By Danny Cox
Sunday’s NFL action brought about some highlights, low-lights, and ironic twists that makes it close to a typical week for this 2012 season. It also was a week where a number of teams were able to clinch playoff spots and division titles as the regular season is winding down to an ever-closing end.
Jets bench Mark Sanchez – Tim Tebow still rides the bench
The New York Jets are struggling in huge ways this season, and it shows in all aspects of their game. Sunday’s 7-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals is really nothing to be pleased about, but it will make some fans excited. Coach Rex Ryan finally did something that seemed like a long time coming and that was bench starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Only, the big offseason acquisition of Tim Tebow didn’t pay off this week as he was shut down for this week’s game due to injury. So, in steps third-stringer Greg McElroy, who completed his first-ever NFL drive with a touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland. It ended up being the game-winner and the change was a decision that was greeted happily by the Jets’ faithful.
Now, the question is – Do the Jets allow Tebow to start once healed or stay with McElroy the hero?
Chiefs win emotional game over Panthers in wake of Jovan Belcher tragedy
As many already know, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher took his own life on Saturday in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium. This happened not long after he had also shot and killed his girlfriend. Belcher’s death also came right in front of the eyes of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.
Yet, the Chiefs plowed forward and played the game anyway and got a very emotional victory. The 27-21 win over the Carolina Panthers ended an eight-game losing streak, but more importantly, brought smiles to everyone in a time when they needed them most.
“As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best for us to do, because that’s what we do,” Crennel said, tears forming in the corners of his eyes. “We’re football players and football coaches and that’s what we do, we play on Sunday.”
Pats, Broncos, Falcons all clinch division titles
It is that time in the season when playoff spots, division titles, and home-field advantage will start being determined by game outcomes. On Sunday, three division races were completely determined as teams did what they had to do and got help from others to take their crowns.
The New England Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins 23-16 to capture their fourth straight AFC East title. This wasn’t truly unexpected and has kind of become the norm in a division that, except for the Patriots, usually struggles quite handily.
Peyton Manning and his new-found team are AFC North champions after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23 on Sunday. It was the team’s seconds-straight division title, but the first for Manning since signing with Denver back in March. Last year, the Broncos were exciting the world as Tim Tebow led them to improbable wins and an AFC North title.
Now, the team has a calm and confident Manning who still has what it takes.
With Tampa Bay’s loss, the Atlanta Falcons sealed their fifth NFC South title in franchise history. It is the Falcons’ second division title in the past three years, and they need two more wins to firmly secure home-field advantage through the conference playoffs.
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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.