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NFL 2009–Week 5 Recap

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

After several weeks on the road, I am home today on Simchas Torah watching football. Here is the Week 5 NFL Recap. One of the themes this week was good teams playing bad teams. David did not slay Goliath. Goliath beat David up, stole his lunch money, and took his girlfriend.

Raiders at Giants–For more on the game of the day, go to

The Giants are 4-0 for a reason. The Raiders are 1-3 and lucky to not be 0-4 for many reasons. The Giants took the ball down the field, with Eli Manning starting despite some thinking he would not. Manning led an 8 minute drive. There was hope for Oakland when Brandon Jacobs was stopped on 3rd and goal at the one, but on 4th and goal Ahmad Bradshaw got in. Tom Coughlin made the right call, and the Giants led 7-0. After the inevitable praise of Shane Lechler as a great punter, the Giants then moved 79 yards in only 3 plays, with Bradshaw again running it in, this time from 19 yards out, to put the Giants up 14-0 and effectively end this game in the first quarter.

Just to compound the misery, Manning hit Mario Manningham on the first play of the second quarter for a touchdown and a 21-0 Giants lead. This completed a 94 yard drive that took less than 2 minutes to follow up a 79 yard touchdown drive in less than 2 minutes. The drive included a 3rd and 23 conversion on the ground from a give up run. JaMarcus Russell, who only seems to get mentioned when something goes wrong, got hit by Justin Tuck and fumbled the ball away. Manning hit Hakim Nicks to put the Giants up 28-0 only 2 1/2 minutes into the second quarter. The Giants led in yards 262-9 and in 1st downs 15-0. Yes, you read that correctly.

Russell completed a 21 yard pass to Zach Miller for the 1st Oakland 1st down. A deep pass was underthrown, and a 9 yard gain set up 3rd and 1, where Michael Bush was blown up in the backfield. On 4th and 2, Tom Cable decided to go for it, and Russell rolled out and ran for Oakland’s second 1st down. Yet on 3rd and from the Oakland 45, Russell was sacked, and the signs of life were gone. Yet after an entire half of perfect play, the Giants finally made a mistake as Sinorice Moss fumbled the punt and the Raiders recovered at the New york 14. Since the Giants only led 28-0, Coughlin had Moss shot and thrown in the river.

Russell was almost sacked for another big loss when a miracle bad pass led to a defensive pass interference call for 1st and goal at the 5. Louis Murphy had not caught a pass, but this receiver is a bright spot for the Raiders. He is very fast, and it causes defensive players to make mistakes. Speaking of mistakes, Justin Fargas fumbled the ball, and it as returned 95 yards for a touchdown. However, the 35-0 lead was short lived. No, the Raiders did not come back. However, the whistle had blown and Fargas was ruled down by contact. It was not reviewable, and Coughlin actually did not burst a blood vessel. Michael Bush ran it in from 5 yards up the middle, and with 2:20 left in the half, the Raiders were within 28-7.

As Greg Gumble pointed it out, it was the 4th Oakland touchdown of the entire season, compared to 4 for the Giants in this first half. In a surprising turn of events, Coughlin decided to sit Manning down and bring backup David Carr in. With a big lead, letting Manning rest his foot may have been wise, even with plenty of time left. Manning had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating, although nobody honestly knows what that means.

Russell completed another pass, and with 33 seconds left, rather than go to the locker room, the Raiders called timeout to try and set up for anything. They set up a Russell sack and fumble that allowed the Giants to get a field goal and a 31-7 halftime lead for the Giants. Despite my pleading for them not to, the Raiders came out for the second half.

After another New York touchdown, Russell had his 3rd lost fumble on the day. The Giants took over at the Oakland 19, and out of sheer mercy and compassion, refused to score another touchdown. A field goal made it 41-7. The Giants added another field goal because they could. Russell for some reason was still in the city, much less the game. I noticed that he has played this year like his jersey, which is # 2. The Giants remain unbeaten, and the Raiders may have to consider benching Russell and giving Bruce Gradkowski a chance. Russell has the physical tools, but not the mental acumen. He does not have pocket presence, and keeps fumbling the ball. 44-7 Giants

Vikings at Rams–The Vikings are 4-0 for many reasons, and the Rams are 0-4 for every possible reason. Brett Favre took the Vikings down the field, and a short touchdown pass had Minnesota up 7-0. Yet the real entertainment came when Kyle Boller tried to attempt a pass. With nobody around him, the ball slipped out of his hands backwards. The fumble was picked up by Minnesota and returned by Jared Allen for a 52 yard touchdown to put the Vikings up 14-0 and effectively end this game as well before the second quarter could exist.

Boller then led a 14 play, 7 1/2 minute, 93 yard drive that produced no points when Stephen Jackson fumbled at the one yard line and Jared Allen recovered.  Yet for all of Favre’s accomplishments, and they are deserved, he is also first place in interceptions in NFL history. He was picked off, setting the Rams back up at the Minnesota 25. They are the Rams, so a field goal was all they mustered. Favre remained calm, either due to his Super Bowl ring or Hall of Fame career. Or perhaps it was the 14-3 lead against a terrible team. He led a drive that was uneventful but productive, and Minnesota led 17-3. Another long Rams drive again was completely wasted with another fumble, this time at the 3 yard line. The Rams had moved the ball but trailed 17-3 at the break.

In the third quarter the Rams punted, and the Vikings took over at their own 10. Adrian Peterson ripped off a 13 yard gain, and Favre then hit Berrian for 12 more. Favre when deep to Rice for a 47 yard gain to the Rams 17. Favre then it Vincent Shiancoe for the 13 yard score to make it 24-3. For the third time in the game, the Rams moved down the field. A 14 play, 6 minute drive went from the St. Louis 19 to a 4th and 6 at the Minnesota 9, where Boller was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback. This game could have been 24-24. Woulda, coulda, shoulda = one “oulda” for each mistake in this 24-3 game.

In the fourth quarter Favre moved the Vikings 80 yards, and they actually do turn their “ouldas” ( new statistic) into “dids.” Adrian Peterson ran it in from 7 yards out to have the Vikings cruising 31-3. The Rams actually did complete a drive in the fourth quarter, but Chester Taylor added a one yard touchdown run of his own to complete the blowout. Sometimes records are misleading, but the Vikings at 5-0 and the Rams at 0-5 are totally accurate reflections in this case. 38-10 Vikings

Bengals at Ravens–The surprising 3-1 Bengals and their reasonably good offense went to Baltimore to take on a tough defense coming off an even tougher loss last week. Cincinnati moved the ball well early on, but a drive came up empty when a short field goal was blocked after a high snap. After a scoreless first quarter, Carson Palmer made the mistake of throwing the ball anywhere near Ed Reed. Reed took the 52 yard interception for his 13th defensive touchdown, a new NFL record. The Ravens led 7-0, and Ed Reed will one day go to Canton when he is done feasting on Cincinnati. Palmer came right back, and from the Cincinnati 23 went deep for a 73 yard gain to Chris Henry. Yet on 1st and goal at the 4, a pair of incomplete passes followed by a sack and a 10 yard loss meant another field goal attempt. Shane Graham put it through as the Bengals closed to within 7-3. Another promising Cincinnati drive ended when Ed Reed forced a fumble. The future Hall of Famer punched it out of the receiver’s hand.

The third quarter was a defensive slugfest, when Cincinnati finally cracked through the Baltimore defense. Cedric Benson broke through for a 28 yard touchdown. The Bengals remain the only team that puts the excitement into the extra point. The snap sailed over the holder’s head, but a defensive penalty gave the Bengals a second try. The uneventful kick had them up 10-7 at the end of the third quarter.  Yet with 7 minutes remaining in the game, a simple short pass form Joe Flacco to Ray Rice followed by 3 mistackles became a 44 yard touchdown and a 14-10 Ravens lead. Both defenses had played well, but given up one big play on the day.

From midfield, desperately needing a stop, the Bengals survived a scare when Joe Flacco went for all the marbles and overthrew the open receiver. With 2:15 left, the Bengals had the ball at their own 20. Both of these teams have played cardiac games, and this would be another one. On 4th and 1 from their own 47 with 1:47 left, Palmer ran for the first down to keep the drive going. With 48 seconds left, future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis blundered. He leveled Chad Johnson, but it was a late hit on a defenseless receiver. The drive continued, and Palmer hit Henry on the next play to the Baltimore 24 with 43 seconds left. With the Ravens bringing the entire defense, the Bengals fumbled the snap but fell on it and called their last timeout. They faced 3rd and 16 with 34 seconds remaining. Yet an incomplete pass was nullified by defensive pass interference on Ed Reed. The Bengals still had life at the 20 with 27 seconds left.

Palmer then fired to Caldwell for the touchdown with 22 seconds left. As the announcer said it best, “the Cardiac Cats have done it again. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are two of the best defensive players of all time. Yet this week the vaunted Baltimore defense was beaten.  The win was especially sweet for Bengals Assistant Coach Mike Zimmer. His wife had died earlier in the week at age 50. He decided to work this week, and with many family members in attendance, his pain was eased for a few moments. The Bengals meanwhile, are 4-1, and one bizarre “doink” play in the opening week from being 5-0. They are for real. 17-14 Bengals

Steelers at Lions–While it would be tempting to describe this as the very best against the very worst, that would simply be untrue. The defending champions are teetering, an the Lions are no longer the team that went winless. The Lions led 3-0 in this game when Rashard Mendenhall took it in from 7 yards out to put the Steelers up 7-3. The Lions stayed in it early, and a second Jason Hanson field goal had the Lions within 7-6. It would not be close for long.

In the second quarter Ben Roethlisberger led a 12 play, 76 yard drive that culminated in Big Ben tossing a 15 yard score to Heath Miller to make it 14-6. When the Steelers got the ball back, Big Ben threw another touchdown pass. Unfortunately for the Steelers, James plays for the Lions. The 36 yard interception return had the Lions within 14-13. However, Big Ben stayed calm. Perhaps the two Super Bowl rings relaxes him. He came right back with a 17 yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward, who does play receiver for the Steelers. Pittsburgh took the 21-13 lead into the locker room.

With Daunte Culpepper playing this game in place of an injured Matthew Stafford, the Lions embarked on a 6 1/2 minute drive to start the second half that was all for naught due to a missed 49 yard field goal. Roethlisberger went right to work after that, quickly throwing a 47 yard bomb to Wallace to break the game open at 28-13. Yet the Lions kept fighting. Culpepper led Detroit from the Lions 19 to the Pittsburgh 28 before an interception killed the drive. With 5 minutes remaining in the game, Culpepper finished an 82 yard drive with a 25 yard touchdown pass to Dennis Northcutt. The Lions were within 8 points.

The Lions got the ball back at their own 29 with 3 minutes left. Culpepper rapidly moved them 50 yards to a 1st and 10 at the Detroit 21 with 1:54 left. Yet 3…yes 3…straight sacks had the Lions facing 4th and 34 from the Pittsburgh 45. They did not convert. The Lions are improved and the Steelers are struggling, but the better team survived on the road. 28-20 Steelers

Browns at Bills–Out of respect for football fans everywhere, I will refuse to cover much of this game, which entered the fourth quarter tied 3-3. A fumbled punt with 3 minutes left set up Billy Cundiff  with 23 seconds left. Cundiff kicked the winning field goal. Does anybody care who he plays for? No. Derek Anderson completed 2 of 17 passes for 23 yards, and he was on the winning team. At least the Browns have good punt coverage, downing 3 punts at the one yard line. 6-3 Browns

Buccaneers at Eagles–The Buccaneers are winless, and the Eagles hung tough when Donovan McNabb got injured. Well “McRib” is back, and looking very sharp early on. A 51 yard bomb to Jeremy Macklin on the second play of the game had the Eagles up 7-0. In the second quarter McNabb fired a 20 yard touchdown to Weaver as the Eagles led 14-0. The Buccaneers finally got on the board when Johnson hit Kellen Winslow form 9 yards out, but the comeback was short lived. McNabb went to Macklin again, and the 40 yard connection had the Eagles up 21-7.  Injury? What injury?

Bryan Westbrook ran it in from 7 yards out to have the Eagles rolling at 28-7. Johnson moved the Bucs from the Tampa Bay 20 to the Philadelphia 12, where an interception killed any chance of this turning into a game. Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb can now fade into the background. Andy Reid knows that this is McNabb’s team. He led Philadelphia from their own 9 to the Tampa Bay 27, where a field goal made it 31-7. The Bucs eventually scored a touchdown, but the Philly defense added the exclamation with a safety against Cadillac Williams to wrap things up. Tampa Bay is winless, Jon Gruden is still in the Monday Night Football booth, and the Eagles are still a good team that deals with adversity as well as anyone. 33-14 Eagles

Cowboys at Chiefs–The Chiefs may be the worst team in the league, while the Cowboys are the biggest underachievers for a team that was supposed to be good. After a scoreless first quarter, a fumbled Dallas punt by Patrick Crayton had the Chiefs at the Dallas 24. They lost 4 yards and kicked a field goal to lead 3-0. Tony Romo then fumbled, and the Chiefs took over at the Dallas 20. Matt Cassel hit Matt Vrabel for a one yard touchdown and a 10-0 Chiefs lead. Romo led a n 83 yard, 11 play drive that reached the 5 yard line as a Nick Folk field goal had Dallas within 10-3 at intermission.

Kansas City did add a field goal in the third quarter to lead 13-3, but very late in the quarter Tashard Choice ripped off a 36 yard touchdown run to bring Dallas within 13-10 entering the final quarter. Dallas got the ball back and moved into the red zone, but no further than the 11. A 28 yard field goal tied the game 13-13. With 3 minutes left in the game, the Chiefs had the go ahead field goal attempt. The kick was blocked.

As awful as the Cowboys played, they were playing the Chiefs. Romo threw a short pass to Miles Austin, who broke a tackle and raced 59 yards for the go ahead score with 2:16 left. Cassel borught the Chiefs back, and a long completion had them at the Dallas 35 with 1:26 left. Another completion, this time to Dwayne Bowe, had Kansas City at the Dallas 19 with 1:04 left.  On 4th and 7 from the 16, Cassel hit Bowe for the touchdown as all of Dallas went into shock. With 26 seconds left, the Chiefs had tied the game 20-20.

Overtime was uneventful until midway through, when one play ended things. Tony Romo threw another short pass to Miles Austin, who broke a tackle, made it to the corner, and raced down the sideline again. Romo finished with 351 yards passing, while Austin finished with a ridiculous 250 yards receiving on 10 catches. The 60 yard touchdown to end things left the Chiefs winless and the Cowboys breathing heavy sighs of relief, as Jerry Jones did not fire the entire team this week. 26-20 Cowboys, OT

Redskins at Panthers–At least this game featuring a pair of bad teams as the 0-4 Panthers took on a barely better Redskins team. Yet the Panthers fumbled the opening kickoff, and Washington took over from the Carolina 13. Jason Campbell hit Clinton Portis from 10 yards out to put the Redskins up 7-0 before both teams settled into doing nothing. In the second quarter Jake Delhomme led the Panthers on a long drive, but on 4th and goal from the 1, the Panthers fumbled the ball away. Yet Clinton Portis was tackled in the end zone for a safety, as the Panthers were on the board down 7-2. Late in the second quarter Jason Campbell led Washington from their own 21 to the Carolina 19, where a field goal had the Redskins up 10-2 at the break.

In the third quarter Delhomme was intercepted by Hall, who returned it 44 yards to the Carolina one. Portis took it in, and the Redskins were coasting at 17-2. Those who coast in the NFL suffer. Moore returned the kickoff 55 yards to the Washington 40. Delhomme hit Steve Smith for 18 yards and then hit King for the 17 yard touchdown to pull the Panthers to within 17-9. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Redskins faced 4th and 3 at the Carolina 37. Campbell fired incomplete to Santana Moss, and the Panthers took over. Delhomme led the Panthers to the Washington 25, where a 43 yard John Kasay field goal had the Panthers within 17-12 less than one minute into the fourth quarter.

With 10 minutes left, the Redskins gave the game away by fumbling a punt deep in their own territory. Carolina took over at the Washington 12, and Stewart ran for 4 yards and then the final 8 yards. The 2 point conversion had the Panthers up by a field goal. The Redskins punted, and with 5 minutes left Carolina got the ball back. At the 2 minute warning, Carolina had 3rd and 8 at their own 25. Delhomme ran for 9 yards and a first down to run out the clock. The Panthers now have a win. 20-17 Panthers

Jaguars at Seahawks–Life is like a box of Forrest Gump chocolates with these teams. They are both erratic this season. The Walrus is still retired, but the Hasselbeck returned from injury. As for Jacksonville, Jck Del Rio had to be pleased with his team’s solid win last week. As for the game itself, it was pretty dull early on, with a 47 yard Olindo Mare field goal putting the Seahawks up 3-0 to cap an 11 play drive.

The second quarter featured another 11 play drive and another field goal to make it 6-0 Seahawks. Yet Matt Hasselbeck looked good, and a 34 yard touchdown pass to TJ Houshmanzadeh had the Seahawks leading 13-0. Hasselbeck fired at will, with nearly 200 first half passing yards. A  44 yard touchdown pass to Nate Burleson had the Seahawks cruising at 20-0 at intermission.

The second half was just as ugly for Jacksonville as Hasselbeck kept the foot on the accelerator. A 13 yard strike to Houshmanzadeh and a 5 yarder to Burleson had the Seahawks up 34-0 in a laugher. There was no laughing in Jacksonville. Seattle plays in a terrible division, so despite all their problems, they might win the division again. 41-0 Seahawks

Falcons at 49ers–The storyline this year is that Mike SIngletary has turned the 49ers into a physical, disciplined team. That made things all the more surprising when the Falcons jumped on them to start the game. Michael Turner ran it in from 7 yards out to start the scoring, and Matt Ryan hit Roddy White for a 31 yard score to have the Falcons up 14-0 early on. Yet the 49ers settled down, and Shawn Hill quickly led the 49ers 78 yards, as Glen Coffee, filling in for Frank Gore, plunged in from 2 yards out to get the 49ers within 14-7.

Joe Nedney added a 39 yard field goal in the second quarter to make it a 14-10 game. Midway through the second quarter, the Falcons were backed up at their own 10. Ryan threw a short sideline pass to White, who raced 90 yards down the sideline in front of a stunned San Francisco crowd as the Falcons led 21-10. White did a summersault in the end zone, and the No Fun League gave him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The 49ers fumbled the kickoff, although it clearly appeared that the runner was down. However, with 7 minutes left in the half, the 49ers were out of timeouts and could not challenge the play. From the San Francisco 38, Michael Turner raced 33 yards to the 5. Turner took it into the end zone, and a close game was broken open at 28-10. Singletry is known for defense as a player in Chicago and a defensive assistant in Baltimore. He was disgusted when Ryan found White again down to the one yard line, and Turner ran it in again as the Falcons had a shocking 35-10 lead. It was the most points scored and given up by these respective teams in the first half in their entire histories.

The uneventful second half was best summed up by the announcer with a great quote. “I would love to be in the post game locker room when Singletary addresses the players, but I would hate to be a 49ers player hearing it.” One play that should be shown to the entire league was an interception by Dre Bly. He did his best Leon Lett imitation by showboating after he intercepted the ball, allowing him to fumble on the return and give it right back. As for the Falcons, last year does not seem to be a fluke. 45-10 Falcons

Patriots at Broncos–This game was drenched in subplots, with Darth Vader, aka Bill Bellichick, squaring off against his protege Josh McDaniels. McDaniels was supposed to be a disaster before the season began, but the Broncos came in at 4-0. They had beaten up a couple of bad teams, but seem to be gelling. This game would be a major test. Early on Denver flunked as Tom Brady moved the Patriots 62 yards. An 8 yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker had New England up 7-0. Stephen Gostkowski added a 53 yard field goal to have the Patriots up 10-0.

The Broncos were bottled up most of the first half when Kyle Orton led the Broncos from their own 10. Yet 10 plays, 5 minutes, and 90 yards later, an 11 yard touchdown pass from Orton to Brandon Marshall made it a 10-7 game. The difference in the game was the field goal kicking of Prater, who has been shaky this year. He missed his first attempt wide before Gostkowski made his. Yet the real problem was that Denver had no answer for Brady, who put on a clinic in the 2 minute drill. 74 yards ended with a 7 yard touchdown pass to Ben Watson with 5 seconds left in the half as New England led 17-7 at what Stuart Scott would call recess.

In the third quarter Orton led a 12 play, 66 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive that could not get past the 7 yard line. Prater hit a 24 yard field goal to get the Broncos to within 17-10 as the game went to the fourth quarter.

Orton took over for the Broncos in the fourth quarter at their own 2 yard line. While John Elway is retired, Orton endeared himself to Denver fans with an impressive drive of his own. 98 yards took 12 plays, and Orton hit Brandon Marshall from 11 yards out to tie the game 17-17. New England went nowhere in the second half, and each team had missed a field goal. With 2 1/2 minutes left, Brady and the Patriots took over at their own 30. New England then fumbled the ball away, and Denver took over at the New England 45. Needing only one first down for a long field goal attempt, Orton was sacked as the game went into overtime.

Denver got the ball, and despite wearing hideous retro uniforms, moved the ball again. A 40 yard field goal attempt by Prater was good, and the Broncos are a stunning 5-0. This time is for real. The post game handshake between Bellichick and McDaniels never occurred because McDaniels was busy lighting up the crowd by pumping his fists after the game. 5-0 is impressive, but McDaniels does not have 3 Super Bowl rings yet as a head coach. If he faces New England in the playoffs, this will be on the bulletin board. As for Orton, he was 35 of 48 for 330 yards. He is much more than a game manager. He is a game winner. 20-17 Broncos, OT

Texans at Cardinals–Both of these teams have impressive offenses and less than impressive defenses. In the first quarter Tim Hightower took it in from one yard out, and the second quarter featured Kurt Warner hitting Larry Fitzgerald for a 9 yard touchdown pass to give the Cardinals a 14-0 lead. With only 20 seconds left in the half, Warner hit Fitzgerald again, as the 21 yard score had Arizona up 21-0 in the Desert at intermission.

The Cardinals have not been good at finishing games, and the Texans made a game of it in the second half. Matt Schaub led a 6 minute, 64 yard, 10 play drive that was capped off by Brown running it in from one yard out to make it 21-7. Early in the fourth quarter Schaub led the Texans 77 yards, with an 11 yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson pulling the Texans to within 21-14. Schaub then drove the team 66 yards on their next drive. A second strike to Johnson tied the game 21-21 with plenty of time left.

Matt Schaub kept firing, but his next touchdown pass went to Rogers-Comartie, who plays defense for the Cardinals. The 49 yard interception return had the Cardinals back on top 28-21 with 2:20 left. Andre Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards to immediately put the Texans in business. Schaub led the Texans to the one yard line, where on 3rd and goal, Schaub rolled out and fired a pass high to the end zone. The receiver barely had one foot touch the line for an incomplete pass. With 40 seconds remaining, on 4th and goal from the one, Chris Brown ran up the middle and hit a big red Arizona brick wall. The offenses lit up the day as expected, but the Arizona defense saved the day. 28-21 Cardinals

Colts at Titans was the Sunday Night game. Before the season this was a possible AFC Title Game preview. The Colts at 4-0 is no surprise, even with Tony Dungy retired. Yet the Titans at 0-4 is a stunner, especially with Jeff Fisher still at the helm. Tennessee has vexed Peyton Manning throughout his career, but not today.

In the first quarter Alge Crumpler fumbled, allowing the Colts to take over at the Tennessee 23. On 4th and 1 from the 3, Manning hit Reggie Wayne for the touchdown and the 7-0 lead. Later in the quarter it was the Colts fumbling a punt, and Tennessee took over at the Indy 37. However, the Titans could not move the ball, settling for a field goal and a 7-3 game. Manning was then intercepted, setting up the Titans at the Indy 34. On 3rd and 19, Kerry Collins hit Bo Scaife for 18. On 4th and 1 from the 25, Jeff Fisher opted not to go for it. The field goal was good, and the Titans were within 7-6.

In the second quarter Manning led a 12 play, 7 minute drive that went 81 yards. Joseph Addai ran it ion from one yard out to give the Colts a 14-6 lead. Collins came right back for the Titans, leading them from their own 20 to the Colts 28. Unfortunately, they had to settle for a third field goal. They only trailed 14-9, but the lack of touchdowns would eventually kill them, especially when playing against a touchdown machine.

The Colts took over at their own 7 yard line with only 57 seconds left. Even Manning could not go 93 yards in less than one minute. Not without help anyway. The Titans provided the help. A roughing the passer penalty moved Indy to their own 30. On 3rd and 1 from the 39 with 35 seconds left, Addai picked up the first down. On the next play another roughing the passer penalty had Indy at the Tennessee 39. Manning then went deep to Collie for the touchdown pass to stun the crowd and give the Colts the 21-9 lead at the break.

The second half began with Collins immediately throwing an interception, setting up the Colts at the Tennessee 31. Manning hit Collie for 6 yards to make it 28-9. The rest of the game was uneventful, except for a Vince Young sighting in the fourth quarter. Collins was benched, although it seemed to be a precautionary measure since he was getting hit and the game was out of reach. 31-9 Colts

Jets at Dolphins was the Monday Night game. While it is tempting to refer to every game where Bill Parcells faces off against his former team as a “Tuna Bowl,” this needs to be put to rest since he is sitting in a President’s box with no say on coaching or calling plays. It is not even a Chad Pennington bowl since he is injured and out for the season. There was a Chad playing, which was Henne. As for his opponent Mark Sanchez, he faces the same pressure Pennington once did, which 9is that some already have him in the Hall of Fame.

As for Henne, he started the game and led a 12 play, 7 1/2 minute drive that went 80 yards. Ronnie Brown ran it in on 3rd and goal from the 1 to put the Dolphins up 7-0. The Jets appeared t go 3 and out, but on 4th and 6 from their own 34, a perfectly executed fake punt picked up 26 yards and kept the drive going. A 19 yard completion from Sanchez to SMith moved the Jets just outside the red zone. A defensive pass interference penalty on the next play set the Jets up at the 6 yard line. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Sanchez hit newly acquired Braylon Edwards for the tying touchdown.

The Dolphins struck back quickly when a short pass from Henne to Ricky Williams led to a 59 yard gain. However, Miami moved no further, and settled for a 34 yard field goal and a 10-7 lead. In the second quarter Sanchez moved the Jets from the New York 21 to the Miami 40, where Rex Ryan decided to punt on 4th and 3. In a major surprise, a second fake punt in the same game worked again, as Smith picked up 12 yards. This led to a field goal and a 10-10 game. Miami went nowhere on their next possession, and the Jets took over at their own 44 with one minute left in the half. A 13 yard pass to Leon Washington followed by passes of 8 and 6 yards to Clowney led to a 43 yard Jay Feeley field goal as time expired to put the Jets up 13-10 at halftime.

A scoreless third quarter had Miami on the move. They drove from their own 36 over the final 8 minutes of the period to the New York one yard line. Less than one minute into the fourth quarter, Henne hit Fasano for the touchdown to complete the 15 play drive and put the Dolphins back on top 17-13. To Rex Ryan’s credit, he does not use rookie Mark Sanchez as a game manager. He realizes hit talent and lets him play to win the games, to quote Herman Edwards. Sanchez came out and immediately hit David Clowney on a perfectly thrown 54 yard bomb to the Miami 23. After a very controversial intentional grounding call set up 3rd and 23 from the 36, Sanchez went deep again, and an even more fabulous throw and catch went for a touchdown to Braylon Edwards. Miami challenged the call, and the ball was put back to the one yard line. Thomas Jones ran it in on the next play. The Jets had retaken the lead 20-17, although 12 1 /2 minutes still remained.

The game began to take on the feel of a track meet, as the defenses took a siesta. Bill Parcells and Buddy Ryan groomed Tony Sparano and Rex Ryan, but this game was turning into a shootout. Henne went deep to Ted Ginn for a 53 yard touchdown to put the Dolphins back in front 24-20 with a full 10 minutes left.

The quarterbacks kept trading bombs. Sanchez went deep again. Although the ball was on the money, it was dropped. Yet defensive pass interference put the ball on the four yard line, and Thomas Jone piledrived his way in on the next play. The 5th lead change of the game had the Jets up 27-24 with 5 minutes left.

That was more than enough time for Henne, who moved the ball and bled the clock. Pat White, who did not play the whole game, came in on the final drive. Miami even through in a halfback option pass. These are teams unafraid to take chances that would make most coaches squirm. With 10 seconds left, the Dolphins faced 3rd and goal at the Jets 2 yard line. The Dolphins had a timeout, allowing them to keep all options open. Both teams locked in, and Ronnie Brown took a Wildcat snap straight up the middle behind perfect blocking. The 6th lead change with 7 seconds left was the decisive score. The Jets slipped to 3-2 while the Dolphins climbed to 2-3. These teams play again later in the year, and that game is already worth watching. 31-27 Dolphins