NFL Game Capsules - Week 15

5:41 PM, Dec 16, 2012   |    comments
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Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - The Atlanta Falcons got their revenge, and made quite a statement as well in doing so. Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to Julio Jones, and the Falcons dealt the New York Giants their first regular-season shutout in 16 years with an authoritative 34-0 victory at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta (12-2) got its payback for a 24-2 throttling by the Giants during last season's NFC Wild Card Playoffs behind a near-flawless performance from Ryan, with the standout quarterback completing a sharp 23-of-28 passes for 270 yards without a turnover. The Falcons' defense did its part as well, intercepting New York's Eli Manning twice in the first half and stopping the Giants on downs three times over the course of the game. Manning managed just 161 yards on an off-target 14-of-26 efficiency as New York (8-6) was held scoreless in a non-playoff setting for the first time since a 24-0 setback at Philadelphia on Dec. 1, 1996. Jones ended with 74 yards on six catches and Tony Gonzalez added a touchdown grab for the NFC South champion Falcons, who can clinch a first-round playoff bye if San Francisco loses to New England on Sunday night. The result could be considerably more costly for the Giants, now 2-4 over their last six outings. New York would relinquish its one-game lead over Dallas and Washington in the NFC East if either the Cowboys or Redskins win their Week 15 matchups.

Final Score: Denver 34, Baltimore 17

Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - The Denver Broncos hadn't beaten the Ravens in Baltimore in their last five tries. But that was before they had Peyton Manning. Manning tossed a touchdown pass, Knowshon Moreno ran for a score and the surging Broncos won their ninth straight game with a 34-17 thumping of the Ravens. Manning, who has won each of his past nine starts against Baltimore, including two playoff meetings, threw for 204 yards on 17-of-28 efficiency for Denver (11-3), which is in the midst of its longest winning streak since the 1998 squad won their first 13 contests en route to the team's second consecutive Super Bowl. Moreno carried the ball 22 times for 118 yards, Eric Decker caught eight passes for 133 yards and a score and Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown in the triumph. Following last Sunday's 31-28 overtime setback to the Washington Redskins, the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron a day later and elevated quarterbacks coach and one of Manning's mentors, Jim Caldwell, to the post. The offense, though, didn't get the jolt it was looking for. Baltimore (9-5), which has lost three straight contests, registered three-and- outs on each of its first five possessions and didn't record its initial first down until Bernard Pierce broke off a 14-yard run on a 2nd-and-6 at the 8:12 mark of the second quarter. Joe Flacco was 20-of-40 for 254 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in defeat.

Final Score: Green Bay 21, Chicago 13

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - James Jones caught three touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers wrapped up the NFC North with a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers finished the game 23-for-36 for 291 yards for the Packers (10-4), who have won three straight and eight of their last nine to roll to their second straight division crown. Kicker Mason Crosby continued to struggle for Green Bay, missing both of his field goal attempts as he is now just 9-for-18 in his past seven games. Randall Cobb had six catches for 115 yards in the game. Jay Cutler passed for just 135 yards on 12-of-21 attempts with a touchdown and an interception for the Bears (8-6), who have lost three straight games and five of six to see their division title hopes end and have their postseason chances placed in jeopardy.

Final Score: Washington 38, Cleveland 21

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - After leading the Redskins to a come-from- behind win last weekend, rookie Kirk Cousins once again stepped up for Washington in a big way. Starting in place of injured quarterback Robert Griffin III, Cousins threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL start to help the Redskins claim a 38-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns and a share of first place in the NFC East. Winners of five straight for the first time since 2005, the Redskins (8-6) find themselves tied for the division lead with the New York Giants, who were blown out, 34-0, on Sunday against the Falcons in Atlanta. Leonard Hankerson hauled in both of Cousins' TD passes, and while Alfred Morris was held under the century mark for the first time in four games, he did rush for 87 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in the win. Trent Richardson ran for two scores to set a new franchise record for rookie rushing touchdowns in a season, but only amassed 28 yards on 11 carries as Cleveland (5-9) was denied a chance at its first four-game winning streak since 2009. Brandon Weeden threw for 244 yards and a touchdown, but added two second-half interceptions. He completed 21-of-35 passes in the setback.

Final Score: Houston 29, Indianapolis 17

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Matt Schaub threw a touchdown pass to Andre Johnson, Arian Foster gained 165 yards on 27 carries and the Houston Texans shook off a humbling beatdown at New England with a division-clinching 29-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium. Schaub ended with 261 yards on 23-of-31 efficiency for the Texans (12-2), who rebounded from Monday night's 42-14 loss to capture their second straight AFC South title. Johnson made 11 catches for 151 yards. Indianapolis rookie Andrew Luck had two touchdown passes, but was held to 186 yards on a season-low 13 completions in 27 attempts. The Colts (9-5) had won seven of their last eight games. However, the seven victories had come against teams that entered Week 15 with a combined 29-62 record. The one loss in that span came against New England in similar fashion to Sunday's setback, a 59-24 blowout on Nov. 18.

Final Score: Miami 24, Jacksonville 3

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The Miami Dolphins must be happy with their quarterback decision. Rookie Ryan Tannehill threw a pair of touchdown passes and former Miami starter Chad Henne struggled in his return to Sun Life Stadium, as the Dolphins earned a 24-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Henne spent the previous four seasons in Miami and had a record of 13-18 as the Dolphins' starting quarterback, including 0-4 last year before a shoulder injury ended his campaign in October. He left as a free agent to sign with Jacksonville in March and the Dolphins selected Tannehill with the eighth overall pick in the draft. Tannehill won the job in a training camp battle with Matt Moore and has led the Dolphins (6-8) to as many wins as they had all of last year. On Sunday he completed 22-of-28 passes for 220 yards without an interception and also ran for 52 yards on eight carries. Reggie Bush added 104 yards on the ground for Miami, which dominated for most of the second half and scored the game's final 24 points. The Dolphin defense also stopped the Jaguars three times on fourth down inside Miami territory. Henne took over as the Jacksonville starter when Blaine Gabbert went down for the season in mid-November. He connected on 18-of-34 throws for 221 yards Sunday in defeat. The Jaguars (2-12) have dropped three in a row and are one loss away from having the worst season in franchise history, surpassing the 4-12 mark in the club's 1995 expansion campaign.

Final Score: New Orleans 41, Tampa Bay 0

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - After two less-than-stellar performances, Drew Brees looked like a two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year once again. Brees completed 26-of-39 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 41-0 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Lance Moore, Joe Morgan, David Thomas and Darren Sproles each caught a touchdown pass for the Saints (6-8), who put the brakes on a three-game losing streak. Jabari Greer had two interceptions in the win. Josh Freeman struggled, completing 26-of-47 passes for 279 yards, four interceptions and a lost fumble. Doug Martin, who was second in the league in yards from scrimmage entering the game, picked up just 35 yards combined for the Buccaneers (6-8), losers of four straight.

Final Score: Minnesota 36, St. Louis 22

St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Adrian Peterson ran for 212 yards -- including an 82-yard touchdown -- on 24 carries on Sunday, as the Minnesota Vikings dropped the St. Louis Rams, 36-22, on Sunday at Edward Jones Dome. Peterson has 1,812 rushing yards this season and still has a shot at reaching Eric Dickerson's NFL record of 2,105 rushing yards in a single season, as he sits just 294 yards short of eclipsing the mark with two games to play. Christian Ponder threw for 131 yards on 17-of-24 passing and ran for a touchdown, while Blair Walsh kicked five field goals for the Vikings (8-6), who have won two straight and thrust themselves into the playoff picture, moving into a second-place tie in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears, who lost to Green Bay. Jerome Simpson led the receiving corps with four catches and 27 yards, and Everson Griffen added a 29-yard pick-six for the Vikings. Sam Bradford threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns on 35-of-55 passing, while Stephen Jackson ran for 73 yards on 13 carries. Jackson became the 27th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000 rushing yard plateau with a 9-yard dash in the third quarter, but it wasn't enough for the Rams (6-7-1), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Danny Amendola, Lance Kendricks and Brian Quick caught touchdown passes in the setback.

Thursday, December 13th

Final Score: Cincinnati 34, Philadelphia 13

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It took a second-half resurgence, but the Cincinnati Bengals kept their hopes of a second straight playoff appearance alive on Thursday night. The Bengals scored 24 unanswered points in the second half off four Philadelphia turnovers, as Cincinnati's defense stifled the mistake-prone Philadelphia Eagles in a 34-13 triumph at Lincoln Financial Field. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, while Andy Dalton threw for 127 yards and a score on 13-of-27 passing and also rushed for a touchdown in the victory. Defensive tackle Wallace Gilberry added a 25-yard fumble return touchdown for the Bengals (8-6), who have won five of six and trail the Baltimore Ravens by just one game for the AFC North division lead after they were trounced by the Denver Broncos, 34-17, on Sunday. Cincinnati travels to Pittsburgh next Sunday to take on the Steelers. Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles finished 16-of-33 passing for 182 yards with a touchdown pass, an interception and a fumble, while fellow rookie Bryce Brown rushed for just 34 yards on 16 carries in the setback. Jeremy Maclin hauled in four passes for a game-high 73 yards for the Eagles (4-10), who snapped an eight-game losing streak last weekend with a last- second triumph in Tampa Bay.

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