Monday, December 17, 2012

NFL - Week Fifteen Review

The playoff picture around the NFL is taking form with two weeks left in the regular season as six of the twelve eligible teams are already in following this weekend's action.
The Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC North division with a 21-13 road win at Chicago against the slumping Bears, who have lost five of their last six games and fallen out of the playoff picture.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (pictured left) hooked up with WR James Jones for three touchdowns in the win.
The Baltimore Ravens lost their game to Denver, 34-17 but still clinched  a playoff spot when the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 27-24 in overtime later in the day.
Denver rolled to their ninth consecutive win at Baltimore as running back Knowshon Moreno rushed for 118 yards and scored a touchdown while QB Peyton Manning threw a TD pass. Broncos' DB Chris Harris raced 98 yards with an interception for a touchdown to help the cause.
Meanwhile, the host Dallas Cowboys beat Pittsburgh on a 21-yard field goal by Dan Bailey following an interception of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.
The Cowboys (8-6) got a pair of TD passes from QB Tony Romo and scoring run from RB DeMarco Murray and are now in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East with Washington and the New York Giants.
The Redskins, playing without starting QB Robert Griffin III, won their fifth straight game, 38-21 at Cleveland.
Reserve QB Kirk Cousins threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns to WR Leonard Hankerson while running back Alfred Morris ran for two scores. The loss eliminated the Browns (5-9) from playoff contention.
The New York Giants were crushed 34-0 in Atlanta as the Falcons intercepted Giants QB Eli Manning twice and limited New York to just 256 total yards in offense.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan passed for three touchdowns, including two to Julio Jones as they improved to 12-2 for the season while taking another step closer to home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson topped 200 yards rushing in win.
The surprising Minnesota Vikings rode the legs of Adrian Peterson, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, to the tune of 212 yards rushing (including an 82-yard TD run) in a 36-22 road win against the St. Louis Rams, to improve to 8-6 and bolt into the sixth spot of the NFC playoff picture.
The Houston Texans (12-2) clinched the AFC South division for the second straight season, beating the visiting Indianapolis Colts, 29-17 as kicker Shayne Graham nailed five field goals to with a special teams score on a blocked punt and a TD pass from QB Matt Schaub to WR Andre Johnson.
The Colts are 9-5 as they saw their three-game winning streak snapped, but they still control their own playoff destiny as they are currently in the five spot in the AFC playoff picture.
The surging Seattle Seahwks won again as they routed the Buffalo Bills, 50-17 to improve to 9-5 and keep the pressure on the NFC West division leading San Francisco 49ers heading into a huge game between the two teams next week.
After putting up 58 points a week ago, the Seahawks became the first team since 1950 to score 50 points in successive games as QB Russell Wilson rushed for three touchdowns while RB Marshawn Lynch (113 yards rushing) scored a TD as well.
The Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) remained in the sixth spot in the AFC playoff picture with a 34-13 win last Thursday night at Philadelphia.
Trailing 13-10 at the half, the Bengals outscored the Eagles 24-0 as QB Andy Dalton ran and threw for a score while RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (106 yards rushing) also scored a touchdown in the win.
49ers' QB Colin Kaepernick had four TD passes in win over Patriots.
The much anticipated Sunday Night Football game was all it was supposed to be and more as the San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) won on the road against the New England Patriots, 41-34 behind four touchdown passes by QB Colin Kaepernick, including the game winner to WR Michael Crabtree (who had two TD catches)  late in the fourth quarter to put the 'Niners ahead for good at 38-31 after the Patriots rallied from a 28-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter.
New England saw it's seven game winning streak snapped despite QB Tom Brady passing for 443 yards and a touchdown while RB Danny Woodhead ran for two more scores in the frantic second half comeback.
The Patriots (10-4) had already clinched a playoff spot in the AFC, but the loss puts them behind Houston and Denver for the first round "bye" in the post-season.

Other games around the league included the Carolina Panthers romping past the host San Diego Chargers, 31-7 behind a pair of rushing touchdowns by former Charger RB Mike Tolbert  . . .   The Miami Dolphins honored the 1972 undefeated team's 40th Anniversary and also remained mathematically alive in the AFC playoff race with a 24-3 win against Jacksonville as QB Ryan Tannehill threw two TD passes . . . The New Orleans Saints pasted visiting Tampa Bay, 41-0 to eliminate the Buccaneers (6-8 and losers of four in a row) from the NFC playoff picture as QB Drew Brees passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns in the game . . .  The Arizona Cardinals stopped a nine-game losing streak with a 38-10 home rout of the Detroit Lions (4-10) behind three TD runs by RB Beanie Wells . . .   The Oakland Raiders, the worst defensive team in points allowed in the NFL, shut out the visiting Kansas City Chiefs, 15-0 behind five field goals (including two from beyond 50 yards) by kicker Sebastian Janikowski . . .  The Monday Night Football game had the Tennessee Titans getting a home win, 14-10 against the New York Jets as running back Chris Johnson (122 yards) scored on a 94-yard run and QB Jake Locker also scored a rushing touchdown. The Jets were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss as QB Mark Sanchez was intercepted four times and also lost a fumble in the closing seconds of the game with the ball on the Titans' 25-yard line.

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