The fifteenth Sunday of the NFL season gave us some intriguing games in the early starts, not least the visit to Miami by New England, and Minnesota hosting the red hot Philadelphia Eagles. Could the Eagles win again? Gary Jordan wraps up the early kickoffs.
Bears @ Browns
Chicago had to fight very hard for a 38-31 win in Cleveland. Jay Cutler was back in control of the Bears and he overcome two picks with three touchdowns, but it was Matt Forte who was the real star with 127 yards off of 27 carries, to help Chicago to 8-6 and the lead of the NFC North. Cleveland are officially eliminated but put up a brave effort with Greg Little and Josh Gordon catching 7 passes for over 130 yards between them.
49ers @ Buccaneers
San Francisco looked every part a Super Bowl contender with a thorough 33-14 win in Tampa Bay. The win moves them to 10-4. Colin Kaepernick was solid with his passing game and Frank Gore was his usual industrious self with 86 yards on the ground. The 49ers defence kept the Buccs to under 200 yards total offence. Michael Crabtree had a decent outing too with 5 catches. Tampa Bay slide to 4-10 on the year.
Texans @ Colts
Indianapolis improved to 9-5 with an easy win over the hapless Houston Texans. The 25-3 final score was a more than fair reflection of the game. Andrew Luck passed for 180 yards, two scores and ran in one more to produce a much needed confidence boosting win for the Colts. They had sealed the AFC South before this week and still have an outside chance of the number two seed. The Texans are now 2-12 and extend their franchise losing streak to twelve.
Patriots @ Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady and kept his Miami Dolphins right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture with a 24-20 win. The second year QB won probably his biggest game so far and threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns, the last of which to Marcus Thigpen from 14 yards proved to be the game winner. There was still time on the clock for Brady to try another comeback but the final play of the day saw his pass intercepted in the end zone. The loss handed back the number one seed impetus to Denver, and the Patriots could even lose the number two slot.
Redskins @ Falcons
Washington’s Kirk Cousins in for the benched RG3 almost clawed a victory away from defeat in Atlanta, but in the end the Falcons prevailed 27-26. Cousins ended with 381 yards and three touchdowns but the Redskins elected to go for the win at the end instead of a tie and their two point conversion failed. Steven Jackson only had 38 yards for Atlanta but his two touchdowns were crucial in lifting the Falcons past the Redskins in the standings, at 4-10, with the Redskins now 3-11.
Seahawks @ Giants
Seattle didn’t bring their A game to New York, but then they didn’t really have to as they ran out 23-0 winners. Russell Wilson ran for 50 yards in the game and that was more than the entire Giants team managed on the ground all day. New York would only finish with 181 total yards in the game. Wilson was also 18 of 27 passing for 206 yards, in a game which confirms them as NFC West champs and one more win will give them the number one seed.
Bills @ Jaguars
Bothe teams entered this game with a slim chance of making the postseason, which is remarkable given how bad they’ve been for the majority of the year. EJ Manuel lifted Buffalo past Jacksonville 27-20 in a decent game. His pass to Frank Summers was his second touchdown throw of the game and ended the day with 17 of 24 attempts for 193 yards. The Bills are now 5-9, with the Jags falling to 4-10, both have been eliminated from the playoff race.
Eagles @ Vikings
Minnesota upset the odds with a huge 48-30 win over a hot Philadelphia. The Eagles missed a chance to put some real pressure on the Dallas Cowboys in the East division. Matt Cassel was really on his game and he found Greg Jennings 11 times for 163 yards, including the opening score of the game from 57 yards. Nick Foles tried hard to get the Eagles back into the game and not even his 428 yards and three scoring strikes could help. The Eagles are now 8-6 and still in a fight for the playoffs.