Pittsburgh Steelers 17, New England Patriots 10
スティーラーズ17 - ペイトリオッツ10

The Steelers snapped a five-game losing streak, including the postseason, against the Patriots with a hard-fought win and improved to 8-5-1 on the season. The Steelers did it with a stellar running game anchored by rookie Jaylen Samuels, who exploded with 142 yards on 19 carries, and a stout defensive effort, which limited one of the NFL's top offenses to 10 points. And, of course, Ben Roethlisberger outdueled Tom Brady when it mattered most, engineering a scoring drive with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. The Steelers' win kept them as the No. 4 seed atop the AFC North, but also affected the AFC playoff picture. The Patriots fell out of the No. 2 seed to No. 3 after being leapfrogged by the Houston Texans, who improved to 10-4 with a win earlier in the afternoon.





With the postseason looming on the horizon, would anyone be surprised if the Steelers seriously considered going away from kicker Chris Boswell? Sure, he nailed a 48-yard kick late in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 17-10, but Boswell also missed a 32-yard field goal attempt, which sailed wide right in the third quarter. Pittsburgh signaled a vote of confidence in Boswell after sticking with him despite bringing in kicker Kai Forbath the past week. But Boswell, who made the Pro Bowl last year and signed a four-year extension during the offseason, has missed seven kicks this season, including two in a Week 15 loss. The Steelers would be playing with fire surrounding Boswell's inconsistency if the team advances to play in January, where close games typically await in the march to the Super Bowl.

(*looming on the horizon=おぼろげに見え始める/vote of confidence=信任投票/ playing with fire=火遊びをする、危ないことをする)

ポストシーズンが接近する中ではあるが、スティーラーズがキッカーのクリス・ボズウェルを見限ることを真剣に考えたとしても、誰が驚くだろうか? 彼は4Qで17対10にリードを広げる48ヤードのFGを決めたが、3Qでの32ヤードのFGを右に大きく外したことも事実だ。






Chicago Bears 24, Green Bay Packers 17
ベアーズ24 - パッカーズ17

From the cellar to the penthouse. The Bears clinched the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010 by silencing Aaron Rodgers and the division-rival Packers at Soldier Field. In 14 of the past 15 years, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Chicago finished last in the division each of the last four seasons. These aren't those Bears. Matt Nagy's team beat the Packers at Soldier Field for first since 2010 season. It didn't come easy. A questionable Chicago fake punt was stuffed to help the Packers erase an 11-point halftime lead. With reminders of their Week 1 collapse to Rodgers floating in the Windy City air, the Bears didn't wilt this time around. Mitchell Trubisky, who performed well all day extending plays and finding targets downfield, helped lead two fourth-quarter scoring drives as the Bears stiff-arm their way to the division crown. One of the most balanced teams in the NFL, Chicago will be a tough out in January.






Aaron Rodgers' NFL record streak of 402 passing attempts without an interception was snapped late in the fourth quarter. Bears safety Eddie Jackson swiped a tipped pass in the end zone as the Packers were threatening to cut into a double-digit lead. It's fitting that Rodgers' streak ended on the day Green Bay's season was squashed. There will be no R-E-L-A-X, magical run this time around. With Aaron Jones leaving early with a knee injury, the Packers ground game did little, forcing Rodgers to throw into the teeth of one of the best defenses in the NFL. The signal-caller, who appeared to tweak his leg on a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half, was off-target most of the day, completing just 59.5 percent of 42 attempts for 274 yards and no touchdowns. Rodgers couldn't find the range deep at all, missing several open wideouts that could have changed the tenor of the contest. Officially eliminated from the postseason, Green Bay can now look toward the rest of the offseason changes that are coming.


アーロン・ロジャースの、インターセプトなしのパスアテンプトは402回連続で4Q遅くにストップした。ベアーズのセーフティ、エディー・ジャクソンはティップされたパスをエンドゾーンでキャッチして、パッカーズの10点から点差縮めるチャンスを潰した。ロジャースの記録ストップは、パッカーズのシーズン終結と似つかわしいものと言える。もう「 R-E-L-A-X」(※)もないし、奇跡の連勝もない。





(※参考:Aaron Rodgers tells panicking Green Bay Packers fans to relax