The best and worst moments of 2017 for every NFL team

What if the 49ers had traded for Garoppolo earlier? (1:35)

The NFL Live crew weighs in on how different the Niners' season could have been with Jimmy Garoppolo as their Week 1 starting QB. (1:35)

With the regular season wrapping on New Year's Eve, NFL Nation reporters took a look back at the best and worst moments of 2017 -- from the Falcons' epic collapse in Super Bowl LI, to the rise and eventual loss of Carson Wentz, to the Patriots' improbable win over the Steelers, and everything in between.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

Best moment: Selecting cornerback Tre'Davious White in the first round of the 2017 draft

The Bills traded down from No. 10 to No. 27, acquiring Kansas City's 2018 first-round pick in the process. With the No. 27 pick, Buffalo drafted White, who has started every game this season and is among the top candidates for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Bills could use the extra first-round pick from their trade with the Chiefs to trade up for a quarterback this spring.

Worst moment: Nathan Peterman throwing five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss to the Chargers

After the Bills were beaten by the Jets 34-21, then waxed by the Saints 47-10, first-year coach Sean McDermott decided to start the fifth-round rookie over veteran Tyrod Taylor. The result was one of the worst quarterback performances in NFL history, with Peterman becoming the first QB since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to be intercepted five times before halftime. Taylor replaced Peterman for the second half, and the Bills recovered to win three of their next four games. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Best moment: Upsetting the Patriots on Monday Night Football

Despite being double-digit underdogs, the Dolphins beat the defending Super Bowl champions 27-20 in Week 14. It was a chance for Miami, which has been inconsistent this season, to show a national audience what it was capable of. The immense celebration in the locker room after was further proof of how important that win was to the organization.

Worst moment: Losing Ryan Tannehill to a torn ACL and MCL before the season

There are several strong contenders, but the moment that negatively impacted the Dolphins most was when their starting quarterback went down in the first week of training camp. It ended Tannehill's season before it started and put Miami in a tough spot. The Dolphins signed veteran QB Jay Cutler to a one-year, $10 million contract with mixed results and will miss the playoffs, failing to post a winning record for the second consecutive season. -- James Walker

New England Patriots

Best moment: The improbable 27-24 win over the Steelers in Week 15

The victory gave the Patriots the inside track on home-field advantage in the AFC. The drama of the entire fourth quarter could have filled a season's worth of "best moments" for New England as the team rallied from a 24-16 deficit, sparked by tight end Rob Gronkowski's remarkable individual performance, before almost giving the game away.

Worst moment: A season-opening 42-27 loss to the Chiefs

It was supposed to be a night to celebrate as the team unveiled its Super Bowl banner, but defensive breakdowns paved the way for the upset. That set the tone for a rocky first quarter of the season for the Patriots, with major questions about the defense, before things settled down. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Best moment: Beating the Bills 34-21 in Week 9

There haven't been too many in this difficult season, but their win over Buffalo tops the list. In their only prime-time appearance (on a Thursday night), the Jets showed America they weren't the bungling bunch of tankers that everyone expected them to be. They played their best overall game in a win that, at the time, kept their slim playoff hopes alive at 4-5.

Worst moment: Muhammad Wilkerson spoiling his chances at a long-term stint with the Jets

On Dec. 15, Wilkerson showed up late for a Friday-morning meeting and was promptly benched for the upcoming game in New Orleans. It effectively ended his once-promising Jets career. He had a chance to be one of their all-time greats, but a poor attitude and disciplinary issues have derailed his career. He won't be back with the Jets in 2018. -- Rich Cimini

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Best moment: Ravens have their fingers crossed this Sunday

The Ravens are hoping their best moment comes in the final hours of 2017. Baltimore can clinch its first playoff berth since 2014 by beating Cincinnati on Sunday. This would be a significant accomplishment considering the number of early-season injuries and their 3-4 start to the season. The Ravens are now one of the NFL's hottest teams, winning five of their past six games.

Worst moment: Losing to the Bears in embarrassing fashion in Week 6

The Ravens allowed a franchise-worst 231 yards rushing and lost to a rookie quarterback at home for only the second time in franchise history. This was certainly the low point for a prideful defense that recorded three shutouts this season and leads the league in takeaways. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Best moment: Drafting linebacker Carl Lawson and running back Joe Mixon

The Bengals got a steal when they were able to snag Lawson in the fourth round, and he has rewarded them with 8.5 sacks despite limited snaps. The Bengals desperately wanted Mixon and got him in the second round after he fell due to off-field issues. While the two players weren't able to help give the Bengals a winning season, they do provide hope for the future.

Worst moment: Blowing a 17-0 lead over the Steelers on Monday Night Football

The Bengals had plenty of bad moments in 2017, but everything unraveled after they surrendered a lead to their hated rival, losing the Week 13 matchup at home 23-20. Honorable mentions include A.J. Green's fight with Jalen Ramsey, Adam Jones' arrest, the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese two weeks into the season and Vontaze Burfict's three-game suspension. -- Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

Best moment: Drafting Myles Garrett with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft

When the Browns selected Garrett, they secured a defensive end who has given zero reason to believe he will not be a very good player. He has 6.0 sacks in 10 games played this season.

Worst moment: Deshaun Watson revealing that Hue Jackson texted him "be ready" on draft day

It has been a season of worst moments, but the worst had to be when Watson revealed that Jackson made it seem as if the Browns would select him in the 2017 draft. What was worse about the reveal was it came on a day when Watson threw three touchdown passes in a rout of the Browns, serving as another reminder of a quarterback-that-could-have-been in Cleveland. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best moment: JuJu Smith-Schuster's 97-yard touchdown catch in Week 8

The rookie wide receiver's catch against Detroit was the longest pass play in franchise history. His star rose in prime time, and a once-sagging offense showed it was still capable of exploding. It did just that, with 30-plus points in four of the past six games.

Worst moment: Ben Roethlisberger's goal-line interception in the final seconds of their loss to the Patriots

The Steelers went for the win on the biggest stage and lived with the results, which should only embolden them for the playoffs. But the gutsy call likely cost them the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, which affects their Super Bowl chances. A field goal would have sent the game to overtime. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC South

Houston Texans

Best moment: Deshaun Watson's breakout performance in Week 4

The Texans knew Watson was good, but they realized just how good he could be in Houston's 57-14 victory over the Titans. The rookie threw for 283 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout victory, adding four rushes for 24 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Watson overwhelmed the Titans, completing more than 73 percent of his passes and leading the Texans on touchdown drives on their first three possessions. If Watson can return from his torn ACL and play anywhere near the level he played at in his seven games this season, the Texans have a bright future with him at quarterback.

Worst moment: Watson's season-ending injury

The Texans are 1-7 since Watson tore the ACL in his right knee on Nov. 2. Houston has had to deal with many injuries to key players -- J.J. Watt (broken left leg), Whitney Mercilus (torn pectoral muscle), D'Onta Foreman (torn left Achilles), C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion) and Ryan Griffin (concussion) -- but Watson's knee injury was the blow that ended their hopes of competing in the AFC. Houston scored at least 30 points in Watson's past five games, which is a franchise record. In the eight games since, the Texans are averaging fewer than 14 points per game and were held to fewer than seven in three games. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Best moment: Finishing with a top-three draft pick

If you're not going to have your franchise quarterback during what's clearly a rebuilding season, why not speed up the process with a top-three draft pick? The Colts will finish with their worst record since finishing 2-14 in 2011 largely because quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder) missed the entire season. General manager Chris Ballard can use the high draft pick to address the Colts' desperate need to find a pass-rusher or get more help on the offensive line.

Worst moment: Andrew Luck missing all of 2017

Luck needed right shoulder surgery in January after playing with it injured for more than 16 months. Owner Jim Irsay sounded optimistic when he said the surgery wasn't major and that his franchise QB would be ready for the regular season. Evidently Irsay must have meant the 2018 season, and now it's at the point where he's probably just hoping they'll have Luck in 2018. Luck missed all of the team's offseason workouts, training camp, preseason games and the regular season. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best moment: Clinching their first playoff appearance since 2007

And they did it with a 45-7 rout of the Texans at home. The Jaguars hadn't had a winning season and only twice won more than five games in a season since 2007. The accomplishment also came 364 days after the team fired Gus Bradley.

Worst moment: The 44-32 loss to the 49ers in Week 16

The Jaguars have been able to overcome setbacks all season -- from losing wide receiver Allen Robinson in the season opener to having top-pick Leonard Fournette miss three games -- so there haven't been a lot of terrible moments. However, the loss in San Francisco tainted what should have been one of the most triumphant days in franchise history. The Jags clinched their first division title since 1999 when the Rams beat Tennessee earlier in the day, but they went on to have their worst game of the season in the loss to the 49ers. It was hard to really celebrate winning the division after that debacle. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Best moment: Snapping an 11-game losing streak against the Colts

Marcus Mariota returned from a one-game injury absence to put in arguably his best performance of the season, throwing for 306 yards. It was one of two 300-yard passing games for Mariota this season. Derrick Henry also ran for 131 yards and a touchdown. The offense was exciting, explosive and effective -- for at least one game -- with the world watching on Monday Night Football. The win snapped a two-game losing streak, and, of course, they finally got the monkey off their back. They would later sweep the Colts for the first time since 2002.

Worst moment: The embarrassing 57-14 loss to the Texans in Week 4

The Titans' last-season slide was disappointing, but this blowout loss is worse. Tennessee was coming off a high of beating a relatively healthy Seahawks team in Week 3 before getting outclassed by the Deshaun Watson show in Houston. To make matters worse, Mariota injured his hamstring that day. It's an injury that affected him for the weeks that followed. This is also the day the national buzz around the Titans came to a crashing halt. -- Cameron Wolfe

AFC West

Denver Broncos

Best moment: The statement win over the Cowboys in Week 2

When cornerback Aqib Talib cut in front of Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant to snatch a Dak Prescott pass then sprinted 103 yards for a game-punctuating touchdown, with the home crowd in a full-throated frenzy in the final minute of the win, the Broncos genuinely believed they had shown they were among the league's elite. Two weeks later, they entered their bye at 3-1, eyeing the postseason, only to see their season collapse into an eight-game losing streak.

Worst moment: Losing to the Giants at home in Week 6

If you have your longest losing streak since 1967, as the Broncos did after losing eight in a row, and you suffer your first shutout loss in a quarter-century, it means there has been no shortage of bad moments. But nothing was the same after the Broncos lost 23-10 to the previously winless Giants. Denver outgained New York 412 to 296, but the problems that ruined the Broncos' season -- turnovers, unreliable special-teams play and the inability to play their best in the moments when games were decided -- spoiled this game and really never left. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Best moment: Drafting quarterback Patrick Mahomes II in the first round

The selection of Mahomes, and the move up from pick No. 27 to No. 10 in the first round to get him, signaled the end of Kansas City's long-standing policy of using retreads from other teams at the game's most important position. Mahomes may or may not be the long-term answer at quarterback, but it's impossible to fault the Chiefs' effort in this area, at long last.

Worst moment: The Week 13 loss to the Jets

The sky looked like it was falling that day, when the Chiefs jumped out to a 14-0 lead over a sub.-500 opponent only to lose 38-31. The defeat completed Kansas City's fall from the last remaining unbeaten team at 5-0 to officially mediocre at 6-6. The ugly loss was punctuated by the behavior of cornerback Marcus Peters, who late in the game threw an official's penalty flag into the stands and then retreated to the locker room without being ejected. -- Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

Best moment: The blowout win over the Bills in Week 11

Making his first career start, Buffalo rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman threw five first-half interceptions. The Chargers turned those miscues into 24 points in a 54-24 rout of the Bills.

Worst moment: The move from San Diego to Los Angeles

It happened Jan. 12, when the organization announced its intention to move to Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego. Fans expressed their anger by showing up and burning their gear in front of the team's headquarters at Chargers Park. -- Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

Best moment: Marshawn Lynch getting "hyphy" on the sideline in his Oakland homecoming

It was Week 2, and Oakland's favorite son was dancing up a storm with the Raiders holding a commanding 35-13 lead over the Jets in Beast Mode's hometown debut in a Raiders uniform. The Raiders, at 2-0 after the 45-20 thumping of the Jets, looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders as they seemed to be firing on all cylinders.

Worst moment: Derek Carr getting "shook" in Washington

Through two games, Carr was nearly invincible, with no interceptions and only two sacks. That all changed on a Sunday night in Week 3, as Carr was picked off on his first pass attempt of the game, threw another INT later and was sacked four times as he took a beating. Neither Carr nor the Raiders recovered, as Oakland embarked upon a four-game losing streak. -- Paul Gutierrez

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Best moment: Jerry Jones' induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Once considered a maverick owner, Jones was enshrined on Aug. 5, making him part of the most exclusive club in pro football. Jones was rewarded as much for his three Super Bowl wins in the 1990s as he was for changing the NFL's business model. Hours after his enshrinement, Jones threw a memorable party that included a live performance by Justin Timberlake where Jones and commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to get along amiably. In the months that followed, things certainly changed, with Jones fighting Goodell's extension and threatening a lawsuit.

Worst moment: Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

The initial hope in fighting a six-game suspension handed down on Aug. 11 was for Elliott to play in the season opener, but he managed to play the first eight games through a series of legal maneuverings. On Nov. 9, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York denied Elliott's motion for an injunction, and six days later, the running back dropped his entire legal fight. The Cowboys went 3-3 in Elliott's absence, but not even his return could salvage a run to the playoffs. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Best moment: The Week 6 win over the Broncos

Not a lot to choose from here, so it has to be their 23-10 victory in Denver. It was the Giants' first victory of the season -- one of just two through Week 16.

Worst moment: Losing Odell Beckham Jr. in Week 5

There are a lot of bad moments to choose from here, but nothing was worse than watching Beckham with a towel over his face after having his ankle/leg shattered in a loss to the Chargers. He was one of three receivers lost for the season in that game. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Best moment: Jake Elliott's 61-yard game-winning field goal

The rookie kicker nailed the long field goal as time expired to give the Eagles a 27-24 win over the Giants in Week 3. That was the first sign Philadelphia might be in for a special season. Quarterback Carson Wentz was miked up for that game and was overheard saying he'd give Elliott his game check if he made the kick. Instead, the two decided to donate money to charity.

Worst moment: Losing Carson Wentz for the rest of the season

Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee in a Week 14 win on the road against the Rams. The Eagles clinched the NFC East that night but lost their MVP-caliber signal-caller for the season. "He was the first person greeting everyone in the locker room on the way in," said safety Malcolm Jenkins. "I don't know what to tell a man in that situation; I just told him I loved him as a teammate, loved him as a friend. Obviously, everyone is feeling for him." -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

Best moment: The 17-14 win at Seattle in Week 9

The Redskins' most complete victory was their 27-10 win over the Raiders in Week 3, but the best moment was when they rallied in the final minute to beat the Seahawks on the road, thanks to two clutch throws by quarterback Kirk Cousins, catches by Brian Quick and a diving catch by Josh Doctson. They only had 43 healthy players available. It became an improbable win that, at the time, could have led them to a better finish.

Worst moment: The Scot McCloughan situation

That's not to blame the Redskins for all that transpired, but regardless, it was not a good situation when the then-general manager failed to show at the combine and his absence was exacerbated with a lie -- saying he missed to attend his grandmother's funeral. The Redskins tried to make the situation work for a couple of weeks, hoping they could get through the draft. Eventually, they fired him, and there was an anonymous quote from a team official blaming his drinking. Whether the Redskins were right or not, it led to questions nationally about the direction of the franchise as free agency began. -- John Keim

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Best moment: The two-game win streak in October.

Chicago appeared to be picking up momentum, with back-to-back wins over the Ravens and Panthers. There was even talk in Chicago of a possible playoff run -- until the Bears fell flat on their face at home against the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers coming out of their bye week.

Worst moment: When former Bears kicker Robbie Gould helped the 49ers beat Chicago

There are so many to choose from. The Green Bay loss in Week 10 was so embarrassing because the Bears had an extra week to prepare -- the Packers were even on a short week! -- and came out flat. But the worst moment of the year was when Gould made five field goals (including the game winner) to help San Francisco beat the Bears 15-14. Chicago foolishly released Gould after the 2016 preseason. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Best moment: Signing Matthew Stafford to a long-term extension

The Lions did what they needed to do in August, signing Stafford to a record $135 million extension. It guaranteed the franchise would keep its quarterback for the next half-decade and showed commitment to Stafford's ability and progress. Stafford has turned into a top-10 quarterback over the past few seasons.

Worst moment: Spoiling their slim playoff chances on Christmas Eve

The Lions needed to beat Cincinnati in order to enter Week 17 with a chance for a playoff berth. Instead, the Lions came out without much passion and lost to the Bengals 26-17. It knocked Detroit from the playoffs and renewed calls for Jim Caldwell's job. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Best moment: Aaron Rodgers' pass to Jared Cook in the divisional-round victory over Dallas

On a play that was drawn up (mostly) in the dirt, Rodgers rolled to his left and lofted a 35-yard pass to Cook, who somehow managed to get both feet in bounds before his knees hit the white paint at AT&T Stadium with three seconds left in the divisional playoff game. It set up Mason Crosby's game-winning 51-yard field goal that sent the Packers to the NFC Championship Game for the second time in three years. The Rodgers-to-Cook throw won an ESPY for the best play of the year.

Worst moment: Broken collarbone 2.0

For the second time in five seasons, Rodgers' season was interrupted by a broken collarbone. Unlike in 2013, when Rodgers returned for the regular-season finale and got the Packers into the playoffs, there was no happy ending. He returned, but after the Packers were eliminated from postseason consideration a week later, the team shut him down. The broken collarbone was the biggest contributor to the end of a franchise-record eight straight playoff appearances. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Best moment: The statement win over the Rams in Week 11

The Vikings had a handful of statement wins throughout 2017, but here's why this one matters the most: Minnesota's showdown with the Rams, which ended in a 24-7 victory, was a measuring stick for the second half of the season. Not only did the defense hold the league's most potent offense to seven points, Case Keenum essentially solidified his role as the starter going forward. This was the game where Minnesota was finally viewed nationally as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Worst moment: Dalvin Cook's explosive rookie campaign being cut short in Week 4

Before sustaining a season-ending ACL tear, Cook was averaging 88.5 rushing yards per game and was the Vikings' clear-cut bell cow among a stable of running backs. One week after Cook's injury, a national audience cringed with every hit Sam Bradford took in Chicago before he was pulled before halftime and placed on injured reserve a month later. -- Courtney Cronin

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Best moment: Arthur Blank's viral dance

After the Falcons beat the Seahawks in the divisional round, the team owner celebrated with the team in the locker room. The 36-20 win was the first step toward Atlanta's Super Bowl appearance following a first-round bye.

Worst moment: The Super Bowl LI loss

All the coaches and players had dejected looks on their faces after blowing the 28-3 third-quarter lead. The Falcons lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots 34-28 in overtime on the game's biggest stage. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Best moment: The win over the Patriots in Week 4

Cam Newton drove the Panthers down the field for a 48-yard field goal by Graham Gano as time expired in the 33-30 victory over the defending Super Bowl champs -- in New England.

Worst moment: When news broke about Jerry Richardson

The NFL began investigating the team owner for allegations of workplace misconduct -- ranging from sexual harassment to directing a racial slur at a former team scout -- on Dec. 17. He later announced plans to sell the team after the season. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Best moment: Drafting their 2017 class

Last week's playoff-clinching win over the rival Falcons inside a raucous Superdome is certainly a contender, since it ended a three-year postseason drought. But the biggest key to New Orleans' 2017 turnaround was their sensational draft week -- from cornerback Marshon Lattimore's surprising fall into their laps at No. 11 to their third-round trade for running back Alvin Kamara. Those two might wind up as the NFL's Defensive and Offensive Rookies of the Year, and the Saints got a total of five starters from this year's draft class.

Worst moment: Learning of Nick Fairley's heart condition

The Saints' low point came back in the spring, when they learned that their defensive tackle had a heart condition that wound up ending his season (and likely his career). The Saints have been able to overcome Fairley's absence for the most part, but it was a stunning and sad development. And the Saints would surely be even more potent with him in the lineup, which is why they had re-signed him to a lucrative contract extension in March. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best moment: The season-opening win over the Bears

After being forced to take a bye in Week 1 and evacuating due to Hurricane Irma, the Bucs beat the Bears 29-7 in Week 2 at home. Tampa Bay had two offensive touchdowns, and the defense forced four turnovers and held the Bears to just 20 total rushing yards, looking very much like the team that had gone on a five-game win streak to finish 9-7 in 2016. Things unraveled from there, though.

Worst moment: The 38-33 loss to the Cardinals in Week 6

After losing a close one to the Patriots 19-14 on Thursday Night Football, the Bucs completely fell apart for the second year in a row against Arizona. The 38-33 score made it look much, much closer than it actually was. At the beginning of the third quarter, they were down 31-0. It was in this game that many fans realized this was not at all the 2016 defense that led the league in third-down conversions and finished third in takeaways. -- Jenna Laine

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Best moment: Adrian Peterson's 134-yard game in Week 6

It wasn't Peterson's most productive game of the season -- that came three weeks later, when he ran for 159 yards in San Francisco -- but running for 134 yards in his debut with the Cardinals was an injection of hope the team needed at the time. They were still reeling from losing David Johnson for the season and were dealing with a barrage of injuries on the offensive line. The run game was feeling both of those things, ranked 32nd in the league through five weeks. Then came Peterson's huge showing. Even though he couldn't keep it up -- and eventually landed on IR -- that game was the best moment of Arizona's season.

Worst moment: Losing David Johnson in Week 1

It didn't take long for the Cardinals to experience their lowest moment. It was in the third quarter of the season opener at Detroit, when the all-everything running back took a helmet to his left wrist, dislocating it in the process. Johnson hasn't played since. Losing Johnson didn't just erase more than 2,000 potential all-purpose yards, but it also took away the foundation of the offense. The scheme was built around Johnson, especially his versatility. What he could do out of the backfield complemented by what he could do as a receiver was the basis for the large majority of Arizona's plays, either involving him directly or using him as a decoy. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Best moment: Routing the Seahawks on the road in Week 15

Going into Seattle in what was basically a must-win game, given how the division was shaping up, and winning 42-7 was the highlight of 2017 so far. It avenged the Rams' early-season loss to the Seahawks, but it meant so much more. As running back Todd Gurley II said in the aftermath: "These guys have been kicking our ass for the last 10, 15 years." The Seahawks have been the class of the NFC West for about a half-decade, but the Rams' blowout win -- Seattle's worst loss at home since 1997 -- seemed to alter the balance of power in the division. Now, and perhaps in the future.

Worst moment: Losing kicker Greg Zuerlein

It actually occurred moments before their game in Seattle. Zuerlein's back flared up while he slept, to the point where he could barely stand up straight. He wound up playing at CenturyLink Field, but he was placed on injured reserve Dec. 20 and underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk the next morning. The Rams will now play their most meaningful football without the NFL's most productive kicker -- a guy who was on pace to set a scoring record at his position. Sam Ficken, a full-time broker-dealer who had never kicked in a regular-season game when he won a tryout, will try to replace Zuerlein. -- Alden Gonzalez

San Francisco 49ers

Best moment: Acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo

Finalizing the trade for Garoppolo on Halloween was the ultimate treat for the Niners in 2017. After sending a second-round pick to New England for the quarterback, coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said it took all of about 10 minutes to say yes to the deal. In hindsight, the better question might be: "What took so long?" Perhaps Lynch and Shanahan spent roughly nine of those minutes doing a celebratory dance before affirming the trade. San Francisco now appears to have the franchise quarterback it has been seeking for years, making that day the best for the franchise in 2017 and one it can look back on as a possible franchise-changer for years to come.

Worst moment: Parting ways with franchise stalwart linebacker NaVorro Bowman

Undoubtedly, the Niners' decision to release Bowman was probably best for all parties, as Bowman's role appeared set to diminish. But that didn't make letting go a player beloved by the organization and its fans any easier. Bowman will go down as one of the greatest defensive players in franchise history and one of the focal points of a three-year run of success in which the Niners went to the NFC Championship Game each of those years. All of the losing during the 2017 season provided plenty of bad moments, but saying goodbye to a legend is hard to top. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Best moment: The Seahawks' 24-10 win over Philadelphia in Week 13

It was Seattle's most impressive victory of the season, considering it came against the team with the best record and the highest-scoring offense, which Seattle shut down despite missing three Pro Bowlers on defense. The performance inspired confidence that Seattle could make another late-season run, which didn't last long.

Worst moment: Losing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in Week 10

Seattle beat Arizona that week but lost their star cornerback and strong safety to season-ending injuries in the process. Chancellor's neck injury could even prevent him from playing football again. The secondary held up for a while without Sherman and Chancellor, but their absences eventually caught up to Seattle by the end of the season. -- Brady Henderson