With the NFL regular season and bowl season both coming to a close this weekend — minus the national championship — this week’s edition of shocks of the weekend focuses on the football side of sports. There were some statistical feats in a couple of bowl games and some surprise wins by teams in the NFL.
10. AP wins NFL rushing title
The most surprising thing here is that Adrian Peterson didn’t play almost all of last season because of some legal issues, yet he bounced back to lead the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards this season. AP is a big reason that the Vikings have had such a good season and won the NFC North title, and this rushing title marks his third in his career.
9. Kirk Cousins becomes the man in Washington
Cousins had a rough start to the 2015 season and continued his moments of turnover terror in the first six weeks of the season, but that was before “You like that!” happened. On Sunday, he became the Redskins’ franchise leading passer for pass yards in a season with 4,166 yards. Cousins also led the Redskins to a 9-7 record and NFC East title; finishing the season with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
8. Black Monday starts early
Normally, the Monday following the conclusion of the NFL regular season is referred to as “Black Monday,” but 2015 becomes the season that the term changed to “Black Sunday.” The Browns, 49ers, Titans, Eagles and Dolphins all have head coach openings and some of them parted ways with their general managers as well. We are still waiting to hear if Chuck Pagano (Colts) and Tom Coughlin (Giants) will be stripped of their coaching titles though, so the damage could continue later on Monday.
7. New York Jets knocked out of playoffs
It was a disastrous last day of the regular season for the Jets because of their loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. In part, the loss came because of two interceptions by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the Bills outplayed the Jets for most of the afternoon in handing them an exit from the postseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers were very appreciative of the Bills’ accomplishment and are sending the team Primanti Bros. sandwiches as a thank you gift.
6. Denver Broncos snag AFC No. 1 seed
With a win over the Cincinnati Bengals last Monday night and a victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Denver is suddenly the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Peyton Manning came off the bench to lead a comeback against the Chargers and the team secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Other AFC playoff teams are thankful that it goes through Denver and not New England this season, but that shock is further down the list.
5. Kansas City Chiefs close out season on a winning streak
Winning streaks are nice, but they are even better when you start the season at 1-5 and close it out on a 10-game winning streak. Not only did they get into the playoffs, but they also set the NFL record for most wins after such a poor start. Their first playoff game will be at Houston but it should mark the team’s 11th consecutive win of the season.
4. Johnny Manziel a no-show for Browns
Manziel can’t seem to figure out how to conduct himself in a professional manner. After suffering a concussion and being in concussion protocol for Week 17, there were reports that he was at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Saturday night. He never showed up in Cleveland on Sunday morning for his check up though and his days are numbered in a Browns uniform.
3. New England Patriots lose to Miami Dolphins
If not for some college football history being made, the Patriots loss to the Dolphins would have been No. 1 on the list this week. The Patriots are riding a two-game losing streak and quarterback Tom Brady is banged up but they head into the playoffs with a first round bye. But how do you lose to the Dolphins?
2. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey Rose Bowl gold
Perhaps the Hesiman committee missed something when they voted for Alabama‘s Derrick Henry to win the award, but McCaffrey showed the world why he was college football’s best player in the Rose Bowl. Not only did he set the Rose Bowl record for all-purpose yards (368), but he also became the first player to ever have 100 receiving yards and 100 rushing yards in the game.
1. TCU-Oregon highlights college football bowl season
The Oregon Ducks showed that they were the real deal in the Alamo Bowl — at least for the first half. After posting a 31-0 halftime lead, the Ducks seemed to lose a step when quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. went down with a neck injury, and TCU made an improbable comeback to tie the bowl record for largest comeback in bowl history at 31 points. A big reason was TCU’s backup quarterback Bram Kohlhausen, who turned into a legend in the second half of TCU’s 47-41 triple-overtime win. Remember, TCU won this game without starting quarterback Trevone Boykin (suspended) and wide receiver Josh Doctson (injury), which makes it even more special for the Horned Frogs.