Well there was only one game yesterday that was played in the snow (that I saw) in Green Bay, at least one team was eliminated from post season contention, there was one huge record broken (Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, surprise, surprise) and yet a couple more upsets to highlight Week #16 in the National Football League.
For the first time since I started doing this, I lead off with the Denver Broncos. They are the first team on my list and not because they are my team, but for the first they played in one of the early games and I had the regional channel that picked it up…at least for the first quarter, then the power went out at home for over five hours so I missed TD passes number 50 and 51.
Denver 37 Houston 13
Anyways, Manning did it. Again. Every year at around this time it seems like he does it. He does something insane like break a Brady record or some other record, then for at least the next six days, Manning dominates every single headline online, and in newspapers across the country. Thanks to Peyton Manning’s even distribution of the football, there are five teammates that now have at least 10 TDs this season, according to the Broncos’ Twitter account, this is the first time in team history that they have accomplished that. Eric Decker is one of them, either Demaryius Thomas or Julius Thomas would have to be another, Wes Welker definitely has at least 10 touchdowns this season even though he was out yesterday due to concussion symptoms.
Because we as NFL supporters have become used to the heroics of Manning coming through each and every December, it lacks the surprise effect each time he does it, but what did surprise me about yesterdays game, even though I missed more than half of it, was that the Denver defence allowed 13 points to the Texans! That is somewhat disturbing. That is a little like New England giving up 20-30 to the Browns.
Anyway, Broncos win the game, clinch the AFC West and finish off the season next weekend with the Raiders, in Oakland. Then, will it ever be interesting to start to get an idea of who they may end up facing following the first-round bye which they have already earned.
Buffalo 19 Miami 0
I have been sticking up for the Miami Dolphins since their record sat at 6-6. I thought it there was a way that Miami could win six games this season, then there definitely is a way they could win nine or maybe even 10. A shutout loss in rainy and cold Buffalo yesterday did not help them. After some of the success they have had this season, no name quarterback, bullying thing that apparently broke the team up yet they somehow still put wins together, but now they go and lose to the Bills. There are several teams whose season will come down to Week #17 and the Miami Dolphins are officially one of them. They are going to need some help. Still do not be surprised if there winds up being playoff football way down south.
Cincinnati 42, Minnesota 14
Are these Bengals for real or what? Forty-two points against Minnesota may not be their biggest accomplishment this season and for Cincy’s sake I hope it is not their biggest accomplishment simply because Minnesota is not that good, but what this win does prove is that Cincinnati is like a high-powered assault rifle. They will blow you away if they can. They had no problem proving their worth yesterday. They had beaten the Patriots earlier in the season but not sure if they had ever scored 42 points previously. After all of the troubles, especially at the quarterback position, over the years, Cincy has seemed like they have found their man in quarterback Andy Dalton.
Indianapolis 23 Kansas City 3
Good lord, what is happening here? Indy was going down for sometime before this game, Kansas City has strung together nine straight wins and now this??! Indy has clinched division title in the AFC South at 10-5 while KC currently has a wild card spot despite a better record of 11-4
St. Louis 23 Tampa Bay 13
One of the few games on the schedule with no playoff implications. Both teams have been plagued by all sorts of stuff this season, although St. Louis seems to be on the uprise. Two teams with virtually no big names on the roster. Almost impressive that they were able to combine for close to 40 points.
NY Jets 24 Cleveland 13
There is no such thing as Believeland after this one. Just like the St. Louis/Tampa matchup, this is the kind of game that ‘fans’ go to when there is absolutely nothing else to do in town that day. Jets and Cleveland also combine for just under 40 points is kinda shocking. Both teams have had brutal seasons this year, and for at least one of them it probably isn’t going to get any better next year.
Dallas 24, Washington 23 SHOCKER
I think that if this game was against anybody in the NFC besides Washington, then it would go down as one of Dallas’ greatest wins if this year, last year and maybe even the year before that. The reason for that is Dallas played well enough to win, and not only did they win, but they managed to NOT fuck this one up somehow. Someone said yesterday that Tony Romo saved Christmas in Texas. That is cute. But it is also probably true. The exact reverse of what happened that night against the Broncos, and that night where Dez Bryant walked off the field early (against Detroit I think); on both occasions, Romo found a way to lose the football, and the game, but not this time. This time he connected for a touchdown pass with seven seconds remaining. The only thing that would have made this win any sweeter would have been if they were actually playing in Texas. Washington has gotten progressively weaker all season long. Let’s see them try and blame this one on a quarterback!
Carolina 17 New Orleans 13
Talk about revenge being sweet! Cameron Newton is heading to the playoffs no doubt about it now! Watchout NFC teams. You don’t want to have to play against these guys. Argue what you will about the Saints already making it into the playoffs but for the first time in my time watching these games, Carolina is the new division leader in the NFC South. Carolina avenged their blowout loss about two weeks ago to this same Saints team. Nobody should want to play this team next month.
Tennessee 20 Jacksonville 16
Here is one of the other games that I have no clue what to write. Now do you wish you guys had given Tim Tebow and opportunity to play for you? If not for the crazy media circus that would follow, then at least to give a mobile man like Tebow an opportunity to come in and at least see what he can do!
NY Giants 23 Detroit 23*****
The first shocker on my list comes from the Detroit/Giants game. The team that was supposed to be on the rise (Detroit) vs the team that was out of contention weeks ago.
Arizona 17 Seattle 10
What??? For the first time in a long time, the Seattle Seahawks lost a game at home. The Seahawks lost at SecureLinks Field for the first time in 14 games.
A perfectly placed throw by Carson Palmer and a juggling catch by Michael Floyd kept the Arizona Cardinals in the playoff hunt for another week with a surprising 17-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Palmer overcame four interceptions to find Floyd on a 31-yard touchdown with 2:13 left, and Arizona won for the seventh time in eight games and snapped the Seahawks’ 14-game home win streak.
“It’s tough not to get the ball thrown your way until the last play of the game essentially,” Palmer said.
Pittsburgh 38 Green Bay 31
I knew when I was driving home from work last Wednesday when I heard it on the radio that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers would not be playing yesterday, that the Packers were probably going to be like sitting ducks against whoever they play against on Sunday. That team happened to be Pittsburgh, and that team happened to win big. Albeit it came down the final few minutes to determine a winner, but Steeler nation received the same early Christmas gift that Cowboy nation got, another chance.
After an exhilarating win in the snow, Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu got even better news when he returned to the locker room.
His Steelers are still in the playoff chase and they kept in the chase in the beautiful Wisconsin snow!
Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dashed through the snow for a 13-yard score in the third quarter.
Roethlisberger finished the day with only 167 passing yards but I guess in the heavy snow it is a lot harder to throw accurately and to see where the ball is. He did throw a pair of impressive touchdowns and had one throw intercepted and he was sacked once. However most importantly he helped win the game and kept Steeler nation hopes alive for at least another six days. Big Ben also scrambled for a 13-yard pickup and scored a key touchdown in doing so.
Polamalu’s forced fumble set up Le’Veon Bell’s 1-yard touchdown run with 1:28 left, then Pittsburgh withstood Green Bay’s last throw into the end zone and dealt the Packers’ playoff hopes a blow with a 38-31 victory Sunday.
It’s a longshot, but the Steelers (7-8), after starting 0-4 this season, are still mathematically in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot. They need a lot of help.
“It’s been a long road for us, but we still have our struggles. We were one play from losing that game,” Polamalu said.
Now Pittsburgh fans get to watch a total of four games next weekend just to find out what happens to their team. Pittsburgh needs Miami, San Diego and Baltimore all to lose next week, while they will have to find a way to stop Cleveland’s unpredictable team.
San Diego (8-7) 26 Oakland (4-11) 13
One of the teams that could get in the Steelers way as they continue to push for a playoff spot is the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers also won yesterday, keeping their own postseason hopes alive. Phillip Rivers did most of his damage in the second and third quarters while their field goal unit did its job early in the game, and again late in the game.
San Diego managed to overcome three turnovers while benefiting from two turnovers and 12 penalties for 73 yards by the Raiders.
Rivers threw a go-ahead, 4-yard touchdown pass to rookie Keenan Allen with 5 minutes left in the third quarter and Ryan Mathews ran for 99 yards and one touchdown, setting a career high with 1,111 yards. Nick Novak kicked four field goals for San Diego.
Oakland has now lost its fifth straight game.
New England 41 Baltimore 7
Though not necessarily a shocking result given the two team that played this game, but the final score definitely qualifies as shocking. With Baltimore needing a win to help solidify its spot in the AFC North standings, they could not do it, in fact they couldn’t even come close. Tom Brady had a good day though, even if his touchdown pass record was broken by good buddy Peyton Manning. The Patriots at the very least, nailed down top spot in the AFC East. New England helped Pittsburgh in the process by annihilating the team that the Steelers are chasing. Joe Flacco meanwhile, picked a bad time to throw two interceptions, his Ravens were held off the scoresheet completely for an entire three quarters before they got anything at all going. And the Patriots scored 21 points in the fourth quarter alone, sending Baltimore to their worst home loss ever.
Eagles 47 Chicago 11
Wow, I didn’t see this one coming either. How in the hell did Nick Foles and friends score 47 points in the same game. He didn’t do all of the damage by himself however, Michael Vick made a ‘guest’ appearance with six minutes left in the game and used a play-action-fake which saw RB Bryce Brown take it all the way to the house and that capped the scoring. Brown finished the game with 115 yards of rushing. The Eagles dominated this game from start to finish. Now they have a date with Dallas to determine top team in the NFC South.
Monday Nighter: Atlanta at San Francisco.
Candlestick Park in San Francisco will be the site of what should be the league’s next total beatdown. SF (10-4) battles the helpless Falcons (4-10). It is another match between two teams with the exact opposite record in the standings.
The San Francisco 49ers hope to close out Candlestick Park with a celebration of their return to the playoffs.
If they haven’t already clinched a postseason berth before this game, the 49ers could take care of it on their own Monday night when they meet the Atlanta Falcons in the final regular-season game at the stadium the team has called home since 1971.
“There will be tremendous memories from everybody that’s ever played there,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “That’s why it’s important for us not to screw it up and make sure we get this win this (Monday).”