NFL 2015 Week 11 Recap

NFL 2015 Week 11 Recap

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars was the Thursday night game. Sometimes two bad teams can come together and play a thrilling game for the ages. This was not that game. The only thing more hideous than the play on the field were the new uniforms. Fans could be forgiven for thinking Thursday Night Football had been replaced with an episode of Teletubbies. For most of three quarters, an unwatchable game belonged to the kickers. Ryan Succop connected from 47 yards out in the first quarter for the Titans. In the second quarter Myers hit from 31, Succop from 49, and Myers again from 32. In the third quarter Myers hit from 20 to make it 9-6 Jaguars. The end zone was finally reached when Marcus Mariota ran for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 13-9 Titans after three quarters.

With under 4 minutes left in regulation, the Titans punted and the Jaguars made them pay. Greene returned the punt 63 yards to the Tennessee 5 yard line. On the next play Blake Bortles hit Julius Thomas for the touchdown as the Jaguars led 16-13 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. After a touchback, the Titans fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and the Jaguars took over at the Tennessee 28. After failing to convert on 3rd and 1, Myers kicked his fourth field goal from 36 yards out. With 2:19 to play after another touchback, the Tennessee defense that had played well the whole game kept the game within 6 points. The offense had one final chance. Mariota moved the Titans to the Jacksonville 23 and spiked the ball with 5 seconds left. The Hail Mary would not even need to be a long throw. It never happened as Mariota was sacked. 19-13 Jaguars

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers — The unbeaten Panthers were expected to easily dispatch the inferior Redskins. Early on kirk Cousins was intercepted, setting up Washington at the Carolina 31. Cam Newton found Jermaine Stewart for a 12 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Panthers. Cousins came back and went bombs away to Desean Jackson for a 56 yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Newton moved the Panthers 78 yards in 13 plays, taking 7:45 off the clock. Newton hit Mike Tolbert for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Panthers. 14 seconds later the game was tied at 14-14 as Andre Roberts took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to pay dirt in a high flying first quarter.

In the second quarter the Panthers took over at their own 8 yard line. A pass from Newton to Greg Olsen saw Olsen get blasted. The ball popped in the air and was returned for a defensive touchdown. Yet a defensive personal foul for a helmet to helmet hit negated the score. Newton eventually threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn for a 21-14 Panthers lead. The Redskins needed to play a perfect game and get every break to keep up with a perfect team. They didn’t, as a fumble set up the panthers at the Washington 24. Newton hit Olsen for the touchdown to make it 28-14 Panthers. Another Washington turnover late in the half allowed Graham Gano to end the half with a 42 yard field goal to make it 31-14 Panthers.

The opening minute of the third quarter was all Washington needed to help secure a victory for Carolina. Another turnover on a sack and fumble by Cousins meant another short field at the Washington 11. On 3rd and 4, Newton found Funchess for the 5 yard touchdown. 24 points off Washington turnovers meant Newton’s fifth touchdown pass for a 38-14 Panthers lead. The Panthers tacked on a couple late field goals and gave up an intentional safety. One week after winning 47-14, the Redskins were given an ugly dose of reality as the 10-0 Panthers keep rolling. 44-16 Panthers

Oakland Raiders at Detroit Lions — After getting off to a 4-3 start, the Raiders have looked awful in consecutive losses. Meanwhile, the woeful Lions went on the road and shocked Green Bay last week for the first time in 24 years. Early on this game was all Lions. They moved 67 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes, and then went 53 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. They settled for Matt Prater field goals of 29 and 41 yards for a 6-0 Lions lead. on their first drive the Lions reached the Oakland one yard line before offensive holding killed the drive. The Raiders killed their first drive on 3rd and 4 from their own 41 by fumbling the ball and recovering for a loss.

Three straight drives the Raiders had the ball past their own 40 either through moving the ball or good field position to start with. Three straight times they squandered the field position. The Lions began their drives at the 11, 15 and 10 with 2:40 left in the half. On 3rd and 1, Stafford hit Golden Tate for 5 yards. With 30 seconds left in the half and the Lions facing 3rd and 15 at their own 39, Stafford went deep to Calvin Megatron Johnson for a 36 yard gain. From the Oakland 25, a 10 yard intentional grounding penalty pushed the Lions back. With 11 seconds left from the Oakland 33, Stafford threw incomplete on 3rd and 18. Prater came in for a 51 yard field goal try to extend the lead. The kick was good as the Lions led 9-0 at halftime against the lifeless Raiders. Jim Caldwell was so excited he almost made a facial expression. Meanwhile, it was up to Jack Del Rio to give his team the slightest amount of passion.

Whatever Del Rio may have said in the locker room at halftime initially appeared to have worked. After a touchback, Carr immediately went deep to Seth Roberts for a 43 yard gain. On 3rd and 8 from the Detroit 35, defensive holding kept the drive going. Carr then found Michael Crabtree for a 15 yard gain to the Detroit 15. On 3rd and 6 from the 11, Carr scrambled for 8 yards. Marcel Reece gained 2 but then got stopped on the next carry to set up 3rd and goal at the one. Latavius Murray got in as the 10 play, 80 yard drive had the Raiders right back in the game down 9-7.

A sack of Stafford ended Detroit’s opening possession of the third quarter and a short 30 yard punt with a 5 yard penalty on Detroit had the Raider at their own 48 with a golden chance to take the lead. On 3rd and 2, Carr found Michael Crabtree for a 10 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Detroit 30, Carr threw incomplete. Sebastian Janikowski came in for a 48 yard field goal. Seabass was good and the Raiders led 10-9 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Lions went 3 and out after a touchback when Stafford threw incomplete on 3rd and 5. From the Oakland 27, a defensive pass interference penalty moved the Raiders to their own 42. Carr then found Michael Rivera for a 21 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Detroit 33, Carr suffered his second delay of game penalty, appearing to push the Raiders out of field goal range after Carr threw incomplete. The Raiders had all the momentum and one penalty threw it away. Except it didn’t. Jack Del Rio gambled and brought in Seabass for a 56 yard field goal. The Polish Cannon drilled it and the Raiders led 13-9 after three quarters. They still had all the momentum. Now they had to keep it.

Naturally, they did not. On the last play of the third quarter after a touchback, Stafford found Tate for a 21 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Detroit 41, Stafford found Theo Roddick for 16 yards. Stafford eventually ran for a 5 yard touchdown as the typical meltdown had the Raiders down 16-13 with 11 minutes left in regulation. For the second week in a row against the NFL North, the raiders fell behind early, struggled to come back and take the lead, only to fall apart on defense. This time the offense had to come back a second time. After scoring on 3 straight possessions, the Raiders offense just went backward. On 3rd and 20 from the 11, a short completion was negated by offensive pass interference as the Raiders punted with 9 1/2 minutes left.

A pair of Stafford incompletions had the Lions soon facing 3rd and 10 at their own 26. The Raiders held on defense. Penalties then killed the Raiders. A penalty on a punt return had them starting at their own 8. Offensive holding and a pair of Carr incompletions meant 3rd and 14 from the Oakland 4.

Carr completed a short pass, but this time offensive holding in the end zone on tackle Donald Penn meant a safety. The Raiders punted again, but this time it was a free kick. Marquette King boomed a 76 yard punt to the Detroit 4, but Tate returned it 26 yards to the Detroit 30. It was time for the Raiders to show what they are made of.

When it matters most, the Raiders appear to be made of garbage. Stafford moved the Lions easily. The Raiders took their last timeout with 2:53 to play. Everything came down to the Lions facing 3rd and 3 from the Oakland 19. One stop, and at least the Raiders would be on life support. Instead Bell gained 5 against the heartless Raiders and Oakland was done. On 2nd and 9 from the 13, Bell gained 11 and Stafford took a couple knees to end the game. Three weeks ago the Raiders were 4-3 and even daring to mention the playoffs. Now they are just 4-6. They remain losers. For the 13th straight year they will not be going to the playoffs or having a winning season. 18-13 Lions

Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins — After 7 straight losses, the injured Tony Romo finally returned to the field. Romo was not hot early on, going 5 for 10 for 55 yards and an interception. Yet Ryan Tannehill was ice cold. He completed only two of his first 7 passes for 3 yards. He completed one pass to each team. His second completion went to Rolando McClain, who returned the interception 12 yards for a 7-0 Cowboys lead in the second quarter.  With one minute left in the half, Romo hit Terrance Williams for a 31 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Cowboys. An inexplicably short kickoff was fielded by the Dolphins at their own 40 and returned 6 yards. Tannehill found Landry for a 47 yard gain and Cameron for a 12 yard touchdown as the Dolphins only trailed 14-7 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Dolphins got the ball at their own 42. Tannehill found Kenny Stills for a 29 yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14. Romo moved the Cowboys 80 yards in 5 1/2 minutes. A 16 yard touchdown pass from Romo to Dez Bryant on the first play of the fourth quarter had the Cowboys up 21-14. A field position game led to an 18 yard punt return with 15 more tacked on for a personal foul as the Cowboys took over at the Miami 21. On 3rd and goal from the 7 one play after Cole Beasley dropped a touchdown pass, Romo was sacked. Dan Bailey hit the 30 yard field goal to put the Cowboys up by 10 with 9 minutes left in regulation. That was enough as the Cowboys remain an unbeaten 3-0 with Romo in the lineup. Jerry Jones can talk Super bowl if one does not count all the losses without Romo. 24-14 Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons — A pair of underachieving teams tried to right the ship. Andrew Luck was out injured and Old Man Matt Hasselbeck got the start. Matt Ryan moved the Falcons 80 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Ryan hit DiMarco for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Falcons. It was deja vu all over again as Ryan moved the Falcons 83 yards in 10 plays. A one yard touchdown pass to DiMarco made it 14-0 Falcons. In the second quarter, a 13 play, 80 yard, 7 minute drive saw Ahmad Bradshaw run for a 7 yard touchdown to get the Colts within 14-7.

In the third quarter the Falcons moved 80 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Ryan hit Hankerson for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 21-7 Falcons. Hasselbeck moved the Colts 90 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. A 2 yard touchdown pass from Hasselbeck to Bradshaw had the Colts within 21-14 only seconds into the fourth quarter. The Colts got it right back, and Hasselbeck fired to the end zone for what he thought was the tying touchdown. The receiver only got one foot down and the other foot was outside the back of the end zone. One play later on 3rd and 4 from the Atlanta 15, Hasselbeck was intercepted near the goal line. It didn’t matter. After an exchange of punts the Falcons took over at their own one. Ryan was intercepted by Jackson, who scored a six yard defensive touchdown for a 21-21 tie with 10 minutes left in regulation.

With 5 minutes left the Colts took over at their own 19. Hasselbeck found Frank Gore for a 31 yard gain to midfield. On 3rd and 2, Hasselbeck found Moncrief for a 10 yard gain. With one minute left, Adam Vinatieri hit a 43 yard field goal to give the Colts the lead. The Falcons got it back at their own 18 with 48 seconds to play. With 5 seconds left from the Atlanta 36, it was time for one more Hail Mary. Instead Ryan threw a 3 yard pass. With one second left on 4th and 3 from the 39, this time Ryan actually threw it deep. The prayer was not answered as the Colts intercepted the ball and survived to get to 5-5. The Falcons saw their 5-0 start be a complete mirage under a hail of losses. They just give games away. 24-21 Colts

St. Louis Rams at Baltimore Ravens — After Justin Tucker missed a 51 yard field goal, the Rams rook over at their own 41. With Nick Foles out, Case Keenum got the start. A defensive pass interference penalty went for 49 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Todd Gurley got in to make it 7-0 Rams. On the last play of a dreadful first half, Justin Tucker hit a 25 yard field goal as the Ravens trailed 7-3. The third quarter was just as hideous. Keen fumbled, but Joe Flacco returned the favor with an interception that as returned 25 yards just past midfield. Keenum found Kendricks for a 30 yard touchdown and a 13-3 Rams lead. The extra point was blocked.

The fourth quarter began with Gurley fumbling and the Ravens taking over at the Rams 42. Flacco hit Aiken for a 3 yard touchdown. with 11 minutes left in regulation, the Ravens were only down 13-10. With 9 minutes left the Ravens took over at their own 22. A short pass from Flacco to Gillmore for a 46 yard gain to the Rams 8. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Flacco threw incomplete. With 5 minutes left, Tucker hit from 20 to tie the game 13-13. Both kickers had a chance to be a hero in the final five minutes.

The Rams moved from their 20 to a 3rd and 5 at the Baltimore 34. Keen threw incomplete. Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein came in for a 52 yard field goal try with 1:46 to play. With swirling winds, the kick was no good. The Ravens took over at their own 42, and Flacco hit Chris Givens for 20 yards. With 1:18 to play, Tucker came in for a 51 yarder. The wind was still volatile and Tucker was also no good. The Rams took over at their own 41. Keenum was sacked and fumbled. With 54 seconds to play, the Ravens had the ball at the Rams 41. Very questionable clock management after a couple runs had the Ravens settle for a 47 yard field goal try rather than try and gain more yardage. John Harbaugh was bailed out. On a miserable day for kickers, this time Tucker’s kick was barely good. If ever a game did not deserve overtime, this was it. 16-13 Ravens

New York Jets at Houston Texans — Last week the Texans had the upset of the year in going on the road and shocking previously unbeaten Cincinnati. Bryan Hoyer is injured and TJ Yates got the start. The Texans began with a staggering 16 play, 78 yard drive that consumed 8 minutes of the clock. Yet just like last week, the Texans had trouble punching it in. A 20 yard Nick Novak field goal in the second quarter made it 3-0 Texans. Bullock hit from 40 yards out to make it 3-3. The end zone was cracked as Yates found Deandre Hopkins for a 61 yard touchdown to complete the 85 yard drive and make it 10-3 Texans.

In the third quarter the Jets needed only 3 plays to go 64 yards. A 21 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall made it 10-10. The Texans came right back 80 yards. This time Cecil Shorts III found Alfred Blue for a 21 yard touchdown pass to make it 17-10 Texans. The Texans got it back and went 63 yards. A 20 yard touchdown pass from Yates to Hopkins made it 24-10 Texans. The Jets moved 73 yards, with Fitzpatrick gaining the final 6 yards. With 4 1/2 minutes left, the Jets were only down by 7. The Jets got it back at their own 41 with 3 minutes left. On 4th and 5, Fitzpatrick was intercepted. The Jets got it back one more time with 2:19 left at their own 20. 3 plays later, Fitzpatrick threw his 2nd interception of the day. After a 4-1 start, the Jets have regressed. Meanwhile, the Texans actually have  shot in the woeful AFC South. 24-17 Texans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles — Sam Bradford is injured yet again, and Marsk Sanchez got the start. The Eagles moved 86 yards and threw a 39 yard touchdown to Huff for a 7-0 Eagles lead. Doug Martin then broke off a 58 yard run to set up a 4 yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to Mike Evans for a 7-7 tie. In the second quarter the Buccaneers moved 59 yards. A 13 yard touchdown pass from Winston to Vincent Jackson made it 14-7 Buccaneers. The Bucs got it back at their 15 and Martin raced for an 84 yard gain down to the one. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Winston hit Shepard for the touchdown and the 21-7 Buccaneers lead. The Eagles got within 21-14 when Sanchez found Darren Proles for a 35 yard touchdown. Yet the Bucs kept rolling as Winston moved them 80 yards in 13 plays and 5 minutes. A 14 yard touchdown pass to Sims had the Buccaneers up 28-14 at halftime.

The Buccaneers just ate the Eagles alive in the third quarter. A killer 15 play, 80 yard drive took nearly 10 minutes off the clock. Winston found Brate for an 8 yard touchdown pass as the Buccaneers led 35-14. Each team tacked on a field goal in the fourth quarter, and Sanchez needed three touchdown passes to tie the game. He only threw one touchdown pass and it was to the Tampa Bay defense. David returned Sanchez’s third interception 20 yards to complete the blowout. Martin finished with 235 yards rushing on 27 carries. Winston had 5 touchdown passes. This was not the 2002 NFC Title Game, but it was a game that showed that movie Smith has the arrows pointing up and Chip Kelly’s team is collapsing. 45-17 Buccaneers

Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears — Peyton Manning is out injured. Brock Osweiler made his first NFL start. Osweiler is not the guy from the original American Pie movie. Osweiler found Denarius Thomas for a 48 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Broncos. Robbie Gould hit 46 and 37 yard second quarter field goals to get the Bears within 7-6. Brad McManus connected from 24 to end the half with the Broncos up 10-6. The only score of the third quarter was Gould connecting from 37 as the Bears trailed 10-9 entering the final quarter.

Osweiler moved the Broncos 71 yards in 10 plays. A 10 yard touchdown pass to Latimer on 3rd and 8 gave the Broncos a 17-9 lead with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Bears quickly moved after a touchback to a 2nd and goal at the 4. After Cutler threw incomplete twice, John Fox decided to go for it rather than kick the field goal. With a full 10 minutes left, it was curious decision. Cutler threw incomplete again. The Bears got it back at their own 24 and quickly moved to a 1st and 10 at the Denver 33. Cutler was then intercepted with 2 1/2 minutes to play.

The Broncos could not run out the clock. On 3rd and 7 from the Denver 36 with 2:12 left, Osweiler was sacked. The Bears got it back at their own 35 with 1:49 to play. For the third straight time Cutler moved the bears down the field, aided by a defensive pass interference call. With 30 seconds left, on 3rd and 1 from the 2, Langford got in for the touchdown. Now the Bears needed the 2 point conversion. Langford got the carry again and got stopped cold. The onside kick failed and the Bears were done. Cutler and Fox failed to get revenge against the team that fired them as Fox would face a bunch of questions on why he did not kick the field goal earlier. The Bears would have won. 17-15 Broncos

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings — 3 straight losses after a 6-0 start had the Packers one game back of the surprising 7-2 Vikings. Early on Mason Crosby hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Packers. Bridgewater then connected with Kyle Rudolph on a 47 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Vikings led 6-3. Crosby connected from 47 and in the second quarter from 40 as the Packers reclaimed the 9-6 lead. Late in the half the Packers moved 80 yards as Aaron Rodgers worked the 2 minute drill to perfection. Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for the 10 yard touchdown as the Packers led 16-6 at the break.

In the third quarter Crosby hit his fourth field goal from 42 yards as the Packers built a 19-6 lead. Late in the third quarter Adrian Peterson bulled in from 6 yards out to cap a 63 yard drive and get the Vikings within 19-13. Rodgers then moved the Packers 80 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter on 3rd and 9 from the Minnesota 27, Rodgers went to James Jones for the touchdown. Rodgers hit Jones again for the 2 point conversion to make it 27-13 Packers. The Vikings quickly moved down the field, but Peterson was hit and fumbled at the Green Bay 22 and the Packers recovered to snuff out any comeback. Crosby hit his fifth field goal from 52 yards out with 4 minutes left to officially ice the game. Both teams are now 7-3 as the Packers on this day showed they were far from ready to surrender the NFC North. 30-13 Packers

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks — The 2013 NFC Title Game seems like a lifetime ago. Now a sub-500 Seattle team hosted a wretched 49ers team led by Blaine Gabbert, with Colin Kaepernick on injured reserve. Early on Russell wilson found Lockett for a 24 yard touchdown. Then Seatt;e came back and moved 59 yards in 11 plays in 5 1/2 minutes. Rawls ran it in from 2 yards out. The extra point was no good but the Seahawks led 13-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter Wilson led the Seahawks 91 yards in 13 plays in 7 1/2 minutes. Wilson hit Lockett for the 11 yard touchdown to make it 20-0 Seahawks.

The Seahawks got soft at the end of the half, as Gabbert quickly moved the 49ers 92 yards. A 9 yard touchdown pass to McDonald got the 49ers within 20-7 at halftime. in the third quarter Phil Dawson hit a 27 yard field goal as the 49ers only trailed 20-10. Steve Hauschka countered with a 33 yard field goal for a 23-10 Seahawks lead. Dawson then hit from 25 as the 49ers trailed 23-13 after three quarters. Early in the fourth quarter the Seahawks moved 80 yards. Wilson threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to Rawls to complete the scoring. Wilson finished a ridiculous 24 of 29 for 260 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions as the Seahawks kept their playoff hopes alive. 29-13 Seahawks

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers — In the first quarter the Chiefs moved 71 yards in 5 1/2 minutes. Poe got in from the one. The extra point try failed but the Chiefs led 6-0. In the second quarter Josh Lambo hit a 52 yard field goal for the Chargers and Cairo Santos answered from 28 to make it 9-3 Chiefs. Late in the half the Chiefs moved from their own 14 to the San Diego 12. Alex Smith found Kelce for the touchdown but the call was reversed incomplete. Santos hit from 24 to make it 12-3 Chiefs at halftime.

In the third quarter Philip Rivers was intercepted by Houston, who returned it 17 yards for another touchdown and a 19-3 Chiefs lead. In the fourth quarter Ware broke off a 52 yard run. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Alex Smith threw incomplete, but defensive holding gave the Chiefs another shot. Ware got in from the 3 to make it 26-3 Chiefs. On 4th and 1 from their own 24, the Chargers went for it and turned the ball over on downs. Ware had another 3 yard touchdown to complete the scoring. After a 1-5 start, the Chiefs have own four straight and are now in the thick of the playoff race. The Chargers are a miserable 2-8. At this rate, the San Diego fans may help them move to Los Angeles. 33-3 Chiefs.

Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals was the Sunday night game. One storyline was Carson Palmer coming back to face off against his old team. Yet the real storyline is that these are both solid football teams who could see each other again in the Super Bowl. Early on Palmer had a rough night, throwing interceptions on two of Arizona’s first three possessions. The second interception set up Cincinnati at their own 36. Red Rifle Andy Dalton went to AJ Green for a 42 yard gain. on 3rd and goal at the 3 Dalton hit Tyler Eifert for the touchdown. The Bengals led 7-0.

The second quarter began after a touchback with the Cardinals facing 3rd and 8 at their own 22. Palmer found Brown for 12, with unnecessary roughness adding 15 more. On 3rd and 16 from midfield, Palmer found Nelson for 23 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the 18, Palmer found Fells for the touchdown to tie the game 7-7. After a touchback, Dalton led a 14 play, 80 yard drive that consumed over 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and 19 from the Cincy 27, Dalton threw incomplete. However, defensive holding kept the drive going. From the Arizona 43, a short pass to Giovanni Bernard went for a 41 yard gain. Jeremy Hill got the final 2 yards as the Bengals led 14-7 with just over one minute left in the half. In a game between the top offense and the top defense, the first half was a slugfest. The second half was an aerial show.

Early in the third quarter, Palmer went deep to Nelson for a 64 yard touchdown bomb to tie the game 14-14. The Cardinals got it back at their own 34 and moved easily. Palmer found Brown for an 18 yard touchdown as the Cardinals now led 21-14. The Cardinals got it back just past midfield. On 3rd and 14 from their own 47, Palmer found Nelson for a 36 yard gain. Palmer then went to David Johnson for a 16 yard touchdown. 21 unanswered points now had the Cardinals up 28-14 after three quarters. Yet this game was far from done.

After a touchback, the Bengals moved until a sack of Dalton had the Bengals facing 3rd and 26 at the Arizona 38. Rather than pick up a few yards and try a field goal, Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson went aggressive. A deep pass from Dalton to Marvin Jones gained 22 yards. On 4th and 4 from the 16, Marvin Lewis decided to go for it. Dalton found Sanu for 10. Jeremy Hill got the last yard as the Bengals were within 28-21 with 12 minutes left in regulation.

The Cardinals moved to a 3rd and 3 at their own 44 when Palmer threw incomplete. The Bengals got it back and after a couple Dalton incompletions soon faced 3rd and 10 from their own 17. Dalton was sacked and fumbled. Bucannon grabbed the ball out of the air as the Cardinals took over at the Cincy 10. The Cardinals almost gave it back after a sack of Palmer caused a fumble, but the Cardinals retained possession. Chandler Catanzaro hit a 24 yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 31-21 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left to play. The Cardinals had some breathing room, but this game was just about to get white hot.

Brandon Tate took the kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone and raced 58 yards to midfield. The ball came out, but he was down. Bruce Arians unsuccessfully challenged the call, costing the Cardinals their last timeout. A sack of dalton meant 2nd and 20, but one play later Dalton hit Bernard for 21 yards. With 3:45 to play, Dalton hit Eifert again for a 10 yard touchdown to get the Bengals within 31-28.

A game of explosive offense and thrilling special teams also saw some critical plays on defense. The Cardinals soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 29. with 3 minutes left. Chris Johnson got the carry and ran into a Bengals brick wall. The Bengals got the ball back at their own 16 with 2:45 left. with 2:04 left from the Cincy 32, Dalton threw incomplete. Yet illegal use of hands meant 1st and 10 again. At the 2 minute warning, the Bengals from their own 37 saw Dalton find Bernard for a 30 yard gain. With 1:14 left, on 3rd and 2 from the Arizona 25, Dalton went for all the marbles. He threw to the end zone where AJ had single coverage. The defender had the interception, but it bounced off his shoulder pad. Green plucked it out of the air and celebrated what he thought was the go-ahead touchdown. The officials correctly ruled Green was out of bounds. The pass was incomplete. Mike Nugent came in for the 43 yard field goal to tie things. Nugget was good. The game was deadlocked 31-31, but one minute still remained. The Bengals scored too early.

Arizona took over at their own 16. Palmer found Nelson for 19 yards and Larry Fitzgerald for gains of  18 and 20 yards. The Bengals called their last timeout on defense with 20 seconds to play. From the Cincy 27, a field goal try to win it would be 45 yards. Then confusion reigned. Palmer took a knee on second down to take the clock down. Then on third down, with six seconds left, he spiked the clock. Yet penalty flags flew everywhere. Both sides pointed at each other. A false start would have meant a 10 second runoff and no field goal try. That meant overtime. It would be an incredible blunder since the Cardinals could have kept the clock running without the first spike of the ball on first down.

Yet the officials instead called a penalty on the defense for unsportsmanlike conduct. The old Neil Smith rule says that the defense cannot call out signals or make moves to try to deliberately produce a false start. The defense clearly did. This is not a five yard offsides penalty. It is a 15 yard penalty. now Catanzaro only had to try a 32 yarder to win it. He was good. Despite consecutive losses after an 8-0 start, the Bengals are still a very good team. The Cardinals are also 8-2 and equally solid. While one unbeaten team remains in each conference ahead of these teams, the NFL could do far worse than seeing these teams play a rematch in the Super Bowl. This was a fine, fine football game. Dalton finished 22 of 39 for 315 yards while Palmer had an almost identical 20 of 31 for 317 yards. Dalton had 2 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions. Palmer had the two early interceptions, but the rest of the way threw 4 touchdown passes. They were evenly matched until the final play. 34-31 Cardinals

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots was the Monday night game. Once again, Rex Ryan tried to conquer the demons haunting him in Bill Bellichick and Tom Brady. On this night, Ryan’s defense battered Tom Brady, hitting him repeatedly. Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35 yard field goal in the first quarter for the Patriots and Dan Carpenter countered from 52 in the second quarter as most of the first half was a 3-3 slugfest. With 50 seconds left in the half, Carpenter came in for a 48 yarder to give the Bills the lead. The kick doinked off one upright, then doinked off the other upright, no good. With 46 seconds left from the New England 38, the Patriots went for the kill. Brady found Danny Amendola for 18 yards and LaFell for 20 more. With 19 seconds left in the half, on 3rd and 10 from the 20, Brady threw a short pass to White. White broke a tackle and got to the end zone to put the Patriots up 10-3 at halftime.

Things got bizarre in the third quarter of a horribly officiated game. From the New England 31, Brady rolled to his right and was almost out of bounds when he found a wide open Amendola. Amendola caught the ball and had nothing in front of him but green. Yet the play was stopped due to an inadvertent whistle. The official thought Brady had gone out of bounds even though replays showed Brady was nowhere near the sideline. There is no cure for an inadvertent whistle. Instead of a 17-3 lead, the Patriots had to settle for a 54 yard Gostkowski field goal try. It was no good and the game stayed 10-3.

The Bills took over at their own 44 and moved quickly. LeSean McCoy raced for a 27 yard touchdown. All of a sudden, the game was tied 10-10. After an exchange of punts, the Patriots took over at their own 36. On 3rd and 7 from the Buffalo 47, a short pass to Amendola went for a 41 yard gain. Brady hurried up to the line before the Bills could get back on defense. The quick snap led to a carry by White, who despite appearing stopped at the 3, bulled his way just over the goal line after laying on another player to avoid going down. With 6 minutes left in the third quarter the Patriots led 17-10. Late in the third quarter the Bills fumbled a punt and the Patriots took over at the Buffalo 30. Gostkowski hit from 35 as the Patriots led 20-10 after three quarters.

Early in the fourth quarter the Patriots went for the kill and Brady threw deep into double coverage and was intercepted. The Bills moved from their own 6 to a 2nd and 6 at the Buffalo 43. Tyrod Taylor threw a short pass to Hogan, who only had to lean forward to get the first down. Instead Hogan tried to make a spin move and was tackled inches short of the first down. One terrible decision was followed by another one. On 3rd and inches, rather than run straight ahead, a lateral run was blown up in the backfield for a one yard loss. The Bills punted, got the ball back, and moved from their 25 to a 1st and 10 at the new England 15. On 3rd and 10, Taylor threw incomplete. Carpenter hit the 33 yard field goal to get the Bills within 7, but only 3 1/2 minutes remained.

The Patriots took over at their own 25, and on 3rd and 3, a run gained only one yard. The Bills got the ball back at their own 16 with 1:51 to play and no timeout. With 50 seconds left, on 4th and 6 from the Buffalo 32, Taylor threw a pass to Watkins. Watkins caught the ball and rolled out of bounds. Initially the refs called it incomplete, but on further review reversed the call and properly called it a catch for an 8 yard gain. With 40 seconds left, a sack of Taylor resulted in a fumble. The bills retained possession but the clock kept ticking. With 7 seconds left, on 3rd and 18 from the Buffalo 32, Taylor found Watkins near the sideline for a 16 yard gain. Watkins rolled out of bounds without being touched. It should have been 4th and 2 from the Buffalo 48 with one or two seconds left, time for a Hail Mary.

The referees messed up again. They ruled the game was over because Watkins caught the ball inbounds. Had he been touched by the defender, the clock would have kept moving. However, the defender inexplicably just watched as Watkins rolled out of bounds, again, without being touched. The clock should have stopped. Nobody in the entire stadium thought to question this. Just like that, the game was over. The Bills dropped to 5–5 while the Patriots survived to remain one of two unbeaten 10-0 teams. 20-13 Patriots

Comments are closed.