NFL 2011–Week 7 Recap

The early games were some of the most boring games in NFL history, unworthy of any further description. So here is the NFL 2011 Week 7 Recap from my home in Los Angeles as I try to stay awake due to a combination of fatigue and bad football.

Denver Broncos at Miami Dolphins–Normally a 1-4 team on the road to face an 0-5 team would simply be a bad game. Yet the Tim Tebow era has begun in Denver, and the Broncos faithful were electrified in their last loss when Tebow nearly pulled it out. Kyle Orton was absolutely not to blame for the Denver woes, and John Fox kept him on the roster as the trading deadline passed. As for the Dolphins, trading all 45 players may have helped but Tony Sparano did not find any takers.

The highlight of the first quarter was a missed field goal by Denver. Out of respect for the game of football no further elaboration is necessary. In the second quarter Dan Carpenter hit a 38 yard field goal to have the Dolphins up 3-0. Matt Prater missed a second field goal to keep the Broncos scoreless. Willis McGahee would fumble, giving Miami the ball at the Denver 40. Thomas gained 14, but on 3rd and 3 from the Denver 16, Mimi fumbled the snap. They retained possession and settled for another field goal and a 6-0 lead in a game the league refused to cancel out of boredom.

The third quarter saw the first third down conversion by either team. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the half the Dolphins took over at their own 28. On 3rd and 1 Moore hit Bess for 4. Moore went back to Bess for 12. On 3rd and 6 from the Denver 43 Moore hit Marshall for 12. Moore went back to Bess for 13 to the Denver 18 as the third quarter ended. On the opening play of the fourth quarter Moore hit Anthony Fasano for a 16 yard touchdown as the Dolphins led 12-0 in a game that had enough action for anyone who finds action irrelevant. Of course the 2 point conversion failed.

Miami got the ball back at their own 25. Moore hit Clay for 17. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 41, Moore hit Hartline for 15. The drive stalled but Carpenter connected from 43 as the Dolphins led 15-0 midway through the fourth quarter. The Tebow experiment was a failure and the Dolphins would get their win.

Not so fast. After an exchange of punts, Denver took over at their own 20 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Tebow hit Thomas for 15 and Knowshon Moreno for 9 more. On 3rd and 1 Ball gained 2. Tebow then went deep to Willis for a 42 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the 5 Tebow hit Thomas for the score. Denver still trailed 15-7, and with 3 minutes left they were already out of timeouts.

Yet these were the hapless Dolphins they were playing, and the onsides kick was recovered by Denver at their own 44 after it appeared Miami had it cleanly. On 3rd and 1 Tebow gained 4. On 3rd and 3 at the Miami 36 Tebow found Eric Decker for 5. Tebow then went deep to Fells. In triple coverage, Fells made a diving catch at the 3 yard line. With 25 seconds left, Tebow hit Fells for the score. On the 2 point conversion try, Tebow took it himself and made it standing up. A 15-0 Miami lead with 5 minutes left had evaporated into a 15-15 tie and overtime. 6 points through 3 quarters had given way to a 24 point fourth quarter.

Each team punted in overtime and the Dolphins took over at their own 15. From the Miami 43, Moore was sacked and fumbled. Denver took over at the Miami 36. 3 plays netted only 2 yards, and Prater came in. He had missed 2 shorter ones, and this one was from 52. Prater hit it, and the Broncos had the improbable comeback win. Despite 55 terrible minutes, the final 5 and overtime will have Tebowmania at a fever pitch. Denver is 2-4 for Jon Fox, while at 0-6 Tony Sparano has to wonder why he even wants his job after one of the worst losses in Miami history. 18-15 Broncos, OT

San Diego Chargers at New York Jets–The normally slow starting Chargers are 4-1, proving that Norvelous Norv Turner is the greatest coach in football history. They face a Jets team that thanked its lucky stars it was playing woeful Miami last week, since the Jets are not much better. Ground and pound has disappeared this year and Rex Ryan will see his defense tested by Philip Rivers early and often. If this was a playoff game the Jets could wait for San Diego to self-destruct, but in the regular season that is asking too much.

The Jets got the ball and less than 2 minutes into the game Sanchez was hit as he threw. The ball made it to Dustin Keller who bobbled it several times before Donald Butler ripped it out of his hands. Butler took it the other way for a 37 yard interception return as the Chargers jumped to a 7-0 lead in front of a stunned home crowd.

The Jets took over at their own 20 and Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes for 8 and Plaxico Burress for 15. Shone Greene broke free for a 24 yard gain. Yet a 3rd and 7 pass came up short and on 4th and 1 from the San Diego 16, Rex Ryan opted for the field goal. Nick Folk connected as the Jets were down 7-3.

Late in the quarter the Chargers took over at their own 24. On 3rd and 2 Philip Rivers found Malcolm Floyd for 8. On 3rd and 5 at the Chargers 45 Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a pair of 12 yard gains as the quarter ended. From the Jets 31, Rovers hit Vincent Jackson for 15 and Mike Tolbert ran for 4 and 8. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Rivers hit Gates for the touchdown and the 14-3 Chargers lead.

The Jets took over at their own 23. A pair of defensive penalties moved the Jets to their own 46. A 16 yard toss from Sanchez to Holmes followed by another defensive pass interference had the Jets at the San Diego 25. Ladanian Tomlinson gained 19 and Sanchez hit Burress for a 3 yard touchdown to have the Jets within 14-10 midway through the second quarter.

The Chargers took over at their own 13. Tolbert gained 29 and on 3rd and 1 Rivers hit Floyd for 28 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Jets 12, Tolbert gained 4. After defensive pass interference, Tolbert took it in on 3rd and goal from the 1 to have the Chargers up 21-10 at halftime.

A field position game midway through the third quarter saw the Jets taking over at their own 45. Greene gained 10 and on 3rd and 5 Sanchez hit Kerley for 10. On 3rd and 7 from the Chargers 27, Sanchez hit Kerley for 8. Greene gained 15 and Sanchez hit Burress for the 4 yard touchdown as the Jets trailed 21-17 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter saw Rivers lead his team from their own 23 to a 3rd and 5 at the Jets 25. Rivers was then intercepted by Darrell Revis, his 3rd in 2 games. Last week Revis took one back 100 yards. This week he only returned it 64 yards to the San Diego 19. Greene ran for 10 and Sanchez hit Burress for the 3 yard touchdown to have the Jets up 24-21 with 9 minutes left.

With 5 1/2 minutes left San Diego faced 3rd and 6 at their own 41. Rivers was intercepted by Wilson, giving the Jets a short field at the Chargers 47. On 3rd and 3, defensive pass interference moved the ball to the 20. On 3rd and 1 Snachez got just enough, although it appeared he was short. Yet with 1:48 to play, on 3rd and goal from the 3, Sanchez was sacked. Folk made the field goal but the Chargers were only down 6. They had 0 timeouts, but 90 seconds to work with from their own 24.

With 11 seconds left San Diego faced 4th and 3 just shy of midfield. Rivers threw incomplete as the Chargers fell to 4-2. As for the Jets, after three straight road losses they have won consecutive home games. The Jets had the short week after the Monday night win while San Diego had 2 weeks to prepare. It was not enough as the Jets got to 4-3 with the win. 27-21 Jets

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans–Yes the Texans have been devastated by injuries, losing Andre Johnson for a while and Mario Williams for the season. Yet it is always something with them as Gary Kubiak cannot seem to get them over the hump. They are playing for first place against a Titans team that under Mike Munchak seems every bit as gritty and resilient as in years past.

Midway through the opening quarter the Texans took took over at their own 8. On 3rd and 8 from the 21, Matt Schaub found Arriun Foster for 26. Unnecessary roughness moved the Texans to the Titans 27. On 3rd and 2 Foster gained 3. Yet a sack killed the drive and the Texans settled for a 32 yard Neil Rackers field goal and a 3-0 lead.

In the second quarter Matt Hasselbeck was intercepted, giving the Texans the ball at their own 13. Schaub went deep to Owen Daniels for 34. Arriun Foster gained 7 and 10. An unnecessary roughness penalty moved the ball to the 12. Schaub hit Joel Dreesen for a 10 yard touchdown to have the Texans up 10-0. Houston got the ball back at their own 6. On 3rd and 1 Schaub hit Derrick Mason for 7. On the next play Schaub found Foster, who outraced everybody for a 78 yard touchdown to have the Texans up 17-0 on the road.

Houston got the ball at the Tennessee 48 with 1:52 left in the half. Schaub hit Daniels for 18. With 4 seconds left in the half the Texans faced 4th and 1 at the Tennessee 11. Gary Kubiak made the easy decision as the field goal had the Texans cruising 20-0 at halftime.

After a Tennessee punt the Texans began the third quarter at their own 8. Schaub hit Walter for 20 and Foster and Tate had a pair of 17 yard gains on the ground. Tate then ran for another 24 as the once proud Titans defense was a sieve. Foster would take it in from one yard out as the 92 yard drive quickly and easily had the Texans up 27-0.

Tennessee took over at their own 24 and finally got going needing only 4 scores to take the lead. Hasselbeck hit Ringer for 17 Hawkins for 12. Ringer gained 25, and on 4th and goal at the 5 Hasselbeck hit Cook for the score as the Titans needed only 3 scores down 27-7.

2 more scores were added, but they both belonged to Houston. Arriun Foster ran it in from 5 yards out and McCain returned an interception 38 yards to complete the blowout. Houston is 4-3 and in first place in the division with the thrashing of Tennessee. 41-7 Texans

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions–The underachieving Falcons face off against an angry Lions team that lost its first game last week to fall to 5-1. Mike Smith is average non-descript white guy who looks like a guy named Mike Smith, while Jim Schwartz is a fiery leader who almost got into fisticuffs with his opposing coach last week. Both of these teams have some serious offensive talent, and a pair of Matts in Ryan and Stafford could produce a pinball machine game.

The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 25 when Matt Ryan was intercepted by Wright, giving the Lions golden field position at the Atlanta 15. Matthew Stafford was soon sacked and the Lions settled for a 43 yard Jason Hanson field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Later in the period Eric Weems returned a punt 37 yards as the Falcons took over at the Detorit 26. On 3rd and 9 Ryan hit Tony Gonzalez for 14. On 3rd and 1 from the 5 Michael Turner got stuffed. Mike Smith on 4th and 1 opted for the field goal, and Matt Bryant hit from 23 to have the game tied 3-3.

The Lions fumbled the ensuing kickoff as the Falcons took over at the Detroit 28. On 3rd and 12 Ryan hit Roddy White for 14. Defensive pass interference moved the ball to the one. On the next play defensive pass interference happened again. On the next play Detroit jumped offsides. Finally Ryan ran it in to have the Lions up 10-3 as the first quarter ended.

Detroit began the second quarter at their own 30. On 2nd and 2 Nate Burleson gained 10. From midfield Stafford hit Tony Scheffler for 9 and Williams gained 18. The drive would stall as Hanson kicked a 38 yarder to have the Lions within 10-6.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half the Falcons took over at their own 19. From the 31, Ryan went deep to Gonzalez for a 30 yard gain. Turner gained 19, and from the 18, Ryan found White just before the half as the Falcons had a 17-6 lead in front of a nervous home crowd.

A field position game in the third quarter had the Lions at the Atlanta 46. Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew for 9, and Morris ran for 31. A 34 yard field goal attempt was blocked, but defensive offsides gave Hanson another try from 29. Hanson hit it as the Lions were within 17-9. After a touchback Atlanta soon faced 3rd and 8. Ryan went deep to Douglas for 49 yards. They got nothing else but a 47 yard field goal by Bryant had Atlanta up 20-9.

Detroit took over at their own 16. Stafford hit Pettigre for 9 and on 3rd and 4 from the 34, Stafford hit Calvin Johnson for 9. On the next play Stafford went back to Johnson, who broke tackles and sprinted for a 57 yard touchdown to have the Lions within 20-16.

Atlanta took over at their own 20 and Ryan hit Gonzalez for 10. Turner then broke fee for a 50 yard gain. The fourth quarter began with the Falcons at the Detroit 18 with a chance to create some daylight. Instead Ryan was intercepted to kill the drive. Detroit punted and the Falcons got it back at the Lions 47. On 4th and 2 Mike Smith decided to go for it. Ryan threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. Bryant would kick a 40 yard field goal as the Falcons had a 7 point lead with 8 1/2 minutes left.

Detroit went 3 and out, and Ryan moved the Falcons from their own 23 to the Detroit 32. Yet a pair of penalties killed the drive and the Lions got it back at their own 13 with 3:20 to play. At the 2 minute warning the Lions faced 4th and 5 at their own 37. Stafford hit Pettigrew for 7, with a personal foul tacking on 15 more. On 3rd and 10 from the Atlanta 41, defensive pass interference meant a first down. Yet on further review the ball was tipped, and instead it was 4th and 10 with 1:38 left. Stafford fired incomplete.

Atlanta gutted out a win, but all the conversation will be about Jim Schwartz and the Lions. After a 5-0 start they have lost consecutive games at home. To say they are the same old Lions is ludicrous, but winning and losing are both contagious. Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford limped off the field, and everyone in Detroit knows how competitive the Lions are without him. 23-16 Falcons

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers–The Redskins blew a chance last week to end the season of archrival Philly. Also, Rex Grossman was benched in favor of John Beck. Beck starts this week. Across the field from him Cam Newton has lit up the league as the Panthers may be the most exciting 1-5 team in football history.

From the 20, the Panthers soon faced 3rd and 9. Newton scrambled for 25 and hit Felton for 17 and Shockey for 9. Stewart ran for 14 to set up 1st and goal at the 6. Yet the defense stiffened as the Panthers settled for a 20 yard Olindo Mare field goal to lead 3-0.

Late in the first quarter the Redskins took over at their own 13. Tim Hightower ran for 17, 2, and. Defensive offsides meant a first down. Hightower ran for another 17. The second quarter had Hightower gaining 3 on 3rd and 2. Yet on 3rd and 2 from the Carolina 13 Beck threw incomplete. Mike Shanahan went for the field goal and Graham Gano hit from 31 to tie the game 3-3.

The second quarter continued to see field goals as the end zone remained elusive. Mare hit from 45 to put the Panthers back in front, only to see Gano hit from 49 to make it a 6-6 thrillfest. With 30 seconds left in the half the Redskins fumbled in their own territory, giving the Panthers the ball at the Washington 34 with 21 ticks. Shockingly enough, the Panthers settled for a 45 yard field goal and a 9-6 halftime lead.

2 minutes into the third quarter saw the Redskins facing 4th and 2 at the Carolina 40. Mike Shanahan decided to go for it, and Beck was sacked for a 7 yard loss. Newton quickly went deep to LaFell for 37 yards. Newton then ran it in for a 16 yard touchdown to have the Panthers up 16-6.

The first half saw no touchdowns but both offenses moved in the third quarter. From the Washington 18,  Beck hit Davis for 22 yards and Paulsen for a pair of 24 yard gains. On 3rd and goal from the 4 Beck scrambled for the score as the Redskins were within 16-13.

Carolina took over at their own 20 and Newton quickly went deep to Steve Smith for 33 yards and then for 15 more. On 3rd and 2 Felton gained 3. Stewart took it in from 3 yards out to have the Panthers up 23-13.

Washington went 3 and out and Carolina took over at their own 35. On 2nd and 17 Newton hit Smith for 18 as the third quarter ended. On 3rd and 4 from the Washington 37 Newton gained 7. On 2nd and 17 from the 37 Newton went deep to Smith down to the one yard line. On 3rd and goal at the 2 Newton hit Brad LaFell for the score. 12 plays and 65 ayrds consumed 8 1/2 minutes. With 8 minutes to play the Panthers were safely in front 30-13.

After a touchback, Beck led a furious rally. He hit Paul for 14, Gaffney for 15, and Davis for 17 and 14. On 3rd and 10 from the 20, Beck hit Paul for 11. Beck found Davis for the 7 yard touchdown as the Redskins were within 30-20 with 5 minutes left. One minute later the Redskins got the ball back, but an interception of Beck ended hopes of a comeback. Carolina tacked on a field goal to complete the scoring as the Panthers improved to 2-5 and the Redskins lost their second straight to a one win team. 33-20 Panthers
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers–The Bears throttled Minnesota last week, and Lovie Smith always seems to look like a genius when Devon Hester fields punts. The Buccaneers had a huge statement win last week over New Orleans, even knocking out their coach with a leg injury.

After an exchange of punts the Bears began at their own 19. Matt Forte ran for 4 and then broke off a 22 yard run. Defensive pass interference soon had the Bears at the Bucs 32, when Forte broke free and raced to the end zone to quickly have Chicago up 7-0.

The defenses took over. From the Tampa 48, Jay Cutler was intercepted by Jackson, who ran it back to the Chicago 12. On the next play Josh Freeman was intercepted, giving the Bears the ball back at their own 2. Matt Forte was then tackled in the end zone for a safety as the Bucs were down 7-2.

In the second quarter the Bears took over at their own 21. Forte ran for 13, and on 3rd and 1 Marion Barber ran for 29. On 3rd and 7 from the Bucs 25, Cutler went deep to Williams for the touchdown as the Bears led 14-2. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Buccaneers took over at their own 7. Lumpkin gained 13 and Freeman hit Williams for 18 and Briscoe for 20. With 27 seconds left in the half the Bears had 3rd and 3 at the Bucs 18. A 2 yard pass bled the clock and on 4th and 1 a field goal was in order. Tampa Bay trailed 14-5 at the half in which both teams wondered why they had to travel to London for this. The fans were wondering when the soccer game would start.

The Bears began the third quarter after a punt at their own 45. Cutler hit Johnny Knox for 23. On 3rd and 11 from the Tampa 33, Cutler hit Williams for 12. Forte ran for 9, and on 3rd and 1 from the 12 Barber took it in as the Bears led 21-5.

The fourth quarter began with the Buccaneers at the Chicago 47. Freeman hit Lumpkin for 10 and Parker for 9, with unnecessary roughness moving the ball to the 14. Yet Freeman was then intercepted by Brian Urlacher. Urlacher would fumble it but Benn recovered it as the Bears took over at their own 32. Cutler was then intercepted and the Buccaneers had it right back at the Chicago 21. On 3rd and 4 Freeman hit Williams for 13 and Winslow for the 2 yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion failed but the Buccaneers were within 21-11 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Chicago punted and the Buccaneers got the ball back at the Chicago 48 with 10 minutes left. Freeman hit Winslow, and on 3rd and 7 from the 3, found Briscoe for the 7. Freeman then it Briscoe again for the 24 yard touchdown as the Bucs were within 21-18 with over 7 minutes to play.

Cutler led a time consuming drive from the Chicago 29. Forte gained 6 and Cutler found Hester for 15 at midfield. Cutler hit Williams for 15 more. After a false start, Cutler hit Forte, to turned it into a 36 yard gain down to the 4. With 3:44 to play 3rd and goal at the 4 resulted in a sack. Yet a facemask on Aqib Talib instead gave Chicago 1st and goal again. Tampa Bay held again and Robbie Gould made the 25 yard field goal. Chicago had a 6 point lead, but the 12 play drive with the mistake by Talib took 2 extra minutes off the clock.

The Buccaneers took over at their own 28 with 1:50 to play. Freeman hit Parker for 15 and Williams for 18 more. A 16 point game was not only a 6 point game, and with 37 seconds left the Bucs faced 3rd and 10 at the Bears 39. Freeman was then intercepted to kill the last threat. The English crowd in Wembley stadium shrugged, but Lovie Smith and Raheem Morris saw some excitement at the end after it appeared to be a blowout. 24-18 Bears

Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns–A pair of bad teams come together to play a game only a Walrus could love. Mike Holmgren was coach and general manager of the Seahawks before becoming president of the Browns. As for the players, somebody somewhere will care. The first quarter was scoreless. Maybe caring was too much for even one person. The entire first half consisted of 2 Phil Dawson field goal attempts. One was blocked, a the Browns led 3-0 in a game that took football back to the glory days of 1875 when Harvard and Yale fought the scrum. Seattle kicked a field goal of their own in the third quarter to make it 3-3 after three as the game was preempted for reruns of 1950s game shows. No, not really. With 11 1/2 minutes to play Dawson hit a 53 yard field goal as the thrillathon had the Browns up 6-3. Dawson had a 24 yard field goal blocked with 3 minutes left, but Seattle responded with nothing. Mike Holmgren was a Happy Walrus. Pete Carroll misses college. 6-3 Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals–These teams met in a thrilling Super Bowl only three years ago, yet have gone in separate directions since then. Mike Tomlin got his team back to the big game last year, while Ken Whisenhunt has seen his team collapse since the retirement of Kurt Warner. Pittsburgh is still searching for an identity after a much tougher than necessary win at home last week, but Arizona is a mess.

Kevin Kolb began by throwin an interception to Clark, giving the Steelers excellent field position at the Arizona 31. On 2nd and 15 Ben Roethlisberger hit Brown for 16. A defensive facemask put the ball on the 11. Roethlisberger hut Heath Miller for a 12 yard touchdown to have the Steelers up 7-0 early. Midway through the second quarter the Cardinals faced 4th and 6 at the Pittsburgh 39. Ken Whisenhunt decided to punt and play field position. 2 plays later the Steelers faced 1st and 14 at their own 5. Big Ben went deep to Mike Wallace, who outraced everyone for a spectacular 95 yard touchdown and a 14-0 Steelers lead.

Arizona took over at their own 20 and Kolb ran for 11. On 3rd and 2 Kolb hit Larry Fitzgerald for 13 and Housler for 20. On 3rd and 8 from the Pittsburgh 26, illegal contact on the defense meant an automatic first down. On 3rd and 6 from the 17 it was defensive holding as the Steelers were giving it away. Smith ran it in from one yard out to have the Cardinals within 14-7.

Pittsburgh got it back at their own 25 but only 1:14 to work with. On 3rd and 10 it was the Cardinals giving away a gift with defensive holding. Roethlisberger hit Brown for 20 to midfield. Defensive pass interference followed by illegal use of hands had the Steelers at the Arizona 31. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the 22, Moore lost a yard. Shawn Suisha hit the 41 yard field goal as the half expired to put the Steelers up 17-7.

After a punt, the Cardinals began the third quarter at their own 11. Smith gained 11 and Kolb hit King for 10. On 2nd and 18 from the Arizona 27, Kolb found Stephens-Howling, who took it all the way for a 73 yard touchdown. The Cardinals were within 17-14 with plenty of time left.

After a touchback Pittsburgh soon faced 3rd and 6. Roethlisberger went deep to Heath Miller for 21 yards and then for 17 more. On 3rd and 5 from the 35 Roethlisberger hit Brown for 13 and Emanuel Sanders for 20 down to the 2. After a loss Big Ben went back to Sanders for a 4 yard touchdown to have the Steelers up 24-14. The Cardinals took over at their own 7, and one play was all Kolb needed to get flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone as the Steelers led 26-14.

The fourth quarter saw the Steelers just grind out the clock and salt the game away as Suisham connected from 33 and 39 to make it 32-14 and put the game out of reach. Kevin Kolb would get the Cardinals one more score but they never saw the ball after that. The Steelers are still in the hunt in the AFC North while the Cardinals are a disaster in the NFC Worst. 32-20 Steelers

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders–For more on the game of the day go to

The Raiders are 4-2 but are hurting badly. First they lose Owner Al Davis, and win an emotional couple of games for him. Yet last week quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone and is out for the season. The Raiders made a stunning move before the trade deadline, getting Carson Palmer out of retirement. It will cost them a first rounder and maybe even a second first rounder, yet Palmer barely has had time to learn the playbook. Kyle Boller will most likely start. The Chiefs have won a couple games after an 0-3 start but are a horrible team with injuries of their own. Yet in this hated rivalry, anything can happen. For the third straight week, this will be a major character test for the improved Hue Jackson Raiders.

Conversations about heart, guts, and character are fine but in the end without players the games are a nightmare. The Raiders went 0-4 in preseason playing with backups as their starters were out with injuries. This game not only was the first without Jason Campbell, but stalwart kicker Sebastian Janikowski was out with a hamstring injury. Darren McFadden left the game early in the first quarter with another foot injury. So backups in at quarterback, running back and kicker meant for a nightmarish day.

The Chiefs took over at their own 23. After an incomplete pass, there were 4 straight penalties, 3 by the Chiefs. This was before the next play could even be run. The Chiefs would punt, and the Raiders began with gift field position at their own 48. Kyle Boller ran for 7 and McFadden gained 2 to set up a critical 3rd and 1. Hue Jackson immediately went to the bag of tricks, bringing out Boller and bringing in Terrelle Pryor. After starting as a receiver, Pryor moved under center, took the snap, and got the yard. Yet Pryor was called for illegal motion for not being set for a full second. Instead of 1st and 10 the Raiders faced 3rd and 6. Boller came back in and threw a sideline pass that was intercepted by Kendrick Lewis, who raced 52 yards to quickly put the Chiefs up 7-0.

The Raiders went 3 and out but the Chiefs would punt it back as the Raiders were forced to begin at their own 2 yard line. Michael Bush gained 14, but 2 plays later Boller went deep and was intercepted for the second time. The Chiefs took over at their own 39. On 3rd and 7 Matt Cassel hit Dwayne Bowe for 8. and Steve Breaston for 12. On 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 35, Cassel went back to Breaston for 19. Cassel went to Bowe down to the one yard line. McClain got the carry and fumbled the ball short of the goal line. The ball bounced into the end zone, and after a mad scramble the Chiefs fell on it for another touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

After a touchback the Raider mounted their only sustained drive of the game. Taiwan Jones ran for 14 and Bollerhit Darrius Heyward-Bey for 14. On 3rd and 5 from midfield, Boller hit Jacoby Ford for 10. Michael Bush then ran 35 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 5. Bush got the next carry down to the 2. Bush got it again and was stopped at the one. On 3rd and goal Bush got it again and got nothing. With 11 1/2 minutes left in the half Hue Jackson decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the one. Bush took it and got stopped cold. The goal line stand deflated the Raiders.

The Chiefs went 3 and out and again the Raiders had great field position just shy of midfield. A false start, an ineligible man downfield, and a sack turned 1st and 10 into 3rd and 29 from their own 30. Bush gained 19 and the Raiders punted again. Kansas City punted it back and with 4 minutes left in the half the Raiders were backed up to their own 2 yard line.

Boller then fumbled the snap, fell on it, and made sure he was out of the end zone to avoid the safety.  The Raiders punted on 4th and 7 from their own 5, but received a break when the Chiefs were called for illegal use of hands. On 3rd and 1 from the 19 Bush gained 4. Boller found Heyward-Bey for 21 and Boller then scrambled for 20. With one minute left in the half, Boller had moved the Raiders 62 yards to the Chiefs 36. Yet on the next play Boller went deep and was intercepted for the third time. Matt Cassel would throw a Hail Mary interception as the half ended, but the Raiders trailed 14-0 due to a completely dysfunctional offense.

The Raiders began the third quarter after a touchback, and Boller threw 3 straight incompletions  and punted. Like in the bad old days, punter Shane Lechler was the lone bright spot. The defense began making the dumb mistakes of years past as well. Michael Huff was called for a facemask. Curry was called for a personal foul. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 7, Arenas took it up the middle for another touchdown as the Chiefs led 21-0.

Hue Jackson had seen enough of the Kyle Boller interception show, and he was benched as Carson Palmer came in. Palmer was signed on Tuesday, and only 5 days later was seeing live action down 21 points. This was not the way to ease him into the game. From the 20, Palmer’s first play was a laser to Heyward-Bey for 18 yards. The crowd held its breath as Palmer came up limping. A personal foul for a hit on Palmer’s knee added 15 more, but this was the same type of hit that devastated Palmer in a playoff game after the 2005 season. Luckily Palmer was ok, and Bush gained 8 and 2 for another first down. On 4th and 8 from the Chiefs 35, Hue Jackson decided to go for it. He did not have Seabass so a 53 yard kick for a new kicker was not desirable. Yet a false start killed the Raiders as they punted.

Both teams went 3 and out, and a Lechler punt had the Chiefs at their own 3. Cassel led them to a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 41. Cassel then went deep and was intercepted by Van Dyke at the Oakland 22. On 3rd and 9 Palmer found Heyward-Bey again for 21 as the third quarter ended. On the opening play of the fourth quarter Palmer found Kevin Boss for 11. Palmer was moving the ball well, but on the next play it was deja vu all over again as a different quarterback made the same mistake. Palmer threw a sideline route that was intercepted by Brandon Flowers. Flowers took it 58 yards for a touchdown. Practically the entire fourth quarter remained, but it was only going to get uglier for the Silver and Black.

Palmer led the Raiders from their own 45 to the Chiefs 16 yard line. Palmer threw a pass to Denarius Moore at the 9. It bounced right off of Moore and was the fifth interception of the day and the second for Palmer. It was totally Moore’s fault, as the Chiefs took over. The Raiders got the ball back at their own 33. and Palmer hit Jones for 30 yards. Yet on the next play Palmer was intercepted for the third time, the sixth Oakland interception on the day. Late in the game Todd Haley would show his lack of class and sportsmanship by throwing deep incomplete to the end zone rather than run out the clock.

The second half was a mirror of the first half. In each half the Raiders gave up one touchdown on defense and one on offense, gave up 3 interceptions, and saw one offensive drive bog down very deep in Chiefs territory. This is one of those games where Hue Jackson may wish to just burn the game tape. The Raiders fell to 4-3, failing to capitalize on the San Diego loss. The Chiefs are 3-3 in the very tight AFC West. The Raiders have a bye week next week and in 2 weeks are home against Denver. The Raiders did not overlook the Chiefs. They simply had too many injuries to overcome a terrible game by Boller. Palmer has 2 weeks to learn the offense and save the season for the Raiders. 8 straight division wins ended in ugly fashion. After a pair of emotional wins for Al Davis, the Raiders had nothing left today. 28-0 Chiefs

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys–The Rams are a winless disaster while the Cowboys keep losing games late in the fourth quarter. Tony Romo watched helplessly last week as his defense wilted under a late Tom Brady assault. In 2007 Steve Spagnuolo guided the defense that shocked Romo and knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs. He does not have nearly as much defensive talent this year.

5 minutes into the game the Cowboys faced 1st and 19 at their own 9. Murray took a handoff and raced 91 yards for a score. It was his first NFL score and the longest score in history for a debut touchdown as Dallas led 7-0. After a fumble recovery, the second quarter began as Dallas faced 2nd and 21 at their own 45. Tony Romo went to Dez Bryant for a 34 yard gain and then to Robinson for 17 more down to the 4. On 3rd and goal at the one Romo hit Jason Witten for the touchdown as the Cowboys led 14-0.

The Rams took over at their own 15 and on 3rd and 3, Dallas jumped offsides. With Sam Bradford out and Feeley in his place, the winless Rams were already in comeback mode. Feeley hit Hoomanawanui for 16. On 3rd and 3 from the Dallas 46, Stephen Jackson ran for 40 yards and then capped it off with the 6 yard touchdown to have the Rams within 14-7.

The Rams got the ball back and quickly faced 3rd and 8 at their own 15. Feeley was intercepted by Jenkins, giving the Cowboys the ball at the Rams 30. With 1:18 left in the half Dallas had 1st and goal at the 9. The defense held, and a 30 yard Bailey field goal had the Cowboys up 17-7 at halftime.

After an exchange of possessions, the Cowboys took over at their own 12. On 3rd and 10 Romo found Bryant for 13. On 3rd and 2 from the 33, The Rams were called for 12 men on defense. The drive would stall at the Rams 33, but Bailey connected from 51 as the Cowboys led 20-7.

In the fourth quarter the Cowboys took over at their own 22. Murray ran for 5 yards and then broke free for another 43. Romo hit Bryant for 10. From the 23, Tanner ran for 17 and then the last 6 to have the Cowboys safely ahead 27-7.  Feeley then fumbled to give the Cowboys the ball at the Rams 34. On 3rd and 10 from the 20 Romo went to Bryant for the final score of the game. Dallas is in the hunt in the NFC East while in the NFC Worst the Rams are the worst as they remain winless. 34-7 Cowboys

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings–The 6-0 Packers take on the 1-5 Vikings. Also, Leslie Frazier has benched Donovan McNabb as Christian Ponder gets his very first NFL start.  To throw Ponder to the wolves against the defending champions may seem unfair, but at least he will have the home crowd to cheer him up when he gets driven into the ground repeatedly.

The first play from scrimmage had the Vikings at their own 27. Naturally Leslie Frazier would play it conservative with his rookie. No, not at all. Ponder went for all the marble with a bomb to Jenkins. Initially ruled a touchdown, it was reviewed and placed on the one yard line for a 72 yard gain. Ponder hit Vincente Shiancoe for a 2 yard touchdown as the Vikings led 7-0 after only 3 plays and one minute.

Green Bay took over at their own 9 yard line. Aaron Rodgers hit Jermaine Finley for 11 and Jordy Nelson for 14. From just shy of midfield, Rodgers went deep to Greg Jennings for 26 and ones for 16. Rodgers then hit Randall Cobb for 7 and Kuhn for the final 2 to tie the game 7-7.

The first quart ended with Minnesota accepting a punt at midfield and Adrian Peterson then running for 11. On 3rd and 3 from the Packers 32, Ponder hit Percy Harvin for 6  and Jenkins for 15. Peterson ran for 10 and then the last yard to have the Vikings back on top 14-7.

After a touchback Rodgers hit Quarless for 21 and Jones for 15. On 3rd and 5 from the Vikings 35, Rodgers hit Jennings for 7. The drive would stall as the Packers settled for a 39 yard Mason Crosby field goal to get within 14-10.

The Vikings took over after a touchback with 5 minutes left in the half. On 3rd and 6 Ponder found Shiancoe for 9. On 3rd and 8 from the 35 Ponder found Harvin for 9. Peterson ran for 29 yards, and with one minute left in the half Ryan Longwell nailed a 52 yarder to have the Vikings up 17-10.

After a touchback Rodgers hit Starks for 13 and Nelson for 16 more with 15 more for roughing the passer tacked on. Crosby hit a 45 yarder at the gun as the Packers trailed 17-13 at halftime.

The Packers exploded in the third quarter. On the second play from scrimmage Rodgers went deep to Jennings for a 79 yard touchdown bomb. Just like that the Packers led 20-17, and they were just getting started. Minnesota punted, and Randall Cobb returned it 42 yards to the Minnesota 32. Rodgers hit Jones for 27 and then went to Finley for a 2 yard touchdown as the Packers led 27-17.

The Vikings soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 40, and Ponder was intercepted. From the Minnesota 45, Green Bay moved easily until 3rd and goal at the 4 saw Rodgers get sacked. Crosby hit from 24 as the Packers led 30-17. Ponder was then intercepted by Charles Woodson, giving the Packers the ball at the Minnesota 35. Despite moving backwards, Mike McCarthy decided to have Crosby try a 58 yard field goal. It was good, and a 20 point eruption in the third quarter had the Packers up 33-17.

Adrian Peterson ended the third quarter with a 54 yard run, but the fourth quarter saw the Vikings get nothing more on the drive. Longwell hit a 46 yard field goal to have the Vikings within 33-20. Green Bay quickly went 3 and out as the Vikings took over at their own 7.

On 3rd and 6 Ponder found Shiancoe for 22. On 3rd and 7 from the 36 Ponder ran for 12. On 3rd and 13 from the Minnesota 45 Ponder hit Greg Camarillo for 16 with roughing the passer adding 15 more. On the next play Ponder hit Jenkins for a 24 yard touchdown as the Vikings were within 6 with a full 8 minutes left.

Green Bay punted, but the Vikings were forced to start at their own 2 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Ponder got them as far as the Minnesota 36 before the Vikings punted back with 2 1/2 minutes left. It was up to the defense to get a stop. Starks ran for 15 as the Vikings took their first timeout. On 2nd and 11 Starks ran for 20 as the Vikings took their last timeout. With 1:17 left, everything came down to 3rd and 7 at the Minnesota 43. Starks ran for 13 to put it away as the Packers got to 7-0. Ponder clearly sparked the Vikings, but they are still 1-6 with the loss. 33-27 Packers

Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints–The collapsing winless Colts travel to face the Saints, who are coming off a loss where Coach Sean Payton was injured on the sidelines. Coach Payton will coach the game from the press box, but a coach may not be required to win this game. These teams met in the Super Bowl 2 years ago and produced a thriller as the Saint shocked the world.  Yet without Peyton Manning, the Colts are what they were before he arrived, a team prepared to take the #1 overall pick. Jim Caldwell still has not made a facial expression, but even worse is that his team has shown no emotion or life.

3 minutes into the game the Colts faced 3rd and 5 at their own 40. Out of the shotgun, the ball was snapped when Painter was not even looking. The Saints recovered at the Colts 41. Drew Brees hit Marques Colston for 7, Darren Sproles for 9, and Colston for the 14 yard touchdown to have the Saints up 7-0 only 6 minutes into the game.

The Saints got the ball back at their own 19. Mark Ingram gained 6 and Pierre Thomas another 10. Brees then went deep to Thomas for a 57 yard gain, setting up Brees to Colston from 4 yards out as the Saints led 14-0.

The Colts fumbled it away as the Saints began at their own 48. Darren Sproles ran for 16, and Brees hit Colston for 9 and Moore for 10. Brees would hit Sproles from 6 yards out as the Saints led 21-0 still in the opening quarter.

The Saints began the second quarter at their own 31. Brees immediately went to Moore for 26 yards and Robert Meachem for 18 more. Brees hit Graham for 14 and Collins took it in from one yard out as the Saints led 28-0. The Saints got it back at their own 42 and for the 5th time in 5 tries Brees had the Saints marching down the field. The only difference was that this time on 3rd and goal at the 5 Brees fired incomplete. Jon Kasay got bored of kicking 18 yard extra points so instead he kicked a 23 yard field goal as the Saints led 31-0. Curtis Painter is not Peyton Manning, but Jim Caldwell knows that neither of those men play defense. Apparently neither does anybody else on the Colts.

The Colts finally got a shell of something when Carter ran for 42 yards. Painter hit Garcon for 15 and Carter took it in from 2 yards out as the Colts were down 31-7. Yet the Saints still had 1:52 to work with from their own 18. On 3rd and 8 Brees hit Sproles for 9 and Colston for 9 more. Brees then went deep to Colston for 39 more. Kasay connected from 47 as the half ended as the Saints had a 34-7 lead. Coach Payton was banned from ever coming back to the sideline, since the press box seemed to be working just fine.

The misery for the Colts continued in the second half. From the Saints 25, Brees kept firing. He hit Ingram for 6, Graham for 13, interspersed with runs by Ingram and Thomas. Sproles gained 14. From the Indy 17 Brees hit Colston for 13 and Graham for the 4 yard score as the Saints led 41-7. The Saints got it back at their own 40 and Ingram ran for 11. Brees hit Colston for 12 to set up 3rd and 1 at the Colts 28. Ingram gained 6 and 8. On 3rd and 3 from the 15 Sproles ran for 13 and Brees hit Graham for the 2 yard score as the Saints were carpetbombing the hapless Colts 48-7 late in the third quarter.

Brees was done for the night, as Sean Payton wisely decided not to risk injury to his superstar. In only 3 quarters of work Brees finished a ridiculous 31 of 35 for 325 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. In case anyone cares, Daniel is the backup quarterback. Yet unlike Curtis Painter, Daniel came in and was only asked to protect a 41 point lead for one quarter. Handing the ball off helped. Sean Payton was not trying to run up the score. All he did was order handoffs. The Saints began at their own 40, and on 3rd and 1 Ingram raced for 20, Thomas for 11, and Sproles the final 16 to make it 55-7. 9 scores on 9 possessions had the Colts at the bottom of the barrel, and 12 1/2 minutes still remained.

Again, Sean Payton was not running up the score. It was not his fault that Curtis Painter then threw an interception to Torrence. It was not his fault that the defenders failed to tackle Torrence, who made it 42 yards the other way for the 10th score of the night. The Saints led 62-7. Yes the Saints are one of the best teams in the league and the Colts are one of the worst. Yet this game did start 0-0, and should not have gotten to his point.  Forget jokes about Jim Caldwell being expressionless. He does care, and he has no answers. He does not yell and scream, but the whole team is in pain and that includes him. At this point Painter was 9 of 17 for 67 total yards and one interception for a score the other way. He was done for the night and Dan Orlovsky came in. Orlovsky was on the 2008 Lions team that went 0-16. Now he was entering with his team 0-6 and down 55 points. The score got no closer but no further away as the Colts fell to 0-7 with the loss. 62-7 Saints

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars–The Ravens are very good and the 1-5 Jaguars are very bad. Jacksonville did give Pittsburgh all they could handle last week in Pittsburgh, but Jack Del Rio knows that Baltimore is going to throw the house at rookie Blaine Gabbert. John Harbaugh should enjoy seeing Ray Lewis and company tee off in this mismatch.

In terms of surprises and the any given Sunday (or Monday night) truism, this is why they play the games. In terms of quality football, this is absolutely not why they play the games. Fumble after fumble after fumble after fumble after fumble meant a miserably played football game. The Jaguars even fumbled inside the Ravens one yard line to miss a touchdown chance. The Ravens took backwards to a new level, ending one drive on 4th and 43. The Jaguars managed a drive of 17 plays, 76 yards, and 8 1/2 minutes that failed to reach the end zone. The only person who showed up in the first three quarters was Josh Scobee. He kicked one field goal in each of the first three quarters to have Jacksonville up 9-0. Billy Cundiff had a 52 yard try that went so far wide it looked like a soccer corner kick.

With 5 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Ravens got the ball back at their own 10. 90 yards away needing 2 scores is difficult when the first 55 minutes brought them only 56 total yards of offense. Yet Flacco found Rice for 9, Smith for 9 more, Rice again for 9, and Dickson for 4 just shy of midfield on 3rd and 1. Flacco hit Pitta for 15, Rice for 11, Smith for 20, and Anquon Boldin for the 5 yard touchdown. Jacksonville clung to a 2 point lead.

The onsides kick went just shy of 10 yards before bouncing backward and being recovered by the Ravens. Since it never went 10, Jacksonville took over with 2:02 to play and the Ravens having 2 timeouts and the 2 minute warning. That 2 seconds was a big deal. Everything came down to 3rd and 7 at the Ravens 34. Jack Del Rio played it safe but a run only gained 1 yard. With 1:48 to play Del Rio decided to have Scobee kick a 51 yarder. This was a big gamble since a miss would give the Ravens excellent field position needing only a field goal. Del Rio trusted his kicker and pumped his fist as Scobbee nailed it to have the Jaguars up by 5 with 1:43 left.

Flacco had 80 yards to go this time instead of 90 but on 2nd and 10 he was intercepted by Coleman. Unlike some defenders who then try to run it back all the way only to fumble it back, Coleman smartly and immediately went down to preserve the upset. John Harbaugh has a good team that played a terrible game. Jack Del Rio has a bad team with a rookie quarterback that rose to the challenge of the Monday night lights. Blaine Gabbert threw 0 touchdowns and threw for only 90 yards, but he made 0 mistakes and got his first NFL win. Maybe this is why they play the games after all. 12-7 Jaguars

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