Something that I've been wanting to start is a recap of the games around the NFL every week. I figure we're always talking about the Cardinals(which is fine) but talking about what else is going on around the league is important too. This week features some very interesting games, particularly the Sunday night game, which I'll talk about first.
Colts 35, Patriots 34 :It was labeled the rivalry of the decade, and rightfully so. The game started off with the Patriots looking like the much better team, going up 31-14 in the fourth quarter. The Patiots offense could not stop the Colts passing attack despite a weak running game. Either way, Manning did his thing and put the Colts in a position to win the game. With 2:23 left, Joseph Addai ran up the middle 4 yards to put the Colts within 6. Tom Brady and their explosive offense couldn't go 10 yards and faced a 4th and 2. Bill Belichick may have made his decision on pure emotions as the Pats went for the game on 4th and 2. Brady threw a quick strike to Kevin Faulk, who bobbled the pass and couldn't convert. The Colts retained the ball at the New England 29 yard line, where Peyton easily marched to the goal line and threw the game winner to Reggie Wayne. It was a gutsy decision by Belichick that we'll be hearing about for a while.
Chargers 31, Eagles 23: This game was big for both teams as both are trying to take the lead in their divisions. The Chargers explosive offense quickly took a commanding 28-9 lead late in the third quarter. The Eagles stormed back to within five, but couldn't slow the Chargers, and notably LaDanian Tomlinson, who had 96 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Donovan McNabb threw for a career high 450 passing yards in the loss. Brian Westbrook suffered from another concussion, his second in the last month. The Eagles are fortunate the Cowboys lost, while the Chargers have climbed to tie the Broncos for the division lead. They face eath other next week.
Packers 17, Cowboys 7: Another pivotal match up took place in Green Bay, as the NFC East leading Cowboys took on a wild card-hopeful Green Bay Packers team. The Cowboys had been playing great as of late, but were stifled by the Packers defense, Charles Woodson in particular, who had 2 forced fumbles and an interception. The Cowboys were shutout until the end of the game, when Tony Romo threw a 9 yard touchdown to Roy Williams. Aaron Rodgers did what he could behind their depleted offensive line, throwing and running for a touchdown.
Chiefs 16, Raiders 10: We should call this the battle of the basement dwellers, as the inept Raiders battled the falling Chiefs. The Raiders only scored one touchdown, which came on the opening drive. They pulled JaMarcus Russell, who's proving to be the worst draft choice in recent memory. The Chiefs worked with what they had, handing the ball off to Jamaal Charles, who responded with 103 yards and got the Chiefs first rushing touchdown of the year. The game was full of excitement as you can see.
Panthers 28, Falcons 19: I don't want to say the Panthers used the Cardinals as a springboard, but it's starting to appear that way. They've now won 2 out of the last 3 games, and their game plan of passing less has worked. The Panthers continue to run behind DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. In the game, Delhomme was able to effectively run the hurry up, and threw 2 touchdown passes to Steve Smith. Matt Ryan struggled for the most part, especially when Michael Turner went down in the 1st half with what may be a high ankle sprain.
Redskins 27, Broncos 17: The Broncos took on the Redskins in what they thought would be an easy win. It was anything but that as the Redskins challenged the Broncos and won. Kyle Orton threw two early deep touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall before leaving the game with an injury. The Broncos offense sputtered once Chris Simms came into the game, and perhaps the biggest play was the obvious fake field goal, in which the Shaun Suisham threw a 35 yard touchdown pass to Mike Sellers. The Broncos have lost three games in a row.
Bengals 18, Steelers 12: A showdown in the AFC North lived up to the hype. The Bengals surprisingly won the game on defense, while the Steelers struggled to move the ball or score when they were in the red zone. The Bengals are now 5-0 in their division for the first time in franchise history, with only one division game left against the Browns. They've also won five road games in a row, which is also a franchise record.
Titans 41, Bills 17: The Titans won their third straight game, and their upcoming match up against the Cardinals doesn't look as guaranteed as it was a month ago. Chirs Johnson is on his way to a rushing title as he ran for 132 yards for two touchdowns and caught 9 passes for 100 yards. Vince Young is also proving to be more successful at quarterback then Kerrie Collins as all three of the Titans wins have come with Young at quarterback. Meanwhile, the Bills continue to fall as Terrell Owens shouts on the sidelines.
Jaguars 24, Jets 22: David Garrard was the difference yesterday, as he ran and threw for a touchdown. Maurice Jones-Drew also ran in a touchdown, and would have had another if not for taking a knee at the 1 yard line. MJD made a smart play as the Jags were able to drain the rest of the clock and kick the game winner as time expired. The Jets went from starting the season 3-0, to now dropping 4 out of the last 5 games. Mark Sanchez is still experiencing his rookie problems, as he threw two more interceptions.
Vikings 27, Lions 10: This game wasn't the most event-filled game, but it did mark Brett Favre's 300th consecutive start. It also showcased the skills of Adrian Peterson, who ran for 133 yards. The Lions skid now falls at 6 games in a row. Matthew Stafford doesn't look comfortable either, and it's obvious he and Calvin Johnson aren't on the same page. The good news - the Cardinals face the Lions later in the season. The bad news - the Cardinals face the Vikings later in the season.
Dolphins 23, Buccaneers22: Another nail-biter on the day featured two Florida teams. The Dolphins were able to implore their will with the Wildcat, and the Bucs rookie quarterback Josh Freeman gives the Bucs some hope for the future. The Dolphins won by a last second field goal. How much meaning does the game have? Not much unless the Dolphins can get a win this Thursday night.
Saints 28, Rams 23: The Saints took their undefeated record to St. Louis, in a battle with the 1-7 Rams. A blowout seemed inevitable, before Steven Jackson took over with 131 yards and was able to keep the Rams in the game until the end. The Rams secondary may be improving due to the two interceptions that Drew Brees had on the day as well. The Cardinals travel to St. Louis in a game that may be harder then we once thought.
49ers 10, Bears 6: The Thursday night game was one of those good ole defensive battles. The 49ers defense proved just how dominant they could be, but nothing hurt the Bears chances more then Jay Cutler's five interceptions. The 49ers offense on the other hand, wasn't able to move the ball or score(except off turnovers) on a Bears defense that gave up 41 points to the Cardinals. The 49ers head to Green Bay this week, in what will be a very important NFC match up.
Tonight: Ravens vs Browns - This match up doesn't serve much meaning but it is important for the Ravens to get back into the AFC playoff hunt. The Browns look like their heading for another early draft pick next year.
What to watch for: Other then Brady Quinn, there's not a lot to look for on the Browns. Watch for Ray Rice, the running back for the Ravens. He can stay on his feet and explode out of the hole at any given time.
I'm not sure if I'll recap all of the games next time, because as you can see, it takes a lot of writing. It was an event filled week and it sure feels good to have the Cardinals in first place with a 6-3 record. You can also use this post as an open thread for tonight's game if anyone plans on watching. What are your thoughts on week 10?