NFL 2016 Week 3 Recap
Houston Texans at New England Patriots was the Thursday night game. The Patriots were down to their third string quarterback. It did not matter. Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick again proved that only chowderhead oddsmakers would go against New England at home. Jacoby Brissett was the epitome of a game manager, going 11 of 19 for 103 yards. Yet he did not make a mistake. With a strong running game, Brissett did all he was asked to do. Stephen Gostkowski hit a 24 yard first quarter field goal. Then Brissett showed his scrambling ability by running for a 27 yard touchdown for a 10-0 Patriots lead after one. In the third quarterGostkowski hit from 25 and Laguarrette Blount banged in from one yard out for a 20-0 Patriots lead. Blount would break off a 41 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to complete the shutout. Brisket sprained his thumb, but does it really matter if the Patriots go to their fourth string quarterback? That would be wide receiver Julian Edelman. In Week 5, you know who returns from suspension. The league should already be scared. 27-0 Patriots
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals — Early on Cincinnati controlled both sides of the ball. After forcing a Denver punt, they moved easily against Denver’s vaunted defense. Jeremy Hill raced for a 50 yard run and on the next play banged in from 3 yards out for a 7-0 Bengals lead. The Broncos moved 73 yards in 14 plays and took 7 minutes off the clock. Yet an incompletion 3rd and goal from the 2, an incompletion had Gary Kubiak opt for the field goal. Brandon McManus hit the 20 yarder to get the Broncos within 7-3. A Cincinnati fumble gave the Broncos a short field. Trevor Siemian then went bombs away, hitting Emanuel Sanders for a 41 yard touchdown and a 10-7 Broncos lead.
With both defenses playing well, the Bengals moved from their own 38 to a critical 3rd and 9 at the Denver 37. Red Rifle Andy Dalton hit Uzomah for a 22 yard gain. Hill got in from 4 yards out to put the Bengals up 14-10 with 5 minutes left in the half. A strong kickoff return by Latimer had the Broncos taking over at their own 45. on 3rd and 2 Siemian was sacked but defensive holding gave the Broncos new life. On 3rd and 9 from the Cincy 28 at the 2 minute warning, Siemian hit Latimer for 10. On 3rd and 1 from the 9, Siemian hit Sanders for 2 and again for the 7 yard touchdown to make it 16-14 Broncos at the half. The extra point was blocked.
A scoreless third quarter saw the Bengals move 60 yards in 15 plays, taking almost 8 1/2 minutes. Mike Nugent hit the 34 yard field goal to start the fourth quarter as the Bengals retook the lead 17-16. Siemian then came back with a 13 play, 82 yard drive that took 8 minutes off the clock. However, Denver finished their drive. Phillips got the tough one yard to put Denver ahead. The 2 point conversion failed but the Broncos led 22-17 midway through the fourth quarter. The Broncos held on defense. Rather than grind out a win on the ground, Gary Kubiak stayed aggressive. On 3rd and 11 from the Denver 45 with 4 1/2 minutes left, Siemian went deep for a 55 yard touchdown to Denarius Thomas. Dalton was then intercepted. Cinco got it back and moved to a 1st and 10 at the Denver 11 with just over 90 seconds to play. A pair of sacks and an incompletion of Dalton dropped the Bengals to 1-2 and kept Denver unbeaten. Future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning saw his successor go 23 of 35 for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. 29-17 Broncos
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans — The Raiders won the coin toss and Jack Del Rio stunningly decided to defer. Del Rio has been rewarded with bold gambles, but the Raiders have the league’s worst defense. The Raiders were in their black uniforms in 90 degree Nashville heatTennessee anemic offense went right to work against the even worse Oakland defense. A false start in the red zone killed the drive. Succop hit the 34 yard field goal for a 3-0 Titans lead.
Succop hit the kickoff out of bounds and the Raiders took over at their own 40. Derek Carr came out firing, hitting Amari Cooper for a 25 yard gain. A perfect pass to seth Roberts was dropped, and the Raiders faced 3rd and 10. These are not the same old Raiders on offense. On 3rd and 10 Carr found Jalen Richard for 13 yards. The first running play was Latavius Murray straight up the middle for a 22 yard touchdown and a 7-3 Raiders lead.
Oakland dodged a bullet on defense when a possible defensive pass interference call was not called. Yet Jalen Richard fair caught the punt at the Oakland 6. after converting one third down, a pair of offensive holding penalties meant an Oakland punt. The Oakland defense had their best series of the year in the second quarter. Consecutive Tennessee plays saw their players get belted for losses. On 3rd and 19 Mariota fumbled and the Raiders took over at the Tennessee 24. On the first play from scrimmage Derek Carr went straight to the end zone to Clive Walford. Yet before the Raiders could celebrate, offensive holding on left tackle Donald Penn nullified the score. The Raiders settled for a 52 yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski to make it 10-3 Raiders. Seabags’s 53rd field goal from 50+ yards is now an NFL record.
Another fair catch had the Raiders backed up at their own 8. A false start moved them back to the 4. On 3rd and 6 from the 13, Carr hit Michael Crabtree for 17 yards. Deandre Washington ran for a 30 yard gain to the Tennessee 38. on the next play Washington gained 14 more yards. Carr then fired to Seth Roberts, who atoned for his earlier drop by shaking a tackle at the sideline and racing for a 19 yard touchdown. The 91 yard drive had the Raiders up 17-3 with less than one minute left in the half. Confusion reigned at the end of the half.
With 8 seconds left, Mariota threw a dangerous pass over the middle that was tipped and intercepted by David Amerson at the Titans 45. Emerson returned the ball all the way to the Oakland 19, but the clock had run out. The referees then ruled that Amerson stepped out of bounds and put three seconds back on the clock. This would have allowed a long field goal try. Replay showed Amerson may not have been out of bounds, but the refs blew the whistle anyway. Before the field goal attempt, the refs ruled that the clock operator was slow starting the clock, and that the play clock had run out. The Raiders were up 17-3 at the half, but they were denied a chance to extend the lead.
Holding on the second half kickoff again had the Raiders in a hole, 92 yards away in 92 degree heat. They also had to burn a timeout less than one minute into the second half. #4 will always be Brett Favre, but boy does Derek Carr have some #4 in him. After pulling a Houdini escaping a couple tacklers, Carr threw across his body for a 30 yard completion to Crabtree at midfield. However, on 3rd and 2 from the Titans 42, Olawale got stopped for nothing. Jack Del rio is a gambler, but this time he rightly called a punt. Marquette King pinned the Titans. This time it was Tennessee starting at their own 7.
It didn’t matter. Demarco Murray ripped off a 36 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 45, it was Mariota who turned into Houdini. He escaped a sack and heaved a wounded duck down the field. Somehow Amaro came down with it for a 26 yard gain at the Oakland 19. The Raiders then burned their second timeout. From the 5, Murray got stopped inside, bounced to the outside, and dove just past the corner pylon. With 6 minutes left in the third quarter, the Titans were within 17-10. The Raiders never put teams away, and if they were going to get to the next level they had to respond.
Things got more confusing on the next Oakland series. Under heavy pressure, Carr threw a 14 yard completion. Mike Mularkey challenged the catch. Officials then called the pass incomplete without Mularkey challenging it. This was strange given that they only looked at it after he threw the challenge flag. On 3rd and 7 Carr scrambled forever and threw a laser that was dropped. The Raiders punted again. Carr is not one to scream at his teammates, but somebody needs to teach his receivers to catch perfectly thrown passes. Meanwhile, The Titans on 3rd and 5 saw Mariota avoid a sack but miss a receiver wide open at the sideline. A 62 yard punt had Oakland again pinned back at their own 15 yard line. After one first down, a sack of Carr ended the drive. Marquette king boomed a 72 year punt, as the Titans were backed up at their own 10.
The fourth quarter began with Mariota throwing over the middle and being intercepted by Sean Smith. The Raiders had the ball at their own 48. One play after completing a 13 yard pass to Crabtree, Carr went for all the marbles deep to Cooper but overthrew him. On the next play it was Carr throwing over middle. the ball was deflected high in the air and intercepted by Williamson as the Titans took it right back at their own 26. The defense finally held, and the Raiders had yet another chance to put the game away. On 3rd and 5 from the Titans 45, Cooper threw a perfect pass over the middle to Cooper, who dropped it. Again the Raiders failed in a critical situation. King punted another good one, pinning the Titans at their own 8. The defense held again when a 3rd and 10 pass was well defended, catchable, but dropped. with 4:18 to play, the Raiders took over at their own 25 with yet another chance to win the game.
With 3:12 left and facing 3rd and 9 at their own 38, Carr found Crabtree for an 11 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 5 at the Tennessee 46 and needing only one more first down, Murray came up a yard short. The clock hit the 2 minute warning and Jack Del Rio had another critical 4th and 1 decision to make. Normally punting is the sane decision. Del Rio has received much praise for his gambling in critical situations, but this time he decided to take the ball out of Carr’s hands and trust his defense. Once again, the defense melted.
From the Titans 20, Mariota quickly hit Ryan Mathews for 10, Douglas for 25, and Sharpe for 23 to the Oakland 22 with one minute left. The Raiders were in full collapse mode. They were giving the game away. Now it was time for the Texans to refuse to take it. Mariota hit Sharpe again for an 18 yard gain down to the Oakland 3 yard line, but a mind-bogglingly dumb offensive personal foul by left tackle Lewan moved the Titans back 15 yards to the 18. On 3rd and 5, Mariota threw to the end zone to a wide open Andre Johnson. The future first ballot Hall of Famer got so wide open by committing offensive pass interference. Instead of a tie game, it was 3rd and 15. A pass to Murray gained 11 yards as the Titans called their final timeout with 16 seconds left. Everything came down to 4th and 4 at the 12.
Mariota fired to the end zone incomplete. The Titans demanded defensive pass interference but the referees had been letting both sides play the whole game. This was mild contact at best, solid defense. The Raiders had survived to get to 2-1. It was ugly, but as Al Davis used to say, Just Win Baby. Despite being shut out in the second half, the Raiders hung on. As Jack Del rio said 2 weeks ago, the Raiders are finally learning how to win games they had lost in years past. 17-10 Raiders
Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills — Last week Buffalo offensive coordinator Greg Roman was sacked as the winless Bills had to now face the league’s best offense. Early on the Bills moved 77 yards, and faced a critical 4th and goal at the one. In a move that did not inspire the home crowd, Rex Ryan opted for the 19 yard Dan Carpenter field goal and a 3-0 Bills lead. The Bills got it back and LeSean McCoy raced for a 24 yard touchdown for a surprising 10-0 Bills lead. In the second quarter McCoy ran it in from 5 yards out as the Bills had the shocking 17-0 lead. The Cardinals quick strike offense was not striking, so Bruce Arians slowed things down. Carson Palmer led a staggering 17 play, 84 yard drive that consumed almost 9 1/2 minutes. David Johnson ran it in from 4 yards out as the Cardinals trailed 17-7 at the intermission.
In the third quarter, Bruce Arians had field goal kicker Chandler Catanzaro punting. Catanzaro shanked a 19 yard punt, setting up Buffalo with a short field at the Arizona 47. On 3rd and 4 from the Arizona 20, Tyrod Taylor ran all the way for the score as the Bills smelled upset with a 23-7 lead. The extra point was missed. The Cardinals soon got rolling and moved to a 2nd and 1 from the Buffalo 8. Twice Johnson got the carry and got stopped. On 4th and 1, Bruce Arians decided to go for it. Out of the shotgun, Carson Palmer took a costly delay of game penalty. A disgusted Arians sent in the field goal team on 4th and 6 from the 13 for a chip shot 30 yarder. Then came the play of the day. The snap sailed over everyone’s head, and after a mad scramble, Williams picked up the ball and raced 53 yards for a Bills touchdown. Special teams had the Bills up 30-7.
The Cardinals have the offensive firepower to rally, and they did. Johnson ran for a 22 yard touchdown run. The 2 point try failed but the Cardinals were within 30-13 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter a desperate Bruce Arians had Catanzaro try a 60 yard field goal. His field goal kicking is more than three times as good as his punting, as he drilled it to get the Cardinals within 30-16. However, Palmer kept throwing interceptions. Carpenter hit a 45 yard field goal to put the game out of reach. Buffalo gave up a safety late but it did not matter. Tyron Taylor was only 12 of 25 for 119 yards, 0 touchdowns and an interception. Yet Carson Palmer, despite going 26 of 50 for 261 yards, threw 0 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Every time Rex Ryan is about to get fired, he wins a big one. Arizona was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. Instead they and Buffalo are both 1-2 on the season. 33-18 Bills
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars — Joe Flacco moved the Ravens 75 yards and scrambled the final 8 yards himself for a 7-0 Ravens lead. In the second quarter Justin Tucker hit a 43 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Ravens. With 6 minutes left in the half, Greene returned a punt 42 yards, setting up Jacksonville at the Baltimore 37. At the 2 minute warning, Blake Bortles hit Andre Robinson for a 3 yard touchdown to get the Jaguars within 10-7. Tucker hit from 42 at the halftime gun for a 13-7 Ravens lead. Tucker hit again from 37 in the third quarter to make it 16-7 Ravens. Bortles then led the Jaguars 78 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. An 11 yard touchdown pass to Andre Robinson had the Jaguars only down 16-14 after three quarters. An ugly game saw each team try to lose. With 9 minutes left, a fumbled punt gave the Jaguars the ball on the Baltimore 39. After failing to gain a first down, Josh Myers hit a 49 yard field goal to make it 17-16 Jaguars midway threw the fourth quarter. The game then got comically ugly.
With 5 1/2 minutes left Joe Flacco was intercepted, setting up the Jaguars at the Baltimore 31. On 3rd and 10, in field goal range, Blake Bortles threw an interception right back. Baltimore took over at their own 29. Two plays later, Flacco was intercepted again. The Jaguars had it at the Baltimore 29. On 3rd and 6, Bortles was sacked for a 9 yard loss. With 3 minutes left, Myers came in for a 52 yard try to extend the Jaguars lead. The kick was blocked. The Ravens took over at their own 43. With one minute left, Tucker leveled a 54 yard field goal to put the Ravens up by 2 points. With 21 seconds left, on 3rd and 21 from their own 14, Bortles was intercepted again. Bortles and Gus Bradley may soon get a phone call and face the wrath of owner Shad Khan at 0-3. Meanwhile, john Harbaugh was supposed to have a bad team, but somehow are 3-0 with plenty of dumb luck helping them. 19-17 Ravens
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins — The Stupor Bowl saw Ryan Tannehill get quickly intercepted and then saw the Browns start 3rd string Cody Kessler, their 26th starting quarterback since 1999. Kessler was quickly hit and fumbled. Ryan Tannehill later on had more success, hitting Parker for a 26 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Dolphins lead. Cody Parkey missed a 41 yard field goal but began the second quarter by hitting a 46 yarder to get the Browns within 7-3. midway through the second quarter the Dolphins faced 3rd and 3 at their own 21. Tannehill was intercepted by Boddy-Calhoun, who returned it 27 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 Browns lead. Franks hit a 37 yard field goal at the 2 minute warning for a 10-10 game. Parker hit from 48 as the Browns took a 13-10 lead into the locker rooms.
The Browns offense went dead for much of the second half. In the third quarter Tannehill connected with Landry on a 42 yard touchdown to make it 17-13 Dolphins. 30 seconds into the fourth quarter on 3rd and 1 from the Cleveland 10, Tannehill hit Williams for the touchdown and a 24-13 Dolphins lead. The Browns came back 83 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Miami 11, Kessler was hit and fumbled. Miami recovered, but defensive offsides gave the Browns another chance. Terrelle Pryor came in for Kessler, who was hurt on the previous play. Another defensive offsides was followed by Pryor running for a 3 yard touchdown. Kessler came back in and hit Gary Barnidge for the 2 point conversion. With 10 1/2 minutes left, the Browns were within 24-21.
With 6 minutes left, the Browns took over at their own 6. Crowell ran for 25 yards and Kessler hit Pryor for a 40 yard gain. Parker hit a 38 yard field goal as the game was tied 24-24 with less than 3 1/2 minutes to play. Then came a sequence of events that fit in perfectly with the last 50 years for the Browns since Jim Brown retired. With 26 seconds left from the Miami 35, Tannehill went back to pass, was sacked and fumbled, and the Browns recovered at the Miami 27. The Dolphins had just given the game away, but remember…These are the Browns. With 20 seconds left, Hue Jackson took no chances. Kessler took a knee and the Browns called timeout with 4 seconds left. Parker came in for the 46 yarder to win it. Last year in this same position, the Browns had the winning field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown in a stunning loss. Remember, these are the Browns.
This time the kick was merely no good, wide by a mile. The Browns won the coin toss, but Jackson inexplicably decided to defer. This was his way of saying he did not trust his own offense. These are the Browns. The defense did force a punt, and the Browns took over at their own 9. After briefly moving forward, they went far backward and faced 3rd and 28 at their own 9 where they started. A run gained 4 yards. These are the Browns. A 13 yard punt return had the Dolphins starting at the Cleveland 44. Tannehill hit Landry for a 32 yard gain down to the Cleveland 11. One play later Ajayi ran it in to end the game with 9 minutes left in overtime. Adam Gase got his first win as an NFL head coach while Hue Jackson saw his Browns remain winless. These are the Browns. 30-24 Dolphins, OT
Washington Redskins at New York Giants — The Redskins fumbled a punt, setting up the Giants at the Washington 28. 3 plays later Shane Vereen got in form he one to make it 7-0 Giants. Josh Brown hit the kickoff out of bounds, setting up the Redskins at their own 40. Dustin Hopkins hit a 49 yard field goal to get Washington within 7-3. Eli Manning quickly moved the Giants 75 yards as a 23 yard touchdown pass to Shepard made it 14-3 Giants. Washington moved to the Red zone but again settled for a 33 yard Hopkins field goal to get within 14-6. Hopkins hit from 45 in the second quarter to get Washington within 14-9. While the Redskins were kicking field goals, the Giants were finishing drives. 75 yards came easily and Darkwa found light for a 2 yard score and a 21-9 Giants advantage. The Redskins finally got back in it 30 seconds later as Kirk Cousins followed a 31 yard completion to DeSean Jackson with a 44 yard touchdown bomb to Jackson. The Redskins only trailed 21-16.
In the third quarter a short pass from Cousins to Crowder allowed Crowder to split the seams with some great blocks and race for a 55 yard touchdown as the Redskins led 23-21. The rest of the game was a seesaw as each kicker made 2 field goals in alternating success. Josh Brown hit from 29 in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, helped along by a fake punt, Dustin Hopkins hit from 25. Then Brown responded from 30. With 1:51 to play, Hopkins hit from 37 as the Redskins led by 2 after the fifth lead change of the second half. With 1:09 to play from the Giants 39, with Big Blue driving for the sixth lead change, Manning was intercepted by Cravens. Ben McAdoo lost his first game as an NFL head coach and Jay Gruden finally got a win this year. For decades, the Giants have played to the level of their competition. They win tough road games and lose games at home they should win easily. 29-27 Redskins
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers — The last time these teams met, the Lions blew a 20-0 lead and Aaron Rodgers shocked the Detroit crowd with a Hail Mary for the ages. This time in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers started hot. A 14 yard touchdown pass to Devonta Adams made it 7-0 Packers. The Lions then held the ball for 15 plays and 8 1/2 minutes, yet settled for a 42 yard Matt Prater field goal as the Lions trailed 7-3. Rodgers later in the quarter hooked up with Jordy Nelson for a 49 yard gain inside the Detroit 10. Rodgers and Nelson connected again on an 8 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Packers. On the first play of the second quarter, Rodgers went bombs away and drew a 66 yard defensive pass interference call. One play later Rodgers hit his non-relative Richard Rodgers for a 2 yard touchdown as the Packers were up 21-3 and rolling.
Things got worse for the Lions when Stafford threw what looked like a completion to Eric Ebron. Randall ripped the ball out of Ebron’s hands and picked up a convoy of blockers, returning it 44 yards to the Detroit 25. Mason Crosby hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 24-3 Packers. The Packers got it back and 67 yards came quickly and easily. Rodgers hit Nelson for a 17 yard touchdown as the Packers were blasting the Lions 31-3. The Lions finally caught a break when a mistackle by the Green Bay defense allowed a pass form Matthew Stafford to Marvin Jones to go for a 73 yard touchdown as the Lions were down 31-10 at the break.
In the third quarter the Lions moved 77 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Matthew Stafford hit Anquon Boldin for a 2 yard touchdown as the Lions were only down 31-17. A 46 yard Mason Crosby field goal gave the Packers some breathing room up 34-17. Matt Prater responded from 50 in the fourth quarter as the Lions clung to life down 34-20. Detroit got it back and Stafford kept firing. A 35 yard deep ball to Jones had the Lions cut a 28 point deficit to within 7 points with 3 1/2 minutes left. Detroit needed the ball back. On 3rd and 8 from the Green Bay 27, Rodgers scrambled for 11 yards as the Packers ran 0out the clock to survive the scare. Stafford was 28 of 41 for 385 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Rodgers was only 15 of 24 for 205 yards, but he also had 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Meanwhile, Eddie Lacy gained 103 yards on 17 carries, as Mike McCarthy finally has Lacy running well enough to help Rodgers. 34-27 Packers
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers — The Vikings have been devastated by injuries, and losing Adrian Peterson could be a death blow for this team. Mike Zimmer will not tolerate excuses, but going at Carolina was a lot to ask without your best players. Early on Graham Gano hit a 48 yard field goal. The Panthers got it back at their own 43. Cam Newton ran for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Panthers. Later in the first quarter Newton went back to pass form his own end zone. He held on to the ball way too long and was sacked for a safety as the Vikings trailed 10-2. No offense? No problem. mike Sherels returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown. Blair Walsh’s kicking struggles continued with another missed extra point as the Vikings were only down 10-8 at the half.
In the third quarter Sam Bradford moved the Vikings 79 yards in 10 plays in 5 1/2 minutes. A 15 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph was followed by McKinnon running in the 2 point conversion. On sheer grit and determination, the Vikings led 16-10. Blair Walsh hit 28 yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 19-10 Vikings. Walsh tacked on a 31 yard field goal to complete the scoring. Newton was intercepted 3 times as the defending NFC champions fell to 1-2. Bradford managed the game without an interception. This was a Mike Zimmer win. The National Football League does not tolerate excuses. Neither does the military. Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer understands both. He is very pro-military, and demands discipline of his players. He leads a ferocious defense that rarely makes mistakes. He has no patience for excuses. He has lost his star quarterback and his star running back, yet the team is 3-0. They have won with defense and special teams. Zimmer is on his way to being coach of the year. 22-10 Vikings
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks — Despite scoring only one touchdown in 2 games, Seattle’s Legion of Boom is as solid as ever. Despite winning their opener by 28, the 49ers were exposed las week. Seattle almost always blows out San francisco in Seattle, and this game was no exception. On the third play of the game, Michael Ran for a 41 yard touchdown for the Seahawks. Seattle then moved 62 yards in 14 plays, taking 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Michael got in again from 4 yards out as the Seahawks led 14-0 after the first quarter.
A Seattle fumble in the second quarter had the 49ers at the Seattle 30. Yet on 3rd and 4 from the 6, the 49ers called a West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass. Joe Montana and Steve Young are retired. Bill Walsh is gone. The league has caught up. Blaine Gabbert completed a 2 yard pass and Phil Dawson hit a 22 yard field goal to have the 49ers down 14-3. Seattle does not dink and dunk. On 3rd and 14 from their own 23, Russell Wilson went deep to Doug Baldwin for a 59 yard gain. Wilson hit Graham on the next play for an 18 yard touchdown to make it 21-3 Seahawks. After Dawson missed a 53 yard field goal, the Seahawks moved to a 3rd and 1 at the 49ers 15 with 1:22 left in the half. Michael got stopped and Pete Carroll opted for the field goal on 4th and 1. Steve Hauschka hit from 33 to make it 24-3 Seahawks at intermission.
In the third quarter a 62 yard punt return by Tyler Lockett had the Seahawks at the 49ers 26 yard line. A Sack of Wilson had Seattle facing 3rd and 21 and possibly out of field goal range. Wilson was sacked again, but a horse collar tackle penalty instead gave Seattle an automatic first down. Hauschka hit a 33 yard field goal to make it 27-3 Seahawks. Then on 3rd and 8 from their own 27, Gabbert was intercepted. The game was such a laugher that Pete Carroll decided to give Russell Wilson and his injured ankle a rest like they do in preseason. The Seahawks started at the 49ers 20 but Trevor Boykin could not get in the end zone. Hauschka hit from 22 to make it 30-3 Seahawks. In the froth quarter on 3rd and 6 from the 16, Boykin hit Baldwin for the touchdown to make it 37-3 Seahawks. A pair of garbage time 8 yard touchdown runs by Carlos Hyde made the game a blowout instead of a complete blowout. 37-18 Seahawks
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The Rams are 1-1 despite scoring only 3 field goals in 2 games combined. Jeff Fisher has a defense. In this game he finally saw some offense, but then the defense took some time off. Case Keenum threw a 44 yard touchdown pass to Quick for a 7-0 Rams lead. Keenan’s second touchdown pass went to Alexander, who plays defense for the Buccaneers. The 38 yard interception return had Keenum throwing one touchdown pass to each team for a 7-6 Rams lead when the extra point was no good.. Greg The Leg Zuerlein would hit a 53 yard field goal to have the Rams up 10-6 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Buccaneers moved 75 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Rams 16, Dirk Koetter decided to go for it. Jameis Winston hit Mike Evans for 2 yards. Sims got in from one yard out on 3rd and goal to put the Buccaneers up 13-10. The Buccaneers got it back with a short field after a fumble at the Los Angeles 43. Jameis Winston hit Brate for the 3 yard touchdown and a 20-10 Buccaneers advantage. With 2 1/2 minutes left from the Tampa Bay 27, Winston was intercepted, setting up the Rams at the Bucs 22. On 3rd and goal at the one with 28 seconds left in the half, Todd Gurley got the carry and got in to have the Rams down 20-17.
In the third quarter the Rams moved 69 yards and Gurley got in again from the one to make it 24-20 Rams. After that, both defenses dug in for awhile. With 12 minutes left in regulation, the Buccaneers had moved from their 34 to a 2nd and 6 at the Rams 13. After an incompletion came the play of the game on 3rd and 6. Winston was sacked, fumbled, and Westbrooks returned it for a 77 yard touchdown the other way for a 31-20 Rams lead. Winston brought the Buccaneers back 75 yards. A one yard touchdown pass to Brate with 9 minutes left had the Bucs right back in it. The 2 point try failed but the Buccaneers were only down 31-26.
Midway through the fourth quarter Keenum threw incomplete on 3rd and 17 at their own 18. Yet defensive holding gave the Rams new life. Keenum went deep to Tavon Austin for a 43 yard touchdown and a 37-26 Rams lead after the failed 2 point conversion try with 4 1/2 minutes left. Winston brought the Buccaneers back quickly 75 yards. A 7 yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans followed by a failed 2 point conversion had the Buccaneers within 5 points again with 2:15 to play. At the 2 minute warning, the Rams faced 3rd and 11 at their own 5. The game was then suspended due to a lightning storm.
After over an hour play resumed and the Rams went deep incomplete. The Buccaneers got it back at their own 44 with 1:42 left. 3 straight completions moved the ball to the Rams 27 with 54 seconds left. A 12 yard completion to Sims had the ball at the 15 with 26 seconds left. Three incompletions left 4 seconds on the clock and one play for all the marbles. Mike Dyson was not available to make the tackle. However, the Mighty Quinn was. Winston avoided a sack, scrambled, gained 10 yards but was moving slowly looking for a receiver. Quinn blasted him to the ground and ended the game 5 yards short. 37-32 Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles — It was one thing for the Eagles to win a couple games against the two biggest NFL tomato cans. It was quite another to take on Pittsburgh. In the first quarter, Caleb Sturgis hit a 29 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Eagles. In the second quarter Carson Wentz led a 12 play, 82 yard, 6 minute drive. A 12 yard touchdown pass to Matthews made it 10-0 Eagles. Chris Boswell would hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Steelers on the board, but Sturgis answered from 38 to make it 13-3 Eagles at halftime. The Eagles exploded in the third quarter right at the outset. Wentz connected with Darren Sproles on a 73 yard touchdown connection to make it 20-3 Eagles. Smallwood ran it in from 8 yards out and Barner ran for an 8 yard touchdown to complete the blowout. The Eagles are 3-0, Carson Wentz looks like a veteran, and not one Philly fan has called for Doug Pederson to be fired yet. The City of Brotherly Love is feeling the love. 34-3 Eagles
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs — After a big emotional win over archival Buffalo last week, the Jets came out flat at Kansas City. After a Jets punt, the Chiefs showed why they will never get to the next level. From their own 17, they moved to a 3rd and 9 at the Jets 30. Alex Smith was sacked for an 8 yard loss and out of field goal range. A punt had the Jets pinned at their own one yard line. On 3rd and 9 from their own 22, Fitzpatrick was intercepted. From the Jets 35, the rest came easy. Smith hit Kelce for a 12 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chiefs after the first quarter.
In the second quarter after a Jets fumble, the Chiefs took over at their own 47 and kept playing dink and dunk West Coast Offense football. They held the ball for 7 minutes and 14 plays, yet gained one 44 yards. On 1st and goal from the 3, Smith completed a pass that lost a yard. Cairo Santos hit a 27 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Chiefs. Andy Reid teams win regular season games with defense and special teams. A fumble by the jets on the ensuing kickoff was returned 27 yards by Harris for a touchdown and a 17-0 Chiefs lead. Nick Folk got the Jets on the board with a 28 yard field goal just before the 2 minute warning as the Jets trailed 17-3 at break time.
In the third quarter Smith kept drinking and dunking, but it works when the other team plays bad defense. A short pass to Kelce went for 42 yards and another short pass gained 13 yards. Ware got around the end for a 6 yard touchdown and a 24-3 Chiefs lead. However, upon further review, the touchdown was called back in a big way. The ball came loose from Ware’s hand just before it hit the Pylon. Instead of a touchdown, it was a fumble and a touchback. The Jets drove down the field but midway through the fourth quarter, a pass from the red zone to the end zone was deflected and intercepted. Interceptions on 3 consecutive drives killed Gang Green. The last one was returned by Johnson for a 55 yard clinching touchdown. When you have a solid defense forcing 8 turnovers including intercepting 6…yes, 6…Fitzpatrick passes, Alex Smith can manage the game. He does nothing spectacular but does not lose you the game either. 24-3 Chiefs
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts — Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers are both quarterbacks who have gotten very little help in the last couple years. Early on it was all Colts. Adam Vinatieri hit a 38 yard field goal. Then Frank Gore capped off an 85 yard drive with a 6 yard touchdown run to have the Colts up 10-0 after the opening quarter. Josh Lambo hit field goals of 42 and 34 to get the Chargers within 10-6. The second one came after an interception of Luck had the Chargers with 1st and goal at the 6. Offensive holding and 3 Rivers incompletions meant a wasted chance. The Colts moved 60 yards in 11 plays and took up 7 1/2 minutes, but settled for Vinatieri from 33 to make it 13-6 Colts. With one minute left in the half, the Colts had 1st and 10 at the San Diego 23. They were in total control. Then after a false start, Luck was sacked and fumbled. Caraun Reid picked it up and rumbled 61 yards before a stunned Lucas Oil Stadium crowd. Out of nowhere the teams were tied 13-13 at the midpoint.
In the third quarter the Chargers moved 80 yards in 12 plays in 6 1/2 minutes. Melvin Gordon got in from the one. The extra point was partially blocked by Antonio Cromartie, but the Chargers led 19-13. The Colts responded by going 75 yards in 10 plays and nearly 6 minutes. Turpin got in from the one as the Colts retook the lead 20-19. Early in the fourth quarter, the Colts had the ball just past midfield. A hail of penalties wiped out a 58 yard touchdown and had the Colts facing 2nd and 40. A 3rd and 37 pass did not pick up the first down. The Chargers moved from their 18 to a 2nd and goal at the 4. Rivers then threw incomplete and was sacked. Josh Lambo hit the 27 yard field goal to put the Chargers up by 2 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Colts began their last chance at their own 17 with 2 1/2 minutes left and 2 timeouts left plus the 2 minute warning. A 3rd and 7 pass was dropped at the 2 minute warning. On 4th and 7, luck hit TY Hilton for 8. A 9 yard completion to Josh Ferguson saw Brandon Flowers stay down injured for the Chargers. This stopped the clock, a gift break for the Colts. The crowd clapped as Flowers got up and walked off under his own power. On the next play, Luck zipped a pass to Hilton, who split 2 defenders, spun one around, and outraced everyone. The home crowd erupted as the 63 yard miracle put the Colts in front by 4 points. The 2 point try failed. Because of Lambo’s earlier missed extra point, the Chargers need a touchdown to win it. Now it was the Chargers with 1:17 to play who needed to go 75 yards. They had 2 timeouts. An 18 yard completion was followed by a fumble. Mike Adams recovered for the defense as the Colts got their first win. Mike McCoy has seen his boys collapse in two of three games late. 26-22 Colts
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys was the Sunday night game. It was a mismatch from the start. Bak Prescott moved the Cowboys 75 yards in plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Prescott got in from the one to make it 7-0 Cowboys. Dan Bailey nailed a 49 yard field goal for a 10-0 Cowboys lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter Dunbar got in from the one to cap a 72 yard drive and make it 17-0 Cowboys. The Bears finally got on the board when Connor Barth hit a 34 yard field goal. The Cowboys came back with a 12 play, 73 yard, 7 minute drive. Alfred Morris ran for a 3 yard touchdown to have the Cowboys cruising up 24-3 at halftime. Bryan Hoyer did throw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Bryan Hoyer in the third quarter, but the Cowboys put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Prescott capped of a 10 play, 88 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive with his first NFL touchdown pass, a 17 yarder to Dez Bryant to make it 31-10 Cowboys. Hoyer and Miller hooked up again but it was far too little, too late as the Bears remained winless. 31-17 Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints was the Monday night game. For those who suffered through the worst presidential debate in history, you missed a fine football game. Emotions were sky high in the Superdome. This was the 10 year anniversary of Steve Gleason’s blocked punt. Gleason was in attendance for this game, and his battle with ALS is widely documented. Drew Brees and Sean Payton were in the same role as they were a decade ago, superstar player and coach respectively. There were no blocked punts in this game like in 2006 and 2015, but it was thrilling offensive football. In a very classy display with thoughts of Hurricane Katrina and recent social unrest in the background, the players and coaches all held hands before the game. This was real unity.
Then they played football. Brees moved the Saints 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. A 2 yard touchdown pass to Coby Fleener made it 7-0 Saints. The Saints held on defense and had all the momentum, but it was fleeting. The Saints fumbled a punt and the Falcons took over on the Saints 11. On 3rd and 1 from the 2, Coleman got in to tie the game 7-7.
Later on the Falcons moved 74 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Saints 33, Coleman got the yard and a horse collar tackle added 15 more yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Matt Ryan hit Freeman for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Falcons. The Saints came back 75 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. Brees hit Thomas from 2 yards out for a 14-14 tie. The pinball machine kept rolling for both sides, as now the Falcons did their 11 play, 75 yard drive. Coleman got in from the 2 for a 21-14 Falcons lead.
The Falcons held on defense and got it back on their own 6 with 1:51 left in the half. On 3rd and 2 from the 14, Ryan threw incomplete. However, defensive pass interference meant a 25 yard gain. Ryan then found Hardy for 22 yards and Gabriel for 14 more. With 30 seconds left in the half, Ryan threw a 4 yard touchdown to Hardy for a 28-14 Falcons lead. After a touchback the Saints faced 3rd and 10 at their own 25. Brees hit Fleener for 32 yards. On the last play of the half Lutz nailed a 57 yard field goal to get the Saints within 28-17.
The Falcons kept rolling. On the first play of the second half after a touchback, Ryan hit Freeman for 26 yards and Coleman for 34 yards. Coleman ran it in from 6 yards out to make it 35-17. The Saints soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Brees hit Thomas for 25 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 3, John Kuhn got in. Mark Ingraham converted the 2 point conversion on the ground to get the Saints within 35-25 midway through the third quarter.
The Falcons moved from their 21 when Freeman ran for a 21 yard gain. However, on 3rd and goal at the 3 Ryan threw incomplete. Matt Bryant hit the 21 yard field goal for a 38-25 Falcons lead. The Saints appeared right back in it when they moved from their 25 to 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 11 only one minute into the fourth quarter. Then came the play of the game. Brees was intercepted by Jones, who went 90 yards the other way for the dagger. Instead of only being down 38-32, the Saints trailed 45-25.
Brees quickly brought the Saints back again, tossing a 5 yard touchdown pass to Ingram with 10 minutes left in regulation. The Saints even held on defense and moved from their 14 to a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 28. This came after a critical 4th and 1 conversion. Yet a sack of Brees soon found the Saints facing 4th and 21 from the Atlanta 39 with 3 minutes left. They failed to convert. Freeman burst free for a 48 yard gain to the Saints 4 yard line, but Matty Ice ended the game with the same class it began. He took a knee rather than run up the score on this proud home crowd. Ryan finished 20 of 30 for 240 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Brees was 36 of 54 for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also with the one killer interception. The win had the Falcons in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. 45-32 Falcons