NFL Recap Week 17- The Finale

The last weekend of the NFL Regular Season, and this will be the last NFL Recap of the season. One of the sad times, but it is time for the playoffs. There were still things to sort out, like the NFC seeding picture for everyone 2-6, and the Wild Card in the AFC. Let’s go to the recap and see how the teams fared.

Indianapolis 7, Buffalo 30- From the snow off Lake Erie in a meaningless game for both teams, Ryan Fitzpatrick went 16-25 for 155 yards and three touchdowns, and the Buffalo Bills finished their season on a winning note by taking out the Indianapolis Colts in a game that the Colts once again rested their starters after the second drive, letting the second string not do too much. Fitzpatrick threw all three touchdowns in the first half, an 11 yard pass to Fred Jackson, a 21 yard pass to Lee Evans, and 41 yard pass to Terrell Owens. Peyton Manning went 14-18 for 95 yards and an interception, and Mike Hart scored the only touchdown for the Colts. The Colts go into the playoffs with a bye and two straight losses, but should be in good shape for the playoffs in two weeks in the divisional round. The Bills end the season on a winning not, but with a lot of questions, more importantly: who will be head coach? Bill Cowher maybe? Colts (14-2), Bills (6-10)

New Orleans 10, Carolina 23- The Saints rested Drew Brees, and it was not conducive to the team gaining any kind of momentum going into the playoffs. Jonathan Stewart ran for 125 yards,including a 67-yard run in the opening minutes of the game, and the Carolina Panthers finished exceptionally strong with their third straight win over the NFC South Champion Saints. Stewart’s performance gave him 1,133 yards, making him and DeAngelo Williams (who was inactive for the game with an ankle injury) the first running backs since the AFL-NFL Merger (1970) to run for 1,100+ yards in a single season. The Saints will be well-rested for their divisional round game, where they have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, while the Panthers face an offseason of uncertainty, in which if John Fox will be around for another season (essentially a lame-duck season), will Julius Peppers return, and who will be the starting QB: Jake Delhomme, who had a horrible year of 2009 or the emerging young QB Matt Moore, who had a strong game, throwing for 162 yards and a touchdown, finishing this season 4-1 as the starting QB. Foggy road ahead for Carolina. Saints (13-3), Panthers (8-8)

Jacksonville 17, Cleveland 23- This might be crazy, but the Cleveland Browns really have something to build upon for 2010. Jerome Harrison ran for 127 yards, and a touchdown, Josh Cribbs also ran for a touchdown, and the Cleveland Browns closed a season on a winning note, eliminating the Jaguars, and giving them their first four game winning streak since 1994 and the first four-game win streak since being reactivated via expansion in 1999. The win was another notch in Eric Mangini’s campaign to stay retained as head coach of the Browns as new president Mike Holmgren takes over on Monday. The Jaguars did not get anything started until the second half, down 20-3 when David Garrard, who went 22-39 for 202 yards threw the first of two touchdowns to make it 20-10. After a Phil Dawson field goal, he threw another one to Zach Miller to pull Jacksonville within six. The Jaguars, who were in the drivers seat for a playoff spot, collapsed and finished below .500 yet again in a disappointing campaign. Head coach Jack del Rio has been under fire, but he is expected to be back, especially for a team that wasn’t supposed to do too much. Jaguars (7-9), Browns (5-11)

Chicago 37, Detroit 23- Jay Cutler had a great game, going 22-36 for 276 yards, and tying a career high with four touchdowns, and the Chicago Bears finished their season strong with a win over their NFC North rival Detroit. Cutler hooked up with Greg Olsen, Devin Aromashadu twice, and Desmond Clark. It was Cutler’s second straight game with four touchdowns, but after 26 interceptions (23 in the nine straight losses), the Bears were plagued for most of the season, and it could mean the end of the Lovie Smith era in Chicago, who has not reached the playoffs in three straight years after making the Super Bowl in 2006. The Lions were led by Daunte Culpepper, who possibly played for the last time in a Lions’ uniform, going 23-34 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Jim Schwartz has a lot of work to do, it won’t be easy to undo a decade of losing with a team that went 33-111 since 2001 and is the first NFL team to have 30 losses in a two season span. Bears (7-9), Lions (2-14)

New England 27, Houston 34- The Houston Texans wanted a playoff berth and a winning record for the first time in team history. They got one of the two. The Texans set a franchise record in wins with their ninth win of the season after coming back from 14 down to beat the New England Patriots 34-27. Houston was down 27-13 in the fourth quarter, but rookie running back Arian Foster ran for two late touchdowns from one and three yards out to give Houston. Matt Schaub went 24-39 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans did not clinch a spot in the playoffs due to the New York Jets win over Cincinnati. The Patriots will go into the playoffs as the #3 seed, but lost a HUGE part of their offense in Wes Welker, who is done for the season with a torn ACL & MCL after a tackle by Bernard Pollard, who also took out Tom Brady’s knee in 2008. The Patriots will play the Ravens next Sunday in Foxborough in the Wild Card round. Patriots (10-6), Texans (9-7)

Pittsburgh 30, Miami 24- The Steelers went out with a win, but they miss out on the playoffs. The Steelers dominated the Dolphins, taking out Chad Henne with an eye injury, and the Pat White with a head injury. Ben Roethlisberger went 18-27 for 220 yards and three touchdowns, but after the Texans win over New England, and later, the Ravens victory over the Raiders, the Steelers were eliminated from the playoff picture, as the Steelers needed the Jets, Ravens, and Texans to lose. However the Texans won, and sealed the fate of the defending champs, whose five game losing streak really hurt them. Not only did Houston’s win eliminate Pittsburgh, it eliminated Miami, who had a very distant shot to begin with, and the defending AFC East champions were in the playoff hunt at 7-6, but lost three straight to miss the playoffs. Davone Bess led Miami with five catches for 85 yards in the loss. Steelers (9-7), Dolphins (7-9)

NY Giants 7, Minnesota 44- After lackluster performances over the past few weeks, it appears as if the the Minnesota Vikings are back. At least for now. Brett Favre went 25-31 for 316 yards and threw four touchdowns, and the Vikings easily got the second seed and a first-round by annilhating a Giants defense that just quit a long time ago. In less than three quarters, Favre threw touchdown passes to Visanthe Shiancoe, Sidney Rice (twice), and Naufahu Tahi. Adrian Peterson ran nine times for 54 yards and scored a touchdown. The Giants just did not look like the team that got off to a 5-0 start and appeared like the team from New York that would make the playoffs. It’s going to be a long season and what will be the fate of this team. Danny Ware, a rookie out of Georgia starting for Brandon Jacobs, scored their only touchdown, and had five carries for 22 yards on the day. Giants (8-8), Vikings (12-4)

San Francisco 28, St. Louis 6- Vernon Davis tied the NFL record for most touchdown receptions by a tight end with 13, Frank Gore ran for 107 yards on 23 carries, and the San Francisco 49ers finished with a .500 record for the first time since 2002. The 49ers started out slow in the first half, but came on strong in the second half to obtain victory. Steven Jackson ran the ball 20 times for 63 yards, but the Rams finished the season winless at home, and 1-15 for the season, but they do get the #1 pick in the draft. Ndamukong Suh anyone? 49ers (8-8), Rams (1-15)

Atlanta 20, Tampa Bay 10- Matt Ryan went 23-35 for 223 yards and two touchdowns, including the go ahead TD pass to Roddy White from 12 yards, and the Atlanta Falcons dispatched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 9-7 record, which gives them their first back-to-back winning seasons in the 44 year history of the franchise, which is a good consolation prize moving towards the future. Ryan also threw a two yard TD pass to Justin Peelle; Matt Bryant kicked two field goals for the Falcons. Josh Freeman had a rough day, going 16-32 for 174 yards with a touchdown to Antonio Bryant but he also threw two late interceptions that sealed the deal. Jason Snelling, filling in for the injured Michael Turner, ran 25 times for 147 yards, most of them coming off the Freeman turnovers. The Buccaneers started 0-8, but finished pretty strong at 3-13, and have something to look forward to in Freeman and he and the team will get better as the years go by. Falcons (9-7), Buccaneers (3-13)

Green Bay 33, Arizona 7- Two teams took two different directions in this game. The Arizona Cardinals decided to rest their starters early, and the Green Bay Packers were playing for seeding and momentum, the Cardinals were playing depending on the Vikings game. After the Vikings blew out the Giants, and killing any chance for a #2 seed and a first round by, the Cardinals played their reserves, and Green Bay took advantage. Aaron Rodgers went 21-26 for 235 yards and a touchdown (he also ran for one), Charles Woodson took a Matt Leinart interception 45 yards for a score, and the Green Bay Packers finished the season strong, and the Cardinals came more prepared for their rematch with Green Bay next week in Glendale with much more on the line. WR Anquan Boldin is questionable with an ankle injury for this weekend, so it could have an impact on the game next Sunday. Packers (11-5), Cardinals (10-6)

Philadelphia 0, Dallas 24- No Dallas December/January collapses this year, and by blanking the Eagles, the Cowboys get a home game at the Jones’ Palace. The Cowboys broke a nine year hex on season finales, had a winning December for the first time since 1996, and they exercised their demons of losing 44-6 last year to Philadelphia by posting their second straight shutout, something they never did in their 50 year history. Tony Romo went 24-34 for 311 yards and threw two touchdowns, Felix Jones ran for 91 yards, including a 49 yard run that put the nail in the coffin for the Cowboys to win the NFC East championship and host a playoff game at Cowboys Stadium against: The Eagles. Philadelphia will get a chance for revenge after they came into the game with the second spot and were trying for a first round bye, which all they needed was a victory. Instead they are on the road, and looking for answers. Brent Celek had seven catches for 96 yards, Donovan McNabb threw for 223 yards, but Dallas dominated from start to finish. Their late emergence makes is even more difficult to find out who truly will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Prepare for a rematch Saturday night in Arlington. Eagles (11-5), Cowboys (11-5)

Kansas City 44, Denver 24- From 6-0 to 8-8. Haven’t the Denver Broncos been in this scenario for the past few years. Another year where they started off fast, and faded just as quickly happened when the Chiefs got their first win in nine tries at Invesco Field. Jamaal Charles had a monster game, with 25 carries for 259 yards and two touchdowns, Derrick Johnson took two Kyle Orton interceptions back for two touchdowns, and not only did the Broncos lose the game, but lost any shot at a playoff berth. Kyle Orton threw for 431 yards passing, but three interceptions (and two of them run back for touchdowns) proved costly. The scratch of Brandon Marshall for this game was a big factor, and it could also mean the end of his time in Denver. The new year, same story occurs and leaves this team wonderingif they can keep the same intensity at the start of the season for the whole season. The Chiefs have the tools for the future, and it can only get better for this young team from here. Chiefs (4-12), Broncos (8-8)

Baltimore 21, Oakland 13- Willis McGahee may have lost his starting job at the start of the season, but he threw the Ravens on his back and carried them into the playoffs. McGahee ran for 167 yards on 16 carries, and the Baltimore Ravens grabbed the #6 seed and hung on to beat the Raiders. Baltimore now plays a New England team that they are 0-5 all time against. The Ravens out rushed the Raiders 240-51, Ray Rice had 89 total yards (70 rush, 19 rec) to give him 2,041 yards from scrimmage on the season. The Raiders were led by Charlie Frye, who went 18-25 for 180 yards and a touchdown that kept Oakland in the game, but after he left in the second half with an injured ankle and back, JaMarcus Russell came in and was ineffective again, going 9-14 for 102 yards with an interception and a fumble. Another disappointing season for him and the once-proud Raider franchise. Ravens (9-7), Raiders (5-11)

Washington 20, San Diego 23- The San Diego Chargers are the NFC East Champions. Okay, maybe not, but after their win over the Washington Redskins, they beat all four NFC East teams this season (Philadelphia, at NY Giants, at Dallas, Washington), but this last one didn’t include the usual suspects. Billy Volek led a late rally which was capped off by a two yard touchdown pass to Mike Tolbert with 35 seconds left to give San Diego their 11th straight win, and complete a successful 13-3 season, and a first round by in the playoffs. Volek went 19-30 for 216 yards, and it appeared that the Chargers were going to lose this game, but another loss was the final nail in the coffin in the Jim Zorn era in Washington. Jason Campbell also may have played his final game in a Redskin uniform, going 28-42 for 281 yards. Expect a lot of change in Washington, and can the Chargers be great deep in January? We will see. Redskins (4-12), Chargers (13-3)

Tennessee 17, Seattle 13- Chris Johnson became the sixth player in NFL history to run for 2,000+ yards in a season, joining Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, O.J. Simpson, and Jamal Lewis by rushing for 134 yards on 36 carries, and two touchdowns (including the game-winning one) and the Tennessee Titans bounced back from an 0-6 start to finish 8-8 for the season, and Johnson finished the season at 2,006 yards. he could have had more (and a shot at Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 yards), but a holding penalty negated a 62-yard touchdown run. Vince Young threw for 171 yards for Tennessee in the victory, and finished 8-2 since regaining the starter’s job for Tennessee. Matt Hasselbeck went 15-30 for 175 yards with a touchdown and interception, and the Seahawks are on their worst run in 16 years, only having nine wins in the past two season. The last time that happened was 1992-93. Titans (8-8), Seahawks (5-11)

Cincinnati 0, NY Jets 37- In the final NFL game at the Meadowlands (barring that Baltimore and the Jets play in the AFC Championship. Thomas Jones ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns, Brad Smith ran for 92 yards, and the New York Jets defense shut down the Cincinnati Bengals early and went on to shut them out to clinch the #5 seed and earn themselves a rematch with the Bengals next week in Cincinnati and Paul Brown Stadium. Mark Sanchez did not have a stellar game, but he was efficient in managing the offense, and did not turn the ball over. The Jets defense was stellar as well, as they held Carson Palmer to 1/11 passing for 0 yards. Chad Ochocinco, who said if Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis would shut him down, he would change his name back to Chad Johnson. Revis shut 85 down. These two teams will go at it again Saturday in Cincinnati in the first wild card game. Expect a different Cincinnati team. Jets (9-7), Bengals (10-6)

Stay tuned to TSX for final thoughts on the teams that did not make the playoffs. Great NFL Regular Season, See you in the playoffs!

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  1. The last weekend of the NFL Regular Season, and this will be the last NFL Recap of the season. One of the sad times, but it is time for the playoffs. There were still things to sort out, like the NFC seeding picture for everyone 2-6, and the Wild Card in the AFC.
    I think this season is so bad.There is no reason,Just be bad.
    Happy new year,wish you have a good time.

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