NFL 2007–Week 10 Recap

My plane from Las Vegas landed at 9am, and it is for situations like this that I live not too far from the airport. I made it home by 9:20am, with 40 minutes to spare before the games began. At the midpoint of the season for many teams, one thing that is becoming noticeable is how many teams have assembled good records in a very quiet fashion. Nevertheless, hiding in the NFL is only temporary.

Despite having driven my body into the ground this weekend, my fingers still work, which is enough to do this week’s NFL recap.

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers–The NFL has survived just fine without Michael Vick. The Atlanta Falcons have not. Warrick Dunn did have a 30 yard touchdown run, but Ken Lucas returned a fumble 27 yards for a score to deadlock the game at 7-7. The Panthers might be the least consistent team in the league, unless they are not. They are 4-4, and are a mystery. Carolina added a field goal before the half. A pair of field goals had the Falcons up 13-10 with 11 1/2 minutes remaining. A John Kasay field goal tied the game 13-13 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. The Falcons never got a chance to try the winning field goal attempt because Joey Harrington found Alge Crumpler with a short pass over the middle that turned into a blown assignment and a 30 yard touchdown with only 20 seconds left in front of a shocked Carolina crowd. 20-13 Falcons

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins–The Dolphins came in 0-8, but this was a winnable game. J.P. Losman filled in for an injured Trent Edwards, and Ronnie Brown had rushed for more than 100 yards in six straight games coming into this match. As awful as this game was expected to be, the first half was even uglier than that, with the Dolphins taking a 3-0 lead into the locker room. The third quarter featured a Miami touchdown, with the only scoring for Buffalo coming on a safety. With St. Louis winning, the Dolphins were the only hope to lay down with the 1976 Bucs. Yet going into the fourth, Miami led 10-2. A hard 4 yard run by Marshawn Lynch was capped with an equally rough Lynch 2 point conversion. He was smacked well short of the goal line, but bulled in Mike Alstott style for a 10-10 tie with under 10 minutes remaining. Ted Ginn returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, but the lead lasted only long enough for the referee to clarify the holding penalty that nullified it. With 46 seconds left, Rian Lindell nailed a field goal with 46 seconds left. It was hideous, but the Bills staggered to 5-4, and the Dolphins remained the perfect antithesis of their 1972 team at 0-9. 13-10 Bills

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs–The Chiefs were supposed to be horrendous this year, but they are tied for first in an awful AFC West division at 4-4. Several teams are quiet good teams, but the Broncos are the reverse. They are usually a good team, so to see them at 3-5 is surprising. The game was a defensive bonelock in the early going, when Bernard Taylor blocked a punt for a safety to put the Chiefs up 5-3. This always seems to compel announcers to make a baseball remark, and it is never funny. Jason Elam then had a 50 yard field goal attempt bounce off the crossbar and go through for a 6-5 Broncos lead. Another KC field goal had them up by a deuce at the break.

The whole game, the crowd was cheering for Damon Huard to be replaced by Brodie Croyle. A Huard interception set up a touchdown by Selvin Young. Denver just replaced running backs like spare parts, and the offensive line does the rest. On the next series, Huard was belted, and the ensuing fumble was returned by Nate Webster for a second Denver touchdown 9 seconds after the first one. Down 20-8, the crowd got their wish, and Croyle entered. A good drive was marred by the disaster known as the West Coast Offense that seems to compel routine and stifle thought. A dink and dunk pass short of the marker led to the Chiefs remaining short of the marker. A 3rd field goal cut the gap to 9 points. A missed field goal by Kansas City then led to a Jay Cutler touchdown pass that appeared to ice the game with 11 minutes left. 27-11 Broncos

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins–An exchange of touchdowns was separated by a missed extra point, with the Eagles leading 7-6. Washington scored another touchdown before the half, both being touchdown passes to James Thrash, but failed on the 2 point conversion. A field goal put Washington up by eight, and after Philly cracked the end zone on a Donovan McNabb pass to L.J. Smith, they failed on their own 2 point conversion attempt. A touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell put the Redskins up 22-13. A 45 yard touchdown bomb from McNabb cut the gap to 22-20.

Washington moved inside the Philly 5 yard line, but desperate for a stop, the Eagles defense did their job and held the Redskins to a field goal, keeping the game within 5 points with 4 minutes left. Donovan McNabb remains the only person to be criticized by Terrell Owens, Rush Limbaugh, and the Philadelphia NAACP. He tried to show why he was overrated, but instead he threw a 58 yard touchdown pass, one of four on the day. The 2 point conversion attempt was no good, but Philadelphia led by a point. On the next series the Eagles defense buried quarterback Jason Campbell, who fumbled, setting up a short touchdown run by Bryan Westbrook. The Redskins could do no more. 33-25 Eagles

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers–The Browns are one of those very quiet teams that has gotten to 5-3. They have 3 games in a row for the first time in 6 years. The Steelers throttled the Browns 34-7 in week 1, and were coming off a thrashing of a Baltimore team in a game that was over by halftime. So naturally, this was a Pittsburgh blowout. Summoning the voice of Chris Berman…That’s why they play the games. An 90 yard kickoff return by Joshua Cribbs set up one touchdown, and Cleveland raced to a 14-3 lead early on. After Braylon Edwards was ruled out of bounds in the back of the end zone, Romeo Crennel ran onto the field to challenge the call. The ruling was overturned, and Cleveland had its third touchdown. As spectacular as the touchdown catch by Edwards was, Romeo Crennel, who appears to run the 40 yard dash in 10 minutes, had some pretty nifty footwork throwing the challenge flag.

After Pittsburgh added a third field goal, Jamal Lewis fumbled, setting up a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Hines Ward that cut the gap to 5 points. The Browns were playing this game like it was a playoff game, but the last time the teams played in the playoffs, Kelly Holcomb looked like a hall of famer, threw for over 400 yards, the Browns led 33-21, and they collapsed, for a 36-33 Steelers win. Today the collapse came in the form of a long run by Ben Roethlisberger, who after adding the 2 point conversion, had led Pittsburgh from a 21-6 deficit to a 24-21 lead with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.

Cribbs returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and Pittsburgh challenged the play, as Cribbs was dangerously close to stepping out of bounds around the Pittsburgh 15 yard line. The touchdown was upheld, and the Browns were back on top 28-24. Roethlisberger took the Steelers straight down the field, and a 3 yard bullet to Heath Miller put the Steelers back in the lead. The call was challenged, but the touchdown stood. Phil Dawson came out for the tying field goal with 11 seconds left, but from 53 yards out, the kick was just short. 31-28 Steelers

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers–The Packers are good and the Vikings are not. This game was no more complicated than that. The Packers had the ball for 20 minutes in the first half, had triple the yardage, and led in plays from scrimmage 43-17. Yet the only statistic that counts is the score, and the Packers only led 13-0 at the half. A long reception set Green Bay up inside the Minnesota 1 yard line, where naturally Brett Favre through a touchdown pass for a 20-0 lead early in the third quarter. Brett Favre might be the only guy to crate highlights on incomplete passes, but he added another one to his legacy. He tripped over the center, but instead of staying down, he threw an incomplete pass from his knees to avoid the sack. Of course, had it been intercepted and returned for a touchdown, it would have been his other legacy that would have been added to instead. Nevertheless, his acrobatic incompletion set up a routine completion for an ordinary touchdown and a 27-0 Packers massacre. Favre was benched, but apparently it was not due to a poor performance. Green Bay has a backup quarterback, and I guess the coach wanted people to know his name. As for their starter, Favre reached 60,000 yards passing for his career. This was the first time ever the Packers shut out the Vikings. One play had two Minnesota defenders colliding into each other, turning a sure interception into a deflection and a touchdown for the Packers. 34-0 Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans–Hiding behind Indy, both of these teams seem to be quiet. Jacksonville at 5-3 is expected, but Tennessee has been very stealth at getting to 6-2. Jeff Fisher knows defense, and once again, after a couple year layoff due to injuries, Tennessee has the top rushing defense in the NFL. However, the Jaguars have Maurice Jones-Drew and old reliable Fred Taylor. Jacksonville ran it down the throats of the vaunted Titans defense early on for a 14-0 lead. Tennessee cracked the scoreboard with a Rob Bironas field goal on the last play of the half.

Lost in the shuffle of the Tennessee defense is the fact that Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars play a physical defense as well. On 4th ad inches in the third quarter, the Titans did get the ball past the marker. Unfortunately, nobody on the Titans possessed it. The snap was fumbled, and Jacksonville recovered. It led to no points when a fake field goal attempt by Jacksonville fooled nobody. However, a deflected pass led to an interception of Vince Young set up Jacksonville’s third touchdown. Tennessee added a field goal, and then scored their first touchdown on an acrobatic reception by Justin Gage on the first play of the fourth quarter. He caught it between 2 defenders, got nailed, hit the ground, had the ball pp back into the air, and then caught it again laying on his back. The Titans were within striking distance at 21-13. A Grant Jones touchdown with 5 minutes left iced the game for the Jaguars. Future Hall of Famer Fred Taylor passed 10,000 yard rushing for his career. 28-13 Jaguars

St. Louis Rams @ New Orleans Saints–The 0-8 Rams would have been playing an equally awful team 4 weeks ago. However, after an 0-4 start, the Saints rattled off four convincing wins to reach 4-4. The 1992 Chargers started 0-4, got to 4-4, lost their 9th game, and then ran the table to reach 11-5. The Saints looked like the first team to start 0-4 to get to 5-4, unless of course they are not. The Saints opened a 7-0 lead in what was supposed to be a lopsided laugher at home. That’s why they play the games. The Rams pulled out all the stops, including a halfback option pass for a touchdown and a 17-7 Rams lead at the break. The Rams looked like the Greatest Show no Turf with the exception of the 8 previous losses. Nevertheless, the 1976 Buccaneers lost another chance at company when the Rams went up 34-7. The Saints mounted a furious 4th quarter rally, but fell just short. The Rams failed to lose. This was the reverse of their 200 playoff game where the Saints went up 31-7 and barely survived 31-28. This time the Rams failed to blow it, as they got their first win. 37-29 Rams

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens–This was expected to be an ugly game because every game involving the Ravens is an ugly game. Seven field goals hand the Bengals up 21-0. The Ravens had six turnovers, with the Bengals adding two of their own. I watch the games, so you don’t have to. Trust me, on this one, you’re more than welcome. This would have been a tie for the NFL record, but that was broken a couple weeks ago, taking preventing meaning coming out of this game. The Bengals were in field goal range with seconds left in the game, but a very classy Marvin Lewis eschewed a chance to tie history and had Carson Palmer kneel on the ball. 21-7 Bengals

Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals–How the Lions got to 6-2, I have no idea, and neither do any of you. Yet they were playing the Cardinals, which should have meant a win, and a blowout. It did, but in the wrong direction. Kurt Warner far outplayed John Kitna, and a touchdown pass in the third quarter, Warner’s second to Leonard Pope, put the Cardinals up 24-7. The Lions had negative 16 yards rushing…yes, negative 16. The Lions led the turnover battle 5 to 3. 31-21 Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants–The battle for 1st place in the NFC East had Tony Romo throwing a 15 yard touchdown pass to Tony Curtis 4 minutes into the game. Eli Manning came back with a touchdown pass of his own to tie the game 7-7. These teams slugged it out like heavyweight fighters, and with the game tied 17-17, a 25 yard touchdown pass from Romo to Terrell Owens put Dallas in the lead. The Giants quickly retaliated, but critical penalties in the red zone forced Big Blue to settle for a field goal. Romo then went to Owens again, this time on a deep pass for 50 yards and an 11 point lead with 11 minutes remaining. It was Romo’s fourth touchdown toss on the day, to match the four he had in the 45-35 week 1 opener. 31-20 Cowboys

Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders–For more highlights on the Silver and Black, go to

The Raiders apparently wanted to forfeit the game, because they not only continued to have Josh McCown at quarterback, but Coach Lame Kiffin insisted on kicking the ball to Devon Hester.

The Bears went 3 and out on their first position, and the first offensive play for the Raiders was a fake handoff and a 34 yard McCown run. Justin Fargas added a couple runs, and a 38 yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski put the Raiders up 3-0. The Bears tied the score at 3-3 before the half, and the game deserves no more elaboration than that. Robbie Gould missed a 53 yard kick for the Bears, and Seabass nailed a 53 yard kickoff with 4 minutes remaining and a 6-3 Raiders lead.

The Raiders are known for a horrid offense, a stellar defense that breaks down due to exhaustion from lack of an ounce of help. Also, both Oakland cornerbacks were out due to injuries this game. With Brian Griese injured during the game, Rex Grossman threw a 59 yard bomb for a touchdown with 3 minutes left to put the Bears up 10-6. Yep, another typical game for the Raiders. The offense again went nowhere, the defense held, and the Raiders got the ball back on their own 25 with 1:49 left and one timeout left.

Oh, who gives a d@mn. McCown needed one play to make a difference. He fumbled, the third lost fumble on the day for the Raiders. The Bears recovered inside the 5, and the Raiders continue to be a worthless excuse of an organization from coaches to the stadium janitors. The final score was the exact same score as a Raiders-Bears game over 20 years ago whenh all the quarterbacks went down and Walter Payton and Marcus Allen were playing quarterback. Those were great teams. This was just the Raiders determined to be more pathetic than their bad opponent. The last time these teams played in 2003, the Raiders were coming off of a trip to the Superbowl. They led 21-3, and lost 24-21, beginning their descent into the disaster of today. Fittingly, this game ended with a Hail Mary interception. 17-6 Bears

Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers was the Sunday night game. Darren Sproles returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown 13 seconds in. The Colts are used to this, and it did not prevent them from winning the Superbowl last year. Yet between that and Sproles also returning a punt 45 yards for a touchdown, it was an ugly beginning for the Colts. Three field goals had the Chargers up 23-0, with Peyton Manning throwing four interceptions in the first half, three of them to Antonio Cromartie. The Colts did manage one interception that bounced off of several players, eventually being caught off of one player’s behind. It was run back for nearly a touchdown, but an inadvertant whistle blew the play dead after the interception itself. The Colts did score a touchdown with three minutes left in the half to cut the gap to 23-7. Out of timeouts, the Colts rushed a field goal attempt on the last play of the half, which Adam Vinatieri missed.

Manning’s nightmarish evening continued, as he threw his fifth interception. Yet San Diego’s big lead masked a team that was doing nothing on offense. When the Colts scored a touchdown and a 2 point conversion, the gap was 23-15 late in the third quarter. 30 seconds into the fourth quarter saw a disastrous play for San Diego. Philip Rivers went back to pass. A steady rain was falling, and the ball slipped out of his hand without him being touched. Rather than fall on the ball, he tried to bat it out of the back of the end zone, but did not hit it far enough. The Colts fell on it for a gift touchdown. Although Joseph Addai was stoned ice cold on the 2 point conversion attempt, the Chargers 23-0 lead was now 23-21. This was turning into the Cowboys-Bills game earlier in the year, but unlike Tony Romo, Manning had almost a whole quarter to work with.

After San Diego’s punter Scifres pinned the Colts at their own one yard line, He went back to pass on 3rd down from his own end zone. A 23 yard bullet to Reggie Wayne kept the drive going. The Chargers wasted a timeout by challenging the call, which clearly appeared to be a sensational catch. On 3rd and 4 from their own 45, Manning completed a pass into double coverage for a 10 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Chargers 47, Manning decided to go for all the marbles. The ball was perfectly thrown, and dropped at the 5 yard line. Defensive pass interference could have been called, but the ball should have been caught anyway. Nevertheless, the drive changed the field position dynamic. The Chargers took over on their own 14 with 7 1/2 minutes left.

Philip Rivers then promptly had a pass deflected and intercepted by Session, his second of the night, at the San Diego 42. With Addai running hard, on 3rd and 8 from the San Diego 25, a pass to Addai went for a first down to the 16 yard line. Addai smartly stayed in bounds, and San Diego burned their 2nd timeout with 2:43 left. On the next play San Diego called their final timeout with 2:36 left. Addai ran to the 9 yard line, where the Colts faced 3rd down and 3 at the 2 minute warning. As automatic as a field goal seemed, the elements were the wild card. Addai picked up the first down, giving the Colts the option of bleeding the clock and kicking a chip shot field goal on the last play, or trying to score a touchdown and risking a fumble, or scoring too early and leaving the Chargers time.

One school of thought would be to take a pair of kneel downs and kick on third down in case of a fumbled snap. All of this became moot when the spot of the ball was overturned, making it 4th and inches. The decision at that point was a no brainer, and Vinatieri came on for a 23 yard field goal. The Colts came out to go for it, which was an obvious attempt to draw the Chargers offsides. The danger of this scenario was a false start, which did occur. Nevertheless, a 28 yard field goal attempt after what seemed like an eternity finally took place. It was no good! It missed by inches, and would have been good had it not been for the false start pushing it back.

With 90 seconds left, the Colts still had two timeouts. Lorenzo Neal ran for 5 yards, and then Ladanian Tomlinson was caught for a two yard loss. On 3rd and 7, the Colts were out of timeouts with 1:18 left. For those who do not understand football, you run the ball. You do not even think about throwing in this situation. The Colts held, the clock dwindled, and the Colts took over at their own 33 with 22 seconds left and no timeouts. The stadium remained packed, wondering what would occur next. On the last play of the game, Mannings desperation pass became his sixth interception, a worst for him and the franchise. The one thing I learned form this game is to not turn the game off until the final gun. The Colts have dropped two straight after a 7-0 start, and the Chargers at 5-4 lead the awful AFC West. 23-21 Chargers

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks was the Monday night game. Condolences are in order to San Francisco Head Coach Mike Nolan, who just lost his father Dick Nolan. Dick Nolan coached the 49ers from 1968 to 1975, where they battled the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Title Game two years in a row, long before it was seen as one of the premier rivalries in Football history. May God look after the Nolan family.

As for the game, Seattle is just an average team, but San Francisco is a bad team. Seattle is very tough at home, and the first quarter was beyond lopsided. Seattle only led 10-0, but the 49ers showed nothing on offense. The game was shaping up to be a blowout. Seattle’s touchdown drive was 13 plays, and a 14 play drive set up a field goal, which luckily for San Francisco, was nullified by a penalty that pushed Seattle out of range. Things got so bad that after Alex Smith got belted, resulting in a fumble, a penalty flag appeared to save the 49ers. In a bizarre turn, the referee announced, “There is no foul, I threw my flag instead of my beanbag by mistake.” The 49ers had zero first downs in the first half. The only bright spot for the 49ers was that right before the half, for the second time, a field goal by Seattle was nullified by a penalty. Rather than 23-0, Seattle led 17-0 at the break. It should have been 100-0, and the only question would be if Seattle’s inability to close the door would bite them in hide by the end of the game.

It didn’t. A Seattle fumble led to nothing. A Seattle interception had the 49ers down to the Seahawks one yard line, which then led to nothing. A goal line stand led to a punt and a drive by San Francisco to the Seahawk 20, where a 4th and 2 led to…nothing. Seattle had no running game, but ran the ball because they were either bored or Matt Hasselbeck had tennis elbow from constant throwing in the first half. 24-0 Seahawks


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