Mike Florio chats with Tom Curran of CSN New England to discuss the Patriots as they hit the homestretch of their season. Florio asks if Vince Wilfork is the favorite for DPOY, if Matt Schaub can be placed in the same category as Tom Brady, and the injury status of TE Rob Gronkowski.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Can the Pats run the table?
Unlike the Patriots or the Ravens, the Bengals didn’t need to make a great escape to secure victory on Sunday.
Instead, Cincinnati led throughout in a 42-28 victory against AFC South-leading Indianapolis on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
This was a triumph for the Bengals’ offense, which racked up 430 yards and six touchdowns — three rushing, three passing — in an impressive performance.
With the win, the Bengals (9-4) kept a two-game lead over Baltimore (7-6) in the AFC North.
The Colts (8-5) got a big game from quarterback Andrew Luck, who threw four second-half TD passes — two to rookie wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers and a pair to second-year wideout LaVon Brazill. However, the Colts again started slowly, scoring no first-half points.
Also, the Colts’ defense had a tough day. Like the Colts, the Bengals scored 28 second-half points.
In the win, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 275 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. The Bengals also got two rushing TDs from BenJarvus Green-Ellis, including a controversial one-yard score near the end of the second quarter. At first, Green-Ellis was ruled to have been touched down short of the goal line on a fourth-down run, but the call was reversed, and the Bengals took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
Then, on the first drive of the second half, the Bengals marched 80 yards on nine plays, with Green-Ellis’ second touchdown giving Cincinnati a 21-0 edge. Though the Colts would cut the lead to 21-14 on Luck TD passes to Rogers (69 yards) and Brazill (19 yards), the Bengals would respond with two touchdowns of their own, with Dalton hitting tight end Jermaine Gresham for a one-yard score and wideout A.J. Green for a nine-yard tally.
It was that sort of day for the Bengals, who always had an answer for the Colts.
The Browns held Tom Brady and the Patriots in check for most of Sunday’s game, but Brady was able to cash in on a couple of opportunities late in the game to lift the team to a 27-26 victory.
One of those opportunities came about because of a pass interference call in the end zone with less than a minute to play. Browns defensive back Leon McFadden was flagged for interfering with Patriots wide receiver Josh Boyce, a call that didn’t have a lot of evidence to support it when watching on several replays after the fact. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said he was “sick about the outcome of the game” and made it clear he disagreed with the officials on that play.
“I did not. I felt like those two were both jostling for the ball and obviously, the penalty was called,” Chudzinski said in his postgame press conference. “So, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what I think.”
There was plenty of other disagreement with that call in the Browns locker room and there was also displeasure with a call on cornerback Jordan Poyer for hitting a defenseless receiver just before the fateful flag on McFadden. As Chudzinski said, though, it doesn’t much matter what the Browns think since there’s no way to take those final 13 Patriots points off the board.
Mathieu was hurt on a free kick after a Cardinals safety. After he was tackled on the play, Mathieu tried to run off the field and onto the Cardinals’ sideline, but he fell down before making it out of bounds.
Mathieu, who was attended to by the team’s medical staff, was able to sit up before being taken off the field on the cart.
The Cardinals have ruled out Mathieu for the rest of the game.
The 21-yard-old Mathieu has been a key contributor on the Cardinals’ defense this season, and he has shown the playmaking flair that marked his collegiate career at LSU.
The Cardinals hold a 23-3 lead late in the third quarter against the visiting Rams.
The Vikings played one of the more memorable games of the 2013 season in Baltimore on Sunday and they’ll get a few more hours in the city to ruminate on it before taking off for Minnesota.
Despite the fact that snow was in the air and on the ground during the 29-26 Ravens win, weather has nothing to do with the delay. The team’s plane has been grounded for a spell after a catering truck ran into it at the airport.
Fullback Jerome Felton and defensive tackle Chase Baker each sent out good-humored tweets about the situation. Anyone who has ever dealt with a plane delay knows that finding humor in such situations is easier said than done, even when you’re flying back on a chartered flight and won’t wind up forcing you to miss a meeting or family gathering because of airline machinations.
For someone who was on the injury report with a right elbow ailment, Carson Palmer has looked pretty good on Sunday against St. Louis.
Palmer has completed 16 of his first 17 passes for 169 yards with one TD and no interceptions as the Cardinals have jumped out to a 21-3 third-quarter lead.
Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald hauled in eight passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters. Rashard Mendenhall kicked off the scoring for Arizona with a three-yard first-quarter TD run.
Eighteen seconds into the second half, Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens was intercepted by Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, who took it back for a 24-yard score and extended Arizona’s lead to 18 points. On the play, Clemens was under pressure from defensive end Calais Campbell.
Clemens had played well before the pick, competing 11-of-15 passes for 141 yards in the first half.
The Cardinals have done well to slow the Rams’ running game, limiting tailback Zac Stacy to just 11 first-half yards.
The Chargers’ slim playoff hopes will be all but extinguished with a loss and they’re doing everything they can to avoid one against the Giants on Sunday.
San Diego leads 24-0 after the first half thanks to an overwhelming performance on both sides of the ball. Philip Rivers has completed 16-of-21 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Keenan Allen. Allen returned from a shoulder injury to catch his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter. Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead have combined to run for 77 yards on 17 carries as the Giants defense appears to have very little ability to compete and/or interest in competing this week.
The same could be said of the Giants offense. They’ve punted three times, been intercepted and lost a fumble in another ineffectual performance in a season filled with them. The Giants haven’t officially been eliminated from playoff contention, but they’re playing like they’ve accepted their fate as something that can’t be changed.
The Chargers have made no such concession, which may not get them to the playoffs but at least they’re going down with a fight.
A lot of stuff happened in the waning moments of the first half of the Titans-Broncos game, but only one of them was historic.
Broncos kicker Matt Prater broke an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal (which would have been good from at least 65 1/2) to break the previous record of 63.
Making that kind of kick anywhere is impressive, and any advantage he gained from elevation is probably negated by the frigid conditions in Denver, which can turn the K-ball into a brick.
That cut the Titans lead to 21-20 at halftime, of a game more hard-hitting than the score would indicate.
It’s been a physical game, and the Titans have run for three touchdowns.
Because of an injury, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was an observer for much of the wild 29-26 Ravens win over his team on Sunday.
Peterson didn’t like much of what he saw and he took to Twitter to share his feelings after the game. Both the officials and the fans in Baltimore came up for criticism from the Vikings running back for their actions during the game.
“Wow talking about bad officiating & the worst fan base I’ve ever experience! They threw snow balls the entire 4q like lil kids. Smh,” Peterson wrote.
Peterson expanded on those thoughts after the game. He ripped the decision to uphold a fumble by running back Toby Gerhart in the first half although it looked like Gerhart’s knee was down before the ball came out as well as a late pass interference call on linebacker Chad Greenway.
“It’s frustrating for us,” Peterson said, via KFAN. “We come in and we fight so hard, to have to beat a team and the officials, it doesn’t make any sense. … And then to top it off you have the fans who are acting like kids and just throwing snowballs the end of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter. It’s like, it was ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense.”
Peterson’s comments about the officials may earn some notice from the league office. His comments about the fans in Baltimore probably make it wise to avoid a pilgrimage to Diner filming locations in the near future.
In a game they desperately needed to win, the Packers did just that, shaking off a double-digit halftime deficit to win 22-21 against the Falcons at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Packers quarterback Matt Flynn connected with tight end Andrew Quarless on a two-yard touchdown with 12:01 left in regulation for the final margin of victory for Green Bay (6-6-1), which trailed 21-10 at the half. The touchdown was set up after the Packers’ Mike Neal forced Matt Ryan to fumble on a sack, with defensive lineman Johnny Jolly recovering for Green Bay.
The Falcons (3-10) had their chances down the stretch, but they couldn’t quite break through. First, Matt Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal with less than seven minutes left. Then, in the first play after the two-minute warning, the Falcons were stopped on a 4th-and-5 play at the Green Bay 33, as tight end Tony Gonzalez couldn’t haul in a Ryan pass that wasn’t quite on target.
Finally, on Atlanta’s last drive in the final minute, Harry Douglas dropped a pass that would have advanced the ball into Green Bay territory. On the next play, Ryan was intercepted by Jarrett Bush, which sealed the game for Green Bay.
With the win, the Packers are just a half-game behind Detroit (7-6) in the NFC North.
Flynn completed 24-of-32 passes for 258 yards with one TD and one interception for the Packers, who snapped a five-game winless streak. In defeat, Ryan threw for 206 yards with two TDs and one pick on 20-of-35 passing for Atlanta.
In a game that featured five touchdowns in about a two-minute span at game’s end, the Ravens got the final and deciding score, with Joe Flacco connecting with Marlon Brown on a nine-yard TD pass with four seconds left to give host Baltimore a 29-26 win over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
Brown’s touchdown capped a memorable sequence in which the teams kept exchanging the lead in increasingly stunning fashion in the snow.
It all began when Flacco hit Dennis Pitta for a one-yard TD with 2:05 left to give the Ravens a 13-12 lead. Baltimore added a two-point conversion for a 15-12 edge.
But back came the Vikings, who retook the lead on a 41-yard TD run by Toby Gerhart, who replaced the injured Adrian Peterson, who left the game with an ankle ailment in the second quarter. Gerhart’s sprint up the middle gave Minnesota a 19-15 lead with 1:27 left.
The excitement was far from over, though.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones broke free for a 77-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the Ravens had a 22-19 edge with 1:16 left.
But that was short lived.
On the third play of the Vikings’ next drive, quarterback Matt Cassel threw a short screen pass to rookie wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, who did the rest, sprinting away for a 79-yard touchdown. Amazingly, the Vikings again had the lead.
Trailing 26-22 with 45 seconds left, the Ravens had 80 yards to go and two timeouts. They got 35 yards right off the bat when Flacco hit Brown down the middle on the first play of the drive. Baltimore used one of its timeouts to stop the clock.
Two plays later, though, Flacco was picked by Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo. However, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was penalized for pass interference, giving Baltimore an 18-yard gain and a first down.
The Ravens capitalized on the break. Flacco hit Pitta for 18 yards, moving the ball to the Minnesota 9. Then, on the next play, Flacco connected with Brown, who made an athletic catch to secure the lead — and ultimately victory — for the Ravens.
The win allowed the Ravens (7-6) to hold onto the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff chase. The Vikings, who lost the game but no face whatsoever in another brave performance, fell to 3-9-1.
The Chargers appear to have picked a winner when they grabbed wide receiver Keenan Allen in the third round this year.
Allen had 58 catches for 843 yards and three touchdowns heading into Week 14 and didn’t wait long to add to those totals. He caught a 43-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to open up the scoring in San Diego and added another catch, setting a Chargers rookie record, for 12 more yards on the team’s next possession.
That one didn’t end as well for the wideout. Allen headed back to the locker room with a shoulder injury after that catch, robbing the Chargers of their most productive wideout just as the first quarter came to an end.
The Chargers got set up for Allen’s touchdown when Donald Butler intercepted an Eli Manning pass. The interception, which was intended for Rueben Randle and deflected, was Manning’s 19th of the season.
It might be cold in Denver, but the only thing hotter than Mike Munchak’s seat on the Titans sideline might be the Titans themselves.
Tennessee has jumped to a surprising 14-10 lead over the Broncos on the road, but the Broncos just missed a couple of chances to tie it up.
But then Manning warmed up a bit on a 16-degree day, hitting Eric Decker for what appeared to be a 26-yard touchdown and then Wes Welker for a 7-yard touchdown, but both were overturned on review. Decker was ruled down short of the goal line, and Welker seemed to bobble the ball as he hit the ground.
The Broncos then had to settle for a field goal just before the end of the first quarter.
The Titans have to be encouraged by the goal-line stand, and they’re playing with confidence.
For the better part of 59 minutes, Sunday was not a good day for the New England Patriots. Things wound up brightening up a lot at the very end, however.
Julian Edelman held onto a two-yard touchdown catch from Tom Brady despite a hit by Jordan Poyer that was flagged for unnecessary roughness with 1:01 left to play, Kyle Arrington recovered an onside kick and then Leon McFadden was flagged for pass interference in the end zone with 40 seconds left to play. It was a weak call by the officials, although New Englanders may think it just penance for the flag that was picked up in their loss to Carolina.
The Pats got the ball on the one and Brady hit Danny Amendola for a touchdown on the next play. They couldn’t get a two-point conversion, making the score 27-26 in a game the Patriots once trailed 19-3. It wasn’t over yet, as the Browns drove the ball into position for a 58-yard field goal with a second to play but Billy Cundiff was short and the Pats held on.
Brady finished the day 32-of-52 for 418 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on a day that went from a horrible start to a worse middle before the happy ending.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the first six games of the season, had to be carted off the field after taking a shot to the knee from Browns safety T.J. Ward and initial reports about the severity of the injury suggest that they’ll end the season the same way they started it. Shane Vereen will likely be part of the plan for life without Gronkowski after catching 12 passes for 153 yards on Sunday afternoon, but it’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the tight end’s loss.
The comeback will overshadow another monster day for Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon caught an 80-yard touchdown and had a 19-yard catch and a 34-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up another touchdown. Gordon had seven catches for 151 yards, breaking his string of 200-yard outings but setting a new Browns franchise record for single-season receiving yards.
That wasn’t enough to overcome another Tom Brady comeback, although there will still be plenty of people lamenting a loss in Patriots country on Sunday night.
For a guy who never played in much snow, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill isn’t bad at it.
Tannehill outdueled Ben Roethlisberger in a wild second half to lead the Dolphins to a 34-28 win at Pittsburgh.
The Steelers nearly won the game as time expired, as Antonio Brown went out of bounds at the 13-yard line to kill the hopes of a multiple-lateral finish. After the ball went through the hands of several Steelers players, Brown found a seam, and was celebrating in the end zone when officials conferred and determined he had stepped out.
The win moves the Dolphins to 7-6, pushing them to the top of the AFC sixth-seed pack. The Steelers fell to 5-8, ending any practical chance at the playoffs.
Tannehill was 20-of-33 for 200 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Charles Clay for his second touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter for control of a game that saw the lead change hands four times in the second half.
Roethlisberger was solid throughout the day, but the Dolphins made defensive stops when it counted, and thanks to Brown’s left foot, were able to hang on.
In a bad game between two losing teams on Sunday in Tampa, the Buccaneers proved a much better team than the Bills.
Tampa Bay jumped out to an early lead when Bobby Rainey ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the second play of the game, and the Buccaneers never looked back. It was 14-3 at the end of the first quarter and 24-3 at halftime, and the Bucs cruised to an easy 27-6 win in the second half.
Despite an absolutely dreadful start to the season, the Buccaneers are now playing competitive football. Today’s win improves them to 4-9 on the season, and 4-1 in their last five games. This late run of winning may be enough to save Greg Schiano’s job.
But not all is well with the Buccaneers. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who has shown so much promise this season, had a rough day. One of the most important questions facing the Bucs in the offseason will be whether Glennon is their franchise quarterback of the future, and his performance today did nothing to answer that question.
Still, the Buccaneers are in much better shape now than they were a few weeks ago. Tampa Bay is ending the season playing good football. Who saw that coming five weeks ago?