Bears, Giants Grab Big Wins in Week 9

If you happened to sleep in this past weekend, I guess you really didn’t miss much. Most of the NFL action came from the late games, and almost every game from 4:05 onward was an excit­ing and enticing matchup that should have been watched from the beginning through to the end of the last drive. Four games this week – all of which included playoff contenders – went down to the very last drive with a lot of drama and excitement involved.

The first game of note was a matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers. Considering the losses to the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, this game immediate­ly gained more meaning for the Chargers before the game even started. Unfortu­nately, their opponent happend to be the Packers, a team that has yet to record a loss this entire season. That didn’t change. I must say that the Chargers did put up a heck of a fight, and with the deep passes to Vincent Jackson that were raining down on the Packers secondary, there was hope for the Chargers to bring the game to overtime late.

In the end, the Packers sealed the game and the final drive with an interception by Charlie Peprah, Rivers’s third of the game and the only one to not be a pick-six. Ultimately, the Packers remain un­defeated, but they displayed some weak­ness. Maybe the Detroit Lions will have a chance to stop perfection at some point. The Chargers must continue to com­pete in one of the worst, and yet most competitive divisions in the league.

The other exciting late game echoed Super Bowl XLII, with the New York Gi­ants visiting the New England Patriots. Throughout the first half of this game, neither offense seemed to be able to get the ball rolling, with tight end Rob Gronkowski dropping a few balls, Wes Welker unable to break free in coverage and the Giants unable to answer the miss­ing stars of their offense, Nicks and Brad­shaw. However, the game began to seem more and more like the Super Bowl as turn­overs led to scores for both teams in the second half.

The Patriots took the lead late, giving the Giants one last drive to come back again. This time it would be Jake Ballard, the tight end, to provide an answer on a long third down pass to get the Giants into field goal range. He then got the winning touchdown with only seconds remaining. For Giants fans like myself, it brought back memories to watch another win like that against the Patriots, with Tom Brady as mad as ever, once again. The results of this game also mean that the Giants have a nice lead in the division, and even though they have a tough schedule, it seems as though they have a decent chance to get into the postseason. As for the Patriots, they just dropped from first to third in their division, as the competition continues to increase in difficulty.

The night games did not disappoint, either. Sunday night, the Baltimore Ra­vens traveled to play Pittsburgh, as their rivalry continued. As with any game between these two teams, it was a hard fought battle on both sides of the field. This time, unlike many times beforehand, it was “Average” Joe Flacco who pulled off the last drive heroics. Wide receiver Torrey Smith made up for his dropped, go-ahead touchdown and his holding call on a Ray Rice would-be touchdown by grabbing the game-winner as time wound down. For the first time in far too long, the Ravens were able to sweep the Steel­ers this season, and to me that speaks volumes. I hope this means that this year we’ll see a team other than the Pats and Steelers as the AFC Champions.

Finally, Monday night we had a game with big playoff implications: the Chi­cago Bears at the Philadelphia Eagles. The winner of this game would put itself in good position as a playoff contender, whereas the loser would be in some trou­ble. With that said, the game itself was a pretty ugly one for both teams. For most of the contest, it didn’t seem that one side was winning as much as the other team was losing or hurting themselves more. The Eagles’s dominant pass rush was al­most neutralized by Matt Forte and Jay Cutler’s shifty, resourceful moves and the Bears defense exhibited some big lapses.

In the end, the final drive looked like a mess for the Eagles, too. Even the very last play the Eagles ran was a route that Jeremy Maclin ran well and found space on, but Vick threw the ball just high enough to where Maclin could not keep his balance after making the catch. A good ball there and who knows? Maybe the Eagles could have come away with a win. Now it’s the Bears who are putting themselves in a good position to grab a wild card spot and the Eagles who need to keep winning to get whatever spot they can get because they’re in big trouble.

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