Jaguars – 12 (3-12), Titans – 13 (2-13) – Thursday
Heroes – Charlie Whitehurst (287 PaYd, 12 RuYd, 1 TD), Leon Washington (11 RuYd, 62 ReYd, 1 TD), Jordan Todman (71 RuYd, 5 ReYd, 1 TD), Toby Gerhart(53 RuYd, 7 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Shonn Greene (28 RuYd), Cecil Shorts III (15 ReYd, 9 PaYd), Marcedes Lewis (6 ReYd)
This game was surprisingly entertaining. I was not expecting much in a matchup of two win teams, but this was actually one of the more enjoyable Thursday Night games this season. Tennessee got off to an easy 10-0 lead, but only managed a field goal in the second half. The Titans defense was effective against the Jacksonville passing game, but could not stop the Jaguars on the ground as they racked up 177 rushing yards and averaged 7.1 yards per rush. Interestingly, despite all those rushing yards, Tennessee had a nearly ten minute advantage in time of possession.
Interesting Game Fact: The game between the Jaguars and Titans was the first NFL matchup in 21 years in which both teams were ten games under .500.
Redskins – 27 (4-11), Eagles – 24 (9-6)
Heroes – Mark Sanchez (374 PaYd, 22 RuYd, 2 TD, 1 INT), LaSean McCoy (88 RuYd, 28 ReYd, 1 TD), Zach Ertz (115 ReYd, 15 Rec), Riley Cooper (53 ReYd, 2 TD), Alfred Morris (83 RuYd, 1 TD), Darrel Young (2 RuYd, 3 ReYd, 2 TD), DeSean Jackson (126 ReYd)
Zeroes – Brent Celek (15 ReYd), Jordan Reed (5 ReYd)
Mark Sanchez had a great statistical game, in fact, he set the Eagles record for completions in a game – 37. But, he also lost a fumble and threw a critical interception with 1:31 remaining that lead to the game winning field goal for the Redskins. Cody Parkey missed two of his three field goal attempts to complete the Eagles comedy of errors. DeSean Jackson burned his former team for 126 yards on only four receptions. The Redskins offense was not great – they had 305 total yards compared to the Eagles’ 495 – but it was good enough given all of the Eagles miscues.
Interesting Game Fact: After their third consecutive loss, the Eagles were eliminated from playoff contention once the Cowboys defeated the Colts.
Chargers – 37 (9-6), 49ers – 35 (7-8) (OT)
Heroes – Phillip Rivers (356 PaYd, 4 TD, 3 INT), Eddie Royal (94 ReYd, 10 Rec, 1 TD), Antonio Gates (92 ReYd, 7 Rec, 2 TD), Malcom Floyd (50 ReYd, 1 TD), Colin Kaepernick (114 PaYd, 151 RuYd, 2 TD), Frank Gore (158 RuYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Donald Brown (12 RuYd, 4 ReYd), Michael Crabtree (5 ReYd), Vernon Davis (0 ReYd)
Despite trailing by 21 points at half time and giving up touchdown runs of 52 and 90 yards, the Chargers managed to defeat the 49ers in overtime. Phillip Rivers was the key to the comeback as the Chargers had 25 consecutive pass plays between the 4th quarter and overtime. Despite blitzing numerous times in the second half and overtime, the 49ers could not slow Rivers down, nor could they cover Antonio Gates. The win keeps the Chargers playoff hopes alive.
Interesting Game Fact: The Chargers entered this game with the 2nd worst 4th-down conversion rate in the NFL – 20%. They were a perfect 3-for-3 on 4th-down conversions against the 49ers.
Falcons – 30 (6-9), Saints – 14 (6-9)
Heroes – Matt Ryan (322 PaYd, 7 RuYd, 1 TD), Devonta Freeman (36 RuYd, 48 ReYd, 1 TD), Julio Jones (107 ReYd, 7 Rec), Marques Colston (80 ReYd, 6 Rec), Jimmy Graham (53 ReYd, 6 Rec, 1 TD), Falcons D/ST (14 PA, 5 Sacks, 2 INT, 2 DFR, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Steven Jackson (9 RuYd, 14 ReYd), Pierre Thomas (0 RuYd, 24 ReYd)
The Falcons defense was the story of this game. Though the Saints got off to an early lead thanks to a 99-yard kickoff return, the Falcons handled the New Orleans offense. Altanta’s D held the Saints offense to under 300 total yards, sacked Drew Brees five times, and forced four New Orleans turnovers. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones did their part too though. Ryan threw for 322 yards, Jones had seven reception for 107 yards despite not having practiced at all the last two weeks. The Saints offense never got on track, with their offensive line struggling against what had been one of the worst pass rushes in the league the first 16 weeks.
Interesting Game Fact: The loss was the Saints fifth consecutive home loss, they were also eliminated from playoff contention by the combination of their loss, and a Panthers win.
Dolphins – 37 (8-7), Vikings – 35 (6-9)
Heroes – Matt Asiata (58 RuYd, 19 ReYd, 2 TD), Greg Jennings (56 ReYd, 1 TD), Jarius Wright (27 RuYd, 38 ReYd, 1 TD), Ryan Tannehill (396 PaYd, 1 RuYd, 5 TD), Lamar Miller (92 RuYd, 58 ReYd, 1 TD), Charles Clay (114 ReYd, 6 Rec), Mike Wallace (58 ReYd, 5 Rec, 2 TD), Damien Williams (50 ReYd, 6 Rec, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Charles Johnson (38 ReYd), Brian Hartline (0 ReYd)
The Dolphins battled back from 14 and 15 point deficits to defeat the Vikings with a blocked punt for a safety with 41 seconds remaining in the game. Ryan Tannehill threw for 396 yards and four touchdowns in the victory, the Dolphins defense contributed three sacks.
Interesting Game Fact: Despite the win, the Dolphins have now missed the playoffs for the sixth year in a row.
Texans – 25 (8-7), Ravens – 13 (9-6)
Heroes – Torrey Smith (59 ReYd, 5 Rec, 2 TD), Arian Foster (96 RuYd, 23 ReYd, 5 PaYd, 1 TD), C. J. Fiedorowicz (12 ReYd, 1 TD), Texans D/ST (13 PA, 211 YdA, 3 INT, 2 Sacks), Randy Bullock (6 FG)
Zeroes – Joe Flacco (195 PaYd, 2 TD, 3 Int), Justin Forsett (19 ReYd, 13 ReYd), Owen Daniels (7 ReYd), Ravens D/ST (25 PA, 313 YdA, 0 Sacks, 1 INT)
It took six Randy Bullock field goals and an Arian Foster touchdown pass, but the Texans were able to earn a victory of the Ravens on Sunday. The Texans defense held the Ravens to only 33 rushing yards and picked Joe Flacco off three times to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The victory marked the first career win for Case Keenum who had lost his previous nine starts. Despite the loss, the Ravens can still make the playoffs with some help – the Texans with much more help.
Interesting Game Fact: J.J. Watt continued his dominant season. He had eight tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, and one sack against the Ravens.
Lions – 20 (11-4), Bears – 14 (5-10)
Heroes – Joique Bell (74 ReYd, , 13 ReYd, 1 TD), Reggie Bush (54 RuYd, 44 ReYd, 6 Rec, 1 TD), Calvin Johnson (103 ReYd, 6 Rec), Matt Forte (55 RuYd, 40 ReYd, 6 Rec, 1 TD), Alshon Jeffery (72 ReYd, 6 Rec, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Martellus Bennett (0 ReYd, 1 Rec)
It was not pretty, but the Lions managed to defeat the Bears and keep their hopes alive for their first division title in 20 years. The Lions defense was able to bail out Matt Stafford who threw an interception in the end zone and near the goal line in back-to-back possession in the second half. The Detroit defense held the Bears to 234 total yards, while the Lions rushing game racked up 138 yards – more than double the Bears’ rushing total.
Interesting Game Fact: Matthew Stafford has now thrown for over 4,000 yards in four consecutive seasons.
Panthers – 17 (6-8-1), Browns – 13 (7-8)
Heroes – Jordan Cameron (88 ReYd, 1 TD), Cam Newton (201 PaYd, 53 RuYd, 2 TD), Jonathan Stewart (122 RuYd, 7 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Johnny Manziel (32 PaYd, 3 RuYd), Josh Gordon (45 ReYd), Greg Olsen (21 ReYd)
The final score was much closer than the actual game. The Panthers were able to rack up 209 rushing yards against the Browns. The Panthers defense held the Browns to 228 total yards, 81 of which came on a touchdown by Jordan Cameron. Just 12 days after suffering two fractures in his lower back, Cam Newton not only started against the Brown, but threw for 201 and ran for 63 and a touchdown. Jonathan Stewart chipped in 122 rushing yards of his own which helped the Panthers control the ball for over 38 minutes in the game.
Interesting Game Fact: With the win against the Browns, the Panthers will play the Falcons for the NFC South title next week. The winner of that game will be just the second team with a losing record to make the playoffs in a non-strike-shortened season.
Packers- 20 (11-4), Buccaneers – 3 (2-13)
Heroes- Aaron Rodgers (318 PaYd, 1 TD), Eddie Lacy (99 RuYd, 5 ReYd, 1 TD), Randall Cobb (131 ReYd, 11 Rec), Jordy Nelson (113 ReYd, 9 Rec, 1 TD), Packers D/ST (3 PA, 109 YdA, 1 INT, 7 Sacks)
Zeroes – Davante Adams (17 ReYd), Doug Martin (17 RuYd)
Not to say the Packers offense did not do their part, but the Packers defense was stellar against the Buccaneers. The Packers held the Buccaneers to a horrid 109 total yards Sunday and sacked Josh McCown seven times. If you are looking for a bright spot for Tampa Bay, they did hold Green Bay to 20 points, despite the Packers racking up 431 total yards. It was business as usual for the Packers offense: Aaron Rodgers threw for 318 yards — despite being sick and playing with an injured ankle — Jordy Nelson had 113 yards receiving, Randall Cobb 113 yards and a touchdown, Eddie Lacy had 99 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Interesting Game Fact: Julius Peppers must love playing the Buccaneers. In 17 career matchups against Tampa Bay, Peppers has: 17 ½ sacks, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a pick six.
Steelers – 20 (10-5), Chiefs – 12 (8-7)
Heroes – Albert Wilson (87 ReYd, 5 Rec), Le’Veon Bell (63 RuYd, 9 ReYd, 1 TD), Antonio Brown (72 ReYd, 7 Rec, 1 TD), Heath Miller (68 ReYd, 7 Rec)
Zeroes – Jamaal Charles (29 RuYd, 48 ReYd), Travis Kelce (31 ReYd, Martavius Bryant (44 ReYd, 1 Rec)
Despite a season-high 311 yards passing from Alex Smith, the Chiefs lost their fourth out of their last five games. Kansas City actually outgained the Steelers, but were unable to convert in the red zone. On six visits to the red zone, the Chiefs came away with only four field goals. While the Steelers defense did allow the Chiefs to gain 328 total yards, they held Jamal Charles to only 29 yards rushing and sacked Smith six times. The Steelers might have only managed 288 total yards but they got a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger, a TD run by Le’Veon Bell and a TD reception by Antonio Brown. They also clinched a playoff berth for the first time in three years.
Interesting Game Fact: With one game remaining in the season, Antonio Brown already has the third highest reception total for a season – 122.
Patriots – 17 (12.3), Jets – 116 (3-12)
Heroes – Jonas Gray (5 RuYd, 1 TD), Rob Gronkowski (31 ReYd, 6 Rec, 1 TD), Danny Amendola (63 ReYd, 8 Rec), Jeff Cumberland (43 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Tom Brady (182 PaYd, 10 RuYd, 1 TD, 1 INT), Eric Decker (21 ReYd)
It wasn’t pretty, but the Patriots did manage to beat the Jets on Sunday. The Jets actually help a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter. But, Geno Smith was picked off and the Patriots capitalized on the turnover by scoring a touchdown minutes later. While the Patriots only managed 231 total yards, they did enough to escape — New York — with a victory – including a partially blocked field goal with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Interesting Game Fact: Bill Belicheck won his 230th game as a head coach; he now ranks 4th in NFL history for victories by a head coach.
Cowboys – 42 (11-4), Colts – 7 (10-5)
Heroes – Hakeem Nicks (72 ReYd, 9 Rec), Zurlon Tipton (23 ReYd, 1 TD), Tony Romo (218 PaYd, 28 RuYd, 4 TD), DeMarco Murray (58 RyYd, 1 TD), Jason Witten (90 ReYd, 7 Rec, 1 TD), Dez Bryant (73 ReYd, 5 Rec, 1 TD), Terrance Williams (52 ReYd, 2 TD), Cole Beasley (29 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Andrew Luck (109 PaYd, 2 INT), Daniel Herron (3 RuYd, 37 ReYd), Reggie Wayne (23 ReYd), Donte Moncrief (5 ReYd)
This was a matchup between playoff teams, but only one of the teams looked like it Sunday. Dallas dominated the Colts from the start of the game and never looked back. Dallas led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, 28-0 at halftime and was up 48-0 in the fourth quarter before the Colts managed to find the end zone with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter. Tony Romo threw for four touchdowns, and Brandon Weeden for another; Andrew Luck had his worst game as a professional managing only 109 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. In fact, Luck was actually benched in favor of Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter.
Interesting Game Fact: Tony Romo passed Troy Aikman to become the all-time passing yardage leader for the Cowboys.
Giants – 37 (6-9), Rams – 27 (6-9)
Heroes – Eli Manning (391 PaYd, 3 TD), Andre Williams (110 RuYd), Odell Beckham Jt. (148 ReYd, 8 Rec, 1 TD), Rueben Randle (132 ReYd, 6 Rec, 1 TD), Shaun Hill (290 PaYd, 2 TD, 1 INT), Tre Mason (76 RuYd, 1 TD), Kenny Britt (103 ReYd, 9 Rec), Chris Givens (47 ReYd, 1 TD), Lance Kendricks (35 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Stedman Bailey(22 ReYd)
The Rams defense entered Sunday not having allowed a touchdown in their last three games, Odell Beckham Jr. managed two TD by himself against the Rams. Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, more importantly, he did not turn the ball over once. The Giants got 110 yards rushing from Andre Williams too as they racked up 514 yards against the Rams defense.
Interesting Game Fact: Beckham has a chance to tie the NFL record for consecutive games with at least 90 receiving yards next week; he had his eighth consecutive game with at least 90 yards against the Rams, the record is nine.
Raiders – 26 (3-12), Bills – 24 (8-7)
Heroes – Kyle Orton (329 PaYd, 3 TD, 2 INT), Fred Jackson (10 RuYd, 93 ReYd, 9 Rec), Sammy Watkins (75 ReYd, 1TD), Robert Woods (52 ReYd, 7 Rec, 1 TD), Scott Chandler (37 ReYd, 1 TD), Latavius Murray (86 RuYd, 22 ReYd), Kenbrell Thompkins (90 ReYd), Jamize Olawale (1 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes — Mychal Rivera (5 ReYd)
After performing well against two of the best offenses in the league the last two weeks, the Bills were unable to stop the Raiders on Sunday. The Bills defense allowed the Raiders to rack up 347 yards of offense. The Bills are not the only playoff hopeful to lose to the Raiders though; the Raiders also helped keep Kansas City and San Francisco out of the playoffs. Kyle Orton did his best to keep the Bills in the game – passing for 329 yards and 3 TD – but the Bills rushing attack did not do their part managing only 13 yards rushing on the day.
Interesting Game Fact: The loss means the Bills playoff drought now stands at 15 seasons.
Seahawks – 35 (11-4), Cardinals – 6 (11-4)
Heroes – Russell Wilson (339 PaYd, 88 RuYd, 3 TD), Marshawn Lynch (113 RuYd, 2 TD), Luke Wilson (139 ReYd, 2 TD), Doug Baldwin (113 ReYd, 7 Rec)
Zeroes – Steven Hauschka (0/3 FG, 5/5 XP)
The Cardinals scored first and kept the game close for three quarters, then the fourth quarter happened. Seattle score 21 points in the final quarter to lock up the inside track to home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. It was a career game for Russell Wilson who had both the longest rush — 55 yards — and tied his career long for a pass — 80 yards. Despite playing the game sick, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 113 yards including an impressive 79-yard touchdown. Arizona’s offense did very little in the matchup against the Seattle defense, managing only 216 total yards and converting only three of 15 third-down conversion attempts.
Interesting Game Fact: Seattle set a franchise record by racking up 596 yards of total offense against the Cardinals.
A big thanks to Dave for letting me fill in for him. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.