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NFL 2020 Week 2 Recap

Monday, September 21st, 2020

NFL 2020 Week 2 Recap

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns is the Thursday night game. Sometimes a pair of bad teams can come together and play an exciting game. This actually was that game, which was exciting throughout. Wilson returned the opening kickoff 42 yards to the Cincinnati 39. On the first play from scrimmage Joe Burrow went deep for a 35 yard completion. Yet the call was challenged and reversed incomplete. The Bengals did move to a 3rd and 2 at the Cleveland 31. When a run lost 2 yards, Zac Parsons decided to go for it. On 4th and 4, Burrow hit Trevor Boyd for 7 yards. Yet on 3rd and 5 from the Cleveland 9, Burrow was sacked for an 11 yard loss. Randy Bullock was last week’s goat, but this week he hit the 38 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Bengals.

After a touchback, Baker Mayfield came out firing. He hit Jarvis Landry for 9, Hodge for 26 more, and Austin Hooper for 11. On 3rd and 7 from the Cincinnati 25, Mayfield scrambled for 8. Nick Chubb ran for 6 and then for the 11 yard touchdown to cap the 10 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive to make it 7-3 Browns. The Bengals soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 42. Burrow fumbled the snap out of the shotgun and a mad scramble meant a 22 yard loss. The Browns got it back at their own 43 and struck quickly. Chubb ran for 13 and Mayfield went to Odell Beckham Jr for a 43 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Browns with 12 minutes left in the half.

Wilson retuned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Cincinnati 43. Burrow hit Joe Mixon for gains of 4 and 5. On 3rd and 1 from the Cleveland 48, Burrow hit Sample for 7, Mixon for 18, and CJ Uzomah for a 23 yard touchdown to get the Bengals back within 14-10. Cleveland took over at their own 37 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the half. On 2nd and 11 from their own 36, Mayfield hit Beckham for 18. On 3rd and 4 from their own 40 out of the shotgun, Karim Hunt gained 6. Mayfield hit Hunt for 9 and Hodge for 13. With 90 seconds left in the half on 3rd and goal from the 6, Mayfield went to Hunt for the touchdown. The 12 play, 63 yard drive gave the Browns a 21-10 lead. After a touchback, Burrow hit Boyd for 11, Uzomah for 6, and Higgins for 18. On 3rd and 10 from midfield, Burrow threw incomplete but the defense jumped offside. On 3rd an 5, Burrow went to AJ Green for 6. On 3rd and 10 from the Cleveland 39, Burrow hit Thomas for 14. Bullock hit from 43 to end the half with the Bengals down 21-13.

After a touchback to start the second half, the Browns moved 74 yards in 13 plays and 7 minutes. On 4th and 2 from the Cincy 44, Kevin Stefanski decided to go for it. Mayfield hit Landry for 21 yards. On the next play Chubb ran for a 23 yard touchdown. Yet on further review, Chubb was ruled down at the one yard line. On 1st and goal Chubb was stopped and on 2nd and goal he lost a yard. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Mayfield threw incomplete. Stefanski went for it again on 4th and goal at the 2, and Chubb was stopped after one yard. The goal line stand fired up the Bengals defense.  Sadly, their offense gave the ball right back. On 3rd and 9 from their own 12, Burrow was sacked and fumbled. The Browns recovered at the Bengals one yard line. Mayfield threw incomplete, but on 2nd and goal Chubb finally got in to make it 28-13 Browns.

Cody Parkey kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds to set up the Bengals at their own 40 yard line. The Bengals moved 51 yards in 14 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 5 from the Cleveland 20, Parsons again decided to go for it in a game of big gambles. Burrow ran for 7 yards. On 3rd and 1 from the 4, Giovanni Bernard ran for the touchdown. Yet in a game of big reversals, it was ruled that Bernard was down at the one. On first and goal, Mixon lost 4 yards. Burrow threw incomplete, but defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 2. After throwing incomplete, Burrow was sacked for a 7 yard loss. On 3rd and goal Burrow threw incomplete. Bullock hit from 27 as the Bengals trailed 28-16 after three quarters.

After a touchback, the Browns moved to a 2nd and 4 at the Cincy 26. Mayfield went deep and was intercepted at the 2 yard line. The Bengals took over at their own 17. Mixon ran for 9 and 8. Burrow hit Higgins for 12 and Sample for 5. After throwing incomplete on 3rd and 5 from their own 48, Parsons again went for it on 4th and 5. Burrow hit Boyd for 13, ran for 5 and hit Uzomah for 5. A sack of Burrow was nullified by a defensive facemark. On 3rd and 1 from the Cleveland 5, Burrow got the yard. On the next play Burrow hit Mike Thomas for the 4 yard touchdown. With 6 minutes left in regulation, the Bengals were within 28-23.

After a touchback, Chubb ran for 4 and then 26 more. Hunt ripped off a 33 yard gain. Hunt gained one, ten, and then the one yard touchdown. Without a single pass play, the browns and quickly built a 35-23 lead with 4 minutes left. Burrow tried to lead a furious rally, but he needed 16 plays to go the 75 yards. On 4th and 5 from his own 30, Burrow hit Boyd for 17. On 3rd and 1 from the Cleveland 44, Burrow hit Sample for 6. On 4th and 1 from the Cleveland 29, Burrow hit Thomas for 10. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Burrow hit Boyd for the touchdown. The Bengals were within 5, but only 43 seconds remained. The game was exciting, but the onside kick failed. 35-30 Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans — On the first play from scrimmage, Ryan Tannehill executed a perfect play fake and found a wide open Smith for a 63 yard gain. Two plays later Tannehill connected with Smith for the 13 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Titans. After a touchback the Jaguars moved to a 4th and 3 at the Tennessee 39. Doug Marrone decided to go for it. Gardner Minshew somehow escaped a sack and ran for the first down. Yet on the next play a Minshew pass was high, deflected and intercepted. Christian Fulton returned the interception 45 yards to the Jacksonville 30. On 3rd and 6 from the Jags 26, Tannehill hit Firkser for 14. Tannehill hit Davis for the 9 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Titans.

This time the Jaguars responded. On 2nd and 8 from their own 27, Minshew hit Tyler Eifert for 9 and then went deep to DJ Chark for a 45 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Tennessee 19, Minshew went to Eifert for the touchdown to get the Jaguars within 14-7. Midway through the second quarter the Titans took over at their own 15. On 3rd and 3 from their own 22, Tannehill hit Humphries for 5. On 3rd and 4 from their own 33, Tannehill threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 22 yard gain. Derrick Henry gained 7 and 14. On 3rd and 3 from the Jags 17, Henry gained 7 and 4 more. On 3rd and goal from the 4, Tannehill hit Smith for the touchdown as the Titans led 21-7 with 1:47 left in the half.

The Jaguars moved after a touchback to a 1st and 10 at the Tennessee 17 with 30 seconds left in the half. Minshew threw 3 straight incompletions. Josh Lambo hit the 35 yard field goal to get the Jaguars within 21-10 with only 15 seconds left in the half. Yet a terrible squib kick by Lambo gave the Titans the ball just past midfield with 10 seconds left. Tannehill hit Firkser for 16. Stephen Gostkowski had a miserable week last week, missing 3 field goals and an extra point before hitting the winning field goal. This week Gostkowski ended the half by hitting a 51 yard field goal to make it 24-10 Titans.

The Jaguars began the second half at their own 11 yard line. on 3rd and 1 from their 20, Robinson got the yard. On 3rd and 2 from their own 29, Thompson gained 5. From their own 48, Minshew hit O’Shaughnessy for 13 and Shenault for 9. Robinson ran for a 17 yard touchdown as the Jaguars were within 24-17 after the 14 play, 89 yard, 8 minute drive. After a touchback, the Jaguars defense was immediately called for defensive holding. Henry ran for 2, 14 and 4. On 2nd and 6 from midfield, Tannehill hit Davis for 17. On 3rd and 9 from the Jags 18, Tannehill went to Humphries for the touchdown. Gostkowski doinked the extra point off the upright no good as the Titans led 30-17.

After a touchback, Minshew hit Chark for 10 and Robinson for 6. Robinson then ran for a 39 yard gain. Minshew hit O’shaunghnessy for 12 as the fourth quarter began with the Jaguars facing 1st and goal at the 8. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Minshew hit Cole for the touchdown. This time it was Lambo drinking the extra point off the upright no good as the Jaguars trailed 30-23. Tennessee quickly went 3 and out and the Jaguars got it back at their own 14. A defensive facemark gave the Jaguars 15 yards. Shenault gained 12 and Robinson added 9 more. On 3rd and 5 from their own 46, Minshew hit Conley for 24 yards. Robinson gained 5 and Minshew hit Conley for 8 more. On 3rd and 7 from the Tennessee 14, Minshew hit Thompson for the touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the game was tied 30-30.

With 3 1/2 minutes left a short punt gave the Titans great field position at their own 40 yard line. Henry gained 9 and 2. On 3rd and 5 from the Jags 44, Tannehill threw incomplete but a killer defensive pass interference penalty meant 8 yards and a first down. On 3rd and 10 from the Jags 36 out of the shotgun, Tannehill hit Firkser for 5 yards. With 1:41 left, Gostkowski came in for a 49 yard field goal try to give the Titans the lead. Gostkowski was good. Despite a nightmarish season, he hit the big field goal in both games. After a touchback, the Jaguars had 1:36 to work with. With 51 seconds left on 2nd and 1 from the Jaguars 45, Minshew was intercepted. It was a great football game, and another sigh of relief for Gostkowski. 33-30 Titans

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Teddy Bridgewater got off to a rough start while Tom Brady atoned for last week by starting red hot. The Panthers moved from their own 29 to a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 22. Bridgwater was then intercepted at that spot. On 3rd and 6 from their own 26, Brady hit LeSean McCoy for 7, then 2 more, and then enough 16. Brady then went deep to Mike Evans for a 50 yard gain. On 3rd and 9 from the Carolina 20, Brady hit McCoy for only 6, but unnecessary roughness added 7 more yards and an automatic first down. On the next play Jones ran for the 7 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Buccaneers. 2 plays after a touchback, Bridgewater got hit and fumbled. The Buccaneers took over at the Carolina 23. One play later Brady went deep to Evans for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Buccaneers. In the second quarter the Panthers recovered a fumble and moved from their 41 to a 4th and 2 at the Tampa 36. Matt Rhule passed up a 54 yard field goal try and gambled on a fake punt that did not work. The Buccaneers took over at their own 35. Brady went to Evans for 8 and then went deep to Watson for a 36 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Carolina 13, Brady went to Leonard Fournette for 12. Fournette got the last yard and the Buccaneers had a comfortable 21-0 halftime lead.

An exchange of turnovers in the third quarter had the Panthers with a short field at the Tampa 47. On 3rd and 6, Bridgewater hit Moore for 15. On 3rd and 2 from the Tampa 8, Bridgewater threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. McCaffrey got the yard and the Panthers were within 21-7. The Panthers got it back at their own 7. On 3rd and 6 from their 11, Bridgewater hit Samuel for 10, Robbie Anderson for 11, and Moore for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Tampa 7, Bridgewater threw incomplete. On 4th and 2, Matt Rhule decided to go for it. A perfect option pitchout to McCaffrey had him get around the end for the touchdown. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Panthers were within 21-14.

Carolina got it back at their own 12 and Bridgewater went deep to Anderson for 39 yards. Offensive holding moved the Panthers back and then Bridgewater was intercepted. The Buccaneers took over at their own 40. Brady hit Evans for 8 and Fournette ran for gains of 25, 6, 4 and 3. On 3rd and 8 from the Carolina 15, Brady threw incomplete. Ryan Succop hot a 33 yard field goal to give the Buccaneers breathing room up 24-14 with 6:18 to play. After a touchback, Bridgewater hit Davis for 16, Moore for 18, Davis for 8 and 7, Moore for 5 and Bridgewater for 12. On 3rd and goal from the 7, Bridgewater threw incomplete. Needing 2 scores with 2:22 to play, Matt Rhule opted for the field goal. Joey Slye hit from 23 to get the Panthers within 24-17. The onside kick failed and the Buccaneers took over at the carolina 46. One play later Fournette was racing all the way to the end zone to lock up the game. Tom Brady in 20 years has never started 0-2. After going 5-0 last year, Bridgewater is 0-2 this year. 31-17 Buccaneers

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers — Midway through the first quarter the Broncos faced 3rd and 7 from their own 25. DJ Lock had the ball chopped out of his hand and the Steelers took over at their own 41. Making matters worse for Denver, Lock had his elbow injured on the play. Ben Roethlisberger hit Eric Ebron for 15, Juju Smith-Schuster for 8, and Washington for 5. On 3rd and 10 from the Denver 20, Big Ben went to Smith—Schuster for 18. James Conner ran for the 2 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Steelers.  The Steelers got it back but were forced to punt on 4th and 18 from their own 9. The Broncos began the second quarter at the Pittsburgh 36 with Jeff Driskel in at quarterback. The Broncos wasted the prime field position but Brandon McManus drilled a 49 yard field goal to get the Broncos within 7-3. The Steelers took over at their own 16. Roethlisberger went deep to Chase Claypool for an 84 yard touchdown bomb and a 14-3 Steelers lead. Desperate to give the Broncos a spark, Vic Fangio had McManus try a 58 yard field goal. The kick was no good. With 1:58 left in the half, the Broncos got it back at their own 20. Jeff Driskel was quarterbacking the Broncos, and he was intercepted by Joe Haden. Haden returned the interception 24 yards to the Denver 11. On 3rd and 1 from the 2, Conner lost a yard. Mike Tomlin opted for the field goal. Chris Boswell hit from 21 and the Steelers led 17-3 at the intermission.

The Steelers have a tendency to play down to their competition and let teams back in games. McCloud returned the second half kickoff 49 yards and the Steelers took over at their own 47. Yet on 3rd and 16 from the Denver 48, Roethlisberger was intercepted. The Broncos took over at the Pittsburgh 41. On 3rd and 8 Driskel hit Hammier for 13. On 3rd and 6 from the Pittsburgh 22, Driskel hit Noah Fant for 14 with a defensive horsecollar tackle setting up 1st and goal at the 4. Driskel was sacked and then threw incomplete twice. McManus hit from 28 and the Broncos were down 17-6. The Steelers moved from their 25 to a 4th and 2 at the Denver 35. Rather than try a 53 yard field goal, Mike Tomlin opted to go for it. Roethlisberger threw incomplete. On 3rd and 2 from their own 43, Driskel threw incomplete but defensive pass interference on Minkah Fitzpatrick kept the drive going. Freeman ran for 4 and 13. From the Pittsburgh 35, a roughing the passer call moved the Broncos to the Pittsburgh 20. Driskel went to Fast for the touchdown and again to the 2 point conversion. After three quarters, the Broncos were only down 17-14.

After a touchback, Roethlisberger went to Ebron for 21. On 4th and 2 from the Denver 35, Mike Tomlin again went for it. Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster for 3 yards. Roethlisberger went to Diontae Johnson for a 28 yard touchdown to put the Steelers up 24-14 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Broncos had to punt on 4th and 11 from their own 12. The snap was fumbled in the end zone and a mad scramble led to a safety. With 10 minutes left the Steelers led 26-14. With the free kick being returned by Johnson 24 yards to the Denver, the Steelers had a chance to put the game away.

Instead, Bennie Snell fumbled and the Broncos recovered at their own 46. On 2nd and 19 from their own 37, Driskel hit Hamler for 18. Defensive pass interference on the next play added 9 more. On 3rd and 7 from the Pittsburgh 33, Driskel hit Patrick for 17 and Melvin Gordon for a 16 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Broncos were within 5 points. The Broncos got it back at their own 18 with 6 minutes left. Gordon ran for 10 and 2. On 3rd and 1 from their own 37, Driskel gained 2. On 3rd and 11 from their own 38, Driskel threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 17 yard gain. Driskel then went to Fant for a 22 yard gain. At the 2 minute warning, on 3rd and 2 from the Pittsburgh 18, Driskel threw incomplete. With everything on the line, on 4th and 2, Driskel got rocked for an 11 yard loss. The Broncos still had all 3 timeouts. On 2nd and 5 from the pittsburgh 31, Connor broke free for a 59 yard gain. That allowed Pittsburgh to run out the clock. 26-21 Steelers

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles — The Eagles fumbled on the third play from scrimmage and the Rams began with a short field at the Philadelphia 41 yard line. Jared Goff hit Cooper Kupp for a 24 yard gain and Tyler Higbee for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Rams. The Eagles did move from their own 30 to a 3rd and 6 at the Rams 22. Carson Wentz then threw a West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass that gained only 2 yards. Elliott hit the 38 yard field goal to get the Eagles on the board, but after that the Rams took over. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, Goff hit Jefferson for gains of 10 and 8. On 3rd and 3 from midfield, Goff hit Kupp for 5 and then 19 more and then found Jefferson for 21. Robert Woods ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Rams. In the second quarter the Rams got it back at their own 20. Goff hit Higbee for 13, Henderson for 12 and Higbee again for 6. Kupp took an end around for 15 yards and Goff hit Reynolds for 20. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Goff hit Higbee for the touchdown to make it 21-3 Rams.

The Eagles tried to get back in the game after a touchback. went hit Reagor for 16 and ran for 7 more. Runs and short passes led to 2nd and goal at the 7. Wentz threw incomplete but unnecessary roughness on the defense meant 1st and goal at the 3. Wentz snuck for a one yard touchdown to get the Eagles within 21-9. Doug Pederson went for the 2 point conversion and it didn’t work. With one minute left in the half and the Rams in total control, the Eagles punted on 4th and 5 from their own 38. Kupp fumbled the punt and the Eagles recovered at the Rams 11. Miles Sanders ran for 6 and then for the 5 yard touchdown as the Eagles only trailed by 21-16 at halftime. In the third quarter the Eagles moved from their own 14 on a 12 play, 63 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. On 1st and 10 from the  Rams 21, Wentz went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. With the Rams facing 4th and 1 at their own 29, Sean McVay went crazy and decided to go for it. Goff gained 2 yards. The Rams moved all the way to a 2nd and goal at the 2, but an offensive holding penalty killed the drive. Sam Sloman hit a 30 yard field goal to put the Rams up 24-16. After a touchback, the Eagles moved 60 yards in 13 plays and  minutes. Looking to tie the game on 2nd and 8 from the Rams 15, Wentz threw incomplete twice. Eliott hit from 33 as the Eagles were within 24-19.

After a touchback, Henderson ran for a 40 yard gain. Goff then hit Higbee for a 28 yard touchdown. With 11 minutes left in regulation he Rams led 31-19. The Eagles moved from their own 12 to a 4th and 2 at the Rams 36. Wentz threw incomplete. Henderson gained 2 and 11. Woods and Brown both added 5 more. Goff ran for 10. On 3rd and 9 from the Philly 30, Goff went deep to Henderson for a 28 yard gain. Darrell Henderson ran for a 2 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked but it didn’t matter. Wentz was soon intercepted and Philaldephia was now an 0-2 team. 37-19 Rams

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets  — On the firs play from scrimmage, Raheem Mostert raced for an 80 yard touchdown. 17 seconds into the game, and the 49ers led 7-0. The Jets eventually moved from their own 39 to a 1st and 10 at the San Francisco 49ers 18. Former 49ers standout Frank Gore is now with the Jets, and he lost 2 yards. Then Sam Dranold was sacked for a 6 yard loss. On 3rd and 18, Adam Gase inspired the entire football world by calling for a running play that gained 3 yards. Sam Ficken hit the 41 yard field goal to get the Jets on the board. The drive came at a heavy cost for the 49ers defense. Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas left the game injured. Bosa was carted off on a stretcher and the injury to his leg looked bad. He might be out for the season.

The 49ers offense kept moving. Mostert had a 67 yard touchdown run called back by offensive holding, but it didn’t matter. On 2nd and 16 from their own 27, Garoppolo hit Coleman for 18. The second quarter began with the 49ers facing 3rd and 9 at the Jets 42. Garoppolo hit Jordan Reed for 11 and Mostert for 10. On 3rd and 8 from the Jets 20, Garoppolo hit Reed for the score to make it 14-3 49ers .The 14 play, 67 yard drive took almost 9 minutes off the clock. The Jets took over at their own 25 and embarked on an 11 play, 55 yard drive that took over 6 minutes. On 3rd and 1 from the San Francisco 20, Gore got stopped. Adam Gase went for it on 4th and 1 and Adams got stopped. With 3 minutes left in the half, the 49ers faced 3rd and 3 from their own 27. Gaoppolo hit Kevin Bourne for 18 and Reed for 8. On 3rd and 2 from the Jets 47, Garoppolo hit Taylor for 9. With one minute left in the half on 3rd and 8 from the Jets 36, Garoppolo threw incomplete. However, roughing the passer kept the drive going. With 11 seconds left, the 49ers faced 3rd and goal at the 4. Garoppolo hit Reed for the touchdown. The 13 play, 80 yard drive had the 49ers up 21-3 at halftime.

The second half was a formality. In the third quarter Robbie Gould hit a 46 yard field goal to make it 24-3 49ers. An interception of Garoppolo set up the Jets at the Frisco 22. On 3rd and goal at the 7, Darnold threw incomplete. Needing 3 touchdowns, Adam Gase surrendered an went with a field goal. Sam Ficken hit from 25 and the Jets trailed 24-6. In the fourth quarter from their own 25, Garoppolo was out of the gam injured. Nick Mullens hit Bourne for 24and Aiyuk for 13. after a roughing the passer penalty, Jerick McKinnon ran for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 31-6 49ers. The Jets did get a garbage touchdown very late. Despite the win, Kyle Shanahan had to figure out how to salvage the rest of the season with injuries devastating his team. 31-13 49ers

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins — A heavy rain made for horrendous conditions for the few fans allowed to attend. After an exchange of punts the Bills took over at their own 3 yard line. Josh Allen went to Stefan Diggs for 25 yards. On 3rd and 10 from their own 29, Allen hit John Brown for 15 and then ran for 16 more. Allen then went deep to Cole Beasley for 26 and back to Diggs for 8 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Miami 6, Allen hit Beasley for 5 and then went to Gilliam for the one yard touchdown. The 11 play, 97 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive made it 7-0 Bills. After a touchback, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s beard hit Ford and Gaskin for a pair of 13 yard gains. On 3rd and 1 from the Buffalo 37, Matt Breida ran for 9 yards. Fitzpatrick went deep to Williams for 26 yards down to the 2 yard line. Fitzpatrick then went to Parker for the score and a 7-7 ballgame.

One play after a touchback, Allen connected with Knox for a 38 yard gain. However, Knox fumbled and the Dolphins took over. The Bills got it back at their own 16 as the rain ended and the sun came out. On 3rd and 5 from their own 21, Allen hit Beasley for 11 and then went deep to McKenzie for a 46 yard gain. Allen then went deep to Diggs for a 22 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Bills. Buffalo got it back at their own 6 yard line and carved up the Miami defense. Moss gained 3, 14, 6 and 4. Allen went to Diggs for 16 and Singletary gained 18. The drive stalled at the Miami 28, but Bass hit a 39 yard field goal. The 13 play, 73 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive had the Bills up 17-7 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.

With 33 seconds left in the half, the Dolphins took over at their own 25. Gaskin ran for 14 and Fitzpatrick hit Matt Gesicki for 27. Jason Sanders nailed a 52 yard field goal to get the Dolphins within 17-10 at halftime. After a lengthy delay due to a lightning storm, the Dolphins took over after a touchback. Fitzpatrick hit Gesicki for 12 and Parker for 20. On 2nd and 1 from the Buffalo 19, Gaskin gained 13 but an illegal block killed the drive. Sanders hit a 45 yard field goal to get the Dolphins within 17-13. The Dolphins got it back at their own 14 and moved 85 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 1st and goal at the one, Jordan Howard got stopped. Then Fitzpatrick got stopped. Then Fitzpatrick threw incomplete. Brian Flores decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the one. Fitzpatrick threw incomplete. The goal line stand fired up the Bills defense, but the offense would not help them. A short punt gave it right back to the Dolphins at the Buffalo 44 to start the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick hit Ford for 11. On 3rd and 2 from the Buffalo 21, Fitzpatrick hit Ford for 3. Gaskin ran for 9 and 2. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Howard got in. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the Dolphins had come all the way back to lead 20-17.

After a touchback, Allen went deep to Digs for a 47 yard gain. Anoffensive penalty and a sack had the Bills facing 2nd and 24 at the Miami 42. Allen went deep to Beasley for the 24 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Allen hit Gabriel Davis for the score. With 6 minutes left, the Bills led 24-20. The Dolphins went 3 and out and the Bills got it back at their own 29. On 2nd and 7, Allen went deep to Diggs for 21 yards. With 3 minutes left, on 3rd and 9 from the Miami 46, Allen went to Brown for the touchdown. The extra point had the Bills up 31-20. Fitzpatrick did throw an 8 yard touchdown to Gesicki and a 2 point conversion to Williams with 49 seconds left. Yet the insides kick failed and the Dolphins had another loss. 31-28 Bills

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts — The Vikings began at their own 22 and embarked on a 13 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 3, Kirk Cousins threw high over the middle and out of the end zone. Dan Bailey hit the 21 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Vikings. The second quarter was all Colts. The Vikings punted on 4th and 5 from their own 10. A short punt had the Colts taking over at the Minnesota 35. Philip Rivers hit Pittman for 16 and 9. Taylor ran for 5 and then 5 more for the touchdown to make it 7-3 Colts. With 5 minutes left in the half and facing 3rd and 7 from their own 5, Kirk Cousins was sacked in the end zone for a safety and a 9-3 Colts lead. After the free kick the Colts took over at their own 32. On 3rd and 5 from their own 37, Rivers hit Alie-Cox for 14 and again for 33 more. TY Hilton dropped a touchdown bomb. On 3rd and 4 from the Minnesota 10, Rivers threw incomplete. Blankenship hit the 28 yard field goal to make it 12-3 Colts. With 45 seconds left in the half on 3rd and 10 from their own 25, Cousins was intercepted. Willis returned the intercepted 43 yards to the Minnesota 29. On 4th and 1 from the 20, Frank Reich decided not to gamble. Blankenship hit from 38 as the Colts took a 15-3 lead to the locker rooms.

The second half was pointless. An interception of Cousins in the third quarter set up the Colts a the Minnesota 22. Blankenship hit his fourth field goal from 38 yards out to make it 18-3 Colts. The Colts got it back and moved 65 yards in 1- plays and 6 1/2 minutes. One minute into the fourth quarter, Rivers hit Zach Pascal for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 25-3 Colts. Blankenship hit his fifth field goal from 44 yards out to make it 28-3 Colts. Minnesota did get a garbage touchdown, but the Vikings are un uncharacteristic 0-2. Mike Zimmer teams are not used to getting pushed around on both sides of the ball. Philip Rivers got his first win leading the Colts. 28-11 Colts

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers — After last week’s epic fourth quarter collapse, the Lions were expected to get blown out by the Packers. On the opening drive from their own 25, the Lions moved the ball easily. Matthew Stafford hit MARVIN jones for 5 yards and TJ Hockenson for 29 more. A defensive facemark had the lions at the Green Bay 22. Johnson ripped off gains of 4, 7 and 4 down to the one and then got the last yard to make it 7-0 Lions. The Packers went on a 12 plat, 50 yard, 5 minute drive. Yet on 2nd and 3 from the Detroit 25, Aaron Rodgers threw incomplete twice. Mason Crosby hit from 43 to get the Packers within 7-3. The Lions soon faced 3rd and 1 from their own 34 and Adrian Peterson gained 5. On 3rd and 2 from their own 47, Stafford gained 4. Stafford hit swift for 14 and Petrson gained 25. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Stafford hit Jones for the touchdown to end the first quarter with the Lions up 14-3.

The game changed in the second quarter. On 2nd and 6 from their own 29, Rodgers threw incomplete but defensive holding meant a new set of downs. Jones ran for 5 and caught a pass from Rodgers for 22 more. Rodgers then went to Devontae Adams for 11, Ervin for 4 and Lazard for 10. Jones ran for 5 and 2. on 3rd and 3 from the Detroit 7, Rodgers went to Jones for the score tog et the Packers within 14-10. With one minute left in the half, the Packers took over at their own 38. Rodgers threw incomplete but unnecessary roughness gave the Packers 15 yards. Rodgers then went to Adams for 8, and another defensive personal foul for a horsecollar tackle meant 15 more free yards. Rodgers then went to Tonyan for the 11 yard touchdown with 14 seconds left in the half to make it 17-14 Packers. 14 seconds was enough time for the Lions to get in position for a 57 yard Matt Prater field goal try, but it was no good. On the first play of the third quarter after a touchback, Jones ran up the gut for a 75 yard touchdown. The Packers led 24-14. The Lions took over at their own 5 yard line. Stafford threw a short pass that was intercepted by Sullivan for a 7 touchdown. The Packers led 31-14 as Matt Patricia contemplated whether to clean out his desk before or after the game ended. The Packers got it back and moved 69 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. On 1st and 10 from the Detroit 17, Rodgers threw 3 straight incompletions. Crosby hit from 35 as 31 straight points had the Packers cruising 34-14. Stafford did hit Hall for a 24 yard touchdown with 13 minutes remaining, but it was too little, too late. Jones ran for a 14 yard touchdown and Williams added a 2 point conversion to complete the blowout. 42-21 Packers

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys — Dak Prescott got hit and fumbled and the Falcons recovered at the Dallas 22. One play later Matt Ryan went deep to Calvin Ridley for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Falcons. The Cowboys moved from their own 13 to a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 46. Then Ezekiel Elliott fumbled and the Falcons recovered at their own 48. On 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 47, Matty Ice got just enough. On the next play Ryan went deep to Hurst for a 42 yard touchdown and a 14-0 Falcons lead. Mike McCarthy then on 4th and 4 from his own 29 gambled on a fake punt that didn’t work. The Cowboys defense held but Koo kicked a 42 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Falcons. The Cowboys got it back at their own 32 and immediately fumbled the ball away again. This time it was receiver Sschultz who coughed it up. The Falcons had another short field at the Dallas 40. Koo would hit a 27 yard field goal as the Falcons had a shocking 20-0 first quarter lead on the road. The Mike McCarthy era was off to a miserable start as Jerry Jones again contemplated blowing up Jerryworld for the insurance money.

The Cowboys tried to make a game of it in the second quarter. Prescott hit Amari Cooper for 11 and See Dee Lamb for 9. Elliott ran for 10. On 3rd and 3 from the Atlanta 9, Elliott gained 7, one more, and then the last yard to get the Cowboys on the board down 20-7. Yet after moving 75 yards in 11 plays, the Falcons responded 75 yards in 12 plays. Ryan went to Calvin Ridley for 25 yards to midfield. On 4th and 1 from the Dallas 41, Dan Quinn decided to go for it. Smith gained 2. A defensive penalty for lowering the head to initiate contact had the Falcons in the red zone. On 3rd and 2 from the Dallas 11, Ryan hit gage for 4. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Ryan hit Ridley for the score. A questionable decision to go for 2 failed, but the Falcons led 26-7 with 6 minutes left in the half.

The Cowboys after a touchback moved to a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 17. Yet penalties for offensive holding and a false start killed the drive. Greg Zuerlein hit a 33 yard field goal to get the Cowboys within 26-10 with 1:48 left in the half. Yet the Falcons from their own 21 responded again. Ryan hit Gage for 14 and Ridley for 11. On 1st and 5 from the Dallas 47, Ryan went deep to Ridley for 24 yards. With 16 seconds left in the half from the Dallas 23, Ryan threw incomplete twice. Koo hit his third field goal from 41 yards out to put the Falcons up 29-10 at halftime.

The Cowboys again tried to close the gap in the third quarter. From their own 26, Elliott ran for 10. On 3rd and 6 from their own 40, Prescott went deep to Lamb for 37 yards. and to Schultz for 18 more. Prescott ran for the 2 yard touchdown to get the Cowboys within 29-17. Dan  Quinn went to his bag of tricks and called a halfback option pass to an open Julio Jones in the end zone. Jones dropped it. Instead of a 36-17 Falcons lead, the Cowboys got it back at their own 17. Prescott hit Elliott for 8 and then went deep to Cooper for a 58 yard gain. Elliott ran for 9 and one. On 1st and goal at the 7, Prescott got rocked. The roughing the passer call made it 1st and goal at the one, but Prescott left the game. The fans held their breath as Jerry Jones aged to 150 before our eyes. Red Rifle Andy Dalton came in for a couple plays. Jones was back to being in his 70s when Prescott returned to the game. On 3rd and goal at the one, he snuck it over himself to get the Cowboys within 29-24 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 30. Ryan hit Hurst for 22 yards. On 4th and 2 from the Dallas 40, Dan Quinn decided to go for it. Ryan hit Julio Jones for 19. Ryan hit Gage for an 8 yard touchdown as the Falcons led 36-24 less than one minute into the fourth quarter. The Cowboys moved from their 24 to a 4th and 5 at their own 40. Again Mike McCarthy called a fake punt and again it didn’t work. The Falcons took over at the Dallas 43. On 3rd and 8, Ryan hit Gage for 12. On 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 26, Ryan hit Ridley for 14. On 3rd and 6 from the Dallas 8, Ryan threw incomplete. A touchdown would have certainly put the game away. Instead Koo hit a 32 yard field field goal. Midway through the fourth quarter the Falcons led 39-24. The game was basically over barring an epic collapse.

The Cowboys soon faced 3rd and 4 from their own 31. Prescott hit Bell for 24 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Atlanta 42, Prescott hit Lamb for 12. With 5 minutes left in regulation, Prescott hit Schultz for a 10 yard touchdown. Mike McCarthy inexplicably went for a 2 point conversion. It failed. The Cowboys were down 39-30 and basically dead in the water. The Cowboys got it bucket their own 24 with 2:52 to play and needing 2 scores. Prescott hit Cooper for 11. On 3rd and 2 from their own 43, Prescott hit Lamb for 14. Prescott then went deep to Michael Gallup for a 38 yard gain. Prescott ran for a one yard touchdown. The Cowboys were within 39-37 but only 1:49 remained. All the Falcons had to do was recover the onside kick. A perfectly executed onside kick had the Cowboys recover at their own 46. Prescott went to Lamb for 24 yards. With 5 seconds left, Zuerlein came in for a 46 yard field goal try to win it. Zuerlein was good. The Falcons led the entire 59 minutes and 55 seconds of the game. Then they lost in a comeback for the ages. This was not as bad as he Falcons 28-3 meltdown in the Super Bowl or even their fourth quarter collapse in the 1980 playoffs against Danny White’s Cowboys, but it was still another maddening loss in a franchise used to losing. Last week Ryan threw for 450 yards in a loss. This week he was 24 of 36 for 273 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in another loss. Mike McCarthy go his first win as Cowboys coach despite himself. Prescott was 34 of 47 for 450 yards, one touchdown and 0 interceptions. 40-39 Cowboys

New York Giants at Chicago Bears — Saquon Barkley left the game early with an injury, turning the Giants from a team lacking in talent to completely lacking in talent. From their own 18 to start, the Bears made it look easy. On 3rd and 5, Mitchell Trubisky hit Allen Robinson for 17. On 2nd and 16 from their own 34, Trubisky hit Tariq Cohen for 15. On 3rd and 1, Cohen out of the shotgun, gained 5. On 3rd and 2 from the Giants 38, Montgomery gained 7. On 3rd and 7 from the Giants 28, Trubisky went to Montgomery for the touchdown. The 12 play, 82 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive had the Bears up 7-0. On 3rd and 6 from their own 25, Daniel Jones was sacked, and as he often does, fumbled. The Bears recovered at the Giants 20. The Giants defense held but Cairo Santos hit a 34 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Bears. The Giants moved from their own 23 to a 3rd and 8 from the Bears 29 in the second quarter. Jones was then intercepted. The Bears got it back at their own 20 and Trubisky hit Robinson for 14, Mooney for 16 and Kmet for 12. On 3rd and 7 from the Giants 29, Trubisky hit Wims for 12. On 3rd and 8 from the Giants 15, Trubisky hit Mooney for the touchdown. With only 14 seconds left in the half, the Bears led 17-0. 14 seconds was enough time for the Giants to move from their 25 to the Chicago 39, but Graham Gano’s 57 yard field goal try was no good.

The Bears are not that good, but the Giants are that bad. Yet an interception of Trubisky set up the Giants at the Chicago 25. The Giants offense did nothing with the ball, but Gano hit from 39 to get the Giants within 17-3. Late in the third quarter the Giants took over at their own 5 yard line. On 3rd and 3 from their 12, Jones hit Lewis for 11, Golden Tate for 20, and Board for 12. Unnecessary roughness added 15 more. The fourth quarter began with the Giants facing 3rd and goal at the one. Jones threw incomplete and Joe Judge decided to go for it. On 4th and goal at the one, Lewis got in to get the Giants within 17-10. An interception of Trubisky set up the Giants at heir own 34. Jones had an interception returned for a Chicago touchdown, but defensive pass interference saved the Giants. Midway through the fourth quarter the Giants had 1st and 10 at the Chicago 19. Jones threw incomplete 3 straight times. Gano hit the 37 yard field goal and the Giants were within 4 points.

The Bears took over at their own 24 and bled much of the clock. With 2:02 to play Santos came in for a 50 yard field goal to extend the lead. The kick was no good. The Giants faced 3rd and 10 from their own 40. Jones hit Engram for 22. With 45 seconds left, the Giants faced 4th and 4 at the Chicago 32. Jones hit Lewis for 6 yards. With 21 seconds left the Giants faced 4th and 1 at the Chicago 17. Jones hit Slayton for 3. With 8 seconds left on 2nd and 10 from the Chicago 14, the Giants had 2 shots to win it. Rather than throw to the end zone, Jones inexplicably threw a 4 yard pass. With 4 seconds left on 3rd and 6 from the Chicago 10, Jones threw to the end zone incomplete. The Giants thought it was defensive pass interference, but it was actually offensive pass interference. There was defensive pass interference as well, but that was not called. The game was over as the Bears became the worst 2-0 team in some time. 17-13 Bears

Washington Riveras at Arizona Cardinals — Both teams had come from behind wins last week. This one was a blowout from the start. A field position game had the Cardinals taking over at the Washington 48 only 90 seconds into the game. On 3rd and 2 from the Washington 40, Kyler Murray gained 13. On 3rd and 3 from the Washington 20, Murray hit Deandre Hopkins for 12. On 3rd and goal from the 4, Murray hit Hopkins for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Cardinals. Late in the first quarter the Cardinals had another short field at the Washington 40. Murray ran for 7 and hit Hopkins for 8. On 3rd and 4 from the Washigon 19, Murray hit Larry Fitzgerald for 5 and then ran for a 14 yard touchdown on the last play of the first quarter to make it 14-0 Cardinals. Zane Gonzalez hit field goals of 49 and 33 in the second quarter as the Cardinals led 20-0 at halftime and coasted the rest of the way.

The No-Names managed a field goal late in the third quarter, but this game was never in doubt. A 12 play, 75 yard drive was capped with the Cardinals facing 2nd and 19 from the Washington 21. Murray raced all over the defense like a pinball and scored to make it 27-3 Cardinals. The No-Names did manage a pair of touchdowns and failed 2 point conversions to get within 27-15 with 6 1/2 minutes remaining, but no closer. An 11 play, 74 yard drive killed the clock. By the time Gonzalez hit a 28 yard field goal, only 26 seconds remained. The Cardinals are a 2-0 football team, and they are for real. 30-15 Cardinals

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers — Tyrod Taylor was supposed to start as rookie Justin Herbert would watch and learn from the sideline. The Chargers won last week but in pregame warmups, Taylor somehow suffered an injury. Herbert started his very first NFL game. From their own 21, Austin Ekeler ran for a pair of 9 yard gains. Herbert then found Kelley for 35 yards. Herbert went to Ekeler for 16 and then ran for the 4 yard touchdown himself as the Chargers had the surprising 7-0 lead. The Chargers defense was surprisingly good against the defending champions. In the second quarter the Chiefs finally moved the ball for their own 27. Patrick Mahomes hit Williams for 12. Thompson ran for 14 and 3. On 3rd and 7 from the Chargers 44, Mahomes scrambled for 15. On 3rd and 5 from the Chargers 24, Mahomes ran for 10. Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a 10 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked as the Chiefs trailed 7-6.

The Chargers took over at their own 29. Ekeler ran for 13. On 3rd and 2 from midfield, Herbert only gained one. With a rookie quarterback in his very first NFL game, Anthony Lynn decided t go for it on 4th and 1 just past midfield. Kelley got the yard. Herbert then hit Ekeler for 22. Ekeler gained 7 and 9 on the ground. On 3rd and goal from the 14, Herbert hit Jalen Guyton for the touchdown. Herbert became the first quarterback since 1954 to run for a touchdown and throw for a touchdown in the first half of his first NFL start. The Chargers led 14-6. In the third quarter from their own 20, the Chargers moved 57 yards in 12 plays. On 3rd and 7 from the Chiefs 23, Herbert threw incomplete. Michael Badgley hit the 41 yard field goal. Midway through the third quarter, the Chargers led 17-6 and trying to close out the upset of the year.

Mahomes moved the Chiefs after a touchback to a 2nd and 7 at the Chargers 32. A false start was followed b a 13 yard sack of Mahomes. On 4th and 15 from the Chargers 40, Walrus Andy Reid brought in Harrison Butker for a 58 yard field goal try. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, Butker leveled it and the Chiefs were within 17-9. The Chargers moved from their own 16 to a 2nd and 2 at the Chiefs 39 as the third quarter was ending. Herbert was playing very well, but he finally blundered. Again, this was his very first NFL game. He had a running lane and would have easily picked up another first down. Instead he went for it all and threw into triple coverage and was intercepted. The Chiefs took over at their own 5 yard line to stat the fourth quarter. On 3rd and 4 from their 11, Mahomes hit Sammy Watkins for 11 and Mike Hardman for 22. Mahomes went to Tyreek Hill for a 54 yard touchdown bomb. Mahomes then went to Hardman for the 2 point conversion. With 13 minutes left in regulation, the game was tied 17-17.

Those expecting the Chargers to fold were stunned as Herbert led the drive of the year. From the Chargers 13, Herbert hit keeper for 7. Ekeler ran for 7 more. On 3rd and 1 from their own 36, Herbert gained 2. A completion to Hunter Henry gained 19. Pm 3rd and 8 from the Chiefs 31, Herber threw incomplete but roughing the passer meant 15 more yards. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 4, Herbert threw incomplete. After a staggering 17 plays, 82 yard and 10 1/2 minutes, the Chargers settled for a 23 yard Badly field goal and a 20-17 lead. Yet 2 1/2 minutes still remained. After a touchback, Mahomes went to Kelce for 11 and Hill for 16. On 3rd and 20 from the Chargers 45, Mahomes ran for 21 yards. With 10 seconds left the Chiefs had 1st and 10 a he Chargers 13. Yet h defense held. Butker hit the 30 yard field goal and the gam went to overtime tied 20-20.

The Chargers won the toss but on 3rd and 7 from their own 28, Herbert hit Williams for only 6. On 4th and 1 from his own 34, Anthony Lynn decided not to go for it. The Chiefs took over at their own 21 but the rest was inevitable. On 3rd and 8 from their own 36, Mahomes threw incomplete but the defense jumped offside. On 3rd and 3, Mahomes ran for 4. On 4th and 1 from the Chargers 46, Andy Reid went for it. Thompson gained 2. On 4th and 1 from the Chargers 35 at the 2 minute warning, Butker came in for a 53 yard field goal to win it. The kick was good but a false start now made it a 58 yard try. He made it again but the Chargers called timeout before the kick. On his third attempt from 58, Butker was good again. It was a gut wrenching loss for the Chargers and another tough win for the champions, making Andy Reid a most happy and relieve Walrus indeed. 23-20 Chiefs, OT

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans — Baltimore jumped all over Houston from the start. In the first quarter the Ravens moved from their 13 to a 1st and 10 at the Houston 19. On 3rd and 9, Lamar Jackson hit Mark Ingram for only 4 yards. Justin Tucker hit the 32 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Ravens. On the last play of the first quarter, Bill O’Brien decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 34. Deshaun watson threw incomplete. With the short field to start the second quarter, Jackson hit Ingram for 18, and Boyle for 11, and Patrick Ricard for a one yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Ravens.

After a touchback, Watson hit Akins and Coutee for a pair of 6 yard gains. On 2nd and 8 from their own 39, Watson hit Darren Fells for 13 and Brandon Cooks for 38 yards. Watson hit Fells for the 10 yard touchdown to get the Texans within 10-7. From the Baltimore 21, Jackson hit Duvernay for 19. On 3rd and 9 just past midfield, Jackson went to Brown for 25. On 2n and 7 from the Houston 21, Jackson threw incomplete twice. Tucker hit from 39 as the Ravens led 13-7. The Texans took over at their own 17 and disaster struck immediately. A fumble was returned by LJ Fort for a 22 yard defensive touchdown and a 20-7 Ravens lead. Kaimi Fairbairn did hit a 44 yard field goal for the Texans to end the half, but Tucker responded from 47 to make it 23-10 Ravens with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. The 14 play, 60 yard drive to set up Tucker took 8 1/2 minutes off of the clock.

After a touchback, the Texans moved 58 yards in 14 plays and took 6 1/2 minutes off of the clock. Yet ball control is not helpful when you’re losing, especially when you don’t finish the drive. Fairbairn began the fourth quarter hitting a 35 yard field goal, but the Texans still trailed 23-13. After a touchback Baltimore quickly turned out the lights. Jackson ran for 14 and hit Willie Snead for 22. On 4th and 1 from the Houston 30, John Harbaugh decided to go for it. Ingram did the rest, getting the first down and the touchdown for a 30-13 ravens lead with 12 minutes left in regulation. Fairbairn managed a third field goal from 45 yards out, but it was not nearly enough. With 6 1/2 minutes left, John Harbaugh gambled on 4th and 1 from his own 36. Jackson gained 2. Tucker hit a 20 yard field goal to put the game out of reach. 33-16 Ravens

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks is the Sunday night game. These teams will always be linked by their Super Bowl 6 years ago. Yet recent events loomed large for the Patriots. Running back James White was inactive for the game after receiving a phone call the day before about a tragic car accident. His father was killed and his mother was in the hospital. Robert Kraft offered to immediately fly White on his private jet to see his mother, but White refused. He wanted to fly back with the entire team to help with the grieving process. Bill Belichick was also grieving the loss of his 98 year old mother earlier in the week. Yet as Belichick constantly says, next man up. This was also the first game since Kraft bought the team in 1994 that he was not at the game. After 465 games, he stayed home in New England rather than travel to Seattle as a precaution in the era of COVID. Also, Kraft is Jewish and most likely did not travel because of Rosh Hashanah.

The Seahawks got the ball first and disaster struck almost immediately. A short pass from Russell Wilson caromed right off of the receiver’s hands and was intercepted by Devin McCourty. McCourty strolled untouched for a 42 yard interception return touchdown and a 7-0 Patriots lead 80 seconds into the game. On Seattle next series they suffered an illegal blindside block penalty that had them facing 1st and 25 at their own 43. Wilson then found Tyler Lockett for 16 and on 3rd and 9 ran for a 23 yard gain down to the New England 18. On 3rd and 1 from the 9, Chris Carson gained 5. Wilson scrambled and fired over the middle to Lockett for a 3 yard touchdown to cap the 13 play, 75 yard, 8 minute drive. The game was tied 7-7, and the Patriots would finally get a chance to receive the ball on offense.

The Patriots moved to a 4th and 3 at the Seattle 30. Bill Belichick decided to go for it. Cam Newton fired over the middle to Harry, who got blasted by Diggs. Harry somehow held onto the ball for a first down. Meanwhile, Diggs was called for a flagrant personal foul for a helmet to helmet hit and disqualified from the game. The second quarter began with the Patriots facing 2nd and goal at the 6. Newton ran for a 5 yard gain. Out of the shotgun on 3rd and goal at the one, Newton ran it in to make it 14-7 Patriots. Homer returned the kickoff from the goal line all the way to the Seattle 43. Wilson threw a 54 yard touchdown bomb to DK Metcalf for a 14-14 game. With 3:45 left in the half, a Nick Folk 51 yard field goal try for the Patriots was no good.

In the third quarter the Patriots moved to a 3rd and goal inside the 10. Cam Newton scrambled but was caught from behind. Folk hit the 25 yard chip shot to make it 17-14 Patriots. Wilson came back and went bombs away to David Moore for a 50 yard touchdown to make it 21-17 Seahawks midway through the third quarter.  Early in the game Newton threw a sideline route that Quentin Dunbar should have intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Yet Dunbar couldn’t haul it in and it fell incomplete. In the third quarter Dunbar again jumped a sideline route and this time intercepted Newton. Had he gotten up quickly enough he would have scored the other way, but the Seahawks settled for starting at their own 48 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. Wilson found Freddie Swain for a 21 yard touchdown as the Seahawks built a 28-17 lead with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.

Newton after a touchback went deep to Julian Edelman for a 49 yard gain. Newton then fired over the middle to Ryan Izzo for a 14 yard gain as the Patriots had 1st and 10 at the Seattle 12. The Patriots began the fourth quarter with 3rd and 1 at the Seattle 3. Newton gained 2. Newton went to Yakov Johnson for a one yard touchdown. 45 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Patriots were within 28-23. Newton’s attempt to run in the 2 point conversion failed. The Seahawks faced a 3rd and 7 New England 35. The Patriots sent an all out blitz and Wilson found his receiver for a 10 yard gain. Now for the Seahawks it was all about bleeding the clock. Again with a man in his face Wilson floated a pass to a wide open Chris Carson in the end zone for an 18 yard touchdown. With 4 1/2 minutes left, the Seahawks had a 35-23 cushion. Newton came back quickly with a deep bomb to Julian Edelman down to the Seattle one yard line. Newton ran it in as the Patriots got back to within 5 points with 2:16 to play. Both teams had all 3 timeouts.

Belichick opted to kick it deep rather than go onside. The Seahawks took over with 2:09 left at their own 22. Carson gained 6 and purposely slid down in bounds to get the clock to wind down to the 2 minute warning. Carson gained 3 more for a critical 3rd and 1 at the Seattle 31 as the Patriots took their first timeout with 1:55 left. Before the play, Seattle took a timeout on offense. Rather than run a conservative play, Pete Carroll went with a bomb that was just overthrown. The Seahawks punted and the Patriots took over at their own 19 with 1:42 left. Newton went to Harry for 13 and 17 more to the Seattle 48 as the clock ticked down to one minute. Newton ran for 13 and the Patriots took their second timeout with 39 seconds left. Newton threw a deep bomb incomplete but illegal contact on the defense kept the drive going. The Seahawks were lucky it was not defensive pass interference. Newton found Edelman for an 18 yard gain but Edelman was tackled inbounds. Newton did not call timeout or spike the ball. He set up and fired to the end zone to Edelman, but it was well defended incomplete with 9 seconds left. The Seahawks took their second timeout on defense as both teams had one left. Newton fired to Edelman for a 12 yard gain. The Patriots took their final timeout with 3 seconds left.

The ball was on the one yard line. The only thing we knew was that Marshawn Lynch was not getting the ball and Malcolm Butler was not intercepting it. Everyone was expecting Newton to run it as the Seahawks took their final timeout. One play. One yard. Out of the shotgun, Newton ran for it and tried to leap in the air. He was blown up in the backfield. The goal line stand was the difference. Newton finished 30 of 44 for 397 yards and one touchdown in addition to 47 yards rushing and 2 more touchdowns on the ground. Wilson was 21 of 28 for 288 yards and 5 touchdown passes. Wilson also ran for 39 yards. Both quarterbacks threw one interception. A Super Bowl rematch would be a blockbuster. 35-30 Seahawks

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders was the Monday night game. The very first game at Allegiant Stadium, known as the Death Star, was played without fans. Mark Davis missed his first Raiders game since 1963 out of COVID concerns. Carol Davis lit the Al Davis torch. Then it was time for football. As expected, the Saints jumped all over the Raiders as Sean Payton and Drew Brees took advantage of the Raiders secondary. The Saints moved 62 yards in 11 plays. However, on 3rd and 3 from the Raiders 13, Brees threw incomplete. Wil Lutz hit the 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Saints. The Raiders went backward and the Saints took over at their own 22. Latavius Murray ran for 4 and Alvin Kamala gashed the Raiders for gains of 13 and 21. On 3rd and 8 from the Raiders 33, Brees hit Smith for 29 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Kamala got in to make it 10-0 Saints.

The Raiders offense finally got going in the second quarter from their own 37. Carr hit Josh Jacobs for 9. On 3rd and 1 from their 46, Carr hit Jason Witten for 3. On 3rd and 1 from the Saints 42, Carr hit Darren Waller for 9. On 2nd and 12 from the Saints 35, Carr threw incomplete but defensive holding meant a new set of downs. Carr then hit Waller for a pair of 13 yard gains and Alec Ingold for a 3 yard touchdown to get the Raiders on the board down 10-7. The Saints got it back at their own 24. Brees hit Kamala for 16, murray for 10, Smith for 25 and Trautman for 17. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Brees hit Jared Cook for the touchdown. The Saints led 17-7, and appeared on their way to an easy win.

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 30. Carr found nelson Agholor for 19 and Hunter Renfrow for 15 more. On 3rd and 10 from the Saints 36, Carr hit Edwards for 20. On 3rd and 9 from the Saints 15, Carr hit Jones for the touchdown. With 1:44 left in the half, the Raiders were within 17-14. The offense was doing well, but the defense had let Brees torch them. The Saints took over at their own 25 and faced 1st and 10 at their own 38 with 45 seconds left in the half. Brees threw over the middle and was intercepted by Morrow. The Raiders took over at the Saints 40. On 3rd and 1 from the Saints 31, Carr hit Ingold for 2 and Waller for 12. With 9 seconds left in the half, the Raiders faced 3rd and 2 at the Saints 9. Carr threw incomplete. Daniel Carlson hit the 28 yard field goal and the game was tied 17-17 at the break.

The Raiders began the third quarter facing 3rd and 6 at their own 29. Carr threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 20 yard gain. Carr hit Waller for 10 and went deep to Foster Moreau for a 31 yard gain. On 2nd and goal at the one, Jacobs got stopped. He even briefly lost the ball and was lucky to get it back. On 3rd and goal at the one, Carr fumbled the snap. The Raiders were saved when Ingold fell on it. Jon Gruden decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the one. With everyone expecting a run up the gut, Carr found a wide open Waller in the flat for the touchdown. The Raiders had the stunning 24-17 lead. The Raiders were winning the time of possession battle and Jon Gruden’s decision to defer at the start of the game was looking less crazy than at the start of the game. Long drives by the Raiders to end the first half and start the second half kept Brees cooling his heels on the sideline and tired out the Saints defense.

The Saints after a touchback came out firing as Brees hit Kamala for 20 and hill for 16. Yet then the Saints self-destructed under a hail of penalties that had them facing 2nd and 31. They punted and the Raiders got the ball back. The Raiders mounted another long drive. On 3rd and 3 from their own 20, Carr hit Waller for 6. Roughing the passer added 15 more and Jacobs added 14. On 3rd and 1 from the Saints 44, Jacobs got stopped. Jon Gruden decided to go for it on 4th and 1 and Jacobs gained 2 as the third quarter ended. The Raiders had all the momentum. They began the fourth quarter facing 3rd and 2 at the Saints 34. They were in long field goal range. The question was if they could finally put a game away. Las week they gave up a 12 point fourth quarter lead. This time, driving to extend the lead, Jalen Richard fumbled a pitchout and the Saints recovered at their own 40.

Raider fans have seen this nightmare before, but Paul Guenther’s much maligned defense showed a ton of heart. On 3rd and 7 from the Raiders 47, Brees threw incomplete. The Raiders took over at their own 11. Carr went to waller for 18 and 2. Jacobs was pulled down by a horsecollar tackle to give the Raiders 15 more yards. On 3rd and 9 from midfield, Carr found renfrow for 17 yards. sean Payton unsuccessfully challenged the catch. Jacobs ran for 13. On 3rd and 10 from the Saints 20, with the entire defense expecting a pass, Richard took another pitchout. He more than atoned for his previous fumble by getting the first down, breaking through tackles, and racing for the touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, 24 unanswered points had the Raiders leading in a shocker 31-17.

The question would be if the Raiders defense could finally close out a game. The Saints still had the pinball wizard on the other side. Harris returned the kickoff 35 yards to the Saints 33. Brees went to Harris for 9. Kamala ran for 8. On 3rd and 1 from the Raiders 41, Brees hit Harris for 9, Montgomery for 17 and Kamala for 12. Kamala ran for a 3 yard touchdown. The Saints were within 31-24, and a full 4 1/2 minutes remained. The defense did not close it out. It was up to the offense to finish the game.

The Raiders took over at their own 18 and Jacobs ripped off gains of 12, 2 and 3. With 2:14 to play, the Raiders faced 3rd and 5 at their own 35. A run would have been perfectly understandable. Instead Jon Gruden went high risk, high reward. A deep pass was incomplete and stopped the clock, but flags were everywhere. Defensive pass interference meant a 29 yard gain. Now their was 2:08 to play and the Saints were down to one timeout and the 2 minute warning. Three straight runs actually lost three yards but forced the Saints to use their timeouts. The Raiders took their last timeout on offense with 1:07 to play. The Raiders faced 4th and 10 at the Saints 36. A 54 yard field goal try was way too risky. A miss would give the Saints the ball at their own 44. At least a punt could force them to go the length of the field. Jon Gruden has a brass pair, and he brought out Carlson for the field goal try. Playing the conservative not to lose strategy in the very first game ever in Las Vegas was not in the cards for Gruden. Carlson came in.

He drilled it. Later tonight Carlson’s child will be born. So he now has 2 reasons to be given cigars. Both Brees and Carr threw 38 passes, with Brees completing 26 and Carr 28. Brees threw one touchdown and one interception. Carr threw 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Jacobs was a battering ram with 88 yards on 27 carries. In a stunner from past years, the Raiders had only 3 penalties for 13 yards. The Saints had 10 penalties for 129 yards. The Raiders held the ball for over 36 minutes to less than 24 minutes for the Saints. The Raiders are 2-0, and they just beat perhaps the best team in the league. 34-24 Raiders

NFL 2020 Week 2 Prequel

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

https://www.commdiginews.com/sports/nfl/nfl-2020-week-2-cdns-preview-and-bettors-guide-132437/?swcfpc=1

NFL 2020 Week 1 Recap

Sunday, September 13th, 2020

NFL 2020 Week 1 Recap

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs was the season opener Thursday night game. Chiefs Coach Andy Reid is no longer Walrus Lite. Seven months ago he finally won the Super Bowl and gave the Chiefs the championship 50 years after they won their first Super Bowl. With the win, Reid was upgraded to full walrus status along with Mike Holmgren, Jerry Reuss, Craig Stadtler, and pre-shave Ken Hitchcock.

Before the game there were the political controversies over the National Anthem. Since that has nothing to do with football, it shall be ignored here. Players said and did stuff. Then there were the issue of COVID and how the players would act. That has nothing to do with football, and will be ignored here. Consult your local politics or health blogs for stuff not directly related to the action on the football field. Walrus Andy Reid did look amusing in a full shield that fogged up, but when you are the defending Super Bowl champ, you get a pass.

Then they played football. Last year in the regular season the Texans went into Kansas City and shocked the Chiefs with a comeback win. In the playoffs the Texans stormed into Arrowhead and jumped to a 24-0 lead. Somehow, the Chiefs were winning by halftime as they outscored the Texans 51-7 the rest of the way. Patrick Mahomes is an Alien Life Form, possibly from Melmac. Melmacohomes moved the Chiefs from their own 35 to the Houston 36. Mahomes went deep for a touchdown only 4 minutes into the game. Yet on further review, the ball hit the ground incomplete. Mahomes was then sacked and the Chiefs actually had the punt. The Texans then moved 80 yards with ease. David Johnson ran for a 19 yard touchdown to give the Texans the 7-0 lead. Then reality set in.

After a touchback, the Chiefs faced 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Damien Williams gained only one yard. In the first quarter of the first game, Andy Reid turned from Mr. Conservative to Mr. Riverboat Gambler. When you win a Super Bowl, things change. On 4th and 1 from his own 34, Reid went for it and Sherman gained 2. After that the offense kept rolling. On 3rd and 4 from the Houston 6 less than one minute into the second quarter, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for the touchdown to tie the game. The Chiefs got the ball back at their own 9 yard line. Rather than go for the quick strike, Mahomes led a mind-numbing 16 play, 91 yard drive that consumed over 9 minutes off the clock. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Mahomes hit Sammy Watkins for the score to make it 14-7 Chiefs with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.

The Texans missed their best chance to make a game of it when Kaimi Fairbairn missed a 51 yard field goal try with 30 seconds left in the half. With only 22 seconds left from their own 41, Mahomes hit Sammy Watkins for 17 yards. An 11 yard completion to Kelce followed by a killer 15 yard horsecollar take on the defense led to a 29 yard Harrison Butker field goal and a 17-7 Chiefs advantage.

The second half was a formality. The Chiefs quickly moved 75 yards in the third quarter in an unexpected way. Pass-Happy Andy Reid actually has a running game. Not a runner who catches passes, but an actual running back who runs the ball. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for a 27 yard touchdown to make it 24-7 Chiefs. An interception of Deshaun Watson set the Chiefs up at the Houston 17. On 4th and 1 from the 8, Reid gambled again. Mahomes was intercepted, but defensive pass interference in the end zone was the final nail in Houston’s coffin. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for the touchdown to make it a 31-7 Chiefs blowout.

The entire fourth quarter was garbage time. The Texans did get a pair of late touchdowns to get within 31-20, but nothing more. With 2 1/2 minutes left a failed onside kick had the Chiefs at the Houston 20. On 4th and goal at the one with 30 seconds left, this time Reid played it safe. Butker hit the 19 yard field goal to complete the scoring. On the final play with the outcome not in doubt, Watson took a knee rather than risk everyone getting injured on a pointless Hail Mary or hook and lateral. Edwards finished with 138 yards on 25 carries. Mahomes only threw for 211 yards. Again, Andy Reid finally has a running game. He also bookended the last victory of the 2019 season with the first victory of the 2020 season, making him a most happy Walrus indeed. 34-20 Chiefs

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington non-Redskins — Washington is so bad, the team does not even have a name. From the Washington 46, Carson Wentz hit Desean Jackson for 29, Dallas Goedert for 12, and Zac Ertz for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Eagles. The Eagles got it back and moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 7 minutes. Yet a sack of Wentz in the red zone ended the drive. Elliott hit a 38 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Eagles. A 48 yard field goal try by Dustin Hopkins to get the Redskins on the board was no good. Philadelphia quickly capitalized. On 3rd and 7 from the Washington 44, Wentz went to Ward for 10 yards and then to Goedert for the 34 yard touchdown to make it 17-0 Eagles. This game was over. Somebody forgot to tell the Washington No-names.

The game turned late in the first quarter when an interception of Wentz set up the No-names at the Philadelphia 45. Dwayne Haskins hit McLaurin for 21, Inman for 11 and McLaurin for 7. On 3rd and 3 from the Philly 6, Haskins hit Thomas for the touchdown to get the No-names on the board down 17-7. In the third quarter another interception of Wentz set up the non-Redskins at the Philly 20. Hskins hit Sims for 17 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Pierre Barber got in to get the non-Over the Hill Gang to within 17-14. The Eagles were self-destructing, led by Wentz. They moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 7 at the Washington 22. Wentz was sacked for a 13 yard loss. Doug Pederson went for a 53 yard field goal try and Elliott’s kick was no good. The Eagles got it back and moved from their own 12 to a 2nd and 4 at the Washington 45. Wentz threw incomplete twice and Pederson went for it. On 4th and 4, Wentz was sacked.

For the third time on the day, the No-Names started in Philly territory at their 46. Haskins went to Thomas for 19 and Hopkins hit a 38 yard field goal less than one minute into the fourth quarter for a 17-17 tie. Another sack of Wentz had the Eagles punting on 4th and 26 from their own 9. For the fourth time on the day, Washington had a short field at the Philly 48. On 3rd and 8, Haskins hit Thomas for just enough and McLaurin for 14. On 3rd and 9 from the Philly 23, Haskins hit Inman for 10. Midway through the fourth quarter, Washington faced 4th and 1 at the Philadelphia 4 yard line. A field goal would give Washington the lead, but Riverboat Ron Rivera went for it. Barber got the yard and then ran for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 24-17 No-names with 6:13 to play.

With 4 1/2 minutes left and facing 4th and 3 at their own 42, Wentz threw incomplete. Haskins hit Sims for 19 and Hopkins hit a 40 yard field goal to put Washington up by 10 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Wentz was quickly sacked and fumbled. This was a complete meltdown that will have the Eagles fans rapidly losing patience with Wentz. As for Washington, they should absolutely change their name to the Washington Riveras. Ron Rivera was brought in to change the culture. It was not expected that he would do so in only one game. Rivera is battling cancer and had chemotherapy during the week. He required an IV at halftime. For obvious reasons, his team gave him the game ball. 27-17 Non-Redskins No-Names

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots — After 20 years, the Patriots have a new quarterback. Cam Newton is trying to resurrect his career. After a scoreless opening quarter, Newton ran for a 4 yard touchdown himself to make it 7-0 Patriots. The rest of the half was a slog, with Sanders hitting a 46 yard field goal for the Dolphins and Nick Folk missing from 45 for the Patriots at the end of the half. The Patriots went right to work after a touchback to start the second half. Newton hit Julian Edelman for gains of 10 and 16, White for 11 and Edelman for 9. Newton ran for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Patriots after three quarters.

The Patriots had a golden chance to put the game away with a 12 play, 78 yard, 8 minute drive. On 1st and goal at the 10, Newton hit Harry for 9 yards, but at the one yard line Harry fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback. The Dolphins began the fourth quarter facing 4th and 2 at their own 42. Brian Flores went for it and Ryan Fitzpatrick and his furry beard threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference on Stephan Gilmore meant a 23 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the New England 8, Fitzpatrick gained 2. On 3rd and goal at the one, Jordan Howard got in. Fitzpatrick ran for the 2 point conversion. with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Dolphins were only down 14-11.

After a touchback, Edelman took an end around 23 yards with 15 more tacked on for defensive unnecessary roughness. With 6 minutes left, the Patriots faced 4th and 1 at the Miami 5. Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick decided to go for it. Newton gained 4. Sony Michel got the last yard. Down by 10 with 5 1/2 minutes left, Fitzpatrick moved the Dolphins to a 3rd and 6 at the New England 10 with 90 seconds left. Fitzpatrick went to the end zone and was intercepted. It wasn’t pretty, but once again the NFL’s best beat the NFL’s worst at home. Different quarterback. Same Patriots. Same Dolphins. Bill Belichick was so pleased with the win that he almost smiled. 21-11 Patriots

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings — In this series, the home team usually wins. Yet an angry Aaron Rodgers still has not gotten over who the Packers chose in the 2020 Draft. Heck, he has not gotten over being passed up in the 2005 NFL Draft. Rodgers began the game with a 13 play, 65 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive. The drive stalled at the Minnesota 10 yard line, but Mason Crosby hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Packers. After a touchback, Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen for gains of 7 and 25 yards. A defensive facemark added 15 more. On 3rd and goal at the one, Dalvin Cook got in to make it 7-3 Vikings. In the second quarter the Packers moved to a 2nd and goal at the one. Rodgers threw incomplete and Aaron Jones got stopped. Matt LeFleur went for it on 4th and goal at the one, and Rodgers threw incomplete.

Mike Zimmer’s defense had a great goal line stand, but his offense gave it away. A safety had the Packers within 7-5. An 18 yard return on the free kick had the Packers at their own 44. The Packers moved to a 1st and 10 at the Minnesota 12. After a pair of incompletions, Rodgers was called for intentional grounding and a 13 yard loss. Crosby hit the 43 yard field goal and the Packers led 8-7. A short punt had the Packers getting it back at their own 40. On 3rd and 3 from their own 47, the defense entered the neutral zone. On 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 39, Matt LaFleur went for it. Rodgers gained 2. On 3rd and 6 from the Minnesota 33,Rodgers hit Devontae Adams for 8 nd again for a 24 yard touchdown to make it 15-7 Packers with 39 seconds left in the half.

It was still a close game, but Cousins was intercepted to give the Packers the ball at the Minnesota 45 wit 25 seconds left. An incompletion left 14 seconds, but Rodgers went for it all and hit Marques Valdes-Scantling for the score to make it 22-7 Packers. Somehow, 14 seconds from their own 25 was enough time for the Vikings. Mattison gained 21. Cousins hit kyle Rudolph for 22 with a 15 yard defensive penalty tacked on for lowering the head to initiate contact. Dan Bailey hit a 35 yard field goal to get the Vikings within 22-10 at halftime.

Rodgers exploded in the second half. The Vikings faced 4th and 3 at the Green Bay 39, and Zimmer went for it. Cousins threw incomplete, and minnesota never got close in this game. Each team scored a touchdown on their next 3 possessions, but with the Packers up by 11, that was sufficient. Rodgers capped a 61 yard drive with a 61 yard touchdown pass to Adams to make it 29-10 Packers after three quarters. The Vikings moved 77 yards as Cousins hit Thielen for a 37 yard touchdown and Cook rushed for the 2 point conversion to get the Vikings within 29-18 one minute into the fourth quarter.

The Packers moved 75 yards and Rodgers hit Allen Lazard for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 36-18 Packers. The Vikings moved 65 yards and Cook ran for a 3 yard touchdown and another 2 point conversion. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings were within 36-26. Another 75 yard drive came easily and Jones ran for a 5 yard touchdown to put the Packers up 43-26 with 3:19 to play. The Vikings would score one more touchdown and 2 point conversion, but it was not enough. Cousins did not play badly. He was 19 of 25 for 259 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception. Yet Rodgers was 32 of 44 for 364 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The man who replaced Brett Favre is not ready to give up his own job. 43-34 Packers

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars — Philip Rivers now quarterbacks the Colts. From the Indianapolis 37, Rovers came out firing. An 8 yard completion was followed by Rivers hitting Campbell for 21 yards. Hines ran for a 12 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts. In the second quarter an interception of Rivers set up the Jaguars at the Colts 35. Robinson gained 6, 11 and 4. Gardner Minshew hit DJ Chark for a 6 yard touchdown to make it a 7-7 ballgame.

Each team moved the ball 75 yards for a touchdown on their next drive. On 3rd and 7 from their own 28, Rivers hit Campbell for 17 yards. On 3rd and 7 from their own 48, Rivers hit TY Hilton for 14 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 8, Rivers hit Hines for the touchdown to make it 14-7 Colts. Mince from his own 25 hit Laviska Shenault for 18, Cole for 4 and 10 and Chark for 12. On 3rd and 4 from the Indy 25, Minshew hit Cole for 6 and Shenault for the 15 yard touchdown to make it 14-14.

Rivers worked the 2 minute drill well and Blankenship hit a 38 yard field goal to put the Colts up 17-14 at halftime. Yet in the third quarter, Blankenship missed a 30 yarder. A 30 yard defensive pass interference call on the Colts led to a 50 yard field goal by Josh Lambo in the third quarter to tie the game 17-17. The Colts moved from their own 21 to a 4th and 1 at the Jacksonville 36. Frank Reich went for it and Rivers was intercepted. Yet the Colts got it back and moved into the red zone early in the fourth quarter. On 3rd and 10 from the Jacksonville 14, a completion came up 3 yards short Blankenship hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 20-17 Colts with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, Minshew went to Robinson for a 28 yard gain. A defensive horse collar tackle had the Jaguars at the Indy 22. Minshew went deep to Cole for the score. With 6 minutes left in regulation, the Jaguars led 24-20. A third interception of Rivers had the Jaguars at the Indy 31. Lambo hit a 46 yard field goal to put the Jaguars up by 7 with 2:50 to play. Rivers quickly moved the Colts to a 2nd and 5 at the Jags 26 with one minute left. Rivers then threw 3 straight incompletions. Rivers continued his tradition of throwing for plenty of yards and losing. He was 36 of 46 for 363 yards, one touchdown and 2 interceptions. Meanwhile Minshew Mustache Mania has returned to Jacksonville. He threw only 20 passes but completed 19 of them for 173 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The Colts went the whole game without punting, yet somehow lost. 27-20 Jaguars

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions — Sometimes boring teams can come together and play a great game for the ages. In the first half, this was not that game. Each team kicked a pair of field goals for a 6-6 tie after 29 minutes. Then came 31 minutes of stunning events. A field position game had the Lions taking over at the Chicago 48 with 40 seconds left in the half. Matthew Stafford hit D’Andre Swift for 7 and TJ Hockensen for 16 and 24 yards down to the one with 19 seconds left. Swift got in as the Lions took a 13-6 lead to the locker rooms. The Lions rolled to start the third quarter. From their own 36 on 3rd and 2, Stafford hit Danny Amendola for 15, Cephus for 14 and Marvin Jones for 16. Stafford hit Hockensen for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 20-6 Lions. The Lions got it back and moved from their own 10 to a 3rd and 3 at the Chicago 26. Stafford threw incomplete but Matt Prater hit a 44 yard field goal. After three quarters, the Lions had a comfortable 23-6 lead.

Then Cordarelle Patterson exploded for a 45 yard kickoff return to the Chicago 41. On 3rd and 10, Mitchell Trubisky hit Anthony Miller for 18 and Allen Robinson for 22. On 4th and 1 from the 10 to  start the fourth quarter, Matt Nagy needing 3 scores decided to go for it. Patterson got around the end for 3. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Trubisky hit Jimmy Graham for the touchdown. Less than 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Bears were wi thin 23-13. With 4 minutes left in regulation, Matt Patricia gambled on a 55 yard field goal rather than punt and trust his defense. Prater’s kick was no good. From his own 45, Trubisky went to Graham for 7, Mller for 18 and 13, and Graham for 16 down to the one. Trubisky hit Javon Wims for the score as the Bears were within 23-20 with 3 minutes left.

The Lions faced 3rd and 5 at their own 30 as the Bears took 2 timeouts on defense. A short pass from Stafford was intercepted by Kyle Fuller. With 2 1/2 minutes left the Bears took over at the Detroit 37. Trubisky threw a 27 yard touchdown to Miller. With 1:54 left, 3 Trubisky touchdowns in the fourth quarter had the Bears up by 4. Had this game had a home crowd, it would have been shocked. Yet Stafford led a comeback after a touchback. On 3rd and 7 from the Chicago 48, Stafford went deep to Amendola for 32 yards. Stafford spiked the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds left. From the Chicago 16, Stafford found a wide open Swift in the end zone for the win. Swift dropped it. It was right in his bread basket. He just dropped it. With 6 seconds left, Stafford threw into double coverage incomplete. With a fourth quarter for the ages, Trubisky avoided being burned in effigy. On the other sideline, when Matt Patricia gets fired at the end of the year, he will point out that he would have won this game had his receiver caught the ball. 27-23 Bears

Las Vegas Raiders at Carolina Panthers — On the second play of the game, Derek Carr went for the bomb and just overthrew speedster rookie Henry Ruggs. The Raiders went 3 and out. Teddy Bridgewater began his first start for the Panthers by torching the Raiders secondary. Moving from their own 38, the Panthers soon faced 3rd and 10 at the Oakland 34. A West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass gained 4 yards. Joey Slye hit the 47 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Panthers. The Raiders after a touchback went right to work. On 3rd and 1, the Raiders went to their bruiser Josh Jacobs, and he banged ahead for the first down. Then Carr went deep again to a wide open Ruggs for a 45 yard gain down to the one yard line. Jacobs banged it in off of the left tackle as the Raiders led 7-3. The first points ever in Las Vegas NFL history came from Jacobs.

The Raiders have spent years trying to fix their secondary and early on it looked like there was no improvement. Bridgewater easily moved the Panthers into the red zone. On 3rd and 1 from the 5, Christian McCaffrey easily made it into the end zone for a 9-7 Panthers lead. Slye missed the extra point. The Raiders kept moving the ball into the second quarter. A 13 yard run by Jacobs was followed by a flea flicker to Ruggs, but he could only get one foot down. On 3rd and 5 from the Carolina 28, Carr fired to Hunter Renfro for a pair of 11 yard gains to make it 1st and goal at the 6. On 3rd and goal at the 5, a short completion to Jason Witten left 4th and goal at the 2. Jon Gruden wisely opted for the field goal. Daniel Carlson hit from 20 and the Raiders led 10-9. Last year the Raiders were plagued down by the goal line. They did not finish drives. This was an unfinished drive.

Midway through the second quarter, neither team had committed a penalty. Yet on a deep ball on 3rd and 6, a defensive pass interference call put the Panthers on the Las Vegas 45. Bridgewater then somehow avoided a sack and gained 13 yards. A dropped pass over the middle had the Panthers facing 3rd and 7 at the Las Vegas 19. Another incompletion meant a 46 yard field goal try by Slye. He delivered and the Panthers led 12-10 with 5 minutes left in the half.

Injuries hurt the Raiders early on. 6 ft 8, 380 pound tackle Trent Brown went out early with a calf injury and did not return. Ruggs was having a great game when his ankle got rolled on in the second quarter. At the 2 minute warning the Raiders faced 3rd and 2 from the Carolina 23. Carr threw a perfect fade to Nelson Agholor for the touchdown as the Raiders led 17-12. The offense had scored on 3 straight possessions. The defense had given up scores on 3 straight possessions. So it was time for the Silver and Black to make a stop before the half. Instead, Bridgewater continued to torch the inexperienced Raiders cornerbacks. With 30 seconds left in the half the Panthers were at the Las Vegas 41. A deep ball should have been intercepted but was dropped. Slye hit his third field goal as the half ended with the Panthers trailing 17-15.

Despite having no penalties in the first half, a penalty on the second half kickoff had the Panthers backed up to their own 11. The Panthers scored on all 4 first half possessions. On 3rd and 8 from their own 13, a completion over the middle only gained 5. Paul Guenther’s defense finally had a stop. Hunter Renfrow returned the punt 24 yards to just shy of midfield. An intentional grounding call on Carr had the Raiders facing 3rd and 21. A completion set up 4th and 6. An attempt to draw Carolina offside failed as the Raiders called timeout. After all of that the Raiders gambled on a 54 yard field goal try. Carlson drilled it as the Raiders led 20-15.

The Raiders defense finally sacked Bridgewater as the Panthers had to punt on 4th and 20 from their own 14. A penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on the Panthers on the punt gave the Raiders great field position at the mid stripe . The gunner went out of bounds and did not reestablish himself inbounds in a reasonable amount of time. On 2nd and 14, a quick pass over the middle to Jacobs went for a big gain. Defensive pass interference on ex-Raider Tamir Whitehead put the ball on the Carolina 16. On 3rd and 1 from the 7 out of the shotgun, Jacobs went straight up the gut untouched for the touchdown. With 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Raiders led 27-15. The offense had scored on 5 straight possessions, and Ruggs being back in the game was a big help. A bigger help was the offensive line. Now it was up to the defense to close out a game rather than engage in another typical nail-biter.

On 3rd and 8 from their own 47, Bridgewater threw another pass that should have been intercepted over the middle. It bounced right through the defender’s hands and was somehow caught for an 18 yard gain. On 3rd and 2, a pass was high and caught short of the first down marker. Matt Rhule went for it on 4th and 1 at the Oakland 24. McCaffrey appeared stopped but on second effort got enough. Yet a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting on Carolina wide receiver DJ Moore had the Panthers facing 2nd and 26 at the Las Vegas 40. The fourth quarter began with the Panthers facing 3rd and 14. Bridgewater easily found McCaffrey for a first down at the Las Vegas 13. On 3rd and 1 from the 4, Armost got the yard. Bridgewater had to waste a timeout. The Las Vegas defense was on its heels with Nick Kwiatkowski exiting in the first half with a pectoral injury. He called the defense. McCaffrey too a pitchout and easily got in. With 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Panthers were within 27-22. The Raiders defense failed to close out the game. Now it was up to the offense to not have a meltdown when it mattered most.

Naturally the Raiders punted and the Panthers got it back at their own 22 with 9 1/2 minutes left. Rivers got it back at their 23. On 2nd and 8 Bridgewater went deep for a 75 yard bomb. Once again the Raiders had blown a double digit lead with horrendous secondary play. Whatever Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is doing is not working. It has not worked for the last three years. Bridgewater’s touchdown to Robbie Anderson was followed by them connecting again on the 2 point conversion. The Panthers led 30-27 with 8 1/2 minutes left. Now it was time to see if the Raiders had any heart whatsoever.

A completion to Jacobs went for 18 yards to the Las Vegas 43. A pair of completions had the Raiders at the Carolina 37. Defensive pass interference was waived off, setting up 3rd and 8 at the Carolina 35. On the next play, defensive pass interference was called to make it 1st and 10 at the Carolina 17. Carr hit Darren Waller for 7 and Jacobs ran for 4 up the middle to set up 1st and goal at the 6. Jacobs then got around the end for the touchdown for his third touchdown of the day. The 7th lead change of the game had the Raiders up by 4 with 4 minutes left in regulation. The offense did its job. Now the defense, which has struggled for the last few years, to finally do its job. General Manager Mike Mayock drafted a ton of high defensive picks. Now it was time to deliver results when it mattered.

McCaffrey ripped off a 15 yard gain to get to the Las Vegas 45. At the 2 minute warning, a pair of runs had the Panthers facing 3rd and 4 just past midfield. McCaffrey too kit up the gut and was inches short. The Raiders took their second timeout on defense with 1:23 to play. With everything on the line, a handoff went to the fullback rather than to McCaffrey. The result was a Silver and Black brick wall that made the stand. The Panthers still had 2 timeouts left on defense. For the Raiders, one first down would end the game. Jacobs carried 3 straight times for 8 yards total. This took the clock down to 14 seconds as the Raiders took an intentional delay of game. Now it was time for a clean punt just shy of midfield with disciplined coverage. With 8 seconds left, the Panthers had one shot from their own 25. An incompletion left 2 seconds. A 20 yard completion meant to be a hook and lateral never got going when the receiver was chucked out of bounds. The offense was magnificent and the defense made one play when it counted. The Raiders got their first win as a Las Vegas franchise. Just Win Baby. 34-30 Raiders.

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills — Josh Allen ran for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bills early on. That 75 yard drive was followed by an 82 yard drive as Allen hit Moss for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Bills. The bills got it back at their own 32 in the second quartered soon faced 4th and 1 at the Jets 48. With everything going right, Sean McDermott went for it. Allen gained 3 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Jets 39, Allen threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and 10 from the Jets 34, Allen hit Stefan Diggs for 11 yards. A 17 yard touchdown pass to John Brown had the Bills rolling 21-0. JETS stands for Just End The Season earlier than usual, and even Adam Gase wondered why and how he was still employed.

The rest of the game was hideous as the Bills just coasted. The Jets managed a field goal before the half and a 69 yard touchdown from Sam Darnold to Jamison Crowder in the third quarter. The Bills kept things close by missing 2 field goals. Despite being within 21-10 after three quarters, the Jets fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter and Tyler Bass hit field goals of 22 and 19 yards in the fourth quarter to make it 27-10 Bills. The Jets did get a garbage touchdown but no more. 27-17 Bills

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens – An early interception of Baker Mayfield gave the Ravens a short field at the Cleveland 49. Lamar Jackson hit Mark Andrews for a 5 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Ravens lead. The Browns fumbled trying to punt and the Ravens took over at the Cleveland 26. Justin Tucker hit a 41 yard field goal to make it 10-0 Ravens. The Browns got the running game going as Nick Chubb ran for 29 yards and Karim Hunt added 22 more. Mayfield hit Njoku for a one yard touchdown to get the Browns within 10-6. The extra point was no good.

The Ravens blew open the game in the second quarter, starting at their own one yard line. Jackson hit Picard for 9, Boykin for 25 and Brown for 21. Jackson hit Willie Snead for a 16 yard touchdown. The 10 play, 99 yard, 6 minute drive put the Ravens up 17-6. With 50 seconds left in the half the Browns had 3rd and 2 at the Baltimore 23. Mayfield threw incomplete. Siebert missed the 41 yard field goal try. Jackson from his own 31 hit Snead for 20, Brown for 13 and 16 and Andrews for 11. With 6 seconds left the Ravens faced 3rd and goal at the 9. John Harbaugh decided to run one more play. Jackson hit Andrews for the touchdown as the Ravens led 24-6 at halftime. The second half was pointless. Jackson threw a 19 yard third quarter touchdown to Snead and JK Dobbins ran for a 2 yard touchdown after a Cleveland fumble. Same Ravens. Same Browns. 38-6 Ravens

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons — The Falcons did get a 49 yard field goal out of Younghoe Koo for a 3-0 lead, but the Seahawks took over after that. On 2nd and 19 from their own 14, Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for 15 and on 3rd and 4 hit Greg Olsen for 9. Wilson hit Chris Carson for 9 and 6. On 3rd and 23 from their own 49 after a sack of Wilson, he threw deep incomplete. Yet a 41 defensive pass interference penalty meant 1st and goal at the 10. Wilson hit Moore for 7 and Carson for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Seahawks. The Falcons faced 4th and 3 at the Seattle 40. Dan Quinn went for it and Matt Ryan threw incomplete. Wilson went to DK Metcalf for 13, ran for 28 yards himself, and fired to Chris Carson for a 19 yard touchdown. The Seahawks led 14-3 after the first quarter.

The Falcons tried to make a game of it. After a touchback, Hill ran for 10 and Ryan hit Hurst for a 27 yard gain, Calvin Ridlet for 15 more, and Gage for another 16. On 3rd and goal from the one, Todd Gurley got in. The 2 point try failed but the Falcons were within 14-9. With 1:33 left in the half Matty Ice moved the Falcons from their own 9 to the Seattle 30. Koo drilled a 49 yard kick to end the half with the Falcons only down 14-12. Yet after halftime, momentum shifted again. The Seahawks began the third quarter after a touchback and faced 3rd and 7 from their own 39. Wilson hit Metcalf for just enough. On 4th and 5 from the Atlanta 38, Pete Carroll decided to go for it rather than try a 56 yard field goal or punt. Wilson went to Metcalf for the score and the Seahawks led 21-12. On 4th and 2 from his own 33, Dan Quinn gambled on a fake punt. Neasman got the 2 yards but then fumbled the ball. The Seahawks recovered at the Atlanta 36. Wilson hit Olsen for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 28-12 Seahawks. After a touchback, the Falcons moved to a 3rd and 2 from the Seattle 11. Gurley got stopped. Quinn went for it and Ryan was sacked. Myers hit a 42 yard field goal to put the Seahawks ahead comfortably 31-12 with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

There would be no comeback. Ryan did throw an 18 yard touchdown to Ridley with 9 1/2 minutes left, but the 2 point try failed. The Falcons got no closer. On 4th and 3 from the Seattle 35, with 6:15 left, Ryan threw incomplete. Carlos Hyde ran for a one yard touchdown to have the Seahawks up 38-18 with 3:45 left. Atlanta got one more garbage touchdown and even recovered an onside kick, but Ryan was intercepted to end a game that was not in doubt. Dan Quinn is already on the hot seat as Pete Carroll gets younger every year. Ryan was a ridiculous 37 of 54 for 450 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception. Wilson was a lights out 31 of 35 for 322 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals — Sometimes a pair of bad teams can play a thrilling game for the ages. This was absolutely not that game. The Bengals did begin the Joe Burrow era while the Chargers kept their rookie quarterback on the bench in favor of Tyrod Taylor. It was the first time in 15 years they had a new quarterback. The Chargers wore powder blue socks, yellow pants and white shirts, but their main problem was their offense. A field position game had the chargers punting on 4th and 10 from their own 5. The Bengals took over at the Chargers 44. Joe Burrow ran for an electric 24 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bengals. Then came a ton of boring football. Mike Badgley hit second quarter field goals of 24 and 43 but missed from 50 at the end of the half as the Chargers trailed 7-6. Randy Bullock hit field goals of 50 and 43 in the third quarter to make it 13-6 Bengals.

The Chargers got a spark when Reed returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards to the Chargers 45. On 3rd and 4 just past midfield, Taylor hit Guyton for 16 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Cincy 27, Taylor hit Keenan Allen for 6. Kelley ran for a 5 yard touchdown and a 13-13 game with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Joe Mixon quickly fumbled, and the Chargers took over at the Cincy 24. Despite 1st and goal at the 2, the Chargers could not punch it in. A run lost a yard and Taylor threw incomplete twice. Badly hit from 22 to put the Chargers up 16-13 with 9 minutes left.

With 3:08 left the Bengals took over at their own 18. Burrow showed the poise of a veteran, marching the Bengals down the field. On 3rd and 8 from the Chargers 46, Burrow hit Trevor Boyd for 10. A 10 yard completion to Giovanni Bernard had the Bengals facing 1st and goal at the 3 with 12 seconds left. Burrow fired to the sideline and AJ Green somehow got both feet down. The Bengals had a dramatic win and a “Welcome to the NFL, kid” moment for Burrow. Unfortunately, these are still the Bengals. Green was called for offensive pass interference. With 7 seconds left and no timeouts, Zac Parsons was not about to risk running another play. Bullock came in for the 31 yard chip shot to force overtime. Bullock missed by a country mile and crumpled to the ground. He strained his calf on the play. Burrow looked on helplessly as his first game was a loss. Nevertheless, he is the real deal with a bright future. 16-13 Chargers

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers — Devastating wildfires led to poor air quality that almost led to this game being canceled. The league decided this day wasn’t any more hideous than any other day in the Bay Area, especially for a mismatch few people cared about. The 49ers as expected jumped all over Arizona at the start. Robbie Gould nailed a 52 yard field goal to start the scoring. The 49ers got it back at their own 24 and needed only one play and 12 seconds to strike. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a short pass to Raheem Mostert, who took it for a 76 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 49ers. The 49ers had all the momentum, but one play changed the tone.

The 49ers punted on 4th and 5 at their own 36, and the Cardinals blocked it. The Cardinals took over at the San Francisco 10. One play was enough for Kyler Murray to hit Edmonds for the touchdown. The Cardinals trailed 10-7 midway through the first quarter, but the rest of the half was a slog. In the second quarter the 49ers had 4th and goal at the one but Mostert got stopped cold. Then the Cardinals missed a field goal from 52 yards out. After Murray was intercepted, the 49ers moved to a 4th and 2 at the Arizona 6. This time Kyle Shanahan opted for the field goal. Gould hit from 24 to make it 13-7 49ers. Zane Gonzalez leveled a 56 yard field goal to end the half with the Cardinals down 13-10. In the third quarter from 49 yards out, a Gonzalez field goal try to tie the game was again no good.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Cardinals faced 3rd and 10 from their own 6. Kyler Murray threw incomplete, but defensive holding kept the drive going. On 3rd and 1 from their own 20, Kliff kingsbury brought in Streveler for one play. He took the direct snap 3 yards. Murray came back in and hit Deandre Hopkins for 18 yards. On 2nd and 21 from their own 30, Murray ginned 8 but unnecessary roughness added 15 more. Another defensive pass interference call added another 13. Murray ran for a 22 yard touchdown to give the Cardinals the lead 17-13 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The 49ers took over at their own 22 and Garoppolo went to Kyle Juszczyk for 41 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Arizona 37, Garoppolo was intercepted but defensive pass interference meant a 27 yard gain to the Arizona 10. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Garoppolo hit McKinnon for the touchdown to put the 49ers back on top 20-17 with 8 1/2 minutes left.

After a touchback, Murray hit Hopkins for 11. Kenyon Drake took a direct snap 10 yards and murray ran for 15 more. On 3rd and 6 from the Frisco 34, Murray went to Hopkins for 33 yards down to the one. Drake got the last yard and the Cardinals were up by 4 with 5 minutes on the 3rd lead change of the fourth quarter. Garoppolo after a touchback moved the 49ers to a 1st and 10 at the Arizona 21 with 1:14 to play. It was inevitable that the Cardinals would collapse. Garoppolo went to the end zone, and a brilliant defensive play by Patrick Peterson led to an incompletion. With 33 seconds left on 4th and 5 from the 16, Garoppolo had a receiver past the marker near the sideline. Byron Murphy was the hero, knocking the ball way at the last moment. The 49ers had all 3 timeouts. but Drake ran for 9 and 2 to run out the clock. 7 months after a stunning fourth quarter collapse in the Super Bowl, the 49ers collapsed in their home opener. 24-20 Cardinals

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints — This was the game of the day. With Peyton Manning retired, all eyes were on Tom Brady playing Drew Brees. They were in the same division. Brees has been with the Saints 15 years while Brady is starting anew in Tampa Bay after a 20 year stint elsewhere. Brady has the 6 Super Bowl rings. Brees has one ring and the NFL passing record for yards. Brady is on his heels. Manning has the touchdowns record and Favre’s record for interceptions is most likely out of reach. Early on Brady had the advantage. From his own 15, he went right to work. A 29 yard completion to Chris Godwin was followed by an 8 yard pass to Jones. Then came a 22 yard defensive pass interference penalty on 3rd and 2 from the Saints 38. On 3rd and 1 from the Saints 7, Jones gained 2. Brady ran for the 2 yard touchdown. The Patriots led 7-0 after the first quarter, but after that the Saints exploded.

On 3rd and 8 from their own 38, Brees hit Michael Thomas for 18. Taysom Hill came in and gained 13. On 3rd and 3 from the Tampa 22, Brees hit Cook for 10. On 3rd and 10 from the Tampa 12, Brees hit Alvin Kamala for the touchdown to make it 7-7. Brady was then quickly intercepted, setting up the Saints at the Tampa 35. On 3rd and 14 from the Tampa 39, Brees threw deep incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference meant 33 yards and 1st and goal at the 6. On the next play Kamara ran it in to make it 14-6 Saints. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half on 4th and 19 from the Saints 36, Ryan Succop came in for a 54 yard field goal try for the Buccaneers. The kick was blocked. Wil Lutz hit a 29 yard field goal to make it 17-7 Saints at halftime. Early in the third quarter the Buccaneers faced 2nd and 15 from their own 32. Brady threw to the sideline and Janoris Jenkins jumped the rout. Jenkins returned the interception 36 yards to paydirt as the Saints were winning 24-7. Yet the man who threw a pick 6 to trail 28-3 in the Super Bowl was not going to be fazed.

After a touchback, Brees went deep and quickly drew a 45 yard defensive pass interference call. Then Jones ran for 21. Brady hit OJ Howard for a 9 yard score to get the Buccaneers within 24-14. Late in the third quarter Succop hit a 38 yard field goal to get the Buccaneers within 24-17. The Saints took over at their own 39. Brees went deep to Cook for a 46 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa 11, Brees hit Emanuel Sanders for just enough. Brees went back to Sanders for the 5 yard touchdown. The Saints led 31-17, and a defensive facemask on the touchdown and the Saints kicking off from midfield. Sean Payton called for a short kickoff angled near the sideline, and disaster struck the Buccaneers. The two return men collided into each other and Bennie Fowler recovered for the Saints at the Tampa 18. Lutz hit a 21 yard field goal with 8 minutes left in regulation to have the Saints comfortably ahead 34-17. Brady did throw another touchdown pass with 2:46 to play, but it was not enough. Sean Payton kept his foot on the gas as Brees fired backward to Hill, who hooked up with Kamala for a 38 yard gain. Kamala had a 2 yard touchdown taken off the board at the end of the game on a questionable call, but the outcome was not in doubt. Brees had no turnovers and Brady had 3. That was the difference. 34-23 Saints.

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams was the Sunday night game. The Rams opened up their new stadium in front of 0 fans. The Rams went right to work after a touchback. On the first play of the game, the Cowboys jumped into the neutral zone. Jared Goff then hit Robert Woods for 20 yards to midfield and again for 31 more. On 3rd and  from the 6, Brown ran for 5 and then got the final yard to make it 7-0 Rams. The Rams got it back and embarked on a mind-numbing 17 play, 72 yard, 9 minute drive. Yet on 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 11, Goff threw incomplete. Sloman dinked the 29 yard field goal try off the upright no good as the Rams missed a golden opportunity to expand their lead.

From his own 20, Dak Prescott hit Michael Gallup for 14 yards. On 3rd and 1 from his own 43, Ezekiel Elliott gained 4. Prescott then went deep to rookie Cee Dee Lamb for 33 yards. Prescott hit Elliott for a 19 yard touchdown to make it a 7-7 game. The Rams moved 58 yards in 11 plays and had 1st and 10 at the Dallas 12. Intentional grounding on Goff killed the drive. Sloman connected from 35 as the Rams led 10-7. The Cowboys moved to the Rams 35 and former Rams kicker Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein tried a 53 yarder to tie the game. The kick was no good. The Rams took over at their own 43 and moved to a 2nd and 4 at the Dallas 13. Goff threw incomplete and Brown only gained 2. At the 2 minute warning on 4th and 2 from the Dallas 13, Sean McVay played it safe. Sloman hit from 31 and the Rams led 13-7.

The Cowboys took over at their own 27 with 1:51 left. Prescott hit Amari Cooper for 9, Jarwin for 12, Lamb for 12 and Gallup for 14 down to the Rms 26. On 1st and 20 from the Rams 22, Prescott hit Lamb for 9. Prescott then ran for 12 yards down to the one. Elliott got the yard and the touchdown. Despite being outplayed the entire first half, the Cowboys somehow led 14-13. The Rams began their first drive of the third quarter at their own 15. On 3rd and 5 from their 20, Got hit Woods for 10. On 3rd and 4 from their own 36, Goff got around the end for 8. Goff then went deep to Woods for 30. On 3rd and 3 from the Dallas 19, Goff went to Reynolds for 17. Brown ran for the 2 yard touchdown as the 11 play, 85 yard, 6 minute drive had the Rams up 20-14 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

On 3rd and 7 from his own 30, Goff was intercepted, setting up the Cowboys at the Rams 39. Despite 2nd and 5 at the Rams 14, a pair of Prescott incompletions had the Cowboys settling for a 33 yard Zuerlein field goal to trail 20-17. The Cowboys got it back at the start of the fourth quarter and moved from their own 35 to a 4th and 3 at the Rams 11. Rather than kick the tying 29 yard field goal, Mike McCarthy inexplicably decided to go for it with a full 12 minutes left in regulation. Making matters worse, he called the same West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass that got him kicked out of Green Bay. His offense was boring, and throwing a 2 yard pass on 4th and 3 is a great way to turn it over on downs.

The Cowboys got it back at their own 9 with 2 1/2 minutes left. On 3rd and 13 from their own 18, Prescott gained 12. On 4th and 1, Elliott gained 4. With 30 seconds left and the Cowboys facing 3rd and 10 at their own 34, Prescott went deep to Gallup for a 47 yard gain. All of a sudden the Cowboys were in easy tying field goal range with a shot at a win. However, it was al for naught. Gallup was called for offensive pass interference, negating the gain. On 4th and 20 with 13 seconds left, Prescott threw incomplete. 20-17 Rams

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants was the early Monday night game. For the first time in 15 years, Eli Manning is not starting the season for the Giants. Daniel Jones is the quarterback, and Joe Judge is the new head coach. Ben Roethlisberger returns form injury to helm the Steelers for his 17th season. Early on the Steelers fumbled a punt, setting up the Giants with 1st and goal at the 3. In typical Giants fashion, they kicked a field goal to lead 3-0. Chris Boswell answered from 41 yards out for a 3-3 game after the first quarter.

After a touchback. the Giants early in the second quarter faced 3rd and 12 at their own 47. Jones threw incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant a 12 yard gain. On the next play Jones went bombs away for a 41 yard touchdown to Slayton to make it 10-3 Giants. Yet on his next series, Jones was intercepted to set up the Steelers at the Giants 36. On 3rd and 5 from the 31, Roethlisberger went to Eric Ebron for 18 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Giants 10, Big Ben went to Juju Smith-Schuster for the touchdown. The extra point dunked off the upright no good as the Steelers trailed 10-9. With 90 seconds left in the half the Steelers took over at their own 22. Roethlisberger went to Johnson for 2, Washington for 21 and Smith-Schuster for 17 and 14. Roethlisberger ran for 11 yards to set up 1st and 10 at the Giants 13 with 7 seconds left in the half. Roethoisberger hit Washington for the touchdown. The Steelers led 16-10 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Giants sought to take the lead from their own 9 yard line. They had one of the longest drives in team history. 19 plays. 87 yards. 9 minutes. It was all for naught. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter and facing 2nd and 3 from the Pittsburgh 4, Jones was hit as he threw. The ball popped into the air and was intercepted for a touchback. Roethlisberger moved the Steelers from his own 20 to a 1st and 10 at the Giants 18. A sack go Roethlisberger meant a 12 yard loss. Yet the fourth quarter began with Boswell hitting from 36 to make it 19-10 Steelers. The Steelers got it back and soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Big Ben hit Johnson for 11. On 3rd and 4 from his own 45, Roetholisberger hit Johnson for 11. Snell ran for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Giants 8, Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster for the touchdown to ice the game. With 5 1/2 minutes left, the Steelers led 26-10. The Giants got a garbage touchdown with 1:52 left, but the 2 point conversion pass was incomplete and the Giants were done. It’s rarely pretty, but Mike Tomlin teams win. 26-16 Steelers

Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos was the late Monday night game. The Broncos were without Von Miller, lost for the year with an injury. Nevertheless, the first half was a  defensive bonelock. In the first quarter Stephen Gostkowski missed a 47 yard field goal try for the Titans. The Broncos took over at their own 37. Runs and short passes led to a 2nd and 16 at the Tennessee 35. Philip Lindsey gained 10, and then there was a personal foul on the defense. Evans was the guilty party, and he was disqualified from the game. On 2nd and 7 from the Tennessee 9, Drew Lock hit Nick Fant for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Broncos. In the second quarter a Broncos fumble set up the Titans at the Denver 23. On 3rd and 5 the Broncos entered the neutral zone. On 3rd and 1, Derrick Henry gained 11. Ryan Tannehill hit Pruitt for a one yard touchdown for a 7-7 game. The Broncos moved 74 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. On 2nd and goal from the one, Lock threw incomplete. Then Melvin Gordon got stopped. Vic Fangio went for it on 4th and goal from the one. Lock completed a pass to Butt for no gain as the Titans defense celebrated the goal line stand. The Titans quickly moved from their own one on a 12 play, 73 yard drive. Yet at the end of the half, Gostkowski’s 44 yard field goal try was blocked. His horrendous night continued when he missed a 42 yard try midway through the third quarter.

The Titans got it back at their own 18. On 3rd and 2 from their own 26, Tannehill hit Davis for 7. On 3rd and 3 at their own 40, Tannehill hit McNichols for 4, with a defensive facemark adding 15 more. On 3rd and 5 from the Denver 15, Tannehill hit Humphries for 7. On 1st and goal from the 8, Henry gained 2 and 5. Yet on 3rd and goal form the one, Henry got stopped. Gostkowski had already missed 3 field goals, and Mike Vrabel decided to go for it. With the Denver defense all in to stop Henry, Tannehill found a wide open Smith in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Gostkowski’s nightmare continued as he missed the extra point. One minute into the fourth quarter, the Titans led 13-7. The Broncos finally woke up. After a touchback, Gordon ran for 25 yards to midfield. Lock hit rookie Jerry Jeudy for 21 yards, Patrick for 15 more, and Freeman for another 12 down to the one. Gordon got the last yard as the Broncos led 14-13 with 9 minutes left in regulation.

A field position game had the Titans backed up to their own 4 yard line. They punted and Denver had a golden chance to put the game away. On 3rd and 8, Lock went for it all and overthrew his receiver on the bomb. The Titans got it back at their own 10 with 3 minutes left. Tannehill hit Humphries for 8, Davis for 9, Henry for 6 and Brown for 16. At the 2 minute warning, the Titans had 1st and 10 at their own 49. Defensive pass interference meant a 16 yard gain to the Denver 35. Tannehill hit Humphries for 6, and a perfectly executed draw play to Henry gained 13 to the Denver 16. At this point time was not a factor for the Titans. For some reason Vic Fangio was not taking his timeouts on defense. On 3rd and 1 from the Denver 7 and no confidence in the kicker, Vrabel called a pass play. Tannehill overthrew the receiver in the end zone incomplete. With 20 seconds left, it came down to Gostkowski. Three missed field goals and an extra point. This time he was good as his teammates all rallied around him. The Titans led by 2 and the Broncos had 17 seconds to work a miracle after a touchback. After nearly being intercepted, Lock hi Hamilton for 18 yards with one second left. Under a heavy rush, Lock threw incomplete. 16-14 Titans

NFL 2020 Week 1 Prequel

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

NFL 2020 Returns as does the Week 1 Preview and Bettor’s Guide

Herman Cain: God bless my PBBG friend

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

The Herman Cain I knew: No hair. All heart and hugs

244 fun reasons to love America

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

244 fun reasons to love America

1980 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team

1980s hard rock hair metal

2 Live Crew’s Banned in the USA

7-Eleven Big Gulps and Slurpees

ACDC’s You shook me, Thunderstruck, Moneytalks

Adam Sandler

Aerosmith

Airheads band The Lone Rangers

Al D’Amato’s singing

Alf

America the Beautiful sung by Ray Charles

American soldiers and veterans

Animaniacs

Anthony Clark

Bad Touch’s Discovery Channel

Batman: The Dark Knight

BB King and Lucille

Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia

Biff Henderson

Bill Cosby, Himself video

Bill Murray’s Quick Change

Bill of Rights

Bill the Cat

Billiards

Blue Collar Comedy Tour

Blue Bloods

_____________

Bluegrass Junction

Bounce houses

Bouncing 25 cent rubber balls

Boxing promoter Don King

Brooklyn

Bubblebaths for two

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck

Burgertime

Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise movies

Caddyshack

Capitalism

Capture the flag

Cards Against Humanity

Chabad Houses

Charitable people

Cheerleaders

Cheers’s Sam Mayday Malone and Norm Peterson

Cherry Lime Rickeys

Chocolate covered cherries

Chris Berman

Chris Gardner’s The Pursuit of Happyness

Chris Noth’s Mike Logan

Chris Tucker singing Barry White

Coca-Cola

Coed touch football

Colorwar

Commando and pantsless Wednesdays (until HR intervened)

Conan O’Brien’s In the Year 2000

Corn Fritters

Cosmic Bowling

County Fairs

Dale Intimidator Earnhardt’s 1998 Daytona 500

Dana Carvey

Dann Florek’s Captain Donald Cragen

David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists

Dennis Farina

Desperate Housewives

Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo

Die Hard

DirecTV NFL Package

Dog-riding monkey

Donald Trump–from the Apprentice to the White House to Twitter

Doritos

Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda

Dr. Charles Krauthammer

Duck Dynasty

Ebay

Edible underthings

Entrepreneurship

ESPN

Eye of the tiger

Fireworks

Flavored massage oil

Founding Fathers

Fox News

Fraggle Rock

Freedom, liberty, right of dissent

Gaga (dodgeball using closed fist and cherry ball)

Game nights

Garlic knots

Gatorade dumping on coaches

George W. Bush picks up bullhorn

Glow sticks as fake cigars

Golden Corral

GPS trackers

Greg the Bunny


Greg Gutfeld

Hamburgers

Happy face emoticons

Harmonicas

Hawaii

Henny Youngman

Hot Chocolate’s You sexy thing (I believe in miracles)

Hot scantily clad women

Howard Stern

I once finger-(blanked) a hermit crab (whoever said that)

In n Out Burger

Independence Day BBQs

Instant messaging

Internet dating

Iphones

Italian ices

J. Geils Band’s Centerfold

Jack Nicholson’s Colonel Nathan R. Jessup

Jacuzzi romps

Jell-O

Jell-O wrestling

Jerry Orbach’s Lenny Briscoe

Jerry Reed’s Eastbound and Down

Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura, Pet Detective

John Cougar Mellencamp’s Pink Houses and Hurts so good

John Facenda’s The Autumn Wind

John McEnroe’s tennis tantrums

Judaism celebrated in peace

Justice Scalia’s scathing dissents

Karl Rove’s whiteboard

Kazoos

KFC Popcorn Chicken

Kickball

Kim Kardashian’s bare bottom

King of the Hill

Kool-Aid

Kosher imitation bacon and crab

Krispy Kreme Donut Hamburgers

Laff-Olympics

Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing on Dallas

Las Vegas

Lee Greenwood’s God bless the USA and Bandit Express

Lilo and Stitch — Ohana means family––––––––––––––

Louie Armstrong’s It’s a Wonderful World—————————————-

Louisiana Cajun Cooking (Especially with Justin Wilson)

Lucky Charms

Madden Football

Magnum, P.I.

Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Mark Levin’s rants

Married with Children’s Al Bundy

Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing and Let’s get it on

Mascots

McDonalds

Meat and potatoes

Michael J. Fox’s Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties

Mills Lane yelling Let’s get it on

Miniature golf

Monopoly

Morris Day and the Time’s Jerk Out

Mountain Dew Code Red

MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch

Murder, She Wrote

Nathan’s Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest

National Federation of Republican Women

National Football League

Neocons

New Years Eve noisemakers

New York Post front and back page

New York Stock Exchange opening and closing bells

NFL Films

NFL Network

Oakland Raiders

Old School with Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn

Overtime playoff hockey

Pajama parties

Peaceful transition of political power

Phil Hartman

Pizza

Political Conventions

Pool volleyball

Pringles

Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio

Q-Bert

Queen’s I want it all

Raider Nation

Rainbow Sherbert

Redeye with Greg Gutfeld

Republican Jewish Brunettes

Republican Party Animals

Riptide

Robin Williams

Ronald Reagan’s self-deprecating jokes 

Rudy Giuliani’s New York toughness

Run DMC

Rush Limbaugh

San Diego Wild Animal Park

Satellite TV

Save a horse, ride a cowboy

Scrabble

Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concerts

Seinfeld

Sexting

Sherman Hemsley’s George Jefferson

Sizzler

Sky high skyscrapers

Skype

Slim Jims

Snoopy’s Joe Cool

Snow football

Social networks for building businesses

South Beach, Miami Spring Break

South Park

Spiderman

Sportsbars

Stock trading

Stratego

Strip chess

Stuart Scott

Sudoku

Summer camp

Super Soakers

Supply-side tax cuts

T-shirt originals

Taco Bell

Talk radio

Thanksgiving with John Madden

The Color of Money

The Counter Build Your Own Burger

The Expendables

The Frat Pack

The Honeymooners

The Muppets

The Onion

Tim McGraw’s Indian Outlaw ——————————————————

Tivo

Toby Keith’s Courtesy of the Red White and Blue

Train rides

Trampoline Dodgeball

Tygrrrr Express

USA Cartoon Express

Video Arcade Games

We’re not France

Weekend at Bernie’s

Western medicine

Whitesnake’s Here I go again video

Wifi on planes

XM Sirius Satellite Radio

Yoo-Hoo

Young Jewish Conservatives

Yummy bouncies and badonkadonks

ZZ Top’s Sleeping Bag and Sharp Dressed Man

NFL Draft 2020 Epilogue

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

LOS ANGELES, April 25, 2020 — The first round of the first ever virtual NFL Draft was in the books. Rather than the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, most owners and coaches were drafting players in their home offices. Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury showed the world his the view from his McMansion, but even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in his basement. Naturally, Jerry Jones held his virtual Draft office on his luxury yacht that resembled an intergalactic spaceship.

The joy that comes along with the Draft was replaced at the start with the somber reality of life under a Corona virus pandemic. There was still plenty of jubilation and tears of happiness from drafted players, but a brutal bolt of sadness near the end of the night. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott informed the world that his beloved older brother Jace had died at age 31.

During gut-wrenching times, football is a form of escapism. The first round of the NFL Draft was desperately needed to give fans something to unite around. The second day brought players with names less familiar, but it was still football in a nation starving for sports of any kind.

After being shut out of the first round entirely, the Steelers, Bears and Patriots finally got to participate on the second day.

As with the first round, the Cincinnati Bengals picked first in the second round. They gave newly acquired quarterback Joe Burrow a new toy to play with, picking wide receiver Tee Higgins of Clemson. Some analysts had him as a first round pick. In a draft loaded with receivers, the Bengals were lucky he fell to them.

With the 37th pick overall, the New England Patriots finally made a selection. The Patriots traded out of the first round yesterday to stock picks. With Tim Brady gone and the top quarterbacks off the board, what would Bill Belichick do? He did what he does. Despite having a 2019 defense that was better than it had been in years, Belichick opted for an unknown safety from an unknown school. Kyle Dugger from Lenoir-Rhyne, which is actually not in Belgium. It is a private Lutheran university in Hickory, North Carolina. Belichick and his scouts can find anybody, anywhere.

The 49th pick had the Pittsburgh Steelers giving grizzled veteran Ben Roethlisberger a wide receiver to replace talented head case Antonio Brown. Chase Claypool of Notre Dame was the pick.

The 52nd pick saw the Los Angeles Rams of Anaheim, Cleveland and St. Louis choose Florida State running back Cam Akers. He replaces Todd Gurley, who took his sore knee to the Atlanta Falcons after being released.

The 53rd pick brought some audible gasps. It seems that Aaron Rodgers is not the only one being sent a message. The Philadelphia Eagles chose Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. Eagles fans normally hate their quarterback, but for some reason Carson Wentz has been fairly loved in the brutally tough city of brotherly love. While Jordan Love is clearly Rodgers’s backup in Green Bay, the Hurts selection may be a message to Wentz. Stay healthy for an entire season or find employment elsewhere.

The Oakland-Los Angeles Raiders of Las Vegas did not have a second round pick, but they had three selections in the third round. The Raider Nation saw slight confusion as the team had consecutive picks at 80 and 81. They picked wide receivers on both picks, a stunning development for a team needing plenty of defensive help.

Bryan Edwards of South Carolina was the 81st pick and a traditional receiver. The real surprise was Lynn Bowden Jr. of Kentucky with the 80th pick. The TV screens said he was a wide receiver. The Commissioner said he was a running back. The analysts said he played wide receiver, running back, and even quarterback. He is expected to be used as an all-purpose threat. However, with Josh Jacobs firmly entrenched as the starting bellcow, Bowden will be mostly playing wide receiver. Jon Gruden has given Derek Carr a ton of toys to play with. To keep the raider Nation from going catatonic, it was essential to start drafting some guys on defense.

The Raiders traded their final third round pick in the 91st spot to the New England Patriots. By moving down 9 spots to pick 100, the Raiders also gained an extra fourth round pick. The teams also swapped fifth round picks to the benefit of the Patriots. New England used the pick to obtain UCLA tight end Devon Asiasi. With Rob Gronkowski opting for retirement and then Tampa Bay over Belichick, the Evil Hoodie has a new rookie to whip into shape.

More confusion reigned when the Raiders used pick 100 on Tanner Muse of Clemson. The sports analysts kept referring to him as a linebacker but the TV showed him as a safety. Either way, he plays defense, which the Raiders desperately need.

The final pick of the third round belonged to the Baltimore Ravens. With the 106th pick in the Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected guard Tyre Phillips of Mississippi State. Although Philips pronounces his last name Tie-ree, he is built like a tire.

After five hours, the second day of the NFL 2020 Virtual Draft was in the history books. The third and final day on Saturday would cover rounds four through seven all the way through to the final pick, the beloved “Mr. Irrelevant.”

Mr. Irrelevant turned out to be Georgia linebacker Tae Crawford. He was taken with the 255th and final pick by the New York Giants. Due to the Corona virus pandemic, he will not be given the usual festivities associated with “Irrelevant week.”

For the undrafted, there is still plenty of hope. Shortly after the Draft ended, the Washington Redskins announced the free agent signing of tight end Thaddeus Moss. He is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss.

NFL Draft 2020 Opening Round Recap

Friday, April 24th, 2020

NFL Draft 2020 Virtual Round 1 Recap

NFL offseason 2020 could be one for the ages

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

NFL offseason: 2020 edition could be the best one ever

Super Bowl LIV (54) Recap

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Super Bowl LIV (54) Recap

The 2019-2020 NFL regular season, Wildcards, Divisionals, Conference Title Games and Pro Bowl are in the history books. One more game stood between the end of football season and the Daytona 500 to kickstart NASCAR.

The game featured the AFC Champion and Lamar Hunt Trophy winning Kansas City Chiefs against the NFC Champion and George Halas Trophy winning San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs lost the first Super Bowl in 1966 and won the fourth Super Bowl in 1969. Exactly 50 years after winning their only Super Bowl, the Chiefs were back in the big game for the third time. The 49ers won four Super Bowls in the 1980s and a fifth Super Bowl in 1994. They lost the Super Bowl in 2012 and were back in it for the seventh time.

These teams were built completely differently. The Chiefs came in with a high-flying offense led by phenom quarterback Patrick Mahomes, speedsters Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, and big tight end Travis Kelce. The 49ers were built with defense. One year after going 4-12, a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo has benefitted from a trio of running backs and an imposing tight end in George Kittle.

Both coaches were desperate to exorcise playoff demons. Walrus Lite Andy Reid had been to the Conference Title Game seven times. He lost five of those games as well as the 2004 Super Bowl. Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls, but his son Kyle presided over the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history. As the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, his play-calling allowed the Falcons to blow a 28-3 third quarter lead. Atlanta lost that game to the Patriots 34-28 in overtime.

With politics and pop culture dividing us, the final football game of every season brings approximately one out of every three Americans together.

Then came the kickoff. San Francisco won the toss and for some bizarre reason decided to defer. The logic is to get the ball near the end of the half and then get it to start the third quarter to keep the other team’s offense cooling their heels for up to an hour. However, the last thing any sane coach should do is let Patrick Mahomes have the football. The only way to beat the Chiefs is to keep him off the field. The 1990 Giants held the ball for over 40 minutes, allowing them to shock the seemingly unstoppable Bills. Yet Kyle Shanahan let Mahomes start the game.

The strategy appeared to work when the Chiefs went 3 and out. Mahomes was off the mark with his passes. The 49ers faced 2nd and 11 at their own 17. Jimmy Garoppolo hit Greg Kittle for 11 yards. Deebo Samuel broke free for a 32 yard gain. On 3rd and 2 from the Chiefs 32, Samuel gained 7. On 3rd and 5 from the Chiefs 20, Garoppolo threw incomplete. The 10 play, 62 yard, 6 minute drive had the 49ers settling for a 38 yard Robbie Gould field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Mahomes rebounded after a touchback, hitting Tyreek Hill for 9 and again for 8. On 3rd and 2 from the their own 44, pass-happy Andy Reid ran the ball. Damien Williams gained 5. Mahomes hit Kelce for 9 and Williams ran for 14. On 4th and 1 at the Frisco 5, the ultra-conservative Andy Reid went ultra-aggressive. Bill Parcells once said that you have to have big balls to win the biggest games. Parcells called a fake punt in the 1990 NFC Title Game, and one of his disciples Sean Payton called a surprise onsides kick to start the second half of the 2009 Super Bowl. Obviously pass-happy Andy Reid would throw it in this situation. Again, he ran the ball. Williams took the direct snap and gained four yards down to the one. At this point everyone knew that West Coast Offense dink and dunker pass-happy Andy Reid would throw it. Again, he ran the ball and Mahomes got in. After the first quarter, the Chiefs led 7-3. Andy Reid was gambling on 4th and 1. He was running the ball.

Things got worse for the 49ers when Garoppolo was intercepted early in the second quarter to set up the Chiefs at their own 44.  Mahomes went deep to Sammy Watkins for a 28 yard gain. On 4th and 1 from the Frisco 19, Andy Reid again decided to go for it. Again the pass-happy coach opted to run the ball. Williams gained 3. On 3rd and 7 from the 49ers 13, Mahomes threw incomplete. Harrison Butker hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Chiefs. The 49ers took over at their own 20 and Raheem Mostert ran for one and 9. Garoppolo hit Samuel for 16. Mostert added 11 and Tevin Coleman ran for 17 more. Garoppolo hit Samuel for 11 and Kyle Juszczyk for a 15 yard touchdown. With 5 minutes left in the half, the game was tied 10-10. Kyle Shanahan’s defense was playing well and his plan to shorten the game was clearly working. His plan to have the last possession of the half and the first possession of the second half worked. Yet in a stunning turn of events, Shanahan made a horrendous coaching decision at the end of the first half.

With 1:53 left in the half, the Chiefs faced 3rd and 14 at their own 48. A short completion gained only one yard. A quick timeout followed buy a punt would have given the 49ers about 1:40 to work with. Yet Shanahan never took a timeout even though he had all 3 of them. After a punt and a touchback, only one minute remained. Rather than even try to set up for a field goal, Shanahan called two conservative runs. He was giving up. Then Andy Reid made one of the rare bad decisions on his side. He has been criticized for bad clock management in the past, and this time he should have let the clock go to the half. Instead with 20 seconds left in the half, he called a timeout on defense with the 49ers facing 3rd and 5 at their own 25. It was too little time for the Chiefs to do anything, and it nearly blew up in the Chiefs faces. Garoppolo hit Wilson for 20 yards and the 49ers called timeout with 14 seconds left. Garoppolo then went deep to George Kittle for a 42 yard gain. Despite Shanahan’s decision to initially give up, Reid’s return mistake still gave the 49ers a chance to take the lead on a field goal. However, they never got that chance. Kittle was called for offensive pass interference, wiping out the big game. At that point Shanahan had Garoppolo take a knee as the teams went to the locker rooms deadlocked 10-10.

While Shakira and Jennifer Lopez did a great job shaking their practically naked asses, the halftime show should still be abolished and replaced with football highlights. This concludes all discussion of non-football related matters.

The 49ers began the third quarter at their own 16. Garoppolo hit Emanuel Sanders for gains of 5 and 15. Samuel got around the end for 14 more yards to midfield. Garoppolo hit Juszczyk for 14 and kittle for 5. On 3rd and 5 from the Chiefs 27, Groppolo hit Coleman for only 3 yards. On 4th and 2, Shanahan decided not to gamble. Gould hit the 42 yard field goal and the 49ers led 13-10. The Chiefs offense finally took the field after what seemed like forever. They moved from their own 9 to a 3rd and 12 at their own 39. Mahomes went deep and was intercepted by Fred Warner. The 49ers took over at their own 45. Garoppolo hit Samuel for 16, Kendrick Bourne for 26, and Juszczyk for 10. Mostert got in from the one as the 49ers led 20-10 after three quarters. The Chiefs after a touchback moved 52 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 6 from the 49ers 23 yard line, Mahomes threw a pass off the mark that deflected off the receiver’s hands and was intercepted by Moore, who returned it 7 yards to his own 20. With 12 minutes left in regulation, the 49ers were in complete control. They needed to just run the ball and grind out a win.

Instead, Shanahan made the exact same set of mistakes he made 3 years ago in blowing the Super Bowl. His stubborn refusal to run the ball in 2016 led to sacks, turnovers and penalties. In that game, he could have just taken 3 knees and iced the game with a field goal. Instead, he kept throwing. Last week in the NFC Title Game, Garoppolo threw only 8 passes. Despite having 3 good running backs, Shanahan in this game kept throwing. on 2nd and 9 from this own 39, Garoppolo threw incomplete. Then came a false start.

The Chiefs got the ball back with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation at their own 20. They dodged what would have been a death blow when the fumbled punt made it out of bounds. Mahomes ran for 9 and hit Hill for 9. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Chiefs were in desperation mode facing 3rd and 15 at their own 35. The 49ers defense had been suffocating the whole game. Then came the breakdown. Mahomes did what he does. He threw a wounded duck, but because his arm is so strong, it still went to Hill for a 44 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Frisco 21, Mahomes went deep incomplete. However, defensive pass interference on Moore meant 1st and goal at the one. Moore never looked back to see where the ball was. Mahomes then went to Travis Kelce for the touchdown. With 6 minutes left, the Chiefs were within 20-17.

Again, Shanahan needed to run the ball. Again, he refused to do so. Despite Mostert running for 5 yards, 2nd and 5 from their own 25 saw Garoppolo throw incomplete twice. The Chiefs got it back at their own 35 with a full 5 minutes left. Mahomes hit Hill for 5, Kelce for 9, Hill for 3, and then a deep ball to Watkins for a 38 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 5, one play would determine whether the game would be tied. Instead, Mahomes hit Williams for the touchdown. With 2:44 to play, the Chiefs had retaken the lead 24-20.

The 49ers got the ball back at their own 15. Now needing to pass, Shanahan called a run. Mostert did gain 17 yards, but it took the clock down nearly to the 2 minute warning. Grinding out clock is not good when you are losing. Garoppolo hit Kittle for 8 and Bourne for 16. With 1:49 left, the 49ers had 1st and 10 just past midfield. Garoppolo threw incomplete twice. With 1:40 left and needing a first down, Shanahan decided to go for it all. Garoppolo went for the bomb and had an open receiver. The winning touchdown pass would add to the list of 49ers quarterbacks and Super Bowl heroics. It was not to be. The ball was overthrown for Garoppolo’s third straight incompletion. Some 49ers fans groused that Joe Montana would have completed the pass. No, he would not have. He was a system quarterback with no arm strength. On 4th and 10 with 1:25 left, Garoppolo was sacked for a 9 yard loss.

Although it appeared over, the 49ers still had all 3 timeouts. A defensive stop would give the 49ers one more chance. From the Frisco 42, Williams gained 4 yards and the 49ers took their first timeout with 1:20 left. Williams got the carry again. This time he would not be denied as he ran over everyone for a 38 yard touchdown. 2 plays later Garoppolo’s desperation Hail Mary was intercepted with one minute left. The 49ers led 20-10 after 3 1/2 quarters, but a 21-0 Chiefs barrage in the final 6 minutes including 2 touchdowns in the final 3 minutes completely turned around the game. Mahomes was the MVP of the game. Both coaches came in obsessed with passing the ball, but the winning coach adapted. Shanahan played too conservative at the end of the first half and was for the second time in four years far too aggressive late in the game. Andy Reid was aggressive early but pounded the rock when necessary. Walrus Lite Andy Reid after 21 years as a head coach finally became a Super Bowl winning head coach. He is no longer Walrus Lite. With the win, the future Hall of Fame coach has now finally been upgraded to full walrus status. After 50 years, the Chiefs will no longer have to live on only Hank Stram and Len Dawson. Now they are Super Bowl Champions with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Reid announced that if invited, he would definitely go to the White House. A bunch of his players concurred. The 2019 NFL season, and 100th overall NFL season, is now in the history books. 31-20 Chiefs