2010 NFL Week 15 Game Recaps
Chargers 34, 49ers 7
- Delanie Walker dropped a deep pass of about 30 yards in the first quarter.
- The 49ers took three points off the board after a Chargers penalty on a made field goal. On the following set of downs, they failed to score after being stuffed on fourth down at the 6-inch line.
- Justin Smith was ejected after inadvertently shoving an official, giving Philip Rivers tons of time in the pocket the rest of the night.
- Ahmad Brooks dropped an easy interception that would have given San Francisco the ball in the red zone.
- A face mask penalty wiped out a Ted Ginn kickoff return for a touchdown.
Seven minutes until kickoff. Norv has already wasted two timeouts.
In the first half, Millen spent about five minutes discussing the 3-4 defense and what makes it work. I tweeted (@walterfootball), "Matt Millen reveals the secrets to having a great 3-4 defense. Wonder why the Lions didn't run the 3-4 with his knowledge."
After intermission, there was some glorious Millen math fail. He actually said the following:
"Right now it's a 17-point game. It's a three-score game. If you kick the field goal, it's still a three-score game. If you score a touchdown, it's a 21-point game, it's a four-score game. A field goal makes it a three-score game, and right now it's a three-score game."
Cowboys 33, Redskins 30
Grossman, known as a turnover machine throughout his career, certainly lived up to that reputation at Dallas almost immediately, lobbing an ugly interception off his back foot in the first quarter. Grossman later fumbled on a strip sack, and the Cowboys eventually established a 30-14 lead through three quarters.
I don't know what happened to change things, but Grossman was on fire in the final 15 minutes. He finished 25-of-43 for 322 yards, four touchdowns and two picks, and it's hard to imagine that McNabb could have out-performed him. Shanahan got the most out of a sub-par Jake Plummer in Denver, and he may just be able to work his magic with Grossman in Washington. But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
Panthers 19, Cardinals 12
Jimmy Clausen's performance may make Carolina fans feel better if Luck doesn't declare. Clausen (13-19, 141, TD) was on fire in the first half, going 6-of-10 for 87 yards and a touchdown prior to intermission. The Panthers didn't throw much after halftime because they had a healthy lead.
Bengals 19, Browns 17
In the wake of Carolina beating Arizona, a Bengals loss would have given them the inside track on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Instead, the they foolishly won this game, making it highly unlikely that they will land Andrew Luck.
Like the Cardinals, Cleveland was completely inept against the run in the fourth quarter when they knew Carson Palmer would be handing the ball off to Benson or Bernard Scott.
Ravens 30, Saints 24
I'm referring mainly to Ray Rice. Rice rushed for 153 yards on 31 carries, and caught five balls for 80 yards. He also scored twice. The Ravens were criticized for not giving Rice enough touches recently. Now we know what can happen when he's more involved on offense. Unfortunately, Cam Cameron's play-calling is erratic, so this doesn't mean Rice will be heavily featured going forward.
Colts 34, Jaguars 24
However, a key injury turned this game in favor of Jacksonville. Late in the second quarter, Austin Collie took another vicious blow to the head on what was a legal hit. Collie was down for a few minutes, but eventually walked off and was diagnosed with yet another concussion.
As this happened, the camera panned to the stands, where several female Colts fans were seen crying. Collie (8-87, 2 TDs) was greeting to a standing ovation when he made his first reception. He's a big part of the offense, and it's no surprise that Indianapolis struggled to move the chains after he left the game.
At any rate, this was a three-point battle until late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for all Jaguars bettors, an onside kick attempt went the other way for a back-breaking cover.
Bills 17, Dolphins 14
You can't blame Carpenter for a 61-yard miss at the end of the first half, but his other errant kicks were from 48, 53 and 48. Just one successful try may have won this game for Miami. Instead, the Dolphins will be watching the playoffs from home this January.
Eagles 38, Giants 31
This is the type of loss that can ruin an entire season. If Aaron Rodgers plays next week, it would not surprise me if the Giants lost the final two games on their schedule. It's a shame too because New York had the perfect game plan against the Eagles. The Giants swarmed the backfield and kept QB Dog Killer contained in the pocket for the first three quarters. QB Dog Killer threw an ugly interception and continuously took vicious hits all afternoon, bogging down the Eagles' scoring attack.
But QB Dog Killer took matters into his own hands in an MVP-type final quarter. He finished 21-of-35 for 242 yards, three touchdowns and an interceptions, along with 130 rushing yards and another score on 10 attempts.
Manning's other touchdowns were to Hakeem Nicks (6-63) and Kevin Boss (3-59).
Chiefs 27, Rams 13
Bradford played well earlier in the year, but has really regressed in the past few weeks. He went 21-of-43 for 181 yards and two late interceptions in this contest. His throws were all over the place. It's almost as if he and Jimmy Clausen switched jerseys Sunday morning.
Of course, Bradford has nothing to work with outside of Steven Jackson (19-67, TD) and Danny Amendola (7-60). The Rams will have to draft Julio Jones, Justin Blackmon or Jonathan Baldwin this April.
Congratulations to Jones, by the way, who became the 25th player in league history to rush for 10,000 yards.
Lions 23, Buccaneers 20
Despite Detroit's long losing streak, this is not much of an upset. The Lions have played very well this year, but have shot themselves in the foot seemingly every week. It was nice to see them not beat themselves for once.
Freeman, by the way, went 21-of-32 for 251 yards and a touchdown to Mike Williams (6-96, TD).
Titans 31, Texans 17
Well, they were - just not between the Texans and Titans.
Toward the end of the second quarter, two Houston defenders, Brian Cushing and Antonio Smith, got into a fight. The officials had to break them up, and Cushing drew a 15-yard penalty.
You tend to see this kind of stuff in pick-up basketball games; but not in the NFL. The Cushing infraction was just one of nine Texans penalties in the first half. They also struggled to tackle, clearly displaying a lack of effort in the wake of that heart-breaking Monday night loss.
Falcons 34, Seahawks 18
Atlanta dominated this contest by converting third and fourth downs (11-of-21) and holding the football as long as possible. The Falcons won the time of possession by about 11 minutes.
Whitehurst isn't good whatsoever, but he can't possibly be worse than Hasselbeck right now. There are no more excuses for Hasselbeck; he had his top two receivers, Mike Williams (8-66) and Ben Obomanu (1-7) at his disposal, yet he played as if he drank five of Derek Anderson's magical flasks.
Raiders 39, Broncos 23
I was really impressed with Tebow's performance. The passing numbers aren't overwhelming (8-of-16, 138 yards, TD), but he made numerous great throws, including a perfect 24-yard potential touchdown to Lance Ball that was dropped.
Tebow's 33-yard score went to Brandon Lloyd on another terrific pass. Afterward, NFL Red Zone host Scott Hanson joked, "I'm sure some expert said, 'Tim Tebow held the ball too low when he hit Brandon Lloyd for that touchdown.'"
The Broncos didn't ask Tebow to do much aerially though, as you can tell by those 16 attempts. Tebow ran numerous quarterback draws, churning out 78 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. Interim head coach Eric Studesville should feel more confident with Tebow going forward, so hopefully the Broncos don't baby him much longer.
Jets 22, Steelers 17
So much for that. Congrats to the Jets for turning things around and winning their first game ever in the state of Pennsylvania. I still can't believe they've never won here before.
Patriots 31, Packers 27
Flynn made himself a ton of money tonight. The former LSU champion went 24-of-37 for 251 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Flynn had a second pick wiped out by a penalty and screwed up the 2-minute drill at the end, but also endured numerous drops by his receivers. I was really impressed with Flynn considering that he was making his first NFL start against Bill Belichick. Teams in dire need of a quarterback should think about trading for Flynn this offseason.
For thoughts on Bears-Vikings, check out my updated 2010 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
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