Close Calls - Week 2
September 18, 2012
By Joe Nelson
Glancing at the scoreboard won't tell you the whole story in most games. Here are the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the 4th quarter last week of the Week 2 NFL games. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows, get the details in this weekly column.
New York Giants (-8) 41, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34 (43½): Those on the underdog Buccaneers looked like clear winners most of the way as Tampa Bay led 27-13 late in the 3rd quarter. The Giants put together an incredible rally that resulted in over 500 yards passing for Eli Manning. New York went up by seven late in the 4th quarter but Tampa Bay would answer only to have the Giants deliver the game winning touchdown with about 30 seconds to go. New York won by seven which was short of the opening and closing numbers but the line was steady at seven for big chunks of the week leading to an improbable push for many on the game.
Indianapolis Colts (+3) 23, Minnesota Vikings 20 (45½): The Colts were in control most of the way despite failing to put up by yardage numbers, leading 20-6 heading in the 4th quarter. A week after an amazing late win for the Vikings, there was nearly some more late game magic as the Vikings tied the game with back-to-back scoring drives, getting the tying score with just over 30 seconds to go. Andrew Luck hit two big pass plays in the remaining time and it was enough to get Adam Vinatieri in position for the 53-yard game winner. Overtime would have given totals players a lot more to sweat out as the game just barely stayed 'under'.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) 24, Baltimore Ravens 23 (47): This was a tie game entering the 4th and the this line jumped around throughout the week from -1 up to -2½ and then back down to -1 Friday before jumping up to -3 on Sunday morning with a lot of sharp action on the Eagles. Not many games end in with a one-point margin but the Eagles won a second straight one-point game as they got into the end zone with less than two minutes to go after two Baltimore field goals. Baltimore got close to midfield on its final possession but could not get it done, leaving the Eagles with another narrow win and a push for many on the game. The total also closed right on the closing number but most likely got a win for the 'over'.
Cincinnati Bengals (-7) 34, Cleveland Browns 27 (39½): The Bengals led by seven after the 2nd and 3rd quarters and that was the margin the final ended at, right on the spread. The 4th quarter was filled with drama however as the Bengals pushed the lead to 10-points with just over two minutes to go. The Browns moved quickly into Bengals territory but then on 4th and six from the Cincinnati seven-yard line Cleveland kicked a field goal and then went for the onside kick with just 20 seconds to go.
St. Louis Rams (+3½) 31, Washington Redskins 28 (42½): Washington built an early lead in this game, benefiting from a few questionable calls in a poorly officiated game. By halftime the Rams had cut the margin to five points and that was the margin entering the 4th quarter as well. Sam Bradford threw an interception in the end zone going for the go-ahead touchdown late in the 3rd quarter but his defense bailed him out, blocking the subsequent Washington punt and setting up a touchdown pass early in the 4th quarter. The Rams also got the two-point conversion on that score and then both offenses disappeared in a sloppy 4th quarter. The Rams got the ball back and drove into Washington territory with less than three minutes to go, simply trying to burn the clock but a huge fumble by rookie Darryl Richardson gave the Redskins another chance. Washington moved to the edge of field goal range and then got a to the St. Louis 29 to set-up a 4th down kick to tie the game, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on receiver Josh Morgan after throwing the ball at a Rams defender pushed the kick back 15-yards for a 62-yard attempt that missed.
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