NFL Game Capsules - Week 15
Atlanta, GA (.com) - Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins nearly overcame a seven-turnover nightmare, but Desmond Trufant tipped away a potential go-ahead two-point conversion in the waning seconds to give the Atlanta Falcons a 27-26 victory at the Georgia Dome. With the Redskins trailing 27-20, Cousins led a crisp two-minute drill that ended in a 3-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss with 18 seconds remaining. Mike Shanahan, just days after making the decision to shut down franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, made another headline-worthy call by going for the win. Cousins rolled to his right and flew a floater into traffic, Trufant knocked the ball out of the back of the end zone and Atlanta (4-10) secured the onside kick to win for just the second time in the past eight weeks. Steven Jackson rushed for two scores and Tony Gonzalez caught a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan, who finished with 210 yards and an interception on 29-of-38 passing. Griffin watched in street clothes as Cousins passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns, though the second-year backup accounted for three turnovers -- two interceptions and a lost fumble. Alfred Morris and Santana Moss each lost two fumbles for the Redskins (3-11), who are a mired in a six-game slide.
Final Score: Chicago 38, Cleveland 31
Cleveland, OH (.com) - Jay Cutler had three touchdown passes, including two in the fourth quarter, to lead the Chicago Bears to a crucial 38-31 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Cutler returned under center after missing the previous four games with a high left ankle sprain, with Josh McCown filling in admirably during his absence. Chicago (8-6) went 2-2 without Cutler to stay in the thick of the NFC North race, with Sunday's win giving the team a half-game lead over Detroit, which hosts Baltimore on Monday night. Should Detroit win, though, the Bears will find themselves in second place in the division due to a pair of losses to the Lions this season. Cutler finished the game 22-for-31 for 265 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Matt Forte had 24 carries for 127 yards for Chicago, which has won three of the last four meetings with Cleveland. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett each caught a Cutler touchdown pass, with Michael Bush adding a score on the ground and Zack Bowman taking an interception into the end zone. Cleveland (4-10) continued its free-fall, as the team has dropped five straight and eight of nine to sit dead last in the AFC North. Jason Campbell had a tough day under center, getting picked off twice and going just 23-for-39 for 273 yards with a late touchdown pass. Tashaun Gipson had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown for the Browns, while T.J. Ward returned a fumble for a touchdown in the loss.
Final Score: Indianapolis 25, Houston 3
Indianapolis, IN (.com) - Andrew Luck tossed a pair of touchdown passes and the Indianapolis Colts cruised to a 25-3 triumph over the reeling Houston Texans on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Luck completed 19-of-32 passes for 180 yards with an interception, while Trent Richardson racked up 102 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown for the AFC South champion Colts (9-5), who bounced back from an ugly 42-28 loss last week at Cincinnati. The turmoil with the Texans, who have lost a franchise-worst 12 straight games, reached a tipping point during the week leading up to Sunday's game, as head coach Gary Kubiak was fired after eight seasons and a pair of division crowns. Wade Phillips, who also handled matters following Kubiak's medical scare on Nov. 3, took over on an interim basis. Despite the change in leadership, the play on the field remained the same for Houston (2-12), which saw quarterback Case Keenum complete just 18-of-34 passes for 168 yards with a pair of interceptions.
Final Score: Buffalo 27, Jacksonville 20
Jacksonville, FL (.com) - E.J. Manuel completed 17-of-24 passes for 193 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for another touchdown to lead the Buffalo Bills in a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Robert Woods had five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, Frank Summers caught three passes for 16 yards and a score for the Bills (5-9), who snapped a two-game skid. Fred Jackson added 17 carries for 80 yards and C.J. Spiller rushed 13 times for 67 yards. Chad Henne was 21-of-36 passing for 237 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and Jordan Todman had 25 carries for 109 yards for Jacksonville (4-10), which had won three straight.
Final Score: Miami 24, New England 20
Miami, FL (.com) - Michael Thomas twice thwarted the New England Patriots' bid for a fourth consecutive come-from-behind win. The Miami safety broke up a would-be touchdown catch before picking off New England quarterback Tom Brady in the end zone with two seconds remaining to seal a 24-20 win at Sun Life Stadium that currently puts the Dolphins in possession of the final playoff spot in the AFC. Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes for Miami (8-6), the last erasing a 20-17 deficit with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter. Tannehill finished with 312 yards on 25-of-37 efficiency in the Dolphins' third straight win. They moved a half-game ahead of Baltimore in the battle for the sixth seed. The Ravens visit Detroit on Monday night. Brady completed 34-of-55 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns, but the Patriots (10-4) squandered an opportunity to clinch their fifth straight AFC East title. New England, which can still secure a playoff spot with a Ravens loss, also missed out on a chance to seize control of the conference's top seed.
Final Score: Minnesota 48, Philadelphia 30
Minneapolis, MN (.com) - Minnesota was without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, but Matt Asiata ran for three touchdowns in the Vikings' 48-30 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Matt Cassel completed 26-of-35 passes for 382 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Vikings (4-9-1), who put the brakes on Philadelphia's five-game winning streak. Peterson (foot) and Gerhart (hamstring) were inactive for Minnesota, which bounced back from a 29-26 loss to the Ravens last week. Greg Jennings hauled in 11 Cassel passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings scored a season-high 48 points against an Eagles team that allowed more than 21 points for the first time in 10 games. Nick Foles connected on 30-of-48 passes for 428 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for the Eagles (8-6), who still lead the Cowboys by a game as Dallas fell to Green Bay on Sunday. LeSean McCoy carried the ball eight times for 38 yards and caught five passes for 68 yards. The star running back set an Eagles franchise record for most rushing yards in a game with 217 in last week's wild win over the Lions in the snow. DeSean Jackson hauled in 10 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown for Philadelphia, which lost for the first time since Oct. 27.
Final Score: Seattle 23, NY Giants 0
East Rutherford, NJ (.com) - The Seattle Seahawks had a most enjoyable trip to MetLife Stadium. It may not be their last visit there this season. The current NFC front-runners intercepted Eli Manning five times in a stifling defensive effort that set the tone for a 23-0 win over the New York Giants that moved the Seahawks another step closer toward sewing up the conference's No. 1 overall seed. Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell each had two picks and Seattle (12-2) limited the Giants to 181 total yards in dealing New York its first regular- season shutout loss at home in 18 years. Marshawn Lynch added 120 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown for the Seahawks, who now own a commanding two-game lead over their closest NFC competitors with two to play after New Orleans lost at St. Louis on Sunday. Seattle has its final two regular-season outings at home, where it has gone 14-0 over the last two years, giving the Seahawks the inside track to represent the NFC when MetLife Stadium hosts Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. Russell Wilson finished 18-of-27 for 206 yards with an interception and a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, who caught six balls for 71 yards in the rout. Manning finished with 156 yards on 18-of-31 passing for New York (5-9), which is assured of a losing season for the first time since the struggling quarterback's rookie campaign in 2004.
Final Score: San Francisco 33, Tampa Bay 14
Tampa, FL (.com) - The San Francisco 49ers moved closer to a playoff berth with a convincing 33-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday from Raymond James Stadium. With a win against Atlanta next week, San Francisco (10-4) will punch its ticket to the postseason. The Niners had a chance to clinch on Sunday, but Arizona's overtime win against Tennessee prevented any celebration. Colin Kaepernick threw for 203 yards with two touchdowns on 19-of-29 passing and also rushed for 39 yards on seven attempts. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree each hauled in a touchdown on five receptions. Davis finished with 79 yards, while Crabtree recorded 45. Frank Gore rushed for 86 yards on 22 carries for San Fran, which won its fourth consecutive game. Mike Glennon was 18-of-34 for 179 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Tampa Bay (4-10). Timothy Wright and Vincent Jackson both caught touchdown passes in the setback.
Final Score: Carolina 30, NY Jets 20
Charlotte, NC (.com) - Cam Newton threw for 273 yards with a touchdown as the Carolina Panthers moved one step closer towards clinching a playoff berth with a 30-20 win over the New York Jets. Newton completed 16- of-24 throws, including a 72-yard touchdown pass to DeAngelo Williams. Williams carried 15 times for 81 yards in the triumph, and Carolina (10-4) improved to 9-1 in its last 10 tilts. The Panthers had won eight straight before getting routed by the Saints, 31-13, in New Orleans last week. The Panthers will have the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth next week when they host the Saints in a rematch. Captain Munnerlyn had two sacks and an interception for a touchdown to lead the Panthers' D and Graham Gano kicked three field goals. New York (6-8) quarterback Geno Smith's rocky freshman campaign continued on Sunday. The West Virginia product threw a late touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, who caught three passes for 50 yards, but his pick-six early in the fourth stanza gave Carolina a comfortable 30-13 lead. Smith completed 15-of-28 for 167 yards, nearly half of which came in the final period with the game out of hand. New York's playoff hopes, which were slim entering play, came to an end with the loss. The Jets will miss the postseason for the third straight season.
Final Score: Kansas City 56, Oakland 31
Oakland, CA (.com) - Jamaal Charles racked up 195 receiving yards and five total touchdowns in a record-setting performance that carried the Kansas City Chiefs to a wild 56-31 win over the Oakland Raiders and a secured spot in the AFC Playoffs. Four of Charles' eight catches went for touchdowns and he added a score on the ground, becoming the first player in NFL history to record four TD receptions and run in another. Kansas City (11-3) also received big games out of quarterback Alex Smith and its opportunistic defense en route to sewing up a postseason berth just one year after tying for the league's worst record at 2-14. Smith threw five touchdown passes in all while completing a sharp 17-of-20 throws for 287 yards, while the Chiefs forced seven turnovers in posting their second straight lopsided victory on the road. Kansas City was coming off a 45-10 drubbing of Washington a week ago. Eric Berry accounted for two of the Chiefs' four interceptions of Matt McGloin, one of which he returned 47 yards for a touchdown. Rashad Jennings had a pair of rushing touchdowns while gaining 91 yards on 23 carries for Oakland (4-10), which was dealt a fourth consecutive loss. McGloin finished with 297 yards and two touchdowns on an 18-of-36 completion rate.
Final Score: Green Bay 37, Dallas 36
Arlington, TX (.com) - Eddie Lacy's 1-yard touchdown run with 1:31 to play completed an epic Green Bay comeback as the Packers got past the Dallas Cowboys, 37-36. Trailing by 23 points to start the second half, Green Bay scored touchdowns on its first five possessions of the final 30 minutes, while Tony Romo had another meltdown in the fourth quarter. The rally matched the biggest comeback in Green Bay history, as the 1982 team clawed its way from a 23-point hole to defeat the Los Angeles Rams. With the victory, Green Bay (7-6-1) has managed to stay alive in the chase for the NFC North crown thanks to consecutive wins despite signal-caller Aaron Rodgers still on the sideline as he recovers from a fractured collarbone. The Packers sit in third place in the NFC North, behind Chicago (8-6) and Detroit (7-6). Detroit hosts the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Matt Flynn, Rodgers' replacement under center, threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns with an interception on 26-of-39 passing, with Lacy finishing the game with 141 yards on 21 carries and a score while adding four catches for 30 yards. Dallas (7-7), meanwhile, stays a game back of Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East, as the Eagles lost to the Vikings on Sunday. Romo looked strong for much of the game and went 29-for-48 for 358 yards and two touchdowns overall, but his final two possessions ended in interceptions. The first one led to Lacy's go-ahead score and his second sealed the victory for Green Bay. DeMarco Murray had another strong game for Dallas, carrying the ball 18 times for 134 yards and a score along with four catches for 19 yards.
Final Score: St. Louis 27, New Orleans 16
St. Louis, MO (.com) - Zac Stacy posted a game-high 133 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries as St. Louis jumped out to an early 17-0 lead and held on to beat New Orleans, 27-16, in Week 15 action. Kellen Clemens was an effective 14-of-20 for 158 yards with TD strikes to Cory Harkey and Lance Kendricks for the Rams (6-8), who snapped a two-game slide and beat their Sunday foes for the fourth time in the last six meetings. Drew Brees threw for 393 yards and one touchdown on 39-of-56 attempts but was intercepted twice for the Saints (10-4), who have dropped two key road contests in a three-game span and failed to lock up a playoff berth. Marques Colston topped an eight-man receiving corps with 92 yards and a TD catch on eight receptions, to counterbalance Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas being limited to a combined 45 yards on 15 attempts.
Final Score: Arizona 37, Tennessee 34 (OT)
Nashville, TN (.com) - Jay Feely drilled a 41-yard field goal with 10:18 left in overtime to lift the Arizona Cardinals to a 37-34 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at LP Field. Antoine Cason's 20-yard interception return for a score gave Arizona a 34-17 lead with just over six minutes left before Michael Preston hauled in a pair of TD passes around a Rob Bironas field goal to force an extra session. Tennessee won the toss in overtime and elected to receive, but on the team's third play from scrimmage, Cason came up with his second pick of the game and returned it 16 yards to the Arizona 46. Rashard Mendenhall then moved the Cardinals to the Tennessee 21 following his 15-yard scamper and three plays later, Feely sent his game- winning field goal through the uprights. Carson Palmer finished 20-of-30 passing for 231 yards and a score, while Mendenhall added 69 yards and two scores on 21 totes for the Cardinals (9-5), who won for the sixth time in their last seven games to secure their first winning season since going 10-6 in 2009. Andre Ellington rushed for 71 yards on 10 carries and racked up a team-high 87 receiving yards on four catches in the win. Ryan Fitzpatrick put forth a valiant effort in defeat, throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions on 36-of-58 passing for the Titans (5-9), who were eliminated from playoff contention after dropping their third straight game.
(Thursday, December 12th)
Final Score: San Diego 27, Denver 20
Denver, CO (.com) - Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a touchdown and Philip Rivers tossed a pair of scores to Keenan Allen as the Chargers shocked the Denver Broncos, 27-20, on Thursday night. The Chargers, who snapped Denver's 10-game AFC West winning steak, held the ball for nearly 39 minutes and converted 6-of-12 third downs. Denver tallied 127 yards on its first two drives of the game, but totaled just 168 yards the rest of the way. The Broncos' 295 total yards and 20 points were a season low. Rivers was 12- of-20 for 166 yards for San Diego (7-7), which is a game back of Miami for the AFC's second wild-card spot. Peyton Manning completed 27-of-41 passes for 289 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Broncos (11-3), who are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs in the loss column atop the AFC West. Kansas City defeated Okaland on Sunday, but Denver holds the tiebreaker for the top spot in the division after beating the Chiefs twice earlier in the season.
December 15, 2013, at 08:58 PM ET
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Vikings come alive, end Eagles' win streak
Cards blow late lead, still top Titans in OT
Stacy, Rams knock off Saints