We'll be putting all our GIFs for the day here, from the silky-smooth Calvin Johnson to Mark Sanchez getting his hopes up. We'll update the post as the later games conclude, so stay tuned.
Kansas City 27, Carolina 21: Cam Newton had three touchdown passes on the day but it was not enough to beat the Chiefs on what had to be a strange day in Kansas City. Brady Quinn threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards and Peyton Hills had a rushing touchdown. In the end two Ryan Succop field goals—the final one was 52 yards with less than five minutes to go in the game—proved to be the difference.
New York Jets 7, Arizona 6: This could be the ugliest football game ever. Ryan Lindley and Mark Sanchez were locked in a never-ending duel of ineptitude until Rex Ryan graciously pulled the plug and yanked Sanchez late in the third quarter. Greg McElroy came in to raucous cheering and threw a touchdown—wide open doesn't even begin to tell the story, but—to a wide open Jeff Cumberland at the very beginning of the fourth quarter. There was much rejoicing. It was 7-3.
Yeah, Rex? Nah, I just, thought I heard someone call my name is all. You sure you didn't call my name? Like 'Hey Mark, you're back in'? No? Alright then. Good game, though, right? Let's get a snack! Right?...Classic.
Seattle 23, Chicago 17: This game went to overtime on a last-second Robbie Gould 46-yard field goal and ended on a 13-yard touchdown catch by Sidney Rice, who surely sustained a concussion reeling it in. The ruling on the field was that Rice had possession and broke the plane of the endzone before having it knocked loose, so touchdown, Seattle. Loss, Chicago.
The game also started on a close play/collision in the endzone with Chicago's Earl Bennett going airborne at the endzone and McTwisting his way for the score six minutes into the first quarter. This play was also reviewed and upheld.
St. Louis 16, San Francisco 13: Does Kaepernick still have the hot hand, now? Maybe he gets a pass this week since these two teams seem oddly and evenly matched up. They went to overtime and nearly tied for the second time in three weeks. St. Louis forced the extra period on a 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation and then won the game on 54-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in overtime. The Rams won despite recording exactly zero offensive touchdowns on the day, only running in this botched option to the man in the third row from Kaepernick.
New England 23, Miami 16: This is the AFC East:
Tom Brady had his least efficient game of the year and even threw an interception, but the New England Patriots took advantage of Miami's mistakes Sunday to beat the Dolphins 23-16 and clinch their fourth consecutive AFC East title.
Field goals ruled the day as Gostkowski and Carpenter got their workouts in early and often. Gostkowski was three of four and Carpenter perfect on all three of his attempts for the Dolphins. Wes Welker had himself a game with over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
As a reward, here is Vince Wilfork, thinking he just saw a Hershey's Kiss on on the field or something.
Indianapolis 35, Detroit 33: Fours are wild! Andrew Luck, with four seconds left in the fourth quarter, on fourth and 10 from the 14, won the game on a tiny little dump off to Donnie Avery.
Luck ended up with 391 yards and four (natch) touchdowns. Pay no attention to the three interceptions, we've got a narrative, here! He engineered two scoring drives—85 yards and 75 yards—in the final three minutes of the game to rip the game away from the Lions. He was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated last week so I suppose it's next week that his arms fall off.
The Lions lost despite a great effort from Calvin Johnson, which you can watch here again, just for the hell of it.
Green Bay 23, Minnesota 14: Adrian Peterson had 210 yards rushing on 21 carries. 82 yards came on one run, the second-quarter touchdown you see below.
Unfortunately for Peterson, he has other teammates. Christian Ponder completed 12 of 25 passes for 119 yards. He had two interceptions. It was ugly. Aaron Rodgers's afternoon was average—286 yards passing and a touchdown and interception—but average will usually beat well-below-average.
Houston 24, Tennessee 10 David Attenborough [whispering]: We have here Anatidae Anseriformes—you might call him the Duck. The adult duck does not have many predators, as it is a bird of flight but, one must always be cautious. When our friend the duck feels threatened, whether by large fish or larger bird he can quite easily escape pressure—ah what have we here, the hunt in progress! Observe the duck sense danger and take fli—oh my. He appears wounded. This poor mallard is a quite the unlucky Duck.
Buffalo 34, Jacksonville 18: I seriously doubt the NFL actually aired this game. I don't deny it was played, it was just probably like one of those wrestling house shows on a Wednesday evening in Manitoba or something where some jobber beats Hulk Hogan but it never affects the televised storylines because only the people in the arena got to see it. You know, give the people what they want. No GIF!
Pittsburgh 23, Ravens 20: Uh, the Ravens aren't supposed to lose to Charlie Batch at home, right? They're supposed to win handily? We just don't know anymore. The Ravens gave up 70 yards on 8 penalties, Joe Flacco completed less than half of his passes, and the Steelers stole one thanks to the steady hand of Batch and the steady foot of Shaun Suisham. Pittsburgh left generous helping of points on the table, too. Here's WR Antonio Brown just really throwing the hell out of an interception from the Pittsburgh 47 in the second quarter. Gotta admire the gumption:
Hey, Coach Tomlin, having had some time to reflect, what did you think of that play call?
Yep. And here's Charlie Batch overthrowing an extremely open Mike Wallace in the endzone, hitting a sideline microphone square in the chest. The Steelers didn't end up needing the points, but they were there:
The real question is whether the sound guy's eardrums exploded on impact.
Cleveland 20 , Oakland 17: The Browns, dealing with their own tragedy, snapped a 12-game road losing streak against the hapless Raiders. Brandon Weeden out dueled Carson Palmer in the battle of the red-headed quarterbacks that aren't Andy Dalton, and Oakland decided not to attempt a running game. The Raiders made the score look a little better and padded everyone's stats a bit by tacking on a touchdown with exactly 00:01 left on the clock. It did not effect the spread, but we hope it was fun anyway. Here's the play of the game, Weeden hooking up with Josh Gordon for 44 yards to make it 10-0. The Browns never looked back (except when Gordon did, to make this catch):
Cincinnati 20, San Diego 13: Oof, the Chargers are not a pretty sight this year. Though they took a lead into the half and played Cincinnati to a standstill in most phases, 26 yards from the rushing game puts a lot of pressure on Philip Rivers, and then Philip Rivers puts up a 62.8 quarterback rating. That's just what happens. Both teams played a little sloppy—5 turnovers total—but none were as picturesque as this one. Carlos Dunlap had sacked Philip Rivers and forced a fumble earlier in the game, but the Chargers recovered that one. This time? Not so much, and with 3:54 left, this backward pass pretty much ended the game for the Chargers:
Denver 31, Tampa Bay 23: This game wasn't as close as it looked either. The Bucs needed a late touchdown to cut the difference to eight, and when the Broncos got the ball back, they picked up one first and kneeled (knelt?) the game away. The Broncos are 9-3 all of a sudden, and they were sufficiently superior to Tampa Bay today that they were getting first downs without even standing up: