In week 13, the Green Bay Packers were the only team in the NFC North division to escape with a win, beating divisional rival Minnesota, Both the Bears and Lions suffered agonizing losses, despite both teams holding leads in the final minute of regulation.
@ Green Bay Packers 23, Minnesota Vikings 14
The Packers won their eighth game of the season on Sunday, earning a tough win over the Vikings. A rejuvenated running game (152 yards rushing on the day) helped the Packers on the longest NFL drive of the season, an 18-play, 73-yard drive that ate up eleven minutes of clock and ended with a Mason Crosby field goal to take a nine-point lead with four minutes to go in the game. As you know, Adrian Peterson ran wild on Sunday for over 200 yards, but Christian Ponder threw two interceptions to Morgan Burnett to turn the momentum of the game back in the Packers' favor.
The Packers moved to 8-4 with the win, and did a little scoreboard watching after their game finished, as they could retake a share of first place (and the lead with the tiebreaker) if the Bears were to lose.
And lose the Bears did, as their defense collapsed and gave up two touchdowns to Russell Wilson and company in the last minute of the game and overtime. The first gave the Seahawks a 17-14 lead with 24 seconds left in the game, after Wilson led a 97-yard drive that started with 3:40 to go in regulation. On that drive, Seattle overcame a fumble by Marshawn Lynch (that Wilson recovered) and a holding penalty to put them in position to take the lead.
Then, inexplicably, the Seahawks' corners allowed Brandon Marshall to out-muscle them for a jump ball and escape a tackle for a 56-yard gain that put the Bears immediately in field goal range. Naturally, Robbie Gould hit the 47-yarder to send the game to overtime.
Wilson would not be denied the win, however, as he got the ball to start overtime and would not let the Bears possess it. Wilson converted three third downs on the drive, two with his legs, to get the Seahawks in the red zone. He then found Sidney Rice near the goal line, and Rice tumbled into the end zone. He narrowly crossed the plane of the end zone before being hit hard in the head by Major Wright and losing control of the ball. However, upon review, the ball clearly was in the end zone before the fumble took place, giving the Seahawks the win.
The Bears now fall to 8-4, and are in second place in the division by virtue of the Packers' week 2 win. The defense needs to shoulder a lot of the blame for the loss this week, but Wilson has been showing the toughness that made him a legend at Wisconsin in only a single year.
It almost seemed like the Colts wanted to one-up the Seahawks in terms of dramatic wins this week, coming back from a 12-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to improbably pull out a win at Ford Field. In what should come as no surprise, Calvin Johnson went beast-mode to the tune of 13 catches, 171 yards, and a touchdown, but as he doesn't play defense, it didn't matter at the end.
The Colts scored to pull within five points with two and a half minutes to go, and all the Lions needed to do was get two first downs to run out the clock. They got the first with a pass interference penalty, but could not pick up another, and were forced to punt the ball back to Andrew Luck and company with just over a minute left. The Colts had no timeouts, but Luck ran twice for 25 yards and hit on a few passes to put the ball at the 14 with 18 seconds left. Three incompletions made it do-or-die with the clock running down, but Luck found Donnie Avery on a short pass, and Avery ran unopposed into the end zone for the winning touchdown as the clock expired.
The division standings now look much like they did two weeks ago, before the Packers' loss to the Giants:
|Green Bay Packers||8||4||0||-|
* Packers own tiebreaker