Close Calls – Week 6Glancing 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 6 of the NFL regular season.
Minnesota Vikings (-9½) 27, Arizona Cardinals 17 (43½): This game wound up a half-point off from the closing line and total and mixed results were had by those on Minnesota or Arizona as the closing line of -9½ wasn’t available until Sunday with the Vikings -10 or -10½ all week. Arizona tied the game with a defensive touchdown in the second quarter but the Vikings took over in the second half with a pair of touchdowns to lead by 17 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings stopped Arizona going for it on 4th-and-2 early in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals managed a touchdown a few minutes later to close the margin to 10 points. Minnesota reached the Arizona 28 in the final seconds but didn’t need to add points.
Miami Dolphins (+7) 31, Chicago Bears 28 (41): This line on this game shot upward Sunday morning as it was learned that Brock Osweiler would start at quarterback for the Dolphins. The Bears didn’t score in the first half, but scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to lead 21-10. Miami fought back with a field goal and then early in the fourth quarter hit a 43-yard pass for a touchdown and also converted for two to tie the game with nine minutes remaining.
Chicago took the lead with three minutes to go, but the Albert Wilson broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown to tie the game seconds later. Chicago fumbled near midfield on its next possession, but Miami couldn’t take advantage as overtime was needed. The Dolphins only needed a few plays to reach the red zone, but incredibly fumbled just short of the goal line with the Bears recovering for a touchback. Chicago stalled after a few quick gains and missed on a 53-yard field goal attempt while Miami was able to hit from 47 as overtime expired.
Atlanta Falcons (-3) 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29 (57½): Atlanta led 24-16 with two Jameis Winston interceptions near the end zone the difference as the Buccaneers had a clear production edge in this game. Tampa Bay had a chance to tie the game early in the fourth quarter but missed on the two-point conversion, having missed an extra point early in the game. The margin remained two after trading touchdowns and Atlanta faced a 3rd-and-2 with the game on the line just after the two-minute-warning as Tampa Bay had exhausted its timeouts. Tevin Coleman was stopped and Dan Quinn made a curious decision to attempt a 57-yard field goal to go up by five. The kick was good but the door was left wide open for the Buccaneers with still more than a minute to play.
Tampa Bay eventually reached the Atlanta 21-yard-line and on the final play called a bizarre trick play with Winston rushing forward a dozen yards then attempting a lateral, the exchange was bobbled, but eventually recovered by Mike Evans who threw at Desean Jackson’s feet along the sideline as Jackson would have had an open path to the end zone. The ‘over’ again won for the sixth Atlanta game in a row with the late scoring while the questionable decision for the late long field goal gave the Falcons the cover despite nearly 100 more yards for the Buccaneers.
Los Angeles Rams (-7) 23, Denver Broncos 20 (50½): The undefeated Rams took a 20-3 lead in the third quarter and had the ball back after a Case Keenum interception but Jared Goff was picked off deep in Rams territory and the Broncos capitalized with a touchdown. The Rams missed a field goal on their next possession and Denver added three in the fourth quarter to get within seven. The Rams settled for a short field goal with three minutes remaining to push the margin back to 10. Denver was able to earn the home underdog cover with a 77-yard touchdown drive with just over a minute remaining.
New England Patriots (-4) 43, Kansas City Chiefs 40 (59½): The Sunday night clash of AFC contenders lived up to its billing as while New England had a 24-9 edge at the half the Chiefs rallied for an exciting finish. Taking advantage of a Tom Brady fumble the Chiefs were down two after a touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter and knowing the scoring wasn’t over, opted to go for one to trail 27-26. The Patriots had to settle for a field goal to go up four and a long kickoff return set up the Chiefs to take the lead 33-30 with eight minutes to go, clearing the extremely high total in the process.
New England answered quickly and then got a field goal after a rare punt to lead by seven. It took the Chiefs just one offensive snap to tie the game at 40 all. The Patriots were given the ball back with three minutes on the clock and those on New England with just over a field goal spread knew how it would play out as New England methodically burned all the remaining clock to set-up a field goal as time expired.
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