NFL 2013 Week 12 Recap
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons was the Thursday night game. While the Saints were the far better team, the Falcons gave their division rivals a big scare. Matt Ryan led a 10 play, 76 yard drive led to a one yard Stephen Jackson touchdown run for Atlanta. Drew Brees led a 15 play, 78 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive that ended with him throwing a one yard touchdown pass to Watson in a game that was tied 7-7 after the first quarter.
Matt Bryant kicked a 39 yard field goal to have the Falcons up 10-7 in the second quarter. Brees went to Graham for a 44 yard touchdown pass as the Saints took the 14-10 lead. Ryan led a 14 play, 74 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive but the Falcons settled for a 24 yard Bryant field goal to trail 14-13 at halftime.
The offenses took the second half off. Garrett Hartley kicked a 41 yard field goal for the Saints in the third quarter. That concludes the entire second half action. With 13 minutes left in regulation and Atlanta at the Saints 22, Ryan was sacked and fumbled. Atlanta got it back and Ryan led Atlanta from their own 9 to the Saints 29. Yet with 2:24 left, Bryant missed a 52 yard field goal as the Saints at 9-2 remain in contention for home field throughout the playoffs and Atlanta at 2-9 is long done. 17-13 Saints
New York Jets at Baltimore RavensThe 5-5 Jets took on the 4-6 Ravens in a desperate battle for playoff survival. A 27 yard Nick Folk field goal had Gang Green up 3-0. Justin Tucker hit from 30 in the first quarter, 26 and 33 in the second quarter , and 53 in the third quarter as the Ravens now had the 12-3 advantage. Flacco then went to Jones for a 66 yard touchdown to make it 19-3 Ravens.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns—A 47 yard field goal by Shawn Suisham had the Steelers up 3-0. Billy Cundiff responded with a 49 yarded for the Browns. In the second quarter Ben Roethlisberger went deep to Antonio Brown for a 41 yard touchdown. Suisham tacked on a 32 yarded as the Steelers led 13-3 at halftime.
In the third quarter Big Ben hit Emanuel Sanders for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 20-3 Steelers. Jason Campbell was carted off and in came Brandon Weeden, which meant only one thing. Weeden was intercepted by William Gay, who returned it 21 yards for another Steelers score. Cleveland added a garbage touchdown. After an 0-4 start, Pittsburgh has won 5 of 7 to remain in the playoff chase. 27-11 Steelers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions—Tampa Bay at 2-8 is now a juggernaut with consecutive wins just like the 1977 Bucs eventually amassed. Ryan Lindell hit a 38 yard field goal to put Tampa up 3-0. In the second quarter Matthew Stafford led an 11 play, 80 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive that finished with a 5 yard touchdown pass to Nate Burleson had the Lions up 7-3. Mike Glennon came back with a 7 yarder to Underwood to have the Buccaneers back up 10-7. Stafford came back with a 10 yard touchdown to Fauria to make it 14-10 Lions. Yet Stafford would throw an interception to Leonard Johnson, who returned it 48 yards for a score as the Buccaneers had the surprising 17-14 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew for an 18 yard touchdown as the see-saw game became a 21-17 Lions lead. Yet Glennon found Underwood again for an 85 yard touchdown as the Buccaneers led 24-21 early in the fourth quarter. With one minute left the Lions faced 3rd and 12 at the Tampa 28. Well within tying field goal range, Stafford went deep for Calvin Megatron Johnson. Johnson caught it at the 3 yard line and then got blasted by a defender. The ball bounced straight to Banks and intercepted, Stafford’ fourth pick on the day. After starting 0-8 the Bucs have won 3 straight while consecutive loses have the Lions still in the thick of an NFC North division nobody wants to win. 24-21 Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers—For those wondering who quarterbacks the Packers, his name is Scott Tolzien. He ran it in from 6 yards out as the Packers led 7-0. A 36 yard field goal by Blair Walsh got Minnesota within 7-3. Walsh added a 47 yarded in the second quarter to get the Vikings within 7-6. Adrian Peterson would score from one yard out as the Vikings had the surprising 13-7 halftime lead.
In the third quarter the home crowd grew stunned as Christian Ponder hit Ellison for a 12 yard score to make it 20-7 Vikings. Walsh tacked on a 29 yarder after a time consuming drive to make it 23-7 Vikings. Mike McCarthy benched Tolzien and brought in Matt Flynn. Flynn led the Packers from their 20 to a 3rd and 3 at midfield. An incompletion on a deep ball was bailed out by defensive pass interference. On 3rd and 10 at the Minnesota 15, a running play came up one yard short, but illegal use of hands meant 1st and goal at the 3 instead of 4th and 1. Eddie Lacy got in for the touchdown. The 2 point conversion failed as the Packers trailed 23-13 with 12 minutes left in regulation.
Green Bay got it back and Flynn moved them 76 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and goal from the 6 Flynn hit Boykin for the score as the Packers were within a field goal with 3 1/2 minutes left to play. Minnesota went 3 and out and the Packers got it back at their own 31 with 2 1/2 minutes to play. On 4th and 6 from the Minnesota 40 with 1:17 left, Flynn found Jones for 28 yards. With one minute left on 3rd and 10 from the 12, Flynn threw a 3 yard West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass. Mason Crosby hit from 27 as the game was tied 23-23.
Green Bay got the ball at their own 21 to start overtime and again Flynn moved them to a 3rd and goal at the 2. Again Flynn threw incomplete. Mike McCarthy again opted for the field goal. Walsh was good, and the Packers had the lead. Yet the overtime rules established in 2010 gave the Vikings one more shot.
Ponder moved the Vikings from their 20 to a 3rd and 14 at the Packers 17. A pass to the end zone was deflected by a defender, bobbled by the receiver, and caught by the receiver out of bounds. Walsh hit the 35 yard field goal as the game was tied again with 4 minutes left in overtime. For the first time since the new overtime rules took effect, both teams kicked a field goal. Now it was sudden death. Four minutes later it was sudden anti-climactic boredom and a tie. 26-26, OT
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans—Maurice Jones-Drew got in from one yard out to put the Jaguars up 7-0. Josh Scobee hot a 30 yard field goal in the second quarter to have Jacksonville leading 10-0. Bullock hit a 49 yarded for Houston as the Texans trailed 10-3 at intermission. In the third quarter Case Keenum moved Houston from their 15 to a 3rd and goal at the 2. He then threw incomplete as the Texans settled for a 20 yard Bullock field goal and a 10-6 deficit.
An even uglier second half saw Scobee hit from 53 yards out with 7 minutes left in regulation as Jacksonville led 13-6. With 45 seconds left and Houston facing 3rd and 10 at the Jacksonville 41, Case Keenum was intercepted. Both teams are now 2-9 with a shot at the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. 13-6 Jaguars
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs—A 30 yard Nick Novak field goal had the Chargers up 3-0. Alex Smith normally throws 4 yard West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes, but a 32 yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery had the Chiefs up 7-3. Jamal Charles scored from 7 yards out in the second quarter to make it 14-3 Chiefs, but Danny Woodhead caught an 11 yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to get the Chargers within 14-10 at the break.
In the third quarter a deep ball from Rovers set up Ryan Mathews diving over the top from one yard out as the Chargers led 17-14 and smelled upset. Yet Smith moved the Chiefs 85 yards, as the Chargers were called for defensive pass interference 3 times on the drive. Charles spun in from the one to have the Chiefs up 21-17. Smith had a pass deflected and intercepted by Gilchrist, who returned it 17 yards to the Chiefs 16. Woodhead scored from the 3 to make it 24-21 Chargers. The fifth lead change saw Smith hit Anthony Fasano from four yards to make it 28-24 Chiefs
Early in the fourth quarter San Diego moved to the Chiefs 3 yard line but a holding penalty forced them to settle for a short field goal and a 28-27 deficit. Ryan Succop hit a 25 yard field goal as the Chiefs led 31-27 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The shootout continued as Rivers found Green, who outraced everyone for a 60 yard touchdown, the game’s sixth lead change, and a 34-31 Chargers lead midway through the fourth quarter.
This thriller saw the seventh lead change when Smith hit Dwayne Bowe for a 5 yard touchdown and a 4 point Chiefs lead with 1:23 left. The Chargers took over at their 22 with 1:17 to play. That was plenty of time as Rivers found Ajirotutu for a 26 yard touchdown pass. The eighth lead change had San Diego up by a field goal with 24 seconds to play.
With 5 seconds left at their own 38 after a sack of Smith, Andy Reid decided to go or the hook and lateral rather than a Hail Mary with a quarterback use to throwing dink and dunk passes. The hook and lateral failed as the Chiefs have lost two straight after a 9-0 start and San Diego at 5-6 kept playoff hopes alive. 41-38 Chargers
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins—After having one field goal blocked, Graham Gano hit a 52 yarder that was set up by a long Ted Ginn Jr punt return as Carolina led 3-0. Ryan Tannehill went deep to Mike Wallace for a 53 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Dolphins. The second quarter became the Caleb Sturgis field goal show as he hit from 32, 47 and 23 to extend a 16-3 Dolphins lead. Gano hit from 46 as the Panthers trailed 16-6 at halftime.
Cam Newton led a 14 play, 83 yard, 7 minute drive that ended with him running the 5 final yards himself to get Carolina within 16-13. Sturgis missed from 53 midway through the fourth quarter. Newton led a 12 play, 80 yard drive that ended with a one yard touchdown pass to Greg Olson with 43 seconds to play. From the Miami 40, Tannehill went deep and somehow there was only single coverage on Wallace. Yet the coverage was good, the pass was incomplete at the goal line, and Tannehill was sacked on the next play to end it. Carolina has won seven straight. Yes, they are for real. 20-16 Panthers
Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams—Tavon Austin did it again, as a 65 yard touchdown run had the Rams up 7-0. The Bears took over at their own 9 and Matt Forte promptly fumbled. Stacy got in from one yard out as the Rams quickly led 14-0. Chicago moved 80 yards in 11 plays over 6 1/2 minutes and Bennett ran it in from 7 yards out to get the Bears within 14-7. Yet Kellen Clemens brought the Rams back again with a 6 yard touchdown pass to Cook as the Rams led 21-7 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter Josh McCown hit Brandon Marshall for a 3 yard touchdown, but the Rams came back with Greg Zeurlein hitting a 29 yard field goal to make it 24-14 Rams at halftime. Zeurlein hit from 40 in the third quarter to extend the Rams lead to 27-14. The Rams dodged a bullet when the fourth quarter began as a 61 yard punt return for a touchdown by Devon Hester was nullified by a holding penally. Yet Chicago moved 72 yards in 12 plays anyway, taking 7 1/2 minutes. Michael Bush got in form the one as the Bears were within 27-21midway through the fourth quarter. The Rams finally woke up and turned out the lights. Cunningham ran it in from 9 yards out and Quinn returned a fumble 31 yards for the exclamation point as both teams clung to playoff hopes. 42-21 Rams
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals—Bruce Arians hosted his old team in the desert. Carson Palmer moved the Cardinals 80 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes and hit Larry Fitzgerald for a 4 yard touchdown to get the Cardinals on the board first. Adam Vinatieri hit a 27 yard field goal for the Colts. The second quarter saw the Cardinals pour it on. Palmer went back to Fitzgerald for a 26 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Cardinals. Jay Feely hit a 48 yard field goal and Karlos Dansby returned an interception of Andrew Luck 22 yards for a score. Another Feely field goal continued the onslaught as Arizona led 27-3. The second half saw Arizona pour it on as Rashaard Mendenhall ran it in from five yards out. The Cardinals coasted from there as the Colts are stumbling toward the AFC South crown while Arizona has quietly gotten to 7-4. 40-11 Cardinals
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders—A pair of 4-6 teams played worse than their records in a dreadful first half. Sebastian Janikowski hit field goals of 52 and 48 yards while Rob Bironas connected from 33 and 22 in a 6-6 game. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 27, Matt McGloin scrambled for 7 at the 2 minute warning. He then his Olawale for 25, and Rashad Jennings for 13. Jennings then ran for 13, 5, and 2 to set up 3rd and 3 from the Tennessee 6 with one minute left in the half. McGloin threw incomplete and Sebass hit from 24 to make it 9-6 Raiders. With 19 seconds left in the half the Raiders blocked a punt to take over at the Titans 37. Yet after a 23 yard completion from McGloin to Streater, Seabass missed a 32 yarder as the half ended.
In the third quarter the end zone was reached as Ryan Fitzpatrick found Hunter for a 54 yard touchdown and a 13-9 Titans lead. Seabass then missed another field goal, this time from 48. Oakland got it back, and Seabass did hit his fourth field goal in six tries from 42 yards out as the Raiders trailed 13-12 late in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter Fitzpatrick led a 16 play, 75 yard drive that ate up 8 minutes. Yet the Titans settled for a 23 yard Bironas field goal and a 16-12 lead with 9 minutes left in regulation. The Raiders finally hit paydirt after taking over at the Oakland 25. McGloin hit Streater for 19 and 13, Jennings for 15, and Marcel Reece for a 27 yard touchdown that had the Raiders leading 19-16 with 6 minutes left to play.
The Raiders needed a stop on defense and did not get it. Fitzpatrick from the Titans 20 hit Wright for 21 and converted 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 41 with an 8 yard pass to Hunter at the 2 minute warning. Fitzpatrick hit Young for 10 more as the only question would be if the Raiders would hold Tennessee to a field goal or blow the game entirely. This has been the Raiders for over a decade. The defense plays hard, the offense does little, and the defense gets exhausted. It came down to 3rd and 6 at the Oakland 19 as the Raiders let the clock wind down and the Titans called timeout with 36 seconds left.
Fitzpatrick found Hunter for 9 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 10 with 27 seconds left. A pair of incompletions meant 3rd and goal with 15 seconds left. Naturally, Fitzpatrick hit Wright for the touchdown. The Titans are alive and the Raiders are done for the year. Dennis Allen, who is not a real football coach, should have had the Raiders take their timeouts on defense. Apparently he thought they would be useful in the locker room after the game. The Raiders have no heart, no guts, and no character. The only hope for the Raiders is the return of Jon Gruden, which is the last time they did have it. 23-19 Titans
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants—Big Blue has won 4 straight after an 0-6 start, only one game back of inconsistent Dallas in the NFC Least. Heath returned a fumble 50 yards for a 7-0 Cowboys lead. In the second quarter Josh Brown hit a 21 yard field goal for the Giants. Tony Romo threw a 20 yard touchdown to Jason Witten to make it 14-3 Cowboys. The Giants again drove deep and again settled for a 23 yard Brown field goal to trail 14-6.
In the third quarter Romo led Dallas 65 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes as a 3rd and goal at the 2 situation became a touchdown pass to Witten for a 21-6 Cowboys lead. Eli Manning came back to Brandon Myers, who made a diving catch and got up without being touched as two Cowboys stood around thinking the play was over. The 27 yard touchdown had the Giants within 21-13. Manning brought the Giants back again as a 4 yard touchdown pass to Murphy and a successful 2 point conversion run by Andre Brown meant a 21-21 tie with 4:45 to play. Yet Romo moved the Cowboy from their 20 with precision when it mattered most. With four seconds left, Dan Bailey came in for the 35-yard field goal try. Bailey was dead center. 24-21 Cowboys
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots was the Sunday night game. Everybody was rightly focused on Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but the key early plays came on defense. Shawn Ridley took a handoff and got blasted by Wesley Woodyard. Von Miller picked up the fumble and strolled 60 yards for a 7-0 Broncos lead. Brady was then sacked by Miller, forcing another fumble that Denver recovered at the Patriots 10. Knowshon Moreno scored from two yards out as Denver led 14-0 only six minutes into the game. New England got it back and fumbled it away a third time at their own 44. Matt Prater hit a short field goal to make it 17-0 Broncos.
New England managed to fumble twice on one punt return, but avoided their fourth turnover. Brady was stripped of the ball but it bounced right back to him. Yet the first half was all Denver. A screen pass on 3rd and 20 went for 32 yards to set up a touchdown pass from Manning to Jacob Tamme for a 24-0 Broncos lead.
The third quarter was a turnaround for the ages. Brady hit Julian Edelman for a 5 yard touchdown. A fumble Monte Ball gave New England the ball at the Denver 32. Bolden ran it in from one yard out to get the Patriots within 24-14. Manning then fumbled but fell on it himself. New England got it back and from midfield Brady went bombs away to Edelman at the Denver 8 yard line. On 3rd and goal Brady fired to Rob Gronkowski to get the Patriots within 24-21.
Manning was then intercepted by Logan Ryan at the Denver 30 to start the fourth quarter. With 13 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Brady hit Edelman for the 14 yard touchdown and the 28-24 Patriots lead. A long punt return set up a 31 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a 31-24 Patriots lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Manning was then intercepted again, but holding on Aqib Talib nullified it. Manning moved the Broncos and on 3rd and 7 from the Patriots 17, an incomplete pass was nullified by defensive holding. With 3 minutes left, an 11 yard touchdown pass to Denarius Thomas tied the game 31-31.
At the 2 minute warning facing 3rd and 5 t their own 25, Brady threw a completion a yard short of the first down. Unlike 2009, this time Bill Bellichick did not go for it deep in his own territory. He punted and relied on his defense to stop Manning. Wes Welker took the punt to the Denver 33 with 90 seconds to play.
With swirling winds and a hostile crowd, three straight incompletions meant Denver had to punt from their 44 with 38 seconds left. New England took over at their 11 with 28 seconds left. Bellichick took no chances as the game that was expected to be a thriller lived up to its billing and went to overtime.
New England won the toss and the Patriots were confused whether to take the ball first or go with the wind. Bellichick decided to go with the wind so Denver got the ball first. Facing 3rd and 4 from the New England 47, a critical offensive pass interference penalty killed the drive. The Patriots took over at their own 18 with the wind as the game became sudden death. After a potential defensive pass interference became a non-call, a ballistic Brady threw deep incomplete on 3rd and 4 as the Patriots would have to punt. Denver took over at their own 13.
Manning moved the Broncos all the way to a 3rd and 8 at the New England 37. A short pass to Welker was dropped. A 55 yard field goal into the wind was out of the question and Jack Del Rio decided to punt rather than go for it. New England took over at their own 19 with five minutes left in overtime but would end up punting as well. Then came the blunder of the game.
The ball bounced into Tony Carter and was recovered by the Patriots at the Denver 13. Bellichick took no chances and had Brady use first down and second down to center the ball and bleed the clock. On third down Gostkowski came in for a 32 yarder to win it at the 2 minute warning. Gostkowski drilled it. Rather than sitting atop the AFC cruising toward home field advantage throughout the playoffs, Denver is now tied with Kansas City and only one game ahead of New England. Despite Knowshon Moreno rushing for 224 yards on 37 carries, it was Brady going 34 for 50 for 344 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions that did it. A rematch of these teams in the AFC Title Game would be a blockbuster for the ages. 34-31 Patriots, OT
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins was the Monday night game. Colin Kaepernick threw a 19 yard touchdown pass to Anquon Boldin as the 49ers led 7-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter Phil Dawson tacked on a 29 yard field goal to make it 10-0 49ers. The Redskins had two long drives but settled for Kai Forbath field goals to trail 10-6 at halftime.
In the third quarter Kaepernick went back to Boldin for a 6 yard touchdown and then found Vernon Davis for a short touchdown. Phil Dawson tacked on a 49 yard fourth quarter field goal to add to the blowout. The 49ers at 7-4 are still in the playoff hunt while Washington is done. If Mike Shanahan is fired, it will not be Al Davis’s fault. 27-6 49ers.