Week 15 of the NFL proved that once again, any team can win any game on any given day. The Broncos, Patriots, Saints and more re-learned that.
Baltimore 18 Detroit 16 – What looked like an ugly game turned out to be a career game for Ravens kicker, Justin Tucker. Tucker kicked 6 field goals, including a 61 yarder with 38 seconds to give the Ravens the big win. Joe Flacco finished 20-38 for 222 yards for the Ravens while the Lions had Matthew Stafford, who finished 18-34 for 235 yards with a touchdown and 3 interceptions. Everyone seemed to struggle during this game, including Calvin Johnson, who had a couple of big dropped passes. Baltimore climbs up to a game behind Cincinnati while Detroit is a game behind Chicago.
Miami 24 New England 20 – New England wasn’t able to be the beneficiary of a questionable call to help their late game comeback as Miami scored with 1:15 left and held on to upset the Patriots and guarantee themselves no worse than a .500 record. Both teams combined for 24 points in the 4th quarter as it looked like Tom Brady was going to be able to have some more late game heroics. The equalizer was Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill finished 25-37 for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns and no turnovers. Mike Wallace also stepped up with 6 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. Tom Brady finished 34-55 for 364 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. The Patriots had a pair of 100 yard receivers in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Edelman had 13 catches for 139 yards and a score while Amendola had 10 catches for 131 yards. Beyond those two, the production majorly dropped off. As it stands right now, New England is still 2 games ahead of Miami with 2 left, but the Dolphins currently hold the #6 spot in the playoffs.
St Louis 27 New Orleans 16 – St Louis struck early, eventually building to a 24-3 halftime lead and even extending it to a 27-3 lead in the 3rd before holding on for dear life as the Saints came to life in the 4th quarter. However, there was not enough time left as New Orleans could not close the gap. Turnovers were a major problem for the Saints as they gave the ball away 3 times and took it back 0 times. Kellen Clemens finished 14-20 for 158 yards with 2 touchdowns. Zac Stacey paced the Rams on the ground by running 28 times for 133 yards and a touchdown. The Saints abandoned the run early, so Drew Brees was busy. Brees finished 39-56 for 393 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions. He also scored one on the ground as well. New Orleans falls to a record tie with Carolina in the NFC South while St. Louis still has a chance of finishing at .500.
San Diego 27 Denver 20 – Ryan Matthews shouldered the load for San Diego as the Chargers upset the Broncos. Matthews was the only effective running back on either side, gaining 127 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Phillip Rivers was efficient, but didn’t stand out by finishing 12-20 for 166 yards with 2 2nd quarter touchdowns. Peyton Manning had to carry Denver completely, going 27-41 for 289 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. With this win, San Diego remains in the playoff hunt while Denver allows Kansas City to creep back into the AFC West picture.
Green Bay 37 Dallas 36 – After building up a 26-3 halftime lead, it appeared Dallas would be one step closer to the division leading Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the Packers scored 5 touchdowns in the 2nd half and squeaked out a win. The Cowboys had one last chance after Green Bay took the lead with 1:31 left, but a Tony Romo interception ended the comeback bid. Matt Flynn led the Packers by going 26-39 for 299 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. All of Flynn’s touchdowns came in the 2nd half, each to a different receiver. Eddie Lacy had 141 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. For the Cowboys, Tony Romo went 29-48 for 358 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. DeMarco Murray had 18 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown and was the only Cowboy to run the ball. Dez Bryant also had a great game by hauling in 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. Dallas remains a game behind Philadelphia and Green Bay keeps half a game behind Chicago in their respective divisional races.
Minnesota 48 Philadelphia 30 – Who needs a running game? Apparently, neither Philadelphia nor Minnesota does as the two teams combined for over 800 yards in the Vikings upset win over the Eagles. Matt Cassell led the Vikings by going 26-35 for 382 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Without Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart, Minnesota had to rely on Matt Asiata, who ran 30 times for 51 yards and 3 touchdowns. Greg Jennings also had a great day, catching 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. For Philadelphia, Nick Foles went 30-48 for 428 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception. Top rusher LeSean McCoy was held to 38 yards on 8 carries. DeSean Jackson was unstoppable, catching 10 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. While Minnesota isn’t in postseason contention, this loss opens the NFC East back up.
Kansas City 56 Oakland 31 – Alex Smith had a perfect QB rating as the Chiefs absolutely dominated the Raiders from start to finish on the scoreboard. Oakland outgained Kansas City 461-384, but KC won the turnover battle 7-1. Yes, the Oakland Raiders had 7 turnovers. The Chiefs relied mostly on the air as the ground game was relatively unused. For the Chiefs, Alex Smith finished 17-20 for 287 yards with 5 touchdowns and the only Chief turnover via a lost fumble. For Oakland, Matt McGloin went 18-36 for 297 yards with 2 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a fumble lost. Even Terrelle Prior joined in on the turnover party by going 1-4 for 12 yards with an interception. Rashad Jennings was the lone bright spot for the Raiders as he ran for 91 yards and 2 touchdowns on 23 carries. With this win, Kansas City climbs back into a record tie with Denver for the AFC West, but loses on tiebreakers.
Atlanta 27 Washington 26 – Washington tried to overcome 7 turnovers against Atlanta and fell just short as a failed 2pt conversion was the difference in this one. The Redskins scored with 18 seconds left, but Kirk Cousins’ pass to Pierre Garcon was not converted. Washington dominated on offense, outgaining Atlanta 476-243, but the Redskins had 5 fumbles and all were recovered by the Falcons. Matt Ryan finished 29-38 for 210 yards with a touchdown and a lost fumble. No one else really stood out for the offensive challenged Falcons, but the defense were all on point with all those turnovers. Kirk Cousins, who could be moved in the offseason, went 29-45 for 381 yards with 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a lost fumble. Alfred Morris ran for 98 yards on 18 carries with 2 more lost fumbles and Santana Moss finished the turnover party off with 8 catches for 64 yards and 2 lost fumbles. At this point, this game was all about jockeying for draft position.
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