Takeaways From Week 18 in the NFL


Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (left) and wideout Hunter Renfrow (right) celebrate after wild win over Chargers

By James Adamo, Staff Writer

The final week of NFL games entailed nothing but compelling action from every team playing. A series of highly improbable events in the NFL was followed by a Sunday night game that is one of the best in recent memory. This week was crazy for football…hiring, firings, and playoff berths, which caused a chaotic yet memorable week 18. 

Sunday started off on a high note, as the 3-13-1 Detroit Lions defeated the 13-4 packers. Head coach Dan Campbell threw a kitchen sink at Matt LaFleur’s packers. The Lions ran trick play after trick play and found great success in doing so. The Lions secured a 75-yard touchdown on a reverse wide receiver pass in the middle of the first quarter, and found themselves in the endzone yet again off of an end-around flea-flicker to close off the third quarter. Although Green Bay’s starters played only for the first half, their lead was not large enough to withstand the 404 yards that their division rivals put up against them. In an intense finish, the Lions closed out the game with two interceptions off of backup Jordan Love to seal the game. 

Arguably the most intense east-coast rivalry there is in football took place this afternoon on Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers went into Baltimore and beat the Ravens in a wild 16-13 overtime thriller. This year marks the 18th and final year of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisburger’s impressive season and although the team was counted out, against all odds, they went on to beat the Ravens and have a potential last spot in the playoffs. Although they beat the Ravens, their ticket to the playoffs lay in the hands of the Jaguars and Raiders, two teams with questionable success. Pittsburgh needed the Jaguars (with the worst record in football) to overcome an impossible feat and beat the highly talented Indianapolis Colts, as well as needing the Raiders to defeat a young Charger team. 

All of the games on Sunday led up to what is considered the most dramatic game of the 2021 regular season. Both teams knew that a win would advance them into the playoffs, but the other scenario made the ending of this game unheard of in NFL history: a tie would have advanced both teams into the playoffs while kicking out the Steelers of the playoff picture. Each team went back and forth scoring touchdown after touchdown until regular time ended and they were headed into overtime. With two minutes left in OT, the Raiders were highly considering taking a knee and ending the game in a tie. However, Chargers coach Brandon Stanley decided to take a timeout, allowing the Raiders to reconsider their decision to kneel. The Raiders come out and don’t kneel it, instead they run a couple plays but with little success. At this point nearly everyone assumed a kneel was coming and both teams would be given playoff berths, but the unthinkable happened, Stanley called another timeout. The Raiders, now irritated, decided to try for more yards and with success this time. Getting to the 30 yard line, Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson walked onto the field to nail a 47-yarder, crushing the Chargers’ dreams, and relieving the Steelers. 

With the unadulterated chaos that ensued during the final week of play in the NFL, there are high expectations for the playoffs. The first postseason matchup will be Saturday, January 15th, when a talented young Bengals team takes on the gritty Raiders team. It will be interesting to see what is in store for the coming weeks and who will eventually take home the prized Lombardi trophy.