What an exciting early slate of games Week 12 of the NFL brought. But despite some of the crazy finishes, the biggest story came from one of the least exciting games. The Houston Texans defeated the Tennessee Titans 20-0 in a game that was never in doubt for the host Texans.
While the game itself wasn't much to talk about, the fight that took place between Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan will certainly garner attention throughout the upcoming week. Johnson and Finnegan were going at it continuously throughout the game, and things eventually got so heated that Johnson ripped off Finnegan's helmet and threw punches.
Finnegan has a reputation for being a dirty player, and his antics got under Johnson's skin which will likely cost one of the league's top receivers a game or two. After Finnegan was ejected, he jogged off the field motioning to the crowd as if he was claiming victory.
What was most surprising is that Johnson was the one who lost his cool despite his team having a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter. Roger Goodell will have an interesting week ahead figuring out how to discipline the two. Finnegan might get away with a fine, but Johnson won't be so lucky as he threw two blatant punches.
The fight wasn't the only story line of the day. There were a number of good games and impressive performances.
The Browns rode Hillis' legs throughout the day to a tune of 131 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished with six receptions and 63 yards continuing his impressive play this season.
Jake Delhomme had an up-and-down game that featured a pick six and leading a game-winning drive against his former team. But despite Hillis' performance and Delhomme's late comeback drive, it was Jimmy Clausen and the Panthers who almost stole the show at the end. Clausen hit Brandon LaFell near the sidelines with five seconds remaining giving the normally reliable John Kasay a 42-yard field goal attempt to win the game.
He missed wide left hitting the outside of the uprights.
Eric Mangini breathed a sigh of relief, and the Browns walked off winners. A game that featured two teams that won't figure into the playoff picture managed to produce a very entertaining football game.
The Buffalo Bills continue to play inspired football, but if you're a team that considers themselves a Super Bowl contender, these are games that you have to put away. Pittsburgh had a 13-0 lead going into halftime with all of the momentum and let up allowing the Bills back into the game.
This has become a common trend for the Steelers. Jumping out to a lead, giving up said lead and eventually coming away with a victory. While it's working against lesser teams right now, the Steelers would be wise to find a killer instinct before the postseason.
Nevertheless, Pittsburgh will leave Buffalo with an 8-3 record and boast one of the best records in the AFC.
Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers went head-to-head with Ryan coming out on top in the end. The Falcons improved their NFC best record to 9-2, and there's no denying this team will be extremely tough to beat inside the Georgia Dome come playoff time.
As impressive as the Falcons were, you have to take your hats off to Rodgers who led the Packers back to tie the game late on a 4th-and-goal when he found Jordy Nelson in the end zone. The only problem was Green Bay left enough time for Ryan to engineer a game-winning drive.
This very well could have been a preview of the NFC championship game if the two teams continue to play the kind of football they did today.
Congrats to Frazier on getting Minnesota back on a winning track after all of the drama they've endured this season. The post-Brad Childress era began and one of the biggest differences with Frazier leading the way was getting Brett Favre on the move.
Favre scrambled for a first down with a little over two minutes remaining which ensured the Vikings a win. For Washington, it was another disappointing loss and another poor performance from Donovan McNabb.
McNabb under threw a wide open Anthony Armstrong which would have been an easy TD, but instead ended up being a 45-yard completion. The Redskins ended up settling for a field goal on the drive ultimately costing them four points.
Washington and McNabb have said he won't be released at the end of the season—which would take the Redskins off the hook for the big contract extension they recently gave him—although there certainly has to be some discussion about it judging by his performance thus far.
This game will likely spark the Vikings down the stretch and help them finish with a respectable record even if it won't be enough for a playoff berth.
A loss to Jacksonville at home would have meant a three-game losing streak and turmoil on the horizon for a team that started out 6-2. Instead, Manning found Boss for the go-ahead score with 3:15 remaining in the fourth quarter giving the Giants a four-point lead.
The Jaguars were unable to answer dropping them to 6-5 and potentially leaving them out of first place if Indianapolis wins tonight. Jacksonville held a 17-6 halftime lead and looked poised to upset the Giants before they were outscored 18-3 in the second half.
Tom Coughlin's squad responded when it mattered and kept themselves in the division race with the Philadelphia Eagles. Even better for the Giants, they didn't turn the ball over once—something that has plagued them of late.