Week 16: Hail to the Chiefs

Originally Published: December 26, 2010
ESPN.com

STUDS

Here are the highlights and lowlights from games played Sunday.

Cassel
Cassel

Matt Cassel

Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

Cassel's sharp passing put Kansas City on the brink of a postseason berth, which the Chiefs captured when San Diego lost to Cincinnati. Cassel completed 24 of 34 passes, including 12 of his first 13, for 314 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to a 34-14 victory over Tennessee. Cassel threw scoring strikes to Jamaal Charles on Kansas City's first two possessions, helping the Chiefs build a 31-7 halftime lead.


Bowe
Bowe

Dwayne Bowe

Wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs

Bowe also had a big day for Kansas City. The wideout snapped out of his recent funk by catching six passes for 153 yards, including a career-long 75-yard TD in the second quarter.


Rodgers
Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

Quarterback, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers, returning from a concussion, kept Green Bay in the thick of the playoff hunt with a superb performance. Rodgers threw for 404 yards and four TDs as the Packers beat the struggling Giants 45-17 at Lambeau Field.


Freeman
Freeman

Josh Freeman

Quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Freeman did his part to keep the Buccaneers in the playoff picture. The second-year QB completed 21 of 26 passes for 237 yards and a career-high five TDs in Tampa Bay's 38-15 rout of Seattle.


Ravens

The Ravens' defense

The Ravens clinched a playoff berth, thanks mostly to a stout and opportunistic D. Ed Reed picked off Browns QB Colt McCoy (see below) twice as Baltimore forced four turnovers in a 20-10 victory. The Ravens held Browns RB Peyton Hillis, who had a 144-yard output in the teams' Week 3 meeting, to 35 yards on 12 carries.


Rams

The Rams' defense

The Rams' D came through with several timely plays in a 25-17 victory over San Francisco. The unit recorded four sacks, an interception and a safety, constantly keeping both Alex Smith and Troy Smith on the run. It also forced and recovered an Alex Smith fumble with the Rams trying to protect their late lead.


Patriots

The Patriots' running game

Who says the Patriots lack a viable running game? New England piled up 163 rushing yards in the first half alone and finished with 217 yards in its 34-3 drubbing of Buffalo. BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the onslaught with 104 yards on 19 carries. Danny Woodhead had 93 yards and a TD on 13 carries.


Palmer
Palmer

Carson Palmer

Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

Palmer has had a tough season, but he was nearly perfect in Week 16. Palmer threw for 269 yards with four TDs and no interceptions in the Bengals' 34-20 victory over San Diego.


Cutler
Cutler

Jay Cutler

Quarterback, Chicago Bears

Cutler shook off an early pick-six and picked apart the Jets' defense. Cutler threw three TD passes as the Bears scored 21 points in the third quarter and held on for a 38-34 victory. It was Cutler's fifth game of the season with at least three scoring tosses.




DUDS

Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Quarterback, Buffalo Bills

Fitzpatrick's chances of being the Bills' long-term starter took a hit on Sunday. Fitzpatrick committed five turnovers -- three interceptions and two fumbles -- in Buffalo's loss to New England. The Patriots converted the first three into 21 points. Fitzpatrick's streak of games with a touchdown pass ended at 15, three short of Jim Kelly's franchise record.


Giants

The Giants' offense

The mistakes started early for the Giants, and they kept on coming. Eli Manning threw four interceptions, increasing his league-leading total to 24, and New York lost two fumbles in the loss at Green Bay.


Henne
Henne

Chad Henne

Quarterback, Miami Dolphins

Henne was having a solid game -- until crunch time. The Dolphins led Detroit by 10 with about five minutes left, but Henne's two late interceptions enabled the Lions to storm back and win 34-27. Both of Henne's picks came on third down and in Dolphins territory.


McCoy
McCoy

Colt McCoy

Quarterback, Cleveland Browns

Solid for most of the season, McCoy played like a rookie on Sunday. McCoy threw three interceptions and looked confused against the Ravens' D. McCoy, who was 15-of-29 for 149 yards, dropped to 2-5 as a starter.