NFL 2016 Week 17 Recap
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals — A 5 yard run by Burkhead made it 7-0 Bengals early on. Justin Tucker hit a 30 yard field goal to get the Ravens within 7-3. The Bengals came back 60 yards. Red Rifle Andy Dalton threw a 1 yard touchdown pass to Uzomah to make it 14-3 Bengals. In the second quarter the Bengals moved 77 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. They settled for a 23 yard Randy Bullock field goal to make it 17-3 Bengals. The Ravens moved down the field but with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, Joe Flacco was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback. Bullock hit again from 45 to end the half as the Bengals had a 20-3 lead. With 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation a 40 yard completion from Joe Flacco put the ball on the one yard line. Kenneth Dixon crashed in to get the Ravens within 20-10. With less than 5 minutes left the Ravens had to go for it on 4th and 5 at their own 25. Flacco threw incomplete. Burkhead ran for a 5 yard touchdown to salt the game away. The Bengals finished 6-9-1 as Marvin Lewis hoped to survive Black Monday. After 15 seasons and 7 playoff appearances, he wants to come back. He has not won a playoff game, and neither have the Bengals since the 1990 season. The Ravens finished 8-8 but John Harbaugh is virtually certain to be back next year. After the game, Baltimore receiver Steve Smith retired after 16 seasons. 27-10 Bengals
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts — Jason Myers hit a 47 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Jaguars. Jacksonville got it back and moved 75 yards. Blake Bortles threw a 14 yard touchdown pass to Koyack to make it 10-0 Jaguars. The Colts got a break when sack and fumble of Bortles set up the Colts just outside the red zone. Yet they did nothing as Andrew Luck was sacked and Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal. Corey Grant then ran for a 57 yard touchdown as the Jaguars had the 17-0 lead in front of a shellshocked home crowd. Vinatieri finally hit a 45 yard field goal with just over 2 1/2 minutes left in the half to get the Colts on the board. In the third quarter the Colts quickly moved 83 yards. Robert Turbin ran for a 7 yard touchdown to get the Colts within 17-10. In the third quarter the Colts moved 89 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Luck hit Allen for a 15 yard touchdown to tie the game 17-17. With 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation, a 54 yard field goal try by Myers to give the Jaguars the lead was no good. At the 2 minute warning, the Colts attempted to punt on 4th and 24 from their own 30. The punt was blocked. with just over 90 seconds to play, Myers was good from 41 and the Jaguars led 20-17. After a touchback, Luck did what he does and the collapsing Jaguars did their part again. Luck hit Rogers for 18, Dorsett for 19, and Turbin for 14. With 14 seconds remaining, the Colts were one yard away. Luck fired to Doyle for the touchdown. The Colts finished 8-8 and the Jaguars dropped to 3-13 as both Chuck Pagano and Doug Marrone awaited Black Monday. Pagano is expected to survive while the Jaguars may bring back Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin. After the game, Colts stalwart defender Robert Mathis retired after 14 seasons. 24-20 Colts
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins — The 13-2 Patriots faced off against the 10-5 Dolphins. Last year the Patriots blew the top seed at Miami in the final week. The Patriots moved 75 yards in 13 plays and 7 1/2 minutes to start the game. Tom Brady threw a 2 yard touchdown to Captain Bacon Marcellus Bennett to make it 7-0 Patriots. New England got it back with a short field at the Miami 45. From the Miami 14, Brady found Michael Floyd at the goal line. Floyd was met by 4 defenders and somehow willed himself past the plane of the goal for a touchdown and a 14-0 Patriots lead. Matt Moore then threw a deep ball that was intercepted by Logan Ryan at the New England 43. On the first play of the second quarter Stephen Gostkowski hit a 40 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Patriots. The Dolphins had no answers as Gostkowski tacked on a 25 yard field goal to make it 20-0 Patriots. The Dolphins finally moved 75 yards in 10 plays. From the New England 8 yard line, Moore fired to Jarvis Landry, who got belted inside the 5. Somehow Landry managed to stay upright and get into the end zone as the Dolphins trailed 20-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter the Dolphins moved 75 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Moore threw a 25 yard touchdown pass on 3rd and 3 to Kenny Stills as the the Dolphins were within 20-14. The Patriots quickly faced 3rd and 7 at their own 23. Brady threw a quick slant to Julian Edelman, who split the seams and raced for a 77 yard touchdown and a 27-14 Patriots lead. The Dolphins moved from their own 32 to the New England 9 yard line. Moore threw a short pass to Williams, who had the ball punched out. Scott McLellan returned the fumble 69 yards to the Miami 18. On 3rd and goal at the one, Blount got in to put the game away with 5 1/2 minutes left. Brady hit Julian Edelman for the 2 point conversion to make it 35-14 Patriots. 15 years after the Tuck Rule, the Evil Empire of Football led by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady clinched home field throughout the playoffs. Adam Gase has the Dolphins in the playoffs as the six seed, where next week they travel to Pittsburgh. 35-14 Patriots
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings — The Vikings quickly moved 70 yards and Sam Bradford threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to McKinnon for a 7-0 Vikings lead. Minnesota got it back and moved 93 yards in 14 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. On the first play of the second quarter Kai Forbath hit a 21 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Vikings. A Chicago fumble set the Vikings up at the Chicago 35. Sam Bradford hit Kyle Rudolph for a 22 yard touchdown to make it 17-0 Vikings. The Bears then moved 85 yards in 17 plays and 8 minutes. On 3rd and goal from the 2, John Fox went to his bag of tricks. Matt Barkley pitched the ball to Cam Meredith, who lofted a pass to the end zone for Barkley, who caught t for a touchdown to get the Bears within 17-7. With one minute left in the half the Bears fumbled a punt, setting up Minnesota at the Chicago 21. Bradford hit Wright for a 1 yard touchdown to make it 24-7 Vikings with only 17 seconds left in the half. Yet Thompson returned the ensuing kickoff 64 yards to the Minnesota 42. Barkley went to Meredith for a 31 yard gain and Connor Barth hit a 29 yard field goal to close out the half as the Bears got within 24-10.
Early in the fourth quarter, John Fox gambled with the Bears facing 4th and 1 at their own 40. Howard got the carry and got nothing. With the short field, Minnesota soon put the game away. McKinnon ran for a 10 yard touchdown. A sack of Barkley meant a fumble that Griffin returned for a 20 yard touchdown for the final touchdown. Barkley was benched and David Fales came in to finish up the miserable Chicago season. The Vikings ended up 8-8 and next year Mike Zimmer will have Teddy Bridgewater back. whether Adrian Peterson returns is a question mark. Although the Bears finished 3-13, John Fox is expected to survive Black Monday. He will need a quarterback, since neither Jay Cutler or Matt Barkley seems to be the answer. 38-10 Vikings
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets — Rex Ryan was fired before the season finale, and Anthony Lynn took over as interim coach. Tyrod Taylor was benched as EJ Manuel got the start. The first quarter was scoreless. In the second quarter Ryan Fitzpatrick hooked up with Quincy Enunwa for a 51 yard gain. Fitzpatrick hit Powell for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Jets. A 34 yard field goal by Dan Carpenter with 1:45 left in the half finally got the Bills on the board. Nick Folk hit a 30 yard field goal to end the half with the Jets up 10-3. The Bills have not made the playoffs since the 1999 season. They fired the coach and are expected to fire both of their top two quarterbacks. Yet owner Terry Pegula may just have to clean house. In the second half the Bills represented a junior high school football team.
With 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter the Bills had 3rd and 11 at their own 26. Emanuel was sacked and fumbled, as the Jets recovered at the Buffalo 13. On 3rd and 3 from the 6, Fitzpatrick threw the touchdown pass to Marshall to make it 17-3 Jets. Manuel was benched as the Bills went to third string quarterback Cardell Jones. A Williams fumble gave the Jets the ball at the Buffalo 32. Folk hit from 36 to make it 20-3 Jets. InWith 5 minutes left in regulation Jones was intercepted by Darrell Revis, who returned the interception 49 yards to the Buffalo 3. The Jets lost yards and Folk hit from 25 to make it 23-3 Jets. Then came a play that cannot be blamed on Rex Ryan. The ensuing kickoff into the end zone was never fielded it. Mike Gillislee was right next to the ball and may have confused a kickoff with a punt. The live ball was recovered by the Jets for a gift touchdown and a 30-3 Lead. The Bills got a garbage touchdown to finish the season 7-9 while the Jets finished 5-11. Todd Bowles and Anthony Lynn both awaited Black Monday. 30-10 Jets
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles — Despite being 13-2 with home field throughout the playoffs, Jason Garrett chose to play his starters early on. It was the Eagles driving 79 yards in 14 plays, taking nearly 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Caleb Sturgis hit a 2 2yard field goal to make it 3-0 Eagles. On the first play of the second quarter, Dan Bailey hit a 49 yard field goal to tie the game 3-3. After that, Dak Prescott was done for the day and Tony Romo came in to a standing ovation from the Cowboys fans in Philadelphia. After not having played a regular season game since late 2015, Romo quickly moved Dallas 81 yards. Romo threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Terrence Williams to make it 10-3 Cowboys. After that Romo was done for the day, as third string quarterback Mark Sanchez was brought in. Sanchez threw a pair of interceptions, the latter one giving the Eagles the ball just past midfield. Carson Wentz threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to Zac Ertz for a 10-10 deadlock at the half.
In the third quarter the Cowboys moved 66 yards inside the 5 but had to settle for a 23 yard Bailey field goal to make it 13-10 Cowboys. The Eagles came back 89 yards in 10 plays. Wentz hit Ertz for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 17-13 Eagles. in the fourth quarter the Eagles moved 75 yards in 14 plays and 8 minutes. Sturgis hit from 33 to make it 20-13 Eagles with just over 2 minutes to play. On 3rd and 10 from their own 21, Sanchez was sacked for a 19 yard loss. On 4th and 29 from their own 2, Jason Garrett decided not to go for it. However, the punt was blocked. Philly took over at the Dallas 7 and on 3rd and goal from the one, Watson got in to lock up the game. The Eagles finished 6-9-1 in their first year under Doug Pederson, while the Cowboys prepared to enjoy a bye week and get healthy. Despite the loss, Jerry Jones and the rest of Happy Valley is very happy indeed. 27-13 Eagles
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers — At 10-5 and locked into the three seed, Mike Tomlin gave his Steelers starters the day off. Landry Jones started in place of Ben Roethlisberger against the 1-14 Browns. Early on Robert Griffin III threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to DeValve for a 7-0 Browns lead. In the second quarter the Browns moved 67 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. RGIII threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Gary Barnidge to make it 14-0 Browns. Late in the half with everything going right, a shotgun snap for the Browns went awry. The ball went sailing past RGIII as the Steelers recovered at the Cleveland 37. Jones threw an 11 yard touchdown to Deangelo Williams as the Steelers only trailed 14-7 at halftime. Late in the third quarter the Steelers faced 3rd and 11 at their own 46. Jones went deep, was intercepted by Boddy-Calhoun, and saw Boddy-Calhoun take it 68 yards the other way for a defensive touchdown. Yet before the score could read 21-7 Browns, officials reviewed the score. Boddy-Calhoun lost control of the ball just before breaking the plane. The Steelers recovered in the end zone, so instead it was a touchback. These are the Browns.
The Steelers then moved 80 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, Williams ran for a one yard touchdown for a 14-14 tie. The Browns moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 5 at the Pittsburgh 23. RGIII was then sacked for an 8 yard loss. Cody Parkey came in for a 49 yard field goal to give the Browns the lead midway through the fourth quarter. The kick was no good. These are the Browns. Jones then went deep to Darrius Hayward-Bey for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the 11, Jones hit Ayers for the touchdown to make it 21-14 Steelers with just over 5 minutes left to play. The Browns struck rich back. Isaiah Crowell ran for a 67 yard gain and George Atkins III ran for a 5 yard touchdown for a 21-21 game with 3 1/2 minutes left. The Steelers punted on 4th and 18 from their own 3, giving the Browns the ball bak at midfield with 90 seconds left. Griffin went deep to Terrelle Pryor for a 43 yard gain. On 1st and goal at the 5, all the Browns had to do was take a knee, force Pittsburgh to use their timeouts, and kick the winning field goal. Crowell got the handoff and fumbled the football at the 3 yard line. The Steelers recovered. These are the Browns.
The Browns got the ball first in overtime at their own 19. On 3rd and 1 from their 40, Atkinson gained 11 yards. Cleveland chewed up yards on the ground and moved into easy field goal range. On 3rd and 2 from the 14, Griffin threw incomplete but defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 9. On 3rd and goal at the 9, Griffin threw a short pass but a defensive facemark meant 1st and goal at the 2. Pittsburgh was giving the game away but Cleveland would not take it. A touchdown would end the game. Rather than let the strong running game finish things, Griffin threw incomplete. On 2nd and goal from the 2, A West Coast Offense Dink and Dunk sideways pass turned into a 14 yard loss. Parkey hit the 34 yard field goal. The 17 play, 79 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive had the Browns up 24-21, but Pittsburgh would get one chance with the ball.
After a touchback, the Steelers soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 30. Jones hit Hamilton for 11 yards and Rogers for 19 yards. On 4th and 2 from Cleveland 32 with 3:48 left in overtime, Mike Tomlin decided to go for the win rather than the tying field goal. With their seeding assured and nothing to play for, Tomlin did not want to risk injury by extending the game. Jones hit Ayers for 6 yards and a first down. On the next play Jones went deep to Hamilton for the 26 yard touchdown, ending the game. The 1-15 Browns are now on the clock with the top pick in the Draft, but Hue Jackson is expected to survive Black Monday. Jones played well, finishing 24 of 37 for 277 yards, 3 touchdowns, and one interception. He returns to the bench next week as the 11-5 Steelers host Miami on Wildcard weekend. RGIII also played well in defeat, going 29 of 40 for 232 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception. This game was an audition for him in case the Browns draft a quarterback next year. 27-24 Steelers
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Roberto Aguayo hit a 33 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Buccaneers. The Panthers moved 75 yard and Jonathan Stewart ran for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Panthers. At the end of the first quarter Graham Gano missed a 46 yard field goal try that would have extended the lead for Carolina. Aguayo then missed from 46 as well. At the end of the half, Gano missed from 58. In the third quarter Cam Newton was intercepted by Brent Grimes, who returned it 31 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 10-7 Buccaneers lead. Gano then hit from 54 for a 10-10 game. With 6 minutes left in regulation, Gano missed his third field goal from 36 yards out. The Buccaneers then moved 74 yards. With just over 3 minutes left, Jameis Winston hit Mike Evans for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 17-10 Buccaneers. The Panthers moved from their 26 to a 4th and 12 at the Tampa Bay 18 with 46 seconds left. Newton hit Kelvin Benjamin for 13 and then threw a jump ball that Benjamin caught for the 5 yard touchdown. With 17 seconds left the Panthers trailed by one point. With nothing to play for but pride, Riverboat Ron Rivera went for the 2 point conversion try. Newton fired incomplete. The Panthers went 15-1 last year but this year fell to 7-9, although Ron Rivera is considered safe after three straight NFC South crowns before this year. The Buccaneers finished 9-7 under Dirk Koetter but needed a miracle to make the playoffs and did not get it. 17-16 Buccaneers
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans — The 9-6 Texans came in locked into the 4 seed against the eliminated 8-7 Titans. Yet Bill O’Brien started Tom Savage, not Brock Osweiler. On 3rd and 9 from the Houston 15, Savage was savaged by the Houston defense and fumbled. Duquon Jones recovered in the Houston end zone for a touchdown and a 7-0 Titans lead. On the first play of the second quarter, Bill O’Brien decided to go for it with the Texans facing 4th and 1 at their own 39. Savage gained 2 yards but was injured on the play. He was taken to the sideline for concussion observation as Osweiler came in. On 4th and 6 from the Titans 35, O’Brien went for it again. Osweiler was sacked. On the next Houston series Nick Novak missed a 45 yard field goal. Houston then punted on 4th and 17 from their own 3, giving Tennessee the ball at the Houston 36. On 3rd and 16 from the 42, Matt Cassel hit Matthews for a 25 yard gain. Cassel hit Matthews for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Titans at halftime.
In the third quarter the Texans moved 81 yards in 13 plays. Osweiler hit Fiedorowicz for a 4 yard touchdown to get the Texans within 14-7. The Titans came back 55 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes. Henry ran for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Titans. The Texans came 67 yards again but bogged down inside the 10. Novak hit from 26 to get the Texans within 21-10. In the fourth quarter the Texans held the ball for over 7 1/2 minutes and moved 57 yards. Ryan Succop hit a 35 yard field goal to make it 24-10 Titans with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, Osweiler tried to rally the Texans. On 4th and 1 from the 7, Alfred Blue gained 2 yards. On 4th and goal at the one, Osweiler got in to get the Texans within 7 with 3 minutes to play. The Texans held on defense and got the ball back at their own 18 with 53 seconds left. With 23 seconds left, on 4th and 16 from their own 27, Osweiler threw incomplete. Both Bill O’Brien and Mike Mularkey have 9-7 teams, but the Texans have the tie-breaker. Houston hosts a Wildcard game next week while Tennessee is done for the year. 24-17 Titans
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons — With a win, the 10-5 Falcons would lock up the two seed and a first round bye. A loss would have them playing on Wildcard weekend. The Falcons went right to work, going 68 yards rapidly. Matt Ryan threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to Coleman for a 7-0 Falcons lead. After a touchback, the Saints moved to a 4th and 1 at the Atlanta 30. Sean Payton decided to go for it. Rather than plunge straight ahead, Drew Brees went deep to Coby Fleener for a 25 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the one, Brees went to Fleener for the tying touchdown. Yet officials reversed the call and ruled it incomplete. With nothing to play for but pride, Sean Payton inexplicably on 4th and goal at the one opted for the field goal. Will Lutz hit from 19 to get the Saints within 7-3. After a touchback, the Falcons need one play and 11 seconds to strike again. Devonta Freeman raced for a 75 yard touchdown and a 14-3 Falcons lead. The Saints came back 75 yards as well. Tim Hightower ran for a 2 yard touchdown as the Saints trailed 14-10 after a wild first quarter.
The pinball action carried over into the second quarter as the Falcons easily moved 75 yards again. Ryan hit Julio Jones for a one yard touchdown to make it 21-10 Falcons. Atlanta got it back and moved 76 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Ryan hit Mohammed Sanu as a shootout was turning into a 28-10 Falcons blowout. Lutz hit a 40 yard field goal, but Falcons kept rolling. 75 yards later had Ryan hitting Hardy for a 7 yard touchdown as the Falcons led 35-13 at halftime. The second half was a formality. In the third quarter The Falcons moved 95 yards in 14 plays and 5 minutes, settling for a 22 yard Matt Bryant field goal to lead 38-13. The game was supposedly over, the Saints still had a first ballot Hall of Famer quarterbacking them.
Brees led a furious fourth quarter rally. The Saints moved 89 yard and Brees hit Thomas for a 14 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the saints were within 38-19 with 12 1/2 minutes left. The Saints got it back at their own 32 On 3rd and 13 from just past midfield, Brees hit Snead for 27 yards. On 1st and goal at the 9, Brees went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. The Saints got it back at midfield with 5 minutes left. Mark Ingram ran for a 38 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the one, Ingram got in. The 2 point try again failed but the Saints were within 38-25 with 2:45 to play. The Saints recovered the onside kick at their own 43. On 4th and 5 from their 48, Brees went deep to Thomas for 17 yards. On 4th and 1 from the 26, Ingram gained 9. Brees hit Cadet for a 3 yard score. With only 39 seconds left, the Saints were within 6. This time the onside kick failed and the Falcons survived.
Matty Ice finished a ridiculous 27 of 36 for 331 yards, 4 touchdown passes all in the first half, and 0 interceptions. Brees finished 29 of 50 for 350 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception. Brees also topped 5,000 yards passing for the 5th time in his career. No other quarterback in NFL history has done that more than once. Despite a 7-9 finish and swirling rumors about Sean Payton bolting, he is probably staying. The Falcons clinched the bye in their second year under Dan Quinn. 38-32 Falcons
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos — Despite being 12-3, the Raiders season had become a nightmare. Last week Derek Carr broke his leg and is done for the year. Backup Matt McGloin had not played in three years. The Raiders came in with the inside track on the first round bye, but a loss coupled with a Kansas City win would drop the Raiders all the way to the five seed wildcard. The Broncos at 8-7 were out of the playoffs, and rumors were swirling that Gary Kubiak would retire after the game for health reasons. Kubiak is only 55 but suffered heart trouble earlier this year. The Broncos dominated from the start, moving 84 yards without much difficulty. Booker returned for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Broncos. In the second quarter the Broncos moved 85 yards again. This time the Raiders defense bent but did not break. Brandon McManus hit the 22 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Broncos.
Things went from bad to worse for the Raiders. McGloin took a helmet to helmet hit and left the game shaken up. The Raiders punted on 4th and 29 from their own 30 and the Broncos took over at their own 42. On 3rd and 8 from the Oakland 33, Trevor Siemian fumbled the snap, but the Broncos retained possession. The Broncos were called for offensive holding. 4th and 8 would mean a 51 yard field goal try for McManus. Yet Jack Del rio has been gambling all season, and he gambled again. He took the penalty and made it 3rd and 18 to push the Broncos out of field goal range but give them one more shot. Siemian threw a sideways swing pass that appeared to gain nothing. Then the Raiders lost all interest in tackling as Booker took the swing pass all the way for a 43 yard touchdown. This was the backbreaker as the Raiders trailed 17-0 at halftime. Connor Cook played the end of the first half and all of the second half. Cook had never thrown a pass in an NFL regular season game. The Raiders chances went from slim to none.
In the third quarter the Raiders quickly moved from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Denver 37. Cook was then sacked and fumbled the ball away. On 3rd and 5 from the Denver 41, Siemian hit Lattimer for 14 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Oakland 43, Siemian hit Thomas for a 26 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the 11 Siemian threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. Siemian hit Green for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 24-0 Broncos. Cook would throw a 32 yard touchdown to Amari Cooper, but that was it. The Broncos finished 9-7 while the 12-4 Raiders collapse was complete. They lost the division and will be on the road in the Wildcard round against Houston, perhaps the only team as messed up as they are. After 14 years the Raiders are finally in the playoffs, but it feels like they have already lost. It was also a sad day for Denver. After the game Kubiak confirmed the rumors and told his team he was retiring. 24-6 Broncos
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams — Chandler Catanzaro hit field goals of 32 yards in the first quarter and 34 yards in the second quarter to make it 6-0 Cardinals. The second kick came after the quarterbacks traded interceptions. The Cardinals then drove 65 yards and Carson Palmer hit Ross for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 13-0 Cardinals. The Rams tried to make a game of it with Greg Zuerlein hitting field goals of 37 and 36 yards to get the Rams within 13-6. The first one came after a Rams touchdown was nullified by illegal motion. The second one was set up by a blocked punt. Catanzaro hit his third field goal from 47 yards out to end the half with the Cardinals up 16-6. In the third quarter the Cardinals put the game away. The Rams punted on 4th and 24 from their own 10. Patrick Peterson returned it 17 yards to the Rams 37. One play later Palmer went deep to Fells for the touchdown to make it 23-6 Cardinals. The Rams then punted on 4th and 23 from their own 5, setting up the Cardinals at their own 43. On 4th and 4 from the Rams 36, Bruce Arians decided to go for it. Palmer went deep to JJ Nelson for a 32 yard gain. On 3rd and goal from the one, Williams got in to make it 30-6 Cardinals. In the fourth quarter turnovers turned a blowout into a carpet-bombing. A Los Angeles fumble had the Cardinals at the Rams 19. On 3rd and goal Palmer hit Fitzgerald for a 5 yard score. Goff was benched and backup Mannion played the fourth quarter. Mannion had an interception returned 66 yards to complete the scoring. The 4-12 Rams are looking for a new coach in the offseason while Bruce Arians insists that’ despite earlier health issues, he will be back in 2017. The 7-8-1 Cardinals are not expected to blow up their roster. 44-6 Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers — The 5-10 Chargers were wondering if Mike McCoy would be fired on Black Monday. It was also possible the team was playing its final game in San Diego and possibly moving to Los Angeles. The 11-4 Chiefs had locked up a playoff spot, but would win the AFC West and a first round bye with a win and an Oakland loss. Early on both teams had mirror image drives of 10 plays, just over 50 yards, and 5 minutes of clock. Both teams settled for mirror image 35 yard field goals as Josh Lambo hit for San Diego and Cairo Santos answered for Kansas City in a 3-3 game. In the second quarter the Chargers moved 76 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Chargers. The Chiefs quickly moved 75 yards and Alex Smith ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 10-10. The first big break in the game came when Rivers was intercepted, setting up the Chiefs at the San Diego 34. Smith hit West for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 17-10 Chiefs. With 1:17 left in the half the Chargers faced 2nd and 7 from the Chiefs 18. Looking for the tie, Rivers went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. The Chargers defense folded in the 2 minute drill and Santos hit from 25 to make it 20-10 Chiefs at halftime.
In the third quarter the Chiefs drove down the field looking for the knockout blow. On 2nd and 3 from the Chargers 11, Smith threw a short pass that was intercepted by Addae. Addae weaved all across the field and picked up a convoy of blockers. By the time he was done, the 90 yard interception touchdown had the Chargers right back in it down 20-17. Yet these are the Chargers. Lmbo kicked the ensuing kick out of bounds, setting up the Chiefs at their own 40. Smith quickly hit Tyreeq Hill for 20 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the San Diego 9, Smith ran and came up short. Yet defensive holding on Rolando McClain meant 1st and goal at the 2. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Smith found West for the touchdown and the 27-17 Chiefs lead. The Chargers punted at their own 46 and Hill fielded the ball at his own 5 yard line. He did not fair catch it. He broke a couple tackles, stayed inbounds, and outraced everyone for a 95 yard touchdown. After three quarters, the Chiefs had a comfortable 34-17 lead.
With 11 minutes left in regulation and the Chargers in the red zone, Rivers on 3rd down fired to Antonio Gates in the end zone. The ball bounced off of Gates and a defender incomplete. Needing 3 scores, Lambo came in for the 29 yard field goal and brought the Chargers to within 34-20. Despite plenty of time, Mike McCoy hit the panic button and called an onside kick. It failed, and Santos hit a 37 yard field goal to lock up the win. The Chargers got their garbage touchdown to end their garbage season as the Spanos family decided whether or not to change cities. Mike McCoy did not even make it to Black Monday. He was fired Sunday night after the game ended. The Chiefs win coupled with an Oakland loss gave Walrus Lite Andy Reid and the 12-4 Chiefs the tie-breaker edge and the AFC West crown along with the first round bye. 37-27 Chiefs
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers — The 49ers have gone from being the most class organization under Eddie Debartolo Jr. to the least classy organization with Jed York running things into the ground. It was leaked on New Year’s Eve that the 2-13 49ers would fire General Manager Trent Baalke and Coach Chip Kelly after the game. On New Year’s Day before the game Baalke confirmed he was fired but said he would show up to the finale anyway. They were also out of the running for the top pick in the Draft.Meanwhile, the 9-5-1 Seahawks had clinched a home game on Wildcard weekend but would need to win and get help to move up to the two seed and a first round bye. On the second play from scrimmage after a touchback, Colin Kaepernick fumbled the snap out of the shotgun and the Seahawks recovered at the San Francisco 21 yard line. The defense held Seattle to a 31 yard Steve Hauschka field goal for a 3-0 Seahawks lead. The 49ers came back 75 yards and Draughn got in from the one as the 49ers actually led 7-3. The 49ers got it back and moved 79 yards in 14 plays and 8 minutes. On the first play of the second quarter the 49ers faced 4th and goal at the one. With absolutely nothing left to lose, Chip Kelly went for it. Draughn got in as the 49ers led 14-3 and were smelling upset.
Reality soon set in. A 32 yard Hauschka field goal got the Seahawks within 14-6. From their own 48, a 49ers fumble was returned by Clark 27 yards to the San Francisco 15. Russell Wilson hit non-relative Willson for an 11 yard touchdown to get the Seahawks within 14-13. The Seahawks got it back at their own 9. From the 16, Wilson went deep to Doug Baldwin for a 41 yard gain and deep again to Jimmy Graham for a 42 yard gain down to the one. Thomas Rawls got in to make it 19-14 Seahawks. The extra point was blocked. In the third quarter the 49ers punted on 4th and 25 from their own 9. The Seahawks got it back at their own 41 and Wilson went deep to Jermaine Kearse for a 36 yard gain. Hauschka hit from 33 to make it 22-14 Seahawks. After giving up 19 unanswered points, the 49ers caught a break. The Seahawks lined up to punt on 4th and 10 from their own 14. The high snap sailed over the punter’s head out of the back of the end zone for a safety to get the 49ers within 22-16.
The 49ers could not capitalize after the free kick. In the fourth quarter Hauschka hit from 28 to give the Seahawks breathing room up 25-16. After that with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation Pete Carroll took Russell Wilson out and let backup Trevor Boykin finish the game. With a first round bye out of reach, keeping Wilson healthy for the playoffs mattered more. Midway through the fourth quarter the 49ers went with some trickery on a punt return as a lateral meant a 33 yard gain to the Seattle 35. Kaepernick hit Celek for a 9 yard touchdown. With 6 minutes left the 49ers were only down two points. On 3rd and 8 from their 21, Boykin hit McEvoy for 9 yards. On 3rd and 1 from their 39, Boykin hit Willson for 7. On 2nd and 11 from the Seattle 45, Boykin hit Reece for 19 yards. At the 2 minute warning with the Seahawks facing 2nd and 10 at the Frisco 36, Boykin gained 11 yards as the 49ers never got the ball back. The City of San Francisco may be the team to rename itself the San Jose or Santa Clara 49ers. At 2-14, they still did not earn the top pick in the Draft next year. The Seahawks are the three seed and will host a Wildcard game next week. 25-23 Seahawks
New York Giants at Washington Redskins — The 10-5 Giants came in having locked up the fifth seed. The 8-6-1 Redskins with a win would get the six seed and with a loss would miss the playoffs. With everything on the line for Washington, they came out flat in a game dominated by the Giants defense. In the first quarter the Giants moved 56 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. They settled for a 40 yard Robbie Gould field goal and a 3-0 Giants lead. In the second quarter the Giants moved 74 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Rashad Jennings got in from 2 yards out to make it 10-0 Giants. The Redskins finally got on the board late in the third quarter with a 32 yard Dustin Hopkins field goal to trail 10-3 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Redskins moved 76 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 17 from the Giants 24, Cousins found Pierre Garcon for 23 yards. Cousins hit Reed for the one yard touchdown for a 10-10 game with 8 minutes left in regulation. With 4:40 to play the Giants faced 3rd and 5 at their own 25. Manning hit Victor Cruz for 6 and then went deep to King for a 44 yard gain. With 2:17 to play, Gould came in for a 40 yard field goal to give the Giants the lead. Gould was good. The Redskins moved from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Giants 43 with 1:27 to play. Only one first down from field goal range, Cousins went deep and was intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Washington got it back at their own 6 with 6 seconds left. Attempts at hook and laterals led to the Giants recovering and Wade running the other way for an 11 yard clinching touchdown. Although Jay Gruden will be back next year, two straight home losses will have him on the hot seat in 2017. The Redskins will not be in the playoffs while the Giants under Ben McAdoo showed grit, especially on defense. 19-10 Giants
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions was the Sunday night game. With Washington losing earlier in the day, this game lost a slight amount of luster. It was no longer a do or die game where the loser would miss the playoffs. Both 9-6 teams entered the game knowing they were in the postseason. Both teams would play in the Wildcard round next week. Yet the winner of this game would be NFC North champions and be the four seed, meaning playing their first playoff game at home. The loser and six seed would have to do everything on the road. After a scoreless opening quarter, on the first play of the second quarter Matt Prater missed a 39 yard field goal for the Lions. The Packers struck first in the second quarter. A 71 yard drive was capped off with Aaron Rodgers hitting Ripowkski for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers. The Lions moved 80 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and goal at the one, Zach Zenner got in for a 7-7 ballgame. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half the Lions got it back at their own 31. Matthew Stafford threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate. The Lions led 14-7 and only 23 seconds remained in the half. The Packers faced 1st and 15 at their own 20. Rodgers went to Allison for a 39 yard gain and to Cook for 6 more yards. On the last play of the half Mason Crosby drilled a 53 yard field goal to get the Packers within 14-10.
In the third quarter the Packers moved 75 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Rodgers hit Devonta Adams for a 3 yard touchdown as the Packers led 17-14. In the third quarter the Packers moved 81 yards in 10 plays. From the Detroit 10 on 3rd and 9, Rodgers rolled to his left, waited forever, and fired a laser to the end zone to Allison for the touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Packers led 23-14. From the Detroit 31, the Lions moved as Stafford hit Marvin Jones for 23 yards. Despite 1st and 10 at the Green Bay 36, Stafford threw 3 straight incompletions. Needing 2 scores, Jim Caldwell brought in Prater for a 54 yard field goal try. Prater was good and the Lions were within 6 points midway through the fourth quarter. Despite plenty of time after a touchback, the Lions defense could not get a stop. On 3rd and 10 from the Detroit 48, Rodgers threw incomplete but 12 men on the defense gave the Packers another shot. On 3rd and 5 Rodgers hit Montgomery for 9 yards. Rodgers threw a 9 yard touchdown to Adams and went back to Adams for the 2 point conversion.
The Packers led 31-17, but more importantly only 2:45 remained in the game. A rally was snuffed out when Stafford was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback with 90 seconds left. The Packers punted and a shanked 18 yard punt gave the Lions the ball back at the Green Bay 35 with barely more than 22 seconds to play. Stafford threw a Hail Mary to Anquon Boldin for the touchdown with 12 seconds left. The onside kick failed and the Packers had finally put the game away. The Packers finished the season with 6 straight wins while the Lions end the season with 3 straight losses. The Packers are division champs again while the Lions have not won the division since the 1993 season. 31-24 Packers
The playoffs are now set (all times Eastern):
Saturday, January 7
AFC: 4:30 p.m. ABC: 5.) Oakland Raiders at 4.) Houston Texans
NFC: 8:15 p.m. NBC: 6.) Detroit Lions at 3.) Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, January 8
AFC: 1:00 p.m. CBS: 6.) Miami Dolphins at 3.) Pittsburgh Steelers,
NFC: 4:30 p.m. FOX: 5.) New York Giants at 4.) Green Bay Packers
AFC: 2.) Kansas City Chiefs and 1.) New England Patriots
NFC: 2.) Atlanta Falcons and 1.) Dallas Cowboys