The win gave the Saints (10-3) sole possession of first place in the NFC South with three games left in the regular season. Carolina dropped to 9-4 as their eight game winning streak was snapped.
|The wintry weather played a big part in many of Sunday's NFL games.|
The Baltimore Ravens (7-6) survived at home against the Minnesota Vikings, 29-26 as the two teams combined to score FIVE TOUCHDOWNS in the final two minutes of the game, which had six lead changes in the final quarter.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco hit wide receiver Marlon Brown with a 9-yard scoring pass with four seconds left to go to win the game.
The Miami Dolphins somehow managed to hold off the host Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-28 as Steelers' WR Antonio Brown stepped on the sidelines while heading for a winning touchdown as time ran out after taking the last of several laterals on the game's final play.
Dolphins' QB Ryan Tannehill had three TD passes to offset Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger's three touchdown passes in the win, which improved Miami to 7-6 and right there with Baltimore for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. The Steelers dropped to 5-8 and are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Another exciting finish took place in New England where the Patriots (thanks to a questionable pass interference call in the end zone against a Cleveland defender) were able to knock off the feisty Browns, 27-26 as QB Tom Brady threw a one-yard TD pass to WR Danny Amendola with 31 seconds left in regulation. That score followed a TD pass from Brady to WR Julian Edelman and a successful onside kickoff as the Patriots (10-3) rallied from 12 points down in the final minute of play to win.
The Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) beat back the Indianapolis Colts, 42-28 behind three TD passes from QB Andy Dalton, who also ran for a score. Colts' QB Andrew Luck threw four TD passes in the loss, but the Colts (8-5) still clinched the AFC South division title as Tennessee lost their game later in the day.
The strangest game of the day had to be in Philadelphia where a blizzard wreaked havoc on the teams through the first half until Eagles' running back LeSean McCoy (pictured right), the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, took over and scored two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter while going for a team record 217 yards on the ground in a 34-20 win against Detroit.
Lions' return man Jeremy Ross scored touchdowns on both a punt and kickoff return in the defeat. In addition, the Lions (7-6) fumbled the football SEVEN times in the snow and cold as they were outgained 478-228 by the Eagles, who improved to 8-5 with the win.
The San Francisco 49ers (9-4) won a defensive game in thrilling fashion, 19-17 against the visiting Seattle Seahawks (11-2) as kicker Phil Dawson made a 22-yard field goal with just 26 seconds remaining to provide the difference. 49ers' RB Frank Gore (110 yards rushing in the game) set up the winning kick with a 51-yard run.
The Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) snapped a three-game losing streak by destroying the Washington Redskins, 45-10 on the road. Running back Jamaal Charles scored twice and had 151 rushing yards and the KC special teams scored on a punt return and kickoff return as well.
The Denver Broncos (11-2) continued to roll along with a 51-28 thumping of the visiting Tennessee Titans, who slipped to 5-8 with their fourth loss in the last five games.
|Denver kicker Matt Prater made NFL history with 64-yard field goal.|
The San Diego Chargers (6-7) kept slim playoff hopes alive and eliminated the visiting New York Giants (5-8) from contention with a 37-14 home win as QB Philip Rivers had three scoring passes and Chargers' RB Ryan Mathews scored a rushing TD and gained 103 yards for the game.
The Arizona Cardinals rolled past the St. Louis Rams in the desert, 30-10 to improve to 8-5 and stay alive for the wild card playoff spot in the NFC as four different players scored, including linebacker Karlos Dansby, on a 23-yard interception return.
Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby made three field goals and QB Matt Flynn hooked up with tight end Andrew Quarless for a two-yard scoring pass to lift the host Packers (6-6-1) to a snowy 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Jets' rookie QB Geno Smith passed for a touchdown and ran for another in a wild 37-27 home win over the Oakland Raiders. The Jets (6-7) are still in the hunt for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot while the Raiders (4-9) were eliminated from the post-season.
Tampa Bay (4-9) won for the fourth time in five games with a 27-6 win over the visiting Buffalo Bills. Buccaneers' QB Mike Glennon threw two TD passes and RB Bobby Rainey scored on an 80-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sent the visiting Houston Texans (2-11) to their 11th straight loss last Thursday night by a 27-20 score behind a pair of touchdown passes from QB Chad Henne and 103 yards rushing from RB Maurice Jones-Drew. It was the fourth win in five games for the Jags (4-9). Meanwhile, the Texans fired Gary Kubiak, who had been the team's Head Coach since 2006, following the game.
The Monday Night Football game was held in frigid Chicago, where temperatures at kickoff time were hovering around zero degrees, but the Chicago Bears offense was red hot in a 45-28 dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Bears (7-6) never punted the ball in the game while amassing 491 yards in offense as QB Josh McCown threw four TD passes and ran for another score. The Cowboys (7-6) were able to run the football for 198 yards in the game (146 yards for DeMarco Murray), but were limited to only 130 yards passing despite three touchdown passes by QB Tony Romo in the loss.