Week 15 of the NFL season was full of surprises, drama, and injuries. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights from the action-packed weekend.
Raiders shock Chargers in high-scoring thriller
The Las Vegas Raiders pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 63-21 on Thursday night. The Raiders scored nine touchdowns, including four by running back Josh Jacobs and three by wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns, while also running for a score. The Raiders improved to 8-6 and kept their playoff hopes alive.
The Chargers, on the other hand, suffered a devastating blow to their postseason chances, falling to 7-7. Quarterback Justin Herbert had a rough night, throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble. He did manage to throw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not enough to overcome the Raiders’ onslaught. The Chargers also lost star wide receiver Keenan Allen to a hamstring injury in the first quarter.
Lions end losing streak with stunning win over Broncos
The Detroit Lions snapped their 13-game losing streak, shocking the Denver Broncos 42-17 on the road. The Lions dominated the game from start to finish, scoring on their first six possessions and holding the Broncos to just three points in the first half. Quarterback Jared Goff had his best game of the season, throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for a score. Running back D’Andre Swift added 136 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The Broncos, who entered the game as 10-point favorites, had no answer for the Lions’ offense. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for 257 yards and a touchdown, but also tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble. The Broncos’ defense, which had been one of the best in the league, gave up 461 yards and six touchdowns to the Lions. The Broncos fell to 7-7 and lost ground in the AFC playoff race.
Buccaneers outlast Packers in NFC showdown
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Green Bay Packers 34-20 in a battle of NFC heavyweights. The Buccaneers led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter, but the Packers rallied to cut the deficit to seven with 10 minutes left in the game. However, the Buccaneers sealed the win with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski. Brady finished with 307 yards and three touchdowns, while Gronkowski had seven catches for 123 yards and two scores.
The Packers, who had won five straight games, could not overcome their early mistakes. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. Rodgers also lost a fumble on a sack by linebacker Shaquil Barrett. Rodgers did throw for 341 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not enough to keep up with the Buccaneers. The Packers dropped to 10-4 and lost the top seed in the NFC to the Arizona Cardinals.
Other notable results
- The Cincinnati Bengals edged the Minnesota Vikings 27-24 in overtime, thanks to a 37-yard field goal by Evan McPherson. The Bengals improved to 9-5 and maintained their lead in the AFC North. The Vikings fell to 6-8 and saw their playoff hopes dim.
- The Indianapolis Colts cruised past the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-13, behind a dominant performance by running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns, breaking the Colts’ single-season rushing record.