NFL 2014 Week 12 Recap

NFL 2014 Week 12 Recap

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders was the Thursday night game. While the 7-3 Chiefs were heavy favorites over the 0-10 Raiders, Oakland showed a tenacious defense last week. Their offense has bogged down under a hail of drinking and dunking West Coast Offense passes that turn 3rd and 4 into 4th and 2 followed by a punt. Despite this ineptitude, the Raiders had a chance. The Chiefs are major dink and dunkers. Alex Smith is a game manager in the tradition of Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac and every other Chiefs quarterback who thinks the West Coast Offense turned them into Joe Montana. With rain coming down, the Black Hole was jacked up to capacity.

The Silver and Black defense was also jacked up. The Chiefs went 3 and out as a run by Jamal Charles on 3rd and 5 lost 9 yards. The Raiders gained a first down before punting, and the Chiefs went 3 and out again. From the Oakland 40, Derek Carr hit Vincent Brown for a 19 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Chiefs 38, Carr hit James Jones for 11. On 3rd and 4 from the Chiefs 21, Carr hit Brice Butler for 11. While the Raiders running game has been anemic under Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, a star was born in third string running back Latavius Murray. Murray took the handoff and got to the outside for an 11 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Raiders lead.

Smith moved the Chiefs from their own 14 to a 3rd and 7 at their own 43. Smith threw a dink and dunk pass for 4 yards as DJ Hayden prevented the first down. In the second quarter the Chiefs moved from their 33 to a 1st and 10 at the Oakland 34. Offensive holding had the Chiefs facing 2nd and 12. A dink and dunk pass lost 12 yards as the Chiefs punted on 4th and 29. The Raiders took over at their own 10. It has been a long time since Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson ran wild. 12 seconds and one play was enough for Murray to race through the line untouched for a 90 yard touchdown. The home crowd exploded as the Raiders led 14-0.

Smith moved the Chiefs from their 20 to a 3rd and 2 at the Oakland 44. Under heavy pressure, he threw incomplete. With the Raiders in total control with all the momentum, the 0-10 team made a mistake. Denarius Moore fumbled the punt and the Chiefs took over on the Oakland 11. After Jamal Charles gained 6 yards on 1st down, a pair of dink and dunk West Coast Offense passes were incomplete. Carlo Santos hit the 23 yard field goal, but this was a major victory for the Oakland defense.

On 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 22, Murray got the carry and took a blow to the head that was not called. He fumbled the ball after gaining the first down, but center Stefan Wisniewski recovered it for the Raiders. Yet on 3rd and 3 from their 37, it was a dink and dunk pass to McFadden that came up short. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Raiders punted. Thomas misjudged the return, lost yards, and was tackled back at the Kansas City 5 yard line. At the 2 minute warning the Chiefs faced 3rd and 5 at their own 10. Another run failed to gain the first down but the Raiders blundered again.

A running into the kicker penalty on the punt gave the Chiefs a first down. Replay clearly showed that the punter was never touched. The phantom call allowed the Chiefs to retain possession. On 2nd and 1 from their 26, Smith threw incomplete. On 3rd and 1 Kenneth Davis got the carry and got blasted, losing a yard. The Raiders got it back at their own 35 with 36 seconds left with one timeout. Offensive holding led to the Raiders running out the clock as the Chiefs decided not to take timeouts on defense. Ray Guy was being inducted into the Raiders ring of honor at halftime as many of the old time Hall of Fame greats were in attendance. The Raider Nation should have hoped for a monsoon in the second half with a 14-3 lead.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, the rain slowed considerably after halftime. They would need to win this game themselves. On 3rd and 8 from the Oakland 14, Carr found Jones for 17 yards. Yet after that a pair of incompletions meant a punt. The Chiefs were pinned at their own 9. On 3rd and 7 from the Chiefs 24, Smith was sacked by Charles Woodson for a 10 yard loss. The defense was playing outstanding for the second straight week. If the offense could do anything the Raiders would have their first win. A bad punt had the Raiders taking over just past midfield. A team starving for a win needed a kill shot.

On 3rd and 1, rather than play power football, the Raiders went for a spread offense. Carr’s dink and dunk pass was high but Jones caught it for a key 2 yard gain and a first down. With Murray out for the rest of the game with a concussion, McFadden had to do a better job. A couple carries by McFadden meant another first down. Jones-Drew finally entered the game. With fresh legs, his first carry lost 3 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Chiefs 22, Carr went deep incomplete. A flag was thrown for defensive pass interference, but even at home the Raiders do not get the calls. The flag was picked up. Sebastian Janikowski made the 40 yard field goal. With only 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the Raiders had a 17-3 lead. The offense did not put the game away so the defense had to keep the pressure on.

Nile Davis took the kick more than halfway through the end zone and returned it all the way to the Chiefs 39 yard line. Smith decided to stop drinking and dunking and threw a pass past the marker just past midfield for a 12 yard gain. Another completion went for 21 yards. Jamal Charles ran for a first down and then fumbled the ball. Khalil Mack had it but could not contain it. The Chiefs retained possession although offensive holding moved them back. The Raiders missed another chance to close the door. The Raiders appeared to be in full meltdown mode as the Chiefs faced 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 19. Smith faked the run and found a wide open Antony Fasano for the touchdown. The entire Raider Nation had a lump in their throats. With 2 minutes left in the third quarter the Chiefs were within 17-10. The defense was getting tired. The offense had to do something, anything.

For the second straight kick return, the Raiders suffered a penalty. From their own 20, another holding penalty pushed them back to the 10. It was only first down, but the drive already seemed over. The Raiders were determined to give the ball back to the Chiefs as quickly as possible. Then offensive coordinator Greg Olsen finally had a moment of lucidity. rather than dink and dunk his own team to death, allowed Carr to go deep on 2nd and 20. Carr found Holmes for a 37 yard gain. The vaunted ground game then saw McFadden lose another 5 yards. The Raiders had the 17-10 lead after three quarters. Smith was unleashed on the last drive and the result was a touchdown. Whenever Carr is unleashed he throws deep completions. The team that would stop drinking and dunking would most likely win. The Raiders would punt and the Chiefs took over at their own 35.

Smith was done drinking and dunking. He went to Travis Kelce for a 27 yard gain to the Oakland 38. The Raiders were in full meltdown mode. Even a holding penalty against the Chiefs did not matter as 1st and 20 meant Smith throwing a 24 yard completion to Dwayne Bowe. Another offensive holding penalty still did not hurt the Chiefs. From the Oakland 30 on 2nd and 16, Smith found Charles, who out-jukes the keystone cops on the dark uniforms for the tying touchdown. With 12:20 to play in the game the Chiefs had tied the game 17-17. Knowing the Raiders offense, 0-11 was an almost certainty.

McFadden returned the kickoff only to the 16. As expected, on 3rd and 7 Olsen called a pass play that had Carr throw short of the marker. It was incomplete, the Raiders punted, and a 28 yard return had the Chiefs took over at the Oakland 37. Smith hit Wilson for 23 yards as Raider fans dreamed about burning offensive coordinator Greg Olsen in effigy. On 3rd and 3 from the 7, the defense actually held.  Santos hit the 25 yard field goal. The Chiefs led 20-17 with 9 minutes to play. Greg Olsen was expected to call 2 yard passes rather than let his quarterback try to win a football game. After all, when a team is 0-10, conservative play calling inspires somebody, somewhere.

McFadden fumbled the kickoff in the end zone, which was a good thing because it forced him to take a touchback rather than get tackled before the 20. Marcel Reece became the next running back, and the fullback bulled his way on three carries and a reception for a pair of first downs. On 3rd and 1 from the Chiefs 43, rather than run Reece up the middle, they tried a play action pass that was incomplete. Despite finesse failing the whole season, the Raiders were one smash mouth run from being able to have a chance to win. With 5 minutes left in regulation, on 4th and 1, the Chiefs took a timeout as the Raiders decided to go for it. Carr took the quarterback sneak and got the first down. The Raiders had life.

On 3rd and 6 from the Chiefs 38, Carr hit Mychal Rivera for 8 yards and a key first down. On 3rd and 9 from the Chiefs 29, Carr threw a good pass as the receiver was taken down before the ball arrived. Defensive pass interference moved the ball to the 20. Reece gained 5 more down to the 15 at the 2 minute warning. Reece bulled his way forward as the Raiders faced 3rd and inches at the 11. Carr again successfully worked the quarterback sneak as the Chiefs took their last timeout with 1:46 to play.

With the entire football world smelling run, Carr finally had a good running game which allowed for a play action pass on first down. Jones was wide open and Carr hit him for the 9 yard touchdown. The staggering 17 play, 80 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive had the Raiders up by 4, but 1:42 still remained.

The kickoff was taken 9 yards deep in the end zone and returned 48 yards to the Chiefs 39. Smith avoided a sack and threw an incompletion that was somehow ruled a 13 yard catch. The world saw the ball hit the ground. The officials reversed the call and it was ruled incomplete. On 3rd and 3 Smith threw incomplete after getting belted for the third straight play. On 4th and 3, with 1:06 to go, the Raiders had their chance. Smith threw incomplete but the Raiders were actually called for 3 defensive penalties on one play. The Chiefs had 1st and 10 just past midfield.

Smith threw incomplete to set up 3rd and 6 with 49 seconds left, Smith was sacked. The defense began celebrating and forgot to get back for the snap. The Raiders were saved from disaster when Justin Tuck called a timeout. On 4th and 13 with 28 seconds left, Smith fired to the sideline incomplete. The losing was over. The bleeding was over. The Raider Nation finally had the boa constrictor removed from their collective necks. Derek Carr got his first win as a pro football player. 1-15 or 2-14 gets forgotten about in a few years. 0-16 is forever. The Raiders will not be 0-16. The game ball goes to the entire Raider Nation for never giving up. 24-20 Raiders

Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons — Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for a 24 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Falcons. Hoyer moved the Browns 80 yards and Ian Crowell had an 11 yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7. In the second quarter Matt Ryan was intercepted, setting up Cleveland at the Atlanta 29. Billy Cundiff hit a 33 yard field goal for a 10-7 Browns lead. Another short field had Cleveland at the Atlanta 40. Cundiff hit from 37 to make it 13-7 Browns. An interception of Hoyer had Atlanta at midfield. Matt Ryan hit Rodgers from 8 yards out to make it 14-13 Falcons at halftime.

In the third quarter Cundiff hit from 32 to put the Browns back on top 16-14. Hoyer would then throw a 26 yard touchdown to Ian Crowell for a 23-14 Browns lead. Ryan led a 14 play, 80 yard, 6 minute drive and Stephen Jackson got in from the one to get the Falcons within 23-21 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Hoyer calmly led the Browns from their 20 to 1st and goal at the 6 with 5 minutes left in the game. Hoyer then threw to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. The defense held and with 3 minutes left the Browns faced 3rd and 7 at their own 19. Hoyer went deep and was intercepted again. The Falcons took over at their own 45 with 2:42 to play. On 4th and 2 from the Cleveland 35, Matt Bryant came in for a 53 yard field goal. With 45 seconds left, Bryant was good as the Falcons had the 24-23 lead.

Hoyer redeemed himself, moving the Browns from their 20 to the Atlanta 19 with 4 completions. With 5 seconds left, Cundiff came in for the 37 yard field goal to win it. Cundiff was good, the Browns got to 7-4, and Hoyer got another reprieve. 26-24 Browns

Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles — Huff returned the opening kickoff 107 yards for a 7-0 Eagles lead 12 seconds into the game. Philly got it back near midfield and Darren Sproles ran it in from 4 yards out to make it 14-0 Eagles. In the second quarter Parkey hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Eagles.

An interception of Mark Sanchez set up Tennessee at the Philly 30, leading to a touchdown that got the Titans within 17-7. Parkey would tack on another field goal from 26 yards out to make it 20-7 Eagles. Zach Mettenberger then wet deep to Walker for a 68 yard gain to set up Shon Greene from 2 yards out to get the Titans within 20-14. LeSean McCoy scored from 2 yards out as the Eagles took a 27-14 lead. metternberger brought the Titans back but threw incomplete on 3rd and goal rom the 2. Ken Whisenhunt went with the field goal as the Titans trailed 27-17 with one minute left in the half.

In the third quarter a Tennessee fumble set up the Eagles at the Tennessee 33. Sanchez hit Casey for a 14 yard touchdown to make it 34-17 Eagles. In the fourth quarter Parkey hit field goals of 35 and 30 to make it 40-17 as the Eagles rebounded from last week’s shellacking to deliver a blowout of their own. Mettenberger threw a 6 yard touchdown on 4th and goal but it was far too little, far too late. Meanwhile, Parkey hit his fifth field goal from 50 yards just for emphasis. 43-24 Eagles

Detroit Lions at New England Patriots — Matt Prater hit a 48 yard field goal to put the Lions up 3-0 on the road. Late in the first quarter the Patriots faced 3rd and goal at the 3 and Brady fired over the middle to Tim Wright for the touchdown and the 7-3 Patriots lead. In the second quarter Stafford moved the Lions to third and goal but threw incomplete. Prater hit the 20 yarder but the Lions still trailed 7-6. Danny Amendola returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the Detroit 22. Legarrette Blount ran it in from the 3 to make it 14-6 Patriots. New England got it back and Brady led a 13 play, 93 yard, 5 minute drive. An 8 yard touchdown pass to Wright made it 21-6 Patriots. The Patriots got it back one more time and Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35 yard field goal as the halftime gun expired to make it 24-6 Patriots.

In the third quarter Gostkowski hit from 43 to make it 27-6 Patriots. Prater answered with a 49 yard field goal to start the fourth quarter but the Lions still trailed 27-9. Blount crashed in again from short yardage just past the 2 minute warning to complete the blowout. 34-9 Patriots

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings — Eddie Lacy scored from one yard out to make it 7-0 Packers. In the second quarter Teddy Bridgewater moved the Vikings 74 yards in 14 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. A 22 yard touchdown pass to Charles Johnson tied the game 7-7. Aaron Rodgers then threw a one yard pass to his namesake at wide receiver for a 14-7 Packers lead. A 39 yard Blair Walsh field goal had the Vikings within 14-10 at halftime. In the third quarter a penalty on a 4th and 29 punt had the Vikings starting at midfield. Walsh hit a 51 yard field goal to get within 14-13. Mason Crosby answered with a 48 yard field goal to make it 17-13 Packers

Midway through the fourth quarter Eddie Lacy capped off an 11 play, 87 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive by scoring from 10 yards out to make it 24-13 Packers. Bridgewater led a 13 play, 79 yard, 5 minute drive that was culminated with a 5 yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. The 2 point conversion as good as Minnesota only trailed by a field goal with 3 1/2 minutes to play. Desperately needing a stop, the Minnesota defense could not get one. 5 straight carries by Eddie Lacy allowed the Packers to run out the clock. 24-21 Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts — Andrew Luck was sacked and fumbled, but Blake Bortles gave it right back with an interception. Adam Vinatieri hit a 46 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Colts. Luck was sacked and fumbled again, giving the Jaguars the ball at the Colts 12. The Jaguars settled for a 28 yard Josh Scobee field goal and a 3-3 game. With 20 seconds left in the half Luck had the Colts facing 3rd and goal at the 2. Luck threw incomplete. Vinatieri hit from 20 as the Colts led 6-3.

In the third quarter Josh Cribs returned a punt 18 yards to the Jacksonville 38. On 3rd and goal at the one Trent Richardson got in to make it 13-3 Colts. Luck then threw a 73 yard touchdown pass to TY Hilton as the Colts had a commanding 20-3 lead. Vinatieri hit a 32 yarder in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring. 23-3 Colts.

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans — Red Rifle Andy Dalton led the Bengals 94 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes, hitting hammed Sanu for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bengals. In the second quarter Alfred Blue was tackled in the end zone for a safety to make it 9-0 Bengals. Randy Bullock hit a 36 yard field goal for the Texans. The second half began with ann interception of Ryan Mallett, setting up the Bengals at the Houston 22. On 3rd and goal at the 2 Hill got in to make it 16-3 Bengals.

In the third quarter Dalton had an interception returned 60 yards for a touchdown as the Texans were within 16-10. Houston drove deep on their next drive but got no further than the 7 yard line. Bullock hit from 25 to get the Texans with 16-13. Dalton led a staggering 17 play, 71 yard, 8 minute drive but the Bengals bogged down in the red zone. Mike Nugent hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 19-13 Bengals with 9 minutes left in regulation. Nugent would connect again from 49 yards out just past the 2 minute warning to put the game out of reach. 22-13 Bengals

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears — Lovie Smith came back to face the team that fired him after a 10-6 season. Jay Cutler was sacked and fumbled, setting up Tampa Bay at the Chicago 46. Early in the second quarter Josh McCown hit Mike Evans for the 19 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Buccaneers. Murray tacked on a 32 yard field goal s the Buccaneers led 10-0 at halftime. In the third quarter Jay Cutler threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Jeffery to get the Bears within 10-7.

From the Tampa 37, McCown was then sacked and fumbled, leading to a mad scramble and Chicago taking over all the way at the Bucs 13. One play mater Matt Forte was in the end zone to make it 14-10 Bears. On the next Bucs play from scrimmage McCown was intercepted, setting up the Bears at the Tampa 15. On 3rd and goal at the one Forte got in for a 21-10 Bears lead.  A field goal with 5 minutes left got the Bucs within 8 points. A 20 yard shanked punt had the Buccaneers starting at the Bears 45 with 3 minutes left. On 3rd and 1 a run went nowhere. At the 2 minute warning, McCown took the quarterback sneak and got nowhere. The Bucs got it back at their own 37 with 13 seconds to play, but no miracles were coming. 21-13 Bears

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks — The 9-1 Arizona Cardinals traveled to play the 6-4 Seahawks knowing an Arizona win would all but lock up the NFC West and put the defending champions in the perilous position of possibly even missing the playoffs. A desperate Seattle team at home was expected to throw some punches, and the first half belonged to the defenses. Steve Hauschka hit a 27 yard field goal in the first quarter and hit from 32 and 52 in the second quarter. Catanzaro hit a 23 yarder to finally get the Cardinals on the board as they trailed 9-3 at halftime.

A blocked punt in the third quarter set up Seattle at the Arizona 24. For the fourth time, the Seahawks had to settle for a 40 yard Hauschka field goal and a 12-3 lead. Seattle finally got in the end zone when Russell wilson hit Helmet for a 20 yard score. The Legion of Boom did the rest. 19-3 Seahawks.

St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers — One week after shocking Denver at home, the Rams traveled at San Diego. Early on, Shaun Hill was intercepted, setting up the Chargers at the Rams 23. Rivers threw incomplete on 3rd and 3 from the 5 as the Chargers settled for the 23 yard Nick novak field goal. Hill led the Rams to a practically identical 3rd and 3 at the 4 and an incompletion. Greg Zuerlein hit his 22 yard field goal to tie the game.

Rivers moved the Chargers in the second quarter to a 3rd and goal at the 8. Rivers was then intercepted by Jenoris Jenkins, who returned it 99 yards for a Rams touchdown and a 10-3 lead. The Rams missed a chance to extend the lead when Zuerlein had a 46 yard try blocked. On the last play of the half Novak hit from 47 as the Chargers trailed 10-6. In the third quarter Ryan Mathews broke off a 32 yard touchdown run to make it 13-10 Chargers.  The Chargers took a 20-10 lead 2 plays later when Hill was sacked and Gachkar returned a fumble 13 yards for another San Diego touchdown.

The Rams got back in the game when the Chargers fumbled a punt, giving St. Louis the ball at the San Diego 21. Avon Austin id the rest, taking an end around 15 yards and another one for the 6 yard touchdown to get the Rams within 20-17. In the fourth quarter Rivers led a 93 yard, 11 play drive that took nearly 7 1/2 minutes off the clock. A 29 yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen made it 27-17 Chargers.

Hill led a 13 play, 80 yard, 6 minute drive. A 7 yard touchdown pass to Bailey on 3rd and 5 had the Rams within a field goal just before the 2 minute warning. The Chargers went 3 and out and a 38 yard punt return by Tavon Austin had the Rams taking over at the Chargers 40 with 90 seconds to play. With one minute to go the Rams faced 2nd and goal at the 4. With a tie all but assured, there was plenty of time to go for the win. Hill was intercepted in the end zone by Gilchrist as San Diego hung on. 27-24 Chargers

Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos — After a stunning loss last week at St. Louis, Denver looked flat for long stretches of the first half against an average Miami team. 80 yards came easily as Thomas scored from 3 yards out to make it 7-0 Dolphins. Brad McManus kicked a field goal to get the Broncos on the board. In the second quarter a field position game had Miami drive from the Denver 47 to the one, where Ryan Tannehill snuck in to make it 14-3 Dolphins.

Peyton Manning moved the Dolphins 77 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Manning hit Denarius Thomas for the score to get the Broncos with 14-10. Tannehill matched, moving Miami 87 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. A 10 yard touchdown pass to mike Wallace just past the 2 minute warning had the Dolphins up 21-10. Despite having the momentum, they left too much time on the clock. Manning moved the Broncos after a touchback. With 16 seconds left, facing 3rd and 1 at the Miami 14, Manning found Thomas again for another touchdown as Denver only trailed 21-17 at halftime.

In the third quarter Denver moved from their own 20 to a 3rd and 1 at the Miami 7. Manning was sacked, and Brad McManus’s 33 yard field goal dunked off the upright no good. Miami received another break when Denver fumbled a punt and the Dolphins recovered at the Denver 12. On 3rd and 10 Tannehill was intercepted by Von Miller, who fumbled it back on the return. Defensive holding nullified the interception anyway. Tannehill hit Landry for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 28-17 Dolphins.

One minute into the fourth quarter Manning hooked up with Thomas for the third time as a 5 yard touchdown pass and successful 2 point conversion had Denver within 28-25. Denver got it back and Manning led an 11 play, 70 yard, 6 minute drive. With 5 minutes left in regulation, Anderson ran up the middle for a 10 yard touchdown to give the Broncos the 32-28 lead. 3 plays later Tannehill made his only mistake of the game. A killer interception was returned by Ward 37 yards to the Miami 8. Manning hit Wes Welker for the 2 yard touchdown. With just over 3 minutes to play, the Broncos had a 39-28 lead.

Tannehill quickly led the Dolphins 84 yards, aided by several defensive penalties and a critical completion on 4th and 2 from the Denver 43. Tannehill hit Landry for a one yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion was successful and the Dolphins were within a field goal. The onside kick failed and Denver ran out the clock to preserve a hard fought win in a well played game. Tannehill finished 26 of 36 for 228 yards, three touchdowns and the one interception. Manning finished 8 of 35 for 257 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. 39-36 Broncos

Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers — Colin Kaepernick threw a 30 yard touchdown pass to Anquon Boldin to give the 49ers the quick 7-0 lead. In the second quarter Alfred Morris scored from one yard out to tie the game. Phil Dawson would hit a 41 yard field goal to give the 49ers the 10-7 halftime lead. Kai Forth hit a 27 yard field goal in the third quarter to tie the game 10-10. Frank Gore fumbled with 10 minutes left in regulation and he Redskins took over at the San Francisco 36. Forth hit from 46 to make it 13-10 Redskins midway through the fourth quarter.

With 5 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Jim Harbaugh decided to gamble with the 49ers facing 4th and 1 at their own 34. On the verge of facing Barry Switzer ignominy, the gamble paid off when Gore gained 3 yards. Carlos Hyde ran it in from 4 yards out as the 49ers had the 4 point lead with 3 minutes to play. The Redskins went 3 and out as did the 49ers, and Washington got it back at their own 8 with 90 seconds to play. On 3rd and 8 from the 10, Robert Griffin III was sacked and fumbled. The 49ers recovered for another ugly defensive win. 17-13 49ers

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants was the Sunday night game. Eli Manning led a 13 play, 80 yard, 7 minute drive that was capped off with a 3 yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham for a 7-0 Giants lead. The Cowboys came back but settled for a 38 yard Dan Bailey field goal to lead 7-3. In the second quarter Manning went deep to Beckham, who somehow shook off defensive pass interference and made a spectacular three finger catch. His other hand never touched the ball, as his circus catch had the Giants up 14-3. Romo brought the Cowboys back 77 yards and found Jason Witten for a 4 yard touchdown to get the Cowboys within 14-10. 11 plays, 80 yards and 6 minutes later, Williams had a 3 yard touchdown run as the Giants led 21-10 at the break.

In the third quarter, the game changed. Tony Romo found Beasley for a 45 yard touchdown. After Manning was intercepted, Tony Romo went deep to Dez Bryant for a 3 1yard touchdown and a 24-21 Cowboys lead after three quarters. With 9 minutes left in regulation the Giants took over at their own 7. From the Dallas 41, Manning found Rashad Jennings for 27 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Manning found Andre Robinson for the touchdown to cap off the 14 play, 93 yard, 6 minute drive.

Although the Giants led 28-24, the Cowboys still had 3 minutes on the clock. From their own 38, they did not need it. Romo threw a 13 yard touchdown pass to Bryant with one minute to play to put Dallas up by a field goal. Now it was Manning’s turn, and the Giants had all three timeouts. On 4th and 2 from the Giants 28 with 46 seconds left, Eli Manning threw a pass to Jennings that was initially ruled a first down. On further review, it was ruled short and the Giants turned it over on downs.

Before this season the Giants instilled the West Coast Offense after being a smash mouth power running team for decades. Throwing past the marker on fourth down is not what the West Coast Offense does. Two yards was apparently too far for a 2 time Super Bowl winner to throw. Dink. Dunk. Death. Nevertheless, this fine football game saw Manning finish 29 of 40 for 338 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Romo was 18 of 26 for 275 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. 31-28 Cowboys

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills in Detroit — Snowstorms that belted the Buffalo area forced this game to be relocated and pushed back from the original Sunday start time. Detroit was chose over Toronto for the location. Buffalo could not practice this week because of the snow. Buffalo was totally unprepared to play a pro football team. Luckily they were playing the Jets. Michael Vick was so awful that Geno Smith was allowed to play. He was also awful.

Kyle Orton threw a 7 yard touchdown pass to Woods on third and goal to make it 7-0 Bills. Nick Folk kicked a 27 yard field goal for the Jets, concluding the Jets highlight for the night.The Jets only trailed 7-3 late in the half. Kyle Orton led a 13 play, 81 yard, 6 minute drive and threw a 19 yard touchdown pass to Chandler with less than one minute left in the half. The Bills only led 14-3 but the Jets were done. In the third quarter Dan Carpenter hit a 53 yard field goal to make it 17-3 Bills. The Bills then blocked a punt for another touchdown and a 24-3 lead.

An interception of Michael Vick set up Buffalo in the red zone and Fred Jackson ran it in from the 5 to make it 31-3. In the fourth quarter Dixon ran for a 30 yard touchdown to complete the scoring and prepare Rex Ryan for life as a highly paid defensive coordinator on another team. New Yorkers declared Buffalo to be the true New York team and the Jets part of New Jersey. 38-3 Bills

Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints was the real Monday night game. On the second play from scrimmage Morgan ran for a 67 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the one for the Saints. Mark Ingram lost a yard gained it back, saw the Saints lose yards, gain them back, and see 4th and goal at the one. Sean Payton went for it, Ingram got the carry and again got blasted for a 2 yard loss. Instead of a quick lead, the home crowd was shocked by a goal line stand. They were even more shocked when Joe Flacco moved the Ravens 97 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the 15, Flacco hit Steve Smith for the touchdown and the 7-0 Ravens lead.

Later on Brees went back to Morgan for a 62 yard gain. Brees then hit Jimmy Graham for the 10 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. On the first play of the second quarter the Ravens had the ball at the Saints 7. Yet at the one yard line the Ravens fumbled the ball away as both teams could not score from the one. The Ravens got it back and Flacco found Smith for a 40 yard gain. Justin Forsett ran it in from 13 yards out to make it 14-7 Ravens in this game of big plays. Brees moved the Saints from their 20 to a 3rd and goal at the 2. Brees threw incomplete and this time Sean Payton decided not to gamble. Shane Graham hit the 20 yard field goal to get the Saints within 14-10. The Saints got it back at their own 19 with 1:51 left in the half and Brees worked the pinball machine offense. With 24 seconds left in the half from the Ravens 26, Brees went deep to Marques Colton for the touchdown and the 17-14 Saints lead.

In the third quarter Flacco moved the Ravens 67 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 2 from the Saints 13, Jim Harbaugh also decided to play it safe. Justin Tucker hit from 31 and the evenly played game was 17-17. A tie game in the third quarter was broken open when Brees had an interception returned 44 yards by Hill for a Ravens touchdown and a 24-17 Baltimore lead.

With 11 minutes left in regulation John Harbaugh took a big field position gamble and trusted his kicker. Justin Tucker drilled a 55-yard field goal to put the Ravens up 27-17. Bree quickly moved the Saints to a 34 yard Graham field goal to get New Orleans within 27-20 with 6 1/2 minutes left.

Needing a stop, the Saints defense had no answer for Justin Forsett, who gashed New Orleans for 182 yards on 22 carries. Forsett broke off a 20-yard touchdown run with three minutes left to salt away the win. Down 34-20, Brees would throw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Graham with 40 seconds left. The onside kick failed and the Saints had their third straight home loss and the Ravens had another tough road win. Brees completed 35 of 45 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns, but much of it was in comeback mode. His one interception was a killer. Despite being 4-7, the Saints are still very much in contention to win the hideous NFC South. 34-27 Ravens

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