Week nine featured many useless matchups, yet there were some surprises. Let’s start with the shocking first half and astounding comeback.
The Kansas City Chiefs played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and if you didn’t see it I bet you wouldn’t know why it is a surprise. The Chiefs jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a pass from Dwayne Bowe (yes, the wide receiver) to Tyler Thigpen (a QB) and a red zone rush by Kolby Smith.
The Buccaneers responded with a field goal, but the Chiefs quickly retaliated with another touchdown through the air and a field goal to make the score 24-3 with 2:13 left in the first half. Then the trouble began. Clifton Smith ran the ball back 97 yards on the ensuing kickoff.
Later, a Matt Byrant field goal closed the gap within 11. After a scoreless third quarter by both teams, a trick play got the Buccaneers six points, but they missed the two-point conversion.
The Chiefs then got their second field goal to put them up 27-19. Garcia threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant and then threw a two-yard pass for the two-point conversion.
In overtime, Matt Bryant made the 33-yard field goal to win the game.
This shows two things. The Kansas City Chiefs are potentially a good offensive team and apparently their defense is bad—when up either by 20 or down by 20. That leads me to believe they will win two more games and finish 3-13.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were meant to win. On a 38-yard field goal on third down, Matt Bryant missed it, but a false start occurred, bringing them back five yards. Jeff Garcia completed a 10-yard pass and Matt Bryant had a second chance with a shorter distance of 33 yards.
“Bengals Get First Win Behind Fitzpatrick’s Big Day.” It was hard to belive.
Okay, so the inevitable happened—but against the Jacksonville Jaguars? Like the Chiefs game, the Bengals started first with two straight touchdown passes to Chad Ocho Cinco. (If Bengals say it, I will too.) The Jags got a field goal and closed the half with the score 14-3.
Not nearly large enough, right? Cedric Benson agreed and ran in for a touchdown to put the game at 21-3. Another field goal followed and then a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Late in the fourth, Maurice Jones-Drew scored a touchdown. 21-19. The Jags failed to get in on the two-point conversion, picked up their fifth loss of the season, and diminished possible playoffs hopes in their close-knit division.
The Bengals' defense is still bad. The team won with some luck and early scores.
The Jaguars, on the other hand, are now behind the Titans and Colts. They can only afford to lose one more game this season, which is possible but extremely unlikely as the Jags will take on the Titans and Colts later this season.
Lastly, this hardly counts as a surprise, but this is for my own benefit: I thought the Jets were going to lose. Now, they will make a serious legitimate run.
The New York Jets scored first with a Jay Feely field goal. The Bills responded with a touchdown pass by Trent Edwards. The Jets then recovered a Trent Edward’s fumble in the Bills' red zone. Nonetheless, they couldn’t get the touchdown and settled for a field goal.
Trent Edwards made another mistake, although this was an interception, and it was run back 92 yards for a score. The Jets scored first yet again in the second half with a field goal later matched by the Bills. Early in the fourth, Jets running back Thomas Jones ran for a touchdown, giving the Jets a 23-10 lead.
The defense, not the offense, scored next on an interception that was run back 42 yards for a score. An interception by the Jets sealed the deal with a little over a minute left in the game.
The Jets are for real, but will that be enough? After all, the Patriots, Bills, and Jets are tied for first place. The Miami Dolphins are close behind at 4-4 and, according to ESPN.com, have the easiest remaining schedule of the four.
The Bills, who early on had fourth quarter comebacks, are now losing because of Trent Edwards' inability to lead the team to a touchdown. I think the early magic created by the Bills is over, but they still can manage 10 wins somehow.
It could be between the Jets and the Dolphins. I don’t see the Patriots making the playoffs because they haven’t been able to beat good teams.
Other Scores around the League
Tim Hightower replaces Edgerrin James as starter and leads the Cardinals to victory. An early stop by the Rams and an 80-yard TD pass by Marc Bulger proved to be a fluke as Cardinals dominated from then on.
Byron Leftwich led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a victory after Big Ben’s early injury. The real story, however, was the defense. They limited Portis to just 51 yards and forced two interceptions.
Even though Green Bay Packers managed 390 total yards, their failure to convert in the red zone led to their loss to the still undefeated Titans. Led by Chris Johnson, the Titans spurred a comeback and won in OT.
Giants win through running game.
The Colts and Patriots battle it out until the end, but former Pat Adam Vinatieri wins Colts the game on a 52-yard field, his longest since being a Patriot in 2002.
In the end, the better QB won the game and it wasn’t Matt Cassel.
McNabb threw for 349 passing yards and led the Philadelphia Eagles to a convincing win.
Bad news: They beat the winless Lions by a close margin and Kyle Orton is out for a month.
Sophomore running back Adrian Peterson piled up 139 rushing yards in pursuit of an important victory over the Texans. Early on, Matt Schaub was injured and Sage Rosenfals was thrust into the lineup—only to throw a costly late interception in the fourth quarter.
The offense was flowing for the Falcons as Matt Ryan threw for 220 yards and Michael Turner rushed for 139 yards. The Oakland Raiders were anticipated to be a competitor in the NFL this season, but Darren McFadden and JaMarcus Russel have done nothing.
Even though Cutler threw 300 yards, he added three interceptions to that list giving the Miami another victory. Chad Pennington and Ronnie Brown outplayed Jay Cutler and Andre Hall, and Brandon Marshall was shut down.