NFL Week 12 Recap

In Football by Emily Staker

Thanksgiving morning started off with a longstanding rivalry in the north featuring the Lions and Vikings. Case Keenum has certainly proven his worth this season, and continued to lead his now 9-2 team to victory with two touchdowns, both completed by Kyle Rudolph. Matthew Stafford threw 20 for 35 and 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, and struggled with an ankle injury later in the game after Vikings’ defensive tackle Tom Johnson rolled onto his leg. Latavius Murray and Adam Thielen led the Vikings rushing and receiving game, each with over 80 yards. The final score was 30-23, and the Vikings will play the Falcons next Sunday. The 6-5 Lions will face the Ravens.

The Cowboys’ inability to overcome the recent suspension of Ezekiel Elliot was crystal clear Thursday afternoon. Whether it is a mere lack of confidence or a pronounced lack of talent, the Cowboys fell in a harsh loss of 28-6 to the Chargers. Still, the Chargers faced problems of their own, missing a field goal early in the game, and losing their kicker Nick Novak, who was replaced with Drew Kaser, who is now infamously known for missing the practice net as he warmed up on the sidelines. The Chargers finished off the game in the fourth with a 42-yard touchdown connecting Rivers to Keenan Allen, followed by a pick from Desmond King with eight minutes left in the game. Dak Prescott did not throw a single touchdown, but had two interceptions, certainly one of his worst performances of the season. The 5-6 Cowboys are going to have to reconfigure their offensive strategy if they have any hope of salvaging the rest of their season, and will face the Redskins this Thursday. The Chargers trail the Chiefs at 5-6 in the AFC West, and will play the Browns on Sunday.

It was a close game Thanksgiving night as the Redskins battled the Giants in Washington. The game was tied 3-3 at halftime and both teams were able to score after the half, Washington with a touchdown and the Giants with a Janoris Jenkins pick-six, leading to a 10-10 game by the start of the fourth quarter. Redskins fans had a lot to be thankful for, as Kirk Cousins was sacked a total of six times throughout the game, but still threw 19 for 31 and two touchdowns. Jamison Crowder also had a huge game, with 141 yards and a touchdown, along with Samaje Perine, who had 24 carries for 100 yards. The Giants are dead last at 2-9 in the NFC East and will play the Raiders Sunday afternoon. The Redskins play the Cowboys Thursday night and are now 5-6.

The Titans had a slow start on Sunday afternoon, and Mariota struggled against the Colts defense, getting picked off twice and throwing one touchdown. The Colts, led by an epic running performance from Frank Gore, held a lead of 13-6 in the first half, and followed up with a clutch, yet unsurprising 42-yard field goal from veteran Adam Vinatieri in the third quarter. The Colts suffered a fatal blow in the fourth quarter with a fumble recovered by Titans Kevin Byard, allowing Mariota to throw to Delanie Walker with less than two minutes left in the game, getting the Titans to 16-13. Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray secured a final touchdown, getting the score to 20-16. The 3-8 Colts continue their struggle to follow through late in the game, and will be challenged yet again on Sunday against the Jaguars. The 7-4 Titans, leaders of the AFC South, play the Texans next.

Julio Jones is really, really good. The Falcons would be lost without him. Jones individually had almost as many yards as the entire Buccaneers offense, finishing at 253 and two touchdowns, each within a span of minutes. The Buccaneers were without Jameis Winston who is still out from an injury, and Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 27 for 44 and 283 yards, with two touchdowns, making some in Atlanta uneasy. Matt Ryan, who announced last Tuesday that he and his wife are expecting twins, threw 26 of 35 for 317 yards. Of course, some Patriots fans could not resist the urge to torture Ryan with memories of his last Superbowl via his announcement. The 4-7 Buccaneers will play Green Bay on Sunday, and the 7-4 Falcons will play the Vikings.

The Dolphins, led by Matt Moore, faced the Brady bunch Sunday night in New England. Tom Brady threw four touchdowns, two for Rob Gronkowski and two for Rex Burkhead. Dolphins’ starter Jay Cutler was out for the game, remaining in concussion protocol. Moore threw 23 of 34 for 215 yards, throwing one touchdown and two interceptions. The Dolphins lost Damien Williams (shoulder) and Senorise Perry (concussion), which no doubt affected the turnout of the game. Miami’s Bobby McCain  was ejected in the second half, after throwing a punch at Patriots’ receiver Danny Amendola. The 4-7 Dolphins face the Broncos on Sunday and the 9-2 Patriots will play the Bills.

Carson Wentz threw three touchdowns to continue the Eagles’ winning streak Sunday afternoon for a 31-3 win against the Chicago Bears. The Eagles defense tortured young Mitchell Trubisky, who had a total of zero first downs in the first half of the game. Zach Ertz had 10 receptions, 103 yards and one touchdown for the Eagles. The Bears struggled with penalties that continually advantaged the Eagles, making Wentz’ job even easier, but were finally able to score a field goal in the third quarter executed by Cairo Santos. The 3-8 Bears will play the 49ers on Sunday, and the 10-1 Eagles will play the Seahawks.

Russell Wilson is holding a very injured team together, as Seattle overcame the 49ers in a 24-13 victory. Wilson still had a rough game, throwing an interception on his very first pass of the game, not a great precedent to start. He came back with two pass touchdowns and rushed one in himself, ending the game as the team’s leading rusher. Bobby Wagner had an interception of Beathard’s pass in the second quarter, and Beathard was soon out on an injury in the fourth quarter, replaced by former Patriot backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw a touchdown in the last minutes of the game. Paul Richardson led the Seattle reception with 4 catches and 50 yards, and Blair Walsh, the notoriously struggling kicker for the Hawks missed one 48 yard attempt and later followed up with a 34 yard completion. The Seahawks’ injury roster has made the chances at making the playoffs slim, but Seattle has held on to their chances for the NFC wild card. Seattle, 7-4, will face a tough game against the Eagles on Sunday, and the 1-10 49ers play the Bears.

The Raiders overcame the Broncos in Oakland in a heated game Sunday night. Derek Carr had two touchdowns for a 21-14 win against a continually struggling Broncos offense. Paxton Lynch, the prodigal quarterback started with 9 of 14 passes for 41 yards and suffered four sacks. He eventually came out in the third quarter with an ankle injury and was replaced with Trevor Siemian. The best part of the game had to be the Crabtree-Talib brawl that started with an aggressive block of Talib by Crabtree, followed by Talib ripping off Crabtree’s chain, which he had done last season, and is said to have started the beef between the two going into the off-season. Guard Gabe Jackson was ejected after he pushed an official during the brawl, along with Crabtree and Talib. The 3-8 Broncos will travel to Miami and the 5-6 Raiders will play the Giants.

The Saints’ winning streak officially came to an end after a rousing performance by the LA Rams in a matchup of two of the top NFC teams in the league. Jared Goff had a stellar game, throwing two touchdowns, 28 completions and 354 yards. Alvin Kamara of the Saints gave the Rams defense hell as he pulled off a 74 yard touchdown run and caught a 15 yard pass from Brees. Greg Zuerlein, kicker for the Rams, had three field goals that ought not to be taken for granted by LA, giving them the edge to take down the Saints. The 8-3 Rams look to face the Cardinals next, and the 8-3 Saints will play the Panthers.

The Green Bay Packers performance ought to have scared any Steelers fan last night as Brett Hundley threw 17 of 26 for 242 yards and three huge touchdowns, with no interceptions, showing his best performance of the season since he replaced Rodgers. The Packers faced the Steelers without Aaron Rodgers, Ty Montgomery and Clay Matthews, no doubt adding an extra challenge to the already daunting match up. Antonio Brown kept up his status quo, catching 10 passes for 169 and scoring two touchdowns. The final two minutes of the game featured an exchange of punts before Pittsburg secured the win with a field goal from Boswell for a win of 31-28. The 9-2 Steelers will play the Bengals next Monday night, and the 5-6 Packers will play Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The Ravens will face the Texans Monday night in an AFC matchup. The Texans still have backup Tom Savage as quarterback while Deshaun Watson remains injured.