Week 11 NFL Game Recaps
Bills 19, Dolphins 14
Perhaps Philbin should've gotten more rest though because his scoring attack couldn't do anything for most of the contest. The Dolphins had just 50 yards of offense in the first half, secured just one first down that wasn't by penalty prior to intermission and failed to run a single play in Buffalo territory until the 4-minute mark of the third quarter.
Miami's offense was absolutely pathetic until the end of that period when it finally started sustaining drives. However, save for one touchdown, the Dolphins' final four possessions concluded with a missed field goal and two interceptions in plus territory.
Ryan Tannehill looked terrible for most of the evening, going 14-of-28 for 141 yards, one touchdown to Davone Bess (6-50) and the aforementioned picks. His passes were all over the place, and he was tentative in the pocket. He now has a 2:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio since his Week 7 bye.
Falcons 23, Cardinals 19
If you just look at the box score, you may determine that Ryan had a horrible performance, but his first pick was the result of a bobbled ball by Roddy White and two others were tipped. Ryan threw two legitimate interceptions - and they were both bad, but he did a good job of leading the Falcons on enough scoring drives - most of which culminated with a field goal - to barely eke out the team's ninth win of the season.
Ryan finished 28-of-46 for 301 yards and the quintet of interceptions. He was pressured often - one of his other picks came as he was getting hit - and didn't really have his No. 1 receiver, as Julio Jones was laboring through an injury. Ryan had to resort to throwing to Roddy White (8-123), Harry Douglas (5-48) and Tony Gonzalez (3-33). Jones left the game in the third quarter after aggravating his ankle. It's puzzling why the Falcons opted to play him in a meaningless game like this.
Lindley finished just 9-of-20 for 64 yards. He did not look like an NFL quarterback, though he was robbed of a nice completion to Larry Fitzgerald with three minutes remaining. Fitzgerald inexplicably dropped the ball, which would have given the Cardinals possession inside the Atlanta 10. Instead, the Cardinals eventually turned the ball over on downs and lost.
Buccaneers 27, Panthers 21
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
With 12 seconds remaining in regulation, Josh Freeman threw a 24-yard touchdown on a laser to Vincent Jackson (6-94) in the back of the end zone. Freeman went back to Jackson for a two-point conversion to force overtime. Doug Martin (24-138) had some big runs to move the ball down the field in the extra session. Freeman then threw to a wide open Dallas Clark (7-58) for the game-winning 15-yard score.
The Panthers took the lead on a drive that featured a 30-yard screen to Jonathan Stewart and 17-yard pass to Steve Smith (5-61). Mark Barron was flagged for a pass interference on a third-and-goal in the end zone to give Carolina a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Stewart (15-43) powered into the end zone on the next play to give Carolina a 14-10 lead.
The Panthers were on the move a bit later when Newton had a run of about 15-yards on a third-and-13. He juked Barron to get the extra yards needed. Newton lofted in a 32-yarder to Greg Olsen (2-42) a few plays later. Carolina blew the drive with a missed 40-yard field goal.
The Panthers went for an idiotic fake punt in their own territory in the third quarter and it was easily stopped. Freeman threw an interception on the next play to Haruki Nakamura. The Bucs went for a fourth-and-1 from the Panthers 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Martin plunged into the pile and fumbled the ball away on a hit from Thomas Davis. Luke Kuechly recovered the loose ball for the touchback. Carolina took advantage as Newton hit some big passes on third downs to move the chains. He threw a rope in the middle of the field for Brandon LaFell (5-93) for a 29-yard touchdown after Barron was late in coverage. DeAngelo Williams (7-18) was a non-factor.
The Panthers couldn't run the clock out and Freeman tore apart their weak secondary, picking on Munnerlyn repeatedly. Freeman completed 25-of-46 passes for 248 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Cowboys 23, Browns 20
Tony Romo should get more of the credit. The delay of game was his only blemish following the intermission, as he went 25-of-33 for 239 yards and a touchdown in the second half and overtime. He did a great job of overcoming a very sluggish start (10-of-17 for 74 yards in the first half despite the absence of Joe Haden) to finish 35-of-50 for 313 yards and the aforementioned score.
Weeden finished 20-of-35 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and the fumble. Those stats make it seem like he was competent, but that was hardly the case. He missed some easy passes and nearly threw multiple interceptions, prompting the CBS announcers to repeatedly state that he's just a turnover waiting to happen. He did make some nice throws, but just couldn't get it done when it mattered most. It's worth noting though that his receivers dropped some passes, including Ben Watson, who had a key drop in Dallas territory. Watson ironically caught both of Weeden's scores.
Packers 24, Lions 20
- The Packers committed nine penalties, including six in the first half. Some of them were very crucial. For instance, one infraction wiped out a Randall Cobb 26-yard gain. Another negated an attempted fake field goal try.
- There were some drops, including one by Jordy Nelson on the opening drive. It negated a first down and ultimately forced a punt.
- Mason Crosby nailed the spread-covering field goal, but missed three other kicks. The box score may say that he was 1-of-3, but he actually whiffed on a try just as Jim Schwartz called a timeout. One of Crosby's failed attempts was from 38 yards out.
- The Packers had some time management issues prior to halftime. They let 30 seconds tick off in Detroit territory before settling for a long field goal, which was one of Crosby's misses.
- Green Bay ran the ball too much. A statement like that may anger Tom Jackson, but James Starks was incredibly ineffective, rushing for just 74 yards on 25 carries. There was one sequence in which the Packers had a 1st-and-5. Starks was given two carries and picked up just three total yards. Following an incompletion on a 3rd-and-2, the team had to settle for a field goal, which was one of Crosby's misses.
- Aaron Rodgers tossed an interception right before that, but Green Bay had possession only because of a Matthew Stafford fumble.
Rodgers went 19-of-27 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and the pick. His best play occurred at the end of the first quarter when he showed tremendous elusiveness under pressure, evading the Detroit pass-rushers and finding Donald Driver for a first down. Rodgers was sacked three times, twice by Nick Fairley, who was completely dominant.
Texans 43, Jaguars 37
Well, it took overtime, but the Texans managed to avoid that dubious distinction, though there has to be some concern with the defense. Something else I tweeted was something my editor asked me: "Who kidnapped Wade Phillips' family?"
Seriously. How the hell did Chad Henne torch one of the elite stop units in the NFL like this? Henne looked like an elite quarterback, going 16-of-33 for 354 yards and four touchdowns. He and Justin Blackmon were unstoppable; the rookie wideout exploded with seven catches for 236 yards and a touchdown.
Remarkably though, neither Henne nor Blackmon were the leading stat-leaders at their position in this contest. The players who managed to earn that distinction were Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson who hooked up for the game-winning score in overtime. Johnson hauled in 14 passes for 273 yards and that score, falling 63 yards short of Flipper Anderson's all-time record for a single game. Schaub, meanwhile, was closer. His 527 yards tied Warren Moon for second all time, as the two men are listed behind Norm Van Brocklin and his 554.
Schaub's final numbers were 43-of-55 for 527 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. The game-winning score was to Johnson, while the other four went to Garrett Graham (8-82) twice, James Casey (3-20) and Keshawn Martin (1-9).
The quarterback position is much more interesting. Henne outplayed Gabbert last week, but I argued that Gabbert should get the final nine starts so the front office could see if it should in fact move on from him. But this changes things. Henne was terrific, so he should get a chance to prove what he can do in this offense.
Bengals 28, Chiefs 6
Cincinnati essentially did whatever it wanted to in this contest. They outgained the Chiefs, 409-284. They won the time-of-possession battle by nearly 11 minutes, as Kansas City converted just 1-of-11 third downs.
Andy Dalton dissected Kansas City's underachieving defense, going 18-of-29 for 230 yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) that went to A.J. Green (6-91) and Mohamed Sanu (2-22). The Chiefs were stupid, opting not to have Brandon Flowers shadow him. What Romeo Crennel was thinking with that inane strategy is beyond me.
Hillis wasn't the only player asked to take a seat. Matt Cassel was benched at halftime after he went just 8-of-16 for 93 yards. Brady Quinn took over and was just as ineffective, going 9-of-14 for 95 yards. It's strange that the Chiefs aren't even giving Ricky Stanzi an opportunity. Both Cassel and Quinn are proven bums, but Stanzi deserves a chance, especially considering that the Chiefs will almost certainly be picking Geno Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft. They at least have to make sure that Stanzi isn't terrible.
Jets 27, Rams 13
Sanchez somehow went 15-of-20 for 178 yards and a touchdown. He was incredibly sharp throughout, which makes you wonder when he'll quit being so inconsistent. It's games like these that will keep the New York front office from making the right move and benching Sanchez. Speaking of which, Tim Tebow was barely used. He completed his only attempt for minus-1 yard, which came on a failed fake punt attempt.
Amendola did finish with seven catches, but none of them went for 10 yards, as he ultimately finished with only 41 yards. He missed some time with a minor injury, but it wasn't a big deal.
Redskins 31, Eagles 6
It's unreal how sloppy the Eagles were in the first half. Nick Foles threw an interception on the first drive because the ball went off Brent Celek's hands. This led to a Washington touchdown. The next Philadelphia possession was capsized by two false starts, a hold that wiped out a long gain and an interception that occurred because a receiver fell down.
Two holding penalties ruined the next couple of drives for Philadelphia. After that, Foles had a nice 3rd-and-17 conversion, but then Celek dropped an ensuing 3rd-and-5 on a play in which LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were inexplicably on the sidelines. Oh, and speaking of McCoy, he lost a fumble deep in his own territory at the end of the second quarter, giving the Redskins a chip-shot field goal.
A good coach might be able to fix this at halftime, but not Reid. The Eagles came out of the tunnel to have their opening drive ruined by a delay of game and a Foles fumble. The Redskins were struggling offensively up until this point, but Robert Griffin and his receivers finally started clicking. Washington would soon extend its lead and never look back.
Saints 38, Raiders 17
Of course, Oakland had a big say in this result. The Raiders have the offensive talent to engage in a shootout with the Saints, but not if they commit tons of turnovers. That's exactly what they did in this contest. It all started with a Carson Palmer pick-six in the first quarter. Palmer then tossed an interception in the end zone after an offensive pass interference pushed his team back. And just when the Raiders thought they had a chance to draw closer to New Orleans in the third quarter, Rod Streater lost a fumble in the red zone.
The Raiders' defense, meanwhile, couldn't do anything about Drew Brees, who was a near-perfect 20-of-27 for 219 yards and three touchdowns. He was deadly on third down, converting 6-of-11 attempts. It's a shame for his fantasy owners that the Raiders continuously squandered opportunities; otherwise, Brees would have enjoyed a much better statistical performance. To give you an idea, Brees had 150 yards and two of his scores by halftime.
Patriots 59, Colts 24
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The Patriots tied the game at 14 in the second quarter when Julian Edelman returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown. It was the start of a massive game for Edelman. Vince Wilfork got some pressure on Luck a bit later to cause a poorly thrown ball in the middle of the field. Aqib Talib ran under the floater and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. The teams then traded field goals to make it 24-17 at the half.
Brady moved the ball downfield in the third quarter and finished a drive with a short touchdown toss to Edelman. New England's defense played better in the second half and kept Luck from sustaining drives. Rob Ninkovich beat Anthony Castonzo late in the third quarter for a sack-fumble that Ninkovich recovered at Indianapolis 24-yard line. Brady threw a strike down the seam to Gronkowski (7-137) for his second score on the next play and a 38-17 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Patriots put the game away early in the fourth quarter when Alfonzo Dennard jumped a sideline out route and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. It was a bad throw from Luck as the ball came out late.
The Colts' rookie signal-caller bounced back and dropped in a nice pass to Hilton (6-100) for a 43-yard touchdown. The wide out beat Talib on a go route running down the field. It was the second touchdown the former Bucs corner allowed in his debut with the Patriots. Luck had a pass deflected in garbage time and it was intercepted by New England rookie safety Tavon Wilson.
Luck finished the day 27-of-50 for 334 yards with two touchdowns, three interceptions and a lost fumble. Vick Ballard (16-72), Reggie Wayne (7-72), Dwayne Allen (6-69), LaVon Brazill (2-46) and Donnie Avery (3-34) all contributed.
The Patriots, already having a comfortable lead, ran up the score as Brady ripped the ball down the field with passes to Wes Welker (7-80) and Edelman to set up a short touchdown run by Stevan Ridley (13-28). Another drive set up a short Shane Vereen (11-40) touchdown.
Broncos 30, Chargers 23
Oh, and there'd be a new general manager too because there's no excuse for going into the season with an unreliable Jared Gaither and completely inept Jeromey Clary as the two tackles. Gaither was out yet again, while Clary was absolutely humiliated by Von Miller. He didn't even have a chance. Miller recorded three sacks and two forced fumbles.
As a consequence, Rivers had an abysmal outing. His final stats look solid - 24-of-40 for 258 yards, two touchdowns, a pair of interceptions and a lost fumble - but most of those numbers came in garbage time when Denver had a two-score lead. Rivers was just 9-of-17 for 60 yards and a pick in the opening half. He was rattled in the pocket, as he didn't trust his pass protection whatsoever.
Ravens 13, Steelers 10
It all started when Mike Wallace lost a fumble in Baltimore territory. The Steelers did a good job of limiting the Ravens to a field goal on the ensuing possession. However, they would commit small infractions like a false start here or a hold to negate a nice gain there, but then they surrendered a punt return touchdown to Jacoby Jones. That was the ultimate back-breaker because Baltimore didn't score an offensive touchdown in this contest.
After that, Pittsburgh continued with the blunders, missing tackles and getting whistled for a block in the back on a nice catch. On Baltimore's final drive, Larry Foote was called for tripping, and then two Steelers were whistled for an offsides infraction. They still forced a punt on the next play, but 40 precious seconds were able to tick off the clock.
Pittsburgh still had a chance to win even with all of these errors, thanks to a heroic effort from its defense. Unfortunately, despite an impressive opening drive that featured a 42-yard pass interference penalty and an inexplicable 31-yard Byron Leftwich touchdown run, the Steelers were stagnant offensively all evening.
Leftwich was particularly abysmal, going 18-of-39 for 201 yards, the rushing score and a horrible interception. The problem was some sort of injury that Leftwich incurred when he ran into the end zone. He was wincing after nearly every throw while grabbing his rib or shoulder. He consequently couldn't make all of the passes he's usually capable of; he had an alarming lack of arm strength, especially in the fourth quarter. I have no idea what Mike Tomlin was thinking by not making the switch to Charlie Batch; Leftwich was clearly hurting his team, and it's not like there's any sort of dropoff between the two reserve signal-callers. Pittsburgh may have had a chance with Batch on the field, but that was hardly the case with a hobbled Leftwich.
Flacco had to look toward Anquan Boldin more often, which would explain why the veteran hauled in eight balls for 79 yards. Flacco's other main option, Dennis Pitta, left the game in the first half with a concussion.
For thoughts on 49ers-Bears, 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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