Tonight begins Yom Kippur, but until sundown, today is about football. For those Jewish people watching football, make sure you are done eating by halftime of the night game. After gorging all day during the games, fasting for 24 hours should be less difficult. We can eat again around halftime of the Monday night game.
Check with a Rabbi for the exact times since the NFL time is an estimate.
Now for football, specifically the Week 3 NFL Recap.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles–Michael Vick returned to regular season professional football for the first time since 2006. Yet with Donovan McNabb injured, Kevin Kolb started, with Vick lining up in various positions including wide receiver. LaShain McCoy ran well on the ground out of the Wildcat.
A poor punt had the Eagles starting at the Kansas City 48. McCoy took a wildcat snap up the middle for a 5 yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 7-0.
Kolb hit Deshean Jackson for a 43 yard pass early on to set up one score, and on a 64 yard pass up the middle where he split the defenders for a touchdown. The 43 yarder led to a 1 yard Kolb run up the middle to put the Eagles up 14-0. In the second quarter, the Eagles had a 4th and 1 at the Kansas City 44. Kolb fired incomplete, and Matt Cassel finally got the Chiefs on the move. A 13 yard touchdown pass to Bradley hadthe Chiefs within 14-7. That lasted one play, when Kolb threw the deep connection to Jackson. One play and the Eagles led 21-7 early on and rolled.A 14 play, 6 minute drive led to a David Akers field goal to put the Eagles up 24-7 at intermission.
The Eagles added a field goal in the third quarter, and Kolb connected with Brent Celek on a 35 yard touchdown to extend the blowout at 34-7. Give plenty of credit to Andy Reid, who has plenty of large egos, and is balancing them well. The Eagles are 3-0, and looking solid. Yet Kansas City is awful, but the Eagles won big. 34-14 Eagles
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens–This was a case of a very bad team on the road against a very good team. Brady Quinn was given the starting job over Derek Anderson, and while it is still early, there may be some grumbling. This is not totally fair to Quinn, since the entire team is a mess. As for the Ravens, while Ray Lewis and the defense still lead the team, Joe Flacco is a leader and not just a placeholder. He threw for 342 yards on the day.
Quinn threw an interception 3 minutes into the game that had Baltimore starting at the Cleveland 31. The Ravens were expected to win easy and they did. Willis McGahee ran for a pair of touchdowns, the first a 7 yarder after the turnover to put Baltimore up 7-0. After a Cleveland punt, Flacco led a 12 play, 6 minute drive from the Baltimore 14 to the Cleveland 18, leading to a field goal and a 10-0 Baltimore lead. In the second quarter Flacco led a staggering 16 play, 7 1/2 minute drive from the Baltimore 3 to the Cleveland 5. Again it only produced a field goal, but the Ravens led 13-0. Another Cleveland punt led Flacco to lead an 80 yard drive culminating in McGahee second score, a 15 yard run to put the Ravens up 20-0.
With the Ravens up 20-0 in the third quarter, Quinn was Benched, but Anderson came in and threw 3 interceptions, in addition to an early one by Quinn. One of the interceptions set up a 34 yard run by McGahee which led to a 9 yard touchdown run by Rice. In the fourth quarter, Flacco went deep to Derrick Mason for a 72 yard touchdown pass to end the scoring. 34-3 Ravens
New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–This was another case of a good team playing a bad team, with no surprises. Byron Leftwich was 7 for 16 for only 22…yes 22…yard passing the entire game. The Buccaneers had only 5 first downs and 86 total yards all day. The Giants simply played New York Giants football, which was hard running and tenacious defense. They began with a 12 play, 7 minute, 80 yard drive that featured a healthy dose of battering ram Brandon Jacobs. He took it in from 6 yards out as the Giants led 7-0 after one and 14-0 at the break. The second score was a 7 yard Jacobs run set up by a 38 yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw, who also had a 14 yarder on the opening scoring drive.The score would have been even wider had a 17 minute drive late in the half not been wasted when Jacobs was stopped on 3rd and 1 form the 2 and Tynes missed a 21 yard field goal. It did not matter.
The Giants began the second half with a 12 play, 7 1/2 minute drive. This time Tynes connected from short range to make it 17-0. A 12 play, 6 1/2 minute drive in the fourth quarter led to Eli Manning throwing an 18 yard touchdown pass to Moss. It was remarkable only in that Manning actually had to throw the ball at all as the running game gashed Tampa Bay. After the game it was announced that Leftwich would be benched next week in favor of Josh Johnson, who has never started. Leftwich was awful, but Big Blue just dominated on defense to get to 3-0 in convincing fashion. 24-0 Giants
Atlanta Falcons @ New England Patriots–Atlanta and Matt Ryan are up and coming, but Tom Brady and New England have done this forever. Both teams led long drives that bogged down inside the 10 yard line, as the exchange of field goals had the game tied 3-3 after the opening quarter The Falcons 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes was matched by New England going 15 plays and 8 1/2 minutes, but neither team reached the end zone.
The second quarter featured New England starting a drive just shy of midfield. Brady hit Randy Moss for 10 yards, but old reliable Fred Taylor did the rest with gains of 8, 19, 6, and finally 8 yards to put the Patriots up 10-3. A strong kickoff return had the Falcons starting at their own 41. Ryan hit Jenkins for 18 yards. On 4th and 3 from the New England 34, Mike Smith decided to gamble. Matt Ryan hit White for 7 yards to keep the drive going. A 21 yard completion to Jenkins set up Michael Turner from 2 yards out, and the game was deadlocked 10-10. New England punted, but a fumble by Michael Turner with 4 minutes left in the half led to a drive and a field goal that had the Patriots up 13-10 at the break.
The Patriots struggled most of the day in the red zone, while the Falcons went nowhere in the second half. New England took the second half kickoff and went 79 yards in 13 plays over 6 minutes, bogging down at the 4 yard line. Another field goal had the Patriots up 16-10. Atlanta moved the ball, but on 4th and 5 from the New England 38, they punted rather than try the 55 yard field goal. New England took over at their own 15, and Brady led a 16 play drive that may have featured the gamble of the year.
On 4th and 1 from their own 24, Bill Bellichick decided to go for it. Morris picked up 2 yards up the middle, as the tabloids missed a chance to crucify the call. On 4th and 3 from the Atlanta 37, Brady hit Moss for 21 yards. Again the drive bogged down in the Red Zone, but another field goal had the Patriots leading 19-10 going into the final quarter.
The Patriots finally iced the game midway through it with a 36 yard touchdown pass by Brady to complete the scoring. The Falcons are growing, and the Patriots are not ready to decline. 26-10 Patriots
Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets–For those who thought this was a game between the Houston Oilers and the New York Titans, blame the retro uniforms. Bum Phillips was not on the sidelines. As shocking as it is that the Jets are 2-0, the Titans being 0-2 is more shocking. Yet the real storyline is that Mark Sanchez is no typical rookie. He is the real deal. As for the Titans, they are uncharacteristically undisciplined for a Jeff Fisher team.
Sanchez showed real veteran presence early on. While apparently stopped at the one yard line, Sanchez stretched the ball over the goal line while getting belted. His 14 yard scramble had the Jets up 7-0. Yes some reporters want to put Sanchez in the Hall of Fame after 3 games, but this kid is very good, and levelheaded. Tennesee then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Jets took over at the Tennessee 19. Sanchez hit Hartsock for the 2 yard score to quickly make it 14-0 Jets. Yet Tennessee fought back.
The Jets were in complete control when they faced 3rd and 8 from the Tennessee 36, Sanchez was then sacked and fumbled, as Tennessee took over at their own 45. Chris Johnson ripped off a 20 yard gain, and Kerry Collins hit Nate Washington for 16 yards. Lendale White ran it in from 5 yards out to get the Titans to within 14-7. With 1:54 left in the half, Collins took the Titans from their own 20 to the New York 20 in 12 plays. Rob Bironas kicked a 38 yard field goal to make it a 14-10 game at intermission.
Jay Feeley kicked the second half kickoff out of bounds, and the Titans took over at their own 40. On 3rd and 9, Collins hit Britt and Alge Crumpler for a pair of 27 yard gains. When Collins tossed a 9 yard touchdown pass to Washington to complete the drive, the Titans led 17-14. However, his final 13 passes were incomplete as Tennessee ran out of gasand into a Gang Green defense with an attitude.
Neither team moved the ball, but with 7 minutes remaining, Tennessee fumbled another kick, this time a punt. The Jets took over at the Tennessee 23. Sanchez found Jerricho Cotcherry for 6 yards for the go ahead score at 21-17 with 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The field position battle favored the Jets, and they took over at their own 40 with 13 1/2 minutes left in the game. Sanchez quickly found Cotcherry for a 46 yard gain to set up a field goal. The Titans only trailed by 7 points with 5 minutes to play, but Kerry Collins was harassed all game. He was intercepted with just over 4 minutes left, and beaten up when the Titans had one more chance. Rex Ryan is using Sanchez perfectly, and Sanchez is the first rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to go 3-0. Next week the team faces red hot New Orleans. As for the Titans, they were 13-3 last year, and are now 0-3 this year. 24-17 Jets
Green Bay Packers @ St. Louis Rams–This was a great series when it was Brett Favre against Kurt Warner. Aaron Rodgers against Marc Bulger is less scintillating, although neither of them are stiffs. Yet Rodgers against Kyle Boller is not so interesting, and when Bulger got injured in the first quarter, that is what this game brought us. The Rams actually had the first scoring chance, but a 48 yard field goal attempt was blocked.That led to Mason Crosby trying from 48 yards out, and he connected to put Green Bay up 3-0. Bulger then fumbled, Green Bay took over at the Rams 15, lost 5 yards, and kicked another field goal to lead 6-0. Bulger was injured on the next play from scrimmage when Stephen Jackson fumbled, Green Bay took over at the St. Louis 12, went nowhere, and kicked a third field goal to lead 9-0.
Yes, the Packers led, but their offense was almost as pathetic as the Rams. The Packers finally got going offensively in the second quarter, and a 46 yard pass from Rodgers to Donald Driver set up a 1 yard run by Kuhns that had Green Bay leading 16-0. Boller then finally got the Rams on the board, leading a 10 play, 5 minute, 78 yard drive that ended in a 16 yard touchdown pass to Fells to make it 16-7 with 5 minutes left in the half.
Green Bay took over at their own 11, and Rodgers began slicing and dicing the Rams. He hit Driver for 15 yards, and on 3rd and 7 went deep to Greg Jennings for a 50 yard gain. On the next play Bulger hit Driver for the 21 yard touchdown pass to put the Packers up 23-7. WIth only 1:47 left in the half, Boller ran the 2 minute drill to perfection. From the Rams 16, he hit Burton for gains of 16 and 14yards followed by a 10 yard scramble himself. Jackson picked up 12 more, and on 3rd and 10, Boller scrambled for another 13. Boller then hit Fells for the 19 yard touchdown with 2 seconds left to get the Rams to within 23-14 at intermission.
A 53 yard field goal on their first third quarter drive pulled the Rams to within 23-17 after a 12 play, 5 1/2 minute drive, but they got no closer. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Rodgers hit Jennings for a 53 yard gain. Rodgers then scrambled for 12 yards and then took it in himself from 5 yards out up the middle to ice the game at 29-17. An interception by Charles Woodson at the Rams 26 set up one final score.The Rams have lost 13 straight going back to last year. They no longer can hide behind Detroit. They may be the worst this year so far. The Packers were highly touted during the regular season, and beating the hapless Rams does not erase last week’s debacle. Nevertheless, a win is just that. 36-17 Packers
San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings–This lived up to its billing as a thriller. Frank Gore got injured early, and Adrian Peterson shined. Favre added to his legend. Those wanting him to stay retired can now shut up. A 30 yard touchdown pass by Favre had the Vikings up 7-0. A field position battle in the second quarter followed by a poor punt had Minnesota starting at the San Francisco 34. This led to a field goal and a 10-0 Vikings lead. San Francisco came back, and on 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 36, a deep pass resulted in defensive pass interference at the 5 yard line. Shawn Hill hit Vernon Davis for the score as the Vikings led was cut to 10-7.
With just over 6 minutes in the half, an interception of Hill had Minnesota at their own 27, and Favre went to work. The 49ers defense self destructed with a pair of 15 yard penalties, one for unnecessary roughness and one for taunting. The 30 yard gift led to a field goal. With 1:53 left in the half, Favre moved Minnesota from their own 20 to the San Francisco 26. Then all hell broke loose.
On the last play of the half, with the Vikings leading 13-7, a field goal attempt by Ryan Longwell would have put them up by 9. Instead it was blocked and returned 69 yards for a score by Nate Clements in front of a shocked Minnesota crowd to put the 49ers up 14-13 at halftime.
Early In the third quarter, an interception of Favre led to a field goal that had the 49ers up 17-13. Unfortunately, they then had to kickoff to emerging Minnesota star Percy Harvin. The wide receiver returned the kickoff 101 yards to put the Vikings up 20-17. He has only played 3 games, and has a spectacular touchdown in each one.
With 13 minutes left in the game, Shawn Hill Hit Vernon Davis for a 31 yard pass, followed by a 28 yarder to Isaac Bruce. Hill then found Davis for the 20 yard touchdown as the 49ers led 24-20 with 8 minutes left.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, over the last decade and a half they have lost many games to Favre when he was a Cheesehead. He is now in Purple, but just as gifted as ever. With 1:55 left, Favre threw incomplete on 4th and 5 from the San Francisco 47. Yet the 49ers ran only 26 seconds off of the clock as the Vikings took over again at their own 20. Some may Singletary was too conservative, but he can’t make blockers block and runners run.
Favre hit short passes to Shiancoe, Rice, and Harvin to set up the final play, a 3rd and 3 from the San Francisco 32. With 12 seconds left, from the San Francisco 32 yard line, Favre scrambled, avoided a tackler, and fired a perfect pass just before being hit to the back of the end zone. Greg Lewis made a spectacular catch and got both feet in bounds with two seconds remaining. Watch the play oiver and over again, and remember that forcing our best into premature retirement is due to our own inability to understand that wisdom comes with age. As for Favre, he simply did it again.
Despite no Frank Gore and an 0 for 11 performance on 3rd downs, the 49ers are a much improved team under Mike Singletary, and were a miracle away from 3-0. Yet the king of miracles did it again, and the 3-0 team is in Minnesota. 27-24 Vikings
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans–The Texans are much improved and the Jaguars are struggling. Yet this turned out to be an exciting game with several lead changes. A 52 yard field goal by Josh Scobee midway through the opening quarter put the Jaguars up 3-0. Later in the quarter, a punt had Houston taking over at the Jacksonville 44. Matt Schaub hit Walter for 24 yards and then Slaton for the 18 yard touchdown to put the Texans up 7-3.
In the second quarter, David Garrard scrambled from 2 yards out to complete a 10 play drive and give the Jaguars a 10-7 lead. Schaub came right back and had the Texans up 14-10 with a 9 yard toss to Walters with 5 1/2 minutes in the half still to go. These offenses were just getting warmed up. Maurice Jones-Drew quickly rambled 61 yards to put the Jaguars up 17-14. The Texans did lead 21-17 at the break when Schaub hit Daniels for a 2 yard touchdown with 19 seconds left to cap off a 66 yard drive.
To start the third quarter, Garrard led the Jaguars 83 yards. Jones-Drew scored again, this time from one yard out, to put the Jaguars back on top. The drive featured a pair of 3rd down conversions, including a 28 yard pass to Sims-Walker on 3rd and 10 from just past midfield.Schaub came right back, leading a 12 play, 6 minute drive that went from the Houston 18 to a 4th and 1 at the Jacksonville 8. Gary Kubiak decided not to gamble, and the field goal deadlocked the game.
With the game tied 24-24 early in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville took over at their own 13. Jones-Drew ran for 11 yards and Garrard hit Torry Holt for 27 more. Thomas ran for 13 more, and Jones-Drew ran for 4 yards on 4th and 1 from the 12. Jones-Drew then barreled in from 8 yards out for his third touchdown of the day to put the Jaguars up again only 40 seconds into the final quarter.
Jacksonville fumbled the ball away with under 5 minutes remaining, and the Texans had the ball at midfield. Schaub hit Walters for 18 yards, and Slaton ran for 20 more. Matt Schaub was 26 of 35 for 3 touchdowns, but he thought he had a fourth one. Instead, on 1st and goal from the one, offensive pass interference nullified the tying score. Then trying to run it in, the Texans fumbled at the goal line. An offensive shootout ended with defense and a turnover. Both teams are 1-2, as Houston has won on the road but lost twice at home. 31-24 Jaguars
Washington Redskins @ Detroit Lions–Yes the Lions had lost 19 straight games, but this is a new season. The Lions were only 0-2, and both losses were to undefeated and very good teams. The Lions are simply not that awful this year. Matthew Stafford was not part of the losing culture, and neither was coach Jim Schwartz.
The Redskins failed to convert a 4th and goal at the one early on when Clinton Portis went nowhere. A key play in a scoreless game occurred when the Lions failed to convert a 3rd and 3 from the Washington 34. A penalty on Detroit should have been declined to make 4th and 3, which would have set up a 51 yard field goal. Jim Zorn accepted the penalty. Yes it pushed Detroit out of field goal range, and was most likely a good coaching decision. Yet it gave the Lions another chance, and on 3rd and 13, Stafford ran for 15 yards. This set up a 21 yard touchdown from Stafford to Bryant Johnson to give the Lions a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Detroit took over after a punt at their own 6. Stafford led a long drive that reached the Washington 14. Detroit settled for a field goal and a 10-0 lead. Another Washington punt again had the Lions starting at their own 6, and again Stafford drove most of the field, reaching the Washington 8 in a ridiculous 18 play drive over 7 minutes. The Lions kicked a field goal and actually led 13-0.
In the second half, the Redskins needed less than 2 minutes to close the gap to 13-7 when Jason Campbell hit Santana Moss on a 57 yard touchdown pass.Both offenses then went to sleep, and the Lions avoided disaster by recovering their own fumble at their own 10 yard line. With 9 minutes remainign in the game, the Lions took over at their own 15. Stafford showed veteran poise.
On 3rd and 1 from the 24, Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for 9 yards and then again for 18 yards to the Washington 48. A deep pass led to a defensive pass interference call. When the Lions scored a 2 yard touchdown on the ground with Maurice Morris, they led 19-7 with under 6 minutes remaining. Yet they did not make it easy. Changing a losing culture is never easy.
From the Washington 28, Campbell hit Moss for 21 yards, Antwon Randle-El for 15 yards, and finally 4 yards to Cartwright. The Redskins made it a 5 point game with 2 1/2 minutes left, and got the ball back at their own 22 with 1:05 left. With 8 seconds left, the Redskins faced 4th and 10 from the Detroit 36.
Yet for some inexplicable reason, Jason Campbell did not throw a Hail Mary on the last play as the Redskins opted for a hook and lateral play. They actually made the first down. There was enough time to run out of bounds, but for another inexplicable reason, the ball carrier stayed inbounds. As the announcer said, “Game over. Losing streak over. Nightmare over.”
Yes, the Lions responded to this win with popping champagne corks in the locker room. Yet while many will look at this as the ending of a 19 game losing streak, others should see that this team is 1-2. That is not awful. They will slowly improve. As for the Redskins, they are headed in the wrong direction. 19-14 Lions
Chicago Bears @ Seattle Seahawks–The Walrus is still retired and the Hasselbeck is still injured. Seneca Wallace did throw a 39 yard touchdown pass to Julius Jones, as Seattle led 7-0 early on.Cutelr led the Bears from their own 21 to the Seattle 17 before being intercepted. Wallace took over and led Seattle to the Chicago 28, where a field goal made it 10-0 Seahawks. In the second quarter, a poor Chicago punt had Seattle set up at the Bears 47. On 3rd and 10, Wallace hit Nate Burleson for a 20 yard gain, setting up another field goal and a 13-0 Seahawks lead.
With 7 minutes left in the half, Cutler and the Bears took over at their own 34. Cutler methoidaclly moved the team, and with 2 minutes left in the half, 3rd and goal at the one went nowhere. On 4th and goal Lovie Smith went for it, and Cutler threw a touchdown pass to get the Bears within 13-7 at the break.
At the start of the second half, TJ Houshmanzadeh fumbled, and the Bears took over at the Seattle 42. Cutler hit Devon Hester for 22 yards and then threw a 7 yard touchdown toss to Johnny Knox to put the Bear up 14-13. Midway through the period Wallace was intercepted by Lance Briggs at the Seattle 14. The Seattle defense sent Chicago backwards, and the Bears settled for a field goal to lead 17-13. Wallace then led a 13 play, 6 minute drive from the Seattle 20 to the Chicago 21 before Seattle had to kick a field goal of their own to pull within 17-16 only seconds into the final quarter.
With 8 minutes remaining, Cutler was sacked and fumbled, and it was Seattle that began at the Chicago 39. Seattle picked up one first down before the Bears clamped down. Olindo Mare hit a 46 yard field goal to put the Seahawks back on top 19-17 with 5 minutes left. The Bears took over at their own 29. Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson moved the ball to the Seattle 36. Cutler then went deep and fired the touchdown toss to Hester. A 2 point conversion pass to Bennett was successful, as the Bears were back up by 6 with 1:52 left.
On 3rd and 2 from the 28, Julius Jones picked up 20 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Chicago 43, Wallace hit Owens for 6 yards. Yet on 4th and 2 from the Chicago 29, with 30 second left, Seattle failed to convert. Chicago had survived this topsy-turvy game. 25-19 Bears
New Orleans @ Buffalo Bills–Dick Jauron remains employed, but playing a Saints team that put up 93 points in 2 weeks does not help matters. Brees immediately led the Saints 82 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes, with a one yard Hamilton run putting the Saints up 7-0. Seconds into the second quarter the Bills executed a perfect fake field goal with a 25 yard touchdown pass by punter Moorman to tie the game 7-7 on the second play of the second quarter.
With 6 minutes left in the half, a Buffalo fumble set up New Orleans at the Buffalo 32. Hamilton picked up 16 yards, and the Saints kicked a field goal and took a 10-7 lead at halftime. A scoreless third quarter was [art of a game where Brees did not throw a touchdown pass, as the Saints only led 10-7 entering the fourth quarter.Buffalo missed a chance to tie the game late in the third quarter when a Trent Edwards was intercepted on 3rd and 3 from the New Orleans 27.
Yet while Drew Brees did not throw another 10 touchdown passes, Pierre Thomas ran wild late in the game. A 34 yard touchdown run by Thomas gave the Saints breathing room at 17-7 with 10 minutes left. After a Buffalo punt, Brees led the Saints form their own 34 to the Buffalo 13. A facemask penalty against the Bills began the drive, and a field goal ended it as the Saints led 20-7 with 3 1/2 minutes left.
Buffalo turned it over on downs deep in their own territory, and a 19 yard touchdown by Thomas with 2 minutes left padded the score. The Bills hung tough, but were overmatched. Terrell Owens had his streak of 185 games with a catch snapped, as the Saints remain unbeaten. 27-7 Saints
Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers–This game featured a pair of overrated teams. Miami had the ball last week for 45 minutes and lost. This week the Dolphins began with a 17 play, 9 minute drive that ended with a fumble for a touchback. The game was 3-3 at halftime. For some reason the second half was played.
Pennington was injured 4 minutes into the 3rd quarter. Chad Henne came in and led Miami to a field goal to lead 6-3. Then the Chargers finally got going. With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, Philip Rivers hit Floyd for a 47 yard gain. Rivers then ran 5 yards up the middle to put San Diego up 10-6 after three quarters.
After a Miami punt, Rivers hit Vincent Jackson for a 55 yard gain to set up a field goal that had San Diego up 13-6. After a bad Miami punt, San Diego started past midfield. With 7 minutes remaining, a short field goal had the Chargers up 16-6. With 6 minutes remaining, Henne was intercepted by Eric Weddle, who raced 31 yards for a score to put the Chargers up 23-6. Norvelous Norv Turner has the Chargers up 2-1, meaning that he will keep his job this week. The Dolphins went from 11-5 last year to an 0-3 start this year. Bill Parcells usually sees his teams rapidly improve, take a big step backwards, and then get better again. 23-13 Chargers
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders– For more on the game of the day, go to Just Blog Baby.
With 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Broncos had 4th and goal at the one. The Silver and Black had a brilliant goal line stand. Unfortunately, the offense gave it right back. Yes, Jim Plunkett hit Cliff Branch for 99 yards back in 1983, but that team was good. JaMarcus Russell went deep for Darrius Heyward-Bey, who fell down, resulting in an interception. Kyle Orton led the Broncos 23 yards to put Denver up 7-0. Another Russell interception led to a field goal and a 10-0 Denver lead. The Broncos led 13-3 at the half.
Denver coasted in the second half. Orton is often referred to as a game manager, but he wins football games by not making mistakes. As for Russell, yes he has two rookie receivers, but he makes too many mistakes. Even Darren McFadden, who is shaping up to be all world, contributed to the debacle today by fumbling inside the Denver 10 to kill a potential scoring drive. Denver is 3-0, but has beaten up on bad teams. Sadly, the Raiders are one of them. 23-3 Broncos
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals–Yes Cincinnati beat Green Bay on the road last week, but surely the defending champs would beat them up. That is why they play the games.
Pittsburgh began their first drive on their own 20, and 11 plays and 7 minutes later, were facing 4th and goal at the Cincy one. Mike Tomlin decided not to gamble on the road, and the field goal had the Steelers up 3-0. On the next Pittsburgh drive, Roethlisberger hit Willie Parker for a 27 yard sideline touchdown pass to put the Steelers up 10-0. Pittsburgh tacked on a field goal to lead 13-0. On the next Pittsburgh drive, they failed to convert on 4th and 4 from the Bengals 35, eschewing the field goal and turning it over on downs. They were dominating, but the game was close on the scoreboard. Cincinnati finally cracked the scoreboard with a field goal, but Pittsburgh led 13-3 at the half.The second half was a new game.
Early in the third quarter Big Ben was intercepted, resulting in a 30 yard touchdown by Joseph. The Bengals missed the extra point, trailing 13-9. Roethlisberger came back on the next Steelers drive and threw a perfect deep pass to Limas Sweed, who dropped it in the end zone. A missed 51 yard field goal wasted another scoring opportunity. Late in the third quarter, Big Ben led a 75 yard, 11 play, 7 minute drive that finished with Roethlisberger taking it himself from one yard out. The Steelers led 20-9 after three quarters in a game where the Bengals had done nothing. Seconds into the fourth quarter, the Bengals missed a 52 yard field goal.
Yet the Bengals hung tough. After a Pittsburgh punt, Cedric Benson ran 23 yards for a score. They closed the gap to 20-15 with 9 minutes left. Although the 2 point conversion failed, the Bengals got the ball back, and Carson Palmer led one final drive from the Cincy 29 with a full 5 minutes. With one minute to go, Palmer converted on 4th and 2 from the Pittsburgh 20 with a 5 yard pass to Laverneous Coles. On 4th and 10 from the 15 with 36 seconds left, Palmer hit Leonard for 11 yards. Leonard made a spectacular move to pick up the first down, shedding a tackler and using his arm as leverage to stay upright, followed by a lunge that was just enough. Palmer then threw the 4 yard touchdown pass to Caldwell with 14 seconds left. Marvin Lewis pumped his fists, and Mike Tomlin was gracious in defeat. Yes the Steelers wasted plenty of chances ina game they owned, but the Bengals showed plenty of heart. 23-20 Bengals
Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals was the Sunday night game. This was expected to be aerial show between Peyton manning and Kurt Warner, but only one team showed up. It was not the Greatest SHow in the Desert. The Cardinals did lead 3-0 after the first quarter, and were going in for another score when Tim Hightower fumbled inside the 10 yard line to end the drive.
Manning then exploded. He ended the day with 379 yard passing and 4 touchdown passes. 3 of them came in the first half to lead 21-3. The Cardinals managed to reach the one yard line again before Warner was intercepted in the end zone off of a deflected pass. The Cardinals did get in the end zone just before the half to make it 21-10, but the Colts clamped down in the second half.
The Colts tacked on another touchdown and a field goal to get to 3-0 as the Cardinals fell to 1-2. 31-10 Colts.
Carolina Panthers @ Dallas Cowboys was the Monday night game. While Jews were starving from fasting, both offenses played like malnourished athletes needing a meal. A missed Dallas field goal was the highlight of an awful first half that was deadlocked 0-0 after 28 minutes. Yet while Tony Romo and Jake Delhomme had a tough opening half, Delhomme got going in the final 2 minutes. A pair of 25 yard passes to Donte Rosario put the Panthers up 7-0 with one minute left in the half.
The second half began with a Carolina punt and Dallas working with the ball just shy of midfield. Felix Jones ripped off a 40 yard gain, and Tashard Choice appeared to have just reached the pylon before a successful challenge by John Fox put the ball back to the one. A 3rd and goal run failed, and on 4th and goal from the one, Wade Phillips decided to go for it. However, a false start penalty killed the play, and on 4th and goal from the 6, a field goal cut the Panthers lead to 7-3. Another Carolina punt again gave Dallas excellent field position at their own 42. Tashard Choice ran it in from 10 yards out to put the Cowboys up 10-7 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, a 79 yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme to Muhsin Muhammad was called back due to offensive pass interference. The Panthers punted again, and Dallas again moved the ball. Yet again they bogged down deep, as Wade Phillips called a pair of consecutive passing plays from the 2 yard line that went nowhere. A field goal with 12 minutes left in the game put the Cowboys up 13-7. What little suspense existed evaporated when Terrence Newman intercepted Delhomme and raced 25 yards for the knockout blow with 5 minutes remaining. Choice ran in the 2 point conversion. Dallas improved to 2-1, and one year after being 12-4, Carolina is a head scratching 0-3. This team has not been the same since their playoff debacle last year. 21-7 Cowboys