NFL 2007–Week 5 Recap

With the Raiders having the week off, I expected this to be a dull NFL weekend. I did not expect it to be one of the worst weekends in NFL history. The early games had very little significance, and very little compelling story lines. Many of the games had teams that were trying to lose, with some 0-4 teams having to struggle to make it to 0-5. The games for the most part were just badly played. Having said that, there were still some exciting finishes. Below is the recap.

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans–With the game tied, winless Miami had an opportunity to win with a 56 yard field goal attempt with one minute left. They decided to punt the ball instead, and the Texans had to start inside their own five yard line. It was a sensible call, but the Miami defense wilted, and the Texans had a 56 yard field goal attempt on the last play of the game. Kris Brown nailed it. He was 5 for 5 on the day, and became only the third kicker in NFL history to have three kicks of over 50 yards in one game. His 56 yarder was in addition to a pair of 54 yarders. 22-19 Texans

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints–The winless Saints led 13-6 in the fourth quarter, but they had a field goal blocked that would have put them in total control of the game. They turned the ball over, which led to Steve Smith tying the game at 13-13. The Saints then through an interception late in the fourth quarter, and the panthers capitalized by throwing an interception right back. This gave the Saints had a chance to win late in regulation, but a long field goal was wide by a country mile. That set up stalwart kicker John Kasay for a 53 yarder. His kick was good as time ran out, as the Saints remained winless. Nevertheless, it was bittersweet for the Panthers since quarterback Jake Delhomme, who sat out the game, is now out officially for the year with an injured elbow. 16-13 Panthers

Atlanta Falcons @ Tennessee Titans–This ugly game had the Falcons’ kicker missing three field goals. The Titans broke a 13-13 tie in the fourth quarter, and then the bizarre occurrences happened. With the Titans leading by seven and only needing to run the ball to grind down the clock, Vince Young threw his third interception. The Falcons then capitalized by turning it right back over, in what was a theme in several games today. Both teams had an interception returned for a touchdown, and the Titans had five turnovers on the day. The Titans could not run the clock down, and veteran punter Craig Heinrich failed to get the punt off. It would have been blocked, and he rightly got tackled rather than kick it or try to make a bad play worse. This gave the Falcons the ball inside the Titan 10 yard line with two minutes left. Although Joey Harrington played the whole game, recently acquired Byron Leftwich was brought in for this deciding series. With the ball on the one yard line, rather than run straight ahead, a dangerous pitchout was fumbled, losing several yards. Several plays later, the Titan defense held. 20-13 Titans

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers–This was not a Super Bowl rematch in terms of excitement. The Steelers held the ball for almost 41 minutes, and Seattle had only 144 total yards. Willie Parker had 28 carries for 102 yards, and a 10 minute plus drive in the fourth quarter against an exhausted Seahawk defense iced the game. 21-0 Steelers

Detroit Lions @ Washington Redskins–The other insignificant games were at least competitive. Not this one. Despite a scoreless first quarter, the Redskins dominated every phase of this game. The Lions were 3-1 coming in, but were quickly exposed. The useless stat of the day was that the Lions had never won at Washington in their entire history, although this game has not been significant since the NFC title game that ended the Lions’ 1991 season. The Redskins have not been special since that season either. Antwon Randle El had 100 yards receiving by halftime. John Kitna was harassed all day. The game was never close. 34-3 Redskins

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs–This was Jack Del Rio football, a tough, grind it out win. The Jaguars had the ball for nearly 37 minutes. When the Chiefs had the ball, they did nothing. Larry Johnson had nine rushes for 12 yards. Maurice Jones-Drew had a 52 yard touchdown run in the first half, adding to a first quarter field goal and a 10-0 Jaguar lead. A Jaguar touchdown with nine minutes left sealed the win. Brodie Croyle entered the game when Damon Huard was injured, and threw his first NFL touchdown pass during garbage time, which for the Chiefs was the entire game. 17-7 Jaguars

Cleveland Browns @ New England Patriots–The game had to be played because of the “any given Sunday” possibility of upsets. This was not to be. The Patriots jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way to become the first team to reach 5-0. Cleveland did have 353 yards of offense, but four turnovers did them in. New England had 412 yards of offense and no turnovers. Tom Brady had three touchdown passes. The game was never close, and New England scored with under a minute remaining for emphasis. 34-17 Patriots

Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams–The winless Rams had their best chance to get a win. Kurt Warner replaced an injured Matt Leinart, but the bottom line is that Warner is playing well and Leinart is not. Leinart has a fractured collarbone and will be out 6-8 weeks. The last time Kurt Warner stepped in for an injured starter, he led the Rams to a Superbowl win and a three year offensive pinball machine. Gus Frerotte, filling in for injured Mark Bulger, had three touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. With the game tied 20-20, a Frerotte interception was returned for a touchdown and a 27-20 Arizona lead that they would not relinquish. With the Rams down 27-23, the last interception for the Rams led to Warner’s lone touchdown pass of the game and a 34-23 Cardinal lead with three minutes left. The Rams scored a touchdown with seocnds left, but failed to recover the onsides kick. The Cardinals have won back to back games, and the Rams remained winless. 34-31 Cardinals

New York Jets @ New York Giants–The rivalry at the Meadowlands was an exciting game. Giants running back Brandon Jacobs fumbled deep in his own territory, and it was returned 11 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Jets lead. The Jets actually led 17-7 at the half, even though they were being booed in their own stadium since they were the road team for this game. Then again, they get booed at many home games in the Meadowlands. Yet it was the Giants being booed more in the first half. After the Giants cut the gap to 17-14, Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and a 24-14 lead.

Then Chad Pennington took over, which helped the wrong New York team. He completed three passes to New York receivers that were wearing big blue instead of gang green. The Giants also racked up 374 yards of offense, including 124 yard receiving by Plaxico Burress. An interception by Pennington in the Giants end zone wasted a scoring opportunity for the Jets. A pair of touchdowns put the Giants ahead, and Pennington’s third interception was returned for a touchdown to ice the game with three minutes left. 35-24 Giants

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos–Norvelous Norv Turner needs one good game before his inevitable firing. When he coached the Raiders, they went into Denver in a blizzard and the Raiders shocked the Broncos 25-24 in Denver. San Diego lightning struck twice in Denver, as the Chargers exploded out of the gate. An offensive touchdown was followed by a fumble return for two touchdowns in an 11 second span. San Diego led 17-0 before Denver finally cracked the scoreboard with a field goal of their own. A quick drive just before halftime led to another San Diego field goal and a 20-3 lead. This game will need several more weeks before it can be accurately dissected. It could be an aberration, or a turning point. I suspect an aberration. Norv Turner beats Mike Shanahan again in Denver. 41-3 Chargers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts–The Tampa Bay grind it out defense versus the Indy pinball machine offense. THe Colts did race to a 13-0 lead, which is typical for them, especially at home. Tampa Bay then slowed the pace of the game, which is Buc Ball. A touchdown closed the gap, but a field goal before the half had the Colts up 16-7 at the break. Both teams are well coached, but the Colts simply have too much firepower, especially at home. 33-14 Colts

Baltimore Ravens @ San Francisco 49ers–Two overrated teams, and the first half accurately reflected this. The Ravens defense was, as always, helped by an offense that consisted entirely of field goal kicker Matt Stover. The Ravens led 6-0 at the half, although the game was less exciting than the score suggested. Despite protests from fans who care, the game was not canceled, and the second half was just as ugly. The Ravens had the ball for 38 minutes, and Joe Nedney missed a field goal with three minutes left that would have altered the results of a game nobody should remember. 9-7 Ravens

Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers was the Sunday night game. Th Packers came out running the football, which was a surprise to those of us who associate the West Coast Offense with an inability to run the ball. What was more surprising was that they ran it right down the Chicao Bears’ throats. This is not the same Bears defense. The Packers dominated the first quarter in yards 189-20, and the Bears did not even have a first down. However, the Packers only led 7-0 because their receivers turned it over twice in Bears territory after lengthy gains. A bear field goal in the second quarter was taken off the board by a questionable defensive penalty. Instead, the Bears scored a touchdown on the next play to tie the game. A 50 yard touchdown bomb by Brett Favre after some more strong Green Bay running had the Packers back up 14-7. Favre was ridiculous in the first half, going 19 for 22 with 243 yards passing. Two of the three incompletions were spikes. Green Bay led 17-7 at the break.

An exchange of field goals was followed by a play that makes anyone coaching Favre crazy. He is the touchdown leader, but is on his way to becoming the interception leader because being from Mississippi, he is a riverboat gambler. A pass across the field deep in his own territory was intercepted by Brian Urlacher. On the next play, Brian Griese threw a touchdown pass that cut the gap to 20-17. After an exchange of punts, Green Bay fumbled on the punt return, for their fourth turnover. Green Bay dominated the first three quarters statistically, but the Bears tied the game 20-20 due to the turnovers.

Brian Griese threw an interception with 12 minutes remaining, but in the second half Green Bay’s offense was nonexistent. A touchdown pass by Griese put the Bears in the lead for the first time all game. With two minutes left, Favre had the ball. Favre got the ball to the Bear 30 with 13 seconds left. On the last play of the game, Favre’s Hail Mary was intercepted in the end zone. It was Favre’s 3rd interception, the 5th green Bay turnover, and Favre’s 277th interception overall, allowing him to tie the all time George Blanda record. 27-20 Bears

Dallas Cowboys @ Buffalo Bills was the Monday night game. The of the game was the Bills punter. A perfectly executed fake punt kept a drive going, and even when it stalled, a punt rolled out at the Cowboy 2 yard line. The first half was a nightmare for Tony Romo, who had four…yes four…interceptions by halftime alone. The first one was returned for a touchdown and a 7-0 Bills lead. The second one led to no points when the Dallas defense stoned the Bills on 3rd and 1, and again on 4th and 1. Romo then threw a touchdown pass to Jason Witten to deadlock the game 7-7. Bills quarterback Trent Edwards played well throughout the first half, and his drive with three minutes left in the half set up a field goal for a 10-7 Bills lead. Romo’s third interception had him passing from his own end zone. It was deflected in the air and caught for another touchdown, putting the Bills up 17-7. Romo’s 4th interception set up a Ryan Lindell 54 yard field goal attempt. However, the kick was wide, and Romo showed a lot of character by leading a rapid drive that set up a successful field goal for Dallas. Despite having a miserable first half, the Cowboys were only down 17-10 at the break.

Terrell Owens, perhaps attempting to undo the damage he has inflicted upon himself, remained supportive of Romo, cheering him up after the interceptions. This was in contrast to his sideline blowup with Donovan McNabb, when the Eagles were 6-0. The key to Dallas this season will be what happens when there is adversity. Bill Parcells was unable to rein in Owens, so Wade Phillips will be judged based on whether or not he can.

The other people were those on the sidelines. Jim Kelly was watching as Thurman Thomas was being honored. Two of Kelly’s worst games were against Dallas, so it was a change of pace to see Dallas with all the turnovers.

In the same way kicker Scott Norwood bounced back after his miss heard round the world, Tony Romo bounced back as well. His last tie under the microscope was a disastrous fumbled snap that ended the Tuna’s era in Dallas. Romo led Dallas on a six minute drive to start the second half that led to a field goal, cutting the Bills lead to 17-13. The Bills apparently did not need an offense in this game. Two defensive touchdowns were complemented by Terrence Macghee’s 103 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put Buffalo up 24-13. A Dallas field goal cut the gap to eight, and the Cowboys were driving again when Tony Romo had his fifth turnover, this time a fumble with 10 minutes remaining. With Buffalo inside the Dallas 10 and needing only a field goal to possibly ice the game, Trent Edwards saw his flawless game go out the window. A sideline pass was deflected, intercepted, and returned 70 yards to the Buffalo 17. In a shocker, Tony Romo had his 6th turnover, as his 5th interception was returned from the Buffalo end zone and returned to the Buffalo 38 with five minutes remaining. T.O. was scowling on the sidelines.

The Dallas defense held, and with two minutes left, all Tony Romo did was to charge down the field and throw a touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining. The 2 point conversion was perfectly thrown from Romo to T.O., but an even more perfect defensive play by Jabari Greer made the difference. Greer ripped the ball out of T.O.’s hands to preserve what looked like a Bills win. That was, until a perfectly executed onsides kick had Dallas at the Buffalo 47 with 18 seconds left and no timeouts.

Yes, the game was that ridiculous, as well as that thrilling. A pass to T.O. inbounds led to a spike with one second left in field goal range. The pass was ruled incomplete on review, and the clock was reset to 13 seconds. In an even more bizarre scene, backup Cowboy quarterback Brad Johnson argued that because the ball was spiked before the review, the pass should count anyway. It did not. A pass to Shawn Barber got to the Buffalo 43 with 7 seconds left. A pass to Creighton got to the Bills 35 with 2 seconds left. A 52 yard field goal attempt by Nick Folk was…GOOD! Cowboys win!

Ummm…no, they don’t. Somebody slap Mike Shanahan. A timeout was called at the very last second. A second attempt was…GOOD! AGAIN! This time it counted.

I have often said that everything a person can teach their children in life can be learned from football. Somebody buy Tony Romo a beverage. The Cowboys remained unbeaten, the Bills lost a shocker, and this game will go down as one of the all time great comebacks.  25-24 Cowboys

In the Adult Sports League that I am playing in, I played all of the first half and some of the second half before having to take a friend to the airport. This does not happen in the NFL. We were down 26-8 when I left. I did not enhance or detract from the team in any way, as the Brown team lost to the Black team.

As for the Oakland Raiders, they are actually in sole possession of first place!

God bless the bye week. The last time the Raiders led the division was 2002, and that year they went to the Superbowl. I’m just saying…

eric 🙂

2 Responses to “NFL 2007–Week 5 Recap”

  1. Hey, I’m just excited that my Bears actually beat someone! Granted, it was the overrated Packers, but a win’s a win!



  2. Why is it that I am thinking that the Bronco’s played what may well be the worst game that they have ever played..?

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