I was trying to come up with something super witty to say to lead off the week 12 recaps, but I’ve got nothing. That’s probably because I’m ready for week 13 games, which start today with the Bears at the Lions (12:30 EST), the Eagles at the Cowboys (4:30 EST), and the Seahawks at the 49ers (8:30 EST). Don’t be a turkey – watch some football!
Gobble, gobble! Here’s what we thought about week 12 in the NFL…
Oakland (24), Kansas City (20) – The Raiders are winless no more! The Chiefs came into this game riding high off their victory over Seattle, but came crashing down to earth as the first team to lose to the Raiders. The Raiders defense came to play. Their offense is still a work in progress since they are lacking some skilled position players, but rookie quarterback Derek Carr led a game winning touchdown drive. This is a big loss for the Chiefs because it is a division loss, and they can’t afford to fall behind in the race against the Broncos in the AFC West. The Chiefs also had a rough week as it was announced safety Eric Berry will miss the remainder of the season as he undergoes tests for lymphoma after a mass was discovered on his chest.
Cleveland (26), Atlanta (24) – Cleveland was happy to have wide receiver Josh Gordon back from his ten game suspension, and he led the team in targets and receiving yards. Believe it or not, even with a 4-7 record, the Falcons sit in first place in the lowly NFC South division and still have a chance to make the post-season. (For the first time in NFL history, a division winner is three games below .500.) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan doesn’t have the protection to make plays and Atlanta’s defense isn’t getting the job done. Atlanta Coach Mike Smith was questioned for his clock management at the end of the game – after the Falcons kicked a field goal, which they thought was a game winner, Smith called a time out instead of letting the clock run out. This left the Browns with enough time to make it back down the field and kick the field goal that made them the winners instead.
Let’s just stop here and look at those first two scores. Oakland and Cleveland winning games. Who woulda thunk?
Chicago (21), Tampa Bay (13) – Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith made his return to Soldier Field, home of the Bears, for the first time since he was fired at the end of the 2012 season. The Bears were down 10 points at halftime, but took advantage of two Tampa Bay turnovers to score 21 straight points in the third quarter to come away with the win. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler didn’t do anything too exciting – in fact, he fumbled again to extend his NFL turnover lead to 18. The Bucs offense looked like a mess, save for rookie wide receiver Mike Evans, who continues to impress.
Cincinnati (22), Houston (13) – Texans quarterback Ryan Mallet didn’t look as great in his second NFL start – come to find out, he tore a pectoral muscle and played through the injury. He will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the season, which is unfortunate timing now that he finally had the opportunity to try to prove he could be a starting quarterback in the NFL. The Bengals have played much better over the last two weeks since they were embarrassed by the Browns on Thursday Night Football. They won the time of possession with 39 minutes, and Andy Dalton had a decent game, with the exception of an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green just couldn’t be covered by the Texans secondary.
Indianapolis (23), Jacksonville (3) – The Colts got off to a rough start, allowing quarterback Andrew Luck to be sacked four times in the fourth quarter. They were able to get their act together, and with help from wide receiver T.Y. Hilton’s 122 yard performance, come out on top. Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles had another tough game. Former college quarterback turned running back Dennard Robinson, who has been a bright spot the past few weeks, was held to 25 yards rushing and lost a fumble. Looks like the Jaguars have to do some more rebuilding.
Green Bay (24), Minnesota (21) – The Vikings put up a good fight against a Green Bay team that has put up 50+ points in their last two games and is viewed by many as the team to beat in the NFC. Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a rough start but led the Vikings within a field goal of the Packers in the fourth quarter. New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer deserves credit for the work he is doing with their defense. The Packers are starting to use running back Eddie Lacy more as the weather turns colder – and need to continue to do for a successful post-season run.
New England (34), Detroit (9) – After running the ball down the Colt’s throat last week, New England decided to mix things up and got pass-happy. Their offensive line held the Lion’s number one defense without a sack. Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford had a rough day and the lowest completion percentage of his career as wide receiver Golden Tate spent most of the day being covered by NE cornerback Darelle Revis (also known as a trip to Revis Island). Lions coach Jim Caldwell was criticized for being conservative in going for field goals instead of trying to convert fourth downs.
Philadelphia (43), Tennessee (24) – The Eagles got started with a bang by taking the opening kick-off 107 yards for a touchdown. It was their 10th defensive or special teams touchdown this year, which is one of the stats that has helped boost their total scoring average and covered up some issues with their offense. It was Eagles running back LeSean McCoy’s best performance of the season thus far – they are a better team when he can be successful. Philly coach Chip Kelly’s offense has made Mark Sanchez look like a better quarterback then he was with the Jets – he still throws some picks, but is fortunate to have more talented offensive players around him. Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger started slow before he got in his groove, but the Titans just don’t have the offensive power to put up as many points as the Eagles did.
San Diego (27), St. Louis (24) – This was a strange game with lots of special teams miscues, a blocked field goal, six turnovers, and at one point Rams coach Jeff Fisher had to explain rules to the referees. The Rams started QB Shaun Hill again, and he almost led the team to victory until he threw an interception at the goal line in the final minutes of the game. The Chargers defense made enough plays to help win this game, but their offense has definitely been helped by the return of running back Ryan Mathews.
Seattle (19), Arizona (3) – This was a big division win for the Seahawks as they got a great performance from their defense and handed Arizona their second loss of the season. The Cardinals defense also played a great game, but quarterback Drew Stanton was missing injured wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and their lack of a run game could hurt them as they try to surge to the post-season.
Denver (39), Miami (36) – The Dolphin’s defense was the prime culprit in losing this game as quarterback Ryan Tannehill played effectively, with the exception of a fourth quarter interception. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s protection was improved from last week in the team’s loss to the Rams, and their run game was surprisingly effective even with their first two starters out due to injury. Their offense resembled the juggernaut they were last year rather then last week’s embarrassing game they played in St. Louis.
San Francisco (17), Washington (13) – The 49ers defense is carrying this team as the offense tries to figure out what they want to do. They have three division games in the next five weeks, and victories are vital if they want to make the play-offs. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not playing consistently, and tight end Vernon Davis is also struggling. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III is struggling – his missed time due to injuries is showing as he is having a hard time reading defenses and his coach called him out for his poor footwork. Washington announced RG3 will be replaced this week by back-up quarterback Colt McCoy.
Dallas (31), New York Giants (28) – Dallas quarterback Tony Romo led a go-ahead touchdown drive in the last few minutes of the game, securing a victory which keeps Dallas tied with Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East division. Romo is playing well and the Cowboys need to keep their fingers crossed he doesn’t reinjure his back before the season ends. Wide receiver Dez Bryant had some huge plays and running back DeMarco Murray ran for over 100 yards for the tenth time in eleven games and Dallas’ offensive line continues to impress. The Giants are no longer in playoff contention, but they should be thrilled with having rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham on their team going forward – the internet blew up with reactions to this catch.
Buffalo (38), New York Jets (3) – This “home” game for the Bills was played in Detroit due to the all the snow that fell in Western New York last week, which cancelled practices and resulted in the coaching sleeping in the facility to prepare the game plan. Their defensive line is definitely their strength as they sacked Jets quarterback Michael Vick seven times before he was benched. Speaking of Vick, there’s not really a nice way to say that he played like a mess – Coach Rex Ryan has already given the starting job back to Geno Smith for the upcoming game. The Bills have a tough schedule ahead of them but are not out of playoff contention, while at this point the only thing the Jets are in contention for is the number one pick in next year’s draft.
Baltimore (34), New Orleans (27) – This was a poor performance for the New Orleans defense. Our friend from Purple Night, Ravens running back Justin Forsett, ran for 182 yards and scored two touchdowns. The Ravens also have a weak secondary, but were fortunate that the Saints offense continued making mistakes – only three quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions this year than Drew Brees, who has thrown eleven. The Saints offensive line played poorly, and as a result running back Mark Ingram couldn’t get the run game to find a rhythm.
Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful for all of our Snappers out there!
– Val and Michelle