Road teams ruled the day in Week 13. On Sunday, December 6th in the year 2015, let it be known that nine -- nine -- out of 14 games were won by away clubs, three of which were decided by 24-plus points. Both overtime games on Sunday were won by the road team and four home squads were held to seven or fewer points. That's domination, but only a select few players displayed true greatness away from home in Week 13.
Greatness on the Road winner
Everything's coming up Cam. The Panthers quarterback was already on pace for an MVP-caliber season before Sunday's game in New Orleans; he is more or less the paramount reason why the Panthers have remained undefeated through 12 games. Sans reliable wide receivers -- no offense, Philly Brown -- Newton has piloted Carolina's offense through a gauntlet of competitive games and to at least 24 points in each game since Week 2. Still, as thrilling as his campaign has been, he may have saved his best for the Bayou.
Newton spliced the Saints' secondary to shreds, tossing five touchdowns, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 331 yards and scampering for an additional 49 in a tight 41-38 shootout win in New Orleans. With the Panthers' defense struggling to contain Drew Brees' offense in an unusually poor performance, Cam showed major resolve on numerous occasions.
Down 14 points late in the first quarter, Newton's 30-yard bootleg run on fourth-and-1 kept the Panthers out of a 14-0 hole. Overcoming massive drops from the slippery-handed Ted Ginn, Cam continued to trust his wideout, going back to the well over and again and eventually finding the speedster on a go-ahead 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Finally, down four points late in the game, Newton led the Panthers on a 11-play, 75-yard drive, on which he completed seven passes to four different receivers, the last of which was a game-winning 15-yard laser to Jerricho Cotchery.
So playing as the away team in your home stadium isn't a classic road game, but who's counting? (Not me, that's who.) Playing the role of absolute monster, Marshall bullied the Giants' secondary in the Jets' 23-20 overtime win. The wide receiver made numerous clutch catches on Gang Green's game-tying drive, including the end zone jump ball that sent the game into an extra period. Marshall finished with 12 catches and 131 yards, sending him over 1,000 yards for the eighth time in his career -- he's now done so for four teams. Everyone lauds Ryan Fitzpatrick -- did you know he went to Harvard? -- for the Jets' turnaround on offense, but it's the Marshall Plan that has brought this unit out of the darkness.
The third back in Philadelphia is finally getting the respect he deserves. Sproles was an all-around threat Sunday against the Patriots, totaling 215 all-purpose yards in Philly's crucial 35-28 upset win. Sproles' key contribution came in the form of an electrifying 83-yard punt return touchdown -- his second on the year -- that stretched the Eagles' lead to 14 points late in the third quarter. The satellite back's 66 yards on the ground was his season high and a team high. If Chip Kelly wants to surge back into the NFC East division race, maybe the answer is to use more Sproles. Way more Sproles.
Such a shame. The Jaguars quarterback is on pace for a 36-touchdown, 4,300-yard season, but, because of an embarrassing defense, can't single-handedly save his team from mediocrity. In Jacksonville's 42-39 loss to the Titans on Sunday, Bortles essentially padded his stat line, completing 66.7 of his passes and tossing 322 yards and five touchdowns.