LOS ANGELES, December 3, 2013 — While the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks did not clinch anything in Week 13, this was pretty much the week where the AFC and NFC West was won. The conferences will most likely see these teams with home field throughout the playoffs.
With Denver, Peyton Manning and the high-octane offense are only going to get better when John Fox returns to the sidelines. Jack Del Rio steered the ship perfectly while Fox recovered from heart surgery. Seattle brings defense as Richard Sherman leads the Legion of Boom. Both the Broncos and Seahawks played their closest competitors, and in both cases those competitors were reduced to also-ran status.
Due to their sweep of Kansas City, Denver leads the AFC West by two games with four to play. They lead their conference over New England by one game. Seattle leads the NFC West by three games with four to play. They also now lead their conference by three games due to victories over closest competitors New Orleans and Carolina.
While the weather is getting colder,the stakes are only getting hotter. This is one of many reasons fans love the National Football League. With that, here is the NFL 2013 Week 13 Wrapup.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions was the Thanksgiving morning game. A fumble return had the Packers up 10-3, but the rest was all Detroit. Matthew Stafford threw touchdown passes to Jeremy Ross, Calvin Megatron Johnson and Kevin Ogletree. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell both had short touchdown runs as Detroit maintained their tenuous lead atop the NFC North. 40-10 Lions
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys was the Thanksgiving afternoon game. The Raiders led 7-0 only 12 seconds into the game when on the opening kickoff, the Cowboys fumbled and Scott Jenkins returned it for a 23-yard touchdown. Rashad Jennings had a pair of short yardage touchdowns to make it 21-7 Raiders. Then reality set in. DeMarco Murray had a pair of rushing touchdowns and Tony Romo hit Dez Bryant for a four-yard touchdown and Dallas led 28-21. Matt McGloin led the Raiders down the field but was intercepted in the end zone with nine minutes to play. Romo bled the clock as a short field goal put the game out of reach and sent the gutless and heartless Raiders to their 11th straight non-winning season. 31-24 Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens was the Thanksgiving night game. Joe Flacco hit Torry Smith for a seven-yard first quarter touchdown and Justin Tucker added five field goals as the Ravens led 19-7 in the fourth quarter and 22-14 with six minutes to play. Big Ben Roethlisberger moved the Steelers from their 21 and with one minute left it came down to fourth and goal at the one. Roethlisberger threw to Jerricho Cotchery for the score. The two-point conversion attempt to Emanuel Sanders was dropped. The onside kick failed and Baltimore hung on to get to 6-6 and put Pittsburgh on the precipice of playoff elimination. 22-20 Ravens
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers—Cam Newton threw touchdown passes of 16 yards to Brandon LaFell and 36 yards to Tedd Ginn Jr. and ran for a one-yard touchdown himself as the Carolina defense clamped down. Carolina has won eight straight games and still has a chance to win their division and even an outside chance of home field throughout. 27-6 Panthers
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns—A pair of terrible football teams played a very exciting game. Cleveland led 14-7 with two minutes left in the half but three straight turnovers by Brandon Weeden had Jacksonville up 20-14. After Cleveland retook the lead, Weeden gave up a safety. Weeden did throw a touchdown pass to Gordon of 21 yards and a 42-yard bomb to Gordon set up another one. Trailing 25-21, Weeden went bombs away to Gordon for a 95-yard touchdown with four minutes left. Then Chad Henne moved the Jaguars 80 yards. The drive was capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass to Chris Shorts with 40 seconds left and that was the difference. Weeden’s final Hail Mary from midfield was batted down incomplete. 32-28 Jaguars
New England Patriots at Houston Texans—Hung over from their emotional comeback win last week, New England slept through the first half and trailed 17-7. Tom Brady and the offense got going in the second half of a see-saw game. With New England leading 28-24 in the fourth quarter, a 66-yard bomb from Case Keenum to Deandre Hopkins set up Ben Tate from five yards out. Tate’s third touchdown gave the Texans hope, but Stephen Gostkowski drilled a pair of 53-yard field goals to put the Patriots back in front with 3:12 to play. The Texans turned it over on downs as New England survived to stay within striking distance of home field throughout the playoffs. Houston has now lost ten straight despite fighting hard. 34-31 Patriots
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts—Five Adam Vinatieri field goals had the Colts clinging to a 15-14 fourth quarter lead. Andrew Luck got it done when it mattered most, leading a 92-yard drive. Donald Brown got in from four yards out just past the 2 minute warning. Ryan Fitzpatrick moved the Titans from their 21 to the Indy 33 with 33 seconds left. Fitzpatrick was intercepted for the third time as the game Titans dropped to 5-7 and the Colts at 8-4 all but wrapped up the AFC South. 22-14 Colts
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings—The Bears trailed 7-6 at halftime, but Josh McCown went bombs away to Jeffery for touchdowns of 80 and 46 yards as the Bears led 20-10 in the fourth quarter. Trailing 20-17 with 1:55 left, the Vikings faced fourth and 11 from their own eight yard line. Matt Cassel, who entered the game midway for a concussed Christian Ponder, hit Simpson for a 20-yard gain. Blair Walsh hit the tying 30-yard field goal with 20 seconds left. Robbie Gould would miss a 66-yard try at the gun. In overtime, Walsh had his 39-yard winner nullified by a penalty and then missed from 57. Gould had another chance and he missed from 47. Adrian Peterson then took over. Peterson’s 211 yards rushing carried the Vikings to a 34-yard try by Walsh. With less than two minutes left in overtime, this time Walsh was good and this time it counted as the Bears lost ground in the NFC North. 23-20 Vikings, OT
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets—A pair of 5-6 teams clung to their playoff lives but only one team played like it. Ryan Tannehill threw touchdown passes of 31 yards to Brad Hartline and 28 yards to Mike Wallace, and Caleb Sturgis added three field goals. Rex Ryan benched Geno Smith for Matt Simms, son of NFL great Phil Simms. 23-3 Dolphins
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles—Nick Foles threw touchdown passes of six and 24 yards to Zach Ertz and a one-yard toss to Captain Morgan Brent Celek as the Eagles built a 24-7 fourth quarter lead. Carson Palmer had a touchdown pass of 43 yards to Larry Fitzgerald early and led a furious rally with touchdown passes of 23 yards to Malcolm Floyd and three yards to Dray. Yet down by a field goal, an interception of Foles was nullified by an Arizona penalty. The Cardinals would eventually turn it over on downs as each team is 7-5 and in the hunt. 24-21 Eagles
Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills—A pair of very bad teams put on a very good football game that was tied 17-17 at the half, 24-24 after three quarters, and 31-31 after regulation. With 28 seconds left the Bills had moved to a 3rd and 1 at the Atlanta 44. E.J. Manuel hit Stevie Johnson for 14 yards to field goal range, but Johnson fumbled the ball away. Buffalo won the toss and on the second play of overtime Manuel hit Chandler for a 22-yard gain. Yet Chandler fumbled and the Falcons took over at the Bills 47. Matt Ryan hit Douglas for 20 yards and Matt Bryant nailed the 36-yarder to give the Falcons the win in an otherwise forgettable season. 34-31 Falcons, OT
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers—Frank Gore ran for a three-yard touchdown and Phil Dawson hit three field goals as the 49ers led 16-6 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, Colin Kaepernick hit Vernon Davis for a 17-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach. Despite a garbage touchdown for the Rams, they are all but eliminated from contention as the 49ers remained very much alive. 23-13 49ers
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs—With first place in the AFC West on the line, Peyton Manning hit Eric Decker for a 41-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Only 19 seconds later, Kniles Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 108 yards for a Chiefs touchdown. The Chiefs would lead 21-7, but Manning would go to Decker for a 42-yard gain to set up a three-yard touchdown pass to Knowshon Moreno as the Broncos trailed 21-14 at halftime.
In the second half Manning played pitch and catch with Decker. Drives of 80, 92 and 95 yards finished with touchdown passes to Decker of 39, 15 and one yard as the Broncos led 35-21 in the fourth quarter. Manning would finish with 403 yards passing and five touchdown passes.
The Chiefs fought back as Jamal Charles ran in from one yard out and the Chiefs got it back at their own eight with 3 1/2 minutes to play. With 1:51 to play it came down to 4th and 4 from the Denver 13. Smith fired to the end zone incomplete. Denver is 10-2 and Kansas City has lost their third straight after winning their first nine games. More importantly, Denver has swept the Chiefs to all but wrap up the AFC West and inch toward home field throughout the playoffs. 35-28 Broncos
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers—A 21-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green had Cincinnati up 14-7 after three quarters. Mike Nugent hit a 46-yard field goal with 9 1/2 minutes left and Nick Novak hit a 48-yard field goal to get the Chargers within seven points again with five minutes to play. A game of turnovers saw no more as the Bengals ran out the clock to get to 8-4 and drop the Chargers to 5-7 and the elimination brink. 17-10 Bengals
New York Giants at Washington Redskins was the Sunday night game. Alfred Morris banged in from one yard out and RGIII hit Logan Paulsen for a 19-yard touchdown as the Redskins led 14-0 early in the second quarter. Antonio Brown ran for a 23-yard touchdown and Eli Manning hit Brandon Myers for the tying 22-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left in the half. An interception of Manning set up a Washington field goal and a partially blocked punt led to a Giants touchdown. Big Blue added a field goal to lead by seven with 2 1/2 minutes to play. After some officiating confusion, everything came down to the Redskins facing fourth and one at the Giants 45 with 90 seconds to play. RGIII found Garcon for six yards, but Garcon had it ripped out of his hands by Will Hill. The turnover kept the Giants alive at 5-7 while the 4-8 Redskins are officially done. 24-17 Giants
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks was the Monday night game. Bennett returned a fumble 22-yards for a touchdown and Russell Wilson hit Zach Miller for a 60-yard gain to set up a two-yard touchdown pass to Miller for the 17-0 Seahawks lead after the first quarter. An 88-yard drive ended the half with Wilson rolling to his right and throwing back left to a wide open Doug Baldwin for a 27-7 Seahawks lead. Seattle at 11-1 has all but clinched their division and home field throughout the playoffs. New Orleans at 9-3 has fallen into a tie with Carolina with next week being the NFC South showdown between them. 34-7 Seahawks
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