Quite a bit went down in between Sundays in the NFL as ESPN actually filled its airwaves with news and highlights instead of spouting off randomness. Okay, they made time for plenty of Randy Moss “news” (I think he admitted to having sex with Tiger Woods), but between the tragic yet bizarre death of Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry and both undefeated teams playing mid-week night games, it was all NFL, all the time.
For the undefeated Colts and Saints, different nights produced distinctly different outcomes. The Colts barely held off the Jaguars to become the worst 14-0 team in the history of the league, behind another virtuoso performance (4 TDs) from Peyton Manning. Meanwhile, the Saints couldn’t muster a similar 4th quarter comeback ultimately falling short to the new December darlings, the Dallas Cowboys. Miles Austin and Marion Barber were early offensive heroes while late big play from DeMarcus Ware on the defensive side sent David D. into tears. Don’t worry Saints fans, they don’t give out trophies for the regular season. Unfortunately.
The Bengals showed plenty of heart against the Chargers, rallying from a 24-13 deficit against the Chargers on the road to tie the game up. But Phillip Rivers and Vincent Jackson played Grinch, as a last second field goal gave the game to San Diego. Cincinnati should still hold on to the AFC North and showed the make of their mettle in a game when they easily and excusably could have rolled over.
In the best of many great late finishes, the Steelers held onto a little championship pride with a miraculous last second win over Green Bay. Mike Wallace did his best Santonio Holmes impression, tip-toeing the sideline and hauling in the game-winning score with no time remaining. Roethlisberger gets the game ball though with over 500 yards passing, the first time anyone’s broken that barrier since ’06.
Other News And Notes
Plenty of playoff jockeying this week as well as other nailbiters.
— The Patriots basically locked up the AFC East with an ugly December win in Buffalo. An early Brady-Moss connection was the only highlight as the Pats let the Bills do the rest. The Pats continued to show an inability to sustain drives or score points in the second halves of road games, which will bite them in the ass come January.
— The Falcons kept their playoff dreams alive while severely hampering those of the Jersey Shore Jets. Matt Ryan bounced back from an overall poor effort with a last minute TD on 4th down. Matt Sanchez probably wishes he was banging coeds at USC instead of struggling in the snowy New York winter.
— The Titans continued the improbable road back to playoff contention with an overtime win over the Dolphins. Vince Young was the hero this time with 3 TDs including some surprisingly accurate corner routes.
— Denver blew a golden opportunity to seal up a playoff spot allowing JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders to take them out. Shoddy goal line play calling earlier in the game hurt the cause for Denver. The Broncos and Ravens are still a game up in the AFC, but with a whole gaggle of squads at 7-7, its anyone’s guess who will make it into the playoffs. I’m going Ravens and Titans.
— And the totally meaningless shootout of the week, Jerome Harrison erased Jim Brown’s name from the Cleveland Browns record book with 286 rushing yards and 3 TDs. Josh Cribbs also added two 100+ yard kickoff returns for touchdowns, breaking the NFL record. Disgraceful for the Chiefs, and if you played against someone starting Harrison in your fantasy playoffs, my condolences.