Time for another look at the games from this past weekend, which wound up turning out a few interesting results.
This week some of those results wound up being Matt Flynn having a better game than Aaron Rodgers has ever had with the Packers (Good quarterbacks, or products of the system, you be the judge), three quarterbacks finishing the season with over 5,000 passing yards in a year that has been filled with disgusting defense, the Cowboys choking again in a must win week 17 game, that Pats scoring 49 unanswered points on the Bills, and Tebow Time failing to even start up yet again.
Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Green Bay, WI (Sports Network) - The Packers and Lions' regular season finale resembled a video-game shootout, as Green Bay's quarterback set single-game franchise records for yards and touchdowns thrown in a 45-41 shootout win. In a season that saw Aaron Rodgers make headlines on a weekly basis, it was backup Matt Flynn who put the finishing touches on the Packers' 15-1 campaign by throwing for an eye-popping 480 yards and six touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Jermichael Finley with 1:10 remaining. With the No. 1 seed in the NFC already secured, Green Bay opted to sit Rodgers for the untested Flynn, who in his second career start looked eerily similar to the MVP candidate bundled up on the Green Bay sideline in cold, snowy conditions.
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Tom Brady and the New England Patriots scored 49 unanswered points to beat the Buffalo Bills, 49-21, and claim the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Brady completed 23-of-35 passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for the Patriots (13-3), who will have home-field advantage throughout the postseason for the second year in a row. New England finished the regular season with a 7-1 mark at Gillette Stadium. Brady became the third player in NFL history with 5,000 passing yards in a season. He also set a franchise record for completions in a season with 401, topping Drew Bledsoe's 400 in 1994. A first-round bye will allow the two-time league MVP to rest his sore left shoulder.
Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Drew Brees threw for 389 yards to add to his single-season passing record, and the Saints used a dominant second half to earn a 45-17 victory over the Panthers on Sunday. However, despite all that, New Orleans wasn't able to secure a first-round bye for the playoffs. San Francisco held on to beat St. Louis on Sunday, 34-27, giving the 49ers the NFC's No. 2 seed. The NFC South-champion Saints (13-3) will be the conference's third seed and host the Lions in the first round next Saturday at 8 p.m. (et). They will enter the postseason on an eight-game winning streak, and will also have their record-setting quarterback in top form. Brees, who passed Hall of Famer Dan Marino on Monday for the NFL record, finished the regular season with 5,476 yards. He threw for five touchdowns Sunday, the third time this season he has done that, and was intercepted once while completing 28-of-35 passes. He also finished with the NFL's single-season records for completions (468) and completion percentage (71.2).
Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Charles Tillman brought back an interception 22 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown in the second quarter, as the Chicago Bears edged the Minnesota Vikings, 17-13, in the season-finale for both teams. Josh McCown threw for 160 yards with a touchdown and interception on 15- of-25 passing, while Roy Williams hauled in four passes for 60 yards and a touchdown for the Bears (8-8), who snapped a five-game losing skid after beginning the year 7-3. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen turned in a 3 1/2 sack performance for Minnesota (3-13) to bring his season total to 22, which established a new franchise record for sacks in a season, passing Chris Doleman, who had 21 sacks during the 1989 campaign. Allen ends the year just 1/2 sack shy of the NFL single-season record for sacks, held by former New York Giant Michael Strahan, who notched 22 1/2 sacks in 2001.
Tennessee Titans vs Houston Texans Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Despite a tight victory over Houston, Tennessee's slim chances of making the playoffs went awry Sunday afternoon. Nate Washington caught four passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, including the game-deciding 23-yard score late in the fourth quarter, as the Titans took a 23-22 victory over the Texans. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 297 yards and two scores on 22-of-35 passing for Tennessee (9-7), which was eliminated from postseason contention when Denver lost at home to Kansas City later in the day. "I think it just means as a team we're heading in the right direction. You won more than you lost so that's a good thing," Titans head coach Mike Munchak said about his team's record. "The good thing is the 9-7 means we're on the right track." After Washington's touchdown, the Titans held the Texans to a punt and were going to try to run out the clock, but Ahmard Hall fumbled to give Houston the ball back at the Tennessee 36. Jake Delhomme found Bryant Johnson in the back of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown with 14 seconds left on the clock to bring Houston within a point. With the No. 3 seed in the AFC already locked up and perhaps not wanting to risk an injury in overtime, the Texans went for a two-point conversion. But Texans tight end Joel Dreessen was whistled for a false start on the first attempt and the snap sailed over Delhomme's head on the second, with Tennessee recovering for the win.
Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - The Indianapolis Colts are officially on the clock. After winning two straight games to put some drama into which team would secure the first overall pick in April's NFL Draft, the Colts dropped a 19-13 decision to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and will finish the season with the league's worst record. The Colts (2-14) are now faced with an enviable dilemma. Do they select near- consensus No. 1 Andrew Luck, or trade it away with Peyton Manning set to come back from an injury that kept him sidelined for the entire dismal season? Despite not taking a snap this season, Manning may have proven himself irreplaceable. The 35-year-old future Hall of Famer sat out after offseason neck surgery and watched his team stumble to an 0-13 start. The Colts rebounded with back-to-back wins -- possibly saving head coach Jim Caldwell's job -- but struggled in Sunday's finale.
Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Michael Vick threw for 335 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and DeSean Jackson hauled in a 62-yard score in the fourth quarter as Philadelphia took down Washington, 34-10, in the regular season finale for both teams. Vick completed just two of his first eight throws, but finished the contest 24-of-39 passing for the Eagles (8-8), who closed the season with four straight wins. It's the first time since 2007 and just the fourth instance during Andy Reid's tenure that Philadelphia failed to qualify for the postseason.
New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The Miami Dolphins put the nail in the Jets' coffin. The Jets needed a win Sunday and a lot of help to earn a playoff berth for a third straight year, something never accomplished by the franchise. But they couldn't even hold up their end of the bargain, as the Dolphins played spoiler and came away with a 19-17 victory at Sun Life Stadium. Even with a win, New York would still have failed to qualify as Tennessee's victory against Houston would also have kept the Jets out of the postseason. The Jets (8-8), who reached the AFC Championship Game each of the last two years, have no one but themselves to blame after finishing the campaign on a three-game losing streak.
San Francisco 49ers vs St. Louis Rams Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - At the time Anthony Dixon scored on a one- yard run with 6:30 left in fourth quarter, the touchdown seemed like the finishing touch on a victory that would secure the NFC's No. 2 seed for the 49ers. San Francisco still locked up that seed and a first-round bye, but just barely. The 49ers will host their divisional round game on Saturday, January 14 at 4:30 p.m. (et). Needing only a victory over St. Louis to guarantee the bye, the 49ers held off a late-game rally by the Rams to earn a 34-27 victory.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Michael Turner ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns, and the Falcons scored the first 42 points against the Buccaneers to capture the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs with a 45-24 victory. The outcome, coupled with the Lions' loss to the Packers earlier Sunday, means Atlanta avoided a first-round matchup against the New Orleans Saints and will play the winner of the NFC East - the New York Giants next Sunday at 1 p.m. (et). The Falcons (10-6) were crushed by the Saints on Monday, 45-16, and took out their frustrations in a one-sided regular season finale.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Isaac Redman had the go-ahead, seven-yard TD run in the third quarter and the Pittsburgh Steelers hung on for a 13-9 win over the Cleveland Browns. However, the Steelers (12-4) were unable to clinch the AFC North Division and the AFC's No. 2 seed due to Baltimore's 24-16 win over Cincinnati on Sunday. Pittsburgh, instead, will be relegated to the fifth seed in the AFC and a trip to Denver in the wild-card round next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (et). After being held out of last Saturday's 27-0 rout of St. Louis, Ben Roethlisberger played the full 60 minutes on Sunday despite a high ankle sprain he suffered during Pittsburgh's 14-3 win over Cleveland on December 8.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow and the Broncos backed into the playoffs Sunday. Needing a win or a Raiders loss to clinch the AFC West, the Broncos relied on the latter, falling 7-3 to former teammate Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs minutes before Oakland was ousted by the Chargers. Denver, Oakland and San Diego all finished with 8-8 records, but the Broncos (8-8) earned the title courtesy of a tiebreaker against common opponents. They will host a first-round game against the Steelers next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (et), but will head into the postseason devoid of momentum after losing their final three games of the season. The slide was preceded by a six-game win streak, which was largely fueled by the inspired play of Tebow. But he threw for just 60 yards Sunday, completing 6-of-22 attempts and was intercepted near midfield in the game's waning seconds, ending any hope of a miracle comeback. "We're AFC West champs," said Broncos coach John Fox. "It doesn't matter how you do it, once you get in the dance they can't kick you out." Orton, who was released by the Broncos in November, threw for 180 yards for the Chiefs (7-9). He beat out Tebow for the starting job in the preseason but struggled to a 1-4 start. Tebow was called upon and delivered, winning four of five starts before Orton was released on November 23.
San Diego Chargers vs Oakland Raiders Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Philip Rivers threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns Sunday and the San Diego Chargers knocked the Oakland Raiders out of playoff contention with a 38-26 win. A win would have given the Raiders the AFC West title after the Denver Broncos were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs, 7-3, but the Chargers put an end to that by scoring on 6-of-9 possessions in the game. Malcom Floyd led the Chargers (8-8) with seven catches for 127 yards and a touchdown, while Antonio Gates added five grabs for 106 yards and a score. San Diego won four of its last five games to end the season, but it may not have been enough to save the job of head coach Norv Turner, whose teams have not performed up to lofty expectations in his five-year tenure. Carson Palmer completed 28-of-43 passes for 417 yards with two touchdowns and a late interception for the Raiders (8-8), who ended the season losing four of five. They haven't been to the playoffs since 2002.
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - For the first time in five years, the Baltimore Ravens will have a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals made the postseason, too, even if they backed in with some help from other teams. Ray Rice broke off touchdown runs of 70 and 51 yards on Sunday and the Ravens captured their first AFC North title since 2006 with a 24-16 win over the Bengals, earning the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Without a victory, Cincinnati needed a loss by the New York Jets plus a loss by either Denver or Oakland to make it back to the postseason after a one-year absence. The Jets fell in Miami earlier Sunday, and Denver lost to Kansas City minutes before two passes into the end zone fell incomplete on Cincinnati's final possession.
Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants Recap - January 01, 2012 - NFL - SB Nation
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - The New York Giants are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Dallas Cowboys head into the offseason wondering what went wrong after a late-season collapse. Eli Manning threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns, Victor Cruz shredded the Dallas defense for 178 yards and the Giants captured the NFC East with a 31-14 win in the NFL's regular season finale Sunday night. Manning connected on 24-of-33 throws while Cruz had six catches, including a 74-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. The Giants (9-7) earned the No. 4 seed in the conference and will host Atlanta next Sunday at 1 p.m. (et). Sunday's win came three weeks after the Giants rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to shock the Cowboys, 37-34.