The Carolina Panthers proved that they are the best in the NFC South as they crushed the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
The Panthers’ defense stymied the Cowboys offense that could only muster two touchdowns despite this being Tony Romo’s second game back from a collarbone injury. The big problem for the Cowboys in this game is that Romo re-injured his collarbone during a sack and now he’s out for the season.
The defensive gem for the Panthers was linebacker Luke Kuechly. He intercepted two Romo passes returning the first 32-yards for a touchdown. DB Kurt Coleman intercepted Romo’s second pass of the game and returned it 36-yards for another score. The Panthers is the NFL’s leading defense when it comes to takeaways with a plus-13 and they now have the league’s best 25 interceptions. Moreover, it was the fourth time in his career that Romo threw multiple pick-sixes in a game.
The Panthers’ defense as a whole limited the Cowboys to a total of only 117 yards through three quarters
The loss was Romo’s first in four starts this season. He had led the Boys to three consecutive wins before he was injured, but replacements neither Brandon Weeden nor Matt Cassel were able to get a win. The Cowboys waived Weeden, but has retained Cassel, who finished the game and will no doubt get the assignment to QB the remaining games.
Cam Newton scored the Panthers’ only offensive touchdown on a 4-yard run that brought the score to 30-6. Newton threw for 183 yards and rushed for 45 yards. Newton completed three passes of 24-yards on third down plays.
Panthers’ kicker Graham Gano contributed field goals of 49-yards, 43-yards, 25-yards and 50-yards. A 43-yard tie was blocked. PANTHERS 30 COWBOYS 14
Forty-year-old Matt Hasselbeck quarterbacked the Indianapolis Colts over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was his third straight win as the replacement for Andrew Luck, who is out due to injuries including a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle.
The old man easily outplayed the youngster, Tampa Bay’s QB and rookie Jameis Winston. Hasselbeck finished with 26 completions on 42 attempts and did not turn the ball over. He had a QB rating of 100.8 and became the third 40-years old quarterback during the Super Bowl era to win four consecutive starts. He joins Brett Favre and Warren Moon.
Winston had 20 completions on 36 attempts for 245 yards, a touchdown and one interception. He was sacked five times. His QB rating was 74.4.
T.Y. Hilton had two touchdown receptions and collected 95 yards on six passes.
Another old-timer, 42-years old Colts’ kicker Adam Vinatieri, contributed with field goals of 49-yards, 27-yards, 26-yards and 44-yards.
Running back Doug Martin set up Tampa’s only touchdown with a 56-yard run. The score came on a 20-yard pass from Winston to Cameron Brate. Martin gained 97 yards on 14 carries.
The Buccaneers were flagged 12 times for 95 yards and came into this game in fourth place for the most penalized teams in the league. COLTS 25 BUCCANEERS 12
The New Orleans Saints high-powered offense was unable to score a touchdown for the first time since December 24, 2005 and Drew Brees’ streak of throwing at least one scoring pass in a game ended at 45 as the Saints lost to the Houston Texans.
Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt had another great game as he collected seven quarterback hits and two sacks and leads the NFL with 13-1/2 sacks this season.
Brian Hoyer played QB for the Texans and threw two touchdown passes and finished with 21 completions on 27 tries and an interception. He missed the previous week’s game due to a concussion.
Texans’ running back Alfred Blue rushed 8-yards for a score. Texans’ cornerback Kareem Jackson, who returned to play after missing four games due to an ankle injury, intercepted a Brees pass at the goal line and returned it 50 yards. Cecil Shorts caught a Hoyer touchdown pass for a touchdown.
Saints’ kicker Kai Forbath kicked two field goals, one was for 57-yards, which is his career high. TEXANS 24 SAINTS 6
Adrian Peterson ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns as the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Atlanta Falcons. Peterson’s 1-yard touchdown run put the Vikings ahead in the first quarter and sealed it with a 35-yard touchdown run with 4:15 remaining. It was Peterson’s sixth 100-yard game this season and he moved into 18th place on the NFL’s top rushers list with 11,354 yards. He passed O.J. Simpson (11,236), Corey Dillion (11,241) and John Riggins (11,352).
Teddy Bridgewater completed 20 passes on 28 attempts for 174 yards and an interception. The pick was made in the end zone.
The Vikings’ defense kept the Falcons out of the end zone until Matt Ryan completed a one-yard pass to Nick Williams with 1:28 remaining.
Ryan threw two interceptions. He has five in the past two games. One pick occurred in the end zone. It was the fourth pick in the red zone for Ryan so far this season. Vikings’ cornerback Captain Munnerlyn made one of those interceptions on a deep pass. The second interception came after Falcons’ running back Tevin Coleman scored on a one-yard run that was nullified by a clipping penalty.
Coleman replaced Devonta Freeman, who suffered a concussion in the previous week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. He broke off a 46-yard run in the first quarter, but fumbled the ball as Vikings’ linebacker Anthony Barr punched it out of his grasp at the Vikings’ 21-yard line. Coleman ended up with 110 yards on 18 carries. It was his first 100-yard game of his career.
Undrafted rookie running back Terron Ward made an error when he was penalized for unnecessary roughness as he tried to kick a Vikings’ defender off him. The mistake stalled a Falcons’ drive in the red zone and they had to settle for a field goal.
This game marks the Falcons’ fifth loss in their last six games including four straight. They could become one of just a few teams in NFL history to miss the playoffs after a 5-0 start.
Julio Jones was held to only 58 yards on five catches. VIKINGS 20 FALCONS 10
NFC SOUTH STANDINGS Overall Division
CAROLINA PANTHERS 11-0 2-0
ATLANTA FALCONS 6-5 0-2
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 5-6 2-1
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 4-7 1-2
NFC SOUTH SCHEDULE
FALCONS @ BUCCANEERS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2015
PANTHERS @ SAINTS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2015
Courtesy of The Guardian