Arizona 7–New England 47
The Cardinals may have secured a playoff spot by winning a weak NFC West, but they showed today that they didn’t earn that title.
From the opening kickoff, the Cardinals (8-7) were dominated. It snowed heavily, something the Cardinals aren’t used to. But nonetheless, the game was never competitive.
Kurt Warner was pulled in the third quarter after throwing for only 30 yards. He was replaced by Matt Leinart, who passed for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Larry Fitzgerald had the only touchdown, and was the only bright spot for the Cardinals. Arizona tried to establish the running game early with numerous rush attempts, but finished the game with only 44 yards on the ground by three runners.
The Patriots (10-5) scored 47 points before the Cardinals scored, but even the one score came after the third string defense came in. Matt Cassel led the charge and is surely due a nice paycheck in the offseason. He passed for 345 yards and three touchdowns to Wes Welker, Randy Moss, and Kevin Faulk.
LaMont Jordan added two rushing TDs to open the game and finished with 78 yards. Sammy Morris led the team in rushing with 88 yards. Jabar Gafney came out of nowhere to rack up 90 receiving yards, but didn't score. Stephen Gostkowski made good on four field goals in the snow and ice.
The Cardinals gave up over 300 yards passing for the 10th time this season, an indication that they won’t make it far in the playoffs.
The Patriots are still in a stalemate for the playoffs. It will come down to tie breakers in Week 17 if the Dolphins or Jets, Patriots, and Ravens win out. The win bought them another week of life, but two of the teams listed above must lose and the Patriots must win to make the playoffs.
San Diego 41–Tampa Bay 24
San Diego came into Tampa Bay with a purpose and they didn’t disappoint. The Chargers (7-8) ironically can still make the playoffs if they win their next game against the Broncos.
Philip Rivers had four touchdown passes, 287 yards, and no picks. LaDainian Tomlinson became the LT of old, rushing for 90 yards and catching two passes for 20 more. The Chargers were down by four points going into the fourth quarter, but roared back with 21 unanswered points. Vincent Jackson had 111 yards on seven catches, and Antonio Gates scored two times on four catches for 43 yards.
The loss puts the Bucs' (9-6) playoff hopes a little further out of reach. Tampa already lost to the Cowboys and would lose out to them on a tiebreaker should both teams win next week.
Jeff Garcia was bullied all day, throwing two interceptions and 232 yards. Oddly enough, Jeff Garcia led the team in rushing with 45 yards and a score, something that tells of the Bucs' rushing woes in this game.
Antonio Bryant again had a superb day, catching six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Both teams held the ball for 30 minutes, and the game seemed even at the end of three until the Bucs’ young defense began to slip. The Chargers face the Broncos for their playoff lives next week, while the Bucs face the Oakland Raiders.
Pittsburgh 14-Tennessee 31
The Titans locked up a first round bye with this win, and the Steelers likely have locked the No. 2 seed for the playoffs. In this physical game, the Titans (13-2) ran away with the game behind a pair of touchdowns from Smash (LenDale White) and Dash (Chris Johnson). The duo managed to run for more than 100 yards (107) on the Steelers.
Justin Gage had 104 yards receiving, and this was only the second time the Steelers (11-4) have allowed a receiver to gain more than 100 yards in a game this season...