Week 17 NFL Game Recaps
Bills 28, Jets 9
Sanchez finished 17-of-35 for 205 yards and that interception. Those numbers look better than he actually was, as 40 yards came on a short screen to Jeremy Kerley. Sanchez also lost a fumble and heaved a second pick that was overturned by replay. He confirmed just how awful he is, so the Jets are fully expected to spend an early selection on a quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft. Check out my most recent 2013 NFL Mock Draft.
Bengals 23, Ravens 17
Well, Lewis kept his word - well, sort of. Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and company were on the field for just a half before giving way to Bruce Gradkowski. The Ravens, meanwhile, used Joe Flacco and Ray Rice for about two-thirds of the first quarter. Thus, I'm not going to delve much into this game.
Steelers 24, Browns 10
Lewis actually didn't look too bad. He did a good job of moving the chains with mostly short throws, and his one big mistake was a poor pass in the red zone that was picked by Troy Polamalu. Lewis went 22-of-32 for 204 yards, one touchdown and the interception. He also picked up a big chunk of yardage on a long pass interference, though official Walt Coleman blew that call because there was no chance the Cleveland receiver was going to catch Lewis' underthrown attempt.
Lewis at least proved that he can be a capable backup in this league. His backfield mate didn't have as much success, however. Montario Hardesty had just 37 yards on 14 carries. He ripped off a 16-yarder, so he gained just 21 yards on his 13 other attempts.
Colts 28, Texans 16
The Colts just looked like the better team throughout, as Houston's defense simply could not get off the field. Indianapolis converted 9-of-15 third-down attempts, as Andrew Luck went 14-of-28 for 191 yards and two touchdowns. The numbers don't seem very good overall, but he was brilliant on third downs, including a 3rd-and-23 situation where he hit TY Hilton down the seam in between three Texans for a 70-yard strike.
Schaub went 24-of-36 for 275 yards and a pair of interceptions. One was on an underthrow, while the second came on a heave into the end zone.
Titans 38, Jaguars 20
When Smith selected punter Bryan Anger in the third round, everyone but him knew it was a stupid pick. In fact, members of his front office were frustrated by it. A great punter is supposed to set up great field position for the team, but the complete opposite occurred in this contest. Two of Anger's punts were returned for touchdowns by Darius Reynaud. Anger has actually been very good this year, but it just demonstrates how foolish that decision was.
So, Reynaud scored twice for Tennessee. Another unlikely Titan also had a pair of touchdowns. Rookie linebacker Zach Brown took two picks to the house. The first was poorly thrown by Chad Henne, while the other was tipped into the air by backup receiver Toney Clemons, who was in the lineup because a concussed Cecil Shorts was ruled out.
Given the four bizarre Tennessee touchdowns, it shouldn't surprise you that Jacksonville outgained the Titans, 375-221. They probably would have won the game if they hadn't played so stupidly - they were up 14-7 before the madness began - but that's exactly why they're 2-14.
Giants 42, Eagles 7
This was such a great performance on New York's part that Eli Manning set a personal record. It was the first time he's ever thrown three touchdown passes in the first quarter (the second time with three scores in any quarter). He was merciless in the opening period, going 6-of-7 for 116 yards and the trio of touchdowns, as he torched Nnamdi Asomugha almost exclusively.
Manning also fired five touchdowns for the first time in his career. He finished 13-of-21 for 208 yards otherwise. The Eagles didn't really show any interested in tackling, but Manning would have had a great performance anyway. He was just in the zone.
Reid tried the same tactic in this contest. He called for an onside kick and his team once again came up with the ball. Unfortunately, he opted to go with a brain-dead quarterback over Trent Edwards in the wake of Nick Foles' broken hand, and it cost him. QB Dog Killer heaved an interception on a terrible overthrow during the ensuing drive to Brent Celek, prompting forum member Alastair to suggest that we should call him "Michael Pick." Sounds good to me.
Pick went 19-of-35 for 197 yards, one touchdown and the aforementioned interception. He also fumbled, but recovered it. He was awfully inaccurate all afternoon, but some stupid team will undoubtedly sign him, which will ultimately get that head coach fired.
Bears 26, Lions 24
- Joique Bell, replacing the inept Stefan Logan on kickoffs, lost a fumble on a return.
- Matthew Stafford, who got away with a lost fumble on what turned out to be a tuck-rule situation, was eventually strip-sacked by Israel Idonije.
- Stafford lobbed a weird, side-armed overthrow that was intercepted. - Stafford then lost another fumble to give the Bears the ball inside the red zone. Chicago kicked an easy field goal.
Buccaneers 22, Falcons 17
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The momentum was short lived as Doug Martin (28-142) broke two tackles during a 40-yard touchdown run. Midway through the fourth quarter, Matt Ryan threw a short touchdown on fourth-and-goal to Harry Douglas. Tampa Bay stopped Atlanta on its final possession to end the Buccaneers' five-game losing streak.
Ryan finished 28-of-33 for 238 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones (3-56), Tony Gonzalez (5-41) and Roddy White (5-42) were unable to provide any splash plays. Jacquizz Rodgers (5-28 rushing, 8-50 receiving) played well. Tampa Bay's defense cut it close but managed not to break the NFL record for the most passing yards allowed in a single season.
Panthers 44, Saints 38
Newton failed to complete 50 percent of his passes in this contest, but was lucky to have DeAngelo Williams by his side for once. Williams had his best performance of the season, rushing for 210 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 carries. Williams looked great, but the Saints were just pathetic in their attempts to tackle him. They absolutely have to upgrade their defense in the offseason.
Speaking of Graham, he was involved in several on-field skirmishes in what was a feisty game. He was called for a personal foul on one occasion.
Patriots 28, Dolphins 0
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
Tom Brady fired a bullet to Wes Welker a few plays later for a touchdown. Two Brady-led drives were capped off by short touchdown runs from Stevan Ridley (20-74). Brady moved the ball methodically down the field, distributing the ball to a variety of receivers. Welker (8-94) had a number of clutch catches to extend the chains.
The Patriots took a 21-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, and the game was pretty much over.
Aside from those busted plays, the Patriots' defense played a superb game. The stop unit destroyed the Dolphins' offensive line, recording seven sacks. Undrafted rookie Justin Francis had three sacks to lead the way. Vince Wilfork, Trevor Scott, Kyle Arrington and Patrick Chung all played well.
Vikings 37, Packers 34
Peterson rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing; one receiving) on a season-high 34 carries. He was a monster, as the Packers had absolutely no answer for him. He set up tons of play-action opportunities for Christian Ponder, including one instance where he hit Jarius Wright for a 65-yard bomb.
McCathy had a rough afternoon with challenges. In addition to that mistake, he lost an earlier review and then hesitated to throw a flag on a Jermichael Finley (8-72) touchdown that was ruled short of the goal line. McCarthy didn't challenge because he would have been out of reviews. Luckily it didn't matter because Jennings ultimately found the end zone.
Broncos 38, Chiefs 3
Of course, this was to be expected because while Tim Tebow had some great moments for the Broncos last year, Peyton Manning is playing some of the best football in his Hall-of-Fame career. Manning tossed just six incompletions, as Denver outgained Kansas City, 488-119. And believe it or not, this contest was much uglier than that yardage disparity indicates. Ronnie Hillman lost a fumble near the red zone, while Manning sat for the entire fourth quarter because the game was out of reach.
Chargers 24, Raiders 21
Pryor was decent in his first start. He didn't complete 50 percent of his passes - he went 13-of-28 for 150 yards, two aerial touchdowns and an interception (an awesome grab by Quentin Jammer in the end zone) - but he scrambled nine times for 49 yards and an additional score on the ground. Some of Pryor's numbers came in garbage time, including a backdoor touchdown thrown late over the middle of the field to a wide-open Denarius Moore, whose 5-yard score was his only reception of the afternoon.
49ers 27, Cardinals 13
Kaepernick finished 16-of-28 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a potential third score dropped by Delanie Walker. He didn't do much on the ground, but he didn't really need to. Though he had two potential interceptions dropped early by Patrick Peterson and Pro Bowl snub Daryl Washington, Kaepernick was very impressive in torching an Arizona secondary that had improved over the past few games.
I thought Hoyer did a great job of getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald last week. Fitzgerald didn't do much in this contest - he caught two balls for 13 yards - but Hoyer instead locked in on Michael Floyd, who generated eight receptions for 166 yards and a score. If Floyd can use this as momentum for next year, Arizona's next quarterback will have a pair of solid targets to throw to.
Seahawks 20, Rams 13
Wilson, who finished 15-of-19 for 250 yards and a passing touchdown, went 8-of-10 for 177 yards and the score following halftime. He would have thrown a second aerial touchdown to Zach Miller, but it was nullified by offensive pass interference. If it would have counted, Wilson would have broken Peyton Manning's rookie record for passing scores, which he was able to tie at 26. Wilson was also great on the ground; he rushed for 58 yards and a score.
Redskins 28, Cowboys 18
Romo's first interception was an overthrow as he was getting blitzed. The second was worse, as it was terribly underthrown. Romo, however, saved his worst pick for last. If there were any baseball umpires on the field, they would have called the infield fly rule; Romo just floated the ball, allowing a Washington defender to easily snatch it out of the air.
Romo finished 20-of-37 for 218 yards, two touchdowns and the three picks. Jerry Jones has a very difficult decision to make with him. Romo is entering the final year of his contract, so he has a massive cap number of $16 million. Jones could decrease that, but that would involve extending Romo to another contract. If Jones does nothing, however, he won't have much maneuverability this offseason.
For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
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