NFL 2016 Week 11 Recap

NFL 2016 Week 11 Recap

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers was the Thursday night game. Both teams collapsed last week in stunning fashion, and early on this game was all Panthers. Graham Gano hit a 32 yard field goal for Carolina and Will Lutz responded from 27 for a 3-3 game after the first quarter. The Carolina field goal was set up by a sack of Drew Brees that forced a fumble. The Saints were lucky it was only a field goal. First the Panthers had a touchdown reversed. Then from the one yard line Cam Newton took a sack for an 11 yard loss. In the second quarter the Panthers exploded as the Saints imploded.

Drew Brees was intercepted, setting up the Panthers at the New Orleans 34. Stewart got in from one yard out to make it 10-3 Panthers. The Saints fumbled the ensuing kickoff, pinning themselves at their own one. They punted and the Panthers took over just shy of midfield. Gang hit a 49 yard field goal to make it 13-3 Panthers with 2:50 left in the half. Brees quickly moved the saints from their 25 to a 3rd and 5 at the Carolina 20. A killer false start meant a 38 yard field goal try. Will Lutz last week was supposed to kick the winning extra point. Instead the kick was blocked and returned for the deciding 2 points the other way as Denver shocked the Saints. Lutz’s nightmares continued. His kick was again blocked and returned for a touchdown. An illegal block nullified the score and giving Carolina the ball at the Saints 40 with 23 seconds left. It did not matter. Cam Newton went deep to Ted Ginn, who made  a gorgeous catch in the back of the end zone to make it 20-3 Panthers at halftime.

In the third quarter the Saints held the ball for 14 plays and nearly 7 minutes. Gang hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 23-3 Panthers. For the second week in a row Carolina had a 17 point lead at home. For the second straight week, the Panthers fell apart in the fourth quarter. The Saints mounted a 16 play drive that ate up 8 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Carolina 14, Sean Payton went for it and Brees snuck up the middle for the yard. Yet a sack of Brees killed the drive. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Lutz hit from 30 as the Saints still trailed 23-6.

Carolina went 3 and out and the Saints got it back near midfield. Brees hit Coleman for a 9 yard touchdown. The Saints were only down 23-13 with a full 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Brees would then mount a 13 play, 5 minute drive that moved 76 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 8, Brees hit Coby Fleener for the touchdown. The Saints were only down by a field goal, but they ate up a ton of clock. Only 3 minutes remained. The Saints took their final timeout with the Panthers facing 3rd and 10 at their own 15. In heavy traffic, Newton hit Kelvin Benjamin for a critical 18 yard gain. By the time the saints got the ball back at their own 14, only 14 seconds remained. With 2 seconds left from the Saints 36, the Saints went for the hook and lateral rather than the Hail Mary. Yet after Thomas caught a pass and gained 21 yards, he never lateraled the ball. He just allowed himself to be forced out of bounds to end the game. 23-20 Panthers

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts — This game had the potential to tilt the scoreboard. The Colts moved 64 yards and Robert Turbin got in from the one to make it 7-0 Colts. The Colts got it back and Chuck Pagano went to his bag of tricks. Andrew Luck lined up as a wide receiver. Frank Gore took the direct snap, pitched the ball back to Luck, who then found a wide open Gore for a 49 yard gain down to the Titans 5 yard line. Donte Moncrief got the last 2 of the 75 yards for a 14-0 Colts lead. In the second quarter the Indy Express kept rolling. 80 yards came fairly easily and Luck hit TY Hilton for a 2 yard touchdown and a 21-0 Colts lead. The Colts missed a chance to extend the lead to 24-0 when Adam Vinatieri missed a 42 yard field goal. At this point momentum changed as a blowout became competitive.

The Titans moved 68 yards in 12 plays at the end of the half. Marcus Mariota hit DeMarco Murray for the 3 yard touchdown to get the Titans on the board. In the third quarter the Titans were trapped at their own 2 yard line. Mariota would throw a 34 yard touchdown to Sharpe to complete the 98 yard drive. The Titans were within 21-14 with much of the second half still to play. Ryan Succop hit a 47 yard field goal to get the Titans within 4 points, but Vinatieri hit a clutch 49 yarder to get the Colts back up 24-17 with a full 11 minutes left to play.

Midway through the fourth quarter, an interception of Luck set up the Titans at their own 38 with a chance to tie the game. On 3rd and 3 from the Indy 33, a completion came up one yard short. With 4 1/2 minutes to play, Mike Mularkey had to go for it. Mariota hit Douglas for 3 yards. With 2:45 to play, it was again 4th and 1 from the Indy 19. Murray got the carry and got stopped short. 10 seconds later, with the Titans out of timeouts, everything came down to the Colts facing 3rd and 5 at their own 24. Luck hit Hilton for 11 and took a knee three times to end it. 24-17 Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions — In the first quarter the Lions fumbled a punt and the Jaguars recovered in the red zone with a golden opportunity. Yet the Jaguars never show any offense until they are trailing in the fourth quarter. Jason Myers hit the 27 yard field goal for the 3-0 Jaguars lead. In the second quarter Andre Roberts made up for his earlier fumble by returning a punt 55 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked by the Lions led 6-3. Blake Bortles brought the Jaguars back 54 yards and hit Andre Robinson for a 3 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Jaguars led 9-6. Matt Prater hit a 27 yard field goal as the teams went to the locker rooms deadlocked 9-9.

Blake Bortles can always be counted on to throw a second half touchdown pass. The question is which team he will throw it to. In the third quarter he found Bush, who plays defense for Detroit. Bush returned the pick six 39 yards for a touchdown and a 16-9 Lions lead. The Jaguars got back within 16-12 when Myers nailed a 52 yard field goal. Jacksonville got it back at their own 13 and moved 87 yards. From the Detroit 3, Bortles threw a high fade and Marquis Lee won the jump contest for the touchdown and the 19-16 Jaguars lead.

In the fourth quarter the Lions faced 3rd and 13 at their own 31 after a sack of Matthew Stafford. Stafford went deep to Eric Ebron for a 61 yard gain. Ebron got in from the one as the Lions retook the lead 23-19 with 10 minutes left in regulation. With 8 1/2 minutes left the Lions got it back and bled the clock with a killer drive. 15 plays took 8 minutes off the clock as the Lions moved 60 yards. The Lions settled for a 43 yard Prater field goal and a 7 point lead. However, the Jaguars only had 22 seconds to move 75 yards. On 3rd and 10 Bortles went deep and was intercepted. The 6-4 Lions are in first place in the NFC North. Jim Caldwell was so pleased, he almost made a facial expression. 26-19 Lions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs — Alex Smith dinked and dunked his way down the field as the Chiefs moved 74 yards in 14 plays and took 8 minutes to do it. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Alex Smith threw one of his typical West Coast Offense passes that padded his stats but left the Chiefs 4 yards short of the end zone. Throwing past the marker is just not something the West Coast Offense believes in. Cairo Santos hit the 22 yard field goal for a 3-0 Chiefs lead. The Buccaneers came back 62 yards in the second quarter. Roberto Aguayo hit a 31 yard field goal for a 3-3 game. The Buccaneers repeated themselves when they got the ball back, going 63 yards in 10 plays. Yet again inside the 5 the defense stiffened. Aguayo hit from 22 for a 6-3 Buccaneers lead. The Chiefs came back 80 yards. From the Tampa Bay 11, the tire world knows Alex Smith will not throw it to the end zone. Yet without a 4 yard pass option available, Smith took off running up the middle all the way for the touchdown and a 10-6 Chiefs lead. Aguayo hit his third field goal from 41 yards out as the Buccaneers trailed 10-9 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Buccaneers moved 56 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. Aguayo hit his fourth field goal from 36 yards out to make it 12-10 Buccaneers. The Chiefs began the fourth quarter at their own 30. From their own 46, Alex Smith threw a ball past the marker. On first down. Yes, you read that correctly. He throws a deep ball every few games. It went for a 44 yard gain to the Tampa Bay 10. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 6, with 12 minutes left in regulation, Smith was intercepted in the end zone. Conte returned it 53 yards to the Tampa Bay 48. After a pair of third down conversions, the Buccaneers faced 3rd and 2 at the Chiefs 3. There would be no fifth field goal try for Aguayo. Winston hit Cross for the touchdown. The extra point was good and the Buccaneers had a 19-10 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left. However, this is the time in a game where Walrus Lite Andy Reid takes the shackles off of Smith. Dink and dunk for 3 1/2 quarters, fall behind, and then require him to actually throw forward passes. The Chiefs have a defense, so 2 scores in 6 1/2 minutes is certainly doable.

The Chiefs moved 78 yards, and on 3rd and goal at the 3, Smith hit Wilson for the touchdown. The Chiefs were within 2 points and 2 1/2 minutes remained. The defense would surely get them the ball back. On 3rd and 3 from the Tampa Bay 30, Winston hit Mike Evans for a 14 yard gain and a key first down as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. By the time the Chiefs got the ball back, they had only 8 seconds to go from their own 27. Needing 73 yards with 8 seconds left, Alex Smith can always be counted on to throw a 4 yard pass. He threw a pair of them as the Chiefs dropped to 7-3 in the AFC West. West. Coast. Offense. Dink. Dunk. Death. 19-17 Buccaneers

Chicago Bears at New York Giants — 30 years ago the Monster Giants dethroned the Monster Bears as Super bowl champions. Those days are long gone. The Bears moved 76 yards and Jay Cutler threw a 19 yard touchdown to Zach Miller for a 6-0 Bears lead after a missed extra point. The Giants came back 78 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Rashad Jennings ran for a 2 yard touchdown. On a very windy day, the Giants also missed the extra point for a 6-6 game. Chicago got it back and Connor Barth hit a 40 yard field goal for a 9-6 Bears lead. In the second quarter the Bears moved 79 yards and Jeremy Langford ran for a one yard touchdown and a 16-6 Bears lead. Robbie Gould did hit a 46 yard field goal against his former team to get the Giants within 16-9 at halftime.

The Giants offense finally got going for real in the third quarter. The second half kickoff was returned to the Giants 44. On 3rd and 8 from the Chicago 41, Eli Manning hit Sam Shepard for 12, O’Dell Beckham for 20, and Tye for the 9 yard touchdown and a 16-16 game. The Giants got it back and quickly faced 3rd and 4 at their own 27. Manning actuallyy scrambled for just enough himself and then went deep to Victor Cruz for a 48 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Chicago 15. Manning found Shepard for the touchdown. Another missed extra point kept the Giants lead at 6 points. The Bears moved from their 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Giants 35. A sack of Cutler had the Bears settling for a 51 yard field goal try 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. On a day when even extra points were tough, Gould doinked the field goal try off the upright no good.

With 3 minutes left, the Bears began their last drive at their own 22. At the 2 minute warning, they had 1st and 10 at the Giants 30. Then Jay Cutler did what he does. He was hit by Jason Pierre Paul and fumbled. The Bears retained possession but lost 14 yards. An illegal shift had the Bears with 2nd and 29. With the game on the line, Jay Cutler can always be counted on to deliver a tough completion to the opposing team’s defense. Landel Collins intercepted Cutler with 1:11 to play to preserve the win and get Big Blue to 7-3 under Ben McAdoo. John Fox looks forward to one day having a signal caller he can trust. 22-16 Giants 

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings — Blair Walsh has finally been put out of his misery in Minnesota, so it was Kai Forbath kicking off for the Vikings. Meanwhile, Mike Sherels ran a punt back 23 yards to set up Minnesota at the Arizona 44. On 3rd and 6 from the 16, Sam Bradford went to the end zone and found Thielen. Initially ruled out of bounds, Mike Zimmer challenged the call and it was reversed to a touchdown for a 7-0 Vikings lead. The Cardinals came back 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. David Johnson banged in from the one for a 7-7 game. In the second quarter the Cardinals moved 78 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Chandler Catanzaro hit the 34 yard field goal for the 10-7 Cardinals lead. Minnesota came back 75 yards quickly. Mark Asiata got in from 2 yards out, just stretching the ball over the plane of the goal. Forbath continued the Walsh tradition as the extra point was blocked. Nevertheless the Vikings led 13-10.

On the ensuing kickoff, Golden was golden, returning it to the Minnesota 48. Arizona moved to a critical 3rd and goal at the 9. Palmer fired to the end zone and was intercepted by Xavier Rhodes, who returned it 100 yards all the way for a touchdown and a 20-10 Vikings lead with 3 minutes left in the half. Palmer brought the Cardinals right back 75 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Minnesota 38, Palmer hit David Johnson for 9 and them Jermaine Gresham for a 29 yard touchdown as Gresham stretched passed the marker in this game of inches. Bruce Arians saw his quick strike offense get the Cardinals right back in it down 20-17. They were right back down again when Cordarelle Patterson returned the second half kickoff 100 yards for another big play touchdown and a 27-17 Vikings lead. Palmer would then throw deep and be intercepted by Rhodes again.

The Vikings moved from their 16 to the Arizona 8, but a pair of Bradford incompletions ended the drive. Forbath hit the 27 yard field goal as the Vikings built a 30-17 lead after three quarters. Minnesota again got it back at their own 16 and moved to a 3rd and 7 at their own 42. After a false start, Bradford got belted from the blind side and fumbled. With 9 minutes left in regulation, the Cardinals took over at the Minnesota 27. On 3rd and 8 Palmer hit Johnson for 14 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the 4, Palmer hit Johnson again for the touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were right back in it down by six.

Minnesota went 3 and out, and John Brown returned the punt 32 yards to the Minnesota 47. With victory in site, a sack of Palmer and intentional grounding had the Cardinals punting on 4th and 30. With 2 1/2 minutes left, the Vikings had to punt from their own 15. Again it appeared the Cardinals would have good field position with a chance to win. Instead, Locke boomed a 72 yard punt. The Cardinals took over at their own 13 with 2:20 left. The worst of all worlds saw a completion for no gain as the clock ticked to the 2 minute warning. With 1:12 left and facing 4th and 19 at their own 4, Palmer threw incomplete but roughing the passer kept the drive going. With 44 seconds left, the Cardinals faced 4th and 6 at their own 34. Palmer was sacked for a 15 yard loss, and there were no flags, Mike Zimmer’s defense got it done in the clutch as the four game losing streak following the 5-0 start was snapped. Meanwhile, the preseason favorites in Arizona fell below .500 again. 30-24 Vikings

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals — The Bills moved 75 yards and LeSean Shady McCoy ran for a 7 yard touchdown for a 7-0 Bills lead. The Bengals came back 75 yards in 13 plays and nearly 6 1/2 minutes. Red Rifle Andy Dalton took it in himself. The failed extra point had the Bengals trailing 7-6. In the second quarter, Dalton was intercepted, with a runback giving the Bills the ball inside the Cincy 5 yard line. Yet a Tyrod Taylor touchdown run around the end was nullified by offensive holding. Dan Carpenter hit the 26 yard field goal for a 10-6 Bills lead. Dalton came back and led the Bengals 66 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. Dalton hit Boyd for the touchdown. Mike Nugent missed his second extra point as the Bengals only led 12-10. Buffalo drove deep but Taylor was intercepted at the one. Dalton threw another interception before the half. The second half was all defense. In the third quarter Dan Carpenter nailed a 54 yard field goal to make it 13-12 Bills. In the fourth quarter Buffalo moved 88 yards in 15 plays, taking over 8 minutes. Yet despite 2nd and goal at the 2, ground and pound Rex Ryan saw Taylor throw incomplete twice. Carpenter hit the 20 yard field goal to put Buffalo up by 4 with a full 12 minutes left. With 2 1/2 minutes left, the Bengals moved from their 15. They were without a timeout. With 3 seconds left from the Buffalo 27, Dalton’s Hail Mary was incomplete and the Bills survived for a tough road win. 16-12 Bills

Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys — Dallas has the best record in the league, but they have never beaten the Ravens before. Early on the Ravens moved 90 yards. Terrence West ran for an 18 yard touchdown for a 7-0 Ravens advantage. In the second quarter a field position game had the Cowboys starting at their own 48 yard line. On 3rd and 6, Dak Prescott went deep to Brice Butler for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Prescott fired to Cole Beasley just beyond the plane of the goal for the touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame. Justin Tucker hit a 46 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Ravens. With 8 seconds left in the half and the Cowboys in the red zone, Jason Garrett took no chances with another play. Bailey hit the 30 yard field goal and the teams went to the locker rooms deadlocked 10-10.

In the third quarter the Cowboys moved 92 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes. Prescott hit Dez Bryant for a 4 yard touchdown and a 17-10 Cowboys lead. Dallas got it back and another long drive was in the cards. In the fourth quarter Dallas went 88 yards and took 13 plays and 8 minutes off the clock. Prescott hit Bryant for the 13 yard touchdown and a 24-10 Cowboys lead. The Ravens are back 75 yards and Flacco hit Smith for a 5 yard touchdown to get the Ravens within 24-17 with a little over 8 minutes left in regulation.

Prescott showed veteran poise, leading the Cowboys on a 13 play, 6 1/2 minute drive. Ezekiel Elliott pounded the rock. With 1:54 to play and the Ravens out of timeouts, Jason Garrett took no chances on 4th and 1 from the Baltimore 3. Bailey hit the 21 yard field goal to put the game out of reach. Although Joe Flacco finished a respectable 23 of 35 for 269 yards and a touchdown, Prescott was 27 of 36 for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns. Neither quarterback was intercepted. The Cowboys have been  an NFL franchise since 1960. That first year they went 0-11-1. Since then they have been to 8 Super Bowls, winning 5 of them. Yet they had never in the history of the franchise won 9 straight regular season games. Neither Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman did it. In 29 years, Tom Landry never did it. Jimmy Johnson never did it. Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott did. An opening day loss by one point preceded 9 straight wins and an NFL best 9-1 record. Jerry Jones has seen what Clint Murchison, Bum Bright and Tex Schramm never saw at the helm. It is still early, but Jerrah has Super Bowl stars in his eyes. 27-17 Cowboys

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns — Cody Kessler went for it all and was intercepted by Alex Burns to set the Steelers up at their own 4 yard line. The Steelers moved all the way to the Cleveland 14 on a staggering 16 play, 82 yard drive that consumed nearly 9 1/2 minutes. Yet on 2nd and 6 a run went nowhere and Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete. Chris Boswell hit the 32 yard field goal for a 3-0 Steelers lead. In the second quarter it was deja vu all over again. Another 16 plays, another 68 yards, and another 9 1/2 minutes of clock. Yet again the Steelers settled for a 33 yard Boswell field goal and a 6-0 Steelers lead. After 29 minutes and 55 seconds of boring football, the last 5 seconds featured plenty of drama.

The Steelers had the ball at the Cleveland 5 yard line. Rather than kick the field goal again, Mike Tomlin decided to run another play. Yet rather than a quick throw, Big Ben took too long and an incompletion saw the clock ran out. Yet defensive pass interference instead meant 1st and goal at the 2 with an untimed down. Again Tomlin decided to go for it. He is far from risk averse, but normally in this situation you put the points on the board and kick the field goal. Tomlin was either trying to jolt his own inefficient offense or showing a total lack of respect for winless Cleveland. Either way, Big Ben threw incomplete again. Yet again defensive pass interference now made it 1st and goal at the one and another untimed down. Bellcow LeVeon Bell got the rock and pounded it in. Roethlisberger hit Johnson for the 2 point conversion as the Steelers took a 14-0 lead to the locker rooms.

In the third quarter a field position game had the Browns starting at their own 46. On 3rd and 6 from midfield, Cody Kessler hit Johnson for 22 yards. After he threw incomplete on 3rd and 9 from the Pittsburgh 27, Hue Jackson decided to go for it rather than try a 45 yard field goal. His team needed a spark, and Kessler went deep to terrell Pryor for a 26 yard gain. Yet on 1st and goal at the one, Isaiah Crowell lost 2 yards and Kessler was sacked for a 5 yard loss. These are the Browns. A disgusted Jackson at this point went for the field goal Cody Parker hit the 24 yarder as the Browns trailed 14-3. Meanwhile, Kessler went out injured and Josh McCown was in the game.

The nominee for ugliest game of the year saw the Steelers again go 71 yards in 15 plays and take another 8 minutes off the clock. Yet again, for the third time, the Steelers settled for a 22 yard Boswell field goal on the last play of the third quarter for a 17-3 Steelers lead. The Browns then drove 75 yards in 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, a sack of McCown left the Browns facing 4th and 9 at the Pittsburgh 43. Hue Jackson went for it again and McCown hit Gary Barnidge for just enough. Consecutive penalties had the Browns facing 2nd and 25 at the Pittsburgh 49. McCown hit Pryor for 15 and on 3rd and 10 found Johnson for 20. On 3rd and 10 from the Pittsburgh 14, McCown found Barnidge for the touchdown. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Browns were only down 17-9 after the missed extra point.

With 3:45 to play, the Browns took over at their own 13. Desperate for their first win, McCown went back to pass. He was sacked by Shazier, forcing a fumble. Hargreaves recovered the fumble in the end zone for a defensive touchdown. It was an ugly game, even by AFC North standards. Yet the Steelers snapped their four game losing streak to get to 5-5. Meanwhile, the 0-11 Browns are still trying to get Hue Jackson his first win as Cleveland’s head coach. 24-9 Browns.

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams — Jared Goff’s first NFL start came on a rainy day in Los Angeles. His job was to not mess things up and let Jeff Fisher’s defense clamp down. In the first quarter, 68 yards came quickly as Todd Gurley broke off a 24 yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Rams lead. This concludes anything resembling a first half highlight. In the third quarter a Rams fumble gave the Dolphins the ball at the Los Angeles 37. Ryan Tannehill went right away to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. Late in the third quarter Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein hit a 46 yard field goal in the rain for a 10-0 Rams lead. With 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation, a 48 yard try by Zuerlein doinked off the left upright no good. Momentum swing as the Dolphins moved from their 23 to a 2nd and 9 at the Los Angeles 10. A short pass from Tannehill to Landry appeared stop cold at the 5, but the referees did not blow the whistle. Something resembling a rugby scrum saw several Dolphins push the pile forward all the way into the end zone. After 56 minutes, Miami had cracked the scoreboard and trailed only 10-7.

The Rams punted and the Dolphins got the ball back at their own 25 with 2:11 left. Tannehill hit Landry for 15 with another 15 tacked on for roughing the passer. Tannehill then hit Parker for gains of 12 and 9 and Ajayi for 8. From the 9, Tannehill hit Parker  for the touchdown with only 36 seconds remaining in the game. The Rams remain the best 55 minute team in the NFL, and now they needed a miracle from a rookie playing his very first game, in bad weather to boot. The Rams got a ray of hope when the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Rams 41. With 5 seconds left from the Miami 47, Goff launched the Hail Mary to the end zone. 5 players were near the ball, and none of them played for the Rams as it was knocked out the back of the end zone incomplete. Adam Gase has seen his squad win their fifth straight after a 1-4 start to quietly get to 6-4. For Jeff Fisher’s Rams, it was a gut wrenching loss that dropped them to 4-6 and on the brink of playoff elimination. 14-10 Dolphins

New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers — Trump fan Tom Brady hoped to extend the misery of the Santa Clara 49ers and their Mod Squad anarchist quarterback. Politics aside, this was a case of one of the league’s best teams taking it to one of the league’s worst teams. Early on a sack of Kaepernick had the 49ers punting on 4th and 21 from their own 14. Danny Amendola returned the punt 30 yards as the Patriots began their first drive at the San Francisco 27. On 3rd and 3 from the 4, Brady hit Julian Edelman for the touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Patriots led 6-0. The 49ers countered by going 60 yards in 12 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and goal from the 6, Kaepernick was sacked and fumbled. The 49ers were lucky to retain possession. Phil Dawson hit the 33 yard field goal to get the 49ers within 6-3.

From the New England 23, LaGuarrette Blount raced 44 yards. On the last play of the third quarter, facing 3rd and 1 at the Frisco 11, Blount gained 2 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, Brady hit White for the 9 yard touchdown and a 13-3 Patriots lead. A field position game had the 49ers taking over at their own 8. Short passes moved the 49ers. On 2nd and 9 from the Patriots 23, an incomplete pass was nullified by defensive holding. Kaepernick then hit McDonald for an 18 yard touchdown to get the 49ers within 13-10.

Late in the third quarter, the Patriots faced 3rd and 9 at their own 21. Brady went deep to Mitchell for 21, to White for 14, and to Bennett for 14 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Frisco 22, Brady hit Edelman for 13. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brady hit Danny Amendola for a 5 yard touchdown and a 20-10 Patriots lead. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Patriots faced 3rd and 8 at their own 44. Brady went deep to Mitchell for a 56 yard touchdown and a 27-10 Patriots lead. Gostkowski tacked on a 38 yard field goal with 6 minutes left to turn a tight game at the half into a 30-10 Patriots blowout.  The 49ers did get a garbage touchdown, but nothing else. Brady finished 24 of 40 for 280 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Luckily for the 49ers, the rain slowed Brady down. So did the clock, as Brady took a knee at the 2 yard line rather than score another touchdown. The 8-2 Patriots remain at 8-2 tied for the top record in the AFC. The 49ers lost their ninth straight and their 1-9 record is the NFC bottom. 30-17 Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks — Marshawn lynch is retired and Thomas Rawls is coming back from injury, but a new hero in town is CJ Prosise. He raced for a 72 yard touchdown run and an early 6-0 Seahawk lead. The extra point was blocked. In the second quarter the Eagles moved 68 yards in 13 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. Carson Wentz hit Zac hertz for a 4 yard touchdown and a 7-6 Eagles lead. The Seahawks embarked on a 92 yard, 10 play, 6 minute drive. On 3rd and 16 from the Seattle 40, Russell Wilson threw incomplete. Yet defensive offside gave them another chance. On 3rd and 11, hit Jimmy Graham for a 35 yard touchdown and a 13-7 Seahawks lead. With 6 minutes left in the half the Eagles faced 3rd and 6 at their own 43. A short pass to Ertz went for a 57 yard touchdown, but an illegal formation nullified the score as the Eagles punted. From the Seattle 23, Wilson went deep to Tyler Lockett for 44 yards and again for 30 more to set up 1st and goal at the 3. Yet a failed run and 2 incompletions later, and Seattle settled for a 21 yard Steve Hauschka field goal and a 16-7 lead at the half.

In the third quarter Wentz was intercepted by Richard Sherman, setting the Seahawks up at their own 41. On 3rd and 11, Wilson went deep to Doug Baldwin for a 34 yard gain. From the Philly 15, Pete Carroll went to his bag of tricks. Wilson lateraled to Baldwin and then ran out wide as a receiver. Baldwin threw it to Wilson for a 15 yard touchdown and a 23-7 Seahawks lead. A short field had the Seahawks starting at the Philly 41 after Lockett returned a punt 19 yards. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, Hauschka hit from 35 for a 26-7 Seahawks advantage. The Eagles tried to mount a comeback. With 10 1/2 minutes left, on 4th and 3 from the Seattle 41, Wentz threw incomplete. Midway through the fourth quarter, Hauschka actually missed a 44 yard field goal. With 3 1/2 minutes left, Wentz hit Dorial Green-Beckham for a 5 yard touchdown and Nick Agholor for the 2 point try to get the Eagles within 11 points. With 2 minutes left Philly was on the march again, with 3rd and 1 at the Seattle 41. Wentz hit Barner for 16 yards, but offensive pass interference instead meant 3rd and 10. Wentz thew incomplete, and on 4th and 10 his pass was batted down incomplete. Seattle at 8-2 is in strong position in their division where the Eagles 5th loss in 7 games after a 3-0 start has them way back in their division. 26-15 Seahawks

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins was the Sunday night game. A field position game eventually had the Redskins taking over at their own 45. On 3rd and 2 from the Green Bay 17, Kirk Cousins hit Desean Jackson for the touchdown and the 7-0 Redskins lead. In the second quarter Aaron Rodgers led a staggering 17 play, 75 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive. On 4th and 7 from the Washington 38, Mike McCarthy decided to go for it. Rodgers threw incomplete but defensive illegal use of hands meant an automatic first down. On 4th and 2 from the Washington 25, McCarthy gambled again and Rodgers scrambled for 7 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 13, Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 13 yard touchdown and a 7-7 game. The Packers got it back and held the ball for another 5 1/2 minutes. Mason Crosby hit a 36 yard field goal for a 10-7 Packers lead. The Redskins came back 75 yards. R Kelley scored from 10 yards out with 30 seconds left in the half, and thankfully no children were harmed when he did. The 2 point try failed as the Redskins led 13-10 at the intermission.

In the third quarter the Redskins held the ball for 5 1/2 minutes and moved to the red zone. They settled for a 37 yard Dustin Hopkins field goal and a 16-10 Redskins lead. Green Bay moved all the way from their own 2 yard line to a 3rd and 8 at the Washington 13, helped along by a 47 yard pass from Rodgers to Jared Cook. After a false start and an incompletion, Crosby came in for a 36 yard field goal try. It was no good, as the 85 yard drive was for naught. The Redskins took over at their own 26, and soon faced 3rd and 11 at the Green Bay 44. Cousins went deep to Crowder for the touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Redskins led 22-10. after three quarters.

The Packers took over after a touchback and moved quickly. On the first play of the fourth quarter, facing 3rd and 3 at the Washington 31, Rodgers hit Starks on a short pass that went for a touchdown. The Packers were now within 22-17. Two plays later, the Redskins were in the end zone again. On 2nd and 5 from the Washington 30, Cousins went deep to Pierre Garcon for a 70 yard touchdown and a 29-17 Redskins lead. The Packers came back 82 yards. On 3rd and 12 from their own 16, Rodgers found Randall Cobb for a 47 yard gain. Rodgers hit Cook for a 6 yard touchdown as the Packers were back within 29-24 with a full 10 minutes left in regulation.

Needing a stop, the Green Bay defense could not get one. On 3rd and 3 from the Washington 26, Cousins threw incomplete. However, offsetting penalties gave Washington another chance. Cousins hit Jackson for 6 yards. On 4th and 1 from their own 41, Jay Gruden decided to go for it. This was a bigtime gamble, and Cousins took the quarterback sneak for 2 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Washington 46, Cousins went deep to Crowder for a 53 yard gain down to the one. On the next play R Kelley got in again, and still no children were harmed. The extra point doinked off the upright no good but the Redskins led 35-24 with 4 minutes left after the 82 yard, 11 play, 6 minute drive.

The Packers took over at their own 17 and Rodgers quickly hit Devonta Adams for a 37 yard gain. On 2nd and 2 from the Washington 38, Rodgers hit Cook for 10 yards. However, Cook fumbled and the Redskins recovered. From the Washington 28, Robert Kelley raced for a 68 yard gain. On the next play R. Kelley got in with 2 1/2 minutes left to put the game on ice. Green Bay even brought in the backup quarterback for the end of the game to spare Rodgers any more punishment. The Redskins are a surprising 6-3 while the Packers lost their fourth straight. The preseason Super Bowl contenders are 4-6. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers saw his defense give up 42 points one week after surrendering 47 points to Tennessee. Forget the Super Bowl. The Packers are on the brink of playoff elimination for the first time since 2008. Both quarterbacks had 3 touchdown passes without an interception. Rodgers was 26 of 41 for 351 yards while Cousins was 21 of 30 for 375 yards. Yet Cousins got help and Rodgers didn’t. Robert Kelley had 137 yards on 24 carries with 3 touchdowns. 42-24 Redskins

Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders was the Monday night game. The pregame was exciting, starting with a classy display by people of Mexico City, cheering the American national anthem. Americans clapped when the Mexican anthem was finished as well.

Not everything has to be about politics. This is about football. The very first NFL game ever was played in Mexico City, as Americans brought a shining staple of our culture to Mexico.

It was great to see two great Mexicans, Americans & Raiders in attendance, former quarterback Jim Plunkett & coach Tom Flores. They are not only sources of pride for Mexicans, but for any kid who has ever worn the silver & black. They were my boyhood heroes. If you ever want an inspiring story of overcoming the toughest obstacles in life, read Plunkett’s autobiography. Then, it was time to play football.

The Texans marched 61 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes as Brock Osweiler converted three third downs. The defense finally held in the red zone and the Texans settled for a 32 yard Nick Novak field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Raiders dodged a bullet when a long catch and run by Deandre Hopkins for a Texans touchdown was blown dead by an inadvertent whistle.  The Raiders lost yards on their first 2 plays from scrimmage for a quick 3 and out. With the altitude higher than in Denver’s Mile High, it was imperative for the defense to not be on the field all game. Yet the Raiders defense was quickly going back on the field as the Texans took over at their own 38.

On 3rd and 2, a run appeared stopped cold but the runner was thrown forward and rolled on a Raiders defender. The Texans were inches short and Bill O’Brien chose to punt without challenging the spot. The Raiders dodged another bullet and took over at their own 21 yard line. on the first play of the second quarter, the Raiders faced 3rd and 7 at the Houston 17. Carr fired over the middle to Jalen Richard, who broke a tackle, met two defenders at the goal line, and barreled through them for the touchdown and the 7-3 Raiders lead.

The Texans fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Raiders recovered at the Houston 19. Carr quickly hit Cooper for 15. Yet after Olawale did not get in on 2nd and goal from the one, on 3rd and goal the Raiders decided to get cute and try a play action pass rather than go smash mouth. Carr fired incomplete. Jack Del Rio has gambled many times this year, but this time he went ultra conservative. Sebastian Janikowski hit the 19 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Raiders.

After a touchback, the Texans faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Osweiler threw incomplete but defensive holding on DJ Hayden kept the drive going. On 3rd and 2 from the Houston 41, Osweiler hit Fiedorowicz for 18 yards. On 2nd and 3 from the Oakland 34, Miller broke free and ran inside the one yard line. The Texans were on the verge of imploding when Osweiler had a pass batted back and he caught it for a 6 yard loss. Then came a false start. Yet Oseweiler found Miller for the 12 yard touchdown and a 10-10 game.

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Carr hit Michael Crabtree, who just dropped it. Crabtree had green field in front of him but just didn’t catch it. The Raiders got a stop on defense and soon faced 2nd and 1 at their own 29 after a defensive offside at the 2 minute warning. Carr went deep to Seth Roberts, who also just dropped it. It bounced right off his fingerprints. On 3rd and 1, rather than go straight ahead, the Raiders ran laterally and lost 3 yards. Bad play calling and execution meant another punt.

Houston took over at their own 25 with 1:38 left in the half. Osweiler went deep and was intercepted at midfield by Malcolm Smith. Carr threw to Roberts for yet another dropped pass. On 3rd and 2 Murray only gained one yard. This time Jack Del rio decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from the Houston 41. Carr threw incomplete. Two straight drives the Raiders had 2 plays to get one yard and came up empty. With only 16 seconds left, the Hail Marys fell incomplete as the teams went to the locker room deadlocked 10-10.

On the first play of the second half, under heavy pressure Carr went bombs away and threw a terrible interception. At the Houston 35. A pair of Oseweiler incompletions meant another 3rd and 10. Osweiler escaped the pocket,  got around the end, and raced toward the first down marker. He got hit just short of the sticks. Bill O’Brien gambled on 4th and inches from his own 44, and a run got just enough. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 26, Osweiler found Miller for 6 yards. On 3rd and goal from the 7, Osweiler threw a ball out the back corner of the end zone. Yet once again, DJ Hayden was willing to commit a stupid defensive pass interference penalty because he repeatedly does that. The ball could not have been caught, but the penalty was called. Early on the Texans were robbed of a touchdown. Now they had one given to them. Miller got the last yard to cap the 65 yard, 13 play, 6 1/2 minute drive. Now the Raiders had to try to do better than one failed play as the Texans led 17-10.

Desperately needing some office, the Raiders soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Carr found Crabtree for 6 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 40, Carr went to Clive Walford, who jumped high and snagged the ball for an 11 yard gain. A helmet to helmet defensive personal foul tacked on 15 more. On 2nd and 8 from the Houston 32, Carr went deep to the end zone. Crabtree got 2 feet down and appeared to have an acrobatic touchdown, but when he hit the ground the ball popped out. NFL fan still have no idea what constitutes a catch, but this did not. On 3rd and 8 Carr went deep for Crabtree again, and defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 8. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Carr threw over the middle incomplete. Carr yelled for defensive pass interference but did not get the call. Seabass hit the 20 yard field goal but the Raiders trailed 17-13 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Twice the Raiders kicked field goals after being stopped at the one and two yard line.

Meanwhile, the Raiders pass defense remained awful. With Houston facing 2nd and 15 at their own 20, Osweiler found Fuller for 17 yards. Osweiler then ran for 10 more and hit Fiedorowicz for 19 more as the Texans began the fourth quarter with 1st and 10 at the Oakland 34. On 3rd and 1 from the Oakland 11, Bill O’Brien again decided to get fancy and Osweiler threw incomplete. O’Brien decided not to go for the knockout blow. The 12 play, 73 yard, 6 minute drive had Houston settling for a field goal. Novak hit from 28 as the Texans led 20-13 with 11 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, the Raiders again failed to give their defense any rest. Yet the defense probably did not mind this one play drive. Carr went deep to Olawale, who faked out a defender at midfield and raced for a 75 yard touchdown. Who said fullbacks were slow? Despite being outplayed the whole game, somehow the Raiders had tied the game 20-20. Now it was up to the defense to get a stop.

Instead the Texans returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to their own 44 yard line. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 33, the entire football world knew Osweiler would target DJ Hayden. Hopkins caught the ball for 9 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 16, Miller went around the end and appeared to have the first down when Malcolm Smith got him at the last second. It was 4th and down and about an inch at the 15.

With a tie game, rather than a field goal to take the lead, Bill O’Brien went for the kill shot. Hunt got the carry and again got tackled at the last moment when it appeared he had the first down. Just like in the movie “Any Given Sunday,” the Raiders had to fight for that inch. The chain link first down marker came out, and again by one inch the Texans were short. Bill O’Brien challenged the spot. even reported that the call was reversed. They were wrong. The call was upheld and the beleaguered Raiders defense made a giant stand. 6 1/2 minutes remained.

The Raiders had no running game, so grinding clock was not an option. On 2nd and 10 from their own 26, Carr found Latavius Murray, who broke a tackle and raced for a 39 yard gian. On the next play a short pass to Amari Cooper saw him split the defenders and race for a 35 yard touchdown. 2 plays, 74 yards, and the 85 yard drive had the Raiders somehow up by 7 despite being dominated in the trenches all game. The Texans still had 4:43 left and one timeout after a touchback.

After converting one third down, on 3rd and 9 from the Houston 40, Osweiler completed a pass for only 4 yards. Only 3:13 remained in the game. In a stunning decision that will be talked about for weeks, on 4th and 5 from their own 44, Bill O’Brien decided to punt. With all 3 timeouts it would have been different but the Raiders defense was out of gas. The Raiders offense was in a groove. It was a mind-boggling decision.

On 2nd and 7 from the 23, still with no running game, Carr went deep to Richard for a 29 yard gain as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. With 1:10 left and the texans out of timeouts, the Raiders faced 3rd and 4 at the Houston 42. A run would take the clock down to below 30 seconds. A run gained 3 yards, but a killer offensive holding penalty stopped the clock. O’Brien had to decline the penalty, but now the Raiders faced 4th and 1 at the Houston 39. With 20 seconds left would be one thing. There was over a minute left.

Jack Del Rio decided to do what Bill O’Brien did not. A punt would have made sense in this case, but Del Rio is turning himself into the swaggering pirate on the Raiders helmet. He decided to go for it. Murray got the carry and crashed through for a 6 yard gain, with a personal foul adding 15 more meaningless yards. Carr took a couple knees and the Raiders had the improbable win.

Osweiler was 26 of 39 for 243 yards and one touchdown, but Carr was 21 of 31 for 295 yards and 3 touchdown passes. Carr easily would have topped 300 yards if not for all the dropped passes. Each signal caller was picked off once. The Raiders had only 30 yards rushing, most of it on the final drive. The Texans held the ball for 36 1/2 minutes to only 23 1/2 minutes for the Raiders. The Texans had 7 penalties for 101 yards while the Raiders were only flagged 4 times for 21 yards. The Texans had 3 turnovers and the Raiders one.

Jack Del Rio’s cojones are now bigger than the size of the entire Oakland Raiders offensive line and perhaps all of Mexico and California combined. Cojones is Spanish for Cojones. The Texans totally outplayed the Raiders and beat their brains in the trenches. Thank heavens for Derek Carr. The Raiders are 8-2 and still in 1st place in the AFC West. The Raiders have won 4 straight games for the first time since their 2002 Super Bowl run. The Raiders are also unbeaten in Mexico at 1-0. Just Win Baby. 27-20 Raiders

Comments are closed.