1 p.m. Bye Week Mayhem: Bengals Trump Browns in Final Second of Overtime

The winless Browns try to deal the Bengals a serious blow in Cleveland, the Patriots host the Ravens, and the Colts try to stay undefeated versus the Seahawks.

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Bengals For Real? Better Believe It

Shutdown Corner’s Doug Farrar has some immediate Bengals reaction, and you know what? These Bengals might just be for real:

The Bengals’ offensive and defensive lines are playing at impressive levels, Cedric Benson(notes) has returned from the Witness Protection Program, and the Carson Palmer(notes)-to-Chad Ochocinco combo seems to be back on track.

But it’s also about the unheralded contributors; guys like running back Brian Leonard(notes), receiver Andre Caldwell(notes), and noted horsecollar maven Roy E. Williams. These Bengals may have come across a bit jokey and undefined in “Hard Knocks” this preseason, but they’re no laughing matter now. Next Sunday, they travel to Baltimore’s M&T Bank stadium for a real pier-sixer with the Ravens for control of the NFC North. If they can pull off what will surely be an upset against the Ravens, it will be time to talk about the Cincinnati Bengals as one of the league’s better teams.

Who woulda thunk it?


Bengals Win 23-20 in Final Second of Overtime

The Bengals made sure that they used every possible second to secure a win, as Shayne Graham kicked a 31-yard field goal with one second left in overtime. Whew.


Uh...Bengals? Browns? It's Overtime, Would You Like to Score?

We’re still knotted at 20 with under three minutes left in overtime. Lots of punts, and incomplete passes, though, if that’s your thing. Could the Battle of Ohio really end in a tie?


Giants Top Chiefs 27-16, But Manning Injures Foot

Eli Manning had a solid outing, throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns, but he suffered a foot injury in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ 27-16 win. From Newsday:

Manning had his right foot examined on the sideline and briefly had his cleat and sock off. He later put those articles of clothing back on and was able to stand on the sideline and watch the rest of the game. David Carr came in to play quarterback the rest of the game.

So luckily for the Giants, he’s able to stand on his foot.


Clayton's Drop Sinks the Ravens: NE 27, Bal 21

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens fought hard and looked to be well on their way to game-winning score. Unfortunately, the Patriots defense had other ideas, and after forcing Baltimore into a fourth down inside the New England 10-yard line, Joe Flacco found Michael Clayton open for a first down a heartbreaking dropped first down catch, and the Patriots took over on downs.

Two things to keep in mind, though: the Patriots may have won, but they very nearly surrendered a late-touchdown that would have beaten them. Had Clayton not dropped that first down catch, the Ravens would have four cracks at the endzone—and likely would have won.

As for Flacco, while he struggled at times today, his ability to regain his composure and lead the Ravens down the field for a game-winning drive speaks volumes about his potential going forward. He may not have led the comeback today—Clayton’s drop killed those chances—but he certainly showed he’s capable of doing it in the future. And with Baltimore’s stingy defense and potent running game, Flacco’s emergence, even in the loss, makes the Ravens a very scary team for the rest of the league.


20-20: Browns Receive First Possession in Overtime

The Browns weren’t able to mount a last-minute score in regulation, so now we’re headed to the fifth quarter. They won the coin flip, and we’re left to wait and see what Derek Anderson’s offense can produce in sudden death.


Ravens With One Last Chance: NE 27 Bal 21

After getting stopped on fourth-and-2 late in the fourth quarter, it looked as though Baltimore might have had their last gasp Sunday in New England. Instead, their defense just held the Patriots offense scoreless, and forced the Patriots to give up the ball with 3:32 seconds left. The Ravens are now driving from their own 20, and need a touchdown to win.


Trickeration, Confusion, and a 37-yard field goal: NE 27, Bal 21

After a 15-play, 7 minute drive brought them into Baltimore’s red zone, the New England Patriots were on the brink of ending the game with a touchdown. Bill Belichick knew this—so he went for the kill! Rather than settle for a field goal, he tried a fake field goal that got the Patriots near a first down.

Unfortunately, the fake was negated by an illegal motion penalty, but before the Ravens could accept that penalty, we were treated to a 15-minute interlude whereby the previous play was challenged to see whether the Patriots would have made the first down without the penalty—if the Pats didn’t make it, the Ravens would have just declined the penalty and taken over on downs.

Alas, the officials determined that the Patriots did, in fact, get the first down on the play that was negated, and this is all confusing, and unfairly obscures a clutch performance by the Baltimore defense, in which they held the Pats to a field goal and guaranteed their offense would have a chance.

And then Phillip Rivers went all… PHILLIP RIVERS!!!


Only in Ohio: Bengals, Browns Tied at 20 After Blocked Extra Point

With under two minutes left, the Bengals scored their first points of the second half on a short touchdown throw from Carson Palmer to Chad Ochocinco.

And then the Browns block the extra point. Of course. We’re tied at 20 in Cleveland, as the Browns try to win the game in regulation.


The Redskins Hold On To Beat Buccaneers 16-13

Clifton Smith fumbled the ball with 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Redskins the win. After Jason Campbell had a terrible first half and the Redskins were down 10-0, Campbell somewhat resurrected his game by throwing two touchdown passes, one to Chris Cooley and the other to Santana Moss. Campbell ended up at 12-for-22 for 170 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

For the Buccaneers Josh Johnson was alright in his Buccaneer debut this season. Johnson threw for 13-for-22 for 106 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Antonio Bryant caught four balls for 44 yards and Cadillac Williams had 16 carries for 77 yards.


34-21: Bears Lead, Stafford Hurt

The Lions’ second-half game isn’t working, and neither is the coach-to-quarterback radio system, and neither is Matt Stafford’s knee.

The Bears have scored 13 unanswered points, and at some point in the third quarter, Stafford’s in-helmet headset stopped working, requiring him to jog to the sidelines to get the call.

As if that weren’t enough, Stafford hit the grass funny on a tackle and has left the game. No word yet on the extent of his injury. Tough break for Stafford, as he had thrown for 296 yards today.

POSTSCRIPT: FanHouse's Twitter reports that Stafford is re-entering the game on the Lions' next drive.


Ravens Response: NE 24, Bal 21

Well, the Ravens are not going away. After their defense gave up an easy drive from Brady and company, the Baltimore offense came back strong, steamrolling down the field, and punctuating the drive with a quick strike from Joe Flacco to Willis McGahee. The fourth quarter has just gotten underway, so stay tuned, as the final quarter figures to be a good one.


Browns Score 17 Unanswered, Lead Bengals 17-14

The Browns are putting something together. They’ve held the Bengals scoreless in the second half while scoring 17 unanswered since the second quarter.

Quarterback Derek Anderson (who Terry Bradhaw referred to as “Derrick Alexander” in the halftime show, whoops!) has thrown for 207 yards, while Jerome Harrison has recovered from his first-quarter fumble to rush 20 times for 95 yards. Meanwhile, entering the fourth quarter, the Bengals’ Carson Palmer has managed only 120 yards passing.


That Didn't Take Long...: NE 24, Bal 14

It took 29 receptions for Randy Moss to finally catch a touchdown in 2009, but after Tom Brady fumbled on the previous possession, he made quick work of the Baltimore defense, and eventually hooked up with Moss for a red zone touchdown to give the Patriots a 10-point lead. Suddenly, the Patriots’ red zone struggles over the first few weeks seem quaint, and if Brady’s effortless execution on the last drive was any indication, New England’s getting back to normal today.


Pats Fumble Gives Baltimore Hope: NE 17, Bal 14

After both teams have exchanged unsuccessful drives to open the half, the Patriots’ Kevin Faulk field a punt deep in his own red zone, and after wiggling his way for a few yards, fumbled the punt. Luckily for New England, the Patriots’ Leigh Bodden was able to come up big yet again, recovering the fumble and preserving New England’s possession.

Not so lucky? On the next play, Tom Brady was sacked by Terrell Suggs, fumbled, and the ball was recovered by Dwan Edwards in the endzone, giving the Ravens an easy score, and making this a 3-point ballgame.


The Wheels Have Fallen Off The Bus For The Raiders: Texans 29, Raiders 6

First, the Raiders’ Justin Fargas was caught three yards in the endzone which gave the Texans the safety. On the ensuing free kick, Jacoby Jones returned the kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders have now just given up on this game with eight minutes left in the third quarter.


Campbell Starting To Turn The Fans Around; Redskins 16, Buccaneers 10

Just as I updated the Redskins touchdown to Chris Cooley, Campbell threw an 59 yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. The Redskins have officially turned around their game from a terrible first half and Campbell is now 12-for-21 for 170 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.


Campbell Actually Starts The Second Half Well: Buccaneers 10, Redskins 9

Jason Campbell threw a 17 yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley on the second drive of the second half. This would have tied the game with the Bucs had Tampa not blocked the extra point. Even when the Redskins try and play well, they still can’t catch a break.


Knox Breaks Open for a Kick Return TD, Hester Out: Bears 28, Lions 21

Well after finding themselves in an improbable dogfight with the Detroit Lions in the first half, you’d think the Bears had a wake-up call at halftime from Coach Lovie Smith. And if their opening play is any indication, it worked: Johnny Knox to the second half kickoff 102 yards to the house to give the Bears an early lead in the second half.

Some bad news, though: Chicago’s best playmaker, Devin Hester, is out for the rest of the game with a shoulder injury.


28-21: Bears' Knox Opens Second Half With 102-Yard Return

Well, at least the Lions were tied for about a minute’s worth of game clock. Chicago’s rookie kick returner, Johnny Knox(ville), made the Lions look like "Jackass"es (you like that? Eh?) He caught the half-opening kickoff in the end zone and blitzed 102 yards for a touchdown, and was completely untouched by Detroit.

Bodden Drags the Foot, Gaither's Okay: NE 17 Bal 7

With the Ravens threatening to score in New England’s redzone, Joe Flacco floated a pass toward the sideline, and Leigh Bodden pounced on it, picking off the pass and then expertly dragging his feet to stay in bounds. And with that, the Ravens drive was thwarted, and the Patriots will head to halftime up ten points on the 3-0 Ravens.

Some good news for Baltimore, though: LT Jared Gaither, after being carted off the field midway through the second quarter, has “an apparent head injury” and has been transferred to a local hospital. The good news? He’s “moving all of his extremities,” according to CBS’ Jim Nantz, and given the scene as he was leaving the field, that’s quite a coup.


A Beautiful Arrangement of Halftime Scores

These halftime scores are hand-painted and individually numbered collector’s items. My bosses think I’m crazy for giving them away!

The big story: the Lions are tied with the Bears at Soldier Field. Matt Stafford (221 yards passing) and Calvin Johnson (119 yards receiving) are hooking up like Legos.

Lions 21, Bears 21

Bengals 14, Browns 7

Giants 17, Chiefs 3

Buccaneers 10, Redskins 0

Jaguars 27, Titans 3

Texans 20, Raiders 6

Colts 21, Seahawks 3

Patriots 17, Ravens 7


Lions Mount 98-Yard Drive Before Half to Tie Bears at 21

Matt Stafford’s offense took over at the Lions’ own 2 yard line. Ten plays and 4:25 of game clock later, Detroit broke into the end zone. Remember two things: this team is supposed to be awful, and this team is playing on the road.

With the way Stafford is throwing, the Lions have preferred to go through the air in the first half. Stafford has thrown for 221 yards so far, 119 of which have been caught by Calvin Johnson.


Peyton Leads Colts Down Field To Score Touchdown At End Of First Half; Colts 21-3

Peyton Manning lead the Colts 79 yards down the field to score a touchdown to end the first half against the lowly Seahawks. The Colts went 9 plays in 1:14 which was capped off by a 21 yard touchdown pass. The Colts are handling the Seahawks at home 21-3.


Patriots Take Control: NE 17, Bal 7

After taking over with good field position Tom Brady led the Patriots offense swiftly down the field to take a commanding 10-point lead late in the second quarter. Brady hooked up with Wes Welker—playing today after a two week absence—to move the Pats into the Baltimore redzone, and Sammy Morris took it from there, going 12 yards on the ground into the endzone.


So, How's Jason Campbell Looking? TB 7 Was 0

The 0-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have missed two field goals so far--of course they have--but still lead 10-0 going into halftime. Because as mediocre as Tampa's been, the Redskins have one-upped their ineptitude in every phase of the game. Starting with much-maligned--and subsequently defended--'Skins quarterback, Jason Campbell.

But even the most strenuous Campbell apologists will have trouble rationalizing today's performance. As the Washington Post's Rick Maese observes:


And then:


Oof. Not a good day.

But wasn't this always Campbell's destiny? Like any number of DC athletes before him, he'll be chased out of town by a reactionary fan base, and then go on to prosperity somewhere else. This is the way it works in D.C.; history is doomed to repeat itself, unless Alexander Ovechkin's involved. And this is why the world is cruel and unfair.


Steve Slaton Scores Again; Texans Up 20-3

Steve Slaton scored his second touchdown of the game on an 18 yard screen pass from Matt Schaub. This comes after a 32 yard touchdown run on the drive before. The Texans defense is having their way with the Raiders at this point in the game.


Ravens' Jared Gaither Carted Off: Patriots 10 Ravens 7

The game is still 10-7 in New England, but more significantly, Baltimore’s promising left tackle Jared Gaither has been immobilized on the field for about fifteen minutes now. He’s just been carted off the field, and his prognosis is unclear as of now. The announcers are speaking hushed tones, and players from both teams are praying—the uglier side of the game, in all its misery.

Let’s hope we’re not talking about a worst-case scenario, here, as Gaither was able to clutch doctors’ hands, and his legs appeared to moving slightly when he was on the ground. More details as they emerge.


Patriots, Ravens Battling: NE 10, Bal 7

I get to choose between two local broadcasts this afternoon—Tampa Bay at Washington, or Baltimore at New England. This would be like choosing between Iraq or the Bahamas as a vacation spot. Hmm…

And after stupidly subjecting myself to the horrors of Buccaneers-‘SkIns, I’m not watching two of the best teams in football. (Exhale). The Patriots are up 10-7 early, thanks in large part to an early fumble from Ravens KR Chris Carr, which gave the Patriots an easy field goal to open the game.

Since then, the two teams have exchanged touchdown drives, and look to be digging in their heals for a long, hard fought game. And I, in turn, am digging my butt into the couch, for a long, lazy afternoon of football. Should be fantastic, starting with Tom Brady vs. the Ravens defense. Let’s go.


Browns' Harrison Coughs it Up, Bengals' Geathers Takes it to the House: 14-0, Bengals

Cleveland’s Jerome Harrison fumbled four yards behind his line of scrimmage, and the Bengals’ Robert Geathers was right on top of it. Geathers scooped up the ball and ran 75 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Geathers, by the way, weighs in at 280 pounds. Presumably, he is now using up all the oxygen in the greater Cleveland area.


Lions Retake the Lead: Det 14 Chi 7

After Jay Cutler led a 73-yard touchdown drive to tie it, the Lions have responded, scoring a touchdown of their own, this time on a 14-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Will Heller. The touchdown punctuated a dominating drive by the Lions as they took it 87 yards on the Chicago defense, and actually looked like (gasp) a competent football team.Stay tuned, but the Jim Schwartz era in Detroit is off to an auspicious start.


Bengals Stall on First Drive, Regroup, Lead 7-0

The Bengals’ first drive stretched all the way to the Browns’ 4 yard line, but the Bengals had to resort to a field goal attempt, which they missed.

Later in the first quarter, though, the Bengals worked its way back to almost the exact same spot. This time around, Chad Ochocinco caught a five-yard pass, and the Bengals lead by a touchdown.

So far, Carson Palmer has completed 10 of 12 passes for 111 yards.


Jaguars Up Early on Titans, 10-0

It was a glum way for the Jaguars to start the season: experts had them pegged as one of the worst teams in the league, and attendance was so sparse that their home opener was blacked out. A win against the Titans, though, would put them at 2-2.

David Garrard has completed 5 of 6 for 59 yards so far, and the Jags lead, 10-0.


Giants Jump Out to an Early Lead: NYG 7, KC 0

After a Kansas City fumble gave them the ball deep in Kansas City territory, Eli and the Giants offense moved quickly, making quick work of the Kansas City defense, and capitalizing on the turnover to the tune of a 2-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Steve Smith.


7-0: On Heels of First Win in 19 Games, Lions Strike First Against Bears

On the first possession of the game, Lions quarterback Matt Stafford marched his team down the field with authority, completing 4 of 5 passes for 60 yards. Running back Kevin Smith punched through the goal line for a one-yard touchdown run.

Just to put it out there: if the Lions can pull out a win at Soldier Field today, they’ll have a .500 record (2-2) for the first time since December 2, 2007.


Redskins' Woes Continue: Tampa Bay 7 Washington 0

It took only a few minutes for the Redskins’ woes to continue. They did win the coin toss, which was a bright spot. Unfortunately, that led to an opening series that saw Jason Campbell sacked twice, and fumbling the second time. Gaines Adams of the Buccaneers recovered the fumble, and two plays later, Buccaneers QB Josh Johnson, in his first career start, hooked up with WR Antonio Bryant for his first career touchdown.


1 p.m. Bye Week Mayhem: Bengals, Browns Square Up For Battle of Ohio

The Browns (0-3) have scored 66 less points than they've allowed entering their 1 p.m. matchup with the visiting Bengals (2-1), but this is more than a common regular season game. This is the Battle of Ohio. In case you're not familiar with the running conflict::

In the National Football League, the Battle of Ohio (also known as the Buckeye State Series) refers to games played between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. This rivalry has produced 2 of the 8 highest scoring games in NFL history. With their December 21, 2008 win in Cleveland, the Bengals took the lead in the all-time series, 36-35.

SB Nation's Bengals blog, Cincy Jungle, is confident of a win but terms a loss as unacceptable:

If the Bengals fail to win this game, then Cincinnati is back to square one. After three weeks of saying "if not for the fluke play, we'd be undefeated", the Bengals would have lost to the team that many observers call the worst NFL team this year. If the Bengals win, and do it barely, then questions will rise again about the legitimacy of the team's chances. In other words, if they barely beat the Browns, how can they compete against the conference best? I believe that the Bengals will win by at least two touchdowns. I think our defense is strong enough to keep the Browns from breaking out and I believe that our offense light the world afire.

This is the first bye week of the season. Four teams have a Week 4 bye, but 26 teams do not! Eight games kick off at 1 p.m. Sunday. Make sure you check out our game threads for live (and lively) discussion of each game.

Bengals at Browns
(Game threads at Cincy Jungle and Dawgs By Nature)

Ravens at Patriots
(Game threads at Baltimore Beatdown and Pats Pulpit)

Lions at Bears
(Game threads at Windy City Gridiron and Pride of Detroit)

Seahawks at Colts
(Game threads at Stampede Blue and Field Gulls)

Giants at Chiefs
(Game threads at Big Blue View and Arrowhead Pride)

Buccaneers at Redskins
(Game threads at Buc 'Em and Hogs Haven)

Titans at Jaguars
(Game threads at Music City Miracles and Big Cat Country)

Raiders at Texans
(Game threads at Battle Red Blog and Silver and Black Pride)

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