Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving weekend. What could be better than family, turkey, and of course, football. An exciting schedule got going with three games on Thursday, followed by a couple of days of digesting the big meal, then the usual Sunday schedule. As always, hopefully you have more players mentioned in this week’s story than your opponent, let’s get right into the games.
Miami 24, at Detroit 10
The Lions got the Thanksgiving Day trifecta of games going on Thursday, and early on it was looking like it would be the typical holiday game. Meaning, no matter what the teams and the records, Detriot would come out inspired and win the game. The Lions jumped out to a quick 10-nil first quarter lead, but that would be the last of the scoring for the home team. Returning to his old stomping grounds,
Joe Harrington (213 yards, 3 TD, int) got the Miami offense moving and kept it going the rest of the game. Harrington’s 8 yard scoring pass to Marty Booker (115 yards, 2 TD) got the Dolphins off and running as they rattled of 24 unanswered points to take the easy win on Turkey Day.
at Dallas 38, Tampa Bay 10
Speaking of easy wins, Tony Romo (306 yards, 5 TD) used the Thanksgiving stage as his coming out party, as he threw for five TDs as the Cowboys cruise. Marion Barber (83 yards, 2 TD), Terry Glenn (89 yards, 2 TD), and Terrell Owens (107 yards, TD) all get a mention in the story this week. Nothing to report from the Tampa Bay sideline.
at Kansas City 19, Denver 10
A new twist this year saw the NFL place a third game on the Thanksgiving Day schedule, even though most of the country would not be able to see it since it would be exclusively broadcast on the NFL Network. For those of you that missed it, you didn’t miss much. Mike Shanahan’s rotation this week saw Tatum Bell inactivated for this game, the announcement coming just before game time (thank you, Mike!). Not that Tatum was going to do much anyway as the Chiefs held Denver to 38 yards on the ground for the game. By contrast, Kansas City’s running game was working very well, Larry Johnson (157 yards, TD) ran wild as Kansas City was able to score early and hold on for the low scoring win. Rumors after the game were swirling that the Jay Cutler Era is about to begin next week. Stay tuned.
at Minnesota 31, Arizona 26
There is just something about a Minnesota-Arizona matchup that says this game must be close and come down to the wire. The scoring in this one started off fast, cooled in the middle, then got going again in the end. In the first half, Arizona got things started with JJ Arrington returning the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The Cardinals would also tack on two field goals in the opening 30 minutes. The Vikings got their scoring done by finding the end zone, both Chester Taylor (171 total yards, TD) and Marcus Robinson (82 yards, TD) hitting paydirt for the home side. Brad Johnson (271 yards, 3 TD) helped Minnesota build a comfortable lead, as the Vikings would score 17 unanswered points. But the Cardinals would not go away. Once again, 99 yards was magic, as Adrian Wilson picked up a fumble and went 99 yards to swing momentum back to the visitors. Anquan Boldin (140 yards, TD) would take in a 9 yard Matt Leinart (405 yards, TD, 2 int) pass with a minute to play, and the Cardinals would recover the on-side kick. Alas, Minnesota’s defense would deny the comeback and the Vikings had the win. Larry Fitzgerald (172 yards) also performed well in a losing effort.
at New England 17, Chicago 13
The two best defenses in the league took the new field turf field in Foxborough, and for the entire 60 minutes, those defenses would keep the scoring in this game down. But both offenses would have success in moving the ball, turnovers for both teams near the opponents end zone would plague both teams. New England would record the first half’s only touchdown, Laurence Maroney scoring from a yard out. The Bears would respond, Robbie Gould rebounding from an earlier blocked kick to connect from 46 yards out. Just before the half, the Patriots would move into range for a long FG attempt of their own, but Stephen Gostkowski’s 52 yard attempt was just wide. However, the Bears had pulled a fast one, calling a timeout just before the ball was snapped. Given the second chance, Gostkowski was true to put the Pats on top 10-3 at the break. The Bears would tie the game, getting close thanks to a 45 yard pass interference call, Cedric Benson pounding the ball in from 2 yards out. On the ensuing drive, New England’s offense could not be stopped, Ben Watson (89 yards, TD) catching a 2 yard pass from Tom Brady (269 yards, TD, 2 int) and the Patriots had the lead again. Chicago would get another FG to close the gap, setting the stage for an exciting finish. New England was trying to run out the clock, when Corey Dillon fumbled right at the 2 minute warning. Looking to run a play quickly to prevent a booth challenge, the Bears went deep, and Asante Samuel caught his third interception of the game to ice the Patriots win.
at St.Louis 20, San Francisco 17
The Rams reversed a disappointing recent trend, as this week they are the team able to score a last minute touchdown to pull a victory out of the jaws of defeat. Staring their sixth loss in a row, the Rams defense stopped the San Francisco offense, giving their offense one last chance. It was a chance they would take advantage of as Marc Bulger led the team down the field, his 5 yard pass to Kevin Curtis with less than 30 seconds left giving the Rams the win. Steven Jackson (192 total yards, TD) and Frank Gore (165 total yards, TD) both ran wild for their respective teams.
New Orleans 31, at Atlanta 13
The Falcon struggles continue in a big way. Drew Brees (349 yards, 2 TD) hooked up with Terrance Copper on a 48 yard hail mary pass just before the half, the score giving the Saints a 21-6 lead and full control of the game. Earlier scores by Devery Henderson (158 yards, TD) and Duece McAllister (71 yards, 2 TD) were more than enough as the Falcons did not threaten much in the second half. Michael Vick (84 yards, 166 rushing yards) ran for nearly twice as many yards as he passed for as Atlanta goes down to defeat for the fourth straight week.
at Washington 17, Carolina 13
This was a game where both offenses struggled, to the tune of no player from either side getting an official mention in this week’s story. In the end, the Redskins did just enough to pull off the upset. Jason Campbell hooked up with Chris Cooley on a 66 yard scoring play late in the fourth quarter as Washington stuns the Panthers.
Cincinnati 30, at Cleveland nil
Carson Palmer (275 yards, 3 TD, int), Bengals D (4 sacks, 5 turnovers, shutout), Chris Henry (41 yards, 2 TD) and others on the Cincinnati sideline good. Browns bad. Real bad this week.
at New York Jets 26, Houston 11
The Jets winning ways continue in easy fashion this week, as only a late TD and 2 point conversion make the final score appear that this game may have been close. New York rode the leg of Mike Nugent (4 FG, 2 PAT) as they coast to an easy win. Laveranues Coles (111 yards, TD) and Chad Pennington (286 yards, TD) also get a mention in a winning effort. David Carr (321 yards, TD, int) and Andre Johnson (98 yards, TD) performed well for the non winners.
at Tennessee 24, New York Giants 21
In a stunning turnaround, the Titans were able to score 24 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Giants. New York had built what seemed to be a comfortable lead, as Tiki Barber (112 total yards) and Brandon Jacobs (54 yards, 2 TD) were doing very well for the visitors. But it all fell apart in the fourth quarter. Vince Young (249 yards, 2 TD, rushing TD) book ended two passing TDs by running in for a score himself to tie the game. An ill advised pass from Eli Manning gave Tennessee a last gasp hope of stealing a win in regulation, Rob Bironas connecting from 49 yards out to complete the comeback for the Titans.
at Baltimore 27, Pittsburgh nil
The disappointing season for the defending Super Bowl Champion Steelers continues as they are dismantled by Baltimore this week. The Ravens D (9 sacks, 3 turnovers, return TD, shutout) was ferocious, as the Ravens continue to march towards the playoffs.
at Buffalo 27, Jacksonville 24
The road woes of the Jaguars continue as their late rally comes up short in Buffalo. Willis McGahee (63 yards, 2 TD) returned to the Buffalo lineup to score twice as the Bills hold off a late Jacksonville rally. Maurice Jones-Drew (125 total yards, TD) preformed well in a losing effort.
at San Diego 21, Oakland 14
As is the usual M.O. for San Diego, they lie quietly for three quarters giving their opponents the idea that they might be able to pull off the upset. Oakland got scores from Reshard Lee and John Madsen as they entered the fourth quarter with a slim 14-7 lead. As we know by now, the fourth quarter is T-Time, as in Tomlinson Time. LaDainian Tomlinson (109 yards, 2 TD, passing TD) took a pitch and threw a touchdown 19 yard pass to Antonio Gates (81 yards, TD) to tie the score, and later in the fourth he would waltz in from 10 yards out to keep the Chargers in the winning column this week.
at Indianapolis 45, Philadelphia 21
Closing out the week, the Eagles without Donovan McNabb were no match for the Colts. Player of the Week Joseph Addai (208 total yards, 4 TD) ran wild as Indianapolis ran up a 31-7 lead. The Eagles would claw back, Reggie Brown and Brian Westbrook (170 total yards, TD) scoring the next 14 points to close within 10, but Addai would put the game out of reach with his fourth TD of the game and the Colts get a new winning streak started.