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Ness Notes -- NFL Week 6

   by Larry Ness - 10/20/2004

NFL BAD BEATS / LUCKY WINS
(Week 6)

The season's biggest game to date was New England hosting Seattle last Sunday as the Patriots went for their 20th consecutive win. The Pats were four-point favorites and when Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck threw interceptions on his team's first two possessions (he had thrown just two interceptions through his first four games!), it looked as if the Pats were going to make short-work of the Seahawks. My latest Bad Beats / Lucky Wins column tells the rest of the story....

New England actually scored on its first four possessions of the game and took a 20-3 lead. Leading 20-9 Brady turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, the second of which led to a Seattle TD and a successful two-point conversion, making the score 20-17. After an exchange of field goals made the score 23-20, Bethel Johnson made a diving 48-yard catch (on a third-and-eight) that set up a New England TD and gave the Pats a 30-20 lead with just under two minutes to go....

Now the pointspread would be decided by whether or not Seattle would score on the proverbial 'concession drive'? As if scripted (NOT in the NFL!), the Seahawks drove to the New England four-yard line. Despite two penalties on New England (each time moving half-the-distance-to-the-goal), the Seahawks were stuffed on the game's final play. Seattle gained 443 yards against New England's defense but it turned out to be one yard LESS than Seattle bettors needed!...

The Jacksonville Jaguars own a permanent place in this column. Once again last week, the Jags played a game that would go right down to the wire. It didn't look that way in the first half as Jacksonville built a 14-3 lead at the half. KC climbed within 14-10 in the third quarter and with about five minutes left in the game, things got INTERESTING!...

Trent Green was in the process of being sacked but he somehow got the ball off to Priest Holmes for a 28-yard TD pass. The play was reviewed and the refs came to the conclusion that Green's knee was not down before he got rid of the ball. I don't know about you but I thought it WAS! Anyway, KC ( a two-and-a-half or three-point favorite) MISSED the extra-point, making the score 16-14, not 17-14....

KC bettors got a reprieve on the next possession though, when the Jags went for it (and failed!) on 4th-and-one from their own 33-yard line! KC couldn't get a first down but needed only a 42-yard field goal to go up by five points. Lawrence Tynes, who was kept over Morten Andersen (he's NEVER made any field goals, has he?), followed his extra-point miss with another miss here!...

Jacksonville then drove 76-yards for the game-winning TD (the team's fourth win this year inside of the final 45 seconds of a game!) but it meant little to the pointspread players!...

Pittsburgh and Dallas have had some classic Super Bowl meetings but while this Week 6 contest didn't have the same significance as past meetings, it did provide a game in which both the pointspread and total were decided by one 'key' turnover. The game was tied at 10-all at the half but the Cowboys (a three-point favorite) led 20-10 entering the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger (21-of-25 on the day) was awfully tough on the Cowboys and he led the Steelers to an early fourth quarter score to close the gap to 20-17....

The total on the game was 38 or 39 and Dallas had the ball near mid-field with just under three minutes left in the game. A first down or two would have 'sealed' the win for Dallas with the game ending in a 'push' and the total going 'under'. On a third down play, the ball was knocked from Vinny's hand when it collided with FB Richie Anderson's helmet. Pittsburgh recovered and later scored on a two-yard Jerome Bettis TD (there's something NEW!) with just 30 seconds remaining in the game. The final of Pittsburgh 24-20 gave the Steelers the ATS-win and the game went 'over'....

Last but surely not least was the Monday Night game. The Rams and Bucs each scored on their first possession as the first quarter ended in a 7-7 tie. The Bucs (a 6 1/2-point underdog) went up 14-7 in the second quarter and missed a great opportunity to go up by 10 points when Gramatica missed a 35-yard field goal attempt. Not being able to stand good fortune, the Bucs fumbled inside their own five-yard line, allowing the Rams to tie the score at 14-all. Right before the half, Gramatica missed ANOTHER field goal, this time from 42 yards!...

Tampa Bay was in business again in the third quarter when Ian Gold intercepted Marc Bulger giving the Bucs a first down at the St Louis 15-yard line. Once again not being capable of standing good fortune, Tampa Bay RB Michael Pittman fumbled the ball and it was returned by the Rams for a 93-yard TD! What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so St Louis returned the 'favor' with a another Bulger interception setting up a Tampa Bay TD that tied the score at 21-all....

St Louis went back on top 28-21 in the early fourth quarter and then not to be out-done by Bulger, Griese threw a very costly interception. The Rams drove into Tampa Bay territory and faced a fourth-and-one at the Tampa Bay 26-yard line with just over one minute remaining. After a time-out, the Rams decided to try a field goal and Wilkins missed (of course!)....

That was good news for Tampa but bad news for Tampa bettors as if the Rams had been up by 10 points, the Bucs would have faced less resistance on their final drive. Anyway, Tampa drove to the St Louis 15-yard line and on a first-and-10 play Tim Brown fumbled away the ball. A fitting end to another 'typical' week in the NFL.

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