NFL 2019 Week 2 Recap

September 16th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 2 Recap

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers was the Thursday night game. A pair of NFC South rivals played an ugly game that ended in controversial fashion. Matt Gay hit a 40 yard field goal for the Buccaneers and Joey Slye answered from 32 for a 3-3 game after the first quarter. In the second quarter a 39 yard punt return had the Panthers taking over at the Tampa Bay 42. Yet all the Panthers could muster was a 37 yard Slye field goal for a 6-3 lead. After 26 minutes of ugly football, the Buccaneers took over at their own 28. Jameis Winston went deep to Mike Evans for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Carolina 25, Winston went to Brate for 5 yards and then to Chris Godwin for the 20 yard touchdown and the 10-6 Buccaneers lead. In the final 80 seconds, Cam Newton moved the Panthers in position for a 54 yard field goal try. Slye delivered again and the Panthers trailed 10-9 at halftime. 

In the third quarter the Panthers took over at their own 38. Newton went deep to Greg Olsen for a 41 yard gain. Yet consecutive sacks of Newton ended the drive. Slye hit his fourth field goal from 51 yards out to make it 12-10 Panthers. The Buccaneers soon faced 2nd and 13 at their own 22. Winston went to Godwin for 24 yards with defensive unnecessary roughness adding 15 more. Peyton Barber ran for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 17-12 Buccaneers. The Panthers fumbled the ball away but the Buccaneers missed a field goal. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, with the Buccaneers pinned to their own 2 yard line, Peyton Barber was tackled in his own end zone by Luke Kuechly for a safety. The Panthers were within 17-14, and a 21 yard return on the free kick had them taking over on their own 46.

On 3rd and 1 from the Tampa Bay 45, Christian McCaffrey got stopped cold. Riverboat Ron Rivera went for it, and Newton threw incomplete. With 9 minutes left, the Buccaneers took over at their own 33. On 3rd and 8 from midfield, Winston went to Godwin for a 14 yard gain. With a chance to put the game away, on 3rd and 5 from the Carolina 14, Winston threw incomplete. Gay hit the 32 yard field goal to cap the 11 play, 53 yard 6 1/2 minute drive. Trailing by 6, the Panthers took over with 2 1/2 minutes left after a touchback.Newton began by hitting Samuel for a 24 yard gain. With 1:45 to play the Panthers faced 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 11. Newton threw incomplete twice and then hit Moore for 8 yards. With 90 seconds left, the Panthers faced 4th and 2 at the Buccaneers 3 yard line. Defensive delay of game made it 4th and 1 from the 2. Normally Newton would use his big body to sneak it forward. Instead, McCaffrey got the carry around the end and got taken down for no gain. Bruce Arians got his first win as the Buccaneers coach. Meanwhile, Ron Rivera faced a ton of questions about Newton and the terrible play call that had the Panthers at 0-2 and sinking fast. 20-14 Buccaneers

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans — The Titans won at Cleveland by 30 points, so a buzz developed around them. The Colts put up a valiant effort in an overtime loss at the Chargers. The Colts began at their own 22 and soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 33. Jacoby Brissett went to Eric Ebron for 13 yards. On the next play defensive pass interference meant a 46 yard gain and 1st and goal at the 8. Brissett hit Ebron for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts. The Titans took over at their own 28. Marcus Mariota got the drive going with completions to Derrick Henry for 9 yards and Sharpe for 15 more. From the Indy 12, Henry fumbled but the Titans retained possession. On the next play Mariota went to Jennings for 11 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Mariota hit David Quessenberry for the one yard touchdown to make it 7-7. 

The Colts soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 30. Brissett threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 9 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from their own 42, Brissett scrambled for just enough. On 3rd and 15 from the Indy 44, Brissett went to TY Hilton for 19 yards. Brissett threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Parris Campbell for the touchdown midway through the second quarter. One week after his worst career game, Adam Vinatieri missed another extra point as the Colts led 13-7. In the third quarter a 17 yard punt return had the Titans taking over at the Indy 40. From the Indy 28, Mariota found Davis for a 25 yard gain. Henry ran for the one yard touchdown to make it 14-13 Titans. The Colts then fumbled, giving the Titans another short field at the Indy 45. Cairo Santos hit a 49 yard field goal to make it 17-13 Titans. Tennessee got it back at their own 13 and moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Indy 20. Mariota was then sacked for a 7 yard loss. Making matters worse for the Titans, Santos missed the 45 yard field goal try with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

With 6 1/2 minutes left, the Colts took over at their own 31. From their own 41, Wilkins broke free for a 55 yard gain. On the next play Brissett threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Hilton. Vinatieri’s nightmare season continued as he missed a 2nd extra point. The Colts led by 2 with 4 1/2 minutes left. With 3 1/2 minutes left and the Titans facing 4th and 1 at their own 34, the decision was to go for it. A killer day of game penalty instead forced the Titans to punt. The Titans got the ball back at their own 28 with 1:07 to play. With 13 seconds left the Titans faced 4th and 2 at the Indy 45. Mariota threw incomplete as Jacoby Brissett got his first win as a Colts starter. 19-17 Colts

Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions — The Chargers barely survived at home last week in an overtime win against Indianapolis, while the Lions blew an 18 point 4th quarter lead in a tie with Arizona. The Chargers soon faced 2nd and 8 at their own 34. Philip Rivers went deep to Austin Ekeler for 35 yards and to Keenan Allen for 12 more. On 3rd and 4 from the Detroit 13, Rivers hit Allen for 10 yards. On 3rd and goal from the one, Ekeler got in to make it 7-0 Chargers. The Lions came back 75 yards. Matthew Stafford hit Kerryon Johnson for a 36 yard touchdown. Matt Prater missed the extra point. The Lions trailed 7-6 after the first quarter. Both offenses pretty much slept through the rest of the game, as did the viewers. In the second quarter Prater missed a 40 yard field goal try. Ty Long hit a 39 yard field goal on the last play of the half as the Chargers took a 10-6 lead to the locker rooms. 

A hideous second half began with Stafford getting intercepted and the Chargers fumbling the ball back. Late in the third quarter Long missed a 39 yard field goal try. Stafford was intercepted again and in the fourth quarter the Chargers moved from their 15 to a 3rd and 1 at the Detroit 23. Rivers threw incomplete and Anthony Lynn opted not to go for it. Long came in for the 41 yard field goal try and again it was no good. The Lions took over at their 31 and moved to a 4th and 1 at the Chargers 35. Matt Patricia decided to go for it and Stafford hit Jones for 4 yards. On the next play Stafford hit Kenny Golladay for a 31 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions led by a field goal. The Chargers moved from their own 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Detroit 19 with 2 1/2 minutes left. On 3rd and 19 with just over one minute left, Rivers went to the end zone and was intercepted. It was hideously ugly, but it was a desperately needed win for Matt Patricia. 13-10 Lions

Buffalo Bills at New York Giants — Last week the Bills overcame a 16-0 deficit to gut out a 17-16 win over the Jets. Now they were back in the Meadowlands again against the Giants, who were humiliated at Dallas. After a touchback, the Giants rammed the ball down Buffalo’s throat. Saquon Barkley ran for 6m Fowler ran for 20, and Barkley then ran for 14, 8, and the 27 yard touchdown to quickly make it 7-0 Giants.  After a touchback the Bills faced 3rd and 4 at their own 43. Josh Allen went to Cole Beasley for a 9 yard gain and then to McKenzie for 26 more. Allen ran for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-7.  

The Bills got it back at their own 30 and Allen went to Knox for 18 yards. On 3rd and 10 from their own 48, Allen hit Brown for 14 yards. On 3rd and 5 at the Giants 33, Allen hit Brown for 7 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Giants 26, Allen hit Beasley for 12. Devin Singletary then ran for the 14 yard touchdown as the Bills led 14-7 early in the second quarter. The Bills got it back at their own 2 yard line. Allen hit Brown for 15 yards and Frank Gore for 9 more. On 1st and 20 from their own 35, Allen went deep to Beasley for a 51 yard gain. On the next play Allen went to Isaiah McKenzie for the 14 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Bills. The Giants would miss a field goal and suffer an interception to end the half. 

Late in the third quarter, the Giants took over at their own 24. Eli Manning hit Fowler for gains of 12 and 14. Early in the fourth quarter the Giants faced 4th and 2 at the Buffalo 15. They went for it and Manning hit Latimer for 9 yards. Manning found TJ Jones for a 4 yard touchdown to complete the 12 play, 76 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. The Giants were within 21-14 with 12 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, Allen hit Brown for 12 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Giants 40, Allen hit Brown for 17 yards. Singletary ran for 20 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 3. The Giants got a stop on defense, and Steve Hauschka made the 21 yard field goal Yet unnecessary roughness on the defense caused Sean McDermott to take the points off the board with 1st and goal at the 2. Gore banged it in from one yard out with 6 minutes left in regulation to put the game on ice. 28-14 Bills

Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens — Last week Baltimore put up 59 points, but for the second straight week Arizona showed grit. In the first quarter the Ravens took over at their own 6 yard line. Lamar Jackson hit Boyle for 14 yards and Brown for 18 more. Jackson then ran for 19 yards. Jackson then hit Brown for gains of 6 and 9 and found Mark Andrews for a 27 yard touchdown to complete the 94 yard drive and make it 7-0 Ravens. Baltimore got it back and John Harbaugh decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Arizona 43. Jackson threw incomplete. The good field position led to the Cardinals moving to a 3rd and 1 at the Arizona 4 yard line. Kyler Murray threw incomplete. Cliff Kingsbury decided not to go for it. Zane Gonzalez hit the 22 yard field goal to get the Cardinals within 7-3. In the second quarter Justin Tucker hit from 33 to make it 10-3 Ravens. Again the Cardinals drove very deep. On 4th and 2 from the Baltimore 47, Cliff Kingsbury went for it and Murray hit Byrd for 5 yards. However, on 3rd and goal at the 3, Murray threw incomplete. Gonzalez hit from 21 to get the Cardinals within 10-6.

Baltimore soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 21. Jackson ran for gains of 5 and 18 yards and then hit Andrews for 24 and Mark Ingram for 20. Jackson hit Hill for 10 and Hayden Hurst for the final yard as the Ravens led 17-6 at halftime. In the third quarter the Cardinals drove inside the Baltimore 5 yard line for the 3rd time in the game. On 3rd and goal Murray again threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the 2, for the third time, Kingsbury settled for a field goal. Gonzalez hit from 21 as the Cardinals trailed 17-9. The Ravens responded with a staggering 16 play, 70 yard drive that consumed 9 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and 6 from their own 24, Jackson hit Ingram for 10. On 3rd and 7 at the Arizona 46, Jackson hit Andrews for 9. On 3rd and 7 from the Arizona 22, Jackson hit Andrews for 8. On 3rd and 20 from the Arizona 24, Jackson scrambled for 19. On 4th and 1 from the Arizona 5, John Harbaugh took no chances. A field goal would make it a 2 score game. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Justin Tucker hit the 28 yarder to make it 20-9 Ravens.

This time the Cardinals from their own 21 struck quickly. Murray went deep to Larry Fitzgerald for a 54 yard gain. Murray then went to Byrd for 6 and Kirk for 18 down to the one. David Johnson got the yard on the ground and Murray hit K Johnson for the 2 point conversion to get the Cardinals within 20-17 with a full 13 minutes left in regulation. The Ravens moved from their own 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Arizona 38. Jackson threw incomplete twice and on 3rd and 10 a pass to Snead only gained 5 yards. Tucker hit the 51 yard field goal as the Ravens led by 6 with 9 minutes left. Arizona punted twice and with 3:13 to play the Ravens took over at their own 45. With 3 minutes left and the Ravens facing 3rd and 11, John Harbaugh had a decision to make. The Cardinals were out of timeouts, so a safe run would bleed 40 seconds off the clock. Instead the Ravens went big and bold. Jackson went deep to Brown for a 41 yard gain. At the 2 minute warning, the Ravens faced 3rd and 1 at the Arizona 6. Ingram got the yard and Jackson took a pair of knees to end the hard fought game. 23-17 Ravens

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins — Last week the Patriots won by 30 and the Dolphins lost at home by 49 for a 79 point differential. The largest blowout in NFL history was Chicago over Washington 73-0 in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. Could the Patriots beat the Dolphins 100-0? The Dolphins had beaten the Patriots in 5 of the last 6 meetings in Miami including last year’s Christmas lateral miracle. Yet the oddsmakers were unimpressed, installing the Patriots as 19 point road favorites. In the first quarter the Patriots took over at their own 40. Michel ran for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots. In the second quarter Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal and one xtra point. However, Tom Brady did throw a 20 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, his first touchdown reception with the Patriots. The Patriots only led 13-0 at halftime, but there would be no comeback. 

In the third quarter an interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick led to a 28 yard Gostkowski field goal. The Patriots got it back and moved 65 yards. Brady got the last yard himself as the Patriots led 23-0 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Patriots poured it on. Ryan Fitzpatrick had two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Stephen Gilmore took his 54 yards to pay dirt while Jamie Collins ran his back 69 yards for a score. Just before the 2 minute warning, Brady hit James White for the final touchdown. It would be hard for Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick to find fault in a 43 point road win, but Gostkowski missed his 2nd extra point. With 4 seconds left, the Dolphins had 1st and goal at the 8 and a chance to avoid the shutout. Josh Rosen was in the game. Rather than throw to the end zone, he threw a 3 yard pass. It didn’t matter since it was intercepted. While the Patriots fell short of a 100 point win, they did win by 43. Meanwhile, losing by 43 was an improvement over losing by 49. Former Belichick assistant Brian Flores has seen his Dolphins lose by a combined 102-10 in 2 games, both at home. This is not why the play the games. 43-0 Patriots

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins — Dallas has Super Bowl dreams, while Washington just wants to escape the cellar. An interception of Dak Prescott with 5 minutes left in the first quarter set up the Redskins at the Dallas 38. The second quarter began with Adrian Peterson banging in a one yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Redskins. Later on the Cowboys were pinned back at their own 3 yard line. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 8 yards and Prescott added 15 more. Prescott hit Michael Gallup for gains of 9 and 10 and Randall Cobb for 3 more. Prescott then found Devin smith for a 51 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Dallas got it back and soon faced 3rd and 8 at their own 19. Prescott found Cobb for 9 yards. On 3rd and 1 at their own 37, Prescott got around the end for a 42 yard gain. With 20 seconds left in the half on 3rd and goal at the 5, Prescott threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding was a killer penalty. 9 seconds still remained, and now it was 1st and goal at the 2. Prescott hit Jason Witten for the score to make it 14-7 Cowboys at halftime.

In the third quarter after a touchback, Prescott hit Amari Cooper for 13 yards. Elliott had gains of 13 and 6. Prescott hit Gallup for 12. On 1st and 20 from the Washington 46, Prescott hit Gallup for 16. On 3rd and 4 from the Washington 30, Prescott found Cooper for 18. Prescott hit Cooper for the 10 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Cowboys. The Redskins fought back and got a break when the Cowboys jumped offsides on 3rd and 1 from the Washington 34. On the next play Case Keenum hit McLaurin for a 27 yard gain. On 4th and 7 from the Dallas 31, Jay Gruden decided to go for it. Keenum hit Quinn for 12 yards. Keenum hit Paul Richardson for a 9 yard touchdown to get the Redskins within 21-14 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. 

After a touchback Prescott went to Jarwin for a 22 yard gain. A 3 yard touchdown was nullified by offensive holding. One minute into the fourth quarter, Maher hit a 25 yard field goal to give the cowboys some breathing room up 21-14. With 11 minutes left Jay Gruden decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Dallas 46. Keenum threw incomplete. From the Washington 43, Prescott hit Witten for 18 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Elliott got in with 5 minutes left to put the Cowboys up 31-14. Washington did get a garbage touchdown, but nothing more. Jerry Jones was so pleased with the win that he is bringing Jason Garrett and the entire coaching staff back next week. 31-21 Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans — A pair of division rivals played a truly hideous game. Kaimi Fairbairn hit a 39 yard field goal for the Texans. In the second quarter Josh Lambo hit from 40 to tie the game and Fairbairn answered from 22 to end the half with the Texans up 6-3. After a scoreless third quarter, a key play came with 13 minutes left in regulation. On 1st and 20 from his own 20, Minshew was sacked and the Texans recovered at the Jacksonville 11. On 4th and 1 from the Jacksonville 2, Bill O’Brien decided to go for it. Deshaun Watson got in to make it 13-3 Texans. with 6 minutes left in regulation, Lambo hit from 32 to get the Jaguars within 13-6. With 3 1/2 minutes left, Jacksonville began their final drive. With 2:19 left, on 4th and 1 from their own 41, Leonard Fournette barely got the yard. With 1:18 left on 3rd and 9 from the Jacksonville 43, Minshew hit Conley for 12 and Chark for 14 more. With 52 seconds left on 4th and 10 from the Houston 31, Minshew scrambled for 18 yards. With 30 seconds left, Minshew hit Chark for the touchdown. Doug Marrone decided to go for the 2 point conversion and the win on the road rather than play for overtime. It was a gutsy call. The run attempt failed. The armchair quarterbacks will go crazy, but that is what they do. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin made the exact same decision in his first season as the Jaguars coach when they were a 1995 expansion team. That attempt also failed in a one point loss. 13-12 Texans

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers — 14 years after these teams played a controversial Super Bowl, they played a game with far less at stake but with more exciting action. After a scoreless first quarter, the first break came in the second quarter when the Seahawks fumbled and the Steelers took over at the Seattle 22. On 3rd and 5 from the 17, Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete but defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. James Conner ran it in to make it 7-0 Steelers. After a touchback, the Seahawks soon faced 3rd and 10 at their own 36, Russell Wilson hit Turner for 15 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 26, a run lost 2 yards. The field goal was good, but unnecessary roughness on the defense caused Pete Carroll to take the points off the board. On the next play Wilson hit Will Dissly for the 14 yard touchdown and a 7-7 tie. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, Chris Boswell hit a 41 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Steelers. On the last play of the half, a field goal to tie the game from 58 yards out was no good. The Steelers had the lead but a big problem. Roethlisberger had an injured elbow and would not play the second half. Before the day was out, Conner would be out as well. 

Backup quarterback Mason Rudolph played the second half. Early in the third quarter Rudolph was intercepted, setting the Seahawks up at the Pittsburgh 40. On 3rd and 10 from the Pittsburgh 25, Wilson hit Vannett for 13 yards and Dissly for the 12 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Seahawks. After a touchback, Conner ran for 14 yards. Rudolph went deep to Juju Smith-Schuster for a 45 yard gain. The drive stalled in the red zone. Boswell hit from 33 to get the Steelers within 14-13. After a touchback Wilson hit Carson for 8, Tyler Lockett for 7, Carson again for 10, and Lockett again for 5. On 3rd and 2 from the Pittsburgh 37, Rashaad Penny ran all the way for the touchdown to make it 21-13 Steelers. After a touchback, the Steelers began the fourth quarter facing 3rd and 8 at the Seattle 48. Rudolph found Johnson for a 17 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the Seattle 26, Rudolph escaped for 7 yards. Rudolph threw an 8 yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald with 11 minutes left in regulation. Mike Tomlin went for the 2 point conversion to tie the game butRudolph threw incomplete as the Steelers trailed 21-19. 

After a touchback the Seahawks soon found themselves facing 1st and 15 at their own 22. A run gained 5 yards. Wilson went deep incomplete. Initially no pass interference was called, but under the new rule Pete Carroll successfully challenged the call. It was reversed to defensive pass interference for a 38 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Pittsburgh 28, Wilson went to DK Metcalf for the touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had a 28-19 Lead. With 5 1/2 minutes left and the Seahawks at their own 11, Wilson fumbled and the Steelers recovered at the Seattle 3 yard line. One play later Rudolph hit McDonald for the touchdown to get the Steelers back within 2 points. After a touchback, the Seahawks tried to run out the clock. On 3rd and 16 from the Pittsburgh 48, Wilson scrambled for 15 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Pittsburgh 33, Pete Carroll decided to go for it. Carson gained 2 yards and Wilson knelt down. Things got much worse for the 0-2 Steelers after the game. Big Ben Roethlisberger will have to have surgery on his elbow and will be out for the entire season. Mason Rudolph is now the starter. 28-26 Seahawks.  

San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals — These teams met in a pair of close Super Bowls in the 1980s, but this game was not close or exciting. The 49ers began just shy of midfield. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin to make it 7-0 49ers. From the Cincinnati 31, Red Rifle Andy Dalton went deep to Boyd for a 47 yard gain. Dalton threw a one yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert for a 7-7 game. The 49ers got it back at their own 16. Garoppolo hit Goodwin for 14 and ran for 9. Garoppolo found Raheem Mostert for a 39 yard touchdown. The 49ers led 14-7 after the first quarter. In the second quarter Garoppolo was intercepted, but the Bengals missed a field goal. The 49ers got it back at their own 42. On 3rd and 1 just past midfield, Matt Breida broke free for a 34 yard gain. Jeff Wilson ran it in from 2 yards out to make it 21-7 49ers. The teams exchanged field goals as the 49ers took a 24-10 lead to the locker rooms. In the second half the 49ers broke the game open. Garoppolo hit Deebo Samuel for a 2 yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 31-10 49ers. Robbie Gould tacked on a 38 yard field goal for a 34-10 49ers lead. On the first play of the fourth quarter Wilson ran for a 4 yard touchdown and a 41-10 49ers advantage. Gould would miss a field goal, but by then it did not matter. Cincinnati got one garbage time touchdown but by then it mattered even less. 41-17 49ers

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers — Things started badly early for the Vikings. The Packers needed only 4 plays after a touchback to score. On the first play from scrimmage, Aaron Rodgers went deep to Devontae Adams for a 39 yard gain. Jones ran for gains of 6 and 15. Rodgers hit Jamaal Williams for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers. Dan Bailey then missed a 47 yard field goal try. The Packers soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 41. Aaron Rodgers hit Valdes-scantling for 14 yards. On 3rd and 5 at the Minnesota 40, Rodgers went deep too Adams for 21 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Minnesota 13, Rodgers hit Adams for 6 yards. Rodgers hit Geronimo Allison for a 12 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Packers. The Vikings then fumbled the ball away at the Minnesota 33. The second quarter began with Jones running for a 2 yard touchdown. The Packers had a 21-0 lead, but the Vikings hung tough as momentum swung.

2 plays after the touchback, Dalvin Cook raced for a 75 yard touchdown to get the Vikings within 21-7. With 90 seconds left in the half, the Vikings took over at their own 27. From their 36, a short pass from Cousins to Beebe went for 61 yards. On 1st and goal at the 3, Cousins went to Diggs for the touchdown. However, after further review their was offensive pass interference. The touchdown was nullified. From the 13, a run went nowhere and Cousins threw incomplete twice. Bailey hit the 31 yard field goal to get the Vikings within 21-10 at the half. In the third quarter the Packers fumbled and the Vikings took over at the Green Bay 42. On 3rd and 13, Cousins went to Diggs for a 45 yard touchdown. This time the score stood but Bailey had his extra point try blocked. The Vikings were within 5, and 9 minutes still remained in the third quarter. I didn’t matter. Green Bay’s defense clamped down. With 5 minutes left in regulation, the Vikings faced 1st and goal at the 8 with a chance to win. The 84 million dollar guaranteed man Cousins went to the end zone and was intercepted for the third time on the day. The Packers are 2-0, and again Rodgers knows he no longer has to do it all himself. Green Bay has a defense. 21-16 Packers

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders — The Chiefs always beat the Raiders, Derek Carr always struggles against the Chiefs, and now the Raiders found out their hard hitting rookie safety Jonathan Abraham would be out for the season after playing only one game. Patrick Mahomes was expected to torch the Oakland secondary. By the time this game ended, the Chiefs had only 31 yards rushing. Passing was another matter. The Raiders finally have a bell cow running back, as Josh Jacobs gained 99 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 32, Carr went to Carrier for 25 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Chiefs 43, Carr found Tyrell Williams for 19 yards. Despite 2nd and 2 at the Chiefs 10, Jacobs gained only one yard and then nothing on 3rd and 1. Jon Gruden opted for the field goal. Daniel Carlson hit from 28 to make it 3-0 Raiders. The Silver and Black got it back at their own 25. From their own 47, a defensive pass interference call on a bomb went for 43 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Carr hit Williams for the touchdown. The Raiders led 10-0 after the first quarter. Then reality set in and fans saw one of the biggest blowouts in a quarter since the 1987 Super Bowl between Washington and Denver. Mahomes had only 35 yards passing in the first quarter. 

In the second quarter Mahomes had nearly 300 yards passing. Yes, in the second quarter alone. He started the second quarter with a 44 yard bomb to Demarcus Robinson to get the Chiefs on the board. A 14 play, 95 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive came next. On 3rd and 10 from the Oakland 32, a 22 yard deep ball was nullified by offensive holding. So on 3rd and 20, Mahomes went deep again for a 42 yard touchdown to Mecole Hardman. The Chiefs led 14-10 with 6 minutes left in the half. The Chiefs got it back with 3 1/2 minutes left and quickly followed up their 95 yard drive with a 94 yard drive. On 2nd and 11 from their own 5, Mahomes went to Williams for 32, Robinson for 43, and Travis Kelce for the 27 yard touchdown to make it 21-10 Chiefs with 1:41 left in the half. The Raiders could not even get to the half without further carnage. They punted on 4th and 22 from their own 13, and a 10 yard return of a short punt had the Chiefs taking over at the Oakland 39 with 47 seconds left. One play and 7 seconds later, Mahomes went to Robinson for the 39 yard touchdown. 4 touchdowns put the game away by halftime. Mahomes finished with 443 yards passing, and that was with the second half being scoreless. Mahomes had a 5th touchdown bomb wiped away by a penalty. Carr was intercepted twice, including on 1st and goal at the 4 for a touchback. The Raiders may be slightly improved, but this was their reality check. The Chiefs are far better, 28-10 Chiefs

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams — This was supposed to be the revenge game for the non-call that the Saints insisted was why the Rams beat them in the NFC Title Game. Early on it was all field goals. Greg Zuerlein hit from 24 for the Rams in the first quarter. Wil Lutz answered from 34 in the second quarter to tie the game. Zuerlein hit from 22 to end the half with the Rams up 6-3. Lutz answered from 52 in the third quarter. The game was tied 6-6, but the key moment came in the first half when Drew Brees went out with an injured thumb. Teddy Bridgewater played the rest of the game. It took forever for the Rams offense to get going, but once they did the Saints could not keep up. 

In the third quarter after a touchback, Jared Goff hit Cooks for 15 and Cooper Kupp for 27 more. Todd Gurley ran for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 13-6 Rams. A 32 yard punt return had the Rams getting it back at the Saints 26. Goff hit Cooks for the 2 yard touchdown as the Rams led 20-6 after three quarters. With 11 minutes left in regulation and the Saints facing 4th and 14 at the Rams 24, Sean Payton opted for the field goal. Lutz hit the 42 yarder to get the Saints within 20-9, but the Rams then quickly closed the door. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, a short pass from Goff to Kupp went for 66 yards down to the one. On the next play Goff got the yard. The Saints did not get their revenge, and the Rams made their statement that they are still the defending NFC Champions. Sadly for the Saints, Brees and his bad thumb will be out injured for several weeks. 27-9 Rams 

Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos — Both teams looked horrendous in their opening game, especially on offense. This was a battle of who wanted it least for the first 59 minutes. Brandon McManus hit a 43 yard field goal as the Broncos led 3-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter the Bears moved the ball on a pair of long drives but could not punch it in. Eddie Pineiro hit from 40 and then again from 52 to make it 6-3 Bears. In the third quarter the Denver defense broke down. From the Chicago 20, David Montgomery ran for 12 and Cordarelle Patterson got around the end for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Mitchell Trubisky threw incomplete but defensive holding on Chris Harris meant a new set of downs. On 3rd and goal at the one, Montgomery got in as the Bears led 13-3 after three quarters.

After a touchback, the Broncos finally came alive. Joe Flacco went to Fast for 24 yards. Despite 1st and 10 at the Chicago 14, Flacco threw 3 straight incompletions. McManus hit from 32 to get the Broncos within 13-6. The Broncos got it back and moved from their 24 moved on a 16 play, 74 yard, 8 minute drive. On 4th and 2 from the Chicago 45 with 9 minutes left, Vic Fangio went for it. Flacco hit Lindsay for 4 yards. With 4:45 to play on 3rd and goal at the 2, Flacco was intercepted. The defense held and the Broncos got the ball back at their own 38 with 2:48 left. On 4th and 10 from the Chicago 43 with 2:25 left, Flacco hit Sutton for just enough as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. With one minute left on 4th and 3 from the Chicago 12, Flacco hit Sutton for 5 yards. Flacco went to Emanuel Sanders for the 7 yard touchdown. The home crowd held their breath as Vic Fangio went for the 2 point conversion and the win rather than overtime. Flacco hit Sanders and the Broncos led 14-13. The Broncos were heroes. Only 30 seconds remained. After a touchback, Trubisky hit Burton for 20 yards. With 9 seconds left, the Bears faced 4th and 15 at their own 40. Trubisky went deep to Robinson for a 25 yard gain. With one second left, Pineiro came in for a 53 yard field goal try. Matt Nagy is bald because h tore his hair out over last year’s kicker. The Bears now have a kicker. Pineiro nailed it and the Bears had the win. It was also sweet for Trubisky, who has had his critics. 16-14 Bears

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons was the Sunday night game. The battle of the birds was a good one. Matt Bryant hit a 50 yard field goal for a 3-0 Falcons lead in the first quarter. In the second quarter Carson Wentz was intercepted, but the Falcons did not capitalize. A field position game had the eagles starting the second quarter at the Atlanta 43. On 3rd and 6 from the Atlanta 8, Wentz was sacked for an 8 yard loss. Elliott hit the 34 yard field goal for a 3-3 game. The Falcons then missed a field goal and Wentz was intercepted again. The Falcons took over at their own 35. Matt Ryan went to Ridley for gains of 15 and 12. Ryan went back to Ridley on 3rd and 6 for the 34 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Falcons. Matty Ice was later intercepted with 38 seconds left in the half at the Atlanta 41. Elliott hit the 41 yard field goal to end the half with the Eagles down 10-6. 

Yet the Eagles fumbled the second half kickoff and the Falcons recovered at the Philly 33. Ryan went to Devonta Freeman for 28 yards and to Julio Jones for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 17-6 Falcons. Yet on their next series it was Ryan who was intercepted to set up the Eagles at the Atlanta 27. On 4th and goal at the 4, Doug Peterson decided against a field goal to make it a one score game. His very curious gamble paid off when Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for the touchdown. Pederson then gambled again on the 2 point conversion try. This time the gamble failed as the Eagles trailed 17-12. Ryan was then intercepted for the third time, but the Eagles could not capitalize. 

In the fourth quarter the Eagles took o ver at their own 27. Wentz hit Howard for 8 and Agholor for gains of 9 and 16 on 3rd and 3 to have the Eagles at midfield. On 3rd and 9 from the Atlanta 29, Wentz found Hollins for 17 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the 3, Wentz gained 2. Wentz got the last yard for the score to cap the 13 play, 73 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive with 3:13 to play. Pederson again went for the 2 point conversion and Wentz hit Ertz to have the Eagles up 20-17. The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34 and the Eagles defense jumped offsides. With 2:10 to play, the Falcons were down to their last gasp with 4th and 3 at their own 46. Ryan went to Jones, who turned a short pass into a 54 yard touchdown. Now the Falcons had the 4 point lead. With 1:58 left, the Eagles took over on their own 32. On 3rd and 2 from their 40, Wentz hit Darren Sproles for 3 yards. With 1:21 left, the Eagles were down to a last gasp of their own with 4th and 14 at their own 39. Wentz went deep to Agholor for a 43 yard gain. With 38 seconds left, the Eagles faced 4th and 8 from the Atlanta 16. With everything on the line, Wentz went to Ertz, but the gain was only 7 yards. After further review, the Eagles were short of the sticks as the home crowd finally exhaled at the end of a thrilling finish. 24-20 Falcons 

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets was the Monday night game. A pair of bad teams promised us they were more improved. They lied. The Jets blew a 16-0 second half lead at home and lost. The Brows got blasted by 30 points at home. This game would separate the bad from the horrendous. The one man who improved the Cleveland Browns last year was passed over for the head coaching job. Gregg Williams is now the defensive coordinator of the Jets. In the first quarter the Browns moved 76 yards in 11 plays. Despite 2nd and goal from the 5, Baker Mayfield threw incomplete twice. Seibert hit the 23 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Browns. The Brows got it back at their own 48 and Seibert hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 6-0 Browns. In the second quarter the Browns got it back at their own 47. On 4th and 2 from the Jets 24, Freddie Kitchens decided to go for it. Mayfield hit Taylor for a 5 yard gain. Nick Chubb then ran for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 13-0 Browns. The Jets did manage a field goal to avoid a shutout, but the Browns got the ball back at the Jets 40 with 35 seconds left in the half. That allowed Seibert to hit from 43 as the Browns led 16-3 at intermission. Late in the third quarter the Browns got the ball back at their own 11 yard line. One play and 11 seconds later, the Browns scored again as Mayfield fired a short pass over the middle to O’Dell Beckham, who outraced everyone for an 89 yard touchdown. 23-3 Browns

NFL 2019 Week 2 Prequel

September 16th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 1 Recap

September 9th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 1 Recap

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears was the season opening Thursday night game. The agony is over. The waiting is over. The miserable horrendous 7 month experience known as the offseason is over. By the grace of God & Virginia McCaskey, there is football. The Packers vs the Bears represents everything that is right about football. While a pair of nondescript Matts named LaFleur and Nagy were on the sidelines, you could feel the presence of Curly Lambeau, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, and many other greats of the past. The next round of greats kicked off the NFL’s 100th season as Aaron Rodgers led the Packers offense and Khalil Mack led the Bears defense. 

Early on the defenses reigned. With 4 minutes left in the opening quarter, Eddie Pineiro came in to try a 38 yard field goal for the Bears. Gone is Cody Parkey, who double doinked a missed field goal that knocked the Bears out of the playoffs last year. While this kick was far less pressure, the fans liked that it was down the center for a 3-0 Bears lead. Pineiro followed that up by kicking the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. 

The Packers did nothing on offense in the first quarter, actually losing 12 yards. They began the second quarter in a big way. Aaron Rodgers threw a 47 yard bomb to Marquez Valdez-Scandling. From inside the Chicago 20, Rodgers threw a jump ball into a crowd and was lucky to have Jimmy Graham come down with it in the end zone for the touchdown and the 7-3 Packers lead. 

Both teams missed chances to put points on the board in the third quarter. Green Bay moved close to the red zone. Rodgers scrambled for a first down that was nullified by an offensive holding call. Rodgers then took a sack to knock the Packers out of field goal range. With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, the Bears faced 3rd and 5 at the Green Bay 28. a critical delay of game penalty followed by an incompletion meant 4th and 10 from the Packers 33. Matt Nagy opted against a 51 yard field goal try, deciding to go for it. Mitchell Trubisky scrambled and only gained 5 yards as the Bears turned the ball over on downs.

After three quarters of old-school football, the Packers began their first drive of the fourth quarter at their own 6 yard line. Rodgers completed a pair of 28 yard passes to Davis and Tonyan. The 10 play, 73 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive culminated in a 39 yard field goal by Mason Crosby to put the Packers up by 7 with 5:20 left in regulation.

Now it was up to Trubisky, who led a 13 play drive of his own after a touchback. At the 2 minute warning, on 3rd and 10 from the Green Bay 16, Trubisky went to the end zone. He threw into a double coverage and was intercepted by Amos. Chicago took their timeouts on defense and got the ball back at their own 14 with 90 seconds left. A 2 yard gain was followed by a pair of incompletions. On 4th and 8 at their own 16, Trubisky was sacked. Rodgers went over and excitedly shoved his own defensive coordinator. It will take time for Rodgers to get his new offense going, but he was all smiles after the game. He is all about winning, and he knew who won this game. He kept saying, “We have a defense.” 

Those who know nothing about football will say that this was a boring game, even an ugly game. Not every game is going to be 41-34. Fans love scoring, but as we saw in the Super Bowl to close last season, great defense can be beautiful. This game to open the 2019 season was a chess match between a pair of very good defenses. It was a physical old time slobber-knocker. It was a tribute to Ray Nitschke, Willie Wood, Dick Butkus, Iron Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. It was a perfect tribute to the 100th season of the National Football League. Bring your defense. 10-3 Packers 

Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers — The defending NFC champion Rams had to show that there was no Super Bowl hangover for the losing team. They had Todd Gurley available, but were determined to lighten his workload with Malcolm Brown getting carries. The Panthers would be playing close games with a new kicker. Graham Gano was placed on injured reserve August 30th and is out for the season. The Panthers fumbled the ball away on their first drive. Late in the second quarter, the Panthers new kicker Joey Slye missed a 53 yard field goal. The good field position allowed Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein to drill a 49 yard field goal early in the second quarter to make it 3-0 Rams. Things got worse for the Panthers on their next drive. After a holding penalty set them up with 1st and 20 at their own 15, Cam Newton was sacked and fumbled. The Rams recovered at the Carolina 10. Malcolm Brown ran for 5 yards and then for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Rams. With one minute left in the half Zuerlein leveled a 56 yard field goal to make it 13-0 Rams. Michelin Man Wade Phillips saw his defense let up in the final minute as Slye hit a 46 yard field goal to end the half with the Panthers down 13-3. 

The second half saw both offenses move more often. Zuerlein hit a 27 yard field goal to make it 16-3 Rams. Every time the Panthers tried to close the gap, the Rams answered. Zuerlein kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds to set up the Rams at their own 40. On 3rd and 7, Newton hit Samuel, Wright and Moore for a trifecta of 14 yard gains. Christian McCaffrey ran for an 8 yard touchdown to get the Panthers within 16-10. The Rams countered with a 13 play, 75 yard drive that ate up 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 7 from the Carolina 44, Jared Goff threw incomplete but the defense jumped offsides. On 3rd and 2 Goff found Cooper Kupp for 10 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Carolina 25, Goff went back to Kupp for 8 yards. On 3rd and goal from the one, Brown got in to make it 23-10 Rams.

The Panthers moved from their 30 to a 2nd and 8 at the Rams 34. Newton then threw incomplete twice. Slye nailed the 52 yard field goal to get the Rams within 23-13. The Rams would have to punt on 4th and 12 from their own 23. Rams punter Johnny Hekker is a former quarterback who makes every punt attempt a potential fake. This time he tried to punt and for only the second time in his career, had it blocked. The Panthers took over at the Rams 5 yard line. McCaffrey ran for 3 yards and bulldozed forward for the final two yard touchdown as the Panthers got within 23-20 with 13 minutes left in regulation. Things got worse for the Rams when Jared Goff was intercepted at the Carolina 29. However, the Panthers went 3 and out and punted the ball back.

The Rams took over at their own 43 and Gurley ripped off gains of 17, 7, 2, and on 3rd and 1 from the Carolina 31, 15 more. Goff threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Higbee to make it 30-20 Rams with 6 1/2 minutes left. Newton was quickly intercepted, but the Rams could not put the game away when Zuerlein missed a 41 yard field goal try. Newton led a furious rally, and Alex Armah ran it in from now yards out with 1:58 to play. The Panthers were within a field goal, but the onside kick try failed. The Rams took over at midfield. Gurley gained 8 yards and Ron Rivera took his final timeout. Gurley gained 4 more yards and the Panthers were done. Sean McVay avoided the start to a Super Bowl hangover with a tough road win. 30-27 Rams

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns — The Hue Jackson reign of error that saw the Browns go 3–36-1 including 1-15 in 2016 and 0-16 in 2017 seemed forgotten. After Jackson was fired last year, interim coach Gregg Williams took over and had the Browns go 5-2 down the stretch. The defense was for real. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was for real. We all know O’Dell Beckham is for real. For some reason, Gregg Williams was not given the head coaching job this year as Freddie Kitchens got the nod. He had never been m NFL head coach before. Williams left to be the defensive coordinator of the Jets. Yet the Browns were being talked about as a playoff team despite not making the postseason since 2002. Some analysts even declared them a potential Super Bowl team. All the Browns had to do was beat a weak Titans team. Then the game began. From their own 27, the Browns made it look easy. Mayfield hit Higgins for 11 yards. Nick Chubb ran for 10 more. Mayfield hit Beckham for 16 more. On 2nd and 23, Mayfield went deep to Higgins for a 35 yard gain down to the Titans 4 yard line. Dontrell Hilliard ran it in on the next play for the score. The extra point was no good, but the Browns led 6-0. 

Then reality set in. The Titans took over at their own 8 yard line. A short completion saw a roughing the passer penalty give the Titans 15 more yards. Marcus Mariota then went deep to Brown for a 47 yard gain. The Titans settled for a 37 yard Cairo Santos field goal to trail 6-3, but they were just getting warmed up. The second quarter began with the Titans backed up to their own 13 yard line. Another unnecessary roughness penalty gave 15 more free yards to Tennessee. The Titans faced 3rd and 10 at their own 44 and Mariota threw his third straight incompletion. Yet defensive holding meant an automatic first down. On 2nd and 8 from the Cleveland 32, Mariota threw incomplete but yet another roughing the passer penalty kept the drive going. On 3rd and 4 from Cleveland 11, the defense jumped into the neutral zone. Derrick Henry ran for a one yard touchdown to make it 10-6 Titans, as the inept Browns defense lacked the discipline that Gregg Williams brought to it. With less than 2 minutes left in the half, the Browns took over at their own 3 yard line. A false start pushed them back to the 2. Then Mayfield was sacked for a safety as the Titans took a 12-6 lead to the locker rooms. Early in the third quarter Santos tacked on a 53 yard field goal to make it 15-6 Titans.

With 6 minutes left in the third quarter, the Browns finally mounted another offensive drive. They started with a pair of offensive penalties that meant 1st and 25. On 2nd and 23, Mayfield hit Njoku for 7 yards. On 3rd and 16 Mayfield went deep to Jarvis Landry for 23 yards. Mayfield hit Chubb for 7 yards and then went deep again to Landry for a 34 yard gain down to the Tennessee 3 yard line. Mayfield then went to Njoku for the touchdown. With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Browns were only down 15-13. With a couple of breaks, they could win.

There would be no breaks. After a touchback, one play and 13 seconds were all that Mariota needed to connect with Henry on a 75 yard touchdown. The Titans led 22-13 after three quarters, but the fourth quarter brought the pain. 40 seconds in the fourth quarter, the Browns faced 2nd and 14 at their own 45. Mayfield was intercepted by Byard, who returned it 28 yards to the Cleveland 35. Mariota hit Delanie Walker for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 29-13 Titans. The Browns then faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Mayfield was intercepted by Ryan at the Cleveland 34. Mariota went to Walker again for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 36-13 Titans. With 3 minutes left from their own 30, Mayfield was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, who returned it 38 yards for the touchdown. A close game was now a blowout in front of the Dawg Pound. Delanie Walker channeled the late Dennis Green in a hilarious postgame press conference by saying that the Browns are exactly “who we thought they were.” Nobody was going to “crown their @ss.” Mayfield insisted that the media should not treat the Browns like garbage, but that is how they played. Cleveland’s 18 penalties were the most since 1951. New year, same Browns. 43-13 Titans

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars — The Chiefs were an overtime coin toss away from going to the Super Bowl last year. The Jaguars convinced themselves that they were a quarterback away from being elite. Blake Bortles was sent packing and Nick Foles came in. The Chiefs had the reigning NFL MVP in Patrick Mahomes. Those wondering if Mahomes would slow down did not need to wait long for an answer. On the third play from scrimmage, with the Chiefs facing 3rd and 3 at their own 32, Mahomes went bombs away to Sammy Watkins for a 68 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chiefs. The Chiefs got it back and moved from their own 21 to a 3rd and 3 at the Jacksonville 9. Mahomes threw incomplete, but Harrison Butker hit the 28 yard field goal make it 10-0 Chiefs. 

The Jaguars soon faced 3rd and 18 from their own 17. Foles went deep to Conley for a 21 yard gain, with 15 more added on for the defense lowering the head to initiate contact. The key play of the game and perhaps the season for Jacksonville came with the Jaguars facing 3rd and 8 at the Chiefs 35. Foles went deep to DJ Chark and got nailed as soon as the ball left his hand. Chark caught it for a touchdown to get the Jaguars within 10-7, but it was the last pass Foles would throw for awhile. The pass rusher landed on Foles with his full body weight, which should have been a defensive penalty. Either way, Foles suffered a broken collarbone and will be out indefinitely. 

Foles’s career has been one of enormous ups and downs. In 2013 he exploded onto the scene with 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, including one game where he threw 7 touchdown passes to tie an NFL record. In 2014 he suffered a broken collarbone and missed 8 weeks. The Eagles drafted Carson Wentz and Foles was out of football by 2016. Foles returned in 2017 as a backup to Wentz, and when Wentz went down, Foles led the eagles to their first Super Bowl title. Foles filled in very ably in 2018 when another injury took Wentz down. Yet the Eagles stuck with Wentz, Foles went to Jacksonville, and lasted less than one quarter of one game. 

Football is a brutal game, and there is little time to mourn the fallen. Especially when it’s the other team hurting. Walrus Lite Andy Reid kept his foot on the gas. The Chiefs took over at their own 20. Mahomes went bombs away again to Watkins for a 49 yard touchdown to make it 17-7 Chiefs after the first quarter. The second quarter saw the teams trade field goals twice. Josh Lambo hit from 37 for the Jaguars and Butker answered from 25. Lambo connected again from 23 and Butker answered again from 46 as the Chiefs led 23-13 at the break. 

In the third quarter the Jaguars moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 2 at the Chiefs 26. Backup quarterback Minshew completed a pass to Leonard Fournette for no gain, and Fournette fumbled the ball away. Breeland returned the fumble 14 yards to the Chiefs 40. Mahomes led a 12 play, 60 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. On 2nd and goal at the 2, Mahomes threw incomplete. Yet a mind-numbing defensive penalty for taunting made it 1st and goal at the one again. Damien Williams ran it in as the Chiefs led 30-13 after three quarters. in the fourth quarter Mahomes hooked up with Watkins for the third time on the day as the 3 yard touchdown capped a 67 yard drive. The Chiefs led 37-13 with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Jacksonville would score a couple of garbage time touchdowns sandwiched around one more field goal for Butker. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin has plenty of concerns, which means nobody in Jacksonville will be happy any time soon. Andy Reid is not going to be upgraded to full walrus status alongside Mike Holmgren and others until he wins a Super Bowl. However, this team could be the one that gets him that upgrade. For now, he is a most happy Walrus Lite indeed. 40-26 Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins — The Miami Dolphins were talked about as perhaps the worst team in football. With a rookie head coach and a fire sale of their players, they were expected to be bad. Even they could not have imagined how bad they were. Unless the Ravens are a serious Super Bowl contender, Dolphins fan may demand that owner Stephen Ross convince his friend President Donald Trump to build the border wall with the Dolphins stadium on the Mexico side. 

The Ravens began at their own 11. On the first play from scrimmage, Mark Ingram ran for a 49 yard gain. Ingram finished the 89 yard drive on 3rd and goal with a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Ravens. Ryan Fitzpatrick set an NFL record by starting for his 8th NFL franchise. While he was starting his first game with Miami, former Seattle Legion of Boom safety Earl Thomas was making his first game with Baltimore. Thomas intercepted Fitzpatrick, and returned the pick 14 yards to the Miami 47. Lamar Jackson needed one play and 9 seconds to go bombs away to Marquise Brown for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Ravens. Baltimore got it back at their own 10. On 3rd and 3 from their own 17, Jackson went to Brown for an 83 yard touchdown as the Ravens led 21-0 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Ravens kept rolling in an 80 yard drive. Jackson went to willie Snead for a 33 yard touchdown to make it 28-0 Ravens. The biggest blowout in NFL history came in the 1940 NFL Championship game when Chicago beat Washington 73-0. This game missed that mark, but not by much. After Miami kicked a field goal to avoid the shutout, the Dolphins defense actually got a stop. Sadly for the Fin faithful, the Dolphins fumbled the punt and the Ravens recovered at the Miami 10. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Jackson hit Miles Boykin for the touchdown to make it 35-3 Ravens. The Dolphins defense even got another stop, as the Ravens had to punt on 4th and 1 from their own 30. Rookie head coach Brian Flores watched helplessly as John Harbaugh called a fake punt. Levine took the direct snap up the middle 60 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Jackson threw incomplete. However, defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 2. Ingram ran it in to make it 42-3 Ravens with less than 2 minutes in the half.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could not stop the slaughter, since NFL rules require that an entire game be played. Miami would get a touchdown before the half, but the second half brought the Dolphins more misery. In the third quarter Jackson threw his 5th touchdown pass. Justin Tucker added a field goal to go along with his 8 extra points. The 8th one came in the fourth quarter when Jackson was on the bench. Robert Griffin III even led a touchdown drive. On 4th and goal at the 3, Harbaugh went for it not to run up the score, but to test RGIII. Griffin threw the touchdown pass. Next week the Dolphins play the Patriots, and forfeiting a game is not allowed. The Dolphins have beaten the Patriots 5 of the last 6 times in Miami, including last season’s 34-33 Miami Miracle of laterals. In 2004, The 12-1 Patriots lost to the 2-11 Dolphins in Miami 29-28. Evil Hoodie bill Belichick will pretend that his team is not expected to win 100-0. He will talk up how the Dolphins keep beating his team. Nobody will believe him. Even his former defensive coordinator Brian Flores will roll his eyes. Welcome to the NFL head coaching ranks, Mr. Flores. The only Fin expecting any success in 2019 is ICE-T’s Fin Tutuola. By the time this season is over, the Dolphins will need the Special Victims Unit to comfort them. 59-10 Ravens

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings — The Falcons made Julio Jones the highest paid receiver in NFL history. They are trying to revive their offense. Meanwhile, Mike Zimmer wanted to get back to basics and bring back Minnesota to hard nosed running and hard nosed defense. The game was a blowout from the start. The Falcons punted on 4th and 2 from their own 33. Wilson blocked the punt and recovered it to set up the Vikings at the Atlanta 21. Kirk Cousins threw a 23 yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen to make it 7-0 Vikings. Matt Ryan was intercepted 4 plays later by Harris and the Vikings took over with another short field at the Atlanta 41. Dalvin Cook ran for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Vikings 

In the second quarter the Falcons moved from their 28 to a 1st and 5 at the Atlanta 21. Devonta Freeman fumbled and the Vikings recovered. Minnesota moved 79 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Cousins snuck for the last yard for a 21-0 Vikings lead at the half. In the third quarter the Falcons moved 82 yards in 13 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. From their 15, they moved to a 1st and goal at the 2. A run lost a yard. Then Ryan was intercepted in the back of the end zone for a touchback. Minnesota quickly moved 80 yards as the 84 million dollar guaranteed man Cousins went to Diggs for 31 yards. Cook ran for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 28-0 Vikings after three quarters. Matty Ice was ice cold all game but padded his stats with a pair of garbage touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Even extra points were not happening. Zimmer said he wanted smash mouth, and he meant it. Minnesota threw only 10 passes all game. 28-12 Vikings

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets — Every year these teams are supposed to finally challenge New England for the AFC East crown only to wilt by October. Gregg Williams is the Jets defensive coordinator, and this game was a brutal defensive struggle. Home field never matters in this series. In the first quarter CJ Mosley intercepted Josh Allen and returned the pick 17 yards for a defensive touchdown. The extra point failed, and the interception would be the only score of the first half as the Jets led 6-0. In the second quarter the Bills fumbled but the Jets failed to capitalize. Then Allen was intercepted again, but the Jets missed a field goal. In the third quarter the Bills were at their own 2 yard line. Then came William’s Gang Green defense and a safety as the Jets led 8-0. The Jets took the free kick at their own 40. On 3rd and goal at the 9, Sam Darnold hit Leveon Bell for the touchdown and again for the 2 point conversion. The defense and the offense each put 8 points on the board as the Jets led 16-0.

Yet these are the Jets. Steve Hauschka hit a 43 yard field goal with 4 minutes left in the third quarter to get the Bills on the board. The Bills got it back at their own 15 for the second straight drive. Frank Gore ran for 7 yards and Singletary added 23 more. Allen hit Brown for 14 yards and Sweeney for 6 more. Singletary ran for 12, caught a pass for 5, and ran for 15 more. Allen ran for the 3 yard touchdown as the Bills got within 16-10 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Bill got it back with 6 minutes left at their own 20. On 3rd and 2 from their 28, Allen ran for 8 yards and hit Jones for 20 more. With 3 minutes left, on 3rd and 4 from the Jets 38, Allen went to John Brown for the touchdown to put the Bills up by a point. At the 2 minute warning the Jets had to go for it on 4th and 1 from their own 34. Bell got stopped cold. For those wondering who or what a Kaare Vedvik is, he is the Jets kicker who missed the extra point and a 41 yard field goal. These are the Jets, and why J-E-T-S stands for Just End The Season. 17-16 Bills

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles — The Eagles were expected to easily dispatch the Redskins. Then the game started. Case Keenum completed 8 yard passes to Sprinkle and Guice and a 7 yarder to Richardson. On 3rd and 2 from the Philly 48, Keenum connected with Vernon Davis for the touchdown and the 7-0 Redskins lead. Davis leapt over 3 players and cried when he got to the end zone, in memory of his beloved grandfather he lost one day earlier. His teammates offered him more comfort than congratulations. The Eagles went nowhere, and the Redskins got it back at their own 20. They moved 57 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Dustin Hopkins hit a 41 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Redskins. The Eagles moved on a 7 minute drive after a touchback to a 4th and 2 at the Washington 29. Doug Pederson decided to go for it and Wentz through incomplete. 2 plays later, Keenum went to Terry McLaurin for a 69 yard touchdown as the Redskins led 17-0 in front of a stunned Philly home crowd. The Eagles finally scored. when Wentz went deep to DeSean Jackson for a 51 yard touchdown. Yet Washington tacked on another field goal to end the half as the Redskins had a 20-7 lead. The second half was a completely different game.

The Eagles began the third quarter with a 12 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive. On 4th and 1 from their own 34, Doug Pederson gambled big and decided to go for it. Wentz got 2 yards. From the Washington 39, Darren Sproles gained 17 yards and Sanders gained 19 more. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for the touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, the Eagles were within 20-14. The Eagles got it back at their own 47 and needed only 3 plays. On 3rd and 10, Wentz went bombs away again to Jackson for a 53 yard touchdown. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the Eagles had their first lead 21-20. only 30 seconds later, the Eagles got it back. On 3rd and 9 from their own 30, Wentz hit Jackson for 19 yards. A 26 yard completion to Zac Ertz had the Eagles starting the fourth quarter with 1st and goal at the 2. Jeffery ran it in. Pederson took another gamble by going for a 2 point conversion to make it a 2 score game. Sproles ran it in and the Eagles led 29-20. Philly got it back and had what may be the drive of the year even after the season is over. A staggering 19 plays took 74 yards and 9 minutes off the clock. A field goal had the Eagles up 32-20. The Redskins did get a garbage touchdown with 6 seconds left, but needed 16 plays of their own to do it. The onside kick failed. 25 straight points showed how a good team can overcome a bad start. 32-27 Eagles

Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers — Both of these teams could be good or could be a mess for different reasons. The Chargers were without Melvin Gordon, who announced he would hold out the first 8 weeks in a contract dispute. Rather than sit out the entire season like Leveon Bell did in Pittsburgh, Gordon by playing half a season will become an unrestricted free agent. The Colts are now most likely forever without Andrew Luck. His shocking retirement at the end of the preseason at age 29 stunned the football world. This is now Jacoby Brissett’s team. Now we will see how good a coach Frank Reich really is. In the first quarter the Chargers moved 68 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Gordon was not needed as Jackson ran for a 23 yard gain and Austin Ekeler had gains of 2, 3 and 13 in addition to a 9 yard reception. On 4th and goal from the 4, kicker long hit a 22 yard field goal. However, an unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense caused Anthony Lynn to take the points off the board. Philip Rivers hit Ekeler for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chargers.

In the second quarter, the Colts moved 75 yards in 14 plays and 8 minutes. On 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Brissett hit Doyle for 20 yards. Several 3rd down conversions later, on 3rd and 3 from the Chargers 4, Brissett hit TY Hilton for the score. Adam Vinatieri may be the most clutch kicker in NFL history, but he for some reasons has had some of his worst games against the Chargers. In a game where Peyton Manning once threw 6 interceptions, a 23-0 deficit became 23-21. Then Vinatieri missed a 29 yard field goal on the final play. In this game, Vinatieri began by missing an extra point as the Colts trailed 7-6.

The Chargers came back 75 yards with big plays. After a touchback, Rivers went to Keenan Allen for a 27 yard gain, to Bennjamin for 10 more, and to Ekeler for another 13. On 3rd and 13 from the Indy 28, Rivers went deep to Allen for the touchdown to make it 14-6 Chargers. A shanked 20 yard punt by the Colts had the Chargers taking over at the Indy 46. Despite 1st and 10 at the Indy 22, Rivers threw 3 straight incompletions. Long hit the 40 yard field goal to make it 17-6 Chargers with one minute left in the half. Brissett quickly moved the Colts in position for a 46 yard field goal try, but Vinatieri missed it to end the half. In the third quarter Vinatieri would hit a 44 yard field goal, but then the Chargers needed only 4 plays after a touchback to score again. On 3rd and 8 from their own 27, Rivers was sacked and fumbled. However, the defense jumped offside. On 3rd and 3, Rivers hit Henry for 13 yards. On the next play a short pass from Rivers to Ekeler went for a 55 yard touchdown as the Chargers led 24-9 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Colts needed only 2 plays to strike back after a touchback. Brissett hit Hilton for 12 yards. On the next play Marlin Mack became a monster mack, breaking free for a 63 yard touchdown. Vinatieri made the extra point as the Colts were within 24-16. When the Chargers fumbled a punt, the Colts took over at the Chargers 27. Yet the fourth quarter began with Vinatieri again missing a 29 yard field goal against the Chargers. The Chargers then moved 73 yards in 5 minutes and sought to ice the game. Needing only a field goal to lock up the win, on 2nd and goal at the 7, Rivers went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. Brissett continued to earn his wings with a staggering 16 play, 80 yard drive that consumed 8 minutes. With 3 1/2 minutes left, on 4th and 3 just past midfield, Brissett hit Devon Funchess for an 8 yard gain. From the Chargers 19 with only 38 seconds remaining, a short pass to Hilton was followed by terrible attempts at tackling. Hilton dove for the pylon and made it. Mack ran the 2 point conversion and gutted his way in the end zone to tie the game 24-24. 

The Chargers won the coin toss. After a touchback, Rivers hit Allen for 18 yards and Henry for 17 more. Ekeler had gains of 3 and 19. On 3rd and 1 from the Indy 9, Watt gained 2 yards. On the next play, with 5 minutes left in overtime, Ekeler ran for the 7 yard touchdown. The valiant comeback by the Colts fell short. It was a bitter defeat for Vinatieri, who missed two field goals and an extra point that were the difference in the game. 30-24 Chargers, OT

Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks — Seattle was supposed to roll over Cincinnati and their rookie head coach, with Marvin Lewis not on the Bengals sideline for the first time in 17 years. Yet a 13 play, 51 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive led to a 39 yard Randy Bullock field goal and a 3-0 Bengals lead. In the second quarter, the offenses heated up. A field position game had the Seahawks taking over at the Cincy 48. On 3rd and 7 from the Cincy 45, Russell Wilson hit Dissly for 12 yards and DK Metcalf for 16 more. Chris Carson ran for the one yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Seahawks. 3 plays later after a touchback the Bengals were back in front. Red Rifle Andy Dalton went to Boyd for 6 yards, deep to Ozumah for 36 more, and to John Ross for a 33 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Bengals. With 1:53 left in the half, the Seahawks took over at their own 23. A defensive unnecessary roughness penalty had Seattle at their own 45. Wilson went deep to Metcalf for a 42 yard gain and to Carson for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Seahawks. After a touchback, the Bengals only had 52 seconds. With 7 seconds left from their own 45, there was only time for a Hail Mary. Dalton threw the prayer, and Ross answered it for the 55 yard touchdown. The 12th man was shocked as the Bengals led 17-14 at the intermission.

The second half was a slog as the third quarter was scoreless. The Seahawks fumbled on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter. The Bengals took over at the Seattle 28 but fumbled the ball back. On the next Cincinnati series, Bullock missed a 45 yard field goal. On the next Cincinnati series, the Bengals moved from their own 8 to a 4th and 1 at the Chargers 36. The decision was to go for it. Giovanni Bernard got the carry and got stopped. The Bengals had every chance to win and could not capitalize on opportunities. Seattle soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 41. Wilson went to Metcalf for 25 yards and to Tyler Lockett for a 44 yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 21-17 Seahawks lead. After a touchback, the Bengals moved 67 yards in 13 plays and 8 minutes. Bullock hit a 27 yard field goal to get the Bengals within one point midway through the fourth quarter. Cincinnati got it back and with 3 1/2 minutes left faced 4th and 7 at their own 44. The rookie coach Zac Taylor opted to punt. By the time the Bengals got the ball back at their 25, only 21 seconds remained. Dalton was sacked and fumbled, although it looked like his arm was going forward. Andy Dalton is not Tom Brady, so there would be no fumble reversal. The call stood and the Bengals lost. Pete Carroll hugged everyone because he does that. 21-20 Seahawks

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals — The Lions have an experienced quarterback in Matthew Stafford and a second year coach in Matt Patricia who inherited a 9-7 team from Jim Caldwell and regressed. The Cardinals jettisoned coach rookie head coach Steve Wilks and rookie quarterback Josh Rosen after only one year. Now they have rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. For three quarters, the Cardinals offense looked awful. The first quarter was scoreless. One minute into the second quarter, Matt Prater, who holds the NFL record long 64 yard field goal, nailed a 55 yard field goal. to start the scoring. A short 33 yard Cardinals punt set up the Lions just shy of midfield. Two plays later Stafford went deep to Danny Amendola for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Lions. Detroit got it back at their own 5 yard line. On 3rd and 1 from their own 14, Stafford went to TJ Hockensen for 10 yards, Jones for 7 more, back to Hockensen for a 39 yard gain, and then ran for 12 more. On 4th and 1 from the Arizona 19 after getting stopped on 3rd and 1, Matt Patricia decided to g for it. The Cardinals jumped in the neutral zone. Stafford threw a 9 yard touchdown to Kenny Golladay to make it 17-0 Lions.

The Lions were totally in control with less than 2 minutes left in the half when they fumbled a punt and the Cardinals recovered at the Detroit 8 yard line. On 2nd and goal at the one, Murray lost a yard and then threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the 2, the decision was to kick the field goal. Zane Gonzalez hit the 20 yard chip shot to get the Cardinals on the board. Gonzalez hit again from 42 in the third quarter to get the Cardinals within 17-6. The Lions came back with a 10 play, 82 yard, 5 minute drive. Starting at their own 18, Stafford hit Amendola for 15 yards and Hockensen for 24 more. On 3rd and 7 from the Arizona 34, Stafford hit James for 15. The fourth quarter began with the Lions facing 3rd and 14 at the Arizona 23. Stafford went to Hockensen for the touchdown. The Lions had a 24-6 lead. Murray’s first game was a nightmare, as he had only 70 yards passing after three quarters. The Cardinals only had one ray of hope. They were playing the Lions.

A 10 play, 58 yard drive quickly saw the Cardinals with 1st and 10 at the Detroit 17. Yet a run gained only one yard and Murray threw incomplete twice. With 11 minutes left, Kliff Kingsbury opted for the field goal. Gonzalez hit from 34 to get the Cardinals within 24-9. The Lions got it back at their own 30 with 9 minutes left. A flurry of short passes culminated with a 27 yard touchdown pass to Johnson. With 6 minutes left, the Cardinals were within 24-16. From their own 17, Stafford wound the clock down. With 2:47 to play, the Lions faced 3rd and 5 just shy of midfield. A first down would all but put the game away. Stafford fired a completion for the first down, but it was all for naught. Remember the name Darrell Bevell.

For those who have never watched football (God help you), Bevell made the decision in the Super Bowl not to hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the one yard line (God help him). The Seahawks were one yard from 2 straight Super Bowl wins. Instead they lost, an Bevell as the Seahawks offensive coordinator was blamed for the worst coaching decision in Super Bowl history. Now the Lions offensive coordinator, Bevell nullified the first down by calling a timeout just before the snap. Officials should not have allowed the timeout since only the head coach can call timeout. Nevertheless, the Cardinals defense was granted a do over. This time Stafford threw incomplete. He yelled on the sideline “Trust me!” Had Bevell done so, the Lions would have kept the ball. Things got worse for the Lions when the punt was partially blocked. The punter was enraged on the sideline as the Cardinals took over at their own 40 with 2 1/2 minutes left. On 3rd and 7 from their own 43, Murray went to Byrd for 19 yards. From the Detroit 38, Murray ran for 9 yards and on 3rd and 10 scrambled for 10 more. From the 9, Murray threw incomplete but a defensive facemask penalty meant 1st and goal at the 4. Murray found the ageless one Larry Fitzgerald for the touchdown with 38 seconds left. Murray then found Kirk for the 2 point conversion. Murray had 154 yards passing in the fourth quarter, as the game was tied 24-24 and headed for overtime. 

The Cardinals got the ball first in overtime and struck quickly. On 2nd and 3 from the Arizona 32, Murray went deep to Fitzgerald for a 45 yard gain. Murray then went to Williams for 15 more to set up 1st and goal at the 8. A touchdown would end the game but a field goal would not. Murray threw incomplete, then lost 2 yards, then threw incomplete again. Gonzalez hit the 28 yard field goal to give the Cardinals the 27-24 lead, but nearly 7 1/2 minutes still remained in overtime. After a touchback, Stafford hit Jones for 21 and again for 23 while Johnson had gains of 9 and 4. Despite 1st and 10 at the Arizona 18, Stafford threw a pair of incompletions sandwiched around a run that gained only 3 yards. Prater hit the 33 yard field goal to tie the game. After a touchback, the Cardinals had 3:48 to work with. With 1:17 left the Cardinals faced 3rd and 7 at the Detroit 46. One first down would mean very long field goal range. Murray threw incomplete and a 64 yard field goal try was not in the cards. A great punt pinned the Lions at their own 5 yard line. Stafford nearly threw an interception that would have meant a short field goal try for Arizona. The defender dropped the ball. Despite 21 straight points, the new Arizona regime had to settle for a tie in their first game. It was the first time in decades that a quarterback taken first overall played his first game without losing. After a few years without a single tie game anywhere in the NFL, the league had an opening week tie game for the second straight year. 27-27 Tie, OT

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys — Sometimes a really bad team can go on the road and shock a really good team in an upset for the ages. This was not that game. Eli Manning is nearing the end, while Ezekiel Elliott just got paid monster money. Jerry Jones shells out the big bucks, and believes he has a team that can win it all. The Giants actually scored first on a 91 yard drive. Saquon Barkley caught a pass for 8 yards and on the next play ran for a 59 yard gain. Manning hit Evan Engram for 11 yards and again for a one yard touchdown. The Giants led 7-0, but reality then set in before Jerrah could blow up his Jerrahworld Metropolis stadium for the insurance money. 

After a touchback, the Cowboys moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Dan Prescott hit Randall Cobb for 12 yards. On 3rd and 4 just shy of midfield, Prescott hit Gallup for 12 yards. Prescott threw a 28 yard touchdown pass to Barwin to tie the game 7-7. In the second quarter the Cowboys moved 93 yards. Prescott hit Amari Cooper for 12 yards and Gallup for monster gains of 36 and 23. On 33rd and 10 from the Giants 18, Prescott hit Cobb for 14 yards. Jason Witten took last year off but then unretired. He caught a 4 yard touchdown to put the Cowboys up 14-7. The Cowboys got it back and moved 83 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. Prescott hit Gallup for a pair of 6 yard gains sandwiched around an 18 yard completion to Cobb. On 3rd and 9 from the Giants 38, Prescott threw incomplete. However, defensive offsides gave Dallas another chance. On 3rd and 4, Prescott ran for 8 at the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 6 from the Giants 21, Prescott went to Cooper for the touchdown as the Cowboys led 21-7 at the half. 

The Giants best chance to make a game of it saw them go all the way to a 1st and 10 at the Dallas 11. A run gained one yard and Manning threw incomplete twice. Alex Rosas hit the 28 yard field goal to get the Giants within 21-10, but that was it. After a touchback, Dallas needed only 3 plays. Prescott went deep to Cooper for 45 yards. Elliott gained 5 yards, and Prescott went to Cobb for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 28-10 Cowboys. After a touchback, the Giants moved all the way to a 4th and 1 at the Dallas 7. Rather than play smash mouth, Manning went back to pass and was sacked. On 3rd and 8 from the Dallas 13, a short pass from Prescott to Gallup went for 62 yards. Elliott ran for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 35-10 Cowboys after three quarters. Prescott finished with 25 of 32 with 405 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, Jerrah is now eager to throw money at Prescott. Manning did lead the Giants to a garbage touchdown with less than 3 minutes remaining. With the game out of reach, with 1:46 left, Manning sat out the last drive. This was not a benching. Daniel Jones will be the starting quarterback at some point, and Pat Shurmur wanted to give him a chance to run some offensive plays. Jones completed 3 straight short passes, threw an incompletion, and then fumbled the ball away. 35-17 Cowboys

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Bruce Arians returned to coaching after retiring a couple years ago. If he cannot fix Jameis Winston, nobody can. Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo both have a lot to prove. A partially blocked punt had the 49ers taking over at the Tampa Bay 33. Robbie Gould hit a 29 yard field goal to make it 3-0 49ers. The Buccaneers took over at their own 17 and moved 74 yards in 16 plays, taking over 8 minutes off the clock. With 12 minutes left in the half, on 3rd and goal at the 9, Winston hit Brate for the touchdown. Yet offensive holding nullified the call. On 3rd and goal from the 19, Winston hit Howard for a 10 yard gain. Yet Howard fumbled the ball away. The 49ers soon faced 2nd and 18 at their own 12. Garoppolo was intercepted by Vernon Hargreaves, who returned it for a 25 yard touchdown. Despite doing nothing on offense, the Buccaneers led 7-3. However, this was not Pewter Power or Buc Ball since the Buccaneers ended up failing in every phase. This was orange creamsicle Buccaneers ball. 

Robbie Gould hit a 36 yard field goal as the 49ers trailed 7-6. Before the half ended, Winston was intercepted and the 49ers fumbled the ball back. In the third quarter, the 49ers moved 75 yards. On 3rd and 8 from their own 27, Garoppolo hit greg Kittle for 10 yards. On 3rd and 10 from their own 37, Garoppollo threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meat a 23 yard gain. Garoppolo then went deep to James for a 39 yard touchdown to make it 13-7 49ers. After a touchback, Winston fumbled but recovered for a 3 yard loss. On the next play he was not so lucky. He was intercepted by Richard Sherman, who returned it 31 yards for a touchdown and a 20-7 49ers lead. 

The Buccaneers tried to get back in it. After a touchback, an 11 play 75 yard, 6 minute drive helped matters. On 3rd and 12 from their own 46, Winston hit Godwin for 28 yards and found him again for a 10 yard touchdown to get the Buccaneers within 20-14. Late in the third quarter, Kyle Shanahan gambled on Robbie Gould trying a 57 yard field goal. It was no good. The Buccaneers moved to a 4th and goal at the 4 only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. The 49ers jumped into the neutral zone to make it 4th and goal at the 2. Bruce Arians pulled his field goal team and decided to go for the lead. Winston threw incomplete. The Buccaneers got it back at the Frisco 41 and moved to a 3rd and 7 at the Frisco 8, again looking for the lead. Winston was sacked for a 5 yard loss. Gay hit the 31 yard field goal to get the Buccaneers within 20-17 with 5 minutes left.

Needing a defensive stop, the Buccaneers could not deliver. Mostert ran for 18 yards, with 15 more tacked on for the defender lowering the head to initiate contact. On 3rd and 8 from the Tampa Bay 29, Garoppolo threw incomplete. Gould hit the 47 yard field goal to make it 23-17 49ers with 2:01 to play. The Buccaneers again were one score away from winning. One play was all Winston needed for that touchdown. Unfortunately for him and the entire organization, it was an interception returned 21 yards for a defensive touchdown. Garoppolo hit Samuel for the 2 point conversion. After a touchback and needing 2 scores, the Bucs moved to a 4th and 6 at the Frisco 37 with one minute left. Winston went deep rather than move the chains and the incompletion ended things. 31-17 49ers

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots is the Sunday night game. The Steelers are a good team who always lose to the Patriots, especially in New England. Mike Tomlin is a good coach who always loses to Bill Belichick, especially in New England. The prima donna wide receiver who played for Pittsburgh last year, joined and was cut from the Raiders without playing a single game, and joined the Patriots the day before this game, will not be mentioned. He did not play and is not officially a member of the Patriots until Week 2. Even without him, this game was never in doubt. Even with Rob Gronkowski still retired for now, this game was a mismatch from the start. From their own 18, Tom Brady hit Ronnie Burkhead for 17 yards to start things. Bill Belichick went to his bag of tricks. Brady threw across the field backward to Julian Edelman, who threw it back across the field to James White, who raced 32 yards. On the next play Brady went to Josh Gordon for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots. 

In the second quarter the Patriots went 55 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. From their own 38, Brady went to Meyers for 22 yards. Despite 2nd and goal at the 7, Brady threw incomplete twice. Stephen Gostkowski hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Patriots. Midway through the second quarter, the Patriots faced 3rd and 3 at their own 27. Brady found White for 8 and Edelman for gains fo 16 and 24. Brady then went to Dorsett for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 17-0 Patriots. The Steelers after a touchback moved to a 4th and 1 at the Patriots 47 with 1:57 in the half. Mike Tomlin went for it and Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete. The short field led to a 41 yard field goal by Gostkowski to make it 20-0 Patriots at halftime.

The second half brought no surprises but one very demoralizing decision for the proud Steelers. A 74 yard drive led to 3rd and goal at the one. Again, Tomlin decided to pass rather than play smash mouth. Big Ben threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the one, Tomlin opted for the field goal. It was a concession. Chris Boswell hit the 19 yarder, but it was an obvious white flag to avoid a shutout. After a touchback, the Patriots needed only 4 plays to go for the throat. On 3rd and 10 from their own 42, Brady went deep to Dorsett for a 58 yard touchdown to make it 27-3 Patriots. Gostkowski tacked on field goals of 35 in the third quarter and 39 in the fourth quarter to complete the blowout. Players and coaches on both teams had zero patience for imbecilic reporters asking about someone who did not play in the game. Meanwhile, the Patriots sure looked like a 16-0 team on this night. They have a chance for to break the record for biggest blowout win or suffer the most shocking loss since Super Bowl III when they take on Miami next week. The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs, and they sure looked like it. 33-3 Patriots

Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints was the early Monday night game. This game was why we watch football. A field position game had the Saints taking over just past midfield midway through the first quarter. On 2nd and 5 from the Houston 11, Drew Brees was intercepted. The Texans took over at their own 6 yard line. Deshaun Watson immediately went bombs away to will Fuller for a 54 yard gain. Early in the second quarter, On 4th and 1 from the Saints 21, Bill O’Brien decided to go for it. Watson faked the handoff, kept it himself, and sprinted down the sideline. He dove for the pylon and made it for the touchdown and the 7-0 Texans lead. The Saints soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 27. Brees went deep to Jared Cook for 31 yards. On 1st and 10 from the Houston 15, the drive died. A run gained one yard and Brees threw incomplete twice. Wil Lutz hit the 32 yard field goal to get the Saints on the board. 

The Texans came back with a 16 play, 75 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive. On 3rd and 6 from their own 29, Watson hit Deandre Hopkins for 10 yards. On 3rd and 1 from their own 48, Watson hit the newly added Kenny Stills for 4 yards. Stills was lucky enough to be traded away from Miami just before the season started. On 3rd and 8 from the Saints 24, Watson threw incomplete but defensive holding meant an automatic first down. On 3rd and 16 from the Saints 25, a completion only gained 12 yards, but the defense jumped offsides. On 3rd and 11, Watson hit Johnson for 13 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Watson hit Hopkins for the touchdown and a 14-3 Texans lead with 1:47 left in the half. After a touchback, Brees worked the 2 minute drill to perfection. Lutz came in for a 56 yard field goal try to end the half. It was no good. 

The Saints immediately got back into the game at the start of the third quarter. From their own 17, Brees hit Ted Ginn for 11 yards. A completion to Alvin Kamara went for a 41 yard gain. Latavius Murray then ran for a 30 yard touchdown to get the Saints within 14-10. The Texans responded after a touchback. Carlos Hyde ran for a 13 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from their own 40, Watson hit Will Fuller for 15 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Saints 45, watson scrambled for 18 yards. On 2nd and 4 from the Saints 21, Watson was intercepted by Lattimore, who returned it 40 yards to the saints 43. However, the defense jumped offsides, nullifying the turnover. On the next play Watson hit Hopkins for the 16 yard touchdown. The Texans led 21-10. 7 months after feeling a trip to the Super Bowl was stolen from them, the Saints were not playing like angry guys on a mission. 

The Saints did respond with an 11 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. After a touchback, Brees hit Kamara for 11 yards and Ginn for gains of 10 and 11 followed by a 7 yard completion to Thomas. Whenever backup quarterback Taysom Hill comes in the game, you know Sean Payton has something planned. On 3rd and 4 from the Houston 9, Hill was a receiver and Brees went to him for the touchdown to get the Saints within 21-17 late in the third quarter. Houston quickly faced 3rd and 8 from their own 18. Watson went for it all and was intercepted. A personal foul penalty on Houston had the Saints taking over just past midfield. Brees went to Thomas for 9 and Kamara got around the end for a 28 yard gain. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brees went to Tre’Quan Smith for a 14 yard touchdown to give the Saints the 24-21 lead. For most of the fourth quarter, the defenses dug in. After 59 minutes of normalcy, the final 60 seconds brought craziness and a finish for the ages.

The Saints took over at their own 7 yard line with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation. On 3rd and 2 from their own 15, rather than run the ball, Brees went deep to Ginn for a 41 yard gain at the 2 minute warning. Sean Payton then kept it on the ground. Kamara gained 11 and 4 but then lost 5 yards as the Texans took their final timeout on defense with 1:41 left. On 3rd and 11 from the Houston 34, Sean Payton took no chances. Kamara got the carry again and gained 5 yards. When the opposing team is out of timeouts with less than 2 minutes left, you must run the ball. Every time. Do not even think of throwing the ball. Wil Lutz came in for the 47 yard field goal try. It was good, and the Saints led 27-21 with 50 seconds to play. The Texans had 0 timeouts and had to go 75 yards. The end of this game was ridiculous.

Watson went deep to Hopkins for 38 yards and then went deep again to stills for a 38 yard touchdown. 2 bombs took only 13 seconds. This is how defensive coordinators get fired. All the Texans needed to do was make the extra point for the shocking road upset. Kai Fairbairn missed it. The home crowd went insane as the teams thought overtime was on the horizon. However, a defensive penalty on the extra point for roughing the kicker gave Fairbairn another chance. This time the kick was good, and the Texans had the stunning 28-27 lead. Houston got their miracle. Now it was the Saints who needed one after a touchback. With 37 seconds left and one timeout, Brees went to Ginn for 15 yards and then spiked the ball to stop the clock with 20 seconds left. Then he went to Thomas for 11 yards and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 6 seconds left and the Saints just past midfield. Brees quickly fired to Ginn for 9 yards and the Saints took their final timeout with 2 seconds left. Lutz missed from 56 to end the first half. Now he was being asked to try a career long 58 yards. With everything on the line, Lutz nailed the kick good as the Superdome erupted. Bourbon Street got ready to party as only it can as the Saints began their Super Bowl quest with a heart stopping victory. Brees finished 32 for 43 for 370 yards. The Texans did almost everything right, but Brees is a future first ballot hall of famer for a reason. 30-28 Saints

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders was the late Monday night game. Forget Hard Knocks. Forget a prima donna receiver who was released without playing a single game for the Raiders. This was the first game of the Raiders final season in Oakland. They move to Las Vegas next year, and the Oakland faithful desperately wanted a Monday night Football win over their hated rival Denver Broncos. Denver had a rookie coach in Vic Fangio and veteran Joe Flacco starting his very first game for the Broncos. The Raiders had a ton of new talent on both sides of the ball to help Derek Carr. Keelan Doss left to join the Jacksonville practice squad, but a new need at wide receiver had the Raiders bringing him back as a member of the 53 man roster. He was not active for the opener but it was sweet redemption for Doss. The Al Davis torch was lit, the Black Hole was fired up, and the Raiders got the ball first.  From their own 28, rookie running back Josh Jacobs gained 4 and 2. On 3rd and 4 from their own 34, Carr hit Grant for gains of 5 and 9. Jacobs gained another 5 and Carr found Darren Waller for 11 yards and again for 25 more. Jacobs gained 6 and 2 to set up 3rd and 2 from the Denver 8 yard line. The Raiders biggest trouble in years past has been finishing drives. Carr evaded a rusher, pedaled sideways, and fired a laser to Williams for the touchdown and the 7-0 Raiders lead. 

Both defenses dug in after that. Denver did reach a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 31 early in the second quarter, but penalties killed them. Offensive holding pushed them back. On 3rd and 12 from the Oakland 33, Flacco was sacked for a 10 yard loss to push the Broncos out of field goal range. The Raiders took over at their own 5 yard line. A pair of false starts moved the Raiders back to their 2. Jacobs gained 6 and Carr hit Waller for 6 more to set the Raiders up with 3rd and 1 at their own 14. Jacobs gained 5 yards to give the Raiders some breathing room. The Raiders again faced 3rd and 1 from their own 28. This time Carr faked the handoff and went bombs away. The play action pass to Williams went for a 43 yard gain. The Raiders faced yet another 3rd and 1 at the Denver 20. Jacobs gained 3 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Denver 12, Carr avoid ed the pressure, rolled out, and fired a laser to Hunter Renfrow for a 10 yard gain. On the next play Jacobs did his Marcus Allen impersonation, leaping over the top and stretching the ball over the plane of the goal for the 2 yard touchdown. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Raiders led 14-0 after the 13 play, 95 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive. 

Denver moved after a touchback to a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 36 with 19 seconds left in the half.  Flacco threw incomplete twice to leave 10 seconds. Flacco hit Freeman for 6 yards, but offensive holding killed the Broncos. With 5 seconds left, Brandon McManus came in for a 64 yard field goal try. It was dead center but just short, no good. The Broncos got the ball to start the third quarter. On 2nd and 8 from their own 27, Flacco went to Sutton for a 24 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 42, Flacco went to Fant for 20 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 13, Lindsay gained 7 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Flacco was sacked and fumbled and the Raiders recovered. Officials ruled Flacco was down, and replay was inconclusive. The Raiders may have also gotten away with a facemask of Flacco, so there was something for both teams to hate about the call. Jon Gruden unsuccessfully challenged the call. McManus hit the 26 yard field goal. With 9 1/2 minute left in the third quarter, the Broncos were on the board down 14-3 after the 12 play, 67 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. 

Despite the lead, the Raiders had concerns. Their defense was on the field for 22 straight plays to begin the first half and start the second half. Defenses get tired. The Raiders offense needed to do something. On 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Jalen Richard came up inches short of the sticks. The offense had to punt and the defense would not get their rest. Denver took over at their own 24. From their own 47, Freeman broke free for a 26 yard gain that ended horrendously for the Raiders. First, Jonathan Abram was flagged for a helmet to helmet hit on Freeman that drew a penalty and moved Denver to 1st and 10 at the Oakland 13. Even worse, Abram’s leg accidentally hit his own teammate Gareon Conley in the head. Conley had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. The freak accident with 5 minutes left in the third quarter was awful for an already depleted secondary. Denver had only 15 rushing yards in the first half, but were running at will in the third quarter. On 3rd and 5 from the Oakland 8, Flacco fired a perfect pass to the end zone to Deshaun Hamilton. Hamilton dropped it. He was wide open and just dropped it. The Raiders dodged a major bullet. McManus again hit the 28 yard field goal. The 10 play, 68 yard drive had the Broncos within 14-6. More importantly, the Broncos had run 32 plays to only 3 plays for the Raiders since trailing 14-0. Again, the Raiders offense had to get a first down. The defense was spent. 

Rather than run the ball, Carr went for it all on the first play and threw the bomb into double coverage. The ball was overthrown incomplete and Denver may have gotten away with defensive pass interference. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, Jacobs went straight up the gut for an 11 yard gain and a desperately needed first down as the Oakland defense got a little time to breathe. On 3rd and 3 just past midfield, Carr threw incomplete. A penalty on Denver on a fair catch had the Broncos backed up to their own 4 yard line. On 3rd and 3 from their own 11, the Broncos could have let the third quarter clock expire. Instead, Flacco ran a play and threw a low ball that was almost caught but incomplete. The fourth quarter began with the Broncos punting. Denver took over at their own 40 and Carr quickly fired over the middle to Jacobs, who sloughed through tacklers for a 28 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Denver 28, a 46 yard field goal would be a big deal. The key was to not take a sack. Instead, Carr went deep and fired a perfect pass to Williams for a 24 yard gain. On the next play Jacobs barreled up the middle for a 4 yard touchdown. These Raiders were finishing drives. With 12 minutes left in regulation, the Raiders led 21-6. 

On 2nd and 10 from their own 25, Flacco went bombs away to Emanuel Sanders for a 53 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 14, with all the time in the world, Flacco was sacked for a 7 yard loss. This was the very definition of a coverage sack. With 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Broncos were within 21-9. One more offensive drive by the Raiders could put the game away. The Raiders were finishing drives. Now they needed to do what their offense has really struggled to do in recent years. They needed to finish a game without having a scare at the end. The defense did all it was asked to do. The offense needed to show it could play power football and grind down clock rather than rely on the defense. 

Instead it was the special teams. Last year Duane Harris electrified the Raiders and burned the Broncos for a 99 yard punt return. This time he returned the ensuing kickoff return 72 yards. It was time for a steady dose of Josh Jacobs. Rodney Hudson is the highest paid center in the NFL, and Jacobs rammed the ball straight up the gut behind Hudson. There was no need for Carr to even raise his arm. Handing the ball off was all he needed to do. From the Denver 30, Jacobs ran for 8, 4, 2, 2, and 4 to set up 3rd and 4 at the Denver 12. Jacobs carried it a 6th straight time but only gained one yard. Critics will call this overly conservative offense, but it was absolutely the right call. By the time Daniel Carlson hit the 29 yard field goal, the Raiders led 24-9 with only 4 1/2 minutes remaining. 

After a touchback, Flacco quickly fired to Cortland Sutton for a 25 yard gain to midfield. A 22 yard completion to Sanders put the ball on the Oakland 20. The defender went for the interception rather than the tackle, and it backfired. With 3 minutes left on 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 17, Flacco fired to Sutton for a 15 yard gain. On 1st and goal at the 2, Flacco tried to run the quick quarterback sneak but was stopped cold. On the next play, Flacco threw a fade to Sanders for the touchdown. With 2:15 to play, the Broncos were within 8 points. The Broncos still had 2 timeouts and the 2 minute warning. Vic Fangio decided to kick it deep rather than go onsides. The Raiders took over after a touchback.

A pair of conservative runs up the middle took the clock to the 2 minute warning. The Raiders faced 3rd and 7. A run would force the Broncos to take their final timeout. A pass would risk and incompletion and preserve that timeout. Either way, one first down would end the game. Plays like this are what is meant by finishing games. Gruden fired a short pass to Williams, who took it for a 10 yard gain as the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum erupted. Jacobs ran for an 11 yard gain for an exclamation point. Carr took a knee.

Carr was magnificent, going 22 of 26 for 259 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The Raiders had no turnovers. The defense did not force a turnover, but they were stout most of the game. They relaxed at the end, but the run defense is much improved. The Raiders have a bruising running back in Jacobs, who gained 85 yards on 23 carries. Most importantly, he banged ahead on 3rd and 1 to extend drives. Except for the brief Marshawn Lynch tenure, Jacobs is the biggest back since the Raiders had Tyrone Wheatley during Gruden’s first run in Oakland in 2000.

Asked who won the final Monday Night Football game in Oakland, ESPN’s Chris Berman would say “The Ray-dahs!” Chucky high-fived the entire Black Hole and hugged the Gorilla-rilla. 24-16 Raiders

NFL 2019 Week 1 Prequel

September 5th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 1 prequel

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 4 Raiders Recap

September 2nd, 2019

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 4 Raiders Recap

Although the Oakland Raiders were 3-0 in the preseason, there was plenty of reason for concern heading into the regular season opener. The starters had barely played any preseason snaps. Wide receiver Antonio Brown played none due to his helmet temper tantrum, but more bizarre circumstances affected the rest of them. 

Normally the starters sit out Week 1 and play a little in Week 2. That went according to plan. Week 3 is when the starters normally see significant action. However, the Week 3 matchup between the Raiders and Packers featured a field in Canada that was not ready for NFL primetime. Both teams sat out their starters. Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and the rest of the starters were definitely not going to play in Week 4, when most starters sit anyway. Carr and Jacobs were on the field for one drive in Week 2 that took 6 plays.

Jon Gruden was clearly using the preseason to look for depth in the form of quality backups. The battle between Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman to back up Carr was a critical one. Glennon was clearly the more experienced passer, but Gruden was desperately pulling for Peterman to succeed. 

The final preseason contest had the Raiders traveling to Seattle to face the Seahawks. With Russell Wilson in street clothes, Geno Smith got the start for the Seahawks. Smith made it look easy, needing only 5 plays to go 73 yards. A 39 yard bomb from Smith to Wright made it 7-0 Seahawks. Mike Glennon led the Raiders from their 25 and completed passes to Marcel Ateman for 22 yards and to Hatcher for 15 more. The drive died at the Seattle 25 but Daniel Carlson hit a 43 yard field goal to get the Raiders within 7-3. The Raiders got the ball back at their own 31 and Glennon led a 14 play drive that ate up nearly 7 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Seattle 26, Gruden went for it. Brown gained 2 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Seattle 15, Glennon hit Hatcher for 5 yards. On 4th and goal at the one, Gruden went for it again. In an example of terrible play calling, the decision was made to go finesse rather than pound the rock. Glennon was sacked for a 9 yard loss.

In the second quarter the Seahawks took over at their own 48. Smith went deep to Ferguson for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Oakland 11, Smith went to Hollister for the score. The Seahawks led 14-3, and Gruden was not happy with his backup defense. Glennon was done for the night. Peterman played the final 3 quarters knowing that this game was about him making the team. Down by 11 from their own 25, the Raiders got going. Brown ran for 18 yards and Peterman hit Keylan Doss for 25 more. On 3rd and 11 from the Seattle 34, Peterman found Hatcher for 10. On 4th and 1 from the Seattle 24, Gruden played it safe this time and went for the field goal. From 42 yards out, Carlson was no good. The Raiders got it back at their own 27 with 4 minutes left in the half. Defensive penalties held the Raiders along, including on a 3rd and 13 completion that came up a couple yards short. On 3rd and 3 from the Seattle 4 yard line, a short pass from Peterman to Butler only gained 2 yards. On 4th and 1 from the 2 with 3 seconds left in the half, Gruden again played it safe. Carlson hit from 20 as the Raiders trailed 14-6 at halftime. In the third quarter the Raiders began a drive at the Seattle 47. Yet near the goal line the Raiders again couldn’t get the job done. On 2nd and goal at the 3, Brown lost 2 yards. Then Peterman threw incomplete. Carlson hit from 23 to get the Raiders within 14-9.

Late in the third quarter, the Raiders got it back at their own 31. Peterman had been managing the game effectively, but this time he was sacked for a 9 yard loss and fumbled. The Seahawks recovered at the Oakland 26. The defense held Seattle to a field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Seahawks led 17-9.

With 4 minutes left, the Raiders began their last drive at their own 45 yard line. Peterman came alive as he hit Butler for gains of 6 and 5, Doss for 14, and Rico Gafford for 9 more. After a defensive unnecessary roughness penalty, Peterman went back to Gafford for 9 yards. At the 2 minute warning, the Raiders faced 2nd and 1 from the Seattle 2 yard line. Getting that last yard had been a problem all gain.. Butler got the carry and got stopped stoned cold. On 3rd and 1 Butler got the carry again and lost a yard. With 1:47 left in the game on 4th and 2 from the 3 and the Seahawks smelling pass, Butler got the carry again and got the 3 yard touchdown. The Raiders needed a 2 point conversion to tie the game. A false start moved them back to the Seattle 7 yard line. Peterman was then sacked to deny the Raiders the tie. Seattle’s 3rd string quarterback took a few knees in the Seattle rain as Pete Carroll’s squad got the victory. 

Despite the loss, Peterman made the team as the 3rd string quarterback behind Carr and Glennon. Unfortunately for Peterman, he was then placed on injured reserve a few days later. He might be eligible to return to the team after the season is half over. The Raiders brought in DeShone Kizer as their new third string quarterback. Despite playing well, the backup receivers were cut from the team as Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock chose experience at the position over youth. Gabbard was cut. So was Hard Knocks standout Doss. Despite clearing waivers and being offered a practice squad spot, the hometown Alameda native Doss chose to join the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. Even Ateman, who played well in several games last year, was cut. 8 of the 9 draft picks made the team, and the 9th one might still make the practice squad. 

The preseason is now over. The Raiders from Thursday night had 11 days to prepare for their regular season opener hosting the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. Despite ending the preseason on a loss, the Raiders went 3-1 in the preseason. The starters are very well rested and healthy. Now, as Gruden says, they just have to “f-in execute.” 17-15 Seahawks

eric

September 2019 TYGRRRR EXPRESS Oregon/Washington Speaking Schedule

August 27th, 2019

September 2019 TYGRRRR EXPRESS Oregon/Washington Speaking Schedule

While I have spoken in all 50 states, the Pacific Northwest is a part of the country I have spent the least amount of time in. For the first time in 7 or 8 years, I return. I will be in Oregon & Washington for almost all of September. My speaking schedule is below.

Wednesday-Monday, August 28-September 2, 2019 — Packwood Flea Market South of Seattle, Washington. 

Tuesday, September 3 — Emerald  City Rotary Club in Seattle, Washington at 7:15am. 

Tuesday, September 3 — Skagit County Republican Women North of Seattle, Washington at 10am. 

Wednesday, September 4 — Vancouver Rotary Club in Washington near Portland, Oregon at lunch. 

Wednesday, September 4 — Fremont Fun Rotary Club in Seattle, Washington at 5:30pm. 

Thursday, September 5 — Greater Kingston Kiwanis Club North of Seattle at 7am. 

Thursday, September 5 — Redmond Rotary Club near Seattle, Washington at lunch. 

Friday, September 6 — Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club near Seattle, Washington. 

Friday, September 6 — Oak Harbor Rotary Club North of Seattle, Washington  at 11:30am. 

Saturday-Sunday, September 7-8 — Portland Gun Show in Oregon. 

Monday, September 9 — Rotary Club of Portland New Generations in Oregon at 5:30pm. 

Tuesday, September 10 — Portland Pearl Rotary Club in Oregon at 7:15am.   CANCELED

Tuesday, September 10 — Milwaukie Rotary Club in Portland, Oregon at lunch. 

Tuesday, September 10 — Corvallis After 5 Rotary Club South of Portland, Oregon at 5:15pm. 

Wednesday, September 11 — Gresham Rotary Club near Portland, Oregon at lunch. 

Thursday, September 12 — Snohomish County Republican Women near Seattle, Washington at 10:45am. 

Friday, September 13 — Central Oregon Republican Women in Bend. Evening. 

Monday, September 16 — La Conner Rotary Club in Mount Vernon North of Seattle, Washington near Vancouver, Canada. 5:45pm. 

Wednesday, September 18 — La Conner Kiwanis Club in Mount Vernon North of Seattle, Washington near Vancouver, Canada. Breakfast. 

Wednesday, September 18 — Chehalis Rotary Club South of Seattle, Washington. Noon. 

Thursday, September 19 — Magnolia Rotary Club in Seattle, Washington at lunch. 

Friday, September 20 — Maple Valley Rotary Club in Seattle, Washington at 7:15am. 

Friday, September 20 — Redmond Toastmasters near Seattle, Washington at Noon. 

Saturday, September 21 — Emerald Heights Toastmasters & Kiwanis near Seattle, Washington at 7:30am. 

Wednesday, September 25 — Stayton Area Rotary Club near Salem, Oregon at lunch. 

Thursday, September 26 — Cedar Hills Kiwanis Club near Portland, Oregon at lunch. 

Friday, September 27, 2019 — Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club North of Seattle, Washington at 7am. 

eric @ Tygrrrr Express

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 3 Raiders Recap

August 26th, 2019

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 3 Raiders Recap

The Raiders defeated the Rams 14-3 in their preseason opener. Then they jumped to a 26-0 lead over the Cardinals in a 33-26 win that was not nearly as close as the score. The Raiders led 33-13 with 4 minutes left and gave up 2 late touchdowns, including one on the final play. Now the Silver and Black traveled to Canada to play the Green Bay Packers.

The third preseason game is normally the game that most closely resembles a regular season game. The starters skipped game 1 and played sparingly in game 2. Yet conditions beyond the control of America messed everything up. 

Canada couldn’t get their field ready. It was only an 80 yard field. Moving the goalposts messed up some of the field. The league decided just before kickoff to not have any kickoffs. Each team after a score would start at their own 25 yard line, which was only 65 yards from the opposing end zone. Rather than see extensive action, Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers were both given the night off. Tim Boyle got the start for the Packers and Mike Glennon did for the Raiders. For those desperate to make a roster spot, it was an unexpected extra opportunity to get more playing time. For fans, it gave them zero clue about how their starters will fare in the regular season.  For CFL fans used to seeing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, it was a change of pace. Former Raiders and CFL wide receiver “Swervin” Mervin Fernandez lit the Al Davis Torch. 

The 80 yard field was confusing for the players and the announcers. The 10 yard line was actually the goal line, and the normal goal line was actually the back of the end zone. Rookie Packers head coach Matt LaFleur had to question what he signed up for. Mike McCarthy in 12 years never had to deal with an 80 yard field or Canada.

Both teams punted on their first two drives. While there were no kickoffs, there were punts. A field position game had the Raiders taking over at their own 41 with 5:40 left in the opening quarter. Daniel Carlson hit a 42 yard field goal. The Raiders led 3-0 after the first quarter, and Glennon was done for the night. 

Jon Gruden loves Nathan Peterman, and wants to see as much of him as possible. While Glennon is almost definitely Derek Carr’s backup, Gruden may keep three quarterbacks. Peterman played the final three quarters. 

After the field goal, The Packers exploded in the second quarter. From their 25, Boyle completed a 20 yard pass to Davis and soon faced 3rd and 16 at his own 39. A neutral zone infraction made it 3rd and 11. A completion picked up just enough with a facemark adding 15 more. Boyle then went deep to Davis again for a 23 yard touchdown and a 7-3 Packers lead.

Every drive after a score had the other team starting at their own 25. A 24 yard defensive pass interference penalty had the Raiders on the move. Peterman hit Keyland Doss for 18 yards and Rico Gafford for 8 more. Peterman went to Smith for a 5 yard touchdown and a 10-7 Raiders lead.

Boyle looked impressive against the Raiders backup defense, leading a 77 yard drive. From the Oakland 48, Boyle hit Davis for 20 and Kumerow for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Packers. With 2:43 left in the half the Packers got the ball back and Boyle shredded the Oakland defense again. With the Packers facing 3rd and 11 at their own 24, Boyle hit Shepherd for 22 yards and Lazard for gains of 11 and 13. Carson ran it in from 2 yards out as the Packers took a 21-10 lead to the locker rooms. Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game, but Boyle showed himself to be a very capable backup in leading three touchdown drives in the second quarter.

The Raiders began the third quarter facing 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Peterman connected with Butler for a 30 yard gain. Carlson hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Raiders within 21-13. Boyle played the entire first half, and the first drive of the second half saw the Packers turn to third string quarterback and former Browns quarterback Deshone Kizer. He is trying to resurrect his career, although Cleveland has destroyed many quarterbacks over the last few years. Kizer began by getting sacked twice and was ineffective. The Packers got it back and moved from their 29 to a 4th and 3 on the Oakland 28. Rather than try a field goal, the preseason is a good time to go for it. Kizer was sacked for a 12 yard loss.

Peterman was unable to move the Raiders at all in the third quarter, but finally got the Raiders offense going again with 11 minutes left in regulation. Runs and short passes had the Raiders at the Green Bay 48 yard line. Peterman hit Doss for 17 yards and Pierson-El for 10 more. On 3rd and 6 from the Green Bay 7, Peterman found Pierson-El in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Gruden decided to go for the 2 point conversion even though nobody wants overtime in the preseason. Peterman rolled out and his pass under pressure was off the mark, bounced off the receiver, and was intercepted. The 12 plays, 75 yard, 5 minute drive had the Raiders within 21-19 with 6 minutes left. 

The Packers tried to run down the clock, but Kizer could not get a break when he tried to throw. On 3rd and 11 from their own 35, a 16 yard completion was nullified by offensive holding. On 3rd and 21 Kizer went deep to Lazard with a well thrown ball. However, on official review the ball hit the ground and a first down was changed to incomplete. The Raiders defense dodged a bullet. With 3 minutes left the Raiders took over at their own 24. It was time to see what Peterman could do with the game on the line.

Peterman hit Hatcher for 10. At the 2 minute warning, A pass for a 3 yard loss saw receive Brown get drilled. The Raiders got another break when the hit was ruled a personal foul for helmet to helmet. With 90 seconds on the clock, the Raiders were down to their last gasp facing 4th and 7 at the Green Bay 45. Then came the play that will be shown on preseason instruction videos for several reasons. This was not the Holy Roller or the Immaculate Reception. However, a lot of things happened on one play that deserve to be remembered for instructional reasons.

Peterman went deep and found a wide open Hatcher for a 25 yard gain. The Raiders were in field goal range, and all Hatcher had to do was get out of bounds or go down. There was plenty of time left. Hatcher decided to juke and gain more yards. The result was a hit that forced a fumble. If this was a regular season or playoff game, the Raider Nation would be going bonkers. Hatcher nearly went from euro to goat, but was bailed out buy a very alert teammate. Gafford fell on the ball to save the possession.Three Packers were around the ball and Gafford got their first. At this point Gruden took no chances. Butler ran three times into the line. Carlson came in for a 33 yard field goal with 12 seconds left in regulation.  

The kick was dead center, and after a Kizer Hail Mary was intercepted, the Raiders had the comeback win. For a lot of guys in this game, it will be their final football game. Cut down is coming, and rosters will be trimmed from 90 to 53 players. For every Derek Carr making $25 million per year, there are others who will never see an NFL regular season game. Those who played their final game as a Raider went out with a win. The Raiders are 3-0 in preseason. Their last preseason game is at the Seattle Seahawks, where Carr had his first preseason start and showed the world he was NFL ready. For now, the Raiders seem to have a significantly improved locker room culture thanks to Mike Mayock and Chucky. 22-21 Raiders  

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August 23rd, 2019

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 2 Raiders Recap

August 19th, 2019

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 2 Raiders Recap

After winning their preseason opener over the Rams 14-3, the Raiders traveled to face the Arizona Cardinals. Last week Jon Gruden gave his offensive starters the night off. This game saw the first action for Derek Carr and rookie Josh Jacobs. Antonio Brown again did not play, and the organization’s patience with his behavior was wearing thin. 

 Three straight handoffs to Josh Jacobs went for 6, 8 and 6 yards. Jon Gruden has his bell cow to pound the rock. Derek Carr then floated a perfect sideline pass to Ty Williams for a 27 yard gain. A defensive penalty for lowering the head to initiate contact had the Raiders quickly at the Arizona 14. Two plays later, a swing pass in the flat to Ryan Grant went for a 13 yard touchdown. 6 plays were all it took for the Raiders to go 75 yards in 3 minutes. The Raiders led 7-0, and Carr and Jacobs were done for the night.

During the NFL Draft, Gruden resisted the urge to trade up and draft Kyler Murray. The Cardinals stayed pat at the top spot, took Murray first, and shipped Josh Rosen off to Miami. Murray looked good in his debut last week. This week he started at his own 10 yard line due to a penalty on the kickoff return. On the first play from scrimmage there was a penalty against rookie defender Clelin Ferrell. Yet the Raiders got the ball back at their own 43, and the offense kept rolling.

Mike Glennon was in at quarterback, and a pass to a wide open DeAndre Washington in the flat went for a 35 yard gain. A completion to Darren Waller set up 1st and goal at the 10. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Glennon overthrew a wide open Waller in the end zone incomplete. Daniel Carlson hit the 25 yard field goal. The Raiders led 10-0, but it was a missed opportunity. Glennon would not make that mistake again. Al Davis was smiling in football heaven as Glennon went bombs away to Rico Gafford for a 53 yard touchdown. 

Meanwhile, Gruden’s celebration quickly turned to anger due to a penalty on the extra point try. It was good anyway, and the Raiders led 17-0 in the first quarter. Gruden was still fired up on the sideline. The Raiders were doing everything right on both sides of the ball. Kyler Murray did convert a 3rd and 13, but an offensive penalty nullified it. On the other sideline, Glennon was on fire. In the second quarter he led a 12 play, 67 yard drive that ate up 7 minutes of clock. Jalen Richard got some tough yards on the ground. Glennon capped the drive with a perfectly thrown fade to the corner to Derek Carrier for a 2 yard touchdown. The Raiders were blasting the Cardinals to pieces. The Raiders led 24-0 after only 21 minutes of football. Both of these teams were awful last year, but the Raiders seemed vastly improved. 

Things got worse for the Cardinals when Murray made a rookie mistake. On 3rd and 11 from his own 10, Murray got sacked for a safety. Had Murray just taken the hit, the ball would have been on the one yard line. His voluntarily moving backward without being touched led to the safety. Midway through the second quarter, the Raiders led 26-0. After a completely miserable outing, Murray was done for the night. The Arizona defense finally got a stop, and Brett Hundley came in at quarterback. 

An incomplete deep ball led to a gift defensive pass interference call at the Oakland 30. After an offensive holding call, Hundley under heavy pressure and a collapsing pocket threw a 40 yard touchdown pass to get the Cardinals on the board with 3:45 left in the half. The Cardinals got the ball back with 1:45 left in the half and Hundley moved them easily again. Yet at the 5 yard line, Paul Guenther’s defense stiffened up. The Cardinals settled for a field goal to trail 26-10 at halftime.

Hundley continued to move the ball well in the third quarter. The Raiders recovered a fumble, but it was reversed too down by contact. A well thrown ball on third down would have meant another first down, but it was dropped. Zane Gonzalez nailed another field goal from 45 yards out as the Cardinals got within 26-13. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter, Glennon was done for the night and third strong quarterback Nathan Peterman came in. Glennon finished 11 of 14 for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns. Murray was 3 for 8 for 12 yards and a safety given up. 

Peterman led a 15 play, 80 yard drive that ate 8:40 off the clock. Peterman completed all 7 of his passes on the drive. Mack Brown ran it in up the gut from 3 yards out. With 11 minutes left in regulation, the Raiders led 33-13. The 3 Raiders quarterbacks combined went 21 of 24 for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. All 3 quarterbacks led a touchdown drive. 

For the first 56 minutes, the game was a laugher. The Raiders got very lazy closing out the game. The Cardinals punted on 4th and 2 from inside their own 10 yard line. A running into the kicker penalty gave the Cardinals an automatic first down. This allowed the Cardinals third string quarterback to throw a 59 yard touchdown bomb that was helped along when the defender completely mistimes the jump. The Cardinals were within 33-20 with 2:50 left, but Cliff Kingsbury was not going to risk a preseason injury on an onside kick. He opted to kick it deep as the Raiders tried to run out the clock. 

The Cardinals got it back at their own 19 with 1:43 left. Now it was their fourth string quarterback Drew Anderson. On 4th and 10 from the Oakland 34 with 14 seconds left, Anderson escaped and raced to the Oakland 12 and got out of bounds with 3 seconds left. Anderson threw the 12 yard touchdown on the last play of the game as Gruden shook his head. In a regular season game, league rules would require trying an extra point. in preseason, the game was over without the attempt. Although the score only showed a 7 point game, the Raiders thrashed the Cardinals when it counted. Even Gruden had to be pleased with how his starters looked. A 26-0 lead will give fans for optimism, rather than the closer final score. The Raiders are improved. 33-26 Raiders

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August 19th, 2019