The week began with something of a thud on Thursday night, as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans seemed to feel the effects of a short week and slick conditions. It got interesting down the stretch, but the Titans came up just short on their attempt at a comeback win–with the game ending on Marcus Mariota‘s slip and fall amidst a quickly collapsing pocket. Blake Bortles struggled for the second week in a row, as the Jags had some questionable play calls in the red zone and lousy blocking. Not a pretty picture painted by two of the NFL’s promising young quarterbacks.
|Thomas Rawls had a HUGE day for the Seahawks on Sunday.|
On Sunday, the first round of games held a few surprises. One thing that wasn’t a surprise was the performance of the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, who threw for five scores in a 44-16 pounding of Kirk Cousins and the Washington team. In Philadelphia, football fans saw what might have been the biggest surprise of the week. Tampa Bay’s quarterback Jameis Winston went absolutely bonkers on the Eagles’ defense, throwing five touchdowns at the Bucs won 45-17. There was another surprise in Detroit, as Matt Stafford and the Lions beat the Oakland Raiders in the dome. David Carr and the Raiders’ potent offense couldn’t get anything going all day, and the game-winner came on a gutsy touchdown run by Stafford with minutes to go.
Elsewhere in the early round of games, a couple of matchups went right down the the wire. At Soldier Field, Jay Cutler led the Chicago Bears on a last-minute drive against the Denver Broncos defense, that ended with Jeremy Langford running into the end zone with 24 seconds to go. Unfortunately, the Bears had to go for two to tie, and Langford was stuffed at the line. The Broncos hung on, 11-15, as Brock Osweiler was solid in his first start behind center. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons came up short in a last-second drive against the Indianapolis Colts, with Ryan’s last-second Hail Mary being picked off short of the end zone. This was another of the week’s surprises, as the Falcons continued to struggle offensively despite being on their own turf and going against a team missing QB Andrew Luck. And Tony Romo returned to the field for the Dallas Cowboys, leading them on a 24-14 win over the Miami Dolphins and proving how valuable he is to his team. The touchdown pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant was, believe it or not, their 50th touchdown as a duo.
In Baltimore, the Ravens‘ defense forced a Case Keenum fumble with .54 seconds to go…in a tie game, at the St. Louis 41. The Ravens got it to the 30 yard line, and Justin Tucker walked it off with a 47-yard field goal for a 16-13 win! It was good news/bad news for the Ravens, however, as quarterback Joe Flacco was lost for the year with a torn left ACL. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Ravens also lost running back Justin Forsett to a broken right arm. Ouch.
|Cam Newton and the Panthers have made it to 10-0.|
The late afternoon games were all blowouts. The Green Bay Packers got back on track in Minnesota with a dominant 30-13 win over the Vikings, although Aaron Rodgers and the offense still looked out of sync at times. The Kansas City Chiefs pounded the San Diego Chargers 33-3, and the Seattle Seahawks beat up the San Francisco 49ers 30-13. The Seahawks were led by a breakout performance by Thomas Rawls, who filled in for the injured Marshawn Lynch; Rawls had 255 combined yards from scrimmage, including 209 rushing yards and both a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown. And he’s a backup. Wow.
To cap off Sunday night, Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals faced off against Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals. Believe it or not, this game gave us the first 300-yard passer of the afternoon! It came down to a fantastic finish, as well. The two teams traded scores in the final minutes, with the Bengals kicking a game-tying field goal that looked as if it might force overtime. But Palmer and the Cardinals roared back with an impressive drive, getting to within field goal range with mere seconds left. They were about to take a knee and set up a walkoff field goal, when the Bengals were penalized for simulating the snap count: a penalty of half the distance to the goal! This turned a missable kick into a chip shot, which Chandler Catanzaro nailed. The Bengals have lost two in a row now, and the Cardinals are looking dangerous yet again.
The week ended with a big AFC East showdown between Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills. It was close until about midway through the third quarter, when the Patriots pulled away for a bit; the Bills had a chance at a last-minute drive to tie the game, but Taylor’s shoulder was injured in the waning minutes and the Patriots’ defense held up just long enough for a 20-13 win.
This week brings an extra day of #FanCrazy NFL action, as three games are lined up for Thanksgiving Day! How long will the Patriots and the Panthers stay undefeated? Will the Bengals get back on track? Will Romo stay healthy and lead Dallas back into contention? Hit us up @Brackethead on Twitter and tell us what you think. If you really want to show your stuff and win stuff while you support your team, head to www.gofancheer.com and download the app to Play, Shout and Win!
May the brackets always bust in your favor,
Brackethead & the folks at FanCheer