Week 13 NFL Roundup
Thursday, November 29
Drew Brees threw 5 interceptions in this game and didn’t throw at least 1 touchdown pass for the first time in 54 games. Atlanta jumped to a 17-0 lead and improved to 11-1 after defeating the Saints 23-13, solidifying their spot in the postseason and making New Orleans battle even more difficult. It was a quiet game for both Julio Jones and Roddy White but the ageless wonder Tony Gonzalez got into the end-zone for Matt Ryan’s only touchdown pass.
Sunday, December 2
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Adrian Peterson was running over the Packers all day but whenever the ball was put in Ponder’s hands it would end up in a Packers. Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby continued his kicking woes before making some important kicks later. He will keep his job for now, but I can’t say the same thing for Christian Ponder. Adrian Peterson should be the front-runner for MVP with the performance he’s having this season and makes me think something in that knee is bionic.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills
You can call it a longshot but Buffalo is still “in the hunt” for a playoff spot after topping the Jags 34-18 with a decent game from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitz threw for 2 touchdowns and rushed one in while the Bills got 109 yards from Fred Jackson and a 44 yard TD run from C.J. Spiller. Cecil Shorts continued his hot streak for Jacksonville scoring a TD but the same couldn’t be said for Chad Henne. It seems that the Jaguars just sucked a little more and Buffalo finally played mediocre.
Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears
The Seahawks improved to 3-1 against the NFC North with another thrilling game-ending touchdown pass and their only loss coming to the Detroit Lions. This one was at least a legitimate touchdown but Sidney Rice paid the price for breaking the plane, getting knocked unconscious on the game-winning play. Chicago is now 1-3 in their last 4 games despite having great production from Brandon Marshall, who had 10 catches for 165 yards and a healthy Jay Cutler. The Bears lost Earl Bennett but not before he could make a somersaulting touchdown into the end-zone, literally head over heels. It wasn’t enough as Russell Wilson continued to impress with his playmaking abilities buying time and extending plays, just enough to win it in overtime.
Indianapolis Colts @ Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions pissed away another lead and lost yet another close game falling to Andrew Luck and the Colts on the final play of the game. Luck found Donnie Avery on 4th down with 0:00 on the clock and escorted him into the end-zone from a couple yards out. Luck became the 4th rookie to throw a game-winning TD, joining Russell Wilson from earlier this season. Megatron had a huge game with some incredible catches, finishing the game with 13 receptions for 171 and a touchdown. This was Andrew Luck’s game and he and the Colts remained Chuckstrong coming away with a victory due to his 391 passing yards and 4 touchdowns.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
Houston quietly improved to 11-1 after defeating the Titans 24-10, securing a playoff spot and improving to 6-0 on the road. The Titans welcomed Jake Locker back and he threw for over 300 yards but it was a difficult day for the young QB who ended the game with 3 interceptions and completing less than 50% of his 45 passes. The Texans defense were once again the Bulls on Parade forcing 6 turnovers, the 3 picks and recovering 3 fumbles. J.J. Watt increased his sack total tallying his 15.5 of the year when he brought down Locker, he also batted down a couple balls.
Carolina Panthers @ Kansas City Chiefs
I can only imagine how difficult it was for some of the people involved with the tragedy of Jovan Belcher, but the real devastation is that the Chiefs won a game. They somehow embraced a murderer and used his unjustifiable act as inspiration to win a game and take themselves out of the #1 overall Draft position of 2013. Brady Quinn played great completing 19-23 for 201 and 2 touchdowns while Jamaal Charles had 127 yards on 27 carries. The Chiefs offense was just enough to hold off Cam and the Panthers 21-27. Newton had 3 touchdown passes and 78 yards rushing but it wasn’t enough to keep the Chiefs winless at Arrowhead Stadium.
San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams
It seemed like this game was going to be yet another tie, after the two couldn’t outscore eachother in their last matchup. The Rams were given a gift when newly named starting QB Colin Kaepernick made a terrible option pitch to Ted Gin that was recovered and returned for a few yards by the Rams for a touchdown. Kaepernick did what he was supposed to do in overtime and gave Joe Nedney a chance to win the game but he missed the game-winner wide right. The Rams got the ball back and rumbled into field goal range behind Steven Jackson. Greg “Legatron” Zuerlein hit a 54 yard game-winner with less than a minute left to give the Rams a 13-16 win.
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
New England traveled down to south beach to play the Miami Dolphins and clinched their 4th straight AFC East title with a 23-16 victory. It is the teams 10th division title since 2000 the most of any other NFL team during that span. Steven Ridley kicked things off with a short touchdown run in the 1st quarter and Tom Brady didn’t have to do much than drop back and look for Wes Welker. Welker has 12 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown and tied Jerry Rice’s record of 17 games with 10+ receptions. This was a squandered opportunity by the ‘Phins to steal a game. A botched punt, fumble and roughing the punter proved to be 17 points in the Patriots favor.
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets
I’m not sure if I would have rather been kicked in the crotch or forced to watch this pathetic attempt of a NFL game. Mark Sanchez continued to be himself throwing 3 interceptions and completing less than half of his pass attempts. Surprisingly Rex Ryan made a move at QB, maybe because Tebow was in street clothes with a rib injury. Greg McElroy came out and completed 5 of his 7 attempts for 36 yards and the game’s only touchdown. The Cardinals lost 6-7 and have now dropped 8 straight games since starting 4-0 and you have to start feeling bad for Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz admitted that he just had to laugh to keep himself from crying, maybe he can wipe away his tears with $100 bills. Arizona is doomed while the Jets have a favorable schedule to run the table and possibly finish 9-7 and in playoff contention. Possibly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Denver Broncos
The steady hand of Peyton Manning continued and he threw for 3 touchdowns, 2 of which went to Demaryius Thomas and the other to a nose tackle. Denver clinched the AFC West and there are talks that Manning could win comeback player of the year and most valuable player. Manning became just the 3rd QB in Broncos franchise history to throw for 29 touchdowns in a season. He will likely become the first Bronco to throw for 30 touchdowns becoming the franchise leader next week. Von Miller scored the Broncos other touchdown when he returned an interception 26 yards into the end-zone. Although the Broncos are locked in the Bucs have now fallen out of the NFC’s 2nd Wild Card spot but are still in the thick of things.
Cleveland Browns @ Oakland Raiders
The Cleveland Browns traveled to the bay area and for the first time in 13 road games, came away with a victory. Brandon Weeden threw for 364 yards and a score, Josh Gordon was responsible for 116 of those yards and the touchdown. Trent Richardson had 72 yards and a touchdown, allowing the Browns to control the clock and win the time of possession battle. The Raiders had a good game from Palmer who had 351 yards and 2 touchdowns but it was TE Brandon Meyers who had a huge game. Meyers had 14 receptions for 130 yards and a score but the Raiders would lose 20-17 to the Browns, who are on a two-game winning streak.
Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers
The Chargers had an early first half lead but Andy Dalton and the Bengals charged back to win their 4th game in a row. Philip Rivers had two turnovers in the final 4 minutes and the Chargers have now lost 4 straight, but don’t worry they still aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. They are however guaranteed to have a record of .500 or below for the 3 season in the last five years. It seems as if Norv Turner may finally be shown the door after 6 seasons. Cincy is looking primed to make it back into the playoffs with their 7-5 record. San Diego is now 21-23 since losing to the Jets in 2009 which was their last postseason appearance.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore was 9-2 and 5-0 at home welcoming a Steelers team without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger. It seemed like a sure thing but Charlie Batch was able to expose their division rival and Shayne Suisham kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. Batch was overcome with emotion and the Steelers were able to pull off the upset despite one of the worst fumbles by Emmanuel Sanders that I’ve ever seen. Sanders was wide open coming across the field and caught the ball with no one between him and paydirt, but somehow while switching the ball to his outside hand he put the rock on the floor. Ed Reed would come up with the ball and added an interception later in the game, but it was Batch and Pittsburgh that came away victorious. Baltimore dropped to 9-3, the Steelers improved to 7-5, but the Ravens may have exposed some of their weaknesses.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
It was crazy to me that the NFL wouldn’t have switched this game out of primetime but I am glad Roger Goodell forced it down our throats. It turned out to be an interesting game with the Cowboys charging back in the 4th quarter outscoring the Eagles by 12 to win the game 33-38. Bryce Brown continued to impress with 169 yards and 2 touchdowns but he also had another fumble. That fumble was at midfield and rookie Morris Claiborne would pick it up and return it for a touchdown and give his team an 11 point lead. Tony Romo led his team to victory completing 22 of 27 passes for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns, going a perfect 10-10 in the 2nd half and completing his final 12 attempts. When Romo hit Dez Bryant for a 23 yard touchdown he broke Troy Aikman’s career mark of 165 TD passes as a Cowboy.