NFL 2012 Week 7 Recap

NFL 2012 Week 7 Recap

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers was the Thursday night game. Both of these teams are known for defense. Jim Harbaugh had a 13-3 squad last year that looked like an NFC favorite until getting stomped at home last week by 23 points to the defending champions from New York. Pete Carroll has an exciting quarterback in Russell Wilson, but is mainly powered by the defense. The 49ers were supposed to run away with the division but Seattle has shown some resiliency. This game was expected to be ugly, and it was even uglier than that. Both quarterbacks Wilson and Alex Smith threw 23 passes, but they combined to complete only 23 total, 14 for Smith and 9 for Wilson. Neither quarterback threw for 150 yards, and both threw one interception. One touchdown pass all it would take to win this slugfest.

In the first quarter Seattle moved from their own 4 to a 3rd and 5 at the Frisco 34. Wilson threw incomplete, but Stephen Hauschka nailed a 52 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Seattle. he 49ers came back and moved from their 20 to a 3rd and 9 at the Seattle 18. Smith was sacked, and a 38 yard David Akers field goal tied the game 3-3.

In the second quarter Seattle moved from their 20 helped along by a 36 yard completion to Obamanu to a 3rd and 5 at the Frisco 17. Yet again Wilson threw incomplete and it was Hauscka from 35 t make it 6-3 Seattle. The Seahawks missed a chance to extend the lead midway through the second quarter when Hauscka missed from 51 yards out.

The second half was even more hideous. After a Seattle punt in the third quarter, the 49ers took over at their own 14. Smith finally got going and hit Frank Gore for 15 and Hunter for 11. From just past midfield Gore caught a pass for 12 and ran for 11 and 3. On 3rd and 9 from the Seattle 25, all Smith needed was one more incompletion to set up yet another field goal. Yet Smith disrupted the game pattern by hitting Michael Crabtree for 10 yards and a first down. Smith hit Walker for a 12 yard touchdown as 6 quarters out of the end zone was followed by a one touchdown juggernaut and a 10-6 49ers lead after three quarters.

Wilson was intercepted late in the third quarter but the 49ers failed to capitalize. Early in the fourth quarter with 3rd and goal at the 7 and a chance to ice the game, Smith was intercepted as well. With 10 minutes left in regulation the 49ers got it back after a punt just past midfield. They would get to 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 13, but Smith only gained 3. Akers hit from 28 and the 49ers had a 7 point lead with 5 1/2 minutes to play.

Seattle faced 4th and 12 from their own 29 with 2:18 to play and 2 timeouts left. Pete Carroll decided to punt the ball and trust his defense. The defense did hold, but a good punt had the Seahawks back at their own 11 with 1:36 to play and 0 timeouts. On 4th and 17 from their own 4, Wilson found Obomanu but came up one yard short. Even had Obomanu reached the sticks, an offensive chop block would have negated the play. The 49ers now lead the division at 5-2, and these teams have a rematch later this year in Seattle. 13-6 49ers

Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills–The 1999 season saw these teams play a playoff game decided by the Music City Miracle. Tennessee had the sequel to that earlier this year, and both of these teams beat superior teams last week to come into this one with some momentum.

Matt Hasselbeck was in for the injured Jake Locker, and from the Titans 25 Hasselbeck hit Kenny Britt for 16 yards and again for 9 more to midfield. Hasslbeck found Stevens for 17 and Reynaud for 9. After a passing clinic early on, it was Chris Johnson on the ground for a 16 yard touchdown as the Titans took the 7-0 lead.

Buffalo took over at their 17 and Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Fred Jackson for 9. Jackson then ran for 12. Fitzpatrick hit Stevie St Johnson for 12 more to midfield. Jackson ran for 9 and CJ Spiller added 8 more with unnecessary roughness adding another 15. Fitzpatrick escaped for 13 more, and on 3rd and 4 from the Tennessee 30, Fitzpatrick hit St Johnson for 6. On 3rd and 10 from the Tennessee 24, Fitzpatrick hit Spiller for 20. Fitzpatrick would throw a 3 yard touchdown to Jackson to tie the game 7-7.

The game then turned into a pinball machine. One play from scrimmage was all Johnson needed to ramble 83 yards for a touchdown to put the Titans back on top 14-7. Only 12 seconds later the game was tied 14-14 when Brad Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards to the house.

Tennessee began the second quarter facing 3rd and 9 from their 33. Hasselbeck hit Deangelo Williams for 19 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Buffalo 44, Hasselbeck found Cook for 29 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 9 Hasselbeck hit Wright for just enough. Johnson gained 4 more and Harper got the final yard to have the Titans up 21-14.

Buffalo took over after a touchback and Spiller ran for 10, 4, and 20. Jackson caught a pass for 7 and ran for 12 more. On 3rd and 6 from the Titans 17, Fitzpatrick hit Smith for only 5. Ina  game with no defense, on 4th and 1 from the 12, Chan Gailey made the curious decision not to go for it. Ryan Lindell hit the 30 yard field goal as the Bills trailed 21-17 with 4 minutes left in the half.

Buffalo got it back with 1:47 left at their own 13. On 3rd and 2 Fitzpatrick fired to St Johnson for a 19 yard gain and unnecessary roughness kept the drive going with 15 more. On 3rd and 4 from the Titans 39, Fitzpatrick hit Johnson for 8. A 42 yard Lindell field goal at the gun had the Bills only down 21-20 at halftime.

On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Fitzpatrick was sacked and fumbled. Tennessee took over at the Buffalo 32. On 3rd and 9 Hasselbeck found Walter for 11 and Williams for 11 more. Johnson ran for 9 and on 3rd and goal from the 1, Harper got in to put the Titans up 28-20.

Buffalo got it back at their own 34 and came right back. Fitzpatrick hit Spiller for 11 and Jones for 20. On 3rd and 1 from the Titans 24, Fitzpatrick found Spiller for 9 and Jones for the 15 yard touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, Chan Gailey decided not to try and tie it with a 2 point conversion. The Bills trailed 28-27.

After a touchback Buffalo faced 3rd and 5 at their own 25. Fitzpatrick hit Jackson for 7 and Chandler for 13. Jackson then ran for 7 and 13. spiller gained 7 and 1. On 3rd and 2 from the Titans 27, Fitzpatrick went deep to St. Johnson for the touchdown just as the third quarter was ending. Yet this time it seemed even more curious that again Coach Gailey did not try the 2 point conversion. The Bills led 34-28 after three quarters.

The defenses took over, and with 5 1/2 minutes left the Titans faced 4th and 5 from the Buffalo 36. Hasselbeck threw incomplete with 4 minutes to play. All the Bills had to do was run down the clock. Yet despite being overly conservative with big decisions, in this case Gailey went bold and it backfired. On 3rd and 7 from their 39 with 3 minutes left, Fitzpatrick was intercepted by McCourty. Tennesse had it at their own 48.

On 3rd and 1 from the Buffalo 43, Johnson burst free for a 27 yard gain to the Buffalo 16 just before the 2 minute warning. With 1:08 to play it came down to 4th and 9 from the Bufalo 15. Hasselbeck found Nate Washington for the miracle touchdown. The extra point gave Tennessee a one point lead as Buffalo took over at their own 20 with one minute to go.

On 4th and 2, Fitzpatrick went deep and threw incomplete. The Titans survived a wild and wooly one for their second straight win for Mike Munchak. Let it be known that while Locker is supposed to get his job back when he returns from injury, Hasslbeck is playing at a high level. Let it also be known that Hasselbeck is a protege of Walrus Mike Holmgren. Outside of Cleveland, Holngren brought many winners into the NFL. 35-34 Titans

Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers–These are two of the underachievers in the NFL as high expectations have been replaced with a pair of cellar dwellars. Sometimes teams like this can produce a very exciting game. This was not that game.

The Cowboys took over at their own 8 after an exchange of punts. They moved a staggering 18 plays. They took over 10 minutes off of the clock. They moved 91 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, facing 3rd and goal at the 7, Tony Romo hit Miles Austin. Austin, who dated a Kardashian, again came up short by one yard. On 4th and goal at the one Jason Garrett ensured this would be a thriller by opting for the field goal. Dan Bailey hit the 19 yarder as the Cowboys led 3-0. That concludes anything resembling the first half of an actual NFL game.

Carolina needed 7 minutes in the second quarter for Carolina to move from their 20 to a 2nd and goal at the Dallas 6. They needed a few seconds for Cam Newton to throw an interception for a touchback. Dallas needed a few plays to give it back as Miles Austin, who again should not be forgiven for dating a Kardashian, fumbled the ball away. With 4 minutes left in the game Carolina took over at their 20. Newton hit Stewart for 9, and then Newton ran for 3 and 15 to midfield. Newton then found Brad LaFell for a 32 yard gain. An 11 yard completion to Murphy set up 3rd and goalk at the 5 with 21 seconds left in a miserable first half. Newton hit Lafell for the score as the Panthers took a 7-3 lead into the locker rooms.

After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Cowboys faced 3rd and 9 from their own 38. Tony Romo then put his trust in Miles Auston. Desperate to end the Kardashian curse and the team losing, Austin hung on to the ball for a 36 yard gain and hauled in another Romo pass on the next play for a 26 yard touchdown as the Cowboys led 10-7.

A short punt had the Cowboys getting it back at the Carolina 40. On 3rd and 7, an incomplete pass was offset by defensive holding. That was enough for Bailey to hit a 49 yarder as the Cowboys led 13-7 after three quarters.

One minute into the fourth quarter the Panthers got the ball at their own 25. Newton found Steve Smith for 9 and Jimmy Stewart ran for 20. Newton found Louis Murphy for a 26 yard gain and Greg Olsen for 9 more. A personal foul meant 1st and goal at the 5. Newton threw incomplete on 3rd and goal, but defensive holding killed the Cowboys. Mike Tolbert ran it in for the 2 yard touchdown as the Panthers led 14-13 with 12 minutes left in regulation.

An exchange of punts again gave the Cowboys the ball midway through the fourth quarter at their own 46. On 3rd and 5 Romo found Tanner for 8 and then ran himself for 10. Romo hit Jason Witten for 11. The drive stalled at the 10, but with 3 1/2 minutes left Bailey hit the 28 yarder as the Cowboys retook the lead by a deuce.

Carolina took over at their 20 and with 2:11 to go faced 4th and 1 from their 40. Newton threw incomplete. A horse collar tackle on a run for no gain had Dallas in field goal range. Carolina used their timeouts and held on defense. Bailey hit again from 38 to have the Cowboys up by 5 with one minute to play. With 24 seconds t play Carolina faced 3rd and 10 from their 46. Newton looked for the Hail Mary, but the pocket collapsed and he was sacked for a 10 yard loss. The hook and latrerals on 4th and 20 did not work as Ron Rivera saw his Panthers fall to 1-5 while Dallas got back to 3-3 with the win. 19-14 Cowboys

Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans–When the Ravens defense took the field to start the game, Ray Lewis was not out there. He is on injured reserve, although new rules allow him to come back and he insists he will. Meanwhile, even more amazing was that Terrell Suggs was on the field only 5 months after tearing his ACL in minicamp.

Houston went 3 and out and from the Baltimore 22 Ray Rice gained 8 and 2. Joe Flacco hit Torrey SMith for 13 and Rice gained another 17. On 3rd and 5 from the Houston 33 Flacco would throw incomplete. Tucker hit a 51 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Ravens. Houston could not get going early on as Matt Schaub got belted by Suggs for an 8 yard loss. A perfect punt coverage pinned the Ravens back at their own 3. Houston hit Flacco, who fumbled. The Ravens retained possession but on 3rd and 6 Flacco got nailed in the end zone for a safety as Houston was within 3-2. Baseball jokes about safeties are banned from this site since baseball is boring.

The Texans took the free kick and began at their own 33, and from then on the roof caved in on the Ravens.

On 3rd and 1 Casey gained 6. A facemask added 15 yards. From the Baltimore 36, aRRIUN fOSTER GAINED 5, schaub hit Andre Johnson for 6, and Schaub went to Walter for the 25 yard touchdown to make it 9-3 Texans after the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, the Ravens faced 2nd and 7 at their own 45. Flacco had his pass deflected by JJ Watt and intercepted by Joseph. Joseph returned it 52 yards for a touchdown as the Texans now had a 16-3 lead.

With 9 minutes left in the half the Texans got it back at their own 42. Schaub hit Johnson for 13 and Graham for 20. Foster gained 9 and 14 more down to the one. Schaub hit Owen Daniels for the touchdown. Houston led 23-3 with 6 minutes left in the half, but the Texans were not done.

3 Flacco incompletions had the Texans getting it back 30 seconds later at their own 46. At the 2 minute warning Houston faced 4th and 1 at the Baltimore 14. Gary Kubiak decided not to gamble and Shana Graham hit a 33 yard field goal to make it 26-3 Texans at the 2 minute warning.

A 45 yard kickoff return had the Ravens facing 3rd and 2 at the Houston 36 with 1:13 left in the half. Flacco was then intercepted again as the Texans took over at their own 31 with 1:06 left. On 3rd and 10 Schaub hit Daniels for 17 and 19. On 3rd and 4 from the 27 Schaub threw incomplete, but defensive holding meant an automatic first down with 22 seconds left. On 3rd and 10 from the 11 with 6 seconds left, Kubiak again played it safe with a big lead. Graham hit from 29 and the Texans had a 29-3 lead in front of a raucous home crowd and a stunned Ravens team.

The second half did not make for a more competitive game. Baltimore did take over after a punt with a short field at the Houston 47. On 3rd and 4 from the 15, Flacco would hit Doss for the score to get the Ravens within 29-10. They would get no closer. Schaub led a 12 play, 7 1/2 minute, 80 yard drive. Passes to Johnson for 13, Jones for 34, Johnson again for 7 and Graham for 12 meant 3rd and 3 from the Baltimore 14. Foster then ran for 8, 4, and the one yard touchdown to make it 36-10 Texans.

Baltimore moved from their 25 to a 4th and 3 at the Houston 28. Defensive pass interference on an incomplete pass meant 1st and 10 at the 19. Flacco was then sacked on consecutive plays. On 4th and 27 John Harbaugh sent in Tucker for a 54 yard field goal down by 26. It was good and the Ravens were only down by 23. Michelin Man Wade Phillips was thrilled with his defense.

A failed onsides kick had the Texans at the Baltimore 44. Tate ran for 9 and 5 and Foster added 16 and 2. Tate got 10 more and Foster the last two to close out the blowout. Houston got to 6-1 while Baltimore despite being 5-2 has some serious concerns due to their devastating defensive injuries. Yet last year it was the injured Texans who lost the playoff game, so you play with what you have. 43-13 Texans

Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings–Both of these teams looked like contenders, with Arizona starting 4-0 and Minnesota 4-1. Yet they have been exposed as pretenders as Arizona has lost a couple and Minnesota got shellacked last week. Kevin Kolb is injured again as John “Red” Skelton leads Arizona. After an exchange of punts the Vikings took over at their own 12 and made it look easy. Adrian Peterson ran for 27 yards and then 6 more. On 2nd and 2 from the Arizona 42, defensive pass interference added 29 yards and Peterson banged up the middle for a 13 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Vikings lead.

On the first play of the second quarter the Vikings faced 2nd and 13 from their own 13. Christian Ponder was quickly intercepted by Lenon, setting up the Cardinals at the Minnesota 16. Skelton hit Early Doucet for 8 and Larod Stephens-Howling ran for 5 and then the 3 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.

After a 28 yard kickoff return by Percy Harvin, Peterson ran for 8 and Ponder hit Harvin for 14 to midfield. Peterson ran for 17 and 12. On 3rd and 4 from the 15, an incomplete pass was nullified by defensive holding. On 3rd and goal at the 3 Ponder hit Harvin for the touchdown as the Vikings retook the lead 14-7.

Arizona began the third quarter and quickly faced 3rd and 6 from their 24. Skelton was intercepted by Smith, who took it 31 yards for the score the other way. The Vikings led 21-7, and the defenses ruled the second half. Arizona would move from their 20 to a 3rd and 3 at the Minnesota 31. Skelton was intercepted, but the Vikings jumped offsides. A second chance gave the Cardinals 4th and 2 at the 18 a few plays later. Ken Whisenhunt decided to go for it and Skelton was hit for no gain. With 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Cardinals had 4th and 5 on the Minnesota 32. A delay of game penalty was followed by a 9 yard sack of Skelton.

Arizona stopped Peterson on 3rd and 1 and got it back on their own 21 needing 2 scores and with only 4 minutes left. Skelton would hit Larry Fitzgerald for 16, Roberts for 21, Stephens-Howling for 13 after a sack, Roberts for 16 on 3rd and 6, Roberts for 16 again down to the 6, and Roberts yet again for the touchdown. The Cardinals were within one score with 1:52 to play, and needed the onsides kick. They did not get it, and Leslie Frazier saw his Vikings get to 5-2 while the Cardinals 4-0 start is a forgotten memory after three straight losses. 21-14 Vikings

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants–These are a pair of exciting teams as RGIII and the Redskins take on Big Blue. The Giants made a statement last week by going into San Francisco and blasting them. This was a game of ebb and flow with two quarters with little action and the other two with plenty of it.

The first quarter was a slog. After a Giants punt, the Redskins had a staggering 18 play, 9 minute, 93 yard drive. On 3rd and 1 from their 14, Morris gained 2. Robert Griffin III then hit Paulsen for 19. On 3rd and 3 from their 42, RGIII hit Hankerson for 4. On 3rd and 4 from the Giants 48, Griffin hit Davis for 13. On 1st and 15 from the Giants 40, unnecessary roughness meant 1st and 10 at the 20. Morris ran for 9, 8, and 2. Yet 2nd and goal at the 2 had RGIII throwing incomplete twice while the running game was working. Mike Shanahan went with the field goal, and Forbath hit the 20 yarder to make it 3-0 Redskins after the opening quarter.

A touchback followed by unnecessary roughness had the Giants at their own 39. On 3rd and 1, Eli Manning went deep to Bennett for a 31 yard gain. Starting the second quarter at the Washington 21, on 3rd and 10 Manning found Ahmad Bradshaw for just enough. On 3rd and 7 from the 8 Manning found Hakeem Nicks again for just enough. Brown got in from one yard out to make it 7-3 Giants.

After a touchback RGIII found Hankerson for 23. Morris then ran for 15, Young gained 5, RGIII added 8, and Morris picked up 3 more. On 3rd and 7 from the 26, RGIII went to Santana Moss for the touchdown as the Redskins took a 10-7 lead.

From the Giants 28, Manning hit Cruz and Bennett for 11 yard gains and Nicks for 21 more. On 3rd and 4 from the Washington 23, Manning ran for 5. Bradshaw gained 7 and 2, but on 3rd and 1 from the 9, rather than play smashmouth, Tom Coughlin called a pass. Manning threw incomplete, and Coughlin opted for the field goal. Lawrence Tynes hit from 27 to tie the game 10-10.

After a touchback, RGIII ran for a 28 yard gain and Morris added 30 more. On 3rd and 5 from the 17 at the 2 minute warning, Griffin was sacked. Forbath hit from 43 as the Redskins led 13-10. Manning led the Giants back quickly. On 3rd and 2 from their 28, He hit Bennett for 12. On 3rd and 3 from the Giants 47, He hit Nicks for 5. On 2nd and 10 from the Redskins 48 with 31 seconds left, Manning found Cruz for gains of 13 and 14. Tynes hit from 39 as the teams were deadlocked 13-13 at the half.

The second half became a blunder bowl. On 1st and 23 from the Giants 41, The Redskins fumbled the ball away. On 2nd and 8 from the Washington 26, Manning was intercepted. On 2nd and 5 from the Giants 42, Griffin was intercepted. The Giants took over at the Washington 35 and Manning hit Dominic Hixon for 19. The fourth quarter had the Giants facing 3rd and 2 from the 7. Manning hit Cruz for 3 and Bradshaw got in from one yard out to make it 20-13 Giants with 13 minutes left.

Griffin moved the Redskins after a touchback. On 4th and 2 from the Giants 48, Mike Shanahan decided to go for it. Griffin hit Hankerson for 9. On 4th and 1 from the 30 Shanahan gambled again and Griffin gained 3. et on the next play  midway through the fourth quarter Griffin fumbled and the Giants recovered. Rather tha run down some clock, on 1st and 10 from the 29, Manning was quickly intercepted. Washington took over at the Giants 32, but on 3rd and 4 a run lost a yard. This time with 5 1/2 minutes left Shanahan opted for the field goal. Forbath hit from 45 as the Redskins trailed 20-16.

The Giants faced 3rd and 15 from their own 12, and Manning found Brown for 17 to keep the clock moving. With 3:15 to go the Redskins took their second timeout with the Giants facing 3rd and 1 from their own 38. A run would force the Redskins to use their last timeout. Yet To Coughlin gambled on a pass and Manning threw incomplete to stop the clock. The Redskins got it back at their own 23 with 3 minutes left. With 2:07 left the Redskins had not gained a yard and faced 4th and 10. They needed a miracle, and RGIII found Paulsen for 19. Griffin then carambled for 24 yards. On 2nd and 6 from the Giants 30, Griffin went deep to Santana Moss for the touchdown. Moss was the hero as the stunned home crowd saw the Redskins take the lead 23-20 with 90 seconds to go. The Giants got it back at their own 23, and all the Redskins had to do was guard against the deep ball.

Apparently they did not watch the Seattle-New England game from last week. This is what gets coaches fired. Rather than dink and dunk down the field, Manning went to Salsa dancer Victor Cruz with a perfectly thrown bomb. Cruz raced for a 77 yard touchdown and did his dance. The Giants struck back only 19 seconds after falling behind. They led by 4 points, anbd Washington had to go 80 yards in 1:13 with 0 timeouts. On 2nd and 10 from their 32, RGIII found Moss, but this time the hero was the goat as Moss fumbled it away. Washington had 5 turnovers all year coming into the game, and they had 4 in the second half of this one. Coughlin and Shanahan shared a lengthy and warm post-game greeting. These are two men who each have two Super Bowl rings, and the respect was apparent. As for Manning, he simply did it again. 27-23 Giants

Green Bay Packers @ St. Louis Rams–Green Bay salvaged its season and got some of its mojo back with a big road win over previously unbeaten Houston. The Rams are improving under Jeff Fisher and are unbeaten at home.

After an exchange of punts, the Rams took over and faced 3rd and 10 at their own 45. Sam Bradford hit Gibson for 15 yards. That was enough for Greg Zuerlein to drill a 50 yarder to make it 3-0 Rams. Green Bay came back immediately after a touchback. Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for 15, Green for 9, and on 3rd and 3 deep to Nelson for a 52 yard gain. Rodgers hit Nelson for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Packers.

Mike McCarthy went to his bag of tricks and a perfectly executed onsides kick had the Packers retaining possession just past midfield. Randall Cobb took an end around 19 yards. Mason Crosby would hit a 47 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Packers.

The second quarter began with the Rams just past the halfstripe. They reached a 4th and 2 at the Green Bay 14, and Jeff Fisher decided to go for it. Bradford threw incomplete. The Rams got it back at their own 10 with 6 minutes in the half and again Bradford moved the Rams on a time consuming drive. On 3rd and 8 from the Green Bay 25 with 50 seconds left in the half, Turner fumbled, Bradford picked it up, and the Rams were lucky to not lose yards or the ball. Zuerlein hit from 43, an despite moving the ball well, the Rams trailed 10-6 at the break. Crosby would miss a 58 yard field goal at the gun as the Packers failed to extend the lead.

Green Bay began the third quarter facing 3rd and 8 from their 22. Aaron Rodgers hit Nelson for 18 and Jones for 13 more. John Kuhn ran for 9. On 3rd and 1 from the Rams 38, ROdgers hit Jones for 17. On 3rd and 6 from the 17, Rodgers found Nelson for 9. ROdgers would throw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb as the Packers now led 17-6.

Late in the third quarter The Rams took over at their own 9. Bradofrd went deep and was intercepted. Green Bay took over at the Rams 42 and began the fourth quarter with 3rd and 2 from the 34. Rodgers hit Jones for 6. An unnecessary roughness penalty on agitator Cortland Finnegan on 3rd and 4 from the 22 meant 1st and goal at the 6. The defense held, and a 23 yard Crosby field goal made it 20-6 Packers with 12 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, a short pass from Bradford to Givens went for a 56 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the 15, Stephen Jackson gained 3. Jackson would run it in from 6 yards out as the Rams were only down 20-13 with 9 minutes left to play.

After another touchback, Rodgers hit Cobb for 11. On 3rd and 7 from the 34, Rodgers went back to Cobb for 8 and Kuhn for 16. On 3rd and 9 from the Rams 39, Rodgers went deep to Cobb for the knockout blow. The touchdown with 3 minutes left put the game out of reach. Forced to go for it on 4th and 5 from their own 24, Bradford threw incomplete, allowing Crosby to hit a 48 yarder and pad the score to 30-13. A garbage touchdown with seconds left made the score respectable, but Aaron Rodgers threw 3 more touchdowns this week to go along with the 6 he threw last week. The Packers are not the 15-1 team from last year, but they are starting to click again, especially on offense. 30-20 Packers

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Despite Commissioner Roger Goodell banning Jonathan Vilma for the season, he is allowed to play while Paul Tagliabue hears the appeal. Vilma will play today. On the other side is coach Greg Schiano, who has some sportsmanship issues of his own on defense and did not get the league memo about reducing injuries. At least he put the excitement back on the kneel-down. Meanwhile, the Saints got their first win of the season last week.

Drew Brees was quickly intercepted by Old Man Ronde Barber. Barber kept rolling along, 30 yards to the Saints 13. One play was enough for Josh Freeman to hit Underwood for the touchdown and the 7-0 Buccaneers lead.

Tampa got it back and faced 3rd and 1 from their 33. Freeman hit Lorig for 6. Tampa ran the Flea Flicker but Freeman ran for 13 yards rather than throw it. On 3rd and 2 from the Saints 40, Ware gained 40. On the next play Martin broke free for a 36 yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 Buccaneers.

The Saints took over and faced 3rd and 4 from their 26. Drew Brees hit Marques Colston, and on the next play Brees went deep to Devry Henderson for a 40 yard gain. Darren Sproles gained 9 and on 3rd and 1 from the 17, Brees hit Moore for a couple. On the next play Brees found Colston for a 17 yard touchdown to get the Saints within 14-7.

Tampa Bay began the second quarter at their own 41 and moved quickly. Martin ran for 9, Freeman hit Stocker for 33, and then Freeman hit Vincent Jackson for the 17 yard touchdown. Just like that that the Buccaneers had a 21-7 lead. Just like that, the game changed.

On 3rd and 10 from their 20, Brees hit Moore for 13 and Henderson for 30. Sproles gained 9 and Brees hit Colston for 17 and Sproles for the 9 yard touchdown to get the Saints within 21-14. New Orleans got it back at their 21 and Brees hit Moore for 13 and again for 16 on 3rd and 8 fom the 34. Brees then went deep to Morgan for a 48 yard touchdown and just like that, the game was tied 21-21 with 5 minutes left in the second quarter.

The Saints got it back at their own 28 with 1:53 left in the half. On 3rd and 5 Brees hit Moore for 13, Thomas for 7, and Moore for 9 on 3rd and 3 from the Tampa 47. Brees then went to Moore for 18 and Thomas for the 20 yard touchdown with seconds left in the half. Brees was lights out, as the Saints led 28-21 at the intermission.

Drew Brees would have been seen as having a great game if he went 20 of 25 for 313 yards and 4 touchdown passes with one interception. Yet he did not do that in this game. He did it in the first half. When the Buccaneers began as a franchise in 1976, they lost 26 games before finally beating the Saints. Whoever had the idea of having the Pirates of Pewter Pants bring back the orange creamsicle uniforms for this game may wish to rethink that one. Their defense did not do Lee Roy Selmon proud, and John McKay would have favored this defense’s execution.

The pace slowed considerably in the second half. Tampa began by moving from their 20 to the Saints 24, but Connor Barth missed a 42 yard field goal. The next series summed up the futility of the Buccaneers for their first 26 games and their first 25 years of existence. They began at their own 4. Freeman went deep to Vincent Jackson for one of the longest non-scoring plays in NFL history. The 95 yard gain ended with Jenkins making a touchdown saving tackle of Jackson at the one yard line. Blount got three straight carries, losing a yard, getting it back, and getting stopped cold on third and goal. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, Greg Schiano decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the one. The Bucs were blown up in the backfield as Freeman lost 4 yards.

After the goal line stand, the Saints got it back at their own 5. On 3rd and 6 Brees went deep to Moore for a 35 yard gain. Mark Ingram gained 10 and Sproles added 12 more. The fourth quarter began with the Saints trying a 51 yard field goal. Yet unsportsmanlike conduct for leveraging instead meant 1st and 10 at the 18. On 3rd and 7 Brees found Colston for 10 and Pierre Thomas ran it in from 5 yards out to put the Saints up 35-21 only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.

An exchange of punts had the Bucs with the ball at their own 19 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Freeman hit Martin for gains of 14 and 18, with a facemask adding 15 more. Freeman then went to Tyquon Underwood for a 22 yard gain. Penalties had the Bucs facing 3rd and 25 from the Saints 27. Freeman went deep incomplete, but illegal contact kept the drive going. With 6 minutes left the Bucs faced 4th and 10 from the 17. Freeman found Dallas Clark for 15, and on 3rd and goal from the 3 Freeman hit Clark again for the touchdown. Down by 7 with 4 minutes left, Schiano decided against the onsides kick. The Bucs held on defense, and got it back down by 7 with 1:50 to play and 0 timeouts from their own 21. Back in the 1980s the NFL used to run Alcoa Fantastic Finishes. This was one of them.

Freeman went deep to Jackson for a 38 yard gain and to Clark for 15 more. A pair of incompletions meant 3rd and 10 from the Saints 26 with 1:07 to play. Freeman found Clark for 9, and on the critical 4th and 1, Freeman went to Jackson for 8 yards. Freeman raced to the line to spike the ball, stopping the clock with 17 seconds to play. The Bucs were 9 yards away and would have 3 chances to tie things. After an incompletion to Underwood, the intensity ratcheted up on 3rd and goal.

Freeman went to the back of the end zone, and Jackson made a circus catch as the fans went wild. Yet the refs ruled Jackson out of bounds. Replays appeared to show that Jackson’s heels barely landed on the chalk. It could have gone either way but he appeared out. With 5 seconds left on 4th and goal, the final play was a thriller. Freeman fired to the end zone and this time the circus catch was made by Mike Williams. Again the fans celebrated and again they would be disappointed. Williams was legally chucked out of bounds. The NFL rule is that when a player goes out of bounds, even if he reestablishes himself in the field of play, he cannot be the first player to touch the ball. The play was ruled an illegal touch. Games cannot end on a defensive penalty but they can on an offensive penalty. The extra point would not be attempted. Freeman finished 24 of 42 for 420 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Brees would not throw a touchdown or interception in the second half. He was only 7 of 12 for 77 yards in the second half. Yet the Saints did get their second straight win to get to 2-4. They do not get Coach Sean Payton back until next year, but after 6 games under Aaron Kromer, interim coach Joe Vitt takes over now that his 6 game suspension is done. Vilma did play, and as for his suspension, nobody knows. 35-28 Saints

Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts–The Colts have Andrew Luck while the Browns for much of the last half a century have had nothing but bad luck. The game in Cleveland is so ugly that they are now officially the platypus of the NFL. A platypus is what you get when you mate a walrus with a duck. As for the Walrus, Mike Holmgren was fired as the new team Owner decided to bring in his own people to help the team perpetually suck. Farewell, Walrus Holmgren.

Indy took over after a touchback and Luck immediately hit Reggie Wayne for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Cleveland 43, Luck hit Fleener for 7. On 3rd and 2 from the 28 Ballard ran for 5 and caught a 19 yard pass. Luck ran for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts.

Cleveland got it back at their 10 and Trent Richardson caught a 9 yard pass from Brandon Weeden and then ran for 5 more. On 3rd and 2 from their 32 Weeden hit Cooper for 12, with roughing the passer adding 15 more. On 3rd and 11 from the Indy 42, Weeden ran for 13 and hit Cooper for 9 more. On 3rd and 13 from the Indy 20, Weeden found Gordon for 18. Cleveland managed to turn 2nd and goal at the one to 3rd and goal at the 14. Yet Weeden would hit Little for the touchdown. Nothing comes easy in Cleveland, and the Browns put the excitement back in the extra point by botching the snap to keep the Browns down 7-6. Mike Holmgren was a happy Walrus to finally be free of this team.

From the Indy 24, Carter ran for 5, 5, and 6. On 3rd and 10 from their 45, Luck hit Avery for 16 and Carter gained 6 more. On 3rd and 4 from the Clevleand 33, Fleener gained 10. On 3rd and 5 from the 18, Luck found Reggie Wayne for 9. Luck ran it in from 5 yards out to make it 14-6 Colts

Cleveland began the third quarter and quickly faced 3rd and 3 from their own 27. Weeden then exploded, hitting Cooper for 14, Watson for 25, and Gordon for the 33 yard touchdown. With the entire second half to go, Pat Shurmur decided not to go fornthe 2 point conversion to tie it. The extra point had the Browns down 14-13.

After a touchback Ballard ran for 5, 6, and 4. Luck hit Wayne for 8 and 7 and Avery for 6. Carter ran for 5, 3, and 3 on 3rd and 2 from the Cleveland 36. On 4th and 1 from the 24, the Colts decided to go for it. Call it the Chuck Pagano heart. Pagano is out for the year recovering from Lukemia, and the team has played with fire in his absence. Carter got 2 yards and the drive continued. The Colts would go 17 plays over 8 1/2 minutes. They would settle for a 38 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal and a 4 point lead. with 3 minutesleft in the third quarter.

After that the defenses took over. Midway thorugh the fourth quarter Luck fumbled on 3rd and 3 from the Cleveland 44. The Browns took over at midfield but Weeden threw incomplete on 2nd and 1 and on 3rd and 1. With 6 1/2 minutes left on 4th and 1, Shurmur decided to punt rather than go for it.

Cleveland would get it back with 4 minutes left on their own 31. At the 2 minute warning the Colts faced 4th and 6 at the Indy 39. Weeden fired incomplete. Ballard ripped off a 26 yard gain. With 7 seconds left the Colts faced 4th and 7 at the Cleveland 35. The decision was made to punt, but it went out of the end zone with one second left. The hook and laterals did not work and the marching band was not marched over. Indy got to 3-3 while the Browns are 1-6, and now winless in the post-Walrus era. 17-13 Colts

New York Jets @ New England Patriots–The fact that these teams hate each other and that the hatred is fueled by Bill Bellichick and Rex Ryan is irrelevant. Mark Sanchez is still dating Eva Longoria, giving Tom Brady a run for his money in the egotistical supermodel category. There is no truth to the rumor that Longoria will steal Tim Tebow’s virginity if Sanchez has another bad game. The real story is that this was a very good football game in a battle for first place. All four teams in the AFC East came in at 3-3, with Buffalo losing earlier in the day and Miami having a bye week.

After a Patriots punt, the Jets faced 2nd and 6 from their 28. Sanchez hit Kerley for 20. On 3rd and 7 from the Patriots 45, Sanchez found Kerley again for 26. On 3rd and 8 from the 17, Sanchez threw incomplete but defensive holding meant 1st and 10 from the 12. On 3rd and 2 from the 4, Tebow made his play for Longoria by gaining 3. Shone Greene got the last yard to make it 7-0 Jets. 12 seconds later the game was tied 7-7 when McCourty raced 104 yards for the tying score on the ensuing kickoff.

Gang Green went 3 and out and the Patriots took over at their own 42. On 3rd and 3, Brady found Rob Gronkowski for 19 and Aaron Hernandez for 11. On 3rd and 6 from the 17, Brady found Gronkowski for the touchdown to make it 14-7 Patriots.

The second quarter began with the Jets at their own 12. Sanchez fumbled, and with the ball at the 6, Sanchez kicked it out the back of the end zone to prevent a New England touchdown. The safety had New England up 16-7. New England failed to capitalize on the free kick, Sanchez was then intercepted, and the Patriots did not capitalize. The Jets took over at their own 5 with 4 minutes left in the half. Greene ran for 8 and Sanchez hit Keller for 15 and Greene for 7 at the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 1 from the Patriots 47, Greene gained 3. As the half ended, Nick Folk came in for a 54 yard field goal try. It was good, and the Jets were only down 16-10 at the break.

The Jets began the third quarter at their own 32 and Sanchez hit Hill for 12. and Keller for 10. On 3rd and 1 from the Patirots 36, Greene gained 2. Sanchez hit Keller for 23. Yet on 3rd and 2 from the 3, Sanchez fired incomplete. Rex Ryan opted for the field goal and Nick Folk’s 21 yarder had the Jets still down 16-13.

New England took over at their own 17 and a defensive penalty added 5. On 3rd and 4 from the 28, Tom Brady found Wes Welker for 6. On 3rd and 2 from their 42, Brady found Lloyd for 6. On 3rd and 7 from midfield, Brady found Welker for a 21 yard gain. Ridley gained 12. Brady then went to Hernandez for 16. Hernandez fumbled at the one and Antonio Cromartie recovered in the end zone for a touchback. Yet all turnovers are reviewed, and the call was reversed and ruled down by contact at the one. On 3rd and goal from the 2 Brady hit Gronkowski for the touchdown to complete the 83 yard, 15 play, 7 minute drive and make it 23-13 Patriots.

Last week the Patriots blew a 23-10 fourth quarter lead, and this time it was the Jets coming back. The Jets faced 1at and 14 from their own 4 with 13 minutes left in regulation. Sanchez found Hill for 21 yards. On 3rd and 3 from their 32, Sanchez hit Kerley for 19. On 3rd and 7 from the Patriots 46, Sanchez found Hilliard for 8 and Hill for 15. On 3rd and 6 from the 18 Sanchez found Kerley for 7 and went back to Kerley for a 7 yard touchdown to finish off the 92 yard, 14 play, 7 minute drive. The Jets trailed 23-20, and New England took over with 5 1/2 minutes left.

The Jets would get it back one minute later at their own 35. Sanchez went to Dustin keller for a 19 yard gain. McKnight gained 13 and 5. On 3rd and 4 from the Patriots 25, Sanchez threw incomplete. Nick Folk hit the 43 yarder and the game was tied 23-23 just before the 2 minute warning.

Earlier in the game McCourty was the hero, but this time he was the goat as he fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Jets recovered at the Patriots 18. Rex Ryan went ultra-conservative, and then on 3rd and 7 Sanchez rolled out and was sacked for a 10 yard loss. Nevertheless, Folk hit from 43. The Jets led 26-23 with 16 unanswered points, but the Patriots still had 90 seconds to work with from their own 21 and 1 timeout.

Brady hit Gronkowski for 15 and 12, and then went to Danny Woodhead for 20. Gostkowski was the goat in week 2 when he missed from 42. This time from 43 he nailed it and the game went into vertime tied 26-26.

New England won the toss and took over at their own 16. Brady found Deon Branch for 9 and Welker for 13. On 3rd and 7 from their 44, Brady threw incomplete. However, defensive pass interference put the ball at midfield. On 2nd and 6 Brady found Welker for 12. Gostkowski came in for a 48 yarder. Again he was good. The Patriots had the 3 point lead, but under the new overtime rules the Jets had a chance to tie it.

On 3rd and 5 from their 20, Sanchez threw incomplete, but a defensive penalty meant first down. On 2nd and 12 from their 23, Sanchez found Kerley for 17. On 2nd and 10 from their 40, Sanchez backpedaled as Cunningham and Ninkovich beared down on him. He tried to throw it away but was sacked for a 12 yard loss that resulted in a fumble. Ninkovich fell on it. While some thought the Tuck Rule applied, that only happens when Brady is throwing. Ryan and Bellichick hugged at midfield, which was as believable as if Romney and Obama hugged after a debate. These teams will meet again, and the NFL is better off for it. 29-26 Patriots, OT

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders–For more on the game of the day, go to

Bill Parcells said that you are what your record says you are. So anybody who wants to sugarcoat the Raiders 1-4 record as an “improving” team needs to knock it off. Yet the Raiders went on the road, flew 3,000 miles, and took unbeaten Atlanta to the final play, losing on a 55 yard field goal. The Raiders lost. Period. They had the game won and they gave it away. The slide that began when Bill Callahan called them “the dumbest team in America” has not abated. This week the Raiders were at home against perhaps the worst team in the NFL, Jacksonville. A loss here at home would certainly give the Raiders that dubious distinction.

Jacksonville punted twice and the Raiders once, as Oakland began their second possession and soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 32. Carson Palmer summoned up the ghost of Al Davis and went deep to one of Davis’s last draft picks, speedster Denarius Moore. Moore has battled injuries but when healthy is all world. He hauled in the 59 yard bomb to set up 1st and goal at the 9. Naturally the Raiders, as has been happening all too often this year, could not reach the end zone. Sebastian Janikowski kicked the 21 yard field goal to make to 3-0 Raiders. After that, the Raiders made their case for being the 32nd best team in the league. This was after Maurice Jones-Drew went out with an injury and did not return.

Jacksonville took over and faced 3rd and 6 from their 24. Blaine Gabbert found Jennings for 13, Chris Shorts for 19, and back to Shorts deep for a 42 yard touchdown. Just like that, the Jaguars led 7-3. In the second quarter the Raiders fumbled a punt, and Jacksonville took over at the Oakland 16. Gabbert found Thomas for 11 and Jennings ran the remaining 5 to make it 14-3 Jaguars.

After an exchange of punts, Oakland took over and faced 2nd and 1 at their own 32. Palmer was intercepted by Cox, giving the Jaguars the ball at the Oakland 36. The Raiders held on defense, but Josh Scobee connected from 50 to make it 17-3 Jaguars with 6 minutes left in the half.

The Jaguars then showed how litle respect they had for the Raiders by trying an onsides kick that worked perfectly. Chad Henne was now in at quarterback as Gabbert was injured on the previous series and did not return. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 46, Henne threw incomplete. Jacksonville went for it on 4th and 1 with their backup quarterback, which made sense against a lifeless Oakland team. Yet they went for the apss again and again henne threw incomplete.

Palmer hit Marcel Reece for 9 and Palmer ran for 9 more himself. On 3rd and 1 from the Jacksonville 22 at the 2 minute warning, Schmidt gained 2. Yet again the Raiders bogged down in the red zone as a 3rd and 5 pass from the 15 was incomplete. Seabass hit from 33 as the Raiders looked pathetic at home down 17-6 at the half with Jacksonville not having their quarterback or running back.

Oakland looked even worse in going 3 and out to start the third quarter, gaining one yard. Michael Spurlock returned the punt 28 yards to the Oakland 39. Jennings gained 8, 4, and 3. The Jaguars would settle for a 40 yard Scobee field goal, but at this point it was 20-6 Jaguars. The Raiders were well on their way to a 1-5 record.

From the Oakland 15, Palmer hit Mike Goodson for 6 and Darren McFadden gained 8. Palmer went to Darrius Heyward-Bey for 12. A deep ball resulted in a 33 yard defensive pass interference penalty. From the Jacksonville 23, Palmer hit McFadden for 9. On 3rd and 7 from the 8, Palmer found Moore for the touchdown. With 6 minutes left in the thrid quarter the Raiders were within 20-13.

The defense sacked Henne on consecutive plays, but the offense was still out of sync. On the first play of the fourth quarter the Raiders had 1st and 10 at their 32. Palmer was sacked and fumbled, and the Jaguars had gift field position at the Oakland 24. Again the defense came up big as Henne was sacked on 3rd and 7. Yet Scobee hit from 45 and the Jaguars led 23-13 with 13 minutes to go in the game.

Oakland soon faced 3rd and 10 at their own 8. Palmer found Brandon Myers for only 4 yards, but roughing the passer meant 15 more. It was the second time that the Raiders received a break. The team that never gets the calls got a couple big ones, and later on would get a major call in their favor. From their 27, Palmer went deep to Reece for a 35 yard gain. On 3rd and 9 from the Jagurs 37, Palmer went to Myers for 17 and Reece for 11 to set up 1st and goal at the 9. Yet consecutive offensive penalties moved the ball back to the 24. Janikowski would hit a 31 yarder, but after 12 plays and 6 minutes the Raiders were still down 23-16 midway through the fourth quarter.

3 straight Henne incompletions meant 3 and out with only about 30 seconds taken off of the clock. With 6 1/2 minutes to go, the Raiders took over at their own 42. Palmer was then sacked for an 8 yard loss. On 2nd and 18 Palmer hit Moore for 17. On 3rd and 1 just past midfield, Palmer gained 2. On 3rd and 6 from the Jacksonville 43, Palmer found Rod Streater for 18 yards. Yet 3 straight incompletions meant 4th and 10 with 4 minutes to go. The Raiders took their last timeout. Palmer went deep incomplete, and the Dennis Allen era had its 1-5 debacle. Then the team who never gets the calls got a big one, their third of the game. Defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. Palmer got in with 3 1/2 minutes to go and the game all tied 23-23.

After a touchback, it appeared the Raiders were headed for another loss at the gun when Henne hit Jennings for 26 yards and Shorts for 17 more. Yet offensive pass interference moved the Jaguars back, and a 3rd and 13 completion came up 4 yards short. The Raiders got it back at their own 20 with 1:43 to go.

They began with a false start. Palmer threw incomplete on 4th and 4, and Jacksonville got it back at their own 43 with 1:06 to go. Again the Raiders were giving the game away.

On 3rd and 3 from midfield with 36 seconds left in the half, Henne threw incomplete. The Silver and Black had held again on defense.

Oakland got it back at their own 13, and handed off to McFadden just to wind down the clock. McFadden gained 5 and the Jaguars called their second timeout in the hopes the Raiders would malfunction again. Yet then McFadden gained 13, and Palmer decided to spike the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds left. Palmer then went deep to Streater for a 23 yard gain. With 6 seconds left, Seabass came in to win the game and enter the NFL record books. Seabass tied Tom Dempsey’s 63 yarder last year, and previously he had a 64 yarder bounce off the upright. The Polish Cannon was once allowed to try a 76 yard field goal. For the win and history, from 64, Seabass was no good. The kick was dead center, but short. The game went to overtime.

Jacksonville won the coin toss but the new overtime rules did not matter. On 2nd and 10 from their 19, Henne was sacked. On 3rd and 20 from their 9, just trying to gain some yards, Henne foud Shorts for a 12 yard gain. Yet Shorts got hit by Lamar Houston. Shorts fumbled and Hanson fell on it for the Raiders. Only 90 seconds into overtime, and they took over at the Jacksonville 21. Dennis Allen took no chances. Palmer took a knee to center the ball and Seabass came in for a 40 yarder. He drilled it, and the Raiders had the comeback win with 13 unanswered points. For one more week, the Raiders are not the worst.

Yes the Raiders nearly beat the best team in the league on the road. They also nearly lost to the worst team at home. Both of their wins came at home and required fourth quarter comebacks. The Raiders have trailed by at least 10 points in every game except one of them. Yes the Raiders showed heart, but they got lucky. This team has a long way to go to resemble a respectable football team, but 2-4 is better than 1-5. As for Jacksonville, they lost by the exact same score they lost by in overtime of Week 1 when they had an opponent dead to rights on the road and let them escape. 26-23 Raiders, OT

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals is the Sunday night game. The Steelers have been struggling this season and come in a surprising 2-3, while the Bengals are the team that lost to the winless Cleveland team last week. Mike Tomlin will at some point his team around while Marvin Lewis is too good a man to be trapped where he is.

A strong kickoff return ahd the Steelers starting at their own 40. Ben Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace for 9 and on 3rd and 9 from the Cincy 48, Big Ben hit Brown for 23 yards. The Steelers would settle for a 42 yard Shawn Suisham field goal and a 3-0 lead. After a touchback, Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis ran for 12. On 3rd and 6 from their 36, Red Rifle Andy Dalton found Hawkins for 13. On 3rd and 3 from the Pittsburgh 44, Green-Ellis gained 14. On 4th and 1 from the 21, Marvin Lewis decided to go for it. Green Ellis got the yhard, then 4 more, then another 5, and on 3rd and 1 from the 11, 6 more. Peerman got the next carry and the 5 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Bengals.

The Steelers reached the Cincinnati 21 in the second quarter, but Roethlisberger was intercepted to end the threat. On their next series from their own 13, the first play from scrimmage was the last. Roethlisberger was sacked and fumbled. The Bengals took over at the Steelers 8, and the first play from scrimmage was the last. Dalton hit Green for the touchdown and the Bengals led 14-3.

Pittsburgh took over at their own 11 and Dwyer gained 11. On 3rd and 2 from their 30, Dwyer gained 21 and Brown gained 13. Yet on 3rd and 5 from the Cincy 29, Roethlisberger threw incomplete. Suisham connected from 47, and with 3 minutes left in the half the Steelers trailed 14-6.

After a touchback, the Bengals were in total control and facing 1st and 10 from their 45 with 90 seconds left in the half. Then Dalton was intercepted by Lamar Woodley, who returned it 11 yards to the Cincy 29. These are the Bengals. Big Ben hit Brown for 11 and Emanuel Sanders for 9. On 3rd and 1 from the 9, Dwyer got the yard. On 2nd and goal from the 9, Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller for the touchdown with 30 seconds left in the half. After total confusion and consecutive timeouts by both teams, Big Ben went back to Miller for the 2 point conversion. Despite being totally outplayed and dropping potential touchdown passes, the Steelers were lucky to be tied 14-14 at the half.

Brandon Tate returned the second half kickoff 45 yards to the Cincy 38. On 3rd and 4 Dalton hit Sanu for 17. Green-Ellis gained 6 and 3, but on 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 30 Dalton fired incomplete. Marvin Lewis opted for the field goal, and Mike Nugent hit from 48 to make it 17-14 Bengals. Rainey had his turn, returning the kickoff 36 yards to the Pittsburgh 39. Roethlisberger went to Brown for 20, and Mike Wallace took an end around 13 more yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Cincy 24 Roethlisberger threw incomplete. Suisham hit from 42 and the mirror image drives had a game that was deadlocked at the half tied 17-17 after three quarters. The Bengals almost always lose these games to the Steelers, so the question would be how they would this time.

Cincy would go 3 and out twice and Pittsburgh would once, with the Steelers facing 3rd and 8 from their 35 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Roethlisberger hit Brown for 16. On 3rd and 6 from the Cincy 45, Big Ben hit Sanders for a 31 yard gain. The fourth quarter began with Rainey running up the middle for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 24-17 Steelers.

Cincinnati had 3 more possessions and could not move the ball. Pittsburgh got it back at their own 32 with 4 minutes to play. On 2nd and 10 Roethlisberger found Mike Wallace for an 11 yard gain. Marvin Lewis challenged the catch, and it was close. Yet the completion was upheld, and Cincy was down to one timeout. Dwyer then ran for 14. With 1:20 to go the Steelers faced 3rd and 7 from the Cincy 40. A stop would give the Benglad about 20 seconds to pull off a miracle. They never got the chance as Dwyer barreled for 32 yards. Big Ben took a knee and the Steelers had the hard fought win. The Bengals had yet another loss to a division rival. 24-17 Steelers

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears was the Monday night game. This game competed with the presidential debate to see which event could be more boring and defensive. It was a close call.

Detroit went 3 and out and Chicago soon faced 3rd and 8 from their 43. Jay Cutler scrambled for 11 yards and Matt Forte broke free for a 39 yard gain. Cutler hit Brandon Marshall for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bears only 4 minutes into the game. Late in the quarter a field position game had Chicago facing 1st and 20 from their 40. Cutler scrambled again for 24 yards with 15 more tacked on for unnecessary roughness. The defense held after that and Robbie Gould connected from 39 to make it 10-0 Bears. The final three quarters would be a war of attrition.

The second quarter saw the Bears face 3rd and 11 from their own 1, and Cutler led them all the way to a 3rd and 5 at the Detroit 20. Yet cutler was sacked for a 9 yard loss and a 47 yard field goal try by GOuld was blocked. With 4 minutes left in the half Detroit moved from their 29 to a 1st and 10 at the Chicago 18. Then the Lions fumbled the ball away.

Chicago went 3 and out to start the third quarter but the Lions fumbled he punt return and the Bears took over at the Detroit 27. Michael Bush ran for 12 and 3 and Cutler hit Marshall for 9 to set up 1st and goal at the 3. Rather than run it in, Cutler threw 3 incompletions and the Bears settled for a 21 yard field goal. The Bears led 13-0. The Lions moved from their 20 in a time consuming drive down to the Chicago one yard line. Yet again the Lions self-destructed as they fumbled the ball away at the goal line. In the fourth quarter the Bears moved from their 5 to a 1st and 10 at the Detroit 40. Yet a sack of Cutler killed that drive.

Matthew Stafford saw the Lions have chance after chance and yet had 0 points. With 6 1/2 minutes left Stafford moved the Lions from their own 12 to a 2nd and goal at the 3. A pair of incompletions set up the key 4th and goal. Stafford was intercepted with 2 1/2 minutes left.

The Lions had all of their timeouts and used them to get the ball back at their own 42 with 2:13 left. By the time Stafford hit Broyles for a 12 yard touchdown, only 36 seconds remained. A couple of weeks ago the Lions scored 14 points in 20 seconds. Not this time. The onsides kick failed, and Lovie Smith saw his Bears gut out a win that would make Dick Butkus and Mike Ditka proud. As for Jim Schwartz, this was a slugfest that deserves a rematch in Detroit. His team will ahve that chance. Hopefully that game will have more firepower than the lackluster presidential debate. Then again, this was a beautiful game for those who love old time black and blue division NFC North football. 13-7 Bears


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