The Holiday Season Commences: NFL Week Twelve Recap

Thanksgiving sparked an early start to this past week of the NFL and brought games with definitive winners. It was only the start of an exciting week, which saw multiple divisional matchups and a few milestones. Every team played, with some moving up in the conference and others seemingly losing their playoff chances permanently.

Here is everything you need to know from week twelve of the NFL:

Thanksgiving Day Football

Green Bay Packers 29 – Detroit Lions 22

The opening game of Thanksgiving Day saw the Packers earn their second win in a row for the first time this season. They defeated the Lions for the first time in five games after scoring 23 first half points, their most all season. Despite earning less first downs and third downs than Detroit, the Packers had zero turnovers. The same could not be said for the Lions, who fumbled the ball three times. Quarterback Jared Goff was to blame for all three as his first fumble was returned for a Green Bay touchdown.

 He tossed two touchdown passes but his mistakes cost his team the game. Green Bay saw three touchdown passes from quarterback Jordan Love, one of which was caught by the team’s leading receiver Christian Watson, who had 94 yards. The fumbles played key to Detroit’s loss, as it was also penalized less and held the ball longer. It faces New Orleans next week, who will be hungry for a playoff spot.

Washington Commanders 10 – Dallas Cowboys 45

The largest victory of the weekend saw the Cowboys earning their fourth win over Washington in these sides last five games. Dallas earned less first downs than its opponents despite winning by a five touchdown difference. Washington failed to score in the second half, while it conceded loads of points in the final quarter. The Cowboys scored 25 fourth quarter points with one touchdown coming from an interception by cornerback DaRon Bland. With his fifth returned touchdown, he sets a new single season record. He also leads the league with seven interceptions and 209 interception yards.

 Apart from Bland’s heroics, quarterback Dak Prescott tossed four touchdowns for Dallas while heaving 331 yards. The Cowboys only held the ball just over a third of the game, but maintained consistent defensive stops and dominated offensively late in the game. For Washington, its quarterback Sam Howell continues the interesting combination of leading the league in both yards thrown and lost due to sacks. His team faces Miami next weekend, who are looking for a top spot in the AFC.

San Francisco 49ers 31 – Seattle Seahawks 13

A day full of family and food concluded with 49ers’ tight end George Kittle handing out turkey to the fans of Lumen Field in Seattle after San Francisco’s victory. It scored 24 first half points and never looked back. Only 14 first downs were completed by Seattle, while the 49ers had 23. The Seahawks also completed only three third downs while failing their single fourth down attempt. San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy began his second half by throwing an interception which was returned for a Seattle touchdown, but completed 21 of 30 attempts and a touchdown pass. 

The hero for the 49ers was running back Christian McCaffrey who finished the game with two touchdowns and plenty of battle scars to show for them. The Seahawks were unable to produce a touchdown at all on offense, while kicker Jason Myers completed two of his three field goal attempts. Seattle’s efforts were also hurt by two turnovers with one being a fumble and the other an interception by quarterback Geno Smith. The Seahawks have lost to San Francisco four times in a row. They will look to avoid their third loss in a row this season, next week in Dallas.

Black Friday Football

Miami Dolphins 34 – New York Jets 13

Another dominant victory came the day after Thanksgiving, as the Dolphins defeated the Jets for the sixth time in seven meetings. New York was only able to score one touchdown in the second half while quarterback Tim Boyle threw his second interception. The Jets were also only able to muster up 12 first downs the entire game, and only completed five third downs. Miami controlled the game offensively, earning over 200 total yards more than the Jets while achieving 22 first downs. Its quarterback Tua Tagovailoa tossed a touchdown, but fumbled the ball while tossing two interceptions.

His first was returned by Jets’ cornerback Brandin Echols for a touchdown with a minute remaining in the first half. Miami concluded the first half with a 99 yard interception return by safety Jevon Holland in the dying seconds, seemingly crushing the Jets hopes there and then. Running back Raheem Mostert earned two rushing touchdowns for Miami and led the team with 94 rushing yards. That is more rushing yards than the entire Jets team, who only completed 29 throughout the game. New York might have to win every game left if it wants a playoff spot. That path starts next week as it takes on the Falcons.


New Orleans Saints 15 – Atlanta Falcons 24

The first meeting between these NFC South teams this season saw two turnovers for each side, the first of which may have played crucial to victory. Falcons’ free safety Jessie Bates III concluded the first quarter for his team by returning an interception 92 yards for a touchdown. That was the only interception thrown for Saints’ quarterback Derek Carr, but he failed to toss a touchdown in his second straight game.

Meanwhile, Falcons’ quarterback Desmond Ridder threw a touchdown in the final quarter, but two earlier interceptions. The Saints failed to capitalize on either of these, as their second recovery led to a drive in which the team committed a fumble. Kicker Blake Grupe completed all the scoring for New Orleans, knocking back five of his six field goal attempts. The Falcons still pulled off the win despite earning less yards and possession. Coming off its first win since week eight, Atlanta defeated the Saints for the first time in four games.

Pittsburgh Steelers 16 – Cincinnati Bengals 10

Rookie quarterback Jake Browning started off strong for the Bengals in replacing Joe Burrow, but was ultimately hurt by his mistakes. He threw a touchdown in the first half, and completed 19 of 26 attempts during the game. Unfortunately, his third quarter interception led to a Pittsburgh scoring drive, which made all the difference. Steelers’ kicker Chris Boswell played flawless for the fourth week straight, scoring all three of his field goal attempts and an extra point. 

The Bengals struggled on offense, achieving only 10 first downs while Pittsburgh had 22. The Bengals held the ball only a third of the game and converted a meager two third downs. A Steelers’ fumble in the first quarter seemed to be their only mistake, as running back Najee Harris scored their touchdown. Pittsburgh continued to liken its chances of reaching the playoffs, while the Bengals have fallen to 12th in the AFC. Cincinnati will try its luck in Jacksonville next weekend.

Jacksonville Jaguars 24 – Houston Texans 21

The Texans lost this game by only inches as kicker Matt Ammendola’s final field goal attempt rang the lower bar. Ammendola failed to score a field goal late in the first half as well, and missed both his attempts throughout the game. Quarterback CJ Stroud helped with every touchdown for his Texans side, throwing two touchdowns and completing a rushing touchdown. Apart from losing by one point in the third quarter, the Jaguars seemed to stay one step ahead of their opponents the entire game. 

An interception was tossed by quarterback Trevor Lawrence on the Jaguars’ opening drive of the second half, which served as the only turnover of the game. Lawrence erased the tragedy of his mistake with a touchdown pass and 364 completed yards. He also scored a rushing touchdown. With a win the Jaguars tied the season series at one game apiece, as they were defeated by Houston back in week three. The Texans’ three game winning streak came to an end, and they are now on the cusp of missing the playoffs. They will look to return to a playoff spot next week in ending the Broncos five game winning streak.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 – Indianapolis Colts 27

Before this past weekend, the last time the Colts defeated the Buccaneers was in 2015. Tampa Bay came close to earning the chance of its third straight win over the Colts, but fumbled the ball on its final drive. The team’s only other turnover came from an interception by quarterback Baker Mayfield on its second drive. Despite tossing two touchdowns, Mayfield has thrown an interception three games in a row. The remainder of Tampa Bay’s scoring was done by kicker Chase Mclaughlin who scored both his field goal attempts.

As for the Colts, quarterback Gardner Minshew threw an interception but no touchdowns. His team was carried by running back Jonathan Taylor who found the end zone twice. Minshew also scored a rushing touchdown and tossed 251 yards. The Buccaneers were held to only 17 first downs while the Colts had 26. They remained within distance of the Colts throughout the game, but were hurt by turnovers and poor quarterback coverage. Mayfield endured six sacks, his most all season. Tampa Bay continues to fall out of the playoff picture while the Colts are just barely hanging on.

New England Patriots 7 – New York Giants 10

Heading into a bye week, the Giants assured they would no longer sit in last place of the NFC East. They got the win over New England despite only earning 10 first downs to the Patriots 18. Turnovers made the difference as New England had three to the Giants’ single fumble. That fumble was on their  first drive after quarterback Tommy DeVito lost the ball. He played well the remainder of the game, tossing a touchdown and completing 17 of 25 attempts. 

New England’s lone touchdown came in the third quarter from running back Rhamondre Stevenson. Neither of its quarterbacks tossed over 100 yards and they both had interceptions. Mac Jones tossed two while Bailey Zappe threw one. Those were the turnovers that decided the game, as New England achieved more yards and possession in its loss. The world’s population was smaller by 2.5 billion people in 1992 when the Patriots last possessed a 2-9 record. Even a win over the Chargers next week would not bring them out of last place in the AFC.

Carolina Panthers 10 – Tennessee Titans 17

These two sides have only met seven times dating back to 1997 and a Tennessee win handed it a 4-3 lead in the series. Carolina did not lead once throughout the game despite earning more first downs than its opponents. It also held the ball longer and converted more third downs. Its quarterback Bryce Young failed to throw a touchdown and fumbled the ball in the second quarter. That fumble led to a Titan’s touchdown drive. 

Neither quarterback found a man in the end zone, as Titans’ quarterback Will Levis tossed 185 yards but no touchdowns. Running back Derrick Henry excelled for Tennessee, earning two rushing touchdowns  and leading the team with 76 yards. The Titans still remain two games out of a playoff spot, while Carolina sits dead last in its conference. Next weekend could be big for Tennessee, as a win over the Colts could begin to move it in the right direction. As for Carolina, it has become the first team officially eliminated from the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams 37 – Arizona Cardinals 14

The Los Angeles Rams completed the season sweep over the Cardinals with a win this past weekend. They have also defeated Arizona in five of the last six matchups. Given the score, this game was closer on paper than it may look. The Rams only achieved six more first downs than their opponents while completing the same amount of third and fourth downs. The major difference is just how many yards Los Angeles achieved. It completed 457 offensive yards while Arizona had 292. 

Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford helped his team tossing four touchdowns and 229 yards. Stafford threw an interception but it proved to be frivolous as there were only 20 seconds remaining in the first half. Quarterback Kyler Murray tossed a touchdown and completed a rushing touchdown, but was hurt by 18 incompletions. His team’s kicker Matt Prater also missed his only field goal attempt. Arizona is not far from facing the same elimination as Carolina. It will try its luck next weekend in Pittsburgh.

Cleveland Browns 12 – Denver Broncos 29

After beginning the season losing five of their first six games, the Denver Broncos have won five straight and are nearing a playoff spot. Although they had less first downs than their opponents, they managed 25 more total yards. Denver also completed six third downs to Cleveland’s measly two. Three turnovers, all of which were fumbles, made it hard for the Browns to score. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed a touchdown pass for Cleveland, but failed on the two point conversion that followed. Its other points came from two field goals by kicker Dustin Hopkins. 

For the Broncos, quarterback Russell Wilson earned a passing and rushing touchdown, as he has now passed a touchdown in every game this season. Kicker Will Lutz also scored both his field goal attempts for Denver. The Broncos earned their 25th win over the Browns in 32 matchups. As they move to their first winning record this season, a sixth victory in a row will be the target in Houston next week.

Kansas City Chiefs 31 – Las Vegas Raiders 17

The Chiefs were trailing by 14 points during the opening minutes of the second quarter, but eventually found a way to silence the home crowd. Raiders’ quarterback Aidan O’Connell began the game swimmingly, throwing a touchdown on the team’s first drive. This was the only touchdown he threw, although he completed the game with 248 passing yards. Running back Josh Jacobs also got on the board early for Las Vegas before its opponents began to take over. The Chiefs had tied it by halftime with the help of running back Isaiah Pacheco and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. 

Both Pacheco and Mahomes scored again in the second half, while all the Raiders could produce was a field goal. Yardage was close, as the Chiefs earned 360 total yards to the Raiders 358. Las Vegas completed more third downs but less first downs than its opponents, while also holding the ball just over a minute less. Neither team had a turnover. The Chiefs have defeated the Raiders six times in a row. The Raiders have next week off while Kansas City takes on Green Bay.

Buffalo Bills 34 – Philadelphia Eagles 37 (OT)

Arguably the most entertaining game of the week, this matchup contained plenty of touchdowns. No one scored more than Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, who finished with three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He helped with all five of the Eagles’ touchdowns. Buffalo kept it a back and forth game throughout with the efforts of a few players. Quarterback Josh Allen tossed two touchdowns and earned two rushing touchdowns as well. Receivers Gabe Davis and Stefon Diggs led the team in yards while each catching a touchdown. Hurts may have helped his team with five touchdowns, but allowed Buffalo to stay close with an interception and fumble.

These both led to touchdown drives for the Bills. A late interception by Allen allowed the Eagles to trek 24 yards in four plays for a touchdown. The game was sent to overtime with a field goal from Eagles’ kicker Jake Elliot with 20 seconds remaining in his only attempt of the match. Buffalo won the overtime coin toss; however, failed to score, eventually leading to Hurts final touchdown. Allen is 0-6 in overtime games as the Bills have lost to the Eagles three times straight. They will have next week off to ponder their playoff chances dropping to 21.3%.

Baltimore Ravens 20 – Los Angeles Chargers 10

Four of the last five matchups between these sides have now gone the Ravens way. This primetime matchup opened with a field goal from Los Angeles on its opening drive; however, the side failed to score again until the final quarter. This gave plenty of space for quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to work with. Jackson opened the second quarter with a touchdown to wide receiver Zay Flowers. That was Jackson’s only touchdown pass of the game, while Flowers went on to score a rushing touchdown. The Chargers fumbled the ball three times, one of which was by quarterback Justin Herbert.

He also threw an interception, as his team finished the game with four turnovers. He made it a three point game in the fourth quarter with his touchdown pass, but Flowers later scored his second touchdown of the game. Baltimore secured the victory despite only converting four third downs and earning 42 penalty yards across five flags. It remains at the top of the AFC while the Chargers’ playoff chances could be over. Los Angeles has lost three in a row for the first time this season and will look to avoid a fourth during its future trip to New England.

Monday Night Football

Chicago Bears 12 – Minnesota Vikings 10

The Bears defeated the Vikings in historic fashion, as they became the first team to win without scoring a touchdown this season. It also marks the team’s first win without a touchdown since 1993. Finally, the Bears had not defeated a fellow NFC North member in two years, and had lost five straight to the Vikings. This win may not have been possible if it were not for the errors of Vikings’ quarterback Joshua Dobbs. He threw four interceptions, the most in his career, while his team only completed 15 first downs. Converting only two of nine third downs also did not help Minnesota’s chances. 

Kicker Cairo Santos completed the entirety of the scoring for Chicago, knocking back four of his five field goal attempts. Quarterback Justin Fields fumbled the ball twice for Chicago, the first of which led to a Viking’s touchdown drive. This was Dobbs’ only touchdown pass and touchdown drive of the game. The winning kick was scored with 10 seconds remaining, leaving the fans of the U.S. Bank Stadium heartbroken. The Bears are only two wins away from a possible playoff spot, while Minnesota sits on the cusp of elimination. Each team will be off next week with a bye.

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