Arizona Cardinals 35, Cincinnati Bengals 27:
Good job, Bengals. You're coming off a victory at Baltimore, and had a chance to improve to 4-6 with a win over Arizona. Instead the Cardinals, traveling across the country, picked off Carson Palmer four times and lit up Cincinnati's defense for 35 points. In case you lost track, that's 25 more than the age Chris Henry prefers his women, and 15 less than the expected amount of Bengals arrests this following week.
Can you believe the Cardinals are 5-5? Ken Whisenhunt's doing an incredible job. A few weeks ago, people assumed Seattle would be able to waltz away with an uncontested NFC West crown. Well, Arizona controls its own destiny, thanks to its victory over the Seahawks earlier this year.
Give Arizona's defense credit. A week after forcing Detroit to negative-18 rushing yards, the Cardinals limited Kenny Watson and Rudi Johnson to 70 yards on 17 carries. Kurt Warner, meanwhile, completed 16-of-28 passes for 211 yards and two scores, and wasn't forced into any turnovers or wheelchairs.
Green Bay Packers 31, Carolina Panthers 17:
The Panthers screwed themselves twice at Green Bay on Sunday: A pooch punt that trickled down to the 6-yard line turned into a returned touchdown. Later, Vinny Testaverde took a sack with 20 seconds remaining in the first half, nullifying Carolina's chances of kicking a field goal or going for the end zone.
I hope you all made a lot of money on Sunday. On my weekly picks page, I wrote, "I think I'm the wrong person to ask about the Packers. In the wake of their blowout victory over the Vikings, I'm 1-7 against the spread in Green Bay games this year. I feel confidently about this selection, so you should probably place your second mortgage on the opposite team." Well, I'm now 1-8, and hopefully you're able to collect about $200,000 from your bookie.
Cleveland Browns 33, Baltimore Ravens 30:
You'll see the kick about a million times on SportsCenter, but in case you have a phobia of watching highlights on TV, Phil Dawson attempted a 51-yard field goal as time expired in regulation. The kick hit off the upright, appeared to ricochet off the crossbar and bounced back on to the field. However, when the officials reviewed the kick, they saw that it hit the extension bar behind the crossbar, calling the field goal good. During the review, the Ravens filed into the locker room. This proved to be a mistake, as they were flat in overtime, immediately surrendering a game-winning drive to Cleveland.
Prior to Dawson's heroics, I was going to comment that I had seen more missed easy field goals on Sunday than any other week this season. Vinatieri botched two; Mason Crosby was errant on a chip shot. Dawson was no good from 35 in the first quarter. However, as noted above, he easily made up for it.
Remember when Ray Lewis said his team would cut down on turnovers because it was going to battle all of its divisional opponents at home? Well, in the first quarter, the Ravens had two fumbles and an interception. Awesome.
Kyle Boller, who had one of the fumbles, had no completions the first 18 minutes of the game. However, he somehow had an excellent second half, finishing with 279 yards and a touchdown. I'm willing to bet he snuck into Cleveland's locker room at halftime and stole Derek Anderson's skills. That, or the Browns' defense just sucks.
Brian Billick continues to hurt the Ravens with his poor coaching. Late in the game, Billick twice kicked the ball to Josh Cribbs, one of the elite return men in the NFL, who gave the Browns great field position on both occasions. I guess Billick has been too busy gazing into the mirror and admiring himself to realize Cribbs is a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Indianapolis Colts 13, Kansas City Chiefs 10:
What happened to Peyton Manning? If he wasn't such a goody-two-shoes, I'd suspect him of pulling an Anthony Morelli and getting drunk before the game. Actually, that explanation sort of makes sense, considering how poor he was in the first half (6-of-16, 62 yards and a pick) and how well he threw on the final drive (4-of-4). If he really was drunk, he sobered up at the end.
What happened to Adam Vinatieri? I can see missing a 49-yarder, and a game-winning field goal in the mud, but a 38-yard kick inside a dome? Vinatieri missed four consecutive attempts for the first time since 1996.
Actually, at one point, the kickers for both teams were 1-of-5. I guess it was really rainy and windy inside the RCA Dome.
Despite Manning's poor performance - he failed to throw a touchdown for the first time since Week 14 of 2006 - he became the 11th player in NFL history to eclipse 40,000 passing yards.
Philadelphia Eagles 17, Miami Dolphins 7:
Because Andy Reid doesn't really care about his return game, I hope he was watching Ted Ginn score a touchdown off a punt in the beginning of the second quarter. But then again, Reid was probably busy deciding what to eat at halftime.
Speaking of haltime, the Eagles outscored Miami, 14-0, in the second half. The difference was A.J. Feeley. Donovan McNabb, who was 3-of-11 for 34 yards and two picks through a quarter and a half, left the game with an injury, and was replaced by Feeley, who looked more accurate, mobile and confident. It probably doesn't matter who starts against the Patriots, but Feeley gives Philadelphia the best chance to go to the playoffs.
That said, it seems as though the Eagles are just a dumb organization: If you draft a quarterback with your first pick, don't you have to play him if your starter isn't available? You've already hindered your team's chances by not adding a key player on defense or a weapon on offense. Now, you're not using your future franchise signal caller in a perfect opportunity to give him some good experience? It just doesn't make sense.
Speaking of ineptness, Cam Cameron once again proved that he has no business being a head coach in the NFL. The Dolphins made it to Philadelphia's 1-yard line, but failed to gain a single inch. Down 17-7, they needed a field goal and a touchdown. On 4th-and-goal, Cameron elected to go for it with a rookie quarterback. Dumb. Guess what happened? A pitch-back to Jesse Chatman, who lost 12 yards. Twelve yards!
And even more ineptness - John Beck looks like a loser. I know he was making his first start on the road, but he looked scared and unsure of himself. I don't have Steve Young's ability to diagnose quarterbacks, but to me, it didn't seem like he had "it."
Houston Texans 23, New Orleans Saints 10:
Everyone, including myself, made a big deal about Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels coming back. Well, my excitement quelled just a bit when Daniels fumbled on the third play of the game, setting the Saints up in Houston territory, allowing them to take a 3-0 lead. Later on, some loser named Echemandu repeated Daniels' error, which led to a New Orleans touchdown.
Check out this play, courtesy of NFL.com:
3-20 HOU47 (7:06) (Shotgun) D.Brees pass deep left to M.Colston pushed ob at HOU 15 for 32 yards (V.Hutchins).
I can understand allowing a team to convert a 3rd-and-20 in college football, but how does a professional defense yield that type of gain? And I thought the Saints' secondary was bad...
OK, enough with the negativity. Matt Schaub looked like a Pro Bowler with Andre Johnson back in the lineup. Johnson, meanwhile, had 120 receiving yards and a touchdown. And even Daniels atoned for his mistake, catching five balls for 74 yards. With a win against Cleveland - which is very possible because the Browns are coming off an emotional road divisional victory in overtime - Houston will be 6-5. At that point, I wouldn't bet against them not making the playoffs.
Charley Casserly 1, The Rest of the World 0. Reggie Bush had a nice receiving performance, but he gained just 34 yards on 15 carries. Mario Williams, meanwhile, pressured Drew Brees the entire afternoon, registering six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Minnesota Vikings 29, Oakland Raiders 22:
The Vikings may not need to draft Andre' Woodson, Matt Ryan or Brian Brohm this April. They may have found their future signal caller. That would be rookie receiver Sidney Rice, who threw a 79-yard bomb on the first drive of the game. It was such a great pass that I really question if Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger can make a throw like that. Rice finished just 77 passing yards short of Jackson's total. Seriously, Minnesota should keep Rice at quarterback and draft someone like DeSean Jackson or Malcolm Kelly this spring.
With that in mind, who could have predicted a Vikings-Raiders shootout, especially with Daunte Culpepper and Jackson/Rice battling it out at quarterback, and Adrian Peterson out of the lineup?
Jacksonville Jaguars 24, San Diego Chargers 17:
If there's a silver lining to San Diego's loss, it's that the team finally got Chris Chambers involved in the offense. Chambers caught four passes for 93 yards.
However, the obvious negative is that the Chargers lost another game. I didn't give them much of a chance in this contest, given they were coming off an emotional victory against the Colts. But still - this is the second time the past three weeks they've been flat in a game (at Minnesota). Then again, this shouldn't be surprising, because as Tom Jackson says, San Diego replaced a coach who can't win in the playoffs with a coach who can't win in the regular season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Atlanta Falcons 7:
It's official - Bobby Petrino can't coach. Despite Joey Harrington's two-game winning streak, Petrino decided to go with Byron Leftwich, who was 2-of-5 for 20 yards, an interception and five cheeseburgers devoured the first seven minutes of the game. Leftwich later fumbled the ball, which was returned for a Tampa Bay touchdown in the second quarter. Leftwich finished his afternoon with two picks, two fumbles and 40 cheeseburgers in his stomach. Harrington, who saw action late in the game, went 16-of-20 for 139 yards and a score.
There was no logical reason for this benching. If I were Arthur Blank, I would have stormed on to the field in the second quarter and fired Petrino on the spot. How do you yank a guy who won two games in a row?
New York Giants 16, Detroit Lions 10:
I was looking forward to watching the Giants-Lions on FOX, a station that was supposed to broadcast two games on Sunday. I wrote "supposed to" because the only contest the FOX network in the Philadelphia area televised was Dallas-Washington, simply because CBS was showcasing the Eagles-Dolphins snoozer. FOX, meanwhile, had Kickin' It, Stargate Atlantis and Dead Zone on TV. Yeah, those are some great shows. I say this every week. Both FOX and CBS should be allowed to broadcast two games each Sunday. This stupid TV contract simply screws the average fan who looks forward to relaxing on the couch after a hard work week. Instead, greedy billionaires pocket their money at the behest of the average American blue-collar worker.
Here's a reason it's impossible to handicap games based on matchups. The Giants had the most sacks in the NFL going into this contest. The Lions, meanwhile, allowed the most. Yet, after the first quarter, New York had no sacks. The team finished with only three - all by Michael Strahan, a guy who was supposed to be over the hill.
Speaking of being over the hill, a player who has never even found the hill is Lions guard Edwin Mulitalo. On a crucial 4th-and-1 on the Giants' 29, down 10-3 in the second quarter, the crappy Mulitalo committed a false-start penalty, moving Detroit back five yards. The Lions had to kick a field goal, which was blocked, setting the Giants up at midfield.
New York Jets 19, Pittsburgh Steelers 16:
People are going to be calling the Steelers a fraud. Don't stoop down to their idiocy. Pittsburgh is coming off two tough divisional contests, one of which required a fierce, second-half comeback and missed field goal at the end. The Jets, meanwhile, are much better than 1-8 (and even 2-8) because Kellen Clemens is 5,000 times the quarterback Chad Pennington is. I expected Pittsburgh to struggle a bit. I'm not shocked at all that they lost.
Speaking of Clemens, can you imagine how different New York's season would be if Eric Mangini had common sense and started Clemens since Week 2? I think the Jets could have beaten the Bills once, Giants, Eagles and Bengals. That would give them a record of 6-4. Not bad. Look for the Jets to finish with about five or six victories, setting up an upstart 2008 campaign.
Dallas Cowboys 28, Washington Redskins 23:
I jot down notes each Sunday afternoon. For the Dallas-Washington contest, all I wrote was, "Jason Campbell = awesome." I was always a bit skeptical about Campbell, but my concerns were completely quelled in the wake of Campbell's 348-yard, two-touchdown performance at Dallas. Campbell dissected the Cowboys' defense late in the fourth quarter, leading his team to a score, pulling within five. He nearly repeated the drive a few minutes later, but threw a pick deep in Dallas territory. Still, Campbell was awesome. Even though the Redskins lost, their fans should be happy that they have a legitimate quarterback at the helm.
St. Louis Rams 13, San Francisco 49ers 9:
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... Can I just move on?
One thing I'll say about this game is that by winning, St. Louis has given the Patriots an even better draft pick. Thanks to the Jets and Rams being victorious on Sunday, New England could have the No. 2 overall selection in April. That almost guarantees them Darren McFadden, which is pretty frightening.
By the way, the 49ers' offense sucks, which goes without saying. But they suck so much that Mike Nolan thought he had a better shot of recovering an onside kick than converting a 4th-in-10 inside St. Louis territory.
Seattle Seahawks 30, Chicago Bears 23:
It was refreshing to see the Seahawks actually show some heart, getting double revenge for two losses last year. I do have a reason for Seattle's inconsistency, but I'll save that for my picks page.
No one should blame Rex Grossman for this loss. He threw for 266 yards, put up 23 points and committed only one turnover. That's like his best game ever. Too bad the defense yielded 30.
New England Patriots 56, Buffalo Bills 10:
I completely agree with something John Madden said during this game. When complaining that offensive linemen are never shown on the star charts, Madden said there should be some sort of numbers for linemen. He's right. There should be someone who just watches offensive fronts and gives out point grades on a scale from 1-10 every week.
It's a shame that the Patriots' offense hasn't broken all the records already. If opposing scoring attacks could just keep up with them, New England might have scored at least 70 in half of its games.
Why did the Bills kick a field goal down 42-7 in the third quarter? Something like that would antagonize New England. I don't get it. And speaking of making the Patriots mad, I definitely expect them to unleash havoc on the Eagles, following Donovan McNabb's comments about getting his ring back.
So, it's 49-10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and I'm sitting in front of my laptop, wondering, "Why do the Patriots only have 49 points?" Seriously - for a team with no punts through 45 minutes, 49 points isn't a lot. I then realized New England hadn't scored on a defensive touchdown yet. Well, a few minutes later, Ellis Hobbs returned a fumble for six. It's sick how good this Patriots squad is.