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NFL Week 13 best bits: Detroit Lions end 364-day wait for a win after thrilling finale, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski reach new landmark
Sky Sports' Cameron Hogwood returns with a weekly look at the big storylines, star performers, top statistics and injury news from Sunday's NFL action. Week 13 concludes on Monday night when the AFC's No. 1-seeded New England Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills.
Last Updated: 06/12/21 11:37am
The Detroit Lions snapped their 15-game winless run with a last second touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski hit another career milestone, TJ Watt bolstered his DPOY credentials, Gardner Minshew mania triumphed and there was a surprise exit in Carolina.
We reflect on Sunday's Week 13 action around the NFL...
WEEK 13 RESULTS
Indianapolis Colts 31-0 Houston Texans
Minnesota Vikings 27-29 Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles 33-18 New York Jets
New York Giants 9-20 Miami Dolphins
Arizona Cardinals 33-22 Chicago Bears
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-17 Atlanta Falcons
Jacksonville Jaguars 7-37 Los Angeles Rams
Washington Football Team 17-15 Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers 23-30 Seattle Seahawks
Dan Campbell has had some time to think about what he might say after his first win as an NFL head coach, more time than he would have wished for, more time than he would have envisioned. Three months of rehearsing his winner's speech in the mirror (he probably, likely certainly didn't do this) culminated in the real deal, the big dance when the Lions snapped their 15-game, 364-day winless streak with a walk-off touchdown as time expired against the Vikings.
Detroit's 'onions have layers, Dan Campbells have layers' leader talked a tough game when he promised the biting of opposition knee-caps upon his appointment, he peaked ridicule-hungry intrigue with the revelation his morning routine entails two 40-ounce coffees with two shots of espresso each, and he drew sympathy while breaking down in tears after October's late defeat to Minnesota. Jobs in the NFL don't come much tougher than that which greeted him at a Ford Field sucked of any real substantial optimism.
On Sunday he elected to open his post-game presser by dedicating Detroit's first victory of the year to the victims of the mass shooting at the local Oxford High School, reading off the names of the four students that sadly lost their lives along with that of the six others and the teacher that were wounded. A long-yearned shot of euphoria and a landmark day in his head coaching career, and his mind was there.
"I just wanted them to know exactly what we were going to represent today," said Campbell. "The shirts, the hats, the decals, the people that are affected. Some of our players know of someone that was affected. To me, my thought was, 'Hey, man, if we can, for three hours, just ease their suffering a little bit, that's worth it.' So, that's kinda how I thought of this and we did a great job, players responded and played well."
Campbell's Lions aren't particularly pretty on the eye, they might not win another game this year, but they sure have become an easy bunch to pull for.
That goes for quarterback Jared Goff, too, as he dragged the monkey off his back of having not won an NFL game without Sean McVay as his head coach. When the Lions needed the matriculating expertise that had first attracted the Rams, he delivered in the form of a 14-play, 75-yard drive ending in an 11-yard strike to Amon-Ra St. Brown for the rookie's first career touchdown with zeros on the clock on fourth-and-two.
When we spoke to St. Brown ahead of the Draft he noted how his dad, a three-time Mr World and two-time Mr Universe bodybuilder, would wake up him, his brothers Equanimeous and Osiris and any friends they would have sleeping over at the crack of dawn to lift weights. Sport, football and competition became engrained in the St. Brown household, so to see the wide receiver get off the mark in the NFL courtesy of his own clutch catch felt a fitting, but by no means finished, reward.
There are stories across this Detroit team. From the infectious and endearing Jamaal Williams standing up in the absence of the Lions' star player D'Andre Swift, to rookie offensive tackle Penei Sewell finally seeing some success after landing in an unfavourable situation.
Linebacker Charles Harris delivered his first multi-sack game with two in place of the injured Jalen Reeves-Maybin, stripping Kirk Cousins on his second to tee up the touchdown that would give the Lions a 14-6 second-quarter advantage. There was a first career touchdown catch for undrafted rookie tight end Brock Wright, while undrafted rookie kicker Riley Patterson kicked his first career field goal. Detroit delight.
Defeat aside, Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson staged another clinic in the art of being unguardable with a season-high 11 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown to continue his sensational year two in the league. He now has 78 receptions for 1,209 yards and seven scores in 12 games, putting him just behind the NFL's leader Cooper Kupp, who added another eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars.
T.J. Watt's quest for Defensive Player of the Year took a step towards, perhaps overdue, fulfillment after he added another 3.5 sacks against the Ravens to lift his tally to 16 in 10 games. He gave former Steelers teammate Alejandro Villanueva nightmares.
Dolphins edge rusher Jaelan Phillips arrived in the NFL clouded by concerns over his injury record and retirement from football that led to him studying music at college, while being hailed as arguably the most technically gifted player of his position in the Draft. A quietly-productive rookie campaign since then became slightly less quiet on Sunday as he recorded two sacks in Miami's win over the Giants, making it seven in his last five games and a franchise rookie record 8.5 on the year.
At the heart of a Colts blowout win against the Texans was, you guessed it, another run-them-ragged outing for Jonathan Taylor with 32 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns to prompt MVP chants upon leaving the field. In a non-Tom Brady, quarterback-driven world, those chants might get their desired answer.
Gardner Minshew certainly answered his call, completing 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns in the absence of Jalen Hurts to lead the Eagles to victory over the Jets. His emotional fist-bumping, bear-hugging post-game embrace with his father was pretty special, and testament to the enormity of an occasion he has waited patiently for. His big night meant another for tight end Dallas Goedert, who led the Eagles with six catches for 105 yards and two scores.
Big men went feasting in Atlanta as interior polar bears Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea powered their way to two sacks each in Tampa's win over the Falcons, against whom Brady moved to 10-0 as he bolstered his MVP resume with 38 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns to one interception.
It may have gone unrewarded, but George Kittle held up his end in the absence of Deebo Samuel by starring with nine catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks.
The Chargers' league-worst run defense survived the loss of Joey Bosa and later Justin Jones to limit Joe Mixon to 54 yards on the ground following back-to-back 120-yard-plus games for the Bengals man, and the Cardinals D cushioned Kyler Murray's return against the Bears with four interceptions, three sacks and six quarterback hits.
YOU MAY HAVE MISSED...
...The Panthers rather quietly firing offensive coordinator Joe Brady around 30 minutes before Sunday's early kickoffs; the same Joe Brady that had been showered with compliments as one of the NFL's next innovative chain-moving brainiacs entering the season following his arrival from the LSU setup that won a National Championship behind the likes of Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jefferson.
Carolina, on a bye week, are ranked 28th in total offense with 308.7 yards per game and 23rd in scoring at 19.7 points per game, quarterback Sam Darnold having seen his bright start to the season fall of a cliff prior to his injury and Christian McCaffrey recently suffering a year-ending ankle injury.
Matt Rhule had been adamant on Brady persisting with the run game, and for a moment the return of Cam Newton appeared perfectly set-up to implement the read-option wrinkles that had Darnold never quite look equipped to execute.
His departure so soon is an eyebrow-raiser, but he'll have his offers. Be it within the coaching carousel wreaking havoc in college football or elsewhere in the NFL come the offseason. One to keep an eye on.
ANTONIO BROWN - WHAT NEXT?
Speaking about Antonio Brown in October 2020, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said: "He screws up one time, he's gone."
Brown just screwed up, earning himself a three-game suspension for violating NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols after being found to have misrepresented his vaccination status. Begs the question, what now?
GO ON, COACH!
Elsewhere beyond the border, Sky Sports NFL's very own Jeff Reinebold and his Hamilton Tiger-Cats set up a Grey Cup showdown with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after defeating the Toronto Argonauts 27-19 in Sunday's East Division final.
Dane Evans came off the bench to throw 16 of 16 while rushing for two fourth quarter touchdowns to lead the Ticats to victory and a shot at revenge after the Bombers beat Hamilton 33-12 in the 2019 Championship contest.
Bring it home, coach!
- Tom Brady has now thrown 90 touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski in their regular-season careers, passing Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates (89) for second-most in NFL history, leaving them behind only Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (112)
- Adrian Peterson's one-yard rushing score for Seattle was his 126th career touchdown, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Walter Payton and moving him level with Hall of Famer Jim Brown for 10th in NFL history
- Jonathan Taylor has rushed for a touchdown in 10 successive games, marking the longest streak by any player since LaDainian Tomlinson's 18 straight across the 2004 and 2005 seasons
- The Texans are the first team to be shut out by 30 points twice in a season since the 2002 Panthers
- Running back Javonte Williams is the first rookie in Broncos history to have 100-plus rushing yards and over 75 receiving yards in a game
- Cooper Kupp is the first player in NFL history with at least 100 catches and 100 receiving touchdowns in his team's first 12 games of a season
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow dislocated his throwing hand pinky finger in the second quarter of his side's loss to the Chargers, however said post-game he was confident he would be fine to feature against the 49ers in Week 14.
Cincinnati saw linebacker Logan Wilson carted off with a shoulder injury, while cornerback Chibode Awuzie also required treatment on a foot problem. Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa exited in the first quarter against the Bengals with a head injury before being officially ruled out early in the second half.
Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey is expected to be out for the rest of the year with a shoulder injury picked up in Baltimore's loss to the Steelers.
49ers running back Elijah Mitchell was evaluated for a head injury following a huge hit against the Seahawks, after San Francisco had already seen running back Trenton Cannon taken off in an ambulance having sustained a concussion on the opening kickoff. Safety Jaquiski Tartt (hamstring) and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (ankle) also picked up knocks, while Seattle lost safety Jamal Adams to a shoulder issue.
Eagles running back Miles Sanders was ruled out with an ankle injury after his 100-yard rushing game, in addition to linebacker Patrick Johnson (back) and cornerback Steven Nelson (shoulder).
Falcons safety Richie Grant sustained an ankle injury against the Bucs, who had to fare without cornerback Jamel Dean (concussion) and running back Ronald Jones (illness).
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was ruled out against the Lions with a sprained ankle, Raiders running back Kenyan Drake and linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Denzel Perryman left with ankle injuries, and Washington tight end Logan Ryan suffered a knee injury.
Running back Patrick Laird departed with a knee injury in Miami's win over the Giants, whose backup quarterback Mike Glennon sustained a concussion while filling in for the absent Daniel Jones.
Jets tight end Ryan Griffen, wide receiver Corey Davis and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif were all ruled out with ankle injuries against the Eagles.
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