His former USC Trojans got nailed with a postseason ban, but Pete Carroll has escaped any sanctions for putting a team with a sub.-500 record into the playoffs.
Jets are rich with RBs
It's been said that defense and a strong running game win championships. If that's the case, watch out for the Jets. With backups playing the majority of the game, the Jets racked up the yardage in their 38-7 win over the Bills. RB Joe McKnight ran for 158 yards on 32 carries in the contest. If McKnight can have that kind of success with New York's one-two punch of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, the Jets could be a force.
Steelers are more than just 'D'
Pittsburgh's vaunted defense gets most of the shine, but the Steelers offense stole the show in their 41-9 win over the Browns. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for 280 yards and two TDs, while RB Rashard Mendenhall found the end zone twice. The defense was stellar, of course, but this day belonged to the offense.
Falcons are simply rolling
Atlanta dropped the hammer on the Panthers in their 31-10 win over division-rival Carolina. The Falcons looked great in every facet of the game. QB Matt Ryan threw for two touchdowns and RB Michael Turner rumbled in for a score. The defense stymied Carolina's offense, while Atlanta's special teams were outstanding, returning a punt for a TD.
Ravens defense creates turnovers
The Baltimore Ravens created five turnovers, led by safety Ed Reed’s two interceptions. Although the Cincinnati Bengals were missing star wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, they were effective through the air. But they never got the ground game going, as Cedric Benson was held to 54 yards on 21 carries.
Raiders sweep AFC West
The Raiders made history Sunday with their victory over the Chiefs. This is the first team since the 1970 merger to sweep its division and not continue into the postseason. Kansas City loses its momentum going into the playoffs next week. Matt Cassel was intercepted twice and only completed a third of his 33 pass attempts.
Lions on the right track
A late victory over the hapless Vikings may not mean much, but the Lions can ride the momentum they built with their four-game winning streak into the offseason. Brett Favre's last career game - allegedly - was spent on the inactive list.
Patriots keep rolling
Tom Brady’s two touchdown passes maintained the New England Patriots' winning ways in a game against Miami that didn’t have any playoff implications. The Patriots already had clinched the top seed in the AFC. New England was without its three top pass threats in Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker, but the Pats continued their attack through the air.
Thanks for playing
The Bucs did their part and showed heart by finishing strong and beating the playoff-bound Saints. Though they didn’t make the playoffs, heading into this season, no one expected the Bucs to still be alive on the last Sunday of the season.
Nothing easy about it
You can’t say the Packers eased into their playoff spot. It took a hard-fought win on a frigid Green Bay day. The Packers didn’t lead until the fourth quarter and needed a late interception to seal it.
Should Colts have missed kick?
There’s something to be said for the momentum of finishing the season with a last-second victory. But had Adam Vinatieri missed the kick and the Colts went on to lose in OT, Indy would be facing the Ravens – who haven’t beaten the Colts in 10 years – in the first round of the playoffs instead of the Jets.
Giants can take some small solace
By winning their last game, the Giants at least could quiet the talk that they had quit. And though it wasn’t enough for a playoff berth when the Packers won, New York joined the Bucs as the first 10-win teams to miss the postseason since 1991.
Life and the NFL aren’t fair
It was tough enough that the Jaguars had to try winning a playoff spot without David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew, but maybe it would have been worse if the Jags had won, only to see their postseason hopes dashed by Indy’s last-second victory.
This could qualify as resume-padding
Jason Garrett finished 5-3 as the Cowboys’ interim coach, but maybe this last one should count as half a win. The Eagles didn’t play most of their starters, and Dallas didn’t take the lead until its final drive.
We’re not that much worse
Maybe the 49ers and Cardinals got home in time to watch Sunday’s last game, the Seahawks and Rams for the NFC West title. And if so, they could say to themselves – justifiably, even though they won six and five games, respectively – “Hey, we were good enough to play for the conference championship.”
Hope Tebow was paying attention
Broncos anointed QB Tim Tebow should have picked up on how to win as an NFL quarterback by watching Philip Rivers. Yes, Tebow’s 94 yards rushing were nice, but his two interceptions weren’t. Better to rush for all of 1 yard, as Rivers did, and go 21 for 37 passing for 313 yards.