We'll be putting all our GIFs for the day here, from London Fletcher losing his lunch to sad Tom Brady. We'll update the post as the later games conclude, so stay tuned.
New Orleans 34, Dallas 31: It seems like at least one game per week goes to overtime these days and Saints-Cowboys definitively proves that random thought. Tony Romo had 416 yards and four touchdowns. Drew Brees was equal to the task with 446 yards and three touchdowns. This was a barn burner.
Romo engineered two scoring drives in the final three minutes, including a 19 yard touchdown to Miles Austin that tied the game with 15 seconds left in regulation but the Saints would win on a field goal in overtime. Dallas is now in trouble late in the season again, but this time it's not Tony Romo's fault. He's played great lately but the Cowboys now need help to make the playoffs. A win next week against the Redskins will only be a start.
Here's Drew Brees getting a neck realignment early in the first quarter.
And here is Dez Bryant—who had a monster game with 224 yards and two touchdowns—putting the Cowboys on the board early in the second quarter with a 58 yard touchdown. He would follow it with another 58 yarder seven minutes later.
Miami 24, Buffalo 10: Two things:
1. This is the headline from the CBS recap: "Dolphins rout Bills, but still fall short of playoffs."
2. Here is GIF magician Tim Burke explaining this game's selection:
it took me a lot of effort just to get that highlight
Without further ado, I present your Miami Dolphins-Buffalo Bills GIF, a successful Bills QB sneak on fourth and five without the assistance of a left tackle:
Green Bay 55, Tennessee 7 (CBS): Man, what a mess. With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Jake Locker had 74 yards passing (he finished with 140) and two interceptions to Aaron Rodgers's 342 yards and three touchdowns (he also had a rushing touchdown). Ryan Grant added two more rushing touchdowns. Maybe more happened after those six minutes but who cares, really? It's not worth our time to find out (alright, fine, Kenny Britt caught a two yard, garbage touchdown).
Santa Claus, however, is always worth our time. Santa was spotted chilling the fuck out at Lambeau Field today and as we all know, Christmastown's worst kept secret is that Rudolph would be put out to pasture if Santa just took it down a notch and lost the shades.
Indianapolis 20, Kansas City 13: There's not much to be cheerful about in Kansas City these days except for Jamaal Charles. He put up 226 yards and one touchdown (an 86-yard run you can see below) on 22 carries. Peyton Hillis also had himself a day with over 100 yards rushing. The previous two sentences notwithstanding, the Chiefs lost. Brady Quinn only had 162 yards passing and was picked off twice, one of which was returned for a touchdown early in the first quarter. And then there's this:
The Chiefs just ran on third-and-8 from their own 8 with 2:20 left and losing. WTF?— Aaron Schatz (@FO_ASchatz) December 23, 2012
As promised, here is Jamaal Charles doing his thing.
And, of course, here is Brady Quinn, doing his thing.
Washington 27, Philadelphia 20: With four minutes remaining in the game, Nick Foles drove the Eagles from his own 15 yard line all the way to Redskins five spreading the ball around to four different receivers. He found Jeremy Maclin for 18 yards. And then Jason Avant for five yards. Then he found Lesean McCoy and rode him. He found McCoy for six yards, eight yards and eventually 12 yards to the Redskins five yard line with eight seconds left, down seven. Then Nick Foles intentionally grounded the ball and the game ended.
Though the game ended horribly for him, here's a perfectly placed 27-yard pass from Nick Foles to Jeremy Maclin that gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Yeah, yeah I know what you'll say: "Who brings an iPad to a football game?" Fair point. But did you ever consider that maybe he was using it to look up the words to the Eagles chant? Probably didn't think about that, did you?
Cincinnati 13, Pittsburgh 10: The Steelers needed to win the last two games of the season to make the playoffs and Cincinnati, also fighting for a playoff spot put an end to all that.
Ben Roethlisberger, with his lethal pump fake, found Antonio Brown for 60 yards to cut the Bengals lead to 10-7 late in the second quarter. The Steelers later tied the game with four minutes left in the third quarter on a 40-yard Suisham field goal.
Roethlisberger, however, was picked off twice, both ending in points for the Bengals. Leon Hall intercepted Ben in the first quarter and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown—the Bengals only touchdown. Then, with 24 seconds left in the game, Roethlisberger was looking for Mike Wallace, but found Bengals safety Reggie Nelson instead. He returned the pass to the Pittsburgh 46 yard line. One 21-yard A.J. Greene reception later and Josh Brown kicked a 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to win it.
Here's a wonky interception in the fourth quarter. On third down and long, Dalton was looking for Ryan Whalen down the sideline and the ball was tipped up in the air, back into the field of play and into the hands of Cortez Allen.
Minnesota 23, Houston 6: This one, oddly enough, was all Vikings. Neither team produced heart-stopping statistics, but a stout Minnesota defense held the Texans to 1/11 on third down, and with Arian Foster leaving the game with what's being called an "illness," the Texans didn't have the firepower to come back. Perhaps Kyle Rudolph had a feeling things we're going to turn out well for the Vikings when he caught the team's first score. What is this—The Lawnmower, and then he throws the grass clipping over his head? Snowblower? Wiping off a table and releasing a bunch of balloons?
Texans fans, spoiled in record time by their team's success, were not thrilled at their third and perhaps most insignificant loss of the year:
Oh, please. Your team is 12-3. It didn't even exist ten years ago. You'll be fine.
New England 23, Jacksonville 16: Well, well, well, look who sort of outplayed that Ugg model Tom Brady—our old friend Chad Henne, who threw for 348 yards (on 51 attempts?!) and some number of interceptions that doesn't matter. It was very nearly enough to knock off the Patriots, led by by the aforementioned Dodge Dart spokesman, who played one of his worst games of the season. When he threw this interception in the first quarter, things looked pretty bleak for New England:
Until, of course, they remembered that they were playing the Jaguars. Despite an early 13-3 lead, the Jags graciously ushered their opponents back into the game, and then, early in the third quarter, charitably spotted the Patriots what would prove to be an insurmountable ten-point advantage. At least the game produced the defining Jaguars GIF of the current decade:
St. Louis 28, Tampa Bay 13: If the Rams were in the AFC, they might be scrabbling for a playoff spot right now instead of playing out the string by idly crushing the Bucs. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts. Oh well. This was a game at the half, but the Rams were soon up 28-6 in the third quarter, freeing everyone up enough to make this one cool play possible: Josh Freeman to Michael Williams for 61 yards of rumbling. Interesting fact from this one: Josh Freeman threw exactly twice as many times as Sam Bradford (54 to 27) and for almost exactly twice as many yards (372 to 196) but also for four times as many interceptions (four to one). Better ratios would be advisable next time.
Carolina 17, Oakland 6: Carson Palmer left with an injury after completing three passes, Terrelle Pryor was not used substantially, and Oakland experienced a 16% increase in crime. Here's a touchdown Cam Newton threw to Steve Smith:
San Diego 27, Jets 17: It's old hat at this point if you've been following the NFL at all, but it's too perfect not to at least summarize, even if too briefly: The Jets brought Tim Tebow in during the off-season, and said that Mark Sanchez was the starter but also that Tim Tebow would factor into the offense in some meaningful way. He didn't. But Sanchez sucked too. After a bunch of stuff, they benched Sanchez, while Tebow was injured, for third-string quarterback Greg McElroy. The owner said he wanted McElroy in the next game, but the coaches reinstalled Sanchez. Two games later, Sanchez was almost historically bad, so they pulled him again for McElroy between that game and this one—during that same week, Chris Mortensen reported Tebow's intention to leave for Jacksonville in the off-season. Jason La Canfora reported that Tebow wouldn't even dress—then he did, and both Tebow and Sanchez were listed as the #2 QB on the depth chart, somehow.
Got it? Greg McElroy was sacked 11 (11) times today, and Jeremy Kerley, a wide receiver, surpassed Tebow's total yardage with one pass that went for 42 yards (Tebow has racked up 39 passing this year) about two minutes into the game. So. Yeah. What do two quarterbacks enconsced in perhaps one of the biggest quarterbacking clusterfucks of all time say to each other when they're both listed at #2 on the depth chart? Nothing, it appears:
We wouldn't be representing this game the way it happened if we didn't give you McElroy on the ground—but we went another way with it: Watch QB1 try to make a tackle after he threw an interception at the end of the third quarter. He's number 14. It took me a minute:
And finally, to get the taste out of your mouth, a 63-yard punt return touchdown from the Chargers' Micheal Spurlock. (Yes, #3 is the punter.) It wasn't the difference, but very little that could have happened during this one would have made much of a difference:
Denver 34, Cleveland 12: Each quarterback had what one might call his typical game in this one. Before he was knocked out of the game with an injured shoulder, Brandon Weedon was 12-19 for 104 yards. He was then replaced by Colt McCoy who was 9-17 for 74 yards. He did, however, make possible the Browns only touchdown. It was a six yard pass to Greg Little with just under eight minutes left in the game.
Peyton Manning, meanwhile, was re-routing and papa-bearing all over the place to the tune (XM 60!) of 339 yards and three touchdowns. The Broncos are now 12-3 and could be the top seed in the AFC with a win over Kansas City and a Houston loss to the Colts next week.
This was just a brutal collision between Brandon Stokley and Sheldon Brown with a little less than four minutes to go in the first half. Manning found Demaryius Thomas for a quick hitter over the middle for 32 yards that was called back for an illegal pick on Stokley. Brown left the game with a concussion.
Baltimore 33, New York Giants 14: Well, that's not really how it's supposed to go. After a few seasons of dogging it in the regular season because they "can turn it on whenever they want," they Giants dogged it in the regular season and now need to beat the Eagles next week, and for the Vikings, Cowboys and Bears to lose, to get into the playoffs. The first part? Sure. The Cowboys losing to the Redskins? Maybe. The Bears losing to the Lions and the Vikings to the Packers? Stranger things have happened. But the Giants aren't close to controlling their fate anymore, and one gets the sense it sort of snuck up on them. After all, their one positive today was a touchdown celebration on their lone (non-garbage) touchdown. It was pretty cool though. David Wilson, with the only highlight for the Giants:
Chicago 28, Arizona 13: The Bears needed to win to maintain eligibility for the playoffs, and luckily, they played the Cardinals, who continue to be extremely bad. Someone named Ryan Lindley and another person named Brian Hoyer shared quarterback duty for Arizona; both threw one interception; neither threw a touchdown. One can imagine why the Cardinals thought they needed to get offense with trick plays, though I also believe it's illegal in most states to make a 62-year old kicker do this. Jay Feely is going to need some ice:
I'm pretty jaded, GIF-wise, but if this doesn't make you laugh, well, I don't know what to tell you. This gem from Devin Hester was nearly as good—this goes from a bad return to a good return back to bad return so fast, only Hester could have pulled it off: