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NFL Week 15 Review – OBJ Banned as Carolina Stay Perfect

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Week 15 saw some fantastic games, including a last second FG to decide a 73 point classic at the MetLife Stadium. It also saw the elimination of several teams from the playoff picture, with just six spots left. 12 teams are after those six spots, but next week could see everything decided.

The major talking points from Week 15:

  • Carolina stay perfect, just
  • OBJ banned for a game for blindside hit on Josh Norman
  • Have we seen the last of the Edward Jones Dome and Qualcomm Stadium?
  • Washington take control of the NFC East
  • Still all to play for in the NFC North


Thursday Night Football:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 – 31 St Louis Rams

Despite scoring 17 points in the final quarter, the Buccaneers were not able to take victory in St Louis on Thursday night. Two first half TD’s thrown by Case Keenum (Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt) helped the Rams to a 21-3 lead at half time. Todd Gurley also ran in from 3 yards. At the end of the third quarter, a Tavon Austin rushing TD saw the score at 28-6, before the Bucs came back.Two Jameis Winston passes (Luke Stocker, Austin Seferian-Jenkins) gave the Bucs some hope, but they never had enough time, falling short by 8 points. Both sides are way out of the playoffs, but this may have been a perfect end to time at the Edward Jones Dome for the Rams.


Saturday Night Football:

New York Jets 19 – 16 Dallas Cowboys

A Randy Bullock FG with 36 seconds on the clock gave the Jets their 9th win of the season, giving them a commanding position in the AFC playoff picture. Bilal Powell ran in from 12 yards to give the Jets a 7-3 lead in the first quarter before Kellen Moore, starting for the injured Tony Romo at QB, threw a 10 yard TD pass to Dez Bryant. However, three INTs for him, and another from Matt Cassel stopped Dallas from ever having a chance in this one. The Jets only just scraped over the line, though, with Bullock’s third FG, after Eric Decker had scored from a Ryan Fitzpatrick throw. The Jets move to 9-4, now down in the #7 spot in the AFC, while the Cowboys hopes are well and truly gone after Week 15.


Kansas City Chiefs 34 – 14 Baltimore Ravens

The Chiefs shut out Baltimore in the second half to record their 9th win of the season. Charcandrick West got them off to a great start with a 38yd TD run. Clausen then threw a TD to level the game but when Tyvon Branch recovered a fumble and took it for a score, the Chiefs never looked like conceding their lead again. Jeremy Maclin caught a TD pass from Alex Smith before Clausen threw his second just before the half. It was all Kansas City in the second 30 minutes, ending the game with a 90yd INT return for a TD from Marcus Peters, sealing the match nicely for the Chiefs. They move up to the #5 spot in the AFC.


Houston Texans 16 – 10 Indianapolis Colts

The Texans won the battle of the AFC South, to take the lead in the division with just two games left. After a scoreless first quarter, the Colts raced into a 10-0 lead. This was thanks to a Donte Moncrief TD reception from Matt Hasselbeck. Adam Vinatieri added the PAT and then a FG for the 10 point lead. Houston, though, scored 16 unanswered to take victory. Nick Novak kicked three FGs before Brandon Weeden, on for the injured TJ Yates, through a TD pass to rookie WR Jaelen Strong. The Texans move to 7-7 with victory and take the #4 seed in the AFC.


Atlanta Falcons 23 – 17 Jacksonville Jaguars

Julio Jones broke the Falcons’ franchise record for most receptions in a season, moving to 118 in Sunday’s win. They started well, with Devonta Freeman running in the opening score, before Jones himself caught a TD pass from Matt Ryan. A Shayne Graham FG made the score 17-3 at the half. The Jaguars levelled the game with two third quarter TDs. Blake Bortles ran in for a 1 yard score, before finding Allen Robinson in the endzone. However, the Falcons took victory thanks to two more Shayne Graham FGs in the final quarter. With victory, the Falcons move to 7-7, and are still just in the hunt for a playoff place in the NFC. The Jaguars can still win the AFC South, but need two big wins in their final two games.


Chicago Bears 17 – 38 Minnesota Vikings

5 Teddy Bridgewater TDs saw the Vikings overcome the Bears in this NFC North match-up. The first opened the scoring, with a throw to Stefon Diggs. Jay Cutler brought the Bears back into it with a TD throw to Alshon Jeffery, but a Jet McKinnon receiving TD gave the Vikings a 10 point lead at the half. Stefon Diggs then caught his second TD in the third, before Bridgewater ran in for his, and the Vikings, fourth score of the day. Cutler then got his second with a 4 yard TD throw to Matt Forte. Zach Line ended the scoring with Bridgewater’s fourth TD throw, a career high for the second-year QB, with the Vikings winning by 21. They are now 9-5, in the #6 spot in the NFC, knowing a win next week will guarantee a playoff berth. Chicago are well and truly out of the playoff race.


Tennessee Titans 16 – 33 New England Patriots

The Patriots moved into the top seed in the AFC with victory at home to Tennessee this week. They had a 24-3 lead at the break, thanks in part to two TD passes from Tom Brady. The first went to Rob Gronkowski to make it 7-0, before he threw a 30-yarder to James White out of the backfield. In between the two, the defence scored six, with Akiem Hicks recovering a fumble in the end zone after Marcus Mariota’s throwing arm was hit by Chandler Jones. Mariota then left the game with an injury, and backup QB Zach Mettenberger threw two TD passes to Delanie Walker, but three Stephen Gostkowski FGs were enough to make sure the Pats went to 12-2 and the top spot in the AFC. Bad news for the Titans is that Mariota is out for the season.


Carolina Panthers 38 – 35 New York Giants

The game of the week saw the Panthers kick a last play FG after conceding 28 unanswered points in the second half. Cam Newton threw five TD passes once more as the Panthers took a 35-7 lead midway through the third quarter. He hit Ted Ginn Jr with the first, before Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess before the interval. Corey Brown got the fourth before Ginn got his second. Eli Manning had earlier thrown a TD score to Rueben Randle in the opening quarter. However, three further scores, to Will Tye, Shane Vereen and Odell Beckham Jr, along with a Rashad Jennings rushing TD made it 35-35 with 90 seconds left on the clock. The Panthers were able to go down the field to set up Graham Gano for the winning FG with the last play of the game. Carolina move to 14-0 with victory, while the Giants fall to 6-8, but they may have more problems as Odell Beckham Jr has been banned for a game for a blindside head-to-head hit on Josh Norman. The two were having a game-long battle, but that was the ugly side of what was a fantastic game of football.


Buffalo Bills 25 – 35 Washington Redskins

Kirk Cousins threw 4 TD passes as the Redskins take control of the tight NFC East division. They went in at the half 21-0 ahead, thanks to two TD receptions from Jordan Reed. Cousins also ran in for six in the second quarter. He then found DeSean Jackson for a 77-yard score early in the third quarter, before the Bills started to mount a comeback. Mike Gillislee ran in from 60 yards before Tyrod Taylor threw a 48-yard bomb to WR Sammy Watkins. That made it 28-17, before Cousins found Pierre Garcon for the game-ending score. Sammy Watkins caught a second TD for the Bills but it was too late by then, with their playoff ambitions ended by defeat. Washington now lead the NFC East at 7-7.


Green Bay Packers 30 – 20 Oakland Raiders

The Packers continued their run towards the NFC North title with a ten-point victory on the road in Oakland. They led 14-0 at the end of the first thanks to a five yard run from John Kuhn and a pick-six from Damarious Randall. The Raiders pulled it back though, thanks to two Stephen Janikowski FGs and an Amari Cooper TD from Derek Carr. They went in front in the third when that same partnership worked again for their second score. That would be it for them, though, with James Jones going in on the Aaron Rodgers throw, followed by to Mason Crosby FGs to seal the win. The Packers move to 10-4 and clinch a playoff berth, but have the Vikings right behind them in the NFC North. The Raiders are now officially out of the playoff race.


Cleveland Browns 13 – 30 Seattle Seahawks

Another of the NFC sides to have clinched a playoff berth this weekend were the Seahawks, with victory over the Cleveland Browns. It started well for the visitors, with Johnny Manziel throwing to Gary Barnidge for a 7yd score. From there, it was all Seattle, though, Russell Wilson finding Doug Baldwin in the end zone twice, either side of the first quarter ending. A 27yd TD throw to Tyler Lockett, along with three Steven Hauschka FGs sealed the 30-13 win, and the playoff spot in the NFC Wild Card placings. The Browns have been out of the playoff race for a long time this season and are now 3-11.


Denver Broncos 27 – 34 Pittsburgh Steelers

The game the meant the most in the AFC playoff race has seen Pittsburgh drag themselves up to the #6 spot, shutting the Broncos out in the second half. The Broncos took a 27-13 led into half time, thanks to three TDs from Brock Osweiler. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders went in with TD receptions before the Denver QB ran in for the third score. This came after the Steelers opened the scoring with a DeAngelo Williams 2yd run. Ben Roethlisberger threw three TD passes in the last 18 minutes to win the game for the Steelers. Antonio Brown went in twice, with Marcus Wheaton scoring in between. With victory, the Steelers move into a Wild Card spot, while the Broncos drop to the #3 seed in the AFC at 10-4.


Miami Dolphins 14 – 30 San Diego Chargers

In what might have been the last game at Qualcomm Stadium, Danny Woodhead scored four TDs for the Chargers in a big victory. His first was a reception from QB Philip Rivers, before running in from 2 yards early in the second quarter. The third was his second receiving TD of the day, giving the Chargers a 23-0 lead at half time. Jay Ajayi, from London, ran in for a score to get the Dolphins on the board, before Woodhead caught his third TD pass of the day. Ryan Tannehill scored a consolation TD at the end of the game, but neither of these teams will be playing football in three weeks time.


Cincinnati Bengals 24 – 14 San Francisco 49ers

21 unanswered points in the second quarter but the Bengals out of sight as they moved to 11-3. Jeremy Hill went in for two 1yd rushing TDs early in the second quarter, before backup QB, AJ McCarron found Tyler Kroft for a TD through the air. Mike Nugent then added a FG in the third to make to 24-0. The 49ers replied with two TD scores, courtesy of Bruce Miller on the ground and then Anquan Boldin through the air, but they never had enough to stay with Cincinnati in this one. The Bengals know a win next week will secure the AFC North title, while the 49ers are already looking at rebuilding for next season.


Sunday Night Football:

Arizona Cardinals 40 – 17 Philadelphia Eagles

The Cardinals swept aside the Eagles on SNF with David Johnson rushing for 3 TDs and 187 yards. Johnson opened the scoring, before an exchange of FGs made it 10-3. Zach Ertz then caught a pass from Sam Bradford for a TD before Johnson ran in from 47 to make it 17-10 at the half. Three unanswered TDs from Arizona killed off the game, with Johnson getting his third, before John Brown caught a pass from Carson Palmer and Deone Bucannon returned an INT for six. Sam Bradford found Jordan Mathews for a 78yd score late on but the game was well and truly over by then. Arizona are now 12-2 and will clinch a first-round bye with victory over Green Bay next week. The Eagles can still reach the playoffs with two wins from two in Weeks 16 and 17.


Monday Night Football:

Detroit Lions 35 – 27 New Orleans Saints

The Lions held off a second half comeback from the Saints to get their fifth win of the season. Matt Stafford threw the first of his three TDs to get the game going, with Golden Tate making the reception. He then found Michael Burton and Tate got his second TD to make it 21-3 at half time. After Ameer Abdullah ran in for the Lions’ fourth score, New Orleans finally kicked into gear. Drew Brees threw three TDs, to Brandon Cooks, Marques Colton and Benjamin Watson, in the second half, but a Joique Bell rushing TD for Detroit put the game out of reach. The NFC North side won by 8, but both sides are now 5-9, and looking towards next season now.


Playoff Picture:

(Through Week 15)


Divisional – Patriots (12-2), Bengals (11-3), Broncos (10-5), Texans (7-7)

Wild Card – Chiefs (9-5), Steelers (9-5)

In the Hunt – Jets (9-5), Colts (6-8), Jaguars (5-9)



Divisional – Panthers (14-0), Cardinals (12-2), Packers (10-4), Redskins (7-7)

Wild Card – Seahawks (9-5), Vikings (9-5)

In the Hunt – Falcons (7-7), Eagles (6-8), Giants (6-8)

New England Patriots Arizona Cardinals Minnesota Vikings Green Bay Packers Denver Broncos Dallas Cowboys New York Giants San Francisco 49ers New Orleans Saints Miami Dolphins New York Jets detroit lions Atlanta Falcons Washington Redskins Pittsburgh Steelers Kansas City Chiefs Cincinnati Bengals Buffalo Bills Chicago Bears Cleveland Browns Houston Texans Jacksonville Jaguars Tennessee Titans Carolina Panthers Seattle Seahawks San Diego Chargers Baltimore Ravens Indianapolis Colts Philadelphia Eagles Oakland Raiders St Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers drops back to pass during their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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