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NFL 2016 Week 13 Recap

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 13 Recap

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings was the Thursday night game. It was a defensive bonelock. Mike Zimmer was at home recovering from eye surgery, but the Minnesota defense summoned up his attitude. For much of the night they frustrated the tainted Dallas offense while generating little offense of their own. Kai Forbath hit a 48 yard field goal to have the Vikings up 3-0 after the first quarter. Ezekiel Elliott got the last yard of an 84 yard drive to have the Cowboys up 7-3 at halftime. Forbath hit again from 36 as the Vikings only trailed 7-6 after three quarters. Just before the third quarter ended, facing 1st and 20 at their own 25, Dak Prescott was sacked and fumbled for the second time in the game. Minnesota recovered at the Dallas 19, but again could not get in the end zone. The fourth quarter began with Forbath hitting from 33 to have the Vikings up 9-7 and smelling upset.

With 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Cowboys punted on 4th and 24 from their own 40. The punt was fumbled, a killer turnover by the vikings. Dallas recovered at the Minnesota 8. One play later Prescott hit Dez Bryant on a short slant, and Bryant took it to the end zone for a 14-9 Cowboys lead. Minnesota could not move the ball, and a shanked 33 yard punt had the cowboys get it back at their own 46. Elliott then broke off a 30 yard run. After that Minnesota held. Dan Bailey hit the 39 yard field goal to put the Cowboys up 17-9. With 4:20 to play, Minnesota needed to finally reach the end zone to try and tie the game. A sack of Bradford had the Vikings facing 4th and 12 at their own 36 with 3:14 to play. With all 3 timeouts left, the decision was to punt and trust the defense.

On 2nd and 9 from the Dallas 23, Prescott appeared to run for the first down. However, Minnesota challenged the spot. Prescott clearly began his slide before the marker, and the officials properly reversed the call. On 3rd and 1, a first down would end the game. Prescott fumbled the center snap exchange, and the Cowboys were lucky to retain possession. On 4th and 4 they punted, and it was Minnesota fumbling another punt and barely escaping disaster by retaining possession. With 2:09 left, the Vikings were at their own 35. Bradford hit Adam Thielen for an 18 yard gain. From the Dallas 36, Bradford hit Diggs for a 15 yard gain. With one minute to go, another completion already had Minnesota at the Dallas 11. On 2nd and 6 from the 7, Dallas jumped offsides, stopping the clock with 30 seconds to play. Dallas then took their final timeout. Bradord then threw the 4 yard touchdown to McKinnon with 25 seconds left. Now it all came down to the 2 point conversion.

A false start moved the try back to the 7 yard line. The Vikings committed another false start and would have been better off had it been called. Officials let the play continue, and under heavy pressure, Bradford threw a mile high and out of the end zone. Bradford took a blow to the head and it was also not called. The onside kick failed. Jason Witten saw his streak of 130 games with a catch snapped, but Witten recovered the winning onside kick. Minnesota fell to 6-6 after the bitter home loss. As for Dallas, they are 11-1 with their 11th straight win. This was their ugliest win, but very good teas gut out tough road wins against good defenses. Dallas did exactly that. 17-15 Vikings

Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars — 20 years ago John Elway’s Denver Broncos had the NFL’s best record and were shocked at home by the 2nd year Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs. 20 years later, Denver was again expected to steamroll over Jacksonville. However, Trevor Siemian was out injured as rookie Paxton Lynch got the start. After a scoreless first quarter it was actually the Jaguars who scored first. Jared Myers hit a 30 yard field goal for the 3-0 Jacksonville lead. The Broncos finally got on the board when a 75 yard drive culminated in a 6 yard Booker run for a 7-3 Denver lead. Jacksonville’s defense hung tough the entire half until the final minute. Brandon McManus hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Broncos at halftime.

Blake Bortles can always be counted on to throw a touchdown pass to the players wearing different color jerseys. On 3rd and 4 just shy of midfield, Bradley Rob’s interception return went 51 yards for a score and the 17-3 Broncos lead. The Jaguars fought hard, coming back from their own 30. 12 plays, 70 yards, and 6 minutes led to a critical 4th and 5 at the Denver 22 less than one minute into the fourth quarter. Gus Bradley decided to go for it. Bortles scrambled up the middle all the way for the touchdown. The Jaguars were now only down by 7 with ages of time left.

Jacksonville got it back and moved to a 3rd and 4 at the Denver 38 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Bortles threw incomplete. On 4th and 4 Bradley went for it and Bortles threw incomplete again. Making matters worse, unsportsmanlike conduct on Jacksonville gave Denver the ball at the Jags 47. Lynch threw incomplete on 3rd and 3 as the Jaguars got it back at their own 20. On 3rd and 10 from the Jacksonville 40, a run gained only 5 yards. With 5 1/2 minutes left, Gus Bradley decided to punt and trust his defense. Lynch came up short on 3rd and 1 and Jacksonville had another chance at their 29 with 3 minutes left. On 3rd and 10, a completion gained only 4 yards. On 4th and 6 from the Jacksonville 33, with 2:16 to play, a 2-9 Gus Bradley with nothing to lose opted to punt. The crowd jeered but the Jaguars had all their timeouts. Jacksonville held on defense and got it back with 1:41 left at their own 34. Yet Bortles was sacked and fumbled. Denver took over at the Jacksonville 29. The defense held again but McManus hit a 41 yard field goal with 30 seconds left to lift Denver to 8-4 and very much alive in the playoff race. 20-10 Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons — A pair of teams in strong playoff position faced off as the high octane Atlanta offense grappled with the stout Kansas City defense. Early on a 10 play, 81 yard, 5 minute drive saw Devonte Freeman get the final yard for a 7-0 Falcons lead. It was set up when Matt Ryan threw incomplete on 3rd and 11 from the 12 but defensive pass interference nullified it. The Chiefs quickly came back 77 yards. Alex Smith usually throws West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes, but Andy Reid unleashed him early. Perhaps it was because dinking and dunking would not keep pace with Atlanta. From the Chiefs 41, Smith went deep to Travis Kelce for gains of 21 and 35 yards. Ware got in from the 3 yard line for the score. The extra point was blocked as the Chiefs trailed 7-6.

After a touchback the Falcons moved easily into the red zone, but on 3rd and 3 from the 4, Matty Ice was tackled for no gain. Matt Bryant hit the 22 yard field goal to make it 10-6 Falcons. The Chiefs quickly moved to from their 23 to a 3rd and 3 at the Atlanta 39. Smith was sacked and fumbled, giving the Falcons the ball at their own 43. The second quarter began with the Falcons with 1st and goal at the 2. Yet an incompletion was followed by a run that lost 2 yards and another incompletion. Bryant hit another 22 yard field goal to make it 13-6 Falcons.

The Chiefs came back 92 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the 3, Andy Reid decided to go for it. Smith hit Ware for the touchdown for a 13-13 game. With 48 seconds left in the half, the Falcons took over at their own 25. Matt Ryan fired over the middle and was intercepted by Eric Berry. Despite having the 27th ranked offense and 28th ranked defense, the Chiefs defense wins by forcing turnovers. Berry returned the interception 37 yards for a touchdown and a 20-13 Chiefs lead. Some quick passes by Ryan allowed Bryant to come out for a 59 yard field goal try on the last play of the half. Bryant was dead center and it cleared the crossbar as the Falcons trailed 20-16 at halftime.

Two minutes into the third quarter, the Chiefs prepared to punt on 4th and 1 from their own 45. Andy Reid called a fake punt that worked to perfection. Alex Wilson took the direct snap straight up the middle for a 55 yard touchdown. The Chiefs led 27-16, making Andy Reid a happy Walrus Lite. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, the Falcons moved from their own 20. On the first play of the fourth quarter, on 3rd and 2 from the Chiefs 38, Freeman gained 4 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 15, Ryan found Taylor Gabriel for 14. Freeman got the last yard. With 12 minutes left in the game and the Falcons down by 5, Dan Quinn made a very questionable decision to go for the 2 point conversion. Ryan’s pass was incomplete and the Falcons trailed 27-22.

Earth to NFL coaches: Don’t go for 2 point conversion until you have to. This Falcons-Chiefs game is ridiculous. How many times have we seen teams “chase points,” going for 2 a second time only because they didn’t get it the first time? Carolina lost to New England in the Super Bowl because of repeated failed 2 point conversions.

Atlanta got it back at their own 20 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation. On 3rd and 1 from the Atlanta 40, a short pass from Ryan to Toilolo gained 42 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the Chiefs 17, Ryan scrambled for 12. Ryan threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Robinson. with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Falcons led 28-27. Now they had to go for two, which they would not have had to do had they not gone for it the first time. So instead of a pair of extra points and a 30-27 lead, they only led by one point. Then came a disaster and a complete shock to the home crowd. Ryan’s 2 point pass attempt was intercepted by Eric Berry. Berry went coast to coast, 100 yards. This year that is now a 2 point score. Instead of leading the Falcons now trailed by a point and had to kick off.

The Chiefs took over at their own 8. At the 2 minute warning, the Chiefs faced a critical 3rd and 6 at their own 26. Smith hit Wilson for a 10 yard gain, allowing the Chiefs to run out the clock. Atlanta fell to 7-5 while the Chiefs at 9-3 are still in strong position to win the AFC West. They have upcoming rematches against Oakland and Denver. 29-28 Chiefs

Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers — With snow coming down, the first quarter was a scoreless slog. With the Texans facing 3rd and 9 from midfield, a completed pass was fumbled away, letting Green Bay take over at the Houston 24. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the 2, Aaron Rodgers fumbled the snap and the Texans recovered. The second quarter began with Bill O’Brien deciding to go for it on 4th and 1 from midfield. Alfred Blue got the carry and got stopped cold as the Packers took over. After a 3rd and 1 run lost a yard, Mike McCarthy decided to go for it on 4th and 2 from the Houston 42. Michael gained 5 yards. Rodgers threw a 9 yard touchdown to Randall Cobb as the Packers led 7-0 midway through the second quarter. In the third quarter the Texans moved 63 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 9 from the Houston 38, Osweiler went deep to Will Fuller for a 24 yard gain. On 4th and 1 from the 6, Bill O’Brien decided to go for it. Osweiler hit Griffin for the touchdown and a 7-7 game midway through the third quarter.

A strong kickoff return had the Packers taking over at their own 44. On 4th and 2 from the Houston 48, Mike McCarthy decided to go for it. Ripowski got the carry and came up a yard short. The Texans soon faced 2nd and 5 at the Green Bay 36. Osweiler threw incomplete twice. Rather than go for it or try a 54 yard field goal in the snow, O’Brien decided to punt and play field position. Shane Lechler placed a perfect punt that pinned the Packers, which is alliteration for those who care. For those who don’t, the Packers took over at their own 2 yard line. On 3rd and 1 from the 11, Montgomery gained 13 yards. On the last play of the third quarter, on 3rd and 8 from their own 26, Rodgers found Jared Cook for 10 yards. Rodgers then found Adams for 17 and scrambled for 10. Rodgers went deep to Jordy Nelson for a 32 yard touchdown. With 13 minutes left in regulation, the 12 play, 98 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive made it 14-7 Packers.

The Texans moved from their 15 to a 3rd and 7 at the Green Bay 44 with 9 minutes left. After Osweiler threw incomplete, O’Brien again decided to punt. The Packers were pinned at their own 11. Again, it did not matter. Rodgers hit Nelson for 21 and on 3rd and 6 from midfield hit him again for 28 more. Ripowski got the last 3 yards to make it 21-7 Packers with a little more than 4 minutes to play. The Texans did quickly move 78 yards, as Osweiler hit Hopkins for a 44 yard touchdown. The extra point failed, but the bigger problem was the onside kick also failing. Both teams are now 6-6 and in playoff survival mode. 21-13 Packers

Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals — Neither team is expected to make the playoffs. Mike Nugent started the scoring for Cincinnati with a 32 yard field goal. Cincinnati got it back and went 81 yards, with Jeremy Hill gaining the final 2 yards for the touchdown and the 10-0 Bengals lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter the Bengals kept rolling. Mike Nugent hit a 44 yard field goal to make it 13-0 Bengals. Cincinnati got it back and quickly moved 93 yards in 12 plays. Red Rifle Andy dalton hit Tyler Eifert for a 13 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Bengals led 19-0 at the half. In the third quarter the Bengals continued the blowout as a 77 yard finished with Dalton hitting Brandon LaFell for an 8 yard score and a 26-0 Bengals lead. Nugent tacked on a 26 yard field goal for a 29-0 Bengals lead. Most of the second half was garbage time. Carson Wentz threw 60 times, completing 36 of them for 308 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Dalton was 23 of 31 for 332 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The Eagles needed 4 touchdowns and only got 2 of them, as a late Cincy field goal ended the scoring. 32-14 Bengals

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints — Despite both teams having high octane offenses, a 27 yard Matt Prater field goal early on was the only score as the Lions led 3-0 after the opening quarter. In the second quarter the Lions moved 92 yards in 11 plays, taking 7 1/2 minutes off the clock. Matthew Stafford hit Golden Tate for a 35 yard gain and then went to Theo Riddick for the one yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Lions. After that the field goal kickers took over. A field position game had the Saints taking over with a short field at the Detroit 48. That was enough for Will Lutz to hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Saints within 10-3. Prater responded from 29 and Lutz hit again from 32 to close out the half with the Saints down 13-6. In the third quarter Prater hit from 32 and again from 27 as the Lions led 19-6. Both offense kept moving into the red zone, but it was the defenses making the end zone mostly out of reach.

In the fourth quarter the Saints got back in it. After three quarters of offensive futility, a 75 yard drive saw John Kuhn get in from one yard out. The Saints were only down 19-13. Moments later the Lions turned out the lights. Stafford went deep and found a wide open Golden Tate for a 66 yard touchdown bomb. The 2 point try failed, but the Lions led 25-13. Prater added a 52 yard field goal to complete the scoring. Prater’s 5 field goals were the difference as the first place Lions are now an 8-4 team. Jim Caldwell was so excited after the win that he almost made a facial expression. Meanwhile, the Saints are all but out of the playoff race, as Drew Brees and Sean Payton need more help on both sides of the ball, especially the defense. 28-13 Lions

San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears Forget that the 49ers and Bears are terrible. The NFL has its first snowstorm football game of the year. This is December football. Neither quarterback completed a pass in the first quarter. It could be because Colin Kaepernick and Matt Barkley are terrible, but lets give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it is the snow coming down. Jay Cutler was thanking his stars he is injured so he can stay inside. The 49ers actually received an excessive celebration penalty on a touchdown that never happened. To be fair, San Francisco was the Hillary Clinton capital of America. Midway through the second quarter saw the game’s first completion. Meanwhile, Phil Dawson hit field goals of 31 and 28 yards in the second quarter for a 6-0 49ers lead at the 2 minute warning. Despite no offense whatsoever for 28 minutes, an 8 yard completion by Matt Barkley on 3rd and 5 from the Chicago 24 finally got the bears going. Barkley hooked up with Meredith for gains of 28 and 17 yards. From the san Francisco 12, a pass to the end zone led to defensive pass interference. From the one, Howard got in with 30 seconds left in the half to make it 7-6 Bears.

In the third quarter the Bears moved 75 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Howard got the last 2 yards for a 14-6 Bears lead. Chicago got it back at their own 41 and Matt Barkley somehow turned into Jim McMahon in 1985. Playing the 49ers defense 30 years after Ronnie Lott helps. Barkley hit Bellamy for 22 and again for 31. Howard ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 21-6 Bears. In the fourth quarter Connor Barth hit a 45 yard field goal to lock up the win. Chip Kelly allowed Kaepernick to throw only 5 passes the whole game. His only completion gained 4 yards. Colin Kaepernick was benched for Blaine Gabbert. So much for his channeling Fidel Castro’s ghost to a win. Gabbers was sacked for a safety. In the 1980s these teams played in the NFC Title Game twice. This was the Stupor Bowl. At least John Fox got his team to show up. 26-6 Bears

Los Angeles Rams at New England Patriots — 15 years ago Bill Belichik and Tom Brady shocked the world as the Patriots stunned the heavily favored Rams in the Super Bowl. A few years ago Belichick and Brady led Jeff Fisher’s team 59-0 after three quarters before taking a knee the entire fourth quarter. Fisher again leads a struggling team while Brady and belichick are on a Super Bowl mission. This time 80 yards ended with a 43 yard touchdown run by Laguerrette Blount as the Patriots led 7-0 after the first quarter. On the last play of the first quarter, the Rams faced 3rd and 7 at their own 32. Jared Goff threw a well thrown ball that went straight out of the receiver’s hands for an interception by Malcolm Butler. The Patriots began the second quarter at the Rams 30. Brady threw a 14 yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan for a 14-0 Patriots lead. Stephen Gostkowski tacked on a 28 yard field goal just before the half ended for a 17-0 Patriots advantage.

Who says the Rams don’t have an offense? Greg Zuerlein kicked a 44 yard field goal in the third quarter to have the Rams within 17-3. Gostkowski responded from 48, again from 45 after an interception of Goff, and again from 45 in the fourth quarter for a 26-3 Patriots lead. The Rams added a garbage touchdown, which is fitting because they have a garbage offense. Jeff Fisher received a 2 year contract extension before this game, and he is now 2 losses away from the all time NFL record of coaching losses. However, he has won plenty of games as well and now has time to develop Goff. As for Brady, with the win he passes Peyton Manning to be the all time winningest quarterback in NFL history with 201 wins. Meanwhile, the Patriots at 10-2 still have the top seed in the AFC. 26-10 Patriots.

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens — Miami came in winning 6 straight in this key battle of teams with realistic playoff hopes and good defenses. Early on it was all Baltimore. Joe Flacco hit West for a 3 yard touchdown to cap a 79 yard drive. Then Baltimore got it back and went 63 yards as Flacco hit Dennis Pitta for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Ravens. In the second quarter after the teams traded turnovers, the Ravens mounted a staggering 18 play, 88 yard drive that consumed 9 minutes off the clock. Flacco hit Pitta again for a 9 yard touchdown as the Ravens were rolling at home 21-0. Justin Tucker capped off the half with a 55 yard field goal to have the Ravens dominating 24-0. On the first play of the fourth quarter, a Baltimore fumble gave the Dolphins the ball at the Baltimore 8. Yet after Miami scored, Flacco threw a 53 yard touchdown to Brad Perriman. A 9 yard touchdown run by West completed the blowout. Both teams are 7-5 although only Baltimore can realistically win their division. Miami is now on the outside looking in regarding the playoff race. 38-6 Ravens

Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders — With Kansas City and Denver winning earlier in the day, the Raiders needed to extend their five game win streak to stay atop the AFC West. Last week they got to 9-2 for their first winning season since 2002. Today they would face off against a desperate Bills team and Rex Ryan’s defense. In the first half, the Raiders were out of sync as dropped passes killed them. The Bills moved easily on their opening drive, but settled for a 27 yard Dan Carpenter field goal to lead 3-0. The Raiders came back with a 47 yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal for a 3-3 game. Buffalo in the second quarter moved 80 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Gillislee scored from the one for a 10-3 Bills lead. The Raiders saw Michael Crabtree drop an easy touchdown pass as Oakland did everything to stay out of the end zone. Seabass hit field goals of 41 and 47 yards as the Raiders only trailed 10-9 at halftime. Despite being outplayed, the Raiders had a chance.

The Bills began the third quarter at their own 34. On the first play from scrimmage LeSean Shady McCoy raced for a 54 yard gain. On the next play, Tyrod Taylor scrambled for the 12 yard touchdown to make it 17-9 Bills. Buffalo got it back at their own 46 after Oakland punter Marquette King, normally one of the best in the game, shanked a 28 yarder. Buffalo made it look easy, converting a pair of third downs to face a critical 3rd and 1 at the Oakland 2. Gillislee got the carry and scored. Rex Ryan was playing ground and pound, and the Bills were pounding the Raiders 24-9. Oakland’s defense was awful and its offense was moribund. With 9 minutes left in the third quarter, the man who has been carrying the Silver and Black did it again. The gunslinger began firing on all cylinders, as Derek Carr led an offensive explosion that even retired Raider greats had to admire.

Carr fired to Clive Walford for an 18 yard gain that began a 75 yard march. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Carr hit Michael Crabtree for the touchdown. Crabtree was not going to miss another touchdown catch, as the Raiders trailed 24-16 with over 5 minutes left in the third quarter. The Raiders defense came alive as Buffalo’s offense went cold. A short punt and a 17 yard return by Jalen Richard had the Raiders starting at the Buffalo 38. Richard then ran for  21 yard gain. Latavius Murray got in from the one and Jack Del Rio smartly decided against the 2 point conversion. The Raiders were only down 24-23 after three quarters, but their offense was just getting started.

Another failed Buffalo series and another relatively short punt had the Raiders taking over at their own 41. On 3rd and 10 Carr hit Mychal Rivera for 22 yards and then went deep to Amari Cooper for a 37 yard touchdown. Less than one minute into the fourth quarter, the Raiders had taken the 30-24 lead. Again, Del Rio wisely avoided going for the 2 point try. Buffalo again went 3 and out but this time the Raiders got it back at their own 15 instead of midfield due to a penalty on the return. The Raiders got to their own 41 but a pair of incompletions ended the drive. After three straight touchdown drives the Raiders had stalled. Yet the defense came through in a big way.

With 11 minutes left in regulation, the Bills were pinned at their own 4 yard line from a great punt and even better punt coverage. On the first play from scrimmage, Khalil Mack continued his stretch of terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. Mack hit Taylor just as he threw the ball, leading to a wounded duck that was plucked out of the air by Nate Allen. The Raiders had gift field position at the Buffalo 16 yard line. On 3rd and 2 from the 8, Murray gained 5 and then got the last 3 yards. this time with 8 1/2 minutes left Del Rio went for 2, and Car hit Seth Roberts. Roberts had dropped a couple passes earlier but hauled in the critical conversion as the Raiders now led by 14 points.

Buffalo was in desperation mode now and they moved from their 25 to to a 3rd and 15 at the Oakland 33. Taylor hit McCoy for 16 and now the Bills were almost certain to make it a one score game. Yet after 5 minutes of clock, it was all for naught. Mack got the trifecta. He sacked Taylor, forced a fumble, and recovered it himself. With 3 1/2 minutes left, the Raiders were in strong position. The Bills took their timeouts on defense, and with 2 1/2 minutes left from the Oakland 32, Jack Del Rio did not even think about gambling on 4th and 1. Marquette King boomed a 68 yard punt, and the Bills committed a killer roughing the kicker penalty. The Raiders retained possession and ground down almost all of the rest of the clock.

Both quarterbacks threw 35 passes, with Taylor completing 18 and Carr. 19. Carr led in passing yards 260-191. Yet Taylor had 0 touchdowns and one interception while Carr had two touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Dropped passes prevented a third touchdown pass. Buffalo at 6-6 is now on the ropes, as Rex Ryan’s hot seat in frigid Buffalo just turned up several scorching notches. The Raiders are now 10-2, one game up in the AFC West, and in position for a first round bye. They have a very tough schedule down the stretch They face all three division opponents, and all of those games are on the road. Oakland is unbeaten on the road, but these are much tougher games. Nevertheless, 29 unanswered points in the second half came because Derek Carr is playing lights out football. It was ugly for long stretches, but the end result was beautiful. Just win baby. 38-24 Raiders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers — A pair of teams fighting for playoff survival saw the Buccaneers come in winners of two straight, including a beating last week over heavily favored Seattle. The Chargers struck first on a  75 yard drive when Philip Rivers hit Dontrelle Inman for a 35 yard touchdown and a 7-0 San Diego lead. The Buccaneers answered on a  56 yard drive when Muscle Hamster Doug Martin ran it in from 2 yards out for a 7-7 ballgame. In the second quarter the Chargers moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Melvin Gordon ran for a 2 yard touchdown as the Chargers led 14-7 at halftime. In the third quarter the Buccaneers moved 66 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes, but stalled in the red zone. Roberto Aguayo hit the 27 yard field goal as the Buccaneers trailed 14-10.

Philip Rovers throws touchdowns, but not always to the players wearing the same color jerseys as him. With 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, with the Chargers facing 1st and 10 at their own 8, Rivers was intercepted by David. David returned the pick six 15 yards to pay dirt for a 17-14 Buccaneers lead. Yet after a touchback, rivers quickly had a bounce back. A 49 yard touchdown pass to Williams, who does wear the same color jersey as Rivers, had the Chargers back on top 21-17 after three quarters.

After a touchback, the Buccaneers moved to a 3rd and 2 at the San Diego 16. Jameis Winston threw incomplete and again the Bucs settled for a 34 yard Aguayo field goal to trail 21-20. The Chargers moved backwards on their next drive and a short punt had the Buccaneer starting at their own 46. Winston hit Martino for 16 yards, Jacquez Rodgers for 21 more, and Brate for the 12 yard touchdown. Winston hit Mike Evans for the 2 point conversion as the Buccaneers led this topsy-turvy game by 7 with 9 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, Rivers led a time consuming drive. With 3 minutes to play, the Chargers faced 3rd and 1 at the Tampa Bay 31. Rivers went deep to the end zone and was intercepted. With 2:05 to play and the Chargers out of timeouts, everything came down to the Bucs facing 3rd and 1 at their own 29. Rodgers got the carry and gained 2 yards, allowing Winston to take three knees and end it. Tampa Bay is 7-5 and alive while the Chargers are 5-7 and all but dead in what could be Mike McCoy’s last season. 28-21 Buccaneers

Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals — The improved Redskins came in 6-4 while the Cardinals are on the ropes at 4-6. Early on the Cardinals moved 75 yards in 15 plays, taking nearly 8 1/2 minutes to do it. On 3rd and 12 from the Washington 15, Carson Palmer hit Gresham for 14 yards. David Johnson got in from the one for a 7-0 Cardinals lead after the opening quarter. In the second quarter both teams moved the ball but stalled. Dustin Hopkins hit field goals of 47 and 20 while Chandler Catanzaro connected from 28 as the Cardinals took a 10-6 lead into the locker rooms. The Redskins in particular had to be frustrated when they could not convert 1st and goal at the one into a touchdown. On 4th and goal at the one it was Jay Gruden who decided not to go for it.

In the third quarter, Kirk Cousins went deep to DeSean Jackson for a 59 yard gain. Again the Redskins faced 3rd and goal at the one. This time Cousins got in as the Redskins led 13-10. The Cardinals moved from their 25 to the Washington 23. Then a run lost 2 yards, Palmer was sacked for 10 yards, and a 53 yard Catanzaro field goal try was no good. Two plays later with the Redskins at their own 45, Cousins was sacked and fumbled. Golden picked it up, and ran it back all the way to the Washington 10. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Palmer hit Michael Floyd for the score and the 17-13 Cardinals lead. The Redskins responded. On 3rd and 5 from the Washington 30, Cousins found Pierre Garcon for a 28 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Washington 26, Cousins went deep to Crowder for the touchdown as the Redskins led 20-17 after three quarters.

After a touchback, the Cardinals had their turn. On 3rd and 8 from the Arizona 37, Palmer hit Gresham for 9 yards and again for 11 more. From the Washington 25, Palmer went deep to Johnson for the touchdown. With 11 minutes left in regulation, the Cardinals had retaken the lead 24-20. Both teams kept moving the ball well as the Redskins advanced from their 25 to a 3rd and 9 at the Arizona 35. Cousins threw incomplete. Jay Gruden opted for a 53 yard field goal try. Hopkins delivered as the Redskins trailed 24-23 with 6 minutes to play.

The Cardinals soon faced 4th and 1 at their own 34 with 4 1/2 minutes left. Everybody knows you punt the ball so as not to end up like Barry Switzer. Yet Bruce Arians is a gambler. It looked like he was just trying to get the Redskins to jump offsides, but he actually called a play. Risking the entire game, Arians was rewarded when Johnson gained 2 yards. With 2:11 to play, on 3rd and 5 from the Washington 47, Palmer threw incomplete but defensive holding on Josh Norman meant an automatic first down. Rather than try and grind down more clock, Arians again went for it all. Palmer went deep to Nelson for a 42 yard touchdown. Down by 8 with 1:56 to play, the Redskins moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 4 at the Arizona 28 with 48 seconds left. Looking for the tie, Cousins was intercepted. Palmer finished 30 of 46 for 300 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Cousins was 21 of 37 for 271 yards and one touchdown, but his lone interception was a killer that damaged Washington’s playoff hopes. 31-23 Cardinals

New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers — These two stories franchises saw the Giants come in a confident 8-3 while the Steelers were struggling at 6-5 but still with a chance to win their division. The Pittsburgh defense brought the lumber in this one. With 3 minutes left in the opening quarter, the Giants faced 3rd and 14 at their own 5. Eli Manning hit O’Dell Beckham for 15 yards, but offensive holding in the end zone instead meant a safety for Pittsburgh. The Steelers moved after the free kick to the Giants 24 but stalled. Ryan Bullock hit a 44 yard field goal to end the first quarter with the Steelers up 5-0. With 8 1/2 minutes left in the half, an interception of Manning gave the Steelers a short field at the Giants 44. Ben Roethlisberger went deep to Antonio Brown for a 22 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Steelers led 11-0. With 6 minutes left in the half, the Steelers got it back and used up most of the rest of the clock. 15 plays eventually led to a 34 yard field goal and a 14-0 Steelers lead at the half.

In the third quarter the Giants moved from their 40 to a 4th and 1 at the Pittsburgh 3. Ben McAdoo decided to go for it and Manning threw incomplete. Yet from the Pittsburgh 15, LeVeon Bell fumbled at the Giants took over at the Pittsburgh 17. The goal line stand was wasted as Manning threw a 13 yard touchdown pass to Rashad Jennings to get Big Blue within 14-7. Pittsburgh got it back at their own 12, and Big Ben immediately went deep to Green for a 33 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Giants 20, Roethlisberger went back to Green again for the touchdown as the Steelers led 21-7 after three quarters.

Late in the third quarter, on 2nd and 20 from the Pittsburgh 22, Roethlisberger was intercepted to give the Giants a short field at the Pittsburgh 43. After converting one third down, on 3rd and 13 from the Pittsburgh 35, Manning threw incomplete. With 11 1/2 minutes left to play, McAdoo went for it and Manning was intercepted at the 3 yard line. The Giants got it back at midfield and Manning quickly hit Beckham for 25 yards. Yet on 4th and 9 from the 24, needing to go for it again midway through the fourth quarter, Manning threw incomplete.

Pittsburgh moved from their 32 to the Giants 20, By the time Bullock hit a 38 yard field goal, only 90 seconds remained. With Pittsburgh up 24-7, the game was locked up. The Giants did get a garbage touchdown. Both Roethlisberger and Manning have won two Super Bowls. Mike Tomlin has the steelers tied atop the AFC North while the Giants despite the record at best will be a wildcard. 24-14 Steelers

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks is the Sunday night game. Last year in the playoffs the Panthers took a 31-0 halftime lead and hung on for a 31-24 win that ended Seattle’s reign as two time defending NFC champions. Now at home, Seattle came in looking for a revenge and a chance to all but eliminate Carolina. It was all Seattle in a game that was a nightmare for Carolina from the very first bizarre play. Despite being healthy, football fans everywhere were stunned to see Derek Anderson start and not Cam Newton. The explanation was that Newton was benched for the first play because of violating the team’s dress code. On the Saturday before the game, he did not wear a necktie on the team flight to Seattle. Newton’s overall postgame fashion sense at press conferences was not the issue. Anderson only came in for one play, and it was a disaster.

A short pass to Mike Tolbert bounced off Tolbert’s hands straight into the arms of Seattle’s Morgan, who returned it 14 yards to the Carolina 8. The throw was fine. Tolbert just messed up. Carolina’s defense held Seattle to a 23 yard Steve Hauschka field goal and a 3-0 Seahawks lead. Newton played the rest of the way. Seattle got it back at their own 8 and 92 yards came without much difficulty. Thomas Rawls was back and healthy, and he ran like it. His 8 yard touchdown run made it 10-0 Seahawks. Russell Wilson In the second quarter the Seahawks had 4th and 5 at the Carolina 36. Pete Carroll decided to go for it and Wilson was sacked. On the next play Carolina fumbled the ball right back. 3 plays later Wilson was intercepted. On 3rd and 17 from the Carolina 45, Newton went bombs away to Ted Ginn. Ginn caught the 55 yard touchdown. The Panthers trailed 10-7, but after that it was Seattle who was carpet bombing Carolina.

Thomas Rawls quickly broke off a 45 yard touchdown run for a 17-7 Seahawks lead. Seattle moved at will and Steve Hauschka added on field goals of 37 and 31 for a 23-7 halftime lead. On the first play of the third quarter, Tyler Lockett raced for a 75 yard touchdown and a 3-0 Seahawks blowout. The fourth quarter was a formality. A 10 play, 84 yard, 5 minute drive saw Wilson throw a 1 yard touchdown to Jimmy Graham. Seattle mounted one more 11 play, 70 yard, 6 minute drive that saw Hauschka hit his fourth short field goal from 28 yards out. Wilson was 26 of 36 for 277 yards, one touchdown and one interception, as the 8-3 Seahawks are in strong position for a first round bye at 8-3. Meanwhile last year’s 15-1 Panthers fell to 4-8. They won the division 2 years ago going 7-8-1, but that will not happen this year. After 3 straight division titles, Carolina is all but dead in terms of playoff hopes. Newton finished 14 of 32 for 182 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, but his team took a beating from the 12th man and the Legion of Boom. 40-7 Seahawks

Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets was the Monday night game. It was over from the start. Andrew Luck threw touchdown passes of 7 and 21 yards to Allen before the Jets could blink as the Colts led 14-0 after the opening quarter. The Jets managed a 38 yard Nick Folk field goal before quitting the rest of the game. Adam VInatieri hit a 53 yard field goal for a 17-3 Colts lead. Luck hooked up with Allen a third time for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 24-3 Colts. An Indianapolis fumble at the Jets goal line was the only thing delaying a 31-3 game. In the third quarter the Colts moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Luck’s fourth touchdown pass to Moncrief did get things to a 31-3 Colts lead. Vinatieri added one more field goal to make it 34-3. Todd Bowles benched Ryan Fitzpatrick and had Brice Petty play the second half. In the fourth quarter an interception of Petty set the Colts up at the Jets 6 yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter Robert Turbin ran for a 5 yard touchdown and a 41-3 Colts lead. The Jets did get one garbage touchdown as they fell to 3-9. Chuck Pagano has a 6-6 club that can still win the woeful AFC South. 41-10 Colts

NFL 2016 Week 13 Prequel

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 13 Prequel

NFL 2016 Week 13 Preview and Bettor’s Guide

Fidel Castro is dead and McRib is back

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Fidel Castro is dead and McRib is back

Castro expires, McRib inspires: Communism v. Capitalism

 

NFL 2016 Week 12 Thanksgiving Recap

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 12 Thanksgiving Recap

Ottawa Roughriders vs Calgary Stampeders — Ok, so we threw in one game involving our neighbors to the North. Ottowa defeated Calgary in overtime Sunday night to win the Canadian Football League Grey Cup. This marks the first CFL Grey Cup in 200 years not won by Doug Flutie. 39-33 Roughriders, OT

Now back to the National Football League.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions was the Thanksgiving morning game. Thanksgiving football is quintessentially American, and the Detroit Lions are a Thanksgiving institution. Yet this year they were tied for first place in the NFC North at 6-4 with the Vikings. This game was an NFC North brawl. Each team mounted a first quarter drive that went 12 plays and 75 yards. The Lions took nearly 8 minutes off the clock and Matthew Stafford hit Anquon Boldin for a 2 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Lions lead. The Vikings used up 6 1/2 minutes and Matt Asiata ran for a 5 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. In the second quarter the defenses took over. Matt Prater hit a 29 yard field goal for Detroit, but that was it. Jim Caldwell and Mike Zimmer each saw their defense make big stops on fourth and one as the Lions led 10-7 at the break. The defenses continued ruling the second half. Kai Forbath hit field goals of 30 yards in the third quarter and 28 yards in the fourth quarter as the Vikings took their first lead of the game 13-10. The 13 play, 76 yard drive put Minnesota on top, but a full 12 1/2 minutes remained in regulation.

With 5 minutes left, the Lions were pinned at their own 2 yard line. On 3rd and 18 from their own 18, Mike Zimmer brought the house. Somehow Stafford got off a completion to Boldin for 29 yards. At the 2 minute warning, the Lions faced 2nd and 1 at the Minnesota 29. Stafford threw incomplete and then completed a pass that actually lost a yard. Prater hit the 48 yard field goal as the game was tied 13-13 with 1:45 to play. Then came the deciding play. With 38 seconds left in a game destined for overtime, the Vikings faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Sam Bradford was intercepted by Slay, setting up the Lions at the Minnesota 20. Stafford took one knee to take the clock down to 4 seconds. Prater came in for a 40 yard field goal try to win it. In a season where kickers are missing everything in sight, Prater nailed it. Even the stoic Jim Caldwell swung his fist in celebration, of course without making a facial expression. The Lions are 7-4 and atop their division, and they have swept Minnesota twice. 16-13 Lions

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys was the Thanksgiving afternoon game. After winning nine straight for a league best 9-1 record, the Cowboys really got cocky. They decided to tempt fate and wear their blue uniforms. Some fans believe those jerseys are cursed, and apparently Jerrah has not burned them all. Even without the all white jerseys, Dallas made it look very easy on the opening 75 yard drive. Whitehead ran for 15 yards and Ezekiel Elliott ripped off gains of 20, 12 and 7 yards. Elliott capped the drive by running for a 4 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Cowboys lead. After that both defense stiffened. In the second quarter Dustin Hopkins hit a 24 yard field goal for the Redskins and Dan Bailey countered from 46 for a 10-3 Cowboys advantage. With 4 minutes left in the half, Hopkins missed a 55 yard try wide. From the Dallas 45, Dak Prescott made the Redskins pay. He hit Dez Bryant for 10 yards, screambled for an 18 yard gain, and fired to Terrence williams, who got his toes down just inside the chalk and the pylon for a 10 yard touchdown and a 17-3 Cowboys lead.

The Redskins marched down the field during the 2 minute drill and with 11 seconds left faced 3rd and goal at the 2. Yet just like earlier when they faced 3rd and goal at the 6, again Kirk Cousins threw incomplete and again the Redskins were settling for a field goal to trail 17-6 at halftime. Midway through the third quarter the Redskins took over at their own 10. They moved over 14 plays, taking 8 minutes to do it.  This time they finished the 90 yard drive. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cousins hit Reed for the 5 yard touchdown. The w point try failed but the Redskins were within 17-12.

At this point Elliott took over, running for 21 yards and catching a pass for 19 more yards. Dak Prescott did the rest, hitting Cole Beasley for 12 yards, Dez Bryant for 13 more, and then running the final 6 yards himself. The 75 yard drive had the Cowboys up 24-12 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

The Redskins got right back in it in a big way. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, rather than just move the chains, Kirk Cousins went bombs away to a wide open DeSean Jackson for a 67 yard touchdown. just like that, the Redskins were right back within 24-19. Jay Gruden decided to try a surprise onside kick, but the Cowboys recovered at their own 47. on 3rd and 7 from midfield, Prescott scrambled for just enough with a very questionable defensive personal foul tacked on adding 15 more. Prescott was very late to slide and it appeared the defenders were already in motion. After an offensive holding call wiped out a Dallas touchdown run, the Cowboys faced 3rd and 9 at the Washington 27. Prescott went to Bryant for a 26 yard gain down to the one. Elliott got the last yard as the Cowboys were back up 31-19 with 6 1/2 minutes to play.

Cousins rallied the Redskins after a touchback, but took far too much time to do it. Short completions over the middle kept the clock moving. With 3 1/2 minutes left, on 4th and 1 from the Dallas 34, Cousins hit Thompson for 5 yards. Cousins on 3rd and 1 from the 20 got the yard himself. by the time the 2 minute warning came, the Redskins had 1st and goal at the 8, but they still needed 2 scores. Cousins fired over the middle to Reed in the end zone for the touchdown. Again the Redskins were within 5 after the 15 play, 75 yard drive, but they needed the ball back.

The onside kick had a chance, but eventually ended up out of bounds. The Cowboys took over at the Washington 47. The Redskins took their second timeout with 1:47 left and the Cowboys facing 2nd and 7 at the Washington 44. Rather than play it safe, Jason Garrett trusted his rookie quarterback. Prescott hit Beasley for an 8 yard gain, putting the game on ice. Prescott was only 17 of 24 for 195 yards and 1 touchdown, but the running game allowed him to do less. Cousins was a ridiculous. 41 of 53 for 449 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cousins fell only 2 yards short of the NFL Thanksgiving pass record set by troy Aikman. It was little consolation. The Redskins fell to 6-4 while the Cowboys now for the first time in history have a ten game regular season win streak. They are an NFL best 10-1 with rookies playing quarterback and running back. 31-26 Cowboys

Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts was the Thanksgiving night game. The Colts started out with a major disadvantage with Andrew Luck missing this game while in concussion protocol. Former backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay is Scott Tolzien, who is now backing up Luck. Tolzien fumbled the snap on the first play from scrimmage and things only got tougher. After a punt the Steelers took over at their own 48. On 3rd and 8 from the Indy 38, Ben Roethlisberger went to Rogers for a 30 yard gain. LeVeon Bell ran for a 5 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Steelers lead. The Colts drove from their 25 to a 3rd and 1 at the Pittsburgh 29. Tolzien was sacked for a 5 yard loss. Last week Adam Vinatieri had his NFL record streak of 44 consecutive field goals snapped. This week from 52 yards out he missed again. Pittsburgh took over at their own 42. On 3rd and 5 from the Indy 25, Roethlisberger went deep to Antonio Brown for the touchdown and a 14-0 Steelers leaf after the first quarter.

A strong kickoff return had the Colts starting at the Pittsburgh 47. On 4th and 6 the Colts set up to punt, but Chuck Pagano called a fake punt. Punter Pat McAfee executed it perfectly, throwing a pass to Swoope for a 35 yard gain. Tolzien then hit Donte Moncrief for a 5 yard touchdown to get the Colts within 14-7. After a touchback, the Steelers faced a 3rd and 13 from their own 33. Big Ben went deep to green for 32 yards and again to Brown for a 33 yard touchdown and a 21-7 Steelers lead. The Colts moved from their own 37. At the 2 minute warning, on 3rd and goal at the one, Tolzien did not get in. Chuck Pagano decided to go for it. Tozlien threw incomplete.

In the second half the Colts had the ball at their own 10 and held the ball on a mind-numbing 19 play drive that went 89 yards and took nearly 11 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 15 from their own 18, Tolzien hit Dorsett for 16. on 4th and 4 at the Pittsburgh 18, Pagano went for it. Tolzien hit Allen for 12. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 2, Tolzien only gained a yard. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, again Pagano went for it on 4th and goal at the one. Again Tolzien threw incomplete. 2 goal line stands by the Pittsburgh defense was the difference in their 21-7 lead and a 21-21 tie game. Tolzien played well enough most of the game but he was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter in desperation time. Roethlisberger and Brown hooked up for the third time on a 22 yard touchdown on third and three. Indy feel to 5-6 as the Steelers got to 6-5. The game was closer than the score, but Mike Tomlin will take the win. 28-7 Steelers.

San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans — After a scoreless opening quarter, the Texans moved 72 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. Brock Osweiler got in from the one for a 7-0 Texans lead. The Chargers came back 74 yards quickly. Philip Rivers found Inman for a 52 yard touchdown pass and a 7-7 tie. After an interception of Osweiler, the Chargers again rapidly moved 63 yards. Rivers hit Williams for a 21 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Chargers lead. After a scoreless third quarter, the first play of the fourth quarter had Houston with a chance to tie the game. On 3rd and goal at the 8, a completion to Fiedorowicz meant 4th and goal at the 2. Bill O’Brien did not thrill the armchair quarterbacks or the fans in the stadium, but he went with the safe points. Nick Novak hit the 19 yard field goal as the Texans trailed 14-10.

With 11 minutes left in regulation the Chargers faced 3rd and 10 at their own 39. Rivers found Inman for gains of 11 and 25 with unnecessary roughness adding 13 more to the Houston 12. Rivers went to Henry for the 12 yard touchdown to make it 21-10 Chargers with 10 minutes to play. Osweiler was then quickly intercepted. With 4 1/2 minutes left, on 4th and 9 from the San Diego 38, Osweiler threw incomplete. Houston got it back at their own 13 with 2:17 left, converted one fourth down, and reached the San Diego 27 with 18 seconds left. They needed 2 scores. Nick Novak kicked the 45 yard field goal. The onside kick succeeded. From the San Diego 41 with 12 seconds left, Osweiler threw a Hail Mary incomplete. 3 seconds remained. Osweiler threw one more Hail Mary that fell incomplete. San Diego is 5-6 while Houston is 6-5 with back to back losses to the AFC West. 21-13 Chargers

Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears — Jay Cutler is out injured again and Matt Barkley was the starter for the anemic Bears offense. The Bears went 84 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Matt Barkley threw his first NFL touchdown pass, a 7 yard completion to Brown for a 7-0 Bears lead. The Titans went 75 yards and Derrick Henry ran for an 11 yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter for a 7-7 contest. In the second quarter the Titans moved 64 yards and Marcus Mariota found Melanie Walker for a 4 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Titans lead. With 2:15 left in the half, the Titans got the ball back at their own 35. From the Tennessee 46, Mariota found DeMarco Murray for a 25 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Chicago 29, Mariota went deep to Ryan Matthews for another touchdown and a 21-7 Titans lead.

The Bears went bold as John Fox called a surprise onside kick to start the second half. It worked, and Chicago marched down the field. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 5, Barkley went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. Mariota quickly found Matthews for a 24 yard gain. After converting a pair of third downs, the Titans moved to a 3rd and goal at the one. Murray got the carry and did not get in. With the Titans in total control, Mike Mularkey decided to play it safe on the road. With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, Ryan Succop hit the 19 yarder for a 24-7 Titans lead. A field position game had the Titans starting at the Bears 48. Penalties slowed the drive in the red zone, but Succopt hit from 31. One minute into the fourth quarter, the Titans were winning a 27-7 laugher. They would not be laughing for long.

The Bears moved 75 yards in 14 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Barkley converted a pair of short third downs and the Bears soon faced 3rd and 10 at the Tennessee 24. Barkley found Meredith for 11 and then went to Wilson for the 8 yard touchdown. With 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Bears were within 27-14. Chicago got it back at their own 31 with 6 1/2 minutes left. On 3rd and 10 from their own 46, Barkley hit Wilson for 19. On 3rd and 11 from the Tennessee 36, Barkley found Bellamy for 12. On 3rd and 10 from the Titans 14, a completion set up 4th and 2 at the 6 with only 3 minutes left. Barkley found Thompson for the touchdown as the Bears were now within 27-21.

With 2:10 to play and the Titans facing 3rd and 2 at their own 25, a completion gained only one yard. The Bears got the ball at their own 35 with 1:56 to play. Barkley put on a clinic with Wilson, connecting on gains of 14, 21 and 23. With 47 seconds to play and Mike Mularkey’s defense in total meltdown mode, the Bears had 1st and goal at the 7, plenty of time for a comeback for the ages for this franchise. Barkley threw to the end zone and a wide open Bellamy dropped a perfectly thrown pass. It was right in his bread basket and he just dropped it. A couple more incompletions set up 4th and goal with 34 seconds left. Barkley threaded a pass to the end zone to Thompson, and a sliding Thompson dropped it. It was also in his stomach and it bounced away as the Bears now have another losing season. The Titans are 6-6 and still alive in the playoff race. 27-21 Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills — The Bills are still in the playoff hunt, while Jacksonville seems to just be playing out the string. Yet early on it was the Jaguars going 75 yards in 11 plays and 7 minutes. Chris Ivory ran for a 2 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Jaguars lead. For 28 1/2 minutes, Buffalo’s offense did nothing against Jacksonville’s defense. Rex Ryan had no answers. one break changed the game. Brandon Tate returned a punt 43 yards, giving Buffalo the ball at the Jacksonville 22. With one minute left in the half, Rex Ryan decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from the 13. Williams crashed through for a 6 yard gain. LeSean Shady McCoy ran for the yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Bills trailed 7-6 at halftime.

After a touchback to start the second half, Buffalo needed only one play to take the lead. McCoy took the handoff and raced for a 75 yard touchdown and a 13-7 Bills advantage. The Jaguars responded by going 65 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Blake Bortles hit Marquis Lee on 3rd and 6 for a 20 yard touchdown and a 14-13 Jaguars lead. Buffalo came back in a big way as Tyrod Taylor went deep to Sammy Watkins for a 62 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the 7, Taylor scrambled for the touchdown and a 20-14 Bills lead with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.

The slugfest of the first half was gone as the teams continued the shootout. The Jaguars moved 65 yards and Borltes hit Alex Burns on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 12 yard touchdown and a 21-20 Jacksonville lead. The Bills moved from their 24 to a 3rd and 6 at the Jacksonville 44. Taylor went deep and was intercepted, but defensive pass interference on Prince Amukamara meant a 19 yard gain for Buffalo. On 2nd and 11 from the Jacksonville 16, Taylor went deep to Hunter for the touchdown. McCoy ran in the 2 point conversion as the Bills led by 7 with 11 minutes left in regulation.

The Jaguars moved from their own 27 to a 3rd and 4 at the Buffalo 40 with 3 1/2 minutes left. After Bortles threw incomplete, Jacksonville got called for a costly delay of game penalty. On 4th and 9, a completion only gained 4 yards as the Bills got to 6-5 in the playoff chase and the Jaguars clinched another losing season under Gus Bradley. 28-21 Bills

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens — The Ravens are fighting for a playoff spot in the underachieving AFC North while even the faltering Bengals have a chance. The Ravens marched 75 yards in 11 plays. Joe Flacco hit Brad Perriman for a 14 yard touchdown pass to get the Ravens on the board first. Baltimore got the ball back when Devon Hester returned a punt 28 yards to the Cincinnati 36. Justin Tucker tacked on a 52 yard field goal for a 10-0 Ravens lead. The Bengals finally got going and began the second quarter facing 2nd and 3 at the Baltimore 4 yard line. Yet Red Rifle Andy Dalton threw incomplete twice. Mike Nugent hit the 23 yard field goal to have the Bengals down 10-3.

With 1:45 left in the half, John Harbaugh decided to tempt fate. His field goal kicker Justin Tucker is the only NFL kicker not to miss a field goal or extra point all season. He had made 31 field goals in a row. Harbaugh brought Tucker in for a 57 yard field goal try, and Tucker drilled it to stay perfect and make it 13-3 Ravens. Baltimore got it back at their own 27 with one minute left in the half. Flacco hit Dennis Pitta for gains of 18 and 7. With 2 seconds left in the half, Tucker came in for a 54 yard try. Again he stayed perfect as the Ravens led 16-3 at the half.

In the third quarter the Bengals moved 86 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Dalton fired high to the back of the end zone and Tyler Eifert came down with it for the touchdown. The extra point was no good, but with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter the Bengals were within 16-9. The Ravens held the ball for 7 minutes and moved 59 yards in 12 plays, converting a 4th and 1 along the way. They settled for a 36 yard Tucker field goal, but his four kicks were the difference as the Ravens led 19-9 with 12 minutes left in regulation.

A field position game had the Bengals taking over at the Baltimore 47 with 9 minutes left. On 3rd and 22 from the Baltimore 30, Dalton threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and 3 from the Baltimore 18, Dalton threw incomplete and this time there was no bailout. Needing 2 scores, Marvin Lewis opted for the field goal. Nugent hit from 36 as the Bengals were within 19-12 with 6 minutes left to play. The Bengals held on defense and got the ball back with 4:17 to play. Despite having several passes batted down, Dalton moved the Bengals from their 19 to a 3rd and 3 at the Baltimore 29 with 90 seconds to play. After an incompletion, on 4th and 3 Dalton found Eifert for a 13 yard gain. Time was no longer a factor. After 2 more incompletions, the Bengals had 3rd and 10 at the Baltimore 16.

Dalton was sacked by Elvis Dumervil, forcing a fumble that Dumervil also recovered. With 11 seconds left, the Ravens and to punt on 4th and 3 from their own 28. First John Harbaugh allowed an intentional delay of game. He then called for an intentional safety and the punter let the entire clock run out before stepping out of the back of the end zone. The Ravens are 6-5 while the Bengals after four straight playoff trips are now 3-7 and all but done. 19-14 Ravens

Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons — These teams were supposed to have explosive offenses, but they have been inconsistent all year. Early on the shootout materialized. The Cardinals needed 5 1/2 minutes to move 75 yards. Carson Palmer hit Jermaine Gresham for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Cardinals. The Falcons came back 72 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Devonta Freeman got in from the one for a 7-7 ballgame. In the second quarter the teams traded field goals. Chandler Catanzaro hit from 25 for the Cardinals and Matt Bryant responded from 45 for a 10-10 game.

With just over 3 minutes left in the half, the Cardinals went backward and had to punt on 4th and 33 from their own 6. This allowed the Falcons to start at the Arizona 45. Matt Ryan went to Julio Jones for a 10 yard gain and then Gabriel for a 35 yard touchdown and a 17-10 Falcons lead. Atlanta got the ball back with 1:43 left in the half and quickly moved from their 31 to the Arizona 35 with 33 ticks left. Ryan was then intercepted by DJ Swearinger, setting the Cardinals up at their own 37. Palmer found Nelson for a 17 yard gain, but with 5 seconds left the Cardinals were at the Atlanta 46. Rather than go for the Hail Mary or a 64 yard field goal try, Bruce Arians took a very bold gamble. He called a quick slant over the middle, but this was not hook and lateral games. Palmer found Larry Fitzgerald for a 10 yard gain, and Fitzgerald quickly slid to the ground and called timeout. An angry Dan Quinn insisted the clock had run out, but officials ruled one second remained. Catanzaro nailed the 54 yard field goal as the Cardinals trailed 17-13 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Falcons moved 77 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Coleman got in from 2 yards out for a 24-13 Falcons lead. In the fourth quarter the Falcons turned a close game into a blowout. Atlanta moved 60 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Ryan found Taylor Gabriel again, and he raced to the five yard line and dove midair past the pylon. The video game touchdown made it 31-13 Falcons with 9 minutes left in regulation. Palmer did throw a 5 yard touchdown pass to David Johnson with 5 minutes left, but the onside kick failed. The short field led to Freeman running it in from 5 yards out with 2:07 left to turn out the lights. The quarterbacks had nearly identical numbers, each throwing 2 touchdown passes and one interception. Palmer was 25 of 45 for 289 yards and Ryan was 26 of 34 for 269 yards. Yet it is the Falcons at 7-4 while the Cardinals are a head scratching 4-6 only one year removed from the NFC Title Game. Bruce Arians had a preseason Super Bowl team that now may not even make the playoffs. 38-19 Falcons

San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins — Despite worries that Fidel Castro’s death would leave Colin Kaepernick brokenhearted, the 49ers Mod Squad quarterback did manage to cap a 62 yard drive with an 11 yard touchdown pass to Carlos Hyde for a 7-0 49ers lead. The Dolphins finally woke up in the second quarter. They moved 91 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Jay Aayi ran the final 2 yards to tie the game. Miami got it back and moved 84 yards in 11 plays and 7 minutes. Ryan Tannell hit Sims for a 16 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Dolphins lead.

On the first play from scrimmage of the second half after a touchback, Kaepernick was intercepted. The Dolphins took over at the San Francisco 26 yard line, but had to settle for a 24 yard Franks field goal and a 17-7 Dolphins lead. The 49ers took over at their own 9 yard line and went to the ground game. Kaepernick gained 10 and Hyde added 24 more. On 3rd and 5 from the San Francisco 48, Kaepernick found Rod Streater for 25 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 4, Kaepernick found Celek for the touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, the 49ers were only down 17-14.

Yet the Dolphins came right back. Tannehill went to Kenny Stills for a 43 yard touchdown to make it 24-14 Dolphins. Miami got it back and moved 67 yards. Tannehill hit Carroo for a 15 yard touchdown and a 31-14 Dolphins lead with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The game was a laugher, but Miami would not be laughing for long. For all the deserved jokes about Kaepernick’s politics, he led a gutty comeback on the field.

After a touchback the 49ers soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 40. Kaepernick found Harper for 16 and McDonald for another 35 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Kaepernick hit Torry Smith for the touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the 49ers were within 31-21. Miami went 3 and out and after a touchback the 49ers still had 6 minutes to get 2 scores. On 4th and 10 from midfield with 4 minutes left, Kaepernick found Harper for 16 yards Draugh for 16 more. On 2nd and 2 from the Miami 10, the 49ers suffered a killer offensive facemark penalty. Phil Dawson hit the 36 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 7 points with 2:15 to play.

Miami again went 3 and out and the 49ers got the ball back at their own 38 with 1:44 to play and one timeout. Another offensive facemask call had the 49ers facing 3rd and 21 at their own 27 with one minute left. Kaepernick hit Carlos Hyde for 10 yard as the 49ers took their last timeout with 50 seconds left. On 4th and 11 from their 37, Kaepernick found Smith for 17 yards. With 30 seconds left on 3rd and 8 from the Miami 44, Kaepernick scrambled for a 20 yard gain and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds left. Kaepernick then found Kerley for an 18 yard gain. With 5 seconds to play, the 49ers had 1st and goal at the 6. A quick throw over the middle was incomplete and left one more chance with 2 seconds left. Kaepernick rolled out, could not find anyone, and scrambled. He was stopped two yards short of the end zone. The Dolphins have won 6 straight for Adam Gase to get to 7-4. The 49ers after an opening week win have lost 10 straight under Chip Kelly. Fidel Castro’s ghost could not get Kaepernick past the goal line. 31-24 49ers

Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints — The Saints have pinball wizard Drew Brees while the Rams have Jeff Fisher’s defense and no offense. This was the return of Bountygate Gregg Williams’s return to New Orleans, this time with the visitors. The Rams moved 75 yards and Jared Goff hit Tavon Austin for a 24 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Rams lead. The Saints came back 51 yards and Brees hit Brad Coleman for a 3 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. The Saints began the second quarter at their own 14. Brees was sacked and fumbled. The Rams recovered at the Saints 6 yard line. One play later Goff hit Kenny Britt for the touchdown. The Rams had a 14-7 lead, but after that the roof caved in, and so did their defense.

The Saints marched 75 yards in 5 minutes and Mark Ingram ran for a 10 yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14. The Rams took over at their own 27. On the first play from scrimmage it was Goff who was sacked and fumbled. The Saints took over at the Rams 10. On 3rd and goal at the one, Tim Hightower failed to get in. Sean Payton decided to go for it on 4th and goal. Brees took the quarterback sneak and got in for a 21-14 Saints lead. The Saints got it back and soon faced 3rd and 15 at their own 17. Brees threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant 24 yards for the Saints. From the Rams 42, a short completion from Brees to Jeremy Hill went for 35 yards. Brees hit Thomas for a 6 yard touchdown with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half for a 28-14 Saints lead.

The Rams fought back from their own 21. With 1:25 left in the half the Rams faced 3rd and 2 at their own 44. Goff went deep to Kendricks for a 24 yard gain, to Britt for 17 more, and back to Kendricks for a 15 yard touchdown. With just under one minute left in the half, the Rams were back within 28-21. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half after a touchback, Mark Ingram broke free for a 61 yard gain. On 3rd and 17 from the Rams 21, Brees went to Ingram for the touchdown as the Saints led 35-21. It was then deja vu all over again as the Saints moved 92 yards and Brees again hit Thomas for a matching 21 yard touchdown and a 42-21 Saints lead. Yet Sean Payton really wanted to run up the score against Gregg Williams. In the fourth quarter Payton called a halfback option pass, and Snead went deep to Hightower for a 50 yard touchdown to complete the blowout. In only his second start, Goff was not bad, going 20 of 32 for 214 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception. Yet Brees was 28 of 36 for 310 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. 49-21 Saints

New York Giants at Cleveland Browns — The 7-3 Giants are not as good as their record, and they play down to there competition. Meanwhile the desperate Browns came in still winless at 0-11, but were still fighting hard for Hue Jackson. Yet as Bill Parcells used to say, your record is what it is. Midway through the second quarter, the game was still scoreless and the Dawg Pound felt hopeful. The Browns took over at their own 25 and the first mistake of the game killed them. Isaiah Crowell fumbled and the Giants recovered at the Cleveland 31. Eli Manning went to Lewis for 18 yards and Harris for the 13 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Giants. The Browns got a break when the Giants fumbled a punt, setting up Cleveland at the Giants 30. On 4th and 1 at the 21, Hue Jackson decided to go for it. Crowell got the carry and gained 2 yards. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 2, Josh McCown threw incomplete. This time Hue Jackson angered the home crowd by opting for the field goal. Cody Parker was good from 20. with only 1:40 left in the half, the Browns were only down 7-3.

The Browns defense had played well the whole half, but melted in the 2 minute drill. From the Giants 31, Manning went deep to Victor Cruz for 37 yards and then to O’Dell Beckham for a 32 yard touchdown and a 14-3 Giants lead. Their entire drive took 22 seconds, leaving 1:13 left on the clock. After a touchback, the Browns would soon face 2nd and 30 at their own 40 with 45 seconds left. McCown went deep to Terrelle Pryor for 22 yards. On 3rd and 8 McCown threw incomplete but defensive holding meant an automatic first down. With 9 seconds left, on 1st and goal at the 7, McCown threw incomplete again. with 5 seconds left, Hue Jackson took no chances. Parker hit from 25. However, the Browns were kicking field goals as the Giants were scoring touchdowns, as the Browns trailed 14-6 at halftime.

Cleveland’s defense dug in as the third quarter was scoreless. One minute into the fourth quarter, the Browns punted on 4th and 13 from their own 5. Beckham returned the punt 59 yards for a touchdown, but holding on the return nullifed the score. After holding on defense, the Browns still had life. The Browns got it back at their own 5. Hue Jackson went bold, because at 0-11, why not? McCown went bombs away to Terrelle Pryor for a 54 yard gain. One score could tie the game. Another pass lost 4 yards and a false star meant 2nd and 19 from midfield. McCown threw a short pass that was intercepted by Jason Pierre Paul, who is not three different people. JPP returned the pick 43 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, but with 11 minutes left in regulation the Giants led 20-6. These are the Browns.

The Browns kept fighting after a touchback. McCown found higgins for 19, with a defensive face mask adding 15 more. After another sack set up 2nd and 14 from the Giants 21, McCown hit Coleman for the touchdown. The Browns were only down 20-13 and a full 8 1/2 minutes remained. They 2 plays later, on 2nd and 6 from the Giants 31, a short mass from Manning to Beckham went for a 41 yard gain. Shepard then ran for 22 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 6. On 3rd and goal from the 4, Manning hit Beckham for the touchdown with only 5 minutes left to put the game on ice. The Giants are 8-3 under Ben McAdoo while the 0-12 Browns are still searching for one complete game. 27-13 Giants

Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The buccaneers have not been laying that badly, but Seattle was expected to shut them down. Early on it was all Buccaneers. They moved 78 yards in 14 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. Jameis Winston threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans to start the scoring. Tampa Bay quickly moved 62 yards on their next drive as Winston threw a 23 yard touchdown to Evans for a 14-0 Buccaneers lead. Early in the second quarter the Buccaneers faced 2nd and 10 at their own 4. A completion from Winston to Evans gained 12 yards but offensive holding in the end zone meant a safety for the Seahawks. Seattle got the free kick at their own 28. On 3rd and 14 from their 41, Wilson threw incomplete. However, defensive pas interference meant a 29 yard gain. The Seahawks settled or a 43 yard Steve Hauschka field goal to get within 14-5. Although it was still early in the second quarter, the defenses dominated as nobody scored the rest of the game. Russell Wilson was intercepted twice, including in the final 2 minutes. The Buccaneers brought back Pewter Power and Buc Ball not seen since the days of warren Sapp, John Lynch, Ronde Barber and Derrick Brooks. Tampa Bay is 6-5 while Seattle at 7-3 lost a stunner. 14-5 Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders — The Oakland Raiders have known heartbreak.

In 1986 they started 8-4 and ended 8-8. In 1995 they started 8-2 and ended 8-8. In 2011 they started 7-4 and ended 8-8. In 1995 and 2011 it was injuries to their starting quarterback that did them in. In 2016 the Raiders started 8-2. To get that ninth win they needed to face 4-6 Carolina at home. With the Raiders, nothing is ever easy.

Midway though the first quarter the Raiders took over at their own 38. Short passes went for big gains as Derek Carr hit Latavius Murray for 32 yards and Seth Roberts for 24 more. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Carr lobbed a fade and Roberts made an acrobatic touchdown catch for a 7-0 Raiders lead. After a touchback, Newton threw incomplete but but benefited from a very questionable roughing the passer call. Stewart then raced up the middle for a 47 yard gain. On 2nd and 9 from the Oakland 12, Newton threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference on Karl Joseph made it 1st and goal at the 3. Newton ran around the end and got in for a 7-7 ballgame.

The Raiders dominated the second quarter, moving from their own 29 to a critical 3rd and 3 at the Carolina 37. Murray gained 6 yards. On 2nd and 13 from the 34, Carr went deep to Johnny Holton for 30 yards. Murray gained the last 4 yards for the touchdown and the 14-7 Raiders lead. Carolina punted it back and the Raiders had a short field at the Carolina 46. Defensive pass interference moved the ball to the Carolina 35. Yet despite 2nd and goal at the 5, Carr threw incomplete twice. Sebastian Janikowski hit the 23 yard field goal to make it 17-7 Raiders midway through the second quarter.

With one minute left in the half, the Panthers faced 2nd and 6 at their own 13, Newton threw a short pass that turned disastrous. Khalil Mack did his best Jack Squirek impersonation, intercepting the ball at gliding 6 yards into the end zone for a touchdown and a 24-7 Raiders halftime lead. The Raiders were 30 minutes away from ending 13 straight non-winning seasons. They even were to receive the second half kickoff. Just when it looked like the black clouds were giving away to a silver lining, one simple play had the home crowd gasping for air.

On the second play of the third quarter, the Raiders faced 2nd and 1 from their own 31. Carr took the snap, fumbled it, and raced to the sideline screaming in pain. It was a simple quarterback-center exchange. Carr was not touched. Somehow the ball jammed his pinky on his throwing hand. He was taken to the locker room as the entire Oakland crowd and Raiders fans everywhere had a collective lump in their throat. The ball was fumbled on the play, and momentum immediately shifted.

Carolina took over at the Oakland 30. A pair of defensive penalties inside the 5 only delayed the inevitable. Stewart got in from the one. Graham Gano’s extra point was blocked. The Panthers were within 24-13, but that extra point would be key later on. Matt McGloin came in for Carr and it was clear the Raiders were going to run it. On 3rd and 2, Murray gained the first down but an illegal shift instead meant 3rd and 7. McGloin got blown up on a blind side hit and was lucky it was an incomplete pass. The Panthers soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 12. Newton went deep and found Ted Ginn for an 88 yard touchdown in front of a shellshocked home crowd. Because of the earlier blocked extra point, Ron Rivera went for 2. Newton threw incomplete but the Panthers were within 24-19 midway through the third quarter.

The crowd cheered loudly after a touchback when Carr came back into the game. He was wearing a glove over his injured throwing hand. For the remainder of the game, he took every single snap out of the shotgun. Carr immediately found Clive Walford for 17 yards to let the crowd know he was ok. On 3rd and 2 from midfield, Carr fired a dart to Michael Crabtree for 3 yards. Carr has frequently been compared to gunslinger Brett Favre, and he then made a Favre move. On 2nd and 13 from midfield, Carr threw against his body across the field and was intercepted by Davis. Davis returned the interception 31 yards to the Oakland 28. Stewart ran for a 3 yard touchdown late in the third quarter. Newton’s pass to Greg Olsen for the 2 point conversion failed. The Raiders went 3 and out as Carr threw incomplete 3 straight times. The Panthers wiped out a 24-7 halftime deficit and now led 25-24 after three quarters.

The Panthers got it back and soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 29. Newton threw incomplete, but defensive holding on DJ Hayden meant an automatic first down. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Panthers faced 3rd and 2 at the Oakland 44. Newton went deep to Kelvin Benjamin for the touchdown. The Raiders were in full collapse mode, as 25 straight unanswered points made it 32-24 Panthers. if not for the missed 2 point tries, it would have been a 2 score game, but despite the defense giving up 4 straight touchdown drives, the Raiders were one score from tying the game.

Injured hand or not, Carr was still going to do his Favre impersonation. The hole was dug, and he and he alone had to get the Raiders out of it. After a touchback, he hit Crabtree for 9, and a defensive facemark penalty on the next play had the Raiders at the Carolina 39. On 3rd and 3 from the 32,, Carr found Crabtree for 7 yards. On 3rd and 11 from the 26, Carr hit Walford for 14 and again for the 12 yard touchdown. Now it was time for the 2 point conversion. Carr fired to Seth Roberts. Good! With 8 1/2 minutes left, the game was tied 32-32. Now it was time for the defense, which had been shredded the entire second half, to get something right.

Carolina took over at their own 20. On 3rd and 10 from their own 31, Newton found Benjamin wide open near the sideline. Yet Benjamin cut his route short and caught the ball and was forced out a yard short of the first down. With 5 minutes left, Riverboat Ron Rivera was not going to gamble in his own territory. The Raiders had held on defense and got the ball back at their own 13. With 4 minutes left the Raiders faced 3rd and 9 at their own 14. Then came the play of the game.

With a man in his face, Carr went deep and found Crabtree for a 49 yard gain. Crabtree lost his helmet on the play but not the ball. Carr fired to Crabtree again for 15 more yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Carolina 8 after the Panthers took their first timeout, Murray got 2 yards. The clock hit the 2 minute warning. The Raiders had 1st and goal at the 6. The Panthers had 2 timeouts left. Running the ball would force the Panthers to use all their timeouts and take the clock down to one minute. After a run, Jack Del Rio called a pass play. Carr threw incomplete, stopping the clock. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Carr threw incomplete again, stopping the clock again. Sebastian Janikowski made the 23 yard field goal to give the Raiders the 3 point lead, but they allowed the Panthers to keep their last timeout. Instead of less than one minute, Carolina got it back at their own 25 with a full 1:45 left.

Newton immediately went to Olsen for 20 yards and then to Devon Funchess for 11 more. With a full 1:15 to play, the Panthers already had 1st and 10 at the Oakland 44. One more first down would mean long field goal range. A pair of incompletions meant 3rd and 10, and Newton let the play clock go down to nearly zero. It was a terrible break that forced the Panthers to use their last timeout. Newton fired high for Olsen, who got his fingers on it but could not corral it. On 4th and 10, Newton got belted by Khalil Mack, who forced the fumble and recovered it. Still with an injured hand, Carr was still in the shotgun for the final two kneel downs as last year’s NFC Champions fell to 4-7.

After 13 years, the Oakland Raiders are now winners. They are 9-2, 1st place in the AFC West, tied for the top record in the AFC, and led by league MVP Derek Carr. Finally, they are not the same old Raiders. Whatever happens the rest of the way in 2016, they are winners. Reggie McKenzie for President. Jack Del Rio for Vice President. Khalil Mack for Secretary of Defense. Derek Carr for any position he wants. Just. Win. Baby. 35-32 Raiders

New England Patriots at New York Jets — The patriots are in cruise control while the Jets are collapsing. Surely this game would just be a scrimmage for the Patriots. As ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman reminds is, “That’s why they play the games.” Early on the Patriots faced 3rd and 10 from their own 20. A completion on third down at the sticks was challenged by Todd Bowles and reversed to fourth and one. The Patriots punted. The Jets moved from their own 26. On 3rd and 4 from their own 45, Ryan Fitzpatrick found Brandon Marshall for 20 yards. Nick Folk hit a 51 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Jets. Later on the Jets took over at their own 21. From their 30, Fitzpatrick went deep to Enunwa for a 40 yard gain. On 3rd and 9 from the Patriots 29, Fitzpatrick hit Marshall for 11. On the first play of the second quarter, Fitzpatrick hit Marshall for the touchdown and the Jets had a stunning 10-0 lead.

After a touchback the Patriots moved 68 yards in 10 plays. From the Jets 39, Bill Belichick went to the bag of tricks, calling a halfback option pass. It was incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant a 31 yard gain and 1st and goal at the 8. The defense held and Stephen Gostkowski hit a 28 yard field goal to get New England on the board down 10-3. Two plays later from the Jets 25, Fitzpatrick went deep to Anderson for a 25 yard gain to midfield. Yet Anderson fumbled and Malcolm Butler recovered for New England at the mid stripe. Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for 18 and again for 7 on 3rd and 5. On 2nd and goal from the 4, Brady fumbled a snap, picked it up, and fired to Mitchell for the touchdown. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the half, the game was deadlocked 10-10. Just before the 2 minute warning, a 54 yard field goal try by Folk to give the Jets the lead was blocked. with 6 seconds left in the half, a 39 yard try by Gostkowski to give the Patriots the lead was no good.

In the third quarter the Patriots moved from their own 31 to a 4th and 1 at the Jets 18. Bill Belichick decided to go for it. The Jets lined up in the neutral zone, giving away the first down. Yet on 2nd and 8 from the 11, Brady threw incomplete twice. Gostkowski hit from 29 to make it 13-10 Patriots. The Jets began the fourth quarter at their own 27. Fitzpatrick hit Anderson for 9, Matt Forte for 15, and Marshall for 13. On 2nd and 10 from the Patriots 22, Fitzpatrick went deep to Enunwa. Initially ruled incomplete, Todd Bowles challenged the call. It was reversed to a touchdown as the Jets led 17-13 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

The Patriots got it back at their own 25 and Brady hit Mitchell for 13 and Hogan for 23 more. Despite 2nd and 6 from the Jets 22, Brady threw incomplete twice. Gostkowdki hit from 41 as the Patriots were within 17-16 midway through the fourth quarter. The Jets failed to move the ball and the Patriots got it back at their own 17 with 5 minutes left. Brady hit Edelman for 24 yards and Lewis for 16 more. On 3rd and 10 from the Jets 43, Brady hit Edelman for 6. With 3 minutes to go and the Patriots down by one, Bill Belichick decided to trust his Hall of Fame quarterback on 4th and 4 from the Jets 37 rather than try a 55 yard field goal. Brady hit White for 4 yards. Brady then went deep to Hogan for 25 yards and hit Mitchell for the 8 yard touchdown. Initially it looked like the 2 point pass from Brady to White succeeded. On further review, White’s feet broke the plane but the ball never did. The Jets got it back at their own 25 with 1:56 to play down by 5 points. 2 plays later Fitzpatrick was hit and fumbled. Once again, Jets stands for Just End The Season. Meanwhile, the Patriots at 9-2 keep rolling. 22-17 Patriots

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos was the Sunday night game. These 7-3 teams are mirror images of each other. They both win with stifling defense. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the half, the game was still scoreless. The Broncos faced 3rd and 7 at their own 8. Trevor Siemian was sacked at the goal line and fumbled. Russell Okung recovered in the end zone for Denver, but the result of the play was a safety. Then came the free kick, which Tariq Hill returned for an 86 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Chiefs led 9-0. Denver then moved from their own 25 to a 2nd and 1 at the Chiefs 11. A false start followed by Siemian throwing incomplete twice had the Broncos settling for a 33 yard Brandon McManus field goal and 9-3 Broncos deficit with 1:47 left in the half.

In the third quarter the Broncos moved from their 37 to a 4th and 1 at the Chiefs 9. Gary Kubiak went for it and Siemian took the quarterback sneak and barely got the first down. Andy Reid decided not to challenge the very generous spot. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Siemiean rolled to his left, ran for his life all the way back to the 20, ran all the way back to the right, and at the last moment fired to Jordan Taylor, who got both feet down. The touchdown midway through the third quarter made it 10-9 Broncos.

After a touchback the Chiefs moved 75 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. On 3rd and 6 from the Denver 21, Alex Smith threw one of his typical West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes short of the marker. On 4th and 2 from the 17, Andy Reid went with the field goal. Cairo Santos hit from 35, but a rare illegal formation penalty on the defense had Reid take the points off the board and go with 1st and 10 at the 12. On 3rd and 1 from the 3, Tyreeq Hill took a handoff out of the wildcat, barely shed a tackle from Von Miller, bounced to the outside, got another great block, and reached the corner of the end zone for a 16-10 Chiefs lead after three quarters.

With 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Chiefs had to punt on 4th and 20 from their own 4. Denver was expected to have excellent field position but Jerrius Norwood fumbled the punt and the Chiefs recovered at their own 41. Denver held on defense and received the next punt, but lost about 50 yards of field position, starting at their own 12. They got it back in one play. Siemian went deep to Emanuel Sanders for a 64 yard gain, although 15 yards were reversed due to Gary Kubiak accidentally bumping an official. Siemian then went deep to Sanders for a 35 yard touchdown as the Broncos retook the lead 17-16 midway through the fourth quarter.

With 4:14 to play the Broncos were facing 3rd and 11 at their own 3. Another holding in the end zone would mean another safety and a one point deficit. Even a punt would give the Chiefs great field position for the winning field goal. Instead Siemian found Derby for a 13 yard gain. On 2nd and 16 from the 10, Siemian scrambled for 14 yards.. On 3rd and 2, rather than just move the chains, Siemian went deep to Fowler for a stunning 76 yard touchdown. The Broncos now had an 8 point lead with 3 minutes left.

Since the Chiefs were down late in the fourth quarter, Alex Smith was allowed to throw passes longer than 4 yards. After a touchback, a sack of Smith had the Chiefs facing 2nd and 17. On 3rd and 10, Smith found Travis Kelce for just enough and Conley for 13 more to the Chiefs 48 at the 2 minute warning. Consecutive defensive penalties moved the Chiefs to the Denver 42. On 3rd and 1 from the Denver 25 with one minute left, Smith found Conley for 6 yards. With the Chiefs out of timeouts and the clock ticking down, an incomplete pass followed by illegal contact on the defense meant 1st and 10 at the 14 with 35 seconds left. 3 straight incompletions left 4th and 10 with 20 seconds left. Smith found Hill for 11 yards, and Hill got out of bounds with 15 seconds left. On 1st and goal at the 3, confusion then reigned.

Smith fired over the middle to Roby near the goal line. Roby caught it at the goal line and fell into the end zone. The Chiefs celebrated thinking they had a touchdown. However, the referees ruled Roby down 6 inches short of the goal line with the clock ticking. The Chiefs scrambled to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock but the clock ran out. Then the Broncos celebrated thinking they had won. The referees reviewed the play, which was complex. Roby was touched down short of the goal, but was only juggling the ball at that point. By the time he fully secured the ball for the catch, he was already in the end zone. His failure to secure the ball immediately actually worked in his favor. The referees got the call right and explained it perfectly right. The call was reversed and the Chiefs got the touchdown, but now they needed the 2 point conversion for the tie. Smith fired to Harris and this thrilling game went to overtime tied 22-22. If Fidel Castro had known what a thrilling Sunday Night Football game would have been, he would have waited until Monday to die.

Denver won the coin toss and soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Siemian found Denarius Thomas for an 11 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 48, a completion to Booker went for 22 yards. From the Chiefs 30, the Broncos were already in field goal range. However, a touchdown would end the game. On 2nd and 12, Siemian went deep and drew defensive pass interference. Now Denver had 1st and 10 at the Kansas City 20. On 3rd and 9 Siemian got sacked for a 7 yard loss. McManus came in for the 44 yard field goal to give the Broncos the lead. His kick was good, but the Chiefs would have a chance with 9 minutes left in overtime to tie or win the game.

A 41 yard kickoff return had the Chiefs starting at their own 35. A defensive offsides tacked on 5 more yards. From the Chiefs 48, Smith hit Kelce for 21 yards. With 4 1/2 minutes left in overtime, the Chiefs faced 2nd and 9 at the Denver 19. Smith threw incomplete. On 3rd and 9, under heavy pressure, Smith threw incomplete again. Denver could have been called for defensive pass interference, but they even more could have been called offsides. It looked like they jumped, but there was no call. Cairo Santos came in for the 37 yard field goal try to tie the game. A miss would end the game. Santos was good. Now whoever scored next would win.

After a touchback, the Broncos soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 46. Siemian found AJ Derby for a 10 yard gain at the 2 minute warning. A failed run and a batted down pass meant 3rd and 10 with 1:17 left. Rather than try to pick up a few yards, Siemian went deep with single coverage and Fowler was unable to haul in the well thrown but well defended pass. A field goal try would be 62 yards, and the wind was not as heavy as it was earlier in the game. Kubiak decided not to go for it or punt. He gambled on his field goal kicker in the high altitude knowing a miss would give the Chiefs excellent field position.

The kick was long enough but hooked wide left. Now the Chiefs had the ball at the Denver 48 with one minute left. Now it was up to Alex Smith to win the game. Dunking and dunking would not cut it. Denver’s defense helped matters by jumping offsides again. Smith had a wide open receiver for an easy touchdown but never saw him. On the next play Smith did find Hill for an 11 yard gain to the Denver 32. Smith spiked the ball and stopped the clock with 37 seconds left. A field goal try would be 50 yards. Smith fired to Kelce for a 16 yard gain and let the clock run down. With 5 seconds left in overtime, now Santos had his chance to be the hero from 37 yards out. The kick doinked off the left upright, shot sideways, and somehow made it just inside the right upright. Good! The 8-3 Chiefs are one game back of Oakland in the AFC West, while Denver fell to 7-4. All of Colorado will be debating Kubiak’s decision to try a 62 yarder with everything on the line. To think the entire AFC Playoff picture could be decided by a doink. For Walrus Lite Andy Reid, that would be just fine. 30-27 Chiefs, OT

Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles was the Monday night game. These teams are on the brink of playoff elimination, with the Packers having lost 4 straight to fall to 4-6 and Philadelphia barely better after a 3-0 start. Each team started hot. The Packers moved 75 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. Aaron Rodgers hit Devonta Adams for a 12 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Packers. The Eagles came back 81 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Carson Wentz got the last yard for a 7-7 game after the first quarter. The game slowed a bit after that. In the second quarter the Packers again moved 75 yards. Rodgers hit Adams again for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Packers. The Eagles moved 69 yards in 13 plays but settled for a 48 yard Caleb Sturgis field goal to trail 14-10 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Eagles moved from their 25 to the Green Bay 45. However, one play after getting belted, Wentz threw a pass with no receiver in the area that was intercepted by Haha Clinton-Dix. From the Green Bay 28, Rodgers went deep to Adams again for a 50 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 3 from the Philly 15, Rodgers threw incomplete. Mason Crosby hit the 33 yard field goal to make it 17-10 Packers. Wentz moved the Eagles after a touchback with a pair of key third down conversions, including a 16 yard completion on 3rd and 9. Yet on 2nd and 8 from the Green Bay 32, Wentz threw incomplete twice. Sturgis nailed the 50 yard field goal to get the Eagles back within 17-13.

The Packers soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Rodgers threw incomplete but a roughing the passer call kept the drive going. Rodgers converted a couple more short third downs. Then on 3rd and 10 from the Philly 26, Rodgers hooked up with Adams again for a 23 yard gain. One minute into the fourth quarter, Aaron Ripowski got in from the one for a 24-13 Packers lead. After a touchback penalties on both teams had the Eagles moving backward and then forward. From the Green Bay 36, a bad snap in the shotgun led to a sack of Wentz and a 10 yard loss. An incompletion on 3rd and 20 had the Eagles now out of field goal range. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Eagles still needed 2 scores.

The Packers began with terrible field position and moved backward to a 2nd and 14 at their own 4. Rodgers hit Ripowski for 9. On 3rd and 5, Graham jumped into the neutral zone, a killer defensive penalty. On 3rd and 12 from their own 28, Rodgers went deep to Jordy Nelson for a 22 yard gain. On 2nd and 10 from the Philly 40, Rodgers hit Nelson for a 13 yard gain. Yet a killer offensive holding penalty ended the drive. On 4th and 10 from the Philly 40, the defense got called for too many men in the huddle. On 4th and 5, Mike McCarthy brought his offense back on the field and decided to go for it. Rather than just go for a quick pass, Rodgers went deep to Nelson for a 21 yard gain. Nelson appeared to get away with offensive pass interference, but there was no call. The desperate Eagles took their last timeout with less than 3 minutes to play. Mike McCarthy kept it on the ground. By the time Crosby hit the 32 yard field goal to put the Packers up by 14, Green Bay had eaten up 8:30 minutes on their staggering 17 play, 78 yard drive.

The Eagles got it back at their own 13 yard line with only 1:50 to play. After a 24 yard completion, consecutive sacks closed the lid on the Eagles. Dom Capers saw his defense give up 30 points or more for 4 straight weeks, which the Packers had no experienced since 1953. Tonight, for at least this week, they righted the ship in a big way. Wentz was not bad, going 24 of 36 for 254 yards, 0 touchdowns, and one interception. Rodgers was just fantastic, going 30 of 39 for 313 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. 27-13 Packers

NFL 2016 Week 12 Prequel

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 12 Prequel

NFL 2016 Week 12 Preview and Bettor’s Guide

NFL 2016 Week 11 Recap

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 11 Recap

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers was the Thursday night game. Both teams collapsed last week in stunning fashion, and early on this game was all Panthers. Graham Gano hit a 32 yard field goal for Carolina and Will Lutz responded from 27 for a 3-3 game after the first quarter. The Carolina field goal was set up by a sack of Drew Brees that forced a fumble. The Saints were lucky it was only a field goal. First the Panthers had a touchdown reversed. Then from the one yard line Cam Newton took a sack for an 11 yard loss. In the second quarter the Panthers exploded as the Saints imploded.

Drew Brees was intercepted, setting up the Panthers at the New Orleans 34. Stewart got in from one yard out to make it 10-3 Panthers. The Saints fumbled the ensuing kickoff, pinning themselves at their own one. They punted and the Panthers took over just shy of midfield. Gang hit a 49 yard field goal to make it 13-3 Panthers with 2:50 left in the half. Brees quickly moved the saints from their 25 to a 3rd and 5 at the Carolina 20. A killer false start meant a 38 yard field goal try. Will Lutz last week was supposed to kick the winning extra point. Instead the kick was blocked and returned for the deciding 2 points the other way as Denver shocked the Saints. Lutz’s nightmares continued. His kick was again blocked and returned for a touchdown. An illegal block nullified the score and giving Carolina the ball at the Saints 40 with 23 seconds left. It did not matter. Cam Newton went deep to Ted Ginn, who made  a gorgeous catch in the back of the end zone to make it 20-3 Panthers at halftime.

In the third quarter the Saints held the ball for 14 plays and nearly 7 minutes. Gang hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 23-3 Panthers. For the second week in a row Carolina had a 17 point lead at home. For the second straight week, the Panthers fell apart in the fourth quarter. The Saints mounted a 16 play drive that ate up 8 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Carolina 14, Sean Payton went for it and Brees snuck up the middle for the yard. Yet a sack of Brees killed the drive. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Lutz hit from 30 as the Saints still trailed 23-6.

Carolina went 3 and out and the Saints got it back near midfield. Brees hit Coleman for a 9 yard touchdown. The Saints were only down 23-13 with a full 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Brees would then mount a 13 play, 5 minute drive that moved 76 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 8, Brees hit Coby Fleener for the touchdown. The Saints were only down by a field goal, but they ate up a ton of clock. Only 3 minutes remained. The Saints took their final timeout with the Panthers facing 3rd and 10 at their own 15. In heavy traffic, Newton hit Kelvin Benjamin for a critical 18 yard gain. By the time the saints got the ball back at their own 14, only 14 seconds remained. With 2 seconds left from the Saints 36, the Saints went for the hook and lateral rather than the Hail Mary. Yet after Thomas caught a pass and gained 21 yards, he never lateraled the ball. He just allowed himself to be forced out of bounds to end the game. 23-20 Panthers

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts — This game had the potential to tilt the scoreboard. The Colts moved 64 yards and Robert Turbin got in from the one to make it 7-0 Colts. The Colts got it back and Chuck Pagano went to his bag of tricks. Andrew Luck lined up as a wide receiver. Frank Gore took the direct snap, pitched the ball back to Luck, who then found a wide open Gore for a 49 yard gain down to the Titans 5 yard line. Donte Moncrief got the last 2 of the 75 yards for a 14-0 Colts lead. In the second quarter the Indy Express kept rolling. 80 yards came fairly easily and Luck hit TY Hilton for a 2 yard touchdown and a 21-0 Colts lead. The Colts missed a chance to extend the lead to 24-0 when Adam Vinatieri missed a 42 yard field goal. At this point momentum changed as a blowout became competitive.

The Titans moved 68 yards in 12 plays at the end of the half. Marcus Mariota hit DeMarco Murray for the 3 yard touchdown to get the Titans on the board. In the third quarter the Titans were trapped at their own 2 yard line. Mariota would throw a 34 yard touchdown to Sharpe to complete the 98 yard drive. The Titans were within 21-14 with much of the second half still to play. Ryan Succop hit a 47 yard field goal to get the Titans within 4 points, but Vinatieri hit a clutch 49 yarder to get the Colts back up 24-17 with a full 11 minutes left to play.

Midway through the fourth quarter, an interception of Luck set up the Titans at their own 38 with a chance to tie the game. On 3rd and 3 from the Indy 33, a completion came up one yard short. With 4 1/2 minutes to play, Mike Mularkey had to go for it. Mariota hit Douglas for 3 yards. With 2:45 to play, it was again 4th and 1 from the Indy 19. Murray got the carry and got stopped short. 10 seconds later, with the Titans out of timeouts, everything came down to the Colts facing 3rd and 5 at their own 24. Luck hit Hilton for 11 and took a knee three times to end it. 24-17 Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions — In the first quarter the Lions fumbled a punt and the Jaguars recovered in the red zone with a golden opportunity. Yet the Jaguars never show any offense until they are trailing in the fourth quarter. Jason Myers hit the 27 yard field goal for the 3-0 Jaguars lead. In the second quarter Andre Roberts made up for his earlier fumble by returning a punt 55 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked by the Lions led 6-3. Blake Bortles brought the Jaguars back 54 yards and hit Andre Robinson for a 3 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Jaguars led 9-6. Matt Prater hit a 27 yard field goal as the teams went to the locker rooms deadlocked 9-9.

Blake Bortles can always be counted on to throw a second half touchdown pass. The question is which team he will throw it to. In the third quarter he found Bush, who plays defense for Detroit. Bush returned the pick six 39 yards for a touchdown and a 16-9 Lions lead. The Jaguars got back within 16-12 when Myers nailed a 52 yard field goal. Jacksonville got it back at their own 13 and moved 87 yards. From the Detroit 3, Bortles threw a high fade and Marquis Lee won the jump contest for the touchdown and the 19-16 Jaguars lead.

In the fourth quarter the Lions faced 3rd and 13 at their own 31 after a sack of Matthew Stafford. Stafford went deep to Eric Ebron for a 61 yard gain. Ebron got in from the one as the Lions retook the lead 23-19 with 10 minutes left in regulation. With 8 1/2 minutes left the Lions got it back and bled the clock with a killer drive. 15 plays took 8 minutes off the clock as the Lions moved 60 yards. The Lions settled for a 43 yard Prater field goal and a 7 point lead. However, the Jaguars only had 22 seconds to move 75 yards. On 3rd and 10 Bortles went deep and was intercepted. The 6-4 Lions are in first place in the NFC North. Jim Caldwell was so pleased, he almost made a facial expression. 26-19 Lions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs — Alex Smith dinked and dunked his way down the field as the Chiefs moved 74 yards in 14 plays and took 8 minutes to do it. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Alex Smith threw one of his typical West Coast Offense passes that padded his stats but left the Chiefs 4 yards short of the end zone. Throwing past the marker is just not something the West Coast Offense believes in. Cairo Santos hit the 22 yard field goal for a 3-0 Chiefs lead. The Buccaneers came back 62 yards in the second quarter. Roberto Aguayo hit a 31 yard field goal for a 3-3 game. The Buccaneers repeated themselves when they got the ball back, going 63 yards in 10 plays. Yet again inside the 5 the defense stiffened. Aguayo hit from 22 for a 6-3 Buccaneers lead. The Chiefs came back 80 yards. From the Tampa Bay 11, the tire world knows Alex Smith will not throw it to the end zone. Yet without a 4 yard pass option available, Smith took off running up the middle all the way for the touchdown and a 10-6 Chiefs lead. Aguayo hit his third field goal from 41 yards out as the Buccaneers trailed 10-9 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Buccaneers moved 56 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. Aguayo hit his fourth field goal from 36 yards out to make it 12-10 Buccaneers. The Chiefs began the fourth quarter at their own 30. From their own 46, Alex Smith threw a ball past the marker. On first down. Yes, you read that correctly. He throws a deep ball every few games. It went for a 44 yard gain to the Tampa Bay 10. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 6, with 12 minutes left in regulation, Smith was intercepted in the end zone. Conte returned it 53 yards to the Tampa Bay 48. After a pair of third down conversions, the Buccaneers faced 3rd and 2 at the Chiefs 3. There would be no fifth field goal try for Aguayo. Winston hit Cross for the touchdown. The extra point was good and the Buccaneers had a 19-10 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left. However, this is the time in a game where Walrus Lite Andy Reid takes the shackles off of Smith. Dink and dunk for 3 1/2 quarters, fall behind, and then require him to actually throw forward passes. The Chiefs have a defense, so 2 scores in 6 1/2 minutes is certainly doable.

The Chiefs moved 78 yards, and on 3rd and goal at the 3, Smith hit Wilson for the touchdown. The Chiefs were within 2 points and 2 1/2 minutes remained. The defense would surely get them the ball back. On 3rd and 3 from the Tampa Bay 30, Winston hit Mike Evans for a 14 yard gain and a key first down as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. By the time the Chiefs got the ball back, they had only 8 seconds to go from their own 27. Needing 73 yards with 8 seconds left, Alex Smith can always be counted on to throw a 4 yard pass. He threw a pair of them as the Chiefs dropped to 7-3 in the AFC West. West. Coast. Offense. Dink. Dunk. Death. 19-17 Buccaneers

Chicago Bears at New York Giants — 30 years ago the Monster Giants dethroned the Monster Bears as Super bowl champions. Those days are long gone. The Bears moved 76 yards and Jay Cutler threw a 19 yard touchdown to Zach Miller for a 6-0 Bears lead after a missed extra point. The Giants came back 78 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Rashad Jennings ran for a 2 yard touchdown. On a very windy day, the Giants also missed the extra point for a 6-6 game. Chicago got it back and Connor Barth hit a 40 yard field goal for a 9-6 Bears lead. In the second quarter the Bears moved 79 yards and Jeremy Langford ran for a one yard touchdown and a 16-6 Bears lead. Robbie Gould did hit a 46 yard field goal against his former team to get the Giants within 16-9 at halftime.

The Giants offense finally got going for real in the third quarter. The second half kickoff was returned to the Giants 44. On 3rd and 8 from the Chicago 41, Eli Manning hit Sam Shepard for 12, O’Dell Beckham for 20, and Tye for the 9 yard touchdown and a 16-16 game. The Giants got it back and quickly faced 3rd and 4 at their own 27. Manning actuallyy scrambled for just enough himself and then went deep to Victor Cruz for a 48 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Chicago 15. Manning found Shepard for the touchdown. Another missed extra point kept the Giants lead at 6 points. The Bears moved from their 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Giants 35. A sack of Cutler had the Bears settling for a 51 yard field goal try 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. On a day when even extra points were tough, Gould doinked the field goal try off the upright no good.

With 3 minutes left, the Bears began their last drive at their own 22. At the 2 minute warning, they had 1st and 10 at the Giants 30. Then Jay Cutler did what he does. He was hit by Jason Pierre Paul and fumbled. The Bears retained possession but lost 14 yards. An illegal shift had the Bears with 2nd and 29. With the game on the line, Jay Cutler can always be counted on to deliver a tough completion to the opposing team’s defense. Landel Collins intercepted Cutler with 1:11 to play to preserve the win and get Big Blue to 7-3 under Ben McAdoo. John Fox looks forward to one day having a signal caller he can trust. 22-16 Giants 

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings — Blair Walsh has finally been put out of his misery in Minnesota, so it was Kai Forbath kicking off for the Vikings. Meanwhile, Mike Sherels ran a punt back 23 yards to set up Minnesota at the Arizona 44. On 3rd and 6 from the 16, Sam Bradford went to the end zone and found Thielen. Initially ruled out of bounds, Mike Zimmer challenged the call and it was reversed to a touchdown for a 7-0 Vikings lead. The Cardinals came back 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. David Johnson banged in from the one for a 7-7 game. In the second quarter the Cardinals moved 78 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Chandler Catanzaro hit the 34 yard field goal for the 10-7 Cardinals lead. Minnesota came back 75 yards quickly. Mark Asiata got in from 2 yards out, just stretching the ball over the plane of the goal. Forbath continued the Walsh tradition as the extra point was blocked. Nevertheless the Vikings led 13-10.

On the ensuing kickoff, Golden was golden, returning it to the Minnesota 48. Arizona moved to a critical 3rd and goal at the 9. Palmer fired to the end zone and was intercepted by Xavier Rhodes, who returned it 100 yards all the way for a touchdown and a 20-10 Vikings lead with 3 minutes left in the half. Palmer brought the Cardinals right back 75 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Minnesota 38, Palmer hit David Johnson for 9 and them Jermaine Gresham for a 29 yard touchdown as Gresham stretched passed the marker in this game of inches. Bruce Arians saw his quick strike offense get the Cardinals right back in it down 20-17. They were right back down again when Cordarelle Patterson returned the second half kickoff 100 yards for another big play touchdown and a 27-17 Vikings lead. Palmer would then throw deep and be intercepted by Rhodes again.

The Vikings moved from their 16 to the Arizona 8, but a pair of Bradford incompletions ended the drive. Forbath hit the 27 yard field goal as the Vikings built a 30-17 lead after three quarters. Minnesota again got it back at their own 16 and moved to a 3rd and 7 at their own 42. After a false start, Bradford got belted from the blind side and fumbled. With 9 minutes left in regulation, the Cardinals took over at the Minnesota 27. On 3rd and 8 Palmer hit Johnson for 14 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the 4, Palmer hit Johnson again for the touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were right back in it down by six.

Minnesota went 3 and out, and John Brown returned the punt 32 yards to the Minnesota 47. With victory in site, a sack of Palmer and intentional grounding had the Cardinals punting on 4th and 30. With 2 1/2 minutes left, the Vikings had to punt from their own 15. Again it appeared the Cardinals would have good field position with a chance to win. Instead, Locke boomed a 72 yard punt. The Cardinals took over at their own 13 with 2:20 left. The worst of all worlds saw a completion for no gain as the clock ticked to the 2 minute warning. With 1:12 left and facing 4th and 19 at their own 4, Palmer threw incomplete but roughing the passer kept the drive going. With 44 seconds left, the Cardinals faced 4th and 6 at their own 34. Palmer was sacked for a 15 yard loss, and there were no flags, Mike Zimmer’s defense got it done in the clutch as the four game losing streak following the 5-0 start was snapped. Meanwhile, the preseason favorites in Arizona fell below .500 again. 30-24 Vikings

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals — The Bills moved 75 yards and LeSean Shady McCoy ran for a 7 yard touchdown for a 7-0 Bills lead. The Bengals came back 75 yards in 13 plays and nearly 6 1/2 minutes. Red Rifle Andy Dalton took it in himself. The failed extra point had the Bengals trailing 7-6. In the second quarter, Dalton was intercepted, with a runback giving the Bills the ball inside the Cincy 5 yard line. Yet a Tyrod Taylor touchdown run around the end was nullified by offensive holding. Dan Carpenter hit the 26 yard field goal for a 10-6 Bills lead. Dalton came back and led the Bengals 66 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Dalton hit Boyd for the touchdown. Mike Nugent missed his second extra point as the Bengals only led 12-10. Buffalo drove deep but Taylor was intercepted at the one. Dalton threw another interception before the half. The second half was all defense. In the third quarter Dan Carpenter nailed a 54 yard field goal to make it 13-12 Bills. In the fourth quarter Buffalo moved 88 yards in 15 plays, taking over 8 minutes. Yet despite 2nd and goal at the 2, ground and pound Rex Ryan saw Taylor throw incomplete twice. Carpenter hit the 20 yard field goal to put Buffalo up by 4 with a full 12 minutes left. With 2 1/2 minutes left, the Bengals moved from their 15. They were without a timeout. With 3 seconds left from the Buffalo 27, Dalton’s Hail Mary was incomplete and the Bills survived for a tough road win. 16-12 Bills

Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys — Dallas has the best record in the league, but they have never beaten the Ravens before. Early on the Ravens moved 90 yards. Terrence West ran for an 18 yard touchdown for a 7-0 Ravens advantage. In the second quarter a field position game had the Cowboys starting at their own 48 yard line. On 3rd and 6, Dak Prescott went deep to Brice Butler for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Prescott fired to Cole Beasley just beyond the plane of the goal for the touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame. Justin Tucker hit a 46 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Ravens. With 8 seconds left in the half and the Cowboys in the red zone, Jason Garrett took no chances with another play. Bailey hit the 30 yard field goal and the teams went to the locker rooms deadlocked 10-10.

In the third quarter the Cowboys moved 92 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes. Prescott hit Dez Bryant for a 4 yard touchdown and a 17-10 Cowboys lead. Dallas got it back and another long drive was in the cards. In the fourth quarter Dallas went 88 yards and took 13 plays and 8 minutes off the clock. Prescott hit Bryant for the 13 yard touchdown and a 24-10 Cowboys lead. The Ravens are back 75 yards and Flacco hit Smith for a 5 yard touchdown to get the Ravens within 24-17 with a little over 8 minutes left in regulation.

Prescott showed veteran poise, leading the Cowboys on a 13 play, 6 1/2 minute drive. Ezekiel Elliott pounded the rock. With 1:54 to play and the Ravens out of timeouts, Jason Garrett took no chances on 4th and 1 from the Baltimore 3. Bailey hit the 21 yard field goal to put the game out of reach. Although Joe Flacco finished a respectable 23 of 35 for 269 yards and a touchdown, Prescott was 27 of 36 for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns. Neither quarterback was intercepted. The Cowboys have been  an NFL franchise since 1960. That first year they went 0-11-1. Since then they have been to 8 Super Bowls, winning 5 of them. Yet they had never in the history of the franchise won 9 straight regular season games. Neither Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman did it. In 29 years, Tom Landry never did it. Jimmy Johnson never did it. Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott did. An opening day loss by one point preceded 9 straight wins and an NFL best 9-1 record. Jerry Jones has seen what Clint Murchison, Bum Bright and Tex Schramm never saw at the helm. It is still early, but Jerrah has Super Bowl stars in his eyes. 27-17 Cowboys

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns — Cody Kessler went for it all and was intercepted by Alex Burns to set the Steelers up at their own 4 yard line. The Steelers moved all the way to the Cleveland 14 on a staggering 16 play, 82 yard drive that consumed nearly 9 1/2 minutes. Yet on 2nd and 6 a run went nowhere and Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete. Chris Boswell hit the 32 yard field goal for a 3-0 Steelers lead. In the second quarter it was deja vu all over again. Another 16 plays, another 68 yards, and another 9 1/2 minutes of clock. Yet again the Steelers settled for a 33 yard Boswell field goal and a 6-0 Steelers lead. After 29 minutes and 55 seconds of boring football, the last 5 seconds featured plenty of drama.

The Steelers had the ball at the Cleveland 5 yard line. Rather than kick the field goal again, Mike Tomlin decided to run another play. Yet rather than a quick throw, Big Ben took too long and an incompletion saw the clock ran out. Yet defensive pass interference instead meant 1st and goal at the 2 with an untimed down. Again Tomlin decided to go for it. He is far from risk averse, but normally in this situation you put the points on the board and kick the field goal. Tomlin was either trying to jolt his own inefficient offense or showing a total lack of respect for winless Cleveland. Either way, Big Ben threw incomplete again. Yet again defensive pass interference now made it 1st and goal at the one and another untimed down. Bellcow LeVeon Bell got the rock and pounded it in. Roethlisberger hit Johnson for the 2 point conversion as the Steelers took a 14-0 lead to the locker rooms.

In the third quarter a field position game had the Browns starting at their own 46. On 3rd and 6 from midfield, Cody Kessler hit Johnson for 22 yards. After he threw incomplete on 3rd and 9 from the Pittsburgh 27, Hue Jackson decided to go for it rather than try a 45 yard field goal. His team needed a spark, and Kessler went deep to terrell Pryor for a 26 yard gain. Yet on 1st and goal at the one, Isaiah Crowell lost 2 yards and Kessler was sacked for a 5 yard loss. These are the Browns. A disgusted Jackson at this point went for the field goal Cody Parker hit the 24 yarder as the Browns trailed 14-3. Meanwhile, Kessler went out injured and Josh McCown was in the game.

The nominee for ugliest game of the year saw the Steelers again go 71 yards in 15 plays and take another 8 minutes off the clock. Yet again, for the third time, the Steelers settled for a 22 yard Boswell field goal on the last play of the third quarter for a 17-3 Steelers lead. The Browns then drove 75 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, a sack of McCown left the Browns facing 4th and 9 at the Pittsburgh 43. Hue Jackson went for it again and McCown hit Gary Barnidge for just enough. Consecutive penalties had the Browns facing 2nd and 25 at the Pittsburgh 49. McCown hit Pryor for 15 and on 3rd and 10 found Johnson for 20. On 3rd and 10 from the Pittsburgh 14, McCown found Barnidge for the touchdown. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Browns were only down 17-9 after the missed extra point.

With 3:45 to play, the Browns took over at their own 13. Desperate for their first win, McCown went back to pass. He was sacked by Shazier, forcing a fumble. Hargreaves recovered the fumble in the end zone for a defensive touchdown. It was an ugly game, even by AFC North standards. Yet the Steelers snapped their four game losing streak to get to 5-5. Meanwhile, the 0-11 Browns are still trying to get Hue Jackson his first win as Cleveland’s head coach. 24-9 Browns.

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams — Jared Goff’s first NFL start came on a rainy day in Los Angeles. His job was to not mess things up and let Jeff Fisher’s defense clamp down. In the first quarter, 68 yards came quickly as Todd Gurley broke off a 24 yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Rams lead. This concludes anything resembling a first half highlight. In the third quarter a Rams fumble gave the Dolphins the ball at the Los Angeles 37. Ryan Tannehill went right away to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. Late in the third quarter Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein hit a 46 yard field goal in the rain for a 10-0 Rams lead. With 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation, a 48 yard try by Zuerlein doinked off the left upright no good. Momentum swing as the Dolphins moved from their 23 to a 2nd and 9 at the Los Angeles 10. A short pass from Tannehill to Landry appeared stop cold at the 5, but the referees did not blow the whistle. Something resembling a rugby scrum saw several Dolphins push the pile forward all the way into the end zone. After 56 minutes, Miami had cracked the scoreboard and trailed only 10-7.

The Rams punted and the Dolphins got the ball back at their own 25 with 2:11 left. Tannehill hit Landry for 15 with another 15 tacked on for roughing the passer. Tannehill then hit Parker for gains of 12 and 9 and Ajayi for 8. From the 9, Tannehill hit Parker  for the touchdown with only 36 seconds remaining in the game. The Rams remain the best 55 minute team in the NFL, and now they needed a miracle from a rookie playing his very first game, in bad weather to boot. The Rams got a ray of hope when the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Rams 41. With 5 seconds left from the Miami 47, Goff launched the Hail Mary to the end zone. 5 players were near the ball, and none of them played for the Rams as it was knocked out the back of the end zone incomplete. Adam Gase has seen his squad win their fifth straight after a 1-4 start to quietly get to 6-4. For Jeff Fisher’s Rams, it was a gut wrenching loss that dropped them to 4-6 and on the brink of playoff elimination. 14-10 Dolphins

New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers — Trump fan Tom Brady hoped to extend the misery of the Santa Clara 49ers and their Mod Squad anarchist quarterback. Politics aside, this was a case of one of the league’s best teams taking it to one of the league’s worst teams. Early on a sack of Kaepernick had the 49ers punting on 4th and 21 from their own 14. Danny Amendola returned the punt 30 yards as the Patriots began their first drive at the San Francisco 27. On 3rd and 3 from the 4, Brady hit Julian Edelman for the touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Patriots led 6-0. The 49ers countered by going 60 yards in 12 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Kaepernick was sacked and fumbled. The 49ers were lucky to retain possession. Phil Dawson hit the 33 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 6-3.

From the New England 23, LaGuarrette Blount raced 44 yards. On the last play of the third quarter, facing 3rd and 1 at the Frisco 11, Blount gained 2 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Brady hit White for the 9 yard touchdown and a 13-3 Patriots lead. A field position game had the 49ers taking over at their own 8. Short passes moved the 49ers. On 2nd and 9 from the Patriots 23, an incomplete pass was nullified by defensive holding. Kaepernick then hit McDonald for an 18 yard touchdown to get the 49ers within 13-10.

Late in the third quarter, the Patriots faced 3rd and 9 at their own 21. Brady went deep to Mitchell for 21, to White for 14, and to Bennett for 14 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Frisco 22, Brady hit Edelman for 13. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brady hit Danny Amendola for a 5 yard touchdown and a 20-10 Patriots lead. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Patriots faced 3rd and 8 at their own 44. Brady went deep to Mitchell for a 56 yard touchdown and a 27-10 Patriots lead. Gostkowski tacked on a 38 yard field goal with 6 minutes left to turn a tight game at the half into a 30-10 Patriots blowout.  The 49ers did get a garbage touchdown, but nothing else. Brady finished 24 of 40 for 280 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Luckily for the 49ers, the rain slowed Brady down. So did the clock, as Brady took a knee at the 2 yard line rather than score another touchdown. The 8-2 Patriots remain at 8-2 tied for the top record in the AFC. The 49ers lost their ninth straight and their 1-9 record is the NFC bottom. 30-17 Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks — Marshawn lynch is retired and Thomas Rawls is coming back from injury, but a new hero in town is CJ Prosise. He raced for a 72 yard touchdown run and an early 6-0 Seahawk lead. The extra point was blocked. In the second quarter the Eagles moved 68 yards in 13 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. Carson Wentz hit Zac hertz for a 4 yard touchdown and a 7-6 Eagles lead. The Seahawks embarked on a 92 yard, 10 play, 6 minute drive. On 3rd and 16 from the Seattle 40, Russell Wilson threw incomplete. Yet defensive offside gave them another chance. On 3rd and 11, hit Jimmy Graham for a 35 yard touchdown and a 13-7 Seahawks lead. With 6 minutes left in the half the Eagles faced 3rd and 6 at their own 43. A short pass to Ertz went for a 57 yard touchdown, but an illegal formation nullified the score as the Eagles punted. From the Seattle 23, Wilson went deep to Tyler Lockett for 44 yards and again for 30 more to set up 1st and goal at the 3. Yet a failed run and 2 incompletions later, and Seattle settled for a 21 yard Steve Hauschka field goal and a 16-7 lead at the half.

In the third quarter Wentz was intercepted by Richard Sherman, setting the Seahawks up at their own 41. On 3rd and 11, Wilson went deep to Doug Baldwin for a 34 yard gain. From the Philly 15, Pete Carroll went to his bag of tricks. Wilson lateraled to Baldwin and then ran out wide as a receiver. Baldwin threw it to Wilson for a 15 yard touchdown and a 23-7 Seahawks lead. A short field had the Seahawks starting at the Philly 41 after Lockett returned a punt 19 yards. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, Hauschka hit from 35 for a 26-7 Seahawks advantage. The Eagles tried to mount a comeback. With 10 1/2 minutes left, on 4th and 3 from the Seattle 41, Wentz threw incomplete. Midway through the fourth quarter, Hauschka actually missed a 44 yard field goal. With 3 1/2 minutes left, Wentz hit Dorial Green-Beckham for a 5 yard touchdown and Nick Agholor for the 2 point try to get the Eagles within 11 points. With 2 minutes left Philly was on the march again, with 3rd and 1 at the Seattle 41. Wentz hit Barner for 16 yards, but offensive pass interference instead meant 3rd and 10. Wentz thew incomplete, and on 4th and 10 his pass was batted down incomplete. Seattle at 8-2 is in strong position in their division where the Eagles 5th loss in 7 games after a 3-0 start has them way back in their division. 26-15 Seahawks

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins was the Sunday night game. A field position game eventually had the Redskins taking over at their own 45. On 3rd and 2 from the Green Bay 17, Kirk Cousins hit Desean Jackson for the touchdown and the 7-0 Redskins lead. In the second quarter Aaron Rodgers led a staggering 17 play, 75 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive. On 4th and 7 from the Washington 38, Mike McCarthy decided to go for it. Rodgers threw incomplete but defensive illegal use of hands meant an automatic first down. On 4th and 2 from the Washington 25, McCarthy gambled again and Rodgers scrambled for 7 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 13, Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 13 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. The Packers got it back and held the ball for another 5 1/2 minutes. Mason Crosby hit a 36 yard field goal for a 10-7 Packers lead. The Redskins came back 75 yards. R Kelley scored from 10 yards out with 30 seconds left in the half, and thankfully no children were harmed when he did. The 2 point try failed as the Redskins led 13-10 at the intermission.

In the third quarter the Redskins held the ball for 5 1/2 minutes and moved to the red zone. They settled for a 37 yard Dustin Hopkins field goal and a 16-10 Redskins lead. Green Bay moved all the way from their own 2 yard line to a 3rd and 8 at the Washington 13, helped along by a 47 yard pass from Rodgers to Jared Cook. After a false start and an incompletion, Crosby came in for a 36 yard field goal try. It was no good, as the 85 yard drive was for naught. The Redskins took over at their own 26, and soon faced 3rd and 11 at the Green Bay 44. Cousins went deep to Crowder for the touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Redskins led 22-10. after three quarters.

The Packers took over after a touchback and moved quickly. On the first play of the fourth quarter, facing 3rd and 3 at the Washington 31, Rodgers hit Starks on a short pass that went for a touchdown. The Packers were now within 22-17. Two plays later, the Redskins were in the end zone again. On 2nd and 5 from the Washington 30, Cousins went deep to Pierre Garcon for a 70 yard touchdown and a 29-17 Redskins lead. The Packers came back 82 yards. On 3rd and 12 from their own 16, Rodgers found Randall Cobb for a 47 yard gain. Rodgers hit Cook for a 6 yard touchdown as the Packers were back within 29-24 with a full 10 minutes left in regulation.

Needing a stop, the Green Bay defense could not get one. On 3rd and 3 from the Washington 26, Cousins threw incomplete. However, offsetting penalties gave Washington another chance. Cousins hit Jackson for 6 yards. On 4th and 1 from their own 41, Jay Gruden decided to go for it. This was a bigtime gamble, and Cousins took the quarterback sneak for 2 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Washington 46, Cousins went deep to Crowder for a 53 yard gain down to the one. On the next play R Kelley got in again, and still no children were harmed. The extra point doinked off the upright no good but the Redskins led 35-24 with 4 minutes left after the 82 yard, 11 play, 6 minute drive.

The Packers took over at their own 17 and Rodgers quickly hit Devonta Adams for a 37 yard gain. On 2nd and 2 from the Washington 38, Rodgers hit Cook for 10 yards. However, Cook fumbled and the Redskins recovered. From the Washington 28, Robert Kelley raced for a 68 yard gain. On the next play R. Kelley got in with 2 1/2 minutes left to put the game on ice. Green Bay even brought in the backup quarterback for the end of the game to spare Rodgers any more punishment. The Redskins are a surprising 6-3 while the Packers lost their fourth straight. The preseason Super Bowl contenders are 4-6. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers saw his defense give up 42 points one week after surrendering 47 points to Tennessee. Forget the Super Bowl. The Packers are on the brink of playoff elimination for the first time since 2008. Both quarterbacks had 3 touchdown passes without an interception. Rodgers was 26 of 41 for 351 yards while Cousins was 21 of 30 for 375 yards. Yet Cousins got help and Rodgers didn’t. Robert Kelley had 137 yards on 24 carries with 3 touchdowns. 42-24 Redskins

Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders was the Monday night game. The pregame was exciting, starting with a classy display by people of Mexico City, cheering the American national anthem. Americans clapped when the Mexican anthem was finished as well.

Not everything has to be about politics. This is about football. The very first NFL game ever was played in Mexico City, as Americans brought a shining staple of our culture to Mexico.

It was great to see two great Mexicans, Americans & Raiders in attendance, former quarterback Jim Plunkett & coach Tom Flores. They are not only sources of pride for Mexicans, but for any kid who has ever worn the silver & black. They were my boyhood heroes. If you ever want an inspiring story of overcoming the toughest obstacles in life, read Plunkett’s autobiography. Then, it was time to play football.

The Texans marched 61 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes as Brock Osweiler converted three third downs. The defense finally held in the red zone and the Texans settled for a 32 yard Nick Novak field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Raiders dodged a bullet when a long catch and run by Deandre Hopkins for a Texans touchdown was blown dead by an inadvertent whistle.  The Raiders lost yards on their first 2 plays from scrimmage for a quick 3 and out. With the altitude higher than in Denver’s Mile High, it was imperative for the defense to not be on the field all game. Yet the Raiders defense was quickly going back on the field as the Texans took over at their own 38.

On 3rd and 2, a run appeared stopped cold but the runner was thrown forward and rolled on a Raiders defender. The Texans were inches short and Bill O’Brien chose to punt without challenging the spot. The Raiders dodged another bullet and took over at their own 21 yard line. on the first play of the second quarter, the Raiders faced 3rd and 7 at the Houston 17. Carr fired over the middle to Jalen Richard, who broke a tackle, met two defenders at the goal line, and barreled through them for the touchdown and the 7-3 Raiders lead.

The Texans fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Raiders recovered at the Houston 19. Carr quickly hit Cooper for 15. Yet after Olawale did not get in on 2nd and goal from the one, on 3rd and goal the Raiders decided to get cute and try a play action pass rather than go smash mouth. Carr fired incomplete. Jack Del Rio has gambled many times this year, but this time he went ultra conservative. Sebastian Janikowski hit the 19 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Raiders.

After a touchback, the Texans faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Osweiler threw incomplete but defensive holding on DJ Hayden kept the drive going. On 3rd and 2 from the Houston 41, Osweiler hit Fiedorowicz for 18 yards. On 2nd and 3 from the Oakland 34, Miller broke free and ran inside the one yard line. The Texans were on the verge of imploding when Osweiler had a pass batted back and he caught it for a 6 yard loss. Then came a false start. Yet Oseweiler found Miller for the 12 yard touchdown and a 10-10 game.

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Carr hit Michael Crabtree, who just dropped it. Crabtree had green field in front of him but just didn’t catch it. The Raiders got a stop on defense and soon faced 2nd and 1 at their own 29 after a defensive offside at the 2 minute warning. Carr went deep to Seth Roberts, who also just dropped it. It bounced right off his fingerprints. On 3rd and 1, rather than go straight ahead, the Raiders ran laterally and lost 3 yards. Bad play calling and execution meant another punt.

Houston took over at their own 25 with 1:38 left in the half. Osweiler went deep and was intercepted at midfield by Malcolm Smith. Carr threw to Roberts for yet another dropped pass. On 3rd and 2 Murray only gained one yard. This time Jack Del rio decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from the Houston 41. Carr threw incomplete. Two straight drives the Raiders had 2 plays to get one yard and came up empty. With only 16 seconds left, the Hail Marys fell incomplete as the teams went to the locker room deadlocked 10-10.

On the first play of the second half, under heavy pressure Carr went bombs away and threw a terrible interception. At the Houston 35. A pair of Oseweiler incompletions meant another 3rd and 10. Osweiler escaped the pocket,  got around the end, and raced toward the first down marker. He got hit just short of the sticks. Bill O’Brien gambled on 4th and inches from his own 44, and a run got just enough. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 26, Osweiler found Miller for 6 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 7, Osweiler threw a ball out the back corner of the end zone. Yet once again, DJ Hayden was willing to commit a stupid defensive pass interference penalty because he repeatedly does that. The ball could not have been caught, but the penalty was called. Early on the Texans were robbed of a touchdown. Now they had one given to them. Miller got the last yard to cap the 65 yard, 13 play, 6 1/2 minute drive. Now the Raiders had to try to do better than one failed play as the Texans led 17-10.

Desperately needing some office, the Raiders soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Carr found Crabtree for 6 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 40, Carr went to Clive Walford, who jumped high and snagged the ball for an 11 yard gain. A helmet to helmet defensive personal foul tacked on 15 more. On 2nd and 8 from the Houston 32, Carr went deep to the end zone. Crabtree got 2 feet down and appeared to have an acrobatic touchdown, but when he hit the ground the ball popped out. NFL fan still have no idea what constitutes a catch, but this did not. On 3rd and 8 Carr went deep for Crabtree again, and defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 8. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Carr threw over the middle incomplete. Carr yelled for defensive pass interference but did not get the call. Seabass hit the 20 yard field goal but the Raiders trailed 17-13 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Twice the Raiders kicked field goals after being stopped at the one and two yard line.

Meanwhile, the Raiders pass defense remained awful. With Houston facing 2nd and 15 at their own 20, Osweiler found Fuller for 17 yards. Osweiler then ran for 10 more and hit Fiedorowicz for 19 more as the Texans began the fourth quarter with 1st and 10 at the Oakland 34. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 11, Bill O’Brien again decided to get fancy and Osweiler threw incomplete. O’Brien decided not to go for the knockout blow. The 12 play, 73 yard, 6 minute drive had Houston settling for a field goal. Novak hit from 28 as the Texans led 20-13 with 11 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, the Raiders again failed to give their defense any rest. Yet the defense probably did not mind this one play drive. Carr went deep to Olawale, who faked out a defender at midfield and raced for a 75 yard touchdown. Who said fullbacks were slow? Despite being outplayed the whole game, somehow the Raiders had tied the game 20-20. Now it was up to the defense to get a stop.

Instead the Texans returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to their own 44 yard line. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 33, the entire football world knew Osweiler would target DJ Hayden. Hopkins caught the ball for 9 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 16, Miller went around the end and appeared to have the first down when Malcolm Smith got him at the last second. It was 4th and down and about an inch at the 15.

With a tie game, rather than a field goal to take the lead, Bill O’Brien went for the kill shot. Hunt got the carry and again got tackled at the last moment when it appeared he had the first down. Just like in the movie “Any Given Sunday,” the Raiders had to fight for that inch. The chain link first down marker came out, and again by one inch the Texans were short. Bill O’Brien challenged the spot. NFL.com even reported that the call was reversed. They were wrong. The call was upheld and the beleaguered Raiders defense made a giant stand. 6 1/2 minutes remained.

The Raiders had no running game, so grinding clock was not an option. On 2nd and 10 from their own 26, Carr found Latavius Murray, who broke a tackle and raced for a 39 yard gian. On the next play a short pass to Amari Cooper saw him split the defenders and race for a 35 yard touchdown. 2 plays, 74 yards, and the 85 yard drive had the Raiders somehow up by 7 despite being dominated in the trenches all game. The Texans still had 4:43 left and one timeout after a touchback.

After converting one third down, on 3rd and 9 from the Houston 40, Osweiler completed a pass for only 4 yards. Only 3:13 remained in the game. In a stunning decision that will be talked about for weeks, on 4th and 5 from their own 44, Bill O’Brien decided to punt. With all 3 timeouts it would have been different but the Raiders defense was out of gas. The Raiders offense was in a groove. It was a mind-boggling decision.

On 2nd and 7 from the 23, still with no running game, Carr went deep to Richard for a 29 yard gain as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. With 1:10 left and the texans out of timeouts, the Raiders faced 3rd and 4 at the Houston 42. A run would take the clock down to below 30 seconds. A run gained 3 yards, but a killer offensive holding penalty stopped the clock. O’Brien had to decline the penalty, but now the Raiders faced 4th and 1 at the Houston 39. With 20 seconds left would be one thing. There was over a minute left.

Jack Del Rio decided to do what Bill O’Brien did not. A punt would have made sense in this case, but Del Rio is turning himself into the swaggering pirate on the Raiders helmet. He decided to go for it. Murray got the carry and crashed through for a 6 yard gain, with a personal foul adding 15 more meaningless yards. Carr took a couple knees and the Raiders had the improbable win.

Osweiler was 26 of 39 for 243 yards and one touchdown, but Carr was 21 of 31 for 295 yards and 3 touchdown passes. Carr easily would have topped 300 yards if not for all the dropped passes. Each signal caller was picked off once. The Raiders had only 30 yards rushing, most of it on the final drive. The Texans held the ball for 36 1/2 minutes to only 23 1/2 minutes for the Raiders. The Texans had 7 penalties for 101 yards while the Raiders were only flagged 4 times for 21 yards. The Texans had 3 turnovers and the Raiders one.

Jack Del Rio’s cojones are now bigger than the size of the entire Oakland Raiders offensive line and perhaps all of Mexico and California combined. Cojones is Spanish for Cojones. The Texans totally outplayed the Raiders and beat their brains in the trenches. Thank heavens for Derek Carr. The Raiders are 8-2 and still in 1st place in the AFC West. The Raiders have won 4 straight games for the first time since their 2002 Super Bowl run. The Raiders are also unbeaten in Mexico at 1-0. Just Win Baby. 27-20 Raiders

NFL 2016 Week 11 Prequel

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 11 Prequel

NFL 2016 Week 11 Preview and Bettor’s Guide

NFL 2016 Week 10 Recap

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 10 Recap

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens was the Thursday night game. Justin Tucker hit a 25 yard field goal to get the Ravens on the board first. Cody Kessler then threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to DeValve as the winless Browns had the 7-3 lead. Cleveland’s defense hung tough but the offense gave them no more help. Tucker hit from 40 as the Ravens trailed 7-6 at halftime. The second half was all Baltimore. How Flacco threw touchdown passes of 4 yards to Waller and 11 yards to Steve Smith in the third quarter and 27 yards to Brandon Perriman in the fourth quarter to turn a slugfest into a blowout. Hue Jackson still lacks his first win as the Browns head coach. 28-7 Ravens.

Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers — Early on it was all Carolina. Graham Gano hit a 42 yard field goal in the first quarter for the Panthers. In the second quarter Cam Newton led drives of 80 and 87 yards against the normally stingy Chiefs defense. Newton ran for a 4 yard touchdown and threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Devon Funchess for a 17-0 Panthers lead. Kansas City finally got on the board before the half when Cairo Santos hit a 42 yard field goal. Despite 1st and 10 at the Carolina 18, Alex Smith threw 3 straight incompletions. Santos hit from 36 with 12 minutes left in regulation to get the Chiefs within 17-6.

Carolina was still in total control, but late turnovers killed them. On 3rd and 6 from the Carolina 29, Newton was intercepted by Eric Berry, who returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Smith hit Kelce for the 2 point conversion as the Chiefs were only down 17-14 with a full 11 minutes left. Midway through the fourth quarter, Hill returned a punt 21 yards just past midfield. The Chiefs moved to a 3rd and 2 at the Carolina 14, where Smith threw incomplete. Santos hit from 33 to tie the game 17-17 with 4 1/2 minutes to play. With 30 seconds left in regulation, the Panthers took over after a punt at their own 20. One kneel down would take the game to overtime. Instead, Riverboat Ron Rivera went aggressive. Newton hit Kelvin Benjamin for a 14 yard gain, but Benjamin had the ball ripped out of his hands. In front of a shellshocked home crowd, The Chiefs took over at the Carolina 29. With 3 seconds left, Santos came in for the 37 yarder to win it. The kick was good, and 20 unanswered points had the Chiefs at 7-2 tied atop the AFC West, making Andy Reid one happy Walrus Lite. 20-17 Chiefs

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars — Jacksonville has made mistakes all year, and this game began with Blake Bortles being intercepted by Jackson for a 42 yard touchdown return and a 7-0 Texans lead. Bortles brought the Jaguars back 75 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. Bortles hit Julius Thomas from 5 yards out for a 7-7 game. Brock Osweiler brought the Texans back 75 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. A one yard touchdown pass to griffin made it 14-7 Texans. In the second quarter Jared Myers nailed a 54 yard field goal for a 14-10 Jaguars deficit at the half.

With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, Ervin returned a punt 57 yards to the Jacksonville 7. Oseweiler then hit Anderson for the touchdown as the texans led 21-10 after three quarters. On the first play of the fourth quarter, facing 4th and 1 at the Houston 26, Gus Bradley opted for the field goal. Jared Myers hit from 44 to get the Jaguars within 21-13. Nick Novak countered from 51 yards to make it 24-13 Texans. This is when Bortles piles up garbage time yards and touchdowns to create the illusion the Jaguars are any good at anything. Jacksonville moved 92 yards and hit Robinson for a 14 yard touchdown pass and the 2 point conversion. Within a field goal, Jacksonville needed the ball back. At the 2 minute warning with Jacksonville out of timeouts, the Texans faced 3rd and 5 at their own 13. A safe run was not in the card as Bill O’Brien went big and bold. An incompletion would stop the lock, but Osweiler hit Deandre Hopkins for 10 yards as Houston ran out the clock. Osweiler had only 99 yards passing all game to 265 for Bortles, but Houston is 5-3 while Jacksonville is 2-6 and sinking. 24-21 Texans

Denver Broncos at New Orleans Saints — Pinball wizard Drew Brees brought his offense against Von Miller and the Denver defense. Early on Denver had the advantage. A 13 play, 85 yard drive took over 7 minutes. Trevor Siemian hit Taylor for a 14 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Broncos lead. After a Saints turnover in the second quarter, Brandon McManus hit a 50 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Broncos. Will lutz hit a 30 yard field goal just before the half as the Saints trailed 10-3. In the third quarter the Saints moved 90 yards. Brees hit Willie Snead for a 3 yard touchdown and a 10-10 tie. Siemian’s second interception gave New Orleans a short field at the Denver 38. Brees hit Snead again for a 5 yard touchdown and a 17-10 Saints lead.

In the fourth quarter the Saints self-destructed. The Saints faced 2nd and 2 at their own 40. Brees found Thomas for 12 yards, but Thomas fumbled. Stewart returned the fumble 28 yards to the Saints 27. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Siemian hit Denarius Thomas for the touchdown as the game was tied 17-17 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation. New Orleans went 3 and out after a sack of Brees, and a 17 yard punt return put Denver at their own 47. Denver settled for a 28 yard McManus field goal but the Broncos led 20-17 with 3 1/2 minutes left. From their own 13, the Saints quickly fumbled and the Broncos recovered at the Saints 20. The defense held, but with 2:50 to play McManus hit from 37. The Broncos led 23-17, but they had not closed the door. After a touchback came the shocking conclusion that will be talked about in both cities for awhile.

Brees found Brandon Cooks for 29 yards and then again for a 32 yard touchdown. With 90 seconds to play, the game was tied. The extra point would give the Saints the lead. The kick was blocked by Simmons. Parks picked up the ball and raced all the way the other way. Rather than a 24-23 Saints lead, it was Denver that was up by 2 points in front of a shellshocked home crowd. The Saints now needed an onside kick, and it failed. Denver is now 7-3 in the hyper-competitive AFC West. 25-23 Broncos.

Los Angeles Rams at New York Jets — Todd Bowles has had enough of bad quarterback play. Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched, and with Geno Smith injured, Brice Petty got his first NFL start. In the first quarter the Rams moved 73 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Yet on 1st and goal at the one, a run lost a yard and Case Keenum threw incomplete twice. Jeff Fisher opted for the field goal and Greg Zuerlein hit the 20 yarder to make it 3-0 Rams. In the second quarter, pinned at their own one, Petty led a 99 yard against Jeff Fisher’s defense. A 4 yard touchdown pass to Brad Powell made it 6-3 Jets. The extra point failed, but Gang Green led at the half. In the third quarter the Jets held the ball for over 8 minutes and 15 plays, yet settled for a 38 yard Zuerlein field goal and a 6-6 game. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Rams got it back at their own 48. Zuerlein hit a 34 yard field goal to put the Rams back in front. At the 2 minute warning, with the Jets at their own 42, Petty was intercepted. Jeff Fisher has no offense and a stifling defense, and on this day that was enough. In a game only Fisher’s former mentor Buddy Ryan could love, the Rams got it done. 9-6 Rams

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles — Early on the Eagles moved 81 yards in 12 plays in over 7 minutes. Ryan Mathews ran it in from 4 yards out for a 7-0 Eagles lead. After that the field goal kickers took over. Matt Bryant hit from 38 and 43 in the second quarter as the Falcons trailed 7-6 at halftime. In the third quarter Caleb Surges hit from 29 and Bryant countered from 46 as the Falcons still trailed 10-9. In the fourth quarter Sturgis hit from 25 to make it 13-9 Eagles. Finally, the logjam was broken when Many Ryan went deep to Tyler Gabriel for a 76 yard touchdown. In a game of field goals, the extra point was no good as the Falcons led 15-13 only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. The ensuing kickoff was returned 52 yards to the Atlanta 45. Yet from the Atlanta 31, a delay of penalty was a killer. Doug Pederson had Sturgis try a 55 yard field goal for the lead, but with a full 11 minutes remaining, Sturgis was no good.

Matt Ryan quickly threw 3 incompletions as the Eagles got it back at their own 24. The Eagles moved 76 yards and Mathews scored again from 5 yards out. Mathews ran in the 2 point conversion as the Eagles retook the lead 21-15 midway through the fourth quarter. With 2:24 to play and the Falcons facing 4th and 5 at their own 40, Ryan threw incomplete. That was enough for Sturgis to try a 48 yarder to lock up the game. This time Sturgis was good. The Falcons had one last chance from their own 25 with 1:55 to play. Matty Ice went ice cold as he was intercepted by Leodis McKelvin to end the threat. 24-15 Eagles

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jay Cutler can always be counted on to throw touchdown passes. The issue is which team he will throw them to. Early on he threw a 20 yard touchdown pass to Conte, who plays defense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The pick had the Bucs up 7-0. Conor Barth hit a 54 yard field goal to get the Bears on the board. The Bears turned the ball over four times in the first half, and the Bucs made them pay. A short field at the Chicago 29 led to Jameis Winston hitting Brate for a 10 yard score to make it 14-3 Buccaneers. Roberto Aguayo hit a 30 yard field foal to make it 17-3 Buccaneers.

With the Buccaneers in total control, the Bears needed a miracle and got one. On the last play of the half from midfield, cutler unloaded the Hail Mary and Meredith came down with the deflected ball in the back of the end zone. Despite awful play all half, the Bears only trailed 17-10 at halftime. After that, reality returned. In the third quarter Winston threw a 43 yard touchdown pass to Martino for a 24-10 Buccaneers lead. Aguayo tacked on a 27 yard field goal for a 27-10 Buccaneers lead. Cutler was then sacked in the end zone, resulting in a fumble and a safety. Doug Martin ran it in from one yard out to complete the blowout. At least Chicago has the Cubs. 36-10 Buccaneers

Green Bay Packers at Tennessee Titans — This game was just a shocker. Although Tennessee’s offense has been putting up points, their defense has regressed. Green Bay was supposed to steamroll over them. As ESPN user-announcer Chris Berman reminds us, “THAT’s why they play the games.” 11 seconds was enough time for DeMarco Murray to run for a 75 yard touchdown. The next two times the titans got the ball they moved 85 and 71 yards in addition to their opening 80 yard drive. mike Mularkey went to his bag of tricks and had Murray throw a halfback option pass. It went for a 10 yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker. It may have been the first time in NFL history of a touchdown connection between a Delanie and a DeMarco. Meanwhile, a more traditional 9 yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota to Anthony Fasano had the Titans up 21-0 after the first quarter.

The Packers did move 75 yards in the second quarter, and Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 1 yard touchdown. Yet there was no momentum shift. Tennessee rapidly came back 75 yards again as a 32 yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Matthews made it 28-7 Titans. The Packers drove to the red zone but settled for a 29 yard Mason Crosby to get within 28-10. Green Bay finally held on defense, but then they fumbled the punt. The Titans took over at the Packers 12. On 3rd and 4, Mariota hit Kenny Wright for the 6 yard touchdown and a shocking 35-10 Titans lead. Rodgers would work the 2 minute drill to perfection, moving 75 yards in barely more than one minute. Rodgers hit James Starks for a 13 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Packers trailed 35-16 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Packers moved 78 yards in 10 plays. Rodgers scrambled for a 20 yard touchdown. As Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network remarked, “A Rodgers scramble sounds like an omelette.” The 2 point try failed as the Packers were within 35-22. Yet while Mike McCarthy calls the plays for the offense, he does not do the defense. Dom Capers is one of the all time great defensive coordinators, but on this day his squad was torched. 55 yards came easily as Mariota threw a 33 yard touchdown pass to Sharpe for a 41-22 Titans lead. Crosby hit a 38 yard field goal to get the Packers within 41-25 after three quarters. There would be no comeback. Ryan Succop hit field goals of 51 and 23 to complete the blowout and leave Packers fans searching for answers. Their team was expected to contend and instead is 4-5. Meanwhile, one year after being 2-14, the Titans have quietly gotten to 5-5 in the very winnable AFC South.  47-25 Titans

Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins — Early on the Redskins moved 68 yards in 10 plays as Kirk Cousins hit Crowder for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Redskins. In the second quarter the Redskins moved 91 yards. Cousins hit Vernon Davis for a 38 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Redskins. Minnesota finally got back in the game, moving on successive drives 67 and 75 yards. Matt Asiata got in for a one yard touchdown and Sam Bradford found Kyle Rudolph for a 20 yard touchdown connection for a 14-14 game. With one minute left in the half after a touchback, the Redskins fumbled and the Vikings recovered at the Washington 33. With 5 seconds left in the half, the Vikings faced 3rd and goal at the 3. Mike Zimmer decided to gamble with one more play. Sam Bradford hit Thielen for the touchdown. Blair Walsh has had a nightmarish season, and he missed another extra point. The Vikings led 20-14 at halftime.

In the second half, everybody went to sleep except Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins. He hit field goals of 30 and 37 in the third quarter to tie the game and from 50 and 28 in the fourth quarter to give the Redskins the 6 point lead. The Vikings took over with 2 1/2 minutes left at their own 25 to try and get the win. With 45 seconds left, Bradford had led the Vikings to a 1st and 10 at the Washington 21. Victory was in sight. Instead, an incompletion, a sack of Bradford, and another incompletion meant 4th and 17 from the Washington 28 with 11 seconds left. Bradford was sacked again for a 14 yard loss as Minnesota lost its fourth straight game after their 5-0 start. Mike Zimmer last week was heard screaming “I love adversity.” Well now the former military man has it. Meanwhile, Jay Gruden has quietly gotten his team to 5-3 in the NFC East. 26-20 Redskins

Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers — After a scoreless first quarter, the Chargers got on the board first when Josh Lambo hit a 45 yard field goal. San Diego got it back and moved 80 yards. Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates for an 11 yard touchdown and a 10-0 Chargers lead. The Dolphins moved 74 yards before the half. Ryan Tannehill threw a 39 yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills to get the Dolphins within 10-7 at halftime. The game became a second half see-saw. The Dolphins moved 75 yards and Deangelo Williams got in from 2 yards out to make it 14-10 Dolphins. The Chargers moved 75 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Rivers hit Henry for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 17-14 Chargers. Miami came back 75 yards again and Tannehill on 3rd and 2 hit Williams for an 18 yard touchdown for a 21-17 Dolphins lead.

Early in the fourth quarter the Chargers punted and the Dolphins fumbled it. San Diego started out with 1st and goal at the 5. On 3rd and goal Rivers threw incomplete, but defensive holding gave San Diego 1st and goal at the 2. Rivers then went to the end zone and was intercepted by Lippett for a touchback. Miami quickly went 3 and out and the Chargers moved from their 12 to a 1st and 10 at the Miami 30. Rivers went deep and was intercepted again. Brandon Maxwell returned it 27 yards to the Miami 41 midway through the fourth quarter.    

The Dolphins went backward and punted. On 3rd and 8 from the San Diego 44 Rivers threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding gave the Chargers another chance, and Rivers made the Dolphins pay. Rivers went bombs away to Williams for a 51 yard touchdown to make it 24-21 Chargers with 4 minutes left. Miami struck back quickly. After a touchback, Tannehill went deep to Parker for a 56 yard gain wth 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer. Yet despite 1st and goal at the 10, a run went nowhere and Tannehill threw incomplete twice. Andrew Franks hit the 27 yard field goal to tie the game 24-24 with 3 minutes left. After a touchback, Melvin Gordon ran for 13 yards and caught a pass for a 20 yard gain. With 1:13 to play, the Chargers faced 1st and 10 at the Miami 42. A few more yards would give Novak a chance at a field goal to win it. Rivers then threw a perfect pass to Alonso. Problem: Alonso plays defense for Miami. The interception was returned 60 yards the other day for the go ahead touchdown. Down by 7, the Chargers tried to tie it. From the San Diego 37, Rivers then threw his fourth interception. These are the Chargers. 31-24 Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals — Arizona could get to .500 by dispatching of the dumpster fire 49ers. Early on the Cardinals moved 91 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Carson Palmer on 3rd and goal hit David Johnson for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Cardinals. On the last play of the opening quarter, the 49ers fumbled a punt. The Cardinals took over at the San Francisco 44. On the first play of the second quarter, defensive pass interference meant a 38 yard gain. One play later Johnson got the carry and ran up the middle for the touchdown and a 14-0 Cardinals lead.

The 49ers tried to make a game of it by going 75 yards. Colin Kaepernick hit Justin Kerley for a 17 yard touchdown to get the 49ers within 14-7. Chandler Catanzaro hit a 39 yard field goal to extend the lead for Arizona, but Phil Dawson hit from 49 to get the 49ers within 17-10 with 90 seconds left in the half. Carson Palmer rapidly moved the Cardinals from their own 18 to a 1st and goal at the one with 6 seconds left. Palmer threw incomplete. With 2 seconds left, Bruce Arians opted for the field goal. Catanzaro hit the 19 yard chip shot as the Cardinals led 20-10 at halftime. The game slowed drastically in the second half. Dawson hit a 53 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 20-13.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Cardinals had 1st and 10 at midfield. Rather than put the game away, Palmer was intercepted. The 49ers took over at their own 43. Kaepernick quickly found Kerley for a 24 yard gain. At the 2 minute warning, the 49ers faced 3rd and 2 at the Arizona 4. Kaepernick got around the end and got in the end zone for a 20-20 game. From their own 15 with 1:51 left, Palmer went deep to Malcolm Floyd for a 26 yard gain, David Johnson for 8, and Larry Fitzgerald for 14 more. With one minute left the Cardinals faced 3rd and 8 at the San Francisco 35. Palmer found Johnson for 12 yards. With 3 seconds left, Catanzaro came in for the 34 yarder to win it. The kick was good, the Cardinals got to 4-4, and Chip Kelly’s 49ers lost their eighth straight game. 23-20 49ers

Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers — Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach are long since retired, but Ben Roethlisberger and Dak Prescott put on an exciting game that did both franchises proud. On the third play of the game, Prescott was sacked and fumbled and the Steelers recovered at the Dallas 38. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Roethlisberger hit LeVeon Bell for the touchdown. Mike Tomlin likes to go for 2 frequently, and this time the conversion try failed as the Steelers led 6-0. Christ Boswell hit the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, setting the Cowboys up at their own 40. They settled for a 37 yard Dan Bailey field goal to get within 6-3.

The Steelers came back 75 yards and Big Ben hit Rogers for a 3 yard touchdown. Again the 2 point try failed as the Steelers led 12-3. Yet one minute later Dallas was in the end zone. Prescott connected with Ezekiel Elliott on an 83 yard touchdown to get the Cowboys within 12-10. The second quarter was relatively quiet. Bailey hit a 53 yard field goal to put Dallas up by a point, but Chris Boswell answered from 39 as the Steelers took a 15-13 lead into the locker rooms. These teams were just getting started. In the third quarter Boswell hit a 25 yard field goal to extend Pittsburgh’s lead. Bailey answered from 46 to get the Cowboys back within 18-16. The field goal kickers were done for the day as both teams fired at will to the end zone.

From the midfield stripe, Prescott went bombs away to Dez Bryant. The extra point had the Cowboys up 23-18 after three quarters. The fourth quarter featured plenty of points but no more extra points. A 22 yard punt return had Pittsburgh starting over at the Dallas 46. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 12 and again for 20. Bell got in from one yard out as the Steelers led 24-23 midway though the fourth quarter. After a touchback, the Cowboys moved to a 3rd and 8 at the Pittsburgh 28. Prescott hit Jason Witten for 14 yards and then Elliott ran for the 14 yard touchdown. The Cowboys led 29-24 with only 1:55 left, but this thriller was far from over.

Roethlisberger put on a passing clinic. He hit Green for 10, Bell for 23, and James for 24 to the Dallas 15. Roethlisberger channeled his inner Dan Marino and ran the fake spike play. The Miami defense stopped playing as Big Ben fired to Brown for the touchdown. Each team tried and failed to make three 2 point conversions, but the Steelers led 30-29. After a touchback, only 42 seconds remained. Prescott hit Cole Beasley for 10 and Willten for 13 more to the Dallas 48 with 23 seconds left. A short completion to Witten gained 5 yards, and a critical defensive facemark personal foul had the Cowboys at the Pittsburgh 32 with 15 seconds left. A field goal try would be 50 yards, no sure thing. The Cowboys still had one timeout left, so Jason Garrett called a simple run up the middle. Garrett never needed to use the timeout.

Elliott raced for the 32 yard touchdown. With 9 seconds left the Steelers took over at their 25. With 2 seconds left from their 36, Big Ben hit Brown, who raced 44 yards. Yet as he reached the Dallas 20, rather than lateral the ball, he was forced out of bounds and the game was over. Prescott was 22 of 32 for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. Roethlisberger was a lights out 37 of 46 for 408 yards and 3 touchdowns. Neither quarterback was intercepted. Elliott had over 200 combined yards rushing and receiving. The Steelers fell to 4-5 in the mediocre AFC North while the Cowboys won their eighth straight game for the first time since the 1977 team won it all. 35-30 Cowboys

Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots was the Sunday night game. Two years ago, the entire world saw the worst play call in Super Bowl history. Two years later, both of these teams have the potential to get back to the Super Bowl. Early on the Patriots moved 75 yards, as LaGuarrette Blount got in from one yard out to make it 7-0 Patriots. Seattle twice reached the red zone but had to settle for Steve Hauschka field goals of 27 yards in the first quarter and 31 yards in the second quarter as the Seahawks trailed 7-6. In the second quarter the Seahawks moved 65 yards in 10 plays. Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for a 6 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked as the Seahawks led 12-7.

The Patriots came back 81 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. From the one, Blount ran into a brick wall, kept churning laterally, and somehow fought off most of the Seattle defense to lunge past the pylon for a 14-12 Patriots lead with one minute left in the half. That was plenty of time. On 3rd and 9 from their own 26, Wilson hit Jimmy Graham for 14 and Tyler Lockett for 24 more. A 12 yard completion to Prosise set up 1st and 10 at the New England 18 with 13 seconds left in the half. Wilson went to the end zone and found Doug Baldwin for the touchdown as the Seahawks took a 19-14 lead into the locker rooms.

In the third quarter the Patriots went 91 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Blount scored his third touchdown, running in from 13 yards out to make it 21-19 Patriots. After a touchback, the Seahawks had their turn marching down the field. Wilson went deep to Richardson for a 39 yard gain to the New England 30. Despite 2nd and goal at the 5, a sack of Wilson and an intentional grounding penalty meant 4th and goal at the 23. Hauschka hit the 41 yard field goal to make it 22-21 Seahawks later in the third quarter. The Patriots came right back after a touchback. Brady hit Martellus Bennett on a short pass that went for a 36 yard gain. After successive offensive penalties, the Patriots faced 3rd and 25 from the Seattle 42. On the last play of the third quarter, Brady went deep to Julian Edelman for a 33 yard gain. New England began the fourth quarter with 1st and goal at the 9.

On 3rd and goal at the 7, Brady was sacked. Stephen Gostkowski hit the 30 yard field goal as the Patriots regained a 24-22 lead. Lockett returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to the Seattle 37. Wilson hit Graham for a 19 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the New England 40, Wilson then went bombs away to Prosise for a 38 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 2. A run by Prosise came up inches short, and Pete Carroll challenged the call. While it appeared Prosise cracked the plane of the goal, the call stood. The Seahawks were down to one timeout. On 3rd and goal from inches away, a killer false start penalty followed by an incompletion ended the drive. Hauschka hit the 23 yard field goal for a 25-24 Seahawks lead with 9 minutes left in regulation. 7 lead changes had already taken place in this great football game.

Cyrus Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards but fumbled the ball. The Patriots were lucky to retain possession at the Seattle 43. Two plays later a short pass to Edelman resulted in another fumble. The Legion of Boom got it this time as Kam chancellor ripped it out and Richard Sherman recovered it. The Seahawks took over at the New England 48. On 3rd and 4, Wilson found Prosise for 7 yards and Lockett for 12 more to the New England 22. On 3rd and 3, Wilson lobbed a pass to the end zone and Baldwin easily came down with it for the touchdown. Pete Carroll then took a bold gamble and went for a 2 point conversion. The logic was that if it succeeded, a 9 point Seattle lead would be a 2 score game. The try failed, and Seattle only led 31-24 with 4 1/2 minutes left.

That was plenty of time for Brady, as the Patriots moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 5 just past midfield. After a false start, Brady went deep on 3rd and 10 to Edelman for a 30 yard gain to the Seattle 24 as the two minute warning came. After a run lost 4 yards, Brady went deep to Rob Gronkowski for a 26 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 2. Brady took the quarterback sneak and got to the one as the Seahawks took their final timeout on defense with 37 seconds left. Blount got the carry and went airborne. Kam Chancellor pulled Blount from behind and kept Blount just short of the goal line. New England took a timeout with 19 seconds left. On 3rd and goal, Brady fumbled the snap and was lucky to recover it. With 13 seconds left, everything came down to 4th and goal at the 2. Seattle was somehow called for having 12 men on the defense, and now it was 4th and goal at the one. This was not the Super Bowl, but it certainly had the drama.

Brady through a fade to the corner of the end zone where only two people had a chance at the ball: Rob Gronkowski and Kam Chancellor. There was plenty of contact, but the officials properly did not call a penalty. New England screamed for a flag, but if anything it appeared Gronkowski shoved Chancellor to the ground. From dangerously close to their own goal line, taking a knee would have meant a safety. A couple runs up the middle could have resulted in a fumble, but there was no further drama. The Seahawks had gotten revenge in dramatic fashion as Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll hugged after the game. New England is 7-2, Seattle is 6-2, and a rematch of this game in the Super Bowl would be must-see television. 31-24 Seahawks

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants was the Monday night game. Early on each team moved 80 yards with ease. Eli Manning threw a 10 yard touchdown to Adams to get the Giants on the board first. Andy Dalton went deep to Tyler Eifert for a 71 yard gain. Red Rifle Andy Dalton then threw a 13 yard touchdown pass to AJ Green for a 7-7 ballgame. With 10 minutes left in the half, the Giants moved to a 4th and 2 at the Cincy 37. Ben McAdoo went for it and Manning was sacked. With 5 minutes left in the half, Manning was intercepted in his own territory, giving the Bengals gift field position and 1st and goal at the 7. They gained nothing and settled for a 25 yard Mike nugget field goal and a 10-7 Bengals lead. The Giants came back 75 yards. With 1:17 left in the half, Manning hit O’Dell Beckham for a 10 yard touchdown as the Giants took a 14-10 lead into the locker rooms. Erickson returned the second half kickoff 84 yards to the Giants 13. Two plays later Jeremy Hill ran for a 9 yard touchdown and a 17-14 Bengals lead. The Bengals got it back at their own 39 and moved to the Giants 20, where Dalton threw incomplete on 3rd and 5. Nugent hit the 38 yard field goal for a 20-14 Bengals lead after three quarters. A field position game had the Giants taking over at the Cincy 47. Less than one minute into the fourth quarter, Ben McAdoo decided again to go for it on 4th and goal at the 3. The gutsy call paid off when Manning hit Sam Shepard for the touchdown. Big Blue led by a point, but there was plenty of time left. The teams traded interceptions, and the Bengals then failed to convert a 3rd and 1 run in their own territory. From the Cincinnati 30, consecutive sacks of Dalton killed another drive. With 2:50 to play, everything came down to the Giants facing 3rd and 6 at their own 45. Rashad Jennings gained 9 yards and the Giants ran out the clock to gut out another tough win. 21-20 Giants

NFL 2016 Week 10 Prequel

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 10 Prequel

NFL 2016 Week 10 Preview and Bettor’s Guide

NFL 2016 Week 9 Recap

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

NFL 2016 Week 9 Recap

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the Thursday night game. In the season opener, the Buccaneers went into Atlanta and stunned the Falcons. Since then Atlanta has played well with a couple stumbled while the Bucs have regressed. Early on the Buccaneers moved 75 yards in 13 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Jameis Winston threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans for a 7-0 Buccaneers lead. The Falcons quickly came back 75 yards. On 3rd and 9 from their own 26, Matt Ryan hit Devonta Freeman for 27 yards and Toilolo for a 32 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. The defenses then settled in. On 1st and 21 at their own 14, the Bucs fumbled and Atlanta took over at the Tampa Bay 14. The Falcons went nowhere and settled for a 29 yard Matt Bryant field goal and a 10-7 lead. Bryant tacked on a 41 yarder in the second quarter for a 13-7 Falcons advantage.

A sack of Ryan caused a fumble that the Buccaneers recovered at the Atlanta 19. Two plays later Winston went to Evans in the end zone. Evans just out-jumped the defender for the score and the 14-13 Buccaneers lead. The Falcons came back 74 yards. On 3rd and 12 from the Tampa 28, Ryan hit Hooper for 16. Gabriel got around the end for a 9 yard touchdown and a 20-14 Falcons lead at halftime.

Atlanta broke the game open in the third quarter. An 11 play, 86 yard, 6 minute drive saw Ryan connect with Julio Jones for gains of 11, 21, 19 and 11. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Ryan threw incomplete but defensive pass interference made it 1st and goal. Ryan hit DiMarco for the one yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but Atlanta led 26-14. Atlanta got it back and went 82 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 6 from the Atlanta 22, Ryan hit Mohammed Sanu for 20 yards. Ryan found Jones for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 33-14 Falcons. In the fourth quarter Ryan threw a 2 yard touchdown to Hooper for a 40-14 Falcons blowout. Tampa scored a couple garbage time touchdowns to make the score look respectable, but this was all Atlanta. 43-28 Falcons

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs — The Chiefs defense was supposed to help the team route the pathetic Jaguars offense, especially with Nick Foles in for Alex Smith. Late in the first quarter the Jaguars fumbled a punt, giving the Chiefs the ball at the Jacksonville 23. Two plays later Foles went deep to Wilson for the score and a 7-0 Chiefs lead. Early in the second quarter an interception of Blake Bortles gave Kansas City the ball at the Jags 13. The defense held, but Cairo Santos hit the 26 yard field goal. 2 turnovers were the difference in a 10-0 Chiefs lead. From their own 12, the jaguars were bailed out by 2 defensive pass interference calls. With 7 seconds left, on 3rd and goal at the one, Bortles hit Robinson for the score as the Jaguars only trailed 10-7 at halftime. The second half was equally boring as the Chiefs continued to win with lackluster offense and stifling defense. Satons hit field goals of 51 and 24 in the third quarter and 36 in the fourth quarter for a 19-7 Chiefs lead. Bortles is the king of garbage stats, and a hit TJ Yeldon for a 13 yard touchdown with 4:15 to play. Jacksonville got it back with a chance to win. With 2:10 to play on 3rd and 1 from the Chiefs 30, a run lost 2 yards. On 4th and 3, Bortles threw incomplete. These are the Jaguars. 19-14 Chiefs

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings — This game was pure NFC North black and blue football. Matt Prater hit a 47 yard field goal in the first quarter for the Lions. In the second quarter Blair Walsh hit a 33 yarder for a 3-3 tie. The Lions then mounted a staggering 17 play, 84 yard drive that consumed 9:45 off the clock. Matthew Stafford hit Anquon Boldin from one yard out as the Lions took a 10-3 lead into the locker rooms. In the third quarter Sam Bradford hit Kyle Rudolph for the one yard touchdown. Blair Walsh has had a nightmarish year, and he doinked another extra point off the upright no good as the Vikings trailed 10-9 after three quarters. The fourth quarter had plenty of drama.

Walsh lined up for a 46 yard field goal to give Minnesota the lead. The kick was blocked, giving the Lions the ball at the Minnesota 42. On 3rd and 7 Stafford went deep and was intercepted, but defensive offsides nullified the play and gave Stafford another chance with 3rd and 2. He threw incomplete, but Matt Prater drilled a 53 field goal to make it 13-9 Lions with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Minnesota got it back and moved from their 31 to a 3rd and 2 at the Detroit 6. A run gained only one yard, and Mike Zimmer decided to go for it. Asiata got the ball and ran into a Detroit brick wall.

Minnesota got it back with 4:14 left at their own 21. On 3rd and 7, Bradford went deep to Thielen for a 29 yard gain and again for 17 more. With 1:48 left and 3rd and 2 at the Detroit 22, the Lions jumped offsides. With 1:17 left, the Vikings faced 4th and 4 at the 11. Bradford found Diggs for an 8 yard gain. With 27 seconds left, the Vikings took a timeout as they faced 3rd and goal at the one. Ellison got the carry and got in. The Detroit collapse was complete as the Vikings led 16-13. Now all Mike Zimmer’s defense had to do was hold on for 23 seconds after a touchback.

Stafford hit Golden Tate for 8 yard and Roberts for 27 more at the Minnesota 40. Stafford raced everyone up to the line and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 2 seconds left. Prater came in for a 58 yard field goal. Prater nailed it, and this tough game was going into overtime. Detroit got the ball first in the extra session at their own 13. On 3rd and 3, a short pass from Stafford to Eric Ebron gained 23 yards. On 3rd and 8 from their own 45, Stafford hit Tate for 12 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Minnesota 43, Stafford threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference added 13 more yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Minnesota 28, a short pass from Stafford to Tate saw him work miracles along the sideline. Tate clearly stayed inbounds, split tackles, and dove just past the pylon. Minnesota never saw the ball in overtime. The Vikings were 2 seconds from winning, but miracles from Prater and Tate instead gave the Vikings their third straight loss after a 5-0 start. Detroit is just behind them at 5-4. Jim Caldwell was so pleased at the win that he almost made a facial expression. 22-16 Lions, OT

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants — Carson Wentz’s second pass of the game ws intercepted by Collins, setting the Giants up at the Philadelphia 31. Two plays later Manning found O’Dell Beckham, who raced for a 26 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Giants lead. 3 plays later on 3rd and 5 from their 30, Wentz was intercepted again, as the Giants took over at the Philly 30. Two plays later on 3rd and 10, Manning went deep to Lewis for the touchdown. 2 short fields had the Giants up 14-0. Yet after this, Wentz caught fire. The Eagles moved from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Giants 11 before a sack of Wentz ended the drive. Caleb Surges hit the 34 yard field goal to get the Eagles on the board.

In the second quarter the Eagles rapidly moved 70 yards. An 8 yard touchdown run by Ryan Mathews had the Eagles within 14-10. The Giants came back 86 yards. Manning again hooked up with Beckham for a one yard score as Big Blue led 21-10 at the midpoint. In the third quarter the Eagles again moved 70 yards and Barner scored from 3 yards out to get the Eagles within 21-17. Yet again the Giants got some breathing room as they moved 75 yards. Manning hit Sam Shepard for a 32 yard touchdown as the Giants led 28-17 after three quarters.

Sturgis hit fourth quarter field goals of 26 and 38 yards to get the Eagles within 5 points with 4 minutes left. With 1:55 to play the Giants faced a critical 3rd and 4 at their own 29. The Eagles still had one timeout left. A first down would end it. Earlier in the quarter, Manning was intercepted. When it mattered most, he was again. The Giants were giving the game away, as the Eagles took over at the Giants 34. Wentz hit Agholor for 17 yards. With time no longer a factor, Wentz had already torched the Giants for 364 yards. He needed 17 more for the win. Instead he threw 4 straight incompletions as the Giants defense bailed the offense out for the win. Wentz finished 27 of 47, but did not have a touchdown. Manning finished 22 of 36 for 257 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Each signal caller was picked off twice. 28-23 Giants

Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns — The winless Browns had to face off against a revitalized Dallas team led by Dak Prescott. Cody Parker hit a 31 yard field goal early to make it 3-0 Browns, but then reality set in. Prescott hit Jason Witten for a 26 yard touchdown to cap a 75 yard drive. In the second quarter it was Dallas moving 69 and 67 yards. Ezekiel Elliott ran for a 10 yard touchdown and Prescott hit Cole Beasley for a 6 yard score and a 21-3 Cowboys lead. Cody Kessler moved the Browns 80 yards quickly at the end of the half, hitting Terrelle Pryor for a 12 yard score as the Browns only trailed 21-10 at halftime. In the third quarter Dallas quickly closed the door. A 75 yard drive culminated in Elliott scoring again from 8 yards out. A 64 yard drive saw Prescott throw his third touchdown pass, a 2 yarder to Escobar to complete the blowout. Hue Jackson still has not gotten his first win as Cleveland’s head coach. At least Cleveland has the Indians. never mind. At least they have the Cavaliers. Of course, LeBron James is a Cowboys fan. 35-10 Cowboys

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins – Sometimes a pair of boring teams can play an interesting game. This actually was that game. The Jets early on held the ball for 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes and moved 70 yards, but had to settle for a 23 yard Nick Folk field goal to make it 3-0 Jets. Each team then moved 75 yards. Jay jay ran for a 20 yard touchdown for the Dolphins and Matt Forte answered with a 31 yard touchdown run and a 10-7 Jets lead. In the second quarter Ryan Tannehill capped off a 75 yard drive by hitting Jones from one yard out for a 14-10 Dolphins lead. After that both teams let their kickers do the work for awhile. Folk hit from 21 as the Jets again got to the 5 yard line and could not get in the end zone, trailing 14-13 at halftime. Franks hit from 33 and 29 for a 20-13 Dolphins lead after three quarters. The latter kick was setup by an interception of Fitzpatrick, setting up Miami at the Jets 14. Yet both teams struggled in the red zone all day and settled for field goals. The fourth quarter began with the Jets having 1st and 10 at the Miami 17. Yet Fitzpatrick threw incomplete on 3rd and 7 as both teams red zone nightmares continued. Folk hit from 28 as the Jets trailed 20-16 with 13 minutes left in regulation. Then came the crazy finish.

Fitzpatrick moved the Jets from their 10 to a 3rd and 8 from the Miami 11 midway through the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick and his beard went to the end, and both were intercepted for a touchback. The Dolphins went 3 and out, and then gave the Jets a gift. Miami fumbled the snap on the punt, giving the Jets the ball at the Miami 18. Two plays later Fitzpatrick and his beard both hit Marshall for the touchdown. With 5 1/2 minutes left the Jets had a 23-20 lead. The Jets were offside on the ensuing kickoff, forcing them to kick it again. Drake made the Jets pay, returning in 96 yards the other way to put Miami back in front by 4 points. The Jets went 3 and out and Todd Bowles with 3 minutes left decided to punt and trust his defense. At the 2 minute warning, the Dolphins faced 3rd and 3 at the Jets 47. Tannehill threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference let Miami keep the ball to run out the clock. These are the Jets. Just End The Season. 27-23 Dolphins

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens — These teams are not what they were when their defenses were beating each other up, but they still play physical football. Big Ben Roethlisberger was back from injury, but could not get anything going. Early on the Ravens had the ball at their own 5 yard line. Joe Flacco went deep and found Mike Wallace for a 95 yard touchdown connection. The defenses then settled in for a long slog. Justin Tucker hit field goals of 49 yards in the second quarter and 42 in the third quarter for a 13-0 Ravens lead after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the special teams got into the act. Baltimore blocked a punt and Moore returned it 14 yards for a score. Flacco hit Steve Smith for the 2 point conversion for a 21-0 Ravens lead. Big Ben finally mounted a comeback. Roethlisberger moved the Steelers 75 and 65 yards, hitting Antonio Brown for a 23 yard touchdown and running for a 4 yard score with one minute left. The onside kick failed as both teams are 4-4 at the midpoint. 21-14 Ravens

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers — When one of the best quarterbacks of all time in Drew Brees faces off against one of the worst teams in the league, a potential blowout is in the works.   Phil Dawson got the 49ers on the board first with a 49 yard field goal, but after that reality set in. The Saints moved 83 yards in 10 plays and Tim Hightower ran it in from 4 yards out to put the Saints up 7-3. Colin Kaepernick was then intercepted near midfield. Robertson returned it 29 yards, with a horse collar tackle adding 13 more as the Saints took over at the 49ers 12 yard line. On 3rd and goal at the one after a pair of trees incompletions, Brees hit Thomas for the touchdown to make it 14-3 Saints. In the second quarter the Saints moved 76 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and goal at the 5 Brees hit Mark Ingram for the touchdown as the Saints were cruising 21-3.

Every time the 49ers tried make a game of it, the Saints struck back. Kaepernick hit Harris on a short pass that went for a 47 yard touchdown. Yet one play later after a touchback, Ingram broke free for a 75 yard touchdown run and a 28-10 Saints lead. With 4 minutes left in the half, Dawson nailed a 48 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 28-13. The 49ers got it back with 1:47 left in the half. With 1:16 left the 49ers faced 3rd and 3 at their own 35. Kaepernick threw a short pass to McDonald that turned into a 65 yard touchdown as the 49ers were only down 28-20. Yet Brees kept firing. Completions of 26 yards to Coby Fleener, 17 yards to Brandon Cooks and 19 yards to Snead led to Will Lutz hitting a 26 yard field goal to close the half. The Saints took a 31-20 lead into the locker rooms.

After a 34 point second quarter that saw each team put 17 points on the board, the game slowed considerably in the second half. Dawson hit a 46 yard field goal in the third quarter as the 49ers only trailed 31-23 entering the final quarter. Yet the Saints salted it away. Brees capped a 77 yard drive by hitting Thomas for a 32 yard touchdown and a 38-23 Saints lead. Lutz tacked on a 41 yard field goal to complete the scoring. Both quarterbacks threw 39 passes, with Brees completing 28 and Kaepernick 24. Brees threw for 323 yards and kaepernick 398 yards. Yet Kaepernick had 2 touchdowns and one interception while Brees threw 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The 49ers lost their 7th straight under Chip Kelly. To end the game, Brees took a knee. He was not protesting the national anthem like his Mod Squad counterpart. He was winning another game on his way to Canton. 41-23 Saints

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams — This game was all defense. Cam Newton threw a first quarter 9 yard touchdown to Greg Olsen. After three quarters, the Panthers still only led 7-0. In the fourth quarter Graham Gano hit a 38 yard field goal to extend the lead. Greg Zuerlein hit from 25 to get the Rams on the board, but Gano countered from 37 to make it 13-3 Panthers with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Rams moved down the field desperately, and on 4th and goal at the 10, Case Keenum hit Kenny Britt for the touchdown. However, only 34 seconds remained. The onside kick failed and that was that. Both teams are 3-5, but Ron Rivera’s squad has won two straight while Jeff Fisher’s squad has lost four straight. Fisher has a fantastic defense but a struggling offense, the same problem his late mentor Buddy Ryan used to have. 13-10 Panthers

Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers – Four years ago, rookie Andrew luck led the Colts back from an 18 point deficit to beat Aaron Rodgers. The rematch also featured an exciting finish. The Colts jumped all over the Packers from the start, as Todman returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Colts lead. The Packers got on the board with a 34 yard Mason Crosby field goal, but the Colts came back 62 yards. Frank Gore ran for a 7 yard touchdown for a 14-3 Colts lead. Late in the first quarter, Luck was intercepted, giving the Packers a short field at the Indy 47. On 3rd and 1 from the 26 on the last play of the first quarter, Rodgers went deep to Jordy Nelson for the touchdown to get the Packers within 14-10.

In the second quarter Adam Vinatieri hit a 28 yard field goal for a 17-10 Colts lead. The Colts got it back at their own 4 yard line, and Luck was masterful. A 15 play drive took 5 1/2 minutes. Luck hit Moncrief from 8 yards out as the 96 yard drive made it 24-10 Cots at the half. In the third quarter the Packers moved into the red zone but had to settle for a 27 yard Crosby field goal to trail 24-13 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Colts moved 71 yards. Gore got in from 4 yards out as the Colts had a 31-13 lead with 9 1/2 minutes remaninig in front of a shellshocked home crowd.

Luck was playing like a champion, but Rodgers already is one. This time it was the Packers down by 18, and Rodgers was going to will his team back into the game. After a touchback, an unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense had Green Bay at their own 47. Rodgers went deep to Devonta Adams for a 40 yard gain and hit him again for the 2 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but midway through the fourth quarter the Packers were within 31-19.

The Packers held on defense and got it back after a touchback with 5 1/2 minutes left. Rodgers hit montgomery for 18, Nelson for 13 and Richard Rodgers for 9. Rodgers then scrambled for a 21 yard gain, hit Nelson for 13, and finally hit Randall Cobb for the 3 yard touchdown. The Packers were within 5 points with 3 1/2 minutes left. Mike McCarthy now needed Dom Capers’s defense to get a stop. With the Colts facing 3rd and 10 at their own 25, Luck went deep to Doyle for 20 yards and a killer first down. With 2:21 left and the packers out of timeouts, everything came down to the Colts facing 3rd and 2 at the Green Bay 47. Rather than bang it up the middle, Luck went deep to TY Hilton for a 27 yard gain. It was  a gutsy call by Chuck Pagano, and it preserved the big road win. 31-26 Colts

Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers — 50 years ago, the American Football League saw the Chargers and Houston Oilers put on aerial shows. Somewhere in heaven, the late Sid Gilman was smiling over this one. Early on it was all Chargers. They moved 75 yards and Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 13 yard touchdown. Josh Lambo missed the extra point as the Chargers led 6-0. San Diego got it back and Lambo hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 9-0 Chargers. In the second quarter San Diego got it back and rapidly moved 87 yards. Rivers hit Williams for a 6 yard touchdown and a 16-0 Chargers advantage.

The Titans woke up and started playing football. A 75 yard drive saw Marcus Mariota hit Ryan Matthews for a 16 yard score to get the Titans within 16-7. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half the Titans got it back, but Mariota was quickly intercepted. Hayward returned it 25 yards to the Tennessee 15. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Rivers threw incomplete. Tennessee dodged a bullet as Lambo hit from 23 to make it 19-7 Chargers with 90 seconds left in the half. That was enough time for Mariota after a touchback. Mariota hit Wright for 16 and Matthews for 7 more. With 24 seconds left in the half, the Chargers faced a critical 3rd and 1 at the Titans 36. Mariota went deep to Sharpe for a 29 yard gain and then to Matthews for the 7 yard touchdown to get the Titans within 19-14 at halftime.

In the third quarter after a touchback, Mariota unleashed a flurry of passes. 8 straight completions moved the ball to the San Diego 14. Mariota then ran for the touchdown himself to make it 21-19 Titans. The Chargers came back 75 yards, taking 14 plays and nearly 7 minutes to do it. On 3rd and 8 from the Tennessee 37, Rivers threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and 7 from the 18, Rivers hit Gates for 17. From the one, Melvin Gordon twice got stopped. On 3rd and goal, Rivers was sacked for a 9 yard loss. Yet defensive holding again killed the Titans. On the next play Gordon did get in as the Chargers retook the lead 26-21 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Titans took over at their own 35. On 2nd and 15 from the San Diego 47, disaster struck. Mariota was hit and fumbled. Lowery recovered it and returned it 36 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 33-21 Chargers lead. In the fourth quarter, the Titans faced 3rd and 1 at their own 29 with 12 minutes left in regulation. Mariota hit Wright on a short pass that went for a 48 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the 18, Mariota hit DeMarco Murray for 10 and Melanie Walker for the 8 yard touchdown. With 10 minutes left in regulation the Titans were within 33-28.

The Chargers moved from their 25 to a 4th and 1 at the Titans 18 with 6 minutes left in regulation. Mike McCoy took no chances. Lambo hit the 36 yard field goal, but it was still only a one score game with the Chargers up 36-28. With 5 minutes left the Titans faced 3rd and 6 from their 29. Mariota was then intercepted by Brandon Flowers, who jumped the route and raced for a 33 yard touchdown. San Diego’s second defensive touchdown had the made it 43-28 Chargers.

After a touchback, the Mariota hit Douglas for a 27 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the San Diego 46, Mariota hit Matthews for gains of 14 and 9. On 3rd and 1 from the 23, Murray gained 13 yards. on 2nd and goal from the 7 Mariota threw incomplete, but defensive holding put the ball on the one. Murray took it up the gut for the touchdown. With 2:45 to play, the Titans were within 8 points again. Tennessee had all 3 timeouts, so Mike Mularkey decided to kick it away and trust his defense rather than go onside kick. With 2 1/2 minutes left, it all came down to the Chargers facing 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Gordon got the carry and broke free for a 47 yard gain as the Chargers ran out the clock. Both teams are now 4-5, but the Chargers have won three of the last four to stay alive but still far back in the ultra-competitive AFC West. 43-35 Chargers

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders was the Sunday night game. The Raiders came out jacked up full of emotion. The Broncos began at their own 15 and Trevor Siemian quickly threw 3 incompletions. The Raiders began their first drive with excellent field position at their own 48. On 2nd and 5 Carr fired over the middle to Jalen Richard. It bounced off his hands but he caught his own tip for an 11 yard gain to the Denver 36. Carr then fired another quick slant to Amari Cooper, who broke a tackle for a 21 yard gain. After a pass to the end zone to Clive Walford was broken up at the last moment, Latavius Murray gained 8 yards to set up a critical 3rd and 2 at the 6. Carr found a wide open Seth Roberts in the flat, but after catching it Roberts just slipped and fell for no gain. Jack Del Rio has gambled all season, but this time against a great defense, he played it safe and took the points. Sebastian Janikowski hit the 24 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Raiders.

Denver punted again when a 3rd and 12 pass was dropped by the receiver and a defender as Siemian still did not have a completion after 2 series. The Raiders again had great field position at their own 42. Carr went back to Roberts for a 21 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 33, Carr hit Andre Holmes for a 16 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and 4 from the 6, Carr was sacked by Von Miller. Seabass hit the 29 yard field goal, but the Raiders only led 6-0.

Denver again went 3 and out for the third straight time. On 3rd and 7 Siemian finally completed his first pass, but it only gained 4 yards. Denver still had 0 first downs. For the third straight time the Raiders had excellent field position to start a drive, this time at their own 43. Carr hit Holmes and Cooper for a pair of 11 yard gains. Again the Raiders reached the red zone as Carr hit Roberts for 10 more. The Raiders absolutely dominated the first quarter, racking up 137 yards and giving up only 9 yards. They Raiders had the ball for over 12 minutes to less than 3 for Denver. The Raiders, one week after an NFL record 23 penalties, had 0 penalties in the first quarter. Yet despite all of that, they only led 6-0. Oakland began the second quarter with 1st and goal at the 9.

Murray got the carry, bounced to the outside, and appeared to reach the pylon. Yet the referees ruled Murray down at the 2 yard line. The call was not challenged. Murray got the carry and got stopped just short. On 3rd and goal Olawale got the call and appeared stopped cold as well. However, Olawale stretched the ball just barely over the plane of the goal line as the Raiders had the shocking 13-0 lead.

Denver went 3 and out as Siemian threw incomplete on 3rd and 5. It was the first time in 5 years that Denver started with 4 straight 3 and outs, with Tim Tebow being the quarterback at the time. During the 4 years between Tebow and Siemian, Peyton Manning was not known for going 3 and out. After starting past their own 40 on their first 3 drives, this time the Raiders started at their own 26. They would have to punt, but Marquette King was fantastic the whole night. Denver took over at their own 16. After 19 minutes of regulation, they still did not have a first down. On 3rd and 4 from their 22, Siemian retreated backward and unloaded a duck under heavy pressure. Somehow Denarius Thomas came down with it for a 23 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 46, Bibbs gained 10 yards. On the next play Siemian went deep to Jerrius Norwood for a 36 yard touchdown. Despite being dominated all game, the 84 yard drive had the Broncos right back in it down 13-7. Momentum had swing, and the crowd would soon know if the Raiders would collapse once the initial adrenaline rush wore off.

The Raiders kept moving the ball well, going from their 34 to a 1st and 10 at the Denver 24. However, a delay of game killed the drive. Seabass came in for a 48 yard field goal, but it was no good. Denver soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 47. Siemian threw incomplete and the Raiders got it back at their 25. At the 2 minute warning the Raiders faced 3rd and 1 at their 34. Murray got the carry and rumbled for a 42 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the 24, Carr went deep incomplete. however, defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. After a touchdown pass was nullified by an ineligible man downfield, another defensive pass interference call put the ball back on the one again. Murray crashed in for the score as the Raiders led 20-7.

Denver got it back at their own 20 with only 1:19 left in the half. With 27 seconds left in the half Denver had the ball with a 3rd and 3 just past midfield. Siemian went deep incomplete, but defensive holding kept the drive going. From the Oakland 44, Siemian went deep to Emanuel Sanders, who made a diving catch for the touchdown in front of a shocked home crowd. Yet the Raiders dodged a major bullet when replay showed the ball hit the ground. It was reversed incomplete. On the last play of the half, Brandon McManus drilled a 55 yard field goal. The Broncos trailed 20-10 at halftime, but this game was far from over.

In the third quarter the Raiders moved from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Denver 41. Yet on 3rd and 8 Carr threw incomplete. Oakland held the ball for 6 minutes but did not score. A 57 yard field goal try was not in the cards as the Raiders punted. King placed a beauty as perfect punt coverage pinned the Broncos at their 2 yard line. The Raiders got it back at their 36 and moved to a 3rd and 3 at the Denver 42. Yet a completion gained 0 yards and again the Raiders punted. Again, spectacular play by King and the coverage team pinned Denver at their one yard line.

On 3rd and 8 from their 3, Siemian threw deep incomplete. Yet pass interference on DJ Hayden meant 27 yards for Denver. On 3rd and 14 from their 26, Siemian fired to Sanders for an 18 yard gain. As short pass to Green gained 26 yards to the Oakland 30. An offensive holding penalty killed the drive as the third quarter was scoreless. On the first play of the fourth quarter, McManus hit the 44 yard field goal. The Broncos were only down 20-13. Again, the Raiders had not put the game away.

This time the Raiders offense kept grinding. A 10 play, 58 yard drive chewed up another 6 1/2 minutes. The Raiders moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 7 at the Denver 21. Offensive holding meant 3rd and 17, but a juggling catch by Michael Crabtree on the next play gained 14 yards. Seabass hit the 35 yard field goal. With only 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Raiders led 23-13. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Broncos faced 2nd and 10 at their 47. Siemian was sacked by Khalil Mack, forcing a fumble. The Raiders recovered at the Denver 39. It was the first turnover of the game. Now the Raiders had a chance to turn out the lights.

On the very next play Carr was intercepted. The defense looked in anger knowing they had to go right back on the field. Yet again the Raiders got a major break, as replay for the second time in the game showed the ball hitting the ground. Oakland dodged another major bullet as the calls as reversed to an incomplete pass. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 36, Carr went deep incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference instead meant 1st and goal at the 5. Chris Harris would then get called for 2 more defensive penalties as 3 penalties in 4 plays put the ball on the one. Murray got it in as the Raiders had a 30-13 lead with only 6 minutes left.

The game appeared over, but the Raiders never make it easy. They do not finish games. With the Broncos facing 1st and 15 at their own 31, Bibbs took a short pass, shook off several very and attempts at tackling, and weaved his way for a 69 yard touchdown. Just like that, with more than 5 minutes still left, the Broncos were back within 10. The Raiders took over at their own 19. With 3 1/2 minutes left the Broncos took their first timeout as the Raiders faced a critical 3rd and 8 at their own 34. Carr found Amari cooper for 9 yards. The Broncos would get the ball back at their own 28, but only 2:20 remained and they were out of timeouts. After 3 straight incompletions, on fourth and 10 simian was intercepted by Reggie Nelson. This time, the Silver and Black delivered the Raider Nation the best franchise win in awhile.

While the Broncos were without star cornerback Aqib Talib, this was a statement win for the Raiders. They held the ball for 42 minutes compared to only 18 minutes for Denver. Siemian finished 18 for 37 for 283 yards, 2 touchdowns, and the one interception at the end. Carr was only 20 of 31 for 184 yards without a touchdown or interception, but that was because the Raiders gashed Denver’s defense for 218 yards on the ground. Murray had 114 yards on 20 carries. The Oakland Raiders are in sole possession of first place in the AFC West at 7-2. Raider fans really wish there was no presidential election this week. Make it next week. Let the Raider Nation have a whole week to enjoy this win. Politics returns much sooner than most of us want, but for now, football is front and center. Reggie McKenzie may get some votes for president. This was a Silver and Black Sunday. Just Win Baby! 30-20 Raiders

Buffalo Bills at Seattle Seahawks was the Monday night game. This was an exciting game of big plays. Early on the Bills blocked a Seattle punt and recovered at the 3 yard line. One play later Tyrod Taylor ran it in for a 7-0 Seahawks lead. Barely a minute later the game was tied. Russell Wilson went deep to Doug Baldwin for a 50 yard gain to the Buffalo 3. One play later it was Wilson with the rushing touchdown as both quarterbacks had 3 yard scampers in a 7-7 game. The Bills came back with what may have been the drive of the year. Buffalo  Held the ball for a staggering 17 plays and 10 minutes off the clock. The 75 yard drive was capped with Taylor hitting Hunter for a 5 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Bills lead.

In the second quarter, Seattle quickly moved 65 yards. Wilson hit Jimmy Graham for a 17 yard touchdown for a 14-14 game. Buffalo held the ball for another 5 1/2 minutes, going 62 yards in 12 plays. Yet this time they bogged down in the red zone when Taylor was sacked on 3rd and goal at the 6. Dan Carpenter hit the 31 yard field goal to make it 17-14 Bills. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the half, a 22 yard punt return had Seattle at the Buffalo 40. On 1st and 25 from the Buffalo 27 after an offensive clipping penalty, defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 3. Michael got in on the next play to make it 21-17 Seahawks with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.

Seattle got it back with 2:19 left in the half at their own 32. On 3rd and 4 from the Buffalo 32, Wilson hit Graham for 14 and again for the 18 yard touchdown to make it 28-17 Seahawks with one minute left in the half. Buffalo moved from their 25 to the Seattle 35 with 3 seconds left in the half. Dan Carpenter’s 53 yard field goal try was no good, mainly because Carpenter got obliterated by Richard Sherman. While there was defensive offside on Sherman, there was no roughing the kicker call. Rex Ryan went ballistic to no avail. Carpenter then made the 48 yard field goal, but Pete Carroll had called timeout at the last moment. So Carpenter tried a 53 yard field goal again, and the third time was not a charm. The kick was no good as the teams went to the locker rooms with the Seahawks still up 28-17.

The third quarter was scoreless, but Buffalo did move 82 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. The fourth quarter began with Gillislee getting in from one yard out to get the Bills within 28-23. Taylor executed the quarterback draw perfectly on the 2 point conversion to get the Bills within 28-25. The Bills moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 6 at the Buffalo 31 with 10 minutes left in regulation. Wilson threw incomplete. Steve Hauschka made the 49 yard field goal. The Seahawks had a 6 point lead, but they had not closed the door.

The Bills moved from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Seattle 32. After a pair of Taylor incompletions, on 3rd and 10 a tripping penalty instead means 3rd and 21. A safe run actually then lost 2 yards. Buffalo was out of field goal range. They took 6 minutes off the clock and got nothing. The Bills took their timeouts and got the ball back in excellent field position at their own 40 with 2:41 to play. A sac of Taylor had Buffalo facing 3rd and 21 at their own 40. Taylor found Woods for 22, with 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer. With 1:09 to play, Buffalo had 1st and goal at the 10. Seattle took timeouts on defense in case the Bills scored. On 3rd and goal at the 8, Taylor was sacked by Cliff Avril. On 4th and goal from the 15 with 20 seconds left, Taylor fired to the end zone. The ball was well thrown but well defended by double coverage. It landed incomplete and the Legion of Boom gutted out another tough win. 31-25 Seahawks