By Brian Willwerth
In a change of pace, I’m going to recap the late games first, because they were just outstanding.
GIANTS 24, PATRIOTS 20 – My “Game of the Day” comes from Foxboro. This was a rematch of Super Bowl XLII. And for fans of these two teams, it was déjà vu all over again. Late in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady led his team down the field, hitting Rob Gronkowski on 4th down to put New England up by three. But the Giants came right back, with help from a pass interference call against Sergio Brown that put the ball on the one-yard line. With 15 seconds left, Eli Manning hit Jake Ballard with a one-yard TD pass to win the game for the Giants.
PACKERS 45, CHARGERS 38 – What a wild game this turned out to be. Aaron Rodgers is unstoppable right now. He was 21-for-26 for 247 yards and four touchdowns, much to the delight of all the Cheeseheads in attendance Qualcomm Stadium. Still, the Chargers came back with a Philip Rivers TD pass, a successful onside kick, and then another Rivers TD to cut the margin to seven points. Rivers threw four TD passes, but also threw three INT’s, two of which were returned for scores. Green Bay remains unbeaten at [8-0].
BRONCOS 38, RAIDERS 24 – In Oakland, the Broncos broke a 24-24 tie with 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Eddie Royal returned a punt 85 yards for what turned out to be the winning touchdown. Willis McGahee ran for 163 of Denver’s 298 rushing yards and Tim Tebow threw two touchdown passes.
BENGALS 24, TITANS 17 – Is Cincinnati the NFL’s best-kept secret? Trailing 17-7 at the half, the Bengals rallied in the second half in Nashville. Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes. Cincinnati is [6-2]. The Bengals have won five in a row – their longest winning streak since 1988. Oh, and the Bengals host Pittsburgh next week.
CARDINALS 19, RAMS 13 (OT) – This was a matchup between two woeful teams, but it had a crazy finish. Arizona blocked a potential game-winning field goal to send the game into overtime. In OT, rookie Patrick Peterson fielded a punt on his own 1-yard line. You’re not supposed to do that, right? Well, a few moves and 99 yards later, Peterson and his teammates were celebrating a victory in the end zone at the other end of the field.
JETS 27, BILLS 11 – The Jets won a big AFC East game on the road at Orchard Park, NY. New York rushed for 126 yards, 76 of them by Shonn Greene. Buffalo turned the ball over three times. Both teams are now [5-3].
COWBOYS 23, SEAHAWKS 13 – Dallas is back to .500 on the season. In Arlington, Texas, the Cowboys broke open a 6-6 game in the second half. Tony Romo threw for 279 yards and 2 TD’s.
FALCONS 31, COLTS 7 – What a day for Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones. The rookie only caught three passes, but two of them went for touchdowns of 50 and 80 yards as the Colts rolled at Indianapolis. The Colts are now the only winless team in the NFL, because….
DOLPHINS 31, CHIEFS 3 – Miami – yes, Miami – has finally broken through. And the Dolphins did so in surprisingly convincing fashion at Arrowhead Stadium. Matt Moore threw for 244 yards and three TD’s in the upset. The loss snaps the Chiefs’ four-game winning streak.
SAINTS 27, BUCCANEERS 16 – At the Superdome, New Orleans bounced back from an awful loss to the Rams with a solid win over a division rival. The Saints rushed for 195 yards, and Drew Brees threw a pair of touchdown passes. New Orleans remains in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Tampa Bay has lost three of its last four.
49ERS 19, REDSKINS 11 – San Francisco improved to [7-1] on the season with its fourth straight road victory, winning at Landover, MD. Frank Gore rushed for 107 yards, and the 49ers’ defense forced three Washington turnovers.
TEXANS 30, BROWNS 12 – Houston ran wild over Cleveland. The Texans had two running backs rush for over 100 yards: Arian Foster (124) and Ben Tate (115.) The Texans have won three in a row, and remain atop the AFC South.