There are many ways to lose an NFL game. There's the time-honored tradition of giving up a last-second field goal. And then there's whatever the hell happened at the end of the Patriots-Raiders game. (And guess who was miked up for the game? Yep, Chandler Jones.)
Lots of teams lost games in Week 15 in all sorts of dumb and interesting ways. To figure out whose loss was worse, I've put them all on a 10-point scale that ranges from 0 (eh, it happens) to 10 (extreme embarrassment). Tabulations start at 0, and mitigating factors are added (or subtracted) to come up with a score. Got it, math nerdz? OK, let's do this:
Bills 32, Dolphins 29
What happened: Bills won on a walk-off field goal.
Bills are good: -1
But the Fins were up 8! +3
It was snowing on the warm-weather Dolphins: -1
Dolphins total: 1/10 (eh, we'll get 'em next week)
Chiefs 30, Texans 24
What happened: On the play after the Chiefs recover a fumble, Jerick McKinnon runs for a 26-yard TD, and the Chiefs walk off the field with the AFC West title.
Game was close the whole way: -1
Chiefs are probably going to win the Super Bowl: -3
Texans' score: -4/10 (nothing to be ashamed of!)
Lions 20, Jets 17
What happened: Lions scored the go-ahead TD with less than 2 minutes to go. The Jets tried a 58-yard FG with 1 second left, but it went wide left
The Jets lost to the Lions! +3
At home! +2
Yeah, but the Lions are rolling this season, finally: -6
You know that Jared Goff is their QB, right? +2
You know Goff hasn't thrown an interception since Week 9? -4
Jets didn't cover the TE on Goff's game-winning pass: +2
Or tackle him: +2
Jets had to start Zach Wilson: +5
It counts as a moral victory because the Jets had to start Zach Wilson: -3
Jets total: 3/10 (mildly embarrassing)
Chargers 17, Titans 14
What happened: Chargers won on a FG with less than 1 minute left
Titans total: 0. No one cares about either of these suboptimal teams. Yeah, that was a great throw by Justin Herbert there at the end. But Herbert and the Chargers should be scoring 40 points a game, especially in those cool blue unis of theirs. The Chargers scored only 17 points! The Chargers are the ones who should be embarrassed.
Jaguars 40, Cowboys 34 (OT)
What happened: Jags won on a pick-six by Jags safety Rayshawn Jenkins. (I watched it live and it was pretty awesome.)
Pass was tipped: -1
It was a great play: -2
Cowboys lost to the Jags, ouch: +5
Jags are good: -3
Cowboys were up 17 at one point: +4
But they lost to the Jags! +3
Cowboys total: 6/10 (embarrassing!)
Vikings 39, Colts 36 (OT)
What happened: Colts led 33-0 at half before the Vikings mounted the biggest comeback in NFC history.
Historic achievement unlocked: +10
The Vikings are good: -4
But Kirk Cousins is their QB: +3
The guy who led the previous biggest comeback was the HC just fired by the Colts: +2
Matt Ryan has now QB'd two of the worst choke jobs in NFL history: +5
Colts total: 16/10 (brutal humilation)
Raiders 30, Patriots 24
What happened: I've watched the highlights 20+ times, and I'm still not sure what happened. It sure was funny!
Patriots came from 14 down at half: -3
Raiders tied it with ~30 seconds left: +1
Raiders WR was actually out of bounds: -5
Raiders HC is a former Patriots assistant: +4
Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers played QB in high school: +1
There's a Stanford band reference in the video clip: +2
Game-winning INT/TD was scored by former Patriots player: +4
Patriots QB Mac Jones didn't try too hard to tackle Chandler Jones: +5
Looks like he was trying to draw a charge: +10
Mac Jones was stiff-armed into the earth's core: +6
This is the funniest football thing I think I've ever seen: +100
The play has a nickname: "Hail Moron" +100,000
Patriots total: 1,000,000/10 (eternal humiliation)
By rule, all future Patriots highlight videos should be, ah, enhanced.
STAT OF THE WEEK #1
To wrap up the bonker-ness of Week 15:
13 of 16 games were decided by one score, and all but one game (the Monday night snoozer) were decided by 11 points or fewer. Both of those marks tie NFL records.
STAT OF THE WEEK #2
Only three NFL games have ended on a game-winning TD via a fumble return, and all three have involved the Raiders and/or the Patriots.
The most recent: Patriots-Raiders in Week 15.
The second one: The famed Holy Roller game when Raiders QB Ken Stabler fumbled (air quotes) the ball forward and TE Dave Casper recovered it in the end zone. That's why there's an NFL rule that says only the offensive player who fumbled the ball can advance it on fourth down and after the two-minute warning.
The first one: In Week 2 of the 1960 AFL season, DB Chuck Shonta took a recovered fumble to the house to give the Boston Patriots their first-ever franchise victory over the New York Titans (now Jets). Also on this day Tom Brady was born.
WEEK 16 SCHEDULE
Buckle up for a ton of holiday football. Game listings include 538's overall watchability rating; anything over about 50 is probably worth watching. Coverage maps are here.
Jaguars-Jets (Prime) (Watchability factor of 58)
SATURDAY (not Sunday)
Eagles-Cowboys (53) (national GOTW, of course)
Raiders-Steelers (23, oof)
1p (Fox): Packers-Dolphins (54)
430p (CBS, Nick): Broncos-Rams (2!!!)
820p (NBC): Bucs-Cardinals (10)
Christmas Story 2, which I play to watch instead of this garbage (100+)
Chargers-Colts (40) (ESPN; no ManningCast)
Aww, screw it. We know who's good (Eagles, Bills, Chiefs) and all the teams that stink (Texans, Bears, the NFC South). No need to drag this out.
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY ...
Via CBSsports.com, here are your AFC seeds:
1. Bills (clinched playoff berth)
2. Chiefs (clinched AFC West)
Next up: Patriots (7-7), Jets (also 7-7), Jags (6-8), Raiders (6-8), Br*wns (6-8), Steelers (6-8)
1. Eagles (clinched playoff berth)
2. Vikings (clinched NFC North)
3. Niners (clinched NFC West)
5. Cowboys (clinched playoff berth)
6. Giants (8-5-1)
7. Commandos (7-6-1)
Next: Seahawks and Lions (both are 7-7)
Eliminated: Rams and Cardinals are the newest members of Club Elimination. They join the Texans, Bears and Broncos at the two-top by the bathroom.
Here are your Week 16 playoff scenarios. Long story short, Bills and Eagles clinch their divisions if they win and the Bengals make the playoffs with a win. Ravens, Chargers and Giants could make it into the playoffs this week, but it requires some 12-dimensional chess. We'll see!