NFL 2012 Week 6 Recap
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans was the Thursday night game. These former division rivals played some head-knockers over the years, but after making the playoffs last year both of these teams have struggled this year as Mike Tomlin and Mike Munchak try to right their respective ships.
From the Tennessee 27, Matt Hasselbeck came out throwing, hitting Nate Washington for 19 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Pittsburgh 47, Hasselbeck found Kenny Britt for 15 yards. Defensive pass interference would set up 1st and goal at the 2, but a sack of Hasselbeck had the Titans settling for a 22 yard Rob Bironas field goal and a 3-0 lead. Rainey returned the ensuing kickoff 49 yards to the Pittsburgh 45. On 3rd and 6 Ben Roethlisberger found Ian Redman for a 33 yard gain. The Steelers would settle for a 33 yard Shawn Suisham field goal to tie the game 3-3.
Pittsburgh got it back at their own 18 and needed only one play as Big Ben went deep to speedster Mike Wallace for an 82 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Steelers. Tennessee soon faced 3rd and 8 from their own 29. Hasselbeck went deep to Britt for a 31 yard gain. Britt fumbled it, but got it back for 6 more yards. Hasselbeck hit Williams for 12 more but again the Titans would stall and settle for a 39 yard Bironas field goal and a 10-6 deficit in an active first quarter.
On the last play of the first quarter the Steelers punted from their own 23. It was blocked by Shaw and recovered by McCourty as the Titans began the second quarter on the Pittsburgh one yard line. Harper got the yard to make it 13-10 Titans. The rest of the half was almost all defense. With 1:49 left in the half the Steelers took over at their own 13. Big Ben went deep to Redman for a 55 yard gain to the Tennessee 32. The Steelers were in long field goal range, but on the next play Roethlisberger was intercepted. The titans had 90 seconds to work with, but they were at their own 12 yard line.
Chris Johnson gained 9 and Hasselbeck hit Cook for gains of 4 and 19. On 3rd and 10 from the Tennessee 44 with 30 seconds left, Hasselbeck hit Johnson for 12. On 3rd and 10 from the Pittsburgh 44, Hasselbeck hit Wright with 4 seconds for a 15 yard gain. Rob Bironas nailed a 47 yarder at the gun to have the Titans up 16-10 going into the locker rooms.
Pittsburgh began the second half at their own 25 and a roughing the passer penalty moved them to their 48. Big Ben hit Heath Miller for 14 to the Tennessee 40. and Redman for 13 to the 24. Yet on 2nd and 6 from the 10 Roethlisberger twice threw incomplete and again Pittsburgh would settle for a field goal. Suisham hit from 28 to get the Steelers to within 16-13. Tennessee would reach 2nd and 7 from the Pittsburgh 36 but a sack of Hasselbeck killed the drive. The first quarter was wide open, the second and third quarters fairly quiet, and the fourth quarter saw the teams move the ball again.
On 3rd and 6 from their 24, Roethlisberger hit Miller for an 11 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from their 35, Big Ben found Miller again for 17 yards. Batch ran for 10 and on 3rd and 8 from the Titans 33 Roethlisberger found Emanuel Sanders for 10 as the third quarter ended. Roethlisberger found Rainey for 12 and defensive pass interference moved the ball to the one. On 3rd and goal Batch got in to complete the 15 play, 6 1/2 minute drive and put the Steelers up 20-16 less than 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Tennessee moved from their 25 to the Pittsburgh 48, when Hasselbeck was intercepted. From the Tennessee 48, Roethlisberger hit Wallace for 12 but the Steelers got little else. Suisham nailed a 52 yarder. Each kicker was 3 for 3 as the Steelers led 23-16 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the game.
After a touchback Johnson ran for 12 and Hasselbeck hit Wright for 16. On 3rd and 8 from midfield Hasselbeck went deep to Wright for a 35 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the 15 with 4 1/2 minutes to play, Hasselbeck threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and goal at the 5 Hasselbeck found Britt for the touchdown to tie the game 23-23.
From the Pittsburgh 11, Roethlisberger moved the Steelers smartly. He hit Sanders for 9 and again for 22 more. At the 2 minute warning on 3rd and 5 from their 47, Big Ben scrambled for a 14 yard gain. The Steelers would get no further than the Titans 36. On 4th and 7 with 54 seconds to play, Mike Tomlin opted for the field goal. From 54 yards out, Suisham was no good.
With the miss, the Titans had excellent field position at their own 45 and 49 seconds to work with. On 3rd and 5 from midfield, it all came down to the next play. Hasselbeck found Cook for a 25 yard gain. With 3 seconds left Bironas came in for a 40 yarder to win it. Suisham was 3 for 4, but Bironas was 4 for 4, and the Titans had the comeback victory.
Hasselbeck was 25 of 44 for 290 while Roethlisberger was 24 of 40 for 363 yards. Both quarterbacks threw one touchdown and were intercepted once. Yet after another close loss, Mike Tomlin has to keep the season from spiraling downward. Tennessee snapped a three game losing streak. They are still in a hole, but a loss would have ended their season. 26-23 Titans
Oakland Raiders @ Atlanta Falcons–The Raiders are a very bad team on the road against a very good team. Will this be the upset of the year? No. The Raiders have lost games by 16, 22, and 31. They are getting worse, and could lose this game to the 5-0 Falcons by 50-0. For more on the game of the day go to http://www.justblogbaby.com
Matt Ryan went deep to Julio Jones to start things off with a 25 yard gain. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Oakland 43, Ryan was intercepted by Hanson, who returned it 21 yards to the Oakland 41. Darren McFadden ran for 7 yards, but a long gain on second down was nullified by offensive holding. On the next play McFadden fumbled, and McClain returned it 13 yards to the Oakland 32. On 3rd and 1 a pitchout got blown up in the backfield. Matt Bryant was 10 for 10 on field goals, but he missed this one from 43 to keep the game scoreless.
Oakland reached the Atlanta 40 but Dennis Allen decided to punt rather than go for the 58 yard field goal try. After a touchback, Ryan went deep to Roddy White for a 41 yard gain. Yet Ryan went deep again and was intercepted by Michael Huff. The Raiders took over at their own 2 yard line and somewhere in Heaven Al Davis had to be smiling when Carson Palmer went deep to Denarius Moore for a 49 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Atlanta 43, Darrius Heyward-Bey took an end around 20 yards. Offensive pass interference later on and a sack would kill the forward momentum, but Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 52 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Raiders as the first quarter was ending.
Atlanta began the second quarter with 2nd and 1 from their 29 when Michael Turner ran for 9 yards and then 5 more. Ryan then hit Jones for 10, Douglas for 8, White for 14, Douglas for 4, Jones for 19, and White for a 4 yard touchdown to complete the 80 yard, 5 minute drive and get the Falcons up 7-3 with 10 minutes left in the half.
After a touchback McFadden ran for 14 and Palmer hit David Ausberry for 12 and Rod Streater for 7. After offensive holding, Palmer found Mike Goodson on a perfectly executed screen pass that gained 37 yards to the Atlanta 19. Palmer then hit Denarius Moore for 11 yards. McFadden gained 7, but 2nd and goal from the 1 was followed by an incomplete pass and McFadden getting leveled in the backfield for a 3 yard loss. Again the Raiders had to settle for a 22 yard Seabass field goal as they trailed 7-6 with 4 minutes left in the half.
Disaster struck Atlanta after a touchback. Ryan was sacked for an 8 yard loss. On 3rd and 13 an incomplete pass was nullified by dfensive holding on Wheeler. Yet Wheeler redeemed himself on the next play. Ryan was belted just as he threw it, resulting in a duck that was intercepted by Tyvon Branch, who returned it 11 yards to the Atlanta 28. Palmer rolled out, had all the time in the world, and fired to Denarius Moore, who spun away from two tacklers and raced for a 25 yard touchdown. With 1:50 left in the half the Raiders had a 13-7 lead.
After an exchange of punts the Falcons faced 3rd and 3 from their 37 midway through the third quarter. Ryan went deep to Douglas for a 20 yard gain, to Gonzalez for 6, and to White for 14 more. Yet 1st and 10 from the Oakland 23 was followed by 3 straight incompletions. Bryant hit the 41 yarder as the Falcons trailed 13-10. Disaster struck the Raiders on 1st and 10 from their 39. Palmer was sacked on a blindside hit from John Abraham, resulting in a fumble that Abraham returned to the 2 yard line.
Ryan threw incomplete and Turner got a yard to make it 3rd and goal from about the one inch line. Jason Snelling got he carry and ran into a Silver and Black brick wall, losing a yard. A jubilant Oakland defense left the field as Mike Smith opted for the field goal on 4th and goal at the 2. Brant hit from 20 and the game was tied 13-13 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter twice the Raiders moved past midfield but came up short of field goal range and had to punt. The Raiders got it back at their own 10 with 6 minutes left. Mike Goodson broke through tackles for a 43 yard gain. Palmer hit Brandon Myers for 14 more. With 3 minutes left the Raiders had all the momentum as they faced 3rd and 6 at the Atlanta 28. They were well within field goal range. Rather than run it Palmer threw a dangerous sideline pass that turned into sheer horror. Asante Samuel jumped the route and coasted 79 yards for a touchdown the other way. With 2:40 to play the Raiders trailed 20-13. A decade of losing could be summed up in that one play.
After a touchback, Palmer hit Derrick Hagan for 17 yards, Myers for 10 more, and after another near interception, found Moore for 17 more. Yet offensive holding instead had the Raiders facing 2nd and 20 from their own 37 at the 2 minute warning. Palmer hit Hagan for 9 and on 3rd and 11 found Myers right at the sticks. Palmer then went deep to Hagan for a 38 yard gain. With one minue to play, the Raiders now had 1st and goal at the 5. McFadden ran for 3 and the Falcons called a timeout to stop the clock. McFadden got the final 2 yards. Despite the heartbreaking interception return, Palmer and the Raiders showed a ton of heart in fighting back to tie the game 20-20 with 40 seconds left.
Yet the feeling was that the Raiders had scored too early. The last decade has seen the Raiders have a solid defense, very little offense, and an exhausted defense at the end. The defense in this game had a goal line stand. They had given up only one touchdown on the day. Now they needed to hang on. The Falcons had Matty Ice. He hit Rodgers for gains of 7 and 9. With only 18 seconds left the Falcons faced 3rd and 6 from their own 40. One more stop would mean overtime. Ryan hit Veteran Tony Gonzalez for 10 yards. 12 seconds still remained, and Atlanta was still not in field goal range. Ryan went to Gonzalez again. Gonzalez killed the Raiders over the years while in Kansas City, and now his 13 yard reception allowed Atlanta to take their final timeout with 6 seconds left. Bryant came in for the winning field goal try. It was from 55 yards, certainly not a gimme by any stretch.
Yet Bryant was good, Mike Smith and the Falcons celebrated, and the decade of losing that is the misery of the Raiders continued. “Close” does not matter. Palmer threw for 353 yards. It did not matter. The Raiders came in the second least penalized team in the league. This week they were flagged 12 times for 110 yards to only 2 for 25 yards for Atlanta. Oakland lost 2 fumbled and had the killer interception. The defense picked off 3 passes but nothing mattered. Dennis Allen and the Raiders are 1-4. The fact that they went on the road, from the West Coast to the East Coast, against a 5-0 team, and took them to the final play, does not matter. The Raiders gave this game away. That is what losers do. Atlanta got to 6-0 because the Raiders simply have no idea how to close out football games. New regime, same old Raiders, in the AFC Worst cellar. 23-20 Falcons
Dallas Cowboys @ Baltimore Ravens–Both of these teams expected to be good this year, but either Dallas has underachieved or their expectations after an opening road win were unrealistic. The Ravens are playing at a high level and should continue to give Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and company one more shot a year after coming up one game short.
Joe Flacco led a 14 play, 7 minute drive to start the game from the Baltimore 20 to a 3rd and 1 at the Dallas 19. Yet Pierce ran around the end and lost a yard. The Ravens had to settle for a 38 yard Tucker field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Dallas took over after a touchback and on 2nd and 5 from the 25 Tony Romo hit Vickers for 11. On 3rd and 4 from their 42, Romo found Dez Bryant for 14. Murray took an end around 28 yards to the Baltimore 12. After offensive holding, Felix Jones raced 22 yards for a touchdown against the vaunted Baltimore defense as the Cowboys led 7-3.
Dallas got it back at their 20 and Romo hit Bryant for 18. Murray then ran over Baltimore for gains of 5, 13, 6, and 9. Then Felix Jones began the second quarter with a pair of 4 yard gains. Murray then ran for 3 and 6. With the running game going straight down Baltimore’s throat, Dallas switched to the passing game and the drive ended. Dan Bailey hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Cowboys.
Baltimore took over after a touchback and Ray Rice ran for 12. On 3rd and 7 from their 35, Flacco found Rice on a short pass that went for a 43 yard gain. Pierce then gained 16to set up 1st and goal at the 6. On 3rd and goal at the 2 Flacco threw incomplete, but illegal use of hands meant 1st and goal at the one. Rice got in to tie the game 10-10.
Romo moved the Cowboys from their 20 to the Baltimore 30. On 3rd and 10 from the 35, Romo was intercepted by Kevin Ogletree. The Ravens took over at their own 20. On 3rd and 14 from the 16 at the 2 minute warning, Flacco found Anquon Boldin for 20 yards, for 14 more, and again for another 20 to the Dallas 30. Flacco threw a 19 yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith to make it 17-10 Ravens at the half.
Dallas began the third quarter after a touchback with Jones running for 11 and 3 and Romo hitting Jason Witten for 35 yards. Bailey would hit a 43 yard field goal to get the Cowboys within 17-13. Yet 13 seconds later the Ravens were on the board again and in the history books. Jacoby Jones took the ensuing kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone and tied the NFL record for the longest kickoff return as the 108 yard coast to coast touchdown made it 24-13 Ravens.
Dallas soon had 2nd and 7 from their 23 as Romo hit Philips for 19 yards. Jones ran for 6 and 5. On 3rd and 11 from the Baltimore 48, Romo found Bryant for 13. On 3rd and 2 from the Baltimore 27, Jones gained 9. On 3rd and 2 from the 10 Jones ran for 3 and Romo hit Bryant for the 7 yard touchdown as the Cowboys were within 24-20 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. A field position game gave Dallas the ball back at their own 45. Yet on 4th and 5 from the Baltimore 35, Jason Garrett decided to go for it. A delay of game meant a punt.
A short punt had the Cowboys beginning the fourth quarter at the Baltimore 37. Tanner ran for 6 and 9. Dunbar gained 11. Yet on 3rd and goal from the 9, Romo was sacked. Dallas settled for a 34 yard Bailey field goal as the Cowboys trailed 24-23 with 8 1/2 minutes to play.
From the Baltimore 27, Rice gained 9 and Flacco 3 more. On 3rd and 1 from their 48, Rice gined 4. Flacco hit Boldin for 13 and then went deep to Boldin for a 35 yard gain to make it 1st and goal at the 4. With 5 minutes left, on 3rd and goal from the one, Rice got the yard and the Ravens had the 31-23 lead.
Dallas soon faced 3rd and 6 from their 24 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. Romo hit Witten for 11. On 2nd and 12 from the 33, Romo found Jones for 13. Just before the 2 minute warning Dallas faced 4th and 10 at their 46. Romo found Witten for 11 and Tanner gained 6 at the 2 minute warning. Dallas appeared to self destruct with an illegal chop block and a false start set up 3rd and 27 from the Baltimore 49. Romo found Bryant for 17 to set up 4th and 10 at the Baltimore 32. Romo hit Witten for 16 and again for 9. With 42 seconds to play it came down to 3rd and 1 at the 7. Jones gained 3 as both teams took a timeout in succession. On 1st and goal at the 4 with 36 seconds left, Romo hit Bryant for the touchdown. Now it would come down to the 2 point conversion.
Romo threw incomplete and it appeared all over. Yet Bailey executed a perfect onsides kick, and the Cowboys took over at their own 46 with 30 seconds to play down by 2 points in front of a stunned Ravens crowd. A 20 yard defensive pass interference penalty was followed by the final Dallas timeout with 6 seconds left. It all came down to Bailey from 51 yards out. The kick was no good, wide left. It was a heartstopper, but the Cardiac Ravens had another win for John Harbaugh to get to 5-1. Dallas meanwhile remains below .500 as Jerry Jones sees the season slipping away under agonizingly close losses. 31-29 Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns–The Browns can’t beat anybody, and the Bengals seem to only be able to beat the Browns. The Browns are so bad they may be renamed the Sherrod Browns. Ohio is the most important state in America for politics and the least important for professional football. The winner gets bragging rights for nothing.
After a Cincy punt, Brandon Weeden moved the Browns from their 14 to a 1st and 10 at the Bengals 27. Weeden was then intercepted, giving the Bengals the ball at their own 37. On 3rd and 2, Red Rifle Andy Dalton went deep to Jermaine Gresham for a 55 yard touchdown connection as the Bengals led 7-0.
Cleveland took over late in the first quarter at their own 13 yard line and began the second quarter with 3rd and 8 at their own 29. Yet even dink and dunk West Coaster Mike Holmgren was an elated Walrus when Weeden went deep to Gordon for a 71 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.
With 3 minutes left in the half a 32 yard punt return by Tate set up the Bengals at the Browns 27. Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis ran for 20 and then 3, and at the 2 minute warning Dalton hit AJ Green for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Bengals.
A puntfest in the third quarter saw Joshua Cribbs break a return 60 yards to the Cincinnati 30. The Browns decided that was good enough and decided not to advance the ball. phil Dawson hit the 41 yard field goal to get the Browns within 14-10.
Three plays later the Bengals faced 3rd and 7 from their 23. Dalton was intercepted, giving the Browns the ball at the Cincy 25. Cleveland again decided that advancing the ball was too strenuous an exercise, so on 3rd and 1 Weeden was sacked. Dawson hit from 38 and the Browns were only down 14-13 after three quarters. The fourth quarter defied belief.
Cleveland took over at their own 34. Weeden hit Little for 13 and Cameron for 15. On 3rd and 1 from the Cleveland 29, Weeden gained 2 and then hit Gordon for 14. Hardesty ripped off a pair of 6 yard runs, and the Browns began the fourth quarter one yard from paydirt. Hardesty got the yard and the Browns led 20-14 for their first fourth quarter lead since Otto Graham.
Naturally the ensuing kickoff was kicked out of bounds, setting up the Bengals at their own 40. Dalton hit Green for 16, and on 3rd and 1 from the Cleveland 35, Green-Ellis gained 4. The drive stalled, but Mike Nugent hit from 44 to get the Bengals within 20-17 with 11 minutes left.
Cribbs took the ensuing kickoff 7 yards deep in the end zone and returned it 44 yards to the Cleveland 37. Weeden hit Gordon for 14, and Hardesty ran for 14, 4, and 5. On 3rd and 1 from the Cincy 26, Weeden found Cameron for a 23 yard gain and then threw the 3 yard touchdown to Watson as the Browns had a 27-17 lead with 8 minutes left. On the next play from scrimmage from the Cincy 12, Dalton was intercepted by Brown, who returned it 19 yards for the touchdown. The Browns had a 34-17 lead, and were closer to their first win.
On 3rd and 17 from their 43, Dalton would go deep to Green for a 57 yard touchdown. The Bengals were back within 10 with 5 1/2 minutes left.
With 2 1/2 minutes to play the Bengals reached the Cleveland 9 yard line. Needing 2 scores, at least it was about to be a one score game. Dalton was then sacked by Stephens for a 14 yard loss. Dalton also fumbled, as Winn picked it up for the defense, returned it 35 yards, and ended the frustration. Mike Holmgren was a most happy Walrus for the first time since leaving Seattle and Pat Shurmur had his first win in awhile. To determine the winner of the presidential election, note that Cincinnati is mostly Republican and Cleveland is mostly Democratic. Yet judging by Super Bowls, nobody has won anything. At least the Browns are now a 1-5 juggernaut. 34-24 Browns
St. Louis Rams @ Miami Dolphins–Neither of these teams are any good, but Jeff Fisher has the Rams moving in the right direction. They are actually over .500 at 3-2 and in a close game, Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein could make things as interesting as possible based on how little is expected in this matchup.
On 2nd and 5 from their 25, Richardson broke free for a 44 yard gain. That was enough for Greg Zuerlein to hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Rams.
Later in the first quarter the Rams faced 3rd and 5 from their own 13. Sam Bradford hit Pettis for an 11 yard gain. On the next play Bradford went deep to Givens for a 65 yard gain down to the Miami 11. Again the defense held but Zuerlein hit from 32 to make it 6-0 Rams.
Midway through the second quarter the Rams missed a chance to make it 9-0 when Zuerlein missed from 52. Apparently he is human after all. Miami soon faced 3rd and 4 from their 48. Ryan Tannehill hit Bess for 6 yards and Moore for 12 more. On 2nd and 5 from the Rams 29, Tannehill went deep to Moore for the touchdown as the Dolphins now led 7-6 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the half.
The Rams fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving Miami the ball at the Rams 25. The Dolphins gained nothing but Carpenter hit the 42 yarder to make it 10-6 Dolphins. Bradford moved the Rams from their 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Miami 14. Yet a penalty moved them back and as the half ended Zuerlein actually missed again from 37 yards.
Miami began the third quarter at their own 38 and Tannehill hit Reggie Bush for 9, Lane for 7, and Anthony Fasano for 8. On 3rd and 4 from the Rams 30, Tennhill threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference meant 1st and 10 at the 19. On 3rd and 6 from the 15, Tannehill found for 14 and Fasano for the one yard touchdown to put the Dolphins up 17-6. The rest of the third quarter was a puntfest that deserves no elaboration.
One minute into the fourth quarter the Rams took over at their own 38. Stephen Jackson caught a pass for 6 and ran for 7. On 4th and 2 from the Miami 41, Jeff Fisher decided to go for it with 11 1/2 minutes to play. Bradford found Gibson for 8 yards and on the next play went to Richardson for a 26 yard gain to the 7. On 3rd and goal from the 2 Bradford hit Quick, who was short of the goal line. With 8 1/2 minutes left, on 4th and goal at the one, going for it was the call. Bradford snuck it in and then hit Stephen Jackson for the 2 point conversion to get the Rams within a field goal with plenty of time left.
Miami kept it on the ground as Tannehill gained 2 on 3rd and 1 from the 29. On 2nd and 1 from the Miami 40, Reggie Bush, who should be forever blamed for dating a Kardashian, failed to get the yard. On 3rd and 1, Bush, who again should never be redeemed for dating a Kardashian, again failed to get the yard. With 4 minutes left on 4th and 1, it was time to punt. Give Joe Philbin the cojones of steel award. He called a fake punt and Clemons gained 3 yards. The clock continued to tick. On 3rd and from the Rams 48, Bush, who again is a lost cause for having dated a Kardashian, this time lost a yard at the 2 minute warning. On this 4th and 2, the Dolphins would punt. A perfect punt pinned the Rams back at their own 3 yard line with one timeout and 1:41 left to play.
Bradford hit Smith for 5, Kendricks for 6, Smith for 13, and Gibson for 22 more just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 4 from the Miami 45 with 37 seconds left, Bradford was sacked for a 3 yard loss. On 4th and 7 from the Miami 48, Jeff Fisher decided to let the clock go down to 4 seconds and then hope for a miracle. Rather than try the Hail Mary, he brought in “The Leg” for a 66 yard field goal try to tie the game and enter the history books. Neither happened as Zuerlein was no good from 66. It was an ugly game as expected, but beautiful for the Dolphins who got to experience the win. 17-14 Dolphins
Indianapolis Colts @ New York Jets–This is not Super Bowl III or even the playoffs from a couple years ago. The Colts are rebuilding with confidence under rookie Andrew Luck while the Jets with 2 straight home losses and a rash of injuries are on the verge of collapsing under Rex Ryan.
On their first drive the Colts faced 3rd and 1 from the Jets 40, but Andrew Luck threw incomplete. The Colts got it back on their own 41 and defensive pass interference moved the ball to the Jets 31. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the 2, again Luck threw incomplete. On 4th and 1 the Colts took no chances on the road and settled for a 20 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.
After a touchback the Jets finally got going as Mark Sanchez hit Kerley for 9 yards and Shon Green broke free for a 21 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Colts 31, Sanchez hit Hill for 9. The second quarter began with the Jets facing 3rd and 4 from the 5. Sanchez hit Hill for the score as the Jets took a 7-3 lead after the 14 play, 7 minute, 80 yard drive.
In the second quarter, the Colts soon faced 3rd and 4 from their own 26 when Luck was intercepted, giving the Jets the ball at the Indy 35. On 3rd and 6 Sanchez hit Chaz Schilens for 12. On 2nd and 1 from the 10, Greene ran it in to make it 14-3 Jets.
Luck moved the Colts from their 15 to a 3rd and 3 at the Jets 32. Luck was then intercepted by Antonio Cromartie, who returned it 76 yards for a touchdown. Yet defensive pass interference on Cromartie instead meant 1st and 10 at the 20. The Colts moved backward and settled for a 50 yard Vinatieri field goal, but being down 14-6 was better than 21-3.
From the Jets 30, Greene gained 19 and 6 and Snachez hit Schilens for 11. On 4th and 11 from the Indy 40, Rex Ryan called a fake punt. Tim Tebow hit Nate Bellmore for a 23 yard gain to the 17. On 3rd and 1 from the 8, Tebow gained 3. Sanchez then hit Hill for the 5 yard touchdown with 30 seconds left in the half to make it 21-6 Jets.
A mostly uneventful second half eventually saw the Jets take over at their own 9. On 2nd and 7 from their 24, McKnight broke free for a 61 yard gain. Greene then ran for 2 and the final 4 to make it 28-6 Jets. The Colts would begin the fourth quarter with 1st and 10 at the Jets 29. Yet 3 Luck incompletions was followed by a bizarre decision to kick a field goal when down by 22. It was good, and the Colts trailed 28-9. Luck would move the Colts from their 20 to the Jets 12 on their next series, but Luck was intercepted in the end zone. With 4 minutes left Luck would be sacked and fumble deep in his own territory, as the Jets took over at the Indy 14.
On 3rd and goal at the 2 Greene got in to complete the blowout. This was the Ground and Pound that Rex Ryan likes. Mark Sanchez was only 11 of 18 for 82 yards. Yet Greene ran for 161 yards on 32 carries and McKnight added 71 more as Gang Green got some pride back. 35-9 Jets
Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles–Detroit is not the same team as last year despite a high-powered offense while Philadelphia won 3 games by a total of 4 points before another almost one point win last week became a 2 point loss at the gun. Michael Vick is getting belted, and fumbling the ball frequently.
A 48 yard punt return by Logan set up the Lions at the Eagles 34. The Lions could not gain a first down as they settled for old reliable Jason Hanson kicking a 46 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Lions.
Detroit got it back after a touchback and Leshoure gained 14 yards. Matthew Stafford hit Brandon Pettigrew for 10 and Bell gained 13 more. On 1st and 20 from their 47 Stafford found Megatron Calvin Johnson for 28 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the 22, defensive holding meant another automatic first down. Yet the drive stalled at the 15 and Hanson hit from 34 to make it 6-0 Lions.
Philly moved from their 29 to the Detorit 29 when Michael Vick fumbled again. Yet the second quarter began with Stafford getting intercepted to give it back. Later on Vick would move the Eagles from their 16 to their 48, but he was intercepted to kill the drive.
Philly got it back and with 4 minutes left in the half faced 3rd and 10 from their own 21. Vick found Jeremy Maclin for 17 yards and Desean Jackson for 9 more. Vick found Avant for 17, and a 26 yard defensive pass interference penalty at the 2 minute warning meant 1st and goal at the 3. Vick hit McCoy for a 2 yard touchdown to have the Eagles up 7-6 at the break.
The Eagles got the ball to start the third quarter and moved over 6 1/2 minutes from their 20 to 1st and goal at the 9. Walrus Lite Andy Reid hates running the ball, and a first down run to McCoy lost 5 yards. The Eagles settled for a 26 yard Henery field goal to make it 10-6 Eagles.
Philly got it back at their own 36 and Vick hit Maclin for 16 and Jackson for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the 10, Vick hit Maclin for 7. Yet a touchdown pass on the next play was nullified by offensive pass interference. Philly settled for a 32 yard Henery field goal to lead 13-6. Philly got it back at their own 34. Vick ran for 9 and hit Captain Morgan Brent Celek for 11. Philly began the fourth quarter at the Detroit 45, and Vick hit Jackson for 12. Yet again the Eagles would settle for a 49 yard field goal. Less than 90 seconds into the final quarter, the Eagles had a 16-6 lead as their defense had shut down Detroit.
Yet from their 20, Detroit finally woke up. Nate Burelson took an end around 16 yards. Stafford then went deep to Johnson for 37 more. On 2nd and 20 from the 21, Stafford found Johnson again for 20 more yards. Stafford snuck in the final yard himself as the Lions were only down 16-13 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Vick went for the bomb on the first ensuing play from scrimmage, but was intercepted. Detroit failed to capitalize and the Eagles got it back at their own 24. On 3rd and 4, Vick went deep again, and this time the result was a 70 yard touchdown to Maclin. Only 5 1/2 minutes remained, and the Eagles were back firmly in control up 23-13.
Detroit soon faced 2rd and 2 from their 28. Stafford hit Bell for 3, and on the next play went deep to Tony Scheffler for a 57 yard gain. On 3rd and 15 from the 17, Stafford found Burleson for the touchdown. The Lions were only down 23-20, and Jim Schwartz decided to kick it deep with 3 1/2 minutes to go rather than go onsides.
Philly took over at their own 12, and pass happy Andy Reid will simply not run the football. In 15 years he has never had a bruiser who could close out games. An incomplete pass on 3rd and 4 stopped the clock without even forcing the Lions to use their timeouts. Detroit took over at their own 32 with 2 1/2 minutes left.
Stafford hit Young for 3, Scheffler for 8, and Johnson for 17 to the Philly 40. Stafford found Johnson again for 16 down to the 25. Leshoure ran for a pair of 8 yard gains, and the Lions took their final timeout with 40 seonds to play and 1st and goal at the 9. A field goal was a gimme, but Jim Schwartz wanted the win in regulation. Stafford gained 3 and then fired incomplete to the end zone. Defensive pass interference stopped the clock as the home crowd had a lump in its throat. Detroit had 1st and goal at the one with 13 seconds left. Stafford fired incomplete twice, and on 3rd and goal 5 seconds remained. Jim Schwartz took no chances, and sent out Hanson for the 19 yard chipper. It was good and the teams went into voertime tied 23-23.
Overtime was a nightmare for the Eagles from the first play from their own 25. Vick was sacked for a 7 yard loss, and on the next play was sacked again for a 14 yard loss. After an incompletion, Philadelphia punted on 4th and 31 from their own 4. Detroit took over at midfield.
Stafford quickly hit Scheffler for 16. On 4th and 3 from the Philly 27, Old Man Hanson came in for a 45 yarder. 21 years in the league has not fazed Hanson, and his fourth field goal of the game completed the Eagles collapse and gave the Lions a hard fought comeback win. 26-23 Lions, OT
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–The Chiefs fans cheered Matt Cassel at home last week while he lay on the ground injured. Greg Schiano risks injuring quarterbacks by going all out during the kneel down formation. So the least classy fans and the least classy coach play a game nobody needs to watch.
Tampa Bay reached 2nd and 8 from the Chiefs 16 before Josh Freeman was intercepted by Houston, who returned it 22 yards to the Chiefs 36. Brady Quinn is playing for the injured Matt Cassel, and a prctically identical 2nd and 9 from the Bucs 16 resulted in an interception right back. With 30 seconds left in a terrible first quarter, the Bucs took over at their own 38. One play was all Freeman needed to go deep to Williams for a 62 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Buccaneers lead.
Quinn would lead a 15 play, 7 1/2 minute drive, even converting a 4th and 1 along the way. Yet on 2nd and 1 from the Tampa 16, Draughn lost 5 yards and Quinn threw incomplete. The Chiefs settled for a 38 yard Ryan Succop field goal to get within 7-3.
The Buccaneers made it look easy to start the third quarter on 2nd and 6 from their 24. Freeman hit Vincent Jackson for 15 yards and to Martin for a 42 yard gain. Freeman went back to Jackson for the 19 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Buccaneers. Quinn moved the Chiefs from their 20 to a 3rd and 5 at the Bucs 28. A pass for McCluster turned into a McClusterf*ck when Quinn was intercepted by old man Ronde Barber. A decade after Barber locked up the NFC Title Game and sent the Bucs to the Super Bowl, Ronde took this one 78 yards the other way for another touchdown to make it 21-3 Buccaneers.
The fourth quarter began with the Buccaneers punting from their own 18. The punt was blocked by Draughn, and Jones picked it up and made it to the pileon for an 11 yard touchdown. The Chiefs were down 21-10, concluding anything remotely resembling a Chiefs highlight in this game.
Tampa Bay soon faced 3rd and 11 from their 21. Freeman went deep to Underwood for a 62 yard gain. That was enough for a Connor Barth field goal from 27 yards out to make it 24-10 Buccaneers with 10 1/2 minutes left.
Tampa got it back at their own 15 and Martin ran for 23 yards. Freeman hit Jackson for 15, Martin gained 13, unnecessary roughness added 15, and Freeman found Jackson for the 17 yard touchdown to make it a 31-10 Buccaneers route.
After the Chiefs turned it over on downs, Tampa got it back at their own 47. Blount broke free for a 35 yard gain, and at the 2 minute warning on 3rd and 6 from the 12, Blount took it in for the last touchdown. Freeman would eventually kneel to end it, and nobody was injured on that play. The Chiefs fans managed not to publicly pray for Quinn to get injured so Cassel could return. 38-10 Buccaneers
Buffalo Bills @ Arizona Cardinals–Buffalo is wretched while Arizona began 4-0. Skeptics howled when the Cardinals lost last week, and a home loss to a bad Buffalo team would strengthen the skepticism.
Buffalo fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and the Cardinals took over at the Buffalo 33. They failed to move the ball and settled for a 49 yard Jay Feely field goal to lead 3-0. Arizona soon got it back and faced 2nd and 17 from their own 6. Kolb was sacked in the end zone for a safety, and the Bills were within 3-2. Anybody tempted to make a stupid baseball remark should go somewhere else. Baseball is boring, which concludes highlights of the MLB playoffs. Now back to football.
McKelvin took the free kick and returned it 33 yards just past midfield. On 3rd and 1 from the 40 Fred Jackson gained 6. On 3rd and 5 from the 29 Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Stevie St Johnson for 6. On 3rd and 9 from the 22 Fitzpatrick hit St Johnson for 12. CJ Spiller ran for the 10 yard touchdown to make it 9-3 Bills.
With 9 minutes left in the half Arizona faced 3rd and 2 from their own 41. Kolb hit Roberts for just enough. On 3rd and 2 just past midfield, Kolb found Larry Fitzgerald for 17. Powell ran for 17 and Kolb hit Fitzgerald for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 10-9 Cardinals.
The defenses controlled this game, and Arizona finally got going again with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter from their 26. Powell gained 7, 6, and 3. On 3rd and 1 from their 48, Powell got 2 and 6 more. On 3rd and 4 from the Buffalo 44, Kolb found Fitzgerald for 8. A holding penalty slowed momentum, but Feely again hit from 49 to put the Cardinals up 13-9 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter after the 6 minute drive.
Yet now Buffalo got it back in gear after a touchback. Fitzpatrick hit St Johnson for 23, and Spiller ran for 7 and then another 33 yards. Brad Smith scrambled for 16 and Jackson got the final yard to put the Bills back up 16-13 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was all defense. Kolb was intercepted midway through but Buffalo gave it back when a wildcat snap to Brad Smith resulted in an interception with 3 minutes to go. Arizona took over at their own 15 with one last shot. Kolb hit Fitzgerald for 14. On 1st and 20 from the 19, Kolb scrambled for 22 yards. At the 2 minute warning, Kolb got hit and was injured. Just before the 2 minute warning, John “Red” skelton had to come in. A pair of incompletions meant 4th and 11 at the Arizona 40 with 1:53 left. Skelton found Fitzgerald for 17 and the Cardinals had life. 3 more incompletions meant 4th and 10 from the Arizona 43. Ken Whisenhunt then did the unimaginable. He decided to have Jay Feely try a 61 yard field goal with the game on the line. No Hail Mary. No try at a pass with a quarterback just coming off the bench who misfired several times. The guy who did not misfire was Feely, who drilled the ball over the crossbar to send the home crowd into a frenzy and the game tied 16-16. The Cardiac Cardinals had done it again.
1:09 still remained, but Buffalo went 3 and out while taking less than 15 seconds off of the clock. Then a shanked 30 yard punt had the Cardinals at their own 47 with 50 seconds left. Defensive holding moved Arizona 5 yards closer. Skelton went deep to Fitzgerald for a 28 yard gain and raced up to the line, spiking the ball to stop the clock with 2 seconds left. The fans celebrated. Feely had leveled a 61 yarder, and now he only needed to hit one from 38. In an “are you kidding me” moment, this one was no good, doinked off the upright. The game went into overtime.
In overtime Fitzpatrick led Buffalo from their own 20 to 1st and 10 at the Arizona 35. 3 striaght incompletions could have meant a 53 yard field goal try, but a critical false start penalty instead meant a Buffalo punt. Now the game was sudden death. Arizona soon faced 3rd and 10 from their 20, and Skelton was intercepted. Byrd returned it 29 yards to the Arizona 6. Chan Gailey took no chances, as one kneel down to center the ball was followed by Ryan Lindell hitting the 25 yarder to end things. Arizona has now dropped 2 straight and their 4-0 start is starting to look more fluke than good football. 19-16 Bills, OT
New England Patriots @ Seattle Seahawks–New England still has a chip on their shoulder, and they face former coach Pete Carroll, who got the Pats to the playoffs but no further before he was replaced by an Evil Hoodie named Bill Bellichick.
Seattle took over after a New England punt and soon faced 3rd and 1 from their 25. Russell Wilson hit Turbin for 6, Sidney Rice for 9, and Zach Miller deep for a 22 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the 9 Marshawn Lynch lost yards and the Seahawks settled for a 34 yard Stephen Hauschka field goal and a 3-0 Seattle lead.
New England came right back and faced 3rd and 4 from their 24. Brady found Anthony Hernandez for 10 yards, Brandon Lloyd for 20, and then went deep to Wes Welker for a 46 yard touchdown to quickly put the Patriots up 7-3.
The game looked like a shootout early on as Seattle faced 3rd and 9 from their 16. Wilson went deep to Danny Baldwin. Since he is not related to Alec, he got the job done and caught the 50 yard deep throw. On 3rd and 4 from the New England 28, Wilson scrambled for 9. After a false start, Wilson found Baldwin, who unlike Alec can play, for the 24 yard touchdown as Seattle led 10-7 after the opening quarter.
New England faced 2nd and 12 from their 18 when Brady went to Rob Gronkowski for gains of 20, 11, and 5 as the first quarter ended. From the Seattle 46 to start the second quarter, Brady hit Lloyd for 8 and Bolden ran for 13. On 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 22, Brady hit Welker for 8. On 3rd and 1 from the 5, Bolden gained 2. On 3rd and goal at the 1, Brady found Hernandez for the touchdown to have the Patriots back in front 14-10.
Wilson had the Seahawks on the move just past midfield when he was sacked and fumbled. New England took over at the Seattle 47. Brady would lead the Patriots to a 4th and 1 at the 6 with 2:15 left in the half. Normally Bill Bellichick goes for the throat, but this time he sent in Stephen Gostkowski for the 25 yard field goal. The Patriots led 17-10. Seattle had to punt on 4th and 4 from their 38 with 48 seconds left in the half. The snap was fumbled, and the Patirots had a golden opportunity with 50 seconds left at the Seattle 24. Brady quickly hit Welker for 15. On 3rd and goal from the 3 with 6 seconds left Bellichick gambled and decided to run one more play. Brady quickly fired out the back of the end zone incomplete, and one second remained. Yet because there was a defender bearing down on Brady, it was ruled intentional grounding and a 10 second runoff. There would be no chip shot field goal as the Patriots only led 17-10 at intermission.
After a Seattle punt in the third quarter, New England faced 3rd and 6 from their 39. Danny Woodhead gained 7 and Brady went deep to Fells for a 35 yard gain. The defense held at that point Stephen Gostkowski hit from 35 to make it 20-10 Patriots. Brady was intercepted, but Seattle failed to capitalize. On the last play of the third quarter the Patriots faced 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 34. A pass to Woodhead only gained 4 yards, but roughing the passer moved the ball to the 15. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the 6, Brady began the fourth quarter by throwing another interception. Seattle would get a 40 yard gain from defensive pass interference, but then fumble the ball back.
From the New England 30, Brady hit Lloyd for 23 and Woodhead for 22 more. On 3rd and 2 from the 17 Ridley got stopped, and Gostkowski hit the 35 yarder. New England led 23-10 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
From the Seattle 17, Wilson went deep to Golden Tate for a 51 yard gain with unnecessary roughness adding on 15 more. On 4th and 3 from the Patirots 10, Pete Carroll decided to go for it. Wilson hit Edwards for the touchdown and the Seahawks were within 6 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Seattle got it back with 4 minutes left but went 3 and out. From their own 17 Pete Carroll decided to punt since Seattle had all of their timeouts. The defense needed a stop.
A pair of runs had the Patriots facing 3rd and 8 from their 43. A first down would all but end it as Seattle had one timeout left. Rather than force Seattle to use the last timeout, Bellichick trusted Brady and called a pass. Brady threw incomplete, the clock stopped, and Seattle got it back at their own 43 after Leon Washington returned the punt 25 yards. 2:38 remained, plenty of time for a comeback.
Wilson scrambled for 9 yards and the Patriots took their last timeout on defense with 2:06 to play. On 3rd and 1 from the Patriots 48, Lynch got 2. On the next play, the entire football world saw what should not happen to a defense in that situation. Wilson rolled out, and speedster Sidney Rice got past two defenders. Wilson threw a perfect bomb and the result was a 46 yard touchdown. The extra point had Seattle up 24-23 as the crowd exploded. New England got it at their own 20 with 1:14 to play and 0 timeouts. Brady went deep to Lloyd and Lloyd made a spectacular diving catch. Yet Lloyd came down out of bounds. On the next play Brady was swallowed up and sacked. An incompletion set up 4th and 17 from their own 13 with one minute left. Brady avoided a sack, stepped up and fired complete near the sticks. Yet football is all about blocking and tackling, and a perfect tackle short of the sticks sent the home crowd into a frenzy.
The number one offense was vanquished by the number one defense, as Pete Carroll got revenge against his old team in a stunning upset. 24-23 Seahawks
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers–These teams played 2 of the greatest games ever played in the 1990 season, with the second one being an NFC Title Game decided on the final play. 2011 was an exact replica, with 2 more fantastic defensive games where the 49ers won in the regular season but the Giants won to go to the Super Bowl. The 49ers now have Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham from the Giants, and the chess match between Jim Harbaugh and his defense and Tom Coughlin and the offense under Eli Manning will be intense.
The 49ers got the ball first and moved from their 15 to a 4th and 6 at the Giants 26. Yet David Akers was no good from 43 and the game remained scoreless. In an almost identical drive, the 49ers got it back at their 15 and again moved to the Giants 24. This time Akers was good from 42 and the 49ers led 3-0 in a game where points were expected to come at a premium.
The second quarter began with the 49ers at their own 34. Alex Smith was intercepted by Prince Amukamara, who set up the Giants at their own 33. On 3rd and 6 Eli Manning finally got going and hit Dominic Hixon for a 39 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Frisco 22 Manning found Hixon for a 16 yard gain and then Victor Cruz for the 6 yard touchdown and the salsa dance. The Giants led 7-3 with 10 minutes left in the half.
Big Blue got it back at their own 34 and Manning hit Cruz for 16 to midfield and Nicks for 16 more. Yet on 3rd and 2 from the Frisco 14, Ahmad Bradshaw lost a yard. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin threatened to put in Brandon Jacobs, except he now plays for the 49ers. So instead he sent in Lawrence Tynes, who hit from 34 to make it 10-3 Giants.
The Giants got a Big Blue jolt to start the third quarter when dangerous return man Wilson took the second half kickoff 66 yards to the Frisco 32. Bradshaw ran for 7, 11, and 4, and on 3rd and goal from the one, Bradshaw got the yard as the Giants led 17-3 in a game that was pure smashmouth.
The 49ers soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 23. Smith was intercepted by Antrel Rolle, who returned it 20 yards to the Frisco 12. Manning threw 3 straight incompletions, but Tynes hit from 30 to make it 20-3 Giants. It was deja vu all over again as the 49ers faced 3rd and 16 from their 15. Smith was intercepted again by Rolle, who returned it 22 yards to the 5. Yet again the Giants could not crack the end zone as Tynes hit from 22 to make it 23-3 Giants.
In the fourth quarter the Giants simply rammed it down the 49ers throats, moving from their own 14 to the Frisco 9 while consuming 7 minutes and 13 plays. While again the Giants had to settle for a field goal, it didn’t matter. This expected matchup of titans was a mismatch. The 49ers were seen as the better team coming in, but the Giants just hit them in the mouth. The Giants are defending champions, and served notice to the league that they are not done yet, not by a long shot. 26-3 Giants
Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins–The Vikings have been a big surprise at 4-1 under Christian Ponder while the Redskins are growing with Robert Griffin III under the helm. RGIII suffered a concussion last week, but he has shown flashes of brilliance in bringing optimism to the DC area for the first time in years.
The first quarter was all Vikings, yet without the desired results. Christian Ponder moved Minnesota from their 20 to a 3rd and goal at the 5. A completion to Toby Gerhart set up 4th and goal at the 2, and Leslie Frazier opted for the field goal. Walsh hit from 20 as Minnesota led 3-0. Washington shanked a punt, and the Vikings had it at their own 47. Yet despite 1st and from the Washington 14, the Vikings got no further than the 9. Walsh hit from 27 to make it 6-0 Vikings. On 3rd and 3 from their 27, RGIII was intercepted, giving the Vikings the ball at the Washington 35. Yet on 3rd and 4 from the 10 Gerhart only gained one yard. Walsh again hit from 27. The Vikings led 9-0 after the opening quarter, but then the roof caved in once Washington settled down.
Washington began the second quarter at the Minnesota 42, and on 4th and 3 Mike Shanahan decided to go for it. Griffin hit Santana Moss for 6. The Redskins would settle for a 50 yard Forbath field goal to trail 9-3.
Washington got it back and faced 2nd and 13 from their own 7. RGIII hit Morris for 9, Moss for 5 on 3rd and 4, and Hankerson for 14. Morris ran for 15 to midfield. Griffin then went deep to Moss for a 30 yard gain. RGIII ran for 7, and roughing the passer meant 1st and goal at the 7. Morris gained 6 and on 3rd and goal got the final yard to make it 10-9 Redksins with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. One play from scrimmage from the 20 was enough for Ponder to get sacked and fumble it away. One play from scrimmage was enough for RGIII to throw a 6 yard touchdown to Young to make it 17-9 Redskins at the half.
Washington began the third quarter facing 3rd and 1 from their 29. Morris got the yard and RGIII then found morgan for gains of 17 and 16. On 3rd and 11 from the Minnesota 38, RGIII scrambled for 15 with 5 more added by penalty. A horse collar tackle on the next play set up Griffin, who ran it in from 7 yards out to make it 24-9 Vikings as the route was on.
After 24 unanswered Washington points, Ponder moved the Vikings from their 39 to the Minnesota 19. Yet for the fourth time, Minnesota would settle for a 37 yard Walsh field goal to trail 24-12. The fourth quarter began with Minnesota facing 3rd and 12 from their own 17. Ponder was intercepted by Williams, who returned it 24 yards for another Washington touchdown. After spotting Minnesota a 9-0 lead, Washington had outscored the Vikings 31-3 to take a 31-12 lead with 13 minutes left in regulation.
Yet Ponder led a furious comeback from the Minnesota 20. He hit Ellison for 16 and Percy Harvin for 20. Adrian Peterson gained 8, and on 3rd and 2 from the Washington 26, Ponder hit Harvin for 6, Kevin Rudolph for 16, Harvin for 5, and Jenkins for the 9 yard touchdown to get Minnesota within 31-19 with 8 minutes left in regulation. Washington went 3 and out when a 3rd and 1 run was blown up in the backfield. Minnesota soon faced 3rd and 1 from their 42. Ponder gained 2 and 2 more. Ponder then hit Jenkins for 8, Peterson for 18, and benefited from a 27 yard defensive pass interference penalty down to the one. Ponder hit Rudolph for the score as a blowout was now a tight game. Minnesota only trailed 31-26 with 3 1/2 minutes left. One more stop would give them a chance to win it.
With 3 minutes to play the Vikings took their first timeout with the Redskins facing 3rd and 6 from their 24. It all came down to this play, and RGIII showed why the Redskins paid a king’s ransom for him. Getting the first down would have been enough, but RGIII ran all the way for the 76 yard touchdown to put the game on ice and cool red hot Minnesota. With 2:43 to play Ponder led another furious rally, moving the Vikings quickly to the Washington 1 yard line after completing a 4th and 1 along the way. A touchdown was nullified by a false start, and on 3rd and goal at the 3 Ponder was intercepted in the end zone with 22 seconds left to finally end the comeback. 38-26 Redskins
Green Bay Packers @ Houston Texans is the Sunday night game. The Packers we keep hearing are much better than their 2-3 record, but the close losses keep piling up. Houston meanwhile is 5-0 for the first time in franchise history. A win over a desperate Green Bay team could end the Packers season. Green Bay blew a 21-3 lead last week, and Mike McCarthy will see the character of his players in how they rebound this week.
After a Houston punt, Green Bay punted it back on 4th and 3 from the Houston 46. Yet a critical defensive offsides gave Green Bay a second chance, and Aaron Rodgers made the Texans pay. He went deep to Jordy Nelson for a 41 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers.
Late in the first quarter Randall Cobb returned a punt 16 yards to set up the Packers at their own 44. Rodgers then went to Cobb for a 24 yard gain and to Jones for 9 more. On 2nd and 10 from the 20, Rodgers hit Crabtree for 14 and Jones for the 6 yard touchdown as the Packers led 14-0 after the first quarter.
Houston began the second quarter with 2nd and 11 at their own 19. Matt Schaub hit Andre Johnson for 12. On 3rd and 3 from their 38, Schaub hit Walter for 16 and Owen Daniels for 15. A defensive pass interference penalty added 26 yards and set up 1st and goal at the 4. Foster gained 3 and then the final yard to get the Texans within 14-7.
Green Bay came right back, as they faced 3rd and 1 from their 31. Rodgers gained 2. On 3rd and 2 from their 41, Rodgers found Nelson for 10. This time defensive pass interference went against Houston for 28 yards down to the Texans 21. On the next play Rodgers went deep to Nelson for the touchdown and a 21-7 Packers lead.
From the Houston 30, Schaub founf Johnson for gains of 10 and 13. and Graham for 11. On 3rd and 14 from the Packers 45, Schaub found Foster for only 12. On 4th and 2 from the 33, Gary Kubiak opted for the field goal and Shane Graham connected from 51 to have the Texans down 21-10 at intermission.
Green Bay began the third quarter after a touchback and Rodgers hit Cobb for 14 and 21. On 2nd and 13 from the Houston 45, Rodgers hit Nelson for 16 and 13. On 2nd and 10 from the 11 a touchdown was nullified by holding. On 4th and 20 from the 21 a 39 yard Mason Crosby field goal was good, but Mike McCarthy took the points off the board when the Texans were called for unsportsmanlike conduct for leveraging. This again made it 1st and 10 from the 11. A pass to Cobb meant 3rd and 4 from the 5, but a defensive unnecessary roughness penalty after the play was over instead meant 1st and goal at the 2. On 2nd and goal from the one, Rodgers found Nelson for the touchdown to break the game open 28-10 Packers.
With 4 minutes left in the third quarter Houston took over at their own 35 and Schaub quickly found Daniels for a 27 yard gain and Johnson for 9 more. From the 25, Schaub hit Martin for a pair of 12 yard gains and Foster got the last yard as the Texans were only down 28-17 after three quarters. Yet Green Bay simply had too much firepower on offense. The fourth quarter began after a long kickoff return by Cobb with the Packers facing 3rd and 1 at the Houston 48. Rather than just get the first down, Rodgers rolled out, and went for the discount double-check deep. He found Crabtree for a 48 yard touchdown to put the Packers up 35-17 and turn out the lights.
Schaub was then quickly intercepted, setting up Green Bay at the Houston 27. An 18 yard pass from Rodgers to Jones was just the exclamation point. Houston did block a punt for a touchdown long after the outcome was in doubt to complete the scoring, but after that TJ Yates came in for Schaub and his mop-up work consisted of throwing an interception. Despite struggling all season Green Bay got to 3-3 while Houston lost its first game to fall to 5-1 on the year. 42-24 Packers
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers is the Monday night game. Peyton Manning and the Broncos are only 2-3, but they face a San Diego team that despite Philip Rivers is still more vulnerable than in years past. This could be a shootout, although Manning has had some of his most miserable games against San Diego. This includes a 6 interception performance and the AFC playoffs in the 2007 season where the defending champions in Indy went 14-2 and saw a showdown with unbeaten New England go up in flames at home to backup quarterback Billy Volek. Norvelous Norv Turner is an offensive guru while John Fox knows defense.
This game will be talked about for weeks to come, and for years in Denver and San Diego. 5 minutes into the game Denver fumbled a punt, giving San Diego the ball at the Denver 17. Yet San Diego failed to gain a first down and settled for a 32 yard Nick Novak field goal and a 3-0 lead. That would loom large later on. Denver then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and San Diego took over at the Denver 19. This time they capitalized as Rivers threw a 15 yard touchdown to Antonio Gates to make it 10-0 Chargers. Denver would punt and San Diego reached a 1st and 10 at the Denver 27. Yet penalties killed the Chargers and on 4th and 19 from the 36 Norv Turner decided to punt rather than try the 54 yard field goal.
With 9 minutes left in the half the Chargers had the ball on their own 44. Rivers went deep but was intercepted. Denver took over at their own 5, and Manning moved them to a 3rd and 6 at the San Diego 26. Yet this time it was Manning who was intercepted, and Quentin Jammer returned it 80 yards for a touchdown the other way. Denver turned it over 3 times, and trailed 17-0.
San Diego got it back at their own 34 with 4:20 left in the half. At the 2 minute warning the Chargers had 3rd and 4 at the Denver 48 when defnsive holding kept the drive going. Ryan Mathews then ran for 10, 3, and 6, and on 3rd and 1 from the 24 Battle got the yard. Rivers then hit Brown for 12 and Gates for the 11 yard touchdown just before the half. The Chargers took a 24-0 lead into the locker rooms in a game that was a total laugher. Then came the second half.
Denver began the third quarter at their own 15. Manning hit Joel Dreesen for gains of 11 and 19, Willis McGahee for 6, Eric Decker for 14, Dreesen for 10, and Thomas deep for a 29 yard touchdown. The Broncos were alive, barely, down 24-7.
Rivers calmly led the Chargers from their 15 in an attempt to turn out the lights early. He moved the Chargers all the way to a 3rd and 8 at the Denver 33, in long field goal range. Then he was sacked by Elvis Dumervill, resulting in a fumble that was picked up by Carter and returned 65 yards for a touchdown. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter the Broncos were now only down 24-14.
San Diego went 3 and out when Rivers was sacked, and Denver got it back at their own 45. McGahee ran for 9 and 2, and Manning hit Dreesen for 9. The fourth quarter began with consecutive offensive penalties moving Denver from 3rd and 1 to 3rd and 16 back at midfield. Manning went deep and found Jacob Tamme for 25 yard gain. McGahee gained 9 and 2, and Manning from the 14 hit Decker for half of it and then the other half as another touchdown got the Broncos within 24-21 only 80 seconds into the fourth quarter. The home crowd saw a meltdown, and could not stop it.
San Diego got it back at their own 15 and on 3rd and 8 from their 31, Rivers was intercepted again. Denver took over at midfield. Manning hit Brandon Stokley for 6, and McGahee ran for 9. Manning hit Stokley again for 9, and went to Stokley yet again for the 21 yard touchdown. With 9 minutes to play Denver had the home crowd shellshocked as now the Broncos led 28-24.
San Diego took over at their 32 and Rivers kept firing. Yet on 3rd and 7 from the Denver 41, Rivers was intercepted for the third time with 7 minutes left in regulation. Denver would punt, and San Diego had one last chance from their own 14 with 4 minutes left. With 2:15 to play, Rivers had moved the Chargers to a 2nd and 6 at their 45. Then for the fourth time on the day, Rovers was picked off, and this one was a killer. Harris took it back 46 yards for a touchdown to put the nail in the coffin.
In the first half it was Denver turning it over multiple times and the Chargers leading 24-0. In the second half San Diego had a meltdown of turnovers and were outscored 35-0. This was the worst blown lead for the Chargers since the 1980s, when Dan Fouts gave San Diego a 24-0 lead only to see Jim Plunkett and the Raiders come back to win 28-24. Rivers finished 25 of 41 for 242, 2 touchdowns, and the 4 killer interceptions. Manning did have the early pick six, but finished the game a red hot 24 of 30 for 309 yards with three touchdowns. San Diego could have had a stranglehold on the division. Instead both teams are now 3-3 as Norvelous Norv Turner tries to explain away this one. 35-24 Broncos