NFL Game Capsules
(Sunday, December 20th)
Final Score: Arizona 31, Detroit 24
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Anquan Boldin's TD catch with 1:54 to play helped Arizona clinch the NFC West title as the Cardinals battled out a 31-24 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. With the win and San Francisco's 27-13 loss to Philadelphia, Arizona locked up the division for the second straight season. Kurt Warner went 23-for-37 with 233 yards, two touchdowns and one interceptions for the Cardinals (9-5), who bounced back from last Monday's loss to San Francisco. Beanie Wells had the best game of his rookie season as he had 110 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. Drew Stanton, who started the second half in place of an ineffectual Daunte Culpepper, went 10-for-19 with 72 yards, one interception and one rushing touchdown for the Lions (2-12), who have dropped their past four games by a total of 87 points. Maurice Morris had 17 carries for 126 yards and a score in the loss.
Final Score: San Diego 27, Cincinnati 24
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Nate Kaeding kicked a 52-yard field goal with three seconds left in regulation, as San Diego overcame blowing an 11-point fourth quarter lead and posted a thrilling 27-24 victory over the heavy- hearted Bengals at Qualcomm Stadium. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 24-of-38 passes for 308 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Vincent Jackson had 108 yards and two scores on five receptions for San Diego (11-3), which secured its fourth straight AFC West title and have won an NFL-record 17 consecutive games in the month of December. The Chargers have won nine in a row overall. Carson Palmer threw for a season-high 314 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-40 efficiency for the Bengals (9-5), who have lost two straight. The crestfallen franchise played for the first time since the unfortunate death of wide receiver Chris Henry, who passed away Thursday morning from injuries sustained after falling out of the back of a pickup truck the previous day. Cincinnati and San Diego held a moment of silence in memory of Henry prior to the game. A No. 15 emblem adorned the helmets of the Bengals players.
Final Score: Baltimore 31, Chicago 7
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 234 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes as the Baltimore Ravens preserved their playoff hopes with a 31-7 win over the Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium. Flacco (21-of-29 passing) hit tight end Todd Heap with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns, later connecting with wide receivers Demetrius Williams and Derrick Mason on early third-quarter TD strikes that effectively put the game out of reach from the struggling Bears (5-9), who are 2-8 in their last 10 contests. With the victory and the Broncos' loss to the Raiders, the Ravens (8-6) took over the first of two wild card positions in the AFC playoff race, with a critical two-game road stretch at the Steelers (Dec. 27) and Raiders (Jan. 3) to help determine their fate over the season's final two weeks. Baltimore also moved within a game of AFC North-leading Cincinnati - which lost late at San Diego - but would need to win out and have the Bengals (9-5) lose out to the Chiefs and Jets in order to claim the division title. Chicago committed six turnovers in the game and did not score an offensive touchdown, finishing with just 13 first-downs and 220 yards of total offense. The struggles for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler continued, as the former Denver Broncos Pro Bowler completed just 10-of-27 passes for 94 yards without a touchdown and with three interceptions. Cutler has now thrown an NFL-high 25 interceptions on the year.
Final Score: Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 13
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Donovan McNabb threw for 306 yards and a score, and Philadelphia forced four first-half turnovers to beat the 49ers, 27-13, and clinch a playoff berth -- the Eagles' eighth in the last 10 years. McNabb completed 21-of-36 passes and was also picked off twice for the Eagles (10-4), who have won five straight games and have posted double-digit wins in seven contests this season. McNabb also had a rushing touchdown. DeSean Jackson was again an offensive catalyst, catching six passes for 140 yards and a score. Jackson now has 1,087 yards on the season to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his brief two-year career. LeSean McCoy added 48 yards and a score on the ground, while Brent Celek had four catches for 73 yards in the victory. Frank Gore became the first running back to run for over 100 yards against the Eagles in 24 games, gaining 101 yards on 15 carries for the 49ers (6-8), who were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. Alex Smith threw for 177 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-37 throws but was intercepted three times -- all in the first half. Josh Morgan caught seven passes for 61 yards and a score in defeat.
Final Score: Tennessee 27, Miami 24 (OT)
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Rob Bironas kicked a 46-yard field goal in overtime after Tennessee had blown an 18-point second-half lead, and the Titans kindled anew their improbable playoff hopes with a gritty 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins. Vince Young gutted out a hamstring strain and balky knee to throw three touchdown passes, completing 14-of-27 passes for 236 yards with a pick. Justin Gage caught a pair of scores, his only two grabs of the game, while Nate Washington caught the third on his only reception. Chris Johnson rushed for 104 yards on 29 carries and gained an additional 55 yards on two catches for the Titans (7-7), who have ripped off an incredible seven wins over their last eight games after starting the season 0-6. Chad Henne threw for 349 yards and a touchdown on 29-of-46 efficiency and led a game-tying drive with under two minutes left in regulation. But Henne also cut three potential scoring drives short with costly interceptions, including one on the first possession of overtime. Ricky Williams carried 19 times for 80 yards and a touchdown, eclipsing the 1,000- yard rushing mark for the fifth time in his career. In doing so, he set an NFL record for the longest span between 1,000-yard rushing seasons -- having last hit the mark in 2003. Williams also added a two-point conversion run and lost a fumble. The Dolphins' (7-7) loss further muddled the AFC playoff picture as they are now joined by the Titans, Jets, Jaguars, Steelers and Texans at 7-7 on the outside looking in. Baltimore is currently 8-6 after beating Chicago later Sunday.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 37, Green Bay 36
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Mike Wallace's 19-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the game gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a thrilling 37-36 win over the Green Bay Packers at Heinz Field. Ben Roethlisberger had the most passing yards of any quarterback since November of 2006, as he went 29- for-46 with a franchise-best 503 yards and three scores, while Wallace finished the game with two catches, both touchdowns, for the Steelers (7-7), who snapped a five-game losing streak. Aaron Rodgers went 26- for-48 with 383 yards and three scores, and Greg Jennings had five catches for 118 yards and a score for the Packers (9-5), who had a five-game winning streak snapped.
Final Score: Carolina 26, Minnesota 7
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Matt Moore threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns as Carolina held Minnesota to its lowest point total of the season in a 26-7 triumph. Steve Smith had nine catches for 157 yards, including the go-ahead 42-yard score on the second play of the fourth quarter, for Carolina, which held a 397-237 yardage advantage. The Panthers also held the ball for nearly 38 minutes. The Vikings captured their second straight NFC North crown even before they took the field. That's because Green Bay lost, 37-36, at Pittsburgh on the game's final play earlier Sunday. Carolina's defense did a phenomenal job on the Vikings and limited Brett Favre to 224 yards on 17-of-27 passing. He was also picked off late in the final quarter. Moore started in place of an injured Jake Delhomme and connected on 21-of-33 passes and wasn't intercepted as the Panthers (6-8) bounced back from a 20-10 loss at New England last week. Delhomme is still bothered by a broken finger on his throwing hand. DeAngelo Williams hurt his left ankle midway through the second quarter and didn't return. Jonathan Stewart received the bulk of the carries and finished with 25 carries for 109 yards and score. Stewart also caught a touchdown pass.
Final Score: Oakland 20, Denver 19
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Chaz Schilens' 10-yard touchdown catch late in regulation sent Oakland to a surprise 20-19 victory over Denver at Invesco Field. Schilens caught the winning TD from JaMarcus Russell, who completed just 5-of-11 passes for 47 yards in the fourth quarter for the Raiders (5-9), who have won three of five. Starter Charlie Frye was 9-of-17 for 68 yards and an interception before leaving the game after a blow to the head early in the fourth. Michael Bush finished with 133 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and Darren McFadden contributed 74 yards on 12 rushes. Kyle Orton was 19-of-34 for 278 yards and one touchdown for the Broncos (8-6), who have dropped two in a row and six of eight. With the loss, Denver is officially eliminated from contention for the AFC West title, as the Chargers won it with a win over Cincinnati. Brandon Marshall was relatively held in check, limited to seven catches for 73 yards and Denver's lone touchdown, and Matt Prater hit four field goals in defeat.
Final Score: Houston 16, St. Louis 13
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Kris Brown kicked three field goals, including a 28-yarder with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter, as the Houston Texans held on for a 16-13 win over the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome. Matt Schaub completed 28-of-40 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown for Houston (7-7), which won 34-7 over Seattle last Sunday to snap a four- game slide. Andre Johnson had nine catches for 196 yards, while Kevin Walter added four grabs for 42 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Moats added 46 yards on 13 carries. Steven Jackson rushed for 82 yards on 20 touches and pulled in four catches for 41 yards for the Rams (1-13), who suffered a 47-7 beating by Tennessee last weekend and have dropped six in a row after claiming their only win of the season, a 17-10 decision at Detroit on November 1. Rookie Keith Null started at quarterback for the Rams and threw for 173 yards on 18-of-27 efficiency with a touchdown and an interception. Starter Marc Bulger is still suffering from a knee injury, while second stringer Kyle Boller was out with a thigh injury and swine-flu. Danny Amendola had two-yard touchdown catch.
Final Score: New England 17, Buffalo 10
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Randy Moss and Laurence Maroney added another score on the ground, as the New England Patriots continued their mastery of the Buffalo Bills with a 17-10 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Brady connected on 11-of-23 passes for only 115 yards and one interception for the Patriots (9-5), who have won 13 straight against their AFC East rivals. Maroney had 81 yards on a season- high 23 carries, while Moss made five grabs for 70 yards. New England increased its division lead to two games after both Miami and the Jets lost on Sunday. New England's only other "road" win this season was over Tampa Bay in London, England on October 25. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 17-of-25 throws for 178 yards with a late touchdown to Lee Evans and one interception.
Final Score: Cleveland 41, Kansas City 34
Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Jerome Harrison eclipsed Jim Brown's team record for most single-game rushing yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in the final minute, and Josh Cribbs had two kickoff return touchdowns to set an NFL record, as the Cleveland Browns beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 41-34, in a shootout at Arrowhead Stadium. Harrison carried the ball 34 times for 286 yards and three total scores, eclipsing Brown's mark of 237, set in 1961; it was the third-highest single-game total in NFL history. Cribbs had returns of 100 and 103 yards, respectively, for his seventh and eighth career kickoff return scores to set a new league mark. Brady Quinn's arm was not needed for a majority of the game, as he threw only 17 times, completing 10, for 66 yards with two interceptions for the Browns (3-11), who have won two straight games. Quinn added 39 rushing yards in the win. Jamaal Charles led a suddenly-potent Chiefs (3-11) attack with 154 rushing yards and a score on 25 carries. Matt Cassel completed 22-of-40 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns for an offense that garnered 491 total yards. Chris Chambers caught five passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Mark Bradley added a receiving score in defeat.
Final Score: Atlanta 10, NY Jets 7
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Matt Ryan hit Tony Gonzalez on a six- yard touchdown pass with 1:38 to play in the fourth quarter, as Atlanta topped the New York Jets, 10-7, at the Meadowlands. Ryan, who missed the last two weeks with turf toe, threw for 152 yards and the deciding score on 16-of-34 passes for the Falcons (7-7), who had dropped four of five. Despite the win, Atlanta was officially eliminated from playoff contention after Dallas' win Saturday over the Saints. Gonzalez finished with three catches for 32 yards, and Jason Snelling rushed for 59 yards on 16 carries. Michael Turner, who returned from a two-week absence with a sprained ankle, gained just seven yards before leaving the game at the half after hurting the same ankle. After missing last week's game with a sprained knee, Mark Sanchez completed 18-of-32 passes for 226 yards, one score and three interceptions for the Jets (7-7), who saw their three-game win streak halted. Braylon Edwards led all receivers with 105 yards and a TD on five receptions.
Final Score: Tampa Bay 24, Seattle 7
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Josh Freeman threw two touchdown passes and the Tampa Bay defense recorded four interceptions, as the Buccaneers snapped an eight-game road skid with a 24-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 action at Qwest Field. Freeman completed 16-of-26 passes for 205 yards and one interception for the Buccaneers (2-12), who won as the visitor for the first time since a 38-20 decision at Detroit on November 23, 2008. Derrick Ward and Cadillac Williams each had a TD catch. Ward also rushed for 67 yards on 19 carries, while Williams ran for 66 yards on 12 attempts. Kellen Winslow hauled in six passes for 93 yards. Matt Hasselbeck connected on 27-of-46 passes for 256 yards and one touchdown for the Seahawks (5-9), who have dropped two in a row. Julius Jones rushed for 65 yards on 12 carries, while Justin Forsett carried the ball nine times for 55 yards. John Carlson caught seven passes for 86 yards and a touchdown in defeat.