Monday, December 26, 2011

NFL - Week Sixteen Review

 A horde of regulars and some unexpected guests are heading to the NFL Playoffs as the post-season picture came into clearer focus following the weekend action on Christmas Eve.
The one game played on Christmas Day saw the Green Bay Packers roll past the Chicago Bears, 35-21 at Lambeau Field behind FIVE touchdown passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week.
 The Packers improved to 14-1 and wrapped up home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs with the win. The Bears, once upon a time 7-3, lost their fifth straight game since QB Jay Cutler was lost for the year with a thumb injury on his throwing hand.
The New York Giants took a huge step toward the post-season as they beat the New York Jets, 29-14 as Ahmad Bradshaw ran for two scores and wide receiver Victor Cruz raced for a 99-yard TD pass from Eli Manning.
Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan goes at it with Giants RB Brandon Jacobs
 following the Giants 29-14 win on Saturday.

After the game, the Giants were very jubilant in their celebrating the win as Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan made some "bulletin board" type statements leading up to the game about his team owning New York and that they have been the team in the playoffs while the Giants have been sitting home the last two years.
The fact is the Jets' playoff chances took a big hit with the loss, as now they have to win at Miami next weekend and get a lot of help to get into the playoffs.
Oakland knocked off host Kansas City, 16-13 in overtime to set up a shot at getting into the playoffs next week when they host the disappointing San Diego Chargers.
The Raiders' Richard Seymour blocked a field goal at the end of regulation to get the game to OT and then kicker Sebastian Janikowski drilled the game winning 36-yard field goal that improved Oakland to 8-7 and a first place tie with Denver in the AFC West.
Speaking of the Denver Broncos, they got smashed at Buffalo, 40-14 as the Bills' defense stifled the college style option offense the Broncos run, led by QB Tim Tebow, who was intercepted four times, including two taken back for touchdowns.
The Broncos (8-7) still control their own  destiny as they host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. A win for Denver puts them into the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
The Detroit Lions are headed to the NFC Playoffs for the first time in 12 years as they pasted the visiting San Diego Chargers, 38-10 behind three TD passes from QB Matthew Stafford.
Matthew Stafford
The Lions (10-5) roared out to a 24-0 halftime lead and never looked back as they assured they will be in the post-season as a "wild card" team. San Diego QB Philip Rivers was intercepted twice as the Chargers (7-8) were eliminated from the AFC playoff  picture for the second consecutive season.
The Philadelphia Eagles, another disappointment this season, won 20-7 at Dallas, but were also eliminated from the playoff picture as a result of the Giants win over the Jets earlier in the day.
Cowboys' QB Tony Romo left the game with a bruised throwing hand and will look to be ready to go on Sunday Night Football (NBC-TV) at the New York Giants in the showdown for the NFC East division title.
The New England Patriots stormed back from a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat Miami, 27-24 and improve to 12-3 in the AFC East.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady rushed for two scores and passed for another to pace the come from behind win.
Cincinnati kept up their surprising playoff hopes with a 23-16 win over visiting Arizona as QB Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns and the defense withstood a furious fourth quarter comeback effort from the Cardinals after Cincy had built a 23-0 lead after three quarters.
Baltimore beat Cleveland, 20-14 to maintain the lead in the AFC North division as QB Joe Flacco passed for two touchdowns.
The Pittsburgh Steelers kept pace with Baltimore in the division race as they shut out St. Louis, 27-0 with backup QB Charlie Batch directing the offense as Ben Roethlisberger rested with an ankle sprain.
The Tennessee Titans (8-7) still have a flicker of hope for the post-season as they held off the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, 23-17. Kicker Rob Bironas kicked three field goals and QB Matt Hasselbeck threw a TD pass to lead the way to the win.
Indianapolis won for the second straight time as they surprised the Houston Texans, 19-16 behind a one-yard TD pass from Dan Orlovsky to Reggie Wayne with 19 seconds remaining. The Texans (10-5) have long since been in the playoffs, having clinched the AFC South three weeks ago.
Carolina and QB Cam Newton (pictured left) slammed visiting Tampa Bay, 48-16 as the rookie set a record for passing yardage in a season as well as scoring his 14th rushing touchdown, a record for quarterbacks. The Panthers rushed for 270 yards in the game. The Bucs (4-11)  lost for the ninth consecutive time.
 Minnesota improved to 3-12 as they beat the host Washington Redskins, 33-26 with backup Joe Webb, in for starting QB Christian Ponder who was injured in the game.
Webb ran for a score and also threw for a pair of touchdowns in the win.
The Vikings lost All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson to a severe knee injury (torn ACL) that requires surgery and will likely sideline him heading into next season's training camp.
The San Francisco 49ers (12-3) got a late 39-yard field goal to beat the Seattle Seahawks, 19-17 and keep alive their shot at a first round playoff bye in the NFC.
The loss eliminated Seattle (7-8) from playoff contention as running back Marshawn Lynch (107 yards rushing) became the first opposing runner to score a rushing touchdown against the San Francisco defense in the 2011 NFL season.
The Monday Night Football season finale' on ESPN saw the New Orleans Saints dismantle the Atlanta Falcons, 45-16 to wrap up their second NFC South division title in three years as quarterback Drew Brees broke the NFL record for most passing yardage in a season (5,084 yards by Miami's Dan Marino in 1984 was the old record) as he threw for 307 yards and four touchdown passes in the game.

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