Week 5 NFL Game Recaps
Rams 17, Cardinals 3
Kolb was sacked NINE times Thursday night. He was hurried on 21 occasions. The tackles were exposed, particularly by Robert Quinn, who generated three sacks and a forced fumble. Kolb has now been sacked 17 times in a span of five days, so you have to wonder how in the world he's going to survive this season. Unless the Arizona coaching staff fixes something in a hurry, the fragile Kolb will be knocked out of the lineup with an injury.
Kolb finished 28-of-50 for 289 yards. Those look like decent stats, but he was awful. Yes, he was constantly under siege, but he nearly tossed several interceptions - Janoris Jenkins dropped two - and he also left way too many points off the scoreboard. He had Larry Fitzgerald wide open for a touchdown in the first quarter but didn't look his way. Later, he misfired toward an open Andre Roberts for another potential score. There were a couple of other instances like this, including one in the second quarter when Kolb overthrew Fitzgerald in the end zone. Being a Fitzgerald fantasy owner, this was very frustrating.
So, how did Kolb pile up 289 yards? Well, most of it was meaningless in fourth-quarter garbage time. The Rams let Kolb have short stuff late in the game but clamped down on him near their goal line. In fact, Arizona came away with just a field goal in three trips inside the red zone. They turned the ball over on downs on both other occasions, including one instance when Fitzgerald mistakenly ran a route short of the goal line.
Amendola's absence capsized the Rams' passing offense. Sam Bradford started 5-of-7 for 81 yards and a touchdown, but closed out the game 2-of-14 for 60 yards, one score and an interception. One of his final two completions was a 51-yard bomb to Chris Givens, but he couldn't get anything going aerially otherwise. We all saw what happened to St. Louis' offense when Amendola was out last year, so expect the Rams to struggle more than usual while Bradford's No. 1 weapon is out.
Amendola caught one pass for 44 yards when he was in the lineup. He beat Patrick Peterson, who committed a pass-interference penalty in addition to surrendering the long gain. Peterson would later make up for it with one of the prettiest, toe-tapping interceptions in the end zone that you'll see all year. Amendola, meanwhile, dropped two passes and ran the wrong route on another play before leaving the game.
Colts 30, Packers 27
Well, everyone was wrong. Sort of, but I'll get to that later. The Colts won for their head coach. Reggie Wayne, the only person to visit the quarantined Pagano, had the game of his life, catching 13 balls for 212 yards and a touchdown. Wayne, who has known Pagano the longest - Pagano recruited him to Miami - made sure his team won for his coach, telling Pagano that he would be back next week with the game ball. Wayne made several incredible plays, including an amazing, one-handed divinggrab.
Ravens 9, Chiefs 6
Here were the terrible mistakes:
- Cyrus Gray fumbled the ball in Baltimore territory in the first quarter. I jotted down, "Why the f*** is Gray carrying the ball?" in my notes, but Gray would play well in the second half (4 carries, 20 yards).
- Matt Cassel (9-of-15, 92 yards) fumbled a snap at the 1-yard line. He also threw two picks, but neither was his fault. The first tipped off Dwayne Bowe's hands and into Lardarius Webb's. The second bounced off Bowe's chest and into Cary Williams' arms.
- Bowe also committed an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out a 25-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Bowe, who only collects his yardage in garbage time, will be appearing in my next overrated players list. He had six catches for 60 yards in this game.
- Bowe found the end zone on one instance, but that was negated by another offensive pass interference.
- Flacco fumbled the ball late in the fourth quarter, and the Chiefs recovered it and scored a touchdown. Except it never happened because the officials blew the play dead. Yeah, this isn't a Kansas City mistake, but it was amusing watching an ultra-nice Romeo Crennel refrain from lashing out at the refs in his post-game press conference.
Cassel was replaced by Brady Quinn, who completed all three of his passes for 32 yards. Quinn looked confident and may be named the team's starter going forward. The coaching staff showed no confidence in Cassel anyway, opting to run a draw play on a 3rd-and-8 in Baltimore territory in the opening quarter.
Dolphins 17, Bengals 13
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
An early Miami turnover set up the Bengals to take an early lead. A punt bounced off a Dolphins back and was recovered by Vontaze Burfict, which led to a Mike Nugent field goal.
Miami later fumbled the ball away when Nate Clements popped Jorvorski Lane. Cincinnati went for a fourth-and-2 on its ensuing drive, and Dalton converted with a 20-yard toss to Jermaine Gresham to set up three more.
Dalton had an ugly performance. He had a number of passes off the mark and made the Dolphins' defense look like one of the league's better stop units. The signal-caller pulled a Mark Sanchez and threw an interception to Miami defensive tackle Randy Starks. It was a great play by Starks to make a leaping catch. The Dolphins scored a short touchdown off of that with Reggie Bush (19-48).
Andrew Hawkins (5-47) made a highlight-reel, leaping, one-handed 24-yard catch in the middle of the field, but Nugent missed a 41-yard field goal with three minutes remaining. The game ended after Dalton tried to fit a pass into a tight window, but the ball was overthrown and fell to safety Reshad Jones for a pick. Dalton was 26-of-43 for 234 yards with a touchdown to A.J. Green (9-65) and two picks.
Both the Dolphins and the Bengals played good defensive football. Miami got good games from Cameron Wake (1.5 sacks), Starks (one sack, one pick) and Paul Soliai (.5 sacks). Cincinnati had good days from Reggie Nelson (10 tackles), Micheal Johnson (one sack) and Geno Atkins (one sack). Atkins and Domata Peko abused Dolphins guard John Jerry. He stinks and Miami could use two new guards to go along with some wide outs.
Giants 41, Browns 27
If that wasn't bad enough, Joshua Cribbs fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Wasting no time, Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz for a quick touchdown to take a seven-point lead. The Browns got the ball back but failed to run the clock out. They punted to the Giants, who then were the recipients of a bogus, long pass interference penalty on an uncatchable ball. Lawrence Tynes hit a 40-yard field goal, giving New York a 10-point advantage.
In other words, the Browns could have led 24-10 at intermission, but trailed 27-17 instead. Game, set, match.
Steelers 16, Eagles 14
For the Eagles, it was more of the same. QB Dog Killer took a hiatus from turning the ball over last week but was able to pick up where he left off in a loss to the Cardinals the prior Sunday. QBDK fumbled three times, including once at the goal line. He went 20-of-30 for 175 yards and two touchdowns, looking pretty sharp in the second half. Of course, it helped his cause that the Steelers lost two key defenders to injury prior to intermission. Troy Polamalu aggravated his calf injury, while LaMarr Woodley left with a hamstring. This completely ruined Pittsburgh's game plan, almost ruining a tremendous effort by Lawrence Timmons, who had a monstrous performance.
The Steelers, meanwhile, made several dumb errors. Maurkice Pouncey inexplicably botched two snaps, including one on a 4th-and-10 try. Receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown committed illegal procedure penalties. The defense, perhaps feeling the frustration of being shorthanded, were flagged for dual personal foul penalties during one of Philadelphia's two touchdown drives. One of the penalties would have almost certainly forced a punt because the Eagles would have been stuck with a third-and-long.
Philadelphia's other scoring drive was amusing. The Eagles had a 4th-and-1 deep in their own territory at the beginning of the final quarter. Andy Reid inexplicably sent his players out to go for it. He then decided to challenge the prior play. As always when coaches attempt to review a spot, Reid was denied, costing him a precious timeout. Reid still decided to go for it, despite the pleas of Troy Aikman, and barely converted. Later on the drive, Reid asked for yet another useless timeout and went for it again on a 4th-and-1. Philadelphia somehow scored a touchdown out of this, but in typical Reid fashion, the team didn't have any stoppages at the end of the game to prevent the Steelers from running the clock out and kicking the decisive field goal.
Falcons 24, Redskins 17
Kirk Cousins took the field in the wake of Griffin's absence. If you watch SportsCenter, you'll see him hook up with Santana Moss on a 77-yard touchdown, but he was pretty terrible otherwise. Forget that one throw, and Cousins went 4-of-8 for 34 yards. I don't want to take everything away that long strike, but that was all Moss, who was wide open.
Mike Shanahan spent a fourth-round pick on Cousins for some strange reason, so much more was expected out of the Michigan State product, even though it was his debut. The fact remains that the Redskins, who could have possibly won this game with Griffin, had no chance with the other rookie at the helm. Griffin, by the way, went 10-of-15 for 91 passing yards and just seven rushing yards. He barely had any time to throw.
Seahawks 16, Panthers 12
Seattle outgained Carolina, 310-190. It won the time of possession by 12 minutes. If the Seahawks hadn't squandered opportunities in the red zone, and if Russell Wilson hadn't tossed a very ugly pick-six, they would have been victorious by double digits.
Bears 41, Jaguars 3
The Bears were very sloppy prior to intermission. It seemed like they false started a billion times. Jay Cutler threw an interception following a low snap. The players as a whole looked sluggish, but whatever Lovie Smith did at halftime apparently worked because both the offense and defense clicked after the break.
Vikings 30, Titans 7
Matt Hasselbeck was awful. No, he was worse than awful. The Titans could have pulled a drunken, fat slob fan out of the stands and gotten equal production. Hasselbeck was inaccurate unless he was checking down, which he did far too often. He also made poor decisions; he tossed a terrible interception, inexplicably on a 3rd-and-19 when it was just 7-0 Vikings in the second quarter.
Hasselbeck went 26-of-43 for 200 yards, one touchdown and that aforementioned pick, but a big chunk of his yardage and the sole score came in garbage time when the Vikings stopped trying. In fact, Tennessee didn't even cross the Minnesota 47-yard line until midway through the fourth quarter. It was so pathetic, words can't even describe it.
Patriots 31, Broncos 21
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
Brady was firing bullets through the Broncos secondary early on with Wes Welker being his go-to receiver. So much for Welker (13-104) getting phased out by the Patriots; he had nine catches in the first half and helped build New England's lead with a short touchdown catch. Brady finished 23-of-31 for 223 yards, that score, a rushing touchdown and zero interceptions.
The Broncos had no answer for Ridley, and he ripped up Denver's defense on runs to the outside and inside. Ridley (28-151) was having a flawless day until he fumbled the ball away with five minutes left on the clock. Von Miller ripped the ball out. Miller had a great game with a couple of sacks as well.
49ers 45, Bills 3
It's true. The 49ers made several mistakes early on. They were at the Buffalo 1-yard line in the first quarter, but couldn't get into the end zone. They later had a 41-yard pass to Michael Crabtree wiped out by a chop block. Colin Kaepernick then lost a fumble in the red zone. This game, consequently, was tied at three in the middle of the second quarter when it could have been even worse for Buffalo.
The Bills, meanwhile, made plenty of errors of their own. They had a kickoff return touchdown wiped out by a holding penalty. Scott Chandler would then lose a fumble in the second quarter, which immediately led to an Alex Smith touchdown to Michael Crabtree. That turnover really got the 49ers going.
Saints 31, Chargers 24
Brees endured some rough spots in this game despite the fact that he went 29-of-45 for 370 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He too frequently threw behind his receivers; he was guilty of his sole pick on one such occasion. The problem was two-fold. First, his offensive line once again struggled to pass protect, surrendering three sacks, which is a ton for a quarterback who releases the ball as quickly as Brees. Second, Jimmy Graham suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter. He returned to the game but was clearly hobbled. He couldn't get open and only served as a decoy.
Ultimately though, it didn't matter because Rivers was strip-sacked in Saints' territory. Martez Wilson easily got around laboring left tackle Jared Gaither, who couldn't move because his back apparently flared up.
For thoughts on Texans-Jets, check out my updated 2012 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
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