Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 was the 13th week of NFL Football. After the three great Thanksgiving day games, the Sunday games did not disappoint. There are now just four more weeks of regular season NFL football left, before the playoffs begin in earnest. Of course, many of the Sunday games had playoff implications. Also notable, was the long-awaited debut of rookie Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel who came in late, but could not rally his team past the Buffalo Bills. In other games, the Pittsburgh Steelers dropped a home game to New Orleans. Later in the day, Aaron Rodgers bested Tom Brady on the frozen tundra in Green Bay, in the first ever meeting between the two star Quarterbacks.
Week 13 began with the big Thanksgiving Day games in which Detroit beat Chicago 34-17, Philadelphia bested Dallas 33-10, and Seattle ran over San Francisco 19-3. Week 13 will officially end with the Miami Dolphins facing the New york Jets on Monday Night football on Dec. 1. Special games on special days, are always fun, but NFL is still all about football on Sunday.
Here is a look at the results of all the Sunday games of Week 13:
Buffalo Bills (7-5) 26, Cleveland Browns (7-5) 10: @ Buffalo – The Bills were back home after having been snowed out of their stadium last week. This was not quite as bad as the 38-3 shellacking they put on the New York Jets last week, but the opportunistic Bills forced three turnovers, and were able to neutralize the Cleveland offense in important situations. Buffalo’s total yardage numbers were not very impressive, but they got the job done. The critical play came in the 3rd Quarter, when Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes recovered a Terrance West fumble for an 18 yard TD to put Buffalo up 14-3. The only bright spot for Cleveland fans was that they finally got to see their team’s rookie QB Johnny Manziel in action. “Johnny Football” came in with just under 11 minutes to play in the game, and his team trailing 20-3. His first play was a scramble out of bounds for a two yard gain. His second play was a throw to Miles Austin for a 1st down. A couple minutes later, his first NFL drive ended with the rookie making a 10 yard TD run. Buffalo has now beaten it’s last two opponents by a combined score of 64-13.
Indianapolis Colts (8-4) 49, Washington Redskins (3-9) 27: @ Indianapolis – The Colts overcame a slow start, and gradually took over the game and buried the Colt McCoy-led Washington Redskins. Colts’ QB Andrew Luck threw five TD passes on the day. Washington made it a four point game when McCoy hit Logan Paulsen for a 16 yard TD to cut the Indianapolis lead to 21-17 with 11:22 left in the 3rd Quarter. From there, it was all Colts. Luck threw three TD passes, and D’Qwell Jackson recovered a McCoy fumble for a 35 yard TD. The only point of concern for Indianapolis going forward, is that despite the score, the Colts committed three turnovers, and their defense gave up 425 total yards of offense, to a team as mediocre as the Redskins.
St. Louis Blues (5-7) 52, Oakland (1-11) 0: @ St. Louis – This one was over before it started. The Rams took advantage of five Oakland Raiders turnovers, and pasted the AFC West cellar-dwellers, without much resistance. St. Louis held a 38-0 halftime lead, and added two more TD’s in the 4th Quarter. St. Louis outgained Oakland 348-244 (yardage) in total offense. This was the Raiders worst defeat since the Houston Oilers beat them 55-0 in 1961.
Minnesota Vikings (5-7) 31, Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) 13: @ Minnesota – This is a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions. The future is beginning to look bright, for rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater and his Minnesota Vikings, meanwhile, the future looks more and more murky for QB Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers. Carolina outgained Minnesota 348-210 in total offense and only committed one turnover, but as has been the case for many weeks, the Panthers’ inability to execute in play good situational football, proved to be their undoing. In the game, Minnesota blocked two punts, and returned both for touchdowns.
New Orleans Saints (5-7) 35, Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) 32: @ Pittsburgh – The deck looked stacked in favor of the hometown Steelers. A dome team with a mediocre record, coming to Pittsburgh in the winter, and having to brave the elements would seem to heavily favor the Steelers. Such was not the case. Instead, Saints QB Drew Brees torched the Steelers defense for five TD passes. Pittsburgh outgained New Orleans 538-393 in total offense, but two turnovers, and vulnerability to the big play, did them in. On the ground, Saints RB Mark Ingram was clutch. Ingram ran for 122 yards on 23 carries. New Orleans committed zero turnovers.
Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1) 14, Tampa Bay Bucs (2-10) 13: @ Tampa Bay – The Bengals continue to underwhelm. Though they remain in 1st place in arguably the NFL’s toughest division, they look very fragile. Cincy QB Andy Dalton threw 3 INT’s, but his team manaed to narrowly escape with the victory. Fortunately for the Bengals, every team in the AFC North, lost today.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) 25, New York Giants (3-9) 24: @ Jacksonville – In front of the home crowd, Jacksonville overcame a 21-0 1st Quarter deficit, and outscored the Giants 25-3 to win the game, and perhaps prompt some major personnel changes in New York. The Giants committed three turnovers to aid the comeback effort of the Jaguars. Giants QB Eli Manning fumbled twice, and lost both. The Giants outgained the Jags 329-258 in total offense, but were their own worst enemy.
Houston Texans (6-6) 45, Tennessee Titans (2-10) 21: @ Houston – In the 4th Quarter, Houston DL JJ Watt lined up at Tight End, and registered his third offensive TD, and fifth TD overall this season. He also had three solo tackles and two sacks on this day. This was the perfect complement to Houston QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s six TD passes, as the Texans rolled over the Titans. Houston RB Arian Foster ran for 79 yards on 19 carries. Watt looks like a shoo-in for defensive player of the year.
San Diego Chargers (8-4) 34, Baltmore Ravens (7-5) 33: @ Baltimore – On a pleasant afternoon in Baltimore, the San Diego Chargers overcame a 10 point deficit with less than four minutes to play, leaving the Baltimore faithful, in stunned silence. San Diego had a 440-350 edge in total offense, but almost lost the game on two costly turnovers. As the game wound down, San Diego QB Philip Rivers was clutch. He threw the game-winning TD pass to Eddie Royal, with only 38 seconds left to play. Ironically, the two earlier turnovers, were an INT by Rivers, and a lost fumble by Royal. Can you spell “redemption” ?
Atlanta Falcons (5-7) 29, Arizona Cardinals (9-3) 18: @ Atlanta – The home team jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the 1st Quarter, and never looked back. Falcons WR Julio Jones had a huge day. Jones had 10 catches for 189 yards and a TD, as the Atlanta Falcons kept pace with the New Orleans Saints atop the NFC South. For the Arizona Cardinals, this was the second straight loss, though they remain atop the NFC West. Normally very responsible with the ball, the Cards had three turnovers on the day.
Green Bay Packers (9-3) 26, New England (9-3) 21: @ Green Bay – This was the first-ever meeting between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Round One goes to the cheeseheads. Green Bay scored the first five times they had the ball, and never trailed in the game. The Pack had a 13-0 lead at the end of the 1st Quarter, and a 23-14 lead at the half. This was a well-played game by both teams, but Green Bay was in a better rhythm. Neither team committed a turnover, and Green Bay wound up with a 478-320 lead in total offense. RB Eddie Lacy pounded the ground, with 98 rushing yards on 21 carries. Both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady threw two TD passes.
Denver Broncos (9-3) 29, Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) 16: @ Kansas City – Perhaps Denver is finally becoming a complete football team. Broncos QB Peyton Manning did throw two TD passes, but had only 179 total passing yards. Denver’s defense sacked Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith six times in a game which was not as close as the final score. Undrafted Third-string Broncos RB C.J. Anderson ran for 168 yards. This comes on the heels of having run for 167 last week vs Miami. Denver might be on to something big.