As the Panthers deal with a pending ownership change, Week 15 was full of questionable calls by officials.
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is selling the team after the NFL began an investigation into serious allegations of workplace misconduct by Richardson. The Panthers got a controversial touchdown in Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Packers to keep Green Bay out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are back in the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Now it’s up to Bill Belichick and the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (13-3) to slow down Henry on Saturday night in their AFC divisional game. Belichick says everyone on defense has to do his job.
Henry has got a ton of skill, and he’s got power, good vision, Belichick said. He can certainly run inside and break tackles, he’s a tough runner, he can get tough runs. But, he’s very athletic in the open field. He’s fast, he can cut back, he can get to space. He’s broken off a lot of long runs, running plays, screens.
Against Jacksonville on Dec. 31, Henry made up for a rough day running by taking a screen 66 yards for a touchdown . But his first three carries went backward, including a 12-yard loss that came dangerously close to a safety.
It wasn’t easy, but the Falcons (9-5) eventually wore down the short-handed Bucs on their home turf. The Falcons win eliminates the Packers (7-7) from playoff contention.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan wasn’t great — 17 of 31 for 212 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions — but the Falcons leaned on their ground game against a depleted Bucs defense. Running back Devonta Freeman, who also caught five passes for 68 yards, ran for 126 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Hardy finished with two catches for 33 yards. The Bucs actually did a good job defending Falcons receiver Julio Jones, limiting him to three receptions for 54 yards. Jones had 12 receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers in a 34-20 Falcons win on Nov. 26. In 11 previous games against the Bucs, Jones has 80 receptions for 1,359 yards and 10 touchdowns.