Last weekend saw Week 11 in the National Football League and for the kickers it was a weekend to forget as from 12 attempted Extra Points being kicked, amazingly 10 were missed or blocked up and down the Country. Meanwhile Monday Night Football took place in Mexico City in front of a packed out between the Texans and the Raiders.
Minnesota Viking 30 – 24 Arizona Cardinals
Minnesota Vikings snapped their four game losing streak against the Arizona Cardinals at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, with two returns leading to touchdowns that both were over a 100-yards. Sam Bradford threw a 16-yard pass to Adam Thielen in the end zone to get the Vikings off and running after they challenged the original call for an incomplete pass. Arizona came back with David Johnson running in for a touchdown from short distance to score for the Cardinals.
After the Cardinals led 10-7 courtesy of a 34-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro, it then saw Matt Asiata reaching out over the whitewash to put the home side back in front. Xavier Rhodes then made a ‘pick-six’ play as the Minnesota Corner-Back intercepted a pass on his own goal line and then proceeded to take it to the house for a 100-yard touchdown and help the ‘Vikes’ pull away. Arizona’s Jermaine Gresham then spun and staggered his way through the Viking defences to score a touchdown for the Cardinals, as he closed the gap going into at the half.
From the start of the second half it saw Corrdelle Patterson returning a 104-yard kick off for a touchdown and having the home fans cheering him home. During the week Minnesota sacked their kicker for poor form and their new kicker Kai Forbath started his Vikings career with a miss but would later kick a 27-yard field goal. Arizona had the last say in the game when David Johnson collected his 2nd touchdown of the game for the visiting side, after Carson Palmer threw a 4-yard pass out to Johnson to score on.
Kansas City Chiefs 17 – 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City saw a battle of the field goals taking place, as Kansas City’s Cairo Santos kicked the hosts into an early 3-0 lead, before Buccaneers kicker Robert Aguayo converted on his opening two kicks to put Tampa Bay ahead at 6-3. Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith then ran and slid his way into the end zone as he put Kansas City 10-6 up with the extra point added, then Aguayo drilled a 41-yard field goal to see Tampa trail by a point at the half for a 10-9 scoreline.
Another Robert Aguayo field goal saw him making it a 12-10 lead for the Buccaneers as his kick 36-yards out in the fourth quarter went through the uprights. Alex Cross then caught a 3-yard pass by Jameis Winston to put the visiting side 19-12 up, but back came Kansas City once again and had Alex Smith finding Albert Wilson open in the end zone to complete a 3-yard pass and move the Chiefs within one score of their opponents. Tampa Bay managed to see out the game and make it 2 wins on the bounce for the Buccaneers.
Dallas Cowboys 27 – 17 Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco made a comment during the week prior to their clash against the Cowboys that ‘We should beat them. I’m not kidding’. In hindsight it may have been better to look at his own side than the in-form Cowboys. The Ravens led after the first quarter through a Terrance West 18-yard run touchdown and it also saw the AFC North side playing well defensive too in the opening quarter.
Cole Beasley then made a catch in the endzone from Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, as the Rookie QB for the Cowboys carried on seeing his stock continuing to rise with another good play. Both sides traded field goals in the second quarter and went in all square at the break.
Dez Bryant went on to score two touchdowns for the Cowboys, as he made it a 24-10 ball game. That until the Ravens replied through a Steve Smith 5-yard catch to make it 24-17 and as time dwindled down it was left to Dan Bailey to close out the game for ‘America’s Team’ with a 21-yard field goal for Dallas.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 – 9 Cleveland Browns
In Cleveland it saw the Browns going 0-11 on the season after their recent defeat coming against a fellow AFC North rival, in the Pittsburgh Steelers. A couple of Chris Boswell field goals put Pittsburgh 6-0 up early on in the contest and that set up how the game played out. Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell went in for a touchdown and then had David Johnson completing the two-point conversion for the Steelers.
Both teams saw their respective quarterbacks getting hurt on plays in the game, with ‘Big Ben’ Roethlisberger getting dumped hard to the ground by a Browns player that ended up crashing down on top of Roethlisberger saw him struggle for a time before he shook it off. Cleveland’s Cody Kessler then got hurt himself during a tackle and was forced out the game and replaced by former Chicago Bears QB Josh McCown.
After Cody Parkey and Chris Boswell both converted field goals, it saw the Browns scoring a touchdown through a Josh McCown pass to Gary Barnidge and the Cleveland player made the catch to get the points on the board for the home side-however their extra point attempt was no good.
Pittsburgh finished the game off with Ryan Shazier sacking Josh McCown near the Cleveland endzone and saw the ball coming loose for Javon Hargrave to gather and go over for a Steelers touchdown.
New York Giants 22 – 16 Chicago Bears
After the Bears embarrassing defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend, John Fox’s men looked to try and redeem themselves at the Meadowlands, and looked like they might just do that. Chicago led midway through the first quarter when a Jay Cutler 19-yard pass to Tight-End Zach Miller saw him in for the touchdown, but sadly for Miller and the Bears- the influential player for the Chicago in the half saw forced to leave the game with a broken foot.
Rashaad Jennings then responded for the Giants with a 2-yard run and that moved New York into a 7-6 lead with the extra point good. Bears kicker Connor Barth then kicked a successful 40-yard field goal attempt as he restored the lead for Chicago in the 2nd Quarter. Jeremy Langford then crashed over from a yard out to put the visiting side 16-6 points up in the game and looked like a different Bears side that played all season. Former Soldier Field favourite in Robbie Gould came up against his former side for the first time since they shown him the door, and the Bears All-time highest points kicker converted on a 46-yard field goal for his new club. New York were being upstaged by a struggling Chicago side that was on absolute fire at MetLife Stadium, but the game was far from over.
This season more than any other season for the Bears has saw building leads and then falling away in the second half, and this game was to prove no exception to that rule. The second half proved this this point, as an early touchdown by Will Tye for the Giants started the recovery for New York and shown the Bears defensive frailties once again.
Sterling Shepard then caught the Chicago defence cold again going in for a 15-yard touchdown for the Giants, as they had all the momentum. Jay Cutler then tried to engineer a winning drive late on in the game for the Bears, but Cutler did what Cutler does best and that was seeing him being picked off for an interception and handed the Giants the win and leave Chicago look unlikely to win another game this season on their current second half form.
Detroit Lions 27 – 17 Jacksonville Jaguars
This was a crazy game at Ford Field between the Lions and the Jaguars, with Special Teams being the key to victory. Jason Myers kicked Jacksonville into an early lead courtesy of a 27-yard field goal, meanwhile Andre Roberts then took the ball to the house for a 55-yard punt return for Detroit and saw the extra point blocked by the Jaguars defence. Jacksonville’s Wide-Receiver Allen Robinson then caught a 3-yard pass on a 1st & goal from quarterback Blake Bortles, as he put the Jags back in front.
Detroit kicker Matt Prater kicked over a 27-yard field goal to tie the game up in the first half and then early on in the second half saw Rafael Bush making an interception and running it back for a 39-yard return to see the Lions taking the lead.
Jacksonville had Myers kicking another field goal for them before Marqise Lee made a superb grab in the endzone and managing to just get his feet down in time for a touchdown for the Jaguars. Eric Ebron then forced his way past the visiting defence to score a touchdown and with the Lions back ahead in the game, it saw Prater adding another field for Detroit to make the game safe for the home side.
Indianapolis Colts 24 – 17 Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis scored 14 unanswered points in the First Quarter to set the Colts on their way to victory against a hard-working Tennessee Titans side at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Robert Turbin got things rolling for the home side after he scored a touchdown five minutes into the game, after Frank Gore had rushed up the sideline for a run of 49-yards to get the Colts in position for a score. From there it saw Dante Moncrief then making a catch to pick up a touchdown for the home team while under pressure and it had the Colts offense on fire.
T.Y Hilton then made it 21 unanswered points for the Colts as he completed a 2-yard catch for Indianapolis with Andrew Luck finding his man. With time ticking down on the second quarter it saw Marcus Mariota then ducking out of a tackle before firing out to DeMarco Murray for the touchdown, and get the Titans on the board and give them a boost ahead of the half-time break.
Mariota then threw a pass down field in the Colts endzone and had his Wide-Receiver in Tajae Sharpe was on hand to make the catch for a one score game. As the Titans battled their back from 21 points down to now trail by seven, it saw Tennessee right back in the contest. Titans Ryan Succop then made it a four point game with his field goal effort, but Adam Vinatieri made amends for an earlier miss in the first half, as the veteran converted on a 49-yard field goal to helped the Colts edging out their visitors.
Cincinnati Bengals 12 – 16 Buffalo Bills
This game saw the defences on top and had the kickers proving their worth on a day of bad kicks in the league. Cincinnati suffered a huge blow early on in the contest though, when A.J Green was carted off the field with a hamstring injury inside the opening two minutes of the play.
Buffalo scored their only touchdown in the game when Running-Back LeSean McCoy became the architect to the Bills score, after he had made the huge play to get them up inside the Bengals half with a big run on the drive. McCoy then finished it off with a 7-yard run to see Buffalo 7-0 up in the game.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton dashed to the endzone towards the back-end of the opening quarter as he picked up a touchdown for the home side. Mike Nugent had an absolute nightmare in the game for Cincinnati, with the kicker missing one of his two extra point attempts in the game. Buffalo’s Stephon Gilmore then made a great interception to see him streaking away up field and was finally brought down around the Bengals 6-yard line.
Kicker Dan Carpenter kicked over a 26-yard field goal for the Bills as he helped them to a 10-6 lead after the opening quarter. Tyler Boyd then caught a catch in the Buffalo endzone to see the home side taking the lead again and this then saw Nugent missing his second straight kick and was roundly booed by his own fans. Two further kicks by Carpenter in the third and fourth quarters handed the visitors the advantage and took the game by four points in a tight contest.
San Francisco 49ers 17 – 30 New England Patriots
Tom Brady led his New England Patriots to victory at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, with the controversial quarterback making 280 yards and throwing for 4 touchdowns in the win. His first of four touchdowns came when he found Julian Edelman open in the endzone for a 4 yard-pass to get the Patriots up and running, but the 49ers cut their lead down thanks to a 33-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
Brady pulled a stunning move to set up James White for a touchdown, as his delicate little lob pass over two San Francisco players left White wide open and all the time in the world to run in for a 6-yard touchdown. Vance McDonald then completed an 18-yard touchdown for the ‘Niners’ after quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw the ball for the Tight-End to get the host back in it. With the contest scoreless in the third, it saw Brady scanning the field and floating a ball up towards Danny Amendola and he made the catch for New England and have the Pats well and truly in control.
Brady’s fourth touchdown pass of the game saw him coming under pressure from behind, but his quick-out pass found Malcolm Mitchell- which saw the 49ers defence stopping the wrong man and that allowed Mitchell to gallop away unchallenged and make it 27-10 ball game. Stephen Gostkowski then coolly slotting a 38-yard field goal over to increase the Patriots lead in the game, but San Francisco had the last word on the scoring and had Kaepernick throwing a pass out to Shaun Draughn as he ran in for the 49ers second touchdown of the game.
Los Angeles Rams 10 – 14 Miami Dolphins
A late rally by the Dolphins saw them prevailing in the wet at the Los Angeles Coliseum, but overcame a very tough defensive effort by the LA Rams. The big news before kick off was that the Rams was giving a start to their number one draft pick and his first start of the year in Jared Goff -as the 22-year old didn’t look out of place either in the game.
Todd Gurley then gave the Rams the lead with a 24-yard run to the endzone and that was the only score in the game up until the third quarter. After a Greg Zuerlein field goal for the Rams, it saw LA looking like they were going to hold out over Miami and with the rain starting to come down a bit heavier- it made things harder for the two sides on the field.
However Miami got a touchdown through Jarvis Landry and the his Dolphins team mates, as after making the catch on the 5-yard line he was then grabbed by the Rams defence and this led to Landry’s teammates virtually using him as a battering ram to plough their way over the endzone for a score. With 37 seconds remaining on the game it saw Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill throwing to DeVante Parker for the winning play and completed a 9 yard touchdown pass to beat LA and have the home side wondering how on earth they let the win slip through their fingers.
Seattle Seahawks 26 – 15 Philadelphia Eagles
Seattle defeated a fellow NFC rival in the shape of the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field and in the process, it saw them improving their record but sitting just behind the Cowboys and Giants for the best Conference record. Things started out great for the Seahawks when CJ Prosise ran for a 72-yard touchdown, as he flew up the sidelines and into the endzone for a score. The extra point was blocked and was the tenth in the day to be missed in the League all day.
Second quarter saw Zach Ertz reaching out over the line to score a touchdown and put the Eagles back on level terms. Russell Wilson then threw an angled pass out to Jimmy Graham who looked like he was tackled, but somehow the Seattle man wriggled his way free and went in for a score.
A brilliant piece of play-calling by the Seahawks offensive saw Wilson flipping the ball to Doug Baldwin who then threw back to the running quarterback in the endzone, and had Russell Wilson making the catch to move the Seahawks 24-7 in ahead. With Hauschka making a 35-yard kick to put Seattle further ahead, it then saw Carson Wentz finding Dorial Green-Beckham with a pass to see the Eagles getting a touchdown late on.
Washington Redskins 42 – 24 Green Bay Packers
An incredible fourth quarter saw 34 points being scored between the Redskins and the Packers- with Washington showing their dominance late on with three touchdowns in the final quarter. DeSean Jackson opened the scoring after he caught a 17-yard pass from Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins, as he put the home side up 7-0 after the first. Green Bay then got on the board in the second quarter after a Jordi Nelson catch and saw him dropping it soon after, but the umpires deemed that the Packers man had full control of it before losing quickly after.
Rob Kelly then run right up the middle of the field for a 10-yard touchdown and move the Redskins 13-10 in the contest. Jamison Crowder then made a catch and took it into the endzone for a 44-yard touchdown after Cousins had fired the deep pass up the middle for Crowder to claim. In the third it was mostly Washington and they hammered home their advantage in the game from that point on wards.
However the Packers scored first in the final quarter as a 31-yard play saw Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to an open James Starks in waiting and he pounced on the opportunity to make the home side pay for not keeping tabs on him. Cousins then looked down field once again and spotted the movement of Pierre Garcon open, and his throw to his Wide Receiver saw Garcon finishing it off with a 70-yard play for Washington and had them grinding the Packers in the dirt.
Jared Cook then claimed a bullet pass from Rodgers in the Washington endzone, to see the Packers picking up a touchdown. The Redskins then run in two further touchdowns thanks to the efforts of Rob Kelley, as firstly he went in from a yard out and then soon after ran in for another score from 4-yards out to inflict a heavier defeat on the Green Bay Packers.
Carolina Panthers 23 – 20 New Orleans Saints
The Thursday night game between Carolina and New Orleans kicked off last weekend’s games, in what was filled with injuries to both teams over the course of the game.
Both sides traded field goals early on in the first quarter, and so as we moved to the second quarter where the Panthers showed their claws to their opponent. Jonathan Stewart went in for a 1-yard touchdown and that was soon followed up by a long 49-yard kick by Graham Gano to see Carolina going 13-3 up.
Cam Newton then fired off a ball up field that saw Ted Ginn Jr making a stunning catch for a touchdown. After Gano and Lutz traded field goals in the final quarter for their respective sides, it saw New Orleans scoring twice with Brandon Coleman and Coby Fleener picking up a touchdown a piece in a losing effort.
Oakland Raiders 27 – 20 Houston Texans
Monday night football came from South of the Border as the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City was the venue for the clash between the Raiders and the Texans and was played in a stadium with an Infamous bit of American Sporting history attached to it too. It was the sight of the infamous ‘Black Power salute’ that took place back in 1968 during the Mexico Olympics and involved two African American athletes, namely John Carlos and Tommie Smith. So this past Monday saw Tommie Smith lighting the Al Davis torch of which is traditionally done at every single Oakland Raiders game and was befitting that he should light it in Mexico City.
Onto the game and it was a packed house of 76,743 as the Oakland Raiders came from behind to beat the Houston Texans in an entertaining encounter. Nick Novak put the Texans ahead in the contest with a field goal, but that effort was cancelled out by a Jalen Richard touchdown and a Sebastian Janikowski field goal to see the Raiders edge ahead. Houston then scored a touchdown either side of half time, as firstly Braxton Miller completed a 12-yard play with Brock Osweiler throwing the ball his way and then Lamar Miller went in for the Texans to lead 15-10.
Janikowski kept up his record of having never missed a single kick on a Monday Night Football game with a 20-yard field goal attempt through the posts to make it a 15-13 game. Novak then returned the favour and reopened Houston’s five-point advantage again with a kick and that then brought an onslaught by the Raiders. Oakland Quarterback Derek Carr fired a pass up field towards Jamize Olawale and had his blocker doing his job well to help his team mate en-route to the endzone for the touchdown.
The Raiders then scored the winning points with Carr throwing to Amari Cooper, as he gave the Houston defenders the slip quite literally and running to the endzone for a 35-yard score to see the Raiders 27-20 up and win a thrilling game in Mexico.