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Bad Beats

   by Ben Burns - 11/11/2008

TCU at Utah

I had the Utes in this game and admit that I felt quite fortunate to come away with the victory. TCU jumped on top early and led 10-3 after the first quarter. The Horned Frogs maintained a 10-6 lead almost the entire way and squandered several opportunities to extend that lead. In the fourth quarter, TCU kicker Ross Evans missed a field goal when the ball bounced off the left upright. Given a second chance, Evans missed wide right.

That left the door wide open and the Utes took advantage. Utah quarterback Brian Johnson led his team on an 80-yard drive, completing the winning touchdown pass with 43 seconds left.

The Horned Frogs would finish the game with a significant edge in total yards, thanks in large part to the 202 they racked up in the first quarter. Yet, as Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said: "No one panicked, we just hung in there. Nothing came easy but the guys toughed it out and they came up with big plays each time we needed them."

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

This game had the highest over/under number on the Week 10 board. The line opened at 49 and closed at 51. The teams combined for only 23 points through the first three quarters and with 80 seconds left in the game, the score was still 27-13. Those with under tickets were feeling pretty good about life.

But that feeling quickly evaporated.

With just over a minute remaining, New Orleans was driving. Even if they reached the end zone, the chances of them recovering an onside kick and scoring another touchdown were fairly remote.

But instead of throwing for a Saints touchdown, Drew Brees serves up an interception which goes 95 yards the other way for an Atlanta score. By this point, the score is 34-13 and the game is completely out of reach. Of course, the Saints don't quit, though. They marched 69 yards down the field and on the final play of the game Brees threw a 32 yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore.

Just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders

The Raiders fumbled the opening kickoff and Carolina was able to capitalize almost immediately with a 7-0 lead. At that point, it looked like the Silver and Black might suffer another blowout loss. The Raiders' defense had different ideas though. Oakland limited Carolina to a mere 219 yards and just 10 first downs. In addition to enjoying an edge in both total yards and first downs, the Raiders had a significant advantage in time of possession holding the ball for more than 37 minutes.

Carolina QB Delhomme was just 7-for-27 for 72 yards with four interceptions. According to Stats LLC, he was just the second quarterback since the merger in 1970 (and first since 1975) to complete fewer than 30 percent of his passes and toss four interceptions for a winning team.

Despite the statistical advantages, the Raiders - who were getting 9.5 or 10 points - still found themselves trailing 14-6 as the game was winding down. With 3:30 left, it was fourth and long from their 35. At this point, Oakland bettors were hoping that Cable would elect to punt.

If not, Carolina would likely get the ball very close to field goal range. However, if Oakland punted, then the Panthers would be far back enough that they'd have a good chance of either being forced to punt back to Oakland or they’d able to run out the clock by picking up a few first downs.

Oakland elected to bring in Shane Lechler for his 11th punt of the game. Once again Lechler delivered a solid punt.

The Raiders had poor coverage and missed some tackles, allowing Carolina to run it all the way back to where they had just punted it from. After running some time off the clock and forcing the Raiders to use up their timeouts, the Panthers kicked a field goal to go up 17-6.

The Raiders weren't done teasing their backers. They managed to make it into Carolina territory and brought in Sebastian Janikowski for a long (58 yard) field goal attempt with 13 seconds remaining. If he makes it, the Raiders cover. The kick went straight down the middle and appeared to have the distance.

It didn't.

Instead, it hit the crossbar and Carolina covered.

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