Week 12 of the NFL season saw upsets and comebacks aplenty, as well as the departure of Panthers head coach, Frank Reich – making him the second Carolina head coach to be fired mid-season in as many years. With the NFL’s first-ever Black Friday Football game joining the annual Thanksgiving tradition, here is Decyfr’s roundup of action from the NFL’s latest slate of games.
DID YOU KNOW the NFL has its own Thanksgiving tradition? ?
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) November 23, 2023
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
Final Score: 29 – 22
Week 12 kicked off on Thursday afternoon with the NFL’s yearly tradition of three games to celebrate Thanksgiving. The Detroit Lions entered the game with their best record since the 1960s and as the clear favourites. The biggest battle between the rivalled franchises, was that of former Michigan first-round picks, Aidan Hutchinson and Rashan Gary. It was Gary who would prove to be the defensive powerhouse that Green Bay would rely upon. With three sacks and a forced fumble, Gary dominated the Lions’ offensive line and was a constant pass-rushing threat. The Packers beat the in-form Lions thanks to their dominant defense as well as quarterback Jordan Love – who threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers are now 5-6 whilst Detroit stay atop the NFC North at 8-3.
Player of the Game: Rashan Gary, Outside Linebacker, Green Bay Packers.
Washington Commanders @ Dallas Cowboys
Final Score: 10 – 45
With Dolly Parton performing the half-time show at AT&T Stadium, the Washington Commanders had to work “9 to 5” in order to compete with the Cowboys’ offensive weapons, CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard. Led by Dak Prescott, Dallas put up an astonishing 431 total yards and five touchdowns. Dallas’ cornerback DaRon Bland broke the record for most pick-sixes in a single season when he picked off Sam Howell and returned it to the house for a 63-yard touchdown. With his fifth of the season, Bland broke a joint-record tally of four, previously held by Ken Houston, Jim Kearney and Eric Allen. Dallas are now 8-3 and hold their longest unbeaten streak at home in 42 years, which now stands at 13-straight games. Washington and Ron Rivera, who will now be assessed at the end of the season by Commanders owner Josh Harris, drop to 4-8.
Player of the Game: DaRon Bland, Cornerback, Dallas Cowboys.
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) November 24, 2023
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
Final Score: 34 – 13
The NFL’s first-ever Black Friday game was a divisional matchup between the flying Miami Dolphins and the disappointing New York Jets. The game started off as a close-fought affair with the score sat at 10-6 with two seconds left in the second quarter, after Tua Tagovailoa was intercepted by D.J. Reed on New York’s 49-yard line. The Jets then decided to throw a Hail Mary which subsequently landed in the lap of Dolphins safety, Jevon Holland, who returned it all the way for a 99-yard pick-six – perfectly encapsulating the Jets’ 2023 offensive struggles. Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert came out of the locker room with the aim of putting the Jets to the sword and that was exactly what they did. Mostert had 20 carries, for 94 yards and two touchdowns, Waddle had eight catches for 114 yards and Tagovailoa threw for 243 yards and one touchdown to Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins extend their lead atop the AFC East to 8-3 whilst New York stay third with their 4-7 record.
Player of the Game: Raheem Mostert, Running Back, Miami Dolphins.
Could Tim Boyle prove to be the deal of the season?
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) November 24, 2023
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
Final Score: 24 – 21
Jacksonville’s resurgence this season, from a 1-2 start to the season to now leading the AFC South, has been remarkable, and their performance on Sunday continued this recent renaissance. Trevor Lawrence commanded his offense with a staggering 364 passing yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Courtesy of C.J. Stroud’s 304 passing yards and two touchdowns, Matt Amendola had a chance to level the game with a 58-yard field goal. Despite looking promising, his kick hit the crossbar – missing out on the crucial three points by mere inches. The Jags now move to 8-3 whilst Houston slip to 6-5 and third place in the AFC South.
Player of the Game: Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders
Final Score: 31 – 17
The Las Vegas Raiders got off to a red-hot start against the reigning Super Bowl champions, taking an early 14-0 lead. Patrick Mahomes was not willing to go down without a fight, however, something we’ve become accustomed to seeing from the reigning MVP. Mahomes threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, with Isiah Pacheco rushing for 55 yards and two touchdowns. From the start of the second quarter, the Chiefs scored 31 points, to the Raiders’ three. Kansas City move to 8-3 and lead the AFC West whilst the Raiders stay third in the division at 5-7 under interim head coach, Antonio Pierce.
Player of the Game: Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs.
Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles
Final Score: 34 – 37
Lincoln Financial Field played host to arguably the game of the season. The Buffalo Bills arrived in Philadelphia looking to stage an upset against the NFL”s most in-form team. And as expected, the Eagles showed up. Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 200 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while DeVonta Smith had an exceptional game – leading both sets of receivers with 106 yards and a touchdown. The game was closely fought with Josh Allen throwing for 339 yards and two touchdowns to give the Bills the lead. But with 20 seconds left on the clock, Jake Elliott sent the game to overtime with a successful 59-yard field goal attempt for the Eagles. The Bills were on the verge of scoring the game-winning touchdown, after starting overtime on offense, but were thwarted when a miscommunication between Allen and Gabe Davis resulted in the pass falling incomplete and Buffalo having to settle for three points. Jalen Hurts then capped off a 75-yard, three minute drive by running it into the end zone from just outside the 15-yard line, securing the Eagles’ 10th win of the season. The Bills now drop to 6-6 and sit second in the AFC East, whilst the Eagles reign supreme in the NFC East.
Player of the Game: DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles.
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