We'll be putting all our GIFs for the day here from a Joe Morgan flip play that does not involve the Dave Concepción to Dez Bryant getting drilled in the head. We'll update the post as the later games conclude, so stay tuned.
Tennessee 35, Buffalo 34: True to form, this horrible-looking game on paper was super exciting! For example: Chris Johnson's corpse was reanimated. Just in time for Halloween! Late in the first quarter, he went 83 yards to paydirt. The Bills came right back and returned the following kickoff for a touchdown. He also had a 16-yard touchdown run. It would foreshadow an insane afternoon of wild finishes. This one finally ended when Matt Hasselbeck found Nate Washington in the back of the endzone with a minute left for a 15-yard, game-winning touchdown.
New York Giants 27, Washington 23: Jesus! With a minute and half left to go in the game, the Redskins, thanks to Robert Griffin III's scrambling, successfully converted on fourth-and-10. Griffin III then found Santana Moss in the endzone for 30 yards to take a 23-20 lead. With 1:13 left in the game the Giants came right back and Eli Manning found Victor Cruz streaking down the seam for 77 yards and a 27-23 victory.
Robert Griffin III had a few long runs today and this one in the second quarter was the most fun. No players were injured, but Griffin III's momentum carried him into the waterboy—holding a tray full of water—whose momentum then carried him into the bench. But! While some water was spilled, none of the cups were overturned. Specially-designed trays notwithstanding, that was impressive.
Justin Pierre-Paul sacked Robert Griffin III and put what we can only hope is the final nail in the coffin of the whole Gangnam style fad. Please, can it be dead now?
New Orleans 35, Tampa Bay 28: Yet another wild game with a furious finish. The Buccaneers, wearing those disgusting peach or whatever the fuck pastel color had sex with vomit after rolling around in shit and gave birth to those uniforms that get dusted off from the team's storied past, marched down the field in the final minutes of the game and scored what looked like the equalizing touchdown as time expired. However, Mike Williams was pushed out of bounds before finding his way back into the endzone in time to catch the would-be touchdown—five yard penalty, game over. The whole game can perhaps best be summarized with the 48 yard hookup between Drew Brees and Joe Morgan in the third quarter—you can see the pertinent portion, for our purposes, above—where the defender over pursues the pass and gets flipped over by Morgan, who then waltzed into the endzone.
Then, with seven minutes to go in the third, New Orleans punted to the Tampa Bay 4-yard line. Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson hooked up for this 95 yard strike, only to have Malcolm Jenkins save a touchdown. The Saints would stop the Buccaneers on the next four downs so Jenkins saved seven points—and the rest of the defense saved three—in a one possession game. It was that kind of game for the Bucs.
Dallas 19, Carolina 14: The Cowboys and Panthers also battled down to the wire and the final three plays went thusly: near interception, sack and failed hook and ladder/just toss the ball to someone play. The game did feature a few individual moments that we will, of course, highlight. First, Dez Bryant got absolutely rocked in the head, knocking his helmet off.
OK, guess we are not done with the Gangnam style thing.
Houston 43, Baltimore 13: Good lord, what a bloodbath. Matt Schaub had two touchdowns on 256 yards passing and Arian Foster also had two touchdowns on 98 yards rushing. The Houston defense got in on the scoring orgy with a safety and a 52-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Jonathan Joseph. You get no GIFs.
Indianapolis 17, Cleveland 13: Andrew Luck had two touchdowns on the day and both were rushing touchdowns. According to CBS he is the first Colts quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in the same game since 1988. Which is a lot less impressive when you realize that spans, like, three guys—Jeff George, Jim Harbaugh and (mostly) Peyton Manning.
Green Bay 30, St. Louis 20: Steven Jackson also joined the "Hey, I'm still alive" party and scored his first touchdown of the season. But the Rams were no match for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers threw for 342 yards on 30-37 passing and had fewer incompletions—the first coming with six minutes left in the first half—than Jordy Nelson had receptions. Don't feel down, though, Rams. You get to play the Patriots in London next week. Yay!
Minnesota 21, Arizona 14: John Skelton being the fair-minded man that he is, decided to spot the Vikings some points and allowed Minnesota to convert this interception-turned touchdown early in the third quarter. A man must challenge himself and what better challenge than a two-score game on the road? In the end, fate had a different story in mind for our hero. Adrian Peterson had 153 yards and one touchdown, more than doubling up his quarterback in yardage. Skelton's destiny is now to be known as the man who leads the Cardinals back from three straight losses. A far greater feat than the man who would lead the Cardinals back from two straight losses.
Patriots 29, New York Jets 26 (OT): At first it was like this:
But things improved from there. Despite being down 10 late in the third quarter, the Jets fought back to go up 26-23 late in the fourth. For the Jets, who are as much meme-factory as football team, it was a strong effort, and Mark Sanchez—despite generous helpings of scorn from fans—had a not-unsightly day, statistically. We didn't GIF any of the comeback, though; we got the heartbreaking stuff: here's Stephen Hill, fumbling a catch on third down that could have put the Jets well into the red zone when they were down 23-20. That drop set up the field goal that would tie it (which led to the pair of field goals that would keep it tied before regulation expired):
In overtime, Tom Brady led the Patriots 54 yards down the field to set up a Stephen Gostowski field goal from 48 out. With the onus on the Jets to score on their next drive to prolong a game that was exasperating fans of both teams, Rob Ninkovich delivered the kill shot, and everyone's EKG lines returned to normal. Considering one team started off kicking the ball out of its own endzone to avoid a safety, this ended up being a pretty great game. Not quite as great as Jim Nantz thought it was—but pretty great.
Oakland 26, Jacksonville 23 (OT): Yet again, an ostensible stinker goes and gets all dramatic. The Jaguars lost their starting running back in Maurice Jones-Drew, who was carted off the field early in the game (only to return to the sideline on crutches), and their starting quarterback in Blaine Gabbert, who left with a shoulder injury. They still had the Raiders up against it late in the fourth quarter. Granted, losing Gabbert just meant the Jaguars were forced to play without the worst quarterback in the league, but hey, Chad Henne (9/20 for 71 yards, sacked thrice) wasn't exactly Joe Montana out there. In the end, the Raiders were the second team this afternoon team to come back from a late ten point deficit to force overtime, and the only one to put the game away when they got there, as Sebastian Janikowski iced it and redeemed a long miss to end regulation. The combined winning percentage between these two teams is now significantly higher than it was before this week, because one of them won. In honor of the high-wire ineptitude, the muffed punt, one of the most dramatically inept football plays there is:
Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17: The Steelers rushed for 176 yards tonight, 122 of which came from unheralded Jonathan Dwyer. Andy Dalton completed 50 percent of his passes for 105 yards. His incompetence was surpassed by Marvin Lewis's however when he burned two timeouts on questionable challenges, one coming late in the fourth quarter, and watched as his team ran the ball twice, forcing a 3rd-and-10 pass that sailed just out of the reach of a leaping A.J. Green on the his team's final possession. On third down and long on the following possession Dyer ran for 32 yards, effectively ending the game. It wasn't all puppy dogs and ice cream cones for the Steelers, however. Mike Wallace had a tough game with a case of the drops, including this adorable backpedaling, juggling effort.