Sunday, December 20, 2009
Week 15: Historic day for Browns' duo
Josh Cribbs: Teams keep kicking to Cribbs, and Cribbs keeps making them pay. Cribbs returned two kickoffs for touchdowns -- a 100-yarder in the first quarter and a 103-yarder in the second -- in the Browns' 41-34 victory at Kansas City. Cribbs now has eight career kickoff returns for scores, a new league record. He joined Miami's Ted Ginn Jr. as the only players to have two 100-yard TDs of any kind in the same game.
Jerome Harrison: Cribbs wasn't the only Brown to shine in Week 15. Harrison rushed for a team-record 286 yards and three TDs, including a 29-yarder with 44 seconds left that proved to be the game winner. Harrison also had scoring runs of 71 and 8 yards. Entering Week 15, Harrison had only 301 rushing yards on the season, and just 73 over the previous seven games. The Browns' previous single-game rushing record was held by Jim Brown (237).
Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger passed for a team-record 503 yards and three TDs to help the Steelers edge Green Bay, 37-36. Trailing 36-30 in the closing seconds, Big Ben capped a frantic Pittsburgh drive by hitting rookie Mike Wallace on a 19-yard scoring strike with no time on the clock. Roethlisberger also connected with Wallace on a 60-yard TD pass in the first quarter.
Steve Smith: Smith has had a quiet season -- by his standards anyway -- but he turned in a stellar performance against one of the league's top defenses. Smith caught nine passes for 157 yards and one TD in the Panthers' 26-7 victory over Minnesota. His 45-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter set up a 3-yard TD run by Jonathan Stewart, which put the game out of reach.
DeMarcus Ware: One week after sustaining what appeared to be a serious neck injury, Ware wreaked havoc on the Saints. The Dallas defensive end sacked Drew Brees twice, forcing fumbles that the Saints lost both times, as the Cowboys ended New Orleans' run at perfection with a 24-17 victory on Saturday night. Ware's first forced fumble set up a Dallas field goal. The second one came with the Saints driving in the final minute.
Andre Johnson Johnson was kept out of the end zone, but he did plenty of damage in the Texans' 16-13 victory in St. Louis. Johnson had nine catches for a season-high 196 yards -- the second straight game in which he surpassed the 190-yard receiving mark. He caught 11 passes for 193 yards in Houston's Week 14 victory over Seattle.
Joe Flacco An efficient and productive day by Flacco helped the Ravens move closer to a playoff berth. Flacco completed 21 of 29 passes for 234 yards and a career-high four TDs, leading Baltimore to a 31-7 victory over Chicago. Flacco was not intercepted for the second straight week.
The Jets' special teams: Poor kicking and poor execution cost the Jets in a 10-7 loss to Atlanta. Leading 7-3 with 6:40 left in the second quarter, Kellen Clemens mishandled a low snap on a 19-yard field goal attempt and Jay Feely never had a chance to kick. The Jets wasted another scoring opportunity when Feely was wide right on a 38-yard attempt as time expired in the first half. Then, Feely had a 37-yarder blocked by Chauncey Davis with 4:27 left in the fourth quarter, keeping Atlanta in it.
Jay Cutler: Cutler's forgettable season continued in Week 15. Cutler completed only 10 of 27 passes for 90 yards with no TDs and three interceptions in Chicago's loss to the Ravens. Cutler's league-leading interception total now stands at 25.
Matt Hasselbeck: The Seahawks committed five turnovers on Sunday, and Hasselbeck was responsible for all of them. Hasselbeck threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in Seattle's 24-7 loss to the Buccaneers. It was Hasselbeck's first four-interception game in over five years and just the second of his career.
The Bills: The Bills kept New England's offense in check (224 total yards), but they were undone by 11 penalties for 124 yards in a 17-10 loss. Buffalo had 104 penalty yards in the first half -- the most by an NFL team in an opening half this season. The loss mathematically eliminated the Bills (5-9) from playoff contention, capping a decade of futility. They'll miss the playoffs for a 10th straight season, tied with Detroit for the longest active drought.