Oct 12. 2022
Thursday Night Football
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos
Even traditional, hard-nosed, defence loving NFL fans will have a hard time defending this game. This was one of the worst primetime games in recent memory. It’s a struggle to find a redeeming quality as the offences combined for only 6 third down conversions and 12 punts. There were no touchdowns scored, and the teams couldn’t even put fans out of their misery by finishing in regulation. No skill player surpassed 100 yards gained and the quarterbacks threw 4 interceptions and were sacked 10 times. When Jeff Bezos and Amazon booked Russell Wilson versus Matt Ryan for their fifth Thursday Night Football broadcast, I’m sure they were expecting more. Unfortunately, the NFL doesn’t do refunds. The good news is fans get to watch 6 more primetime games that include these teams. The Colts ended up winning the game on a field goal in overtime that half the stadium missed because they were already in their cars on the way home.
Final Score: (2-2-1) Indianapolis Colts 12
(2-3) Denver Broncos 9
Sunday Morning London Game
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers
For the first time in the brief history of the NFL London experiment, two teams that are above .500 travelled across the pond to showcase America’s game to the British. Brian Daboll is off to a hot start to his coaching career but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers represent the first true test of his young tenure. If there is one thing Daboll knows how to do, it is getting the most out of his most talented weapons, and Saquon Barkley is of the nuclear variety. The 5th year running back continued his return to prominence Sunday morning with a game high 106 yards and a touchdown. The Packers had a 17-3 lead midway through the second quarter until the Giants ran a reverse sweep trick play for a Daniel Bellinger rushing touchdown. It was all New York from there. Dexter Lawrence made a clutch sack with 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter, forcing a 3 and out by the Packers. Backup running back Gary Brightwell capped off a 92-yard drive on the next series with a 2-yard rushing touchdown, tying the game at 20. The Giants defence continued their strong second half with another 3 and out, but a muffed punt-return almost spelled disaster for the G-Men. The ball would escape the grasp of the Packers’ special teamers and go out of bounds, keeping the ball with the away team. Barkley was then hit on a crossing route for a 40-yard reception, a drive he would finish off with a rushing touchdown out of the wildcat, giving the Giants a 27-20 lead. Cue the music for a classic Rodgers comeback, right? Wrong. As the London fog cleared, the Giants were celebrating their fourth victory of the season on the backs of a last-minute goal line stand by their defence. The Giants are now 4-1 and tied for top spot in the NFC East. They will take on the Baltimore Ravens at home in week 6. The Packers drop to 3-2 and try to avoid losing back-to-back games against New York teams with the Jets visiting Lambeau Field.
Final Score: (4-1) New York Giants 27
(3-2) Green Bay Packers 22
Sunday 1 O’clock Games
Detroit Lions @ New England Patriots
Has the Dan Campbell shine finally worn off? The stars of the hit HBO series Hard Knocks in the preseason, the Lions looked poised to breakout in a weak NFC. The Lions looked new and improved, entering week 5 against Bill Belichick and the Patriots with the league’s top ranked offence. But anyone who has been watching football for the past 20 years knows Belichick doesn’t care about your accolades. He’ll find a weakness and exploit it. Bill might’ve found more than one weakness during this week’s film study because he dominated the Lions from start to finish. It started with a redzone interception by rookie corner Jack Jones, on the only drive the Lions even came close to scoring on. Later in the half, the Patriots unrelenting pass rush forced another turnover by Jared Goff, this time in the form of a strip sack by Matthew Judon that was picked up by Kyle Duggar and returned for a defensive touchdown. Bailey Zappe decided to get in on the action to end the third quarter, throwing his only touchdown of the day to wideout Jacoby Meyers, extending the Patriots lead to 26-0. The rookie is taking full advantage of Mac Jones’ injury, and may be stirring up a bit of a quarterback controversy in New England with his second straight quality performance. It remains to be seen if he can carry that momentum into the Patriots week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The Lions hobble into their early season bye week at 1-4 with a lot of negative game tape to keep them busy.
Final Score: (2-3) New England Patriots 29
(1-4) Detroit Lions 0
Los Angeles Chargers @ Cleveland Browns
Austin Ekeler is back. Fantasy football players who drafted the dual threat running back had cause for concern through three weeks, but Sunday’s 199-yard two touchdown game proved last week was no fluke. Chargers coach Brandon Staley has figured it out, when Ekeler performs, they win. End of story. The overall game script had shades of the old school NFL, a run dominated game by two bell cow, three down backs. Nick Chubb may have been out paced by Ekeler, but he had 134 yards and two touchdowns in his own right. The Browns got out to an early 14-0 lead, but that did nothing to move the Chargers away from the ground game, where Ekeler sprung for a 71-yard run to get LA right back in it. In a game that Justin Herbert was missing his favourite target in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams collected the lion share of targets, earning 13 of Herbert’s 22 attempts, good for 134 yards. In typical shootout fashion, the two teams went back and forth, with the lead changing hands five times before the final whistle blew. In the end, it would take a goal line interception by safety Alohi Gilman to halt the revolving door and seal the victory for the Chargers.
Final Score: (3-2) Los Angeles Chargers 30
(2-3) Cleveland Browns 28
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
PLEASE REFER TO THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL RECAP FOR REFERENCE****
Another stinker. I often refer to these games as the games Redzone forgot. Texans’ kicker Kaimi Fairbairn was the “Man of the Match” sending two 50-yard field goals through the uprights in the first half. Not to be outdone, Riley Patterson added two field goals of his own, evening the score at 6-6, where it would remain until there was about three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Dameon Pierce ran in a touchdown from the one-yard line, and it came down to a two-minute drill from Trevor Lawrence to tie the game and potentially send it to overtime. This one wouldn’t require the extra period; Trevor Lawrence threw an interception to Desmond King on a hail mary from the 46-yard line. The Jaguars had a promising start to the season, but showed Sunday that their rebuild was not as far along as they would’ve hoped.
Final Score: (1-3-1) Houston Texans 13
(2-3) Jacksonville Jaguars 6
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m sure you’ve seen the hit. It’s been all over social media. Tom Brady once again got the call he needed exactly when he needed it to stave off an Atlanta Falcons comeback in the fourth quarter. NFL official Jeremy Boger threw the flag on a Grady Jarrett sack that would have stopped the Buccs on third down and given the Falcons a chance to win the game. Instead, Brady did exactly what he’s always done. The best game manager in the history of the NFL took his fresh set of downs and ran out the clock. The Falcons have been a frisky team this season. Losing star running back Cordarrelle Patterson early has done nothing for their playoff hopes, but they are playing with house money at this point. NFL fans know that what matters during a rebuild season is the moral victories. Beating the man who crushed their dreams in the 2017 Super Bowl would have definitely qualified as such. That roughing the passer flag robbed Falcons fans of that feeling. Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette rushed for a game high 139 yards and two touchdowns, but the flag seems to be all anyone will remember from this one. The Falcons look to continue their competitive season next week when they host the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes Benz Stadium. The Buccaneers travel to Pittsburgh to take on a struggling Steelers team.
Final Score: (3-2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
(2-3) Atlanta Falcons 15
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
Taiwan Jones fumbles the opening kickoff. The Bills run two plays for no gain, leaving them stranded on their own two-yard line. Josh Allen throws a 98-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Davis on third and long. Buffalo never looked back. Some NFL fans questioned the 14.5 point spread Vegas put on this game. The Steelers had never been two score betting underdogs in the entire Mike Tomlin era, so it couldn’t be accurate, right? Turns out, the oddsmakers in Vegas undersold the mismatch this game truly was. Josh Allen had a career day, despite not playing the fourth quarter, throwing for 424 yards and four touchdowns. Gabe Davis put up a Randy Moss-esque stat line, three catches for 171-yards and two touchdowns and rookie fifth round pick Khalil Shakir filled the slot receiver role admirably in the absence of Jamison Crowder and Isaiah McKenzie, with 75-yards and a touchdown. Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett made his first start Sunday and despite being thrown to the wolves against a talented Bills defence, he put up a respectable effort. His 327 yards passing gave Steelers fans something to hold onto for the remainder of what looks to be a long season for the Yintzer faithful. Pickett will try to build on his performance next week play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. The Buffalo Bills will once look to exercise their playoff demons at Arrowhead next week, taking on a red-hot Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.
Final Score: (4-1) Buffalo Bills 38
(1-4) Pittsburgh Steelers 3
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
Sunday’s 1 O’clock game at Metlife Stadium may have felt like like déjà vu for Dolphins fans. Already without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered a concussion last week against the Bengals, Miami’s backup Teddy Bridgewater was taken out of the game on the first series after taking a sack from star rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner. The play would result in a safety for the Jets, giving them an early 2-0 lead. A concussion spotter in the stadium removed Bridgewater from the game after he wobbled on his feet while returning to the sideline. This would force the Dolphins to rely on third string QB Skylar Thompson, a 2022 seventh round pick out of Kansas State. Late in the first quarter Zach Wilson, in his second game after returning to the lineup, flipped a pass to the outside where rookie running back Breece Hall was wide open. Hall would take it 79-yards to the one, and Michael Carter Jr would finish off the drive with a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. The Dolphins kept the score close; it was 19-17 Jets going into the fourth quarter, but then the wheels fell off. Breece Hall, Braxton Berrios and Michael Carter Jr would all score touchdowns, to stretch what was a two-point lead to 23 when the clock ran out. The Jets are off to their best start in recent memory and now share second place in the AFC East with the Dolphins. Their next test comes in the form of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, where the Dolphins will hopefully get healthy for their home matchup with the Vikings.
Final Score: (3-2) New York Jets 40
(3-2) Miami Dolphins 17
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings and Bears both walked onto the field on Sunday with an opportunity to make up some ground in the NFC North. The Packers had already lost earlier in the day to the New York Giants, meaning the behemoth that has dominated the division for the last decade was vulnerable. Kirk Cousins came out slinging for the Vikings, completing 17 passes in a row to start the game, the majority of which were to Justin Jefferson. The run game was in lockstep with the pass game, as Dalvin Cook ran in two touchdowns to give the Vikings a 14-3 lead to start the second quarter. Before the half, each team would add another touchdown, the Vikings on a rush from wide receiver Jalen Reagor and the Bears on a rush from nine yards out by David Montgomery. The Bears would cut the Vikings’ lead to just two points before Cairo Santos hit a 51-yard field goal and give Chicago their first advantage of the game, 22-21. Kirk Cousins would score a rare rushing touchdown with two minutes left in the game to put the pressure on Justin Fields for a last minute game winning drive. The pressure would prove too much for the Bears, as Vikings’ corner Cam Dantzler stripped the ball from his former teammate Ihmir Smith-Marsette, putting the game on ice. The win improves Minnesota to 4-1 on the season and puts them in the driver’s seat to win their division. They play the Tua-less Dolphins in Miami next week to try to get their fifth win of the season. The Bears host the Commanders at Soldier Field on Thursday Night Football.
Final Score: (4-1) Minnesota Vikings 29
(2-3) Chicago Bears 22
Tennessee Titans @ Washington Commanders
You can call him King Henry, you can call him Tractorcito, whatever you want to call him, we know when the Tennessee Titans call on Derrick Henry, good things happen. The Washington Commanders know this, but despite their best efforts, Henry had himself a game. The superstar running back ran for 132 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, leading his team to a much-needed victory. Commanders’ receiver Dyami Brown was the top producer for his team, scoring two touchdowns and racking up 105 yards. However, there are two other Commanders’ storylines that take precedent in this game. First, is the abysmal performance on third down, converting only 1/11 attempts on the night. But moving to the human side of the game, rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr played in his first NFL game Sunday, making a miraculous recovery only six weeks after being the victim of two gun-shot wounds during a botched robbery in August. Fans gave Robinson a standing ovation as he marched out to the field pregame and here’s to hoping he has a prosperous career after the potentially fatal incident. The Titans won the game, but Brian Robinson Jr won the night.
Final Score: (3-2) Tennessee Titans 21
(1-4) Washington Commanders 17
Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints
Did you expect this game to be the most exciting of the 1 O’clock slate? If you said yes, you saw something most didn’t. But Seahawks v. Saints definitely didn’t disappoint, with a shootout performance that saw double digit points put up in each of the four quarters. Geno Smith continued his tenth-year breakout season, with a fantastic performance, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns were on nearly identical long bombs to Tyler Lockett who also amassed 104-yards in the game. The other standout performance was by running back Kenneth Walker. The rookie out of Michigan State ran for 88-yards and a touchdown after replacing Rashaad Penny as the bell cow in the offence. As for the Saints, rumours that former coach Sean Payton could be advising the team could have some credence to them. Exhibit A being the usage of Taysom Hill. Hill was dominant in this one, carrying the offence for 112-yards and four touchdowns, three on the ground and one through the air. His final score, a 60-yard run with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, would prove to be the difference in the game. A nasty concussion suffered by rookie sensation Chris Olave in the third quarter puts a bit of a damper on what was otherwise a fantastic game, but he has been said to be improving and will look to play next week when the Saints host the Cincinnati Bengals. Seattle looks to get back in the win column as they host Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals.
Final Score: (2-3) New Orleans Saints 39
(2-3) Seattle Seahawks 32
Image Credit: baynews9.com
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