NFL 2012 Week 10 Recap
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars was the Thursday night game. One year after going 2-14, the Colts came in 5-3 at the midpoint. Meanwhile, the Jaguars may not reach 2-14 as the top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft is within their grasp. They are that bad.
A field position game saw the Colts begin their second drive at their own 43. Ballard ran for 8, Andrew Luck hit Reggie Wayne for 18, and Hilton ran for 19 more. The Colts faced 3rd and 5 at the 7 when a sack of luck ended the drive. Adam Vinatieri hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Colts after a less than thrilling first quarter. Jacksonville would move from their 20 to the Indy 26, but Josh Scobee missed the tying 44 yard field goal and never seriously threatened after that.
Indy took over at their own 34. Luck was intercepted, but roughing the passer instead had Indy just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 2 at the Jacksonville 43, Donald Carter gained 4. The second quarter began with the Colts facing 1st and 10 at the Jags 29. Luck found Wayne for 21 yards and ran the final 5 yards himself to make it 10-0 Colts.
Jacksonville fumbled on their next series and the Colts took over at their own 39. From midfield, Luck went deep to Avery for a 44 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 5, Luck hit Ballard short of the goal line. On 4th and goal at the one, the Colts decided to go for it, and controversy ensued. Luck took the quarterback sneak and appeared short of the goal line. The play was called a touchdown as an enraged Mike Mularkey insisted that the ball did not break the plane. Replays appeared to show a goal line stand for the Jacksonville defense. Yet on further review it was still a touchdown, and the Colts led 17-0. That seemed to take the heart out of the Jaguars. An interception of Luck with less than 2 minutes left in the half did allow the Jaguars to kick a field goal before halftime to trail 17-3. Yet the second half would bring no comeback.
Jacksonville took a punt in the third quarter and quickly faced 2nd and 6 from their own 8. Blaine Gabbert was intercepted, and Butler returned it 11 yards for a touchdown. Although most of the second half remained, it really did not matter. The Colts led 24-3 and just coasted from there.
On the first play of the fourth quarter from the Jacksonville 20, Luck was sacked and fumbled. Jacksonville moved from their own 19. Gabbert was injured on the drive and Chad Henne took over. On 4th and 11 from the Indy 35, Henne found Shorts for 15 and Michael Spurlock for 11. A 4 yard pass to Shorts had the Jaguars within 24-10 with 9 minutes to play. Yet Luck would lead a time consuming drive that ended in Vinatieri hitting a 41 yard field goal to lock up the victory. The Colts are young and improving while the Jaguars at this point just want the season to be over. 27-10 Colts
Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens–For more on the game of the day, go to http://www.justblogbaby.com
I have had the NFL Package for well over a decade, but had to cancel it before this season started due to constant traveling. Now that the election is over and I can watch the games at home, it was time to renew the package. Yet the Raiders have been so awful to watch that the decision was made today to just watch the local games. Going to a sportsbar would require getting up early. So until the Raiders improve, they are not getting my money through DirecTV. Enough is enough. As for this game, a bad team traveling on the road to face a good team was bad enough. Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson and Richard Seymour were all out with injuries, and jacoby Ford still has not taken the field in 2012. So with injuries on offense, defense, and special teams, this game should have just been canceled on account of pain. This is absolutely not why they play the games.
Oakland had a ray of optimism early on when on 3rd and 3 from their 27 Carson palmer hit David Ausberry for 20 yards. Yet on 3rd and 2 from the Baltimore 45, Marcel Reece only gained one yard. On 4th and 1 from the Baltimore 44, Dennis Allen decided to got for it. With no running game, Palmer was stepped on by his own guard, fell down, and was sacked for a 4 yard loss as the Ravens took over with a short field at the Oakland 48. The defense would hold the Ravens to a 48 yard Tucker field goal and a 3-0 lead, but Baltimore was just beginning.
After a punt the Ravens got it back and soon faced 3rd and 9 from their 38. Joe Flacco hit Danny Pitta for a gain of 18. On 3rd and 10 from the Oakland 44, Flacco went deep to Dickson for a 40 yard gain. Flacco got the one yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Ravens.
Early in the second quarter the Ravens faced 2nd and 17 from their own 6. Flacco was intercepted by Michael Huff, giving the Raiders a gift at the Baltimore 19. Palmer was sacked for a 7 yard loss but then hit Brandon Myers for 21 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 5. With no running game, would 5 yards be possible? No. After a false start, Dennis Allen West Coast Offense Dink and Dunk passes ed to 3rd and goal at the 3. Palmer threw incomplete and the Raiders settled for a 21 yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal. The Raiders trailed 10-3, but the game would soon be over long before halftime.
After a touchback on 2nd and 7 from their 23, Flacco went deep to Jones for a 47 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Oakland 24, Flacco found Dickson for 19 and Pitta for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 17-3 Ravens. On 1st and 20 from their 37, Palmer was intercepted, giving the Ravens the ball at the Oakland 32. The defense would hold, but Tucker hit a 34 yard field goal to have the Ravens up 20-3 with 3:20 left in the half.
Oakland soon faced 3rd and 1 from their 29 and this time Reece gained 6 yards. Palmer hit Derek Hagan for 10 and the Raiders soon faced 3rd and 10 from their 45. Palmer went deep to Darrius Heyward-Bey, as the 55 yard touchdown had the Raiders within 20-10 with 1:46 left in the half.
Yet after a touchback the Raiders could not hold on defense. Flacco hit Ray Rice for 12, Pitta for 10, Jones for 7, Rice for 17, and Pitta for 11 down to the 7 yard line with less than 30 seconds left in the half. Ray Rice ran for the 7 yard touchdown as the Raiders led 27-10 at halftime. Unfortunately for the Raider Nation, Commissioner Roger Goodell and league rules mandated that the second half be played.
The Ravens needed only 3 plays in the third quarter to put the game awya after taking over at their 30. A facemask set up 1st and 10 at the Oakland 47, and Flacco went deep to Torry Smith for the touchdown to make it 34-10 Ravens. Palmer tried to rally the Raiders, but this was going to be a blowout. Reece gained 9 and 5 and caught a 24 yard pas. On 3rd and 8 from the Baltimore 40, Palmer hit Heyward-Bey for 10 and went deep to Denarius Moore for a 30 yard touchdown. The Raiders trailed 34-17, although the Ravens may have been bored at this point. The Ravens would punt, and the Raiders decided to complete the trifecta by combining bad offense and defense with bad special teams. The Ravens recovered the fumbled punt at the Oakland 20. One play was enough for Flacco to hit Smith for the touchdown to make it 41-17. There was no word on whether Dennis Allen would quit after 8 games and let Hue Jackson come back.
The Raiders went 3 incompletions and out as the Ravens took over at their own 26.Rice lost a yard, but a dumb pesonal foul on Tommy Kelly kept the Ravens moving. On 3rd and 9 from their 41, Flacco went to Anquon Boldin for 19 and Doss for 26 more. The Raiders thought they had a slight amount of dignity by holding on 3rd and 3 from the 7 when Flacco threw incomplete. Yet John Harbaugh called a fake field goal and holder Sam Kock scored the touchdown to make it 48-17 Ravens after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter the Raiders did move to a 1st and 10 at the 17 before a sack ended things. Down by 31, on 4th and 22 from the 29, Dennis Allen brought out Sebastian Janikowski for the 47 yarder. Seabass got the Raiders within 48-20.
13 seconds later the Ravens were on the board one more time as Jacoby Jones took the ensuing kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders would reach a 4th and 3 at the Baltimore 10 before fumbling the snap. The Ravens would improve to 7-2 while the Raiders fell to a miserable 3-6. Flacco was 21 of 33 for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns. One week after throwing for over 400 yards, Palmer was 29 of 45 for 368 and 2 touchdowns. Each quarterback was intercepted once. Yet the state of the Raiders is very dire. In some ways, the Dennis Allen era is rock bottom.
The 55 points were tied for the most the Raiders have ever allowed, once in 1961 and once in 1981. The Raiders have given up 97 points in 2 weeks. The last time the Raiders gave up at least 40 points in consecutive weeks was in 1962, the year they went 1-13 and the year before Al Davis arrived. This means Dennis Allen achieved a lowlight after 9 games that Al Davis did not suffer in almost half a century. Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are starting to resemble Matt Millen and Marty Morningwheg in Detroit. Yet that era began their decade of futility. The Raiders were already in it before hiring the new regime. The Ravens had 4 penalties for 41 yards while the Raiders were flagged 10 times for 105 yards. Absolutely nothing in Oakland is working. 55-20 Ravens
Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers–The Broncos have started to gel under Peyton Manning as Denver leads the AFC Worst by one game at 5-3. Meanwhile, John Fox faces his old team for the first time as Carolina comes in a woeful 2-6 despite a road win last week. After an exchange of punts, Carolina faced 2nd and 8 from their 25 when Cam Newton hit Greg Olsen and Mike Tolbert for matching 26 yard gains. Newton then hit Olsen for 16 and once again for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Panthers. After that Denver took over.
After an exchange of punts from the Denver 41, Peyton Manning hit Thomas for a 32 yard gain, Joel Dreesen for 9 more, and Brandon Stokley for a 10 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. On the last play of the first quarter with 3rd and 4 from their 26, Newton fumbled. Carolina retained possession but had to punt. How fitting it was on Veteran’s Day that it would be a Holliday scoring a touchdown, as Holliday returned the punt 76 yards for a touchdown to have the Broncos up 14-7. Denver got it back at their own 45 and Manning hit Thomas for 8 and Hillman for 7 to set up Matt Prater from 53 yards out. Prater hit it to make it 17-7 Broncos.
In the third quarter the Broncos reached the Carolina 28 when Manning was sacked and fumbled. Yet from the Carolina 34, disaster struck the Panthers as Newton was intercepted by Carter. Carter raced 40 yards for the the touchdown as the Broncos had a commanding 24-7 lead.
Denver got it back at their 30 late in the third quarter and Manning hit Stokley for gains of 10 and 11 and to Thomas for 17 and Dreesen for 22. The drive died at the 8 as the fourth quarter began but a 27 yard Prater field goal made it 27-7 Broncos. Later on Carolina would face 3rd and 19 from their own 2. Newton was sacked in the end zone for a safety to make it 29-7 Broncos.
Newton would throw a 5 yard touchdown to Greg Olsen with 5 minutes to play, but it was not nearly enough. The onsides kick failed, and Hillman would answer with a 5 yard touchdown run of his own to end the lack of suspense. Denver at 6-3 now has a 2 game lead in their division while Carolina still hasa chance at the top pick in the draft. Ron Rivera is on the hot seat while John Fox got back at his old team easily. 36-14 Broncos
New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals–Last year the Giants began 6-2 before losing four straight before righting the ship. This year the 6-2 Giants lost last week although they still have a stranglehold on their division. The Bengals were themselves this year, which should have meant a Giants win. Yet Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin could not have been happy in the first quarter. The Bengals took over from their 21, and from their 44, Red Rifle Andy Dalton rolled to his right, and found a wide open AJ Green for an easy 56 yard touchdown. The nearest defender was in Kentucky somewhere as the Bengals led 7-0.
The Gianta gained 0 yards and punted, and Jones returned 68 yards to the Giants 11. On 3rd and 10 Dalton found Hawkins for the score as the Bengals led 14-0 in a blink. The Giants punted on their next drive, but this time the Bengals fumbled it away. The Giants took over at the Bengals 27, but on 3rd and 4 from the Cincy 6, a short Eli Manning pass gained only a yard. The Giants settled for a 23 yard Lawrence Tynes field goal to get on the board down 14-3.
The second quarter began with the Bengals facing 4th and 3 at the Giants 31. Dalton threw incomplete, but the Bengals would get it back after a punt at their 30. Peerman gained 9 and 2 and on 3rd and 8 from their 43, Dalton hit Sanu for 12. A 3rd and 1 run lost a yard, but Marvin Lewis again decided to go for it on 4th and 2 from the Giants 37. Dalton hit Sanu for 15. The Giants would hold the Bengals to a 28 yard Mike Nugent field goal but the Bengals led 17-3 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.
Manning and the Giants soon faced 3rd and 1 from their 27 and Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for 11, Victor Cruz for 8, and Nicks again for 9. On 4th and 6 from the Concy 41 Tom Coughlin decided to go for it, and Manning hit Nicks for 16 and Bennett for 11. Yet a sack of Manning forced the Giants to settle for a 31 yard Lawrence Tynes field goal and a 17-6 halftime deficit.
The third quarter was enough to make Tom Coughlin’s head explode. The Giants reached the Cincy 16 before Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled the ball away. On the next series from their own 18, Manning was intercepted. The Bengals took over at the Giants 12 and on 3rd and 8 from the 10 Dalton hit Gresham for the score to make it 24-6 Bengals. On the next series the Giants faced 3rd and 5 from their own 23. Manning was intercepted again and the Bengals took over at the Giants 16. On 3rd and 4 from the 10 it was deja vu all over again as Dalton hit Sanu for the score. The Bengla swere crushing the Giants 31-6 in a game that defied explanation.
Dalton would finish 21 of 30 for 199 yards and 4 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Manning ended 29 of 46 for 215 yards and 2 interceptions without a touchdown. The Giants would crack the end zone on the ground with a 2 yard Brown run with 3 minutes to play, but it is called garbage time for a reason. The Giants fell to 6-4, but based on lst year Tom COughlin and Eli Manning will prehaps face less criticism than would normally deserve after such an awful effort. Then again, in New York the complaints might come out loud anyway. 31-13 Bengals
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins–The Dolphins are an improved 4-4 team under Joe Philbin while Mike Munchak has seen his team regress to 3-6. Yet with Jake Locker returning from injury to replace Matt Hasselbeck, the Titans were given a spark from the outset. After an exchange of punts, the Dolphins faced 3rd and 13 from their own 12. They gave the ball to Reggie Bush, who dated a Kardashian and naturally fumbled the ball away. The Titans took over at the Miami 28. Chris Johnson, who did not date a Kardashian, raced for 21 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Locker hit Wright for the score to make it 7-0 Titans.
Miami punted, and Tennessee took over at their own 35. Locker scrambled for a 20 yard gain. On 4th and 2 from the Miami 37, Mike Munchak decided to go for it. Locker gained 5 yards and then hit Williams for 15 more. Johnson ran the final 17 yards as the Titans led 14-0.
The second quarter began with Miami facing 3rd and 1 from their 47 when Ryan Tannehill completed a pass to McCarthy. McCarthy plays defense for the Titans, and he returned the interception 49 yards for a touchdown to have the Titans up 21-0. Miami would finally move from their 20 to the Titans 14 when an unnecessary roughness penalty on the offense killed the drive. Dan Carpenter hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Dolphins on the board down 21-3.
At the two minute warning Miami faced 3rd and 1 from their 16. Ryan Tannehill was intercepted, giving the Titans the ball at the Miami 23. Miami held on defense, and the Titans settled for a 37 yard Rob Bironas field goal to lead 24-3 at halftime. The second half was uneventful, and will not be remembered any time soon. Locker led a 12 play, 85 yard drive that consumed over 8 minutes to start the third quarter. On 3rd and 15 from the Miami 26, Locker hit Cook for the touchdown to make it 31-3 Titans. Another time consuming drive resulted in Bironas kicking a 38 yarder early in the fourth quarter. Tannehill’s third interception on 3rd and 10 from the Titans 19 was returned by Brown 47 yards to the Miami 37. Bironas tacked on a 53 yarder to close out the scoring. 37-3 Titans
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings–A pair of average teams looking up in the standings faced off in a game where the loser would really be in a hole. After a Detroit punt, Minnesota took over at their own 33 and soon faced 3rd and 10 from their 45. Christian Ponder went deep to Wright for a 54 yard gain. Ponder hit Wright again for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Vikings. Matthew Stafford was then quickly intercepted, giving Minnesota the ball at the Detroit 25. Ponder completed a pass to himself, which meant a 15 yard loss. Nevertheless, Walsh hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Vikings.
After an exchange of punts, Detroit took over at their own 8 and began the second quarter at their own 45. Yet despite moving to a 3rd and 5 at the Minnesota 12, Stafford was sacked to kill the drive. Old reliable Jason Hanson hit a 41 yarder to get the Lions within 10-3.
From their own 14, Adrian Peterson ran for 15 yards and Ponder scrambled for 20 more. Peterson gained another 14. The drive would stall at the Detroit 5 yard line, and Walsh hit the 23 yarder as the Vikings led 13-3 at halftime.
After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Lions took over with a short field at the Detroit 48. On 3rd and 3 Ponder hit Rudolph for 4. On 2nd and 7 from the Detroit 34, Ponder hit Aromashodu for a 31 yard gain. Yet on 1st and goal at the 3 Ponder was sacked, and again the Vikings settled for a 23 yard Walsh field goal and a 16-3 lead with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
From their 19 the Lions finally got going. Stafford hit Megatron Calvin Johnson for 20 and then deep to Johnson for a 50 yard gain down to the 11. Stafford fumbled on the next play but the Lions retained possession. On 2nd and 5 from the 16, Stafford hit Pettigrew for the score as the Lions were now only down 16-10.
Minnesota took over at their 38 and Ponder hit Peterson for 6 and Carlson for 11. On 3rd and 2 from the Detroit 37, Ponder hit Rudolph for 13 as the third quarter ended. On 3rd and 6 from the 20, Ponder hit Rudolph for the touchdown to give the Vikings some breathing room up 24-10 after Peterson sucessfully ran in the 2 point conversion.
Detroit came right back with an unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense giving the Lions the ball at their 43. Leshoure ran for 14 yards and Stafford hit Johnson for gains of 15 and 25 down to the one. Stafford hit Young for the touchdown as the Lions were within 24-17 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
Detroit on their next series could not move the ball, and Minnesota took over at their own 25. Adrian Peterson simply took over, showing he was back from the knee injury and ready to rumble. Peterson gained 19, and after a delay of game, he raced around the end for a 61 yard touchdown to give the Vikings again a cushion up 31-17 with 8 1/2 minutes left.
On the next play after a touchback disaster struck for the Lions. Stafford hit Johnson for a 20 yard gain, but Johnson fumbled and the Vikings recovered at the Minnesota 45. Peterson ran for a 21 yard gain, and Walsh kicked a 33 yard field goal to put the Vikings up 34-17 with only 4 1/2 minutes left. Stafford would throw an 11 yard touchdown pass to Johnson at the 2 minute warning, but it was too little, too late. Jim Schwartz saw his Lions fall to 4-5 while Leslie Frazier has his Vikings at 6-4 and in the hunt with the win. 34-24 Vikings
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots–In the real world Goliath usually beats up David and steals his lunch money and girlfriend. When a bad team goes on the road to face a good team that always beats them, the result is usually not an upset for the ages. This is not why they play the games. After a Buffalo punt, Tom Brady faced 3rd and 6 from their 31 and hit Wes Welker for 7. On 3rd and 5 from the Buffalo 34, Brady found Deon Branch for 6. Stephen Gostkowski hit a 43 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. Buffalo then fumbled the ball deep in their own territory, giving the Patriots the ball at the Buffalo 13. Defensive pass interference put the ball on the one, and Ridley took it in to make it 10-0 Patriots. Chan Gailey contemplated retiring at halftime.
Early in the second quarter the Bills had moved to a 3rd and 2 at the New England 11. Yet offensive holding ended the threat. The Bills settled for a 41 yard Ryan Lindell field goal to trail 10-3. From their 17, New England marched right down the field. Brady hit Wes Welker for 19 and Rob Gronkowski for 24. Brady hit Welker for 7 more, and on 3rd and 7 from the Buffalo 37, Brady found Danny Woodhead for 15 and 7, and Woodhead ran the final 15 to make it 17-3 Patriots.
Buffalo did hang around after a touchback as CJ Spiller gained 12. and Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Chandler for 23 and 17 yard gains. Spiller gained 12 more and Fred Jackson ran the final 14 as the Bills were only down 17-10 with 6 minutes left in the half.
Brady threw 3 incomplete passes from the Patriots 18, but defensive pass interference meant a 17 yard gain. Brady then hit Vereen for 11 yards, with a facemask tacking on 15 more. From the Buffalo 38, Brady went deep again and another defensive pass interference penalty put the ball on the one. Brady hit Gronkowski for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 24-10 Patriots with 4 minutes left in the half.
Buffalo did not quit. After a touchback, Fitzpatrick hit Stevie St Johnson for 14 yards. On 3rd and 8 Fitzpatrik went to Chandler for 14 more to midfield and to Fred Jackson for 9. Unnecessary roughness a couple plays later on the defense was followed by Fitzpatrick going to Jones for an 18 yard gain. Fitzpatrick hit Chandler for the 3 yard touchdown as the Bills were only down 24-17 at halftime.
Over the last decade, Evil Hoodie Bill Bellichick has poured it on and kept his foot on the gas to close out games. Yet this year the Patriots have uncharacteristically had trouble closing out games. They began this third quarter moving from their 20 to a 3rd and 5 at the Buffalo 31. Yet a sack of Brady ended the drive and Bellichick decided to punt. It was a wise move as Buffalo punted on 4th and 15 from their own 8. Unnecessary roughness on the punt return against Buffalo had the Patriots starting at the Buffalo 39. Brady hit Branch for 13, Welker for 6, and on 3rd and 2 from the 18, Woodhead for the touchdown to make it 31-17 Patriots.
From their 16, Buffalo kept coming back. Fitzpatrick hit St. Johnson for 19, Spiller for 20, nd Jones for 12. On 4th and 4 from the New England 27, Chan Gailey decided to go for it with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. Fitzpatrick hit St. Johnson for 13 and again for 12. On 3rd and goal at the one, Jackson got it in as the pesky Bills only trailed 31-24 after three quarters.
On 2nd and 4 from their 26, Brady hit Welker for 12 and Ridley gained 24 yards. The fourth quarter began with the Patriots facing 3rd and 8 at the Buffalo 36. Brady hit Lloyd, but 2 yards shy of the marker. On 4th and 2 Bellichick took no chances. Stephen Gostkowski hit the clutch 48 yard field goal to give the Patriots some breathing room up 34-24.
Buffalo would not go away, taking over at their own 6. On 3rd and 1 from the 15, Jackson gained 2 and 13 more. Fitzpatrick hit Graham for 11 and roughing the passer a couple plays later had Buffalo at the New England 38. Fitzpatrick went to Spiller for a 25 yard gain. Jackson got the carry and gained 12 yards, but it all came apart when he got hit and fumbled at the one yard line. Yet from their own 1, Brady threw incomplete 3 times, taking less than 20n seconds off the clock. Buffalo got it back at the Patriots 45 and Spiller gained 14 with 15 more tacked on due to unnecessary roughness. Spiller gained another 11, and on 3rd and goal at the 2, Fitzpatrick hit Jones for the score. Almost 8 minutes still remained, and the Bills had clawed back to within 34-31.
New England again tried to put the game away as they faced 3rd and 5 from their 37. Brady hit Lloyd for 12, Ridley gained 9, and Brady hit Wlker for 23. On 3rd and 5 from the 12 Ridley gained 10. From the 2 with a chance to ice it, Ridley lost 2 and a false start was followed by a pair of incompletions that stopped the clock. Stephen Gostkowski did hit the 27 yard field goal but the Patriots only led by 6 with 2:06 to play. The Bills trailed the entire game but could still win it.
At the 2 minute warning, Buffalo faced 3rd and 9 from their own 21. Fitzpatrick put on a clinic, hitting St Johnson for 21 and Jones for 14. On 2nd and 10 from the Patriots 44 with 1:24 left, a short pass to Jackson went for 9 yards, but Jackson got hit and fumbled again. The Bills were lucky to retain possession and on 3rd and 3 from the Pats 37, Fitzpatrick hit Chandler for 8 and Spiller for 14 more. With 33 seconds to play the Bills had 1st and 10 at the Patriots 15. Fitzpatrick fired to the end zone and Chandler tried to make the acrobatic catch before the ball fell incomplete. The home crowd held their breath as Fitzpatrick on the next pay fired to the end zone again. This time Fitzpatrick was intercepted by McCourty. Unlike some defenders who then try to run it back 100 yards and end up fumbling it back, McCourty quickly dropped to one knee for the touchback to end the threat. Despite not being as dominant as in years past, Brady and Bellichick are still 6-3 with a 2 game lead in the AFC East. 37-31 Patriots
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints–Mike Smith may look like an average non-descript white guy named Mike Smith, but he has the only unbeaten team at 8-0. Yet with Drew Brees on the other side, this had the potential to be a track meet. On 3rd and 10 from their 20, Matt Ryan hit Roddy White for 11 and Tony Gonzalez for 19 more to midfield. Ryan then went deep to White for a 49 yard gain and to Johnson for the final yard to quickly make it 7-0 Falcons. On the first ensuing play from scrimmage, Brees was intercepted to give Atlanta the ball at the Saints 27. On 3rd and 1 Michael Turner lost a yard, and the Falcons settled for a 37 yard MAtt Bryant field goal to lead 10-0.
The Saints took over at their own 22 and Mark Ingram gained 5 and 8. From the Saints 44, Chris Ivory broke free, got to the sidelines, then came back to the middle, broke more tackles, and raced for a 56 yard touchdown to get the Saints to within 10-7. On the next Atlanta series just past midfield, Ryan threw incomplete on 3rd and 1. Atlanta punted, and the Saints took over at their own 10.
Brees hit Graham for 13 and Moore for 19. On 3rd and 4 from the Atlanta 47, Brees hit Moore for 7 and Cadet for 10. It was fitting on Veteran’s Day that a Cadet would catch a pass as the first quarter ended. Brees then went deep and threw a 29 yard touchdown to Graham as the Saints took the lead 14-10.
After a touchback, Michael Turner gained 9 and 1. On 3rd and 7 from their 33, Ryan hit Gonzalez for 12 and 13. From the Saints 41, Ryan went to White for a 26 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the 11 Ryan found Gonzalez for 10. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Ryan hit Gonzalez for the touchdown as the Falcons reclaimed the lead 17-14 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the half.
An exchange of punts had the Saints with it at their own 31 with 2:17 left in the half. On 3rd and 6 from the 35, Brees found Graham for 18 and 15 and Moore for 12 down to the Atlanta 20 with 47 seconds left in the half. Brees then hit Thomas for 6 and Graham for the 14 yard touchdown as the Saints led 21-17 at intermission.
After a Saints punt the Falcons faced 3rd and 10 from their 29. Ryan went deep for it all, and was intercepted at the Saints 19. Brees hit Marques Colston for 12 and Mark Ingram ran for 8. Brees hit Moore for 29 yards and a pair of 6 yard Ingram runs was sandwiched around a 13 yard completion to Ivory. Brees hit Colston for the 7 yard tuchdown as the Saints built a 28-17 lead.
After an exchange of punts the Falcons took over at their own 9. On 3rd and 1 from the 18 Ryan got the yard. On 3rd and 6 from the 23, Ryan hit Julio Jones for 9 and Tony Gonzalez for 19 just past midfield entering the fourth quarter. Ryan then found Douglas for 23, Rodgers for 15, and Gonzalez for the 6 yard touchdown to pull the Falcons within 28-24. With plenty of time left, Mike Smith opted against the 2 point conversion.
The Saints went 3 and out when Brees fired incomplete on 3rd and 2 and the Falcons took over at their 31. Ryan hit Gonzalez for 7 and then went deep to Jones for a 52 yard gain. Unsportsmanlike conduct tacked on meant 1st and goal at the 5. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 2 Ryan threw incomplete. With 9 minutes still left, Mike Smith decided not to gamble. Bryant kicked the 20 yarder and the Falcons still trailed 28-27.
After a touchback Brees hit Moore for 17 and on 3rd and 5 from the Saints 42 found Graham deep for a 46 yard gain. The drive stopped there and Garret Hartley hit the 31 yard field goal to make it a 4 point Saints lead again with 6 minutes left. While Mike Smith’s earlier decisions not to go for 2 or gamble on 4th and goal were both the right calls, they would loom large down the stretch.
Matty Ice after a touchback hit White for 7, Rodgers for 14, Jason Snelling for 6, and on 3rd and 4 from their 47, hit Douglas for 7. Ryan hit Gonzalez for 17 and then Rodgers took an end around 18 yards. Ryan hit Douglas for 9 at the 2 minute warning to set up 2nd and goal at the one. Ryan threw incomplete and on 3rd and goal Turner lost a yard. With 1:46 to play on 4th and goal at the 2, this time Atlanta had to go for it. Ryan went to White in the end zone and the play was broken up. The Saints had their goal line stand.
The Saints would have to punt on 4th and 8 from their own 4, and Atlanta took over at their own 31 with 0 timeouts and 37 seconds. Yet on 2nd and 1, Ryan threw 3 straight incompletions and the Saints finally had the win. The 1972 Dolphins popped their champagne corks as the Falcons became the last team in 2012 to lose to fall to 8-1. The Saints are only 4-5, but 4-1 in their last 5 and a team that could still do damage if they made the playoffs. 31-27 Saints
San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–San Diego is only one game back in the AFC Worst, and Norvelous Norv Turner usually sees his teams play well in the second half of the season. Greg Schiano has turned around the Buccaneers, and running back Doug Martin is the new phenom. On the third play of the game facing 3rd and 10 from their 20, Philip Rivers fired over the middle to Alexander. A pair of tacklers decided to hit Alexander rather than wrap him up. Alexander bounced off them, spun around, somehow maintained his balance, and raced for an 80 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chargers.
After a touchback, the Buccaneers came back. Martin gained 14 and 7, and on 3rd and 4 from the Bucs 45, Freeman hit Vincent Jackson for 7. Freeman tossed a short pass to Martin, who raced for a 42 yard gain. Freeman hit Dallas Clark for the 3 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. San Diego came right back, with Rivers going to Malcolm Floyd for a 22 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from their 46, Rivers threw incomplete but Ronde Barber was called for defensive holding. Rivers then went deep to Antonio Gates for a 33 yard gain and again for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Chargers.
San Diego is only one game back in the AFC Worst, and Norvelous Norv Turner usually sees his teams play well in the second half of the season. Greg Schiano has turned around the Buccaneers, and running back Doug Martin is the new phenom. On the third play of the game facing 3rd and 10 from their 20, Philip Rivers fired over the middle to Alexander. A pair of tacklers decided to hit Alexander rather than wrap him up. Alexander bounced off them, spun around, somehow maintained his balance, and raced for an 80 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chargers.
After a touchback, the Buccaneers came back. Martin gained 14 and 7, and on 3rd and 4 from the Bucs 45, Freeman hit Vincent Jackson for 7. Freeman tossed a short pass to Martin, who raced for a 42 yard gain. Freeman hit Dallas Clark for the 3 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. San Diego came right back, with Rivers going to Malcolm Floyd for a 22 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from their 46, Rivers threw incomplete but Ronde Barber was called for defensive holding. Rivers then went deep to Antonio Gates for a 33 yard gain and again for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Chargers.
The first play of the second quarter had the Buccaneers facing 3rd and 12 from their own 18. Freeman went deep to Mike Williams for a 54 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 3 from the 21, a run actually lost a yard. Connor Barth hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Buccaneers within 14-10. The Chargers would punt, and the horrors of 2 years ago returned. Despite having a Pro Bowler in Mike Scifres, special teams breakdowns resulted in 5 blocked punts. The problems were corrected last year, but this time “Chargers Special Teams” saw Scifres get blocked again. He had no chance. The jailbreak was blocked by Watson and returned by Hayward for a 29 yard touchdown to put the Buccaneers up 17-14. Scifres was decked on the play, and stayed down for a bit. He is also the holder on extra points, and the rest of the game would tell if this would be a crucial loss.
Although 9 minutes remained in the half, the Chargers would after a touchback use most of the entire clock. Ryan Mathews gained 10 and 3 and caught a pass for 5. On 3rd and 2 from their 38, Rivers hit Eddie Royal for 13 and Donte Rosario for 11 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Tampa 29, Rivers hit Gates for 3. On 3rd and 2 from the 18, Rivers hit Malcolm Floyd for 4 and Mathews for 8 more. With 30 seconds left in the half, Rivers hit Floyd for the 3 yard touchdown. San Diego had the ball for 20 minutes in the first half and took a 21-17 lead into the locker rooms.
After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Buccaneers soon faced 3rd and 1 from midfield. Martin got stopped, but Greg Schiano decided to go for it. This bold gamble made sense given how well the San Diego offense was moving the ball against his defense. Freeman gained 4 yards, went deep to former San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson for 31 yards, and then hit Tyquon Underwood for the 15 yard touchdown as the Buccaneers reclaimed the lead 24-21.
Early in the fourth quarter Rivers had the Chargers on the move with a 3rd and 4 at the Tampa 23. Rivers rolled to his right, and just before going out of bounds tried to force a throw at the sidelines. There would be no tying field goal as Rivers threw it right into the bread basket of defender Leonard Johnson. Johnson raced down the sidelines, escaped a couple of tackles, and high stepped the final 20 yards as the Buccaneers led 31-21 after their second defensive touchdown.
After a touchback Mathews gained 10 and on 3rd and 6 from their 34 Rivers hit Eddie Royal for 20. On 3rd and 1 from the Bucs 37, Battle gained 21 yards. Yet the drive stalled at the 11. Needing 2 scores, Nick Novak hit a 34 yard field goal as the Chargers were within 31-24 midway through the fourth quarter. San Diego got it back with 4 minutes left and Rivers was immediately sacked to set up 2nd and 20 from the Chargers 12. Rivers went deep and was intercepted again, giving the Bucs the ball at the Chargers 45 with 3 minutes left. On 2nd and 7 with the defense expecing runs, Schiano called a pass play and Freeman hit Martin for 8 yards. The Chargers had to use all of their timeouts although the defense held on 3rd and 3. Connor Barth came in for a 45 yard field goal try to lock up the game. Freeman was good, and Norvelous Norv Turner saw the team’s 3-1 start now become a 4-5 record. Greg Schiano saw the 1-3 Bucs now get to 5-4 with a second straight win over an AFC Worst foe. 34-24 Buccaneers.
New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks–Mark Sanchez faced off against his old USC coach Pete Carroll, although the bigger problem for Jets fans is Sanchez dating Eva Longoria. This would make most men not care about anything else. Rex Ryan has seen his once vaunted defense shredded with injuries and bad play, while Pete Carroll is building a very stout defense in Seattle. The Jets had 2 weeks to prepare for this game, and the emotion of Hurrciane Sandy could have motivated both New York teams like they were after 9/11. Not this time, as the only inspiration came from the home team in the new open Kingdome.
The Jets moved from their 20 to a 3rd and 1 at the Seattle 40. Rex Ryan was determined to play ground and pound, but it was the Seattle defense who pounded Hilliard for no gain. Ryan decided to go for it to establish the tempo early on. shone Greene got the carry and got nothing. The tempo was set as Seattle took over at their own 41. Russell Wilson quickly hit Danny Baldwin for 18 and Golden Tate for a 38 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Seahawks.
The Jets offense has been dreadful, but one play on defense provided their cracking the scoreboard. Seattle faced 1st and 10 at their 41. Wilson was sacked for a 12 yard loss. On the next play Wilson was sacked again and fumbled. Devito made the hit and Wilkerson picked it up and raced 21 yards for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7.
The first play of the second quarter had the Seahawks facing 3rd and 3 at the Jets 40. Marshawn Lynch fumbled and the Jets took over at their own 38. On 3rd and 1 Tim Tebow got 3 to midfield. Sanchez then went deep to Kerley for a 43 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 6, Sanchez was intercepted by Sherman at the 3 yard line. With 6 minutes left in the half Seattle punted and the Jets fumbled it, giving Seattle second life at the Jets 42. On 2nd and 15 Wilson hit Lynch for 27 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the 12 Wilson gained 9. Lynch got the final yard just before the 2 minute warning as the Seahawks led 14-7 at halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, the fourth quarter began with the Seahawks facing 1st and 10 at their own 47. Lynch gained 5 and then 22 more, and Wilson went deep to Sidney Rice for a 31 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Seattle.
The Jets moved to a 1st and 10 at the Seattle 32, but Sanchez was sacked and fumbled. Seattle took over just pass midfield. On 3rd and 5 Wilson hit Tate for 13. After a touchdown wqs nullified by penalty, Pete Carroll went to the college bag of tricks on 1st and goal at the 23. Golden Tate threw the halfback option pass to Sidney Rice for the icing on the cake. eattle is a surprising 6-4 and is very much alive in the suddenly competitive NFC West. As for the Jets, they are what their critics thought they were. 28-7 Seahawks
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles–Both Walrus Lite Andy Reid and Jason Garrett began this season with hopes of winning the NFC East. Yet both of these underachieving teams came in at 3-5, and both Jerry Jones and Jeffrey Lurie are on the verge of firing everyone. The loser of this game would see the screws tighten even further.The fourth quarter showed who wanted it least.
From the Philly 19, Michael Vick came out throwing to Captain Morgan Brent Celek for 17 yards and Desean Jackson for 9 more. On 3rd and 1 from their 45, Andy Reid actually called a running play. McCoy got stopped, but defensive holding meant 1st and 10 at midfield. On 3rd and 3 from the Dallas 43, Dallas jumped offsides. Vick then hit Jackson for a 31 yard gain down to the 7. On 3rd and goal at the 2 Vick completed the 10 play, 5 minute, 81 yard drive by hitting Riley Cooper for the score to make it 7-0 Eagles.
Tony Romo had his turn and on 3rd and 1 from their 29, Romo hit former Kardashian ex Miles Austin for a 7 yard gain. On 1st and 15 Felix Jones and Vickers each gained 13 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Philly 35, Romo hit Beasley for 3 and Jason Witten for 8. Felix Jones did the rest, gaining 3, 9, 1, and the 11 yard touchdown to make his 5th cousin owner Jerry Jones happy as the 13 play, 7 1/2 minute, 80 yard drive tied the game 7-7. Yet what began as a track meet would turn into a slog for much of the first three quarters.
The second quarter began with Michael Vick leading the Eagles from their 18. On 3rd and 2 from their 37, Vick threw incomplete. Yet to add injury to insult, it was Vick who was injured and did not return. The Nick Foles era began in Philadelphia. After several punts with 6 minutes left in the half, Dallas took over at their own 32. Romo went deep to Dez Bryant for a 49 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 2 from the 11, Romo threw incomplete. Dan Bailey hit the 30 yarder to make it 10-7 Cowboys with 4 minutes left in the half.
After a Dallas punt in the third quarter, the Eagles took over at their own 38. From their 43, McCoy gained 23 yards. On 1st and 20 from the Dallas 44, Foles went deep and found a wide open Jeremy Mclin. The first touchdown pass of the Foles era had the Eagles up 14-10.
Philly got it back and faced 3rd and 3 from their 35. Foles thew incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and 2 from their 48 Foles threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant a 20 yard gain. McCoy gained 13 and 6, but on 3rd and 5 from the 14, illegal use of hands on the offense stopped the drive. Henery hit the 40 yarder as the 6 minute drive had the Eagles up 17-10 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. To describe the rest of this game would require a suspension of belief.
Dallas took over and faced 2nd and 11 from their 19. Romo hit Witten for 15 and 6 more. On 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 39, Romo found Austin for 25 yards and Bryant for 8 more. On the last play of the third quarter, the Cowboys faced 3rd and 4 at th Philly 30. Romo went back to pass, found Bryant in the end zone, and controversy ensued. The ball clearly hit the ground. Bryant did notmaintain control. Yet on further review, it was ruled a touchdown. A disgusted Andy Reid could not believe it, although defensive pass interference would have put the ball on the one anyway. After thre quarters, the game was deadlocked 17-17. It would not be for long.
One minute into the fourth quarter saw the Eagles punting. Harris took the punt and raced for a 78 yard touchdown to make it 24-17 Cowboys. 2 plays later the Eagles faced 2nd and 7 from their 37. Foles threw a pass to Jackson that was slightly behind him but certainly catchable. Jackson could not corral it as it bounced off of his hands. It then took a freakish bounce off the thigh of defender Ernie Sims. It richocheted straight into the hands of Carr, who raced for a 47 yard interception return. Now Foles had thrown one touchdown pass to each team, although the interception was not his fault. 3 freak touchdowns, one on offense, one on special teams, and one on defense, meant 21 points in less than 2 1/2 minutes as the Cowboys turned a 17-10 deficit into a 31-17 lead in front of a stunned home crowd.
After an exchange of punts, needing 2 scores, the Eagles took over at their 23. Foles found Maclin for 14 and 13 to midfield. McCoy gained 9 and Foles hit Maclin for 7. McCoy gained 6 more, but on 3rd and 4 from the Dallas 28, Foles was sacked. With 2:40 to play it ame down to 4th and 9 from the 33. Foles found Johnson, who quickly gained 32 yards down to the one. At the 2 minute warning, Havili got the yard. The extrapoint was doinked off the upright but the Eagles were within 31-23.
The Eagles had all of their timeouts, so after the onsides kick failed they used them. Jason Garrett took no chances and kept it on the ground and punted. The Eagles got it back, and with 53 seconds to play and 0 timeouts, faced 1st and 15 from their own 6. A touchdown was needed, and it was coming. Yet not in a way that would satisfy the home fans. Foles was sacked and fumbled, and Hatcher recovered it on the end zone for the second defensive touchdown of the day to go along with the one on special teams. Dallas got to 4-5 and Philadelhia is now a miserable 3-6. This could be the end of the Walrus Lite Andy Reid and Michael Vick era. The fans wanted Donovan McNabb out of town, and they got their wish. McNabb is retired, Kevin Kolb is injured in Arizona, Vick is injured, and Foles will learn unless he does not. It is not Sunny in Philadelphia as Jason Garrett and Tony Romo kept the Dallas critics quiet for one more week. 38-23 Cowboys
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers–This one was a head scratcher. This game looked as much of a mismatch as the Rams-49ers games of the 1980s and 1990s when the 49ers would win before the game started. Jeff Fisher will improve the Rams, but there was no way they would go on the road and get anywhere against Jim Harbaugh and the vaunted 49ers defense. This was going to be an easy 49ers blowout. Now cue ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman. That’s why they play the games.
The first quarter was a stunner. The 49ers went 3 and out and the Rams took over at their 34. Stephen Jackson ran over the 49ers for gains of 2, 10, 4, and 7. Sam Bradford hit Danny Amendola for 7 and then Quick for a 36 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Rams.
The 49ers punted again and the Rams took over at their own 7. Jackson ran for 7and 5 and Bradford hit Kendricks for 17. Richardson got around the end for a 32 yard gain. On 2nd and 8 from the Frisco 20, Bradford hit Amendola for 13 and Jackson ran for the 7 yard score. The Rams led 14-0 after the first quarter in fron of a shellshocked home crowd.
The 49ers took over at their 22 and from their 32, Frank Gore gained 11. The 49ers began the second quarter at their 43. On 3rd and 15 Smith hit Crabtree for 14 yards, short of the marker. On 4th and 1 from the Rams 48, Jim Harbaugh decided to go for it. Smith got the yard and then hit Crabtree for 19. Gore gained 11 and on 3rd and 7 from the 14, Smith hit Crabtree for the touchdown. Midway through the second quarter the 49ers were within 14-7. Yet Smith would not play the rest of the game a a concussion finished his day. With backup Colin Kaepernick in for the 49ers, the defenses dug in after that. Just past the 2 minute warning, facing 4th and 7 at the Rams 37, Harbaugh opted to punt.
With 9 minutes left in the third quarter Bradford led a drive from the Rams 31 that consumed almost the entire rest of the period. On 3d and 7 Bradford found Smith for just enough. On 3rd and 14 from their 37, Bradford found Jackson, who got just enough. Richardson gained 7 with unsportsmanlike conduct tacking on 15 more. Bradford hit Amendola for 15 to set up 1st and 10 at the 13. Roughing the passer on a 3rd and 10 incompletion meant 1st and goal at the 7. Yet from the 5, Jackson lost 4 yards. Greg Zuerlein hit the 27 yarder as the Rams had a 17-7 lead after three quarters looking for what could be the upset of the year.
Yet retired 49ers defender Tim McDonald once rolled his eyeballs in the 1990s and said “Same 49ers, same Rams.” The fourth quarter showed that maybe this is still your father’s Rams teams.
The 49ers began the fourth quarter facing 2nd and 4 from their own 25. Kaepernick hit Mario Manningham for 20. On the next play Kaepernick fumbled, but somehow Gore picked it up and gained 14 yards for the 49ers. Kaepernick then found Randy Moss for 13. On 2nd and 4 a sack of Kaepernick set up 3rd and 18. Kaepernick found Vernon Davis for 17 yards, setting up a critical 4th and 1 with 10 minutes left in regulation at the Rams 21. Gore gained 3 and caught a pass from Kaepernick for 11. Kaepernick ran it in himself from 7 yards out as the 49ers were only down 17-14 with 9 minutes to play. Catastrophe struck the Rams when the fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the 49ers the ball at the Rams 20. One play was enough for Gore to get around the end and race to the end zone. 2 touchdowns in less than 20 seconds had the 49ers up 21-17 with 8 1/2 minutes left. Reality had set in, and the Rams were finished.
On 2nd and 5 from their 24, Bradford hit Amendola for 7. On 3rd and 8 from their 33 with 5 1/2 minutes left, Bradford threw incomplete. The Rams had their timeouts, and Jeff Fisher sent out the punt team. Fisher has cojones of steel, and it was a fake npunt. Hekker tossed a completion to Kendricks that went for a 19 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Frisco 46, Bradford found Amendola for16 and Gibson for 14 more at the 2 minute warning. Bradford threw a 2 yard touchdown to Pettis as the Rams again stunned the home crowd by taking a 24-21 lead with 1:13 to play.
From their 22, Kaepernick scrambled for 19 yards and again for 10 more. Kaepernick hit Williams for 13 and Gore gained 9 as the 49ers called their second timeout with 20 seconds left facing 2nd and 1 at the Rams 23. Kaepernick hit Hunter for 8 as the 49ers used their last timeout with 11 seconds left. From the 15, Harbaugh went for the win without a timeout, knowing a pass caught inbounds would end the game. An incompletion stopped the clock with 5 seconds left. Now it was up to David Akers. From 33 yards out, Akers hit it to send the game into overtime tied 24-24.
The first four quarters featured momentum shifts, and the fifth quarter was no different. Both teams had chances to win it. The Rams began at their own 18 and it looked like the game was over on the first play of overtime. Jeff Fisher went for it all on the first play and Bradford threw the deep ball to Amendola. Amendola caught it and raced down the field, eventually being caught from behind after an 80 yard gain at the 2 yard line. Yet as 49ers fans got up to leave, the play was called back due to a very late call of an illegal formation. On 3rd and 1 Bradford threw incomplete and the Rams punted.
The 49ers began with solid field position at their own 40. Kaepernoick hit Crabtree for 11 and then Jim Harbaugh kept it on the ground. Hunter gained 6, Gore 4, and Kaepernick 14 more to the Rams 25. Harbaugh kept it very conservative and 3 straight Gore carries was followed by veteran David Akers for the 43 yarder to win it. The kick was close, and the signal did not come right away, but it was ruled was no good. Akers missed it and the Rams had life.
From the Rams 31, Bradford hit Gibson for 9, Jackson gained 7 to midfield, and on 3rd and 4 Bradford hit Amendola for 10. Jackson gained 8 more yards. Yet on 2nd and 2 from the Frisco 33, an illegal shift pushed the Rams back. On 3rd and 3 from the Frisco 34, Jackson lost a yard. With 3 minutes left in overtime, Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein came in for a 53 yard try to win it, well withn his range. The kick was dead center and again the home fans got up to leave while the Rams celebrated. Again both actions were premature. The play clock had run out before the snap and the delay of game penalty now meant a 58 yard try. Knowing that a miss would give the 49ers great field position, Coach Fisher went with his kicker anyway. From 58 yards out, Zuerlein was no good.
The 49ers had their great field position, but at the 2 minute warning on 3rd and 7 from just past midfield, Kaepernick was sacked. The Rams got it back at their own 14 with 1:36 to play and 0 timeouts. On 3rd and 5 a defensive penalty stopped the clock with one minute left and the Rams at their 24. On 3rd and 1, a 5 yard completion to Amendola led to confusion with the spot. By the time the Rams got to the line only 24 seconds remained. Bradford was then sacked, and with 6 seconds left the Rams had 3rd and 3 from their 25. Even Zuerlein was not going to try a 92 yard field goal and Bradford was not going to heave a 75 yard Hail Mary. Bradford hit Gibson for 24 yards to midfield, and the Rams thought one secon remained. The officials were not sure. After another short confused delay, the game was declared over. For the first time 4 years, there was a tie as the Rams were 3-5-1 and the 49ers were 6-2-1 and still atop the division. 24-24, OT Tie
Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears was the Sunday night game. Both of these teams have come in at 7-1, yet there is no natural rivalry between the newest franchise in the league and one of the oldest. The rain came down hard, and the first half was a turnover filled blunder bowl. Initially it appeared that the Texans fumbled the opening kickoff, but on further review the call was reversed and the Texans maintained possession. Houston went 3 and out and the Bears took over at their 45. The first play from scrimmage was Jay Cutler hitting Davis for 6 yards, and Davis fumbling the ball away. Dobbins returned it 32 yards to the Chicago 28, but unsportsmanlike conduct on the Houston bench moved the ball back to the Chicago 43. Matt Schaub hit Andre Johnson for 11. On 3rd and 7 from the 29, Schaub hit Johnson for 8. Arriun Foster gained 13, but a 3rd and goal at the 5 pass to Foster gained only 3 yards. With 4th and goal at the 2 on the road, Gary Kubiak played it safe and brought out the field goal unit. Shane Graham hit the 20 yarder to make it 3-0 Texans.
Chicago moved from their 37 to 3rd and 1 at the Houston 43. A pass from Cutler to Devon Hester gained 0 yards. Lovie Smith decided to go for it on 4th and 1. Michael Bush gained 11 yards, but then fumbled the ball after getting hit by Glover Quinn. James recovered it for the Texans at their 27. on 3rd and 10 from their 40, Schaub was intercepted by Jennings. Chicago took over at the Houston 45. On 2nd and 9 from the Houston 30, Cutler was intercepted by Manning at the 6 yard line for the third Chicago turnover.
Houston took over at their own 10 and began the second quarter at their 29 when total confusion reigned. Schaub was intercepted by Jennings again at the Houston 48. Jennings ran into his own man and got up, and with everybody else stopped, kept running. Jennings kept starting and stopping as nobody knew if the play was over. Just as Jennings thought he had a 48 yard interception return for a touchdown, the whistle blew. The officials eventually ruled that he was down by contact after a 10 yard return. Whether or not there was the slightest of contact was inconclusive. After all of that, from the Houston 38, 3 plays netted 5 yards. The 3rd and 5 bomb from Cutler to Marshall bounced off of his fingertips in the end zone as the sure touchdown was not to be. Robbie Gould hit a knuckleball that somehow made it over the crossbar from 51 yards out to tie the game 3-3.
Midway through the second quarter the Texans took over at their 34. Schaub hit Johnson for 11, and then Lovie Smith switched to the ground game. Foster gained 6, Quin gained 21, and Forsett picked 25 yards down to the 3. On 2nd and goal from the 2, Schaub fired to a diving Foster, who caught it at the goal line and slid into the pileon. Replay showed he did maintain possession and did break the plane, as the Texans scored the first touchdown of the game to lead 10-3 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.
To avoid Devon Hester, the Texans tried a squib kick that backfired. At first it looked like an onsides kick, but it was meant to squib down the field. Somehow it was kicked straight into the stomach of the Bears JT Thomas, giving the Bears excellent field position just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 9 Cutler found Hester over the middle, and Hester split the seams for a 45 yard gain down to the 5. Penalty flags flew, and there were fouls on both teams. Jay Cutler was ruled to have crossed the line of scrimmage. The ball was over the line but Cutler’s feet were behind the line. On the defense, a personal foul for a shot to Cutler’s head was called. The penalties offset, yet Lovie Smith challenged the illegal forward pass ruling. The call was upheld and Chicago lost the challenge with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. After all of that, on 3rd and 9, Cutler scrambled forward and took another hard lick after an 11 yard gain at the 2 minute warning. Yet after all of the chaos, the end result was the sixth turnover of the half and the fourth by Chicago as Cutler’s second interception by Jackson ended the threat.
The weather conditions and the play got uglier in the second half. Cutler was injured late in the second quarter and would not return. To spare the Caleb Hanie era 2.0, Jason Campbell was acquired. Campbell played quite well in Oakland until a broken collarbone ended his season last year. Campbell was rested and ready. The Bears moved from their 20 to a 4th and 6 at the Houston 37. Lovie Smith wisely decided to punt. After several punts, the Bears took over at their ow 48 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. On 2nd and 13 Campbell went deep and found Marshall for a 45 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 6 Campbell threw incomplete and the Bears had to settle for a 24 yard field goal. Gould cut the Bears deficit to 10-6. A 57 yard kickoff return by Houston was wiped out by penalty as the game went to the fourth quarter.
The Bears took over again early in the fourth quarter at their 38 and became Oakland midwest. Campbell hit Marshall for 9, and Michael Bush barreled over people up the gut for a 20 yard gain. Yet 2nd and 7 from the Houston 30 was followed by a couple of incompletions. Gould had already hit from 51, and came in for a 48 yarder. It doinked off the upright no good as the game stayed 10-6 with 11:45 left in regulation.
Another exchange of punts had the Texans at their own 47. Foster ran for 5 and 7, with a defensive facemask adding 15 to the Chicago 26. Offensive holding killed the drive, but with 5 minutes left Graham came in for a 42 yard field goal. Graham was good, and the Texans had a 7 point lead.
Another exchange of punts had the Texans at their own 47. Foster ran for 5 and 7, with a defensive facemask adding 15 to the Chicago 26. Offensive holding killed the drive, but with 5 minutes left Graham came in for a 42 yard field goal. Graham was good, and the Texans had a 7 point lead. The Bears went 3 and out and Lovie Smith decided to punt and trust his defense. The Bears held as the Bears got it back at their own 37 with 2:35 left and one timeout.
With just over one minute to play the Bears faced 4th and 8 from their own 40. Campbell threw into quadruple coverage incomplete. Chicago is 7-2 and Michelin Man Wade Phillips saw his defense stifle Chicago as the Texans under Gary Kubiak got to 8-1 with the hard fought old time old school football win. 13-6 Texans
Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers was the Monday night game. If ever a game was not meant to be played, this was it. one of the worst teams in the league traveled on the road to face one of the better teams with rain coming down and Veteran’s Day inspiring the home crowd. League rules required that the game not be canceled. The Terrible Towels were waiting, and the Chiefs got the ball first, proving that even losing teams have a 50/50 shot of winning the coin toss.
After an exchange of punts, a stunning turn of events took place for the Chiefs from their own 30. Jamal Charles gained 7 yards. Then Matt Cassel went deep to Moeaki for a 38 yard gain. Cassel then found Dexter McCluster for 13 more yards. Charles took the carry at the 12 and ran it in for the score. Only 4 plays were needed to give the Chiefs their most shocking touchdown since Len Dawson tied Green Bay in Super Bowl I. The Chiefs came in having not had a lead at any time this year. The only game they won came in overtime on the final play. Now they led 7-0, as those expecting the Steelers to win by 50 should have considered settling for 43.
Late in the first quarter the Steelers faced 1st and 29 from their own 9. Ian Redman fumbled the ball away and the Chiefs took over at the Pittsburgh 10. The second quarter began with 3rd and goal at the 3, and Charles lost a yard. Ryan Succop hit the 22 yarder to make it 10-0 Steelers.
Succop hit the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving the Steelers the ball at their own 40. On 3rd and 2 Ben Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller for 6 yards and again for 16 more. Big Ben hit Paulson for 9. On 2nd and 8 from the 17 Roethlisberger threw incomplete twice and the Steelers settled for a 35 yard Shawn Suisham field goal. Pittsburgh trailed 10-3 with 9 minutes left in the half.
Pittsburgh got the ball back at midfield. On 3rd and 4 Dwyer gained 17 and 6. On 3rd and 4 from the 21, Roethlisberger ran for 14 and found Mike Wallace for the 7 yard touchdown to tie the game 10-10 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half.
A scoreless third quarter showed why both teams are what we thought they were. On the first series Roethlisberger got rocked and did not return. Backup Byron Leftwich played the rest of the second half. The Chiefs began at their 40 and moved to a 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 22. Cassel threw a touchdown to Dwayne Bowe, who felt the need to taunt the Pittsburgh defense by holding the ball back like Leon Lett. While the receiver on the 1-7 team was trash-talking, it was pointed out to him that the touchdown was called back due to offensive holding. Succop then missed a 33 yard field goal as Bowe celebrated the failure to score.
Late in the third quarter the Steelers faced 3rd and 9 from their own 15. Leftwich found Emanuel Sanders for a 31 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Chiefs 47, Leftwich threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference meant a 22 yard gain as the Steelers began the fourth quarter with 3rd and 12 at the Chiefs 27. Leftwich threw incomplete, but roughing the passer meant 1st and 10 at the 13. The Steelers got nothing more, but Suisham hit the 31 yard field goal as the Steelers led 13-10 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
Pittsburgh had the ball with 4 minutes left and faced 3rd and 7 at their own 11. With a backup quarterback, the only sane decision was to run the football. Yet on second down Leftwich threw incomplete and saw his receiver get blasted. Surely the Steelers would run this time. Again, Mike Tomlin has cojones of steel. Leftwich fired a 22 yard completion to Jerricho Cotchery and the clock ticked down. The Chiefs took their last timeout with 2:25 left and the Steelers facing 3rd and 2 from their 41. Dwyer got the carry, and the spot was closer than in “Any Given Sunday.” Dwyer was just short and this time Tomlin took no chances. The Chiefs had one last chance with 1:51 to play, 80 yards from the end zone, and 0 timeouts.
Cassel hit Moeaki for 18 and again for 12 to midfield. Cassel found trash talker Bowe over the middle in long field goal range, but Bowe dropped the ball with 54 seconds remaining just before getting hit. A dink and dunk pass gained 5 yards as the clock ticked down. On 3rd and 5 a completion to Moeaki gained the first down in field goal range as Moekai got out of bounds with 28 seconds left. Yet offensive pass interference meant 3rd and 15 instead. With 22 seconds left, it came down to 4th and 15 from the Chiefs 45. This time Cassel avoided the sack, stepped up, and fired over the middle to Bowe. Bowe caught it and the Chiefs raced to the line as Cassel calmly spiked the ball with 3 seconds left. Succop came in for a 46 yarder to tie it. Succop was good, and the blowout of the year went to overtime tied 13-13.
Could the Chiefs pull off the miracle upset? Of course not. They won the toss, and took the ball. On 2nd and 6 from their own 19, Cassel fired over the middle and Lawrence Timmons made a leaping catch. Timmons plays defense for the Steelers. Timmons returned it to the 5 yard line and Mike Tomlin wasted no time. Suisham came out on first down and drilled the 23 yarder less than one minute into the overtime. The Chiefs fell to 1-8 while the Steelers, perhaps overlooking the Chiefs, got to 6-3. Next week they have their showdown with 7-2 Baltimore, and they may have to do it without Big Ben. Anything can happen on Monday Night Football, and it almost did again. 16-13 Steelers, OT