NFL 2012 Week 4 Recap

NFL 2012 Week 4 Recap

Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season is now in the books.

The replacement referees have been replaced, and the regular referees returned to a standing ovation that will not last long.

Now on to Week 4 of the NFL season.

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens was the Thursday night game. Four nights earlier the Ravens survived on the final play when a field goal was ruled good. It was close. That was the next to last game for the replacement refs, as this game became the first one with the regular refs. The team continues to rally around Torrey Smith, who saw his younger brother tragically die less than one week ago. After the tough game against New England, the Ravens needed a bye week. They get it tonight against a woeful Cleveland team that has Waulrus Mike Holmgren considering whether to bring back Bernie Kosar assuming Brian Sipe is unavailable.

An ugly first quarter saw Cleveland fumble a punt and the Ravens drive to the Browns 10 before Joe Flacco was intercepted. The second quarter began with the Ravens facing 3rd and 7 from their own 18. Flacco went deep to Doss for a 39 yard gain and then deep again to Torrey Smith for a 34 yard gain. On 2nd and goal from the 18 Flacco hit Smith for the touchdown. Smith pointed his finger to the sky as the Ravens led 6-0. A fumbled snap on the extra point kept it at that score.

Cleveland as expected went 3 and out and the Ravens took over at their own 41. Flacco hit Vonte Leach for 8 and Smith for 15 more. Tucker hit a 45 yard field goal to make it 9-0 Ravens.

Both teams went 3 and out and the Browns took over at their own 6. On 3rd and 4 from the 12, all the Browns needed as one more incompletion to continue their streak of 3 and outs. Yet somehow Brandon Weeden hit Watson for just enough and the drive actually continued. Weeden then went deep to Greg Little for 43 more yards. Weeden then went to Benjamin for gains of 12 and 14 down to the one. Trent Richardson took it in and the Browns were only down 9-7.

The third quarter began with the Ravens at their own 11. On 3rd and 2 Ray Rice gained 8 and then 8 more. Flacco hit Anquon Boldin for 18 to midfield. On 3rd and 7 from the Cleveland 47, Flacco hit Boldin for a pair of 21 yard gains. On 3rd and goal at the one, Flacco got in to complete the 13 play, 5 minute, 89 yard drive and make it 16-7 Ravens.

Cleveland began from their 14, and on 3rd and 2 from their 22 Weeden hit Richardson for 15 yards. A toss to Watson added 13 with unnecessary roughness adding 15 more. Longtime Dawg Pounder Phil Dawson kicked a 51 yard field goal to get the Browns to within 16-10 midway through the third quarter. Flacco led the Ravens from their 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Cleveland 18. Yet a sack and a couple penalties moved the Ravens back. Tucker missed a 47 yard field goal as it stayed a one score game.

Cleveland moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Baltimore 43. Weeden then completed a pass to Williams, who plays defense for the Ravens. Williams did his best Ed Reed impersonation by taking it 63 yards for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter to make it 23-10 Ravens.

From the Cleveland 23, Weeden hit Richardson for 20 and 4, Little for 22, and nothing more. Dawson hit the 50 yard field goal. The Browns were down up by 10 with 12 minutes left in regulation.

The Ravens punted twice and the Browns once, with the Browns taking over with ashort field at the Baltimore 46 with 6 minutes remaining. Weeden hit Gordon for 16 and naturally did nothing else. Dawson hit from 52, getting the Browns to within 7 points. There was not enough time for Dawson to kick 3 more field goals. The Browns would need a touchdown. 4 1/2 minutes remained, and the Browns had to get the ball back.

Could they shock the world, upset Baltimore on the road, and get their first win of the season?

Of course not. Between Ray Lewis and Brandon Weeden, who would you bet on?

On 2nd and 19 from their 37, Pierce gained 16 yards. On the critical 3rd and 3, Flacco threw incomplete with 3 1/2 minutes left. Yet defensive holding meant an automatic first down. These are the Browns. Don’t blame the replacement refs or the ghost of Art Modell ot the drive, the fumble or everything else that makes Cleveland the Mistake by the Lake. The Browns are simply a terrible football team.

Cleveland did get the ball back eventually at their own 10 with 1:05 to play and 0 timeouts. Weeden hit Watson for 13 and then found Jerrius Norwood for 27 yards to midfield as the clock reached 45 seconds. Weeden hit Watson for 17 with 23 seconds left. On 4th and 10 with 10 seconds left, Weeden threw incomplete and the game was over…except the Browns had life due to a roughing the passer penalty. With 2 seconds left, the Browns had one chance from the Baltimore 18. One wonders hiw glad the Ravens were at that moment to have the regular refs back. Weeden then threw incomplete and no refs of any kind regular or replacement would change anything. The Ravens are the 2012 Cardiac Kids with their second straight heart-stopping win at the finish to get to 3-1 atop the AFC North. Cleveland took their usual place in the cellar at 0-4, rendering Mike Holmgren a most unhappy Walrus. 23-16 Ravens

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons–Cam Newton is one of the most exciting individuals in football while Caucasian Men’s Monthly Magazine poster child Mike Smith may be the least exciting. Yet football is about substance, not style, and the Falcons are clicking on all cylinders. Carolina lost last week at home by 29 points, so there is little expectation of them being competitive today.

After an Atlanta punt the Panthers took over at their own 47. From midfield Newton did what he does, scrambling for 32 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the 17, Newton hit Olsen for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Panthers. Atlanta took over at their own 24 and Matt Ryan hit Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez for a pair of 13 yard gains. On 3rd and 1 from the Carolina 40, Michael Turner gained 12 and Ryan hit White for 13 more. Atlanta got to the one yard line where a penalt negated a touchdown. On 3rd and goal from the 13 Ryan was intercepted for a touchback. Atlanta got it back at their own 23 and Turner quickly ran for 17 and 11. Ryan then went deep to White for a 49 yard touchdown and the game was tied 7-7.

The opening quarter ended with Carolina fumbling and Atlanta taking over at the Panthers 30. Matt Bryant kicked a 41 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Falcons.

Carolina took over at their 21. DeAngelo Williams ran for 10, 13, and 2. On 2nd and 4 from the Atlanta 40, Newton went deep to Steve Smith for 27 yards. Williams ran for the thirteen yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Panthers with 9 minutes left in the half.

Atlanta got it back with 5 1/2 minutes let in hald just shy of midfield. Ryan hit Gonzalez for 14, and on 3rd and 5 from the Carolina 29 Ryan hit White for 9. On 3rd and 4 from the 14 Ryan went back to White for the touchdown as the Falcons led 17-14.

After a Carolina punt in the third quarter, Atlanta took over at their own 28. Ryan hit Gonzalez for 11 and then found Michael Turner, who raced for a 60 yard touchdown. The Falcons led 24-14, and it looked klike the route was on.

Not this time. From 2nd and 12 at the Carolina 21, Newton found Steve Smith for 17 yards. Mike Tolbert gained 6 and Newton 5 more. Newton hit Edwards for 12 and Greg Olsen for 18. On 3rd and 8 from the 19, Newton scrambled for 15 and then again for the 4 yard touchdown as the 12 play, 7 minute, 77 yard drive had the Panthers right back in it down 24-21.

With 11 minutes left in regulation the Panthers would get it back at their own 12. Newton went deep to Olsen for 34 yards. Stewart ran for 15. On 3rd and 10 from the Atlanta 36, a short pass to Pilares went all the way for the touchdown as the Panthers led 28-24 with 8 minutes to play.

Atlanta soon faced 3rd and 10 from their 20, and Ryan hit Julio Jones for 30 yards and Rodgers for 15 more. A facemask moved the ball to the 13, but the defense held. On 4th and 12 from the 15 with 5 minutes to play, Mike Smith decided not to gamble. Matt Bryant hit the 33 yard field goal to trail 28-27. Now they needed the defense to get the the ball back.
Carolina did go 3 and out, but so did Atlanta. With 2 1/2 minutes left Mike Smith opted to punt again and trust his defense. Carolina took over at their 32. On 2nd and 6 Newton ran for 10, and it looked like Carolina could end things. Atlanta took their last timeout as Carolina faced 3rd and 2 from the Atlanta 46 with 1:51 to play. Newton got the 2 yards but then fumbled. Carolina retained possession, and it looked like the game was over. However, on further review the spot was reversed. On 4th and 1 Ron Rivera decided not to gamble. A perfect punt coverage team had the Falcons backed up to their own one yard line with one minute to play. Atlanta needed a miracle.

Matt Ryan is known a Matty Ice, and this series would put that to the test, backed up on the one with 0 timeouts. From his end zone, Ryan threw a Hail Mary into double coverage. Some how White came down with the reception for a 59 yard gain. By the time the Falcons got to the line and threw an incompletion, 22 seconds remained from the Carolina 40. A defensive penalty moved the Falcons 5 yards closer. Ryan hit Gonzalez for 7 and Douglas for 6. With 10 seconds left on 1st and 10 from the 22, Mike Smith immediately brought out Bryant for the 40 yard field goal. Bryant nailed it, and the Falcons had the thrilling 30-28 win. Carolina dropped to 1-3 while the Falcons are a perfect 4-0. Cam Newton may be Superman, but had he converted and hung on to the ball Matty Ice would not have had his chance. As for the Carolina defense, it was a meltdown. 30-28 Falcons

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills–The initial thought is why this game was not canceled. While he entire football world outside of New England would love to see the Patriots fall to 1-3, an angry New England team insisting they were cheated out of a win last week does not make for a pleasant experience for Buffalo. Evil Hoodie Bill Bellichick likes to run up the score.

Buffalo did reach a 3rd and 2 at the New England 38 before Fred Jackson lost 3 yards and the Bills punted. From their 10, Tom Brady hit Fells for 18, Vereen for 5, and Rob Gronkowski deep for 41 yards. Brady hit Welker for 9 and Ridley took it for the 6 yard score to make it 7-0 Patriots. Fitzpatrick was then intercepted, but the expected route did not materialize yet as the defense held. With 10 minutes left in the second quarter the Patriots took over at their own 9. Brady hit Gronkowski for 15, but Gronk fumbled and the Bills recovered. One play was enough for Ryan Fitzpatrick to hit Chandler for the 24 yard touchdown as the Bills shocked the football world by tying the game 7-7.

Brady moved the Patriots from their 19 to a 3rd and 2 from the Buffalo 25. Ridley only gained one yard. On 4th and 1 Bellichick decided not to go for it. Stephen Gostkowski is the most accurate kicker in Patriots history, yet he missed a 42 yarder in Week 2 that was the difference in a loss. He missed again today from 42 as the game remained tied. Buffalo soon faced 3rd and 3 from their 39 when Fitzpatrick went deep to Jackson for 34 yards. CJ Spiller gained 7 and Fitzpatrick hit Chandler for a 20 yard score. The Bills actually led 14-7. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half the Patriots faced 3rd and 17 from their 13. A short pass to Welker was fumbled and the Bills took over at the Patriots 21. On 3rd and 10 Fitzpatrick hit Brad Smith for 14. Yet at the one yard line Spiller met Vince Wilfork and Spiller got spilled. The fumble was recovered by the Patriots to end the threat.

In the third quarter after a New England punt Buffalo faced 3rd and 15 from their 12. Fitzpatrick hit Fred Jackson for 16. A short pass to Jones saw Jones outrace everybody for a 68 yard touchdown. The Bills led 21-7. The Patriots dynasty was over. They would drop to 1-3. Finally Buffalo would make a statement.

This is why they play the entire game, why the Patriots are a dynasty, and the Bills a team two decades removed from one. The only thing that saved the Bills from the upcoming onslaught was the end of the game, which could not come soon enough. With a 21-7 lead, running the ball is a good idea. Chan Gailey decided to have Fitzpatrick kep throwing. The rest was what it was.

First Brady and the Patriots took over at their own 20. Brady hit Bolden for 11. Bolden then ran for 27 and 13. Ridley gained 7 and 4. On 3rd and 9 from the 17, a short pass to Danny Woodhead turned into a touchdown as the Patriots trailed 21-14.

Buffalo went 3 and out and the Patriots took over at their own 15. Brady hit Wes Welker for 13 and 14. Bolden gained 20 and 4. A roughing the passer penalty set up 1st and goal at the 6, and Brady ran it in from 4 yards out to tie the game 21-21.

New England got it back at their 37 and Brady hit Welker for 8 and Rob Gronkowski for 13. Ridley gained 11, and on the first play of the fourth quarter, Brady went deep to Gronkowski for a 28 yard touchdown. The Patriots led 28-21, and the Bills were about to go into full self-destruction mode.

Fred Jackson fumbled, and the Patriots took over on the Buffalo 42. Ridley ran for 13 and Bolden added 13 and then 14. Ridley ran it in from two yards out to make it 35-21 Bills. 12 minutes still remained.

On 3rd and 15 from their 15, Fitzpatrick completed a pass to McCourty, who plays defense for the Patriots. McCourty returned it 34 yards to the Buffalo 12. Bolden ran it for 5 and then the 7 yard touchdown as 35 unanswered points had the Patriots up 42-21.

Fitzpatrick would come back and throw a 35 yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith with 6 1/2 minutes remaining. The Bills were within 42-28, but all that did was make Evil Hoodie Bill Bellichick mad. He is known for running up the score, and against a division foe with the nerve to lead his team 21-7, more was coming.

After a failed onsides kick, New England faced 3rd and 9 at the Buffalo 47. Brady hit Welker for 17, and on 3rd and 5 from the 25, Brady went to Lloyd for another touchdown. The Patriots led 49-28 and were not done.

Fitzpatrick completed a pass to Wilson, who also plays defense for the Patriots. Wilson returned it 22 yards to the Buffalo 19. On 4th and 3 from the 12, Bellichick stunningly decided not to go for it. The field goal was good, and the scoring was complete.

The last time the patriots had a losing record was after an opening day 31-0 loss at Buffalo in 2003. They were 2-2 after four games, and then never lost again that year, winning it all and launching talk of a dynasty that would be completed the following year. This year the Patriots came in 1-2, and the win got them to 2-2. The Evil Empire of Football has not been killed off. Brady was 22 of 36 for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick was 22 of 39 for 350 and 4 touchdowns. Of course Fitzpatrick also threw 4 interceptions, as the Bills had one of their worst non-Super Bowl games. 52-28 Patriots

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions–Jim Schwartz saw his Lions lose one of the greatest games of all time after 2 touchdowns in 18 seconds was offset by failing to convert a 4th and 1 in overtime. This week Minnesota is expected to be a tonic to cure Detroit.

Apparently Percy Harvin did not get the memo. He is a game-breaker, and 12 seconds into the game his 105 yard kickoff return had the Vikings up 7-0. From their 20, Matthew Stafford went deep to Calvin Johnson and Megatron drew a 56 yard pass interference penalty. That was enough for old reliable Jason Hanson to kick a 40 yard field goal to get the Lions within 7-3. After an exchange of punts Minnesota took over at their own 9. Adrian Peterson gained 4 and 7. Christian Ponder went deep and this time it was a 31 yard pass interference penalty moving the Vikings forward. Walsh would connect from 49 to make it 10-3 Vikings.

In the second quarter the Vikings faced 1st and 14 from their own 5 when Peterson ran for 18 yards. On 3rd and 2 from their 31 Ponder found Harvin for 17. On 3rd and 7 just past midfield it was another defensive pass interference call, this time going for 26 yards. That meant another field goal and a 13-3 lead as Walsh connected from 27.

Detroit soon faced 3rd and 6 from their 24. Stafford hit Brandon pettigrew for 8 and Johnson for 19 to midfield. Stafford then went to Young for 17. Unnexessary roughness would lead to 1st and goal at the 8, at which point the Lions moved backward and Hanson kicked a 31 yarder as the Lions trailed 13-6 at halftime.

Special teams killed the Lions to start the game and in the second half it got worse. Detroit punted, and Sherels took it back 77 yards for a touchdown. Despite 0 offensive touchdowns, the two scores on special teams had the Vikings up 20-6.

The Lions would end one drive by fumbling. With 10 minutes left in regulation the Lions faced 4th and 5 at the Minnesota 7. Stafford was sacked for a loss. The Lions finally reached the end zone when Stafford snuck it in from one yard out as the Lions trailed by 7 with 3 minutes to play. Yet it was too little too late. The Lions got it back at their own 2 with 1:42 to play. With 5 seconds left the Lions had 4th and 5 from their 44. Last week Shawn Hill completed the Hail Mary for 14 points in 18 seconds. This week the entire second half was not enough time as Stafford was sacked to end the game.

Dennis Green once thundered that the opponent was “who we thought they were.” Neither of these teams are that. Stafford was 30 of 51 for 319 while Ponder was 16 of 26 for 111. It didn’t matter as the Vikings got to 3-1 and the 1-3 Lions are back in the cellar. 20-13 Vikings

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans–This game was expected to be a total mismatch and a home team romp. Sometimes there are thrilling games in the NFL htat turn conventional wisdom on its head. This was not that game.

Houston made it look easy from the start from their own 23. Matt Schaub went to Andre Johnson for 33 yards and again for 20 yards. Arriun Foster gained 5, 5, and 3, and Schaub hit Casey for the 11 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Texans only 3 minutes into the game.

The teams exchanged punts, and the Titans soon faced 3rd and 7 from their own 12. Locker went back to pass and got belted by Quin on a blindside blitz. Locker never saw him as Quin leveled him cleanly and hard. Locker was injured on the play and did not return. Matt Hasselbeck played quarterback the rest of the game.

Houston got it back at the Tennessee 47. On 3rd and 1 Foster got stopped short and Gary Kubiak decided to go for it. The gamble on 4th and 12 paid off as Tate gained 5. Schaub hit Casey for 11 and 6. On 3rd and 1 at the 13 Schaub hit Martin for what was initially called no gain. On further review the call was reversed and ruled a 2 yard completion for the first down. Foster then gained 7 and 4 more for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Texans after the 10 play, 6 minute drive.

Tennessee in the second quarter took over at their 22 and Chris Johnson ran for 9 and 5. On 3rd and 1 from their 45, Hasselbeck hit Johnson for 17 yards. Johnson ran for 19 and Hasselbeck hit Stevens for the 19 yard touchdown as the Titans were only down 14-7.

The game turned for good with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Hasselbeck went deep and was intercepted by Manning. Manning returned it 55 yards the other way for the touchdown as the Texans led 21-7. After that the route was on. Houston got it back at their own 25 and on 3rd and 1 Foster gained 16. From midfield Schaub hit Martin for 17. On 3rd and 5 from the 28 Schaub hit Owen Daniels on a short pass, and Daniels took it the distance as the Texans cruised 28-7.

Midway through the fourth quarter Hasselbeck would be sacked, resulting in a fumble and Houston possession at the Titans 17. Houston settled for a field goal and led 31-7. With 4 minutes left Hasselbeck was intercepted again, and this time it was Jackson racing 63 yards the other way for the exclamation point touchdown. Houston led 38-7, as this game went as expected. Hasselbeck would throw a garbage time touchdown with one minute to play, but his entire game was garbage. His turnovers directly led to 17 Houston points, as Bob McNair saw his Texans go 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. 38-14 Texans

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs–The Chiefs overcame an 18 point second half deficit last week to avoid becoming the worst team in football. This time at home they were overmatched from the start. Sometimes the games are exactly as expected on paper, yet league rules require they be played anyway. Romeo Crennel was in for a long day, as Kansas City made Norvelous Norv Turner look like a genius.

From the San Diego 24, Philip Rivers hit Battle for 14 yards. On 3rd and 10 Rivers threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference kept the drive going. On 3rd and 12 just past midfield, Rivers threw a ball that was called incomplete. On further review it was reversed and ruled a 27 yard completion. Another defensive pass interference penalty added 13 yards, and Rivers found Eddie Royal for a 4 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Chargers lead.

Matt Cassel was quickly intercepted, which would be a common theme on this day. San Diego took over at the Chiefs 28. Rivers hit Ryan Mathews for 13. On 3rd and 1 from the 6 Rivers threw incomplete, and Norv Turner opted not to go for it. Nick Novak hit from 24 as the Chargers led 10-0. Jamal Charles would quickly fumble, and the Chargers recovered at the Chiefs 5. Battle gained 4 and then got the last yard as the Chargers led 17-0.

In the second quarter after a punt the Chargers took over at their 29. Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 33 yard gain. On 4th and 1 from the Chiefs 29 Turner again opted for the field goal. Novak hit from 47 as the Chargers led 20-0. In another common theme on the day, Charles quickly fumbled again as he and Cassel ensured that neither running or passing was safe. 3 plays later on 3rd and 5 from the Chiefs 23, Rivers was intercepted. Perhaps there was a ray of hope. From the Chiefs 15, Cassel hit Dwayne Bowe for 13. O 3rd and 2 from their 36, defensive pass interference added 12 yards. Cassel hit Bowe for 15 and on the next play Charles ran around the end for a 37 yard touchdown. The Chiefs tried a fake conversion and went for 2, but it failed. Cassel and Charles had gotten the Chiefs within 20-6.

On the next series with 3 minutes left in the half, Cassel was intercepted again by Butler. Butler took it 21 yards for the score as the Chargers led 27-6. Cassel would drive the Chiefs to a 1st and 10 at the Chargers 22 with 49 seconds left in the half. He was then intercepted again. League contractual rules required that the second half be played, although it was not necessary.

Cassel did lead the Chiefs to start the third quarter on a 13 play, 6 1/2 minute, 80 yard drive. Cassel would hit Charles for the 13 yard touchdown. The Chiefs were only down 27-13.

Yet the fourth quarter began with the Chiefs facing 3rd and 13 from their 42. This time it was Draugn who gained 8 yards to midfield before fumbling. The 6th turnover was the last one, as somehow the Chiefs did not turn it over the rest of the game. Meanwhile from just past midfield Mathews gained 6 and 4, caught a pass for 8, and had a couple more 4 yard gains. On 3rd and 3 from the 20, Rivers hit Brown for 16 and Battle for the 4 yard touchdown. San Diego led 34-13 midway through the fourth quarter.

Cassel would quickly lead the Chiefs 71 yards, and on 3rd and 8 he found Bowe for a 29 yard touchdown. 5 1/2 minutes remained. Down 34-20, would the Chiefs have two consecutive miracl weeks?

No. Battle ran for 7 and Mathews ran for 8, 9, 6, and 14. Rivers did not throw an entire pass on the drive, and for the third time in the game a failed 3rd and 1 led Norv Turner to play it safe. Novak hit from 45, and the scoring was complete. The Chiefs fell to 1-3 while 3-1 San Diego is still the best of the AFC Worst. 37-20 Chargers

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets–Rex Ryan refused to put Darrelle Revis on injured reserve despite a torn ACL. The hope is if the Jets get back to the Super Bowl he will be available. What he really means is the minute he does put him on injured reserve is the day the New York Post accuses him of giving up on the season. Mark Sanchez against a stingy 49ers defense could make Ryan rethink his move sooner rather than later.

An ugly first quarter saw the 49ers take over at their own 32 with 3 minutes left in the period. Alex Smith hit Frank Gore for 5 and Gore ran for 9 more. From midfield Mario Manningham took an end around 28 yards and Hunter gained 11 more. On 3rd and 6 from the 7 Colin Kaepernick took a wildcat snap around the end for the touchdown to make it 7-0 49ers.

In the second quarter the Jets would fumble and give the 49ers the ball with a short field. Yet David Akers missed a 55 yard field goal to keep the game 7-0. With 1:22 left in the half the Jets faced 3rd and 7 at the San Francisco 25. Mark Sanchez was sacked and fumbled and the 49ers took over at their own 26. Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis for 23 yards, Gore for 8, Davis again for 5, and Michael Crabtree for 12. Akers hit a 36 yard field goal at the gun to make it 10-0 49ers. Ryan could not get Darrelle Revis to play offense in the second half.

Mark Sanchez had a nightmarish game, and an interception to begin the third quarter gave the 49ers a short field. Akers would miss a 40 yard field goal as the Jets were lucky to still be in the game down by 10. That luck would soon run out. With 6 minutes left in the third quarter the 49ers had another short field after a punt at the Jets 48. Smith hit Manningham for 12 and Walker for 25. On 3rd and 1 from the 2 Gore got stopped, and Jim Harbaugh decided to go for it on 4th and 1. Gore got the first down and the touchdown as the 49ers led 17-0 after three quarters. The red and gold poured it on in the fourth quarter as Gang Green looked sick from, well, gang green most likely. \

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Sanches found Santonio Holmes, who fumbled the ball. Holmes was injured on the play, and the added insult was Rogers returning the fumble 51 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-0 49ers.

Akers would tack on a 40 yard field goal to make it 27-0. The Jets were a mess on offense and defense, and the only thing left for them was a special teams breakdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, they obliged their quota and had a punt blocked. The 49ers took over at the 4 and Hunter got in from one yard out. Smith was only 12 of 21 for 143 yards but Sanchez was a miserable 13 of 29 for 103 and an interception. The 49ers are 3-1 while the Jets are 2-2. However, Rex Ryan knows what he has, which is a team on the verge of collapse very early in the season. 34-0 49ers

Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams–Despite begging and pleading by Pete Carroll before the game, the replacement refs were not coming back. They would have to beat the Rams, which should not require help from the refs anyway. Then again, the Seahawks remain the Forrest Gump of the league in the sense that we never know what we are going to get.

From their 20, Russell Wilson hit Sidney Rice for 17 and then scrambled himself for 8 more. Wilson hit Rice again for 16. From the Rams 32, Marshawn Lynch gained 7 and Wilson hit Golden Tate for 7 more. Lynch ran for an 18 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Rams.

The Rams soon faced 3rd and 13 from their 17 when Sam Bradford hit Gibson for a pair of 14 yard gains. Stephen Jackson ran for 13. The drive stopped at the Seattle 40 and Greg Zuerlein was brought in for a 58 yard field goal try. He drilled it and the Rams were down 7-3. Give Jeff Fisher the cojones of steel award.

The Rams got it back on their 10. From their 20, Bradford went deep to Givens for a 52 yard gain on the last play of the first quarter. The Rams began the second quarter with Bradford being intercepted to kill the threat. After some punts, Seattle faced 3rd and 8 just past midfield. Wilson was intercepted, and the Rams had it that their 48. On 3rd and 14 from the Seattle 46, Bradford hit Pettis for 17. On 3rd and 10 from the 29 Bradford found Quick for 19. On 3rd and goal from the 2 Bradford threw incomplete and it was time for the field goal. Jeff Fisher called a fake and Hekker hit Danny Amendola for the score as the Rams led 10-7 with 1:16 left in the half. Seattle would punt and the Rams took over at the Seattle 46 with 34 seconds left in the half. Bradford hit Richardson for 11 and Zuerlein hit a 48 yarder as the half ended to have the Rams leading 13-7. Despite more protests by Pete Carroll, the replacement refs were not coming back.

The second half was thrilling for those who love field goals. For everybody else, it was a wretched experience. The one bit of excitement is Zuerliein. It is one thing to kick the megalong field goals at the end of each half, but the 58 yarder in the first quarter was a gutsy call. Seattle began the second half with a surprise onsides kick that failed. The Rams took over at the Seattle 48 and moved only 60 yards. So naturally Jeff Fisher borught in Zuerlein for a 60 yard field goal try. Are you kidding me? Do the Rams not have a punter? Anyway, Zuerlein leveled it and the the Rams led 16-7. Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards for the Seahawks, but Wilson was quickly intercepted to squander that chance. Seattle would get it back at their own 13 and Wilson led a 13 play, 7 minute drive to a critical 3rd and 4 at the Rams 12. Wilson fired incomplete and Stephen Hauschka hit the 31 yarder to have the Seahawks trailing 16-10 after three quarters.

Late in he third quarter Seattle got it back at their own 45 and Wilson led them to a 3rd and 2 at the Rams 10. Wilson was sacked, and Hauschka kicked a 30 yarder as Seattle trailed 16-13 with 13 minutes left in regulation.

Now it was Bradford who led a 15 play, 7 minute drive as the Rams moved from their 20. On 3rd and 10 from their 35 Bradford hit Amendola for 15. On 3rd and 13 from the Seattle 43, Bradford found Kendricks for 26. The drive stalled at the 6, but Zuerlein after hitting from 58 and 60 had no problem from 24 as the Rams led by 6 with 6 minutes to play.

Seattle would have to punt but used their timeouts and got it back at their own 20 with 3 minutes left. With one minute left Wilson had Seattle at the Rams 35. Last week he got the Hail Mary, but this week there would be no miracles. Wilson was intercepted on a short pass and the Rams had the win. Pete Carroll did not blame the regular refs while Jeff Fisher moved to canonize his kicker. 19-13 Rams

Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars–League rules required that this game not be canceled. Despite having some talent, the Bengals under Marvin Lewis are a bad team that wins games against ven worse teams while losing to the good ones. The Jaguars are one of those even worse teams.

After a Jacksonville punt, Red Rifle Andy Dalton was intercepted deep in Cincy territory. Yet rather than go down, every defender wants to be a hero. Jacksonville fumbled it back on the return and the Bengals took the ball back at their own 9 yard line. Dalton then hit Hawkins for 7 and Charles for 10. Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis ran for 3 and 13. On 3rd and 15 from midfield a completion came up a couple yards short, but roughing the passer moved the ball to the Jacksonville 22. After 14 plays and 6 minutes, not counting the first 2 plays and couple minutes before the almost turnover, Mike Nugent hit a 35 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Bengals. For those wanting hihlights, there were none. A test pattern would be more exciting.

From the Jacksonville 23, Blaine Gabbert went to work. He ran for 9 and Maurice Jones-Drew added 9 more. A sack of Gabbert meant 2nd and 22, so he threw a 23 yard completion to mercedes Lewis. Jennings ran for 4 and 8. Gabbert hit Jones and Jones-Drew for a pair of 6 yard gains. A 14 yard toss to Justin Blackmon had the Jaguars with 1st and 10 at the Cincy 13 to start the second quarter. Jones-Drew gained 6 and 5 and Gabbert hit Lewis for the 2 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Jaguars. That concluded the Jaguars highlights for the game.

A lifeless game saw the Bengals punting on 4th and 1 from their 34. Marvin Lewis called a fake punt, and Peerman took the direct snap around the end for a 48 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the 13, an incompletion was offset by defensive pass interference. On 2nd and goal at the one Dalton hit Presley to make it 10-7 Bengals with 6 1/2 minutes left in the half.

With 3:17 left in the half the Bengals got it back at their 40. Green-Ellis ripped off a couple 9 yard gains. On 2nd and 11 from the Jacksonville 43 at the 2 minute warning, Dalton went deep to speedster AJ Green. The 42 yard completion put the ball on the one, and on 2nd and goal Dalton got in to make it 17-7 Bengals at intermission.

Cincinnati moved in the third quarter from their 20 to 3rd and goal at the one with a chance to put the game away. Green-Ellis got the carry and fumbled it away for a touchback. Jacksonville then embarqued on a 14 play drive that consumed 8 minutes off the clock. Yet on 4th and 1 from the 3, the decision was made to go for the field goal. Josh Scobee hit from 21 as the depressed home crowd saw the Jaguars down 17-10 after three quarters.

Cincy took over at their 20 and Dalton hit Green-Ellis for 13. On 3rd and 7 from their 36 Dalton went to Hawkins for 31 yards. The fourth quarter began with Cincy facing 3rd and 5 at the Jacksonville 28. Dalton hit Gresham for 7 and then to Green for the 18 yard touchdown to make it 24-10 Bengals only one minute into the fourth quarter.

In a game of who wanted it least, Jacksonville needed one play from scrimmage for Gabbert to be intercepted. Cincinnati took over at the Jacksonville 16, ran 3 plays for 0 yards, and had Nugent kick a 35 yard field goal to lock up the game. The final 13 minutes could not have come soon enough, as the audience was not going to see anything resembling professional football. 27-10 Bengals

Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals–Before the season started this was expected to be a meaningless game between a pair of bad teams nobody cares about that have no rivalry. The Dolphins have played down to expectations yet Ken Whisenhunt has his Cardinals as the surprise of the season at 3-0. Critics like myself insist this is temporary.

An uneventful first quarter saw Miami take over at their own 22 with 4 minutes left in the period and embark on a 14 play, 6 minute drive. Despite 1st and 10 at the Arizona 14, they got no further and settled for a 32 yard Dan Carpenter field goal and a 3-0 Dolphins leaf early in the second quarter.

With 6 minutes left in the half Miami got it back at their own 5. Reggie Bush ran for 21 yards and then 9 more. Ryan Tannehill then went deep to Brad Hartline for a 57 yard gain. Tannehill was sacked, setting up 3rd and goal at the 20. Tannehill then threw a short pass to Hartline that somehow gained 19 yards, leading to an important decision for Joe Philbin. At the 2 minute warning on 4th and goal at the 1, Philbin decided to go for it. Lane got the yard up the gut and Miami led 10-0.

Kevin Kolb moved the Cardinals from their 20 to 1st and 10 at the Miami 48. Kolb was then intercepted by Smith, who returned it 31 yards to the Arizona 34 with 27 seconds left in the half. Tannehill hit Anthony Fasano for 7 and Duane Bess for 18. Yet on 1st and goal at the 9 with 6 seconds left in the half, this time Joe Philbin went conservative. He sent in Carpenter for the 27 yarder, and the kick had the Dolphins leading 13-0 at halftime.

With Miami in total control in the third quarter, Tannehill moved the Dolphins from their 35 to the Arizona 28. Yet Reggie Bush then lost 5 yards, and Carpenter was brought in for a 51 yard field goal try. It was no good, and the Cardinals took over at their own 41. Kolb immediately hit Larry Fitzgerald for 12, Housler for 15, and Roberts for 25. On 3rd and goal from the 3 Kolb hit Fitzgerald for the touchdown. Rather than trailing 16-0, the Cardinals were only down 13-7. Tannehill would throw an interception late in the third quarter but Arizona failed to capitalize.

A totally lackluster game up to that point saw the Cardinals take over at their 19 with 11 minutes left in regulation. One minute later the Cardinals had a 14-13 lead as Kolb hit Housler for 33 yards and then went deep to Roberts for a 46 yard touchdown. With 8 1/2 minutes remaining, chaose ensued. Miami faced 1st and 10 from their 42. Tannehill hit Legadu Naanee for 19 yards. Naanee fumbled, and Patrick Peterson returned it 60 yards to the Miami 3 yard line. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 2 Kolb was intercepted in the end zone to kill the threat. One play later Tannehill went deep to Hartline, and in front of a stunned home crowd the result was an 80 yard touchdown. Tannheill hit Lane for the 2 point conversion, and midway through the fourth quarter, when it looked like Arizona would lead 21-13, instead it was 21-14 Miami.

Arizona punted and Miami was on the move. Early in the game it looked like Miami would win in a blowout before Arizona came back. Then Arizona had a chance to put it away and Miami retook the lead. A game of momentum swings saw Miami with a chance to close the game out up by 7 and facing 2nd and 18 from the Arizona 41. A few more yards and a field goal would lock it up. Instead Tannehill was sacked and fumbled, and Vonnie Holliday recovered for Arizona just shy of midfield. The Cardinals had life.

At the 2 minute warning, that life was almost extinguished as Arizona faced 3rd and 18 from their 41. Kolb hit Roberts for 16 yards and the Cardinals called their first timeout with 1:50 left and a 4th and 2 that would decide the game. Kolb hit Roberts for 9 yards, Fitzgerald for 9 more, and Malcolm Floyd for 10. Yet 3 straight completions was followed by 3 straight incompletions. With 29 seconds left, it came down to 4th and 10 from the 15. Kolb threw a short pass to Roberts, who got in the end zone to tie the game with 22 seconds left. The teams went into overtime tied 21-21.

Arizona went 3 and out and punted, meaning the game would now be sudden death. Miami soon faced 3rd and 6 from their 38. Tannehill was intercepted by Rhodes, giving the Cardinals the ball at the Miami 47. On 3rd and 8 Kolb found Early Doucet for 10 yards. Jay Feely came in for a 46 yard field goal try. It was good and the Cardinals had the win. Kolb was 29 of 48 for 324 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Tannehill was 26 of 41 for 431 yards with one touchdown and 2 interceptions. Miami dropped to 1-3, while the Cardiac Cardinals are 4-0. Skeptics will have their say, but unbeaten is unbeaten. 24-21 Cardinals, OT

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos–Both of these teams are 1-2, but the conventional wisdom was that Denver was a much better team. The Raiders had won 4 straight at Denver but the Dennis Allen era has gotten off to a miserable start. The penalties are drastically reduced, but time will tell if that was just the replacement refs. The Raiders still do not have Jacoby Ford, and now Darrius Heyward-Bey is out after taking a helmet-to helmet hit last week that resulted in the stretcher. The Raiders have an awful pass defense. Despite the win last week, the West Coast offense is failing miserably. The Raiders won when Carson Palmer was unleashed in the fourth quarter out of necessity. As for Denver, Peyton Manning is still lighting up the statistical board despite consecutive losses. This game was expected to be a blowout for the home team.

Manning made it look easy from the start. On 3rd and 6 from their 24, Manning hit Brandon Stokley for 26 and Eric Decker for 9. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 41, Willis McGahee got 2. oN 4th and 1 from the Oakland 30 John Fox decided to go for it. Manning hit Jacob Tamme for 8 and then fired between three defenders to Joel Dreesen for a 22 yard touchdown to quickly make it 7-0 Broncos.

From their 20, Darren McFadden ran for 2 and 8. Palmer went to Marcel Reece for a 31 yard gain and again for 4 more yards. Palmer went to Derek Hagan for 10 yards. Yet on 3rd and 5 from the 20, Palmer threw incomplete. Sebastian Janikowski hit the 38 yard field goal as the Raiders trailed 7-3.

After a touchback Denver faced 3rd and 1 from their 29. Manning found Tamme for 10. On 1st and 20 back at the 29, Manning went back to Tamme for 10 and then deep to Thomas for 23 yards. Caldwell ran for 14, Manning hit Decker for 9, and McGahee gained 8 to make it 1st and goal at the 4. The defense held and the Broncos ended the first quarter with a 21 yard Matt Prater field goal to lead 10-3.

Denver missed a chance to extend the lead in the second quarter facing 3rd and 5 from their own 29. Manning found Thomas, who raced down the field. Yet after a 40 yard gain, Thomas was stripped of the ball and fumbled it away. Denver got it back at their own 33 and moved to a4th and 1 at the Oakland 36 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half. Again John Fox decided to go for it and this time Manning threw incomplete.

On 3rd and 1 from their 45, Palmer found McFadden for 4 at the 2 minute warning. From midfield Palmer went deep to Denarius Moore for a 37 yard gain. McFadden gained 2 and 5, and with 30 seconds left in the half the Raiders faced 3rd and 3 at the 6. Palmer threw incomplete. Seabass connected from 243, but 2 trips to the red zone did not result in the end zone. The Raiders only trailed 10-6 at halftime. They thought they were on their way to being a better team. They were kidding themselves, as the roof caved in during a miserable third quarter.

The Raiders got the ball first, but Dennis Allen believes in the sink and dunk West Coast Offense. Trent Dilfer is retired and Captain Checkdown Matt Leinart is holding a clipboard, yet a thoroughbred like Palmer faced 3rd and 5 and was told to throw a dink pass that gained 4 yards as the Raiders punted again. It would be their last chance at actually being able to win, and all because they do not throw the ball past the marker.

Denver faced 3rd and 3 from their 28 and Manning hit Tamme for 4 yards, which is past the marker. McGahee then ran for 11. Manning hit Hillman for 29, Decker for 6, and Decker again for the 17 yard touchdown to make it 17-6 Broncos.

The Raiders called another dink pass on 1st and 10 and it lost 4 yards. Oakland went 3 and out and punted. Yet the real problem was Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler. He is one of the all time greats, but this time he had the mother of all shanks, hitting a 2….yes 2…yard punt. The guy just blew it. Denver took over at the Oakland 18. McGahee did the rest, running for 3, 11, 2, and the 2 yard touchdown to make it 24-6 midway through the thrid quarter.

The Raiders then went to the ground as McFadden gained 3 and 5. On 3rd and 2 McFadden got it again and lost 2 yards as the Raiders again went 3 and out and punted. This time it was a normal punt lthough a facemask on the Raiders added 15 yards to the field position as Denver took over at their 37. Manning quickly went to Thomas for 25 yards and McGahee gained 24. On 3rd and 10 from the 14 Manning hit Ball for the touchdown as the 21 point third quarter broke open a close game and turned ito a 31-6 Denver blowout.

The fourth quarter saw Denver kick two field goals while the Raiders did not cross midfield until the 2 minute warning. For those who want three reasons to despise what Dennis Allen has done with the Raiders, they are dink and dunk, also known as West Coast Offense. On 3rd and 18 from the Denver 27 with 37 seconds left, Palmer completed a pass to Mike Goodson for no gain. On 4th and 18 when defenses with a 31 point lead are usually sleeping in garbage time, Palmer threw a pass to Hagan for 8 yards. This is not Palmer’s fault. This is coaching.

Al Davis is rolling over in his grave. His last hire was Hue Jackson, and Jackson opened up the playbook. After 7 straight losing seasons the Raiders had consecutive 8-8 seasons. Now they are 1-3 and sevrely regressing.

Manning torched the Silver and Black by going 30 for 38 for 338 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Palmer was 19 of 34 for 202 yards with 0 touchdowns or interceptions. The Raiders had zero turnovers. They had 5 penalties for a total of 41 yards, certainly not awful. Lechler did have his 2 yard punt, but he also had a 68 yarder to average over 43 yards. Yet the Raiders were outgained 503 to 237. Al Davis said “Just Win Baby.” The Raiders are not only losing, but losing badly. They have losses of 16, 22, and now 31 points. They are not remotely competitive. No excuses. This is a terrible team, and it starts with Dennis Allen. 37-6 Broncos

Washington Redskins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–While most people wondered whether RGIII would light up the scoreboard or Greg Schiano would continue ending games in a dirty manner, this game was about Billy Cundiff. He was the kicker who missed the 32 yarder in the AFC Title Game that cost Baltimore a shot at the Super Bowl. He was cut and picked up a miles away in the Nation’s Capitol. Mike Shanahan is not a patient man, and missed field goals will put you in his doghouse in a hurry.

After an exchange of punts the Buccaneers took over at their own 30 and moved to a 4th and 3 at the Washington 32. Connor Barth had the first field goal try of the game, and from 50 yards he put the Buccaneers up 3-0. From the Washington 25 Morris gained 4 and 17. Robert Griffin then hit Young for 24 yards and Fred Davis for 26 more. On 3rd and 5 from the 9, Griffin ran up the middle but fumbled the ball at the one yard line. Luckily for the Redskins teammate Pierre Garcon recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown and a 7-3 Washington lead just the way Shanahan drew it up in practice on the blackboard.

Tampa Bay went 3 and out and Griffin moved the Redskins from their 10 to a 4th and 8 at the Tampa Bay 23. In what would be a common theme on the day, Cundiff missed the 41 yard field goal. At the time it didn’ matter since Josh Freeman was quickly intercepted by Hall, who returned it 13 yards to the Tampa 35. On 3rd and 13 Griffin found Davis but they came up one yard short. A kick would have been 44 yards, but Shanahan decided to go for it on 4th and 1. Cundiff had only missed once so Shanahan may have gone for it anyway. Morris gained 7, then 2, then 7 more. On 3rd and 1 from the 10 Tampa Bay jumped offsides, and on the next play Griffin ran it in from 5 yards out to make it 14-3 Redskins midway through the second quarter.

Washington got it back at their own 40 and struck again easily. RGIII hit Hankerson for 21 yards and Morris ran for a 39 yard touchdown as the Redskins were winning in a laugher 21-3 with 5 minutes left in the half. By the end of the game they would not be laughing,

Freeman moved the Buccaneers from their 20 to the Washington 39. Unlike Cundiff, Barth was already having a good day. At the 2 minute warning, having already hit from 50, Schiano had him try from 57. Barth was good and the Bucs trailed 21-6. Washington got it back at their own 42 with only 14 seconds left in the half. Griffin hit Hankerson for 6 and Morgan for 13. Cundiff came in for his try at a 57 yarder. It was no good. The Redskins led 21-6 anyway despite the two misses, and missing from 57 is hardly cause for alarm even when the other kicker makes one from that distance.

With four minutes left in the third quarter, Tampa Bay got it back at their 15. Freeman went deep to Williams for a 65 yard bomb to the Washington 20. After an offsides penalty, Blount gained 6 and 2. On 3rd and goal from the 7, Freeman hit Vincent Jackson for the touchdown to get the Buccaneers within 21-13.

On the last play of the third quarter facing 3rd and 9 from their own 33, Griffin went deep to Paul for a 30 yard gain with a couple of laterals making things exciting. The fourth quarter began at the Tampa Bay 37. Griffin hit Morgan for 16. On 3rd and 2 from the 13 Griffin was stopped. A chip shot 31 yard field goal would make it 24-13 and keep things from getting scary. Cundiff missed it again for the third time, and now things would get scary. For Cundiff, he could now panic. A 30-13 laugher was instead still a 21-13 game.

From the Tampa 21 Freeman went deep to Jackson for a 54 yard gain and then again to Jackson for 22 more. Blount ran it in from 2 yards out. With 10 minutses left in regulation Schiano opted for the 2 point conversion. After a false start, Schiano tried it anyway. It failed, and the Buccaneers trailed 21-19.

After some punts, Tampa Bay got it back at their own 36 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. Martin gained 7 and Freeman hit Dallas Clark for 4 and then Underwood for 19 to the Washington 34. With 1:47 to play Barth came in for a 47 yarder. He was good for the third time in three tries as the Buccaneers had stormed back with 19 unanswered points to now lead 22-21.

Washington took over at their 20 with 1:42 left and one timeout. RGIII was magnificent with everything on the line, hitting Santana Moss for 15, Fred Davis for 20, and Royster for 4. Griffin then scrambled for 15. Griffin spiked the ball to stop the clock with 18 seconds to play to preserve the timeout. From the Tampa 26, it would now be a 44 yard field goal try. A false start was followed by a 7 yard completion to Moss as the Redskins took their final timeout with seven seconds left. On came Cundiff for a 41 yarder. In this game Barth made all 3 while Cundiff missed all 3 of his. Cundiff had been the goat. Could he redeem himself and be the hero? Yes it was the defense that blew a 21-3 lead, but Cundiff missing four field goals would be the only topic. Cundiff swung his foot, and the kick was good. Cundiff was mobbed by his Washington teammates. After a failed attempt at plenty of laterals on the ensuing kickoff, the Redskins had the win. Cundiff had his redemption. 24-22 Redskins

New Orleans @ Green Bay Packers–The subplots from the teams that have won 2 of the last 3 Super Bowls are many. Last year the Packers under Mike McCarthy went 15-1 while Sean Payton led the Saints to a 13-3 record. Neither team made it to the Super Bowl. This year the Packers are 1-2 and the Saints 0-3, with each team knowing they were better than their record. As Bill Parcells said, you are what your record says you are. Both teams lost last week in gut-wrenching fashion. Green Bay lost on a Hail Mary that will have the fans cursing replacement refs forever. The Saints blew a 24-6 second half lead at home to lose at home to a Kansas City squad that loses to everybody else badly. Last year these teams opened the season with a thriller where Randall Cob returned the opening kickoff 108 yards for a score to start the season for Green Bay. The final play in a 42-34 pinball shootout was one on defense when the Packers stopped the Saints from the one yard line. These pass happy teams have two of the finest in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, as Rodgers won the MVP last year and Brees shattered the all time single season passing record with over 5400 yards. In this game Rodgers was 31 for 41 for 319 yards and four touchdowns with one interception while Brees was a ridiculous 35 of 54 for 446 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. The game was phenomenal, one of the best games of the season so far.

Each teams began by coming up one yard short of the sticks and punting, as the ackers took over at their own 38. Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for 15, Jermaine Finley for 12, Nelson again for 18, and Jones for the 12 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers.

From their 20, Brees hit Graham for 6 yards on 3rd and 1 from their 29. Brees then found Lance Moore for 10, Graham again for 24 and then 12 more, and marques Colston for the 20 yard touchdown to make it 7-7. The passing clinic both quarterbacks put on had a long way to go.

On 3rd and 6 from their 24, Rodgers ran for 7. He hit Cobb for gains of 5 and 10 and Finley for 20. The second quarter began with Rodgers hitting Finley for 8 and Greg Jennings for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Packers.

The Saints punted and Green Bay prepared to punt on 4th and 1 from their 17. Mike McCarthy then showed why he may be a certifiable lunatic. That or between winning a Super Bowl, last week’s loss, or both, he just does not give a d@mn anymore. The fake punt call from inside their own 20 worked as John Kuhn gained 5 yards. From their 30, Cedric Benson gained 5, 7, and 5. A pass to Cobb gained 8 and a facemask tacked on 15 more. From the Saints 30 Rodgers hit Benson for gains of 11 and 5. On 3rd and 5 from the 14, Rodgers hit Jones for the touchdown as the 13 play, 6 minute, 92 yard drive had the Packers up 21-7 with 5 minutes left in the half.

After a touchback Brees hit Colston for 14 and Devry Henderson for 10. On 3rd and 1 from their 43 Brees hit Moore for a deuce. The 2 minute warning saw 3rd and 1 from the Packers 46, where Brees hit Graham for 6, Sproles for 20, Moore for 9, Colston for 5, and Sproles for the 6 yard touchdown as the Saints trailed 21-14 at halftime.

The Saints had a 5 minute drive to end the first half and another 15 play, 5 minute drive to start the second half. The Packers offense went about an hour without taking the field. On 3rd and 10 from their 26, an offsides made it 3rd and 5 and Brees hit Graham for 8 and Colston for 26 more. On 3rd and 6 from the Green Bay 30, Brees hit Moore for 19. On 3rd and 10 from the 11 Brees hit Sproles for 8. On 4th and 2 from the 3 the Saints went for the field goal and made it. A defensive personal foul had them take the points off the board on 1st and goal at the one. Neither team likes to run much, and a pass lost a yard and 4th and goal at the 2 meant kick it again. Again Garrett Hartley was good and the Saints were down 21-17.

Neither the Packers offense or the Saints defens ewas rusty after the long time off the field. Rodgers moved the Packers from their 20 to 1st and goal at the 2. Harrell then fumbled and the Saints recovered, as Mike McCarthy vowed never to run the ball ever again. On 3rd and 5 from their 13, Brees hit Moore for 7. On the next play Brees went for the bomb, and the result was an 80 yard touchdown to Morgan. Instead of the Packers leading 28-17, it was 17 unanswered points that had the Saints leading 24-21 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter.

On the next series Rodgers made his only mistake of the game, as he was intercepted. The Saints took over at their own 34. Brees kept firing, hitting Collins for 12. A sack meant 3rd and 17, so Brees hit Colston for 23 yards. The fourth quarter began with 3rd and 14 from the Green Bay 42. Brees hit Colston again for 27 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 9 Brees would throw incomplete.The Saints settled for a 27 yard Hartley field goal and a 27-21 lead wih 13 minutes left in regulation.

Both teams would punt on their next series, and Green Bay got it back at their own 43 with 10 1/2 minutes in the game. Benson gained 8 and Rodgers hit Cobb for 8 and 7, Nelson for 6, back to Cobb for 17, and to Nelson for the 11 yard touchdown. With exactly 7 minutes to play, the Packers were back on top by one point.

After an exchange of punts the Saints took over at their 31 with 7 minutes left. Sproles ran for 9, and with 5 minutes left the Saints faced 4th and 2 just shy of midfield. The decision was made to go for it, and Brees hit Moore for 6 yards and again for 14 more. On 4th and 4 from the 25 with 3 minutes to play, Garrett Hartley came in for the 43 yard field goal for the lead. It was good, but the Saints celebrated too early. The regular refs called offensive holding, now making it a 53 yard try. The Packers jumped offsides. Take 3, from 48 yards. Harley hit it, and this time it was no good, wide.

The Saints needed the ball back, and at the 2 minute warning with the Saints out of timeouts, everything came down to Green Bay facing 3rd and 3 at their own 45. Rodgers hit Jones for 8 and the game was over. The Packers at 2-2 are very much alive, while the Saints have seen their nightmarish season spiral into an 0-4 record. Brees entered the NFL record books by tying a mark that had stood alone for about half a century. Brees matched Johnny Unitas as the only 2 men to throw at least one touchdown pass in 47 straight games. Next week he can break the record. Right now he just wants a win. 28-27 Packers

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles was the Sunday night game. Captain Grumpy Tom Coughlin and Walrus Lite Andy Reid both have 2-1 teams still trying to find their identity. These teams beat the daylights out of each other, and they brought the lumber again.

Wilson was a kickoff returning machine in this game, and he took then opening kickoff 36 yards for Big Blue. Yet the Giants would punt. So would Philly. They repeated this defensive slugfest through a scoreless opening quarter.

With 6 minutes left in the half the Eagles took over at their own 30 in a 0-0 game. On 3rd and 4 from their 36 defensive offsides kept the drive going. Michael Vick then hit Desean Johnson for 17 yards and McCoy for 12 more. On 3rd and 4 from the 20 Vick got just enough. After 28 minutes of scoreless football, the Eagles faced 3rd and 9 from the 19. Vick went to Jackson and the scoreboard finally saw action as the Eagles led 7-0.

With 1:39 from their own 13, Eli Manning went to Dominic Hixon, not to be confused with Dan Akroyd’s wife Donna Dixon. Hixon gained 32 yards and then caught another one for 10 more. Manning then went to Victor cruz for 13 and 12. On 3rd and 3 from the 6 with 13 seconds left in the half, Manning fired incomplete. The Giants settled for a 25 yard Lawrence Tynes field goal. That would loom large later as the Giants trailed 7-3 at the break.

The Eagles began the third quarter after a touchback and Vickhit Jackson for 14. McCoy gained 4 and then broke free for a 34 yard gain and again for a 22 yard gain down to the one yard line. McCoy got 3 more carries, but ran into a Big Blue brick wall as 1st and goal at the one turned into 4th and goal at the two. Walrus Lite Andy Reid vowed never to run the ball ever again. This time it was the Eagles settling for a 20 yard Henery field goal and a 10-3 lead.

Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Giants 43, and this time his effort was not wasted. Manning hit Barden for 5, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 5, 9, and 4. Manning hit Hixon for 13, and on 3rd and 3 from the 14 Manning hit Cruz for the touchdown. The salsa dancer had the game tied 10-10 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

After a touchback Vick hit Captain Morgan Brent Celek for 27 yards and then scrambled himself for 18 more. The drive would stall but Henery nailed a 48 yard field goal to put the Eagles back in the lead 13-10 after three brutal quarters.

Wilson scorched the Eagles again, taking the ensuing kickoff 53 yards just past midfield. The Giants had a major decision to make when Bradshaw got stopped on 3rd and 1. On 4th and 1 from the 40 on the last play of the third quarter, Tom Coughlin decided to go for it. Rather than ram it up the good, Manning found Cruz, who raced 30 yards. Yet the first play of the fourth quarter, on 1st and goal at the 10, Manning was intercepted by Dominique Rogers-Cromartie in the end zone.  The Eagles took over at their own 9.

On 2nd and 4 Vick found Avant for 23 yards. Havili gained 7 and McCoy gained 10 and 13. Vick hit Havili for 7and 8 more. On 3rd and 2 from the 13 Vick was sacked. Henery hit the 35 yarder, but the Eagles only led 16-10 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

This time Wilson “only” returned the kickoff 23 yards to the 17. Manning went bombs away to Barden for 31 yards and Hixon for 41 more. On 2nd and goal from the 6 Manning hit Pascoe for the touchdown. With 6 1/2 minutes left, the Giants led 17-16.

From the Philly 17, Vick hit Jackson for 19, and McCoy ran for 15 and 5. Vick found Jeremy Maclin for 7 and then ran for 13 himself. Vick hit Celek for 8 and McCoy ran for 7 and 4. The 2 minute warning came with the Eagles facing 3rd and goal at the 2. Vick was sacked for a 6 yard loss and the Giants took their final timeout. Henery made the 26 yard field goal to put the Eagles up by a deuce. Surely at this point Andy Reid told his special teams coach not to kick it to Wilson. Somebody needs to be fired or scolded, because Wilson took this kickoff 37 yards to the Giants 35. Eli Manning had 1:43 and 0 timeouts, needing only a field goal to win.

With one minute to play the Giants faced 4th and 1 from their 44. Manning went deep incomplete. Yet the game was not over as the Eagles were called for defensive pass interference. On 3rd and 10 from the Philly 35, Manning threw incomplete again, and again defensive pass interference was called. These were both good calls. A draw play only gained one yard and ate up clock. On 2nd and 9 from the Philly 26, Manning went deep incomplete and again a yellow flag came out inside the 5 yard line. Yet this time it was offensive pass interference, and again it was the right call. After another incompletion, controversy ensued that will be debated for months if not years to come. Thankfully for the league the officials were not in any way involved.

The Giants were out of timeouts, and 15 seconds remained. They faced 3rd and 19 from the Philly 36. There was time to run a play but it would have to be a throw to the sideline. Manning has made that throw so many times, most notably in the Super Bowl victory last year. Yet Coughlin sent Tynes on to kick the field goal rather than try to get him a few more yards closer. The kick was wide but Andy Reid had called timeout. With time to think it over, Coughlin gaain sent Tynes out rather than run another offensive play. 15 seconds was enough time, but he insisted on the kick right away. This time Tynes was dead center…and just short. Again it was no good and the Eagles had the hard fought win. Coughlin explained that if the Giants were stopped in bounds the clock would have run out. Also, on 3rd down the Giants would get another chance if there was a bad snap. CVoughlin does have 2 Super Bowl rings, but the New York Post will question this one. The Giants are 2-2 while the Eagles are 3-1 despite winning their 3 games by a total of 4 points and having given up more points overall. They will take winning ugly. 19-17 Eagles

Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys was the Monday night game.

Both of these teams are up and down, and Lovie Smith and Jason Garrett still do not know what they have.

This game started out as a slugfest, rendering the rest of it all the more surprising. After 25 minutes it was still 0-0. With 11 1/2 minutes left in the half the Bears took over at their own 6. Jay Cutler hit
Brandon Marshall for 18 yards. Matt Forte ran for 9 and 14 as Michael Bush gained 2 on a critical 3rd and 1. On 3rd and 10 from midfield Cutler hit Davis for 16. On 3rd and 1 from the Dallas 25 Bush got stopped, but Robbie Gould hit a 43 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Bears with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.

Dallas soon faced 3rd and 9 from their 21, when Tony Romo threw a perfect touchdown pass to Charles “Peanut” Tillman. Tillman plays defense for Chicago, and his 25 yard interception return made it 10-0 Bears.

After a touchback, Romo bounced back, hitting Murray for 5, Jason Witten for 11, Murray for 5 more, Dez Bryant for 11, Miles Austin for 12 and 17, Bryant for 7, and Austin for the 10 yard touchdown just before the half. Dallas only trailed 10-7 at intermission, but the second half was a totally different game.

The third quarter began with the Bears at their 27. Cutler hit Jeffery for 11 and 16, Marshall for 10, and Devon Hester deep for a 34 yard touchdown. The best punt returner in the game is not too shabby at wide receiver, and he put the Bears up 10-7.

Jay Cutler was throwing passes right to Chicago receivers. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Tony Romo completed his passes to the Bears defense. After moving Dallas from their 20 to a 2nd and 12 at the Chicago 18, Romo threw his second interception. Jay Cutler soon got sacked and fumbled it back, giving Dallas the ball at the Chicago 27. One play later Romo threw his third interception. Lance Briggs returned it 74 yards the other way for a score to have the Bears up 24-7. Romo did then lead Dallas from their 20 to a 3rd and 6 at the Chicago 22 before throwing incomplete. Dan Bailey did hit a 40 yard field goal but the Cowboys trailed 24-10 after three quarters.

From the Chicago 19 Cutler hit Marshall for 11, and on 3rd and 4 from their 36, hit Davis for 21 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 38, Cutler went back to Marshall for a 30 yard gain. The drive stalled at the 4, but Gould hit from 21 to make it 27-10 Bears with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Romo moved Dallas from their 15 to midfield, but was then intercepted for the fourth time. Chicago quickly faced 3rd and 3 at their 40 after Bush gained 5 and 2. Cutler hit Davis for 25. On 3rd and 6 from the Dallas 31, Cutler hit Marshall for another touchdown as the Bears led 34-10. Only 2 plays later Romo threw his fifth interception.

On a Monday night game a few years ago Romo threw five interceptions. He showed character by throwing a touchdown pass with 20 seconds to play, and after a successful onsides kick, a quick drive for a winning field goal. He never gives up. Yet this Monday night game had Dallas down by 24, not 8. He would lead one touchdown drive on this night, but Dallas was down by 24, not 8. It was a humiliating loss and the owner of the 1.2 billion dollar Jerry Jones metropolis was not pleased. 34-18 Bears


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.