Archive for the ‘SPORTS’ Category

NFL 2022 Week 7 Prequel

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 7 Prequel

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 8pm

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals (-1 1/2) — Both of these teams have been inconsistent. The Saints have the better defense. Kyler Murray can make plays, and this week he gets Deandre Hopkins back from suspension. That will not solve everything that ails Arizona, but they are at home and Hopkins will provide a spark to the offense. Cardinals cover

Sunday, October 23, 1pm

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-6 1/2) — The Ravens have led by double digits in the second half of all of their losses. Despite multiple fourth quarter collapses, the Browns do not pose a threat. Lamar Jackson is far better than Jacoby Brissett. Yet given all the blown leads, it is hard to trust such a high spread. Ravens win but fail to cover

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10) at Carolina Panthers — As awful as the Panthers are, the Buccaneers have been inconsistent on offense. Flip it around. As inconsistent as the Buccaneers have been on offense, the Panthers are awful. PJ Walker is not going to out-duel Tom Brady. The Panthers defense is not horrendous, and the spread is too high to trust Tampa Bay’s inability to repeat its playmaking ability of the last two seasons. Buccaneers win but fail to cover

Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals (-6) — The Falcons have very quietly been playing decent football. The Bengals seem to have left behind their early season struggles but have not gotten anywhere near where they were last year. This is another case of the spread being too high based on the lack of firepower from a Bengals squad loaded with talent. Bengals win but fail to cover

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-7) — Despite losing a tough game at unbeaten Philadelphia, the Lions do not pose a problem. The Lions put points on the board but cannot stop anyone. Cooper Rush has been playing well as a backup. Given the potency of the Lions offense, a shootout is possible. Cowboys win but fail to cover

New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) — Now that the 5-1 Giants are finally getting some respect, they have to be careful of falling into trap games like this one. The Jaguars have potential but are a year away from contending. They could be next year where the Giants are this year. Saquon Barkley is running hard. Doug Pederson knows the Giants well. Oddsmakers still do not respect the Giants. They have earned the benefit of the doubt. They will not suffer a letdown after a tough win last week. upset special, Giants win outright

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-2 1/2) — The Colts managed a comeback at home against Jacksonville, but the Titans have gotten back to the punishing form of last year, especially running back Derrick Henry. The Titans have a defense. Matt Ryan will throw interceptions. Titans cover

Green Bay Packers (-5) at Washington Commanders — The Packers are not as good as in past years, and their offense is out of sync. Yet the Commanders are not good at all. Carson Wentz is out for several weeks with a broken finger. Chris Heiecke is a serviceable backup. This is the last time to give the Packers the benefit of the doubt after embarrassing losses to the Giants and Jets. Packers win but fail to cover

4pm

New York Jets at Denver Broncos (-3) — The Jets are surprisingly good, and Zach Wilson is back. The Broncos are surprisingly bad, and Russell Wilson in particular is struggling. The Broncos have a good defense, and the Jets enter very high on themselves after a dominating road win at Green Bay. They are due for a letdown. The Broncos win and lose ugly, so this should be close. Broncos cover

Houston Texans at Las Vegas Raiders (-7) — The Raiders are loaded with talent yet sit at 1-4. Terrible coaching in goal line and short yardage situations has killed drives. Josh McDaniels has run Josh Jacobs more, but not with the game on the line. Yet the Raiders are at home with two weeks to prepare for an anemic Texans team. If the Raiders cannot win this one, they cannot win anything. The spread is too high for a team that plays close games. The Raiders do not close out games, so this could be closer than it should be. Raiders win but fail to cover

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers (-7) — The Chargers offense has underachieved. The Seahawks offense has overachieved, with Geno Smith playing surprisingly well enough. The Seahawks even played a complete game on defense last week at home against Arizona. Now comes the return to reality. Justin Herbert has enough weapons to shred the Seattle defense. Seattle has playmakers but lacks the offensive firepower to keep up. Chargers cover

Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at San Francisco 49ers — The Chiefs may be exhausted after losing a heavyweight title bout at home against Buffalo. The 49ers suffered a surprising defeat at Atlanta. These teams met in the Super Bowl three years, ago and some things have not changed. Patrick Mahomes is still all world, and Jimmy Garoppolo is still plucky and underrated. The 49ers are not as great on defense as they were. Walrus Andy Reid out-coached Kyle Shanahan when it mattered. He will again. Chiefs cover

8pm

Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins (-7) — The Steelers got a big emotional win over Tampa Bay, while the Dolphins need someone who can be healthy enough to play quarterback. The Dolphins have the better defense. Expect the Steelers to have a letdown and the Dolphins to rally around whoever can will themselves to drag their injured body on the field to lead. This game will be too ugly for a blowout either way. Dolphins win but fail to cover

Monday, October 24, 8pm

Chicago Bears at New England Patriots (-7 1/2) — In 1985, this matchup mattered. Rookie Bailey appeared has been highly effective in place of injured Mac Jones. Nobody on the Bears impresses anyone. The Patriots can run the ball and have the better defense. Patriots cover

NFL 2022 Week 6 Recap

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 6 Recap

Washington Commanders at Chicago Bears was the Thursday night game. Sometimes a pair of bad teams can come together to play a thrilling game for the ages. This was not that game. In the first quarter the Bears moved to a 1st and goal at the 6. Justin Fields was then intercepted. In the second quarter the Bears moved to a 4th and goal at the one. Khalil Herbert got the carry and got stuffed. With 46 seconds left in a horrid first half, Joey Slye broke the 0-0 tie by hitting a 38 yard field goal for the Commanders. In the third quarter the Bears managed to complete one drive. On 3rd and 8 from their own 8, Fields hit Jones for 10. On 3rd and 3 from their own 25, David Montgomery gained 13. On 2nd and 9 from the Washington 40, Fields went deep to Pettis for the touchdown and the 7-3 Bears lead. After a touchback, the Commanders came back with a 13 play, 65 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive. They began the fourth quarter facing 3rd and goal at the 5. A false start was followed by a Carson Wentz incompletion. Slye hit from 28 to get the Commanders within 7-6.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the key play in the game came when the Bears fumbled a punt and the Commanders recovered at the Chicago 6 yard line. Brian Robinson ran for 5 and then the one yard touchdown to give the Commanders a 5 point lead midway through the fourth quarter. After a touchback the Bears moved to a 1st and 10 at the Washington 42. The Bears moved backward and on 4th and 16 Fields threw incomplete. With 1:49 left, this ugly game got worse when Slye missed a 48 yard field goal for the Commanders that would have made it 15-7. The Bears took over at their own 38. On 3rd and 5, Fields hit Montgomery for 13 and ran for a 39 yard gain to set up 1st and goal at the 5 with 52 seconds left in regulation. A run gained one yard followed by a pair of Fields incompletions. Everything came down to 4th and goal at the 4 with 30 seconds left. Rather than throw past the end zone marker, Fields hit Mooney for a 3 yard gain. Mooney was tackled at the one yard line to end the game. 3 times the Bears were at the Washington 6 yard line or closer and came up with 0 points. League officials would not say if they burned the tape of this game. 12-7 Commanders

San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons — The Falcons have been playing competitive football, but the 49ers on paper were the superior team. Games are not played on paper. The Falcons started the game facing 3rd and 2 at their own 34. Marcus Mariota went to Zaccheaus for a 37 yard gain. On 3rd and 1 from the San Francisco 20, Mariota gained 5. On 3rd and 2 from the Frisco 7, Huntley got the deuce. Mariota hit MyCole Pruitt for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Falcons. Late in the first quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd and 1 at their own 20. Then came a fumble, a mad scramble, and a recovery by the Falcons in the end zone for a defensive touchdown and a 14-0 Falcons lead.

The 49ers took over at their own 21. Jimmy Garoppolo hit George Kittle for 6, Deebo Samuel, and at the beginning of the second quarter, Brandon Aiyuk for 12 and Kittle for 12. Garoppolo went to Aiyuk for Aiyuk for the 12 yard touchdown to get the 49ers within 14-7. A 35 yard punt return gave the 49ers the ball back at the Atlanta 32. Garoppolo hit Kittle for 7, Kyle Juszczyk for 10, and Aiyuk for the 15 yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14.

After a touchback, the Falcons soon faced 3rd and 12 from their own 39. Mariota scrambled for 15. Mariota then hit London for 20. Huntley ran for 16. Mariota ran for a 3 yard touchdown to give the Falcons the 21-14 lead with one minute left in the half. In the third quarter the Falcons took over at their own 35. Mariota hit Zaccheaus for 10. On 3rd and 1 from their own 46, Allgeier gained 8. Mariota ran for 20. On 3rd and 3 from the Frisco 7, Mariota hit Kyle Pitts for the touchdown. Although it was only midway through the third quarter, the Atlanta defense did the rest. 28-14 Falcons

New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns — Bill Belichick loves humiliating the team that fired him over 25 years ago, but this time he would have to win with third string rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe. On the second play from scrimmage, Jacoby Brissett went deep and was intercepted to set the Patriots up at their own 35. The Patriots moved 63 yards in 12 plays and 7 minutes. 1st and goal at the one saw Raimondre Stevenson get stopped twice. Then Zappe threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the one on the road Belichick had seen enough. Nick Folk hit the 19 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. The Browns after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 4 at the New England 21. Out of the shotgun, Karim Hunt got stopped for no gain. York hit the 39 yard field goal for a 3-3 game. The Patriots fumbled on their next drive to set the Browns up at the New England 38. Yet on 4th and 1 from the New England 18, Kevin Stefanski went for it and Brissett got stopped for no gain.

Midway through the second quarter the Patriots took over at their own 13. Zappe hit Hunter Henry for 12 and Meyers for 20. Zappe went to Parker for 14 and Tyquan Thornton for 12. On 3rd and 10 from the Cleveland 31 and the defense smelling pass, Stevenson ran for the first down and the touchdown to make it 10-3 Patriots. The Browns moved from their own 29 to a 2nd and 1 at the New England 29. Rather than run the ball, Kevin Stefanski called 2 passes that Brissett threw incomplete. Stefanski decided not to gamble with only 30 seconds left in the half. York hit from 48. The Browns only trailed 10-6, but the second half was never competitive.

After a third quarter touchback, the Patriots quickly moved to put the game away, On the second play from scrimmage, Zappe hit Smith for a 53 yard gain. Zappe then went to Henry for 13. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Zappe hit Thornton for the touchdown to make it 17-6 Patriots. An interception of Brissett gave the Patriots a short field at the Cleveland 40. On 3rd and 1, Zappe went to Henry for a 31 yard touchdown to make it 24-6 Patriots after three quarters. The Browns moved from their own 19 to a 1st and 10 at the Cleveland 23. Brissett then threw incomplete twice. On the first play of the fourth quarter on 3rd and 10, Brissett was sacked. York hit from 51 to get the Browns within 24-9. After the Patriots missed a field goal, the Browns faced 4th and 2 at their own 43. Brissett went deep to Donovan Peoples-Jones for 37. On 4th and 5 from the New England 15, Brissett went to Amari Cooper for the touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Browns were within 24-15 with a little over 6 minutes left in regulation.

The Browns defense even forced a 3 and out and seemed to get the ball back with 4 1/2 minutes left. Yet the Browns fumbled the punt and the Patriots recovered at the Cleveland 19. One play later, Thornton ran it in to make it 31-15 Patriots. Two plays later Brissett was sacked again and fumbled again. The Patriots recovered at the Cleveland 8 yard line. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Stevenson ran it in. Turnovers killed the Browns, resulting in a blowout. 38-15 Patriots

 

New York Jets at Green Bay Packers — The Jets have been improving but were not expected to seriously threaten the Packers. An ugly first half saw a scoreless first quarter. The first play of the second quarter saw Mason Crosby’s 47 yard field goal try for the Packers blocked. Midway through the second quarter the Packers faced 3rd and 1 from their own 33. Out of the shotgun, Aaron Rodgers fumbled the snap and the Jets recovered at the Green Bay 34. Greg Zuerlein hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Jets. The Packers went for it on 4th and 3 at the Jets 46. Rodgers threw deep incomplete. With 36 seconds left in the half, Zuerlein missed a 53 yard field goal try. Crosby hit from 29 to end the half with the teams tied 3-3.

The third quarter began with the Jets facing 2nd and 8 at their own 28. Zach Wilson hit Davis for 11 and then again deep for 41. Braxton Berrios ran for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 10-3 Jets. The undoing of the Packers last year was their special teams. They suffered a blocked punt for a touchdown in their home playoff loss. The problems have not been fixed. This time the blocked punt was recovered by Will Parks for a Jets touchdown and a 17-3 lead.

The Packers soon faced 3rd and 2 from their own 33. Rodgers threw deep incomplete but roughing the passer kept the drive going. On 3rd and 2 from the Jets 44, Rodgers threw incomplete but defensive illegal contact again bailed the Packers out. Rodgers then hit Aaron Jones for 14 and Allen Lazard for a 25 yard touchdown to get the Packers within 17-10. The Jets soon faced 2nd and 9 from their own 35. Wilson hit Uzomah for 14 and Conklin for 16. On the first play of the fourth quarter Breece Hall ran for a 34 yard touchdown to make it 24-10 Jets. The Packers after a touchback moved 12 plays in 5 1/2 minutes On 2nd and 7 from the Jets 30, offensive holding was a killer. On 4th and 14, Rodgers threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the one, delay of game killed an attempt to go for it. It didn’t matter. Zuerlein hit a 23 yard field goal to lock up the win. The Packers may be overrated, but the Jets are for real. They are good. 27-10 Jets

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts — A field position game set the Jaguars up at their own 44. Robinson ran for 14. Trevor Lawrence hit Etienne for 22. Agnew ran for 19. On 3rd and goal at the one, Lawrence got in to make it 7-0 Jaguars. The Colts moved from their own 23 on a 13 play, 67 yard, 5 minute drive. The second quarter began with the Colts facing 1st and goal at the 10. Matt Ryan threw 3 straight incompletions. Chase McLaughlin hit from 28 to get the Colts within 7-3. After a touchback, the Jaguars soon faced 3rd and 1 from their own 39. JaMycal Hasty ran for a 61 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Jaguars.

An 18 yard punt return had the Colts taking over at their own 46. Ryan hit Jackson for gains of 22 and 13. On 3rd and 8 from the Jacksonville 17, Ryan threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 9 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Ryan hit Harris Campbell for the touchdown to get the Colts within 14-10. The Colts got it back at their own 39 with 90 seconds left in the half. They moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Jacksonville 24. Ryan threw incomplete. McLaughlin hit from 42 to get the Colts within 14-13.

After a third quarter touchback, Etienne ran for 27. On 3rd and 1 from the Indianapolis 39, Lawrence threw incomplete but defensive holding kept the drive going. Lawrence hit Farrell for 11 Jones form20. Lawrence ran for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 21-13 Jaguars. The Colts soon faced 3rd and 7 from their own 28. Ryan hit Granson for 17. On 3rd and 12 from their own 43, Ryan threw incomplete but roughing the passer kept the offense on the field. Ryan hit Pittman for 18 and 10. Deon Jackson ran for 11 and then for the 3 yard touchdown. The 2 point conversion try to tie the game failed but the Colts were within 21-19.

The Jaguars moved from their own 19 to a 3rd and 1 at the Indy 32. Lawrence threw incomplete and Doug Pederson decided to go for it. Etienne got the carry and lost 2 yards. The Colts soon faced 3rd and 7 from their own 37. Ryan hit Campbell for 15 to end the third quarter and for 12 more to start the fourth quarter. On 3rd and 1 from the Jacksonville 27, Jackson gained 2. Defensive pass interference added 15 more. Ryan hit Jelani Woods for a 10 yard touchdown to make it 26-21 Colts.

The Jaguars soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 14. Lawrence threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 7 yards and an automatic first down. On 3rd and 13 from their own 18, Lawrence went to Zee Jones for 18. On 3rd and 3 from their own 43, Lawrence gained 6. On 4th and 1 from the Indy 42, Lawrence gained 2. On 2nd and 4 from the Indy 34, a run gained only one yard but defensive holding meant another automatic first down. Lawrence ran for 13 and Etienne added 8 more. Lawrence threw a 4 yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk.The staggering drive took 18 plays, moved 84 yards, and ate up over 10 minutes off of the clock. The 2 point conversion try failed but the Jaguars led 27-26 with 2:44 left.

The Colts soon faced 3rd and 4 from their own 40. Ryan hit Pittman for just enough as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. With 49 seconds left, on 3rd and 10 from the Jags 44, Ryan hit Pittman for 15. With 23 seconds left in regulation, the Colts faced 3rd and 13 from the Jags 32. A field goal from that distance would be 50 yards. The Colts still had 2 timeouts left and could run the ball for a few yards to make the kick shorter. Instead Frank Reich aired it out. Matty Ice went to Alec Pierce for the touchdown. Philip Lindsay ran in the 2 point conversion. The Jaguars took over at their own 25 with 11 seconds left. Lawrence hit Evan engram for 16. With 3 seconds remaining, the hook and laterals from the Jacksonville 41 were fumbled away. 34-27 Colts

 

Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins — The Dolphins have suffered at quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa was still out injured. Backup Teddy Bridgewater was injured and listed as the emergency quarterback. Rookie third string quarterback Skylar Thompson got the start. Early in the second quarter of a scoreless game, Thompson went to the locker room injured. Bridgewater played the rest of the game. With 6 minutes left in the half, Jason Sanders hit a 44 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Dolphins. After a touchback, Kirk Cousins hit Adam Thielen for gains of 14 and 11 and Justin Jefferson for 20. On 3rd and 6 from the Miami 26, Cousins hit Jefferson for 24 . Cousins went to Smith for a one yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Vikings. With 1:45 left in the half, Sanders missed a 52 yard field goal try. With 23 seconds left in the half, Bridgwater was intercepted to give the Vikings the ball at the Miami 41. Defensive pass interference added 20 yards. Greg Joseph hit the 34 yard field goal at the gun as the Vikings took a 10-3 lead to the locker rooms.

The Vikings late in the third quarter faced 3rd and 2 at their own 35. Ham gained 3. On the last play of the third quarter, Cousins went deep to Jefferson for 47. The fourth quarter began with Cousins hitting Thielen for a 2 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Vikings led 16-3. After a touchback, Bridgewater hit Hill for 13 and then for 28 more. Bridgewater hit Gesicki for 13. Bridgewater ran for 10. Bridgewater hit Gesicki for a 4 yard touchdown. With 10 minutes left in regulation the Dolphins were within 16-10. The Dolphins got it back at their own 20 and moved to the Minnesota 38. Offensive holding was followed by a fumble that the Vikings recovered. Dalvin Cook ran for a 53 yard touchdown. Cousins hit Thielen for the 2 point conversion. with 3:15 to play, the Vikings led 24-10. Bridgwater was then intercepted. Bridgwater did throw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Gesicki with 1:24 left, but the pointless 2 point conversion try failed. More importantly, so did the onside kick attempt as Bridgwater failed to beat his old team. 24-16 Vikings

Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints — A fumbled punt early on set the Saints up at the Cincinnati 32. Three plays later, red Rifle Andy Dalton hit TreQuan Smith for an18 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Saints. After a touchback, runs and short passes had the Bengals facing 2nd and 10 at the New Orleans 38. Joe Burrow threw incomplete, but roughing the passer added 14 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the New Orleans Saints 17, Burrow hit JaMarr Chase for 8. On 3rd and goal from the 9, Burrow went to Joe Mixon for the touchdown to make it 7-7.

After a touchback, the Saints began the second quarter at their own 40. Mark Ingram for 14 and Rashid Shaheed ripped off a 44 yard touchdown run to make it 14-7 Saints. The Saints got it back at their own 25 and Alvin Kamara ran for 24. Taysom Hill came in and out of the shotgun ran for 31 yards. On 3r and 6 from the Cincinnati 16, Dalton threw incomplete. Wil Lutz hit the 35 yard field goal to make it 17-7 Saints.

After a touchback, the Bengals soon faced 2nd and 6 from their own 42. Burrow went to Tyler Boyd for 21. On 3rd and 2 from the New Orleans 29, Burrow hit Boyd for 8. On 3rd and 8 from the New Orleans 19, Burrow rushed for the touchdown himself to get the Bengals within 17-14. After a touchback, the Saints moved 63 yards in 14 plays and 6 minutes. On 1st and 10 from the Cincinnati 16, a pair of runs lost yards. Lutz hit a 30 yard field goal to end the half with the Saints up 20-14. It was more of the same after a third quarter touchback. The Saints held the ball for 8 minutes and ran 14 plays for 56 yards. On 3rd and 25 from his own 23, a completion only gained 9 yards but roughing the passer kept the drive going. On 3rd and 9 from the Cincy 19, Dalton threw incomplete. Lutz hit the 37 yard field goal to put the Saints up 23-14 midway through the third quarter, but they were scoring too many field goals instead of touchdowns.

The Bengals finished their drives. From their own 26, Mixon ran for 10. From his own 48, Burrow went to Chase for 26. . Burrow went to Boyd for 9 and to Chase for a 15 yard touchdown. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Bengals were within 23-21. From their own 21, the Saints again embarked on a long drive. 14 plays netted 66 yards and took 7 1/2 minutes off the clock. Yet again, the red zone saw the drive bog down. 1st and 10 from the Cincinnati 14 led to an incompletion, a loss, and a very short completion nowhere near the first down marker. Lutz hit his fourth field goal from 31 yards out. With 11 minutes left in regulation, the Saints led 26-21.

After a touchback, it was the Bengals who took 7 1/2 minutes off the clock on a 13 play drive. Yet 1st and 10 from the New Orleans 24 saw consecutive sacks of Burrow and 3rd and 27. With 3:42 to play, Zac Taylor opted to kick the field goal and trust his defense. McPherson hit from 52 to get the Bengals within 26-24. Their defense forced a 3 and out. Even worse for the Saints, a shanked 29 yard punt had the Bengals taking over at their own 40. With 2:10 left, they needed only a field goal to win. Yet the Bengals had other ideas. One play and 13 seconds later, a 60 yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Chase had the Bengals up by 4 points. The 2 point try failed. The Saints from their own 30 moved to a 1st and 10 at the Cincy 41. A pair of incompletions followed by a sack had the Saints facing 4th and 17 with 34 seconds left. Dalton threw incomplete as he failed to get a win against his former team. 30-26 Bengals

Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants — The Ravens have blown a pair of double digits leads late. The 4-1 Giants were trying to win over skeptics. A scoreless first quarter ended with Justin Tucker doinking a 56 yard field goal off the upright no good to keep the Ravens off the scoreboard. The Ravens began the second quarter at their own 11. Lamar Jackson ran for 14 and then hit Devin Duvernay for 14 more. Jackson went to Mark Andrews for 17. On 3rd and 8 from the Giants 38, Jackson hit Kenyan Drake for just enough. Drake then ran for a 30 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Ravens. A strong kickoff return had the Giants taking over at their own 47. On 3rd and 14, Daniel Jones went to Darrius Slayton for 18 and to Matt Breida for 15 more. On 3rd and 12 from the Baltimore 26, Jones hit Robinson for 15. On 3rd and 4 from the Baltimore 5, Jones hit Wandale Robinson for the touchdown to cap the 10 play, 53 yard, 6 minute drive and make it 7-7.

After a touchback, the Ravens moved to a 1st and 10 at the Giants 16. Jackson threw 3 straight incompletions. Tucker hit from 34 to put the Ravens up 10-7. In the third quarter the Ravens moved from their own 31 to a 1st and goal at the 5. John Harbaugh didn’t try a single run at that point as Jackson again threw 3 straight incompletions. Tucker hit from 23 to make it 13-7 Ravens, but their inability to finish drives cost them. The Giants after a touchback moved 59 yards in 14 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. This time it was the Giants who had 2nd and goal at the 5. Jones threw incomplete and then was sacked. Graham Gano hit from 34 to get the Giants within 13-10. After a touchback, Jackson ran for 25. Drake added 3 and 7. Jackson hit Likely for 11. Drake ran for 15. Jackson hit Andrews for the 12 yard touchdown. With 13 minutes left in regulation, the Ravens led 20-10. They had another fourth quarter lead. Now they needed to keep it.

The Giants soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Jones hit Johnson for 18 and Robinson for 17. Jones hit Sills for 8 and Barkley ran for 8 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Baltimore 14, Jones gained 3. Jones hit Daniel Bellinger for an 8 yard touchdown. With 6 minutes left in the game, the Giants were within 20-17. After a touchback, the Ravens moved to a 3rd and 1 at their own 44. Jackson gained 2 but an illegal formation penalty pushed the Ravens back to 3rd and 5. Jackson fumbled the ball, picked it up, and instead of accepting a loss forced a dangerous pass over the middle that was intercepted. Love returned the pick 27 yards to the Baltimore 13 with 3 minutes left. At the 2 minute warning, the Giants faced 3rd and 3 at the Baltimore 6. Jones was intercepted in the end zone. He blew it. Except he didn’t. Defensive pass interference nullified the pick and meant 1st and goal at the one. Saquon Barkley got in to give the Giants a 4 point lead. The Ravens had blown another late double digit lead. After a touchback, Jackson was sacked and fumbled. The Giants are 5-1. They are not lucky or overachieving. They are good. 24-20 Giants

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers — Tom Brady usually beat the Steelers even when they were good. Mike Tomlin entered this game with a 1-4 squad, his worst. His quarterbacks are rookie Kenny Pickett who lost his first start by 35 points, and Mitchell Trubisky. The Steelers began at their own 34. Pickett hit Pickens for 8, Johnson for 5, and Chase Claypool for 14. On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa 35, Pickett threw incomplete but roughing the passer kept the drive going. On 4th and 1 from the Tampa 11, Tomlin opted to go for it. Warren got the yard up the gut. Pickett hit Najee Harris for a 6 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Steelers.

The rest of the first three quarters belonged to the field goal kickers as long drives stalled short of the end zone. Ryan Succop hit from 30 in the first quarter and from 27 in the second quarter to get the Buccaneers within 7-6. The second field goal came after a run on 2nd and goal at the one lost yards followed by a sack. Chris Boswell hit from 55 with 4 minutes left in the second quarter. Succop hit from 54 to end the half and get the Buccaneers within 10-9. Sims returned the second half kickoff 89 yards to the Tampa Bay 12. Yet on 2nd and 5, Pickett threw incomplete twice. Boswell hit from 25 to put the Steelers up 13-9. The Buccaneers after a touchback moved to a 1st and goal at the 4. An ineligible man downfield was followed by a run that lost yards. Succop hit a 24 yard field goal to get the Buccaneers within 13-12 midway through the third quarter.

One play after a touchback, Pickett went deep to Johnson for a 27 yard gain. Yet Pickett got injured on the play. Trubisky played the rest of the game. The Steelers began the fourth quarter facing 3rd and 13 at their own 26. Trubisky went to Pickens for 14. On 3rd and 6from their own 44, Trubisky connected with Hayward for a 45 yard gain. Trubisky hit Chase Claypool for a 6 yard touchdown to put the Steelers up 20-12 with 10 minutes left in regulation. The Buccaneers took over at their own 27. Brady went to Chris Godwin for 11. On 3rd and 4 from their own 45, Brady hit Otton for 17. On 4th and 1 from the Pittsburgh 29 with 6 1/2 minutes left, Fournette gained 7. On 4th and 1 from the Pittsburgh 13 with 5 minutes left, Brady hit White for 2. Brady then hit Fournette for an 11 yard touchdown with 4 1/2 minutes left. A 2 point conversion would tie the game. Brady threw incomplete.

Yet if the defense could get Brady the ball back, the Buccaneers needed only a field goal to win. After a touchback, the Steelers faced 3rd and 15 at their own 20 with 3 minutes left. Trubisky hit Claypool for 17. With 2:15 left the Steelers faced 3rd and 11 at their own 36. Trubisky went deep to Claypool for 26 yards. Trubisky ran for 9 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. On 2nd and 1, Trubisky ran for 3 and then took a couple of knees. Brady screamed at his offensive line in a season of his temper tantrums. Yet don’t blame his marital woes or idiotic questions to Todd Bowles about race. The real issue is that the Buccaneers are struggling on offense. Bruce Arians was a successful offensive mind and head coach. Todd Bowles is a defensive mind who failed as a head coach in his first stint. 20-18 Steelers

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams — The Panthers fired Matt Rhule and named Steve Wilks interim coach. The defending champion Rams have been struggling on offense. After an opening touchback, the Panthers moved to a 1st and 10 at the Rams 22. An illegal block pushed the Panthers back. Eddie Pieniero hit a 42 yard field goal to put the Panthers up 3-0. In the second quarter, the Rams took over at their own 27. Matthew Stafford hit Allen Robinson for 13. On 3rd and 13 from their own 37, Stafford hit Cooper Kupp for 22 and again for 12 more. On 3rd and 15 from the carolina 31, Darrell Henderson gained 16. On 3rd and 7 from the Carolina 12, Stafford hit Henderson for just enough. Stafford hit Robinson for a 5 yard touchdown to put the Rms up 7-3 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half. The Rams got it back and faced 2nd and 7 at their own 23 at the 2 minute warning. Stafford was intercepted by Donte Jackson, who returned the pick 30 yards for a defensive touchdown. In a stunner, the Panthers led 10-7 at the half.

In the third quarter the Rams moved from their own 22 to a 3rd and goal at the 3. Stafford threw incomplete. Matt Gay hit a 21 yard field goal for a 10-10 game. Late in the third quarter the Rams took over at their own 20. Stafford went to Ben Skowronek for 8. Kupp ran for 13. Stafford hit Kupp for 20 and Robinson for 22. Skowronek ran for a 17 yard touchdown as the Rams led 17-10 after three quarters. The Rams got it back at their own 39. Runs and short passes moved the ball to the Carolina 33. Stafford hit Brown for 13 and Powell for 16. Henderson ran for the 2 yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to lock up the win. Yet the Panthers were playing without Baker Mayfield. They struggled to beat a team led by PJ Walker. Sean McVay is an offensive wizard, and he knows that even in victory, his team is out of sync. 24-10 Rams

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks — Neither team is playing good football. The Cardinals moved from their own 19 to a 2nd and goal at the one. Kyler Murray lost 4 yards. Murray then threw incomplete. Matt Ammendola hit the 23 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Cardinals. The Seahawks moved from their 20 to a 2nd and 6 at the Arizona 15. Geno Smith threw incomplete and was then sacked. Jason Myers hit a 39 yard field goal tie the game 3-3. The Cardinals after a touchback moved 65 yards in 14 plays and 7 minutes. On 4th and 4 from the Seattle 20 to start the second quarter, Kliff Kingsbury passed up a 38 yard field goal try and went for it. Murray threw incomplete. Myers hit second quarter field goals of 27 and 34. The Cardinals moved to a 4th and 2 at the Seattle 27 in the third quarter. Kingsbury again passed up a reasonable field goal try and went for it. Murray again threw incomplete. Myers hit again from 32 as the Seahawks led 12-3. The Cardinals managed to block a punt for a touchdown. They missed the extra point but only trailed 12-9 after three quarters. After a touchback, Geno Smith hit Fast for 15 and Eskridge for 16 to end the third quarter and DK Metcalf for 17 to start the fourth quarter. On 3rd and 4 from the Arizona 21, Smith hit Tyler Lockett for 10. Kenneth Walker ran for an 11 yard touchdown. The game’s only offensive touchdown was enough. 19-9 Seahawks

 

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs — The Bills were only 13 seconds from the AFC Title Game, but could not stop Patrick Mahomes in Arrowhead. This was a clash of titans and a possible AFC Title Game preview. The Bills moved 60 yards after a touchback. From the Kansas City 13, Josh Allen fumbled. The Chiefs moved 80 yards in 14 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. 1st and goal at the 9 saw Mahomes throw an incompletion and a run go nowhere. On 3rd and goal, Mahomes went to the end zone and was intercepted. The Bills moved 59 yards in 11 plays. The second quarter began with the Bills facing 3rd and 9 at the Kansas City 21. Allen threw incomplete. Tyler Bass hit a 39 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Bills. The Chiefs took over at their own 21. Mahomes hit Juju Smith-Schuster for 9 and Travis Kelce for 25. On 3rd and 10 from the Buffalo 42, Mahomes went to Smith-Schuster for the touchdown to make it 7-3 Chiefs. The Chiefs after a touchback moved 72 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 2nd and goal at the 3, Allen threw incomplete twice. Sean McDermott passed up a 21 yard field goal try and gambled. Allen threw incomplete.

The first 28 1/2 minutes were quiet. The last 90 seconds were crazy. With 1:18 left in the half, the Bills faced 3rd and 13 from their own one yard line. Rather than a give up run and a punt, Sean McDermott went high risk. Allen hit Gabe Davis for 18 and Stefan Diggs for 30. Allen went to Shakir for 14 and back to Davis for a 34 yard touchdown. The Bills led 10-7 with only 16 seconds left in the half. The Chiefs took over at their own 28 with 12 seconds left. Yet that was only one second less than in the AFC Title Game. Again, Mahomes devoured the Buffalo defense. Mahomes hit McKinnon for 19 and Kelce for 9 and called timeout with one second left. Walrus Andy Reid brought in Harrison Butker for a 62 yard field goal try. Butker delivered as the home crowd erupted in celebration. The teams were deadlocked 10-10. Again, the Bills could not hold a lead with only 13 seconds left. Yet this time the teams still had the second half to play.

The Chiefs in the third quarter moved from their own 16 to a 3rd and 7 at the Buffalo 34. A completion gained only one yard. Butker hit from 62, but this time from 51 he missed wide no good. The Bills took over at theirnown 41. Allen went to Dawson Knox for 20 and Diggs for 13. Allen went back to Diggs for a 17 yard touchdown to put the Bills up 17-10 midway through the third quarter. The Chiefs took over at their own 17. Mahomes went to Kelce for 23 and Smith-Schuster for 41. Mahomes ran for 10. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Mahomes found Mecole Hardman for the touchdown and a 17-17 game. This heavyweight match was tied after the first quarter, the second quarter and the third quarter.

The Bills after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 1 from the Kansas City 44 to start the fourth quarter. A run lost 2 yards. Sean McDermott gambled on 4th and 3 rather than punt and play field position. Allen threw incomplete. Mahomes then hit Kelce for 10. On 2nd and 13 from the Buffalo 45, Mahomes hit Kelce for 19. The Buffalo defense held after that, but Butker hit a 44 yard field goal to put the Chiefs up 20-17 with 10 minutes left in regulation. With 3:44 to play the Bills faced 4th and 1 at their own 33. McDermott again decided not to punt and rely on his defense. He trusted his quarterback and Allen gained 2. On 3rd and 2 from their own 43, Allen hit Diggs for 11. Allen went to Diggs again for 18 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. Allen gained 16. Allen then went to Dawon Knox for a 14 yard touchdown. With one minute left the Bills had the 4 point lead.

Mahomes had already come back with only 13 and 12 seconds left. This time he had an entire minute. Yet those times he needed a field goal to tie the game. This time the deficit was 4 points and the Chiefs needed a touchdown. After a touchback and a defensive holding call, Mahomes was then intercepted. This time there would be no comeback. A rematch in the AFC Title Game would be epic. However, the Bills now have the inside track to play that game in Buffalo after winning this fine, fine football game. 24-20 Bills

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles was the Sunday night game. The Cowboys came in 4-1 with Cooper rush playing very well in place of Dak Prescott. The Eagles entered as the only unbeaten team. The Eagles took over midway through the first quarter at their own 20. Jalen Hurts hit Still for 21 and Dallas Goedert for 8. On 4th and 3 from the Dallas 38, Kevin Sirianni decided to go for it rather than try a 56 yard field goal. Hurts hit AJ Brown for 11. Kenneth Gainwell ran for 9. On 3rd and 1 from the Dallas 18, Hurts gained 2. On 4th and 4 from the Dallas 10, Sirianni had the offense line up to go for it. Whether it was a bluff or not, it worked as the Cowboys jumped into the neutral zone.

On the first play of the second quarter, Miles Sanders ran for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Eagles. One play after a touchback, Rush was intercepted to give the Eagles a short field at the Dallas 44. Sanders ran for 9, 3 and 8. Boston Scott ran for 2 and 8. On 3rd and 3 from the Dallas 15, Hurts went to Brown for the touchdown to make it 14-0 Eagles. The Cowboys soon faced 4th and 1 from their own 34. Mike McCarthy decided to go for it and Rush threw incomplete. Jake Elliott hit a 51 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Eagles. 5 plays later Rush was intercepted again. The Eagles had another short field at the Dallas 46. Elliott hit a 34 yard field goal as the Eagles led 20-0 with 1:47 left in the half. The Cowboys spent the whole rest of the game in catch up mode.

The Cowboys got a jolt when a 63 yard kickoff return set them up at the Philadelphia 41. On 1st and 10 from the Philly 12, Rush went to Brown for a touchdown. Yet on further review the call was reversed to incomplete. After 2 more Rush incompletions, the Cowboys settled for a 30 yard Brett Maher field goal to trail 20-3 at halftime. The Cowboys took over at their own 21 in the third quarter. Rush hit Ferguson for 9. Pollard gained 8 and 3. Rush went to McKeon for 10 and Ferguson for 22. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 6 and then for the 14 yard touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, the Cowboys were only down 20-10. The Cowboys got it back at their own 7. On 3rd and 2 from their own 15, Elliott ran for 6. On 3rd and 1 from their own 30, Elliott ran for 6. Rush went to Ceedee Lamb for 13, Brown for 10, and Lamb again for 16. Elliott ran for 12. The fourth quarter began with the Cowboys facing 3rd and 2 from the Philly 12. Rush hit Jake Ferguson for 4 and again for a 7 yard touchdown. The 15 play, 93 yard, 7 minute drive had the Cowboys right back in it down 20-17.

After a touchback, Sanders gained 13. On 3rd and 4 from his own 44, Hurts gained 5. On 3rd and 4 from the Dallas 45, Gainwell ran for 5. On 3rd and 1 from the Dallas 31, Hurts gained 2. Hurts hit Brown for 22. Hurts then hit DeVonta Smith for a 7 yard touchdown. An unexplainable 2 point conversion try failed but the Eagles led by 9 midway through the fourth quarter. After a touchback, the Cowboys soon faced 2nd and 8 at their own 40. Rush was intercepted for the third time. The Cowboys got it back at their own 12 with 2 1/2 minutes left needing 2 scores. They quickly moved to a 1st and 10 at the Philly 41 with 1:22 left. Rush threw 3 incompletions. In desperation mode, Mike McCarthy had Maher try a 59 yard field goal to get the Cowboys within 6. They would still need an onside kick. They never got the chance. Maher was no good. The Eagles got to 6-0. The Cowboys showed plenty of resilience, but so did the Eagles. The rematch will be in Dallas, and the Cowboys are expected to have Prescott back. For now, the Eagles run the NFC East. 26-17 Eagles

 

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers was the Monday night game. Both teams have been underachieving, with the Broncos offense especially surprisingly underwhelming. Russell Wilson in particular has been struggling. The Chargers after an opening touchback moved to a 1st and 10 at the Denver 33. Yet a false start pushed them out of field goal range. The Broncos moved from their 21 to a 3rd and 1 at the Chargers 29. Wilson was sacked, but Brandon McManus hit a 51 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Broncos. The Broncos got it back at their own 16 and soon faced 3rd and 13 at their own 24. Wilson went deep to Jerry Jeudy for 37 and then to Greg Dulcich for a 39 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Broncos. That concluded the Broncos end zone experience.

In the second quarter the Chargers took over at their own 18. Justin Herbert went to Sony Michel for 3, Austin Ekeler for 8, and Donald Parham for 24. On 3rd and 4 from the Denver 41, Herbert hit Palmer for 6. On 3rd and 5 from the Denver 19, Herbert hit Everett for just enough. On 3rd and 2 from the Denver 6, Ekeler ran it in for the touchdown to cap the 15 play, 82 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive and get the Chargers within 10-7. That concluded the Chargers end zone experience. The rest of the game belonged to the kickers. Dustin Hopkins hit from 37 to tie the game 10-10 with 53 seconds left in the half.

The Broncos managed to quickly reach 1st and goal at the 9 with 17 seconds left. Wilson threw 3 incompletions. McManus hit from 27 to put the Broncos up 13-10. In the third quarter on 3rd and 1 from the Denver 12, Herbert threw incomplete. Brandon Staley, who gambles all the time, decided to play it safe. Hopkins hit from 31 to make it 13-13. Yet on the first play of the fourth quarter facing 4th and 2 at the Denver 29, Staley gambled and Herbert threw incomplete.An interception of Herbert led to McManus hitting from 48 to put the Broncos up 16-13 with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Hopkins answered from 35 to tie the game 16-16 with 4 minutes left. Midway through overtime, the key play came when the Broncos fumbled a punt and the Chargers recovered at the Denver 28. The Broncos literally gave the game away. Hopkins hit from 39 to end things. 19-16 Chargers

NFL 2022 Week 6 Prequel

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 6 Prequel

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 8pm 

Washington Commanders at Chicago Bears (Pick ‘em) — A pair of nondescript teams that inspire nobody face off in a game nobody cares about. Go with the home field, and give the slightest edge to Justin Fields at home over Carson Wentz. Bears win 

Sunday, October 16, 1pm

San Francisco 49ers (-6 1/2) at Atlanta Falcons — The 49ers are the better team, but the Falcons did take Tampa to the limit last week. A controversial roughing the passer call prevented a possible upset. Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well, but Marcus Mariota is no scrub. The 49ers have the edge on defense and wide receiver. 49ers win but fail to cover

New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns (-3) Bill Belichick never passes up a chance to humiliate the team that fired him. Yet this time Belichick is starting a third string quarterback. Jacoby Brissett is a career backup, but a competent one. Nick Chubb can run the ball. If the Browns can establish the run, they should be able to get the win. Browns cover

New York Jets at Green Bay Packers (-7) — The Packers are out of sync offensively. They may be tired from their return trip from London. Yet they will be at home against a Jets team coming off one of their biggest wins in years. Expect a letdown, especially if the Jets start believing they are good. An angry Aaron Rodgers is a dangerous one. Packers cover

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-2) — The Jaguars are improved, but not where they should be. The Colts lack consistency. Jonathan Taylor is not lighting it up like he did last year. Matt Ryan has not shown he is the answer. Nevertheless, Trevor Lawrence is still not where he should be. Go with the home field. Colts cover

Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Miami Dolphins — Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater are still out. Skylar Thompson had three decent quarters last week as the third stringer but wilted in the fourth quarter. Kirk Cousins still has Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook. Vikings cover

Cincinnati Bengals (-1) at New Orleans Saints — The Bengals lost a heartbreaker on the final play against Baltimore. The Saints do not have great quarterback-lay right now, but they do have a tough defense. The Bengals have not fixed their offensive line. This could be a brutal beating for Joe Burrow. Plus, the Superdome is a tough place to play. Upset special, Saints win outright

Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) at New York Giants — The Giants are 4-1 and starting to believe.The Ravens nearly blew their third double digit lead at home but eked out a tough win over Cincinnati. Lamar Jackson is light years better than Daniel Jones. If Saquon Barkley runs well, this game could be close. Ravens win but fail to cover

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers — Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season with the Steelers, but this year they are 1-4. They lost last week by 38 points, the worst loss of his career. The Buccaneers offense has not been as high-powered since Bruce Arians retired. Now they grind out wins. Forget the nonsense about Brady’s personal life off of the field. His offense has suffered injuries on the field. They still win, but uglier. Buccaneers win but fail to cover

4pm

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams (-10) — The Panthers fired Matt rule after a 1-4 start and Steve Wilks became the interim head coach. The Rams have been a shell of the team that won it all last year. At some point their offense will explode. The Panthers are a bad team. This will be the week that the Rams take all their frustrations out. This is the last week to give the Rams the benefit of the doubt. Rams cover

Arizona Cardinals (-2 1/2) at Seattle Seahawks — Neither team is playing good football. Geno Smith, however, seems to have put his early career fumbleitis behind him. Smith has been competent if unspectacular. Kyler Murray has been spectacular at times but not always competent. The Seahawks still have their playmakers at the wide receiver positions. Pete Carroll is still a better coach than Kliff Kingsbury. Upset special, Seahawks win outright.

Buffalo Bills (-2) at Kansas City Chiefs — The Chiefs barely survived the Raiders on Monday night Football. The Bills are burning for revenge after being 13 seconds away from the AFC Title Game and losing. The Chiefs are at home, but the Bills defense is giving Josh Allen more help than Patrick Mahomes receives from his. Bills cover

8pm

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-5) — Yes, Cooper Rush has won four straight in place of the injured Dak Prescott. No, this is not Rush’s team once Prescott returns. No, the unbeaten Eagles are not 1972 Miami or 1985 Chicago. Home field has often meant little in this series. This will be a statement win for whoever wins and a reality check for the losing team. The spread is too high for this bitter rivalry. Upset special, Cowboys win outright

Monday, October 17, 8pm

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5) — The Broncos offense has yet to gel while the Chargers consistently underachieve. The Broncos have a good defense. The Broncos play ugly whether they win or lose, and home field does not mean much in this series. Chargers win but fail to cover

NFL 2022 Week 5 Recap

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 5 Recap

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos was the Thursday night game. Brandon McManus hit field goals of 33 in the first quarter and 44 in the second quarter to make it 6-0 Broncos. Chase McLaughlin hit from 52 to end the half and 51 early in the third quarter for a 6-6 game. McManus then missed from 34 but after an interception hit from 45 to make it 9-6 Broncos. With 2:13 to play the Broncos had 3rd and 4 at the Indy 13. Russell Wilson went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. Rather than close the game out, the turnover led to McLaughlin hitting from 31 on the last play of regulation to force a 9-9 tie and overtime. McLaughlin hit from 48 to give the Colts the lead. With 2 1/2 minutes left in overtime, the Broncos had 4th and 1 at the Indianapolis 5 yard line. A field goal from 23 was almost automatic, but Nathaniel Hackett went made the highly controversial decision to go for the win. Wilson threw incomplete and the game ended. No word on whether league officials will burn the tape of this game before or after watching it. 12-9 Colts 

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers was the Sunday morning game in London. Both teams came in 3-1 but the conventional wisdom had the Packers dispatching the overrated Giants with ease. The Packers moved from their own 24 at the start to a 3rd and 5 at the Giants 22. Aaron Rodgers threw incomplete and the Packers settled for a 46 yard Mason Crosby field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Packers got it back at their own 40 and Rodgers went to Doubs for 22. Defensive pass interference added 3 more. Rogers hit Allen Lazard for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Packers. The Giants moved from their own 24 to a 3rd and 7 at the Green Bay 31. Daniel Jones threw incomplete. Graham Gano hit a 48 yard field goal to get the Giants on the board. After a touchback, Rodgers hit Aaron Jones for 8 and Deguara for 12 to midfield. Rodgers hit Jones for 9 and Lazard for 5. On 3rd and 4 from the Giants 19, Jones gained 8. Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for 9 and Marcedes Lewis for a 2 yard touchdown. The 13 play, 75 yard, 8 minute drive had the Packers cruising up 17-3 midway through the second quarter.

The Giants took over at their own 14 and Jones was immediately sacked and fumbled. Yet defensive holding gave the Giants new life. Saquon Barkley ripped off a 40 yard gain. Jones hit Slayton for 10 more. On 3rd and 13 from the Green Bay 31, Jones hit Hames for 15. On 3rd and 9 from the Green Bay 15, Jones hit Slayton for 10. Daniel Bellinger ran for a 2 yard touchdown to cap the 11 play, 86 yard, 6 minute drive and get the Giants within 17-10. After a touchback, Rodgers still had 1:15 left in the half to work with. The Packers quickly moved to a 1st and 10 at the Giants 29, but a pair of incompletions and a completion that lost a yard ended the drive. Crosby hit from 48 to end the half with the Packers up 20-10. The second half was an entirely different ballgame. 

After a touchback to start the third quarter, it was deja vu all over again. Jones was sacked, but defensive holding nullified the play and kept the Giants going. The Giants moved all the way to a 3rd and 3 at the Green Bay 17. A false start killed the drive. Gano hit from 37 to culminate the 11 play, 56 yard, 7 minute drive and get the Giants within 20-13. The Packers moved from their own 12 to a 2nd and 8 at the Giants 36. A field goal from that distance would be 54. Yet Crosby never got the chance. After an incompletion, Rodgers was sacked on 3rd and 8 to push the Packers out of field goal range. 

The Giants soon faced 2nd and 11 from their own 8 yard line. Jones hit Matt Breida for 13. Jones ran for 14. On 3rd and 4 from his own 46, Jones hit Bellinger for 11 as the third quarter ended. Jones began the fourth quarter running for 3 and 8. Jones then hit Johnson for 16. On 3rd and 3 from the Green Bay 7, Jones hit Sills for 5. Gary Brightwell ran for the 2 yard touchdown to tie the game 20-20 with 10 minutes left in regulation. The Giants got it back at their own 40 and Barkley ripped off a 41 yard gain. Barkley ran for a 2 yard touchdown to give the Giants the surprising 27-20 lead. 

The Packers after a touchback embarked on a 14 play, 69 yard, 5 minute drive. With just over one minute left in regulation, the Packers faced 3rd and 1 at the Giants 5 yard line. Rodgers threw incomplete. On 4th and 1, Rodgers threw incomplete again. The Packers took their timeouts on defense and the Giants had to punt from their own 3 with 15 seconds left. Brian Daboll took no chances with a blocked punt. He had Jamie Gillan take an intentional safety. The Packers got it back with 7 seconds left at their own 41, easily within Rodgers’s Hail Mary Range. He never got the chance. After a false start, Rodgers was sacked and fumbled. The Giants may not be seen as a very good 4-1 team, but Bill Parcells’s maxim applies. You are what your record says you are. 27-22 Giants 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills — Ben Roethlisberger began his playing career by going 14-0 in his first season starting. Kenny Pickett’s start was less successful. The Bills fumbled the opening kickoff and had to start at their own 2 yard line. Yet on 3rd and 10, Josh Allen unleashed a rocket bomb to Gabe Davis for a 98 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Bills lead only one minute into the game. The Steelers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Bills recovered at the Pittsburgh 21. Yet this time the Bills came up empty when a 49 yard field goal try by Tyler Bass was blocked. The Steelers from their own 39 moved 50 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 2nd and 7 at the Buffalo 10, a run lost a yard and Pickett threw incomplete. Chris Boswell hit a 29 yard field goal to get the Steelers on the board, but that was all they would get. 

Bass would hit a 35 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Bills. In the second quarter, the Bills carpet-bombed the Steelers. From their own 38, Allen and Davis needed one play and 10 seconds to break the game open. This time it was a 62 yard touchdown pass to make it 17-3 Bills. The Bills got it back at their own 47 and needed only 2 plays and 33 seconds to score again. Singletary ran for 23 with defensive unnecessary roughness adding 15 more. Allen then hit Stefon Diggs for a 15 yard touchdown to make it 24-3 Bills. After a missed field goal attempt by the Steelers, the Bills marched 77 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Pittsburgh 24, Allen found Khalil Shakir for the touchdown to make it 31-3 Bills. A hideous second half saw only 2 exciting plays. On the first play of the fourth quarter from his own 35, Allen hit Diggs for 41 yards. James Cook then ran for a 24 yard touchdown to cap the worst blowout loss of Mike Tomlin’s head coaching career. 38-3 Bills  

Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns — After an opening touchback, Jacoby Brissett hit Amari Cooper for 10. Nick Chubb gained 14. Brissett ran for 9. Chubb ran for a 41 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Browns. The Chargers moved from their own 17 to a 3rd and 2 at the Cleveland 28. Justin Herbert threw incomplete Brandon Staley goes for it almost always. He passed up a 46 yard field goal try and gambled on 4th and 2. Herbert threw incomplete. The Brows took advantage as Brissett hit Cooper for 20. Karim Hunt added 17. On 3rd and 1 from the Chargers 14, Brissett gained 3. Brissett then hit Cooper for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Browns.

After a touchback, Austin Ekeler ripped off a 71 yard gain. Yet on 1st and goal at the 4, a run went nowhere, Herbert threw incomplete, and after a false start, Herbert threw incomplete again. Bertolet hit the 28 yard field goal to get the Chargers within 14-3. The Chargers got it back at their own 25. A defensive facemask penalty added 15 more yards. Herbert then went deep to Mike Williams for 38n more yards as the first quarter ended. Kelley ran for a 5 yard touchdown to get the Chargers within 14-10 early in the second quarter. The Chargers got it back but were pinned at their own one yard line. Herbert hit Palmer for 7 and Williams for 5. Kelley gained 12 and Ekeler added 10 and 15. Herbert went to Kelley for 22. Defensive unsportsmanlike conduct added 10 more yards. Herbert hit Ekeler for a 12 yard touchdown. The 12 play, 99 yard, 6 minute drive but the Chargers up 17-14.

After a touchback, Brosett hit David Njoku for 38 yards.  Chubb ran for 29 more. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Brissett threw incomplete but roughing the passer meant 1st and goal at the 2. Chubb ran it in from there to put the Browns up 21-17 with 3 minutes left in the half. The Browns got it back at their own 28 and moved to a 1st and 10 at the Chargers 27 with 30 seconds left. Brissett threw 3 straight incompletions. A 45 yard field goal try at the gun to extend the Browns lead was no good. After a third quarter touchback, the Chargers soon faced 3rd and 12 at their own 34. Herbert went to Williams for 21 and Kelley for 11. Herbert ran for 12. Ekeler ran for a 22 yard touchdown to make it 24-21 Chargers. 

Kevin Stefanski then made a bizarre decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 34. Hunt got the carry and got blasted for a 4 yard loss. The Chargers moved from the Cleveland 30 to a 2nd and goal at the 4. A false start was followed by an incompletion and a 2 yard pass on 3rd and 9. Bertolet hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 27-21 Chargers. After a touchback, Brissett hit Donovan Peoples-Jones for big gains of 19, 16 and 14. On 3rd and 5 from the Chargers 11, Brissett hit Njoku for 9. Hunt ran in the 2 yard touchdown as the Browns led 28-27 after three quarters. The fourth quarter was ridiculous.

The Chargers after a touchback moved 66 yards in 13 plus and 5 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 7 from the Cleveland 9, Herbert threw incomplete. Bertolet hit the 27 yard field goal. The 5th lead change had the Chargers up by 2 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The Browns then moved from their own 18 on a 73 yard, 12 play, 7 minute drive. Yet on 3rd and 7 from the Chargers 9, Brissett was intercepted in the end zone. A field goal would have given the Browns the lead. Instead, they still trailed with 3 minutes left in regulation. The final 3 minutes became a battle of who wanted it least.

The Chargers took over at their own 17 and faced 4th and 1 at their own 46 with 1:13 to play. Brandon Staley is crazy, and he decided to go for it. Herbert threw incomplete. The Browns took over with a short field and a golden chance to pick up a few yards and try the winning field goal. Brissett hit Cooper for 10. Yet a run went nowhere and Brissett threw incomplete twice. Cade York came in for the 54 yard field goal try to win it. The kick was wide no good in front of a stunned Dawg Pound. 30-28 Chargers

     

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars — A horrendous first half saw Riley Patterson hit a 26 yard field goal for the Jaguars. In the second quarter Kaimi Fairbairn hit from 50 and 51 to make it 6-3 Texans. Patterson hit from 45 to end the half with a 6-6 tie. An even worse second half saw a scoreless third quarter. With 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Texans faced 3rd and 2 from their own 34. Davis Mills went to Collins for 23. On 3rd and 20 from their own 47, the Texans were bailed out due to a mindless defensive unnecessary roughness penalty. On 3rd and 10 from the Jags 38, Mills hit Akins for 11. Damien Pierce ran for 20 and then for the game’s only touchdown from one yard out with 3:11 to play. On 1st and 10 from midfield at the 2 minute warning, Trevor Lawrence threw 4 straight incompletions. The Jaguars got it back at their own 13 with 41 seconds left. From their own 47 with 3 seconds left, it was Hail Mary Time. The throw was short and intercepted. League officials won’t say whether they burned the tape of this game after it was over. 13-6 Texans 

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings — The Vikings started out at their own 14. Kirk Cousins went to Justin Jefferson for 16 and 14. On 3rd and 3 at the Chicago 41, Cousins went to Osborn for 6 and Jefferson for 16 and 9 down to the one. Dalvin Cook got in to cap the 12 play, 86 yard, 7 minute drive and make it 7-0 Vikings. The Bears moved after a touchback to a 1st and 10 at the Minnesota 26. A run went nowhere followed by a pair of incompletions sandwiched around a false start. Cairo Santos hit from 50 to get the Bears within 7-3. After a touchback, Cousins went to Jefferson for gains of 6 and 15 and to Adam Thielen for 13. On 3rd and 2 from the Chicago 27, Cousins went to Thielen for 7 and Jefferson for 15. Cook ran for the 5 yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-3 Vikings. The Vikings got it back and faced 3rd and 2 from their own 37. Cousins hit Jefferson for 31. On 3rd and 10 from the Chicago 32, Jefferson went to Cook for 23. On 3rd and goal at the one, Cousins hit Jalen Reagor for the touchdown to have the Vikings up 21-3.

The Bears got a break very late in the half when a shanked 15 yard punt gave them the ball at midfield. Justin Fields went deep to Mooney for 39. On 3rd and 8 from the Minnesota 9, David Montgomery ran it in to get the Bears within 21-10 at the half. The Vikings missed a chance to extend the lead when Greg Joseph missed a 53 yard field goal try at the gun. The Bears began the third quarter at their own 33. Fields went to St. Brown for 18. On 3rd and 10 from the Minnesota 46, Fields went to Kmet for 23. Fields hit Velus Jones for a 9 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Bears were within 21-16. A surprise onside kick failed and gave the Vikings golden field position at the Chicago 48. Yet Joseph missed again from 51. The Bears took over at their own 41 and moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Minnesota 25. Santos hit from 43 to get the Bears within 21-19. Cousins was the intercepted to set the Bears up at their own 48. Santos would hit from 51 to put the Bears up 22-21 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation. 

After a touchback and a false start, the Vikings faced 1st and 15 from their own 20. Cousins hit Smith for 15. On 3rd and 1 from their own 44, Mattison gained 2. On 3rd and 4 from the Chicago 48, Cousins hit Smith for 13. Cook ran for 10. On 3rd and 5 from the Chicago 20, Cousins got just enough. On 3rd and 8 from the Chicago 13, Cousins hit Mattison for 11. On 3rd and goal at the one, Cousins got in. Cousins hit Jefferson for the 2 point conversion. The staggering 17 play, 75 yard drive took 7 minutes off the clock. Yet the Vikings only led by 7 and 2 1/2 minutes still remained. After a touchback, the Bears moved to a 1st and 10 at their own 46. Fields then hit Smith-Marsette for 15, but Smith-Marsette fumbled and the Vikings recovered to seal the win. 29-22 Vikings  

Detroit Lions at New England Patriots — Dan Campbell gives fiery speeches and his team loses games. Bill Belichick is dull as dishwater but wins. Early on Campbell gambled on 4th and 1 from his own 45. Williams got stopped. The short field led to Nick Folk hitting a 37 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. The Lions moved after a touchback to the red zone. Goff was intercepted at the New England 3 yard line. The Patriots moved 83 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. Folk hit from 32 to make it 6-0 Patriots in the second quarter. An interception set the Lions up at midfield. The moved to a 3rd and 2 at the New England 25. A run lost 7 yards. Campbell went for it on 4th and 9 in a close game rather than try a field goal. Goff was sacked and fumbled and Duggar returned 59 yards for a defensive touchdown. Instead of being up only 6-3, the Patriots led 13-0. The rest of the game was pointless. Folk ended the half with his third field goal from 44 and early in the third quarter hit his fourth field goal from 37 to make it 19-0 Patriots. The Lions had 4th and 2 at the New England 34 and a completion gained nothing. Bailey Zappe, New England’s third string quarterback, moved the Patriots 66 yards. Zappe hit Jakobi Meyers for a 24 yard touchdown to make it 26-0 Patriots. Folk hit his fifth field goal with 5 minutes left in regulation to complete the blowout. 29-0 Patriots

Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints — These teams are a shell of what they were a few years ago, but thy played an entertaining football game. The Saints took over at their own 22 and held the ball for 5 1/2 minutes on a 10 play drive. Wil Lutz leveled a 56 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Saints. After a touchback, Geno Smith went to Fant for 15. On 3rd and 5 from midfield, Smith went deep to DK Metcalf for the touchdown and the 7-3 Seahawks lead. The Seahawks got it back at their own 26 and moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Saints 37. A run lost a yard. Jason Myers hit from 56 for a 10-3 Seahawks lead. 

The Saints began the second quarter facing 3rd and 5 from their own 36. The Seahawks jumped into the neutral zone. On 3rd and 2 just shy of midfield, Alvin Kamara gained 3. Red Rifle Andy Dalton hit Johnson for 13. Taysom Hill gained 15. Hill ran for an 8 yard touchdown to make it a 10-10 game in the second quarter. With the Seahawks punting on 4th and 9 from their own 21, disaster struck as an attempted run lost 8 yards. The Saints took over at the Seattle 13. Two plays later Hill ran for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 17-10 Saints. 

The Seahawks after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 8 at the New Orleans 13. Smith threw incomplete. Myers hit from 31 to get the Seahawks within 17-13. The Saints after a touchback reached 1st and 10 at the Seattle 39 with 35 seconds left in the half. Dalton hit Smith for 12, but an illegal block pushed the ball back to midfield. Dalton hit Kamara for 10 but Kamara fumbled and the Seahawks took over at midfield with 20 seconds left. Smith hit Tyler Lockett for 11 and Lockett again for a 35 yard touchdown. In front of a stunned home Superdome crowd, the Seahawks retook the lead 19-17. The extra point was no good.

On the first play of the third quarter, the Seahawks fumbled the ball away and the Saints took over at the Seattle 31. On 3rd and 1 from the Seattle 22, Hill gained 5. On 3rd and 9 from the Seattle 16, Dalton hit Chris Olave for the touchdown to make it 24-19 Saints. Late in the third quarter the Saints had 2nd and 9 from their own 22. Dalton connected with Kamara for a 54 yard gain. Taysom Hill came in and threw a 22 yard touchdown pass to Adam Trautman. After three quarters, the Saints led 31-19. Yet this ridiculous game was just getting started.

The Seahawks began the fourth quarter facing 2nd and 12 at their own 23. Defensive pass interference added 27 yards. Smith hit Lockett for 10 and again for a 40 yard touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Seahawks were within 31-25. The Saints from their own 23 held the ball for 6 1/2 minutes and 10 plays. On 4th and 2 from the Seattle 42 they lined up to go for it but a false start killed the try and led to a punt. The Seahawks took over at their own 22. Two plays later they had the lead when Kenneth Waker ran for a 69 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the fifth lead change meant the Seahawks led 32-31. 

Three plays later came the sixth lead change. On 3rd and 1 from their own 40, Hill ran for a 60 yard touchdown. Mark Ingram ran in the 2 point conversion as the Saints led by 7. The Seahawks went backward and punted with 3 1/2 minutes left. With 3:10 left on 3rd and 4 from their own 38, Dalton hit Smith for 10. Kamara then ran for 4 and 10 to seal the win as Dalton took 3 knees. 39-32 Saints 

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets — The Jets got Zach Wilson back. Tua Tagovailoa was still out injured. Teddy Bridgewater got the start for the Dolphins. On Miami’s first offensive play, Bridgewater was called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Jets lead. Worse for the Dolphins, Bridgewater was knocked out on the play. Third stringer rookie Skylar Thompson played the rest of the way. Later in the first quarter the Jets moved from their own 28 to a 3rd and 4 at the Miami 16. Wilson threw incomplete. Greg Zuerlein hit from 34 to make it 5-0 Jets. On the last play of the first quarter from their own 20, Wilson went deep to Hall for a 79 yard gain down to the one. On the first play of the second quarter, Michael Carter got in to make it 12-0 Jets. 

After a touchback, a defensive pass interference call added 27 yards for the Dolphins. On 3rd and 2 from the Jets 30, Thompson hit Jalen Waddle for 7. Hill ran for 10. Raheem Mostert ran for a 12 yard touchdown to get the Dolphins within 12-7. The Dolphins got it back but Thompson was intercepted to give the Jets great field position at their own 47. Wilson hit his non-relative Wilson for 13. Hall ran for big gains of 7, 12, 9 and 5. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Wilson scrambled and got in to make it 19-7 Jets. At the 2 minute warning the Dolphins faced 2nd and 7 at their own 28. Mostert ran for 24 and 4. On 3rd and 7 from the Jets 33, Thompson hit Hill for 10 and 13 and Mostert for 9 down to the one with 6 seconds left. A quick completion gained nothing but still left 4 seconds. Mike McDaniel, the kid coaching the Dolphins, went to the bag of tricks. Smythe took the Wildcat snap and got in the end zone as the Dolphins only trailed 19-14 at the half. The Dolphins marched 47 yards in 11 plays and 6 1/2 minutes in the third quarter. On 3rd and 7 from the Jets 28, Thompson threw incomplete. Jason Sanders hit a 47 yard field goal to get the Dolphins within 19-17. With 13 minutes left in regulation, Sanders came in for a 54 yard field goal to give the Dolphins the lead. The kick was no good. 

The Jets took over at their own 44. Wilson went to Davis for 21. On 3rd and 1 from the Miami 26, Wilson hit non-relative Wilson for 3. Wilson hit Hall for 21 down to the one. Carter got in to make it 26-17 Jets. On the next Dolphins play from scrimmage, Thompson was sacked and fumbled. The Jets recovered at the Miami 5 yard line. One play later Hall got in to make it 33-17 Jets. Midway through the fourth quarter Gaskin failed to convert on 3rd and 1 from his own 34. Forced to go for it, Mostert was blown up for a 4 yard loss. Hall ran for 15 and Braxton Berrios ran for the 15 yard touchdown to turn a tight game after three quarters into a blowout. Both teams are 3-2 on the year. 40-17 Jets

  

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The Buccaneers were supposed to steamroll over the Falcons. The first quarter was scoreless. The Buccaneers did move to a 4th and 1 at the Atlanta 15, but when Todd Bowles went for it, Leonard Fournette got stuffed. The Buccaneers began the second quarter at their own 12. Tom Brady hit Otton for 7 and White for 9. On 3rd and 1 from their own 35, White gained 4. Brady hit Fournette for 5 and Otton for 12. On 3rd and 3 from the Atlanta 37, Brady went to Evans for 25. After offensive holding, Brady hit Miller for 12 and Chris Godwin for 9 down to the one. Fournette got in to make it 7-0 Buccaneers. The Buccaneers got it back and moved 84 yards in 13 plays but on 3rd and goal at the 8, a completion only gained 5. Ryan Succop hit from 21 to make it 10-0 Buccaneers. After Younghoe Koo missed a 52 yard try for the Falcons, the Buccaneers had 20 seconds to work with from their own 42. Brady hit Fournette for 11 and 21. Succop hit from 44 to make it 13-0 Buccaneers at the break. The Buccaneers began the third quarter at their own 26 and moved 74 yards in 11 plays. On 3rd and 8 from their 28, Brady hit Fournette for 10 and 9. A 40 yard bomb from Brady to Evans put the ball on the one. Brady hit Fournette for the touchdown and Russell Gage for the 2 point conversion. The Buccaneers led 21-0 after three quarters. 

A 28 yard punt return gave the Falcons the ball at their own 43 late in the third quarter. Huntley ran for 22. The Falcons began the fourth quarter facing 3rd and 3 from the Tampa 14. Allgeier gained just enough. Avery Williams ran for an 8 yard touchdown to get the Falcons within 21-7. With 10 minutes left the Falcons took over at their own 30. They moved 70 yards in 12 plays and 5 minutes. Marcus Mariota hit Zaccheaus for a 19 yard touchdown. For some bizarre reason, Arthur Smith went for a 2 point conversion. Mariota hit Hodge successfully to get the Falcons within 6 with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation. With 3:18 to play the Buccaneers faced 3rd and 4 from their own 43. Brady threw incomplete but defensive holding was a killer. With 3 minutes left the Buccaneers faced 3rd and 5 at the Atlanta 47. Brady was sacked as the home crowd in Atlanta celebrated. Yet a horrendous roughing the passer call on what was barely a love tap kept the drive going. With 2:46 left the Buccaneers faced 3rd and 5 at the Atlanta 27. Brady hit Evans for 9 and then took 3 knees. After the game, the Falcons blasted the officiating and the league looked into the coddling of quarterbacks, especially Tom Brady. 21-15 Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans at Washington Commanders — A field position game in the first quarter had the Titans taking over at their own 48. On 3rd and 1 from the Washington 43, Derrick gained 3, 3 more, and then caught a pass for 24 from Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill went to Dontrell Hilliard for the 13 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Titans. After a touchback, Carson Wentz hit Samuel for 32. Yet on 3rd and 8 from the Tennessee 30 out of the shotgun, Wentz fumbled the snap for a 2 yard loss. Joey Slye hit a 50 yard field goal to get the Commanders within 7-3. The Commanders got it back at their own 25 early in the second quarter and needed one play and 10 seconds to take the lead. Wentz went deep to Brown for a 75 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Commanders. Midway through the second quarter the Titans took over at their own 19. On 3rd and 5, Tannehill hit Hilliard for 8. Henry ran for 13. Tannehill hit Robert Woods for 12. At the 2 minute warning on 3rd and 8 from the Washington 40, a completion only gained 4 but roughing the passer added 15. With 17 seconds left in the half on 3rd and goal at the one, Henry got in to cap the 15 play, 81 yard, 7 minute drive to make it 14-10 Titans.

Midway through the third quarter the Commanders took over at their own 20. Wentz hit Gibson for 15 and 9 and Gibson ran for 3 more. Wentz hit Bates for 20 and Dyami Brown for a 30 yard touchdown to put the Commanders back up 17-14. The Titans soon faced 2nd and 8 from their own 27. Tannehill went deep to Westbrook-Ikhine for a 61 yard gain. On 3rd and 7 from the Washington 9, Tannehill hit Austin Hooper for 7 exactly. Henry ran for a one yard touchdown to put the Titans up by 4 after three quarters and four lead changes. After several fourth quarter punts, the Commanders began their last drive at their own 11 with 4:46 left in regulation. The mind-numbing drive lasted 18 plays and moved 87 yards, taking all of the clock. With 18 seconds left, the Commanders had 1st and goal at the 2. Wentz threw incomplete twice. On 3rd and goal at the 2, the game was decided on the final play. Wentz was intercepted at the one as the Titans hung on for their third straight win after an 0-2 start. 21-17 Titans

 

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers — This game was never competitive. The 49ers began facing 3rd and 6 at their own 29. Jimmy Garoppolo went to George Kittle for 20. Wilson ran for 41. Garoppolo hit Tevin Coleman for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 49ers. The 49ers fumbled on their next series but the Panthers responded with a missed field goal. The 49ers led 10-0 in the second quarter when Robbie Gould hit a 49 yard field goal. Eddie Pineiro did hit a 43 yard field goal for the Panthers, but the 49ers then pulled away. Gould did have a 43 yard field goal try blocked, but the Panthers kept self-destructing. Baker Mayfield was intercepted by Moseley, who returned it 41 yards for a touchdown and a 17-3 49ers lead. A strong second half kickoff return set up the Panthers just shy of midfield. On 3rd and 5, Mayfield hit Moore for 18. On 4th and 1 from the San Francisco 19, Matt Rhule went for it and Christian McCaffrey got in. A pointless 2 point conversion try failed and the Panthers trailed 17-9. After a touchback, the 49ers faced 4th and 3 at the Carolina 43. Kyle Shanahan went for it. Garoppolo threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant an 8 yard gain. Garoppolo then went to Jennings for 32. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Garoppolo hit Deebo Samuel for the touchdown to make it 24-9 49ers.

The rest of the game was more of the same. The Panthers would kick field goals and the 49ers would score touchdowns. Another strong kickoff return had the Panthers starting at midfield. All they could muster was a 37 yard field goal from Pineiro. The 49ers responded with a 12 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive. Jeff Wilson ran for a one yard touchdown to make it 30-12 49ers in the fourth quarter. The Panthers had a great 12 play, 5 1/2 minute drive, but ball control is useless when down by 18. On 4th and 3 from the Frisco 16, Matt Rhule opted for a field goal. The home crowd booed as Pineiro hit from 34. The Panthers got it back at their own 10. Mayfield threw 3 incompletions and was then sacked. The 49ers took over at the Carolina 3, went backward, and then had Coleman run for the 5 yard touchdown to complete the blowout. The loss dropped the Panthers to 1-4 on the year. On Monday, one day after the game, Rhule was fired. Steve Wilks was promoted to interim head coach. 37-15 49ers

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals The unbeaten Eagles took on the underachieving Cardinals. The Eagles from their own 36 saw Jalen Hurts hit Dallas Goedert for 14 and 10 and AJ Brown for 15 and 11. On 4th and 1 from the Arizona 3, Nick Sirianni set the tone early and went for it. Hurts gained 2 and then ran for the one yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Eagles. Late in the third quarter the Eagles faced 3rd and 12 from their own 11. Hurts went to Smith for 22, to Goedert for 8, to Smith again for 20, and to Watkins for 7. On 3rd and 3 from the Arizona 32, Sanders gained 4. Hurts ran for 17. On 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 2, Hurts got the yard and on the next play got the touchdown to cap a staggering 16 play, 87 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive to make it 14-0 Eagles in the second quarter.

A field position game eventually had the Cardinals taking over at their own 43. James Conner ran for 13. Kyler Murray hit Brown for 14. Murray went to Marquise Brown for a 25 yard touchdown to get the Cardinals within 14-7. With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half the Cardinals took over at their own 7. A mind-numbing drive lasted 16 plays and moved the ball 91 yards. On 4th and 4 from his own 28, Kliff Kingsbury calle a fake punt. Williams took the direct snap and gained 7 yards. With 10 seconds left in the half, the Cardinals had 1st and goal at the 2. Murray threw incomplete twice to leave time for one more play. On 3rd and goal at the 2, this time Kingsbury went conservative. Matt Ammendola hit the 20 yard field goal as the Cardinals got within 14-10 at the intermission. 

After a third quarter touchback, the Eagles moved 51 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Arizona 15, offensive holding killed the drive. Dicker hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 17-10 Eagles. The Cardinals began the fourth quarter at their own 10. On 3rd and 5, Murray hit AJ Green for 9. On 3rd and 1 from their own 30, Benjamin gained 3. Murray went to Moore for 28 and Benjamin for 16. Murray ran for 13. Benjamin ran for an 11 yard touchdown. The 12 play, 90 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive tied the game 17-17 with 10 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, the Eagles again mounted a drive that seemed endless. 17 plays. 70 yards. 8 minutes. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 5, Hurts threw incomplete. Dicker hit the 23 yard field goal to give the eagles the 3 point lead. After a touchback, the Cardinals had 1:45 to work with. 10 plays and 50 yards came quickly. On 3rd and 1 from the Philly 25, Murray spiked the ball to stop the clock with 22 seconds despite there being enough time to run a play. The spike meant it was 4th and 1. Ammendola came in for the 43 yard try to tie the game and force overtime. His kick was no good as the Eagles remained the only NFL unbeaten. 20-17 Eagles  

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams The Cowboys are still playing with backup Cooper Rush in place of injured Dak Prescott. The Rams played with their starters. Out of the gate, it was all Cowboys. 90 seconds into the game. the Rams fumbled and DeMarcus Lawrence returned it 19 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 6-0 Cowboys lead. Mike McCarthy called a 2 point conversion for some strange reason that failed. The Rams then had a punt blocked, leading to a 33 yard Brett Maher field goal to make it 9-0 Cowboys. The Rams finally woke up after a touchback and moved to a 1st and 10 at the Dallas 11. A run gained one yard and Matthew Stafford threw incomplete twice. Matt Gay hit the 29 yard field goal to get the Rams within 9-3. In the second quarter the Rams took over and struck quickly. On 3rd and 2 from their own 25, Stafford connected with Cooper Kupp on a 75 yard touchdown to make it 10-9 Rams. Yet the Rams offense then took the remaining 39 minutes off. Three plays after a touchback, The Cowboys had the lead. Rush hit CeeDee Lamb for 16 and Tony Pollard ran for a 57 yard touchdown. The Cowboys only led 16-10 at halftime, but the second half was all defense. Maher hit a 40 yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 19-10 Cowboys. Gay then missed from 51. Maher hit again from 36 in the fourth quarter. The Rams finished with an interception and a fumble. Rush has the Cowboys at 4-1 while the defending champions are 2-3 and struggling. 22-10 Cowboys 

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens was the Sunday night game. This was an AFC North head-knocker. The Ravens in the first quarter took over at their own 30 and moved 51 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. On 1st and 10 from the Cincinnati 21, Lamar Jackson threw incomplete twice and on 3rd and 10 only completed a 2 yard pass. Justin Tucker hit a 37 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Ravens. A short 34 yard punt had the Ravens getting the ball back at midfield. Jackson hit Devin Duvernay for 21. The second quarter began with the Ravens facing 3rd and 2 from the Cincinnati 21. Duvernay ran for 7. On 3rd and 7 from the Cincinnati 11, Jackson hit Mark Andrews for the touchdown to make it 10-0 Ravens. The Ravens had all the momentum when Jackson went deep and was intercepted.

The Bengals took over at their own 17 and Joe Mixon ran for 9, 3 and 12. Joe Burrow went to Thomas for 33. Burrow hit Hayden Hurst for a 19 yard touchdown to get the Bengals within 10-7. The Bengals got it back at their own 16 with 1:54 left in the half and quickly moved 62 yards in 11 plays. With 13 seconds left on 3rd and 7 from the Baltimore 22, Burrow threw incomplete. Evan McPherson hit from 40 as the teams went to the locker rooms deadlocked 10-10. McPherson hit the second half kickoff out of bounds to set up the Ravens at their own 40. Yet on 4th and 3 from the Cincinnati 41, John Harbaugh decided not to let Justin Tucker try a 59 yard field goal. Harbaugh gambled and Jackson threw deep incomplete. One play later, Burrow was intercepted. This time, Harbaugh did let Tucker try from 58. Tucker delivered and the Ravens led 13-10.

After a touchback the Bengals moved 73 yards in 15 plays and 8 minutes. On 1st and goal at the 2, rather than run the ball, Zac Taylor decided to pass. Burrow threw incomplete. Taylor then got way too cute by half and tried a trick play that blew up badly. Tyler Boyd tried the halfback option pass but was sacked for a 12 yard loss. On 3rd and goal from the 14, Burrow hit Jamarr Chase to get the 12 back. On 4th and goal at the 2, rather than cut his losses, Taylor gambled again, passed again, and Burrow threw incomplete. Next it was the Ravens from their own 2 yard line who moved 15 plays, 91 yards, and 8 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Cincy 3, it was John Harbaugh who decided to gamble. Yet he was saved from himself by a delay of game penalty. He then brought in Tucker to kick the 25 yard field goal and make it 16-10 Ravens with 10 minutes left in regulation.

After a touchback, the Bengals again mounted another lengthy drive. Mixon gained 7 and 10. Runs and short passes had the Bengals move to a 3rd and 5 at the Baltimore 18. Burrow hit Chase for 13. Mixon ran for 4 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. Burrow got the last yard. The 13 play, 75 yard, 8 minute drive had the Bengals take their first lead of the game up 17-16. The Ravens for the third time this season had blown a double digit lead at home. Yet this time they still had 1:57 left from their own 25 needing only a field goal. They had the best running quarterback in the league and perhaps the greatest kicker in the history of the NFL. They were up against the stingy defense of the reigning AFC champions. Jackson hit Andrews for gains of 7 and 8. Jackson ran for 5 and then for 19 more. With 46 seconds left on 3rd and 2 from the Cincinnati 28, Jackson gained 3. The Bengals were out of timeouts. John Harbaugh let the clock run down to 3 seconds. Although 43 yards is not an automatic field goal, Tucker does hold the NFL record for a 66 yarder. The best to ever do it did it again. Tucker was good. A rematch of this game cannot come soon enough. 19-17 Ravens

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs was the Monday night game. The Raiders have lost winnable games because Josh McDaniels refuses to pound the rock in obvious running situations. He tries to be too cute by half and call pass plays rather when the situation calls for smash mouth. Last week the Raiders finally won a game because they unleashed Josh Jacobs. The only chance they would have to beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead would be to unleash Jacobs again and unleash Derek Carr. Two yard ago the Raiders went into Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs because Carr was raining down bombs and Jacobs was running hard. Carr went blow for blow with Patrick Mahomes and beat him. Yet McDaniels was not the coach then. By the end of this game, a lot was learned about the Raiders and McDaniels. A chop block penalty on the offense on the second play from scrimmage hurt the Raiders. Yet the much maligned Raiders defense saw Maxx Crosby belt Mahomes for a 13 yard loss. Each team punted on their first drive.

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 13 from their own 30. Carr hit Bolden for 12. Josh McDaniels decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 42. It was a crazy decision. Even crazier was his decision not to give the ball to Jacobs. He picked the lowest percentage play possible. Yet McDaniels was let off the hook because Carr unleashed a perfect bomb to Davante Adams for a 58 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Chiefs lead. The Chiefs after a touchback moved 52 yards in 11 plays. The Chiefs had 1st and 10 at the Raiders 23 and seemed certain to tie the game. Then the defense forced Mahomes into 3 straight incompletions. With Harrison Butker out injured, backup kicker Wright missed a 41 yard field goal. 

The Raiders took over at their own 31 and Josh McDaniels smartly pounded the rock. Jacobs gained 5 and one. On 3rd and 4 from his own 37, Carr hit Renfrow for 5. Then it was back to Jacobs for gains of 9 and one. On the first play of the second quarter with the Raiders facing 3rd and 4 at the Chiefs 42, Carr threw deep incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference meant a 25 yard gain. On 2nd and 17 from the Chiefs 24, Carr again went deep incomplete and again got a defensive pass interference call for 23 yards. Jacobs banged it in from one yard out as the Raiders led 14-0. Even more surprising was that the Raiders defense again forced the vaunted Chiefs offense to go 3 and out. The Raiders took over at their own 23 and McDaniels kept it on the ground. Jacobs gashed the Chiefs for big gains of 13 and 21. McDaniels then unfortunately abandoned the run. On 3rd and 8 from the Chiefs 41, Carr hit Jacobs for only 7 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Chiefs 34, McDaniels would not go for the kill shot. Rather than pound Jacobs down the Kansas City throats. Daniel Carlson nailed the 53 yard field goal. The Raiders led 17-0 in front of a shellshocked home crowd at Arrowhead, but given how well their offense was playing, it seemed like they took their foot off the gas. 

After a touchback, the Chiefs soon faced 3rd and 10 from their own 25. At this point, reality set in. The Chiefs have a phenomenal passing offense and the Raiders have a terrible secondary. Mahomes hit Marques Valdez-Scantling for 18. On 2nd and 17 from his own 36 after a sack, McKinnon got around the end for 30 yards. McKinnon then ran for 9 and 2. Mahomes hit Valdez-Scantling for 14. On 3rd and goal at the one, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for the touchdown. The 11 play, 75 yard drive had the Chiefs down 17-7. After a touchback, Jacobs ripped off a 9 yard gain. On 3rd and 6 from his own 47, Carr went deep to Adams for 18 yards. On 3rd and 8 from his own 46, controversy ensued. Carr was sacked and fumbled by Chris Jones, who also recovered the fumble. Yet Jones was called for roughing the passer because he landed on Carr with his whole body weight. The home crowd erupted in anger. Yes, quarterbacks are coddled. However, the rule is the rule, and Jones did land on him with his entire body weight. The Raiders kept the ball with a new set of downs. With 17 seconds left in the half, Carlson nailed a 50 yard field goal to have the Raiders up 20-7. They had all the momentum. Yet they just couldn’t handle prosperity.

17 seconds for Mahomes is an eternity. He needed only 13 seconds to shock Buffalo in the playoffs last year. The Raiders blew a game two years ago when they could not handle a lead with 19 seconds left. A mindless defensive personal foul facemask did them in on that day. Some things never change. After a touchback, Mahomes hit McKinnon for 12 yards. Yet an idiotic personal foul defensive facemask that was again completely unnecessary gifted the Chiefs  15 yards. Wright nailed a 59 yard field goal at the gun. The Chiefs were still down 20-10, but every member of the Raider Nation knew what was coming. The Chiefs got the ball to start the second half. The inevitable is called that for a reason. Yet if McDaniels would keep running the ball, the Raiders still had a chance. Abandoning the run is what cost the Raiders the Arizona game when they blew a 20 point lead. This time it was a 17 point lead on the verge of slipping away.

After a third quarter touchback, the Chiefs made it look easy. Mahomes hit Valdez-Scantling for 8 and Clyde Edwards-Helaire for 10. On 3rd and 8 from his own 48, Mahomes hit Valdez-Scantling for 23. On 2nd and 6 from the Raiders 25, Mahomes threw incomplete but defensive illegal contact meant an automatic first down. Mahomes then went to Juju Smith-Schuster for 13. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Mahomes hit Kelce for the touchdown. Mahomes was killing the Raiders on third down. The Chiefs still trailed 20-17, but everyone knew what was coming. The run was working perfectly, but Josh McDaniels had to start passing on first down. An 11 yard completion from Carr to Jacobs was nullified by offensive pass interference on Mack Hollins away from the play. Then came a delay of game and intentional grounding and 3rd and 27. The Chiefs got the ball back at their own 43. 

The Chiefs soon faced 3rd and 8 from their own 45. Asking for a defensive stop was an impossible task as Mahomes went deep to Mycole Hardman for 28. Mahomes then ran for 9. Mahomes then hit Smith-Schuster for 13. On 1st and goal at the one, the defense got a ray of hope with a sack of Mahomes. Yet that hope was quickly dashed when Mahomes hit Kelce for an 8 yard touchdown. A defensive unnecessary roughness penalty added to the misery as the Chiefs led 24-20 with 3:20 to play. The Raiders 17-0 lead had evaporated. 

The Raiders took over at their own 16 and Carr hit Horsted for 9. Yet then it was back to the ground game. Jacobs gained 2 and then busted through the defense for monster gains of 14 and 37. The Raiders had 1st and 10 at the Chiefs 22. All they had to do was keep running the ball. Yet McDaniels kept veering away from what was working. Carr was sacked for an 11 yard loss to kill the drive and end the third quarter. Carlson hit his third field goal from 47 yards out one minute into the fourth quarter. The Raiders were within 24-23, but they were kicking field goals while the Chiefs were scoring touchdowns. 

After a touchback, Mahomes hit Valdez-Scantling for 16. Consecutive offensive penalties had the Chiefs facing 3rd and 15 at their wn 36. Yet the defense could not get a stop. Mahomes went deep to Hardman for 36. With the Chiefs facing 1st and 10 at the Raiders 14, a run lost 4 yards and Mahomes threw incomplete twice. The defense had finally done it. A 37 yard field goal try by Wright was better than giving up a touchdown. Even if it was good, the Raiders would be down by 4. Things looked even better for the silver and black when the kick was no good. Yet these are the Raiders. They can’t get out of their own way. An absolutely boneheaded defensive holding penalty on the kick meant an automatic first down. This was a gut punch the defense could not overcome. On 3rd and 2 from the Raiders 5. Mahomes hit Edwards-Helaire for 4. Mahomes hit Kelce for the one yard touchdown. Instead of a one point game, the Chiefs led 30-23 midway through the fourth quarter. Then Andy Reid got greedy. He opted to try a 2 point conversion to make it a 9 point game, effectively ending things. This time Mahomes had his pass batted down. The Raiders were should have only been down one point, but at least they were down 7 instead of 8 or 9. 

After a touchback, Carr went to Jacobs for 13 and 5. On 3rd and 5 from his own 43, Carr hit Bolden for just enough. On 3rd and 6 from the Chiefs 48, Josh McDaniels risked it all. Carr went bombs away to his best friend from Fresno State, and again Adams came up big with a 48 yard touchdown. With 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation, an extra point would tie the game. Yet McDaniels was not interested in a tie. He gambled on the 2 point conversion. On the road, it was a risky but reasonable decision that could be justified. There are legitimate reasons to rake McDaniels over the coals, but this decision was not one of them. McDaniels even called the right play call. He handed the ball to his bell cow. Yet Jacobs was stopped inches short after initially appearing to barely break the plane of the goal. Jacobs had been a battering ram all night. This one time he was stopped. 

The Chiefs had scored the last 5 times they had the ball, with 4 of those drives being touchdowns. The Chiefs took over at their own 31 and it seemed that the only thing that would prevent another touchdown is if they ran out the clock. Either way, there was no way the Raiders offense would get the ball back. Carr has so many fourth quarter comebacks. The Raiders would have a chance if they could just get the ball back. Yet nobody on earth expected that to happen. Mahomes hit Moore for 8 and Edwards-Helaire gained 8. On 2nd and 3 from the Raiders 46, Edwards-Helaire got stopped for no gain. The Raiders took their 2nd timeout with 2:40 left. The Raiders were down to their last gasp on defense. On 3rd and 3, the Raiders brought the house and Mahomes threw deep incomplete. The Raiders had life. A perfect punt had the Raiders taking over at their own 7 yard line with 2 1/2 minutes left and one timeout. Yet they only needed a field goal to win and a kicker who had made 38 straight field goals. 

Jacobs banged ahead for a pair of 8 yard gains. The Chiefs defense was helpless to stop him as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. Carr hit Hunter Renfrow for 9. On 3rd and 1 from his own 32 with 90 seconds to play, Josh McDaniels again made the right play call. Jacobs banged up the gut for 5 yards. After an incompletion, Carr hit Renfrow for 9, The Raiders took their final timeout with 51 seconds left facing 3rd and 1 at their own 46. There was only one intelligent play call for McDaniels to make. He had to hand the ball off to Jacobs. Yes, that would take 20 seconds off the clock. However, a fresh new set of downs would calmly allow Carr 4 chances. Carlson has a long leg. The Chiefs were on their heels. They were desperate. They stopped Jacobs on the 2 point conversion try but nowhere else. One handoff for one yard would be all the Raiders needed. Jacobs closed out the 2021 regular season by running down an opponent’s throats, knocking them out of the playoffs, and getting the Raiders into the playoffs. When you run the ball when the other team knows the run is coming, you impose your will. That is power football. All the Raiders needed was one yard. All McDaniels had to do was hand the ball to Jacobs.

Josh McDaniela called a pass. Carr found Adams at the sideline for a 15 yard gain. The Raiders celebrated. They were in long  field goal range. yet it was not to be. After a very lengthy review, officials reversed the call and ruled it incomplete. Replay showed that adams got both feet down inbounds, but the officials ruled otherwise. Now it was 4th and one. The only good news was that the play only took 4 seconds. 47 seconds still remained. The scenario remained exactly the same. Give the ball to Jacobs. Trust your battering ram. Once again, McDaniels had to try and be the smartest guy in the room rather than go basic. Carr went back to pass. Andy Reid brought the house. Carr went deep. The ball fell incomplete as Carr demanded defensive pass interference. Yet replay clearly showed that Darren Waller and Renfrow collided into each other and took each other out. it was a perfect metaphor for the entire Raiders season. 

An irate Adams exploded on the sideline, threw his helmet, and even shoved a cameraman out of the way to the tunnel. Adams is facing assault charges, a lawsuit, and most likely an NFL suspension.Josh McDaniels gave the usual postgame platitudes about how the Raiders were a play or two away from being a winning team. Yet at 1-4, the Bill Parcells maxim still applies. You are what your record says you are. The Raiders were competitive because McDaniels ran the ball with Jacobs early and often. The Raiders lost because McDaniels would not run the ball with Jacobs with the game on the line. The Raiders have a bye week next week. The first 5 games of the season were expected to be brutal. and they were. Now the schedule gets more favorable. In 2 weeks the Raider Nation finds out if it is too late to salvage the season. With McDaniels coaching, fans have a reason to worry. From now on, on 3rd and 1, just hand the ball to Jacobs. It’s that simple. 30-29 Chiefs  

NFL 2022 Week 5 Prequel

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 5 Prequel

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 8pm

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-3) — Neither team is playing particularly good football. Russell Wilson has yet to gel with his offense. The Broncos were gashed on the ground last week. Matt Ryan leads an offense plagued by turnovers. Go with the home field. Broncos cover 

Sunday, October 9, 2022, 9:30am

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-8) in London — Does anyone really take the 3-1 Giants seriously? Aaron Rodgers out-dueled Tom Brady and defeated a pair of defensive minds in Bill Belichick and Todd Bowles. Rodgers will not fear Daniel Jones, who fumbles too often. The Packers have not been that impressive on offense, but their defense has been. The Packers have the experience. Packers cover

1pm

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-14) — Kenny Pickett is making his first NFL start. The Steelers defense melted down at home against the Jets. The Bills have a very good defense and showed a ton of resiliency in overcoming a 17 point deficit to win at Baltimore. A garbage touchdown could beat the high spread. Bills win but fail to cover

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Cleveland Browns The Chargers are perpetual underachievers. Justin Herbert is playing injured. The Browns scare nobody but Nick Chubb can run the ball. The Chargers have the better weapons at quarterback and wide receiver. Chargers cover

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) — The Texans might be the worst team in football. The Jaguars are vastly improved. Trevor Lawrence was awful last week, losing four fumbles and an interception. However, that was against perhaps the league’s best team, not its worst. Look for them to rebound since the Texans are talent poor. Jaguars cover

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-7) — The Bears are nothing special. Justin Fields is not playing particularly well. The Vikings have the better quarterback in Kirk Cousins, a good runner in Dalvin Cook, a top receiver in Adam Thielen, and the confines of home field. Vikings cover

Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (-3) —The Lions have the most points in the league but are 1-3 because their defense is a sieve, The Patriots started their backup quarterback last week and were playing their third string quarterback before halftime. Jared Goff was outfoxed by Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl in 2019. Go with the home field and the Evil Hoodie provided Raimondre Stevenson runs well. Patriots cover  

Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints (-5 1/2) —The Seahawks gave up 45 points last week and still won. Yet the Saints have a much better defense that Detroit. With Jameis Winston injured, the Saints offense has been less than stellar. Geno Smith has played better than in years past, but the Saints defense has rendered better quarterbacks than smith immobile. The disparity between the teams is not that great. Saints win but fail to cover

Mimi Dolphins (-3) at New York Jets — The Jets overcame a 10 point fourth quarter deficit in a gutsy win at Pittsburgh. Zach Wilson is back. Tua Tagovailoa is still injured. The Dolphins still have a very good defense and the Jets have a long way to go. Dolphins cover

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8 1/2) — The Falcons have been competitive the last couple of weeks. The Buccaneers have lost two straight, but to much better teams than the Falcons. Trust Tom Brady over Marcus Mariota although Mariota is not playing badly. Given the struggles of the Buccaneers on offense, a garbage touchdown by the Falcons to beat the spread is possible. Buccaneers win but fail to cover

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) at Washington Commanders — The Titans have rebounded from their tough start to the season while the Commanders are not playing well on offense or defense. Ryan Tannehill has not been a liability and Derrick Henry is running with punishing authority. Titans cover

4pm

San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) at Carolina Panthers — — The 49ers continued their regular season domination over the Rams at home. A hangover letdown after a big emotional win seems less likely given how terrible Carolina looked at home last week. Jimmy Garoppolo is back and in a groove. Deebo Samuel is a pinball wizard. The Panthers defense is not terrible. At home, give the Panthers a chance to do just enough to lose respectably. 49ers win but fail to cover 

Philadelphia Eagles (-5) at Arizona Cardinals — The Eagles are the only unbeaten team in the league. They showed grit in overcoming a 14-0 deficit to an improving Jacksonville team last week. The Cardinals had a fairly easy road win at Carolina after falling behind 10-0. Kyler Murray has talent but Kevin Siriani is coaching better than Kliff Kingsbury. Jalen Hurts is coming into his own. The spread is high for a road team against a team that shows flashes of brilliance. Eagles win but failure to cover

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (-4 1/2) — Cooper Rush has been playing quite well in place of the injured Dak Prescott. The Rams looked listless at San Francisco. Yet at home, the Rams are the more talented team. The Cowboys have star players on both sides of the ball but still have not gelled together as a team. Matthew Stafford has plenty of weapons on offense. Sean McVay calls plays as well as anyone in the business. Rams cover  

8pm

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3) —The Ravens would be 4-0 but have twice at home blown leads of 17 points or more. The Bengals got off to a bad start to the season but appear to have rebounded. Nevertheless, Lamar Jackson is playing as well as ever. Meanwhile, Joe Burrow still gets sacked too often. John Harbaugh has not forgotten how to coach. Trust Jackson to run wild all over the Cincinnati defense. Ravens cover

Monday, October 10, 8pm

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-7) — Two years ago the Raiders went into Kansas City in Week 5 and beat the Chiefs. Derek Carr went blow for blow with Patrick Mahomes. Yet last year the Chiefs blasted the Raiders twice. Walrus Andy Reid is a wizard play-caller. Josh McDaniels will never win this game with West Coast Offense dinking and dunking. The only chance the Raiders have is to have bell cow Josh Jacobs be a battering ram. Long punishing ground and pound drives would keep Mahomes on the sideline. realistically, the Chiefs are better coached and at home. Chiefs cover

NFL 2022 Week 4 Recap

Sunday, October 2nd, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 4 Recap

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals was the Thursday night game. The Dolphins were a surprising 3-0 after an emotional win over Buffalo. The defending AFC Champion Bengals were a surprising 1-2 on the season. Joe Burrow went right to work after a touchback, hitting jammer Chase for 8, Hurst for 19, and Tee Higgins for 10. Burrow then hit Hurst for 6 with defensive unnecessary roughness adding 15. On 3rd and 1 from the Miami 5, Joe Mixon ran it in to make it 7-0 Bengals.The Dolphins after a touchback moved 70 yards in 10 plays. On 3rd and 4 from the Cincinnati 5, Tua Tagovailoa threw incomplete. Jason Sanders hit the 23 yard field goal to get the Dolphins within 7-3. An interception of Tagovailoa had the Bengals move 10 plays to a 4th and 1 at the Miami 24. Mixon got the carry and got stuffed for no gain. Sanders hit from 48 in the second quarter to get the Dolphins within 7-6 but then tragedy struck.

From his own 42, Tagovailoa threw incomplete but roughing the passer meant 15 yards for the Dolphins. Yet Tagovailoa was playing hurt. He had a concussion last week. The next hit was worse, On 2nd and 7 from the Cincy 40, Tagovailoa was sacked for a 10 yard loss and stayed down. He was down for over 10 minutes on the field. His body seized up in a frightening scene. He was carted off the field, but in the hospital he had use of all of his upper and lower extremities. TeddY Bridgewater came in the game with the Dolphins facing 3rd and 17 from midfield. Bridgewater calmly hit Sherfield for 16. Yet on 4th and 1 from the Cincy 34 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half, Mike McDaniel was in a somber mood, not a gambling one. Sanders’s 52 yard field goal try to give the Dolphins the lead was blocked, further deflating them. 

Given great field position, the Bengals soon faced 3rd and 11 at their own 41. Burrow connected with Higgins for a 59 yard touchdown and a 14-6 Bengals lead. Yet Bridgwater is no ordinary backup. He suffered a leg injury that cost him 2 years of his career. Now he was the one filling in for the injured starter. Bridgewater then received an unnecessary hit, resulting in a 15 yard defensive penalty. At the 2 minute warning from his own 46, Bridgewater hit Jalen Waddle for19 and Tyreek Hill for 11. On 3rd and 5 from the Cincy 19, Bridgwater hit Sherfield for 12 and Chase Edmonds for the 7 yard touchdown with 9 seconds left in the half. A 2 point conversion would tie the game, but Mike McDaniel opted to play it safe. Again, it is hard to criticize his decision. Again, his kicker let him down as Sanders missed the extra point to have the Dolphins down 14-12 at the break. With 6 minutes left in the third quarter, the Dolphins took over at their own 10. From their 15, Bridgwater hit Sherfield for 16 and then went bombs away to Hill for a 64 yard gain. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 2, Mostert got stopped. Bridgwater then threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the 2, for the third time there would be no McDaniel gamble. Sanders hit from 20 to put the Dolphins up 15-14  after three quarters.

The Bengals soon faced 3rd and 11 at their own 24. Zac Taylor went to the bag of tricks with the halfback option pass. Burrow got it to Boyd, who went deep to Chase for 23 yards. Burrow then went deep to Boyd for 43 more. Yet on 3rd and goal at the one with 12 minutes remaining, Zac Taylor decided not to go for it. Evan McPherson hit the 19 yard field goal to put the Bengals up 17-15, but the Dolphins now only needed a field goal to take the lead. on 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Edmonds got the carry and lost a yard. McDaniel had played it safe all night, and he opted to punt. The Bengals moved from their own 28 to a 2nd and 8 at the Miami 34. Then came an incompletion, a false start, and another incompletion. Taylor went bold and had Mcpherson try a 57 yard field goal knowing a miss would give the dolphins a golden chance for the lead. McPherson delivered to make it 20-15 with 6 minutes left in regulation. The Dolphins moved from their own 22 to a 1st and 10 at the Cincinnati 26 with 3:17 to play. Bridgewater went for it all and was intercepted by Bell, who returned it 46 yards to the Miami 45. On 2nd and 7, rather than grind down clock, Burrow went deep to Chase for a 36 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 2 with 1:52 to play, Burrow went to Hurst for the touchdown to lock up the win and knock Miami from the unbeaten ranks. Yet the loss of the game was only part of the story. The loss of Tagovailoa is a gut punch for a quarterback finally earning some respect and a team finally earning some also. The Bengals meanwhile are back to even after an 0-2 start. 27-15 Bengals 

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints from London. This may not have been as thrilling as the Minneapolis Miracle, but it was a very jolly good football game in England. Red Rifle Andy Dalton started in place of the injured Jameis Winston. The Vikings took the opening kickoff and went right to work. Kirk Cousins hit Justin Jefferson for 10. On 3rd and 7 from his own 38, Cousins hit Smith for 10 and Adam Thielen for 10 more. On 3rd and 1 from the New Orleans 33, Cousins got stopped but the defense jumped offside. On 3rd and 2 from the New Orleans 14, Cousins hit Dalvin Cook for 9. A touchdown pass was nullified by offensive pass interference to set up 3rd and goal at the 15. Cousins went to Mattison for the touchdown to cap the 13 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive to make it 7-0 Vikings. The first quarter ended with an interception of Cousins to set up the Saints at their own 40. On 3rd and 8 from the Minnesota 47, Dalton hit Chris Olave for 11 and Johnson for 13. On 3rd and 2 from the Minnesota 15, Ingram gained 5. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Dalton hit Olave for the touchdown to cap the 12 play, 60 yard, 6 minute drive and make it a 7-7 ballgame. 

A field position game had the Vikings taking over at their own 44 with 3:42 left in the half. On 3rd and 1 at the Saints 10, Cousins threw incomplete. Kevin O’Connell decided to play it safe. Greg Jospeh hit the 28 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Vikings with one minute left. Yet one play after a touchback, Dalton was sacked and fumbled. The Vikings recovered at the Saints 20. Yet a run went nowhere followed by an incompletion and a false start. On 3rd and 15, a completion gained only 7. Joseph hit from 36 as the Vikings took a 13-7 lead to the locker rooms. Early in the third quarter the Saints fumbled a punt and the Vikings recovered at the saints 44. Cousins went deep to Jefferson for a 41 yard gain. Yet on 1st and goal at the 3, a delay of game proved costly. On 3rd and goal at the 7, a completion gained one yard. Joseph hit his third field goal from 24 to make it 16-7 Vikings.

Then the game changed as the Saints took over at their own 22. Murray had gains of 6, 10 and 6 sandwiched around Dalton hitting Callaway for 15. On 3rd and 4 from the Minnesota 41, Dalton threw incomplete. Dennis Allen decided to go for it and on 4th and 4 Dalton hit hallway for 5. On 2nd and 15 from the Minnesota 41 after a false start, Dalton hit Callaway for 33. On 3rd and goal at the one, Murray got in to get the Saints within 16-14. An unnecessary roughness penalty on the Saints on the ensuing kickoff had the Vikings starting at their own 45. On 4th and 2 from his own 47, Kevin O’Connell gambled on a fake punt. Wright hit Nailor for 13. Yet on 1st and 10 from the New Orleans 23, intentional grounding and a false start killed the drive. Joseph began the fourth quarter by hitting his fourth field goal from 46 to make it 19-14 Vikings. After a touchback, Murray gained 6 and 7 and Taysom Hill dded 13 more. Dalton hit Smith for 18 and Trautman for 11. Hill ran for the 2 yard touchdown.Dalton hit Jarvis Landry for the 2 yard touchdown to give the Saints the 22-19 lead with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

The Vikings soon faced 3rd and 3 from their own 32. Cousins hit Jefferson for just enough, but defensive holding meant an automatic first down anyway. On 3rd and 4 from their own 43, Cousins hit Osborn for 6. On 3rd and 10 just shy of midfield, Cousins went deep incomplete. Yet another defensive illegal use of hands meant another automatic first down. On 3rd and 8 from the Saint 44, Cousins again went deep incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference meant a 41 yard gain and 1st and goal at the 3. Jefferson got around the end for the touchdown. Joseph missed the extra point but 3 defensive penalties killed the Saints. With 4:15 to play, The 10 play, 75 yard, 5 minute drive put the Vikings back on top 25-22. The Saints after a touchback moved to a 2nd and 9 at the Minnesota 42. Dalton threw incomplete twice. With 1:51 to play, Dennis Allen brought in Wil Lutz to try a 60 yard field goal. Lutz nailed it for a 25-25 game. 

The Vikings took over at their own 18. Cook gained 14 and Cousins went deep to Jefferson for 39 more. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Saints 29, three runs gained a combined 0 yards. With 24 seconds left, Joseph came in for a 47 yard field goal try to give the Vikings the lead. Joseph’s 5th field goal try was good. After a touchback, the Saints had 24 seconds and 0 timeouts. They needed their own version of a miracle. Dalton went deep to Olave for a 32 yard gain. The Saints got a major break when an injury on the defense forced the Vikings to stop the clock with 12 seconds left. Dalton threw incomplete twice to leave 2 seconds on the clock. Lutz had hit from 60, and now he was brought in for a 61 yard try to tie the game and force overtime. Lutz pulled the double doink made famous by Cody Parkey. Lutz’s kick hit the left upright and then bounced off the crossbar, no good. In the first football game in the British Empire since the death of Queen Elizabeth, both teams put on a show worthy of the royal crown and the NFL. 28-25 Vikings  

 

Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons — Sometimes a pair of boring teams can come together and play a relatively interesting game. This actually was that game. The Browns moved from their own 25 to a 3rd and 1 at the Atlanta 2. Nick Chubb got the carry and lost 2 yards. Kevin Stefanski surprisingly decided to go for it on 4th and 3. Jacoby Brissett threw incomplete. The Falcons moved from their own 4 yard line on a 14 play, 84 yard, 7 minute drive. Yet on 1st and goal at the 9, a pair of runs  lost 3 yards followed by an incompletion. Younghoe Koo hit the 30 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Falcons. The Browns quickly fumbled the ball away and the Falcons recovered at the Cleveland 31. On 2nd and 14, Marcus Mariota went to Hesse for 22. Cordarelle Patterson got around the edge for a 13 yard touchdown as the Falcons led 10-0 after the first quarter. 

After a touchback, runs and short passes had the Browns facing 4th and 1 at the Atlanta 39. Rather than try a 57 yard field goal, Kevin Stefanski again decided to go for it. Brissett gained 2. Chubb broke off gains of 8, 5 and 4. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Brissett ran it in to get the Browns within 10-7 in the second quarter. The staggering 16 play, 75 yard drive took nearly 9 minutes off the clock. The Browns got it back at their own 20 and embarked on another long drive of 13 plays, 69 yards and 6 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 1 from the Atlanta 43, Brissett went deep to Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 42 yard gain. Yet on 1st and goal at the one, Chubb did not get in. Then came a killer offensive holding call followed by a pair o incompletions. York hit the 29 yard field goal to end the half with the teams deadlocked 10-10. In the third quarter an interception of Ryan gave the Browns another short field at the Atlanta 43. The Browns settled for a 45 yard York field goal but had the 13-10 lead.

After a touchback, it was ground and pound as Huntley ran for 6, 5, 14, 9 and 4. Allgeier added 7 and 14. Then it was back to Huntley for 6, 5, and the 5 yard touchdown. The 10 play, 75 yard, 5 minute drive did not feature a single pass attempt as the Falcons led 17-13 early in the fourth quarter. After a touchback, chubb ran for 6, caught a pass from Brissett for 9, and ran for 3. Karim Hunt ran for 20 and Chubb ripped off a 28 yard touchdown run to put the Browns up 20-17 with 10 minutes left in regulation. The Falcons after a touchback moved to a 2nd and goal at the 2. Rather than play smash mouth, Arthur Smith had Mariota line up in the shotgun. Mariota fumbled the snap but was lucky enough to pick it up and escape with an incompletion. Then on 3rd and goal he threw incomplete again. Smith played it safe. Koo hit from 21 for a 20-20 game midway through the fourth quarter. 

The falcons got it back at their own 9 with 3 1/2 mi minutes left. Mariota went deep to Zaccheaus for 42 with 15 more tacked on for a defensive facemask. O 3rd and 3 at the Cleveland 27, Allgeier got stopped. Koo hit from 45 as the fourth lead change of the game had the Falcons up by a field goal 2 1/2 minutes left. The Browns after a touchback moved to a 1st and 10 at the Atlanta 41 with 1:36 left. They were only a few yards from long field goal range. Then came an incompletion, an ineligible man downfield penalty, and a sack of Brissett. On 3rd and 23 from their own 46 with one minute left, Brissett went deep and was intercepted. For the seance straight week, the Falcons engineered a fourth quarter comeback. 23-20 Falcons

   

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens — The Bills suffered a heartbreaker at Miami and were now at a tough Baltimore squad. On the third play from scrimmage and the Bills facing 3rd and 9 from their own 26, Josh Allen was intercepted by Marlon Humphrey, who returned the pick 26 yards to set the Ravens up at the Baltimore 4 yard line. JK Dobbins ran for 3 and then caught a one yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson to make it 7-0 Ravens. A 42 yard kickoff return had the Bills taking over at their own 43. Yet on 3rd and 7 from the Baltimore 20, Allen threw incomplete. Tyler Bass hit from 38 to get the Bills within 7-3. The Ravens took over at their own 19. Dobbins ran for 9 and Jackson hit Devin Duvernay for 12. On 3rd and 9 from his own 45, Jackson ran for 10, hit Bateman for 13, and ran for 9 more. On 3rd and 1 from the Buffalo 7, Ricard gained 3. Dobbins ran for the 4 yard touchdown up the gut to culminate the 15 play, 81 yard, 9 minute drive and put the Ravens up 14-3 after the first quarter. 

The Bills fumbled again in the second quarter to set up the Ravens with a 1st and 10 at the Buffalo 36. Jackson hit Dobbins for 20. On 3rd and 6 from the Buffalo 12, Jackson hit Mark Andrews for 11 down to the one. Yet offensive pass interference meant that 1st and goal at the one was instead 3rd and 16 from the 22. Jackson then lost 2 yards. Justin Tucker hit a 42 yard field goal to make it 17-3 Ravens. The Ravens got it back and moved from their own 29 to a 1st and 10 at the Buffalo 29. Yet an incompletion was followed by a sack of Jackson. Tucker nailed a 51 yard field goal. With 4 minutes left in the half, the Ravens were cruising up 20-3. They blew a 21 point fourth quarter lead at home a couple weeks ago, but surely this 17 point lead at home was safe.  

The Bills took over at their own 24 with 1:47 left. Allen hit Avis for 13, McKenzie for 5, and Stefan Diggs for 17. With 28 seconds left from the Baltimore 28, Allen hit Singletary for 14, Dawson Knox for 10 and McKenzie for the 4 yard touchdown. the Bills only trailed 20-10 at the intermission. The Bills took over at their own 28 in the third quarter and moved to a 4th and 1 at the Baltimore 25. Sean McDermott went for it and Allen gained 4. Yet Allen then threw 3 straight incompletions. Bass hit from 39 to get the Bills within 20-13. The Bills got it back at their own 20. Allen hit Diggs for 23 and Singletary for 14. On 3rd and 7 from the Baltimore 40, Allen hit McKenzie for 8. Allen hit Shakir for 14, ran for 7, and then ran again for the 11 yard touchdown. After three quarters the game was tied 20-20. 

Jackson was intercepted in the fourth quarter, but the Bills did not capitalize. The Ravens got it back at their own 5 yard less than 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. Hill ripped off gains of 10 and 12. On 3rd and 8 from his own 34, Jackson hit Andrews for 9. Defensive pass interference added 17 more. Hill tacked on 14. On 3rd and 12 from the Buffalo 28, Jackson scrambled for 18. On 2nd and goal at the one, Dobbins got the carry and lost 3 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Jackson gained 2. With 4:15 to play in regulation, John Harbaugh made the curious decision to go for it on 4th and goal at the 2. A field goal would have give the Ravens the lead, but Harbaugh wanted it all. Jackson went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. 14 plays, 93 yards and 9 1/2 minutes of clock amounted to nothing. 

The Bills soon faced 3rd and 2 from their own 28. Allen went deep to Knox for 20. Allen ran for 7 and hit Shakir for 9. Roughing the passer added a critical 15 yards. Allen then hit Singletary for 16. The Ravens took their timeouts on defense but it was too late. On 1st and goal at the one. Allen took a couple of knees to take the clock down to 3 seconds. Bass hit the 21 yard field goal in front of a shellshocked crowd at the Big Crabcake. The Ravens should be 4-0. Instead they are 2-2 after blowing 2 home games with leads of at least 17 points. 20 unanswered points showed that the Bills are a very resilient bunch. 23-20 Bills 

Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys — The Commanders came in having never lost to the Cowboys. The Cowboys were again starting cooper Rush in place of injured Dak Prescott. The Cowboys got on the board first when Brett Maher hit a 53 yard field goal for a 3-0 Cowboys lead. Maher hit again from 45 in the second quarter for a 6-0 Cowboys lead. The Commanders took over at their own 35. From midfield, JD McKissic ran for 33. On 3rd and 3 from the Dallas 10, Carson Wentz hit Jahan Dotson for the touchdown to make it 7-6 Commanders. 

 The Cowboys soon faced 3rd and 7 from their own 28. Rush was intercepted but defensive illegal contact nullified the pick and kept the drive going. On 3rd and 8 from his own 35, Rush hit Michael Gallup for 15. On 3rd and 1 from the Washington 41, Ezekiel Elliott gained 7. On 3rd and 1 from the Washington 25, Rush got the yard. On 3rd and 6 from the Washington 9, Rush hit Gallup for the touchdown. The extra point try was blocked, but with one minute left in the half the 15 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive made it 12-7 Cowboys. Midway through the third quarter from his own 38, Rush went deep to Brown for 45 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Washington 15, a completion gained only 5 yards. Maher hit the 28 yard field goal to make it 15-7 Cowboys.

The Commanders soon faced 3rd and 8 from their own 27. Wentz went deep to Dotson for 31. Williams gained 23. Yet on 2nd and 8 from the Dallas 17, an intentional grounding penalty killed the drive. Slye hit from 45 to get the Commanders within 15-10 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys salted the game away. A 38 yard defensive pass interference penalty led to Rush hitting Lamb for a 30 yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 22-10 Cowboys. The Commanders went 3 straight drives that included turning it over on downs twice sandwiched around an interception. Maher tacked on one more field goal to close out the scoring. The Commanders have never beaten the Cowboys. 25-10 Cowboys

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions — Pete Carroll won a Super Bowl with a defense known as the Legion of Boom. Dan Campbell gives fiery speeches. This game was insane. The Seahawks went right to work after a touchback. Geno Smith hit Will Dissly for 9 and Tyler Lockett for 7. On 3rd and 3 from their own 42, Smith hit Rashaad Penny for 6 and Dissly for 8. On 3rd and 7 just past midfield, Smith ran for 17. Smith hit Parkinson for 15. Smith went to Disney for a 17 yard touchdown to cap the 11 play, 75 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive and make it 7-0 Seahawks. The Lions got a break when the Seahawks fumbled a punt and the Lions recovered at the Seattle 32. One play and 7 seconds later, Jared Goff hit TJ Hockenson for the touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Rams were within 7-6.

After a touchback the Seahawks came right back. Smith hit Lockett for 13 and DK Metcalf for big gains of 23 and 21 with roughing the passer adding 9 more. Smith ran for an 8 yard touchdown to make it 14-6 Seahawks. The Lions got another spark on special teams on a Dan Campbell gamble. On 4th and 3 from their own 35, a perfectly executed fake punt saw Fox hit Cephus for 6. Yet 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes yielded only 41 yards. On 1st and 10 from the Seattle 27, a false start was followed by a failed run and a pair of incompletions. Eberle hit the 49 yard field goal to get the Lions within 14-9 early in the second quarter. Eberle then kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds to set the Seahawks up at their own 40. They moved to the Detroit 36 when a pair of offensive penalties meant 2nd and 25 just shy of midfield. Pete Carroll played it safe and Smith gained 13 of it back. Jason Myers then nailed a 56 yard field goal to put the Seahawks up 17-9. Five plays later Goff fumbled and the seahawks took over at their own 48. On 2nd and 14, Smith went deep to Metcalf for 42 yards down to the 2. Smith hit Noah Fast for the touchdown and a 24-9 Seahawks lead with 5 minutes left in the half. 

The Lions used all of it in moving 75 yards in 12 plays. On 2nd and 23 from their own 12, Goff went deep to Kennedy for 28. Goff hit Reynolds for 26 down to the one. A pair of runs went nowhere sandwiched around an incompletion. With 3 seconds left in the half, it was 4th and goal at the one. This time the Dan Campbell gamble paid off as Williams got in. Eberle’s terrible game continued as he missed his 2nd extra point. The Lions trailed 24-15 at the break. The Lions got the ball after a third quarter touchback and disaster immediately struck. Goff was intercepted by Tariq Woolen, who returned the pick 40 yards for a touchdown and a 31-15 Seahawks lead. The Seahawks got it back and had a chance to all but put the game away, but Myers missed a 39 yard field goal. 

This time the Lions struck quickly. From their own 29, Goff went to Raymond for 17. Williams raced for a 51 yard touchdown. Goff ran in the 2 point conversion try to get the Lions within 31-23. The Seahawks soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Walker got the yard. Penny ran for 15. On 3rd and 4 from the Detroit 39, Smith hit Metcalf for 9. On 3rd and 16 from the Detroit 36, a give up run went all the way for a touchdown. The defensive meltdown had the Seahawks up 38-23 after three quarters. The fourth quarter was wild.

On the last play of the third quarter, the Lions faced 1st and 20 at their own 15. A short pass from Goff to Hockensen saw him weave through traffic for an 81 yard gain. The fourth quarter began with Goff hitting Reynolds for a 3 yard touchdown. Goff hit Hockensen for the 2 point conversion as the Lions were within 38-31. Yet their defense could not get a stop. The Seahawks moved 68 yards in 10 plays. On 3rd and 3 from the Detroit 7, Smith threw incomplete. Yet Myers hit a 25 yard field goal to give the Seahawks breathing room up 41-31 with 9 1/2 minutes left. The Lions offense kept coming. After a touchback, Goff hit Reynolds for 15 and Hockensen for 9. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions faced 4th and 10 at the Seattle 48. Needing 2 scores, going for it was necessary. Goff hit Kennedy for 17 and Hockensen for 16. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Goff hit Hockensen for the touchdown. The home crowd was elated as the Lions were within 41-38 with a full 5 1/2 minutes left. 

One defensive stop would give the Lions a chance. They could not get the stop. After a touchback, Smith hit Eskrudge for 10. On 3rd and 2 from his own 43, Smith hit Lockett for 11. On 3rd and 5 from Detroit 41 and the Lions defense smelling pass, a run by Penny went for a 41 yard touchdown and a 48-38 Seahawks lead with 2:14 to play. The Lions offense kept coming, and Goff threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Jackson to get the Lions within a field goal again with 1:06 to play. The onside kick failed. With one minute left the Seahawks faced 3rd and 5 at the Detroit 41. One defensive stop was too much to ask of the Detroit defense. Penny gained 7 and Smith kneeled twice to preserve the win. Goff was 26 of 39 for 378 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one interception. Smith was 23 of 30 for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. The Seahawks gashed the Detroit defense for 235 yards on the ground on 33 carries, led by Penny’s 151 yards on 17 carries. The Lions have the #1 offense in the NFL but are 1-3 because scoring 35 points per game doesn’t win when you give up 35.3 points per game. Pete Carroll is known for defense, but your defense can give up 520 yards and 45 points when your offense puts up 575 yards and 48 points. For fans who love offense, 1,095 yards and 93 points combined made for a great game. 48-45 Seahawks 

   

Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans — After suffering a humiliating home beatdown by Jacksonville, the Chargers hoped to rebound against the lowly Texans. On the third play from scrimmage on 3rd and 5 from his own 30, Davis Mills was intercepted. Adderly returned the pick 30 yards to the Houston 25. On 3rd and 8, the defense jumped into the neutral zone. On 3rd and 3, Justin Herbert, who was playing hurt, hit Gerald Everett for the 18 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chargers. The Texan failed to get on the board when Kaimi Fairbairn missed a 46 yard field goal by a country mile. The Chargers took over at their own 36. On 3rd and 6, Herbert hit Carter for 14. Kelley gained 6, 5 and 5. Herbert hit Mike Williams for 15. Austin Ekeler ran for 5 and then for the 10 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Chargers early in the second quarter. The Chargers got it back and made it look east. On 2nd and 7 from their own 30, Herbert went to Williams for a 50 yard gain. Ekeler then ran for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 21-0 Chargers. 

One play after a touchback, the Texans were on the board. Dameon Pierce raced for a 75 yard touchdown to get the Texans within 21-7. The Chargers from their own 18 embarked on a 10 play, 77 yard, 5 minute drive. On 1st and goal at the 6, a fumble lost 5 yards and killed the drive. Dustin Hopkins hit a 23 yard field goal to make it 24-7 Chargers. After a touchback the texans moved to a 4th and 1 at the Chargers 24. Love Smith gambled and Davis Mills was sacked. The Chargers moved from their own 32 to a 1st and 10 at the Houston 14. gain, the red zone was the end as a false start hobbled that drive. Hopkins hit again from 37 as the Chargers had a comfortable 27-7 lead at the midpoint.

Late in the third quarter the Texans took over at their own 13. On 3rd and 7 from their own 34, Mills went deep to Cooks for 20 and to Akins for 30. Mills hit Rex Burkhead for an 8 yard touchdown as the Texans only trailed 27-14 after three quarters. The Texans got it back at their own 7 and soon faced 3rd and 6 from their own 11. Mills hit Burkhead for 13, Collins deep for 58, and Cooks for the 18 yard touchdown. With 10 minutes left in regulation the Texans were right back in it down 27-21. The Chargers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Texans recovered at the Chargers 16 with a golden chance to take the lead. Yet on 2nd and 7, Mills was sacked and fumbled for a big loss. Fairbairn hit from 40 to have the Texans within 27-24 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the game.

The Chargers soon faced 3rd and 2 from their own 24. Herbert hit William for 13. On 4th and 2 from their own 45, Brandon Staley made a major gamble. With the game on the line and 5 1/2 minutes left, he risked giving the Texans a short field and the chance at a tying field goal. Herbert hit Ekeler for 21. On 3rd and 6 from the Houston 30 with 3:16 left, Herbert hit Mike Williams for 11. Herbert hit Ekeler for a 14 yard touchdown with 2 1/2 minutes left to ice the game. Mills threw one more interception for good measure. 34-24 Chargers 

  

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts — After an emotional home win over Kansas City, the Colts came out flat at home against Tennessee. After moving from their own 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Tennessee 45, a pair of incompletions and a false start was followed by Matt Ryan getting sacked and fumbled. The Titans took over at the Indianapolis 32. On 3rd and 6, Ryan Tannehill gained 9. Derrick Henry added 12. Tannehill hit Robert Woods for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Titans. The Titans got it back and soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 32. Tannehill went to Austin Hooper for 4 and Henry for 22 more. Tannehill then went to Okonkwo for 23. Henry ran for a 19 yard touchdown to put the Titans up 14-0 after the first quarter. 

The Colts after a touchback moved to a 2nd and goal at the 4 but Ryan threw incomplete twice. Chase McLaughlin hit the 27 yard field goal in the second quarter to get the Colts on the board. Randy Bullock countered from 44 to make it 17-3 Titans. Ryan was quickly intercepted to set the Titans up at the Indy 28. Tannehill hit Okonkwo for the 8 yard touchdown to make it 24-3 Titans. The Colts tried to make a comeback. Ryan hit Mo Alie-Cox for a 14 yard touchdown before the half to get the Colts within 24-10. Ryan connected with Cox again for a 7 yard touchdown as the Colts only trailed by 7 midway through the third quarter. With 8:40 left in regulation the Colts had 3rd and 1 at the Tennessee 24. Jonathan Taylor got the yard but then fumbled and the Titans recovered. With 4 minutes left the Colts had another chance with 1st and 10 at the Tennessee 22.  short pass lost 3 yards and then Ryan was sacked. On 4th and 21, a 51 yard field goal try was no good. With 1:49 left the Titans faced 3rd and 4 at their own 47. Tannehill hit Okonkwo for 7 yards and then took 3 knees. 24-17 Titans

Chicago Bears at New York Giants — Somehow both of these teams were 2-1. The bears from their own 24 mounted a 10 play, 65 yard, nearly 5 1/2minute drive. On 3rd and 7 from the Giants 11, Justin Fields threw incomplete. Mike Badly hit the 29 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Bears. After a touchback, Saquon Barkley ripped off gains of 18 and 9 yards. Daniel Jones ran for a 21 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Giants. The Bears from their own 19 moved to a 3rd and 3 at the Giants 5. Khalil Herbert gained only one yard. Badly hit again from 24 as the Bears got within 7-6. In the second quarter the Bears from their own 20 moved 53 yards in 10 plays. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Giants 27, Fields was sacked and fumbled the ball away. From his own 25, Barkley ran for 29 and Jones hit Hudson for 18. On 3rd and 9 from the Chicago 27, Jones hit Barkley for 15. Jones ran for an 8 yard touchdown to make it 14-6 Giants. The rest of the game was a slog. Badly hit from 40 late in the half and from 35 early in the third quarter to get the Bears within 14-12. Yet their inability to reach the end zone was their undoing. Graham Gano hit from 44 late in the third quarter and from 43 with 5 1/2 minutes left in regulation to put the Giants up by 8. Gano missed from 37 with 21 seconds left, but with 3 seconds left the Bears were still 67 yards away. The hook and laterals were fumbled away as the Giants got to 3-1 the ugly way. 20-12 Giants

Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles — The Jaguars went on the road last week and gave the Chargers a beating. Now Doug Pederson faced off against his old team that was unbeaten under Kevin Siriani. Early on it was all Jaguars as it looked like they would keep rolling. Jalen Hurts had a pass intercepted by Cisco, who returned it 59 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 7-0 Jaguars lead. The Jaguars got it back and soon fced 3rd and 5 at their own 25. Trevor Lawrence went to Jamal Agnew for 24 and Arnold for 26. On 2nd and 5 from the Philadelphia 20, Robinson gained 11 and fumbled, but the Jaguars maintained possession at the Philadelphia 3 yard line. Lawrence hit Agnew for a 4 yard touchdown as the Jaguars led 14-0. Siriani gambled on 4th and 3 from the Jacksonville 40 but Hurts threw incomplete. Early in the second quarter Pederson gambled on 4th and 3 from the Philadelphia 34. Lawrence was sacked for a 14 yard loss and fumbled. The Eagles took over at their own 43, at which point momentum drastically shifted.

Hurts hit AJ Brown for 18 and Dallas Goedert for 26. On 4th and goal at the 3, Kevin Siriani again gambled. This time Hurts scrambled up the middle for the touchdown o get the Eagles within 14-7. The Eagles got it back at their own 29. Miles Sanders ripped off gains of 8, 13, 5 and 4. Sermon gained 14. Sanders ran for  10 yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14 with 4 minutes left in the half. 3 plays later with the Jaguars facing 3rd and 1 at their own 34, Lawrence fumbled again and the Eagles took over at the Jacksonville 35. Hurts hit Brown for 13 at the 2 minute warning. Sanders ran for 10. On 4th and 1 from the Jags 12 with 1:10 left, Sirianni went for it again. Hurts gained 2. Kenneth Gainwell ran for a 10 yard touchdown.  The extra point was no good but the Eagles led 20-14 at the intermission.

Turnovers kept killing the Jaguars. After moving from their own 28 to a 2nd and 7 at the Philadelphia 16, Lawrence was intercepted. The Eagles moved from their own 12 to a 3rd and 8 at the Jacksonville 10 early in the fourth quarter. Hurts threw incomplete. Elliott hit from 28 to make it 23-14 Eagles. Three plays later Lawrence was sacked and fumbled again to set up the Eagles at the Jags 24. On 3rd and 3 from the Jags 5, Sanders ran it in. 29 unanswered points had the Eagles up 29-14 with 9 minutes left in regulation. 

The Jaguars moved from their own 32 quickly. Lawrence hit Christian Kirk for 15. On 3rd and 10 from their own 47, Lawrence found Kirk deep for 45 yards. Lawrence went to Agnew for an 8 yard touchdown to get the Jaguars within 8 midway through the fourth quarter. The Eagles after a touchback moved to a 4th and 3 at the Jacksonville 21 with 1:54 left in the game. . A field goal would lock up the win. This time Siriani gambled needlessly. Hurts threw incomplete. Yet it was deja vu all over again as Lawrence was sacked and fumbled again. Lawrence had a miserable game, with 4 lost fumbles and an interception. Doug Pederson failed to beat the team that fired him. Meanwhile, the Eagles at 4-0 are the only unbeaten team in the NFL. 29-21 Eagles 

 

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers — Zach Wilson returned. An early interception of Mitchell Trubisky set up the Jets at the Pittsburgh 36. Yet on 3rd and 10 from the Pittsburgh 26, a completion gained only 6 yards. Greg Zuerlein hit a 38 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Jets. The Jets got it back and soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 33. Wilson hit Moore for 20. On the first play of the second quarter, Wilson went to Moore again for 28 more yards. Robert Saleh went to the bag of tricks as Wilson went from quarterback to receiver and Braxton Berrios went from receiver to quarterback. Berrios hit Wilson for the 2 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Jets. Momentum then changed.

Boswell hit a 51 yard field goal in the second quarter to get the Steelers on the board. With 20 seconds left in the half, the Jets faced 3rd and 11 from the Pittsburgh 29. A 47 yard field goal would make it 13-3 Jets, but Zuerlein never got the chance. Wilson was intercepted by Sutton, who returned the pick 26 yards to set the Steelers up at their own 30. Trubisky then hit Pat Freiermuth for 14. With 9 seconds left in the half, the Steelers were at their own 44. Then things got crazy. Trubisky went deep and was intercepted at the goal line by Whitehead. Whitehead returned the interception to his own 30 and lateraled the ball, A couple of laterals later, the Jets finally got stopped at the Pittsburgh 32. Yet all of that was for naught. A mindless roughing the passer call on the Jets gave the Steelers one untimed down from the Jets 41. Mike Tomlin went with Boswell, who leveled a 59 yard field goal at the gun to have the Steelers within 10-6. 

Despite the closeness of the game, Mike Tomlin made a major change at halftime that was inevitable. Trubisky was benched and rookie Kenny Pickett saw his first action. The normally conservative Tomlin gambled on 4th and 1 from his own 31 on Pickett’s very first drive early in the third quarter. Pickett gained 2. Pickett then threw his first NFL interception. The Jets faced 3rd and 6 at their own 30 and Wilson gave it right back. Minkah Fitzpatrick returned the interception 34 yards to the Jets 4 yard line. On 3rd and goal at the one, Pickett scored his first touchdown to make it 13-10 Steelers. The Steelers got it back at their own 18. Pickett hit Freiermuth for 14. Najee Harris ran for 16. On 3rd and 6 from the Jets 48, Pickett ran for 7. On 3rd and 4 from the Jets 35, Pickett hit Pickens for 13. The fourth quarter began with the Steelers facing 3rd and 8 at the Jets 20. Pickett hit Freiermuth for 18 and then ran for the 2 yard touchdown. 20 unanswered points had the Steelers up 20-10 only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The Jets soon faced 3rd and 6 at the Jets 23. Wilson went to his non-relative teammate Wilson for a 35 yard gain. On 4th and 7 from the Pittsburgh 39 and down by 10, Robert Saleh decided to go for it rather than try a 57 yard field goal. Wilson hit Davis for 22. Hall ran for 16. 1st and goal at the one after consecutive offensive penalties moved the Jets back to the 11. Yet on 3rd and goal from the 5, Wilson hit Corey Davis for the touchdown. The Jets were within 20-17 midway through the fourth quarter. After a touchback, the Steelers moved to a 1st and 10 at the Jets 31 looking to close out the game. Pickett fumbled but the Steelers retained possession. Pickett was then intercepted to set up the Jets at their own 35 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Wilson hit Davis for 15. On 3rd and 6 from the Pittsburgh 46 at the 2 minute warning, Wilson hit Conklin for 8. Wilson found Davis again for 17. Breece Hall ran for 7 and the Jets took their first timeout. 16 seconds remained and the Jets had 2nd and goal at the 2. Hall ran it in for the touchdown in front of a shocked home crowd at Heinz Field. After a touchback, Pickett hit Pickens for 27 yards to the Jets 48. With 8 seconds left, Pickett’s Hail Mary reached the goal line but was intercepted. Mike Tomlin after the game said he saw enough from Pickett to make him the starter going forward. Yet it was the Jets who got the very gutsy road win. 24-20 Jets

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers — Matt Rhule gambled on 4th and 1 from his own 39 and Christian McCaffrey got stopped cold. Kliff Kingsbury then gambled on4th and 1 from the Carolina 10 and Moore lost 4 yards in a scoreless first quarter. Early in the second quarter 3rd and 6 form his own 31, Murray was intercepted by Frankie Luvu. Luvu returned the pick 33 yards for a defensive touchdown and a  7-0 Panthers lead. Kingsbury then gambled on 4th and 1 from his own 42 and a run lost 13 yards and resulted in a fumble that Murray somehow managed to turn into an incompletion. The Panthers then from the Arizona 32 fumbled the ball back in this hideously bad game. Matt Prater did manage a 33 yard field goal for the Cardinals. Baker Mayfield threw an interception that led to no points. Eddie Pineiro hit a 54 yard field goal to end the half with the Panthers up 10-3. 

Early in the third quarter the Cardinals faced 3rd and 1 at their own 20. After being bottled up the entire first half, Murray gained 2 and then found Zach Ertz for 23. A defensive pass interference penalty added 37 more yards. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Murray hit Ertz for the touchdown to tie the game 10-10. The Cardinals got it back at their own 22. On the first play of the fourth quarter the Cardinals faced 1st and goal at the 10. An offensive unnecessary roughness penalty resulted in an Arizona player getting disqualified. An offensive holding call killed the drive. Matt Prater hit a 39 yard field goal to make it 13-10 Cardinals. On the first play after a touchback, Mayfield was intercepted by Gardecki, who returned the pick 24 yards to the Carolina 5. Murray ran for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 20-10 Cardinals. Matt Rhule gambled on 4th and 1 from his own 31 and Mayfield threw incomplete. On 3rd and 2, Murray hit Marquise Brown for a 23 yard touchdown as 23 unanswered points had the Cardinals up 26-10. The Panthers did score one more touchdown with 5 minutes left but the onside kick failed and the Cardinals ran out the clock. 26-16 Cardinals

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers — 25 years ago, Desmond Howard propelled the Packers to Brett Favre’s only Super Bowl trophy as Walrus Mike Holmgren out-dueled Bill Parcells. Now it was the legendary understudies as Aaron Rodgers took on Bill Belichick. Mac Jones was out injured and Brian Hoyer got the start. After a touchback, Jones led a 10 play, 56 yard, 5 minute drive. 1st and 10 at the Green Bay 19 saw a pair of runs gain nothing and Hoyer throw incomplete. Nick Folk hit a 37 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. 10 minutes into the game, a sack of Hoyer saw him leave the game with a head injury. Rookie third string quarterback Bailey Zappe played the rest of the way. 

A field position game saw a horse collar tackle on a punt to give the Packers the ball at midfield. Aaron Jones had runs of 10 and 5. On 3rd and 2 from the New England 32 to start the second quarter, Jones ran for 7 and 10. Christian Watson ran for a 15 yard touchdown. Without a single pass on the drive, the Packers led 7-3. With one minute left in the half on 1st and 10 from the Green Bay 22, Zappe was sacked and fumbled. With 13 seconds left in the half, the Packers faced 3rd and 9 from their own 32. A run up the middle would end the half. Yet Matt LaFleur called a pass play. Jack Jones intercepted Rodgers and returned the pick 40 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 Patriots lead in front of a stunned crowd at the Big Cheesehead. 

Rodgers rebounded to start the third quarter. On 3rd and 10 from his own 19, Rodgers went deep to Alan Lazard for 32. Jones gained 12. On 3rd and 2 from the New England 29, AJ Dillon only gained one. Matt LaFleur gambled on 4th and one. Jones gained 17. On 2nd and 19 from the New England 20 after offensive holding, Rodgers hit Robert Tonyan for the touchdown to cap the 10 play, 81 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive and make it 14-10 Packers. After a touchback, Zappe hit Kendrick Bourne for 16. A sack was eradicated by defensive unnecessary roughness. Harris gashed the defense for gains of 5, 14, 7 and 4. On 1st and 15 from the Green Bay 25, Zappe went to DeVante Parker for the touchdown. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the fourth lead change of the game had the Patriots up 17-14. The Packers moved from their own 21 to a 3rd and 4 at the New England 21. A completion gained only one yard. Mason Crosby hit a 38 yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter tied the game 17-17.

The Patriots began the fourth quarter at their own 34. This time it was Raimondre Stevenson powering over the opposing defense for gains of 12, 5, 17 and 2. Zappe then went to Nelson Agholor for 21. Damien Harris ran for 4 and then for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 24-17 with 11 minutes left in regulation. The Packers faced 3rd and 6 at their own 29. Rodgers went deep to Randall Cobb for 24 Dillon caught a pass from Rodgers for 11 and then ran for 13 more. On 3rd and 3 from the New England 13, Rodgers hit Romeo Doubs for the touchdown. With 6 minutes left, the game was tied again 24-24. The defenses dug in, sent the game to overtime, and saw both offenses go 3 and out on their opening overtime possession. The Packers took over at their own 10. Rodgers hit Lazard for 22.On 3rd and 1 from his own 44, Rodgers hit Cobb for 11 and Doubs for 8 and 9. On 3rd and 3 from the New England 21, Dillon gained 7. The Packers moved 77 yards in 12 plays and took all of the final 6:47 left in overtime. On the final play of overtime, Crosby came in for a 31 yard field goal try. Crosby was good as the Packers got to 3-1 and dropped the Patriots to 1-3 on the year. 27-24 Packers

Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders — Last year Jon Gruden got the Raiders off to a 3-0 start. Rich Bisaccia held the team together and willed a 6-7 team to a 4-0 finish, a playoff berth, and 9 yards from a road playoff win. His reward was to be forced out in favor of Josh McDaniels, who has never won as a head coach anywhere. The Raiders went 4-0 in the preseason for the first time in their history, which meant nothing when they started 0-3 in the regular season. McDaniels faced off against the original team that fired him, the Broncos. The Raiders keep losing because McDaniels is a West Coast Offense dink and dunker who refuses to run the ball in running situations. In this game, McDaniels unleashed Josh Jacobs. Yet in key running situations, McDaniels still refused to feed Jacobs. The 3 big problems the Raiders face are abandoning power running, bogging down in the red zone due to that abandoning of the run, and a secondary that is still a sieve. This game featured all 3 of those problems. 

The Raiders took over at their own 32 and moved 60 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. Yet on 2nd and 4 from the Denver 7, Jacobs lost a yard. On 3rd and 5, Derek Carr threw incomplete. Daniel Carlson hit the 25 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Raiders, but it was another missed opportunity. On their next drive, a sack of Carr had the Raiders punting on 4th and 21 from their own 2. AJ Cole’s punt was returned 30 yards to set the Broncos up at the Raiders 34. Russell Wilson immediately went deep to Saubert for 25. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Wilson hit Cortland Sutton for the touchdown and the 7-3 Broncos lead.

After a touchback, Carr hit Jacobs for 12. Jacobs ran for 3 and Carr added 7. They took turns again as Jacobs gained 9 and Carr added 2 more. In the second quarter, Carr hit Davante Adams for 9. Jacobs was a beast, running for 4, 3, and the 10 yard touchdown to finish the 11 play, 75 yard, 6minute drive and make it 10-7 Raiders. Josh McDaniels tried a surprise onside kick that did not work, setting up the Broncos at the Raiders 48. On 3rd and 6, Wilson went deep to Jerry Jeudy for 32. An illegal shift had the Broncos going backward. Brandon McManus hit the 28 yard field goal for a 10-10 game.

A 20 yard punt return gave the Broncos the ball back at their own 48. With 4 minutes left in the half the Broncos faced 4th and 1 at the Raiders 43. Nathaniel Hackett decided to go for it and Williams gained 2. Yet craziness ensued on the next play. Melvin Gordon got the carry and got hit and fumbled. The ball bounced straight to Amik Robertson, who weaved through traffic, found a convoy of blockers, and rumbled for a 68 yard defensive touchdown. With 3:15 left in the half, the Raiders had a 16-10 lead. Yet they could not handle prosperity. Carlson missed the extra point. After a touchback, Williams ran for 9 and 13. On 2nd and 12 from his own 45, Wilson went deep to Hinton for 35 and then to Jeudy for a 20 yard touchdown. Just like that, the game was tied 16-16. McManus also missed his extra point, making it a wash. 

After a touchback, 1:24 remained in the half. Runs and short passes had the Raiders facing 1st and 10 at the Denver 41 with 17 seconds left. Carr lit up the home crowd at the Death Star as he scrambled for a 20 yard gain. Carlson nailed the 39 yard field goal as the Raiders took a 19-16 lead to the locker rooms. Midway through the third quarter the Raiders took over and moved 77 yards in 10 plays. They had 1st and goal at the one. Jacobs got the carry and lost 2 yards. Yet he should have been given the ball again. Instead, McDaniels once again abandoned the run. Carr threw incomplete twice. Carlson hit from 22 to put the Raiders up 22-16 after three quarters, but they kept missing out on chances to put the game away. A great punt had the Broncos pinned at their own one yard line to start the fourth quarter. They punted it back and the Raiders had great field position just shy of midfield. Carr hit Adams for 13 and breakout star Mack Hollins for 16. On 3rd and 4 from the Denver 16, McDaniels called another one of his West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes rather than throw past the first down marker. A 3 yard completion meant 4th and 1 at the Denver 13. It was hard to argue with McDaniels opting for the field goal. Carlson hit from 30 as his fourth field goal on the day made it 25-16 Raiders early in the fourth quarter.

Yet too many field goals and not enough touchdowns appeared to bite the raiders again. The Broncos soon faced 3rd and 9 from their own 26. Wilson ran for 13. With 8 1/2 minutes left, connective offensive holding calls had the Broncos facing 1st and 30 at their own 19. That should have ended things, but the Raiders do not close out games. Wilson threw incomplete, but the defense had too many men on the field. On 1st and 25, Wilson hit Sutton for 18 and then went deep to Hamler for a 55 yard gain. On the next play, Wilson got in for the 3 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Broncos were right back in it down 25-23. This was a typical Raiders game, where the offense would stop running the ball, the offense would then sputter, and the exhausted defense would break down. 

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 29. Carr again used his legs to gain 9. On 2nd and 13, Carr hit Adams for 17. Josh McDaniels then did what fans have been screaming at him to do. He used his bell cow Jacobs to finish things. Jacobs is a bruiser, an absolute battering ram. He ran for 11, 5 and 3. The Broncos took  a defensive timeout with 3 minutes left as the Raiders faced 3rd and 2 at the Denver 29. This time it was rookie Zamir White getting the carry and rushing for 22 yards. Then at the 2 minute warning, Jacobs barreled in for a 7 yard touchdown. 5 straight runs gave the Raiders a 9 point lead. With 1:44 left on 4th and 5 from his own 30, Wilson threw incomplete. Jacobs ran for 6 and 2 as the Broncos took their timeouts on defense. On 3rd and 2 from the Denver 22, Jacobs got the carry again and gained the 2 yards. Carr took a couple knees. 

Last week the Raiders were the only 0-3 team in the NFL, a feat not achieved since Detroit in 1959 one year before the Raiders existed as a franchise. This week they finally got a win. It was revenge for Josh McDaniels agains the team that fired him, similar to his emotional win as Broncos coach over New England and his former boss Bill Belichick. That win had McDaneils at 6-0 in Denver. After that he went 5-17 and was fired after less than 2 years. McDaniels is still too reliant on dinking and dunking. He rarely ever goes for the bomb that Al Davis loved. Yet McDaniels finally pounded the rock. The Raiders ran the ball a whopping 38 times for 212 yards, led by bell cow Jacobs gaining 144 yards on 28 carries. This was power football. If McDaniels keeps doing this, the Raiders will win games. If not, they will not. 32-23 Raiders

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the Sunday night game. This game almost had to be relocated. Hurricane Ian was supposed to make a direct hit on Tampa, but at the last moment ended up striking South of Tampa in Fort Myers, bypassing Tampa, and hitting East of Tampa in Orlando. The game went on as scheduled in Raymond James Stadium. Last week Tom Brady faced Aaron Rodgers for the last time. This week Brady battled Patrick Mahomes. Brady got the better of Mahomes in the 2018 AFC Title Game and the 2020 Super Bowl. This time, before Brady could take the field, the Buccaneers fumbled away the opening kickoff to set the Chiefs up at the Tampa Bay 21. Two plays later Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chiefs. The Buccaneers moved from their own 28 to a 3rd and 4 at the Kansas City 28. A completion gained only one yard. Ryan Succop hit from 45 to get the Buccaneers on the scoreboard. 

The Chiefs took over at their own 21. Mahomes hit Kelce for 12. On 3rd and 1 from their own 42, Mahomes hit Juju Smith-Schuster for 4. On 3rd and 10 from his own 46, Mahomes hit Kelce for 13. On 3rd and 1 from the Tampa 32, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 20. Mahomes ran for 9. Edwards-Helaire ran for the 3 yard touchdown to cap the 12 play, 79 yard, 6 minute drive and make it 14-3 Chiefs. The Chiefs got it back and faced 1st and 15 at their own 13. Mahomes hit Smith-Schuster for 13 and Kelce for 7. The second quarter began with the Chiefs facing 3rd and 2 at their own 41. Mahoems ran for 7 and then went deep to Marques Valdez-Scantling for 36. On 3rd and 2 from the Tampa Bay 8, Mahomes hit Kelce for 6. Mahomes hit Edwards-Helaire for the 2 yard touchdown to have the Chiefs up big 21-3.

After a touchback, Brady hit White for 11, Mike Evans for 30, Cameron Brate for 11, White for 10, and Evans for a 13 yard touchdown to get the Buccaneers within 21-10. The Chiefs moved from their own 26 to a 2nd and 1 at the Tampa 34. A pair of runs went nowhere and Walrus Andy Reid went for it. On 4th and 1, Mahomes threw incomplete. Yet one play later, Brady was sacked and fumbled. The Chiefs got it back at the Tampa 20. On 3rd and 7, Mahomes ran for just enough. On 3rd and goal at the one, Noah Gray got in for a 28-10 Chiefs lead with 2:11 left in the half. 

After a touchback, Brady quickly moved the Buccaneers 75 yards in 12 plays. On 3rd and 2 from his own 33, Brady hit Brate for jus enough. On 3rd and 5 from his own 40, Brady hit Jones for 7. On 3rd and 1 from the Kansas City 32, Brady hit Evans for 16. Defensive pass interference added 15 more down to the one. With 10 seconds left in the half, Brady hit Evans for the touchdown to get the Buccaneers within 28-17. After a touchback to start the third quarter, the Chiefs moved to a 3rd and 6 from the Tampa 26. Mahomes threw incomplete. Wright hit the 44 yard field goal to make it 31-17 Chiefs. The Chiefs got it back at their own 35. Mahomes hit Smith-Schuster for 9 and Valdes-Scantling for 25. On 3rd and 5 from the Tampa 21, Mahomes hit Moore for 16. Mahomes hit Jody Fortson for a 10 yard touchdown and a big 38-17 Chiefs lead. 

After a touchback, Brady hit Evans for 7 and 15. On 3rd and 2 from the Kansas City 41, Brady hit Rachaad White for a pair of 9 yard gains and Kieft for 19. On 3rd and goal at the one, White got in to get the Buccaneers within 38-24 after three quarters. The ensuing kickoff was kicked out of bounds to set the Chiefs up at their own 40 as the third quarter ended. The Chiefs moved to a 3rd and 2 at the Tampa 14, Mahomes threw incomplete. Wright hit the 32 yard field goal to give the Chiefs a safe 41-24 lead with 11 minutes left in regulation. With 5 minutes left in regulation on 3rd and 5 from midfield, an interception of Mahomes was returned 33 yards to the Chiefs 34. Brady hit Leonard Fournette for a 5 yard touchdown. The Buccaneers were within 10 with 3 1/2 minutes left but would get no closer. Brady was 39 of 52 for 385 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, but most of that was playing catchup. Mahomes had pedestrian numbers by comparison with 249 passing yards, but that was because the once pass-happy Andy Reid ran the ball 37 times for 189 yards. 41-31 Chiefs  

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers was the Monday night game. The 49ers came in having beaten the Rams 6 straight times in the regular season. Yet in last year’s NFC Title Game, the 49ers blew a 17-7 lead late as the Rams gutted out a 20-17 win en route to winning it all. This was another tough physical matchup. The Rams after a touchback held the ball for over 8 minutes. Yet 14 plays netted only 54 yards. On 2nd and 9 from the San Francisco 18, a sack of Matthew Stafford killed the drive. Matt Gay hit a 39 yard field goal for a 3-0 Rams lead. After a touchback, Jimmy Garoppolo hit Brandon Aiyuk for 15. On 3rd and 9 from his own 41, Garoppolo hit Jennings for 10. On 3rd and 5 from the Rams 44. , Garoppolo hit Jennings for 12. Jeff Wilson ripped off a 32 yard touchdown run for a 7-3 49ers lead. In the second quarter the Rams moved from their own 35 to a 1st and goal at the 9. A short pass lost 2 yards and Stafford threw incomplete twice. Gay hit from 29 to get the Rams within 7-6.

The best hit of the game was delivered by the Rams Bobby Wagner, but it was not directed at any of the 49ers. A leftist animal rights zealot ran onto the field spraying a pink chemical to protest some nonsensical social cause that has nothing to do with football. Protesters are a threat to the safety of the players and everyone else, but they also provide the players with an opportunity. Football is controlled rage. Players have to stop hitting when the whistle blows. With a protester, there is no whistle and no need to control the rage. Wagner got a running start and gave laid the protester out with all the force of his legendary days leading Seattle’s vaunted Legion of Boom. Very little unites the 49ers and Rams, but players and fans of both teams appreciated Wagner blasting the daylights out of the protester. If that hit makes other protesters skip football games, it will benefit football. 

As for the game itself, it was the 49ers delivering most of the hits to the Rams players. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, Garoppolo gained 3. On 3rd and 3 from their own 43, Garoppolo hit Deebo Samuel, who went video pinball wizard all over the field for a 57 yard touchdown and a 14-6 49ers lead. In the third quarter the Rams took over at their own 18. A staggering 16 play, 75 yard drive ate up 8 minutes, but again the Rams could not finish the drive. On 1st and goal at the 7, Stafford threw 3 straight incompletions. Gay hit from 26 to get the Rams within 14-9, but that was it. The 49ers moved from their own 27 to a second and goal at the one. A run got stopped and a touchdown pass was reversed to an incompletion. On 4th and goal at the one, Kyle Shanahan ignored the crowd and played it safe. The fourth quarter began with Robbie Gould hitting a 25 yard field goal to make it 17-9 49ers. Gould would miss from 42, but it didn’t matter. Stafford was intercepted by Talanoa Hufanga, who returned the pick 52 yards for the exclamation point touchdown. At the 2 minute warning, Stafford was sacked and fumbled. Efficient offense and a relentless defense gave the 49ers their 7th straight regular season win over the Rams and revenge for the playoff loss. 24-9 Rams

eric

NFL 2022 Week 4 Prequel

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 4 Prequel

Thursday, September 29, 2022, 8pm

Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals (-3 1/2) — The Dolphins are unbeaten and coming off an emotional home win over Buffalo. A letdown is very possible. The Bengals are not playing as well as they did last year. The Dolphins have a seriously good defense. The Bengals still have not fixed their offensive line. Upset special, Dolphins win outright

Sunday, October 2, 1pm

Minnesota Vikings (-2 1/2) at New Orleans Saints in London — The Vikings won their two home games and lost their road game. Jameis Winston is not healthy. Yet the Saints have a very good defense. Trust the defense. Upset special, Saints win outright

Cleveland Browns (-1 1/2) at Atlanta Falcons — Jacoby Brissett and Marcus Mariota are both coming off of big wins. Weather will not be a factor in this game. Kevin Stefanski gets more out of less. Nick Chubb runs hard. Browns cover

 

Buffalo Bills (-3 1/2) at Baltimore Ravens — This could be an AFC Title Game preview. Lamar Jackson is a pinball video game. Josh Allen can scramble as well. The Bills have the better defense and will be angry after their loss at Miami. These teams are both well-coached. the spread is too high for a road team, especially when the home team has Jackson. Go with the home field. Upset special, Ravens win outright

Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys (-3) — Cooper Rush has been playing well in place of the injured Dak Prescott. The Commanders inspire nobody. They looked lifeless at home against Philadelphia. Cowboys cover

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (-5) — Both of these teams lost heartbreakers last week. The Lions twice blew double digit leads. The spread is too high for a Lions team that is still young and learning how to win. Jared Goff is still better than Geno Smith. Lions win but fail to cover

Los Angeles Chargers (-5) at Houston Texans — The Chargers looked horrendous at home last week against Jacksonville. Justin Herbert is not healthy. Yet the Texans are terrible. Davis Mills can manage a game, but there is no way he will win a shootout with Herbert. The Chargers will look to rebound and prove that their preseason hype was not misplaced. Chargers cover

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-3) — The Titans barely survived at home to avoid becoming the only winless team in the NFL. The Colts shocked Kansas City at home. Derrick Henry looked like his old self, and Matt Ryan seems to be struggling. This is one that could go either way, so go with the home field. Colts cover

Chicago Bears at New York Giants (-3 1/2) — Nobody is taking either of these 2-1 teams seriously. It is hard t trust Daniel Jones or Justin Fields. Saquon Barkley has been looking like his old self, which could be the difference. These evenly matched teams could go down to the final play. Giants win but fail to cover

Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (-6 1/2) — Doug Pederson returns to take on the team that got rid of him only three years after the only Super Bowl win in Eagles history. He was expected to turn the Jaguars around, but not this quickly. The Jaguars went on the road and gave the Chargers a royal beating. Yet Kevin Sirianni is no slouch either. After starting his rookie season 2-5, he got the Eagles to the playoffs and has them 3-0 this year. The Jaguars are due for a letdown. Eagles cover

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3 1/2) — The Steelers looked flat at Cleveland, but they had 10 days to get ready for a Jets squad that looked lifeless against Baltimore. Joe Flacco used to beat the Steelers regularly, but that was years ago. The Steelers can still run the ball and Mike Tomlin usually has his teams prepared. The Steelers will rebound. Steelers cover

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-2) — A monumental comeback 2 weeks ago is the only thing keeping the Cardinals from being winless. Kyler Murray is better than Baker Mayfield, but the Panthers have the better defense. The forecast calls for in, which will make things tough for the Arizona passing game. Go with the home field and the team that runs the ball with Christian McCaffrey and plays defense. Panthers cover

4pm

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers (-10 1/2) — 25 years ago, Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre led the Packers to a Super Bowl win over Bill Parcells and the Patriots. Desmond Howard was the unlikely hero. Aaron Rodgers is far superior to Mac Jones, especially with Jones being injured. The Packers gutted out a win at Tampa last week due to their defense. Nevertheless, when was the last time a Bill Belichick team got blown out in the regular season? The spread is too high, especially with the Packers winning uglier than in years past. The Patriots can run the ball and speed up the game. Packers win but fail to cover

Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders (-2 1/2) — The Raiders are the only winless team in the NFL, mainly due to Josh McDaniels’s stubborn refusal to work Josh Jacobs. on the ground. The Broncos are 2-1, but all three games were hideously ugly. The Broncos have the better defense, but Russell Wilson has not gelled with his offense yet. Derek Carr has more weapons but a suspect offensive line. The Raiders are desperate. McDaniels is also desperate to beat the team that fired him after less than two years on the job. If the Raiders run the ball, they will win. Raiders cover

8pm

Kansas City Chiefs (-2 1/2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Right now Tampa has bigger worries than football. Hurricane Ian is expected to belt Tampa from Wednesday through Saturday. The weather should be sunny by Sunday, but who knows if the game can even be played in Tampa. In strictly football terms, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady both had ugly losses last week. They both have slightly fewer offensive weapons than one year ago. There is no evidence that Todd Bowles can be a successful head coach. With everything else considered equal, go with the guy holding seven rings. Upset special, Buccaneers win outright 

Monday, October 3, 8pm

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-2 1/2) — The Rams overcame a 17-7 deficit to win a brutal NFC Title Game last year 20-17. With these teams, throw out the records. They know each other well and are willing to get nasty in the trenches. The 49ers are coming off an ugly loss where the offense did nothing. The Rams nearly blew a 25 point lead but hung on to win. The Rams won it all last year, but the 49ers went blow for blow with them in all three of their head to head matchups. Jimmy Garoppolo has his job back, and is determined to prove to the football world that he is more than a game manager. 49ers cover

eric

 

NFL 2022 Week 3 Recap

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 3 Recap

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns is the Thursday night game. Both of these teams lost at home last week. The Browns led by 13 with 1:55 left and lost in gut-wrenching fashion. A field position game saw the Browns kick a 25 yard punt to give the Steelers a short field at the Cleveland 48. Yet the Steelers failed to capitalize when Chris Boswell missed a 49 yard field goal. Kevin Stefanski then decided to gamble with the Browns facing 4th and 1 just shy of midfield. Jacoby Brissett gained 3. Nick Chubb then ripped off a 36 yard gain. Brissett hit Amari Cooper for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Browns. After a touchback, Mitchell Trubisky hit Johnson for 11 and Pickens for a 36 yard gain. The ground game did the best as Warren gained 7, 6 and 7. Najee Harris ran for the 5 yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter for a 7-7 game.

The Browns soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 27. Brissett hit David Njoku for 13. On 3rd and 9 from their own 41, Brissett hit Donovan Peoples-Jones for 10. Brissett then went to Karim Hunt for 11 and Cooper for 18. On 3rd and 3 from the Pittsburgh 13 out of the shotgun, Hunt ran for 6. Brissett hit Njoku for a 7 yard touchdown. York’s extra point doinked off the upright no good, giving the Dawg Pound heartburn. A missed extra point last week was the margin of defeat. Nevertheless, the 12 play, 79 yard, 6 minute drive had the Browns up 13-7. After a touchback, Trubisky hit Johnson for 8 and Johnson for 16. Warren gained 18. Chase Claypool gained 11, Harris gained 10 and 4, and Trubisky got the last yard. With 4 minutes left in the half, the Steelers led 14-13 after the 10 play, 75 yard, 5 minute drive. The Browns moved from their own 12 to a 4th and 2 at the Pittsburgh 31. A field goal would have been 49 yards, but Kevin Stefanski saw his kicker struggling and opted to go for it with 34 seconds left in the half. Brissett hit Cooper for 3 yards, but on further review it was reversed to an incompletion. 

The Steelers began the third quarter with a 10 play drive that ate up 5 1/2 minutes. Yet they only managed 38 yards. On 4th and 5 from the Cleveland 41, Mike Tomlin was not in the mood to try a 59 yard field goal. He opted to punt. The Browns from their own 14 moved 70 yard in 14 plays and 7 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Pittsburgh 36, Kevin Stefanski again opted against a 54 yard field goal try. This time his gamble paid off as Brissett gained 2. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Pittsburgh 16, Brissett threw 3 straight incompletions. York it from 34 as the Browns retook the lead 16-14 after three quarters. The Browns got it back and soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 29. Brissett went deep to Cooper for 32. Chubb ran for 16 and Hunt added 8 and one. On 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 14, Brissett gained 6. Hunt gained 5 and 2, but on 3rd and goal at the one, Hunt got stopped. Now Stefanski had a major decision to make. With 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation, he opted to go for it. On 4th and goal at the one, Chubb got in to make it 23-14 Browns.

The defenses then dug in as both teams punted twice. The Steelers got it back at their own 20 with 3:13 left. With 1:48 to play, the Steelers faced 4th and 1 at the Browns 17. Needing 2 scores to win, Mike Tomlin opted for the field goal. Boswell hit from 34 to get the Steelers within 23-17. The onside kick failed, but the Steelers defense did the best they could. With the Browns facing 3rd and 1 at the Pittsburgh 37, Chubb got the yard. Yet on further review, officials reversed the call to inches short. A 55 yard field goal would wrap up the win, but a miss would give the Steelers a shot at a Hail Mary. This time on 4th and 1, Kevin Stefanski played it very safe. A coffin corner punt pinned the Steelers at their own 4 yard line with time for one more play. The Steelers needed 96 yards, but the hook and laterals quickly backfired and were recovered in the Pittsburgh end zone for another Cleveland touchdown. 29-17 Browns

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers — This game was about defense. After nearly 10 minutes of scoreless football Alvin Kamara fumbled. Marquis Haynes recovered the ball and returned it 44 yards for a defensive touchdown to make it 7-0 Panthers. Eddie Pineiro hit second quarter field goals of 45 and 48. The half ended with Wil Lutz having his 30 yard field goal try blocked. Lutz also missed from 48 in the third quarter. On the last play of the third quarter with the Saints facing 3rd and 100 from their own 10, Jameis Winston hit Olave for 12. Winston began the fourth quarter hitting Olave for 8, Michael Thomas for 16, Trautman for 9, Smith for 11, Kamara for 6, and Smith for 23. Mark Ingram ran it in for a 5 yard touchdown.  The 10 play, 89 yard drive had the saints only down 13-7 with 12 1/2 minutes left. Yet 2 plays later, Baker Mayfield connected with Shenault for a 67 yard touchdown to make it 19-7 Panthers. Winston then had a pass deflected and intercepted, allowing Pineiro to hit from 34 to make it 22-7 Panthers. The Saints reached the end zone again with 2:22 to play, but by the time they got the ball back at their own one yard line, only 17 seconds were left. Winston’s Hail Mary reached midfield and was intercepted. 22-14 Panthers   

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears — A pair of uninteresting teams actually played a decent game. Cairo Santos hit a 47 yard field goal to get the Bears on the board first. The Bears got it back at their own 19 and St. Brown got around the end for a 41 yard gain. On 3rd and 5 from the Houston 35, Khalil Herbert gained 8. Herbert then gained 11 and finally another 11 for the touchdown to make it 10-0 Bears. The Texans soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Davis Mills went deep to Moore for a 52 yard gain. Damon Pierce had gains of 7, 5 and 2. Mills hit Akins for the 4 yard touchdown to get the Texans within 10-7. In the second quarter the teams traded interceptions and then played field position as a 31 yard punt return by King gave the Texans a short field at the Houston 41. Pierce ran for 24, 9, 7, and the one yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Texans. 

The Bears took over at their own 18 and moved 50 yards in 12 plays and nearly 6 minutes. On 3rd and 6 from the Houston 23, Justin Fields was sacked. Santos hit from 50 to get the Bears within 14-13. The Texans after a third quarter touchback moved to a 3rd and 8 at the Chicago 27. Yet a completion gained only 6 yards. Lovie Smith played it safe on 4th and 2 as Kaimi Fairbairn hit form 39 to make it 17-13 Texans. After a touchback, Herbert ripped off a 52 yard gain. Fields hit St. Brown for 20. On 3rd and goal at the one, Herbert got in to make it 20-17 Bears. After a touchback the Texans moved 70 yards in 14 plays and 7 1/2 minutes. Yet on 3rd and 1 from the Chicago 2, Pierce got taken down for a 3 yard loss. Fairbairn hit from 23 as the game was tied 20-20 after three quarters. The game came down to one play. With one minute left and the Texans facing 3rd and 1 at their own 26, Mills was intercepted by Roquan Smith. Smith returned the pick 12 yards to the Houston 18. With 3 seconds left, Santos came in for the 30 yard chip shot to win it. Santos was good as Smith failed to beat his former team. It was not pretty, but Herbert 157 yards on the ground were the difference. 23-20 Bears 

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts — All the Chiefs had to do to remain unbeaten was crush an awful Colts team. Someone forgot to tell the Colts. One minute into the game, the Chiefs fumbled a punt and the Colts recovered at the Kansas City 4. On 3rd and goal at the one, Matt Ryan hit Woods for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Colts. Late in the first quarter Frank Reich gambled on 4th and 1 just past midfield after Jonathn Taylor got stopped on 3rd and 1. Ryan was sacked and fumbled as the Chiefs took over at the Indianapolis 35. Patrick Mahomes went to Travis Kelce for 29 and again for a 3 yard touchdown. Matt Amendola missed the extra point as the Chiefs trailed 7-6. 

The Colts took over at their own 29 and and held the ball for 6 minutes and 11 plays. Yet on 2nd and 7 from the Kansas city 23, an incompletion was followed by Ryan getting sacked. Chase McLaughlin hit the 43 yard field goal to make it 10-6 Colts. The Colts got it back at their own one yard line and Ryan went deep to Pierce for 30 yards. Yet 2 plays later Ryan was sacked and fumbled again. The Chiefs took over with another short field at the Indy 21. Mahomes hit Juju Smith-Schuster for 10 and Clyde Edwards-Helaire for 9. Edwards-Helaire ran it in for the one yard touchdown. Walrus Andy Reid went for a 2 point conversion and Mahomes hit Kelce successfully for a 14-10 Chiefs lead at halftime. 

Andy Reid made an interesting decision as the Chiefs took over at their own 46 with 34 seconds left. Yet offensive holding and an incompletion meant 2nd and 20 with 20 seconds left. Reid for some reason decided not to try a Hail Mary or try and get in field goal range. He opted to run out the clock. Given the high octane Chiefs offense, it seemed to be a strange decision. The third quarter saw the Chiefs take over at their own 31 and moved to a 2nd and goal at the 2. A run went nowhere and Mahomes then threw incomplete. Andy Reid again decided not to gamble. Ammendola after a false start hit from 26 to make it 17-10 Chiefs. After a touchback, the Colts held the ball 5 minutes on a 10 play drive. On 2nd and 3 from the Colts 19, a run lost 3 yards. On 3rd and 6, Ryan was sacked. McLaughlin nailed a 51 yard field goal to get the Colts within 17-13. 

The Chiefs from their own 12 moved 64 yards in 10 plays. Yet 90 seconds into the fourth quarter on 4th and 11 from the Indy 24, Andy Reid went with a fake field goal. Townsend’s pass was incomplete.  The Colts moved to a 4th and 1 at the Kansas City 31. With 11 minutes left, Frank Reich went for it. Taylor got stopped for no gain. The Chiefs then moved to a 2nd and 7 at the Indy 16. Mahomes threw incomplete twice. Amendola came in for a 34 yard field goal try to extend the lead  with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation. His kick was no good. The Colts soon faced 4th and 1 from their own 33 with 6 1/2 minutes left. Reich gambled again knowing that failing to convert would pretty much end things. Ryan gained 2 key yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Indy 39, Ryan was sacked for an 8 yard loss. 

Yet an absolutely mindless unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the defense turned what should have been 4th and 14 into a 1st and 10 with 5 minutes left. With 1:55 left and the Colts facing 2nd and 20 from the Chiefs 39 after offensive holding, Taylor gained 13 and Ryan hit Pierce for 14.  The Colts wrapped up the staggering 16 play, 76 yard, 8 minute drive with a 12 yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Jelani Woods. Down by 3, the Chiefs took over at their own 30 with 18 seconds left. Ryan hit Marques Valdez-Scantling for 24. With 8 seconds left, the Chiefs were at the Indy 46. They still had 2 timeouts. One more completion would mean a long field goal try for overtime. Yet Mahomes was intercepted by McLeod. In an absolute shocker, the Chiefs were knocked from the unbeaten ranks. Cue ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman: “THAT’S why they PLAY the GAMES!” 20-17 Colts

   

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins — For the first time in 30 years back when Jim Kelly and Dan Marino were lighting it up, these teams faced off both unbeaten. The Bills were for real. Despite overcoming a 35-14 deficit to win last week, The Dolphins were still a question mark. This one saw both teams lay the lumber in the scorching Miami heat as temperatures on the field topped 100 degrees. After an opening touchback, the Bills went right to work. On the first play from scrimmage, Josh Allen went deep to Stefan Diggs for a 28 yard gain. Allen then went  to Singletary for 19 and to Gilliam for 14 and 8. On 3rd and goal at the one, Allen was rocked for a one yard loss. Sean Mcdermott went for it. On 4th and goal at the 2, Allen hit Singletary for the touchdown as the 10 play, 75 yard, 6 minute drive had the Bills up 7-0. The Bills got it back and soon faced 3rd and 8 from their own 14. Allen got sacked and fumbled. Melvin Ingram recovered for the defense at the Buffalo 6. On 3rd and goal from the one, Chase Edmonds got in to tie the game 7-7. 

The Bills after a touchback mounted another long drive. Allen hit McKenzie for 7, Dawson knox for 8, and Singletary for 8 more. The second quarter began with the Bills facing 4th and 2 at the Miami 30. Sean McDermott again went for it and Allen gained 3. A sack of Allen meant 2nd and 19 at the Miami 36. Allen went to McKenzie for 27. On 3rd and goal at the 8, Allen hit McKenzie for the touchdown. The 14 play, 75 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive had the Bills up 14-7. From their own 17, the Dolphins again responded. Tua Tagovailoa hit Tyreek Hill for 11, Smythe for 13, Jalen Waddle for 17, Mike Gesicki for 6, and Cracraft for an 11 yard touchdown and a 14-14 halftime tie. 

In the third quarter, the Bills were pinned by a great punt at their own 2 yard line. They then mounted the drive of the year. 20…yes, 20…plays. 87 yards. 9 1/2 minutes. Yet despite grinding the ball all the way down to a 1st and goal at the 6, a false start was followed by 3 straight Allen incompletions. Tyler Bass hit a 30 yard field goal. The only points of the third quarter had the Bills up 17-14. Yet the fourth quarter began with Bass missing a 38 yard field goal that would have extended the lead. The Dolphins got it back at their own 28. Tagovailoa went deep to Waddle for 32 yards. A sack of Tagovailoa had the Dolphins facing 3rd and 22 from their own 48 with 11 1/2 minutes left. Buffalo’s stingy defense had a key breakdown at the worst time. Tagovailoa went bombs away to Waddle for a 45 yard gain. On 2nd and goal at the 5, Tagovailoa threw incomplete but a questionable late hit penalty meant 1st and goal at the 3. It was not that hard of a shove. Edmonds ran it in on the next play to put the Dolphins up 21-17 with 10 minutes left.

The Bills then mounted another insanely long drive. 17 plays. 73 yards. Nearly 8 1/2 minutes. At the 2 minute warning, the Bills had 2nd and goal at the one. Out of the shotgun, Allen lost a yard. Then he threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the 2, Allen threw incomplete again. Yet the Bills still had 2 timeouts. With 1:40 left, the Dolphins had 3rd and 11 from their own one. With the Bills out of timeouts, the entire football world knows that you run the ball every single time in that situation to take the clock down to one minute. Again, you run the ball every…single…time. Instead, Tagovailoa threw incomplete and the clock stopped. Then came the weirdness knows as the “butt-punt. From the back of his own end zone, Morestead tried to punt. Yet a ferocious rush by the Bills resulted in Morstead kicking the ball straight into the rear end of his own offensive lineman. The ball went backward for a safety. 

Now the Bills were only down by 2 points and would get the ball back. This time without a rush in his face, Morestead punted a rocket ball 74 yards. Crowder returned it 17 yards to the Buffalo 23. The Bills had 1:25 to work with and needed only a field goal to win it. With 27 seconds left, the Bills had 1st and 10 at the Miami 43. Only a few more yards were needed for long field goal range. After an incompletion, offensive holding was a killer. Now 18 seconds remained and the Bills were at their own 47 facing 2nd and 20. Rather than work the sideline, Allen went to McKenzie for 12. Yet McKenzie did not get out of bounds. A field goal try would have been from 59 yards, but the Bills never got a chance. The clock hit zeroes as Allen flung his helmet in disgust. In a slugfest, it was the Dolphins with the 3-0 record. Unlike the “butt-fumble” that came in a 42-0 loss, the butt-punt will soon be forgotten thanks to the brutally tough victory. 21-19 Dolphins

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings — Last week the Lions finally looked like they were turning the corner while the Vikings realized they were not as good as their opening week win. The game started ugly as Austin Seibert missed a 48 yard field goal for the Lions and Greg Joseph from 56 for the Vikings was also no good. The latter miss gave the Lions excellent field position at their own 46. Jared Goff went to Jamaal Williams for 17. On 4th and 5 at the Minnesota 32 after an incompletion, Dan Campbell turned into a wild man gambler throughout the day. He passed up a very makable 50 yard field goal try and went for it. Goff went to St. Brown for 30. Williams got the lsat 2 yards for a 7-0 Lions lead. The Lions got it back at their own 30 and Williams ran for 4 and 12. On 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 45, it was time for another Campbell gamble. Williams gained 5. On 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 31, yet another Campbell gamble came about. Goff hit Reynolds for 17, St. Brown for 9, and TJ Hockensen for the 5 yard touchdown to give the Lions the surprising 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Vikings took over at their own 20 and finally got going . Kirk Cousins hit Ham for 12. Alexander Mattison ran for 6 and 9. On 3rd and 2 from the Detroit 37, Cousins hit Smith for 17. Dalvin Cook ran for 13. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Cousins threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. Cousins hit Adam Thielen for the touchdown to get the Vikings within 14-7. The Lions moved from their own 14 to a 4th and 1 just shy of midfield. This time a Campbell gamble saw Goff throw incomplete to give the Vikings a short field. On 4th and 6 from the Detroit 45, this time it was Kevin O’Connell taking the risk. Cousins hit Thielen for just enough and then again for 14. On 3rd and 4 from the Detroit 19, Cousins hit Thielen yet again for 15. Cook ran for the touchdown as the teams went to the half knotted up 14-14.

The Lions took over at their own 32 and held the ball for 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 2 from the Minnesota 46, another Campbell gamble had Goff hitting Reynolds for 16. On 3rd and 2 from the Minnesota 22, Goff threw incomplete. With the game tied, this time Dan Campbell kept things sane. Seibert hit the 40 yard field goal to put the Lions up 17-14. The Vikings failed to tie the game when Joseph was again  no good from 56. The Lions soon faced 3rd and 3 at the Minnesota 47. Goff hit St. Brown for 8 and Reynolds for 26. Williams ran for a 13 yard touchdown as the Lions again had the surprising lead on the road 24-14 after three quarters. The Vikings then fumbled the ball and the Lions recovered at their own 42. Yet a chance to ice the game was delayed when Goff threw incomplete twice and on 3rd and 10 gained only 3 as the third quarter ended. 

With 10 1/2 minutes left, the Vikings took over at their own 43. Cousins hit Mundt for 11 and Thielen for 10. A pair of defensive holding penalties added 10 more yards. Cousins hit Mundt for 12. Mattison ran for the 6 yard touchdown to get the Vikings within 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter. The Lions moved from their own 22 to a 4th and 1 at the Minnesota 30. A field goal would not put the game away, so it was time for another Dan Campbell gamble with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Williams got stopped cold. Yet on 4th and 8 from his own 47 with 2 1/2 minutes left, Cousins threw incomplete. The Lions tried to run down the clock but the Vikings took their timeouts on defense. 

With 1:14 left, the Lions faced 4th and 4 at the Minnesota 36. This time there were only tough options. A field goal would still not put the game away, but Dan Campbell was done gambling for the day. Yet playing it safe backfired when sievert from 54 missed again. Then the Detroit defense melted down. From his own 44, Cousins went to Osborn for 28 and then back to Osborne for the other 28 and the touchdown. With 45 seconds left, the Vikings had the 4 point lead. After a touchback, Goff quickly hit Reynolds for 25 to midfield and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 23 seconds left. Goff went deep incomplete and on 3rd and 10 his desperation Hail Mary was intercepted. The Lions were game, but they could not finish the job. 28-24 Vikings

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots — The Ravens blew a 21 point lead last week in a stunning home loss. Yet of all the coaches that has been able to consistently beat Bill Belichick, John Harbaugh is at the top of the list. The Ravens in the first quarter faced 3rd and 5 at their own 36. Lamar Jackson scrambled for 8 yards. Jackson hit Mark Andrews for 17, 11 and 6 and Ricard for 12. On 3rd and 1 from the New England 5, Jackson hit Andrews for the touchdown to cap the 11 play, 69 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive and make it 7-0 Ravens. The Patriots moved from their own 22 to a 2nd and 6 at the Baltimore 16. Offensive holding killed the drive. Nick Folk hit a 35 yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to get the Patriots within 7-3. 

A field position game hd the Patriots moving from their own 41 to a 4th and 3 at the Baltimore 33. Bill Belichick decided to go for it rather than try a 51 yard field goal. Mac Jones hit Kendrick Bourne for no gain. Yet Jackson was soon intercepted, and Jones returned the pick 15 yards to the Baltimore 32. Raimondre Stevenson ran for 6, 16 and 2. Jones ran for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Patriots. The Ravens soon faced 2nd and 14 at their own 21. Jackson ran for 17. Jackson hit JK Dobbins for 11. Hill ran for 11 more. Jackson added 11 more. Jackson hit Andrews for a 16 yard touchdown. With only 30 seconds left in the half, the Ravens were back up 14-10.

After a touchback, 30 seconds was enough time. Jones hit Stevenson for 11 and Bourne for 22 and 10. Folk nailed a 50 yard field goal to get the Patriots within 14-13. The Patriots in the third quarter after a touchback saw Jones go deep to Parker for a 36 yard gain and again for 25 more. Damien Harris ran for the 2 yard touchdown to have the Patriots up 20-14. The Ravens soon faced 3rd and 5 at their own 30. Jackson hit Devin Duvernay for 21. Hill ran for 9 and then broke free for a 34 yard gain. Jackson hit Josh Oliver for a one yard touchdown as the Ravens retook the lead 21-20.

The Ravens got a jolt of momentum when Duvernay returned a punt 43 yards to the New England 44. Jackson then rumbled for a 38 yard gain. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Jackson hit Duvernay for the touchdown as the Ravens led 28-20. Two plays after a touchback, Jones was intercepted by Bynes to give the Ravens a short field at the New England 43. Justin Tucker blasted a 56 yard field goal as 17 unanswered points had the Ravens up 31-20 after three quarters. 

After a touchback, Jones went to Stevenson for 7 and Parker for 24 more. On 4th and 1 from the Baltimore 17 only 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Patriots needed 2 scores. Kicking the field goal would make it a one score game, but the New England defense had failed to stop Jackson. Bill Belichick went for it and Jones hit Smith for 8 and the 8 more. Stevenson got the last yard and then caught the 2 point conversion pass from Jones. Yet on further review, Stevenson was ruled down by contact as the 2 point try failed. The Patriots were within 31-26 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. On the first play after a touchback, Jackson hit Bateman for 24 yards but Bateman fumbled and Jabril Peppers returned it 12 yards. The Patriots had golden field position at the Baltimore 39 with a chance to take the lead. 

The Patriots moved to a 1st and goal at the 10. A swing pass lost 4 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 10 with 9 minutes left, Jones went to the end zone for the lead and was intercepted by Marlon Humphrey for a touchback. The Patriots got it back and faced 3rd and 6 from their own 33 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the game. Jones went deep to Nelson Agholor for 28 yards but Agholor fumbled and the Ravens recovered at their own 27. Jackson went to Bateman for a 35 yard gain. Jackson then ran for 20. On 3rd and 1 from the New England 9, Jackson ran it in to put the game out of reach with 3 minutes left. Jones threw one more interception. Jackson threw for 4 touchdown passes and was also the leading rusher with 107 yards and a 5th touchdown. 37-26 Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets — Last week the Jets trailed by 13 with 1:55 left and somehow won on the road with Joe Flacco. The defending AFC Champion Bengals were a surprising 0-2. This game brought a return to sanity. After a touchback, Joe Burrow hit Tyler Boyd for 13. On 3rd and 9 from his own 39, Burrow went to Tee Higgins for gains of 19 and 14. On 3rd and 8 from the Jets 26, Burrow went to Boyd for 22. A touchdown pass was nullified by offensive holding, leading to 3rd and goal at the 12. Burrow went to Perine for the touchdown. The Bengals led 7-0. 

The Jets managed to get first quarter field goals of 50 and 40 from Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein, but trading field goals for touchdowns was not going to get the job done. The second field goal was set up by a fumble and a short field. The Bengals soon faced 3rd and 9 at their own 26. Burrow threw incomplete but defensive unnecessary roughness gave the Bengals 15 yards. On the last play of the first quarter with the Bengals facing 3rd and 7 at their own 44, Burrow connected with Boyd for a 56 yard touchdown and a 14-6 Bengals lead.

The Bengals expanded the lead with Evan McPherson hitting field goals of 22 and 43, with the latter kick set up by an interception of Flacco. Zuerlein hit his third field goal from 52 to end the half but the Jets still trailed 20-9. The Jets began the third quarter by fumbling to set up the Bengals at the Jets 24. Burrow went to Boyd for 14. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Burrow hit JaMarr Chase for the touchdown to make it 27-9 Bengals. The Jets managed a fourth field goal late in the third quarter, but nothing else. The fourth quarter saw the Jets offer up a fumble and an interception and the Bengals miss a field goal that did not affect the game. 27-12 Bengals 

Las Vegas Raiders at Tennessee Titans — Both of these playoff teams from last year started 0-2. The Titans were blasted by 34 points last week while the Raiders had an epic collapse in blowing a 20 point lead. After a touchback, the Titans moved with ease. Ryan Tannehill hit derrick Henry for 23. On 3rd and 10 from his own 45, Tannehill hit Austin Hooper for 11. Henry ran for 9 and 10 and Burks added 8. On 2nd and 12 from the Raider 27, Tannehill hit Robert Woods for 16. On 3rd and 1 from the Raiders 2, Tannehill hit geoff Swaim for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Titans.

After a touchback, the Raiders caught a break with a 36 yard defensive pass interference penalty. On 3rd and 15 from the Tennessee 41, Derek Carr hit Mack hollins for 20. Josh Jacobs gained 10. Yet the same issues that have plagued the Raiders for years remain. On 3rd and 2 from the Tennessee 3, Carr threw incomplete. Daniel Carlson hit the 21 yard field goal to get the Raiders within 7-3.

After a touchback, Henry ran for 2, caught a pass for 13, and ran for 5 more. Tannehill then went deep to Woods for 41 yards. Tannehill went to Burks for 13 down to the one. Henry got in himself to make it 14-3 Titans. After a touchback, Carr went to Foster Moreau for gains of 22 and 14. Carr hit Jacobs for 6 and Davante Adams for 18. Jacobs ran for 11. Carr hit Adams for a 5 yard touchdown to get the Raiders back within 14-10.

The Titans soon faced 3rd and 3 from their own 28. Tannehill went to Westbrook-Ikhine for 10. Henry ran for 10. Tannehill found Woods for 21. Henry ran for 6 and then 24 down to the one. Tannehill got in himself. 3 drives meant 3 touchdowns and a 21-10 Titans lead. With one minute left in the half and the Raiders back at their own 13, Josh McDaniels showed why he is a terrible play-caller. His stubborn refusal to run the ball in obvious running situations in favor of his West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes is why the raiders keep losing. An incompletion stopped the clock. A sack on 3rd and 4 allowed the Titans to get the ball back just past midfield with 21 seconds left. Tannehill hit Westbrook-Ikhine for 15. Bullock hit a 48 yard field goal to end the half with the Titans up 24-10. 

The Raiders defense pitched a shutout in the second half. The question would be if their inept offense led by boy genius Josh McDaniels would get out of his own way and let the players win. The Raiders after a second half touchback embarked on a 14 play, 61 yard, 8 minute drive. Yet again, the red zone was a nightmare. On 2nd and 7 from the Tennessee 12, McDaniels called one of his West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes for 3 yards. Throwing past the first down marker is lost on this guy. On 3rd and 4 from the 9, a false start was followed by an incompletion. Carlson hit from 32 but the Raiders still trailed 24-13. 

Tannehill was then intercepted to give the raiders golden field position at the Tennessee 31. They were already in field goal range. Even 3 straight runs into the line would not harm them. Instead, boy genius McDaniels kept passing. Offensive holding was followed by short passes. On 3rd and 13 they were still in field goal range. Then came a delay of game. Then on 3rd and 18 came a West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass that somehow lost 2 yards. This is Josh McDaniels. This is the West Coast Offense. This is the Raiders pushing themselves out of field goal range.

The Titans moved from their own 2 yard line to a 3rd and 1 at the Raiders 41. Yet the defense ,are a big stop and blasted Henry for a 3 yard loss. Mike Vrabel went for it on 4th and 4 and Tannehill threw incomplete. The Raiders moved all the way to a 3rd and 3 at the Tennessee 6 yard line. With 9 1/2 minutes left, the Raiders had 2 chances to gain 3 yards. They have a bell cow in Jacobs. Yet McDaniels instead called for a low percentage rifle pass over the middle where only bad things happen. Darren Waller should have caught the ball for the touchdown. Yet it bounced off of his hands and was intercepted by Byard, who returned it 24 yards to the Titans 20. Again, the hapless Raiders offense came up empty.

The Raiders got it back at their own 20 with 6 minutes left and moved to a 3rd and 3 at the Tennessee 17. As expected, the red zone meant failure. Carr threw incomplete. Carlson hit the 35 yard field goal to get the Raiders within 24-16 with 3 1/2 minutes left. The silver and black defense forced a 3 and out as only 30 seconds came off the clock. The Raiders from their own 19 had a full 3 minutes to work with. Carr hit Jacobs for 13. With 2:13 left, the Raiders were down to 4th and 15 from their own 27. This was their last gasp. 

Carr went bombs away to Mack Hollins for a 48 yard gain. With 1:37 left, it was again desperation time. On 4th and 10 from the Tennessee 14, Carr threw incomplete. Yet defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 9. With 1:14 left it was again do or die. On 4th and goal at the 9, Carr threw a jump ball fade and Hollins out-muscled the defender. The Raiders last week could not close out an opponent. This week they refused to die as Tennessee could not close them out. Yet there was one difference. Last week the Raiders gave up the 2 point conversion that forced overtime. This week the Tennessee defense did not. Carr threw over the middle into traffic, where bad things happen. This time the result was an incompletion. The onside kick failed. The Raiders are the only 0-3 team in the NFL. Josh McDaniels is the Joe Biden of the NFL, a lifelong assistant not suited to be the boss. 24-22 Titans

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Commanders — Carson Wentz was hoping to get revenge against the team that drafted him and cast him away. The Eagles had never beaten the Commanders, who have only existed for 2 weeks. Despite a scoreless first quarter, this game was over by halftime. Jake Elliott hit a 32 yard field goal for the Eagles to start the second quarter. 2 plays later the Commanders fumbled and the Eagles took over at the Washington 24.  On 2nd and 9, Jalen Hurts went to Dallas Goedert for a 23 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Eagles. 

The Eagles got it back at their own 36 and defensive pass interference added 17 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Washington 42, Hurts hit Smith for 31 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Washington 9, Hurts went to AJ Brown for the touchdown to make it 17-0 Eagles with 3 minutes left in the half. The Eagles got it back at the 2 minute warning and faced 3rd and 2 at their own 20. Hurts hit Zach Pascal for 4. Hurts went to Brown for 15, Smith for 16, and Smith again for a 44 yard touchdown to make it 24-0 Eagles. Last week the Eagles led 24-7 at the half and their offense took the entire second half off, allowing the defense to pick a shutout. This week the Eagles offense took the second half off again, and the defense did give up a fourth quarter touchdown. Yet they are 3-0 and winning with efficient offense and tough defense. 24-8 Eagles 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers — Doug Pederson was expected to revive Trevor Lawrence and turn the Jaguars around, but it would take time. The Chargers were considered an elite team. Justin Herbert was ill but played. The blowout did materialize, but not as expected. The first quarter was scoreless. The Jaguars eventually took over at their own 33 and Lawrence got going. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Chargers 11, a run gained one yard followed by an incompletion. On 3rd and 9 from the Chargers 10, Lawrence hit Jones for only 6. Pederson opted for the field goal and Riley Patterson hit from 22 on the first play of the second quarter to make it 3-0 Jaguars. Herbert was immediately intercepted, giving the Jaguars 1st and goal at the 5. Yet a run went nowhere and Lawrence threw incomplete twice. Patterson hit from 23. The Jaguars led 6-0.

The Chargers were lucky to still be in the game, but their luck then ran out. They fumbled on their next series and the Jaguars had another short field at the Chargers 28. On 3rd and 8, Lawrence hit Evan Engram for 9 and Bay Jones for the 14 yard touchdown to make it 13-0 Jaguars. The Chargers responded with a 75 yard drive. Herbert hit Mike Williams for a 15 yard touchdown. The chargers were within 13-7, but the Jaguars kept coming. After a touchback, the Jaguars moved 70 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. Patterson hit his third field goal from 23 to make it 16-7 Jaguars. In the third quarter the Chargers moved 68 yards in 10 plays. Yet despite 1st and goal at the 7, Herbert threw 3 straight incompletions. Dustin Hopkins hit from 25 to get the Chargers within 16-10 only 3 minutes into the second half. 

After that, the Jaguars turned out the lights. After a touchback, Lawrence hit Jones for 16 and Kirk for 9. After Lawrence threw incomplete on 3rd and 1 from midfield, Doug Pederson gambled. On 4th and 1, James Robinson ran for the 50 yard touchdown to make it 23-10 Jaguars. The Jaguars got it back at their own 40 and mounted a 14 play, 60 yard drive that gobbled up 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Again, Pederson trusted his players. On 2nd and 1 from the Chargers 6, a pair of runs went nowhere. Yet on 4th and 1, Pederson went for it and Lawrence gained 2 up the gut on the quarterback sneak. Lawrence hit Kirk for a 4 yard touchdown and Engram for a 2 point conversion to make it 31-10 Jaguars. In the fourth quarter the Jaguars grinded the Chargers into dust with a 14 play, 68 yard, 9 minute drive. On 3rd and goal at the 11, Lawrence hit Jones for one more touchdown. The Jaguars are 2-1. Pederson needed only 3 games to turn them around. 38-10 Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals — Last week the Cardinals overcame a 20 point second half deficit to win a road shocker while the Rams barely avoided blowing a 25 point lead. The Rams blasted the Cardinals in the playoffs last year and picked up where they left off. A blocked punt set up the Rams at the Arizona 35. Despite 1st and goal at the 4, Matthew Stafford completed a pass for no gain and threw a pair of incompletions. Matt Gay hit a 22 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Rams. A 22 yard punt gave the Rams the ball back at their own 42. From midfield, Stafford hit Tyler Higbee for 19. Cooper Kupp ran for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 10-0 Rams. The Rams got it back at their own 20 and Stafford hit Blanton for 28 and Skowronek for 26. Gay hit a 40 yard second quarter field goal to make it 13-0 Rams.

The Cardinals tried to make a game of it from their own 30. A mind-numbing 19 play, 65 yard drive ate 9 1/2 minutes off the clock. Yet despite 1st and goal at the 3, a run was blown up for a 2 yard loss and Kyler murray threw incomplete twice. Matt Prater hit a 23 yard field goal. Prater would also connect from 43 to end the half. In the third quarter the Cardinals from their own 11 had another lengthy 16 play, 58 yard, 8 minute drive. A crazed Kliff Kingsbury even went for it on 4th and 1 from his own 20 and James Conner gained 5. Yet the drive died at the Rams 30. Prater hit his third field goal from 49 to get the Cardinals within 13-9.

Yet the Cardinals inability to crack the end zone was their undoing. The Rams soon faced 3rd and 11 from their own 24. Stafford hit Kupp for just enough and Higgins for 26 more. Cam Akers then gashed the defense for gains of 5, 14, 6, and the 14 yard touchdown to make it 20-9 Rams after three quarters. The Cardinals after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 4 at the Rams 26. After Murray threw incomplete, Kliff Kingsbury had to go for it with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Murray threw incomplete again. The Rams moved from their own 26 to a 2nd and goal at the one. Yet with 6:46 to play, the Rams again could not seal the win. Akers fumbled the ball away. Again, the Cardinals moved at a snails pace, needing 17 plays to go 84 yards in 5 1/2 minutes. With one minute left and needing 2 scores, Kingsbury on 4th and 4 at the Rams 13 opted for the field goal. Prater hit his fourth one from 31 but the onside kick failed. 20-12 Rams   

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks — A pair of below average teams came together and played a pretty good football game. The Seahawks after a touchback moved 61 yards in 11 plays. Yet despite 2nd and 3 at the Atlanta 14, Rashad Penny got stopped for no gain and Geno Smith threw incomplete on 3rd and 3. Jason Myers hit the 32 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Seahawks. The Falcons soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31. Marcus Mariota hit Kenny Pitts for 14, Anthony Firkser for 22, and Pitts again for 21. Mariota got the last yard himself to make it 7-3 Falcons.

The Seahawks took over at their own 26. Smith hit DK Metcalf for 14. On 3rd and 1 just shy of midfield, Smith went deep to Parkinson for 36 and then to Will Dissly for an 18 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Seahawks. After a touchback, the Falcons moved to a 2nd and 6 at the seattle 7. Yet offensive holding and a sack killed the drive. Younghoe Koo hit a 41 yard field goal to end a very exciting first quarter with the teams deadlocked 10-10.

In the second quarter the Falcons got it back at their own 11. Mariota went deep to London for 30. A sack had the Falcons facing 3rd and 19 at their own 33. Mariota went deep to Zaccheaus for 26. On 3rd and 5 from the Seattle 36, Mariota hit Pitts for 19. Cordarelle Patterson ran for a 17 yard touchdown to make it 17-10 Falcons. The Seahawks soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Smith hit Tyler Lockett for just enough and Noah Want for 16 more. On 3rd and 2 from the Atlanta 41, a run went nowhere. Pete Carroll decided to go for it rather than try a 59 yard field goal. Smith went deep to Goodwin for 23 and then to Metcalf for an 18 yard touchdown and a 17-17 tie.

The Seahawks took over at their own 20 with 3 minutes left in the half and moved 67 yards in 13 plays. With 22 seconds left the Seahawks had 2nd and 3 at the Atlanta 13 and all of their timeouts. Smith threw incomplete twice. Myers hit from 31 as the third lead change of the game had the Seahawks up 20-17. In the third quarter after a touchback, the Falcons moved to a 2nd and 6 at the Seattle 24. Then came an incompletion, a false start, and a sack. Koo bailed the Falcons out with a 54 yard field goal for the third tie of the game at 20-20.

The Seahawks after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 2 at the Atlanta 7. Smith threw incomplete. Pete Carroll played it safe and Myers hit from 25 to make it 23-20 Seahawks. After a touchback, Paterson raced for a 40 yard gain and then ripped off 18 more. On 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 14, Mariota hit London for the touchdown. The fourth lead change of the game had the Falcons up 27-23 after three exciting quarters. Yet the fourth quarter was quiet. The Falcons took 5 1/2 minutes off the clock and moved from their own 10 to a 2nd and 7 at the Seattle 34. Yet Mariota was hit and fumbled. The Seahawks took over at their own 37 with 5 minutes left and a chance to win it. At the 2 minutes warning, the Seahawks faced 3rd and 8 at the Atlanta 28. Smith was sacked. On 4th and 18, Smith went deep and was intercepted. The goal line was the difference. The Falcons scored touchdowns and the Seahawks kicked field goals. 27-23 Falcons

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Tom Brady always sees to beat Aaron Rodgers, with 2 of those wins in Green Bay including the NFC Title Game. The Buccaneers took over after a touchback and held the ball for 6 minutes and 10 plays. On 2nd and 4 from the Green Bay 20, a run lost a yard and Brady was sacked don 3rd and 5. Ryan Succop hit a 45 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Buccaneers. The Bucs offense then took the remaining 21 minutes of the half off. After a touchback, Aaron Jones ran for 3 and 10 and caught a pass from Rodgers for 8. Rodgers then went to Romeo Doubs for 21. On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa 29, Rodgers went to Randall Cobb for 17. On 3rd and 3 from the Tampa 5, Rodgers went to Doubs for the touchdown and the 7-3 Packers lead.

The Packers got it back and began the second quarter facing 3rd and 8 at their own 31. Rodgers hit Robert Tonyan for 9 and Doubs for 9 more. On 3rd and 7 from the Tampa 45, Rodgers hit Lazard for just enough. On 3rd and 1 from the Tampa 29, Rodgers hit Davis for 23 and Lazard for the 6 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Packers. The Packers got it back at their own 38 and moved to a 3rd and goal at the 5 just before the 2 minute warning. Rodgers hit Jones for 3, but in trying to cross the goal line Jones was belted by 2 defenders and fumbled. The Buccaneers recovered for a touchback. Rather than lead 21-3, the Packers offense took the entire second half off. Asking the defense to preserve a win over Brady with only 14 points was not a great strategy.

The Buccaneers in the final 2 minutes of the half moved form their 25 to a 2nd and 10 at the Green Bay 40 with 51 seconds left. Brady hit Perriman for 14 but Perriman fumbled the ball away. In the third quarter the Buccaneers fumbled the ball away again. The Packers faced 3rd and 5 at their own 40. Rodgers was intercepted to give the Buccaneers a short field at the Green Bay 47. On 3rd and 9 from the Green Bay 27, Brady went deep incomplete. Succop hit from 45 as the Buccaneers were within 14-6. The final 21 minutes were about defense. With 3 minutes left in regulation, the Buccaneers began their last drive at their own 11. With 14 seconds left, the Buccaneers had 3rd and goal at the one. Brady went to Russell Gage for the touchdown. Everything came down to the 2 point conversion to force overtime. A killer delay of game penalty moved the try from the 2 to the 7. Brady fired incomplete. Yes, Brady threw his helmet again. Meanwhile, Rodgers finally beat Brady again. These are 2 first ballot hall of famers, but this game was about two spectacular defenses. 14-12 Packers 

    

San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos was the Sunday night game.

Jimmy Garoppolo and Russell Wilson have benefited from some nasty defenses over the years, and this night was no exception. The 49ers took over in the first quarter at their own 25. Garoppolo went to Brandon Aiyuk for 20. Wilson ran for 37. Garoppolo went back to Aiyuk for a 3 yard touchdown. the 49ers led 7-0, but would not reach the end zone again. Brandon McManus nailed a 55 yard second quarter field goal to get the Broncos within 7-3. In the third quarter from his own 2 yard line, Garoppolo was sacked in the end zone for a safety as the Broncos got within 7-5. The Broncos failed to take the lead after the free kick when McManus missed from 53. 

A brutal field position game had the 49ers taking over at the Denver 41 to start the fourth quarter. On 4th and 2 and points at a premium, Kyle Shanahan opted for the field goal. Robbie Gould delivered from 51 as the 49ers led 10-5. The Broncos faced 3rd and 1 at their own 29 with 9 minutes left. Melvin Gordon gained 4. On 3rd and 10 from his own 33, Wilson hit Hinton for 27. On 3rd and 5 from the Frisco 24, Wilson hit Sutton for 19. Gordon ran it in from the one to put the Broncos up by one point with 4 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, the 49ers faced 1st and 10 at their own 48. Garoppolo was intercepted just before the 2 minute warning. The 49ers took their 3 timeouts on defense and the 49ers got the ball back at their own 15 with 1:42 left needing only a field goal to win. Garoppolo was sacked. On 2nd and 22 from their own 3, Garoppolo hit Wilson for 16 but he fumbled the ball away to end this ugly game. 11-10 Broncos

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants was the Monday night game. Nobody expected the Giants to be 2-0. The Cowboys again started Cooper Rush in place of the injured Dak Prescott. The first 39 minutes were a hideous slugfest. Graham Gano missed a 47 yard field goal try for the Giants. Bret Maher hit from 26 for the Cowboys. In the second quarter Gano hit from 42 to tie the game. Maher hit from 28 for a 6-3 Cowboys lead. Maher missed from 59 to end the half. In the third quarter  Gano hit from 51 for a 6-6 game.

The Giants took over at their own 23 midway through the third quarter. Daniel Jones ran for 14 and hit Sills for 14 more. Saquon Barkley ran for a 36 yard touchdown. After nearly 40 minutes, the first trip to the end zone by either team had the Giants up 13-6. After a touchback, Rush went to CeeDee Lamb for 17. On 3rd and 1 just past midfield, Ezekiel Elliott gained 2. Rush hit Hendershot for 29 and Brown for 6. On 3rd and goal at the one, Elliott got in for a 13-13 tie after three quarters.

The Cowboys got the ball back at their own 11 to start the fourth quarter. On 3rd and 1, the defense jumped. Tony Pollard ran for 10 and Rush hit Lamb for 17. On 4th and 4 from the Giants 41, Mike McCarthy decided to go for it knowing a failed conversion would give the Giants gift field position. Rush hit Lamb for just enough. Rush hit Hendershot for 10, Lamb for 26 down to the one, and Lamb again for the touchdown. with 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Cowboys led 20-13. 

The Giants offense went nowhere and a 28 yard punt return gave the Cowboys a short field at the Giants 35. On 3rd and 1, Rush threw incomplete. Up by 7, Mike McCarthy was not in a gambling mood. Maher hit from 44 as 17 unanswered points gave the Cowboys a cushion up 23-13 with 6 minutes left. The Giants after a touchback moved to a 1st and 10 at the Dallas 22 with 4 minutes left. A pair of Jones incompletions and an intentional grounding call meant 4th and 21. Gano delivered from 51 to get the Giants back within 7 with 3 1/2 minutes left. The Giants held on defense and got the ball back at their own 9 yard line with 1:45 left. On 2nd and 15 from their own 16 with 1:17 left, Jones was intercepted. 23-16 Cowboys 

eric

NFL 2022 Week 3 Prequel

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 3 Prequel

Point spread provided by the Sporting News and all time Eastern.

Thursday, September 22, 2022, 8pm

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-4.5) — These rivals both lost at home last week, but for the Browns it was an epic meltdown. They led by 13 with 1:55 left and lost. They lost to the Jets. It is hard to trust Mitchell Trubisky, but Jacoby Brissett is no superstar either. This could be a close game, but the Steelers are the more resilient team. Upset special, Steelers win outright

Sunday, September 25, 1pm

New Orleans Saints (-3) at Carolina Panthers — These rivals both lost last week but at least the Saints gave Tampa Bay a brutal fight. The Panthers also lost a heartbreaker but they show no signs of life. The Saints have a very good defense.They flustered Tom Brady. They can handle Baker Mayfield. Saints cover

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (-3) — Both of these teams are bad, especially on offense. Nobody knows who is coaching them. Justin Fields has more potential than Davis Mills. Throw in the home field, and the decision is reasonable. Bears cover 

Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Indianapolis Colts — The Chiefs are every bit as good as they have been the last few years. The Colts are bad. They are head-scratchingly bad. Frank Reich has not forgotten how to coach. Yet the team that once vowed to suck for Luck has sucked ever since Andrew Luck retired. They switch out quarterbacks with no difference. The Chiefs have too many weapons, and Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will utilize them all. Chiefs cover

Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Miami Dolphins — The Dolphins overcame a 35-14 second half deficit on the road to shock Baltimore. Tua Tagovailoa threw 6 touchdown passes, 4 of them in the fourth quarter. While the Dolphins may be improved, The Bills are in serious Super Bowl Mode. Josh Allen is playing lights out, and Sean McDermott’s defense is for real. The Bills beat the defending champions by 31 and last year’s AFC top seed by 34. Bills cover                    

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-6) — Both teams won their opening home game and lost their opening road game. As bad as the Vikings looked last week on the road, Detroit tends to play badly on the road as well. It is too soon to see if Jared Goff has been revived. Trust Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson at home. Vikings cover 

Baltimore Ravens (-3) at New England Patriots — The Ravens blew a 21 point second half lead in a shocking home loss. The Patriots went on the road and won a slugfest at Pittsburgh. Yet Lamar Jackson is still a human highlight reel and Mac Jones is efficient but unspectacular. John Harbaugh is one of the few coaches who consistently beats Bill Belichick. The Patriots do not have the personnel to stop Jackson. Ravens cover 

Cincinnati Bengals (-5) at New York Jets — The defending AFC Champion Bengals are 0-2. Even more surprising, the Jets are not. They were down by 13 last week on the road with 1:55 to play and somehow won. This is the week that sanity returns. Joe Flacco is not going to return to his Super Bowl form from a decade ago. Joe Burrow will get his swagger back from last year. The spread is too high for a winless team going on the road. Bengals win but fail to cover

Las Vegas Raiders (-2) at Tennessee Titans — Both of these playoff teams from last year are a stunning 0-2. The Titans lost a home stunner and then got blasted by 34 points on the road. The Raiders lost a road heartbreaker and then melted down by blowing a 20 point lead at home. Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs both have a bruising running style. The Titans have the better defense. The Raiders have better weapons on offense, but Josh McDaniels has not shown any ability to utilize them. Mike Vrabel plays smash mouth. McDaniels prefers West Coast Offense dinking and dunking, which intimidates nobody. As bad as the Titans played last week, they are at home against a team on the ropes. Upset special, Titans win outright

Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) at Washington Commanders — The Eagles are unbeaten while the Commanders lost their first game in franchise history one week after winning their first game in franchise history. Jalen Hurts and Carson Wentz have both been unfairly maligned, The spread is too high for a road team a\playing a division rival that is well-coached.Upset special, Commanders win outright

4pm

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-7) — Doug Pederson will turn the Jaguars around. He will revitalize Trevor Lawrence. Yet it will take another year. The Chargers took Kansas City to the limit before falling. Justin Herbert spreads the ball around in pinball fashion. At home, the Chargers could put this game away by halftime. Chargers cover

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals — The Rams nearly blew a 25 point second half lead. The Cardinals had their greatest comeback win in franchise history by overcoming a 20 point deficit at the half. Yet the Rams still have Aaron Donald wreaking havoc. Kyler murray is talented, but the Rams have more depth Sean McVay is a better offensive mind than Kliff Kingsbury. The Rams have their best array of offensive weapons since their Greatest Show on Turf days. 

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-2) — Neither of these teams are good, but the Seahawks have the home field and the ageless Pete Carroll. At home, Geno Smith will be a game manager. Marcus Mariota has multi-purpose weapon Cordarelle Patterson. The Seahawks are far from their Legion of Boom days, but their defense is still ornery, especially down by the goal line. Seahawks cover

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) — Tom Brady has 7 Super Bowl rings. Aaron Rodgers has one, and he has not looked impressive this season after racking up two consecutive league MVP trophies. Rodgers may own Chicago, but Brady owns him. The Buccaneers have been beating the Packers in Green Bay, something unthinkable until this young decade. The Buccaneers have the better defense and the better quarterback. Buccaneers cover

8pm

San Francisco 49era (-1.5) at Denver Broncos — The 49ers know Russell Wilson well, and he knows them. Yet with Trey Lance out for the season, the 49ers may be revitalized with Jimmy Garoppolo back in the saddle. Garoppolo has more weapons. Wilson needs more help. Deebo Samuel is not easy to scheme against. The Broncos will gel at some point soon, but Garoppolo will play with a chip on his shoulder and a desperate desire to outduel Wilson. 49ers cover 

Monday, September 26, 8pm

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-2) — Cooper Rush is 2-0 as a starter while the Giants are a surprising 2-0 this season. The Cowboys have the superstars. The Giants have an unexplainable pair of victories over teams that are winless. This week restores sanity to the division. Upset special, Cowboys win outright

NFL 2022 Week 2 Recap

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

NFL 2022 Week 2 Prequel

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs was the Thursday night game. The Chargers barely hung on at home last week while the Chiefs went on the road and demolished Arizona. Early on the Chargers managed a 31 yard dustin Hopkins field goal for a 3-0 lead, but the expected shootout had more defense than anticipated. A field position game had Brandon Staley gambling on 4th and 1 just past midfield. Justin Herbert gained 2 yards. Herbert then went deep to Mike Williams for a 39 yard gain down to the one. On the first play of the second quarter, Herbert hit Horvath for the touchdown as the Chargers had the surprising 10-0 lead.

After a touchback, the Chiefs offense finally got going. Patrick Mahomes went deep to Mycole Hardman for a 30 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Chargers 39, Mahomes was intercepted. Yet defensive holding nullified the pick and kept the Chiefs going. On 3rd and 4 from the Chargers 28, Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for 19 and Jerick mcKinnon for the 9 yard touchdown to get the Chiefs within 10-7. The Chargers began the third quarter facing 3rd and 1 from their own 34. Austin Ekeler got around the end for 7 and caught a pass from Herbert for 18 more. Herbert then went to Williams for 14. On 4th and 1 from the Chiefs 18, Brandon Staley went for it gain. Ekeler again got around the end for 3. Herbert then hit Williams for a 15 yard touchdown to cap the 11 play, 78 yard, 6 minute drive and have the Chargers up 17-7.

After a touchback the chiefs again kept the game close. Again Mahomes was intercepted and again he escaped when officials reversed the call to an incompletion. Mahomes then hit Gray for 11 and Clyde Edwards-Helaire for 21. On 3rd and 10 from the Chargers 41, Mahomes went to Justin Watson for the touchdown to get the Chiefs within 17-14. The Chiefs got it back and moved from their own 36 to a 2nd and goal at the one. Mahomes threw incomplete, On 3rd and goal, Mahomes hit Kelce but for no gain. The fourth quarter began with Walrus Andy Reid having a major decision to make. The crowd didn’t like it, but on 4th and goal at the one, Reid played it safe. Ammendola hit the 19 yard field goal to tie the game 17-17.

Ammendola then hit the ensuing kickoff out of bounds to set up the Chargers at their own 40. The Chargers moved to a 1st and goal at the 3 with 1- 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation. Then came the play of the game. Herbert threw an innocent slant pass toward the end zone. Jaylen Watson jumped the route and raced 99 yards the other way. The defensive touchdown electrified the home crowd at Arrowhead and gave the Chiefs their first lead of the day up 24-17. With 4 minutes left, the Chiefs took over at their own 15. Edwards-Helaire immediately ripped off a 52 yard gain. Ammendola hit from 31 to give the Chiefs breathing room up 27-17 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Herbert managed a 7 yard touchdown pass on 4th and goal with 1:11 left, but the onside kick failed and the Chargers valiant effort fell short. 27-24 Chiefs

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens — This game will be remembered forever. The Ravens were expected to easily dispatch with the overmatched Dolphins. From the start, it looked like the Ravens would do exactly that. Devin Duvernay returned the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Ravens lead 13 seconds into the game. Tua Tagovailoa was then intercepted. The Ravens then mounted a staggering 18 play, 74 yard drive that took 11 minutes off the clock. Yet on 2n and goal from the one, Davis got stopped. The second quarter began with 3rd and goal. Lamar Jackson got in, but on further review officials reversed the call to short of the goal. John Harbaugh went for it on 4th and goal at the one. Jackson ran into a Mimi brick wall and fumbled the ball away. Momentum shifted with the goal line stand. On 2nd and 13 from their own 3, Tagovailoa found Jalen Waddle for a 59 yard gain. Tagovailoa then found Tyreek Hill for 15, Sheffield for 12, Smythe for 5, and Waddle again for a 6 yard touchdown. Instead of being down 14-0, the Dolphins tied the game 7-7.

Yet 10 seconds after a touchback, the Ravens had the lead again as Jackson went to Rashod Bateman for a 75 yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead. The Ravens got it back at their own 34. From midfield, Jackson ran for 19 and hit Mark Andrews for a 26 yard touchdown. Again it was reversed to being down at the one yard line. This time Jackson hit Andrews for the one yard touchdown and the 21-7 Ravens lead. Tagovailoa was intercepted again and the Ravens took over at their own 20. Jackson went deep to Likely for 34 and Hill ran for 13 more. Jackson hit Andrews for 10 and Robinson for a 12 yard touchdown with 30 seconds left in the half. The Ravens were up 28-7. The Dolphins began the third quarter with a 12 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive. On 3rd and 13 from the Baltimore 14, Tagovailoa hit Gesicki for the touchdown to get the Dolphins within 28-14. Yet late in the third quarter with the Ravens facing 3rd and 2 from their own 21, Jackson ran for a 79 yard touchdown. The Ravens were cruising 35-14 after three quarters. Then came the absolutely indescribable. 

After a touchback, the fourth quarter began with Tagovailoa hitting Waddle for big gains of 33, 12 and 16. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Tagovailoa hit River Cracraft for the touchdown to get the Dolphins within 35-21 with 12 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, the Ravens faced 4th and 1 at the Miami 40 with 9 minutes left. Despite having the greatest kicker in the game in Justin Tucker, John Harbaugh went for it. Jackson kept it and was stopped for a one yard loss. The dolphins struck quickly. On 3rd and 10 from the Baltimore 48, Tagovailoa went deep to Hill for a 48 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, The Dolphins were within 35-28. The Dolphins took over and again struck quickly. On 3rd and 6 from their own 40, Tagovailoa again went deep to Hill for a 60 yard touchdown. With 5:19 to play, the game was tied 35-35 and about to get even crazier.

After a touchback, Jackson went to Andrews and Duvernay for 16 yard gains with defensive pass interference between them adding 9 more. The drive stalled but Tucker nailed a 51 yard field goal. With 2:18 to play, the Ravens were back on top 38-35. An 18 yard kickoff return of a short kick had the Dolphins at their own 32. Tagovailoa hit Hill for 21 and then 09 more. Edmonds ran for a 28 yard gain. With 14 seconds left, Tagovailoa hit Waddle for a 7 yard touchdown. The Dolphins led by 4 in front of a shellshocked home crowd at the Big Crabcake. After a touchback, the Ravens still had 2 timeouts. With 4 seconds left, The Ravens had one final shot from their own 49. Tucker has the NFL record long 66 yard field goal, but that one hit the crossbar and bounced over. John Harbaugh decided against a 69 yard try. Jackson’t Hail Mary went to an area with only one receiver and one defender but fell incomplete. In an absolute shocker, Tagovailoa threw 6 touchdown passes, with 4 of them in the fourth quarter alone. He finished with 469 yards passing. Jackson had 318 yards passing and 3 touchdowns along with another touchdown and 119 yards rushing. Yet it was on the losing end of a shocking offset. ESPN uber-announcer Chris Berman keeps telling us “THAT’S why they PLAY the GAMES!” That’s why they play the ENTIRE game. The kid coaching the Dolphins has a 2-0 football team. 42-38 Dolphins

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns — Sometimes a pair of very bad teams with a history of agonizing losses can come together and play a thriller. This was that game, as Jacoby Brissett and the supposedly washed up Joe Flacco put on a show in place of the highly paid starting quarterbacks not playing in this game. A decade ago Flacco won a Super Bowl with Baltimore and repeatedly beat the Browns. Yet he had never won a game with the Jets. Early in the first quarter the Browns moved 90 yards in 14 plays and 8 1/2 minutes. Jacoby Brissett hit Bryant for gains of 8 and 7 and ran for 13 himself. Brissett went to Njoku for 13 and Nick Chubb for 7. On 3rd and 2 from the Jets 4, Chubb ran it in to put the Browns up 7-0. Late in the first quarter The Jets faced 4th and 2 at their own 46. Robert Saleh gambled on a fake punt. Mann hit Smith for a 17 yard gain, The second quarter began with the Jets facing 3rd and 2 at the Cleveland 29. Hall gained 23. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Joe Flacco hit Garrett Wilson for the touchdown to make it a 7-7 game.

 The Browns soon faced 3rd and 3 at their own 46. Brissett hit Amari Cooper for 9 and 13. On 3rd and 6 from the Jets 28, Brissett hit Cooper for 20. On 3rd and goal at the 6, Brissett hit Cooper for the touchdown to cap the 10 play, 61 yard, nearly 5 minute drive and make it 14-7 Browns. The Jets got it back and moved to a 3rd and 8 at the Cleveland 12. Flacco was sacked and fumbled the ball away. The defense held and the Jets got it back at their own 46 with 1:05 left in the half. Flacco hit Moore for 18. On 3rd and 6 from the Cleveland 28, Flacco hit Wilson for 18 more. On 3rd and goal from the 10 with 11 seconds left in the half, Flacco hit Hall for the touchdown and a 14-14 tie. As crazy a the end of the half was, the end of the game was even crazier. 

The Browns began the third quarter at their own 20 and  moved 76 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes. On 2nd and goal at the 4, Brissett threw incomplete twice. York hit the 22 yard field goal for the 17-14 Browns lead and the only score of the third quarter. A field position game Hd the Jets move from their own 10 to a 2nd and 5 at the Cleveland 29 to start the fourth quarter. A 24 yard gain was wiped out by holding. Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein leveled a 57 yard field goal for a 17-17 game. 

After a touchback, the Browns faced 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Brissett hit Cooper for 5 and Chubb then ran for 22 and 3 and caught a pass from Brissett for 15. Karim Hunt added 10 more. Chubb ran for a 7 yard touchdown to put the Browns up 24-17 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation. The defenses dug in and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Jets gave the Browns golden field position with 2 1/2 minutes left at the Jets 42. Then came the accidental score. With 1:55 left and the Jets out of timeouts, Chubb got the carry. All he had to do was fall down and the clock would wind down. The Jets practically let him score, and he did. It is hard to argue with a touchdown, but falling to the ground would have ended the game with a couple of knees. Chubb’s score gave the Jets a shot, but they were down by 13 with 1:55 left. Even with the missed extra point, this game was over.

Someone forgot to tell Flacco, who still has a cannon of an arm. Two plays after a touchback, he unleashed a 66 yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis. With 1:22 left the Jets were within 30-24. The Dawg Pound then went into shellshocked when a perfectly executed onside kick was recovered by the Jets at their own 47. Flacco hit carter for 12 and Wilson for 12 more. With 22 seconds left, on 3rd and 10 from the Cleveland 15, Flacco hit Wilson for the touchdown. Now the missed extra point mattered as the Jets made their for a one point lead. 2 plays after a touchback from his own 46, Brissett went deep and was intercepted. 2 touchdowns in the final 90 seconds gave Flacco his first win leading the Jets and added to the pain that is being a Browns fan. That’s why they play the ENTIRE game. 40+ years after the Cardiac Kids, the new Browns version won on the final play and then lost on the final play. 31-30 Jets

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers — Bill Belichick usually gets the better of Mike Tomlin although both of these teams are less than their usual championship caliber. This was a gritty game. The Patriots from their 20 went on a 13 play, 71 yard, 7 minute drive. Yet on 4th and 2 from the Pittsburgh 9, Belichick decided not to gamble. Nick Folk hit the 28 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. The teams traded interceptions. The Steelers from their own 34 went on a 16 play, 7 minute drive, but only gained 48 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the New England 13, Mitchell Trubisky was sacked for a 5 yard loss. Chris Boswell hit from 36 for a 3-3 game in the second quarter. 

The Patriots took over at their own 26 with 3 minutes left in the half. With 22 seconds left in the half the Patriots had 3rd and 3 at the Pittsburgh 44. One play changed the game. Mac Jones went to Nelson Agholor for the touchdown as the Patriots took a 10-3 lead to the locker rooms. In the third quarter Folk missed a 52 yard field goal that would have extended the lead. The excellent field position at their own 42 allowed the Steelers to set up for a 52 yard try by Boswell. He was good and the Steelers were within 10-6. The biggest play of the game came with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. The Steelers fumbled a punt and the Patriots recovered at the Pittsburgh 10. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Jones  hit Damien Harris for the score to make it 17-6 Patriots. 

After a touchback, Trubisky moved the Steelers 75 yards. He hit Harris for 14. Olszewski ran for 18. On the first play of the fourth quarter on 3rd and 4 from the New England 8, Trubisky hit Pat Freiermuth for the touchdown. Trubisky went to Johnson for the 2 point conversion to get the Steelers within a field goal. After that, the defenses dug in. With 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation the Patriots had 3rd and 2 at their own 38. Jones scrambled for 5. With 1:51 left the Patriots faced 3rd and 3 at the Pittsburgh 20. Harris gained 5 to seal the hard fought win as Jones took 3 knees. 17-14 Patriots

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars — Last year the Colts needed only to beat the 2-14 Jaguars to secure a playoff spot. The Jaguars humiliated the Colts and drove Carson Wentz out of town. Matt Ryan was supposed to be the upgrade. New year, new quarterback, same stunning result. On 3rd and 10 from the Jacksonville 40, Matty Ice was intercepted. The Jaguars took over at their own 32 and just hit the Colts in the mouth. On 3rd and 8, Trevor Lawrence hit Jones for 12. On 4th and 3 from the Colts 47, Doug Pederson gambled and Trevor Lawrence hit Zee Jones for 8. On 3rd and 4 from the Indianapolis 10, Lawrence hit Christian Kirk for the touchdown. The 15 play, 68 yard drive took over 9 minutes off the clock for the 7-0 Jaguars lead.

In the second quarter the Jaguars took over at their own 21. Lawrence hit Jones for 13. On 1st and 20 from their own 37 after offensive holding, Lawrence hit Kirk for 26. James Robinson then ran for a 37 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Jaguars. The Jaguars got it back at their own 25. Another 10 play drive was enough for a 52 yard Patterson field goal and a 17-0 Jaguars advantage. Midway through the third quarter the Jaguars took over at their own 8. Lawrence led a 12 play, 92 yard drive that took nearly 8 minutes. On 3rd and 1 from the Indy 5, Robinson got stopped. Doug Pederson wanted to make a statement. He went for it and Lawrence on 4th and 1 hit Kirk for the final touchdown. The Jacksonville defense was suffocated. Twice the Colts moved inside the 10 yard line without scoring. Ryan was intercepted on his final 2 drives as the defense preserved the shutout. 24-0 Jaguars

Carolina Panthers at New York Giants — The Panthers lost last week at home on the final play and the Giants won a shocking road game at Tennessee on the final play. The Panthers fumbled the opening kickoff to set up the Giants at the Carolina 22. The offense could only muster a 36 yard Graham Gano field goal to make it 3-0 Giants. The Panthers fumbled again and the Giants had another short field at the Carolina 40. Only the Giants could run 13 plays and take 8 minutes while only moving 25 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 8, Daniel Jones was sacked. Gano hit from 33 to make it 6-0 Giants. In the second quarter it was the Panthers moving deep while being unable to reach the end zone. Eddie Pineiro hit from 31 and again from 32 as this hideously unwatchable game went to the half tied 6-6. 

Early in the third quarter the Panthers took over at their own 33. Baker Mayfield went deep to DJ Moore for 29, scrambled for 17 more himself, and hit Moore for a 16 yard touchdown to make it 13-6 Panthers. The Giants soon faced 3rd and 9 from their own 26. Jones hit James for 15. Saquon Barkley ran for 16. Jones hit James for 12, Hudson for 15, and Daniel Bellinger for a 16 yard touchdown and a 13-13 tie.

The Giants took over at their own 9. Barkley ran for 15 and the Giants began the fourth quarter facing 2nd and 12 from their own 22. Jones went deep incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 13 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from their own 35, Jones went to Sills for 24. On 4th and 2 from the Carolina 33, Brian Daboll decided not to gamble. Gano nailed the 51 yard field goal to make it 16-13 Giants with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, Christian McCaffrey ripped off a 49 yard run. Yet on 2nd and 4 from the Giants 15, an offensive penalty for motion was followed by a pair of incompletions. Pineiro hit from 38 for another tie at 16-16 with 11 minutes left. 

After a touchback, Barkley ripped off gains of 10 and 8. On 3rd and 1 from their own 44, Brightwell gained 14. On 2nd and 9 from the Carolina 29, a run lost 4 yards followed by offensive holding. With 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Gano came in for  56 yard field goal try. 4 years ago Gano was playing for the Panthers. He nailed a 63 yard field goal to beat the Giants and send the Hispanic football announcer into a crazed yell of joy normally reserved for Hispanic soccer announcers. This time the teams were reversed but Gano did it again for a 3 point Giants lead. 

After a touchback, the Panthers moved to a 3rd and 6 at their own 46 with 2:42 left. Mayfield was sacked and Matt Rhule decided to punt on 4th and 15. The Giants took over at their own 25. With 1:50 left on 3rd and 6 from their own 40, Jones scrambled for 11 yards. Jones then took a couple of knees. Raise your hands if you expected the Giants to be 2-0. Put your hands down. Stop lying. 19-16 Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints — The one team that has vexed Tom Brady the last few years is the Saints. Even with Dennis Allen subbing for Sean Payton, the Saints defense suffocated Brady and beat him 9-0 in Tampa. Brady was seen throwing his helmet and his tablet on the sideline. This time in New Orleans, the Saints team again gave Brady fits and threw him into a rage. Yet Jameis Winston, the man Brady replaced in Tampa, also had a miserable game. This was a brutal defensive slugfest. Wil Lutz hit a 31 yard field goal for the Saints 6 minutes into the game. Ryan Succop answered from 47 in the third quarter as this game was tied 3-3 after three quarters.

With 12 minutes left in regulation, Jameis Winston went for it all and was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback. On 3rd and 10 from from his own 36, Brady hit Cameron Brate for only 9. Yet defensive unnecessary roughness tacked on 15 key yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Saints 28, Brady went deep to Perriman for the game’s first touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Buccaneers led 10-3. Winston was then intercepted again, and Dean returned it 24 yards to the Saints 24. The Bucs offense went nowhere but Succop hit from 47 to make it 13-3 Buccaneers. Yet Winston’s final interception was a dagger. Edwards returned it 68 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 20-3 Buccaneers lead. Tempers flared on this day. Brady again threw his helmet and his tablet. Mike Evans was suspended one game for fighting. Yet this time it was the Bucs defense that got the job done. 20-10 Buccaneers 

Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions — The Lions went decades without beating the Redskins. Yet when the Redskins became the No-Names a couple years ago, the Lions beat them. Now the No-Names are the Commanders, who entered this matchup having never lost a game. The first half was all Lions. The Lions faced 3rd and 3 at their own 27 early on. Jared Goff went to St. Brown for a 49 yard gain. On 4th and 3 from the Washington 17, there would be no Dan Campbell gamble. Seibert hit the 35 yard field goal for a 3-0 Lions lead. The Lions got it back at their own 43 and Deandre Swift gained 50. This time on 4th and goal at the 3, there was a Dan Campbell gamble. Goff threw incomplete. Yet Carson Wentz was then sacked in the end zone for a safety and a 5-0 Lions lead. Raymond then returned the free kick 52 yards to the Washington 31. 

Goff hit Reynolds for 13 and St. Brown for a 13 yard touchdown to make it 12-0 Lions after the first quarter. The Lions began the second quarter at their own 42 and kept dominating. Goff hit reynolds for 23. Seibert hit a 48 yard field goal to make it 15-0 Lions. The Lions got it back at their own 23. Goff hit Swift for 9. Williams ran for 12 and caught a pass from Goff for 7. Reynolds ran for 11. Goff hit St. Brown for 11. Williams ran for 8. Goff hit Reynolds for 12 and again for a 3 yard touchdown as the Lions dominated the first half 22-0.  

The Commanders tried to make a game of it in the third quarter. On 2nd and 6 from their own 40, Wnts hit Jahan Dotson for 40. On 3rd and 5 from the Detroit 15, Wentz hit Curtis Samuel for the touchdown. On the next Commanders drive, Wentz was intercepted but the Lions did not capitalize. The Commanders got it back at their own 6. Wentz found Dotson for 9 and then went deep to Terry McLaurin for 35. wants then went deep to Samuel for 27. Wentz found Logan Thomas for a 20 yard touchdown. Wentz hit Dotson for the 2 point conversion. With 3 minute left in the third quarter, the Commanders were within 22-15.

Yet this time the Lions proved resilient. After a touchback, St. Brown got around the end for a 58 yard gain. On 3rd and 15 from the Washington 22, Goff hit Swift for the touchdown to put the Lions up 29-15 after three quarters. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Riverboat Ron Rivera gambled 4th and 1 from his own 26. McLaurin gained 7 yards. On 3rd and 3 from his own 40, Wentz hit McLaurin for 17. Samuel added 21 more. Wentz hit Antonio Gibson for 11 down to the one. For some reason Rivera went for 2. Wentz threw incomplete and the Commanders trailed 29-21 with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. 

The Lions took over at their own 30. Williams gained 8. Goff hit TJ Hockensen for 18. On 3rd and 2 from the Washington 36, Goff hit Wright for 25 and St. Brown for an 11 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions had a 36-21 lead. The Commanders got it back at their own 24 and moved 76 yards in 14 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and goal at the one with 1:56 to play,  Wentz hit Dotson for the touchdown. This time Joey Slye missed the extra point. It was a killer because it kept the Commanders down 9. Yet with one minute left on 4th and 4 from their own 39, Wentz was sacked to snuff out any hope of a rally. The Lions have never lost to the Commanders. 36-27 Lions

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers — The game seemed like an afterthought compared to the soap opera subplot regarding the 49ers quarterbacks. Despite taking the 49ers to 2 NFC Title Games and one Super Bowl, the 49ers have always treated Jimmy Garoppolo as the weak link. They drafted Trey Lance, but Garoppolo had such a good run last year that Lance stayed on the sideline. 49ers faithful blame Garoppolo for blowing last year’s NFC Title Game, and this year Lance won the starting job. Yet in a totally strange turn of events, Garoppolo was kept on the roster as a backup rather than be released or traded. Oh yeah, and a football game was played and the Seahawks now have Geno Smith instead of Russell Wilson.

On the opening drive after a touchback, Lance led the 49ers 73 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. On 4th and goal at the 2, Kyle Shanahan deiced not to risk it. Robbie Gould hit the 20 yard field goal to make it 3-0 49ers. The 49ers got it back at their own 11 and moved to a 2nd and 8 at the Seattle 21. Lance gained 2 yards but total disaster struck. Lance suffered a broken ankle on the play. He will be out for the entire season. Just like that, Garoppolo was now the starter again. Gould hit a 33 yard field goal to make it 6-0 49ers.

The rest of the game seemed irrelevant. Garoppolo played well enough, winning in efficient if unspectacular fashion. In the second quarter Garoppolo hit Ross Dwelley for a 38 yard touchdown to cap a 78 yard touchdown drive. Smith was intercepted twice in the second quarter. At the 2 minute warning, the Seahawks fumbled a punt and the 49ers recovered at the Seattle 22. Garoppolo hit Kyle Juszczyk for a one yard touchdown to make it 20-0 49ers at halftime. The Seattle offense was lifeless, managing only a blocked field goal for an 86 yard touchdown to trail 20-7 in the third quarter. The 49ers defense clamped down and the offense managed a fourth quarter 13 play, 63 yard, 7 minute drive. On 4th and goal at the one, Garoppolo got in to complete the scoring. For at least one more year, like it or not, Jimmy G is the man in charge in the Bay Area. 27-7 49ers

 

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams — Sometimes a bad team can go on the road and shock a very good team in an upset for the ages. Early on, this was not that game. After a touchback, the Falcons moved 49 yards in 13 plays and held the ball for 8 minutes. Yet on 3rd and 6 from the Rams 14, a false start was followed by Marcus Mariota getting sacked. Younghoe Koo surprisingly missed a 44 yard field goal try. After that the Rams took over. From their own 34, Matthew Stafford hit Allen Robinson for 15, Skowronek for 8, and Tyler Higbee for 18, Higbee for 5 down to the one, and Robinson for the touchdown to make it 7-0 Rams. The second quarter began with Arthur Smith, who apparently coaches the Falcons, gambling on 4th and 2 from midfield. Cordarelle Patterson got stopped for no gain. Stafford hit Higbee for 7, Cam Akers for 10, and Powell for 6. On 3rd and 2 from the Atlanta 11, Darrell Henderson gained 3 and then the 8 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Rams.

The Falcons after a touchback moved 67 yards in 11 plays and 7 minutes. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 8, Mariota threw incomplete. Koo hit from 26. Stafford threw an interception but Mariota gave it right back as Durant returned it 51 yards to set up the Rams at the Atlanta 9 yard line. Stafford hit Cooper Kupp for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 21-3 Rams. The Rams began the third quarter after a touchback with a 10 play, 75 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. Stafford hit Higbee for 15 and Kupp for 19.Stafford hit Akers for 8 and Kupp again for 12. On 3rd and 4 from the Atlanta 10, Stafford went to Kupp for the touchdown to have the Rams cruising 28-3. Now the Falcons are famous for one blowing a 28-3 lead, but the Rams nearly blew a 27-3 lead last year in the playoffs. This year, the Rams inexplicably could not put away a game they led by 25 points.

Another inexplicable scenario was Sean McVay throwing the ball rather than running it up by 25. An interception of Stafford was returned 21 yards to the Rams 20. Mariota hit Drake London for a 4 yard touchdown to get the Falcons within 28-10 after three quarters. The Rams took over at their own 21 and moved 78 yards in 13 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and 10, Stafford hit Robinson for 29. Yet on 2nd and goal at the one, rather than run the ball, McVay kept calling pass plays. Stafford threw incomplete twice.  On 4th and goal at the one, McVay opted for the field goal. Matt Gay hit from 20. McVay’s decision was reasonable given that it put the Rams up 31-10 with 12 minutes left in regulation.

The Falcons took over at their own 28. Allgeier gained 9 and 2. Mariota hit Pitts for 6, London for 22, Hodge for 18, and Olimade Zaccheaus for an 11 yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Falcons were within 31-17. With 5 minutes left, the Rams were punting on 4th and 8 from their own 41. The punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Lorenzo Carter. For some strange reason, Arthur Hill needlessly went for a 2 point conversion. Mariota hit London successfully as the Falcons were now only down 31-25. The Rams soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 31Stafford hit Kupp for 13 yards, but Kupp then fumbled. The Falcons recovered at the Rams 37. A 25 point Rams lead was down to 6 points. With 3 1/2 minutes left, the Falcons had a chance to win in shocking fashion. 

The final 2 minutes were crazy. At the 2 minute warning, the Falcons had 2nd and 9 at the Rams 20. A run lost 4 yards. The clock ticked all the way down to 1:18 as the Rams took their 2nd timeout on defense. On 3rd and 13, Mariota went to the end zone and the win and was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey. The Rams needed a first down to close out the game. They didn’t get it as the Falconstook their timeouts on defense. With 13 seconds left the rams had to punt on 4th and 7 from their own 26. This time Sean McVay took no chances on another block or return. He instructed his punter to run out the back of his own end zone for an intentional safety. The free kick was kicked out of bounds. The Falcons had one chance from midfield. Mariota’s Hail Mary never had a chance. He was sacked and fumbled to end the game. The Rams nearly collapsed, but they survived. Again, that’s why they play the ENTIRE game. 31-27 Rams

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos — Last week the Texans blew a 20-3 lead and settled for a 20-20 tie. The Broncos lost by one point after fumbling the ball twice at the opponent’s one yard line. Something had to give in this ugly game. A hideous first half saw each team kick a field goal in each of the first two quarters. Despite 1st and goal at the 2, the Broncos had a touchdown pass reversed to an incompletion followed by 2 more incompletions. Brandon McManus hit from 20. Kaimi Fairbairn answered from 40 for the Texans. In the second quarter Fairbairn hit from 44. The Broncos reached 3rd and goal at the one as their nightmarish goal line experiences continued. Wilson threw incomplete and Nathaniel Hackett had seen enough. McManus hit from 24. A third quarter interception of Russell Wilson gave the Texans a short field. Despite 1st and goal at the 4, this time it was the Texans going backward. Fairbairn hit from 24 as the Texans led 9-6 after three quarters. 

The fourth quarter began with the Broncos facing 3rd and 16 at their own 32. Then came the play of the game. Wilson found Sutton for 35 yards. Wilson then went to Eric Saubert for a 22 yard touchdown. With 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the end zone was finally reached as the Broncos led 13-9. The Broncos got it back at their own 14 and moved 54 yards in 12 plays and 6 minutes. Despite 1st and 10 at the Houston 26, a pair of incompletions was followed by Wilson getting sacked. McManus hit from 50 to put the Broncos up by 7 w with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation. After a touchback, the Davis Mills quickly hit Collins for 20 and Cooks for 23. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Denver 32, Mills was sacked. On 4th and 15, Mills threw incomplete. Only 90 seconds remained, but the Texans had all 3 timeouts. Their defense held and they got the ball back at their own 25 with 53 seconds left. Yet a game that was virtually all defense ended with defense. A completion lost a yard as precious seconds ticked down. Mills then threw 3 incompletions as the game’s only touchdown was the difference. 16-9 Broncos 

Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders — The relocation bowl saw the Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals take on the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders lost a heartbreaker on the road last week while the Cardinals were blown out at home. This game will be talked about for years. After a touchback, the Raiders exploded out of the gate. Josh Jacobs ran for 7. A sack of Derek Carr had the Raiders facing 3rd and 11. Carr went deep to Mack Hollins for 20. Jacobs gained 6, 3, and on 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 47, 2 big yards. Jacobs then gained 13 and 4. Another sack of Carr had the Raiders facing 2nd and 21 from the Arizona 38. Carr hit Hollins for 9 and on 3rd and 12 found Hollins again for 23. On 3rd and goal at the 4, Carr threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 1st and goal at the one. Carr hit Davante Adams. The opening 15 play, 75 yard drive took over 9 1/2 minutes off the clock. The Raiders were just getting started.

The Raiders got it back at their own 20 and the Cardinals immediately jumped into the neutral zone. Carr then hit Darren Waller and Foster Moreau for a pair of 19 yard gains. The Raiders were rolling but on 3rd and 5 at the Arizona 14, Carr threw incomplete. Daniel Carlson hit a 32 yard field goal to put the Raiders up 10-0 in the second quarter. The Raiders got it back at their own 41. Carr went to Waller for 13 and Hunter Renfrow for 20. On 3rd and 10 from the Arizona 26, Carr hit Abdullah for 23. Carr went to Waller for the 3 yard touchdown. Kyler Murray was then intercepted to set the Raiders up at their own 27 with 1:51 left in the half. On 3rd and 6 from their own 48 with 17 seconds left, Carr went to Adams for 11. Carlson buried a 55 yard field goal at the gun to have the Raiders up 20-0.

The first half was complete domination by the Raiders. In their franchise history, they had never lost a game when leading by 20 points or more at the half. The Cardinals had never won a game when trailing by 20 points or more at halftime. The Raiders running game was key. Jacobs was running with brutal purpose. With a big lead, all the Raiders had to do in the second half was grind down the clock. Yet pass-happy Josh McDaniels loves his West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes The Cardinals in the third quarter soon faced 1st and 15 at their own 16. Murray then went to Greg Dortch for 29 and Zach Ertz for 13. On 3rd and 6 from the Raiders 26, Murray hit Ertz for 16. On 3rd and goal at the 5, Murray hit Dortch for the touchdown to get the Cardinals within 20-7. After a touchback, the Raiders quickly responded with help from a 47 yard defensive pass interference penalty. Yet on 1st and goal at the 7, a run went nowhere and Carr threw incomplete twice. Carlson hit from 25 to have the Raiders up 23-7 after three quarters. All the Raiders had to do was run the ball in the fourth quarter and go home. 

After a touchback the Cardinals moved to a 2nd and 1 at the Raiders 11. A run went nowhere and on 3rd and 1 Murray threw incomplete. Kliff Kingsbury went for it and Murray threw incomplete again. The inspired Raiders defense had done their job. With 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation, all the Raiders needed was to run down some clock. For some bizarre reason, Josh McDaniels called 3 straight pass plays and Carr delivered 3 straight incompletions. The Raiders took only 24 seconds off the clock and forced their defense to go right back on the field. An 18 yard punt return had the Cardinals taking over at their own 46. Murray went to Dortch for 11 and Benjamin for 8. With 8:40 left, the Cardinals were down to their last gasp with 4th and 4 at the Raiders 25. This is when the Raiders gave new meaning to the concept of Failure to Close out games, or FCO for short. 

Murray went deep to Brown for a 24 yard gain down to the one. That was FCO 1. Darrel Williams got in on the next play. A defensive stop on the 2 point conversion try would keep it a 2 score game. Murray then delivered the greatest 2 point conversion in NFL history. He ran laterally all over the field, unable to find a receiver. The play took nearly 21 seconds. Counting all the running around sideways, Murray ran 84 yards on the play. What mattered was his ability to run in the 2 point conversion. The Cardinals were now within 23-15. This was the Raiders FCO 2. After a touchback, Jacobs gained 7 and 3. Yet Jacobs then lost 4 yards. On 3rd and 10, Josh McDaniels called one of his beloved West Coast Offense dink and dunk passes despite having a quarterback capable of throwing further than 10 yards. Carr completed the pass for 4 yards. This was FCO 3. The Cardinals took over at their own 27 with 4:43 to play. 

Murray hit AJ Green for 10 and Ertz for 11. On 3rd and 1 from the Raider 43, Williams got stopped inches short of the sticks. One more stop would pretty much end the game. On 4th and 1, Murray scrambled and gained 2. This was FCO 4. On the next play Murray was sacked, but defensive holding meant a new set of downs. With 30 seconds left in the game, everything came down to 4th and 4 at the Raiders 6 yard line. The defense was tired, but one stop would end things. Murray ran all over the place and threw incomplete. The Raiders celebrated as only 16 seconds remained. The game was over…but it wasn’t. Defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 3. This was FCO 5. Murray threw 3 straight incompletions. With 4 seconds left, everything came down to 4th and goal at the 3. Out of the shotgun, Murray got in again for the touchdown. This was FCO 6. The staggering 18 play, 73 yard, nearly 5 minute drive had the Raiders defense completely spent. They were on the field most of the entire second half.  

The clock was at double zeroes, but the Cardinals still needed to make the 2 point conversion to force overtime. Anyone who had ever watched a Raiders game knew what was coming. Murray fired to the back of the end zone and Green somehow caught the ball between 2 defenders. It appeared the ball hit the ground, but the completion stood. FCO 7 had the game tied 23-23. The Raiders defense was exhausted, and things went from bad to worse when the Cardinals won the overtime coin toss. The Cardinals moved after a touchback to a 4th and 1 at the Raiders 37. A field goal try would be 55 yards. Kliff Kingsbury went for it knowing that failing to convert would mean good field position for the Raiders. Everyone expected Murray to keep the ball since he had run over and around the Raiders the entire second half. Yet Kingsbury decided to go for it all. The play call had Murray finding a wide open Brown inside the red zone. Yet at the last moment, Brown was blasted by Harmon, knocking the ball out of his hands for an incompletion.

The Raiders defense had survived. On the brink of death, they made the play they had to make. Now the offense needed only a field goal to win. They needed to run the ball. Jacobs had barely been given the ball in the second half. Yet McDaniels stubbornly kept passing. Carr threw incomplete. Then he hit Hunter Renfrow for 7 yards to set up a critical 3rd and 3 at their own 44. Carr went back to Renfrow, one of Carr’s most reliable targets. He is so consistent that third down in Las Vegas is known as 3rd and Renfrow. This time Carr hit Renfrow for 11 yards, but Renfrow had the ball chopped out of his hands. After a wild scramble, the Raiders were bailed out when Moreau fell on it. The Raiders had dodged a bullet. 

With 4 minutes left in overtime, the Raiders had 1st and 10 at the Arizona 39. A field goal from that distance would be 57 yards. Carlson is one of the best kickers in the game. All the Raiders had to do was run the ball, kick the field goal, and win the game. The time for passing was over. The Raiders won their regular season finale to make the playoffs because interim coach Rich Bisaccia trusted Jacobs to run the ball down the opponent’s throats when it mattered. Josh McDaniels kept calling passes. Carr went deep incomplete. On 2nd and 10, a run was still the right call. Then came FCO 8 and an epic disaster. Carr went to Renfrow, who as usual caught the ball. Renfrow then got blasted and fumbled again. the ball bounced around and Byron Murphy picked it up and raced 59 yards for a defensive touchdown in front of a shellshocked home crowd. 

Just like that, the game was over. The Raiders lost due to an epic collapse, their worst second half meltdown since their birth in 1960. This was the biggest second half Cardinals comeback since their existence as a franchise in 1899. The Raiders are 0-2. Their 4-0 preseason was a mirage. Renfrow tried to take the blame, but this loss is squarely on boy genius McDaniels. He has to commit to the run, especially when the Raiders have a fourth quarter lead. McDaniels flamed out as a head coach 12 years ago because he refused to listen to others. Now the entire fan base is screaming at him to run the d@mn ball. He needs to listen right now. He did not inherit a rebuilding project. He inherited a team that made the playoffs by pounding the rock. Now the Raiders are run by a coach who makes play-calling decisions that are often dumb as a rock. This was a truly bitter pill for the Raider Nation to swallow. That’s why they play the ENTIRE game. The Raiders need someone willing to coach the entire game. 29-23 Cardinals, OT

Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys – Both teams lost their home opener. The defending AFC Champion Bengals were stunned on the last play of overtime by Pittsburgh. Joe Burrow was sacked 7 times and had 4 turnovers. The Cowboys managed only 3 points at home and lost Dak Prescott for several weeks to injury. Cooper Rush won his only start last year and now was starting his second NFL game. Early on Mike McCarthy showed tremendous confidence in Rush, going for it on 4th and 2 from his own 44. Out of the shotgun, Rush hit Noah Brown for 17 yards. Rush capped the 12 play, 75 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive with a 9 yard touchdown pass to Brown for a 7-0 Cowboys lead. 

The Bengals after a touchback moved to a 2nd and 6 at the Dallas 23. A false start and a sack killed the drive. Evan McPherson hit a 43 yard field goal to get the Bengals on the board. The Cowboys soon faced 3rd and 10 from their own 25. Rush went deep to Brown for 28 yards. Rush then connected with Tony Pollard for a 46 yard gain down to the one. Pollard got in on the next play to make it 14-3 Cowboys after the first quarter. The second quarter was quiet, but Maher nailed a 54 yard field goal to end the half with the Cowboys up 17-3. 

The Bengals gradually clawed back in the third quarter with some luck. After a touchback to start the seance half, the Bengals had to punt on 4th and 4 from their own 41. Yet the Cowboys jumped into the neutral zone. Given new life, the Bengals moved into position for McPherson to hit a 50 yard field goal to get the Bengals within 17-6. A 20 yard punt return gave the Bengals the ball back at their own 41. McPherson hit another field goal from 46 as the Bengals trailed 17-9 after three quarters.

Early in the fourth quarter the Bengals took over at their own 17. On 3rd and 10, Burrow hit Tee Higgins for 16. and JaMarr Chase for 11. On 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 39, Burrow hit Hurst for 8. On 4th and 6 from the Dallas 27 with 6 minutes left in regulation, Zac Taylor decided to go for it. Burrow hit Chase for 8 and Higgins for 10. Burrow hit Higgins for a 5 yard touchdown. The mind-numbing 19 play, 83 yard drive took 9 minutes off the clock. Burrow hit Boyd for the 2 point conversion for a 17-17 tie with 3:45 left in the game. 

An exchange of punts had the Cowboys taking over at their own 35 with one minute left. Rush hit Lamb for 8, Brown for 12, and Lamb for 10. The Cowboys took their final timeout with 24 seconds left. On 1st and 10 from the Cincinnati 35, Mike McMarthy took no chances. A safe run gained 3 yards and Rush spiked the ball to stop the clock with 4 seconds left. Maher came in for a 50 yard try to win it. The kick was good as the Bengals fell to a surprising 0-2 on the year. Meanwhile, Rush is 2-0 in his starting career. 20-17 Cowboys

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers was the Sunday night game. The Packers have owned the Bears for much of the last 30 years. Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears. He said so. After an opening touchback, the first play from scrimmage saw a defensive personal foul against the Bears for a low block. Mason Crosby hit a 40 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Packers. The Bears took over at their own 29 and David Montgomery ran for 4 and 12. Justin Fields fumbled the next snap but fell on it. On the following play Fields went deep to St. Brown for a 30 yard gain. Montgomery ran for 13 and 9. Fields ran for a 3 yard touchdown. The Bears led 7-3 after the first quarter, but then reality set in.

After a touchback, Dillon ran for 6 and 5. Rodgers ran for 7 and hit Watson for 9. Rodgers went to Watkins for 24. Aaron Jones ran for  15 yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to make it 10-7 Packers. The Packers got it back at their own 46. Jones ran for 5 and 8 and Dillon added 9. On 2nd and 28 from their own 42, Rodgers hit Doubs for 20 and on 3rd and 8 found Randall Cobb for 9. Rodgers hit Jones for an 8 yard touchdown to make it 17-7 Packers. The Packers got it back a their own 33. Jones ran for 14. Rodgers hit Jones for 15, Cobb for 20, Robert Tonyan for 9, and Allen Lazard for the 5 yard touchdown. The Packers led 24-7 at the half. A pointless second half saw the Bears kick a third quarter field goal and the Packers kick a fourth quarter field goal. George Halas’s heirs in the McCaskey family may not like it, but Rodgers still owns the Bears. 27-10 Packers

   

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills was the early Monday night game. These teams have played some memorable games, but this one was forgettable. The Titans were the top seed in the AFC playoffs last year, but opened this season with a stunning home loss to the Giants. The Bills entered the season with serious Super Bowl aspirations and went on the road and throttled the defending champion Rams. After an opening touchback, Singletary ran for 16 yards. On 3rd and 9 from their own 46, Josh Allen ran for 10. On 3rd and 8 from the Tennessee 42, Allen hit Kumerow for 11. On 3rd and 2 from the Tennessee 23, Allen hit Dawon Knox for 12 and Gilliam for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Bills. After a touchback the Titans moved to a 4th and 1 from the Buffalo 2. Mike Vrabel went for it and Derrick Henry banged into the end zone. The game was tied 7-7 after the first quarter. 

In the second quarter the Bills moved from their own 18 to a 4th and 1 at the Tennessee 26. Sean McDermott went for it, but a false start killed the try. Tyler Bass hit a 49 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Bills. The Bills got it back and soon faced 2nd and 15 at their own 18. Allen hit Knox for 15 and Kumerow for 39. Allen then went to Diggs for 15 and 9. With one minute left in the half on 4th and 1 from the Tennessee 4, McDermott gambled again. This time Allen hit Diggs for the touchdown and a 17-7 Bills lead. Then came the avalanche.

In the third quarter the Bills faced 3rd and 14 from their own 16. Allen threw incomplete but defensive offsides meant 3rd and 9. Allen hit Crowder for 16 and Diggs for 9 and 8. Allen went deep to Diggs for a 46 yard touchdown to make it 24-7 Bills. The Titans failed in all 3 phases of the game by fumbling a punt. The Bills recovered at the Tennessee 20. The Bills settled for a 37 yard Bass field goal to lead 27-7. The Titans soon faced 2nd and 2 from their own 33. Ryan Tannehill was intercepted and the Bills took over just shy of midfield. Allen threw a 14 yard touchdown to Diggs to make it 34-7 Bills. Tannehill was then intercepted by Matt Milano, who returned it 43 yards for the game’s final points. A 24 point third quarter had the Titans at 0-2 and the Bills at 2-0. The pre-season Super Bowl hype in Buffalo is legitimate. 41-7 Bills 

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles was the late Monday night game. Both teams won their openers. The Vikings came in confident after beating up Green Bay last week. The Eagles began at their own 18. Jalen Hurts hit Smith for 5 and Dallas Goedert for 18. Miles Sanders ran for 12 and 2. On 3rd and 13 from midfield, Hurts hit Kenneth Gainwell for 19. On 3rd and 3 from the Minnesota 24, Hurts hit Zach Pascal for 8 and Goedert for 13. Hurts ran for the 3 yard touchdown to cap the 11 play, 82 yard, 6 minute drive and make it 7-0 Eagles. The Eagles again took over at their own 18 and it was deja vu all over again. On 3rd and 5, Hurts hit Smith for 8. On the first play of the second quarter, the Eagles faced 2nd and 8 from their own 47. Hurts went deep to Watkins for a 53 yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Eagles.

The Vikings soon faced 3rd and 1 from their own 34. Jalen Reagor got around the end for a 17 yard gain. Kirk Cousins hit Justin Jefferson for 11. On 3rd and 6 from the Philadelphia 34, Cousins hit Osborn for 15, Mundt for 17, and Irv Smith for a 2 yard touchdown to get the Vikings within 14-7. They got no closer. The Eagles took over at their own 15. Hurts hit Smith for gains of 19 and 16. Boston Scott ran for 16. On 3rd and 2 from the Minnesota 26, Hurts ran all the way for the touchdown to make it 21-7 Eagles at the 2 minute warning. The Eagles got it back at their own 5 yard line with 1:14 left. Hurts ran for 9. On 3rd and 6 from their own 21, Hurts hit Smith for 16 and Goedert for gains of 19 and 24. Jake Elliott hit a 38 yard field goal to end the half. The entire second half was scoreless as Cousins was intercepted 3 times and the Eagles suffered an interception and a blocked field goal. 24-7 Eagles 

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