NFL 2016 Week 8 Recap
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans was the Thursday night game. Sometimes a pair of bad teams can come together and play a thrilling game. This was not that game. The worst football game is still better than baseball. These teams tested that maxim. At least they were not dressed like Teletubbies. Never mind. They were. In the first quarter Ryan Succop hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Titans. The Titans exploded in the second quarter. Marcus Mariota hit Kenny Wright for a 36 yard touchdown. Henry ran for a 6 yard touchdown and DeMarco Murray ran for a 14 yard touchdown as drives of 66, 69 and 62 yards made it 24-0 Titans. Succop tacked on a 22 yarder as the Titans led 27-0 at halftime. For some reason, the second half was played. Out of respect for the game of football, it does not need to be discussed or analyzed. Blake Bortles threw 3 touchdown passes during garbage time, which was the entire second half. The last 2 came with Jacksonville already down by 28 points. Gus Bradley and the entire team should prepare for the Wrath of Shad Khan. 36-22 Titans
Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals was the Sunday early morning game from London. The Redskins moved 80 yards in 15 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. Kelley got in from 4 yards out for a 7-0 Redskins lead. The ensuing kickoff was returned 65 yards to the Washington 36. Bernard got in from the 8 to make it 7-7. Defenses ruled the second quarter. On 4th and 1 from the Cincy 18, Jay Gruden went for it and a run got stuffed. So when the Redskins got it back and had 4th and goal at the 2, Gruden opted for the field goal. Dustin Hopkins hit the 20 yarder for a 10-7 Washington lead at the half.
In the third quarter the Bengals offense got going. Red rifle Andy Dalton led drives of 75 and 64 yards. Dalton threw a 15 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Effect and ran for a one yard score himself for a 20-10 Bengals lead. Mike Nugent missed the extra point when the Bengals took the lead, which would be a big deal later on. Kirk Cousins quickly brought the Redskins back 91 yards, as a 23 yard touchdown pass to Reed had the Redskins within 20-17 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter Cousins again rapidly moved the Redskins 83 yards. A 33 yard touchdown pass to Crowder had Washington back in front 24-20.
The Bengals then had their turn going 75 yards, and Jeremy Hill got in from the one for a 27-24 Cincy lead midway through the fourth quarter. Washington after an exchange of punts took over at their own 33 with 3:15 left. With 1:56 to play, the Redskins faced 3rd and 13 from the Cincy 42. Cousins found Crowder for a 20 yard gain. Although Cousins followed that up with 3 straight incompletions, Washington at least was now in field goal range. Hopkins hit from 40 for a 27-27 game with 1:07 left. In overtime each team crossed midfield. However, on 3rd and 7 from the Cincinnati 45, Cousins threw incomplete. On 3rd and 8 from the Washington 40, Dalton was sacked.
The Redskins moved from their own 22 to a 2nd and 4 at the Cincinnati 13. The Redskins were in total control, and Cousins took a short loss just to center the ball. Jay Gruden played it very safe, and on third down brought in Hopkins for a 34 yard field goal try to win it with just over two minute left in overtime. In an epidemic started by Seattle and Arizona last week, Hopkins was no good. With 1:11 left, the Bengals faced 3rd and 1 at their own 46. Dalton got the yard but fumbled the ball away. With one minute left the Redskins had a short field at the Cincy 47. One first down would mean another long field goal try. Instead offensive holding pushed Washington back. With 2 seconds left on 4th and 11, the Hail Mary failed. Despite being a magnificent 38 of 56 for 458 yards passing, 2 touchdowns and one interception, it was not enough for Cousins to add another win to the Washington column. 27-27 Tie, OT
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers — The rematch of last year’s NFC Title Game was now a showdown between a struggling Arizona squad and a bad Carolina team. However, Carolina’s defense plagued Carson Palmer early on is they did last year. On 3rd and 6 from the Arizona 43, Palmer was sacked and fumbled. Davis picked it up and raced 46 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Panthers lead. Carolina dominated from the outset as drives of 75 yards and 65 yards had Jonathan Stewart running for a 2 yard touchdown in the first quarter and a one yard touchdown in the second quarter for a 21-0 Panthers lead. Graham Gano hit a 43 yard field goal as the Panthers led 24-0.
Palmer did cap a 75 yard drive by throwing a 5 yard touchdown pass to Nelson before the half, but in the third quarter Gano hit from 52 and 21 to make it 30-7 Panthers. Another 75 yard drive took 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes for Arizona. Palmer hit John Brown for a 17 yard touchdown but the Cardinals still trailed 30-14. In the fourth quarter the Cardinals moved 92 yards. Palmer hit Nelson for the 4 yard touchdown. Yet the 2 point conversion try to make it a one score game failed. With 5 minutes left, the Cardinals were still down by 10 and would get no closer. Even after a Panthers fumble, Palmer threw an interception right back. For the Panthers, it was just relief at finally getting another win. 30-20 Panthers.
Detroit Lions at Houston Texans — After a scoreless first quarter, the Texans moved 61 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Brock Osweiler hit Fiedorowicz for a 12 yard touchdown to get Houston on the board first. Houston got it back and Miller ran for a one yard score to make it 14-0 Texans. Matt Prater hit a 47 yard field goal as the Lions trailed 14-3 at halftime. In the third quarter Nick Novak hit from 33 to make it 17-3 Texans. The Lions then moved 75 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. On the first play of the fourth quarter, with the Lions facing 3rd and 6 at the Houston 14, Matthew Stafford threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. Stafford hit Theo Riddick for the touchdown to get the Lions within 17-10. Novak hit a 36 yard field goal with 4 minutes left to give Houston some breathing room up 10, but Prater answered from 34 to get the Lions back within 7 with 3 minutes left. The onside kick failed and the defense could not get a stop as Houston ran out the clock. 20-13 Texans
Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints — The Saints pinball wizard Drew Brees faced off against the Legion of Boom. Early on the Legion of Boom struck the first blow. Mark Ingram fumbled and Earl Thomas returned it 34 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Seahawks lead. Thomas got so excited that he committed an NFL first. He hugged the official and drew a 15 yard penalty. In the second quarter the Saints held the ball for 7 minutes and moved 83 yards in 15 plays. Yet they had to settle for a 22 yard Will Lutz field goal to trail 7-3. Seattle quickly came back 75 yards and Michael got in from 2 yards out to make it 14-3 Seahawks.
The Saints got within 14-6 when Lutz nailed a 53 yard field goal. Russell Wilson was then intercepted, setting up the Saints at the Seattle 37 with 5 minutes left in the half. On 3rd and 2 from the 3, Tim Hightower got the 2 yards. On 3rd and goal from the one, Brees got in himself to get the Saints within 14-13 at the half. In the third quarter both teams held the ball on 6 minute drives but had to settle for field goals. Steve Hauschka hit from 44 and despite moving deep again, the Saints settled for Lutz from 21 to get within 17-16. In the fourth quarter the Saints came back 71 yards. Brees threw a 2 yard touchdown to Brandon Cooks to put the Saints back on top 22-17. The 2 point try failed. The Seahawks moved 72 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Yet on 2nd and goal at the 5, a false start proved critical. Seattle settled for a 21 yard Hauschka field goal to trail 22-20 with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
The Saints moved from their 25 to a 2nd and 8 at the Seattle 10 with a chance to ice the game. Instead a short pass gained nothing and on third down Brees was sacked at the 2 minute warning. Lutz hit from 41, but the Saints only led by 5. Seattle had a chance to win it from their own 32 with 1:50 to play. With 33 seconds left on 3rd and 6 from the Saints 45, Wilson found Doug Baldwin for 27 yards. After another completion, Wilson spiked the ball to stop the clock with 2 seconds left. The Seahawks faced 4th and 2 from the Saints 10. It all came down to the last play. Wilson fired to the end zone to Jermaine Kearse. Kearse caught the ball but was forced out the back of the end zone without getting his feet down as New Orleans hung on. 25-20 Saints
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills — The Bills won 16-0 in New England, but that was without Tom Brady. Brady and Bill Belichick wanted to beat Rex Ryan 73-0, but early on that was not the case. Dan Carpenter hit a 23 yard field goal for a 3-0 Bills lead. The Patriots came back 70 yards in 14 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Brady hit Danny Amendola on 3rd and 8 from the 9 for the touchdown for a 7-3 Patriots lead. New England got it back and faced 3rd and 13 at their own 47. Brady threw a short pass to Hogan, who outraced everyone for a 53 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Patriots. The Bills moved 59 yards and Gillislee got in from the 3 to get the Bills within 14-10. Yet Rex Ryan’s defense had no answer for Brady. 79 yards came easily as another 53 yard touchdown, this one to Rob Gronkowkski, made it 21-10 Patriots. Stephen Gostkowski added a 51 yard field goal as the Patriots led 24-10 at halftime.
Amendola returned the second half kickoff 73 yards to the Buffalo 24. Brady hit Julian Edelman for a 12 yard touchdown to make it 31-10 Patriots. The Bills then moved 75 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Tyrod Taylor scrambled for a 26 yard touchdown to get Buffalo within 31-17. The Patriots came back 75 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. LaGuerrette Blount scored from the one to have the Patriots romping 38-17 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Patriots held the ball on a nearly 8 minute drive, moving 76 yards in 13 plays. Gostkowski hit from 32 to make it 41-17. The Bills needed 3 touchdowns and 3 two point conversions to tie. They got one. Once again, the AFC East race seems over and the season is only half over. Brady finished 22 of 33 for 315 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He has a 26-3 record against the Bills. 41-25 Patriots
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns — The Browns moved 75 yards and Josh McCown through a 5 yard touchdown pass to Hawkins to make it 7-0 Browns. Cleveland tacked on a 41 yard Cody Parkey field goal to make it 10-0 Browns. In the second quarter the Jets moved 87 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Powell raced for a 35 yard touchdown to get the Jets within 10-7. The Browns came back 70 yards and Isaiah Crowell got in from the one to make it 17-7 Browns. Parkey added a 27 yard field goal as the winless Browns led the witless Jets 20-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter the Jets moved 78 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Enunwa for a 24 yard touchdown pass to get the Jets within 20-14. Gang Green got it back and moved 84 yards. Matt Forte ran it in from 4 yards out as the Jets now led 21-20. The Jets got it back and moved 81 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Forte ran for a 2 yard touchdown as the Jets led 28-20.
With 5 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Browns were pinned at their own one. On 3rd and 5 from the 6, McCown was intercepted. Despite having 1st and goal at the 8, the Jets could not punch it in. Yet Nick Folk hit from 24 to give the Jets 24 unanswered points and a 31-20 lead with 4 minutes left. Cleveland did move 84 yards, and on 3rd and goal at the one, McCown hit Hawkins for the touchdown and Terrelle Pryor for the 2 point try. Yet only 12 seconds remained. The onside kick failed and the Browns remained winless. At least Cleveland fans have the Indians and Cavaliers. New Yorkers are stuck with the Jets, and will have to wait a couple weeks before their rage is turned to the Knicks. 31-28 Jets
Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jameis Winston converted one third down, but after his third down scramble was called back by a holding penalty, the Buccaneers punted. An early unsportsmanlike conduct taunting penalty on Michael Crabtree turned what would have been 3rd and 1 into 3rd and 13 and killed Oakland’s first drive. Marquette King boomed a 67 yard punt. A holding penalty on the punt had the Bucs starting at their own 10 rather than their own 38. The Buccaneers moved easily to the red zone, but Khalil Mack sacked Winston. From 41 yards out, Roberto Aguayo was good for a 3-0 Buccaneers lead.
The Raiders got it back and soon faced 2nd and 18 from their own 27. Carr hit Michael Rivera over the middle for a 27 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 9 from their 45. Carr was sacked and fumbled. The Buccaneers recovered at the Oakland 34. Winston hit Shepard for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Buccaneers. The Raiders moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 7 at the Tampa Bay 48. Carr was called for intentional grounding and a 14 yard loss to kill the drive. Oakland got it back at their own 29 and Carr immediately went deep to Olawale for a 68 yard gain. Yet on 1st and goal at the 3, the Raiders self-destructed again. First there was a delay of game. Then a touchdown pass to Crabtree was nullified by offensive pass interference. Sebastian Janikowski hit the 31 yard field goal to get the Raider within 10-3.
The Buccaneers soon faced 3rd and 9 at their own 16, but the inept Raiders kept committing defensive penalties. Winston hit Mike Evans for 14 and ran for 9, with 15 more tacked on for a personal foul. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 42, a well defended ball fell incomplete as the Raiders forced a punt. Yet instead of good field position, the Raiders were pinned at their own one yard line. This was not a Jim Plunkett to Cliff Branch 99 yard moment, but Carr did hit Crabtree for a 17 yard gain. Deandre Washington ran for a 28 yard gain into Tampa Bay territory to the 48. After a bizarre illegal procedure call on the Raiders, the 2 minute warning came with Oakland facing a critical 3rd and 6 at the Tampa Bay 44. Jack Del Rio opted for a draw play, and it only gained 2 yards. For some reason the Buccaneers did not call a timeout. They to it back at their own 12 with all 3 timeouts but only 1:06 left in the half. The Raiders had 10 penalties for 86 yards in the first half.
The Raiders began the third quarter facing 3rd and 9, Carr zipped a pass over the middle to Amari Cooper for a 28 yard gain to the Tampa 48. On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa 43, Carr found Seth Roberts for 13 yards. Carr then went to the end zone for Cooper and defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. Carr rolled out and threw a tackle eligible to Donald Penn for the touchdown. Penn took delight in scoring against his old team. It was the first Raiders drive all game without a penalty. Despite being vastly outplayed, the Raiders tied the game 10-10.
Oakland got it back after Mack sacked Winston again to end Tampa Bay’s first drive of the third quarter. The offense was now in a groove. On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa 34, Carr went bombs away to Cooper for the touchdown and a 17-10 Raiders lead. Yet this team does not know how to handle prosperity. After they got the ball back. An offensive personal foul for a leg whip on Donald Penn led to a punt and a shift in momentum. A shanked punt had the Buccaneers starting in Oakland territory. On 2nd and 10 from the Oakland 47 on the last play of the third quarter, Winston fired over the middle to Humphries. A terrible attempt at tackling at the 30 allowed Humphries to spin forward all the way to the 5 yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Winston hit Brate for the touchdown. Aguayo missed the extra point as the Buccaneers trailed 17-16.
The Raiders moved from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Tampa 39, but a screen pass was blown up in the backfield for a 3 yard loss. The Raiders punted. Their defense had their most boneheaded series of the season, which says a lot. On 3rd and 7 from their own 21, Winston threw deep incomplete. Yet a personal foul on Karl Joseph kept the drive going. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 45, the Oakland defense was called for an illegal substitution for 12 men in the huddle. On 3rd and 1 from the 12, the defense got flagged for the exact same call. Jacquez Rodgers got in from the one and Winston hit Mike Evans for the 2 point conversion to make it 24-17 Buccaneers with 3:48 to play.
After a touchback, Carr put on a clinic. He hit Seth Roberts for 15, Clive Walford for 17, and Cooper deep for 31 yards down to the Tampa Bay 12. On 4th and 3 from the 5, Carr threw incomplete but defensive holding gave the Raiders new life. After a false start, Carr fired over the middle to Michael Rivera for the 7 yard touchdown. With 1:38 left the game was tied 24-24. Despite 18 penalties against them for 155 yards, the Raiders were alive. On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa Bay 29, Winston threw deep incomplete. Karl Joseph was lucky he did not called for his second helmet to helmet hit.
Jalen Richard returned the punt 20 yards to the Oakland 45 with 44 seconds left in regulation. Carr hit Crabtree for 10. With 17 seconds left Carr went deep to Cooper, who just dropped it. On 3rd and 10 with 11 seconds left, Carr scrambled for a 13 yard gain and got out of bounds with 4 seconds left. Sebastian Janikowski is the all time NFL leader in field goals made 50 yards and longer. This one was from 50 yards exactly. It was no good and the game went to overtime.
The Raiders got the ball first in overtime and soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 32. Carr fired to Crabtree, who shed would-be tacklers and raced for a 45 yard gain to the Tampa 23. A field goal would only be 41 yards, but a touchdown would end the game. Instead the Raiders kept destroying themselves. A 4 yard completion to Cooper instead became a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Cooper. A stiff-arm is legal. A head slap is not, and Cooper turned into Deacon jones. On 3rd and 16, Donald Penn was called for a false start. After an incompletion, Seabass came in for a 52 yard field goal try. Again, he was no good. Despite taking over at their own 42, Winston threw incomplete on 3rd and 5 and the Raiders got it back at their own 10. Naturally there was a penalty on the return.
On 2nd and 5 from the Oakland 15, Latavius Murray ran for 19 yards. Carr then went deep to Crabtree for a 41 yard gain to the Tampa 25. Again it looked like the Raiders were in the driver’s seat, but offsetting penalties nullified the gain. Carr then fired to Cooper for 20 yards to the Tampa 46. Needing only one more first down, Carr found Seth Roberts for 15 yards to the Tampa 32. Yet an illegal formation nullified that gain. Another penalty killed another drive and the Raiders punted. The Buccaneers took over at their own 11 with 4:44 left in overtime. The Buccaneers went 3 and out when Winston threw incomplete on 3rd and 3 from the 18. The Raiders took over at their own 40 with 3:21 left in overtime.
At the 2 minute warning, the Raiders faced 3rd and 4 at the Tampa Bay 42. Carr threw incomplete. A field goal try would have been 60 yards, and Seabass had already missed twice. Jack Del Rio has been gambling all year, and he did again. An incompletion would give the Buccaneers golden field position again. It all came down to one play.
Carr fired over the middle to Roberts, who broke a tackle and raced for the touchdown in front of a shellshocked home crowd. This game would not be another tie. It took nearly 5 quarters of football, the Raiders had won. The Raiders committed 23 penalties, a new NFL record. They were penalized exactly 200 yards. They overcame that with some other franchise records. Derek Carr had a game for the ages, completing 40 of 59 passes for 513 yards, 4 touchdown passes, and 0 interceptions. Cooper had 12 receptions for 173 yards and Crabtree added 108 yards on 8 carries. Olawale and Roberts each had 69 yards on 2 and 3 catches respectively. Carr hit 10 different receivers, including left tackle Donald Penn for one very important yard. The Raiders had a franchise record 626 yards of total offense, and the defense gave up only 270 yards. It may have been the ugliest win in franchise history, but the Raiders are 5-0 on the road for the first time since the John Madden era in the 1970s. They are 6-2 overall. Just win baby. 30-24 Raiders, OT
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts — Early on Cairo Santos hit a 33 yard field goal for a 3-0 Chiefs lead. In the second quarter the Chiefs moved 80 yards. Nick Files came in for Alex Smith, who left the game with a cut on his ear. Foles hit Kelce for a 14 yard touchdown. The Colts came back 63 yard and Andrew Luck hit Frank Gore for an 18 yard touchdown to get the Colts within 10-7. With 42 seconds left in the half from the iNDY 29, luck was intercepted. The Chiefs took over at the indy 36. Smith was back in the game, and he hit Jeremy Maclin for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 17-7 Chiefs at halftime. In the third quarter Smith was out again and files was back in. Both teams mounted 10 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drives. Foles went to Tyreek Hill for a 34 yard touchdown and a 24-7 Chiefs lead. Luck went to Moncrief for a 3 yard touchdown as the Colts got within 24-14. The Chiefs defense clamped down in the fourth quarter as Walrus Lite Andy Reid saw his team get to 5-2. Santos in the fourth quarter added field goals of 22 and 44 to complete the scoring. 30-14 Chiefs
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons — Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan had the potential to put on a shootout. Early on the Falcons moved to the red zone but settled for a 36 yard Matt Bryant field goal to lead 3-0. Rodgers came back and hit Jordy Nelson for a 5 yard touchdown to cap a 75 yard drive and make it 7-3 Packers. The Falcons quickly came back 71 yards. Ryan hit Gabriel for a 47 yard touchdown to put the Falcons up 10-7 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter it was the Packers moving 75 yards in 14 plays and taking 7 1/2 minutes to do it. Rodgers on 3rd and goal at the 4 hit Allison for the touchdown to put the Packers back in front 14-10. The Falcons came back and Bryant hit from 40 to get Atlanta within 14-13. With 6 minutes left in the half the Falcons punted and Davis returned it 55 yards to the Atlanta 15. Rodgers hit Davis for the 9 yard touchdown for a 21-13 Packers lead.
After a touchback, Ryan kept firing. A 13 yard pass to Hooper followed by a roughing the passer penalty had Atlanta on the move. Ryan hit Devonta Freeman for the 5 yard touchdown with 30 seconds left in the half. The 2 point try failed as the Falcons trailed 21-19. Yet after a touchback with only 27 seconds left, Rodgers put on a very quick clinic. He ran for 23 yards and found Nelson, who made a juggling catch for a 21 yard gain of the Atlanta 31. Ripowski ran for 9 yards around the end with a defensive personal foul adding 11 more yards. Only 4 seconds remained, and Mason Crosby hit the 29 yard field goal to make it 24-19 Packers at the break.
In the third quarter the Falcons moved 80 yards in 14 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 5 from their own 25, Ryan was sacked and fumbled. Yet the defense jumped offsides, meaning first down and new life. On 3rd and 6 from the Green Bay 12, Ryan hit Ward for 11. On 3rd and goal at the one, Freeman banged up the gut for the touchdown and a 26-24 Falcons lead with 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
With 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation the packers took over at their own 14. Rodgers put on a clinic, running for 11 and hitting Adams for 11 and Allison for 17 more. On 3rd and 3 from the Atlanta 37, Rodgers ran for 13 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Atlanta 18, a completion to Nelson came up one yard short when Nelson gave up the first down yardage. Yet the Falcons had 12 men on the defense, which meant another Green Bay first down. On 3rd and 4 from the 7, Rodgers hit Janis for the touchdown. Rodgers ran in the 2 point try himself. They 13 play, 86 yard drive took 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. The Falcons got it back after a touchback down by 6 with 4 minutes left.
Matty Ice hit Muhammad Sanu for 9 and Hardy for 13 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Green Bay 45, Ryan found Sanu for 12 yards. With 1:14 to play the Falcons faced 3rd and 1 from the Green Bay 14. Ryan went to Hooper for 2 yards as the Falcons let the clock wind down. They wanted to leave Rodgers as little time as possible. Matty Ice was red hot, firing over the middle of the end zone to a wide open Sanu. The extra point was good and the Falcons led this thriller by a point with 30 seconds left. With 14 seconds left, the Packers faced 4th and 3 at their own 32. Rodgers rolled out and threw incomplete and the Falcons had the win in this fine football game. Both quarterbacks completed 28 passes without an interception, with Rodgers throwing 38 times with 4 touchdown passes and Ryan 35 times with 3 touchdown passes. This game was everything it was expected to be, and a playoff rematch would be an NFL treat. 33-32 Falcons
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos — Early on the Broncos moved 65 yards and Brandon McManus hit a 28 yard field goal for a 3-0 Broncos lead. The Chargers moved 85 yards and Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 7 yard touchdown and a 7-3 Chargers lead. In the second quarter, Rivers was intercepted by Bradley Roby, who returned it 49 yards for a score and a 10-7 Broncos lead. A very scary moment happened on the return. Melvin Gordon accidentally ran into beloved Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on the sideline. Phillips went down hard and stayed down for several minutes as players on both teams prayed. Phillips was taken off the field on a stretcher. He is the second Broncos coach in three weeks to go to the hospital, as Gary Kubiak was admitted a couple weeks ago. Kubiak has since rejoined the team. With just under one minute left in the half, Josh Lambo missed the tying field goal from 45 yards out.
The third quarter began with the Chargers immediately facing 3rd and 3 at their own 32. Rivers was intercepted by Stewart, who returned it 25 yards to the San Diego 10. Two plays later Booker got in from the 3 to make it 17-7 Broncos. 2 plays later after a touchback Rivers was intercepted again, and TJ Ward returned it 23 yards to the 7. Yet after Booker lost 4 yards, he caught a pass and tried to stretch for the pylon. Instead he fumbled and the Chargers recovered at their own 2 yard line.
Melvin Gordon ran for 12 to give the Chargers some breathing room. On 3rd and 12 from their 12, Rivers found Dontrell Inman for 15 yards and then went deep to Inman for 37 more yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Denver 22, Rivers hit Gates for just enough. On 3rd and 10 from the 14, Rivers fired to Travis Benjamin, who made a juggling catch in the back of the end zone. The 13 play, 98 yard drive consumed over 7 1/2 minutes and had the Chargers right back in it down 17-13. Lambo’s extra point try was blocked.
After a touchback, the Broncos moved. The fourth quarter began with Denver facing a critical 3rd and 6 at the San diego 31. Joey Boss jumped offside. On 3rd and 1, Booker gained 18 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Juwon Thompson banged forward and just broke the plane of the goal to make it 24-13 Broncos with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Denver defense held but the Broncos got the ball back at their own one yard line. On 3rd and 9 from their 16, Trevor Siemian had a pass deflected and tercepted by Casey Heyward, who returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. The 2 point conversion completion was nullified by offensive pass interference for a pick play. Mike McCoy decided to go for 2 again from the 12 and Rivers had his pass batted backward. With 8 minutes left in the game, the Chargers were within 24-19.
After a touchback, Denver struck back quickly. Siemian went deep to Green for a 31 yard gain and then deep again to Denarius Thomas for a 40 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 4. Yet the Broncos could not finish the drive. Siemian threw incomplete on 3rd and goal and the Broncos had to settle for a 22 yard McManus field goal. With 5 1/2 minutes left the Broncos led 27-19.
Facing 2nd and 15 from their own 20, Rivers hit Inman for 16 and Gordon for 30 more. Gordon ran for 17 yards to the Denver 17. On 3rd and 2 from the 9, Rivers hit Henry for 7 to set up 1st and goal at the 2. Rivers threw incomplete 4 straight times. The inspired goal line stand had the Broncos still up by 8 with 2:40 left. Denver could not move the ball but a 68 yard punt had the Chargers taking over at their own 33 with 2:08 to play and 2 timeouts. On 4th and 9 from their own 46 with 1:16 left, Rivers misfired to a wide open Gordon as Denver held on again. The win moved Denver to 6-2, but the team’s thoughts soon moved to the health of beloved Wade Phillips. 27-19 Broncos
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys was the Sunday night game. Carson Wentz faced off against Dak Prescott for the first time in this long stories NFC East rivalry. The Eagles moved 50 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. Caleb Sturgis hit a 30 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Eagles. After a touchback, Prescott went deep to Dez Bryant for a 53 yard gain. Prescott ran for a 7 yard touchdown for a 7-3 Cowboys lead. Dan Bailey added a 38 yard field goal to start the second quarter to make it 10-3 Cowboys. A field position game had the Eagles taking over at the Dallas 45. On 2nd and 15 from the 32, Darren Sproles ran for 19 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the 8, Wentz threw incomplete but defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 4. Ryan Mathews got in from the one as the game was deadlocked 10-10 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half.
After a touchback, Whitehead ran for 17, Prescott hit Bryant for 23, and Prescott ran for 16 more down to the Philly 7 with 1:40 left in the half. Prescott went to the end zone but was intercepted by Jordan Hicks in the end zone for a touchback. From their own 20 with 1:26 left, Wentz completed several short passes. With 5 seconds left in the half from the Dallas 44, Wants found Dorial Green-Beckham for 7 yards. The clock ticked down to zeroes, but officials properly put one second back on the clock. Sturgis drilled a 55 yard field goal as the Eagles took a 13-10 lead into the locker rooms.
In the third quarter the Eagles took over at their 31 and Wentz went right to work with a series of short passes. An unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense helped the drive along. On 3rd and 6 from the Dallas 18, Wentz hit Aghalor for 7 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 5, Wentz found Matthews for the touchdown. Doug Pederson is an Andy Reid West Coast Offense disciple, and he had Wentz dunking and dunking the Eagles to a 20-10 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Dallas got it back and did nothing in 3 plays. They prepared to punt on 4th and 8 from their own 27 when Jason Garrett went to his bag of tricks right before Halloween. Chris Jones took the fake punt around the end for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the Philly 38, Prescott hit Terrence Williams for 15 yards. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 16 more. Yet on 2nd and goal at the 5, Prescott threw incomplete twice. This time Garrett as not taking any chances. With one minute left in the third quarter, Bailey hit the 23 yarder to get the Cowboys within 20-13.
Huff took the ensuing kickoff 53 yards to the Dallas 45. Wentz hit Zac Ertz for 11 and defensive offsides had the Eagles starting the fourth quarter at the Dallas 29. Wentz hit Matthews for 13 more but then threw 3 straight incompletions. Sturgis hit from 34 less than one minute into the final quarter to put the Eagles up 23-13. The Cowboys went nowhere and the Eagles took over at their own 41. Disaster immediately struck when Smallwood coughed it up and the Cowboys took over at the Philly 31. Yet Prescott threw incomplete on 3rd and 5. Bailey barely snuck a 49 yard field goal inside the right upright to get the Cowboys within 23-16 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
The Eagles moved after a touchback to a 3rd and 8 at the Dallas 30. A 48 yard field goal would again make it a two score game. Yet the Eagles tried to get too cute by half, resulting in Went fumbling, picking it up, and passing to Sproles for a six yard loss. Rather than try a 54 yard field goal, Pederson opted to punt. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cowboys took over at their own 10. On 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 27, Prescott hit Cole Beasley for 10 and Brice Butler for 19 more. One play after nearly being intercepted, Prescott went deep to Bryant for a 22 yard touchdown. With 3 minutes left, the game was tied 23-23. The Eagles went 3 and out, giving Dallas the ball at their own 40 with 1:42 to play. Yet despite the great field position, Prescott threw 3 incompletions and punted it right back. Both teams still had one more chance in the final 15, but both Wentz and Prescott went down under a hail of sacks from blitzes. It would take overtime to settle things.
The Cowboys won the toss and moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 1 at the Philly 28. Elliott got the carry and got stopped inches short. A field goal would still give the Eagles a chance with the ball, so Jason Garrett went big and bold and decided to go for it. This was not Barry Switzer gambling from his own 29, but it was still big. Prescott took the ball himself and a huge offensive line surge powered him forward two yards. Elliott then ran for 10 and caught a 10 yard pass. From the 5 yard line, Prescott scrambled all over the place, resembling a cross between Fran Tarkenton and Brett Favre. The play looked like it was headed for disaster as Prescott moved everywhere, but then he stopped and found a wide open Jason Witten in the end zone for the touchdown. The Eagles never saw the ball in overtime as Dallas opened up a 2 game lead in the NFC East with their sixth straight win. 29-23 Eagles
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears was the Monday night game. Halloween brings scary things, and the bears are hideously frighteningly bad. Yet the return of Jay Cutler gave the team a pusher’s chance against a Minnesota team struggling with offensive line problems. Connor Barth hit a 30 yard field goal in the first quarter and a 28 yarder in the second quarter for a 6-0 Bears lead. A field position game had the Bears starting at the Minnesota 43. Howard got in for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 13-0 Bears. Blair Walsh kicked a 30 yard field goal before the half, but the Bears defense dominated on this night. Cutler led an 11 play, 75 yard, 5 minute drive that culminated in an 11 yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery. The Bears led 20-3 after three quarters. The Vikings finally cracked the end zone with 5 1/2 minutes left, but the Bears ground out the clock for a tough NFC North win. 20-10 Bears