by Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
Finally a big game living up to the hype. It took until the second half for it to come alive, but it did. The Patriots fall to the third seed behind Houston and Denver. The Bills played the Seahawks in Toronto as if they were actually a Canadian team. The Dolphins finally got to pick on someone their own size . . . maybe a little bit smaller.
Here are five things we learned from week 15 in the East:
1. Big dogs bite really hard. (49ers 41 - Patriots 34)
By half time you couldn't believe your eyes. Tom Brady and the Patriots were getting slaughtered on their home field. Collin Kaepernick looked like Tom Brady and Brady looked like Collin Quinn.
It was 31-10 at half time and it looked like it would only get worse. The Patriots committed four turnovers including two interceptions by Brady. And yet you thought it could (should) be worse.
Then someone made a wish and the teams swapped identities. The Patriots came out like the familiar machine that they are.
Brady racked up 300+ yards in the second half alone. He ran for one touchdown and threw for another. Before you knew it, the game was tied at 31.
After a quick strike by Kaepernick, the 49ers seemed to turn on their defense again and stymied the Patriots to a field goal in the last seven minutes of the game.
And then it was over.
Brady finished with 443 yards and completed 36 passes on a whopping 65 attempts.
Kaepernick had less than half of Brady's yardage (216) but threw four touchdowns and only one interception. The Niners also had a healthy and helpful output on the ground totalling 180 rushing yards. That much yardage with only one fumble in such sloppy weather was a victory for San Francisco.
Both teams will be wondering which half was the real half, especially if they meet again in a much more meaningful game in February.
2. Pretty pathetic, aye. (Seahawks 50 - Bills 17)
The Seahawks are getting a little scary. They mauled the Cardinals last week by 58 points. Now they batter and bruise the Bills with a 50 point output.
Russell Wilson is becoming a dangerous man. He ran for three of the Seahawks first three touchdowns, and passed for the other to tight end Zack Miller.
Wilson passed for only 205 yards, but he also ran for 92 yards as well. He gave the Bills fits all day long.
As a team, Seattle dominated the line of scrimmage by rushing for 270 yards. The beast, Marshawn Lynch, led the charge with 113 yards on only 10 carries. He also rushed for a touchdown.
Bills running back C.J. Spiller showed up to play rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown. But he and wide receiver Stevie Johnson (115 yards 1TD) were the only ones.
Ryan Fitzpatrick gave it the old Ivy League try, but he just couldn't make a difference. He threw for 217 yards and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble.
We can all say goodbye to the Bills for they have officially been bounced from playoff contention. Maybe they should just stay in Toronto and see if they can get in on some Grey Cup action.
3. Someone had to lose. (Dolphins 24 - Jaguars 3)
Nothing like a field goal battle in the month of December. Fortunately Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill saw fit to liven things up with a couple of touchdown passes.
When you have wretchedness like the Jacksonville Jaguars in front of you, you are mandated by law and the Holy Grail to vanquish them from whence they came.
Without running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars are a quivering pile of poop. They rushed for 86 yards; high man being Montell Owens with 47 of those yards.
Chad Henne continues to play in place of Blaine Gabbert and continues to show why the Dolphins dumped him. He only threw for 221 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Just plain boring.
For one of the few times this year, the Dolphins run game came together, and it was led by Reggie Bush.
Bush rushed for 104 yards with Tannehill right behind him with 52 yards. All together the Dolphins controlled the game with a 180 yards of production on the ground.
If only there were more Jacksonville's on the calendar for the Dolphins. They might be division champs. But of course so would everyone else in the east.
They are still in it. Next week they face the slightly less horrible Bills. That's if border patrol actually lets them back into the country.
4. Pats may need to pack a suitcase.
If things continue along their planned trajectory, this was the last chance the Patriots had to pass the Broncos. Both teams have very winnable games the last two weeks of the season, so there will be no moving ahead of Denver.
The interesting twist is that Houston has the Vikings and another date with Indianapolis the last game of the season.
Houston has been a bit shaky and those two games, especially with Adrian Peterson running like a maniac, are not sure things. New England could tie the Texans and get the number two seed by virtue of the head to head tie breaker.
That would make Denver number one and all roads traveled will be filled with thin Mile High air. The Patriots beat Denver earlier this year, but that was a much more misshapen team than the formed monster with a nine game winning streak.
In the AFC East, things are settled and boring. In the AFC, it's hot and heavy and just getting sexy.
5. Now that the smoke has cleared . . .
. . . Russel Wilson has taken a step closer to rookie of the year.
. . . Tom Brady didn't get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he slammed the ball into the turf after the 49ers called a time out right before the play. He must have promised Ed Hochuli he'd give him an autographed pair of his Uggs.
. . . Jacksonville losing the "battle of the Panhandle" brought Tim Tebow one step closer to home.