Austin Davis and the So. Miss Golden Eagles sent Larry Fedora out as a winner, too bad their fans couldn't be on hand to witness the bowl win. The Conference USA champs let the Nevada Wolfpack hang in the game, but an Austin Davis TD pass with 6:02 left was enough for the Eagles to hang on at Aloha Stadium.
The Lions were in a situation that they haven't experienced since the 90s, they were at the doorstep of the playoffs. All they had to do was win, but their opponent was the red-hot Chargers. San Diego also shared a similar playoff hunt situation and seemed poised to leave mo-town upset. However, Matthew Stafford and the Lions came out hot with guns-blazing. They ripped the Chargers secondary for big yardage and got out to an insurmountable 24-0 lead at the half. The Lions would hold on for a 38-10 win, putting the team in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. With the loss, San Diego is eliminated from the playoff chase.
The Patriots clinched a first round bye in dramatic fashion: climbing out of a 17 point hole to the inferior AFC East rival Dolphins. A few Matt Moore orchestrated drives and a poor pass defense from the Patriots left the crowd in Foxborough stunned. The second half was totally different, though. Tom Brady brought the Pats back to lead them to their 12th win and 7th in a row to clinch a first week bye in the playoffs.
Has the Tim Tebow magic faded? No one can have a comeback when their down by 26 points, that's for sure. The Broncos had an awful day on defense and Tebow definitely didn't help their cause as he threw 4 INTs. The Bills ended their seven game losing streak by gashing the Broncos run defense as CJ Spiller ran for 111 yards. The Bills defense also held up by heckling Tebow and forcing him to make bad decisions. The Broncos fall to 8-7 with a very important game against the Chiefs next week at Mile High.
The Giants were visiting their home stadium... If that makes any sense at all. But the Giants showed the Jets who owns the Meadowlands with a convincing win that forces the Jets to win their next game for a shot at the playoffs. Eli Manning and the Giants however, did not make it easy on themselves. They got to a 20-7 lead but let the Jets get back into it. The Jets got the ball back only down by six, but allowed a safety and Amhad Bradshaw punched in a TD that punches a ticket for the Giants in a key NFC East match-up against the Cowboys at Meadowlands for the division crown.
The Cards came out flat against the Bengals, which was discouraging since both teams were playing a must-win game for their playoff hopes. John Skelton got the start once again with an injured Kevin Kolb sitting out, but the second-year man out of Fordham was pestered all day long. He was sacked five times and threw three picks, putting the Cards in a 23 point hole. The game seemed decided, but when the fourth quarter rolls around, the Cards are unpredictable. They had a quick score from a 30 yard TD to Fitzgerald, putting the game at 23-7. The defense remained stout and Skelton took advantage by tossing another TD to Jeff King. Their two-point conversion attempt failed, but Cedric Benson fumbled the ball, giving the Cards another shot. Down by only a TD, Skelton threw a ball to the Endzone at a wide open Doucet, but the WR slipped and the ball was turned over. Skelton had a last gasp opportunity, but the Card's playoff hopes winded down to a sad and painful end. The season is truly a tail of two tale: the Cards started 1-6, but a mix of Skelton heroics and a stout defense brought the Cards back into the playoff hunt. The team has a lot of potential for next season, but this season is essentially over.