bears fans were hoping he would inject some life into the team. Instead, Trubisky had two turnovers early that the Packers turned into touchdowns. He had three turnovers in the game. It wasn’t until the game was out of hand at 41-10 that Mitch finally got things going with a pair of touchdown drives to make the final score respectable at 41-25.
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