Some observations of this past weekend’s games…
You may be Wright, I may be crazy
In a game that was 3-3 with just three minutes to play in the first half, I thought I was going crazy when I saw the following score go across my screen: Baltimore 44 Seattle 41 OT. The Seahawks, thanks to Matt Hasselbeck’s 333 yards passing and his five touchdowns passes, went ahead 41-24 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and that should have been the game. I mean the Ravens aren’t exactly a quick-strike team with Jamal Lewis having been the only offensive threat this season. That was before the Anthony Wright to Marcus Robinson connection took center stage. Robinson, who had nine catches for 76 yards and no TDs entering this game, posted seven catches for 131 yards and four, count ’em, FOUR touchdowns! Yes, Jamal Lewis turned in his usual 117 yards rushing, but it was Wright’s 319 yards passing including the four TD passes to Robinson that made the difference. Wright connected on eight of ten passes on the Ravens last two possessions of regulation to get the Ravens in position to tie the game. A costly pass interference penalty on the Seahawks and a faux-pas by the refs with the clock both helped the Ravens stay alive, but Baltimore still managed to tie the game and get the job done in OT. The Ravens remain tied for first place in the AFC North, while the Hawks lose another road game (they are 1-4 on the road this year) and fall a game behind the division-leading Rams.
Always have your pets spayed or neutered
This public service announcement from the legendary Bob Barker is brought to you by the Dallas Cowboys after neutering the Panthers who had the best record in the NFC, 24-20. The Cowboys came into this NFC game of the week after being shutout the week before on the road in New England. The usually stoic Bill Parcells looked and sounded like a proud papa who just watched his first born graduate from college after the game. Quincy Carter was the offense as he welcomed back Joey Galloway with a TD and Carter connected with nine different receivers. The Dallas defense was the main story in this game as they forced two turnovers and did something that the rest of the NFL has been unable to do: stop Stephen Davis. Despite rushing for a TD near the end of the half, Davis only managed 59 yards on 26 carries, his second lowest rushing total of the season. Things won’t get any easier for Dallas with Miami and three division games still on the docket while the Panthers have what should be some easy games against Atlanta, Arizona, and Detroit. With those schedules, there’s a good chance these teams could meet again in January.
Brady’s bunch stays perfect in OT
Just look at everything that went wrong for the Patriots this week: Tom Brady threw two interceptions and fumbled a ball that was recovered by the Texans. Mr. Consistency, Adam Vinatieri misses two field goals including a blocked field goal in overtime. The Pats also had a punt blocked with under six minutes to play trailing 17-13. Even with all these bad things happening, the Patriots still found a way to win, 23-20 keeping Tom Brady a perfect 7-0 in overtime games. Momentum seemed to swing in the Texans favor in overtime after a Tom Brady sack which forced New England to punt from their own four-yard line. Another mediocre Ken Walter punt (who is quickly becoming the goat of the team), gave the Texans the ball on the Patriots 35-yard line. Without moving the ball at all, it would have been a 52-yard attempt for Kris Brown which is in his range. Instead, the Texans ran three offensive plays for -5 yards and were forced to punt. On the ensuing drive, Tom Brady completed five of six passes for 57 yards setting up Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal with under a minute to play in OT. The Patriots are now 9-2 for the first time in franchise history. If the Patriots continue on their winning ways, this past week’s game won’t be the last time they play in Houston this year.
Who needs ‘Air’ when you have Volek
Another improbable scenario played itself out in Atlanta. The Falcons, who had several team members wearing surgical masks during the week as the flu wreaked havoc throughout the locker room, jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Tennessee answered with two TDs in the second quarter thanks to a Travis Jervey fumble after the first Titans score which gave Tennessee the ball on the Falcons 8-yard line, but their M.V.P. Steve McNair left the game in the second quarter with a calf injury and would not return. Instead, it was Billy Volek who had 16 career pass attempts entering the game, completing 9 of 15 passes for 117 yards and a TD leading the Titans to the 38-31 victory. The Titans were able to take advantage of a porous Falcons run defense by focusing on Eddie George who broke the 100-yard mark on the ground with a rushing TD. The Titans have now won six straight games as they continue to keep pace with the Colts in the AFC South at 9-2. Next up for the Titans is the J-E-T-S on Monday night, while the Colts host the 9-2 Patriots before the week 14 showdown between the Titans and Colts in Tennessee. Air McNair may not be ready to play Monday night, but you can bet the mortgage that his Airness will be ready to roll against the Colts in two weeks.
Some other passing thoughts….
Here’s just another reason why betting on over/unders on NFL games is crazy. The Lions-Vikings game was 10-7 with just under three minutes to play in the game. Now, I’m not sure what the over/under was in this game, but after the Vikings returned back-to-back Joey Harrington passes for touchdowns and Harrington connected with Az-Zahir Hakim with :35 seconds to play, the total score went from 17 points to 38 points in less than two minutes. Imagine if you bet an A & R with the Lions +9 1/2 with under 37 1/2? Now I know why Vinnie went on sabbatical.
Speaking of the Lions, the loss to the Vikings was their 22nd straight road loss which is just one defeat away from the NFL record set by the Houston Oilers. Things don’t look any easier for Detroit as their remaining road games are at Kansas City and at Carolina.
Don’t look now, but the Eagles have won eight straight games and are tied atop the NFC East with the Cowboys.
Speaking of streaks, Santana Moss caught a TD in his seventh straight game and Deuce McAllister rushed for more than 100 yards in his eighth straight game.
On the flip side, Drew Bledsoe hasn’t thrown a TD in four games. Oh yeah, the Bills lost all four of those games.
Is anyone running the ball better than the Green Bay Packers and Ahman Green right now? Green piled up 154 yards rushing against a 49ers team that was ranked fourth against the run in the NFL. Brett who?
Until next week…