|Rookie QB's Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson excelled in 2012.|
The Colts knocked off the Houston Texans, 28-16 as QB Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns to help keep the visiting Texans from clinching the top spot in the AFC playoffs.
The Seattle Seahawks are playoff bound with Russell Wilson exceeding expectations at quarterback and they finished the regular season with a 20-13 home win against the St. Louis Rams. Wilson passed for a score and also ran for one to lead the way to an 11-5 season and a wild card berth in next weekend's playoffs.
The Redskins rallied back from an early 7-0 hole to beat the Dallas Cowboys, 28-18 which enabled the 'Skins to win the NFC East (10-6 record) while the Cowboys (8-8) finished out of the playoffs for the third straight season. Cowboys QB Tony Romo was intercepted three times in the loss.
|Redskins rookie RB Alfred Morris|
RG3 added 63 yards on the ground and also scored a rushing touchdown.
The Minnesota Vikings are yet another surprise team crashing the post-season party in 2012 as they topped the visiting Green Bay Packers, 37-34 on a 29-yard field goal by rookie kicker Blair Walsh as time expired.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson ran for 199 yards and scored two touchdowns and finished the season with 2,097 yards rushing, just nine yards short of breaking the all-time single season record of 2,105 yards by Eric Dickerson in 1984.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns in the loss, which dropped the Packers to 11-5 and a third seed in the NFC playoffs.
The win by Minnesota eliminated the Chicago Bears from the playoff picture. The Bears beat the Detroit Lions 26-24 behind a touchdown pass by QB Jay Cutler and a TD run by running back Matt Forte' and four field goals by Olindo Mare.
Chicago finished 10-6 but lost the tie breaker with Minnesota (10-6) and today announced the firing of Head Coach Lovie Smith after nine seasons with the team.
Smith is one of SEVEN Head Coaches let go today on the day that has become known as "Black Monday" around the NFL following the final regular season game.
The San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1) clinched a first round playoff bye with a 27-13 home win against Arizona as QB Colin Kaepernick hooked up with wide receiver Michael Crabtree for two scores to clinch the NFC West division. Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired as the team fell flat after a 4-0 start this season to finish with a 5-11 record.
The Denver Broncos (13-3) continued their roll with their eleventh straight victory, a 38-3 decision over Kansas City that gives them the home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The New York Giants, the defending Super Bowl champions, are done for the year as they finished 9-7 with a 42-7 pasting of the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants needed some help after their win, but neither the Bears or Vikings lost, so they are out of the post-season.
Giants QB Eli Manning threw five touchdown passes and the defense intercepted Eagles QB Michael Vick to help spark a quick 21-0 start in the first quarter. The Eagles finished 4-12 this season and fired Head Coach Andy Reid (14 seasons with the team) following the game.
The New England Patriots shut out the visiting Miami Dolphins, 28-0 as Tom Brady threw two TD passes and Stevan Ridley ran for two more scores. New England is the number-two seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Cincinnati Bengals (sixth seed) finished strong at 10-6 with a 23-17 home win against the Baltimore Ravens (10-6) as Carlos Dunlap took an interception in for a score and QB Andy Dalton threw a TD pass to go with three field goals by kicker Josh Brown. The Ravens are the AFC North division winner and the fourth seed in the AFC.
The NFC's top seeded Atlanta Falcons (13-3) mailed it in the home finale against Tampa Bay in a 22-17 loss as some of the reserves got plenty of time to play. The Buccaneers (7-9) got a 40-yard TD run from Doug Martin and a TD pass by Josh Freeman to lead the win, which snapped a five game losing streak.
Other teams playing out the string included a 24-10 home win by the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) against Cleveland as QB Ben Roethlisberger threw two TD passes. The Browns fired Head Coach Pat Shurmur after a 5-11 finish . . . The San Diego Chargers (7-9) finished with a 24-21 home win against Oakland as QB Philip Rivers had two TD passes. The 'Bolts fired Head Coach Norv Turner after missing the playoffs for the third straight season . . . The Buffalo Bills got a 28-9 win against the visiting New York Jets, which lost three straight down the stretch to finish at 6-10. The Bills also finished 6-10 and fired Head Coach Chan Gailey . . . Carolina won their fourth consecutive game to finish 7-9 as they topped the host New Orleans Saints, 44-38 behind running back DeAngelo Williams, who had 210 yards rushing and two TD along with a pair of rushing touchdowns from Mike Tolbert. Saints QB Drew Brees had 396 passing yards and three TD strikes in the loss . . . The Tennessee Titans had two interception returns for scores and also two kick returns for touchdowns as well in a 38-20 home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14) to finish the season with a 6-10 record.
Next week the playoffs begin with Cincinnati at Houston and Minnesota at Green Bay on Saturday, January 5th while the Indianapolis Colts play at Baltimore and the Seattle Seahawks are at Washington on Sunday, January 6th.