Sunday, December 20, 2015

Panthers survive Giants; Chiefs keep winning — NFL Week 15 Cheat Sheet

The New York Giants, a team that has specialized in ruining previously unblemished records, simply refused to go away. Once trailing 35-7, New York tied the game at 35 with a dramatic late-game touchdown. But in a season marked by near-misses, the undefeated Carolina Panthers would hand the Giants another, after MVP candidate Cam Newton led his team down the field for a game-winning 43-yard field goal by Graham Gano. The win improved the Panthers to 14-0 and likely ended the Giants’ playoff hopes.

It was a heated affair throughout the game, as Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. struggled early against shutdown corner Josh Norman of the Panthers, with the two incurring multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penaltiesthroughout the game.

The feud started after it appeared Beckham would strike first, but he dropped a deep pass that would have been a sure touchdown in the first quarter.

It was downhill for the Giants from there until late in the second half when they rallied to tie it late in the fourth quarter after blocking a field goal that would have pushed the Panthers up by 17. Beckham caught the game-tying touchdown on a fourth down just inside the two-minute warning.

The game was crucial for the Giants’ playoff hopes in the NFC East, as the Redskins beat the Bills with the Eagles set to play the Cardinals Sunday night.

Elsewhere in the NFL, the AFC South lead was on the line, as the Texans topped the Colts with Brandon Weeden at the helm after Texans QB T.J. Yates left Sunday’s game with a torn ACL. Weeden, late of the Dallas Cowboys, has now placed the Texans atop the division and in strong standing for the playoffs.

In Minnesota, the Vikings beat down the Bears, but may have suffered a serious blow to their playoff hopes as Adrian Peterson limped off the field after apparently injuring his left ankle. He later returned to the game.

Peterson wasn’t the only high-profile back forced from the game Saturday, as LeSean McCoy left the Bills’ game against the Redskins with what looked like a knee injury. He will not return.

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