Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)
Final Score: Chargers 29, Chiefs 28
Recap: This Thursday Night Football matchup was set up to be a great one as it featured the two hottest teams in the AFC. These teams did not disappoint as they put together one of the most exciting games of the year. In the battle of two MVP candidate quarterbacks, Philip Rivers led his team to victory throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns, both of those being thrown to wide receiver Mike Williams. He out dueled Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs who finished with 243 yards and two touchdowns through the air. With the Chargers victory, both teams now sit at 11-3 and the Chiefs can’t afford to lose if they want to keep their AFC West title and home field advantage in the playoffs.
The Chiefs jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter behind a 5-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Demarcus Robinson and a 11-yard pass to Darrel Williams. Los Angeles answered with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Williams to make it 14-7 Chiefs at the half. The third quarter was back and forth to make it 21-14 Chiefs but the real fun started in the fourth. Damien Williams scored on a 1-yard run to give Kansas City the 28-14 lead and looked to put the game away. The Chargers answered on a touchdown run by Justin Jackson and their defense forced a punt to give them one last shot. They drove the ball down the field and scored on a touchdown pass from Williams to Rivers to make it 28-27. Rather than going into overtime, they chose to go for the win and were successful as Rivers connected with Williams to give the Chargers the 29-28 victory.
Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers, QB: 26/38, 313 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Justin Jackson, RB: 16 rush, 58 yds, 1 TD, 3.6 ypc
Mike Williams, WR: 7 rec, 76 yds, 2 TD
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes, QB: 24/34, 243 yds, 2 TD
Damien Williams, RB: 10 rush, 49 yds, 2 TD, 4.9 ypc, 6 rec, 74 rec yds
Travis Kelce, TE: 7 rec, 61 yds
Written by: Ryan Lippert
Houston Texans (10-4) vs. New York Jets (4-10)
Final Score: Texans 29, Jets 22
Recap: The Texans and Jets found themselves in a surprisingly good tight matchup that most people didn’t expect. Houston jumped out to a 16-3 lead and it looking like they were going to dominate as expected. But, the Jets climbed back and took a 22-19 4th quarter lead by literally carrying Elijah McGuire into the endzone. New York also had to be impressed with their rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, who put together one of his best performances this year. In the end, Deshaun Watson found a way to make plays that helped the Texans regain control of the lead.
The play that determined the outcome was when Houston was in the red zone trailing 22-19. Watson threw a pass that most couldn’t catch, but DeAndre Hopkins jumped above the corner to ‘Moss’ him to grab the ball for the touchdown to take the lead. The Texans went on to do what it took to close out the remainder of the game which helped push them to the #2 seed in the AFC. The Jets have to walk away with some solid impressions from their competitive effort against a playoff team. The Texans will be looking to head into the postseason with not only some momentum but also a first round bye and/or home field advantage if they win out a long with some others games going their way.
New York Jets
Sam Darnold, 24/38, 253 yds, 2 TD; 6 rush, 35 yds
Elijah McGuire, RB: 18 rush, 42, yds, 2.3 ypc, 1 TD, 3 rec, 29 yds
Robby Anderson, WR: 7 rec, 96 yds, 1 TD
Deshaun Watson, QB: 22/28, 294 yds, 2 TD, 4 rush, 26 yds
Lamar Miller, RB: 3 rush, 8 yds, 2.7 ypc (Injured)
DeAndre Hopkins, WR: 10 rec, 170 yds, 2 TD
Written by: Cody Manning
Cleveland Browns (6-7-1) vs. Denver Broncos (6-8)
Final Score: Browns 17, Broncos 16
Recap: The Cleveland Browns kept their playoffs hopes alive with a huge win over the Denver Broncos at Mile High on Saturday night. It was not always pretty, but the Browns found a way to overcome turnovers, blown coverages, and questionable coaching decisions to preserve a 17-16 victory. The Denver Broncos needed this game to stay alive in the AFC Wild Card picture, but they were unable to come up with big plays when they needed them the most. Case Keenum looked solid for most of the game, but he failed to complete a couple of deep passes late in the contest that could have put some major pressure on the Browns.
Baker Mayfield made some huge throws on Saturday night. Finding Breshad Perriman on a deep corner route to cap off an impressive first drive was a great way to start off the game. As he normally does, Baker tried to make a couple of tight window throws that got him into some trouble, but his late game touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway put the Browns ahead for good. The Browns had an opportunity to put the game away on a 4th-and-1 late in the 4th quarter, but the Broncos stifled Nick Chubb at the line of scrimmage. Ultimately, the Browns put the game away on a Jabrill Peppers sack of Keenum on fourth down around midfield. Although the chances are very slim, the Cleveland Browns are alive in the AFC playoff picture.
Baker Mayfield, QB:18/31, 188 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT; 4 rush, 6 yds
Nick Chubb, RB: 20 rush, 100 yds, 5.0 ypc
Antonio Callaway, WR: 5 rec, 35 yds, 1 TD
Case Keenum, QB: 31/48, 257 yds, 2 INT; 2 rush, 1 yd
Phillip Lindsay, RB: 14 rush, 24 yds, 1.7 ypc; 4 rec, 20 yds
Tim Patrick, WR: 5 rec, 65 yds
Written by: Jake Leicht
Green Bay Packers (5-8-1) vs. Chicago Bears (10-4)
Final Score: Bears 24, Packers 17
This was an incredibly meaningful game, as it potentially marks the beginning of what is to come in the NFC North for the next few seasons. The Bears outplayed the Packers from the start, and capitalized on the mistakes of their opponents far better than Green Bay did. Mitch Trubisky clearly outplayed Rodgers this game, completing a far higher percentage of his passes and throwing for two scores, compared to Rodgers not finding the endzone once. The Bears defense, led by Khalil Mack, generated much more pressure on Rodgers, ending the game with five sacks (2.5 of which came from Mack) compared to the Packers one. The Bears looked like a far better and more confidant team this game, and as such deservingly clinched the NFC North divisional title, while the Packers will be watching the playoffs at home this year.
The Bears struck first on a 9-yard Jordan Howard touchdown run. While the Packers responded with a Mason Crosby field goal in the second, the Bears put an exclamation point on the quarter with a Tarik Cohen receiving touchdown with 30 seconds left to take a two-score lead heading into halftime. Despite a solid drive to start the second half, Rodgers couldn’t hit Randall Cobb in the endzone, and the Packers had to settle for another field goal. It soon looked like the Packers may bounce back after a failed Bears fake punt, subsequent Jamaal Williams touchdown run, and tying two point conversation. The Packers were prime to take the lead after a botched option play between Cohen and Howard that resulted in a Green Bay fumble recovery, but they could not capitalize on that drive. The Bears responded very soon after with Trubisky’s second touchdown throw of the game to retake the lead that they would hold onto for the rest of the game. After the Bears tacked on another field goal, the Packers drove down the field hoping to get back into the game. However, in one of the most crucial plays, Eddie Jackson intercepted a tipped Rodgers pass in the end zone, sealing both the game, and the NFC North division title, for the Bears.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, QB: 25/42, 274 yds, 1 INT
Jamaal Williams, RB: 12 rush, 55 yds, 4.6 ypc; 4 rec, 42 yds
Davante Adams, WR: 8 rec, 119 yds
Mitch Trubisky, QB: 20/28, 235 yds, 2 TD
Jordan Howard, RB: 19 rush, 60 yds, 3.2 ypc, 1 TD; 1 rec, 15 yds
Tarik Cohen, RB: 5 rush, 21 yds, 4.2 ypc; 5 rec, 31 yds, 1 TD
Written by: Phillip Salmo
Detroit Lions (5-9) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-9)
Final Score: Bills 14, Lions 13
Recap: In what was a low scoring affair by two eliminated teams, each had some stars put up impressive numbers. Undrafted out of Alabama, wide receiver Robert Foster has come on as of late for the Bills by posting 438 yards and 2 touchdowns in his past five games since being activated from the practice squad on November 10th including four catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in this game. Foster wasn’t the only receiver to post great numbers in this game though. Lions receiver Kenny Golladay also posted a huge day with seven receptions for 146 yards.
One of the most interesting notes of this game was that Buffalo ran out of running backs late in the third quarter leaving them with just fullback Patrick DiMarco healthy. This shortage was short-lived though as Keith Ford returned in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Patrick DiMarco however was a key contributor on the game-winning fourth down conversion as he helped push Josh Allen across the line to gain on fourth-and-1 from the Lions 41 yard-line with 1:47 remaining. The Bills would win after multiple missed special teams opportunities that included a botched snap by long snapper Don Muhlbach on their first extra point and a missed 48-yard field goal by kicker Matt Prater.
Matthew Stafford, QB: 22/29, 208 yds, 1 TD
Zach Zenner, RB: 10 rush, 45 yds, 4.5 avg, 1 TD; 3 rec
Kenny Golladay, WR: 7 rec, 146 yds
Josh Allen, QB: 13/26, 204 yds, 1 TD; 9 rush, 16 yds, 1.8 avg, 1 TD
Keith Ford, RB: 14 rush, 46 yds, 3.3 avg
Robert Foster, WR: 4 rec, 108 yds, 1 TD
Jordan Poyer, S: 11 tackles, 10 solo, 1 TFL
Written by: Rusty Miller
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
Final Score: Ravens 20, Buccaneers 12
Recap: In a rain-soaked campaign, the Baltimore Ravens continued their hopes to win the AFC North, defeating the Buccaneers and eliminating the Browns from division contention in the process. Lamar Jackson, in his first start since Joe Flacco was deemed healthy to play, played just well enough in the contest to deliver a win, but his defense continued their outstanding play to date. Tampa Bay was able to play well despite the conditions, but their receivers dropped passes left and right, stalling drives or ending them deep in Ravens territory. Tampa Bay has now been eliminated from postseason contention for the 11th straight year, the second-longest active streak, and are now what many believe to be in the final weeks of the Dirk Koetter head coach saga. We’ll see if, by 2019, the Bucs move on.
The first quarter was relatively pedestrian, as both teams were forced to punt on their first two drives. Tampa Bay got on the board first in the second quarter, scoring on a Peyton Barber carry aided by a Mike Evans catch just before the end of the first. From there, “Action Jackson” and Co. played lights out, holding the Bucs to just two field goals the rest of the way. The Ravens’ first score came on a pass from Jackson to wide receiver Chris Moore, and the home team took the lead on the ensuing PAT (Tampa went for 2 on their try, but failed). In the second half, Gus Edwards played the role of finisher, scoring on a ten-yard run that essentially put the game out of hand. Tampa kept trying to fight back, but Jameis was intercepted by Marlon Humphrey, and their chances were ended when Edwards rushed for a 26 yard carry on the final drive.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston, QB: 13/25, 157 yds, INT
Peyton Barber, RB: 19 rush, 85 yds, TD, 4.5 ypc
Mike Evans, WR: 4 rec, 121 yds
Lamar Jackson, QB: 14/23, 131 yds, TD; 18 rush, 95 yds, 5.3 ypc
Gus Edwards, RB: 19 rush, 104 yds, TD, 5.5 ypc
Willie Snead, WR: 5 rec, 58 yds
Written by: Joe Carlino
Arizona Cardinals (3-11) vs. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)
Final Score: Falcons 40, Cardinals 14
Recap: This was not a typical performance we have become accustomed to see from the Falcons defense who recorded 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery and a defensive score in their dominant victory. However, it was not just he Atlanta defense that put on a show Sunday afternoon, as Matt Ryan accrued 3 total scores to go along with Tevin Coleman’s 145 yards and a rushing touchdown. The Falcons who have played well under individuals initial expectations, put together an anger management course that saw the Cardinals used as a deflated punching bag. Although the season has been lost, they still have some fight and now with key pieces returning to the active roster, next year may be an entirely different story. The Cardinals face another story, with the loss, they are now the leading contender for the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and could be in line for a rebuild after an uninspiring season under Steve Wilks.
The Cardinals were out played throughout the entire contest, and couldn’t grasp any momentum during the outing. They looked lost on offense getting dominated in every facet of the game. Josh Rosen has shown glimpses of his potential, but he hasn’t been able to consistently perform to the Cardinals expectations when they drafted him 10th overall. After turning the ball over 3 times, the Cardinals fell into a 33-7 hole turning to Mike Glennon in the process who sparked the offense leading the Cardinals to a late 4th quarter touchdown. Although there is no quarterback controversy in Arizona, Rosen will need to improve drastically next year if he wants to continue to avoid the bench. Rookies will make mistakes, but Rosen hasn’t shown much promise in 11 games.
Josh Rosen, QB: 13/22, 132 yds, 2 INT, 1 FUM
Mike Glennon, QB: 10/14, 111 yds, 1 TD
David Johnson, RB: 11 rush, 33 yds, 3.0 ypc, 1 TD, 3 rec, 68 yds
Larry Fitzgerald, WR: 7 rec, 82 yds
Matt Ryan, QB: 22/36, 231 yds, 2 TD, 3 rush, 18 yds, 1 TD
Tevin Coleman, RB: 11 rush, 145 yds, 13.2 ypc, 1 TD
Julio Jones, WR: 6 rec, 82 yds, 1 TD
Brian Poole, DB: 6 tackles, 1 sck, 1 INT
Written by: Jason Feiner
Oakland Raiders (3-11) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (6-8)
Final Score: Bengals 30, Raiders 16
Recap: This game served as one of the less attractive matchups of the weekend. It featured two of the worst teams in the entire league. The Bengals were led to victory by their star running back Joe Mixon in this one as he ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Oakland couldn’t say the same as Doug Martin was held to only 38 yards on the ground. With the win, Cincinnati ends their five-game losing streak but are still eliminated from playoff contention while the Raiders drop to an embarrassing 3-11.
The Bengals’ offense got off to a hot start in this one, jumping out to a 17-0 lead after a touchdown run by Mixon, touchdown pass from Jeff Driskel to Tyler Boyd, and a Randy Bullock field goal. Oakland finally found some life on a one-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to tight end Lee Smith to make it 20-7 Bengals at the half. The Raiders got within a touchdown after two Daniel Carlson field goals in the third. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as Cincinnati pulled away and capped things off with a 15-yard touchdown run by Mixon to secure the 30-16 win.
Derek Carr, QB: 21/38, 263 yds, 1 TD
Doug Martin, RB: 9 rush, 39 yds, 4.3 ypc
Jordy Nelson, WR: 6 rec, 88 yds
Jeff Driskel, QB: 14/33, 129 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Joe Mixon, RB: 27 rush, 129 yds, 2 TD, 4.8 ypc
Tyler Boyd, WR: 4 rec, 38 yds, 1 TD
Written by: Ryan Lippert
Tennessee Titans (8-6) vs. New York Giants (5-9)
Final Score: Titans 17, Giants 0
Recap: The Titans came into this matchup and took care of business to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Giants didn’t do anything impressive on both sides of the ball and appear to be destined for a top 10 draft pick. Derrick Henry continued his momentum into this game as he ran all over the New York defense. Tennessee’s defense was impressive after they were able to contain Saquon Barkley to 56 total yards. With the Giants being officially eliminated from the playoffs, I do wonder if they let Kyle Lauletta get some significant playing time to determine if he has any future as a potential starter for New York.
The Giants had a chance to tie up the game in the 3rd quarter but Eli Manning threw a errant interception. Manning also had a costly fumble which gave the Titans great field position which they ended up getting a touchdown from to go up 14-0. Tennessee has a shot to still get into the playoffs but will need to handle business against the Redskins on Saturday. The Giants will hope to end the seasons strong so they can build upon something and will look to play spoiler as they head to Indy to face the Colts next week.
Marcus Mariota, QB: 12/20, 80 yds, 2 rush, 11 yds
Derrick Henry, RB: 33 rush, 170 yds, 5.2 ypc, 2 TD
Dion Lewis, RB: 7 rush, 35 yds, 5.0 ypc, 3 rec, 9 yds
New York Giants
Eli Manning, QB: 21/44, 229 yds, 1 INT
Saquon Barkley, RB: 14 rush, 31 yds, 2.2 ypc, 4 rec, 25 yds
Evan Engram, TE: 8 rec, 75 yds
Written by: Cody Manning
Miami Dolphins (7-7) vs. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1)
Final Score: Vikings 41, Dolphins 17
Recap: The Dolphins got demolished by the Minnesota Vikings after their Miami Miracle against New England last week. The Vikings controlled the match with the feet of Dalvin Cook and the arm of Kirk Cousins through out the game. Aside from a huge Kalen Ballage run, the Dolphins could get nothing on offense. Ryan Tannehill looked like his regular old self on the road, throwing for no touchdowns and interceptions and under 110 yards passing. A lot of this can be attributed to the Vikings defense who accrued 9 sacks on the day. The terrible offensive line play of the Fins absolutely devastated their chances.
The Vikings kicked off the game with three straight scores and the team never looked back. That is until Kirk Cousins threw a pick-six to rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick in the middle of the second quarter. This kicked off a Dolphins scoring ”spree” that was capped off with a 75 yard Kalen Ballage touchdown to make the game a 17-21 battle. But the Vikings would have none of it, kicking back to back field goals and putting the game firmly out of reach with and Aldrick Robinson bomb and a 21 yard scamper by Dalvin Cook.
Ryan Tannehill, QB: 11/24, 108 yds
Kalen Ballage, RB: 12 rush, 123 yards, 10.2 ypc, 1 TD
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB: 6 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD
Kirk Cousins QB:14/21, 215 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Dalvin Cook, RB: 19 rush, 136 yards, 7.2 ypc, 2 TD
Stefon Diggs, WR: 4 rec, 49 yards, 1 TD
Written by: George Haraktsis
Washington Redskins (7-7) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10)
Final Score: Redskins 16, Jaguars 13
Recap: This game felt unwatchable at times, probably because both teams have been struggling all year. But, in a surprising turn of events, soon-to-be AAF quarterback Josh Johnson, in his first NFL start in seven years, led the Redskins to a 16-13 victory over the Jaguars, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. Not only that, but he’s showing his new team that he can lead their squad to victory. For Jacksonville, however, it’s shocking to see this team fall so off the rails to this point, and just a little under a year after they came oh so close to representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. This team is an abhorrent mess, and changes will be coming soon; we just don’t know who’s out yet. One thing’s for sure, though: these guys need to find a quarterback, and fast, because Bortles and Kessler can only play so much before the team loses their fanbase again.
An opening drive fumble by the Jaguars led to two combined punts before Dustin Hopkins put the visitors up first. That would cease the scoring until halfway through the second quarter, when Kai Forbath tied the game up from 33 yards out. Jacksonville would take the lead just before the half ended, when Dede Westbrook took the Redskins punt 74 yards to the house. The Redskins would tie the game with just under six minutes to go, and on the ensuing possession, Kessler was intercepted at the Washington 29. From there, it was only a formality for Johnson to drive down the field, and Hopkins sent them home happy.
Josh Johnson, QB: 16/25, 151 yds, TD
Adrian Peterson, RB: 19 rush, 51 yds, 2.7 ypc
Jamison Crowder, WR: 4 rec, 46 yds
Cody Kessler, QB: 9/17, 57 yds, INT; 6 rush, 68 yds
Leonard Fournette, RB: 11 rush, 46 yds, 4.2 ypc
Dede Westbrook, WR: 3 rec, 21 yds
Written by: Joe Carlino
Dallas Cowboys (8-6) vs. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
Final Score: Colts 23, Cowboys 0
The Cowboys got beat at their own game in Indianapolis, as the Colts dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball en route to a 23-0 shutout victory to improve to 8-6 on the year. During their previous five-game winning streak, Dallas rode its strong run game with Ezekiel Elliott and made life difficult on opposing offenses with fast and physical defensive performances. However, they got a taste of their own medicine Sunday with the Colts' offensive line dominating throughout the game and helping Marlon Mack accumulate 139 yards and 2 scores on 27 carries. On the other side of the ball, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offense struggled all afternoon to develop any sort of rhythm or consistency. Despite being able to move the ball at times, turnovers and penalties negated each of their opportunities to put points on the board, with much credit due to Matt Eberflus. The Colts' defensive coordinator came over from Dallas in the offseason and his familiarity with the Cowboys' scheme and tenancies proved to provide a significant advantage for the home team.
The Colts' well-rounded win began early in the first quarter, when Dallas moved into field goal range on the game's opening drive only to see Brett Maher's 48-yard attempt blocked by Denico Autry, leading to Mack's first rushing TD of the afternoon. On the ensuing Cowboys' possession, they once again marched down the field to the Colts' 3-yard line, but Elliott was tackled for a 2-yard loss when Jason Garrett decided to go for it on 4th-and-1. They ended up converting just one out of five 4th downs on the day, and were only 4-12 on 3rd downs as well. The Indy defense, led by DROY front-runner Darius Leonard, showed up in every big moment of the game. The Colts still have work to do in order to clinch a playoff spot, but they will look to keep the momentum going next week against the Giants. Dallas, despite such a poor showing in Indy, still only needs one more win to clinch the NFC East, and will look to do so when the Buccaneers come to town in Week 16.
Dak Prescott, QB: 24/39, 206 yds, INT
Ezekiel Elliott, RB: 18 rush, 87 yds, 4.8 YPC; 7 rec, 41 yds
Amari Cooper, WR: 4 rec, 32 yds; 1 rush, 11 yds
Andrew Luck, QB: 16/27, 192 yds; 6 rush, 20 yds
Marlon Mack, RB: 27 rush, 139 yds, 2 TD, 5.1 YPC; 1 rec, 10 yds
TY Hilton, WR: 5 rec, 85 yds
Written by: Greg Lehr
Seattle Seahawks (8-6) vs. San Francisco 49ers (4-10)
Final Score: 49ers 26, Seahawks 23
Recap: Divisional matchups can go either way in any given week, but with the current state of the 49ers franchise not many saw this coming. The Seahawks have been red-hot in recent weeks, but the 49ers looked faster and more motivated for most of the night. Ending a 10-game skid against their rivals, San Francisco took home an overtime victory winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. Playing with a lead through three-fourths of the afternoon, the Seahawks led by Russell Wilson drove down the field to tie up the game. However, in the end, it was an overtime kick from Robbie Gould that put San Fran on top.
Paragraph 2: After scoring an opening drive touchdown, Sebastian Janikowski missed the point after awarding the Seahawks a haunting 6 points that could have been the difference in the end. This was the first and only lead the Seahawks obtained. The 49ers managed to stop Wilson and Co. on the first possession of overtime, and once they retrieved the ball, Shaquille Griffin gave Mullens some help committing a key pass interference call on third and 15. Keeping the drive alive, Jeffrey Wilson Jr burst through a crease dashing inside the 30 yard-line and setting up the game winning field goal. The Hawks had plenty of chances to win this game, but failed to achieve the comeback attempt, making their playoff hopes murky in the process.
Russell Wilson, QB: 23/31, 237 yds, 2 TD
Chris Carson, RB: 22 rush, 119 yds, 5.4 ypc, 1 TD, 6 rec, 29 yds
Doug Baldwin, WR: 4 rec, 77 yds, 2 TDs
San Francisco 49ers
Nick Mullens, QB: 20/29, 275 yds, 1 TD
Jeffery Wilson, RB: 7 rush, 46 yds, 6.6 ypc
Dante Pettis, WR: 5 rec, 83 yds
Written by: Jason Feiner
New England Patriots (9-5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)
Final Score: Steelers 17, Patriots 10
Recap: This was a bad game for both teams, but the Steelers still managed to come out victorious in this one. Brady and the Patriots could get nothing going after their initial drive netted them a touchdown. They could find no consistency through the air or on the ground all game. They also had no answer for Jaylen Samuels who torched the team on the ground and through the air. Ben Roethlisberger did throw for two touchdowns, but his two interceptions almost cost the Steelers the game. The Steelers managed a win by stopping Rob Gronkowski from ever getting going in this game, and pressuring Brady. Without Brady and the offense churning on a consistent level all game, they could not overcome these issues.
Chris Hogan’s touchdown to tie the match at 7-7 opened up the game and made this match look like it was going to be a shootout after Vance McDonald’s opening drive touchdown. But it was far from that. With only one touchdown scored the rest of the game, and none in the second half this was a snooze-fest. Antonio Brown’s touchdown early in the second gave Pittsburgh the lead, and they never looked back. Even after throwing two interceptions the Steelers could not be rattled, they held on. The Patriots on the other hand were not composed. Brady’s interception to Joe Haden might have been the worst of his career, and in a position to win the game, Brady could only throw over his receivers and turned the ball over on downs to lose the game.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady, QB: 25/36, 279 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Sony Michel, RB: 13 carries, 59 yards 4.54 ypc
Julian Edelman, WR: 7 rec, 90 yards
Ben Roethlisberger, QB: 22/34, 235 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Jaylen Samuels, RB: 19 car, 142 yards, 7.47 ypc, 2 rec, 30 yards
Antonio Brown, WR: 4 rec, 49 yards, 1 TD
Written by: George Haraktsis
Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) vs. Los Angeles Rams (11-3)
Final Score: Eagles 30, Rams 23
Recap: How about that for an ending to the weekend slate of NFL games? Philadelphia, in its first game since Carson Wentz went down with another crippling injury, went into the Coliseum and defeated the high-and-mighty Rams 30-23, keeping their playoff hopes alive for at least one more week. However, just like last year, they’re currently faced with another QB controversy, as Nick Foles continues to play great in relief. As for the Rams, this might be a little over the top, but who could’ve predicted that since their Week 12 bye, they’d be playing like the St. Louis Rams? Jared Goff seems to have drastically regressed, and the Rams have all but lost out on home field advantage come January. If that’s the case, then the NFC Championship will almost undoubtedly be in New Orleans. Ouch.
The Eagles took the lead first on a Jake Elliott field goal before the Rams took the lead on a Todd Gurley rush. Philadelphia would get one of their two interceptions on the day, but couldn’t capitalize and tuned the ball over on downs. The half ended with both teams tied at 13, but from there, the visitors showed why last year’s win in LA wasn’t a fluke, taking command in the final 30 minutes. Smallwood would score his two touchdowns in the third quarter, allowing the Eagles to build a 30-13 lead, and, on what could’ve been the final nail in the coffin, Foles was intercepted by Aqib Talib at the Rams 5, giving them some hope. The Rams would bring the deficit down to seven, and were able to drive into the red zone with four second remaining. But, on the game’s final play, Goff’s pass in the endzone to Josh Reynolds fell incomplete, and the Eagles held on.
Nick Foles, QB: 24/31, 270 yds, INT
Wendell Smallwood, RB: 10 rush. 48 yds, 2 TD, 4.8 ypc
Alshon Jeffery, WR: 8 rec, 160 yds
Golden Tate, WR: 5 rec, 43 yds
Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff, QB: 35/54, 339 yds, 2 INT
Todd Gurley, RB: 12 rush, 48 yds, 2 TD, 4.0 ypc; 10 rec, 76 yds
Robert Woods, WR: 7 rec, 74 yds
Josh Reynolds, WR: 5 rec, 70 yds
Written by: Joe Carlino
New Orleans Saints (12-2) vs. Carolina Panthers (6-8)
Final Score: Saints 12, Panthers 9
Recap: This game wasn’t as high-powered as everyone thought, with neither team really taking full control of this contest. In yet another nationally televised game, Drew Brees failed to gain any ground on MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes, barely making it over the 200-yard threshold. However, his team did get the victory, and with two games left to play, they only need to win one to lock up the coveted #1 seed in the NFC. Meanwhile, for Carolina, the fall off since the 6-2 start is astonishing to many, because the Panthers were picked by some as a potential NFC Super Bowl representative. Cam Newton’s arm is clearly in trouble, and it was evident on many passes. Since the Panthers are all but eliminated from postseason contention, it might be smart to let Cam rest and get that shoulder back to 100%. The Colts did it with Andrew Luck; why can’t the Panthers?
The Panthers got on the board first, diving deep into their playbook and converting on a fourth-and-two from midfield, with Christian McCaffrey launching a pass to Chris Manhertz for the score. New Orleans couldn’t do much to answer back initially, settling for two field goals, and when driving to take the lead, were intercepted by James Bradberry; Cam would be picked off by Eli Apple in the endzone just before the half ended. A DJ Moore fumble gave New Orleans some hope, and they marched 84 yards down the field for a touchdown. However, in a rare instance, Donte Jackson intercepted the two-point attempt and returned it for a score. And in the final two minutes, when the Saints converted their own fourth down play, a jet sweep to TommyLee Lewis resulted in a fumble out of the endzone, resulting in a touchback and Carolina’s ball. And even with that gift, the Panthers couldn’t do anything, and turned the ball over on downs, allowing the Saints to kneel out the clock.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees, QB: 23/35, 203 yds, INT
Alvin Kamara, RB: 14 rush, 67 yds, TD, 4.8 ypc
Mark Ingram, RB: 12 rush, 63 yds, 5.2 ypc
Michael Thomas, WR: 7 rec, 49 yds
Cam Newton, QB: 16/29, 131 yds, INT
Christian McCaffrey, RB: 15 rush, 53 yds, 3.5 ypc; 1/1, 50 yds, TD; 8 rec, 67 yds
Chris Manhertz, TE: 1 rec, 50 yds, TD
Written by: Joe Carlino