Falcons 17, Buccaneers 6
Last week, Jerious Norwood proved Atlanta had a capable back-up running back in case starter Warrick Dunn were injured... or rather, a capable running back other than Michael Vick.
Unfortunately, when Dunn actually
leave the game with a calf injury, Norwood hurt his knee and was forced out just four plays later. "If we hadn't been playing Tampa Bay," noted head coach Jim Mora, "we might have been in trouble." Instead, rushing duties fell to fullback Justin Griffith, who'd only carried the ball six times all season, but still managed to rack up 57 yards and a touchdown against the lowly Buccaneers.
"At this point," shrugged Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, "even I'm
baffled that I haven't been fired yet."
Eagles 21, Redskins 19
Often when networks promote a game, they'll pitch it as a matchup of the two biggest stars, such as "Clinton Portis and the Redskins take on Donovan McNabb and the Eagles." Unfortunately, injuries would have had this game promoted as a matchup of Jeff Garcia and Ladell Betts, though it failed even to live up to that hype. Philadelphia and Washington both desperately tried to give away the victory.
The Eagles nearly blew an 18-point lead while getting pushed around, outgained, and failing to score the entire second half, but Washington secured its loss with eleven penalties, a sack caused by Jason Campbell tripping over his own lineman, and a potential game-winning drive that stalled when the team couldn't punch the ball in from the three-yard line with four opportunities.
Vikings 30, Lions 20
It's a classic fantasy football paradox. If you started Artose Pinner this week, you likely won your playoff game and will move on the the semifinals next week. But if you had Artose Pinner on your roster and didn't have at least two better running backs to start ahead of him, you probably didn't make the playoffs. Pinner, who'd been behind such luminaries as Ciatrick Faison and Mewelde Moore on the depth chart, made the most of his opportunity to play, rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns against his former team.