NFL Scores Week 15: Astonishing Outcomes We Didn't See Coming

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants walks off the field after a turnover on downs against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 16, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For a week that was supposed to boast some of the best matchups the NFL has ever seen all in one day, Week 15 of the NFL season had a lot of surprises in the early going.

If you can tell me you predicted the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to get shut out, you're either a sorcerer or you have inside information.

Whether it was Kirk Cousins' big day or Eli Manning returning to rookie form, here are three surprising outcomes we (okay...I) didn't see coming in Week 15.

 

Washington Redskins 38, Cleveland Browns 21

With Robert Griffin III inactive against the Browns, I thought for sure Cleveland would take this one or at least lose respectfully.

After all, Cleveland had won three straight and Washington was starting its other rookie QB, Kirk Cousins, who had never made an NFL start prior to this Sunday.

Cousins wound up throwing for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns and was aided by the Redskins rushing game, as Washington ran for 122 yards and scored three TDs.

Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson both looked like rookies against a subpar Redskins defense, as Richardson rushed for only 28 yards and Weeden threw two picks in a losing effort.

It's incredible to think that the Redskins could hang 38 points on a team without RGIII playing a single snap.

 

Atlanta Falcons 34, New York Giants 0

This is December—when the G-Men turn it on to make their usual playoff push—isn't it?

Apparently not, because New York didn't even show up to the Georgia Dome on Sunday. Eli Manning looked like the Manning from his first few seasons with the Giants, just barely completing 50 percent of his passes and throwing two interceptions.

For a team that desperately needed a win on Sunday to keep pace in the NFC East, the Giants played with absolutely no sense of urgency and a complete lack of heart.

New York was without crucial pieces of its secondary and its leading rusher, but that's no excuse to leave Harry Douglas and Julio Jones wide open in the secondary.

I can deal with the Giants losing, but what's most shocking is that they failed to put any points on the board.

Was that the Giants out there or was it the New York Jets?

 

New Orleans Saints 41, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0

One week after being torched by the G-Men, the New Orleans Saints (much to my surprise) actually went out and played defense in a shutout effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Saints defense forced five Tampa turnovers while Drew Brees dissected the Buccaneers' secondary for 307 yards and four touchdowns.

For an offense that boasts Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson, it's extremely unsettling that Tampa Bay couldn't score against the NFL's worst defense.

Furthermore, I thought for sure this game would see at least 50 points combined. Instead, it saw New Orleans score nearly 50 and Tampa gain almost 400 yards without putting a single point on the scoreboard.

Where was that Bucs team that kept pace with the Saints in Week 7? 

Having lost four in a row, there's no hope for Tampa's offense in the coming weeks against defenses like the ones that the St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons sport.

 

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