NFL 2015 Week 7 Recap

NFL 2015 Week 7 Recap

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers was the Thursday night game. Two years after an epic NFC Title Game that made Richard Sherman a household name, a pair of 2-4 teams were trying to save their season. They Seahawks came out in pure Beast Mode, with a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch straight up the gut.

A 12 play, 61 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive led to a critical fourth and inches at the San Francisco 3. Lynch got the carry and battered his way to a 1st and goal. On third and goal at the one, lynch went over the top for the touchdown and the 7-0 Seahawks lead. Steve Hauschka tacked on a 49 yard field goal in the second quarter to make it 10-0 Seahawks. The Seahawks got it back at their own 10. With 3 minutes left in the half, Russell Wilson went bombs away for a 43 yard touchdown pass to Ricardo Lockett to make it 17-0 Seahawks. A pointless second half saw an exchange of field goals as the Seahawks kept their season alive while wrecking the 2015 49ers. 20-3 Seahawks

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars in London — Jolly Old England was getting royal right grumpy by the lousy NFL games being exported to them. This one was a dandy. It started out every bit as boring as expected. Dan Carpenter hit a 31 yard field goal and the Bills led 3-0 after the opening quarter. Then Jacksonville just exploded in the second quarter. Rex Ryan’s team had the most inept quarter in his coaching history not involving a butt-fumble.

First Blake Bortles found Robinson for a 10 yard touchdown pass to make it 7-3 Jaguars. Then EJ Manuel, in for the injured Tyrod Taylor, was sacked and fumbled. Clemons picked up the loose ball and rumbled 6 yards for a touchdown and a 14-3 Jaguars lead. on the very next day from scrimmage Manuel was intercepted by Smith, who raced 26 yards for another touchdown to make it 21-3. Three plays later Manuel was intercepted again, giving Jacksonville the ball at the Buffalo 36. Two plays later Bortles found Yeldon for a 28 yard touchdown. Four touchdowns in 5 1/2 minutes had the Jaguars cruising 27-3.

The Bills tried to make a game of it. Manuel threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to Woods to make it 27-10 with 3 minutes left in the half. Buffalo got it back at midfield and Carpenter hit from 38 as the Bills were within 27-13 at halftime. The Jaguars held the ball for 9 1/2 minutes in the third quarter and moved to the Buffalo one yard line. Toby Gerhart got the ball three straight times, and three straight times he got stoned by the Buffalo defense. Gus Bradley decided to go for it. Gerhart got a fourth straight carry and Rex Ryan’d defense stopped him again. The goal line stand inspired the Bills. After a scoreless third quarter, the Bills continued to fight back.

Buffalo moved from their own 1 to a 2nd and goal at the Jacksonville 8. Manuel threw incomplete twice. After moving 91 yards, the Bills settled for Carpenter’s third field goal from 26 yards out to get the Bills within 27-16 only seconds into the fourth quarter. The Bills got it back at their own 40 and moved to the Jacksonville 26. Then they fumbled the ball away again.

With 6 1/2 minutes to play Manuel went deep to Easley for a 58 yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion was good and the Bills were only down 27-24. Four plays later, Bortles was intercepted by Graham, who returned it 44 yards for a Bills touchdown. With 5 1/2 minutes left, 28 unanswered points now had the Bills up 31-27.

The headlines were already being written. EJ Manuel is the most heroic Buffalo quarterback since Frank Reich backed up Jim Kelly. Blake Bortles had thrown away another game. The Jaguars are losers for eternity.

Not this time. From the Jacksonville 16, Bortles led the Jaguars back. With 3 minutes left, on 3rd and 15 from the Jacksonville 47, Bortles threw incomplete. However, defensive pass interference kept the drive going. Bottles threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to Hurns as Jacksonville had the 3 point lead with 2 1/2 minutes to play.

With 1:45 to play, LeSean McCoy failed to pick up 2nd and 1 at the Buffalo 41. On 3rd and 1, Manuel lost a yard. On 4th and 2 with one minute left, Manuel threw incomplete. The fans got their money’s worth, unless one is Buffalo fan. 34-31 Jaguars

Cleveland Browns at St. Louis Rams — This game was a battle of teams that ran hot and cold. The Browns began by giving the game away. Cleveland fumbled, and McLeod ran it back 20 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Rams lead. McCown was then sacked and fumbled, giving the Rams the ball at the Cleveland 25. Greg Zuerlein hit a 39 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Rams. The Browns then moved 73 yards in 14 plays, taking 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and 2 at the 7, the Browns failed to convert. Travis Coons hit a 25 yard field goal to get the Browns within 10-3.

Coons hit from 44 in the third quarter to get the Browns within 10-6. Zuerlein missed  a35 yard field goal try but the Rams got it back. From the Cleveland 42, Nick Foles went deep to Kenny Britt for a 41 yard gain. Todd Gurley got the last yard to complete the 88 yard drive and make it 17-6 Rams. Gurley ran for a 16 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs — Landry Jones was making his first NFL start while Alex Smith continued his drinking and dunking. The result was a boring first half. Cairo Santos hit a 30 yard field goal for the Chiefs and Chris Boswell countered from 24 for a 3-3 tie after the first quarter. Santos hit again from 22 and 27 in the second quarter to make it 9-3 Chiefs at halftime.

In the third quarter West got in from one yard out to make it 16-3 Chiefs. Landry Jones moved the Steelers 77 yards and hit Bryant for a 19 yard touchdown to get the Steelers within 16-10. In the fourth quarter Boswell hit from 36 as the Steelers only trailed 16-13. Alex Smith moved the Chiefs 84 yards and threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to Conley to give the Chiefs breathing up 10 with 5 minutes left. Pittsburgh moved to the Chiefs 39 but Landry was sacked and fumbled with just over 2 minutes left. It wasn’t pretty, but the Chiefs dinked and dunked their way to a win. 23-13 Chiefs.

Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins — The Texans may be a bad team, but the Dolphins have been revitalized under Dan Campbell. Miami quickly moved the Dolphins 88 yards as a 53 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Matthews got the Dolphins on the board. Miami got it back at midfield and one play later Tannehill hit Landry for the touchdown and the 14-0 Dolphins lead. Miami got it back again at the Houston 45. On 3rd and 4 from the 10, Tannehill connected with Landry again for a 21-0 Dolphins lead.

In the second quarter, 83 yards came easy as Tannehill found Miller for a 54 yard touchdown. After barely more than one quarter of football, Tannehill had thrown 4 touchdown passes for a 28-0 Dolphins lead. Brandon Hoyer had far less success for the Texans. He completed only 2 of his first 12 passes, and only one of those two completions went to a player on his own team. He threw an interception to Jones, who returned it 23 yards for a touchdown and a 35-0 Dolphins lead. 

Late in the half the Dolphins got it back at their own 9 just looking to run out the clock. Miller ran for an 85 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good, but perhaps the kicker was tired from kicking so many of them as the Dolphins led 41-0 at halftime.

In politics, if you completely and totally suck but do something right later on, you can get some media people to spin failure into success. That does not happen in football. The Texans dominated the second half, smashing Miami 26-3. Miami was bored, and his now 2-0 under their new coach. 44-26 Dolphins.

New York Jets at New England Patriots — Even without Rex Ryan, this game had drama because todd Bowles brought a 4-1 squad with a solid defense into New England to face the unbeaten Patriots. The Jets fumbled on the second play of the game, immediately setting up the Patriots at the Jets 19. Yet the highest scoring offense in the league ran 3 plays, lost one yard after a sack of Brady on 3rd and 5, and settled for a 38 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Ryan Fitzpatrick rebounded and brought the Jets 78 yards in 15 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 2, Fitzpatrick threw incomplete twice. nick Folk hit the 20 yarder as the game was tied 3-3 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter Fitzpatrick led a 14 play, 83 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive. This time Fitzpatrick hit Kerley for a 5 yard score as the Jets led 10-3. A field position game after a short punt had the Patriots taking over at the Jets 47. On 2nd and goal at the 1, Brady threw incomplete. On 3rd and goal a pass to Rob Gronkowski went nowhere. Gang Green was fired up on defense but Bill Bellichick decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the one. Brady snuck across and the game was tied 10-10 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the half.

Gostkowski hit a 46 yard field goal to make it 13-10 Patriots at halftime. In the third quarter Gostkowski hit from 24 as again the Patriots could not get the last few yards. Trailing 16-10, Fitzpatrick moved the Jets 80 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. A 9 yard touchdown pass to Chris Ivory had the Jets up 17-16 and smelling upset.

In the fourth quarter Folk hit from 30 as the Jets led 20-16. Brady brought the Patriots back 80 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 6 from the Jets 8, Brady hit Danny Amendola for the touchdown as the Patriots led 23-20 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Jets punted and the Patriots took over at their own 32 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Brady did the rest. On 3rd and 10 from the Jets 33, Brady hit Amendola for 11 at the 2 minute warning. Brady then hit Gronkowski for a 15 yard touchdown with 1:15 to play to make it 30-20 Patriots. The jets kept fighting.

Needing three miracles, the Jets got the first one when Folk drilled a 55 yard field goal to get the Jets within 7 points. They got a second miracle when they recovered the onside kick at their own 35. With 14 seconds left the Jets had the ball just past midfield. A completion to Eric Decker put the ball at the New England 37. Yet in trying to snap the ball, the Jets committed a false start with one second left. The Jets were out of timeouts and out of luck. The mandatory 10 second runoff meant there would be no Hail Mary try. The Jets were game, but the undefeated Patriots keep rolling. 30-23 Patriots


Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions — Detroit finally got its first win and faced a Minnesota team that still has not gotten beyond its one-dimensional rushing game. Matthew Stafford moved the Lions 75 yards and threw a 1 yard touchdown pass to Calvin Megatron Johnson to make it 7-0 Lions. A long drive by Minnesota that consumed nearly half the quarter ended up with the Vikings settling for a 37 yard Blair Walsh field goal to get Minnesota within 7-3. Stafford quickly moved the Lions 80 yards as a 4 yard touchdown to Eric Ebron made it 14-3 Lions.

In the second quarter Walsh hit from 53 and Matt Prater countered from 52 as the Lions led 17-6. The Vikings got within 17-12 when Bridgewater moved them 79 yards and hit Kyle Rudolph for a 1 yard touchdown. The extra point try failed. Minnesota got it back at their own 48 with 1:13 left in the half. On the last play of the half Walsh hit from 51 as the Vikings trailed 17-15.

In the third quarter Bridgewater moved the Vikings 78 yards as a 36 yard touchdown pass to Diggs made it 22-17 Vikings. Minnesota got it back and Walsh hit a 35 yard field goal and then added a 22 yarder in the fourth quarter to make it 28-17 Vikings.

With one minute to go and the Vikings backed up on 4th and 5 at their own 6, Mike Zimmer made a very smart coaching decision. Rather than risk a blocked punt, he took an intentional safety. The Lions still needed two scores, and it was not going to happen. 28-19 Vikings

Atlanta Falcons at Tennessee Titans — The Falcons came in having been just knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten while the Titans are just awful. To make matters worse for Tennessee, Marcus Mariota was out injured and Zach Mettenberger was in. This had all the makings of a Falcons blowout. As ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman reminds us, “That’s why they play the games.”

In the second quarter, Matt Ryan was intercepted to set up the Titans at the Atlanta 19. One play later Mettenberger went to Wright for the touchdown. Matt Bryant hit a 27 yard field goal to get the Falcons within 7-3. With 18 seconds left in the half the Titans had 2nd and goal at the Atlanta 6. Mettenberger was intercepted as the Titans missed a golden opportunity to extend their lead.

In the third quarter Ryan moved the Falcons 88 yards. An 8 yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones had the Falcons up by 3 after three quarters. With 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation after getting stopped on 3rd and goal at the one, Dan Quinn decided to go for it. Ryan threw to the end zone. The ball was batted by a defender, then a receiver, as a player from each team tried to grab it. It was ruled an interception.

Tennessee turned it over on downs when Mettenberger threw incomplete on 4th and 4 from the Tennessee 37 with 3 1/2 minutes left. On 4th and 2 with 2 1/2 minutes left Bryant came in for a 47 yard field goal try. He was no good and again the Falcons failed to extend their lead. With 1:39 to play Mettenberger moved the Titans to a 2nd and 5 at the Atlanta 42. Mettenberger was intercepted and the Falcons survived a hideous effort to get to 6-1 on the year. 10-7 Falcons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Washington Redskins — Sometimes a pair of really bad teams can produce a great game. This was not that game. This is not why they play the games. Jameis Winston threw a 40 yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans to make it 7-0 Buccaneers as Tampa Bay jumped all over Washington from the outset. Connor Barth added a 22 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Buccaneers.

In the second quarter Winston moved the Bucs 72 yards in 14 plays and 7 minutes. A 7 yard touchdown pass to Dye made it 17-0 Tampa Bay. Kirk Cousins was then sacked by Jones, who returned the resulting fumble 45 yards for another touchdown and a 24-0 Buccaneers lead.

The Redskins finally got on the board when Cousins ran it in from 8 yards out as Washington trailed 24-7 at halftime. In the third quarter Cousins threw a pair of 3 yard touchdown passes, one to Grant and one to Reed. Just like that, the Redskins only trailed 24-21. The last touchdown was possible because Jay Gruen called a surprise onside kick that succeeded. Maybe this is why they play the games after all.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter the Buccaneers had a touchdown pass taken off the board due to offensive pass interference. They settled for a 45 yard field goal by Barth to lead 27-21. Midway through the fourth quarter after a 6 1/2 minute drive, Washington settled for a 35 yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins as they trailed 27-24.

The Buccaneers took over at their own 6. On 3rd and 7 from their 9, Winston found Evans for 16. On 3rd and 3 from the Tampa 32, Winston found Evans for 14. On the next play Doug Martin raced for a 49 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 5 with 4 minutes left. A couple more Martin carries set up 3rd and goal at the one with 2 1/2 minutes left. The Buccaneers had every chance to put the game away. They couldn’t so it as Sims was tackled for a 2 yard loss. Lovie Smith opted for the field goal. Barth hit from 21 as the Buccaneers led 30-24. After a touchback Washington had 2:24 left and 2 timeouts to try and win.

Cousins put on a short passing clinic against the helpless Buccaneers defense. With 28 seconds left after a pair of incompletions, the Redskins faced 3rd and goal at the 6. Cousins fired to Reed for the touchdown. The extra point was good and the Redskins led by a point. After a touchback, the Buccaneers had 24 seconds left. 

Despite leading the whole game, terrible clock management had the Buccaneers burning all 3 of their timeouts before their final drive. A couple completions by Winston had the Buccaneers at the Washington 42 with 12 seconds left. A 60 yard field goal try would be difficult but not impossible. The Bucs decided to run another play.

Cousins found Sims for a 19 yard gain, well within field goal range. Yet Sims was about to be tackled inbounds. A desperate Sims tried to lateral the ball, but there was nobody around him. The Redskins recovered back near midfield to end the win.

Both quarterbacks were magnificent. Winston was 21 of 29 for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cousins was a lights out 33 of 40 for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns, the last one being the difference. Neither quarterback was intercepted. The Redskins win over the Buccaneers is yet another example of how the NFL can give parents golden life lessons to teach children. Never give up. Yes, this is why they play the games after all. 31-30 Redskins

New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts — These teams have both underachieved all year but New Orleans knocked off unbeaten Atlanta. Yet the Colts at home were expected to dispatch of the Saints without much difficulty. Instead it was all Saints early on.

Late in the first quarter the Saints faced 4th and 9 at the Colts 26. Sean Payton called a fake field goal. Luke McCown found Watson for a 25 yard gain down to the one. On the next play Robinson got in to make it 7-0 Saints. 

Andrew Luck was then intercepted to set up the Saints at the Indy 23. On 3rd and 6 Brees threw incomplete but offsetting penalties meant another chance. Brees was the intercepted but defensive holding gave the Saints a third chance. Early in the second quarter Robinson got in again from 6 yards out to make it 14-0 Saints. The Colts fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Saints took over at the Indy 27. Brees hit Hoomanawanui for a 16 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Saints led 20-0.

With 5 minutes left in the half from the Indy 46, Mark Ingram ran for a 44 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 2 for the Saints. Brees then hit Hill and it looked like the Saints were up 27-0. Yet offensive pass interference nullified the score. On 3rd and goal Brees was intercepted in the end zone. With 13 seconds left in the half the Colts faced 2nd and 10 at the Saints 18. Luck went to the end zone and was intercepted for the third time. The crowd booed heavily as the Colts trailed 20-0 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Saints moved 82 yards and Mark Ingram banged in from the one to make it 27-0 Saints. The Colts finally woke up and began scoring in big ways quickly. Andrew Luck connected with TY Hilton on an 87 yard touchdown to get the Colts on the board. Indy got it back and Luck quickly went deep to Hilton again for a 46 yard touchdown as the Colts only trailed 27-14 after three quarters.

The Colts cooled off while the Saints offense was ice cold the entire second half. With 4 minutes left in regulation, the Colts took over after a touchback. With 3 minutes left on 3rd and 4 from the Saints 8, Luck hit Moncrief for the touchdown. The Colts were within 6 but the onside kick failed. On 3rd and 4 from the Colts 47 and Indy out of timeouts, Brees found Marquis Colston for a 20 yard gain. The Saints ran out the clock. Both teams are 3-4 and both quarterbacks threw 44 passes. Yet the Saints are moving in the right direction. The Colts are in deep trouble. 27-21 Saints

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers — Philip Rivers torched the Green Bay defense for 503 yards passing in an agonizing road loss. The Raiders have the #3 run defense but the #29 pass defense. At home, Rivers had the chance for 1,000 yards passing. For this and so many reasons, that’s why they play the games.

On the third play of the game with the Chargers facing 3rd and 2 at their own 19, Rivers passed over the middle. The ball was batted in the air and intercepted by Malcolm Smith, who rumbled 27 yards to the Chargers 2 yard line. Latavius Murray from the one just stretched past the goal line to make it 7-0 Raiders.

The Chargers went 3 and out and the Raiders took over on their own 46. An offensive personal foul moved the Raiders back to 2nd and 22 at their 34. On the next play Derek Carr threw incomplete but defensive illegal use of hands meant 1st and 10. On 3rd and 9 from the Oakland 40, Carr found Taiwan Jones for 16. On 3rd and 3 from the San Diego 10, Carr threw incomplete. Sebastian Janikowski hit from 29 to make it 10-0 Raiders.

The Chargers moved from their own 20 to a 4th and 1 at the Oakland 23. Mike McCoy decided to go for it. It was a ply to get the Raiders to jump offsides, and the defense didn’t bite. Lambo hit the 40 yard field goal to get the Chargers on the board down 10-3. The second quarter began with Carr hitting Amari Cooper for 15 yards and then firing to Walford for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 17-3 Raiders.

Rivers was then intercepted again by DJ Hayden, giving the Raiders the ball at the San Diego 31. On 3rd and 5 from the 15, a short pass gained only one yard. Seabass hit from 32 to make it 20-3 Raiders. The Raiders got it back and soon faced 3rd and 14 just shy of midfield. Carr went deep to Cooper for  a 44 yard gain to make it 1st and goal at the 7. Carr hit Marcel Reece for 6 yards down to the one. Yet a killer dumb mistake happened when offensive lineman Donald Penn got in an extra shove after the play was over. The defender responded by kicking Penn right in his balls. Yet only Penn got called. Seabass hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 23-3 Raiders.

The Raiders got it back and soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 44. With nobody to throw to, Carr scrambled and got 4 yards. On the next play Carr found Cooper, who sliced and diced his way through the Chargers defense for a 52 yard touchdown. With one minute left in the half the Raiders led 30-3. Somewhere in heaven Al Davis is smiling and pumping his clenched fist over Cooper.

Rivers was 15 of 23 for 105 yards with 2 interceptions and 0 touchdowns in the first half. Derek Carr was magnificent, going 17 of 22 for 215 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the opening half. The Raiders scored on all 6 first half possessions. The Raiders did get soft on defense in the final minute, allowing Lambo to hit a 44 yard field goal as the half ended. The Raiders led 30-6 at halftime, and got the ball to receive the second half after deferring to start the game.

For the first time since 2002, the Raiders had 0 punts and 0 turnovers in the first half. Carr is tired of hearing about how the Raiders have a young team that need to learn how to win. This game would put his feelings to the test. The Raiders were winning big, but Rivers can come back in a heartbeat.

The Raiders took over and a penalty had them facing 1st and 20 at their own 21. Rather than play it conservative, Jack Del Rio got aggressive and unleashed Carr. Carr hit seth Roberts for 14. Taiwan Jones gained 19. Carr found Walford for 19. Then Carr found Michael Crabtree, who joked a defender for a 25 yard touchdown. At this point Carr was 20 of 25 for 275 yards passing and 3 touchdowns as the Raiders led 37-6.

Midway through the third quarter the Raiders failed to convert on 3rd and 13 from around midfield. Finally, after 7 straight scoring drives, Marquette King came in to punt. The Chargers took over at their own 15.

With 13 minutes left in regulation, the Chargers got in the end zone. An 11 play, 83 yard, 5 minute drive was capped off when Rivers hit Ladarius Green for a 31 yard touchdown. The Chargers trailed 37-13, and now the Raiders had to show they could finish a game. The Chargers tried an onside kick that failed, giving the Raiders the ball at the Chargers 47. The Raiders went 3 and out when a pass on 3rd and 4 was incomplete.

On 4th and 6 from the Oakland 37, Rivers threw a pass that was well defended incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference kept the drive going midway through the fourth quarter. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Danny Woodhead was somehow wide open in the flat to the point where one wondered if the Raiders only had 7 guys on defense instead of 11. Rivers lobbed it to him for the touchdown and then fired to Green for the 2 point conversion. With 6 minutes remaining the Raiders only led 37-21. Again, it was time to see if the young Silver and Black team could finish a game.

The onside kick again failed and the Raiders took over at the San Diego 48. They were in field goal range when another dumb personal foul on offensive lineman Donald Penn pushed them out field goal range. With 3 1/2 minutes left it would have locked up the game. Instead the Chargers moved down the field. However, by the time they scored and got the two point conversion, only six seconds remained.

For the third time, an onside kick failed. The Chargers blew out the Raiders 23-0 late, but that is not how games are judged. The Raiders are now 3-3. They are young, and they are improving. 37-29 Raiders

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants — With Tony Romo still out, Brandon Weedon was benched in favor of Matt Cassel. Early on Dallas moved in position for a 30 yard Dan Bailey field goal to lead 3-0. In the second quarter Darkwa ran for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Giants. Bailey hit a 48 yard field goal to get the Cowboys within 7-6. The Cowboys moved 72 yards and Darren McFadden got in from the one to make it 13-7 Cowboys. Josh Brown hit a 47 yard field goal as the Giants trailed 13-10 at halftime.

In the third quarter Cassel was intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who raced 58 yards for a touchdown and a 17-13 Giants lead. The Cowboys moved from their 20 to the Giants 40 and Cassel went bombs away. He was intercepted at the one yard line by Brandon Meriweather. On 3rd and 5 from the 6, Eli Manning went bombs away and hit Reuben Randle for a 44 yard gain to midfield. Shane Vereen ran for a 39 yard gain to the Dallas 11. On 3rd and 7 from the 8, Manning was sacked. Brown hit the 34 yarder to make it 20-13 Giants.

On the first play of the fourth quarter from the Giants 39, Cassel was intercepted for the third time. The Giants failed to capitalize, and after a touchback Cassel moved Dallas 80 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the Giants 46, Cassel hit Williams for 21 and Street for the 25 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter the game was tied 20-20. 13 seconds later the Giants were back in front 27-20 when Harris returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to pay dirt.

Dallas moved from their 31 to a 4th and 8 at the Giants 30 with 1:56 to play. In the great tradition of Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Alex Smith, and every other former 49ers or Chiefs quarterback not named Joe Montana, Jason Garrett for some reason called a West Coast Offense dink and dunk play. It was complete for 6 yards as the Cowboys turned it over on downs.

The Cowboys held on defense and used their timeouts. The Giants punted on 4th and 3 from their own 32. With 90 seconds left, the Cowboys would have a chance to tie it. They never got that chance as Beasley fumbled the punt and the Giants recovered. In the NFC Least, winning ugly is then only way. It beats losing ugly. 27-20 Giants

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers was the Sunday night game. From the Carolina 28, Jimmy Stewart ripped off gains of 9 and 36 and Cam Newton found Brown for a 25 yard gain down to the Philly 2. Mike Tolbert banged it in for a 7-0 Panthers lead. Caleb Sturgis kicked a 52 yard field goal with 6 minutes left in the half to get the Eagles on the board. Surges then hit the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. Ted Ginn took an end around 43 yards to the Philly 8. Newton from 2 yards out stretched the ball just over the goal line for a 14-3 Eagles lead. After an interception of Newton gave the Eagles a short field, Philly just missed a couple touchdown opportunities in the final seconds of the half. The Eagles settled for a 29 yard Sturgis field goal to trail 14-6 at halftime.

After a touchback to start the third quarter, Newton put on a clinic. He hit Ginn for 15, Jerricho Cotchery for 13, Ginn again for 20, and Greg Olsen for 28 down to the 5. Newton hit Mike Tolbert, who evaded one tackler and banged through two more, for the two yard touchdown to make it 21-6 Panthers. The Eagles looked all but dead when Ryan Mathews broke free for a 63 yard touchdown run to get the Eagles within 21-13.

Newton then threw a high ball that bounced off the receiver’s hands and was intercepted. Maxwell returned the interception 22 yards to the Carolina 18. On 3rd and goal Sam Bradford fired to the end zone but Huff was unable to hang on to the ball. Sturgis hit from 24 to have the Eagles within 21-16 with 6 minutes left in the third quarter. The Eagles missed a chance to get closer when Sturgis missed from 50 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Newton led the Panthers to the red zone but Carolina settled for a 35 yard Graham Gano field goal to lead 24-16 with 9 minutes left.

After an exchange of punts the Eagles took over at their own 11 with 3:12 to play. At the 2 minute warning facing 4th and 9 at their own 16, Bradford threw incomplete. Carolina took the clock down to 15 seconds and brought in Gano for a 28 yard field goal try to ice the game. Despite a desperate attempt to block it, Gano was good as the Panthers got to 6-0 with the win. 27-16 Panthers

Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals was the Monday night game. Arizona moved after a touchback to a 3rd and 6 at the Baltimore 34. Carson Palmer was then sacked. Bruce Arians decided to give Chandler Catanzaro a shot at a 55 yard field goal but it was no good. The Ravens moved from their 45 to a 1st and 10 at the Arizona 13. Penalties and a sack of Joe Flacco had the Ravens with 4th and 23 at the Baltimore 26. Justin Tucker hit the 44 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Ravens.

3 plays later the Cardinals were in front. Palmer hit Gresham for 21 and Malcolm Floyd for 33. Chris Johnson ran for the 26 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Cardinals. In the second quarter the Ravens moved 84 yards. Justin Forsett ran for a 14 yard touchdown and a 10-7 Ravens lead.

With 3 minutes left in the half, the Ravens defense was winning the battle against the high octane Arizona offense. The Cardinals punted on 4th and 1 from their own 29. The Ravens fumbled the ball and the Cardinals recovered at the Baltimore 25. A defensive unnecessary roughness penalty meant 1st and 10 at the 12. On 2nd and goal at the 1 Palmer threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a new set of downs. On 3rd and goal at the 3 with one minute left in the half, Palmer hit Floyd for the touchdown and the 14-10 Cardinals lead.

In the third quarter a field position game had the Cardinals starting just past midfield. On 3rd and 5, Palmer went deep to Brown for a 35 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 9. At this point the defense held. Catanzaro hit from 21 to make it 17-10 Cardinals.

The Cardinals got it back and soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 16. Palmer hit Jermaine Gresham for 14. On the next play Johnson got the carry and appeared to be tackled after a short gain. Johnson was never on the ground. His body was on top of the defender. No whistle had blown. Johnson alertly got up at kept running for a 62 yard gain to the Baltimore 8. The cardinals quickly ran another play to prevent John Harbaugh from challenging the call. The Ravens again held on defense and Catanzaro again hit from 21 to make it 20-10 Cardinals late in the third quarter.

The Cardinals are a very good team. The Ravens are a very bad team. The Ravens fought hard but on the road were just overmatched. In the fourth quarter Palmer led an 11 play, 79 yard, 6 minute drive. A 4 yard touchdown pass to Brown made it 26-10 Cardinals. Catanzaro could have all but ended the game but he doinked the extra point off the upright no good. The Ravens clung to life.

With 4:40 to play the Cardinals punted on 4th and 9 from their own 30. The punt was blocked and recovered by Baltimore inches from the Arizona goal line. Flacco hit Juszczyk for the touchdown. A false start on the 2 point try had Baltimore attempting it at the 7 yard line. Flacco rifled a pass complete to Boyle at the goal line. Boyle fought through a tackle and broke the plane as the Ravens only trailed by eight.

Baltimore got it back at their own 24 with 1:53 to play and 0 timeouts. A Flacco incompletion set up 4th and 1 at the 33 with 1:18 left. Flacco rolled to his right all the way to the sideline until he was out of real estate. He threw across his body to the middle of the field, which often means an interception. Instead he found Crocket Gillmore for a 9 yard gain. Flacco went deep to Givens for a 31 yard gain to the Arizona 27 with 48 seconds left.

Flacco threw a wobbly prayer over the middle that was caught by Gillmore for a 23 yard gain down to the 4.  With 18 seconds left, Flacco spiked the ball and the Ravens had 3 chances. Flacco found a receiver in the flat, but a great tackle saved the touchdown. An illegal shift penalty moved the ball back to the 9. The Ravens were substituting people in and out and had 12 men in the offensive huddle. Bruce Arians had seen enough and called a timeout to give his defense a rest.

Bruce Arians brought the house, an all out blitz. Stepping off his back foot, Flacco threw another prayer to the end zone . This one was intercepted by Tony Jefferson. It took far longer than necessary, but the Cardinals are 5-2 and rolling while the Ravens at 1-6 are reeling. 26-18 Cardinals


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