Friday, November 26, 2010

Pats, Jets Improve to 9-2; Saints Edge 'Boys on Turkey Day

What am I thankful for? Thanksgiving football, of course!

And my family and friends as well, can't forget them.

But, the big news today is that both the New York Jets and New England Patriots survived their respective Turkey Day matchups. What exactly does this mean? Well, it means that next Monday we will be witnessing a heavy-weight AFC East showdown between the 9-2 Patriots and 9-2 Jets. As if that isn't already incentive enough to tune in, it's a primetime game and will be played in Gillette Stadium. December games in Massachusetts always means there's a pretty good chance that snowfall may play a role as well.

Scarily enough, Tom Brady looked nearly flawless, passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns. New England got off to a slow start, struggling with stopping Shaun Hill's short passing game and former Seattle Seahawk Maurice Morris, who was a threat both on the ground and through the air.
Detroit simply didn't show up for all 60 minutes of the ball game, blowing its 17-10 halftime lead as the two teams were in a 24-24 deadlock at the end of the third quarter of play. That was when Tom Brady really turned up the heat on Detroit's pass defense, throwing two touchdown passes (22-yarder to Deion Branch and 16-yarder to Wes Welker) in the final quarter of play. Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis capped off the 21-point fourth quarter with a one-yard touchdown run just before the two minute warning.

Branch, Welker and Green-Ellis all had two touchdowns each as the Pats put up 45 points at Ford Field.

Phil Simms' (CBS) All-Iron Award winner: Tom Brady--21/27, 341 yards, 4 TDs, 158.3 QB rating

Game two of the full, three-game slate was much more anticipated back in April when the schedules came out. Now that the Cowboys got off to a slow, 2-8 start which brought about the firing of Wade Phillips, this matchup may not have been seen as much of a heavy-weight battle. But much like the early game, the ending was well worth the ugly first half of play.

New Orleans' took control early as the Cowboys struggled to hold on to the ball and convert first downs. Dallas failed to convert a fourth down inside the red zone early in the game, which may have come back to haunt them. New Orleans went in to the locker room at the half with a 20-6 lead after Dallas' kicker David Buehler kicked a career-high 53-yard field goal as the time on the game clock expired.

Dallas came out ready to play in the second half, cutting the lead to 20-13 just one minute in to the third quarter as WR Miles Austin took an end around 60 yards for the score. A Garrett Hartley field goal (28 yards) was the only points of the quarter for New Orleans as the 'Boys put up another seven when Marion Barber III capped a scoring drive with a one-yard run, putting Dallas within three.
Another one-yard run in the final quarter, Tashard Choice this time, gave Dallas a four-point lead with about six minutes to play. Dallas had the chance to put the game away but on a long 47-yard catch and run by receiver Roy Williams, New Orleans cornerback Malcolm Jenkins stripped Williams of the ball, giving the Saints another shot. Drew Brees wasted no time, hitting Lance Moore in stride just five plays later. The 12-yard touchdown strike put the Saints up 30-27. Jon Kitna led a strong, 9-play drive in an attempt to get the lead back, but David Buehler's missed 59-yard field goal spoiled the Cowboys' comeback bid.

New Orleans improved to 8-3 which, for the moment, puts them in second place in the NFC South, ahead of the 7-3 Buccaneers and just behind the 8-2 Falcons. Dallas falls to 3-8, still last place in the NFC East.

Fox's Galloping Gobbler winner: Drew Brees--23/39, 352 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 86.7 QB rating

Carson Palmer continues to show why he is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the league. He has numerous weapons to get the ball to yet hasn't been able to win games (2-9 on the season). His inability to stay healthy also gets some blame, but it's mainly just because of the fact that he has been erratic with the football in his hands.

Jets' cornerback Darrelle Revis was able to contain future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens (3 rec., 17 yards) and New York's fifth-best run defense shut down Cedric Benson, therefore limiting Palmer's pass attack even more. Mark Sanchez threw for just 166 yards and one touchdown, but he really didn't have to do much other than just managing the game, especially with his run game--and defense--working so well.
Wide receiver Brad Smith's 53-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, giving New York a 10-7 lead, proved to be the game-winner. But, he wasn't done there. After Cincinnati's Aaron Pettrey kicked a 28-yarder between the uprights to put the Bengals within a touchdown early in the fourth, Smith sealed the deal with an 89-yard kickoff return for the touchdown.

A Trevor Pryce sack, and safety, of Carson Palmer capped off the Jets' 26-point performance and finally put any hope the Bengals had to bed. The loss was Cincinnati's eighth-straight as New York captured its fourth straight victory and a 4-2 record at home.

NFL Network's Pudding Pie winners: Darrelle Revis--limited T.O. to 3 rec., 17 yards; Brad Smith--two touchdowns (53-yard run, 89-yard KO return)

Photo Credit
Wes Welker: AP Photo
Drew Brees: AP Photo/Mike Fuentes
Antonio Cromartie: AP Photo/Mike Koustroun

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