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2009 NFL Week 13 Review



Jets 19, Bills 13

  • This was definitely not one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Hundreds of fans were present in the Rogers Centre to see two losing teams battle it out.

    The NFL Network ran a promo featuring several players who were talking about how exciting it was to play in Canada. Some of them, mainly Nick Mangold and Paul Posluszny, looked like they were lying. Only Bart Scott seemed pumped, but that's because he's a crazed lunatic.

    When the Jets established a two-score lead in this contest, the Bills looked like they just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. While the London game works, this Canada experiment has been a failure, mainly because Buffalo is such a bad team.

  • This score was close, but only because the Jets ruined tons of opportunities for themselves. In the first quarter, Braylon Edwards dropped what would have been an 85-yard touchdown. Mark Sanchez threw a beautiful deep ball, but it hit Edwards right in the face mask. It was pretty humorous and will definitely make ESPN's "C'mon Man!" segment.

    Later, David Clowney also dropped a touchdown pass. Mark Sanchez was also guilty, missing a wide-open Jerricho Cotchery for a touchdown on his first drive. This game should have been 21-3, but the Jets let the Bills hang around.

  • Sanchez had two poor throws, but even though the stats don't show it (7-of-15, 104 yards, TD), I thought he played really well. He was victimized by several drops, including the two aforementioned potential touchdowns. However, Sanchez left the game with a right knee injury. He put on a brace in the locker room and walked back out to the field, but never played again. His replacement, Kellen Clemens, was downright awful (1-2, 14 yards, fumble).

  • I think we can confirm that the Bills can't stop the run. In the first meeting between these squads, New York rushed for 309 yards. On Thursday, the Jets compiled 249 yards on the ground. Thomas Jones had 109 on 23 carries, while Shonn Greene chipped in with 59 yards on 11 attempts.

  • Though Edwards had that big botched touchdown and another drop in the second quarter, he redeemed himself by getting into the end zone at the end of the first half. Edwards had three catches for 45 yards. Jerricho Cotchery, meanwhile, was the better receiver with four grabs for 68 yards. Dustin Keller did nothing in the passing attack (1 catch, 5 yards).

  • Like Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick failed to complete 10 passes. With pressure constantly in his face, he was 9-of-23 for 98 yards and a late interception. As a positive, Fitzpatrick scrambled five times for 32 yards, prompting me to joke in the Live In-Game Thread that he is the best running quarterback in the NFL.

    However, Fitzpatrick seemed like he was forcing it into Terrell Owens too much. Darrelle Revis completely erased Owens from this game, holding the diva wideout to three catches for 31 yards.

    Fitzpatrick hit Lee Evans early in this game with a 38-yard bomb against Lito Sheppard. I was surprised he didn't exploit this matchup more; Sheppard has struggled this year. That Evans' only reception.

  • Shockingly, Marshawn Lynch looked like the better player in this contest. Carrying the ball just six times, Lynch ran for 60 yards and a touchdown, though his big gain (35 yards) was the result of great blocking and a poor effort by Jets safety Kerry Rhodes. Fred Jackson, meanwhile, managed just 31 on 13 carries, but did have three catches for 24 more yards.

  • Buffalo's offense was just awful in this game, compiling just 194 total yards and converting only 1-of-11 third downs.


    Eagles 34, Falcons 7

  • Unlike every other media outlet, I'm not going to stuff any QB Dog Killer coverage down your throat. All I will say is that I was glad to hear the entire Georgia Dome boo QB Dog Killer whenever he took the field.

    I will also say that the Eagles were pretty classless to allow QB Dog Killer to score two late, meaningless touchdowns against his former team. This was not a Cedric Benson-Chicago Bears-type situation; the Falcons got rid of QB Dog Killer because he was a scumbag who committed a terrible crime and went to jail. I've lost a lot of respect for Reid for his antics today. He could have easily won this contest without utilizing QB Dog Killer. What Reid did was utterly classless, and I will vow to make fun of him more often than already do.

    One person on NFL.com's GameCenter stated: "Hey look its the dogkiller. Only Pathetic Philadelphia Fans could support a criminal like that." Bravo.

  • The Falcons really had no chance here. They weren't very good with Matt Ryan at quarterback, so this was a predictable Eagles blowout. Philly led 27-0 before the starters left the game.

  • Donovan McNabb went 14-of-25 for 238 yards and a touchdown. Without DeSean Jackson, McNabb spread the ball around to Jeremy Maclin (4 catches, 83 yards), Reggie Brown (2-64), Jason Avant (3-36) and Brent Celek (2-16, TD). Leonard Weaver chipped in as well with a 59-yard reception.

  • As you can probably guess, the Eagles didn't run the ball at all until they led by multiple scores. Reid didn't eat the entire running portion of his playbook, however; LeSean McCoy had a grand total of six carries for just two yards. McCoy also had three receptions for 24 yards.

  • Chris Redman was pretty horrible. He took only one sack, but was just 23-of-44 for 235 yards, one late touchdown and two interceptions. Despite Redman's presence, however, both Roddy White (9 catches, 104 yards, TD) and Tony Gonzalez (8-72) didn't disappoint their fantasy owners.

  • Without Michael Turner, the Falcons split their carries evenly between Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood. Snelling had 10 rushes for 35 yards, while Norwood had 11 attempts for just 18 yards.


    Panthers 16, Buccaneers 6

  • If you didn't see this game, it may surprise you that the Buccaneers outplayed the Panthers, despite their 16-6 defeat. Tampa Bay mustered a whopping 469 total yards of offense (out-gaining Carolina by 160 yards).

    So, what happened? Josh Freeman's horrendous ball security once again murdered the Buccaneers' chances. Freeman was 23-of-44 for 321 yards, but threw a whopping five interceptions (three in the red zone). One of the picks came in desperation mode, so I won't fault him for that, but he had a really horrendous error on the opening drive of the third quarter. With a first-and-goal on the 4, Freeman ran a nice play-action fake, but fired a pass directly into Jon Beason's body.

    Raheem Morris also had a pretty bad blunder. With a fourth down on Carolina's 3-yard line with 10 minutes left and down seven points, Morris decided to eschew the field goal. The Buccaneers, who had trouble in the red zone all afternoon, predictably failed when Freeman overthrew a receiver despite having tons of time in the pocket.

    You may argue that Tampa Bay needed a touchdown to tie, but it's not like there were only three minutes left. There were 10 minutes remaining on the clock, and the Panthers made a field goal on their next possession, giving them a two-score advantage. Had Morris opted top kick it, his team still would have had a chance.

  • Antonio Bryant had a nice performance, catching five balls for 116 yards. Kellen Winslow chipped in with four grabs for 69 yards. Cadillac Williams rushed for 92 yards on 17 attempts.

  • Matt Moore started for the Panthers and did his best Jake Delhomme impression on one attempt (if you can't figure it out, he threw a pick). However, Moore took care of the ball otherwise, going 14-of-20 for 161 yards. Moore also hit Steve Smith (3 catches, 78 yards) on a 66-yard bomb, setting up that aforementioned clinching field goal.

  • DeAngelo Williams was out, allowing Jonathan Stewart to carry the load. On 26 attempts, Stewart compiled 120 yards and a touchdown.


    Bears 17, Rams 9

  • The Bears may have won this horrible game, but they didn't look much better than the Rams. Chicago out-gained St. Louis by only 15 yards. The difference was that Jay Cutler and Matt Forte scored touchdowns in the red zone, while the Rams had to settle for field goals.

    In fact, one sequence pretty much epitomized this contest for St. Louis: Down 10-0, Rams had the ball at midfield. Kyle Boller hit a pass to Danny Amendola to get the team close to the Bears 30. Unfortunately, Alex Barron was called for a holding penalty. One play later, Brandon Gibson fumbled the ball, returned by Chicago to St. Louis' 20.

    Just blown opportunities for the Rams all afternoon. They began six possessions in Chicago territory in this contest, but mustered just three field goals. Still, their fans can't be too upset; they're one step closer to landing Jimmy Clausen.

  • Cutler had a pretty weird stat line. He was just 8-of-17, but threw for 143 yards and a touchdown. Cutler collected his yardage on two big plays to Devin Hester (48) and Earl Bennett (71). Hester left the game with a calf injury, but should be fine for Week 14.

  • Forte ran well, compiling 91 yards and a score on 24 carries. However, his fantasy owners may have expected more from him in a matchup against St. Louis at the beginning of the season.

  • Forte's counterpart was predictably more impressive. Steven Jackson continued to run hard despite his back spasms, compiling 112 yards on 28 carries.

  • As you can imagine, Kyle Boller was pretty pedestrian; he was 17-of-32 for just 113 yards and an interception. Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson each caught three balls for 30 and 38 yards, respectively.





    Bengals 23, Lions 13

  • Aside from a key injury, the big story in this game was that after scoring a touchdown, Chad Ochocinco (9 catches, 137 yards, TD) donned a poncho and a sombrero on the sidelines. That should tell you something about this contest.

    The Bengals did a good job blowing out a team for the first time since stomping on the Bears late in October. They needed a big victory like this. Cincinnati had a 23-7 lead before Kevin Smith scored a late backdoor touchdown to cover the spread for Detroit.

  • The Lions simply couldn't sustain drives. They had only 14 first downs and were just 2-of-11 on third downs. They lost the time-of-possession battle by more than 19 minutes.

    Of course, Matthew Stafford's interceptions didn't help. Along with his 11-of-26 for 143 yards, he tossed two picks. He also took three sacks.

    The good news is Stafford connected on a beautiful 54-yard bomb to Calvin Johnson in the first quarter. Megatron, meanwhile, finished with six grabs for 123 yards and a score. The bad news is that Stafford re-aggravated his shoulder injury. There's a good chance he'll miss next week's game at Baltimore.

  • Smith, who scored the awesome backdoor touchdown, rushed for 75 yards on 16 attempts. He also had two catches for 29 more yards.

  • As for Smith's counterpart, Cedric Benson showed no effects from his injury. He actually had a whopping 36 carries, but for only 110 yards. Perhaps explaining that mediocre output was the fact that Benson didn't break a run for more than 11 yards. Detroit has quiety improved its rush defense lately; they've allowed than 3.3 yards per carry or less to their previous three opponents.

  • Carson Palmer was just 17-of-29 for 220 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Outside of Ochocinco's nine grabs, no Bengal had more than two catches.

    Palmer has struggled a bit this year in terms of fantasy production because he's not getting anything from the No. 2 receiver position. Laveranues Coles had two grabs for 25 yards Sunday. Coles ran the wrong route on one play, which resulted in one of Palmer's picks.


    Colts 27, Titans 17

  • So much for going 10-6. The Titans gave a tough effort against the undefeated Colts, but finally lost a game for the first time since Week 6.

    Despite the defeat, Tennessee played really well. In fact, the Titans had more first downs than Indianapolis (24-23), they out-gained the Colts (375-358), and they won the time-of-possession battle by about six minutes.

    So, what happened? Three things. First Nate Washington had a huge drop on what would have been a 60-yard touchdown early in the contest.

    Second, the Titans had two big turnovers near midfield. An Ahmard Hall fumble on first down at the Indianapolis 46 interrupted a promising drive, while a poorly thrown Vince Young interception (late along the sidelines) led to a Colts touchdown.

    And third, the Titans screwed up twice in the red zone. They had a 1st-and-goal on Indianapolis' 1-yard line and a 1st-and-10 on Indianapolis' 19, and managed a grand total of ZERO points on those two sequences. They went for it on fourth down both times and failed. Had Jeff Fisher opted for field goals, his team would have been down only four points with possession and 1:21 on the clock. Fisher and Raheem Morris should create a Facebook group called the "I Senselessly Go for It Instead of Kicking Obvious Field Goals Club."

  • But the big story is that the Colts are now 12-0. Four of the past five teams to start 12-0 have gone to the Super Bowl.

    This victory is also Indianapolis' 21st consecutive win in the regular season, matching the 2006-08 New England Patriots' record. Congratulations to Peyton Manning for kicking a**.

  • Manning went 24-of-37 for 270 yards and a touchdown. While Reggie Wayne (4 catches, 48 yards) and Dallas Clark (3-25) didn't do much, Pierre Garcon dominated the contest with six grabs for 136 yards. Austin Collie (4-18) had Manning's touchdown.

  • Joseph Addai annoyed Manning owners with multiple scores. Addai had 79 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts.

  • Chris Johnson, meanwhile, topped the 100-yard rushing barrier for the seventh consecutive contest. Johnson had 113 yards on 27 carries. He's now on pace to rush for 2,012 yards on the year.

  • Young, on the other hand, was pretty mediocre for a change. He threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns, but as mentioned, he had that horrible interception. He was also wildly inaccurate (24-of-43) and rushed for only 16 yards.

  • Young's touchdowns went to Bo Scaife (5 catches, 56 yards) and Kenny Britt (3-36). Nate Washington had four grabs for 44 yards, but was also guilty of that crucial dropped touchdown.


    Jaguars 23, Texans 18

  • The Texans just can't catch a break. Once 5-3, they've lost in almost every way possible, whether it's been missed field goals, late-game mismanagement and blown leads. Now we can add "injuries" to the list.

    Matt Schaub was sacked on Houston's first offensive play of this contest. He suffered a shoulder injury and walked off to the locker room. Rex Grossman stepped in and was very Rex Grossman-like, going 3-of-9 for 33 yards and an interception.

    Schaub reentered the game in the second quarter, but it was too late; the Jaguars already had a 17-0 lead. Schaub did his best to lead his team back (19-of-27, 207 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but the deficit proved to be too much. Of course, a silly halfback option for Chris Brown that resulted in an interception didn't help.

  • Andre Johnson didn't do anything with Grossman in the game. Fortunately for his fantasy owners, Johnson dominated late, catching seven balls for 99 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Walter had four grabs for 54 yards.

  • With Steve Slaton out, most people, including myself, assumed Gary Kubiak would rely heavily on his BFF, Chris Brown. However, Brown had just six carries for 15 yards and had that stupid interception, though he scored a touchdown. Ryan Moats had the majority of the rushes (12) and compiled 41 yards.

  • It's a shame the Jaguars won because I can't criticize Jack Del Rio and Dirk Koetter too much for not running the ball again. You may look at Maurice Jones-Drew's 24 carries for 76 yards and wonder what I'm talking about, but Jones-Drew had just 14 rushes going into the fourth quarter. Del Rio and Koetter once again continuously called passing plays early on, though it worked against Houston's secondary.

    David Garrard was 15-of-28 for 238 yards and two touchdowns, but had his league-leading 12th fumble of the year.

  • No Jaguar wideout had more than three receptions, and that distinction went to the "other" Zach Miller (74 yards) and Mike Thomas (21 yards). Nate Hughes caught Garrard's score. Mike Sims-Walker had only one catch for 12 yards, but was overthrown in the end zone in the second quarter.

  • Congratulations to the Jaguars, who mustered not one, but TWO sacks in this game. They now have 12 sacks on the year! Hooray!




    Broncos 44, Chiefs 13

  • Some of the other scores this week were misleading. For example, the Buccaneers outplayed the Panthers, but lost by 10. The Titans battled pretty evenly with the Colts, but also lost by 10.

    And this game? It was also misleading. The Chiefs should have lost by 80.

  • The Broncos' offensive line put on a clinic. The front easily pushed the Chiefs' defensive linemen around, opening up huge running lanes for their running backs on nearly every play. Knowshon Moreno rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, while Correll Buckhalter accumulated 113 yards on 12 attempts.

  • With the running backs doing all of the work, Kyle Orton didn't have to throw much. He was 15-of-25 for 180 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Despite that, Brandon Marshall still put together a solid performance, catching seven balls for 94 yards and a score.

  • As for the Chiefs... yeah... they were horrible on almost all levels. Tamba Hali was one of only two bright spots, registering 10 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles, single-handedly saving the defense from complete embarrassment.

    The other bright spot was Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

  • As for Matt Cassel, he was just 10-of-29 for 84 yards, two interceptions and a fumble. He was sacked only twice, opting to throw careless balls instead of repeatedly taking losses. Good thing the Chiefs didn't spend an absurd amount of money on him. Oh, wait... I got confused. For a second, I thought Scott Pioli was a competent general manager.


    Dolphins 22, Patriots 21

  • All the talk going into this game - thanks in part to this Web site (go me) - was a potential Tom Brady injury that caused Vegas to panic on Thursday, dropping the line from 5.5 to three (and off the board in some books).

    The Patriots predictably denied everything and Brady practiced in full throughout the week. However, right before the game, ESPN's Michael Smith reported that Brady's finger was bothering him and that his passes in warmups were pretty shaky.

    Brady silenced all speculation by connecting on a 58-yard bomb to Randy Moss on New England's first drive. But right after that, Brady ran into the locker room. He was on and off throughout the rest of the contest. He hit Sam Aiken for an 81-yard score, but the throw should have been picked off; Aiken simply came away with a great reception over a Miami defensive back. Brady later tossed two interceptions, one of which was horribly thrown in the end zone.

    We learned an important lesson: Vegas knows everything. The next time a spread mysteriously drops 2.5 points in the span of 30 minutes, don't bet on the game. It's no accident that the sportsbooking industry makes millions upon millions every year. They knew Brady's finger would affect him, and they were right on, despite ESPN and other media outlets scoffing at the rumors.

  • That said, the Patriots could have won and covered if they didn't repeatedly screw up in the red zone. Up seven in the second quarter, New England eschewed a field goal to go for it on 4th-and-1. They failed on a rush with Sammy Morris. Early in the fourth quarter, Brady heaved a weakly thrown pass toward Moss that was intercepted by Vontae Davis. That's anywhere between 3-10 points that the Patriots left off the scoreboard.

  • Overall, Brady was a solid 19-of-29 for 352 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. Those numbers make it look like nothing was wrong with him, but he had several poorly thrown passes in this contest, and most of his completions were short. In the second half, Brady completed only six of his 15 attempts.

  • As further proof that Brady was hurt, Moss caught only one more pass for eight yards after his 58-yard touchdown. Wes Welker wasn't affected, catching 10 balls for 167 yards.

  • Chad Henne amazingly posted 52 pass attempts. He was 29-of-52 for 335 yards, two scores and an interception. Those numbers look great, and Henne completed several clutch throws in the fourth quarter, but he repeatedly missed wide-open receivers all afternoon.

    As much as the Patriots screwed up in the red zone, this contest could have been a Miami blowout if Henne would have hit all of his easy passes. New England's defense disgracefully couldn't put any sort of pressure on Henne, who was sacked only once.

  • Davone Bess was Henne's target of choice, catching 10 balls for 117 yards and a touchdown. Brian Hartline was also solid, albeit with less-impressive numbers (4 catches, 41 yards, TD).

  • Ricky Williams didn't break any runs longer than 11 yards, but methodically gained 75 yards on 18 carries.




    Raiders 27, Steelers 24

  • So much for "unleashing hell." I wouldn't say this game was a "must-win" for the Steelers - the media loves to throw that phrase around - but it was pretty close. Coming off three huge losses, the Steelers lost to the lowly Raiders as 15-point favorites. Their defense apparently left the game early, as they allowed Oakland to score 21 points in the fourth quarter alone.

    I don't want to take anything away from Bruce Gradkowski though. He was very impressive in a final quarter that saw five lead changes, although two of his passes on the final drive could have easily been intercepted. Gradkowski finished 20-of-33 for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He may not have starting-caliber arm strength, but he's proven that he can be clutch when the game is on the line.

    I honestly never thought I would say that about Gradkowski. JaMarcus Russell was equally surprised; he even dropped his bag of Skittles and cried.

  • Two of Gradkowski's touchdowns went to Louis Murphy (4 catches, 128 yards). Chaz Schilens (3-45) caught the other. The Great Darrius Heyward-Bey didn't play.

  • The Raiders actually stuck with Justin Fargas for a change. Fargas had 63 yards on 15 carries. Darren McFadden, meanwhile, wasted nine attempts, gaining 25 yards.

  • Coming off a concussion, Ben Roethlisberger was a solid 18-of-24 for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His scores went to Santonio Holmes (8 catches, 149 yards) and Hines Ward (6-77). Heath Miller had only one catch for 27 yards.

  • Rashard Mendenhall eclipsed the 100-yard barrier for the third time this year, gaining 103 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

  • It's hard to believe that after a 6-2 start, the Steelers have fallen to 6-6 despite playing the Chiefs and Raiders. They need to win the rest of their games to make the playoffs. They have the Browns (road), Packers and Ravens (home) and then Dolphins (road). All of those contests are winnable, but then again, so were the battles against Kansas City and Oakland.


    Saints 33, Redskins 30

  • Wow. That's all I have to say. This Saints team keeps finding all of these crazy ways to win on the road. Of course, they screwed me out of $550 in that Dolphins game, and despite trailing by two scores for most of this contest, they found a way to come back and triumph in overtime.

    And what would a crazy victory be without a crazy play? Late in the second quarter, down 17-10, Drew Brees heaved a poorly thrown pass down the middle of the field that was picked off by Kareem Moore. In fact, as soon as Brees launched the ball, I yelled, "That's going to be intercepted."

    Moore, who appeared to be down at first glance, got up and ran down the field. Robert Meachem alertly tackled and stripped Moore, taking the ball away and returning it for a touchdown.

    The play was reviewed for what seemed like five minutes, and it actually stood. Moore was touched down, but by his own teammate. Meachem was awarded with a defensive touchdown (not a receiving touchdown), to the behest of fantasy owners everywhere.

  • Like the Colts, the Saints are 12-0. As mentioned earlier, four of the past five teams to start 12-0 have gone to the Super Bowl.

  • Drew Brees was an amazing 35-of-49 for 419 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned interception. Five of his weapons caught four passes or more, including Meachem, who hauled in eight grabs for 142 yards and another score aside from his fumble return. Meachem has been dominant the past few weeks and has finally emerged as the prospect the Saints thought they were getting in the first round in 2007.

    Brees' other targets: Marques Colston (2 catches, 46 yards, TD), Pierre Thomas (8-64), Devery Henderson (6-61), Jeremy Shockey (4-47) and Reggie Bush (4-28).

  • While Thomas had those eight receptions for 64 receiving yards, he curiously carried the ball just six times for 18 yards. Mike Bell had all of the attempts, wasting away 16 rushes for 34 yards. I'll never understand Sean Payton's obsession with Bell, but how can I argue with 12-0?

  • Aside from one poor interception, Jason Campbell played an incredible game. He went 30-of-42 for 367 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He really has emerged ever since learning the Bingo offense.

    Two of Campbell's scores went to Devin Thomas, who made seven grabs for 100 yards. The other was to Fred Davis (5-53). Santana Moss (5-68) and Antwaan Randle El (4-73) also contributed.

  • The Redskins played well overall, but were once again victimized by their kicker. Shaun Suisham somehow missed a chip-shot 23-yard field goal, which could have given Washington a 10-point lead with 1:52 remaining in regulation. Suisham was also partly responsible for the Dallas defeat. He's been sharp otherwise (20-of-27) but has cost the Redskins two big victories in the past three weeks.


    Chargers 30, Browns 23

  • This was a tough pill to swallow if you bet on the Chargers (I got an angry rant from a friend about prevent defenses after this one). San Diego led 27-7 after three quarters and punted only once the entire evening. They should have covered, but Brady Quinn torched an uninterested and battered San Diego stop unit in the fourth quarter to beat the number. Fantastic job costing tons of people hundreds of dollars, Mr. Quinn!

    You can't take away anything from Quinn's 25-of-45 for 271 yards and three touchdowns. None of that was real. Quinn pieced together a nice opening drive to start this contest, but had only two possessions that went longer than 14 yards until this game was well in hand. All but a few of his passes were his trademark short junk.

    However, one big positive was definitely gained for Cleveland. Rookie tight end Evan Moore caught six balls for 80 yards. He's the real deal. The Browns reportedly loved what Moore was giving them in practice, so they decided to roll the dice with him here. Moore made some really impressive catches and has established himself as a potent weapon for Quinn and whomever the Browns draft in April. Remember his name when you're drafting next summer.

  • Speaking of rookies, Brian Robiskie had four receptions for 69 yards, while Mohamed Massaquoi notched two grabs for 24 yards and a touchdown.

  • As mentioned, the Chargers punted only once and scored on nearly every possession. Philip Rivers was 18-of-25 for 373 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Antonio Gates had nearly half of Rivers' yardage, hauling in eight passes for 167 yards. Vincent Jackson wasn't as spectacular (2 catches, 54 yards).

  • The big story in this game was LaDainian Tomlinson. He rushed for just 64 yards on 20 carries, but scored his 150th touchdown of his career. He also passed Jim Brown's heralded 12,312-rushing yard mark for eighth place on the all-time list.


    Giants 31, Cowboys 24

  • It's really amazing how consistent the Cowboys have been under Tony Aurora Snowmo and Wade Phillips. The story is the same every year. They start off well, get a key victory in November and then drop most of their December games. With this loss, Snowmo is now just 5-11 on Dec. 1 or later. Maybe he shouldn't have taken that trip to Vegas after his Thanksgiving win.

    Snowmo defenders will cite his numbers (41-of-55, 392 yards, 3 TDs), claiming that it wasn't his fault. Snowmo played well on some drives, but missed some open receivers late in the game when it mattered most. I guess you could say this game epitomized his calendar year.

  • As usual, all fluff and no substance for the Cowboys; all of Snowmo's major targets posted huge numbers. Jason Witten led the team with 14 catches for 156 yards. Miles Austin-Jones made 10 grabs for 104 yards and a touchdown. Roy Williams snagged six balls for 60 yards and two scores.

  • Marion Barber had just 36 yards on 15 carries. I've been saying it all year; Wade Phillips should have rested Barber for a game or two so Barber's injured quad could heal. Unfortunately, Mr. Turkey Neck didn't take my advice and is now paying for it. Barber is nowhere near 100 percent.

  • Eli Manning was just 11-of-25, but managed to throw for 241 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Seventy-four of those yards came on a short pass that Brandon Jacobs impressively took to the house. Jacobs scored twice; he also rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries.

  • Though Jacobs had the two touchdowns, Ahmad Bradshaw was the more impressive runner, gaining 47 yards on seven attempts. Having him as an option was a breath of fresh air for a stagnant Giants defense that needed a spark.

  • Steve Smith led the team with six catches for 110 yards. Those numbers could have been better, as Smith dropped a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

  • Perhaps the best sign for the Giants was their revitalized defensive line. Though they sacked Snowmo only twice, they were in Dallas' backfield the entire evening.



    Seahawks 20, 49ers 17

  • For a victory, there was an insane amount of booing from the home crowd. The Qwest Field patrons were pretty displeased with their team throughout this contest despite the fact that they beat the 49ers on a last-second field goal.

    The Seahawk fans seemed to have three big issues:

    1. Instead of taking shots downfield, Matt Hasselbeck once again checked it down too much. It really looks like he's afraid to get hurt again. I think Hasselbeck has suffered from Marc Bulger syndrome, thanks to Tim Ruskell's unwillingness to spend a high pick on an offensive tackle. Hasselbeck finished 25-of-34 for just 198 yards and two touchdowns.

    2. Deion Branch dropped a big catch late in the fourth quarter. Branch also hauled in a 7-yard touchdown, but that reception allowed the 49ers to have another possession prior to Seattle's final drive.

    3. Jim Mora Jr.'s infatuation with Julius Jones. I wrote before this game that we would find out how inept of a coach Mora is. Well, he's way more clueless than I thought. I figured Mora would at least split carries evenly with Jones and Justin Forsett. Instead, Jones ineffectively rushed 20 times for just 67 yards. The crowd booed every time Jones touched the ball.

    Forsett, meanwhile, received only five attempts. He gained just nine yards, but also took three receptions for 25 more yards and a touchdown.

    Mora clearly has spent too much time with Todd Haley. Both men are horrible head coaches who simply don't understand the value of getting the ball to their best players. I guess that's a taxing concept to master.

  • Nate Burleson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh each caught five balls for 54 and 37 yards, respectively. I was excited to see rookie Deon Butler catch a game-clinching 32-yard reception that gave Olindo Mare an easy field goal with four seconds remaining.

  • Though the 49ers lost, the good news is that Alex Smith set a career high for passing yards. He was 27-of-45 for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Three San Francisco players caught six balls: Vernon Davis (111 yards, TD), Michael Crabtree (60) and Josh Morgan (56, TD).

  • I know that the spread shotgun formation eliminates the running game, but I was still surprised to see Frank Gore rush just nine times for 25 yards. That just doesn't seem like a Mike Singletary type of game plan.


    Cardinals 30, Vikings 17

  • What a disastrous game for the Vikings. Sure, it's just their second loss of the year, and they've all but clinched a first-round bye in the Doggone Playoff with Dallas going down to the Giants, but this defeat was more than just an "L" in the standings.

    The misfortune began when right tackle Phil Loadholt left the game with a shoulder injury. After that, left tackle Bryan McKinnie limped off the field. Both players returned later.

    But it just kept going downhill - strong safety Tyrell Johnson exited the game and was replaced by rookie Jamarca Sanford. Corner Cedric Griffin suffered a head injury and had to leave. But worst of all, stud middle linebacker E.J. Henderson fractured his femur and will be out for the rest of the year.

    If the Vikings lose in the postseason, they'll look back on this game as the catalyst of their decline.

  • I'm also a bit concerned about the performance Brett Favre put on Sunday night. Favre's stat line was pretty - 30-of-45, 275 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions - but he reverted back to many of the tendencies he was guilty of in December 2008. He was constantly throwing off his back foot, and at times, he appeared as though he wasn't even looking at his intended receiver. Some of Favre's passes were just heaved up for grabs. This was the exact thing Viking fans didn't want to see out of Favre.

  • And here's another issue: What in the world happened to Minnesota's pass protection? Favre constantly had pressure in his face. This was something we hadn't seen all year from the Vikings' elite offensive line.

  • Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth opined that the big key to this game was that the Vikings couldn't run the ball. While Adrian Peterson astonishingly gained just 19 yards on 13 carries, I thought the most important factor was Minnesota's non-existent pass rush. Kurt Warner had all day to throw, torching Minnesota's battered secondary for 22-of-32 passing, 285 yards and three touchdowns.

  • Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin were the benefactors of 15 of those catches. Fitzgerald had eight grabs for 143 yards and a touchdown, while Anquan Boldin snagged seven balls for 98 yards and two scores.

  • Tim Hightower fumbled on the opening drive, but rushed for 50 yards on just six carries. Chris Wells, meanwhile, gained 28 yards on 13 attempts, which surprised me a bit. Just from watching the game, it seemed to me like Wells had 60-70 yards on the ground. For some reason, he just looked much better than his stat line.



    For thoughts on Ravens-Packers, check out my updated 2009 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.



    2009 NFL Power Rankings


    Fantasy Football Rankings - July 30


    2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24


    2015 NFL Mock Draft - July 23


    2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1


    NFL Free Agents


    NFL Picks - Feb. 2








    2014: Live 2014 NFL Draft Blog - May 8


    2013: Live 2013 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2013 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
    2013 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
    2013 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
    2013 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
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    2013 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 20
    Super Bowl XLVIII Recap - Feb. 3
    Super Bowl XLVIII Live Blog - Feb. 2


    2012: Live 2012 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2012 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
    2012 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
    2012 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
    2012 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
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    Super Bowl XLVII Recap - Feb. 4
    Super Bowl XLVII Live Blog - Feb. 4


    2011: Live 2011 NFL Draft Blog - April 28
    2011 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 12
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    2011 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 19
    2011 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 26
    2011 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 2
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    2011 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 16
    2011 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 23
    Super Bowl XLVI Live Blog - Feb. 6


    2010: Live 2010 NFL Draft Blog - April 22
    2010 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 8
    2010 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 9
    2010 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 13
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    2010 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2010 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 3
    2010 NFL Week 18 Review - Jan. 10
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 17
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 24
    Super Bowl XLV Live Blog - Feb. 6


    2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
    2009 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 10
    2009 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 10
    2009 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 14
    2009 NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 21
    2009 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 28
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    2009 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 19
    2009 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 26
    2009 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 2
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    2009 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 16
    2009 NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 23
    2009 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 30
    2009 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
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    2009 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
    2009 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2009 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 4
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    2009 NFL Week 20 Review - Jan. 25
    Super Bowl XLIV Live Blog - Feb. 7


    2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2008 NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 4
    NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 8
    NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 15
    NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 22
    NFL Week 4 Review - Sept. 29
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    NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 17
    NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 24
    NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 1
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    NFL Week 17 Review - Dec. 29
    NFL Wild Card Playoffs Review - Jan. 4
    NFL Divisional Playoffs Review - Jan. 11
    NFL Championship Sunday Review - Jan. 19
    Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog


    2007: NFL Draft: Day 1 Review Blog - April 28
    Quarterback Rankings - June 25
    NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 6
    Chief Carl Has Lost a Step - Sept. 9
    The NFL Cheated the Patriots - Sept. 16
    NFL Week 3 Wrap-Up - Sept. 23
    NFL Week 4 Wrap-Up - Sept. 30
    NFL Week 5 Wrap-Up - Oct. 7
    NFL Week 6 Wrap-Up - Oct. 14
    NFL Week 7 Wrap-Up - Oct. 21
    NFL Week 8 Wrap-Up - Oct. 28
    NFL Week 9 Wrap-Up - Nov. 4
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    NFL Week 11 Wrap-Up - Nov. 18
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    NFL Week 13 Wrap-Up - Dec. 2
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    NFL Week 17 Wrap-Up - Dec. 30
    NFL Week 18 Wrap-Up - Jan. 6
    NFL Week 19 Wrap-Up - Jan. 13
    2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
    Super Bowl XLII Live Blog - Feb. 3


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