#5: RAVENS REV UP THE DEFENSE
After winning three straight, then losing three in a row, the Baltimore Ravens needed a good win and a solid all-round game to get back on track, particularly from a usually good defense which had often underperformed this season. The Ravens got both. The good victory was a 30-7 rout of previously unbeaten Denver. The solid performance was in allowing just 200 yards of total offense, stopping the Broncos running game (held to just 66 yards) and passing attack (just 134 yards) very well. Offensively, Joe Flacco only threw for 175 yards, but he was a very accurate 20-25 including a fourth quarter touchdown pass which put the game out of reach at 23-7, as the Ravens scored 24 points in the second half to pull away after leading by a slim 6-0 margin at halftime.
#4: McNABB MAKES MOST OF GIANTS’ MISCUES
The Giants, for the third straight week, played careless, unfocused football, and Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb made them pay before the Giants could even blink. After the Eagles were already up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game, McNabb needed just two passes after a Giants’ turnover to throw a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 13-0 Philadelphia lead just 3:45 into the game. After New York made it a game at 16-7, with under two minutes left in the half, McNabb again struck like lightning with two touchdown passes in the final 98 seconds of the half to break the game open, 30-7, by halftime. Starting at the Eagles’ 54-yard line after a good kickoff return, McNabb needed just one play, a 54-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, for a 23-7 Eagles lead with 1:38 left in the half. After another Giants’ turnover, McNabb needed only two plays –- a 20-yard completion followed by a 23-yard touchdown pass –- to give the Eagles that 30-7 lead, 46 seconds before halftime.
#3: FAVRE’s HAPPY HOMECOMING
He already had beaten his former team once this season, with 3 touchdown passes, and returning home to Lambeau Field for the first time as a visiting player, Brett Favre helped his Minnesota Vikings complete the sweep of the Green Bay Packers. Favre was a rather pedestrian 17 of 28 for 244 yards, but he didn’t throw an interception, and he tossed four touchdown passes –- three in the second half, two in the fourth quarter –- to help the Vikings take a 24-3 lead and then hold off the Packers and Favre’s Green Bay successor, Aaron Rodgers (who had three touchdown passes of his own, all in the second half), 38-26, to help the Vikings take a commanding lead in the NFC North.
#2: MOATS RUNS AROUND BUFFALO
Houston statistically dominated its game in Buffalo. The Texans had nearly twice the time of possession (39:08–20:52),
almost three times as many first downs (24-9), and more than double the yardage (439-204) as the Bills. Yet, for the second week in a row, the Bills were poised to win even after being outplayed. That is, until RB Ryan Moats took over in the fourth quarter, with three touchdowns to help Houston turn a 10-9 deficit into a 31-10 win with a 22-0 fourth quarter. Moats finished the game with 23 rushes on 126 yards and the 3 TD’s… special note on this game: rookie safety Jarius Byrd’s two interceptions made him the first player since San Francisco’s Dave Baker in 1960 to have two or more interceptions in three straight games.
#1: GINN SAVES THE DOLPHINS
The top spot on this week’s list really ought to go to the New York Jets’ defense for allowing just 52 yards rushing and 52 yards passing. So, how DO you lose a game at home in which you score 25 points and hold your opposition to just 104 total yards on the day? Well, when you don’t cover kickoffs well, it can happen. Miami’s Ted Ginn not only blew by the Jets’ kickoff team the entire length of the field once, but he did it twice –- in the same quarter, just 6:44 apart! After the Jets’ Jay Feely kicked a 55-yard field goal to give New York a 6-3 lead, Ted Ginn returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown with 10:10 left in the third quarter. Later in the quarter, after the Jets scored a touchdown to cut the Dolphins’ lead to 17-13, Ginn struck again, going one more yard then before, just for good measure, this time, taking it 101 yards to the house, with 3:26 left in the third quarter, for a 24-13 Dolphins’ lead that they would not relinquish. When he crossed the goal line the second time, Ginn became the first player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same quarter since Green Bay’s Travis Williams, back in 1967.