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Close Calls - Week 6

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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 fourth quarter last week in the Week 6 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 final quarter details in this weekly column.

Tennessee Titans (+6½) 26, Pittsburgh Steelers 23 (43): The Titans led 16-13 entering the fourth quarter and the game looked on pace to stay ‘under’ as well. Pittsburgh gave the favorite backers some hope as they put up 10 quick points to lead 23-16 with about eight minutes to go, taking advantage of favorable field position after an interception for the field goal. Tennessee rebounded with an 80-yard drive to tie the game with just over four minutes remaining and that score also clinched the 'over.' Pittsburgh went 53 yards on its final possession, but kicker Shaun Suisham missed a 54-yard attempt and the Titans did enough in the final minute to avoid overtime by hitting a 40-yard field goal from Rob Bironas.

Baltimore Ravens (-3) 31, Dallas Cowboys 29 (45):
Dallas dominated the yardage in this game, but the Ravens led 24-13 late in the third quarter before Dallas got within four with a Dez Bryant touchdown, sitting just short of the underdog spread. Dallas added a field goal to get within one, but Baltimore answered with a long scoring drive to lead 31-23 with less than five minutes to go in the game. Surviving a few costly penalties and converting two fourth downs, Dallas would wind up in the end zone with just 32 seconds left and within two points after a failed conversion attempt. Incredibly, Dallas recovered the expected onside kick and then got a big pass interference penalty on first down. There were clock management issues, but the Cowboys did get a 51-yard kick off with a chance to win with a few seconds left. That attempt failed, but Dallas did enough to steal the cover late in this game.

Detroit Lions (+3½) 26, Philadelphia Eagles 23 (47½): The Eagles were in control with a 16-6 lead after a third straight Alex Henery field goal early in the fourth quarter, but Detroit backed up its reputation as a fourth quarter team. The Lions got within three points, but Philadelphia seemingly had the game back in hand by connecting on a 70-yard pass play with just over five minutes to go. Detroit proved resilient, getting a touchdown with just over three minutes to go and then forcing a Philadelphia punt. The Lions drove down the field with relative ease in the final minutes and had a few shots at the end zone before settling for overtime on a very short field goal. The Eagles got the ball first, but went backwards 21 yards on three plays and the Lions easily moved into field goal position for the win. Those on the ‘under’ could only hope for a miracle tie, as overtime essentially sealed the ‘over’.

Miami Dolphins (-5) 17, St. Louis Rams 14 (38): The Rams outgained the Dolphins, 462-192, but penalties kept costing St. Louis scoring chances and rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein missed two relatively easy field goals despite strong early season results until this game. Taking advantage of the miscues, Miami actually led 17-6 going into the fourth quarter, but the Rams put together a long scoring drive early in the final frame. The touchdown made the score, 17-12 and the Rams went for two in a critical play for those involved on the spread that floated between -3½ and -5 throughout the week. The conversion was good and Miami did its best to burn clock on the next possession, but had to punt near midfield. The Rams moved the ball with some success in the final minute, but Sam Bradford took a sack to leave four seconds left for a long shot 66-yard attempt.

Seattle Seahawks (+4) 24, New England Patriots 23 (43): New England led 20-10 going into the fourth quarter and a third consecutive Stephen Gostkowski short field goal made it 23-10 with about nine minutes to in the game. Seattle and Russell Wilson proved they had more late game magic, cutting the deficit to six with a touchdown two minutes later and the defense forced two consecutive New England punts late in the game to get another chance. With just over a minute to go, Wilson hit Sidney Rice on a 46-yard bomb to give the Seahawks the lead as Tom Brady and the Patriots could not get a first down to extend the game against the Seattle defense. The late touchdown also changed the result for those on the total.

Denver Broncos (PK) 35, San Diego Chargers 24 (48): Peyton Manning added another chapter to his Monday night resume as San Diego dominated early with a 24-0 halftime lead. The Broncos had a strong drive to open the second half and then got the break they needed to get some momentum, capitalizing on a Philip Rivers fumble for a 65-yard touchdown. San Diego still led by 10 entering the fourth quarter, but that lead was erased with more Rivers turnovers and the Broncos took advantage of short fields for two more scores, taking the lead for the first time with just over nine minutes to go. There was plenty of time left and San Diego had opportunities, but the momentum completely had shifted and it was not a surprise when Rivers threw another interception that was returned for a touchdown to seal the game with just over two minutes to go.

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