Week 14 NFL scores weeded out many a pretender.
Now in the fourth quarter of the 2012 season, one would think it’d be time for true contenders to flip the switch. The following teams either disagree, or they just weren’t talented enough to do so.
San Diego Chargers 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 24
After defeating their bitter division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, at M&T Bank Stadium with Charlie Batch under center, taking care of business at Heinz Field against the lowly Chargers with Ben Roethlisberger should’ve been a cakewalk.
Roethlisberger only completed 22-of-42 passes on his return. He also turned the football over twice—one, a fumble that San Diego recovered in the end zone thanks to a bonehead decision by Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh actually outgained the Chargers by almost 50 net yards, but the Steelers’ turnovers were too much to overcome.
Minnesota Vikings 21, Chicago Bears 14
Adrian Peterson rushed for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday…in the first half. He finished with 154 yards on the ground as he, and Harrison Smith, led the Vikings to victory in spite of Christian Ponder.
While the Bears’ pitiful run defense did the most damage to their efforts, Jay Cutler’s two interceptions can’t be overlooked either. His one to Smith, which the rookie safety took to the house, basically clinched the game for Minnesota.
Carolina Panthers 30, Atlanta Falcons 20
Carolina showed what happens when a team that lives and dies by the turnover doesn’t force a turnover. The Panthers protected the football and scored on five drives before the Falcons could even get on the board.
Cam Newton made a laughingstock of Atlanta’s defense, completing 23-of-35 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t just embarrass the Falcons via air assault, though—not even close. He also rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.