Monday, December 21, 2009
NFL Football- Week 15 Review
The Indianapolis Colts now stand alone as the only unbeaten team in the NFL after they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 35-31 last Thursday night and the Dallas Cowboys knocked off the New Orleans Saints, 24-17 on Saturday night in the Big Easy.
The Saints now stand at 13-1 but still have the top seed in the NFC while Indianapolis is 14-0 (only the third team in NFL history to do this) and has sewn up home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Dallas' DeMarcus Ware played a week after spraining his neck and had two sacks, including the game ender on Saints QB Drew Brees that forced a fumble which the Pokes recovered to end the game.
Dallas still trails the Philadelphia Eagles because the Eagles (10-4) posted a 27-13 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers. A huge snow storm dumped up to two feet of snow on the East coast, including Philadelphia. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb ran for a touchdown and also passed for one to pace the attack.
The Arizona Cardinals clinched their second straight NFC West division title by winning a wild game against Detroit, 31-24. Kurt Warner threw two TD passes in the win, including the game winner to Anquan Boldin with 1:54 remaining in the game.
The Baltimore Ravens humiliated the Chicago Bears 31-7 in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. The Ravens improved to 8-6 with the win and now have the fifth seed in the AFC playoff race with two games left. Joe Flacco passed for 234 yards and four TDs while Bears QB Jay Cutler had just 94 yards through the air and threw three interceptions.
Pittsburgh snapped its five game losing streak with a 37-36 win over the Green Bay Packers, which also snapped the Pack's winning streak at five games.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 503 yards (a Steelers record) and three TD passes, including a 19-yard TD strike to Mike Wallace as time expired for the thrilling victory, which somehow put the Steelers back in the playoff chase in the AFC at 7-7. There are six teams with 7-7 records in the AFC with two games left in the regular season.
Denver blew a huge chance to take command of the wild card race in the AFC by losing at home to Oakland, 20-19 as JaMarcus Russell came off the bench when Raiders starting QB Charlie Frye was injured, to lead the come back for the Raiders (5-9).
Russell, who was benched three weeks ago by Oakland, hit Chaz Schillens with a ten-yard scoring pass with 35 seconds left in regulation.
Denver was once 6-0 and had a three game lead in the AFC West in mid October, but have gone 2-6 since then and are currently hanging on to the sixth and final playoff spot.
The San Diego Chargers won their ninth consecutive game by beating Cincinnati 27-24 to improve to 11-3 and wrap up their fourth consecutive AFC West division title.
Chargers' kicker Nate Kaeding kicked the game-winning 52-yard field goal with three seconds remaining. This followed Cincinnati tying the game 24-24 on Shayne Graham's 34-yard field goal with 54 seconds left in regulation.
Chargers' QB Philip Rivers (pictured above right), who had 308 yards and three TD passes, including two to Vincent Jackson, drove the Chargers into position for the game winning kick with no timeouts left as San Diego moved the ball to the Cincinnati 34-yard line in four plays.
The Bengals (9-5) still lead the AFC North by one game over Baltimore, whom they swept this season.
Chad Ochocinco scored a touchdown on a pass from Bengals' QB Carson Palmer and knelt in prayer in the end zone as a tribute to Chris Henry, the Bengals' teammate who died last Thursday after a fall from a truck.
New England (9-5) is quietly taking care of business this season as they beat the Buffalo Bills 17-10 to inch closer to another AFC East title. Pats' wideout Randy Moss caught a touchdown pass and was abrupt in his post game comments after taking much heat this past week from the media for what was interpreted as a lack of effort the week before.
The Atlanta Falcons dealt the New York Jets playoff chances a serious blow with a last minute 10-7 win in the Meadowlands. Matt Ryan hit TE Tony Gonzalez with a TD pass with 1:38 to go for the winning score.
The Tennessee Titans are now 7-7 (after starting 0-6) as they topped the Miami Dolphins, 27-24 in OT on Rod Bironas' 46-yard field goal. Miami, also 7-7, stormed back in the second half after trailing 24-6.
Titans' running back Chris Johnson had 104 yards rushing for his ninth consecutive 100-yard rushing game this season.
That was peanuts though, compared to Cleveland's Jerome Harrison, who rushed for a team record 286 yards and scored three TDs. The great Jim Brown previously held the record for rushing yardage in a single game for the Browns.
The Browns won their second game in a row with the 41-34 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Kick returner Josh Cribbs had two kickoff returns for touchdowns for Cleveland (a 100-yard return and a 103-yard return) to give him eight career kick returns for touchdowns, an NFL record.
The Carolina Panthers pulled off perhaps the stunner of the day as they dominated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, 26-7 behind three TD passes from backup quarterback Matt Moore.
The Vikings were dominated for the second time in three weeks on national TV on the Sunday night game. Brett Favre was ineffective for the Vikes and Adrian Peterson suffered through another dismal game as well in the loss. The only good news for Minnesota (11-3) is they knew ahead of kickoff they had already clinched the NFC North when Green Bay was defeated by Pittsburgh earlier.
Houston (another 7-7 team in the AFC) struggled on the road against the Rams, but got the win 16-13 as Kris Brown kicked a 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
In the yawner game of the day, Seattle lost at home to Tampa Bay (2-12) as Seahawks' quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw four interceptions to aid the comeback effort by the Bucs in their 24-7 victory.
The Monday Night Football game saw the desperate New York Giants roll into Washington and crush the Redskins, 45-12. The Giants (8-6) trail Dallas, whom they swept this season, by one game in the wild card playoff chase.