Seahawks 30, Panthers 27— Carolina had ball nine times in this game; they got inside Seattle 20-yard line on seven of those nine drives, but scored only 27 points, which isn’t good, and it cost them this game- they also missed a 51-yard FG on one of the two drives that didn’t get into the red zone. Panthers also fumbled five times, though they didn’t lose any of them.
Carolina lost its last three games, with no takeaways in any of them; this was their first home loss this season. Seattle passes the Panthers in Wild Card race; they’re 10-6-2 in last 18 games as a road underdog.
Browns 35, Bengals 20— Maybe it IS Hue Jackson’s fault; Browns won two of three games since they sent Jackson away, scoring 28-35 points in last two games. Bengals brought Jackson on as an assistant coach and haven’t won since, giving up 51-24-35 points in their last three games.
Cleveland’s offense in first half: 4 drives, 37 plays, 289 yards, four TD’s. They ran out the last 0:32 of the first half with a fifth drive.
Andy Dalton hurt his thumb in this game, as Cincy lost for 5th time in last six tries.
Browns ended a 25-game losing streak with this win. This was first time the expansion-Browns ever scored 28+ points in a first half; last time the old Browns (now the Ravens) scored 28+ points in the first half of a game was back in 1991.
Buccaneers 27, 49ers 9— This doesn’t happen much, but every so often, handicapping is a simple game. Saturday night, 49ers’ LB Reuben Foster was arrested at the team’s hotel and charged with domestic violence. The night before a game- brilliant!!! This makes the 49ers a go-against play.
49ers released Foster after the game.
Buccaneers gained 400+ yards for 6th time in last seven games, but won for first time in last five weeks. For once, they didn’t turn the ball over, going +3 in turnovers.
Eagles 25, Giants 22:
— Giants in first half: 5 drives, 38 plays, 346 yards, 19 points
— Giants in second half: 5 drives, 22 plays, 56 yards, 3 points.
— Philly was scoreless in first quarter for 5th game in a row.
— Eagles won 17 of their last 21 games against the Giants.
Unless Saquon Barkley is hurt and Giants are hushing it up, they committed malpractice here by not feeding him the ball enough. 13 runs, 8 pass targets wasn’t near enough in this game and for the love of God, if you go for two points from the 1-yard line, give him the bleeping ball!!!!
Bills 24, Jaguars 21— This game was like a throwback to the 70’s; both teams ran for more yards than they threw for; Bills completed only 8 passes all day, but on an unseasonably warm day in western NY (44 degrees), Jacksonville lost its 7th game in a row.
Bills’ rookie QB Allen ran the ball 13 times for 99 yards; unless he learns to slide or get OB and avoid big hits, he is going to have a short NFL career. He’s got talent, but he’s got to preserve his health, or else……..
Ravens 34, Raiders 17— Speaking of running QB’s, Lamar Jackson toned it down in this game, running only 11 times, after 27 runs LW; Jackson is 2-0 as an NFL starter while Oakland lost for 6th time in its last seven games. Raiders are 15 for their last 55 on third down.
Patriots 27, Jets 13— New England is now 13-2 in last 15 series games; they gained 498 yards in this game, averaging 9.1 yards/pass attempt in a game where Jets had 10-yard advantage in field position. Patriots won last five series games played in the New Jersey swamp; they’re 14-7 vs spread in last 21 games as road favorites.
Colts 27, Dolphins 24— Indy won its fifth straight game after a 1-5 start; they’ve scored 26 TD”s on their last 63 drives. Andrew Luck seems like a lock for Comeback Player of the Year.
Colts were sloppy in this game; they turned ball over three times (-2), missed a FG, but scored all three times they had ball in 4th quarter and pulled this game out. Right now, Indy is #7 seed in AFC. Miami lost six of its last eight games after a 3-0 start; I’m guessing jobs are in jeopardy at this point. Dolphins lost their last five road games.
Chargers 45, Cardinals 10— Arizona led 10-0 after first quarter, then they played the rest of the game, and they got crushed. Cardinals lost five of their last six games; they’re 1-4 on road, with all four losses by 10+ points
Philip Rivers completed his first 25 passes, was 28-29 for the game. Chargers scored TD’s on five consecutive drives spanning 2nd/3rd quarters, gaining 320 yards on 40 plays, in an impressive display of offense (or bad defense). Bolts won seven of their last eight games.
Broncos 24, Steelers 17— Wild game, with lots of twists/turns:
— Steelers outgained Denver 527-308, but they were -4 in turnovers, which is almost always a recipe for disaster.
— Pittsburgh tied game on last play of first half, on a fake FG- the kicker threw a TD pass to an offensive lineman. Gutsy call, borderline insane, but it worked.
— Steelers had ball on the Denver 2-yard line with 1:10 left, but Roethlisberger’s pass was picked off by a defensive lineman— not Big Ben’s finest moment.
— Pittsburgh drops to #4 seed in AFC with this loss; they would play Chargers in first round, if playoffs started today. Pittsburgh hosts the Chargers this coming Sunday night.
Vikings 24, Packers 17— Green Bay is 0-6 on the road, and Mike McCarthy’s job security has to be almost zero. Was thinking about possible replacements; how about Jeff Tedford?
Tedford was Aaron Rodgers’ college coach at Cal; he was at Cal for 11 years, has been at Fresno State the last two years, and was HC in the CFL for a year in between. It makes some sense.
Right now, Minnesota is the #5 seed in the NFC; three teams are a half-game behind them.
Calgary 27, Ottawa 16— Stampeders lost the CFL’s championship game the last couple years, so they get some vindication by winning their second Grey Cup in five years- they also won in ’14.
College football coaching carousel:
— Texas Tech fired Cliff Kingsbury
— North Carolina fired Larry Fedora
— USC retained Clay Helton, despite their 5-7 record.