Five quick takes looking back on Week 14 in the NFL:
1. The nominations are now closed for the Play of the Year award. It goes to Miami for its double lateral play on the final play of the game that gave the Dolphins a 34-33 victory over the Patriots and left Tom Brady with a 7-10 record in Miami. It will go down as one of the most memorable plays in NFL history. And what made it all possible was a rare gaffe by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. With the Dolphins lining up for their final play on their 31, Belichick put in his Hail Mary defense with Rob Gronkowski lined up as the deep man. The problem with that strategy was that the Dolphins couldn’t try a Hail Mary because Ryan Tannehill couldn’t throw it 75 yards into the end zone. Instead, threw a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills, who lateraled to DeVante Parker, who lateraled to Kenyon Drake, who ran the last 52 yards for the touchdown. He first cut inside to keep Gronkowski in the middle of the field and then outraced Gronk to the sidelines and scored as Gronk stumbled. It was a play for the ages and kept the Dolphins wild card hopes alive.
2. Patrick Mahomes continued his remarkable pace in just his second season as he threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs edged the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime. He even completed a no look pass. He has now joined Dan Marino (1984) and Kurt Warner (1999) as the only first or second year quarterbacks to throw for 4000 and 40 touchdowns in a single season.
3. The Green Bay Packers got a win in their first game under interim coach Joe Philbin and may have made it more difficult for Atlanta coach Dan Quinn to keep his job as they beat the Falcons, 34-20.Aaron Rodgers passed for 296 yards and two touchdowns in his first game since the departure of Mike McCarthy. Now Quinn has to worry about keeping his job if the Falcons keep losing down the stretch. The Falcons are now 4-9 and guaranteed a losing season.
4. The Philadelphia Eagles are the latest defending champion to find out how difficult it is to repeat in the salary cap era. They fell to the Dallas Cowboys 29-23, in overtime and are now 6-7. It virtually guaranteed the Cowboys the division crowd and left the Eagles wild card hopes hanging by a thread. The last time a defending champion repeated was in 2003-2004 when the Patriots did it.
5. The Colts beat the Texans 24-21 but are still two games behind the Texans in the AFC South race. But for some risky decisions by coach Frank Reich the Colts could be tied for first place. He could have punted on fourth down in overtime in the first Texans game and probably gotten a tie. Instead he went for it on fourth down, didn’t make it and the Colts lost. And then he passed up field goals and went for it on 4th and 1 against the Jaguars three times and lost 6-0. If the Colts had gotten the tie with the Texans and the win over the Jaguars, they would be 8-4-1 and be tied with the Texans for first place. The gambles backfired on Reich. And if Titans coach Mike Vrabel had not gone for two on the final play against the Chargers and won in overtime, the Titans would be 8-5 instead of 7-6 and a half game off the lead.