NFL Nation: 2010 Week 12 Wrap Ups

Wrap-up: Chargers 36, Colts 14

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
11:40
PM ET
Thoughts from the Colts' loss to the Chargers Sunday night.

What it means: Indianapolis could have taken a one-game lead in the AFC South, but another loss to San Diego and the first home loss of the season means the Colts are at 6-5, still even with the Jaguars and down a head-to-head tie-breaker. The Colts have not lost as many as five games since a 10-6, second-place finish in 2002.

Rare repeat: Peyton Manning threw four interceptions, the most since his six interception game on Nov. 11, 2007 in San Diego. It was just the second time in his career he’s thrown three picks in two consecutive weeks. The first was in 1998, when he threw three in the first two games of his career. He was under pressure all night, and at one point his own man, right guard Jeff Linkenbach, got pushed back into him by Antonio Garay.

What I didn’t like: The rushing offense was ineffective (1.8 yards per carry) and the pass offense was out of sync. A two-play sequence in the second quarter illustrated the troubles: Pierre Garcon appeared to let up on a deep ball he ultimately couldn’t catch up to before Reggie Wayne allowed a ball to sail between his hands.

Hard to believe: The Colts were just three-of-12 on third down, but they fared better than the Chargers. San Diego won this game despite going zero-for-eight on third down.

What’s next: The Colts host the Dallas Cowboys in Indianapolis’ final game of the season against the NFC East.

Wrap-up: Dolphins 33, Raiders 17

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
9:10
PM ET
A look at a tough loss for the Oakland Raiders, 33-17 to the Miami Dolphins:

What it means: The overtime win over Kansas City in Week 9 before a sold-out Oakland crowd seems like a long time ago. Oakland has lost its first two games since the bye week and it hasn’t looked good. It has been outscored by total of 48 points in the past two games.

Tomorrow’s talker: It looks like there will be another quarterback switch. Inserted as the starter again, Bruce Gradkowski re-injured the shoulder that kept him out for five weeks. It looks like he may miss more time. That means Jason Campbell, who has been benched twice this season, should take over unless the Raiders wanted to make a bold move and start No. 3 quarterback Kyle Boller. I’m not sure the Raiders have arrived at that point yet. Gradkowski was not overly effective before he was hurt against Miami. He was 17 of 32 for 252 yards. He was intercepted twice. Oakland’s running game, which entered Week 12 ranked No. 2 in the NFL, had 16 yards on 12 carries. It has gained 77 yards in the past two games. Darren McFadden, who was NFL’s per-carry acreage leader after 10 weeks, had just two yards on eight carries against the Dolphins. McFadden has 16 yards on 18 carries the past two games. Oakland’s run game has to come alive because the passing game is not going to be able to carry the offense.

Bright spot: Rookie receiver Jacoby Ford continues to make big plays. He opened the game with a kickoff for a touchdown and he added 108 yards on four catches. It is time this fourth-round pick from Clemson to become a regular starter and replace 2009 No. 1 pick Darrius Heyward-Bey in the starting lineup.

What’s next: The Raiders play at San Diego. It is simply a must win for Oakland if it wants to keep its playoff dreams alive.

Wrap-up: Rams 36, Broncos 33

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
8:34
PM ET
A look at a Denver Broncos team in disarray:

What it means: The Broncos are playing out the string. They are 3-8 and are going nowhere fast. This looks like a team without an identity and without an easy solution.

Tomorrow’s talker: Josh McDaniels’ life just got more difficult. His team is 5-16 since it started last season, 6-0. His latest loss came a day after it was revealed that the Broncos and McDaniels were fined a combined $100,000 after the NFL determined that video director Steve Scarnecchia filmed a San Francisco walk-through in London a day before the 49ers beat Denver. The league determined that Scarnecchia acted alone and that McDaniels didn’t watch the film, but he wasn’t initially forthright about it. The issues are piling up for McDaniels. Losing at home to a team coached by a runner-up for the job he got -- Steve Spagnuolo -- won’t take the heat off of McDaniels, whose program appears to be a complete mess. The Broncos were never in this type of shape as a program in the 14 years of the Mike Shanahan era that preceded this regime.

Trending: Denver quarterback Kyle Orton continued his ridiculous season. He threw for 347 yards and three touchdown passes. Orton has thrown for 3,370 yards this season. Orton is a true bright spot.

What’s next: The Broncos go to Kansas City. The Chiefs will be looking for redemption and looking by 20 points at Denver two weeks ago. McDaniels upset Kansas City coach Todd Haley who did not shake McDaniels’ hand after the game. Haley apologized for his actions the next day.

Wrap-up: Chiefs 42, Seahawks 24

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
8:00
PM ET
A look at the surging Kansas City Chiefs and their 42-24 win against the Seattle Seahawks:

What it means: The Chiefs continue to put themselves in fine position to win the AFC West. They are now 7-4. They lead Oakland, 5-6, by two games. San Diego, 5-5, by a game and a half going into the Chargers' game at Indianapolis.

Tomorrow’s talker: What an offense. Kansas City has scored 102 points in the past three games. What is particularly exciting for the Chiefs is that they have shown great balance. The Chiefs ran for 270 yards and passed for 233 yards. Jamaal Charles had 173 yards rushing on 22 carries. Matt Cassel threw four touchdown passes and he was not intercepted. He has thrown 22 touchdown passes and he has been picked off just four times. Dwayne Bowe continued his incredible run. He had 13 catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Bowe has 32 catches for 468 yards and seven touchdown catches in the past three games.

Road sweet road: This was an important win for the Chiefs, because they showed they can win on the road. Kansas City had lost four straight road games. It is now 2-6 on the road. Seattle might not be a great team, but it is a difficult place to play. So, this will give Kansas City confidence away from home down the stretch.

What’s next: The Chiefs get a chance for redemption or their worst game of the season when they host Denver. Two weeks ago, Denver hammered Kansas City, 49-29 and, led 35-0 in the second quarter. Denver has since lost two and a row and is 3-8.

Wrap-up: Rams 36, Broncos 33

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
7:49
PM ET
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 36-33 win against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Week 12:

What it means: The Rams moved into a first-place tie with Seattle atop the NFC West at 5-6, but they hold the tiebreaker after beating the Seahawks in Week 4. By beating Denver, the Rams have finally claimed the breakthrough road victory they needed. They had to sweat it out, but could it be any other way for this team? The Rams will need to win another game on the road this season to reach 8-8. The way this division is shaping up, however, they might be able to win it at 7-9. Getting this victory to begin a three-game road trip takes off the pressure heading into a Week 13 game at Arizona. The Rams have to like their chances against the Cardinals and in the division overall.

Big Revelation: The Rams' recent production increases at tight end were not a mirage. Billy Bajema caught two first-half scoring passes. Fellow tight end Mike Hoomanwanui caught a touchdown pass of at least 25 yards for the second week in a row. The Rams' injury issues at receiver remain a limiting factor. That's why it's important for the team to develop its tight ends into receiving threats. That appears to be happening. Wide receiver Danario Alexander also bounced back from knee surgery with four catches for 95 yards.

What I liked: Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford passed for 308 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He now has 11 TD passes and one INT since leading receiver Mark Clayton landed on injured reserve.

What I didn't like: The Rams had to sweat out a victory that seemed like a done deal in the second half. The Broncos outscored the Rams 20-3 in the fourth quarter. The Rams still need to learn how to finish. At least they won this time.

Hero: Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe returned to his ball-hawking ways by forcing a fumble to set up a key second-half touchdown as the Rams pulled away.

What's next: The Rams visit the Cardinals in Week 13.

Wrap-up: Dolphins 33, Raiders 17

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
7:45
PM ET
The Miami Dolphins thumped the Oakland Raiders 33-17 on Sunday in the Black Hole.

What it means: A great victory is somewhat muted by the fact the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are not losing. The Dolphins are 6-5, but still three games out of the division race. They probably can afford to lose only one of their remaining games to still have a shot at a wild-card berth.

Run attack on track: Ten days after one of the flimsiest rushing performances in Dolphins history, Ricky Williams ran 20 times for 95 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to stamp the victory. Ronnie Brown added 85 yards on 24 carries.

Henne returns: With a big brace on his left knee, quarterback Chad Henne started and played well even though Brandon Marshall (hamstring) could not play. Henne completed 17 of his 30 throws for 307 yards and two touchdowns with one bad interception near the goal line. His touchdowns were to Marlon Moore and running back Patrick Cobbs.

Not-so-special teams: The Dolphins continue to struggle in that phase. Raiders rookie Jacoby Ford returned the opening kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown. Dolphins punt returner Davone Bess did have a 47-yard return though.

Pro Bowl watch: Outside linebacker Cameron Wake added another sack, giving him 10.5 for the season. Dan Carpenter kicked four field goals with a long of 49 yards. Carpenter missed from 51 yards and 49 yards.

What's next: The Cleveland Browns will visit Sun Life Stadium in Week 13.

Wrap-up: Ravens 17, Buccaneers 10

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
7:37
PM ET
A quick wrap-up of Tampa Bay's 17-10 loss to Baltimore.

What it means: This was another game where the Buccaneers lost, but gained respect. Much like their earlier matchup with Atlanta, the Bucs showed they can keep it close with anyone. But they still haven't shown they can beat the big boys. At 7-4, they're now two games behind the Falcons and one behind the Saints. If you want to contend for the NFC South title, or even make the playoffs, you have to win some games against good teams.

What we learned: Quarterback Josh Freeman can beat bad teams by himself. But he needs some help against the good teams and Baltimore is particularly good on defense. The Bucs didn't get a lot out of the running game and Freeman was only ordinary in the passing game.

On the bright side: First-round pick Gerald McCoy, who entered the game with one sack for the season, had two sacks against the Ravens. McCoy has played much better in recent weeks and that is giving the Bucs an interior pass rush -- even though they don't have much of one from the outside.

What's next: It does not get any easier for the Bucs. Although they get to return home next Sunday, they have to play the red-hot Falcons. Atlanta has a 9-2 record, is on a five-game winning streak and has won nine of its past 10 games.

Wrap-up: Vikings 17, Redskins 13

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
7:03
PM ET
Let's hit a few high points of the Minnesota Vikings' 17-13 victory over the Washington Redskins:

What it means: Interim head coach Leslie Frazier got the first victory of his tenure. (Coincidentally, FedEx Field is where former coach Brad Childress also earned his first win, in Week 1 of the 2006 season.) Although the game wasn't pretty from any vantage point, Frazier deserves credit for navigating the team through a tumultuous week and engendering a better effort from a team that clearly quit on Childress. The Vikings improved to 4-7 while snapping a nine-game losing streak on the road, including the playoffs.

Injury report: Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson didn't return after injuring his right ankle in the second quarter. He will have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity but tweeted this Sunday night: "My ankle is doing ok! I'll know more tomorrow! After I get a full evaluation!" It seemed clear that Frazier wanted to steer the Vikings' offense more toward the running game. Even with Peterson on the sideline, the Vikings had 25 running plays against 12 passes in the second half of a competitive game. Rookie Toby Gerhart carried 22 times for 76 yards and bulled ahead for his first-ever NFL touchdown in the third quarter.

Favre runs: Quarterback Brett Favre didn't make much impact in either direction as he fought a nasty illness. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was Favre's first zero-touchdown pass, zero-interception game since 2006. Favre, however, did convert a third-and-8 play late in the fourth quarter by rumbling, bumbling and stumbling for a 10-yard run that clinched the game for the Vikings.

What's next: The Vikings will host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday at the Metrodome.

Wrap-up: Giants 24, Jaguars 20

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
6:57
PM ET
Some thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 24-20 loss to the New York Giants:

What it means: Jacksonville fell to 6-5 and could be out of first-place in the AFC South depending on the results of the Indianapolis Colts' games Sunday night against San Diego.

What I didn’t like: Courtney Greene failed to get Giants tight end Kevin Boss down after a 7-yard gain and he went 25 more yards for the winning score. Mike Sims-Walker let a pass bounce off his hands and turn into an interception for the Giants. Jacksonville had no sacks and just one hit on Eli Manning while New York had four sacks and 11 hits (including five by Osi Umenyiora) on David Garrard. The average gain per pass play was 3.1 yards for Jacksonville and 9.4 yards for New York.

What I liked: Garrard scrambled very well and his six carries for 41 yards were a big part of a solid rush day which topped 207 yards. The offense was 10-for-16 on third down while the defense allowed only three conversions in 10 chances for the Giants. The Jaguars ran 23 more offensive plays than their hosts and held the ball for 35:27.

What I want to know: Yes, the Jaguars were looking for a big play, but how could they allow back-to-back-to-back sacks of Garrard on the team’s final three offensive snaps?

What’s next: The Jaguars head to LP Field in Nashville looking to avenge a 30-3 Monday night loss in Jacksonville on Oct. 18.

Wrap-up: Vikings 17, Redskins 13

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
6:11
PM ET
A few thoughts on another lost opportunity at home by the Washington Redskins:

What it means: The Redskins (5-6) have pretty much bowed out of the playoff race with this loss. The Minnesota Vikings may have been inspired by their new interim head coach Leslie Frazier, but the Skins still had plenty of opportunities in this game. Donovan McNabb got off to a hot start by leading the Redskins to a touchdown on their first drive. He completed all eight of his passes on that initial drive, but he never regained that form. McNabb wasn't very sharp the rest of the game and he was undermined by drops, one of which led to a key interception for the Vikings.

The Goat: Perry Riley's block in the back wiped out Brandon Banks' 77-yard punt return halfway through the fourth quarter. Banks has become the Redskins' best weapon, but Riley's needless block prevented the Skins from taking the lead. He was also called for another block in the back earlier the game. The Skins don't have much margin for error because their offense isn't capable of putting up a lot of points. Banks also had a 65-yard kickoff return that allowed Washington to kick a field goal in the fourth quarter. He's the most electrifying player on the field and it appears that Kyle Shanahan has finally figured that out based on those Wildcat plays we saw.

Adrian Peterson's backup steamrolls Skins: Washington knocked Adrian Peterson out of the game in the second quarter, but the Vikings simply turned to Toby Gerhart, who finished with 22 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. And late in the game, the Redskins couldn't stop a 41-year-old quarterback when he scrambled for a game-clinching first down. The Redskins needed to capitalize on the Vikings losing their star player, but Minnesota seemed to rally around Gerhart.

What's next: The Skins will make their first trip to New Meadowlands Stadium to face the 7-4 New York Giants. The Redskins beat the Eagles on the road, but I don't see them pulling the upset over a Giants team that overcame a lot of adversity to beat the Jaguars on Sunday. The Redskins are a wildly unpredictable team, but I think their lack of weapons on offense is catching up with them. When you only put up 26 rushing yards in a game, that's a major problem. This is a team that desperately needs takeaways on defense to win games, but Brett Favre wasn't cooperating on this afternoon.

Wrap-up: Browns 24, Panthers 23

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
6:01
PM ET
Time for a quick wrap-up of Carolina's 24-23 loss to Cleveland.

What it means: We're going to focus on the positive here. There is no quit in these Panthers, and they came very close to getting a win. But, at this point, getting to 10 losses was much more important than getting a win. This one keeps the Panthers firmly on place to get the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft and, if they were going to win one of their remaining games, it probably would have been this one.

Positive Panthers stat of the day: Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen only threw one interception. Former Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme started for the Browns and only threw two interceptions.

Positive Panthers stat of the day II: Running back Mike Goodson had eight catches. Carolina wide receivers have done that only twice this season. Steve Smith has one nine-catch game and David Gettis has an eight-catch game.

What's next: The Panthers get to make a cross-country trip to play the Seahawks at Qwest Field. That five-hour flight should give the Panthers enough time to throw their Christmas party and coach John Fox's farewell party. Heck, general manager Marty Hurney should make a side trip down the West Coast and present an honorary Stanford degree to Andrew Luck so the quarterback can go ahead and enter the 2011 draft.

Wrap-up: Steelers 19, Bills 16 (OT)

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
4:53
PM ET
Here are some thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 19-16 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills:

What it means: Although it was an extremely hard-fought game, the Steelers continued their trend of taking care of business against bad teams and improved to 8-3. Pittsburgh's three losses this year have come against teams with winning records. The Steelers also put pressure on the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) to keep winning within the division. The Ravens host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday evening.

What I liked: Key players stepped up in key moments for Pittsburgh. Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't have his best game. But he led a late scoring drive in overtime and had an 18-yard scramble in the fourth quarter to set up a pair of big field goals for Pittsburgh. New Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham made both clutch field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime, which surely will acclimate him in Pittsburgh's locker room. He was 4-for-4 on field goals for the day. Suisham connected on field goal kicks of 45, 46, 48 and 41. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu also made an interception off a tipped ball late in the fourth quarter to prevent the Bills from scoring a potential go-ahead touchdown.

What I didn't like: The Steelers took a 13-0 point lead into halftime and didn't put the Bills away. Pittsburgh's offense sputtered in the second half and the defense allowed some big plays to get Buffalo back in the game with 13 unanswered points. It was a fight for every yard the rest of the game. Pittsburgh also played sloppy, as tailback Rashard Mendenhall and receiver Hines Ward both had fumbles and the Steelers had a high number of penalties (10 for 107 yards) for the second straight week.

What's next: Pittsburgh has to play a lot better next week for it's biggest game to date of the season. The Steelers will travel to M&T Bank Stadium to battle the rival Ravens with first place on the line in the AFC North. The Ravens won the previous meeting at Heinz Field during the final game of Roethlisberger's suspension. Pittsburgh will look to avoid the season sweep in what should be another great game in this heated rivalry.

Wrap-up: Browns 24, Panthers 23

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
4:29
PM ET
Here are thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 24-23 victory against the Carolina Panthers:

What it means: The Browns broke a two-game losing streak, but it wasn't easy. The Panthers fought back in the second half and took a fourth-quarter lead before Browns kicker Phil Dawson put Cleveland ahead for good with 2:47 left. Cleveland improved to 4-7.

What I liked: The Browns got running back Peyton Hillis going early this week. He finished with 131 yards rushing and recorded three first-half touchdowns. He has 11 rushing touchdowns this year. Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly are the only players other than Hillis in Browns history to rush for 11 or more touchdowns in a season.

What I didn't like: I didn't like the decision to start quarterback Jake Delhomme this week. Browns coach Eric Mangini said Delhomme's familiarity with his former team helped make the difference. The decision nearly cost Mangini and the Browns as Delhomme struggled. He threw for 245 yards and two interceptions, including a pick six in the third quarter that put Carolina back in the game.

What's next: The Browns have a tough road contest against the Miami Dolphins. Cleveland needs to play better than it did against the lowly Panthers (1-10). After Delhomme's performance, there also will be plenty of quarterback questions this week involving Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and rookie Colt McCoy (ankle), who was inactive Sunday.

Wrap-up: Jets 26, Bengals 10

November, 25, 2010
11/25/10
11:45
PM ET
Here are some thoughts on the New York Jets' 26-10 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals:

What it means: Cincinnati lost its NFL-high eighth straight game, falling to 2-9. It also confirms the Bengals will have another losing season in 2010. This game looked like many of the other losses for Cincinnati. It involved turnovers, mental errors, and the inability to put together four solid quarters of football.

What I liked: Cincinnati played competitive in the first half and even led the Jets, 7-3, at intermission. But the better team eventually took over. The Bengals also got decent play from first-year defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap (two sacks) and rookie receiver Jordan Shipley (five receptions, 38 yards, one touchdown). These two are auditioning to become a core part of Cincinnati's rebuilding efforts in 2011.

What I didn't like: The Bengals were not ready to play in the second half for the second straight game. After giving up 35 unanswered points to the lowly Buffalo Bills last week, the Jets outscored Cincinnati 23-3 in the second half Thursday. Doing simple math, that means the Bengals have been outscored an astounding 58-3 after intermission in the past two weeks. The special teams also were horrendous for the Bengals, and quarterback Carson Palmer (135 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) had his fifth multi-interception game of the season.

What's next: The brutal part of Cincinnati's schedule continues. After facing the 9-2 Jets, the Bengals will host the 8-3 New Orleans Saints Dec. 5 at Paul Brown Stadium. The good news is Cincinnati has 10 days to get healthy for the Saints, who also have an extended week after beating the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The game against New Orleans isn't sold out, so Cincinnati will need a surge in ticket sales to avoid its second straight blackout at home this season.

Wrap-up: Patriots 45, Lions 24

November, 25, 2010
11/25/10
4:10
PM ET
A few thoughts on another late collapse by the Lions:

What it means: The Lions dropped to 2-9 on the season, ensuring themselves a 10th consecutive losing season. They have now lost their past seven Thanksgiving Day games and nine of their past 10.

A harsh lesson: Trailing 14-3 in the first half, the Patriots stayed cool, made a few offensive adjustments and roared back to score the final 28 points of the game. The Lions, on the other hand, melted down on defense -- particularly cornerback Alphonso Smith -- and watched quarterback Shaun Hill throw a critical interception in the third quarter.

The goat: A national television audience got an idea why the Denver Broncos gave up on Smith after one season. Smith was the closest defender on three of quarterback Tom Brady's touchdown passes, but it was his tackling that was atrocious and not worthy of a professional football field. Most notably, he was way too high on Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on a 15-yard touchdown run and got twisted out of his Underoos on a 79-yard catch-and-run by receiver Deion Branch. With all of that said, I'm not a fan of the Lions' decision to bench him in favor of veteran Nate Vasher. I'm all for accountability, but I also think it's obvious the Lions don't know how to respond to adversity. You don't give a young player like Smith a chance to learn if he's standing on the sideline.

More slop: In case you forgot, this game was tied at 24 when the fourth quarter began. After that point the Lions were called for seven penalties, two of which were declined. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew lost track of where he was on the field, stepped out of bounds, and then stepped back in illegally to catch a pass. Meanwhile, receiver Bryant Johnson dropped another touchdown pass. That's pretty much the definition of a 45-minute team.

Congratulations in order: Brady finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3 after completing 21 of 27 passes for 341 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Early pressure: The Lions battered Brady early in the game. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh notched his eighth sack of the season.

Little Best: Rookie tailback Jahvid Best wasn't a factor because of turf toe. Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown combined for a better-than-expected 91 rushing yards on 22 carries.

What's next: The Lions will host the Chicago Bears on Dec. 5, the first of three late-season home games against NFC North rivals.

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