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2009 NFL Week 18 Game Recaps



Jets 24, Bengals 14

  • I'm disgusted, so let's try something different. Here are eight goats in this game for each of the eight units that I lost:

    8. Steve Weatherford: The punter for the Jets couldn't play because he was apparently "too ill." What does that mean? You're too ill to punt? Just go back there and kick the ball away. Too ill? I'm ill after watching this game, and I still managed to compile this recap. Give me a break, Weatherford.

    (Note: At the time, they said Weatherford was just ill. A few hours after the game, it was revealed that he had an irregular heartbeat.)

    7. Braylon Edwards: Shocking play - Braylon Edwards dropped a touchdown. I know, how did that happen? Edwards caught two balls for 15 yards.

    6. Me: For using the Bengals as my January NFL Pick of the Month. Fail. The Bengals absolutely killed themselves in almost every way possible. I don't think I've ever had less fun watching a football game.

    5. Injuries: Dustin Keller had done nothing all year, and all of a sudden, he compiled three catches, 99 yards and a touchdown? What happened?

    On the opening kickoff, strongside linebacker Rashad Jeanty, a solid reserve who was asked to replace rookie Rey Maualuga, broke his leg. Cincinnati had to go with its third-string strongside linebacker, Brandon Johnson, who had no chance against Keller.

    Meanwhile, Laveranues Coles and Andre Caldwell suffered three separate injuries. Both returned afterward, but Caldwell wasn't the same and couldn't really run anymore. Coles had a second injury in the fourth quarter and didn't go back into the game.

    4. Marvin Lewis: I think Marvin Lewis blew both of his challenges faster than any coach in NFL history. It's like Lewis spent the week studying Andy Reid game film. Lewis challenged two obvious calls, and it didn't take the official long to tell the frustrated crowd that the play was upheld on both instances.

    3. Carson Palmer: So, you're playing a kid who idolized you when he was growing up. You're 30 years old and have been in the league seven years. The kid is a 23-year-old rookie. You're at home, and you open up a 7-0 lead. Not only do you lose the game; you're completely outplayed and humiliated.

    Carson Palmer was awful. When he wasn't wildly overthrowing his receivers, he was firing balls behind them. He was 18-of-36, 146 yards, one touchdown and an ugly interception. Mark Sanchez, meanwhile, became the first rookie quarterback to complete greater than 70 percent of his passes in his first playoff game; Sanchez was 12-of-15 for 182 yards and a score.

    If a rookie is going to hit 80 percent of his attempts making his first playoff start on the road, then I'll just have to take the loss. The 12-of-15 for 182 was supposed to be Palmer's stat line, and Sanchez was supposed to be the quarterback who was completely inaccurate. Palmer had a powerful running game by his side (Cedric Benson: 21 carries, 169 yards, TD), so it's not like he was constantly in long-yardage situations. He simply choked and played like a rookie.

    2. Bengals Receivers: Palmer sucked, but his receivers didn't do him any favors. This is not an official stat, but I counted seven Cincinnati drops: two by Chad Ochocinco (2-28), and the rest by Coles (6-48, TD) and Caldwell (2-25). Coles also fumbled the ball deep in Jets territory in the first quarter. The Bengals had major problems with drops last week, but I attributed that to their lackadaisical attitude. There was no excuse for this.

    1. Shayne Graham: As mentioned earlier, the Jets lost their punter. Kicker Jay Feely stepped up. Not only did he punt well; he also nailed a field goal and two others that were nullified by penalties.

    Shayne Graham, meanwhile, disgraced himself with misses from 35 and 28 yards out. It's not like he was trying kicks from 50- or even 40-plus. You're supposed to make 35- and 28-yard field goals.

    Just one successful conversion would have given the Bengals a chance at the end. Instead, they were asked to score twice down 10 points with less than three minutes and no timeouts remaining. As I said in our Live In-Games Thread, "Cut Graham now. Don't even let him into the locker room."

  • One thing of note for the Jets: Shonn Greene had more carries (21) than Thomas Jones (15), and also outgained his veteran counterpart, 135-34. Greene looked great, and as far as fantasy implications are concerned, it looks like the torch has been passed to him.





    Cowboys 34, Eagles 14

  • One is an accident, two is a trend. Three is complete debaclation. The Cowboys own the Eagles, and in a complete reversal of the 2008 finale, they knocked their NFC East rivals out of the playoffs.

    The key to Dallas' domination over Philadelphia is simple. The Cowboys simply have won the battle in the trenches on both sides in the past two meetings. When the Eagles had the ball, Donovan McNabb (19-37, 230 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) had no time in the pocket. McNabb was constantly running for his life and ended up taking four sacks.

    Philadelphia's offense had just five first downs and only 64 total net yards in the first half if you exclude a fluky 76-yard QB Dog Killer-to-Jeremy Maclin touchdown that caught the Cowboys off-guard.

    The Cowboys did a great job taking away the Eagles' deep ball. As Cris Collinsworth pointed out, Jeremy Maclin (7 catches, 146 yards, TD) was running routes near DeSean Jackson that allowed the backside corner to serve as an extra defender whenever McNabb looked deep for his favorite receiver. Jackson was limited to just three catches for 14 yards and a late touchdown. Said Marty Mornhinweg after the game: "Gawrsh, ha-hyuck!"

    By the way, Mornhinweg and Reid called a combined 10 runs in this contest. The balance the Eagles had in the middle of the year was nowhere to be found.
  • When Dallas had possession, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice seemingly ripped off long gains at will. Jones rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on just 16 attempts. Choice had 14 carries for 42 yards and a score.

  • Tony Romo took two early sacks, but was otherwise protected pretty well, going 23-of-35 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite receiver was obviously Miles Austin-Jones, who managed seven catches for 82 yards and a score. Roy Williams (5-59) was also involved for a change.

  • With Dallas' 6-game playoff losing streak over, I guess you can say the monkey is off Romo and Wade "Mr. Turkey Neck" Phillips' back. I had the Cowboys seeded No. 2 in my NFL Power Rankings for a reason; they might just be the best team in the league with an upgrade at receiver (Austin-Jones over malcontent Terrell Owens) and a legitimate leader on the team in Keith Brooking. Brooking's leadership has taken a lot of pressure off Romo, allowing the man formerly known as "Tony Aurora Snowmo" to just go out and play football.






    Ravens 33, Patriots 14

  • I thought the Ravens were going to win, but I didn't expect this. This score doesn't even indicate how much Baltimore dominated this contest, but perhaps this stat will: After the first quarter, the Ravens had more points (24) than the Patriots had total yards (20).

  • New England had no answer for Baltimore's rushing attack. The Ravens ran the ball an amazing 46 times with its backs for 229 yards. Ray Rice opened things up with an 83-yard Ray Rice touchdown (thanks, Todd) on the first play of the game, and the Ravens never looked back.

    The most telling portion of the contest was at the end of the second quarter when the Patriots tried desperately to force Baltimore into a punt. They were unsuccessful; they couldn't come up with a stop even though they knew the Ravens were going to run the ball.

    Rice finished with 159 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Willis McGahee chipped in with 62 yards and a score on 20 attempts.

  • It's amazing that the Ravens scored 33 points when you consider that Joe Flacco completed only four passes. Flacco was 4-of-10 for 34 yards and an ugly interception. It's worth noting that Flacco tossed a beautiful deep ball to Demetrius Williams, but watched his inept receiver drop it.

  • The big story here was Tom Brady's ineffectiveness. Brady appeared rattled and looked like a guy a year removed from knee surgery. He was 23-of-42 for just 154 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and a lost fumble. He was constantly under pressure; he took three sacks and seldom had the opportunity to look deep for Randy Moss (5 catches, 48 yards).

  • Wes Welker's absence was huge. Julian Edelman came up with six receptions for 44 yards and two touchdowns, and showed a lot of heart on some plays, but it was painfully obvious that Brady really missed his favorite receiver. I don't know if the Patriots would have won with Welker in the lineup, but this game would have been much more competitive. It certainly would have prevented the Ravens from blitzing as much as they did. Remember what Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson said last week - as soon as Welker left the lineup, it gave Houston more freedom to blitz Brady. Baltimore continued this strategy Sunday afternoon.

  • By the way, before moving off New England, it's worth noting that this was Brady's first home loss since Nov. 12, 2006. Wowwa weewa.

  • John Harbaugh is lucky his team won this game because he made a huge mistake in the second quarter that seemed like it might give New England the momentum it needed down 24-0. The Ravens muffed a punt deep into their own territory, which New England seemingly recovered. However, after looking at the replay, it was obvious that the Patriots player never had full control before he went out of bounds.

    Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were practically begging Harbaugh to challenge this play, but no red flag came out of the coach's hand. The Patriots went on to score a touchdown.

    I don't know why Harbaugh didn't challenge this. You have to wonder if he watched Marvin Lewis screw up on Saturday and vowed that he would only throw the red flag if he was 100-percent sure he would get it right.




    Cardinals 51, Packers 45

  • This was an amazing game, and if you missed it, I pity the fool. This was the highest-scoring playoff game in NFL history, and Chris Berman even labeled it the "Roaster in the Toaster."

    The Cardinals jumped out to what looked like an insurmountable 31-10 lead. Their defense was flying all over the field, while the offense couldn't be stopped. Suddenly, Green Bay's offense turned on the jets and continuously generated huge play after huge play. Arizona's advantage shriveled, and thanks to an onside kick, a great play by Charles Woodson on a tipped pass, and a choke-job missed field goal by Neil Rackers, this game went into overtime, tied at 45.

    When the Packers won the coin toss, it seemed like Arizona was doomed to lose. However, cornerback Michael Adams forced an unlikely Aaron Rodgers fumble, which was returned for six by Karlos Dansby. This contest edged out a 1995 Detroit-Philadelphia tilt as the highest-scoring playoff game ever, and it ironically was decided on a defensive touchdown.

  • While Aaron Rodgers was brilliant in this game - 28-of-42 for 422 yards, four touchdowns and an interception - it pales in comparison to Kurt Warner's afternoon. Warner was 29-of-33 for 379 yards and five scores. You read that right - Warner had more touchdowns than incompletions.

    That's more amazing because Warner didn't have Anquan Boldin in this contest. In addition to Larry Fitzgerald (6 catches, 82 yards, two touchdowns), Warner utilized Steve Breaston (7-125, TD) and Early Doucet (6-77, 2 TDs), which probably gives Arizona some security if it wants to trade Boldin to the Ravens this offseason.

  • As mentioned, Rodgers played well (aside from a Jay Cutler-esque interception on the first drive), but his pass protection really regressed. He was sacked four times, and three of those sacks came before he lost left tackle Chad Clifton.

  • Greg Jennings led the Packers in receptions with eight for 130 yards and a touchdown. Jennings was a man possessed, as he repeatedly made incredible catches all afternoon. Jermichael Finley (6-159) also came up huge. He'll have a big year next year, so keep that in mind for your fantasy leagues this summer.



    2009 NFL Power Rankings


    NFL Picks - Dec. 22


    2015 NFL Mock Draft - Dec. 17


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 5


    2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24


    2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1


    NFL Free Agents








    2014: Live 2014 NFL Draft Blog - May 8
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    2012: Live 2012 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2012 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
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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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    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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    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
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    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
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    NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 22
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    NFL Wild Card Playoffs Review - Jan. 4
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    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
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    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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