NFL 2014 Week 17 Recap
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens — The Browns went with 3rd string quarterback Connor Shaw. Cleveland moved to the Baltimore 25 and fumbled the ball away. Baltimore moved to a 4th and goal at the one. John Harbaugh went for it and Justin Forsett got driven backward. Midway through the second quarter Justin Tucker hit a 25 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Ravens. Garrett Hartley answered with a 38 yard field goal with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half for a 3-3 game.
With 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter and the Browns facing 3rd and 5 just shy of midfield, Shaw went deep to Gabriel for a 49 yard gain. On the next play West got the final 2 yards on the ground as the Browns led 10-3. The fourth quarter began with Joe Flacco moving the Ravens from their 17 to a 3rd and 5 at the Cleveland 10. Flacco then threw incomplete as the Ravens settled for a 28 yard Tucker field goal to trail 10-6 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Browns went 3 and out and the Ravens took over at their own 31. Flacco went deep to Troy Smith for a 53 yard gain. On the next play Flacco went back to Smith for the 16 yard touchdown. The Ravens finally had a 13-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Baltimore got it back at their own 43. A 24 yard completion from Flacco to Steve Smith led to the Ravens facing 3rd and goal at the 2 with under 4 minutes left. The Dawg Pound desperately needed a stop but could not get one. Flacco found Aiken for the clinching touchdown. It was hideous, but a 17 point fourth quarter was enough to get the Ravens into the playoffs with a 10-6 record. They had the same record when they won it all two years ago. The Browns began the season 7-4 but crumbled with five straight losses to miss the playoffs for the 12th straight year. 20-10 Ravens
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans — Houston was down to their fourth quarterback. Case Keenum hit Arian Foster for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Texans. Josh Scobee hit a 53 yard field goal to get the Jaguars on the board. Keen was then intercepted by Gratz, who raced 55 yards the other way for a touchdown and a 10-7 Jaguars lead. Houston moved 74 yards in 14 plays and took 6:45 off the clock as Alfred Blue got in from one yard out to make it 14-10 Texans. In the third quarter Scobee failed to close the lead when a 51 yard field goal dunked off the upright no good.
With 5 minutes left in the third quarter Keenum was sacked and fumbled, giving the Jaguars the ball at the Houston 23. Gus Bradley went to the bag of tricks on the first play, as Blake Bortles lateraled to Cecil Shorts. Shorts threw a halfback option pass to Jordan Todman for a 17-14 Jaguars lead. Keen moved the Texans 80 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter Keenum hit Andre Johnson for an 8 yard touchdown and a 21-17 Texans lead.
With 6 minutes left in the game the Jaguars faced 3rd and 7 at their own 10. Bottles went backward and was sacked in the end zone by J.J. Watt for a safety. The Texans led by 6 but could not add to their lead after the free kick. The Jaguars got it back at their own 15 with 2:51 to play. On 4th and 10 from their own 38, Bortles found Cecil Shorts for 18 yards. Bortles then scrambled for 34 yards. With 1:41 to play, the Jaguars had 1st and goal at the 10. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Bortles threw incomplete. On 4th and goal, Bortles again threw incomplete. Houston finished 9-7 but were eliminated from the playoffs when Baltimore came back to win their game. TThe 3-13 Jaguars have their quarterback of the future and for the second straight year will have the number three pick in next year’s Draft. 23-17 Texans
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs — With everything on the line, Alex Smith was injured. Chase Daniel got his second career start. Carlo Santos hit a 43 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Chiefs. The Chiefs then moved 94 yards. Near the goal line Dwayne Bowe fumbled but Kelce recovered in the end zone for the Chiefs for a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. The Chargers got within 10-7 when Oliver got in from one yard out. Anthony Thomas returned a punt 41 yards to the San Diego 8 but the Chiefs squandered the opportunity and settled for a 21 yard Santos field goal to lead 13-7 with 4 minutes left in the half. Santos added another field goal from 27 with 30 seconds left in the half to make it 16-7 Chiefs.
In the third quarter Philip Rivers was sacked and fumbled, giving the Chiefs gift field position again at the San Diego 17. Again the Chiefs failed to capitalize as Santos hit his fourth field goal from 31 yards out to make it 19-7 Chiefs midway through the third quarter. With 30 seconds left in the third quarter Nick Novak missed a 52 yard field goal. With 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation, after making four attempts Santos missed from 50. Philip Rivers threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, but on official review the ball was ruled to have hit the ground incomplete. On 4th and goal from the 3, Rivers threw incomplete. San Diego would get it back with no time left for a comeback and Rivers was intercepted on the final play. Both teams finished 9-7 and out of the playoffs due to Baltimore winning their game. 19-7 Chiefs
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins — Last year the eliminated Jets went into Miami and knocked the Dolphins out of the playoff race, saving Rex Ryan’s job and nearly costing Joe Philbin his. This year before the game Philbin was guaranteed to return next year while Ryan is a goner. Caleb Sturgis hit a 37 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Dolphins. Owes ran for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Jets. In the second quarter Geno Smith fumbled at the Dolphins recovered at the Jets 21. Thomas got in from one yard out to make it 10-7 Dolphins. Smith came back and hit Chris Ivory for an 8 yard score to make it 14-10 Jets. Ryan Tannehill moved the Dolphins 93 yards as a 23 yard touchdown pass to Clay made it 17-14 Dolphins.
The start of the third quarter symbolized everything wrong with the Jets this season and pretty much every season. Owes returned the second half kickoff 87 yards to the Miami 12. On 3rd and 1 from the 3, Powell got nothing. Rex Ryan decided to go for it on 4th and 1 and Chris Ivory got nothing. The Dolphins took over at their own 3. One play and 14 seconds later Miller had a 97 yard touchdown run. Instead of trailing 21-17, the 14 point swing had the Dolphins leading 24-14. The Jets did come right back as Smith found Eric Decker for a 74 yard touchdown to get the Jets within 24-21. The Jets got it back and Nick Folk hit a 26 yard field goal to tie the game 24-24.
The Jets got it back and moved 78 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. The fourth quarter began with the Jets facing 4th and 1 at the Miami 5. This time Rex Ryan decided not to gamble. Folk hit from 23 as the Jets led 27-24. With 4 minutes left, the Jets faced 4th and 12 at their own 39. Rex Ryan pulled out all the stops in his final game, calling a fake punt that worked perfectly and went for a 38 yard gain. On the next play Smith hit Cumberland for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 34-24 Jets.
Tannehill then fumbled as the Jets added a late field goal. A beaming Rex Ryan laughed and enjoyed his last press conference before Black Monday after a 4-12 season. Smith passed for a career high 358 yards. The Dolphins for the second straight season dropped to 8-8 by losing to the Jets at home. 37-24 Jets
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings — Blair Walsh hit a 37 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Vikings. Jay Feely answered from 48 in the second quarter as a hideous game went to the locker rooms tied 3-3. In the third quarter Teddy Bridgewater threw an interception that appeared to be returned 40 yards for a Chicago touchdown. On further review Fuller was ruled down after a 31 yard return to the Minnesota 9. On 3rd and goal from the 7 Jay Cutler threw a touchdown to Jeffery. Again officials reviewed the play and again the call was reversed to an incomplete pass. Feely hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 6-3 Bears. Bridgewater came back and threw a 44 yard touchdown Thielen for a 10-6 Vikings lead.
Early in the fourth quarter Sherels returned a Chicago punt 31 yards to the Minnesota 47. Walsh hit from 44 to make it 13-6 Vikings with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. In the fourth quarter Cutler was intercepted again, but this time defensive offsides nullified the turnover. Feely hit his third field goal from 35 yards out as the Bears got within 13-9. The Vikings moved from their 32 to a 3rd and 1 at the Chicago 3. Asiata got the carry and got nothing. On 4th and 1 at the 3 Mike Zimmer decided to go for it to put the game away. Asiata again got nothing. From their own 3, Cutler moved the Bears to a 4th and 9 at their own 26 with 1:43 to play. A completion came up one yard short as the Bears awaited a Black Monday that could be uglier than their season. 13-9 Vikings
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots — Despite locking up home field, Bill Bellichick played Tom Brady and the rest of his starts in the first half. He could not have liked what he saw. Kyle Orton threw a 6 yard touchdown to Woods to make it 7-0 Bills. The Patriots came back down the field but settled for a 24 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to trail 7-3. In the second quarter Dixon got in from one yard out as a 13 play, 80 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive made it 14-3 Bills. Orson then sacked and fumbled to give the Patriots a short field at the Buffalo 44. Gostkowski hit from 44 to get the Patriots within 14-6. Michael Thigpen returned the ensuing kickoff 49 yards to the Patriots 47. Carpenter hit from 48 to make it 17-6 Bills.
Jimmy Garoppolo played the second half and led the Patriots to a 4th and 1 at the Buffalo 13 with 6 minutes left in the third quarter. Bellichick went for it and Garoppolo lost a yard. The Patriots got it back and Danny Amendol returned a punt 26 yards to the Buffalo 44. Gostkowski hit his third field goal from 35 yards out as the Patriots got within eight after three quarters. Midway through the fourth quarter the Patriots faced 1st and 10 at the Buffalo 30 seeking to tie the game. Instead a sack of Garoppolo and an offensive holding penalty meant 3rd and 36, with the Patriots failed to convert. The Patriots got it back with 1:50 to play, but on 4th and 2 from their own 33 with one minute left, Garoppolo threw incomplete. The Patriots finished the season 12-4 and the Bills, despite finishing 9-7, missed the playoffs again for the 15 straight year. 17-9 Bills
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants — After starting 9-3 and having a shot at home field, the Eagles dropped three straight to miss the playoffs. After starting 3-9, the Giants won 3 straight to try and save Tom Coughlin. Williams ran it in from one yard out to make it 7-0 Giants. Mark Sanchez came back with a 44 yard touchdown pass to Matthews to make it 7-7. Sanchez then threw a one yard touchdown pass to Captain Morgan Brent Celek to make it 14-7 Eagles. Josh Brown hit a 38 yard field goal to get the Giants within 14-10. An interception of Sanchez set up the Giants just past midfield. On 3rd and goal at the 2 Eli Manning threw incomplete as the Giants settled for a 20 yard field goal to trail 14-13. Brown then hit his 3rd field goal from 36 as the Giants led 16-14. Cody Parkey hit a 32 yard field goal to put the Eagles up 17-16 at halftime.
In the third quarter the Eagles blocked a punt and Burton returned it 27 yards for a touchdown and a 24-16 Philadelphia lead. Brown then hit his fourth field goal from 53 yards out as the Giants got within 24-19. With 13 minutes left in regulation on 3rd and goal from the one, Polk got in for a 31-19 Eagles lead. Manning came back with a bomb to O’Dell Beckham for a 63 yard touchdown as the Giants were within 31-26 with 12 minutes left in regulation.
Parker added a 39 yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to put the Eagles up by 8. With 3 minutes left and the Giants at their own 35, Manning was intercepted to set up the Eagles at the Giants 18. The Eagles ran out the clock to get to 10-6 and drop the Giants to 6-10. Coughlin wants to return next year. Black Monday will tell the story. 34-26 Eagles
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Murray hit a 39 yard field goal for a 3-0 Buccaneers lead. In the second quarter Josh McCown hit Mike Evans for a 10-0 Buccaneers lead. A 12 play, 80 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive saw Robinson get in from the one to get the Saints within 10-7. Sims answered with an 8 yard touchdown to make it 17-7 Buccaneers. Murray hit from 27 to have the Buccaneers up 20-7 at halftime over the reeling Saints. With 4 minutes left in the third quarter Drew Brees was intercepted at the Goal line. Tampa Bay went 3 and out and the Saints got it back at their own 46. One minute into the fourth quarter Mark Ingram got in from the one to get the Saints within 20-14.
With 5 1/2 minutes left in regulation McCown as intercepted, setting up the Saints at midfield. On 3rd and 8 from the Bucs 36, a short pass from Brees to Marques Colston went for a touchdown as the Saints had the one point lead at the 2 minute warning. The Bucs took over and soon faced 3rd and 21 at their own 6. McCown was sacked in the end zone for a safety by Galette. 16 fourth quarter points for the Saints had the preseason Super Bowl contenders finish 7-9. The Buccaneers finished 2-14 and will have the top pick in the 2015 Draft. 23-20 Saints
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans – The 10-5 Colts were locked into their playoff seed and continued to beat up on bad teams to pad their record. Andrew Luck threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to Coby Fleener to make it 7-0 Colts. In the second quarter Luck threw an 80 yard completion to Reggie Wayne down to the one and then found Doyle for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Colts. Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Colts 47. On 3rd and goal from the 6 after an offensive penalty, Charlie Whitehurst hit Wright for the score to get the Titans within 14-7. Josh Cribs returned the ensuing kickoff 76 yards to the Tennessee 27. On 1st and goal from the 5, 3 straight plays gained nothing. Adam Vinatieri hit from 23 to make it 17-7 Colts at the half.
Matt Hasselbeck replaced Luck for the second half. In the third quarter after Vinatieri missed from 46, Ryan Succop hit from 31 for the Titans. Vinatieri answered from 26 on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Colts led 20-10. Hasselbeck threw an 8 yard touchdown pass to Fleener for an 8 yard touchdown with 3 1/2 minutes left to drop the Titans to 2-14. That was still not good enough to be the worst, as the Titans will have the second pick in the 2015 Draft and not the top pick.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins — Dan Bailey hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Cowboys. Robert Griffin III threw a 69 yard touchdown pass to make it 7-3 Redskins. Tony Romo came right back with a 65 yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant for a 10-7 Cowboys lead. Romo went back to Bryant for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 17-7 Cowboys. In the second quarter Dan Bailey hit from 32 to make it 20-7 Cowboys. Jason Garrett called a surprise onside kick and it succeeded as Dallas took over just past midfield. DeMarco Murray ran it in from 9 yards out as Dallas was all over hapless Washington 27-7. Forbath hit from 25 to get the Redskins with 27-10. Dallas quickly answered with an 80 yard touchdown but this one was nullified by a penalty.
With 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter the Redskins faced 3rd and 1 at the Dallas 7. After RGIII threw incomplete, Jay Gruden decided to go for it. RGIII was intercepted by Carter, who returned it 35 yards to the Dallas 40. Dallas went 3 and out and the Cowboys got it back at their own 6. From their own 18, Romo was intercepted to give the Redskins the ball at the Dallas 16. After a couple of RGIII incompletions, he was intercepted at the Dallas 11. RGIII did scramble for a 2 yard touchdown with 6 1/2 minutes remaining to get the Redskins within 27-17.
Romo led the Cowboys from their 34 to 2nd and goal at the 5 before throwing incomplete twice. Bailey hit from 23 to make it 30-17 Cowboys. RGIII was then sacked and fumbled with 3 minutes left. Spencer returned it 5 yards for another touchdown to make it 37-17 Cowboys. Another Washington fumble after the 2 minute warning set up Dallas at their own 35. Just trying to run out the clock, Randle raced for a 65 yard touchdown to complete the blowout. Dallas at 12-4 will host a playoff game on wildcard weekend while Daniel Snyder may fire everybody or nobody after a miserable season. The Redskins have the number five pick in the 2014 Draft. 44-17 Cowboys
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons — The 6-8-1 Panthers and 6-9 Falcons faced off for the right to win the NFC South and make the playoffs with a losing record. Both Ron Rivera and Mike Smith are Black Monday casualty possibilities with a loss. Cam Newton led a 12 play, 77 yard, 7 minute drive that culminated in a 21 yard Graham Gano field goal for the Panthers. Newton then led the Panthers 87 yards as a 5 yard touchdown pass to Dickson ended the first quarter with Carolina up 10-0. In the second quarter Matt Bryant hit a 21 yard field goal to get the Falcons on the board after Matt Ryan threw incomplete twice on 2nd and goal at the 3.
With 4 1/2 minutes left in the half Matty Ice went ice cold as an interception by Roman Harper was returned 31 yards for a 17-3 Panthers lead. At the 2 minute warning Roddy White fumbled at the Atlanta 42 and Davis returned it 33 yards with an Atlanta penalty moving the ball to the 4. Newton ran for a 4 touchdown. One week after going on the road and belting New Orleans, Atlanta was getting throttled at home 24-3 at halftime.
Graham Gano hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 27-3 Panthers in the third quarter. Tre Boston returned another interception of Matt Ryan 84 yards for another Carolina touchdown to complete the scoring. Four straight wins after a 3-8-1 start meant the Panthers were NFC South champions for the second consecutive season. 34-3 Panthers
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos — The Raiders ran 3 plays and lost 6 yards. Denver took over at their own 46 and Connor Barth hit a 49 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Broncos. The Raiders then faced 3rd and 2 at their own 28. David Carr was sacked and a delay of game on the punt meant this drive lost 5 yards. Denver took over just shy of midfield. CJ Anderson ran for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Broncos.
The Broncos got it back and faced a routine 2nd and 2 at their own 23. Peyton Manning threw a swing pass that was batted backward by Justin Tuck. Most of the players stopped playing despite no whistle for an incomplete pass. McGill picked up the ball and ran 18 yards for a defensive touchdown. The pass by Manning was ruled a lateral, a live ball, a fumble, and a touchdown. On further review the touchdown stood. Despite having only 4 net yards of offense and 0 first downs, the Raiders were only down 10-7.
Denver shrugged off the mistake and easily moved 80 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Oakland 24, Manning found Denarius Thomas for 23 yards. CJ Anderson got the last yard for a 17-7 Broncos lead. The Raiders then faced 3rd and 5 from their own 25 when a high snap out of the shotgun was mishandled by Carr for a 21 yard loss. The Raiders punted on 4th and 26 from their own 4 and the Broncos again had excellent field position at their own 48. Barth hit from 36 as the Broncos led 20-7 at halftime. Manning was 15 of 22 for 199 yards in the first half while Carr was 4 of 10 for 34 yards.
Bolden returned the second half kickoff 76 yards to the Oakland 30. CJ Anderson quickly raced for a 25 yard touchdown as the Broncos led 27-7. After a touchback the Raiders soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 39. Carr found Latavius Murray, who took a short pass 46 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Carr hit Jermaise Olawale for the touchdown to get the Raiders within 27-14. Denver quickly reached the red zone again and Barth hit from 35 to make it 30-14 Broncos.
Late in the third quarter the Raiders faced 44th and 4 at the Denver 39. With nothing to lose, Tony Sparano decided to inspire his team by punting. Denver moved from their 11 to the Oakland 3 as Barth’s fourth field goal from 21 made it 33-14 Broncos in the fourth quarter. Carr was then stripped of the ball and Carter returned the fumble 20 yards to make it 40-14 Broncos. A short punt gave Denver the ball back at the Oakland 44. At the 2 minute warning on 3rd and goal at the one with Brock Osweiler in the game, Osweiler threw his first touchdown pass of the year. Denver at 12-4 easily rolled to their first round bye. Oakland at 3-13 lost out on getting Jon Gruden and appear to be losing out on Jim Harbaugh as well. Black Monday could be ugly for Tony Sparano and Reggie McKenzie. The Raiders have the number four pick in the 2015 Draft. 47-14 Broncos
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers — An NFC North showdown between 11-4 teams still heavily favored the Packers, who had not lost at home to the Lions since 1991. Snow flurries meant Packers weather. On 3rd and 1 from their own 29, Matthew Stafford was sacked as the Lions went 3 and out. Aaron Rodgers moved the Packers from their 37 to a 3rd and goal at the 2. Rodgers threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. John Kuhn got stopped and Rodgers threw incomplete twice, setting up 4th and goal at the one. Mike McCarthy decided to go for it. Eddie Lacy got the carry and got blasted for a one yard loss. Jim Caldwell was pleased that he almost made a facial expression. The goal line stand was all for naught as the Lions punted and Hyde returned it for a 55 yard touchdown as the Packers got the 7-0 lead the hard way.
Rodgers would throw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb for a 14-0 Packers lead with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. Rodgers pulled up limp on the play and left the game with a strained calf muscle. Stafford hit Megatron Calvin Johnson for a 20 yard touchdown with 25 seconds left in the half as the Lions only trailed 14-7. Of bigger concern was Matt Flynn starting the second half. Stafford found Johnson again for a 4 yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14, but Rodgers came back in the game. On 3rd and 4 from the Detroit 13, Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for the touchdown an the 21-14 Packers lead.
Early in the fourth quarter the Packers had a 52 yard field goal try blocked. On the first play after the block, Stafford fumbled. Green Bay took over at the Detroit 42. Rodgers took the one yard quarterback sneak just over the goal line to make it 28-14 Packers with 9 minutes left. Intentional grounding on Stafford in the end zone with 2 1/2 minutes to play made it 30-14 Packers. The Lions treated the free kick like an onside kick and recovered it at the Green Bay 44.Stafford quickly hit Riddick for a 6 yard touchdown with 1:50 left. The 2 point conversion was ruled good but on further review reversed as it was determined Bell did not break the plane of the goal. Green Bay locked up the NFC North and a first round bye for the Packers as the Lions will have to go the wildcard route. 30-20 Packers
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks – All Seattle had to do was win at home to lock up home field throughout the playoffs for the second straight year. While Seattle has the Legion of Boom, Jeff Fisher teams have a defense every bit as tenacious as teams coached by Pete Carroll. This was another nasty NFC West slugfest. Greg Zuerlein hit a field goal of 33 yards in the first quarter to make it 3-0 Rams. The Seahawks moved to a 4th and 5 at the Rams 35. Pete Carroll decided to go for it rather than try a 53 yard field goal. Russell Wilson hit Luke Wilson but the Seahawks were one yard short.
In the second quarter Wilson was intercepted and later fumbled the ball away at the Seattle 34. Zuerlein hit from 52 to make it 6-0 Rams at halftime.
Steve Hauschka hit field goals of 42 and 45 as the Seahawks tied the game 6-6 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. On the last play of the third quarter the Rams faced 2nd and 9 at the Seattle 24. Offensive holding hurt matters but the Rams were still in field goal range for the lead. On the first play of the fourth quarter Hill was intercepted. Seattle took over at their own 46. On 3rd and 7 from the Rams 40, Wilson found Norwood for a 31 yard gain. Marshawn Lynch ran for the 9 yard score as the game’s first touchdown had Seattle up 13-6 with 12 minutes left. Irvin then returned an interception of Hill 49 yards to put the game away and send the NFC playoffs through Seattle. 20-6 Seahawks
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers — Consecutive losses after an 11-3 start had the Cardinals go from locking up home field throughout to possibly falling to the wildcard. For the third straight game the Cardinals needed a win from third string quarterback Ryan Lindley. Four straight losses after a 7-4 start meant this was Jim Harbaugh’s final game coaching the 49ers. Bruce Arians does not close the playbook when top players go down. A perfectly executed flea flicker resulted in a 20 yard touchdown pass from Lindley to Michael Floyd as the Cardinals led 7-0.
Colin Kaepernick came right back with a 76 yard touchdown pass to Anquon Boldin to tie the game 7-7. Phil Dawson was up next, kicking field goals of 53 and 37 yards sandwiched around a Lindley interception to make it 13-7 49ers. With 6 minutes left in the half Lindley moved the Cardinals from their 10 to the 49ers 15. Catanzaro hit a 36 yard field goal as the Cardinals got within 13-10 with 90 seconds left in the half. with one minute left the Cardinals got it back at their own 25. Bruce Arians does not play conservative football. Lindley hit Larry Fitzgerald for 21, John Brown for 13, and Michael Floyd for a 41 yard touchdown bomb as the Cardinals stole a 17-13 halftime lead. Lindley had 260 yards passing by halftime.
After another Lindley interception, Kaepernick led a 10 play, 82 yard, 6 minute drive and threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Miller with 30 seconds left in the third quarter for a 20-17 49ers lead. The defenses took over as the Cardinals began their final drive at the 2 minute warning after a touchback without a timeout. Lindley was quickly sacked for a 9 yard loss and then intercepted. The Cardinals fell to 11-5 and will have to host a playoff game on wildcard weekend. The 49ers got to 8-8 to send Jim Harbaugh out of San Francisco a winner. Jed York did not wait until Black Monday, firing Harbaugh Sunday as soon as the game ended. 20-17 49ers
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers was the Sunday night game. This AFC North showdown to conclude the regular season saw 10-4-1 Cincinnati at 10-5 Pittsburgh. Both teams would be playing on wildcard weekend but the winner had a home game while the loser as the wildcard would go on the road. Antonio Brown returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Steelers lead early on. Andy Dalton came back with a 17 yard touchdown pass to Greg Bernard for a 7-7 game.
A Ben Roethlisberger fumble set up the Bengals at the Pittsburgh 34. Early in the second quarter Mike Nugent hit a 39 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Bengals. Shawn Suisham answered with a 29 yarder to tie it again 10-10. Dalton then had a pass bounce off of AJ Green’s fingers for an interception that was returned 31 yards to the Cincy 28. Big Ben found Bryant for a 21 yard touchdown and a 17-10 Steelers lead with 6 minutes left in the half. With 40 seconds left in the half Suisham doinked a 25 yard field goal off the upright but it bounced through good to make it 20-10 Steelers.
With four minutes left in the third quarter the Steelers faced 3rd and 9 at the Cincy 30 and was looking for the kill shot. Instead Roethlisberger was intercepted at the 11 by Nelson. Dalton led a 15 play, 89 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive and hit Gresham for a 5 yard touchdown to get the Bengals within 20-17 with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation.
With 6 minutes left the Steelers set up to punt on 4th and 9 from the Cincinnati 45. Mike Tomlin called for a fake punt that did not work. The ball was intercepted, setting the Bengals at their own 41. With 4 minutes left the Bengals faced 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 48. A 17-yard reception by AJ Green had the Bengals in range for the tying field goal for a fraction of a second. Green got blasted on the play and Pittsburgh recovered the fumble at their own 30.
Rather than run out the clock, Tomlin again decided to go bold and aggressive. After missing on a deep ball but drawing a defensive penalty, another incompletion stopped the clock. With 3 minutes left the Steelers faced 3rd and 8 at their own 37. Big Ben went bombs away again and found Antonio Brown for a 63 yard touchdown to seal the win and keep the Steelers home for the first week of the playoffs as AFC North Champions. The Bengals will be going on the road for their annual first round playoff exit. 27-17 Steelers
The NFL 2014-2015 Playoffs are now set.
NFC: 6) Detroit Lions at 3) Dallas Cowboys, 5) Arizona Cardinals at 4) Carolina Panthers
1) Seattle Seahawks and 2) Green Bay Packers have the bye week.
AFC: 6) Baltimore Ravens at 3) Pittsburgh Steelers, 5) Cincinnati Bengals at 4) Indianapolis Colts
1) New England Patriots and 2) Denver Broncos have the bye week.