Fun Fact of the Day: Yesterday, the wind chill ranged between -10 and -25 degrees in Chicago, during the Bears v. Green Bay Packers game. It was so cold that the Bears logo went flying off running back Kadeem Carey’s helmet after a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Week 15 highlights:
- Osweiler gets benched. The Houston Texans benched QB Brock Osweiler yesterday, after he threw interceptions on back-to-back drives. His backup, Tom Savage entered the game with the Texans down 13-0, and he managed to rally the team to a 21-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. When did Osweiler get so bad? Last year, Osweiler was on the Denver Broncos and he did a great job standing in for old man Peyton Manning, who was injured. At the end of the season, Manning retired and everyone expected the Broncos to sign Osweiler as their new franchise QB, but he asked for a boatload of cash and the Broncos’ GM John Elway decided he wasn’t worth it. Afterwards, Osweiler signed a huge 4-year, $72M contract with the Texans, where he has played terribly all season. The moral of the story? Always trust John Elway.
- Bradley gets canned. After losing their 13-0 lead to the Texans yesterday, the Jacksonville Jaguars finally decided to fire their embarrassingly bad head coach Gus Bradley. It was a long time coming. In his 3 seasons with the Jags, he won only 14 games and had a .226 winning percentage—the second-worst percentage in NFL history.
- Dak bounces back. After a few weeks of less than stellar performances, Dallas Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott was back to his old form. He and his buddy, running back Ezekiel Elliott were able to lift the Cowboys past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a close 26-20 win. Elliott had a career high 159 rushing yards and celebrated (excessively) by donating himself to the Salvation Army in a giant human-size kettle.
Pumped for Pumphrey. San Diego State beat Houston 34-10 in the Las Vegas Bowl this weekend, thanks to their star running back Donnel Pumphrey. He finished the game with 6,405 career rushing yards, setting a new NCAA football record.
Seen and Heard
If you don’t have anything nice to say… With both the N.Y. Jets and Miami Dolphins out of playoff contention, no one was excited about their meaningless game yesterday, including the players. The night before the game, Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson posted a video to Snapchat where he said “Where the hoes at?” and “F*** this game.” His coach called the video “unacceptable” and said he’s going to meet with Richardson to discuss it. Not the time to misbehave. Richardson’s contract is up at the end of the season, and the Jets may decide he’s more trouble than he’s worth. He’s been benched for showing up late to team meetings and suspended twice—once for testing positive for marijuana and once more for getting into a high-speed car chase with the police.
Pick your battles. Minnesota’s football team is going to play in the Holiday Bowl after all. Last week, 10 players were suspended for their suspected involvement in an ugly sexual assault against a female student. The victim alleged that she had consensual sex with 2 men at a party, but was raped by as many as 10-20 men, including several football players. Most people applauded Minnesota for taking a hard stance against sexual assault, but the remaining players on the football team argued that their teammates were not afforded due process and threatened to boycott the bowl game. After speaking with school administrators, the team agreed to play as long as the suspected players get fair hearings next month.
Carolina Panthers (5-8) @ Washington Redskins (7-5-1). The Redskins need a win tonight to have a shot of making the playoffs. Fortunately, their cornerback Josh Norman has a little extra motivation: revenge. Norman played brilliantly on the Panthers last season. So much so that the team decided to franchise tag him. Then, in a surprise twist, they rescinded the tag just a few weeks later. Now, with the Panthers out of playoff contention, it looks like Norman will get the last laugh. 8:30pm ET on ESPN