NFL Week 13 - Things You May Have Missed
With that in mind, here are the important takeaways from Sunday’s NFL action:
All (Tebow) Does is…
You know the rest. Timothy Richard Tebow’s tireless effort to not lose games for the Denver Broncos, in a very unorthodox fashion, has been one of the primary storylines of the 2011 NFL season.
And today, he did it again, but this time, with his arm.
Though the Vikings’ boast a poor secondary (31st in the NFL, per Football Outsiders), Tebow had to prove that he could beat them with his arm and a Von Miller-less defense that struggled.
To his credit, he did just that.
Tebow was 10/15 passing with two big touchdowns to second-year wideout Demaryius Thomas and 202 yards – a ridiculously good 13.5 yards per attempt – and a 149.3 passer rating (the max is 158.3). For comparison’s sake, Aaron Rodgers’ YPA today was 8.0 (although with 31 more attempts).
All that, and the former Florida Gator only had four rushes for 13 yards.
Tebow deserves a larger share of credit than he received in his previous six games, as he did more to win this game (he has gotten a ton of undue credit when the defense, special teams and run game had all been playing well without him).
Once again, Willis McGahee showed shades of Buffalo and Baltimore with another 100-yard performance.
Just look at this play, though, the second touchdown to Thomas.
It’s impressive for any quarterback to buy that much time in the pocket. But then to complete the ball to an open receiver? Gravy. Props given to Thomas for a great run after the catch.
A main criticism of the Broncos is they have not played a legitimately good team yet with Tebow at the helm. Well, the next two weeks, they host Chicago and travel to New England. Sure, they could lose both games.
But now they sit atop the AFC West, after the surging Dolphins killed Oakland, 34-14.
Caleb Hanie looks like a fourth-year quarterback with no experience whatsoever
After Jay Cutler’s injury last week, Hanie was the man the Bears would count on to win not lose games until Cutler’s questionable return.
Yeah, might be time to find someone else.
Hanie (left) threw three interceptions and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes as the Kansas Chiefs triumphed behind a “you’ve got to be kidding me” play at the end of the first half, a Hail Mary to Dexter McCluster.
Plus, Matt Forté’s injury was not a good thing – he is expected to miss up to four weeks.
It was believed the Bears could weather Cutler’s injury until his return if Forté continued playing phenomenally, but now that he’s out of commission for a while? Da Bears are in trouble.
The undefeated Packers elude a scare and a loss
With 58 seconds left, the New York Giants tied the world-champion, 11-0 Green Bay Packers in the Meadowlands on a Hakeem Nicks touchdown and a D.J. Ware two-point conversion. It looked like overtime was in the cards.
Except Aaron Rodgers disagreed with overtime.
In four passes, Rodgers drove the Packers 68 yards to set up Mason Crosby’s 30-yard field goal to win the game as time expired, 38-35.
New York could not derail the Pack’s quest to match the ’07 Patriots’ regular season performance of 16-0.
The Packers host Detroit and the sinking Bears in their last two games of the season. They have clinched a playoff spot, but have yet to secure a first-round bye, which they will likely do.
A 16-0 season looks very, very plausible now.
The defense must improve, though. Clay Matthews (right) had a spectacular day, taking an interception to the house and recording a strip-sack on Eli Manning.
The team is fortunate that the offense is potent enough to win while allowing 35 points, but it should not be relied upon.
The Steelers, Ravens flex their AFC North Dominance
Last time Pittsburgh and Cincinnati played, the game came down to the wire.
This time? Not so much.
The Steelers hosted the Bengals in what was a contest for second place in the division and lead for a wild-card position. Pittsburgh didn’t have any of it.
In one of the oddest box scores of the year, the teams combined for 35 points in the second quarter. Unfortunately for Cincy, 28 of the points belonged to the black and gold via two Rashard Mendenhall runs, a Mike Wallace bomb and an Antonio Brown punt return. The game’s only other score came on a Mike Wallace screen filled with jukes in the third quarter.
And that’s it. Forty-two points scored in just over 22 minutes.
Baltimore, didn’t have quite as dominating performance against the Browns, but a solid 14-point win is definitive.
Running back Ray Rice shouldered the load for the Ravens, carrying the rock 29 times for 204 yards and a touchdown. That’s just OK.
Flacco was unimpressive (10/23 passing, 158 yards), so Baltimore was lucky Rice (below) was on his A-game playing in Cleveland.
Dallas lost an overtime heartbreaker in Arizona as Jason Garrett Mike Shanahan’d his own kicker, calling a timeout in regulation on a made field goal and forcing kicker Dan Bailey to re-kick and miss. Oops?
New England predictably beat Indianapolis. This is not a shock. The surprising thing was that after going up 31-3, the Colts came back and lost 31-24, dropping three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, effectively making the game look closer than it was and making the people who bet the Pats on the spread lose money.
In his first career start, the Texans’ T.J. Yates was competent, which is exactly what Houston needs to win games into January. They shut down the Falcons and rode the Arian Foster/Ben Tate backfield duo to a 17-10 victory.
What happened on Thanksgiving? The Niners don’t remember. All they did today was shutout division rival St. Louis at home, 26-0, and clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2002.
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