How time flies. It seemed like it was yesterday that we sat around wringing our hands in worry at the thought that the lockout would take away football, our sweet and beautiful football, and now we're already finished with the first quarter of the 2011 NFL season.
Before we know it, we'll be giving the 2011 season a hug and a firm handshake before it goes away to
college the playoffs. But before we get too excited about measuring the soon-to-be vacant room to see if a pool table will fit in there without you having to hold the stick in a funny way to get the cue ball off the rail, let's take some time to reminisce about the fourth week of the 2011 NFL season.
Here are the five best and worst plays from last weekend.
We'll start with The Best:
|No. 5: A.J. Green Shows His Stuff|
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green showed why he was worth the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft en route to Cincinnati's 23-20 upset victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Not only did he lead the Bengals with 118 yards receiving on the day but he also made not one, but two circus catches.
Looks like rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has a new friend.
|No. 4: Frank Gore Scores the Winning Touchdown|
After Eagles kicker Alex Henery missed two field goals, one from 39 yards and one from 33 yards, which allowed the Niners to stay in the game, the 49ers went on an impressive drive that included a 25-yard run by Gore and a face mask penalty on the Eagles. The 49ers had the ball on the Eagles 12-yard line in a first-and-10 situation.
Alex Smith handed the ball to Gore who found a whole up the middle, danced around a tackle here, broke one there and then made his way into the end zone dragging cornerback Asante Samuel with him. After the extra point was good, the Niners had a one point lead and would keep it for the final three minutes.
|No. 3: Eli Manning Throws Game-Winning TD|
Well with one Manning out the other Manning had to step up eventually, right? That's exactly what Eli Manning did against the Arizona Cardinals.
After a two touchdown third quarter, the Cardinals were leading the Giants by a score of 20-10. However, a one-yard touchdown run by Brandon Jacobs narrowed Arizona's lead to three, but the Cardinals weren't done yet. They answered back with a touchdown run from Beanie Wells, giving them a 10 point lead with only just over five minutes left to play.
Manning began to bring the Giants back, driving the offense back down the field and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Jake Ballard with a little less than three minutes left in the game.
After a defensive stop, the Giants got the ball back again and were only down by three. The Giants only needed a field goal to send the game into overtime but Manning just thought, "Eh, why not win it right now. I've got things to do."
With 2:40 left in the game, Manning found Hakeem Nicks streaking down the left sideline and got him the ball for a 29-yard touchdown run to take the lead and win the game.
|No. 2: Ravens Score 34 Points With One Offensive TD|
Yeah, the Baltimore Ravens Defense scored three touchdowns during their Sunday Night victory over the New York Jets. First, inside linebacker Jameel McClain returned a fumble for a six yard touchdown, then Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson returned another fumble for a 26-yard touchdown and finally cornerback Ladarius Webb returned an interception 73 yards for a touchdown.
Here's Johnson's touchdown:
The Ravens offense only managed a touchdown and two field goals throughout the game.
|No. 1: Megatron Catches Game-Winning Pass|
When Calvin Johnson isn't killing robots he's making the Cowboys look stupid (his sidekick is Tony Romo, but we'll get to that later).
With 1:44 left on the clock, the Detroit Lions were trailing the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 30-27. The Lions had the ball on the Cowboys' two-yard line and it was first-and-goal. The Lions could have tried to pound the ball into the end zone but they decided that they should go for the safer play, throw the ball up and let Calvin Johnson bring it down.
That's what they did.
Did I mention that was Johnson's second fourth quarter touchdown. The first one was in triple coverage....no big deal.
And the Worst Plays:
|No. 5: Felix Jones Sees the Bench and It Looks Inviting|
The Cowboys had fallen apart. They had allowed the Lions to take a late fourth-quarter lead but there was still hope. They were down by less than a touchdown and they got the ball back with 1:39 left in the game. Crazier things have happened.
Yeah, but not very often.
The Cowboys were down to their last play. With 11 seconds left in the game the Cowboys were in a fourth-and-20 situation. Either this play was going to go for at least a first down or the game would be over. Tony Romo dropped back to pass and looked downfield.
He couldn't find anybody but what he did find was a wide open Felix Jones underneath. Romo got Jones the ball in hopes that Jones could possibly make a big play. Jones got off to a good start by shedding a tackle and turning up field but then blew it when he decided to walk out of bounds after a seven yard gain when there was nobody around him.
It was fourth-and-20.
|No. 4: Marion Barber Isn't a Gymnast|
This isn't about what Marion Barber did during a play, it's about what he did after a play.
Right after Barber scored on a three-yard touchdown run for the Chicago Bears, he made his way to the back of the end zone and did a back flip. Well, he attempted to do a back flip.
Barber, leave the gymnastics to somebody else from now on.
|No. 3: Ronnie Brown Plays Hot Potato|
With 7:12 left in the second quarter, the Eagles were about a yard from taking a 17-3 lead over the 49ers. Michael Vick took the handoff and gave the ball to his tailback, Ronnie Brown. The Eagles didn't score, though.
Instead, this happened:
I'm not sure if the play was designed to be a trick play in which Brown was going to pass the ball but the last thing he should have done was attempt to throw the ball -- to nobody in particular -- as he was being thrown to the ground. The 49ers recovered the fumble and, what do you know, they won the game by less than a touchdown.
|No. 2: Tony Romo Implodes -- Part 1|
Hey, it's the third quarter in Dallas and the Cowboys are leading the Lions by a score of 27-3. Good times are soon to be had as Cowboys fans celebrate a second-straight win over a competent team, right? RIGHT?
Nope. Tony Romo has the ball and he's about to explode in 3, 2, 1...
Tony Romo dropped back to pass on a first-and-10 play from the Cowboys' own 27-yard line. He was looking to throw the ball to Dez Bryant but instead found linebacker Bobby Carpenter. Carpenter picked off a pretty terrible throw and ran the ball back for a touchdown.
The score was now 27-10.
|No. 1: Tony Romo Implodes -- Part 2|
So Romo just made a mistake. No big deal, right? RIGHT?
The Cowboys got the ball back on their own 21-yard line and drove down the field into Lions territory before it happened again. This time Romo was looking for Laurent Robinson, who was running a slant. Romo threw another pretty bad pass that was picked off by Chris Houston, who had the inside position.
Houston ran the ball back 56 yards and scored a touchdown giving Romo two pick sixes in consecutive drives. Here's Romo's implosion, part one and two in one convenient video for your viewing pleasure:
The score was now 27-17. These two defensive touchdowns sparked the Lions' fourth-quarter comeback and caused former Cowboy greats Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin to say this about Romo: