(Photo By: Robert Scheer/Indy Star)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
LinkedIn: Matt Di Domenico | LinkedIn
The NFL regular season has finally come and gone. Our first Week #18 is in the books and now it is playoff time. Some teams magically are in the playoffs thanks to the help of other upsets around the league. This season was full of surprises and big-play moments. There were so many winners and of course so many losers that will have to adjust their playing or coaching style for the 2022 season. Below are the 3 winners and 3 losers for the last week in the NFL regular season.
1. Indianapolis Colts
If you did not think the Indianapolis Colts would be at the number 1 spot on the losers list, then you are lying to yourself. The Colts were viewed as a threat to win the AFC but with a disappointing loss to arguably the worst team in the NFL the Colts were eliminated. The Jacksonville Jaguars came to play and eliminate the Colts and they did so. Carson Wentz had to play great in this game and he just did not. Wentz went 17 for 29 with 185 passing yards, had 1 TD, and had 1 INT. Now not all the blame can be put on Wentz because the offensive line did fail at protecting Wentz throughout the game. This makes you wonder what will happen with the Colts in the offseason, will they make a switch at QB or stick with Wentz in 2022. It will be interesting to see but for now, a huge disappointment in the Colts.
2. HC Brandon Staley. Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers fans have to be disappointed in their head coach after that rough Sunday night OT loss. Brandon Staley, who is the head coach for the Chargers, decided to take a timeout when it looked like the Las Vegas Raiders were trying to run the clock out to end the game in a tie. If the game ended in a tie, both the Raiders and Chargers would have made the playoffs. Obviously taking the timeout made the Raiders change their mind, and they decided to kick the field goal to win the game. So much frustration must be going Staley’s way. It will be a long offseason for this team now. Many players looked shocked when the game was over. I expect Staley to be the head coach for the Chargers in 2022.
3. Arizona Cardinals
This was a game that the Arizona Cardinals had to win because they needed to have momentum going into the playoffs. They also could have ended Russell Wilson's possible last game in Seattle with a loss. Losing to the Seattle Seahawks at home shows that this team just did not want to finish strong. Sure, Kyler Murray played the entire game but beating a divisional rival and keeping their winning streak going after they were on a huge losing streak must not be important to them. Now the Cardinals will be playing their other divisional rival in the Los Angeles Rams on wildcard weekend. We will see how real this Cardinals team is in this game. Arizona split with Los Angeles when the two played each other earlier this season.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have to be this week's biggest winners. It looked all but over for the Steelers in making the playoffs. That changed however with the Jaguars beating the Indianapolis Colts and of course, these Steelers handling their own business when they took down their divisional foes in the Baltimore Ravens. The final score of the game was 16 to 13, and this Steelers team was lucky to get out of Baltimore with the win. One player on the Steelers that deserves a lot of credit not only for the game but the season in T.J. Watt. Watt tied the all-time single-season sack record in the victory. Watt ended his 2021 campaign with 22.5 sacks, and he didn't even play all 17 games for the Steelers.
2. RB Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders won their last regular-season game in OT with a 35 to 32 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. A huge reason why the Raiders won the game was because of their running back in Josh Jacobs. Jacobs did have a very quiet 2021 season, but to his credit, he showed up when it mattered most. What mattered most was this game for the Raiders. Jacobs had 26 rushes for 132 rushing yards and had 1 TD. Jacobs needs to be this effective in the Raiders postseason game next week against the Cincinnati Bengals. If the Raiders and Jacobs run the ball effectively to the point where they win the time of possession game, then they could easily walk out of Cincinnati with the win. Will be a tough game, but don't count this Raiders team out.
3. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Which really could have been Russell Wilson's last game as the Seattle Seahawks QB, he certainly did not disappoint. Wilson was able to walk out of the game, happy that he gave it his all if this game was indeed his last ride with the Seahawks. Wilson was able to go 15 for 26 with 237 passing yards and had 3 TD. Wilson did have 1 INT, but it did not matter in the final score of 38-30 against the Arizona Cardinals. What team Wilson will play for next in 2022 truly is a mystery. Many see Wilson departing and many see him staying with the Seahawks. The Seahawks ended the 2021 season with a 7-10 record which certainly is not attractive. The Seahawks just do not have enough pieces around Wilson to convince me that he wants to stay in Seattle.