By Danny Cox
Week after week, the NFL continues to bring surprises that no one was quite expecting. Teams that are expected to win end up losing, and teams that have done virtually nothing all season end up winning. That has been the format of the past few seasons actually, and it doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
The eleventh week of the 2012 NFL season had some match-ups that seemed kind of “easy-pickins” when it came to making predictions for the week. Seasonal history should show anyone though, that isn’t the case.
Often times, there is maybe one overtime game each weekend, and most of the time there aren’t any at all. Sunday during week 11 brought about three overtime games, and all of them ended up being thrillers like you couldn’t imagine.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 – Carolina Panthers 21 in overtime
The Bucs are surging and the Panthers are continuing to dive-bomb into obscurity so this appeared as if it might be an easy one for Tampa Bay. Needless to say, but it was not.
Carolina was actually leading by 11 points with only six minutes to go in the game. Brandon LaFell caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton, and it seemed like the Panthers would get their third win of the season. That just wasn’t meant to be.
Connor Barth hit a 40-yard field goal to inch closer. The clincher came with 12 seconds remaining as Josh Freeman hit Vincent Jackson with a 24-yard scoring pass. Jackson also then caught the two-point conversion to tie it. In overtime, legendary tight end Dallas Clark caught a 15-yard touchdown to win it.
Dallas Cowboys 23 – Cleveland Browns 20 in overtime
Tony Romo of the Cowboys was sacked seven times and lost a fumble late in the game that allowed the Browns to actually go ahead 20-17 with a little over a minute remaining. A 35-yard pass interference penalty on Sheldon Brown allowed Dallas to get down-field in a hurry though, and Dan Bailey was able to tie the game up.
More than halfway through overtime, Bailey was the hero again as he hit a 38-yard field goal to win the game for the Cowboys.
The Browns had actually led 13-0 at halftime before a monster comeback by the Cowboys put them up 17-13 midway through the fourth quarter. That was when the wild finish took over and it was totally up in the air just who would win – the hapless Browns or the mistake-prone Cowboys.
Houston Texans 43 – Jacksonville Jaguars 37 in overtime
The Texans and Jaguars took the new overtime rules to the hilt as a total of 12 points were scored in overtime. Finishing things off was Andre Johnson, who took a 48-yard pass from Matt Schaub and sprinted to victory for Houston.
Schaub and Johnson both had career days while saving the Texans from the embarrassment of losing to the lone-victory Jaguars. Johnson caught 14 passes for 273 yards on a day when he just appeared to be open the entire day.
The bigger performance came fro Schaub though as the quarterback had the second-best single-game performance in NFL history. Schaub passed for 527 yards which ties him for Warren Moon for second-best performance. Only Norm Van Brocklin’s 554 yards in 1951 is better.
This was another thriller near the end though as Jacksonville led 34-20 with just 12 minutes left in the game, but that was when Schaub truly went to work. He completed 16 consecutive throws to bring the Texans back, get them into overtime, and help them win the game.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.