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NFL Bad Beats / Lucky Wins (Week 8)

   by Larry Ness - 11/03/2004

My good friend and fellow handicapper Big Al McMordie (your site host!) called me late Sunday afternoon with the "good" news that the Carolina Panthers had just scored late in their game against Seattle. For Al it was good news, as that TD put the game 'over' the total, giving Al a Best Bet winner in the Stardust Invitational. That win was eventually the deciding game in Al advancing to that prestigious contest's next round. For good-ol' me however, Al's GOOD LUCK was my BAD LUCK! Carolina's late TD cost me a huge play on Seattle. Paraphrasing Chris Berman, "That's why I write the column"....

The Seahawks were eight-point favorites in their game against the Panthers (total closed 39) and went 77 yards on their first possession to lead 7-0. They took a 14-0 lead in the early second quarter but immediately allowed Carolina to close to 14-7 on the very next possession. Late in the first half Hasselbeck was intercepted on a second-and-goal from the Carolina seven-yard line, giving me my first sense of foreboding!...

Both teams stalled inside their opponents 10-yard line in the third quarter and the game moved to the 4th quarter with Seattle leading 17-10. The Seahawks moved ahead 20-10 on the first play of the final quarter and then stalled again inside the Carolina 10-yard line with a third FG giving them a 23-10 lead. When Delhomme was intercepted with about three minutes left and Seattle took over at the Panther 32-yard line, all seemed well for Seattle bettors....

The Seahawks decided to go for it on fourth-and-five from the Carolina 27-yard line and Hasselbeck fumbled. Delhomme then connected on a 63-yard pass to Colbert and three plays later completed a seven-yard TD pass to Muhammad (reviewed and upheld as a TD)! The final of 23-17 gave Carolina the cover and the 'over' bettors the win....

Then came the phone call from Al. I H-A-T-E my friends!!!!

Although Week 8 saw 11 games decided by eight points or more (the most of any week this year), many game's pointspreads were decided in the final minutes. Here are a few examples....

The Eagles were 7 1/2-point favorites over the Ravens but led just 6-3 at the half. It didn't help Philly bettors that the Eagles had to settle for a FG after a 1st-and-goal at the four or that McNabb fumbled on another drive on a second-and-goal at the one! Entering the fourth quarter it was still 6-3 but the Eagles seemingly took control in the final quarter....

After a FG made it 9-3, Raven RB Chester Taylor fumbled and the Eagles drove 65 yards to go up 15-3. No luck for Philly bettors though, as Baltimore drove 72 yards for a TD on its very next possession and the game ended 15-10....

The Titans were desperate for a win as they hosted the Bengals and were a three-point home favorite. The Titans sacked Carson Palmer four times, batted down four more balls behind the line of scrimmage and forced Palmer into an interception and a fumble! Still, the Titans nearly blew a 14-point 4th quarter lead!...

Trailing 27-13, Palmer drove the Bengals 70 yards in just four plays to close the margin to seven points with just under 14 minutes remaining. Tennessee had four, fourth-quarter possessions but went three-and-out three times, gaining a total of just 24 yards! Cincinnati's final drive ended after the Bengals had reached the Tennessee nine-yard line but Palmer was sacked and fumbled with Tennessee recovering to seal the win and 'cover'....

The Cowboys were three-point home favorites over the Lions as they looked to end Detroit's surprising run of three straight road wins and covers in 2004. Each team scored on its first possession and the score was quickly 7-all. Vinny was intercepted in the second quarter by Dre Bly and he returned it 55 yards for a TD. Vinny responded on the Cowboys' next possession by converting on a fourth down (a QB sneak!) and tossing a TD pass to Keyshawn. Vinny did however cost the Cowboys points when he was intercepted on a 1st-and-goal at the Detroit eight-yard line with about one minute to go before the half!...

Dallas got a big break in the third quarter when a long KO return and a 43-yard interference penalty gave the Cowboys a first down on the Detroit three-yard line, leading to a Dallas TD. Dallas made in 24-14 in the fourth quarter on a FG but on the very next possession, Detroit got a HUGE break when Harrington's pass was seemingly intercepted but WR Kircus wrestled the ball way from the DB and took it for a 50-yard TD....

A 24-21 final looked very likely but Vinny hit Keyshawn with a 38-yard TD pass on a third-and-eight play right after the two-minute warning. Harrington was intercepted on Detroit's next play and Dallas bettors 'escaped', 31-21....

Sunday night the Bears scored on their first drive to go up 7-0 over the 49ers. Chicago was a small home favorite (minus-1 1/2 or two-points) and on the team's second drive was on the verge of going up 14-0 with a first down at the SF nine-yard line. This is the Bears though, so it should have come as no surprise when a Krenzel fumble was returned 80 yards to tie the game at 7-all!...

The rest of the game was what one would expect from two, 1-5 teams. Missed opportunities and not many good plays. However, it did get interesting in the fourth quarter. Chicago took a 16-13 lead and the 49ers lost an opportunity to tie by missing a 50-yard FG. SF drove into Chicago territory with about four minutes left but Dorsey was intercepted on a second down play from the Chicago 36-yard line and Nathan Vasher returned it 71 yards for a TD. Chicago survived, 23-13....

Last but not least was Green Bay at Washington. The Packers were a one-point road favorite at Washington and scored on their first three possessions to go up 17-0. It didn't look good for the 'Skins but then Favre started throwing interceptions! The Redskins closed to 20-14 and after Favre's third interception of the game, the Redskins were poised to take the lead....

On a third-and-eight at the Green Bay 38 yard line, Brunell hit Clinton Portis out of the backfield and he took it in for a TD. The Redskins could take the lead with an extra-point but a very questionable illegal procedure call was made on James Thrash calling the play back and Brunell's next pass was intercepted....

Four plays later, Green Bay led 28-14. Joe Gibbs may want to re-think his decision to leave the racing circuit?...







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