One team looked defeated, completely devoid of passion and ready for the
The other team was the Raiders.
On the first play of the game,
There's rampant speculation 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh could wind up coaching in Oakland next season, and this game might have given him some serious food for thought. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr certainly looked like a solid cornerstone to build a franchise around, completing 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns.
He was far more effective and efficient than Kaepernick, who completed 18 of 33 for 174 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and was sacked five times.
At 7-6, the 49ers are third in the
San Francisco fans were left to repeatedly refresh the Twitter feed of 49ers owner
Rest of the West
The victory was Arizona's 10th of the season, helping them tighten their grip on a playoff berth, and ensuring them of back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since 1975-76. Seven of the Cardinals wins came at home, the most for the franchise in a single season since 1925, when the team won 11 of its 13 home games.
Meanwhile, Seattle traveled across the country and knocked off Philadelphia, 24-14. It was the
It was the spin that saved Indy.
On a Sunday when Indianapolis quarterback
The Colts were trailing by five with 44 seconds left, and had a fourth-and-inches at the Cleveland 3. Herron took a handoff, ran right and looked as if he'd be stuffed behind the line of scrimmage. He spun out of tackle, though, and dived forward across the line of scrimmage. Luck hit
"That was all Boom Herron right there," Luck said. "That was a great run and probably one of the best half-a-yard runs I've ever seen in my life."
In coming back from a 21-7 hole in the third quarter, the Colts took a step closer to claiming the
The game was also yet another triumph for a visiting team. In the nine early games Sunday, victorious road teams included Pittsburgh, Houston, Baltimore, Carolina, St. Louis and the
The Browns, who stuck with
At 7-6, Cleveland slipped into the cellar of the NFL's most tightly knotted division.
"It's a kick in the gut," Browns Coach Mike Pettine said of the loss. "It's an opportunity that we let go. We know our margin for error is now zero, that we've got to win our last three or we're done."
Pittsburgh thumped Cincinnati, 42-21, and Baltimore blew open a back-and-forth game at Miami to win, 28-13.
Ouch! That smarts!
Not only did St. Louis humiliate Washington at home, 24-0, but it opened the game with a not-so-subtle slap.
Overseeing the coin toss for the Rams were defensive tackles
"I will always be remembered as [being a part of] that blockbuster trade," Brockers said. "And, you know, the Rams won. The Rams won that one."
St. Louis, which was coming off a 52-0 victory over Oakland, has recorded consecutive shutout victories for the first time since 1945. The Rams are the first team to post back-to-back blankings since Dallas in 2009.
Falling just short
Denver held on at home to beat Buffalo, 24-17, but the
That ended Manning's streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 51.
Here's a switch: The
At 9-4, the Lions are guaranteed a winning season. That's only happened three times in the last 14 years, with the team finishing 9-7 in 2000 and 10-6 in 2011.
Give him a hand
Quickly ascending to NFL superstardom is New York Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr., whose how-did-he-do-that grabs are ideal highlight-reel fodder.
His most memorable catch was straight out of "The Matrix," a one-handed touchdown grab against Dallas on Nov. 23, when he leaped backward, bowed his body, and somehow latched onto the ball. Instantly, this much was clear: Nobody bends it like Beckham Jr.
Sunday, he was on display in a 36-7 blowout of Tennessee. In the first half alone, Beckham had nine catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. He finished with 11 catches for 130, his sixth consecutive game with at least 90 yards receiving. He's something for the Giants to be happy about in an otherwise throwaway season.
House of Plain
Not so long ago, the
Anymore, though, it's the Stupordome.
For the first time since 1999, the Saints have lost four in a row at home, the latest defeat the most undignified, a 41-10 blowout by Carolina. New Orleans had two turnovers on its first three offensive plays.
"We've got to look closely at everything — preparation, who we're asking to do it," Saints Coach
Amazingly, in the watered-down
New Orleans plays Chicago in Week 15. Mercifully for the Saints, it's a road game.