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Recapping the Most Significant Performances from NFL Week 14

Brandon AlisogluCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2012

Recapping the Most Significant Performances from NFL Week 14

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    Week 14 provided plenty of interesting results that shook up the NFL standings and playoff picture. But the final scores only provide a glimpse of what went down.

    Who had the game-changing performances?

    Who stepped up when the game was on the line?

    Who proved that their days in the NFL are not numbered?

    Click through to find out. 

Brandon Gibson Saves the Day

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    While everyone was focusing on Danny Amendola's absence and bemoaning Sam Bradford's lack of receiving options, Brandon Gibson was getting ready.

    And then he exploded.

    He brought in six balls for 100 yards and a score. But that touchdown was of the game-winning variety that kept the St. Louis Rams in the playoff hunt.

    Not bad, kid.

Tying a Jim Brown Record Gets You a Nod

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    It wasn't a great day at the office for Trent Richardson overall. He only posted a 2.3-yard average on 18 carries for the Cleveland Browns.

    However, he did get into the end zone twice. While that would be significant on its own accord, those two scores raised Richardson's season total to nine.

    That's the same number that Jim Brown notched in his rookie year, meaning Richardson tied Brown's franchise record. 

Adrian Peterson Likes a Challenge

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    Despite everyone else's amateur (and surely a few professional) opinions, Adrian Peterson was determined to play in the season opener. 

    And he wasn't just going to be part of the team. Peterson set out to come back better than ever.

    Mission achieved.

    Against the Chicago Bears, another gauntlet was thrown down: Lead the Minnesota Vikings to victory, despite Percy Harvin's absence and Christian Ponder's ineptitude.

    Again, mission achieved.

    Peterson accounted for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries, and the Vikings kept their playoff hopes alive with a key victory over a divisional rival.

The San Diego Chargers Offensive Line Actually Did Its Job

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers were supposed to welcome the San Diego Chargers to town and then eat Philip Rivers' lunch.

    They never got close enough to swipe his sandwich as Rivers feasted on the Steelers secondary at a leisurely pace. He had no need to hurry through his meal, and no one was pressuring him to be quick about it.

    There was only one sack on Rivers, and he endured a grand total of four hits. Just for good measure, the line opened enough holes for the Chargers running backs to rack up 94 yards.

Nick Foles Has Entered the Fold as a Legitimate Starting NFL Quarterback

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    The Philadelphia Eagles love quarterback controversies. 

    Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb?

    Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick?

    Now, the fans just might have to embrace Nick Foles all on his own. He seems intent on keeping the job to himself for awhile.

    He had struggled through his first few outings, but that's all in the rear-view mirror for this week after his 32-of-51-for-381-yards-and-two-scores performance. 

    And he was cold-blooded in leading the Eagles down the field and calmly throwing the game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. 

Kirk Cousins Backed Up the Washington Redskins' Playoff Hopes

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    The Washington Redskins would have never been in a position to beat the Baltimore Ravens without Robert Griffin III and Albert Morris.

    Griffin notched 280 total yards and a score before going down with a nasty knee injury. Morris added 122 yards and a touchdown of his own.

    But Cousins had the most significant performance for this Skins team moving forward. He demonstrated he can rise to the occasion when the stakes are the highest, after he threw a late touchdown pass and then ran in the two-point conversion to force overtime.

    Even if RG3 misses a little time, this team doesn't need to hang its head. Cousins can keep them competitive. 

Not All Is Lost Is Charlotte

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    The Carolina Panthers haven't been able to live up to their self-imposed Super Bowl hype. But for a brief afternoon, Cam Newton looked like the type of quarterback who could eventually get them there.

    Ron Rivera is probably gone and there will likely be massive changes within the organization this offseason.

    However, after putting up 403 yards and three touchdowns, Newton won't have to spend his week trying to explain how everything went wrong.

    He'll probably be asked why everything went right, but here's guessing he can handle that line of questioning. 

Colin Kaepernick Put the Nail in the Coffin

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    His numbers weren't overpowering: He totaled 233 yards and accounted for one touchdown.

    But Colin Kaepernick put the final nail in the coffin of the Miami Dolphins, which consequently did the same to the Alex Smith argument.

    When the Dolphins scored late to make it a seven-point game, you could hear the grumbling from San Francisco 49ers fans.

    Then Kaepernick ripped off a huge run that set up the last touchdown of the afternoon.

    It wouldn't have been appropriate, but he certainly could have shushed the crowd if he had felt so inclined. 

The New York Giants Have Another Weapon

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    The New York Giants have so many players who can explode for big games that it hardly seems fair that they've found another.

    But David Wilson doesn't care about your notion of fair.

    For starters, there was the electrifying 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Then there were the 100 yards rushing on only 13 carries, two of which ended in the end zone.

    All told, he ended the day with 327 yards and three scores.

    Scary.

Statement in Seattle

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    I could single out multiple Seattle Seahawks, but I don't feel like tacking on another 15 to 37 slides.

    In all seriousness, the entire team was dominant.

    There were pass-rushers who were pressuring John Skelton into wayward throws. Granted, that's not all that difficult, but the effort was there.

    Plus, Marshawn Lynch went absolutely crazy. He averaged 11.6 yards per carry and racked up three touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals.

    That's not Beastmode. It's Feastmode. 

    The Seahawks look ready for the playoffs.

This Just In: Tom Brady Is Good (Chris Berman Voice)

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    If every quarterback in the league made up the Brady Bunch, then Tom Brady would be Marsha.

    Timely reference, right?

    The point remains that Brady had the most defining performance of the weekend. He continuously sliced the Houston Texans defense until he racked up 296 yards and four touchdowns.

    Not too shabby, as it was good enough for a 125.4 quarterback rating. 

    The rest of the league has officially been put on notice.

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