The offenses came out with guns a-blazing this week, but some big time defensive efforts were just as vital to several late post-season pushes. 12 teams scored 30 or more points, but the Chiefs' offense went PlayStation 4 on the Raiders, scoring 56 points in a 56-31 win. While the Seahawks, Broncos and Colts weren't as frenetic in the end-zone this week as Kansas City, wins or help from other teams this week earned them post-season births.
With just two games left to play and several playoff spots still within fighting distance for a plethora of teams, the regular season drama has yet to hit its climax.
Here's What Else We Learned:
Green Bay Breaks Dallas' Heart in 37-36 Win: Packers backup QB Matt Flynn, in for the injured Aaron Rodgers, threw four second half TDs in a Green Bay win that Dallas fans will somehow, someway blame on Tony Romo. If anything, this game--even more so than the other stinging losses the Cowboys have endured this season--proves the team's problem isn't the offense. In addition to Flynn's dissection of the Dallas secondary, Eddie Lacy ran all over the Cowboys D-line for 141 yards and a TD.
Rams Defense Shuts Down Saints: On paper, 393 yards from Drew Brees usually signals steady offense for the Saints offense, but the St. Louis Rams were stellar on defense. Limiting the Saints to just 61 yards on the ground, Brees was forced to throw a whopping 56 times. Sacked four times and losing a fumble, Brees was on the run throughout the game and wasn't on his A-game in the 27-16 loss to the Rams.
Jamaal Charles Does It By Himself Over Raiders: Five TDs and 215 total yards made Charles look like he was playing a video game. The win puts the Chiefs at 11-3, clinching a playoff spot in the process. For a team that finished in last place in the entire league last season and has shown some weakness of late, it wasn't a bad week.
Tannenhill Nearly Perfect in Win Over Pats: Don't take Ryan Tannenhill's 2013 season lightly. His 23 TD passes are the most the team has had since 1998, when Dan Marino was taking snaps. While New England nearly won the game in the fourth quarter with just seconds left, three TDs from Tannenhill were enough to put Tom Brady and Julian Edelman (13 catches, 139 yards) away for the 24-20 win.
Manning, Giants Embarrassed in Seattle: Eli Manning's mess of a season continued with a career-high five-interception performance in a dismal 23-0 loss to the powerhouse Seattle Seahawks.The Giants offensive line didn't make it much easier as Manning and his replacement Curtis Painter, were sacked a combined four times, while the Giants backfield of Peyton Hillis and Andre Brown were limited to just 25 yards on 14 carries.
Jennings and Injured Vikings Hammer Out Win Against Eagles: After he signed a five-year, $45 million dollar contract this off-season, Greg Jennings averaged less than four catches and 44 yards a game through the first 13 games of the season. His 11-catch, 163-yard performance in this week's 48-30 win over the Eagles led the way for a Vikings team that was without both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart.
Gonzalez Enters 15,000 Club: A six-catch, 62-yard performance has become the norm for the Atlanta Falcons' Tony Gonzalez, but when you're a TE and add 17 seasons of consistency to that equation, it becomes something special. The fifth player in NFL history to cap 15,000 receiving, Gonzalez continues to be a productive player at 37 and one that should without a doubt be a first-ballot NFL Hall of Famer.