2009 NFL Week 16 Game Recaps
Chargers 42, Titans 17
This was it for the Titans. They made it all the way back from 0-6 to get to 7-7. With a win over a San Diego squad that really didn't have much to play for, they would have had a great chance to actually clinch a playoff berth with a victory at Seattle in Week 17.
Instead, they killed themselves with mistakes early. In the first half, they committed eight penalties for 61 yards. They also had two turnovers in San Diego territory - a horrible Vince Young interception in the red zone and a Young fumble right past midfield.
Once Tennessee failed to score on the opening possession in the second half (down 21-10 at that point), it appeared as though the Titans' defense just gave up. They showed absolutely no effort on that side of the ball in the third quarter.
By the way, lesson learned: I'm never going to bet highly (or at all) against Rivers as an underdog. He's now 11-4 against the spread getting points in his career. The Chargers didn't need a victory here at all, but Rivers is just so good that he made sure his team won this contest no matter what.
Falcons 31, Bills 3
I kid, of course. Maybe. But Michael Turner didn't play, allowing Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood to split carries. Snelling had 15 rushes for 68 yards, while Norwood mustered 52 yards on 13 attempts.
Brian "Set Up Us the" Brohm was 17-of-29 for 146 yards and two interceptions. No wonder he was so thoughtlessly discarded by the Packers.
Bengals 17, Chiefs 10
More prominently though, Cincinnati suffered through Chris Henry's death last Thursday, had an emotional loss at San Diego last Sunday, and attended Henry's funeral on Tuesday. There was no way the Bengals would be able to get up for the lowly Chiefs.
Nevertheless, the Bengals prevailed and have clinched the AFC North.
Browns 23, Raiders 9
And speaking of crappy, it shouldn't be a surprise that Oakland's highlight was a Sebastian Janikowski play. Janikowski nailed a 61-yard field goal at the end of the first half, marking the first there has been a successful 61-yard kick in NFL history.
Packers 48, Seahawks 10
I've spent a lot of time the past few weeks complaining about Mora, but I haven't discussed Matt Hasselbeck enough. Hasselbeck has reached what I like to call the Marc Bulger "I've been hit too much, so I'm just going to throw horrible passes to avoid getting sacked" threshold.
Hasselbeck was absolutely horrible. We're talking Cade McNown-Ken Dorsey bad. He was 19-of-37 for 198 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. His first pick was one of the worst throws I've ever seen. He rolled out and lofted a weak 4-yard lob to A.J. Hawk with absolutely no Seahawks in the vicinity. It actually looked like Hasselbeck did it on purpose. But that's impossible though. No NFL games are fixed, right?
Hasselbeck spent the rest of the afternoon throwing into triple coverage. If the Seahawks can get Sam Bradford in April, they shouldn't hesitate as long as they're convinced that his shoulder is OK.
Rodgers hit Greg Jennings (4 catches, 111 yards) for gains of 40, 38 and 24, and Jermichael Finley (3-80) for connections of 38 and 28. Donald Driver had just three catches for 33 yards.
Texans 27, Dolphins 20
Miami eventually battled back - and give them credit for doing so - but once they failed to recover an onside kick with less than three minutes remaining, the game (and their playoff hopes) was over.
Williams also had a poor game rushing the ball. Because the Dolphins were down early, he had just 10 carries for 35 yards.
Steelers 23, Ravens 20
Oh wait, did I say "referees?" My bad. Must have been a Freudian slip.
Let me first say that there is no bias here. I'm neither a Ravens nor a Steelers fan. I had a half-unit selection on Baltimore, and it pushed. So, I have no agenda (at least not with this contest).
But as a pure football fan who wanted to see a great game, the officiating here was despicable. The Ravens were whistled for 11 penalties, compared to four for the Steelers. The penalty yardage was 113-20. It seemed like every time Baltimore had a big play, the officials brought it back.
Two Ravens' would-be game-winning touchdowns were eliminated by questionable holding and block-in-the-back flags that had very little to do with the scores. The Steelers were also able to run out the clock and avoiding an interception with two minutes remaining because of an illegal contact that had the announcers should have let go because the Pittsburgh receiver ran into the Baltimore defender.
To be simple, I'm disgusted. Every official from this game should be fired immediately.
Big Ben's score went to Santonio Holmes, who had five catches for 86 yards. Hines Ward, hobbled with an injured hamstring, had four grabs for 37 yards. Mike Wallace picked up the slack with three receptions for 83 yards.
Flacco's scores both went to Todd Heap, but the only Baltimore player who had more than 37 yards was Derrick Mason, who finished with seven grabs for 77 yards. However, Mason dropped a very easy, wide-open touchdown in the fourth quarter. That was huge because Baltimore failed to muster a single point on that drive after a Flacco sack.
Panthers 41, Giants 9
So, what happened? How did Carolina manage to win by 32 points in what was New York's final home game ever in Giants Stadium? Well, when the Panthers have a good quarterback under center, they're actually a really solid team. Matt Moore parlayed an impressive Sunday night performance with a great road outing, going 15-of-20 for 171 yards and three touchdowns.
Patriots 35, Jaguars 7
Del Rio essentially gave the Jaguars no chance to win. Just seven minutes into a scoreless game, Del Rio opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 on their own 35. Jacksonville predictably failed, giving Tom Brady a short field and a subsequent score.
A drive later, Jacksonville was moving the chains well with Maurice Jones-Drew ripping off 8- and 10-yard gains. Koetter, of course, elected to have David Garrard (19-25, 185 yards, 2 INTs, 1 fumble) throw the ball. Garrard's pass sailed over his receiver's head by about 10 yards, and was picked off by Brandon Meriweather, who returned it deep to Jacksonville territory. Brady scored yet another touchdown on a short field.
On my NFL Picks page, I wrote that the Jaguars needed to give Jones-Drew 30-plus touches to have a chance. Apparently, Del Rio and Koetter don't read this Web site. Jones Drew had just 18 carries (63 yards) and three catches (35 more yards).
The bottom line: Del Rio and Koetter have to go. Oh, and for the 20 Jags fans out there: Get ready to order your Tim Tebow jerseys.
Buccaneers 20, Saints 17
The Buccaneers, meanwhile, were doing what they usually do when I pick them - driving down the field and making dumb turnovers in the red zone. Josh Freeman tossed two interceptions, including one in the end zone. I'm pretty sure that at one point in the Live In-Games Thread on the forum, I swore on Freeman's life. I guess he heard me because he played well afterward, finishing 21-of-31 for 271 yards.
The Saints simply screwed up too many times. On one drive, Drew Brees took a sack on third down. On another, Marques Colston fumbled the ball away. On the final drive of regulation, Garrett Hartley whiffed on a 37-yard field goal, sending this contest into overtime.
Cardinals 31, Rams 10
49ers 20, Lions 6
No words can describe how horrible Stanton (11-21, 130 yards) was. All I will say is that Daunte Culpepper, who played at the end of the game, looked like Joe Montana compared to Stanton. Now we know why Rod Marinelli didn't want to start him.
Stanton's passes were all over the place. He drunkenly tossed three interceptions, two of which were deep in 49ers territory. And it's not like those passes were tipped or anything; they weren't even near his intended targets. He also fumbled once.
Stanton was so bad that he cannot be allowed to take another NFL snap. He's an embarrassment to Michigan State University, the Detroit Lions, the entire National Football League and the entire sport of football.
Eagles 30, Broncos 27
First was Brian Westbrook's return. Westbrook had 11 touches; nine carries for 32 yards and two receptions for five more yards. Whenever Westbrook touched the ball, I was actually scared that he would get hit in the helmet and suffer another concussion. I have no idea why Andy Reid would risk Westbrook's health like this.
Second was Brian Dawkins' return to Philadelphia. Dawkins made an emphatic entry and was cheered heavily by his old fans. He paced the Broncos with eight tackles.
Denver's offense was more unbearable to watch than ever. Pretty much all of Kyle Orton's throws were horizontal. He was 27-of-41, 189 yards, three touchdowns and an interception (giving him a Ken Dorsey-like YPA of 4.6). Only one of Orton's completions was longer than 18 yards. Denver will need a new quarterback next year. Bronco fans will hope that Josh McDaniels settles for a guy who can actually throw harder than a 12-year-old girl.
McNabb looked pretty gimpy afterward, but managed to complete a 27-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin to set up David Akers' decisive field goal on the next drive. The catch was ruled out of bounds, but was overturned by the officials. I honestly thought there wasn't enough visual evidence to change the ruling (I don't know how they determined that his right foot was down), but I guess I'm not as wise or as honest as these refs.
Jets 29, Colts 15
I'll have a full rant about this later in a day or two. As far as this game is concerned, Indianapolis didn't have a chance with Curtis Painter under center. In a quarter and a half, the Painter-led Colts mustered a laughable 34 total net yards.
Painter finished 4-of-11 for 44 yards, an interception and a fumble. Manning was obviously better, though it's worth noting that he didn't set the world on fire either (14-21, 192 yards). New York's No. 1-ranked defense did a great job.
Cowboys 17, Redskins 0
What in the world happened? They were playing so well, but have come up with two consecutive stink bombs at home. In a span of six days, the Redskins have embarrassed themselves by a combined score of 62-12. Good job, losers.
And speaking of Williams, he was the only goat on the Cowboys; he had more drops (2) than catches (1), and he was responsible for Romo's only statistical blemish.
What's more sad is that Campbell actually tied for the Redskins lead in rushing yards with 13. Quinton Ganther was the other "leader" via seven carries.
Moss' effort was wasted, as Washington struggled to move the chains on every possession. The team had just 97 total net yards in the first half and NEVER crossed the Dallas 25-yard line the entire game.
For thoughts on Vikings-Bears, check out my updated 2009 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
2009 NFL Power Rankings
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2010: Live 2010 NFL Draft Blog - April 22
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Super Bowl XLV Live Blog - Feb. 6
2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
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Super Bowl XLIV Live Blog - Feb. 7
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Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog
2007: NFL Draft: Day 1 Review Blog - April 28
Quarterback Rankings - June 25
NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 6
Chief Carl Has Lost a Step - Sept. 9
The NFL Cheated the Patriots - Sept. 16
NFL Week 3 Wrap-Up - Sept. 23
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NFL Week 5 Wrap-Up - Oct. 7
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NFL Week 17 Wrap-Up - Dec. 30
NFL Week 18 Wrap-Up - Jan. 6
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2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
Super Bowl XLII Live Blog - Feb. 3
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