Monday Morning QB Wrapping Up NFL Week 17

The NFL 2019 Regular Season Is Over, can We talk playoffs

As the rain fell in Jacksonville Florida on Sunday, fans packed into TIAA BankField to see the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the indianapolis Colts, and for the Jaguars, this game was just the ending of a Horrible Season. To the Colts, it might have meant postseason. But  someone forgot to tell the Jags that the game was meaningless.

Gardner Minshew turned in his best performance in two months, throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday.  The rookie closed out Jacksonville’s disappointing year by strengthening his case to be the team’s starting quarterback over Nick Foles next season. And Head Coach Doug Marrone might even be around for it.

Minshew and the Jaguars (6-10) certainly made Marrone look good in the regular-season finale for both teams. Minshew connected with Keelan Cole, Ryquell Armstead and Dede Westbrook for touchdowns.

The sixth-round draft pick was at his best on consecutive passes to Cole, a 45-yard precision floater down the sideline and then a 14-yard strike while on the run for a score.

You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts! Week 17 started off in wild fashion with a massive shift in the AFC, thanks in large part to the Miami Dolphins doing the unthinkable and beating the Patriots in New England. The result might completely change what happens in the postseason this year, with the Pats now forced to host a wild-card game instead of getting a bye.

Kansas City never could have imagined this scenario: the odds of them winning and the Pats losing were very slim. We’re talking Bill Belichick and Tom Brady at home against a Dolphins team many people thought were tanking to start the season. But now the Dolphins have hope and the Chiefs should feel like they stole a playoff win. They were roughly 7-1 to win the Super Bowl before this game, those odds should drop dramatically knowing Kansas City simply needs to win two playoff games, one at home, to get to the Super Bowl. 

Five of the 12 teams to qualify for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2019, having missed the playoffs a year ago: Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco and Tennessee.

Since 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The BALTIMORE RAVENS won the AFC North and finished as the AFC’s No.1 seed. The Ravens will have home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs.

The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS won the AFC West, are the No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS won the AFC East, are the No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed TENNESSEE TITANS in the Wild Card round. Tennessee clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons.

The HOUSTON TEXANS won the AFC South, are the No. 4 seed and will host the No. 5 seed BUFFALO BILLS in the Wild Card round. Buffalo clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons.

The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS visit the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS on Sunday Night Football with the NFC West division title on the line. With a San Francisco win, they would earn the No. 1 seed and have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With a Seattle victory, the Seahawks would be the No. 3 seed in the NFC and host the MINNESOTA VIKINGS in the Wild Card round.

The GREEN BAY PACKERS won the NFC North and clinched a bye in the first round of the NFC playoffs. The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS won the NFC South and dependent on Sunday Night Football results, can also clinch a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES won the NFC East for the second time in the past three seasons, are the No. 4 seed and will host either San Francisco or Seattle in the NFC Wild Card round.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons and will visit either New Orleans or Seattle in the first round of the NFC playoffs.

Three rookie quarterbacks – New York Giants’ DANIEL JONES, Jacksonville’s GARDNER MINSHEW and Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY – each passed for at least 20 touchdowns this season, marking the second season in league annals in which at least three rookie quarterbacks each passed for at least 20 touchdowns (2012 – ROBERT GRIFFIN IIIANDREW LUCK and RUSSELL WILSON).

Jones led all rookie quarterbacks with 24 touchdown passes in 2019, the fourth-most by a rookie quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Only BAKER MAYFIELD (27 in 2018), PEYTON MANNING (26 in 1998) and RUSSELL WILSON (26 in 2012) had more.

Murray passed for 3,722 yards and rushed for 544 yards this season and joined CAM NEWTON (2011) as the only rookies with at least 3,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in NFL history.

New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 253 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 123.3 rating in the Saints’ 42-10 win at Carolina. Brees has 93 career games with at least three touchdown passes, tied with PEYTON MANNING (93) for the most in NFL history.

Brees recorded his fourth consecutive game with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions and joined RUSSELL WILSON (five games in 2015), TOM BRADY (four in 2007) and AARON RODGERS (four in 2014) as the only players with at least four consecutive games of at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a single season in league annals.

In 2019, Brees recorded a 74.3 completion percentage (281 of 378), the second-highest single-season completion percentage in NFL history, trailing only the mark he set in 2018 (74.4 percent).

Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY recorded seven receptions and 98 scrimmage yards (72 receiving, 26 rushing) with a rushing touchdown on Sunday.

McCaffrey led the NFL with 2,392 scrimmage yards this season, the third-most scrimmage yards in a single season in NFL history, trailing only CHRIS JOHNSON (2,509 in 2009) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (2,429 in 1999).

McCaffrey totaled 1,387 rushing yards and 1,005 receiving yards in 2019 and joined ROGER CRAIG (1985) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (1999) as the only players with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in league annals.

McCaffrey has 303 receptions since entering the NFL in 2017 and joined MICHAEL THOMAS (321 receptions) as the only players with at least 300 receptions in their first three seasons in NFL history.
 

Tennessee rookie wide receiver A.J. BROWN had a 51-yard touchdown reception in the Titans’ Week 17 win.

Brown has four touchdown catches of at least 50 yards in 2019 and joined ISAAC CURTIS (five in 1973), WILLIE GAULT (four in 1983) and Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (five in 1998) as rookies with at least four touchdown receptions of 50-or-more yards since 1970.
 

Kansas City rookie wide receiver MECOLE HARDMAN recorded a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win.

Hardman, who also had an 83-yard touchdown reception in 2019, is the fourth player and first rookie in NFL history with a kick return touchdown of at least 100 yards and touchdown reception of at least 80 yards in the same season in NFL history.
 

Detroit rookie quarterback DAVID BLOUGH, New England linebacker ELANDON ROBERTS and Atlanta tackle TY SAMBRAILO each recorded touchdown receptions in Week 17.

Blough, who caught a 19-yard touchdown pass against Green Bay, joined MARCUS MARIOTA (December 13, 2015) as the only rookie quarterbacks to register a touchdown reception since 1970.

Roberts caught a 38-yard touchdown pass against Miami, the longest touchdown reception by a linebacker since 1970.

Sambrailo recorded a 35-yard touchdown reception against Tampa Bay, the longest touchdown reception by an offensive lineman since 1970.
 

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:
     

    • The BALTIMORE RAVENS led the NFL with 3,296 rushing yards in 2019 and surpassed the 1978 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (3,165) for the most rushing yards by a team in a single season in NFL history.
       
    • New England quarterback TOM BRADY passed for two touchdowns with one interception in Week 17 against Miami.

      Brady has 541 career touchdown passes and surpassed PEYTON MANNING (539) for the second-most touchdown passes in NFL history. Only DREW BREES (547) has more.
       

    • Tampa Bay quarterback JAMEIS WINSTON led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards in 2019 and became the eighth different quarterback to throw for at least 5,000 yards in a single season in league annals.
    • Denver running back PHILLIP LINDSAY had 1,011 rushing yards in 2019 and became the first undrafted player to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons since 1967.
    • Atlanta linebacker DEION JONES registered a game-winning 27-yard interception return for a touchdown on the first play of overtime in the Falcons’ 28-22 win at Tampa Bay.

      Jones is the seventh player with a game-winning interception return for a touchdown in overtime since 2002 and the first since ROBERT ALFORD (October 11, 2015). 

    • Buccaneers rookie linebacker DEVIN WHITE recorded a 91-yard fumble return for a touchdown in Week 17. White, who also had a 14-yard fumble return for a touchdown in Week 13, is the first rookie to return two opponent fumble recoveries for a touchdown in a single season since 1970.

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