For the past couple seasons, Seattle’s absolutely owned San Francisco – especially Colin Kaepernick, who has a well-documented history of struggles against the birds. It hasn’t been a pretty picture, and although yesterday’s gritty win had little playoff implication, it was a must-win to get the Seahawks out of the Niners heads in advance of an ominous meeting come January.
For one, it showed San Francisco will bend, but not break. Two 15-yard mental mistakes helped Seattle hang in the game. Eventually, Seattle would take a one-point lead with six minutes and change, but King Kaep showed some mettle of his own with a very, very impressive game-winning drive that will surely be significant for his confidence as the stakes raise in the playoffs. And two, he began to shake off the Seahawks’ consistent dominance over him and his team. Yes, it wasn’t in Seattle, but a W is a W and now SF’s finally proven that they’re not immortal.
Meanwhile, in one of the many snow-plagued games it was a wild finish in Baltimore, Maryland. Within the final 2:05, there were 36 points scored, resulting in five lead changes and the eventual Ravens victory. Sloppy defense was the name of the game, with at least a 35-yard play allowed in four of the final five drives. Highlights included a breakout pass of 79 yards from Matt Cassel to Cordarrelle Patterson and a 77-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones (this time unimpeded by one Mike Tomlin).
The Ravens are now sitting on the sixth and final AFC playoff spot, ahead of the Dolphins for now, by virtue of a head-to-head win. And for what it’s worth, Adrian Peterson isn’t too fond of Baltimore fans.
Words by TSS Crew
— LeSean McCoy ran for 148 yards – in the fourth quarter – as the Eagles ran away from the Lions. But who cares about all that, the story of the game was the snow, the thick, glorious, snow angel-inviting snow. Snowfall was so heavy that only one extra point was attempted after the game’s eight touchdowns. Snow so thick that Nick Foles threw his very first interception of the day. And Megatron looked like this.
— The Broncos clinched a playoff spot, kicker Matt Prater made his way into the record books and Peyton Manning dispelled another myth along the way. Peyton can’t throw in the cold? He goes for 39 completions, 397 yards passing in 18 degree weather and Broncos put up 51. Three of those points came off the foot of Prater, who booted an NFL-record 64-yard field goal.
— Andrew Luck accounted for 326 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday…and still lost by two touchdowns. That’s because Andy Dalton was equally as efficient tossing for three scores in a 42-28 win improving the Bengals to 9-4. It wasn’t all bad for Indy, however. With Denver beating Tennessee, the Colts clinched the AFC South. So, yes, in a way, Manning helped secure another division title for the Colts. Such a loyal guy that Peyton is.
— *Sigh* Another high-profile primetime matchup. Another blowout. Drew Brees got whatever the hell he wanted Sunday night in the Superdome as the Saints blasted Cam Newton and the Panthers 31-13 behind the quarterback’s four touchdowns, splitting them between Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham.
— The Patriots somehow won, lost and had luck on their side. They lost Rob Gronkowski for the year with a torn ACL after being the target of a defensive player going for his knees (here’s the .GIF if you’ve got the stomach for it). They had luck on their side when the refs gifted them a phantom pass interference call, seen above, which eventually turned into the game-winning touchdown 27-26.
If there’s any consolation for the Browns getting robbed, they’ve got two legit offensive studs in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. They’re defense isn’t shabby either. Basically, they’re a franchise quarterback away from actually being worth a damn.
— The bad news for the Jets? Geno Smith threw his league-leading 20th interception on Sunday. The good news? It really didn’t affect the game’s outcome as they dropped a whopping 37 points on Oakland. Yep, the Jets are well on their way to a mid-first round draft pick.
— We’re sure not many watched Buffalo travel to Tampa Bay. Not that we blame you either. Here’s everything you need to know in a nutshell: EJ Manuel threw four interceptions and was sacked seven times, Mike Glennon threw for all of 90 yards, and Tampa Bay still won by three touchdowns, 27-6.
— Antonio Brown almost did it. On the last play of the game, the Steelers successfully pulled off a series of laterals that saw Brown scamper into the endzone for seemingly the craziest ending to a game since Auburn/Alabama. Too bad he stepped out of bounds. The Steelers’ 34-28 loss to Miami was a huge blow to their playoff hopes, while helping the Dolphins’.
— After three straight losses, and their playoff chances in legitimate danger, the Matt Flynn-led Green Bay Packers pulled out a gutsy 22-21 win against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons jumped to a double digit lead by halftime, but went scoreless for the rest of the game. It wasn’t pretty, with Flynn displaying his typical inconsistency, but the Packers made just enough plays. With a Lions loss, the 6-6-1 Packers are just a half game back in a suddenly interesting NFC North race.
— The bottom has officially dropped out for the Washington Redskins. Their 45-10 disembowelment at the hands of Kansas City dropped them to 3-10 on the season and the owners of a five-game losing streak. The resentment towards Robert Griffin III grows by the week. And to make matters worse, their first round pick in 2014 – currently No. 2 overall – goes to the Rams because of the RG3 trade.
— Arizona’s playoff hopes are still alive and well following a 30-10 home victory over the Rams. Circle those calendars for December 29. That’s Arizona’s Week 17 matchup when the 49ers come to town. That could very well be for the NFC’s final playoff spot.
— Philip Rivers threw three touchdowns and Danny Woodhead ran for 103 yards in a 37-14 snoozer against the Giants in one of the few games that actually looked comfortable weather-wise.
— The Jaguars pissed away their chance at the No. 1 pick by beating Houston on Thursday. Texans fans, introduce yourself to Teddy Bridgewater. He’s your new franchise quarterback.
— Did anyone catch “Kraven…Hogwarts”? Well done, Greg Hardy. Very well done.