NFL Game Capsules - Week 17

5:09 PM, Dec 30, 2012   |    comments
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Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Doug Martin carried the ball 28 times for 142 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 22-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Josh Freeman completed 19-of-35 passes for 222 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Mike Williams had six catches for 65 yards and a score for the Buccaneers (7-9), who failed to reach the postseason for the fifth straight season. Matt Ryan was 28-for-44 passing for 238 yards and a touchdown and Michael Turner added a rushing score for the Falcons (13-3), who have already locked up the top seed in the NFC and a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs.

Final Score: Buffalo 28, NY Jets 9

Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - While the Buffalo Bills may have had a disappointing season, they finished on a high note with a 28-9 triumph over the New York Jets, who can finally put an end to an embarrassing campaign. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 225 yards on 12-of-26 efficiency for Buffalo (6-10), which got late rushing scores from Brad Smith and Tashard Choice in snapping a three-game losing skid. C.J. Spiller made two catches for 72 yards -- including a 66-yard TD reception -- and added 59 yards on 24 carries, while Steve Johnson eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving plateau on the season with six catches for 111 yards. New York (6-10) scored 10 points or less for the seventh time this year in its third straight defeat. Mark Sanchez capped a season plagued by inconsistent quarterback play by throwing an interception, losing a fumble and completing less than half of his passes (17- of-35) for the eighth time in 2012. Shonn Greene rushed for 74 yards on 19 carries and Bilal Powell added 56 yards on 12 touches for New York, which will head into the offseason early for the second consecutive year following back-to-back AFC Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010.

Final Score: Cincinnati 23, Baltimore 17

Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Josh Brown kicked three second-half field goals and Carlos Dunlap returned an interception for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter as the Cincinnati Bengals closed out the regular season with a 23-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Andy Dalton completed 10-of-15 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown before getting removed in favor of Bruce Gradkowski in the second half for the Bengals (10-6), who had already locked up the sixth seed in the playoffs and will face either New England, Houston or Denver next week depending on outcomes later Sunday. Marvin Jones recorded Cincinnati's lone offensive touchdown while catching five balls for 45 yards. Joe Flacco started the game for the Ravens (10-6) but was removed after just two offensive series. Tyrod Taylor replaced him and threw for 149 yards with the interception on 15-for-25 efficiency while also adding 65 yards and a score on nine carries. Bernard Pierce carried the ball 22 times for 89 yards for Baltimore, which rested most of its starters as they already had the AFC's fourth seed locked up entering the game. The Ravens had a chance to move up to the third seed with a win, but will now play the Indianapolis Colts in the opening round of the playoffs.

Final Score: Chicago 26, Detroit 24

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - The Chicago Bears did their part in an attempt to get into the playoffs. Now the team has to wait. Jay Cutler threw a touchdown pass, Matt Forte ran one in and Olindo Mare kicked four field goals as the Bears took a 26-24 win over the Detroit Lions in the final game of the regular season for both teams from Ford Field. Now, Chicago (10-6) has to wait and see if it will make the playoffs as the NFC's last wild card. What the team needs to get to the postseason is a Minnesota loss, with the Vikings hosting Green Bay later in the day. Cutler went 18-for-31 with 257 yards while Forte had 24 carries for 103 yards in the win for the Bears, who won their final two games of the season after dropping five of six. Matt Stafford went 24-for-42 with 272 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for the Lions (4-12), who completed a highly disappointing season with eight straight losses. Stafford fell 33 yards short of 5,000 for the season, but he did become the first quarterback to throw over 700 pass attempts in one season as he finished the 2012 campaign with 727 attempts. Many of those passes went to superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who broke the single-season reception yardage record last week. He posted five catches for 72 yards on Sunday for a total of 122 catches for 1,964 yards in 2012, although he had just five touchdown catches on the year.

Final Score: Indianapolis 28, Houston 16

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Indianapolis had nothing to play for, but with Chuck Pagano back in charge, the inspired Colts may have shaken up the complexion of the AFC playoff picture. Already locked into the fifth seed in the AFC, Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and the Colts remained unbeaten at home against the Houston Texans with a 28-16 triumph. The 52- year-old Pagano, who was medically cleared by his doctor to return to his coaching duties last week, made his first sideline appearance since Week 3 following a successful battle with leukemia. Under interim head coach Bruce Arians' watch, the Colts went 9-4 and secured a spot in the postseason after their win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. Luck finished with 191 yards through the air on 14-of-28 efficiency for the Colts (11-5), who moved to 11-0 all-time against Houston in Indy. Andre Johnson tallied 141 yards receiving on 12 catches for Houston (12-4), which dropped three of its last four games to close the season and could've locked up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a victory.

Final Score: Carolina 44, New Orleans 38

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - DeAngelo Williams ran for a Panthers-record 210 yards with a pair of scores, as Carolina wrapped up a solid finish to the season with a 44-38 victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. Mike Tolbert added 25 yards and three short touchdowns as part of a 273-yard rushing performance for the Panthers (7-9), who won their final four games and five of their last six, possibly saving coach Ron Rivera's job. Carolina improved upon last year's 6-10 mark in Rivera's first season. Cam Newton battled through a leg injury in the fourth quarter and threw for 248 yards with an interception in the victory. The Panthers rebounded nicely after a 1-6 start, with their lone victory in that stretch coming in Week 2 against a Saints team that had its own problems throughout an up-and-down 2012. New Orleans (7-9) had a chance to finish at .500 after a disastrous 0-4 start that followed numerous off-field issues, but instead wound up with a losing record for the first time since 2007. Trouble for the Saints began in the spring with the announcement of the bounty scandal that featured the season- long suspension of head coach Sean Payton, who worked out a multi-year contract extension earlier this week. A contract dispute in the summer with Drew Brees didn't help matters, although the star quarterback set an NFL record for most consecutive games with a TD pass and on Sunday reached 5,000 passing yards for the third time in his career while becoming the first player in league history with at least 40 TD passes in back-to-back years. Brees threw for 396 yards with four scores and one interception on Sunday, while Jonathan Vilma -- a key figure in the NFL's bounty investigation -- returned an interception for a score. Vilma eventually won an appeal of his season-long suspension for his alleged role in the scandal.

Final Score: NY Giants 42, Philadelphia 7

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - The New York Giants, while simultaneously being denied a chance to defend their Super Bowl title, delivered a resounding victory Sunday in what may have been Andy Reid's last game on the Philadelphia Eagles' sideline. Eli Manning threw a career- high five touchdowns passes despite windy conditions in leading the Giants to a 42-7 blowout win in what proved to be both teams' season finale. New York (9-7), the front-runner in the NFC East for most of the season, was eliminated from postseason contention when the Chicago Bears upended the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon. A 2-5 stretch coming into Week 17 proved too much for the reigning champions to overcome, though a pair of rookies showed promise heading into next season. Rueben Randle caught two TD passes, while fellow rookie David Wilson caught another from Manning, who finished with 208 yards on 13-of-21 passes. Ahmad Bradshaw gained 148 yards from scrimmage and ran for a touchdown in finishing off the Eagles' 4-12 campaign -- the worst in Reid's 14-year tenure in the City of Brotherly Love. Michael Vick, in his first start since suffering a concussion against the Cowboys in Week 10, completed just 19-of-35 attempts for 197 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the loss. The Eagles can opt of Vick's hefty contract in the offseason, leading many to speculate his days, like Reid's, are numbered in Philadelphia.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 24, Cleveland 10

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Ben Roethlisberger had three touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up the season by posting a 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger was 15-of-23 for 134 yards and the Pittsburgh defense forced four turnovers. The Steelers (8-8) snapped a three-game skid and avoided their first losing season since going 6-10 in 2003. With rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and backup Colt McCoy nursing right shoulder injuries, Thaddeus Lewis made his NFL debut for the Browns. Lewis, promoted from the practice squad earlier in the week, completed 22-of-32 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and one interception. Benjamin Watson had 64 yards on seven receptions for Cleveland (5-11), which has dropped nine straight road games in this series.

Final Score: Tennessee 38, Jacksonville 20

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Darius Reynaud returned two punts for touchdowns, linebacker Zach Brown brought back two interceptions for scores and the Tennessee Titans closed out the regular season with a 38-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at LP Field. Tennessee (6-10) became the first team in NFL history to return two punts and two interceptions for scores in the same game. Because of the exploits of the Titans defense and special teams units, the Jake Locker-led offense observed a large portion of the game from the sidelines. He was 9-of-15 for 152 yards, while Chris Johnson opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run. Tennessee finished with only 12 first downs and was outgained 375-221 by the Jaguars. Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne completed 25-of-41 passes for 298 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Jaguars ended the season at 2-14, the worst mark in franchise history.

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