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NFL Bad Beats / Lucky Wins (Week 9)

   by Larry Ness - 11/10/2004

Week 9 was of course the mid-point of the NFL's 17-week schedule. It was another high-scoring week as teams combined to average 47.8 PPG, just shy of Week 8's 48.6 PPG average that represents a single-week high for 2004. Favorites had a TERRIBLE week going 4-10 ATS (just 5-9 SU) and as always, there were some STRANGE HAPPENINGS....

In Miami the 1-7 Dolphins hosted the 2-5 Cardinals, a team that entered on a 17-game road losing streak (3-14 ATS). Although the Cardinals had never beaten the Dolphins (0-8 all-time), Miami averaged a league-low 12.5 PPG and if the Cards were ever going to break through on the road, this was it!...

Arizona promptly fumbled the opening kickoff but with the Dolphins being the Dolphins, had to settle for a field goal. After Arizona tied it at 3-all, Miami scored a TD but NATURALLY missed the extra-point! Miami missed a golden opportunity in the second quarter to get up by two TDs but settled for another field goal after getting a first-and-goal at the Arizona nine-yard line....

Miami (a three-point favorite) still led 12-3 well into the third quarter but lost QB Jay Fiedler to a shoulder stinger. On his second possession after taking over for Fiedler, AJ Feeley threw an interception that was returned 41 yards for a TD by Arizona's Duane Stark. The 'game' was now on....

After stopping Miami, the Cardinals went ahead on an 80-yard TD drive that was kept alive by a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty and another 15-yard penalty on Jason Taylor for kicking the ball while disputing that call (you gotta love a well-disciplined team!)....

Arizona is STILL Arizona though, so it was no surprise when Miami re-took the lead on a field goal and a short TD run by Sammy Morris. Down 23-17 at the two-minute warning, the Cardinals then drove 70 yards in nine plays for the game-winning TD (remember that missed Miami extra-point)....

McCown converted a 4th-and-8 by running for a first down at the start of that drive and two plays later completed a 48-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald at the Miami three-yard line. On third-and-goal, Miami sacked McCown at the 15 but CB Sam Madison was called for holding, giving Arizona another 'life'. Two plays later, Arizona's 17-game road losing streak was over and two DAYS later, Miami head coach Dave Wannstedt resigned....

Not either a bad beat or lucky win but a game that left you shaking your head was the Bears at the Giants. The Giants were a nine-point favorite (always a dangerous bet!) but entered the game 5-2 as Kurt Warner had seemingly gotten past his turnover problems and the Giants as a team, were an NFC-best plus-12 in turnover margin. Nice thought while it lasted!...

New York quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead (the second score coming after a Chicago fumble) and were poised to make it 21-0. In fact for a second they DID, but Barber's TD run was negated by a penalty. Shortly after that, Warner was sacked and fumbled (an omen?)....

However, the Bears couldn't get anything going as in the team's first seven drives, they totaled minus-3 yards! Amazingly, on Chicago's eighth possession, the Bears used two penalties and two completions to draw to within 14-7. Then came the Giant implosion. New York turned the ball over on three CONSECUTIVE plays from scrimmage. Hilliard fumbled after a catch and Thomas' TD tied it at 14-all. Warner was then intercepted on the very next play and Chicago kicked a field goal to lead 17-14....

The Giants special teams wanted 'in', so on the ensuing kickoff a return brought inside the Chicago 15-yard line was negated by a penalty. Warner of course was intercepted on the drive's first play and Chicago kicked another field goal on the half's final play!...

The Bears fumbled on their first possession of the third quarter (at the Chicago 18) but Warner promptly fumbled it back. Neither team scored in the second half until the mid-fourth quarter when Thomas ran 44 yards for his second TD of the game. The final was 28-21 Chicago....

Chicago scored 28 points despite gaining just 231 yards, converting 2-of-15 third down plays and punting 10 times. Warner threw two interceptions, had two fumbles and was sacked seven times. So much for getting eliminating that turnover problem!....

The Sunday night game gave everyone involved a thrill! The Ravens were six-point favorites over the Browns and the total was 36. The game started well for the Cleveland and 'over' bettors, as the Browns returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a score. It reminded me of an old saying I often used years ago while sweating-out games in the local Las Vegas 'books', "there's nothing WORSE than a GOOD update!....

Neither team did much offensively all game (Cleveland finished with 217 total yards and Baltimore with 240) and after a combined six field goals, it was Cleveland leading 13-12 and Baltimore punting with about 10 minutes to go. There's a GOOD update for the Cleveland and 'under' bettors!...

Baltimore's Sams made a great diving-save on the punt at the goal line, as Baltimore pinned the Browns at their own one-yard line. Three plays and one yard later, the Browns punted all the way to their own NINE-YARD LINE (you read that right!). On his third try, Lewis scored and the two-point conversion made it Baltimore 20-13....

Baltimore was 'covering' but it was still under the total of 36. Garcia drove the Browns to Baltimore's five-yard line and on a second down play his pass deflected off TE Aaron Shea and was returned an NFL-record 106 yards by Ed Reed for a TD with 26 seconds remaining in the game! The final score came Baltimore 27-13. An EASY cover for those with Baltimore and the 'over'!...

Here's a couple of games for those who like to play overs and unders. The total on Houston at Denver opened 42 1/2 and closed 44. When Plummer tossed his fourth TD pass of the game in the very early third quarter, the score was 31-7 Denver and all 'over' bettors were looking good (another one of those GOOD updates). The game bogged down for awhile but Houston finally put together its only sustained drive of the game (80 yards) and scored with just over eight minutes remaining in the final period. An extra-point would get the game to 45 but it was missed! There was no further scoring and the game 'fell' 44....

The Jets and Bills played in Buffalo with winds of at least 25 MPH. The total opened 36 1/2 but dropped at game time to 34. The game entered the fourth quarter with Buffalo leading 17-10. 'Under' bettors dodged a bullet when after a Pennington interception in New York territory, the Bills were held to just a field goal (20-10)....

Pennington was sacked and forced out of the game on New York's next possession and when Buffalo was ready to punt the ball back to the Jets (with just over six minutes left), it would be Quincy Carter at the helm for the Jets, who hadn't attempted a pass all year. However, the punt pinned the Jets at their one-yard line and Curtis Martin was tackled in the end zone for a safety....

Again 'under' bettors escaped as Buffalo (now up 22-10) couldn't take advantage of the 'short' field and had to punt again. However, 'under' bettors hopes died quickly when Carter connected on a 51-yard TD pass to Moss, as the game's final came 22-17....

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