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NFL 2019 Week 4 Recap

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 4 Recap

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers was the Thursday night game. The shootout began when the Packers took over at their own 11. An unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense put the ball on the 26. On 2nd and 1 from their own 35, Aaron Rodgers went deep o Devonta Adams for a 58 yard gain. Aaron Jones ran for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers. Green Bay got it back at their own 10 and mounted a 15 play, 78 yard, 8 minute drive. The second quarter began with the Packers facing 2nd and 7 from the Philadelphia 12 yard line. Rodgers threw incomplete twice. Mason Crosby hit the 30 yard field goal for a 10-0 Packers lead. Then the game changed.

A 67 yard kickoff return had the Eagles taking over at the Green Bay 34. Carson Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for a 6 yard touchdown to get the Eagles within 10-7. The Packers soon faced 3rd and 10 at their own 24. Rodgers and Adams combined on a 40 yard gain. However, on 3rd and 2 from the Philadelphia 13, Rodgers threw incomplete. Crosby hit from 31 to make it 13-7 Packers. Crosby hit the kickoff out of bounds to allow the Eagles to take over at their own 40. A roughing the passer penalty had the Eagles on the move. On 3rd and 2 from the Packers 26, Wentz hit Zac Ertz for 12 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the 5, Wentz ran for 2 and hit Dallas Goedert for the 3 yard touchdown to put the Eagles on top 14-13. Rodgers was then sacked and fumbled, setting up the Eagles at the Green Bay 17. Jordan Howard ran for a one yard touchdown. The Eagles led 21-13 with one minute left in the half.

Then momentum changed again. The Packers took over at their own 30. Rodgers hit Adams for 11. With 30 seconds left, the Packers faced 3rd and 6 from midfield. Rodgers went deep to Allison for 31 yards and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 9 seconds left. Rodgers the calmly went to Geronimo Allison for the 19 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Packers were within 21-20 at halftime. 

The Eagles took over at their own 24 in the third quarter. Wentz hit Ertz for 9 and Hollins for 13 more. From the Green Bay 44, Wentz hit Jeffery for 16 and Howard for the 20 yard touchdown. For some bizarre reason, Doug Peterson decided to go for 2 to make it a 9 point game. Wentz threw incomplete and the Eagles led 27-20. The Packers took over at their own 28. Rodgers scrambled for 14 yards. On 3rd and 7 from their own 45, Rodgers hit Valdes-Scantling for 26 yards. Rodgers went to Graham for the 14 yard touchdown. This wild game was tied 27-27 after three quarters.

After a touchback, Sanders ran for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Green Bay 34, Wentz went to Jeffery for 16 yards. The fourth quarter began with Howard running for another 16 yards and then the 2 yard touchdown as the Eagles led by 7. The Packers moved 78 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. With 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Packers had 1st and goal at the one. Then came the Ghost of Marshawn Lynch. The entire football world knows you run the ball from the one yard line. Yet West Coast Offense dink and dunkers just cannot help themselves. The new Packers coach is a West Coast Offense dink and dunker. It does not matter that Aaron Rodgers is perhaps the best quarterback in the game. You run the d@mn ball. Instead, Rodgers threw 4 straight incompletions and the Packers got nothing. The Packers got it back with 5 minutes left at their own 11. With 30 seconds left in the game, the Packers had 2nd and goal at the 3. The Packers learned nothing. Rather than run the ball, Rodgers threw over the middle into traffic. What could possibly go wrong? The pass was deflected and intercepted. Dink, dunk, death. 34-27 Eagles

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans — Kyle Allen threw 4 touchdowns in his first start in place of the injured Cam Newton. In this game the Panthers moved from their 14 to the Houston 24. Allen was sacked and fumbled. The Texans recovered but did not capitalize. A shanked 19 yard punt had the Panthers getting it back at the Houston 41. Despite 2nd and 5 at the Houston 30, a run went nowhere and Allen then threw incomplete. Joey Slye hit the 48 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Panthers. Kaimi Fairbairn missed a 52 yard try that would have tied the game. Fairbairn did hit from 37 in the second quarter for a 3-3 game. After an exchange of turnovers, the Panthers took over at their own 46. On 3rd and 4 from the Houston 48, Allen went deep to Wright for 27 yards and Christian McCaffrey for 18 more. McCaffrey ran for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Panthers with one minute left in the half. In the third quarter the Panthers fumbled and the Texans recovered at the Carolina 18. Deshaun Watson ran for a one yard touchdown and a 10-10 game after three quarters. 10 seconds into the fourth quarter, Slye drilled a 55 yard field goal for a 13-10 Panthers lead. With 4 minutes left in regulation, a Houston fumble was recovered by Carolina at the Houston 33. Slye hit a 26 yard field goal for a 6 point Panthers lead with 28 seconds left. With 4 seconds left from the Carolina 47, Watson launched the Hail Mary. It fell incomplete. 16-10 Panthers 

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens — Cleveland traveled to Baltimore for their annual @ss- kicking. This time the Browns moved the ball 84 yards on 11 plays and consumed 8 1/2 minute of clock. From the Cleveland 16, Baker Mayfield found Jarvis Landry for 16 yards. On 3rd and 8 from their own 42, Mayfield threw incomplete but illegal contact kept the drive going. On 1st and 25 from their own 42, Mayfield hit Brown for 18 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Baltimore 35, Mayfield hit Hilliard for 19 more. On 3rd and 3 from the Baltimore 9, out of the shotgun mayfield hit Seals-Jones for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Browns. The Dawg Pound brought their defense, but with 5 1/2 minutes left in the half an interception of Mayfield set up the Ravens at their own 42. Lamar Jackson ran for 29 yards. At the 2 minute warning, Jackson hit Boykin for the 9 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. Cleveland took over at their own 13. A short pass from Mayfield to Landry went for 65 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Baltimore 8, Freddie Kitchens decided to go for it. Mayfield got the yard. With 16 seconds left, on 3rd and goal from the 6, Mayfield threw incomplete. Austin Seibert hit from 24 as the Browns had the 10-7 halftime lead in front of a stunned Baltimore crowd. The crowd would be in shellshock by the end of the game. Justin Tucker hit a 41 yard field goal in the third quarter for a 10-10 game, but after that it was all Cleveland.

On 2nd and 8 from the Cleveland 27, Mayfield went deep to Seals-Jones for 59 yards. Nick Chubb ran for a 14 yard touchdown to make it 17-10 Browns. After a touchback the Ravens moved to a 2nd and 7 at the Cleveland 32. Mark Ingram gained 6 yards but fumbled and the Browns recovered at their own 26. It was the turning point in the game. Nick Chubb ran for 17 and 5. On 3rd and 5 from their own 48, Mayfield hit seals-Jones for 14. On 2nd and 15 from the Baltimore 43, Mayfield hit Landry for 12 and on 3rd and 3 hit him again for 29 yards. Chubb ran for the 2 yard touchdown for a 24-10 Browns lead after three quarters.

Every time the Ravens came back in the fourth quarter, the Browns answered. Baltimore moved 75 yards in 14 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and goal at the 8, Jackson hit Mark Andrews fr the touchdown. John Harbaugh for some reason went for the 2 point conversion and Ingram ran it in to get the Ravens within 24-18. 16 seconds later the Browns were in the end zone again. On 1st and 15 from their own 12, Chubb raced for an 88 yard touchdown as the Browns led 30-18. The 2 point try failed. With 9 minutes left John Harbaugh went for it on 4th and 3 from his own 31. Jackson threw incomplete, leading to a 43 yard Siebert field goal to make it 33-18 Browns. Jackson was intercepted each of the next two series, the second of which set up the Browns at the Baltimore 39. Dontrell Hilliard ran for a one yard touchdown to put the Browns up 40-18 with just over 2 minutes left. Baltimore got a garbage touchdown, but no more. If losing badly at home in Week 1 was a statement, then winning big over their most hated rival on the road was uneven bigger one. Maybe the Brows are for real. 40-25 Browns

Washington Redskins at New York Giants — Daniel Jones won his first NFL start last week. This week the Giants moved from their own 32 and soon faced 3rd and 17 from the Washington 39. Jones hit Gallman for 15. On 4th and 2 from the Washington 24, Pat Shurmur decided to go for it. Out of the shotgun, Jones hit Shepard for 5 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Washington 15, Jones hit Shepard for 13. Jones threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to Gallman to make it 7-0 Giants. The Giants got the ball back at their own 6 yard line. On 3rd and 2 from their 14, Jones hit Evan Engram for 12 yards. On 3rd and 9 from their 27, Jones was sacked but defensive holding kept the drive going. Jones then found Shepard for a 23 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Washington 37 to start the second quarter, Jones hit Slayton for 5, Shepard for 7, and Gallman for 22. Gallman got the last yard  for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Giants. 

Jones was intercepted twice in the second quarter. After the second one, the Redskins moved to a 1st and goal at the one. A pair of incompletions sandwiched around a run that lost 2 yards meant Dustin Hopkins was hitting a 21 yard field goal. The Giants came back and actually had 1st and goal at the 2 with 7 seconds left in the half. Jones threw incomplete followed by offensive pass interference. Alex Rosas hit a 30 yard field goal for a 17-3 Giants lead. Imagine if either team tried to run on 1st and goal. The second half was hideous. The only score was a 32 yard touchdown pass from Dwayne Haskins to Jabril Peppers, who plays defense for Big Blue. Congress after the game announced that they were beginning impeachment hearings against Daniel Snyder and Jay Gruden. 24-3 Giants

Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins — 38 years after a playoff game for the ages, these teams played a forgettable game. The Chargers were 16 point favorites over a Miami team that has improved every week from losing by 49, then by 43, and last week by 25. After a touchback the Chargers moved to a 3rd and 4 a the Miami 21. Philip Rivers threw incomplete. After a delay of game, Long hit the 44 yard field goal for a 3-0 Chargers lead. The Dolphins soon faced 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Out of the shotgun, Josh Rosen hit Williams for 25 yards, O’Leary for 9 more, and Parker for a 34 yard touchdown. The Dolphins up 7-3 finally had their first lead of the entire season. The Chargers on 2nd and 5 from their own 30 saw Rivers hit Watt for 21 with 15 more added on for the defender lowering the head to intimate contact. On 3rd and 4 from the Miami 28, Rivers went to Kendricks for 13 and to Pope for the 13 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Chargers. 

In the second quarter Sanders hit a 30 yard field goal to tie the game 10-10, but he then missed a 50 yard try that would have given the Dolphins the lead. The Chargers moved from their 40 to a 3rd and 9 at the Miami 33. Rivers hit Patton for 15 yards and Austin Ekeler for the 18 yard touchdown with 43 seconds left in the half to make it 17-10 Chargers. On the last play of the half, Sanders from 52 missed again. The Chargers put the game away in the second half as the Dolphins had their third straight scoreless second half. A staggering 16 play, 66 yard drive consumed 10 1/2 minutes of clock and was capped with a 45 yard Long field goal for a 20-10 Chargers lead. In the fourth quarter, a one yard Ekeler plunge on 3rd and goal made it 27-10 Chargers. An interception of Rosen led to one more field goal. In four games the Dolphins have been outscored 153-26, and are 12 games from ignominy. 30-10 Chargers

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts — Derek Carr smartly led a 10 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive to start the game. Hard running by Josh Jacobs and short passes moved the chains. The Raiders did not have a single third down on the drive. On 1st and 10 from the Indianapolis 18, Carr fired a gorgeous floater over the defender and Moreau made the leaping catch. The defender tried to wrestle the ball away but Moreau held on to it for the touchdown and the 7-0 Raiders lead. Carr was 6 of 6 on the drive. The Colts went 3 and out when a 3rd and 11 pass was deflected away at the last possible moment. A short punt had the Raiders taking over at their own 40. One play and 10 seconds later the Raiders were in the end zone. An end around by Trevor Davis saw him burst through the hole and race for a 60 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Raiders. Jon Gruden pumped his fist. Davis only joined the team one week ago in a trade from Green Bay.

The Raiders held again on defense as the Colts went backward. Everything was going right for the Raiders, but they could not handle prosperity. Out of the shotgun, a simple handoff exchange from Carr to Jacobs was fumbled, and the Colts recovered at the Oakland 22. Marlon Mack rushed for 18 yards. Jacoby Brissett hit Doyle for a 5 yard touchdown to get the Colts within 14-7. The Raiders did not quickly fold. From their own 24, Jacobs ran for 8 yards and 3 more on 3rd and 2. Carr hit Darrel Waller for 17 yards. Jalen Richard gained 13 and Carr hit Waller for 15 more. The second quarter began with the Raiders facing 3rd and 8 from the Colts 19. Carr found Tyrell williams in single overage in the end zone and Williams came down with it for the touchdown and the 21-7 Raiders lead. Williams became the second player in Raiders history behind Swervin Mervyn Fernandez in 1989 to have a touchdown reception in his first 4 games with the team. 

The Colts moved from their own 25 to a 3rd and 3 at their own 47. A 9 yard run by Wilkins was wiped out by offensive holding. On 3rd and 3 again, Brissett hit Doyle for 5 yards. A late hit by talented head case Vontaze Burfect meant a 15 yard gain. Burfect was ejected, which did not help an Oakland defense that is suspect as it is. On 2nd and goal at the 5, Marlon Mack got blasted for a 4 yard loss. Adam Vinatieri hit the 26 yard field goal to get the Colts within 21-10. In a game where both teams were plagued by multiple dropped passes, the Raiders dodged a couple late bullets. An interception for a touchdown was waved off when Carr’s pass hit the ground before being picked off. The Colts moved into the red zone and then fumbled the ball away. On the last play of the half, Vinatieri barely missed a 57 yard field goal try wide. 

In the third quarter the Raiders took over at their own 10. Jacobs caught a pass for 9, ran for 10, and then caught another pass for 20. On 3rd and 9 from midfield, Carr hit Hunter Renfrow for 8 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Indy 42, Jon Gruden went for it and went smash mouth. Ingold got the yard. 

On 3rd and 9 from the Indy 39, Carr hit Williams for 18. On 3rd and goal from the 8, Carr went to Williams in the end zone to deliver the knockout blow. Williams dropped it. It was right in his bread basket. Daniel Carlson hit the 26 yard field goal. The staggering 16 play, 82 yard drive bled over 9 minutes off the clock. The Raiders led 24-10 after three quarters, but they did not put the game away. 

With 9 minutes left, Frank Reich decided to go for it with the Colts facing 4th and 2 at their own 18. One stop would end the game. Hines gained 4 yards. On 3rd and 8 from their own 38, Brissett went to Pascal for 23 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Brissett hit Chester Rogers for the touchdown. With 5 1/2 minutes left, the Colts were within 24-17. The Raiders never finish games. After a touchback, the Raiders faced 3rd and 5 at their own 41 with 3:17 to play. A false start killed the drive. The Colts got it back at their own 15 with 2 1/2 minutes left and a chance to tie things. The Raiders do not finish games. With 2:09 from their own 25, Brissett was intercepted by Erik Harris, who raced down the sideline 30 yards to pay dirt. It was Brissett’s first interception of the entire season, but it was a dagger. The Raiders led 31-17. On 2nd and 15 from their own 20, Brissett went to Pascal for 28 yards. On 4th and 6 from the Oakland 48, one stop would end the game. Brissett went to Eric Ebron for the touchdown. The Raiders do not finish games. 1:10 still remained, but the Raiders managed to recover the onside kick to preserve the road win and keep their season alive with a 2-2 record. Next week they travel to London. 31-24 Raiders

Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions — The Lions started out hot. On 3nd and 5 from their own 30, Matthew Stafford found Kenny Golladay for a 33 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 2, Stafford was sacked for a 5 yard loss. Matt Prater hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Lions. Harrison Butker missed a 35 yard field goal that would have tied the game. From the Detroit 26, a defensive facemark penalty on a run put the ball at midfield. On 3rd and 9 from the Chiefs 44, Stafford went to Jones for 33 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Chiefs 5, Stafford with the pocket collapsing fired over the middle to TJ Hockensen for the touchdown and the 10-0 Lions lead. For the third straight week the Chiefs started slowly. So far that has yet to matter. 

The Chiefs moved from their own 14 to a 1st and goal at the 4. Yet a West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass lost 3 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Mahomes threw incomplete. Butler hit the 23 yard field goal to get the Chiefs on the board. The Chiefs got it back at their own 30 and LeSean Shady McCoy ran for 39 yards. Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Chelsea for 14 more. On 3rd and goal at the one, McCoy got it for a 10-10 deadlock with 4 minutes left in the half. The Lions moved from their own 21 to a 2nd and 1 at the Chiefs 25. Stafford threw incomplete. A run went nowhere. A 4th and 1 gamble by Matt Patricia was done in by a false start. Matt prater hit the 49 yard field goal to make it 13-10 Lions with one minute left in the half. After a touchback, that was more than enough time for Mahomes. He went deep to Sammy Watkins for 19 yards and deep again to Williams for 30 more. Butker hit the 44 yard field goal to end the half with the game tied 13-13. 

The Chiefs fumbled the second half kickoff, setting the Lions up at the Chiefs 36. On 2nd and goal at the 5, a touchdown pass was reversed to an incompletion. On 3rd and goal Stafford was sacked and fumbled the ball back to the Chiefs, who took over at their own 18. From their 29, the Chiefs fumbled the ball back to the Lions again at the Chiefs 28. McKissic ran for a 26 yard gain with a facemask setting up 1st and goal at the one. Then came the play of the game. Johnson took it up the middle, fumbled the ball, and Breeland picked it up at the goal line for the Chiefs and raced 100 yards the other way. The play stood on review as it was the Chiefs with the 20-13 lead in front of a shocked home crowd, not the Lions. 

The Lions showed composure and drove into position for Prater to try a 53 yard field goal. Prater delivered and the Lions were within 20-16. The Chiefs then fumbled the ball away yet again and the Lions took over at the Kansas City 45 yard line. Johnson ran for 12 and Stafford added 11 more. On 3rd and goal at the 9, Stafford hit Golladay for the touchdown as the Lions had the 23-20 lead after three quarters and were smelling upset. After a touchback, Mahomes hit Kelce for 16 yards. Roughing the passer added 15 more. The fourth quarter began with the Chiefs facing 2nd and 12 at the Detroit 46. Mahomes went to Kelce for 10, and Kelce lateraled the ball to McCoy for another 23 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Detroit 9, Mahomes ran for 7. Williams ran for the one yard touchdown to put the Chiefs on top 27-23 with 12 minutes left in regulation. 

The Lions took over at their own 21 with 6:42 to play. Runs and short passes had the Lions at the Chiefs 43 with 3:19 left. Stafford went deep to Hall for a 34 yard gain. Stafford hit Golladay for a 6 yard touchdown. With 2 1/2 minutes left the Lions had the 30-27 lead. All the defense and to do was stop the superhuman Mahomes. The Chiefs took over at their own 21. Mahomes went to Williams for 11. With 1:55 left the Chiefs faced 4th and 8 at their own 34. One stop would end it. Mahomes scrambled for 15 yards and then hit Kelce for 18 more. With 20 seconds left in regulation the Chiefs were one yard away. With everything on the line, Darrel Williams got in the end zone. The heartbreaking loss knocked the Lions from the unbeaten ranks. The Chiefs are 4-0 and finding new ways to win every week behind their pinball offense, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus Lite indeed. 34-30 Chiefs

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills — Both these teams came in 3-0, but if the Bills were to be taken seriously, they had to win this game. Josh Allen was intercepted by Devin McCourty, who returned it 19 yards to midfield. On 3rd and 9, Tom Brady went to James White for 14 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Buffalo 30, Brady went to White for 26 yards. Bolden ran around the end for a 4 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Patriots led 6-0. The Bills soon had to punt on 4th and 14 from their own 33. The punt was blocked by Jackson and recovered by Slater at the 11. Slater took it the rest of the way for the touchdown and the 13-0 Patriots lead. New England got it back and sought to quickly put the game away. A 16 play, 93 yard drive consumed nearly 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Brady went to the end zone, but it would not be 20-0 Patriots. Brady was intercepted by Micah Hyde in the end zone for a touchback. The turnover changed the complexion of the game.

Steve Hauschka hit a 46 yard field goal to get the Bills on the board. On the last play of the half, a 49 yard try by Hauschka was no good. The third quarter began with a touchbackJosh Allen went to TJ Yeldon for a 23 yard gain and again for 19 more. Allen hit Cole Beasley for 16 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Frank Gore got stopped. Sean McDermott went for it. Allen got the yard himself as the Bills were within 16-10. Late in the third quarter an interception of Allen set up the Patriots at the Buffalo 42. On 3rd and 6, Brady went to Josh Gordon for 31 yards. Yet the defense stiffened. On 3rd and goal at the 9, Brady hit Dorsett for only 5 yards. Gostkowski hit the 23 yard field goal to put the Patriots up by six after three quarters. Defense dominated the fourth quarter, and the Patriots knocked Josh Allen out of the game. Backup Matt Barkley had the Bills backed up to their own 14 with 3 minutes left. With 90 seconds to play the Bills had a 3rd and 9 at the New England 39. Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick brought the house, and Barkley was hit as he threw. A floater in the air was intercepted by Jamie Collins. The Bills are for real, especially on defense, but the Evil Empire is the one that remained unbeaten. 16-10 Patriots

Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons — 3 minutes into the game, Marcus Mariota connected with Brown on a 55 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Titans. The Falcons took over at their own 15 and were helped along by a 32 yard defensive pass interference penalty. From the tennessee 47, Matt Ryan went deep to Hooper for a 28 yard gain. Smith got the last yard on the ground for a touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame. On 3rd and 15 from their own 20, Mariota went to Davis for 16 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Atlanta 36, Mariota hit Humphries for 9 yards. Derrick Henry ran for 16 and Mariota hit Brown for the 11 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Titans. In the second quarter the Titans took over at their own 38. Mariota went deep to Brown for a 28 yard gain. Cairo Santos hit a 45 yard field goal to make it 17-7 Titans. The Falcons moved from their 27 to a 4th and 1 at the Tennessee 39. Dan Quinn went for it and Devontae Freeman lost a yard. Derek Henry ran for a pair of 5 yard gains to midfield. Mariota then went to Davis for 22 yards, Henry for 8, and and back to Davis for a 23 yard touchdown and a 24-7 Titans lead. With 30 seconds left in the half, Matt Bryant missed a 32 yard field goal. Bryant did hit from 42 early in the third quarter to get the Falcons within two scores. After that the Tennessee defense clamped down. 24-10 Titans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams — The defending NFC Champs were supposed to at home steamroll the overmatched Buccaneers. To quote ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman, “THAT’s why they PLAY the games.” The Buccaneers took over at their own 40 and Jameis Winston found Chris Godwin for 17 yards and Brate for 13 more. Winston went back to Godwin for another 18. Pierre Barber ran for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Buccaneers. Another interception of Goff early in the second quarter set the Buccaneers up at midfield. Winston found Howard for 12 and Godwin for 30 more. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Winston hit Godwin for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Buccaneers. Yet another interception of Goff gave the Buccaneers 1st and goal at the 9. One play and 7 seconds later, Winston went to Godwin for the touchdown. 3 interceptions led to 3 touchdowns and a 21-0 Buccaneers lead. 

The Rams finally got going. Goff found Woods for 9 and Everett for 15. From the Tampa 37, Goff hit Everett for 14 with defensive pass interference adding 10 more yards. Todd Gurley ran for a 13 yard touchdown to get the Rams within 21-7. The Rams got it back at midfield. Goff went deep to Woods for 37 yards. Goff hit Everett for a 5 yard touchdown as the Rams were within 21-14. The Buccaneers came back 75 yards in 11 plays after a touchback. On 3rd and 7 from their own 39, Winston hit Godwin for 14 yards. Roughing the passer added 15 more. On 3rd and 3 from the Rams 23, Winston hit Godwin for 11. Jones ran for a 5 yard touchdown as the Buccaneers led 28-14 with 52 seconds left in the half. The rams kept coming back. Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein lived up to his namesake, drilling a 58 yard field goal to end the half. Zuerlein hit from 44 after a 14 play, 6 minute drive to get the Rams within 28-20.

Yet on this day, Bruce Arians saw his team take the biggest Tampa two step since the days of Pewter Power. Arians trusted Gay with a 58 yard field goal try of his own in the third quarter, and Gay delivered to make it 31-20 Buccaneers. Goff’s fourth interception set up the Buccaneers at their own 47. Winston found Godwin for 17. Jones ran for 10 and caught a pass for 12.On the first play of the fourth quarter, Winston hit Brate for the 13 yard touchdown. The Buccaneers led 38-20. Goff did lead a 75 yard touchdown drive as the Rams scored with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation to get within 38-27. Yet Michelin Man Wade Phillips could only watching horror as his normally stout defense got torn asunder. On 2nd and 5 from their own 33, Winston went deep to Mike Evans for a 67 yard touchdown. With 9 minutes left in regulation, the Buccaneers had a commanding 45-27 lead with 11 1/2 minutes left.

Yet these are the Buccaneers. The Rams faced 2nd and 20 at their own 15. Goff hit Cooper Kupp for 10 and on 3rd and 10 went to Reynolds for 22 yards. Goff hit Gurley and Cooks for a pair of 12 yard gains. On 3rd and 10 from the Tampa Bay 29, Goff and Kupp connected on another touchdown. With 9 minutes left, the Rams were within 45-34. Three plays later after a touchback, the Buccaneers faced 3rd and 9 at their own 12. Winston threw a horrendous sideline pass that was intercepted by Marcus Peters, who returned it 32 yards for a defensive touchdown. The 2 point try failed but with over 8 minutes still remaining, the Rams were within 45-40. 

The Buccaneers soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 29, Winston hit Evans for 12 yards. On 2nd and 6 from the Rams 48, Winston found Godwin for 18 yards. Jones then broke off a 24 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 6 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining. At this point there was no reason for Winston to even raise his arm. A couple conservative runs forced the Rams to use their timeouts on defense. A pointless West Coast Offense pass was completed far short of the end zone. Last week Matt Gay was the goat, and we do not mean greatest of all time. He missed a 34 yard kick one the final play of a one point loss at home. This week with just over 2 1/2 minutes left he had a 21 yard kick. He made it as the Buccaneers led 48-40. The Rams moved after a touchback to a 1st and 10 at the Bucs 36. The Bucs had the talent to screw this up. However, offensive pass interference made it 1st and 20. On the next play Goff was sacked for a 14 yard loss by Barrett and fumbled. Ndomakung Suh pucked up the fumble and rumbled 37 yards to finally put the game away. Bruce Arians does not have to go the full John McKay and oversee his team’s execution. This was hardly the stuff of Brooks, Lynch, Sapp and Barber, but it was a win. This was anything but Buc Ball. Goff threw 68 passes…yes 68…passes. He completed 45 of them for 517 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, the interceptions killed him and the fumble was the final dagger. Winston was 28 of 41 for 385 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception as the Rams were knocked from the unbeaten ranks in stunning fashion. 55-40 Buccaneers

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals — After a stunning blowout home loss last week, Seattle quickly rebounded and tore apart Arizona early and often. The Cardinals ddi not help matters by missing a 43 yard field goal early. Jason Myers hit a 33 yard field goal to start the blowout. Two plays later after a touchback, Tyler Murray was intercepted by Jadavean Clowney, who returned it 27 yards for a score to make it 10-0 Seahawks. In the second quarter the Cardinals drove to the red zone, but settled for a 33 yard Zane Gonzalez field goal. The Seahawks soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Russell Wilson ent to John Brown for a 32 yard gain and then went to Tyler Lockett for 28 more. Wilson hit Dissly for the 9 yard touchdown to make it 17-3 Seahawks. Gonzalez missed another field goal from 48, while Myers connected again from 24 to have the Seahawks cruising 20-3 at halftime. The second half was pointless. Murray did run for a 9 yard touchdown with 10 1/2  minutes left in regulation, but it was not enough. The Seahawks answered with a 15 play, 75 yard drive that took over 8 minutes. CJ Prosise ran for a 9 yard touchdown to complete the scoring. 27-10 Seahawks

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears — This was an old-style NFC North slobberknocker that would have made George Halas proud. It certainly pleased his 96 year old daughter Virginia McCaskey happy, despite the early knockout of Mitchell Trubisky. Backup Chase McDaniel led the Bears on this day. A 10 yard touchdown pass to Tarik Cohen in the first quarter was enough. The rest of the way the Bears added field goals and suffocating defense. Eddie Pineiro connected from 25 to end the half and from 38 and 30 in the third quarter for a 16-0 Bears lead. These are not the 1985 Bears since they did give up a late garbage touchdown, but they are very good. 16-6 Bears 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos — 23 years after Jacksonville shocked Denver 30-27 in one of the great playoff upsets in NFL history, these teams played a far less consequential game. The Broncos took over at their 47 and made it look easy. Patrick Lindsay ran for 28 yards and Joe Flacco hit Nick Fant for the 25 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Broncos. The Jaguars moved 68 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. Despite 2nd and 7 at the Denver 8, an incompletion as followed by a one yard pass. Josh Lambo hit the 25 yard field goal to get the Jaguars on the board. The Broncos began the second quarter facing 3rd and 7 at their own 34. Flacco hit Freeman for 15 yards and Emanuel Sanders for 39 more. Flacco hit Christ Sutton for the 7 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Broncos. Brandon McManus tacked on a 33 yard field goal for a 17-3 Broncos lead with 4:20 left in the stoned Colorado air. 

With 49 seconds left in the half, the Broncos had 1st and 10 at the Jacksonville 33. Another field goal would have made it 20-3 Broncos. Instead the game changed when Flacco was intercepted by Harrison, who returned it 31 yards to the Denver 43. Lambo hit from 40 to end the half with the Jaguars down 17-6. The Jaguars got it back and Gardner Minshew led a staggering 16 play, 75 yard drive that took a mind-numbing 10 1/2 minutes. Leonard Fournette ran for 13 and 8. On 3rd and 14 from the Denver 43, Minshew hot Cole for 19 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Denver 15, Fournette gained 2 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Denver 7, Minshew hot Armstead for the touchdown. With 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Jaguars were within 17-13 before Denver even touched the ball in the second half. The Jaguars got it back at their own 7. Fournette broke free for an 81 yard gain. Minshew hit O’Shaughnessy for an 18 yard touchdown to cap the 93 yard drive in only 3 plays and put the Jaguars up 20-17 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Jaguars mounted a 13 play, 78 yard drive that took 7 minutes. Yet on 3rd and 7 from the Denver 16, Minshew threw incomplete. Lambo hit from 34 to put the Jaguars up by 6 with 3 minutes left, but they left the door open. 

After a touchback, Flacco hit Emanuel Sanders for 16 and Sutton for 27 more. Flacco then went to Sanders for 27 yards. Flacco hit Sutton for the 8 yard touchdown. The critical extra point was good, and after giving up 20 straight points, the Broncos led by a point. After a touchback, 90 seconds still remained. Minshew was sacked for a 7 yard loss, but a roughing the passer penalty on Von Miller kept the drive going. Minshew was in serious pain after being hit low but refused to come out of the game. Minshew went to Westbrook, who fought through tacklers and got out of bounds for a 32 yard gain. Minshew then hit Conley for 17 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 10 with one minute left. Rather than take a couple of knees, Doug Marrone watched the worst offensive play calling since Kyle Shanahan in the Super Bowl and Chip Kelly anywhere. Minshew kept lining up in the shotgun, perhaps because of his playing injured. That would be the only explanation to avoid getting a coach fired. An offensive holding penalty turned a 28 yard field goal try into a 38 yard try into the wind.  Fournette gained 5 of those yards back and Lambo came in for the 33 yard try with 4 seconds left. The kick was good as Vic fangio and Denver’s winless misery continued. 26-24 Jaguars

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints was the Sunday night game. Last year in Dallas the Cowboys won a defensive bonelock over the Saints 13-10. This game was just as brutal. In the first quarter, an interception of Teddy Bridgewater set up the Cowboys at their own 46. Despite 2nd and 9 at the Saints 10, Dak Prescott threw incomplete. Brett Maher hit the 28 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Cowboys. The second quarter belonged to Wil Lutz. On the first play of the second quarter he connected from 40 to tie the game. Then he hit from 42 to give the saints the lead. With 90 seconds left in the half the Saints recovered a fumble at the Dallas 44. With 4 seconds left and the ball on the one, a quick pass was incomplete. With 2 seconds left, Sean Payton opted for the field goal. Lutz hit from 19 as the Saints led 9-3. In the third quarter the Cowboys moved 84 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and 2 from the Dallas 36, Prescott threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 5 yards. On 2nd and 12 from the Saints 37, Prescott went to Barwin for 35 yards. Ezekiel Elliott ran for a one yard touchdown as the Cowboys led 10-9 midway through the third quarter. The Saints responded with a 15 play, 67 yard, 9 minute drive. On 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 13, Bridgewater only gained 5 yards. On 4th and 2 from the 8, Sean Payton opted for the field goal. Lutz hit from 26 and the Saints led by 2 points only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. 

The defense clamped down. With 5 1/2 minutes left the Saints tried to run out the clock. On 3rd and 1 from their own 47, Alvin Kamara gained 9. On 3rd and 1 at the Dallas 35, Kamara gained 2 yards as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. The Cowboys had all 3 timeouts. On 3rd and 8 from the Dallas 31, the only sensible move was to run the ball and force the Cowboys to take their last timeout. The worst possible call would be a pass play. Bridgewater went back to pass and was sacked for a 16 yard loss out of field goal range. The Cowboys took over at their own 14 with 1:45 left. The Saints faked an all out blitz. Prescott was sacked for an 11 yard loss. On 3rd and 12 from their own 12, Prescott hit Amari Cooper for 14 yards. With 17 seconds left, the Cowboys faced 3rd and 20 at their own 16. Prescott fired over the middle to Randall Cobb for a 32 yard gain and raced to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock. Two seconds remained. The Saints were expected to keep everybody back deep. Instead, they brought a corner blitz. Prescott did not have time to roll out and throw it as deep as he wanted. Instead he got blasted as soon as the Hail Mary left his hand. It was intercepted at the New Orleans 13 yard line as the Cowboys were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten. Both teams at 3-1 lead their respective divisions. 12-10 Saints

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers was the Monday night game. Sometimes a pair of bad teams can come together and produce a thrilling game for the ages. This was not that game. A Pittsburgh fumble set up the Bengals at the Pittsburgh 15. Randy Bullock hit a 28 yard field goal as the Bengals led 3-0 after the opening quarter. The rest was all Pittsburgh. A field position game had the Steelers taking over in the second quarter at the Cincinnati 46. On 3rd and 2 at the Cincy 21, Mason Rudolph went to James Conner for the touchdown and the 7-3 Steelers lead. After a touchback the Bengals moved to a 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 18. Red Rifle Andy Dalton was sacked and fumbled and the Steelers recovered. Chris Boswell hit a 29 yard field goal as the Steelers led 10-3. In the third quarter the Steelers put the game away. After a touchback, on 3rd and 5 from just past midfield, Mason Rudolph hit Samuels for 14 yards. From the Cincy 23, Mike Tomlin twice in a row called Wildcat snaps. Samuels hit Conner for 21 yards and then ran the last 2 yards himself to make it 17-3 Steelers. A shanked 29 yard Bengals punt had the Steelers at the Cincy 43. Rudolph went deep to a wide open Diontae Johnson for the touchdown. After a fourth quarter interception of Dalton, Boswell tacked on a 49 yard field goal to complete the scoring and get the Steelers their first win of the year. 27-3 Steelers

NFL 2019 Week 4 and Rosh Hashanah Prequel

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 3 Recap

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 3 Recap

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars was the Thursday night game. The Jaguars were supposed to be a dumpster fire. Nick Foles is out injured for half the season. Jalen Ramsey wants to be traded. Doug Marrone has supposedly lost the locker room. Then the game started. Less than 2 minutes into the game, the Titans fumbled a punt and the Jaguars recovered at the Tennessee 7 yard line. One play later Gardner Minshew threw the touchdown pass to James O’Shaughnessy to make it 7-0 Jaguars. Jacksonville got it back at their own 38. From just shy of midfield, Minshew hit Westbrook for 28 yards and DJ Chark for the 22 yard touchdown. After less than 9 minutes, the Jaguars led 14-0. From there, the defense just clamped down. Josh Lambo added a 40 yard field goal in the third quarter. Tennessee did avoid the shutout when derrick Henry reached the end zone with 12 minutes left in regulation. It was too little, too late. Lambo tacked on a 48 yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to complete the scoring. 20-7 Jaguars

Denver Broncos at Green Bay Packers — John Elway was the hero when these teams met in 1997 in the Super Bowl. Now he is the president of a terrible Broncos team. 75 yards came easy as Aaron Rodgers went deep to Valdes-Scandling for a 40 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers less than 3 minutes into the game. In the second quarter the Broncos mounted a 15 play, 77 yard drive that consumed 8 1/2 minutes. Joe Flacco kicked tings off from the Denver 23 with a 16 yard completion to Chris Sutton. On 3rd and 3 from their own 46, Patrick Lindsey ran for 8, 9, 2, and caught a pass for 5. On 3rd and 3 from the Green Bay 28, Flacco got just enough. From the Green Bay 4, Lindsay began the second quarter by running for 3 and then the final yard for a 7-7 game. Mason Crosby hit a 42 yard field goal to put the Packers in front again and Brandon McManus answered from 30 to tie it again 10-10. That came when Denver had a 15 play, 63 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive. However, on 3rd and goal at the 2, Flacco was sacked for a 10 yard loss.

With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, a key play came when the Broncos faced 1st and 10 at their own 18. Flacco was sacked and fumbled, and the Packers recovered at the Denver 5 yard line. Jones lost a couple yards but then ran for the 7 yard touchdown to put the Packers up 17-10 at the break. The Broncos began the third quarter facing 3rd and 2 at their own 33. A 4 yard completion was fumbled and the Packers took over at the Denver 37. Rodgers went to Valdes-Scantling for 9 and then deep to Vitale for a 27 yard gain down to the one. Jones got in for a 24-10 Packers lead. 

The Broncos embarked on another long drive of 12 plays, 75 yards and 6 minutes. On 3rd and goal at the one, Flacco threw incomplete. Vic Fangio decided to go for it and Lindsay got in. McManus doinked the extra point off the upright no good as the Broncos trailed 24-16. Denver got it back and moved from their own 3 to a 2nd and 7 at the Green Bay 38. Flacco was then intercepted. In the fourth quarter the Packers moved 51 yards in 11 plays but took 7:40 off the clock. Crosby hit the 41 yard field goal to lock up the win with 6 minutes left. The Packers are 3-0, and for the third straight week Aaron Rodgers did not have to carry the team. As he keeps smiling and reminding us, the Packers have a defense. 27-16 Packers 

Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles — The Eagles were supposed to easily at home dispatch a woeful Detroit team. Then the game started. Early on the the Eagles moved from their 24 to a 3rd and 6 at the Detroit 7. Carson Wentz threw incomplete. Elliott hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Eagles. 14 seconds later the Lions had a 7-3 lead when Agnew returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. After a touchback, Wentz hit Zac Ertz for 23 yards. Howard ran for 11, 6 and 2. On 3rd and 2 at the Detroit 33, Sanders ran for 9. On 3rd and 6 from the Detroit 20, Wentz scrambled for 19 yards. Howard got the last yard to make it 10-7 Eagles after the first quarter. Momentum completely shifted in the second quarter.

After a touchback, the Lions embarked on a 13 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive. On 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Johnson gained 2. On 3rd and 10 from their own 44, Matthew Stafford hit Kenny Golladay for just enough. On 3rd and goal at the one, Stafford threw incomplete but the defense jumped offsides. One minute into the second quarter, Johnson got the yard for the score to make it 14-10 Lions. With 5 minutes left in the half the Eagles fumbled and the Lions took over just shy of midfield. Mckissic got around the end for a 44 yard gain. Yet despite 1st and goal at the 7, Johnson gained nothing and Stafford threw incomplete twice. Matt Prater hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 17-10 Lions. At the 2 minute warning the Eagles fumbled again, and Slay returned it 38 yards to the Philly 22. Prater hit a 33 yard field goal as the Lions took a 20-10 lead to the locker rooms.

A field position game in the third quarter had the Eagles taking over at the Detroit 47. On 3rd and 5 from the Detroit 20, Wentz hit Agholor for the touchdown to get the Eagles within 20-17. The Lions soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Stafford went deep to Jones for 27 yards. On 2nd and 15 from the Philly 34, Stafford hit Danny Amendola for 22 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Stafford hit Jones for the 12 yard touchdown to give the Lions some breathing room up 27-17. With 11 minutes left in regulation on 2nd and 8 from their own 22, Wentz went deep to Sanders for 33 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Detroit 23, Wentz threw incomplete but roughing the passer meant 12 yards and a new set of downs. These are the Lions. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Wentz hit Agholor for the score. With 7 minutes left, the Eagles were within a field goal.

With 2:25 left, the Eagles were down to what should have been their last gasp on 4th and 8 from their own 22. Wentz scrambled but only gained 6 yards. Detroit celebrated and took over at the Philly 28 with 2:18 left. On 3rd and 10, Stafford threw incomplete. The Eagles preserved 2 of their timeouts. These are the Lions. Prater came in for the 46 yard field goal try with 1:53 left to extend the lead. The kick was blocked. The Eagles took over at midfield with 1:39 to play needing only a field goal. These are the Lions. On 4th and 5 from the Detroit 45, Wentz went deep to Agholor for a 25 yard gain in field goal range. Yet offensive pass interference on Darren Sproles nullified the catch. With 50 seconds left, on 4th and 15 from the Philly 45, Detroit needed one stop. Wentz went for it all and had Arcega-Whiteside in the end zone with a well thrown ball. These are the Lions. Arcega-Whiteside dropped it! He had the defender beat and just dropped it. Better to be lucky than good sometimes. 27-24 Lions

Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs — The only hope to stop the Chiefs pinball offense was the Ravens top notch defense. The Ravens moved with a 14 play, 84 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. On 4th and 3 from the Chiefs 9, John Harbaugh decided to go for it. Lamar Jackson gained 7 yards. Mark Ingram got the last 2 yards for the score. John Harbaugh went for the 2 point conversion but didn’t get it. The Ravens led 6-0 after the first quarter. Last week the Chiefs trailed 10-0 after one quarter and exploded for 28 second quarter points. This week the second quarter was deja vu all over again.

From their 25, LeSean Shady McCoy ran for 12 yards. Then Patrick Mahomes began the bombing campaign with a 21 yard completion to Travis Kelce. On 3rd and goal from the 4, Mahomes threw incomplete. However, a horse collar tackle penalty meant a new set of downs. On 3rd and goal at the one, McCoy began the second quarter by getting in the end zone for a 7-6 Chiefs lead. Knowing he would need points, John Harbaugh gambled on 4th and 2 from his own 47. Jackson threw incomplete. Mahomes quickly hit Hardman for 14 and then threw an 18 yard touchdown to Robinson for a 14-6 Chiefs lead. The Chiefs got it back at their own 4 yard line. From their own 17, Mahomes went bombs away to Hardman for an 83 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Chiefs led 20-6 with 3 minutes left in the half. The Chiefs got it back at their same spot at their own 17 with 1:18 left in the half. On 3rd and 2 from their own 25, Mahomes hit Kelce for 6 and Robinson for 18. On 3rd and 5 from the Baltimore 46, Mahomes hit Kelce for 19 yards.  Harrison Butler hit the 42 yard field goal as the Chiefs led 23-6 at the break. Last week the Chiefs coasted in the second half. This week they did again, but Baltimore did not.

After a touchback to start the second half, Baltimore ran it down Kansas City’s throat. Ingram gained 9 and 4 and Edwards gained 15 and 13. On 3rd and 3 from the Chiefs 27, Jackson gained 8. After all those runs, Ingram ran for the 19 yard touchdown. Only one pass was attempted, and it was incomplete. The Ravens were within 23-13. Later on walrus Lite Andy Reid went for it on 4th and 1 from the Baltimore 41. Out of the shotgun, the snap was fumbled and the Ravens took over on downs. The Chiefs got it back at their own 20 and Mahomes went to Sammy Watkins for 36 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Baltimore 28, Mahomes was intercepted but defensive pass interference meant 1st and 10 from the Baltimore 15. Mahomes hit McCoy for a 14 yard touchdown to make it 30-13 Chiefs after three quarters.

The Ravens moved 75 yards in 13 plays trying to make a game of it. On 2nd and 22 from their own 28, Jackson hit Boyle for 11 and Brown for 18 on 3rd and 11. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, on 4th and 5 from the Chiefs 27, Jackson went deep to Roberts for 25 yards. Ingram ran for the one yard touchdown. The 2 point try was unnecessary but John Harbaugh tried it again and it failed again as the Ravens trailed 30-19 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Justin Tucker hit a 39 yard field goal to get the Ravens within 30-22 with 6 1/2 minutes left, but Butker answered from 36 with 4 1/2 minutes left to make it 33-22 Chiefs. Baltimore got it back at their 30 and Jackson led a furious rally. Jackson ran for a 9 yard touchdown with 2:01 to play. Again the 2 point try failed. Instead of being down 33-31 and needing only a field goal to win, the 3 failed 2 point tries had the Ravens down by 5. It did not matter. With 1:51 left and Baltimore out of timeouts, it all came down to the Chiefs facing 3rd and 9 from their own 37. In this case you run the ball every single time. Every. Single. Time. Yet pass-happy Walrus Lite Andy Reid has a superhuman at quarterback, and Mahomes hit Williams for the 16 yard completion to seal the win. The Chiefs at 3-0 have already pretty much locked up the AFC West, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus Lite indeed. 33-28 Chiefs

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills — In the 1980s, this game mattered. The Bills moved from their 27 as Josh Allen hit Frank Gore for 13 and Brown for 11. On 3rd and 6 from the Cincy 45, Allen hit Jones for 23 yards with 11 more tacked on for roughing the passer. Allen hit Knox for the one yard touchdown. Sean McDermott went for 2 and Allen hit Cole Beasley for the conversion to make it 8-0 Bills. Steve Hauschka hit second quarter field goals of 34 and 45yards as the Bill took a 14-0 lead to the locker rooms. Hauschka did miss from 62 on the last play of the half.

In the third quarter the teams traded interceptions as the Bengals took over at the Buffalo 22. Red Rifle Andy Dalton got in from the one to get the Bengals within 14-7 after three quarters. The Bengals got it back at their own 18. Joe Mixon ran for 14 yards. Dalton then hit Trevor Boyd for 14, John Ross for 15, and Tate for 7. The fourth quarter began with the Bengals facing 3rd and 4 at the Buffalo 33. Dalton hit Boyd for gains of 11 and 8. On 3rd and 1 at the Buffalo 13, Mixon gained 12. On 1st and goal at the one, Dalton fumbled and the Bills recovered. However, the Bills jumped offsides. Given another chance, Dalton hit Mixon for the touchdown and a 14-14 game with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. 

The Bengals got it back and soon faced 3rd and 9 at their own 16. Dalton went to Boyd for 26 yards.  and to Mixon for 33 more. On 3rd and 8 from the Buffalo 25, Dalton threw incomplete. Bullock hit the 43 yard field goal to make it 17-14 Bengals with 5 minutes remaining. The Bills soon faced 2nd and 3 from their own 29. Allen hit Knox for a 49 yard gain. With 1:50 to play, on 3rd and goal at the one, Gore got in to put the Bills back up by 4 points. After a touchback, Dalton quickly moved the Bengals to a 3rd and 5 at the Buffalo 28 with 12 seconds to play. Dalton went deep and had the ball tipped by the receiver and the defender before being intercepted by White at the 10 yard line. Buffalo went from a 2-0 team nobody believes in to a 3-0 team nobody believes in. 21-17 Bills

Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts — The first half was almost all Colts. Adam Vinatieri shook off the first 2 weeks and drilled a 49 yard field goal for a 3-0 Colts lead. They got it back at their own 7 yard line. Jacoby Brissett hit TY Hilton for 6 and Marlon Mack ran for 14 more. Brissett then went deep to Hilton for 26 yards with 15 more tacked on for unnecessary roughness. On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 27, Brissett hit Eric Ebron for 9 and Zach Pascal for the 18 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Colts. Matt Ryan went for the home run ball and was intercepted. The Colts managed a 15 play, 94 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive without scoring a touchdown. They took over at their own 3 and moved to a 1st and goal at the one. Brissett threw incomplete, but defensive holding made it 1st and goal at the one again. A run lost 2 yards and Brissett threw incomplete twice. Adam Vinatieri hit the 21 yard field goal to make it 13-0 Colts in the second quarter. After an Atlanta field goal with 2:20 left in the half, the Colts took over at their own 36. On 3rd and 9 from their own 37, Brissett threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 13 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the Atlanta 31, Brissett lost 2 yards but the Falcons had 12 men on the defense. With 9 seconds left from the Atlanta 4, Brissett hit Hilton for the touchdown as the Colts were up 20-3 at halftime.

Momentum quickly changed in the second half. On 3rd and 8 from their own 27, Ryan hit Mohammed san for 16. From the Indy 47, Ryan hit Julio Jones for 34 yards and Austin Hooper for the 13 yard touchdown to get the Falcons within 20-10. The Falcons got it back at their own 22 and Matty Ice led a staggering 16 play, 78 yard drive that took 10 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and 10 from their 22, Ryan hit Jones for 15. On 3rd and 12 from their own 35, Ryan hit Jones for 21. On 3rd and 10 from the Indy 44, Ryan hit Sanu for 12 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Indy 35, Ryan hit Calvin Ridley for 6. One minute into the fourth quarter on 3rd and goal at the 2, Ryan hit Hooper for the score to get the Falcons within 20-17.

The Colts soon faced 2nd and 15 at their own 20. Brissett hit Alie-Cox for 16. On 3rd and 5 from their own 41, Brissett ran for 6. On 3rd and 10 from the Indy 47, Brissett threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and 1 from the Atlanta 39, a short completion to Pascal went for 35 yards. Mack ran for the 4 yard touchdown to put the Colts up 27-17 with 8:40 to play. The Falcons took over at their own 29. On 1st and 20 from their own 30, Ryan hit Sanu for 10 and Jones for 12. On 3rd and 11 just past midfield, Ryan threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 15 more yards. Ryan then went to san for 16 with roughing the passer adding 9 more. Ryan hit Jones for a 10 yard touchdown to get the Falcons within 3 with 4 minutes to play. With 1:56 to play the Falcons took their final timeout as the Colts faced 3rd and 4 at the Atlanta 27. You run the ball every single time in that situation to drain the clock. Every. Single. Time. Instead Frank reich wanted to pass, and Brissett hit Doyle for 11 yards and the clinching first down. That is why Reich coaches and I do not. 27-24 Colts

Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings — After splitting their first two games at home, the Raiders began a brutal road stretch. 20 years ago, the 1999 Oakland Raiders went into Minnesota early in the season and shocked the heavily favored Vikings 22-17. Minnesota was one year removed from their 15-1 season, but Rich Gannon got the job done. Now Derek Carr, the new all time Raiders passing leader, had his chance. It was no contest. Four years ago Mike Zimmer’s defense belted the Raiders, and they did so again. On 3rd and 9 from their own 25, Cousins threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding on Gareon Conley kept the drive going. Cousins threw a 35 yard touchdown to a wide open Adam Thielen for a 7-0 Vikings lead. The Vikings then moved 79 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 18 from their own 13, Cousins hit Cook for just enough with roughing the passer adding 15 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 46,  Cousins hit Stephan Diggs for 5 with a facemark adding 15 more. On the first play of the second quarter, Dalvin Cook ran for a one yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Vikings. Carr was then intercepted, setting up Minnesota at the Oakland 30. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 22, Cousins hit Cook for 12. On 3rd and goal at the one, Thielen got in on the ground to make it 21-0 Vikings. NFL rules required that the rest of the game be played.

On 3rd and 11 from the Oakland 24, Carr hit Darren Waller for 30 yards. From the Minnesota 29, Carr and Josh Jacobs executed a perfect flea flicker. Carr went deep to JJ Nelson for the touchdown to get the Raiders within 21-7 midway through the second quarter. Then ended the illusion of a competitive game. The Raiders moved from their own 9 late in the half to a 3rd and 6 at the Minnesota 48. Carr threw deep incomplete. Minnesota put the game away in the third quarter with a 10 play, 92 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. On 3rd and 6 from their own 12, Cousins hit Thielen for 11 yards. Cousins went deep incomplete, but defensive pass interference on Karl Joseph meant 24 more yards. On 2nd and 15 from the Oakland 31, Cook gained 15 and Mattison ran for 6 and then the 10 yard touchdown to make it 28-7 Vikings. In the fourth quarter Dan Bailey hit field goals of 50 and 24 sandwiched around a 51 yard Daniel Carlson field goal try that dunked off the upright no good. That wasted a 14 play, 6 1/2 minute drive. The Raiders did get a late garbage touchdown, which reflected their overall performance. The Raiders crushed the Vikings 32-14 in the 1976 Super Bowl, which is of little consequences to the Raider Nation on this awful Sunday 43 years later. 34-14 Vikings

New York Jets at New England Patriots — The Patriots won their 2 games by a combined 73 points. The Jets lost by one point and then got blown out by 20, with both of those games at home. The Patriots were 21 point favorites. Sometimes a horrible team can go on the road and shock the world by beating a great team. This was not that game. The Patriots moved 88 yards. On 3rd and 1 from their own 42, Rom Brady went to Izzo for 41 yards. Sony Michel ran for a 5 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Patriots led 6-0. The Jets punted on 4th and 23 from their own 12 and the Patriots took over at the Jets 45. 3 play later Brady went to Phillip Dorsett for a 25 yard touchdown and a 13-0 Patriots lead. The Patriots got it back and faced 3rd and 9 at their own 42 with 2:14 left in the first quarter. Brady hit Julian Edelman for gains of 15 and 14. Brady began the second quarter hitting Meyers for 18, Rex Burkhead for 7, and on 3rd and goal at the 3, Edelman for the touchdown to make it 20-0 Patriots. NFL rules prevented the second half from being canceled. In the third quarter an interception led to a Patriots field goal. The Patriots got it back at their own 40. On 3rd and 22 at the Jets 32, Brady hit Josh Gordon for 28. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Burkhead ran it in to make it 30-0 Patriots. The only people who cared at this point were the gamblers. Yes, the Patriots got bored and the Jets got a couple garbage touchdowns, one in each quarter, to defeat the spread. At least the Jets did not commit a butt-fumble as J-E-T-S stood for Just End The Season. 30-14 Patriots

Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys — The Dolphins lost home games by 49 and 43 points. Would this be the week they lost 100-0? In the first quarter the Dolphins missed a 47 yard field goal. Brett Maher then hit a 28 yard field goal for the Cowboys. Dallas got it back and faced 3rd and 20 at their own 47. Dan Prescott hit Jason Witten for 33 yards. Prescott hit Amari Cooper for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Cowboys. The Dolphins fought hard, but despite 2nd and goal at the 3, a pair of runs yielded nothing. Jason Sanders hit the 22 yard field goal and again from 33 as the Dolphins only trailed 10-6 at halftime. They even had a chance to take the lead. With 30 seconds left and 1st and goal at the 7, they fumbled the ball away. Then reality really set in. In the third quarter the Cowboys faced 2nd and 9 at their own 26. Prescott went to Smith for 33 yards, Randall Cobb for 20, and Cooper for the 19 yard touchdown to make it 17-6 Cowboys. Dallas got it back and easily moved 76 yards. From midfield, Prescott hit Ezekiel Elliott for 12 and Cooper for 18. Prescott ran for the 8 yard touchdown to make it 24-6 Cowboys. With less than 4 minutes left Tony Pollard ran for the 16 yard exclamation point touchdown. Jerry Jones was so pleased with the win that Jerrah is letting the staff return next week. The Dolphins are 13 games from 0-16 and the Cowboys are 3-0 and 13 games away from flaming out in the playoffs. 31-6 Cowboys

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — League rules prevented the cancellation of this game. Eli Manning was benched as the Daniel Jones era began. After a touchback, Pierre Barber gained 7 and Jameis Winston hit mike Evans for 18 to midfield. On 4th and 1 from the Giants 41, Bruce Arians decided to go for it. Barber got 3 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Giants 21, Winston hit Evans for the touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Buccaneers led 6-0. The Giants came back 57 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes, but bogged down in the red zone. On 3rd and 8 from the Bucs 18, Jones threw incomplete. Alex Rosas hit the 36 yard field goal to get the Giants on the board. After a touchback, Winston and Jones connected on a 41 yard completion. On 3rd and 5 from the Giants 29, Winston went to Brad Perriman for 6 yards and Howard for 18 more. Winston hit Evans for the 3 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked as the Buccaneers led 12-3. 

In the second quarter the Giants moved 75 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 5 from their own 30, Jones scrambled for 11. On 3rd and 3 from the Tampa Bay 42, Jones threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 10 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Tampa Bay 26, Jones hit Saquon Barkley for 19 yards and then ran the final 7 yards himself to get the Giants within 12-10. After that the Buccaneers exploded.

After a touchback, Winston went deep to Evans for a 55 yard gain. Despite being 0 for 2 on extra points, Gay nailed a 47 yard field goal. The Bucs moved on their next series from their 29 to a 3rd and 7 at the Giants 9. Winston was sacked and fumbled, but on further review it was changed to an incomplete pass. Gay hit from 27 to make it 18-10 Buccaneers. The Giants then fumbled and the Buccaneers recovered at the Giants 41. Winston threw 8 yard completions to Ogunbowale and Godwin and then went to Evans for the 20 yard touchdown to make it 25-10 Buccaneers with 86 seconds left in the half. The Buccaneers got it back at their own 20 with 36 seconds left and were just going to run out the half. Instead Jones ran for 25 yards. Winston hit Evans for 15 more. On the last play of the half, Gay drilled a 52 yard field goal to make it 28-10 Buccaneers.

The game changed again in the third quarter. One play and 12 seconds into the third quarter, a short pass from Jones to Evan Engram went for a 75 yard touchdown. Jones hit Shepard for the 2 point conversion. Just like that the Giants were within 28-18. The Giants got it back at their own 20. Shepard ran for 19 and caught a pass for 8 more. From midfield, Jones went deep to Slayton for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 7, Jones hit Shepard for the touchdown to quickly get the Giants within 28-25. Winston has a problem with interceptions, but Jones has a problem with fumbling. The exchange of turnovers had the Buccaneers at the Giants 42. The Buccaneers moved to a 3rd and 2 at the Giants 5. Looking to put the game away, Barber got stopped. Gay hit the 23 yard field goal to make it 31-25 Buccaneers with 6 minutes left. The end of this game would be insane.

With 3:16 to play, the Giants took over at their own 25. On 2nd and 5, Jones found Slayton for 21 yards and Shepard for 36 more. With 1:16 to play, it all came down to the Giants facing 4th and 5 at the Bucs 7 yard line. Jones went back to pass, had a wide open lane up the middle, and raced up the gut on the quarterback draw untouched to the end zone. The extra point was good and the Giants led by a point. Perhaps they scored too early. After a touchback, Winston went to Godwin for 20 yards. Then with the entire world knowing Winston would throw deep, Winston went deep to a Evans for a 44 yard gain. Winston spiked the ball to stop the clock with 13 seconds left. A field goal would be only 29 yards. The Buccaneers took an inexplicable delay of game penalty, but with 4 seconds left it was still only a 34 yard field goal try. The snap and hold were fine. The kick was no good. Gay did not hit straight. Bruce Arians was in shock as he buried his head in his hands and wondered why he came out of retirement. Eli Manning hugged his successor with the same dignity showed him 15 years earlier by Kurt Warner. Welcome to the NFL, Daniel Jones. 32-31 Giants 

Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals — Cam Newton was out with an injured foot as Kyle Allen got the start. Who the hell is Kyle Allen? By the end of the day, the entire NFL was asking that question. On Carolina’s first offensive series, on 3rd and 5 from the Arizona 15, Allen was sacked and fumbled and the Cardinals took over at their own 26. Kliff Kingsbury had to smile as Kyler Murray led a 14 play, 74 yard drive that consumed almost 6 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 4 from their own 32, Murray ran for 7 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Murray fired to Larry Fitzgerald for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Cardinals. In the second quarter, the NFL heard a very different tale about Kyle Allen.

First came an 11 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. Allen hit Samuel for 12. On 3rd and 5 from the Carolina 46, Allen hit Greg Olsen for 13. From the Arizona 40, a 6 yard completion as followed by a 15 yard horse collar tackle penalty. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Allen hit Samuel for the touchdown to tie the game 7-7 one minute into the second quarter. The Cardinals embarked on a 15 play, 53 yard drive that took 6 minutes. Yet despite 1st and 10 from the Carolina 15, the drive died. Zane Gonzalez hit a 34 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Cardinals. Carolina needed only 3 plays to take the lead. On 2nd and 5 from their own 30, Allen went to Christian McCaffrey for 18 yards. With 49 seconds left in the half, Riverboat Ron Rivera went to his bag of tricks. Forget conservative offense without the star quarterback. Rivera went for it all, and Allen went deep to Moore for a 52 yard touchdown to give the Panthers the 14-10 halftime lead.

An exciting third quarter saw the Cardinals facing 2nd and 20 at their own 35. Murray went to Fitzgerald for 23 yards and to Byrd for 13 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Carolina 20, Murray ran for 17 and hit David Johnson for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 17-14 Cardinals. After a touchback, Allen went to Olsen for 20. On 2nd and 8 from the Arizona 39, Allen went to wright for 33 yards. Allen hit Olsen for the 3 yard touchdown to put the Panthers back on top 21-17. Arizona moved from their 21 to a 4th and 1 at the Carolina 37. Bruce Arians went for it and the direct snap to Johnson gained 2 yards. Yet the defense held after that. Gonzalez hit the 47 yard field goal as the Cardinals got within 21-20 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. 

Yet only 2 plays later the Panthers and struck again. From the Carolina 16, McCaffrey ran for 8 yards. Then he broke free for a 76 yard touchdown run to make it 28-20 Panthers. 2 plays later Murray was intercepted, setting up the Panthers at the Arizona 22. On 3rd and 5 from the 17, Allen hit Samuel for 14 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Allen threw his fourth touchdown pass. The touchdown to Olsen had the Panthers up 35-20 only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. An interception Murray with 5 minutes left set up Carolina again at the Arizona 22. Slye hit the 36 yard field goal to put the game out of reach. Murray finished 30 ofn43 but for only 173 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Allen was 19 of 26 for 261 yards and 4 touchdowns with 0 interceptions and a passer rating of 144.4 that nobody understands. Welcome to the NFL, Kyle Allen. 38-20 Panthers

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks — Pinball Wizard Drew Brees was out injured for several weeks and Teddy Bridgewater would be Sean Payton’s guy with Taysom Hill always available for trick plays. The Seahawks defense was expected to feast on the Saints offense. “That’s why they play the games,” says ESPN Swami Chris Berman. 3 minutes into the game, the Seahawks punted on 4th and 20 from their own 15. Harris returned it 53 yards for a special teams touchdown and a 7-0 Saints lead. The Seahawks got it back and faced 3rd and 5 at their own 41. Russell Wilson went deep to Tyler Lockett for 32 yards. Chris Carson ran for 16 more. Wilson hit Lockett for the 8 yard touchdown. The game was tied 7-7 after the first quarter, but after that, it was All Saints Day 2 months early.

The Seahawks in the second quarter faced 2nd and 6 at their own 8. Carson ran for a 23 yard gain, but Eli Apple chopped the ball out of his hand. Bell recovered it and returned it 33 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 13-7 Saints lead. Wil Lutz missed the extra point. Late in the half with the Seahawks facing 3rd and 1 at the Saints 41, Carson got stopped. Pete Carroll went for it on 4th and 1 and this time Carson lost a yard. At the 2 minute warning, the Saints faced 3rd and 5 at their own 47. Bridgewater hit Thomas for 14, Cook for 7, Kamara for 3, and Kamara again for the 29 yard touchdown. The saints scored a touchdown in all 3 phases of the game to lead 20-7 at halftime. In the third quarter the Saints moved 75 yards in 12 plays and over 7 minutes. On 4th and 4 from the Seattle 35, Lutz missed a 53 yard field goal but an illegal formation on the defense meant 5 yards and a key first down. On 3rd and 4 from the Seattle 24, Bridgewater hit Thomas for 15 yards. On 2nd and goal from the one and 3rd and goal from the one, the Saints could not punch or sneak it in. Sean Payton went for it. On 4th and goal at the one, Bridgewater hit Thomas for the touchdown as 20 straight points had the Saints up 27-7 after three quarters in front of a shellshocked home crowd 12th man in rainy Seattle.  The Seahawks got a couple garbage touchdowns in the fourth quarter but gave up a touchdown as well. On the final play of the game from the Saints 4 yard line, the Seahawks got a third garbage touchdown to make the score look respectable. This was a blowout. The Saints hit the Seahawks in the mouth. 33-27 Saints

Houston Texans at Los Angeles Chargers — Early on the Texans fumbled and the Chargers started with golden field position at theHouston 15. On 3rd and 2 from the 7, Philip Rivers hit Keenan Allen for the touchdown and the 7-0 Chargers lead. The Chargers got it back at their own 13 and moved to a 1st and goal at the 6 early in the second quarter. Jackson ran for the touchdown, but before you say 14-0 Chargers, the score was nullified by offensive holding. Long hit a 34 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Chargers, but it was a key play in the game. The Texans soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Deshaun Watson went deep to Kenny Stills for 38 yards. On 2nd and 12 from the Chargers 16, the snap out of the shotgun was fumbled. Watson the  picked it up and went to Darren Fells for the touchdown to get the Texans within 10-7. With 1:39 left in the half, the Chargers took over at their own 11. Rivers went to Williams for 20 and defensive pass interference on the next play added 22 more yards. On 3rd and 12 from the Houston 38, Rivers hit Williams for 13 yards. Rivers went to Allen for the 12 yard touchdown with 22 seconds left in the half to make it 17-7 Chargers. Kaimi Fairbairn missed a 56 yard field goal to end the half.

Momentum changed in the second half. In the third quarter a 23 yard punt return had the Texans taking over at their own 45. On 3rd and 14 just past midfield, Watson hit Deandre Hopkins for 15 yards and Fuller for 30 more. On the next play Carlos Hyde ran for the 3 yard touchdown to get the Texans within 17-14. The Chargers moved from their 26 to a 3rd and 4 at the Houston 29. Rivers was sacked and fumbled, and the Texans took over at their own 27. A roughing the passer penalty had the Texans on the move. On 3rd and 3 just past midfield, Watson went to Hopkins for a 34 yard gain. Watson then went to Akins for a 15 yard touchdown as the Texans led 21-17 after three quarters. 

The Texans got it back at their own 18. From the Houston 47, Watson hit Akins for the 53 yard touchdown with 9 1/2 minutes left. The extra point was no good but the Texans led 27-17. The Chargers moved from their own 25 to a 2nd and 1 at the Houston 24. Rivers threw incomplete. On 3rd and 1, a run lost a yard. Anthony Lynn went for the field goal needing 2 scores. Long hit from 43 as the Chargers were within 7 midway through the fourth quarter. The Chargers got it back at their own 16 with 4:19 to play. With 30 seconds left the Chargers and 3rd and 4 at the Houston 24. Rivers fired to Williams for 17 yards. Yet offensive holding was a killer. With 11 seconds left, on 4th and 14 from the Houston 34, Rivers went deep incomplete. The overachieving Texans did what they do. The underachieving Chargers did what they do. 27-20 Texans

Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers — Big Ben Roethlisberger is out for the year and Mike Tomlin has to play his backup Mason Rudolph for the entire season. As Tomlin reminded everyone, nobody gets sympathy in the NFL. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a pair of first quarter interceptions that gave the Pittsburgh offense a pair of short fields. All the Steelers could muster was a pair of Chris Boswell field goals from 46 and 26 to make it 6-0 Steelers. In the seconds quarter the 49ers added 2 more fumbled that the Steelers could not capitalize on. Despite 4 turnovers by the 49ers, the Steelers only got the 6 points out of it. Robbie Gould hit a 24 yard second quarter field goal as the 49ers trailed 6-3 at halftime. NFL League rules required that even hideous games have to be played in their entirety. 

In the third quarter it was Rudolph getting intercepted, and the 49ers taking over at the Pittsburgh 38. On 3rd and 8 from the Pittsburgh 25, Garoppolo hit Bourne for 22 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Wilson got in to make it 10-6 49ers. 3 plays later the Steelers had the lead again. On 3rd and 4 from their own 24, a short pass from Rudolph to Juju Smith-Schuster, who is still not Jewish, went for a 76 yard touchdown and a 13-10 steelers lead. The 49ers soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Garoppolo ran for 2 yards and hit Samuel for 20 yards. From the Pittsburgh 16, Garoppolo hit Pettis for for 12. Wilson ran for the 12 yard touchdown to make it 17-13 49ers after three quarters. The Steelers after an exchange of punts took over at their own 19. Conner ran for 10. Then defensive pass interference meant a 32 yard gain. Rudolph then went deep to Johnson for a 39 yard touchdown. With 10 minutes left in the game, another lead change had the Steelers up 20-17. 

The 49ers fumbled the ball but the Steelers fumbled it back, setting up the 49ers at the Pittsburgh 24 with 5:20 to play in the game. At the 2 minute warning, the 49ers faced 3rd and 11 from the Pittsburgh 14. Garoppolo threw incomplete but a killer defensive holding penalty kept the drive going. Garoppolo hit Pettis for the 5 yard touchdown with 1:15 to play to put the 49ers up by 4 in this topsy turvy game. With 37 seconds left the Steelers faced 4th and 12 at their own 20. Rudolph threw incomplete and the Steelers remained winless. They fought to the end, but a loss is just that. 24-20 49ers

Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns was the Sunday night game. The Rams offense was supposed to steamroll Cleveland, but the Dawg Pound came prepared for a street fight. As swami Chris Berman reminds us, “THAT’s why they PLAY the games.” The first half was defense. Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein hit a 53 yard first quarter field goal for the Rams. In the second quarter Siebert connected from 23 to tie the game. With 5 minutes left in the half, Zuerlein missed from 48. With 28 seconds left in the half, the Rams faced 3rd and 10 at their own 36. Jared Goff was sacked and fumbled. The Browns Schobert recovered the fumble and returned it 21 yards to the Rams 17. Siebert hit from 35 to end the half with the Browns up 6-3. 

In the third quarter the Rams went 75 yards in 10 plays. From the Rams 40, Goff hit Cooks for gains of 19 and 16. From the Cleveland 20, Goff hit Cooper Kupp for 13. On 3rd and goal at the 11, Goff hit Cupp for the touchdown and the 10-6 Rams lead. The Browns came back 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and 4 from the Cleveland 31, Baker Mayfield hit O’Dell Beckham for 5 yards. On 3rd and 13 from the Rams 46, Michelin Man Wade Phillips sent an al out blitz. Mayfield went to Nick Chubb or 30 yards. Defensive pass interference on the next play put the ball on the one. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Mayfield hit Harris for the touchdown and the 13-10 Browns lead after three quarters. 

An interception of Goff led to nothing when the Rams defense forced a punt. The Rams got it back at their own 28. Goff went to Cooks for 23 yards and to Kupp for 21 more. The fourth quarter began with the Rams are the Cleveland 20. Sean McVay went to hit bag of tricks. Goff handed it to Kupp, who raced around the right end and handed it to Woods, who reversed field and went around the left end for a 17 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Goff hit Kupp for the touchdown as the Rams regained the lead 17-13 with 13 minutes left in regulation. The Browns moved after a touchback to a 3rd and 9 at the Rams 40. Mayfield through incomplete and Freddie Kitchen decided to go for it with 9:19 to play. A run…yes, a run…gained only 2 yards. The Rams from their 38 soon saw 3rd and 10 at midfield. Goff gained only 7 yards, but unnecessary roughness added 15 more. On 4th and 1 from the Cleveland 19, Sean McVay took no chances. Zuerlein hit from 37 to make it 20-13 Rams with 6:40 left. 

The Browns had to punt on 4th and 18 from their own 2, but an interception of Goff gave the Browns the ball back with 2 minutes left at midfield. On 3rd and 15 from their own 45, Mayfield went to John Johnson for a 27 yard gain. Mayfield then fired to Ratley for 16 yards with roughing the passer on Aaron Donald adding 5 more. With 41 seconds left the Browns had 1st and goal at the 4. Three incompletions later had the Browns down to their last chance with 33 seconds left as the Rams took their final timeout on defense. Under heavy pressure, Mayfield threw a prayer to the end zone with a receiver and defender wrestling for it. The defender won and the Rams had the interception. The Browns were game. They went toe to toe with the defending NFC champs but fell one play short in a fine football game. 20-13 Rams

Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins was the Monday night game. After a touchback to start the game, the Bears moved to a 3rd and 9 at the Washington 36. Mitchell Trubisky was sacked for a 14 yard loss back at midfield. It was the only thing that would go wrong for Chicago on this night. While they did not win 73-0, this game was over by halftime. On Washington’s 3rd play from scrimmage on 3rd and 9 from their own 21, Case Keenum was intercepted Haha Clinton-Dix. The 37 yard interception return for a touchdown had the Bears up 7-0, and they never trailed. In the second quarter the Redskins had 2nd and 6 at the Chicago 11. On 3rd and 9 at the Chicago 14, Keenum was sacked for an 11 yard loss. The 43 yard field goal try was no good. The Bears then marched 67 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Trubisky hit Taylor Gabriel for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Bears. One play after a touchback and an illegal shift saw Keenum get sacked for an 8 yard loss and fumble. The Bears recovered at the Washington 11. Trubisky hit Gabriel for a one yard score to make it 21-0 Bears. 2 plays later after a strong kickoff return, Keenum was intercepted again. Chicago marched 63 yards the other way. On 3rd and 17 from the Washington 36, Trubisky again went to Gabriel for the touchdown and the 28-0 Bears lead with 43 seconds left in the half. The rest of the game was garbage time as the Bears coasted. Washington got a field goal before the half ended and a touchdown in each of the two final quarters. Chicago tacked on one fourth quarter field goal in a game that was never competitive thanks to 5 Washington turnovers. 31-15 Bears

NFL 2019 Week 3 Prequel

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 3 Prequel

NFL 2019 Week 2 Recap

Monday, September 16th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 2 Recap

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers was the Thursday night game. A pair of NFC South rivals played an ugly game that ended in controversial fashion. Matt Gay hit a 40 yard field goal for the Buccaneers and Joey Slye answered from 32 for a 3-3 game after the first quarter. In the second quarter a 39 yard punt return had the Panthers taking over at the Tampa Bay 42. Yet all the Panthers could muster was a 37 yard Slye field goal for a 6-3 lead. After 26 minutes of ugly football, the Buccaneers took over at their own 28. Jameis Winston went deep to Mike Evans for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Carolina 25, Winston went to Brate for 5 yards and then to Chris Godwin for the 20 yard touchdown and the 10-6 Buccaneers lead. In the final 80 seconds, Cam Newton moved the Panthers in position for a 54 yard field goal try. Slye delivered again and the Panthers trailed 10-9 at halftime. 

In the third quarter the Panthers took over at their own 38. Newton went deep to Greg Olsen for a 41 yard gain. Yet consecutive sacks of Newton ended the drive. Slye hit his fourth field goal from 51 yards out to make it 12-10 Panthers. The Buccaneers soon faced 2nd and 13 at their own 22. Winston went to Godwin for 24 yards with defensive unnecessary roughness adding 15 more. Peyton Barber ran for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 17-12 Buccaneers. The Panthers fumbled the ball away but the Buccaneers missed a field goal. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, with the Buccaneers pinned to their own 2 yard line, Peyton Barber was tackled in his own end zone by Luke Kuechly for a safety. The Panthers were within 17-14, and a 21 yard return on the free kick had them taking over on their own 46.

On 3rd and 1 from the Tampa Bay 45, Christian McCaffrey got stopped cold. Riverboat Ron Rivera went for it, and Newton threw incomplete. With 9 minutes left, the Buccaneers took over at their own 33. On 3rd and 8 from midfield, Winston went to Godwin for a 14 yard gain. With a chance to put the game away, on 3rd and 5 from the Carolina 14, Winston threw incomplete. Gay hit the 32 yard field goal to cap the 11 play, 53 yard 6 1/2 minute drive. Trailing by 6, the Panthers took over with 2 1/2 minutes left after a touchback.Newton began by hitting Samuel for a 24 yard gain. With 1:45 to play the Panthers faced 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 11. Newton threw incomplete twice and then hit Moore for 8 yards. With 90 seconds left, the Panthers faced 4th and 2 at the Buccaneers 3 yard line. Defensive delay of game made it 4th and 1 from the 2. Normally Newton would use his big body to sneak it forward. Instead, McCaffrey got the carry around the end and got taken down for no gain. Bruce Arians got his first win as the Buccaneers coach. Meanwhile, Ron Rivera faced a ton of questions about Newton and the terrible play call that had the Panthers at 0-2 and sinking fast. 20-14 Buccaneers

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans — The Titans won at Cleveland by 30 points, so a buzz developed around them. The Colts put up a valiant effort in an overtime loss at the Chargers. The Colts began at their own 22 and soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 33. Jacoby Brissett went to Eric Ebron for 13 yards. On the next play defensive pass interference meant a 46 yard gain and 1st and goal at the 8. Brissett hit Ebron for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts. The Titans took over at their own 28. Marcus Mariota got the drive going with completions to Derrick Henry for 9 yards and Sharpe for 15 more. From the Indy 12, Henry fumbled but the Titans retained possession. On the next play Mariota went to Jennings for 11 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Mariota hit David Quessenberry for the one yard touchdown to make it 7-7. 

The Colts soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 30. Brissett threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 9 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from their own 42, Brissett scrambled for just enough. On 3rd and 15 from the Indy 44, Brissett went to TY Hilton for 19 yards. Brissett threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Parris Campbell for the touchdown midway through the second quarter. One week after his worst career game, Adam Vinatieri missed another extra point as the Colts led 13-7. In the third quarter a 17 yard punt return had the Titans taking over at the Indy 40. From the Indy 28, Mariota found Davis for a 25 yard gain. Henry ran for the one yard touchdown to make it 14-13 Titans. The Colts then fumbled, giving the Titans another short field at the Indy 45. Cairo Santos hit a 49 yard field goal to make it 17-13 Titans. Tennessee got it back at their own 13 and moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Indy 20. Mariota was then sacked for a 7 yard loss. Making matters worse for the Titans, Santos missed the 45 yard field goal try with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

With 6 1/2 minutes left, the Colts took over at their own 31. From their own 41, Wilkins broke free for a 55 yard gain. On the next play Brissett threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Hilton. Vinatieri’s nightmare season continued as he missed a 2nd extra point. The Colts led by 2 with 4 1/2 minutes left. With 3 1/2 minutes left and the Titans facing 4th and 1 at their own 34, the decision was to go for it. A killer day of game penalty instead forced the Titans to punt. The Titans got the ball back at their own 28 with 1:07 to play. With 13 seconds left the Titans faced 4th and 2 at the Indy 45. Mariota threw incomplete as Jacoby Brissett got his first win as a Colts starter. 19-17 Colts

Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions — The Chargers barely survived at home last week in an overtime win against Indianapolis, while the Lions blew an 18 point 4th quarter lead in a tie with Arizona. The Chargers soon faced 2nd and 8 at their own 34. Philip Rivers went deep to Austin Ekeler for 35 yards and to Keenan Allen for 12 more. On 3rd and 4 from the Detroit 13, Rivers hit Allen for 10 yards. On 3rd and goal from the one, Ekeler got in to make it 7-0 Chargers. The Lions came back 75 yards. Matthew Stafford hit Kerryon Johnson for a 36 yard touchdown. Matt Prater missed the extra point. The Lions trailed 7-6 after the first quarter. Both offenses pretty much slept through the rest of the game, as did the viewers. In the second quarter Prater missed a 40 yard field goal try. Ty Long hit a 39 yard field goal on the last play of the half as the Chargers took a 10-6 lead to the locker rooms. 

A hideous second half began with Stafford getting intercepted and the Chargers fumbling the ball back. Late in the third quarter Long missed a 39 yard field goal try. Stafford was intercepted again and in the fourth quarter the Chargers moved from their 15 to a 3rd and 1 at the Detroit 23. Rivers threw incomplete and Anthony Lynn opted not to go for it. Long came in for the 41 yard field goal try and again it was no good. The Lions took over at their 31 and moved to a 4th and 1 at the Chargers 35. Matt Patricia decided to go for it and Stafford hit Jones for 4 yards. On the next play Stafford hit Kenny Golladay for a 31 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions led by a field goal. The Chargers moved from their own 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Detroit 19 with 2 1/2 minutes left. On 3rd and 19 with just over one minute left, Rivers went to the end zone and was intercepted. It was hideously ugly, but it was a desperately needed win for Matt Patricia. 13-10 Lions

Buffalo Bills at New York Giants — Last week the Bills overcame a 16-0 deficit to gut out a 17-16 win over the Jets. Now they were back in the Meadowlands again against the Giants, who were humiliated at Dallas. After a touchback, the Giants rammed the ball down Buffalo’s throat. Saquon Barkley ran for 6m Fowler ran for 20, and Barkley then ran for 14, 8, and the 27 yard touchdown to quickly make it 7-0 Giants.  After a touchback the Bills faced 3rd and 4 at their own 43. Josh Allen went to Cole Beasley for a 9 yard gain and then to McKenzie for 26 more. Allen ran for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-7.  

The Bills got it back at their own 30 and Allen went to Knox for 18 yards. On 3rd and 10 from their own 48, Allen hit Brown for 14 yards. On 3rd and 5 at the Giants 33, Allen hit Brown for 7 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Giants 26, Allen hit Beasley for 12. Devin Singletary then ran for the 14 yard touchdown as the Bills led 14-7 early in the second quarter. The Bills got it back at their own 2 yard line. Allen hit Brown for 15 yards and Frank Gore for 9 more. On 1st and 20 from their own 35, Allen went deep to Beasley for a 51 yard gain. On the next play Allen went to Isaiah McKenzie for the 14 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Bills. The Giants would miss a field goal and suffer an interception to end the half. 

Late in the third quarter, the Giants took over at their own 24. Eli Manning hit Fowler for gains of 12 and 14. Early in the fourth quarter the Giants faced 4th and 2 at the Buffalo 15. They went for it and Manning hit Latimer for 9 yards. Manning found TJ Jones for a 4 yard touchdown to complete the 12 play, 76 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. The Giants were within 21-14 with 12 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, Allen hit Brown for 12 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Giants 40, Allen hit Brown for 17 yards. Singletary ran for 20 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 3. The Giants got a stop on defense, and Steve Hauschka made the 21 yard field goal Yet unnecessary roughness on the defense caused Sean McDermott to take the points off the board with 1st and goal at the 2. Gore banged it in from one yard out with 6 minutes left in regulation to put the game on ice. 28-14 Bills

Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens — Last week Baltimore put up 59 points, but for the second straight week Arizona showed grit. In the first quarter the Ravens took over at their own 6 yard line. Lamar Jackson hit Boyle for 14 yards and Brown for 18 more. Jackson then ran for 19 yards. Jackson then hit Brown for gains of 6 and 9 and found Mark Andrews for a 27 yard touchdown to complete the 94 yard drive and make it 7-0 Ravens. Baltimore got it back and John Harbaugh decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Arizona 43. Jackson threw incomplete. The good field position led to the Cardinals moving to a 3rd and 1 at the Arizona 4 yard line. Kyler Murray threw incomplete. Cliff Kingsbury decided not to go for it. Zane Gonzalez hit the 22 yard field goal to get the Cardinals within 7-3. In the second quarter Justin Tucker hit from 33 to make it 10-3 Ravens. Again the Cardinals drove very deep. On 4th and 2 from the Baltimore 47, Cliff Kingsbury went for it and Murray hit Byrd for 5 yards. However, on 3rd and goal at the 3, Murray threw incomplete. Gonzalez hit from 21 to get the Cardinals within 10-6.

Baltimore soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 21. Jackson ran for gains of 5 and 18 yards and then hit Andrews for 24 and Mark Ingram for 20. Jackson hit Hill for 10 and Hayden Hurst for the final yard as the Ravens led 17-6 at halftime. In the third quarter the Cardinals drove inside the Baltimore 5 yard line for the 3rd time in the game. On 3rd and goal Murray again threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the 2, for the third time, Kingsbury settled for a field goal. Gonzalez hit from 21 as the Cardinals trailed 17-9. The Ravens responded with a staggering 16 play, 70 yard drive that consumed 9 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and 6 from their own 24, Jackson hit Ingram for 10. On 3rd and 7 at the Arizona 46, Jackson hit Andrews for 9. On 3rd and 7 from the Arizona 22, Jackson hit Andrews for 8. On 3rd and 20 from the Arizona 24, Jackson scrambled for 19. On 4th and 1 from the Arizona 5, John Harbaugh took no chances. A field goal would make it a 2 score game. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Justin Tucker hit the 28 yarder to make it 20-9 Ravens.

This time the Cardinals from their own 21 struck quickly. Murray went deep to Larry Fitzgerald for a 54 yard gain. Murray then went to Byrd for 6 and Kirk for 18 down to the one. David Johnson got the yard on the ground and Murray hit K Johnson for the 2 point conversion to get the Cardinals within 20-17 with a full 13 minutes left in regulation. The Ravens moved from their own 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Arizona 38. Jackson threw incomplete twice and on 3rd and 10 a pass to Snead only gained 5 yards. Tucker hit the 51 yard field goal as the Ravens led by 6 with 9 minutes left. Arizona punted twice and with 3:13 to play the Ravens took over at their own 45. With 3 minutes left and the Ravens facing 3rd and 11, John Harbaugh had a decision to make. The Cardinals were out of timeouts, so a safe run would bleed 40 seconds off the clock. Instead the Ravens went big and bold. Jackson went deep to Brown for a 41 yard gain. At the 2 minute warning, the Ravens faced 3rd and 1 at the Arizona 6. Ingram got the yard and Jackson took a pair of knees to end the hard fought game. 23-17 Ravens

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins — Last week the Patriots won by 30 and the Dolphins lost at home by 49 for a 79 point differential. The largest blowout in NFL history was Chicago over Washington 73-0 in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. Could the Patriots beat the Dolphins 100-0? The Dolphins had beaten the Patriots in 5 of the last 6 meetings in Miami including last year’s Christmas lateral miracle. Yet the oddsmakers were unimpressed, installing the Patriots as 19 point road favorites. In the first quarter the Patriots took over at their own 40. Michel ran for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots. In the second quarter Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal and one xtra point. However, Tom Brady did throw a 20 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, his first touchdown reception with the Patriots. The Patriots only led 13-0 at halftime, but there would be no comeback. 

In the third quarter an interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick led to a 28 yard Gostkowski field goal. The Patriots got it back and moved 65 yards. Brady got the last yard himself as the Patriots led 23-0 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Patriots poured it on. Ryan Fitzpatrick had two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Stephen Gilmore took his 54 yards to pay dirt while Jamie Collins ran his back 69 yards for a score. Just before the 2 minute warning, Brady hit James White for the final touchdown. It would be hard for Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick to find fault in a 43 point road win, but Gostkowski missed his 2nd extra point. With 4 seconds left, the Dolphins had 1st and goal at the 8 and a chance to avoid the shutout. Josh Rosen was in the game. Rather than throw to the end zone, he threw a 3 yard pass. It didn’t matter since it was intercepted. While the Patriots fell short of a 100 point win, they did win by 43. Meanwhile, losing by 43 was an improvement over losing by 49. Former Belichick assistant Brian Flores has seen his Dolphins lose by a combined 102-10 in 2 games, both at home. This is not why the play the games. 43-0 Patriots

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins — Dallas has Super Bowl dreams, while Washington just wants to escape the cellar. An interception of Dak Prescott with 5 minutes left in the first quarter set up the Redskins at the Dallas 38. The second quarter began with Adrian Peterson banging in a one yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Redskins. Later on the Cowboys were pinned back at their own 3 yard line. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 8 yards and Prescott added 15 more. Prescott hit Michael Gallup for gains of 9 and 10 and Randall Cobb for 3 more. Prescott then found Devin smith for a 51 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Dallas got it back and soon faced 3rd and 8 at their own 19. Prescott found Cobb for 9 yards. On 3rd and 1 at their own 37, Prescott got around the end for a 42 yard gain. With 20 seconds left in the half on 3rd and goal at the 5, Prescott threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding was a killer penalty. 9 seconds still remained, and now it was 1st and goal at the 2. Prescott hit Jason Witten for the score to make it 14-7 Cowboys at halftime.

In the third quarter after a touchback, Prescott hit Amari Cooper for 13 yards. Elliott had gains of 13 and 6. Prescott hit Gallup for 12. On 1st and 20 from the Washington 46, Prescott hit Gallup for 16. On 3rd and 4 from the Washington 30, Prescott found Cooper for 18. Prescott hit Cooper for the 10 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Cowboys. The Redskins fought back and got a break when the Cowboys jumped offsides on 3rd and 1 from the Washington 34. On the next play Case Keenum hit McLaurin for a 27 yard gain. On 4th and 7 from the Dallas 31, Jay Gruden decided to go for it. Keenum hit Quinn for 12 yards. Keenum hit Paul Richardson for a 9 yard touchdown to get the Redskins within 21-14 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. 

After a touchback Prescott went to Jarwin for a 22 yard gain. A 3 yard touchdown was nullified by offensive holding. One minute into the fourth quarter, Maher hit a 25 yard field goal to give the cowboys some breathing room up 21-14. With 11 minutes left Jay Gruden decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Dallas 46. Keenum threw incomplete. From the Washington 43, Prescott hit Witten for 18 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Elliott got in with 5 minutes left to put the Cowboys up 31-14. Washington did get a garbage touchdown, but nothing more. Jerry Jones was so pleased with the win that he is bringing Jason Garrett and the entire coaching staff back next week. 31-21 Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans — A pair of division rivals played a truly hideous game. Kaimi Fairbairn hit a 39 yard field goal for the Texans. In the second quarter Josh Lambo hit from 40 to tie the game and Fairbairn answered from 22 to end the half with the Texans up 6-3. After a scoreless third quarter, a key play came with 13 minutes left in regulation. On 1st and 20 from his own 20, Minshew was sacked and the Texans recovered at the Jacksonville 11. On 4th and 1 from the Jacksonville 2, Bill O’Brien decided to go for it. Deshaun Watson got in to make it 13-3 Texans. with 6 minutes left in regulation, Lambo hit from 32 to get the Jaguars within 13-6. With 3 1/2 minutes left, Jacksonville began their final drive. With 2:19 left, on 4th and 1 from their own 41, Leonard Fournette barely got the yard. With 1:18 left on 3rd and 9 from the Jacksonville 43, Minshew hit Conley for 12 and Chark for 14 more. With 52 seconds left on 4th and 10 from the Houston 31, Minshew scrambled for 18 yards. With 30 seconds left, Minshew hit Chark for the touchdown. Doug Marrone decided to go for the 2 point conversion and the win on the road rather than play for overtime. It was a gutsy call. The run attempt failed. The armchair quarterbacks will go crazy, but that is what they do. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin made the exact same decision in his first season as the Jaguars coach when they were a 1995 expansion team. That attempt also failed in a one point loss. 13-12 Texans

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers — 14 years after these teams played a controversial Super Bowl, they played a game with far less at stake but with more exciting action. After a scoreless first quarter, the first break came in the second quarter when the Seahawks fumbled and the Steelers took over at the Seattle 22. On 3rd and 5 from the 17, Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete but defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. James Conner ran it in to make it 7-0 Steelers. After a touchback, the Seahawks soon faced 3rd and 10 at their own 36, Russell Wilson hit Turner for 15 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 26, a run lost 2 yards. The field goal was good, but unnecessary roughness on the defense caused Pete Carroll to take the points off the board. On the next play Wilson hit Will Dissly for the 14 yard touchdown and a 7-7 tie. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, Chris Boswell hit a 41 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Steelers. On the last play of the half, a field goal to tie the game from 58 yards out was no good. The Steelers had the lead but a big problem. Roethlisberger had an injured elbow and would not play the second half. Before the day was out, Conner would be out as well. 

Backup quarterback Mason Rudolph played the second half. Early in the third quarter Rudolph was intercepted, setting the Seahawks up at the Pittsburgh 40. On 3rd and 10 from the Pittsburgh 25, Wilson hit Vannett for 13 yards and Dissly for the 12 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Seahawks. After a touchback, Conner ran for 14 yards. Rudolph went deep to Juju Smith-Schuster for a 45 yard gain. The drive stalled in the red zone. Boswell hit from 33 to get the Steelers within 14-13. After a touchback Wilson hit Carson for 8, Tyler Lockett for 7, Carson again for 10, and Lockett again for 5. On 3rd and 2 from the Pittsburgh 37, Rashaad Penny ran all the way for the touchdown to make it 21-13 Steelers. After a touchback, the Steelers began the fourth quarter facing 3rd and 8 at the Seattle 48. Rudolph found Johnson for a 17 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the Seattle 26, Rudolph escaped for 7 yards. Rudolph threw an 8 yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald with 11 minutes left in regulation. Mike Tomlin went for the 2 point conversion to tie the game butRudolph threw incomplete as the Steelers trailed 21-19. 

After a touchback the Seahawks soon found themselves facing 1st and 15 at their own 22. A run gained 5 yards. Wilson went deep incomplete. Initially no pass interference was called, but under the new rule Pete Carroll successfully challenged the call. It was reversed to defensive pass interference for a 38 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Pittsburgh 28, Wilson went to DK Metcalf for the touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had a 28-19 Lead. With 5 1/2 minutes left and the Seahawks at their own 11, Wilson fumbled and the Steelers recovered at the Seattle 3 yard line. One play later Rudolph hit McDonald for the touchdown to get the Steelers back within 2 points. After a touchback, the Seahawks tried to run out the clock. On 3rd and 16 from the Pittsburgh 48, Wilson scrambled for 15 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Pittsburgh 33, Pete Carroll decided to go for it. Carson gained 2 yards and Wilson knelt down. Things got much worse for the 0-2 Steelers after the game. Big Ben Roethlisberger will have to have surgery on his elbow and will be out for the entire season. Mason Rudolph is now the starter. 28-26 Seahawks.  

San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals — These teams met in a pair of close Super Bowls in the 1980s, but this game was not close or exciting. The 49ers began just shy of midfield. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin to make it 7-0 49ers. From the Cincinnati 31, Red Rifle Andy Dalton went deep to Boyd for a 47 yard gain. Dalton threw a one yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert for a 7-7 game. The 49ers got it back at their own 16. Garoppolo hit Goodwin for 14 and ran for 9. Garoppolo found Raheem Mostert for a 39 yard touchdown. The 49ers led 14-7 after the first quarter. In the second quarter Garoppolo was intercepted, but the Bengals missed a field goal. The 49ers got it back at their own 42. On 3rd and 1 just past midfield, Matt Breida broke free for a 34 yard gain. Jeff Wilson ran it in from 2 yards out to make it 21-7 49ers. The teams exchanged field goals as the 49ers took a 24-10 lead to the locker rooms. In the second half the 49ers broke the game open. Garoppolo hit Deebo Samuel for a 2 yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 31-10 49ers. Robbie Gould tacked on a 38 yard field goal for a 34-10 49ers lead. On the first play of the fourth quarter Wilson ran for a 4 yard touchdown and a 41-10 49ers advantage. Gould would miss a field goal, but by then it did not matter. Cincinnati got one garbage time touchdown but by then it mattered even less. 41-17 49ers

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers — Things started badly early for the Vikings. The Packers needed only 4 plays after a touchback to score. On the first play from scrimmage, Aaron Rodgers went deep to Devontae Adams for a 39 yard gain. Jones ran for gains of 6 and 15. Rodgers hit Jamaal Williams for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers. Dan Bailey then missed a 47 yard field goal try. The Packers soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 41. Aaron Rodgers hit Valdes-scantling for 14 yards. On 3rd and 5 at the Minnesota 40, Rodgers went deep too Adams for 21 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Minnesota 13, Rodgers hit Adams for 6 yards. Rodgers hit Geronimo Allison for a 12 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Packers. The Vikings then fumbled the ball away at the Minnesota 33. The second quarter began with Jones running for a 2 yard touchdown. The Packers had a 21-0 lead, but the Vikings hung tough as momentum swung.

2 plays after the touchback, Dalvin Cook raced for a 75 yard touchdown to get the Vikings within 21-7. With 90 seconds left in the half, the Vikings took over at their own 27. From their 36, a short pass from Cousins to Beebe went for 61 yards. On 1st and goal at the 3, Cousins went to Diggs for the touchdown. However, after further review their was offensive pass interference. The touchdown was nullified. From the 13, a run went nowhere and Cousins threw incomplete twice. Bailey hit the 31 yard field goal to get the Vikings within 21-10 at the half. In the third quarter the Packers fumbled and the Vikings took over at the Green Bay 42. On 3rd and 13, Cousins went to Diggs for a 45 yard touchdown. This time the score stood but Bailey had his extra point try blocked. The Vikings were within 5, and 9 minutes still remained in the third quarter. I didn’t matter. Green Bay’s defense clamped down. With 5 minutes left in regulation, the Vikings faced 1st and goal at the 8 with a chance to win. The 84 million dollar guaranteed man Cousins went to the end zone and was intercepted for the third time on the day. The Packers are 2-0, and again Rodgers knows he no longer has to do it all himself. Green Bay has a defense. 21-16 Packers

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders — The Chiefs always beat the Raiders, Derek Carr always struggles against the Chiefs, and now the Raiders found out their hard hitting rookie safety Jonathan Abraham would be out for the season after playing only one game. Patrick Mahomes was expected to torch the Oakland secondary. By the time this game ended, the Chiefs had only 31 yards rushing. Passing was another matter. The Raiders finally have a bell cow running back, as Josh Jacobs gained 99 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 32, Carr went to Carrier for 25 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Chiefs 43, Carr found Tyrell Williams for 19 yards. Despite 2nd and 2 at the Chiefs 10, Jacobs gained only one yard and then nothing on 3rd and 1. Jon Gruden opted for the field goal. Daniel Carlson hit from 28 to make it 3-0 Raiders. The Silver and Black got it back at their own 25. From their own 47, a defensive pass interference call on a bomb went for 43 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Carr hit Williams for the touchdown. The Raiders led 10-0 after the first quarter. Then reality set in and fans saw one of the biggest blowouts in a quarter since the 1987 Super Bowl between Washington and Denver. Mahomes had only 35 yards passing in the first quarter. 

In the second quarter Mahomes had nearly 300 yards passing. Yes, in the second quarter alone. He started the second quarter with a 44 yard bomb to Demarcus Robinson to get the Chiefs on the board. A 14 play, 95 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive came next. On 3rd and 10 from the Oakland 32, a 22 yard deep ball was nullified by offensive holding. So on 3rd and 20, Mahomes went deep again for a 42 yard touchdown to Mecole Hardman. The Chiefs led 14-10 with 6 minutes left in the half. The Chiefs got it back with 3 1/2 minutes left and quickly followed up their 95 yard drive with a 94 yard drive. On 2nd and 11 from their own 5, Mahomes went to Williams for 32, Robinson for 43, and Travis Kelce for the 27 yard touchdown to make it 21-10 Chiefs with 1:41 left in the half. The Raiders could not even get to the half without further carnage. They punted on 4th and 22 from their own 13, and a 10 yard return of a short punt had the Chiefs taking over at the Oakland 39 with 47 seconds left. One play and 7 seconds later, Mahomes went to Robinson for the 39 yard touchdown. 4 touchdowns put the game away by halftime. Mahomes finished with 443 yards passing, and that was with the second half being scoreless. Mahomes had a 5th touchdown bomb wiped away by a penalty. Carr was intercepted twice, including on 1st and goal at the 4 for a touchback. The Raiders may be slightly improved, but this was their reality check. The Chiefs are far better, 28-10 Chiefs

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams — This was supposed to be the revenge game for the non-call that the Saints insisted was why the Rams beat them in the NFC Title Game. Early on it was all field goals. Greg Zuerlein hit from 24 for the Rams in the first quarter. Wil Lutz answered from 34 in the second quarter to tie the game. Zuerlein hit from 22 to end the half with the Rams up 6-3. Lutz answered from 52 in the third quarter. The game was tied 6-6, but the key moment came in the first half when Drew Brees went out with an injured thumb. Teddy Bridgewater played the rest of the game. It took forever for the Rams offense to get going, but once they did the Saints could not keep up. 

In the third quarter after a touchback, Jared Goff hit Cooks for 15 and Cooper Kupp for 27 more. Todd Gurley ran for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 13-6 Rams. A 32 yard punt return had the Rams getting it back at the Saints 26. Goff hit Cooks for the 2 yard touchdown as the Rams led 20-6 after three quarters. With 11 minutes left in regulation and the Saints facing 4th and 14 at the Rams 24, Sean Payton opted for the field goal. Lutz hit the 42 yarder to get the Saints within 20-9, but the Rams then quickly closed the door. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, a short pass from Goff to Kupp went for 66 yards down to the one. On the next play Goff got the yard. The Saints did not get their revenge, and the Rams made their statement that they are still the defending NFC Champions. Sadly for the Saints, Brees and his bad thumb will be out injured for several weeks. 27-9 Rams 

Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos — Both teams looked horrendous in their opening game, especially on offense. This was a battle of who wanted it least for the first 59 minutes. Brandon McManus hit a 43 yard field goal as the Broncos led 3-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter the Bears moved the ball on a pair of long drives but could not punch it in. Eddie Pineiro hit from 40 and then again from 52 to make it 6-3 Bears. In the third quarter the Denver defense broke down. From the Chicago 20, David Montgomery ran for 12 and Cordarelle Patterson got around the end for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Mitchell Trubisky threw incomplete but defensive holding on Chris Harris meant a new set of downs. On 3rd and goal at the one, Montgomery got in as the Bears led 13-3 after three quarters.

After a touchback, the Broncos finally came alive. Joe Flacco went to Fast for 24 yards. Despite 1st and 10 at the Chicago 14, Flacco threw 3 straight incompletions. McManus hit from 32 to get the Broncos within 13-6. The Broncos got it back and moved from their 24 moved on a 16 play, 74 yard, 8 minute drive. On 4th and 2 from the Chicago 45 with 9 minutes left, Vic Fangio went for it. Flacco hit Lindsay for 4 yards. With 4:45 to play on 3rd and goal at the 2, Flacco was intercepted. The defense held and the Broncos got the ball back at their own 38 with 2:48 left. On 4th and 10 from the Chicago 43 with 2:25 left, Flacco hit Sutton for just enough as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. With one minute left on 4th and 3 from the Chicago 12, Flacco hit Sutton for 5 yards. Flacco went to Emanuel Sanders for the 7 yard touchdown. The home crowd held their breath as Vic Fangio went for the 2 point conversion and the win rather than overtime. Flacco hit Sanders and the Broncos led 14-13. The Broncos were heroes. Only 30 seconds remained. After a touchback, Trubisky hit Burton for 20 yards. With 9 seconds left, the Bears faced 4th and 15 at their own 40. Trubisky went deep to Robinson for a 25 yard gain. With one second left, Pineiro came in for a 53 yard field goal try. Matt Nagy is bald because h tore his hair out over last year’s kicker. The Bears now have a kicker. Pineiro nailed it and the Bears had the win. It was also sweet for Trubisky, who has had his critics. 16-14 Bears

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons was the Sunday night game. The battle of the birds was a good one. Matt Bryant hit a 50 yard field goal for a 3-0 Falcons lead in the first quarter. In the second quarter Carson Wentz was intercepted, but the Falcons did not capitalize. A field position game had the eagles starting the second quarter at the Atlanta 43. On 3rd and 6 from the Atlanta 8, Wentz was sacked for an 8 yard loss. Elliott hit the 34 yard field goal for a 3-3 game. The Falcons then missed a field goal and Wentz was intercepted again. The Falcons took over at their own 35. Matt Ryan went to Ridley for gains of 15 and 12. Ryan went back to Ridley on 3rd and 6 for the 34 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Falcons. Matty Ice was later intercepted with 38 seconds left in the half at the Atlanta 41. Elliott hit the 41 yard field goal to end the half with the Eagles down 10-6. 

Yet the Eagles fumbled the second half kickoff and the Falcons recovered at the Philly 33. Ryan went to Devonta Freeman for 28 yards and to Julio Jones for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 17-6 Falcons. Yet on their next series it was Ryan who was intercepted to set up the Eagles at the Atlanta 27. On 4th and goal at the 4, Doug Peterson decided against a field goal to make it a one score game. His very curious gamble paid off when Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for the touchdown. Pederson then gambled again on the 2 point conversion try. This time the gamble failed as the Eagles trailed 17-12. Ryan was then intercepted for the third time, but the Eagles could not capitalize. 

In the fourth quarter the Eagles took o ver at their own 27. Wentz hit Howard for 8 and Agholor for gains of 9 and 16 on 3rd and 3 to have the Eagles at midfield. On 3rd and 9 from the Atlanta 29, Wentz found Hollins for 17 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the 3, Wentz gained 2. Wentz got the last yard for the score to cap the 13 play, 73 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive with 3:13 to play. Pederson again went for the 2 point conversion and Wentz hit Ertz to have the Eagles up 20-17. The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34 and the Eagles defense jumped offsides. With 2:10 to play, the Falcons were down to their last gasp with 4th and 3 at their own 46. Ryan went to Jones, who turned a short pass into a 54 yard touchdown. Now the Falcons had the 4 point lead. With 1:58 left, the Eagles took over on their own 32. On 3rd and 2 from their 40, Wentz hit Darren Sproles for 3 yards. With 1:21 left, the Eagles were down to a last gasp of their own with 4th and 14 at their own 39. Wentz went deep to Agholor for a 43 yard gain. With 38 seconds left, the Eagles faced 4th and 8 from the Atlanta 16. With everything on the line, Wentz went to Ertz, but the gain was only 7 yards. After further review, the Eagles were short of the sticks as the home crowd finally exhaled at the end of a thrilling finish. 24-20 Falcons 

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets was the Monday night game. A pair of bad teams promised us they were more improved. They lied. The Jets blew a 16-0 second half lead at home and lost. The Brows got blasted by 30 points at home. This game would separate the bad from the horrendous. The one man who improved the Cleveland Browns last year was passed over for the head coaching job. Gregg Williams is now the defensive coordinator of the Jets. In the first quarter the Browns moved 76 yards in 11 plays. Despite 2nd and goal from the 5, Baker Mayfield threw incomplete twice. Seibert hit the 23 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Browns. The Brows got it back at their own 48 and Seibert hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 6-0 Browns. In the second quarter the Browns got it back at their own 47. On 4th and 2 from the Jets 24, Freddie Kitchens decided to go for it. Mayfield hit Taylor for a 5 yard gain. Nick Chubb then ran for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 13-0 Browns. The Jets did manage a field goal to avoid a shutout, but the Browns got the ball back at the Jets 40 with 35 seconds left in the half. That allowed Seibert to hit from 43 as the Browns led 16-3 at intermission. Late in the third quarter the Browns got the ball back at their own 11 yard line. One play and 11 seconds later, the Browns scored again as Mayfield fired a short pass over the middle to O’Dell Beckham, who outraced everyone for an 89 yard touchdown. 23-3 Browns

NFL 2019 Week 2 Prequel

Monday, September 16th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 1 Recap

Monday, September 9th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 1 Recap

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears was the season opening Thursday night game. The agony is over. The waiting is over. The miserable horrendous 7 month experience known as the offseason is over. By the grace of God & Virginia McCaskey, there is football. The Packers vs the Bears represents everything that is right about football. While a pair of nondescript Matts named LaFleur and Nagy were on the sidelines, you could feel the presence of Curly Lambeau, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, and many other greats of the past. The next round of greats kicked off the NFL’s 100th season as Aaron Rodgers led the Packers offense and Khalil Mack led the Bears defense. 

Early on the defenses reigned. With 4 minutes left in the opening quarter, Eddie Pineiro came in to try a 38 yard field goal for the Bears. Gone is Cody Parkey, who double doinked a missed field goal that knocked the Bears out of the playoffs last year. While this kick was far less pressure, the fans liked that it was down the center for a 3-0 Bears lead. Pineiro followed that up by kicking the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. 

The Packers did nothing on offense in the first quarter, actually losing 12 yards. They began the second quarter in a big way. Aaron Rodgers threw a 47 yard bomb to Marquez Valdez-Scandling. From inside the Chicago 20, Rodgers threw a jump ball into a crowd and was lucky to have Jimmy Graham come down with it in the end zone for the touchdown and the 7-3 Packers lead. 

Both teams missed chances to put points on the board in the third quarter. Green Bay moved close to the red zone. Rodgers scrambled for a first down that was nullified by an offensive holding call. Rodgers then took a sack to knock the Packers out of field goal range. With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, the Bears faced 3rd and 5 at the Green Bay 28. a critical delay of game penalty followed by an incompletion meant 4th and 10 from the Packers 33. Matt Nagy opted against a 51 yard field goal try, deciding to go for it. Mitchell Trubisky scrambled and only gained 5 yards as the Bears turned the ball over on downs.

After three quarters of old-school football, the Packers began their first drive of the fourth quarter at their own 6 yard line. Rodgers completed a pair of 28 yard passes to Davis and Tonyan. The 10 play, 73 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive culminated in a 39 yard field goal by Mason Crosby to put the Packers up by 7 with 5:20 left in regulation.

Now it was up to Trubisky, who led a 13 play drive of his own after a touchback. At the 2 minute warning, on 3rd and 10 from the Green Bay 16, Trubisky went to the end zone. He threw into a double coverage and was intercepted by Amos. Chicago took their timeouts on defense and got the ball back at their own 14 with 90 seconds left. A 2 yard gain was followed by a pair of incompletions. On 4th and 8 at their own 16, Trubisky was sacked. Rodgers went over and excitedly shoved his own defensive coordinator. It will take time for Rodgers to get his new offense going, but he was all smiles after the game. He is all about winning, and he knew who won this game. He kept saying, “We have a defense.” 

Those who know nothing about football will say that this was a boring game, even an ugly game. Not every game is going to be 41-34. Fans love scoring, but as we saw in the Super Bowl to close last season, great defense can be beautiful. This game to open the 2019 season was a chess match between a pair of very good defenses. It was a physical old time slobber-knocker. It was a tribute to Ray Nitschke, Willie Wood, Dick Butkus, Iron Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. It was a perfect tribute to the 100th season of the National Football League. Bring your defense. 10-3 Packers 

Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers — The defending NFC champion Rams had to show that there was no Super Bowl hangover for the losing team. They had Todd Gurley available, but were determined to lighten his workload with Malcolm Brown getting carries. The Panthers would be playing close games with a new kicker. Graham Gano was placed on injured reserve August 30th and is out for the season. The Panthers fumbled the ball away on their first drive. Late in the second quarter, the Panthers new kicker Joey Slye missed a 53 yard field goal. The good field position allowed Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein to drill a 49 yard field goal early in the second quarter to make it 3-0 Rams. Things got worse for the Panthers on their next drive. After a holding penalty set them up with 1st and 20 at their own 15, Cam Newton was sacked and fumbled. The Rams recovered at the Carolina 10. Malcolm Brown ran for 5 yards and then for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Rams. With one minute left in the half Zuerlein leveled a 56 yard field goal to make it 13-0 Rams. Michelin Man Wade Phillips saw his defense let up in the final minute as Slye hit a 46 yard field goal to end the half with the Panthers down 13-3. 

The second half saw both offenses move more often. Zuerlein hit a 27 yard field goal to make it 16-3 Rams. Every time the Panthers tried to close the gap, the Rams answered. Zuerlein kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds to set up the Rams at their own 40. On 3rd and 7, Newton hit Samuel, Wright and Moore for a trifecta of 14 yard gains. Christian McCaffrey ran for an 8 yard touchdown to get the Panthers within 16-10. The Rams countered with a 13 play, 75 yard drive that ate up 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 7 from the Carolina 44, Jared Goff threw incomplete but the defense jumped offsides. On 3rd and 2 Goff found Cooper Kupp for 10 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Carolina 25, Goff went back to Kupp for 8 yards. On 3rd and goal from the one, Brown got in to make it 23-10 Rams.

The Panthers moved from their 30 to a 2nd and 8 at the Rams 34. Newton then threw incomplete twice. Slye nailed the 52 yard field goal to get the Rams within 23-13. The Rams would have to punt on 4th and 12 from their own 23. Rams punter Johnny Hekker is a former quarterback who makes every punt attempt a potential fake. This time he tried to punt and for only the second time in his career, had it blocked. The Panthers took over at the Rams 5 yard line. McCaffrey ran for 3 yards and bulldozed forward for the final two yard touchdown as the Panthers got within 23-20 with 13 minutes left in regulation. Things got worse for the Rams when Jared Goff was intercepted at the Carolina 29. However, the Panthers went 3 and out and punted the ball back.

The Rams took over at their own 43 and Gurley ripped off gains of 17, 7, 2, and on 3rd and 1 from the Carolina 31, 15 more. Goff threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Higbee to make it 30-20 Rams with 6 1/2 minutes left. Newton was quickly intercepted, but the Rams could not put the game away when Zuerlein missed a 41 yard field goal try. Newton led a furious rally, and Alex Armah ran it in from now yards out with 1:58 to play. The Panthers were within a field goal, but the onside kick try failed. The Rams took over at midfield. Gurley gained 8 yards and Ron Rivera took his final timeout. Gurley gained 4 more yards and the Panthers were done. Sean McVay avoided the start to a Super Bowl hangover with a tough road win. 30-27 Rams

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns — The Hue Jackson reign of error that saw the Browns go 3–36-1 including 1-15 in 2016 and 0-16 in 2017 seemed forgotten. After Jackson was fired last year, interim coach Gregg Williams took over and had the Browns go 5-2 down the stretch. The defense was for real. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was for real. We all know O’Dell Beckham is for real. For some reason, Gregg Williams was not given the head coaching job this year as Freddie Kitchens got the nod. He had never been m NFL head coach before. Williams left to be the defensive coordinator of the Jets. Yet the Browns were being talked about as a playoff team despite not making the postseason since 2002. Some analysts even declared them a potential Super Bowl team. All the Browns had to do was beat a weak Titans team. Then the game began. From their own 27, the Browns made it look easy. Mayfield hit Higgins for 11 yards. Nick Chubb ran for 10 more. Mayfield hit Beckham for 16 more. On 2nd and 23, Mayfield went deep to Higgins for a 35 yard gain down to the Titans 4 yard line. Dontrell Hilliard ran it in on the next play for the score. The extra point was no good, but the Browns led 6-0. 

Then reality set in. The Titans took over at their own 8 yard line. A short completion saw a roughing the passer penalty give the Titans 15 more yards. Marcus Mariota then went deep to Brown for a 47 yard gain. The Titans settled for a 37 yard Cairo Santos field goal to trail 6-3, but they were just getting warmed up. The second quarter began with the Titans backed up to their own 13 yard line. Another unnecessary roughness penalty gave 15 more free yards to Tennessee. The Titans faced 3rd and 10 at their own 44 and Mariota threw his third straight incompletion. Yet defensive holding meant an automatic first down. On 2nd and 8 from the Cleveland 32, Mariota threw incomplete but yet another roughing the passer penalty kept the drive going. On 3rd and 4 from Cleveland 11, the defense jumped into the neutral zone. Derrick Henry ran for a one yard touchdown to make it 10-6 Titans, as the inept Browns defense lacked the discipline that Gregg Williams brought to it. With less than 2 minutes left in the half, the Browns took over at their own 3 yard line. A false start pushed them back to the 2. Then Mayfield was sacked for a safety as the Titans took a 12-6 lead to the locker rooms. Early in the third quarter Santos tacked on a 53 yard field goal to make it 15-6 Titans.

With 6 minutes left in the third quarter, the Browns finally mounted another offensive drive. They started with a pair of offensive penalties that meant 1st and 25. On 2nd and 23, Mayfield hit Njoku for 7 yards. On 3rd and 16 Mayfield went deep to Jarvis Landry for 23 yards. Mayfield hit Chubb for 7 yards and then went deep again to Landry for a 34 yard gain down to the Tennessee 3 yard line. Mayfield then went to Njoku for the touchdown. With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Browns were only down 15-13. With a couple of breaks, they could win.

There would be no breaks. After a touchback, one play and 13 seconds were all that Mariota needed to connect with Henry on a 75 yard touchdown. The Titans led 22-13 after three quarters, but the fourth quarter brought the pain. 40 seconds in the fourth quarter, the Browns faced 2nd and 14 at their own 45. Mayfield was intercepted by Byard, who returned it 28 yards to the Cleveland 35. Mariota hit Delanie Walker for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 29-13 Titans. The Browns then faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Mayfield was intercepted by Ryan at the Cleveland 34. Mariota went to Walker again for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 36-13 Titans. With 3 minutes left from their own 30, Mayfield was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, who returned it 38 yards for the touchdown. A close game was now a blowout in front of the Dawg Pound. Delanie Walker channeled the late Dennis Green in a hilarious postgame press conference by saying that the Browns are exactly “who we thought they were.” Nobody was going to “crown their @ss.” Mayfield insisted that the media should not treat the Browns like garbage, but that is how they played. Cleveland’s 18 penalties were the most since 1951. New year, same Browns. 43-13 Titans

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars — The Chiefs were an overtime coin toss away from going to the Super Bowl last year. The Jaguars convinced themselves that they were a quarterback away from being elite. Blake Bortles was sent packing and Nick Foles came in. The Chiefs had the reigning NFL MVP in Patrick Mahomes. Those wondering if Mahomes would slow down did not need to wait long for an answer. On the third play from scrimmage, with the Chiefs facing 3rd and 3 at their own 32, Mahomes went bombs away to Sammy Watkins for a 68 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chiefs. The Chiefs got it back and moved from their own 21 to a 3rd and 3 at the Jacksonville 9. Mahomes threw incomplete, but Harrison Butker hit the 28 yard field goal make it 10-0 Chiefs. 

The Jaguars soon faced 3rd and 18 from their own 17. Foles went deep to Conley for a 21 yard gain, with 15 more added on for the defense lowering the head to initiate contact. The key play of the game and perhaps the season for Jacksonville came with the Jaguars facing 3rd and 8 at the Chiefs 35. Foles went deep to DJ Chark and got nailed as soon as the ball left his hand. Chark caught it for a touchdown to get the Jaguars within 10-7, but it was the last pass Foles would throw for awhile. The pass rusher landed on Foles with his full body weight, which should have been a defensive penalty. Either way, Foles suffered a broken collarbone and will be out indefinitely. 

Foles’s career has been one of enormous ups and downs. In 2013 he exploded onto the scene with 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, including one game where he threw 7 touchdown passes to tie an NFL record. In 2014 he suffered a broken collarbone and missed 8 weeks. The Eagles drafted Carson Wentz and Foles was out of football by 2016. Foles returned in 2017 as a backup to Wentz, and when Wentz went down, Foles led the eagles to their first Super Bowl title. Foles filled in very ably in 2018 when another injury took Wentz down. Yet the Eagles stuck with Wentz, Foles went to Jacksonville, and lasted less than one quarter of one game. 

Football is a brutal game, and there is little time to mourn the fallen. Especially when it’s the other team hurting. Walrus Lite Andy Reid kept his foot on the gas. The Chiefs took over at their own 20. Mahomes went bombs away again to Watkins for a 49 yard touchdown to make it 17-7 Chiefs after the first quarter. The second quarter saw the teams trade field goals twice. Josh Lambo hit from 37 for the Jaguars and Butker answered from 25. Lambo connected again from 23 and Butker answered again from 46 as the Chiefs led 23-13 at the break. 

In the third quarter the Jaguars moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 2 at the Chiefs 26. Backup quarterback Minshew completed a pass to Leonard Fournette for no gain, and Fournette fumbled the ball away. Breeland returned the fumble 14 yards to the Chiefs 40. Mahomes led a 12 play, 60 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. On 2nd and goal at the 2, Mahomes threw incomplete. Yet a mind-numbing defensive penalty for taunting made it 1st and goal at the one again. Damien Williams ran it in as the Chiefs led 30-13 after three quarters. in the fourth quarter Mahomes hooked up with Watkins for the third time on the day as the 3 yard touchdown capped a 67 yard drive. The Chiefs led 37-13 with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Jacksonville would score a couple of garbage time touchdowns sandwiched around one more field goal for Butker. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin has plenty of concerns, which means nobody in Jacksonville will be happy any time soon. Andy Reid is not going to be upgraded to full walrus status alongside Mike Holmgren and others until he wins a Super Bowl. However, this team could be the one that gets him that upgrade. For now, he is a most happy Walrus Lite indeed. 40-26 Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins — The Miami Dolphins were talked about as perhaps the worst team in football. With a rookie head coach and a fire sale of their players, they were expected to be bad. Even they could not have imagined how bad they were. Unless the Ravens are a serious Super Bowl contender, Dolphins fan may demand that owner Stephen Ross convince his friend President Donald Trump to build the border wall with the Dolphins stadium on the Mexico side. 

The Ravens began at their own 11. On the first play from scrimmage, Mark Ingram ran for a 49 yard gain. Ingram finished the 89 yard drive on 3rd and goal with a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Ravens. Ryan Fitzpatrick set an NFL record by starting for his 8th NFL franchise. While he was starting his first game with Miami, former Seattle Legion of Boom safety Earl Thomas was making his first game with Baltimore. Thomas intercepted Fitzpatrick, and returned the pick 14 yards to the Miami 47. Lamar Jackson needed one play and 9 seconds to go bombs away to Marquise Brown for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Ravens. Baltimore got it back at their own 10. On 3rd and 3 from their own 17, Jackson went to Brown for an 83 yard touchdown as the Ravens led 21-0 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Ravens kept rolling in an 80 yard drive. Jackson went to willie Snead for a 33 yard touchdown to make it 28-0 Ravens. The biggest blowout in NFL history came in the 1940 NFL Championship game when Chicago beat Washington 73-0. This game missed that mark, but not by much. After Miami kicked a field goal to avoid the shutout, the Dolphins defense actually got a stop. Sadly for the Fin faithful, the Dolphins fumbled the punt and the Ravens recovered at the Miami 10. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Jackson hit Miles Boykin for the touchdown to make it 35-3 Ravens. The Dolphins defense even got another stop, as the Ravens had to punt on 4th and 1 from their own 30. Rookie head coach Brian Flores watched helplessly as John Harbaugh called a fake punt. Levine took the direct snap up the middle 60 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Jackson threw incomplete. However, defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 2. Ingram ran it in to make it 42-3 Ravens with less than 2 minutes in the half.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could not stop the slaughter, since NFL rules require that an entire game be played. Miami would get a touchdown before the half, but the second half brought the Dolphins more misery. In the third quarter Jackson threw his 5th touchdown pass. Justin Tucker added a field goal to go along with his 8 extra points. The 8th one came in the fourth quarter when Jackson was on the bench. Robert Griffin III even led a touchdown drive. On 4th and goal at the 3, Harbaugh went for it not to run up the score, but to test RGIII. Griffin threw the touchdown pass. Next week the Dolphins play the Patriots, and forfeiting a game is not allowed. The Dolphins have beaten the Patriots 5 of the last 6 times in Miami, including last season’s 34-33 Miami Miracle of laterals. In 2004, The 12-1 Patriots lost to the 2-11 Dolphins in Miami 29-28. Evil Hoodie bill Belichick will pretend that his team is not expected to win 100-0. He will talk up how the Dolphins keep beating his team. Nobody will believe him. Even his former defensive coordinator Brian Flores will roll his eyes. Welcome to the NFL head coaching ranks, Mr. Flores. The only Fin expecting any success in 2019 is ICE-T’s Fin Tutuola. By the time this season is over, the Dolphins will need the Special Victims Unit to comfort them. 59-10 Ravens

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings — The Falcons made Julio Jones the highest paid receiver in NFL history. They are trying to revive their offense. Meanwhile, Mike Zimmer wanted to get back to basics and bring back Minnesota to hard nosed running and hard nosed defense. The game was a blowout from the start. The Falcons punted on 4th and 2 from their own 33. Wilson blocked the punt and recovered it to set up the Vikings at the Atlanta 21. Kirk Cousins threw a 23 yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen to make it 7-0 Vikings. Matt Ryan was intercepted 4 plays later by Harris and the Vikings took over with another short field at the Atlanta 41. Dalvin Cook ran for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Vikings 

In the second quarter the Falcons moved from their 28 to a 1st and 5 at the Atlanta 21. Devonta Freeman fumbled and the Vikings recovered. Minnesota moved 79 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Cousins snuck for the last yard for a 21-0 Vikings lead at the half. In the third quarter the Falcons moved 82 yards in 13 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. From their 15, they moved to a 1st and goal at the 2. A run lost a yard. Then Ryan was intercepted in the back of the end zone for a touchback. Minnesota quickly moved 80 yards as the 84 million dollar guaranteed man Cousins went to Diggs for 31 yards. Cook ran for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 28-0 Vikings after three quarters. Matty Ice was ice cold all game but padded his stats with a pair of garbage touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Even extra points were not happening. Zimmer said he wanted smash mouth, and he meant it. Minnesota threw only 10 passes all game. 28-12 Vikings

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets — Every year these teams are supposed to finally challenge New England for the AFC East crown only to wilt by October. Gregg Williams is the Jets defensive coordinator, and this game was a brutal defensive struggle. Home field never matters in this series. In the first quarter CJ Mosley intercepted Josh Allen and returned the pick 17 yards for a defensive touchdown. The extra point failed, and the interception would be the only score of the first half as the Jets led 6-0. In the second quarter the Bills fumbled but the Jets failed to capitalize. Then Allen was intercepted again, but the Jets missed a field goal. In the third quarter the Bills were at their own 2 yard line. Then came William’s Gang Green defense and a safety as the Jets led 8-0. The Jets took the free kick at their own 40. On 3rd and goal at the 9, Sam Darnold hit Leveon Bell for the touchdown and again for the 2 point conversion. The defense and the offense each put 8 points on the board as the Jets led 16-0.

Yet these are the Jets. Steve Hauschka hit a 43 yard field goal with 4 minutes left in the third quarter to get the Bills on the board. The Bills got it back at their own 15 for the second straight drive. Frank Gore ran for 7 yards and Singletary added 23 more. Allen hit Brown for 14 yards and Sweeney for 6 more. Singletary ran for 12, caught a pass for 5, and ran for 15 more. Allen ran for the 3 yard touchdown as the Bills got within 16-10 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Bill got it back with 6 minutes left at their own 20. On 3rd and 2 from their 28, Allen ran for 8 yards and hit Jones for 20 more. With 3 minutes left, on 3rd and 4 from the Jets 38, Allen went to John Brown for the touchdown to put the Bills up by a point. At the 2 minute warning the Jets had to go for it on 4th and 1 from their own 34. Bell got stopped cold. For those wondering who or what a Kaare Vedvik is, he is the Jets kicker who missed the extra point and a 41 yard field goal. These are the Jets, and why J-E-T-S stands for Just End The Season. 17-16 Bills

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles — The Eagles were expected to easily dispatch the Redskins. Then the game started. Case Keenum completed 8 yard passes to Sprinkle and Guice and a 7 yarder to Richardson. On 3rd and 2 from the Philly 48, Keenum connected with Vernon Davis for the touchdown and the 7-0 Redskins lead. Davis leapt over 3 players and cried when he got to the end zone, in memory of his beloved grandfather he lost one day earlier. His teammates offered him more comfort than congratulations. The Eagles went nowhere, and the Redskins got it back at their own 20. They moved 57 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Dustin Hopkins hit a 41 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Redskins. The Eagles moved on a 7 minute drive after a touchback to a 4th and 2 at the Washington 29. Doug Pederson decided to go for it and Wentz through incomplete. 2 plays later, Keenum went to Terry McLaurin for a 69 yard touchdown as the Redskins led 17-0 in front of a stunned Philly home crowd. The Eagles finally scored. when Wentz went deep to DeSean Jackson for a 51 yard touchdown. Yet Washington tacked on another field goal to end the half as the Redskins had a 20-7 lead. The second half was a completely different game.

The Eagles began the third quarter with a 12 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive. On 4th and 1 from their own 34, Doug Pederson gambled big and decided to go for it. Wentz got 2 yards. From the Washington 39, Darren Sproles gained 17 yards and Sanders gained 19 more. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for the touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, the Eagles were within 20-14. The Eagles got it back at their own 47 and needed only 3 plays. On 3rd and 10, Wentz went bombs away again to Jackson for a 53 yard touchdown. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the Eagles had their first lead 21-20. only 30 seconds later, the Eagles got it back. On 3rd and 9 from their own 30, Wentz hit Jackson for 19 yards. A 26 yard completion to Zac Ertz had the Eagles starting the fourth quarter with 1st and goal at the 2. Jeffery ran it in. Pederson took another gamble by going for a 2 point conversion to make it a 2 score game. Sproles ran it in and the Eagles led 29-20. Philly got it back and had what may be the drive of the year even after the season is over. A staggering 19 plays took 74 yards and 9 minutes off the clock. A field goal had the Eagles up 32-20. The Redskins did get a garbage touchdown with 6 seconds left, but needed 16 plays of their own to do it. The onside kick failed. 25 straight points showed how a good team can overcome a bad start. 32-27 Eagles

Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers — Both of these teams could be good or could be a mess for different reasons. The Chargers were without Melvin Gordon, who announced he would hold out the first 8 weeks in a contract dispute. Rather than sit out the entire season like Leveon Bell did in Pittsburgh, Gordon by playing half a season will become an unrestricted free agent. The Colts are now most likely forever without Andrew Luck. His shocking retirement at the end of the preseason at age 29 stunned the football world. This is now Jacoby Brissett’s team. Now we will see how good a coach Frank Reich really is. In the first quarter the Chargers moved 68 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. Gordon was not needed as Jackson ran for a 23 yard gain and Austin Ekeler had gains of 2, 3 and 13 in addition to a 9 yard reception. On 4th and goal from the 4, kicker long hit a 22 yard field goal. However, an unnecessary roughness penalty on the defense caused Anthony Lynn to take the points off the board. Philip Rivers hit Ekeler for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chargers.

In the second quarter, the Colts moved 75 yards in 14 plays and 8 minutes. On 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Brissett hit Doyle for 20 yards. Several 3rd down conversions later, on 3rd and 3 from the Chargers 4, Brissett hit TY Hilton for the score. Adam Vinatieri may be the most clutch kicker in NFL history, but he for some reasons has had some of his worst games against the Chargers. In a game where Peyton Manning once threw 6 interceptions, a 23-0 deficit became 23-21. Then Vinatieri missed a 29 yard field goal on the final play. In this game, Vinatieri began by missing an extra point as the Colts trailed 7-6.

The Chargers came back 75 yards with big plays. After a touchback, Rivers went to Keenan Allen for a 27 yard gain, to Bennjamin for 10 more, and to Ekeler for another 13. On 3rd and 13 from the Indy 28, Rivers went deep to Allen for the touchdown to make it 14-6 Chargers. A shanked 20 yard punt by the Colts had the Chargers taking over at the Indy 46. Despite 1st and 10 at the Indy 22, Rivers threw 3 straight incompletions. Long hit the 40 yard field goal to make it 17-6 Chargers with one minute left in the half. Brissett quickly moved the Colts in position for a 46 yard field goal try, but Vinatieri missed it to end the half. In the third quarter Vinatieri would hit a 44 yard field goal, but then the Chargers needed only 4 plays after a touchback to score again. On 3rd and 8 from their own 27, Rivers was sacked and fumbled. However, the defense jumped offside. On 3rd and 3, Rivers hit Henry for 13 yards. On the next play a short pass from Rivers to Ekeler went for a 55 yard touchdown as the Chargers led 24-9 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Colts needed only 2 plays to strike back after a touchback. Brissett hit Hilton for 12 yards. On the next play Marlin Mack became a monster mack, breaking free for a 63 yard touchdown. Vinatieri made the extra point as the Colts were within 24-16. When the Chargers fumbled a punt, the Colts took over at the Chargers 27. Yet the fourth quarter began with Vinatieri again missing a 29 yard field goal against the Chargers. The Chargers then moved 73 yards in 5 minutes and sought to ice the game. Needing only a field goal to lock up the win, on 2nd and goal at the 7, Rivers went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. Brissett continued to earn his wings with a staggering 16 play, 80 yard drive that consumed 8 minutes. With 3 1/2 minutes left, on 4th and 3 just past midfield, Brissett hit Devon Funchess for an 8 yard gain. From the Chargers 19 with only 38 seconds remaining, a short pass to Hilton was followed by terrible attempts at tackling. Hilton dove for the pylon and made it. Mack ran the 2 point conversion and gutted his way in the end zone to tie the game 24-24. 

The Chargers won the coin toss. After a touchback, Rivers hit Allen for 18 yards and Henry for 17 more. Ekeler had gains of 3 and 19. On 3rd and 1 from the Indy 9, Watt gained 2 yards. On the next play, with 5 minutes left in overtime, Ekeler ran for the 7 yard touchdown. The valiant comeback by the Colts fell short. It was a bitter defeat for Vinatieri, who missed two field goals and an extra point that were the difference in the game. 30-24 Chargers, OT

Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks — Seattle was supposed to roll over Cincinnati and their rookie head coach, with Marvin Lewis not on the Bengals sideline for the first time in 17 years. Yet a 13 play, 51 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive led to a 39 yard Randy Bullock field goal and a 3-0 Bengals lead. In the second quarter, the offenses heated up. A field position game had the Seahawks taking over at the Cincy 48. On 3rd and 7 from the Cincy 45, Russell Wilson hit Dissly for 12 yards and DK Metcalf for 16 more. Chris Carson ran for the one yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Seahawks. 3 plays later after a touchback the Bengals were back in front. Red Rifle Andy Dalton went to Boyd for 6 yards, deep to Ozumah for 36 more, and to John Ross for a 33 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Bengals. With 1:53 left in the half, the Seahawks took over at their own 23. A defensive unnecessary roughness penalty had Seattle at their own 45. Wilson went deep to Metcalf for a 42 yard gain and to Carson for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Seahawks. After a touchback, the Bengals only had 52 seconds. With 7 seconds left from their own 45, there was only time for a Hail Mary. Dalton threw the prayer, and Ross answered it for the 55 yard touchdown. The 12th man was shocked as the Bengals led 17-14 at the intermission.

The second half was a slog as the third quarter was scoreless. The Seahawks fumbled on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter. The Bengals took over at the Seattle 28 but fumbled the ball back. On the next Cincinnati series, Bullock missed a 45 yard field goal. On the next Cincinnati series, the Bengals moved from their own 8 to a 4th and 1 at the Chargers 36. The decision was to go for it. Giovanni Bernard got the carry and got stopped. The Bengals had every chance to win and could not capitalize on opportunities. Seattle soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 41. Wilson went to Metcalf for 25 yards and to Tyler Lockett for a 44 yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 21-17 Seahawks lead. After a touchback, the Bengals moved 67 yards in 13 plays and 8 minutes. Bullock hit a 27 yard field goal to get the Bengals within one point midway through the fourth quarter. Cincinnati got it back and with 3 1/2 minutes left faced 4th and 7 at their own 44. The rookie coach Zac Taylor opted to punt. By the time the Bengals got the ball back at their 25, only 21 seconds remained. Dalton was sacked and fumbled, although it looked like his arm was going forward. Andy Dalton is not Tom Brady, so there would be no fumble reversal. The call stood and the Bengals lost. Pete Carroll hugged everyone because he does that. 21-20 Seahawks

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals — The Lions have an experienced quarterback in Matthew Stafford and a second year coach in Matt Patricia who inherited a 9-7 team from Jim Caldwell and regressed. The Cardinals jettisoned coach rookie head coach Steve Wilks and rookie quarterback Josh Rosen after only one year. Now they have rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. For three quarters, the Cardinals offense looked awful. The first quarter was scoreless. One minute into the second quarter, Matt Prater, who holds the NFL record long 64 yard field goal, nailed a 55 yard field goal. to start the scoring. A short 33 yard Cardinals punt set up the Lions just shy of midfield. Two plays later Stafford went deep to Danny Amendola for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Lions. Detroit got it back at their own 5 yard line. On 3rd and 1 from their own 14, Stafford went to TJ Hockensen for 10 yards, Jones for 7 more, back to Hockensen for a 39 yard gain, and then ran for 12 more. On 4th and 1 from the Arizona 19 after getting stopped on 3rd and 1, Matt Patricia decided to g for it. The Cardinals jumped in the neutral zone. Stafford threw a 9 yard touchdown to Kenny Golladay to make it 17-0 Lions.

The Lions were totally in control with less than 2 minutes left in the half when they fumbled a punt and the Cardinals recovered at the Detroit 8 yard line. On 2nd and goal at the one, Murray lost a yard and then threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the 2, the decision was to kick the field goal. Zane Gonzalez hit the 20 yard chip shot to get the Cardinals on the board. Gonzalez hit again from 42 in the third quarter to get the Cardinals within 17-6. The Lions came back with a 10 play, 82 yard, 5 minute drive. Starting at their own 18, Stafford hit Amendola for 15 yards and Hockensen for 24 more. On 3rd and 7 from the Arizona 34, Stafford hit James for 15. The fourth quarter began with the Lions facing 3rd and 14 at the Arizona 23. Stafford went to Hockensen for the touchdown. The Lions had a 24-6 lead. Murray’s first game was a nightmare, as he had only 70 yards passing after three quarters. The Cardinals only had one ray of hope. They were playing the Lions.

A 10 play, 58 yard drive quickly saw the Cardinals with 1st and 10 at the Detroit 17. Yet a run gained only one yard and Murray threw incomplete twice. With 11 minutes left, Kliff Kingsbury opted for the field goal. Gonzalez hit from 34 to get the Cardinals within 24-9. The Lions got it back at their own 30 with 9 minutes left. A flurry of short passes culminated with a 27 yard touchdown pass to Johnson. With 6 minutes left, the Cardinals were within 24-16. From their own 17, Stafford wound the clock down. With 2:47 to play, the Lions faced 3rd and 5 just shy of midfield. A first down would all but put the game away. Stafford fired a completion for the first down, but it was all for naught. Remember the name Darrell Bevell.

For those who have never watched football (God help you), Bevell made the decision in the Super Bowl not to hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the one yard line (God help him). The Seahawks were one yard from 2 straight Super Bowl wins. Instead they lost, an Bevell as the Seahawks offensive coordinator was blamed for the worst coaching decision in Super Bowl history. Now the Lions offensive coordinator, Bevell nullified the first down by calling a timeout just before the snap. Officials should not have allowed the timeout since only the head coach can call timeout. Nevertheless, the Cardinals defense was granted a do over. This time Stafford threw incomplete. He yelled on the sideline “Trust me!” Had Bevell done so, the Lions would have kept the ball. Things got worse for the Lions when the punt was partially blocked. The punter was enraged on the sideline as the Cardinals took over at their own 40 with 2 1/2 minutes left. On 3rd and 7 from their own 43, Murray went to Byrd for 19 yards. From the Detroit 38, Murray ran for 9 yards and on 3rd and 10 scrambled for 10 more. From the 9, Murray threw incomplete but a defensive facemask penalty meant 1st and goal at the 4. Murray found the ageless one Larry Fitzgerald for the touchdown with 38 seconds left. Murray then found Kirk for the 2 point conversion. Murray had 154 yards passing in the fourth quarter, as the game was tied 24-24 and headed for overtime. 

The Cardinals got the ball first in overtime and struck quickly. On 2nd and 3 from the Arizona 32, Murray went deep to Fitzgerald for a 45 yard gain. Murray then went to Williams for 15 more to set up 1st and goal at the 8. A touchdown would end the game but a field goal would not. Murray threw incomplete, then lost 2 yards, then threw incomplete again. Gonzalez hit the 28 yard field goal to give the Cardinals the 27-24 lead, but nearly 7 1/2 minutes still remained in overtime. After a touchback, Stafford hit Jones for 21 and again for 23 while Johnson had gains of 9 and 4. Despite 1st and 10 at the Arizona 18, Stafford threw a pair of incompletions sandwiched around a run that gained only 3 yards. Prater hit the 33 yard field goal to tie the game. After a touchback, the Cardinals had 3:48 to work with. With 1:17 left the Cardinals faced 3rd and 7 at the Detroit 46. One first down would mean very long field goal range. Murray threw incomplete and a 64 yard field goal try was not in the cards. A great punt pinned the Lions at their own 5 yard line. Stafford nearly threw an interception that would have meant a short field goal try for Arizona. The defender dropped the ball. Despite 21 straight points, the new Arizona regime had to settle for a tie in their first game. It was the first time in decades that a quarterback taken first overall played his first game without losing. After a few years without a single tie game anywhere in the NFL, the league had an opening week tie game for the second straight year. 27-27 Tie, OT

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys — Sometimes a really bad team can go on the road and shock a really good team in an upset for the ages. This was not that game. Eli Manning is nearing the end, while Ezekiel Elliott just got paid monster money. Jerry Jones shells out the big bucks, and believes he has a team that can win it all. The Giants actually scored first on a 91 yard drive. Saquon Barkley caught a pass for 8 yards and on the next play ran for a 59 yard gain. Manning hit Evan Engram for 11 yards and again for a one yard touchdown. The Giants led 7-0, but reality then set in before Jerrah could blow up his Jerrahworld Metropolis stadium for the insurance money. 

After a touchback, the Cowboys moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Dan Prescott hit Randall Cobb for 12 yards. On 3rd and 4 just shy of midfield, Prescott hit Gallup for 12 yards. Prescott threw a 28 yard touchdown pass to Barwin to tie the game 7-7. In the second quarter the Cowboys moved 93 yards. Prescott hit Amari Cooper for 12 yards and Gallup for monster gains of 36 and 23. On 33rd and 10 from the Giants 18, Prescott hit Cobb for 14 yards. Jason Witten took last year off but then unretired. He caught a 4 yard touchdown to put the Cowboys up 14-7. The Cowboys got it back and moved 83 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. Prescott hit Gallup for a pair of 6 yard gains sandwiched around an 18 yard completion to Cobb. On 3rd and 9 from the Giants 38, Prescott threw incomplete. However, defensive offsides gave Dallas another chance. On 3rd and 4, Prescott ran for 8 at the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 6 from the Giants 21, Prescott went to Cooper for the touchdown as the Cowboys led 21-7 at the half. 

The Giants best chance to make a game of it saw them go all the way to a 1st and 10 at the Dallas 11. A run gained one yard and Manning threw incomplete twice. Alex Rosas hit the 28 yard field goal to get the Giants within 21-10, but that was it. After a touchback, Dallas needed only 3 plays. Prescott went deep to Cooper for 45 yards. Elliott gained 5 yards, and Prescott went to Cobb for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 28-10 Cowboys. After a touchback, the Giants moved all the way to a 4th and 1 at the Dallas 7. Rather than play smash mouth, Manning went back to pass and was sacked. On 3rd and 8 from the Dallas 13, a short pass from Prescott to Gallup went for 62 yards. Elliott ran for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 35-10 Cowboys after three quarters. Prescott finished with 25 of 32 with 405 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, Jerrah is now eager to throw money at Prescott. Manning did lead the Giants to a garbage touchdown with less than 3 minutes remaining. With the game out of reach, with 1:46 left, Manning sat out the last drive. This was not a benching. Daniel Jones will be the starting quarterback at some point, and Pat Shurmur wanted to give him a chance to run some offensive plays. Jones completed 3 straight short passes, threw an incompletion, and then fumbled the ball away. 35-17 Cowboys

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Bruce Arians returned to coaching after retiring a couple years ago. If he cannot fix Jameis Winston, nobody can. Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo both have a lot to prove. A partially blocked punt had the 49ers taking over at the Tampa Bay 33. Robbie Gould hit a 29 yard field goal to make it 3-0 49ers. The Buccaneers took over at their own 17 and moved 74 yards in 16 plays, taking over 8 minutes off the clock. With 12 minutes left in the half, on 3rd and goal at the 9, Winston hit Brate for the touchdown. Yet offensive holding nullified the call. On 3rd and goal from the 19, Winston hit Howard for a 10 yard gain. Yet Howard fumbled the ball away. The 49ers soon faced 2nd and 18 at their own 12. Garoppolo was intercepted by Vernon Hargreaves, who returned it for a 25 yard touchdown. Despite doing nothing on offense, the Buccaneers led 7-3. However, this was not Pewter Power or Buc Ball since the Buccaneers ended up failing in every phase. This was orange creamsicle Buccaneers ball. 

Robbie Gould hit a 36 yard field goal as the 49ers trailed 7-6. Before the half ended, Winston was intercepted and the 49ers fumbled the ball back. In the third quarter, the 49ers moved 75 yards. On 3rd and 8 from their own 27, Garoppolo hit greg Kittle for 10 yards. On 3rd and 10 from their own 37, Garoppollo threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meat a 23 yard gain. Garoppolo then went deep to James for a 39 yard touchdown to make it 13-7 49ers. After a touchback, Winston fumbled but recovered for a 3 yard loss. On the next play he was not so lucky. He was intercepted by Richard Sherman, who returned it 31 yards for a touchdown and a 20-7 49ers lead. 

The Buccaneers tried to get back in it. After a touchback, an 11 play 75 yard, 6 minute drive helped matters. On 3rd and 12 from their own 46, Winston hit Godwin for 28 yards and found him again for a 10 yard touchdown to get the Buccaneers within 20-14. Late in the third quarter, Kyle Shanahan gambled on Robbie Gould trying a 57 yard field goal. It was no good. The Buccaneers moved to a 4th and goal at the 4 only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. The 49ers jumped into the neutral zone to make it 4th and goal at the 2. Bruce Arians pulled his field goal team and decided to go for the lead. Winston threw incomplete. The Buccaneers got it back at the Frisco 41 and moved to a 3rd and 7 at the Frisco 8, again looking for the lead. Winston was sacked for a 5 yard loss. Gay hit the 31 yard field goal to get the Buccaneers within 20-17 with 5 minutes left.

Needing a defensive stop, the Buccaneers could not deliver. Mostert ran for 18 yards, with 15 more tacked on for the defender lowering the head to initiate contact. On 3rd and 8 from the Tampa Bay 29, Garoppolo threw incomplete. Gould hit the 47 yard field goal to make it 23-17 49ers with 2:01 to play. The Buccaneers again were one score away from winning. One play was all Winston needed for that touchdown. Unfortunately for him and the entire organization, it was an interception returned 21 yards for a defensive touchdown. Garoppolo hit Samuel for the 2 point conversion. After a touchback and needing 2 scores, the Bucs moved to a 4th and 6 at the Frisco 37 with one minute left. Winston went deep rather than move the chains and the incompletion ended things. 31-17 49ers

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots is the Sunday night game. The Steelers are a good team who always lose to the Patriots, especially in New England. Mike Tomlin is a good coach who always loses to Bill Belichick, especially in New England. The prima donna wide receiver who played for Pittsburgh last year, joined and was cut from the Raiders without playing a single game, and joined the Patriots the day before this game, will not be mentioned. He did not play and is not officially a member of the Patriots until Week 2. Even without him, this game was never in doubt. Even with Rob Gronkowski still retired for now, this game was a mismatch from the start. From their own 18, Tom Brady hit Ronnie Burkhead for 17 yards to start things. Bill Belichick went to his bag of tricks. Brady threw across the field backward to Julian Edelman, who threw it back across the field to James White, who raced 32 yards. On the next play Brady went to Josh Gordon for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots. 

In the second quarter the Patriots went 55 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. From their own 38, Brady went to Meyers for 22 yards. Despite 2nd and goal at the 7, Brady threw incomplete twice. Stephen Gostkowski hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Patriots. Midway through the second quarter, the Patriots faced 3rd and 3 at their own 27. Brady found White for 8 and Edelman for gains fo 16 and 24. Brady then went to Dorsett for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 17-0 Patriots. The Steelers after a touchback moved to a 4th and 1 at the Patriots 47 with 1:57 in the half. Mike Tomlin went for it and Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete. The short field led to a 41 yard field goal by Gostkowski to make it 20-0 Patriots at halftime.

The second half brought no surprises but one very demoralizing decision for the proud Steelers. A 74 yard drive led to 3rd and goal at the one. Again, Tomlin decided to pass rather than play smash mouth. Big Ben threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the one, Tomlin opted for the field goal. It was a concession. Chris Boswell hit the 19 yarder, but it was an obvious white flag to avoid a shutout. After a touchback, the Patriots needed only 4 plays to go for the throat. On 3rd and 10 from their own 42, Brady went deep to Dorsett for a 58 yard touchdown to make it 27-3 Patriots. Gostkowski tacked on field goals of 35 in the third quarter and 39 in the fourth quarter to complete the blowout. Players and coaches on both teams had zero patience for imbecilic reporters asking about someone who did not play in the game. Meanwhile, the Patriots sure looked like a 16-0 team on this night. They have a chance for to break the record for biggest blowout win or suffer the most shocking loss since Super Bowl III when they take on Miami next week. The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs, and they sure looked like it. 33-3 Patriots

Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints was the early Monday night game. This game was why we watch football. A field position game had the Saints taking over just past midfield midway through the first quarter. On 2nd and 5 from the Houston 11, Drew Brees was intercepted. The Texans took over at their own 6 yard line. Deshaun Watson immediately went bombs away to will Fuller for a 54 yard gain. Early in the second quarter, On 4th and 1 from the Saints 21, Bill O’Brien decided to go for it. Watson faked the handoff, kept it himself, and sprinted down the sideline. He dove for the pylon and made it for the touchdown and the 7-0 Texans lead. The Saints soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 27. Brees went deep to Jared Cook for 31 yards. On 1st and 10 from the Houston 15, the drive died. A run gained one yard and Brees threw incomplete twice. Wil Lutz hit the 32 yard field goal to get the Saints on the board. 

The Texans came back with a 16 play, 75 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive. On 3rd and 6 from their own 29, Watson hit Deandre Hopkins for 10 yards. On 3rd and 1 from their own 48, Watson hit the newly added Kenny Stills for 4 yards. Stills was lucky enough to be traded away from Miami just before the season started. On 3rd and 8 from the Saints 24, Watson threw incomplete but defensive holding meant an automatic first down. On 3rd and 16 from the Saints 25, a completion only gained 12 yards, but the defense jumped offsides. On 3rd and 11, Watson hit Johnson for 13 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Watson hit Hopkins for the touchdown and a 14-3 Texans lead with 1:47 left in the half. After a touchback, Brees worked the 2 minute drill to perfection. Lutz came in for a 56 yard field goal try to end the half. It was no good. 

The Saints immediately got back into the game at the start of the third quarter. From their own 17, Brees hit Ted Ginn for 11 yards. A completion to Alvin Kamara went for a 41 yard gain. Latavius Murray then ran for a 30 yard touchdown to get the Saints within 14-10. The Texans responded after a touchback. Carlos Hyde ran for a 13 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from their own 40, Watson hit Will Fuller for 15 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Saints 45, watson scrambled for 18 yards. On 2nd and 4 from the Saints 21, Watson was intercepted by Lattimore, who returned it 40 yards to the saints 43. However, the defense jumped offsides, nullifying the turnover. On the next play Watson hit Hopkins for the 16 yard touchdown. The Texans led 21-10. 7 months after feeling a trip to the Super Bowl was stolen from them, the Saints were not playing like angry guys on a mission. 

The Saints did respond with an 11 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. After a touchback, Brees hit Kamara for 11 yards and Ginn for gains of 10 and 11 followed by a 7 yard completion to Thomas. Whenever backup quarterback Taysom Hill comes in the game, you know Sean Payton has something planned. On 3rd and 4 from the Houston 9, Hill was a receiver and Brees went to him for the touchdown to get the Saints within 21-17 late in the third quarter. Houston quickly faced 3rd and 8 from their own 18. Watson went for it all and was intercepted. A personal foul penalty on Houston had the Saints taking over just past midfield. Brees went to Thomas for 9 and Kamara got around the end for a 28 yard gain. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brees went to Tre’Quan Smith for a 14 yard touchdown to give the Saints the 24-21 lead. For most of the fourth quarter, the defenses dug in. After 59 minutes of normalcy, the final 60 seconds brought craziness and a finish for the ages.

The Saints took over at their own 7 yard line with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation. On 3rd and 2 from their own 15, rather than run the ball, Brees went deep to Ginn for a 41 yard gain at the 2 minute warning. Sean Payton then kept it on the ground. Kamara gained 11 and 4 but then lost 5 yards as the Texans took their final timeout on defense with 1:41 left. On 3rd and 11 from the Houston 34, Sean Payton took no chances. Kamara got the carry again and gained 5 yards. When the opposing team is out of timeouts with less than 2 minutes left, you must run the ball. Every time. Do not even think of throwing the ball. Wil Lutz came in for the 47 yard field goal try. It was good, and the Saints led 27-21 with 50 seconds to play. The Texans had 0 timeouts and had to go 75 yards. The end of this game was ridiculous.

Watson went deep to Hopkins for 38 yards and then went deep again to stills for a 38 yard touchdown. 2 bombs took only 13 seconds. This is how defensive coordinators get fired. All the Texans needed to do was make the extra point for the shocking road upset. Kai Fairbairn missed it. The home crowd went insane as the teams thought overtime was on the horizon. However, a defensive penalty on the extra point for roughing the kicker gave Fairbairn another chance. This time the kick was good, and the Texans had the stunning 28-27 lead. Houston got their miracle. Now it was the Saints who needed one after a touchback. With 37 seconds left and one timeout, Brees went to Ginn for 15 yards and then spiked the ball to stop the clock with 20 seconds left. Then he went to Thomas for 11 yards and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 6 seconds left and the Saints just past midfield. Brees quickly fired to Ginn for 9 yards and the Saints took their final timeout with 2 seconds left. Lutz missed from 56 to end the first half. Now he was being asked to try a career long 58 yards. With everything on the line, Lutz nailed the kick good as the Superdome erupted. Bourbon Street got ready to party as only it can as the Saints began their Super Bowl quest with a heart stopping victory. Brees finished 32 for 43 for 370 yards. The Texans did almost everything right, but Brees is a future first ballot hall of famer for a reason. 30-28 Saints

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders was the late Monday night game. Forget Hard Knocks. Forget a prima donna receiver who was released without playing a single game for the Raiders. This was the first game of the Raiders final season in Oakland. They move to Las Vegas next year, and the Oakland faithful desperately wanted a Monday night Football win over their hated rival Denver Broncos. Denver had a rookie coach in Vic Fangio and veteran Joe Flacco starting his very first game for the Broncos. The Raiders had a ton of new talent on both sides of the ball to help Derek Carr. Keelan Doss left to join the Jacksonville practice squad, but a new need at wide receiver had the Raiders bringing him back as a member of the 53 man roster. He was not active for the opener but it was sweet redemption for Doss. The Al Davis torch was lit, the Black Hole was fired up, and the Raiders got the ball first.  From their own 28, rookie running back Josh Jacobs gained 4 and 2. On 3rd and 4 from their own 34, Carr hit Grant for gains of 5 and 9. Jacobs gained another 5 and Carr found Darren Waller for 11 yards and again for 25 more. Jacobs gained 6 and 2 to set up 3rd and 2 from the Denver 8 yard line. The Raiders biggest trouble in years past has been finishing drives. Carr evaded a rusher, pedaled sideways, and fired a laser to Williams for the touchdown and the 7-0 Raiders lead. 

Both defenses dug in after that. Denver did reach a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 31 early in the second quarter, but penalties killed them. Offensive holding pushed them back. On 3rd and 12 from the Oakland 33, Flacco was sacked for a 10 yard loss to push the Broncos out of field goal range. The Raiders took over at their own 5 yard line. A pair of false starts moved the Raiders back to their 2. Jacobs gained 6 and Carr hit Waller for 6 more to set the Raiders up with 3rd and 1 at their own 14. Jacobs gained 5 yards to give the Raiders some breathing room. The Raiders again faced 3rd and 1 from their own 28. This time Carr faked the handoff and went bombs away. The play action pass to Williams went for a 43 yard gain. The Raiders faced yet another 3rd and 1 at the Denver 20. Jacobs gained 3 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Denver 12, Carr avoid ed the pressure, rolled out, and fired a laser to Hunter Renfrow for a 10 yard gain. On the next play Jacobs did his Marcus Allen impersonation, leaping over the top and stretching the ball over the plane of the goal for the 2 yard touchdown. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Raiders led 14-0 after the 13 play, 95 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive. 

Denver moved after a touchback to a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 36 with 19 seconds left in the half.  Flacco threw incomplete twice to leave 10 seconds. Flacco hit Freeman for 6 yards, but offensive holding killed the Broncos. With 5 seconds left, Brandon McManus came in for a 64 yard field goal try. It was dead center but just short, no good. The Broncos got the ball to start the third quarter. On 2nd and 8 from their own 27, Flacco went to Sutton for a 24 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 42, Flacco went to Fant for 20 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 13, Lindsay gained 7 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Flacco was sacked and fumbled and the Raiders recovered. Officials ruled Flacco was down, and replay was inconclusive. The Raiders may have also gotten away with a facemask of Flacco, so there was something for both teams to hate about the call. Jon Gruden unsuccessfully challenged the call. McManus hit the 26 yard field goal. With 9 1/2 minute left in the third quarter, the Broncos were on the board down 14-3 after the 12 play, 67 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. 

Despite the lead, the Raiders had concerns. Their defense was on the field for 22 straight plays to begin the first half and start the second half. Defenses get tired. The Raiders offense needed to do something. On 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Jalen Richard came up inches short of the sticks. The offense had to punt and the defense would not get their rest. Denver took over at their own 24. From their own 47, Freeman broke free for a 26 yard gain that ended horrendously for the Raiders. First, Jonathan Abram was flagged for a helmet to helmet hit on Freeman that drew a penalty and moved Denver to 1st and 10 at the Oakland 13. Even worse, Abram’s leg accidentally hit his own teammate Gareon Conley in the head. Conley had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. The freak accident with 5 minutes left in the third quarter was awful for an already depleted secondary. Denver had only 15 rushing yards in the first half, but were running at will in the third quarter. On 3rd and 5 from the Oakland 8, Flacco fired a perfect pass to the end zone to Deshaun Hamilton. Hamilton dropped it. He was wide open and just dropped it. The Raiders dodged a major bullet. McManus again hit the 28 yard field goal. The 10 play, 68 yard drive had the Broncos within 14-6. More importantly, the Broncos had run 32 plays to only 3 plays for the Raiders since trailing 14-0. Again, the Raiders offense had to get a first down. The defense was spent. 

Rather than run the ball, Carr went for it all on the first play and threw the bomb into double coverage. The ball was overthrown incomplete and Denver may have gotten away with defensive pass interference. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, Jacobs went straight up the gut for an 11 yard gain and a desperately needed first down as the Oakland defense got a little time to breathe. On 3rd and 3 just past midfield, Carr threw incomplete. A penalty on Denver on a fair catch had the Broncos backed up to their own 4 yard line. On 3rd and 3 from their own 11, the Broncos could have let the third quarter clock expire. Instead, Flacco ran a play and threw a low ball that was almost caught but incomplete. The fourth quarter began with the Broncos punting. Denver took over at their own 40 and Carr quickly fired over the middle to Jacobs, who sloughed through tacklers for a 28 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Denver 28, a 46 yard field goal would be a big deal. The key was to not take a sack. Instead, Carr went deep and fired a perfect pass to Williams for a 24 yard gain. On the next play Jacobs barreled up the middle for a 4 yard touchdown. These Raiders were finishing drives. With 12 minutes left in regulation, the Raiders led 21-6. 

On 2nd and 10 from their own 25, Flacco went bombs away to Emanuel Sanders for a 53 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 14, with all the time in the world, Flacco was sacked for a 7 yard loss. This was the very definition of a coverage sack. With 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Broncos were within 21-9. One more offensive drive by the Raiders could put the game away. The Raiders were finishing drives. Now they needed to do what their offense has really struggled to do in recent years. They needed to finish a game without having a scare at the end. The defense did all it was asked to do. The offense needed to show it could play power football and grind down clock rather than rely on the defense. 

Instead it was the special teams. Last year Duane Harris electrified the Raiders and burned the Broncos for a 99 yard punt return. This time he returned the ensuing kickoff return 72 yards. It was time for a steady dose of Josh Jacobs. Rodney Hudson is the highest paid center in the NFL, and Jacobs rammed the ball straight up the gut behind Hudson. There was no need for Carr to even raise his arm. Handing the ball off was all he needed to do. From the Denver 30, Jacobs ran for 8, 4, 2, 2, and 4 to set up 3rd and 4 at the Denver 12. Jacobs carried it a 6th straight time but only gained one yard. Critics will call this overly conservative offense, but it was absolutely the right call. By the time Daniel Carlson hit the 29 yard field goal, the Raiders led 24-9 with only 4 1/2 minutes remaining. 

After a touchback, Flacco quickly fired to Cortland Sutton for a 25 yard gain to midfield. A 22 yard completion to Sanders put the ball on the Oakland 20. The defender went for the interception rather than the tackle, and it backfired. With 3 minutes left on 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 17, Flacco fired to Sutton for a 15 yard gain. On 1st and goal at the 2, Flacco tried to run the quick quarterback sneak but was stopped cold. On the next play, Flacco threw a fade to Sanders for the touchdown. With 2:15 to play, the Broncos were within 8 points. The Broncos still had 2 timeouts and the 2 minute warning. Vic Fangio decided to kick it deep rather than go onsides. The Raiders took over after a touchback.

A pair of conservative runs up the middle took the clock to the 2 minute warning. The Raiders faced 3rd and 7. A run would force the Broncos to take their final timeout. A pass would risk and incompletion and preserve that timeout. Either way, one first down would end the game. Plays like this are what is meant by finishing games. Gruden fired a short pass to Williams, who took it for a 10 yard gain as the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum erupted. Jacobs ran for an 11 yard gain for an exclamation point. Carr took a knee.

Carr was magnificent, going 22 of 26 for 259 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The Raiders had no turnovers. The defense did not force a turnover, but they were stout most of the game. They relaxed at the end, but the run defense is much improved. The Raiders have a bruising running back in Jacobs, who gained 85 yards on 23 carries. Most importantly, he banged ahead on 3rd and 1 to extend drives. Except for the brief Marshawn Lynch tenure, Jacobs is the biggest back since the Raiders had Tyrone Wheatley during Gruden’s first run in Oakland in 2000.

Asked who won the final Monday Night Football game in Oakland, ESPN’s Chris Berman would say “The Ray-dahs!” Chucky high-fived the entire Black Hole and hugged the Gorilla-rilla. 24-16 Raiders

NFL 2019 Week 1 Prequel

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

NFL 2019 Week 1 prequel

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 4 Raiders Recap

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 4 Raiders Recap

Although the Oakland Raiders were 3-0 in the preseason, there was plenty of reason for concern heading into the regular season opener. The starters had barely played any preseason snaps. Wide receiver Antonio Brown played none due to his helmet temper tantrum, but more bizarre circumstances affected the rest of them. 

Normally the starters sit out Week 1 and play a little in Week 2. That went according to plan. Week 3 is when the starters normally see significant action. However, the Week 3 matchup between the Raiders and Packers featured a field in Canada that was not ready for NFL primetime. Both teams sat out their starters. Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and the rest of the starters were definitely not going to play in Week 4, when most starters sit anyway. Carr and Jacobs were on the field for one drive in Week 2 that took 6 plays.

Jon Gruden was clearly using the preseason to look for depth in the form of quality backups. The battle between Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman to back up Carr was a critical one. Glennon was clearly the more experienced passer, but Gruden was desperately pulling for Peterman to succeed. 

The final preseason contest had the Raiders traveling to Seattle to face the Seahawks. With Russell Wilson in street clothes, Geno Smith got the start for the Seahawks. Smith made it look easy, needing only 5 plays to go 73 yards. A 39 yard bomb from Smith to Wright made it 7-0 Seahawks. Mike Glennon led the Raiders from their 25 and completed passes to Marcel Ateman for 22 yards and to Hatcher for 15 more. The drive died at the Seattle 25 but Daniel Carlson hit a 43 yard field goal to get the Raiders within 7-3. The Raiders got the ball back at their own 31 and Glennon led a 14 play drive that ate up nearly 7 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Seattle 26, Gruden went for it. Brown gained 2 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Seattle 15, Glennon hit Hatcher for 5 yards. On 4th and goal at the one, Gruden went for it again. In an example of terrible play calling, the decision was made to go finesse rather than pound the rock. Glennon was sacked for a 9 yard loss.

In the second quarter the Seahawks took over at their own 48. Smith went deep to Ferguson for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Oakland 11, Smith went to Hollister for the score. The Seahawks led 14-3, and Gruden was not happy with his backup defense. Glennon was done for the night. Peterman played the final 3 quarters knowing that this game was about him making the team. Down by 11 from their own 25, the Raiders got going. Brown ran for 18 yards and Peterman hit Keylan Doss for 25 more. On 3rd and 11 from the Seattle 34, Peterman found Hatcher for 10. On 4th and 1 from the Seattle 24, Gruden played it safe this time and went for the field goal. From 42 yards out, Carlson was no good. The Raiders got it back at their own 27 with 4 minutes left in the half. Defensive penalties held the Raiders along, including on a 3rd and 13 completion that came up a couple yards short. On 3rd and 3 from the Seattle 4 yard line, a short pass from Peterman to Butler only gained 2 yards. On 4th and 1 from the 2 with 3 seconds left in the half, Gruden again played it safe. Carlson hit from 20 as the Raiders trailed 14-6 at halftime. In the third quarter the Raiders began a drive at the Seattle 47. Yet near the goal line the Raiders again couldn’t get the job done. On 2nd and goal at the 3, Brown lost 2 yards. Then Peterman threw incomplete. Carlson hit from 23 to get the Raiders within 14-9.

Late in the third quarter, the Raiders got it back at their own 31. Peterman had been managing the game effectively, but this time he was sacked for a 9 yard loss and fumbled. The Seahawks recovered at the Oakland 26. The defense held Seattle to a field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Seahawks led 17-9.

With 4 minutes left, the Raiders began their last drive at their own 45 yard line. Peterman came alive as he hit Butler for gains of 6 and 5, Doss for 14, and Rico Gafford for 9 more. After a defensive unnecessary roughness penalty, Peterman went back to Gafford for 9 yards. At the 2 minute warning, the Raiders faced 2nd and 1 from the Seattle 2 yard line. Getting that last yard had been a problem all gain.. Butler got the carry and got stopped stoned cold. On 3rd and 1 Butler got the carry again and lost a yard. With 1:47 left in the game on 4th and 2 from the 3 and the Seahawks smelling pass, Butler got the carry again and got the 3 yard touchdown. The Raiders needed a 2 point conversion to tie the game. A false start moved them back to the Seattle 7 yard line. Peterman was then sacked to deny the Raiders the tie. Seattle’s 3rd string quarterback took a few knees in the Seattle rain as Pete Carroll’s squad got the victory. 

Despite the loss, Peterman made the team as the 3rd string quarterback behind Carr and Glennon. Unfortunately for Peterman, he was then placed on injured reserve a few days later. He might be eligible to return to the team after the season is half over. The Raiders brought in DeShone Kizer as their new third string quarterback. Despite playing well, the backup receivers were cut from the team as Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock chose experience at the position over youth. Gabbard was cut. So was Hard Knocks standout Doss. Despite clearing waivers and being offered a practice squad spot, the hometown Alameda native Doss chose to join the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. Even Ateman, who played well in several games last year, was cut. 8 of the 9 draft picks made the team, and the 9th one might still make the practice squad. 

The preseason is now over. The Raiders from Thursday night had 11 days to prepare for their regular season opener hosting the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. Despite ending the preseason on a loss, the Raiders went 3-1 in the preseason. The starters are very well rested and healthy. Now, as Gruden says, they just have to “f-in execute.” 17-15 Seahawks

eric

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 3 Raiders Recap

Monday, August 26th, 2019

NFL 2019 Preseason: Week 3 Raiders Recap

The Raiders defeated the Rams 14-3 in their preseason opener. Then they jumped to a 26-0 lead over the Cardinals in a 33-26 win that was not nearly as close as the score. The Raiders led 33-13 with 4 minutes left and gave up 2 late touchdowns, including one on the final play. Now the Silver and Black traveled to Canada to play the Green Bay Packers.

The third preseason game is normally the game that most closely resembles a regular season game. The starters skipped game 1 and played sparingly in game 2. Yet conditions beyond the control of America messed everything up. 

Canada couldn’t get their field ready. It was only an 80 yard field. Moving the goalposts messed up some of the field. The league decided just before kickoff to not have any kickoffs. Each team after a score would start at their own 25 yard line, which was only 65 yards from the opposing end zone. Rather than see extensive action, Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers were both given the night off. Tim Boyle got the start for the Packers and Mike Glennon did for the Raiders. For those desperate to make a roster spot, it was an unexpected extra opportunity to get more playing time. For fans, it gave them zero clue about how their starters will fare in the regular season.  For CFL fans used to seeing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, it was a change of pace. Former Raiders and CFL wide receiver “Swervin” Mervin Fernandez lit the Al Davis Torch. 

The 80 yard field was confusing for the players and the announcers. The 10 yard line was actually the goal line, and the normal goal line was actually the back of the end zone. Rookie Packers head coach Matt LaFleur had to question what he signed up for. Mike McCarthy in 12 years never had to deal with an 80 yard field or Canada.

Both teams punted on their first two drives. While there were no kickoffs, there were punts. A field position game had the Raiders taking over at their own 41 with 5:40 left in the opening quarter. Daniel Carlson hit a 42 yard field goal. The Raiders led 3-0 after the first quarter, and Glennon was done for the night. 

Jon Gruden loves Nathan Peterman, and wants to see as much of him as possible. While Glennon is almost definitely Derek Carr’s backup, Gruden may keep three quarterbacks. Peterman played the final three quarters. 

After the field goal, The Packers exploded in the second quarter. From their 25, Boyle completed a 20 yard pass to Davis and soon faced 3rd and 16 at his own 39. A neutral zone infraction made it 3rd and 11. A completion picked up just enough with a facemark adding 15 more. Boyle then went deep to Davis again for a 23 yard touchdown and a 7-3 Packers lead.

Every drive after a score had the other team starting at their own 25. A 24 yard defensive pass interference penalty had the Raiders on the move. Peterman hit Keyland Doss for 18 yards and Rico Gafford for 8 more. Peterman went to Smith for a 5 yard touchdown and a 10-7 Raiders lead.

Boyle looked impressive against the Raiders backup defense, leading a 77 yard drive. From the Oakland 48, Boyle hit Davis for 20 and Kumerow for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Packers. With 2:43 left in the half the Packers got the ball back and Boyle shredded the Oakland defense again. With the Packers facing 3rd and 11 at their own 24, Boyle hit Shepherd for 22 yards and Lazard for gains of 11 and 13. Carson ran it in from 2 yards out as the Packers took a 21-10 lead to the locker rooms. Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game, but Boyle showed himself to be a very capable backup in leading three touchdown drives in the second quarter.

The Raiders began the third quarter facing 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Peterman connected with Butler for a 30 yard gain. Carlson hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Raiders within 21-13. Boyle played the entire first half, and the first drive of the second half saw the Packers turn to third string quarterback and former Browns quarterback Deshone Kizer. He is trying to resurrect his career, although Cleveland has destroyed many quarterbacks over the last few years. Kizer began by getting sacked twice and was ineffective. The Packers got it back and moved from their 29 to a 4th and 3 on the Oakland 28. Rather than try a field goal, the preseason is a good time to go for it. Kizer was sacked for a 12 yard loss.

Peterman was unable to move the Raiders at all in the third quarter, but finally got the Raiders offense going again with 11 minutes left in regulation. Runs and short passes had the Raiders at the Green Bay 48 yard line. Peterman hit Doss for 17 yards and Pierson-El for 10 more. On 3rd and 6 from the Green Bay 7, Peterman found Pierson-El in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Gruden decided to go for the 2 point conversion even though nobody wants overtime in the preseason. Peterman rolled out and his pass under pressure was off the mark, bounced off the receiver, and was intercepted. The 12 plays, 75 yard, 5 minute drive had the Raiders within 21-19 with 6 minutes left. 

The Packers tried to run down the clock, but Kizer could not get a break when he tried to throw. On 3rd and 11 from their own 35, a 16 yard completion was nullified by offensive holding. On 3rd and 21 Kizer went deep to Lazard with a well thrown ball. However, on official review the ball hit the ground and a first down was changed to incomplete. The Raiders defense dodged a bullet. With 3 minutes left the Raiders took over at their own 24. It was time to see what Peterman could do with the game on the line.

Peterman hit Hatcher for 10. At the 2 minute warning, A pass for a 3 yard loss saw receive Brown get drilled. The Raiders got another break when the hit was ruled a personal foul for helmet to helmet. With 90 seconds on the clock, the Raiders were down to their last gasp facing 4th and 7 at the Green Bay 45. Then came the play that will be shown on preseason instruction videos for several reasons. This was not the Holy Roller or the Immaculate Reception. However, a lot of things happened on one play that deserve to be remembered for instructional reasons.

Peterman went deep and found a wide open Hatcher for a 25 yard gain. The Raiders were in field goal range, and all Hatcher had to do was get out of bounds or go down. There was plenty of time left. Hatcher decided to juke and gain more yards. The result was a hit that forced a fumble. If this was a regular season or playoff game, the Raider Nation would be going bonkers. Hatcher nearly went from euro to goat, but was bailed out buy a very alert teammate. Gafford fell on the ball to save the possession.Three Packers were around the ball and Gafford got their first. At this point Gruden took no chances. Butler ran three times into the line. Carlson came in for a 33 yard field goal with 12 seconds left in regulation.  

The kick was dead center, and after a Kizer Hail Mary was intercepted, the Raiders had the comeback win. For a lot of guys in this game, it will be their final football game. Cut down is coming, and rosters will be trimmed from 90 to 53 players. For every Derek Carr making $25 million per year, there are others who will never see an NFL regular season game. Those who played their final game as a Raider went out with a win. The Raiders are 3-0 in preseason. Their last preseason game is at the Seattle Seahawks, where Carr had his first preseason start and showed the world he was NFL ready. For now, the Raiders seem to have a significantly improved locker room culture thanks to Mike Mayock and Chucky. 22-21 Raiders