LOS ANGELES, December 10, 2013 — Welcome to December football. With snow coming down in Washington, DC and Baltimore and blizzard weather in Philadelphia, this was real football. Snow football in December does not require hyperbole. As John Randall and Mike Singletary said, “This is when the big dogs come out.”
The Canadians play their Grey Cup in this weather. So will Americans when the 2013 season concludes with the Super Bowl in Metlife Stadium in the New York metropolitan area. So bring on the Nor-easters, and let’s recap the winter wonderland that was NFL 2013 Week 14.
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars was the Thursday night game. Chad Henne threw touchdown passes to Marcedes Lewis and Cecil Shorts as Jacksonville held a 17-7 halftime advantage. Case Keenum was benched for Matt Schaub. Schaub rallied Houston to within 24-20 and the Texans had three late chances to win. With 3:45 to play on fourth and two from the Jaguars 13, Schaub threw incomplete. With 2:16 left Schaub was quickly intercepted. With 20 seconds to play down by seven from their 23, Schaub was sacked for an 18-yard loss. Jacksonville has won four of five while Houston has lost 11 straight, leading Texans owner Bob McNair to fire Gary Kubiak on Friday and replace him with Michelin Man Wade Philips. 27-20 Jaguars
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens — After nearly 58 minutes of awful football, the Vikings had a 12-7 lead over the Ravens. Then all hell broke loose with the snow coming down. With 2:05 to play Flacco hit Dennis Pitta from one yard out and the Ravens got the two-point conversion to lead 15-12. With 90 seconds to play Toby Gerhart went straight up the middle for a 40-yard touchdown as Minnesota led 19-15. The ensuing short kickoff was returned 77 yards for a touchdown by Jacoby Jones to make it 22-19 Ravens. A swing pass to Cordarelle Patterson became a 79-yard touchdown and 26-22 Vikings lead in front of a shellshocked home crowd.
Baltimore took over at their own 20 with 45 seconds left and two timeouts. A 35-yard completion and defensive pass interference put the ball on the nine yard line with 10 seconds left. Flacco fired to Brown with four seconds left. Although it appeared Brown was out of bounds, the officials ruled he got his feet down. 19 points in nearly 58 minutes of football preceded 36 points in the last 2:05. Baltimore at 7-6 is still alive after the epic win. 29-26 Ravens
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals — Red Rifle Andy Dalton threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones and Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis took his law firm one yard into the end zone twice for a 21-0 Bengals lead. The Colts closed to 21-14 on a pair of Andrew Luck touchdown passes, but the Bengals had too much firepower. Dalton threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Gresham and hit AJ Green from nine yards out as the Bengals led 35-14 in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati got to 9-4 as Indy fell to 8-5 as both teams lead their divisions by default. 42-28 Bengals
Atlanta Falcons at Green Packers — A pair of Matt Ryan touchdown passes and a 71-yard Witherspoon interception of Matt Flynn for another score had the Falcons up 21-10 at the half and 21-16 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, Ryan was sacked and fumbled to give the Packers the ball at the Atlanta 21. Flynn hit Andrew Quarless for a two-yard touchdown as the Packers led by a point. At the two-minute warning, Atlanta faced fourth and six at the Green Bay 33. Mike Smith passed up a 51-yard field goal with snow coming down and Ryan threw incomplete. Atlanta got it back at their own nine with 44 seconds left. From the Atlanta 43 with 11 seconds left, Ryan went deep and was intercepted as the Packers remained alive in the NFC North. 22-21 Packers
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots — The Browns led 6-0 at halftime and 19-3 in the third quarter. Jason Campbell led another 80-yard drive as a four-yard touchdown pass to Cameron had the Browns up 26-14 with 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for a two-yard touchdown. The Patriots trailed 26-21 with one minute left and needed the onside kick. Due to a personal foul on Cleveland, the kick would take place at midfield. The Patriots got the onside kick at the Cleveland 40. Brady went deep and got defensive pass interference to put the ball on the one. Brady hit Danny Amendola for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed as the Patriots led by one. Cleveland got the ball back at their own 20 with 30 seconds left. Campbell hit Barnidge for nine and Cameron for 18 and 13 and spiked the ball with one second left. From 58 yards out, Cundiff was no good. 27-26 Patriots
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets — Geno Smith threw a 25-yard touchdown to Kerley and Marquette King had his punt blocked for another touchdown as the Jets led 20-3. In the first quarter Dennis Allen benched Matt McGloin for Terrelle Pryor and then in the second quarter brought back McGloin. In the second half the Raiders would repeatedly get within 10 points only to have the Jets get it back to 17. A 15-yard Chris Ivory touchdown run had the Jets up 37-20 with nine minutes left to play. The Jets got to 6-7 while the Raiders at 4-9 cannot even beat teams that lose to everyone else. 37-27 Jets
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles — This game was played in a blizzard as nine inches of snow came down in a game where Detroit fumbled seven times, losing three of them. A two-yard touchdown run by Joique Bell had the Lions up 8-0 at the break. In the third quarter, Jeremy Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown as the Lions led 14-0. Nick Foles threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Desean Jackson. The fourth quarter began with LeSean McCoy breaking free for a 40-yard touchdown run to tie it 14-14. Seconds later, Ross burned the Eagles again as he took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The only extra point attempt all day was blocked as the Lions led 20-14. Then the Eagles took over and ground the Lions into snow-powdered dust.
McCoy then got free again for a 57-yard touchdown as the Eagles led 22-20. With nine minutes left and the Eagles facing 4th and goal from the one, Chip Kelly decided to go for it and Foles snuck it in. Detroit’s last fumble led to Chris Polk running for a 38-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach with three minutes left. McCoy broke the 1949 Steve Van Buren Eagles team record with 217 rushing yards as the team rushed for 300 yards, almost all of it in their 28-point fourth quarter. The Eagles got to 8-5 while the Lions fell to 7-6. Both teams could win their division or miss the playoffs entirely. 34-20 Eagles
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers — Both Joe Philbin and Mike Tomlin have controversy swirling around them, yet both coaches kept their teams focused in what was a fine football game that came down to the last thrilling play with snow coming down. A 13-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Charles Clay gave Miami the 31-28 lead with three minutes to play. Miami added a field goal and with three seconds left the Steelers had one last chance from their own 20. Ben Roethlisberger completed a short pass, followed by a bunch of laterals that has rarely worked since the Stanford marching band. This time the ball got back to Big Ben, who lateraled to Antonio Brown, who raced to the end zone. As the Steeler Nation celebrated Immaculate Reception Part II and prepared for the winning extra point, officials ruled that Brown stepped out of bounds at the Miami 13 yard line. It was the correct call as Miami won in the Pittsburgh cold and stayed alive at 7-6. Pittsburgh at 5-8 is done. 34-28 Dolphins
Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — On the first play from scrimmage Rainey ran for an 80-yard touchdown and Mike Glennon threw touchdown passes of 36 yards to Vincent Jackson and five yards to Wright as the Buccaneers led 24-3 at halftime and coasted. The Buccaneers have won four of their last five under Greg Schiano. 27-6 Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Redskins — The snow came down, but this game was about the Chiefs special teams. Dexter McCluster ran one punt 74 yards for a touchdown and two other punts back 60 and 24 yards to set up two more touchdowns as the Chiefs jumped to a 31-0 second quarter lead. Quinten Demps returned a kickoff 95 yards for another touchdown as the Chiefs led 38-10 at halftime. The Chiefs snapped their three-game losing streak to get to 10-3 while Mike Shanahan contemplated where he would coach after Daniel Snyder fires him. 45-10 Chiefs
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos — John Fox returned to the sidelines and the Titans took a surprising 21-10 second quarter lead. Then reality set in and Peyton Manning had another humdrum day going 36 of 54 for 373 yards, four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. The story out of this game was Denver kicker Matt Prater. Trailing 21-17 with three seconds left in the half, Prater tried a 64-yard field goal. The NFL field goal record of 63 yards was set by Saints kicker Tom Dempsey in 1970, and later matched by former Broncos kicker Jason Elam, current Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, and former Eagles and current Lions kicker David Akers. Seabass once had a 64-yard try clank off the upright no good. In the mile high air, Prater kicked the ball a mile deep into the record books. His 64-yarder still had Denver down 21-20 at halftime, but the momentum was all Denver.
A short touchdown pass to Denarius Thomas, a touchdown plunge by Knowshon Moreno, a 20-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Eric Decker after a Titans fumble, and a final Monte Ball touchdown run got Denver to 11-2. The Broncos remain one game ahead of Kansas City in the West and one game up on New England for home field throughout the playoffs. The Titans are done and coach Mike Munchak may be as well. 51-28 Broncos
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals — Rashaard Mendenhall ran it in from three yards out and Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald for a seven-yard touchdown pass and a 14-3 Cardinals lead at the half. In the third quarter the Arizona defense clamped down. Karlos Dansby returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown and John Abraham sacked Kelly Clemens for a safety and a 23-3 Cardinals lead. Arizona under rookie coach Bruce Arians is very much alive in the playoff chase while the Rams are not. 30-10 Cardinals
New York Giants at San Diego Chargers —The Chargers have never forgiven Eli Manning for rejecting them a decade ago, and this time they made him pay. Philip Rivers threw 43 and four-yard touchdown pass to Allen and hit Danny Woodhead for a six-yard touchdown and a 24-0 Chargers halftime lead. San Diego under rookie coach Mike McCoy is still alive for the postseason while the Giants are done. 37-14 Chargers
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers —Seattle entered the week as the only team to have already clinched a playoff spot. Phil Dawson hit three field goals for the 49ers and Marshawn Lynch ran it in from 11 yards out. Russell Wilson hit Willson for a 39-yard touchdown, but Colin Kaepernick found Vernon Davis for an 8-yard touchdown just before the half ended as the 49ers clung to a 16-14 lead. The defenses then clamped down, and after a scoreless third quarter, a 38-yard punt return by Golden Tate led to a 31-yard Stephen Hauschka field goal and a 17-16 Seattle lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Frank Gore broke off a 51-yard run to the Seattle 18 with four minutes left. Seattle took their timeouts on defense, but on third and seven from the 15 Kaepernick scrambled for eight. This allowed the 49ers to bleed the clock down and set up Dawson for the chip shot winner. The 49ers are alive for the playoffs while the Seahawks at 11-2 are still on track for home field throughout. 19-17 49ers
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints was the Sunday night game. Carolina led 6-0 after the first quarter on a pair of Graham Gano field goals, but the rest was all Saints. In the second quarter Drew Brees threw touchdown passes of six and 15 yards to Marques Colston and a five-yard touchdown to Graham. Brees went back to Graham in the fourth quarter as 31 unanswered points saw the Saints rebound in a big way after last week’s humiliation at Seattle. Although the 10-2 Saints lead the 9-3 Panthers, these teams have a rematch in two weeks in Carolina. The NFC South winner will probably have a first round bye in the playoffs.
Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears was the Monday night game. A 14-14 game in the bitter cold was broken open in the last two minutes in the half. Robbie Gould hit a 27-yard field goal and Josh McCown, who had run for a touchdown and threw for one earlier in the half, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery just before the half. Up 24-14, McCown stayed red hot, throwing touchdown passes of four yards to Matt Forte and 17 yards to Michael Bush to make it 41-14. Tony Romo threw three touchdowns but McCown was 27 of 36 for 348 yards and four touchdowns. Neither signal-caller was intercepted, but the Dallas defense was simply overmatched. Both teams are 7-6 and still in the hunt. 45-28 Bears
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