NEW YORK — All the close finishes and individual heroics in Week 12 of the NFL season were overshadowed by a fight, the filming of a walkthrough, and a flagrant foul.

Even on a holiday weekend featuring marquee matchups of playoff contenders and division leaders, the focus wound up on Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan slugging away in Houston, Spygate II involving the Denver Broncos, and Steelers linebacker James Harrison being flagged for yet another illegal hit.

Sometimes it seems as if pinpoint passing by Tom Brady, dynamic defense by Brian Urlacher and powerful runs by Peyton Hillis — all stars in their teams' latest wins — aren't juicy enough to keep attention on the game. Not, at least, when there is mayhem and cheating on the menu.