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NFL Week 12 Game Recaps

Chicago Bears (8-3) vs. Detroit Lions (4-7)

Final Score: Bears 23, Lions 16

Recap: This week’s NFC North Thanksgiving matchup proved one thing: the Bears are a legit contender. With or without starting QB Mitchell Trubisky, this team is so talented, and so well rounded that they can win big games regardless of who’s under center. The Lions put up a valiant effort but the Bears’ dominant defense was once again too much to overcome. Even with the Lions’ O-line and blocking scheme shutting out Khalil Mack, Chicago’s pass rush was able to pressure Stafford throughout the game. If not for two costly Detroit interceptions and a late game goal line stand, this game could have easily had a different outcome. Once again the “New Age Monsters of the Midway” came through with a clutch performance and come out with another victory.

With Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones both sidelined with injuries, it was up to LeGarrette Blount and Kenny Golladay to step up, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. In the past four weeks prior to the Thanksgiving game, Blount had 21 carries for 16 yards and 0 touchdowns. This week he went for 88 yards on 19 carries and found the endzone twice, while Golladay had 5 receptions for 90 yards. The difference maker between these two teams was determined by the turnover battle; Chase Daniels may have not lit it up, but he didn’t throw a single interception. On the other side of the ball, Bears CB Eddie Jackson, for the second week in a row, had a game winning pick six and now has more TD’s than a majority of the WR’s in his 2016 draft class with 5. The Bears are currently rolling and riding a five game winning streak. With only two real tests remaining on their schedule against the Rams at home and Vikings on the road, they are the clear favorites to win the division.

Notable Performances:

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford, QB: 28/38, 236 yds, 2 INT

LeGarrette Blount, RB: 19 rushes, 88 yds, 2 TD, 4.6 ypc

Kenny Golladay, WR: 5 rec, 90 yds

Chicago Bears

Chase Daniel, QB: 27/37, 230 yds, 2 TD

Tarik Cohen, RB: 7 rec, 45 yds, 1 TD, 6.4 ypc

Tyler Gabriel, WR: 7 rec, 49 yds

Written by: Jack Bourgeois

Washington Redskins (6-5) vs. Dallas Cowboys (6-5)

Final Score: Cowboys 31, Redskins 23

Recap: This race for 1st place in the NFC East was not as close as the score might indicate. The Redskins were actually driving at points, but Colt McCoy had some brutal turnovers that were just absolute momentum killers. Washington’s offense has been so heavily reliant on Adrian Peterson, that it’s a surprise they were able to rack up 331 total yards while Peterson only rushed for 35. The Cowboys have looked better week by week — Ezekiel Elliott put up 4.7 yards per carry against a stout Washington run defense, and Dak Prescott played a very clean game and totaled three touchdowns — the turnover differential was really the difference in this one. Amari Cooper had a monster game, with 180 yards and 2 TD, and Jerry Jones was probably jumping for joy after trading a 1st round pick for him a few weeks ago.

Most people expected the game to be a defensive battle. Indeed it was at the end of the 1st half, with the Cowboys leading just 10-7. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, but then a Colt McCoy interception was sandwiched between two Dallas touchdowns. The score blew open to 31-13. Washington made a comeback attempt, as a Kapri Bibbs touchdown brought Washington within 11. The Redskins defense held Dallas to a turnover on downs, but Colt McCoy threw the game away to Xavier Woods after 4 plays. The teams are now in a virtual tie for 1st place in the division, with Dallas winning the tiebreaker, and the division title will likely come down to week 17.

Notable Performances:

Washington Redskins

Colt McCoy, QB: 24/38, 268 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT; 5 rush, 28 yds

Adrian Peterson, RB: 12 rush, 35 yds, 2.9 ypc; 2 rec, 9 yds

Jordan Reed, TE: 6 rec, 75 yds

Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott, QB: 22/31, 289 yds, 2 TD; 6 rush, 18 yds, 1 rush TD

Ezekiel Elliott, RB: 26 rush, 121 yds, 1 TD, 4.7 ypc

Amari Cooper, WR: 8 rec, 180 yds, 2 TD

Written by: Alexander Amir

Atlanta Falcons (4-7) vs. New Orleans Saints (10-1)

Final Score: Saints 31, Falcons 17

Recap: As dominant as the Saints have been and were in this game, I would say the Falcons lost this game. They fumbled three times inside New Orleans’ 20 yard line — you can’t expect to win a game if you do that. Matt Ryan ran for more yards than all of Atlanta’s running backs combined, and their offensive line allowed 6 sacks by an increasingly scary Saints pass rush. To Atlanta’s credit, they held Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Michael Thomas to a total of 198 yards and no touchdowns. But of course, Drew Brees threw 4 touchdowns to 4 undrafted receivers. He is playing the best football of his career at 39 years old, and I personally believe he is the frontrunner for MVP. Eli Apple, the Saints’ recent acquisition from the Giants, looked really good, posting 10 tackles, a fumble recovery, and some nice coverage on Julio Jones. I really don’t know how you stop this New Orleans team. Atlanta, on the other hand, will need to seriously evaluate their offense after posting just 17 points in what was supposed to be a high scoring contest.

This game looked like it was over almost immediately, as the Saints scored a touchdown and then recovered an Atlanta fumble on the ensuing drive. However, Drew Brees tossed a rare interception to keep the Falcons in it. The Falcons had a golden opportunity to score before the half. They were getting the ball to start the 2nd half and they would have had all the momentum. However, they committed their second red zone turnover, letting the Saints go into the half up 17-3. The Falcons were still only two scores away at the beginning of the 4th quarter, but two turnovers basically sealed the deal for the Saints.

Notable Performances:

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan, QB: 35/47, 377 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT; 2 rush, 16 yds, 1 FUM

Julio Jones, WR: 11 rec, 147 yds

Calvin Ridley, WR: 8 rec, 93 yds, 1 TD

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees, QB: 15/22, 171 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT

Alvin Kamara, RB: 14 rush, 89 yds, 1 rec, 9 yds

Receiving touchdowns to: Dan Arnold, Tommylee Lewis, Austin Carr, & Keith Kirkwood

Cameron Jordan, DE: 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 3 QB Hits

Written by: Alexander Amir

Cleveland Browns (4-6-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)

Final Score: Browns 35, Bengals 20

Recap: This game was never really in doubt for the Cleveland Browns. They came into the week with a little extra motivation, given the fact that their previous head coach, Hue Jackson, was coaching on the opposite side line on Sunday. Baker Mayfield came out absolutely firing on all cylinders, throwing for 4 touchdowns. The Bengals did not have an answer for the Browns’ offensive unit. The Browns did not have to punt until late in the 3rd quarter. Had the Browns not let off of the gas pedal, Baker may have had a couple of more touchdowns. Nick Chubb looked excellent once again, and Freddie Kitchens is trusting Chubb more and more each week.

The Cincinnati Bengals looked absolutely pathetic. For some reason, they never really let Joe Mixon get into any sort of rhythm, even though he averaged almost 7 yards per carry. Andy Dalton missed a couple of big throws, and the Bengals offense did not look good until Dalton actually left the game with an injury in the 3rd quarter. Jeff Driskel stepped in and led the Bengals on a couple of nice drives late in the game. At the end of the day, the Bengals look like they could be headed towards the bottom of the AFC North, whereas the Browns look like they are rising quickly. This win officially puts the Browns in the playoff chatter, but they are looking to take their success week-to-week before they start thinking about the playoffs.

Notable Performances:

Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield, QB: 19/26, 258 yds, 4 TD

Nick Chubb, RB: 28 rush, 84 yds, 1 TD, 3.0 ypc; 3 rec, 44 yds, 1 TD

David Njoku, TE: 5 rec, 63 yds, 1 TD

Cincinnati Bengals

Jeff Driskel, QB: 17/29, 155 yds, 1 TD; 3 rush, 9 yds, 1 TD

Joe Mixon, RB: 14 rush, 89 yds, 6.4 ypc; 7 rec, 66 yds

Tyler Boyd, WR: 7 rec, 85 yds, 1 TD

Written by: Jake Leicht

San Francisco 49ers (2-9) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)

Final Score: Buccaneers 27, 49ers 9

Recap: This was a cold blooded and dominant performance by the Buccaneers. It was an uncharacteristic win for Tampa as they won the turnover battle, failing to turn the ball over once. Cairo Santos, a kicker they should have signed weeks ago, made 100% of his kicks. Nothing went right for San Fran, whose loan bright spot came from oft injured runner Matt Breida; he went off for 107 yards on 7.6 yards per carry. The Buccaneers finally celebrated a home victory, outplaying their opponent in each phase of the game.

When this game was first announced in the spring of 2018, many were expecting an exciting contest between franchise signal callers, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jameis Winston, but what we got was a third string playing against a “glorified backup?” Well maybe not a backup, but he certainly hasn’t played like a starter this year. However, this story flipped script. Although Winston was set up for success against the porous 49ers secondary, he protected the ball, finding Brate and Humphries for 2 touchdown passes on the day.

Jameis Winston was electric in his second stint as Tampa’s starter in 2018 out playing the 49ers. Possibly receiving his last chance to audition for the Buccaneers quarterback role, he was lights out putting together a game worthy of a former first round pick. Although Winston was set up for success against the porous 49ers secondary, he protected the ball, finding Brate and Humphries for 2 touchdown passes on the day. Jameis Winston was electric in his second stint as Tampa’s starter in 2018 outplaying San Fran from the get-go.

Notable Performances:

San Francisco 49ers

Nick Mullens, QB: 18/32, 221 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT

Matt Breida, RB: 14 rush, 107 yds, 7.6 ypc

Dante Pettis, WR: 4 rec, 77 yds, 1 TD

Tampa Bay buccaneers

Jameis Winston, QB: 28/39, 312 yds, 2 TD

Peyton Barber, RB: 18 rush, 47 yds, 1 TD, 2.4 ypc

Mike Evans, WR: 6 rec, 116 yds

Written by: Jason Feiner

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8) vs. Buffalo Bills (4-7)

Final Score: Bills 24, Jaguars 21

Recap: The Jaguars and Bills got themselves into a back and forth matchup in which Buffalo jumped out to a two touchdown lead to only give it up before halftime. The Bills found a way to get the job done when it counted and helped secure the win in the 4th quarter. Josh Allen had his mistakes, but had an overall solid performance in his first action since his injury. Leonard Fournette was having a good day until he got into a fight with Shaq Lawson, which resulted in both players getting ejected from the game. In the end, the Jaguars were held back from a poor decision by Blake Bortles.

After the Bills took a 21-14 lead, Jacksonville had an opportunity to make it a closer game or bring it to a tie. Bortles overthrew his receiver which resulted in an interception which gave Buffalo great field position. They kicked the field goal and the Jags didn’t have enough time to make the comeback. The Bills will look to build upon their two-game winning streak and continue the development of Josh Allen as they will be facing their division foe in the Dolphins. The Jaguars will have a tough task to end their downward spiral as they face the red-hot Colts next week.

Notable Performances:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles, QB: 12/23, 127 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT, 6 rush 39 yds

Leonard Fournette, RB: 18 rush, 95 yds, 2 TD 5.3 ypc; 3 rec, 13 yds

Dede Westbrook, WR: 3 rec, 44 yds, 1 TD, 1 rush, 43 yds

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen, QB: 8/19, 160 yds, 1 TD, 13 rush, 99 yds, 1 TD

Lesean McCoy, RB: 17 rush, 46 yds, 2.7 ypc; 1 rec, 7 yds

Robert Foster, WR: 2 rec, 94 yds, 1 TD

Written by: Cody Manning

Oakland Raiders (2-9) vs. Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

Final Score: Ravens 34, Raiders 17

Recap: To the surprise of many, the Raiders kept this game close for three quarters. Quarterback Derek Carr kept Oakland in this one, throwing for 194 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to beat the Ravens’ rushing attack. Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson won his second straight game as a starter, throwing a touchdown and rushing for 71 yards and a touchdown. Running back Gus Edwards stepped up for injured starter Alex Collins, finishing with 118 yards on the ground. With the win, the Ravens improve to 6-5 and stay in the playoff hunt while the Raiders go back to their losing ways, dropping to 2-9.

Oakland came out strong and scored the first points of the game in this one on a 1-yard run by Doug Martin. The Ravens would answer with a field goal followed by a 70-yard punt return touchdown by Cyrus Jones. It was a back and forth battle after that, with Baltimore going into the half with a 13-10 lead. Jackson opened up the second half for the Ravens with a 5-yard touchdown run which was matched by Oakland on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Jared Cook to make it 20-17 Ravens going into the fourth. Baltimore took a 27-17 lead on a touchdown pass from Jackson to Crabtree to being the fourth. Oakland’s hopes of any type of comeback were crushed as linebacker Terrell Suggs picked up a fumble and returned it 43 yards to give the Ravens a 34-17 victory.

Notable Performances:

Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr, QB: 16/34. 194 yds, 1 TD

Doug Martin, RB: 11 rush, 51 yds, 1 TD, 4.6 ypc

Seth Roberts, WR: 2 rec, 54 yds

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson, QB: 14/25, 178 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT; 71 rush yds, 1 rush TD

Gus Edwards, RB: 23 rush, 118 yds, 5.1 ypc

Michael Crabtree, WR: 3 rec, 21 yds, 1 TD

Written by: Ryan Lippert

Seattle Seahawks (6-5) vs. Carolina Panthers (6-5)

Final Score: Seahawks 30, Panthers 27

Recap: As the Panthers continue their downward spiral, the Seahawks continue to climb the ranks in a highly contested NFC Playoff battle. Before this NFC showdown, the Seahawks were running the ball on over 51% of their snaps, a larger rate than any other team in the league, but on Sunday they flipped the script giving Russell Wilson full control on an afternoon where he threw 31 passes for 339 yards and 2 touchdowns in Seattle's comeback attempt. This marked Carolina’s 3rd straight loss and allowed the Seahawks to inch closer to the postseason, now standing just .5 games out of the wildcard mix. With the Vikings and Chiefs remaining, their road to the playoffs won’t be a cake walk. However, playing in the NFC South, Carolina’s road is much harder. They will be playing the surging Browns, Falcons and Saints twice. While the first two are winnable, they won’t be easy victories. With this outcome, the playoff picture just got hazy in the NFC.

The Panthers played this game with a lead for all but five minutes of regulation. They forced a three and out on Seattle's opening possession just to march over 60 yards and get held in the red zone on a failed 4th down conversion. Although they gained the lead shortly after, it set the tone for the rest of the game. Graham Gano missed a crucial field goal letting the lead slip through his fingers. Giving another opportunity to Wilson he marched down into field goal range setting up Janikowski for what proved to be the game winner. Russell Wilson was dominant in this performance finding Tyler Lockett in the final minutes for a 43 yard dime on a key third down conversion. This was one of the better games in week 12, as it came down to the final minutes.

Notable Performances:

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson, QB: 23/31, 339 yds, 2 TD

Chris Carson, RB: 16 rush, 55 yds, 1 TD, 3.4 ypc

Tyler Lockett, WR: 5 rec, 107 yds, 1 TD

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton, QB: 25/30, 256 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT, 8 rush, 63 yds

Christian McCaffrey, RB: 17 rush, 125 yds, 1 TD, 7.4 ypc; 11 rec, 112 yds, 1 TD

DJ Moore, WR: 8 rec, 91 yds

Written by: Jason Feiner

New England Patriots (8-3) vs. New York Jets (3-8)

Final Score: Patriots 27, Jets 13

Recap: Almost every time the Patriots and Jets face off it’s a nail-biter in the first half. This game was no exception. The Jets attacked the Patriots through the air early, drawing first blood on a 16 yard Jermaine Kearse touchdown. Josh McCown looked sharp in the first half due in large part to the Patriots sloppy play. They amassed 11 penalties for 105 yards on the day, a season high for the Patriots. Going into the half the game was tied at 10, and the Patriots looked lost. Lucky for Tom Brady and company, Sony Michel decided to put the team on his back. The Patriots used a career day by the Rookie, who had over 120 yards and a score, took advantage of a struggling Jets run defense, and a bounce back by the defense to secure a win in this one.

This game took a while to see it’s first points, it was not until 4:00 to go in the 1st that Jermaine Kearse broke the 0-0 tie with a touchdown. The Patriots answered back with a beautiful pitch and catch to Gronkowski to tie the game at 7, and the half closed out at 10-10 after a field goal by each side. The third quarter was much of the same, opening up with a Gostkowski field goal and getting a Jason Myers field goal to tie it up at 13 with 4 to go in the third. The swing in the game began with Julian Edelman’s touchdown from 21 yards out and was sealed with a 1 yard touchdown run by Sony Michel and his career day.

Notable Performances:

New England Patriots

Tom Brady , QB: 20/31, 283 yds, 2 TD

Sony Michel RB: 21 rush, 133 yds, 1 TD, 6.3 ypc

Julian Edelman WR: 4 rec, 84 yds, 1 TD

New York Jets

Josh McCown QB: 26/45, 276 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT

Isaiah Crowell RB: 6 rush, 30 yds, 5.0 ypc

Quincy Enunwa WR: 4 rec, 73 yds

Written by: George Haraktsis

New York Giants (3-8) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)

Final Score: Eagles 25, Giants 22

Recap: The New York Giants can kiss their season goodbye, while Eagles fans suddenly have renewed hope. The NFC East race has been the most interesting one in the league, and even now it’s hard to know who will prevail. The Eagles are just one game behind the Cowboys and Redskins for first place in the division, and they face Washington twice and Dallas once to close out the season. The Giants, meanwhile, were looking like they had a shot to win this game. I’m going to pin this one on the coaching — after accumulating 132 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 touches in the 1st half, Saquon Barkley inexplicable got just 5 touches in the 2nd half. The play-calling on offense was vanilla, and the defense was gashed. The Giants have a lot of work to do this offseason, while the Eagles try and make the most out of an inconsistent year.

The Giants thoroughly dominated at the beginning of this game. They almost went into the half up 19-3, but the Eagles put together a nice drive against a Giants defense that suddenly fell apart. Philadelphia took that momentum into the 2nd half, holding the Giants to just 3 points in the half and heavily controlling the clock with Josh Adams and the running game. Though the teams traded punts a few times in the half, it just felt like Philadelphia had the upper hand. Philly slowly chipped away, as the score became 19-14 after a Jake Elliott field goal, and then 22-19 after a Josh Adams touchdown. The Giants drove down and Aldrick Rosas hit a chip shot 29 yard field goal. But just like last year, Elliott put a dagger in New York’s heart by ending the game on a 43 yarder.

Notable Performances:

New York Giants

Eli Manning, QB: 26/37, 297 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT

Saquon Barkley, RB: 13 rush, 101 yds, 1 TD, 7.8 ypc; 7 rec, 41 yds, 1 TD

Odell Beckham Jr., WR: 5 rec, 85 yds

Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz, QB: 20/28, 236 yds, 1 TD

Josh Adams, RB: 22 rush, 84 yds, 1 TD

Zach Ertz, TE: 7 rec, 91 yds, 1 TD

Written by: Alexander Amir

Arizona Cardinals (2-9) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (8-3)

Final Score: Chargers 45, Cardinals 10

Recap: Yikes! This game was all kinds of bad for Arizona, and although a favorable outcome for LAC, they may have just lucked out after news surfaced suggesting Melvin Gordon's knee injury wouldn’t be season ending. The news was confirmed on monday, as Gordon sustained a grade 2 MCL sprain that should keep him out of action the next few weeks, but not for an extended period of time. Good news for the Chargers, but fantasy owners may be without their top back in the first round of playoff action.

The Chargers dominated this game on both sides of the ball. Joey Bosa made his presence felt often and early ending the outing with 2 sacks in his first full game back from injury. However, it wasn’t the defense that truly impressed in this team effort committed by the Chargers, but the stellar play of their star quarterback. He became the first quarterback to complete 24/24 passes to start a game, and finished by breaking Kurt Warner's 92% completion rate, the highest in an NFL game. The Chargers played a complete game and now sit one-game behind the Chiefs for the the division lead. This will make for a more interesting storyline, as the two teams meet for another meeting on December 13 in week 15.

Notable Performances:

Arizona Cardinals

Josh Rosen, QB: 12/19, 1-5 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT

David Johnson, RB: 17 rush, 63 yds, 3.7 ypc

Christian Kirk, WR: 4 rec, 41 yds

Los Angeles Chargers

Phillip Rivers, QB: 28/29, yds, 3 TD

Melvin Gordon, RB: 10 rush, 61 yds, 2 TD, 6.1 ypc

Keenan Allen, WR: 7 rec, 72 yds, 1 TD

Joey Bosa, DE: 5 tck, 2 Sacks

Written by: Jason Feiner

Miami Dolphins (5-6) vs. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

Final Score: Colts 27, Dolphins 24

Recap: It was a tough day for Luck & Co, but they still managed to come out on top with a win. Luck was picked off twice in a 17-second span to end the first half, and the Colts also lost a fumble. They had a blocked punt, and what looked to be a blocked field goal at one point. Luck overcame these circumstances, and finished the day in an impressive fashion by making a falling throw to Rodgers to set up a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal and secure a 5th straight Colts win. On the other hand, the Dolphins got Ryan Tannehill back from shoulder injury, but dropped the 10th of their last 11 road games.

Miami started the game with an opening drive touchdown to Kenyan Drake on a 33 yard catch and run score. The Colts answered back quickly with an Eric Ebron score, and then answered again late in the second quarter with a Jack Doyle touchdown to go up 14-7. That lead lasted 44 seconds after Leonte Carroo took a 74 yard pass to the house to tie the game at 14. After three turnovers between the two teams, the half was tied at 14-14. The Dolphins managed to score 10 straight points in the second half to go up 24-10, but the Colts battled back. After an Adam Vinatieri field goal, Luck found Eric Ebron later in the match to tie the game at 24. After an unfortunate three-and-out, the Dolphins had to punt to a red-hot Luck. The young QB managed a memorable 7 play drive that was capped off with an Adam Vinatieri field goal for the win.

Notable Performances:

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill, QB: 17/25 204 yds, 2 TD

Frank Gore, RB: 14 rush, 67 yds, 4.8 ypc

Leonte Carroo, WR: 1 rec, 74 yds, 1TD

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck QB: 30/37 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT

Marlon Mack, RB: 15 rush, 85 yds, 5.7 ypc

T.Y. Hilton, WR: 7 rec, 125 yds

Written by: George Haraktsis

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1) vs. Denver Broncos (5-6)

Final Score: Broncos 24, Steelers 17

Recap: Every time the Steelers and Broncos face off against each other, it seems like it always comes down to the wire. This Sunday’s game was no different. The Steelers attacked through the air as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball 56 times for 462 yards and a touchdown. He benefited from a huge game from wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster who had 13 receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown. The amount of passing for the Steelers was surprising as they faced a struggling Denver run defense but only handed the ball to James Conner 13 times. They same can’t be said for Denver as they had a solid game on the ground. Undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay led the way with 110 rushing yards and a touchdown. This win puts the Broncos back into playoff contention while ending the Steelers win streak.

The first quarter in this one was a very back and forth contest as the Broncos led 3-0 at the end of the quarter. This was due to two missed opportunities by the Steelers as they had a Chris Boswell field goal blocked and then tight end Xavier Grimble fumbled on the one yardline out of the back of the end zone for a turnover. Denver scored the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to Matt LaCosse to take a 10-3 lead. Pittsburgh drove down the field to end the half and faked a field goal as time expired with a 2-yard touchdown pass from kick Chris Boswell to offensive tackle and former college wide receiver Alejandro Villanueva to tie the game 10-10 going into the half. The Steelers opened up the second half strong with a 97-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Smith-Schuster which tied their previous record of longest touchdown pass in franchise history. The Broncos responded by scoring on two unanswered touchdowns on a 5-yard pass from Keenum to Emmanuel Sanders and a run by Lindsay. Pittsburgh got the ball back for one final drive but came up short as nose tackle Shelby Harris intercepted a Roethlisberger pass in the end zone with just over a minute left to seal the deal for Denver.

Notable Performances:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger, QB: 41/56, 462 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT

James Conner, RB: 13 rush, 53 yds, 4.1 ypc

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR: 13 rec, 189 yds, 1 TD

Denver Broncos

Case Keenum, QB: 15/28, 197 yds, 2 TD

Phillip Lindsay, RB: 14 rush, 110 yds, 1 TD, 7.9 ypc

Emmanuel Sanders, WR: 7 rec, 86 yds, 1 TD

Written by: Ryan Lippert

Green Bay Packers (4-6-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6-4-1)

Final Score: Vikings 24, Packers 17

Recap: While the one-score margin may give the appearance that this game was a close one, it wasn’t really. The final score would have made it a two-score Vikings victory if not for two missed field goals in the first half by Dan Bailey. The Vikings genuinely played better on both offense and defense. Their defense was more disruptive, sacking Aaron Rodgers 4 times and holding him to under 200 yards passing and 1 touchdown. They were especially dominant over the Packers offense in the second half, only allowing a Mason Crosby field goal with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Vikings passing offense was also far more impressive, with Kirk Cousins tossing 3 touchdowns and finding his favorite targets of Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph with ease. Overall, this was definitely another game where the Packers were outplayed and ultimately fell flat by the second half.

By the second quarter, this looked like a game in which the Packers may be able to keep up with the far more talented Vikings team. They led 14-7 early in the second after an impressive red zone touchdown run by Aaron Jones. However, that was the last time that they would lead. The Vikings roared back to tie the game, capping off an efficient three minute drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Diggs. They only further extended their lead in the third quarter with a Dan Bailey field goal and a 14-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Thielen. The Packers definitely had opportunities to keep the game close, but costly mistakes, such as the Tramon Williams punt return fumble in the fourth, and the general inability to convert on third down, kept the Packers from making this game competitive in the second half. After watching this game, it definitely seems as though Minnesota has found their footing and will be making a strong playoff push, while the Packers season looks all but finished.

Notable Performances:

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers, QB: 17/28, 198 yds, 1 TD

Aaron Jones, RB: 17 rush, 72 yds, 1 TD, 4.2 ypc

Davante Adams, WR: 5 rec, 69 yds, 1 TD

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins, QB: 29/38, 342 yds, 3 TD

Dalvin Cook, RB: 10 rush, 29 yds, 2.9 ypc, 3 rec, 47 yds, 1 TD

Adam Thielen, WR: 8 rec, 125 yds, 1 TD

Written by: Phillip Salmo

Tennessee Titans (5-6) vs. Houston Texans (8-3)

Final Score: Texans 34, Titans 17

Recap: The Titans and Texans matchup was setting up to be a good one until Houston exploded with 27 unanswered points to take a 27-10 lead which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game. Deshaun Watson had a great night and made no costly mistakes as he was able to connect with Demaryius Thomas on a couple touchdowns. The Texans offense showed how explosive they can be if Lamar Miller can continue being a threat on the ground. Marcus Mariota played as best as he could and it still wasn’t enough as Tennessee’s offense had too many times where they stalled on drives. It also didn’t help that J.J. Watt was unstoppable and had his way the the Titans offensive line.

The biggest play which shifted this game was when the Titans were facing a 4th-and-1 at the Texans 3-yard line. Mariota handed the ball off to Luke Stocker, who is a tight end, and he was stuffed by the stout Houston front. After the very questionable play call by Tennessee, the Texans scored on the very next play by a 97-yard touchdown run by Miller. The Titans have stumbled into a two-game losing streak and face a must-win against the Jets next week if they want to keep their playoff chances alive. Houston will look to continue their franchise-record 8-game winning streak alive as they will welcome Baker Mayfield and the Browns to town.

Notable Performances:

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota, QB: 22/23, 303 yds, 2 TD, 6 rush, 28 yds

Derrick Henry, RB: 8 rush, 30 yds, 3.8 ypc, 2 rec, 19 yds

Corey Davis, WR: 4 rec, 96 yds, 1 TD, 1 rush, 39 yds

Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson, QB: 19/24, 210 yds, 2 TD, 9, rush, 70 yds, 1 TD

Lamar Miller, RB: 12 rush, 162 yds, 1 TD, 13.5 ypc, 1 rec, 5 yds

DeAndre Hopkins, WR: 5 rec, 74 yds

Demaryius Thomas, WR: 4 rec, 38 yds, 2 TD

Written by: Cody Manning

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