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The End Zone - Week 14


Alan
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The End Zone

I’m in a good mood this week, and when you get round to reading Jets Talkin’ you’ll see why! But before that we have the extremely detailed round up of all the week 14 action, the game feature, all the standings and of course the position profile. Let’s start this edition off with the round up of all the week 14 games.

 

Week 14 Round Up

What can I say about the Minnesota Vikings except that they just keep winning! This past weekend they hosted the St Louis Rams, and it promised to be an entertaining encounter. The Vikings took an early lead with a touchdown, and although the Rams hit two field goals in the second quarter Minnesota did the same to remain ahead at the half. Two third quarter touchdowns from the Vikings put them even further ahead and effectively gave them the game, as after St Louis had scored a touchdown in that same quarter, the final period went scoreless. This gave Minnesota a 27-13 victory going into week 15. The Colts are yet to be defeated this season, and they have only been tested on a couple of occasions. This week they took on the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have been very good on defence so far over the year. Peyton Manning again put up superb numbers as he threw 24 of 36 for 324 yards on the day, and that pretty much gives it away right there. The Colts took a 7-0 first quarter lead, and extended it to 17-3 at the half. 15 fourth quarter points for the Jaguars couldn’t complete the fight back as they fell to a 26-18 loss. Cleveland had a new coach at the start of the season, Romeo Crennel, and although the team are an improvement on last year, they haven’t improved by a significant amount. They had a tough test in week 14 as they took on the Cincinnati Bengals, a team fresh from a huge win over the Steelers the previous week. The game started out very even, but the Browns managed to go into the half with a single point advantage over their opponents. The Bengals kept in tight and were able to eventually win the game with a fourth quarter field goal. Cincinnati came away with a 23-20 victory.

 

Tampa Bay and Carolina do not like each other, as division rivals there is never any love lost, so this was going to be an exciting game as the two got it on in Panther territory on Sunday. It turned out to be a fairly one sided affair though, as the Buccaneers took a 10-0 lead at the half. Into the second half and whatever the Panthers did to get back into the game, Tampa were there to counter it. A field goal each in the third quarter kept the gap at 10, and a touchdown each in the final period gave Tampa Bay a 20-10 victory. The injury hit New England Patriots have had a tough time this year, but recently they have been putting together some decent performances. They would be tested this week as they took on fierce division rivals Buffalo, or at least that’s what they thought. The Patriots scored a touchdown in each quarter, two in the fourth as they romped to an easy 35-7 victory over the Bills, with Tom Brady throwing for 329 yards and Corey Dillon rushing for 102 yards on 22 carries. Pittsburgh had a tough loss last week, and was hoping to get back onto the winning road this week as they hosted one of the leagues best defences with the Bears. It didn’t seem to trouble the Steelers as they relied on an unusually big game from “The Bus” Jerome Bettis, who rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries for two touchdowns. Pittsburgh had a devastating defence for once as they limited Chicago to just a field goal and a touchdown, coming away with a 21-9 victory.

 

Tennessee was looking for an easy game in week 14 as they hosted the Houston Texans, coming into the week with just one win to their name. But it didn’t turn out that way, but does it ever? The Texans had a 10-3 lead at half time, but it took a less than 100% Steve McNair to throw for 208 yards to give the Titans the victory. They were able to tied the game in the third quarter, then win it with a field goal in the final period at 13-10. Next up were the New York Jets who had been on a losing streak as of late due to some critical injuries. They were looking to get back on the winning trail as they hosted the Oakland Raiders this past weekend. Things got off to a good start as Mike Nugent hit a field goal to give them the lead. Another in the second quarter gave them a 6-3 half time lead, and they added to that in the second half with another two field goals and two touchdowns, winning the game 26-10. Last week the Seattle Seahawks were crowned the NFC North division champions, and now they were looking to gain another victory towards a first round bye. Their opponents this past weekend were the San Francisco 49ers, who look doomed to another poor season. From the outset the Seahawks showed their dominance, going up 24-3 at half time. The third and fourth quarters saw much of the same, with Alexander rushing for 108 yards as Seattle took an easy 41-3 win.

 

Philadelphia has been in a slump lately with the injuries to key starters like Donovan McNabb, and the suspension of Terrell Owens. They were at home this past week against their division rivals the New York Giants, who are having a great season. The game started off close, and remained so throughout regulation, with the score being tied at 23 at the final whistle. In the extra period it came down to a field goal, with Jay Feeley coming up with the goods for the Giants, giving them a hard-earned 26-23 victory over their rivals. Washington had hovered around the .500 mark for the past couple of weeks, and this was their chance to get a winning record again as they took on the struggling Arizona Cardinals. Kurt Warner threw for 255 yards as the Cardinals started strongly with a 10-3 half time lead. However helped by Clinton Portis’ 105 rushing yards the Redskins were able to mount a comeback, scoring 14 third quarter points to take a 17-13 victory. One team that has already far surpassed their record from last season is the Miami Dolphins, and they looked to make it better as they took on the San Diego Chargers this past Sunday. Miami fell behind 7-0 in the first quarter, but a superb third quarter showing put them ahead 20-7. Although the Chargers were able to score two touchdowns in the final quarter, it took a Dolphins field goal to seal the 23-21 victory.

 

The final three games that took place on Sunday saw the Denver Broncos edge a 12-10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, the Dallas Cowboys win by three in a 31-28 encounter with the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Green Bay Packers come from behind to beat the Detroit Lions 16-13. Monday night’s game was between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. The game was fairly close throughout the first half, with the Falcons leading 21-17 after two quarters. However Atlanta was able to shut out New Orleans in the second half to win 36-17.

 

Game Feature

Coming into this week the Kansas City Chiefs were on the edges of the AFC playoff picture, whilst their opponents Dallas were looking better placed in the NFC, even though they had similar records. Both teams were looking for a win to improve their chances of getting into the postseason, and it turned out to be an interesting encounter.

 

It didn’t start too interesting though, as both teams began the game with three and outs! However the Chiefs were able to get the ball moving on their second possession, moving 43 yards on the back of two long completions from Green. At the 11 yard line Larry Johnson took the ball and was able to work his way through the Dallas defence and score the games first touchdown. In reply the Cowboys moved a total of 22 yards before having to punt, and Kansas had another opportunity to score. They did well, moving from their own 22 into Cowboy territory, however the drive stalled and Dallas regained possession. The Cowboys moved forward 11 yards after recovering from an offensive holding penalty to their own 22, with the quarter ending as they did so.

 

Barber gained 28 yards on an impressive run as the Cowboys continued their drive, but again were hit with a 10 yard penalty and had to move back into their own territory. Another penalty was given against the Cowboys later in the drive but again they recovered, progressing to the Kansas 16 before the offence stalled. From there a 34 yard field goal was hit by Dallas to reduce the deficit. Although Kansas were not in the mood to let the lead slip away, coming straight back onto the field and gaining over 50 yards in 3 plays, and that was after a 36 yard kickoff return. This put them into great field position, and Johnson was able to burst into the end zone from a yard out. This marked the 8th game in his career that he has scored 2 or more touchdowns. The Cowboys wanted to get straight back into it, and it took them just three plays to put more points on the board. But what was great to see was the play they used to do so. A Flea Flicker, where the QB hands the ball off to the running back, who then passes it back to the QB who then picks a receiver and passes, was used to near perfection. Drew Bledsoe found Terry Glenn open and he then ran to the end zone for a 71 yard score. The Chiefs put together a decent drive as they attempted to reply before the half ended, however things went disastrously wrong as they got inside the Dallas red zone. Green was sacked for a 9 yard loss, fumbling the ball in the process. Dallas recovered the ball and returned it 59 yards, setting them up for another score. Bledsoe completed a 26 yard pass to Witten to give the Cowboys a 17-14 lead.

 

After Dallas began the third period with a three and out, Kansas came out fighting. They powered their way through the Cowboy defence, going deep into Dallas territory. Then from 21 yards out history was made as Johnson ran into the end zone for his third touchdown of the day, the first time in his career he has done so. Dallas couldn’t reply as they fell to a three and out immediately after, but Kansas couldn’t capitalise on the possession as their drive stalled before they could get out of their own half. With three minutes remaining in the period Dallas regained possession, moving over 40 yards and into Chiefs territory before the quarter ended.

 

The Dallas drive continued to move well as they restarted in the fourth quarter, and history was made again on the fifth play as wide receiver Terry Glenn scored his first ever rushing touchdown. The Chiefs fell to a three and out as they attempted to reply, and Dallas retook possession. The drive began with a Bledsoe sack, and it wasn’t going to get much better. They were able to move into Kansas territory, but had to kick the ball away as the drive stalled. This time the Chiefs were not letting the possession go to waste, moving 33 yards in 6 plays to get into the Dallas half. And it was from the Dallas 47 that Green threw a 34 yard pass to Kennison, who then ran the ball 13 yards into the end zone for the touchdown, giving them a 28-24 lead with 4 minutes left in the game. So Dallas had one last chance to take the victory, and they were able to put together a 68 yard drive as Bledsoe moved over 300 yards passing on the day. With 26 seconds left Bledsoe found Campbell in the end zone from the 1 yard line, putting Dallas back into the lead with just 22 seconds left. Kansas were able to get two plays off in that time, moving to the Dallas 24 with 1 second on the clock. A 41 yard field goal attempt was to be the difference between a loss and overtime, and agonisingly the ball sailed wide right, giving the Cowboys a 31-28 victory.

 

After the loss the Chiefs sit tied for second place in the AFC West, but sitting behind San Diego due to a worse division record. Dallas are second in the NFC East just a single win behind the Giants, and due to the poor records in the NFC expect them to be in strong contention for a wild card spot, maybe even the division title.

 

Division Standings

AFC

With just three games remaining in the regular season the New England Patriots top the AFC East with an 8-5 record, Miami are second at 6-7, and could hand the Patriots the division title if they lose next week. In third sit the Buffalo Bills at 4-9, with the Jets at the bottom on 3-10. In the North the Bengals hold on to the top spot with a 10-3 record, with Pittsburgh two games behind in second at 8-5. Baltimore and Cleveland are third and fourth respectively at 4-9. Indianapolis’s victory this past weekend sealed the AFC South division championship and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 13-0 record, leaving Jacksonville in second at 9-4. Tennessee are struggling in third at 4-9, whilst the Texans are stuck at the bottom on 1-12. Finally we have the AFC West, and the Denver Broncos are top with a 10-3 record. San Diego and Kansas City are second and third with 8-5 records, whilst the Oakland Raiders are stuck on the bottom with a 4-9 record.

 

NFC

To start things off the New York Giants are topping the NFC East with a 9-4 record, although the Cowboys are snapping at their heels in second at 8-5. Washington holds third with 7-6 whilst the Eagles remain bottom at 5-8. Chicago holds the top spot in the North at 9-4, with Minnesota one game behind in second at 8-5. Detroit are third with a 4-9 record whilst Green Bay are still bottom of the pile with a 3-10 record. Tampa Bay edge the top spot in the South over the Panthers with a better division record as they both sit at 9-4, whilst Atlanta are not too far behind in third at 8-5. New Orleans are condemned to fourth place with a 3-10 record. Finally we have the Seahawks topping the West at 11-2 whilst St Louis lay second at 5-8. Arizona are third with a 4-9 record and San Francisco are stuck at the bottom with a 2-11 record.

 

Jets Talkin’

You know I said there were no injuries last week? Well I was actually a little wrong. Curtis Martin originally took a knock to his knee in week 2, but as he has done so many times in his career Martin has played through the pain. Not this week, he missed his first game since week 5 in 1998 as season ending knee surgery was scheduled for midweek. Due to his absence rookie running back Cedric Houston was the starter against the Raiders on Sunday. How did he do? Well he rushed for 74 yards and his first career touchdown! Not a bad start in my eyes, and what made it even better was the rest of the team’s performance. Brooks Bollinger threw 14 of 26 for 119 yards and a touchdown, also rushing for 56 yards, whilst Mike Nugent converted all four field goal attempts and both Ty Law and David Barrett caught interceptions. The guys had a seven game losing streak coming into this home game against the Raiders, and we had a mountain to climb if we were to stop it from going any further. LaMont Jordan, our ex-running back, was limited to just 49 yards for Oakland as the Jets were by far the better team on both sides of the game. We took a 6-3 half time lead, but the third quarter saw the Jets extend the score to 12-3, and two fourth quarter touchdowns, one to Houston and one to Justin McCareins, gave us a vital 26-10 victory.

 

Next week we are on the road as the Jets take on bitter division rival Miami. The Dolphins have done well the past couple of weeks, and it will be a tough game next week. New York’s confidence level has shot up after this week’s victory, and hopefully it will continue into next week’s game! Nothing like a good victory to raise the spirits of the team and its fans, I know I feel a lot better after the win! Go Jets!

 

The Position Profile

This is it, the final position profile. However it’s not the final profile, as next week I’ll be bringing you a description of all the coaching positions an NFL team has. But this week I am rounding up all the final positions that complete an NFL team. I’ll give you a quick run through of linebackers, kickers and anyone else I can think of!

 

Linebackers play behind the defensive line and perform various duties depending on the situation, including rushing the passer, covering receivers, and defending against the run. Most defensive sets have between three and five linebackers. Linebackers are usually divided into three types, strong side, middle, and weak side. The strong side linebacker, (nicknamed "Sam"), usually lines up across from the tight end and is usually the strongest because he must be able to shed lead blockers to tackle the running back. The middle linebacker ("Mike" or "Mack"), is the quarterback of the defence, he must call out offensive formations and what adjustments the defence must make. The weak side linebacker ("Will") is usually the most athletic linebacker because he usually must play an open field.

 

The kicker is the player who is responsible for the kicking duties of field goals, extra points and in many cases kickoffs. Sometimes they will also punt, but only when the punter is injured, although sometimes one player handles both jobs. Because the skills are different enough, on the professional level most teams employ separate men to handle the jobs. Kickers and punters are generally the poorest paid players on professional teams, although good kickers sometimes earn over a million dollars per year in salary. Kickers today are almost all "soccer-style" kickers, approaching the ball from several steps to the left or right of it and several steps behind. Before this method of kicking was popularized in the 1960s, almost every kicker was a "straight on" kicker, a style that does not include coming at the ball from the side at all, but rather from straight back.

 

The holder is the player who receives the snap during field goal and extra point attempts and is usually positioned between seven and eight yards behind the line of scrimmage. The holder kneels down and places the hand furthest from the line of scrimmage on the ground with the other hand held out waiting for the ball to be snapped to him. After receiving the ball the holder places it on the ground, as quickly as possible, so that one end is touching the ground and the other end is supported by one finger. The holder also rotates the ball so that the laces are facing towards the goal posts. During a "fake field goal" attempt the holder will pick the ball up and either throw a forward pass or run with the ball. There can also be a holder during kick-offs and free kicks, but this is reserved for when the ball tee cannot keep the ball up by itself, usually due to wind.

 

Before I leave you this week, I would like to credit wikipedia.org who have supplied most of the information I have edited/used in the position profiles over the past weeks. Remember next week I will be running through the coaches a team uses, with the Jets being my example! See you then!

 

Wrap Up

What can I say? Congratulations to the Colts on sealing the division title and home field advantage, but this may mean that their game next week against fellow division champions Seattle will be played by the backups rather than the starters. That may be a good thing, or it may not, we will find out then. Next week will see all of the regular features return, and you never know, maybe some more of the playoff spots will have been confirmed! The pass has been thrown; will you catch it next week, in The End Zone?

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Unusually big?

 

Devastating defence "for once"?

 

I smell bias/jealousy :P.

Oh, and your telling me that The Bus gains over 100 rushing yards every week? Your defence isnt that big, last year the only reason you beat us in the playoffs is because we had a crappy kicker!

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The thing that amazes me is that he was able to do it in a near blizzard! If you see the pictures from the game the snow was all over the place!

 

And good news for all running back fans, Reggie Bush was the winner of the Heisman Trophy last week, the award to the best college player. Maybe the Jets can pick him up in the draft eh?

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