NFL Week 13 Recap — The Panthers Won The NFC South, Then Nearly Lost Their 1st Game
The Panthers remained unbeaten, and the Patriots lost again. Here’s a recap of all of the action from Week 13 of the 2015 NFL season:
The Steelers Clobbered The Colts
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers embarrassed the Indianapolis Colts, 45-10, on Sunday night. With the victory, Pittsburgh (7-5) stayed close to an AFC Wild Card spot, while Indianapolis (6-6) fell back into a tie with Houston for the AFC South lead.
It was the first loss this season for 40-year-old Colts’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was 4-0 while starting in place of the injured Andrew Luck this season. The Steelers intercepted and sacked Hasselbeck two times each, before he left in the fourth quarter because of neck and shoulder pain.
Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown had eight receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He added the exclamation point on the win with a 71-yard punt return for a score with four minutes left which he celebrated by jumping onto the goal post padding.
The Eagles Beat the Patriots, Just Like No One Predicted
The Eagles scored touchdowns via a punt return, blocked punt and interception return and shocked the New England Patriots, 35-28, in Foxborough, Mass. on Sunday. The improbable win kept Philadelphia (5-7) in the NFC East race, and gave New England (10-2) its second loss in eight days after an unbeaten start.
When the Patriots broke out to a 14-0 lead, it seemed unlikely that the Eagles would mount a comeback, but Philly scored the game’s next five touchdowns including Najee Goode’s score off Chris Maragos’ punt block, Malcolm Jenkins’ 99-yard interception return TD and Darren Sproles 83-yard punt return into the end zone.
New England surged back late behind Tom Brady, who was sacked four times and under pressure all day, but the comeback fell short in Eagles territory. The Pats suffered their first back-to-back losses in more than three years.
The Panthers Won The NFC South, Then Nearly Lost Their First Game
Cam Newton threw for five touchdowns, including a go-ahead 15-yard toss to Jerricho Cotchery with 1:05 to play, and the Panthers rallied to beat the Saints, 41-38, in New Orleans on Sunday. Newton finished 28-of-41 for 331 yards and added another win to his MVP candidacy.
Carolina (12-0) clinched their third consecutive NFC South title with Atlanta’s 23-19 loss to Tampa Bay prior to the game, but the Panthers had to rally several times — including twice in the fourth quarter — to avoid their first loss of the 2015 season.
The Saints had leads of 31-27 and 38-34 late, but they couldn’t hold on for the win. Drew Brees passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns, but New Orleans (4-8) lost its fourth consecutive game. The franchise seems headed for major changes in the off-season.
The Bengals Are ThisClose To A Playoff Spot
Andy Dalton passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Cincinnati Bengals routed the Cleveland Browns, 37-3, on Sunday. Only wins by the Jets and the Chiefs kept Cincy from locking up a playoff spot. As it stands, the Bengals moved past New England into the first seed in the AFC playoff picture.
Cincinnati (10-2) will have an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot — and the AFC North title — next Sunday when they host Pittsburgh. Bengals receiver A.J. Green finished with 128 yards on five catches with a score. Cleveland (2-10) saw its miserable season continue. The Browns currently have the worst record in the NFL.
The Jets Are In Playoff Contention
Jets’ kicker Randy Bullock kicked a 31-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime and Giants kicker Josh Brown missed a 48-yard kick on the next drive, as the AFC team from New York beat the NFC squad, 23-20, at their shared home in the Meadowlands of New Jersey on Sunday.
The Jets (7-5) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. They moved into the lead for an AFC Wild Card spot with the victory. The Giants (5-7) lost their third straight game, but they could still remain tied for first place in the NFC East if Washington loses to Dallas on Wednesday.
Jets’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrck was 36-of-50 for 390 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Brandon Marshall. The Jets’ top receiver had 12 catches for 131 yards, but he also got heated after Giants defensive end Cullen Jenkins mentioned his wife. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was just plain hot: he caught six passes for 149 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown.
Thursday, December 3
Green Bay 27, Detroit 23
Sunday, December 6
Seattle 38, Minnesota 7
Arizona 27, St. Louis 3
Miami 15, Baltimore 13
Tampa Bay 23, Atlanta 19
San Francisco 26, Chicago 20 (OT)
Tennessee 42, Jacksonville 39
Buffalo 30, Houston 21
Denver 17, San Diego 3
Kansas City 34, Oakland 20