On a great day for the greatest game on Earth, an iron man from Mississippi achieved greatness in Wisconsin in front of a classy crowd in Minnesota.
The last Sunday in September brought some exciting action, so lets get to it.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings–With the exception of the teams playing and their respective fans, the score of this game was irrelevant. Nevertheless, it was nice to see Brett Favre break the all time touchdown record on a game that was a win. Favre’s first quarter toss put the Packers up 7-0. 421 touchdown passes were now a reality.
The game was stopped, and the Minnesota crowd showed a lot of class toward their long time rival. The jumbotron showed Dan Marino congratulating the man who broke his record. Favre now has the most wins, the most touchdowns, and by the end of this game, the most attempts. At some point he will have the most interceptions, but it was nice to not see that today. If Favre plays through next year, the unimaginable record of Jim Marshall’s 270 straight games will be in reach. To put things in perspective, the Bears have had 21 starting quarterbacks since Favre started playing. Speaking of playing, the game did continue.
The game remained a typical NFC North black and blue division slugfest, with each team tacking on three field goals. THe Packers led 16-9 midway through the fourth quarter when Favre through his 422nd touchdown pass. The Packer defense withstood a late Viking rally to hang on. As Favre reminded everybody, records are made to be broken. There is a guy in Indianapolis who will remain anonymous since today is Favre’s day. Of significance is also the fact that the Packers are 4-0. This team is not the dominating machine it was in the mid 1990s, but they are playing well. They have won 8 straight games going back to last year. Congratulations Brett. Well done. 23-16 Packers
Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins–The game of the day is also being covered at
The Daunte Culpepper revenge bowl was served ice cold. I will get the negativity out of the way first by saying that the defense is not very special. They give up long drives, and today was no eception. Yes, Miami is a horrible team. That does not change the fact that the Raiders are better than last year, and there is much to be optimistic about at 2-2.
First of all, Daunte Culpepper should be the starter the rest of the year. Period. He had five touchdowns through the air and ground. One of them was a leaping touchdown from the five yard line while breaking a tackle.
The Dolphins started out with an interception that the Raiders returned to the 11 yard line. Too many times this would lead to field goals, but after the inevitable stumbles, a touchdown gave Oakland a 7-0 lead. Lamont Jordan continued to run hard. They built a 14-0 lead before an inevitable defensive meltdown. On 3rd down and 18, the Dolphins picked up 14 yards. On 4th and 4, a 36 yard gain set up the ball on the 10 yard line, where running back Ronnie Brown mowed down the entire team to cut the gap to 14-7. Late in the first half, Lamont Jordan went down and had to be carried off the field. Jordan is a warrior, and an emotional leader. The Raieders cannot afford to lose him. It appears at this point to be back spasms.
In the second half, the Dolphind were trapped at their own five yard line. Ronnie Brown then ran up the middle for 60 yards.
When the Raiders went up 21-10 and then stopped the Dolphins cold on the next series, the Raiders seemed to be in full control of the game. Yet with the Raiders of the last few years, this does not seem to happen. The punt return was fumbled, Miami recovered, and a touchdown cut the gap to 21-17.
Yet this Raider team seems different. Culpepper calmly led the Raiders down the field for a fourth touchdown. Justin Fargas is not physical enough to be an every down back, but he did have one nice 50 yard run en route to a 179 yard day. As for Culpepper, he can still roll out and run around the end, and he had an emphatic statement for the Dolphins after he scored.
A garbage touchdown at the end of the game made the score seem more lopsided than the game was. The Dolphins had no run defense, and Zach Thomas being out did not help. Neveretheless, there are plenty of positives to take away from this game. Ronald Curry is finally healthy, and playing well. Jerry Porter has not been utilized deep, but he is contributing mightly on shorter passing routes. The defense is getting interceptions, but the yardage given up is a concern. The bye week will give the team two weeks to prepare for San Diego. I do not see an 8-8 team yet, but a two game win streak does matter. The team won their first road game since 2005. If this team gets back to the promised land in the next few years, this game could be seen as the turning point. 35-17 Raiders
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns–This was supposed to be team contending for the Superbowl beating up a team contending for a draft pick to help Brady Quinn. As Chris Berman reminded us for 20 years, “That’s…why they play the games.” The Ravens had the ball for 10 more minutes, 14 more first downs, and 100 more yards, yet the Browns cruised to a win. The Ravens had two turnovers, and Browns quarterback Anderson had two touchdown passes. The Browns led 24-6 at the half and never let up. A garbage touchdown by the Ravens accurate reflected their performance. 27-13 Browns
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions–Can we please put to rest the notion that Rex Grossman was the weak link on a good team? The Bears overachieved last year, and the last time they overachieved in 2001, they had a drop off of 9 games the following year. Devon Hester is the most exciting player since Billy “White Shoes” Johnson. He is their entire offense. Brian Griese threw three interceptions. The Bears defense, which as everyone knows Rex Grossman never got credit for, gave up…let me say this slowly for emphasis…34…points…in…the…fourth…quarter. A 13-3 lead was cut to 13-10, and then became a 17-13 deficit when one of Griese’s interceptions was returned for a touchdown. Even Hester’s 97 yard kickoff return to put Chicago up 20-17 could not hold the dam. John Kitna was 20 of 24, and the Bears committed 14 penalties for over 100 yards. The Bears, down 30-20, did score with 45 seconds left, but the ensuing onsides kick was returned for a touchdown. The Lions are showing signs of improvement, and the Bears really are that bad. It is too early to declare Mike Martz a success yet, but the Lions were a pinball machine in the fourth quarter. 37-27 Lions
Houston Texans @ Atlanta Falcons–Some were calling this the Schaub Bowl, but it is hard to ascribe a revenge motive to a backup quarterback with little history or experience who joins another team for a promotion. Schaub did play well, but so did Joey Harrington. The 1976 Bucs are safe. The Texans are improving, but their win over Carolina is looking less impressive. The Texans had two turnovers today, and a phenomenal breakdown near the end of the game prevented a chance to possibly tie the game. Down by ten with the ball at the Falcon one yard line, the Texans inexplicably tried a pitchout on 3rd and goal. The ball was bobbled, dropped and luckily rolled out of bounds. A 22 yard field goal attempt by Kris Brown was then no good. 26-16 Falcons
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills–An ugly game that was scoreless at the half, the Bills started Trent Edwards at quarterback over J.P. Losman. Edwards then went 22 for 28. Chad Pennington had a good day going 32 for 39, and the Bills refused to put the game away. Late in the first half, the Jets executed a fake spike to perfection, but a 37 yard field goal attempt bounced off the upright. A late rally by the Jets was snuffed out with seconds to play when Pennington threw his second interception, as the Jets were driving close to field goal range. 17-14 Bills
St. Louis Rams @ Dallas Cowboys–Dante Hall returned a punt for a touchdown. The rest of the game was all Cowboys. One highlight had a high snap sailing over Tony Romo’s head for what should have been a 20 yard loss. He picked it up, ran around the end, and instead picked up a long gain and a first down, just like it was diagrammed in the sandlot. Speaking of sandlot, this game was an accurate reflection of the teams. The Cowboys look like the undefeated team they are, and the winless Rams really are that bad. 35-7 Cowboys
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers–A good team played an overrated team, and there were no surprises. Seattle knocked Alex Smith, who has never proven anything, out of the game. They then beat up their former quarterback Trent Dilfer because he is Dilfer and they could. Six quarterback sack, double the yardage, and 36 minutes of possession led to an easy victory. 23-3 Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers–I have been right about many things this year, including that the Buccaneers would be back. However, boy have I been wrong abut the Panthers. The Houston game was not a fluke. They are not a good team. Tampa Bay continues to play ugly “Buc Ball,” but hey, they win that way. David Carr is not Jake Delhomme, and the only bright spot for Carolina was a gorgeous goal line stand in the third quarter, stuffing the Bucs from the one yard line. Unfortunately, the Bucs already led 17-0 nothing at the time, and the Carolina offense remained lifeless before and after that play. Other than preventing the shutout near the end of the game, this was a one sided domination. 20-7 Buccaneers
Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts–No, it was another quarterback that shattered passing records today, but this guy leading the Colts is pretty good. After spotting Denver a 10-0 lead, the Colts do what they usually do to Denver…and everybody else in the NFL for that matter. Peyton manning was 20 of 27 with three touchdown passes. While he only had 193 yard passing, this was because the running game was solid. The Colts had 419 yards overall. Denver was only down by eight points going into the fourth quarter, but they just do not have the firepower to keep up with the Colts pinball machine. Then again…again…virtually nobody else does either. 38-20 Colts
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers–The Chargers are Norvelous. Yes, it is his fault. Teams do not go from 14-2 to garbage, which the Chargers are, without either horrible injuries or horrible coaching. The Chargers have the same players. The Chiefs have Damon Huard starting for them. He is not a Hall of Famer to say the least. The Chargers lost to a bad team, badly, at home. The San Diego did lead 16-6 at the half, but they had a second half meltdown. Tied at 16 in the fourth quarter, a quick slant pass turned into a long touchdown pass and a 23-16 Chiefs lead. The Chargers had four turnovers, including a fumble that was returned 50 yards for a score to ice the game. Marty Schottenheimer was not the problem, and the Chargers have sole possession of last place in the AFC West. 30-16 Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Arizona Cardinals–This was the Cowher Bowl, but the Steelers and Mike Tomlin had an unbeaten team and Ken Whisenhunt , Russ Grimm, and the Cardinals had a history of futility dating back to the 19th century. In addition, the Cardinals have a quarterback controversy, which means people are finally realizing that Kurt Warner can still play. An easy Steelers win was derailed. “That’s…why they play the games.”
A touchdown bomb by Ben Roethlisberger propelled Pittsburgh to a 7-0 halftime edge. The Steelers then self destructed, with 11 penalties by the end of the game. After the Cardinals tied the score at 7-7, the Steelers punted. For the first time since 1993, the Cardinals returned a punt for a touchdown. Yes, they have been that bad for that long. The 73 yard punt return put the Cardinals up 14-7.
A bizarre series of events occurred in the second half. The Cardinals played revolving quarterbacks for the second straight week. Kurt Warner, who for the most part again outplayed Matt Leinart, fumbled the ball deep in his own territory, and Pittsburgh recovered on the Cardinal four yard line. Ben Roethlisberger then threw an interception in the end zone, giving it right back to Arizona. The Cardinals managed to score once more for a 21-7 lead. Big Ben cut the gap to one score, but he was intercepted again in the finals seconds to preserve Ken Whisenhunt’s win against his former team. This game will most likely not be a harbinger of things to come. The Steelers slipped up on the road, and Arizona had a good day, nothing more. 21-14 Cardinals
The Philadelphia Eagles @ the New York Giants was the Sunday night game. The Giants defense had 12 sacks, tying an NFL record. Osi Umenyiora had six sacks. The Giants offense managed a touchdown the first half, and the defense recovered a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown in the second half. Big Blue’s defense left Donovan McNabb and offensive tackle John Runyon black and blue. 16-3 Giants
The New England Patriots @ the Cincinnati Bengals was the Monday night game. This was the men against the boys. The Bengals are hard to get a read on because they have some very talented players, but fell short last year from expectations. The Patriots were one minute away from their fourth Super Bowl in six years last year. Randy Moss is expected to be the last piece of the puzzle. The Patriots can have Tom Brady throw it up for grabs, and Randy Moss will haul it in. He had two touchdown catches in this game, one a jump ball over two defenders. Tom Brady and Carson Palmer both had over 300 yards passing, but the Patriots simply had too many weapons. A 17-7 halftime lead led to an evetual route. 34-13 Patriots
Lastly, I joined a coed touch football league. No, this is not a ploy to grope women, although I did grab one guy’s nipples (letting go very quickly) on a gorgeous sack that was nullified because I jumped offsides. Like the iron man I am, I played offense and defense (as does everyone), and I caught a pass for a decent gain. Our team wears brown shirts, which I dislike because as a Jewish person, “Brownshirts,” has a negative connotation. Since my teammates had no idea what it was, I was happy about. Look it up on your own if you need to know. Another team has pink shirts, so brown is hideous but bearable. We lost to the Green team 42-21, although it was 34-21 when we failed to convert a fourth and goal.
My body is wracked, but thankfully my fingers work well enough to type these recaps.