We'll be putting all our GIFs for the day here, from Bill Belichick emphatically challenging the officials to A.J. Green exploiting New York's defensive holes. We'll update the post as the later games conclude, so stay tuned.
New England 37, Buffalo 31: It was the Owski show in New England today with Stephen Gostkowski kicking 4 field goals and Rob Gronkowski Gronking his way into the endzone. The Bills gave the Patriots a scare at the end but New England escaped at the last minute with an interception in the endzone. But all that pales in comparison to Bill Belichick's contempt above for field turf, red sand-filled bean baggies and poor officiating.
Tennessee 37, Miami 3 Yikes. Luckily for Miami fans, they weren't at the stadium to watch this one. Jake Locker had two touchdowns, Chris Johnson had a 17 yard touchdown run and the Tennessee defense added a 49 yard interception return. The Titans thoroughly dominated the Dolphins but this Jake Locker reaction to a a seemingly bobbled catch and eventual drop involving both Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt is good for the laughs.
Cincinnati 31, New York Giants 13: Another blowout. Andy Dalton had four touchdowns on 199 yards passing. A.J. Green caught a 56 yard touchdown two minutes into the game and the Bengals never looked back. Well, that's not entirely true. A.J. Green had to look back on this touchdown run to see the Giants defenders.
Minnesota 34, Detroit 24: Adrian Peterson continues to amaze coming off knee surgery. He ran for 171 yards and one touchdown but we bring you two GIFs that do not feature AP because excellence is boring. Here is a weird play that was initially called a touchdown and then reversed. Antoine Winfield wound up with the ball in his hands and was not sure he had caught it until he did not hear a whistle. Then he decided to run to the endzone unabated.
This is just some weirdness. Enjoy.
New Orleans 31, Atlanta 27: Good news, Atlanta: got that pesky loss out of your system. Now you can get back to business. The Saints are now 4-5 thanks to three touchdowns from Drew Brees and a powerful running attack from Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram. Ingram had 67 yards and Ivory had 72—56 of which came on this one touchdown. Special points for a perfectly devastating stiff arm.
The Falcons, despite the loss, won the hearts and minds of fat guys everywhere with a fat guy touchdown to eligible-lineman Mike Johnson. The pass to Johnson was Ryan's first of three touchdowns. Neither the touchdowns nor his 411 yards passing were enough to beat the Saints, however.
Tampa Bay 34, San Diego 24: San Diego continues to spiral and now has a sub-.500 record. Rivers had 337 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had two picks—one an 83 yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter. And the Bucs also blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown. Not a recipe for anything delicious like success.
Rivers and Danario Alexander did at least have a nice hookup for an 80 yard touchdown thanks to some poor tackling. This has been your one nice thing said about the Chargers of the week.
Denver 36, Carolina 14: Well, Peyton did not pass Marino, but he did tie his record of 420 touchdown passes. He also threw for over 300 yards. Cam Newton had two interceptions, including one returned 40 yards for a touchdown by Tony Carter in the third quarter. Denver also got some special teams help with this 76 yard punt return by Trindon Holliday at the very beginning of the second quarter.
Baltimore 55, Oakland 20: [pukes]
Here's Anquan Boldin speaking for the rest of us with one well-placed finger-point at the scoreboard.
Seattle 28, New York Jets 7: The Jets didn't score an offensive touchdown. Mark Sanchez went 9/22 with an interception—a back-breaking interception, with the Jets on the Seahawks' 6-yard line—for a passer rating just north of 40. He was sacked three times for cumulative losses over 30 yards. His backup, Tim Tebow, went 3/3. That interception was the only time the Jets saw the red zone today. This is their worst start in five seasons. It's Mark Sanchez's birthday.
So, uh, let's focus on the Seahawks: this is where it started for them today, Golden Tate with a great 38-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter to put them up a score in the first quarter. The last points of the game? Tate throwing a touchdown to Sidney Rice, to give him a passer rating, ahem, about four times higher than Sanchez's. Happy birthday, bud.
Dallas 38, Philadelphia 23: In the battle of probably doomed, underperforming NFC East teams, the Eagles came away looking doomed-er. Things started off strong for Philly, with this acrobatic catch from Riley Cooper putting them up 7-0 after their first drive of the game:
But if you watched, you know how things went south: Michael Vick was injured at the end of the Eagles' first drive of the second quarter, out with a concussion and vision problems, serving as fodder for the always weird Yahoo Answers. Nick Foles performed admirably in his stead—the Eagles actually retook the lead and then built on it going into halftime—but this maybe, maybe not touchdown catch from Dez Bryant (ruled a score after review) just before the end of the third quarter tied it, and the Eagles didn't score again. Romo proves something, to someone, somewhere, and the Cowboys move up to a less depressing 4-5.
St. Louis 24, San Francisco 24: Uhhh...it doesn't look like they're going to play another overtime? I...
Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15-minute periods or until there is a score*.
OK, but see—
*Exception: In preseason and regular season games there shall be a maximum of 15 minutes of sudden death with two time outs instead of three. General provisions that apply for the fourth quarter will prevail. Try not attempted if touchdown scored. If there is no score in the 15 minutes, the game shall end in a tie.
Oh...well. OK. This hasn't happened since Eagles-Bengals in 2008 (when Donovan McNabb forgot the rules) and possibly shouldn't have happened today: in two instances, refs let long stretches of time tick off the clock while doing a spot—over a minute in the first half, and later in the game, about seven or eight crucial seconds while the Rams tried one more time to score. For a game that ended with no resolution, a little more time would have been welcome.
The futility and desperation—the collateral damage of this essentially pointless game included an Alex Smith concussion—was captured well by Jeff Fisher, desperately signaling for his team to spike the ball. They eventually got around to it, but it wouldn't matter. Rams win, relative to expectations, but players on both sides will the spend the next week getting strangely competitive with daily household tasks, just to fill the void.