Week 12 NFL Game Recaps
Texans 34, Lions 31
Detroit had multiple chances to win this game. The team led throughout, but surrendered a 97-yard touchdown drive to the Texans late in the fourth quarter. The Lions were in position to prevail on the ensuing possession, but Brandon Pettigrew dropped two passes. Pettigrew then lost a fumble in Houston territory in overtime, and this was followed by a missed 47-yard field goal by Jason Hanson when Jim Schwartz conservatively called for his kicker to take the field on a third down. The decision was puzzling because of the distance, as well as the fact that the Texans made the same mistake earlier in the extra session.
1. The Lions recovered the ball on a punt where Houston's Glover Quin clearly made contact with it. Even CBS' Phil Simms said, "The ball doesn't change directions in the air like that unless it's touched." It clearly should have been Detroit's ball, but Walt Coleman announced that the play stood as called. I had no faith that Coleman would get it right. In fact, I tweeted (@walterfootball): "Called it on the forum. Walt Coleman can't be trusted with the replay equipment. Too senile LINK)."
2. Coleman screwed up another play. Justin Forsett scored on an 81-yard run, but he was clearly down by contact. The play would have been reviewed, but Jim Schwartz foolishly threw a challenge flag, negating the chance for Coleman to look at a replay. Still though, even if Schwartz didn't attempt to challenge, Coleman would have screwed up somehow. He's the worst official in the NFL and needs to be removed immediately.
3. Perhaps the most controversial occurrence took place on a play involving Ndamukong Suh yet again. Suh kicked Schaub in the balls while falling to the ground. Whether this was intentional or not is up for debate; CBS analyst Boomer Esiason was irate: "It's obvious that this was on purpose. I'd never shake this guy's hand."
Was it intentional or not? Take a look at Suh's kick here. You be the judge.
Redskins 38, Cowboys 31
Things started innocently enough. Jason Witten false started on the opening drive in the red zone, eliminating their chances of scoring a touchdown. They at least kicked a field goal on that possession; a false start by Doug Free and an inexplicable delay of game on the next play completely derailed the next drive.
Washington wasn't doing anything offensively in the first quarter, so Dallas could have established an early lead and eliminate the opposing running game. They instead squandered their opportunities, and Robert Griffin eventually figured things out beginning in the second period. The Cowboys blew crucial coverages, permitting Griffin to torch them deep repeatedly. And just like that, the Redskins established a 28-3 lead by halftime.
The Cowboys, in the meantime, continued to shoot themselves in the foot. There were the usual pre-snap penalties, two Tony Romo interceptions, a Dez Bryant lost fumble in Washington territory and a Bryant dropped touchdown. Dallas was flagged seven times in the first 40 minutes of the game.
Second, the Cowboys could have packed it in, but they made a tremendous comeback. They brought it back down to seven twice, but couldn't stop Griffin when it counted most.
Patriots 49, Jets 19
The Jets are a complete joke. New England scored three touchdowns in 52 seconds during the second quarter. Following a Tom Brady score, Mark Sanchez, who earlier tossed an ugly interception in the red zone, scrambled, inexplicably ran into his own guard and fumbled. The Patriots picked up the ball and ran it back for a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Joe McKnight had a fumble pop into the air, which was brought back for six. A 56-yard Brady-to-Julian Edelman touchdown later, and New England was suddenly up 35-0.
The frustrated crowd continuously chanted "Te-bow" for the rest of the evening, but Rex Ryan didn't listen to his fans' wishes. He stuck with Mark Sanchez, who padded his numbers against a prevent Patriot defense. His final numbers were 26-of-36 for a fraudulent 301 yards, one garbage-time touchdown and the aforementioned pick.
Ryan's refusal to use Tebow was most apparent when the Jets had a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the third quarter. They ran the ball and were stuffed. Tebow is such a great goal-line runner, so why not use him there? Even if Ryan doesn't want to unseat Sanchez as the starter, he's hurting his team by not using his top short-yardage option. Ryan has been an unbelievable moron this season, and he completely deserves his terrible 4-7 record.
NOTE: It was later revealed that Tebow had a rib injury, which is why he didn't play any snaps. That's the story the Jets are spinning, anyway. I'd like to know why Tebow was active if he couldn't take the field. I think Ryan is full of crap.
Bears 28, Vikings 10
It's easy to see why. With Cutler back under center, Chicago's offense was actually functional. It accumulated 296 total net yards and converted 11-of-19 third downs. Cutler was solid, going 23-of-31 for 188 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He could have enjoyed a better fantasy day had the Vikings been able to keep up. Instead, it was 25-3 by halftime, so Cutler threw for just 71 yards after intermission.
Forte wasn't the only prominent Bear who left this contest with an injury. Devin Hester suffered a concussion. Lance Briggs was in a walking boot, but reports indicate that he's OK.
Bengals 34, Raiders 10
Oakland's futility has frustrated one of the players who is actually trying hard. Following a blown call that negated a defensive touchdown, Lamarr Houston slammed Andy Dalton to the ground after a play was ruled dead in the fourth quarter. This bothered Cincinnati left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who then headbutted Houston. The two teams started fighting, and the ultra-lazy Tommy Kelly, who apparently was bored with football and wanted a change of pace with his life, took off his helmet for no apparent reason. All three players were ejected.
Browns 20, Steelers 14
I still can't believe it, but Pittsburgh committed eight turnovers in this game. EIGHT turnovers. Only 12 teams have had as many give-aways since 1989. It gave Pittsburgh no chance, as teams that have been guilty of seven or more turnovers since 1989 are just 1-51. All of their running backs coughed it up:
- Rashard Mendenhall lost a fumble in the first quarter, which led to a Cleveland field goal.
- Isaac Redman lost a fumble in the second quarter deep in his own territory, which led to a Cleveland touchdown.
- Jonathan Dwyer lost a fumble at the end of the first half, but the Browns couldn't take advantage of it.
- Chris Rainey lost a fumble with 2:36 remaining in the game near midfield, ruining a potential game-winning drive.
- Mendenhall and Rainey both fumbled on another occasion, but Cleveland did not recover.
These weren't the only mistakes the Steelers made. They had nine penalties, one of which was a ticky-tack hold that negated a 33-yard Heath Miller reception. Meanwhile, Mike Wallace had the ball pop out of his hands and into the arms of a Cleveland player. This was one of three interceptions that Charlie Batch threw.
Batch went 20-of-34 for 199 yards and the three picks. He had some very ugly passes, but wasn't as bad as some media members are making him out to be. Had he gotten some help from his teammates, he may have pulled off a victory.
Colts 20, Bills 13
Rookie receiver TY Hilton keeps improving every week. Though he caught only three passes, he was instrumental in this victory because he scored once as a receiver and on another occasion as a punt-returner. Hilton actually became the first player in franchise history to find the end zone in both situations in the same game.
The defense was also great, especially on third down, holding Buffalo to just 4-of-13 conversions. The Bills were also just 1-of-3 in their red-zone trips. Emerging inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman recorded a whopping 16 tackles and a sack. Robert Mathis also had a sack, while Tom Zbikowski appeared to have a big interception in his own territory, but was stripped of the ball while foolishly attempting to stiff-arm an offensive player from behind.
And of course, there was Reggie Wayne, who was the only Colt to haul in more than three passes. He had eight catches for 102 yards with recovering head coach Chuck Pagano looking down from the owner's box. Wayne's only blemish was a tipped ball that resulted in an interception.
Jaguars 24, Titans 19
Henne went 17-of-26 for 261 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that really wasn't his fault because his pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Henne was at his best on third down, converting 7-of-14 attempts.
Broncos 17, Chiefs 9
The Broncos had three problems in this game. The first was their inability to stop the run. The combination of Jamaal Charles (23-107), Dexter McCluster and Shaun Draughn rushed for 143 yards on 27 carries. Denver hadn't given up more than 90 yards on the ground to an opponent since Week 5, so perhaps this was just an aberration.
The second was the offensive line. For the second week in a row, it could not protect Peyton Manning. The Chiefs had just two sacks - both by Justin Houston - but they put heavy pressure on Manning the entire afternoon. In fact, Manning had to be tested for a concussion during halftime, but he was cleared to play.
The third issue was Matt Prater, who whiffed from 47 and 33 yards. The first is understandable, but the latter kick, which hit an upright, perhaps thwarted the all-important cover. Prater was 15-of-17 heading into this contest, so this is likely just another aberration.
Quinn's final numbers were 13-of-25 for 126 yards and the pick. Dwayne Bowe (4-41) was his leading receiver.
Dolphins 24, Seahawks 17
The water system was eventually shut off, allowing the two rookie quarterbacks to explode with very strong second-half efforts. Russell Wilson, despite the loss, was the most impressive of the two. He went 21-of-27 for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns. There was one drive in the third quarter where Wilson appeared to be sandwiched in between two defenders. He scrambled backward and found his target past the first-down marker. Later on the possession, Wilson ducked out of an attempted sack and scrambled for a 20-yard gain.
Ryan Tannehill, meanwhile, finished 18-of-26 for 253 yards, one touchdown and an awful interception. He actually threw a second pick that was even worse where he foolishly heaved the ball way across his body, but he was bailed out with an Earl Thomas helmet-to-helmet penalty. However, Tannehill performed very well otherwise, leading his team on scoring drives of 82, 80 and 65 yards in the fourth quarter.
Falcons 24, Buccaneers 23
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
Here is a breakdown of the plays that should've earned Atlanta its second loss: Asante Samuel dropped two interceptions. One was an easy catch, but the ball fell right through his hands. The second dropped pick allowed the Bucs to try for a field goal for a fourth quarter lead, but Connor Barth missed the 56-yard kick.
The list continues: Matt Bryant shanked a 22-yard field goal on the last play before halftime; Matt Ryan threw a dumb interception to Ronde Barber, and Ryan blew a read for a sack-fumble in Atlanta territory; Julio Jones dropped a short touchdown pass.
Bryant then missed a 48-yarder to give Tampa Bay one more shot at stealing the win with a Hail Mary attempt (Editor's Note: and a push).
The Buccaneers pulled out a gadget play with Mike Williams (3-28) throwing a 28-yard pass to Vincent Jackson (5-96) to set up a Tampa Bay field goal. The Bucs had some blown opportunities of their own. Freeman missed a wide open Jackson and Williams in the end zone in the third quarter. Tampa Bay took a 13-10 lead, but it lasted only a few seconds as Ryan dropped in a beautiful 80-yard touchdown pass to Jones (6-147).
The Bucs took the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter with Martin plunging into the end zone. Tampa Bay's defense came up with a big play as E.J. Biggers had a sack-fumble on Ryan that was recovered by the Bucs. The play was completely Ryan's fault as he didn't diagnosis the free blitzer and held onto the ball too long.
That led to another Barth field goal and a 23-17 Tampa Bay lead. Atlanta won the game on a short touchdown run by the decrepit Michael Turner (13-17).
Atlanta should've given the majority of Turner's carries to Rodgers (10-49 on the ground, 2-30 in the air), since he was giving Tampa Bay's defense problems. Ryan completed 26-of-32 passes for 353 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Ravens 16, Chargers 13
The Chargers had the Ravens on the ropes. Baltimore was faced with a 4th-and-29 on the final drive in regulation. Joe Flacco couldn't find anyone downfield, so he just gave up, checking the ball down to Ray Rice. Rice made an incredible effort to run for what appeared to be a 30-yard gain for a shocking first down. The play was reviewed, however, and showed that his knee was down exactly at the 35-yard line. Steratore, who initially placed the ball at the 33-yard line, moved it back to the 33.5-yard line. That still gave the Ravens a first down, however, as the first-down marker was at the 34.
There's just one problem with this - and it's that Rice is not 10 feet tall. If Rice's knee was down at the 35 and the ball was moved to the 33.5, that would mean that there are 1.5 yards separating Rice's knees and arms (as @hreneti pointed out). That would be 4.5 feet. Rice stands at just 5-8, and that's from his feet to his head; not his knees to his arms. Thus, it's physically impossible for Rice to have converted the first down. Of course, simple math isn't needed to determine that because the ball's shadow was shown just past the 35-yard line. Steratore should have placed the ball at the 34.5-yard line. That much is obvious.
So, why did Steratore deliberately give Baltimore a favorable spot? He was probably just caught up the moment and didn't want to deny Rice's great effort. This play will be shown on highlight reels for years to come, but it'll always be tainted because Steratore screwed up. Steratore is like the anti-Jim Joyce. Perhaps he was just too scared of being vilified like Joyce was.
As this occurred, it was clear that San Diego had no chance to win this game. Justin Tucker hit a field goal to send it to overtime. The Chargers punted twice because of a trio of drops. A pass interference was called on San Diego despite a ball being uncatchable. Torrey Smith made an amazing catch on a third down. And then Tucker made the decisive kick.
Rams 31, Cardinals 17
Lindley's final numbers don't look that bad (31-of-52, 312 yards) if you ignore the four interceptions, but he was just 14-of-28 for 129 yards and three interceptions after the break, as Jeff Fisher made terrific adjustments at halftime. Lindley telegraphed a pick-six, tossed an interception when he didn't see a safety and then aired out another pick off his back foot returned for a touchdown (both by rookie Janoris Jenkins). He also overthrew Larry Fitzgerald for a long gain on one occasion and then was booed off the field when he hilariously heaved the ball toward some Cardinal players standing on the sideline amid no pressure.
As I wrote last week, Lindley just doesn't look like he belongs in the NFL. John Skelton wasn't very good beforehand, but it was irresponsible for Ken Whisenhunt to bench him in favor of someone who is just too overmatched to play on this level.
49ers 31, Saints 21
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The San Francisco defense flexed its muscles and played physically dominant football. The 49ers were a violent unit that laid a beat down on the Saints, despite New Orleans having one of the best offenses in the NFL. San Francisco's front seven pounded Drew Brees and a finesse offensive line. The signal-caller was sacked repeatedly and was constantly under pressure.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, played well overall, completing 16-of-25 passes for 231 yards, one touchdown and one interception while running for 27 yards and a score on six carries. San Francisco is a different team and more dangerous on offense with Kaepernick at quarterback instead of Alex Smith. The veteran is a nice insurance policy as a backup, but this is the first-year starting quarterback's team now.
Kaepernick got going early with a short pass to Mario Manningham (5-69), who turned that into a 40-yard gain as he jetted down the sideline while weaving through defenders. The next play went to Manningham again for 13 yards, and then Kaepernick ran the ball into the end zone from seven yards out.
Brees answered with a 33-yard gainer to Joseph Morgan on a diving catch. Brees finished the drive with a short touchdown pass to David Thomas (4-24). A muffed punt by Ted Ginn led to Brees taking the lead with a great catch by Marques Colston (4-36) for a 10-yard score.
It looked like the Saints were in control when Kaepernick made a rookie mistake after a fumbled snap. He picked up the ball and threw it into double coverage for an interception to Patrick Robinson. He forced the throw and never saw the underneath defender. However, Brees gave it right back with an interception to Ahmad Brooks that was returned 50 yards for a touchdown.
Kaepernick hit Delani Walker (3-81) for a 45-yard pass in the third quarter. Kendall Hunter (4-28) picked up 21 yards to set up a short touchdown toss to Frank Gore.
Following that, the 49ers' defense opened up a can on the Saints. Justin Smith planted Drew Brees hard into the turf for a sack. Brees threw high for Colston a play later, and the wideout was dumped on the ground head first by Dashon Goldson. Colston deflected the ball into the air and Donte Whitner snatched it. He returned the pick 42 yards for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead.
Brees connected on a 43-yarder to Lance Moore (3-61) and then finished the drive with a short scoring pass to Jed Collins. That was it for New Orleans as the San Francisco defense slammed the door in impressive fashion in the fourth quarter.
Giants 38, Packers 10
When it comes down to it, New York was dominant in the trenches on both sides of the football. The offensive line overpowered Green Bay's front, blasting open huge holes for Andre Brown (13-64, TD) and Ahmad Bradshaw (10-58, TD). It also blocked well for Eli Manning, who was sacked only once. Meanwhile, the Packers' linemen couldn't block the Giants whatsoever. Rodgers was constantly under pressure, getting sacked five times. Mathias Kiwanuka recorded two sacks, while Osi Umenyiora, who registered a sack and a forced fumble, showed signs of life for the first time all season. Having a healthy Antrel Rolle was also a major boost.
Rodgers ended up 14-of-25 for 219 yards, an early touchdown to Jordy Nelson (2-71) who beat Corey Webster for a 61-yard score, an interception and a lost fumble. Because he was rattled all afternoon, he couldn't get any rhythm going.
For thoughts on Panthers-Eagles, check out my updated 2012 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 17
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 16
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 15
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 3
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
2012: Live 2012 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
2012 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
2012 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
2012 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
2012 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
2012 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 8
2012 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 15
2012 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
2012 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 29
2012 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 5
2012 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 12
2012 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 19
2012 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 26
2012 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 3
2012 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 10
2012 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 17
2012 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 24
2012 NFL Week 17 Recap - Dec. 31
2012 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 7
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Super Bowl XLVII Recap - Feb. 4
Super Bowl XLVII Live Blog - Feb. 4
2011: Live 2011 NFL Draft Blog - April 28
2011 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 12
2011 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 19
2011 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 26
2011 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 3
2011 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 10
2011 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 17
2011 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 24
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2011 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 7
2011 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 14
2011 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 21
2011 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 28
2011 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 5
2011 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 12
2011 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 19
2011 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 26
2011 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 2
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2011 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 23
Super Bowl XLVI Live Blog - Feb. 6
2010: Live 2010 NFL Draft Blog - April 22
2010 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 8
2010 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 9
2010 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 13
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2010 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 27
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2010 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 18
2010 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 25
2010 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 1
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2010 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 15
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2010 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 29
2010 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
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2010 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
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2010 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 3
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Super Bowl XLV Live Blog - Feb. 6
2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
2009 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 10
2009 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 10
2009 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 14
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2009 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 28
2009 NFL Week 4 Review - Oct. 5
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2009 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 19
2009 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 26
2009 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 2
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2009 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
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2009 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
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2009 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 4
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Super Bowl XLIV Live Blog - Feb. 7
2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
2008 NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 4
NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 8
NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 15
NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 22
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NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 6
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NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 1
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NFL Wild Card Playoffs Review - Jan. 4
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NFL Championship Sunday Review - Jan. 19
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 18 Wrap-Up - Jan. 6
NFL Week 19 Wrap-Up - Jan. 13
2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
Super Bowl XLII Live Blog - Feb. 3
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