By Justin Henry
Cold Hard Football Facts' Dr. Death (@jrhwriting)
We run through the signature statistical reason for each team's win or loss each week here at CHFF Insider.
WINNER: CHICAGO BEARS
Go figure: behind Josh McCown, the Bears score the most points they've ever scored on Monday Night Football, and don't punt once. Chicago ran for 4.66 YPA, converted eight of 11 third downs, and only gave up a Negative Pass Play on one of 37 dropbacks (2.70 percent).
LOSER: DALLAS COWBOYS
The Cowboys defense were pushovers all night. Culminating with Sean Lee's neck injury in the sub-zero wild chill, they allowed 45 points on 490 yards, giving poor Dallas a 10.89 Bendability rating. That equates to a touchdown allowed every 76.22 yards given up.
WINNER: DENVER BRONCOS
Another day, another quartet of touchdown throws for Peyton Manning, who sits five away of Tom Brady's 2007 record.
Those four scores, no picks, and about two-thirds of completed passes (39 of 59) gave Manning a 107.80 passer rating, nothing new for him.
The Broncos, with 51 points scored, are now back on pace to break the per-game scoring record set by the 1950 L.A. Rams (38.8 PPG); Denver right now averages 39.6 PPG (515 in 13 games).
Broncos kicker Matt Prater, meanwhile, joined the scoring orgy with an NFL-record 64-yard field goal.
LOSER: TENNESSEE TITANS
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Titans hung in there early, but once Denver got back in (further galvanzed by Matt Prater's 64-yard record field goal), there was no chance. It didn't help that the Titans only possessed the ball for 20:40, and went two of nine on third down.
WINNER: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Through trickeration, discipline, and a modicum of consistency, the Jaguars are showing a winning spirit, with faint Wild Card hopes. Jacksonville only gained 281 yards, but 27 points and no mistakes creates a 10.41 Scoreability score, a stat the Jags are shoring up in.
LOSER: HOUSTON TEXANS
Twelve hours after the loss, Gary Kubiak was saying goodbye to the Texans organization. In his last game, Houston was as ineptly inefficient as they've been this season. On 406 yards, the team scored just 20 points, for a 20.30 Scoreability rating, and playoff disqualification.
WINNER: NEW YORK JETS
Geno Smith threw his first touchdown pass since October 20, and played mostly solid during a must-win for an unhinging playoff contender. Smith's boldness paid off, throwing for 8.06 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt; he'd only averaged 5.42 RPYPA coming into Sunday.
LOSER: OAKLAND RAIDERS
The Raiders have a foot in the grave after losing five of their last six games. The offense played fine, but the defense failed to lock down outside of one pick. Oakland's defense allowed six of 12 third downs to convert, 4.47 yards a run, and made two Negative Pass Plays on 27 tries.
WINNER: CINCINNATI BENGALS
The Bengals are in striking distance of claiming the AFC North crown, and their fourth playoff appearance in five years, thanks largely to a great day from Andy Dalton. The "Red Rifle" rated at 120.54, on three touchdowns, no picks, and an impressive 11.46 yards a completion.
LOSER: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
A pity that Andrew Luck's banner day (113.13 rating, four TDs, no picks) went to waste. The Colts defense went to the dogs against Dalton, failing to sack him, or force any sort of turnover. Dalton was afforded 7.86 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt, par for Indy's flawed D.
WINNER: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Old Man Winter created a perilous playing situation at The Linc, particularly for the Lions in terms of ball security. Thanks to bad snaps and general sloppiness, the Lions fumbled seven times, with the Eagles recovering three. A mistimed snap was the final critical error.
LOSER: DETROIT LIONS
On a day where LeSean McCoy ran for 217 of the Eagles 299 yards (6.50 YPA for the team), the Lions offense couldn't equal that push. Detroit stayed in the game on two Jeremy Ross return scores, but only rushed for 2.42 yards a carry, and converted five of 15 third down attempts.
WINNER: MIAMI DOLPHINS
The Dolphins managed to take the lead with 2:53 remaining on a Charles Clay score to keep playoff hopes going. Ryan Tannehill and company looked solid outside of an interception, scoring 34 points on 360 yards, giving the team a Scoreability rating of 10.59.
LOSER: PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers nearly earned an important victory as far as the Wild Card goes, but coughed it up with minutes to go. A big part of that was their own inefficiency, failing to convert on eight of 16 third down tries, settling for six punts, and gaining 14.71 yards per point scored.
WINNER: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
It took a late comeback, including some questionable penalties, for New England to pull off an unlikely comeback on the inferior Browns. A big part of it was their defensive efforts, holding Cleveland to 26 points on 494 yards, or exactly 19 yards per point scored.
LOSER: CLEVELAND BROWNS
Billy Cundiff's short-falling kick capped off a major missed opportunity for the Browns as they circle the drain. What aided the Patriots (their Bendability) hurt the Browns, as settling for three field goals (including the missed final kick) prevented a more likely victory.
WINNER: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Hurtling toward an all-but-assured playoff spot, the Chiefs annihilated an already-doomed Redskins team, making Andy Reid 4-0 against his old NFC East. Two return scores from Dexter McCluster and Knile Davis gave Kansas City an outstanding 7.71 Scoreability rating.
LOSER: WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Lifeless and almost without care (especially on those return scores), the Redskins almost assure Mike Shanahan's firing. Washington ran for 3.82 yards a carry, converted three of 14 third downs, and surrendered a Negative Pass Play on 14.58 percent of dropbacks.
WINNER: BALTIMORE RAVENS
The final 2:05 saw five lead changes, with the defending Super Bowl champion getting the drop on a Marlon Brown TD with four seconds remaining. Penalty yards and poor punting by the Vikings allowed for 29 Raven points on 325 yards, or 11.21 yards per point.
LOSER: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The Vikings are officially knocked out of playoff contention with the loss, even though they made it interesting. Although Minnesota nearly pulled off a win without Adrian Peterson, they were weak in one area of Offensive HOG: third downs, converting only four of 17.
WINNER: GREEN BAY PACKERS
The Packers remain barely alive, with a late holdoff of an Atlanta game-winning drive keeping the team slightly more buoyant. Matt Flynn held a passer rating of 95.57, with just one score and one pick, but he completed 24 of 32 passes (75 percent) to roll the clock.
LOSER: ATLANTA FALCONS
While Flynn was favorably matched up against a lousy Falcons pass D, you'd think Matt Ryan would have been given a similar setup. Ryan was hemmed in after an early lead, throwing for just 5.61 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt in a stifled second half of play.
WINNER: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Both rookie quarterbacks, Mike Glennon and EJ Manuel, were knocked around, but it was Manuel that took more damage. Whereas Glennon threw two picks, Manuel threw four, while the Bills as a whole committed five turnovers, giving Tampa a hearty +3 win in takes.
LOSER: BUFFALO BILLS
Manuel was sacked seven times, and threw four interceptions, in as bad a day as he may ever see. Not only did Manuel average a putrid 3.68 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt, but his passer rating checked in at 31.19. That's by and far his worst game of his maiden season.
WINNER: ARIZONA CARDINALS
Carson Palmer converted over 84 percent of his throws (27 of 32) in a game that knocked out division rival St. Louis. Factoring in just one sack that he endured, Palmer threw for a fairly impressive 7.94 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt, cutting deep with Larry Fitzgerald.
LOSER: ST. LOUIS RAMS
The Rams' minimal playoff hopes go by the wayside in an undisciplined effort (11 penalties, 90 yards given up). Much like Jeff Fisher's old team, the Titans, possession was an issue; holding onto the ball for 24:53, and converting on just three of 11 third downs (failing on one fourth).
WINNER: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
A little vindication from Draft Day 2004? If it gets Chargers fans through the day, then knocking Eli Manning out of the playoff running works. Philip Rivers shone bright under the California sun, throwing three touchdowns and no picks en route to a 137.35 passer rating.
LOSER: NEW YORK GIANTS
Three Giant turnovers, including two Manning picks that put him at 20 for the third time in his career, squandered 333 yards, scoring just 14 points to eliminate themselves from the race. A Scoreability rating of 23.79 drops the Giant to 16.66 for the season.
WINNER: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
With the win, the 49ers keep a faint chance at a third straight NFC West title alive, but are just as happy furthering a Wild Card push. The 49ers gained 4.94 yards a run, gave up a Negative Pass Play on 9.68 percent of dropbacks, and converted 38.46 percent of third downs.
LOSER: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
A late loss to the 49ers may have minimal implications for the NFC's best team, but a victory would have definitely been sweet. The Seahawks only possessed for 27:32, and ran just 23 times, giving the 49ers time to set themselves up for points, i.e. the late Phil Dawson kick.
WINNER: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
New Orleans is the first team to hang 30+ on Carolina, a week after a gutting up in Seattle. Drew Brees dissected the Panthers defense with textbook generalship, throwing four touchdowns and no picks, for a 124.40 passer rating, and over 71 percent of his passes completed.
LOSER: CAROLINA PANTHERS
Not only did the Great Wall of Carolina cave to Brees' offensive whims, but Carolina's offense took on lots of crashing waves as well. Cam Newton found himself under attack, losing 47 yards on five sacks, and only averaged 2.85 Real Passing Yards Per Attempt as a result.