49ers 24, Seahawks 14
For a second straight week, Seattle blew its chance to clinch the NFC West title and an undeserved playoff spot, allowing San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith to score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. "Yeah, yeah," yawned head coach Mike Homgren. "We're really
worried that we might not make the playoffs."
Even if the Seahawks lose their remaining two games, they could still make the postseason with an 8-8 record, further exposing the mediocrity of the NFC this season. "Granted, a .500 team probably shouldn't get the chance to battle for the title of 'world champion,' but who else are you going to put in there?" noted running back Shaun Alexander. "Like if we make the playoffs anyone's going to claim the Giants got robbed?"
Cowboys 38, Falcons 28
It's amazing Terrell Owens hadn't thought of it sooner, but the receiver found a way to make himself the hot topic in Dallas, not by scoring two touchdowns in a win that solidified Dallas's playoff position--which he did--but by spitting on Atlanta cornerback De'Angelo Hall. "Now try not to talk about T.O.!" smiled the receiver as he guzzled whole milk and chomped on a block of cheese, contending dairy made him "all-phlegm-y" and more able to "hock loogies."
Prior to the loss, Atlanta head coach Jim Mora mentioned that he'd be interested in the coaching vacancy at his alma mater, the University of Washington. After a public uproar, Mora insisted he was just joking. "Why would I want to go coach at the collegiate level where good quarterbacks are a rarity and most are just glorified rushers who might toss the ball a few times per game?" asked Mora. "I already
Bears 34, Buccaneers 31 (F-OT)
Chicago clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs by proving themselves the cream of the NFC crop this season and securing the best record in the conference. The decisive win came in overtime because the best team in the NFC couldn't stop the second-worst team in the conference from scoring three touchdowns in the final quarter. Kicker Robbie Gould had a chance to win the game about a minute into overtime, but missed a field goal which led to this exchange later in the game, which may be the best commentary on the quality of play in the NFC this year.
Second down on the Buccaneers 20 yard line. What do you think? Do you kick it here?Tony Siragusa:
I don't think so. Before you rely on Robbie Gould, I'd take a shot or two at the end zone.Daryl Johnston:
But I wouldn't throw it. If you want to run it a few times, okay, but don't have Rex Grossman throw in the end zone at this point in the game.
Translation: the best team in the NFC has unreliable passing and kicking games which should be avoided at all costs when victory is on the line. Yay, Bears!
Ravens 27, Browns 17
Cleveland thought it had found a way to stop the Baltimore, stabbing quarterback Steve McNair through the hand. McNair left the game after having his hand stepped on by Andre Davis's cleat, putting Kyle Boller under center. The Ravens clinched a playoff berth despite Boller being in the game.
"Why would you put it that way?" asked Boller. "I threw two touchdowns. How come every time I'm in a game and we lose, it's all my fault and every time I'm in a game that we win, it's 'despite' my play? I'm sick of being blamed for everything that goes wrong in Baltimore!"
Packers 17, Lions 9
Brett Favre broke Dan Marino's record for completions late in the second quarter, hitting Carlyle Holiday for the 4,968th of his career. Farve finished the game seven completions ahead of Marino's mark, forcing the CBS halftime show to become an extended Marino ego-stroke as Boomer Esiason pointed out the differences in today's offenses versus those of twenty years ago and claimed Marino would hold every record forever if he played in today's NFL.
The new record and victory allowed Farve to reflect on his storied career during postgame interviews instead of the three interceptions he threw, including two in the red zone. The Packers will face the Vikings this Thursday in a game the NFL Network is promoting as "possibly" Farve's final game ever at Lambeau Field. Packer fans have their fingers crossed.