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It was dog day domination again as nine puppies took home the bacon, with a half a dozen of those delivering straight up victories. Of those six teams, Tennessee, Detroit, and Tampa Bay posted their maiden victory and thus leaving the Raiders as the only NFL club without a victory. Oakland won the battle of yardage and managed to sneak in under the hefty number (14.5), but Denver walked away with a 13-3 win capping off yet another grand day for the books.
The Titans bounced back from a 14-3 deficit in plunging the Redskins to the NFC cellar by virtue of their 25-22 victory in Washington. The Skins were sent off 11 ½-point favorites, making the Titans the days’ biggest barking dog, and providing a jolt to 10-point teasers and suicide pools alike.
The Lions, who moved to two-point dogs after opening a negligible favorite, were able to prove the money wrong by virtue of their 20-17 squeaker over the Bills, a game that saw receiver Roy Williams snare 10 balls for 161 yards. Rounding out the cherry breaking festivities, the Bucs 14-13 nail biter over the Bengals was not without controversy as Cincy was flagged for a late roughing the passer penalty which occurred during a sack of QB Bruce Gradkowski. The call overturned a fumble and allowed Tampa Bay to go on to victory by virtue of an eight-yard touchdown pass to Michael Clayton with 35 seconds remaining which was initially labeled incomplete, but once again, the Bucs were the beneficiary of a reversal..
The public was all over the Bengals though the sharps got the better of this one courtesy of what some might call a little help from the zebras. The line, 5.5 at most spots on Saturday, dropped a full point in some venues on game day.
The Saints and Drew Brees made more believers as they grounded the previously high flying Eagles 27-24. John Carney kicked a game winning 31-yard field goal as time expired, capping off an 8 minute 26 second drive which relegated Philly’s offensive weapons to spectators, and sent the Saints into their bye week with an eye opening 5-1 record. Once again the public banged the Eagles early and often in pushing the line to 3.5 off the opening number of 3, but the sharp money was validated as the line settled back at the field goal, and the Eagles were dealt their second loss. The public did prevail on the total as the over/under surged to 47 from an opening number of 44.
A circus catch by all pro Ram receiver Tory Holt with under 2 minutes remaining went for naught as Josh Brown drilled a 54-yard game winning field goal as time expired, giving the Seahawks a 30-28 victory that left Ram backers breathing a sigh of relief as they snuck in under the three-point number. In spite of QB Matt Hasselbeck’s inability to spike the ball in time, referee Ed Hochuli put 4 seconds on the clock courtesy of an illegal formation infraction which occurred prior to the play. This game saw solid two-way action.
Other games that featured balanced action were the Giants’ 27-14 comeback win over the run oriented Falcons, a game in which Atlanta QB Michael Vick was sacked seven times, the Jets 20-17 victory over the hard charging Dolphins who scored two touchdowns in the last eight and a half minutes, while narrowly missing sending the game in OT as kicker Olindo Mare was unable to convert on a 51-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining, and Carolina’s 23-21 upset of the Ravens, a game in which Steve Smith asserted his domination by accounting for almost 200 yards in receiving. In the Giant game, the books did take a hit on the total as the final score landed on 41 points, which was driven down from the opening total of 43.
Two games that gave the players some relief were San Diego’s 48-19 offensive mastery of the 49ers, and Dallas 34-6 victory over their neighbors to the south, the Texans. In the latter game the ‘Boys seemingly put their problems behind them, temporarily at least, as Terrell Owens snagged 3 touchdown passes as Dallas overcame first half lethargy in outscoring Houston 31-0 in the second half.
In a game with a few oddities, the Steelers survived the loss of three starters and were still able to demolish the Chiefs, 45-7. Pittsburgh action was hot and heavy on the side as well as the teasers, and the money proved smart as the Steelers jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead and never looked back One of those missing starters was RG Kendall Simmons, who was forced to sit out the game with frostbite, the result of his falling asleep with an ice pack on his leg. In yet another oddity, Troy Polamalu’s return of a third quarter interception was abruptly halted by Chiefs’ running back Larry Johnson tackling the safety by his mane and then proceeding to add emphasis by twirling the hair along the sideline as Polamalu rolled on the ground. A penalty and a brief skirmish resulted.
Monday’s game will surely be the main topic of conversation at the water cooler on Tuesday as Arizona crumbled like a house of cards in relinquishing a 20-point (23-3) second half lead in falling to the still undefeated Bears 24-23. The Cardinals’ late collapse by virtue of two Bear touchdowns returned for fumbles, as well as a Devin Hester punt return could do nothing for those that laid the bushel of points, but it did rescue some of the 10-point teasers as the Bears were sent off as 10 1/2 to 11-point favorites on the strength of strong public support. The normally reliable Neil Rackers missed a 41-yard field in the waning moments to clinch the victory and send the fans home shaking their heads.
Last year’s domination by the favorites seems to be a distant memory as the house has gotten the better of it through week 6. It can’t last, or can it. Until next week.