It has been a long Week 12 in the NFL and it’s still not over. The game that was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving evening between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens is still pending. First it was moved to Sunday afternoon, then it was announced that we will have NFL Tuesday Night Football this week when the two AFC North rivals finally get together.
However, the Sunday slate of NFL games was the best that we have seen all year long and this time the action lived up to the pregame hype.
The Falcons Finally Wake Up
The Las Vegas Raiders had some sort of melt down when they traveled to Atlanta to take on the Falcons as 3.5-point favorites. Derek Carr and company only managed to score two field goals in the second and third quarters, they never crossed the goal line. Meanwhile the Falcons scored in every quarter and put up 43 points even though Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan only managed to pass for 185 yards on 22 of 39 passes. Ryan did pass for two touchdowns, but he also threw an interception.
Looking at the stats, it is difficult to figure out how Atlanta scored 43 points with no individual doing any better than an average performance. The Raiders had a very bad day in Atlanta.
The Carolina Panthers visited the Minnesota Vikings and gave them a game they won’t soon forget. Kirk Cousins passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns without pitching a pick. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 267 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Carolina running back Mike Davis ran for 55 yards and Delvin Cook, running back for the Vikings, carried 18 times for 61 yards. Neither scored during the game, and the final score Minnesota Vikings 28 and the Carolina Panthers 27.
The Pats Barely Survive
The 5-6 New England Patriots hosted the 6-5 Arizona Cardinals in a cold and windy Gillette Stadium on Sunday and according to the oddsmakers, the two teams were pretty evenly matched. Cam Newton, still trying to fill Tom Brady’s shoes, only put up 84 yards passing and he threw two interceptions which could not have made Pats head coach Bill Belichick very happy.
Over on the Arizona side, scrambling quarterback Kyler Murray didn’t do much better, passing for only 170 yards and one interception. Neither quarterback threw for a touchdown during the game which ended in a victory for the Patriots 20 to 17.
Baker Mayfield’s 8-3 Cleveland Browns managed to beat the 1-10 Jacksonville Jaguars, but just barely, and only in the final quarter of play. Mayfield threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns and looked more like a franchise quarterback than he has previously. Mike Glennon was under center for the Jags and threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, as well.
But it was the running backs who won the day. Nick Chubb for the Browns was strong all day with 144 yards on 19 attempts and one touchdown, while, for the Jaguars, James Robinson rushed for 128 yards on 22 tries and one touchdown. This turned out to be a very good football game. Final score Browns 27, Jags 25. Cleveland did not cover the 7 point spread.
The Titans Are Gaining Strength Again
Derrick Henry had another monster day for the Tennessee Titans, scoring three rushing touchdowns and racking up 178 yards on the ground while leading the Titans to a convincing victory over the Indianapolis Colts by a final score of 45-26. Colts quarterback Phillip Rivers threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.
The 5-6 San Francisco 49ers went down to the beautiful SoFi Stadium to take on the 7-4 LA Rams and beat them 23-20 off the ever-dependable foot of Robby Gold, who kicked a last second field goal to secure the victory. Neither quarterback threw touchdown pass and no running back went over 100 yards.
The Bucs Take A Huge Loss
The big game of the day was always going to be the afternoon matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs, featuring Patrick Mahomes, and Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was a good one. The Chiefs jumped out ahead 17-0 in the early going but Brady hung in there and put up 345 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air. However, young Mahomes and Tyreek Hill (13-269-3) had career day and just would not be stopped.
He managed to throw for a whopping 462 yards and also passed for 3 touchdowns in what turned out to be one of the best games on the Sunday NFL slate. Final score Chiefs, 27 and the Buccaneers, 24.
There probably doesn’t need to be much said of the embarrassing loss suffered by the Denver Broncos at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. They were forced to play with no active quarterback, calling up a rookie from the practice squad after the QB lineup was banned for breaking NFL COVID-19 rules. It showed, too, as the Saints walked all over the Broncos, 31-3.