Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Here are our initial impressions of Sunday afternoon's action.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta -
The win Sunday snapped a five-game losing streak for the Buccaneers.
Josh Freeman's nightmare end of the season continued Sunday with another dismal outing (19-for-35, 222 yards, TD, INT). Over his final three games, Freeman had a QB rating of 52.1. That's almost as bad as Mark Sanchez (46.1 rating over his final three appearances).
Michael Turner's 17-yard touchdown run was his longest of the season. Seven of Turner's 10 rushing touchdowns this season have come from inside the three- yard line.
Doug Martin might be the anti-Turner. His 40-yard touchdown dash on Sunday was his fifth TD run of more than 30 yards this season. His 1,454 rushing yards this year were the most ever by a Tampa Bay rookie.
Mike Williams needed 69 yards Sunday to capture his first 1,000-yard receiving season. He ended the day with 65 yards on six catches. Soooo close!
New York Jets at Buffalo -
By losing their last three games, the Jets finished the year at 6-10, their worst record in a season since 2007. That year they won just four games under head coach Eric Mangini.
Sanchez actually had one of his better games of the season the last time he played Buffalo back in Week 1 (19-for-27, 266 yards, three TDs). This time around, Sanchez wasn't nearly as sharp. He completed just 17-of-35 passes for 205 yards and an interception.
C.J. Spiller wasn't terribly efficient on Sunday (24 carries for 59 yards) but he was still able to reward fantasy owners with a gorgeous 66-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Spiller finished the 2012 campaign with a career-high 1,703 yards from scrimmage (1,244 rushing, 459 receiving).
Brad Smith executed the wildcat offense to perfection on Sunday. The former Jets' wideout/quarterback flung himself into the end zone on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter and later had a run of 16 yards. Hopefully Tim Tebow was taking notes on the other sideline.
Stevie Johnson capped off another strong season with 111 yards on six catches. He's now gone over the 1,000-yard mark in receiving in each of his last three seasons.
Baltimore at Cincinnati -
This game didn't mean a whole lot for either team so most of the usual starters played sparingly.
Ravens' backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor had only thrown five career passes heading into Week 17. He added 25 to that total Sunday versus the Bengals, completing 15 of them for just 149 yards.
The Bengals improved to 10-6 with the victory, their best record in a season since 2009. Before this year, the last time the Bengals had gone to the playoffs two straight seasons was in 1981 and '82.
A.J. Green hauled in two receptions for 26 yards Sunday to bring his season receiving total to 1,350 yards. That's the most by a Cincinnati receiver since 2007 when Chad Johnson reeled in 93 catches for 1,440 yards.
Chicago at Detroit -
With Michael Bush out, Matt Forte got the chance to punch in a short touchdown for the second straight game. Maybe the Bears will realize Forte can get the job done at the goal line and give him more scoring opportunities next season. At least fantasy owners hope so.
In a matchup of two teams with no reliable No. 2 receiving option, Calvin Johnson finished with 72 yards on five catches and Brandon Marshall had five catches for 42 yards. Johnson fell 36 yards shy of the first 2,000-yard receiving season in NFL history.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford also came up short of a milestone -- his 272 passing yards were not enough to get him a second straight 5,000-yard season. Stafford did throw three touchdowns to finish the season with 20 (down from 41 in 2011).
Stafford's final stat line -- 4,967 yards, 24 total touchdowns (20 passing, four rushing), 20 turnovers -- looks a lot better than he actually played this season.
Houston at Indianapolis -
As we expected, the Colts went all out in coach Chuck Pagano's return to the sidelines following several months of leukemia treatment. Andrew Luck (191 yards, two touchdowns, Vick Ballard (27-78-1) and T.Y. Hilton (4-111-1) were the notables.
Arian Foster's last four rushing performances against Indianapolis prior to Sunday: 231 yards, three touchdowns; 102 yards, one touchdown; 158 yards, one touchdown; 165 yards, zero touchdowns. He didn't get to 100 rushing yards Sunday, but 96 yards and a touchdown is a nice consolation after his Week 16 dud.
With 12 catches for 141 yards, Andre Johnson finishes the season with 112 receptions for a career-high 1,598 yards, the third 1,500-yard season of his career. Johnson accumulated 1,154 of those yards in the final nine games (128.2 ypg).
Carolina at New Orleans -
It wasn't as pretty or as efficient as last season, but Drew Brees once again reached 5,000 yards and 40 touchdown passes (5,177 and 43, to be exact). He now owns two of the top three passing yardage seasons in NFL history and is the only player to reach 5,000 yards three times (nobody else has done it more than once).
Jimmy Graham's (9-115-1) 85 catches, 982 yards and nine touchdowns look great on paper, but ask anyone who drafted him in the first or second round and they'll tell you he's been a disappointment.
DeAngelo Williams made it look like 2008 with 210 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 rushes. He had 445 rushing yards, 139 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his final five games, and it could have been even better if he didn't have a 70-plus yard touchdown called back last week.
Mike Tolbert had three one-yard touchdowns after punching in two in Week 15. It's a shame Tolbert didn't establish himself as a consistent touchdown threat earlier in the season because it's doubtful anyone started him Sunday.
Philadelphia at New York Giants -
Six weeks off didn't change the fact that Michael Vick still turns the ball over much too often. After recovering an on sides kick to start the game, Vick destroyed the team's early momentum with an ugly pass which was intercepted by Stevie Brown.
It will be a horrible shame if the new head coach of the Eagles and the new offensive coordinator don't continue to use LeSean McCoy as a receiver as well as a running back. Andy Reid offenses have always used this play ... we don't know about his successor.
Fantasy owners were left wondering where this version of Eli Manning was for the past few weeks? He went 11-of-16 for 166 yards and four touchdowns ... in the first half. It was only his third game with more than one touchdown pass since Week 5. He tossed his fifth touchdown of the day, with no interceptions, in the fourth quarter.
Ahmad Bradshaw ran like the playoffs were on the line - which they were. He finished with 107 yards and a touchdown.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh -
The running-back-by-committee strategy used by both teams made all backs in this game fantasy non-factors.
It didn't seem like either of these teams were really interested in this game, particularly the more-often-than-not playoff-bound Steelers, who were simply playing out the string this time around. Pittsburgh managed just 99 yards on offense in the first half while posting 10 points.
Ben Roethlisberger apparently perfected the art of the short pass. He did throw three touchdown passes, but his longest completion of the day was 16 yards.
Jacksonville at Tennessee -
Both starter Keith Toston (12 for 66) and Richard Murphy (2-for-23) ran well in the first half as the scoring-challenged Jaguars put up 14 points even without their two best players in Maurice Jones-Drew and Cecil Shorts. The second half was a much different story as the two backs totaled nine yards.
Jaguars' QB Chad Henne hit Zach Brown for two touchdowns, a 79-yarder and a 30- yarder. Unfortunately, Brown plays linebacker for Tennessee. The Titans also got two punt return touchdowns from Darius Reynaud putting their fantasy D/ST at the top of the chart.
Another ineffective day from Jake Locker (5-of-10 for 92 yards). It will be interesting to see if the Titans are still solid on him as their future at quarterback. Fantasy owners aren't excited off what they have seen in his 10 starts this season.
Kansas City at Denver -
Brady Quinn is simply not an NFL-quality quarterback as three teams can now attest.
A Ronnie Hillman fumble changed momentum in favor of Kansas City, who turned it into three points. They stopped Peyton Manning & Co a second time, but a missed Ryan Succop field goal started the pendulum back in the other direction. Hillman was the invisible man after the mistake. Lance Ball backed up Knowshon Moreno and scored a late touchdown.
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning was his usual mistake-free self. He was 17-of-22 for 218 yards and two scores in the first half as he built a 21-3 half-time lead and cruised to final totals of 304 yards and three touchdowns.
The two first-half scoring strikes were to Eric Decker who set career highs in receptions (85), yards (1,064) and touchdowns (13). It's nice to be on the receiving end of Peyton Manning passes.
But one of the special things about Peyton Manning is that he can keep two star receivers happy at the same time. He also hit Demaryius Thomas seven times for 122 yards and a score. Both starting receivers have caught at least one touchdown each in five games this season.
Green Bay at Minnesota -
With a touchdown catch in the second quarter, Greg Jennings (6-120-2) has now caught a TD in two of the last three games. He's starting to get in sync with his quarterback at just the right time for the Packers' playoff run -- but too late for fantasy owners.
Aaron Rodgers doesn't need a running game to keep defenses honest. He threw for 365 yards and four scores against the Vikings with a running game headed by DuJuan Harris. Who? Exactly.
What a bonus it is to have a kicker with 10 50-yard kicks in a season like Blair Walsh. That's a lot of bonus points.
If Percy Harvin doesn't return to Minnesota, they may have found his replacement in Jarius Wright (3-90-1). but it would be better for Christian Ponder if he had both options to throw to along with the best option - handing the ball to Adrian Peterson.
"All-Day" needed 208 yards to set the NFL single-season rushing record, but finished with 199 yards. He did, however, become the seventh man to reach the 2,000-yard mark.
Miami at New England -
Reggie Bush must have forgotten there was a game on Sunday. He didn't show up, rushing for just 26 yards and falling 14 yards short of another 1,000-yard season.
Danny Woodhead is the AFC version of the Saints' Darren Sproles. Each has a great quarterback to use his special skills in the receiving game.
Meanwhile, Stevan Ridley scored twice from inside the 2-yard line, to make his fantasy owners happy despite a relatively low rushing total.
Those who took a gamble by starting Rob Gronkowski were rewarded with a fourth quarter score. It was one of two catches on the day for 42 yards.
Oakland at San Diego -
After an 0-for-2 start, Raiders' quarterback Terrelle Pryor settled in and led a long touchdown drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward- Bey. However, he went just 13-of-28 for 150 yards on the day. He did push in two late touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving at garbage time to make his fantasy total respectable. Apparently he was paying attention to Carson Palmer's body of work this year.
Philip Rivers has played well considering the beat up offensive line in front of him. He hit Antonio Gates for an 11-yard touchdown in the first half which was part of a solid 30 minutes that helped put him over the 3,600-yard passing mark for the fifth consecutive season, but he'll come up well short of the 4,399 he averaged over the past four seasons.
Arizona at San Francisco -
First-round choice Michael Floyd (13th overall) made his first significant contribution of the season with an eight-catch, 166-yard, one touchdown afternoon. Of course, no fantasy owners actually started him given his performance to date and Brian Hoyer making his first start at quarterback.
Colin Kaepernick-to-Michael Crabtree (8-172-2) has been a lethal combination in the second half of the season and anyone participating in playoff fantasy should take note.
The rest of the 49ers offense didn't show up, including David Akers who missed two more field goals on Sunday. That's 13 misses for the season, easily the most of his career.
St. Louis at Seattle -
The Rams finished the season 2-1-1 against the division's two playoff teams and may have played them tougher than anyone in the league.
Sam Bradford was a solid 14-of-21 for 139 yards and a score in the first half, the only score by either team in the first 30 minutes. However, he couldn't get his team into the end zone in the second half, finishing with 252 passing yards.
Rookie sensation Russell Wilson only threw the ball 19 times, but completed 15 for 250 yards and a touchdown to Michael Robinson. He also ran in the game- winner.
Another 100-yard rushing effort, his 10th of the season, from Marshawn Lynch. Ho hum.
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