Technically today is Halloween. My friends and I will be going to the freak show in West Hollywood, as we do every year. Some imbeciles bragged about having a rally in DC yesterday that attracted “thousands,” many of whom were paid to attend. They attempted to mock a rally on August 28th that attracted half a million. I don’t have time to deal with the sickeningly smug unwashed shrinking minority from yesterday.
Today is Sunday, which means NFL Football.
(Oh, and a couple of teams are playing in some baseball championship. Baseball is boring, which concludes my World Series coverage.)
Now on to football.
Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers–The is game is being played in London, which proves that the Special Relationship between England and America is a myth. We must hate the British. Why else would we send them the worst of our best sport? For those not keeping track, Josh McDaniels is closer to Charlie Weis than Bill Bellichick, while Mike Singletary is the second coming of Ray Rhodes, all scowl without the wins to back it up.
John Elway and Jerry Rice made the trip as goodwill ambassadors, but what the fans needed were good players on the field. A nearly scoreless opening quarter saw Joe Nedney kick a field goal with 23 seconds left in the period to have the 49ers up 3-0.
Despite Orton being 15 for 18 for 183 yards, Denver had 0 points to show for his effort.
6 minutes into the third quarter, one play changed things. From the Denver 28, Orton went deep to Brandon Lloyd for a 71 yard gain down to the one. Tim Tebow ran it in to have the Broncos up 7-3. The 49ers responded with a missed field goal. With less than a minute left in the third quarter, a perfectly executed flea flicker from the San Francisco 38 looked like a Denver touchdown. Yet an illegal chop block negated the play. Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Matt Prater kicked a 32 yard field goal to have the Broncos up 10-3.
Troy Smith led San Francisco in place of Alex Smith, and was miserable for most of the game. Yet from the Denver 40, Smith was chased backward, from his back foot heaved a wounded duck, and somehow saw defenders Champ Bailey and Bryan Dawkins not intercept it as Walker caught it at the one. Smith ran around the end for the score to tie the game 10-10 with 12 minutes left in regulation.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Dallas Cowboys–Jack Del Rio and Wade Phillips may both get fired, but they are both good coaches who know defense, who have players letting them down. No Tony Romo? No problem early as Jon Kitna led the Cowboys to a 34 yard Dave Buehler to have Dallas up 3-0 and Wade Phillips job security through the end of the quarter. Yet Maurice Jones-Drew ripped off a 23 yard gain to set up David Garrard to Mike Sims-Walker from 10 yards out as the Jaguars led 7-3.
John Kitna twice led the Cowboys into Jacksonville territory only to have well thrown balls bounce off the hands of overpaid receivers and get intercepted. David Garrard hit Marcedes Lewis for a 42 yard touchdown pass to have the Jaguars up 14-3.
Dez Bryant made a sideline catch at the Jacksonville 9 yard line with 27 seconds left in the half. On 3rd and goal at the 1, Barber got stopped. On 4th and goal at the 1, Kitna and Barber collided into each other. Barber somehow stayed upright, but by then the Jacksonville defense had him stacked up as Jack Del Rio saw his defense close the half with a goal line stand.
In the third quarter Garrard led Jacksonville to a 3rd and 12 at the Dallas 15. Garrard avoided the blitz and hit Thomas for the touchdown as the Jaguars led 21-3. Kitna was 16 for 22 for 193 yards at that point, but Garrard was a sensational 13 for 14 for 209 and 3 touchdowns.
Kitna then threw another pass that should have been caught, but instead was bobbled by the receiver and intercepted. Garrard then fired to Lewis again from 9 yards out for his fourth touchdown pass to have the Jaguars cruising and Jerry Jones considering blowing up his 1.2 billion dollar metropolis right then and there.
Kitna did lead an 80 yard drive culminating in a 1 yard Marion Barber run, but on the next Dallas drive Kitna threw his 4th interception. Garrard added to his 4 touchdown passes with a 2 yard touchdown run that was more like a walk as the Jaguars were back up by 25 at 35-10. Kitna led a 13 play, 74 yard drive that ended with an 8 yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten to make the score still not look close to respectable. Jack Del Rio may still be on the hot seat, but Wade Phillips has his on fire, with the entire organization being engulfed in the flames as the preseason Super Bowl favorites dropped to 1-6 with another bad home loss. 35-17 Jaguars
Washington Redskins @ Detroit Lions–It seems like only 19 years ago these teams were in the NFC Title Game. For the first since 1991, both teams had very good quarterbacks starting, as Donovan McNabb led the Redskins and Matthew Stafford returned to the Lions for the first time since he was injured the opening weekend.
Stafford led the Lions deep in the first quarter, but a pass to the end zonew as intercepted by Deangelo Hall, who had 4 picks last week. In the second quarter, Stephan Logan returned a punt 71 yards to the red zone. Stafford then hit Calvin Johnson, who stretched out and got the ball over the marker to have the Lions up 7-0.
The Redskins were in business when McNabb scrambled up the middle for 34 yards to set up Ryan Torain on the ground for a 6 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Graham Gano nailed a 38 yard field goal late in the half to have the Redskins up 10-7.
Gano added another field goal in the third quarter to have the Redskins up 13-7. Stafford led the Lions to 3rd and 1 from the Washington 7, where Jahvid Best ran laterally and was tackled short of the marker. Jim Schwartz decided not to gamble, but Mike Shanahan could have blown a gasket when the Redskins jumped offsides on the short field goal to give the Lions an automatic 1st and goal at the 3. From the 2, Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew for the score to have the Lions up 14-13.
Early in the fourth quarter McNabb hit Armstrong for 35 yards down to the Detroit 11. Williams ran it in from 5 yards out to have the Redskins back on top 19-14 as the 2 point conversion failed.
Special teams took over as the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Washington 47. Kevin Smith had a pair of 12 yard runs sanwiched around a 3rd and 7 Stafford completion for 13 yards. From the 7, Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for the score. The 2 point conversion failed bu the Lions led 20-19. The lead lasted a few seconds as Banks returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the bank. Another 2 point try failed, but just like that the Redskins were back on top 25-20 with 8 minutes left in regulation.
With 4 1/2 minutes left the Redskins, who played mistake free football for 55 minutes, saw McNabb intercepted by Alphonso Smith at the Washington 37. Defensive holding had the Lions at the Washington 19. On 4th and 1 from the 10, the Lions still had all 3 timeouts and 3:17 to play. A field goal would not have been crazy. Yet Jim Schwartz decided to go for it, and Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for their third touchdown connection. Stafford hit Brian Johnson, fresh off his ACDC tour, for the 2 point conversion to have the Lions up by a field goal.
Detroit tacked on another field goal to have the Lions up 31-25. Yet the Redskins still had time and a superstar quarterback. At that moment Mike Shanahan lost his mind. He benched McNabb and brought in Rex Grossman. This will be talked about for some time. WOuld it be good or bad Rex? It was bad Rex, as he was hit and fumbled. Ndamakung Suh picked it up, strutted like Leon Lett, but did not suffer the consequences for showboating. The touchdown had the Lions up by 12 as the 2 point conversion failed. The Lions had the win, but the water cooler talk in Washington DC will be split between the election and the controversial Shanahan benching of McNabb. 37-25 Lions
Green Bay Packers @ New York Jets–Brett Favre does not play for either team. Rex Ryan might be clinically insane, calling for a fake punt deep in his own territory on 4th and 18. What made it even more bizarre was that Steve Weatherford appeared to pick up the first down. However, Mike McCarthy challenged the call, and replay showed Weatherford was knocked out of bounds a yard short of the marker as the Pacekrs took over at the Jets 36. Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for 30 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 6. The Jets held on defense, as Mason Crosby hit the short field goal to have the Packers up 3-0.
A defensive slog finally saw Mark Sanchez hit Jerricho Cotcherry on a 49 yard pass to the Green Bay 28. On 3rd and 12, a screen pass to La Danian Tomlinson picked up 11. On 4th and 1, this time Rex Ryan went conservative and opted for the field goal. From 37 yards out, Nick Folk missed it.
3 trips to the red zone for Gang Green resulted in a fumble, an interception, and a missed field goal. In the fourth quarter a fourth trip saw a routine pass from Sanchez to Justin Keller. While Keller was on the ground down, Charles Woodson ripped the ball out of his hands. It was ruled an interception. While Keller was clearly down, the Jets were out of challenges, and out of luck on the play as Green bay dodged another bullet. This led to another field goal with 6 1/2 minutes left to have the Packers leading 6-0. With 30 seconds left, a third field goal ended this dreadful game as the Jets saw their 5 game winning streak snapped. 9-0 Packers
Carolina Panthers @St. Louis Rams–Only 7 years ago these teams played a thrilling playoff game. This had the potential to be an awful football game, and early on it was as a interception set up a missed field goal from 51 by Josh Brown. In he second quarter Brown connected from 33 to have the Rams up 3-0 and surpass the over-under of 0.
In the second quarter Bradford led an 11 play, 6 1/2 minute drive that ended when he tossed a 2 yard touchdown to Amendola to have the Rams up 10-0. With 37 seconds left in the half, John Kasay nailed a 41 yard field goal to have the Panthers within 10-3.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Rams got some breathing room early in the fourth quarter when Bradford hit Fells for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 17-3. Matt Moore was then intercepted for the second time on the day, as the Rams took over at the Carolina 28 with a chance to ice things. A field goal with 6 1/2 minutes left made it 20-3 Rams.
A garbage touchdown made the score closer, but Jon Fox remained on the hot seat as Jerry Richardson saw his once proud Panthers fall to 1-6. Steve Spagnuolo saw his Rams continue to improve bit by bit. 20-10 Rams
Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals–Carson Palmer led a balanced attack early on, and the time consuming drive took up half of the opening quarter and led to a 3rd and 1 at the Miami 7. Palmer hit Terrell Owens, who failed to drop it in the end zone for the touchdown. Owens loves him some him, and the Bengals led 7-0 at home. Miami responded with a 39 yard Dan Carpenter field goal to get within 7-3. A second field goal in the second quarter had the Dolphins within 7-6.
Late in the half Chad Henne was intercepted. From the Miami 37, Palmer threw an awful pass that should have been intercepted. Onstead it bounced out of the defender’s bread basket straight to Owens, who walked into the end zone and celebrated himself. Dumb luck still counts, as the Bengals led 14-6.
A third field goal had the Dolphins within 14-9, and at the halftime gun Carpenter connected from 54 yards out as Tony Sparano pumped his fists and the Dolphins trailed 14-12. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter Carpenter connected for a 5th time as the Dolphins led 15-14.
With 12 minutes left in the game, an end around from midfield by Hartline went all the way to the Cincinnati 18. Ricky WIlliams then carried to the one. On the next carry Williams appeared to be short, but it was ruled a touchdown. Marvin Lewis challenged the call to no avail, as the Dolphins led 22-14. Palmer brought the Bengals into Miami territory, but was intercepted with 2:47 to play. The Dolphins hung on as Tony Sparano saw his team improve to 4-0 on the road despite being 0-3 at home. The Bengals have 2 wins, one for each reality tv show by a prima donna receiver. 22-14 Dolphins
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs–A scoreless opening 28 minutes was as scintillating as it sounded. From the Buffalo 19, Jamal Charles ran it to the one, where Matt Cassel hit Dwayne Bowe for the touchdown to have the Chiefs up 7-0.
With 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Ryan Lindell got the Bills on the board with a field goal to have the Bills within 7-3. One minute into the fourth quarter the Chiefs faced 4th and 1 at the Buffalo 30. Jamal Charles picked up just enough. After 12 straight runs, a 3rd and 8 pass left Kansas City with another 4th down. A 28 yard field goal had the Chiefs up 10-3.
With 4 minutes left in this awful game, the Bills were in the red zone when Lee Evans fumbled at the 13 and the Chiefs recovered. Chan Gailey challenged the call, and on further review it was recovered out of bounds. Buffalo retained possession and faced 3rd and 3 from the 13. CJ Spiller picked up just enough. On 4th and goal fro the 5, Fitzpatrick rifled a pass to Johnson, who caught it at the one and rolled in just before being tackled with 2:16 to play. Todd Haley challenged the score, but the game was 10-10.
With 90 seconds left Kansas City faced 4th and 1 in their own territory. Cassel leaped over the top, but Todd Haley had called timeout. Haley decided to punt, and Roscoe Parrish returned it to the Buffalo 48. On 3rd and 1 a pitchout picked up the first down. Ever so close to field goal range, Fitzpatrick had the ball slip out of his hand and float for a gift interception. The Chiefs took over at their ow 40 with 20 seconds left. Cassel was sacked to send the game to overtime.
One minute into the fourth quarter Chan Gailey decided to punt rater than try a 59 yard field goal. Kansas City punted it back. Midway through overtime Ryan Lindell had a 53 yard field goal attempt to win it. The kick was good, but Todd Haley had employed the awful Mike Shanahan bush league timeout tactic. Lindell tried again, and this time it was no good. With 4 minutes left in overtime, Ryan Succup had his chance from 39 yards. In a bizarre Halloween moment, the kick looked good and then out of nowhere hooked wide.
The game that would never end came down to the final play of overtime, as Succop had one more chance from short range. This time the kick started outside but hooked inwards as the Chiefs improved to 5-2 and the Bills remained the only winless team in the NFL. Ralph Wilson turned 92 last week, and still has not gotten a good present from his team. 13-10 Chiefs, OT
Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers–What more can Norvelous Norv Turner do? He has the top offense and top defense, yet his Chargers are 2-5 due to horrendous special teams. Jeff Fisher knows defense, and is as steady as they come. The Chargers stayed true to form as Mike Scifres AGAIN had a punt blocked, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 Titans lead. For those tempted to make baseball jokes, please refrain. It is annoying, and never was funny.
Tennessee failed to take advantage of the free kick, and Philip Rivers calmly moved the Chargers 83 yards in 15 plays over 7 1/2 minutes. Mike Tolbert crashed in from one yard out to have the Chargers up 7-2. Vince Young came back and led a 10 play, 68 yard drive. However, Tennessee stalled at the 3 yard line, and a 21 yard Rob Bironas field goal had the Titans within 7-5.
In the second quarter, Young again moved the Titans, taking them 80 yards in 10 plays. This time Tennessee finished it as Stevens took it in from one yard out to have the Titans on top 12-7. Later in the half Chris Johnson broke through several terrible excuses for tackles en route to a 29 yard touchdown to have the Titans up 19-7 on the road. Rivers needed only 5 plays to bring the Chargers back 72 yards, with a 7 yard toss to Matthews getting San Diego within 19-14. Yet with seconds left in the half, Rivers was intercepted.
In the third quarter, the Titans punted and the Chargers took over at their own 37. On 3rd nd 8, Rivers hit Ajirotutu for for 14. On 3rd and 4 from the Titans 41, Rivers hit Darren Sproles for 17 more. The drive stalled, and Kris Brown hit a 34 yard field goal to complete the 11 play, 6 minute drive to have the Chargers within 19-17. Tennessee punted again and the Chargers took over at their own 9. On 3rd and 8 Rivers was intercepted by Griffin, who returned it 17 yrds for a touchdown as Norv Turner checked out retirement condos. Yet defensive holding nullified the score and turned the game around. From the 16, Tolbert ran for 36 yards. On the next play Rivers went deep to Antonio Gates for a 48 yard touchdown as the Chargers retook the lead at 24-19.
In the fourth quarter again the Chargers began at their own 9, and again Rivers moved them. On 3rd and 1 from the San Diego 28, Sproles ran for 32 yards. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the Titans 17, Tolbert lost a yard. Brown nailed the 36 yard field goal as the Chargers led 27-19 with 12 minutes left in the game.
One play and 18 seconds later after the kickoff, Vince Young went deep to Nate Washington for a 71 yard touchdown bomb. The 2 point conversion failed, but the Titans were within 27-25.
Sproles returned the kickoff 27 yards, with a 15 yard penalty tacked on to have the Chargers at their own 48. On 3rd and 11 from the Titans 39, Rovers hit Gates for 21. On 3rd and 5 from the 13, Rivers hit Gates for the score with 7 minutes to play. The extra point attempt was fumbled, keeping it an 8 point one score game.
Tennessee took over at their own 26. Young scrambled for 10, and on the next play picked up 4. Yet Young was injured during the play and Kerry Collins had to come in again. The Titans did end up punting, and the Chargers were backed up at their own 2 with 3:45 left. On 4th and 2 from the 10 all of San Diego held their breath as Mike Scifres did not have a 5th punt blocked this season. Scifres is an all pro, the protection has broken down. Tennessee took over at their own 42 with 2:38 to play.
On 3rd and 6, Collins hit Williams for 17 to the San Diego 37. With 1:40 to play with the Titans facing 4th and 6, Collins hit Hawkins for 10. With 42 seconds left, the Titans had 3rd and 2 at the San Diego 15 when Collins fired incomplete. On 4th and 2 Collins fired a clean pass that was simply dropped. The Chargers broke their skid and improved to 3-5, as their fans already have them running the table to 11 wins, where they can blow up in the playoffs. As for the Titans, Jeff Fisher saw this one get away after some convincing road wins. 33-25 Chargers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals–Raheem Morris proclaimed that the Buccaneers were the best team in the NFC, proving the need for a tougher drug testing policy for coaches as well as players. Ken Whisenhunt still wishes Kurt Warner would return.
Max Hall did his job early on, leading a 61 yard drive that culminated with a 3 yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald to have the Cardinals on top 7-0. Yet Hall then completed a perfect pass to Hayes, who plays defense for Tampa Bay. The ghosts of Sapp, Lynch, and Brooks smiled as the game was tied at 7-7. The ghost of Ronde Barber was not there because the real Ronde Barber still is.
Yet not even Lee Roy and Dewey Selmon could help the Buccaneers when they fumble a punt at their own 16 yard line. Beanie Wells took it in from one yard out to have the Cardinals up 14-7. The Selmon brothers could not help the Buccaneers offense, but that is only because they did not play offense. Josh Freeman and Roy Williams do play offense, and they connected deep on a 47 yard touchdown combination to again tie the game 14-14.
Max Hall then threw a perfect pass to Aqib Talib, who also plays defense for the Buccaneers. Talib took it 45 yards to the end zone as the Buccaneers led 21-14. With Matt Leinart sitting on a bench in Houston, Ken Whisenhunt took Derek Anderson off the Arizona bench and back into the game with 6 minutes left in the half. Anderson did not get the Cardinals on the board, but Josh Freeman moved the ball into position for a field goal to give the Buccaneers the 24-14 lead into the locker rooms.
In the third quarter Freeman continued to move the Buccaneers, this time 80 yards. A 15 yard run by Blount had the Buccaneers coasting 31-14. Yet with one minute left in the third quarter, things got bizarre in the desert.
First Stephens-Howling broke off a 30 yard touchdown run to finish a 76 yard drive and get the Cardinals within 31-21. Then a routine running play turned into a Tampa Bay fumble that Hayes returned 21 yards for a touchdown as the Cardinals were only down 31-28 after three quarters.
With 11 1/2 minutes left in the game, the Cardinals took over after a Tampa Bay punt at the Buccaneers 48. Anderson hit Steve Breaston for 36 yards down to the 12. Anderson hit Fitzgerald from 5 yards out as the Cardinal came all the way back to lead 35-31 with 9 1/2 minutes left.
Tampa Bay took over at their own 26. Freeman hit Blount for 10. With 7 minutes left, Tampa Bay faced 4th and 1 at their own 45. Raheem Morris decided to go for it. Freeman picked up the yard himself. On the next play Freeman went deep to Benn for a 53 yard gain down to the Arizona 1. Blount too kit up the middle as the Pirates of Pewter Pants reclaimed the lead by a field goal with 5 minutes to play.
Anderson was then intercepted, and the Buccaneers sought to extend the lead as Connor Barth came in for a 53 yard field goal with 3:16 to play. The kick was blocked, and the Cardinals had the ball at their own 43. With 2:15 to play the Cardinals were in short field goal range at the Buccaneers 20. Disaster then struck as Anderson was intercepted by Aqib Talib, his second on the day.
The Buccaneers took over at their own 6. Blount ran 48 yards to the Arizona 46. Yet the Cardinals still had their timeouts, and they used them on defense and got the ball back at their own 13 with 55 seconds left. Anderson was hit and fumbled. The Cardinals retained possession but the clock evaporated on them. With 6 seconds left, the Cardinals had 4th down at their own 26. Anderson completed a pass to Fitzgerald near midfield, but Fitzgerald got out of bounds just after the final seconds ticked away. The Buccaneers are still far from the best in the NFC, but the exciting shootout was a big road win. 38-35 Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks @ Oakland Raiders–Yes the Silver and Black scored 59 points last week, but that has zero bearing today as the Raiders either finally turn the corner and get to 4-4 or slip to 3-5 for an 8th straight losing season. For more on the game of the day, go to http://www.justblogbaby.com
Jason Canpbell started for Bruce Gradkowski, who apparently still is not healthy. The Raiders took over at their own 10, but a 3rd and 3 pass was dropped by the normally reliable Zach Miller as the Raiders punted. On defense, the Silver and Black came to play in a big way. Matt Hasselbeck was sacked twice as Seattle lost 12 yards and punted. The teams exchanged punts after that and the Raiders took over at their own 42.
On 3rd and 7, Campbell hit Jacoby Ford for 13 yards. Darrius Heyward-Bey took an end around for 30 yards to the Seattle 12. The drive stalled, but Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 31 yard field goal to have the Raiders up 3-0. The teams exchanged punts again, and another sack of Hasselbeck had Seattle punting on 4th and 24 as the second quarter began.
The Raiders took over at their own 13, and healthy Darren McFadden got things going with an 8 yard run. On 3rd and 1, Campbell picked up just enough. Campbell then hit Heyward-Bey for 12. On 3rd and 6 from the 39, Campbell hit Ford for 9 and McFadden for 13 more. On 4th and 1 from the Seattle 30, To Cable decided to go for it. Campbell hit Reece on a short pass over the middle, and Reece took it all the way for the score as the Raiders led 10-0 at intermission. Seattle had only 12 yards of offense until their final drive of the half, which ended when Olindo Mare missed a 51 yard field goal.
Seattle punted on their first quarter drive, and the Raiders took over at their 6. Campbell hit Heyward-Bey for 12 to the 20. McFadden then ran up the middle 49 yards to the Seattle 31. Hue Jackson then went to the Halloween trickery as a handoff to Michael Bush became a reverse around the end to Ford for 11 yards. The drive again stalled, but Seabass connected from 36 to have the Raiders up 13-0.
Seattle got a break form the Oakland 43 when a deep pass became pass interference on Stanford Routt at the Oakland 12. Yet on 3rd and 9, a potential touchdown pass to Williams over the middle was dropped. Compounding the misery was Mare missing the 29 yard field goal as the game remained 13-0. The Raiders took over at their own 20, and from the 19, a short pass to Reece went for 51 yards to the Seattle 30. 3 plays yielded only 3 more yards, and this time from 45 yards out, Seabass slipped and hooked the ball wide left.
Seattle punted, and the Raiders took over at their own 14. On 3rd and 9, a very short pass was bobbled by the receiver and batted up in the air all the way across the field. What appeared to be a an interception somehow ended up in the arms of Michael Bush, who took it 55 yards to the Seattle 30. This did not make up for the Immaculate Reception, but it was pleasant dumb luck. McFdden then ran for 20 more down to the 10. Another McFadden run got it to the 5. The Raiders had played mostly mistake free, but holding moved them back 10 yards. With the clock winding down to only 11 seconds left in the third quarter, Campbell burned a timeout. McFadden took a swing pass and bulled over a couple tacklers down to the 3 yard line as the quarter ended.
At that point McFadden had 130 yards to 188 for the entire Seattle team. Yet on 3rd and goal Campbell overthrew the receiver and Seabass connected from 22 to lead 16-0 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Seattle appeared to be dead when a 3rd and 10 Hasselbeck pass was intercepted by Michael Huff and returned to the Seattle 30 for 20 yards. Instead, illegal contact on Stanford Routt gave Seattle an automatic first down. Then things got bizarre. A deep pass was first deflected by Stanford Routt. It landed right in the arms of Seattle Deon Butler. Yet when Butler hit the ground, without the ball touching down, the ball popped back up in the air, and was intercepted by Tyvon Branch, who returned it a few yards to the Oakland 31. Pete Carroll unsuccessfully challenged the call. One play later, Al Davis had to be smiling when Campbell went deep to Hey-ward Bey, who split a pair of defenders and raced for a 69 yard touchdown to have the Raiders rolling at 23-0.
With 9 minutes left in the game, Hasselbeck was sacked again, as the Seahawks faced 4th and 26 at the Oakland 29. Pete Carroll decided to just avoid the shutout, and Mare connected from 47 to have the Seahawks on the board. The onsides kick failed, and the Raiders took over at the Seattle 36. Seabass drilled a 49 yarder to have the Raiders up 26-3. Seattle punted, and the Raiders faced 3rd and 9 at their own 35. Michael Bush ran for 30 yards, and Reece picked up another 31 to the Seattle 4. Michael Bush ran it in to complete the scoring.
Jason Campbell finished an efficient 15 of 27 for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hasselbeck was a horrid 13 of 32 for 160 yards. The Raiders had no turnovers, and over 500 yards of offense for the second straight week. The only issues are Nahmdi Asomugha, who left the game with a hurt ankle with 10 minutes left, and Bruce Gradkowski upon his being healthy enough to start. The Raiders have won 2 straight games by the combined score of 92-17. For the first time since the 2002 Super Bowl run, the Raiders are 4-4 at the midpoint. There is finally hope in the Raider Nation, although Tom Cable and Hue Jackson have given the fans of the Silver and Black plenty of reasons for real hope. 33-3 Raiders
Minnesota Vikings @ New England Patriots–Evil Hoodie Bill Bellichick most likely has an arrangement with Satan, while Brad Childress is bald and Catholic. Randy Moss faces off against his old team, as Brett Favre decides to play, shocking nobody.
With 5 minutes left in the opening quarter, Percy Harvin ran for 21 yards but then limped off the field with help. After a scoreless opening quarter, Adrian Peterson began the second quarter by banging it in from one yard out to have the Vikings up 7-0 on the road. Tom Brady brought the Patriot back, and a wildcat snap to Woodhead resulted in a 5 yard touchdown to tie the game. The touchdown was set up by a 32 yard pass from Brady that bounced off of defenders and somehow ended up in the arms of receiver Brandon Tate at the 11 yard line.
The score remained tied until late in the half, when Favre had the Vikings moving with help from a reinserted Harvin. With 1:55 left in the half, facing 3rd and goal at the 8, Favre completed a pass to the one yard line. On 4th and goal form the 1, Brad Childress immediately called for his field goal team. Childress then reversed himself, and decided to go for it. Adrian Peterson got stuffed and the game remained tied.
Ryan Longwell nailed a long field goal midway through the third quarter, but the Minnesota lead did not last long. Wearing the old school AFL red uniforms, Tom Brady scrambled all over the place, avoided a sack, and fired for a 65 yard touchdown pass to Tate to have the Patriots up 14-10.
The game turned when a pass from Favre to Harvin that should have been caught was bobbled and intercepted. McCourty returned it 37 yards to the Minnesota 37. Brady hit Woodhead for 13, and Green-Ellis ran it the final 13 to have the Patriots up 21-10.
With 8 1/2 minutes remaining, a deep pass to Randy Moss resulted in defensive pass interference at the 15. On 3rd and goal from the 5, an incomplete pass was nullified by illegal contact on the defense. To make matters worse, Favre got belted on a helmet to helmet hit right in the jaw. This time he had to be helped off the field as he limped. Tarvaris Jackson came in with 1st and goal at the 1. His first NFL snap was a touchdown pass to Taji. His second pass was a lob to Harvin, who made an incredible catch for the 2 point conversion to get the Vikings within 21-18 with 7 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
Favre was done for the day with a lacerated chin. Minnesota needed a stop on defense to give Jackson a chance. With 5 1/2 minutes left, the Patriots faced 3rd and 5 at their own 39. Brady hit Wes Welker for 7 yards. With 4 minutes left, the Patriots had a 3rd and 12 at their own 44. Brady fired short to Woodhead, who broke a critical tackle for a 16 yard gain. From the Minnesota 27, Green-Ellis ran it all the way to the one yard line. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Green-Ellis went airborne. Although it appeared short, it was ruled a touchdown and the Patriots had the clincher with 1:56 to play.
Jackson ran out of time, and perhaps so has the Minnesota season and Chilly’s tenure as coach. Minnesota is 2-5, and while iron man Favre has played through tons of injuries, that helmet to helmet hit may be the dagger on his streak. Meanwhile, the Patriots have the top record in the conference again. 28-18 Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New Orleans Saints was the Sunday night game. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers are all about defense, while Sean Payton and the Saints won it all last year with a high octane offense. The Saints have struggled this year at 4-3 while the Steelers are 5-1 and looking like a contender. This game played to the tempo of the Steelers, a defensive slugfest.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Steelers thought they had a touchdown in the second quarter when Ben Roethlisberger hit Antwon Randle El from 12 yards out. Sean Payton challenged the call, and on further review Randle El was out at the one. This proved costly as 3 running plays went nowhere. On 4th and goal at the one, Tomlin had seen enough. Reed came in for the 19 yard field goal to put the Steelers up 3-0.
At the 2 minute warning, Brees was intercepted, setting the Steelers up at the Saints 36. Pittsburgh went nowhere and Reed missed a 51 yard field goal. The Saints took over at their own 41 with 1:11 in the half. From the Pittsburgh 47, Drew Brees hit Marquis Colston for 27 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the 13, Brees fired incomplete. Shaky Garret Hartley kicked a 30 yard field goal to tie the game 3-3 at intermission.
Roby returned the second half kickoff as the Saints began at their own 44. Brees hit Jones for 13 and Moore for 18. Defensive pass interference set up 1t and goal at the 1. After an incomplete pass, a running play lost 3 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 4, another running play lost another yard as Hartley kicked a 23 yard field goal to have the Saints up 6-3 after the 12 play, 6 1/2 minute drive.
A long kickoff return had the Steelers at their own 40, but after one first down they faced 4th and 4 at the Saints 40. Mike Tomlin decided to go for it and Big Ben threw incomplete. Brees took over, and facing 3rd and 9, hit Robert Meacham for 12. On 3rd and 5 at the Pittsburgh 41, Brees hit Jeremy Shockey for 14 yards as the third quarter ended. On 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 18, Betts picked up 2. Brees then hit Colston for the 16 yard touchdown as the end one was reached after 47 minutes of play as the Saints led 13-3.
This time the Steelers came right back from the Pittsburgh 32. Big Ben hit Spaeth for 9, Hines Ward for 12, and Mike Wallace for 17. From the Saints 38, Rashaard Mendenhall raced to the end zone as the Steelers were right back in it down 13-10 with 11 minutes to play.
The Saints took over at their own 19, and Brees moved them to a 3rd and 4 at the Pittsburgh 20 with 8 minutes left. Brees was then sacked and fumbled, and the Steelers took over at their own 27. Yet 2 plays and 90 seconds later, the Steelers fumbled it back as the Saints had it at their own 45.
A critical roughing the passer penalty with 4 minutes left had the Saints at the Steelers 20. Everything came down to 3rd and 8 at the 18 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Brees hit Moore for 10, and then connected with Moore on the next play for the touchdown to ice this very hard fought and well played defensive bonelock.
Both of these teams have won the last two Super Bowls, and while this game was not terribly exciting, a rematch would be worth watching from a competitive quality football standpoint. The Saints improved to 5-3, while the 5-2 Steelers lost a tough interconference game on the road. 20-10 Saints
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts was the Monday night game. The Texans got the monkey off their back in Week 1 at home, but now they traveled to Indy for the rematch in a far sterner test. A pair of high octane offenses saw Matt Schaub and Peyton Manning start out ice cold. The punters were expected to merely hold on the extra point attempts, but early on they were actually…punting. The second time the Colts had the ball, they took over at their own 22. Hart ran for 21 yards. Manning hit Reggie Wayne for 11 and then to Tamme for 26 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 7. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Manning hit Tamme for the touchdown as the Cots led 7-0.
Schaub led the Texans to the Indy 47, but on 3rd and 2 he fired incomplete. Gary Kubiak decided to go for it, but Schaub again threw incomplete. With the short field, Manning faced 3rd and 6 at the Houston 49. Manning actually…ran…yes, ran…and slid. Manning may have 20 yards rushing in his career. He slid and was marked short. Yet what Manning does know how to do is be a field general, and he debated the officials on the spot. On further review, it was changed to a 1st down. It was all for naught as Manning was sacked to end the quarter and the drive.
Matt Schaub began the second quarter by firing a perfect pass to Hayden. Unfortunately for Schaub, Hayden plays defense for the Colts. Just like that, Hayden had a 25 yard touchdown return to have the Colts up 14-0.
From the Houston 34, Arriu Foster, who gashed the Colts in Week 1, ran for 33 yards. On 3rd and 5, Schaub was sacked. Kubiak decided to have Neil Rackers try a 53 yard field goal, risking another short field. Rackers barely got it to doink off the upright and bounce inward just over the crossbar. It was not easy, but the Texans were on the board.
The Colts took over on their own 25. After moving back and forth from competing penalties, a 14 yard run by Hart had Indy at their own 45. The drive stalled, and the Colts punted only to have the Texans do likewise. The Colts got the ball back at their own 34. On 3rd and 3, Manning hit Hart for just enough. Manning hit Brown on 3rd and 11 to set up 4th and 1 at the Houston 47. Without a hint of a facial expression, Jim Caldwell decided to go for it. Brown picked up 3 with 3 minutes left in the half. The drive would stall, but with one minute left in the half Adam Vinatieri nailed a 48 yard field goal to have the Colts up 17-3 at the break.
The Colts began the third quarter at their own 30. On 3rd and 10 Manning hit Pierre Garcon for 18, and then Hart for 10 more. Manning hit Garcon for another 14 and Tamme for another 12. On 3rd and 10 from the Houston 15, Manning hit Wayne for the score to have the Colts up 24-3.
The Texans took over after a good kickoff return at their own 41. On rd and 1, Schaub picked up the yard. Schaub then hit Foster for 14, and on 3rd and 3 from the 28, Schaub went deep to Andre Johnson for the touchdown as Johnson did what he does. The Texans were still down 24-10, but plenty of time remained.
Manning came right back. From the Indy 39, Manning hit Anthony Gonzalez for 34 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Houston 18, defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and 5 from the 8, Manning hit Garcon for 6 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 1, Mike Hart was marked just short. On 4th and goal, as the crowd booed, Coach Caldwell sent out the field goal team. If ever a man could remove the passion and emotion from a situation, it is Jim Caldwell. He smartly understood the significance of a 3 score lead, as Vinatieri connected from 19 to have the Colts up 27-10 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Houston took over at their own 14, and the third quarter ended with them at their own 47. Schaub hit Johnson for gains of 14 and 17, and Arriun Foster ran it in from 6 yards out to have the Texans within 27-17 with 12 1/2 minutes left in the game.
The Colts began at their own 24, and Manning kept firing. On 3rd and 3 from the Houston 18, Manning did throw incomplete, but Vinatieri did his job from 36 yards as the Colts led 30-17 with 7 1/2 minutes to play. Houston went 3 and out on their next drive, as Manning sought to just wind down the clock and end things. The Texans did get the ball back, but disaster on the punt had them starting at their own 4 yard line with 3:50 to play.
Schaub kept dinking and dunking, but some confusion led to 15-20 critical seconds coming off the clock as the 2 minute warning came and the Texans still on their own side of the field. A deep pass to Johnson resulted in a leaping catch at the Indy 30. After 8 straight completions, a dropped pass set up 3rd and 3. A draw play to Foster went all the way to the 15 with 1:10 left. On 3rd and 10, Dwight Freeney ended things with the trifecta of the sack, forced fumble, and recovery. The Colts improved to 5-2 in their tight division. 30-17 Colts