NFL Wrap-Up: Week 16 East Divisions

The Broncos drops another game while the patriots barely squeak one out.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

AFC East

Denver Broncos  14
Buffalo Bills  40

The Buffalo Bills intercepted Tim Tebow four times (a career high for Tebow) to hammer the Broncos (and their playoff hopes) and end a seven game skid in the process.

The Bills offense was squeaky clean as they gained 351 total yards, including 111 on the ground by sophomore running back C.J. Spiller.  Spiller has been looking pretty good the last couple of weeks in place of the outstanding and very reliable Fred Jackson.

Bills linebacker Chris Kelsay sacked Tebow twice and was leading the pressure on the second-year quarterback all game long.

Two of the Bills four interceptions were returned for touchdowns and all four were also by different members of the defense.

The special teams unit also looked mighty good for the Bills as both Leodis McKelvin and Justin Rogers averaged over 33 yards per return on kick returns and punt returns combined.  McKelvin took one punt return 80 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Miami Dolphins  24
New England Patriots  27

The New England Patriots once again overcame a lackluster defensive effort to narrowly escape the red-hot Miami Dolphins 27 to 24.

For the Dolphins, Reggie Bush had another strong outing, gaining 113 yards rushing while wide receiver Brandon Marshall led all receivers in the game with 156 yards and a touchdown reception.  It looked for all the world as if the Dolphins were going to shock the Patriots and they were up 17-0 at the half.

However, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense did what they do best….not committing a turnover and executing when they needed to the most.

Brady accounted for 321 of the Patriots 400 total yards of offense and all three touchdowns (including two rushing).  Wide receiver Wes Welker also continued his tear, gaining 138 yards receiving on 12 grabs.

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was the highlight of a questionable Patriots defense, accounting for 13 tackles and a couple of sacks.
NFC East
Minnesota Vikings  33
Washington Redskins  26

The Minnesota Vikings forgettable season went from bad to worse this past weekend as star running back Adrian Peterson was lost on the first series of the second half with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee.  Not only that, but rookie starting quarterback Christian Ponder was also lost on the very next play with “concussion-like” symptoms.

Enter Joe Webb, a dual-threat quarterback drafted just a few years ago by the Vikings, who initially had him playing wide receiver.  Webb was a spark for the Vikings in this game, as was second-year tailback Toby Gerhart who rushed for 109 yards on just 11 carries.  The two young players helped end a six-game losing streak by the Vikings, who now have three wins as a team on the year.

On the opposite end, the Redskins loss now marks their sixth straight and adds yet another disappointment onto a season calendar already full of them.

The Redskins did manage to put up 397 yards of offense, including 132 on the ground by Penn State alum Evan Royster, but their defense just could not stop the run and allowed 241 yards on the ground to the Vikings….even with Adrian Peterson on the sidelines for virtually the entire second half.

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher did record a game-high 17 tackles.

Philadelphia Eagles  20
Dallas Cowboys  7

The Cowboys put on an all-together bad performance on Saturday yet can still manage to win the NFC East in next week’s “winner take all” showdown with the New York Giants.

The Cowboys looked lost offensively on Saturday as they gained just a miniscule 238 yards of total offense and lost starting quarterback Tony Romo to an injured hand in the process.

Stephen McGee played valiantly in Romo’s absence, throwing for 184 yards and a touchdown, but it was not near enough to overcome and underachieving, but certainly talented Eagles team.

The story for the Eagles was all about quarterback Michael Vick who threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns.  Vick looked crisp and accurate, connecting with eight different receivers on the day.

Eagles tight end Brent Celek continued his impressive season catching a touchdown for the first score of the game on the Eagles first drive of the game.  Celek now has 56 catches on the season for 725 yards and four touchdowns — reverting back to his 2009 form after a disappointing 2010 season.

New York Giants  29
New York Jets  14

Jets coach Rex Ryan talked smack all week long and now must put his foot in his mouth.  The Jets playoff hopes took a beating this weekend just as they did – at the hands of their cross-town rivals.

The Giants, with this victory, were able to gain much more than city bragging rights – they gained the right to win the NFC East in the season finale, at home against the Dallas Cowboys next weekend.

The Jets were mistake-prone all game long as they committed three turnovers and had ten penalties called against them.  Quarterback Mark Sanchez, although throwing a career-high 59 pass attempts, was able to throw for just 258 yards and threw two interceptions in the loss.

As for the Giants, quarterback Eli Manning completed just nine passes, but threw for 225 yards, including completing a Giants record 99-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz late in the second quarter on 3rd and 10 from their own 1-yard line.  Cruz finished with 164 yards receiving on just three catches with a touchdown.  He now holds the Giants single-season record for receiving yards in a season with 1,358 for the year – passing Amani Toomer in 2002.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul also finished with two more sacks, bringing his season total to 15.5.

The Giants will play the Cowboys next weekend in New York for the rights to the NFC East division.

Offensive Player of the Week
Brandon Marshall (WR, Miami) –
 7 receptions, 156 yards, 1 TD
Defensive Player of the Week
Chris Kelsay (LB, Buffalo) –
9 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass deflection

Division Standings
AFC East
New England Patriots (12-3)
New York Jets (8-7)
Buffalo Bills (6-9)
Miami Dolphins (5-10)

NFC East
New York Giants (8-7)
Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
Philadelphia Eagles (7-8)
Washington Redskins (5-10)