Adrian Peterson thought his Minnesota Vikings had enough chances to win. Too bad, his quarterback, Christian Ponder, couldn’t coax those Vikings into the end zone.
“Offensively, we’ve got to turn those three points into sevens — period,” Peterson told the assembled reporters after the game. “It’s not even a game if we do that. I’m going to make sure I harp on that all week because we need to take it personally because we haven’t for four weeks in a row.”
Gotta hand it to Peterson. At least he didn’t dump all over his defense, a group that couldn’t contain quarterback Robert Griffin III and watched almost helplessly as Washington’s rookie QB put 38 points on the board.
It’s great to say you have to score touchdowns as opposed to kicking field goals, but if you let the opposition put up 38, the complaint is moot. If you are a real contender, in any division, you have to stop your opponent – or, at least, stop them enough. The Vikings didn’t stop the Redskins at all and now we have to wonder if the first five weeks of the NFL season in Minnesota wasn’t a bit of a fluke.
We call Week 6 “For Real Week.” We’ve seen all of the teams for the first five weeks of the season and now that we’re closing in on the midway point of the NFL’s 16-game schedule, we’re starting to get a feel for which teams are real and which teams are pretending they’re real.
And Week 6, as it always is, was an eye-opener.
Now, listen, I’m not one of those crazy fans who believes one game makes a season – and we all know there are a lot of those folks out there – but I will say that after six weeks, we do get a feel for who will be on TV in January and who will be lounging on the beach thinking about next year.
So if we look closely at this Sunday’s games, we’ll realize that the New York Giants just might be the best team in the NFC even though Atlanta is the only undefeated team left standing; the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills aren’t dead yet; the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins might be better than we thought; the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans – for various reasons – probably aren’t as good as we thought; and Kansas City is just horrendous.
And through it all, the NFL’s officiating was still hard to understand at times, but at least the bad calls generally favored the teams that were supposed to win so that should make Vegas happy.
Here’s a look back at what happened on Sunday of Week 6:
Washington 38 Minnesota 26
Rookie QB Robert Griffin III was simply too much for the Vikings. He carried 13 times for 138 yards and had a 76-yard rushing touchdown with 2:43 to play. Griffin also completed 17-of-22 for 182 yards, a TD and one interception. Christian Ponder went 36-for-52 for 352 yards and two TDs, but he also tossed up a pair of interceptions. The Vikings had a 9-0 lead in the first quarter but that soon evaporated. RGIII ate the Vikes for lunch. Leslie Frazier has some work to do on his defense.
Detroit 26 Philadelphia 23
It was a huge comeback for the Lions who scored the final 13 points of the game. Jason Hanson, the oldest man in the NFL at 45, kicked a 49-yard field goal in overtime to win it. Matt Stafford went 22-for-45 for 311 yards and one touchdown. Calvin Johnson caught six passé for 135 yards. Michael Vick completed 28-of-46 passes for 311 yards and two TDs including a 70-yarder to Jeremy Maclin who caught six passes for 130 yards. The Lions are now 2-3 and back in the hunt while the Eagles lost another close one.
Atlanta 23 Oakland 20
Oakland played much better than expected but Atlanta still moved to 6-0. Matt Ryan went 24-for-37 for 249 yards, one touchdown and a surprising three interceptions. Roddy White caught six passes for 72 yards and the one TD. Carson Palmer went 23-for-33 for 353 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The difference in the game was Asante Samuel’s 79-yard interception return for a touchdown. Matt Bryant kicked another game-wining field goal, this time a 55-yarder, with no time left.
Baltimore 31 Dallas 29
You have to give Dallas credit. They could have folded their tents but they battled back to make a game of it. The Ravens Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Cowboys finished with 481 yards of total offence but missed a two-point conversion with 32 seconds left and that was the difference. Ray Rice scored two touchdowns and Joe Flacco threw for one as Baltimore won its 14th straight home game. The Ravens are now 5-1. Bad news, though, Ray Lewis probably tore his triceps and could be gone for the season.
Cleveland 34 Cincinnati 24
The Bengals are not as good as we thought, the Browns… well, it was their first win in 12 starts so it was a big one. Brandon Weeden finished with 17 completions on 29 attempts for 231 yards and two touchdowns while Andy Dalton completed 31 of 46 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns, but Dalton also had three interceptions. Sheldon Brown returned one of those INTs 19 yards for a fourth quarter TD.
Tampa Bay 38 Kansas City 10
Did anybody think Kansas City was this bad? The Buccaneers scored 31 points in the second half. Josh Freeman went 15-for-26 for 328 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception. Brady Quinn started for K.C. and he was weak – 22-for-38, 180 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Ronde Barber brought back one of those interceptions 78 yards for a touchdown. Kansas City is now 1-5 and getting worse.
New York Jets 35 Indianapolis 9
Mark Sanchez will remain the starter for at least one more week. Sanchez was unimpressive for the most part, completing just 11-of-18 passes for 82 yards. However, he did throw two touchdown passes while RB Shonn Greene carried 32 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns as New York ground the Colts into the turf. Andrew Luck went 22-for-44 for 280 yards, no TDs and two interceptions so the Hall of Fame people can put a hold on that plaque in Canton for at least another week.
Miami 17 St. Louis 14
Two mediocre teams played mediocre football in Miami Sunday afternoon. The Rams outgained the Dolphins 461 yards to 209, but rookie QB Ryan Tannehill led Miami by going 21-for 29 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Rams tried to tie it late by kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 66-yard field goal try – not short, but wide left. Both teams are 3-3.
Buffalo 19 Arizona 16
Jairus Byrd picked off his second pass of the game and that set up Rian Lindaell’s 25-yard game winning field goal. Arizona has two quarterbacks but neither one was any good. Kevin Kolb went 14-for-26 for 128 yards, one TD and one INT while John Skelton went two-for-10 for 45 yards, no touchdowns and the interception that cost his team that game.
Seattle 24 New England 23
You watch them and you just get the sense that the Patriots should be better than they are. On Sunday they were outscored 14-3 in the fourth quarter to lose by a point. Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson hit Sidney Rice on a 46-yard touchdown pass with 1:18 remaining to win it as Seattle scored all 14 points in the fourth quarter in the final 7:31. Wilson was brilliant – 16-for-27 for 293 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. The Pats are now 3-3 while the Seahawks are 4-2. By the way, Richard Sherman did a nice job of taunting Pats quarterback Tom Brady on Twitter after the game.
New York Giants 26 San Francisco 3
The Giants travel very well. Eli Manning completed 15-of-28 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown, but the Giants defense just shot down the Niners. Antrel Rolle had two interceptions and Prince Amukamara had one as the Giants improved to 4-2 and the Niners fell to 4-2.
In the Sunday Nighter:
Green Bay 42 Houston 24
The Packers were just too good for the Texans in Houston. Aaron Rodgers recorded a career high and set a franchise record with six touchdown passes. He finished with 24 completions on 37 attmepts for 338 yards to get the Packers to 3-3. Jordy Nelson caught nine passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Arian Foster rushed for two Houston touchdowns.
Denver 35 San Diego 24
What a comeback. It was 24-0 at halftime, the largest halftime deficit in Peyton Manning’s career, but the Broncos quarterback threw three touchdown passes in the second half and the defense scored two more as Denver improved to 3-3 and San Diego fell to 3-3. Manning, who went 13-for-14 in the second half, finished 24-for-30 for 309 yards, three TDs and one interception. San Diego’s Philip Rivers threw up four interceptions, the last one was returned by Chris Harris for a touchdown.