Well, that was nuts. Pittsburgh gained 545 yards of offense, scored 42 points, and lost. Jacksonville gained 378 yards and won. Ben Roethlesburger went 37 for 58 for 469 yards, and 5 TDs and lost. Blake Bortles went 14-26 and a whopping 218 yards and 1 TD, and won. Even the run game was fairly even with Fournette gaining 109, and Bell gaining 67. the apparent killer was Bortles gaining 35 yards on the ground.
Baffling to me was Pittsburgh playing their defense so soft underneath. Bortles isn’t Dan Marino. Or even Frank Marino. He’s a journeyman soft-throwing game manager. TEs and RBs gained tons of yards on 8 yard passes over and over. it worked for the Steelers as well, but really, play up on these guys. I can see the threat of Big Ben going deep, and he did. A lot. But Bortles? Unreal that he was able to hit so many short passes for big chunks of yards.
Speaking of unreal, there was the Saints/Vikings game. Another game that got out of hand early for the favorite, but N’Awlins did manage to take the lead late. The game saw 4 lead changes in the last 3 minutes as both defenses took turns allowing underneath pass after underneath pass. Case Keenum made his bones throwing blind ducks that were for the most part completed. His one pick late in the 3rd quarter should have been his undoing, but he threw 3 more. One of which set up a late FG that temporarily gave Minn the lead late. Brees? Sure, I get playing your defense a bit loose to stop the deep balls, but Keenum is another game manager sho simply hit short pass after short pass. His one nice pass, the one that won the game, should have been the game ending stat-padder, but the whiff by Saint DB Marcus Williams allowed the score on the final play of the game.
The other games? Well, Atlanta was the first favorite of the weekend to fall behind early and spend the rest of the game chasing their tails.They did a fair imitation of the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVIII by choking away a great opportunity to win the game with a 1st and goal as time was running down, and blew it in the end with some worthless faide attempts.
NE was NE. However, an obvious false-start penalty was inexplicably reversed in the Pats favor, and it turned into a pivotal point as, instead of NE punting from their own 9, they were gifted a 1st down, which they then turned into a TD to make the score 21-7. Needless to say, the punt would have changed the future of the game as Tenn would have likely gotten great field position and could have tie the score. As it was . . . oh well. The Pats are a team that seemingly gets every break in the book, and then some. As NJ noted, though, the team that stands directly in their path has a man that has beaten them on a couple of occasions. Tom Coughlin.
The hope is he has one more game left in him to stop the Patriots.