By Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
Just when you thought it was safe to bet the house on the Patriots they went on an nearly tanked a game in Jacksonville, before Tom Brady and Co. woke up to take down the Jaguars.
Elsewehre in the AFC East, the Dolphins, playing with a purpose, disposed of the lowly Bills while the Jets tried TWO new passers and had the same old result.
Here are five things we learned in Week 16:
1. Jacksonville fans get a moral victory for Christmas (New England 23, Jacksonville 16)
There was a small group of people in the country who were brimming with joy after the first quarter of this game.
They thought they had picked the NFL's version of the lottery, which would be the Patriots losing to the Jaguars.
Well it didn't take long for those feelings to evaporate into the North Atlantic winds. Not that New England unleashed a flurry of high octane, offensive force like it did last week.
The Patriots just worked their way back into the game and then ahead of Jacksonville. The Jaguars just blew their load in the first half and had nothing left afterwards.
Brady struggled in this game. He threw for only 267 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw 41 times and completed just 24 of his passes.
Back up quarterback and former Miami starter Chad Henne certainly tried to best Brady on this day.
Henne completed 29 of his 51 pass attempts. He amassed 348 yards but also chucked up three interceptions to his one touchdown.
Even the New England running game had an off day. Running back Steven Ridley accounted for 84 of the Patriots 103 yards on the ground. Not what the Patriots faithful have become used to in the past couple of months.
But once again, without Maurice Jones-Drew the Jaguars couldn't keep the Ball from Brady. In fact they tried to give them the ball with all of those turnovers.
It was fun while it lasted, but reality rained on Jacksonville's parade. No upset, except in the hearts of Jaguars fans.
2. The hits just keep coming for the Jets (San Diego 27, N.Y. Jets 17)
Tim Tebow is now officially the fourth string quarterback, behind Jeremy Kerley. Sure, it's not official, but at this point does it really matter? Tebow's momma could go for a bomb to Braylon Edwards and it wouldn't be a surprise at this point.
As advertised, the Jets started former third string quarterback Greg McElroy. McElroy must not have gotten the memo that starting quarterbacks need to start handing out those Isotoner Gloves. Because his line looked like they hated his guts the way they let him get sacked 11 times today.
That ties the team record in that particular area of pathetic-ness.
There was not much McElroy could do with his dance card filled throughout the game by Charger defenders. He completed only 14 passes for 185 yards, with an interception and a fumble. Every time he got into a rhythm, he would get taken to the turf on a sack.
It wasn't like Philip Rivers was a juggernaut on the other side of the field either. Rivers completed only 11 passes for just 165 yards. However, he did throw two touchdown passes. And that's usually enough to take the game out of reach for the Jets these days.
The Jets two scores were both by running back Shonn Greene. And it's a good thing too, because Greene and the rest of the running game was horrible.
Greene rushed for a total of 38 yards on 14 carries. The rest of the team scraped together what was left of the 69 total yards of rushing offense offered today.
All the Sanchez supporters who claimed poor offensive weapons as the reason for his demise got a bunch of ammo for their stance. Too bad McElroy couldn't keep standing. They may have had a chance to win this game.
3. The Dolphins showed us how to fight to the end (Miami 24, Buffalo 10)
You have to tip your hat to the Dolphins. They were clawing and scratching for what would have probably amounted to an early dismissal in the playoffs, but they were going for it.
If the Bills and Jets weren't so busy being putrid, they could take a lesson in how to win games you are supposed to win.
Once again, nothing elegant coming out of the quarterback position for Miami.
Ryan Tannehill completed only 13 passes for 130 yards. But he did throw two touchdowns and no interceptions. He helped and didn't hurt his team. That's the least you can do as a quarterback.
Unlike a lot of games this season, he was aided greatly by his running game. Lamar Miller, Reggie Bush, and Tannehill himself all conspired to rush for a total of 182 yards. Miller led the way with 73 yards, but it was Bush who cashed in for a touchdown.
As he has many Sunday's this year, C.J.Spiller came to play. He rushed for 138 yards, the bulk of the teams 154 rush yards.
Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to make a difference. But as usual, it was at least as much negative as it was positive. Fitzpatrick threw for 240 yards with a pick and a fumble.
His fumble was just one of three that were lost by the Bills today. Not many good things will come of four turnovers in a game.
The Bills continue to hurt themselves while the Dolphins continue to find ways to help themselves. The Bills should have been paying attention.
4. Poor Tiny Tim relegated to fourth string by Ebenzer Ryan
Ebenezer Ryan continues to ruin Christmas for "Tiny" Tim Tebow. Not only did Rex Ryan not even play Tebow a single down today, he actually sent wide receiver Jeremy Kerley in to run the wild cat offense.
To his credit, Kerley completed a 42 yard pass. Did Rex trust Kerley more than Tebow to throw down field? Or was Kerley just able to do more with his opportunity?
Either way, Ryan was chuckling at the end of the play. He didn't even try to cover his mouth or anything.
As expected, the word around the (holy) water fountain is that Tebow will go to where he belongs at the conclusion of this nightmare season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are believed to be ready to bring Tebow to Florida where Tebow's legend was born.
Christmas will come a little late for Tebow, but better late than never.
5. Now that the smoke has cleared . . .
. . . Patriots struggled with the Jags while the Texans were taken out by Minnesota. The Broncos are looking like the AFC favorite with a possible redemption game for Peyton Manning against New England.
. . . Greg McElroy will start the last game of the Jets season. You know what that must mean . . . "Greg gives us the best chance to win". By default.
. . . It's better to go out on your feet (Miami) than on your back (Bills, Jets).