A week is a long time in football.
It’s the old adage that rings true in all football codes, but none more so than in the NFL, with the unpredictable nature of results from week to week.
Week 13 was a perfect example, as Tom Brady went from making unwanted history last week in a heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns to making history in Tampa Bay’s latest win over their division rivals, the New Orleans Saints.
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Rookie quarterbacks made headlines when a relatively unknown caller helped the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Miami Dolphins, while the Atlanta Falcons finally decided to give their inexperienced rookie QB the starting job for the rest of the season. the season.
All that and more features in this week’s edition of NFL Talking Points!
THE MONDAY NIGHT MIRACLE WHEN BRADY PASSES PEYTON
For three and a half quarters, the New Orleans Saints defense again dominated Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense.
So much so that with just over 7 minutes remaining in the game, facing a fourth and 10 and Brady adamant that they were going for it, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles shut down the seven-time Super Bowl champion and he took the offense off the field to punt. he returned it to the Saints despite being down 13 points.
The decision, which became a major talking point if they had lost the game, was met with a chorus of boos from the home crowd and also drew the ire of TB12 (who had earlier erupted on the bench after another decision). punt in fourth place). down).
With the Saints looking at third-and-1 at the Tampa 44, the Bucs had a 0.7% chance of winning, according to Next Generation Stats.
Just when it looked as though Brady’s arch-nemesis, New Orleans, would claim its fifth straight regular season victory over the 45-year-old quarterback, Tampa’s defense held strong and handed the ball back to Brady with 5:12 remaining in the game. the watch.
From then on, the Bucs ran the offense in a hurry and things started to click as Brady went into classic mode to create another standout comeback win.
First, Brady drove Tampa 91 yards in 10 plays before connecting with rookie tight end Cade Otton on a one-yard TD pass to cut the margin to six.
The Bucs defense rose to its feet once again, making two huge plays (a big sack and a crucial pass breakup) to force the Saints to return the punt, getting the ball back to the Tampa offense with less one minute remaining.
Watching it live, you got the feeling it was inevitable that Brady would end up orchestrating a signature game-winner, and when he hit Chris Godwin in the back of the end zone on first-and-goal with 16 seconds remaining, it looked like he’d done just that. it’s.
However, recalling the frenzied comeback win over the Rams in Week 9 (where Scotty Miller dropped the pass), the play did not result in the game-winning touchdown with the Bucs penalized for a holding penalty.
Forced to win the game again, Brady would find running back Rachaad White on a game-tying six-yard touchdown throw with :03 left to cap an 11.63-yard drive and seal a remarkable 17-16 victory.
The comeback was Brady’s 44th fourth-quarter comeback of his all-time career, breaking a tie with Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history, and also marking the first time Brady has come back from a 13-yard deficit. or more points. in the fourth quarter of a regular-season game to win (he also accomplished the feat in his famous Super Bowl comeback against the Falcons in 2016.
The win also represented the fourth-biggest NFL comeback based on win probability in the Next Gen era (since 2016).
2 TDs, 3 minutes! The return of BRILLIANT BRADY | 01:23
FROM “MR IRRELEVANT” TO MR VERY RELEVANT
Brock Purdy, who assumed the title of “Mr. Irrelevant” after being selected with the 262nd and final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, has stepped into the spotlight following a serious foot injury to Jimmy Garoppolo in the second series of San Fransico’s Week 13. victory.
Purdy assumed the role of starting quarterback on Monday (AEDT) against Miami, helping the 49ers to a dominant 33-17 win over the Dolphins (8-4).
Mr. Irrelevant is the nickname given to each year’s final draft pick. Since 1994, the most notable “Mr. Irrelevant” have been linebacker Marty Moore (the first to play in a Super Bowl), kicker Ryan Succop, linebacker Tae Crowder and quarterback Chad Kelly (the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly who played a play in his career). It’s not exactly who’s who of the NFL’s memorable players.
On Sunday, Purdy became the first Mr. Irrelevant to throw a regular-season touchdown pass. The rookie, who completed 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns while throwing an interception and taking three sacks, showed toughness by standing in the pocket and throwing under pressure in tight windows.
Despite news on Wednesday (AEDT) that Garoppolo’s foot injury will not require surgery, the veteran player will still be out until January at best, meaning Purdy’s starting job until the end. of the regular season at least.
With the win, Sanfransisco moved to 8-4 (currently the NFC’s No. 3 seed, with a one-game lead over Seattle 7-5 in the NFC West race), giving Purdy an unprecedented opportunity to guide to San Francisco to the playoffs in his first year.
Since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994, no quarterback selected in the final round has started a playoff game as a rookie.
Only six seventh-round callers have appeared in a playoff game during this time period (Jay Walker, Gus Frerotte, Matt Cassel, Koy Detmer, Jarious Jackson, and Matt Flynn), and none achieved the feat in Year 1. If by expanding the parameters to undrafted quarterbacks, we get more postseason successes; the most famous being Kurt Warner, along with Tony Romo and, more recently, Taylor Heinicke and John Wolford. But then again, none of them were rookies when he made his first postseason appearance.
San Francisco 49ers All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams believes Purdy has what it takes to become No. 1.
“You’d think he’s been in the league 15 years,” Williams said.
“If you’re talking, he’ll say, ‘Shut the fuck up.’ He is not a groping timid newbie. He’ll get on your a–. You’d think he’s like Peyton Manning or something. Wide receivers don’t work, you’ll hear him cuss at a wide receiver.”
With a dominating defense and run-laden offense, the 49ers don’t need Purdy to be the hero, they just need him to prevent turnovers and move the chains like he did last Sunday.
If he can do that, then the seventh-round rookie should be able to lead San Francisco to the playoffs and, in the process, make history.
FALCONS PREPARED TO TRAVEL WITH RIDER
After four losses in the last five weeks and having not scored more than 17 points in each of those losses, Atlanta looks to the future and announces that rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder will join the starting lineup for Week 15. .
According to a report this morning (AEDT) from NFL Network InsiderIan Rapoport, the Falcons are using their bye week to prepare the 2022 third-round pick to take over as the starter next week against the Saints, officially replacing veteran Marcus Mariota.
The move comes as no surprise to those around the league, having seemed inevitable since Atlanta traded Matt Ryan to Indianapolis and spent a Day 2 pick on the former Cincinnati star.
Even though the rookie showed glimpses of a bright future during the preseason, the Falcons have taken a patient approach with Ridder, sitting him behind Mariota for the first 13 weeks of the season.
Atlanta has a 5-8 overall record, but has found itself in a slump offensively, with Mariota not posing much of a threat in the passing game in recent weeks, breaking for 200 yards just once since Week 7. As Unsurprisingly, Atlanta has won just twice since. after.
BIG PLAYOFF HIT IN BUFFALO
Bill’s greatest fear has become a reality in a nightmare scenario for his hopes of winning the Super Bowl this season.
Big money recruit and worldwide pass rusher Von Miller will not return in 2022 after surgery this week revealed he had suffered a torn ACL, Buffalo head coach Sean announced Thursday. McDermott (AEDT).
After Miller suffered the injury during the Bills’ victory over the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, the team initially expected the former Super Bowl MVP to return to the playoffs, but sadly he didn’t.
The 33-year-old had racked up a team-leading eight sacks in 11 games before going down, making him extremely difficult to replace in Buffalo’s quest for a championship.