NFL 2019 Week 11 Recap

NFL 2019 Week 11 Recap

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns was the Thursday night game. For 59 minutes and 52 seconds, this game was an old-style defensive head-knocker that represented the best of defensive football. In the first quarter the Browns faced 3rd and 8 at their own 37. Baker Mayfield hit Karim Hunt for 20 yards and to O’Dell Beckham for a 42 yard gain down to the one. Mayfield snuck in the final yard to make it 7-0 Browns. After the Steelers missed a field goal, the Browns marched again in the second quarter. From their 23, Mayfield went deep to Hodge for 41 yard and Jarvis Landry for 25 more. On 3rd and goal at the 7, Mayfield threw incomplete but defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. Mayfield hit Landry for the score to make it 14-0 Browns at halftime. The Browns missed field goals in the second and third quarters. In the third quarter from their own 13, Mason Rudolph threw deep incomplete when Johnson got blasted on a helmet to helmet hit by Randall. Both left the game, Johnson with a concussion and Randall by disqualification. On 3rd and 6 from the Cleveland 46, Rudolph threw incomplete but illegal contact kept the drive going. Defensive pass interference added 38 more yards down to the 3 yard line. Rudolph hit Jaylen Samuels for the touchdown to get the Steelers within 14-7. Yet with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Rudolph was intercepted by Schobert, who returned the pick 20 yards to the Pittsburgh 4 yard line. On 3rd and goal from the 8, Mayfield hit Stephen Carlson for the touchdown to ice the game and complete the scoring. A tough Browns win should have been the storyline. Because of the final 8 seconds, the game itself was forgotten.

Rudolph was having a miserable game. He was intercepted 4 times and battered throughout the game. Late in the game he was being sacked mercilessly. After being sacked for losses of 10 and 9, the Browns faced 3rd and 29 from their own 17 with 14 seconds left in a game that was not in doubt. Rudolph was hit again and taken down hard by Myles Garrett. The takedown was rough, but legal. An enraged Rudolph tried to rip off Garrett’s helmet. Garrett retaliated by ripping off Rudolph’s helmet. A couple of Steelers offensive linemen including Maurkice Pouncey tried to intervene to protect Rudolph. Rather than walk away, Rudolph without a helmet charged at the much larger Garrett. At that point Garrett, holding Rudolph’s helmet, lost his mind and swung the helmet at Rudolph, hitting him in the head. Pouncey got Garrett to the ground and repeatedly kicked Garrett in the head, although Garrett had his helmet on. Coaches Freddie Kitchens and Mike Tomlin hugged after the game. Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam apologized to the Steelers. Garrett also apologized. Yet Rudolph stoked the flames by calling Garrett a coward and a bully. Garrett was suspended indefinitely. Pouncey was suspended for 3 games. Rudolph was fined but was not suspended despite his setting all the events in motion. These teams play again in 2 weeks. 21-7 Browns

Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions — Ezekiel Elliott fumbled on the second play of the game and the Lions took over at the Dallas 28. Matthew Stafford is still out with an injured back, so it was up to Driskel to get it done. Scarbrough ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Lions. The Cowboys then embarked on a 14 play, 74 yard drive that consumed 7 1/2 minutes. However, on 3rd and goal at the 2, Dak Prescott was sacked for a 10 yard loss. Brett Maher hit the 30 yard field goal to get the Cowboys on the board. Dallas got it back in the second quarter at their own 30 yard line. Prescott hit Michael Gallup for a 23 yard gain. Prescott went to Randall Cobb for 14 yards and to Pollard for a 21 yard touchdown to put the Cowboys in front 10-7. 

In the second quarter Agnew returned a punt 32 yards to give the Lions a short field at the Dallas 45. Driskel ran for 10. On 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 30, McKissic got just enough. Scarbrough ran for 23 yards down to the 2, and Driskel got the deuce for the score to make it 14-10 Lions. After a touchback, Prescott ran for 9 and hit Jarwin for 15 more. On 3rd and 9 from midfield, Prescott went deep to Gallup for 41 yards. Elliott ran for 8 yards and then for the one yard touchdown to make it 17-14 Cowboys.  With 1:48 left in the half, the Cowboys took over at their own 17. Prescott went to Gallup for 10 and deep to Cobb for 49 yards. Prescott then hit Jason Witten for 5 yards. With 30 seconds left in the half, Prescott went to Cobb for the 19 yard touchdown to make it 24-14 Cowboys. After a touchback, the Lions soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 45. Driskel went to McKissic for 11 yards. On 3rd and 14 from the Dallas 48, Driskel went deep to Hall for 39 yards and to Jones for an 11 yard touchdown to get the Lions within 24-21. 

After a touchback, Prescott went deep to Cobb for a 33 yard gain. On 3rd and 3 from the Detroit 23, Prescott gained 7 yards. Yet 3 incompletions later, the Cowboys were settling for a 34 yard Maher field goal to lead 27-21. In the fourth quarter the Cowboys faced 3rd and 3 at their own 38. Prescott hit Witten for 11 yards, Amari Cooper for 16, Pollard for 8 and Schultz for 6. On 3rd and 8 from the Detroitt 17, Prescott went to Elliott for the touchdown. Pollard got the 2 point conversion on the ground to put the Cowboys up 35-21 midway through the fourth quarter. From their own 25, Driskel scrambled for gains of 6 and 23. Driskel went to Danny Amendola for 21 and then to Marvin Jones for the 25 yard touchdown. Matt Patricia for some inexplicable reason went for a 2 point conversion. The try failed and the Lions were down 8 with 6 minutes left. On 2nd and 5 from their own 19, Driskell went deep to Golladay for 34 yards. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Dallas 32, the Lions self-destructed. A sack and a hail of penalties had the Lions facing 4th and 31 at their own 47 with 2:07 to play. Matt Patricia decided to punt and rely on his defense in a game with little defense. On 2nd and 10 from their own 13, Prescott hit Jarwin for 23 yards as the Cowboys ran out the clock. Driskel did not play badly, going 15 of 26 for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns, but Prescott was a lights out 29 of 46 for 444 yards and 3 touchdowns. Neither signal caller was intercepted. 35-27 Cowboys 

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — After a stunning home loss to lowly Atlanta last week, the Saints exploded in frustration and jumped all over Tampa Bay at the start. On their first 2 drives the Saints drove the ball but could not finish their drives. Wil Lutz hit field goals of 44 and 26 yards to make it 6-0 Saints. Jameis Winston was then quickly intercepted, setting up the Saints at the Tampa Bay 16 yard line. One play later, Brees went to Thomas for the touchdown to make it 13-0 Saints. In the second quarter a short punt was then returned 27 yards by Alvin Kamara to set the Saints up just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 2 at the Bucs 43, Taysom Hill got the deuce. On 3rd and 1 at the Bucs 32, Zac Line gained 5. On 3rd and 1 from the Bucs 6, Brees hit Kamara for 3 yards and Jared Cook for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 20-0 Saints.

After a touchback, the Buccaneers tried to make a game of it. Winton hit Logan for 11 yards, Brate for gains of 8 and 7, and Miller deep for a 48 yard gain. On 2nd and goal at the one out of the shotgun, Winston fumbled the snap but the Buccaneers retained possession. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Winston hit Pierre Barber to finally get the Buccaneers on the board. In the third quarter Gay leveled a 55 yard field goal as the Buccaneers were only down 20-10. After a touchback, the Saints faced 3rd and 3 at their own 42. Brees connected with Thomas for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Tampa Bay 9, Brees hit Kamara for 3 yards and Ted Ginn for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 27-10 Saints. After a touchback, the Buccaneers faced 3rd and 12 at their own 34. Winston went to Godwin for 13, Evans for 14, Miller for 9, and Godwin again for a 30 yard touchdown to get the Buccaneers back within 27-17. Yet with 5 minutes left in regulation and the Buccaneers facing 4th and 10 at their own 33, Winston was intercepted by Marcus Williams, who returned it 55 yards for a defensive touchdown to salt the game away. Winston was 30 of 51 for 313 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 killer interceptions. Pinball Wizard Brees was a lights out 28 of 35 for 228 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions to right the ship. 34-17 Saints 

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers — Last week the 1-7 Falcons went into 7-1 New Orleans and shocked the NFL. Now they went on the road again and early on were looking for another big upset. Koo hit a 38 yard field goal but after an interception of Kyle Allen missed another 38 yarder as the Falcons led 3-0. Then Barner summoned his inner Deion Sanders in returning a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to make it 10-0 Falcons. In the second quarter after a touchback the Panthers moved to a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 15. After an incompletion, Allen was intercepted by Moore for a touchback. Ryan went to Julio Jones for 19 and Calvin Ridley for gains of 12 and 26. On 3rd and 4 from the Carolina 5, Matty Ice hit Gage for the touchdown. Yet Carolina challenged the score and it was reversed to an incompletion. Koo hit from 23 to make it 13-0 Falcons. The Falcons got it back at their own 29. Ryan hit Hardy for 13, Jones for 9 and Gage for 18. On 3rd and 16 from their own 49, Ryan went deep to Jones for a 48 yard gain with roughing the passer setting up 1st and goal at the 2. Ollison got in to make it 20-0 Falcons over the stunned home crowd in Carolina. 

In the third quarter the Riverboat Ron Rivera had to go for it on 4th and 5 from the Atlanta 35. Allen was sacked for a 12 yard loss. Then Dan Quinn gambled on 4th and 1 from the Carolina 44. Ryan got the yard and then hit Jones and Ridley for a pair of 11 yard gains and Graham for 12 more. Ryan hit Ridley for the 6 yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion try failed but the Falcons led 26-0. An Uneventful fourth quarter saw the Panthers kick a field goal to avoid the shutout and the Falcons tack on one more field goal. Where was this Atlanta team all year? 29-3 Falcons

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts — After suffering a broken collarbone in the season opener, Nick Foles finally returned to action. Gardner Minshew filled in competently as the backup, but Minshew Mania is done for now. This is Foles’s team. There is an unwritten law that a starter does not lose his job due to injury. Yes, there is the Drew Bledsoe exception, but the general rule is why Carson Wentz is in Philadelphia and Foles despite his heroics is in Jacksonville. The Jaguars on their second drive faced 3rd and 4 at their own 46. Foles showed little rust in hitting Westbrook for 15 yards, Oliver for 5 more, and DJ Chark for a 34 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Jaguars. The Colts also got their starter back as Jacoby Brissett returned from injury. Frank Reich went smashmouth as Marlon Mack from the Indy 24 rammed it down the Jags throats for gains of 4, 13, 6 and 16. On 3rd and 10 from the Jacksonville 26, Brissett hit Rogers for 11. Mack then ran for a 13 yard touchdown for a 7-7 game. 

In the second quarter from their own 30, Mack ran for 13. Brissett hit Eric Ebron for 14. Williams ran for 16. Adam Vinatieri hit a 34 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Colts. In the third quarter the Colts began at their own 23. Brissett hit Johnson for 10. On 3rd and 19 from their own 24, Brissett and Williams connected for a 31 yard gain. Brissett went to Johnson for 17 and Mack gashed the Jags defense for a 20 yard gain. On 4th and goal at the one, Frank Reich decided to go for it. Brissett hit Johnson for the touchdown to make it 17-7 Colts. Another key play came when Doug Marrone decided to gamble on 4th and 4 from his own 44. Foles threw incomplete. With a short field, Rogers gained 6 and Brissett hit Hines for 19. On 3rd and 9 from the Jags 18, Brissett threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 13 yard gain. Brissett ran for the 5 yard touchdown to have the Colts comfortably up 24-7. Needing 3 scores, the Jaguars hopes evaporated at the start of the fourth quarter when Josh Lambo missed a 46 yard field goal. 2 plays later on 2nd and 5 from their own 41, Williams went up the gut for a 48 yard gain. Nyheim Hines ran for a 7 yard touchdown to make it a blowout with the Colts up 31-7. The Jaguars got a garbage touchdown with one minute left, but the 2 point try was returned the other way for a defensive 2 pointer. 33-13 Colts

Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings — Minnesota’s running game and defense were expected to easily dispatch with Denver. Then the game started. An illegal formation on the Broncos on the first play of the game was not a harbinger. On 1st and 15 from their 20, Philip Lindsay ran for 11 yards. Allen is now the quarterback, and he went deep to want for 31 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 29, Vic Fangio took no chances. He trusted one of the best kickers in the game rather than run into the teeth of the Minnesota defense. Brandon McManus hit a 47 yard field goal for a 3-0 Broncos lead. Denver got it back at their own 10. Freeman ran for 10 and Allen went deep to Sutton for a 48 yard gain. Defensive pass interference a couple plays later added 24 more yards. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Allen hit Fumagalli for the touchdown to make it 10-0 Broncos. In the second quarter Denver got it back at their own 31 and Vic Fangio went to the bag of tricks. Allen gave it to Sutton, who turned from receiver to quarterback and went deep to Patrick for 28 yards. Sutton then ran for 9 yards and Lindsay added 6 more. On 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 7, this time Fangio went for it. Sutton got the yard. On 3rd and goal at the one, Janovich got in as the Broncos led 17-0. The Vikings then fumbled to set up the Broncos at the Minnesota 17. McManus hit a 29 yard field goal as the Broncos led 20-0 at halftime in front of a shellshocked home crowd in Minnesota. The Vikings even fumbled away the ensuing kickoff but dodged a bullet by intercepting the ball right back. 

After a touchback to start the third quarter, the Vikings finally showed signs of life. Kirk Cousins hit Johnson for a pair of 9 yard gains. On 4th and 1 from his own 45, Mike Zimmer had to go for it. Cousins got the yard. Cousins then went deep to Stefan Diggs for 44 yards. Cousins found Smith for a 10 yard touchdown to get the Vikings within 20-7. The Broncos set up to punt on 4th and 3 from their own 32. Yet Wilson jumped into the neutral zone to give the broncos a first down. On 2nd and 12 from their own 47, Allen went to Patrick for 29 yards. The drive stalled at that point but McManus hit from 41 to make it 23-7 Broncos after three quarters.. 

After a touchback, the Vikings mounted a mind-numbing drive. On 4th and 1 from their own 34 in desperation mode, Cook got 2 yards. On 3rd and 14 from their own 32, Cousins hit Conklin for 20 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Denver 48, Cousins threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 5 yards and an automatic 1st down. The fourth quarter began with the Vikings facing 3rd and 5 at the Denver 27. Cousins went to Diggs for 7 yards. Cook ran for a 3 yard touchdown 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. The 18 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive had the Vikings within 23-13 after the failed 2 point conversion. Denver soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Fant lost 5 yards and the Broncos punted. 3 plays later on 3rd and 2 from their own 46, Cousins went bombs away to Diggs for a 54 yard touchdown. With 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Vikings were within 23-20. Denver’s misery continued when McManus missed a 43 yard field goal with 8:15 to play. From their 33, Cousins went to Cook for 21 yards, Johnson for 6, Diggs for 9, and Rudolph for the 32 yard touchdown. With 6 minutes left, the Vikings had come all the way back for 4 point lead. 

Then came what may have been the drive of the year. 19 plays that took up every moment of the clock. A 42 yard kickoff return had the Broncos starting at their own 40. On 3rd and 13 from their own 37, Allen hit Freeman for 14 yards. On 2nd and 13 from their own 48, Allen went to Sutton for 12 yards. On 4th and 6 from the Minnesota 45, Allen went to Fant for 11 yards. On 4th and 6 from the Minnesota 39, Allen went to Patrick right at the sticks and barely kept them alive. With 33 seconds left the Broncos faced 4th and 1 at the Minnesota 15. Allen got around the end for an 11 yard gain. The Vikings took their 2nd timeout on defense. The Broncos were out of timeouts. 10 seconds remained. Allen threw a pair of incompletions, leaving 2 seconds and one final play. With everything on the line and 3rd and goal at the 4, Allen threw incomplete as the Minnesota defense survived with an inspired goal line stand. Cousins was a lights out 29 of 35 for 319 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He was also sacked 5 times. Allen was only 17 of 39 for 240 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but he came out of nowhere and showed heart, guts and character in a thrilling game but a tough loss. For football fans, games like this are what parents point to their children about. Never give up. 27-23 Vikings

New York Jets at Washington Redskins — League rules prevented this game from being canceled. After a touchback to start the gameSam Darnold went to Jermaine Crowder for 8 and Thomas for 9. Leveon Bell ran for 9 and Darnold hit Crowder for 17 and Bell for 12. Darnold went to Brown for the 20 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good as the Jets led 6-0. The Jets got it back and faced 3rd and 5 at their own 43. Darnold went to Thomas for 13 yards. Powell carved up the Redskins for gains of 14, 6 and 17. The second quarter began with the Jets attempting a 30 yard field goal on 4th and goal at the 12. The kick was good, but roughing the kicker caused Adam Gase to take the points off the board with 1st and goal at the 6. Darnold went to Robbie Anderson for the touchdown to make it 13-0 Jets after the 12 play, 62 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. An interception of Darnold gave the Redskins the ball at the Jets 16. On 3rd and 5, Dwayne Haskins was sacked for a 15 yard loss. Dustin Hopkins hit the 44 yard field goal to get the Redskins on the board. The Jets then fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give the Redskins another short field at the Jets 27. Hopkins missed a 29 yard field goal. After 2 consecutive turnovers that cost only 3 points, the Jets rebounded. With 1:18 left in the half, they took over at their own 18. Darnold went to Bell for 21, to Griffin for 45, and to Griffin again for the 16 yard touchdown to make it 20-3 Jets. The pointless second half saw Darnold throw a 29 yard touchdown pass to Crowder in the fourth quarter and an interception of Haskins at the Washington 5. Bell ran for the one yard touchdown and a 34-3 Jets lead. Washington did manage 2 garbage touchdowns long after anyone cared. Democrats and Republicans began emergency hearings on Sunday to impeach Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. 34-17 Jets

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins — Despite winning 2 in a row, the overmatched dolphins got hit in the mouth early in this game. Steve Hauschka hit field goals of 51 and 34 yards for a 6-0 Bills lead. The Bills got it backin the second quarter and faced 2nd and 7 at their own 22. Josh Allen hit Brown for 24, Cole Beasley for 7, and deep to Brown for a 40 yard touchdown for a 13-0 Bills lead. On 2nd and 7 from their own 38, Allen hit Frank Gore for 18 and then ran for a 36 yard gain himself. Steve Hauschka hit a 21 yard field goal as the Bills were cruising 16-0. 

Miami tried to make a game of it. With 5 minutes left in the half the Dolphins faced 3rd and 4 from their own 38. Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Parker for a 50 yard gain. Kenny Ballage ran for a 3 yard touchdown to get the Dolphins on the board. Brian Flores even called a surprise onside kick that was successful. After taking over at their own 47, Fitzpatrick went to Hurns for 20 yards. However, Hurns fumbled and the Bills took over at their own 25. Allen went to Brown for 17 and Singletary gained 21. On 3rd and 9 from the Miami 23, Allen went to Knox for the touchdown as the Bills led 23-7 with 1:23 left in the half. 14 seconds later the Dolphins were in the end zone again as Grant returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to get the Dolphins within 23-14. Yet a shanked 30 yard punt in the third quarter gave the Bills the ball at their own 47. Allen went to McKenzie for 16 yards and Beasley for 15 more. on 3rd and 6 from the Miami 18, Allen hit Brown for 7 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Miami 8, Allen scrambled around the end and got in to make it 30-14 Bills. 

From their own 35, Fitzpatrick went to Wilson for 13 and roughing the passer added 15 more on the next play. On 3rd and 1 from the Buffalo 28, Ballage gained 2. Fitzpatrick hit Laird for 12. The fourth quarter began with the Dolphins at the Buffalo 14. Ballage gained 7 and then on a wildcat snap got the 7 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Dolphins were within 30-20. Yet every time the Dolphins came back, the Bills answered. On 2nd and 13 from their own 35, Allen hit Beasley for 12. On 3rd and 1, Allen gained 5. Allen it Brown for 17. McKenzie gained 10 and Singletary added 6. Allen hit Kroft for 6 and Brown for the 9 yard touchdown to lock up the win. 37-20 Bills 

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens — The 6-3 Texans took on the 7-2 Ravens in a  critical showdown. After a scoreless first quarter, the Ravens began the second quarter at their own 10 yard line. Mark Ingram ran for 11 yards. On 1st and 15 from their own 16, Lamar Jackson went to Andrew for 8 yards with a facemark tacking on 15 more. Jackson fired a laser to Seth Roberts for a 15 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Ravens lead. Baltimore got it back at their own 30 and Jackson quickly hit Brown for 17 yards and ran for 12 more. Edwards then ripped off a 25 yard gain. On 2nd and 17 from the Houston 18, Jackson went to Andrews over the middle for the touchdown and the 14-0 Ravens advantage. The Ravens began the third quarter at their own 22 and made it look easy. Jackson hit Ricard for 9. Defensive pass interference added 30 yards. Jackson went to Snead for 10 and then found a wide open Ingram in the flat for a 25 yard touchdown to make it 21-0 Ravens. Deshaun Watson was sacked 5 times in the first half and took more pain in the second half. Justin Tucker hit field goals of 34 and 46 to make it 27-0 Ravens, the latter field goal set up by an interception of Watson. The Ravens began the fourth quarter at their own 29, On 3rd and 16 from their 35, Jackson connected with Andrews for a 51 yard gain. Jackson then went to Ingram for a 12 yard touchdown to make it 34-0 Ravens. Houston eventually reached the end zone to avoid the shutout, but this was another statement to the rest of the league. Gus Edwards made a statement to the Texans with a 63 yard exclamation point touchdown run to cap an 87 yard drive and complete the carpet-bombing. The Ravens are in Super Bowl mode and playing like it. 41-7 Ravens 

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers — Despite being knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten last week an overtime home thriller, the 49ers were expected to be angry and stomp all over the overmatched Cardinals. Cue ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman. “THAT’S why they PLAY the games!” After a touchback the Cardinals faced 3rd and 7 at the Frisco 44. A deep ball incomplete with no penalty was reversed to defensive pass interference to set up 1st and goal at the 3. A touchdown pass was nullified by offensive pass interference. The Cardinals settled for a 26 yard Zane Gonzalez field goal to lead 3-0. The Cardinals got it back at their own 19. Drake gained 7 and Kyler Murray hit Kirk for gains of 9 and 11. On 3rd and 4 from their own 48, Murray went to Kirk for 8. On 3rd and 11 from the 49ers 41, Murray went to Cooper for 23. defensive pass interference added 13 more. Murray went to Larry Fitzgerald for a 5 yard touchdown. Gonzalez missed the extra point but the Cardinals led 9-0. In the second quarter the Cardinals took over at their own 43. Murray ran for gains of 5 and 9. On 4th and 1 from the 49ers 34, Cliff Kingsbury went for it. Murray hit Daniels for 4 yards. Murray then ran for 21 yards. Murray hit Cooper for a 5 yard touchdown as the Cardinals led 16-0 in front of a disbelieving Santa Clara home crowd.

Midway through the second quarter the 49ers decided to start playing football. After a touchback, a short pass from Jimmy Garoppolo to James went for a 57 yard gain. Garoppolo then went to Juszczyk went for 14 more. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Garoppolo went to Dwelley for the touchdown to get the 49ers within 16-7. The 49ers got it back and moved from their 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Arizona 16 with 39 seconds left in the half. A touchdown pass to Dwelley was nullified by offensive holding as the 49ers settled for a 43 yard Chase McLaughlin field goal to trail 16-10 at the break. The 49ers got it back at their own 16 to start the third quarter. Garoppolo hit Coleman for 37 yards with 15 more added on for roughing the passer. On 1st and 15 from the Arizona 22, Garoppolo went to Juszczyk for 19 yards. Garoppolo hit Dwelley for a 5 yard touchdown as the 49ers took the lead 17-16 with the difference being the missed extra point. 

The 49ers in the third quarter moved from their own 37 to a 3rd and 5 at the Arizona 12. Garoppolo was then intercepted by Hicks, who returned it 48 yards to the San Fran 47. Despite 1st and 10 at the San Fran 25, the drive died at that point. Gonzalez hit from 43 to put the Cardinals back in front 19-17. The 49ers after a sack of Garoppolo faced 2nd and 17 at their own 18. Garoppolo hit Mostert for 8 and on 3rd and 9 went to Samuel for 26 yards and Bourne for 19 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 9, Garoppolo hit Juszczyk for 7 yards. Garoppolo hit Bourne for the 2 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the 49ers led 23-19 with 12 minutes left in regulation after the 10 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. From their own 22, the Cardinals answered. Murray found Kirk for 8. Drake gained 12 and 2. On 3rd and 2 from midfield, Drake gained 4. On 2nd and 6 from the Frisco 28, Drake gained 22. Murray then got around the end for a 22 yard touchdown. The 10 play, 78 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive put the Cardinals back on top 26-23 with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation.  

The 49ers moved from their own 33 to a 3rd and 7 at the Arizona 24, certainly in field goal range. Garoppolo threw a pass that was high and off the mark that was deflected and intercepted by Thompson, who returned it 18 yards to his own 25 with 4 1/2 minutes left. The 49ers got it back at their own 35 with 2:02 to play. Garoppolo hit Bourne for 7 and Samuel for 11. Garoppolo ran for 7, hit Goodwin for 5, Samuel for 7, and on 3rd and 3 from the Arizona 28, hit Dwelley for just enough. Garoppolo then went to Wilson for a 25 yard touchdown. With 30 seconds to play, the 49ers had the lead 30-26. The Cardinals quickly fumbled the ball away trying to do the hook and laterals, but they had all their timeouts. They took them on defense. With 6 seconds left the 49ers faced 4th and 1 at the Arizona 21. Coleman got the carry and got blasted for a one yard loss. On the last play of the game, another attempt at the hook and laterals was fumbled and returned for a meaningless touchdown for non-gamblers. It was tough, but the 49ers got to 9-1 the hard way. 36-26 49ers 

New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles — Two years ago the Eagles shocked the Patriots in the Super Bowl in an offensive shootout. The rematch was physical defensive game. On the first play of the game after a touchback, defensive pass interference on the Patriots meant a 49 yard gain for the Eagles. Yet despite 2nd and 3 from the New England 19, a false start and a pair of Carson Wentz incompletions had the Eagles settling for a 42 yard field goal by Elliott to lead 3-0. The Eagles got it back at their own 5 yard line. On 3rd and 2 from their own 13, Wentz hit Sanders for 4 and Zac Ertz for 9. From their own 32, Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for 5 and Dallas Goedert for 21 more. On 3rd and goal at the 5, confusion reigned. Wentz fired to Goedert for a touchdown. Jones insisted he had an interception for a touchback. Officials ruled the play a touchback. on further review, it was reversed to a touchdown and a 10-0 Eagles lead early in the second quarter. The 16 play, 95 yard drive consumed 9 1/2 minutes. 

However, it did not break the backs of the Patriots. The Patriots dominated the rest of the half but could not reach the end zone. Nick Folk had field goals of 35, 22 and 39 after a Philadelphia fumble as the Patriots only trailed 10-9 at the intermission. The Patriots took the second half kickoff and took over at their own 16. From their own 30, Tom Brady went to Philip Dorsett for 10 and Burkhead for 30 more. On 3rd and 11 from the Philly 15, Bill Belichick went to his bag of tricks. Brady got it to Julian Edelman, who threw the option pass to Dorsett for the touchdown. James White ran for the 2 point conversion to make it 17-10 Eagles in the third quarter. Although pretty much the entire second half remained, the defenses dug in. The Eagles took over at their own 6 yard line with 4 minutes left and Wentz found Agholor for 29 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the New England 45, went hit Agholor for 19 yards. On 4th and 10 at the New England 26, Wentz went for it all. Agholor had the defender beat and tried to make a juggling catch in the back of the end zone. he couldn’t haul it in and the Eagles turned it over on downs with one minute left. The Eagles had all 3 timeouts and used them on defense. On 4th and 1 from his own 35, Bill Belichick did not even think about going for it. The Eagles took over at their own 12 with 34 seconds left. A 30 yard completion and a spike left 2 seconds. From their own 42, Wentz’s Hail Mary was knocked down at the 5 yard line incomplete. The Eagles were game but ran out of time as the Patriots got a tiny measure of revenge that they’ll deny they were seeking. Nobody believes them. 17-10 Patriots

Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders — In 1993, the 6-4 Raiders traveled to face the 0-10 Bengals and lost 16-10. This year the Raiders came in 5-4 and in danger of believing their own hype against the 0-9 Bengals. The game was in Oakland, but the this is the exact type of game the Raiders lose. The Bengals came in losers of 11 straight games dating back to last year when they defeated…you guessed it…the Raiders. If the Raiders ever wanted to be taken seriously, they had to win games like this one without difficulty. Nothing comes easy for the Raiders, even with the Bengals missing receiver AJ Green and Paul gentler coordinating against his former team. The Raiders slept through most of the game. When the Bengals faced 3rd and 10 at their own 44, Finley was blown up for an 11 yard loss and fumbled. The Raiders recovered at the Cincy 28. On 1st and 10 from the Cincy 17, Josh Jacobs gained 10 yards but then had the ball chopped out of his hands. The Bengals took over at their own 15. Joe Mixon quickly ran for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from midfield, Jordan jumped into the neutral zone. On 3rd and 1, Finley hit Uzomah for 3 yards. On 4th and 3 at the Oakland 36, the Bengals decided to go for it. Finley hit Tyler Eifert for 18 yards. On 2nd and goal at the 7, Finley threw incomplete but defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 3. Mixon ran it in as the Bengals led 7-0. The 12 play, 85 yard drive took 6 1/2 minutes as the Raiders looked totally inept. 

The Raiders finally woke up in the second quarter from their own 9 yard line. From their 10, Derek Carr hit Williams for 24 yards, Deandre Washington for 6, Tyrell Williams for 20 and Washington for 8. On 3rd and 6 from the Cincy 38, Carr went deep to Hunter Renfrow for 27 yards. On 1st and 15 from the Bengals 16, Carr when to Darren Waller for 14 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the 2, Carr found a wide open Foster Moreau for the touchdown to tie the game 7-7. The Raiders got it back at their own 20. Jacobs ran for 10. Carr went to Williams for 21 with 15 more tacked on for roughing the passer. Jacobs ran for 9 and 5, caught a pass for 3, and ran for 5 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Bengals 12, Carr hit Renfrow for 10. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Carr scrambled, found nobody, and headed for the end zone. He dove over the pylon for the score to put the Raiders up 14-7 with 1:37 left in the half. The 80 yard, 10 play drive was efficient.

Despite leading, the Raiders were not playing well overall against a winless team with a rookie coach and a backup quarterback. They dodged a bullet when Bullock missed a 53 yard field goal on the last play of the half. In the third quarter on 3rd and 4 from their own 44, Carr fired over the middle into a crowd and was intercepted at the Oakland 45. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 22, Finley threw incomplete. Bullock hit a 40 yard field goal as the Bengals only trailed 14-10 midway through the third quarter. The Raiders went 3 and out and the Bengals had 2nd and 6 at the Oakland 41. Finley threw incomplete twice and the defense held. Yet the offense was doing nothing. Again, the Raiders would be leading a game after three quarters. Again, they would be in a fight for survival in the fourth quarter. 

The Bengals punted on 4th and 15 from their own 10 after a sack of Finley. The Raiders took over at their own 34. Carr fired over the middle to Waller for a 32 yard gain. Jacobs then ran for gains of 15 and 4. On 3rd and 6 from the Cincy 9 with 12 minutes left in regulation, Carr took a timeout. These are plays that improving teams either use to put games away or let bad but hungry teams linger around. The Raiders never put games away, Carr avoided a tackler and fired a pass that was high but caught by Renfrow, who came up inches short. Jon Gruden decided to go for it. It was time for the Raiders to send a message. Either they were serious orb they weren’t. The entire world knew Jacobs was getting the ball. Except it was Ingold who got the carry and banged up the gut on 4th and 1 from the 4 for a 3 yard gain. Now it was 1st and goal at the one. The Bengals jumped offsides, but the officials inexplicably called a false start. Nothing was going to come easy for the Raiders. On 2nd and goal from the 5, Carr lobbed a fade to the end zone. The defender pilled the receiver to the ground yet pass interference was not called. A short pass set up 4th and goal at the 2. Gruden brought out the field goal team. Carlson hit the 20 yarder as the Raiders led 17-10 with 9 1/2 minutes to play, but they had not closed the door. Not even close.  

After a touchback, Finley scrambled for 17 yards. A sack of Finley had the Bengals facing 3rd and 19 at their own 47. Finley fired over the middle to Auden Tate, who hung on to the ball for a 20 yard gain. Tate got blasted and was down for what seemed like forever as players on both teams looked on with concern. Tate was taken off the field on a stretcher. His courageous catch gave the Bengals the first down. The Raider Nation clapped when he was taken off the field. Even in a close game in the fourth quarter, football is not life and death. Play resumed and on 3rd and 4 from the Oakland 27, a pass in the flat to a wide open receiver was dropped. On 4th and 4, the Raiders took their 2nd timeout on defense. Finley went for it all into double coverage and near the goal line it was just broken up incomplete. With 5 minutes left, the Raiders had yet another chance to put close the game out. Good teams make sure the other team does not get the ball back. 

A run lost 2 yards. On 2nd and 12, a hookup from Carr to Waller gained 29 yards but was nullified by offsetting penalties. Carr did it again, firing to Waller for 23 yards and this time the play stood. A couple carries by Jacobs forced the Bengals to burn a pair of timeouts. With 3:18 to play the Raiders faced 3rd and 6 from the Cincy 48. Carr found Jones for a 13 yard gain as the Bengals took their last timeout with 3:10 to play. All the Raiders had to do was run the ball 3 straight times and take the clock down to 1:15. Just don’t do anything to stop the clock. Instead, offensive holding on 2nd and 12 was the worst of all possible worlds. It stopped the clock and forced the Raiders into 3rd and 12 with 2:21 to play. A run took the clock down to the 2 minute warning, but it was 4th and 8 instead of 3rd down. A field goal try would be 51 yards. If Daniel Carlson would do his job, the game would be locked up. If not, the Bengals would have it at their own 40. In a shocking move, Jon Gruden decided to punt. He shook his head in disgust when it went into the end zone for a touchback. With 1:54 let and 0 timeouts, Finley was sacked by Maxx Crosby for a 9 yard loss. Under heavy pressure from his own goal line, Finley went deep and was intercepted by Trayvon Mullen. It was hideously ugly, and far more difficult than it should have been. Yet the Bengals remained winless and the Raiders under Jon Gruden are 6-4 with no apologies needed. Al Davis never cared about statistics. Even his great teams made it difficult on themselves. Just win baby. 17-10 Raiders

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams was the Sunday night game. Both teams were great last year and are mediocre this year. The Bears began this ugly game with Eddie Pineiro missing a 48 yard field goal. One play later Todd Gurley fumbled the ball back to the Bears. The Bears then passed up a 49 yard field goal try an Matt Nagy went for it on 4th and 9 from the Rams 31. Mitchell Trubisky threw incomplete. Jared Goff was the  intercepted. Pineiro then missed another field goal from 47. In the second quarter Greg Zuerlein did hit a 38 yarder to make it 3-0 Rams. An interception of Trubisky set up the Rams at their own 44. On 3rd and 5 from their own 49, Goff went deep to Cooper Kupp for 50 yards down to the one. Todd Gurley got in to make it 10-0 Rams at halftime. In the third quarter the Bears took over at their own 20. Trubisky hit Miller for 8, Gabriel for 4, and Miller for 16 and 9. On 2nd and 10 from the Rams 29, Trubisky hit Gabriel for 15 and Tariq Cohen for the 14 yard touchdown as the Bears only trailed 10-7 after three quarters. Midway through the fourth quarter the Rams took over at their own 29. From their 31, Goff went to Reynolds for 18 yards. Goff had a 51 yard touchdown pass to Reynolds nullified for an illegal formation. However, on 3rd and 7 from the Chicago 48, Goff hit Reynolds for 26 yards and Everett for 20. Brown ran it in from the 5 to ice the game with 3 1/2 minutes left. The Rams at 6-4 are still alive while the 4-6 Bears are on the brink. Even worse, Trubisky was benched with 3 1/2 minutes left in favor of Chase Daniel. The Bears insisted Trubisky had a hip injury. Nobody believed them. 17-7 Rams

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico was the Monday night game from Mexico City. The Chargers moved the ball well throughout the game but often stalled in the red zone. Early on they moved from their own 23 to a 1st and 10 at the Chiefs 12. The drive died and Mike Badly hit a 27 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Chargers. Badgley then missed from 40. After Patrick Mahomes threw an interception, the Chargers moved from their 29 to the Chiefs 25. Philip Rivers threw an interception right back. Rivers then threw another interception in the second quarter that was returned by Mathieu 35 yards to set up 1st and goal at the 6. One play later, LeSean Shady McCoy ran it in to make it 7-3 Chiefs. After a touchback the Chargers moved to a 1st and goal at the 8. Rivers then threw 3 straight incompletions. Badgley hit from 26 to get the Chargers within 7-6, but wasted opportunities were killing them. Harrison Butker hit a 41 yard field goal for the Chiefs with 1:43 left in the half, but Badgley answered from 49 to end the half with the Chargers only down 10-9.

Mahomes can only be contained for so long, and the Chiefs offense exploded in the third quarter. On 2nd and 13 from their own 22, Mahomes and Yelder connected on a 23 yard gain. Yelder then fumbled and King returned it 34 yards to the Chiefs 12. However, defensive illegal use of hands gave the Chiefs the ball back at their own 27. On 3rd and 2 from their 35, Mahomes scrambled for 20 yards. Mahomes then hit Sammy Watkins for 15 and McCoy for 16. McCoy then ran for 6 yards and fumbled, but the ball was knocked by a  defender right back to him. Williams ran for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 17-9 Chiefs. A short 35 yard punt had the Chiefs taking over at their own 46. Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for 11, Hardman for 6 and 9, and Kelce for a 23 yard touchdown to have the Chiefs up 24-9.

After a touchback, the Chargers tried to make a game of it. Defensive pass interference moved the ball 25 yards to midfield. On 3rd and 5 from the Chiefs 45, Rivers hit Keenan Allen for 7 yards. Another defensive pass interference penalty added 27 more yards. Rivers then threw a 7 yard touchdown to Allen. Rivers found a wide open receiver in the back of the end zone for the 2 point conversion as the Chargers only trailed by 7 after three quarters. The Chargers defense hung tough, but the offense gave them no help. On 3rd and 10 from their own 17, Rivers went for it all and was intercepted at the Chiefs 33 with 4 minutes left. With 2:21 to play and the Chargers out of timeouts, everything came down to the Chiefs facing 3rd and 4 at the Chargers 42. You run the ball in this situation. Every. Single. Time. Mahomes went back to pass, but took the sack so the clock would run down to the 2 minute warning. The Chargers were alive, taking over at their own 9 yard line with 1:53 left. On 4th and 4 from their own 15, Rivers hit Hunter Henry for 10. On 3rd and 15 from their own 25, Rivers went bombs away into double coverage and Mike Williams came down with a miracle 50 yard catch. The Chargers were at the Chiefs 25 with 44 seconds left. Rivers went to Austin Ekeler for 11 yards and raced to the line and spiked the ball to stop the clock. 24 seconds remained and the Chargers had 2nd and 10 at the Chiefs 14. Rivers went to the end zone and threw his fourth interception for a touchback. The Chargers fell to 4-7 and the brink of playoff elimination, with all 7 losses coming by one score. The 7-4 Chiefs remain on top in the AFC West, making Andy Reid a most pleased Walrus Lite indeed. 24-17 Chiefs

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