LE’VEON Bell lights up, Giant win for New York over Dallas, and the Patriots punish Baltimore.
It’s all in the Week 14 NFL Wrap!
AUSSIES IN ACTION
Pittsburgh punter Jordan Berry had a 40.5 yard average in the snow from two punts, with one inside 20.
Panthers offensive lineman David Yankey saw a few more snaps in Carolina’s win over San Diego, including the first quarter touchdown by Jonathan Stewart who leapt right over Yankey at the goal line to get in the end zone. Jets punter Lach Edwardsshowed good directional punting with four inside-20s of his six punts against the 49ers. Denver Broncos defensive lineman Adam Gotsis had one tackle in his side’s loss in Tennessee. Giants punter Brad Wing had a strong showing in New York with five of his nine punts inside 20 for an average of 42.9 yards. His longest of the night travelled 57 yards.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 30 — BALTIMORE RAVENS 23
The New England Patriots needed a big play, and Tom Brady delivered — again.
Brady connected with Chris Hogan for a 79-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to help the Patriots to a 30-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
LeGarrette Blount rushed for 72 yards on 18 carries, passing 1,000 yards for the first time since his rookie season with Tampa Bay in 2010.
The Patriots (11-2) have won four straight games and eight of their last nine as they continue to inch toward their eighth straight AFC East title.
“It was a big game for us,” Brady said. “You play at home in December on Monday night against a great defense, it was important for us to come out and play well. We knew it was gonna be a 60-minute game.”
The Ravens (7-6) had won two in a row. They now face a challenging route to the playoffs with two of their last three on the road.
Joe Flacco did his best to keep Baltimore in the game, finishing 37 of 52 for 324 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The 37 completions set a franchise record.
NEW YORK GIANTS 10 — DALLAS COWBOYS 7
With a no-huddle offense and no-fooling-around defense, the New York Giants snapped the Cowboys’ 11-game winning streak with a 10-7 victory, preventing Dallas from clinching the NFC East. Missing star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants couldn’t stop rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott from rushing for 107 yards. But New York’s pressure stymied the other Cowboys rookie standout, quarterback Dak Prescott, blanked receiver Dez Bryant until 2:13 remained — he fumbled away the ball on that play — and held Dallas to one conversion in 15 third-down attempts.
The Giants had three sacks, continually made Prescott uncomfortable, and he threw two picks. Manning was 17 for 28 for 193 yards, one TD, one interception and two fumbles. His main adversary was linebacker Sean Lee, who had 18 tackles. There wasn’t much offense in the opening 30 minutes — Prescott threw for 101 yards and Manning had only 80. That was no issue for Dallas, which simply let Elliott control matters with 15 rushes for 86 yards; 2 more yards than the Giants had in total offense. The one big play was Prescott’s 31-yard TD pass to Terrance Williams as the Giants completely bit on a play-action fake.
New York was plagued by sloppiness and poor blocking in the second straight game in didn’t score in the opening half. Dallas got to Manning three times in that half, forcing fumbles on two of those sacks.
MIAMI DOLPHINS 26 — ARIZONA CARDINALS 23
Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes before being sidelined with a knee injury, and Andrew Franks kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired. Tannehill also threw a shocking miscued lateral pass in the second quarter, but his injury is what will have Dolphins fans most worried as the playoffs approach.
Tannehill limped to the locker room late in the third quarter after being hit around the legs by defensive tackle Calais Campbell as he released a completion. The Dolphins led 21-9 when Tannehill departed, and backup Matt Moore failed to lead Miami to a first down in his first three series. The Cardinals mounted touchdown drives of 99 and 50 yards to tie the game, but Miami forced a punt to start at the Arizona 47 with 1:29 left. Moore threw a 12-yard completion to Kenny Stills for a first down, and then threw long to Stills for 29 yards to set up Franks’ winning kick. The Dolphins (8-5) won for the seventh time in the past eight games and helped their bid to end an eight-year playoff drought. The Cardinals (5-7-1) fell further behind in the race for the final NFC wildcard berth.
CINCINNATI BENGALS 23 — CLEVELAND BROWNS 10
Robert Griffin III returned from injury but couldn’t keep Cleveland from falling closer to infamy as the Cincinnati Bengals built a big early lead and held off the winless Browns 23-10 on Sunday in the snow.
Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes to Tyler Eifert as the Bengals (5-7-1) kept their playoff chances pulsating for another week.
Griffin started for the first time since getting hurt in the opener. He couldn’t produce a win for the Browns (0-13).
RG3 did score on a 1-yard sneak in the third quarter, but the Browns lost their 16th straight dating to Dec. 13 last season. Cleveland has lost 23 of 24 and 31 of 34 since the end of 2014.
The Browns have three games left to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the NFL’s only 0-16 teams. They are making history with every loss. They are the seventh team since 1962 to start 0-13, joining the ‘08 Lions, 1980 Saints, 1976 Buccaneers, 2011 Colts, 2007 Dolphins and 1962 Raiders.
Griffin finished 12 of 28 for 104 yards. Isaiah Crowell was a bright spot for Cleveland, rushing for 113 yards on 10 carries.
Dalton, who has had some of his best games against Cleveland, connected twice in the first half with Eifert as the Bengals bullied the NFL’s worst team for 30 minutes.
TENNESSEE TITANS 13 — DENVER BRONCOS 10
DeMarco Murray ran for 92 yards and a touchdown, and the Titans held on to and keep a piece of first place in the AFC South. With the win, the Titans (7-6) also climbed above .500 for the first time all season.
The Titans came in with the NFL’s third-best rushing offense and the AFC’s top runner in Murray, and they ran right over a Denver defence that came in 28th in that category. By halftime, the Titans ran 26 times for 138 yards — the second-most rushes by any team in the first half this season and most allowed in the first half by Denver since 2014.
Tennessee then had to hold on as Trevor Siemian tried to rally Denver (8-5) despite a sprained left foot that kept him out last week. He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 9:58 left and drove the Broncos to first-and-goal at the Tennessee 7 before rookie Aaron Wallace sacked him. Coach Gary Kubiak settled for a 34-yard field goal by Brandon McManus on fourth-and-goal at the 16 with 4:28 left. Siemian was driving the Broncos again when A.J. Derby fumbled after a catch. Safety Daimion Stafford recovered with 53 seconds left, and the Titans finished off their biggest win in years.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 25 — JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 16
Matt Asiata scored on a short touchdown run, Kai Forbath kicked four field goals and the Vikings won for just the second time in nine weeks.
Asiata had a chance to score three times, but he was stopped on a fourth-and-goal run in the second quarter and fumbled at the goal line in the fourth. Those mistakes hardly hurt against the hapless Jaguars (2-11), who dropped their eighth consecutive game and fell to 0-6 at EverBank Field this season. Minnesota (7-6) hadn’t won on the road since Sept. 25 at Carolina. A loss to the Jaguars would have weakened their playoff chances. Sam Bradford completed 24 of 34 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown. His 3-yard TD toss to Kyle Rudolph with 2:13 remaining sealed the victory.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer returned after a one-game absence and was on the sideline. Zimmer missed last week’s game against Dallas because of a detached retina and was unsure earlier in the week whether he would be on the field or in an upstairs box. Zimmer, who needed a doctor’s clearance to fly to Jacksonville, was wearing a patch over his right eye. He also had protective glasses on beforehand, but ditched those when the game started.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 27 — BUFFALO BILLS 20
Le’Veon Bell scored three times and set a franchise record with 236 yards rushing in finding traction on a slick, snow-covered field.
The Steelers overcame three interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger to win their fourth straight and improve to 8-5 and keep pace in the AFC playoff race. The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Bills (6-7) from contention, and puts them in jeopardy of extending the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 years — the longest since New Orleans ended a 20-year drought by reaching the postseason for their first time in 1987.
After scoring in the first half on 3- and 7-yard runs, Bell put the game away on the opening drive of the third quarter. He had nine rushes for 72 yards alone and capped the 82-yard drive by waltzing into the end zone from 5 yards. Bell also had 62 yards receiving to account for 298 of the 460 yards gained by Pittsburgh. It was the second three-TD game of his career, and first in which he scored three times rushing. Bell broke the franchise rushing record set by Willie Parker, who had 223 yards against Cleveland on Dec. 7, 2006
GREEN BAY PACKERS 38 — SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 10
Aaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns and Green Bay routed Seattle.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw a career-high five interceptions and the Packers (7-6) won their third straight game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
They’re two games back of first-place Detroit in the NFC North, but play division opponents in the last three weeks of the season.
Green Bay gained more than 300 yards in the first game for the Seahawks (8-4-1) without former All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, who is out for the season with a broken leg.
Rodgers set the tone on the opening drive after connecting with receiver Davante Adams on a perfectly-thrown pass down the right sideline for a 66-yard touchdown. Cornerback Jeremy Lane slipped on the play.
HOUSTON TEXANS 22 — INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 17
Lamar Miller scored Houston’s only touchdown and the Texans defence stopped Andrew Luck on Indy’s final drive. Houston (7-6) retained a share of the AFC South lead with Tennessee by ending its three-game losing streak.
The Texans won for the second straight year in Indy, have won nine straight against division foes and got their first sweep of the Colts in franchise history.
Luck drove the Colts (6-7) to the Texans 42-yard line with 1:24 left. But on fourth-and-1, a blitz forced an errant screen pass to Robert Turbin. Miller finished with 21 carries for 107 yards, while Brock Osweiler was 14 of 24 for 147 yards with one interception. Luck was 24 of 45 for 276 yards with two TD passes, two interceptions and one fumble. T.Y. Hilton had nine catches for 115 yards and a 35-yard TD catch that closed Indy’s deficit to 19-17 early in the fourth quarter.
ATLANTA FALCONS 42 — LA RAMS 14
Matt Ryan passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns and Atlanta forced five turnovers to beat the Los Angeles.
Deion Jones returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown, and Vic Beasley forced a fumble by Jared Goff and returned it for another TD during Atlanta’s comprehensive pummeling of the Rams (4-9), who have lost four straight and eight of nine in their increasingly miserable homecoming season. Tevin Coleman caught a TD pass and rushed for another score for the Falcons (8-5), who opened up a 42-point lead in the third quarter and stayed atop the NFC South with their fourth win in six games. Even without injured receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta had little trouble from the opening kickoff, which was fumbled by Rams rookie Michael Thomas and recovered at the Los Angeles 3.
WASHINGTON 27 — PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 22
Chris Thompson’s 25-yard touchdown run with 1:54 remaining lifted Washington. Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes, including an 80-yard toss to DeSean Jackson, and had a pick-6.
The Eagles took a 22-21 lead when Caleb Sturgis hit a 41-yard field goal with 4:59 left after holder Donnie Jones got the high snap from third-string long snapper Trey Burton down in time.
Carson Wentz drove Philadelphia to the Washington 14 in the final minute, but Ryan Kerrigan sacked him to force a fumble and seal the win for Washington (7-5-1), which remained in the middle of a jumbled playoff race.
The Eagles (5-8) have lost four in a row and eight of 10 after a 3-0 start. Jackson made a twisting, over-the-shoulder catch and spun away from Leodis McKelvin before slowing down and jogging into the end zone to give Washington a 14-13 lead in the third quarter. McKelvin intercepted Cousins and returned it 29 yards for a TD early in the fourth quarter, but Wentz’s pass to Jordan Matthews was knocked down on the 2-point conversion. Cousins then connected with Pierre Garcon on a 15-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 21-13.
CAROLINA PANTHERS 28 — SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 16
Carolina’s defence forced five turnovers by Philip Rivers and had five sacks and a safety. Cam Newton was a pedestrian 10 of 27 for 160 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception for Carolina (5-8), which snapped a two-game losing streak and kept its slim playoff hopes alive. Jonathan Stewart ran for 66 yards and a touchdown and Graham Gano had four field goals.
But it was Carolina’s defence that set the tone early — and later put the game away.
Despite playing without middle linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive end Charles Johnson, the Panthers had four sacks on Rivers and forced three turnovers in the first half to build a 23-7 lead. One of those turnovers, a strip-sack by Kawann Short, proved extra costly for the Chargers (5-8). Running back Melvin Gordon, who came in averaging 117.5 yards from scrimmage and had scored 12 touchdowns, was carted off with a hip injury after his left leg twisted under a pile while attempting to recover the loose ball. He did not return. The Chargers later lost defensive end Joey Bosa to a neck injury.
DETROIT LIONS 20 — CHICAGO BEARS 17
Matthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown with 3:17 left after throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one that was returned for a score on the previous possession.
Matt Barkley completed two passes that put the Bears in a position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by penalties, before Chicago turned over the ball on downs from the Detroit 44.
The NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) have won five straight and eight of nine, moving them a step closer to winning a division title for the first time in 23 years.
Chicago (3-10) has lost four of five.
Stafford was picked off twice after he threw only one interception the previous eight games. Demontre Hurst intercepted Stafford’s pass in Chicago’s end zone after it ricocheted off teammate Bryce Callahan and receiver Golden Tate early in the fourth quarter. Cre’Von LeBlanc returned an interception 24 yards midway through the fourth to put Chicago up 17-13.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 16 — NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 11
Streaking Tampa Bay bolstered its playoff hopes by building an early lead and holding off Drew Brees and New Orleans for its fifth straight victory.
Doug Martin scored on a 1-yard run, Roberto Aguayo kicked three field goals and an improving defense intercepted Brees three times while holding the NFL passing leader without a touchdown pass.
Brees began the day leading the league in completions, attempts, completion percentage, passing yards and TD passes, but failed to throw for a touchdown for the second straight week, the first time he’s done that in consecutive games since 2009.
Safety Keith Tandy picked off the quarterback’s final pass on fourth-and-1 from near midfield in the final minute.
The Bucs (8-5) have won five straight for the first time since 2002, the season they went on to win their only Super Bowl. New Orleans (5-8) entered hoping to tighten the NFC South race, but instead dropped three games behind division co-leaders Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
NEW YORK JETS 23 — SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 17 (OT)
Bilal Powell ran for 145 yards, including the game-ending 19-yard touchdown in overtime, to help Bryce Petty and New York rally from 14 points down.
Petty threw an interception on his first pass of the game and the Jets (4-9) trailed 14-0 less than 5 minutes into the game. San Francisco (1-12) led 17-3 at halftime, but fell flat after that and lost a franchise-worst 12th straight game. Powell took over from there and scored his second TD of the game on New York’s first possession of overtime after Petty’s scramble and 26-yard pass to Robby Anderson put the Jets in field goal range.
Petty, who went 23 for 35 for 257 yards in his second career start, rallied the Jets back from a 17-3 deficit in the first half by leading two fourth-quarter scoring drives. New York used a 15-play, 66-yard drive to cut the deficit to 17-14 with 5:04 left when Powell bowled his way in for a 5-yard run and Petty ran in the 2-point conversion. New York then forced a punt and Petty led the Jets 33 yards to tie the game on Nick Folk’s 50-yard field goal with 38 seconds left.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 21 — OAKLAND RAIDERS 13
The Chiefs took control of the AFC West with a 21-13 win against division rival Oakland in frigid conditions. Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, while the Kansas City defence made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. The Chiefs moved into a tie with the Raiders at 10-3 but hold the head-to-head tie-breaker.
The Chiefs have won both games this season against Oakland. Raiders quarterback Carr completed just 17 of 41 pass attempts for 117 yards, though that was not entirely his fault.
Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith threw for 261 yards with a touchdown and an interception to help the Chiefs beat Oakland for the seventh time in their past eight meetings. Hill didn’t seem bothered by the cold, scorching the Raiders for a 36-yard TD reception before bringing a punt back 78 yards for another score.