Archive for September, 2017

NFL 2017 Week 3 Recap

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

NFL 2017 Week 3 Recap

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers was the Thursday night game. Sometimes a pair of boring teams can come together and play a very exciting game. This actually was that game. Four days after a solid defense could not make up for an anemic offense, the 49ers flipped the script. This game was so beautiful that even the Thursday night Teletubbies uniforms the players wore looked beautiful. Jared Goff finished 22 of 28 for 292 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Bryan Hoyer was 23 of 37 for 332 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception. Early on it looked like the 49ers would get blown out again. On the first play from scrimmage, Hoyer was intercepted by Robey, who returned it 25 yards to the San Francisco 3 yard line. Todd Gurley scored on the next play for a 7-0 Rams lead only 12 seconds into the game, but it was Hoyer’s last mistake of the game.

The 49ers got it back at their own 19 yard line. The 49ers would have to punt on 4th and 2 just shy of midfield, but the Rams were offside on the punt. The 49ers soon faced 3rd and 4 at the Rams 40, and Hoyer hit Breida for 12 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Rams 9, Hoyer scrambled for the touchdown himself. The 14 play, 81 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive made it a 7-7 ballgame. The Rams came back and faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Goff was sacked for a 12 yard loss, but defensive holding kept the drive going. From the Rams 37, Goff went deep to Woods for a 31 yard gain and Carrier for 17 more. On 3rd and 2 from the San Francisco 7, Goff hit Gurley for the score to make it 14-7 Rams.

The 49ers again took over at their own 19 and soon faced a 2nd and 8 from the Rams 39. Mostert got the carry and fumbled the ball away. The Rams took over at their own 32. After gains of 10 and 5 by Gurley, Goff hit Woods for 21 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 17-7 Rams. After a touchback, the 49ers moved to a 3rd and 3 at the Rams 43. Hoyer threw incomplete and the 49ers punted. The Rams fumbled the punt and the 49ers had a golden chance when they recovered at the Rams 12. They squandered the chance as a pair of offensive penalties moved them backward. Robbie Gould hit a 36 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 17-10.

The Rams went 3 and out and the 49ers took over at their own 23. Hoyer went deep to Juszczyk for a 34 yard gain. On 3rd and 17 from midfield, Hoyer hit Pierre Garcon for an 18 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Rams 26, Hoyer was sacked for a 4 yard loss. Gould hit a 48 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 17-13 with 3:45 left in the half. After a touchback, the Rams moved down the field. From their own 41, Goff hit Sammy Watkins for a 22 yard gain. With 1:24 left in the half, the Rams faced a critical 3rd and 3 at the San Francisco 30. Goff hit Cooper Kupp for a 13 yard gain and Woods for 13 more. Gurley ran it in from yards out as the Rams took a 24-13 lead to the locker rooms in a game where the offenses were just getting warmed up.

After a touchback to start the second half, the Rams immediately went to work. On 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Gurley gained 5. On the next play Goff went deep to Watkins for a 47 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the San Francisco 9, Goff threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. The Rams had a chance to put the game away. After a false start, a short completion set up 2nd and goal at the 2. Gurley gained one yard, and on 3rd and goal at the one, Gurley was stopped. On 4th and goal at the one, Sean McVay decided to kick the field goal. Zuerlein hit the 19 yarder for a 27-13 Rams lead, but after 10 plays, 74 yards and 6 minutes, they left the door open.

After a touchback, Hoyer hit Garcon for a 19 yard gain with 15 more tacked on for rushing the passer. Initially the call was incomplete, but Kyle Shanahan successfully challenged the call. On 3rd and 10 from the Rams 23, Hoyer hit Robinson for 17 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 6. Carlos Hyde gained 5 yards, but from the one he got stopped on 2nd and 3rd and goal. On 4th and goal at the one, Shanahan made the call that McVay did not. Shanahan went for it, and Hyde got the ball again. No tricks, no surprises, just smashouth football. Hyde got in and the 49ers were within 27-20.

The Rams soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Goff hit Watkins for 15 and Woods for 9 more. From the Frisco 34, Goff hit Woods for 25 yards. Tavon Austin ran it in, but on further review was ruled down at the one. It was still 1st and goal due to a horse collar tackle. Twice Gurley got the carry and twice he got stopped. This time McVay did not have to make the toughest of calls. On 3rd and goal at the one, Goff hit Watkins for the touchdown. After three quarters the Rams led 34-20, but this game was far from over.

On the last play of the third quarter, Hoyer went deep to Goodwin for a 50 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Rams 17, Hoyer hit Hyde for a 5 yard gain and Taylor for 11 more. From the one, Hoyer hit Greg Celek for the score. With 13 minutes left in regulation the 49ers were right back in it. However, in a game of key plays, the normally automatic Gould missed the extra point as the 49ers were down 34-26.

After a touchback, Gurley immediately broke free for a 29 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the San Francisco 46, Goff hit Gurley for a 27 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the 13, Goff hit Watkins for the touchdown. with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Rams had a comfortable 41-26 lead. That comfort would not last for long. In a game dominated by the offenses, a rare pair of defensive stops led to a pair of punts. The 49ers got it back at their own 36 with 6 1/2 minutes left.

Hoyer immediately went deep to Pierre Garcon for a 59 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 5. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Hoyer hit Taylor for the touchdown. With 5 minutes left to play the 49ers were within 41-33. Shanahan decided not to go onside, instead opting to kick it deep. The 49ers got an immediate break when the Rams fumbled the kick and the 49ers recovered at the Rams 29. On 3rd and 3, Hoyer hit Garcon for 7 and Goodwin for 12 more. On 1st and goal at the 3, Hyde gained 2. After an incomplete pass, Hyde failed to get in on 3rd and goal. Again, the game saw a crucial 4th and goal at the one. 2:17 remained in regulation. Again, Shanahan planned nothing flashy. This was pure attitude time. Hyde got the carry and got in for the touchdown.

Gould’s earlier extra point miss was now looming large. Instead of trying the tying extra point, the 49ers had to try a 2 point conversion to tie the game. Despite a valiant comeback, this time Hoyer’s pass to Taylor fell incomplete. The 49ers were still down 2 points, and needed an onside kick. This time Gould delivered a beauty and the 49ers recovered at midfield. With 2:10 to play, the 49ers had a chance to pull off a stunning comeback. At the 2 minute warning, the 49ers faced 3rd and 10. Hoyer hit Taylor for 11 yards, and the 49ers were within very long field goal range. However, offensive pass interference on Taylor nullified the gain and instead put the 49ers back to 3rd and 20 at their own 40. After an incompletion, on 4th down, Hoyer was sacked. On 3rd and 10 at the 49ers 31 and San Francisco out of timeouts with 53 seconds left, one stop would give them one more chance. Gurley ran for 20 yards and that chance evaporated. The game 49ers fell to 0-3 while the 2-1 Rams were lucky to survive. The real winners were the fans, who got treated to a thrilling Thursday night football game. 41-39 Rams

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars was the Sunday morning London game. Both teams kneeled for the national anthem but only one team got up. Apparently the Ravens were not protesting. They were surrendering before the game started. This is what happens when you spend more time practicing politics than football. As for the Jaguars, nobody can figure them out. The first week they look resurgent, then last week they look like the same old Jaguars, and this week Blake Bortles plays like he is headed toward Canton.

Early on after Jared Myers kicked a 23 yard field goal to get the scoring started, Jacksonville got the ball back and moved 80 yards. Bortles hit Mercedes lewis for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Jaguars. Again Baltimore could not move the ball and again Jacksonville put points on the board. A 45 yard field goal by Jared Myers in the second quarter made it 13-0 Jaguars. Midway through the second quarter Joe Flacco was intercepted, setting the Jaguars up at the Baltimore 28. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Bortles hit Alex Hurns for the score and the 20-0 Jaguars lead. Jacksonville got it back at their own 23 with less than 3 minutes left in the half and kept rolling. A pair of defensive penalties including a 29 yard infraction for pass interference had the Ravens facing 3rd and 3 at the Baltimore 11. Bortles threw incomplete but Myers hit from 29 as the Ravens led 23-0 at halftime.

In the second half the blowout continued. Another interception of Flacco had Jacksonville taking over at the Baltimore 32. Two plays later Bortles threw a 30 yard touchdown to Mercedes Lewis to make it 30-0 Jaguars. On the next series, a Baltimore fumble was returned 52 yards to the Baltimore 2 yard line. Two plays later Bortles hit Lewis for a 4 yard touchdown and a 37-0 Jaguars lead. Doug Marrone poured it on. At the end of the third quarter with the jaguars facing 4th and 1 at their own 35, Marrone called a fake punt. Grant took the direct snap and raced 58 yards, as the Jaguars now had 1st and goal at the 3. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Fournette scored to make it 44-0 Jaguars.

Flacco was benched for Ryan Mallett, who finally led one garbage touchdown drive to get the Ravens on the board. Flacco finished 8 of 18 for 28 yards, 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Bortles was 20 of 31 for 244 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Steve Biscotti stood by his players kneeling for the anthem but probably will not stand for too many 44 point deficits in games. As for Jacksonville, Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin was so pleased at the blowout win that he almost smiled. 44-7 Jaguars

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts — A pair of bad teams played, with Jacoby Brissett filling in for Andrew Luck. In the first quarter the Colts moved 70 yards in 10 plays. Brissett ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts. The Browns took over after a touchback to start the second quarter. From the Cleveland 35, DeShaun Kizer went deep to Kenny Britt for a 35 yard gain. Johnson ran for a 19 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. After that the game turned lopsided.

The Colts quickly moved 75 yards and on 3rd and 2 from the Cleveland 7, Brissett ran again for the touchdown to make it 14-7 Colts. The Colts got it back and soon faced 2nd and 12 at their own 1 yard line, but it did not matter. 99 yards came easily. Rather than play it safe and run, Chuck Pagano got aggressive. Brissett went deep to Donte Moncrief for a 34 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Colts 39, Brissett connected with TY Hilton on a 61 yard touchdown and a 21-7 Colts lead. The next time the Colts got it back with a short field at the Cleveland 45. Defensive pass interference on Julius Peppers moved the ball 34 yards. Frank Gore ran for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 28-7 Colts

Late in the half the Browns tried to make a game of it as Kizer led them 75 yards in 10 plays. Njoku got in from the one as the Browns trailed 28-14 at the break. The second half was supposed to be a formality. After a scoreless third quarter, a 33 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal in the fourth quarter had the Colts up 31-14. The Browns tried to make a game of it, quickly moving 75 yards in 10 plays. Kizer hit Njoku for a one yard touchdown to get the Browns within 10 points.

The Browns got the ball back with 4 minutes left in that their own 30. On 3rd and 1, Kizer hit Johnson for 6 yards. On 4th and 10 from the Indy 39, Kizer threw incomplete. However, defensive pass interference meant 1st and 10 at the 23. Kizer got in from one yard out and the Browns were within a field goal with 2:08 to play. However, they were out of timeouts. The onside kick failed. The Browns got it back with 23 seconds left at their own 9 yard line. With 9 seconds left from their own 5 yard line, Kizer’s Hail Mary was 58 yards short of the end zone and intercepted. Hue Jackson has an 0-3 team while Chuck Pagano got his first win of the year. After blowing a 10 point fourth quarter lead last week, the Colts barely managed to avoid another collapse. With the way this season has gone they will take it. 31-28 Colts.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears — Mike Tomlin announced that the Steelers would stay in the locker room for the national anthem. Apparently they stayed there for most of the game. Early on the Steelers fumbled a punt, setting the Bears up at the Pittsburgh 29. Howard ran for a 3 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Bears lead. The Steelers finally woke up in the second quarter and moved 77 yards in 13 plays, taking over 7 minutes off the clock. Ben Roethlisberger, who is not Jewish and did not celebrate Rosh Hashanah, threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown for a 7-7 ballgame.

In the third quarter, the Bears moved 75 yards in 5 minutes. Mike Glennon hit Shaheen for a 2 yard touchdown as the Bears led 14-7. Then with 6 seconds left in the half, things got wild. Chris Boswell lined up for a 35 yard field goal try that was anything but routine. The kick was blocked, and Cooper picked it up for the Bears and raced the other way. After running it 70 yards he fumbled the ball at the one out the back of the end zone for a touchback instead of a touchdown. On further review, Cooper was ruled down at the one. John Fox decided to go for it as the Bears were given one untimed down due to a penalty on Pittsburgh. Fox watched helplessly as a false start moved the Bears back to the 6. The Bears settled for a 24 yard Connor Barth field goal to lead 17-7 at halftime.

The Bears were in control but after an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Bears fumbled at their own 25 and the Steelers recovered at the Chicago 16. On 3rd and 6 from the 12, Big Ben scrambled for just enough. On 3rd and goal at the one, Roethlisberger threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding killed the Bears. On the next play Leveon Bell got in to get the Steelers within 17-14. After a touchback the Bears moved to a 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 25. They then soon faced 3rd and 31 and would punt again.

With 9 minutes left in regulation, the Bears faced 3rd and 7 at their own 12. Glennon was managing the game, but winless teams find ways to lose. Glennon was intercepted, setting the Steelers up at the Chicago 21. Give the Bears defense credit. On 3rd and 3 from the Chicago 14, Big Ben threw incomplete. Chris Boswell hit the 32 yard field goal for a 17-17 game. Both defenses dug in and the game went into overtime. The new overtime rules shortened the extra session from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Yet it took less than 90 seconds to settle matters.

Perhaps the Steelers protested the overtime period. Maybe they thought the game ended after four quarters because nobody expected the Bears to be competitive. Maybe they just forgot to come out of the locker rooms. Whatever the reason, the Bears took over at their own 26. On 2nd and 9, Cohen got the carry and appeared to run for a 73 yard touchdown to end the game. On further review it was only a 36 yard gain since Cohen stepped out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 37. It didn’t matter. Howard ran for an 18 yard gain and on the next carry ran for the 19 yard touchdown. The Steelers are no longer unbeaten and the Bears are no longer winless. Not every Steelers player boycotted the national anthem. Allejandro Villanueva is a former Army Ranger. He stood with his hand over his heart. The rest of the Steelers had no heart on the field or off it. 23-17 Bears, OT

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets — This game was expected to be hideous, and it lived down to expectations. After a scoreless first quarter, in the second quarter Chandler Catanzaro hit a 40 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Jets. After more than 28 minutes of unwatchable football, one play of excitement somehow occurred. Josh McCown went deep to Anderson for a 69 yard touchdown and a 10-0 Jets lead. In the third quarter a short punt had the Jets starting just past midfield. On 3rd and 1 from the Miami 28, McCown hit Thomas for 15 yards and Matt Forte ran for 12 more down to the one. Powell got in as the Jets had a shocking 17-0 lead.

In the third quarter the Jets moved 45 yards in 13 plays and took 7 minutes to do it. They settled for a 22 yard Catanzaro field goal but still led 20-0. Miami Dolphins fans threatened a boycott over the national anthem, and by national anthem they meant Jay Cutler and the entire Miami offense. on the last play of the game, the Dolphins scored to avoid being shut out. Meanwhile, it was a sweet win for embattled Todd Bowles. Those who had the Jets going 0-16 were proven wrong. 20-6 Jets

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills — Bills players said they were triggered by President Trump’s comments about football. They should be triggered about not making the playoffs this entire century. The Bills last made the playoffs in 1999, the longest drought in the NFL. When people think of Denver and Buffalo, the think of football in cold weather. It was 88 degrees at kickoff, but there were no climate change riots during the national anthem.

Early on the Broncos moved 53 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. Brandon McManus hit a 38 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Broncos. In the second quarter the Bills moved 74 yards in 10 plays. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Tyrod Taylor hit Andre Holmes for the touchdown to make it 7-3 Bills. Denver came right back. On 2nd and 3 from their 28, CJ Anderson ran for 32 yards, with 15 more tacked on for unnecessary roughness. On the next play, roughing the passer moved the ball to the Buffalo 12. One play later, Jamal Charles dragged everybody with him for the touchdown and the 10-7 Broncos lead.

After that the teams traded field goals. Steve Hauschka hit from 49 for a 10-10 game. McManus hit from 35 to give the Broncos the lead again, but Hauschka drilled a 55 yarder to end the half with the teams tied 13-13. In the third quarter McManus answered again from 28 for a 16-13 Broncos advantage.

The Bills came right back from their own 31. Taylor hit O’Leary for a 31 yard game and Matthews for 25 more. A 6 yard touchdown pass to Clay broke the string of field goals and put the Bills up 20-16 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. The Broncos went backward and faced 2nd and 23 from their own 12. Trevor Siemian was intercepted, and the Bills had a golden opportunity at the Denver 32. LeSean Shady McCoy ran for 18 yards, but offensive holding negated the play and pushed the Bills out of field goal range as they squandered the opportunity.

As the third quarter was ending, Vance Joseph took a very big gamble. With the Broncos facing 4th and 2 at their own 31, Joseph called for a fake punt. It was blown up in the backfield for a 4 yard loss. Buffalo failed to move the ball but the fourth quarter began with Hauschka nailing a 53 yard field goal to make it 23-16 Bills. Denver then moved from their 38 to a 1st and 10 at the Buffalo 24 with 11 minutes left in regulation. Again the Buffalo defense came up big as Siemian was intercepted again.

The Bills took over at their own 38. On 3rd and 5, Taylor scrambled for 7 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Denver 46, a very controversial call took place. Taylor threw incomplete and got nailed by Von Miller. The hit was legal, but Miller was not flagged for the hit itself. He offered an outstretched hand to Taylor. When Taylor reached for it, Miller pulled his hand away. Kids used to yell “psyche” on the playground when doing this. This drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Miller and moved the Bills into field goal range at the Denver 31. More importantly, they kept burning clock. On 3rd and 6 from the Denver 27, Taylor found McCoy for 7 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the 12, McCoy gained 3. With 1st and goal at the Denver 10, Sean McDermott played it safe and bled the clock. Hauschka hit the 27 yard field goal with just over 3 minutes left to lock up the big win. Taylor finished 20 of 26 for 213 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Siemian was 24 of 40 for 259 yards but 2 costly interceptions without a touchdown. 26-16 Bills

Houston Texans at New England Patriots — Early on Danny Amendola returned a punt 33 yards just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 13 from their own 46, Tom Brady went bombs away to Cooks for a 44 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for the touchdown. The Patriots led 7-0, but the expected rout did not materialize.

The Texans moved 57 yards and Fairbairn hit a 39 yard field goal to get them on the board. A field position game followed by a short punt had the Teams taking over at the New England 44. DeShaun Watson hit Miller for 15 yards and then went deep to Ellington for the 29 yard touchdown and the 10-7 Texans lead. The second quarter began with the Patriots facing 4th and 5 at the Houston 37. Bill Belichick decided to punt and play field position. The strategy paid off as Watson was soon intercepted by Gilmore, setting the Patriots up at the Houston 12 yard line. After a defensive holding call, Brady hit Chris Hogan for the 7 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Patriots.

The Texans moved 55 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Fairbairn hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Texans within 14-13. Two plays later from the New England 28, Brady got belted in the pocket and fumbled. Jadavean Clowney picked up the ball and raced for a 22 yard touchdown. The Texans led 20-14. Brady gave up and said football was just not for him anymore. No, not really. With 4 1/2 minutes left in the half and the Patriots facing 3rd and 10 at their own 36, Brady went to Danny Amendola for a 17 yard gain. On the next play Brady went deep to Hogan for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 21-20 Patriots.

The Patriots took over at their own 19 to start the third quarter and struck quickly. From their 39, Brady found Hollister for 19 yards and then went deep to Brandon Cooks for a 42 yard touchdown. Brady’s fourth touchdown pass had the Patriots up 28-20. Yet the Texans would not go away. The Texans after a sack of Watson faced 2nd and 22 at their own 34. Watson fumbled but the Texans were lucky to retain possession on the sack. Watson is a rookie, and he stayed calm enough to throw a 35 yard touchdown to Griffin. Watson came back to Griffin for a 12 yard touchdown. With much of the entire second half to play, Bill O’Brien smartly opted against the 2 point conversion try as the Texans trailed 28-27.

After a touchback the Patriots moved to the Houston 34. Yet Brady was sacked and fumbled. The Patriots retained possession but 2nd and 9 was now 3rd and 21. On 4th and 13 from the Houston 38, Belichick again decided to punt rather than try the long field goal. The Texans soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 23, and Watson hit Ellington for just enough. On 3rd and 1 from their 39 to start the fourth quarter, Foreman gained 4 yards. From the Houston 46, Watson hit Foreman for a 34 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Patriots 13, Watson threw incomplete. Fairbairn hit the 31 yarder as the Texans led 30-28 with 12 minutes left in regulation and were smelling upset.

Twice the Texans defense stopped the Patriots, including an inspired run stop on 3rd and 1. With 6 minutes left the Texans took over at their own 33 with another chance to put the game away. Offensive pass interference had them facing 1st and 20, but Watson connected with Foreman for a 23 yard gain. With 2 1/2 minutes to play, the Texans faced 3rd and 1 at the New England 18. A touchdown would ice the game. Miller got the carry and did not make it. The Patriots took their second timeout. On 4th and 1, Bill O’Brien had a major decision to make. If he goes for it and doesn’t make it, the Patriots need only a field goal to win. Yet with Tom Brady on the sideline, you have to go for it. O’Brien played it conservative and Fairbairn hit the 36 yard field goal. The Texans led 33-28, but the Patriots had one timeout plus the two minute warning plus the greatest quarterback of his generation.

Offensive holding had the Patriots facing 2nd and 20 at their own 15. Brady hit Gronkowski for a gain of 8 and on 3rd and 12 a gain of 15. With 90 seconds left on 1st and 10 from the Houston 44, Brady was sacked and fumbled. The Patriots survived and retained possession. With 54 seconds left in regulation the Patriots faced 3rd and 18 from their own 48. The Texans were smelling blood. So was Brady. He did it again.

A 27 yard completion to Amendola was followed by a 25 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Cooks. The 2 point conversion to Cooks put the Patirots up by a field goal with 23 seconds to play. after a touchback, Watson hit Deandre Hopkins for a 21 yard gain. With 3 seconds left from the Houston 46, Watson unleashed the Hail Mary. It was long and deep enough, but intercepted by Harmon. Watson is a rookie, but he finished an impressive 22 of 33 with 301 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. He also threw 2 interceptions including the final play. Brady was spectacular, going 25 of 35 for 378 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. As amazing as Brady is, blame for the loss has to go to Bill O’Brien for not going for it on 4th and 1. If the Texans convert, they run out the clock and Brady never sees the ball again. 36-33 Patriots

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers — The Saints were supposed to be a team in decline with no defense. The Panthers were supposed to have a revitalized defense. As ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman reminded us for 30 years, “That’s why they play the games.” The theme of this game early on was ball control. The Panthers held the ball for over 8 1/2 minutes, moving 61 yards in 15 plays. Yet on 3rd and 4 from the Saints 8, Cam Newton was sacked. Graham Gano hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Panthers. The Saints responded 75 yards in 13 plays, taking 6 minutes of clock to do it. They finished their drive as Drew Brees threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Thomas to make it 7-3 Saints. In the second quarter the Panthers moved the ball again, but again had to settle for a 48 yard Gano field goal to trail 7-6.

Midway through the second quarter, Newton was intercepted to set up the Saints at the Carolina 24. On 3rd and 8, Brees hit Thomas for 11 yards and Coleman for the 11 yard touchdown to make it 14-6 Saints. The Saints got it back and moved 54 yards in 10 plays in under 5 minutes. Will Lutz hit a 33 yard field goal for a 17-6 Saints lead. In the third quarter the Saints quickly moved 75 yards. Brees hit Ted Ginn for a 40 yard touchdown as the Saints led 24-6 in front of a shocked Carolina home crowd.

The Panthers moved from their 25 to a 4th and 5 at the Saints 35. Riverboat Ron Rivera forsake his name and decided to punt. Things then appeared to get worse for Carolina when they took over at their own 17. Newton was sacked and fumbled. The Panthers were lucky to retain possession at their own 7. The Saints almost put the game away, but on 2nd and 20, Newton hit Funchess for 19 yards. On 3rd and 1 McCaffrey gained 2 yards. From the Carolina 28, Newton went deep to McCaffrey for a 66 yard gain. On the next play Newton ran for a 3 yard touchdown as the Panthers got within 24-13 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter the Saints put the game away. Lutz hit a 50 yard field goal to make it 27-13 Saints. New Orleans got it back with a short field at the Carolina 35. Kamara ran for a 25 yard touchdown run to complete the blowout in front of a stunned home crowd. Brees was 22 of 29 for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cam Newton was 17 of 26 with 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The Saints are no longer winless and the Panthers are no longer unbeaten. 34-13 Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings — Tampa Bay was supposed to be the improving team on the rise, but early on it was Minnesota with the edge. Case Keenum filled in for the injured Sam Bradford, but it did not matter. Early on the vikings moved 75 yards and Cook got in from the one for a 7-0 Vikings lead. The Buccaneers did move 53 yards but settled for a 40 yard Nick Folk field goal to trail 7-3. In the second quarter the Vikings moved 76 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Keenum hit Wright for the 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Vikings. The vikings got it back at their own 8 yard line and Kennum…yes, Case Keenum…led a 92 yard drive. A 17 yard touchdown pass to Diggs had the vikings up 21-3 at the intermission.

Keenum kept firing. A 59 yard touchdown pass to Diggs in the third quarter had the Vikings up 28-3. At this point the Viking scouted as the Buccaneers tried to rally. with a short field at the Minnesota 46, Jameis Winston threw a 15 yard touchdown pass to Brate to get the Buccaneers within 28-10. The Vikings then held the ball for 6 1/2 minutes, moving 73 yards in 14 plays. They settled for a 20 yard Kai Forbath field goal for a 31-10 Vikings lead. The Bucs came back 75 yards quickly, as Winston hit DeSean Jackson for a 25 yard touchdown and a 31-17 Buccaneer deficit.

Yet early in the fourth quarter with Tampa Bay at the Minnesota 44, Winston was intercepted by Sandejo, who returned it 36 yards. The Vikings took over at the Tampa Bay 35. Forbath hit a 37 yard field goal with 8 1/2 minutes left to lock up the win. 34-17 Vikings

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions — Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan are good friends, but they are also opposing quarterbacks on unbeaten teams. Jim Caldwell was on the hot seat a couple years ago, now he just signed a new contract extension. Caldwell was so pleased that he almost made a facial expression. Kidding aside, Caldwell’s calm demeanor sometimes obscures the fact that he turned the perennial losers into winners. Also credit Marcia Ford, who stuck with Caldwell and has been rewarded. The 90 year old matriarch has far less patience than her late husband, and the team has responded.

Early on it was the Falcons moving 75 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Ryan hit Mohammed Sanu for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Falcons. Atlanta got it back and moved 53 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 2 from the Detroit 7, Ryan was sacked. Matt Bryant hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Falcons. The Lions finally got on the board with a 55 yard Matt Prater field goal, but the Falcons kept rolling. 64 yards and 5 1/2 minutes culminated in Devonta Freeman running it in from one yard out to make it 17-3 Falcons. Prater would hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Lions within 17-6.

The Falcons were in control, but this was not Matty Ice’s best game. He went ice cold as an interception was returned 37 yards by Glover Quinn for a touchdown to get the Lions right back in it down 17-13. Atlanta rebounded to tack on a 48 yard Bryant field goal before the half to lead 20-13. In the third quarter a 27 yard punt return had the Falcons taking over at the Detroit 41. Brady tacked on a 40 yarder to make it 23-13 Falcons.

The Lions showed resiliency at home in a comeback win and they fought back again for their fans. Stafford led a 12 play, 75 yard drive that took nearly 7 minutes. A 12 yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate had the Lions within 23-20. Ryan was then intercepted again, setting up the Lions at the Atlanta 21. On 3rd and 1 from the Atlanta 12, Stafford threw incomplete. On 4th and 1 Jim Caldwell opted for the field goal. After a delay of game penalty, Prater hot from 35 to tie the game 23-23.

The Falcons showed resiliency as well. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Ryan threw a 40 yard touchdown pass to Gabriel to put the Falcons up 30-23. After a touchback the Lions soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Stafford hit Tate for 18 yards. With 12 minutes left in regulation on 4th and 8 from the Atlanta 38, Jim Caldwell gambled on a 57 yard field goal. Prater has the NFL record of 64 yards, and he nailed this one to get the Lions within 30-26.

The Falcons moved from their 25 to the Detroit 19. Looking to put the game away, Ryan was intercepted for the fourth time. Slay returned the interception 37 yards to the Detroit 45. The Lions failed to capitalize as the teams exchanged punts. With 3 minutes left on 4th and 10 from their own 31, Caldwell again decided to punt and trust his defense. The Lions had all 3 timeouts as the Falcons took over at their own 37. A penalty on the Falcons had them facing 3rd and 12. A completion from Ryan to Julio Jones left Atlanta one yard short. On 4th and 1 from their own 46, Dan Quinn took not chances. The Falcons punted and the Lions took over at their own 11 with 2:23 to play.

Stafford is the NFL’s highest paid player, and he went right to work. He hit Tate for 15 yards and Jones for 29 more. An 11 yard run by Stafford had the Lions facing 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 18 with 1:10 to play. Time was no longer an issue. Yet offensive holding followed by offensive pass interference pushed the Lions back to 1st and 30 from the Atlanta 38. Things got worse with 40 seconds left when a deep ball by Stafford was intercepted by Alford in the end zone for a touchback. The Falcons celebrated, but their celebrations was premature.

Defensive holding nullified the interception. The Lions had 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 33. Stafford hit Jones for 14 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the 19, Stafford threw his third straight incompletion, but again the Falcons could not celebrate. Defensive pass interference on Trufant meant 1st and goal at the one with 19 seconds left. The Lions were out of timeouts but they had more than enough time for 3 or 4 plays to gain one yard. A pair of incompletions left 12 seconds on the clock. On 3rd and goal at the one, the play that will be talked and argued about all season took place.

Stafford fired to Golden Tate, to stretched the ball just past the plane of the goal line. The Lions celebrated. Stafford had pulled out another spectacular win and the home crowd went wild. Then total chaos reigned. The officials ruled that Tate was down short of the end zone. Replay showed a touchdown, but the officials said no. The Lions then thought they had 4th and goal inches away, but this was not the case either. Since Tate came in bounds, the officials declared a 10 second runoff. Since the clock would have expired anyway with Tate being inbounds, officials declared the game over. Just like that in front of a shellshocked home crowd, the Lions lost. Some will say the controversy is great because it is long past time the NFL do something controversial. No, not really. The Falcons and not the Lions were the 3-0 team in a highly debatable finish. Stafford finished 25 of 45 for 264 yards and 1 touchdown instead of 2. He was not intercepted. Ryan was 24 of 35 for 294 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. On Any Given Sunday, it was Al Pacino saying you have to fight for that inch. on this Sunday, that inch separated wining from losing. 30-26 Falcons

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles — This game was insane. For three quarters it was dull as dishwater. The fourth quarter was ridiculous. The Giants came in a surprising 0-2 as they could not get their offense going. The Eagles were not much better, but in the second quarter a staggering 18 play, 90 yard drive consumed over 9 1/2 minutes off the clock. LaGuerrette Blount banged in from the one for a 7-0 Eagles lead. With the half ending, Ben McAdoo decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the one. 2 plays earlier an Eli Manning touchdown was reversed to down at the one. Darkwa got the carry and ran into a brick wall. The Eagles defense jubilantly left the field after the goal line stand. In the third quarter the Eagles Elliott missed a 52 yard field goal. The Eagles got it back and Carson Wentz hit Zac Ertz for a 3 yard touchdown on 3rd and goal to cap a 54 yard drive and make it 14-0 Eagles. The Giants moved to a 4th and 2 at the Philly 13. Again McAdoo went for it and Manning threw incomplete. This hideous slog of 14 points through three quarters featured a combined 37 points in the fourth quarter as a dull game ended in thrilling fashion.

A short punt had the Giants starting the fourth quarter at their own 45 yard line. Finally the Giants struck pay dirt. Manning hit Darkwa for 11, Brandon Marshall for gains of 14 and 18, and O’Dell Beckham for a 10 yard touchdown to get the Giants within 14-7. The Eagles took over at their own 29. A short pass was immediately fumbled away and the Giants took over at the Philly 33. dark gained 20 and Manning hit Beckham for the 4 yard touchdown. 11 minutes still remained, but a 14-0 game was now 14-14. The Giants got it back at their own 22 midway through the fourth quarter. On 2nd and 9, a short pass by Manning to Sam Shepard went for a 77 yard touchdown.

21 straight points had the Giants up 21–14, but the chaos of this game was just starting. After a touchback, Wentz hit Smith for gains of 8 and 14. A defensive pass interference call on a deep ball meant a 36 yard gain to the Giants 15. On the next play Clement got around the end for the touchdown and a 21-21 game with 5:40 to play. Again, the craziness was far from over.

After a touchback, Manning hit Shane Vereen for 15 yards. On 2nd and 20 from their own 30, Manning hit Shepard for 16. On 3rd and 4 Manning threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant a 28 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Philly 18, a 7 yard gain was wiped out by a costly delay of game penalty. After an incompletion, the Giants settled for a 41 yard field goal by Rosas. The Giants led 24-21 with 3:11 left.

After a touchback, Smallwood caught a pass from Wentz for 9 and ran for gains of 20 and 9. With one minute left on 3rd and 7 from the Giants 28, Wentz threw incomplete. Rookiekicker Elliott came in to try and hit the pressure 46 yarder to tie the game. He was good and it was 24-24. Another touchback had the Giants taking over with 51 seconds left.

A pair of offensive penalties left the Giants facing 3rd and 15. A completion to Evan Engram left the Giants one yard short. From their own 34 with 19 seconds left, McAdoo was not taking any chances. Yet a shanked punt went only 28 yards. With 13 seconds left the Eagles were at their own 38. Doug Peterson is one of those West Coast Offense dink and dunk guys, but 4 yard passes were not going to get it done. After an incompletion, Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for a 19 yard gain. With one second left, the Eagles were at the Giants 43. Doug Peterson decided not to have Wentz try a Hail Mary. He brought his rookie kicker in to try a 61 yard field goal. Elliott leveled the ball through the uprights as the home crowd went crazy. The Giants remained winless while the Eagles have a new hero in their rookie kicker. 27-24 Eagles

Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans — The Seahawks defense may start boycotting the NFL if they do not get help from their offense. After a scoreless first quarter, the Titans twice moved into the red zone and twice did not reach the end zone. A 11 play, 61 yard drive ate up 5 1/2 minutes. A 12 play, 49 yard drive ate up 6 1/2 minutes. The Titans settled for Ryan Succop field goals of 24 and 37 yards to take a 6-0 lead. With 4 minutes left in the half, the Seahawks punted on 4th and 19 from their own 16. Jackson took it, split the seams, and raced 80 yards for a touchdown. Before the Titans could celebrate being up 13-0, an illegal block nullified the return.

After 28 hideous minutes, the Seahawks took over at their own 14. Russell Wilson went deep to Doug Baldwin for a 36 yard gain to midfield. Wilson then went deep to CJ Prosise for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Wilson hit Baldwin for the touchdown. Just like that the Seahawks led 7-6. Yet that left the Titans 1:09 to work with from their own 24. Marcus Mariota moved the Titans to the Seattle 29. Succop hit his third field goal from 47 yards out as the Titans led 9-7 at the break. In the third quarter the Seahawks moved 75 yards and Wilson hit Carson for a 10 yard touchdown. The Seahawks led 14-9, but after that, Tennessee exploded. The Seattle defense had held them to field goals, but now came the touchdowns.

A 55 yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Ryan mathews gave the Titans the 16-14 lead. Tennessee got it back at their own 46 and Mariota went to Smith for a 24 yard touchdown for a 23-14 Titans advantage. The Titans got it back at their own 25 and needed only one play and 15 seconds. DeMarco Murray followed a convoy of blockers and weaved through the middle of the field for a gorgeous 75 yard touchdown. After three quarters, the Titans were winning big 30-14.

In the fourth quarter the Seahawks fought back. They moved 75 yards and Wilson hit his non-relative Willson for a 27 yard touchdown. Pete Carroll went for the 2 point conversion and the pass was incomplete. The Seahawks trailed 30-20. The Titans stayed calm, and moved 58 yards. Succop hit his fourth field goal of the day, a 35 yarder that had the Titans up 33-20 with 10 minutes to play.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Pete Carroll made a questionable decision. The Seahawks faced 4th and 22 at the Tennessee 28. Down by 13, Carroll passed up a very makable 46 yard field goal try and had Wilson throw a Hail Mary to the end zone. It was well defended and fell incomplete. Seattle got it back at their own 28 with 5 minutes left. On 4th and 6 from the Tennessee 46 with 3:20 left, Wilson looked like he was going to be sacked. Somehow he threw a duck just before going down and found Tyler Lockett for a 14 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Titans 11, Wilson scrambled for 3 yards as the clock reached the 2 minute warning. Wilson hit Richardson for an 8 yard touchdown with 1:50 to play. Seattle was within 6 but needed an onside kick. It failed.

With 11 seconds left the Titans had to punt on 4th and 3 from the Seattle 40. Seattle was called for 12 men on the field. Pete Carroll couldn’t believe it as Mike Mularkey celebrated. Wilson was 29 of 49 for 373 yards and 4 touchdowns, but it was not enough. Mariota was 20 of 32 for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. Neither signal caller was intercepted. The Titans are 2-1 while the Seahawks are a 1-2 head-scratcher. 33-27 Titans

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers — Nobody wins ugly like the Chiefs. Nobody loses winnable games like the Chargers. Philip Rivers decided to protest the national anthem by refusing to throw the ball to his teammates. Instead he repeatedly played pitch and catch with the opposing defense. From his own 16, Rivers was quickly intercepted. The Chiefs took over at the Chargers 43. On 3rd and 1, Alex Smith gained 4 and then threw a 30 yard touchdown pass to Tyreeq Hill to make it 7-0 Chiefs. The Chargers moved from their 23 to  3rd and 8 at the Chiefs 36. Rivers was intercepted again and Peters returned it 38 yards to the Chargers 34. Smith found Wilson for a 6 yard touchdown as the Chiefs led 14-0.

The Chargers quickly faced 2nd and 12 at their own 9 Melvin Gordon gained 6 and Rivers hit Keenan Allen on 3rd and 3 for a 6 yard gain. On 3rd and 13 from their own 21, Rivers hit Williams for a 14 yard gain. On 2nd and 12 from their own 33, Rivers went deep to Travis Benjamin for a 44 yard gain. On the next play Gordon ran for an 11 yard touchdown. The Chargers trailed 14-7 after the first quarter, but the game soon turned into a defensive slugfest.

Rivers began the second quarter just like he began the first quarter. On 3rd and 8 from his own 34, he was intercepted. The Chiefs took over at their own 47. On 4th and 13 from the Chargers 33, Cairo Santos missed a 51 yard field goal. Yet roughing the kicker gave him another chance from 34 yards out. He made it and the Chiefs led 17-7. Koo answered with a 29 yarder on the last play of the half as the Chargers trailed 17-10. An unwatchable, entirely forgettable half so only one play worth mentioning. At the 2 minute warning, with the Chiefs at their own 31, Kareem Hunt raced for a 69 yard touchdown to seal the win. With 23 seconds left and the Chargers at the Chiefs 2 yard line, a Rivers completion lost 2 yards. New City, same winless Chargers. The Chiefs are 3-0, and Andy Reid is one happy Walrus Lite. 24-10 Chiefs

Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers — There was no way the winless Bengals would go into Green Bay and win. Cue Chris Berman again: “That’s why they play the games.” The Bengals moved 79 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Red Rifle Andy Dalton hit AJ Green for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bengals. Aaron Rodgers brought the Packers back 60 yards. Rodgers hit Kendricks for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-7 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter it was the Bengals moving 60 yards and Dalton hitting Giovanni Bernard for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Bengals. Rodgers was then intercepted by Jackson, who returned it 75 yards for another touchdown as the Bengals led 21-7 at the half against a shell-shocked Wisconsin crowd.

In the third quarter the Packers moved 75 yard and Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a one yard touchdown to get Green Bay within 21-14. In the fourth quarter the Packers drove deep but settled for a 28 yard Mason Crosby field goal to trail 21-17. The Bengals countered by going 63 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and 1 from the Green Bay 27, a run lost a yard. They settled for a 46 yard Randy Bullock field goal to put the Bengals up 24-17.

The Packers took over at their own 25 with 3:46 to play. Rodgers hit Allison for 17 yards. With 3 minutes left on 3rd and 9 from their own 43, Rodgers hit Allison again for 11 yards. The Bengals defense desperately needed a stop to pull off the upset, but could not get one. With 54 seconds left, on 3rd and 1 from the Bengals 13, Ty Montgomery gained 6 yards. From the 3 yard line, Rodgers fired a laser to Jordy Nelson for the touchdown. With 17 seconds left, the game was tied and headed for overtime.

In the extra session, the Bengals went 3 and out. The Packers soon faced 3rd and 10 at their own 21. One more stop and the Bengals would get the ball back. It was not going to happen. Rodgers went deep to Allison for a 72 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 7. Rodgers took a knee to center the ball. Crosby came in for the 27 yarder. There would be no upset. These are the Bengals. They lose games. There is nothing Marvin Lewis can do with this winless team. As for the Packers, they have Aaron Rodgers. He wins games for Mike McCarthy. 27-24 Packers, OT

Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins is the Sunday night game. Owner Mark Davis, Coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback Derek Carr stood for the national anthem. The offensive line did not. They should have spent less time protesting and more time blocking because Carr was sacked 3 times early on and a few more times later. Kirk Cousins completed 15 of his first 16 passes for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. Carr started 3 of 7 for 23 yards and an interception. It was an ugly first half for the Silver and Black. On the second play from scrimmage, Carr was intercepted on a deep ball. The Redskins took over at their own 33. On 3rd and 6, Cousins hit Vernon Davis for a 26 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 22, Cousins went to Thompson for the touchdown and the 7-0 Redskins lead.

The defense kept the Raiders in the game as the Oakland offense could not get anything going. With 10 minutes left in the half, the Raiders faced 3rd and 1 at the Washington 48. Rather than run the ball, out of the shotgun Carr was intercepted again. The Redskins took over at their own 28. The defense finally broke. On 3rd and 6 at the Oakland 25, Cousins hit Crowder for just enough. On 3rd and 9 from the 18, Cousins hit Davis for the touchdown. With 4 minutes left in the half the Redskins led 14-0.

The Redskins began the third quarter facing 3rd and 8 at their own 27. Cousins hit Chris Thompson for a 19 yard gain. On 2nd and 20 from the Washington 28, Cousins hit Thompson for 16. On 3rd and 4 Cousins hit Thompson again for just enough. On the next play Cousins went deep to Doctson for a 52 yard touchdown. David Emerson was right there but totally mistimed the jump. Rather than knock the ball away he went for the interception and gave up a score instead as the Redskins led 21-0.

The Raiders did nothing right, but the Redskins gave the Raiders every chance to get into the game. Dustin hopkins missed a 52 yard field goal, giving the Raiders the ball at their own 42. On 3rd and 3, a swing pass to Seth Roberts lost two yards. The Raiders punted, and got another break when the Redskins fumbled the punt. The Raiders recovered at the Washington 18. After losing 3 yards, Carr hit Jared Cook, who stretched the ball past the pileon for the score. The Raiders were within 21-7.

The Redskins soon faced 3rd and 9 from their own 26. The Raiders were now fired up and had a chance to make a game of it. Cousins scrambled for 12 yards, but offensive holding meant 3rd and 19. One stop and the Raiders would have great field position. Instead, a simple swing pass to Thompson went for a 74 yard gain. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hopkins hit a 23 yard field goal to make it 24-7 Redskins.

The Raiders received another break. With the Redskins facing 2nd and 8 at their own 11, Perine fumbled and Cowser recovered. The Raiders had 1st and 10 at the Washington 12. On the next play defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 4. Then came 3 straight incompletions on a night when nothing worked. Georgio Tavecchio hit the 22 yard field goal to get the Raiders within 24-10 with 12 minutes remaining, but it was a clear victory for the defense.

After a touchback, Cousins hit Crowder for a 30 yard gain. Thompson then ran for gains of 8 and 7. Mack Brown added gains of 11 and 6. Hopkins hit a 28 yard field goal with 6 minutes left to lock up the win. At the 2 minute warning, the Raiders had less than 100 yards of total offense. The defense gave up over 400 yards of offense. The Raiders were beaten badly in the trenches as the offensive line never gave Carr time to throw. The Raiders were knocked from the unbeaten ranks in a big way. 27-10 Redskins

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals was the Monday night game. Both of these teams came into this season with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations only to stumble badly in the first couple weeks.   In the first quarter the Cardinals moved 82 yards in 5 minutes. They made it look easy as Carson Palmer hit Brown for a 25 yard touchdown and the 7-0 Cardinals lead. After that, little came easy for them. The Cardinals began the second quarter facing 3rd and 5 at the Dallas 10. Palmer hit Brown again for the touchdown, but before the Cardinals could celebrate a 14-0 lead, offensive holding on Jerald Veldheer nullified the score. Things got worse when normally reliable Phil Dawson missed a 36 yard field goal.

The Cowboys were doing nothing on offense but a field position game had the Cardinals punting on 4th and 15 from their own 5 yard line with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. A 21 yard return had the Cowboys starting at the Arizona 33. Das Prescott ran for a 10 yard touchdown with 1:16 left in the half for a 7-7 ballgame. In the third quarter it was again field position that had the Cardinals punting on 4th and 6 from their own 11. Dallas took over at the Arizona 46. From the Arizona 35, Ezekiel Elliott ran for a 20 yard gain and Prescott hit Dez Bryant for the 15 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Cowboys.

The field position game reversed as the Cowboys punted on 4th and 10 from their own 11 and the Cardinals took over at their own 46. Palmer went deep to Larry Fitzgerald for a 37 yard gain and back to Fitzgerald for a 15 yard touchdown. With 3:20 left in the third quarter, the teams were tied 14-14.

The fourth quarter began with another key field position switch. With the Cardinals facing 3rd and 1 at their own 13, Palmer threw incomplete. A punt had the Cowboys taking over at midfield. On 3rd and 3 from the Arizona 43, Prescott hit Cole beasley for 4 yards. Prescott then went deep to Brice Butler for a 37 yard touchdown and a 21-14 Cowboys lead with 12 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, the Cardinals soon faced 3rd and 18 at their own 33. Palmer went deep to Fitzgerald for 24 yards. Two more third down conversions had the Cardinals facing 1st and 10 at the Dallas 19 looking to tie the game. Yet 3 straight Palmer incompletions had the Cardinals settling for a field goal try. This time Dawson hit from 37 as the Cardinals trailed 21-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Yet 16 plays went for nothing more than that.

After a touchback, Prescott appeared to go to Butler for a 75 yard touchdown. On further review it was a 53 yard gain down to the Arizona 22. Three plays later Elliott followed up a 7 yard run with an 8 yard touchdown run. With 5 minutes left the Cowboys had an 11 point lead. After an exchange of punts, the Cardinals got it back at their own 13 with 3 minutes left. Palmer furiously led them down the field. With 1:11 to play and needing 2 scores, the Cardinals had 1st and goal at the 5. After a pair of incompletions, the third down pass was inexplicably short of the marker. The clock ticked down to 40 seconds as the Cardinals faced 4th and goal at the 2. Bruce Arians decided to go for it, and Palmer there over the middle incomplete. Both quarterbacks finished with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Prescott only threw 18 passes, completing 13 of them for 183 yards. Palmer threw 48 passes, completing 29 of them for 325 yards. Yet it was Dallas that got the win as Jason Garrett’s squad got to 2-1. Meanwhile, the 1-2 Cardinals could be in real trouble. 28-17 Cowboys

NFL 2017 Week 3 Prequel

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

NFL 2017 Week 3 Prequel

https://www.commdiginews.com/sports/nfl-2017-week-3-preview-and-bettors-guide-94111/

NFL 2017 Week 2 Recap

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

NFL 2017 Week 2 Recap

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals was the Thursday night game. Sometimes a pair of bad teams can combine for a great game. This was not that game. Despite a punt return giving the Bengals a short field, a Cincinnati fumble was returned 49 yards by Jadaveon Clowney to the Cincinnati 20. The inept Texans converted that into a 26 yard Fairbirn field goal lead 3-0. Red Rifle Andy Dalton went bombs away to AJ Green for a 50 yard gain to the Houston 14. That was enough for the inept Bengals to put up a 39 yard second quarter Bullock field goal for a 3-3 game.

With 4 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Texans took over at their own 6. On 3r and 5, DeShaun Watson hit Ervin for 7 yards. From the Cincy 44, Watson got belted for an 11 yard loss. After 29 minutes of hideous football by both teams, the Texans faced 3rd and 15 just past midfield. Watson scrambled all the way for the touchdown. This was not Steve Young, but it was exciting. Watson left the Bengals defense without a clue as the Texans led 10-3 in a game where 10 points could win it all. Yet the Houston defense got soft at the end of the half. From the Cinco 30, Dalton hit Tyler Effect for 22 yards and Erickson for 37 more down to the Houston 11 with 16 seconds left. After a pair of incompletions left only 6 seconds, Marvin Lewis decided not to gamble on one more play. Bullock hit from 29 as the Bengals trailed 10-6 in this ugly game.

The Bengals began the third quarter with a mind-numbing 16 play, 63 yard drive that consumed 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Along the way the Bengals committed a fumble that was ruled down by contact. For some reason Bill O’Brien did not challenge the call. On 4th and 2 from the Houston 19, Marvin Lewis decided to go for it. Hill gained 3 yards. Yet on 2nd and 6 from the 12, an apparent touchdown pass was ruled incomplete due to an illegal touch. Marvin Lewis did not challenge the call in a game neither offense wanted to win. After all of that, Bullock hit from 30 as the Bengals still trailed 10-9.

With 8:20 to play, the Texans took over at their own 10. After gaining one first down, a holding penalty had them facing 2nd and 20 at their own 11, Watson threw incomplete but defensive pass interference gave the Texans new life. They soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Watson hit Deandre Hopkins for 9 yards and a key first down. Watson looked like a poised veteran rather than a guy starting his first NFL game. However, a key offensive pass interference penalty moved the Texans out of field goal range with 1st and 20 at the Cincy 39. On 3rd and 16, Watson eluded tacklers and scrambled for 11 yards to get the Texans back into range. At the 2 minute warning, Fairbairn hit the critical 42 yard field goal to give the Texans the 4 point lead. The 13 play, 66 yard drive took 6 1/2 minutes off the clock. However, the Bengals still had a chance to win.

The Bengals took over at their own 31 with 1:50 to play. With 1:13 left, the Bengals faced 4th and 4 just shy of midfield. A false start made it 4th and 9. Dalton threw deep incomplete. A game dominated by both defenses had to end with defense. The Bengals still had timeouts and with 57 seconds left the Texans had 3rd and 4 at the Cincinnati 38. A run lost 2 yards but the clock ticked down. The Texans had to punt with 12 seconds left. In a mind-numbingly boneheaded move, the return man instead of going out of bounds appeared to run out the clock. However, officials blew the whistle with 2 seconds left. The Bengals had one shot from their own 20. The hook and laterals saw a big man with football get belted. That is why offensive linemen do not carry the football.

The Bengals fell to 0-2. The Texans at 1-1 gave the victims of Hurricane Harvey something to feel good about, if only for the briefest of respites. Particular praise goes out to JJ Watt, who in addition to raising 40 million dollars for Hurricane relief also came back from an injury to help anchor a standout defense. This game may have been uglier than a Jello wrestling match between Hillary Clinton and Liz Warren, but the Texans got the job done on the road the hard way. 13-9 Texans

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens — Midway through the opening quarter the Browns faced 3r and 13 at their own 37. DeShaun Kizer was sacked and fumbled and the Ravens took over at the Cleveland 33. West ran it in for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Ravens. The Browns moved after a touchback to a 3rd and 4 at the Baltimore 26 when Kizer was intercepted. Joe Flacco returned the interception back. In the second quarter on 2nd and 14 from the Baltimore 44, Flacco found watson for gains of 20 and 23 and Allen for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Ravens.

From their own 17, the Browns fought back. However, they would be doing it without Kizer, who left the game with migraines. Getting hit in the NFL can do that to a rookie quarterback. Hogan went deep to DeValve for a 49 yard gain and the Njoku for a 23 yard touchdown to get the Browns within 14-7. With 30 seconds left in the half and the Browns facing 1st and 15 at the Baltimore 45, Hogan was intercepted by Bowser, who went Sha Na Na all the way to the Cleveland 40 with 19 seconds left. just trying to set up a field goal, Allen broke free for a 37 yard gain down to the 2 with 5 seconds left on the clock. Jim Harbaugh decided to gamble on one more play. Flacco hit Jeremy Maclin for the touchdown to make it 21-7 Browns at the half.

The second half was all defense. Cleveland would get a 38 yard field goal from Gonzalez to get within 21-10, but in the fourth quarter an 11 play 53 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive led to a 28 yard Justin Tucker field goal to put the game out of reach. 24-10 Ravens

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sometimes a bad team can go on the road and shock a good team for a major upset. This was not that game. Jameis Winston led a 13 play, 51 yard, 6 minute drive that led to a 42 yard Nick Folk field goal to start the blowout for the Buccaneers. Mike Glennon led the Bears after a touchback to a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 22. Glennon was then intercepted, giving the Bucs the ball at their own 38. Tampa failed to convert on 3rd and 1 and decided to punt. The bears fumbled the punt and the Buccaneers recovered at the Chicago 13. One play later Winston hit mike Evans for the touchdown and the 10-0 Buccaneers lead. In the second quarter the Buccaneers just poured it on.

On 3rd and 8 from the Chicago 46, Glennong was sacked and fumbled. The Buccaneers recovered at the Chicago 35. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Winston only got half but defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the one. Jacquez Rodgers got in for a 17-0 Buccaneers lead. The Bears then faced 3rd and 9 at their own 41, and Glennong was intercepted again. Rolando McClain returned the interception 47 yards for another touchdown and a 23-0 Buccaneers lead. Tampa got it back at their own 20 and Winston led them to the Chicago 27 with 7 seconds left in the half. After a 45 yard field goal try by Folk was nullified by a false start, Folk hit from 50 as the Buccaneers led 26-0 at intermission and John Fox asked why he wanted to coach such terrible players. An utterly pointless second half saw the Bucs add one more late field goal from 23 yards before finally surrendering a garbage touchdown.  29-7 Buccaneers

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers — This game was a mismatch from the start. Ben Roethlisberger moved the Steelers 78 yards and hit Martavius Bryant for a 27 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Steelers lead. In the second quarter a 60 yard drive had Big Ben hitting Smith-Shuster for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Steelers. Kai Forbath did get the Vikings on the board before the half with a 42 yard field goal, but Chris Boswell answered in the third quarter from 46 yards out to make 17-3 Steelers. The Vikings moved 82 yards and Ham got in from one yard out to get the Vikings within 17-9 after the failed extra point. However, a pair of long drives by the Steelers ate up the clock. Boswell hit from 29 in the third quarter and from 37 and 43 in the fourth quarter. The Pittsburgh defense did the rest as the battle of hard-nosed Mikes saw Tomlin over Zimmer. 26-9 Steelers

New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints — Both Tom Brady and Drew Brees will be going to the Hall of Fame on their first ballot. Both of them had a miserable start to the 2017 season. One of them quickly silenced the doubters. Brady led the Patriots 75 yards in 10 plays and hit Burkhead for a 19 yard touchdown to start the scoring. The extra point was no good. Will Lutz hit a 46 yard field goal to get the Saints within 6-3, but after that it was all Patriots. 75 yards came quickly as Brady went to rob Gronkowski for a 53 yard touchdown. New England got it back and moved 67 yards and Brady hit Chris Hogan for a 13 yard touchdown as the Patriots led 20-3 after the first quarter and never let up.

The Saints tried to make a game of it. In the second quarter the Saints moved 8 0yards and Brees hit Coleman for a 5 yard score. They got it back and Lutz hit from 35 as the Saints were only down 20-13. After that reality set in. 75 yards came easily as the Saints defense had no answers for the last several years. mike Gillislee got in from 2 yards out to make it 27-13 Patriots. Stephen Gostkowski did the rest, hitting from 28 in the second quarter, from 24 in the third quarter, and from 27 in the fourth quarter to make it 36-13 Patriots.

The Saints got a garbage touchdown but Sean Payton will continue to be on the hot seat as the Saints are 0-2. Meanwhile, 3 years ago the Patriots got blasted by the Chiefs before destroying everyone else. 2017 could be a repeat of that for Evil hoodie Bill Belichick. Brees finished 27 of 45 for 356 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brady was a ridiculous 30 of 39 for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. neither quarterback was intercepted. 36-20 Patriots.

Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs — The Walrus Lite Andy Reid Bowl saw him desperate for a win against the team that fired him. The first half was an ugly defensive slog. Both Cairo Santos and Elliott hit from 34 for a 3-3 game. In the second quarter Santos hit from 39 as the Chiefs took a 6-3 lead to the locker rooms. The offenses finally got going after halftime. The Eagles moved 81 yards and Carson Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 10-6 Eagles. Hunt then capped an 83 yard drive with a 53 yard touchdown run to make it 13-10 Chiefs after thee quarters. In the fourth quarter Elliott hit from 40 for a 13-13 tie with 12 minutes left in regulation. Then the defensive game turned crazy.

The Chiefs went 3 and out and the Eagles took over after a touchback and soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 31. Wentz had a pass over the middle bounce off a defender’s helmet straight up into the air, where it was intercepted at the line of scrimmage. Alex Smith hit Travis Kelce for a 20-13 Chiefs lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Eagles quickly went 3 and out and the Chiefs got it back at their own 44 one minute later. Dink and Dunk West Coast Offense Game Manager Alex smith turned into a bomb thrower last week, and this week he went deep to Conley for 23 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Philly 14, Hunt got around the end for a 12 yard gain and then went up the middle for the 2 yard touchdown. With only 2:15 left, the Eagles were down 27-13.

The Eagles needed a touchdown, an onside kick recovery, and a Hail Mary for another touchdown. Wentz led a furious rally. By the time he moved the Eagles 75 yards and hit Nelson Agholor for a 9 yard touchdown, only 8 seconds remained in the game. Elliott’s onside kick was perfect, and the Eagles took over with 5 seconds left at their own 46. Wentz threw his Hail Mary to the end zone, but it was well defended and batted out the back of the end zone incomplete. Reid got his vindication, making him one happy Walrus Lite. 27-20 Chiefs

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars — Tennessee was overpowered and outmuscled at home last week by Oakland, while the Jaguars won a big blowout win against woeful Indy. The Jaguars were finally turning a corner. This was the reality check. Jared Myers did hit a 43 yard field goal for a 3-0 Jaguars lead, but after that the Titans just gradually pounded the Jaguars into Cheeto dust. Ryan Succop hit field goals of 40 yards in the first quarter, 41 yards in the second quarter, and 26 yards in the third quarter. Although the Titans only led 9-3, the Jacksonville defense eventually broke.

A 46 yard punt return had the Titans starting at the Jacksonville 34. Marcus Mariota hit Melanie Walker for half of it and Derrick Henry got the remaining 17 yards on the ground for a 16-3 Titans lead. Last time the Jaguars punted on 4th and 14 form their own 21. This time they punted on 4th and 24 from their own 6. Tennessee took over just past midfield. Mariota immediately went deep to Talor for a 42 yard gain. Walker got in from one yard out to make it 23-3 Titans. Jacksonville had another backward drive, punting on 4th and 22 from their own 37. Tennessee easily moved 86 yards. Mariota connected with Smith for a 32 yard touchdown to make it 30-3 Jaguars with 10 minutes left in regulation. Blake bottles is the King of garbage yards, and he got the Jaguars in the end zone twice long after the outcome had been decided. Tennessee added one more touchdown between those scores for good measure. In the past the Jaguars only had to deal with the wrath of owner Shad Khan. Now Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin will be lighting into his band of underachievers. 37-16 Titans.

Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts — Arizona was supposed to be an elite team while the Colts were expected to be a miserable team without Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett got the start after watching Scott Tolzien fail miserably last week. As ESPN user-announcer Chris Berman so often said, “That’s why they play the games.” Early on a 14 play, 53 yard, 6 minute drive led to a 5 yard Frank Gore touchdown run for the Colts. Indy got it back and Adam Vinatieri hit a 46 yard field goal for a 10-0 Colts advantage after the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Cardinals had a 15 play, 54 yard drive that took 6 minutes, but settled for a 27 yard Phil Dawson field goal to trail 10-3 at the break. In the fourth quarter, a staggering 16 play, 76 yard drive consumed almost 9 1/2 minutes for the Colts. Vinatieri hit from 29 to make it 13-3 Colts with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. With 8:15 to play and their offense getting killed all day, the Cardinals appeared stifled again when they aced 3rd and 20 at their own 18. Carson Palmer went deep to Brown for a 22 yard gain with 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer. On the next play, Palmer went deep to Nelson for a 45 yard touchdown. Just like that, midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were right back in it down 13-10.

The Cardinals got it back with 5 1/2 minutes left at their own 38. From their 41, Palmer went deep to Nelson again for a 31 yard gain. Dawson hit a 40 yard field goal as the game was tied 13-13 with 3 1/2 minutes left. The Colts were in full meltdown mode and the Cardinals got it back just shy of midfield with 25 seconds left. Palmer hit Brown for 18 yards and old reliable veteran Phil Dawson came in with 3 seconds left for a 42 yard try to win it. He was no good, wide right as the Colts had life.

It took one play in overtime for that life to be extinguished. From the Indy 26, Brissett was quickly intercepted by Matheiu, setting the Cardinals up at the Indy 21. Dawson came in for a 30 yarder and redeemed himself. Arizona may have saved their season for Bruce Arians and his geriatric stars, while Chuck Pagano at 0-2 prepared to walk the plank at the end of the season after the Colts blew a 13-3 fourth quarter lead. 16-13 Cardinals, OT

Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers — This game was all defense as the Panthers led long drives that fell short of the end zone and the Bills did even less. A 13 play, 59 yard, 6 minute drive had Graham Gano hit a 34 yard first quarter field goal to make it 3-0 Panthers. In the second quarter a 7 minute drive led to Gano hitting from 28 for a 6-0 Panthers lead at halftime. In the fourth quarter Steve Hauschka finally got the Bills on the board from 45 yards out, but a 15 play, 73 yard drive consumed 8 1/2 minutes for Carolina. Gano hit from 20 to make it 9-3 Panthers with 2 1/2 minutes left. Buffalo moved form their own 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Carolina 32 with one minute left. Offensive pass interference had the Bills in desperation mode. On 4th and 11form the Carolina 33 with 14 seconds left, Tyrod Taylor’s desperation pass fell incomplete. It was ugly, but Ron Rivera will take it. 9-3 Panthers

  

New York Jets at Oakland Raiders — The Silver and Black had an impressive road win at Tennessee where they closed out a game with hard-nosed running. The Jets are supposed to be a mess, but the Raiders never win games easy. Early on the Raiders offense was clicking. Derek Carr led an 11 play, 81 yard, 6 minute drive. A perfectly thrown jump ball to Michael Crabtree went for a 2 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Raiders lead. In the second quarter the Raiders got it back and moved 85 yards. Carr went to Crabtree for a 26 yard touchdown and a 14-0 Raiders lead. However, the Raiders do not tend to win games easy.

Momentum shifted after a controversial spot where the Jets were awarded a first down that seemed short of the sticks. Jack Del Rio was right to challenge the spot, but did not get the call. Josh McCown went deep to Jermaine Kearse for a 34 yard touchdown to get the Jets within 14-7. The Jets got it back and drove 62 yards in 11 plays. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 28, rather than play power football, Todd Bowles went with the pass. McCown threw incomplete and the Jets settled for a 46 yard Chandler Catanzaro field goal but only trailed 14-10. The Jets had all the momentum and the Oakland offense had slowed down. However, bad teams find a way to lose, and just before the half the Jets gave the Raiders a gift.

At the 2 minute warning, the Raiders punted from their 31 as the Jets had a chance to take the lead. The punt was fumbled and Johnny Holton recovered for the Raiders at the Jets 4 yard line. In the past the Raiders have squandered these opportunities because they lacked a true power back. Now they have Marshawn Lynch and can play smash mouth. Carr handed it to Lynch, who got nothing. so Carr handed it to lynch again. He was trapped in the backfield before bulling his way out of tackles for a couple yards to set up the critical 3rd and goal at the 2 with 23 seconds left in the half. Out of the shotgun, Carr handed it to Lynch again, and he barreled his way in for the touchdown. This was power football, and the Raiders led 21-10 at the half.

In the third quarter the Jets held the ball for 8 minutes, but moved only 45 yards in 12 plays. Catanzaro hit from 40 yards out as the Jets again made it a one score game with them down 21-13. Yet the Raiders had too much offensive firepower. 84 yards came easily as Cordarelle Patterson broke free for a 43 yard touchdown run to make it 28-13 Raiders. In the fourth quarter the deluge turned into an avalanche. 79 yards came rapidly as Jalen Richard raced for a 52 yard touchdown to make it 35-13 Raiders. On the first play after a touchback, McCown was sacked and fumbled. The Raiders took over at the Jets 18. Defensive pass interference put the ball on the one, and Carr found Crabtree for the score. With 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Raiders led 42-13. They gave up a garbage touchdown but tacked on a field goal to wrap up a very impressive complete team win. The Raiders got to 2-0 by beating a bad team, but they won big. 45-20 Raiders.

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers — The Dolphins played their first game of the year after being rained out last week from Hurricane Irma. The Chargers played their first home game in Los Angeles in over 55 years. In the first quarter a 13 play, 70 yard, 6 minute drive led to a 30 yard Cody Parkey field goal and a 3-0 Dolphins lead. In the second quarter Too countered from 41 for a 3-3 game. The Chargers got it back and moved 70 yards as a one yard run by Melvin Gordon had the Chargers up 10-3 at intermission. The Dolphins came back 75 yards in the third quarter as Jay Cutler hit Kenny Stills for a 29 yard touchdown and a 10-10 game. The Chargers answered back with a 77 yard drive and a 7 yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates for a 17-10 Chargers lead.

The Dolphins then moved 67 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes but again bogged down in the red zone. Parkey hit from 28 as the Dolphins trailed 17-13 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Dolphins drove 64 yards in 14 plays and took 7 minutes off the clock. However they again fell apart inside the 10 due to an offensive holding call. Parkey hit from 35 as the Dolphins trailed 17-16 with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Chargers bungled the ensuing kickoff, starting at their own 6. They punted it back and the Dolphins took over just shy of midfield with 3 minutes left. On 3rd and 6 from the Chargers 37, Jay Cutler completed a one yard pass. With 1:10 left, Parkey came in for a 54 yard field goal try. He drilled it and the Dolphins by a deuce. Yet they may have scored too early.

With one minute left the Chargers took over at their 20. Rivers hit Keenan Allen for 13 yards and Henry for 17 more to midfield. A 10 yard completion to Gordon followed by defensive illegal use of hands had the Chargers in long field goal range at the Miami 35. Rivers hit Keenan Allen for a 9 yard gain with 19 seconds left. The Chargers faced 2nd and 1 at the Miami 26, and Rivers took a knee. With 10 seconds left the Dolphins took a timeout to leave a few seconds in case the field goal try was good. South Korean kicker Koo made the tying kick last week, but it was nullified and his retry was blocked. This week, from 44 yards out with the game on the line, again he was no good. It was wide by a hair. Say it with me everyone. New city. New kicker. New coach. Same Chargers. 19-17 Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks — The Seahawks appear to have a great defense again while the 49ers seem to be awful at everything. Again, that’s why they play the games. With division games, anything can happen. Seattle drove deep twice in the first quarter but had to settle for Blair Walsh field goals of 25 and 27 yards for a 6-0 lead. In the second quarter Robbie Gould hit field goals of 40 and 37 yards for a stunning 6-6 halftime tie. An even uglier second half had Gould hit from 34 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The 49ers led 9-6 and were looking for the upset of the year. Meanwhile, Seattle did not have a single touchdown in nearly two games.

Seattle took over at their own 18 and finally moved the ball. On 3rd and 1, Russell Wilson scrambled for 7 yards. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Seahawks faced a 3rd and 7 at the San Francisco 9 yard line. Wilson found Richardson as the Seahawks finally had a touchdown. Walsh doinked the extra point off the upright no good but the Seahawks led by a field goal. The 49ers decided not to gamble on 4th and 3 from their own 27 with 5 minutes left. Their defense had played well all game. Yet this time they could not get a stop. Carson had gains of 9 and 16 as the 49ers never got the ball back. The Seahawks avoided an embarrassing loss, but questions about the offense will remain. 12-9 Seahawks

Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams — A pair of inconsistent teams met. The Redskins held the ball for 7 1/2 minutes and 14 plays to move 57 yards. They settled for a 41 yard Dustin Hopkins field goal but set the tone early with a 3-0 road lead. The Redskins got it back and moved 65 yards as Thompson ran for a 7 yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to make it 10-0 Redskins. Two plays later the Rams fumbled and the Redskins had a short field at the Rams 30. Despite 2nd and goal at the 4, a pair of incompletions by Kirk Cousins had the Redskins up 13-0.

The Rams finally wok up and quickly moved 75 yards. Jared Goff hit Kupp for a 69 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the one, Todd Gurley got in to get the Rams within 13-7. The Rams got it back and moved from their 32 to a 1st and 10 at the Washington 12. On 3rd and 8 Goff was sacked. greg Zuerlein hit from 32 yards out as the Rams only trailed 13-10 with 3 minutes left in the half. After a touchback, Thompson took a handoff and raced 61 yards for a touchdown as the redskins led 20-10 at the break.

In the third quarter the Rams kept things competitive by moving 93 yards without much resistance. An 18 yard touchdown pass from Goff to Gurley had the Rams within 20-17. In the fourth quarter the Rams held the ball for 7 1/2 minutes and 14 plays, moving 53 yards. On 4th and 6 from the Washington 45, a perfectly executed fake punt saw Johnny Hekker hit Reynolds for 28 yards. On 2nd and 7 from the 14, offensive pass interference killed the drive. Zuerlein hit a 40 yarder for a 20-20 tie midway through the fourth quarter.

Kirk Cousins is making 24 million dollars this year and he wants a long-term contract. Last week he fumbled the ball away in a loss. This week he had another chance to try and be a hero. The Redskins took over at their own 30. On 3rd and 6, Cousins hit Crowder for an 8 yard gain. On 2nd and 7 from the Rams 40, Cousins hit Terrelle Pryor for 23 yards. With 1:55 left, the Redskins faced 3rd and 4 from the Rams 11. Too much time remained to bleed the clock and kick a field goal. So Cousins hit Grant for the touchdown to complete the 10 play, 70 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. The Redskins led by 7, but now Goff had a chance to play hero. On the first play from scrimmage from the Rams 28 with 1:44 left, he was intercepted. 27-20 Redskins

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos — A key early test for both teams saw the Broncos strike first. Denver moved 78 yards and Trevor Siemian hit Emanuel Sanders for a 10 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Broncos lead. With 33 seconds left in the first quarter,  a lightning storm in the Denver area led to a lengthy delay. When play finally resumed to start the second quarter, Denver quickly faced 3rd and 5 at their 25. Siemian was belted for a 16 yard loss and the resulting fumble was recovered by the Cowboys at the Denver 3 yard line. Das Prescott hit Dez Bryant for the touchdown and the 7-7 tie.

After nearly avoiding another lost fumble, the Broncos would move 81 yards in 14 plays and take 6:45 off the clock. Siemian hit CJ Anderson for a 16 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Broncos lead. The Cowboys punted and a 20 yard return had the Broncos starting just shy of the mid stripe. A 14 yard run by Jamal Charles led to a critical 3rd and 3 at the Dallas 12 with 1:51 left in the half. Siemian scrambled for 6 yards and on the next play hit Emanuel Sanders for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Broncos. Dallas did get a spark at the end of the half when Dan Bailey drilled a 56 yard field goal to get the Cowboys within 21-10.

However, the Broncos moved 75 yards in 15 plays in the third quarter, taking 7 minutes off the clock. Siemian’s fourth touchdown pass, a 2 yarder to Green, had the Broncos cruising up 28-10. Prescott was then intercepted, setting the Broncos up at the Dallas 23 CJ Anderson raced all the way for the touchdown as the Broncos were winning a rout 35-10.

Late in the third quarter Siemian’s only interception had the Cowboys with a short field at the Denver 39. The fourth quarter began with Prescott hitting Jason Witten for a 28 yard touchdown. The Cowboys were within 35-17 as Prescott tried to lead a rally that never came. With 4 minutes to play, on 4th and 3 from the Denver 7, Prescott threw incomplete. With 1:12 left, on 4th and goal from the 6, Prescott was intercepted in the end zone by Aqib Talib, who returned it 103 yards for an exclamation point touchdown. Prescott finished 30 of 50 for 238 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Siemian was 22 of 32 for 231 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception. Denver is 2-0 and may have more than enough offense to complement their tenacious defense. 42-17 Broncos

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons is the Sunday night game. 8 months ago in the NFC Title Game in Atlanta, the Falcons jumped to a 24-0 lead in a 44-21 win. This time the results were similar. The Falcons moved 86 yards in 5 minutes and Devonta Freeman got the last yard to make it 7-0 Falcons. The Packers came back 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Ty Montgomery got the last yard for a 7-7 game after the first quarter. After that, it was all Falcons.

In the second quarter, The Falcons moved 87 yards in 10 plays. Freeman got the last 2 yards for another touchdown to make it 14-7 Falcons. Atlanta got it back and moved 58 yards, with Matt Bryant hitting a 51 yard field goal for a 17-7 Falcons lead. A relatively close game with one minute left in the half was broken wide open. The Packers faced 2nd and 12 from their own 3. Aaron Rodgers went deep and was intercepted, giving the Falcons the ball at the Green Bay 36. Ryan ran for 8 yards and then went deep to Mohammed San for a 21 yard gain. Ryan hit Coleman for the 3 yard touchdown for a 24-7 Falcons halftime lead. On the second play of the third quarter from the Green Bay 30, Rodgers was sacked and fumbled. Vic Beasley returned it 15 yards for another score and a 31-7 Falcons lead.

Mason Crosby hit a 28 yard field goal for the Packers and Bryant responded from 53 to make it 34-10 Falcons after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Packers moved 75 yards in 13 plays, but took 6 1/2 minutes off the clock. A 33 yard touchdown pass to Devonte Adams got the Packers within 34-16, but the 2 point conversion failed. Green Bay got it back and moved 85 yards. Montgomery got the last yard as the Packers closed to within 34-23 with 6 minutes left in regulation. The Packers needed a stop on defense but a pair of ket third down conversions bled time off the clock. By the time the Packers got the ball back, they were at their own 12 yard line with one minute left. 34-23 Falcons

Detroit Lions at New York Giants was the Monday night game. Last year a stifling defense powered the Giants to a 17-6 victory at home over the Lions in December that sent the Giants to the playoffs with momentum and left the Lions reeling. Again the Giants had the home field advantage, but these teams seem to be going in opposite directions. Early on Eli Manning was sacked and fumbled, with the Lions returning it for a touchdown. That was reversed to down by contact, but the Lions got the ball at their own 46 and moved quickly. On 3rd and 9 from the Giants 38, Matthew Stafford scrambled for 13 yards. On 3rd and 12 from the Giants 27, Stafford went deep to Jones for the touchdown and the 7-0 Lions lead.

After a touchback, the Giants moved to a critical 3rd and 6 at the Detroit 35. Manning found Evan Engram for 17 yards as the first quarter ended. On the first play of the second quarter, Manning went back to Engram for the 17 yard touchdown. The game was tied 7-7, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Engram after the score combined with the ensuing kickoff out of bounds had the Lions taking over with a short field at the Giants 45 yard line. On 3rd and 8 from the Giants 33, Stafford was sacked and fumbled the ball away. Yet on the next play from the Giants 36, Manning was intercepted by Whitehead to set the Lions up at the Giants 29. On 3rd and 6 from the Giants 7, Stafford hit Eric Ebron for the touchdown to make it 14-7 Lions.

With 3 minutes left in the half, the Lions took over at their own 25. Stafford hit Abdullah for 24 yards, but the Lions faced 3rd and 12 at the Giants 48. Stafford hit Golden Tate for 10 yards, and on 4th and 2, Jim Caldwell decided to have Matt Prater try a 56 yard field goal. Prater nailed it and the lions took a 17-7 lead to the locker rooms.

In the third quarter the Giants soon faced 3rd and 10 at their own 25. Manning hit O’Dell Beckham for 16 yards and Adams for 38 more. A 17 yard completion to Brandon Marshall meant 1st and goal at the one. Offensive holding pushed the Giants back, and on 3rd and goal at the 9, Manning hit Engram to set up 4th and goal at the 2. Ben McAdoo decided to go for it, but a false start killed the chance. Rosas hit the 25 yard field goal to get the Giants within 17-10, but it was a major lost opportunity.

The Giants were being dominated on offense and defense but were still in the game. Yet it was special teams that put the dagger in. With 13 minutes left in regulation, the Giants punted on 4th and 1 from their own 28. Agnew returned it 88 yards for the clinching Detroit touchdown. With 10 minutes left the Giants faced 4th and 3 at their own 48. A completion from Manning to Shane Vereen was ruled a first down, but Jim Caldwell properly challenged the spot. The call was reversed as the Giants turned it over on downs. The Giants then moved from their own 9 to a 1st and 10 at the Detroit 29. 4 incompletions later, the Giants were done. One ball would have been caught for a score had the receiver not been blasted. The Giants are 0-2 while the Lions have gotten to 2-0 in impressive fashion. Jim Caldwell was so pleased that he almost made a facial expression. 24-10 Lions

NFL 2017 Week 2 Prequel

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

NFL 2017 Week 2 Prequel

NFL 2017 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide

9/11/17–The other 9/11 heroes

Monday, September 11th, 2017

The heroes of September 11 that helped us heal

NFL 2017 Week 1 Recap

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

NFL 2017 Week 1 Recap

The 2017 NFL season began with fans grieving for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and bracing for Hurricane Irma in Florida. Football provided a brief respite from those lucky enough not to be in harm’s way.

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots was the Thursday night season kickoff game. The waiting is over. The NFL is back. On the very first play from scrimmage, Tom Brady went deep to a wide open receiver. The ball was slightly overthrown incomplete, and the discouraged Patriots gave up. No, not really. A few plays later Brady went deep again to Brandon Cooks for a long gain. Operating out of the hurry up offense, the Patriots marched through the Chiefs defense. An 18 yard completion to Danny Amendola followed by defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 2. Mike Gillislee ran it straight up the gut as 73 yards took less than 3 minutes for the 7-0 Patriots lead.

On the first play from scrimmage for the Chiefs, pass-happy Walrus Lite Andy Reid actually called a running play. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt promptly fumbled the ball away. His first NFL carry went for a turnover and set the Patriots up at the Chiefs 32. A draw play on 3rd and 7 saw James White gain 8 yards. On 3rd and 11 from the Chiefs 20, with the defense jumping offside, Brady fired over the middle to Rob Gronkowski for the touchdown. The Patriots appeared to lead 14-0 only 5 minutes into the game. On further review the call was reversed to an incompletion. On 3rd and 6 Brady fired to Amendola at the sticks. The Patriots rushed to the line to try and hurry up on 4th and inches but the officials called a timeout for a measurement. Bill Bellichick went for it anyway. Gillislee got the carry and got stopped cold.

The Chiefs started at their own 10 and Alex Smith was expected to throw a bunch of 4 yard dink and dunk West Coast Offense passes. Maybe something in him snapped. Maybe he knows the Chiefs will cut him after the season so Patrick Mahomes can take over. Whatever the reason, Smith let it rip. He threw the ball past the marker several times. This was not game manager check downs, but actual football. 12 plays and 90 yards resulted in Smith hitting Demetrius Harris for the touchdown. Instead of a Patriots blowout, the Chiefs had tied the game 7-7. This was not Len Dawson tying Lombardi’s Packers in Super Bowl I, but it was still impressive. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, that just meant Brady and his offense returned to the field.

The Patriots again marched quickly and easily until the red zone. On 3rd and 1 from the Chiefs 12, White got the carry and came up inches short as the first quarter ended. This time Bellichick decided not to gamble. Stephen Gostkowski began the second quarter by hitting the 25 yard field goal for a 10-7 Patriots lead.

A personal foul facemark penalty had the Chiefs taking over at their own 45. Yet a sack of Smith on 3rd and 6 ended the threat. The Patriots soon faced 3rd and 2 at their own 26. Brady hit Amendola for 22 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the New England 48, Brady found Gronkowski for 16 yards. Gillislee ran for 16 more and after a defensive pass interference call, Gillislee banged up the middle for the final 2 yards to make it 17-7 Patriots midway through the second quarter.

The Chiefs again had good field position but on 3rd and 5 from their own 41, Smith tripped without being touched for a 12 yard loss. A penalty for fair catch interference had the Patriots taking over at their own 40. A 3rd and 6 pass was dropped as the Chiefs held. Holding on the punt return had the Chiefs backed up to their own 8 yard line with under 3 minutes left in the half. Offensive holding pushed the Chiefs back to their 4.

Smith then picked the Patriots apart. He hit Travis Kelce for 14 and Wilson for 13 more. On 3rd and 3 from the New England 46, he found Tyreek Hill for 12 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Patriots 29, Smith hit Hill for 8. On the next play defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. After a run lost a couple yards, Smith hit Hunt in the flat for a 3 yard touchdown with only 13 seconds left in the half. The Chiefs were only down 17-14.

The Chiefs in the third quarter faced 3rd and 5 at their own 40. Yet Smith reverted to form, threw short of the marker, and the Chiefs punted. The defense held and the Chiefs took over at their own 25. Smith continued his Jekyll and Hyde act. Dink and dunk? No. Smith went bombs away to a wide open Tyreek Hill for a 75 yard touchdown in front of a stunned home crowd. The Chiefs led 21-17 as NFL fans wondered who this Chiefs quarterback was and what did he do with the guy who throws 4 yard passes? At this point Smith was 20 of 23 for 222 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Meanwhile, the Patriots tried a flea flicker that was blown up in the backfield. With Brady 11 of 24 for 156 yards, the Patriots punted again midway through the third quarter.

The Chiefs from their own 15 saw Smith try to go for all the marbles again, but this time his passes were well defended. The Chiefs punted and the Patriots took over at their own 46. Defensive holding pushed the Patriots just past midfield. Brady then hit Amendola for 22 yards. On the next play Brady fired to the end zone and defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. Gillislee got in as the Patriots retook the lead 24-21 with 5 minutes left in the half. The Chiefs went backward on their next drive due to a critical taunting penalty on Travis Kelce. At this point the normally disciplined Chiefs had over 10 penalties while the Patriots were only flagged twice.

On 4th and 12, the Patriots ran into the kicker, costing them a short field. On 4th and 7 they ran into the kicker again and somehow did not get flagged for roughing Dustin Colquitt. On 4th and 2, a third punt went without a flag as the Patriots took over at their own 28. Brady went bombs away to Cooks for a 54 yard gain. On 2nd and goal from the 4, a pitchout lost 6 yards. On 3rd and goal Brady threw a low pass that white caught for a touchdown, but Brady was clearly beyond the line of scrimmage. Gostkowski hit the 32 yard field goal as the Patriots led 27-21 after three quarters. Since Brady took over in 2001, the Patriots are 105-2 when holding a fourth quarter lead. One of those two losses was last year.

A poor kickoff return and another offensive penalty had the Chiefs facing 1st and 15 at their own 5. Yet again the Chiefs delivered a stunner. Smith went deep again and connected with Hunt for a 78 yard touchdown. With the home crowd now shellshocked, the Chiefs retook the lead 28-27 less than one minute into the fourth quarter. At this point Smith was 23 of 28 for 313 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The Chiefs had three drives in this game of over 90 yards. Last year they had only one drive of over 90 yards the entire season.

After a touchback, Brady connected with White for a 27 yard gain to the Kansas City 48. On 3rd and 2, a well defended screen pass left the Patriots inches short. With a full 12 1/2 minutes remaining and his defense playing poorly, Bellichick decided to go for it. Gillislee again hit a brick wall as the Patriots turned it over on downs. The Chiefs took over at their own 40 and Smith kept throwing deep Yet a well thrown ball was dropped after a hard hit. A 3rd and 8 pass left the Chiefs short of the sticks. On 4th and 1 from their own 49, the Chiefs lined up to go for it. The Patriots did not bite and the Chiefs punted. The Patriots took over at their own 12 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation.  After one first down on the ground, 3 straight incompletions gave the ball back to the Chiefs at their own 41 yard line with nine minutes left. Smith came into this game with only 6 games in his entire career of more than 300 yards passing. In this game against the defending champions, Smith gashed them. So did Hunt as his 4 yard touchdown had the Chiefs up 35-27 with 5:15 left.

Brady led the Patriots back from down 25 points in the Super Bowl, so 8 points was well within his ability. He had been protected all game, but the first sack of Brady meant 2nd and 17. A pair of bombs were well defended and fell incomplete. With 4:15 left the Chiefs took over at their own 21. The defense desperately needed a stop and could not get one. Hunt ran for a 58 yard gain and West then ran for a 21 yard touchdown. 2 plays and 15 seconds had the Chiefs romping. The Chiefs defense then sacked Brady on consecutive plays, nearly getting a safety. With 3 minutes left and facing 4th and 23 at their own 1, Bellichick threw in the towel and punted. The Chiefs tied the record for the most points ever against a Belichick coached team. They broke the record for the most yards against a Belichick coached team, with 537 yards. The Patriots were supposed to go 19-0 this year. They started 0-1 after being outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter for their third ever blown fourth quarter lead under Belichick.

The last time in 2014 the Chiefs blasted the Patriots, people said Brady and Belichick were done. The Patriots then one two more Super Bowls. Yet that game was on the road. This was an embarrassing loss at home. Clark Hunt began with a fumble. He finished with 145 rushing yards, 98 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. Brady finished 16 of 36 for 267 yards while Smith had the game of his life, going 28 of 35 for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns. Neither quarterback was intercepted. The Chiefs came in 9 point underdogs and won by 15. As for the Chiefs, they thought they found their quarterback in draftee Patrick Mahomes. Maybe they found him in Alex Smith. Belichick is dour when he wins, and even less pleasant when he loses. As for Andy Reid, he was one happy Walrus Lite after the game. 42-27 Chiefs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins — Due to Hurricane Irma, this game was postponed until Week 11 in November. Both teams will play 16 straight games without a bye week.

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills — The Jets have the talent to go 0-16 and early on they showed why. It was not the butt fumble, but it was another bumble. The Bills faced 3rd and goal at the 8. Tyrod Taylor was intercepted by Burris six yards deep in the end zone. Burris decided to run it out. He had a convoy of blockers and was on his way to a 106 yard interception return. Instead, at the Jets 42, he ran into his own man and fell down. To add insult, unnecessary roughness on the Jets moved them back to their own 27. Instead of a touchdown, they went 3 and out and punted. After a scoreless first quarter, Taylor threw a 1 yard touchdown pass to Clay for a 7-0 Bills lead. Chandler Catanzaro kicked field goals of 48 and 52 yards as the Jets only trailed 7-6 at halftime.

In the third quarter from the Buffalo 36, a short pass from Taylor to Matthews went for a 47 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Jets 15, Taylor scrambled for 14 yards and then threw a 1 yard touchdown pass to Holmes for a 14-6 Bills lead. The Jets hung tough. Short passes by Josh McCown and tough running by Matt Forte moved the Jets from their 25 to the Buffalo 9. Mccown hit Stewart for what was first ruled a touchdown, but the call was reversed. It was 2nd and goal at the one. An incompletion was followed by a completion for no gain. With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, on 4th and goal at the one, Todd Bowles decided to go for it. When people say you’re an 0-16 team and about to be fired, why not? McCown got in. McCown’s 2 point conversion try to tie the game was incomplete but the Jets were within 14-12.

Buffalo took over at their own 25 and moved to their 47 as the third quarter ended. On the first play of the fourth quarter, LeSean Shady McCoy ran for a 27 yard gain. Taylor then hit O’Leary for 22 yards down to the 4. Mike Tolbert got in from the one to make it a 9 point Bills lead with 13 minutes left in regulation. McCown would throw two more interceptions as Jets stood for Just End The Season. 21-12 Bills

Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins — Carson Wentz escaped the entire Washington defense’s scrambled around forever, and threw a 58 yard touchdown bomb to Nelson Aguilar to make it 7-0 Eagles. In the second quarter a Redskins fumble gave the Eagles a short field at the Washington 39. Laguerrette Blount took it in from the one. The extra point failed but the Eagles led 13-0. Later Wentz completed a pass to Kerrigan, but Kerrigan plays defense for Washington. The 24 yard interception return had the Redskins within 13-7. The Redskins got it back and moved 69 yards. Kirk Cousins found Thompson for a 29 yard touchdown and a 14-13 Redskins lead. On 3rd and 10 from the Philly 25 after a touchback, Wentz hit Zach Ertz for 12 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Philly 41, Wentz found Nelson Agholor for 10. Caleb surges hit a 50 yard field goal to put the Eagles up 16-14 at the break.

Early in the third quarter the Eagles faced 3rd and 10 at their own 36. Wentz connected with Smith for a 30 yard gain. Sturgis hit from 42 to make it 19-14 Eagles. The Redskins held the ball for 8 1/2 minutes and moved 66 yards in 16 plays. However, despite 1st and 10 at the 16, the drive died after a pair of Cousins incompletions. Dustin Hopkins hit the 37 yard field goal to get the Redskins within 19-17. The fourth quarter was about who wanted it least in the NFC Least. The Redskins moved from their 36 to a 3rd and 6 at the Philly 14. Cousins was intercepted at the goal line. A field position game so the Eagles take over at their own 47 with under 6 minutes left. Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for a 24 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the washington 22, Blount came up one yard short. On 4th and 1 from the 20, Doug Pederson played it safe. Sturgis hit the 37 yard field goal to make it 22-17 Eagles with 2 minutes left.

With 1:38 to play the Redskins had 2nd and 3 at their own 32. Cousins was sacked by Fletcher Cox, who picked up the fumble and raced 20 yards. Replay showed that Cousins’s arm was clearly moving forward. Replays are now determined by New York headquarters rather than the referees on the field. This way nobody knows who to blame when someone screws up. Roger Goodell will hear from Washington fans. It was a clear incomplete pass, but the fumble call was upheld. The 2 point conversion was just gravy as Week 1 ended in controversial fashion. At least this will distract from other terrible calls made in the Nation’s Capitol. 30-17 Eagles

Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans — The Titans decided to start the season with a surprise onside kick. It was a gutsy call by Mike Mularkey but it did not work as the Raiders started with a short field. Marshawn Lynch’s first carry went for 14 yards. A 22 yard completion to Jared Cook set up 1st and goal from the 8. A short pass to Amari Cooper saw him roll over a defender at the 5, somehow stay upright, and with help move the pile all the way to the end zone. After barely 2 minutes, the Raiders led 6-0. With Sebastian Janikowski on injured reserve, backup kicker Georgio Tavecchio made the extra point. Marcus Mariota immediately went after the secondary, considered Oakland’s weak link. After a pair of incompletions, he converted 3rd and 10. On 3rd and 8 from the Oakland 44, Mariota converted again. on 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 33, Mariota converted yet again. On 1st and goal from the 10, Mariota kept it himself and practically walked into the end zone for a 7-7 tie.

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 29 and Carr hit Cook for 12 yards. On 2nd and 5 from the Oakland 46, a 9 yard completion was nullified by offensive pass interference. A 3rd and 15 deep ball was incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and 10 at the Titans 40. Carr hit Michael crabtree, who evaded tacklers for a 25 yard gain to the 12. On 3rd and 3 from the 5, Lynch came up inches short of the first down. Jack Del Rio went for it. The entire world expected Lynch to get the carry. Lynch appeared stopped in the background but bulled his way for just enough. On 1st and goal at the 2, 3 straight passes to Cooper were dropped. The 1st and goal pass was particularly egregious as the Raiders settled for the chip shot field goal try. Tavecchio hit from 20 to make it 10-7 Raiders. The 15 play, 73 yard, 7 minute drive was an example of not finishing. Those who remember the Seattle-New England Super Bowl will ask why again the ball was not handed to Lynch.

The Titans soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 30. A completion came up 2 yards short as the Raiders finally held on defense and got it back at their own 14. Carr moved the Raiders to a 1st and 10 at the Titans 43. Yet consecutive sacks of Carr killed the drive. A perfect punt by Marquette King had the Titans backed up to their own one yard line. on 3rd and 5, Mariota torched the pathetic Oakland secondary for a 25  yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 48, Mariota completed an 11 yard pass for another third down conversion followed by a couple more first down passes. The Raiders had no answers. On 2nd and goal from the 6, a high fade to the end zone was defended at the last moment by Karl Joseph. On 3rd and goal Mariota avoided several tacklers but was finally forced out of bounds at the 4 yard line. The Titans moved 95 yards but only got a 23 yard field goal for a 10-10 tie with 44 seconds left in the half. Carr went right to work, hitting Crabtree for 15 and 8, Deandre Washington for 13, and Cook for 9. With 2 seconds left Tavecchio came in for a 52 yard field goal try. he nailed it and the Raiders took a 13 -10 lead to the locker rooms.

In the third quarter the Raiders finally held on defense but the offense was pinned inside their own 10. A 3rd and 3 pass to Crabtree was dropped. The Titans went 3 and out and the Raiders got it back at their own 37. On 3rd and 8 Carr hit cooper for 11 yards and Lynch for 16 more. On 4th and 15 from the Tennessee 39, Jack Del rio decided to punt rather than try a 57 yard field goal. The Titans ran into punter Marquette King. it was still 4th and 10, but now Del Rio went with a 52 yard try. The Tennessee blunder was costly as Tavecchio again connected for a 16-10 Raiders lead. The Titans moved easily after a touchback to a critical 3rd and 2 at the Oakland 7. A pitchout to DeMarco Murray was blown up in the backfield for a one yard loss. Ryan Succop hit the 25 yard field goal as the Titans were within 16-13 after three quarters.

This time the Raiders moved the ball. From the Oakland 30, Carr found Cook for 11. Lynch ran for 12 and 4 more. On 3rd and 6 from the Titans 43, Carr hit Jalen richard for just enough. Carr went to Crabtree for 18 yards and to Seth Roberts for the 19 yard touchdown. With 12 minutes left in regulation the Raiders finally had some breathing room up 23-13. The defense again held and the Raiders had 3rd and 6 at the Titans 48. Carr threw incomplete and the Raiders punted again. With 6:44 left from their own 20, this time the Titans moved quickly. However, despite 1st and 10 at the Oakland 34, Mariota threw incomplete three straight times. He was not sacked all game, but he faced more pressure in the second half. Succop hit the key 52 yard field goal to get the Titans within 23-16.

Cordarelle Patterson was brought in for explosiveness, and he returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Oakland 41. Marshawn Lynch was brought in to finish games for a Raiders team that has struggled to put teams away. After 2 Lynch carries, on 3rd and 3, Richard gained 7 for a key first down. Richard gained 9 and Lynch added 5 for another first down. At the 2 minute warning, on 3rd and 2 from the Tennessee 23, a first down would end it. This time Lynch lost 2 yards. Tavecchio came in to try and ice the game. After making field goals of 20, 52 and 52 again, he hit the 43 yarder. Injured Seabass pumped his fist, as did Carr. The Raiders led by 10 with 1:10 to play. The Titans reached the Oakland 34 with 12 seconds left and 0 timeouts. Needing 2 scores, succor came in to try from 52. He missed it bad wide. The Raiders won a tough road win to start the season. 26-16 Raiders

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans — Heavy hearts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey saw Houston fans cheer on their beloved Texans. J.J Watt has raised over 27 million dollars for relief efforts. Meanwhile, the Jaguars were happy to be on the road and away from Hurricane Irma. Now it was time to play football. Jared Myers hit a 42 yard field goal to put the Jaguars up 3-0. Myers hit from 25 early in the second quarter for a 6-0 Jaguars advantage. Things got worse for Houston as the Jaguars moved 53 yards and Fournette got the last yard for a 12-0 Jaguars lead. The Texans problem is offense. They don’t have one. A fumble was picked up by Dante Fowler and returned 53 yards for a touchdown and a 19-0 Jaguars lead. Tom Savage was benched in the third quarter and replaced with rookie Deshaun Watson. Watson did lead a 14 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive ending in a 4 yard touchdown pass to Hopkins. That was all as Jacksonville’s improved defense turned out the lights. Blake Bortles played mistake free football, leading a 10 play, 75 yard, 5 minute drive. A one yard touchdown pass to Bohanan made it 26-7 Jaguars after three quarters. Myers tacked on a 38 yard fourth quarter field goal to complete the scoring. The vastly improved Jaguars defense had 10 sacks. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin was so pleased, he almost smiled. 29-7 Jaguars

Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions — Matthew Stafford is the NFL’s highest paid player. His first touchdown pass was an 82 yarder to Bethel. Unfortunately for Lions fans, Bethel plays defense for the Arizona Cardinals as they led 7-0 on the road. The Lions had to punt on 4th and 21 from their own 3. The punter fumbled the snap in the end zone. With no time to kick it, the only thing was pick it up and avoid a defensive touchdown or safety. The Cardinals took over at the Detroit 13. Yet 7 plays netted only 7 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 2, A swing pass by Carson Palmer lost 4 yards. Phil Dawson hit the 24 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Cardinals after the first quarter. In the second quarter an interception of Palmer gave the Lions a short field at the Arizona 42. It took the Lions over 6 minutes to go less than half the field. Yet a 6 yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Jones followed by a failed extra point had the Lions within 10-6. On the last play of the half Matt Prater drilled a 58 yard field goal to get the Lions within 10-9. In the third quarter the Cardinals moved 94 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. Williams ran for the 3 yard touchdown as the Cardinals led 17-9. After that the game drastically changed.

With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, the Cardinals took over at their own 21looking to put the game away. They did, but not in the way they intended. David Johnson fumbled and the Lions took over at the Arizona 10. Stafford hit Theo Riddick for a 7 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Lions were within 17-15. The Lions got it back to start the fourth quarter at their own 33. On 3rd and 10 Stafford hit Jones for 16, Golden Tate for 17, and Jones for 16 more. A 10 yard touchdown pass to Golladay had the Lions up 21-17 with 9 1/2 minutes to play. The Lions got it back at their own 28. From the Arizona 45, Stafford again went deep to Golladay for a touchdown and a 28-17 Lions lead with 4 1/2 minutes to play. After a touchback, Palmer was immediately intercepted by Killebrew, who returned it 35 yards for a touchdown and a 35-17 Lions lead. 26 straight points had Jim Caldwell so pleased that he almost made a facial expression. Arizona got one more garbage touchdown but this game was a tale of two quarterbacks. Palmer was 27 of 48 for 269 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Stafford had the early interception, but finished 29 of 41 for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns. 35-23 Lions

Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears — The defending NFC champions had a chance to feast on a supposedly weak Bears team. The Falcons moved from their own 8 to a 3rd and 1 at the Chicago 29. Coleman lost a yard and the Falcons settled for a 48 yard Matt Bryant field and a 3-0 lead. 11 plays, 62 yards and 7 minutes could not close the deal. In the second quarter Connor Barth nailed a 54 yarder for a 3-3 game. The Falcons moved 83 yards in 11 plays and 7 minutes. Devonta Freeman ran it in from yards out to make it 10-3 Falcons. The Bears answered with a 75 yard drive.  Howard ran it in from 4 yards out for a 10-10 deadlock.

In the third quarter the Falcons moved 76 yards in 13 plays and took 6 1/2 minutes. Again they bogged down in the red zone, setting for a 28 yard Bryant field goal and a 13-10 lead. With 12 minutes left in regulation the Falcons faced 3rd and 3 at their own 12. Rather than play it safe, Dan Quinn went for all the marbles. Matt Ryan went deep to Hooper for an 88 yard touchdown and a 20-10 Falcons lead. After a touchback the Bears faced 3rd and 2 at their own 43. Mike Glennon hit Sims for a 22 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 25, Glennon hit Bellamy for 6 and Cohen for the 19 yard touchdown. midway through the fourth quarter the Bears were within 20-17.

a 40 yard kickoff return had the Falcons stating at their own 35. On 3rd and 10 a short pass from Ryan to Hooper went for 40 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Chicago 28, defensive holding kept the drive going. The Falcons settled for a 37 yard Bryant field goal for a 6 point lead with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation. After nearly fumbling the ensuing kickoff, the Bears took over at their own 18 with a chance to win. On 3rd and 5 Glennon hit Wright for 16 yards. With 46 seconds left the Bears faced 4th and 3 at the Atlanta 42. Glennon hit Bellamy for 14 and zach Miller for gains of 12 and 11. With 21 seconds left, the Bears had 1st and goal at the 5. Three incompletions set up 4th and goal with 8 seconds left. Glennon was sacked. These are the Bears. 23-17 Falcons

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals — Ravens fans were worried. Joe Flacco has a bad backo. Yet Flacco started. tHE ravens took 8 minutes and 13 plays to go only 57 yards. Justin Tucker hit a 25 yard field goal to open the scoring. In the second quarter, Red Rifle Andy Dalton moved the Bengals from their own 9 to a 3rd and 7 at the Baltimore 9. Dalton was then intercepted. The Ravens went 76 yards. Flacco threw a 48 yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin on 3rd and 7 for a 10-0 Ravens lead. Flacco is backo. On 2nd and 6 from the Cincy 17, Dalton was intercepted again to give the Ravens 1st and goal at the 2 with 90 seconds left in the half. West got in for a 17-0 Ravens lead at intermission. A mind-numbingly boring second half saw Tucker tack on another 25 yarder in the third quarter before both teams took the rest of the game off. 20-0 Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns — The Browns took a knee during the preseason until legend Jim Brown slapped them into reality. Sadly, Jim Brown cannot fix a 1-15 team by himself. A blocked punt gave the Steelers the early 7-0 lead. The Browns started rookie Deshawn Kizer. His very first NFL game against a potential Super Bowl contender did not rattle him. He led a 12 play, 68 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. Kizer snuck the last yard himself for a 7-7 game. The Browns hung tough all game. With 4 minutes left in the half the steelers took over at their own 9. Ben Roethlisberger went deep to Antonio Brown for a 50 yard gain. He went back to Brown for gains of 11 and 19. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Brown hit James for the score as the Steelers led 14-7 at halftime.

In the third quarter a field position game had the Browns taking over at their own 41. On 2nd and 8 from the Pittsburgh 9, Kizer was sacked. Yet Gonzalez hit a 24 yard field goal as the Browns were only down 14-10. After a touchback, from the Pittsburgh 41, Big Ben went deep and got a defensive pass interference call for 41 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Roethlisberger hit James for the touchdown and the 21-10 Steelers lead. Kizer led the Browns from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 29. He played well most of the day but his only mistake was a drive killing interception. The Steelers early in the fourth quarter moved to a 3rd and 9 at the Cleveland 29. Big Ben was then intercepted in return.

With 6 1.2 minutes left the Browns had it at their own 27. Kizer went to Isaiah Crowell for 10, then went deep to Louis for 29 yards and to Crowell for 23 more. With 3:40 left, the Browns faced 4th and 2 at the 3. Kizer hit Coleman for the touchdown and Crowell ran in the 2 point conversion. The Browns were within 3 points. With 2:47 to play the Steelers faced 2nd and 12 at their own 18. Big Ben went deep to Brown for a 38 yard gain. Hue Jackson challenged the catch and lost. Leveon Bell ran for 15 yards as the Steelers ran out the clock. It was not pretty, but Mike Tomlin has been winning tough games for over a decade. 21-18 Steelers. Despite the loss, the Browns might finally have a quarterback.

 

Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams — Andrew Luck is injured and Aaron Donald ended his holdout, giving the Rams defense the big edge over the Colts offense. Early on Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein hit a 50 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Rams. luck’s backup is Scott Tolzien. On 3rd and 10 from the Indy 25, Tolzien completed a pass to Johnson, who plays defense for the Rams. The 39 yard interception return made it 10-0 Rams. Tolzien stayed unfazed and moved the Rams after a touchback to a 1st and goal at the one. Mack lost a yard and then gained nothing. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Tolzien threw incomplete. Adam Vinatieri hit the 20 yard field goal to get the Colts within 10-3. After that the levee broke.

In the second quarter the Rams moved 69 yards. Todd Gurley ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 17-3 Rams. Jared Goff then led the Rams 58 yards and threw an 18 yard touchdown pass to Cupp to make it 24-3 Rams as Chuck Pagano prepared his resume. Zeurlein tacked on a 35 yard field goal to make it 27-3 Rams at halftime. The blowout continued in the third quarter. After Zuerlein added a 30 yard field goal, Tolzien threw a pass to Joyner. Joyner also plays defense for the Rams. The 29 yard interception return made it 37-3 Rams. The Colts would finally crack the end zone but then surrender a safety and another touchdown. Sean McCoy got the Gatorade bath for his first professional win and Michelin Man Wade Phillips enjoyed seeing his defense tee off. 46-9 Rams

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers — These teams have had some legendary games, from Al Harris intercepting Matt Hasselbeck to the Fail Mary Game to the onside kick in the NFC Title Game in 2014. This time an interception of Aaron Rodgers appeared to be a Seattle touchdown, but an illegal block nullified the score. Defenses dominated the scoreless opening 29 minutes. With 48 seconds left in the half the Seahawks faced 2nd and 11 at their own 10. A short gain left 3rd and 3 at their own 18. The Packers took a timeout on defense, and it came back to bite them. Chris Promise gained 4 yards and Seattle took another timeout with 30 seconds left. Russell Wilson completed a pass to Doug Baldwin for 34 yards. Wilson then scrambled for 29 yards to the Green Bay 15 with 12 seconds left in the half. After a pass to the end zone was nearly intercepted, it was 3rd and 10 with 4 seconds left. Pete Carroll took no chances. Blair Walsh hit the 33 yard field goal for a 3-0 Seahawks lead at the half. Defenses dominated this game. In the third quarter the Seahawks faced 3rd and 18 at their own 13. Dom Capers dialed up the pressure and Wilson was sacked and fumbled. The Packers recovered at the Seattle 6 yard line. On the next play Ty Montgomery ran it in for a 7-3 Packers lead.

Seattle took over and soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 35. the defense jumped offside and on the next play Carson ran for a 30 yard gain. Seattle made it to 1st and goal at the 3. Carson got stopped for no gain and Wilson threw incomplete twice. Walsh hit the 21 yard field goal but the Seahawks trailed 7-6 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. The Packers soon faced 1st and 20 at their own 10. Rodgers hit Kendricks for 9 and scrambled for 13 more. A 12 yard completion to Montgomery was followed by a 32 yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson for a 14-6 Packers lead. The defense clamped down and Mason Crosby hit a critical4 1 yard field goal to make it 17-6 Packers midway through the fourth quarter. Walsh responded from 40 to get the Seahawks within 8 with 6:20 left in regulation. The vaunted Seattle defense needed a stop. They didn’t get one. On 3rd and 4 from the Seattle 45, Rodgers scrambled for 6 yards and a key first down. Rodgers went deep and was intercepted, but defensive offsides nullified the interception. With 2:45 to play, on 2nd and 6 from midfield, a swing pass from Rodgers to Marcellus Bennett went for 26 yards as the Packers took the final 6:20 off the clock for a big win. 17-9 Packers

Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers — In the first quarter Cam Newton threw a 40 yard touchdown pass to Shepard for a 7-0 Panthers lead. Late in the half Newton overthrew a wide open receiver in the end zone. Graham Gano hit a 39 yard field goal for a 10-0 Panthers lead. Gano hit again from 36 as the Panthers led 13-0 at recess. On the second play of the third quarter, Brian Hoyer was intercepted by Luke Kuechly, setting up the Panthers at the San Francisco 28. Newton hit Jermaine Stewart for a 9 yard touchdown pass to make it 20-0 Panthers. Carolina got it back but got no further than the 2 yard line. Gano hit from 20 to make it 23-0 Panthers. The 49ers did kick a field goal and then drove to a 4th and goal at the 3. The West Coast Offense stopped working 2 decades ago. A sideways pass meant a turnover on downs. Throwing past the marker is a lost art. Dink. Dunk. Death. 23-3 Panthers

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys is the Sunday night game. The Cowboys got good news before the game when a judge cleared Ezekiel Elliott to play. The NFL is appealing the ruling, but by the time the case is heard the season might be over. Meanwhile, O’Dell Beckham was inactive due to his ankle injury. Dallas went 13-3 last year but the Giants beat them twice, including a brutal 10-7 Big Blue win in Dallas. The first half of this game was another defensive headknocker. Dan Bailey hit a 21 yard first quarter field goal and a 48 yarder in the second quarter for a 6-0 Cowboys lead at the 2 minute warning. From the Giants 36, Das Prescott went deep for Dez Bryant and was gifted a very questionable defensive pass interference call From the Giants 15, Prescott fired to Elliott for the touchdown and the 13-0 Cowboys lead with 1:41 left in the half. The Giants went 3 and out with 3 incompletions that stopped the clock. Dallas got it back at their own 24 with 1:19 in the half. Prescott hit Williams for 14 and scrambled for 17 yards to the Giants 34. Bailey hit from 42 to make it 16-0 Cowboys at the half.

After a touchback to start the third quarter, the Giants embarked on a staggering 16 play, 68 yard drive that consumed 9:45 off the clock. Yet despite 1st and goal at the 5, they could not punch it in. On 2nd and goal at the 4, Eli Manning was sacked for a 9 yard loss. Rosas hit the 25 yard field goal as the Giants trailed 16-3 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. The Cowboys took over at their own 18.

Prescott connected with Bryant for a 35 yard gain but after that the Giants held on defense. However, the offense could not get anything going. With 12 minutes left in regulation the Cowboys faced 3rd and 6 at their own 24. Prescott threw to Cole Beasley, who juggled it and somehow made a one-handed grab behind his neck. The Giants refused to challenge the catch. On 3rd and 3 from the Dallas 38, Prescott hit Elliott for a 30 yard gain. From the Giants 32, offensive holding pushed the Cowboys out of field goal range after 3 Prescott incompletions. The Giants had another chance at their own 10 with 8 1/2 minutes left.

Manning avoided a sack and hit Engram for a 31 yard gain. On the next play Manning fired over the middle. at first the ball was intercepted, but it appeared the receiver ripped it out of the defender’s hands. The referees ruled an interception and the Cowboys took over at their own 48. On 3rd and 4 from the Giants 34, Elliott gained 6. At the 2 minute warning the Cowboys lined up for a 36 yard field goal. It was good, and the Cowboys had the win. Jason Witten broke Michael Irvin’s team record for most total receiving yards ever. 19-3 Cowboys

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings was the early Monday night game. With the patriotism of 9/11 in the background, the first of two Monday Night Football games got underway to start the season. Drew Brees led the Saints from their 19 to the red zone, but after that the drive bogged down due to an offensive holding call. Will Lutz hit a 43 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Saints. Sam Bradford did likewise from the Minnesota 15, but on 3rd and 6 from the New Orleans 7, Bradford threw incomplete. kai Forbath hit the 24 yarder for a 3-3 game after the first quarter. In the second quarter it was deja vu all over again as the Saints moved from their 24 to a 3rd and goal at the 5. Mark Ingram only gained 3 yards and on 4th and goal at the 2, Sean Payton opted for another field goal. Lutz hit from 21 for a 6-3 Saints lead. Then the game changed.

Minnesota took over at their own 26 and Bradford went deep to Thielen for a 35 yard gain. He then went deep again to wright for 21 more. He then went deep a third time to Diggs for the 18 yard touchdown for a 10-6 Vikings lead. Minnesota got it back at their own 5 with 1:43 left in the half. On 3rd and 1, Cook gained 10 yards. From the Minnesota 26, Bradford went deep again to Thielen for a 44 yard gain and Diggs for 20 more. With 7 seconds left in the half, the Vikings faced 3rd and goal at the 2. Bradford found Diggs for the touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Vikings led 16-6.

On the second play of the third quarter from the Minnesota 40, Bradford went deep again to Diggs for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Saints 13, Bradford threw incomplete. Forbath hit from 32 to make it 19-6 Vikings.  Late in the third quarter the saints took over at their own 11. From their own 49 Brees went deep to Lewis for a 52 yard gain. Yet despite 1st and goal at the 8, the Saints settled for a third Lutz field goal from 24 to get within 19-9 after three quarters. The Vikings soon faced 3rd and 9 at their own 12. Bradford again went deep to Thielen for 27 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter from the Saints 48, Cook ran for 32 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the 15, Bradford hit Kyle Rudolph for the touchdown and a 26-9 Vikings lead with 13 minutes left in regulation.

In desperation mode, the Saints moved from their 25 to a 3rd and goal at the 2 midway through the fourth quarter. Brees threw incomplete. Sean Payton made his reputation as a big time gambler in the Bill Parcells mode. On this night he played it safe. Needing three scores, he had Lutz kick his fourth field goal from 20 yards out to get the Saints within 26-12. After a touchback, Minnesota soon faced 2nd and 7 at their own 39. Bradford found McKinnon for 25 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Saints 27, Mike Zimmer went for the field goal to lock up the win. Forbath hit from 45 to make its 29-12 Vikings with 4 minutes left. The Saints did get one more garbage touchdown but no more. Brees finished 27 of 37 for 291 yards and the late touchdown pass, but it was Bradford who was lights out in going 27 of 32 for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Neither quarterback was intercepted, although the Saints again seem to be a team without a defense. 29-19 Vikings

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos was the late Monday night game. The Broncos ended the opening week of the 2017 NFL season by hosting the los Angeles Chargers of Orange County and San Diego, or whatever they call themselves. The game was played 11 years to the day of 9/11 of 2006 when Rivers started his very first game. That game was also on Monday Night Football against an AFC West opponent, and again he was on the road. Early on it Trevor Siemian who led the Broncos 70 yards and 13 plays and 6 minutes. A 5 yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler made it 7-0 Broncos. In the second quarter the Chargers moved 75 yards, and Rivers hit Melvin Ingram from 9 yards out for a 7-7 ballgame. After that it was all Broncos.

A 56 yard drive in the second quarter was capped with simian getting the final yard himself for a 14-7 Broncos halftime lead. On the third play of the third quarter with the Chargers facing 3rd and 6 at their own 29, Rivers was intercepted by rob. The Broncos took over with a short field at the Chargers 43. On 3rd and 6, Siemian went deep to Denarius Thomas for 29 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Siemian hit Fowler again for the touchdown to make it 21-7 Broncos. Denver got it back at their own 20 and held the ball for 7 minutes. They reached 1st and goal at the one. Stephenson lost two yards, and on 3rd and goal at the 2, Siemian threw incomplete. Brandon McManus hit the 20 yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter. With 12 minutes left in regulation, the Chargers went for it on  4th and 1 at the Denver 48. Melvin Gordon lost two yards.

3 plays later the Chargers got a ray of hope when a freaky deflected ball off the feet of two different players was intercepted, giving the Chargers the ball at the Denver 43. Rivers threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen to get the Chargers within 24-14 with 8:10 to play. After the score, Allen took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting. One minute later, with the Broncos just trying to eat up clock, a fumble by Jamal Charles gave the Chargers another short field at the Denver 38. Rivers immediately went for the bomb and hit Benjamin for another touchdown as the Chargers were now within 24-21.

After a touchback, rather than stay conservative, denver got very aggressive with the lead slipping away. Siemian went deep to green for a 44 yard gain. Denver was firmly in command facing 2nd and 7 from the Chargers 13, looking to lock up the game. Siemian was sacked for a 6 yard loss. Then he was sacked again for a 13 yard loss. A 31 yard field goal try was now a 50 yard attempt. McManus has the leg, but he was no good. With 4 minutes left, the Chargers took over at their own 40 very much alive. Rivers hit Williams for a 10 yard gain to midfield. After a pair of deep incompletions, a short pass was blown up in the backfield for a 2 yard loss. A good punt had the Broncos pinned at their own 15 yard line in a game both teams were trying to lose.

Denver faced a critical 3rd and 3, and under heavy pressure Siemian threw incomplete. With 2:09 left, Denver punted. The Chargers took over at their own 38 at the 2 minute warning with one timeout left. On 3rd and 1, Gordon was stopped inches short as the clock ticked down. The Chargers stood around with no sense of urgency as the Chargers finally called their final timeout with 42 seconds left. This time Gordon got the first down. Rivers then threw over the middle and was nearly intercepted. However, defensive pass interference put the ball on the Denver 35 yard line with only 17 seconds remaining. on the next play Von Miller appeared to jump offsides but it was not called as Rivers threw it away with 14 seconds left. Rivers then fired to Allen at the Denver 27 with 8 seconds left. On 3rd and 2, Rivers threw incomplete. In came rookie kicker Younghoe Koo from South Korea. The kick from 44 yards was good, but Denver called timeout before the kick. The second attempt was blocked. New year, new coach, new city, same Chargers. 24-21 Broncos

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Chabad, Rotary, Kiwanis and other Hurricane Harvey charity helpers

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NFL 2017 Preseason: Week 4 Raiders Recap

Friday, September 1st, 2017

NFL 2017 Preseason: Week 4 Raiders Recap

The Oakland Raiders hosted the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth and final preseason game for both teams. While the Raiders have yet to win a preseason game, the starting offense looks ready to go. The secondary is a major concern. The third preseason game resembles regular season football. The fourth one is strictly for backups trying to survive. Derek Carr and the starting offense took the night off. So did his counterpart Russell Wilson.

EJ Manuel got the start and disaster immediately struck. The Raiders fumbled the ensuing kickoff, retaining possession at their own 11 yard line. On the second play from scrimmage on 2nd and 1, a fumble this time was recovered by the Seahawks. Trevor Boykin got to start the game for Seattle at the Oakland 9 yard line. With Khalil Mack and the starting defense also taking the night off, the backup defense somehow held the Seahawks to a field goal for a 3-0 Seahawks lead.

Later in the first quarter, the Raiders fumbled for the third time but again retained possession long enough to punt. The Seahawks took over at their own 14. Boykin went deep to Williams for 21 yards, to Lawler for 24 more, and on 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 34 went deep to Smith for the touchdown. The Seahawks led 10-0 after the first quarter. The Raiders have no depth, and had better hope their starters stay healthy in the regular season. Connor Cook briefly came in for Manuel, with no success.

Late in the first quarter on 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 45, Boykin went deep and was intercepted. The Raiders began the second quarter with 3rd and 4 at the Seattle 43. A false start and a completed pass for a 4 yard loss meant another Raiders punt. The Seahawks moved from their 14 to a 2nd and 8 at the Oakland 21. Boykin was intercepted at the 6 yard line, preventing a blowout.

Manuel has not looked good at all this preseason, but against backups he finally showed something that may keep him on the roster. A 14 play, 8 minute, 94 yard drive culminated in an 18 yard touchdown pass to Hatcher. Just past the 2 minute warning, the Raiders had gotten within 10-7. The Seahawks moved from their own 9 to a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 36 with 18 seconds left in the half. A pair of incompletions left 6 seconds. The Hail Mary never happened as Boykin was sacked for an 11 yard loss to end the half.

Boykin was done as Austin Davis started the second half for the Seahawks. On 2nd and 20 from the Seattle 15, Davis found Williams for a 36 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 29, a run lost 2 yards and Blair Walsh missed a 49 yard field goal.

Cook came back in at quarterback at the Oakland 39. A pair of defensive penalties for unnecessary roughness gave the Raiders 30 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Seattle 16, Cook threw incomplete. With Sebastian Janikowski not playing, backup kicker Georgio Tavecchio hit the 34 yard field goal for a 10-10 game midway through the third quarter. The Seahawks moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 5 at the Oakland 42, but Davis threw incomplete. The Raiders moved from their own 11 to the Seattle 13. George Atkinson ran for the touchdown, but offensive holding nullified it. Tavecchio then missed a 36 yard field goal  to end the third quarter in this ugly game.

In the fourth quarter the Seahawks moved from their 31 to a 3rd and 7 at the Oakland 44. Davis was sacked for an 8 yard loss. The Raiders moved from their own 16 to a 3rd and 1 at the Seattle 9. Crockett got the critical carry and lost a yard. Tavecchio made the 28 yard field goal to cap the 10 play, 74 yard, 6 minute drive. The Raiders were 3:45 away from a preseason win. A week earlier the backup defense collapsed in the final minute. Guys desperate to make the roster had a chance to get it done.

Seattle took over at their 25. Davis hit Swoopes for 6 yards and then went deep to Rogers for a 25 yard gain. At the 2 minute warning, the Seahawks faced 3rd and 11 at the Oakland 45. Davis found swooped for just enough. On 2nd and 7 at the Oakland 31, Davis threw incomplete. However, defensive pass interference meant 1st and 10 at the Oakland 16 with 1:15 to play. Davis went to Lawler for the touchdown. Once again, the Oakland defense collapsed. The Raiders got it back at their own 11 but Cook never had a chance. With 10 seconds left, On 3rd and 12 from the Oakland 23, Cook was intercepted.

The Seahawks finished the preseason 4-0 and the Raiders winless at 0-4. Yes, both teams are now 0-0 like everybody else when the preseason ends. Jack Del Rio can put a happy face on things and remind everyone that preseason games do not matter. The truth is that the Raiders went 12-4 last year because Carr carried the team. He led several comebacks, but the Raiders could not mask their deficiencies on defense. Once he went down, the team was finished. Carr looked fine in the preseason, and backup defenses losing in the final moments do not matter once the starters take over.

However, Carr has to get some help. The preseason showed that the Raiders have zero depth. They lost all 4 preseason games by a combined 21 points, losing the final 3 games by a total of 11 points. The Raiders have 10 days to get ready for the first game that actually counts. They will be at the Tennessee Titans, a much improved team from years past. In preseason, how a team looks matters more than the score. In the regular season, ugly wins are gorgeous. We will soon know if the Raiders are ready to take the next step forward or a giant step backward.

eric