Baltimore Ravens 28, Washington Redskins 31
In a game that lived up to all the billing, the Redskins came from behind to beat the Ravens 31-28 in overtime, but it was the wrong rookie quarterback finishing off the Redskins comeback.
Robert Griffin III injured his knee leading the Redskins down the field near the end of regulation, and although he tried to continue virtually hopping on one leg, he was finally pulled. The Redskins fourth round draft pick, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins came in to finish off the drive. With the Redskins down 28-20 with under a minute left, Cousins connected with Pierre Garcon from 11 yards out with 0:29 left in the game. Cousins then ran in the two point conversion to force the game to overtime.
Both quarterback played will, as Griffin finished with 246 yards passing and 34 yards rushing, and Cousins was 2 of 2 for 26 yards and 1 TD. Initial reports are that Griffin had a knee sprain, not an ACL tear, but the MRI will be forthcoming on Monday.
The Ravens did everything they had to do to win, except stop the Redskins at the end of the game when it really counted. The Ravens racked up 186 yards rushing, including 121 by Ray Rice. Flacco finished with 182 passing yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT and was an efficient 16 of 21. But the Ravens defense, so long the strength of the team, wasn’t up to the task today.
The Ravens are still in line for a playoff slot, at 9-4, and with the rest of their division competitors losing today as well, the AFC Central is still up for grabs. Washington, meanwhile, has kept their playoff hopes alive and kept pace with the Dallas Cowboys at 7-6 with three games to go. They are currently in a dogfight, as there are two 8 win teams ahead of them for the last playoff slot, but they are only one game back and still only one game behind the Giants for a shot at the division title.
Dallas Cowboys 20, Cincinnati Bengals 19
The roller coaster ride for Tony Romo crested again, as he was the hero in the Cowboys come from behind victory. He had little help from the running game, as the Cowboys managed only 49 yards and averaged 2.0 yards per carry.
Romo hit 9 different receivers and finished 25 of 43 for 268 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. More importantly, he led the Cowboys back in the fourth quarter from a 9 point deficit. Romo connect with Dez Bryant for a 27-yard touchdown pass with 6:35 left in the fourth to cut the lead to two, and then led the Cowboys down to set up a Dan Bailey 40-yard field goal as time expired.
Denver Broncos 26 Oakland Raiders 13
Peyton Manning and the Broncos continued their playoff run and improved their record to 10-3 as they dropped the Raiders 26-13. The Broncos are looking like a serious force to be reckoned with in the AFC as Manning had another exemplary day, finishing 26 of 36 (72 percent) for 310 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Manning was helped by 140 yards rushing, including Knowshon Moreno’s 32 carries for 119 yards and 1 TD.
Oakland continued their season of futility, dropping to 3-10 as they managed only 61 yards rushing and converted only 2 of 8 third downs. Denver kept the Raiders offense off the field, as they dominated the time of possession 37:19 to 22:41.
Kansas City Chiefs 7, Cleveland Browns 30
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles took the ball 80 yards on the first play of the game to put the Chiefs up 7-0, but that was all she wrote for the Chiefs, as the Browns scored the next 30 points. Charles had a solid day, finished with 18 carries for 165 yards and 1 TD, but got little else from the rest of the team. After 80 yards on the first play, they managed only 230 yards the rest of the day and were a dismal 1 of 11 on third down conversions.
Cleveland had one of the most impressive days of running-back-by-committee as they totaled 154 yards rushing as a team with six different players having at least 15 yards rushing. Trent Richardson had 18 carries for 42 yards with 2 TDs. Travis Benjamin added a special teams touchdown as he scored on a 93 yard punt return in the second quarter.
N.Y. Jets 17, Jacksonville Jags 10
The Jets barely survived a battle against the Jacksonville Jaguars, one of the weakest teams in the AFC, by a final score of 17-10. Despite the quarterback controversy in New York, Mark Sanchez played the entire game and was quietly efficient, if unspectacular, completing a mere 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards with no TDs and no INTs. He was aided by 166 yards rushing for the Jets, as perhaps Rex Ryan has finally realized that emphasizing the running game isn’t a bad idea.
Chad Henne got the start for the Jags, and miraculously made fans long for Blaine Gabbert has he completed 21 of 43 passes (49 percent) for 185 yards with no TDs and 2 INTs.
St. Louis Rams 15, Buffalo Bills 12
The Rams came from behind in the final minute of the game to score the game winning touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Sam Bradford to Brandon Gibson with 0:48 left in the fourth quarter to take the win.
Neither offense reached 300 yards total, or even reached 80 yards rushing, but Bradford’s 19 of 39 for 209 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT was enough for the win.
Fitzpatrick was more efficient, but was sacked 5 times as both teams had trouble finding the endzone.
Indianapolis Colts 27, Tennessee Titans 23
Andrew Luck continued to build his young legend with another come from behind win, making it 6 fourth quarter comebacks so far this season, the highest single season total by a rookie quarterback since the merger.
Overall, Luck had a fairly sub par day, finished 16 of 34 for 196 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs, and was sacked 4 times, but he came up big when he had to. The Colts were down by 13 at the half and down by 2 midway through the fourth quarter. Luck led the Colts on 2 drives in the final 8 minutes, commencing in two Adam Vinatieri field goals, to seal the win.
Jake Locker also threw 2 INTs but otherwise had a solid day, finishing 22 of 35 for 262 with 1 TD. Locker also outrushed Chris Johnson as Locker racked up 51 yards on 4 carries to lead the Titans in rushing.
The Colts improve to 9-4 and continue in a solid playoff position, while the Titans fall to 4-9 and look ahead to the draft and next season.
Philadelphia Eagles 23, Tampa Bay Bucs 21
Nick Foles looks determined to hold onto the starting job in Philadelphia as he finally broke the Eagles eight game losing streak. It took a Herculean effort by Foles, who finished 32 of 51 for 381 yards with 2 TDs and no INTs. Foles also accounted for 27 of the Eagles 29 rushing yards, including 1 rushing TD, as the running backs added only 2 yards on 13 carries (0.15 yards per carry).
Foles also had to rally the team from an 11 point fourth quarter deficit, as he threw both of his TD passes in the final four minutes of the game. The final score, a 1-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin, sealed the victory as time expired.
San Diego Chargers 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Ben Roethlisberger was back for Pittsburgh, but that wasn’t good enough as the Steelers fell to the Chargers. Roethlisberger was solid, finishing with 285 passing yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT, matching the 3 TDs thrown by Philip Rivers.
The Chargers jumped ahead 34-10 early in the fourth after a defensive score by Quentin Jammer on a Roethlisberger fumble and an early fourth quarter TD pass from Rivers to Danario Alexander. Roethlisberger was able to lead the Steelers to two touchdowns in the last 6:07, but it was too little, too late.
Atlanta Falcons 20, Carolina Panthers 30
Cam Newton donned his Superman jersey and led the Panthers to just the fourth win of the season by upsetting the heavily favored Atlanta Falcons who had lost only once all year. Newton was the workhorse, as he finished with 403 of the Panthers 475 yards of offense.
Newton was 23 of 35 (66 percent) for 287 yards with 2 TDs and no INTs and added 9 rushes for 116 yards and a TD, including a 72 yards TD run in the third quarter to put Carolina up 23-0 and effectively put the game out of reach.
Chicago Bears 14 Minnesota Vikings 21
Miami Dolphins 13 San Francisco 49ers 27
Arizona Cardinals 0 Seattle Seahawks 58
New Orleans Saints 27 N.Y. Giants 52
Detroit Lions 20 Green Bay Packers 27
Houston Texans 14 New England Patriots 42
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