NFL Week 12 Wrap-Up

Seahawks 21, Dolphins 24

In a game that featured a little bit of everything, including a delay of game while the on field sprinkler system was activated in the middle of a Dolphins’ drive, Miami came from behind to beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-21.  The Dolphins improve to 5-6 while the Seahawks fall to 6-5.

Ryan Tannehill MIA 350x350In a matchup of rookie quarterbacks featuring only 1 turnover between the two teams, a Ryan Tannehill interception, it was ultimately the running game that made the difference.  Miami out-rushed Seattle 189 to 96, as Reggie Bush had 87 yards on 14 carries and Daniel Thomas added 60 yards on 9 carries.

Actually, both rookie quarterbacks also added to the ground totals, as each contributed over 30 yards rushing as well.  Tannehill finished 18 of 26 for 253 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, and 4 carries for 33 yards, while Russell Wilson finished 21 of 27 for 224 yards with 2 TDs and no INTs plus 5 carries for 38 yards.

The fourth quarter packed most of the excitement, as Miami scored on a 3-yard TD run by Daniel Thomas to tie the score at 14-14 with a little over 8 minutes left.  Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to put Seattle up 21-14.  Miami responded with a quick TD drive of under 3 minutes, culminating in a 29-yard TD pass from Tannehill to Charles Clay to tie the game up at 21-21.  Finally, Miami got the ball back and hit the game winning field goal as time expired.

 

Vikings 10, Bears 28

Chicago showed the Vikings who wields the power in the NFC North, as they dominated the Vikings 28-10 to advance their record to 8-3, coming back strong from a dismal loss on Monday night.  Jay Cutler returned for the Bears, and was only sacked once, finishing with a solid performance – 23 of 31 for 188 with 1 TD and 1 INT.  Jason Campbell was sacked six times on Monday night, including 5.5 sacks by Aldon Smith.

Adrian Peterson continued his dominant season, proving he is completely recovered from his knee injury last season, as he ran 18 times for 108 yards, averaging 6 yards per carry and advancing his NFL league leading rushing total for the season to 1128 yards.

After an early field goal by the Vikings, the Bears scored 25 unanswered points before halftime, including 2 TDs by Michael Bush who finished with 60 yards on 21 carries to go along with his 2 TDs.

Brandon Marshall continued to show his good chemistry with Cutler, as he accounted for almost half of the Bears passing yards.  Marshall had 12 receptions for 92 yards, and was targeted 17 times on Cutler’s 31 attempts.

 

Raiders 10, Bengals 34

Andy Dalton and the Bengals ruined Carson Palmer’s homecoming to Cincinnati, and made Bengals fans feel pretty good about the quarterback change from last year.  The Bengals dominated in the 34-10 win, improving their record to 6-5 while the Raiders fell to 3-8.

Dalton had a very solid showing, finishing 16 of 30 for 210 yards with 3 TDs and no INTs while Palmer finished 19 of 34 for 146 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  Dalton’s favorite target led the way, as A.J. Green had 3 receptions for 111 yards, averaging 37 yards per catch.

While the quarterbacks earned the headlines, the Bengals running game was even more dominant as they racked up 221 yards as a team, including a team average of 6.5 yards per carry.  The Law Firm, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, led all rushers with 19 carries for 129 yards and 1 TD.

The Bengals started fast and never looked back, taking a 24-0 lead at half time.  They dominated in every phase of the game, forcing 2 turnovers (while not giving up the ball at all) and they held Oakland to 3 of 12 on third downs.

Cincinnati keeps their playoff hopes alive, while Oakland struggles to figure out how to rebuild without the draft picks that they gave up for Carson Palmer.

 

Steelers Fumble and Bumble in Loss to Browns, 14-20

The Steelers showed the dangers of leaning heavily on your passing game, as they went to Cleveland with their third string quarterback Charlie Batch and fell to the previously 2-8 Cleveland Browns 14-20.

With both Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich out, the Steelers are one of the few teams to keep a third veteran quarterback, but Batch struggled.  He finished the day 20 of 34 for 199 yards with no TDs and 3 INTs.

As bad as Batch’s day was, it was only the beginning of the Steelers’ problems.  They managed only 49 yards rushing, and averaged a mere 2.5 yards per carry.  Even worse, they fumbled the ball a ridiculous 8 times, losing 5.  With the 3 INTs included, they lost the turnover battle 8-1, so it is a miracle that the game was actually as close as it was.

The Steelers’ got some help from their defense, as one of their 2 TDs came on defensive side of the ball.  They converted the one turnover that they did get directly into points when Lawrence Timmons returned an interception 53 yards for a TD in the first quarter.  But that was about the sole highlight for the Steelers.

Cleveland wasn’t much better, producing only 20 points on 8 turnovers as neither team reached 250 yards of total offense.  The Steelers were 1 of 9 on third downs and the Browns were 3 of 16.  The game also featured 19 penalties for a combined 158 yards to go along with the 9 combined turnovers.

Stanford outshown Harvard, as Luck finished 20 of 37 for 240 uards with 1 TD and 1 INT, while the Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick finished 17 of 33 for 180 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.

 

Bills 13, Colts 20

The Indianapolis Colts continue to look like a playoff contender, while the Bills continue to try to find their identity.  The Colts defeated the Bills 13-20, advancing the Colts to 7-4 while the Bills fall to 4-7.

Colts rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was the star of the game as he scored both of Indy’s touchdowns.  He put the Colts up early on a 75 yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter, and scored again on an 8 yard pass from Andrew Luck in the third quarter to put the Colts up 20-6.  Reggie Wayne contributed 102 yards receiving on 8 receptions.

There were a couple of high points for the Bills, as C.J. Spiller racked up 107 yards on a mere 14 carries, increasing his league-leading average to 6.6 yards per attempt on the season.  Stevie Johnson also added 106 yards, accounting for more than half of the Bills receiving yards.

 

Broncos 17, Chiefs 9

Tebow Time may be long gone, but Manning Magic continues as Peyton Manning led the Broncos back from a third quarter deficit to drop the lowly Kansas City Chiefs 17-9.  The Broncos improve to 8-3 and continue to lead the AFC West while the Chiefs fall to 1-10 and have an inside track for the top draft pick for next season, as the only 1 win team remaining.

It was a solid, if not perfect, game for Manning as he finished 22 of 37 for 285 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT.  Manning distributed the ball all over the field, as five different receivers each had 4 catches.  He received a solid performance from the running game, as they racked up 95 yards on 24 carries.

Meanwhile, in hapless KC, Brady Quinn got the start and finished 13 of 25 for 126 yards with no TDs and 1 INT.  The sole high point for the Chiefs was running back Jamaal Charles who racked up 107 yards on 23 carries, while the team had a total of 148 yards on the ground, exceeding their passing total by over 30 yards.

The Chiefs have lost 8 games in a row, and have the worst point differential in the league at -140.  They have also scored the fewest points in the league with 161 in 11 games, and have failed to reach the 20 points in a game since September.

 

Falcons 24, Buccaneers 23

The Atlanta Falcons survived a scare from Tampa Bay to push their record to 10-1, thanks to a career day from wide receiver Julio Jones, including an 80-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan in the third quarter.  Jones finished with 6 receptions for 147 yards and the 1 TD.

Ryan also put up impressive numbers, completing over 80 percent of his passes, as he finished 26 of 32 for 353  yards with 1 TD an 1 INT.  Ryan also lost a fumble, but the Falcons survived losing the turnover battle 2-0 to escape with the win.

The Bucs were game and kept the pressure on all day, as Josh Freeman finished 19 or 30 for 256 yards.  The Bucs took the lead in the fourth quarter on a 1 yard TD by Doug Martin, but Atlanta took the lead back on a Michael Turner 3 yard touchdown run with 7:55 left.

 

Titans 19, Jaguars 24

The Jacksonville Jaguars picked up their second win of the season, as they turned to Chad Henne over Blaine Gabbert at quarterback.  Henne finished 17 of 26 for 261 with 2 TDs and 1 INT.  The Jags improve to 2-9 while the Titans fall to 4-7 following the 19-24 loss.

He got a lot of help from Cecil Shorts, who continued to play on a tear with 4 receptions for 105 yards, including a 59-yard TD reception in the third quarter to put the Jags out in front.   Shorts has three 100-yard games in the last five

With Maurice Jones Drew on the sidelines, the Jags managed to amass 100 yards rushing through a combination of Jalen Parmele and Rashad Jennings, along with a 12 yard run by rookie Justin Blackmon.

Jake Locker had a sub-par day, completing 23 of 40 passes for 261 yards with 1 TD, but 2 INTs, but he did add 21 yards on 5 carries as well.  Chris Johnson added 80 yards on 21 carries.

 

49ers 31, Saints 21

While the 49ers may have made a switch at quarterback (at least for this week) from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick, the defense kept right on rolling, leading the 49ers past Drew Brees and the Saints 31-21.

Drew Brees continued his NFL record streak of most consecutive games with a TD pass, and he actually threw 5 TD passes.  Unfortunately, three of them were to his team and two of them were to 49ers.  Brees finished 26 of 41 for 267 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs, both returned for TDs.  Ahmad Brooks returned one 50 yards for a TD in the second quarter, and Donte Whitner returned the other 42 yards for a TD in the third quarter.

The 49ers also recorded 5 sacks of Brees, including 1.5 by Aldon Smith, improving on his league leading 15 sacks.  He is now half a sack away from tying the record for most sacks in the first two years of a career, as he passed Derrick Thomas for second and trails only Reggie White with five games to go.

Kaepernick turned in a solid game, as he went 16 of 25 for 231 yards, with 1 TD and 1 INT, but no sacks.  He was significantly boosted by the exceptional performance of the defense and the usually strong 49ers running game.  The 49ers racked up 144 yards on the ground, led by Frank Gore’s 19 carries for 83 yards.  Kaepernick was part of that attack, as he added 6 carries for 27 yards, including a nice scamper from 7 yards out to open the scoring.

The win moves the 49ers to 8-2-1 giving them a 2 and a half game lead in the NFC West, although they remain a half game behind Chicago for the number 2 seed in the conference.

New Orleans, who had won 5 of their last 6 games, now falls to 5-6 with three tough games ahead, as they go to 10-1 Atlanta next week, followed by a trip to New York to play the 6-4 Giants, followed by hosting the 6-5 Buccaneers.  The chances of a playoff spot for the Saints are getting slimmer and slimmer.

 

Rams 31, Cardinals 17

 

Ravens 16, Chargers 13

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