WhatIfSports Duel to the Death Season: Week 14 (Part 2)

The first eight results from this week’s games can be found in this post. Eight more results can be found below, beginning with…

2005 Carolina Panthers (8-5) 17, 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5) 13

Jake Delhomme found Steve Smith with a 58-yard touchdown pass with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter and the red-hot Panthers won their fifth game in a row, moving into first place in the NFC South due to their Week 4 win over the Buccaneers. Before that play, Smith had been held completely in check, catching three passes for only ten yards – but as is his wont, he came up with a huge play at the right time. Delhomme finished 13-of-17 for 216 yards, two touchdowns and an interception; his other touchdown was a 34-yard strike to Keary Colbert in the first quarter. The Jaguars gained six more first downs than the Panthers but could only muster a total of 246 yards on offense.

1976 Oakland Raiders (3-10) 43, 2006 Indianapolis Colts (2-11) 27

Ken Stabler went 13-of-17 for 232 yards and four touchdowns and the Raiders also chewed up 225 yards on the ground as they won the battle of former Super Bowl champions having bitterly disappointing seasons. Clarence Davis had 110 yards on just 10 carries for Oakland and Mark Van Eeghen and Pete Banaszak combined for 109 more and two touchdowns on 18 combined carries. Peyton Manning was 22-of-34 for 335 yards (153 of those going to Reggie Wayne) and a touchdown but the Colts’ offense bogged down on Oakland’s side of the field too often, having to settle for four Adam Vinatieri field goals.

1999 St. Louis Rams (10-3) 31, 2008 Arizona Cardinals (5-8) 24

Marshall Faulk’s 67-yard touchdown run with 5:28 remaining in the game put the Rams back ahead after squandering a 17-point halftime lead and moved St. Louis into a tie with Dallas for the best record in the NFC (the Cowboys currently hold the tiebreaker due to their better performance in conference games). Faulk finished with 131 yards rushing on 15 attempts and also led the Rams in receiving with 69 yards. Like in their Week 2 meeting, the ’08 edition of Kurt Warner outplayed the ’99 version, as Arizona Kurt finished 24-of-37 for 368 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions compared to St. Louis Kurt’s line of 14-of-28 for 200 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Rams’ 24-7 halftime lead proved to be too insurmountable for the Cardinals to come back from, however, and the game ended with a Warner-to-Larry Fitzgerald 50-yard pass…that, unfortunately, only got Arizona to the St. Louis 24.

2005 Seattle Seahawks (5-7-1) 31, 1973 Minnesota Vikings (4-9) 13

Shaun Alexander rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns on 22 attempts and the Seahawks steamrolled the Vikings at Qwest Field. Alexander scored from 2, 53, and 25 yards away and Mack Strong added a 16-yard run to begin the game’s scoring. Fran Tarkenton was held to 12 completions in 26 attempts for 157 yards and a touchdown to Carroll Dale.

1998 Denver Broncos (7-6) 24, 1969 Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) 20

Terrell Davis’s third touchdown run of the game gave the Broncos the lead with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter and the Denver defense fought back the Chiefs on a last-second goal-line stand to even both teams’ records at 7-6 and throw the race for the last wild-card spot in the AFC into a state of chaos. Despite Davis’s three touchdowns, the main offensive star for the Broncos was John Elway – he went 13-of-19 for 262 yards and one interception. Shannon Sharpe caught four passes for 129 yards and Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith combined for 126 yards on 7 catches. Len Dawson was effective as well, going 15-of-27 for 248 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and led the Chiefs all the way down to the Bronco 1-yard line with 38 seconds left. There, however, the Broncos thwarted Dawson’s 4th-and-goal pass to Robert Holmes and Davis was able to get a game-clinching first down run on the next play.

2007 New England Patriots (10-3) 21, 1981 Cincinnati Bengals (6-7) 9

Tom Brady shook off two interceptions to finish 16-of-28 for 200 yards and three touchdowns and the Patriots ended their two-game losing skid with a home victory over Cincinnati. Randy Moss caught two of those touchdown passes and Laurence Maroney caught the other while also rushing for 77 yards. Ken Anderson, meanwhile, was rendered largely ineffective, going only 9-of-21 for 153 yards and two interceptions.

1975 Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) 17, 1991 Houston Oilers (6-7) 13

Rocky Bleier’s 14-yard touchdown run with 4:24 remaining led the Steelers to their tenth win of the season and, coupled with Baltimore and Cincinnati’s losses earlier in the day, the AFC North title. Bleier’s run was set up by Franco Harris’s 61-yard run on the prior play; outside of those two big runs, the Oilers held the Steelers to 81 yards on 29 carries. Those two big plays turned out to be a backbreaker, however, particularly since the Oilers had just taken the lead a minute prior to that on a 4-yard touchdown throw from Warren Moon to Ernest Givins. On their final possession of the game, however, Moon threw an interception to Donnie Shell and the Steelers were able to run out the clock from there.

2009 New Orleans Saints (5-8) 41, 2012 Atlanta Falcons (4-9) 31

Pierre Thomas rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns on only 13 carries and the Saints finished off a season sweep of the Falcons by winning a shootout at the Georgia Dome. Reggie Bush added 76 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries and Drew Brees threw for 189 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 24 attempts. Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns (two each to Roddy White and Julio Jones) and 299 yards on 33 attempts but also threw two interceptions and the Falcons defense allowed nearly 500 yards of offense to the Saints.

Next week: The ’69 Chiefs and ’99 Jaguars meet in a very important game in the AFC wild-card picture; the ’72 Dolphins try to keep up with the three other 7-6 AFC teams with a win against the ’07 Patriots; the ’85 Bears and ’05 Panthers look to take care of business against division foes (the ’73 Vikings and ’12 Falcons, respectively); and the ’92 Cowboys try to clinch the NFC East with a win against the ’91 Redskins.

AFC East

  1. ’07 New England: 10-3 (3)
  2. ’72 Miami: 7-6 (6)
  3. ’90 Buffalo: 7-6
  4. ’68 NY Jets: 5-8

AFC North

  1. ’75 Pittsburgh: 10-3 (4)
  2. ’58 Baltimore: 6-7
  3. ’81 Cincinnati: 6-7
  4. ’64 Cleveland: 1-12

AFC South

  1. ’00 Tennessee: 12-1 (1)
  2. ’99 Jacksonville: 8-5 (5)
  3. ’91 Houston: 6-7
  4. ’06 Indianapolis: 2-11

AFC West

  1. ’79 San Diego: 12-1 (2)
  2. ’69 Kansas City: 7-6
  3. ’98 Denver: 7-6
  4. ’76 Oakland: 3-10

NFC East

  1. ’92 Dallas: 10-3 (1)
  2. ’91 Washington: 9-4 (5)
  3. ’86 NY Giants: 5-8
  4. ’60 Philadelphia: 1-12

NFC North

  1. ’62 Green Bay: 9-4 (3)
  2. ’85 Chicago: 8-5 (6)
  3. ’73 Minnesota: 4-9
  4. ’52 Detroit: 2-11

NFC South

  1. ’05 Carolina: 8-5 (4)
  2. ’02 Tampa Bay: 8-5
  3. ’09 New Orleans: 5-8
  4. ’12 Atlanta: 4-9

NFC West

  1. ’99 St. Louis: 10-3 (2)
  2. ’05 Seattle: 5-7-1
  3. ’89 San Francisco: 5-7-1
  4. ’08 Arizona: 5-8

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