Posts Tagged ‘ New York Giants ’

The Tainted Rule

Today, the National Football League passed a rule that changes the overtime format of the NFL Playoffs, pretty much giving it a college style type of overtime.

Bad idea. Bad rule. Everything about this is just spells bad.

The reason: Sudden-death overtime is what made the NFL what it is today. How you ask?

Read up on the 1958 NFL Championship. The Greatest Game Ever Played. This was the first sudden-death overtime game in NFL history. Nobody even heard of the term overtime, as most NFL games ended in ties after regulation, but with a championship on the line, there had to be a winner. This created the sudden death overtime format, which was implemented in the regular season in 1974. It was simple. First team score wins. If you want the ball, play defense, and get the ball, and prevent the other team from scoring.

As the game has shifted into more of the offensive side, it has been clear that the NFL wants to give both teams a chance. After a 28-4 vote by owners, the NFL is going to do the college-style OT for the playoffs, with the possibility of implenting this rule in the regular season for 2011. It’s understood that the game changes, but the history shouldn’t. Fans and teams have complained that they don’t get a chance, but the simplicity of it is. First team to score wins the game. The team that does not win the toss has proven to win the game (as in Karlos Dansby’s GW TD against Green Bay in the 2009 NFC Wild Card game).

Sudden death is what made the NFL what it is today. The owners need a refresher on its history.

NFL Recap Week 17- The Finale

The last weekend of the NFL Regular Season, and this will be the last NFL Recap of the season. One of the sad times, but it is time for the playoffs. There were still things to sort out, like the NFC seeding picture for everyone 2-6, and the Wild Card in the AFC. Let’s go to the recap and see how the teams fared.

Indianapolis 7, Buffalo 30- From the snow off Lake Erie in a meaningless game for both teams, Ryan Fitzpatrick went 16-25 for 155 yards and three touchdowns, and the Buffalo Bills finished their season on a winning note by taking out the Indianapolis Colts in a game that the Colts once again rested their starters after the second drive, letting the second string not do too much. Fitzpatrick threw all three touchdowns in the first half, an 11 yard pass to Fred Jackson, a 21 yard pass to Lee Evans, and 41 yard pass to Terrell Owens. Peyton Manning went 14-18 for 95 yards and an interception, and Mike Hart scored the only touchdown for the Colts. The Colts go into the playoffs with a bye and two straight losses, but should be in good shape for the playoffs in two weeks in the divisional round. The Bills end the season on a winning not, but with a lot of questions, more importantly: who will be head coach? Bill Cowher maybe? Colts (14-2), Bills (6-10)

New Orleans 10, Carolina 23- The Saints rested Drew Brees, and it was not conducive to the team gaining any kind of momentum going into the playoffs. Jonathan Stewart ran for 125 yards,including a 67-yard run in the opening minutes of the game, and the Carolina Panthers finished exceptionally strong with their third straight win over the NFC South Champion Saints. Stewart’s performance gave him 1,133 yards, making him and DeAngelo Williams (who was inactive for the game with an ankle injury) the first running backs since the AFL-NFL Merger (1970) to run for 1,100+ yards in a single season. The Saints will be well-rested for their divisional round game, where they have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, while the Panthers face an offseason of uncertainty, in which if John Fox will be around for another season (essentially a lame-duck season), will Julius Peppers return, and who will be the starting QB: Jake Delhomme, who had a horrible year of 2009 or the emerging young QB Matt Moore, who had a strong game, throwing for 162 yards and a touchdown, finishing this season 4-1 as the starting QB. Foggy road ahead for Carolina. Saints (13-3), Panthers (8-8)

Jacksonville 17, Cleveland 23- This might be crazy, but the Cleveland Browns really have something to build upon for 2010. Jerome Harrison ran for 127 yards, and a touchdown, Josh Cribbs also ran for a touchdown, and the Cleveland Browns closed a season on a winning note, eliminating the Jaguars, and giving them their first four game winning streak since 1994 and the first four-game win streak since being reactivated via expansion in 1999. The win was another notch in Eric Mangini’s campaign to stay retained as head coach of the Browns as new president Mike Holmgren takes over on Monday. The Jaguars did not get anything started until the second half, down 20-3 when David Garrard, who went 22-39 for 202 yards threw the first of two touchdowns to make it 20-10. After a Phil Dawson field goal, he threw another one to Zach Miller to pull Jacksonville within six. The Jaguars, who were in the drivers seat for a playoff spot, collapsed and finished below .500 yet again in a disappointing campaign. Head coach Jack del Rio has been under fire, but he is expected to be back, especially for a team that wasn’t supposed to do too much. Jaguars (7-9), Browns (5-11)

Chicago 37, Detroit 23- Jay Cutler had a great game, going 22-36 for 276 yards, and tying a career high with four touchdowns, and the Chicago Bears finished their season strong with a win over their NFC North rival Detroit. Cutler hooked up with Greg Olsen, Devin Aromashadu twice, and Desmond Clark. It was Cutler’s second straight game with four touchdowns, but after 26 interceptions (23 in the nine straight losses), the Bears were plagued for most of the season, and it could mean the end of the Lovie Smith era in Chicago, who has not reached the playoffs in three straight years after making the Super Bowl in 2006. The Lions were led by Daunte Culpepper, who possibly played for the last time in a Lions’ uniform, going 23-34 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Jim Schwartz has a lot of work to do, it won’t be easy to undo a decade of losing with a team that went 33-111 since 2001 and is the first NFL team to have 30 losses in a two season span. Bears (7-9), Lions (2-14)

New England 27, Houston 34- The Houston Texans wanted a playoff berth and a winning record for the first time in team history. They got one of the two. The Texans set a franchise record in wins with their ninth win of the season after coming back from 14 down to beat the New England Patriots 34-27. Houston was down 27-13 in the fourth quarter, but rookie running back Arian Foster ran for two late touchdowns from one and three yards out to give Houston. Matt Schaub went 24-39 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans did not clinch a spot in the playoffs due to the New York Jets win over Cincinnati. The Patriots will go into the playoffs as the #3 seed, but lost a HUGE part of their offense in Wes Welker, who is done for the season with a torn ACL & MCL after a tackle by Bernard Pollard, who also took out Tom Brady’s knee in 2008. The Patriots will play the Ravens next Sunday in Foxborough in the Wild Card round. Patriots (10-6), Texans (9-7)

Pittsburgh 30, Miami 24- The Steelers went out with a win, but they miss out on the playoffs. The Steelers dominated the Dolphins, taking out Chad Henne with an eye injury, and the Pat White with a head injury. Ben Roethlisberger went 18-27 for 220 yards and three touchdowns, but after the Texans win over New England, and later, the Ravens victory over the Raiders, the Steelers were eliminated from the playoff picture, as the Steelers needed the Jets, Ravens, and Texans to lose. However the Texans won, and sealed the fate of the defending champs, whose five game losing streak really hurt them. Not only did Houston’s win eliminate Pittsburgh, it eliminated Miami, who had a very distant shot to begin with, and the defending AFC East champions were in the playoff hunt at 7-6, but lost three straight to miss the playoffs. Davone Bess led Miami with five catches for 85 yards in the loss. Steelers (9-7), Dolphins (7-9)

NY Giants 7, Minnesota 44- After lackluster performances over the past few weeks, it appears as if the the Minnesota Vikings are back. At least for now. Brett Favre went 25-31 for 316 yards and threw four touchdowns, and the Vikings easily got the second seed and a first-round by annilhating a Giants defense that just quit a long time ago. In less than three quarters, Favre threw touchdown passes to Visanthe Shiancoe, Sidney Rice (twice), and Naufahu Tahi. Adrian Peterson ran nine times for 54 yards and scored a touchdown. The Giants just did not look like the team that got off to a 5-0 start and appeared like the team from New York that would make the playoffs. It’s going to be a long season and what will be the fate of this team. Danny Ware, a rookie out of Georgia starting for Brandon Jacobs, scored their only touchdown, and had five carries for 22 yards on the day. Giants (8-8), Vikings (12-4)

San Francisco 28, St. Louis 6- Vernon Davis tied the NFL record for most touchdown receptions by a tight end with 13, Frank Gore ran for 107 yards on 23 carries, and the San Francisco 49ers finished with a .500 record for the first time since 2002. The 49ers started out slow in the first half, but came on strong in the second half to obtain victory. Steven Jackson ran the ball 20 times for 63 yards, but the Rams finished the season winless at home, and 1-15 for the season, but they do get the #1 pick in the draft. Ndamukong Suh anyone? 49ers (8-8), Rams (1-15)

Atlanta 20, Tampa Bay 10- Matt Ryan went 23-35 for 223 yards and two touchdowns, including the go ahead TD pass to Roddy White from 12 yards, and the Atlanta Falcons dispatched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 9-7 record, which gives them their first back-to-back winning seasons in the 44 year history of the franchise, which is a good consolation prize moving towards the future. Ryan also threw a two yard TD pass to Justin Peelle; Matt Bryant kicked two field goals for the Falcons. Josh Freeman had a rough day, going 16-32 for 174 yards with a touchdown to Antonio Bryant but he also threw two late interceptions that sealed the deal. Jason Snelling, filling in for the injured Michael Turner, ran 25 times for 147 yards, most of them coming off the Freeman turnovers. The Buccaneers started 0-8, but finished pretty strong at 3-13, and have something to look forward to in Freeman and he and the team will get better as the years go by. Falcons (9-7), Buccaneers (3-13)

Green Bay 33, Arizona 7- Two teams took two different directions in this game. The Arizona Cardinals decided to rest their starters early, and the Green Bay Packers were playing for seeding and momentum, the Cardinals were playing depending on the Vikings game. After the Vikings blew out the Giants, and killing any chance for a #2 seed and a first round by, the Cardinals played their reserves, and Green Bay took advantage. Aaron Rodgers went 21-26 for 235 yards and a touchdown (he also ran for one), Charles Woodson took a Matt Leinart interception 45 yards for a score, and the Green Bay Packers finished the season strong, and the Cardinals came more prepared for their rematch with Green Bay next week in Glendale with much more on the line. WR Anquan Boldin is questionable with an ankle injury for this weekend, so it could have an impact on the game next Sunday. Packers (11-5), Cardinals (10-6)

Philadelphia 0, Dallas 24- No Dallas December/January collapses this year, and by blanking the Eagles, the Cowboys get a home game at the Jones’ Palace. The Cowboys broke a nine year hex on season finales, had a winning December for the first time since 1996, and they exercised their demons of losing 44-6 last year to Philadelphia by posting their second straight shutout, something they never did in their 50 year history. Tony Romo went 24-34 for 311 yards and threw two touchdowns, Felix Jones ran for 91 yards, including a 49 yard run that put the nail in the coffin for the Cowboys to win the NFC East championship and host a playoff game at Cowboys Stadium against: The Eagles. Philadelphia will get a chance for revenge after they came into the game with the second spot and were trying for a first round bye, which all they needed was a victory. Instead they are on the road, and looking for answers. Brent Celek had seven catches for 96 yards, Donovan McNabb threw for 223 yards, but Dallas dominated from start to finish. Their late emergence makes is even more difficult to find out who truly will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Prepare for a rematch Saturday night in Arlington. Eagles (11-5), Cowboys (11-5)

Kansas City 44, Denver 24- From 6-0 to 8-8. Haven’t the Denver Broncos been in this scenario for the past few years. Another year where they started off fast, and faded just as quickly happened when the Chiefs got their first win in nine tries at Invesco Field. Jamaal Charles had a monster game, with 25 carries for 259 yards and two touchdowns, Derrick Johnson took two Kyle Orton interceptions back for two touchdowns, and not only did the Broncos lose the game, but lost any shot at a playoff berth. Kyle Orton threw for 431 yards passing, but three interceptions (and two of them run back for touchdowns) proved costly. The scratch of Brandon Marshall for this game was a big factor, and it could also mean the end of his time in Denver. The new year, same story occurs and leaves this team wonderingif they can keep the same intensity at the start of the season for the whole season. The Chiefs have the tools for the future, and it can only get better for this young team from here. Chiefs (4-12), Broncos (8-8)

Baltimore 21, Oakland 13- Willis McGahee may have lost his starting job at the start of the season, but he threw the Ravens on his back and carried them into the playoffs. McGahee ran for 167 yards on 16 carries, and the Baltimore Ravens grabbed the #6 seed and hung on to beat the Raiders. Baltimore now plays a New England team that they are 0-5 all time against. The Ravens out rushed the Raiders 240-51, Ray Rice had 89 total yards (70 rush, 19 rec) to give him 2,041 yards from scrimmage on the season. The Raiders were led by Charlie Frye, who went 18-25 for 180 yards and a touchdown that kept Oakland in the game, but after he left in the second half with an injured ankle and back, JaMarcus Russell came in and was ineffective again, going 9-14 for 102 yards with an interception and a fumble. Another disappointing season for him and the once-proud Raider franchise. Ravens (9-7), Raiders (5-11)

Washington 20, San Diego 23- The San Diego Chargers are the NFC East Champions. Okay, maybe not, but after their win over the Washington Redskins, they beat all four NFC East teams this season (Philadelphia, at NY Giants, at Dallas, Washington), but this last one didn’t include the usual suspects. Billy Volek led a late rally which was capped off by a two yard touchdown pass to Mike Tolbert with 35 seconds left to give San Diego their 11th straight win, and complete a successful 13-3 season, and a first round by in the playoffs. Volek went 19-30 for 216 yards, and it appeared that the Chargers were going to lose this game, but another loss was the final nail in the coffin in the Jim Zorn era in Washington. Jason Campbell also may have played his final game in a Redskin uniform, going 28-42 for 281 yards. Expect a lot of change in Washington, and can the Chargers be great deep in January? We will see. Redskins (4-12), Chargers (13-3)

Tennessee 17, Seattle 13- Chris Johnson became the sixth player in NFL history to run for 2,000+ yards in a season, joining Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, O.J. Simpson, and Jamal Lewis by rushing for 134 yards on 36 carries, and two touchdowns (including the game-winning one) and the Tennessee Titans bounced back from an 0-6 start to finish 8-8 for the season, and Johnson finished the season at 2,006 yards. he could have had more (and a shot at Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 yards), but a holding penalty negated a 62-yard touchdown run. Vince Young threw for 171 yards for Tennessee in the victory, and finished 8-2 since regaining the starter’s job for Tennessee. Matt Hasselbeck went 15-30 for 175 yards with a touchdown and interception, and the Seahawks are on their worst run in 16 years, only having nine wins in the past two season. The last time that happened was 1992-93. Titans (8-8), Seahawks (5-11)

Cincinnati 0, NY Jets 37- In the final NFL game at the Meadowlands (barring that Baltimore and the Jets play in the AFC Championship. Thomas Jones ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns, Brad Smith ran for 92 yards, and the New York Jets defense shut down the Cincinnati Bengals early and went on to shut them out to clinch the #5 seed and earn themselves a rematch with the Bengals next week in Cincinnati and Paul Brown Stadium. Mark Sanchez did not have a stellar game, but he was efficient in managing the offense, and did not turn the ball over. The Jets defense was stellar as well, as they held Carson Palmer to 1/11 passing for 0 yards. Chad Ochocinco, who said if Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis would shut him down, he would change his name back to Chad Johnson. Revis shut 85 down. These two teams will go at it again Saturday in Cincinnati in the first wild card game. Expect a different Cincinnati team. Jets (9-7), Bengals (10-6)

Stay tuned to TSX for final thoughts on the teams that did not make the playoffs. Great NFL Regular Season, See you in the playoffs!

Why So Mad?

The Colts did not go for the perfect season this past Sunday against the New York Jets. In fact, they pulled their starters in the second half with a 15-10 lead. The Jets scored 19 on the second string en route to a 29-15 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. The loss did not affect the Colts, as they have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC, but many Colts fans and NFL fans were greatly affected. There’s only one question:

Why are the people so upset over this?

The Colts did not want the perfect season. They are not focused on 16-0 or 19-0, and if Jim Irsay (Colts’ owner) and Bill Polian (Colts President) had no problem with Jim Caldwell pulling the players, why should everyone else have a problem? Peyton Manning is the most valuable player to the Colts, and why risk the chance of injury to him or any of the starters for the team. In fact, when the Colts clinched home-field, there was no need to even play the starters for the whole game. Manning and the rest of the starters knew they were not going to play the whole game, and were just fine with it. Caldwell knew what he was doing, and so did the team.

If the Colts went perfect, the pressure would have mounted, taking a loss will not put as much pressure on the team to continue to be perfect. The New England Patriots buckled at the last game to be perfect to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII and finished 18-1. One loss will not affect them as much, and the ’72 Dolphins can breathe easy and remain the only members of Perfectville. The record did not matter, especially after the New Orleans Saints lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. Had the Saints still been perfect, the Colts probably would have played to keep up with them Now with New Orleans losing two in a row, there was no need to keep going. Some think the Colts punked out, but they did not. They made the right choice, which was embraced by the organization.

Jim Caldwell got heat for ruining the perfect season intentionally, but if the Colts win the Super Bowl, all will be forgotten, and even if they lose in the playoffs, it will be a lot less attention-grabbing with one loss already than it would be with zero losses on the board.

NFL Recap Week 16

The season has flown by, but we are at the finish line and there is some more football betting to be had. The playoff picture has been set in one conference, but not fully set. The other conference still needs a lot of deciding in the final day of the season. Did the Colts stay perfect? To the recap….

Buffalo 3, Atlanta 31- Matt Ryan went 18-35 for 250 yards and three touchdowns (two to Roddy White), and the Atlanta Falcons made short work of the Buffalo Bills in a 31-3 victory. Atlanta scored on its opening drive when Ryan found White for a 42 yard pass, and the defense just never let up on the Bills, forcing them into 41 yards rushing, and 179 for the game. Ryan also hooked up with Marty Booker for a 12 yard pass, and rookie defensive end Lawrence Sidbury ran a fumble back for 11 yards, and gave the Falcons a 24-0 lead and led to a 24-3 halftime after Rian Lindell’s field goal gave Buffalo its only points of the game. Brian Brohm was the starting quarterback for Buffalo, since Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards both sat out with ankle injuries. He went 17-29 for 146 yards and two interceptions. The Bills long season is almost over, and the Falcons have a chance to post back to back winning seasons for the first time in their 44 year franchise history, which would be great for the organization and its fans. Bills (5-10), Falcons (8-7)

Kansas City 10, Cincinnati 17- Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco on a 98 yard drive that gave the Cincinnati Bengals a hard-fought 17-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, and gave them the AFC North division championship and reaching the playoffs for the second time in just 19 years. They still were carrying heavin hearts from the death of fallen teammate Chris Henry, who was laid to rest five days ago in his native Louisiana. Palmer first found Laveranues Coles for a 10 yard touchdown reception, and then the pass to Ochocinco in the fourth. Cedric Benson also had a good day, with 29 carries for 133 yards, setting a franchise record with his sixth straight 100-yard game. The Chiefs bright spot was Jamaal Charles, who ran for 102 yards on 24 carries on his birthday, and Matt Cassel went 22-37 for 180 yards with a 20 yd TD pass to running back Tim Castille to tie the game at 10 early in the fourth quarter. Larry Johnson, who had this game marked personally and was looking to show out against his former team, only settled for four carries for 11 yards, but he will see the postseason, while the Chiefs are heading to another four or fewer win season for the third year in a row. Chiefs (3-12), Bengals (10-5)

Oakland 9, Cleveland 23- Jerome Harrison ran for 148 yards on 39 carries, and a touchdown and Derek Anderson threw for 121 yards and a touchdown, and the Cleveland Browns won their third straight game and quite possibly may have saved Eric Mangini’s job (or at least improved his chances) with a 23-9 home victory over the Raiders. The Browns have found a new running back in Harrison, who had 125+ yards for the second straight game following a 286 yard, franchise record effort against the Kansas City Chiefs. Anderson, starting for the first time since November 1st, was efficient, and most importantly, did now turn the ball over. On the week where it was announced that Mike Holmgren was announced as the new Browns’ president, Mangini showed why he should at least get a chance to show what he can do with this team that has finally found themselves after wins over Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and now Oakland. The Browns will seek their first four-game win streak in the expansion era when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. The Raiders still are trying to find ways to beat the bad teams just like they can beat the good ones. Raiders (5-10), Browns (4-11)

Seattle 10, Green Bay 48- Brandon Jackson had three touchdowns, Ryan Grant had two, and the Green Bay Packers’ defense intercepted Matt Hasselbeck four times, and the Green Bay Packers dismantled the Seattle Seahawks and clinched a spot in the NFC playoffs. Green Bay will be a Wild Card team, it is yet to be determined what seed they will be (either 5 or 6). Aaron Rodgers, who went 12-23 for 237 yards started the day by finding Jackson, who then complimented his receiving touchdown with two rushing touchdowns in the third. Ryan Grant scored two touchdowns in the first half, the first one from three yards out and the second one from 56 yards which helped the Pack to a 21-3 lead. Ahman Green also scored for Green Bay, who really turned things around after the Brett Favre saga, and a disappointing 6-10 record and turned it into a playoff berth. The Seahawks did get a touchdown from Hasselbeck, as he found John Carlson for a 16 yard score, but the game was 48-3 and well out of reach. The question is now: Is the Hasselbeck era over in Seattle and is it time for a change at QB? Very disappointing season for Seattle after such high hopes that it would get back to the team that made the postseason six straight years from 02-07. Seahawks (5-10), Packers (10-5)

Houston 27, Miami 20- Matt Schaub went 20-31 for 286 yards and two touchdowns, and the Houston Texans opened up a 27-0 lead before halftime, and survived the Miami Dolphins’ comeback attempt with a 27-20 victory that kept them alive, and all but eliminated Miami from the AFC playoff picture. Schaub found Andre Johnson for a 10 yard touchdown in the first quarter, and then Jacoby Jones for a 44 yard connection in the second quarter. Arian Foster ran for 97 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter, which propelled the Texans to a 27-0 lead early and a 27-3 halftime lead. Over the final 31 minutes of the game, the Dolphins mounted a comeback with 20 unanswered points, but their upset bid fell short when Houston recovered an onside kick to seal the victory.

Jacksonville 7, New England 35- Tom Brady went 23-26 for 267 yards and four touchdowns (three to Randy Moss), and the New England Patriots clinched the AFC East division and a playoff spot, by outplaying a Jacksonville Jaguars team that was once in the drivers seat for the AFC Wild Card, but are virtually eliminated from contention. Wes Welker caught 13 passes for 138 yards, and Moss only had four catches for 45 yards, but three of them were for touchdowns (2, 6, 17), and the Patriots jumped out to a 35-0 lead. The Jaguars only touchdown came on a David Garrard two yard run in the fourth quarter. He went 19-25 for 185 yards with two interceptions, and Maurice Jones-Drew was only held to 63 yards rushing. The buzz on Twitter happened when Mike Sims-Walker responded to many fans questions on why he does not get the ball, which will create a “controversy”. Not much should be made, but Twitter is not a good place to vent if you’re an athlete. Jaguars (7-8), Patriots (10-5)

Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 17 (F/OT)- The New Orleans Saints were on their way to a 14-1 start when Garrett Hartley kicked his field goal… that’s what the Superdome thought. They thought wrong. After blowing a 17-0 lead, The Saints gave up 17 points in regulation, and Connor Barth hit the game winning 47 yard field goal to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers an improbable 20-17 victory over the Saints at the Superdome, and raising questions on if the Saints are as unstoppable as they once were when they beat New England 38-17 in Week 12. Cadillac Williams ran for 129 yards on 24 carries, and Michael Spurlock’s 77 yard punt return tied the game at 17 that set up the drama for Hartley’s missed field goal and Barth’s game winner. Drew Brees went 32-37 for 258 yards and a touchdown to Robert Meachem. The Saints not only lost their shot at home-field advantage, but can still clinch if Minnesota loses to Chicago on Monday night, but set history as the first 13-win team to lose to a team coming into the game with two victories. Buccaneers (3-12), Saints (13-2)

Carolina 41, NY Giants 9- Jonathan Stewart ran for a franchise-record 206 yards, and Matt Moore went 15-20 for 171 yards and three touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers closed out Giants’ Stadium with a 41-9 shelling of the New York Giants, and eliminating the Giants from playoff contention. The Panthers’ defense forced the Giants into four turnovers (two fumbles, and two interceptions from Eli Manning). and held the Giants to just 60 yards rushing the whole game. The bad news for the Panthers is that Steve Smith broke his arm after scoring a touchdown, and had successful surgery Monday morning, and is effectively done for the season. The Giants, meanwhile are wondering what happened after a 5-0 start how things could have gone south. Big Blue was a Super Bowl contender, but seven losses in the past 10 games have them not going to the playoffs for the first time in five years. Panthers (7-8), Giants (8-7)

Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 23- Ben Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards and a touchdown, Rashard Mendenhall ran for a touchdown, and Jeff Reed kicked three field goals, including the game-winning 38 yard field goal, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were almost left for dead, came back alive in the playoff hunt and further complicated the AFC playoff picture. The teams were all field goals until Rashard Mendenhall ran for four yards for a touchdown and made it 13-3. After Joe Flacco found Todd Heap for a touchdown, Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes to make it 20-10. The third quarter included another Flacco to Heap touchdown and a field goal tied it at 20. The Ravens had a golden opportunity to go up by a touchdown, but Derrick Mason dropped a wide-open pass, which led eventually to Reed’s field goal. The Ravens need to win at Oakland to clinch a playoff spot, and Pittsburgh needs to win at Miami and the Ravens would lose at Oakland or the Jets lose at home against Cincinnati to make it to the playoffs. Ravens (8-7), Steelers (8-7)

St. Louis 10, Arizona 31- The Arizona Cardinals are legit, grabbing their first 10-win season in 33 years when the team was in St. Louis, and the got there by beating the team that is currently in their old city, the St. Louis Rams. Kurt Warner went 24-38 for 313 yards and threw two touchdowns, giving him 100 with Arizona and joining Fran Tarkenton as the only players w/ 100+ touchdowns for two different teams, and the Arizona Cardinals made easy work of the St. Louis Rams. Anquan Boldin finished with eight catches for 116 yards, (seven for 100 in the first half). Brandon Gibson had five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown which was ruled an incompletion but overturned after a Rams challenge. Keith Null, starting for the third straight game, going 20-31 for 171 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. The Rams loss has all but clinched them the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. Ndamukong Suh anyone? Rams (1-14), Cardinals (10-5)

Detroit 6, San Francisco 20- Frank Gore scored on a one yard touchdown run, and topped the 1000 yard mark for the fourth straight year, and Alex Smith went 20-31 for 230 yards and a touchdown to Vernon Davis, and the San Francisco 49ers made easy work of the Detroit Lions in the second half and will be looking to finish the season at .500 with a win over St. Louis next week. The Lions’ QB carousel continued as Drew Stanton went 11-21 for 130 yards, but threw three interceptions, and was replaced by Daunte Culpepper, who went 7-12 for 51 yards. Neither QB threw a touchdown. The loss for Detroit was their 20th straight on the road, and for the second year, they went winless away from Ford Field. They appear headed for the #2 pick in the NFL Draft. Lions (2-13), 49ers (7-8)

NY Jets 29, Indianapolis 15- Apparently, perfection did not matter to Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts benched their starters for most of the second half, and the Jets took advantage. Brad Smith scored on a 106 yard kickoff return, and Thomas Jones ran for 105 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown, and the Jets snapped the Colts’ 23 game regular season win streak, and ended their perfect season. The win puts the Jets in the drivers seat for the fifth seed of the AFC, and if they win at home at the Meadowlands against Cincinnati, they are in the playoffs. The Colts will close out their season at Buffalo, and prepare for home-field throughout the playoffs. Peyton Manning went 14-21 for 192 yards before being pulled from the game. Joseph Addai & Donald Brown scored the two touchdown for the Colts in this one. Jim Caldwell has taken a lot of heat for pulling the starters, but he really should not. If the coaches and players were fine with it, then the media should be too. Jets (8-7), Colts (14-1)

Denver 27, Philadelphia 30- David Akers kicked a 28 yard field goal with four seconds left, and helped the Philadelphia Eagles keep their lead in the NFC East and set up a show down in Arlington at Cowboys Stadium with Dallas for not only the NFC East Championship, but for a first round bye (if Minnesota loses both of their final games). Donovan McNabb went 20-35 for 322 yards and three touchdowns, and the Eagles set a new franchise record in total points for the season, giving them 429 after 15 games, surpassing the old mark of 416 yards set just a season ago. Kyle Orton did a good job managing the game for Denver, leading a methodical come back and throwing three touchdowns to go with his 189 yards passing (two to Jabar Gaffney), and leading the Broncos back from a 17 point deficit to tie the game at 27. It was a huge catch by rookie WR Jeremy Maclin on the sidelines for the Eagles that set up the game-winning field goal for the Eagles. The Broncos, who were in the drivers seat for the Wild Card for the past two weeks are on the outside looking in and need to win and either the Jets, Baltimore or Pittsburgh to lose to make it in the playoffs. They host Kansas City next week. Broncos (8-7), Eagles (11-4)

Dallas 17, Washington 0- The December Depression has been detained in Dallas. Tony Romo threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, Marion Barber ran for a touchdown, and Shaun Suisham stuck it to the team that cut him by kicking a field goal from the same spot that costed him his job two weeks ago in the same stadium, and the Dallas Cowboys are back in the playoffs, but could potentially host a playoff game at Cowboys Stadium if they beat the Eagles next Sunday afternoon for the NFC East crown. Dallas has not won a game in January since 2000, and the last time they won a playoff game was 1996. The Redskins are a team in turmoil. They do have a GM in Bruce Allen, and Jim Zorn’s time is already up. The off-field distractions have led to on-field disasters, and a complete overhaul is demanded. Santana Moss had eight catches for 92 yards, and Jason Campbell did not have the best of days, going 24-39 for 199 yards and an interception. He was also sacked three times including a Madden-like sack from Orlando Scandrick. Too much uncertainty going into the offseason, but the ‘Skins need a ton of work. Cowboys (10-5), Redskins (4-11)

Week 16 concludes w/ the MNF Recap: Minnesota vs. Chicago

MNF Recap Week 15

The Nation’s capital was the site of the Monday Night game, with a desperate New York Giants team looking to keep the pressure on the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers for the NFC Wild Card spot. The Redskins look to play spoiler against the Giants and damage their hopes to their rivals. This wasn’t even close.

NY Giants 45, Washington 12- Eli Manning threw for 268 yards on 19-26 passing with three touchdowns, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for two touchdowns and 61 yards, and the New York Giants returned to the team that was 5-0 a long time ago by dismantling the Redskins 45-12, and giving new Redskins boss Bruce Allen a lot to look at regarding the talent of this team and where they want to go in the future. The blowout loss was damaging to any chance that Jim Zorn had to keep his job for next season, and it appears that he is on his way out the door when the season is over. Manning connected with Steve Smith, Derek Hagan, and Mario Manningham, and by the time Terell Thomas intercepted Jason Campbell’s pass to make it 38-6, the game was well in hand. Campbell went 15-28 for 192 yards w/ a touchdown to Fred Davis and two interceptions and Quinton Ganther scored a touchdown for Washington. The Giants are now a game behind Green Bay & Dallas for the final spot in the NFC Playoff race. The Giants own the tiebreaker against Dallas (by virture of beating them twice), so no team is out of the woods just yet. Perhaps Washington was overlooking New York for their game against Dallas on Sunday night. The Cowboys signed former Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham, giving him a opportunity to stick it to his former team. Giants (8-6), Redskins (4-10)

NFL Recap Week 14

Week 14 of the NFL Season is in the books, and the games on Sunday were some good ones. A new NFL record was set; did the Colts & Saints continue their unbeaten run? And which conference playoff picture got tighter in one day? To the recap we go…

New Orleans 26, Atlanta 23- Drew Brees went 31-40 for 296 yards with three touchdowns (two to Reggie Bush), and Jonathan Vilma made a game-saving tackle on fourth down, and the New Orleans Saints survived another close call and keep their perfect season alive with a 26-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints were up 23-9, but Chris Redman, starting for the injured Matt Ryan and Jason Snelling, starting for the injured Michael Turner, threw a touchdown pass and scored a touchdown on a one yard run respectively. Garrett Hartley’s field goal with 4:42 left in the game put the Saints up for good after a Redman interception. The Saints have clinched a first round bye with the victory, and are set on going for 16-0, the Falcons are a loss away from not having consecutive winning seasons, which has never happened in their 44 year history. Saints (13-0), Falcons (6-7)

Detroit 3, Baltimore 48- Ray Rice ran for 166 yards and a touchdown, Willis McGahee ran for two touchdowns, and the Baltimore Ravens steamrolled the Detroit Lions into ther 19th straight road loss. Rice also reached 1000 yards for the first time in his career, and the Ravens 548 total yards were a team record along with its five rushing touchdowns (Rice, Le’Ron McClain, McGahee, McGahee, and Troy Smith). Joe Flacco threw for 230 yards and a 62 yard TD pass to Derrick Mason. Kevin Smith led the way for the Lions with 69 yards on 21 carries in the loss. Lions (2-11), Ravens (7-6)

Green Bay 21, Chicago 14- Ryan Grant ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62 yard run to open up the game, and the game-winning TD in the fourth quarter, and the Green Bay Packers had to come from behind and get their fifth straight victory by beating the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Bears blew the game and lost any chance to make the playoffs and put Lovie Smith’s job security in even more doubt after missing the playoffs three straight years after the Bears made the Super Bowl in the 2006 season. Jay Cutler went 23-36 for 209 yards and threw two touchdowns, but also threw a couple of costly interceptions to raise his league high number to 22. Green Bay is now in control of the top Wild Card spot in the NFC, and are still on Minnesota’s heels for the NFC North crown. Packers (9-4), Bears (5-8)

Seattle 7, Houston 34- Matt Schaub threw for 365 yards (336 in the first half) on 29-39 passing, with two touchdowns to Andre Johnson, who finished with 193 yards on 11 catches, and the Texans steamrolled the Seahawks to keep their playoff hopes alive in the AFC and snap their four game losing streak. Schaub opened up the game with a 64 yard pass to Johnson, and then they hooked up again on a 17 yard connection. Ryan Moats also ran for a touchdown for the Texans and Bernard Pollard took a interception from Matt Hasselbeck 70 yards to seal the victory. Hasselbeck went 24-35 for 247 yards with a touchdown and INT. The Seahawks are out of the playoff picture completely with the loss. Seahawks (5-8), Texans (6-7)

Denver 16, Indianapolis 28- It’s hard to go against Peyton Manning, even when he’s doing bad. Manning went 20-42 for 240 yards with four touchdowns, and three interceptions, but the Colts defense held strong and the three TD passes by Manning proved to be the difference and the Colts remained undefeated at 13-0 and set new records with their 22nd consecutive regular season victory, and their 114th win in this decade. Peyton hooked up with Austin Collie and Dallas Clark three times. Although the three interceptions were costly, the Colts defense held strong early, but had no answer for Brandon Marshall. Marshall set a NFL record for receptions in a single game with 21, topping Terrell Owens’ mark of 20 in 2000. He finished with 200 yards and two touchdowns, but the loss for the Broncos tightens the AFC Wild Card race, they still have the top spot, but not by much. The win seals home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the Colts in the AFC playoffs. Broncos (8-5), Colts (13-0)

Miami 14, Jacksonville 10- In a game with a lot of playoff implications, Ricky Williams ran for 108 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown, and Chad Henne threw for 220 yards, and ran for a touchdown, and the Miami Dolphins overcame three turnovers and knocked off the Jacksonville Jaguars to move into the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. The Dolphins have won seven of 10 since starting the season 0-3 and are 6-0 in the month of December under head coach Tony Sparano. Jacksonville could not get anything going as David Garrard was sacked three times and limited Maurice Jones-Drew to 59 yards and a touchdown. Jacksonville has a short week, and has to deal with the undefeated Colts on Thursday night. Tough road ahead to get to the playoffs. Dolphins (7-6), Jaguars (7-6)

Buffalo 16, Kansas City 10- Rian Lindell kicked three field goals, and the Bills’ defense intercepted Matt Cassel twice in the final 2:11 to give Buffalo a 16-10 win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, and keeping them mathematically alive in the AFC Wild Card picture, putting them two games behind for the final spot. The Bills are now 2-2 under interim head coach Perry Fewell. Ryan Fitzpatrick went 12-20 for 86 yards and a nine yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens, who only had 15 yards receiving. The Chiefs were led by Jamaal Charles, who ran for 143 yards on 20 carries, and the tough times and struggles in Kansas City continue. Bills (5-8), Chiefs (3-10)

Cincinnati 10, Minnesota 30- Adrian Peterson ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns, and Brett Favre threw for 192 yards and a touchdown, and the Minnesota Vikings made short work and took advantage of the Cincinnati Bengals’ mistakes to reestablish themselves as one of the teams to beat in the NFC. AP also had 40 yard receiving, and set a new franchise records for touchdowns in a single season with 14, helping Minnesota keep pace with the Saints and ahead of the Eagles and Cardinals for a first round bye in the NFC Playoffs. The Bengals did not look like an elite team that has prided themselves on defense, as they allowed 30 points, despite an interception from Favre. Their offense was stagnant as well as Carson Palmer threw for only 94 yards and a 15 yard TD pass to Chad Ochocinco. The only bright spot for them today was Cedric Benson, who ran for 96 yards on 16 carries and got himself his first 1,000 yard season of his career. The Bengals have a showdown with San Diego on the road for the #2 spot in the AFC and a first round bye in the playoffs. If they want to establish themselves as an elite team, they need to beat the elite on the road. Bengals (9-4), Vikings (11-2)

Carolina 10, New England 20- Wes Welker had 10 catches for 105 yards, including five on the tie-breaking drive, and the New England Patriots overcame in-house issues and sloppy first half play to beat the Carolina Panthers, who have eliminated themselves from playoff contention. Welker’s five receptions set up a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson for five yards. Kevin Faulk also scored on a three yard run in the first half and two field goals by Stephen Gostkowski sealed the deal for the Patriots, who are now 7-0 at home and maintain a one game lead on the AFC East over the Dolphins and New York Jets. Steve Smith had two catches for 83 yards, including a 41 yard touchdown reception from Matt Moore, who started for Jake Delhomme again after Delhomme had not healed from his broken finger. The Panthers will miss the playoffs again after making it a year before, and the inconsistency could mean the end for head coach John Fox in Carolina. Panthers (5-8), Patriots (8-5)

NY Jets 26, Tampa Bay 3- Thomas Jones ran for two touchdowns and 99 yards, and Jay Feely kicked four field goals (40, 24, 49, 49) and the Jets defense allowed only 124 yards (43 rushing) and picked off rookie QB Josh Freeman three times, and Gang Green sailed to an easy victory and put themselves in good position for playoff contention. Kellen Clemens, starting for the injured Mark Sanchez, managed the game well, and went 12-23 for 111 yards, and allowed the team to do their thing: run the ball and play good defense against one of the NFL’s worst teams. The win was the third in a row for New York, and are above .500 for the first time since their win at Oakland five weeks ago. Tampa Bay’s growing pains continue, as Freeman has thrown eight interceptions in the last two quarters and being held to 15 first half yards won’t get the job done against anybody. Kellen Winslow led the way with four catches for 26 yards. Jets (7-6), Buccaneers (1-12)

Washington 34, Oakland 13- Jason Campbell went 16-28 for 222 yards and threw two touchdowns to Fred Davis, and Quinton Ganther ran for two touchdowns, and the Washington Redskins easily handled the Oakland Raiders for their first road win of the season. The Skins lost three straight coming in and after Campbell got off to a 1-5 start it appeared to be another long day, but he overcame it and went 15-23 the rest of the way. Ganther, the Redskins fourth running back this season, scored on two fourth quarter touchdown runs, and Brian Orakpo, the rookie defensive end from Texas, had four sacks in the game, tying the franchise record for most in a single game. The Redskins really went off in the sacks department when JaMarcus Russell came in the game for Bruce Gradkowski after Gradkowski had two injured knees. The boos rang out, and Russell was sacked six times and was very ineffective, as he has been since the 2007 NFL Draft. Justin Fargas scored the lone touchdown for Oakland. Redskins (4-9), Raiders (4-9)

St. Louis 7, Tennessee 47- Chris Johnson ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a 66 yard touchdown pass from Vince Young, and the Tennessee Titans improved to 6-1 when Young starts and kept their playoff hopes alive by easily dismantling the Rams. Young left the game in the second quarter with a strained right hamstring, Kerry Collins entered the game and went 11-19 for 154 yards, and a touchdown to Alge Crumpler to finish the victory for Tennesee. Rob Bironas kicked four field goals (27, 36, 44, and 50). The Titans defense made all kinds of trouble for rookie Keith Null, who was making his debut for an injured Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller at game time. Null went 27-43 for 157 yards and a touchdown, but he threw five interceptions: two to Keith Bulluck, two to Cortland Finnegan, and one to Vincent Fuller, who took it back 45 yards for a touchdown. Tennessee needs to win out and get a lot of help along the way. Rams (1-12), Titans (6-7)

San Diego 20, Dallas 17- Phillip Rivers went 21-32 for 272 yards and a touchdown, and the San Diego Chargers held off the Dallas Cowboys for their 16th straight December victory (all of which since Rivers became San Diego’s starting QB), and sending Dallas into another December loss under Wade Phillips and Tony Romo. LaDainian Tomlinson scored a touchdown early to start the game in his home state of Texas, and Nate Kaeding kicked two field goals for San Diego. The Cowboys scored twice in the second half off two Romo touchdown passes: one to Miles Austin at the end of the third quarter to tie the game at 10, and one to Patrick Crayton with two seconds left in the game. He finished with 249 yards on 19-30 passing. The difference had to be in the first quarter when the Chargers stuffed the Cowboys four times on the San Diego 1 yard line. Bigger news was DeMarcus Ware, the star linebacker for Dallas left the game on a stretcher with a sprained neck, and his status for Saturday night’s game against New Orleans in the Superdome is up in the air. The Cowboys lead the Giants by one game in the NFC Wild Card and now trail the Eagles by a game in the NFC East. They must find a way to stop the December bleeding. The Chargers can clinch a first round bye with a win over Cincinnati next Sunday. Chargers (10-3), Cowboys (8-5)

Philadelphia 45, NY Giants 38- DeSean Jackson came back from his concussion and had a 72 yard punt return for a touchdown, and a 60 yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb, giving him eight touchdowns of 50+ yards, tying a NFL record, along with 178 yards receiving, and the Eagles outscored the New York Giants in a shootout on Sunday night, 45-38. Donovan McNabb went 17-26, for 265 yards and two touchdowns (one to Jackson, and one to Brent Celek). Mike Vick scored his second rushing touchdown of the season, and Leonard Weaver and Sheldon Brown had touchdowns for Philadelphia. Eli Manning did all he could to keep his team in the game, going 26-41 for 382 yards and three touchdowns, but it was two touchdowns to Mario Manningham that were out of bounds, and a costly fumble that was confirmed by video review that still have Big Blue on the outside looking in on the playoff picture. the one thing they have going is that they have a tiebreaker on Dallas, and are a game behind the Cowboys for that Final NFC Wild Card. Philadelphia now has sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Eagles (9-4), Giants (7-6)

This concludes the NFL Recap for Week 14. Tune in tomorrow for the Monday Night Recap between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers.

The Best & Worst of Week 13

What a week in the NFL. It seemed to be the “Twilight Zone” weekend in the NFL. Teams that were not supposed to win, won. The teams that were supposed to win did not. This just shows that anything can happen Any Given Sunday.

But with all that aside, let’s show the Best & Worst of Week 13:

THE BEST

Bruce Gradkowski: Gradkowski has been the QB for a few weeks now, and the team is really responding. Oakland is 2-1 since he took over and they are playing with a lot more effort and passion that was not displayed from JaMarcus Russell. He wants to win, and to will his team to victory in the fourth quarter of a see-saw battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers spoke volumes. He may not be the Raiders QB in the future, but he is definitely going to peak the interest of many teams that will be looking for a quarterback.

Brandon Jacobs: Jacobs has had “hatred” for the Dallas Cowboys since he was younger, and he took it out on the team late Sunday afternoon. Jacobs had 113 total yards (39 rush, 74 receiving) and two touchdowns, and tightened up the race in the NFC East & Wild Card playoff spots. With a big game Sunday night against the Eagles, he’s going to have to come up big again to make it even more tight.

The Arizona Cardinals: Few have mentioned the Cardinals late in the season (for the second year in a row), and it seems that Kurt Warner, Ken Whisenhunt & Company like that. Warner came back from his concussion and threw three touchdowns against arguably the best team in the NFC, the Minnesota Vikings. The return of Warner, and his 285 yards passing and three first half touchdown passes were more than enough. The Cardinals defense also came up big in forcing two interceptions from Brett Favre. Do not be surprised if Arizona is hot once again going into the playoffs.

THE WORST

The Pittsburgh Steelers: Four straight losses, and two of them to very bad AFC West teams, but latest loss at home against the Oakland Raiders was embarrassing. The defending Super Bowl champs are now a game out of the final Wild Card position, and are reeling. A loss to the Browns would really spell doom for the Black & Gold



Josh Freeman
: Five interceptions are one thing, but to have three of those five interceptions in the redzone is utterly sad. Rookie or not, you just can’t give the ball away when your team is about to score a touchdown. Having a non-existent running game does not help matters and bad play calling was a factor. Where was Cadillac Williams or Derrick Ward? Very unacceptable



The Buffalo Bills in Toronto
: Yes, there’s three more games left in Toronto in the next three seasons, but the Toronto Series has to go. The fans always root for the other team! The Bills need to just have their eight games at home, and not even play north of the border. Besides, Toronto has its team, the Argonauts of the CFL. This venture was a good idea at the thought, but the Bills are 0-2, and it’s not a real success.

Instead of THE BEST OF THE WORST this week, there’s an additional WORST:

Shaun Suisham: Suisham has costed the Redskins a couple of games this season. The missed field goal against Dallas was on thin ice, but to miss a 23 yard field goal against the undefeated Saints that would’ve put the game out of reach was the last straw for the team. He ended up being released Tuesday, and replaced by Graham Gano. Happy trails, Shaun.

Check back next week for the Best & Worst of Week 14