New York Giants defense: In a 31-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, a non-existent New York Giants pass rush and a Swiss cheese secondary allowed the first four-passing-touchdown game of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's NFL career on Sunday. The Giants also became the first Bengals' opponent this season to not record at least one interception and helped to validate wide receiver A.J. Green's claim that the Giants had a defense with "a lot of holes" in it. Green found one right away, scoring on a 56-yard touchdown on the opening drive.
The New York Jets "offense": Sure, the Seattle Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the league, particularly at home in CenturyLink Field, but the Jets' offense managed just 185 yards and accounted for zero of the team's seven points in a 28-7 loss to the Seahawks that had been a one-score game entering the fourth quarter. Quarterback Mark Sanchez was celebrating his 26th birthday against Pete Carroll, his head coach at USC who had famously questioned the quarterback's decision to leave that program following the 2008 season. Some may argue that Sanchez could still use some seasoning against Pac-12 defenses.
Sanchez completed just 9 of 22 for 124 yards and an interception dropped his passer rating on Sunday to 40.7. On that interception, Sanchez missed a wide open Stephen Hill, who was lighting road flares in the back of the end zone. Instead, Sanchcez decided to make a longer throw towards the sideline to Dustin Keller, whose false start penalty on the previous play negated a third-and-goal opportunity from the 1-yard line. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman stepped in front of that throw for an easy interception, which along with a strip-sack of Sanchez in the fourth quarter, may earn Sherman an NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.
Coming off the bye week, the Jets were mum about how they would tweak their usage of quarterback/punt protector Tim Tebow, who entered the game with 54 snaps on offense. Tebow was used on offense eight (8) times on Sunday, attempting and completing a season-high three passes for 8 yards. Tebow now has 40 passing yards on the season, two fewer than St. Louis Rams rookie punter Johnny Hekker.
Despite the offense's struggles, Ryan is sticking with Sanchez, who gives the team the best chance to win, reports Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger.
"That's what I believe," Ryan said of Sanchez. "It's what I believe to be the truth. Why do I believe it? Because I believe it. I don't care what you think or anybody else. I believe it..In my heart, I believe it."
And as fictional New Yorker George Costanza once said, "It's not a lie, if you believe it."
Everyone involved in the tie between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams: Where to begin? The 49ers and Rams played to the first tie in the National Football League since Nov. 16, 2008. Both clubs had opportunities to avoid this rarity, but shot themselves in the foot, in some cases, multiple times. Perhaps not knowing the overtime rules had something to do with that.
Trailing 21-17, the Rams inexplicably used the first of their three remaining timeouts after driving down to the 49ers' 2-yard line with 1 minute, 13 seconds remaining on the game clock. Sam Bradford and Austin Pettis would connect for a 2-yard score on the following play, but the use of a timeout gave the 49ers, who had two timeouts, plenty of time to move into position for a 33-yard game-tying field goal, which six-time Pro Bowler David Akers hit with ease with three seconds remaining in regulation. The 49ers took aim and opened fire on their foot on the play before the field-goal attempt, but missed when a Colin Kaepernick pass to Kyle Williams fell incomplete as Williams hadn't turned his head around in time to catch the pass. Had Williams caught the ball, he was unlikely to score a touchdown or get out of bounds. With no timeouts remaining for the 49ers, the clock would have expired and the Rams would have won the game.
The Rams won the overtime coin toss, got the ball and Bradford hit Danny Amendola for a 79-yard catch-and-run that put them 6 feet away from a major upset of the defending NFC West champs and a signature win in Year 1 of the Jeff Fisher and Les Snead Era in St. Louis. Instead, the Rams were flagged for illegal formation after wide receiver Brandon Gibson failed to cover up left tackle Rodger Saffold, an alignment error that Bradford probably should have noticed.
St. Louis would ultimately punt and the 49ers quickly moved into position to win the game, but Akers' 41-yard chip shot sailed wide left. The Rams would then drain the overtime clock, using 5 1/2 minutes to move into field-goal position. Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein drilled an apparent game-winning 53-yard field goal, but the play was negated by an inexcusable delay of game penalty on holder Johnny Hekker. The 58-yard attempt by "Greg the Leg" (enough with the Transformers-inspired nicknames) was wide right and neither team would threaten the scoreboard in the final 2:42 of overtime.
The officiating under referee Clete Blakeman also left much to be desired. For starters, his crew let 1 minute, 12 seconds of the game clock tick off in the second quarter. By the time they noticed the error, it was too late to make a correction. The officials also cost the Rams a good 20 and a few yards of field position on their final possession of overtime. Bradford had dumped the ball off to running back Isaiad Pead, who was tackled at his own 36-yard line with 56 seconds remaining in overtime. While on the ground, a 49ers player ripped the ball free. The officials ruled it a fumble that was recovered by St. Louis, but spotted the ball back at the Rams' 33-yard line. The whole sequence took over 25 seconds off the clock, depriving the Rams of both clock and field position. With Zuerlein capable of tying the NFL record of a 63-yard field goal, all the Rams would have needed was 20 more yards in about 40-45 seconds to give the rookie a shot. Instead, Bradford didn't even get an opportunity to spike the clock until there was less than 30 seconds remaining in the game.
Miami Dolphins: While the 1972 Miami Dolphins may have been popping champagne on Sunday after the Atlanta Falcons suffered their first loss of the season, the current Dolphins were getting blown out 37-3, at home, to a lowly Tennessee Titans team that just last week had been put on notice by 89-year-old owner Bud Adams. The Dolphins teased us into thinking they were a playoff contender with a three-game winning streak in October and a few close losses, but Sunday's loss was a reminder of how far this team needs to go, particularly on offense. Four turnovers, including three interceptions from rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, is too much for a great team to overcome, never mind one that is still finding its way.
As for Tannehill, his stat line on Sunday (23-39, 217 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions) was eerily similar to his NFL debut (20-36, 219 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions), a 30-10 drubbing at the hands of the Houston Texans in Week 1.
Philip Rivers, quarterback, San Diego Chargers: Rivers completed 78 percent of his 37 pass attempts on Sunday for 337 yards and three touchdowns to finish with a passer rating of 109.1, but that doesn't erase two fourth-quarter interceptions that led to 10 points by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Chargers' 34-24 loss. In range to tie the game with a field goal early in the fourth quarter, a scrambling Rivers inexplicably threw the ball directly to Buccaneers rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson, who returned it 83 yards for a touchdown. Two possessions later, Rivers' second interception of the game led to a game-sealing field goal by Connor Barth with 1:07 remaining.
The Chargers have too much talent to be 4-5 before the most brutal part of their 2012 schedule. Costly turnovers from Rivers in games this team had probably circled as wins on the schedule may explain head coach Norv Turner's postgame tirade.
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