The Los Angeles Chargers produced a remarkable late comeback to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-30 after their game-winning field goal from Michael Badgley was taken three times because of penalties.
It was the first time Pittsburgh had lost a game they had led by 16 points in 175 instances, as LA quarterback Philip Rivers continued his quest to finally make the Super Bowl by leading the late drive to set-up the all-important kick.
Badgley’s first attempt from 39 yards missed the target, but was called back because of a Pittsburgh infringement, and his second go from 34 yards was blocked – only for it again to be ruled out by a Steelers penalty.
The third attempt from 29 yards found the target and moved the impressive Chargers to 9-3 for the season and looking almost certain of making the play-offs, while Pittsburgh’s lead in their division has shrunk to just half a game.
“There was no worry or doubt,” said Badgley of his third time lucky game winner. “It’s just one of those things where you stay tough. It’s a situation you never really plan out there where you get three in a row like that. You just have to go do what you know how to do.”
Only three teams in the NFL have won more games than the Chargers, but sadly for them one of those is the Kansas City Chiefs, who sit above them in the AFC West division – although the two still have to play each other one more time this season.
LA Rams clinch play-off spot while Packers sack McCarthy
The Los Angeles Rams beat the Detroit Lions 30-16 to secure back-to-back NFC West titles and become the first team to make the NFL play-offs this season.
Behind more fantastic performances by running back Todd Gurley and defensive star Aaron Donald, the Rams, perhaps more importantly, moved one game ahead of New Orleans Saints in the race to be the top seed in the NFC – which comes with a crucial home field advantage in the play-offs.
The Green Bay Packers need a miracle to make the play-offs and a disappointing upset defeat at home by the Arizona Cardinals also cost long-time head coach Mike McCarthy his job as he was sacked soon afterwards.
With one of the best quarterbacks at his disposal in Aaron Rodgers, McCarthy has been underperforming in recent years with one Super Bowl win on their only visit to the big game under his tenure. Slipping to a 4-7-1 record this season, on Rodgers’ 35th birthday, proved the final straw.
A remarkable game in the Big Apple saw Odell Beckham throw a touchdown pass, mess up an on-side kick and the Chicago Bears rally with a remarkable trick play before ultimately losing 30-27 to the New York Giants.
The Kansas City Chiefs never missed a step after they cut running back Kareem Hunt during the week as they beat the Oakland Raiders 40-33 with young quarterback Patrick Mahomes reaching 40 touchdowns for the season.
Tom Brady reached a running milestone, even if it did come at a snail’s pace, as the New England Patriots saw off the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 to keep up their pursuit of the Chiefs in the race for the AFC top spot.
The Houston Texans matched the Patriots’ 9-3 record as they brought the Cleveland Browns back down to Earth with a 29-13 bump, while the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens both won to keep their play-off pushes alive.
What’s left in Week 13?
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles (01:15 GMT)
It’s crunch time in the NFC East for these two as the Dallas Cowboys have surged to the head of the standings in what is now a tight dash for the play-offs in the closing weeks of the season.
Washington have lost quarterback Alex Smith for the season but back-up Colt McCoy has now had a full week to get up to speed and he’ll need a big game against the Super Bowl champions, who have been way off the pace but still have a chance of winning this division.
Stats of the week
Tom Brady went over 1,000 career rushing yards on Sunday – and it took him just 265 games at an average of 1.7 yards per carry!
Pittsburgh’s defeat was the biggest lead they’d ever blown at home in their history – they’d gone 174-0-1 when leading by 16 points or more before Sunday’s defeat to the Chargers.
Mike McCarthy is just the second Super Bowl-winning coach to be sacked during a season – joining Don McCafferty at the 1972 Colts.
QB Patrick Mahomes is the third player to throw 40 TD passes in his first 12 games of the season – only legends Peyton manning and Tom Brady have done this before.
Odell Beckham has thrown and caught TD passes in two games this season – he’s the first player to achieve this since 1924.
Chicago defensive end Akiem Hicks joined former Bears legend Williams ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry as two of only three players with a sack and rushing touchdown in the same game.
Phillip Lindsay became the first Denver Broncos undrafted rookie to break 1,000 yards from scrimmage in team history.
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Bears go deep into the playbook
Akiem Hicks joined William ‘The Fridge’ Perry as Chicago defensive linemen to score a touchdown as the Bears dug deep to try to pull off a result against the Giants.
Hicks is the fourth heaviest player to score a touchdown, but the Bears didn’t stop there, pulling off an amazing trick play late in the game.
A reverse found diminutive running back Tarik Cohen, who at 5ft 6in must be the shortest player ever to throw a touchdown pass as he found Anthony Miller to tie the game – although even after all that the Bears still lost.
Philip Lindsay earns ‘Pit Bull’ moniker
At 5ft 8in, Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay may be offering the best value of any player in the NFL, pound-for-pound, after a monster performance against the Cincinnati Bengals.
He was an undrafted rookie – Lindsay was deemed not worthy of signing by any of the 32 NFL teams as they selected the cream of the college players – but that did not deter the diminutive but dogged performer.
He’s now proving his worth as the first undrafted rookie in Denver’s history to reach 1,000 yards and is on pace to have the most rushing yards ever by someone not selected in the draft.
His determination has earned him the nickname ‘Pit Bull’ – and Lindsay said: “I like it.
“The defensive line gave me the name. When the defensive line gives you a name, you take it.”
Thielen takes on Bill Belichick
Not many people, let alone NFL players, take on New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but Minnesota receiver Adam Thielen was seen having a heated exchange after what he called a ‘cheap play’ by the Pats.
One of New England’s players went down injured and Belichick used that extra time to then challenge a Vikings first down. He ultimately lost it but it took some momentum out of the Vikings attack and Thielen voiced his opinion before being ushered away by the officials.
“I just thought the play was cheap,” Thielen said. “I let the emotions get the best of me because it’s a smart football play if you are in that situation. Why not? It’s not cheating because there’s no rule against it from a guy going down.
“I don’t know if he was hurt or not. He might have been hurt. That’s fine. It is what it is. But like I said, just interesting timing for a guy to go down when it’s a close play.”