NFL Quick Snap Recap Week 16
It was a day where the six playoff sides in the AFC were confirmed, some sides saw their playoff aspirations ended, whilst others locked themselves into the postseason and we had yet another dose of overtime in what has now become a weekly affair.
The Minnesota Vikings caused the upset of the day as they prevented the Houston Texans from clinching the AFC with a 23-6 win. Adrian Peterson was held to just 86 yards leaving him 208 yards to get to break the record next week but the Vikings defence came up trumps as the Texans couldn’t generate anything offensively gaining only 187 yards all game.
Fellow AFC heavyweights the New England Patriots were also almost upset by the Jacksonville Jaguars but rallied to overcome a poor start and claim a 23-6 win. Tom Brady threw multiple interceptions for the second successive week doubling his season tally from four to eight in the last fortnight but he recovered to throw for 267 yards and two touchdowns. With the prospect of the number one pick still a chance Jaguars fans will likely not be too upset they didn’t get up here.
Elsewhere in the AFC the Cincinnati Bengals confirmed their place in the playoffs at the expense of the Pittsburgh Steelers as they ground out a 13-10 win in their divisional matchup. Reggie Nelson picked off Ben Roethlisberger with 46 seconds to go and when Andy Dalton hit AJ Green for 21 yards they provided Josh Brown his chance to win the game. Brown duly delivered from 42 yards having missed from 56 earlier in the final quarter. Shaun Suisham similarly missed a chance for the Steelers from 53 in the last to ensure the Steelers would miss the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers continued their late season run of form providing hope for next season as they accounted for the Oakland Raiders 17-6. The Raiders were forced to play with Matt Leinart under centre who struggled for just 115 yards on 32 throws after Carson Palmer succumbed to a back injury. For the Panthers, Defensive Rookie of the Year certainty Luke Kuelchy had another storming game, laying 13 tackles and snaring a 25 yard interception.
The St Louis Rams picked off Josh Freeman four times and kept hopes of a winning season alive as they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-13. The Buccaneers have slumped from playoff hopefuls with a 6-4 record to drop five in a row and languish at 6-9. The Rams in contrast have won four of their last five to finish the season in fine form as they look to the future.
Moving into the second seed in the NFC were the Green Bay Packers who continued to roll on as they blew out the woeful Tennessee Titans 55-7. Aaron Rodgers went 27-38 for 342 yards, three touchdowns, and added another with his legs in an utterly dominant display from a side starting to find form at the right time of year. For the Titans Jake Locker continues to struggle and serious question marks over his ability to be the long term starter in Tennessee will be raised in the off season.
Greg McElroy got the start for the New York Jets but he probably have wished he was still on the bench as he spent most the game lying in the grass. The San Diego Chargers sacked him a whopping 11 times on route to a 27-17 victory. The Jets led 14-7 early on but a pair of 30+ yard touchdown strikes from Phillip Rivers to Denario Alexander and Antonio Gates respectively helped turn the game back in the Chargers favour and claim a sixth victory for the season.
The Kansas City Chiefs rushed for 352 yards in 507 yards of total offense but their red zone profligacy saw them put up just 13 points in a 20-13 defeat to the playoff bound Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck ensured the Colts remarkable season would continue as he hit Reggie Wayne for a seven yard touchdown with 4.02 remaining. It was a game in which he also broke the rookie passing yards for a season record set by Cam Newton the season prior.
Reggie Bush scored all three of the Miami Dolphins touchdowns as they gave the crowd something to celebrate in their final home game of the season in a 24-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. Bush rushed one in and caught another two to leave the Bills with a 5-10 record in a season in which they talked themselves up as playoff bound
Another vintage display from Peyton Manning kept the Denver Broncos slim hopes of the number one seed in the AFC alive as they proved far too good for the Cleveland Browns with a 34-12 victory. Manning threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns and Von Miller broke the franchise record for sacks on a successful day for the franchise who have now moved into Superbowl favouritism.
Defending champions the New York Giants failed to hit the on switch and had their playoff hopes all but extinguished by the Baltimore Ravens as they were crushed 33-14. The Giants look out of the playoff race as they now must win next week against the Eagles and hope Minesotta, Chicago and Dallas all lose their games. With the victory the Ravens have clinched the AFC North.
The Washington Redskins survived a close encounter with their divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles to put one foot in the playoffs with a 27-20 win. Nick Foles missed a wide open Jeremy Maclin that would have tied things up and forced overtime as the Redskins hung on to the NFC East lead. It will all come down to next week’s game against the Cowboys as to whether they make the playoffs or not.
This is despite the fact the Dallas Cowboys were felled by the New Orleans Saints 34-31 in a thrilling game that went into overtime. Trailing by 14 with 4.45 left on the clock, Tony Romo led the Cowboys on 80 and 64 yard touchdown drives to force overtime. The Saints would eventually win when a forced fumble spilled all the way to the one yard line and was recovered by the Saints to set up the simplest of chip shots for the win. With the New York Giants losing the playoffs are still possible for the Cowboys.
Larry Fitzgerald finally got some service from his quarterbacks and hauled in eight receptions for 111 yards but it was not enough to help the Arizona Cardinals to victory as they fell to the Chicago Bears 28-13. The Bears will make the playoffs if Minnesota loses to Green Bay and they get the job done against Detroit next week.
In Sunday Night Football the Seattle Seahawks underlined their Superbowl credentials with their best display of the season. Buoyed by a boisterous home crowd the Seahawks dominated the San Francisco 49ers in all aspects of the game to run out 42-13 winners. Russel Wilson continued his sublime form; he was 11/12 on third down and threw four touchdowns in four red zone visits. They became the first team since 1950 to put up 150 points over a three game stretch.
How did your team go? What was your highlight of the week?