Dolphins 27, Lions 10
Detroit played on Thanksgiving Day for the 65th straight year, a tradition the NFL has upheld to make sure there's always at least one
game on that will be so terrible you won't mind spending an hour or so eating turkey with your family without worrying you're missing anything.
Joey Harrington took advantage of his former team's ineptitude, returning to Detroit to notch his first Turkey Day win after losing four games on the holiday as a Lion. Harrington's three touchdown passes prompted Lions general manager Matt Millen to drop the team's advertising slogan, "It was all Joey Harrington's fault." A visibly shaken Millen was distraught following the game. "It's just not fair," he sniffled, "I'm running out of other people to blame. How am I supposed to run the day to day operations of a major sports franchise when I have to spend seven to ten hours a day figuring out why nothing that goes wrong is ever my fault?!" Millen was eventually comforted by staff members who pointed out star receiver Roy Williams would almost certainly demand a trade or hold out for a new contract soon, opening the door to place all the team's woes on
Cowboys 38, Buccaneers 10
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw five touchdowns in regulation, a feat neither Roger Staubach nor Troy Aikman accomplished in their Hall of Fame careers. Surely the most surprising aspect of the impressive play of Romo since his debut, though, is the lack of jokes by Chris Berman about barbecue sauce and ribs.
"I'm really concerned," admitted broadcasting partner Tom Jackson, "but I took his temperature and everything seems okay. A Tony Romo-Tony Roma's
linkage seems right in his wheelhouse, but he's passing it up. I'm not sure what's wrong, but trust me, I'm going to find out."
Chiefs 19, Broncos 10
Jake Plummer graciously opened the door for rookie Jay Cutler to take over quarterbacking duties in Denver, failing time and again to move his team even across the 50-yard line, much less pose a scoring threat to Kansas City.
"The fact this team lost this game is entirely Jake's fault," explained head coach Mike Shanahan. "Granted, we're coming off a heartbreaking loss, only had three days to prepare for this game and were going up against an emotionally-charged division rival whose owner and founder was hospitalized yesterday—but if you overlook that, it's all Jake's fault.
Shanahan further contended his team, which still would make the playoffs as a wild card if the playoffs started today, would be better suited tutoring a rookie through the final weeks of the season rather than preparing for a run at a championship.
Ravens 27, Steelers 0
Still riding the momentum of two straight wins, including one against long-standing rival Cleveland, Pittsburgh got a grim dose of reality as Baltimore all-but-mathematically eliminated the defending Super Bowl champs from the playoffs.
"In retrospect," speculated Steelers coach Bill Cowher, "maybe the Browns weren't that good after all. Perhaps my 'We climbed a mountain' speech after we narrowly avoided falling into last place was a little over the top."
The Ravens win was highlighted by a franchise-record nine sacks of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, including one by linebacker Bart Scott that knocked the Pittsburgh quarterback out of the game for a play in the second quarter. "I was the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl," wept Roethlisberger after the game as he rubbed a helmet-shaped bruise on his chest, "and it's been all downhill from there. Motorcycle accidents, concussions, appendectomies, now this. Tell me what I have done to anger you, Lord!
Saints 31, Falcons 13
Michael Vick gave up all artifice of even pretending to be an NFL quarterback, running for 166 yards and leading all rushers for the afternoon. This prompted some commentators to praise his performance, despite the fact his team lost by 18 points to a squad that had lost three of its last four games (with its only win coming against lowly Tampa Bay) and had been written off as a "pretender" as opposed to a "contender" by sports talkshow hosts playing rhyming lightning-round question games.