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NFL News and Notes: December 14, 2018

Chargers Win A Wild One Thursday Night

Thursday Night Football was a wild one this week between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. The AFC West foes didn’t disappoint as the Chargers won a dramatic finish to pull even with Chiefs at 11-3 on the season. The Chiefs still control the division as they have the better divisional record, but the Chargers are certainly making it interesting not only in the division but in the conference with just a couple weeks to go.

In the game itself, the Chiefs seemed to have the lead for most of the night, but the Chargers were able to pull within a point after a touchdown throw from Philip Rivers to Mike Williams with just 4 seconds left. Rather than trying to go for the tie and play in overtime, the Chargers went for 2 and, once again, Rivers found a wide open Williams in the end zone. Those two players were the story of the night as Rivers went for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns (although he was intercepted twice and sacked a whopping 5 times). Mike Williams had 76 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 receptions but also added a third touchdown on a run.

For the Chiefs, they were stunned after seemingly having the game in control in the second half. Mahomes threw for 243 yards, and 2 touchdowns and Damien Jackson rushed for 2 touchdowns in the game.

To determine the division, the Chiefs will have the Seahawks, and the Raiders left on the schedule while the Chargers have the Ravens and Broncos. Of note from this game, Keenan Allen sat out much of the game after injuring his hip in the first half.

Carson Wentz Could Be Done For Season

While the team is still debating its next course of action, Carson Wentz might have played his last football for the season already. It was discovered that the back injury that Wentz has been dealing with is actually a fracture in his back. The question now is to determine whether playing on it could make it worse.

For the Eagles, they are trying to chase a wildcard spot and don’t have an easy road, at least for this week, as they have to face off against the Los Angeles Rams. Regardless of what the long-term outlook is, Nick Foles will at least be starting for the Eagles this week. This will be his first start since week 2 of the season. Despite the layoff, Foles may best be remembered for his heroics down the stretch last year in a similar situation where he had to take over for an injured Wentz. It will be interesting to see if he still has any of the magic left from his Super Bowl MVP performance.

Vikings Fire John DeFilippo

To say that the Minnesota Vikings have underperformed this season would be an understatement. Many anticipated that they would be locks for the NFC North title and would be Super Bowl contenders. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, this just hasn’t been the case. Their team has been inconsistent, and their offense has been downright disappointing at times. Kirk Cousins, who was brought in on a 3-year, fully guaranteed deal, has not performed as well as they anticipated and the ground game, in particular, has sputtered.

With all of these issues adding up, the Vikings decided to part ways with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after last week’s 21-7 loss to the Seahawks. DeFilippo was a trendy name in the coaching carousel last offseason, but ultimately took the Viking’s OC position after not getting any head coaching offers. Things just have not worked out, though, as his team has ranked 17th in total yards per game (354.4) and 20th in points per game (21.7).

Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski will take over the role. It will be interesting to see if he tries to balance the offense a little more than DeFilippo, who relied heavily on the pass. If they can get running back Dalvin Cook going consistently, the team still has the potential to be dangerous on both sides of the ball.

Eric Berry Makes His Return

After being out for almost two years, 3-time All-Pro safety Eric Berry finally took the field for the Kansas City Chiefs again on Thursday. He has been out since the first week of 2017 with a ruptured left Achilles. To complicate his recovery, he dealt with foot problems on his right foot earlier this season and was diagnosed with Haglund’s deformity. While he only saw limited time on the field Thursday, he still finished the night with 6 tackles. And for a defense that has struggled throughout the season, he was a welcomed sight back on the field.

Raiders Fire Their GM

In other football news, the Oakland Raiders fired their general manager, Reggie McKenzie, on Monday. Sadly, though, even though McKenzie still held the title of GM this year, he really didn’t have much power. That power was shifted to Jon Gruden after he was hired as the Raider’s head coach. Some of the moves Gruden has made this season have already come under scrutiny, none more so than the Khalil Mack trade to the Chicago Bears. Throw on top of that the trade of Amari Cooper to the Cowboys, where he is now excelling, and the Raiders have a seemingly depleted roster. Still, they are set well for the upcoming draft as they have three picks in the first round and, with their current record of 3-11, one of those picks will likely be pretty high in the draft.

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