NFL Recap Week 13

Week 13 of the NFL Recap is here, and the trend for this week is going home again: The return of a one-time face of the franchise with a new team after a second chance, and a hometown hero returned home and shocked one of the elite teams in the NFL coming in, and one of the unbeatens of the NFL nearly tripped up, but survived. Which was it? Let the recap begin…

Philadelphia 34, Atlanta 7- What a homecoming for Mike Vick. Initially hearing boos coming out the tunnel into the field where he electrified crowds at the Georgia Dome and revived the downtrodden franchise. We all know what happened to Vick and the Falcons over the last couple of years, but the Atlanta crowd really showed their love and appreciation for #7 by chanting “We Want Vick”, he responded with a five yard touchdown run, his first since Oct. 15th, 2006 and his first passing touchdown since the final week of the 2006 season, and went 2-2 for 48 yards, and rushed four times for 17 yards and the Eagles easily trounced the Matt Ryan and Michael Turner-less 34-7. Donovan McNabb threw for 238 yards and a touchdown and Sheldon Brown took a Chris Redman interception 83 yards for a score. Chris Redman threw two interceptions in the game and a very late touchdown pass to Roddy White. The Eagles are now in control of the Wild Card hunt, and are in a tie for first place in the NFC East, but the loss for Atlanta is damaging to their playoff hopes. They will need help from Baltimore on Monday night. Eagles (8-4), Falcons (6-6)

Tampa Bay 6, Carolina 16- Without Jake Delhomme, the Panthers looked like a different team. After a broken finger sidelined the maligned starting QB, backup Matt Moore played well, throwing for 161 yards, and Jonathan Stewart ran for 120 yards on 26 carries and the only touchdown of the day, and the Panthers knocked off the Buccaneers. Despite being gained 469-309, it was Moore’s game management and the ability to take chances and the Carolina defense intercepting rookie QB Josh Freeman five times, with three in the red zone. The Panthers are mathematically still in the hunt, but would need a ton of help and with the most brutal four game stretch, it’s not going to be easy. Tampa Bay’s rebuilding project continues and they will get better over time. Buccaneers (1-11), Panthers (5-7)

St. Louis 9, Chicago 17- Jay Cutler threw for 143 yards and a touchodown, Matt Forte ran for another, and the Chicago Bears defense held off the hard charging and gutsy St. Louis Rams to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Bears defense played very well after allowing 537 yards of offense to Minnesota a week ago, by allowing only 233 (112 yards rushing from Steven Jackson). As the Rams prepare for next year, the Bears are still in the playoff picture mathematically, but much like the Panthers, would need loads of help to have a legitimate shot. Rams (1-11), Bears (5-7)

Detroit 13, Cincinnati 23- Chad Ochocinco had 137 yards receiving (season high) and Cedric Benson came back from his hip injury and ran for 110 yards, tying a Bengal franchise record with his fifth 100+ yard game of the season, and the Cincinnati Bengals clinched their second winning season in 19 years and moved closer to an AFC North Division title. The Bengals defense came alive after being down from a Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson TD pass for 54 yards with a 45 yard interception return for a touchdown by Jonathan Fanene. Carson Palmer threw for 220 yards and 36 yard touchdown pass to Ochocinco, who followed up the score by sporting a sombrero. The Lions did suffer a blow when Stafford went down with a shoulder injury (the same shoulder from the game against the Browns). He is considering sitting out to let it heal. Lions (2-10), Bengals (9-3)

Tennessee 17, Indianapolis 27- Joseph Addai ran for 79 yards and two touchdowns, and Peyton Manning threw for 270 yards and a touchdown, and the Indianapolis Colts did not have to come from behind to win, but they managed the clock and used ball control to take out the Titans and win their 21st straight regular season game (tying a NFL record), winning 12+ games for the seventh straight year, and tying the all-time mark for wins in a decade with 113. Vince Young threw for 241 yards and a couple of touchdowns and Chris Johnson had 27 carries for 113 yards, and although it snapped his streak of six straight games with 125+ yards, he tied the franchise record with seven straight 100+ yard games, joining the great Earl Campbell. The loss was a blow to the Titans playoff hopes, and their first loss since Vince Young took over at starting QB, If Indianapolis wins and San Diego and Cincinnati loses next week, the Colts will have home field throughout the AFC Playoffs. Titans (5-7), Colts (12-0)

Houston 18, Jacksonville 23- David Garrard threw for two touchdowns, and the Jaguars defense forced the Texans into three turnovers and swept the season series once again, and handing Houston its fourth straight loss. The Texans were rallying back into the game, and RB Chris Brown, who costed the Texans in the first meeting with the Jaguars in Houston, threw an interception on a halfback pass on 1st & goal. The three turnovers were interceptions by three different players: Brown, Matt Schaub, and Rex Grossman, who threw an interception on his second pass after Schaub went out with a separated shoulder. The win for Jacksonville was their fifth in a row at home, and puts them in the last AFC Wild Card spot for right now. They could really be a problem in the postseason. The Texans hopes are fading fast, and the hopes of a winning season are fading fast. Texans (5-7), Jaguars (7-5)

Denver 44, Kansas City 13- On a day where the late Derrick Thomas’ number was retired, the Kansas City Chiefs looked like they retired early in the game against the Broncos. Kyle Orton threw for 180 yards and showed head coach Josh McDaniels why he was the better choice over Matt Cassel. Knowshon Moreno ran for two touchdowns and Correll Buckhalter ran for 113 yards and the Broncos outgained the Chiefs 413-222 and ran for 245 yards on the ground, and they are in control of the #5 seed in the AFC and some much needed momentum going into next week’s game against Indianapolis. The Chiefs were showing flashes of brilliance, but are back to the same old Chiefs again. Broncos (8-4), Chiefs (3-9)

New England 21, Miami 22- Chad Henne threw for a career high 335 yards on 29-52, and he led a game-winning 51 yard drive that led to a 41 yard field goal by Dan Carpenter and gave the Miami Dolphins a much needed boost to their playoff hopes and pull them (and the New York Jets) within a game of the Patriots in the AFC East. The loss for the Patriots was their fifth on the road in the US (the only road win was in London). Tom Brady went 19-29 for 352 yards with two touchdowns, but it was two late interceptions that cost the Pats the game. New England has shown they are not the dominant team that they once were, and the Dolphins are showing that they are not quite out of the playoff picture by any means. Patriots (7-5), Dolphins (6-6)

Oakland 27, Pittsburgh 24- In what was a see-saw 4th quarter, the hometown hero playing for the Raiders, Bruce Gradkowski, found Louis Murphy with nine seconds left, and the Raiders looked like a team that actually started to care about winning, as they upset the defending Super Bowl champions at Heinz Field. The Raiders were trailing 10-6 when Gradkowski found Chaz Schilens for a 17 yard pass. Pittsburgh responded with a three yard touchdown run by Rashard Mendenall. The next Raider drive, Gradkowski and Murphy for their first touchdown, a 75 yard connection. With less than two minutes left, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes, and then the game winner to Murphy. Gradkowski has been very efficient, and his 308 yards and 3 touchdowns has been beneficial to the Raiders’ success as of late. The Steelers are in grave danger of missing the playoffs after a Super Bowl championship for the second time in four seasons. Raiders (4-8), Steelers (6-6)

New Orleans 33, Washington 30 (F/OT) The Redskins played their hearts out, but destiny seems to be with the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees had a great day, going for 419 yards passing, but it was some twists of fate that kept the Saints unbeaten. Down 30-23, the ‘Skins had a chance to put the game at hand, but Shaun Suisham missed a 23 yard field goal, Drew Brees drove down the field and found Robert Meachem on a 53 yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 30. In overtime, Mike Sellars fumbled the ball (which was the result of an overturned call by the Replay Asssistant), and the Saints got an 18 yard field goal from Garrett Hartley to win the game. The win locks up the NFC South crown for the Saints, and the Redskins suffer another heartbreaking loss, and the Jim Zorn era is setting in Washington quick. Saints (12-0), Redskins (3-9)

San Diego 30, Cleveland 23- LaDainian Tomlinson ran 64 yards and scored his 150th career touchdown, and passed Cleveland Browns’ great Jim Brown for eight on the all-time career rushing list and Phillip Rivers threw for 373 yards and two touchdowns and the Chargers held off a furious Browns’ rally for their seventh straight win and to keep pace with the Cincinnati Bengals for second spot and a first round bye in the AFC. Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns, and showed that he can be effective against the elite teams. The Browns woes continue as they are among the worst teams in the NFL. Chargers (9-3), Browns (1-11)

Dallas 24, NY Giants 31- Brandon Jacobs ran for 39 yards and a touchdown, and caught a 74 yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning and the Giants made plays that mattered and tightened up the NFC East race. Domenik Hixon also ran back a punt for 79 yards and the talks about a December Downer for Dallas have begun. At least Dallas can not blame Tony Romo, as he went 41-55 for 392 yards. The win puts Dallas in a first place tie with the Eagles in the division, and both of them lead the Giants by one game. The final four games will really hold the fate of Wade Phillips and test the ‘Boys and see if they are up to make the playoffs and come through when it counts. Cowboys (8-4), Giants (7-5)

San Francisco 17, Seattle 20- Olindo Mare kicked the game-winning 30 yard field goal as time expired, and the Seattle Seahawks played spoiler on the 49ers playoff hopes and kept their own hopes of a winning season alive. Despite 310 yards passing from Alex Smith, the Seahawks played good defense and the reliable Mare came through when his team needed him. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 198 yards and Julius Jones ran for 67 yards in his first game back from injury. With the Cardinals win on Sunday night, the NFC West title is up for grabs for Arizona next Monday night and it will be up to the 49ers to prevent that from happening. 49ers (5-7), Seahawks (5-7)

Minnesota 17, Arizona 30- If teams forgot about the Arizona Cardinals, they reminded the NFL that they were the hottest team around this time a year ago. Kurt Warner came back from a concussion last week and threw for 285 yards and three first half touchdowns, and Arizona’s defense sacked Brett Favre three times and intercepted him twice, and the Cardinals showed why they are not to be slept on. Favre also threw for two touchdowns, but the Vikings are now two games behind New Orleans for home field advantage in the NFC. The Cardinals can clinch the NFC West with a win next Monday night in San Francisco. Vikings (10-2), Cardinals (8-4)

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