Before getting to the words of wisdom of Retired Minnesota Viking John Randle, I just want to cap the last week of the NFL regular season by saying that for all of America out there that belongs to my gender, heed my words.
Yes, we are on the run. Yes, metrosexuals have thinned our ranks. No, we cannot go back to the days when we ruled the world. However, there is still one place on this Earth that exists for guys…the National Football League. Nothing says men like Sunday football, and nothing complements Sunday football perfectly like red meat. I want to thank the marketing department of Burger King for creating one of the best commercials ever made. Set to the tune of “I am woman, hear me roar,” It is our version.
So enjoy the recap, undo the top button. Until we have to go back to work the next day, we are free. We are incorrigible. We are…MAN!
I am man, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore, and I’m way to hungry, to settle for chick food…
Cause my stomach’s starting to growl, and I’m going on the prowl, for a Texas Double Whopper, man that’s good…
Yes, I’m a guy, I’ll admit I’ve been fed quiche…
Wave Tofu bye-bye, now it’s the Whopper beef I reach…
I will eat this meat, till my innie turns into an outtie…
I am starved…I am incorrigible…
I wanna stuff a big bacon beef burger jalapeno good thing down…
I AM HUNGRY…I AM INCORRIGIBLE…(Holds the burger high above his head like a triumphant warrior)…
With that, for the final week in 2007, I bring you the NFL Recap, beginning with the fever pitched intensity of John Randle.
New England Patriots @ New York Giants was the Saturday night game. The Patriots were playing for perfection. On the second play of the game, Eli Manning threw a bomb to Plaxico Burress, setting up Manning’s first touchdown pass and a 7-0 Giants lead. Tom Brady’s first touchdown pass to Randy Moss following an earlier field goal had New England up 10-7. The ensuing kickoff was short, and taken 74 yards for a touchdown by Dominick Hixon. The Giants led 14-10. New England added a couple more field goals to lead 16-14, but Eli Manning would not quit. He has had his critics as of late, and they have been justified. Nevertheless, just before the half, his second touchdown pass, a short toss to Kevin Boss, had the Giants up 21-16 at the half.
Six minutes into the third quarter, Manning’s third touchdown pass went to Plaxico Burress, and the Giants led 28-16. Amazingly enough, the 12 point gap was the most New England has trailed all season, surpassing the ten points they trailed Indy earlier in the year. The undefeated season was on the line, but New England did not get to 15-0 by quitting either. A short touchdown run by Lawrence Maroney cut the gap to 28-23. After three quarters, the Giants still led.
With 11 1/2 minutes left in the game, Tom Brady rolled out, and threw a bomb to Randy Moss. The ball was just underthrown, and Moss dropped it. While it did hit his fingertips, it would have been a difficult catch. The Patriots did what almost no other team would do. They ran the exact same play on the next play. Brady again bombed away to Moss, who caught it in stride for the touchdown. It was Brady’s 50th touchdown pass of the year, breaking Peyton Manning’s 49 touchdown passes set in 2004. It was Moss’s 23rd touchdown reception, breaking Jerry Rice’s 22 receiving touchdowns in 1987. While Rice scored his in only 12 games due to the strike shortened season, the record has been broken. More importantly, after a successful two point conversion run by Maroney, the Patriots were back on top 31-28.
In a well played game by both teams, Manning was intercepted by Ellis Hobbs. It was the only turnover of the game, but it was deadly. Starting in Giants territory, the Patriots took a ten point lead with 4 1/2 minutes left when Maroney barreled through from 5 yards out. The Giants refused to go down without a fight, and Manning’s fourth touchdown pass with just over one minute left made it a three point game again. A successful onsides kick could set up the tying field goal.
It was not to be. New England recovered the onsides kick, and ran out the clock.They had ended the season with 589 points, surpassing the 556 points scored by the 1998 Vikings, a team that also featured Randy Moss, in his rookie year. After several close calls, the New England Patriots finished the regular season 16-0.
Yes, Tom Brady will always be the guy who fumbled the ball to the Raiders in the tuck rule game. Yes, they were caught stealing signals from the Jets. Some would say they are a classless organization, from their dour coach to their trash talking defensive veterans. Yet unbeaten is still unbeaten. They went 16-0.
One word of caution for this team. The 1998 Vikings were 15-1 that year. They then blew up in the playoffs. Being the best team ever is nice, but the goal is to be the best team of 2007 and then let the barflys argue. Winning the Superbowl ends the argument for this year. While every NFL season has surprises, if there are none, the AFC Title game will have Indy and New England on a collision course, and what a collision it will be.
As for the Giants, somebody forgot to tell them this was a meaningless game. They are at Tampa Bay next weekend in the Wildcard round. New England is on the way to making history, but they have three games left. If they do not win it all, the regular season means nothing. As for the regular season, they did it, and that can never be taken away. 16-0 is now achieved, and it was as difficult as it looked. 38-35 Patriots
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons–Despite a season of misery, Atlanta hung tough in the first half against a playoff bound Seattle team. Nevertheless, Mike Holmgren must have been a happy walrus when Matt Hasselbeck threw 30 yard touchdown pass to Bobby Engram to put Seattle up 17-14 late in the first half. With both teams tied 20-20 late in the third quarter, Maurice Morris, with Shawn Alexander resting on the bench, broke off a touchdown run to put Seattle up 27-20 at the end of the third quarter. As for the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, Holmgren was soon to be an angry walrus.
Atlanta responded with a 55 yard touchdown bomb from Chris Redman to Alge Crumpler to tie the game on the first play of the fourth quarter. After Seneca Wallace, filling in for Matt Hasselbeck, fumbled the ball away, another short touchdown pass to Crumpler had the Falcons up 34-27 early in the fourth. Two touchdowns in 90 seconds swung the lead. Wallace was then intercepted, with the return allowing the Falcons to start first and goal. Redman then threw to Ronny White for his fourth touchdown pass. Two touchdowns in 15 seconds, and three touchdowns in less than two minutes, had the Falcons up 41-27.
Seattle rallied back, and trailing 44-34, Wallace threw a touchdown to nate Burleson with 53 seconds left to close within a field goal. Seattle recovered the onsides kick, but was offsides. Atlanta recovered the next attempt. Although Miami had the worst record, Atlanta may have had the most nightmarish season. 44-41 Falcons
New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears–Last year this was the NFC Title Game, but there was much less significance this year. The Saints needed this game to keep their slimmest of playoff hopes alive. The Bears had nothing to play for but pride, and with Lovie Smith at the helm, last year’s NFC Champions have plenty. Kyle Orton threw a touchdown pass to jumpstart Chicago to a 10-0 first quarter lead. Drew Brees had a pair of touchdown passes to Marquis Colston, but an Adrian Peterson halfback option pass inbetween the Saints scores had Chicago still up 17-14, and they led 24-14 when Orton threw a 55 yard bomb to Devon Hester. It was Hester’s first touchdown on offense. With seconds left in the half, Brees was intercepted in the end zone by Charles Tillman. Yet Tillman insisted on running it out, which led to him fumbling it back. Did anybody watch the San Diego-New England playoff game last year? Every defender thinks they are going coast to coast. With new life after the recovery, Martin Grammatica kicked a 55 yard field goal to keep the Saints within 24-17 at halftime.
I want to now make an announcement louder than any NFL announcer so that every special teams coach gets it through their thick special teams skulls.
Yes, he did it again, accomplishing in 32 games what many never accomplish once. He is absolutely ridiculous, and his 64 yard punt return put the Bears up 31-17 midway through the third quarter. A safety put the final nail in the coffin, sending the Saints to 7-9, eliminating them from playoff contention. Drew Brees threw the ball 60 times in this game, and did set the NFL record with 443 completions in a season. 33-25 Bears
Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins–Carson Palmer had three touchdown passes in the first half, including a 70 yarder to Chad Johnson and a 4 yarder to Antonio Chapman just before halftime. Cincy led 21-10 at the break. They cruised to a win, sending Miami to a miserable 1-15 finish. 38-25 Bengals
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers–Rumors have Mike Martz on the hot seat, but the Lions defense is not his fault. The Lions are out, and the Packers have the # 2 seed locked up. They could have rested everybody, but Brett Favre started the game anyway because he is Brett Favre. He then threw two touchdowns in just over a quarter of action, and with Green Bay up 21-3, Aaron Rodgers began warming up. Favre finished 9 of 11 for 99 yards. With the backups on cruise control, the Lions saw their 6-2 start turn into a 7-9 nightmare. Green Bay will enjoy their first round bye. 34-13 Packers
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans–With Jacksonville in the # 5 seed, Jack Del Rio rested many of the starters. Nevertheless, a drive that took over half of the first quarter led to a touchdown pass and a 7-0 Jags lead. The defense forced a punt, but an inexplicable attempt to field the ball inside the 5 yard line as it was rolling proved disastrous. A muff was recovered by Houston, setting up the equalizing touchdown run by Ron Dayne. With the game tied at 14-14, Andre Davis returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to put the Texans up 21-14 just before the half. As if that were not enough, Davis took the second half kickoff 104 yards for another touchdown and a 28-14 Texans lead. 201 yards returning kicks in a matters of seconds, with only a halftime break inbetween. Playing against backups, the Texans poured it on. The win moved them to 8-8, the first time in the history of their franchise they have reached the .500 mark. The Jaguars should have no problem shaking off what was basically a preseason game. They will be as dangerous as anyone in the playoffs in the first round. 42-28 Texans
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–With Vinny Testaverde retiring after the game, Carolina started fourth string quarterback Matt Moore again. Carolina had promise before the season started, but Jake Delhomme and David Carr both went down. Matt Moore and Luke McCown each had a touchdown pass in the first half. A seesaw first half had Carolina up 17-13 at the intermission.
A seesaw second half had Carolina leading 24-23 early in the fourth quarter. With 6 1/2 minutes left, a 32 yard touchdown run by Deangelo Williams had the Panthers up by eight. With the Bucs driving, an ill advised, off balance throw by McCown was intercepted at the seven yard line. John Gruden could only make one of his patented Chucky faces. It did not help win the game. The Bucs will be hosting the Giants in the Wildcard round. Carolina needs the offseason to get their battered team healthy. 31-23 Panthers
Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles–Both teams were eliminated, but show promise for next year. The Eagles led 10-3 at halftime on a Donovan McNabb short touchdown pass. Buffalo was stymied all game by the Eagles defense, mustering only field goals. Trailing 17-9, the bills received a gift when McNabb fumbled away the ball deep in his own territory. The Bills failed to convert a 4th and 1, coming up with no points. The Eagles finished 8-8, the Bills 7-9. 17-9 Eagles
San Francisco 49ers @ Cleveland Browns–The 49ers are out, and the Browns are fighting for the last spot. Yet in an odd twist, the Browns could not alter the race. If Tennessee lost in the night game, Cleveland was in. If Tennessee won, Cleveland was out. This was regardless of what Cleveland did. After a scoreless first quarter, Joshua Cribbs took a punt 76 yards for a score and a 7-0 Browns lead. A Braylon Edwards touchdown reception had Cleveland up 14-0. With the score 14-7, Derek Anderson hurt his hand upon being hit. For the first time all season, Brady Quinn came into the game, and led the Browns to a field goal and a 17-7 lead at halftime. The Browns could only go back to the locker room, relax for several hours, and then pray that Tennessee lost to an Indy team with nothing to play for. 20-7 Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens–Although the # 3 and # 4 seeds differ little to some, the # 4 seed would host Jacksonville, and if getting through that, would most likely travel to New England. Therefore, getting the # 3 seed might be a good idea. This was lost on Pittsburgh, who did not look in playoff form while playing the Ravens, who had lost nine straight. Baltimore jumped to a 17-0 lead. Trailing 27-7, It was up to Charlie Batch to rally the Steelers, with Ben Roethlisberger sitting down and resting. The Steelers did close to within 6 points, but another Ravens collapse was averted when Batch was intercepted near the goal line on a desperation pass in the final minute. The Ravens snapped their 8 game losing streak, and Pittsburgh as the # 4 seed will host Jacksonville, who throttled them a couple weeks ago in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh enters the playoffs having lost three of their last four games, and a 3-0 win over 1-15 Miami is not much consolation. Nevertheless, they are in the playoffs. 27-21 Ravens
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins–While Romo played, Dallas rested some starters. The Redskins are in the playoffs with a win, and Dallas was a # 1 seed with nothing to play for. They played like it, unable to even amass a first down in the entire first quarter. Washington led 13-3 at intermission, with a 23 yard run by Clinton Portis being the only touchdown. Washington was 5-3, lost 4 straight to drop to 5-7, had the turmoil of Sean Taylor, and then won 4 straight to make the playoffs. 27-6 Redskins
Saint Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals–In a game only the relatives of the teams cared about, the Cardinals went up 24-3 in the first half. This time, the lead held, as the Cardinals simply carpetbombed the Rams. 48-19 Cardinals
Minnesota Vikings @ Denver Broncos–Minnesota needed to win and hope for a Washington loss to make the playoffs. Early on, the Vikings appeared to take a 7-0 lead when Chester Taylor just reached the pileon. However, Denver challenged the score, and on review it appeared that the ball came out of Taylor’s hand and only then hit the pileon. Instead of a touchdown, it was a touchback. Later on, trailing 7-3, Minnesota had a perfectly thrown bomb by Tarvaris Jackson go to waste when a wide open receiver dropped a gift touchdown. Denver led 14-3 at the break. A field goal and a safety had Denver up 19-3, well on their way to an easy win.
Then out of nowhere, Tarvaris Jackson became a one man army. A touchdown toss followed by him running in the 2 point conversion himself cut the gap to 19-11 with 5 minutes left. Minnesota got the ball back, and again Jackson scored the touchdown himself, and the 2 point conversion himself. A blowout turned into a 19-19 tie. Denver had blown another 2 touchdown lead late. However, in overtime, with snow starting to come down, Tarvaris was hit, fumbled, and Denver recovered at the Minnesota 12. On first down, the field goal unit cam on, and Jason Elam nailed the 29 yarder to win it. Minnesota is out of the playoffs, although they would have been either way since Washington won their game. 22-19 Broncos, OT
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets–The Herm Edwards bowl offered nothing in terms of playoff drama. It also offered nothing as a game. The Jets led 10-3 for most of the game, when Brodie Croyle tossed the tying touchdown pass with three minutes left. If ever there was a game that deserved to end in regulation, this was it. Nevertheless, 6 minutes into overtime, Mike Nugent nailed a 33 yard field goal. It was called off due to a holding penalty, and after a couple timeouts, his 43 yarder was also good. KC started 4-3 before ending the season with 9 losses. Both teams finished 4-12. 13-10 Jets, OT
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
For more on the game of the day, go to
JaMarcus Russell made his first NFL start. His first pass was intercepted 12 seconds into the game. San Diego quickly went up 7-0. Yet the Raiders settled down, and when San Diego fumbled in their own territory, Oakland tied the score 7-7. With seconds left in the half, Philip Rivers through a touchdown pass to CHris Chambers. However, a strong return set up a 53 yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. Seabass missed one earlier, but this one was good, as the Chargers led 14-10 at the break.
After a field goal extended the lead for the Chargers, Russell was hit in his own end zone and fumbled, giving San Diego a gift touchdown and a 24-10 lead. Russell did come back and throw a gorgeous 32 yard touchdown strike to Jerry Porter to cut the gap to 24-17, but the Raiders got no closer. The Chargers locked up the # 3 seed, and the Raiders lost their 61st game in 5 years. The Chargers are Norvelous. 30-17 Chargers
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts was the Sunday night game. The situation was simple for Tennessee. Win the game, go to the playoffs. Lose the game, they are out and Cleveland is in. The Colts had the # 2 seed locked up and were going to rest virtually everybody. Tennessee took the ball right down the field on their first possession for a 7-0 lead. Peyton Manning saw limited action, but as expected, backup Jim Sorgi played most of the game. Scoring was limited in this game, with the Titans leading 7-3 at intermission.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Lendale White was hit and fumbled, with the Colts recovering at the Tennessee 30 yard line. A little over a minute later, Sorgi threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to Thorpe. The famous Sorgi to Thorpe combo may not be enough to replace Manning to Harrison just yet, but it put Indy up 10-7. On the next series, Vince Young got hit, and strained his quadricep. Kerry Collins came in and drove Tennessee far enough for Rob Bironas to tie the game on a 40 yard field goal with one minute remaining in the third quarter.
The defenses continued to slug it out, which was not surprising given the pedigrees of Tony Dungy and Jeff Fisher. What differentiates these coaches is that Dungy is more cautious, and Fisher is a gambler. They are both excellent coaches, but a riverboat gamble by Fisher paid off when Rob Bironas nailed a 54 yard field goal with 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the game to put the Titans up 13-10. It was risky from a field position standpoint, but Fisher has good reason to trust his kicker and his defense.
On Tennessee’s next drive, Kerry Collins moved the Titans into the red zone, but then Fisher decided to go ultra conservative, running the ball to force Indy to use timeouts rather than risk a pass on 3rd and 5. Bironas nailed a 33 yard field goal with 3 minutes left to put the Titans up by six points, with the Colts retaining one timout in addition to the 2 minute warning. As they had done all night, the Tennessee defense held, and the Colts turned it over on downs.
In what appeared to be a very surprising move, the Colts decided not to use their final timeout, allowing the Titans to kneel on the ball. Conspiracy theorists might have a problem with this, but the Colts could have theoretically gotten the ball back with maybe as much as 30 seconds left. However, the Titans were already in field goal range, and prolonging the game and risking an injury was not worth it. Jim Sorgi and the backups could still prove critical, and they need to stay healthy as well. The Titans are in the playoffs for the first time since 2003, and Cleveland is out. The Colts have 2 weeks to rest.Vince Young will be ready next week, but Kerry Collins was 10 for 13, and he was the difference in this game. 16-10 Titans
The playoff picture is below.
AFC: # 6 Tennessee Titans @ # 3 San Diego Chargers–The Titans dominated this game in week 14 in Tennessee, but a late collapse allowed San Diego to steal the game in overtime.
# 5 Jacksonville Jaguars @ # 4 Pittsburgh Steelers–The Jaguars have the better record, and they belted the Steelers in week 15 in Pittsburgh. It will be a physical rematch.
# 1 New England Patriots and # 2 Indianapolis Colts have the week off.
If Tennessee wins, they play New England. If San Diego wins, they play Indianapolis. Jacksonville or Pittsburgh could play either team.
NFC: # 6 Washington Redskins @ # 3 Seattle Seahawks
# 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ # 4 New York Giants
# 1 Dallas Cowboys and # 2 Green Bay Packers have the week off.
If Washington wins, they have the rubber match with Dallas. If Seattle wins, they play Green Bay. Tampa Bay or New York could play either team.
The Miami Dolphins have the top pick in the draft with a 1-15 record.
The St. Louis Rams have the # 2 pick with a 3-13 record.
The Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders all finished 4-12. Given the complicated nature of how these seeds are determined, I will explain it without trying to understand it.
The Jets have the # 6 pick.
The Raiders and Falcons will flip a coin in February at the scouting combine.
If the Raiders win the toss, they have the # 3 pick. The Falcons would then have another coin toss with the Kansas City Chiefs. The winner gets the # 4 pick, the loser the # 5 pick.
If the Falcons win the first coin toss with the Raiders, they get the # pick, and the Raiders automatically get the # 4 pick. KC would have the # 5 pick, without a coin toss being required.
So the Silver and Black have either the # 3 or the # 4 pick, no better or worse.