Week Thirteen NFL Recaps
Detroit Lions 34 vs. Chicago Bears 17 (Thanksgiving Day)
- The last time the Detroit Lions faced the Chicago Bears in a Thanksgiving Day game occurred back in 1999. Lions quarterback Gus Frerotte passed for 309-yards and two touchdowns as Detroit won, 21-17. This time around, Matthew Stafford played the hero on Turkey Day. However, the Lions would have to play catch up. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw a pair of first quarter touchdown passes to Alshon Jeffery. Chicago took a 14-3 lead, but the Lions mounted a furious rally. Stafford completed 34 of 45 passes for 390-yards and two touchdowns, both to Calvin Johnson. Johnson ended up winning the Phil Simms All-Iron Award, catching 11 passes for 146-yards. Running back Joique Bell carried the ball 23 times for 91-yards and scored twice. Detroit gained 474-yards of total offense. Meanwhile, Detroit’s defense held Chicago to 269-yards, sacked Jay Cutler three times, and intercepted two of his passes.
Philadelphia Eagles 33 @ Dallas Cowboys 10 (Thanksgiving Day)
- Mark Sanchez completed 20 of 29 passes for 217-yards, which included a 27-yard touchdown strike to Jordan Matthews. Sanchez also ran for a two-yard score to cap off a nine play, 80-yard drive, which was the Eagles first possession of the game. On the ground, Philadelphia gained 256-yards, including 159 on 25 carries by LeSean McCoy. McCoy also scored a touchdown from 38-yards. His performance earned him the Galloping Gobbler Award. The Eagles sacked Tony Romo four times and intercepted two of his passes. DeMarco Murray managed just 73-yards, his lowest rushing output of the season. The Cowboys managed 267-yards of total offense in the game. In the end, Dallas suffered its worst loss in a Thanksgiving Day game since 1989, when they were shut out by the Eagles, 27-0.
Seattle Seahawks 19 @ San Francisco 49ers 3 (Thanksgiving Day; TNF on NBC)
- The Seahawks snapped the 49ers three game winning streak under the lights of Levi’s Stadium to cap off the day of football. Seattle also won by the exact same score that they won by in last weeks’ game against the Cardinals. Russell Wilson completed 15 of 22 passes for 236-yards and a touchdown pass to Robert Turbin. Marshawn Lynch would rush for 104-yards on 20 carries to lead Seattle’s running game. Steven Hauschka kicked four field goals and the defense completely neutralized the 49ers attack. Colin Kaepernick was sacked four times and picked off twice. Both of Kaepernick’s interceptions came courtesy of cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman was the hero in last season’s NFC Championship Game between these two NFC West foes. The Seahawks collected three turnovers while limiting San Francisco to 164 total yards and a mere field goal.
Indianapolis Colts 49 vs. Washington Redskins 27
- Andrew Luck of the Colts and Colt McCoy of the Redskins found themselves in a quarterback duel on Sunday afternoon. Luck completed 19 of 27 passes for 370-yards and five touchdowns. Two each went to Donte Moncrief and Coby Fleener. Moncrief made just three catches for 134-yards and one of his scoring receptions came from 79-yards out. Meanwhile, Fleener caught just four passes for 127-yards while catching a 73-yard scoring strike. Colt McCoy matched Luck pass for pass by completing 31 of 47 passes for 392-yards and three touchdowns. McCoy’s top pass-catcher was tight end Jordan Reed, who made nine receptions for 123-yards. The Redskins actually trailed by four in the third quarter, but the Colts proved that they had enough second half horses in the barn to pull away from the Redskins.
Houston Texans 45 vs. Tennessee Titans 21
- On Sunday afternoon in Houston, Ryan Fitzpatrick was literally the Texans man of the hour. Fitzpatrick completed 24 of 33 passes for 358-yards and a franchise record six touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins caught two touchdowns, while racking up 238-yards receiving on nine catches. The Texans accumulated three scoring drives of 80-yards, had another from 74-yards and one from 70-yards out. Houston’s defense never gave the Titans a chance. The Texans registered three sacks, including a pair from J.J. Watt, and intercepted just as many passes. Houston displayed the qualities that were uncharacteristic of a one-dimensional offense. Their passing game was the key ingredient that brought them back to the .500 mark.
Buffalo Bills 26 vs. Cleveland Browns 10
- Trailing 3-0 in the third quarter, Kyle Orton overcame a rough first half and two interceptions with a three-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan. The touchdown capped off an eight play, 84-yard scoring drive. Kicker Dan Carpenter contributed to this team effort by making four field goals, all of which came in the final period. The Bills defense responded by intercepting Brian Hoyer and also had defensive end Jerry Hughes return a fumble for an 18-yard score. Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel replaced Hoyer in the second half. Manziel gave the Browns offense a spark, completing five of eight passes for 63-yards and scoring the Browns only touchdown on a ten-yard run. However, the appearance of Manziel was not enough to prevent Buffalo from improving their record to 7-5.
San Diego Chargers 34 @ Baltimore Ravens 33
- The Ravens jumped out to a pair of ten-point leads during this game. The visitors from San Diego would come back from both of those deficits. Philip Rivers completed 34 of 45 passes for 383-yards and three touchdowns. Rivers enjoyed great pass-catching support from Keenan Allen. Allen caught 11 passes for 121-yards and two touchdowns. Joe Flacco would complete 19 of 31 passes for 225-yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Torrey Smith. Baltimore led, 33-27, in the fourth quarter. With just over two minutes remaining, Rivers drove the Chargers 80-yards down the field in eight plays. With just 38 seconds left, he threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal which helped propel San Diego to a dramatic road win.
Jacksonville Jaguars 25 vs. New York Giants 24
- With only one win under their belts, the Jaguars planned on using the rest of the season to play for pride. However, pride was difficult to obtain against the New York Giants. Rashad Jennings ran for two touchdowns and Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to Preston Parker as the visitors from the Big Apple bolted to a 21-3 halftime lead. But Jacksonville would mount an unlikely second half comeback. Two defensive touchdowns and a Blake Bortles touchdown toss to Marqise Lee from 30-yards out pulled the Jaguars within striking distance. Trailing by two with barely three and a half minutes remaining, Bortles displayed his potential by driving the Jaguars 55-yards in 11 plays. With 28 seconds remaining, kicker Josh Scobee played the role of hero. Scobee nailed the eventual game winning 43-yard field goal.
Cincinnati Bengals 14 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
- Another lowly Florida team nearly pulled off another upset. The Buccaneers jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Josh McCown led a nine play, 71-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard scoring run by Doug Martin. The Bengals would come back by scoring two unanswered touchdowns. Quarterback Andy Dalton rebounded from a trio of interceptions to account for both of those scores. One came on a five-yard run while the other came on a 13-yard pass to A.J. Green. Tampa Bay was still clinging to life in the final minutes. On a second and 15 play from the Bengals 41-yard line, McCown hit Larry Murphy with a 21-yard completion. The pass got the Buccaneers into field goal range with 12 seconds remaining, but Tampa Bay was penalized for having 12 men on the field. The foul pushed the Bucs back, McCown threw three straight incomplete passes, and the Bengals hung on to win.
St. Louis Rams 52 vs. Oakland Raiders 0
- A week after upsetting one Missouri team, the Raiders were completely blindsided by the other. The Rams erupted to 38 points in the first half. Shaun Hill threw a pair of touchdown passes. Tre Mason ran for 117-yards on only 14 carries and scored twice, including an 89-yard burner, which left the Raiders defense in the dust. Mason also scored on a 35-yard touchdown reception and racked up 164-yards of total offense. The Rams collected five turnovers and registered six sacks, half of them came courtesy of defensive end Robert Quinn. The end result was St. Louis’ first shutout since 2006 and their highest margin of victory since 1976.
New Orleans Saints 35 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 32
- With the Saints trying to make a late season push to a potential playoff berth, Drew Brees hit his stride in monumental fashion. Brees completed 19 of 27 passes for 257-yards and five touchdowns, including a 69-yard scoring pass to Kenny Stills. Still made five receptions for 162-yards. The New Orleans running game gutted the ball right down the Steelers throats. Mark Ingram found multiple lanes, gaining 122-yards on 23 carries. Ben Roethlisberger did lead a Steelers offense that gained 538 total yards. Roethlisberger would pass for 435 of those yards and throw two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh’s rally would fall short as the Saints would improve their record to 5-7.
Minnesota Vikings 31 vs. Carolina Panthers 13
- In frigid Minnesota, Teddy Bridgewater completed 15 of 21 passes for two touchdowns. The Vikings special teams unit was the backbone in this victory though. Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen each returned blocked punts for touchdowns. Griffen also had an impact on the defensive side of the ball, recording two of the Vikings four sacks on Cam Newton. Minnesota held the Panthers to a single touchdown to improve to 5-7 on the season.
Atlanta Falcons 29 vs. Arizona Cardinals 18
- For the first time this season, the Arizona Cardinals lost two straight games. The Atlanta Falcons completely overwhelmed the Cardinals on Sunday. Atlanta’s offense gained 500-yards. Matt Ryan completed 30 of 41 passes for 361-yards and two touchdowns. Julio Jones caught one in a ten catch, 189-yard performance. Steven Jackson added some life to the Falcons struggling running game, gaining 101-yards on 18 carries. Atlanta also controlled the tempo on defense by recording three turnovers, including two interceptions which came off the arm of Drew Stanton. The Cardinals were limited to just one touchdown, which came late in the fourth quarter. All of the sudden, the Falcons found themselves in a first place tie with the Saints for supremacy in the very week NFC South.
Green Bay Packers 26 vs. New England Patriots 21
- Lambeau Field was the setting for a game that featured possibly two of the best teams in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers completed 24 of 38 passes for 368-yards and two touchdowns. Eddie Lacy rushed for 98-yards on 21 carries and racked up 115-yards of total offense. Tom Brady went on to complete 22 of 35 passes for 245-yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Brandon LaFell. The Packers defense withstood a late rally by New England, while their offense did what they had to do to run out the clock. When the game ended, the Patriots seven-game winning streak was snapped.
Denver Broncos 29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 16 (SNF on NBC)
- On a chilly 20 degree night at Arrowhead Stadium, the Broncos jumped out to a two touchdown lead in the first quarter. Both touchdowns came on passes from Peyton Manning, including a 15-yard scoring toss to running back C.J. Anderson. With the winds gusting, Anderson was the primary weapon of choice, rushing for 168-yards on 32 carries and tallying 185-yards of total offense. Manning would complete 17 of 34 passes for 179-yards in the game. Alex Smith completed 15 of 23 passes for 153-yards and two touchdowns, including one to Jamaal Charles. Charles was held to just 59-yards of total offense and Smith was sacked six times. The Broncos recently acquired Connor Barth, the former kicker of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barth buried the Chiefs with five field goals as Denver improved to 9-3 on the year.
Miami Dolphins 16 @ New York Jets 13 (MNF on ESPN)
- The Jets used their running game to find their way through the Dolphins defense. Chris Johnson gained 105-yards on 17 carries. Johnson’s smooth running was complemented by Chris Ivory, who pounded his way to 62-yards on 16 carries. Overall, the Jets gained 277-yards on the ground. Greg Salas scored their only touchdown from 20-yards out. New York held a 13-6 lead, but the Dolphins came back to score ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Ryan Tannehill completed 25 of 35 passes for 235-yards. Lamar Miller scored Miami’s only touchdown on a four-yard run and Caleb Sturgis made a 26-yard field goal with 1:57 remaining in the game. When the Jets got the ball back, Geno Smith had one last chance to get Nick Folk into range for a game tying field goal. However, Smith’s pass to tight end Jeff Cumberland was intercepted by safety Reshad Jones with 34 seconds left. With a gritty win, Miami improved their record to 7-5 and moved up to a Wild Card spot in the AFC playoff picture.