NFL Week 14 winners, losers: Purdy beats Brady in memorable win


Another exciting weekend of football is behind us.

In Week 14, we witnessed a wild comeback from Baker Mayfield and the Los Angeles Rams, the Buffalo Bills take down the rival New York Jets in the snow and "Mr. Irrelevant" Brock Purdy outduel the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady.

Here are the winners and losers from Week 14:

Winner: Social media quarterback

The Miami Dolphins selected quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Justin Herbert went one pick later to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Naturally, the two players have been compared every step of their careers. Herbert is perhaps the game’s most intriguing young quarterback with impressive athleticism and a strong, accurate arm. But he has lost more games than he has won, causing one particular NFL pundit to label him a “social media quarterback.” Tagovailoa has done more winning than Herbert, but is more of a game manager and doesn’t boast the same skill set.

Well, on Sunday night, it was Herbert steering Los Angeles to a 23-17 victory in a game the Chargers so often lose.

Tagovailoa looked awful, throwing for 145 yards and one touchdown on 10-of-28 passing. He began the night completing just three of his first 17 pass attempts. Herbert completed 39 of 51 pass attempts for 367 yards and one score.

The "social media quarterback" Herbert earned the clicks, video views and the win Sunday night.

Loser: Denver Broncos

Quarterback Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos rallied back from a 27-0 deficit and made it a one-score game in the second half, only to lose 34-28 and become the third NFL team to be eliminated from playoff contention.

In the Broncos’ first season with Wilson at quarterback, their offense ranked 27th in total yards per game (315.5) and dead last in points per contest (14.9). Only seven more years and $296 million remaining on Wilson’s massive contract.

Broncos country, let’s ride … into the offseason.

Winner: Patrick Mahomes

Imagine studying film for hours upon hours to prepare to face the best quarterback in football. And then he does this:

It's just not fair.

Mahomes did throw three interceptions in the game for the third time in his career. He now has thrown the third-most picks in the NFL this season (11), trailing only Indianapolis Colts veteran Matt Ryan (13) and Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (12).

"I'm going to keep shooting,” Mahomes said of his three interceptions after the game. “I think that's what it takes in order to win."

Winner: Jameson Williams

Welcome to the NFL, Jameson Williams!

Williams was soaring up draft boards as a junior before suffering a torn ACL in the 2022 national championship game. A few months later, Williams slipped in the NFL draft and was the fourth receiver selected, going to the Detroit Lions at No. 12 overall.

Williams still is playing on a pitch count, but he made his NFL debut last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars and caught his first pass in the Lions’ 34-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings -- a 41-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter.

The Lions, by the way, have won five of their last six games and suddenly are in contention for one of the NFC's three wild-card spots. Bite those kneecaps, Motor City.

Winner: Nick Sirianni

Remember Nick Sirianni’s introductory press conference when he was hired as the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach?

It was a train wreck. Sirianni was roasted for basically saying he will make sure his offensive and defensive systems will be "easier to learn" for players. He stumbled over words and showed little moxie that most coaches drench their messages in.

He might not be the smoothest public speaker, but Sirianni is a heck of a head coach. The Eagles are 12-1 and became the first team to clinch a playoff berth after their 48-22 stomping of the New York Giants.

Sirianni's quarterback, Jalen Hurts, now is the NFL's leading MVP candidate with 3,157 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, just three interceptions and another 10 scores on the ground.

Winner: Flea Flicker

There's not a prettier play in football than a perfectly-executed flea flicker.

Joe Burrow to Joe Mixon to Burrow to Trenton Irwin for a 45-yard touchdown. Brings tears to my eyes.

Elsewhere in the "trick plays" family, Lions coach Dan Campbell put 6-foot-5, 335-pound tackle Penei Sewell in motion late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jared Goff found him wide open to pick up a win-clinching first down on a third-and-7.

Football is art.

Loser: Tom Brady

Tom Brady's homecoming to the Bay Area was spoiled Sunday afternoon, as the 49ers destroyed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-7. The game was over by halftime when San Francisco owned a 28-0 lead.

Brady threw for 253 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 34-of-55 passing.

To make matters worse for the GOAT, 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw went up to Brady after the game and asked for him to autograph the football

"I went like a little fangirl," Greenlaw joked after the game. “I tried to soothe him up and make him feel better, ‘Man, you’re the greatest ever.’ But, he is. He really is."

The Buccaneers (6-7) somehow still lead the hideous NFC South by one game and look primed for a first-round exit from the postseason.

Is it too early to start the storylines of Brady returning to the New England Patriots next season?

Winner: Brock Purdy

Last week, "Mr. Irrelevant" Brock Purdy became "Mr. Relevant" by stepping in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and leading the 49ers to a win over the Miami Dolphins.

Certainly he couldn't do the same against Brady and the Buccaneers? Oh, but he did.

Purdy looked poised as ever, tossing two touchdowns and rushing for another in front of a flock of family and friends at Levi's Stadium during the 49ers' sixth straight win. Many crossed off San Francisco as legitimate Super Bowl contenders when Garoppolo went down, but Purdy just might have what it takes to ride Kyle Shanahan's offense into a deep postseason run.

"Mr. Relevant" is the real deal.

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