Here are five key takeaways from the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend:
1. Lamar magic
Lamar Jackson’s electric 48-yard touchdown run was a play that very few can make. Jackson’s touchdown tied Sunday’s game at 10 and was part of a 17-0 run that helped the Baltimore Ravens secure a 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans. Baltimore deserves a ton of credit for coming back from a 10-0 deficit, and so much of the credit goes to Jackson. The Ravens led the NFL this season with 49 runs of at least 15 yards, so Jackson’s big run is indicative of what they’ve been able to do all season. Jackson finished with 16 rushes for 136 yards – 8.5 yards per carry. Derrick Henry, on the other hand, had 18 carries for 40 yards (2.2 average).
2. Pivotal pick
The Titans had one last chance to at least tie the game late on Sunday. After the 2-minute warning, Tennessee had second-and-5 at their own 37. Ryan Tannehill threw a pass about 25 yards down the right side of the field – but Titans receiver Kalif Raymond fell, allowing Baltimore’s Marcus Peters to intercept the pass and ice the game. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said after the game he thought it was illegal contact that caused Raymond to fall. But no flag was thrown, and that was the ballgame.
3. What’s next for Bears?
Chicago deserves credit for turning their season around and making the playoffs, but it’s clear that Mitch Trubisky is not the answer at QB for the Bears. Trubisky was a mediocre 19-for-29 for 199 yards and a TD in Sunday’s 21-9 loss to the Saints. On the one hand, WR Javon Wims dropped what should have been an easy touchdown when the game was still close. On the other hand, Trubisky’s lone TD pass was a meaningless score on the game’s final play. Trubisky is a free agent, and it’s pretty clear the Bears need to move in a different direction.
4. Big Ben? Big cap hit
What do the Pittsburgh Steelers do with Ben Roethlisberger? Big Ben passed for 501 yards and 4 TDs in Sunday night’s 48-37 loss to the Browns, but he also threw 4 INTs. He will be 39 in March and he is clearly showing his age. What’s worse, Roethlisberger has a $41.25 million cap number next year. It’s something the Steelers need to address.
5. Contrast in QBs
The four remaining quarterbacks in the NFC – Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff – have made a total of 12 Super Bowl appearances. The total for the four remaining AFC quarterbacks: 1 (Patrick Mahomes last year).
While the NFC quarterbacks have the experience, the AFC passers have youth on their side. The four NFC QBs have an average age of 36.8. Average age for the four AFC QBs – Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield – is 24.5. Goff, the youngest of the four NFC QBs, is older than all four AFC QBs.