Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Along with the holiday, week 12 brought with it a triple header on Thursday, so we got a smorgasbord of football as well as food! However, it wasn’t all good. Continuing with the trend this year, we had another week of unexpected outcomes and some downright poor play and officiating – no matter what team you were rooting for. Without further ado, your week 12 menu.
Detroit Lions 45, Philadelphia Eagles 14
Thanksgiving Day began with a blowout. For once, the Lions were on the right side of it too. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this one other than A). Philadelphia did not show up for this game in any way, shape or form and B). Calvin Johnson was “covered” by a rookie all day – so he scored 3 touchdowns. These teams are heading in opposite directions as we close the year.
Carolina Panthers 33, Dallas Cowboys 14
Technically, this game was closer than the last. But it was a very similar story. Except this one ends with Tony Romo re-breaking his left collarbone. That’s no excuse for the loss though, as he’d thrown 3 interceptions prior to that – so it’s not like Dallas was going to win this one anyway. The Panthers continue to fire on all cylinders as they inch closer to an undefeated season.
Chicago Bears 17, Green Bay Packers 13
If I told you that the Bears scored 17 points against the Packers, most people would automatically assume that they lost. Not today, my friends. The Bears defense has been formidable lately and stifled Green Bay’s already sputtering offense. You have to wonder when Aaron Rodgers will stop throwing the ball to Davante “The Drop Machine” Adams and when the Packers will start looking like a championship team again. The Bears are gaining on them quickly.
Cincinnati Bengals 31, St. Louis Rams 7
Rams coach Jeff Fisher is back to doing his usual Jeff Fisher things, like posting a mediocre record no matter the talent level on his team. The Bengals completely dominated all phases of the game in this matchup, it’s a wonder the Rams even got on the board. Todd Gurley ran into a brick wall this weekend, gaining just 19 yards on 9 carries. The Bengals’ defense baffled and battered the St. Louis all game long en route to an easy W.
Oakland Raiders 24, Tennessee Titans 21
Don’t look now, but the Raiders are still in playoff contention after 12 weeks of NFL action! Oakland actually had this one nearly wrapped up before a second half collapse let the Titans back in the game. Luckily for them, Derek Carr was able to save the day with a late touchdown drive, throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts with only 1:21 remaining on the clock. Mariota threw an interception on the ensuing drive to seal the deal.
Washington Redskins 20, New York Giants 14
The Redskins were in complete control nearly all game long as they took control of first place in the NFC East. Eli Manning was intercepted three times, although two of them were tipped passes, as the Redskins defense pitched a shutout through three quarters. Manning made it close in the fourth by throwing a couple of long touchdown passes, but the game was never really in question. First place, Washington Redskins. Haven’t heard that in a while.
Minnesota Vikings 20, Atlanta Falcons 10
Like clockwork, the Vikings rode their newly stingy defense and legendary runningback all the way to victory. The turning point in this game was on a long run by Tevin Coleman for the Falcons that would have put Atlanta in the red zone – if he didn’t score – but Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr caught him from behind after a cutback and knocked the ball loose for Minnesota to recover. Adrian Peterson put the game away with a 35-yard run for a score with just over 4 minutes left in the game to boost the Vikings to 8-3.
Kansas City Chiefs 30, Buffalo Bills 22
The Chiefs have stormed back from a 1-5 start with five straight wins to put themselves directly into playoff contention. Sammy Watkins had an incredible first half catching the football for the Bills, but Kansas City held him without a catch in the second half as they rode Jeremy Maclin and 3rd string runningback Spencer Ware to victory. The Chiefs are getting it done.
Houston Texans 24, New Orleans Saints 6
Speaking of teams on the rise that have a great defense, how about those Texans? From laughingstock to contender, Houston has changed their fortunes in just a matter of weeks. Brian Hoyer got them out to an early lead with a pair of touchdown passes and the Texans just ground out the victory from there. The Houston defense held the Saints without a touchdown, something that hasn’t been done in 10 years.
Indianapolis Colts 25, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12
Just because the Colts don’t Luck doesn’t mean they’re out of luck. Matt Hasselbeck, though a bit on the old side, has been the league’s best backup quarterback by far this year. The Colts are undefeated in games Hasselbeck has started and it really makes you wonder if the Colts should bring Andrew Luck back when he’s healthy. Jameis Winston played decent this week, but threw just one touchdown coming off his five score performance a week ago.
New York Jets 38, MIami Dolphins 20
The Dolphins need to apply for division realignment this offseason. They are being brutalized by the Jets and the rest of the AFC East this year. Ryan Tannehill threw for 351 and 3 scores, but mostly after the game was out of hand and they had absolutely no running game to speak of. On the other side Ryan Fitzpatrick chucked four touchdowns on the day. Brandon Marshall reeled in nine passes on the day for 131 yards and two touchdowns as he and Fitz dominated the Dolphins D.
San Diego Chargers 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 25
The San Diego Chargers did something this weekend that they haven’t done in weeks… win a game! The Chargers terrible season has been a combination of injuries, bad luck and heartbreak, but a visit with the Jaguars appeared to be just what the doctor ordered. Phil Rivers was back to his gunslinging self and hooked up with HOF tight end Antonio Gates for two touchdowns on Sunday. Blake Bortles wasn’t too bad, himself, but wasn’t able to finish the comeback down the stretch.
Arizona Cardinals 19, San Francisco 49ers 13
If anyone has anything to gripe about this weekend, it’s the 49ers. The officiating in this game was so bad that the crew was demoted from their scheduled prime time game in week 13. It was that bad. This was an ugly, ugly came and if you were unlucky enough to have actually watched it, I’m sorry. The Cardinals limped out of this one with a W, albeit with a little bit of help from the guys in stripes. On to the next one.
Seattle Seahawks 39, Pittsburgh Steelers 30
Pittsburgh vs. Seattle, in Seattle. Sounds like a gritty, gruesome defensive battle for the ages, right? Well… I hope you bet the over. This one turned into a shootout. Neither team had too much success on the ground, but they combined for over 800 yards passing and 6 touchdowns – 5 of which were thrown by Russell Wilson. The Seahawks posted a 19 point fourth quarter to come back and beat the Steelers, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Denver Broncos 30, New England Patriots 24
This one might have been the game of the week. It took 12 games plus an over time, but the Patriots suffered their first loss of 2015. All the injuries finally caught up with them as they ran into a stout Denver defense and resurgent offense. Brock Osweiler has gotten the job done in Denver so far with back to back tough wins. This was another game with some questionable calls, mostly going against the Patriots, that took some big plays off the board. The NFL has got to clean this up. It was a great matchup all night long that closed on this sequence: Late touchdown drive by Denver to take a 3 point lead, game-tying field goal as time ran out by New England, 3 and out by New England in overtime and finally, a 48-yard scamper for a touchdown by CJ Anderson to steal the victory for Denver. Let’s hope we get a rematch in the playoffs, because this was fun to watch.
Baltimore Ravens 33, Cleveland Browns 27
The Cleveland Browns soap opera continued in week 12 as Johnny Manziel was benched in order to teach him a lesson (is that actually possible?). So Josh McCown got the start in this battle of bad AFC North teams with nothing to play for and what was his reward? A broken collarbone. Enter Austin Davis, the pride of Southern Miss. Davis went 6 for 7, leading the Browns on a beautiful game-tying touchdown drive that culminated with a perfect strike on a touchdown pass thrown to Travis Benjamin. Then the defense held tough and Davis drove the Browns into field goal range for a chance to kick the game winner. Has Cleveland found a savior? Is their luck finally changing? The Browns line up for the long field goal attempt (about 50 yards). Snap… Kick… Blocked. Classic Cleveland. But wait, a Ravens defender has picked up the ball and started running. He’s quick and he’s got blockers… he’s to the 40… the 30… the 20… one man to beat… touchdown, Ravens! A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown with no time left on the clock, now THAT was classic Cleveland Browns.