Close Calls - Week 1
September 11, 2018
By Joe Nelson
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NCAAFB - 4th Quarter Covers - Week 2
Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in Week 1 of the NFL regular season.
Philadelphia Eagles (PK) 18, Atlanta Falcons 12 (44): An Eagles favorite spread that consistently fell wound up with the defending Super Bowl champions not even a favorite in the opening game. Atlanta led just 6-3 at the half with three field goals as the ‘under’ was in great shape the entire way. Philadelphia completed a 63-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter to lead by four but Atlanta answered after an interception, getting a touchdown on a two-play drive for only 27 yards to lead 12-10. A facemask penalty on a late punt return handed the Eagles great field position and Philadelphia converted a pair of big third downs en route to the game winning score with just over two minutes remaining, getting the conversion for an 18-12 edge. As they did in the playoffs in Philadelphia last season, Atlanta had a new set of downs in the red zone in the final minute but they once again could not find the end zone as the Eagles held on despite posting only 232 yards in game with a combined 236 penalty yards.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) 21, Cleveland Browns 21 (41): The Steelers led 21-7 through three quarters for a typical result for the Browns and hopes for a comeback fizzled with a fourth down failure inside the Pittsburgh 20-yard-line halfway through the final frame. James Conner fumbled on the next play and the Browns scored quickly to close to within seven points. Ben Roethlisberger would fumble just a few plays later and after an exchange of punts Cleveland struck two quick pass plays for the game-tying touchdown at the two-minute-warning. The tying touchdown sealed the ‘over’ on the closing line of 41 though early week totals were as high as 46½. With fewer than two minutes remaining in overtime, Chris Boswell missed from 42 yards for Pittsburgh and in the final seconds Cleveland had a 43-yard kick blocked following Pittsburgh’s sixth turnover as the Browns held the cover with a tie but couldn’t break the losing streak.
Cincinnati Bengals (+1) 34, Indianapolis Colts 23 (47½): The Colts led 23-10 late in the third quarter in the return of Andrew Luck but Cincinnati took control from there, eventually scoring 24 unanswered points to close the game with a late 83-yard fumble return sealing the minor upset for the Bengals.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) 20, New York Giants 15 (42½): The Giants trailed by just four into the fourth quarter before Myles Jack returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown that put the Jaguars up by 11. Rookie Saquon Barkley delivered a 68-yard run to put the Giants back in the game, but New York missed on the two-point conversion that was certainly meaningful for those involved on this game. New York reached the Jacksonville 36-yard-line in the final two minutes, but came up short on downs.
New England Patriots (-6½) 27, Houston Texans 20 (49): The Patriots led 24-6 late in the third quarter but the Texans made things interesting late, scoring a touchdown with just over two minutes remaining following a muffed punt. Down seven, the Texans had the ball back in the final minute near midfield as those on the underdog and the ‘over’ hoped for a miracle but Deshaun Watson couldn’t deliver a late score to extend the game.
Miami Dolphins (PK) 27, Tennessee Titans 20 (43½): Those on the ‘under’ had a difficult finish in this AFC battle that endured a long weather delay. Miami led just 10-3 heading into the fourth quarter before a wild first five minutes of the final frame featured four touchdowns with both teams getting kickoff return scores. Miami added a field goal with about four minutes remaining to lead by 10 and putting the total ‘over’ on the closing number. Those that played a number as high as 45 earlier in the week got what they needed as the Titans cashed the ‘over’ with a 53-yard kick with 11 seconds left on the clock.
Denver Broncos (-3) 27, Seattle Seahawks 24 (42½): The Broncos held a slight lead most of the way in this sloppy opener that featured three turnovers on each side. Denver wound up with a massive yardage advantage, but Seattle took the lead on a 51-yard pass play early in the fourth quarter. Denver went 75 yards for a touchdown just a few minutes later to lead by three, sitting even with the common spread on the game. Four straight punts followed before Russell Wilson was intercepted in the final seconds on a desperation throw to end the game right on the number.
Carolina Panthers (-3) 16, Dallas Cowboys 8 (42): Carolina was in control of this contest with a 16-0 edge after Dallas had missed a late third quarter field goal. The Cowboys finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter and a successful two-point conversion gave Dallas a window to tie the game. The Cowboys quickly got the ball back and crossed midfield but failed going for it on 4th-and-10 with more than two minutes remaining and all three timeouts remaining as a punt was still viable option for Dallas. The Cowboys in fact got the ball back only seconds later using two timeouts and two-minute-warning but in much worse field position and a fumble ended the final threat.
Green Bay Packers (-6½) 24, Chicago Bears 23 (44½): The Packers turned in an amazing fourth quarter comeback that burned ‘under’ tickets as well as some attractive Chicago moneyline wagers. Down 20-3 in the fourth quarter Green bay scored twice quickly and Chicago only managed a field goal to answer, leaving the door open with a six-point advantage. Aaron Rodgers was nearly intercepted late in the game with a drop from Kyle Fuller that would have effectively ended the game but an immobile Rodgers stuck Randall Cobb who weaved 75 yards for the go-ahead score just ahead of the two-minute warning. Chicago was stopped on 4th-and-9, but Clay Matthews was hit with a 15-yard penalty on a late hit and the Bears approached midfield before Trubisky was sacked on 4th down and Green Bay was able to run out the remaining clock.
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