The New York Giants tied up the undefeated Green Bay Packers with 58 seconds left in the game. At the time, I thought that it was just enough time for Aaron Rodgers to cross the Giants 30-yard line and give them an opportunity to kick a game winning field goal. But also, I thought there was a chance that Rodgers would make a mistake. I was way wrong on that second thought.
After starting their drive at the 20, Rodgers immediately hit Jermichael Finley for 24 yards. He then hit Jordy Nelson, who was covered one on one wide left for 27 yards. In just two plays, the Packers were at the Giants’ 29. Two more plays and the Packers were at the Giants’ 12, and Mason Crosby kicked a 30 yard field goal to win the game.
Offensively, this Packers team is the best since the 2007 New England Patriots. They are nearly unstoppable.
1. Rodgers has a 127.7 quarterback rating this season. The all-time record is Peyton Manning’s 121.1 mark in 2004.
2. Though the Giants lost after their game was already over, the Dallas Cowboys had a chance to put some distance between them and the Giants, but failed the crunch time clock management game and lost in overtime. With timeouts left and executing on third and long, the Cowboys could’ve taken a few more shots to give kicker Dan Bailey a gimmie field goal. But after Tony Romo connected with Dez Bryant to the Arizona Cardinals’ 31, Romo spiked the ball rather than call a timeout, losing 15 seconds or so. Jason Garrett sent out Dan Bailey to win the game, but iced his own kicker. Worried that they were running out of time on the play clock, Garrett called time out, all while Bailey connected on his field goal. Of course, he missed after the timeout. Just seven plays into the overtime period, Kevin Kolb threw a short pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling who took it all the way to the house to win the game. The Cardinals are making a late playoff push, but face the division leading 49ers next week.
3. Speaking of the 49ers, they clinched their first division title since 2002 in their victory over the hapless St. Louis Rams. The 49ers struggled offensively in the first half, being held out of the end zone both because of the solid play of the Rams’ front four and also because of their own incompetence. But they put together two big pass plays in the second half to stretch out their lead and win 26-0. Not a bad way to clinch the division.
By the way, you’ll want to check out Aldon Smith’s “sack dance”.
5. The Raiders went into Miami to keep hold on their one game lead over the Denver Broncos. They failed. They failed so badly that at certain points, I’d wondered how they won 3 games, let alone 7. The Dolphins looked like the better team in nearly every way. The Broncos Tebowed their way into another comeback win in Minnesota against the Vikings. Christian Ponder threw for 381 yards, but threw a costly interception late in the game to help set up the Broncos game winning field goal. Tebow is 6-1 as a starter and the Broncos are now tied with the Raiders for first place in the AFC West.
6. The Pittsburgh Steelers put away the Cincinnati Bengals at home 35-7. The Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens are starting to put some distance between themselves and the Bengals. Big Ben threw two TDs in their win. The Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns to remain in first place in the AFC North. They are tied with the Steelers but won both head-to-head games and thus, hold the divisional tie-breaker. Ray Rice ran for 204 yards and two TDs in the win. The Bengals are still in the race for the second wildcard.
7. The New England Patriots were a 21.5 point favorite against the Indianapolis Colts, who are still sucking for Luck. The Pats were leading 31-3 in the 4th quarter and for whatever reason, the Colts wanted to try and ruin their chances at putting another easy L in the books. The great Dan Orlovsky went 30-37 for 353 yards and two touchdowns. But really, the Colts scored their last two touchdowns within the last two and a half minutes of the game, so the score made the game closer than it really was. New England is one of four AFC teams who are 9-3 in the race to home field advantage in the playoffs.
8. One of those other 9-3 teams, the Houston Texans seem like the team least likely to hold court. Though, on Sunday, they did hold court, beating the visiting Atlanta Falcons 17-10. TJ Yates didn’t complete half his passes, but threw for 188 yards and a touchdown. He also connected with Andre Johnson four times for nearly 100 yards. The Texans and the fantasy football world welcome you back Andre Johnson.
10. The San Diego Chargers need to win out. There’s still a small chance they can win their division, with the Raiders and the Broncos both holding a shaky share of the lead. But they can’t lose another football game. On Monday night, they face the Jacksonville Chargers who through eleven games have only scored 140 points. It’s going to be a stinker of the game, but even though the Chargers have been league’s biggest underachiever, they have more than enough talent to win this game.