I have to start by saying I am still reeling from watching the scoreboard change in the highest scoring game since the 1970 merger, and the second highest in NFL history at 106 points scored. I thought the Fox ticker was broken until I flipped over to the game and saw someone in the end zone about every eight seconds in the second half. Here’s the stat line between the two: 49 first downs, 966 net yards offense, and only four punts. The longest gap of time without a score was 8 minutes 37 seconds, and 5 scores coming in two minutes or less from the previous one. The most amazing stat was the game involved neither the Colts nor the Chiefs; it was the Browns and Bengals. The Browns/Bengals set an NFL record for the most points scored in the second half eclipsing the old record of 65 in 1966 by the Redskins and Giants. An interesting side note, the most prolific game in history was the aforementioned game between the Redskins and Giants in 1966, with 113 points scored. On Sunday, those two teams combined for a whopping 13 points. Interesting side note number two: the Redskins scored 72 points in that game and have scored only 138 in 11 games this season. Boy how times have changed.
No Buckin’ Bronco
The Broncos hosted the Raiders in the blizzard bowl Sunday night, with game time temperatures in the low twenties, dropping into the teens late in the game. No way the Raiders could ever beat Denver at Invesco in those conditions right? Well, they did. The game was called very loosely, and it shows as Jerry Porter caught three TD passes including the game winner. He was so wide open I think the defenders lost his white uniform in the snow. The catch of the night (and maybe the year) came in the fourth when Ronald Curry (who?) made an acrobatic one-hander in the back of the end zone ala Jerry Rice. Somehow he picked the ball out of the air and managed to get both feet in, an absolute thing of beauty. If you only saw Randy Moss’ great catch in Minnesota, this one outshines it by far. I thought the game was over when Collins threw a signature pick that was returned for a TD. The Broncos were up by 11 with 13 minutes to go, but two touchdowns and a blocked Jason Elam FG later, Al Davis exacted his revenge on the red faced Shanahan. Speaking of that, does Shanahan know they make hats? They have little logos and everything and protect your head when it is snowing like hell and freezing cold. For a minute he looked like Jack Nicholson in the Shining. Creepy.
The Cat’s Meow
The big cats in Carolina are on a small tear, winning three straight, and Julius Peppers seemed to win this week’s game for them all by himself. He registered one sack, one blocked FG, an interception returned for a TD and four tackles. The interception went for 46 yards in which he outran the entire Bucs offense, and he also ran down Michael Pittman on a 68-yard run. Keep in mind this is a 280 lb DL. I knew he was fast but not that fast. His effort alone should inspire a couple more wins this year, and as weak as the NFC is, 8-8 may get a playoff spot. We will see.
Monsoon Bowl II
The Patriots hosted a hungry Baltimore team looking to keep pace in the AFC North, and the best the Ravens could do was lay an egg. The Patriots are playing methodical, unbeatable football, and have not missed a step since their loss at Heinz Field. I don’t remember hearing Ray Lewis’ name called once, and the Baltimore offense was sloppier than the weather. They were without Jamal Lewis, which I believe changes the game dramatically but I don’t think the Ravens win with or without him. The defense simply isn’t strong enough to carry the dismal offense.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week: NYJ vs. ARI – This game contained the most pathetic display of offense that I have seen. Quincy Carter apparently got some sense knocked into him in the second quarter, and came back to throw a TD to the underachieving Santana Moss. I can’t find anything else noteworthy about this game, except the fact that the Cards QB situation has gone from bad to worse. At least they didn’t sign Jeff George this week, like the Bears did. My advice to anyone that was forced to watch this because of local coverage: buy a satellite and Sunday ticket. The money saved in aspirin will offset the cost easily.
If you have roster spots and haven’t gotten backups for a few of your stars, now’s the time. The playoffs are right around the corner and you need to be prepared.
Did anyone see Steelers rookie Willie Parker get lit up by Sean Taylor? They say he has 4.2 speed, but he sure couldn’t get out of the way of that hit. He’s lucky his head is still attached.
I think the Chiefs are their own worst enemy. Dante Hall does everything to take them out of the game by fumbling on a runback that would have been a TD, then putting them back in with a 96 yard return. With all that they still lose. With 6 minutes to go Trent Green throws an awful pass, which got picked putting SD in immediate field goal range.
There was a rumor about Joe Gibbs giving up after only one season, which I can’t believe was ever circulated. This man has singular moral character and conviction, and wouldn’t give up on the fans or his team after such a short period. Watch them next year, they will be contending for the playoffs after they find someone that can get them in the endzone.
On to next week, P.S. the San Francisco 49ers are on the clock…