A quick look back at Week 12 of the NFL season:
1. There was some hand-wringing when the New England Patriots were blown out by the Tennessee Titans before their bye week, but it turned out there’s nothing wrong with the Patriots that can’t be fixed by playing division games. They beat the New York Jets, 27-13, as Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns. Brady said part of his recent problems may have been that he was not being aggressive enough and trying to avoid mistakes. He may have fixed the problem against the Jets. Combined with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to Denver, it put the Patriots in position to be the AFC’s second seed. And they can be the top seed if they win out and Kansas City loses a game. After hosting Minnesota on Sunday, the Patriots have three division games left along with one against Pittsburgh, a team they usually dominate. They once again appear to be well-positioned for a playoff run.
2. When the Cincinnati Bengals rehired Hue Jackson as an assistant coach following his firing by the Cleveland Browns, there was some thought he might give them some insight when they played the Browns last Sunday. Instead, Baker Mayfield threw four touchdown passes as the Browns jumped to a 28-0 lead and won, 35-20. Mayfield didn’t exactly give Jackson a warm welcome after the game. Mayfield said he wasn’t happy Jackson signed on with a division rival. On top of that, the Bengals lost quarterback Andy Dalton for the season. The Bengals’ season is unraveling.
3. Philip Rivers completed 25 consecutive passes, the most by a quarterback in a single game, as the Los Angeles Chargers routed Arizona, 45-10. He finished completing 28 of 29 passes for a record 96.6 completion rate. He could have taken a sack on his one incompletion and had a perfect day. It was the second straight week he should have taken a sack. He threw the ball away to avoid one with two minutes left last week against Denver. That stopped the clock gave the Broncos time to mount a game-winning drive.
4. Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson boosted his record to 2-0 by passing for 178 yards and rushing for 71 in a 34-17 Baltimore Ravens victory over Oakland. OK, it was against the Raiders, but still a nice start. He has rushed for 190 yards in his first two starts, the most for a quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Matthew Judon was a defensive standout for the Ravens as he had the rare feat of getting a sack on three consecutive defensive plays. On the first one, he got strip that Terrell Suggs returned for a touchdown. At 36, he was the second oldest player to have a fumble return for a touchdown of at least 40 yards. Sam Mills did it for Carolina in 1996 at age 37.
5. For the second consecutive week, Ben Roethlisberger had the Steelers near the goal line at the end of the game. He plunged in for a touchdown to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars a week ago, but he threw an interception against Denver to end the team’s bid to force the game into overtime as they lost 24-17. Their six-game winning streak came to an end. The Steelers had 527 yards of offense, but were stymied by two Roethlisberger interceptions and two completions that resulted in lost fumbles. And means the Steelers are now a half-game behind the Patriots in their bid for the second seed.