While the NFL’s regular season ends this coming weekend, college football is nearly two weeks into its parade of postseason bowls that now stretches well past New Year’s Day. For football-crazy schools, the bowl appearance is the must-have at the end of every season to prove that the program is successful.
Drew Brees set a new NFL record for yards passing in a season, and the New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons 45-16 on Monday night to clinch the NFC South title. Brees passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns, the last of which was a 9-yard completion to Darren Sproles that set the NFL record with 2:51 to play.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 283 yards and five touchdowns, and the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 35-21 on Christmas night. With the victory, Green Bay (14-1) clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC title game. Chicago (7-8) was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss, which subsequently guaranteed Atlanta a playoff spot. The Falcons play Monday night against New Orleans.
Rodgers’ second touchdown pass of the game, a 2-yarder to James Jones just before halftime, gave the Packers a 14-3 lead at the break. The Bears pulled within 14-10 in the third quarter when offensive lineman Edwin Williams recovered a fumble by Chicago running back Kahlil Bell in the end zone.
Houston (10-4) had its seven-game win streak snapped by lowly Carolina last Sunday. Having already clinched the AFC South and a playoff spot, the Texans look to stay in the race for a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage by turning the NFL’s second best rushing attack loose on the Colts, who give up an average of 138.7 rushing yards per game.
A gimpy Ben Roethlisberger committed four turnovers, and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-3 on Monday night. The game was delayed twice due to power outages at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
It was a great weekend for road teams in the NFL, as many came out victorious. Green Bay lost its perfect season, and Indianapolis finally recorded a victory in 2011, while three more AFC teams gained playoff spots. Here’s a recap of all the weekend’s games:
Rookie Doug Baldwin blocked a punt and caught a touchdown pass, and the Seattle Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams 30-13 on “Monday Night Football.” Seattle (6-7) remains alive in the race for an NFC wild-card playoff spot as a result of the victory.
Eli Manning led two touchdown drives in the final six minutes, and the New York Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys 37-34 on Sunday night. Dallas (7-6) had a chance to tie, but kicker Dan Bailey’s 47-yard field goal attempt with 1 second left in the game was blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul. New York (7-6) had to rally after falling behind 34-22 with 5:41 remaining in the game, when the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo.
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