Two late fumbles came into play in both games. But when there's a Will (Levis), there's a way. And a Tommy DeVito.
The Week 14 Monday Night Football doubleheader saw the Miami Dolphins blow a two-possession lead late at home versus the Tennessee Titans to lose 28-27 while the New York Giants edged the Green Bay Packers 24-22 at MetLife Stadium.
Tennessee had kept Miami in check with the game tied 13-13 late in the fourth quarter, but consecutive turnovers -- a muffed punt and Derrick Henry fumble -- saw the Dolphins capitalize on both via Raheem Mostert touchdown runs. But the Titans proved their metal, scoring 15 points in 2:40 to cap off an improbable comeback.
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Then in New York, Jordan Love led a touchdown drive after Saquon Barkley's stumble fumble, but the Packers' defense couldn't hold on in the final minute as DeVito responded, ending in a Randy Bullock 37-yard game-winning field goal.
Let's analyze both results with five takeaways:
Tommy DeVito inspires
The Giants' season isn't done just yet. With Daniel Jones out for the year, the rookie DeVito has stepped up and kept New York fighting despite some unfavorable circumstances. The 25-year-old delivered a clean game versus Green Bay, completing 17 of 21 passes for 158 yards, one touchdown and no picks while also taking zero sacks. He also rushed for 71 yards on 10 carries.
Like Jones, DeVito doesn't have a great offensive line or enough quality receivers, but he has tremendous grit. Wan'Dale Robinson stepped up in the receiving department with six catches for 79 yards to provide DeVito an outlet.
Barkley had been held to around two yards per carry until he broke out two big runs late, but the latter one resulted in what could've been a game-losing fumble. He finished with 86 rushing yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.
Jordan Love endures rookie pain
Rookie quarterbacks will endure ups and downs. Love was no different on Monday. The Packers have enjoyed a solid stretch to get in the playoff conversation, but the youngest offense (by average age) couldn't capitalize on what looked like a win on paper. But that's why the game is not played on paper.
Love completed 25 of 39 passes for 218 yards, one touchdown and one pick. He also lost a fumble. There's no doubt he can become something in this league, but this dealt a major learning lesson for the youngster.
Dolphins' offense without Tyreek Hill struggles
If Hill's MVP case is to be strengthened, look how the Dolphins fared without him. After suffering an ankle injury early on and returning midway in the third quarter not at full strength, Miami lacked consistent downhill threats and Tua Tagovailoa looked average.
Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane thrived on the ground, but Tagovailoa completed 23 of 33 passes for 240 yards, no touchdowns and no picks while taking five sacks, including one on fourth down that ended the game.
To blow a 15-point lead in 2:40 at the end of the fourth quarter to a previously 4-8 Titans team with a rookie QB is egregious, especially with the contender status surrounding Miami. The Titans had just a 0.4% chance to win the game when it was 27-13 with 3:08 left, making it the second-most statistically improbable comeback since NFL's Next Gen Stats started, via NFL's Next Gen Stats.
Miami will need to take a hard look at itself because real contenders just can't lose games like that.
Will Levis, DeAndre Hopkins show their resolve
Young quarterbacks need quality receiving options to aid their development. You look at Bryce Young's struggles in Carolina without options while Tank Dell significantly helped C.J. Stroud, despite Dell's inexperience. Levis, who fell hard in the 2023 draft, got help in a big way with the veteran Hopkins.
It hasn't always been pretty for the Titans, but Hopkins' seven catches for 124 yards and a touchdown was an absolute game changer. Levis completed 23 of 38 passes for 327 yards, one touchdown and one pick despite Derrick Henry averaging 2.1 yards a carry on 17 attempts.
Tennessee could've just called it a wrap once it became 27-13, but the squad didn't let up and reminded Miami to always play until the final whistle.
How the results affect playoff picture
The Packers held the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoff picture, but now they're one of four other 6-7 teams on the bubble. They now play the 6-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, the 1-12 Carolina Panthers away, the 7-6 Minnesota Vikings away and the 5-8 Chicago Bears at home. It's still doable, but the margin for error is slim.
New York, at 5-8, is just one game out of that last playoff spot. But its schedule isn't favorable, as the Giants will be away to the 6-7 New Orleans Saints and 10-3 Philadelphia Eagles before hosting the 6-7 Los Angeles Rams and Eagles to end the year.
Tennessee's win puts it two games out of a playoff spot. It will host the 7-6 Houston Texans and 6-7 Seattle Seahawks before having a road game in Houston and ending at home to the 8-5 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Miami has an incredibly touch schedule that makes it tougher to land the No. 1 seed. It will host the 5-8 New York Jets and 10-3 Dallas Cowboys before having a road game at the 10-3 Baltimore Ravens and ending at home to the 7-6 Buffalo Bills.