20 Best Games of the 2012 NFL Season
20 NFL Games to Remember
The NFL regular season ended on Sunday night in a game that Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo would like to forget. It was a good game, but not one of the best games of the 2012 season. That means the bar was set pretty high very early in 2012. Powerhouses went head to head almost every week and more times than not it was a good game.
What makes a great game?
In my opinion, a great game cannot be a blowout. We are talking about two teams coming together and overcoming adversity in some form of the game to make the fans stay on the edge of their seat until the very last second ticks of the clock. Whether it's a last second field goal to win the game, an interception to seal the deal or maybe even a game winning pass as time expires. Something that makes the fans get up and cheer, if only to ask for more, but they have to wait until the next week.
This season was highlighted by controversial calls from the replacement officials, the New Orleans Saints "Bountygate" scandal and great play from unexpected players coming right out of college. It's amazing what we might see out of some of the most unexpected players. What is better than the unexpected? Everybody loves the upsets and wants to be dazzled by a leaping one handed grab. It's part of the game and it's why we come back week after week even if our favorite team happens to be the Cleveland Browns.
The 20 best games of the season were not all expected. Nobody thought the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to give the Houston Texans a run for their money. You may notice the Cowboys are on this list a lot, but I promise you I am not a Cowboys fans. That is just how it turned out. Here are the 20 best games of the 2012 regular season, enjoy.
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San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers Week 1
This game was meant to be a heavyweight bout from the very second it was scheduled. Really, the 49ers dominated this game, but anytime the Packers get the ball back at home with almost four minutes left with a chance to tie the game it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Not to mention WR Randy Moss caught his first touchdown pass in his first game after taking an entire year off. The first game of the season really determined who would get a first round bye heading into the Wild Card round.
Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots Week 2
The way the season ended for both of these teams makes this the upset of the year. In the fourth quarter the Cardinals were trying to run the clock out so they could win the game on their own terms. However, with just over a minute to play LB Brandon Spikes causes Ryan Williams to fumble and the Patriots recover. On the second play, RB Danny Woodhead takes it in for the score, but the play is called back for holding. The Cardinals defense holds and Stephen Gostkowski misses a field goal wide left and the Patriots lose.
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks Week 3
Final Score: Packers 12, Seattle Seahawks 14
This game will always be remembered for the "Fail Mary". As time expired, QB Russell Wilson hurled up a prayer. It was answered in the form of the most controversial catch in NFL history. Seahawks fans say he caught the ball. Packers fans say the WR Golden Tate caught the defender. Either way it's compelling television. The Seahawks won the game, but people forget their defense man handled the Packers the entire game. This game should have never been close.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens Week 3
Final Score: Patriots 30, Baltimore Ravens 31
This game went back and forth for four quarters. It ended with a kick floating right over the upright and according to NFL rules the uprights extend to the heavens. The Ravens won the game. Even more surprising, QB Joe Flacco threw for almost 400 yards outplaying QB Tom Brady to get a win and sending the Patriots to a 1-2 record. Don't forget Ray Rice using his small frame to weave his way to 100 more yards on the ground.
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 4
The Buccaneers jumped out early to a three point lead. Then, Robert Griffin III rallied off three straight scoring drives to get the Redskins out to a 21-3 lead. The Buccaneers crawled back and had a one point lead with 1:42 on the clock after a 47 yard field goal from Connor Barth. The Redskins kicked a 41 yard field goal to win the game. Griffin passed for over 300 yards and RB Alfred Morris ran for over 100 including a 39 yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts Week 5
Final Score: Packers 27, Indianapolis Colts 30
You can call it what you want, but at the time it was one of the biggest upsets of the season. Nobody expected Andrew Luck to lead his team back from a 21-3 deficit to win the game, but that is exactly what he did. Down 21-3 going into half time, Luck led the Colts to four straight unanswered scoring drives to get his team up by one point with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers responded with a TD, but Luck came roaring back with a TD to WR Reggie Wayne to seal the deal.
New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks Week 6
Final Score: Patriots 23, Seahawks 24
CB Richard Sherman had a lot of things to say after this one, but the tweet that will forever stick in Seahawks' fans mind is "you mad bro". QB Tom Brady may have torched the Seahawks secondary for over 300 yards, but QB Russell Wilson got the last laugh with a 46 yard TD to WR Sidney Rice. The Seahawks' defense closed the door on Brady with 1:18 left to go in the fourth quarter and the team pulled off a nail bitter at Century Link Field.
Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens Week 6
Final Score: Cowboys 29, Ravens 31
The Cowboys had a trying season this year and it was highlighted by QB Tony Romo's inability to get the win. Romo is a good quarterback that has the worst luck I have ever seen. In this back and forth contest he threw for over 250 yards and the rushing attacked scorched the Ravens' D with over 200 yards, but it just was not enough. After the Ravens scored on a 1 yard TD by Ray Rice, Romo Led his team on a touchdown drive, but his two point conversion attempt failed and the Cowboys lost the game.
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers Week 10
Final Score: St. Louis Rams 24, 49ers 24 (OT)
As the old saying goes "a tie is like kissing your sister". Not so much for the 49ers. The Rams had this game won before QB Alex Smith went down with a concussion and Colin Kaepernick came into relieve him. He led the team to 17 fourth quarter points including a 33 yard field goal from David Akers to tie the game. Neither team was able to score in OT and the game ended in a disappointing tie. Still a great game to watch and the tie saved the 49ers from losing the division to the Seahawks.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Week 10
Final Score: Atlanta Falcons 27, Saints 31
Matt Ryan and the Falcons found out very quickly that if you try to get in a shoot out with QB Drew Brees "you are gonna have a bad time". The Falcons jumped out to a ten point lead, but before halftime they were down 21-17. They pulled within one point in the fourth quarter courtesy of a Matt Bryant Field goal, but could not muster another scoring drive and the Saints won the game. The Falcons got the last laugh by securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Week 11
Final Score: Jaguars 37, Texans 43
If you want to see an example of a game where two teams had better things to do than play defense on a Sunday afternoon, this is the game for you. The Jaguars allowed 527 passing yards and the Texans allowed 372. With 12:33 left to play in the fourth quarter the Jaguars held a 14 point lead. Matt Schaub and company led his team on two straight touchdown drives to tie the game. The teams exchanged field goals in overtime before Schaub hit Andre Johnson on a 48 yard touchdown to win the game with just 2:01 left to play in OT.
Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers Week 12
Final Score: Ravens 16, San Diego Chargers 13
The Chargers should have won this game. They were up 13-3 with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter. This game will only be remembered because of Ravens RB Ray Rice's desperate scramble for a first down on 4th down to keep a drive alive and set up a field goal that ultimately sent the game to OT. Justin Tucker split the uprights in OT and the Ravens stole a win. That was just the story of the Chargers season. However, Flacco did throw for over 350 yards and outplayed his counterpart, Philip Rivers.
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day
Finals Score: Texans 34, Detroit Lions 31
Everybody knows that the offense is the most popular part of the NFL to watch. The Texans took that to heart over the last half of the season. Just four days after giving up over 500 yards passing to the Jaguars in a win, the Texans secondary was torched for another 450 against the Lions. The offense was not the highlight of this game. The officials gave Justin Forsett an 81 yard TD run after he was clearly down because the Lions' Head coach through a challenge flag which is against the rules. Terrible calls and an offensive explosion made this game one of the best of the year. Oh yeah, the Texans won the game in OT on a 32 yard field goal from Shayne Graham.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears Week 13
Final Score: Seahawks 23, Bears 17
Seattle fans got exactly what they wanted in this OT victory, A road win against a good team. Down late in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson put the team on his back and led them on a fourth quarter drive to put his team up by three points. The Bears answered when QB Jay Cutler slung a pass to WR Brandon Marshall to set up a 46 yard field goal by Robbie Gould. The game was sent into OT. On the first drive, Wilson saddled up again and shut the door on the Bears with a TD pass to WR Sidney Rice. The play was challenged, but upheld and the Seahawks got their first major road victory of the year.
Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions Week 13
Final Score: Colts 35, Lions 33
At this points in the season you kind of had to feel sorry for the Lions. They are a great offensive team with absolutely zero defense. The Lions held a lead for most of the game, but could never really shut the door on the Colts. Andrew Luck made them pay in the fourth quarter scoring two touchdowns in the final 2:39 seconds of the game including one as time expired to Donnie Avery. Luck and Matthew Stafford both threw for over 300 yards, but the Colts were a better team on that day and really for most of the season.
Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals Week 14
Final Score: Cowboys 20, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cowboys seem to play in a lot of close games. That is because they had their back against he wall for most of the season trying to make the playoffs. Down by nine points going into the fourth quarter Romo hit WR Dez Bryant for 27 yards and a TD to put them within two points. Romo was not done yet. He got the ball back with enough time to put Dan Bailey in position for a field goal to win the game. Bailey made that field goal and the Cowboys kept their playoffs hopes alive.
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins Week 14
Final Score: Ravens 28, Redskins 31
One of the best games of the season in my opinion. This game went back and forth for four quarters and Robert Griffin III went down with a knee injury. The Redskins could have been done for the year, but backup QB Kirk Cousins hit Pierre Garcon for an eleven yard TD pass. The Redskins needed a two point conversion to send the game into OT. Cousins makes a gutsy call and takes the ball in for two points. Kai Forbath hits the 34 yards field goal in OT and the Redskins come away with a victory.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Week 15
Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Cowboys 27 (OT)
At this point the Cowboys have been fighting for their playoff lives for weeks. They got out early thanks to a Bailey field goal and a 27 yard TD pass from Romo to TE Jason Witten. The Steelers came roaring back with a field goal and a touchdown pass to TE Heath Miller. Back and forth the teams went battling it out to keep their playoff hopes intact. The Cowboys finished regulation scoring with a 3 yard TD run from DeMarco Murray. Bailey hit a 21 yard field goal in OT to finish the Steelers off.
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots Week 15
Final Score: 49ers 41, Patriots 34
This was supposed to be one of the best game of the years. By the end of the third quarter that was not the case. The 49ers offense exploded for 31 points and had a 21 point lead going into the fourth. However, Tom Brady wasn't about to give up. He led his team to 24 fourth quarter points and the game was tied at one point. He finished the game with almost 450 yards passing on one of the best defenses in the league. Unfortunately, his effort was not enough. Kaepernick hit WR Michael Crabtree for a 38 yard score. Brady tired to respond, but his effort came up just a little short.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Week 17
Final score: Packers 34, Minnesota Vikings 37
A lot on the line for this one. The Packers had a first round bye and the Vikings had playoff hopes and an Eric Dickerson record to break. Only one of those would come true. The Vikings got out to a 13 point lead, but the Packers were not about to quit. Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for three yard touchdown. The Vikings responded with a TD of their own. At halftime the Packers were down by just 10 points. In the second half Rodgers led the Packers to a tie game with just 2:54 left on the clock. The Vikings responded with a drive that would send them into the playoffs, but RB Adrian Peterson would fall nine yards short of the record.