NFL 2010–Week 7 Recap

This will be the last NFL week before we change the clocks, which means absolutely nothing.

Clocks are made of wood, which comes from trees. This concludes the environmental report. Now on to football.

Before getting to the NFL action, my coed touch football team “Team Awesome” played the Dark Blue team today. We wear Lime green. We broke open a close game with a phenomenal 2 minute drill as we got our stars Andrew and Ryan back from their debauchery in Las Vegas. Leading 20-18, Ryan fired the cannon and Andrew did what he does, out-leaping everybody for the score and a 28-18 halftime lead.

I managed to deflect a ball that Andrew intercepted, leading to a 36-18 lead that turned out the lights. I mention this because it was the closest thing I did resembling a contribution. One pass to me was overthrown in the back corner of the end zone, and my first experience this year playing center resulted in a fumbled snap out of the shotgun. Yeah, I had some rust. On the last play of the game, with the outcome not in doubt, Ryan went deep to Andrew, who did what he does. I was not able to join my teammates at the bar this weekend, but I am sure they got hammered after hammering the opponents. Domination in football is to be followed by domination at Beer Pong and Flip Cup. 62-40, Team Awesome.

Now on to the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles at Tennessee Titans–In an age of zero job security, stalwarts Andy Reid and Jeff Fisher quietly do their jobs and win games. They both occasionally grow sinister looking beards. With Vince Young and Michael Vick injured, Kerry Collins and Kevin Kolb started. Collins was intercepted early on. The opening quarter was scoreless. After a 14 play, 7 1/2 minute drive, David Akers kicked a field goal from 25 yards out to have the Eagles up 3-0 early in the second quarter.

Midway through the second quarter the Titans were on the move with 3rd and 6 at the Philly 31.  Collins was hit and fumbled, and the Eagles took over at their own 41 to end the threat. Yet Collins kept firing, and on the next Tennessee drive he hit Kenny Britt for a 26 yard touchdown to have the Titans up 7-3.

Walrus Lite Andy Reid then went to his bag of tricks from just past midfield. Jeremy Maclin took a wildcat snap and handed the ball to McCoy. McCoy pitched it back to Kolb. Kolb went deep and threw an underthrown ball that was somehow caught by Riley Cooper at the 5 yard line. Kolb hit Cooper for the score as the Eagles led 10-7. Late in the half Kolb was able to get the Eagles into long field goal range, and Akers connected from 46 to have the Eagles up 13-7 at intermission.

The game looked like a war of attrition in the third quarter as Akers nailed another 46 yarder and a 28 yarder sandwiched around a 41 yard Rob Bironas field goal as the Eagles led 19-10 early in the fourth quarter.

Yet after the third Akers kick, everything changed. From the 20, Collins needed one play to complete an 80 yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt to get the Titans within 19-17. Tennessee got the ball back at their own 34, and Collins went deep to Britt again, this time for a 42 yard gain. Bironas nailed a 38 yard field goal to have Titans back on top 20-19 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Philly punted again, and Tennessee took over at their own 47. Collins and Britt continued to terrorize the Philly defense, as they hooked up on a 21 yard gain. From the 16, Collins hit Britt for the touchdown as the Titans led 27-19 with 5 minutes to play.

Philly went nowhere, but the defense forced the Titans to punt. Yet with 3 1/2 minutes left, the Eagles put the nail in their own coffin by fumbling the punt. The Titans took over at the Eagles 33. With 22 seconds left in the game, the Titans faced 4th and 3 at the Philly 15. Jeff Fisher decided to have Bironas kick the field goal, knowing the risks of a block. Bironas delivered to lock up the game.

Insult was added when Kolb was intercepted on the final play by Cortland Finnegan, who returned it 41 yards for the score. 10 points in the final 22 seconds made the game look more lopsided than it was, although Tennessee scored the final 27 points for their second straight big win in 6 days. 37-19 Titans

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens–Ed Reed is back from the physically unable to perform list, which pretty much describes the entire Buffalo team. Ed Reed forced a fumble early on. Billy Cundiff kicked a field goal to have the Ravens up 3-0 in a game they were supposed to win with ease. Yet Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Lee Evans for a 33 yard touchdown to have the Bills up 7-3. The Ravens fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Bills the ball inside the 10. The Ravens defense did its job, and Ryan Lindell kicked the short field goal to have the Bills up 10-3.

The game turned into a shocker in the second quarter when Fitzpatrick went deep again for an identical 33 yard touchdown pass as Buffalo led 17-3.  The Ravens finally arose from their boredom as Joe Flacco hit Todd Heap for a 26 yard touchdown to get the Ravens within 17-10.

Somehow Fitzpatrick turned himself into the second coming of Jim Kelly, as a 43 yard completion set up a 20 yard touchdown to Evans as the Bills led 24-10. Then reality set in as order was restored.

At the 2 minute warning the Ravens had 3rd and 3 at the Buffalo 7. A false start followed by a sack and fumble had the Ravens with 4th and 26 at the 30. Cundiff bailed the Ravens out with  field goal as the Ravens trailed 24-13 with one minute left in the half. Yet the Bills could not get to the locker room as CJ Spiller fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Ravens took over at the Buffalo 27. On 3rd and 9 Flacco hit Derrick Mason for 12 yards and then the 14 yard touchdown to Todd Heap as the Ravens only trailed 24-20 at halftime.

As the third quarter started, each quarterback needed only one play to make a difference. Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Ed Reed. From the Buffalo 34, Flacco hit Anquon Boldin for the touchdown as the Ravens led 27-24. Fitzpatrick led the Bills to a 4th and 1 at the Baltimore 34. Rather than try a 52 yard field goal, Chan Gailey had Fitzpatrick face off against Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense. Shockingly enough, Lewis won that battle and the Ravens took over by stuffing the sneak.

Flacco calmly led a 65 yard drive that took over 6 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Buffalo 31, John Harbaugh decided to go for it. Flacco hit McClain for a 16 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the 6, Willis McGahee picked up just enough. McGahee scored from 2 yards out to complete the 24 point deluge and have the Ravens up 34-24.

On the last play of the third quarter, Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Ed Reed, his second of the game. From just past midfield, Reed returned it 40 yards to the Buffalo 9. Reed was injured on the play, despite his first game back being stellar. Yet on the first play of the fourth quarter, momentum swing back when Flacco fumbled and the Bills recovered on their own 14. The teams exchanged punts, and the Bills got the ball back at their own 37 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

From the Buffalo 44, Fitzpatrick hit St Johnson for a catch and run of 34 yards to the Baltimore 22. On 3rd and 5, for the third time on the day, Fitzpatrick connected with Evans as the Bills were within 34-31 with just under 6 minutes to play. With 3 1/2 minutes to play, the Bills got the ball back at their own 9 yard line.

With 1:57 to play, the Bills faced 4th and 7 at their own 12. Fitzpatrick hit Nelson for 16 yards. With 1:07 to play the Bills faced 3rd and 3 at their own 35. Fitzpatrick hit Nelson for 9 yards. A 12 yarder to Evans to the Baltimore 44 was followed by the Bills taking their last timeout with 37 seconds left. On 3rd and 10 Fitzpatrick hit St. Johnson for 12 yards. Buffalo was trying to scramble to the line to spike the ball when the officials stopped play with 8 seconds left. An injury on the Ravens defense gave the Bills a major break. Ryan Lindell came in for a 50 yard field field to tie the game. Lindell nailed it, and the game went into overtime tied 34-34.

Sadly enough, this fine football game was decided by controversy. After a Ravens punt, the Bills had 2nd and 10 at their own 41 only 2 minutes into overtime. Fitzpatrick hit Nelson for 14 yards to the Baltimore 45. Several Ravens stacked Nelson up, and even though forward progress had been stopped, no whistle had blown. Ray Lewis ripped the ball out of Nelson’s hands. It was ruled a fumble. Ray Lewis is a Hall of Famer, and you play until the whistle. To make matters worse for Buffalo, they were called for unsportsmanlike conduct when a player removed their helmet on the field of play.

From the Buffalo 29, Harbaugh played it conservative, and on 4th and 1 from the 20, Cundiff came in for the 38 yard field goal. Cundiff nailed it, and just like that, the game was over. Ralph Wilson turned 92 today, but their was no birthday present for him. His Bills scared the daylights out of the Ravens, but it was not enough. 37-34 Ravens OT

Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears–Lovie Smith has seen the Bears 3-0 start become a mirage while Mike Shanahan has the Redskins improving. Donovan McNabb has show he has plenty of gas left in the tank, but an ill advised pass with men in his face was deflected and intercepted by DJ Moore, who returned it 55 yards for a score to have the Bears up 7-0. Israel Adonojay, who is not Jewish, was in on the play. Yet McNabb came right back, hitting Santana Moss for a 24 yard score to have the game tied 7-7.

Early in the second quarter Graham Gano nailed a 46 yard field goal to put the Redskins up 10-7 on the road. The lead held until 24 seconds remained in the half, as Jay Cutler avoided the Rush and hit Johnny Knox for a 12 yard touchdown to have the Bears up 14-10.

A key play came with the Bears at the Washington 1 yard line. A run failed, but Lovie Smith challenged the call. The challenged failed, and the next play was very controversial. Cutler tried the quartback sneak and appeared to get the ball over the plane before being knocked backward by Albert Haynesworth. Cutler eventually fumbled, and the Redskins took over at the one. Even more controversial was that Lovie refused to challenge this call. Again, it appeared that Cutler scored. Chicago gave up the 7 points without a fight.

The defenses controlled the third quarter, and the game turned when Cutler had the Bears on the move. He was intercepted by Deangelo Hall, who raced 92 yards the other way to have the Redskins back on top 17-14 as the third quarter concluded.

With 13 minutes left in regulation, the Bears had 1st and 10 at the Washington 35. Cutler hit Forte for an 11 yard gain, but Forte fumbled and the Redskins recovered. Torain picked up gains of 9, 22, and 23 for the Redskins, but from the Chicago 21, Torain fumbled and the Bears had the ball back with 10 minutes left at their own 7. Cutler was intercepted by Hall again, and the Redskins were in command at the Chicago 13. Washington moved 6 yards backward and then Gano missed a 37 yard field goal. With 8 minutes left, the Bears were at their own 27. The Bears punted, but with Washington facing 3rd and 1 just past midfield, Torain lost a yard and Washington punted. The Bears had another shot at their own 19 with 3 1/2 minutes left.

Needing only a field goal to tie the game, Cutler had the Bears at their own 47 with 2:16 to  play.  Cutler went deep, and for the fourth…yes fourth…time, Deangelo Hall had an interception. It was the first time since 2001, a defender had 4 picks in a game. The teams combined for 9 turnovers, 6 by Chicago. Washington actually fumbled 6 times, but only lost one of them. It was hideous, but the Redskins won going away while the Bears continued their slide. 17-14 Redskins

Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins–A pair of tough physical defenses got together under Mike Tomlin and Tony Sparano. Sparano was smiling early when a hard hit caused the Steelers to fumble the ensuing kickoff. Yet from the Pittsburgh 22, Miami went nowhere and settled for a field goal to lead 3-0. Pittsburgh put the ball on the ground again when Ben Rothlisberger fumbled at the Pittsburgh 15. On 3rd and 2 Ricky Williams got stoned (football-wise) and Miami settled for another field goal to lead 6-0.

The Steelers got in the game when Big Ben hit Hines Ward for 43 yards. The Steelers led in yards at that point 115 to 7 and time of possession 11 minutes to 4 after the opening quarter, yet trailed due to the turnovers. The second quarter began with Pittsburgh facing 3rd and 6 at the Miami 7. A West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass left the Steelers short of the marker. At least it added to the offensive statistics. The short field goal had the Steelers within 6-3.

The defenses continued to lay the lumber when Brian Hartline was drilled by James Farrior, resulting in a fumble and possession for the Steelers at the Miami 35. Roethlisberger, who is still not Jewish, hit Hines Ward, who still is Korean and is also not Jewish, for a 21 yard touchdown to have the Steelers up 10-6. Miami again made it inside the Pittsburgh 10 yard line, but again had to settle for a third field goal to trail 10-9 with 5 minutes left in the half. Big Ben quickly came back and went deep to Mike Wallace for  53 yard touchdown as the Steelers led 17-9.

Just inside the 2 minute warning, Chad Henne hit Bess, who broke several tackles and straddled the sideline to complete a 26 yard touchdown and get the Dolphins within 17-16 as Sparano eschewed the 2 point conversion attempt. That appeared to be the correct decision, but would loom large later on.

In the third quarter Josh Reed kicked his second field goal, a 39 yarder, to have the Steelers back up by 4. Henne led the Dolphins to a 3rd and 2 at the Pittsburgh 19 before firing incomplete. Tony Sparano sent in Duane Carpenter, who kicked his 4th field goal as the Dolphins were again within a point at 20-19.

The teams exchanged punts and the Dolphins took over with less than 9 minutes left in regulation at their own 26. Henne hit Hartline for 24 yards to midfield and Fasano for 22 more yards. With 5:17 to play, Capenter’s 5th field goal, a 40 yarder, had the Dolphins up 22-20.

The kickoff was returned to the Miami 48. On 3rd and 5, Big Ben hit Mewelde Moore for 29 yards to the 14. Unnecessary roughness moved the ball to 1st and goal at the 4. Miami took their second timeout with Pittsburgh facing 3rd and goal at the 2 with 2:37 to play. At that point chaos and controversy ensued.

Roethlisberger scrambled forward and was hit at the goal line. Big Ben coughed it up, and there was a mad scramble in the end zone. While the ball was under a pile of players, the play was inexplicably whistled dead. It was ruled a touchdown, with the explanation that Big Ben had broke the plane of the goal line. Tony Sparano challenged the call, risking his last timeout.

After further review, even more chaos ensued. It was ruled that Big Ben did not break the plane, and that he did fumble. Yet despite the Dolphins screaming that they had the football for the touchback, the refs could not determine who recovered the ball. Therefore, the whistle blew the play dead in mid-scramble. Pittsburgh was awarded the ball back. Instead of a goal line stand and a victory for Miami, the Steelers had 4th and goal at the 1. Mike Tomlin did not consider going for it, and Josh Reed’s 3rd field goal was an 18 yarder to have the Steelers up by a point.

Miami took over at their own 29, but Henne fired incomplete on 4th and 6. Pittsburgh had the hard fought and very controversial win. The Steelers improved to 5-1, while 3-3 Miami has won all their road games and lost all their home games. No team starting this way has ever made the playoffs. This one will be talked about for some time. 23-22 Steelers

St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers—A pair of young and improving teams under Steve Spagnuolo and Raheem Morris started out well for the Buccaneers when Sam Bradford fumbled inside his own 10 yard line while being hit and Tampa Bay recovered. Penalties and a sack moved the Bucs from the Rams 6 all the way back to the Rams 38. On 3rd and 34, Josh Freeman threw a wounded duck of a hail mary that was somehow caught, and then fumbled. Yet Tampa hung on, and Connor Barth nailed the 35 yard field goal to have the Bucs up 3-0 after a hideous drive.

On the opening play of the second quarter, the Rams tied the game 3-3. Again, these teams are improving, which is not the same thing as being good or watchable. Later in the second quarter, Stephen Jackson ran for 12 yards to set up a 6 yard Bradford touchdown to Amandola to have the Rams up 10-3.

The Rams kicked a field goal later in the half but offsides on the defense resulted in Spagnuolo taking the points off of the board. The gamble paid off as Bradford threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Hoomanawanaui to have the Rams up 17-3. The Buccaneers did kick another field goal just before the half to trail 17-6.

In the third quarter, the Rams punted, as the Buccaneers started at their own 5. On 3rd and 7 form the 8, Freeman hit Kellen Winslow for 10. Blount picked up runs of 9 and 12 yards, and a 21 yard pass to Williams had the Bucs at the Rams 40. From the 35, Connor Barth drilled a 53 yard field goal to complete the 11 play, 6 minute drive and get the Buccaneers within 17-9.

The Rams had no offense in the second half, and the Bucs took over at their own 31. Blount picked up 17, and on 3rd and 8 from midfield, Freeman hit Stroughter for 9. The drive stalled at the 20, but Barth aniled his fourth field goal as the third quarter ended to have the Buccaneers within 17-12. The Fourth quarter featured punts, and with 4:45 to play, the Buccaneers took over at their own 19.

On 3rd and 3 from the Tampa 37, Cadillac Williams picked up 10. Freeman hit Williams for 19 yards to the Rams 37 at the 2 minute warning. Unnecessary roughness pushed the Bucs back 15, and with 1:12 to play the Bucs faced 4th and 3 at the Rams 30. Freeman hit Winslow for 9 yards to keep the drive alive. With 30 seconds left, Tampa Bay faced 3rd and 10 at the Rams 21. Freeman hit Williams, who took it 20 yards to the 1 yard line as the Buccaneers took their final timeout with 20 seconds to play.

Freeman rolled out and hit Cadillac Williams for the touchdown as the Buccaneers went wild and the Rams hang their head. Even hideous games between not so good teams can produce thrilling finishes. It is too soon to tell, but Buc Ball may be back. 18-17 Buccaneers

Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons—The Bengals lead the league in reality tv shows but the Falcons are a real good football team. Matt Ryan hit Bryan Finneran for a short touchdown pass on the opening drive to have the Falcons up 7-0. The Bengals offense consisted of getting a 26 yard defensive pass interference penalty followed by a pair of ineffective run and an incomplete pass. Mike Nugent hit the 20 yard field goal to have the Bengals within 7-3. Early in the second quarter Matt Bryant kicked a 45 yard field goal to have the Falcons up 10-3.

Cedric Benson fumbled a reception that was returned for a touchdown, but on further review the play was ruled an incomplete pass, sparing the Bengals more self-inflicted pain. It did not matter. Matt Ryan went deep to Roddy White for a 43 yard touchdown and the 17-3 lead happened anyway. Atlanta got the ball back, and Ryan led an 11 play, 83 yard drive that consumed 5 1/2 minutes. Michael Turner rammed it in from 2 yards out to have the Falcons cruising at 24-3.

The third quarter stunned the crowd and most everybody watching football. The Bengals began by kicking a field goal to trail 24-6. After a punt the Bengals took over at their own 12. Carson Palmer hit Chad Johnson for 18 yards. A 30 yard pass to Shipley was followed by a 19 yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens. He loves him some him, although the Bengals still trailed 24-13.

Ryan then went deep and was intercepted at the Cincinnati 38. On 3rd and 12, Palmer threw a short pass to Shipley, the receiver without the reality tv show who just shuts up and plays football. Shipley took it 64 yards for the score. Marvin Lewis surprisingly went for the 2 point conversion, which failed. The Bengals trailed 24-19. Yet the Falcons were in meltdown mode, as a short pass from Ryan to Roddy White resulted in a fumble that was returned by Jones 59 yards for a score. Again the 2 point conversion failed, and this became a case of the second one not even being necessary had the first one not been tried. The Bengals outscored the Falcons 22-0 in the third quarter to lead 25-24.

The fourth quarter began with the Falcons at their own 43. Ryan hit Michael Turner for 19 yards. On 3rd and 5, RYan hit stalwart Tony Gonzalez for 22 yards at the 11. Ryan then hit White for the touchdow. Ryan also hit White for the 2 point conversion as the Falcons had retaken the lead 32-25 only 2 minutes into the final quarter.

Palmer quickly moved the Bengals from their own 25 to the Atlanta 39. Yet Cedric Benson fumbled and the Falcons took over at the Cincy 48. On 3rd and 3, Ryan hit Jenkins for 11. On 3rd and 1 from the 21, Ryan hit White for 6. On 3rd and 1 from the 3, Turner picked up 3, and then the final 3 on the next carry to have the Falcons up 39-25 with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Yet the Bengals were not done.

The Bengals took over at their own 14. On 2nd and 10 from their own 38,  Palmer hit Gresham for 9 yards. Gresham fumbled it, but Chad Johnson recovered it and picked up a few more yards for a 17 yard gain exactly as they drew it up on the sandlot. On 3rd and 12 from the Atlanta 33, Palmer hit Scott for 25 yards down to the 8. Palmer hit Johnson for the touchdown as the Bengals were within 7 points with 1:33 to play.

The defense held, but in a colossal special teams blunder, Cosby called for a fair catch at the Bengals 4 yard line. Palmer would finish 36 of 50 for 412 yards and 3 touchdowns with zero interceptions. Yet asking him to go 96 yards in 28 seconds was too much to ask, as he was sacked on the final play. Matt Ryan finished 24 of 33 for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns with one interception. Marvin Lewis is scrambling for answers while Mike SMith, despite being an average non-descript white guy who looks like a guy named Mike Smith, is seeing his Falcons play as well as the pre-season hype. They are for real. 39-25 Falcons

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers–The 49ers got their first win last week while the Panthers are still winless. It seems like only 14 year ago that these teams both went 12-4 under George Siefert and Dom Capers. Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis for a 53 yard gain to the one yard line. Smith hit Davis for the touchdown on the next play. The last original Panthers player is kicker John Kasay. He kicked a field goal to have the Panthers within 7-3.

In the second quarter Carolina fumbled, setting up a 24 yard Joe Nedney field goal as the 49ers led 10-3 in a game nobody outside the families of the players cared about. Matt Moore finally got Carolina going, moving the Panthers 80 yards in 10 plays in over 6 minutes. An 18 yard touchdown toss to Gettis had the game deadlocked 10-10.

The third quarter featured only two plays of note. At the beginning of the half, Alex Smith was sacked and injured. David Carr replaced him to not avail. Later in the period John Fox had stalwart John Kasay kick a 55 yard field goal. Kasay has been with Carolina since their birth in 1995, and he leveled the ball to have the Panthers up 13-10. On the first play of the fourth quarter Nedney tied the game with a 38 yard field goal to make it 13-13.

A couple minutes later Matt Moore showed us his bad Jake Delhomme impersonation. Delhomme was run out of town for too many interceptions, and Moore threw an interception that was returned 31 yards by McDonald for a touchdown and a 20-13 San Francisco lead.

The teams exchanged punts, and with 8 1/2 minutes left the Panthers took over on their own 44. Moore went deep to Gettis for 39 yards to the San Francisco 17. With 5 1/2 minutes left, John Fox decided to go for it on 4th and 9. Moore fired incomplete, and the 49ers tried to end the game and get back to back wins. The 49ers went nowhere, and one minute later the Panthers had the ball at their own 37.

As the clock clicked below 3 minutes, facing 3rd and 6 at the San Francisco 46, Moore hit Donte Rosario for 10 yards. At the 2 minute warning, the Panthers faced 3rd and 2 at the San Francisco 23. Moore went deep to Gettis again, this time for another touchdown. With a tie game at 20-20, the 49ers had the ball at their own 20 with 1:53 to play.

David Carr was the top overall pick of the expansion Houston team in 2002, and he even won his first NFL game. Yet now he is a backup in San Francisco. With everything on the line, Carr was intercepted by Marshall at the Carolina 43 with 1:08 to play. Moore needed one play to hit Lefell for 35 yards to the San Francisco 22. John Fox played it very safe, and with 43 seconds left Kasay was at the foot. A 37 yard field goal was good, and the Panthers had the lead.
With 3 seconds left, the 49ers were at their own 38. Carr has the arm to throw it 62 yards. Yet the West Coast Offense won the 49ers many Superbowls, so surely a short pass to Frank Gore would get the job done. 19 yards later, it was over. Mike Singletary truly has become the second coming of Ray Rhodes, insisting that his 1-6 team would make the playoffs. As for John Fox, he was quietly just glad to get a win and get to 1-5. Fox has been to a Super Bowl, so he understands fighting for pride amidst reality. 23-20 Panthers

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs–Jacksonville was coming off of a debacle at home while Kansas City has had back to back losses after an illusory 3-0 start. The Jaguars returned a punt deep into Kansas City territory only to fumble it away. Thomas Jones took a handoff up the middle and rambled 72 yards to the 3 yard line. Jamal Charles banged it in to have the Chiefs up 7-0.  Josh Scobee nailed a 35 yard field goal to have the Jaguars within 7-3.

In the second quarter, Todd Bauman, playing for an injured David Garrard, lofted a touchdown pass to Maurice Jones-Drew to have the Jaguars up 10-7.  With less than 2 minutes left in the half, the Chiefs faced 4th and 1 at the 2. Charles leapt over the top for the first down. Thomas Jones leapt over the top for the touchdown to have the Chiefs up 14-10.

With 14 seconds left in the half, the Jaguars were at the Kansas City one yard line. On 3rd and goal, Baumann threw incomplete, and on 4th and goal Del Rio opted for the field goal as the Jaguars trailed 14-13 at intermission.

Josh Scobee was the hero a couple weeks ago for winning a game with a 59 yard field goal. Yet today he became a goat when the second half kickoff was kicked out of bounds, giving the Chiefs the ball at their own 40. Matt Cassel went deep to Dwayne Bowe for a 53 yard touchdown as the Chiefs quickly led 21-13.

The Jaguars returned the kickoff to their own 42. A 37 yard defensive pass interference penalty had Jacksonville at the Chiefs 23. On 3rd and 4 from the 17, Bouman hit Miller for 8, and then Sims-Walker for the 9 yard touchdown. Jack Del Rio opted against the 2 point conversion as the Jaguars trailed 21-20 with plenty of time left.

The Chiefs punted, and Jacksonville took over at their own 10. Bouman was intercepted by Johnson, who returned it 15 yards for the touchdown to have the Chiefs up 28-20.

With 9 1/2 minutes left in the game, the Chiefs took over at their own 15. On 3rd and 8 Cassel hit Copper for 16 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the Kansas City 42, Cassel hit Cox for 13 yards. Unnecessary roughness had the Chiefs at the Jags 19. Cassel hit Bowe for a 6 yard touchdown to have the Chiefs up 35-20 with 3:46 to play.

Bouman was quickly intercepted by Berry, who returned it 35 yards to the Jacksonville 12. Battle battled his way in from one yard out to complete the scoring. The Chiefs under Todd Haley lead the awful AFC Worst at 4-2, while the Jaguars slipped to 3-4 in the ultra competitive AFC South. 42-20 Chiefs

Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints–Joshua Cribbs took a punt, and fired it across the field to Eric Wright. It was not the Adelphia Miracle, but it did go for 69 yards. Phil Dawson nailed a 23 yard field goal as Walrus Mike Holmgren allowed Eric Mangini to coach at leas through the opening quarter.  The Saints went nowhere, and later on got called for a 38 yard defensive pass interference penalty. Hillis ran it in from 4 yards out as the Browns had the stunning 10-0 lead. Drew Brees led the Saints to the Cleveland 11 yard line. Brees then threw a perfect pass to Scott Fujita, who plays defense for Cleveland.

The Saints finally got on the board with 5 1/2 minutes left in the half with a field goal, but this is not the Saints pinball machine that won it all last year. When Reggis Hodges broke off a 67 yard run to the New Orleans 10, Cleveland continued the potential upset. The Browns could only manage a field goal, but still led 13-3.

Brees was then about to be sacked when he threw an ill advised pass into traffic that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown as the Browns led 20-3 in a stunner. Super Bowl Champion Brees had 3 interceptions last week, and ended the half of this game with his third interception.

Midway through the third quarter Brees finally got the offense moving, leading a 14 play, 89 yard drive that lasted 8 1/2 minutes. The third quarter ended with the Saints facing 4th and 1 at the Cleveland 21. The fourth quarter began with Ivory picking up 8 to keep the drive going. On 3rd and 8 from the 11, Brees hit Thomas for the score as the Saints were only down 20-10 less than 90 seconds into the final quarter.

Colt McCoy would finish this game only 9 of 16 for 74 yards. Yet he did not make any mistakes. Brees would finish 37 of 56 for 356 yards and 2 touchdowns. Yet 4 interceptions killed the Saints McCoy managed the game, moving the Browns over 13 plays and 7 1/2 minutes from the Cleveland 19. On 3rd and 5, illegal use of hands on the defense kept the drive going. On 3rd and 6 from the Saints 44, Hillis took the snap and hit quarterback McCoy for 13 yards. Yet 1st and 10 at the 19 became 4th and 22 at the 31. Phil Dawson nailed the 48 yard field goal to have the Browns up 23-10 with 6 minutes left in regulation.

Brees quickly led the Saints from their own 20 to the Cleveland 34. Yet the lights were turned off when Brees threw his last interception, and Bowens practically walked 64 yards for the dagger as Cleveland shocked the defending champs 30-10. The Saints scored a garbage touchdown, but Sean Payton has seen his champions fall to 4-3. Walrus Mike Holmgren is allowing Eric Mangini to coach the Browns next week. As Chris Berman says, “That’s why they play the games.” 30-17 Browns

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks–Pete Carroll upgraded from college to the pros, but traded in the gorgeous Southern California weather for the misery that is Seattle rain. Shockingly enough it rained again in that awful city, making the decision to abolish the Kingdome quite curious, which is a euphemism for idiotic. Ken Whisenhunt started Max Hall again.

Seattle began with Matt Hasselbeck leading a 14 play, 78 yard dive that consumed 7 1/2 minutes. The drive stalled at the 3, and Olindo Mare hit the 20 yard chip shot to have the Seahawks up 3-0. In the second quarter Hasselbeck hit Williams from 2 yards out to have Seattle up 10-0 at the break.

In the third quarter Mare hit field goals of 31 and 51 to have the Seahawks up 16-0. The Cardinals finally got on the board when Beanie Wells scored from 2 yards out to get the Cardinals within 16-7. A 14 play, 78 yard drive led to Mare’s 4th field goal and a 19-7 Seahawks lead after three quarters.

The Cardinals drove deep with Derek Anderson replacing Hall, who was injured midway through this hideous slog. The drive stalled at the 7, and a field goal had the Cardinals within 19-10. The Seahawks made this game as boring as possible, but effectively. A 12 play, 7 1/2 minute drive led to Mare’s 5th field goal to end the boredom. Seattle leads the horrid NFC Worst at 4-2 while Ken Whisenhunt still can’t coax Kurt  Warner out of retirement. 22-10 Seahawks

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos–This game was a shocker. To try and put it into words is almost impossible. As a blogger, I will attempt to do so. Let’s start with one word. Wow! For more on the game of the day, go to

The Raiders have won two years in a row in Denver, but kept losing to them in Oakland, and losing to much of the league everywhere. 7 straight seasons of at least 11 losses had fans wondering when light would ever come. It came in a gigantic way in what may have been the worst day in the history of the hated Denver franchise. Tom Cable and Josh McDaniels both came in 2-4, but after today it seems Al Davis has his team in better shape than Pat Bowlen. Normally one game should not mean so much, but what a game it was.
Jason Campbell filled in for an injured Bruce Gradkowski, but of major importance was the return of Darren McFadden. Right off the bat from the 20, Campbell hit Louis Murphy for 9 yards. On 3rd and 1 Reece picked up 2 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the 31, Campbell scrambled and picked up 15 yards. This is big because on the road, quick 3 and outs and punts kill teams. Instead, a couple plays later from the Denver 43, Campbell went deep and found a wide open Zach Miller for a touchdown. There was nobody within 15 yards of Miller. It ws a defensive breakdown, and 4 minutes in the Raiders led on the road.

Denver took over on their 20, and on their first offensive play, Kyle Orton was intercepted by Chris Johnson, who returned the gift 30 yards for a 14-0 Raiders lead in front of a stunned Denver crowd. Denver took over on their 20 again, and their next play from scrimmage was a fumble that was returned 21 yards for a touchdown. The touchdown was called back, but the Raiders retained possession. Campbell hit McFadden for 12 yards to set up a 4 yard touchdown run by McFadden as the Raiders led 21-0 only 6 minutes into the game.

Denver took over again from their 20, and Orton fired a completion just shy of midfield. Yet on 4th and 1 from the Oakland 42, Josh McDaneils decided to go for it, with Orton firing incomplete. From the Oakland 38, McFadden ripped off a 40 yard gain. Michael Bush came in and picked up gains of 9 and 4. On 3rd and goal at the 8, Campbell scrambled for another touchdown. It was nullified by illegal motion, and the Raiders settled for a 31 yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal. Yes, the Raiders led 24-0 with 4 1/2 minutes still left in the first quarter.

Denver went 3 and out, lost 6 yards, and the Raiders took over at their own 43. Campbell hit Murphy for 20 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Denver 33, Campbell hit Jacoby Ford for 9 yards. Seconds into the second quarter, Campbell hit McFadden for a 19 yard touchdown and a 31-0 lead as the Denver crowd was officially shellshocked.

Denver went 3 and out, and the Raiders took over at their 31. On 2nd and 14 Ford picked up 23 on the ground to midfield. Campbell hit Bush for 13 more. Yet a sack of Campbell finally brought in Shane Lechler to punt. It was thrilling for the Raiders to have Lechler be an afterthought and not the only superstar.

Denver took over at their own 14, fumbled, and had the Raiders take over at that spot. McFadden picked up 5, 4, and the final 4 for the touchdown as the Raiders led 38-0 with 10 minutes still left in the second quarter. Fans headed for the exits. This was dominance the Silver and Black has not inflicted since the glory days. Yet this beating was real.

The teams exchanged punts, and Denver faced 3rd and 10 just shy of midfield. Orton hit Eddie Royal for a 23 yard gain. Royal did fumble, but fell on it. Orton scrambled for 14 more, ad on 3rd and 3 from the 7, Orton hit Knowshon Moreno for a touchdown. The Broncos trailed 38-7 at the half.

Denver started the second half at their own 36 and Orton was sacked for a 9 yard loss. Yet before anyone blinked, orton hit Jabar Gaffney for 22 yards, defensive pass interference added 24 more, a swing pass to Moreno went for a 27 yard score. Just like that Denver was within 38-14. Would this be an epic Silver and Black collapse?

No, it would not. Campbell hit Reece for 19 yards, and McFadden ran for 19 more. On 3rd and 9 from the Denver 41, Campbell went deep to Miller for a 32 yard gain. Offensive holding had the Raiders facing 2nd and goal at the 23. Yet McFadden ran for 16 and Campbell hit Ford for 6 more to set up 4th and goal at the 1. A field goal would have been a reasonable decision, but Cable decided to go for the throat and end things. Reece banged it in to have the Raiders up 45-14. They were far from done.

Denver began at their own 20, and soon faced 3rd and 28 from their own 2. They punted, and the Raiders took over at their own 43. One play later, McFadden had burst through for a 57 yard touchdown run to make it 52-14. Denver then went 3 and out, and the Raiders took over at their own 32.

Bush carried 4 straight times for 14 yards. Campbell then hit Zach Miller for 17 yards. Campbell went deep to Johnny Lee Higgins, and defensive pass interference in the end zone put the ball on the one. Bush carried it in as the Raiders led 59-14. The game was still in the third quarter.

Cable pulled all of his starters as backups played the fourth quarter. Just to clarify, the Raiders led by 45 points after only 45 minutes. Cable was not interested in trying to break the 1940 record of 73 points. He wanted to avoid injuries, which a good coach does. As for McDaniels, he left Orton in to continue getting beaten up,

The fourth quarter began with Orton getting intercepted again, but defensive offsides nullified that. On 4th and 25 from their own 5, Denver punted. Oakalnd took over just past midfield but failed to gain a first down and punted.  The teams exchanged punts, and Denver took over at their own with 7 minutes left to play. Orton did hit Brandon Lloyd for a 46 yard gain, but with 3 1/2 minutes to play the Broncos faced 4th and goal at the 1. Nobody would have criticized the Raiders for getting soft with backups while up by 45.  Not today. The exclamation point was a goal line stand as Orton fired incomplete. Kyle Boller played the fourth quarter and he took the kneel downs to end things.

Darren McFadden finished with over 10 yards per carry, 165 yards on 16 carries. He had 4 touchdowns, 3 on the ground and one touchdown reception. He was the superstar he was expected to be. The Raiders rushed for 328 yards, and had over 500 yards of total offense. Campbell was a modest 12 of 20 for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns. Yet he had zero interceptions. 7 receivers caught at least one pass, yet Zach Miller was the only one to catch 3. The running game featured 5 different backs getting at least 2 carries with 4 of them getting at least 5 carries. The defense harassed Orton into a terrible 12 of 29 day for only 198 yards. He did have 2 touchdowns and an interception. The Raiders possessed the ball for nearly 39 minutes.

3 times the Raiders have scored 52 points. This 59 point deluge was a record. The 45 point win was not their biggest victory. In 1967 on their way to their AFL Championship and Super Bowl II trip, the Raiders won 51-0. The loser: Denver.

So what happens next. The Raiders at 3-4 are one game ahead of San Diego and Denver. The Raiders have beaten both of these teams, and are 2-0 in the division. They are behind Kansas City, who is 4-2, but 1-2 after a 3-0 start.  Every time it looks like the Raiders are about to turn a  corner, they regress. Yet this team truly has a chance to make the playoffs and even win the awful AFC Worst division. For now, they need to build on this win and get to 4-4.

Denver is a mess, but that is for another day. For the last 8 years people have lambasted Al Davis. Tom Cable has faced his fair share. Let’s give credit. This team is fighting hard for Cable. The players Davis drafted had one of the best games in franchise history. Gradkowski comes back next week, and this team really has potential. So for all of the Raider Nation, let’s celebrate this shellacking and get back to work for next week. 59-14 Raiders. Let’s say it one more time. 59-14 Raiders

New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers–The Evil Hoodie Bill Bellichick faced off against Norvelous Norv Turner and his swooning Chargers. Usually they fall to 2-3 and then turn on the gas, but not this time. Under Marty Schottenheimer the Chargers went 14-2, blew a 21-14 lead at home against the Patriots, and lost 24-21 when Nate Kaeding missed a 54 yard field goal at the gun. This game had less meaning but was just as crushing from a fan standpoint.

Kris Brown was kicking in place of Kaeding, and a 32 yard field goal had the Chargers up 3-0 at home. Yet when the Chargers got the ball back, they fumbled deep in their own territory. New England took over at the San Diego 22, and Tom Brady hit Gronkowski from one yard out to have the Patriots up 7-3.

In the second quarter Philip Rivers led the Chargers to the Patriots 32. Rivers then fumbled, and Ninkovich returned it 63 yards to the San Diego 8. The Patriots moved 14 yards backward, and Stephen Gostkowski, no relation to Gronkowski, kicked a 40 yard field goal. The New England cro-magnons had the Patriots up 10-3. Rivers was then intercepted, although no points came off that turnover.

At the 2 minute warning, a 34 yard punt return by Julian Edelman had the Patriots at their own 48. They reached the San Diego 9 before going backward and settling for a 35 yard Gostkowski field goal to lead 13-3 at halftime.

The Patriots began the third quarter with Brady leading a staggering 17 play, 8 1/2 minute drive that covered 79 yards. On 3rd and 8 form the New England 41, Brady hit Hernandez for 18 yards. On 4th and 1 from the San Diego 32, Bellichick skipped the 50 yard field goal to go for it. Green-Ellis picked up the tough yard. On 3rd and 1 from the San Diego 6, Brady picked up 2. On 3rd and goal from the 1, Green–Ellis got it in to have the Patriots coasting 20-3

Rivers led a 12 play, 6 1/2 minute drive, but it bogged down at the New England 10 yard line. Kris Brown kicked the 28 field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Chargers were within 20-6. Brady led the Patriots form their own 25 to the San Diego 16, but no further. Gostkowski nailed his 3rd field goal and with 11 1/2 minutes left the Patriots were well in control 23-6. Yet San Diego woke up and came storming back.

On 3rd and 15 from the San Diego 28, Rivers hit Patrick Crayton for 21 yards. On 4th and 5 from the New England 32, Rivers hit Crayton for 17. Rivers hit Antonio Gates for the 4 yard touchdown to bring the Chargers within 23-13 with 7 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

A perfectly executed onsides kick gave the Chargers the ball at their own 40. On 3rd and 9 Rivers hit Arijotutu for 20 yards and Gates for 26 more. On 3rd and goal at the 1, Tolbert banged it in to have the Chargers within a field goal with 4 minutes to play.

The Patriots had 3rd and 3 at their own 47 when Brady hit Wes Welker for only 2 yards at the 2 minute warning. On 4th and 1, Bellichick decided to go for it. The collision came, and Green-Ellis lost a yard. The Chargers had the ball at the New England 47 with 1:55 left needing only a field goal to tie it.

With 27 seconds left, Kris Brown came in for a 50 yard field goal. In the great tradition of Nate Kaeding,when it counted most, the kick was no good. This one doinked off the uprights, and New England survived. The deal Bellichick made with the Devil a decade ago is still intact, as Norvelous Norv Turner saw the Chargers fall to 2-5 while New England is back in force at 5-1 with the tough win. 23-20 Patriots

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers–The circus was back in town as the Vikings came to play the Packers. Brett Favre led Minnesota to wins in both games in this series last year, and Aaron Rodgers desperately wants this win. Last year the fans cheered Favre when he came out. This year he was lustily booed in Green Bay. Beyond the circus was a football game in the NFC North between the top 2 passers in the NFL last year.

Minnesota failed to move the ball on their first series, and Green Bay appeared to have the upper hand when Rodgers led the Packers to the Minnesota 12. Rodgers then set upa  screen pass, but was intercepted by Jared Allen at the Minnesota 22. The Vikings again could not move. Again the Packers moved with ease. From the Minnestoa 47, a slant pass from Rodgers went for 45 yards down to the 2. An illegal substitution play on defense moved the ball to the one. Jackson crashed in and did the Lambeau Leap to have the Packers up 7-0 with 5 minutes left in the quarter as the Packers led in yards 130 to 9.

Yet no lead is safe as long as Minnesota has Percy Harvin, who returned the ensuing kickoff to the Green Bay 44. Adrian Peterson picked up 9 yards on 2nd down to set up 3rd and 1. Peterson took the pitchout and got the first down with a couple yards to spare.  short pass to Vicente Shiancoe set up 3rd and 4 from the 26, where Favre hit Shiancoe for 14 yards. Shiancoe was called for delay of game for throwing the ball in the air after the catch, but it was still 1st and 10. Harvin then took a handoff and burst through the middle for a 17 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.

From the Green Bay 21, Rodgers lobbed a perfect pass between 2 defenders to Jones for a 32 yard gain. A screen pass to Jackson then went for 36 more yards down to the Minnesota 11. Green Bay had 200 yards of offense in the opening quarter. On 3rd and 9 from the 10 as the second quarter began, Rodgers rifled a pass between defenders to Andrew Quarles in the back of the end zone. Brad Childress, who is bald and Catholic, did not challenge the call even though it appeared Quarles was out of bounds. Mike McCarthy was smart to quickly kick the extra point before Childress could challenge the play.

On 2nd nd 10 from the Minnesota 24, Toby Gerhart picked up 11 on the ground. Favre then split the seams and found Bernard Berrian for a 30 yard gain. Favre then released a pass to Randy Moss just before getting hit for 20 more yards. A pair of runs set up 3rd and 3 from the 13. A swing pass to speedster Harvin allowed him to get around the corner and all the way to the pileon. McCarthy did challenge the call, and the ball was moved back to the 2 yard line. Peterson carried it in to complete the 76 yard drive and tie the game 14-14 with more than 10 minutes left in the half.

Pat Lee returned the ensuing kickoff to the Green Bay 44. On 3rd and 1 Rodgers hit Nelson at the Minnesota 40. On 4th and 7 Mike McCarthy decided to try a 55 yard field goal.  Backup quarterback Mike Flynn was the holder. Out of nowhere, the Packers shifted into a passing formation with Flynn in the shotgun. Flynn threw it deep to a wide open receiver, but the gadget play missed by inches. Instead of a touchdown, Green bay turned it over on downs.

Minnesota took over and a pair of runs set up 3rd and 2. Favre rifled a pass to Shiancoe to the Minnesota 44. A reverse to Harvin went for another 11 yards, with a 15 yard late hit out of bounds tacked on to the Green Bay 17. Favre faded back, and off his back foot hit Shiancoe for the touchdown as the Vikings led. Yet McCarthy challenged this call, and again the challenge was successful as the pass was ruled incomplete. It looked like a terrible call as it appeared the ball was caught. Nevertheless, on 4th and 3 from the 11 Ryan Longwell came in for a 28 yard field goal which put the Packers up 17-14 with 4 minutes left in the half.

Green Bay misfired on their next series but were bailed out by a very late defensive holding flag on a badly overthrown ball. On 3rd and 3 at midfield, a completion to the Minnesota 38 brought the 2 minute warning. A pass to Donald Lee picked up 9 yards. With one minute left in the half, a pass to the end zone in double coverage was deflected and intercepted by McNeil Williams for a touchback.

Childress wanted to run out the clock, but Green Bay took a timeout. Another run led to a first down at the Minnesota 35. This time Minnesota took a timeout. Favre went deep to Moss, who made a leaping catch in the red zone. Yet offensive interference on Moss negated the play and moved the Vikings back to the 25. Childress again called a run. Peterson picked up 13 yards, and a disgusted Moss lobbied for a Hail Mary try as everybody walked off the field.

Green Bay began the second half by going 3 and out. From the Minnesota 26, Favre hit Harvin for 19 yards. On 3rd and 4, with a man trying to drag him into the ground, Favre did what he does. AJ Hawk took the interception to the Minnesota 41. Favre limped off the field. On 3rd and 5,  Rodgers found James Jones at the Minnesota 19. On 2nd and 6, Rodgers found Jennings for the touchdown to have the Packers back in front 21-17.

In what looked like an instant replay but was actually another mistake, Favre threw while fading back with a man all over him. Desmond Bishop returned the interception 34 yards for a touchdown as the Packers led 28-17 midway through the third quarter.

In trying to avoid kicking to Harvin, a short kickoff set the Vikings up at their own 42. Shockingly enough, Childress called a handoff to Peterson. Another Peterson handoff set up 3rd and 1. A perfect play action pass allowed Favre to go deep to Harvin, who took it to the Minnesota 12 for a 37 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the 5, Favre hit Randy Moss for the touchdown as the Vikings came within  28-24 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter.

Green Bay took over on their own 24, and hard running got them a pair of first downs. On 3rd and 5 from midfield, Rodgers scrambled and was marked just short of the marker as the third quarter ended. McCarthy decided not to challenge the spot. On 4th and 1, Kuhn was bottled up in the backfield, but with second effort lunged forward for the first down. On 3rd and 6, Rodgers hit Jennings. Initially it looked like a first down, but Jennings had to come back for the ball to set up 4th and 1. McCarthy again decided not to challenge the call and again decided to go for the first down. Again Kuhn was stopped, and again he surged forward. Yet this time it appeared his surge came after the whistle had blown, and Minnesota took over on downs at their own 34 with 12 minutes left in regulation.

Peterson picked up 16 to midfield. Peterson then picked up 9 more while carrying tacklers with him.  Peterson picked up a couple more for a first down. Childress had a lump in his throat when Favre tried to shuffle a ball underhanded with a guy hanging on him that mercifully fell incomplete. On the next play, luck ran out as Favre threw his third interception at the Minnesota 23 with 9 minutes to play. Childress vowed not to pick Favre up from the airport next year. whether or not either of them are employed.

On 3rd and 11, Rodgers hit Jennings for 15 to the Green bay 37. On 3rd and 3, Rodgers fired incomplete to nobody. Minnesota took over at their own 17 with 6 minutes to play.  Shockingly enough, Childress called a run. Interceptions do that to a head coach. Another run by Peterson went for 8 yards and a first down. Harvin limped of the field. On 3rd and 7 from the Minnesota 36, a screen pass to Gerhart led to 4th and inches with 3:17 to play. Childress decided to go for it. Peterson rammed it up the guts 3 yards to the Minnesota 46. At the 2 minute warning, Minnesota faced 3rd and 5. A pass to Harvin was broken up. On 4th and 5, the play clock wound down and Favre had to burn a timeout, a terrible mental mistake on offense.

Yet Favre hit Moss for the first down at the Green bay 35. Favre was then sacked for a 6 yard loss. Childress took the second Minnesota timeout, ensuring that this had to be their final drive.   It was the first sack of the game for either team. Peterson took a swing pass all the way across the field and got out of bounds at the Green Bay 15 with 1:03 to play. A virtually penalty free game was interrupted with a false start. Favre hit Shiancoe at the 9, but an offensive facemask penalty pushed Minnesota back to a 1st and 30 at the 35.

Favre fired to the end zone to Harvin, who out jumped everyone and caught the miracle touchdown. Yet before the announcer could yell “oh my heavens” like last year in San Francisco, the replay showed Harvin did not get both feet down.  Instead of another Favre comeback, it was 2nd and 30 from the 35 with 48 seconds to play. The all time touchdowns, completions, fumbles, and interceptions leader was going to do something. We just had no idea what that was to be.

A dump off to Peterson went for 15 yards and set up 3rd and 15 with 37 seconds to play as Minnesota took their final timeout. Favre fired incomplete. On 4th down down Favre went to the end zone for Moss, but it was incomplete. Minnesota fell to 2-4, and Aaron Rodgers and all of Green Bay got the monkey off of their back. This was a fantastic football game, and the rematch in Minnesota cannot come soon enough. 28-24 Packers

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys–Tom Coughlin is downright warm and fuzzy compared to the older version that was Bill Parcells minus the smiles. Michelin Man Wade Phillips has seen his team fall to 1-4. Jerry Jones is prepared to fire everybody if they lose the coin toss.

Eli Manning began by avoiding a near interception and then responding on the next play with an actual interception by Terrence Newman, who returned it to the Giants 5. Tony Romo hit Jason Witten for the 3 yard touchdown to have the Cowboys up 7-0 less than 90 seconds into the game. On the next series Manning threw high again and was intercepted again, this time by Gerald Sensebaugh. Dallas took over at the Giants 18. A field goal made it 10-0 only 6 minutes into the game.

Manning stayed patient, and led a 79 yard drive over 6 minutes. A pair of 3rd down conversions and a 24 yard pass to Hakeem Nicks set up a 7 yard touchdown toss to Nicks to get the Giants within 10-7. The next time the Giants had the ball early in the second quarter, they committed their 3rd turnover, a fumble recovered by Dallas at the Giants 43. Yet on the next play, a 14 yard completion had all of Texas quiet as Romo was belted to the ground and stayed there clutching his shoulder. John Kitna came in with the Cowboys already in long field goal range. Buehler connected to have Dallas up 13-7.

The Giants punted, and rookie Dez Bryant showed what he was made of. He eluded tacklers, got to the outside, and completed an 88 yard punt return for a touchdown to have the Cowboys rolling at 20-7. At that point the ball rolled completely in the other direction.

Manning calmly led an 80 yard drive, with an 8 yard touchdown to Nicks to have the Giants within 20-14. After a punt, the Giants took over at their own 44 with 3:16 left in the half. Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 22 yards to the Dallas 22 to set up a 14 yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith to have the Giants up 21-20 with 1:15 left in the half. Another Dallas fumble set the Giants up at the Dallas 44 with 36 seconds left in the half. A pass to Mario Manningham went for 13 yards and set up a 53 yard field goal to close out the half as the Giants took a 24-20 lead into the locker rooms. Wade Phillips and Tom Coughlin are both known for defense.

The second half began with the news that Tony Romo has a broken clavicle. That means John Kitna is the Cowboys quarterback for the next couple months. Dez Bryant took the kickoff from deep in the end zone, faked a lateral, and got nailed inside the 10. One minute into the half Dallas punted and the Giants took over at their own 45. On 3rd and 5 from midfield, Manning found Ramses Barton at the 28. A short pass to Manningham was followed by several awful attempts at tackling on the sidelines as Manningham waltzed backward into the end zone to have the Giants up 31-20.

While the loss of Romo was a blow, Romo does not play defense. Apparently neither does anybody on the Cowboys roster. Manning sliced and diced the Cowboys through the air, and with Dallas expecting another pass, Brandon Jacobs rumbled 30 yards through listless excuses for tackling for another touchdown and a 38-20 Giants lead with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

A fan held up a sign in the stands that read, “Romo’s clavicle is broken, so is my heart.” This answers the question, that yes, fans do bring blank signs to the game and write during the game. Otherwise, I want this woman picking my lottery numbers. As for Kitna, he led the Cowboys to the 5 yard line. Needing 3 scores on 4th and goal, Wade Phillips opted to go for it. Kitna fired incomplete with 8 minutes left in regulation.

With the game well in hand, the Giants played very sloppy, with another fumble and another Manning interception. Keith Brooking took the 5th turnover to the Giants 15. With 3:17 to play, Kitna hit Dez Bryant for the touchdown. The Cowboys for some bizarre reason decided to go for 2 points. They made it as Kitna hit Jason Witten to get Dallas within 10. Had they gone for the earlier field goal it would have been a one score game, but then again the fact that Manning was throwing it with 3 1/2 minutes left and an 18 point lead was strange. Given that his counterpart was injured, his even being in the game was questionable. The onsides kick was well executed, but the Giants eventually recovered it. At least Dallas scored after 31 answered Giants points.

Yet Dallas had no answers on defense, as Bradshaw broke free for a long gain to the Dallas 17. At the 2 minute warning, Tynes kicked a chip shot field goal to have the Giants back up by 13 points. Yet the Giants got very lazy when they were up by 18, and seemed to sleep their way through the end of the game. On 4th and 1 from the 10, Kitna hit Dez Bryant for a touchdown, and with 40 seconds left, all of a sudden Dallas was only down by 6 points. Another onsides kick was again executed well, but again the Giants managed to come up with it to finally end the suspense.

Tom Coughlin could not have been happy with 5 turnovers or the fourth quarter slumber, but 5 straight wins, al by more than 8 points,  has the Giants in the right direction. As for Wade Phillips, will his 11-5 season last year give him some breathing room from the 1-5 start this year? Not with Jerry Jones as the owner. He went 1-15 his first year, and never wants to see that again. As for Phillips and Coughlin, these Bill Parcells disciples are all about defense. 41-35 Giants


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