On Sunday night, Nov. 29, 2015 the Denver Broncos erased a 14-point fourth quarter deficit and ended the New England Patriots quest for a perfect season. The Broncos needed overtime but prevailed by a final score of 30-24.
The game-winning play was a 48-yard touchdown run by C.J. Anderson on the third play of Denver’s first possession in overtime. Denver improved to a record of 9-2, while the Patriots fell to 10-1. This was the final game played on the twelve Sunday of NFL Football in the 2015 regular season.
As far as noteable individual performances of the day, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had the best rushing effort; he gained 158 yards and pushed his league leading total to 1164 total yards. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had the most passing yardage on the day, as he threw for 456 yards. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw five touchdown passes to top all quarterbacks in that category. Here is a look at all the games of the day.
Redskins (5-6) 20, Giants (5-6) 14: @ Washington – In this matchup of longtime division rivals, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw interceptions on his team’s first two possessions. One could argue that since Giants receivers did get a hand on both passes, it was not truly the fault of Manning, but that point is moot. Though the hometown Redskins were unable to turn their early good fortune into points on the scoreboard, the early misfortune of the New York squad turned out to be an ominous precursor for the visiting team. In the second quarter, the Washington offense did finally get cranked up. The result was a 17-0 halftime lead. The real dagger came in the 3rd quarter when Manning threw a third interception when his team was in Washington territory with a chance to cut into the lead. Washington went on to take a 20-0 lead into the fourth quarter and then withstood a late rally. Total offensive yardage: WAS 407, NYG 332. Total net rushing yardage: WAS 105, NYG 33. Turnovers: NYG 3, WAS 0. Third down conversions: WAS 4/15, NYG 3/15.
Texans (6-5) 24, Saints (4-7) 6: @ Houston – This was the J.J. Watt show. The dynamic Texans defensive lineman gave the hometown fans plenty to cheer about. The charismatic All-Pro wound up with five solo tackles and two sacks on the way to leading his team to a fourth straight victory. The Texans last loss was by a score of 44-26 to Miami in Week 7. With this latest victory, the Texans are now firmly in the AFC playoff hunt and have at least a fair shot at winning the AFC South division outright as they are now tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the division lead. As for the Saints, the downward spiral continues. With swirling rumors of this being the end of the road for both head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, it appears as though the team has come apart at the seams. Total offensive yardage: HOU 362, N.O. 268. Total net rushing yardage: HOU 167, N.O. 50. Turnovers: HOU 1, N.O. 1. Third down conversions: HOU 6/13, N.O. 3/12.
Chargers (3-8) 31, Jaguars (4-7) 25: @ Jacksonville – In a battle of teams playing for little more than personal pride, the visiting San Diego Chargers emerged victorious. In front of the home fans, the Jaguars held a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but then had a rough 15 minutes to end the first half. The Chargers were able to outscore the home team 21-3 in the second quarter and never again trailed in the game. The Jacksonville team were again plagued with some very familiar problems with execution in big moments. The yardage stats may point to a Jags win, but the real story is in the turnovers and lack of execution on third down. Total offensive yardage: JAX 420, S.D. 369. Total net rushing yardage: JAX 102, S.D. 79. Turnovers: JAX 1, S.D. 0. Third down conversions: S.D. 6/14. JAX 5/15.
Jets (6-5) 38, Dolphins (4-7) 20: @ New York – Despite the absence of their best defensive back Darrelle Revis, the New York Jets had a relatively easy time dispatching the visiting Miami Dolphins. Revis was out due to concussion, but that did not stop the Jets from putting on a dominant defensive display. The green-clad defenders sacked Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times and forced him into one fumble, all the while limiting the Miami run game virtually nonexistent. On offense, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdown passes, two of which were to wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The Jets built a 21-0 lead before the end of the third quarter and cruised to victory. With the win, the Jets were able to remain in the AFC playoff picture. Total offensive yardage: NYJ 411, MIA 333. Total net rushing yardage: NYJ 137, MIA 12. Turnovers: MIA 2, NYJ 0. Third down conversions: NYJ 10/17, MIA 4/15.
Chiefs (6-5) 30, Bills (5-6) 22: @ Kansas City – Playing in front of their rowdy, wildly cheering fans, the Kansas City Chiefs found themselves trailing 10-0 after one quarter, but eventually got the job done. After starting the season 1-5 and losing their star running back Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs were thought to have been out of the playoff picture, but have now reeled off five straight wins. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has been excellent during the current win streak, having now thrown 283 passes without an interception. His last interception was in the team’s 28-28 loss to Green Bay in Week 3. The Chiefs also had an added spark to the running game, as running back Spencer Ware had 122 yards on 19 carries in what was his first-ever start in an NFL game. Total offensive yardage: BUF 415, KC 413. Total net rushing yardage: KC 158, BUF 129. Turnovers: BUF 2, KC 0. Third down conversions: KC 6/13, BUF 5/12.
Colts (6-5) 25, Buccaneers (5-6) 12: @ Indianapolis – After an early struggle, the Colts were able to eventually take control and defeat the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Andrew Luck still out due to various injuries, Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck got the start and improved to a record of 4-0 in starts this season. The Colts were in trouble early on and wound up trailing 12-6 at halftime. The anemic Indianapolis run game never could get things going, but in the second half the Indy defense was dominant. As a result, the Colts were able to outscore Tampa Bay 20-0 over the final two quarters en route to a victory which allowed them to remain tied with the Houston Texans atop the AFC South division.Total offensive yardage: TB 344, IND 336. Total net rushing yardage: TB 132, IND 27. Turnovers: TB 1, IND 0. Third down conversions: IND 7/16, TB 6/13.
Bengals (9-2) 31, Rams (4-7) 7: @ Cincinnati – After two straight losses, the Bengals were able to right the ship. In front of the home fans, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes, two of them to A.J. Green. Cincinnati were able to break off huge chunks of yardage almost at will; they were only forced into third down situations 10 times in the entire game. The wildly uneven Rams offense remained so. Rams quarterback Nick Foles threw three interceptions on the day. Were the interceptions the result of great defense instead of poor decision-making, it would be a lot less troubling for Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. Total offensive yardage: CIN 376, StL 345. Total net rushing yardage: CIN 140, StL 94. Turnovers: StL 3, CIN 1. Third down conversions: StL 6/15, CIN 3/10.
Vikings (8-3) 20, Falcons (6-5) 10: @ Atlanta – Having faltered last week against the Green Bay Packers, the visiting Minnesota Vikings came to play. All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson had a terrific day. The NFL’s rushing leader had 29 carries for 158 yards and scored two touchdowns. On defense, young linebacker Anthony Barr was a big key to victory. With three minutes remaining in the first quarter, he caused a fumble when Atlanta had the ball in Minnesota territory. As the game wound down, with less than five minutes left in regulation time, the fabulous second-year player sacked Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and caused Ryan to fumble. Minnesota have now won five of their last seven games, while Atlanta have lost five of their last seven. Total offensive yardage: MIN 365, ATL 326. Total net rushing yardage: MIN 191, ATL 116. Turnovers: ATL 3, MIN 1. Third down conversions: MIN 7/12, ATL 5/11.
Raiders (5-6) 24, Titans (2-9) 21: @ Tennessee – Just a few weeks ago, the Oakland Raiders were sitting at 5-3 amidst talk of playoffs. Then came a three-game losing streak. On the road, in a driving rainstorm in Tennessee, the Raiders may have saved their season. It was not a well-played game by either team, but as time wound down, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was able to make a big play. The Raiders were trailing 21-17 when Carr found Seth Roberts for a 12-yard touchdown pass with just 1:27 remaining in regulation time. The win keeps Oakland on the fringes of the playoff race, with a big game against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs coming up in Week 13. Total offensive yardage: OAK 407, TEN 249. Total net rushing yardage: OAK 84, TEN 44. Turnovers: OAK 2, TEN 2. Third down conversions: OAK 8/15, TEN 3/12.
Cardinals (9-2) 19, 49ers (3-8) 13: @ San Francisco – Division games are often an anomaly. This is especially true of the NFC West division. Truly on any given Sunday, any team can win. The Cardinals came into the game with a record of 8-2, and the Niners came in with a record of 2-8. All that mattered not. This was a game which went down to the wire. The game was tied 13-13 at the half and the only points scored in the second half, were on Cards quarterback Carson Palmer’s 8-yard touchdown scamper with just 2:35 remaining in the game. The most telling stats for the hometown 49ers were the two turnovers and the failure to covert on third down even once. For the NFC West-leading Cards, this was their fifth straight win. Total offensive yardage: SF 368, AZ 337. Total net rushing yardage: AZ 70, SF 67. Turnovers: SF 2, AZ 0. Third down conversions: AZ 7/14, SF 0/9.
Seahawks (6-5) 39, Steelers (6-5) 30: @ Seattle – In what would have to be called the best game of the day, the Seahawks emerged victorious over the Pittsburgh Steelers. This was an incredible offensive display by both teams. There were no less than seven lead changes and both quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh and Russell Wilson of Seattle, put on a great show. When the smoke finally cleared, Big Ben had thrown for 456 yards and Wilson had thrown a career-high five touchdown passes. Most importantly, Wilson did it when it mattered most. Seattle were clinging to a 32-30 lead late in the game, when Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for an 80-yard touchdown pass which sealed the win with 2:14 left on the clock. It was Baldwin’s third scoring catch of the game. The most telling stat was that all important stat of turnovers; Pittsburgh committed four, but Seattle committed zero. That’s the ballgame. Total offensive yardage: PIT 538, SEA 436. Total net rushing yardage: SEA 100, PIT 58. Turnovers: PIT 4, SEA 0. Third down conversions: PIT 5/11, SEA 7/13.