NFL week 12 began on Thanksgiving with the traditional Lions’ Steve Longa on the field against Minnesota. It was a good game that remained close to the bitter end when the Vikings triumphed 30-23. The difference in the game was Detroit’s inability to run the ball and their two turnovers. Longa added one tackle in the game as Detroit has fallen three games back of the Vikings in the NFC North and lost ground for the wild card as well.
Mohamed Sanu and the Falcons kept rolling to maintain their 6th seed if the NFC playoffs were to start today. They defeated the Bucs on the strength of a 17-3 advantage in the second quarter of play. Sanu ignited the rally, not with one of his eight catches for 64 yards, but for his 51 yard touchdown bomb to Julio Jones to break a 3-3 tie. Check it out for yourself below, as this deep ball is better than some NFL quarterbacks! The final: Atlanta 34, Tampa Bay 20. Sanu wears #12, fitting considering our Knight in the Pros flashback subject did also.
Logan Ryan (Titans) stayed hot to pace the AFC South, downing division rival Indianapolis in a rather ugly contest, 20-16. The Titans are now 7-4 and in control of the AFC South. Ryan had three tackles, but the Tennessee defense as a whole was all over Colt quarterback Jacoby Brissett. He was held to a 15.8 QBR and was sacked 8 times, ouch!
Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon were back from Mexico City, but with the same result. The Pats dispatched Miami yet again, this time 35-17. Leonte Carroo did not add a catch. McCourty had four tackles. Harmon had only one tackle, but intercepted a pass for the second straight week. His knack for late game big plays has gotten him the nickname of “The Closer” per Patriots twitter. The original closer from the RU defensive backfield is mentioned in the Knights in the Pros flashback.
Michael Burton, Marcus Cooper, and Andrew DePaola faced the best team in the NFL in a homecoming of sorts in Philadelphia. It did not go well for Chicago who was demolished, 31-3. No one on the Bears had a particularly good day against the now 10-1 Eagles, but the punting unit including the three former Knights was rather busy.
Bengals Clark Harris and Tyler Kroft took on Jason McCourty and Kenny Britt of Cleveland. The intrastate rivalry saw the Bengals steadily separate themselves to the tune of a 30-16 final. McCourty had a nice game with four tackles and a pass break up. Britt added two catches for 52 yards. Kroft did one better as he added three catches for 14 yards and another touchdown. The Bengals sure love Tecmo Bowl and continue to post clips like this as they are suddenly 5-6 and have a long shot to still make the playoffs.
Kevin Snyder and the Broncos traveled to Oakland for the final (or perhaps second to last) time. The Raiders jumped out to an early lead, but Denver fought back once Trevor Siemian replace a putrid Paxton Lynch. A pass that looked more like a punt from Derek Carr was hauled in on a 3rd down with two minutes left to squash Denver’s hopes of a miracle comeback.
Brandon Coleman and the Saints had just continued to just win. A huge game against division rival Carolina is on the slate next week after they dropped a 26-20 decision to the Rams in a possible playoff preview. The surprising Rams and Saints are both 8-3.
Carlton Agudosi was Cardinals to promoted to the 53-man roster, but did not make the active game day 46. Perhaps his presence on the sidelines was enough as in what may have been the best game of the day, Arizona was victorious 27-24 over Jacksonville. After losing their quarterback and star running back, the Cardinals seem to be figuring it out.
Practice squads: Andre Patton (Chargers)
Knights in the Pros flashback ... 1996.
A speedster from Teaneck, Chris Brantley was at the epicenter of the greatest finish in Rutgers Football history. I’d love any dispute in the comments section, but it’s hard to top a game winning 78 yard drive capped with a corner end zone TD as time expired on homecoming. 61 of those yards came in the final 14 seconds. Brantley had four touchdowns in that game, contributing to his then school record of 17 career. After a disappointing senior year for Chris and the team, he was drafted in the 4th round by the Los Angeles Rams. He played in 15 games as a rookie, primarily as a kick and punt returner before winding up with Buffalo Bills in 1996.
In a late season matchup, Buffalo hosted Seattle. With Buffalo trailing 26-11 to a team quarterbacked by Rick Mirer (shocking I know), Brantley was inserted on offense in the fourth quarter. He made back to back catches in Seattle territory before the drive stalled when Jim Kelly was sacked on back to back plays and injured. So on the ensuing drive, backup Todd Collins cut the deficit in nearly half on a 22 yard touchdown to Brantley.
Chris’s first career TD cut the deficit to 26-18 with 3:41 remaining and the Bills recovered the ensuing onside kick. Unfortunately for Bills fans the Seahawks were bailed out when former Scarlet Knight Jay Bellamy intercepted a pass and returned it for 16 yards. Buffalo got the ball back again at their own 1 yard line with 1:05 to go and got out of the shadow of their own goal post with another catch by Brantley, tackled by guess who, Bellamy. Time ran out and Seattle went home with the victory behind their “closer” Bellamy’s five tackles and two pass breakups including the key INT. Brantley’s 4 catches for 35 yards and the TD were not enough.
This turned out to be a blip for the Bills as they finished 10-6. Brantley would never play in the NFL again, though he did continue to play in NFL Europe then represented New Jersey in both the Arena League and the XFL. After his career, Chris became a sports agent.