- Kevin Kaduk at Shutdown Corner1 hr ago
Sunday's snow was a fun setting for football, but it didn't exactly ground NFL offenses. A total of 88 touchdowns were scored for a new single-day league record.
One area where it did have an impact, however, was the legs of Philadelphia Eagles kicker Alex Henery and Detroit Lions kicker David Akers. Neither kicked a single point as the two teams opted instead to try for seven two-point conversions (succeeding on three). Akers did attempt an extra point after one Lions score, but it was blocked by the Eagles in their 34-20 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
According to Chase Stuart of Football Perspective, the scoring kick-free game marked the first time in 56 years that a NFL game was played without an extra point or field goal sailing through the uprights. It's only happened four other times since 1940, but all four of those games were shutouts.
We cover that statistical oddity and more in this week's NFL in 90 — the recap reel that brings you all of the action you might have missed on Sunday.
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- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner11 hrs ago
The Saints are truly a different team at the Superdome, almost unbeatable with the combination of Sean Payton calling plays and Drew Brees executing them.
And after Sunday, the Saints are a big step closer to ensuring a game at the Superdome on the second weekend of the NFL playoffs.
Carolina came into Sunday night's game as the upstart in the NFC South, riding an eight-game winning streak behind a tough defense and Cam Newton. The Saints tore apart that defense and made Newton a non-factor in an impressive 31-13 win.
New Orleans is now 10-3 and a game ahead of 9-4 Carolina in the NFC South. There will be a rematch in Carolina in two weeks, but the Panthers need help to win the division. If the Panthers win out, the Saints still win the tiebreaker by winning two of their last three due to a better conference record.
The Saints, who are now 7-0 at home and 3-3 on the road this season, left little doubt that they should be considered the top dog in the division.
- Kristian Dyer at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For a brief moment on Sunday morning in the parking lot outside MetLife Stadium, it looked as if several dozen Oakland Raiders fans were in the process of "Tebowing." It turns out they were being knighted.
Yes, you read that right.
The Raiders may have lost on Sunday to the New York Jets 37-27, but one thing that the faithful of the "Silver & Black" do well is represent. Raiders faithful travel in large numbers and the tailgate scene prior to the Jets game showed the wild costumes and outlandishness of the Oakland fans. Masks, painted faces and spikes coming out of weird places were the norm.
One especially rabid fan flew from England to New York City on Friday afternoon to catch the game and then will leave on a trans-Atlantic flight on Monday morning. His name is Keith Smith, and the rather gentile Londoner transforms himself into the "Crusader Raider" on Sundays. He has a passion for the NFL that was spawned in the late 1970s and has grown since.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
The Patriots can't really complain much about the officials anymore this season.
New England was ticked about a non-call on Luke Kuechly on the last play of Carolina's victory a few weeks ago. The Patriots got away with a clear holding on their game-winning touchdown against New Orleans early in the season, but they did have a point with the non-call on the Panthers.
But now, it has more than evened out.
For some reason, the officials at the end of the Browns-Patriots game decided to give New England the win. That's effectively what happened when they decided to call a pass interference on Browns cornerback Leon McFadden, even though McFadden didn't do anything to Patriots receiver Josh Boyce to deserve a penalty.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner13 hrs ago
1. Can't keep up with Jones This time, there was no Mike Tomlin to create controversy. In the middle of an insane finish of the game, the Baltimore Ravens’ Jacoby Jones took a short kickoff return down the left sideline, just like on Thanksgiving, but there was no controversy or impediment this time as Jones blazed 77 yards for the score.
2. Brown's near-miracle play This was as close to the Stanford-Cal (“The band is on the field!”) finish as we have seen in the NFL recently. The Pittsburgh Steelers trailed the Miami Dolphins 34-28 with 2 seconds remaining, and Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball to Emmanuel Sanders on a play that would end up touching four other players' hands. Sanders lateraled to Jerricho Cotchery, who quickly pitched it back to Le’Veon Bell. From there, Bell tossed it to Marcus Gilbert, who threw it back to Roethlisberger. It was close, but he lateraled it to Antonio Brown, and Brown appeared to make an insane, game-winning score after avoiding four defenders and running 68 yards to the end zone. The only problem? Brown’s foot barely stepped out of bounds en route.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
Darnell Dockett can expect to hear from the NFL offices this week.
The Arizona defensive lineman, a heck of a player who is also well known for his stream-of-consciousness thoughts on Twitter, won't get away with purposely stepping on the hand of a Rams offensive lineman during Sunday's game.
At the end of a run by Rams back Zac Stacy in the third quarter of Sunday's game, Dockett came in a bit late, then Rams offensive lineman Chris Williams knocked Dockett off of Stacy. No big deal if it ends there. But Dockett got up and as Williams was on the ground, Dockett went out of his way to lunge forward and stomp on Williams' hand. Dockett's teammates immediately led him away from Williams.
When Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh stomped on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith's arm in 2011, he was suspended two games. Dockett doesn't have the history with the NFL that Suh does, but the league isn't going to let this go without at least a hefty fine.
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- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
First, the Minnesota Vikings suffered injury when Adrian Peterson went down with a foot ailment against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Then they suffered insult when an insane, snowy, tilt-a-whirl game ended in favor of the Ravens.
It's not exactly clear what category it falls under, but things remained pretty bad after the game. According to multiple sources and social-media posts, the Vikings' team plane was hit by a catering truck (!) and was grounded, leaving the Vikings to wait a few hours for another mode of transport home.
Defensive lineman Chase Baker tweeted about the event.
Apparently the catering truck ran into our plane... So we're stuck here for 3 hours. Not the snow... The catering truck. #areyoujoking?!
— Chase Baker (@ChaseBaker91) December 8, 2013
Peterson also took to Twitter to complain about the referees and the snowball-throwing Ravens fans he and his teammates encountered in Week 14.
And how would things get worse? That's an excellent question.
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- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
Who cares that the San Francisco 49ers don't light up the scoreboard or that all four of their losses have come in playoff-like atmospheres?
The Niners answered a bell that needed answering in their gutsy 19-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14. Sure, the previous two victories over the Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams were important to getting back on track after the two brutal losses before that.
But more than that, and more than any statistical metric, the 49ers needed to show they could win a game playing the same formula of football they rode to the Super Bowl appearance last season.
That's what Sunday proved. You could not blame the Seahawks had they coasted into Candlestick knowing the division was probably iced up. But they did not; this was a chippy game between two teams that genuinely dislike each other. The Seahawks came into town looking to stomp out the 49ers, and they clearly felt they could do it.
Instead, the 49ers took every Seahawks blow, parried and went back on the attack. They were the tone-setters in this game, and yet they were able to overcome three deficits and finish the game on their terms, with the ball in their hands.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has not been thrilled to get questions about his struggles in cold weather.
It'll be a while before he fields any more.
The official temperature for kickoff in Denver was 18 degrees, and it dipped after that as the sun set behind the mountains. And Manning looked like he was playing in the middle of summer.
Manning set a Broncos record with 39 completions, and had 397 yards and four touchdowns as Denver beat Tennessee 51-28. The Broncos had never scored more than 50 points in a game before this season. They've scored at least 50 points three times this season, the first NFL team to do that since the 1969 Vikings.
Manning let it know that he wasn't thrilled with the criticism of his cold-weather performance.
"Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don't shine," Manning told Denver radio station 850 KOA after the game, according to the Denver Post.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
Arizona Cardinals standout rookie cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was carted off with an apparent knee injury and did not return to the game against the St. Louis Rams.
The Cardinals apparently fear that Mathieu suffered a torn ACL. He will have an MRI performed on Monday.
Returning a free kick following a Cardinals safety that made the score 23-3 Cardinals, Mathieu went down in a heap and injured his left knee.
Mathieu tried to run off the field, but his knee buckled and they brought out the cart to take him off the field.
It would be a serious blow if Mathieu is lost in what has been a terrific rookie season to date as the Cardinals are trying to lock down a playoff appearance at 8-5.
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