NFL 2009–Week 2 Recap

The Jewish people turn 5770 today, as the NFL 2009 Season turns 2. Happy Rosh Hashanah.

Now let’s play football.

Despite the Raiders starting 0-1 for the 7th straight year, I have not given up hope.

With that, attached is my Week 2 NFL Recap.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Green Bay Packers–Carson Palmer did not need 59 minutes this time as a 5 yard touchdown pass to Laverneus Coles had the Bengals up 7-0. Aaron Rodgers brought the Packers right back with an 11 play, 80 yard drive that took 5 minutes. Rodgers hit Donald Driver from 3 yards out to tie the game 7-7. 44 seconds later the Packers were up 14-7 thanks to starting the drive at the Cincy 11. Ryan Grant took it in the final 4 yards.

In the second quarter Palmer took it in from a yard out to tie the game 14-14. On the next Cincinnati drive, Palmer threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to Charles Woodson. Unfortunately for the Benglas, Woodson plays defense for the Packers, who now led 21-14. Palmer rebounded, leading a 10 play, 6 1/2 minute drive that covered 80 yards.  A 5 yard touchdown pass to Henry tied the game 21-21 at halftime.

The game slowed considerably in the second half, and when Palmer hit Chad Johnson for a 13 yard touchdown, the Bengals led 28-21. In an absolute stunner, the Packers offense, highly touted the entire preseason, produced nothing. The Bengals added a field goal with 2 minutes left to supposedly ice the game and complete the shocking upset. A 10 point lead would be safe with 2 minutes left, but these are the Bengals. Last week they gave up an 87 yard touchdown pass off a tip drill.

Rodgers took over for the Packers at their own 21. He hit Lee for 11 yards and scrambled for 16 more. 7 plays and 1:11 led to a 45 yard field goal by Crosby to get the Packers within 7 points. Green Bay successfully recovered the onsides kick at their own 43 with 44 seconds left. On 3rd and 10, Rodgers hit Finley for 22 yards to the Cincinnati 35 with 17 seconds left. Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a 25 yard gain to the Cincy 10, with no timeouts and the clock ticking. They tried to spike the ball with one second left, but a false start led to the runoff that ended the game. Despite another almost meltdown, the Bengals survived. 31-24 Bengals

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs–In the first quarter the Raiders could not muster a first down. Shane Lechler had punts of 66 and 70 yards, again an indication of how awful the rest of the offense is. Matt Cassel started for Kansas City. Cassel led a 17 play, 74 yard drive that ate up 9 1/2 minutes of clock. On 4th and 1 at the 5, Todd Haley opted for the field goal and the 3-0 lead. A surprise onsides kick almost worked, but the Raiders instead began at the Kansas City 40. They wasted the opportunity. In the second quarter, with 4:45 left, Sebastian Janikowski nailed the tying field goal to make it 3-3.

As ugly as this game was, the half ended even uglier. The Chiefs had 1st and goal at the Oakland 9 with 14 seconds left and no timeouts. A West Coast Offense swing pass led to an inbounds tackle and the clock running out.

The Chiefs began the second half with Cassel being intercepted by Michael Huff, as the Raiders took over at the Kansas City 48. JaMarcus Russell was 3 for 18 last week on passes to wide receivers, and 2 for 11 at this point in this game. Outside of tight end Zach Miller, Russell is not connecting. The ground game picked up one first down, but incompletions set up Seabass from 54 yards out. He drilled it, and the Raiders led 6-3 midway through the third quarter. Kansas City punted on their next possession, and a punt inside the 5 turned into a touchback due to bungling. The Raiders responded with their 9th 3 and out.

Despite being outgained 331 to 99 in yardage, and trailing 23-5 in first downs, the Raiders led 6-3 with 7 minutes left. Yet the Raiders for the last 7 years have been a team with a good defense, a pathetic offense, and an inability to finish winnable games because an exhausted defense can’t overcome a dreadful offense. When Nahmdi Asomugha went out of the game, the Chiefs went after Stanford Routt. The result was a deep touchdown pass that put the Chiefs up 10-6 with 2 1/2 minutes. With Russell being 3 for 19 for 42 yards, draw your own conclusions.

A touchdown pass was nullified by a false start. Then Russell ran into his own man and fell down. Luckily a late hit by the Chiefs while Russell was on the ground created a 15 yard personal foul. The Raiders had 1st and 10 at the Chiefs 48. Several 3rd down screen passes were broken up by the Chiefs defense throughout the game, but a first down screen pass reached the Kansas City 38 for a 1st and 10 at the 2 minute warning.

A pair of incompletions and a false start had the Raiders facing 3rd and 15 from the 42. Russell then completed a 28 yard pass to Watkins at the 14 yard line. Russell next hit McFadden for 9 yards. On the next play, a pitchout to McFadden around the end had the Raiders retake the lead with 1:07 left.

Russell finished the game 7 of 24 for 109 yard passing. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush each finished with 35 yards rushing. The Chiefs led in total offense 409-166. They led in plays from scrimmage 79-51. They led in rushing yards 173-67. They led in possession 38 1/2 to 21 1/2. Yet when all was said and done, it was the Silver and Black that had won a shocker. For the third straight year, the Raiders won at Kansas City. This team has many questions on offense, especially with Russell. Yet they won, and are 1-1. Tom Cable has this team competing hard. 13-10 Raiders

New England Patriots @ New York Jets–As well as Matt Sanchez played against Houston last week, New England would be a far sterner test. Those claiming the demise of the New England defense may be premature. 3rd and 28 from their own 3 was not a good situation for Sanchez, although the handoff followed by the punt went off properly. A pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals had the Patriots up 6-0. With 3 minutes left in the half, Jay Feeley nailed a filed goal to pull the Jets to within 6-3. Gostkowski added a 3rd field goal to put the Patriots up 9-3 at the break. Sanchez threw only 5 passes the entire first half, completing 3 of them for 15 yards.

The Jets exploded to start the second half. Leon Washington returned the kickoff to the New England 40. Sanchez then came out firing, hitting Jerricho Cotrey down to the 10 and then tossing the touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to put the Jets up 10-9. New England then went 3 and out, and a short punt had the Jets at their own 45. Sanchez led an 11 play drive that reached the six yard line before stalling. A field goal had the Jets up 13-9.

Tom Brady led the Patriots to the New York 35, when back to back delay of game penalties led to a punt. A facemask penalty forced New England to punt again on 4th and 34, as the Jets took over on their own 15. After losing 7 yards, Sanchez moved them forward in a staggering 14 play drive that ate up 8 1/2 minutes. The drive bogged down at the 22, but a 39 yard field goal had the Jets up by 7 points with 10 minutes left.

Sanchez threw only 22 times, 17 of them after halftime. Brady put it up 47 times. Yet the story on this day was Rex Ryan and his defense. Brady was harassed all game, as New England never reached the end zone. These Jets are for real. 16-9 Jets

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans–A pair of defensive teams put on an aerial show. Of course, one Kerry Collins touchdown pass came easy as the Texans failed to field a defender against the receiver. Chris Johnson ran wild, with 179 yards on the ground, including a 91 yard run. Johnson scored on a 57 yard touchdown run on 3rd and 19 to put the Titans up 7-0 early on. Yet Matt Schaub put on a clinic today. He led a 14 play, 77 yard drive over 6 minutes. On 3rd and 2 from the Tennessee 19, Schaub hit Andre Johnson to tie the game 7-7. In addition to his running, Chris Johnson also caught a 69 yard touchdown reception from Kerry Collins that had the Titans up 14-7. In the second quarter, after a punt, Tennessee began at the Houston 46. Johnson ran for 16 yards, Lendale White added more, and Kerry Collins hit Nate Washington for 7 yards and then the 8 yard touchdown as Tennessee was cruising at 21-7.

They would not be cruising for long. One play and 16 seconds was all that Schaub needed to hit Johnson for a 72 yard touchdown to pull the Texans to within 21-14. Collins was then intercepted at the Tennessee 29. Schaub quickly threw his 3rd touchdown pass, this one to Jones. The game was tied 21-21, but neither team was close to being done.

The Texans got the ball back, and from their own 21, Schaub fired a pair of 21 yard gains to Daniels and Dreesen to set up a Kris Brown field goal as the Texans led 24-21 with 2:18 left in the half. Collins led the Titans right back in the 2 minute drill, starting at the Tennessee 19.  Collins hit Britt for 13 yards and Washington for 12 more. On 3rd and 16 from the Houston 45, an incomplete pass was offset by a defensive holding penalty and automatic first down. Collins then hit Justin Gage for 15 more yards to set up Rob Bironas. As the half ended, Bironas connected, and the teams were deadlocked 24-24.

After an exchange of punts to start the second half, the Titans took over at their own 1. From the 9, Johnson simply did the rest on a day where he ran ridiculous. His 91 yard run had the Titans back on top 31-24. After another exchange of punts in a game that was slowing up, The Texans took over at their own 35 before a penalty moved them back 13 more yards. Schaub then fired a 33 yard completion to Daniels at the Tennessee 45. On 3rd and 1 from the 36, Brown lost a yard. On 4th and 2 from the 37, Gary Kubiak decided to go for it. Schaub hit Dreesen for 4 yards to keep the drive alive. Schaub hit Johnson for 11 more, and a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone set up Schaub’s 4th touchdown pass, a 1 yard toss to Daniels. The game was tied 31-31 with just over an entire quarter to play.

Tennessee took over at their own 34, but on 3rd and 1 from the 43, Johnson failed to convert. Tennessee punted, Houston went 3 and out and punted back and Tennessee moved the ball. Yet with 10 1/2 minutes remaining, Jeff Fisher made  very curious call. On 4th and 6 from the Houston 33, Fisher decided to go for it rather than have Bironas try a 50 yard field goal. The Titans turned it over on downs. After another exchange of punts, the Texans took over at their own 32 with 7 minutes left.

On the first play from scrimmage, Schaub went deep to Jones for a 44 yard gain to the Tennessee 24. On 4th and 1 from the 15, Kubiak again decided to go for it with 5 minutes left. Schaub snuck through for 2 yards. On 4th and 2 from the 5, Kubiak settled for the 23 yard field goal. They led by a field goal, but had taken more time off of the clock. The Titans had 3 minutes to come back. With 1:42 left, from the Tennessee 38, Collins fumbled without being touched. He just lost the ball. Houston ran out the clock to preserve the upset win. Tennessee, after going 13-3 last year, is a surprising 0-2 after a pair of 3 point losses. 34-31 Texans

Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars–Kurt Warner began by completing a ridiculous 18 of his first 19 passes. An 11 play, 7 minute drive to start the game resulted in a one yard touchdown run by Tim Hightower as the Cardinals led 7-0. The Jaguars came right back as Maurice Jones-Drew ripped off a 36 yard run. However, on 3rd and 2 from the Arizona 11, the Jaguars lost a yard and settled for a field goal and a 7-3 game. Warner brought the Cardinals back and Neil Rackers added a field goal to put the Cardinals back up 10-3. Then things got bizarre.

The Jaguars faced 4th ans 13 at their own 17 and punted. The Cardinals fumbled the punt, and the Jaguars recovered at the Arizona 26. 3 plays and -2 yards later the Jaguars set up for a field goal. The kick was blocked, and Antrel Rolle returned the blocked field goal 83 yards for a touchdown as the Cardinals stormed out to a 17-3 lead. The game became a turnoverfest, and a promising Jaguars drive reached the Arizona 35 before they fumbled the ball away. With 2:13 left in the half form their own 32, Warner hit Hightower for 8, Steve Breaston for 22 more, and Anquon Boldin for 19 more after a 12 yard Jeremy Urban run. Warner hit Wright for 5 yards to put the Cardinals up 24-3 at the half.

The Cardinals continued to move with ease in the second half. Although Neal Rackers missed a field goal, all the Cardinals did on their next drive was have Warner fire to Larry Fitzgerald for a 29 yard touchdown and a 31-3 Cardinals lead. Normally when the starting quarterback is benched, it signals problems. Warner was benched only because he was 24 for 26, and Matt Leinart needs time to prove why he will never be Kurt Warner. Ken Whisenhunt can do this in preseason, but Warner came out way too early. Actually, it was a smart move. Leinart just does not play well.

David Garrard threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Lewis to make it a 31-10 game very late in the third quarter. Leinart threw one pass to Breaston for 17 yards and a first down before the Cardinals punted. The Jaguars took over at their own 19 and moved 81 yards in 14 plays and 5 minutes. On 4th and 10 from the Arizona 19, Garrard hit Sims-Walker to make it a 14 point game with 7 minutes left. The Cardinals punted, and Jacksonville took over at their own 38. Garrard hit Sims-Walker for 34 yards to the Arizona 28. On 4th and 13, Garrard threw a perfect pass to the end zone. It was dropped. The Cardinals avoided another monumental collapse like the one that had Dennis Green screaming “They are who we thought they were” and “crown their @ss.” As for the Jaguars, they are a mess. 31-17 Cardinals

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons–Jake Delhomme looked much improved from the last couple of nightmarish games, but Matt Ryan remained red hot, although not early on. Delhomme got things started with a 10 play drive from the Carolina 20 to the Atlanta 20, resulting in a field goal and a 3-0 Panthers lead. Ryan threw an interception in the first quarter, but got going in the second quarter.

A blocked punt near midfield set up Atlanta at their own 47. Ryan hit Jenkins for 24 yards, and then Ryan threw the first of his 3 touchdown passes in the first half, the first one being a 24 yarder to Tony Gonzalez to put the Falcons up 7-3.

Carolina came right back from the 20 as Deangelo Williams ran for 20 yards and Delhomme found Steve Smith for 28 yards to the Atlanta 32. Stewart ran for 28 yards down to the 3, and Williams ran it in on the next play to put the Panthers back up 10-7. Ryan then led the Falcons on an equally impressive 80 yard drive that lasted 14 plays and 7:15. From the Atlanta 37, Ryan hit Marty Booker for 27 to the Carolina 36. On 3rd and 11, Ryan hit Booker again for 15 yards down to the 22. On 3rd and 7, Ryan hit Gonzalez for 9 before throwing the 10 yard touchdown to Snelling to put the Falcons back up 14-10. Delhomme brought the Panthers back again, but the drive reached the Atlanta 28 and no further. A field goal had the Panthers within 14-13 with 1:49 left in the half.

Weems returned the kickoff 41 yards to the Atlanta 44. Snelling then picked up gains of 20 and 8 yards. Ryan then hit Brad Finneran for 7, Gonzalez for 15 more, and the final 7 yards to White as the Falcons led 21-13 at the midpoint.

Like many games today, this game slowed considerably in the second half. The Falcons did move from their own 20 to the Carolina 10 in a 7 minute drive, but Michael Turner fumbled the ball away. Carolina moved to their own 40 when Deangelo Williams fumbled the ball back to Atlanta. From the Carolina 47, Ryan led a 12 play, 7 minute drive that ended with a Turner one yard touchdown run. The Falcons led 28-13 with 12 1/2 minutes left in the game.

Delhomme engineered another 80 yard drive, this one taking 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Delhomme hit King for 32 yards to the Atlanta 48. After an offsides penalty, Delhomme hit Smith for 20 more yards down to the 23. On 3rd and 16 from the 29, Delhomme hit Williams for 18 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the 11, Delhomme hit Donte Rosario for the touchdown to pull the Panthers to within 8 points with 6:45 left. Atlanta needed on 50 seconds to go 3 and out and give it back to the Panthers at their own 32.

Delhomme hit Rosario for 11 yards, Williams for 12 to midfield, and to Steve Smith for 23 yards to the Atlanta 27. On 1st and 10 from the 17, Delhomme threw 3 straight short right passes that fell incomplete. On 4th down Delhomme was intercepted at the 4 yard line with 2 1/2 minutes left. Carolina got the ball back at their own 26 with 30 seconds left. With 8 seconds left from the Atlanta 43, Delhomme heaved the Hail Mary, which came dangerously close to being caught before falling incomplete. It was not easy, but the Falcons had held. The Panthers are 0-2, but looked better today. 28-20 Falcons

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles–Kevin Kolb started for an injured Donovan McNabb, as Michael Vick waits until next week to play. Rich Eisen had the quote of the day, describing the injured Philly leader as “McRib” due to his fractured rib injury. As for Kolb, he was 31 for 51 for 391 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with 3 interceptions. Drew Brees picked up right where he left off last week, throwing for 213 first half yards. Brees hit Marquis Colston for a pair of touchdowns, including a 15 yarder early on to put the Saints up 7-0. Kolb came right back with a 71 yard touchdown pass to Deshean Jackson to tie the game 7-7. After an exchange of punts, the Saints took over at the Philly 47. They reached the 5 yard line before settling for a field goal and a 10-7 lead.

In the second quarter Brees had the Saints on the move until he was intercepted at the Philly 27. Kob then led a 15 play, 8 1/2 minute drive that also got no further than the 5 yard line. David Akers kicked the tying field goal to make it 10-10 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.  The Saints could not move, but a punt pinned the Eagles at their own 3 yard line. The Eagles punted, and New Orleans took over at their own 46 with 1:20 left in the half. Brees needed 2 plays and 37 seconds to throw 29 yards to Reggie Bush and then 25 to Colston for the touchdown as the Saints led 17-10. They scored too early, as 43 seconds was enough time for Kolb to fire passes to Curtis of 26, 9, and 19 yards. Akers kicked a field goal to pull the Eagles within 17-13 at intermission.

The second half was a blowout. The Eagles fumbled the second half kickoff, the Saints took over at the Philly 22, and Evans ran 11 yards to quickly put the Saints up 24-13. Kolb was then intercepted, the Saints took over at the Philly 24, and Bell ran it in form 7 yards out to turn a tight game into a 31-13 laugher only 3 1/2 minutes into the second half. After a Philadelphia punt, the Saints moved from their own 23 to the Philly 7 in 12 plays and 6 minutes. Another Akers field goal had the Saints up 34-13.

Ellis Hobbs returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards to the New Orleans 35. Passes of 15 yards to Jackson and 14 yards to Avant set up 4th and goal at the 3, where Kolb hit AVant for the touchdown. The entire 4th quarter still remained, and the Eagles were only down 34-20.

They would get no closer. An exchange of punts had the Saints at their own 48. They had the field possession advantage all game, and they made the most of it. Reggie Bush ran for a 19 yard score to put the Saints up 41-20. Kolb moved the Eagles from their own 19 to the Saints 5, but then turned it over on downs. The Eagles did get a safety out of this field position to close to within 41-22, and the ensuing free kick had Philly on the move again. However, Kolb was intercepted at the 3 yard line by Darren Sharper, who took it the other way 97 yards to close out the scoring.

After the game, Andy Reid made it clear that if McRib can’t go, Kolb is the starter, not Vick. The Eagles are not that bad. The Saints are that good. Sean Payton, a Bill Parcells disciple, let the media know that his team has plenty to work on. They look pretty good so far. 48-22 Saints

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions–Yes, the Vikings have Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson, and yes the Lions went 0-16 last year. However, they came very close to beating Minnesota last year. This year the Lions pressured Favre on defense, and bottled up Peterson early on. A Peterson fumble had the Lions starting at the Minnesota 48. 12 plays and 6 minutes later, the Lions kicked a field goal to lead 3-0. Matthew Stafford did throw an interception early on, but he stayed calm, and threw an 8 yard touchdown pass to give the Lions a 10-0 lead that really was not as stunning as some would make it out to be. With one minute left in the half, Favre threw a two yard touchdown pass to Asante Shiancoe to cap a 10 play, 76 yard drive to pull the Vikings within 10-7.

In the third quarter Favre finally got the Vikings moving. A Detroit punt set up a short field as Minnesota began at the Detroit 47. The drive stalled inside the 10 yard line, but a field goal tied it 10-10. Then the Lions fumbled, and the game turned. Starting from the Detroit 27, one running play became an Adrian Peterson touchdown and a 17-10 Vikings lead. Favre was very efficient on the day, completing 23 of his first 27 passes for only 155 yards. Yet another field goal early in the 4th quarter was followed by a Matthew Stafford interception. The Vikings took over from the Detroit 16, and a 3 yard touchdown toss to Percy Harvin turned a potential upset into a Minnesota win, although the game was closer than the score indicated. Detroit added a meaningless field goal late in the game. 27-13 Vikings

St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins–Sometimes a game between a pair of bad teams can produce a thriller. Not this game. Jason Campbell did lead a 13 play, 83 yard drive that took 6 1/2 minutes. It stalled at the 4 yard line, leading to a Suisham field goal and a 3-0 Redskins lead. In the second quarter, Campbell led a 13 play, 64 yard drive that ate up another 6 minutes. Suisham kicked a 28 yard field goal to put the Redskins up 6-0. Marc Bulger finally got the Rams going late in the half, with a 10 play, 84 yard drive that culminated in Bulger hitting Robinson for a 2 yard touchdown and a 7-6 Rams lead at the break.

Despite totally outplaying the Rams, the Redskins trailed. Again Campbell led a long drive, this one 14 plays, 74 yards, and 7 1/2 minutes. Again the Redskins bogged down, this time at the 6 yard line. Suisham’s 3rd field goal had the Redskins up by a deuce with an entire quarter and a half to play. Marc Bulger then led a 14 play, 8 1/2 minute drive that began at the Rams 25. On 3rd and 4 from the Redskins 9, the Rams fumbled the ball away with 13 minutes left. After a punt, the Rams took over at the Washington 9, went nowhere, and punted. With 9:15 left, Campbell moved the Redskins form their own 20 to a 4th and 1 at the Rams 2, which they failed to convert. The Rams had 1:55 left from their own 4. 4 incomplete passes later, this dreadful game ended. 9-7 Redskins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills–Tampa Bay punted, the Bills took over at their own 46, and Trent Edwards quickly hit Lee Evans for a 32 yard touchdown pass 3 1/2 minutes in to put the Bills up 7-0. Byron Leftwich threw a 76 yard touchdown pass to Donte WHitner, who unfortunately for Tampa Bay, plays defense for Buffalo. Each team had thrown a touchdown to a Buffalo player as the Bills led 14-0. Another Leftwich completion to a Buffalo defender had the Bill starting at the Tampa 32. A field goal had the Bills up 17-0 after one quarter, with the game on pace to be 68-0 and 8 Leftwich interceptions.

Leftiwch threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow early in the second quarter. Winslow does play for Tampa, which brought the Bucs to within 17-7. Buffalo came back, and Dick Jauron decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from their own 36. The Bills picked up 2 yards, and a face mask added 15 more. The drive reached the Tampa Bay 25, where a field goal had the Bills up 20-7.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half, Buffalo looked to turn out the lights. Edwards drove the team from their own 9 to the Tampa 14. Yet the game quickly changed when Buffalo fumbled, Piscitelli picked it up at the 20, and raced 72 yards to the Buffalo 8 in front of a stunned Bills crowd. Leftwich hit Williams with seconds left in the half for the touchdown, and instead of trailing 27-7, the Buccaneers were only down 20-14.

Despite the shift in momentum, neither team could move much in the third quarter. Midway through the period, facing 4th and 1 at the Buffalo 43, Ward was stuffed for a one yard loss. Edwards went deep, but was intercepted, with Piscatelli again rising to the occasion. Yet after a scoreless third quarter, Edwards led Buffalo on a 13 play drive that led to a field goal and a 23-14 Bills lead with 11 1/2 minutes left. After a punt had the Bills at their own 46, Edwards went deep to Terrell Owens for a 43 yard touchdown and a comfortable 30-14 Bills lead.

Leftwich led the Buccaneers 80 yards in 14 plays, and on 4th and goal at the Buffalo 6, he hit Jeremy Stevens for the touchdown. The 2 point conversion failed, but with 5 1/2 minutes left the Bucs were within 30-20.

A very short kickoff had the Bills starting at their own 43. Fred Jackson ripped off a 43 yard gain, and the Bills reached the Tampa 2 yard line. On 3rd and 1 they failed to convert, but the field goal had the Bills up by 13 with 2 minutes left. The Raheem Morris era is 0-2, as Jon Gruden remains in the MNF booth and Monte Kiffin takes his vaunted defense to the college ranks. 33-20 Bills

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers–The Seahawks are on the decline as the Walrus stays retired while the 49ers are on the rise, although with smashmouth and not glamour under Mike Singletary. After a Seattle punt, Shawn Hill took the 49ers 13 plays and 8 minutes from the San Francisco 26 to the Seattle 19 before settling for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. After a punt, the 49ers began at their own 21. One play and 79 yards later, Frank Gore had run to put the 49ers up 10-0.

In the second quarter, Matt Hasselbeck led Seattle from their own 30 to the San Francisco 18. After failing to convert 3rd and 2, Seattle settled for a field goal to get within 10-3. The teams were at a standstill until a poor punt had the 49ers starting at the Seahawks 43. A field goal had the 49ers up 13-3 with 3 minutes left in the half. Hasselbeck brought Seattle back, rapidly moving the team 70 yards and 11 plays. On second and goal from the 4, Hasselbeck was injured trying to score. Seneca Wallace came in and scored from the one. The Seahawks only trailed 13-10 at halftime, but the Hasselbeck would not return.

After a touchback to start the second half, Frank Gore again ran the distance on 1 play, outdoing his earlier 79 yarder with an 80 yarder. The 49ers led 20-10 only seconds into the second half, and the rest of the game should never be described. The teams traded punts with a Nate Burleson interception of Wallace breaking up the monotony. A field goal padded the lead. The 49ers are 2-0, and the Seahawks under Jim Mora Jr. are 0-2 and on the verge of becoming the Seahags again. 23-10 49ers

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears–Both of these teams have superstar quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler, despite Cutler’s 4 interception debacle last week. Yet these teams, despite Brian Urlacher being lost for the season, are about defense. This game was expected to be an old fashioned headknocker, and it was. For the second straight week, the defending champion Steelers were in a slugfest.

After a Chicago punt, early on Pittsburgh looked like an offensive machine as Big Ben moved them 92 yards in 13 plays over 8 minutes. On 3rd and 12 from their own 17, Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes for 24 yards, followed by a 15 yard completion to Heath Miller and a 19 yarder back to Holmes. A 13 yarder to Hines Ward set up 1st and goal form the 9. On 4th and goal from the 1, Roethlisberger threw a pass to Spaeth for the touchdown and the 7-0 Steelers lead. The game then turned into a defensive bonelock.

With 6 minutes left in the half, the Bears took over at their own 3. This time it was Cutler who led the march coast to coast. A roughing the passer penalty followed by a 15 yard run by Adrian Peteron had Chicago at the 33. Cutler hit Johnny Knox for 22 yards down to the Pittsburgh 45. Cutler completed short passes to Matt Forte, Knox, and Peterson to reach the 10 yard line. With seconds left in the half, on 3rd and goal at the 6, Cutler hit Davis to complete the 97 yard, 13 play, 6 minute drive. The teams were deadlocked 7-7 at intermission.

Midway through the third quarter, the Steelers took over at their own 31. A 13 yard pass to Rashaard Mendenhall followed by an unnecessary roughness penalty had Pittsburgh at the Chicago 41. Mendenhall broke the stalemate with a 39 yard run, and Big Ben ran the final 2 yards to put the Steelers up 14-7. The defenses took over again until the Bears got the ball at their own 28 with 11 1/2 minutes left in the game. On 3rd and from the 35, Cutler hit Devon Hester for 13 yards. Cutler then hit Greg Olsen for 29 yards to the Pittsburgh 23. On 3rd and goal from the 7, Cutler hit Knox for the touchdown. With 6 1/2 minutes left, the game was deadlocked 14-14.

Big Ben did his job, moving the Steelers from their own 29 to the Chicago 25. After failing to convert on 3rd and 2, Reed came in for the 43 yard field goal to give the Steelers the lead. The kick was no good, wide left. Cutler took over with 3:18 left at the Chicago 33. Matt Forte ran for 12 yards, fumbled the ball, and Greg Olsen recovered it 10 yards further at the Pittsburgh 45 to keep the Bears in business. On 3rd and 4 from the 39, Cutler hit Hester for 5 yards. With 20 seconds left, Robbie Gould had his 44 yard attempt to win it. His kick was good, and it was the Bears that had gutted out the win. Both of these teams are 1-1, and this game was as good as advertised for those that like tough defense. 17-14 Bears

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos–The Josh McDaniels era  needed an 87 yard miracle doink reception touchdown by Brandon Stokely to avoid imploding after one week of the post Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler era. While they did not have the luxury of playing Cincy again, there are a pair of bad teams in Ohio for Denver to practice against.

Denver fumbled the opening kickoff, as Cleveland took over at the Denver 22. A field goal by Phil Dawson had the Browns up 3-0, completing their game highlights. After a Denver punt, facing 3rd and 9 at their own 13, Brady Quinn fumbled. From the Cleveland 9, Denver needed 3 plays for Kyle Orton to throw 2 yards to Tony Scheffler to put the Broncos up 7-3 in a game that nobody deserved to score in. Quinn did respond with an 11 play, 6 minute drive that led to a field goal, but trailing 7-6 was too much for Cleveland to overcome. Denver responded as Orton led a 13 play, 5 minute drive that led to a field goal and a seemingly insurmountable 10-6 Denver lead. This thrilling opening half had Orton lead Denver from their own 6 to the Cleveland 21 to set up a missed field goal. For some reason the second half was played.

Cleveland needed 3 plays in the second half for Joshua Cribbs to fumble, Denver to start at their Cleveland 38, and Prater to make another field goal to put the game way out of reach at 13-6. Kyle Orton looked good throughout the day, passing for 263 yards. He even led another long possession that went from the Denver 12 to a 4th and 1 at the Cleveland 19. McDaniels decided not to gamble, going with the safe field goal that was missed.

With 12 minutes left, Denver only led by 7 in a game they were dominating. Orton then did his part. From just shy of midfield, a 49 yard pass to Gaffney followed by a 2 yard touchdown toss to Patrick Hillis had the Broncos safely in front 20-6. After facing 4th and 28 at their own 2, Cleveland punted. Correll Buckhalter ripped off a 45 yard touchdown run 3 plays later to end this game. The Broncos are bad, but they are 2-0 and out of awful Ohio teams to play. The Browns are even worse at 0-2, and looking forward to playing the improved Cincy rival to avoid 0-16. It has happened before. 27-6 Broncos

Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers–Will the people that keep claiming the Chargers have Super Bowl potential finally concede that Norvelous Norv Turner will not get them there? I will say it now. They have no shot, which I have said since Norv took over.They have the players. It doesn’t matter.

Philip Rivers connected on a screen pass to Darren Sproles, who raced 81 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Chargers lead. The Ravens also have players, and they are well coached. It does matter. Joe Flacco led the Ravens 68 yards on an efficient drive. Willis McGahee ran 5 yards to tie the game 7-7. Rivers brought the Chargers right back, and a 45 yard pass to Floyd set up 1st and goal from the 8. However, from the 5, Rivers was sacked for a 10 yard loss as the team settled for a Nate Kaeding field goal and a 10-7 lead.

In the second quarter Flacco came right back with an 11 play, 78 yard drive that took almost 5 minutes. The key play came on 3rd and 11 from the San Diego 24. An incomplete pass was offset by a defensive pass interference call at the 3 yard line. McGahee ran it in to put the Ravens up 14-10. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the half, from the San Diego 39, Rivers hit Sproles for 22 yards to the Baltimore 39. Rivers then hit Antonio Gates for 37 yards down to the 2. Norv decided to run wide rather than straight ahead, followed by West Coast Offense passes. 3 plays lost 2 yards and the Chargers kicked a field goal to get within 14-13. Yes, the Baltimore defense has Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and an attitude in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Turner still conceded the attitude game in favor of finesse. Physical beats soft every time.

With 3 minutes left in the half, the Ravens had enough time from their own 25.  At the 2 minute warning Joe Flacco had them at midfield. McGahee ran for 9 yards, Flacco hit Derrick Mason for 14 more, and then Flacco hit Washington for the 27 yard touchdown to lead 21-13 at the break. Yet 98 seconds was enough time for Rivers, especially when Sproles ran the kickoff back 53 yards to the Baltimore 42. On 4th and 2 from the 34, with 38 seconds left, Rivers hit Gates for 9 yards followed by a spike. Rivers hit Jackson for 24 yards down to the one, and the clock stopped with 19 seconds left due to a roughing the passer penalty. On 1st and goal from the one, Rivers took a delay of game penalty. San Diego again settled for a field goal, as they trailed 21-16 at halftime in a game they could have been winning.

Early in the third quarter, Rivers was intercepted, and Baltimore took over at the San Diego 22. Flacco hit Todd Heap for the 9 yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 28-16. The Ravens returned the blunder, with the kickoff going out of bounds and the Chargers starting their own 40. On 3rd and 18 from the Baltimore 35, Rivers went deep to Vincent Jackson for the touchdown to get the Chargers to within 28-23.

Early in the fourth quarter, Flacco led the Ravens from their own 20 to the San Deigo 30. However, on 3rd and 8 he was intercepted. San Diego took over at their own 44, and Rivers hit Jackson for 16 yards. From the Baltimore 30, Rivers hit Gates for 20 yards down t the 10. Again the Chargers bogged down deep, settling for Nate Kaeding’s 4th field goal. The Chargers trailed 28-26 with 7 minutes left.

The Ravens punted, and San Diego took over at their own 7 with 4:45 left. Rivers was on fire the whole game, so the Chargers threw instead of trying to establish a run game. LaDanian Tomlinson was not playing in this game. Rivers was intercepted, and the Ravens had a chance to turn out the lights from the San Diego 13. The Ravens also kept passing, and Flacco was sacked for a 9 yard loss. The Ravens settled for a field goal and a 5 point lead with 3 minutes left.

The Chargers took over at their own 27 and immediately fired 38 yards to Jackson at the Baltimore 35 at the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 3 from the 28, Rivers picked up 5 to the 23. On 3rd and 2 from the 15, Rivers fired incomplete. On 4th and 2 from the 15, Rivers had thrown for 436 yards. The running game had done nothing. Even Norv Turner can understand this. No, he can’t. A trap run by Darren Sproles was blown up in the backfield by Ray Lewis. Remember him? He is only one of the great middle linebackers of all time. The Ravens have Super Bowl rings. The Chargers are Norvelous. 31-26 Ravens

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys was the Sunday night game. Jerry Jones spent 1.2 billion dollars on the stadium, and over 105,000 people attended, an NFL record. What they saw was a fine, fine football game. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura were in attendance. John Madden was a guest and not the announcer. Madden had the honor of sitting next to President Bush. Then again, it was an honor for President Bush to be sitting next to John Madden. I wish I was between these two legends. Although the season is early, this was the game of the year.

Eli Manning passed for 330 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Romo had only 129 yards passing, but that was because the running game gashed New York for over 250 yards. This game was simply terrific.

After a Dallas punt, Eli Manning led the Giants from their own 17 to the Dallas 12. Big Blue settled for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Cowboys then came back 62 yards, with Marion Barber running a 27 yarder to set up his 2 yard touchdown run and 7-3 Cowboys lead, the first of many lead changes. After a Giants punt, Romo threw a touchdown pass to Johnson, who plays defense for the Giants. The 34 yard interception return had the Giants up 10-7 in the second lead change. Dallas fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the G-Men took over at the Dallas 27. They got to the 5 before a running play lost 7 yards. Early in the second quarter, another field goal by Lawrence Tynes had Big Blue up 13-7.

Dallas took over on their own 27, and Romo kept handing off to Barber. From the Dallas 44, a 20 yard pass to Austin plus a 15 yard facemask had the Cowboys at the Giants 21. Wade Phillips then went into his bag of tricks. Romo handed off to Felix Jones, who pitched it to Patrick Crayton, who ran 20 yards to the one. Barber failed to crack the goal line on successive plays, so on 3rd down Romo went play action pass and hit Jason Witten to put the Cowboys up 14-13 in the game’s third lead change.

The teams slowed down for much of the second quarter until Romo was intercepted by Phillips with 1:21 left in the half. Phillips returned it for a touchdown, but the whistle had blown the play dead incorrectly. Nevertheless, Manning hit Manningham for the 22 yard touchdown to put the Giants up 20-14 in the game’s 4th lead change with only 46 seconds left in the half. That was too much time for Romo, as the Cowboys took over at their own 34. A 26 yard pass to Barber set up a field goal as the Cowboys went into the locker room down only 20-17.

These teams did not slow down in the second half. They accelerated. Manning quickly moved the Giants from their own 18 to the Dallas 11. Yet in a game that was very well played, Tynes missed a 29 yard field goal. After an exchange of punts, the Cowboys took over at their own 17. Felix Jones broke off a 56 yard run, and Barber then added runs of 10 and 15 yards. Romo ran the final 15 yards himself as the 5th lead change had the Cowboys up 24-20. The Giants punted, but Romo was intercepted by Phillips as the Gioants took over at the Dallas 24. On 3rd and 8, Manning hit Steve Smith for the 22 yard touchdown. The 6th lead change had the Giants up 27-24 with 13 1/2 minutes left in the game.

The Cowboys punted again, and the Giants took over at their own 42. Manning hit Manningham for a 25 yard gain to set up a field goal to put the Giants up 30-24 midway through the final quarter. Dallas took over at their own 29. Barber ripped off 11 yards, and Romo found Witten for 15 more. From the New York 42, Barber ripped off a 35 yard gain down to the 7. Felix Jones ran it in for the game’s 7th lead change as the Cowboys led 31-30 with 3:40 left.The Giants took over on their own 25. A holding penalty had them facing 1st and 20 from their own 15.

On 3rd and 6 from the 29, Manning hit Smith for 11 yards to the 40. Manning then hit Kevin Boss for 13 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Dallas 41, Manning hit Manningham for 8 yards to the 33. Manning then hit Smith for 12 more. With 4 seconds left, Tynes lined up for the field goal. This was about redeeming his earlier miss, and also the winning or losing the entire game. After the first attempt was nullified when Wade Philips called a last second timeout (Thank you Mike Shanahan for screwing up the game with that.), Tynes connected perfectly down the middle.

105,000 fans went home dejected. Jerry Jones found out that a billion dollars cannot buy a championship, or even a home opening win. 8 lead changes made for a thriller. The rematch is already anticipated. 33-31 Giants

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins was the Monday night game. Before most people could blink, Peyton Manning had the Colts up 7-0. After a touchback, he needed one play and 12 seconds to throw an 80 yard touchdown pass to Dallas Clark, who shedded one tackler en route to the end zone. Apparently going from Tony Dungy to Jim Caldwell is smooth when Manning goes to Clark. Bill Parcells could not be reached for comment, but Tony Sparano was not pleased.

Sparano was pleased when Pennington marched the Dolphins down the field in 9 plays covering 75 yards and taking 6 minutes. A wildcat snap to Ronnie Brown produced the tying touchdown as Brown dragged tacklers with him. He actually appeared to be down at the one, but Caldwell for some reason did not challenge the touchdown.

The game slowed down considerably after the opening possessions. Miami added a field goal, and Indy did as well to tie the game 10-10. Miami added another field goal with 44 seconds left in the half. That was just enough time for Manning. After a deep pass was initially ruled an interception, on review it was overturned and ruled incomplete. Given a second chance, Manning got the Colts in position for Adam Vinatieri from 48 yards out. He doinked it off the upright, but it caromed through  to tie the game 13-13 at halftime.

Despite the fact that the game was tied, the Dolphins were dominating in time of possession, and the wildcat was giving the Colts defense fits. After a scoreless third quarter, a 13 play, 80 yard drive ate up 8:45 of clock. Ronnie Brown ran it in from 3 yards out to put the Dolphins up 20-13. Manning came right back, hitting Clark for a 49 yard gain. Donald Brown ran it in 15 yards to finish the 79 yard drive and tie the game up 20-20 midway through the fourth.

Yet Pennington brought the Dolphins right back. He took 10 plays with more wildcat plays thrown in to move Miami 51 yards. A 45 yard field goal put the Dolphins up 23-20 with 3:50 remaining. Manning needed 32 seconds to strike back 80 yards. A swing pass to Pierre Garcia went for a 48 yard touchdown as the Colts went back on top by 4 points. 3:18 still remained. The Colts had the ball for less than 15 minutes to more than 45 minutes for the Dolphins. The defense of the Colts had to be beyond exhausted. Yet the Colts led.

Pennington led one final drive. From past midfield, Pennington went to the end zone. Ted Ginn had his hands on the ball, but was well defended as the pass fell incomplete. After completing a 4th and 10 pass, the Dolphins had 1st and 10 at the Miami 30 with 6 seconds left. Pennington heaved a pass into quadruple coverage, and it was intercepted by Antoine Bethea in the end zone. The Colts ran only 13 plays in the entire second half, but survived to reach 2-0 while the Dolphins fell to 0-2. Maybe had the Dolphins held the ball for 55 minutes they would have won. Maybe. 27-23 Dolphins


One Response to “NFL 2009–Week 2 Recap”

  1. I disagree with our good host that the Bengals victory was a “shocking upset.” I think the Bengals have the offense to overcome their defense and be a pretty good team this year. They’re going to have to score a lot, but they have the pieces to do that.

    I always had a natural liking for the Raiders – true Americana – but I thinkl our good host would agree that they’re victory spoke more of who they played then how they played. Where our good host and I would probably disagree, and it pains me to say this, is that I really think Al Davis, our beloved hero of American sports, has really outlived his idium. Mad Bombers will not make it in today’s NFL. Though I, like our good host, despise watching the “West Coast Offense,” elements of that scheme are absolutely necessary to compete in today’s NFL. Never forget – Bill Walsh (I know our good host is going to hate this…) is the Father and Founder the modern NFL offense.

    On the other hand…

    The Jets did everything BUT the West Coast Offense to defeat the hated Pats. Sure, the Jets tried it in the first half – to no avail – and then came the second half. And that half should’ve mad ol’ Crazy Al very proud. Sanchez aired it out and beat the Pats and did it without Rex’s Uber Defense. Ryan’s Raven-clone defense kept the Pats at bay, but Sanchez won the game with the long pass. I guess there’s a time and a place for everything under the sun… if you have the talent (and timing) to pull it off.

    I think our good host seriously underestimates the Titans offense. I’d bet my mid-season they’ll be among the best rated offenses in the league.


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