LOS ANGELES, November 26, 2013 — Tom Brady and Peyton Manning played in a game that many fans considered Super Bowl 47 1/2. A rematch in the AFC Title Game would absolutely be Super Bowl 47 3/4 before the big game in Metlife Stadium. Their 2013 matchup was the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl rolled into one.
With that, here is the NFL 2013 Week 12 wrapup.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons was the Thursday night game. A pair of short touchdown passes by Drew Brees had the Saints only leading a resilient Falcons team 14-13 at halftime. Defense dominated the second half. The Saints managed one third quarter field goal. With 13 minutes left in regulation and Atlanta at the Saints 22, Matt Ryan was sacked and fumbled. Atlanta got it back but with 2:24 left, Matt Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal as the Saints at 9-2 remain in contention for home field throughout the playoffs and Atlanta at 2-9 is long done. 17-13 Saints
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens—Rex Ryan lost to his former team as Justin Tucker hit four field goals and Joe Flacco went to Jones for a 66-yard touchdown in an ugly game that now has both teams at 5-6 and still alive. 19-3 Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns—Ben Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 41-yard touchdown and Emanuel Sanders from four yards out as the Steelers led 20-3 and knocked Jason Campbell out of the game. Brandon Weeden came in, which meant one thing. Weeden was intercepted by William Gay, who returned it 21 yards for another Steelers score. After an 0-4 start, Pittsburgh has won five of seven to remain in the playoff chase. 27-11 Steelers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions—Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes, but also tossed four interceptions, one of which was returned for a Buccaneers touchdown. Mike Glennon found Underwood for an 85-yard touchdown as the Buccaneers led 24-21 early in the fourth quarter. With one minute left the Lions faced 3rd and 12 at the Tampa 28. Well within tying field goal range, Stafford went deep for Calvin Megatron Johnson. Johnson caught it at the 3 yard line and then got blasted by a defender. The ball bounced straight to Banks for Stafford’s last pick on the day. After starting 0-8 the Bucs are a 3-0 juggernaut while consecutive losses have the Lions in the thick of an NFC North division race nobody wants to win. 24-21 Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers—Forget Brett Favre against Aaron Rodgers. Now we have Christian Ponder against Scott Tolzien. Trailing 23-7, Mike McCarthy benched Tolzien for the equally thrilling Matt Flynn. Flynn sparked the Packers as a one-yard Eddie Lacy touchdown run and a six-yard touchdown pass to Boykin set up overtime. Each team kicked a field goal in overtime as both coaches dinked and dunked and played not to lose. Sudden death became sudden anti-climactic boredom and a tie. 26-26, OT
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans—Sometimes a pair of awful teams can come together for a thrilling game. This was not that game. Maurice Jones-Drew scored from one yard out for the game’s only touchdown and each team kicked pair of field goals. With 45 seconds left and Houston facing third and ten at the Jacksonville 41, Case Keenum was intercepted. Both teams are now 2-9 with a shot at the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. 13-6 Jaguars
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs—This thriller was a classic reminiscent of the old AFL days that would have had Sid Gillman and Don “Air” Coryell smiling. Alex Smith hit Dwayne Bowe for a five-yard touchdown and a 38-34 Chiefs lead with 1:23 left. The Chargers took over at their 22 with 1:17 to play. That was plenty of time as Philip Rivers found Ajirotutu for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The eighth lead change had San Diego up by a field goal with 24 seconds to play.
With five seconds left at their own 38 after a sack of Smith, Andy Reid decided against a Hail Mary with a quarterback use to throwing West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes. The hook and lateral failed as the Chiefs have lost two straight after a 9-0 start and San Diego at 5-6 kept their playoff hopes alive. 41-38 Chargers
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins—The Caleb Sturgis field goal show from 32, 47 and 23 meant a 16-6 Dolphins halftime lead. Cam Newton led Carolina back with a five-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a one-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen with 43 seconds left in regulation. From the Miami 40 with 18 seconds left, Ryan Tannehill went deep and somehow there was only single coverage on Mike Wallace. Yet the coverage was good, the pass was incomplete at the goal line, and Tannehill was sacked on the next play to end it. Carolina has won seven straight. Yes, these cats are for real. 20-16 Panthers
Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams—The Rams jumped to a 21-7 first quarter lead with a 65-yard touchdown run by Tavon Austin and a short touchdown run set up by a Matt Forte fumble. The Rams slept through much of the rest of the game until Chicago closed to within six points in the fourth quarter. The Rams finally woke up and turned out the lights. Cunningham ran it in from nine yards out and Quinn returned a fumble 31 yards for the exclamation point as both teams clung to playoff hopes. 42-21 Rams
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals—Bruce Arians hosted his old team in the desert. Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald for touchdown passes of four and 26 yards and Karlos Dansby returned an interception of Andrew Luck 22 yards for a score as Arizona led 27-3 at halftime. Rashaard Mendenhall ran it in from five yards out in the third quarter as the Cardinals coasted from there. The Colts are stumbling toward the AFC South crown while Arizona has quietly gotten to 7-4. 40-11 Cardinals
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders—A pair of 4-6 teams played worse than their records in a dreadful first half. Sebastian Janikowski hit field goals of 52, 48 and 24 yards and somehow missed from 32 while Rob Bironas connected from 33 and 22 for a 9-6 Raiders lead at the midpoint. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 54-yard touchdown to Hunter, the teams exchanged field goals, Seabass missed another field goal, and Matt McGloin threw a 27-yard touchdown to Marcel Reece as the Raiders led 19-16 with six minutes left. The Raiders needed a stop on defense and did not get it. On 3rd and goal from the ten yeard line with ten seconds left, Fitzpatrick found Wright for the win. The Titans are alive and the Raiders are done for the year. Dennis Allen should have had the Raiders take their timeouts on defense. Apparently he thought they would be useful in the locker room after the game. The Raiders have lacked heart, guts and character since Jon Gruden left. The only hope for the Raiders is Chucky’s return. 23-19 Titans
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants—Big Blue had won four straight after an 0-6 start, only one game back of inconsistent Dallas in the NFC Least. Heath returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown and Tony Romo threw touchdown passes of 20 and two yards to Witten as Dallas 21-6 in the third quarter. Eli Manning led a furious rally, throwing touchdown passes of 27 yards to Brandon Myers and four yards to Murphy as a successful two-point conversion run by Andre Brown meant a 21-21 tie with 4:45 to play. Yet Romo moved the Cowboy from their 20 with precision when it mattered most. With four seconds left, Dan Bailey came in for the 35-yard field goal try. Bailey was dead center. 24-21 Cowboys
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots was the Sunday night game. Everybody was rightly focused on Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but the key early plays came on defense. Von Miller returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown as three first quarter fumbles by the Patriots became 17 quick Denver points. A second quarter touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Jacob Tamme meant a 24-0 Broncos halftime lead.
The Patriots exploded in the third quarter as Denver made several turnovers of their own. Short touchdown passes from Brady to Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski plus a one-yard touchdown run by Bolden had the Patriots within 24-21. In the fourth quarter Brady hit Edelman for a 14-yard go-ahead score and a 31-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal extended the Patriots lead midway through the fourth quarter.
After 31 unanswered New England points, Manning came back. With three minutes left, an 11-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Thomas tied the game 31-31. The game that was expected to be a thriller lived up to its billing and went to overtime.
Turnovers began the game and turnovers ended it. With 3 1/2 minutes left in overtime the Broncos fumbled a punt and New England recovered at the Denver 13. At the two-minute warning, Gostkowski drilled the winning kick. Rather than sitting atop the AFC cruising toward home field advantage throughout the playoffs, Denver is now tied with Kansas City and only one game ahead of New England. Despite Knowshon Moreno rushing for 224 yards on 37 carries, it was Brady going 34 for 50 for 344 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions that did it. A rematch of these teams in the AFC Title Game would be a blockbuster for the ages. 34-31 Patriots, OT
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins was the Monday night game. Colin Kaepernick threw touchdown passes of 19 and six yards to Anquon Boldin and a short touchdown pass to Vernon Davis as the 49ers led 24-6 after three quarters against the inept Redskins. The 49ers at 7-4 are still in the playoff hunt while Washington is done. If Mike Shanahan is fired, it will not be Al Davis’s fault. 27-6 49ers.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog. Follow us on Twitter @wtcommunities
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.