NFL Week 15 Recap — The Raiders Are Playoff-Bound & Other Things We Learned
Three more teams, including the Oakland Raiders, clinched playoff spots in Week 15 of the 2016 NFL season. Here’s what else we learned this week:
The Cowboys Got Back To Winning Games
Dan Bailey kicked three fourth quarter field goals and Ezekiel Elliott ran for 159 yards and a touchdown, as the Dallas Cowboys rallied past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26-20, on Sunday night.
After Jameis Winston rallied Tampa Bay (8-6) from a 17-3 deficit to a 20-17 lead at the end of the third quarter, Dallas (12-2) surged back with three drives that led to Bailey field goals.
Winston threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but he had four turnovers, as the Buccaneers had their five-game winning streak snapped.
The Cowboys need only one more win to clinch the home field throughout the NFC playoffs.
The Raiders Made The Playoffs For The 1st Time In 14 Years
Sebastian Janikowksi kicked a 44-yard field goal with 2:40 left, and the Oakland Raiders beat the San Diego Chargers, 19-16, to clinch their first playoff berth in 14 years on Sunday. Janikowksi is the last player remaining from the last Silver-and-Black playoff squad (2002).
Oakland (11-3) had a huge advantage in the stands for a road game as Raiders fans made up well more than half the crowd at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego (5-9) may move its franchise in the off-season. The Chargers were eliminated from the playoffs for the sixth
Derek Carr threw for 213 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders, who now lead the AFC West by one game over Kansas City. Oakland’s two first-half turnovers kept San Diego in the game.
It Wasn’t Pretty, But The Patriots Are Back In The Playoffs
Even with Tom Brady suffering an off-day, the Patriots had enough points to beat the Broncos, 16-3, on Sunday. With the win, New England (12-2) clinched their record eighth consecutive AFC East title and secured a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Brady threw for just 188 yards and no touchdowns, but Dion Lewis ran for 95 yards and LeGarrette Blount added the game’s only touchdown as the Pats took revenge for their loss to Denver (8-6) in January’s AFC title game.
Trevor Siemian was 25 for 40 for 282 yards with an interception for the defending Super Bowl-champion Broncos, who are now fading fast in the AFC playoff hunt.
NFC North: The Packers Comeback Was Better Than Adrian Peterson’s
Mason Crosby kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired, and the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 30-27, on a frigid Sunday afternoon. Green Bay (8-6) came back to win after Chicago (3-11) tied the game on a field goal by Connor Barth with 1:19 to play.
Aaron Rodgers threw a 60-yard pass to Jordy Nelson to help work the Packers into range for the game-winning kick. Ty Montgomery ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns for Green Bay, which blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The Packers’ comeback worked out much better than Adrian Peterson’s did. The Minnesota star running back had just 22 yards on six carries, as the Colts dismantled the Vikings, 34-6.
Andrew Luck threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns for Indianapolis (7-7).
Minnesota (7-7) fell behind the second-place Packers in the NFC North race as a result of the loss. Division-leading Detroit (9-5) lost to the New York Giants, 17-6, putting the NFC North title very much into play over the season’s final two weeks.
The Giants (10-4), meanwhile, won the eighth of their last nine games. Eli Manning threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, including a one-handed, highlight-reel grab by Odell Beckham Jr.
AFC South: Texans Bench Brock Osweiler & Win; Titans Edge Chiefs
The Texans finally benched free-agent quarterback bust Brock Osweiler, and backup Tom Savage threw for 260 yards in his place as Houston rallied past the Jacksonville Jaguars, 21-20, on Sunday night.
Osweiler was 6-of-11 for 48 yards and two interceptions in five drives when he was pulled with Houston (8-6) trailing 13-0. Savage steered the team to the comeback win over hapless Jacksonville (2-12), which fired head coach Gus Bradley after the game.
The Texans’ win allowed them to keep pace with the Titans in the AFC South race. Tennessee (8-6) edged Kansas City (10-4) on Ryan Succop’s 53-yard field goal as time expired on Sunday. Succop missed his first try at the kick, but Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid had called a timeout, which gave the Titans’ placekicker another shot. Oops.
Tennessee fought back from a 14-point deficit in the frigid temperatures of Arrowhead Stadium. It was just 1 degree at kickoff. DeMarco Murray ran for 89 yards for the Titans, and Derrick Henry had two scores.
Thursday, Dec. 15
Seattle 24, Los Angeles 3 (Seahawks clinch playoff spot)
Saturday, Dec. 17
Miami 34, N.Y. Jets 13
Sunday, Dec. 18
Buffalo 33, Cleveland 13
Baltimore 27, Philadelphia 26
Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 20
New Orleans 48, Arizona 41
Atlanta 41, San Francisco 13