Week 13 winners, losers: Purdy is 49ers' Mr. Relevant originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
As we churn towards the final stretch of the 2022 NFL season, no team has clinched a playoff spot yet but the postseason picture is getting clearer.
In Week 13, we witnessed Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith resume his magical season, Joe Burrow outduel fellow star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and -- gasp -- a tie between the New York Giants and Washington Commanders to further clog the NFC East standings.
It's time to name the winners and losers from the past weekend of football:
Loser: The Windy City
Rodgers went viral last season for screaming, “I still own you!” at the Soldier Field crowd during a 24-17 win. He made sure to give Bears fans another salute after Green Bay edged Chicago 28-19 on Sunday.
“It truly has been a second home to me,” Rodgers told reporters after the game.
Rodgers is 24-5 against the Bears in his career. He is ... not wrong.
Winner: Mike Tomlin
We officially can mark down the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers as "scrappy."
The Steelers have erased all memories of a brutal 2-6 start to the season with a gritty 19-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on the road, their third win in four weeks and second in six days.
Tomlin famously has never finished a season with a record under .500. At 5-7, Pittsburgh needs to win four of its last five games to finish 9-8. Here’s who the Steelers have remaining on their schedule: Baltimore -- without Lamar Jackson? -- twice, Carolina, Las Vegas and Cleveland. Tomlin just might do it.
Don’t think for a second that Tomlin is basking in the recent wins, though. No chance. He’s f--king working.
Loser: Jeff Saturday
The oddest in-season coaching hire in NFL history appears to be backfiring on the Indianapolis Colts.
Saturday began his coaching tenure with an awkward press conference and a surprising five-point win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Since then, the Colts have lost three straight games.
Saturday, the part-time head coach and full-time vibes coordinator, forgot to call a timeout in a critical moment last week and then was spanked by the Dallas Cowboys 54-19 on national television Sunday night.
The Cowboys’ defense, by the way, is looking more terrifying by the week.
Winner: Touchdown celebrations
Vikings running back Alexander Mattison got the party started in Week 13.
Mattison found the end zone in the second quarter of the Vikings’ 27-22 victory over the New York Jets and began limping like he pulled a hamstring. But instead of landing on the injured reserve, Mattison went to the ground and unveiled arguably the best touchdown celebration of the season.
Later Sunday night, Mattison gave credit to where credit was due: Kansas City Current midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta of the NWSL.
Loser: Tennessee Titans
Revenge games don’t come much sweeter than what receiver A.J. Brown did to the Tennessee Titans in Week 13.
Brown, who spent three seasons in Tennessee before the Titans traded him to Philadelphia during the 2022 NFL Draft, hauled in eight catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns to help the Eagles take down his former team 35-10.
His first touchdown was a 40-yard bomb from MVP candidate Jalen Hurts. His second score was an incredible catch in the end zone while being smothered by Titans rookie cornerback Tre Avery.
Brown won the breakup.
Winner: Mr. Relevant
The 49ers' 2022 season was set up to be all about quarterback Trey Lance's development. When he suffered a season-ending ankle injury, all the storylines shifted to One Last Dance with veteran Jimmy Garoppolo back under center.
Well, now, the season is in the hands of Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, as Garoppolo's 2022 campaign is over due to a foot injury.
Purdy impressed in San Francisco's 33-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins, throwing for 210 yards on 25-of-37 passing. He became the first Mr. Irrelevant player to throw a touchdown pass (for context, there have been seven quarterbacks taken with the last pick of the draft) and added another before his day was over.
Purdy, a 22-year-old rookie from Iowa State, had no business looking as confident and poised as he did at Levi's Stadium. Sure, the 49ers' Super Bowl dreams took a hit with Garoppolo's injury, but not all hope is lost with Purdy playing alongside yards-after-catch phenoms Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle in the Bay Area.
Mr. Irrelevant no longer.
Winner: Josh Johnson
Yes, that Josh Johnson is still in the NFL.
The 49ers reportedly signed the 36-year-old Johnson to serve as Purdy's backup quarterback with the rest of San Francisco's signal-callers on injured reserve.
Johnson has started only nine games over 13 seasons and has been a member of 14 different organizations. This is his fourth stint with the 49ers alone. He has thrown less than 180 passes in regular-season games since 2013.
However, the 49ers didn't bring Johnson in to play. He will mentor Purdy while continuing to build his resume as a first ballot Hall of Fame Locker Room Guy.