NFL 2021 Week 2 Prequel

September 15th, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 2 Preview, Atonement and Bettor’s Guide

Gavin Newsom keeps his job, vows to permanently end California for good

September 15th, 2021

Gavin Newsom survives recall, vows to finish off California for good

Carl Nassib is a Raider and a winner (who happens to be gay)

September 14th, 2021

Carl Nassib is a winning member of the Raiders who happens to be gay

NFL 2021 Week 1 Recap

September 12th, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 1 Recap

Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the season opening Thursday night game. The National Anthem was perfect. The jets flying over were perfect. The honoring of September 11th was perfect. Then it was time for the 2021 NFL season to begin. Tom Brady handed the ball off twice and on 3rd and 2 was flushed out of the pocket for a long incompletion. The first exciting play of the season came on special teams as a 65 yard punt went out of bounds at the Dallas 2 yard line. From his own end zone with an empty backfield, Dak Prescott went bombs away to Amari Cooper for a 27 yard gain. Then on 3rd and inches Ezekiel Elliott lined up at fullback instead of halfback. Elliott got the carry anyway and after appearing stopped, willed his way up the gut past the marker. Consecutive drops by Cee Dee Lamb followed by a false start had the Cowboys facing 3rd and 15 from the Tampa Bay 45. Prescott threw incomplete. Despite moving the ball 58 yards, the Cowboys got no points out of their drive. 

This time it was the Buccaneers starting at their own 7 yard line. At that point Brady put on a clinic. He hitMike Evans for 10, Rob Gronkowski for 19, Antonio Brown for 28 and 16, Chris Godwin for 8, and back to Godwin over the middle for a 5 yard touchdown. The 93 yard drive had the Buccaneers up 7-0 with 5 minutes left in the first quarter. Then after a touchback Prescott came right back. He hit Pollard for 11, Michael Gallup for 8 and 12, Pollard for 7, Gallup for 8, Brad Jarwin for 7, and Lamb for a redemptive 22 yard touchdown. The game was tied 7-7 after the opening quarter. 

A field position game in the second quarter had the Buccaneers taking over at midfield. On 3rd and 3, Brady went to Godwin for 19 and 17 and then to ground for a 2 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Buccaneers lead. The Cowboys after a touchback moved all the way to a 3rd and 3 at the Tampa 13. Prescott then threw incomplete and greg Zuerlein missed a 31 yard field goal try. One play and 8 seconds later the Buccaneers fumbled the ball back to the Cowboys at the Tampa 27. Prescott hit Cooper for a 5 yard touchdown. Zuerlein’s awful night continued as he doinked the extra point off the upright no good. The Cowboys were within 14-13. On the very next play from scrimmage from the Tampa 20, a screen pass from Brady bounced off of Leonard Fournette’s fingers and was intercepted by Diggs. . Despite taking over at the Tampa 21, the Cowboys could not reach the end zone. A pair of incompletions by Prescott had the Cowboys settling for a 35 yard field goal by Zuerlein. This time he was good and the Cowboys led 16-14. 

With only 3 minutes left in the half, the Buccaneer struck back quickly this time. Mickens returned the kickoff 41 yards to the Tampa 43. Brady hit Godwin for 10 and then went bombs away to Brown for a 47 yard touchdown. Just like that the Buccaneers led 21-16. With 20 seconds left in the half, Mike McCarthy gambled on Zuerlein trying a 60 yard field goal despite already missing a 31 yarder and an extra point. Zuerlein’s kick was very close but no good. This gave Brady a chance at a Hail Mary from midfield. The throw reached the end zone and was intercepted by Lewis. Then decided to try and go coast to coast, returning it from 8 yards deep in his own zone. He actually made it 66 yards but was finally tackled at the Tampa 42 to end the half. It was the third Buccaneers turnover of the first half.

The Cowboys marched right down the field after a touchback to start the third quarter. A 13 play drive took nearly 6 minutes. Everything came down to one play, 3rd and goal at the 2. Prescott pitched it to Elliott on the read option and Elliott had one man to beat for the score. Adams made a spectacular open field tackle, flinging  Elliott to the ground for a loss. Zuerlein almost missed the 21 yard field goal try, sneaking it inside the upright to get the Cowboys within 21-19. The Cowboys got the ball back with a chance to take the lead. Prescott threw a well thrown ball between three defenders straight into the hands of Lamb. Lamb’s awful night continued as it bounced off of his hands and was intercepted at midfield. The Buccaneers took over at the Dallas 35.

Brady hit Gronk for 20.  On 3rd and 6 from the Dallas 11, Brady fired over the middle to Gronkowski again for the score. The Buccaneers led 28-19 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. The Cowboys had plenty of chances, but they were kicking field goals while the Buccaneers were scoring touchdowns. The Cowboys after a touchback went 75 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes. Elliott got things going with a 13 yard run. On 3rd and 1 from the Tampa 33, Prescott hit Schultz for a critical 6 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Tampa 21, Prescott threw a fade to the end zone and Cooper hauled it in for a touchdown. After three quarters, the Cowboys were right back in it down 28-26. The Cowboys led in plays 63-37, time of possession 30 minutes to 15, and in yards by about 100. The Cowboys even led the turnover battle. Yet the Buccaneers still had the lead. 

With 12 minutes left in regulation the Buccaneers had 3rd and 10 at the Dallas 47. Brady went for it all and Godwin had the defender beat. The ball was well thrown.and could have been a touchdown. Around the 5 yard line, Godwin just dropped it. The Cowboys had dodged a bullet. Lamb decided to fair catch the punt at his own 6 yard line. The Buccaneers would take over at their own 37 and march 66 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes. With 5 minutes left they had 1st and 10 at the Dallas 13 and were preparing the knockout blow. Brady hit Godwin for an 11 yard, but at the 2 yard line Godwin got hit by Kazee and fumbled the ball. Lewis recovered for the Cowboys in the end zone, but rather than take a knee for a touchback, he tried to run it out. Rather than start at their own 20, the Cowboys took over at their own 10. 

With 3 1/2 minutes left the Cowboys faced 3rd and 6 at their own 14. The Buccaneers then jumped into the neutral zone. On 3rd and 1, Prescott found Lamb for 6 and Cooper for 11 more. On 2nd and 10 from the Dallas 36, a 24 yard completion from Prescott to Lamb was wiped out by offensive holding. On 2nd and 20, Prescott hit Wilson for 9 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 11, Prescott fired to Lamb, who had been having a miserable night. When it mattered most, Lamb made the catch, spun away from defenders, and raced for a 31 yard gain to the Tampa 34. The cowboys were in long field goal range with 1:51 left. At this point the goals were to take the lead and not leave Tom Brady any time for a comeback. 

On 3rd and 6 from the Tampa 30, it was the worst of all possible worlds for the Cowboys. A swing pass gained nothing, and offensive holding pushed the Cowboys out of field goal range. On 3rd and 16, Prescott played it safe and hit Cooper for 10 to get the Cowboys back in field goal range. With 90 seconds left, Zuerlein came in for a 48 yard try. Zuerlein was dead center. The Cowboys had the 29-28 lead, but there was still 1:24 to play. The Cowboys had scored way too early. The Buccaneers still had 2 timeouts. Was there any doubt what would happen?

Dan Quinn’s Dallas defense had played well enough, but now it mattered most. On 3rd and 2 from their own 33, Brady hit Bernard for 4. A false start forced the Buccaneers to take their 3rd and final timeout rather than face a 10 second runoff. 55 seconds remained. Brady went to Grinkowski for gains of 6 and 20 to the Dallas 42. Brady then threw a deep bomb out of bounds to stop the clock with 24 seconds left. With everything on the line, Brady went to Godwin for 24 yards as the defender fell down. There was no call for offensive pass interference. Godwin clearly pushed off. 18 seconds remained and the Buccaneers were well within field goal range at the Dallas 18. Brady threw a pair of incompletions out of bounds just to burn time. With 10 seconds left on 3rd and 10, Brady threw a 3rd deliberate incompletion out of bounds. 7 seconds remained. Ryan Succop came in for a 36 yard field goal try to win it. Succop nailed it. 

21 years later, the deal Tom Brady made with the devil was still in force. Rather than squib kick it, Bruce Arians had his kicker drill it through the back of the end zone. The Cowboys had one play and 2 seconds to go 75 yards. There would be no miracle. Both quarterbacks were brilliant, throwing the ball at least 50 times. Brady was 32 of 50 for 379 yards, 4 touchdowns and the 2 interceptions Prescott was 42 of 58 for 403 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception. Bruce Arians won at age 68 and Brady won at age 44. The biggest winners were NFL fans, who saw the NFL 2021 season start with a fine, fine football game. 31-29 Buccaneers

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans — The Texans may be the league’s worst team. Deshaun Watson was a healthy scratch due to the controversies surrounding him. Tyrod Taylor got the start, a small measure of consolation given that he lost his last starting job due to a medical error by the team trainer. The Texans moved 84 yards in 14 plays and 7 minutes. On 3rd and 9 from the Jacksonville 42, Taylor went deep to Brandon Cooks for 40 yards. On 3rd and goal at the one, Mark Ingram got in to make it 7-0 Texans.

The Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence era did not start out too badly, as the Jaguars reached a 2nd and 5 at the Houston 37. Yet Lawrence then threw incomplete twice. Meyer gambled on Josh Lambo and a 55 yard field goal try. The kick was long enough but wide left no good. The Texans took over at their own 45 and Taylor went right to work, hitting Conley for 17 and Brown for 25. On 3rd and 4 from the Jacksonville 7, Taylor hit David Johnson for the touchdown and the 14-0 Texans lead. 

After a touchback the Jaguars began the second quarter facing 3rd and 17 from their own 29. Trevor Lawrence went to DJ Chark for 27 yards. On 3rd and 19 from the Houston 40, Lawrence threw incomplete but roughing the passer kept the drive going. Lawrence then threw his first NFL touchdown pass, a 22 yarder to Chris Manhurtz. The Jaguars were within 14-7, but after that the Texans turned out the lights. 

The Texans moved from their own 24 to a 3rd and 3 at the Jacksonville 22. Taylor threw incomplete but Joey Slye hit a 40 yard field goal to make it 17-7 Texans. Lawrence followed up his first NFL touchdown with his first NFL interception. He followed that up with his second NFL interception, setting the Texans up at the Jacksonville 7 yard line. Despite 2nd and goal at the 2, offensive pass interference killed the drive. Slye hit from 26 to make it 20-7 Jaguars with one minute left in the half. The Jaguars went 3 and out and gave the ball back to the Texans at their own 31 with 37 seconds left. With 25 seconds left the Texans faced 3rd and 1 at their own 40. Taylor went deep to Cooks for a 52 yard gain as the Texans took a timeout with 12 seconds left. Taylor then went to Danny Amendola for the touchdown as the supposedly awful Texans led 27-7 at halftime. 

The Texans moved to put the game away midway through the third quarter. On 3rd and 2 from their own 40, Johnson gained 3. On 3rd and 1 from the Jags 34, Taylor went deep to Brown for 29 yards. Ingram took the direct snap on the next play and handed it to Lindsay, who ran around the end for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 34-7 Texans. Lawrence did throw a 41 yard touchdown pass to Chark, but this game was never close. After the Texans tacked on a fourth quarter field goal, Lawrence threw his third interception. Lawrence added his third touchdown pass in garbage time with 5 seconds to play. Lawrence threw the ball 51 times in his debut, completing 28 for 322 yards with 3 touchdowns and interceptions apiece. Lawrence and Urban Meyer lost their debut. Some nondescript man named David Culley, who happens to be the Texans rookie head coach, won his very first NFL game in convincing fashion. 37-21 Texans

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Mystery Meat II — The Chargers went right down the field 75 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes. Justin Herbert put on a clinic, hitting Guyton for 10, Jared Cook for 5 and Mike Williams for 9 and 11. On 3rd and 10 from the Washington 15, the defense jumped into the neutral zone. On 3rd and 5, Herbert hit Keenan Allen for 7. Austin Ekeler ran for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Chargers. 

Washington then turned to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s furry beard. While it seems like he has started for all 32 teams, this was the 6th team he started for. Dustin Hopkins then hit field goals of 30 in the first quarter and 43 in the second quarter to get the No-Names within 7-6. With 9 minutes left in the half Fitzpatrick was injured. Taylor Heinecke played he rest of the way. Tristan Vizcaino hit second quarter field goals of 33 and 27 to put the Chargers up 13-6. The latter kick with 45 seconds left in the half after a staggering 18 play drive did not reach the end zone. A roughing the passer call allowed Hopkins to hit a 48 yarder as time expired to get the Mystery Meat team within 13-9. Respect for the game of football prevents any further elaboration of a battle of who wanted it least.

The Washington Identity Crisis took over in the third quarter at their own 19. Heinecke ran for 5 and hit Gibson for 11. Heinecke hit Terry McLaurin for gains of 9 and 2. On 3rd and 6 from the Chargers 45, Heinecke went deep to McLaurin for 34. Heinecke then went to Logan Thomas for the 11 yard touchdown and the 16-13 lead for the No-Names. After this came a truly ugly stretch of football. 

The Chargers after a touchback went 68 yards in 12 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 7, Justin Herbert was sacked and fumbled. The non-Redskins took over at their own 43 and held the ball for 12 plays and over 6 1/2 minutes. The fourth quarter began with the No-Names facing 3rd and 5 at the Chargers 26. A false start was followed by a completed pass that let 2 yards. Then a 51 yard field goal try by Hopkins was no good. The Chargers moved from their own 41 to the Washington 20. Herbert went for it all and was intercepted at the 4 yard line. Washington then fumbled the ball right back to give the Chargers 1st and goal at the 3. On 3rd and goal, Herbert hit Williams for the 3 yard touchdown. With 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Chargers had bungled their way into a 4 point lead.

The No-Names moved after a touchback to a 2nd and 5 at the Chargers 38. A clipping penalty on the offense was a killer. The Chargers took over at their own 18 with 6:43 to play. On 3rd and 16 from their own 12, Herbert found Allen for 17. On 3rd and 3 from their own 36, Herbert hit Hill for 19. On 3rd and 7 from the Washington 42, Herbert went to Williams for 20 as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. With 1:50 left and the No-Names down to their last timeout, the Chargers faced 3rd and 4 from the Washington 16. Herbert hit Allen for 9 and then took 3 knees. Brandon Staley is the nondescript guy who coaches the Chargers. He won his first ever game as an NFL head coach. Riverboat Ron Rivera is inspirational, but he can’t do it all himself. 20-16 Chargers 

Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts — The Carson Wentz era began in Indianapolis with Wentz leading a mind-numbing 14 play, 72 yard drive that took nearly 9 1/2 minutes off the clock. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 10 after a run lost 3 yards, a Wentz pass gained only 7 yards. Blankenship hit the 21 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Colts. The Seahawks came back 81 yards with a statement. On 3rd and 9 from his own 20, Russell Wilson ran for 11. On 3rd and 1 from his own 40, Chris Carson ran for 33. Then on 3rd and 6 from the Indy 23, Wilson went deep to Tyler Lockett for the touchdown and the 7-3 Seahawks lead. The Seahawks got it back at their own 39 in the second quarter. Wilson went to Everett for 11 to midfield. From the Indy 35, Wilson went to Disney for 22 and Everett for the 9 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Seahawks. 

The Colts took over at their own 32. Wentz found Campbell for 24. On 3rd and 1 from the Seattle 35, Taylor got the yard. Wentz hit Taylor for 10, Michael Pittman for 14, and Zach Pascal for the 10 yard touchdown. Wentz’s first touchdown pass with the Colts had them within 14-10. Yet the Seahawks came back 83 yards with one big strike. On 2nd and 20 from their own 31, Wilson went bombs away and found Lockett in stride for a 69 yard touchdown and a 21-10 Seahawks lead. 

The second half was uneventful. The Colts faced 4th and 1 at the Seattle 31 and fumbled the ball away in a scoreless third quarter. The Colts then moved 59 yards in 14 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. With 10 minutes left Frank Reich decided to go for it on 4th and 2 from the Seattle 18. Wentz was sacked as the Colts again turned it over on downs. From their own 27 Wilson went deep to Metcalf for 30 yards. Wilson would throw a 15 yard touchdown pass to Metcalf to make it 28-10 Seahawks with 6:41 to play. Wentz managed a garbage touchdown just before the 2 minute warning but nothing more. After all these years, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are still doing it. Despite only 254 yards passing, Wilson had 4 touchdown passes. 28-16 Seahawks

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers — Robert Saleh became the first Muslim to ever be the head coach in an NFL game. It was emotional coming the day after the 20 year anniversary of 9/11. Saleh’s brother was in the Second Tower as a Morgan Stanley trainee but got out alive. Perhaps the Jets were fortunate to be playing on the road and away from all the emotion. It was Zach Wilson’t first NFL game. Meanwhile, Sam Darnold’s first game with the Panthers was against his old team. Removing all the emotion, a pair of bad teams started out playing bad football. The Panthers moved 76 yards in 11 plays. On 4th and 1 from the Jets 4, Matt Rhule decided to go for it. Darnold fumbled the snap. The Jets recovered and moved from their own 9 to the Carolina 49. Wilson was then intercepted by Thompson, who returned it 29 yards to the Jets 32. 

The Panthers managed to move to a 2nd and goal at the 3, but Darnold threw incomplete twice. Santoso hit the 22 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Panthers. The Jets after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 1 at the Carolina 32. Wilson threw incomplete. Robert Saleh went for it and decided to play basic smash mouth. Coleman went up the middle and got smashed for a one yard loss. 

With 4 minutes left in the half of a hideously ugly game, the Panthers finally got going. Immediately after the defensive stand, two former Jets burned their old team. Darnold went deep to Robby Anderson for a 57 yard touchdown. The extra point was no good but the Panthers led 9-0. The Panthers got it back at their own 38 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. Darnold hit Christian McCaffrey for 14 and 4, Arnold for 5, and on 3rd and 1 from the Jets 38, hit Marshall for 11. Darnold then hit McCaffrey for 22 and ran for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 16-0 Panthers.

The Jets fought back in the second half. With 6 minutes left in the third quarter the Jets took over at their own 30. Wilson went to Davis for 20. On 3rd and 2 from the Carolina 41, Wilson hit Griffin for 8. Wilson threw his first NFL touchdown pass, a 22 yarder to Corey Davis. Robert Saleh went for 2 and Wilson ran it in himself to get the Jets within 16-8. The Panthers then moved 52 yards in 12 plays and nearly 8 minutes, eating up half of the fourth quarter. On 4th and 2 from the Jets 6, Matt rule decided to go for it. A false start killed that thought. Santoso hit the 29 yard field goal to give the Panthers breathing room up 19-8 with 8:42 to play. 

With 4 1/2 minutes left and the Jets still needing 2 scores, a punt had them pinned at their own 7 yard line. Wilson hit Berrios for 15. With 3:20 left the Jets were down to their last gasp facing 4th and 8 at their own 25. Wilson hit berries for 25 to midfield. Wilson then went to Mims for 40. On 3rd and goal at the 8, Wilson hit Davis for the touchdown. The 2 point try failed but with 1:56 left the Jets were within 5. The onside kick failed and McCaffrey ran for an 18 yard gain. Darnold took 3 knees to get the revenge win. Robert Saleh lost his first game as an NFL head coach. The Jets have now lost games with head coaches who were Jewish, Catholic, Christian and Muslim. 19-14 Panthers

 

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals — Mike Zimmer went against his former team, but he has been beloved by both franchises. Last year the Vikings got away from the hard-nosed running and defense Zimmer is known for. After a scoreless first quarter, the Vikings began the second quarter at their own 9 yard line. Dalvin Cook ran for 17. On 3rd and 6 from his own 30, Kirk Cousins hit Cook for 9. From midfield, Cousins hit Justin Jefferson for 17 and Osborn for 11. On 3rd and 24 from the Cincinnati 36, a short pass from Cousins to Osborn went for 25 yards. These are the Bengals. On 2nd and 9 from the Cincy 10, Cousins was sacked for a 10 yard loss. Yet defensive holding meant 1st and goal at the 5. These are the Bengals. Cousins hit Adam Thielen for the touchdown on the next play to cap the 14 play, 91 yard, 8 1/2 minute drive and make it 7-0 Vikings.

After a touchback the Bengals finally got going. Joe Burrow hit Joe Mixon for 12. On 3rd and 9 from his own 38, Burrow hit Chase for 17. Perine ran for 13 and Burrow hit Chase for 13 more. From the Minnesota 29, Burrow went deep incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 26 yard gain. Burrow hit Higgins for a 2 yard touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame with 1:51 left in the half. The Vikings went 3 and out and the Bengals got it back at their own 25 with 1:11 left. Burrow hit Higgins for 14, Mixon for 2 and Tyler Boyd for 9 to midfield. 35 seconds remained. Burrow went for it all and hit Chase for the 50 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Bengals. In the third quarter the Bengals moved 75 yards in 11 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Burrow out of the shotgun hit Mixon for 4 and again out of the shotgun hit Higgins for 28 more. On 4th and 1 from the Minnesota 25, Zac Parsons decided to go for it. Burrow gained 2. Burrow hit Higgins for 14 down to the 2 and Nixon ran it in from there. The Bengals were up 21-7 and about to break the game open.

With 3 minutes left in the third quarter momentum changed when Parsons made the boneheaded decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 30. Somewhere else, Barry Switzer was telling him not to do it. Mixon got stopped cold for no gain. The Vikings soon faced 4th and 4 at the Cincy 24, and Mike Zimmer decided to go for it. Cousins went to Adam Thielen for the first down and the touchdown as the Vikings were within 21-14. After a touchback Mixon gashed the defense for gains of 5, 10 and 19. Yet on 3rd and 4 from the Minnesota 35Burrow threw incomplete. This time Parsons opted for a 53 yard field goal try rather than go for it. Evan McPherson bailed him out as the Bengals had breathing room up 24-14 less than one minute into the fourth quarter.

The Vikings came back 75 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 5 from their own 30, Cousins threw incomplete but defensive illegal use of hands kept the drive going. On 3rd and 8 from their own 48, Cousins went to Cook for 9, Osborn for 8, and Jefferson for 34 yards down to the one. Cook got the last yard as the Vikings were within 24-21 with 9 1/2 minutes to play. With 1:47 left the Vikings began their last gasp at their own 5 yard line. Cousins hit Cook for 7 and Conklin for 27. With 37 seconds left the Vikings were down to 4th and 4 at their own 45. Cousins hit Osborn for 6 and then 6 more and then found Thielen for 14. Cousins spiked the ball to stop the clock with 3 seconds left. Joseph came in for a 53 yard field goal to tie the game. On the road in the high pressure situation, the kick was good. The game was headed to overtime. 

Overtime appeared destined to be a tie as the Bengals punted twice and the Vikings once. With 3:40 left in overtime the Vikings took over at their own 37. At the 2 minute warning the Vikings were at the Cincinnati 38. A few more yards would mean a field goal try for the win. The Vikings never got the chance. Cook got the carry and fumbled. The Bengals took over at their own 39 with 1:47 left. With 1:11 left the Bengals had 3rd and 1 at their own 48. Mixon got the carry and got stopped for no gain. With 39 seconds left, Zac Parsons took the mother of all gambles. In his own territory, he went for it knowing another stop would give the vikings a short field and one first down away from field goal range. Burrow threw a short pass to Ozumah that went for a 32 yard gain. All of a sudden it was the Bengals in short field goal range. With 5 seconds left and the Bengals facing 3rd and 5 from the Minnesota 15, McPherson came in for the 33 yard try to win it. The kick was good and the Bengals were in the win column. 27-24 Bengals, OT

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans — The Cardinals moved from their own 39 to a 1st and goal at the 9, but consecutive offensive penalties had them settling for a 34 yard Matt Prater field goal and a 3-0 Cardinals lead. Two plays later  on 2nd and 11 from their own 19, Ryan Tannehill was sacked and fumbled. The Cardinals recovered at the Tennessee one yard line. The Cardinals did it the hard way, but on 3rd and goal from the 5 Kyler Murray rolled out and fired to Deandre Hopkins in the back of the end zone. Somehow Hopkins got both feet down as the Cardinals led 10-0. The second quarter began with the Cardinals having the ball back and facing 3rd and 2 at their own 28. Murray threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 17 yards. Murray ended up connecting with Hopkins for a 17 yard touchdown as the Cardinals had the surprising 17-0 lead. 

After a touchback the Titans soon faced 2nd and 8 at their own 39. Tannehill went to Anthony Firkser for 11 to midfield. Earlier in the game Mike Vrabel ran a successful fake punt in a drive that went nowhere anyway. This time Vrabel called a flea flicker, and Tannehill hit Rogers for 39 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the 11, Tannehill hit Westbrook-Ikhine for just enough down to the one. Derrick Henry was stopped twice. On 3rd and goal at the one, Tannehill ran a draw play and got in the end zone to get the Titans on the board. The extra point was no good as the Titans trailed 17-6. 

Yet the Cardinals kept rolling, answering the 11 play, 75 yard drive with a 12 play, 75 yard, 5 minute drive of their own. On 3rd and 10 from their own 25, Murray went to Moore for 18. On 3rd and 6 from the Tennessee 41, Murray hit Kirk for 22. On 2nd and 10 from the Tennessee 19, a short completion became 1st and goal at the 8 thanks to a defensive facemask. Murray ran for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 24-6 Cardinals with 1:48 left in the half. Tennessee’s misery continued after they moved from their own 25 to a 3rd and 1 at the Arizona 28 with 24 seconds left in the half.Tannehill threw incomplete. Mike Vrabel played it safe with 18 seconds left, but Mike Badgley followed up his missed extra point with a 46 yard field goal try that was no good. The Cardinals even had a Hail Mary try from their own 48, but instead Murray went with the short pass to Edmonds, who had a wall of blockers. Edmonds gained 36 yards before finally being tackled at the Tennessee 16 as the half ended. 

In the third quarter Murray got greedy and made his only mistake of the game. A deep ball was intercepted to set up the Titans at the Arizona 32. Tannehill quickly hit AJ Brown for 19 and then the 13 yard touchdown to get the Titans within 24-13. They would get no closer. After a touchback, Murray quickly redeemed himself. Murray went to Moore for 29 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Tennessee 26, Murray went to Christian Kirk for the easy touchdown and the 31-13 Cardinals lead. The Titans turned the ball over on their next two series with an interception and a fumble. The latter turnover set up the Cardinals at the Tennessee 33. Edmonds ran for 16. On 3rd and 4 from the Tennessee 11, Murray hit Kirk to complete the blowout as the fourth quarter was scoreless. Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray were initially dismissed as gimmicky. Mike Vrabel had a smashmouth team. Yet it was the Cardinals who went into Tennessee and belted the Titans. Chandler Jones had 5 sacks in a game that was never in doubt. 38-13 Cardinals 

San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions — Jimmy Garoppolo is counting the days until he gets benched in favor of Trey Lance. Garoppolo started by fumbling the ball away. The Lions recovered and responded by missing a 51 yard field goal try. Midway through the first quarter, Lance came in for one play and then Garoppolo came back in. The Hydra approach Kyle Shanahana employed in the preseason was being used in the regular season. On 3rd and 5 from the Detroit 12, it was Garoppolo hitting Mohammed San for 7. Yet on the next play it was Lance throwing the 5 yard touchdown to Sherfield to make it 7-0 49ers. 

Jared Goff now leads the Lions, who took over at their own 18. It was Williams who ran for 20 and 7, with 15 tacked on the next play due to roughing the passer. On 2nd and 20 from midfield, Goff hit Swift for 12. On 3rd and 8, Goff hit TJ Hockensen for 12. On 4th and 1 from the 17, rookie Lions coach Dan Campbell decided to go for it. Goff hit Williams for 7 as the first quarter ended. The second quarter began with the Lions facing 3rd and goal at the 6. Goff hit Hockensen for the score to make it 7-7 and cap the 13 play, 82 yard, 7 minute drive. The 49ers responded quickly. On 2nd and 7 from their own 25, Garoppolo hit Deebo Samuel for 29 and 8. Mitchell then took a pitchout and broke through terrible tackling attempts for a 38 yard touchdown run and a 14-7 49ers lead. The Lions after a touchback reached the San Francisco 33 but then began moving backward. Seibert did hit a 49 yard field goal to get the Lions within 14-10, but after that the 49ers took over. 

After a touchback Garoppolo hit Kyle Juszczyk for 7 with roughing the passer adding 15 more. Mitchell ran for 11 and Garoppolo hit Samuel for 23. Hasty ran up the middle for the 3 yard touchdown to make it 21-10 49ers with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. The Lions took over at their own 20. On 3rd and 8 from their own 32, Goff found Greenlaw. Problem: Greenlaw plays defense for the 49ers. Greenlaw returned the interception 39 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-10 49ers. The 49ers got it back at their own 28 with 44 seconds left in the half. Garoppolo hit Samuel for 14 with a defensive facemask adding 15 more. Garoppolo hit Sherfield for another 18. Robbie Gould hit a 40 yard field goal to end the half with the 49ers cruising 31-10. Gould missed a field goal from 52 in the third quarter but it did not seem to matter. The 49ers got it back at their own 9 and made it look easy. On 3rd and 8 from their own 21, Garoppolo connected with Samuel for a 79 yard touchdown. midway through the third quarter the 49ers were winning a laugher up 38-10. Yet they would not be laughing by the end of the game.

In desperation mode, Dan Campbell had to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 34. Williams gained 6 yards. Goff then went to Williams for gains of 11 and 6 and finally to D’Andre Swift for a 43 yard touchdown. With 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter the Lions were still down 38-17. A field position game had the 49ers taking over at their own 47. On 3rd and 10 Garoppolo hit Hasty for 15. Gould hit a 52 yard field goal. With 10 minutes left in regulation, the 49ers were up 41-17. When the Lions turned it over on downs the game appeared over. The Lions had reached a 1st and 10 at the San Francisco 17 at the 2 minute warning. They were down by 24 points with 2 minutes left. There was no way the 49ers would mess this up.

This is your reminder that Kyle Shanahan’s awful play calling caused his teams to lose 2 Super Bowls. The 2016 Falcons blew a 28-3 second half lead because Shanahan refused to run the ball. The 2019 San Francisco 49ers blew a 20-10 fourth quarter lead because Shanahan refused to run the ball. Shanahan is a brilliant play caller for 3 quarters, but his West Coast Offense obsession with the sink and dunk passing game kills his teams in the fourth quarter. He refuses to play power football and run out the clock. Based on this game, he has learned nothing. 

Goff fired incomplete but defensive pass interference put the ball on the one. Jamaal Williams got in for the touchdown. Goff hit Hockensen for the 2 point conversion. With 1:53 left the Lions were within 41-25. The onside kick succeeded and the Lions kept the ball at their own 41. Goff hit Benson for 11 and Hockensen for 13. Goff hit Raymond for 20 and Quintez Cephus for the 2 yard touchdown. Goff found Cephus again for another 2 point conversion. With 1:07 to play the Lions were within 8 points. None of this could be blamed on Shanahan, but what happened next was absolutely his fault. 

With 58 seconds left the 49ers faced 3rd and 13 at the Detroit 46. The Lions had one timeout left. The entire football world knows you run the ball and force the defense to take their last timeout. Then you punt and let the opposing offense have to travel the entire length of the field. Yet Shanahan refuses to run the ball. Garoppolo fired over the middle to Samuel, who gained 11 yards. Samuel was then hit and fumbled. The Lions recovered at their own 30. With 52 seconds remaining, they were still alive. Shanahan needs to learn how to run the football in the fourth quarter.

Goff hit Anthony St. Brown for 20 to midfield and Raymond for 25 more. With 32 seconds left the Lions were 25 yards away from potential tying the game. Goff threw incomplete, scrambled for one yard, and threw incomplete again. With 17 seconds left it came down to 4th and 9 at the San Francisco 24. Goff threw incomplete again. Garoppolo only threw 25 passes, completing 17 of them for 314 yards. Goff threw the ball 57 times, completing 38 for 338 yards. Yet most of that was when the game was a blowout. Despite Shanahan’s bungling, the 49ers survived to spoil Dan Campbell’s debut. 41-33 49ers

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills — This may be Big Ben Roethlisberger’s final season, but the opening strike came when Isaiah McKenzie took the opening kickoff at his goal line and returned it 75 yards. Yet with a short field, the Bills could not capitalize. Tyler Bass hit the field goal to make it 3-0 Bills. After that Mike Tomlin and Sean McDermott’s defenses dug in. With 6 minutes left in the half the Bills took over at their own 9. Allen hit Knox for 12. On 3rd and 5 from their own 27, Allen hit Davis for 37 yards. Allen found Stefan Diggs for 11 and Cole Beasley for 8. On 3rd and 1 from the Pittsburgh 9, Josh Allen gained 3. With 22 seconds left in the half, it all came down to 3rd and goal at the 3. Allen out of the shotgun found Davis for the score as the Bills took a 10-0 lead t the locker rooms.

The Steelers tried to get some offense going in the third quarter, moving 69 yards in 10 plays. Yet on 3rd and 4 from the Buffalo 6, Roethlisberger threw incomplete. Chris Boswell hit the 24 yard field goal to get the Steelers on the board. The Bills after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 8 at the Pittsburgh 35. Allen threw incomplete and Sean McDermott decided to go for it rather than try a 53 yard field goal. Allen threw incomplete again. The Steelers moved from their own 36 to a 1st and goal at the 4. Then the Buffalo defense clamped down again. On 3rd and goal at the 6, a completion from Roethlisberger to Harris only gained 4. On 4th and goal at the 2, Mike Tomlin took no chances. Boswell hit the 20 yard field goal to get the Steelers within 10-6. Momentum was shifting. The Bills moved from their own 25 to a 4th and 1 at the Pittsburgh 41. Sean McDermott again went for it and Matt Breida was blown up for a 7 yard loss. 

The Steelers soon faced 3rd and 7 just past midfield. Roethlisberger threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 26 yard gain. Then Harri gained 18. With 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Big Ben hit Johnson for a 5 yard touchdown. The Steelers had their first lead of the game up 13-10. The Bills went 3 and out and had to punt on 4th and 12 from their own 23. The punt was blocked and recovered by Ulysses Gilbert III for a touchdown. 20 unanswered points had the Steelers up 20-10 with 9:45 left.

The Bills moved from their own 26 to a 3rd and goal at the 6. Yet a swing pass ended up being fumbled out of bounds for a one yard loss. Bass hit the 25 yard field goal to get the Bills within 20-13, but only 5 1/2 minutes remained. After a touchback, on 2nd and 7 from their own 33, Big Ben found Juju Smith-Schuster for 24. Despite it being the Jewish holiday season, neither Ben Roethlisberger or Juju Smith-Schuster are Jewish. On 3rd and 8 from the Buffalo 41, Big Ben hit Chase Claypool for 14. With 2:47 left, Boswell came in for a 45 yard field goal try to give the Steelers some breathing room. The kick was good and the Steelers led 23-13.

Needing 2 scores, the Bills were down to their last gasp with 2:19 left facing 4th and 10 at their own 36. Allen hit Sanders for 14 to midfield. With 54 seconds left the Bills had 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 14. Allen threw incomplete and offensive holding pushed the Bills back. Sean Mcdermott opted to immediately kick the field goal to preserve the clock. Bass hit from 42 to get the Bills within 7. The onside kick failed and that was it. Last year the Steelers started 11-0 before collapsing down the stretch and suffering a humiliating home playoff loss in the first round. The Bills advanced to the AFC Title Game and were a preseason Super Bowl pick. This was a statement game. The Steelers went on the road and hit a very good Bills team in the mouth. Mike Tomlin still knows how to coach football. 23-16 Steelers

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons — The Falcons moved 72 yards in 14 plays and 5 minutes. Yet despite 2nd and goal at the 3, Matt Ryan threw incomplete twice. Younghoe Koo hit the 21 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Falcons. The Eagles are a team in flux. Non-descript Doug Pederson is out only 3 years after winning the franchise’s only Super Bowl. Some guy named Nick Sirianni is the equally nondescript new coach. Carson Wentz is gone. Nick Foles is gone. Jalen Hurts is the starting quarterback. After a touchback Hurts hit Watkins for 10 with defensive unnecessary roughness adding 15 to midfield. Hurts hit Watkins for 11 and then ran for 13. Hurts threw an 18 yard touchdown pass to Smith to put the Eagles up 7-3. The Falcons again moved the ball on a 15 play, 74 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. Yet again the Falcons melted down near the goal line. 1st and goal at the 2 was followed by a pair of offensive penalties. The second quarter began with Koo hitting a 27 yard field goal to get the Falcons within 7-6. The first 28 minutes was a hideous slog. The final 32 minutes were a forgettable blowout.

The Eagles took over at their own 38 with 1:37 left in the half. On 3rd and 1 from their own 47, Gainwell gained 3. On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 45, Hurts ran for 11. On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 16, Hurts hit Dallas Goedert for 12 A touchdown was nullified by illegal man downfield. The Eagles were 9 yard away and only 9 seconds remained. Hurts hit Goedert for the touchdown. After a penalty on the defense on the kick, Nick Sirianni decided to go for the 2 point conversion with the ball on the one. Sanders ran it in as the Eagles led 15-6 at halftime. The second half served no purpose. Late in the third quarter the Eagles took over at midfield. On 3rd and 1, Sanders gained 6. Hurts hit Sanders for 25. Gainwell ran for the 8 yard touchdown to make it 22-6 Eagles. In the fourth quarter Hurts hit his fellow Jalen Reagor for a 23 yard touchdown. The Eagles added one more field goal to complete the blowout. Nick Sirianni won his very first NFL game as a head coach while the rookie coach of the Falcons lost his debut. His name is Arthur Smith, who may or may not be the offspring of Falcons owner Arthur Blank and former Falcons Coach Mike Smith. 32-6 Eagles

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs — Last year the Chiefs knocked off the Browns in a playoff game that was more competitive than expected, although Patrick Mahomes did play injured. This was a great football game with plenty of surprises but a predictable inevitable result. The Browns exploded out of the gate after a touchback. Nick Chubb ran for 2, caught a pass from Baker Mayfield for 8, and ran for 6 more. Mayfield went to Austin Hooper for 14 and ran for 7. On 3rd and 3 from the Chiefs 38, Mayfield hit Schwartz for 16. On 4th and 3 from the Chiefs 15, Kevin Stefanski stunned everybody by going for it on the road in front of a hostel Chiefs crowd. You kick the field goal in that situation. Mayfield hit Hooper for 5, which is why Stefanski is coach and I am not. Chubb ran for 6 and then for the 4 yard touchdown. After the Chiefs committed encroachment, Stefanski decided to go for 2. Former Chiefs running back Karim Hunt ran it in to make it 8-0 Browns.

The Chiefs from their own 19 moved 71 yards in 10 plays and 6 minutes. On 3rd and 6 from the Cleveland 14, an offensive holding call was a killer. On 3rd and 11, a completion only gained 9. On 4th and 2 from the Cleveland 10, Walrus Andy Reid played it safe. Harrison Butker hit the 28 yard field goal to get the Chiefs within 8-3. After a touchback, mayfield immediately went deep to Schwartz for a 44 yard gain and to Bryant for 17 more. On 3rd and 5 from the Chiefs 9, Hunt gained only 4. Kevin Stefanski was aggressive all day, figuring the game would be a shootout. On 4th and 1 from the 5, Jarvis Landry spun around defenders like a pinwheel and just barely broke the plane of the goal for a touchdown. Early in the second quarter, the Browns had the 15-3 lead in front of a stunned crowd at Arrowhead. 

The Chiefs soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Burton gained 2. On 3rd and 7 from their own 39, Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for 11. On 3rd and 4 from the Cleveland 44, Mahomes went to Hill for 22 and Travis Kelce for 19. Mahomes ran for a 5 yard touchdown to cap the 12 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive and get the Chiefs within 15-10. The Brows soon faced 1st and 15 at their own 14. Mayfield hit Schwartz for 9. Schwartz then took an end around 17 more. Mayfield hit Chubb for 10 and Landry for 9. Stefanski then went to the bag of tricks.. Mayfield threw a backward pass to Landry, who has thrown several option passes in his career. He played quarterback in college. This time Landry smartly saw nobody was open and took off running. He gained 8, with 15 more added on for defensive facemask. Chubb raced untouched for an 18 yard touchdown. With 3 minutes left in the half the Browns led 22-10 in front of a home crowd on the verge of shellshocked. The Browns were just hitting the Chiefs in the mouth.

The Browns got it back at their own one yard line with 90 seconds left in the half. Hunt ran for 5 and 15 and Mayfield then went deep to Njoku for 43 yards. Yet on 3rd and 10 from the Chiefs 36, an offensive holding penalty pushed the Browns out of long field goal range. A sack of Mayfield had the Browns facing 4th and 31 as the clock was ticking down. Yet rather than let the half expire, Kevin Stefanski kept going big. He called timeout with 3 seconds left and set up for a Hail Mary from his own 43. Instead, Stefanski went with the hook and laterals. Mayfield hit Landry for 32 yards, and he lateraled to Mayfield for 11 more. Yet around the Chiefs 10 yard line, the defense finally got the stop. The Browns were dominating, but everyone knew the Chiefs would come back. 

The Chiefs began the third quarter facing 3rd and 3 at their own 32. Mahomes went to Hill for 6. Mahomes hit Mecole Hardman for 7 and kielce for 12. On 3rd and 7 from the Cleveland 36, Mahomes ran for 8. Mahomes hit Kelce for an 11 yard touchdown to cap the 14 play, 75 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive. The Chiefs were within 22-17. After a touchback the Browns quickly moved to a 1st and 10 at their own 48. Yet Chubb fumbled and the Chiefs recovered at their own 47. On 3rd and 1 from the Cleveland 44, a direct snap to Bell went for 2. On 3rd and 2 from the Cleveland 34, Mahomes hit Carl Edwards-Helaire for 14. Yet on 3rd and 10 from the Cleveland 20, a false start was followed by an incompletion. Butker hit from 43 to get the Chiefs within 22-20 after three quarters.

The Browns did not fold. After a touchback Mayfield hit Landry for 11 as the fourth quarter began. Mayfield hit Landry for 9 more and then found Njoku for 30. Chubb bruised ahead for gains of 7, 6 and 2. Hunt got the last 2 for the score. With 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Browns had breathing room up 29-20. One play and 14 seconds later that breathing room evaporated. Mahomes rolled out and went bombs away to Hill, who-out jumped the defender and coasted into the end zone. Just like that, the Chiefs were within 29-27. The Browns had played smart all day but one breakdown killed them. They were punting on 4th and 12 from their own 23. Punter Gillian fumbled the snap and had no chance of getting the punt off. He got taken down at his own 15 yard line. On 3rd and 3 from the Cleveland 8, Mahomes went to Kelce for the touchdown. The 2 point try failed but the Chiefs had their first lead of the game up by 4 points midway through the fourth quarter. 

The Browns failed to gain a first down and punted with 5 1/2 minutes left. With 4 minutes left the Chiefs faced 3rd and 2 at their own 35. Mahomes hit Kelce for 14. Yet pass-happy Walrus Andy Reid kept passing, which allowed incompletions to stop the clock. On 3rd and 10 just shy of midfield, Mahomes was sacked for a 9 yard loss. The Browns were very much alive, taking over at their own 17 with 3 minutes left. With 1:16 left a 19 yard completion had the Browns at their own 48. Mayfield played well all game, but when it mattered most he got reckless. Under heavy pressure, rather than take the sack, he tried throwing a ball as he was going down. It was underthrown and intercepted. Mayfield was a red hot 21 of 28 for 321 yards without a touchdown pass. Mahoems was 27 of 36 for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yet Mahomes was not intercepted, while Mayfield had the one killer interception that was part of 3 second half Cleveland turnovers. The win made Andy Reid a most relieved Walrus indeed. 33-29 Chiefs

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints — Although this was a home game for the Saints, it was played in Jacksonville, Florida due to damage to the Superdome from Hurricane Ida. Last year Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees both had home playoff games against Tom Brady. Brady slayed them both en route to his 7th Super Bowl trophy. Rodgers and Brees had only one each, and Brees decided to retire. Rodgers decided to spend the entire offseason bitching and complaining and acting like a prima donna. Despite consecutive 13-3 seasons and trips to the NFC Title Game, Rodgers threatened to retire because he did not have enough talent around him. He was unhappy that Jordan Love was drafted, oblivious to the fact that Brett Favre was not thrilled with Rodgers being drafted. After losing the NFC Title Game at home, Rodgers began this season against a Saints team that started Jameis Winston rather than Brees. Bruce Arians was not able to fix Winston, although to be fair he got rid of him for Brady. If Sean Payton could not fix Winston, nobody could Well apparently Payton can. His first game without Brees was quite successful. This potential NFC Title Game matchup was never competitive. 

The Saints moved from their own 25 to a 2nd and 7 at the Packers 26. Winston threw incomplete twice. Aldrick Rosas hit a 44 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Saints. The Saints got it back and soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 33. Taysom Hill did not get the starting quarterback job, but he still comes in for special plays. This time he gained 2 for the first down. Winston hit Harris for 17. On 3rd and 8 from the Green Bay 35, Winston did not force anything as he has in the past. The former top overall pick scrambled for 10 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Green Bay 17, Alvin Kamara gained just enough. Winston began the second quarter by hitting Kamara for a 3 yard touchdown. The 15 play, 75 yard, 8 minute drive had the Saints up 10-0 and set the tone for the day. 

The Saints got it back and had an even longer mind-numbing drive. 15 plays. 80 yards. 10…yes 10…minutes off the clock. Jones had 3 straight runs for 5, 9 and 3. Kamara added 11 more. On 4th and 7 from the Green Bay 41, Sean Payton decided to go for it. He kept his foot on the gas. Winston hit Johnson for 12. Kamara busted off runs of 6 and 14. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Hill came in. Yet this time he lost a yard. On 4th and goal at the 3, Payton again decided to go for it. Maybe he was just trying to draw the Packers defense offside. Either way, they complied, moving the ball to the one. Winston hit Juwan johnson for the touchdown. With one minute left in the half the Saints led 17-0. The Packers did manage a field goal to end the half, but all that did was end the shutout. In the second half the Saints blasted the Packers to pieces. 

The Packers began the third quarter after a touchback moving all the way to a 2nd and 7 at the Saints 9. A touchdown would get the Packers within 17-10. Instead, Rodgers was intercepted by Adebo, who returned it 33 yards to the Saints 40. The Packers got it back and soon faced 3rd and 7 at their own 8. Rodgers got desperate, and laughed a bomb wit no receivers in sight. It was intercepted by Williams, who returned it 53 yards to the Green Bay 12. On 3rd and 8, Winston hit Chris Hogan for the 10 yard touchdown to make it 24-3 Saints. Matt LaFleur made a desperate move of his own, deciding to go for it on 4th and 1 from his own 22. Again, consult with Barry swather before doing this. Rodgers threw incomplete. On 3rd and 9, Winston appeared to make his only mistake of the game, getting intercepted in the end zone. Yet a horrendous roughing the passer call gave the Saints 1st and goal at the 10. The hit on Winston was completely clean. Yet on the first play of the fourth quarter, Winston hit Johnson for an 8 yard touchdown to make it 31-3 Saints.

The Saints got it back at their own 34. Kamara ran for 4 and 7. Winston then went to Deonte Harris for a 55 yard touchdown to complete the carpet-bombing. The final 11 minutes saw Matt LaFleur pull Rodgers for his own safety and give Love some action. With one minute left down by 5 touchdowns, the Packers had 1st and goal at the 5. Yet even a garbage touchdown was too much to ask. Love was sacked and fumbled to end the humiliating defeat. Rodgers was awful, going 15 of 28 for 133 yards, 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Winston was magnificent. He only threw 20 passes, completing 14 of them. He only had 148 yards passing. This is because the Saints ran the ball 39 times for 171 yards. Even with such small numbers in the air, Winston still had 5…yes 5…touchdown passes. More importantly, he had 0 interceptions. This is your umpteenth reminder that Winston was the top overall pick a few years ago. Sean Payton can still coach. Aaron Rodgers skipped all of training camp throwing his temper tantrum. Maybe it is not his lack of help. Maybe other quarterbacks are just better at making their teammates better. On this day, Rodgers played horrendous. 38-3 Saints 

Denver Broncos at New York Giants — Vic Fangio had never won a September football game. Daniel Jones can’t stop fumbling. Something had to give. The Giants began facing 3rd and 5 at their own 28. Jones went deep to Slayton for a 42 yard gain to the Denver 30. That was his game highlight. His next pass lost 6 yards followed by a run that lost 2 more yards. The Jones let the play clock run out as the Giants were out of field goal range. The Broncos began their second drive at their own 33. They took over at their own 33 and moved 62 yards in 15 plays and over 8 1/2 minutes. Teddy Bridgewater was the starter over Drew Lock, and on 4th and 7 from the Giants 37, Fangio decided to go for it. Bridgewater hit Patrick for 15 yards. The drive died at the 5 but Brandon McManus hit a 23 yard field goal early in the second quarter to make it 3-0 Broncos. 

After a touchback, Jones hit Kenny Golladay for 17. On 3rd and 7 from their own 45, Jones threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant 5 yards and an automatic first down. On 3rd and 5 from the Denver 45, Jones hit Sterling Shepard for 8. Jones then went back to Shepard for a 37 yard touchdown. The Giants led 7-3. The Broncos moved from their own 25 to a 2nd and 7 at the Giants 10. Bridgewater hit Okwuegbunam for 6, but the man with the impossible to spell last name fumbled the ball. The Giants recovered at their own 4 yard line. Yet the Giants went 3 and out and the Broncos got it back at their own 43 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. On 4th and 2 just past midfield, Vic Fangio decided to go for it. Bridgewater hit Cortland Sutton for 14 and Jerry Jeudy for 17. Despite it being the Jewish New Year a few days earlier, Jeudy is not Jewish. Bridgewater then went to Tim Patrick for 16 down to the 2 yard line with 13 seconds left in the half. With everything on the line, Bridgewater hit Patrick for the touchdown. The Broncos only led 10-7 at the break, but the damage was done.

The Broncos had the ball to end the first half and began the second half with a staggering 16 play, 75 yard drive that took over 8 minutes. On 3rd and 5 from their own 30, Bridgewater hit Hamler for 10. On 3rd and 6 from their own 44, Bridgewater hit Okwuegbunam for just enough to midfield. On 3rd and 4 from the Giants 44, Bridgewater hit Fast for 8. On 3rd and 7 from the Giants 33, Bridgewater hit Jeudy for 20. Jeudy was injured on the play and did not return. Early reports were grim. On 4th and 1 from the Giants 4, Vic Fangio decided to go for it. Again with everything on the line, the Giants defense broke. Bridgewater hit Okwuegbunam for the touchdown as the Broncos led 17-7. 

The Giants defense was gassed. They needed a rest. After a touchback, Jones did move the Giants 60 yards in 10 plays. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Denver 22, Jones did what he does. He scrambled for 7 yards and then fumbled the ball away. The Broncos took over at their own 13 and moved 69 yards in 10 plays and 5 minutes. On 3rd and 8 from their own 15, Bridgewater went to Hamler for 22. Williams ran for 12 and unnecessary roughness on the defense 2 plays later added 15 more. With 13 minutes left in regulation, McManus hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 20-7 Broncos.

The Giants then moved 69 yards in 14 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 4 from the Denver 46, Joe Judge decided to go for it. Jones scrambled for 8 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Denver 13, Jones threw incomplete but a defensive facemask meant a new set of downs. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 6, Jones threw incomplete. with 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the field goal made little sense. Joe Judge lwent for it. Jones threw incomplete again and the entire drive again came up snake eyes. The Broncos put the dagger in quickly. On 3rd and 4 from their own 12, Bridgewater went to Melvin Gordon for only 3 yards, but a roughing the passer call meant 15 more yards. On the next play Gordon sliced through the exhausted giants defense and raced untouched for a 70 yard touchdown. The Broncos led 27-7. The Giants managed one garbage touchdown. Vic Fangio got his first September win. Bridgewater looked good and Jones was awful. Daniel Jones is already the new Dave Brown, only with more fumbles. 27-13 Broncos 

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots — After 20 years of coexisting with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick got rid of Cam Newton after one year. Newton has his theory why, but refuses to consider that maybe he is washed up. Either way, rookie Mac Jones is now the Patriots starting quarterback. The Dolphins are built around defense while Tua Tagovailoa remains a question mark. For the first time in about 8 billion years, the Patriots did not win their division, make the playoffs, or even have a winning record in 2020. Blame the pandemic, but several players on their defense did opt out last year. They returned this year. Belichick does not offer excuses, so it would be interesting to see if he could defeat his protege Brian Flores at home.

The Patriots did move from their own 25 to a 1st and 10 at the Miami 30. Yet Jones made a rookie mistake, and was sacked and fumbled. The result was a 13 yard loss. On 4th and 17 from the Miami 37, Belichick opted against a 55 yard field goal try. The Patriots punted. The Dolphins tool over at their own 20. Tagovailoa hit Waddle for 17. On 3rd and 3 from their own 44, Gaskin gained 15. Tagovailoa hit Smythe for 9 and Ahmed for 18. Tagovailoa ran for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Dolphins. The Patriots took over at their own 26. From their own 39, Jones hit Stevenson for 9, but Stevenson fumbled and the Dolphins recovered. The Patriots got it back again at their own 26 and this time moved 65 yards in 14 plays and 7 minutes. Yet on 2nd and 10 from the Miami 14, offensive holding killed the drive. Nick Folk hit the 27 yard field goal to get the Patriots within 7-3 with 10 minutes left in the half.

With 6 minutes left the Patriots took over at their own 37. Jones hit Harris for 8 and Nelson Agholor for 25 more. On 3rd and 1 at the Miami1 7, Jones was sacked. However, a roughing the passer call instead meant 1st and goal at the 8. Jones then hit Agholor for a 7 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 Patriots with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. After a touchback, Tagovailoa went deep to Waddle for 36 yards. With 19 seconds left in the half after an incompletion, it came down to 3rd and 5 at the New England 23. Tagovailoa was sacked. Sanders hit a 48 yard field goal as the teams went to the intermission deadlocked 10-10. 

The Dolphins began the third quarter facing 3rd and 8 at their own 27. Tagovailoa went deep to Parker for 30. Gaskin then caught a pass from Tagovailoa for 12 and ran for 15 himself. Tagovailoa hit Waddle for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 17-10 Dolphins. The Patriots had a pair of long 14 play drives but could not finish them. In the third quarter they moved 67 yards, taking 8 minutes off the clock. In the fourth quarter it was 57 more yards and 6 1/2  more minutes off the clock. Yet all the Patriots could muster was Nick Folk field goals from 42 and 33 to get the Patriots within one point with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. 

The Dolphins after a touchback moved to a 3rd and 7 at the Miami 43. Tagovailoa under pressure threw a terrible pass that was intercepted. The Patriots took over at midfield and moved to a 1st and 10 at the Miami 11 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. They were in total control Then Harris got the carry, and fumbled. The Dolphins took over at their own 9. On 2nd and 1 from the 18, Brown gained 2 off a direct snap as the Patriots took their first timeout with 2 1/2 minutes left. The Patriots took their last timeout as the entire game came down to 3rd and 1 from the Miami 29. Jacoby Brissett came in for Tagovailoa for one play. Brian Flores did this because Brissett is much bigger. Brissett took the quarterback sneak and gained 2 yards. Tagovailoa came back in and took 3 knees. The evil empire of football led by Evil Hoodie Bill Belichick may finally see his deal with the devil expiring. 17-16 Dolphins  

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams is the Sunday night game. This was the first game ever at the 2 billion dollar Stan Kroenke Los Angeles palace known as SoFi Stadium. Jared Goff is gone and Matthew Stafford is here. He is supposed to be the last piece of the puzzle for a Rams team primed to win it all. Sean McVay has a complete team while Matt Nagy decided to start Red Rifle Andy Dalton over Nick Foles and rookie Justin Fields. The Bears Herbert returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to the Rams 43. The bears quickly moved to a 3rd and 1 at the Rams 3 yard line. Then came the false start. Then Dalton went to the end zone and was intercepted for a touchback. After that early on the Rams made it look easy. Taking over at their own 20, they needed only 3 plays. From their own 33, Stafford went bombs away to Jefferson for a 67 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Rams lead. 

The Bears moved from their own 24 to a 4th and 4 at the Rams 41. Matt Nagy decided to go for it. Dalton threw incomplete. The Rams moved to a 3rd and 5 at the Chicago 35. Stafford threw incomplete. Sean McVay went with the 53 yard field goal try and Matt Gay delivered to make it 10-0 Rams. The Bears moved from their 25 to a 4th and 4 at the Rams 38. Nagy again decided to go for it and Dalton was sacked and fumbled. The Rams took over at their own 42 and moved 54 yards in 10 plays. Yet despite 1st and goal at the 2, a run lost two yards and Stafford threw incomplete twice. With 11 1/2 minutes left in the half, Gay hit from 22 to make it 13-0 Rams.

The Bears took over at their own 45 with 4:42 left in the half. Dalton hit Ket for 10. Montgomery ran for 10 more. Dalton hit Robinson for gains of 9 and 8 and then scrambled for 9 more to set up 3rd and 1 from the Rams 3 with 34 seconds left in the half. Montgomery ran it in as the Bears only trailed 13-7 at halftime. In the third quarter the Rams again struck quickly. On 3rd and 10 from their own 25, Stafford hit Robert Woods for 19. Stafford then went deep to Cooper Kupp for a 56 yard touchdown to make it 20-7 Rams. 

The Bears knew their only chance was to slow the game and keep the Rams offense off the field. The Bears embarked on a staggering 16 play, 81 yard drive that consumed her 9 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 3 from their own 26, Dalton hit robinson for 7. On 3rd and 2 from their own 43, Dalton hit Ket for 3. Dalton then hit Goodwin for 10. On 3rd and 8 from the Rams 14, Dalton hit Graham for 11. Matt Nagy then brought Justin Fields in for one play. Fields ran for the 3 yard touchdown to get the Bears within 20-14. The Rams soon faced 3rd and 5 from their own 30. Stafford hit Tyler Higbee for 6. Stafford then went deep to Higbee for 37 more. Stafford hit Kupp for 6 to set up 3rd and 1 at the Chicago 18. Stafford hit Kupp for 17 down to the one. Darrell Henderson got the last yard for the touchdown as the Rams led 27-14 after three quarters.

The Bears were dominating statistically. They led the time of possession 30 minute to 15. They reached opposing territory on all of their first 7 drives. Yet the Rams just had too much speed. The Bears had another 13 play drive that took almost 6 1/2 minutes off the clock. Yet they came up empty. On 1st and 10 from the Rams 25, Dalton was sacked for a 15 yard loss. With 10 minutes left in regulation, Nagy went for it on 4th and 15 from the Rams 30. Dalton threw incomplete. Sean McVay switched from Greatest Show on Turf redux to smash mouth. He understand the need to run the ball in the fourth quarter. Henderson ran for 5, 8, 9, 5 and 2. On 3rd and 13 from the Chicago 36, Stafford hit Kupp for 15. On 3rd and 9 from the Chicago 20, Henderson gained 15. The Rams held the ball for 13 plays and took nearly 7 minutes off the clock. With 3 1/2 minutes left, the Bears took their second timeout with the Rams facing 3rd and goal at the 2. Stafford delivered the dagger, firing over the middle to Woods in the back of the end zone. Some how Woods got both feet down. The Rams have Super Bowl aspirations. In their opening night, they played like it. Stafford was red hot, going 20 of 26 for 321 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. 34-14 Rams    

Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders was the Monday night game. The Raiders got the ball first. Although Derek Carr was the starter, Jon ngruden employed some trickery early on. On 3rd and 1 from their own 34, Marcus Mariota came in and lined up in the shotgun, not Carr. Mariota took the snap and raced up the middle 31 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the Baltimore 34, Carr fired over the middle to Darren Waller for 13 Despite 1st and 10 at the Baltimore 21, the Raiders self-destructed. An offensive holding call moved them back. They were still in field goal range facing 3rd and 17 from the Baltimore 28. Yet Carr was in the shotgun totally unprepared for the snap. It sailed past him. He fell on it for a 15 yard loss, pushing the Raiders out of field goal range. A good punt pinned the Ravens at their own 8 yard line. It was time to see if the defense had finally improved under first year defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

Lamar Jackson is a pinball machine, and he ripped off an 18 yard gain. The Ravens moved to their own 41, but then the defense finally dug in. Maxx Crosby chased Jackson again and again, forcing an incompletion, leading a run to go virtually nowhere, and on 3rd and 13, corralling Jackson and letting Philyon finish him off for the sack. The Raiders got it back at their own 24 but Carr threw 3 straight incompletions. He had an open receiver on 3rd and 10 and just misfired, barely avoiding an interception. The Ravens took over at their own 35. On 3rd and 7 from the Raiders 41, Jackson threw a short pass that gained 6. On 4th and 1 from the Raiders 35, John Harbaugh decided to go for it despite having the best kicker in the game in Justin Tucker. Williams got the carry and the raiders defense was simply awful. Tyson Williams got the first down and the touchdown. Unlike John Higgins in the Super Bowl, Williams did not even have to break a tackle as the Ravens led 7-0. Williams was the fourth string running back, given that Baltimore lost their top three running backs to injury. The starting Raiders defense got thrashed by a fourth string running back.

This was not the 2000 AFC Title Game, where 7-0 was enough for the Baltimore defense to suffocate their way to a win. Nevertheless, it was up to the Raiders offense to win the game. The defense was not going to get it done.From their own 15, Josh Jacobs kicked things off with a 13 yard run. Yet Carr continued to be off the mark, adding a couple more incompletions. The only bright spot for the riders was punter AJ Cole, as the Ravens took over at their own 20. This time the defense held and the Raiders got it back at their own 31. Despite 3rd and 4, a false start and a sack of Carr meant another punt. The Ravens took over at their own 32. Jackson went deep to Brown for a 29 yard gain. On 2nd and 14 from the Raiders 43, Jackson hit Sammy Watkins for another 29 yards. on 3rd and 6 from the Raiders 10, Jackson hit Brown for the touchdown as the Ravens led 14-0 over the lifeless Raiders with 9 minutes left in the half. 

After a touchback the Raiders finally got going. Carr hit Alec Ingold for 5, Kenyan Drake for 6, Hunter Renfrow for 12 and Darren Waller for 9. On 3rd and 1 from the Baltimore 43, Carr went deep to Waller for 24 and again for 8. On 3rd and 2 from the Baltimore 11, Carr threw incomplete but defensive pass interference meant a 9 yard gain. From the 2, Josh Jacobs banged his way straight up the gut and in. With 4:14 left in the half the Raiders were within 14-7. The Ravens moved easily after a touchback to a 3rd and 3 at the Raiders 38. Williams got the carry and gained only 2 yards. John Harbaugh again passed up a field goal try and went for it on 4th and 1 from the Raiders 36. Former Raiders running back Latavius Murray got the carry and KJ Wright came all the way from the backfield to tackle him for no gain. 

After the inspired defensive stand, Carr had 1:12 to work with. He found Zee Jones for 15 yards.On 3rd and 10 just past midfield, Carr hit Renfrow for 13. On 3rd and 3 from the Baltimore 29, Carr threw incomplete but a defensive personal foul for unnecessary roughness meant 1st and 10 at the Baltimore 14. However, only 10 seconds remained. The Raiders still had one timeout left. Carr looked for a receiver but nobody was open. Rather than force it, Carr took a loss of 2 yards and called timeout with 3 seconds left. Daniel Carlson hit the 34 yard field goal as the Raiders were within 14-10 at the intermission. 

The Ravens got the ball to start the third quarter at their own 25. Jackson hit Andrews for 10. Jackson threw a pair of deep bombs incomplete, but defensive illegal use of hands on Trayvon Mullin meant 5 yards and an automatic first down. On 3rd and 6 from their own 44, Jackson got hit as he threw, resulting in an incompletion. A good punt had the Raiders pinned at their own 7 yard line. On 2nd and 8, a short pass to Waller saw the usually reliable Waller drop it. Them On 3rd and 8 Carr went back to Waller for a 22 yard gain, but a very questionable offensive pass interference call on Waller negated it. Then the play clock ran out. On 3rd and 14 from their own 3, a give up run to just create some space gained only one yard. Duvernay returned the punt 32 yards as the Ravens began with a short field at the Raiders 36. Jackson ran for an 11 yard gain but after that the defense held. On 3rd and 5 from the Raiders 22, Jackson threw incomplete. Tucker hit the 40 yard field goal for a 17-10 Ravens lead.

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 2 from their own 28. Carr went deep incomplete, but defensive pass interference meant a 32 yard gain. Jacobs busted up the middle for 8 yards, but offensive holding negated it. On 1st and 20, Carr calmly found Drake for 12 and Waller for 16. On 3rd and 5 from the Baltimore 17, a completion from Carr to Renfrow gained only 4. Jon Gruden decided to go for it. For all the talk of Gruden as a play-calling guru, he often calls terrible plays in this situation. He will complain about the execution, but it’s often the play call. This time he had Carr lined up in the shotgun rather than under center. Sometimes Gruden gets too cute by half. Sometimes the obvious call is the right call. Line up, play smashmouth, and get the damn yard. out of the shotgun, Jacobs never had a chance. He was tackled for no gain as a golden opportunity to tie the game was wasted.

Jackson immediately ran for 15. Yet on 3rd and 8 from his own 30, Jackson was sacked for a 5 yard loss as the third quarter ended. After years of Carr and the offense having to do all the work, on this night the defense was keeping the Raiders in the game. The offense needed to finish one drive to tie the game. The Raiders began with excellent field position at their own 41. first came a dropped pass. Then came a false start. Then came a sack and a 13 yard loss. Now the Raiders were facing 3rd and 28. Carr did hit Drake for 21, but the damage was done and they wasted another opportunity. The Ravens took over at their own 19. Jackson immediately completed a pass for 13 yards. On 2nd and 6 from their own 36, Jackson took off running and was belted by Jefferson, forcing a fumble. Perryman recovered it for the Raiders. The defense came through in the biggest possible way. The Raiders took over with a short field at the Baltimore 41. 

Carr hit Waller for 4 and Ingold for 5. On 3rd and 1 from the Baltimore 32, Gruden was again in the shotgun. Again it was a terrible decision. This time Jacobs bailed Gruden out with a phenomenal second effort for a gutty one yard run off-tackle. The Ravens took their first timeout on defense with 10 minutes left in regulation. Carr then hit Drake for 16 down to the Baltimore 15. Jacobs then showed his value in the biggest possible way. In the fourth quarter, when the defense is starting to wear down, all those 3 and 4 yard runs early…even the 1 and 2 yard runs…matter. Jacobs went straight up the gut and evaded tacklers for a 15 yard touchdown run. The Raiders had fought back and tied the game 17-17 with 9:18 to play.

Baltimore soon faced 3rd and 2 at their own 33. Marquise Brown gained 6. On 2nd and 5 from their own 43, Jackson went for the home run ball and found Watkins for a 49 yard gain. With 6 1/2 minutes left and the clock running, the Ravens had 1st and goal at the 8. Making matters worse, Gerald McCoy was injured on the play and was taken off on a cart. Yannick Ngakoue was on the sideline with a pulled hamstring. The Raiders pass rush was decimated. Murray got the carry and breezed into the end zone. The touchdown had the Ravens up 24-17, but 6 minutes still remained. 

After a touchback, Carr hit Waller for 9, Renfrow for 7, and Henry Ruggs for 9. Yet a pair of incompletions had the Raiders facing 3rd and 10 from the Baltimore 47. The Ravens looked like they were going to bring the house and Carr went for it all. For those wondering when Ruggs would ever catch another deep ball, the answer was when it mattered most. Carr hit Ruggs for 37 to set up 1st and goal at the 10. Then came the offensive holding penalty. Carr hit Waller for 10 to set up 2nd and goal at the 10. Carr fired over the middle to waller, who spun around 2 defenders to get the ball over the plane of the goal for the touchdown. The game was tied again 24-24 with 3:44 to play. now the defense had to figure out how to stop Jackson with everything on the line.

After a touchback, Jackson hit Ricard at the sticks for a first down. Crosby blew up a run as the clock hit the 2 minute warning with the Ravens facing 2nd and 10 at their own 35. Jackson then ripped off a 28 yard gain. The Raiders took their first timeout on defense with 1:40 left. The Raiders took their last timeout with 90 seconds left as the Ravens faced 3rd and 4 at the Raiders 31, already in field goal range. The entire world knows in this situation you run the football to take more time off the clock. You have to be out of your mind to throw it. Jackson rolled out like he was going to throw, but he was bluffing. On 4th and 2 from the Raiders 29, Tucker came in for a 47 yard field goal try to give the Ravens the lead. 42 seconds remained. The snap was not good but the hold was and the kick was. The Ravens had the 27-24 lead. 

The Raiders would have 37 seconds from their own 25 with no timeouts. Carr hit Brian Edwards for 20 and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 22 seconds. He then fired to Waller for 18 and spiked the ball again with 7 seconds left. Without a timeout, running one more play was a major risk. Yet a field goal would be 55 yards. Gruden opted for the field and Daniel Carlson came in for the biggest kick of his professional life. Carlson drilled it dead center with room to spare. This thriller at the Death Star was going to overtime tied 27-27. The Raiders won the coin toss and would have the ball first in the extra session. It was vital to score a touchdown so Jackson would not see the field again. 

After a touchback, Carr hit Edwards for 11. Carr then found Renfrow on the sideline, but Renfrow somehow stayed inbounds, evaded tacklers, and came back inside for a 27 yard gain. On 3rd and 4 from the Baltimore 33, Carr went deep to Edwards, who had single coverage. Edwards out-jumped the defender and rammed through the tackle to stretch the ball past the pylon for the winning touchdown. The Raiders erupted in celebration, the players of both teams hugged each other, and media people were on the scene to do interviews. There was just one problem. The game was not over. 

Jon Gruden on the sideline saw the replay and he knew it. Edwards’s knee was down before he stretched the ball. The Raiders would have the ball first and goal from 1/2 a yard away. Anyone who has ever watched a Raiders game knew there was a chance for self-destruction. Carr took the quarterback sneak, but he came up about 6 inches short. Now it was second down. Then came the inevitable nightmare. A false start pushed the Raiders back to the 5. The Raiders should have stayed under center and run the ball, but Gruden had Carr back in the shotgun ready to pass. Carr threw incomplete. Now it was 3rd and goal at the 5. A field goal would not end the game. The Raiders found that out in their regular season finale loss last year against the Chargers. The Raiders picked a field goal and gave up a touchdown. This time the result was even worse. Carr threw a pass to Willie Snead. It went through his hands and bounced off a defender’s helmet high in the air. Carr could only helplessly watch as the ball was intercepted. One moment the Raiders had won. the next moment they had found a way to lose. Jackson was coming back on the field and would surely torch a deflated defense. 

Jackson immediately hit Watkins for 10. On 3rd and 7 from their own 33, a play that will forever be remembered by both teams added to the craziness. Maxx Crosby had been harassing Jackson all night. On this play he was double teamed. This left an unblocked Carl Nassib to strike straight at Jackson. Nassib pulled off the trifecta. He sacked Jackson, forced the fumble, and recovered it. The roller coaster of emotions had now turned back again in the direction of the silver and black. The Raiders took over at the Baltimore 27. This time the only needed a field goal to win it. The plan was simple Run three times into the line and kick a field goal. Better yet, run it only twice and kick the field goal on third down. The Raiders never do anything the conventional way. The question is if they would self-destruct again.

Drake got the carry and gained one yard. Good enough. Now run one more time to center the ball and kick it. Jon Gruden decided to kick ons second down. That is not a bad decision per se, but another run would take another 45 seconds off of the clock. 4 1/2 minutes remained in overtime. In case of a miss, the less time left for Jackson the better. Nevertheless, kicking on second down is justifiable. Yet Carlson was busy practicing kicking into the kicking nets. By the time he got on the field, there was not enough time to set up the kick. The Raiders had already burned both of their overtime timeouts and were out of timeouts. Rather than snap the ball and spike it into the ground, the Raiders took a delay of game penalty. Now it was 2nd and 14. Instead of a 44 yard try, it would be 49 yards. Carlson had already hit from 55, but a disgusted Gruden waived his kicker back to the sideline and Carr back out on the field. Carr was expected to hand off one more time and then the Raiders would kick on third down. Carlson never got a chance to kick. The Raiders never do things the easy way.

With the entire football world expecting Carr to hand the ball off, Carr noticed that the Ravens were in a zero blitz defense formation. That was the formation that allowed the Raiders to beat the Jets last year with a miracle bomb. Rather than hand it off, Carr saw Zee Jones blow past the lone defender in the region, Carr faded back and threw a bomb to a wide open Jones, who caught it and breezed into the end zone as the shellshocked Ravens looked on. This time the score counted. The game was over. On the night the Al Davis forced was lit for the first time this season, it was only fitting that a bomb would win the game. 

Carr was magnificent. Anyone who has ever questioned his talent, guts and heart (which sadly includes too many Raiders fans) should be permanently silenced on the issue. Carr was masterful against one of the best defenses in the league. He threw the ball 56 times, completing 34 of them for 435 yards, 2 touchdowns, and the one freak interception. He also made the 2 big completions in the final 37 seconds of regulation without a timeout. Jackson was 19 of 30 for 235 yards and one touchdown without being intercepted. Yet Jackson also rushed for 86 yards on 12 carries. 

Another notable name was Carl Nassib. A few weeks ago Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders became known as the 1st openly gay NFL player. My message to Mr. Nassib at the time was simple: While I was happy that he found inner peace, my main request of him was that he take opposing quarterbacks and knock them on their @sses. He was a Raider, and the only thing I saw was Silver and Black. From now on, Mr. Nassib is no longer just the first gay player. He is just the hero of this Monday Night Football game who forced and recovered the winning fumble and helped the Raiders win a tough contest against Baltimore. He is forever etched in the history books of Raiders who made big time plays in the biggest moments.

Mr. Nassib is a great football player & Monday night’s hero (who happens to be gay). 

This was an Al Davis win in every sense of the word, and Mark Davis was pumping his fist the way his father used to do. Jon Gruden after the game pointed out that while it was far from perfect, it was one of the wildest and craziest games he had ever been a part of. That says a lot given the history of the Raiders. ngruden summed it up best with Al Davis’s mantra: Just win baby. They did. With character, guts, and plenty of heart. 33-27 Raiders, OT 

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My hospitalization and recovery from Covid

September 5th, 2021

The following is a timeline of events detailing my battle with, hospitalization from, and recovery from Covid.

Let the record show that I have while I have always been anti-lockdown and anti-mask (I have a breathing disorder that makes it harmful to wear a mask), I am not anti-vaccine. I did not get the vaccine, but that was due to procrastination. I had planned to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it was only one shot.

I am pro-freedom and anti-mandates. If you want to wear a mask or get a vaccine of your own free will, fine. I am not fine with the government bullying you into doing so either directly or indirectly through corporate harassment or social justice warrior mobs. Those screaming at others to: 1) stay home…2) wear masks…3) get vaccinated…are often the ones who refuse to stay home themselves and repeatedly get caught at swanky events without masks. Leaders with the strictest edicts have repeatedly been caught violating their own edicts, covering it up, and lying about it.

Also, these same liberal screamers have spent the last few years harassing others over climate change, gender pronouns, systemic racism, and other nonsense…yes, I said it…nonsense. Leftists have turned into Isl@mists. They just like yelling. Now they have even adopted the Isl@mist tactic of burning down neighborhoods, buildings, businesses and cities where other people try to engage in activities such as breathing, existing, and God forbid, commerce.

Their hysteria notwithstanding, the Covid virus is real. It can be deadly. I found myself washing my  hands more frequently and using hand sanitizer. I reduced the level of handshakes and replaced them with elbow bumps.

My business travel was vital to my income.

Tuesday, July 26, 2021 — I flew from Los Angeles to Springfield, Missouri.

Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, August 7 — I was a vendor at the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield in Southwest Missouri. I knew that Missouri had become a Covid hotspot, but living in fear is not the answer. My friend was also a vendor at the fair. We were both staying in his RV on the campgrounds along with his disabled son. It was 3 guys in close quarters. I had my own sleeping area but we had a common bathroom and shower. Everything was normal.

We had 5 days until the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia in Central Missouri. So I took a few days for myself.

Sunday, August 8 — Visited friends in Fremont, Nebraska and a synagogue and other friends in Omaha.

Monday, August 9 — Visited a synagogue in Leawood, Kansas. Drove that night back to Springfield, Missouri. Stayed with another friend.

Tuesday, August 10 — Spoke to a women’s group in Springfield and then returned to Sedalia and my friends at the camper in Central Missouri. We had August 11th off.

Thursday, August 12 through Sunday, August 22 — I was a vendor at the Missouri State Fair. I stayed in the RV with my friend and his son. At the beginning, everything was still normal.

Tuesday, August 17 — My friend and his son fell ill. For the next three days, he felt quite ill although his son got better. They did not have Covid symptoms, so we all assumed it was just a cold or fatigue. His disabled son has plenty of health problems as it is.

Friday, August 20 — My friend took himself and his son to the doctor. They tested positive for Covid. Upon hearing the news, I immediately vacated the RV. We had a mutual friend who lived only a few blocks from the fairgrounds. That friend and his wife already had Covid previously, so they welcomed me into their guest bedroom without reservations. My friend was supposed to drive me on Sunday the 22nd to St. Louis for my flight home on Monday the 23rd. Because of his illness, I changed my flight home from on Monday the 23rd from St. Louis to Kansas City.

Sunday, August 22 — Although I was tired, working a fair is tiring. I did not have any Covid symptoms. I was supposed to fly home on Monday, but I decided to accelerate the process while I still felt healthy. Another vendor who had previously had Covid drove me from Sedalia to Kansas City, Missouri when the fair ended.

I felt no need to get a Covid test in Missouri. I knew that in Los Angeles, I was within walking distance of UCLA Medical Center. If I had to quarantine, I would rather do so at home near the best hospital than in a town where I now was without a place to sleep. Again, I did not have symptoms.

My flight home was not until Monday, the 23rd, but I did not want to wait. I could not get all the way home, but on Sunday night I was able to fly from Kansas City to Las Vegas. A friend of mine picked me up at the Las Vegas airport and took me to the hotel. He was the only person I had close contact with during my less than 12 hours in Las Vegas. I went straight from the airport to the hotel and back the next day.

Monday, August 23 — I flew from Las Vegas home to Los Angeles. A friend who already had Covid a couple months ago and recovered picked me up and took me straight home.

On Monday night, I began feeling very fatigued. I had muscle weakness. This felt like more than just exhaustion from working and flying. I immediately scheduled a Covid test for the next day.

Tuesday, August 24 — I tested positive for Covid. I went straight home and quarantined. For a couple of days I took Theraflu at night. I figured relaxing at home would be enough. I had my full sense of taste and smell. The only pain I had was muscle weakness.

Wednesday, August 25 — I was not feeling better but not worse either. That night a friend of mine said he would bring me a cocktail of drugs that his friends had previously taken. It could have been Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine. I have no idea. I never got the chance. He was going to deliver these drugs on Thursday afternoon. By then it was too late.

Thursday, August 26 — Everything changed that morning. I could not get out of bed. My muscles were beyond weak, including back pain. Trying to stand up made my feel like I would collapse. I eventually staggered back into bed but I knew I was very ill. I called 911 from my bed and they quickly arrived. I could not stand up or walk. The paramedics loaded me onto a gurney, out my building, and into an ambulance. They took me to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which was again only a few blocks from my home.

The doctors gave me Remdesivir. It worked. By the next day, my fever was gone and would not return. However, I still needed to be hospitalized for several days. The doctors told me that they had zero interest in my vaccination status. They were going to save my life no matter what. While they were pro-vaccine, they were non-judgmental. Their only commitment was to getting me better. They said that the original Monochlomal blasters were not an option because those were preventative measures and it was too late for them. Had my condition been more severe, they may have tried them, but the medical staff felt the Remdesivir would be sufficient. They also gave me the steroid Dexamethasone in addition to something else for the cough.

I was on Oxygen for my entire five days in the hospital, but I was never on a ventilator. This was a very important discussion. I needed the oxygen but I did not need a ventilator.

Monday, August 31 — That evening I was well enough to go home. I was given another 5 days worth of steroids and plenty of medicine for the cough, which was waning. The back pain I had when  I got to the hospital was gone. I was tired, but otherwise definitely on the mend. I was now at home in quarantine.

The time of my quarantine was a mystery. At the beginning of the pandemic, Americans were told 14 days. Then it was lessened to 10 days. This meant I would be out of quarantine as early as Friday, September 3. However, people are hospitalized are supposed to quarantine up to 20 days, which would be Monday, September 13. This 20 days is a recommendation, not a law. The law was 10 days.

I found the solution. When the 10 days was up, I would take two separate Covid tests from independent facilities. If either of those tests were positive, I would probably have to stay in quarantine until September 13.

Wednesday, September 1 — I began to feel much better. I stayed in quarantine. I had my first post-discharge telephone consultation. The doctors were pleased with my progress.

Thursday, September 2 — I drove myself to a nearby Covid testing facility around 10:30am. By 11am I was back home in quarantine.

Friday, September 3 — I drove myself to a second nearby Covid testing facility around 11am. By 11:30am I was again back home in quarantine. Around 1:30pm I had my second post-discharge telephone consultation. The doctors seemed very pleased with my progress. They confirmed the differences between 10 day and 20 day quarantines, and that negative Covid tests would go a long way toward accelerating the process. Around 5:30pm I received the results from the first Covid test on Thursday. The results were negative.

At this moment I was legally allowed to end my quarantine. However, again out of an abundance of caution, I remained in quarantine pending the results of the second test. Those results were expected over the weekend. The testing facility said they would be open all weekend and on Monday even though it would be Labor Day. I was invited to a Jewish home for a Sabbath dinner Friday night. One Covid negative test was good enough for them. I politely declined, deciding to stay home and rest and wait for the second test as confirmation. I felt totally fine at this point.

Saturday, September 4 — At 10am I took my final doctor-prescribed dose of steroid Dexamethasone. The cough was pretty much gone as well, but I continued to take the cough medicine in addition to Nyquil at night to help me sleep.

Sunday, September 5 — At 9am, the second Covid test result came in. It was negative. The nightmare was over. I was now able to end my quarantine. I no longer had Covid or was a threat to transmit Covid.

I was supposed to go on another airplane back to the midwest on Thursday night, September 8. The flight from Los Angeles to Kansas City would this time be for the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson near Wichita. That would take place from September 10-19. Unfortunately, my health made doing this an unwise move.

America would be closed on Monday, September 6 for Labor Day. Then from Monday night through Wednesday night, I would voluntarily be shutting down for the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanahah. My flight would be right after the holiday ended, with no time to react. To race to the airport in that situation would be untenable. Plus, my friend I caught Covid from is still in quarantine. His son is thankfully better and he is getting better, but for me to fly in the middle of the night to meet an RV that might not even be there would be mind-numbingly stupid.

I have just been through a traumatic experience. I am definitely feeling better, but am not 100%. Working a fair for 10-12 hours per day for 10 days straight is just not something my body can handle right now. I need rest. I am still tired.

So I am canceling my trip to Kansas. It is my hope the Kansas State Fair will do the honorable thing and refund my money. They normally do not refund money, but Covid is a once in a century life and death pandemic. That is the polar opposite of normal.

I would love to do the Kansas Fair in 2022, but not in 2021.

So the plan is to spend all of September recuperating at home. Although I will ease into life, there are plenty of things awaiting me on different levels:

Sunday, September 5 — Reach out to every Jew I know to wish them a Happy Rosh Hashanah. I have to get this done by sundown on Monday night.

Monday, September 6 — Start of Rosh Hashanah. It runs through sundown on Wednesday, September 8.

Thursday, September 9 — NFL 2021 Regular Season kickoff game.

Saturday, September 11 — The 20 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Somber ceremonies will be everywhere.

Sunday, September 12 — NFL Sunday Week 1.

Monday, September 13 — Raiders game Week 1 on Monday Night Football. My close friend’s birthday.

Tuesday, September 14 — Recall election involving the California Governor.

Thursday, September 16 — Yom Kippur. The holiest day in the Jewish Calendar. I fast for 24 hours from sundown on the 15th through nightfall on the 16th, health permitting of course. I have fasted on Yom Kippur every year since age 13, and should be able to this time. After consulting with my doctors, I will probably have water to guard against dehydration.

Monday, September 20 — The Jewish holiday of Sukkos begins. The ritual is to eat in an outdoor hut.

Saturday, September 25 — Another close person in my life has a birthday.

Tuesday, September 28 — The Jewish holiday of Simchas Torah involves merriment at synagogue. In big cities such as Los Angeles, this means hopping from synagogue to synagogue. After two years of subdued celebrations, this year it should be much closer to normal. This will officially close out the annual Jewish holiday season that begins with Rosh Hashanah and runs through most of September.

For now, it is just time to rest and thank God that I am free of Covid. May everyone else who has ever had this awful disease recover as well. May we one day soon live in a world where Covid is something we read about in the history books rather than experience personally. Most importantly, may panic and pain over a serious illness never be used again as an excuse by power-hungry government officials to suppress individual freedoms. Giving up freedom is far worse than death. The Founding Fathers understood this. As Ben franklin cautioned, “Those willing to give up liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

I remain anti-lockdown, anti-mask, pro-vaccine, anti-mandate, and pro-freedom to my core. If you are pro-mask for yourself or anti-vaccine for yourself, I still support your right to make your individual medical decisions free from government interference or any other form of bullying.

I survived Covid, and I thank God, the staff at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, my family, and my friends for that.

To the many people who texted, called and messaged me on Facebook and my cell phone, thank you all, God bless you all, and I love you all.

eric

 

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No to the Olympics, Yes to the Laff-A-Lympics

July 23rd, 2021

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