NFL Today, Week 15
Monday, Dec. 17
Atlanta at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m. EST. This is the second meeting between the teams in four games, with the Falcons (8-5) having won the last time 34-20 in Atlanta as Julio Jones caught a season-best 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers (4-9) hope to play spoiler, with the first of three games against NFC South rivals to end the regular season.
– Blake Bortles, Jaguars, threw three touchdown passes, including two to seldom-used backup Jaydon Mickens, and for a season-high 326 yards as Jacksonville clinched a playoff spot with a 45-7 rout of Houston.
– Cam Newton, Panthers, passed for 242 yards and four touchdowns, and the Panthers spoiled Aaron Rodgers’ return from a broken collarbone with a 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers.
– Nick Foles, Eagles, threw four touchdown passes in his first start replacing the injured Carson Wentz, leading Philadelphia to a first-round playoff bye with a 34-29 victory over the New York Giants.
– Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers, threw for a career-high 381 yards and a touchdown to help San Francisco top Tennessee 25-23.
– Drew Brees, Saints, completed 26 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns, and also was intercepted in New Orleans’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets.
– Eli Manning, Giants, passed for a season-high 434 yards with three touchdowns in New York’s 34-29 loss to Philadelphia.
– Todd Gurley, Rams, rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries and caught three passes for 28 yards and a score to lead Los Angeles past Seattle 42-7.
– Mark Ingram, Saints, ran for two touchdowns and gained 151 yards from scrimmage, capped by his late 50-yard TD run, and New Orleans beat the New York Jets 31-19.
– Le’Veon Bell, Steelers, rushed for 117 yards and added another 48 receiving in Pittsburgh’s 27-24 loss to New England.
– LeSean McCoy, Bills, scored twice and became the 30th player to reach 10,000 yards rushing, helping Buffalo beat the Miami Dolphins 24-16.
– Keelan Cole, Jaguars, had seven receptions for a career-high 186 yards and a TD in Jacksonville’s 45-7 victory over Houston.
– Rob Gronkowski, Patriots, returned from a one-game suspension to finish with nine receptions for 168 yards in New England’s 27-24 win at Pittsburgh.
– Greg Olsen, Panthers, caught nine passes for 116 yards and a TD to help Carolina top Green Bay 31-24.
– Sterling Shepard, Giants, had 11 receptions for 139 yards and a score in New York’s 34-29 loss to Philadelphia.
– Jerick McKinnon, Vikings, caught seven passes for 114 yards in a 34-7 win over Cincinnati for the first 100-yard receiving game for a Minnesota running back since Onterrio Smith in 2004.
– Michael Thomas, Saints, had nine receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in New Orleans’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets.
– Robbie Gould, 49ers, made a winning 45-yard field goal as time expired – his sixth successful kick of the game – to help lift San Francisco over Tennessee 25-23.
– Philadelphia Eagles became the first team since 1991 to block a field goal, extra point and punt in the same game, accomplishing the feat in a 34-29 win over the New York Giants.
– Sam Koch, Ravens, booted four punts inside Cleveland’s 20-yard line, giving him a league-high 37 this season, and helping Baltimore to a 27-10 win.
– Phil Dawson, Cardinals, accounted for all of Arizona’s points in a 20-15 loss at Washington with field goals of 40, 35, 19, 34 and 32 yards.
– Brandon Williams, Ravens, recovered a fumble forced by Za’Darius Smith and shimmied across the goal line for a 1-yard score in Baltimore’s 27-10 win at Cleveland.
– Eric Kendricks, Vikings, returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in Minnesota’s 34-7 victory over Cincinnati.
– Aaron Donald, Rams, sacked Russell Wilson three times in Los Angeles’ 42-7 rout of Seattle.
– Anthony Lanier, Redskins, had two sacks, a forced fumble and batted down three passes in Washington’s 20-15 win over Arizona.
– Cameron Jordan, Saints, batted down four passes – three on third-down throws – in New Orleans’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets.
– James Bradberry, Panthers, stripped the ball from Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison with 1:28 left to seal Carolina’s 31-24 win.
– Chandler Jones, Cardinals, earned his NFL-leading 15th sack of the season in Arizona’s 20-15 loss at Washington and is two shy of setting the franchise single-season record.
– Sean Smith, Raiders, intercepted two passes in Oakland’s 20-17 loss to Dallas.
STREAKS & STATS
Jacksonville clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2007 with a 45-7 drubbing of AFC South rival Houston on Sunday. It was the Jaguars’ seventh victory in its last eight games. … Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer won his first regular-season meeting against his old boss, Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, who lost to a former assistant for the first time in eight matchups, 34-7. Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Bengals from 2008-13. … The Bengals have never won in six all-time visits to Minnesota. … After Baltimore’s 27-10 victory over Cleveland, Joe Flacco’s .895 winning percentage against the Browns is the third best by an active quarterback against any opponent. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger is 21-2 (.913) against Cleveland and New England’s Tom Brady is 27-3 (.900) against Buffalo. … Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley had 152 yards rushing, three TD runs and a TD catch in a 42-7 win at Seattle, joining Marshall Faulk (Oct. 20, 2002) as the only Rams in franchise history to have 150 or more yards rushing, three or more rushing TDs and a TD catch in a game.
New Orleans’ Michael Thomas had nine catches for 93 yards in the Saints’ 31-19 win over the New York Jets, giving him 94 receptions this season and making him the second NFL player with at least 90 receptions in each of his first two seasons – the other being the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. … Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy reached 10,000 career yards rushing on his 2,145th carry, becoming the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to achieve the milestone. The only players to reach 10,000 career rushing yards in fewer attempts are Jim Brown (1,936), Adrian Peterson (2,004), Barry Sanders (2,020) and O.J. Simpson (2,085). … Carolina’s Cam Newton has four seasons with at least 600 rushing yards, tying him with Michael Vick for the most such seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. … The Panthers’ Julius Peppers had a half-sack against Green Bay, making him the fourth player in NFL history to have at least 10 seasons with 10 or more sacks, joining Hall of Famers Bruce Smith (13 seasons), Reggie White (12) and Kevin Greene (10). … Jimmy Garoppolo became the first 49ers quarterback since the merger in 1970 to win each of his first three starts, and just the second QB to do so in franchise history. Y.A. Tittle did so spanning the 1951-52 seasons. … Oakland’s Derek Carr joined Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck as the only players with at least 100 TD passes in their first four years in the NFL.
Philadelphia, which had already clinched the NFC East, secured a first-round bye with a 34-29 win over the New York Giants. … Minnesota beat Cincinnati 34-7 and locked up the NFC North title. It marks the second division title for the Vikings in the past three seasons. … New England, which defeated Pittsburgh 27-24, secured the AFC East title. It’s the ninth consecutive division title for the Patriots (2009-17), the longest streak in NFL history. … Jacksonville defeated Houston 45-7 and clinched a playoff berth – the Jaguars’ first since 2007.
Aaron Rodgers made his first appearance since Oct. 15 and threw for 290 yards with three touchdowns, but was intercepted three times in Green Bay’s 31-24 loss to Carolina. For a moment it looked as if the two-time league MVP was about to lead the Packers back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. But a fourth Green Bay turnover – this time a fumble by wide receiver Geronimo Allison with 1:48 left – spelled doom. Rodgers had good velocity on his passes at times, and even ran for a few first downs in his first game back from a broken collarbone.
Philadelphia became the first team to block a field goal, extra point and punt since 1991, doing it against the New York Giants in a 34-29 victory. Derek Barnett blocked Aldrick Rosas’ extra point attempt in the first quarter, Kamu Grugier-Hill knocked away Brad Wing’s punt in the second, and Malcolm Jenkins prevented Rosas’ 48-yard attempt in the fourth. The last team to accomplish the feat was Buffalo against New England on Nov. 24, 1991.
Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes in his first start replacing the injured Carson Wentz, and helped the Philadelphia Eagles secure a first-round playoff bye by beating the New York Giants. Foles was 24 of 38 for 237 yards and no interceptions. The Eagles also became the first team since the 2011 Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn to have different starting quarterbacks throw at least four touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks. … Bryce Petty made his first start at quarterback for the New York Jets, completing 19 of 39 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown in a 31-19 loss at New Orleans. He was intercepted twice – once by Craig Robertson on a tipped pass and once by Marshon Lattimore on a long, inconsequential throw as the game ended.
The Browns (0-14) went 0-8 at home – 0-7 in Cleveland, 0-1 in London – for the second time and must win at either Chicago or Pittsburgh to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions in the notorious 0-16 club. Last season, the Browns avoided infamy by winning their final home game and finishing 1-15. Cleveland is 1-29 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, who is expected to be back despite his .033 winning percentage.
Buffalo improved to 8-6 to match the team’s best record through 14 games during the team’s 17-year playoff drought – the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports. The Bills were 8-6 in both 2004 and 2014, but missed the playoffs with 9-7 finishes. Buffalo’s 6-2 home record was its best finish at Orchard Park since 1999. The Bills now hit the road to continue their playoff pursuit in closing the season at New England next week and then at Miami on Dec. 31.
Seattle’s 34-0 halftime deficit in its 42-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the largest for the Seahawks since the 2010 season – the first under Pete Carroll – when it trailed the New York Giants 35-0 at halftime on the way to a 41-7 loss. It was the largest halftime lead in a road game for the Rams in franchise history.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown left the Steelers’ 27-24 loss to New England in the second quarter with a left calf injury. Brown was helped to the medical tent, then taken to a hospital for further examination. Also, Pittsburgh rookie running back James Conner left with a sprained knee in the fourth quarter. … The Patriots lost running back Rex Burkhead with a knee injury in the first half. He did not return. … Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams left in the third quarter of the Packers’ 31-24 loss at Carolina because of a concussion. … Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams left in the third quarter against New Orleans with concussion symptoms. … The Giants had safety Landon Collins and linebacker B.J. Goodson leave against Philadelphia after aggravating ankle injuries. … Jacksonville wide receiver Marqise Lee injured his right ankle in the first quarter against Houston and was later ruled out.
”It’s a story of perseverance.” – Jaguars owner Shad Khan after the Jaguars clinched their first postseason berth since 2007 with a 45-7 drubbing of AFC South rival Houston on Sunday.
”I’m not running from this. I have never gone any place and left it worse than when I found it. I’m not going to run from this. I’m going to be here and I need to get this fixed as fast as I can because I think it is important.” – Cleveland coach Hue Jackson after the Browns fell to 0-14 with a 27-10 loss to Baltimore.
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- AFC South
- Green Bay Packers
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants
- NFC East
- NFC North
- NFC South
- Philadelphia Eagles