Wow. That’s just about all I can muster after another wacky and wild week in the NFL. As a diehard fan of the NFL for the past ten years (at least), I can confidently say that I don’t remember another year being so weird and unpredictable. Usually, we get a sense of consistency week in and week out, especially as the season enters the final quarter of the regular season. But not in 2015. Let’s get to it.
Green Bay Packers 27, Detroit Lions 23
Just when you think you’ve got an idea of what’s going on in the NFL, they prove you wrong. Detroit had this game in hand with a 20-0 lead at one point. But you can’t ever count out great quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers. He led Green Bay back into the game and somehow pulled off a miracle by completing a 61-yard hail mary to Richard Rodgers in the end zone with no time on the clock. There was a controversial facemask penalty called on the play before that gave Green Bay the opportunity to win – but there’s not enough room here for that discussion…
Buffalo Bills 30, Houston Texans 21
The Texans defense has been on fire, DeAndre Hopkins is unstoppable and Houston has been on a roll. So, naturally, the Bills score 30 on them with Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins each having a big game. Who didn’t see that coming? On a serious note, this game had big playoff implications as each team is fighting for a spot. The Bills gained the upper hand here as they try to sneak into an AFC wild card spot.
San Francisco 49ers 26, Chicago Bears 20
Ladies and gentlemen, Blaine Gabbert. Don’t look now but Gabbert and Shaun Draughn led the way to a 49ers win… on the road! And against a pretty decent Chicago Bears team. The Bears had a touchdown lead with less than two minutes to in the game after a Kadeem Carey (not Foret or Langford) touchdown. But then the Bears gave up a 44-yard scramble for a touchdown by Gabbert to send the game to overtime. That’s when Torrey Smith got loose down the sideline and Gabbert hit him for a 71-yard game-winning touchdown. Maybe there’s something to this Gabbert kid after all?
Cincinnati Bengals 37, Cleveland Browns 3
Ouch. That appears to be all Cleveland can say after this thrashing. The Bengals have asserted their dominance in the battle for Ohio this year, sweeping the Browns 2-0. The game was essentially over from the start as the Bengals destroyed the Browns in all facets of the game. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were great, Jeremy Hill is gaining momentum and the Browns look like they’d struggle against the Cincinnati Bearcats, let alone the Bengals…
Miami Dolphins 15, Baltimore Ravens 13
With so many games that were fun to watch this weekend, I’m sorry if you were stuck watching this one. This was a contest of two teams that are battling more for draft positioning than playoff positioning. And it showed. It was ugly from the outset with neither team able to get much going on offense – and it wasn’t due to any stellar play on defense, either. Thankfully, the game had to end at some point and the Dolphins emerged “victorious”. I’m still not sure there was any real winner of this game.
Seattle Seahawks 38, Minnesota Vikings 7
This game brings with it a serious warning for NFC teams: Beware. The Minnesota Vikings have proven to be a very good football team this year with a stout defense and strong running game. Seattle dropped 38 points on them and held Adrian Peterson to 18 yards on 8 carries. Just let that sink in for a second. As bad as the Seahawks had looked early on this season, they are rounding in the form at the perfect time and look primed for another deep playoff run.
New York Jets 23, New York Giants 20
The battle for the Meadowlands. We’ll pick this one up in the fourth quarter and the Giants are driving deep into Jets territory. The Jet defense holds strong though and forces the Giants into a fourth down and two on the Jet 4-yard line. With the game tied at 20, obviously the Giants will kick the easy field goal — just kidding. They’re going for it. Aaaand they don’t convert. Fast forward to overtime where the Jets lead by three and the Giants have a chance to tie it up with a 48-yard field goal from Josh Brown aaaand… he missed. Jets win. That’s the Giants’ season in a nutshell.
Arizona Cardinals 27, St. Louis Rams 3
Once again, Jeff Fisher and the Rams are still bad. And the Arizona Cardinals reminded us again this Sunday. The Cardinals had their way with the Rams this time around after getting beat by STL in their previous matchup this season. Todd Gurley was held to 41 yards on 9 carries and as Gurley goes, so go the Rams. I know that you’re supposed to throw the ball when you’re losing, so that you can try and catch up quickly… but when your quarterbacks are this bad, shouldn’t you just get the ball into your best player’s hands?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, Atlanta Falcons 19
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Atlanta, who started the year so hot has dropped to .500 after losing to Jameis Winston and the Bucs. Winston managed another game with a touchdown on the ground and through the air as he led the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Who would have thought that the rookie, Winston would be outplaying Matty “Ice” Ryan this late into the 2015 season as both teams move in opposite directions. Not good for Atlanta.
Tennessee Titans 42, Jacksonville Jaguars 39
No defense here, folks. In what may have been the most exciting game to watch all day, the Titans pulled out a late victory against their division rival via the legs of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former Oregon Duck put his terrific speed and athleticism on display as he took an 87-yard run to the house midway through the fourth. The incredible run turned out to be the game-winner in what has been quite the year for rookie quarterbacks in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs 34, Oakland Raiders 20
The Raiders took a 20-14 lead into the fourth quarter on the strength of a pair of Derek Carr touchdowns. But it was all downhill from there. Carr proceeded to throw three interceptions, yes three, in the final quarter and one of them was returned for a touchdown by former Raider, Tyvon Branch. These are the instances that make the Raiders look like the Raiders. And fourth quarters like this make the Chiefs look like a team that can get into the playoffs and do some damage. A defense this good will keep them in a lot of games.
Denver Broncos 17, San Diego Chargers 3
Another sloppy one for San Diego. Denver didn’t actually play that well in this one – well, the offense didn’t, at least – but they didn’t need to, either. Brock Osweiler didn’t do too much, with 166 yards passing and one touchdown and one interception. C.J. Anderson got hurt and Ronnie Hillman didn’t exactly impress in the running game. While the Broncos offense didn’t inspire any confidence this weekend against a lackluster Chargers team, they did more than enough to get it done and move on with a W.
Philadelphia Eagles 35, New England Patriots 28
This may have been the craziest game of the weekend. The Philadelphia Eagles went into Foxborough, Massachusetts and beat the New England Patriots. I had to spell it out so that it will sink in. The Eagles destroyed the Patriots on special teams (a very rare feat) with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown and the defense even got in on the act with a 100-yard interception return… for a touchdown. Tom Brady caught a pass and led the Patriots back to within 7 points, but Sam Bradford and the Eagles were good enough (just barely) to get the job done.
Carolina Panthers 41, New Orleans Saints 38
This game wasn’t supposed to be this close. The Panthers were supposed to dominate the lowly Saints and move on to next week. But I guess that’s why they play the game. Cam Newton tossed five touchdown passes, but the Saints matched his efforts with three touchdowns from Drew Brees, a fumble return for a touchdown and the first ever blocked extra point returned for two points. However, as he’s done all season long, Newton remained calm under pressure and took the Panthers down the field to score the game-winning touchdown with just over a minute left on the clock to pull out a win and remain undefeated.
Pittsburgh Steelers 45. Indianapolis Colts 10
Well, I think this is what we expected. If you’ve watched the Steelers at all this year, then you that their passing attack simply cannot be stopped. They have some of the best talent in the league at wide receiver and Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. Good luck, opposing defenses. The Colts kept it respectable in the first half, but didn’t score a point in the second half while giving up 24 of them. If it’s possible, this one wasn’t even as close as the score looks.
Dallas Cowboys 19, Washington Redskins 16
Do I have to talk about this game? Calling this game ugly is an insult to the word. It was far beyond that. After all the poor play and penalties, Dallas made fewer mistakes than Washington in the fourth quarter and took advantage of a ridiculously dumb play by DeSean Jackson. Jackson fielded a punt and then proceeded to run backwards towards his own goal line and then fumbled, allowing the Cowboys to recover. Could he have tried any harder to give the game away? The saddest part about this game, is that one of these teams is likely to host a playoff game as the division winner. Yikes.
And once again, there you have it folks. Another week down. We don’t have many left with just four weeks remaining in the regular season. Good luck to those who made their fantasy league playoffs and I’ll see you right back here next week!