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Week 12

Tight four-way race in AFC East is too close to call

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Posted: Sunday November 19, 2000 6:25 PM
Updated: Wednesday November 22, 2000 2:17 AM

  Bernie Parmalee Former Dolphin Bernie Parmalee came off the bench to scorch his old team for two fourth-quarter touchdowns. AP

By Jon A. Dolezar, CNNSI.com

As if the election results (or lack thereof) aren't close enough, other action in Florida looks like it's going to go down to the wire.

The Jets' easy victory against the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday tightened up the already-tight AFC East race, with four teams now sitting within a game of each other with five weeks to play.

Green Bay's home win against Indianapolis and Buffalo's comeback win at Kansas City leaves three teams tied at 7-4 chasing the 8-3 Dolphins.

The Jets are 5-2 in division games, with only the Colts left to play within the division, while the Dolphins are 2-2 against AFC East opponents, meaning that they have four of their last five within the division. Miami's remaining five opponents (including two games against Indianapolis) have a combined record of 30-25, second-easiest remaining schedule of the fearsome foursome.

The Colts get a brutal finishing stretch against opponents with a combined 39-16 record (.709 winning percentage), while the Jets get an only slightly easier schedule with a 34-22 record. On paper, the Bills have the easiest road, with a 28-27 record for their remaining five opponents.

Here is the complete rundown of Week 12 action:

Week 12 NFL Recap
 
Bears 13 (3-8), Buccaneers 10 (6-5)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
91: Career-low passing total for Shaun King in a game that he started, two yards worse than his previous low of 93 yards set last Dec. 6 in his first career start against Minnesota.
Player of the Game
Tony Parrish, FS, Chicago: Ran back an interception 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 10-3 lead in the second, and finished with five tackles and one sack.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
Tampa Bay's playoff hopes took a serious blow in the cold and wind in Chicago. The Bucs' notorious cold-weather struggles continued, though that can be blamed more on the poor decisions of King than on the weather. Tampa Bay finished with only 60 net yards passing, as Chicago sacked King four times for a loss of 31 yards. Bears running back James Allen ran 20 times for 67 yards, but the Bucs' defense was stingy as always, led by middle linebacker Derrick Brooks' 14 total tackles. The teams combined for only five penalties for 33 yards.
 
Packers 26 (5-6), Colts 24 (7-4)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
25-0: Packers quarterback Brett Favre's record at Lambeau Field in games where the temperature is lower than 34 degrees at gametime.
Player of the Game
Ahman Green, RB, Green Bay: Dorsey Levens' replacement finished with a career-high 180 total yards, including 153 rushing on 24 carries.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
The wintery weather in Green Bay didn't affect the Packers' offense one bit, but it may have ultimately won the game for them. Peyton Manning's bobble in the end zone and fumble recovery for a safety on the Colts' first play from scrimmage ultimately provided the winning margin. Packers wide receiver Bill Schroeder continued to outshine counterpart Antonio Freeman with eight catches for 155 yards. Packers quarterback Brett Favre threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, only his second 300-yard game this season. The teams combined for 50 first downs and 770 total yards despite the elements. Green Bay held Colts running back Edgerrin James 41 yards below his season average and kept him out of the end zone for only the third game this season.
 
Bills 21 (7-4), Chiefs 17 (5-6)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
.529: Bills' third-down conversion percentage (9-of-17).
Player of the Game
Rob Johnson, QB, Buffalo: Threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns and led the Bills with 41 rushing yards, including the game-winning, 12-yard touchdown scramble with 2:58 to play.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
The Bills' quarterback controversy has been silenced for at least another week after Johnson's strong performance. Buffalo overcame an abysmal rushing performance, as Antowain Smith (12 carries for 21 yards) and Shawn Bryson (10 carries for 12 yards) were shut down by the Chiefs. Kansas City is fading in the AFC playoff picture after its third consecutive loss, despite continuing to put up impressive offensive numbers -- Tony Gonzalez (nine catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns), Derrick Alexander (seven catches for 146 yards) and Elvis Grbac (341 yards passing).
 
Vikings 31 (9-2), Panthers 17 (4-7)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
776: Combined yards by the Vikings (446) and Panthers (330), the sixth time this season Minnesota has surpassed 400 yards of total offense.
Player of the Game
Daunte Culpepper, QB, Minnesota: Completed 22-of-29 for a career-high 357 yards and three touchdowns.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
It's hard to get a more complete offensive effort than the Vikings got against the Panthers. Culpepper's career day included 138 yards and a touchdown to Cris Carter, 106 yards and a touchdown to Randy Moss and 70 yards and a touchdown to Robert Smith. For good measure, Smith also rushed for 103 yards on 23 carries, putting him within 138 yards of his career-best season of 1,266 set in 1997.
 
Raiders 31 (9-2), Saints 22 (7-4)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
.600: Raiders' third-down conversion percentage (9-of-15), compared to only 27.2 percent (3-of-11) for the Saints.
Player of the Game
Zack Crockett, RB, Oakland: Didn't put up huge numbers, but his 17 carries for 44 yards and two touchdowns helped the Raiders win the time-of-possession battle and amass 159 rushing yards despite Tyrone Wheatley's absence.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
Ricky Williams' injury last week was bad news, but Jeff Blake's may be devastating. Backup quarterback Aaron Brooks replaced Blake and threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns, but his inexperience may cost the Saints during a late-season playoff push. Chad Morton, Jerald Moore and Terrelle Smith combined for 22 carries for 129 yards, but the Raiders kept the trio out of the end zone on the ground. Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon had another efficient game, completing 14 of 21 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, as well as scrambling seven times for 55 yards.
 
Patriots 16 (3-8), Bengals 13 (2-9)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
39: Rushing yards by the Patriots, who gained averaged only 1.8 yards per carry on 22 rushes.
Player of the Game
Terry Glenn and Troy Brown, WRs, New England: Drew Bledsoe's occasionally dynamic receiver duo combined for 19 catches for 239 yards.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
The Patriots avoided a potentially embarrassing sweep by the lowly Ohio teams, downing the Bengals a week after losing in Cleveland. Bledsoe threw for 258 yards and one interception, but was dialed in with Brown and Glenn against the Bengals' overmatched secondary. The Patriots held Bengals running back Corey Dillon to 78 yards on 28 carries. New Bengals starting quarterback Scott Mitchell threw much better than Akili Smith has recently, passing for 236 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
 
Lions 31 (7-3), Giants 21 (4-6)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
53: Rushing yards for the Giants, who had been second in the league with 142.2 rushing yards per game.
Player of the Game
Charlie Batch, QB, Detroit: Completed 20-of-32 for 225 yards and tied his career high with three touchdown passes.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
Maybe a road playoff game wouldn't be such a bad idea for Detroit this season, since the Lions are now 4-1 on the road and only 3-3 at home. The Lions jumped all over the Giants in the first half, turning the crowd against the home team and then coasting for a victory. New York quarterback Kerry Collins threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns, but the Giants were forced to go almost exclusively to the air after falling behind 28-0 early in the third quarter.
 
Eagles 34 (8-4), Cardinals 9 (3-8)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
8: Sacks by the Eagles, including two by linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, two by free safety Brian Dawkins and 1 1/2 by rookie defensive tackle Corey Simon.
Player of the Game
Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia: Completed 25-of-34 for 217 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and also ran five times for 29 yards and a touchdown.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
Philadelphia moved to the top of the NFC East by controlling the ball with its running game and punishing Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer . The Eagles had a 34:49-25:11 advantage in time of possession and knocked Plummer from the game twice. Eagles running back Darnell Autry ran for 59 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries and caught five passes for 31 yards.
 
Titans 24 (9-2), Browns 10 (3-9)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
265: Advantage in total offense for the Titans (392) over the Browns (125).
Player of the Game
Eddie George, RB, Tennessee: Carried 36 times for 134 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
The Titans dominated the Browns statistically and it is frightening to think of what the final score could have been if Tennessee wasn't in a giving mood. George's big game rescued the Titans from a potentially humiliating defeat after trailing by three until late in the third quarter. After a scoreless first half, the teams combined for 24 points in the third, with the Browns clinging to the lead until 13 seconds remained in the third quarter. The Titans held the ball for more than 38 minutes, gaining 182 yards rushing while allowing only 45 rushing yards and five first downs to the Browns.
 
Broncos 38 (7-4), Chargers 37 (0-11)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
536: Total yards by the Broncos, the sixth time the Broncos had more than 400 yards in a game and the second time they surpassed the 500-yard plateau.
Player of the Game
Gus Frerotte, QB, Denver: Completed 36 of 58 passes for a career-high and Broncos team record 462 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
Bad teams find funny ways to lose games, and the Chargers blew a 17-point lead to remain winless. San Diego's fourth-quarter fade wasted the best game of Ryan Leaf's tumultuous career, as the third-year quarterback completed 13-of-27 for 311 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Chargers wide receivers Jeff Graham and Curtis Conway combined for eight catches for 262 yards and three touchdowns, but Broncos wide receivers Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith countered with a combined 21 catches for 335 yards and three touchdowns. With Terrell Davis sidelined with a sore ankle, backup Mike Anderson ran 19 times for 97 yards and caught six passes for 41 yards.
 
Jets 20 (7-4), Dolphins 3 (8-3)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
7.7: Dolphins' third-down conversion percentage (1-of-13), compared to 40 (6-of-15) for the Jets.
Player of the Game
Bernie Parmalee, RB, New York: Seldom-used backup ran for 57 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
After a sluggish first three quarters, the Jets scored 14 points in the final 15 minutes to win their sixth in a row against the Dolphins. New York quarterback Vinny Testaverde struggled once again, completing only 13-of-28 for 102 yards and two interceptions, but the Jets' 133 rushing yards bailed him out. Curtis Martin and Parmalee each carried 14 times for a combined 111 yards, but it was Parmalee, a former Dolphin, who scored twice in the final eight minutes to lift New York to the victory. Dolphins quarterback Damon Huard struggled after replacing the injured Jay Fiedler, throwing three interceptions and passing for only 128 yards.
 
Ravens 27 (8-4), Cowboys 0 (4-7)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
287: Advantage in total yards for the Ravens (479) over the Cowboys (192).
Player of the Game
Jamal Lewis, RB, Baltimore: Carried 28 times for a career-high 187 yards, and also caught four passes for 20 yards.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
The Ravens' once-MIA offense is back, and their defense continues to make opponents look bad. Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman threw for only 138 yards and was picked off three times. Baltimore's Trent Dilfer had another efficient effort, completing 18-of-24 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. But this game was a showcase for the Ravens' rookie running back. Though he didn't get in the end zone, Lewis darted through the defense to help Baltimore to 250 rushing yards. The Ravens became the fourth team to rush for more than 200 yards against the Cowboys this season, and Dallas is now giving up 171.1 rushing yards per game, the worst in the league.
 
49ers 16 (4-8), Falcons 6 (3-9)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
1,555: Total yards for 49ers running back Charlie Garner this season after running 18 times for 59 yards and catching six passes for 76 yards against the Falcons.
Player of the Game
Jason Webster, CB, San Francisco: Ran back a third-quarter interception 71 yards for a touchdown.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
The battle to stay out of the basement in the NFC West provided fewer fireworks than any Falcons-49ers matchup in recent memory. Chalk that up to 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens sitting out with turf toe. San Francisco quarterback Jeff Garcia went without a touchdown for the second week in a row after throwing 21 in the previous eight weeks. Future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice made only four catches for 31 yards, but that pushed his career numbers against the Falcons to 167 catches for 2,794 yards and 26 touchdowns in 30 career games against Atlanta. 49ers free safety Lance Schulters made 12 total tackles, tying his season-best total and giving him 85 this season.
 
Jaguars 34 (4-8), Steelers 24 (5-6)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
58: Yards by which the Steelers (306) outgained Jaguars running back Fred Taylor who had 248 total yards on his own.
Player of the Game
Fred Taylor, RB, Jacksonville: Carried 30 times for 234 and three touchdowns, and added three catches for 14 yards and another touchdown.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
The Steelers looked dominant defensively three weeks ago, but Taylor slayed any remaining playoff hopes that Pittsburgh was harboring with his monster game. Jacksonville shredded Pittsburgh for 417 total yards, the most yards allowed by the Steelers this season. The emotion on the face of Steelers head coach Bill Cowher near the end of the game showed how much Pittsburgh's three-game losing streak means to him. No coach wants to win more, but the lack of talent on his team is evident as the season wears on. Steelers running back Jerome Bettis carried 12 times for 57 yards, giving him 926 yards for the season, putting him within a short Bus trip of reaching 1,000 yards for the seventh time in his nine-year career.
 
Redskins 33 (7-4), Rams 20 (8-3)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
27: Regular-season games since the Rams last scored 20 points or fewer. St. Louis lost 38-19 to San Francisco on Dec. 27, 1998 in the finale of a 4-12 season.
Player of the Game
Bruce Smith, DE, Washington: Veteran led a solid defensive effort with three sacks and four tackles.
CNNSI.com's Breakdown
Redskins quarterback Jeff George made head coach Norv Turner's quarterbacking decision a bit more interesting whenever Brad Johnson returns from injury. George completed 24-of-34 for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Rams running back Marshall Faulk courageously started only two weeks after knee surgery, but he wasn't his usual dangerous self with only 33 yards rushing. Faulk did catch nine passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, but his inability to break tackles and run away from defenders in traffic show that he is obviously still affected by his knee injury. The other veterans on the Redskins' defense stepped up as well, with cornerback Deion Sanders making two tackles and forcing a fumble, and cornerback Darrell Green making five tackles.


 
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