NFL Today, Week 15
Monday, Dec. 19
Carolina at Washington, 8:30 p.m. EST. The game marks the first time Washington cornerback Josh Norman will face Carolina since being cut loose from the $13.9 million franchise tag the Panthers (5-8) placed on him in April. He signed for $75 million over five years with the Redskins (7-5-1) days later. Washington's Kirk Cousins needs 122 yards to break his own single-season franchise record of 4,166 yards passing set last year.
- Drew Brees, Saints, was 37 of 48 for 389 yards and four touchdowns, leading New Orleans past Arizona 48-41 on Sunday in the highest-scoring game in the NFL this season.
- Andrew Luck, Colts, threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns and Indianapolis rolled to a 34-6 victory over Minnesota on Sunday.
- Matt Ryan, Falcons, completed 17 of 23 passes for 286 yards, including a pair of 9-yard scoring tosses to Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper on Sunday in Atlanta's 41-13 rout of San Francisco.
- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, passed for 286 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown in Pittsburgh's 24-20 win at Cincinnati on Sunday.
- Matt Moore, Dolphins, threw a career-high four touchdown passes in his first start since Jan. 1, 2012, leading Miami to a 34-13 rout of the New York Jets on Saturday night.
- Tom Savage, Texans, threw for 260 yards after Brock Osweiler was benched in the second quarter, and Houston rallied for a 21-20 win over Jacksonville on Sunday.
- Dak Prescott, Cowboys, went 32 of 36 for 279 yards in Dallas' 26-20 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday night, a week after completing less than 50 percent of his passes in a 10-7 loss to the New York Giants.
- Devonta Freeman, Falcons, rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns Sunday, leading Atlanta to a 41-13 rout of San Francisco.
- Ty Montgomery, Packers, ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns as the wide receiver-turned-running back helped Green Bay to a 30-27 win at Chicago on Sunday.
- Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, rushed for a career-high 159 yards and celebrated a 2-yard touchdown run by jumping into an oversized Salvation Army red kettle in Dallas' 26-20 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday night.
- LeSean McCoy, Bills, had a season-best 153 yards rushing and scored twice, and the Buffalo Bills kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 33-13 win Sunday.
- Ryan Mathews, Eagles, ran for 128 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries against the NFL's top-ranked run defense in Philadelphia's 27-26 loss at Baltimore on Sunday.
- Frank Gore and Robert Turbin, Colts. Gore rushed for 101 yards and Turbin had two TD runs in Indianapolis' 34-6 win at Minnesota on Sunday.
- Derrick Henry, Titans, ran for two touchdowns in Tennessee's 19-17 win at Kansas City on Sunday.
- Brandin Cooks, Saints, had seven receptions for a career-best 186 yards, including touchdown plays of 65 and 45 yards, in New Orleans' 48-41 win at Arizona on Sunday.
- Aldrick Robinson, Falcons, stepping up with Julio Jones missing his second straight game with a toe injury, had a career-best 111 yards on four receptions Sunday in Atlanta's 41-13 win over San Francisco.
- Jordy Nelson, Packers, caught seven passes for 124 yards, including a 60-yarder that set up the winning field goal in Green Bay's 30-27 win at Chicago.
- Cameron Meredith, Bears, had nine receptions for 104 yards in Chicago's 30-27 loss to Green Bay on Sunday.
- Golden Tate, Lions, caught eight passes for 122 yards in Detroit's 17-6 to the New York Giants on Sunday.
- Chris Boswell, Steelers, tied the club record with six field goals, helping Pittsburgh to a 24-20 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday.
- Mason Crosby, Packers, booted a 32-yard field goal as time expired, leading Green Bay to a 30-27 win at Chicago on Sunday.
- Ryan Succop, Titans, kicked a 53-yard field goal into the wind as time elapsed to give Tennessee a 19-17 victory over Kansas City on Sunday.
- Walt Aikens, Dolphins, blocked a punt and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown in Miami's 34-13 win over the New York Jets on Saturday night.
- Marqise Lee, Jaguars, returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score in Jacksonville's 21-20 loss at Houston on Sunday.
- Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders, kicked a 44-yard field goal with 2:40 left, his fourth of the game, and Oakland beat San Diego 19-16 to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2002.
- Calais Campbell, Cardinals, had two sacks and returned a fumble 53 yards for a touchdown in Arizona's 48-41 loss to New Orleans on Sunday.
- Cameron Wake, Dolphins, had a strip-sack and also got his first career interception to help Miami to a 34-13 win over the New York Jets on Saturday night.
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers, had two interceptions in Green Bay's 30-27 win at Chicago on Sunday.
- Kwon Alexander, Buccaneers, had 21 total tackles in Tampa Bay's 26-20 loss at Dallas on Sunday night.
- Johnathan Cyprien, Jaguars, had 17 total tackles - 13 solo - in Jacksonville's 21-20 loss at Houston on Sunday.
STREAKS & STATS
Houston's 21-20 victory over Jacksonville on Sunday was its 10th straight in the division and left the Texans (8-6) tied with Tennessee for the AFC South lead. But Houston controls its playoff future with a 5-0 mark in the division. ... Miami clinched its first winning season since 2008, also the last year the Dolphins (9-5) made the playoffs, with a 34-13 win over the New York Jets on Saturday night. ... With a 30-27 win at Chicago on Sunday, Green Bay tied the NFL's oldest rivalry for the first time since 1933 at 94-94-6. ... Atlanta set a franchise record for points in a season, pushing its total to 469. That eclipsed the mark of 442 set by the 1998 Super Bowl team, with two weeks still to go in the regular season. Atlanta has scored more than 40 points in five games, and at least 30 four other times.
The Giants' Odell Beckham Jr. is the third player in NFL history to begin his career with three straight seasons of 1,000 or more yards receiving and 10 or more TD catches, joining Randy Moss (1998-2000) and John Jefferson (1978-80). He's also the first player with at least 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons. ... Kansas City's Tyreek Hill joined Gale Sayers as the only rookies in NFL history with two or more rushing TDs, two or more TD catches, a punt return for a score and a kickoff return for a TD in a season. ... Baltimore's Justin Tucker kicked a 53-yard field goal in a 27-26 victory over Philadelphia, giving him 10 this season of at least 50 yards, tying the NFL record set by Blair Walsh in 2012. ... Frank Gore had 115 yards from scrimmage in Indianapolis' 34-6 win at Minnesota to give him 16,332 for his career, surpassing Tony Dorsett for 10th on the NFL's career list. He also passed John Riggins for 12th on the league's career carries list. ... Buffalo set a franchise record of scoring 27 TDs rushing this season. That's one more than the mark set in 1975. ... Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown set an NFL record for most catches by a player in their first 200 regular-season games with 622. His 471 catches since 2013 surpass Marvin Harrison for the most by a player in any four-year span. ... New England's LeGarrette Blount set a single-season franchise record with his 15th rushing touchdown. ... Dallas tight end Jason Witten passed former teammate Terrell Owens for seventh place on the career receptions list, getting his 1,079th on a 6-yarder in the second quarter of the Cowboys' 26-20 win over Tampa Bay. The 34-year-old Witten, in his 14th season, had eight catches in the first half and 10 for the game, giving him 1,086.
New England defeated Denver 16-3 on Sunday to clinch the AFC East and earn a first-round bye. It marked the eighth consecutive division title for the Patriots, the longest streak in NFL history, breaking a tie with the 1973-79 Los Angeles Rams (seven). New England is the only team in NFL history to win 13 division titles in a 14-year span. ... Oakland defeated San Diego 19-16 to secure a playoff berth for the first time in 14 years.
Cleveland dropped to 0-14 with a 33-13 loss to Buffalo on Sunday, matching the second-worst start to a season set by the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 1980 New Orleans Saints. The 2008 Detroit Lions , meanwhile, are the NFL's only team to go without a win in a 16-game season. Cleveland has also lost 17 straight dating to last year, moving into a tie with the St. Louis Rams (2008-09) and Houston Oilers (1982-83) for the league's sixth-longest skid. The Browns have now gone a calendar year since their last win, a 24-10 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 13, 2015.
HOP ON THE BUS, GUS
The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Gus Bradley on Sunday, ending one of the least successful coaching tenures in NFL history. Owner Shad Khan announced the decision following a 21-20 loss at Houston, in which the Jaguars (2-12) blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter. Khan considered the move in late October, following a debacle at Tennessee on national television, but opted to keep Bradley for seven more weeks. Bradley went 14-48 in four seasons in Jacksonville, the worst winning percentage (.225) of any NFL coach with at least 60 games.
The Baltimore Ravens survived a desperate comeback bid by the Philadelphia Eagles, escaping with a 27-26 victory Sunday after stopping a 2-point conversion with 4 seconds left. Baltimore had a 27-17 lead and a first down at the Philadelphia 11 when Joe Flacco threw an interception to give the Eagles another chance. Rookie Carson Wentz directed a drive that produced a field goal with 2:22 remaining. The Eagles got the ball back at their 41 with 1:39 to go. A 24-yard completion to tight end Zach Ertz and a pass interference call against rookie Tavon Young set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Wentz that got Philadelphia within a point. First-year coach Doug Pederson went for the victory, declining the conversion kick for a 2-point try. ''I wanted to win the football game,'' Pederson said. Wentz threw over the middle to tight Jordan Matthews, who couldn't get his hands on a tipped ball.
A VERY UN-BRADY SUNDAY
Tom Brady overcame a slow start to lead the New England Patriots to a rare win in Denver on Sunday, a 16-3. Brady missed his first six passes for just the second time his career - the first was way back on Oct. 12, 2003, against the Giants - but he came back to lead the Patriots (12-2) to a record eighth consecutive division title and a first-round bye. Brady completed just half of his 32 passes for 188 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 68.2.
Adrian Peterson had 22 yards on six carries and lost a fumble in his first game back from a knee injury for Minnesota, which lost 34-6 to Indianapolis. The Vikings running back missed the previous 11 games while recovering from a torn meniscus in his right knee, but was able to return to the field one week sooner than he expected. His fumble in Colts territory in the second quarter came after his only decent run of the day, a 13-yard burst. ... Chicago's Alshon Jeffery came on strong near the end of the Bears' 30-27 loss to Green Bay to finish with 89 yards on six catches in his return from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy against performance enhancers.
It was 1 degree at kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium for the Chiefs' 19-17 loss to Tennessee, with a wind chill of minus-19, making it the coldest game in Kansas City since the franchise began keeping records in 1994. The record for coldest game at Arrowhead Stadium had been 9 degrees before Sunday. It was so cold that the fuses in the west scoreboard froze, blanking out a large section of it for much of the game. ... In Chicago, the game-time temperature for the Bears' 30-27 loss to Green Bay was 11 degrees with a minus-4 wind chill. Chicago hosted Green Bay in 3-degree temperatures and a minus-15 wind chill - the lowest ever for a Bears home game - on Dec. 18, 1983. The Bears' coldest home game, temperature-wise, was against Green Bay on Dec. 22, 2008, when it was 2 degrees with a minus-13 wind chill.
DO-IT ALL DAVID
Arizona's David Johnson rushed for 53 yards and caught four passes for 55 yards in the Cardinals' 48-41 loss to New Orleans on Sunday, becoming the first player in NFL history to have at least 100 yards from scrimmage in the first 14 games of a season. Johnson rushed for two touchdowns, giving him 17 TDs this season and 30 in the first 30 games as a pro.
New York Janoris Jenkins injured his back in Sunday's game against Detroit in a blow to a standout season for the Giants cornerback. Jenkins was on the ground for several minutes after he was injured early in the second quarter. ... Also Sunday, Lions corner Darius Slay left with a hamstring injury. ... Broncos tight end Virgil Green left with a concussion in the first quarter against the Patriots. And the Broncos announced early in the second half that defensive end Derek Wolfe was out with a neck injury. That left Denver with just four D-linemen to defend New England's run game. ... San Francisco lost wide receiver Quinton Patton and linebacker Nick Bellore to injuries in the first half against Atlanta, while Falcons linebacker De'Vondre Campbell was knocked out with a concussion. ... Tennessee lost cornerback Jason McCourty to a chest injury midway through the first quarter of their game in Kansas City. Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters left with what appeared to be a groin injury midway through the third quarter.
''This is my career. This is my reputation and I'm not going to back down from a challenge. This wasn't my dream by any stretch of the imagination. But I'm not running from this.'' - Cleveland coach Hue Jackson after the Browns fell to 0-14 with a 33-13 loss at Buffalo on Sunday.
''All-time worst call ever. I take responsibility for it. Should have vetoed it right away.'' - Baltimore coach John Harbaugh on the decision by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to have Joe Flacco pass with a 27-17 lead against Philadelphia. Flacco's throw was intercepted and gave the Eagles a chance to mount a comeback before the Ravens held on 27-26 when Philadelphia couldn't convert a 2-point try.
''I was very excited, very joyful, looking around the stadium and seeing our fans just going crazy. When we come to San Diego, our fans turn it into a home game. We always think we get nine home games a year.'' - Oakland quarterback David Carr after the Raiders' 19-16 win over the Chargers at San Diego on Sunday.
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