Week 6 NFL Game Recaps
Titans 26, Steelers 23
- Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley got hurt against the Eagles. They were sorely missed in this contest, as Chris Johnson was permitted to rush for 4.8 yards per carry. CJ2.9YPC can now be known as CJ3.3YPC, as he gained 91 yards on just 19 attempts.
- Maurkice Pouncey suffered a leg injury in the first quarter. His absence was huge, as the Steelers rushed for just an even two yards per carry.
- Speaking of the running game, both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman left the contest with injuries. Mendenhall (6-6) had trouble with his Achilles, while Redman (5-14) suffered a knee problem. Baron Batch took over, tallying 22 yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts.
- Pouncey wasn't the only Steelers' lineman to get hurt. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert messed up his ankle.
- Other injuries: Ryan Clark hurt his neck on one attempted tackle. Ramon Foster was banged up on one play, but didn't miss any action because a play was challenged. Cortez Allen got hurt, but came back shortly afterward. Curiously, play-by-play guy Brad Nessler said, "With Troy Polamalu out, the Steelers must turn to Allen" as soon as the injury occurred.
Falcons 23, Raiders 20
Well, I guess that's why Chris Berman invented the saying, "That's why they play the games." Ryan, who had just three interceptions entering this contest, tossed three picks in the first half alone. Though the first two were his fault - he was hit as he heaved the third one - pass protection was the main culprit. The Raiders, who have struggled getting to the quarterback all season, somehow put good pressure on Ryan.
It really looked like the Falcons were going to lose. Ryan couldn't really get anything going for the most part (24-of-37, 249 yards, TD, 3 INTs), especially in the red zone where his team squandered several opportunities. The Raiders, who were gashing the Falcons on the ground all afternoon, decided to throw the ball for some strange reason inside the Atlanta 30-yard line with only a few minutes remaining. Carson Palmer was pick-sixed by Asante Samuel, which gave the Falcons a touchdown lead. The Raiders would tie it up, but left too much time on the clock for Ryan, who engineered a 43-yard drive in just 39 seconds, setting up Matt Bryant's decisive 55-yard field goal.
Ravens 31, Cowboys 29
The most egregious mistake the Cowboys continuously made had to do with the play clock. It seemed like they barely got the play off every single time. The signals were constantly getting into Tony Romo late for some reason. I don't know how many times I heard the announcers shriek, "I don't think the Cowboys are going to get the snap off in time!"
Dallas also committed 13 penalties, many of which occurred deep in Baltimore territory. Here were some of the specific gaffes:
- Tony Romo played well overall (25-of-36, 261 yards, 2 TDs, INT), but his interception was a brutal one, as he made a very poor decision in scoring position.
- Dallas surrendered a 108-yard kickoff return to Jacoby Jones.
- A defensive penalty gave the Ravens new life near the goal line in the fourth quarter. Baltimore would score a subsequent touchdown.
- Tyron Smith had a hold on the Cowboys' penultimate drive that wiped out a big gain.
- On one play, Kevin Ogletree dropped a touchdown and Felix Jones committed a chop block penalty.
- Dez Bryant, who caught 13 balls for 95 yards and two touchdowns, dropped the game-tying two-point conversion.
- One of the aforementioned play-clock issues forced the Cowboys to call a timeout on their final drive. This forced a long, game-winning attempt for Dan Bailey, which sailed wide left. Game over.
I'm sure I forgot to list some other pretty bad errors, but despite them, the Cowboys were still in position to come away with a win because they moved the ball at will against Baltimore's defense. They completely gashed the Ravens, as both DeMarco Murray (14-93) and Felix Jones (18-92, TD) ran right at Ray Lewis, who was terrible yet again when he was in the game (more on this later). Murray would've enjoyed a monstrous afternoon if he didn't leave with a foot sprain. It's just a reminder of how brittle Murray is.
Browns 34, Bengals 24
OK, OK, Weeden played well, so I won't completely rain on his parade. He went 17-of-29 for 231 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that wasn't really his fault because it was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Weeden dissected Cincinnati's struggling secondary that is forced to start has-beens like Terence Newman and players out of position like Nate Clements, who has to be used at safety because Taylor Mays sucks so much.
Dolphins 17, Rams 14
Thanks to a strong wind, Zuerlein missed from 52, 37 and 66. Yes, 66. After Bradford took a sack near midfield with less than half a minute remaining in regulation, Jeff Fisher let the clock run down before calling a timeout. He had Zuerlein attempt a kick from 66 yards out, which would have set the record for the longest field goal in NFL history had the attempt gone through the uprights. It was wide left, unfortunately, though it had the distance.
Of course, Bradford completed his usual one-time deep shot to Chris Givens for 65 yards. Givens (3-85) didn't do much else.
Jets 35, Colts 9
It was ugly for the Colts. They looked completely helpless trying to stop a very mediocre Shonn Greene. Greene rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries, but don't think he did anything spectacular; on the contrary, he ran straight forward, as he usually does, showing absolutely no elusiveness, save for some stiff-arms and one play in which he spun away from safety Antoine Bethea. He was simply able to accumulate yardage because New York's offensive line blasted open massive holes for him.
Lions 26, Eagles 23
QBDK had a very mixed game, going 28-of-46 for 311 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of picks. He did some great things, like complete that long pass to Maclin (6-130, TD) and others, including a 30-yarder to DeSean Jackson (5-74). He also showed no hesitation when scrambling, rushing for 59 yards on nine carries. He was screwed over in some instances as well. For example, a touchdown to Brent Celek was nullified because of a very shaky offensive pass interference. There were some drops as well, including one by Celek that would have moved the chains on a 3rd-and-7.
It also has to be noted that the offensive line continued to function like a turnstile. Detroit's defensive line flooded the backfield, including twice on consecutive occasions in overtime. Nick Fairley, who had one of those sacks, was a monster. QBDK took many fierce hits in this contest. I was shocked that he somehow survived the afternoon, as he was slow to get up sometimes.
However, there was plenty of bad QBDK. Despite carrying a ball around with him all week, he was guilty of a fumble (his ninth of the year), though he recovered it. Meanwhile, his interceptions were terrible. He overthrew the first one and walked off the field to a chorus of boos. The second one was badly underthrown.
Buccaneers 38, Chiefs 10
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
Quinn had some bad luck with a deflected interception to Mark Barron. The signal-caller had another pass bounce off two players before Ronde Barber made a shoestring catch for an interception that was returned 78 yards for a touchdown. Quinn proved he isn't worth starting as he completed 22-of-38 passes for 180 yards and two picks. Jamaal Charles (12-40), Dwayne Bowe (3-21) and Jon Baldwin (2-19) were all held in check.
Later, a 42-yard pass to Doug Martin (13-76 rushing, 2-55 receiving) set up a 19-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson (4-66). Jackson had a 17-yard touchdown catch as well. Freeman was 15-of-26 for 328 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. LeGarrette Blount (7-58) had a 12-yard score in garbage time. Tiquan Underwood (2-68) caught a deflected pass off of Routt for a gain of 62.
Bills 19, Cardinals 16
Well, Skelton did put Arizona in position to win. He set up Jay Feely with a 61-yard field goal attempt, which he converted for a career record. Feely later had a 38-yard try to win the game, but hit the left upright. I don't understand how he made a 61-yarder and whiffed on a 38-yarder, but the Cardinals still had a chance to earn a victory in overtime. However, Skelton, who went 2-of-10 for 45 yards, stared down his tight end in his own territory and threw a terrible interception.
There were many mistakes throughout. Fred Jackson fumbled in his own territory on the opening drive, which led to a field goal. Soon after, Kolb took a safety. Kolb also tossed a weird, side-armed throw into traffic for his pick and wasn't helped with an Andre Roberts drop on a crucial third down at the end of the third quarter in Buffalo territory.
Meanwhile, the Bills made the mistake of not running the clock out when they had the lead late in regulation. Instead of giving the ball to Jackson (16-53, TD), who ran well, or C.J. Spiller (12-88, TD), who was even better, Buffalo opted to have Brad Smith throw a deep ball into the end zone. It was picked off, giving the Cardinals new life.
Seahawks 24, Patriots 23
Wilson went 16-of-27 for 293 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots focused so much on shutting down Marshawn Lynch (15 carries, 41 yards) that they allowed Wilson to try whatever he wanted downfield. It's tough to blame Bill Belichick for that strategy, given that Pete Carroll's previous conservative game plans limited Wilson from going deep. Give Carroll credit for adjusting though because Wilson hit numerous downfield throws. He had three completions of at least 46 yards.
Wilson, who also had 17 rushing yards (13 of which came on a crucial 3rd-and-4 just prior to a score), threw touchdowns to Sidney Rice (3-81) and Doug Baldwin (2-74). Golden Tate (3-47) also caught a deep ball.
Of course, Wilson was most impressive at the very end, scoring consecutive touchdowns in the final 7-and-a-half minutes to comeback from 23-10. It almost didn't happen though; the Seahawks had a fourth-and-short in their own territory with slightly more than three minutes remaining. Carroll opted to punt, which I completely disagreed with at the time. I didn't think Seattle was going to get the ball back even though it was armed with three timeouts, but the defense did a great job of forcing the Patriots to give back possession.
Giants 26, 49ers 3
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The Giants dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Their defense shut down the 49ers' running game and crashed their pass protection. Offensively, New York blasted open running lanes and locked down San Francisco's pass-rushers (zero sacks). This was a statement win for the Giants in no uncertain terms as they out-physicaled the 49ers.
Smith completed 19-of-30 passes for 200 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions. Running back Frank Gore (8-36) and tight end Vernon Davis (3-37) were both held in check. Mario Manningham (5-72) was solid against his old team.
Redskins 38, Vikings 26
Aerially, Griffin went 17-of-22 for 182 yards, one passing touchdown and an interception that was a poor decision. He heaved the ball late on the sideline in the first quarter, which helped set up one of Blair Walsh's three opening-quarter field goals. Young Griff was even better when he kept the ball himself; showing no hesitation in the wake of his concussion, he scrambled 13 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yard score amid a late Minnesota attempted comeback.
Packers 42, Texans 24
Sorry, I thought I was an ESPN analyst for a second. The Packers, who were four-point underdogs entering this contest, felt completely disrespected. In fact, Cris Collinsworth revealed that Rodgers was steaming in the pre-production meetings during the week, expressing anger that everyone was doubting him and his team.
Rodgers was amazing in this contest. He went 24-of-37 for 338 yards and six touchdowns despite the fact that he was hurt by three drops, one each by Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley. His only poor throw was a complete miss of James Jones (3-33, 2 TDs) for a potential third touchdown, as he beat Kareem Jackson downfield.
Of course, Rodgers' outstanding performance is just one reason why the Packers were victorious. The other is Houston's unbelievable lack of discipline. The Texans gave Green Bay 14 free points because of a trio of dumb penalties. DeVier Posey was offside on a punt, which allowed Rodgers to find Nelson for a 41-yard score on the very next play. In the third quarter, a Mason Crosby field goal was wiped off the board because of a Connor Barwin leaping penalty. Houston stopped them again, but Danieal Manning hit a Packer in the head for an unsportsmanlike penalty. Rodgers then found Nelson for another score.
For thoughts on Chargers-Broncos, check out my updated 2012 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
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2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
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