The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced future Hall of Fame quarterbacks on Sunday.
Peyton Manning was good. Tom Brady was good enough. Both were victorious.
Brady and the New England Patriots were held well below their 37-point scoring average, but they still defeated the Dolphins 23-16 at Sun Life Stadium. The loss was Miami’s fourth in five games and virtually ended any hopes of what already had been an unlikely playoff berth.
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Manning threw for three touchdowns to lead the Broncos past visiting Tampa Bay 31-23. It was the Bucs’ second consecutive loss to a division champion — Atlanta beat them the previous week — dropping them a game back of Seattle for the NFC’s last wild-card spot.
The Jacksonville Jaguars made it 0-3 for the state of Florida on Sunday. The Jags lost at Buffalo 34-18.
Here’s a more in-depth look at Week 13 around the state:
Week in review
Bills 34, Jaguars 18: After showing signs of improvement the previous two weeks in an overtime loss at Houston and a home victory against Tennessee, the Jaguars offense struggled on a rainy day in Buffalo. The Jaguars were outrushed 232-50.
Jacksonville (2-10) was down to its fourth running back, Montell Owens, after Rashad Jennings exited with a concussion in the first half. The Jags already were without Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and Jalen Parmele (injured reserve).
Jennings gained 20 yards on eight carries before being injured. Owens ran for 29 yards on seven carries.
Chad Henne, who played extremely well in relief at Houston and in starting against Tennessee, struggled while trying to become the first quarterback to win his first two Jaguars starts.
Henne completed 18-of-41 passes for 208 yards. He also lost a fumble and threw a game-ending interception.
Jacksonville went 1-for-10 on third downs and allowed Buffalo to convert a second-and-20 with a 51-yard pass. Game gallery »
Patriots 23, Dolphins 16: The Dolphins (5-7) were in the game until the end but still lost to the Patriots for a fifth consecutive time.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill continued to exhibit severe growing pains. He completed 13 of 29 for 186 yards (56 on the final drive) and lost a fumble.
New England scored its first 17 points off Dolphins mistakes — a fumbled punt snap by Brandon Fields on his own 12, a roughing the kicker penalty on Jimmy Wilson that gave the Patriots new life and the lost fumble by Tannehill.
Brady completed 24-of-40 passes for 238 with a touchdown and an interception. Good for most quarterbacks, an OK effort for the three-time Super Bowl winner.
Dolphins left tackle Jake Long left the game in the first quarter with a left triceps injury. Published reports indicated the injury could be a torn triceps that would end Long’s season.
In an attempt to keep players fresh against New England’s hurry-up offense, the Dolphins substituted frequently. That resulted in top defensive ends Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick missing the first eight plays of the Patriots’ key fourth-quarter possession, when they extended their lead to 23-13 and took 7:18 off the clock. Game gallery »
Manning directed two drives in the third quarter to turn a three-point deficit into a 21-10 Denver lead. He finished 27 of 38 for 242 yards.
Josh Freeman had a pass intercepted by Von Miller, who returned it for a touchdown and a 28-10 Broncos advantage.
Freeman completed 18-of-39 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Tampa Bay’s running game struggled for a second consecutive week, managing 71 yards. Doug Martin had 56 yards on 18 carries.
Star of the Week
The Dolphins defense.
The Dolphins defense faced a Patriots team that entered averaging 37 points and 435.8 yards a game. Miami held New England to 321 total yards.
Safety Reshad Jones returned a Brady interception for a touchdown that was nullified by a penalty on Reggie Bush for an illegal block.
Goat of the Week
Jacksonville’s Chad Henne and the Jaguars offense.
Henne was a combined 33 of 59 for 615 yards and six TDs in his past previous two games but struggled here. He wasn’t helped by a running game that produced only 50 yards, compared with Buffalo’s 232 rushing yards.
Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne on losing after the offense showed some positive signs the previous two weeks: “Yeah, we took a step back.”
Jacksonville safety Dwight Lowery: “We didn’t stop the bleeding. When another team gets momentum, you have to take it back from them; when you have it, you have to do everything you can not to give it back.”
Jags linebacker Russell Allen on a loss that included an inability to stop the run, costly penalties, team-wide third-down ineffectiveness and poor kick coverage: “Those are the things that get you beat and unfortunately, that’s been the story for us too many times this year. Today was no different.”
Denver’s Peyton Manning, on being congratulated in-game by Bucs coach Greg Schiano after completing a pass to sitting running back Knowshon Moreno: “That’s the first time I’ve ever had an opposing coach tell me it was a good play in the middle of the game.”
Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman on his interception that Von Miller returned for a touchdown: “The type of swing that pick-sixes are from a momentum standpoint, from a points standpoint, it’s tough to overcome.”
Bucs coach Greg Schiano after the loss: “We need to go back home and forget all this other nonsense and just get better and focus on how we get better this week so that we can be 1-0 at the end of the Eagles season.”
Buccaneers safety Ronde Barber: “We are what we are. We’re a 6-6 team with four games left, and we’ll play those four games one at a time just like we have all year and see where we end up. Right now, that’s all we can do.’’
Miami linebacker Karlos Dansby on losing after having a touchdown taken off the board by penalty and at least three others by poor execution: “It doesn’t get any more frustrating than that.”
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin: “We’ve got to play better. To beat a good opponent in December, you have to play better. We can’t make excuses. We made too many mistakes.”
Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle on Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby replacing Cam Wake and Jared Odrick, who were resting, on eight key fourth-quarter snaps: “Those guys went in there and they really did what we needed them to do. There were other breakdowns throughout the drive, I’ll admit to that, but it wasn’t because of those guys being in the game.”
Dolphins center Mike Pouncey: “Whether we’re in the playoff hunt or not, this team is going to keep playing hard every week and we’re not going to give up.”
Did You Know?
• Jacksonville is 2-10 for the first time in franchise history.
• The Jaguars committed their first delay-of-game penalty this year. Jacksonville, Detroit, New England and Washington were the only teams that entered Week 13 without one.
• The Jags squandered a chance to score 20 points in three consecutive games for the first time since a four-game streak in 2010.
• For the first time since after the season opener, the Jaguars offense isn’t last in yards per game. Jacksonville (282.3) is ahead of Arizona (279.1).
• Tampa Bay has failed to turn any of three takeaways into touchdowns the past two weeks after having led the league with 11 touchdowns off turnovers through Week 11.
• Josh Freeman’s second scoring pass gave him 74 TD for his career and moved him past Doug Williams into second place on the franchise list. Vinny Testaverde is first with 77.
• Bucs safety Ronde Barber’s 211th consecutive start moved him past former Oakland center Jim Otto and into seventh place in NFL history.
• Connor Barth kicked field goals of 31, 50 and 55 yards, setting a Tampa Bay franchise record with six kicks of 50 yards or longer this season. Martin Gramatica kicked five field goals of at least 50 yards in two different seasons.
• Tampa Bay was trying to win a fourth consecutive road game in a season for the first time.
• Doug Martin’s 1,480 all-purpose yards this season is the most by a rookie in Bucs history (surpassing Warrick Dunn’s 1,440 in 1997).
• Miami’s Dan Carpenter has made 11 of his past 12 field-goal tries.
• Miami allowed 10 rushing yards in the first half vs. New England. The last time the Dolphins allowed 10 yards or fewer in the first half was Nov. 28, 2010, at Oakland, when the team allowed six yards.
• Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano caught a pass for the 20th consecutive game.
Tweets of the Week
Now can anybody explain how Northern Illinois got into a BCS bowl
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (Buccaneers favored by 8): The Eagles (3-9) have lost eight games in a row, and it’s widely believed coach Andy Reid will be fired following the season.
The Buccaneers will face Nick Foles, who earlier this week was named the Eagles starting QB for the rest of the season.
Tampa Bay’s defense is first in the league against the run (82.3 ypg.) and last against the pass (309.4). The Bucs can expect Foles to come out throwing.
A must-win for the Bucs’ playoff aspirations.
N.Y. Jets at Jacksonville, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (Jets favored by 1): Many fans in Jacksonville are hoping to see former Florida Gators star Tim Tebow at quarterback for the Jets a week after starter Mark Sanchez was replaced by Greg McElroy during a 7-6 victory against Arizona.
Tebow could return after missing last week’s game, though it seems unlikely he will start.
Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew remains questionable for a return.
A relatively easy remaining schedule has the Jets (5-7) still thinking playoffs.
Miami at San Francisco, Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET (49ers favored by 11 1/2): The Dolphins head across the country to face the Niners, who are coming off an overtime loss at St. Louis.
San Fran’s Colin Kaepernick is expected to start at quarterback, with former starter Alex Smith relegated to backup duty.
San Francisco is 4-1-1 at home. The Niners (8-3-1) own a plus-118 scoring differential overall; the Dolphins are minus-22.