The playoffs are vastly approaching, and every NFL game is becoming more important to lock up, or even fight for, a post season berth. However on Sunday, every single Florida team took a step in the wrong direction.
Beginning in Jacksonville, the New York Jets (6-7) came to town and edged closer to the playoffs, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) 17-10 as the Jags take another step towards the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Jets used the running game to power their offensive attack as they rushed for a total of 155 yards behind backs Shonn Green and Bilal Powell, who also accounted for the two touchdowns on the day. Quarterback Mark Sanchez was 12 of 19 passing for 111 yards but no touchdowns.
Without leading receiver Cecil Shorts III and running back Maurice Jones Drew, the Jags offense was inept for most of the day. Quarterback Chad Henne was 21 of 43 for 185 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. And to the dismay of many fans, quarterback Tim Tebow was active for the Jets but never took one step on the field.
In Tampa in a thrilling finish, the Philadelphia Eagles (4-9) squeaked by the Bucs (6-7) 23-21. The Eagles ended their eight game losing streak while the Bucs fell to just under .500 on the season.
Philly’s young quarterback Nick Foles had a stellar performance going 32 of 51 for 381 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles had to be good with the Eagles running game non-existent as running back Bryce Brown, filling in for the injured LeSean McCoy had only 12 yards on six carries. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman was only 14 of 34 passing for 189 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Bucs running back Doug Martin had another great day with 128 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown.
It was a back and forth game, but with three seconds remaining and down 21-17, Foles threw a touchdown pass as time expired for the victory. Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said his team could have played alot better.
The Bucs will look to bounce back next week against the New Orleans Saints.
Also on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins (5-8) made a trip to the west coast to play the San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1). The 49ers used a balanced offensive attack as quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed 18 of 23 passes for 185 yards and rushed six times for 53 yards, 50 of those coming on a touchdown run late in the game to seal the victory.
For Miami, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 17 of 33 for 150 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. The Dolphins lackluster offense had just one score on the day coming late in the fourth quarter with a three yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to tight end Anthony Fasano. Miami coach Joe Philbin says the team has yet to have all phases of the game doing well together.
The Dolphins will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars next week.
Staying in the AFC East, the New England Patriots (9-3) will host the Houston Texans (11-1) tonight in Monday Night Football. With a combined record of 12-4 this will be the best record combined of a matchup that Monday Night Football has ever had. The Texans will look to increase their lead over the rest of the AFC while the Patriots look to show they are still dominant.
The other NFL winners are Dallas, Washington, Minnesota, St.Louis, the New York Giants, Carolina, Cleveland, San Diego, Indianapolis, Seattle and Green Bay.