NFL 2012 Week 17 Recap This is what football is all about. The last week of the regular season is do or die. Break out the John Randall megaphone. This…is…when…the…big…dogs…come…out.
Here is the NFL 2012 Week 17 Recap.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons–The 13-2 Falcons have locked up home field throughout the playoffs and may rest everybody. The Buccaneers started 6-4 but lost 5 straight. When the game started, Mike Smith had his starters playing. The Bucs took over after a punt and moved from their 10 the Atlanta 30 before Josh Freeman threw incomplete on 3rd and 2. Connor Barth hit from 48 to make it 3-0 Buccaneers on the road. Matt Ryan moved the Falcons from their 28 to a 1st and 10 at the Bucs 16, but a 3rd and 10 scramble came up 4 yards short. Matt Bryant hit from 28 to make it 3-3.
The second quarter still had the Atlanta starters in, and the Bucs began their first drive of the second quarter with 2nd and 12 from their 34. Freeman hit Stocker for gains of 17 and 23 and Lorig for 12. On 3rd and 7 from the 8, Freeman fired to the end line of the end zone and Mike Williams got his feet down for the touchdown to make it 10-3 Buccaneers with 9 minutes left in the half. Atlanta punted from their 37 with 6 minutes left in the half, and it was blocked by Watson. The Bucs took over at the Atlanta 26, although the drive got no further than the 4 yard line. Barth hit from 22 to make it 13-3 Buccaneers with 3 minutes left in the half.
In the third quarter Tampa Bay moved from their 20 when Freeman hit Mike Williams for 23 yards. On 3rd and 6 from their 47, Freeman hit Doug Martin for 12. On 3rd and 9 from the Atlanta 40, Freeman hit Vincent Jackson for 16. Yet 3 straigh incompletions meant a 42 yard Barth field goal and a 16-3 lead for the Buccaneers. Despite losing defender Dunta Robinson in the first quarter to injury, Mike Smith kept his starters in the game that did not matter. They played the whole game. On 3rd and 7 from their 28, Freeman was intercepted, giving Atlanta the ball at the Tampa 21. Michael Turner raced for a 17 yard touchdown and the Falcons only trailed 16-10 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter.
Tampa made it look easy after a touchdown. Doug Martin ran for 10 and 3. Freeman found Jackson for 27 yards. Martin broke free for a 40 yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion failed but the Buccaneers led 22-10 with fourth quarter to go. A field position game had the Falcons taking over at their own 48 with 11 1/2 minutes left. Ryan hit Jaquez Rodgers for 5, Jones for 18, Gonzalez for 8, Rodgers for 13, and Douglas for the 7 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Falcons were within 5 points.
Atlanta got it back at their own 19 with 3:44 to play and a chance to win it. On 1st and 10 from their 33 with 2:24 left, Ryan threw 4 straight incompletions to end it. Greg Schiano likes to attack on teams kneeling on the ball, and also does not seem like kneeling himself. He called several runs to end things, apparently not familiar with the Miracle at the Meadowlands. His lack of class at the end of games does not change the fact that the Buccaneers ended 7-9 and are improving.
As for the Falcons, their critics will call this a disaster. Yes they are 13-3. Yet they lost at home to an inferior team when their starters played the whole game. In addition to Robinson, pass rusher John Abraham left the game with injuries. Had they lost with backups, this would not be a big deal. Yet now the entire NFC sees them as paper tigers, a very soft top seed. Until the Falcons win a game, Mike Smith and Matt Ryan will not silence the critics. Respect is earned, and a great regular season record does not earn that. 22-17 Buccaneers
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills–Neither team is going to the playoffs, although Mark Sanchez got his job back when the third stronger suffered a concussion. Sanchez moved the Jets from their 24 to the Buffalo 29, but 3 plays netted 0 yards after that. Nick Folk hit a 47 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Jets. The Jets got it back and soon faced 3rd and 5 from their 15. Sanchez threw a perfect pass to Scott, who plays defense for Buffalo. Scott took it back 20 yards for the interception touchdown return to make it 7-3 Bills. Rex Ryan asked if any Jets fans in the stands could play quarterback while Eva Longoria wondered who her next boyfriend would be.
Sanchez may have been allowed to start, but he was not allowed to throw. Rex Ryan called 5 straight runs. An incomplete pass came when the defense had 12 men on the field. 4 more runs had the Ground and Pound with 2nd and 10 at the Buffalo 29. Sanchez threw incomplete twice as the Jets settled for a 47 yard Nick Folk field goal to lead 3-0. On the next Jets series Sanchez actually completed a pass for a 3 yard gain to set up 3rd and 5 from their 15. Sanchez was then intercepted by Scott, who returned it 20 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-3 Bills. New Yorkers demanded that Sanchez stay in the game, but those were Buffalo fans.
From their 34, the Jets moved 14 plays in over 7 1/2 minutes with a heavy dose of Shon Greene. With 11 minutes left in the half the Jets had 3rd and goal at the 5. Sanchez threw incomplete. Folk hit the 23 yarder as the Jets trailed 7-6 with 11 minutes left in the half. Buffalo went 3 and out and the Jets faced 3rd and 16 from their 29. Sanchez threw a short pass to Kerley, who took it for a 40 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the 16, a completion came up 2 yards short. Rex Ryan opted for the field goal and Folk from 28 put the Jets up 9-7 with 4 minutes left in the half.
The lead lasted less than 30 seconds. On 3rd and 10 from their 34, Ryan Fitzpatrick hit CJ Spiller with a short pass that went for a 66 yard touchdown to put the Bills up 14-9. The second half saw the Bills from their 27 fumble on the first play from scrimmage and the Jets recover at the Buffalo 15. On 3rd and 12, Rex Ryan did not trust Sanchez to throw. Powell only got 6 yards and a 30 yard field goal try was blocked. A 6 minute drive in the third quarter saw Ryan Lindell miss a 50 yard field goal in a game of who wanted it least. From the Jets 40, Sanchez was sacked and fumbled. Buffalo took over at the Jets 34, gained only 6 yards, and Lindell from 46 missed again.
The Jest went 3 and out and from the Buffalo 20, Fitzpatrick went deep to Stevie St Johnson for a 37 yard gain with a roughing the passer penalty adding 15 more. On 3rd and 1 from the 19, Fitzpatrick hit Spiller for 6. Brad Smith used to play for the Jets, but on 3rd and 1 from the 4, he took a wildcat snap against his former team and got in the end zone to make it 21-9 Bills with 11 minutes left in the season.
With 1:14 left in a game that was not in doubt, the Bills faced 4th and 4 at the Jets 13. With Lindell having missed twice, Chan Gailey just decided to run the ball. The Jets were playing for pride, and they had none. Tashard Choice ran for the 13 yard touchdown as the JETS acronym of Just End The Season mercifully happened soon after. Both coaches may be fired and may not. As for the Jets, they may get rid of all 3 of their quarterbacks. 28-9 Bills
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals–The Ravens stop their 3 game slide to get to 10-5 and lock up the division. The Bengals clinched a wildcard and are locked into their six seed. Marvin Lewis says he is playing to win rather than resting people, while the Ravens still have a slim chance at moving up from the 4 to the 3 seed, which usually means nothing.
John Harbaugh concluded early on that New England was not going to lose at home given they had everything to play for. Therefore, he decided late in the first quarter to rest his starters and give Tarod Taylor the quarterbacking reins from Joe Flacco. Marvin Lewis left his starters in for the first half, but the second half was a game of backups as the Ravens settled into the 4 seed and the Bengals the 6 seed.
With Ray Rice from Rutgers getting rest, a drive late in the first quarter from the 20 saw Pierce gain 7 and 14, Taylor scramble for 28, Pierce gain 9 more, and Allen run for 20 and then the 2 yard touchdown. The Ravens led 7-0 without Taylor throwing a pass. A field position game with 2:07 left in the half had the Bengals taking over at the Baltimore 42. On 3rd and 5 Andy Dalton hit AJ Green for 17 and 9 and Jones for the 11 yard touchdown to make it 7-7.
Bruce Gradkowski began the second half for Dalton and midway through the third quarter took over for the Bengals at their 48. Roughing the passer was just enough to set up Josh brown from 47 yards out as the Bengals led 10-7. Cincy got it back at the Baltimore 40 after a 30 yard shanked punt. On 3rd and 6 defensive pass interference meant 21 yards, again enough for another field goal and a 13-7 Bengals lead with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
Baltimore faced 3rd and 7 from their 22 when a deep ball and defensive pass interference moved Baltimore 25 yards. The fourth quarter began with the Ravens facing 3rd and 11 from the Cincy 40. Taylor hit Dickson for 15, Allen ran for 7, and Taylor gained 15 more. Taylor got in from one yard out to make it 14-13 Ravens with 13 minutes left in regulation. Cincy went 3 and out and Baltimore took over just past midfield. Rookie Justin Tucker came in for a 45 yard field goal to extend the lead. Tucker has had a good year, but this one was no good with 10 minutes left.
From their own 35, Gradkowski went deep to Tate for a 44 yard gain. Josh Brown would hit a 38 yard field goal to put the Bengals back up 16-14 midway through the fourth quarter. The play of the game happened 2 plays later with the Ravens facing 3rd and 7 from their own 23. Taylor was intercepted by Dunlap, who returned it 14 yards for the score to make it 23-14 Bengals with 6 minutes left to play.
Needing 2 scores, Baltimore actually decided to punt on 4th and 1 from their 32. Yet it was a fake that succeeded. Taylor moved the Ravens in position for a 49 yard field goal try. Tucker was good, and the Ravens were within 6. Yet only 1:21 remained, and a failed onsides kick ended things as the Bengals in successive weeks beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore, although again this game featured backups. Both teams are 10-6, but the Ravens had clinched the division the week earlier.
The Bengals had consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 30 years, although 1982 was a strike year. The way the Bengals can quiet the critics is by winning a playoff game, which they have not done in the decade Marvin Lewis has coached them. They will be at collapsing Houston, while Baltimore will host Indianapolis. 23-17 Bengals
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions–The once 7-1 Bears briefly stopped their slide and won last week to get to 9-6. They need a win and a Minnesota loss to make the playoffs while Detroit has lost 7 straight to fall to 4-11. Megatron Calvin Johnson has a chance to be the first receiver to reach 2,000 yards in a season.
After an exchange of punts, the Lions moved from their own 9 to a 3rd and 1 at the Chicago 26. Matthew Stafford was hit and fumbled, but it was ruled on further review an incomplete pass Old Reliable Jason Hanson hit from 44 yards to make it 3-0 Lions. Chicago struck back quickly. on 2nd and 8 from their 22, Jay Cutler hit Matt Forte for 18 and then found Bennett, who outraced everybody down the sideline for a 60 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Bears.
With 4 minutes left in the half, the Lions took over at their 33. Stafford was sacked by Israel Idonije, and Julius Peppers recovered as the Bears took over at the Lions 10. On 3rd and goal from the 4, Cutler threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal form the one. Forte got in to make it 17-3 Bears. 2 plays later Stafford was intercepted, and the Lions took over at the Detroit 23. The defense held, and Olindo Mare hit from 40 to make it 20-3 Bears with 1:54 left in the half.
Stafford rallied the Lions. On 3rd and 1 from their 29, Matt Leshoure got the yard. Stafford hit Bell for 10, Brandon Pettigrew for 6, and Bell for 9. On 3rd and 3 from the Chicago 38, Stafford hit Leshoure for 13. With 17 seconds left in the half, the Lions faced 3rd and 10 from the Chicago 25. Stafford went deep to Durham for the touchdown as the Lions only trailed 20-10 at halftime.
In the third quarter after a Bears punt and a touchback, Stafford ran for 5 and Leshoure gained 9 and 13. Stafford found Johnson for 18 and again for 24. On 3rd and goal from the 10, Stafford hit Will Heller for the touchdown to get the Lion within 20-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. The Lions got it back and soon faced 2nd and 6 from their own 12. Leshoure fumbled the ball, and the Bears took over at the Detroit 13. On 3rd and 8 from the 11, Cutler fired to Brandon Marshall in the end zone but Marshall was out of bounds. Chicago settled for the 29 yard Mare field goal and a 23-17 lead with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Chicago got it back to start the fourth quarter at their own 39 and on 2nd and 5 from the Detroit 44, Cutler hit Bennett for a 28 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the 14, Cutler hit Marshall for 10. Yet on 3rd and goal from the 2 Cutler threw incomplete. Another field goal had the Bears up 26-17 with 11 minutes left.
Detroit soon faced 3rd and 5 from their 25 when Stafford hit Scheffler for 7. On 3rd and 10 from the 32, a very questionable unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense kept the drive going just past midfield. Stafford hit Brian Robiskie for 21, Heller for 19, and Robiskie for the 9 yard touchdown as the Lions only trailed by 2 points with 7 minutes left.
Detroit got it back at their 9 and faced 3rd and 6 from the 13 with 4 minutes left when Stafford threw incomplete. Jim Schwartz punted and the Bears took over at their 40 with 3:40 left. The Lions had all their timeouts. It came down to 3rd and 3 from the Chicago 47. Cutler scrambled for 19 yards and stayed in bounds. The Lions took their last timeout but Forte gained 13 at the 2 minute warning and that was it.
The Lions saw Matthew Stafford break the all time NFL record for pass attempts in a season, breaking the 1994 mark held by Drew Bledsoe. Calvin Johnson did break the all time receiving yards record in a season held by Jerry Rice since 1987, but Megatron fell short of 2,000 yards. Who cares? The Lions, one year removed from the playoffs, lost their last 8 games to fall to 4-12. Jim Schwartz is probably safe, but some changes are coming. As for the Bears, they went 10-6 and watched the Minnesota game against Green Bay. If Minnesota lost, Chicago is in the playoffs. A Minnesota win eliminates the Bears. Lovie Smith is on the hot seat, which is insane for a 10-6 team. 26-24 Bears
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts–Houston can lock up the top seed and home field throughout the playoffs with a win, but they could fall as low as the 3 seed and lose the first round bye altogether. Indianapolis is locked in as the 5 seed wildcard, giving them nothing to play for. Yet the return of Chuck Pagano could fire up the team at home. Pagano played his starters, and the Colts began at their 25.
Andrew Luck hit Reggie Wayne for 17 and Ballard for 9. Ballard ran for 7 and Luck hit TY Hilton for 12. On 3rd and 3 from the Houston 24, Luck hit Allen for 20. On 3rd and goal from the 1, Luck threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a new set of downs. Luck hit Fleener for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts. Houston moved from their 20 to a 2nd and 4 and the Indy 24. Yet a false start and a sack ended the drive. Shane Graham did hit a 51 yard field goal to get the Texans within 7-3 as the first quarter ended. In the second quarter Houston got it back at their 37 and Matt Schaub found Andre Johnson for 39 yards. On 3rd and 2 form the 16, Arriun Foster lost 3 yards. Graham hit from 37 to get the Texans within 7-6.
Houston got it back at their own 3 yard line and moved to a 1st and 10 from their 30 Schaub was intercepted by Vonte Davis, who returned it 26 yards to the Houston 39. Ballard gained 20 and on 3rd and 9 from the 18, Luck hit TY Hilton for 17. Ballard got the one yard touchdown at the 2 minute warning to make it 14-6 Colts.
The Texans began the third quarter with 3rd and 1 from their 25. Schaub hit Johnson for 2 an again for 20. On 3rd and 5 from the Indy 43, Schaub hit Kevin Walter for 14. On 3rd and 7 from the 26, Schaub threw incomplete but defensive holsing saved the drive. Schaub hit Casey for 8 and Foster ran for the 13 yard touchdown. Gary Kubiak decided against the 2 point conversion with plenty of time left as the Texans trailed 14-13.
Indy went 3 and out and the Texans took over at their own 26. Schaub hit Johnson for 10 and Foster broke free for a 39 yard gain. On 2nd and 7 from the Indy 19, Schaub threw incomplete twice. Graham did hit the 37 yard field goal as the Texans led 16-14. The lead lasted for 12 seconds as Karim returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a score to make it 21-16 Colts. Early in the fourth quarter the Texans faced 3rd and 4 at the Indy 27. Schaub was sacked for an 8 yard loss. Graham came in for a 52 yard field goal but it was no good with 13 minutes left in regulation.
With 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Colts after a penalty faced 3rd and 23 from their own 30. The starters were still in for a game that did not matter. Try telling that to Chuck Pagano. Gary Kubiak needed one score to get the Texans back on top, and Michelin Man Wade Phillips is known for defense. Yet somehow Luck went deep to Hilton, resulting in a shocking 70 yard touchdown that gave the Colts a 28-16 lead. Houston needed only 90 seconds to move from their 29 to the Indy 30. Schaub went for it all and was intercepted in the end zone by Vonte Davis as the Houston situation got more desperate.
Andrew Luck is a rookie, but this was veteran leadership down the stretch as he led a time consuming drive that killed the clock. On 3rd and 1 from their 29, Allen gained 2. Defensive pass interference added 24 yards. Offsides added 5 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Houston 40, Luck gained 2. Ballard gained 3, 7 and 8. On 3rd and 2 from the 20, Pagano called a pass. Luck hit the short pass as the 2 minute warning came with the Colts firmly in command. Nearly 10 minutes remained when the Colts got the football, and the Texans never saw it again.
Luck took 3 knees and the Colts had the emotional win to get to 10-6. The Texans have never beaten the Colts in Indy. Even worse, the once 11-1 Texans are in free fall, losing 3 of 4 to finish 12-4. That happened to Philadelphia in 1980 but they had home field anyway. Houston does not. Barring a miracle, the top seed is gone and the second seed is as well. Instead of home field advantage, the Texans will tumble to the 3 seed and lose the first round bye. They will host Cincinnati in the opening round while Indianapolis will travel to Baltimore. 28-16 Colts
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints–Neither team is going to the playoffs, although both teams have rebounded from miserable starts. Each team may have a new coach next year. Saints fans got a break before the game started when Sean Payton agreed to a 5 year contract extension. Joe Vitt was coaching his last game as the interim coach once Payton returns from his suspension.
After an exchange of punts, Cam Newton moved Carolina from their 22 to a 1st and goal at the Saints 2. Yet Tolbert got stopped and Newton threw incomplete twice. Ron Rivera went for the field goal, and Graham Gano hit the 20 yarder to make it 3-0 Panthers. Graham Gano would miss a 54 yard field goal in the second quarter. Carolina got it back at their 18 and Newton hit LaFell for 16. Deangelo Williams then broke free for a 65 yard gain down to the one, and Tolbert took it in on the next play to make it 10-0 Panthers with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half.
The Saints took over at their 24 and Mark Ingram gained 17 and 4. Drew Brees went deep to Lance Moore for a 39 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the 11 Brees hit Darren Sproles to set up 4th and 1 from the 7. The Saints went for it and Brees hit Marquis Colston for the touchdown to get the Saints within 10-7. Carolina quickly faced 2nd and 6 from their 24, and Newton was intercepted by Jonathan Vilma. Vilma was supposed to be suspended this year, but Paul Tagliabue reversed Roger Goodell. Vilma reversed Newton’s laws of motion with an 18 yard touchdown return to make it 14-10 Saints with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half. From their 27, Williams ran for 22 and Newton hit Louis Murphy for 17. Yet 1st and 10 from the 15 saw the drive stall. Gano hit from 31 to have the Panthers trailing 14-13 just before the half.
The Saints had only 34 seconds to work with from their own 18. They had all 3 timeouts. Brees hit Moore for 14, Graham for 17, and Sproles for 14. Garrett Hartley drilled a 53 yard field goal to make it 17-13 Saints at halftime. The second half was a pinball machine as a meaningless game became a thriller.
The Saints began the third quarter facing 3rd and 12 from their 18. Brees went deep to Moore for a 51 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the 26, Brees hit Graham for 6 and again for the 19 yard touchdown to make it 24-13 Saints. Yet to describe what followed defies belief. Facing 3rd and 18 from their own 12, Cam Newton went deep to Lousi Murphy for a 34 yard gain. Deangelo Williams then got free again for a 54 yard touchdown to get the Saints within 24-20.
After an exchange of punts, the Saints had it at their 22. Brees was intercepted by Patrick at the Saints 36. Newton hit Steve Smith for a 31 a yard gain and Tolbert got the last yard to put the Panthers up 27-24 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Carolina began the fourth quarter at their 20 and Newton hit Tolbert for 22 yards with a personal foul adding 15 more. Newton came out for a few plays. On 3rd and 2 from the Saints 35, backup Derek Anderson threw incomplete but a penalty on the defense kept the drive going. On 3rd and 4 from the 24, Anderson hit LaFell for 12 and 11. Tolbert got the last yard as the Panthers now led 34-24. The Saints went 3 and out and punted. Edwards took the punt and raced 69 yards all the way to the Saints 12 yard line. One play was enough for Williams to run it in as 28 unanswered pointed had the Panthers up 41-24 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Yet now the Saints had their turn.
From the Saints 19, Brees moved the Saints to the Carolina 30 before throwing 3 straight incompletions. On 4th and 10 Brees hit Moore for 17 and Colston for 4 and then the 9 yard touchdown to get the Saints within 41-31 with 5:15 to play. The onsides kick failed, and a personal foul on the Saints had the Panthers at the Saints 29. The Saints took their timeouts and held the Panthers to a 42 yard Gano field goal and a 44-31 lead with 4 minutes left.
After a touchback, brees hit Graham for gains of 9, 14, and 9. Defensive pass interference added 15 more and Brees found Sproles for a 33 yard touchdown as the Saints cut the 17 point deficit to 6 points. With 3 minutes left, the onsides kick again failed and Williams gained 3 and 11. With 1:16 to play the Panthers had the 3rd and 2 at the 6. Tolbert got the 2 yards as Carolina ran out the clock.
Both teams finished 7-9, but Carolina went 5-1 down the stretch, possibly giving Ron Rivera another year. Brees finished with 396 yards and 5,177 for the season, the only quarterback to ever top 5,000 yards twice. He finished with 4 touchdown passes on the day and 43 for the season, the only quarterback to top 40 in consecutive seasons. Yet the Saints gave up 7,042 yards on defense, breaking the record held by the 1981 Baltimore Colts by about 250 yards. 44-38 Panthers
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants–This could be the last game every for Walrus Lite Andy Reid as coach of the Eagles. The Giants saw their 6-2 start collapse as they are now 8-7 and clinging to playoff life. They need to win and get tons of help to have a shot at winning it all again.
Andy Reid is a proud guy, and he sparked the Eagles by calling a successful onsides kick to start the game. Yet Michael Vick is back, and he may also be playing his last game for the Eagles. On 3rd and 13 from the Giants 43, Vick was intercepted by Brown, who returned it 48 yards to the Eagles 26. Wilson did much of the rest, running for 10, 13 and 3. Eli Manning threw a 3 yard touchdown to Randle to make it 7-0 Giants.
Philly went nowhere and the Giants took over at their 26. Manning hit Rnnadle for 10 and Victor Cruz for 9. on 3rd and 1 from the Giants 45, Ahmad Bradshaw gained 17 yards. On the next play Manning went deep to Randle, who outjumped Nahmdi Asomugha, made the catch, and fell into the end zone for a 38 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Giants.
Philly went 3 and out and the Giants soon faced 3rd and 4 from their 31. Manning hit Bradshaw deep for a 41 yard gain. Wilson then ran for 13 and caught the 15 yard touchdown from Manning as the Giants led 21-0 after the first quarter. The Eagles finally got something from their 20 when Vick hit McCoy for a 36 yard gain. Brown gained 13, and the second quarter began with the Eagles facing 4th and 10 at the Giants 31. Vick hit Avant for 15. On 4th and 1 from the 7, Vick hit Jeremy Maclin for the touchdown as the Eagles were on the board down 21-7.
The Giants got it back at their 27 looking to bury the Eagles. From their 33, Bradshaw ran for 10 and 12 and Manning hit Cruz for 12 and 7 and to Randle for 7 more. Bradshaw ran for 10 and on 3rd and goal from the 7, Manning threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference on Asomugha set up bradshaw from one yard out to make it 28-7 Giants with 6 1/2 minutes left in the half.
With 34 seconds left in the half the Eagles had 2nd and 5 at midfield. Vick threw incomplete twice and Reid went for it. Vick hit Maclin for only 4 yards as the Giants took over at their 46 with 17 seconds left. Manning hit Dominic Hixon for a 30 yard gain and then went deep to Cruz for the 24 yard touchdown as the Giants led 35-7 at halftime. The second half was a snoozefest. Manning led a 14 play, 78 yard drive that took 9 1/2 minutes off the clock and culminated in a one yard touchdown pass from Manning to Hynoski to complete the scoring. Manning finished with a career high 5 touchdown passes.
Walrus Lite Andy Reid saw his once proud team fall to 4-12, the worst season during his tenure. After 14 seasons, he will most likely be fired by Jeffrey Lurie. This would be a tremendous mistake, but it is Lurie’s team. A very warm greeting after the game came between the always classy Reid and the equally classy Tom Coughlin. Until last year, Coughlin spent every waking minute on the verge of being fired despite winning games. This year the Giants had the exact same season as last year. They started 6-2, and stumbled down the stretch to fall to 8-7, and won their last game to finish 9-7. Last year it was just enough to make the playoffs. This year it was not as the Giants were eliminated a few minutes after their game ended when Chicago hung on to knock them out. The defending champions are now out of the playoffs. 42-7 Giants
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers–Neither team is going to the playoffs. The Steelers lost at home last week to Cincinnati, so a home loss to Cleveland one week later would be unthinkable. The Browns organization will be blown up next year due to new ownership, but the team will most likely still perpetually suck. The Browns did not start Brandon Weeden or Colt McCoy, as Pat Shurmur began his final game with 3rd stringer Lewis. Early in the second quarter Phil Dawson missed a 39 yard field goal as the league wondered how this game could be canceled.
Midway through the second quarter Shawn Suisham made a 41 yarder to make it 3-0 Steelers. Phil Dawson would make a 51 yarder to make it 3-3 with 4 minutes left in the half. After 28 minutes of awful football, Cleveland fumbled in their own territory and Pittsburgh took over at the Browns 24. Defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. Ben Roethlisberger hit Leonard Pope for the touchdown to make it 10-3 Steelers at halftime.
The third quarter had the Browns punting on 4th and 5 from their 25. Pat Shurmur knows it is his last game, and he coached like it, gambling on a fake punt. Ventrone gained 35 yards. Defensive pass interference on the next play meant 1st and goal at the 5. Lewis threw a 7 yard touchdown to little and the game was tied 10-10. Pittsburgh took over at their 20 and Jonathan Dwyer gained 12 and 4 and the Steelers moved to a critical 3rd and goal at the Cleveland 9. Big Ben scrambled around and fired to Antonio Brown in the middle of the end zone for the score to make it 17-10 Steelers.
With 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation Cleveland fumbled at their own 35 and the Steelers took over at the Cleveland 27. on 3rd and 1 Redman gained 6 and Roethlisberger hit former and now current teammate Plaxico Burress for the 12 yard touchdown to put the game out of reach. Pittsburgh got to 8-8 while Cleveland finished another miserable season, with the changes to come again on Black Monday. 24-10 Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans–Both of these teams are awful, but the Jaguars have a shot at the top pick in the draft. Tennessee fell behind by 55 points last week but led a furious rally to lose by 48. Both teams may make coaching changes after the season.
Tennessee quickly faced 3rd and 5 from their 26 when Jake Locker hit Nate Washington for 21 yards and Antrell Hawkins for a 42 yard gain. Chris Johnson ran for 9, and on 3rd and 1 from the 2, got the touchdown to make it 7-0 Titans. Chad Henne borught the Jaguars back. On 3rd and 10 from their 24, Henne hit Justin Blackmon for 17. Boston ran for 11 and 14 and Murphy ran for 9 and 14 against an awful Titans defense. On 3rd and 4 from the 5, Henne hit Jeremy Shipley for the score to make it 7-7. Jackonville got it back at their 39, and the second quarter began with them facing 3rd and 10 from the Titans 30. Henne hit Blackmon, who took it for the touchdown to make it 14-7 Jaguars.
After that the Jaguars showed why they are 2-13 and why Shad Khan may fire everyone. Bud Adams is on the verge of firing his staff as well, but the Titans did not even need an offense the rest of the way. Defense and special teams turned a deficit into a blowout. Brown intercepted Henne and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. Then Darius Reynaud returned a punt 69 yards for a score to make it 21-1 Titans at halftime. In the third quarter Reynaud did it again, returning a punt 81 yards for another touchdown to make it 28-14 Titans. Then Brown struck again, intercepting Henne for a 30 yard touchdown return and a 35-14 Titans route. The Titans scored 28 unanswered points without running an offensive play from scrimmage. Then Henne was intercepted again and the offense had to take the field.
In the fourth quarter the Titans tacked on a field goal. The Jaguars did get a special teams touchdown of their own with a blocked punt that was returned 19 yards to complete the scoring. The Jaguars at 2-14 will have the second pick in the draft at worst, and even get the top pick if somehow a miracle occurs and Kansas City goes on the road and beats Denver. The Titans are bad, just not as bad. 38-20 Titans
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos–The Chiefs have a sot at the top pick in the draft, while Denver is currently the 2 seed with a first round bye. If they win and Houston loses, Denver is the top seed. Yet if Denver loses and New England wins, Denver falls to the 3 seed. Peyton Manning may win his 5th NFL MVP, and no other player has won more than 3 of them.
For those wanting suspense and the mother of all upsets, this was not why they play the games.
After a punt, Denver took over at their 31. Peyton Manning hit Brandon Stokley for a 29 yard gain and Eric Decker for 9 and 14 more. On 3rd and 6 from the 10, Manning hit Jacob Hester for 7 and Knowshon Moreno got the 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Broncos. For some reason, the rest of the game was played.
Denver got it back at their own 9 and moved to the Chiefs 31. Yet a fumble was picked up by Brandon Flowers and returned 64 yards to the Denver 12. On 3rd and 3 from the 5 to start the second quarter, Brady Quinn did what he does, which is throw incomplete. Ryan Succop hit the 23 yard field goal as the Chiefs got within 7-3, concluding Chiefs highlights for the day. Kansas City got it back at their 35 and moved to the Denver 15. On 3rd and 6 Quinn threw incomplete, and Succop missed the 33 yarder. After that Denver put it away.
On 2nd and 8 from the Denver 26, Manning hit Green for 11, Thomas for 9, Decker for 10 and Joel Dreesen for 12. Moreno gained 17 and Manning hit Decker for the 11 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Broncos. With 1:37 left in the half Denver got it back at their 41. Maning hit Stokley for 11, Jacob Tamme for 13 and Stokley for 9. Hester ran for 8 and Manning spiked the ball with 15 seconds left in the half. He then threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker to make it 21-3 Broncos at halftime.
The second half was a formality. Manning led an 11 play, 6 minute drive to start the third quarter from the Denver 20. On 3rd and 7 from the Chiefs 13, Manning found Denarius Thomas, who made a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone to make it 28-3 Broncos. Manning would lead another 74 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive that saw Ball take his namesake into the end zone on 3rd and goal fromt he one to make it 35-3 Broncos. Denver would tack on a field goal to complete the scoring.
Kansas City dropped to 2-14 and assure themselves the top pick in the April 2013 Draft. Romeo Crennel may not be around to see it, since tomorrow is Black Monday for coaches. He is a good man that had a terrible season. As for John Fox, his Broncos won 11 straight to end the season and go 13-3. With Houston stumbling, Denver locked up home field throughout the playoffs. John Elway brought Peyton Manning to town, and John Fox came one play away from a Super Bowl win of his own. Now he has a team that is in a strong position to get them all another ring. 38-3 Broncos
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings–Green Bay right now is the 2 seed, but if they lose and San Francisco win, they could fall to the 3 seed and lose the first round bye. Minnesota is the 6 seed wildcard now, but if they lose they are out of the playoffs altogether. Surrounding this doe or die matchup is Adrian Peterson, who is 108 rushing yards short of 2,000 and 214 yards away from topping Eric Dickerson.
Minnesota moved from their 23 to a 4th and 2 at the Green Bay 36. Leslie Frazier brought in his hot kicker and Walsh leveled a 54 yarder to make it 3-0 Vikings. Green Bay went 3 and out and Minnesota soon faced 3rd and 11 from their 39. Christian Ponder went to Toby Gerhart for a 21 yard gain. Adrian Peterson took over, gaining 6, 22, 5, and the 7 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Vikings. Green Bay went 3 and out again and Minnesota took over at their 47. On 4th and 1 from the Green Bay 44, Leslie Frazier went for it and Peterson gained 6. The second quarter began with Ponder throwing incomplete on 3rd and 4 from the Packers 19. Walsh hit from 37 to make it 13-0 Vikings.
Green Bay finally got a spark with 9 minutes left in the half when a 32 yard punt return by Ross had the Packer starting at the Minnesota 42. harris ran for 12 and 2. On 3rd and 8 from the 28, Aaron Rodgers hit Jones for 11. On 3rd and 7 from the 14, Rodgers went t Greg Jennings for 8. On 3rd and goal at the 5, a completion only gained one yard, but defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 3. On 3rd and goal Rodgers hit Jennings for the score to get the Packers within 13-7.
Sherels returned the ensuing kickoff to the Minnesota 40, and Ponder hit Wright for 17. At the 2 minute warning on 3rd and 4 from the Green Bay 36, Ponder hit Simpson for 10. Peterson gained 18 and Ponder hit Wright for the 8 yard touchdown as the Vikings led 20-7 with one minute left in the half. After a touchback, Rodgers hit Jennings for 14, Jermaine Finley for 16, and Jordy Nelson for 12. With one second left in the half Mason Crosby came in for 51 yard field goal. He has had a terrible year, but nailed this one as the Packers trailed 20-10 at halftime. Yet this game was just getting warmed up, and so was Peterson.
After a touchback to start the second half, Harris gained 5 and Rodgers hit Jones for 30. On 2nd 18 from their 47, Rodgers hit Jennings on a short pass that went for a 45 yard gain. Rodgers hit Jennings for the 5 yard touchdown to get the Packers within 20-17. Minnesota punted and the Packers faced 3rd and 7 from midfield. Rodgers was sacked and fumbled and Jared Allen recovered at midfield for the Vikings.
Ponder hit Simpson for 21. On 2nd and 16 from the 35, Ponder hit Felton for 17. A penalty pushed Minnesota back to a 2nd and 27 from the Green Bay 35. Peterson did what he does, gaining 28. He broke 2,000 yards, and now the record was in sight. on 3rd and goal at the 5, Ponder threw incomplete but defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 2. Ponder threw to Peterson for the score to make it 27-17 Vikings. The lead barely lasted as Green Bay quickly faced 3rd and 4 from their 19. Rodgers went deep to Nelson for a 73 yard gain. On the next play, Rodgers hit Jones, who fumbled at the goal line with Minnesota recovering in the end zone for a touchback. Yet on further review, it was ruled the ball broke the plane of the goal and was reversed to a touchdown as the Packers trailed only 27-24.
Minnesota punted, and a facemask on the Vikings had the Packers beginning the fourth quarter at midfield. On 3rd and 4, Rodgers hit Jones for 5 and Jennings for 11. On 3rd and 4 from the 22, Rodgrs threw incomplete. Crosby hit from 40 as the game was tied 27-27 with 12 1/2 minutes left in a game that had plenty of action remaining.
From the Minnesota 21 and everyone expecting Peterson, Ponder went deep and connected with Wright for a 65 yard gain. From the 14, Peterson gained 12. On 3rd and goal from the 12 after an offensive penalty, an illegal use of hands on the defense meant 1st and goal at the 7. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Ponder hit Jenkins for the score. With 8 minutes left the Vikings led again 34-27.
From the 22, Rodgers hit Jones for 12. On 3rd and 21 from their 23, Rodgers hit Finley for 20. With 5:45 to play facing 4th and 1 from their 43, Mike McCarthy decided to go for it. Rodgers hit Boykin for 7. On 3rd and 4 from the Minnesota 44, Rodgers hit Jennings for 14. Harris gained 11, and defensive pass interference moved the Vikings 16 more yards down to the two. Rodgers hit Nelson for the score and with 3 minutes left the game was tied 34-34.
At the 2 minute warning the Vikings faced 3rd and 11 from their own 27. Handing off to Peterson was not an option. The game was in Christian Ponder’s hands. He went deep to Jenkins for a 25 yard gain. Now it was time for Peterson, who was only 45 yards away from the record. Peterson gained 7, 4, and then 0. The Vikings took their second timeout with 24 seconds left at the Green Bay 37. Walsh certainly had the leg for a 55 yarder, but there was still for more offense. Peterson got another carry, and gained 26 yards. The Vikings let the clock run down to 3 seconds. Peterson was 9 yards short of the record, but the purpose of football is to win games. Statistics were for the division rivals in Detroit who went 4-12. Peterson was carried off the field as Walsh came in for the 29 yarder to win it. If Walsh missed, Peterson could break the record in overtime. That is not what football is about.
Walsh nailed it, the home crowd went crazy, and Peterson celebrated making the playoffs along the rest of the stadium. Classy Green Bay players hugged Peterson after the game. Minnesota at 10-6 clinched the 6 seed and knocked Chicago out of the playoffs. They also knocked Green Bay out of the 2 seed at 11-5, down to the 3 seed, costing the Packers the 1st round bye. Peterson came up 9 yards short, but won where it counted. This was a fine football game, and a rematch cannot come soon enough. Luckily for fans everywhere, the rematch will be next week in the wildcard round. This time the game moves from the Metrodome to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. 37-34 Vikings
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots–Miami is out of the playoffs and the 11-4 Patriots are currently the 3 seed. New England could fall to the 4 seed but if they win and Denver loses, they are the 2 seed. If Houston also loses, the Patriots could even snare the top seed. Before the game started, Baltimore had lost, meaning the Patriots were at worst the 3 seed.
New England moved from their 20 to a 4th and 6 at the Miami 24. There were swirling winds, and Stephen Gostkowski struggled with it in practice. So Evil Hoodie Bill Bellichick went for it and Tom Brady threw incomplete. Midway through the first quarter Miami faced 3rd and 8 from their 25. Ryan Tannehill was intercepted and Gregory returned it 13 yards to the Miami 28. Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for 19 and Wes Welker for the 9 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots.
New England got it back and on 2nd and 8 from their 10 Brady hit Wes Welker for 10, Danny Woodhead for 25, and Welker for 23. Vereen gained 9 and the Patriots began the second quarter with 2nd and 1 at the Miami 28. Vereen gained 5. On 3rd and 13 from the 26, Brady hit Branch for 16. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Woodhead only got half. Bellichick gambled on 4th and goal at the one and Shawn Ridley got in to make it 14-0 Patriots. Miami moved from their 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Patriots 24 when 3 plays netted 0 yards. Nate Kaeding missed the 41 yard field goal.
New England faced 3rd and 1 from their 40 and Ridley gained 3. Woodhead gained 11 and caught a pass for 14. On 3rd and 4 from the Miami 24, Brady hit Welker for 9. On 3rd and 3 from the 8 Woodhead gained 6. Ridley got the 2 yard touchdown to make it 21-0 Patriots at halftime with a second half that offered nothing in terms of suspense. Miami missed one chance to score by fumbling at the goal line and saw a fumble return called back on review. Brady would throw a 23 yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski to end things.
Miami did have a losing season, but Joe Philbin seems to have the team playing hard despite the road loss today against a team on a mission. One year after a failed Hail Mary resulted in a Super Bowl loss, the Patriots had a 12-4 season. With Houston losing, New England snagged the 2 seed and a 1st round bye in the playoffs. They did not get home field throughout, but that has not stopped them before. The Evil Empire of Football is alive and well. 28-0 Patriots
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers–For more on the game of the day, go to http://www.justblogbaby.com
Both of these teams are terrible, and both of them have fans who want their own coaches fired and the opposing coach to stay forever. Dennis Allen may be gone, while Norvelous Norv Turner, who saved his job by beating the Raiders in the finale last year, may be out of luck this time.
Before the game there was a hail storm. Buckets of the stuff came down and pelted people. The hail stopped before the game, but the field was a mess. By the end of the game it was raining hard. Yet the Raiders had one ray of hope. Captain Checkdown Matt Leinart would not be playing in place of injured Carson Palmer. After 2 years on the roster but very little playing tme, Terrell Pryor would finally get his chance.
Yet only 12 seconds into the game, the Chargers were on the board. Michael Spurlock took the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0 Chargers. Oakland went 3 and out twice and the Chargers once, giving the Chargers the ball at their 29. Philip Rivers hit Eddie Royal for 11. On 3rd and 7 from the San Diego 44, Rivers went deep to Royal for a 31 yard gain with 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer. The Chargers got nothing more but Nick Novak hit from 30 to make it 10-0 Chargers.
After a touchback and a defensive penalty the Raiders faced 3rd and 2 from their 33. Pryor found Rod Streater for 10 and Brandon Myers for 17. Mike Goodson ran for 9 and Pryor hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for 4 as the Raiders began the second quarter at the Chargers 27. McFadden gained 8 and on 3rd and 2 Pryor gained 6. Then on 2nd and 14 from the 17, all hell broke loose. Pryor went to the end zone for Rod Streater and defensive pass interference should have meant 1st and goal at the one. Yet there was a scuffle after the play involving Mike Goodson and Take Spikes. Both men were twisting each other’s facemasks. Terrell Pryor actually showed smart leadership by pulling Goodson away. Yet the damage was done. Offsetting personal fouls meant the original defensive pass interference would be offset as well even though it was after the play and there were 2 penalties on the Chargers to only one for the Raiders. It got worse.
The officials ejected both Goodson and Spikes from the game. This was a severe overreaction by the refs. Neither man threw a punch or bumped an official. It was a scuffle, one that never gets players ejected. Both players were shocked and had to be restrained. The ejections were surprising and wrong, especially in the last game of the season, and even more especially with Spikes maybe on the verge of retirement. The game resumed. On 3rd and 6 from the 9, Pryor found Heyward-Bey for the touchdown as the Raiders were within 10-7 after the 12 play, 7 minute, 80 yard drive.
The Chargers got it back, went 3 and out, and set out to punt on 4th and 1 from their own 28. Norv Turner was coaching like it was his very last game because it was. A fake punt went to Eric Weddle, who gained 6. Rivers then hit Royal for 8 more. and consecutive offsides penalties led to 3rd and 3 at the Oakland 36. Rivers hit Antonio Gates for 4. Rivers hit Battle for 11 and 8 and Gates for the 11 yard touchdown. San Diego moved 14 plays and 81 yards, consuming 9 1/2 minutes off the clock to lead 17-7 with 3 minutes left in the half.
Both teams went 3 and out, but a 19 yard punt return by Denarius Moore with 15 more penalty yards tacked on gave the Raider 1st and 10 at their own 48 with 47 seconds left in the half and 0 timeouts. With 12 seconds left, the Raiders had 3rd and 1 at the Chargers 43. Sebastian Janikowski is the Polish Cannon, and 61 yards for him is doable. The Raiders ran one more play, and Pryor showed his inexperience. He rolled around the end for a 6 yard gain, but did not get out of bounds as the clock ran out and Seabass never got his chance. That mistake would loom large later on.
The Raiders began the third quarter and faced 3rd and 14 from their own 16. Pryor hit Streater for 15, but Streater fumbled and the Chargers recoverd. Yet roughing the passer gave the Raiders the ball where they would have had it anyway. On 3rd and 10 from their 31, Pryor went to myers for 22 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Chargers 41, Pryor gained 8. On 2nd and 5 from the 28, Pryor went to the end zone and was intercepted by Quentin Jammer for a touchback. Again the Raiders came away without points.
Both teams went 3 and out, and the perennial Pro Bowler Shane Lechler had a bad punt under miserable conditions. Lechler did not make the Pro Bowl this year. Nobody on the Raiders did. The 33 yard punt gave the Chargers a short field at the Oakland 47. Rivers hit Battle for 10 and then went deep to Alexander for a 34 yard touchdown as the Chargers led 24-7 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
On the next series the Raiders went 3 and out, punted on 4th and 4, benefited from a running into the kicker penalty, and with their second chance went 3 and out again. The Raiders got it back with 13 minutes left in regulation and quickly faced 1st and 20 from their 14. On 3rd and 7 from their 27, Pryor found Streater for 14 and 15 and then ran for 9. On 3rd and 7 from the Chargers 41, Pryor went deep to Streater for a 38 yard gain. Pryor ran it in from 3 yards out as the Raiders were within 24-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Raiders went 3 and out and punted. San Diego took over with 3:16 left at their own 34 and it looked over. The Raiders had all their timeouts, and used them as the defense held. With 2:55 left the Chargers set up to punt, but the Raidersneeded 2 scores. Yet Mike Scifres has had this poblem in recent years, and the Raiders got to him again. He is also a Pro Bowl punter but this was not his day. The punt was blocked, and the Raiders took over at the Chargers 11. Pryor hit Moore for a 5 yard touchdown as the Raiders were only down 3 with 1:52 to play. It came down to the onsides kick. Despite the miserable weather, it was fielded cleanly by the Chargers to end it.
A lot of fun has been had with Norvelous Norv Turner, and with good reason. He is is great offensive coordinator and not a good head coach. Yet he is a good human being, so let’s thank him for the entertainment value. As for Dennis Allen, he will not be fired, which is a mistake. 24-21 Chargers
St Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks–Jeff Fisher has turned around the Rams, who are 7-7-1 and can get a winning record with a win. Pete Carroll has Seattle at 10-5 with 3 straight wins averaging 50 points, outscoring opponents 150-30. Seattle now is the 5 seed wildcard, but if they win and the 49ers lose, Seattle wins the division and gets the 3 seed. If Green Bay also loses, Seattle could vault to the 2 seed and a 1st round bye.
Both teams have very good defenses, and after a scoreless first quarter Seattle took over at the Rams 42 after a punt early in the second quarter. Marshawn Lynch gained 24 yards, which was enough for Steven Hauschka to hit a 43 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Seahawks. From their 24, Sam Bradford hit Kendricks for 8 and Stephen Jackson gained 14. On 3rd and 5 from the Seattle 41, a short pass from Bradford to Givens meant a 37 yard gain. Bradford hit Pettis for a 2 yard touchdown as the Rams led 7-3 with 6 minutes left in the half. On the last play of the half Greg Zuerlein would miss from 51 as the Rams failed to extend the lead.
Seattle began the third quarter facing 3rd and 2 from their 23. Russell Wilson went deep to McCoy for a 49 yard gain. Yet on 3r and 2 from the Rams 20, Wilson was sacked. Hauschka hit from 49 to get Seattle within 7-6. After a touchback, Jackson gained 3, 15, 5, and caught a pass for 4. On 3rd and 7 just past midfield, Bradford hit Pettis for just enough and Givens for 17. Zuerlein hit from 39 to make it 10-6 Rams. From the Seattle 35 Wilson hit Danny Baldwin for 12. On 3rd and 6 from just past midfield, Wilson hit Golden Tate for a 31 yard gain, Lynch for 8 more, and Robinson for the 10 yard touchdown to make it 13-10 Seahawks after three quarters.
A penalty on the Rams had Seattle kicking of from midfield. Pete Carroll tried an onsides kick that failed, giving the Rams the ball at their own 41. Pead gained 7, 7, and 1 and Bradford hit Gibson for 12 as the Rams began the fourth quarter at the Seattle 32. Bradford hit Gibson for 12 more and Pead gained 5. Bradford hit Kendricks for 10. On 3rd and goal from the 4, a critical false start killed the drive. Zuerlein hit the field goal to tie the game 13-13.
Seattle took over at their 10 with 5 minutes left in regulation. Lynch gained 8 and then fumbled, but Seattle was lucky to retain possession and gain 4 more yards. On 3rd and 5 from their 27, Wilson went deep to Tate for 44 yards. From the Rams 19, Wilson ran for 15 more. Wilson got the one yard touchdown as the Seahawks had the 7 point lead with 1:45 to play.
After a touchback, Bradford went deep and defensive pass interference meant 25 yards. On 4th and 5 from the Seattle 35 with one minute left, Bradford gained 6 and got out of bounds. 3 straight incompletions meant 4th and 10 from the 29 with 40 seconds to play. Bradofrd went to the end zone and was intercepted by Pettis. The loss dropped the Rams to 7-8-1, but Jeff Fisher clearly has the team improved. As for Pete Carroll, while this was not a blowout, it was a gutty win that go Seattle to 11-5. They fell short of the division by half a game, so they will not have a 1st round bye or even a home game. Yet they are in the playoffs, and as dangerous as anyone with the 5 seed. They will travel to either Dallas or Washington depending on the night game. 20-13 Seahawks
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers–Arizona began 4-0 and then lost 9 of 10 while San Francisco got blasted last week in Seattle. Ken Whisenhunt may be fired, while Jim Harbaugh has his team now clinging to the 2 seed and a 1st round bye. If the 49ers lose and Green Bay wins, the 49ers drop to the 3 seed. If they lose and Seattle wins, the 49ers lose the division and tumble to the 5 seed.
Arizona took over at their 47 midway through the quarter and the quarterback for this game was not Kolb, Skelton, or Lindley. It was Hoyer, who hit Larry Fitzgerald for 15, Floyd for 7, and Roberts for 12. The drive died at the 16 but Jay Feely hit a 35 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Cardinals. Arizona got it abck and moved from their 13 to 1st and 10 at the Frisco 15 as the first quarter ended. Yet the drive also ended and a 31 yard Feely field goal made it 6-0 Cardinals. Yet like the entire Arizona season, a promising start to this game washed away.
David Akers missed a 44 yard field goal, but midway through the second quarter the 49ers got it back at their 20. Colin Kaepernick shool off the tough start and rapidly hit Michael Crabtree for a 31 yard gain and again for a 49 yard touchdown to make it 7-6 49ers. The 49ers got it back and moved from their 22 to a 3rd and 2 at the Arizona 17. Yet a false start was followed by a 40 yard Akers field goal attempt with 30 seconds left in the half. Again, Akers was no good.
In the third quarter the 49ers moved from their 20 to a 4th and 7 at the Arizona 26. This time from 43, Akers was good and the 49ers led 10-6. Ted Ginn returned an Arizona punt 28 yards to the Cardinals 38. Kaepernick went deep to Walker for a 27 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 7 Kaepernick hit Crabtree for the score to make it 17-6 49ers.
The 49ers got it back at their 28 and Kaepernick moved them over 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 6 from the Arizona 36, Jim Harbaugh decided to go for it. Kaepernick hit Crabtree for 14 as the third quarter ended. Kaepernick began the fourth quarter hitting Frank Gore for 14. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Gore got in to make it 24-6 49ers. Arizona fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the 49ers took over at the Arizona 34. On 3rd and goal at the 3 Kaepernick lost 5 yards, but Akers hit from 26 as 27 unanswered points made it 27-6 49ers.
Arizona would face 4th and 24 from the Frisco 37, and somehow Hoyer was able to go deep to Floyd for the only Arizona touchdown at the 2 minute warning. Despite the defensive lapse, the 49ers finished 11-4-1 to win the NFC West. With Green Bay losing, the 49ers moved back up to the 2 seed they lost a week earlier. The 49ers get the 1st round bye while the Cardinals get a 7 month rest. They may also get a new coach, although everything is uncertain there. 27-13 49ers
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins is the Sunday night game. Last year in Week 17 with everything on the line, Dallas got belted by the Giants. This year the Cowboys can eliminate the Giants and Redskins with a win. The winner of this game wins the division and is in the playoffs with the 4 seed. If Dallas loses they are out. Washington can lose but still eke in as the 6 seed but several other teams would have to lose. This is pretty much do or die for both teams.
A strong punt return had Dallas facing 3rd and 8 at the Washington 25. Tony Romo was then intercepted. Washington moved from their 29 to a 3rd and 2 at the Dallas 19. Alfred Morris got nothing, and mike Shanahan went for the field goal. Kai Forbath doinked a 37 yard field goal off the upright no good. On 2nd and 5 from just past midfield, Romo was intercepted again.
Dallas began at their 11 and started the second quarter and quickly faced 3rd and 6 from their 26. Romo hit Harris for 25 yards. Felix Jones gained 9 and 4 and Romo found Dez Bryant for 20 yards. DeMarco Murray gained 5, 5, and 3 before losing 2. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Romo found Jason Witten for the score to make it 7-0 Cowboys with 8 minutes left in the half.
Washington soon faced 3rd and 7 at their 35. RGIII hot Paulsen for 8 and Morris gained 13 and 12. RGIII ran for 9, Royster added 6 more, and Morris raced around the end for the 17 yard touchdown to make it 7-7 at halftime. Dallas did have 4th and 9 at the Washington 34 with 45 seconds left in the half, but Jason Garrett opted to punt rather than go for it or try the 52 yard field goal.
Washington took over at their 18 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, Alfred Morris went crazy, gaining 1, 10, 5, 6, and 22 to the Dallas 38.RGIII hit Pierre Garcon for 18 and 13. RGIII ran it in from 10 yards out as the Redskins took a 14-7 lead with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. Dallas took over at their 26 and the fourth quarter began with the Cowboys facing 1st and 10 at the Washington 35. Murray ran for 5 but Romo threw incomplete twice. Bailey hit from 48 to get the Cowboys within 14-10 only 45 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Washington got it back at their 26 and RGIII ran for 17. On 2nd and 12 from their 42, RGIII hit Moss for 11. On 3rd and 1 from the Dallas 47, RGIII hit Garcon for 15. On the next play Morris broke free for a 32 yard touchdown as the Redskins had some breathing room up 21-10 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Dallas punted and Washington punted back. Harris returned the punt 39 yards, with a facemask tacked on. Dallas had gift field position at the Washington 16. On 3rd and 4 Romo hit Kevin Ogletree for the touchdown. Romo hit Harris for the 2 point conversion as Dallas trailed only 21-18 with 6 minutes left.
Dallas got it back at their own 15 with a chance to tie or win it. Romo hit Witten for 14. On the next play, with 3 minutes left, a screen pass was lobbed into the air and intercepted by Jackson. Washington took over at the Dallas 25 but the Cowboys still had all of their timeouts. Morris gained 10. The Cowboys took their last timeout as everything came down to 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 12 with 2:40 to play. Rather than run the clock down to the 2 minute warning, Mike Shanahan decided to be crazy and risk it all with a pass. RGIII threw incomplete and Dallas celebrated the clock stoppage and one more chance. They celebrated too early. A defensive penalty for roughing the passer killed the Cowboys. It was not that bad, but Hatcher did hit RGIII in the helmet. On 3rd and goal at the one with 1:15 left, Dallas desperately needed a stop. Morris got in for his 200th rushing yard and it was game, set, match, division crown, and playoffs.
Mike Shanahan saw his 3-6 Redskins win 7 straight to capture the NFC East for the first time since 1999. For the second year in a row, the Cowboys lost with everything on the line in the last week of the season on the road against a hated division rival. Jason Garrett will most likely keep his job, but with Jerry Jones, only he knows. The Redskins host a very tough Seattle team next week. 28-18 Redskins