MNF Takeaways: Legend of Tommy DeVito Grows, Dolphins Fumble No. 1 Seed and More

MNF Takeaways: Legend of Tommy DeVito Grows, Dolphins Fumble No. 1 Seed and More

MNF Takeaways: Legend of Tommy DeVito Grows, Dolphins Fumble No. 1 Seed and More

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    New York Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito (15) passes against the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

    AP Photo/Adam Hunger

    A Monday Night Football double-dip turned into an exciting affair with both contests going down to the wire.

    In Miami, the Tennessee Titans surprised the unsuspecting Dolphins by the score of 28-27.

    Rookie quarterback Will Levis reacted well to late-game adversity and established himself as the right choice for the Titans organization. Conversely, Miami missed a major opportunity to control the AFC.

    For the New York Giants, quarterback Tommy DeVito appears to be more than a nice story after leading Big Blue to a 24-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The latter should be quite disappointed since its playoff fate is far more nebulous today than then when the game began.

    On paper, Monday’s matchups didn’t look particularly appetizing for many football fans. Instead, they were fire. With a fourth of the regular season left to be played, the NFL continues to provide wonderful stories and awesome action, even when they’re not entire expected.

Green Bay Packers Stuck in the 6-7 Mud After Concerning Jordan Love Game

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 11: Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after fumbling the ball against the New York Giants during the second quarter in the game at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

    Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

    All of the momentum the Green Bay Packers built quickly disappeared with Monday’s loss to the New York Giants. It’s the first loss in the month of December during Matt LaFleur’s tenure. Quarterback Jordan Love didn’t look like the same player from the previous three weeks, either.

    “No, not at all,” LaFleur told reporters when asked if he expected any type of letdown against an opponent with a losing record. “That’s why it’s disappointing.”

    In fact, Green Bay’s previous three-game winning streak looks less impressive in retrospect since the Los Angeles Chargers lost four of their last five games, the Detroit Lions lost two of their last three and the Kansas City Chiefs lost three of their last four contests.

    But wins are wins. The same can be said of the opposite. Ultimately, a team’s record says who it is. The Packers now sit at 6-7 and find themselves in a logjam among the other NFC playoff contenders.

    Green Bay still owns the seventh seed. However, the Packers sport the same record as the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. The suddenly surging Giants aren’t far behind at 5-8.

    The previously decisive Love didn’t have the same command or presence against the Giants, with multiple poor throws, including an interception plucked by safety Jason Pinnock when the Packers tried to push the ball down the field.

    “It was a bad read,” Love said. “I kind of got hung up too long, just held my eyes kind of to the left a little too long. The safety was able to play over the top and had a good read. Not a good ball.”

    In the coming weeks, Green Bay faces three more teams still in the mix, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. Two of them are already in the postseason picture, while the Bears are trying to make a late-season push or serve as spoiler. The Packers can’t let up or risk missing the playoffs altogether.

Tommy Devito’s Star Continues to Brighten for New York Giants

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    New York Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito (15) is brought down just shy of the goal line by Green Bay Packers linebacker Kingsley Enagbare (55) during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

    AP Photo/Adam Hunger

    The New York Giants made a mistake by signing quarterback Daniel Jones to a contract extension, and Tommy DeVito continues to show exactly why.

    The Giants organization knew it had to deal with both Jones and running back Saquon Barkley entering free agency this past offseason. General manager Joe Schoen responded by handing his quarterback a four-year, $160 million contract and placing the franchise tag on Barkley. The opposite should have happened, since the jury was still out on Jones as a franchise quarterback and Barkley was already a proven weapon when healthy.

    Now, New York finds itself in a predicament, because support will swing drastically in DeVito’s favor after leading the Giants to a last-second victory over the Green Bay Packers. It should, because he’s playing well and actually helping the team win games.

    Since the hometown hero DeVito took over the starting job, the G-men are 3-1. He posted a seven-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio during that stretch. He’s thriving even when everything around him isn’t perfect, which is often considering the current state of the Giants’ offensive line.

    According to NFL Next Gen Stats, DeVito’s completion percentage over expected Monday when extending the play beyond 2.5 seconds was the highest by a Giants quarterback this season. The undrafted rookie is a creator, who keeps his eyes downfield and makes plays with his legs.

    “Earned the right to play today, earned the right to play next week,” head coach Brian Daboll told reporters after the game. “The kid’s doing a good job.”

    It may be more than that, Coach. As DeVito stacks good performances and crowds continue to chant his name, fans will inevitably turn on Jones.

    For those curious, the Giants can release the 2019 first-round pick next offseason, designate him as a June 1 release and eat his full salary-cap hit for one year to clear a combined $78 million over the follow two seasons, per Over The Cap.

    The Giants must figure out whether DeVito is their new Derek Jeter or the next Jeremy Lin. The final four weeks of the regular season will be quite telling.

Will Levis Isn’t Perfect, but Tennessee Titans Can Build Around the QB

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) celebrates after a go-ahead touchdown during the game between the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Will Levis’ performance Monday against the Miami Dolphins embodied the “how it started” vs. “how it’s going” meme.

    The rookie quarterback’s first two drives couldn’t have gone worse. The Tennessee Titans final two drives couldn’t have gone any better.

    Initially, Tennessee went three-and-out to start the game, then Levis threw a woeful pick on a screen that allowed defensive lineman Zach Sieler to rumble toward a five-yard touchdown.

    Conversely, the first year signal-caller led back-to-back touchdown drives of 75 and 64 yards after the Titans went down 27-13 with 4:34 remaining.

    The difference?

    “Just trust in what I’m seeing,” Levis told reporters. “Just trust our guys to be in the right spots, then throwing it to the open guy. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.”

    Throughout the contest, Levis’ toughness and competitiveness showed. He fought for yards, wasn’t afraid to take shots in the passing game and provided energy. The Titans traded up in this year’s second round to draft him for a reason. His first 300-yard passing game (327, to be exact) during a comeback victory rewarded the organization’s faith in his abilities.

    It’s not been easy. The Titans have some glaring roster deficiencies, which is why it’s all the more important the front office settles on Levis and builds a better cockpit for the quarterback.

    Aside from the Houston Texans’ C.J. Stroud, Levis has been the rookie class’ next-best quarterback since the Carolina Panthers’ Bryce Young is really struggling and the Indianapolis Colts’ Anthony Richardson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury early on.

    The Titans can continue their transition under head coach Mike Vrabel, fortify a few areas, and allow Levis to grow as the team’s leader.

Miami Dolphins Just Blew Their Shot at AFC’s No. 1 Seed

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 11: Tyreek Hill #10 of the Miami Dolphins reacts on the sidelines in the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on December 11, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

    Megan Briggs/Getty Images

    The AFC is begging for one team to assert itself as the conference’s best. The Miami Dolphins had a chance to do so Monday against an opponent with a losing record and fell flat, particularly late in the contest.

    “It was a legitimate team loss, I think everyone had a hand in it,” head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters. “I don’t think it was intentional. I don’t think anyone was going through the motions during the week.”

    The final part of McDaniel’s answer is fascinating, because the Dolphins had a three-game winning streak and easily handled three opponents with losing records during the previous weeks. Maybe Miami overestimated the Tennessee Titans a little bit?

    Also, star wide receiver Tyreek Hill had his ankle rolled up in the second quarter and didn’t play again until the final frame.

    “It was a lot of pain,” Hill said. “It sucked. I’ve been dealing with ankle injuries this whole season. I texted my wife it hurt. She said ‘You better get your ass back in that game.””

    The Dolphins offense clearly operates differently without the speedster. Hill tilts the field and opens up everything else for other targets. He still managed four catches for 61 yards. But the Titans knew he wasn’t the same threat upon his return. Furthermore, the MVP candidate wasn’t on the field for the Dolphins’ final drive.

    Outside of Jaylen Waddle, who led Miami with six receptions for 79 yards, the rest of the Dolphins targets accumulated 100 receiving yards.

    If Hill’s injury lingers, McDaniel and Co. have a big problem, because they’re now a full game behind the AFC-leading Baltimore Ravens, with a brutal upcoming schedule against the New York Jets defense, Dallas Cowboys, Ravens and Buffalo Bills.

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