NFL 2018 Week 5 Recap

NFL 2018 Week 5 Recap

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots was the Thursday night game. This was expected to be the men against the boys, and it was. The Patriots drove 80 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. Tom Brady hit Cordarelle Patterson for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Patriots. The Colts mounted a 14 play drive from their own 6 yard line but Adam Vinatieri missed a 48 yard field goal against his old team. Brady immediately led the Patriots 57 yards and got the final yard himself to make it 14-0 Patriots.

Vinatieri would hit a 54 yard field goal in the second quarter, but the Patriots would go 78 yards in 11 plays. Brady hit White for a 6 yard touchdown to have the Patriots rolling 21-3. The Colts could not even get to the locker room without more pain. Andrew Luck was intercepted, allowing Stephen Gostkowski to hit a 45 yard field goal to end the half with the Patriots up 24-3.

A pair of freak interceptions of Tom Brady in the third quarter both came off of deflected passes that should have been caught. The second one even came when Rob Gronkowski had the ball blasted out of his hands. Both times the Colts took advantage. Starting at the New England 35, Luck hit Eric Ebron for a 14 yard touchdown. Then from their own 20, the Colts moved 80 yards. Luck hit Swoope for a 13 yard touchdown. The Colts only trailed 24-17 after three quarters.

The fourth quarter brought the cold dose of reality. The Patriots moved 75 yards and Brady went deep to Josh Gordon for a 34 yard touchdown. An interception of Luck then put the Patriots at the Indy 34. One play later, Michel ran for the touchdown to have the Patriots cruising 38-17. The Colts did get a late garbage touchdown to make the score look more respectable. Those who buried the evil empire of football led by the Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick never learn. Frank Reich once led a 32 point comeback, but not against New England. 38-24 Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs — The top offense took on the top defense in a  game that started under a driving rain that soon settled down. The Chiefs moved 73 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Patrick Mahomes scrambled for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chiefs. The second quarter began with the Chiefs at the Jacksonville 43. Mahomes went deep to Sammy Watkins for a 33 yard gain. Harrison Butker hit a 22 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Chiefs.

In the second quarter Doug Marrone decided to go for it on 4th and 2 from the Chiefs 5. Blake Bortles fired to the end zone but the pass was well defended incomplete. Mahomes finally threw his first interception of the year to set up the Jaguars at the Chiefs 41. On the next play Bortles was hit and fumbled the ball back. Mahomes then connected with Travis Kelce for a 40 yard gain down to the Jacksonville 8 yard line. Butker hit from 42 to make it 13-0 Chiefs.

The end of the half was a nightmare that blew the game open. Bortles was intercepted by Chris Jones, who returned it for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 20-0 Chiefs. Bortles quickly rallied The Jaguars inside the Chiefs 5 yard line. Bortles fired a pass that bounced off the helmet of one of his own offensive lineman and was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback.

In the third quarter Butker hit from 38 as the Chiefs led 23-0. Bortles did throw a 14 yard touchdown pass to TJ Yeldon to get the Jaguars on the board down 23-7. The Chiefs moved 64 yards and Kareem Hunt ran for a 4 yard touchdown to have the Chiefs winning 30-7. The Jaguars got a garbage touchdown and nothing more as the Chiefs remained unbeaten at 5-0, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus Lite. Bortles threw 61 passes, completing 33 for 430 yards and one touchdown. He also threw 4 interceptions. Last year the Chiefs collapsed from 5-0 to 6-6. This is not last year. 30-14 Chiefs. 

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills — A fumble by the Titans gave the Bills a short field at the Tennessee 47. Sean McDermott called a flea flicker on the first play from scrimmage. It was overthrown incomplete, but after 11 plays and 5 1/2 minutes the Bills were in the end zone. Josh Allen scrambled for the 14 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bills. The Titans got a break when Nick Williams returned a punt 38 yards to the Buffalo 19 yard line. After Marcus Mariota was nearly intercepted on 3rd and 3, the Titans escaped with a 25 yard Ryan Succop field goal to get within 7-3. In the second quarter the Bills missed a chance to extend the lead when a field goal try saw a fumbled snap and a kick that never happened. Succop hit from 54 as the Titans only trailed 7-6 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Titans fumbled in their own territory. A 40 yard field goal had the Bills up 10-6. As the third quarter was ending, the Titans moved into the red zone. Mariota on 3rd and 4 went to the end zone and had a wide open Williams for the lead. Williams dropped it. Succop hit from 39 to get the Titans within 10-9. Succop would hit again from 50 to put the Titans up 12-10 with 5 minutes left in regulation. Josh Allen used the clock and moved the Bills in position to win it as Steve Hauschka came in for a 46 yard try to win it with 4 seconds left. The kick was good, and there was no time left on the clock for a kick return miracle. This is not 1999. 13-12 Bills

Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers — LeVeon Bell is still sitting out, but James Conner has filled in effectively. The Steelers moved 78 yards as Conner caught a pass for 29 yards, ran for 30 more, and got the last yard to make it 6-0 Steelers. his Boswell missed the extra point. Pittsburgh got it back and moved 54 yards. On 3rd and 8 form the Atlanta 18, Ben Roetholisberger fired over the middle to Juju Smith-Schuster. Despite neither of them being Jewish, the Steelers led 13-0.

The Falcons finally got on the board when Matt Ryan connected with Mohammed Sanu for a 43 yard touchdown to  get the Falcons within 13-7. Atlanta got it back and mounted a 6 minute drive. A 47 yard Matt Bryant field goal had the Falcons only down 13-10.

In the third quarter the Steelers moved 85 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 20-10 Steelers. Atlanta then had to punt and Bosher had his punt blocked. The Steelers took over at the Atlanta 18. Conner got the last 2 yards on the ground for a 27-10 Steelers lead.

The Falcons moved the ball 60 yards and Smith got the last 2 yards to get within 27-17. Yet the Steelers came right back in the fourth quarter to salt the game away. Big Ben went to Brown for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 34-17 Steelers. In 2002, the Steelers blew a 34-17 fourth quarter lead against the Falcons in what became the greatest 34-34 tie in NFL history. This is not 2002. From the Atlanta 2 yard line, Ryan got belted, fumbled, and the Steelers recovered for an exclamation point touchdown. 41-17 Steelers

Denver Broncos at New York Jets — The Jets began the game by fumbling the ball deep in their own territory. The Broncos took over at the Jets 20. Case Keenum fired to Sutton for an 8 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Broncos. The Jets wasted a 6 minute drive when a 30 yard field goal try was no good. In the second quarter the Jets tied the game 7-7 when Isaiah Crowell took a handoff 77 yards for a touchdown. Sam Darnold then went bombs away to Rodney Anderson for a 76 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Jets. Brandon McManus hit a 30 yard field goal to get the Broncos within 14-10, but the Jets quickly moved 75 yards kate in the half. Darnold hit Anderson for a 35 yard touchdown as the Jets took a 21-10 lead to the locker rooms.

The second half belonged to the Jets defense. In the third quarter the Jets moved 64 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. A 49 yard Josh Myers field goal made it 24-10 Jets. In the fourth quarter the Broncos fumbled deep in their own territory. The defense held but Myers hit from 30 to make it 27-10 Jets. The Broncos moved to a 4th and 3 at the Jets 6 with 9 minutes left. Case Keenum threw incomplete. The Jets moved 93 yards and Darnold hit Terrell Pryor for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 34-10 Jets. Denver got a garbage touchdown as Vance Joseph remains on the hot seat and Todd Bowles saw his seat cool for one week. 34-16 Jets

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions — A fumbled punt had the Lions recovering at the Green Bay one yard line. It appeared that the ball touched a Detroit player first, but Mike McCarthy’s challenge was unsuccessful. LaGuerrette Blount ran it in to make it 7-0 Lions. Later on Matthew Stafford went deep to Kenny Golladay. who out-jumped the defender for a 60 yard gain down to the 5 yard line. Blount gained 4 and then got the last yard to make it 14-0 Lions. Aaron Rodgers then got belted and fumbled. The Lions took over at the Green Bay 22 and Matt Prater began the second quarter with a 39 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Lions.

Mason Crosby missed 3 field goals for the Packers in the first half, including a 42 yarder that doinked off the upright. Rodgers got belted again and fumbled again to give the Lions another short field. On 3rd and goal Stafford fired a laser over the middle where Marvin Jones got his feet down for the touchdown to make it 24-0 Lions.

In the third quarter Mike mcCarthy decided to go for it on 4th and 11 rather than rely on his shaky kicker. Rodgers got the conversion and then threw a 3 yard touchdown to Valdes-Scantling. The 2 point conversion had the Packers within 24-8. The Lions had a chance to extend their lead but Prater badly missed a 55 yard field goal. Green Bay then had 4th and 4 at the Detroit 30. Again McCarthy went for it and Rodgers on a designed draw up the middle gained 8 yards. Rodgers went to Lance Kendricks for a one yard touchdown, This time the 2 point try failed as the Packers trailed 24-14 late in the third quarter.

In past years, the Lions blew a 20-0 lead at home against the Packers and lost 27-23 on an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary on the final play. This is not the past. Detroit stayed calm, got the ball back at their own 45, and gave themselves some well needed breathing room. Stafford hit Golladay for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 31-14 Lions after three quarters.

Rodgers tried to rally the Packers. A 75 yard drive saw him throw a 12 yard touchdown to Devontae Adams had the Packers within 31-20. Crosby, who had already missed 3 field goals, missed the extra point. Needing 2 scores, Crosby came in for yet another field goal attempt. He missed again. Crosby would actually make a field goal before the game ended, but the 13 points he threw away were the difference between a 5 point win and an 8 point loss. 31-23 Lions

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns — The Dawg Pound was fired up as both defense laid the lumber early on. An interception of Baker Mayfield set up the Ravens at the Cleveland 33. The Ravens settled for a 44 yard Justin Tucker field goal for a 3-0 Ravens lead. In the second quarter Baltimore moved inside the 5 yard line but Joe Flacco was intercepted. Late in the half the Browns moved 78 yards. Mayfield hit Rashard Higgins for a 19 yard touchdown to make it 6-3 Browns. The extra point was no good. Tucker came in at the end of the half to tie the game. The kick was blocked as the Dawg Pound erupted.

In the third quarter a 56 yard pass from Mayfield had the Browns facing 1st and goal. A sack of Mayfield had the Browns settling for a 35 yard field goal and a 9-3 lead. The Ravens again moved within the Baltimore 10 yard line but on 3rd and 3 Flacco threw incomplete. This time Tucker hit the 25 yarder as the Ravens trailed 9-6 after three quarters.

At the 2 minute warning, the Ravens were in tying field goal range at the Cleveland 30. On 3rd and 13, Flacco found Allen for a gain of 16 to the Cleveland 14. With one minute left, on 3rd and 10, Flacco fired to the end zone to Michael Crabtree, who dropped it. Tucker hit the 32 yarder and the game was tied 9-9. Mayfield worked the final 52 seconds well in getting the Browns from their 25 to the Baltimore 37. Joseph came in for a 55 yard try to win it. The kick was no good by a country mile. For the third time in 5 weeks, the Browns were headed to overtime.

The Browns won the toss but quickly went 3 and out. A good punt had the Ravens taking over at their own 6 yard line. With 4 1/2 minutes left in overtime the Ravens faced 3rd and 12 at their own 45 after Flacco somehow escaped an intentional grounding penalty. Flacco threw incomplete and the Browns got it back at their own 14. A short pass to Jarvis Landry went for a 27 yard gain with 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer.  On 3rd and 5, Mayfield threw incomplete. Hue Jackson decided to go for it rather than try a 57 yard field goal. Mayfield went deep incomplete as the crowd screamed for a defensive pass interference call that never came.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in the extra session, Flacco threw 3 straight incompletions. It was Baltimore who demanded a defensive penalty to no avail. The officials were consistently letting the players play. With 3 minutes left the Browns took over at their own 16. A reverse play was blown up in the backfield for an 11 yard loss. The Browns were facing 2nd and 21 at their own 5 yard line.

Mayfield scrambled for 13 yards to set up 3rd and 8 at the 2 minute warning. One stop and the Ravens would get the ball back and extend Cleveland’s misery. Not this time. A short pass from Mayfield to Willies went for a 39 yard gain. Johnson gained 15 yards, another 5, and 4 more. With 6 seconds left, Joseph came in for a 37 yard field to win it for the Browns.

A miss would make the Browns the first team since 1974 to have 2 ties. In 2015, the Browns lined up for the winning field goal on the final play of regulation. The Ravens returned it for a touchdown the other way. This is not 1974 or 2015. The kick was good. The Cleveland Browns are no longer the Charlie Browns. Baker Mayfield is the new Brian Sipe. This is not 1980, but these Browns are definitely their own version of Cardiac Kids. 12–9 Browns, OT

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers —The Panthers easily moved 75 yards thanks to miserable tackling by the Giants. Cam Newton found Samuel for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Panthers. Rosas would hit a 42 yard field goal to get the Giants on the board. The second quarter began with the Giants fumbling a punt. 3 or 4 different Giants players fumbled the ball backward into their own end zone. The Panthers fell on it for a gift touchdown and a 14-3 lead. Graham Gano would tack on a 47 yard field goal to make it 17-3 Panthers.

Pat Shurmur went to his bag of tricks to spark the Giants. Eli Manning fired a backward pass to O’Dell Beckham Jr. Beckham went deep to Saquon Barkley for a 57 yard touchdown to get the Giants within 17-10. Gano hit a 47 yard field goal to make it 20-10 Panthers. Aldrick Rosas nailed a 53 yarder as the Giants only trailed 20-13 at halftime. In the third quarter Manning went to the end zone to Beckham, who had it in his hands. At the last moment it was knocked away. Rosas hit a 36 yard field goal as the Giants trailed 20-16.

The second half was an ugly affair as Eli Manning and Cam Newton both took turns completing passes to the opposing defense. After an exchange of interceptions, the Panthers held the ball for 5 minutes and went 68 yards. The fourth quarter began with the Panthers facing 3rd and 8 at the Giants 18. Newton fired to Christian McCaffrey to make it 27-16 Panthers.

After another exchange of interceptions, the Giants took over at the Carolina 34. Manning went deep to Beckham for the touchdown. The 2 point try succeeded and now the Giants were within 27-24. The Panthers held the ball for 12 plays and 6 minutes after a touchback but could not put the game away. Gano hit the 39 yard field goal. The Panthers led 30-24, but this game was far from over.

75 yards came quickly and easily for the Giants. Manning hit Saquon Barkley for a 15 yard touchdown in front of a shellshocked home crowd. The Giants led 31-30 with barely more than one minute left as it appeared the Panthers had completely collapsed. After a touchback with barely more than one minute to work with, Newton tried to pull off a miracle. Yet Gano’s field goal try to win it was from 63 yards out. The NFL record is 64. Riverboat Ron Rivera got his miracle and the Giants got a stunning loss as Gano buried the kick. 33-31 Panthers

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals — After a scoreless opening quarter, Miami held the ball for 6 minutes. Ryan Tannehill hit Drake for a 22 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Dolphins. The Bengals missed a field goal. Late in the half Jakeem Grant returned a punt 70 yards for a score to make it 14-0 Dolphins. In the third quarter Sanders hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Dolphins. The Dolphins were in total control even as Randy Bullock answered from 51 to finally get the Bengals on the board. The fourth quarter showed the character of both teams.

The Bengals moved 71 yards. Red Rifle Andy Dalton threw an 18 yard touchdown to get the Bengals within 17-10. Miami got it back at their own 19. From their 33, under heavy pressure, Ryan Tannehill just tried to throw the ball into the ground. It bounced off a lineman’s helmet, went backward, and was intercepted by Michael Johnson. Johnson took the gift 22 yards for the tying touchdown for a 17-17 game. The Bengals got it back at their own 36. Mixon had gains of 11 and 31. Bullock hit a 20 yard field goal to put the Bengals up 20-17. On 3rd and 17 from their own 18, Tannehill got hit and fumbled. The ball was plucked out of the air by Hubbard, who returned it for the second Cincinnati defensive touchdown to ice the game. Tannehill threw in one more interception for good measure. 27-17 Bengals

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers — This felt like a home game for the Oakland Raiders of Los Angeles and Las Vegas against the San Diego Chargers of Los Angeles. Both teams have high octane offenses, but 25 minutes of ugly football led to a 3-3 game. Caleb Sturgis hit from 49 in the first quarter and Mat McCrane answered from 24 in the second quarter. With less than 5 minutes left in the half, the Raiders went into collapse mode.

A swing pass from Philip Rivers to Ekeler went for a 44 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Chargers. A field position game had the Chargers getting the ball back near midfield. From the one, Melvin Ingram came in on offense and carried the ball. He was stopped. Melvin Gordon does play offense, and on 3rd and goal he got in to make it 17-3 Chargers. McCrane attempted a 57 yard field goal to end the half. The kick was dead center but short.

In the third quarter Sturgis hit from 30 to have the Chargers cruising 20-3. One play summarized everything that is wrong with the 2018 Raiders. Defensive pass interference gave them 1st and goal at the one. Rather than hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch, Carr fired over the middle of the end zone and was intercepted by Ingram. For whatever reason, Jon Gruden’s refusal to just pound the rock is killing his team. On the next play, Anthony Lynn went for the kill shot. Rivers went deep for a 50 yard gain. For some reason, the fourth quarter was played since league rules banned canceling it.

The Chargers easily moved 96 yards against a Raiders defense lacking any semblance of heart, guts or scheme. The Chargers faced 2 offensive holding penalties and a false start yet still were able to gain big chunks on offense. The final dagger was a 3rd and 11 pass that gained 12 to the Oakland 19. By the time Rivers hit Green for a 13 yard touchdown, it looked like the defense had quit. Green practically walked into the end zone. The extra point was no good, but the Chargers led 26-3.

After a touchback with 9 1/2 minutes left, Carr connected with Martavius Bryant for a 47 yard gain. Bryant had fumbled the ball away earlier but held on this time. Yet with the offense showing as little urgency as the defense, the Raiders soon faced 4th and 4 at the Chargers 21. Carr fired over the middle to Seth Roberts for the first down but for some reason never went into hurry up mode. On 3rd and 1 from the 5, Richard got it inches short of the goal line. Carr fired to Jordy Nelson for the touchdown, but they were down by 16 with only 5 minutes left. With a pathetic defense, they were done. Of course the defense did not get a stop as the Chargers easily finished things to drop the Raiders to a 1-4 team that should be an 0-5 team. 26-10 Chargers

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers — The 49ers moved 75 yards to start the game. CJ Beathard hit Breida for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 6-0 49ers after the missed extra point. After a touchback, Josh Rosen needed one play to give the Cardinals the lead. He hit kirk for a 75 yard touchdown bomb to make it 7-6 Cardinals. In the second quarter from the Arizona 40, the 49ers fumbled and the Cardinals made them pay. Patrick Peterson returned the fumble 51 yards to the 49ers 18 yard line. David Johnson got the 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-6 Cardinals at halftime.

The second half was mostly defense. After a scoreless third quarter, the 49ers in the fourth quarter finally got a drive going. 83 yards, 12 plays and 6 minutes came to a head when Beathard threw incomplete on 3rd and goal at the one. With less than 7 minutes left in the game, Kyle Shanahan decided to go for it. Beathard hit Taylor for the touchdown. The 2 point try was incomplete as the 49ers trailed 14-12. 

The Cardinals went 3 and out and the 49ers quickly got it back at their own 32. From their own 41, Beathard was sacked for an 18 yard loss and fumbled the ball. Bynes picked it up and raced 23 yards for a defensive touchdown. With 4 1/2 minutes left the Cardinals led 21-12. An interception of Beathard 30 seconds later sealed the deal. With the short field, a 6 yard touchdown run by Johnson made it 28-12 Cardinals. The 49ers did score a touchdown with 90 seconds left, but the 2 point try failed and so did the onside kick. Steve Walks got his first win as an NFL head coach. 28-18 Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks — The unbeaten Rams faced a serious test against an improving Seattle team. The Rams moved to the Seattle 2 yard line, but Jared Goff was intercepted at the goal line. Seattle took over at their own 26. From the Rams 48, Russell Wilson hit Vannett for a 32 yard gain. Davis ran for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Seahawks. A 35 yard kickoff return had the Rams starting at their own 42. Goff found Cooper Kupp for 27 yards, Todd Gurley did the rest. He caught a pass for 19, ran for 16, and ran for the 2 yard touchdown to make it a 7-7 ballgame.

In the second quarter, a ket decision by Sean McVay would have ramifications later on. The Rams moved from their 20 to a 3rd and goal at the one. Gurley got stopped, and on 4th and goal McVay opted for the field goal. Santos hit the 19 yarder and the Rams led 10-7. Tyler Lockett returned the kickoff 42 yards to midfield. Wilson then went deep to Lockett for a 39 yard touchdown and a 14-10 Seahawks lead.

The Rams took over at their own 30. Goff went to Gurley for 15 and Kupp and Higbee for a pair of 17 yard gains. Goff hit Kupp for a 6 yard touchdown to put the Rams back in front 17-14 with 6 minutes left in the half. The Seahawks took over at their own 39. On 3rd and 10 from their own 47, Wilson hit Lockett for 15. Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 52 yard field goal as the teams were deadlocked 17-17 at halftime.

The Seahawks began the third quarter facing 3rd and 3 at their own 32. Davis ran for a 37 yard gain. Wilson hit Moore for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 24-17 Seahawks. The Rams took over at their own 36. Goff hit Reynolds for gains of 22 and 17 and Reynolds ran for 10 more. On 3rd and goal from the 2, Gurley for in and the game was again tied 24-24.

The Seahawks got it back after a touchback and faced 3rd and 1 at their own 45. Carson gained 21 yards. Wilson went deep to Moore for a 30 yard touchdown to put the Seahawks up 31-24 after three quarters. The Rams took over at their own 26 and Robert Woods raced for a 56 yard gain. The fourth quarter began with the Rams facing 4th and 2 from the Seattle 10. This time Sean McVay decided to go for it. Goff threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the 5. Gurley got in for the score. The extra point was no good as the Rams trailed 31-30.

The Rams got it back at their own 18. Goff hit Hodge for 14 and Woods for gains of 20 and 17. Despite missing the extra point, Cairo Santos redeemed himself with a 39 yard field goal to put the Rams up by 2 with 6 minutes left in regulation. From the Seattle 24, Wilson went deep to Lockett for a 44 yard gain. From the Rams 32, the Seahawks were in the driver’s seat. They were well within Janikowski’s field goal range. They just had to take the clock down.

Seabass never got his chance. A false start and offensive holding pushed the Seahawks out of field goal range. A pair of incompletions meant 4th and 23 from the Rams 45. Seabass has made a 63 yard field goal, doinked a 64 yard try off the upright, and even once been invited to try a 76 yard field goal in a game. Pete Carroll decided not to put it all on the Polish Cannon. With 3 1/2 minutes left, he opted to punt and rely on his defense in a game that had very little defense.

With 1:52 to play, the Rams faced 3rd and 1 at their own 42. Gurley got the carry and got stopped inches short of the sticks. The inspired defensive stand meant the Seahawks offense would have one last chance. With 1:39 left, both teams were out of timeouts. In a stunningly bold display, Sean McVay kept the offense on the field rather than punt. This was insane. If they failed to convert, seattle would have a short field for the winning field goal. This was not a bluff. McVay was going all or nothing. If it fails, McVay is raked over the coals. Goff snuck for the first down and McVay now has the biggest brass set in the NFL. 33-31 Rams

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles — This NFC Title Game rematch was an ugly defensive affair. Dan Bailey doinked a 28 yard field goal off the upright no good. He then made a 37 yarder to make it 3-0 Vikings. Elliott hit from 30 in the second quarter for a 3-3 game. Bailey, one of the most accurate kickers of all time, missed again from 45. The Eagles moved from their 35 to the Minnesota 31 with 4 minutes left in the half. Then came a turning point.

Wentz was sacked and fumbled. Lee Roy Joseph plucked it out of the air. Big man with football rumbled 64 yards for a defensive touchdown for a 10-3 Vikings lead. Minnesota took over at their own 44. Kirk Cousins played pitch and catch with Adam Thielen for gains of 2, 3, 10, and eventually a 3 yard touchdown to make it 17-3 Vikings at halftime.

In the third quarter the Eagles moved from their own 27 to a 1st and goal at the 6. Jay Ajayi got the carry and fumbled and the Vikings recovered. The Vikings moved 91 yards from their own 5 to a 1st and goal at the 2. At that point Doug Pederson’s defense came up big. A run lost a yard and cousins threw incomplete twice. Bailey hit the 22 yarder to make it 20-3 Vikings.

The Eagles moved from their own 23 to a 4th and 5 at the Minnesota 10. Needing 3 scores, Doug Pederson opted for the field goal. Elliott hit from 28 to get the Eagles within 20-6. Yet after three quarters, Mike Zimmer’s defense was winning the battle. The fourth quarter brought some surprises.

The Eagles took over at their 34. From their 36, Wentz found Zac Ertz for a 23 yard gain. With 13 minutes left in regulation, on 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 20, the Eagles had to go for it. Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for 8 yards. Wentz hit Smallwood for the 12 yard touchdown to cap the 10 play, 66 yard drive. For some surprising reason, Pederson decided to go for 2. Smallwood got in and the Eagles were down 20-14 with 12 minutes left.

After a touchback, the Vikings soon reached their own 42. A swing pass from Cousins was dropped. The Vikings thought it was an incomplete pass, but it was clearly backward and therefore a lateral. The alert Eagles defense fell on it at the Minnesota 30 with a chance to take the lead. An intentional grounding penalty killed the drive as the Eagles punted with 9 minutes left.

The Vikings held the ball for 6 1/2 minutes. The Eagles took their final timeout with 2:51 to play. Bailey came in for a 52 yard field goal try. The kick was dead center and the Vikings led 23-14. Needing two scores, Wentz rallied the Eagles to a touchdown with just over one minute left. A well executed onside kick was bobbled by Adam Thielen, but he hung onto it and the Vikings got the tough road win. Meanwhile, the defending champs are a 2-3 ballclub. 23-21 Vikings

Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans was the Sunday night game. The battle for Texas supremacy was a good one. Early on after a touchback the Cowboys moved to a 3rd and 2 at the Houston 8 yard line. A short pass from Dak Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott lost a yard. The Cowboys settled for a 27 yard Brett Maher field goal to lead 3-0. The Texans failed to tie it when Fairbairn missed a 48 yard field goal. The Cowboys responded from their 38 when Prescott went deep to Gathers for a 32 yard gain. After that the drive died. Maher hit from 43 to make it 6-0 Cowboys after the first quarter.

Houston took over at their own 30. DeShaun Watson hit Coutee for 12 yards. On 3rd and 3 from their own 43, Deandre Hopkins for 34 yards. On 3rd and goal from the one, Watson hit Coutee for the touchdown to make it 7-6 Texans. Houston got it back at their own 19 and held the ball for 6 minutes. On 3rd and 4 from their own 37, Watson threw incomplete but unnecessary roughness on the defense kept the drive going. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Watson threw incomplete. Bill O’Brien opted for the field goal. Fairbairn hit from 20 and the Texans led 10-6 with 6 minutes left in the half.

The Cowboys moved from their 25 to the Houston 39. Prescott was then intercepted. The Texans moved from their 31 to a 4th and goal at the one with 10 seconds left in the half. Bill O’Brien went for it and Watson was tackled for a 2 yard loss. In the third quarter on 3rd and 4 from their own 31, a short pass from Watkins to Hopkins was fumbled. Lewis returned it for the Cowboys 14 yards to the Houston 16. Prescott hit Hurns for a 3 yard touchdown as the Cowboys now had the 13-10 lead.

Later in the third quarter the Cowboys faced 3rd and a8 at their own 22. Prescott was intercepted and the Texans took over at the Dallas 29. On 3rd and 9, Watson hit Griffin for 11 and 13. Despite 1st and goal at the 4, a pair of incompletions sandwiched around a completion for one yard had the Texans short of the end zone. Fairbairn hit from 21 to tie the game 13-13 after three quarters.

The Texans took over in the fourth quarter at their own 40. From the Dallas 28, a deep ball incomplete drew defensive pass interference. On 1st and goal at the one, Alfred Blue got stopped. Then Watson got stopped himself. On 3rd and goal Watson threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the one, this time Bill O’Brien went for the field goal. Fairbairn hit from 19 as the Texans led 16-13 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, Prescott escaped a sack twice, rolled all the way to his right, and threw a deep ball into traffic just before getting decked.Tavon Austin came down with it for a 44 yard gain. The drive stalled after that but Maher hit the critical 48 yard field goal. Each kicker had made 3 field goals for a 16-16 ballgame with 5 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Both defenses dug in, both teams punted, and the Texans took over with 1:41 left at their own 10.

On 3rd and 6 from their own 33, Watson fired to Coutee for 19 yards with 20 seconds left. Coutee got out of bounds to preserve Houston’s final timeout. On the next play Watson was hit as he threw. Xavier Woods intercepted Watson and returned it to 15 yards to the Dallas 47 with 10 seconds left. The Cowboys also had one timeout left. Under heavy pressure, Prescott was nearly intercepted by Kareem Jackson, who would have had a clear path to the end zone the other way. The incompletion left 4 seconds as the Texans took their last timeout to prepare for the Hail Mary. Prescott reached the end zone, but it was well defended and batted down incomplete. This fine football game was headed to overtime.

The Cowboys won the toss and soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Elliott ran for a couple yards and a first down. A completion to Blake Jarwin saw him hurdle a defender for an 11 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the Houston 42, Elliott got the carry and got blown up in the backfield for a one yard loss. Jason Garrett was not taking any chances as the Cowboys punted. The Texans took over at their own 10 with 5 1/2 minutes left in overtime.

From the Houston 24, Bill O’Brien went to the bag of tricks. Watson faked a lateral and threw a deep ball to Hopkins, who literally spun around several defenders for a 49 yard gain. An 8 yard by Blue had the Texans facing 3rd and 1 at the Dallas 19 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. The Texans were in the driver’s seat. All they had to do was hang on to the ball. O’Brien played it safe and Blue got the carry. He did not get the first down as the Cowboys called a timeout with 1:55 left. Fairbairn came on for the 36 yard try to win it. Fairbairn nailed it and the Battle of Texas went to the little brother over the big brother. Watson finished 33 of 44 for 375 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 19-16 Texans, OT

Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints was the Monday night game. Drew Brees entered the game with the 3rd most passing yards in NFL history. He was about 100 yards behind Brett Favre and 200 behind Peyton Manning. The man who with Sean Payton helped save the Saints after Hurricane Katrina was about to make history in what may have been the most emotional Saints home game since Steve Gleason blocked the punt in 2006.

The Saints took over at their own 36. From their own 47, Brees hit Thomas for 20 yards and Mark Ingram for 28 more. Ingram ran for a 2 yard touchdown. Wil Lutz missed the extra point as the Saints led 6-0. The Redskins moved in 15 plays and took 8 minutes off the clock, but had to settle for a 37 yard Dustin Hopkins field goal to trail 6-3.

In the second quarter the Saints moved 75 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. On 3rd and 8 near midfield, Brees was sacked but unnecessary roughness on the defense kept the drive going. From the Washington 42, Brees went to Thomas for 31 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the 5, Brees only gained 2 yards. However, defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the one. Brees hit Hill for the touchdown to make it 13-3 Saints.

The Redskins did get a 53 yard field goal from Hopkins to get within 13-6, but their defense could not stop the Saints offense. Another 75 yards, 10 plays and 5 minutes came fairly easily. Brees hit Smith for 14 and Watson for 6 more. On 2nd and 17 from the Saints 46, Brees went deep to Meredith for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the one, Ingram got in to make it 20-6 Saints.

With 2:46 left in the half, the Saints took over at their own 38. It took one play for NFL history to be made. Brees went deep to Smith, who caught the bomb and raced to the end zone for a 62 yard touchdown. The crowd cheered and cried, the tweets came pouring in across social media, and Brees hugged everyone in sight and told them he loved them. He hugged his sons and told them that you can accomplish anything you want in life with hard work. 18 yards of hard work and excellence made Brees the all time passing leader. The fact that it came on a touchdown in front of a raucous home crowd that had the Saints up 26-6 made it all the more sweeter.

In recent years people have complained about what is wrong with football. Brees is everything that is right about football. He was 17 of 20 for 250 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, and that was only in the first half. The 2 point conversion failed, but the Super Dome was rocking.

The Redskins did get a ray of hope when the Saints fumbled a reception late in the half. McPhee returned it 24 yards to the Saints 16. Alex Smith ran for a 4 yard touchdown to get the Redskins within 26-13 at halftime. The Saints began the second half at their own 26 and looked to immediately put the game away. Brees hit Hill for 23 yards and Watson for 8 more. From the Washington 35, Brees went deep to Smith for another touchdown. Only 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, the Saints led 33-13. Brees now had 499 NFL touchdown passes. One more would be number 500, tying him with Tom Brady for third place all time. Brett Favre has 508, and Peyton Manning has 539.

Midway through the third quarter, Jay Gruden decided to go for it with the Redskins facing 4th and 2 at the Saints 31. Smith was intercepted by Hardee,who returned it 77 yards to the Washington 4 yard line. On 1st and goal at the one, Brees lined up at wide receiver Out of the shotgun, it was Hill who took the snap and raced to the corner for the touchdown and the 40-13 Saints lead. Brees finished a white hot 26 of 29 for 363 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

In the fourth quarter, the Saints tacked on a field goal to go up 43-13, the Redskins got a touchdown, and 10 1/2 minutes still remained. Brees stayed in the game as the crowd waited to see touchdown pass 500. They would have to wait at least another week. Brees led a drive that bled the entire clock. At the 2 minute warning, Sean Payton did not want to run up the score. Brees is about winning with class. Payton pulled Brees to a thunderous ovation. Teddy Bridgewater came in and took 3 knees to close out the game. For all the individual records, football is a team game. Brees has a 4-1 Saints team atop the NFC South. 43-19 Saints

Comments are closed.