Sunday, October 11, 2009

NFL-Week Five Review

Heading into the Monday Night Football matchup between New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, the standings are still looking "odd" (if you want to call it that) as the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos continue to confound the naysayers and in the words of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, they both "just win baby."
Denver (5-0) hosted the New England Patriots on Sunday and once again stormed back in the second half behind quarterback Kyle Orton (330 yards passing with two TDs and one INT), who led a 98-yard drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game 17-17. The Broncos won it in overtime when kicker Matt Prater drilled a 41-yard field goal.
This was supposed to be the game when Tom Brady & Co. would march into Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium and give the Broncos their comeuppance.
It didn't happen.
The way the Broncos defense is making halftime adjustments and dominating teams in the second half, the Broncos may not lose a game at all this season.
New England was shut out after taking a 17-7 halftime lead as Orton & Co. took over in the second half on offense with Orton hitting wide receiver Brandon Marshall for a second touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to force the overtime.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, the Cincinnati Bengals topped the Ravens, 17-14 to take over sole possession of first place in the AFC North, as Carson Palmer hit Andre Caldwell for the game-winning TD pass with just 24 seconds left in regulation.
This too was supposed to be the game where the upstart Bengals got their tails kicked by the mighty Ravens defense as well as by the revamped Ravens offensive attack led by quarterback Joe Flacco.
It didn't happen.
The Bengals defense rose to the challenge and limited the Baltimore offense to just seven points while winning yet another nail-biter. Lost in the excitement was the fact that Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson (120 yards and a TD) became the first running back to crack the 100-yard mark against the Ravens' defense since the 2006 season.
The fact the Bengals and Broncos lead their respective divisions at this point is impressive and one has to admit these teams are for real after the performances they displayed in Week Five.

Around the league, the Minnesota Vikings dominated the St. Louis Rams 38-10 as they improved to 5-0 and the Rams dropped to 0-5... The Indianapolis Colts are also undefeated as Peyton Manning (with his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing game) led the way in a 31-9 rout of the Tennessee Titans, who are a disappointing 0-5 after yet another blowout loss... And the New York Giants crushed Oakland 44-7 to improve to 5-0 while the Raiders (1-4) saw quarterback JaMarcus Russell fumble the ball away three times in the defeat.
Dallas rebounded from a 10-0 deficit to defeat the winless Kansas City Chiefs, 26-20 in overtime as QB Tony Romo hit Miles Austin (250 yards receiving and two TDs) with a 60-yard scoring pass to win the game... Pittsburgh jumped out big against Detroit but then had to hang on for the second straight game as the Lions (1-4) mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter before losing, 28-20 to the Steelers (3-2) ... Carolina chalked up their first win of 2009 with a 20-17 squeaker over the visiting Washington Redskins... Seattle pasted Jacksonville 41-0 behind solid defense and QB Matt Hasselbeck's four TD passes .... The Arizona Cardinals, behind QB Kurt Warner's 302 yards and two TDs passing, rolled out 21-0 against Houston before hanging on for a hard fought 28-21 win to improve to 2-2 for the season... Philadelphia (3-1) dominated Tampa Bay 33-14 as Donovan McNabb returned to the starting role after an injury with a 51-yard TD strike to Jeremy Maclin... Out west, the Atlanta Falcons, behind three rushing touchdowns by Michael Turner, crushed the San Francisco 49ers, 45-10 to improve to 3-1; San Francisco dropped to 3-2 with the loss... and the yawner of the day saw the visiting Cleveland Browns win their first game of the year with a 6-3 win at Buffalo.

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