As I am now stuffed and still prepared to be mounted on the wall like an oversized television set, my love for the game allows me to stagger out of bed, crawl to my tv sets, and report on Week 12 in the NFL. Unfortunately, unlike most weeks, a majority of the early games were not competitive. Fortunately, bad football is still much better than most things on Earth. As for the late games, they were thrilling.
First, there was some action on Thanksgiving.
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions–The myth that the Lions are a good team needs to be dispelled. They are not a bad team, which is what is expected of the Lions. They are improved. They are a long way from good. There was a time when going into Detroit on Thanksgiving Day was a loss for the road team. The old Pontiac Silverdome was a house of horrors for Brett Favre, second only to the Metrodome. Those days are gone. Yes, the first quarter was all Detroit, but their 6-0 lead was not meant to last. Favre had a 344 yard 3 touchdown performance, as Green Bay was cruising 34-12 in the fourth quarter. Detroit did cut the gap to 34-26, but a Green Bay field goal iced a game that was not as close as the score indicated. A preview of the NFC Title Game will be played on November 29th when Green Bay is at Dallas. Green Bay is 10-1. 37-26 Packers
New York Jets @ Dallas Cowboys–A very bad team played a very good team, and there were no surprised. Dallas raced to a 21-0 lead, and despite being bored the rest of the game, could not become so bored that giving the game away was a serious consideration. Dallas is also 10-1, and can now focus on their collision course with Green Bay. I still maintain it will not be Colts-Patriots, but it will be the best NFC game this year, and the first time since 1990 that a pair of 10-1 teams played. In that game the Giants and 49ers were both 10-0, and then lost badly in week 11. In this case, both teams are coming off of wins. As for the Jets…oh, who cares. 34-3 Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts @ Atlanta Falcons–The Colts are reeling from injuries, while the Falcons entire team has gone to the dogs. Yes, I went there. The Falcons did jump out to a 10-0 lead, but then reality set in. This Colts team does not panic. Why should they? They trailed 21-3 in the AFC Title Game last year, and fell behind in the Superbowl in the first 15 seconds. Peyton Manning is as poised as any quarterback, and Tony Dungy released pressure form his team by apologizing for the loss a week earlier when everybody else but him was to blame. At 9-2 the Colts are staring up at New England, but they are still better than virtually everybody else, including hapless Atlanta. 31-13 Colts
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers–Before the season started this game had the potential to be something extra special. The Saints were coming off of being one game short of the Superbowl, and the Panthers appeared loaded with talent after an injury plagued season. Instead, a pair of 4-6 teams tried to stave off playoff elimination. By the time Drew Brees ran in a 3rd quarter touchdown himself, the Saints were up 24-6, as the Saints retained a sliver of hope and the Panthers continued to be a head scratcher. Carolina has dropped five straight. 31-6 Saints
Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars–Old reliable Fred Taylor is still doing it, and a 50 yard touchdown run put the Jaguars up 7-0. Jack Del Rio’s defense had the Jags up 19-7 when a touchdown run closed the gap to five points late in the third quarter. Buffalo got no closer as Maurice Jones-Drew ran hard, and the Buffalo offense went nowhere. Buffalo fell to 5-6, allowing New England at 10-0 to clinch their division. The Jaguars are often overshadowed by Indy, but they are a solid 8-3 and one game back. 36-14 Jaguars
Washington Redskins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Turnovers by the Redskins plagued them the entire first half, as Monte Kiffin’s Tampa defense harassed Jason Campbell and propelled the Buccaneers to a 19-3 lead. Campbell did throw a 40 yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley cut the gap to 9 points in the third quarter. The Redskins tacked on a field goal, and were driving with 6 minutes left. The drive stalled, but Washington got the ball back again at their own 7 yard line with 3 minutes left. Campbell drove the Redskins all the way down the field, and with 20 seconds left, Washington had reached the Tampa Bay 15. Campbell was then intercepted in the end zone on the next play, the 6th Washington turnover on the day, The Bucs survived despite being outgained 412-192, and managing 15 total yards and zero first downs in the second half. Buc Ball…blah. 19-13 Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams–The Rams came into this game a bad team, but also a team with a two game winning streak. A safety issue plus a 53 yard touchdown run by Stephen Davis had the Rams up 9-0. After a Seattle touchdown on an 89 yard kickoff return by Josh Wilson, a Marc Bulger touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce had the Rams up by 9 again. A field goal extend the Rams lead to 19-7, but Seattle clawed back with a field goal of their own and a touchdown to come within two points late in the third quarter. Seattle took the lead with another touchdown, but a chance to extend the gap to 8 points failed when a field goal with 2:44 left was no good. The Rams then marched down the field like it was 1999, getting to the Seattle 5 yard line with 1:21 remaining. On 4th and goal from the 1 with 29 seconds left, Frerotte took a timeout. With the game on the line, Gus Frerotte fumbled the snap. Seattle escaped by the edge of Holmgren’s tusks. 24-19 Seahawks
Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants–Despite not having rookie phenom Adrian Peterson, the Vikings needed less than one minute to go on top 7-0, as Tavaris Jackson went to Sidney Rice for a 60 yard touchdown pass. Eli Manning threw his first touchdown pass to Darren Sharper, who unfortunately for Big Blue, plays for the guys in purple. While the G-Men did tie the game, Manning continued to throw perfect strikes to the Vikings secondary, propelling Minnesota to a 24-7 lead. Manning’s miserable day culminated in a deflected pass that was returned by Dave Dwight 93 yards for a touchdown and a 34-10 Vikings route. Chad Greenway returned another Manning interception for a touchdown. Three of Manning’s four interceptions went for touchdowns, with the other one being returned inside the 10 yard line. Give a team 28 points, and they will win big. Somewhere, San Diego was enjoying this. 41-17 Vikings
Tennessee Titans @ Cincinnati Bengals–Rudy Johnson ran it in from 5 yards out, as the Bengals moved out to a 7-0 lead. A chance to extend the lead was wasted when a 21 yard field goal was wide. Vince Young then immediately took advantage by throwing a bomb that went to the Bengals 7 yard line. It should have been a touchdown, but the wide receiver lost his balance and went out of bounds. Tennessee needed 2 plays to waste the opportunity and fumble the ball back to the Bengals. In the spirit of thanks and giving, Carson Palmer had a pass on the next drive deflected and intercepted, setting up a field goal by Rob Bironas.
A Palmer touchdown pass to Chad Johnson put the Bengals up 14-3, and again Ocho Cinco was flagged for excessive celebration. Marvin lewis laughed it off, given that 2007 has had little for the Bengals to celebrate about. By the time Palmer threw his second touchdown pass to Johnson, Cincy was completely in command. 35-6 Bengals
Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns–This was the up and coming bowl, as both of these teams, while not “there” yet, are significantly improved. The Browns led 17-10 for much of the game, and a fourth quarter touchdown put the game out of reach. Touchdown passes by Derek Anderson to Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow powered the Browns, and Matt Schaub threw an interception with 8 minutes remaining to set up the final touchdown, a run from a yard out by Jamal Lewis. The Browns are 7-4. 27-17 Browns
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs–For more on the game of the day, go to
In addition to being a disgrace of a football team, there is more turmoil in Raiderland. Lamont Jordan asked to be released this week when he was deactivated last week. He was supposedly demoted due to Justin Fargas running well, although he was active for this game.. First of all, nobody on the Oakland offense is playing well. Secondly, the Raiders refused to release him, and hopefully he will work his way back into the lineup soon enough.
The Chiefs started a quarterback with virtually no experience in Brodie Croyle. With Priest Holmes retiring and Larry Johnson out, they also started a running back with almost no experience in Colby Smith. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they started the same people who have been losing week after week.
Early on Michael Huff intercepted Croyle’s 1st pass, and the Raiders started inside the Chiefs 30. Of course, it only led to a field goal. The Oakland defense then allowed Colby Smith to look like the second coming of Jim Brown, as Kansas City ran it down the field for a touchdown. Based on this season, 7-3 seemed like too much of a deficit to overcome. The Raiders did manage to get slightly past midfield on their next drive, but a 3rd and 5 pass from Daunte Culpepper to Ronald Curry was dropped. On the next drive, the Raiders had 2nd and 1 at the Chiefs 30. Culpepper was then sacked for a 9 yard loss, followed by a pass toJerry Porter that was first ruled dropped, then called a catch and a 16 yard gain, and then reversed on a coach’s challenge back to incomplete. A bright spot was Sebastian Janikowski drilling a 55 yard field goal, with drilled being an understatement.
A Kansas City field goal was followed by a Raiders fumble. The defense held, but a punt pinned the Raiders back to their own five yard line. At the two minute warning, the Raiders faced 3rd and inches from their 15. They did convert, but their attempts to run out the clock failed. The Chiefs decided to use their timeouts. However, a booming punt by Shane Lechler coupled with a holding penalty against the Chiefs had Kansas City pinned back. Herman Edwards decided to pass, and after he was sacked, the Raiders decided to use their timeouts. Never has a first half of football been prolonged with so little in terms of results. Since Oakland only had two timeouts instead of the full three, KC finally kneeled on the ball to end this awful half.
The third quarter finally saw a ray of hope for the Raiders, and it was delivered by Lamont Jordan, who ran it in 5 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders led 13-10 with 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Next came the waiting game to see when and how the team would screw this game up. They obliged immediately by drawing a personal foul penalty for hitting Brodie Croyle after he was well out of bounds.The Raider defense continued to make Brodie Croyle look like the second coming of Len Dawson. Colby Smith ran for an easy 7 yard touchdown up the middle against a pathetic run defense. His second touchdown put the Chiefs back up by four near the end of the third quarter. The Raiders then dodged a bullet when KC missed a chip shot 33 yard field goal attempt with 11 minutes remaining. For any other offense in the league, this would be plenty of time to actually do something.
Out of nowhere, Culpepper showed what he can do when given time to throw and reasonable routes to go deep. The dink and dunk offense does not work for this team. A 30 yard strike got the ball to midfield, and another Culpepper deep throw, this time to Jerry Porter, placed the ball at the 14 yard line. Justin Fargas then ran it the final 14 yards on the next play. A stunned Kansas City team saw the Raiders go 78 yards in 3 plays. The drive was one minute long. The Raiders led 20-17 with 9 1/2 minutes remaining. This was a typical Chiefs Raiders game, which unfortunately over the last 17 years means the Chiefs would somehow win. One ray of hope for the Raiders was that Marcus Allen was not scowling from the sidelines.
With 4 1/2 minutes left, a 3rd and 5 catch was made by Eddie Kennison. He caught it between his knees, not with his hands. Kansas City called a timeout, and on 4th and 1 from the Oakland 23, they then challenged the spot. The spot stood, meaning KC had spent two timeouts. Kansas City eschewed a 40 yard field goal to tie the game and decided to go for it. Then, Colby Smith, who had been running up and down the field all day, was stoned in the backfield by the Silver and Black defense. The Raiders had the ball, a 3 point lead, and Justin Fargas running well. KC had only one timeout. Could the Raiders finally stop the bleeding?
After several successful plays, the Raiders faced a 2nd and 14 from near midfield at the two minute warning. Had Fargas not run out of bounds on a sweep, there would have been less time, but the Raiders cannot make things easy. Some would say it would be better to lose the remaining games and get a great draft pick to complement JaMarcus Russell, but I always support winning. Losing is nauseating. With 1:54 left, KC used their last timeout. On 3rd and 11 I was pleading with the Raiders to run the ball and punt. Any pass in this situation would be a mistake. From the KC 44, Culpepper handed off to Fargas, and he ran for the first down!
22 carries for 139 yards, and 9 straight losses to the hated Chiefs had come to an end. A six game losing streak in 2007 was over. A 17 game losing streak in the division was over. Yes, the team is 3-8, but today was a hard fought win. I detest everything about Kansas City, and I am changing Lame Kiffin’s name back to Lane Kiffin. He is now undefeated against the Chiefs in Arrowhead at 1-0. Now to hope that this game wrecked the season for the Chiefs. 20-17 Raiders
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals–Kurt Warner threw a touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald, but then Arizona turned the ball over a couple times, with Frank Gore capitalizing on the latter one to put the 49ers up 17-7. Warner came back with another touchdown pass, this one going to Anquon Bouldin. With just under one minute left in the half, Walt Harris had his second interception of Warner, setting up a missed field goal with seconds left in the half.
With time for only one play before the half, Kurt Warner launched a hail mary from midfield. Ignoring Tom Jackson’s advice to “Knock it down!,” Larry Fitzgerald outjumped everybody and caught it for a touchdown. He then left the ball on the field, ducked under a yellow police line tape, and went into the locker room. Unlike Bo Jackson 20 years ago, at least Fitzgerald left the ball behind so the Cardinals could kick the extra point. It was good, putting Arizona up 21-17. Nevertheless, when you score a touchdown like that, I guess you are entitled to an extra 60 seconds of naptime, or whatever players do during halftime.
Early in the second half, Arizona faced 4th and 6 in San Francisco territory. Out of the shotgun, the snap was low, rolled past Kurt Warner, and eventually resulted in a 30 yard loss and a turnover on downs. 3 plays later, a swing pass from Dilfer led to a 55 yard touchdown and a 24-21 49ers lead. The Cardinals again faced a 4th down, this time a 4th and 1 at midfield. This time they converted, although the drive stalled. On their next drive, Arizona faced 3rd and 2 at the San Francisco 5 yard line. A running play fell short, and after a timeout, on 4th and 1, a play action pass went for a touchdown and a 28-24 Cardinals lead with 10 minutes left. Kurt Warner looks young again, although that could be because he shaved his beard and mustache.
With 6 minutes left, it was San Francisco that faced a 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 27. For some reason, they tried a low percentage pass play. On 4th and 1, they ran off tackle, figuring that the straightest way t move forward was to move laterally. The play lost yards, and the ball was turned over on downs. However, the 49ers got the ball back, and Frank Gore rambled further than Al Gore en route to a 35 yard touchdown and a 3 point 49ers lead with 1:15 left.
Arizona then marched immediately down the field, and were in long field goal range when Warner threw another deep pass that was caught by Johnson in double coverage at the one yard line with six seconds left. Arizona had a timeout, meaning they could even run the ball on the next play. However, the Cardinals ended up using their timeout due to the play clock running down. The ball was placed at the one foot line after a booth review, and the Cardinals decided to go for the win rather than the tie. The 49ers then called a timeout. A quick pass was incomplete, but 2 seconds remained. The Cardinals set up for an 18 yard field goal, but the 49ers called another timeout, as if icing Neil Rackers on an 18 yard kick would work. The game went into overtime tied 31-31.
Arizona got the ball first in overtime, and despite not being able to move at first, were aided by a personal foul against the San Francisco defense. The Cardinals got to the San Fransisco 41, but on this 4th and one decided to punt. The 49ers failed to move, and on the next drive, Kurt Warner, who had 484 yards passing, set up Neil Rackers for a 27 yard field goal to win the game. A delay of game penalty on the kick pushed it back to 32 yards, where Rackers missed it. Kurt Warner would have been justified in shooting every member of his offense after that. 7 minutes remained in overtime.
San Francisco again could not move the ball, but the Cardinals return man inexplicably fielded the ball at his own one yard line. A return to the 15 was moved back due to an illegal block. Starting from their own one, a 99 yard bomb would make Kurt Warner the single game passing leader. Instead, he went back to pass, was hit, fumbled, and Santa Claus…make that Tully Banta-Cain… fell on it for a gift touchdown and the win. With nearly 500 yards passing, all the Cardinals could do was summon up 125 years of futility to somehow lose this game to a team that had lost 8 straight games themselves. At least by 4-0 the Cardinals won the turnover battle if one pretends that the higher number wins this statistic. 37-31 49ers, OT
Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers–The Ravens have Ray Lewis. The Chargers have Norv Turner. Shockingly enough, this was not an old AFL type shootout with 80 points on the board. I think the over-under was 10. The Chargers had a 3-0 lead when the Ravens shocked the football world by scoring a touchdown, a mighty one yard plunge by Willis McGahee. Nevertheless, Norvelous Norv’s boys scored a touchdown of their own, capping the drive with a botched snap on the extra point for a 9-7 lead.
With Kyle Boller filling in for Steve McNair, the San Diego defense teed off. Boller was hit, resulting in a fumble that San Diego recovered deep in Baltimore territory. The vaunted Chargers offense tacked on a field goal. A touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Chris Chambers had the Chargers up 19-7 with 25 seconds left in the half. Baltimore then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting up Nate Kaeding’s 3rd field goal and a 22-7 lead at the intermission. San Diego coasted from there. 32-14 Chargers
Denver Broncos @ Chicago Bears–First the teams exchanged field goals, and then some replaceable part known as a Denver running back scored to put the Broncos up 10-3. After the Broncos fumbled deep in their own territory, the Bears turned first and 10 at the 16 to 3rd and 37 at the 43. A touchdown pass by Grossman was nullified by a penalty, and this was followed by a sack. A dump off pass set up a 44 yard field by Robbie Gould to pull within 10-6. With under a minute left in the first half, a simple swing pass from Jay Cutler to Andre Hall went for 80 yards down to the five yard line. However, Chicago held Denver to a field goal and a 13-6 lead for the Broncos at the half.
Luckily for the Broncos, the Bears do not have any game changing players. Oh, wait a sec. Devon Hester did it again, taking a punt return 75 yards, through the end zone, and into the tunnel himself. He hurdled a couple players to get their this time, and the game was tied 13-13 a couple minutes into the second half. Denver fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but fell on it. It was for naught as Jay Cutler threw an interception on the next play. With Chicago starting in the red zone, Rex Grossman was hit and fumbled, although he was ruled down by contact. Facing 4th and 2, the Bears first decided to go fir it, then opted for a field goal attempt, only to have Mike Shanahan throw a challenge flag before the ball was kicked. It was ruled a fumble, and a Denver recovery. Both teams struggled offensively, but with 2 1/2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, a 5 yard touchdown run by Cecil Sapp put the Broncos back on top 20-13.
At this point Dan Dierdorf, the king of overstating things, actually had hyperbole that was within bounds when he described Devon Hester, who returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for his second touchdown on the day. One punt return and one kickoff return adds up to a nightmare for the other 31 teams. The game was tied 20-20. The defensive struggle turned into a pinball machine when Denver scored on the first play from scrimmage, a 68 yard pass play from Cutler to Brandon Marshall and a 27-20 Broncos lead. Three scores in 30 seconds had everybody wide awake, as Denver decided whether or not to kick the ball within 50 yards of Devon Hester. A squib kick was returned by Rasheed Davis 20 yards to midfield.
Chicago did not move the ball, and Denver responded with Cutler throwing a 41 yard strike to Tony Scheffler, followed by their 2nd timeout with 12 minutes left. Cutler then went to Scheffler, who caught the ball between his legs between double coverage. Denver, who did not have a 3rd down conversion the entire game at this point, led 34-20 with about 10 1/2 minutes left. Rex Grossman’s fumble on the next series seemed almost anticlimactic. It was the 4th Chicago turnover on the day.
Denver had the game well in hand when Charles Tillman blocked a Todd Sauerbrun punt, returning it to the Denver 18. This set up a touchdown on the ground, cutting the Denver lead to 7 points with 5 1/2 minutes left.
Chicago got the ball back with 3 minutes left, after what seemed like 10 minutes of strategy concerning the punt return. Devon Hester came into the game on offense. On 4th and 10 from their own 35, Grossman’s deep pass was incomplete. Unfortunately for the Broncos, an illegal contact penalty on Dre Bly gave the Bears new life. Grossman passed the Bears to the Denver 18, and a run by the other Adrian Peterson had the ball at the seven yard line with over a minute left. Chicago let the clock run down, but two running plays and an incomplete pass later, a fourth down pass was ruled inbounds for a touchdown with 30 seconds left. After a very careful review, it was deemed to be a spectacular reception.
In overtime, the Bears went straight down the field, and on 3rd down Grossman took a knee to position the ball in the center of the field. Shanahan did not call a timeout, since icing a kicker in Chicago is pointless. Robbie Gould nailed it, as the Bears erased a 14 point deficit with just over 5 minutes left to win in a stunner. 37-34 Bears, OT
Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots was the Sunday night game. A.J. Feeley, filling in for an injured Donovan McNabb, needed only 90 seconds to throw his first touchdown pass to Asanti Samuel. Problem…Samuel plays defense for the Patriots. As my friend remarked, this could have been Andy Reid’s strategy to keep the Patriots offense off the field. If so, their Plan B was better. Plan B was a 14 play, 77 yard drive, including a 4th down conversion at the 15 yard line. Eating up almost 7 minutes of the clock, the score was tied 7-7 before Tom Brady even took the field. Although Brady did get belted for a sack during his first drive, it did not stop the team from getting to the Eagles one yard line, where Junior Seau lined up at fullback, setting up a touchdown run by Heath Evans for a 14-7 Patriots lead. Philadelphia kept fighting, and an AJ Feeley 28 yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis tied the game 14-14 early in the second quarter.
Andy Reid then called an onsides kick, and David Akers executed it perfectly. AFter a nine yard loss, an offsides penalty was remarkable only in that it was the first penalty of the game among two disciplined teams. While the drive stalled, the Patriots again marched down the field. Jim Johnson’s defense stiffened inside the 10 yard line, and the Patriots had to settle for a field goal and a 17-14 lead. Jay Feeley continued to play with confidence and poise. After recovering his own fumble on one play, he threw another touchdown on the next play. With 3 minutes left in the half, the Eagled led 21-17 on the road.
At this point it should be noted that in 2004 Feeley led the 2-11 Dolphins at home against the 12-1 Patriots. Brady had a meltdown that game, throwing 4 interceptions, 2 late in the game, and the Dolphins won a 29-28 shocker. That game, several days before Christmas, was the one where a security guard dressed as Santa, when asked by a 6 year old girl for a Dolphins victory, replied, “Sweetie, Santa can’t work miracles.”
While an Eagles win in this game might be considered a miracle, or at the very least the upset of the year, what is overlooked in this “any given Sunday” league is that AJ Feeley, while not a superstar, is a very capable football player, more than just a serviceable backup. Besides, if the Patriots were to win 51-21, the first half would be derided as delaying the inevitable. As for inevitable, the Patriots went back down the field, and a very questionable catch in the back of the end zone for some bizarre reason was not reviewed. With eight seconds left in the half, New England was back on top 24-21.
If the Eagles were going to fall apart, it was not on their first defensive series. They sacked Brady for the third time, forcing a punt. The Eagles, coached by pass happy Andy Reid, inexplicably called a pitchout on 3rd and 2 from midfield.It was stuffed, and after a punt, the Patriots took over at their own 11 yard line. Facing a 3rd and 12, a quick screen pass to Wes Welker led to a long gain to the five yard line. A touchdown pass to Randy Moss was called back due to offensive pass interference. On the next play, safety Brian Dawkins dropped an interception, and the next pass was dropped by Wes Welker. The Eagles then got a major break when a chip shot 32 yard field goal was no good, hooked just wide. Feeley then continued to strike back with accurate passes, including a 2o yard completion on 3rd and 10. A flea flicker led to a 16 yard gain, as Feeley smartly saw that the deep ball was not available. Another completion took the ball to the New England 14 yard line. On 3rd and 4 from the 8, Philly took a timeout. In the face of a heavy rush, Feeley threw a touchdown pass to Reggie Brown, putting the Eagles up 28-24 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The 10 play, 78 yard drive was all passes, no runs.
The Patriots had to punt on their next possession, until the Eagles jumped offsides on 4th and 3. This boneheaded move gave New England another shot, and is anybody surprised when these gifts get accepted in the form of a dagger returned? New England moved the ball to the Philly 33, but on 4th and 4 facing a heavy rush, Brady’s pass fell incomplete. The Eagles had held, but 13 1/2 minutes still remained, and the Eagles are not a running team by any stretch. Feeley kept throwing, but used up only 90 seconds of clock as some incomplete passes followed by a terrible punt gave the Patriots the ball back again at their own 31. With the Patriots on the move again, the Eagles on defense burned their second timeout. It didn’t help. With Randy Moss blanketed the entire game by Lito Shepherd, Wes Welker was catching balls early and often. Despite passing most of the drive, it was a 5 yard run by Maroney that put the Patriots up 31-28 with 7:20 left.
The Eagles started at their own 8 yard line on their next drive, and Feeley kept firing. Again he moved the ball, but with the team in field goal range from the 29, he went for all the marbles and was intercepted for the second time by Samuels. Four minutes remained, and the Patriots also kept throwing. On 3rd and one from their own 29, the Patriots were flagged for a false start, stopping the clock with 2:27. A completion to Gaffney at the 41 was enough for a first down, as Philly extinguished their last time out, and virtually any remaining hope. The Eagles needed a miracle, this was not the Meadowlands, and Herm Edwards is somewhere in Kansas City right now. The Patriots punted with 30 seconds left, and Devon Hester was in Chicago somewhere. Bryan Westbrook went back to try and pull off a shocker. He didn’t. With 19 seconds left, Feeley started at his own 26. One play was all he needed to throw his 3rd interception, this time to James Sanders.
There are no moral victories. The Eagles had every chance to win and didn’t get it done. The 11-0 Patriots escaped. 31-28 Patriots
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers was the Monday night game. This was either the best or worst game ever played, or neither. Delayed by lightning, playing in a monsoon on a field so muddy the yard markers could not be seen, the Dolphins looked to win their first game of the year. The Steelers were in Dolphins territory 9 times, to no avail. Until 3 minutes remained in the entire game, neither team had reached the other side’s red zone. Each team missed a field goal. With 90 seconds left, the Steelers had first and goal. With 20 seconds left, Jeff Reed had a 24 yard field goal attempt. The fans indoors may have wanted overtime, but the fans in the stadium did not. Either way, the kick was good. The Dolphins can still match the 1976 Bucs. 3-0 Steelers