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NFL 2018 Week 5 Recap

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 5 Recap

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots was the Thursday night game. This was expected to be the men against the boys, and it was. The Patriots drove 80 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. Tom Brady hit Cordarelle Patterson for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots. The Colts mounted a 14 play drive from their own 6 yard line but Adam Vinatieri missed a 48 yard field goal against his old team. Brady immediately led the Patriots 57 yards and got the final yard himself to make it 14-0 Patriots.

Vinatieri would hit a 54 yard field goal in the second quarter, but the Patriots would go 78 yards in 11 plays. Brady hit White for a 6 yard touchdown to have the Patriots rolling 21-3. The Colts could not even get to the locker room without more pain. Andrew Luck was intercepted, allowing Stephen Gostkowski to hit a 45 yard field goal to end the half with the Patriots up 24-3.

A pair of freak interceptions of Tom Brady in the third quarter both came off of deflected passes that should have been caught. The second one even came when Rob Gronkowski had the ball blasted out of his hands. Both times the Colts took advantage. Starting at the New England 35, Luck hit Eric Ebron for a 14 yard touchdown. Then from their own 20, the Colts moved 80 yards. Luck hit Swoope for a 13 yard touchdown. The Colts only trailed 24-17 after three quarters.

The fourth quarter brought the cold dose of reality. The Patriots moved 75 yards and Brady went deep to Josh Gordon for a 34 yard touchdown. An interception of Luck then put the Patriots at the Indy 34. One play later, Michel ran for the touchdown to have the Patriots cruising 38-17. The Colts did get a late garbage touchdown to make the score look more respectable. Those who buried the evil empire of football led by the Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick never learn. Frank Reich once led a 32 point comeback, but not against New England. 38-24 Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs — The top offense took on the top defense in a  game that started under a driving rain that soon settled down. The Chiefs moved 73 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Patrick Mahomes scrambled for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chiefs. The second quarter began with the Chiefs at the Jacksonville 43. Mahomes went deep to Sammy Watkins for a 33 yard gain. Harrison Butker hit a 22 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Chiefs.

In the second quarter Doug Marrone decided to go for it on 4th and 2 from the Chiefs 5. Blake Bortles fired to the end zone but the pass was well defended incomplete. Mahomes finally threw his first interception of the year to set up the Jaguars at the Chiefs 41. On the next play Bortles was hit and fumbled the ball back. Mahomes then connected with Travis Kelce for a 40 yard gain down to the Jacksonville 8 yard line. Butker hit from 42 to make it 13-0 Chiefs.

The end of the half was a nightmare that blew the game open. Bortles was intercepted by Chris Jones, who returned it for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 20-0 Chiefs. Bortles quickly rallied The Jaguars inside the Chiefs 5 yard line. Bortles fired a pass that bounced off the helmet of one of his own offensive lineman and was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback.

In the third quarter Butker hit from 38 as the Chiefs led 23-0. Bortles did throw a 14 yard touchdown pass to TJ Yeldon to get the Jaguars on the board down 23-7. The Chiefs moved 64 yards and Kareem Hunt ran for a 4 yard touchdown to have the Chiefs winning 30-7. The Jaguars got a garbage touchdown and nothing more as the Chiefs remained unbeaten at 5-0, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus Lite. Bortles threw 61 passes, completing 33 for 430 yards and one touchdown. He also threw 4 interceptions. Last year the Chiefs collapsed from 5-0 to 6-6. This is not last year. 30-14 Chiefs. 

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills — A fumble by the Titans gave the Bills a short field at the Tennessee 47. Sean McDermott called a flea flicker on the first play from scrimmage. It was overthrown incomplete, but after 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes the Bills were in the end zone. Josh Allen scrambled for the 14 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bills. The Titans got a break when Nick Williams returned a punt 38 yards to the Buffalo 19 yard line. After Marcus Mariota was nearly intercepted on 3rd and 3, the Titans escaped with a 25 yard Ryan Succop field goal to get within 7-3. In the second quarter the Bills missed a chance to extend the lead when a field goal try saw a fumbled snap and a kick that never happened. Succop hit from 54 as the Titans only trailed 7-6 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Titans fumbled in their own territory. A 40 yard field goal had the Bills up 10-6. As the third quarter was ending, the Titans moved into the red zone. Mariota on 3rd and 4 went to the end zone and had a wide open Williams for the lead. Williams dropped it. Succop hit from 39 to get the Titans within 10-9. Succop would hit again from 50 to put the Titans up 12-10 with 5 minutes left in regulation. Josh Allen used the clock and moved the Bills in position to win it as Steve Hauschka came in for a 46 yard try to win it with 4 seconds left. The kick was good, and there was no time left on the clock for a kick return miracle. This is not 1999. 13-12 Bills

Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers — LeVeon Bell is still sitting out, but James Conner has filled in effectively. The Steelers moved 78 yards as Conner caught a pass for 29 yards, ran for 30 more, and got the last yard to make it 6-0 Steelers. his Boswell missed the extra point. Pittsburgh got it back and moved 54 yards. On 3rd and 8 form the Atlanta 18, Ben Roetholisberger fired over the middle to Juju Smith-Schuster. Despite neither of them being Jewish, the Steelers led 13-0.

The Falcons finally got on the board when Matt Ryan connected with Mohammed Sanu for a 43 yard touchdown to  get the Falcons within 13-7. Atlanta got it back and mounted a 6 minute drive. A 47 yard Matt Bryant field goal had the Falcons only down 13-10.

In the third quarter the Steelers moved 85 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 20-10 Steelers. Atlanta then had to punt and Bosher had his punt blocked. The Steelers took over at the Atlanta 18. Conner got the last 2 yards on the ground for a 27-10 Steelers lead.

The Falcons moved the ball 60 yards and Smith got the last 2 yards to get within 27-17. Yet the Steelers came right back in the fourth quarter to salt the game away. Big Ben went to Brown for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 34-17 Steelers. In 2002, the Steelers blew a 34-17 fourth quarter lead against the Falcons in what became the greatest 34-34 tie in NFL history. This is not 2002. From the Atlanta 2 yard line, Ryan got belted, fumbled, and the Steelers recovered for an exclamation point touchdown. 41-17 Steelers

Denver Broncos at New York Jets — The Jets began the game by fumbling the ball deep in their own territory. The Broncos took over at the Jets 20. Case Keenum fired to Sutton for an 8 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Broncos. The Jets wasted a 6 minute drive when a 30 yard field goal try was no good. In the second quarter the Jets tied the game 7-7 when Isaiah Crowell took a handoff 77 yards for a touchdown. Sam Darnold then went bombs away to Rodney Anderson for a 76 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Jets. Brandon McManus hit a 30 yard field goal to get the Broncos within 14-10, but the Jets quickly moved 75 yards kate in the half. Darnold hit Anderson for a 35 yard touchdown as the Jets took a 21-10 lead to the locker rooms.

The second half belonged to the Jets defense. In the third quarter the Jets moved 64 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. A 49 yard Josh Myers field goal made it 24-10 Jets. In the fourth quarter the Broncos fumbled deep in their own territory. The defense held but Myers hit from 30 to make it 27-10 Jets. The Broncos moved to a 4th and 3 at the Jets 6 with 9 minutes left. Case Keenum threw incomplete. The Jets moved 93 yards and Darnold hit Terrell Pryor for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 34-10 Jets. Denver got a garbage touchdown as Vance Joseph remains on the hot seat and Todd Bowles saw his seat cool for one week. 34-16 Jets

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions — A fumbled punt had the Lions recovering at the Green Bay one yard line. It appeared that the ball touched a Detroit player first, but Mike McCarthy’s challenge was unsuccessful. LaGuerrette Blount ran it in to make it 7-0 Lions. Later on Matthew Stafford went deep to Kenny Golladay. who out-jumped the defender for a 60 yard gain down to the 5 yard line. Blount gained 4 and then got the last yard to make it 14-0 Lions. Aaron Rodgers then got belted and fumbled. The Lions took over at the Green Bay 22 and Matt Prater began the second quarter with a 39 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Lions.

Mason Crosby missed 3 field goals for the Packers in the first half, including a 42 yarder that doinked off the upright. Rodgers got belted again and fumbled again to give the Lions another short field. On 3rd and goal Stafford fired a laser over the middle where Marvin Jones got his feet down for the touchdown to make it 24-0 Lions.

In the third quarter Mike mcCarthy decided to go for it on 4th and 11 rather than rely on his shaky kicker. Rodgers got the conversion and then threw a 3 yard touchdown to Valdes-Scantling. The 2 point conversion had the Packers within 24-8. The Lions had a chance to extend their lead but Prater badly missed a 55 yard field goal. Green Bay then had 4th and 4 at the Detroit 30. Again McCarthy went for it and Rodgers on a designed draw up the middle gained 8 yards. Rodgers went to Lance Kendricks for a one yard touchdown, This time the 2 point try failed as the Packers trailed 24-14 late in the third quarter.

In past years, the Lions blew a 20-0 lead at home against the Packers and lost 27-23 on an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary on the final play. This is not the past. Detroit stayed calm, got the ball back at their own 45, and gave themselves some well needed breathing room. Stafford hit Golladay for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 31-14 Lions after three quarters.

Rodgers tried to rally the Packers. A 75 yard drive saw him throw a 12 yard touchdown to Devontae Adams had the Packers within 31-20. Crosby, who had already missed 3 field goals, missed the extra point. Needing 2 scores, Crosby came in for yet another field goal attempt. He missed again. Crosby would actually make a field goal before the game ended, but the 13 points he threw away were the difference between a 5 point win and an 8 point loss. 31-23 Lions

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns — The Dawg Pound was fired up as both defense laid the lumber early on. An interception of Baker Mayfield set up the Ravens at the Cleveland 33. The Ravens settled for a 44 yard Justin Tucker field goal for a 3-0 Ravens lead. In the second quarter Baltimore moved inside the 5 yard line but Joe Flacco was intercepted. Late in the half the Browns moved 78 yards. Mayfield hit Rashard Higgins for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 6-3 Browns. The extra point was no good. Tucker came in at the end of the half to tie the game. The kick was blocked as the Dawg Pound erupted.

In the third quarter a 56 yard pass from Mayfield had the Browns facing 1st and goal. A sack of Mayfield had the Browns settling for a 35 yard field goal and a 9-3 lead. The Ravens again moved within the Baltimore 10 yard line but on 3rd and 3 Flacco threw incomplete. This time Tucker hit the 25 yarder as the Ravens trailed 9-6 after three quarters.

At the 2 minute warning, the Ravens were in tying field goal range at the Cleveland 30. On 3rd and 13, Flacco found Allen for a gain of 16 to the Cleveland 14. With one minute left, on 3rd and 10, Flacco fired to the end zone to Michael Crabtree, who dropped it. Tucker hit the 32 yarder and the game was tied 9-9. Mayfield worked the final 52 seconds well in getting the Browns from their 25 to the Baltimore 37. Joseph came in for a 55 yard try to win it. The kick was no good by a country mile. For the third time in 5 weeks, the Browns were headed to overtime.

The Browns won the toss but quickly went 3 and out. A good punt had the Ravens taking over at their own 6 yard line. With 4 1/2 minutes left in overtime the Ravens faced 3rd and 12 at their own 45 after Flacco somehow escaped an intentional grounding penalty. Flacco threw incomplete and the Browns got it back at their own 14. A short pass to Jarvis Landry went for a 27 yard gain with 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer.  On 3rd and 5, Mayfield threw incomplete. Hue Jackson decided to go for it rather than try a 57 yard field goal. Mayfield went deep incomplete as the crowd screamed for a defensive pass interference call that never came.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in the extra session, Flacco threw 3 straight incompletions. It was Baltimore who demanded a defensive penalty to no avail. The officials were consistently letting the players play. With 3 minutes left the Browns took over at their own 16. A reverse play was blown up in the backfield for an 11 yard loss. The Browns were facing 2nd and 21 at their own 5 yard line.

Mayfield scrambled for 13 yards to set up 3rd and 8 at the 2 minute warning. One stop and the Ravens would get the ball back and extend Cleveland’s misery. Not this time. A short pass from Mayfield to Willies went for a 39 yard gain. Johnson gained 15 yards, another 5, and 4 more. With 6 seconds left, Joseph came in for a 37 yard field to win it for the Browns.

A miss would make the Browns the first team since 1974 to have 2 ties. In 2015, the Browns lined up for the winning field goal on the final play of regulation. The Ravens returned it for a touchdown the other way. This is not 1974 or 2015. The kick was good. The Cleveland Browns are no longer the Charlie Browns. Baker Mayfield is the new Brian Sipe. This is not 1980, but these Browns are definitely their own version of Cardiac Kids. 12–9 Browns, OT

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers —The Panthers easily moved 75 yards thanks to miserable tackling by the Giants. Cam Newton found Samuel for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Panthers. Rosas would hit a 42 yard field goal to get the Giants on the board. The second quarter began with the Giants fumbling a punt. 3 or 4 different Giants players fumbled the ball backward into their own end zone. The Panthers fell on it for a gift touchdown and a 14-3 lead. Graham Gano would tack on a 47 yard field goal to make it 17-3 Panthers.

Pat Shurmur went to his bag of tricks to spark the Giants. Eli Manning fired a backward pass to O’Dell Beckham Jr. Beckham went deep to Saquon Barkley for a 57 yard touchdown to get the Giants within 17-10. Gano hit a 47 yard field goal to make it 20-10 Panthers. Aldrick Rosas nailed a 53 yarder as the Giants only trailed 20-13 at halftime. In the third quarter Manning went to the end zone to Beckham, who had it in his hands. At the last moment it was knocked away. Rosas hit a 36 yard field goal as the Giants trailed 20-16.

The second half was an ugly affair as Eli Manning and Cam Newton both took turns completing passes to the opposing defense. After an exchange of interceptions, the Panthers held the ball for 5 minutes and went 68 yards. The fourth quarter began with the Panthers facing 3rd and 8 at the Giants 18. Newton fired to Christian McCaffrey to make it 27-16 Panthers.

After another exchange of interceptions, the Giants took over at the Carolina 34. Manning went deep to Beckham for the touchdown. The 2 point try succeeded and now the Giants were within 27-24. The Panthers held the ball for 12 plays and 6 minutes after a touchback but could not put the game away. Gano hit the 39 yard field goal. The Panthers led 30-24, but this game was far from over.

75 yards came quickly and easily for the Giants. Manning hit Saquon Barkley for a 15 yard touchdown in front of a shellshocked home crowd. The Giants led 31-30 with barely more than one minute left as it appeared the Panthers had completely collapsed. After a touchback with barely more than one minute to work with, Newton tried to pull off a miracle. Yet Gano’s field goal try to win it was from 63 yards out. The NFL record is 64. Riverboat Ron Rivera got his miracle and the Giants got a stunning loss as Gano buried the kick. 33-31 Panthers

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals — After a scoreless opening quarter, Miami held the ball for 6 minutes. Ryan Tannehill hit Drake for a 22 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Dolphins. The Bengals missed a field goal. Late in the half Jakeem Grant returned a punt 70 yards for a score to make it 14-0 Dolphins. In the third quarter Sanders hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Dolphins. The Dolphins were in total control even as Randy Bullock answered from 51 to finally get the Bengals on the board. The fourth quarter showed the character of both teams.

The Bengals moved 71 yards. Red Rifle Andy Dalton threw an 18 yard touchdown to get the Bengals within 17-10. Miami got it back at their own 19. From their 33, under heavy pressure, Ryan Tannehill just tried to throw the ball into the ground. It bounced off a lineman’s helmet, went backward, and was intercepted by Michael Johnson. Johnson took the gift 22 yards for the tying touchdown for a 17-17 game. The Bengals got it back at their own 36. Mixon had gains of 11 and 31. Bullock hit a 20 yard field goal to put the Bengals up 20-17. On 3rd and 17 from their own 18, Tannehill got hit and fumbled. The ball was plucked out of the air by Hubbard, who returned it for the second Cincinnati defensive touchdown to ice the game. Tannehill threw in one more interception for good measure. 27-17 Bengals

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers — This felt like a home game for the Oakland Raiders of Los Angeles and Las Vegas against the San Diego Chargers of Los Angeles. Both teams have high octane offenses, but 25 minutes of ugly football led to a 3-3 game. Caleb Sturgis hit from 49 in the first quarter and Mat McCrane answered from 24 in the second quarter. With less than 5 minutes left in the half, the Raiders went into collapse mode.

A swing pass from Philip Rivers to Ekeler went for a 44 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Chargers. A field position game had the Chargers getting the ball back near midfield. From the one, Melvin Ingram came in on offense and carried the ball. He was stopped. Melvin Gordon does play offense, and on 3rd and goal he got in to make it 17-3 Chargers. McCrane attempted a 57 yard field goal to end the half. The kick was dead center but short.

In the third quarter Sturgis hit from 30 to have the Chargers cruising 20-3. One play summarized everything that is wrong with the 2018 Raiders. Defensive pass interference gave them 1st and goal at the one. Rather than hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch, Carr fired over the middle of the end zone and was intercepted by Ingram. For whatever reason, Jon Gruden’s refusal to just pound the rock is killing his team. On the next play, Anthony Lynn went for the kill shot. Rivers went deep for a 50 yard gain. For some reason, the fourth quarter was played since league rules banned canceling it.

The Chargers easily moved 96 yards against a Raiders defense lacking any semblance of heart, guts or scheme. The Chargers faced 2 offensive holding penalties and a false start yet still were able to gain big chunks on offense. The final dagger was a 3rd and 11 pass that gained 12 to the Oakland 19. By the time Rivers hit Green for a 13 yard touchdown, it looked like the defense had quit. Green practically walked into the end zone. The extra point was no good, but the Chargers led 26-3.

After a touchback with 9 1/2 minutes left, Carr connected with Martavius Bryant for a 47 yard gain. Bryant had fumbled the ball away earlier but held on this time. Yet with the offense showing as little urgency as the defense, the Raiders soon faced 4th and 4 at the Chargers 21. Carr fired over the middle to Seth Roberts for the first down but for some reason never went into hurry up mode. On 3rd and 1 from the 5, Richard got it inches short of the goal line. Carr fired to Jordy Nelson for the touchdown, but they were down by 16 with only 5 minutes left. With a pathetic defense, they were done. Of course the defense did not get a stop as the Chargers easily finished things to drop the Raiders to a 1-4 team that should be an 0-5 team. 26-10 Chargers

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers — The 49ers moved 75 yards to start the game. CJ Beathard hit Breida for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 6-0 49ers after the missed extra point. After a touchback, Josh Rosen needed one play to give the Cardinals the lead. He hit kirk for a 75 yard touchdown bomb to make it 7-6 Cardinals. In the second quarter from the Arizona 40, the 49ers fumbled and the Cardinals made them pay. Patrick Peterson returned the fumble 51 yards to the 49ers 18 yard line. David Johnson got the 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-6 Cardinals at halftime.

The second half was mostly defense. After a scoreless third quarter, the 49ers in the fourth quarter finally got a drive going. 83 yards, 12 plays and 6 minutes came to a head when Beathard threw incomplete on 3rd and goal at the one. With less than 7 minutes left in the game, Kyle Shanahan decided to go for it. Beathard hit Taylor for the touchdown. The 2 point try was incomplete as the 49ers trailed 14-12. 

The Cardinals went 3 and out and the 49ers quickly got it back at their own 32. From their own 41, Beathard was sacked for an 18 yard loss and fumbled the ball. Bynes picked it up and raced 23 yards for a defensive touchdown. With 4 1/2 minutes left the Cardinals led 21-12. An interception of Beathard 30 seconds later sealed the deal. With the short field, a 6 yard touchdown run by Johnson made it 28-12 Cardinals. The 49ers did score a touchdown with 90 seconds left, but the 2 point try failed and so did the onside kick. Steve Walks got his first win as an NFL head coach. 28-18 Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks — The unbeaten Rams faced a serious test against an improving Seattle team. The Rams moved to the Seattle 2 yard line, but Jared Goff was intercepted at the goal line. Seattle took over at their own 26. From the Rams 48, Russell Wilson hit Vannett for a 32 yard gain. Davis ran for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Seahawks. A 35 yard kickoff return had the Rams starting at their own 42. Goff found Cooper Kupp for 27 yards, Todd Gurley did the rest. He caught a pass for 19, ran for 16, and ran for the 2 yard touchdown to make it a 7-7 ballgame.

In the second quarter, a ket decision by Sean McVay would have ramifications later on. The Rams moved from their 20 to a 3rd and goal at the one. Gurley got stopped, and on 4th and goal McVay opted for the field goal. Santos hit the 19 yarder and the Rams led 10-7. Tyler Lockett returned the kickoff 42 yards to midfield. Wilson then went deep to Lockett for a 39 yard touchdown and a 14-10 Seahawks lead.

The Rams took over at their own 30. Goff went to Gurley for 15 and Kupp and Higbee for a pair of 17 yard gains. Goff hit Kupp for a 6 yard touchdown to put the Rams back in front 17-14 with 6 minutes left in the half. The Seahawks took over at their own 39. On 3rd and 10 from their own 47, Wilson hit Lockett for 15. Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 52 yard field goal as the teams were deadlocked 17-17 at halftime.

The Seahawks began the third quarter facing 3rd and 3 at their own 32. Davis ran for a 37 yard gain. Wilson hit Moore for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 24-17 Seahawks. The Rams took over at their own 36. Goff hit Reynolds for gains of 22 and 17 and Reynolds ran for 10 more. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Gurley for in and the game was again tied 24-24.

The Seahawks got it back after a touchback and faced 3rd and 1 at their own 45. Carson gained 21 yards. Wilson went deep to Moore for a 30 yard touchdown to put the Seahawks up 31-24 after three quarters. The Rams took over at their own 26 and Robert Woods raced for a 56 yard gain. The fourth quarter began with the Rams facing 4th and 2 from the Seattle 10. This time Sean McVay decided to go for it. Goff threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 5. Gurley got in for the score. The extra point was no good as the Rams trailed 31-30.

The Rams got it back at their own 18. Goff hit Hodge for 14 and Woods for gains of 20 and 17. Despite missing the extra point, Cairo Santos redeemed himself with a 39 yard field goal to put the Rams up by 2 with 6 minutes left in regulation. From the Seattle 24, Wilson went deep to Lockett for a 44 yard gain. From the Rams 32, the Seahawks were in the driver’s seat. They were well within Janikowski’s field goal range. They just had to take the clock down.

Seabass never got his chance. A false start and offensive holding pushed the Seahawks out of field goal range. A pair of incompletions meant 4th and 23 from the Rams 45. Seabass has made a 63 yard field goal, doinked a 64 yard try off the upright, and even once been invited to try a 76 yard field goal in a game. Pete Carroll decided not to put it all on the Polish Cannon. With 3 1/2 minutes left, he opted to punt and rely on his defense in a game that had very little defense.

With 1:52 to play, the Rams faced 3rd and 1 at their own 42. Gurley got the carry and got stopped inches short of the sticks. The inspired defensive stand meant the Seahawks offense would have one last chance. With 1:39 left, both teams were out of timeouts. In a stunningly bold display, Sean McVay kept the offense on the field rather than punt. This was insane. If they failed to convert, seattle would have a short field for the winning field goal. This was not a bluff. McVay was going all or nothing. If it fails, McVay is raked over the coals. Goff snuck for the first down and McVay now has the biggest brass set in the NFL. 33-31 Rams

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles — This NFC Title Game rematch was an ugly defensive affair. Dan Bailey doinked a 28 yard field goal off the upright no good. He then made a 37 yarder to make it 3-0 Vikings. Elliott hit from 30 in the second quarter for a 3-3 game. Bailey, one of the most accurate kickers of all time, missed again from 45. The Eagles moved from their 35 to the Minnesota 31 with 4 minutes left in the half. Then came a turning point.

Wentz was sacked and fumbled. Lee Roy Joseph plucked it out of the air. Big man with football rumbled 64 yards for a defensive touchdown for a 10-3 Vikings lead. Minnesota took over at their own 44. Kirk Cousins played pitch and catch with Adam Thielen for gains of 2, 3, 10, and eventually a 3 yard touchdown to make it 17-3 Vikings at halftime.

In the third quarter the Eagles moved from their own 27 to a 1st and goal at the 6. Jay Ajayi got the carry and fumbled and the Vikings recovered. The Vikings moved 91 yards from their own 5 to a 1st and goal at the 2. At that point Doug Pederson’s defense came up big. A run lost a yard and cousins threw incomplete twice. Bailey hit the 22 yarder to make it 20-3 Vikings.

The Eagles moved from their own 23 to a 4th and 5 at the Minnesota 10. Needing 3 scores, Doug Pederson opted for the field goal. Elliott hit from 28 to get the Eagles within 20-6. Yet after three quarters, Mike Zimmer’s defense was winning the battle. The fourth quarter brought some surprises.

The Eagles took over at their 34. From their 36, Wentz found Zac Ertz for a 23 yard gain. With 13 minutes left in regulation, on 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 20, the Eagles had to go for it. Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for 8 yards. Wentz hit Smallwood for the 12 yard touchdown to cap the 10 play, 66 yard drive. For some surprising reason, Pederson decided to go for 2. Smallwood got in and the Eagles were down 20-14 with 12 minutes left.

After a touchback, the Vikings soon reached their own 42. A swing pass from Cousins was dropped. The Vikings thought it was an incomplete pass, but it was clearly backward and therefore a lateral. The alert Eagles defense fell on it at the Minnesota 30 with a chance to take the lead. An intentional grounding penalty killed the drive as the Eagles punted with 9 minutes left.

The Vikings held the ball for 6 1/2 minutes. The Eagles took their final timeout with 2:51 to play. Bailey came in for a 52 yard field goal try. The kick was dead center and the Vikings led 23-14. Needing two scores, Wentz rallied the Eagles to a touchdown with just over one minute left. A well executed onside kick was bobbled by Adam Thielen, but he hung onto it and the Vikings got the tough road win. Meanwhile, the defending champs are a 2-3 ballclub. 23-21 Vikings

Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans was the Sunday night game. The battle for Texas supremacy was a good one. Early on after a touchback the Cowboys moved to a 3rd and 2 at the Houston 8 yard line. A short pass from Dak Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott lost a yard. The Cowboys settled for a 27 yard Brett Maher field goal to lead 3-0. The Texans failed to tie it when Fairbairn missed a 48 yard field goal. The Cowboys responded from their 38 when Prescott went deep to Gathers for a 32 yard gain. After that the drive died. Maher hit from 43 to make it 6-0 Cowboys after the first quarter.

Houston took over at their own 30. DeShaun Watson hit Coutee for 12 yards. On 3rd and 3 from their own 43, Deandre Hopkins for 34 yards. On 3rd and goal from the one, Watson hit Coutee for the touchdown to make it 7-6 Texans. Houston got it back at their own 19 and held the ball for 6 minutes. On 3rd and 4 from their own 37, Watson threw incomplete but unnecessary roughness on the defense kept the drive going. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Watson threw incomplete. Bill O’Brien opted for the field goal. Fairbairn hit from 20 and the Texans led 10-6 with 6 minutes left in the half.

The Cowboys moved from their 25 to the Houston 39. Prescott was then intercepted. The Texans moved from their 31 to a 4th and goal at the one with 10 seconds left in the half. Bill O’Brien went for it and Watson was tackled for a 2 yard loss. In the third quarter on 3rd and 4 from their own 31, a short pass from Watkins to Hopkins was fumbled. Lewis returned it for the Cowboys 14 yards to the Houston 16. Prescott hit Hurns for a 3 yard touchdown as the Cowboys now had the 13-10 lead.

Later in the third quarter the Cowboys faced 3rd and a8 at their own 22. Prescott was intercepted and the Texans took over at the Dallas 29. On 3rd and 9, Watson hit Griffin for 11 and 13. Despite 1st and goal at the 4, a pair of incompletions sandwiched around a completion for one yard had the Texans short of the end zone. Fairbairn hit from 21 to tie the game 13-13 after three quarters.

The Texans took over in the fourth quarter at their own 40. From the Dallas 28, a deep ball incomplete drew defensive pass interference. On 1st and goal at the one, Alfred Blue got stopped. Then Watson got stopped himself. On 3rd and goal Watson threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the one, this time Bill O’Brien went for the field goal. Fairbairn hit from 19 as the Texans led 16-13 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, Prescott escaped a sack twice, rolled all the way to his right, and threw a deep ball into traffic just before getting decked.Tavon Austin came down with it for a 44 yard gain. The drive stalled after that but Maher hit the critical 48 yard field goal. Each kicker had made 3 field goals for a 16-16 ballgame with 5 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Both defenses dug in, both teams punted, and the Texans took over with 1:41 left at their own 10.

On 3rd and 6 from their own 33, Watson fired to Coutee for 19 yards with 20 seconds left. Coutee got out of bounds to preserve Houston’s final timeout. On the next play Watson was hit as he threw. Xavier Woods intercepted Watson and returned it to 15 yards to the Dallas 47 with 10 seconds left. The Cowboys also had one timeout left. Under heavy pressure, Prescott was nearly intercepted by Kareem Jackson, who would have had a clear path to the end zone the other way. The incompletion left 4 seconds as the Texans took their last timeout to prepare for the Hail Mary. Prescott reached the end zone, but it was well defended and batted down incomplete. This fine football game was headed to overtime.

The Cowboys won the toss and soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Elliott ran for a couple yards and a first down. A completion to Blake Jarwin saw him hurdle a defender for an 11 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the Houston 42, Elliott got the carry and got blown up in the backfield for a one yard loss. Jason Garrett was not taking any chances as the Cowboys punted. The Texans took over at their own 10 with 5 1/2 minutes left in overtime.

From the Houston 24, Bill O’Brien went to the bag of tricks. Watson faked a lateral and threw a deep ball to Hopkins, who literally spun around several defenders for a 49 yard gain. An 8 yard by Blue had the Texans facing 3rd and 1 at the Dallas 19 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. The Texans were in the driver’s seat. All they had to do was hang on to the ball. O’Brien played it safe and Blue got the carry. He did not get the first down as the Cowboys called a timeout with 1:55 left. Fairbairn came on for the 36 yard try to win it. Fairbairn nailed it and the Battle of Texas went to the little brother over the big brother. Watson finished 33 of 44 for 375 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 19-16 Texans, OT

Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints was the Monday night game. Drew Brees entered the game with the 3rd most passing yards in NFL history. He was about 100 yards behind Brett Favre and 200 behind Peyton Manning. The man who with Sean Payton helped save the Saints after Hurricane Katrina was about to make history in what may have been the most emotional Saints home game since Steve Gleason blocked the punt in 2006.

The Saints took over at their own 36. From their own 47, Brees hit Thomas for 20 yards and Mark Ingram for 28 more. Ingram ran for a 2 yard touchdown. Wil Lutz missed the extra point as the Saints led 6-0. The Redskins moved in 15 plays and took 8 minutes off the clock, but had to settle for a 37 yard Dustin Hopkins field goal to trail 6-3.

In the second quarter the Saints moved 75 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. On 3rd and 8 near midfield, Brees was sacked but unnecessary roughness on the defense kept the drive going. From the Washington 42, Brees went to Thomas for 31 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 5, Brees only gained 2 yards. However, defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the one. Brees hit Hill for the touchdown to make it 13-3 Saints.

The Redskins did get a 53 yard field goal from Hopkins to get within 13-6, but their defense could not stop the Saints offense. Another 75 yards, 10 plays and 5 minutes came fairly easily. Brees hit Smith for 14 and Watson for 6 more. On 2nd and 17 from the Saints 46, Brees went deep to Meredith for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the one, Ingram got in to make it 20-6 Saints.

With 2:46 left in the half, the Saints took over at their own 38. It took one play for NFL history to be made. Brees went deep to Smith, who caught the bomb and raced to the end zone for a 62 yard touchdown. The crowd cheered and cried, the tweets came pouring in across social media, and Brees hugged everyone in sight and told them he loved them. He hugged his sons and told them that you can accomplish anything you want in life with hard work. 18 yards of hard work and excellence made Brees the all time passing leader. The fact that it came on a touchdown in front of a raucous home crowd that had the Saints up 26-6 made it all the more sweeter.

In recent years people have complained about what is wrong with football. Brees is everything that is right about football. He was 17 of 20 for 250 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, and that was only in the first half. The 2 point conversion failed, but the Super Dome was rocking.

The Redskins did get a ray of hope when the Saints fumbled a reception late in the half. McPhee returned it 24 yards to the Saints 16. Alex Smith ran for a 4 yard touchdown to get the Redskins within 26-13 at halftime. The Saints began the second half at their own 26 and looked to immediately put the game away. Brees hit Hill for 23 yards and Watson for 8 more. From the Washington 35, Brees went deep to Smith for another touchdown. Only 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, the Saints led 33-13. Brees now had 499 NFL touchdown passes. One more would be number 500, tying him with Tom Brady for third place all time. Brett Favre has 508, and Peyton Manning has 539.

Midway through the third quarter, Jay Gruden decided to go for it with the Redskins facing 4th and 2 at the Saints 31. Smith was intercepted by Hardee,who returned it 77 yards to the Washington 4 yard line. On 1st and goal at the one, Brees lined up at wide receiver Out of the shotgun, it was Hill who took the snap and raced to the corner for the touchdown and the 40-13 Saints lead. Brees finished a white hot 26 of 29 for 363 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

In the fourth quarter, the Saints tacked on a field goal to go up 43-13, the Redskins got a touchdown, and 10 1/2 minutes still remained. Brees stayed in the game as the crowd waited to see touchdown pass 500. They would have to wait at least another week. Brees led a drive that bled the entire clock. At the 2 minute warning, Sean Payton did not want to run up the score. Brees is about winning with class. Payton pulled Brees to a thunderous ovation. Teddy Bridgewater came in and took 3 knees to close out the game. For all the individual records, football is a team game. Brees has a 4-1 Saints team atop the NFC South. 43-19 Saints

NFL 2018 Week 5 Prequel

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 5 Prequel

https://www.commdiginews.com/sports/show-me-nfl-2018-week-5-106962/

 

NFL 2018 Week 4 Recap

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 4 Recap

Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams was the Thursday night game. Both of these teams began the season as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Only one of them has acted like it, as Minnesota was shocked last week at home. As 17 point favorites, they were blown out by 27 points in the first half. Minnesota played down to their competition, but in this game they rose up to it in a legitimate NFC Title Game preview. Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff lit up the Los Angeles night sky in a spectacular aerial display.

The Vikings got the offensive shootout going with a 75 yard, 13 play drive that took 7 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and 10 from the rams 16, Cousins fired to Robinson for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Vikings. The Rams came back 75 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. Goff hit Todd Gurley for an 8 yard touchdown. The teams were tired 7-7 after the first quarter, but things were just warming up.

The Vikings came back in the second quarter with another 7 minute drive. After a touchdown was nullified, the Vikings faced 3rd and 2 at the Rams 19. Cousins threw incomplete. Dan Bailey is the newly signed kicker who is one of the most accurate kickers of all time. He was brought in to cure Minnesota’s awful kicking woes. From 37 yards out, Bailey doinked it off the upright but got the lucky bounce as it caromed inside the upright good for a 10-7 Vikings lead. 30 seconds later the Rams were back on top 14-10 as Goff went deep to Cooper Kupp for a 70 yard touchdown.

After a touchback the Vikings needed only 3 plays. Cousins hit Stephan Diggs for 34 yards, Kyle Rudolph for 24 yards, and Robinson for the 17 yard touchdown and the 17-14 Vikings lead. After 5 straight scoring drives combined, each team actually punted once. The Rams took over at their own 29 and struck briefly. Gurley ran for 5 yards and Goff hit Kupp for 11 more. Goff then went deep to Woods for 36 yards and then back to Kupp for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 21-17 Rams.

The Rams got it back at their own 27 with 1:41 left in the half. Goff hit Kupp for 11 yards, with unsportsmanlike conduct on the defense added 15 more. On the next play Goff went deep to Brandon Cooks for a 47 yard touchdown. to put the Rams up 28-17. Minnesota quickly moved from their 30 to a 4th and 1 at the Rams 36 with 39 seconds left. Mike Zimmer decided to go for it rather than try a 54 yard field goal.Cousins snuck for 2 yards. With 6 seconds left, Bailey had an easier 39 yard try. The kick was good, as the Vikings trailed 28-20 at halftime.

After an exchange of punts to start the third quarter, the Rams took over at their own 16. Gurley ran for 9 yards and then took a pass from Goff for a 56 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Minnesota 16, Goff threw incomplete. With Greg Zuerlein injured, backup kicker Ficken made the 34 yard field goal to make it 31-20 Rams with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Minnesota again struck back quickly. On 3rd and 10 from their own 25, Cousins hit Diggs for 24 yards and again for 6 more. On the next play Cousins went deep to Adam Thielen for a 45 yard touchdown. Cousins hit Latavius Murray for the 2 point conversion as the Vikings were within 31-28 with a full 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

After a touchback, the Rams too their turn. Gurley gained 8 and Goff hit Woods for 13 more. Gurley gained another 8 and Goff went back to woods for 15 more. Goof then went deep to Woods for a 31 yard touchdown as the Rams led 38-28 after three quarters. The game finally slowed in the fourth quarter. The Vikings punted and the Rams mounted a 5 1/2 minute drive from their own 15 to a 1st and goal at the 6. Looking for the knockout blow, they started with a fumble but retained possession. Gurley lost a yard and Goff threw incomplete. Ficken then missed a 28 yard field goal try. A stunned Sean McVay saw the Rams leave the Vikings an opening.

The Vikings moved from their own 20 to a 2nd and 6 at the Rams 14. Cousins threw incomplete and then on 3rd and 6 was sacked for an 8 yard loss. Bailey hit the 40 yard field goal to get the Vikings within 7 points with 3:45 to play in regulation. After a touchback, the Rams faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28 with 3 minutes left. A completion from Goff to Woods came up one yard short as both teams took their first timeout. The Vikings got it back at their own 34 with 2:20 left. With 90 seconds to play the Vikings had 1st and 10 at their own 48. In a game that was almost all offense, defense made the decisive play. Cousins was sacked and fumbled, and the Rams recovered to lock up the win.

In 1998, Dennis Green’s Vikings offense torched the league. In 1999, Mike Martz had Just Warner lead the Greatest show on Turf. On this night, we saw flashes of both of them. The Rams have a flashy offense, but they also have Michelin Man Wade Phillips’s defense. At 4-0, the Rams really are that good. Neither quarterback was intercepted. Cousins was a spectacular 36 of 50 for 422 yards and 3 touchdown passes. He only lost because Goff was even more sensational, going 26 of 33 for 465 yards and 5 touchdown passes. A rematch of this game cannot come coon enough. Whether anyone can stop the Rams is debatable. If Minnesota can turn their season around, this would be a fantastic NFC Title Game. 38-31 Rams

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots — The 3-0 Dolphins faced the 1-2 Patriots. No, this game was not being played in 1972. This game would either be a changing of the guard or the restoration of order. Josh Gordon started for the Patriots. The Patriots held the ball for 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes to move 74 yards. From their own 24, they had 2nd and goal at the one. A run lost a yard. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Brady fired over the middle and was lucky not to be intercepted. Stephen Gostkowski hit the 20 yard field goal for the 3-0 Patriots lead. In the second quarter the Patriots took over at their own 33 and struck quickly. On 3rd and 4 from their own 45, Tom Brady went deep to Cordarelle Patterson for a 55 yard touchdown and a 10-0 Patriots lead. Midway through the second quarter from the Miami 36, Ryan Tannehill fumbled and the Patriots recovered at the Miami 22. One play later White ran up the middle for the touchdown to make it 17-0 Patriots. New England got it back at their own 15 and held the ball for 15 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Brady hit Dorsett with only seconds left in the half to complete the 85 yard drive and make it a 24-0 Patriots mauling at the break.

The onslaught continued in the second half. The Patriots moved 59 yards and Brady hit White for a 14 yard touchdown to make it 31-0 Patriots. In the fourth quarter the Patriots moved 90 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Michel ran for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 38-0 Patriots. Things got so bad that Tannehill was benched for Brock Osweiler. Osweiler led a stirring comeback that netted one touchdown but came up 31 points short. Order was restored to the AFC East. 38-7 Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles at Tennessee Titans — This game brought a pair of quarterbacks returned from injury in Carson Wentz and Marcus Mariota. After a touchback, the Titans faced 3rd and 3 at their own 45. Mariota hit Davis for 28 yards. Ryan Succop hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Titans. Defense ruled this game early but then the Eagles mounted a 97 yard drive. Wentz threw a 56 yard touchdown to Matthews as the Eagles took a 7-3 lead with 4 minutes left in the half. With 41 seconds left in the half, the Titans took over at their own 20. Mariota went deep and was immediately intercepted by Maddox, who returned it 23 yards to the Tennessee 17 yard line. On 3rd and 3 from the 9, Jay Ajayi only gained one yard. The defense bailed out the offense but Elliott hit the 27 yard field goal as the Eagles took a 10-3 lead into the locker rooms.

In the third quarter the Eagles moved 75 yards in 12 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and goal from the 16, Wentz threw a touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery to make it 17-3 Eagles. The Titans finally got going with a 75 yard drive of their own. On 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Mariota hit Davis for 20 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Philly 41, Mariota hit Sharpe for 16 yards. Mariota scrambled the last 2 yards to get the Titans within 17-10 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. The fourth quarter began with the Eagles facing 3rd and 20 at their own 40. Wentz got blasted and fumbled. The Titans took over at the Philly 35. On 4th and 1 from the Philly 26, Mike Vrabel decided to go for it. Mariota hit Lewis for 11 yards. Yet on 2nd and 6 from the 11, a pass to Henry lost 6 yards. The Titans settled for a 33 yard Succop field goal to trail 17-13 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Tennessee got it back 90 seconds later at their own 25. mar iota went deep to Davis for a 51 yard gain. Mariota found Sharpe for an 11 yard touchdown. With 5 minutes left in regulation, the Titans had a 20-17 lead over the defending champs. With 3 minutes left, on 3rd and 4 from their own 42, Wentz threw incomplete. Doug Pederson decided to punt and trust his defense. At the 2 minute warning, on 3rd and 3 from their own 27, a mar iota completion gained 0 yards. The Eagles got a big spark when Carter returned the punt 42 yards to the Tennessee 39. With 26 seconds left, the Eagles faced 3rd and 3 at the Titans 12. Wentz threw incomplete. Elliott hit the 30 yard field goal and the teams were headed to overtime tied 20-20.

In overtime after a touchback the Eagles moved to a 1st and 10 at the Tennessee 17. A run lost 2 yards and Wentz threw incomplete twice. Elliott hit the 37 yard field goal to give the Eagles the lead, but the Titans would still get one chance with the ball. After a touchback, the Titans soon faced 1st and 10 at their own 36. Mariota went deep and threw a perfect bomb to Jennings, who dropped it. It went right through his hands. With 5 minutes left in overtime, the Titans were down to 4th and 15 at their own 36. One defensive stop would end the game. Mariota found Taylor for 19 yards to midfield. With 3 minutes left, the Titans faced 4th and 4 from the Philly 44. One defensive stop would end the game. Mariota threw incomplete, the Eagles celebrated, and it was all for naught. Defensive pass interference meant 4 yards and an automatic 1st down. At the 2 minute warning, the Titans faced 3rd and 19 just past midfield. Mariota scrambled for 17 yards to set up 4th and 2. One defensive stop would end the game. Didn’t we say that already? Mariota hit Lewis for 17 yards. With 17 seconds left, the Titans faced 3rd and goal at the 10. One defensive stop would at least force a field goal try. Mariota under heavy pressure off his back foot threw a jump ball to the end zone into double coverage. Davis came down with it for the miracle touchdown as the home crowd erupted. 26-23 Titans, OT

Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons — The opening kickoff was returned 53 yards, allowing the falcons to start at midfield. Smith ran for a 7 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Falcons lead. The Bengals quickly faced 3rd and 7 at their own 36. Red Rifle Andy Dalton found AJ Green for a 38 yard gain and then went to Tyler Eifert for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 7-7. After taking over at their own 9 yard line, the Falcons moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Cincy 44. After Matt ryan threw incomplete, Dan Quinn decided to go for it. Ryan was sacked for a 5 yard loss as the Bengals took over just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 6 from the Atlanta 35, Dalton hit Giovanni Bernard for a 17 yard gain. Bernard then ran for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Bengals.

In the second quarter the Falcons moved 75 yards in 10 plays. Ryan hit Logan Paulsen for a 17 yard touchdown for a 14-14 ballgame. The Bengals came right back 75 yards. Dalton went deep to John Ross for a 39 yard touchdown and a 21-14 Bengals lead. The Falcons came back 79 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Ryan fired over the middle to Calvin Ridley for an 11 yard touchdown and a 21-21 game. Yet neither defense showed up today and the Bengals quickly responded again. After a touchback, Dalton hit Boyd for 10, Green for 16 and Eifert for 9 with unnecessary roughness adding 15 more. From the Atlanta 26, Dalton hit green for 11 and Bernard for 14. Bernard for the last yard on the ground to make it 28-21 Bengals with 45 seconds left in the half. After a touchback, Ryan went to Julio jones for 15 yards and again for 13 more on 3rd and 4. Matt Bryant drilled a 55 yard field goal to get the Falcons within 28-24 at the intermission.

After a pinball machine first half, the game slowed considerably in the second half. The Bengals punted from their own 19 and Huber’s punt was blocked. The Falcons took over at the Cincy 8 but could not punch it in. 2nd and goal at the 4, saw a run lose 2 yards and then a sack of ryan. Bryant hit the 28 yard field goal to get the Falcons within 28-27. The Falcons began the fourth quarter facing 3rd and 3 at the Cincy 42. Ryan went to Jones for 12 and then to Ridley for the 30 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Falcons led 33-28. The Bengals got an immediate spark when Erickson returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards to the Cincy 48. The Bengals moved to a 1st and goal at the 9. Dalton hit Green for the score, but illegal use of hands on the offense nullified the touchdown. On 3rd and 5 from the 9, Dalton was sacked and fumbled and the Falcons recovered. On further review the turnover was reversed because Dalton’s knee was down. After all of that, Bullock hit a 36 yard field goal to get the Bengals within 33-31 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, Ryan went to Mohammed Sanu for a 32 yard gain. On 3rd and 13 from the Cincy 46, Ryan found Hooper for 19 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Cincy 24, Ryan found Jones for 15 yards. On 1st and goal at the 9, an offensive holding call killed the drive. With 4 1/2 minutes left, Bryant came in for a 37 yard field goal to extend the lead. The kick was blocked. However, the defense jumped offside and Bryant got another try from 5 yards closer. The 32 yarder was good. The Falcons led 36-31 but they did not close the door.

On 3rd and 6 from their own 29, Dalton hit Boyd for 9 yards. With 80 seconds to play, the Bengals faced 4th and 8 at the Atlanta 35. Dalton found Boyd for 11 yards. With 22 seconds left, the Bengals faced 4th and 6 at the Atlanta 20. Dalton found Boyd for 7 yards. Dalton fired a 13 yard touchdown to Boyd in front of a disbelieving home crowd. One defensive stop on multiple occasions would have ended the game. Dan Quinn’s unit never got it. The 2 point try failed but the Bengals led by one point with 6 seconds left. From the Atlanta 23, Ryan hit Jones for 17 yards. With 2 seconds left from the Atlanta 40, a Hail Mary was caught well short of the end zone. 37-36 Bengals

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears — The Bears moved 75 yards to start and Mitch Trubisky threw a 39 yard touchdown pass to Burton for a 7-0 Bears lead. Jameis Winston was back from his 3 game suspension, but for obvious reasons he stayed on the sideline. Despite last week’s loss, Ryan Fitzpatrick and his magic beard got the start. The Bears got it back at their own 27 and moved easily. Trubisky hit Allen Robinson for a 14 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Bears. The Bucs soon faced 2nd and 3 at their own 35. Fitzpatrick fired over the middle to DeSean Jackson, who split the seams for a 48 yard gain. Yet despite 2nd and 5 from the Chicago 12, Fitzpatrick threw incomplete twice. The second quarter began with Chandler Catanzaro hitting a 30 yard field goal to get the Buccaneers on the board.

Yet the Bears came back from their own 23. Trubisky found Gabriel for a 33 yard gain and Tariq Cohen for 35 more. Trubisky hit Cohen for the 9 yard touchdown to make it 21-3 Bears. The Bears got it back again at their own 20 and kept rolling. Trubisky hit a wide open Bellamy for a 20 yard touchdown as the Bears were blasting the Buccaneers 28-3. The Bears just kept coming, with a 70 yard drive on their next series. Trubisky found Gabriel for 30 yards and then ran for 26 yards down to the one. Trubisky hit Gabriel for a 3 yard touchdown. Trubisky was a ridiculous 12 of 15 for 254 yards and 5…yes, 5…touchdown passes. This was not in a whole game. This was with 5 minutes left in the first half as the Bears were carpet-bombing the Buccaneers 35-3. Cody Parkey ended the half with a 50 yard field goal to make it 38-3 Bears. This game resembled the 1985 Bears against the 1976 Buccaneers.

Dirk Koetter benched Ryan Fitzpatrick at halftime, but he should have benched his entire defense. Jameis Winston came in, got hit as he threw, and was intercepted. The Bears took over at their own 40. Defensive pass interference moved the Bears 29 yards. Trubisky then Cohen for 28 more. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Trubisky threw his 6th touchdown pass to Gabriel to make it 45-3 Bears. While Trubisky would not tie Sid Luckman’s club record of 7 touchdown passes, which is also the NFL record, the Bears would get the blowout win. The defense eventually gave up a garbage touchdown, but the offense added another field goal to complete the annihilation. 48-10 Bears

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys — Twice the Lions passed midfield but came up short of field goal range. The Cowboys then took over at their own 10. Dak Prescott went to Swain for a 31 yard gain and to Gallup for 37 more. On 2nd and 9 from the Detroit 14, Prescott threw incomplete twice. Maher hit the 32 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Cowboys. The Lions quickly came back 77 yards as Matthew Stafford went to Golden Tate for a 45 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Lions. In the second quarter the Cowboys moved 50 yards in 12 plays but settled for a 43 yard Maher field goal to trail 7-6. The Lions held the ball for 8 minutes and moved 60 yards in 13 plays. Yet again finishing a drive was tough. Matt Prater hit a 33 yard field goal to make it 10-6 Lions. Late in the half the Cowboys finally did finish a drive, going 75 yards. Prescott found Ezekiel Elliott, who outraced the defense and dove just past the pylon for the touchdown. The Cowboys took the 13-10 lead to the intermission.

In the third quarter the Cowboys moved 64 yards. From their own 36, Elliott rumbled for a 41 yard gain. He carried it again for 9 more yards. On 4th and 1 from the Detroit 3, Jason Garrett decided to go for it. Elliott got the carry, got the yard, fumbled, and the Cowboys recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. However, since Elliott himself did not recover it, the ball went back to the one. Prescott hit Swain for the touchdown as the Cowboys led 20-10 after three quarters. After a touchback, Stafford hit Marvin Jones for 17 yards and Kenny Golladay for 22 more. The fourth quarter began with the Lions facing 3rd and 3 at the Dallas 30. Stafford hit Golladay for 22 yards again and Johnson ran for the 8 yard touchdown to get the Lions within 20-17.

In the fourth quarter the Cowboys mounted a staggering 16 play, 85 yard drive that took 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Yet on 2nd and goal at the 4, Prescott threw incomplete twice. Maher hit the 22 yard field goal but the Cowboys only led by 6 with 6 minutes left. The Lions faced 2nd and 16 from their own 29 with 4 minutes left. Stafford went deep to Tate for a 35 yard gain. On 2nd and 12 from the Dallas 38, Stafford went to Tate again for the score. With 2:17 to play after a touchback, the Lions had the one point lead on the road.

At the 2 minute warning on 2nd and 3 from the Dallas 32, Prescott was sacked and fumbled. Somehow Prescott recovered his own fumble and threw the ball deep incomplete. So rather than 3rd and long, it was only 3rd and 3. On the next play Prescott hit Alex Turns for 9 yards. Prescott then went deep to Elliott for a 34 yard gain. The Cowboys were in field goal range as the Lions took their timeouts on defense. Prescott took the clock down to 4 seconds. With Dan Bailey now in Minnesota, Brett Maher came in for the kick to decide who would win the game. Jerry Jones debated blowing up his Taj Mahal stadium and firing everyone if the kick was no good. The kick was good, Jerrah let everyone live, and Matt Patricia could not will his team to a road win one week after blasting New England. 26-24 Cowboys

Buffalo Bills at Green Bay Packers — A field position game had the Packers starting their second drive at their own 44. On 3rd and 4 from midfield, Rodgers went deep to Ty Montgomery for a 43 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Rodgers found a wide open jimmy Graham in the flat for the score. Mason Crosby doinked the extra point off the upright no good as the Packers led 6-0. In the second quarter the Packers moved 83 yards in 5 1/2 minutes. From the Green Bay 31, Jones ran for a 30 yard gain to end the first quarter. On 2nd and 13 from the 30, Rodgers hit Jones for 17 yards. Jones ran for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 13-0 Packers. Mason Crosby and the Green Bay defense did the rest. Crosby tacked on a 52 yard field goal to end the half, a 36 yarder in the third quarter, and a 52 yarder late in the game as the Packers got an efficient, suffocating win. 22-0 Packers

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts — The Colts moved 75 yards and Andrew Luck threw a 7 yard touchdown to Pascal for a 7-0 Colts lead. The Colts got it back at their own 2 yard line. For some reason, Frank Reich had Luck line up in the shotgun. The snap was fumbled and Jadavean Clowney recovered in the end zone for a defensive touchdown and a 7-7 game. The Colts went backward again and punted on 4th and 24 form their own 10. The Texans took over at their own 48. Deshaun Watson hit Coutee for 12 yards and Deandre Hopkins for 30 more. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Watson rolled out and rifled a pass over the middle to Will Fuller. Watson split the defense perfectly for the 14-7 Texans lead.

With 1:53 left in the half and the Colts at their own 12, Luck was sacked and fumbled. The Texans recovered at the Indy 8 yard line. Watson hit Hopkins for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Texans. The Colts did move from their 30 to the Houston 24 with 6 seconds left in the half. Adam Vinatieri made the 42 yard field goal. The Colts trailed 21-10 at halftime, but history was made. With that field goal, Vinatieri passed Morton Anderson for most field goals all time in the 99 year history of the NFL. He will be the third kicker to make the Hall of Fame along with Anderson and Jan Stenerud if he ever retires.

In the third quarter the Texans held the ball for 8 1/2 minutes and 15 plays to move 79 yards. Watson ran for a 5 yard touchdown to put the Texans comfortably in front 28-10. This time the Colts quickly came back 75 yards. Luck hit Hines for a 14 yard touchdown to get the Colts within 28-17. The Colts faced 1st and 20 at their own 17 on their next series. On 2nd and 14, Luck hit Ebron for 12 and Rogers for 5 on 3rd and 2. The Colts again faced 1st and 20 at their own 42. On 2nd and 15 Luck hit Hines for 11. On 3rd and 14 from their own 48, Luck hit Rogers for 15 yards. From the Houston 23, Luck hit Pascal for 18 and Ebron for the 5 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Colts were within 28-23 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Texans soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 27. Watson went deep to Hopkins for 24 yards.  On 3rd and 6 from the Indy 45, Watson scrambled for 18 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Indy 22, under heavy pressure, Watson threw incomplete. Fairbairn hit the 40 yard field goal but the Texans only led by 8 with 3 minutes left. The Colts soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 22. Luck hit Rogers for 22 yards at the 2 minute warning. Luck then found Pascal for 17 more. From the Houston 19, Luck hit Rogers for 10 and Hines for the 9 yard touchdown. Luck hit Rogers for the 2 point try as the game was tied 31-31 with 45 seconds left in regulation. After blowing an 18 point lead, the Texans still had a chance in regulation. Watson hit Hopkins for 30 yards. Fairbairn came in with 4 seconds left for a 59 yard field goal try. The kick was no good.

In overtime the Colts got the ball first and faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Wilkins gained 7 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Indy 47, Luck hit Pascal for 7 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Houston 46, Luck hit Hines for 13 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Houston 25, Luck threw incomplete. Frank Reich opted for the field goal. Vinatieri hit from 44. The Colts led 34-31 with 6 minutes left in overtime, but the Titans would get one chance with the ball.

Houston took over at their own 30. Watson hit Coutee for 19 yards to midfield. Watson hit Hopkins for 11 more. On 3rd and 9 from the Indy 36, Watson hit Coutee for 13 and again for 12 more. At the 2 minute warning on 3rd and 10 from the 11, Watson threw incomplete. Bill O’Brien opted for the field goal and the tie rather than going for the win. It was the right call. Fairbairn hit from 29 and the game was tied 34-34. The Colts took over, gained a first down, and then saw a sack of Luck set up 3rd and 21 at the Indy 26. Luck hit Alie-Cox for 17 yards. With 27 seconds left in overtime, on 4th and 4 from their own 43, the only sensible thing to do was punt the ball. Frank Reich chose to go for it.

This was not a bluff. In his own territory, Reich gambled the entire game. Luck threw incomplete and the Texans took over at the Indy 43 with 24 seconds left. Watson then fired to Hopkins for 24 yards and raced to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock with 3 seconds left. Fairbairn had a 37 yard chance to win it. The kick was good, and Bill O’Brien saw his resilient squad pull out a road win. Frank Reich is a rookie coach, and his decision was a terrible one that cost his team the game. 37-34 Texans, OT

New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars — The up and down Jaguars blasted New England but then lost at home to Tennessee. The Jets looked like world beaters in an opening 31 point road win but have looked like egg beaters since. The Jaguars held the ball for 15 plays and 8 1/2 minutes, moving 80 yards. They moved from their own 6 to the Jets 10, but offensive holding killed the drive. Josh Lambo hit a 32 yard drive to make it 3-0 Jaguars. In the second quarter the Jaguars again mounted a time consuming drive, going 73 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. On 3rd and 4 from the Jets 7, a completion from Blake Bortles to Grant came up one yard short. Doug Marrone played it safe and Lambo hit from 22 to make it 6-0 Jaguars. Jacksonville got it back and moved 78 yards. Bortles hit TJ Yeldon for a 31 yard touchdown and a 13-0 Jaguars lead. With one minute left in the half the Jaguars took over at their own 35. Bortles found Westbrook for 24 yards. Lambo nailed a 54 yard field goal for a 16-0 Jaguars lead at the break.

The third quarter saw a punt pin the Jets at their own 2. Crowell was tackled in the end zone for a safety by Calais Campbell to make it 18-0 Jaguars. The Jets eventually got a 27 yard field goal from Josh Myers, but Bortles then went to Dante Moncrief for a 67 yard touchdown to make it 25-3 Jaguars after three quarters. With 13 minutes left in regulation, on 4th and 8 from the Jaguars 20 and down by 22, Todd Bowles inspired the football world by opting for a field goal. Myers hit from 38 to get the Jets within 25-6. One play after a touchback, Yeldon fumbled and Johnson returned it 25 yards to the Jags 5 yard line. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Sam Darnold hit Leggett for the touchdown. The 2 point try failed by the Jets were within 25-12 with 11 1/2 minutes to play. They got no closer as a 65 yard drive was capped by a one yard Yeldon run to ice the game. Bortles finished 29 of 38 for 388 yards and 2 touchdowns with one interception. The win was so decisive that Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin almost smiled. 31-12 Jaguars

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals — Josh Rosen got his first NFL start. In the first quarter the Seahawks moved 62 yards. Davis took a handoff and went for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Seahawks. After a touchback the Cardinals immediately fumbled and the Seahawks took over at the Arizona 26. The defense held and Sebastian Janikowski missed a 38 yard field goal. The Cardinals moved the ball from their 28 to a 3rd and 3 at the Seattle 4 to start the second quarter. Rosen threw incomplete but old reliable Phil Dawson hit the 23 yard field goal to get the Cardinals within 7-3. An 18 yard punt return by Tyler Lockett had the Seahawks starting at the Arizona 48. Janikowski came in for a 52 yard field goal try. Again, he was no good. From the Arizona 42, Johnson gained 21 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Seattle 24, Rosen hit Larry Fitzgerald for 6. Defensive pass interference put the ball on the one and David Johnson got in to make it 10-7 Cardinals. With 34 seconds left in the half, Pete Carroll chose to go for it on 4th and 1 at the Arizona 44. Wilson was sacked for a 6 yard loss. Yet Dawson missed a 50 yard field goal to end the half. In the third quarter the Seahawks moved 57 yards in 14 plays and 8 minutes, but settled for a 40 yard Janikowski field goal try. This time Seabass was good for a 10-10 deadlock.

A field position game in the third quarter saw the Seahawks return a punt 19 yards with 15 more tacked on for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Cardinals. The Seahawks took over at the Arizona 47. Russell Wilson went to Moore for a 30 yard gain. Defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. After penalties on both teams moved the ball back and forward, Davis got the last yard to put the Seahawks up 17-10 with one minute left in the third quarter. With 12 minutes left in regulation, on 3rd and 1 from their own 44, Wilson threw incomplete. Pete Carroll decided to play it safe and punt. From the Arizona 20, Rosen hit Seals-Jones for 31 yards. Rosen found Johnson for 30 more yards. On 2nd and 13 from the Seattle 22, Rosen fired to Williams for the touchdown. Celebration turned to concern for both teams as Legion of Boom stalwart Earl Thomas stayed down. Players from both teams huddle in prayer before the extra point, which was good for a 17-17 game with 9 minutes left.

Seattle went 3 and out and out and the Cardinals took over at their own 24 midway through the fourth quarter. Rosen led a time consuming drive that had the Cardinals facing 3rd and 6 a the Seattle 27 at the 2 minute warning. Steve Walks played it safe and smart, running the ball up the middle to force the Seahawks to take their final timeout with 1:55 left. Dawson came in for the 45 yard field goal try to give the Cardinals the lead. In a shocker, the kick was no good. The Seahawks took over at their own 35 with 1:50 left. Davis ran for 13. Wilson hit Lockett for 9. With 4 seconds left, Janikowski came in for a 52 yard try to win it. Despite 2 earlier misses, Seabass nailed this one at the gun. 20-17 Seahawks

Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders — The Browns finally got a win last week for the first time in 2 years and the 2nd time in 3 years, but they have lost their last 22 road games. However, they er playing the Raiders, who had lost 7 straight overall going back to last year. Hue Jackson badly wanted revenge against the team that fired him. Baker Mayfield started his first NFL game against a Raiders team that finds ways to lose. On the first Oakland series on 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 34, Lynch got the carry and got stopped. Cleveland has a much better defense than most teams. Cleveland went 3 and out and the Raiders did as well as neither team had a first down . 5 minutes into the game, from the Cleveland 25, Mayfield had a pass ricochet into the arms of cornerback Gareon Conley. Conley returned it 36 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 7-0 Raiders lead.For the fourth straight week the Raiders had scored first. They led in all 3 games at halftime and the last 2 weeks after three quarters. They lost them all. At least this time the Raiders collapsed much quicker.

The Browns moved the ball after a touchback. On 4th and 6 from the Oakland 39, Hue Jackson decided to go for it. Mayfield scrambled for 7 yards and the Browns moved to 3rd and 12 at the Oakland 34. Mayfield hit Higgins for 21 yards. The Browns soon had 1st and goal at the one. Mayfield threw incomplete and Carlos Hyde got stopped. On 3rd and goal at the one, Hue Jackson got way too cute. He was going to pull out all the stops in this game, but a trick reverse was blown up in the backfield for a 6 yard loss. Brett Joseph hit the 25 yard field goal to get the Browns within 7-3.

After a touchback the Raiders in the second quarter moved to a 3rd and 2 at the Cleveland 29. Carr then threw incomplete. Kicker mike nugget is on injured reserve, so a rookie named McCrane was brought in for a 487 yard try. McCrane’s kick was no good. One play later, from the Cleveland 37, Chubb got the carry, broke some pathetic attempts at tackling, and rumbled for a 63 yard touchdown. Hue Jackson clearly let his ego cause him to go for a 2 point conversion for no reason. It failed, but the Browns led 9-7. The Browns for the ball back and soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 36. Mayfield went to Jarvis Landry for 15 yards. On the next play Mayfield went deep to Brandon Fells, who broke more mistackles for a 51 yard touchdown. This time Johnson broke 2 horrible tackle attempts for the 2 point conversion and a 17-7 Browns lead with 9 minutes left in the half.

This time after a touchback the Raiders moved the ball. Carr hit Smith for 6 and Jared Cook for 16 more. From the Oakland 47, Carr went bombs away to a wide open Martavius Bryant. The ball was slightly under thrown but landed right in Bryant’s arms. He dropped it. Lynch gained 12 yards to keep the drive going. Carr hit Smith for 10 and Lynch for 17. Carr hit Amari Cooper for an 8 yard touchdown  to get the Raiders within 17-14 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.The Raiders got it back at their own 18 with 1:53 left in the half. They moved to a 2nd and 5 at the Cleveland 35 with 30 seconds left. Carr went for it all and a pass sailed high and was intercepted.

The Raiders spent most of the third quarter continuing to self-destruct. The Browns moved from their 25 to a 2nd and 6 at the Oakland 13. Mayfield threw incomplete, and on 3rd and 6 a completion gained only 3 yards. Joseph hit a 28 yard field goal to make it 20-14 Browns. Carr came back and hit Bryant for a 26 yard gain near midfield. On the next play he went deep into double coverage and was intercepted again by Randall, who returned it 50 yards to the Oakland 31. Mayfield went deep on the next play and defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 7. Mayfield threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Landry. On the 2 point try, Johnson was clearly stopped, but an inability to tackle gave him a chance to lunge just past the pylon. The refs ruled that Johnson’s knee was down first. Hue Jackson challenged the call successfully and it was reversed as the Browns led 28-14 midway through the third quarter.  The only question was whether the gutless, heartless Raiders would fold immediately.

They did. After Lynch gain d14, A dump-off pass to Jared Cook was dropped. On 3rd and 9 from the Oakland 40, a pass over the middle to a wide open Seth Roberts was dropped. Since nobody on the Raiders could catch a football or make a tackle, it is no surprise that the Raiders were well on their way to 0-4. They desperately need a break and got one because of hue Jackson’s obsessive need to be overly aggressive rather than run the clock down. Mayfield was hit and fumbled, and the Raiders recovered for 1st and goal at the 7. A pass to Lynch was dropped. Then under heavy pressure Carr had a pass batted down. On 3rd and goal, Carr fired a laser over the middle to Cook, who caught the ball. Despite all their bungling, the Raiders were only down 28-21 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Raiders held on defense and got the ball back with excellent field position at their own 42. A quick pass to Bryant was dropped. On 3rd and 5, Carr, threw to Roberts but only for a 3 yard gain as the Raiders squandered the opportunity. Oakland held again on defense and got the ball back at their own 31. Lynch took a lateral around the left end, picked up some blocks, and rumbled for a 52 yard gain. The defense then jumped offsides. The Raiders had 1st and 5 at the 12 as the third quarter wound down. On 2nd and 3, Carr had Cooper wide open and overthrew him. On 3rd and 3, a pitchout lost a yard. McCrane hit the 29 yard field goal. The raiders had been outscored in the fourth quarter this season 37-3. Now they are only outscored in the fourth quarter 37-6. More importantly, they were within 28-24 with pretty much the entire fourth quarter to play.

The Browns took over at their own 12. From their 20, Mayfield fumbled and the Raiders recovered at the same spot. Carr fired a laser over the middle to Jordy Nelson for a 19 yard touchdown. The Raiders now had the 31-28 lead. The Browns went 3 and out and Harris returned a punt 49 yards to the Cleveland 29. The Raiders again squandered the great field position. At least McCrane hit a 44 yard field goal off the dirt. 20 unanswered points and the Raiders up 34-28. The Browns appeared in total self-destruction mode when they fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Raiders recovered. Yet on further review, the call was overturned and the Browns retained possession at their own 23. It was one thing for the Raiders to get every break in the game from a Browns team giving the game away. It was another thing to actually have to play football on a regular drive.

First the Oakland defense melted. On 3rd and 5 from their Cleveland 28, Mayfield found Higgins for 11 yards. Then Mayfield went deep to Callaway for a 59 yard gain down to the Oakland one. Carlos Hyde got the yard and the Browns had the 35-34 lead with 8 minutes left. Then the Oakland offense melted in going 3 and out. Then the Oakland special teams melted in committing a personal foul for interfering with a fair catch. The Browns took over at their own 37. Hyde gained 16 yards and then 6 more. Chubb raced through miserable tackles for a 41 yard touchdown, The Raiders collapse was pretty much complete as they trailed 42-34 with 4:20 to play.

After a touchback, Carr found Bryant for 28 yards, Cooper for 5, and Cooper for 31 more to make it 1st and 10 at the Cleveland 11. A pair of mindless West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes would have been better off if dropped. Instead the clock hit the 2 minute warning as the Raiders faced 3rd and 8. Carr threw incomplete twice and the Browns took over with 1:51 left. The Raiders had all 3 timeouts, but did anyone think the Raiders defense would get a stop when it mattered? Teams without heart play without heart when it matters most. Everything came down to 3rd and 2. Hyde got the carry, appeared stopped just short, got a favorable spot, and awaited the chains. Replay showed that when Hyde’s elbow hit down he was just short. A first down would end the game. The officials reversed the call. Hyde was short. The Raiders had a speck of life as they took their last timeout with 1:38 to play.

Harris returned the punt 10 yards as the Raiders had excellent field position at their own 47. With one minute left, the Raiders faced 3rd and 1 at the Cleveland 44. Carr threw incomplete but defensive holding meant an automatic first down. Carr then hit Cook for 19 yards. On 2nd and 15 from the Cleveland 25, Carr hit Jalen Richard for 18 yards. Richard smartly got out of bounds to set up 1st and goal at the 7 with 34 seconds left. Carr went to Cook in the end zone and cook caught the touchdown. Everything came down to the 2 point conversion. Carr went to Jordy Nelson who out-fought, out-jumped, and out-wrestled the defender for the catch. The home crowd erupted as the game was tied 42-42.

Now after a touchback the Raiders defense had to not collapse as they have in previous weeks. Mayfield hit Njoku for 11 and Johnson for 15. With 14 seconds left, the Browns were at the Oakland 49. They still had one timeout. One more first down would mean a long field goal try and another Oakland loss. Mayfield went deep but was intercepted by Reggie Nelson at the Oakland 14 yard line. The Raiders had survived and were headed to overtime.

The Raiders won the toss and soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 29. Carr went deep to Cooper for 36 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Cleveland 28, another run would have been helpful. Instead Carr went back to pass and got sacked. Now rookie McCrane would be facing a 50 yard field goal try off the infield dirt. Jon Gruden made the mind-boggling decision to punt. The Raiders then burned a timeout to talk it over. They did go with the field goal option, but were now out of timeouts to challenge anything that may go against them. McCrane came in and the kick was no good.

The Browns took over at their own 40.  A couple first down and the Raiders defense would be finished. Instead, on 3rd and 5, Mayfield went for it all and the play was well defended incomplete. The Raiders took over at their own 19 with 5 1/2 minutes left in overtime. On 3rd and 3 from their 26, Carr went deep to Cook for 24 yards to midfield. On 3rd and inches, Carr snuck for 2 yards. Carr then hit Cooper for 14 and Lynch banged for 11 more. At the 2 minute warning, the Raiders were at the Cleveland 14. Lynch carried a couple more times as the Browns took their timeouts in case of a miss. With 1:50 left in overtime, McCrane came in for a 29 yarder. He had made 2 and missed 2. In one of the craziest games in the history of these teams, McCrane was good.

Jon Gruden finally got his first win in his second stint as Raiders coach. It was far from a thing of beauty. Carr threw 58 passes, completing 35 of them for 437 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Mayfield was 21 of 41 for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both signal callers were intercepted twice, and Mayfield also lost 2 fumbles. Lynch had 130 yards on 20 carries against a fairly stout defense. Chubb had 105 yards on only 3 carries. Hyde had 82 yards on 22 carries. Just win baby. 45-42 Raiders, OT

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers — Jimmy Garoppollo is out for the year with a torn ACL. CJ Beathard, the grandson of Hall of Famer Bobby Beathard, is now the 49ers quarterback. The Chargers were still without Joey Bosa due to an injured foot. Philip Rivers immediately threw a 32 yard touchdown pass to Exum, who plays defense for San Francisco . The 49ers got it back at their own 44. Beathard hit hit Bourne for a 2 yard touchdown. The 49ers led 14-0 after catching a touchdown pass from quarterbacks on both teams.

The Chargers came back 75 yards. Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 5 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Chargers trailed 14-6. In the second quarter the 49ers had a mind-numbing 11 minute drive that took 21…yes, 21…plays and moved 72 yards. After all of that, on 3rd and goal at the 3, Beathard threw incomplete. Robbie Gould hit the 21 yard field goal to make it 17-6 49ers. After a touchback Rivers found Keenan Allen for 16 and Melvin Gordon for 16 more. On 3rd and 3 from the San Francisco 22, Rivers went to Ekeler for the touchdown. Rivers hit Gordon for the 2 point conversion as the Chargers only trailed 17-14. With 34 seconds left in the half, the 49ers faced 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Beathard threw incomplete, stopping the clock. A punt was returned 56 yards to the San Francisco 32 with 31 seconds left. Caleb Sturgis hit a 48 yard field goal as the teams were tied 17-17 at the half.

In the third quarter special teams killed the 49ers again as a 21 yard punt return had the Chargers starting just shy of midfield. Rivers went to Williams for a 24 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the 6, Rivers hit Gordon for the touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Chargers led 23-17. The 49ers rapidly moved from their own 10 to a 1st and goal at the 8. Beathard fired a pass to Greg Celek. It bounced of Celek’s hands into the arms of williams at the Chargers 2 yard line. Williams returned it down the sideline 86 yards to the San Francisco 12. On 2nd and 8, Rivers hit Gordon, who got nailed and fumbled the ball. The ball was headed to the end zone for a touchback but one of the 49ers players tried to recover it. The 49ers thought they had a fumble recovery, but their defender had stepped out of bounds before recovering the ball. That mistake meant that the Chargers retained possession. On 3rd and 5 from the 7 Rivers threw incomplete. Sturgis did hit the 25 yard field goal as the wild swing in momentum had the Chargers up 26-17.

Momentum swung back again after an exchange of punts. Beathard went deep to Kittle for an 82 yard touchdown as the 49ers were within 26-24 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. The 49ers faced 3rd and 1 at their own 45 on the last play of the third quarter when Beathard gained 2. Breida gained 12 and Beathard hit Bourne for 17 more. On 4th and 1 from the Chargers 15 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Kyle Shanahan opted for the field goal. Robbie Gould hit the 33 yarder as the 49ers led 27-26.

After a touchback Rivers hit Allen for 8 and again for 11. Gordon ran for a 34 yard gain to set up 1st and goal ate the 4. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Rivers threw incomplete. Sturgis hit from 21 to put the Chargers back up by 2 midway through the fourth quarter. The 49ers faced 2nd and 3 at their own 24 when Beathard threw incomplete twice. The Chargers faced 3rd and 2 at the San Francisco 38. Ekeler only gained one yard. Rather than go for it or try a 55 yard field goal, Anthony Lynn opted to punt and trust his defense. The 49ers took over at their own 7. From their 31, Beathard was intercepted. With 2 1/2 minutes left the Charges took over at the Frisco 19. After the 49ers took their final timeout, Rivers hit Green for 10 yards and a first down. Rivers took 3 knees to preserve the win. 29-27 Chargers

New Orleans Saints at New York Giants — The Saints pinball offense should have rolled the anemic Giants. In the first quarter it was the Giants moving 75 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. Eli Manning hit Sam Shepard for a 2 yard touchdown as the Giants led 7-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter the Saints moved the ball up and down the field but could not crack the end zone. They even had a 15 play drive that took 8 1/2 minutes. They did have Wil Lutz, who hit field goals of 42, 34, 37 and 26. Forr field goals in the second quarter had the Saints up 12-7 at halftime. In the third quarter the Saints moved 80 yards and finally reached the end zone. Alvin Kamara ran for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 19-7 Saints. The Giants did move 75 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes, but bogged down in the red zone. Rosas hit the 33 yard field goal as the Giants trailed 19-10 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter the Saints mounted a 14 play, 74 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. Alvin Kamara ran for a 4 yard touchdown and barely stretched the ball over the pylon before his knee came down to make it 26-10 Saints. After a touchback, the Giants tried to rally. Eli Manning hit Saquon Barkley for 11 and Ellison for 43 more. Manning found O’Dell Beckham for 27 more yards. On 3rd and 9 from the the saints 21, Manning found Sam Shepard for 19 more. Barkley got in from the one. Manning hit Shepard for the 2 point conversion as the Giants were within 26-18 with 3:40 to play. The Saints were expecting an onside kick but the Giants kicked it deep. The Saints fumbled the kick and were lucky to retain possession at their own 3 yard line. Brees went to Hill for 21 yards. On 3rd and 8 from their own 26 with 2 1/2 minutes left, Brees threw incomplete. However, defensive pass interference meant 14 yards and a killer first down. With 2:16 to play, Kamara ran for a 49 yard touchdown to salt away the win. 33-18 Saints

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers was the Sunday night game. These bitter rivals play physical games where home field rarely matters. The Ravens got the early jump, going 75 yards on their first drive. Joe Flacco went to Brown for a 33 yard touchdown for a 7-0 Ravens lead. Steelers faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Ben Roethlisberger completed a pass for no gain that was fumbled. Baltimore recovered at the same spot. Flacco went to Moore for 19. On 3rd and 1 from the 3, Flacco hit Alex Collins for the touchdown as the Ravens led 14-0. The game changed in the second quarter. The Steelers had drives of 12 plays, 69 yards and 5 1/2 minutes and then 14 plays, 79 yards and 6 minutes. Yet both times the Steelers bogged down and settled for Chris Boswell field goals of 34 and 39 yards to get within 14-6. The Steelers got it back and moved 76 yards and this time finished the drive. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 26 yard touchdown. Big Ben hit Conner for the 2 point try as the hated rivals were tied 14-14 at halftime. The second half belong to the Baltimore defense and their kicker Justin Tucker. Neither team reached the end zone. Tucker had a third quarter field goal of 47 yards and fourth quarter field goals of 49, 28 and 31. Roethlisberger finished 27 of 47 for 274 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Flacco was 28 of 42 for 363 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. 26-14 Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos was the Monday night game. The unbeaten Chiefs faced off against a Denver team desperate to keep the AFC West race from getting out of hand. Early on the teams slugged it out. Brandon McManus hit a 42 yard field goal for the Broncos and Harrison Butker responded from 33 for a 3-3 game after the first quarter. In the second quarterPatrick Mahomes moved the Chiefs 89 yards in 12 plays and 5 12 minutes. Mahomes ran for an 8 yard touchdown for a 10-3 Chiefs lead. The Broncos came back 78 yards. Freeman ran for a 14 yard touchdown for a 10-10 deadlock. Denver moved 60 yards in 12 plays at the end of the half. McManus hit from 34 to put the Chiefs up 13-10. Yet in the third quarter it was the Chiefs moving 72 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Denver’s defense held inside the 5. Butker hit from 21 as the game was tied for the third time at 13-13.

The Broncos came back 80 yards and Lindsay ran it in from one yard out to make it 20-13 Broncos. Denver’s defense held and in the fourth quarter, McManus hit from 46 to make it 23-13 Broncos with 13 minutes left in regulation. Yet the Chiefs would not go away. After a touchback, the Chiefs soon faced 3rd and 16 at their own 31. Mahomes hit Tyreeq Hill for 15 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Chiefs 46 with 10 1/2 minutes left, Walrus Lite Andy Reid decided to go for it. Mahomes found Kareem Hunt for a 22 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the Denver 23, Mahomes hit Conley for 5 y yards and Travis Kelce for 9 more. Mahomes went back to Kelce for a 2 yard touchdown. With 6 1/2 minutes left, the 12 play, 75 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive had the Chiefs within 23-20.

Denver went 3 and out, and a short 35 yard punt had the Chiefs taking over at their own 40. On 3rd and 5 from their 45, Mahomes hit Hill for 6 yards. A pair of killer offensive penalties had the Chiefs facing 2nd and 30 from their own 31 with 3 minutes left. The crowd was fired up. Von Miller and the defense was fired up. Yet Mahomes was icy cool. He hit Robinson for 23 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the denver 46, Mahomes went deep to Harris for 35 yards. Hunt ran for a 4 yard touchdown to put the Chiefs up by 4 with 1:40 to play. With one minute left the Broncos faced 4th and 11 at their own 24. Case Keenum hit Emanuel Sanders for a 12 yard gain and Heuerman for 36 more yards. 3 Keenum incompletions set up 4th and 10 at the Chiefs 28 with 16 seconds left. The Chiefs were out of timeouts but the Broncos still had one left. Keenum found Sutton for 9 more yard, but Sutton fumbled and Houston recovered for the Chiefs with 12 seconds left. Great teams win tough road games in hostile environments. The Chiefs are a great team. This is not the Chiefs of years past. Mahomes really is that good. Keenum was 21 of 33 for 245 yards, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. Mahomes was 28 of 45 for 304 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. The Chiefs are 4-0, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus Lite indeed. 27-23 Chiefs

NFL 2018 Week 4 Prequel

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 4 Prequel

On Any Given Sunday: NFL Week 4 Preview of games and bettors guide

NFL 2018 Week 3 Recap

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 3 Recap

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns was the Thursday night game. Nobody loses football games like the Cleveland Browns. From 1-15 two years ago to 0-16 last year, the heartbreak continued to start this season. In 2 straight weeks, they lost because Zane Gonzalez could not make a field goal or an extra point. He was cut. Then problem child Josh Gordon was cut. Yet the Browns still had a chance because the Jets are known to lose these types of games. The Jets lost to the expansion Carolina Panthers for their first franchise win. They lost to the 1-15 New Orleans Saints in 1980. Something had to give.

The Jets had rookie Sam Darnold, who has shown potential in his first two games. The Browns decided to let their rookie Baker Mayfield hold a clipboard, starting Tyrod Taylor this season instead.

Cleveland has a defense, and a fired up Dawg Pound had the inspired defense playing a scoreless first quarter. However, late in the opening quarter, a fumbled punt gave the Jets the first scoring chance. On 3rd and 11 from the Cleveland 29, Darnold hit Enunwa for 16 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Isaiah Crowell ran for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Jets. The Jets got it back at their own 37. Powell ran for 14, 8 and 8. Crowell added 8 more. On 3rd and 4 from the Cleveland 27, Darnold hit Enunwa for 16 again. On 3rd and 1 from the 2, Crowell got in to make it 14-0 Jets.

The Browns moved from their 26 to a 2nd and 2 at the Jets 25. However, intentional grounding on Taylor followed by a sack of him killed the drive. With 1:42 left in the half, the Browns offense got the ball back. Taylor was on the field. After going a miserable 4 for 14 for only 19 yards, Hue Jackson had seen enough. The Baker Mayfield era began from the Cleveland 34.

His first pass was a completion to Jarvis Landry for 14 yards. Then he went to Njoku for 17 yards. Then from the Jets 35 Mayfield was sacked and fumbled the ball. Despite an 8 yard loss, Cleveland retained possession. Mayfield hit Landry for 16 yards. Joseph is the new field goal kicker for Cleveland. He made the 45 yard field goal. The Brows trailed 14-3 at halftime, but there was a ray of hope.

With 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Jets fumbled the ball and the Browns recovered at the Jets 8 yard line. A failed run and a pair of incompletions netted 0 yards. Joseph hit the 27 yard field goal but the Cleveland faithful had to be disgusted to still be trailing 14-6.

The Browns got it back and faced 3rd and 1 at their own 40. Mayfield hit Landry for 16 yards. From the Jets 30, Mayfield went deep to Landry for a 29 yard gain. Carlos Hyde got the last yard. Mayfield was sacked on the 2 point try, but defensive holding gave the Browns another shot. This time Landry and Mayfield connected as the game was tie 14-14 after three quarters.

After a touchback, the Jets held the ball from 12 plays, 7 minutes and 65 yards. Powell ran for gains of 9 and 21. On 3rd and 10 from the Cleveland 45, Darnold hit Kearse for 14 yards. Yet on 3rd and 12 from the Cleveland 19, a completion came up 3 yards short. Josh Myers hit the 28 yard field goal and the Jets led 17-14 with 9 minutes left in regulation. Could the Browns finally get a win?

After a touchback, Hyde ran for 10 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Cleveland 40, Mayfield went to Johnson for 15 yards. Johnson fumbled but Cleveland retained possession. Higgins recovered the fumble and then caught a pass from Mayfield for 19 more yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Cleveland 26, Mayfield hit Callaway for just enough. A 16 yard touchdown run by Hyde was nullified due to an illegal block. With 2:07 to play, after 15 plays, and 7 minutes, on 3rd and goal at the one, Hyde got in. The 75 yard drive had the Browns up by 4 because their kicker made the extra point. The offense finally came through. Could the defense seal the deal?

After a touchback, with 1:48 left, the Jets faced 4th and 10 at their own 25. Darnold hit Kearse for 12 yards as the home crowd got a lump in its throat. Here they go again, the Charlie Browns.

Not this time. On the next play, Darnold was intercepted at the Jets 43. The Jets took their timeouts on defense. On 4th and 2 at the Jets 35, Hue Jackson opted against trying a 53 yard field goal. With Cleveland’s luck it would be blocked and returned the other way. Rather than go for it, Jackson opted to punt. Brandon Colquitt did his job well, pinning the Jets back at their own 6 yard line with one minute left.

Darnold went to Terrell Pryor for a 25 yard gain. Yet with 15 seconds left, Darnold went deep again and was intercepted again. Baker Mayfield got to do something no Browns quarterback has done in 2 years. He lined up in the victory formation, took a knee, and celebrated a Cleveland Browns win. Todd Bowles will come under fire from Gang Green’s fan base, but this day was about the Dawg Pound. Budweiser Cleveland honored its promise of free beer to their loyal fans. The Cleveland Browns are no longer losers. 1-1-1 is not spectacular, but the arrow is trending upward. The newspaper is already a collectible. Browns win! 21-17 Browns

Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings — The Bills might be the worst team in the league. They are so awful that cornerback Vontae Davis pulled an NFL first and retired at halftime. The Vikings were one good kicker away from being 2-0. So they cut their kicker and got Dan Bailey, one of the best. Minnesota has perhaps the best defense in the NFL under Mike Zimmer. This had blowout written all over it. Cue ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman. “THAT’s why they PLAY the games.”

Josh Allen is a rookie, but early on it was his Bills moving 75 yards in 5 minutes. Allen ran for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bills. The Vikings soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 10. Cousins was sacked and fumbled and the Bills took over at the Minnesota 15. The defense held but Steve Hauschka hit a 30 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Bills. Minnesota soon faced 3rd and 8 at their own 27. Cousins was sacked again and fumbled again. Buffalo recovered. Two plays later, Allen went deep to Room for a 26 yard touchdown to make it 17-0 Bills in front of a stunned home crowd.

The Bills moved 65 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes on their next drive. On 4th and goal at the one, Sean McDermott chose to go for it. Allen snuck over the top and broke the plane of the goal for a 24-0 Bills lead. Hauschka tacked on a 50 yard field goal to put the Bills up 27-0 in an absolute shocker of a game where they were 17 point underdogs. Buffalo slept through the second half because they could. In misleading statistics, Kirk Cousins went 40 of 55 for 296 yards and one garbage time touchdown with one interception. Allen was an efficient 15 of 22 for 196 yards and one touchdown without an interception. There was no word on whether Vontae Davis chose to unretire. 27-6 Bills

Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers — Cincinnati started 2-0, but on the road at the Carolina defense would be a better measuring stick for the Bengals. After a touchback the Bengals faced 3rd and 3 at their own 45. Red Rifle Andy Dalton went to AJ Green for 9 yards. Giovanni Bernard eventually finished the 75 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Bengals.

Carolina soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 29. Cam Newton hit Wright for 7 yards. From just shy of midfield, McCaffrey took a handoff up the middle for 45 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Newton got around the end for the touchdown to tie the game 7-7.

The Bengals got it back and faced 3rd and 17 just shy of midfield. Dalton was intercepted at the Carolina 33. From the Carolina 44 to start the second quarter, Newton hit Devon Funchess for 16 yards and again for 27 more. Newton went back to Funchess for a 4 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Panthers lead.

3rd and 5 at their own 43. Red Rifle Andy Dalton hit Eric Eifert for 8 yards. rom just past midfield, Dalton fumbled and Captain Munnerlyn recovered for the defense. On further review it was changed to an incomplete pass and 3rd and 10. Dalton went deep to Boyd for a 23 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Carolina 10, Dalton found John Ross for 9 yards. Dalton hit Uzomah for the one yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14 midway through the second quarter.

Carolina soon faced 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Newton found Smith for 4 yards. Newton hit Thomas for 18. McCaffrey ran for 15. Anderson ran for 6 and then caught  24 yard touchdown pass from Newton to put the Panthers up 21-14 with 2:50 left in the half.

In the third quarter an interception of Dalton set up the Panthers at the Cincy 26. On 3rd and 6, Newton scrambled for 7. Newton ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 28-14 Panthers with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. This time after a touchback the Bengals came back quickly. Bernard ran for a 22 yard gain. Dalton went to Eifert for 20 yards. Dalton then went to Boyd for a 27 yard touchdown. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, the Bengals were back within 28-21.

In the fourth quarter the Bengals moved from their 14 to the Carolina 25 with help of a 49 yard completion from Dalton to Boyd. Yet offensive holding killed the drive. Midway through the fourth quarter, a 53 yard field goal try by Bullock to close the gap to 4 points was no good. With 3:40 to play, on 2nd and 20 from their own 7, Dalton went deep and was intercepted at midfield. Graham Gano hit a 40 yard field goal to lock up the Carolina win. Both quarterbacks threw 2 touchdown passes, but Newton was not intercepted. Dalton was picked off 4 times. In the wake of misery after Hurricane Florence, the Panthers gave their fans something to temporarily take their mind off the pain. 31-21 Panthers

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens — Denver was 2-0, but the Ravens provided a tougher test. Early on the Broncos blocked a punt, taking over at the Baltimore 6 yard line. Freeman got the carry and got in for the 7-0 Broncos lead less than 90 seconds into the game. An unnecessary roughness penalty on Denver had the Ravens taking over at their own 48. Joe Flacco went to Andrew for a 30 yard gain. Alex Collins ran for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-7.

Denver soon faced 3rd and 11 at their own 29. Case Keenum went to Chris Sutton for a 16 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 just shy of midfield, Keenum hit Booker for 7. Emanuel Sanders took a reverse 35 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-7 Broncos. Baltimore moved from their 26 to a 4th and 1 at the Denver 34. John Harbaugh trusted his kicker, and Justin Tucker nailed the 52 yarder to get the Ravens within 14-10 in a wild first quarter.

A short punt in the second quarter had the Ravens taking over at their own 48. On 3rd and 9 Flacco went deep to Michael Crabtree for a 19 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Denver 12, Flacco found Allen for the touchdown as the Ravens retook the lead 17-14.

Baltimore got it back at their own 28 and Flacco hit Brown for 44 yards. With 4 1/2 minutes left in the half, Tucker came in for a 43 yard field goal to extend the lead. Simmons timed the snap perfectly, jumped over the offensive line cleanly, and blocked the kick. The ball bounced to Chris Harris, who returned it 58 yards for a Broncos touchdown. However, an illegal block on the return after the blocked kick negated the score. Denver faced 2nd and 1 at the Baltimore 25. Keenum was sacked and fumbled. A personal foul penalty on Denver led to a player disqualification as 2nd and 1 became 3rd and then 4th and 28.

With 26 seconds left in the half, a shanked 35 yard punt had the Ravens taking over at midfield. With 4 seconds left in the half, Tucker came in for a 52 yard field goal try. This time it was uneventful as he hit it to put the Ravens up 20-14 at halftime.

The second half belonged to the Baltimore defense. In the third quarter the Ravens took over at their own 18. Collins ran for 14 and 6. On 3rd and 4 from their own 38, Flacco threw incomplete but defensive offsides kept the drive going. On 3rd and 6 from the Denver 42, Flacco hit Snead for 7. On 3rd and 8 from the Denver 33, Flacco went deep to Andrews for 29 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Allen got in. The 14 play, 82 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive was the only score of the second half as Denver’s offense was stifled the rest of the way. 27-14 Ravens

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins — Washington looked dreadful in losing badly at home to woeful Indianapolis. What a difference a week makes. Washington easily moved 75 yards on their opening drive. Alex Smith connected with Richardson for a 46 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Redskins. Washington got it back and moved 79 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes.Adrian Peterson ran for a 2 yard touchdown for a 14-0 Redskins lead.

The Packers did get a second quarter 41 yard field goal from Mason Crosby, but their defense had no answer for the Redskins. Washington got it back at their own 2. On 3rd and 6 from their 6, Alex Smith went deep to Reed for a 34 yard gain. Peterson then rumbled for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Green Bay 16, Smith ran for 7 yards. Smith then hit Crowder for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 21-3 Redskins.

Green Bay got it back at their own 24. From their 36, Aaron Rodgers went deep to Greg Allison for a 64 yard touchdown to get the Packers within 21-10. With 2:10 left in the half the Redskins took over at their own 26. On 2nd and 7 at the 2 minute warning, Smith went deep to Vernon Davis for a 50 yard gain. Smith then hit Crowder for 18 yards. Peterson got the last 2 yards as the Redskins had a shocking 28-10 lead at halftime.

A fairly quiet second half saw the Packers move 75 yards in 15 plays and 7 minutes in the third quarter. Rodgers hit Devontae Adams for a 2 yard touchdown, but the Packers got nothing else. Dustin Hopkins hit a 35 yard field goal in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring as Washington confounded critics with a convincing win one week after their hideous loss. 31-17 Redskins

Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles — Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles returned to the bench as Carson Wentz returned to the field. The Eagles moved 79 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. Wentz hit Goedert for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Eagles. The Eagles got it back and moved from their 29 to a 1st and 10 at the Indy 34. A run lost 3 yards followed by nothing more. Doug Pederson Josh Elliott for a 55 yard field goal try. Elliott missed it.

The Colts took over at their own 45. A defensive pass interference penalty moved the ball 33 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Philly 13, Andrew Luck hit Grant for just enough. Luck hit Grant again for the 5 yard touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame.

In the second quarter the Eagles moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. From their own 10, they moved until they they had a 1st and 10 at the Indy 7. Wentz fumbled the snap out of the shotgun for a 7 yard loss. A run lost a yard and the Eagles settled for a 33 yard Elliott field goal to lead 10-7 with 3 minutes left in the half.

The third quarter belonged to the kickers. Adam Vinatieri hit from 35 to tie the game. An interception of Wentz had the Colts taking over at the Philly 17. The defense held and Vinatieri hit from 31 to make it 13-10 Colts. The Eagles had another long drive from their own 19 to a 1st and goal at the 8. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 6, Wentz through incomplete. Elliott hit from 24 for a 13-13 game with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Eagles then faced 3rd and 10 at their own 19. Wentz was sacked and fumbled. The Colts recovered at the Philly 13. Again, the Eagles defense bailed out the offense as the Colts were held to a 28 yard field goal to start the fourth quarter. The Colts led 16-13 and were smelling upset.

The Eagles then mounted the drive of the year. On 3rd and 5 from their own 30, Went hit Nelson Agholor for 6 yards. On 2nd and 26 from their own 20, Wentz threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. With 6 1/2 minutes left, the Eagles faced 4th and 5 at the Indy 42. Doug Pederson decided to go for it. Wentz threw incomplete but defensive holding again kept the Eagles alive. On 3rd and 9 from the Indy 36, Wentz hit Agholor for 10 yards. Smallwood ran for a 4 yard touchdown. The staggering 17 play, 75 yard drive took nearly 11 1/2 minutes off the clock and gave the Eagles a 4 point lead.

With 3 minutes left, the Colts moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 3 at the Philly 4 yard line. After an incompletion, with 1:19 to play, Luck was sacked for a 16 yard loss. After the incredible Eagles defensive stand, it was the Colts who took their timeouts on defense. The Colts got it back at their own 11 with 39 seconds left. With 5 seconds left, the Colts were at their own 46. Frank reich brought in backup quarterback Jacob Brissett for the Hail Mary, since he has a stronger arm than Luck. The throw was solid, but was well defended as it fell incomplete. For the second time in three weeks, the defending champions survived at home with a hideously ugly win. 20-16 Eagles

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons — Drew Brees and Matt Ryan lead the high flying NFC South offenses. On the first play from scrimmage after a touchback, Brees went deep to Thomas for a 35 yard gain. Alvin Kamara ran for 17 and caught a pass for 11 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Atlanta 4, Brees hit Ted Ginn Jr. for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Saints.

The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 28. Ryan hit Julio Jones for 5 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Atlanta 36, Ryan hit Ridley for 10 yards. Ridley ran for 9 and Ryan hit Smith for 12. On 3rd and 10 from the Saints 33, Ryan hit Ridley for 15 and then again for the 18 yard touchdown to make it 7-7.

In the second quarter the Saints took over at their own 38. Brees went to Carr for a 25 yard gain. Offensive holding killed the drive but Wil Lutz nailed  49 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Saints.The Saints got it back at their own 27. Brees hit Thomas for 17 yards and Watson for 27 more. On 2nd and goal at the 4, offensive holding killed another drive. Lutz hit from 21 and the Saints led 13-7 with 3 minutes left in the half.

Atlanta came back quickly as Ryan went deep to Ridley for a 75 yard touchdown and a 14-13 Falcons lead. With 40 seconds left in the half, the Saints got it back at their own 42. Brees hit Alvin Kamara for 12 yards and Watson for 19 more. Lutz hit the 45 yarder to put the Saints up 16-14 at the half.

After a touchback to start the third quarter, on 2nd and 12, Coleman ran for 15. Ryan then hit Mohammed San for 11 more. From midfield, a defensive pass interference penalty meant a 45 yard gain.Ryan hit Ridley for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 21-16 Falcons.

Atlanta went to punt from their own 44. Bosher’s punt was blocked by Okafor and recovered by Robertson, who returned it 12 yards down to the Atlanta 16. Brees hit Meredith for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 23-21 Saints.

Atlanta after an offensive holding penalty faced 1st and 19 at their own 9. Ryan hit Jones for 11. On 3rd and 6 from their 22, Ryan found Ridley for 8. Ryan hit Sanu for 13 and Smith for 11. From the Saints 44, Ryan hit Smith for 18. The fourth quarter began with the Falcons facing 3rd and 4 at the Saints 9. Ryan threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 5. Ryan then hit Coleman for the touchdown and Hooper for the 2 point conversion to make it 29-23 Falcons.

After a touchback, Kamara gained 12 yards. On 3rd and 2 from their own 45, Hill raced for a 35 yard gain with another 15 tacked on for a horse collar tackle. On 3rd and goal at the one, Kamara got stopped. With 10 minutes left in regulation, Sean Payton decided to go for it. Brees hit Line for the touchdown and the Saints led 30-29 in a game that was far from over.

After a touchback and a defensive illegal use of hands, Ryan went deep to Jones for a 58 yard gain. On 2nd and 1 from the Saints 3, Coleman lost 2 yards. On 3rd and 3 Ryan was sacked for a 6 yard loss. Matt Bryant hit the 29 yard field goal, but unnecessary roughness on the defense caused Dan Quinn to take the points off the board. On 1st and goal at the 5, Ryan hit Sanu for the touchdown and again for the 2 point conversion to make it 37-30 Falcons midway through the fourth quarter.

The Saints took over at their own 19. From their 22, Brees hit Thomas for 14 and Watson for 9. Ginn ran for a 20 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Atlanta 10, Hill got just enough. Brees used almost all of the clock and scrambled for the 7 yard tying touchdown. This instant classic was tied 37-37 as the Falcons took over at their own 26 with 1:10 to play. The defense held and the game went to overtime, where the Saints won the toss and took over at their own 20.

Brees hit Watson for 8 and Thomas for 23 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Atlanta 33, Brees hit Kamara for just enough. A field goal would still give the Falcons one chance with the ball. A touchdown would end it. On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 9, Brees hit Thomas for 6 yards. From the 3, Brees hit Kanara for what appeared to be the winning touchdown. On further review it was ruled Kamara’s knee was down inches short of the goal. On the next play Brees took the quarterback sneak and got over the goal line. The 15 play, 7 minute, 80 yard drive ended this thriller.

Both quarterbacks were sensational and neither one was intercepted. Ryan was 26 of 35 for 374 yards and 5 touchdown passes. 5 touchdown passes in a loss. Brees was 39 of 49 for 396 yards and 3 touchdown passes, in addition to the winning score on the ground. Brees also now holds the NFL record for pass completions in a career, breaking the old mark set by Brett Favre. The rematch of this game cannot come soon enough. 43-37 Saints, OT

New York Giants at Houston Texans — Houston moved 69 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 8 from their own 29, Deshaun Watson hit Brad Ellington for 10 yards. From the Giants 44, Watson connected with Thomas for a 39 yard gain. The defense held and Fairbairn hit a 23 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Texans.

The Giants faced 3rd and 5 at their own 30. Eli Manning went to O’Dell Beckham for 9 yards. Saquon Barkley then ran for 13 yards. Manning then found Shepard for an 18 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Houston 23, Manning hit Shepard for 8 yards. Barkley then raced up the middle for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Giants.

In the second quarter the Giants twice drove down the field but twice did not finish the drive. Rosas hit field goals of 30 and 44 yards to make it 13-3 Giants. The next time the Giants got it back at their 29, and they finished. Manning found Shepard for 17. On 3rd and 3 at the Houston 46, Manning hit Beckham for 30 yards. Manning then went to Ellison for the 16 yard touchdown to make it 20-3 Giants with 1:20 left in the half.

The Texans would get a 28 yard Fairbairn field goal as the half ended and a 54 yarder from Fairbair in the third quarter, but the Giants still led 20-9 after three quarters. With 11 minutes left in regulation, The Texans took over at their own 33. Watson went deep to Fuller for 37 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Giants 16, Watson scrambled for 10. Watson hit Fuller for the 6 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Texans were within 20-15 midway through the fourth quarter.

From the Giants 23, Manning hit Shepard for 23 yards and Ellison for 17 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Houston 27, Manning hit Barkley for 21. On 3rd and goal at the 7, Manning hit Shepard for the touchdown. With 2:08 to play, the Giants led 27-15. At the 2 minute warning, the Texans faced 3rd and 20 at their own 15. Watson hit Griffin for 12 and on 4th and 8 found Fuller for 16. With 10 seconds left, the Texans faced 4th and goal at the 4. Watson hit Miller for the touchdown. The onside kick failed and Big Blue got a win. 27-22 Giants

Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins — Kate Hudson starred in “How to lose a guy in 10 days.” Last week the Raiders taught how to lose a game in 10 plays. The Dolphins are not nearly as good as their 2-0 record. The Raiders deserve to be 0-2. On the first play from scrimmage after a touchback, Derek Carr got belted for an incompletion. On the second play he found Jordy Nelson on a perfect timing route. Nelson split the seam and got to the sideline for a 61 yard gain. Carr fired over the middle to Nelson for a 12 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Raiders lead less than 90 seconds into the game. In all 3 games, the Raiders looked strong on their opening possession. Time would tell if they could finish that strong.

The Dolphins went 3 and out and the Raiders got it back at their own 4 yard line. A penalty moved them back to the 2. On 3rd and 1 from their 13, Carr found Amari Cooper for 9 yards. From the Oakland 26, Carr went to Nelson for a 66 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 9, Carr went to Cook but came up one yard short. The Raiders faced 4th and goal at the one.

Last week the Raiders properly went for it on 4th and 1. Yet Jon Gruden tried to be too cute by half in calling a pass play instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch. In this situation, you hand the ball to Lynch every single time. Those who do not believe this, watch the Super Bowl that ended the 2014 NFL season. In this game Gruden made the right decision to go for it. He made the right decision to run the ball. He made the wrong decision to hand it to fullback Kyle Smith rather than Lynch. Smith got stopped. This was play 1 of how to lose a game.

The Raiders got the ball back at their own 41. Carr decided to imitate Brett Favre, the fearless man who can make every throw. Carr threw deep into triple coverage and was intercepted. This was play 2 in the Kate Hudson story. The Miami offense did nothing in the opening quarter. The Raiders dominated statistically, yet they only led 7-0.

A punt pinned the Raiders back at their own 2. After Muscle Hamster Doug Martin gained 9 yards on first down, Martin lost 2 and Carr was sacked. A terrible 33 yard shanked punt to start the second quarter had the Dolphins starting at the Oakland 35. This will not be called play 3 because bad punts are part of life. Losing games is about bad decisions. On 3rd and 9, Ryan Tannehill threw incomplete. Offensive holding would have made matters even worse on the play for Miami, but a very questionable roughing the passer call meant offsetting penalties. Given another chance, Tannehill went deep to Kenny Stills for a 34 yard touchdown. Just like that, it was 7-7.

Oakland’s offense kept moving the ball well after a touchback. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 41, Carr was sacked but a defensive penalty meant a first down. Additionally, defender Spence was ejected from the game. On 3rd and 1 from the Miami 29, Lynch got the carry and showed how to get one yard Beast Mode style. It was a prime example of exactly what to do over and over when a yard is needed.

Then came play 3 of how to lose a game. On 2nd and goal at the 2, rather than run the ball, Gruden chose a pass play. Carr threw incomplete. It may seem inconsequential, but when the other team cannot stop the run, you keep running. On 3rd and goal, a false start killed the drive. Mike Nugent hit the 25 yard field goal. The staggering 16 play, drive covered 73 yards and took 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Yet the Raiders only led 10-7 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half.

Miami quickly moved from their 24 to a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 26 at the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 9, Tannehill found frank Gore for 12 but offensive pass interference instead meant 3rd and 19. Tannehill was sacked to push the Dolphins out of field goal range. The Dolphins were trying to give the game away but the question would be if the Raiders were too stupid to take it. For the third straight week the Raiders led at the half. They were dominating everywhere but the scoreboard.

In the third quarter the Raiders had another lengthy drive that took time off the clock. 15 plays and 67 yards took nearly 10 minutes. Starting on their own 33, they soon faced 3rd and 9 at midfield. Carr went to Martavius Bryant for 11 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Miami 20, Carr went to Jalen Richard for 12 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, with 3 minutes left in the third quarter, Gruden decided to hand the ball to Lynch. Lynch went airborne into the end zone.

The Raiders led 17-7 with 18 minutes to play in the game. They had held the ball for about 28 of the of the first 42 minutes to only 14 minutes for Miami. The Miami defense, despite wearing the white uniforms in the heat, had to be exhausted. If the Oakland offense kept running the ball, they would win. The defense had played well for the most part, but the Raiders never win games easy.

From the Miami 30, Miami made it look very easy. Tannehill hit Danny Amendola for 15 yards and Parker for 36 more. Tannehill then went to Grant for the 8 yard touchdown. The Dolphins only trailed 17-14 after three quarters. Could the Raiders finally close out a game.

After a touchback, rather than run the ball, Gruden continued to stubbornly call pass plays. Carr hit Nelson for 6 yards to set up 2nd and 4. Yet play 4 in how to lose, rather than a run, was Carr throwing incomplete twice. The Raiders went 3 and out.

The defense held and the Raiders took over at their own 17 with 12 1/2 minutes in regulation. The offense moved well all game and was still doing so. On 3rd and 15 from the Oakland 23, Carr hit Bryant for 19 yards. With a little over 8 minutes left, the Raiders faced 3rd and 7 from their own 45. Carr lobbed a perfect fade to a wide open Amari Cooper. It went right through his hands. Rather than be in field goal range, play 5 on how to lose saw the Raiders punting.

Miami took over at their own 30. Tannehill scrambled for 18 yards. On the next play Adam Tase went to his bag of tricks. Tannehill pitched it, and then it was pitched to Wilson, who lobbed a perfect option pass to a wide open Grant, who shook off one pathetic attempt at a tackle for a 52 yard touchdown. Now midway through the fourth quarter the Dolphins led 21-17. This is not something to blame anyone over. It was a well executed trick play. After failing to close out the game, now the Oakland offense had to try and win the game.

Oakland took over at their own 10. On 3rd and 3 from their 17, Carr threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 13 yard gain. Carr then hit Nelson for 16 yards and Lynch for 14 more. Martin then ran for 15 and 6 more. After a defensive illegal substitution, the Raiders had 1st and 10 at the Miami 13. They had the game in the palm of their hands. Miami was powerless to stop the run. All the Raiders had to do was run the ball. That means run the ball. That means RUN THE F*CKING BALL.

Gruden comes from the West Coast Offense, which is obsessed with the bullsh*t concept of a “balanced” offense. For the love of all things holy, when something is working, you keep doing it. If they can’t stop the pass, you throw all the time. Well in this game the Dolphins could not stop the run. The Raiders should have employed the run and run offense. They had Lynch. Just run baby.

Instead Gruden called the worst play call since Sam Rutigliano called Red Right 88 with Cleveland against the Raiders in 1980. That’s why the Raiders have Super Bowl wins and the Browns don’t. Well Gruden called for a fade pass to the corner of the end zone. Carr threw a jump ball, and it was intercepted by Howard in the end zone for a touchback. This was play 6 on how to lose a game. Carr was picked off twice in this game, but the pass in this case never should have been called. That is on Gruden.

Now the defense needed a stop. Miami had only 18 rushing yards through three quarters. On 2nd and 4 from their own 26, a swing pass from Tannehill to Wilson saw him outrace everyone for a 74 yard touchdown. At the 2 minute warning the Dolphins led 28-17.

Needing 2 scores, the Raiders let way too much time come off the clock as they moved from their 25 to the Miami 34. With 25 seconds left and needing 2 scores, Gruden made the right decision by bringing in Nugent for a 52 yard field goal try. Even if he misses it, you have to make that call. Nugent was good and the Raiders were within 8. His onside kick was far less successful and that was that.

Jon Gruden won a Super Bowl. He has always loved to “pound that rock.” The last 2 weeks he for whatever reason has decided not to pound the rock when it mattered most. Those decisions are why the Raiders are 0-3 rather than 2-1. He has not forgotten how to coach, but any coach in the league on 3rd and 1 or 1st and deep in the red zone should be pilloried for calling pass plays when they have Lynch. If the battering ram does not make the yard, fine. It’s still the only right call. Next week the Raiders face the Browns. Last year Cleveland was 0-16. This year they are 1-1-1 with a tough defense. The Dolphins are 3-0. Whether they deserve to be is debatable. The 0-3 team is the Raiders, and they deserve to be. 28-20 Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs — These teams used to be linked together when the Chiefs would take in 49ers quarterbacks to dink and dunk the West Coast Offense. For the first time in forever, neither of these teams has a dink and dunker. The 49ers have glamour boy Jimmy Garoppollo, who started 5-0 at the end of last season but has been knocked around in splitting two games this year. Patrick Mahomes may have a Sideshow Bob hairstyle, but he set an NFL record with 10 touchdowns in the first 2 games to start a season.

The game was never close. In the first quarter the Chiefs easily moved down the field. 57 and 84 yard drives were both capped by Kareem Hunt running it in from one yard out to make it 14-0 Chiefs.

After a 49ers field goal, the Chiefs blew the game open. Mahomes lit up the stadium with touchdown passes of 4 yards to Conley, 13 yards to Harris, and 12 yards to Sammy Watkins. The drives of 75, 72 and 68 yards had the Chiefs up 35-3.

The 49ers tried to make a game of it to no available. Gould hit a 39 yarder before the half. In the third quarter Garoppollo threw a touchdown pass of 11 yards to Goodwin and Alfred Morris ran for a 3 yard score. The 49ers only trailed 35-20 after three quarters, but that was it.

Harrison Butker hit a 37 yard fourth quarter field goal for the Chiefs to put the game out of reach. Garoppollo was knocked out of the game and taken off the field on a cart. He hurt his knee, and we will learn how bad soon. Gould hit a 35 yard field goal but all of San Francisco now awaits word on Garoppollo, who finished 20 of 30 for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mahones continued his torrid pace, going 24 of 38 for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns. Neither signal caller was intercepted as the Chiefs remained unbeaten. 38-27 Chiefs

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars — Last week Jacksonville throttled New England. All they had to do was beat a subpar Tennessee team. “THAT’s why the PLAY the games.” The Jaguars had to avoid a letdown. In this hideous game, 0 touchdowns were scored. Ryan Succop hit a 39 yard first quarter field goal for the Titans. Josh Lambo answered from 46 in the second quarter to tie the game. In the third quarter Succop hit from 36. In the fourth quarter Lambo hit from 38 to tie it again and Succop hit form 28 to give Tennessee the lead again with 4 minutes left in regulation. Jacksonville went 3 and out, got it back at their own 13 with 19 seconds left, and fumbled the ball away at their own 32 to complete the shocking loss. 9-6 Titans

L.A. Chargers at L.A. Rams — The battle of Los Angeles featured a legitimate Super Bowl contender against an underachieving, overrated unit that most people wish would just move back to San Diego. The contenders played the pretenders, and there were no surprises.

The Rams moved 80 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Todd Gurley got in from the one to make it 7-0 Rams. The Chargers quickly came back 60 yards. Philip Rivers went to Williams for a 42 yard touchdown and a 7-6 game after the failed extra point. The Rams came back 75 yards. Jared Goff hit Woods for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 14-6 Rams. In the second quarter, the Rams blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone to take a 21-6 lead.

The Chargers came back 75 yards in 10 plays. Melvin Gordon ran for an 11 yard touchdown as the Chargers only trailed 21-13 at halftime. The Rams took over in the third quarter at their own 45 and wasted no time. Goff went to Cooper Kupp for a 53 yard touchdown to make it 28-13 Rams. The Chargers kept coming back, moving 75 yards without much trouble. Rivers went to Williams for a 20 yard touchdown as the Chargers were within 28-20.

Yet the Rams offense kept rolling. Another 77 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes saw Goff hit Woods for a 6 yard touchdown. After three quarters, the Rams had a comfortable 35-20 lead. The Chargers embarked on a 13 play, 58 yard drive that led to 2nd and goal at the 8. This time Rivers fired incomplete twice. With 12 minutes left in regulation, Anthony Lynn opted for the field goal. Caleb Sturgis hit from 26 but the Chargers still trailed by 12.

With 4 1/2 minutes left the Rams took over at their own 12. They did what great teams and legitimate Super Bowl contenders do. They closed out a game. Gurley ran for 7 and 4. Then after losing 2, Gurley ran for 14 as the Chargers took their final timeout with 3:19 to play. Gurley carried for 6 more and Brown added 3 to set up 3rd and 1 at the Rams 44 at the 2 minute warning.

Brown got the carry and gained 5 yards. Goff took a pair of knees to end the game. The Rams are 3-0 and clicking on all cylinders. The Chargers were without Joey Bosa due to an injured foot, but the Rams are steamrolling everything in their path anyway. Sean McVay did not get cute on the final drive or obsess over a balanced offense. He ran the ball on every play. 35-23 Rams

Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals — The Bears are improved. The Cardinals are awful. You just never know. While other rookie quarterbacks are starting, Rookie coach Steve Wilk has rookie quarterback Josh Rosen holding a clipboard. This is fine. The Cardinals easily moved 75 yards. On 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Sam Bradford went to Kirk for 30 yards. Bradford then went to Seals-Jones for a 35 yard touchdown.

After a touchback, the Bears moved from to a 2nd and 6 at the Chicago 13. After a run gained nothing, Trubisky was sacked for a 15 yard loss. Cody Parkey then missed the 46 yard field goal. Chicago got it back at their own 10. On 3rd and 7 from their own 27, Trubisky was sacked and fumbled. The Cardinals took over at the Chicago 21. One play later Bradford went to Johnson for the touchdown as the Cardinals led 14-0 after the first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter the Bears moved from their 27 to a 2nd and goal at the 2. An illegal shift followed by a completion got the yardage back. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Trubisky threw incomplete. Matt Nagy opted for the field goal. Parkey hit the 20 yarder at the 2 minute warning as the Bears trailed 14-3. In the third quarter the Bears finally reached the end zone. A 67 yard drive was capped off by Howard getting in from the one to get the Bears within 14-10. Parkey tacked on a 41 yard field goal as the Bears only trailed 14-13 after three quarters.

After a touchback to start the fourth quarter, the Cardinals moved to a 2nd and 8 at the Chicago 21. Well in field goal range, Bradford got hit and fumbled. Who made the hit? Who else? Khalil Mack. Danny Trevathan recovered at the Chicago 16 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

The Bears moved 59 yards in 13 plays and took nearly 7 minutes off the clock. Trubisky hit Burton for 12. Howard then gained 8 and 7. An unnecessary roughness penalty added 15 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 35, Howard got the yard. On 3rd and 7 from the Arizona 31, Trubisky hit Cohen but came up one yard short. With 4 1/2 minutes to play, Matt Nagy opted for the field goal rather than go for it. Parkey made the field goal and the Bears led 16-14 with 3 minutes left.

In a stunning turn of events after a touchback, Josh Rosen made his NFL debut in the most high pressure of situations. Welcome to the NFL, kid. Rosen hit Gresham for 9. He then hit Kirk for 50 to set up 1st and 10 at midfield with 2:19 to play. A very calm Rosen hit Williams for 8 to set up 3rd and 2 at the Chicago 42 at the 2 minute warning. One more first down would give the Cardinals a chance at a long field goal.

Steve Wilk went with a running play and it was blown up in the backfield for a 3 yard loss. On 4th and 5, Rosen went to the sideline and was intercepted by Callahan. Dennis Green is gone, but the Bears and Cardinals are still both who we thought they were. Don’t crown the Bears @sses just yet. As for Rosen, he will have better days after facing a brutal introduction. At least he is partially Jewish. Happy Sukkos, kid. 16-14 Bears

 

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks — Both teams are struggling, and a scoreless first quarter continued that futility. In the second quarter, the Seahawks finally got going, driving 64 yards in 10 plays. Russell Wilson hit Brown for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Seahawks. Dallas thought they tied the game. On 3rd and 2 from the Seattle 31, Dak Prescott went to Ezekiel Elliott for the touchdown. Yet Elliott stepped out of bounds before catching the pass, making it an illegal touch and incomplete. Maher buried the 50 yard field goal to get the Cowboys within 7-3.

The Seahawks came back 75 yards. Wilson went to Tyler Lockett for a 52 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Seahawks. Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 47 yard field goal as the Seahawks took a 17-3 lead to the locker rooms. In the third quarter Maher hit from 35 to get the Cowboys within 17-6. In the fourth quarter the Seahawks salted the game away. They moved 72 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes to ice things. Carson ran it in from 5 yards out to make it 24-6 Seahawks.

Dallas tried to make a game of it. They moved from their 30 to a 1st and 10 at the Seattle 45. Elliott rumbled for a 26 yard gain but then had the ball chopped out of his hands. The Seahawks recovered at their own 13. Dallas got it back at their own 43. Elliott ran for 19 and prescott hit Gallup for 17 more. Prescott hit Tavon Austin for a 3 yard touchdown but the Cowboys still trailed by 11 midway through the fourth quarter. The Cowboys got it back at their own 20 with 5 1/2 minutes left and moved to a 1st and 10 at the Seattle 19 with 3:17 to play. Prescott was then intercepted by Earl Thomas. The Legion of Boom no longer exists, but Pete Carroll still knows how to draft and coach talent on defense. 24-13 Seahawks

 

New England Patriots at Detroit Lions was the Sunday night game. Matt Patricia went up against his former boss Bill Belichick. The Lions defense has been atrocious, giving up 78 points in 2 games including a 31 point loss at home. The Patriots were coming off a humbling revenge loss at Jacksonville. An angry New England team meant they would blow Detroit to Smithereens. THAT’s why they PLAY the games.

In the first quarter the Lions moved 65 yards in 12 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. Matt Prater hit a 38 yard field goal as the Lions led 3-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter the Lions moved 60 yards in 5 1/2 minutes. Matthew Stafford hit Kenny Golladay for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Lions. The Lions got it back and moved 71 yards in 14 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. Prater hit from 25 as the Lions held a 13-0 lead in front of an elated home crowd.

Surely the Patriots would come back. A 57 yard, 11 play drive allowed Stephen Gostkowski to hit a 36 yard field goal before the half. In the third quarter the Patriots moved 52 yards. Brady hit Jaleel White for a 10 yard touchdown as the Patriots were within 13-10. At any moment everyone knew New England would steamroll over Detroit.

It never happened. The Lions responded by going 75 yards in 10 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Stafford hit Marvin Jones for a 33 yard touchdown as the Lions led 20-10 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter it was the Lions putting the game away as Prater hit field goals of 32 and 30. The latter kick was set up by New England being forced to go for it on fourth down from inside their own 20. Brady threw deep incomplete. Brady finished 14 of 26 for 133 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It was Stafford finishing 27 of 36 for 262 yards with 2 touchdowns and one interception. Every time it seems the Patriots are dead, they come back and make a deep playoff run. They are 1-2 this year, but they have had too many September losses in recent years to ignore that they play well in December. We shall see. For Matt Patricia, his first win as an NFL head coach was as enormous as it gets. 26-10 Lions

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the Monday night game. The first 2 weeks of the season, the Bucs were the feel good story with Ryan Fitzpatrick and his magic beard. The Steelers were the surprise struggling team. Early on those trends continued as Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted and the Buccaneers took over at their own 47. Fitzpatrick hit Mike Evans for 14 yards, Howard and for 13 more. Pierre Barber ran for 18 and Fitzpatrick hit Chris Brate fir a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Buccaneers. After that the trends totally reversed.

The Steelers came right back. On 3rd and 10 from their own 25, a short pass from Roethlisberger to Vince McDonald went for a 75 yard touchdown. The extra point doinked off the upright no good as the Steelers trailed 7-6 after the first quarter. In the second quarter the Steelers exploded and the Bucs melted.

First Chris Boswell hit a 38 yard field goal to make it 9-7 Steelers. Then a Tampa Bay fumble had the Steelers taking over at the Pittsburgh 33. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 27 yard touchdown to make it 16-7 Steelers. The Buccaneers moved from their 30 to the Pittsburgh 12, but Fitzpatrick was then intercepted at the Pittsburgh 6 yard line. On the next series Fitzpatrick was intercepted again. The Buccaneers to it back at their own 2 yard line and Fitzpatrick was intercepted for the third straight series. This time it proved lethal as Dupree returned it for a 10 yard touchdown  to make it 23-7 Buccaneers.

Tampa got it back and moved from their own 22 to a 2nd and goal at the 3 with 90 seconds left in the half. Fitzpatrick threw incomplete twice. Dirk Koetter opted for the field goal and Chandler Catanzaro hit from 21 to get the Buccaneers within 23-10. The Steelers only had 1:15 left to work with after a touchback but that was enough time. Roethlisberger hit Brown for 6, Connor for 18, Brown again for 9, Juju Smith-Schuster for 12, Washington for 13 and 12 and Ryan Swather for the one yard touchdown with 6 seconds left in the half. 24 points in the second quarter had the Steelers up 30-10 at halftime.

After halftime, the Steelers coasted and the Buccaneers tried to mount a spirited comeback. In the third quarter, the Bucs held the ball for 14 plays and 8 minutes, moving 65 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 10, Fitzpatrick threw incomplete. Catanzaro hit from 28 but the Buccaneers still trailed 30-13 after three quarters. The Steelers missed a chance to extend the lead when Boswell missed from 47 yards out.

In the fourth quarter the Buccaneers took over at their own 37 and held the ball for 12 plays and 5 minutes. On 4th and 6 from the Pittsburgh 42, Koetter decided to go for it. Fitzpatrick hit Brate for 9 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Fitzpatrick hit Chris Godwin for the touchdown as the buccaneers were within 30-20 with 11 minutes left in regulation. The Buccaneers thought they were right back in it when DeSean Jackson returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown with 9 minutes left. However, offensive holding nullified the score and the Bucs took over at their own 8 yard line.

Fitzpatrick hit Howard for 21 yards and Jackson for 12. Then Fitzpatrick scrambled for 17 yards. From the Pittsburgh 40, Fitzpatrick hit Howard for 16 and Evans for the 24 yard touchdown. With just under 6 minutes left, the Buccaneers were within a field goal and had all the momentum with 17 unanswered points.

Tampa Bay got it back at their own 20 with 3 minutes. Fitzpatrick threw 3 straight incompletions but only took 25 seconds off the clock. Dirk Koetter decided to punt and trust his defense. From the Pittsburgh 32, Mike Tomlin decided to trust his veteran quarterback rather than run the ball up the middle and punt. Big Ben hit Smith-Schuster for 18 yards to midfield as the Bucs took their last timeout. On the next play, Conner ran for a 17 yard gain as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. Big Ben took 3 knees and that was it.

Both quarterbacks completed 30 passes and had 3 touchdowns. However, Roethlisberger only threw 38 passes, while Fitzpatrick threw 50. Roethlisberger had 353 yards, but only one interception. Fitzpatrick had 411 yards, but 3 killer interceptions in the second quarter. Jameis Winston’s suspension is now over, and Koetter has to decide to give him another chance or stick with Fitzpatrick. 30-27 Steelers

eric

NFL 2018 Week 3 Prequel

Thursday, September 20th, 2018
NFL 2018 Week 3 Prequel
 
eric

NFL 2018 Week 2 Recap

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 2 Recap

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals was the Thursday night game. Baltimore built a 40 point lead in their opener en route to a 47-3 win. The Bengals went on the road, fell behind 23-10, and rattled off 24 straight points for the win. Both teams beat up on weaker teams. Now each had a better measuring stick of where they were.

The Bengals jumped all over the Ravens at the start. After an exchange of punts, the Ravens took over at their own 18. Joe Flacco was intercepted by Bates, who returned it it 21 yards to the Baltimore 16. It looked liked Red Rifle Andy Dalton returned the favor on the very next play. A pass to the end zone was marvelously deflected into the air and intercepted on a spectacular grab by Eric Weddle. Despite the acrobatic efforts, Weddle’s 2nd foot saw his tow on the line out of bounds. Dalton escapade with an incompletion and a few plays later hit AJ Green for a 4 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Bengals lead.

The Bengals got it back at their own 20 and Dalton quickly hit Uzomah for a 29 yard gain. Greg Bernard ran for 11 and 8. On 3rd and 2 from the Baltimore 32, Dalton zipped a pass to Green, who bounced off a tackler and split the seams for a touchdown to make it 14-0 Bengals. The Bengals got it back at their own 28 and embarked on a 12 play, 672 yard drive that consumed 6 minutes. Joe Mixon gained 11 and Dalton went to Boyd for a 27 yard gain. The second quarter began with the Bengals facing 3rd and 13 at the Baltimore 15. An illegal use of hands penalty gave the Bengals a new st of downs. On 3rd and goal at the 7, Dalton hit Green for the touchdown as the Bengals were all over Baltimore 21-0.

After a touchback Baltimore finally got going. On 3rd and 15 from their own 32, Flacco went deep to Brown for a 45 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the Cincy 8, Flacco threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. Allen got it to get the Ravens on the board. From the Cincy 22, the Bengals kept rolling. On 3rd and 9 from the Cincy 38,Dalton went deep to Boyd for 22 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Baltimore 26, Dalton hit Boyd for 17 yards. Dalton found Boyd again for a 14 yard touchdown. With 3 minutes left in the half, the Bengals were winning a 28-7 laugher.

After a touchback the Ravens moved to a 4th and 4 at the Cincinnati 38. John Harbaugh decided to go for it and Flacco threw incomplete. Only 1:22 remained in the half, but an attempt to deliver the knockout blow backfired. Rather than run the ball and go to the half up by 21, Marvin Lewis had Dalton keep throwing. He was hot as blazes, so it was a sensible move. However, Dalton threw 3 straight incompletions and only 20 seconds went off the clock. The Ravens still had one more chance from their own 19 with one minute left.

Flacco hit Collins for 22 yards, Michael Crabtree for 17 more, and Andrew for another 11. From the Cincinnati 31, a deep ball drew defensive pass interference and 1st and goal at the one. With 8 seconds left in the half on 3rd and goal, Flacco hit Andrews for the touchdown. The Ravens were only down 28-14 at halftime, and they now had momentum.

In the third quarter the Ravens took over at their own 35. Flacco went to Williams for a 25 yard gain. The drive stalled, but John Harbaugh gambled on a 55 yard field goal. Justin Tucker nailed it and the Ravens were within 28-17.

Baltimore moved from their 21 to a 3rd and 2 at the Cincinnati 44, but when Flacco threw incomplete, John Harbaugh decided to gamble on 4th and 2. Flacco hit Allen, but only for one yard as the Ravens turned it over on downs. The Bengals moved to a 2nd and 8 at the Baltimore 37. Dalton threw incomplete twice, and Marvin Lewis opted against going for it or trying a 55 yard field goal. The Bengals punted. Flacco threw another interception but the Bengals did not capitalize.

The Ravens began the fourth quarter at their own 13. Flacco hit Brown for 17 and Snead for 10 more. From the Cincy 33, Flacco hit Allen for 16. On 2nd and 14 from the Cincy 21, Flacco went to Brown for the touchdown. The 2 point try failed, but with 9 1/2 minutes left in the game, the 12 play, 5 minute, 87 yard drive had the Ravens within 28-23.

The Bengals soon faced 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Dalton threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. From the Baltimore 37, Mixon gained 21 yards. Randy Bullock hit a 28 yard field goal to put the Bengals up 31-23 with 3 minutes left. 3 plays later on 3rd and 10 from the Baltimore 25, Flacco got leveled and fumbled. The Bengals recovered at the Baltimore 29. With 2 1/2 minutes left, Bullock drilled a 40 yard field goal to put the game on ice.

After a touchback Baltimore moved to the Cincinnati 23 with 8 seconds left. Needing 2 scores, the only chance was to try a field goal and then an onside kick. Instead Flacco threw a short pass that gained 11 yards but let the clock run out. The Bengals won by the same score for the second straight week. Flacco threw 55 passes, completing 32 of them for 376 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 2 interceptions. Dalton was 24 of 42 for 265 yards and 4 touchdowns, all in the first half. While he and the entire offense cooled off after halftime, Dalton was not intercepted. It is the Bengals who are now the 2-0 team. 34-23 Bengals

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons — With the Carolinas getting belted by Hurricane Florence, it was fate that the Panthers were on the road at Atlanta. Graham Gano hit a 54 yard field goal for the Panthers and Matt Bryant responded from 44 for a 3-3 game after the first quarter. The Panthers took over at their own 30 to start the second quarter. On 4th and 4 from the Atlanta 33, Riverboat Ron Rivera decided to go for it. Cam Newton scrambled for 10 yards, gave himself up on a foot first slide, and got drilled in the head by Kazee. Tempers flared, Kazee was ejected, and Newton stayed in the game. On 3rd and 5 from the atlanta 18, Newton hit devon finches for 12. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Newton hit Wright for the touchdown and the 10-3 Panthers lead.

The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 9 at their own 26. Matt Ryan threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant a 14 yard gin. Coleman raced for a 32 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Carolina 11, Ryan fired to Ridley for the touchdown as the teams were deadlocked 10-10. With 1:35 left in the half, the Falcons got it back at their own 15. Ryan hit Ridley for 22 and went deep to Hall for 30 yards. Ryan hit Hooper for an 8 yard touchdown as the Falcons took a 17-10 lead to the locker rooms.

Ryan was intercepted in the third quarter, pinning the Panthers back at their own 2 yard line. Atlanta got it back and soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 40. Ryan hit Ridley for 22 yards. Smith ran for gains of 13 and 18. Ryan snuck for the last yard himself to make it 24-10 Falcons. Late in the third quarter the Panthers took over at their own 20. On the last play of the third quarter facing 3rd and 6 at their own 35, Newton hit Wright for 7 yards. Defensive pass interference added 15 yards a couple plays later. On 3rd and 4 from the 11, Newton found Thomas for 8 yards and Smith for the 3 yard touchdown to get the Panthers within 24-17.

After a touchback, defensive holding followed by Ryan hitting Mohammed Sanu for 12 had the Falcons on the move. From the Atlanta 47, Ryan went deep to Hooper for 30 yards and Paulsen for 10 more. On 3rd and 5 from the 8, Ryan scrambled around the end and got past the pylon for the score to make it 31-17 Falcons midway through the fourth quarter. On the next series Newton was intercepted to set the Falcons up at their own 47, but they went 3 and out. Carolina got it back at their own 4 yard line.

Newton hi McCaffrey for gains of 5 and 7. Then he went deep to Wright for 22 and back to McCaffrey for 11 more. Newton then went deep to Moore for a 51 yard touchdown to get the Panthers within 31-24 with 2:20 to play. Carolina took two timeouts on defense. The falcons faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Coleman got the carry and got stopped cold as the clock hit the 2 minute warning.

Carolina got it back at their own 16 with 1:48 left. Newton scrambled for 16 yards and hit McCaffrey for 10 more. With 26 seconds left, on 3rd and 6 from the Carolina 46, Newton found Devon Funchess for 12 yards. With 4 seconds left from the Atlanta 31, Newton’s Hail Mary to one receiver and four defenders initially appeared to be answered. On closer inspection it was incomplete as Atlanta for the second straight week went down to the final play. This time they got the win. 31-24 Falcons

Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints — The Saints scored 40 points last week but surrendered 48. The 0-16 Browns managed a tie. They forced 5 turnovers last week and started this game forcing a fumble. Zane Gonzalez hit a 39 yard field goal to open the scoring. The Saints moved 63 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. A pass to the end zone was broken up at the last moment as the Saints settled for a 31 yard Will Lutz field goal and a 3-3 tie. Lutz missed from 44 with 4 minutes left in the half. The Saints dominated statistically but turned it over three times. Gonzalez hit from 39 again with 1:55 left in the half for a 6-3 Browns lead.

In the third quarter the Browns mounted a 12 play, 79 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. Carlos Hyde got the last yard. The extra point was no good, but just enough offense and stifling defense had the Browns up 12-3 after three quarters. Could they finally finish  game and get a win? Less than one minute into the fourth quarter, a 3rd and 6 pass for the Browns was dropped. Then Gonzalez missed a 44 yard field goal. Was a collapse inevitable?

From their own 34 to start the fourth quarter, Alvin Kamara ran for 18 yards. With 12 minutes left, the saints faced 3rd and 3 at the Cleveland 41. Drew Brees was sacked for a 9 yard loss. Yet illegal contact on the defense meant an automatic first down for the Saints. These are the Browns. With 8:45 to play, Brees threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Thomasas the Saints only trailed 12-10. The word inevitable had that inevitable feeling.

Both teams went 3 and out as the Cleveland defense was giving every ounce they could. All they ask was that the offense not give the game away. With 5 minutes left, from the Cleveland 30, Tyrod Taylor was intercepted. Williams returned it 22 yards to the Cleveland 18. These are the Browns. On 3rd and 2 from the Cleveland 10, Kamara gained 5 yards. Brees hit Thomas for the touchdown. Kamara ran in the 2 point conversion as the Saints led 18-12 with 2 1/2 minutes left. These are the Browns.

With 1:24 left the Browns faced 4th and 5 at the Saints 47. One more failure would end things. Rather than just try to pick up the first down, Hue Jackson went for all the marbles. Tyrod Taylor went for the bomb, and shocked the football world with a touchdown pass to Callaway. The game was tied and the extra point would give the Browns the lead. These are the Browns?

Gonzalez had already missed an extra point and a field goal, so now was his time for redemption. Again he missed. The game remained tied 18-18. Say it with me, world. These are the Browns.

After a touchback with 1:16 remaining, the entire world knew Brees would give the Saints the lead. He hit Ted Ginn Jr. for 8 yards. On the next play he went deep to Ginn for a 42 yard gain to the Cleveland 25. With 43 seconds left the Saints were already in field goal range. They could bleed the clock down and kick a field goal on the final play. Then Sean Payton made some very questionable play calls.

On 2nd and 11 and again on 3rd and 11, Payton called pass plays. Brees threw incomplete twice, stopping the clock. With 26 seconds left, Will Lutz came in for the 44 yarder to give the Saints the lead. Lutz was good, but the Browns after a touchback still had 21 seconds and one timeout.

Taylor went deep to Jarvis Landry for 25 yards as the Browns called their final timeout with 14 seconds left. Taylor then went to Callaway for 16 yards. Callaway barely got out of bounds to stop the clock with 8 seconds left. Hue Jackson decided not to run another play. Without a timeout, it was too risky. Gonzalez had missed 2 extra points and a field goal, but now it was finally time for redemption. Last week the Browns went to overtime tied 21-21. One successful field goal and they would again.

Gonzalez missed again. THESE. ARE. THE. BROWNS. For those seeking employment and are willing to relocate to Ohio, the Browns are one of several teams desperately in need of a kicker. To quote Paul Maguire, “I hate kickers. They should be paid $50 a game.” Maguire later revised his offer to 25 cents. Hue Jackson is too good a man for this. The team founded by Paul Brown and made famous with Jim Brown should consider renaming itself the Charlie Browns. He couldn’t kick a football either. 21-18 Saints

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans — Blaine Gabbert was in for the injured Marcus Mariota. Mike Vrabel went to his bag of tricks. Yard lined up at quarterback and lobbed a floater to Cruikshank. There was no defense anywhere as the connection resulted in a 66 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Titans. The Texans failed to score when Fairbairn missed a 54 yard field goal. The Titans took over at their own 44. From the Houston 18, Blaine Gabbert threw a West Coast Offense dink and dunk sideways pass, and thanks to bad attempts at tackling, it became a touchdown and a 14-0 Titans lead. The Texans moved the ball and Deshaun Watson went deep to the end zone into multiple coverage and was intercepted for a touchback.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half the Titans punted on 4th and 29 at their own 13. The Texans took over at their own 47. On 1st and 20 from their own 37, illegal contact on the defense meant an automatic first down.Pm 3rd and 7 from their own 45, Watson went deep to Deandre Hopkins for 23 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Tennessee 28, Watson went deep again to Hopkins for the touchdown as the Texans trailed 14-7 at the intermission.

The defenses controlled the third quarter as a 34 yard Fairbairn field goal had the Texans trailing 14-10 after three quarters. The Texans began the fourth quarter at their 30. DeShaun Watson hit Akins for 13 yards. Watson then went deep to Fuller for a 39 yard touchdown to make it 17-14 Texans. After a touchback, Gabbert hit Stocker for 11 yards with 15 more tacked on for unsportsmanlike conduct. On 3rd and 3 from the Houston 42, Gabbert hit Sharpe for 14 yards. Ryan Succop hit a 42 yard field goal to tie the game 17-17 with 9:45 to play. 

After a touchback, the Texans moved to a 4th and 8 at the Tennessee 37. With 6:50 to play, Bill O’Brien opted to play it very safe and punt rather than go for it or try a 55 yard field goal. The Titans took over at their own 25. Lewis ran for 13 yards and Gabbert hit Davis for 13 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Houston 39, Gabbert got the yard. On 2nd and 12 from the Houston 40, Gabbert hit Davis for 18 yards. With 1:05 to play, on 4th and 1 from the 13, Succop came in to break the tie from 31 yards out. On a day of shaky kickers, Succop was good and the Titans had the lead.

With 33 seconds left facing 3rd and 6 at their own 29, Watson hit Hopkins for 19 yards. Watson spiked the ball to stop the clock, but the Texans burned their 3rd and final timeout with 17 seconds left. From the Houston 48, Watson found Hopkins for 31 yards. The Texans raced to the line to spike the ball and try the tying field goal. They never got the chance as the clock ran out. 20-17 Titans

Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins — Andrew Luck moved the Colts 75 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes and hit Eric Ebron for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts. In the second quarter an interception of Luck had the Redskins taking over at their own 42. Dustin Hopkins hit a 49 yard field goal to get the Redskins on the board. After a touchback, a 37 yard defensive pass interference penalty had the Colts on the move. Hines ran for an 8 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Colts at halftime.

An ugly second half saw the Redskins move the ball but not finish their drives. Hopkins hit from 27 in the third quarter and from 49 n the fourth quarter to get the Redskins within 14-9. Washington was hitting field goals while the Colts were scoring touchdowns. A 13 play, 75 yard drive took 6 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Luck hit TY Hilton for the touchdown to all but end the game midway through the fourth quarter. The Redskins fumbled the ball away with 5 minutes left to seal their fate. 21-9 Colts

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers — The Steelers punted and Ryan swather returned it to the Pittsburgh 21. Patrick Mahomes hit Chris Conley for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chiefs. Kansas City got it back at their own 29 and Mahomes hit Sammy Watkins for 10 and then again deep for a 40 yard gain. Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for the 19 yard touchdown and a 14-0 Chiefs lead. Pittsburgh missed a chance to get on the board when Chris Boswell hooked a 49 yard field goal wide. The Chiefs took over at their own 39 and kept making it look easy. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Mahomes hit Kareem Hunt for the score to make it 21-0 Chiefs.

A turning point in the game came with one minute left in the first quarter. The Steelers faced 3rd and 10 at their own 19. Ben Roethlisberger was hit and fumbled. Jones recovered it at the 5 and took it in for what looked like a 28-0 Chiefs lead. Yet defensive holding nullified the score. The second quarter began with the Steelers at the Chiefs 40. Roethlisberger hit Juju Smith-Schuster for 14 and James for a 26 yard touchdown to get the Steelers on the board. Pittsburgh got it back at their own 15 and moved again. Big ben hit Spitzer for 14 and James for 20. From the Chiefs 26, Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 6, McDonald for 11, Smith-Schuster for 11, and Smith-Schuster again for the 2 yard touchdown. Boswell missed the extra point but the Steelers were within 21-13.

Pittsburgh got it back at their own 10 with 3 minutes left in the half. From the 20, Pittsburgh went deep to James for a 32 yard gain. Defensive pass interference a couple plays later tacked on 15 more yards. With 24 seconds left in the half, on 3rd and 10 from the Chiefs 14, Big Ben went to Washington for the touchdown as the Steelers. Mike Tomlin opted to go for 2 and Roethlisberger hit James Conner for the conversion as the teams were tied 21-21 at the break.

After a touchback to start the third quarter Mahomes connected with Tyreeq Hill for a 36 yard gain. Mahomes found Kelce for 13 and then again for a 25 yard touchdown as the Chiefs took the 28-21 lead. After a touchback the Steelers responded. Roetholisberger hit Smith-Schuster for 15 yards and again for 21 more. Big Ben hit nix for 19 yards down to the 5 yard line. On the next play an incompletion that was almost intercepted was negated due to defensive holding. On 1st and goal at the 2 Roethlisberger went to the end zone and was intercepted. Yet defensive pass interference gave the Steelers 1st and goal at the one. Conner got the carry off left tackle, appeared, stopped, and bulled his way forward. His elbow came down before the pylon but the ball in his other hand was just past the plane of the goal for the score and the 28-28 tie.

The Chiefs came back again. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, Mahomes fired to the back of the end zone for Robinson. Officials ruled that Robinson did not get both feet down inbounds, calling an incompletion. Walrus Lite Andy Reid challenged the call. On further review, the call was reversed to a touchdown and a 35-28 Chiefs lead, making Andy Reid a most pleased Walrus Lite indeed.

The Steelers went 3 and out and the Chiefs took over late in the third quarter at their own 35. Mahomes went to Watkins for a 25 yard gain. The fourth quarter began with the Chiefs facing 3rd and 1 at the Pittsburgh 31. The defense jumped offside. On 2nd and 13 from the Pittsburgh 29, Mahomes went deep to Hill for the touchdown as the Chiefs led 42-28.

The Steelers punted again, but a perfect punt pinned the Chiefs back at their own one yard line. After a deep incompletion, Hunt got the carry and was tackled in the end zone for a safety. With a full 12 minutes left, the Steelers were within 42-30. The Steelers could not capitalize after the free kick. The Chiefs moved from their 20 to a 1st and at the Pittsburgh 36 with 5 minutes left. A short completion was fumbled away as the Steelers were still alive at their own 34.

Roethlisberger went deep to James for a 46 yard gain. With 4 minutes left, on 4th and 3 from the Chiefs 13, Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster for 7 yards. On 4th and goal at the 3, unable to find anyone, Big Ben took off running and made it around the end just past the pylon for the touchdown. At the 2 minute warning, the Steelers were within 5 points.

Needing a stop, the defense saw Hunt gain 9 and then 3 more for a critical first down. The Steelers took their timeouts on defense and finally got a stop. The Chiefs had to punt, but only 11 seconds remained. From the Chiefs 41, the Steelers went for the block, didn’t get it, and got called for roughing the punter. The automatic first down let Mahomes take one knee for the win.

Roethlisberger threw 60 passes, completing 39 of them for 452 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Yet the Steelers lost because the league has a new superstar. Patrick Mahomes went 23 of 28 for 265 yards and 6…yes, 6…touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Mahome broke Peyton Manning’s NFL for most touchdown passes in the first 2 games of an NFL season. Manning had 9. Mahomes through 2 games has 10. Gone is the dinking and dunking West Coast Offense failures. Walrus Lite Andy Reid has a gunslinger at the helm. 42-37 Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills — Last week the Bills lost 47-3 under Nathan Peterman, who has never finished an NFL game. Last year Peterman threw 5 interceptions in the first half against the Chargers. This time it was Josh Allen getting the start. An exchange of punts had the Chargers taking over at the Buffalo 38. Philip Rivers quickly hit Victor Green for 25 yards and Mike Williams for the 10 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bills. The Chargers got it back at their own 39 and moved easily. Melvin Gordon ran for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Chargers.

In the second quarter the Bills managed a 43 yard Steve Hauschka field goal, but the Chargers kept rolling on offense. Ekeleer ran for 22 yards after a touchback and Rivers hit Green for 23 more. Rivers hit Gordon for the 9 yard touchdown to make it 21-3 Chargers. The Chargers got it back and moved 81 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Rivers hit Gordon for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 28-3 Chargers.

Buffalo inspired the football world when Hauschka hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Bills within 28-6 at halftime. For some reason, league rules required the second half to be played. The Bills did move 75 yards to start the third quarter. Chris Ivory got in from one yard out to get the Bills within 28-13. An uneventful fourth quarter saw Caleb Sturgis tack on a 24 yard field goal and Allen throw a garbage touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin to make the score look respectable. At least nobody can blame this loss on Nathan Peterman. 31-20 Chargers

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets — Sam Dranold’s first ever NFL pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, but the Jets won 48-17. This week Darnold threw an interception that had the Dolphins starting at the Jets 15. Drake ran for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Dolphins. Midway through the second quarter the Jets moved from their own 8 to their own 39. A pass from Darnold to Anderson was fumbled and the Dolphins recovered just past midfield. A defensive facemark moved Miami closer. Ryan Tannehill went to Wilson, who got to the corner and just past the pylon for a 29 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Dolphins. The Dolphins got it back late in the half and quickly moved 62 yards. Tannehill hit Derby for a 19 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Dolphins led 20-0 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Jets moved 75 yards. Darnold went to Powell for a 28 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Jets trailed 20-6. The Dolphins tried to give the game away from their own 29 as Tannehill was hit and fumbled. The jets refused to accept the generosity. Starting from the Miami 12, Darnold was intercepted for a touchback. In the fourth quarter the Jets had an 11 play drive that took 6:15 off the clock but somehow gained only 22 yards. Myers bailed the Jets out with field goals of 55 and 41 yards to get the Jets within 8 points.

With 6 minutes left, Gang Green needed a stop on defense. After a touchback, Drake ran for a 20 yard gain. With 3 1/2 minutes left, Todd Bowles saw his defense facing 3rd and 19 at the Jets 45. A short pass from Tannehill to Frank Gore gained the exact amount. Now it was desperation time. With 2 1/2 minutes left, the Dolphins faced 3rd and 6 at the Jets 22. The jets were out of timeouts. Tannehill escaped for an 8 yard gain and then took 3 knees. One week after looking like the league’s most exciting team, the Jets lost to the league’s most boring team. To be fair to Adam Gase, the team was boring before he arrived. 20-12 Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers — Aaron Rodgers played, but it was special teams that started the scoring. From their own 15, the Vikings punted and the Packers blocked it and recovered in the end zone for a 7-0 Packers lead. A 46 yard kickoff return by Hughes had the Vikings starting at their own 43. Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen for 7 and Sean Diggs for 18 more. On 3rd and 3 from the Green Bay 14, Cousins went to Treadwell for the touchdown and a 7-7 game.

In the second quarter the Packers moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Rodgers went to Devontae Adams for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Packers. Green Bay got it back and moved 43 yards. Mason Crosby hit a 37 yard field goal before the half ended to put the Packers up 17-7. In the third quarter the Packers moved 67 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. A touchdown pass was called back due to a penalty. The Packers settled for a 40 yard Crosby field goal to lead 20-7.

For three quarters the Packers were in command. Football is four quarters. Late in the third quarter the Vikings faced 3rd and 1 at their own 38. Ham got the carry up the gut for 5 yards. On the last play of the third quarter, the Vikings faced 3rd and 1 at the Green Bay 28. Cousins went to Kyle Rudolph for a 23 yard gain. Cousins hit Diggs for a 3 yard touchdown to get the Vikings within 20-14 and almost all of the fourth quarter to go.

2 plays after a touchback from the Green Bay 36, Rodgers went deep and was intercepted. However, offsetting penalties kept Green Bay on offense. Rodgers then went to Greg Allison for 22 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Minnesota 13, Williams got the carry and lost a yard. Crosby hit the 31 yard field goal to give the Packers breathing room up 23-14 midway through the fourth quarter. They would not have breathing room for long. 2 plays and 17 seconds later, Cousins went deep to Diggs for a 75 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Vikings were within 23-21.

From the Green Bay 31, the Packers offense mounted a long drive and again tried to put the game away. Rodgers hit Jimmy Graham for a 16 yard gain. With 4 minutes remaining and the Packers facing 3rd and 3 at the Minnesota 41, Mike McCarthy called the Packers final timeout. After a false start, on 3rd and 8, Rodgers hit Allison for 12 yards. Yet on 3rd and 6 from the Minnesota 30, Rodgers threw incomplete. Crosby hit the 48 yard field goal. With 2:13 to play the Packers led 26-21, but they had not closed the door.

Disaster immediately struck the Vikings after a touchback. Cousins was intercepted by Haha Clinton-Dix, who returned it 24 yards to the Minnesota 13. Mike Zimmer’s defense needed to come up monster big, and they did as 3 offensive plays for the Packers lost 5 yards. Crosby hit again from 36 to make it 29-21 Packers. Yet with 1:45 left the door was still open.

After a touchback, Cousins was quickly intercepted by Alexander. The Packers celebrated, but a very questionable roughing the passer penalty on Clay Matthews gave the ball back to Minnesota. Matthews’s hit was completely legal. Whatever the officials saw, nobody else did. Cousins then hit Thielen for 12 and Rudolph for 10. With 36 seconds left, from the Green Bay 22, Cousins went deep to Thielen for the touchdown. Cousins went to Diggs for the 2 point conversion and the game was tied.

A touchback left 31 seconds left. Williams gained 11 yards and Rodgers spiked the ball with 16 seconds left to stop the clock. Rodgers then went to Graham for a 27 yard gain and to Adams for 3 more yards. With 3 seconds left, Crosby came in for the 52 yard field goal try to win it. The kick was no good, and these hated rivals were going to overtime.

In overtime, Minnesota moved from their 30 to a 2nd and 9 at the Green Bay 31. Cousins threw incomplete twice. Carlson came in for the 49 yard field goal to win it for the Vikings, with Crosby looking on helplessly on the other side. The kick was no good, and the game continued. Green Bay went from their 39 to a 3rd and 4 at the Minnesota 40. Rodgers was sacked to kill the drive.

From the Minnesota 20, Cousins hit Diggs for 12 and Thielen for 25 more. With 2 minutes left in overtime, the Vikings faced 3rd and 3 at the Green Bay 36. Cousins found Diggs for 6 yards. Latavius Murray had gains of 9 and 4. With 4 seconds left in overtime, Carlson came in for a chip shot 35 yarder to redeem himself and win the game. Again the kick was no good. Ties are rare in the NFL, but this season has seen 2 ties in only 2 weeks. In both games, it was missed kicks that prevented wins and validated Walrus Paul Maguie’s anti-kicker maxim. Rodgers finished 30 of 42 for 281 yards, one touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Cousins was a ridiculous 35 of 48 for 425 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception. Either quarterback would rather have a win, which neither one got. 29-29 tie, OT

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The Buccaneers put up 48 points last week but surely that was a fluke, right? On the first play from scrimmage, Ryan Fitzpatrick went deep to Desean Jackson for a 75 yard touchdown and a 7-0  Buccaneers lead. The game slowed down considerably as the defenses dug in for the rest of the first quarter. In the second quarter the eagles moved 78 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Clement ran for a 15 yard touchdown and a 7-7 tie.

Then the Buccaneers did it again. One play. One pass. 75 yards. Fitzpatrick to OJ Howard. Last time it took 11 seconds. This time it took 12 seconds for the Buccaneers to lead 13-7 after the failed extra point. The Bucs got it back at their own 30 and this time needed a whole 1:44 to score. Fitzpatrick hit Chris Godwin for an 8 yard touchdown as the Buccaneers led 20-7 at halftime.

In the third quarter Doug Pederson decided to go for it with the Eagles facing 4th and 4 just past midfield. Naturally, Pederson called a West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass rater than a throw past the first down marker. Nick Foles hit Zac Ertz for 3 yards and the Eagles turned it over on downs. On 3rd and 7 from the Philly 34, Fitzpatrick went deep to Jackson again for a 28 yard gain. Fitzpatrick hit Evans for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 27-7 Buccaneers.

With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, the Eagles took over at their own 16. Foles hit Clement for 19 and connected with Nelson Agholor for a 50 yard gain. On 4th and 1 from the 6, Foles got 2 yards. Jay Ajayi ran for a 2 yard touchdown to get the Eagles within 27-14 after three quarters. The Buccaneers then fumbled the ball away around midfield, and the Eagles recovered at their own 43. The Eagles reached a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 35 when a run went nowhere and Foles threw 3 straight incompletions as the Eagles turned it over on downs.

With 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Eagles took over at their own 22. Defensive pass interference moved the ball to the 32. Foles hit Aiken for 18 and Perkins for 30 more to midfield. On 4th and goal at the 2 with 2:51 to play, Foles hit Agholor for the touchdown. The Eagles were within 6 points, and the missed Tampa Bay extra point loomed large.

On 2nd and 13 from their own 12, Fitzpatrick hit Jackson for a critical Tampa Bay first down. With 2:23 to play the Eagles took their final timeout with the Bucs facing 3rd and 3 at their own 36. Fitzpatrick hit Evans for 10 yards. 3 straight runs yielded nothing but bled the clock. By the time the Eagles got the ball back at their own 10, only 19 seconds remained. They got no further than their own 28 after failed hook and laterals ended the game. Foles played well, going 35 of 48 for 334 yards, one touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Fitzpatrick for the second straight week was white hot, going 27 of 33 for 402 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception. Rather than the defending champions, it is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a backup quarterback who are 2-0 with 2 road wins against 2 of the top teams from last year. 27-21 Buccaneers

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams — The Rams may be the best team in the league. The Cardinals may be the worst. Sometimes a bad team can go on the road and shock a good team in an upset for the ages. This was not that game. Goliath beat up David and took his lunch money. After a scoreless first quarter, reality set in. Todd Gurley capped off a 58 yard drive with an 11 yard touchdown run to start the deluge. Johnny Hekker added a 20 yard field goal. The Rams got it back at the Arizona 32 and Gurley ran for a one yard touchdown. After both touchdowns, Sean McVay went for 2 point conversions and the Rams made them both to led 19-0 at halftime.

The second half was a formality. Gurley’s third touchdown run from 2 yards out came in the third quarter. The Rams made another 2 point try. In the fourth quarter the Rams took over at the Arizona 25. Jared Goff went to Tyler Higbee for a 3 yard touchdown. Sean McVay in an act of mercy kicked the extra point to complete the blowout. Goff finished 24 of 32 for 354 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Truly great teams beat bad teams easily. Former Rams 1st pick in the draft Sam Bradford finished a miserable 17 of 27 for 90 yards. 34-0 Rams

Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers — Last week the Lions gave up 31 third quarter points in a 48-17 loss at home. Now they had to face an angry 49ers team that ran into a buzzsaw last week on the road. The 49ers opened the scoring with a 45 yard Robbie Gould field goal, but the Lions came back 69 yards. Matthew Stafford hit Kenny Golladay for a 30 yard touchdown. The Lions led 7-3 after the opening quarter, but after that the game changed.

The 49ers took over at their own 12 and gradually moved down the field. They began the second quarter at the Detroit 47. Jimmy Garoppollo hit Kittle for a 17 yard gain. On 1st and 20 from the Detroit 40, Defensive pass interference gave the 49ers 20 yards exactly. On 3rd and 2 from the Detroit 12, Garoppollo hit Breida for 8 yards and Bourne for a 4 yard touchdown to put the 49ers in front 10-7. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Lions faced 3rd and 3 at their own 26. Stafford was sacked and fumbled, and the 49ers recovered at the Detroit 16. Gould hit a 24 yard field goal for a 13-7 49ers lead.

With 40 seconds left in the half, the Lions faced 3rd and 10 at their own 34. Stafford hit Marvin Jones for 18 yards. A defensive facemark added 15 more yards on the next play. With 10 seconds left in the half, the Lions faced 3rd and 2 at the Frisco 9. Stafford threw incomplete. Matt Prater hit the 27 yard field goal as the Lions trailed 13-10 at halftime.

The 49ers thought they had returned the second half kickoff 101 yards for a score, but a facemask penalty nullified the score. However, the 49ers were still starting at the Detroit 26. Garoppollo hit Greg Celek for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 20-10 49ers. A 45 yard kickoff return had the Lions taking over at their own 48. LaGuerrette Blount ran for 13 yards and Johnson added 21 more to the Frisco 18. Penalties killed the drive and Prater hit a 43 yard field goal to get the Lions within 20-13.

With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, the 49ers were pinned back at their own 3 yard line. Garoppollo hit Celek for 11 yards. Breida then ran for 20 more. On the next carry, Breida raced for a 66 yard touchdown as 97 yards took only 3 plays for a 27-13 49ers.

The 49ers began the fourth quarter at their own 47. Garoppollo hit Garcon for 19 yards. Alfred Morris ran for 7, 9 and 3. Gould hit a 36 yard field goal as the 49ers had a 30-13 lead with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Stafford tried to lead a furious rally. From the Detroit 20, Stafford hit Theo Riddick for 10. On 3rd and 17 from the Detroit 23, Stafford went deep to Golden Tate for a 67 yard gain. Stafford hit Jones for a 5 yard touchdown as the Lions got within 30-20 with 8 1/2 minutes left. The 49ers went 3 and out and the Lions thought they had a 73 yard punt return for a touchdown. An illegal block instead had the Lions taking over at their own 21 with 6 minutes left.

Stafford hit Golladay for 11 and a pair of defensive penalties helped the Lions. On 3rd and goal from the 15 with 3 1/2 minutes left, Stafford found Roberts for the touchdown. The Lions were within a field goal. The 49ers took over at their own 22. With 2:24 to play and the Lions down to one timeout, the 49ers faced 3rd and 2 at their own 43. Garoppollo was intercepted, but defensive holding nullified the turnover and gave the 49ers a crucial first down.

The Lions did get the ball back at their own 16 with 0 timeouts and 1:08 to play. Terrible play calls in the form of short passes wasted time. With 21 seconds left and the Lions facing 4th and 2 at their own 39, Stafford threw incomplete. The Lions fell to 0-2 under rookie head coach Matt Patricia. 30-27 49ers

New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars — Last year in the AFC Title Game in New England, the Jaguars led 20-10 after three quarters before Tom Brady rallied the Patriots for a 24-20 win. The Jaguars came in burning for revenge, and this game was in Jacksonville. The Patriots started out after a touchback by moving to a 4th and 7 at the Jacksonville 36. Bill Belichick opted veteran Stephen Gostkowski to make a 54 yard field goal, but the kick was no good.

The Jaguars soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 48. Blake Bortles hit Seferian-Jenkins for 11 yards. Bortles then completed a pass for 5 yards that was fumbled, but the Jaguars retained possession, gained another 6 yards, and had another first down. On 3rd and 7 from the New England 12, Bortles went to Grant for 8 yards and to Donte Moncrief for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Jaguars.

New England went 3 and out when a 3rd and 1 run failed. The Jaguars soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 20. Bortles scrambled for 9 yards. On 1st and 15 from the Jacksonville 24, Bortles hit Cole for 22, Grant for 13, and O’Shaughnessy for 17 more. Bortles then went to Cole for a 24 yard touchdown as the Jaguars had the 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Patriots took over at their own 6 yard line and embarked on a staggering 16 play, 83 yard drive that took 8:20 off the clock. Yet on 1st and 10 from the 11, Brady threw a pair of incompletions sandwiched around a completion that went nowhere. Gostkowski hit the 29 yarder to get the Patriots on the board.

The Jaguars took over at their own 25 with 2:45 left in the half. On 3rd and 7 from their own 39, Bortles found Seferian-Jenkins for 8 yards. Bortles then hit Cole for gains of 17 and 14. With 14 seconds left in the half, the Jaguars faced 3rd and 3 at the New England 4. Bortles hit Seferian-Jenkins for the touchdown as the home crowd erupted. The Jaguars led 21-3 at halftime, but their fans knew there was still a long way to go.

The fans and to feel good when the Jaguars began the third quarter with a 15 play, 71 yard drive that consumed more than 7 minutes. The way to beat Tom Brady is to keep him off the field. Starting at their own 19, the Jaguars faced 3rd and 11 at their own 38. Bortles went to Cole for 22 yards. The drive eventually stalled at the New England 8 yard line, but Josh Lambo hit a 28 yard field goal to make it 24-3 Jaguars.

Jacksonville fumbled on their next series, and the Patriots took over at the Jacksonville 48. On 3rd and 6 from the 44, Brady ran for 10 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 7, Brady hit Chris Hogan for the touchdown as the Patriots were within 24-10. Jacksonville went 3 and out and the Patriots got it back at their own 41. Brady found White for 27 yards. The fourth quarter began with the Patriots facing 2nd and 4 at the Jacksonville 26. After an incompletion, a short pass lost 2 yards. Gostkowski hit a 46 yard field goal to get the Patriots within 24-13.

The home crowd got lumps in their throats when from the Jacksonville 18, Bortles was intercepted. New England took over at the Jacksonville 25. The comeback was inevitable. Except this time Sacksonville came up big. On 3rd and 9, Brady was sacked and fumbled. The Jaguars recovered at their own 32. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Jaguars took over at their own 39. A short pass to Westbrook went for a 61 yard touchdown. The dagger was in. The Jaguars led 31-13.

The Patriots did get a 29 yard touchdown pass from Brady to Hogan with 3:45 to play to cut the gap to 11 points. The Jaguars took over at their own 16 and made sure Brady never saw the ball again. On 2nd and 16 from their own 10, Bortles went to Paul for 22 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Jacksonville 34, Bortles scrambled for 10 yards. With 1:11 to play the Jaguars faced 3rd and 3 near midfield. Rather than play it safe, Doug Marrone went bold. Bortles hit Grant for 5 yards.

The Jaguars got their revenge, and Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin seems to be the only guy in the NFL who can repeatedly figure out Bill Belichick. If these teams have another Tuna Bowl AFC Title Game with matching records, it will be in Jacksonville. Brady finished 24 of 35 for 234 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Bortles…yes that Bortles…finished 29 of 45 for 377 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception. Coughlin was so pleased at the win that he almost smiled. 31-20 Jaguars

  

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos — Since Jon Gruden left the Raiders after the 2001 Tuck Rule game, the Raiders have spent most of the last 16 years finding ways to lose games. Gruden was brought in to change that. In his first stint with the Raiders, he never went 0-2. After getting blown out at home, the Raiders traveled to arch-rival Denver, where Vance Joseph has inspired few people. Derek Carr was lights out. He completed 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards, one touchdown, and 0 interceptions. He had only 3 incompletions the whole game. The Broncos had 0 first downs and only 23 yards in the first quarter. They had only 3 first down by halftime. Would any of this mean anything?

After a touchback, Marshawn Lynch ran for a 6 yard gain and Carr hit Jordy Nelson for 23 yards. Like last week, the Raiders looked solid on their first drive. This time the Raiders failed to finish their first drive. On 3rd and 3 from the Denver 4, a short pass to Lynch lost 4 yards. Mike Nugent hit the 26 yard field goal for a 3-0 Raiders lead. The Raiders moved from their 29 to a 3rd and 3 at the Denver 21 with 12 minutes left in the half. Carr was sacked for a 7 yard loss. Nugent hit the 46 yard field goal to make it 6-0 Raiders.

From the Denver 25, Lindsey raced for a 53 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 18, Keenum thought he had a touchdown but instead was intercepted by Melvin at the one. Melvin returned it 15 yards to the Oakland 16. With 5 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Raiders took over at their own 25. Carr hit Jared Cook for 20 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Denver 44, Carr threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. From the Denver 34. Carr hit Cook for 20 yards. Lynch banged it in from the one as the Raiders led 12-0. Nugent missed the extra point. The Raiders dominated the first half yet only led by 12. How would they find ways to blow this game?

After a touchback to start the second half, Case Keenum hit Emanuel Sanders for 21 yards. Lindsay had gains of 5, 6 and 11. Freeman gained 14 more. On 3rd and 7 from the 15, it appeared the Raiders had held when a completion left the Broncos one long yard short of the sticks. Yet a mind-blowing unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Bruce Irvin after the play gave the Broncos 1st and goal at the 4. Then it it appeared Keenum had found Patrick for the touchdown. Yet despite the acrobatic catch, replay showed that Patrick did not secure the ball. On 3rd and goal at the one, Freeman got in. The Broncos were within 12-7, and it was the first of many examples where one stop would have changed the game.

The Raiders often fold in situations like this, but this time the offense responded well. After a touchback, Lynch gained 9 and Carr hit Cook for 5 more. Carr then went deep to Cooper for 30 yards. On 1st and 20 from the Denver 41, Carr went to Cooper for 20 and to Seth Roberts for the 20 yard touchdown. The Raiders led 19-7 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. It would take a lot of effort to blow this game.

On 2nd and 9 from the Denver 26, Keenum went deep to Sutton for a 42 yard gain. Jon Gruden challenged the completion, and the call was overturned. Replay clearly showed that the receiver did not get both feet inbounds. On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 47, Keenum hit Sanders for 23 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 21, keen went deep to Sanders, who made an acrobatic touchdown catch. Yet on further review, the call was again reversed. Sanders had one foot just touch the white chalk in the end zone. The Raiders were getting every call of the officials, an unheard of occurrence. Brandon McManus did hit the 39 yard field goal but the Broncos still trailed by 2 scores. After three quarters, Denver was down 19-10. The Raiders still had time to screw things up.

After a touchback, the Raiders again moved the ball smartly. Lynch gained 8. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, Carr hit Cooper for 13 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Denver 46, Carr hit Cooper for 4 yards as the third quarter ended. On 3rd and 3 from the Denver 35, Jalen Richard got the carry and came up inches short. A field goal would be about 51 yards. With 13 minutes left in the game, Gruden decided to go for it. This was the right decision. The play call was terrible.

5 years ago, the world saw what happens when you have Marshawn Lynch, need 6 inches, and decide to call a pass play. Derek Carr even joked that in that situation, the Raiders would hand the ball off. Jon Gruden summoned up his inner Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell. Rather than use the battering ram to gain 6 inches, Gruden called a play action pass. It was a short pass, and it totally fooled the defense. Smith was so close to Carr that Carr could have practically handed it to him. Carr threw it right to him. Smith dropped it and the Raiders turned it over on downs. The inevitable then inevitably happened.

Keenum hit Butt for 22 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 38, Keenum gained 8 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 22, Freeman gained 7. On 3rd and 1 from the 6, Lindsay got 2 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Freeman got stopped. 6 minutes remained and the Broncos needed 2 scores. One stop would end the game. Vance joseph decided to go for it. On 4th and goal at the one, Joseph decided not to get too cute by half like Gruden did. Keenum took the sneak and barely got in. The Broncos were within 19-17, and the earlier missed extra point was looming large.

The Raiders have no idea how to close out games, and they ended one more meltdown or stupid mistake to lose the game. After a touchback, Carr hit Roberts for 10 yards. With 3 1/2 minutes left on 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 45, Lyn ch got the carry and got the yard. With 2:55 to play and the Raiders with 2nd and 4 at the Denver 48, a false start made life tougher. On 3rd and 8, Carr completed a pass for only 3 yards. Denver got the ball back at their own 20 with 1:58 to play and 0 timeouts. Could the Raiders actually get a stop?

An offensive holding penalty and an incompletion had the Broncos facing 2nd and 20 at their own 10. Keenum went deep to sanders for a 21 yard gain. Keenum then went to Butt for 14 more. With 26 seconds to play, the Broncos faced 3rd and 3 at the Oakland 48. Keenum hit Heuerman for a 4 yard gain, and naturally Heuerman got out of bounds. After an incompletion, 18 seconds remained. From the Oakland 44, one more stop was

all the Raiders needed. With everything on the line, a short pass from Keenum to Patrick saw a defensive breakdown and a 26 yard gain. With 10 seconds left, McManus came in to try and win it. Rather than a 62 yarder, he was only attempting a 36 yarder.

On a day of various kicker meltdowns throughout the league, McManus of course nailed his field goal. He almost missed it, but snuck it inside the right upright. McManus also did not miss any exit points. Despite only 3 incompletions, Carr again saw his team let him down. A receiver dropping a pass from close range. A mindless unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. A defensive breakdown on the final offensive play. A horrendously bad coaching decision. Jones Gruden is now an 0-2 coach $50 million per loss. 20-19 Broncos

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys is the Sunday night game. Last week both of these teams lost in ugly fashion. They played another ugly game. It started beautiful for Dallas. A 64 yard bomb from Dak Prescott to Tavon Austin made it 7-0 Cowboys. Maher tacked on a 37 yard field goal in the first quarter and a 29 yarder in the third quarter to lead 13-0. Rosas hit a 28 yarder for the Giants, who trailed 13-3 after three quarters. Any chance for suspense ended in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys mounted a suffocating 14 play, 82 yard drive that consumed 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Ezekiel Elliott ran for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 20-3 Cowboys.

The Giants tried to rally, moving 75 yards in 11 plays. Eli Manning hit Evan Engram for an 18 yard touchdown to get the Giants within 20-10. The Giants got it back, and needing 2 scores, opted for a 38 yard Rosas field goal try. With 11 seconds left, the kick was good. The onside kick was far from good, kicked out of bounds to end this game that deserves no further elaboration. 20-13 Cowboys

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears was the Monday night game. With Brian Urlacher in attendance to have his name put in the Bears ring of honor, the Bears honored him in the first half with inspired defense. Russell Wilson was sacked 5 times. Khalil Mack forced another fumble. The only thing keeping the Seahawks in the game was their defense intercepting Mitchell Trubisky twice. In the first quarter the Bears moved 96 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Trubisky hit Burton for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bears. The rest was defense. In the second quarter a 12 play, 5 1/2 minute drive led to a 25 yard Cody Parkey field goal to make it 10-0 Bears. The Seahawks finally got on the board on the last play of the half when Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 56 yard field goal with plenty to spare.

In the third quarter the Seahawks ran 6 plays for one yard, giving them 80 yards through three quarters. The Bears mounted a 66 play, 11 yard, 6 minute drive. The fourth quarter began with a 10 yard touchdown from Trubisky to Anthony Miller. It was far from pretty, but the Bears led 17-3. The Seahawks finally got going, moving 75 yards in 11 plays. Aided by a defensive pass interference penalty, the Seahawks reached the red zone. Wilson threw a gorgeous rainbow to Tyler Lockett, who was well defended but came down with it for a 19 yard touchdown. The Seahawks were within 17-10 with over 10 minutes left in regulation. Seattle got it back and had a chance to tie the game. Yet with 6 1/2 minutes left, the Bears defense put the dagger in. A sideline pass by Wilson saw Prince Amukamara jump the route at midfield, race down the sideline, juke a defender at the 20, and glide into the end zone for the clinching touchdown. Wilson did throw a touchdown to will Dissly with 14 seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late. Matt Nagy got his first win as an NFL head coach. 24-17 Bears

eric

NFL 2018 Week 2 Prequel

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 2 Prequel

NFL 2018 Week 2 Preview and Bettor’s Guide

NFL 2018 Week 1 Recap

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

NFL 2018 Week 1 Recap

After 7 months, the agony known as the offseason was over. Real football was back. A few hours before the season started, sad news broke that Burt Reynold had died at age 82. He was more than just “The Bandit” from “Smokey and the Bandit.” He played running back for the Florida State Seminoles before becoming an actor. He played quarterback Paul Crewe in the football movie “The Longest Yard.” He loved football and we loved him.

With that, here is the NFL 2018 Week 1 Recap.

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles was the Thursday night game. The defending Super Bowl champions barely survived a 15-10 playoff slugfest last year. The rematch was also in Philadelphia. Carson went was still injured, so Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles got the start. The Vince Lombardi Trophy was hoisted by Jeffrey Lurie after a rousing introduction by 2018 Hall of Fame enshrinee Brian Dawkins. After a 30 minute delay due to lightning, the 2018 regular season began and men played football.

The Falcons won the toss, and the first play from scrimmage was a false start. The offense then moved forward easily. Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for 10 yards and Devonta Freeman ran for 20 more. On 3rd and 10 from the Philly 39, Ryan went deep to Jones for a 33 yard gain. On 2nd and goal from the one, Freeman got stopped. Ryan then threw incomplete. Dan Quinn decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the one. Freeman ran off tackle and lost a yard as the Eagles celebrated the goal line stand. The Eagles quickly went 3 and out on their first possession, and the Falcons got it back at the Atlanta 44. On 3rd and 5, Matty Ice scrambled for 6 yards. A perfectly executed screen pass from Ryan to Tevin Coleman went for 26 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 7, Ryan was sacked but offsides gave the Falcons another chance. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Ryan threw incomplete. Matt Bryant hit the 21 yard field goal for a 3-0 Falcons lead.

Early in the second quarter a field position game had the Eagles taking over at their own 40 yard line. On 3rd and 7, Nick Foles hit Nelson Agholor for 10 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Atlanta 17, Foles threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 9. Offensive holding on the next play killed the drive. Jake Elliott hit the 26 yard field goal. The 14 play drive took 8 minutes off the clock to move 52 yards for a 3-3 tie with 6 minutes left in the half. After a touchback, Ryan hooked up with Jones for a 22 yard gain. Roughing the passer had the Falcons facing 3rd and 8 at the Philly 25. Ryan was sacked to kill the drive. Bryant nailed a 52 yard field goal to make it 6-3 Falcons with just over 2 minutes left in the half.

The Falcons missed a chance to extend the lead in the third quarter on a very controversial call. From the Atlanta 32, Ryan went deep to Jones for a 52 yard gain. Although Jones juggled the ball, it appeared that he maintained control just before going out of bounds. Officials called it an incomplete pass, and Dan Quinn’s challenge was unsuccessful. The Eagles got it back at their own 37. On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 41, Doug Pederson went to the bag of tricks just as he did during the Super Bowl. Foles pitched the ball, and it was then pitched to Nelson Agholor, who lobbed a pass to Foles for a 15 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Atlanta 24, Foles did it the traditional way with an 18 yard completion to Zac Ertz. Jay Ajayi banged in from one yard out for the game’s first touchdown and a 10-6 Eagles lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

The game took another turn very late in the third quarter. The Falcons punted, and a bunch of Falcons players were around the ball as it was rolling to a stop. Somehow the ball hit the foot of the only Eagles player in the vicinity. Had any of the Falcons players touched it first, the Eagles could try and touch it without any downside. However, since it bounced off the Eagles player first, it became a live ball. The Falcons recovered at the Eagles 30 with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. On 3rd and 5 from the 25 on the first play of the fourth quarter, Matt Ryan was sacked to the brink of outside field goal range. That was the blunder that cost the Falcons the Super Bowl two years ago. Yet this time the Eagles jumped offside, giving the Falcons another first down. It didn’t matter. On 3rd and 3 from the 15, Ryan fired to the corner and was intercepted by Douglas at the four yard line with 13 minutes left in regulation.

On 3rd and 1 from their own 13, Agholor got around the end for a 16 yard gain. On the next play Foles fired to Goedert. The pass was right in Goedert’s bread basket, but Goedert got blasted and the ball popped right into the arms of Deion Jones. Jones returned the interception 20 yards to the Philly 27. Ryan then went to Julio jones for an 18 yard gain. Coleman then went straight up the gut for a 9 yard touchdown. The extra point was doinked off the upright as the Falcons clung to a 12-10 lead with 10 minutes left.

An exchange of punts favored the Eagles when a facemark against Atlanta on the return gave the Eagles the ball at their own 46 with 5 minutes to play. On 3rd and 8, Foles hit Darren Sproles for a 9 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Atlanta 35, Clement went off-tackle for a 21 yard gain. Two plays later Ajayi ran for a 11 yard touchdown. Ajayi bulled in for the 2 point conversion to give the Eagles a 6 point lead with 2:19 to play.

After a touchback and a 6 yard gain, the Falcons raced to get off one more play before the 2 minute warning. Ryan got the snap off just in time and fired a laser over the middle to Jones. Jones split the seam and raced for a 36 yard gain to the Philly 33 with 1:54 left. A sack of Ryan left the Falcons facing 3rd and 17. Matty Ice calmly found Jones for an 18 yard gain at the Philly 22. Every play was a roller coaster. Ryan hit Jones for 9 but on 2nd and 1 took another sack for a 7 yard loss. On 3rd and 8 from the Philly 20, Ryan went to Mohammed San for a 10 yard gain as the Falcons called timeout with 24 seconds left.

Last year in the playoffs the Falcons had 4 chances from inside the 10 yard line. The Eagles held on defense en route to winning it all. This time the Falcons had 1st and goal at the 10. Ryan threw four straight incompletions, but this time the Falcons would get a 5th chance. On 4th and goal from the 10, illegal contact gave the Falcons 1st and goal at the 5 with one second left. Ryan threw a fade to Jones, who was well defended. Jones caught the ball, but was pushed out of bounds in the air. There is no longer a force out rule, so it was another incompletion. This time there were no flags. Again, the Eagles survived an old-time headknocker with the Falcons that came down to one play. It would be very good for the NFL if the remaining 255 regular season games are as exciting at the finish as this one. 18-12 Eagles

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens — The Bills broke the NFL’s longest current playoff drought last year by eking into the postseason for the first time in 18 years with a 9-7 record. They appeared to be on the rise, and Baltimore was a team on the decline. Then the 2018 season started. Nathan Peterman started the game. He was the quarterback who threw five interceptions in the first half of a game he did not play in after halftime. This game was just as bad. Peterman finished 5 of 18 for 24 yards and 2 interceptions. This game was over from the start.

The Ravens marched 80 yards in 10 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Collins ran for an 8 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Ravens lead. Baltimore got it back and moved 66 yards in 10 plays. Joe Flacco hit Brown for a 7 yard touchdown. The Ravens led 14-0 after the first quarter and the rout was on.

In the second quarter a 51 yard punt return set up the Ravens at the Buffalo 20. Justin Tucker hit a 41 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Ravens. The Bills would recover a Baltimore fumble at the Baltimore 35. The Bills gained one yard and missed a field goal. With the Bills facing 3rd and 8 at their own 18, Peterman found Jefferson. Jefferson plays defense for the Ravens, and he returned the interception 15 yards to the Buffalo 29. Tucker hit from 39 for a 20-0 Ravens lead. With 2:48 left in the half, the Ravens took over at their own 15. Flacco worked the two minute drill perfectly. With seconds left in the half, he hit Michael Crabtree for a 12 yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion try failed, which was the only thing Ravens fans could complain about as the Ravens took a 26-0 lead into the locker rooms.

For some reason the second half was played. League rules required this. In the third quarter the Bills fumbled the snap on a punt, and the Ravens took over at the Buffalo 14. Flacco hit Will Snead for a 13 yard touchdown and a 33-0 Ravens blowout. With the Bills facing 3rd and 11 at their own 26, Peterman found Carr. Carr also plays defense for Baltimore. Carr returned the interception 32 yards down to the Buffalo one yard line. Allen got in on the next play to make it 40-0 Ravens after three quarters.

Allen came in for Peterman, who has never finished an NFL game. In his three starts, Peterman was injured once and got benched twice. Allen moved the Bills to a 1st and goal at the 3. He was sacked. On 3rd and goal at the 5, he was sacked for a 12 yard loss. To avoid the shutout, Sean McDermott opted for the field goal. It was good. On the other sideline, Flacco came into the season knowing he would eventually be replaced by rookie Lamar Jackson. John Harbaugh did bench Flacco, but only because the Ravens led by 40 points. Jackson got his first NFL action under the best possible circumstances. On 3rd and 15 from the Baltimore 46, Jackson found Williams for 24 yards and ran for 16 more. Dixon ran for the 2 yard touchdown to complete the blowout. Flacco finished 25 of 34 for 236 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. 47-3 Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns — The Browns finished 1-15 two years ago and 0-16 last year. The Steelers finished 13-3 last year. Even with LeVeon holding out, the Steelers were expected to extend their winning over the pathetic Charlie Browns. As ESPN uber-announcer reminds us, “THAT’s why they PLAY the games.”

The first quarter was scoreless. The Steelers had one drive that began at midfield and moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Cleveland 18. Ben Roethlisberger was then intercepted at the 10. The Steelers got it back at their own 12. On the last play of the first quarter on 3rd and 2 from their own 20, Roethlisberger hit James for 37 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Cleveland 39, Big Ben ran for a 15 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Cleveland 8, Roethlisberger threw incomplete. However, a roughing the passer penalty kept the drive going. In place of Bell was Connor. Connor ran for a 4 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Steelers lead.

After a touchback the Browns moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Pittsburgh 33. Josh Gordon took an unnecessary toughness penalty to push the Browns out of field goal range. The Steelers got it back at their own 12. Roethlisberger went for it all but was intercepted at the Cleveland 28. The Steelers got it back at their own 9 and moved to the Cleveland 37. Roethlisberger was intercepted for the third time in the half. Ward returned it 26 yards to the Pittsburgh 45. A run lost 6 yards. On the last play of the half Tyrod Taylor never got to launch the Hail Mary. He was sacked again and fumbled. The Browns defense was keeping them in the game as they only trailed 7-0 at halftime.

The Browns appeared in deep trouble to start the third quarter when a sack of Taylor had the Browns facing 2nd and 20 at their own 4 yard line. On the next play, defensive holding kept the drive going. Hue Jackson employed something called the run and run offense. Carlos Hyde carried the ball 5 straight times. Then Chubb carried it twice for 5 and 17 yards. After Johnson got stopped, the ninth straight carry was Taylor scrambling for a 20 yard touchdown. Now the game was tied 7-7.

The Steelers took over at their own 26 and again Roetlisberger went for the bomb. He hit Juju Smith-Schuster for a 67 yard gain. On 2nd and goal at the 2, a touchdown was nullified by offensive holding. On 2nd and goal at the 12, another touchdown was nullified by offensive illegal use of hands. On 2nd and goal at the 22, Roethlisberger went deep to Antonio Brown for the touchdown. This time it stood as the Steelers led 14-7. The Browns punted, and Ryan Switzer returned it 20 yards to the Cleveland 39. Conner ran for 17 and then for a 22 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Steelers led 21-7 after three quarters. This was another game where the Browns hung around for awhile but eventually got dominated.

Not this time. A key decision came with 12:15 to play. The Steelers faced 4th and 6 at the Cleveland 34. Mike Tomlin opted against a 52 yard field goal try that would have pretty much salted the game away. Rather than go for it, he opted to punt and play field position. Midway through the fourth quarter, on 4th and 5 from the Pittsburgh 18, Taylor threw incomplete. The Browns appeared dead. On the next play, Connor fumbled and Jabril Peppers picked it up. Peppers ran 16 yards down to the Pittsburgh one yard line. Hyde got in and the Browns were within 21-14.

Two plays later from the Pittsburgh 45, Roethlisberger was sacked and fumbled. The Browns took over at the Pittsburgh 37. The Steelers held on defense and punted it back. Peppers returned the punt 15 yards to the Cleveland 45 with 2:10 to play. Taylor went deep to Higgins for 38 yards and then threw a 17 yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon. At the 2 minute warning, the Dawg Pound was in a frenzy as the game was tied 21-21.

The Browns took their final timeout on defense as they held again and got the ball back. With 23 seconds left they were at the Pittsburgh 43. A few more yards would mean very long field goal range. Instead Taylor went for it all and was intercepted. The game was headed to overtime. Surely the Browns would find a way to lose. In overtime the Browns punted twice and the Steelers punted once, with a short 29 yard punt giving the Steelers the ball at their own 45 with 4 1/2 minutes left in overtime. With 1:47 left in overtime, Chris Boswell came in for a 42 yarder to win it for the Steelers.

No good! The Browns were still alive. The offense again did nothing and the Steelers got the ball back. With 48 seconds left from the Pittsburgh 38, Roethlisberger was sacked and fumbled. The Browns recovered at the Pittsburgh 24. After a safe run lost a yard, Gonzalez came in for a 43 yard field goal try to win it for the Browns. 13 seconds remained. Blocked! The kick was blocked, and the game ended in a tie. The Browns did not win, but they did not lose. They tied. They will win some games this season. Steelers fans will probably burn Mike Tomlin in effigy, because they always tend to overreact when it comes to Tomlin. As for the Browns, we will know in a few weeks if this tie game meant anything. They showed a ton of heart in overcoming a 14 point fourth quarter deficit. There would be no Pittsburgh Rosh Hashanah Jew New Years miracles, and Ben Roethlisberger and Juju Smith-Schuster are still not Jewish. 21-21 tie, OT

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts — These two teams have both fallen on hard times. Both quarterbacks begin the season reinvigorated. Red Rifle Andy Dalton is clearly entrenched as the starter. Andrew Luck is finally back from injury after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury. Early on it was the kickers taking center stage. Randy Bullock hit a 42 yarder for the Bengals. Ageless wonder Adam Vinatieri hit a 21 yarder for the Colts for a 3-3 game after the first quarter.

In the second quarter Luck passed the Colts into a 10-3 lead with a 26 yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron. The Colts got it back and had their second consecutive 58 yard drive. Vinatieri hit a 38 yard field goal to make it 13-3 Colts with 3 minutes left in the half. After a touchback, the Bengals soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Joe Mixon ran for a 27 yard gain. A 36 yard defensive pass interference penalty put the ball on the 3 yard line. From there Dalton fired to John Ross for the touchdown as the Bengals were within 13-10 with 1:44 left in the half.

That was enough time for Luck to move the Colts from their own 24 to the Cincinnati 33 with 6 seconds left. Vinatieri drilled a 51 yard field goal as the Colts led 16-10 at the break. After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Colts took over at their own 40. Luck fired to Grant for 12 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Concy 32, Luck went to Ebron for 12. On 3rd and 4 from the Cincy 14, Luck went to Doyle for 9. luck then found TY Hilton for the 5 yard touchdown. The Colts had a 23-10 lead and were looking good. Then the game completely changed.

After a touchback, the Bengals soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 40. Dalton scrambled for 7 yards. He then went deep to AJ Green for a 38 yard touchdown to get the Bengals within 23-17 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. After a touchback, the Colts moved to a 2nd and 6 at the Cincinnati 29. A sack of Luck had first year head coach Frank Reich with a big decision to make. Reich gambled on a 55 yard field goal to give the Colts some breathing room. Vinatieri is the most clutch kicker of all time, but this one was no good as the third quarter ended.

The Bengals took over at their own 45. On 3rd and 15 from the Indy 47, Dalton threw incomplete. However, defensive pass interference gave the Bengals 8 yards and a new set of downs. On the next play, a horse collar tackle tacked on 15 more yards. Dalton then hit Mixon for 15 more to the 9 yard line. On 3rd and goal at the one, Mixon got the yard. With 11 minutes left in regulation, the Bengals had a 24-23 lead.

The Colts went 3 and out and the Bengals took over at their own 21. An 11 play, 6 minute drive had the Bengals facing 3rd and 8 at the Indy 43. Dalton hit Boyd for a 17 yard gain. Despite 1st and 10 at the Indy 21, the drive went no further. Bullock hit a 39 yard field goal. With 4 minutes left, the Bengals had a 27-23 advantage.

Luck had the ball, and was intent on leading a heroic comeback in his return. A pair of incompletions after a touchback had the Colts facing 3rd and 10 at their own 25. Luck found Doyle for 12 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Indy 45, Luck hit Rogers for 7 yards. With 1:10 to play, the Colts had 1st and 10 at the Cincy 25. A short pass actually lost 5 yards. With 40 seconds left, the Colts faced 3rd and 15 from the Cincy 30. Then came the play of the game. Luck found Doyle for 15 yards. It would have been 1st and 10 from the 15 with 4 shots at the end zone. Instead Doyle fumbled and Fejedelem recovered. Making matters worse, Fejedelem raced the other way for an 83 yard defensive touchdown in front of a shellshocked home crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Both quarterbacks finished with 2 touchdowns and one interception. Luck finished 39 of 53 for 319 yards passing. Dalton was 21 of 28 for 243 yards. Yet 24 unanswered points including 17 in the fourth quarter gave the Bengals the win. For Marvin, Lewis, who after 17 years seems on the hot seat in Cincinnati every week, it was a positive start to the season. 34-23 Bengals

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins — This was a game that belonged to the elements. Twice the game was suspended due to severe lightning storms in the Miami area. The weather was miserable, and so are these two incredibly boring teams. In the first quarter Ryan Succop hit a 37 yard field goal to get the Titans on the board. In the second quarter the Dolphins mounted a 98 yard drive. Ryan Tannehill hit Kenny Stills for a 10 yard touchdown pass and a 7-3 Dolphins halftime lead. After a nearly 2 1/2 hour delay midway through the third quarter, Mariota threw his second interception and left the game with an elbow injury. Nothing make a game thrilling like Blaine Gabbert, who finished the game. For those who prefer boxing, tempers flared and fights broke out throughout the game. Meanwhile. Sanders hit a 27 yard field goal as the Dolphins led 10-3 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the weather calmed down and the action finally picked up. In fact, it got downright exciting.

First the Titans moved 75 yards. Lewis ran for a 4 yard touchdown for a 10-10 tie. 13 seconds later the Dolphins had the lead again as Grant returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins got the ball back at their own 11 Tannehill quickly hooked up with Kenny Stills for a 75 yard touchdown and a 24-10 Dolphins lead. 11 seconds later the Titans were back within 24-17 when Jennings returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a score with 10 minutes left in regulation.

The rest of the game turned into a battle of who wanted it least. With 9 minutes left and the Dolphins facing 3rd and 15 at their own 20, Tannehill went deep and was intercepted. The Titans took over at their own 43. On 2rd and 4 from the Miami 41, Gabbert was intercepted by Jones, who returned it 54 yards to the Tennessee 12 with 6 minutes left. With less than 4 minutes left, Sanders hit a 30 yard field goal to make it 27-17 Dolphins. With 3:11 to play, on 4th and 7 from the Tennessee 43, Gabbert threw incomplete. Tennessee got it back at their own 20 with 1:07 to play and 0 timeouts. Needing 2 scores, Succop drilled a 53 yard field goal to get the Titans back within 7 points. Only 11 seconds remained. The onside kick failed. Mike Vrabel had a loss in his NFL coaching debut as Miami got the win. 27-20 Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings — Last year the Minnesota Vikings were one game away from playing the Super Bowl in their own city and their own stadium. They had three quality quarterbacks. Mike Zimmer traded them all and paid a king’s ransom to Kirk Cousins to get them over the hump. The 49ers started last year 1-10 before Tom Brady’s former backup Jimmy Garoppollo became a rock star in a 5-0 finish down the stretch. Garoppollo can play, but a road game against one of the league’s stingiest defense would be a good starting measuring stick. Zimmer’s defense came out ready.

In the first quarter Carlson hit a 48 yard field goal to get the Vikings on the board first. A field position game had the Vikings beginning the second quarter with a 3rd and 3 at the San Francisco 46. Cousins found Cook for 17 yards and Sean Diggs for a 22 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 49ers. Robbie Gould did hit a 42 yard field goal for the 49ers, but after that the defenses took over for the rest of the half. The 49ers recovered a Minnesota fumble at their own 29. They then embarked on an 8 minute drive. Yet on 2nd and goal at the one, Alfred Morris fumbled and the Vikings recovered. The Vikings moved from their own 2 to the San Francisco 44 with 6 seconds left in the half. Cousins was sacked before he could try the Hail Mary.

After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd and 8 at their own 20. Garoppollo was intercepted by Hughes, who returned it 28 yards for a touchdown and a 17-3 Vikings lead. Garoppollo came right back after a touchback and went deep to Juszczyk for a 56 yard gain. Yet on 2nd and 6 from the Minnesota 15, Jimmy G threw incomplete twice. Gould hit from 33 to get the 49ers within 17-6. After a touchback, Cousins did what he was paid $84 million in guaranteed money to do. On 3rd and 5 from the Minnesota 41, Cousins went to Adam Thielen for a 34 yard gain. An 11 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph had the 49ers dominating 24-6 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

Garoppollo tried to mount a rally. He threw a 22 yard touchdown pass to Pettis to get the 49ers within 24-13 after three quarters. The 49ers started the fourth quarter at their own 31. Garoppollo was quickly intercepted again, but the 49ers held on defense. The 49ers moved from their 14 to a 3rd and goal at the 4 with a little over 8 minutes to play in the game. Garoppollo threw incomplete. Needing 2 scores, Kyle Shanahan opted for the field goal. Gould hit the 22 yarder and the 49ers were within 8 points. With 1:45 to play and the 49ers at their own 11, Garoppollo went deep and was intercepted again. Cousins finished 20 of 36 for 244 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Garoppollo had a rough outing, going 15 of 33 for 261 yards, one touchdown, and 3 interceptions. The Vikings believed coming into the season that they were now a complete team. Time will tell, but on this day they were. 24-16 Vikings

Houston Texans at New England Patriots — Bill O’Brien frequently goes 9-7 and sees his squad get blasted by the Patriots. With a healthy DeShaun Watson back in the lineup, this was the best chance the Texans would have to be more than New England’s punching bag. The Patriots were supposedly a group in a dysfunctional state, with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski angry at Bill Belichick’s dictatorial ways. Ignore the gossip. It was business as usual.

In a surprising turn of events, New England came out with 3 straight running plays. They went 3 and out and the Texans took over at their own 22. Watson’s first snap out of the shotgun was a fumbled snap recovered by the Patriots at the Houston 19. On 3rd and 12, Brady went to Gronkowski for a 21 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots. Later on the Patriots faced 3rd and 6 at their own 10. Brady was intercepted by Mathieu give the Texans a golden opportunity with 1st and 10 at the New England 17. On 3rd and 10, Watson was sacked. Fairbairn hit the 42 yard field goal to get the Texans on the board, but it was a moral victory for New England. The Patriots moved 75 yards and began the second quarter with a 4th and 1 at the Houston 25. Belichick went for it and Brady snuck for 2 yards. Brady threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to White to make it 14-3 Patriots.

From the Houston 37, the Texans again moved into the red zone. From the New England 15, Watson was sacked again to stop the threat. Fairbairn hit from 36 to get the Texans within 14-6. With 5 1/2 minutes left in the half from the New England 42, Watson went for it all and was intercepted in the end zone. With 90 seconds left in the half of a reasonably close game, the Patriots did what they have done throughout their 18 year dynasty. They delivered the kill shot. Hill ran for gains of 8 and 11. Brady went deep to Gronkowski for 28 yards. Ronny bulkhead fumbled, but the Patriots retained possession when Chris Hogan fell on it. Brady hit Dorsett for 12, 14 and then for the 4 yard touchdown. With a 21-6 halftime lead, the Patriots coasted.

In the third quarter Gronkowski fumbled and the Texans took over at their own 45. However, on 4th and 5 from the New England 17, Bill O’Brien went for it and Watson threw incomplete. Stephen Gostkowski would hit a 39 yard field goal to give the Patriots a 24-6 lead. With Watson struggling, Houston got its ground game going. Alfred Blue ran for 17 and 11 and Miller tacked on gains of 5 and 6. Blue ran for a one yard touchdown as the Texans trailed 24-13 after three quarters. New England then held the ball for 7 minutes on a 13 play drive. Gostkowski hit a 35 yard field goal with 10 minutes left for a 27-13 Patriots lead.

With 4 1/2 minutes left the Patriots fumbled a punt and the Texans recovered at the New England 16. Watson hit Ellington for a 5 yard touchdown with 2:08 to play. The Texans used their timeouts and held on defense, but a perfect punt pinned the Texans back at their own one yard line with only 43 seconds to play. With 5 seconds left from the Houston 43, Watson’s Hail Mary was incomplete. Bill Belichick won his 251st game to move into third place all time, one win ahead of Tom Landry. Yet Belichick will probably complain about how his team slept through the second half and played poorly. They won, which will not satisfy him in the slightest. That is why he wins. 27-20 Patriots

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints — This was supposed to be a tuneup for the Saints, who last year were one Minneapolis Miracle away from the NFC Title Game. The Buccaneers were a dumpster fire and Jameis Winston was suspended the first 3 games. Sean Payton and Drew Brees were expected to steamroll Tampa Bay easily. Again, cue ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman. “THAT’S why they PLAY the games.” The Saints made it look easy at the start from their own 29. Brees connected with Alvin Kamara for a 35 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Tampa 5, Kamara ran it in for a 7-0 Saints lead. The backup quarterback for the Buccaneers looks like a homeless person, but it is actually Ryan Fitzpatrick and his magic beard. Fitzpatrick can actually play football. The Buccaneers took over at their own 32. From their 42, Fitzpatrick went deep to DeSean Jackson for a 58 yard touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame.

The Saints moved 11 plays in over 5 minutes from their 25 to a 3rd and 3 at the Tampa 17. Brees threw incomplete. Wil Lutz hit the 36 yard field goal for a 10-7 Saints lead. After a touchback, Barber ran for 23 yards and again for 12 more. Fitzpatrick then hit Godwin for16 yards and to Mike Evans for 21 more. Fitzpatrick got the last 3 yards himself as the Buccaneers led 14-10 after a wild first quarter of a game that was just heating up. From the Saints 26, Brees hit Ted Ginn for 9 yards and Thomas for 35 more. On the first play of the second quarter, Brees went deep to Ginn for a 28 yard touchdown and a 17-14 Saints lead. After a touchback, Fitzpatrick hit Godwin for 16. On 3rd and 4 from their own 47, Fitzpatrick went to Howard for a 35 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Saints 15, Fitzpatrick threw incomplete. Chandler Catanzaro hit the 33 yard field goal for a 17-17 ballgame.

The Saints went 3 and out after a sack of Brees and the Bucs soon faced 3rd and 2 at their own 30. Fitzpatrick put on a clinic, hitting Evans for 12, Howard for 19, and Evans again for 15. On 3rd and 6 from the 9, Fitzpatrick went to Godwin for the touchdown and the 24-17 Buccaneers lead. The Saints took over at their own 32 and disaster struck immediately. Mike Gillislee fumbled and Evans returned it 34 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 31-17 Buccaneers lead. With 4 1/2 minutes left in the half, Brees went to work. He hit Kamara for 18 yards and again for 23 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Tampa 6, Brees hit Thomas for the touchdown with one minute left in the half. The Saints and their pinball offense had put up 24 points. Their supposedly fixed defense was not expecting a Buccaneers pinball offense led by Fitzpatrick to put up 31 points.

In the third quarter the Buccaneers kept rolling. This was not the ugly Buc Ball of defense bailing out the offense. This was offense scoring at will. Fitzpatrick hit Evans and Jackson for a pair of 10 yard gains. From the Saints 36, Fitzpatrick went deep to Evans for a 32 yard gain with roughing the passer making 1st and goal at the 2. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Fitzpatrick threw incomplete and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the offense meant 4th and goal at the 18. Catanzaro hit the 36 yard field goal to make it 34-24 Buccaneers. Later in the third quarter, the Buccaneers took over at their own 26. Fitzpatrick went to Humphries 20 yards. On 3rd and 6 from midfield, Fitzpatrick went deep to Evans for the 50 yard touchdown. After three quarters the Buccaneers had a 41-24 lead.

The third quarter was ending with the Saints at their own 44. Brees hit Thomas for a 19 yard gain but fumbled the ball away. The Buccaneers took over at their own 35. The bucs faced 3rd and 4 at their own 41 to start the fourth quarter Fitzpatrick hit Evans for 7 yards. On 3rd and 9 just shy of midfield, Fitzpatrick threw incomplete but defensive pass interference gave the buccaneers 15 yards. On the next play Fitzpatrick went deep to Jackson for a 36 yard touchdown. In front of a stunned home crowd, the Buccaneers led 48-24 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Saints still had Brees.

After a touchback Brees hit Carr for 9 and Watson for gains of 6 and 21. Unnecessary roughness on the next play tacked on 15 more yards. On 4th and 4 from the Tampa 13, Brees hit Watson for 6. On 3rd and goal at the one, Kamara got in. Kamara ran in the 2 point conversion to get the Saints within 48-32 with 9 minutes left. Tampa Bay moved from their 25 to a 4th and 3 at the Saints 26. Catanzaro came in for a 44 yard field goal try to ice the game. The kick was no good with 5 minutes left, and the Saints clung to life. From the Saints 34, Brees hit Thomas for 13, Ginn for 16, Thomas for 21 and 9, and Kamara for the 7 yard touchdown. Brees hit Ginn for another successful 2 point conversion. With 3 1/2 minutes left, the Saints were within 8 points.

With 2:42 to play and the Saints out of timeouts, everything came down to the Bucs facing 3rd and 11 at their own 24. One more stop and Brees would get the ball back. Fitzpatrick scrambled for 12 yards and then took 3 knees. Brees finished a ridiculous 37 of 45 for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Somehow the Saints lost. Fitzpatrick was a red hot 21 of 28 for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns, also with 0 interceptions. Jameis Winston may not get his job back if Fitzpatrick and his magic beard keep playing like this. Meanwhile, somebody needs to give Brees a defense. When you put up 40 points and lose, the offense is not the problem. 48-40 Buccaneers

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants — This was the first Captain Grumpy Bowl, as Tom Coughlin came back to try and beat the team that forced him out a couple of years ago. The Jaguars made the AFC Title Game last year while the Giants were a 2-14 mess. This was the first game for Pat Shurmur as Giants head coach. As expected, it was a fairly ugly game with plenty of defense. The field goal kickers did most of the work. Josh Lambo hit a 39 yarder for the Jaguars, and Alex Rosas responded from 27 for a 3-3 game. In the second quarter Lambo hit again from 39. The Jaguars got it back and moved 57 yards. Blake Bortles threw a one yard touchdown pass to TJ Yeldon for a 13-3 Jaguars lead. Rosas hit from 31 and in the third quarter from 44 as the Giants trailed 13-9 after three quarters.

With 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Eli Manning was intercepted by Myles Jack, who returned it 32 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 20-9 Jaguars lead. The Giants came back two plays later when rookie running back Saquon Barkley raced for a 68 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Giants were within 5 points. Both defenses dug in for the rest of the game and the Giants were down to their final chance. The Jaguars punted on 4th and 6 from their own 40 with 54 seconds left. The punt was fumbled, the Jaguars recovered, and the Giants were done. Tom Coughlin was so pleased at the win that he almost smiled. 20-15 Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers — Every year the Chargers are a trendy pick, and every year they disappoint. With Joey Bosa out with an injured foot, the the Chargers were expected to rely on Philip Rivers to do everything as usual. Patrick Mahomes started his first NFL game in last year’s season finale, a win. The Chiefs have some serious playmakers, and special teams started the scoring. Tyreeq Hill took a punt back 91 yards to the house for a 7-0 Chiefs lead. The Chargers did get on the board with a 45 yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis, but the Chiefs had too much firepower. Mahomes hooked up with Hill on a 58 yard touchdown for a 14-3 Chiefs lead.

The Chargers tried to make a game of it. Sturgis hit a 39 yarder to get the Chargers to within 14-6. In the second quarter the Chargers got it back at their own 4 yard line and mounted a 12 play, 96 yard, 6 minute drive. Rivers hit Green for 15 and Melvin Gordon for 25. On the ground Ekeler ran for 9 and Gordon for 11 more. Rivers hit Ekeler for a 13 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed bu the Chargers were within 14-12. The Chiefs then held the ball for 11 plays and 6 minutes. At the 2 minute warning Harrison Butker nailed a 46 yard field goal to put the Chiefs up 17-12 at halftime. The Chiefs missed a chance to extend the lead after moving from their own 10 to the Chargers 38 yard line. An offensive holding call pushed them out of long field goal range.

It was a temporary delay. The Chiefs moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes to start the second half. Mahomes hit Hill for 21 yards to start the drive and Kareem Hunt ran for gains of 7 and 5. From the Chargers 20, Mahomes found Sammy Watkins for 16 yards  and Thomas for the one yard touchdown to make it 24-12 Chiefs. The Chargers moved from their own 9 yard line to a 3rd and 4 at the Chiefs 26. Rivers was intercepted by Parker at the 14 yard line to kill the drive. On 3rd and 13 from their own 11, Mahomes went deep to Hill for 34 yards, to Conley for 15 more, and to Sherman for a 36 yard touchdown. This was not the dink and dunk West Coast Offense. Mahomes has a cannon of an arm, and the Chiefs led 31-12 after three quarters.

The Chargers tried to rally. Rivers hit Keenan Allen for a 20 yard touchdown to cap a 91 yard drive. Rivers hit Antonio Gates for the 2 point conversion to get the Chargers within 31-20 with 12 minutes remaining in regulation. The Chiefs went 3 and out and the Chargers were still alive. Then the Chargers fumbled the punt and the Chiefs were dead. The Chiefs recovered at the Chargers 2 yard line and on 3rd and goal at the one, Mahomes hit Hill for the touchdown. The Chiefs led 38-20 with 9 1/2 minutes left.

After a touchback, Rivers furiously led the Chargers back. On 4th and 2 from the Chiefs 27, Rivers hit Allen for 23 yards. On the next play Rivers hit Williams for a 4 yard touchdown. Again the 2 point try succeeded as Melvin Gordon ran it in. The Chargers were within 10 points with 5 minutes left. Anthony Lynn opted against an onside kick. Again the Chiefs went 3 and out. With 3 minutes left the Chargers moved from their own 14 to a 1st and 10 at the Chiefs 28 with 1:51 to play. Rivers threw incomplete twice and a short pass lost 2 yards. With 1:11 left and needing 2 scores, Anthony Lynn brought in Sturgis for a 48 yard field goal try. After that a successful onside kick would give the Chargers a chance to tie the game. They never got that chance. Sturgis missed, and the Chargers were done. New Year, different city, same Chargers. West Coast Offense guru Andy Reid now has a thoroughbred at quarterback, making Reid a most happy Walrus Lite. 38-28 Chiefs

Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals — Washington might be a team on the rise, but Arizona is definitely a team on the decline. With Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer retiring, new coach Steve Wilks is clearly presiding over a rebuilding team. Washington has a quarterback in Alex Smith and a running back in Adrian Peterson who both have a chip on their shoulders. After a scoreless first quarter, the levee broke and the Redskins blew the game open. Smith capped off an 80 yard, 11 play, 6 minute drive by hitting Thompson for a 13 yard touchdown to start the deluge. A 15 play, 73 yard, 9 minute drive was capped when Peterson got in from one yards out. The Redskins the moved 92 yards in 10 plays as Smith hit Reed for a 4 yard touchdown and a 21-0 Redskins lead at the intermission. The second half was a lifeless formality. Dustin Hopkins hit a 31 yard fourth quarter field goal for Washington, and Johnson prevented the shutout with a 2 yard garbage time touchdown run. The Redskins may not be that good, but the Cardinals are that bad. 24-6 Redskins

Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers — Two years ago the Cowboys were supposed to be starting a new dynasty with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. That was two years ago. The Panthers have a new owner, but the same coach in Ron Rivera and quarterback in Cam Newton. The Panthers are about defense, and they brought it in this game. After a scoreless first quarter, a 30 yard punt return set the Panthers up at the Dallas 35. Newton ran for a 4 yard touchdown. Graham Gano tacked on a 27 yard field goal to end the half. A scoreless third quarter had the Panthers up 10-0 entering the fourth quarter. A 63 yard drive saw Newton hit Devon Funchess for gains of 15 and 14. The fourth quarter began with Arah running in from one yard out to make it 16-0 Panthers after the missed extra point. The Cowboys finally got on the board with a 4 yard touchdown run by Elliott and a successful 2 point conversion with 9 minutes left. With 2:18 left, on 4th and 10 from the Carolina 48, Prescott threw incomplete. With 1:39 left on 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 23, Prescott was sacked and fumbled. Suffocating defense got Carolina the win. 16-8 Panthers

Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos — 5 years ago these teams both made the Super Bowl. Since then Peyton Manning has retired, The Legion of Boom is no more. Richard Sherman has defected to archrival San Francisco and Kam Chancellor has retired, Gary Kubiak has retired, and Wade Phillips has gone on to the Los Angeles Rams. Nevertheless, these teams did play a far more exciting game than the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson and Case Keenum both threw 3 touchdown passes. Wilson was intercepted twice and Keenum was picked off 3 times in his first game with the Broncos. Wilson was 19 of 33 for 298 yards and Keenum was 25 of 39 of 329 yards. The stats were close, and so was the game.

Keenum’s first interception was returned 25 yards to the Denver 15. One play later Wilson hit Dissly for the touchdown and the 7-0 lead. After a touchback Keenum came back with a 29 yard touchdown to Lindsay for a 7-7 ballgame. Late in the first quarter the Seahawks took over at their own 5 yard line. Carson rushed for 24 yards and a short pass from Wilson to Dissly went for a 66 yard gain. The second quarter began with Seattle facing 1st and goal at the 5. On 3rd and goal from the 7, Wilson hit Brandon Marshall for the touchdown, but it was nullified for offensive pass interference on Marshall. Sebastian Janikowski is now with Seattle after 18 years in Silver and Black. Seabass hit the 35 yarder for a 10-7 Seahawks lead. After a touchback, Keenum came back and threw a 43 yard touchdown pass to Emanuel Sanders for a 14-10 Broncos lead. Denver got it back at their own 37 and Brandon McManus hit a 51 yard field goal to make it 17-10 Broncos.

The last 2 minutes of the half was wild. Just past the 2 minute warning, Janikowski came in for a 46 yard field goal to trim the lead. It was no good. Keenum quickly hit Sanders for a 31 yard gain to the Seattle 33. From the 26, Keenum was intercepted at the Seattle 18. With 37 seconds left in the half on 2nd and 1 from the Seattle 41, Wilson was sacked for a 22 yard loss. Pete Carroll let the clock run out.

In the third quarter a Seattle fumble had the Broncos set up at the Seattle 40. Keenum was immediately intercepted by McDougal, who returned it 39 yards to the Denver 41. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 20, Wilson went deep to Marshall for the touchdown and the 17-17 tie.

With 3 minutes left in the third quarter and Seattle facing 3rd and 7 at their own 23, Wilson was intercepted again. Denver took over at the Seattle 35 and gained nothing. McManus bailed the Broncos out with a clutch 53 yard field goal to make it 20-17 Broncos after three quarters. After a touchback, the last play of the third quarter saw the Seahawks facing 3rd and 11 at their own 34. Wilson hit Marshall for 15 yards. The fourth quarter began with Wilson going deep to Tyler Lockett for a 51 yard touchdown and a 24-20 Seahawks lead.

After a touchback, Lindsay ran for gains of 14 and 5. Keenum went to Sutton for a 25 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Seattle 31, Keenum went to Butt for 22 yards with roughing the passer making it 1st and goal at the 4. Keenum hit Thomas for the touchdown and this topsy-turvy game now had the Broncos up by a field goal with a full 11 minutes left. Denver’s defense stopped Seattle on their next 2 drives. With just over one minute left, the Broncos faced 4th and 5 at the Seattle 39. Vance Joseph opted to punt. Seattle took over at their own 12 with one minute left. A fumbled shotgun snap had Seattle in desperation mode. With 2 seconds left on 3rd and 19 from their own 14, Wilson was intercepted again. Pete Carroll does not have the same team he had in recent years, while Vance Joseph got a much needed win. 27-24 Broncos

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers is the Sunday night game. This one will be talked about for years, maybe longer. The Bears have a new coach, a nondescript bald guy named Matt Nagy. This moribund NFC North bottom dweller became an instant sensation with the trade for Khalil Mack. Mack’s impact was felt immediately as the Packers punted on their first drive and the Bears took over at their own 14. Runs and short passes moved the Bears to their own 44. Trubisky then went deep to Gabriel for 31 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Green Bay 17, Trubisky hit Burton for 15 yards. Trubisky ran it in himself for the 2 yard touchdown and the 7-0 Bears lead. Green Bay punted again and the Bears took over at their own 32. Trubisky went deep to Robinson for 33 yards. Despite 2nd and goal at the 3, an incompletion followed by a swing pass that lost 5 yards killed the drive. Cody Parkey hit a 26 yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to make it 10-0 Bears.

Things got worse for the Packers. With 9 1/2 minutes left in the half, Rodgers got belted. He was down for awhile and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. His knee was in bad shape, and the Green Bay faith fun worried that their entire season had ended. The best quarterback in the league was replaced with a guy who was cut from the worst team in the league. DoShone Kizer failed in Cleveland, and now had to come in under tough circumstances. With 3 minutes left in the half, the Packers had moved to a 3rd and goal at the 9. Kizer got sacked by Mack, who ripped the ball out of his hands. The fumble recovery was pure brute force. The Packers got it back and with 50 seconds left in the half faced 3rd and 19 at their own 30 after a sack of Kizer. Running the ball is just not an option for pass happy West Coast Offense Mike McCarthy. A short pass was intercepted by Mack, who returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. The Bears led 17-0 over the Packers in front of a shell-shocked home crowd at Lambeau Field. In the third quarter the Bears moved 60 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. The drive bogged down at the 15 yard line, but Parkey hit the 33 yard field goal. The Bears led 20-0.

Then came the events that will be retold to kids. Aaron Rodgers emerged out of the locker room and onto the field. He could not fully plant his leg, but he was going to play. He moved the Packers from their 31 to the Chicago 23. A pair of incomplete passes ended the drive. Mason Crosby hit a 42 yard field goal. After three quarters, the Packers trailed 20-3.

The Bears went 3 and out and the Packers soon faced 3rd and 14 at their own 15. Rodgers found Allison for just enough. Rodgers then went back to Allison for 12 more. The fourth quarter began with Rodgers going deep to Allison for a 39 yard touchdown. The crowd erupted as the Packers were within 20-10. The Bears soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. In the days of Vince Lombardi and George Halas, this meant a run of brute force, strength against strength. Now all these coaches play gutless football rather than smash-mouth. Nagy went with a screen pass that was caught for no gain. The Bears punted. The Packers got it back at their own 25. Rodgers went deep to Devontae Adams for a 51 yard gain. Rodgers went back to Adams for a 12 yard touchdown. With 9 minutes to play, the Packers were within 20-17.

The remaining 9 minutes would tell if the Bears would find a way to lose this game due to their inexperience. Instead, Trubisky showed far more poise than many 2nd year players. He led a 14 play drive that ate up over 6 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 3 from the Chicago 32, Trubisky got just enough himself. On 3rd and 2 from the Chicago 43, Cohen gained 5 yards. On 3rd and 7 just past midfield, Trubisky found Miller for 11 yards. Then came a decision that defines coaches. The Bears faced 3rd and 2 at the Green Bay 14. The Packers were out of timeouts and there was 2:47 on the clock. The entire football world knows that you must run the ball in this situation. An incomplete pass stops the clock. A run takes the clock down to the 2 minute warning. A first down ended the game. Resist the West Coast Bullsh*t. Do not dink. Do not dunk. Run. The. D@mn. Ball.

Nagy decided to pass. Trubisky threw incomplete. Parkey hit the 39 yard field goal. The Bears led 23-17, but 2:39 still remained. Was there any doubt what would happen next? After a touchback, Rodgers threw a pair of incompletions, including one that should have been the game winning interception. It was right in the defender’s bread basket. He dropped it. The Bears left the door open, and Rodgers made them pay. On 3rd and 10 Rodgers zipped a mass over the middle to Randall Cobb, who split to the seam, got to the sideline, picked up one last block, and made it to the end zone for a 75 yard touchdown. The Bears got it back at their own 18 with 2:08 left. On 2nd and 9 Trubisky threw 3 straight incompletions but was bailed out by a roughing the passer call. On 1st and 10 at the Chicago 46, Trubisky threw 3 straight incompletions. On 4th and 10 he was sacked and fumbled. The Cheeseheads had a win for the ages. This was the precise collapse that in 2006 had Chicago beat Arizona and lead to a Dennis Green Meltdown. The Bears may not be who we thought they were, but Nagy coached like a guy coaching his first game. As for Aaron Rodgers, he just gets better with age. He also gets to sleep with Danica Patrick. You don’t need 2 good legs for that. 24-23 Packers

New York Jets at Detroit Lions was the opening Monday night game. The Jets went 5-11 the past 2 seasons but Todd Bowles clearly got as much as he could out of a depleted roster. The Lions fired Jim Caldwell and brought in Bill Belichick understudy Matt Patricia to coach his first NFL game. The Jets decided to start rookie Sam Darnold as they approached the 50th season of futility since Joe Namath led them in Super Bowl III. This had all the makings of a blowout. It was, but not as expected. On the first play from scrimmage after a touchback, Darnold threw his first NFL pass. It was intercepted by Quentin diggs and returned 37 yards for a touchdown. The game was less than 20 seconds old and the Jets trailed 7-0. This is why J-E-T-S stands for Just End The Season. Before owner Woody Johnson could return from England to fire everyone, truth became stranger than fiction.

After an exchange of punts, the Jets got a big break when Roberts returned a punt 43 yards to the Detroit 32. Darnold hit Enunwa for a 15 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Detroit 14, Darnold hit Enunwa for 8 yards. Isaiah Crowell ran up the middle for a 6 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. After a touchback, Matthew Stafford through incomplete twice and then was intercepted by Claiborne. The Jets took over just past midfield. Myers hit a 35 yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to make it 10-7 Jets. The Lions moved after a touchback to a 1st and 10 at the Jets 28. Stafford was then intercepted again. With 3 minutes left in the half a 16 yard punt return had the jets starting just past midfield. On 3rd and 2 at the 2 minute warning, Darnold went deep to Anderson for a 41 yard touchdown. The Jets led 17-7, and Darnold had his first NFL touchdown pass not counting the earlier one to the other team.

With 1:51 left after a touchback, the Lions moved to a 3rd and goal at the 3. Stafford there incomplete. Matt Prater hit the 21 yard field goal as the Lions trailed 17-10 at halftime. The Lions after a touchback and a false start faced 1st and 15 at their own 20. Stafford made it look easy, going to Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay for a pair of 26 yard gains. Stafford then went to Tate for a 24 yard touchdown. Less than 2 minutes into the third quarter, the game was tied 17-17. What happened over the next 13 minutes of the third quarter was a shock to anyone who has ever watched football.

After a touchback, Darnold hit Terrell Pryor for 12 yards. Powell ran for a 10 yard gain. Darnold hit Pryor for 20 and then went to Enunwa for a 21 yard touchdown. The Jets led 24-17. The Lions soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Stafford was intercepted by Lee, who returned it 36 yards the other way for a 31-17 Jets lead. The Lions then went 3 and out and punted. Roberts returned the punt 78 yards for a touchdown. The Jets had scored on offense, defense and special teams as 3 touchdowns in less than 2 1/2 minutes had the Jets up 38-17. Two plays after a touchback, Stafford was intercepted again by Lee. The Jets took over at the Detroit 18. Myers hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 41-17 Jets. The Lions finally mounted a drive, moving from their 25 to a 3rd and 7 at the Jets 26. Stafford then threw incomplete. Prater missed a 44 yard field goal. Two plays later Isaiah Crowell raced for a 62 yard touchdown. A shellshocked crowd saw the Jets score 31 unanswered points in less than 9 minutes to turn a tie game into an epic blowout. J-E-T-S just got very respectable. The Lions have been a national joke before. On this night they were again. 48-17 Jets

Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders was the closing Monday night game. The subplots were everywhere. Jon Gruden returned to the black hole. Aaron Donald got his monster contract. Khalil Mack was traded to Chicago. The Rams were thinking Super Bowl. The Raiders were one or two years from moving to Las Vegas after losing out on the Los Angeles market. Howie Long lit the Al Davis torch. Then they played football. After a touchback and a couple of Marshawn Lynch carries, the Raiders had 1st and 10 at their own 35. Derek Carr zipped a pass to Jared cook, who raced for a 45 yard gain. On 2nd and goal at the 10, Lynch got the carry and appeared stopped at the 4 yard line. He kept bulldozing, and the offensive line jumped on the pile and pushed it forward. By the time the scrum had ended, Lynch had the ball over the goal line for a brutal 10 yard touchdown run. The Black Hole was rocking as the Raiders led 7-0 early on. After an exchange of punts, the Rams took over at midfield. Jared Goff made it look easy, going to Cooper Kupp for 11, Woods for 20, and Todd Gurley for the 19 yard touchdown and a 7-7 deadlock. After that both defenses dug in.

The field goal kickers did most of the work for awhile. In the second quarter Mike Nugent hit a 24 yarder for the Raiders. Greg Zuerlein answered from 20 for the Rams as each team drove deep but each defense got stops short of the end zone. Nugent hit a 48 yarder as the half was ending to give the Raiders a 13-10 lead. Zuerlein hit from 28 in the third quarter to again tie the game 13-13. A field position had the Rams taking over at their own 42. Goff found Cooks for 17 yards and again for 30 more. On the last play of the third quarter, Goff went to Kupp for the 8 yard touchdown and the 20-13 Rams lead.

The Rams got it back only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter at their own 12. Goff hit Gurley for 17. On 3rd and 1 from their own 41, Gurlet got 2 tough yards. On 3rd and 3 at the Oakland 37, Goff had his pass batted down. However, Zuerlein drilled a 55 yard field goal off the dirt to put the Rams up 23-13 with 9 1/2 minutes left. The Raiders were misfiring on offense and the Rams offense had completely overmatched the Raiders defense and their porous secondary. In the first half Derek Carr was a white hot 20 of 24 for 199 yards. Over the next 21 minutes he was 1 for 5 for 4 yards. Conversely, Todd Gurley in the first half had 5 carries for 20 yards. In the second half he had over 116 yards rushing. On 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 28, Carr hooked up with Cook for a 32 yard gain. Yet on the next play, Carr threw a pass across the field where the only person in the vicinity was Littleton. It was the easiest interception of his career, and with only 8 minutes left the noose was tightening on the Raiders. The Rams then moved the ball on a 13 play, 69 yard drive that bled the clock. By the time the Rams reached the Oakland 5 yard line, the Rams had out-gained the Raiders 264 to 57 in the second half. On 3rd and goal at the 5, a run gained 3 yards. Zuerlein hit the 20 yard field goal as the Rams led 26-13 with only 3:15 to play.

The final dagger came when a limping Carr was intercepted for the third time. Marcus Peters returned it 50 yards for the score, practically walking into the end zone. The game was now officially a blowout. Chucky lost his first game coaching the Raiders 20 years ago before leading the Silver and Black to consecutive division titles. He lost his first game coaching Tampa Bay 16 year ago before leading them to a Super Bowl victory. He lost his first game coaching the Raiders the second time around. Better days will be ahead. Gruden has a 10 year, 100 million dollar contract. The fans expect better, and their defense needs to be vastly improved. The shadow of Khalil Mack will hang over this franchise every day until it is. As for the Rams, great teams win road games in hostile environments. Sean McVay is an innovative offensive mind. Having Michelin Man Wade Phillips as your defensive coordinator doesn’t hurt matters. 33-13 Raiders

When religion conflicts with football

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

When religion conflicts with football

What should a Jew do when Rosh Hashanah conflicts with football