With so many fans of NFC East teams feeling so good, one would might have thought it was a playoff weekend in the NFL. But for fans of three of the four teams, it was a weekend of disappointment.
The Redskins, Cowboys and Giants all lost their out of division games. The Philadelphia Eagles traveled all the way to the "left coast" and pulled out a solid win in San Fransisco to be the only NFC East team to win in Week Six.
The St. Louis Rams achieved their first win of the season over the red hot Washington Redskins. Coming out of a brutal stretch within their schedule, the Redskins were prime for a "let down", and the Rams were all too prepared to help them along with that.
With new head coach Jim Haslett, the Rams played a mostly mistake free game, something they haven't been able to do for a very long time. The Rams' defense forced the Redskins first three offensive turnovers of the season, one being a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and hit on a long pass from quarterback Marc Bulger to wide receiver Donnie Avery to set up a game winning field goal as time expired.
The Arizona Cardinals are still in the process of becoming a good team, and another big win over the reeling Dallas Cowboys would go a long way towards that goal. But the Cowboys have been in "circle the wagons" mode for the last three weeks since their loss to the Redskins.
But the Cardinals have Kurt Warner, in the midst of one of the best starts in his career, and a lot of heart. With a furious fourth quarter, the Cowboys seemed to have stolen the momentum and an opportunity in overtime, surely to end up with the win. But the Cardinals' defense would have none of that.
With yet another blitz, the Cardinals held Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo to no first downs on the Cowboys' overtime opening possession, and it was time for the Cowboys to punt. But it was not to be for the Cowboys. As Cowboys' pro-bowl punter Matt McBriar raised his leg to hit the ball, Cardinals' reserve wide receiver Sean Morey blocked the punt and Cardinals' linebacker Monty Beisel scooped it up and fell into the endzone for a game winning touchdown.
In Cleveland, the Browns were coming off of their week off. With a disastrous start to the season, marred by numerous injuries, the Browns were trying to "right the ship" against the "Best Team in the NFL", Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, a tall task indeed.
But the Browns were more than up for the job. Behind three interceptions by Super Bowl MVP, Giants' quarterback Eli Manning, one returned for a touchdown as the Giant's were driving to bring the game within one score, the Browns shocked the Giants 35-14 for their second win of the season.
In Atlanta, a rookie quarterback completes a fourth quarter comeback to bring the Falcons' record to an impressive 4-2. With rookie Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan connecting with rookie wide receiver Harry Douglas on a 26-yard pass with only ONE second left on the clock, veteran kicker Jason Elam hit a 48 field goal as time expired to complete an improbable comeback win over the visiting Chicago Bears.
The too hot too handle Miami Dolphins gave the Houston Texans their first win of the season. Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub scrambled for a touchdown with only three seconds remaining and in the process offered Texans' fans something to be excited about following the devastation of recent hurricane damage.
The Minnesota Vikings cap a 10 play, 68-yard drive with a field goal with only 12 seconds remaining to give the Vikings their 12th win in the last 13 meetings against the Detroit Lions. This game was an ugly affair for much of the game, with a baseball like score through the first half, with a 3-2 Lions advantage.
In Baltimore, the Indianapolis Colts' offense got healthy against one the best defenses in the NFL. Colts' Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns in what was easily his best performance of the season, shocking the Ravens into what seemed like numbness for most of the game.
In San Diego, the Chargers handled the New England Patriots a little too easily with a dominant 30-10 win. Chargers' quarterback Phillip Rivers continued his hot start to the season with another 300 yard, three touchdown performance.
The Carolina Panthers traveled for a vacation to Tampa Bay, and were given a nightmare instead as the Buccaneers man-handled the Panthers 27-3.
Things started out rough for the Panthers and never improved. When the Bucs blocked a Panther punt and returned it for a touchdown only two and a half minutes into the game, it was just he beginning. Panthers' quarterback Jake Delhomme threw three interceptions to help the Bucs end a five game losing streak against the Panthers.
All of this points to the time worn cliche: Any Given Sunday, and reminds all of us why we love this game so much.
America's passion is alive and well and as fun as ever!
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