Vikings 26, Lions 17Quarterback Jon Kitna's presence under center proved the deciding factor in Minnesota's come-from-behind victory. Unfortunately, Kitna plays for Detroit. After scoring two touchdowns for his own team-one passing and one rushing-Kitna shared the wealth, fumbling a ball the Vikings returned for a touchdown, then tossing an interception that also went for six.
"It's easy to point a finger at Jon Kitna," grumbled Detroit general manager Matt Millen. "Sure, you could say, 'That guy doesn't know how to play with a lead! We could have had our first win if he hadn't screwed it all up!' And that's exactly what I intend to do if it will keep people from recognizing that I shouldn't be put in charge of an elementary school bake sale, much less a major sports franchise. Boo, Kitna sucks!"
Bears 40, Bills 7J.P. Losman was sacked three times and under constant pressure from a Bears defense that forced three interceptions and shut out the Bills until the final minute of the game, calling into question the Buffalo quarterback's pregame strategy.
"I really thought posting photos of myself having sex with each of the Bears' defensive starters' mothers would deflate their confidence and fire up my own teammates," Losman said, shrugging as best he was able to before the pain became too intense. "Instead, it only motivated them to hit me as often and as hard as they could, leaving me with blood in my urine. So, uh, I'll file that information away for future games. Good to know, really."
Eagles 38, Cowboys 24The return of Terrell Owens to Philadelphia was highlighted by a tearful reunion between the receiver and his former quarterback Donovan McNabb, who were joined by Eagles head coach Andy Reid at midfield for a group hug. The crowd showered T.O. with cheers, well wishes and gratitude for his role in getting the team to the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
For his part, Owens didn't catch a pass until the third quarter, and only caught three all game-due in no small part, we imagine, to the distraction of young ladies and small children forcing themselves past security to kiss and hug the star receiver.
"Fans of Philadelphia," Owens finally announced over a public address system, "you know I love you all like family, but let us not detract from the other 21 guys on this field. I look forward to spending time with you all after the game, and have arranged for a caterer to bring us all finger sandwiches and sodas so we can mingle. But for now, let's have a good time and concentrate on football!" The crowd, completely enraptured, heeded his every word, felling a little empty inside when the game ended-for only one team could take home a victory.
(To whomever winds up editing this: Please note I'm writing this recap on Thursday, so if this isn't how things go down, please make any necessary changes. Thanks, Jake)
Giants 19, Redskins 3New York pulled out a victory after a bye week full of controversy, brought about by tight end Jeremy Shockey's claim his team had been outcoached by Seattle in Week Three's embarrassing loss.
"Just because we won," Shockey pointed out, "doesn't mean I was wrong about our coaches being inept. Face it, everywhere Tom Coughlin goes, his team does just well enough to not get him fired. Then whenever someone complains about his asinine micromanaging, they're accused of 'hating discipline.' All this proves is that Joe Gibbs is an even worse coach-a fact that anyone who's paid attention to the Redskins for the past three years will tell you isn't all that hard to believe."
In response, NBC commentator Chris Collinsworth condescendingly accused Shockey of being undisciplined.
Saints 24, Buccaneers 21Rookie running back Reggie Bush finally scored his first touchdown of the year, returning a punt 65 yards with just over four minutes to go and putting New Orleans ahead for good. Bush exhibited further versatility by leading his team in receptions, catching eleven passes (more than any two other players in the game combined).
"Did you see that sack Mario Williams got last week?" Texans head coachGary Kubiak told fans in Houston. "What a great hit. I've said it before and I'll say it again: game-breaking running backs with the ability to line up at wide receiver, return punts and keep defenses on their heels are a dime a dozen. We're so happy we passed on that guy."
Bush wasn't the only Saint rusher to have a big day. Deuce McAllister ran for 123 yards and a touchdown, giving Jerome Bettis the opportunity to refer to the running back combo as "Thunder and Lightning" then pause for laughter as if he thought that was astoundingly clever, and hadn't in fact been used to describe at least two running back tandems every year for the last decade and a half, including Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis last season.
Colts 14, Titans 13Indianapolis fans had a good laugh at the expense of Tennessee after 55 minutes of cockteasing the Titans into thinking they might actually get their first win of the season.
"It was hilarious when they got that first touchdown," Colts receiver Reggie Wayne chuckled as he remembered Titans quarterback Vince Young's scramble into the end zone. "I was like, 'Hey, Peyton, whattaya say we let them keep this lead until late in the fourth quarter then completely crush them with a late rally?' He figured it was worth it to see if we could make them cry."
After scoring just one touchdown in three and a half quarters, the Colts still found themselves only down by six. On cue, Manning led his team into the end zone, making sure to the winning two-yard score to Marvin Harrison, as a running play in that situation would run the risk of running backs Joseph Addai or Domanic Rhodes exceeding Manning's fantasy value. "Of course a rushing play would have been the logical thing to do in that situation," admitted head coach Tony Dungy. "But contracts with Gatorade, Master Card, NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV, Reebok and Sony expressly forbid Peyton throwing fewer than two touchdowns a game."
49ers 34, Raiders 20On the day before Super Bowl XXXVII, Raiders center Barret Robbins went to Tijuana, got completely drunk, considered committing suicide, wound up in a hospital and missed the game, causing a major distraction for his teammates, who went on to lose without ever making a contest for Tampa Bay. At this point, Oakland coach Art Shell would trade his next five first round picks if his players could be half as disciplined as Barret Robbins.
Rams 23, Packers 20Brett Favre's attempt at a fourth quarter comeback fell short. The veteran quarterback led Green Bay down to the St. Louis 11-yard line, but lost a fumble with just 44 seconds remaining in the game.
"It's a really good thing that guy came back," sighed Farve heir apparent Aaron Rogers. "I don't know if I could have won us one whole game-against Detroit, by the way-going into the bye week. I'm glad he's out there to chase meaningless records to pad out his already Hall of Fame-worthy career instead of getting me some valuable playing time. Truly, it's inspirational."
Fantasy owners everywhere were sent scrambling to their waiver wires to put in claims on Noah Herron. Wait. Seriously? The Packers third string running back ran for 106 yards-just 22 fewer than in every other game of his entire career prior to this put together. He was listed behind Vernand Morency, a player the Houston Texans saw fit to get rid of, and only got a shot at playing because Morency fumbled twice in the Packers' first two possessions. The only less ringing endorsement would be if Herron was instead the NFL's first one legged punter.
Patriots 20, Dolphins 10Having lost three of its first four games with a rusty former NFC North quarterback who'd been run out of town because of his mediocre play and inability to lead his teammates under center, Miami turned to Joey Harrington, a completely different rusty former NFC North quarterback who'd been run out of town because of his mediocre play and inability lead his teammates. Not surprisingly, the results with the ex-Lion were exactly the same as they were with the ex-Viking, Duante Culpepper, calling the shots.
Panthers 20, Browns 12Carolina sent Cleveland into its bye week with a bitter taste in its mouth and a fourth loss in just five games. "Holy crap!" gushed head coach Romeo Crenell. "We're so happy to have that one win. Looking at this roster of talent, that's a full game ahead of where I expected us to be at this point in the season!"
Quarterback Charlie Frye brought a similarly positive attitude to his self-assessment. "I lost a fumble and threw away two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown," Frye recounted. "But it could have been three interceptions... or four... but it wasn't... so coach said I can have ice cream. I like butter pecan."
Chiefs 23, Cardinals 20Matt Leinart looked like the Heisman winner and with multiple national championship rings that Cardinal fans only dared to envision in their wildest dreams in his first NFL start, throwing two touchdowns in his first six passes. After the first quarter, however, the quarterback realized he was wearing a Cardinals uniform rather than a Trojans one, and lowered his standards to something closer to what one expects of an Arizona QB, tossing an interception in the final two minutes that set up Kansas City's game-tying field goal.
The Chiefs went ahead thanks to a screen pass that All-Pro Larry Johnson took downfield for 78 yards before cornerback Antrel Rolle attempted to untwist Johnson's head like the cap on a tube of toothpaste, leaving the back lying face down and not moving. After several nervous minutes, Johnson moved his legs and got to his feet-and fantasy owners of the consensus top three running back in the league changed their underwear.
Jaguars 41, Jets 0In a battle that would be billed as a duel between former Marshall quarterbacks if anyone cared about Marshall football, Jacksonville's Byron Leftwich got the better of his fellow Thundering Herd alumus, Chad Pennington, who three three interceptions and lost a fumble in a rematch of last season's game in which Pennington threw two interceptions, injured his shoulder, missed the remainder of the season, and stirred rumors that his career might be over. "So... in comparison this is actually not so bad!" Pennington grinned, trying to find the silver lining.
Chargers 23, Steelers 13San Diego knocked off the defending Super Bowl champions, a feat that would be much more impressive if their previous two opponents hadn't done exactly the same thing. The Steelers now carry a 1-3 record and haven't won yet with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.
"I don't know what the problem is," speculated running back Willie Parker. "Ever since he became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, then got into a motorcycle accident that almost killed him, and seemed to have recovered only to hospitalized on the eve of the season opener for an emergency appendectomy, it seems like he's got something on his mind other than football. I can't imagine what, though."
The Chargers, on the other hand, celebrated the win with great excitement. "It's always fun to rack up big wins like this against powerhouse opponents like this or when we knocked off the then-undefeated Colts last season," a jubilant Antonio Gates admitted. "It makes it all the more dramatic when we fold like a paper airplane come January!"
Jake Bell is a former NBC sportscaster and head writer for Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge.