Last Minute Heroics - September 16th, 2008



Malfunctions and comebacks and whistles? Oh my what a week of football that was! Games full of big moments and last minute heroics and the season is still young. It's only Tuesday so pull out your ear plugs cause the whining surely won't stop until Sunday. This week's edition offers; In the Books - Week 2, the Game of the Week, Week 3 - Who's in It and Who's Gonna Win It, The Ten, and the Hero of the Week.

In the Books - Week 2


Sunday, September 14th


Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Detroit Lions (0-1)

The Packers dominated this game from the get-go thanks to three first half passing touchdowns by Aaron Rodgers. Detroit found it hard to get a rhythm going but stuck around with mid-game field goals. The fourth quarter got really interesting with the Lions making a comeback thanks to a timely safety and Jon Kitna and Calvin Johnson delivering perhaps  just a sign of things to come connecting for two touchdowns to take a one point lead. In the end though the Packers showed poise and broke out some late game fire power to make a close game look like a very big victory.

Predicted Winner: Green Bay Packers

Actual Winner: Green Bay Packers (2-0)

Final Score: GB, 48 - DET, 25


Chicago Bears (1-0) @ Carolina Panthers (1-0)

The Bears and the Panthers were coming off big upset victories in the first week and they both were hungry and eager to show they weren't pulling out flukes. Both teams made solid cases in this very close game. The Bears lead the game for the most part but two touchdown runs by rookie Jonathan Stewart in the second half helped the Panthers squeek out the victory.

Predicted Winner: Carolina Panthers

Actual Winner: Carolina Panthers (2-0)

Final Score: CHI, 17 - CAR, 20


New York Giants (1-0) @ St. Louis Rams (0-1)

The Rams continue to struggle on both sides of the ball and continue to pose very little threat to opponents. The defending Superbowl champions are a different story as they can seem to be stopped continuing their roll since last season. Eli Manning looked particularly impressive throwing for three touchdowns and playing the very calm accurate leader the Giants would be thrilled to see show up week after week. This wasn't a contest and even a bad Eli Manning would have dominated the bleak Rams.

Predicted Winner: New York Giants

Actual Winner: New York Giants (2-0)

Final Score: NYG, 41 - STL, 13


New Orleans Saints (1-0) @ Washington Redskins (0-1)

The Saints seem to have a lot of fight and they are getting it back the past two weeks playing close games in their win over Tampa Bay and now against the Redskins. Washington wanted to make it clear that they are a team to be reckoned with after their dissapointing opener against the Giants. The Saints lead the game until a fourth quarter comeback that ended with a 67 yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Santana Moss gave the Redskins the lead and the win.

Predicted Winner: New Orleans Saints

Actual Winner: Washington Redskins (1-1)

Final Score: NO, 24 - WAS, 29


Buffalo Bills (1-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

The Jags did fairly well stopping the run this week but showed little pass defense. The Bills lead the game for the most part and when Jacksonville made a comeback the Bills QB Trent Edwards came through big with a game winning drive and the defense held up the rest of the way. The Bills roll while Jacksonville has to figure out a way to rebound from a disappointing start.

Predicted Winner: Buffalo Bills

Actual Winner: Buffalo Bills (2-0)

Final Score: BUF, 20 - JAX, 16


Tennessee Titans (1-0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

Tennessee isn't going to turn heads with their current play but it was more than enough to fluster Cincinnati. Kerry Collins managed the game fine in place of QB Vince Young while the rushing duo of Chris Johnson and Lendale White continued to pound the rock impressively. The Bengals could barely manage to stand on the field and if they are going to improve the need a bigger change the Chad Johnson's surname.

Predicted Winner: Tennessee Titans

Actual Winner: Tennessee Titans (2-0)

Final Score: TEN, 24 - CIN, 7


Oakland Raiders (0-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)

Oakland's QB play was dismal but that didn't stop them from showng off on the ground with three rushers making an impact, most notably rookie Darren McFadden putting on a spectacular show. Kansas City has shown nothing to make them a reasonable threat to any team thus far and even Oakland had no trouble thumping them.

Predicted Winner: Oakland Raiders

Actual Winner: Oakland Raiders (1-1)

Final Score: OAK, 23 - KC, 8


Indianapolis Colts (0-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-1)

Minnesota came out running but Adrian Peterson couldn't carry his team into the endzone despite rushing for 160 yards. The Colts found themselves trailing 15-0 late in the game before Peyton Manning led an 18 point comeback victory to get his first win of the season over the struggling Vikings.

Predicted Winner: Indianapolis Colts

Actual Winner: Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

Final Score: IND, 18 - MIN, 15


Atlanta Falcons (1-0) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)

Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood didn't find the successes of the first week in Tampa Bay as each player struggled tremendously. The Buccaneers, now led by Brian Griese found some gold on land and by air that couldn't be beaten solely by the leg of Atlanta's Jason Elam.

Predicted Winner: Atlanta Falcons

Actual Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

Final Score: ATL, 9 - TB, 24


San Francisco 49ers (0-1) @ Seat tle Seahawks (0-1)

This was a knockdown drag out game between the two worst teams I have seen thus far this year, someone had to get a win and it was a small surprise that it ended up being Seattle becoming the absolute bottom of the leagues bottom feeders. San Francisco needed to win it in overtime which says enough about them and their talent level.

Predicted Winner: Seattle Seahawks

Actual Winner: San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

Final Score: SF, 33 - SEA, 30


San Diego Chargers (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (1-0)

This game was something else on pretty much every level. Denver dominated early and pretty much owned the first half. San Diego refused to go down without a fight and got back in it before the Broncos, led by Jay Cutler's last minute heroics, got the game winning score. There was controversy and there was little defenses could do to impact the game but the Broncos were able to pull into the driver's seat.

Predicted Winner: Denver Broncos

Actual Winner: Denver Broncos (2-0)

Final Score: SD, 38 - DEN, 39


New England Patriots (1-0) @ New York Jets (1-0)

Tom Brady replacement Matt Cassel managed a sound unremarkable game and the defense was able to put Favre and the Jets in their place most of the time. New York couldn't take flight and they couldn't find a way to out-smart the Patriots. New England is winning without Brady, at least for now.

Predicted Winner: New York Jets

Actual Winner: New England Patriots (2-0)

Final Score: NE, 19 - NYJ, 10


Baltimore Ravens (1-0) @ Houston Texans (0-1)

Unfortunately this game was rescheduled due to the hurricane in Houston and the damage it did to their stadium.

Predicted Winner: Houston Texans



Miami Dolphins (0-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-0)

Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald had this team running on all cylinders against a struggling Miami team. The Dolphins never did get their game off the ground and they looked a lot like the Miami Dolphins of a year ago in this one. The Cardinals still have a lot to prove but their 2-0 start won't hurt their chances of taking the NFC West this year.

Predicted Winner: Arizona Cardinals

Actual Winner: Arizona Cardinals (2-0)

Final Score: MIA, 10 - ARI, 31


Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) @ Cleveland Browns (0-1)

This game was a tough matchup as expected and both defenses gave it their all in this low scoring affair. The Steelers took the lead in the first half with a touchdown and never let go scoring 3 more points against the Browns 6. The Browns continue to slum in the lower half of the league but the way they have played and their competition suggests they won't be winless for long.

Predicted Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Actual Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)

Final Score: PIT, 10 - CLE, 6


Monday, September 15th


Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) @ Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

In one of the most impressive games of the week these division rivals collided in a shootout that came down to the wire. The Eagles looked impressive all game and they may have even beat the Cowboys with an extra minute or two on the clock. The Cowboys were definitely as great if not more so as they take the win and move to 2-0.

Predicted Winner: Dallas Cowboys

Actual Winner: Dallas Cowboys (2-0)

Final Score: PHI, 37 - DAL, 41


Game of the Week


Eddie Royal is congratulated for his game winning catches.
Photo by Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

After two seasons of letting the Chargers walk all over them the Broncos were finally fed up and built with an offense that scored 41 points less than a week prior without the help of star WR Brandon Marshall. The Chargers season was spoken about with Superbowl expectations and their roster touted as the most talented in the NFL but with Shawne Merriman on IR and a last second loss in the first week they were in need of a win to boost their momentum and not fall behind.

The game was controversial as everyone knows with the early so called interception by Champ Bailey that couldn't be reversed due to technical error and the now infamous empty hand whistle play that supposedly changed the fortunes of these teams. Living in California I hear all the woes and complaints but the simple explaination I can give anyone is the early call didn't change the game, if Denver wasn't up by the amount of points they were going into the half they surely would've turned back to the shotgun formations that led them to pay dirt much sooner than they did. As for the fumble that wasn't but was, complaining about that is like saying the Chargers would have won if Jay Cutler fumbled for no reason because the Chargers obviously didn't force the fumble, it would have been dumb luck. The Broncos didn't rely on luck they forced the game their way and outplayed the Chargers for the better half of the game.

5:41 left in the game, the Broncos have the ball and are up 31-30, third and three at the San Diego 4 Cutler throws to Royal but it's intercepted by Antoine Cason. Three plays later Philip Rivers throws a 66 yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles and a two point conversion pass to Legedu Naanee gave the Chargers a sudden 38-31 lead. 4:22 left and the Broncos get the ball at their own 20 and after 9 plays it's second and one at the San Diego 1 with 1:17 left in the game. Jay Cutler goes to pass and his hand is empty, the ball slipped and the Chargers quickly recover. The referee calls incomplete and the play goes to review, the ruling on the field confuses and delights the Broncos crowd, it was a fumble but the whistle was blown for an incomplete so the Broncos retain it at the 10. Third and goal from the 10 yard line and the Broncos boldly run the ball, they get 6 yards. Fourth and goal at the 4 and Jay Cutler snaps and goes to rookie Eddie Royal who catches the touchdown and brings hope back to the fans. Now we have a chip shot to tie the game. Wait! What?! Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler give the signal to go for two. WHAT? Jay Cutler snaps the ball and tosses a bullet to Eddie Royal on a flipped version of the previous play... it's reeled in and the Broncos take a one point lead which with 24 seconds on the clock they manage to hold on to. BRONCOS WIN! All in all it was a fantastic game, one of the best in recent memory and it was no fluke the Broncos pulled off the victory they were the superior team on the field on Sunday.


Week 3 - Who's in It and Who's Gonna Win It


Sunday, September 21st


Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

Atlanta may not be a fantastic team, they are definitely not very consistent but that is the great thing about Kansas City, you don't need to be very good to beat them. Especially when you're at home and the Chiefs aren't in Kansas anymore.

Predicted Winner: Atlanta Falcons


Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (2-0)

Oakland is coming off of a win in Kansas City but the level of competition is going to be turned up against the Bills. Buffalo is ready for contenders and the Raiders are just a fly on their windshield.

Predicted Winner: Buffalo Bills


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) @ Chicago Bears (1-1)

The Bucs looked pretty good against the Falcons but the Bears should pose a bigger threat and it will be interesting to see if Griese and the Bucs can move against the Chicago defense. I have a feeling the QB situation might get a little fuzzier in Tampa Bay after this game is over.

Predicted Winner: Chicago Bears


Carolina Panthers (2-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

The Panthers have made their statement to the NFL in the past two weeks and I don't think anyone didn't listen, the Panthers are for real. Minnesota has sputtered and spewed on the field and can't seem to find the endzone for the life of them. Carolina should be winning in January if they keep things up.

Predicted Winner: Carolina Panthers


Miami Dolphins (0-2) @ New England Patriots (2-0)

The Patriots have found ways to win without Tom Brady and I don't think it will stop with Miami on their plate. Miami is struggling again after a good showing against the Jets in Week 1. The Pats might have a close game on their hands but I expect them to pull through.

Predicted Winner: New England Patriots


Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) @ New York Giants (2-0)

Cincinnati has yet to play like a team that can win games and the Giants have yet to play like a team that isn't going to make it back to the Super Bowl. Sometimes teams surprise you, this game shouldn't leave anyone in awe as the Giants are simply more capable than the Bengals of today.

Predicted Winner: New York Giants


Houston Texans (0-1) @ Tennessee Titans (2-0)

Houston is going into this week after an unscheduled early bye week. The Titans come in on a roll with the division lead. The Texans that everyone has been waiting for may show up this week and surprise the Titans who looked very beatable in Week 2.

Predicted Winner: Houston Texans


Arizona Cardinals (2-0) @ Washington Redskins (1-1)

Arizona has two wins and a firm grasp on the NFC East. The Redskins are desperate to keep up with the Cowboys and the Giants. Arizona obviously throttled Miami but the Skins are a superior team and should be able to pull off a victory in Week 3.

Predicted Winner: Washington Redskins


New Orleans Saints (1-1) @ Denver Broncos (2-0)

New Orleans has played their games close and they have burned and been burned. The Broncos have gunned it in two games to fantastic results and this week the Saints may find themselves in the line of fire and Denver has all the right weapons. If the Saints play their best game it could be close but New Orleans has played well not even close to great.

Predicted Winner: Denver Broncos


Detroit Lions (0-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

Detroit has been beat down but they started to gel against the Pack. San Francisco is the ultimate punching bag to build confidence. Detroit may get it's groove back in San Francisco.

Predicted Winner: Detroit Lions


St. Louis Rams (0-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (0-2)

Who wants to wager against Seattle now? Yep, that's what I thought. The Seahawks aren't contenders they are not even a shadow of the Seahawks that were playoff incumbents. St. Louis is terrible too but I think it's safe to say the Rams are better than Seattle.

Predicted Winner: St. Louis Rams


Cleveland Browns (0-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

The Browns are down on their luck, the Ravens are just past their unscheduled bye and ready to move on. The Ravens played well in Week 1 but have yet to face a team like the Browns who are good but have faced some other good teams they couldn't find a way to beat. The Browns should get their first win.

Predicted Winner: Cleveland Browns


Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

Jacksonville can't seem to catch a break and the Colts make their breaks. The Jags are not playing like they did last year and neither are the Colts but at least Peyton and co. still can change games, the Jaguars have yet to do that.

Predicted Winner: Indianapolis Colts


Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

Pennsylvania divided, two very good teams from the same state face off in what could be a huge duel. Pittsburgh may have trouble if the Eagles can engage them in a shootout they can't keep up with. Philly can't let this be a defensive struggle unless they are ready to step it up.

Predicted Winner: Philadelphia Eagles


Dallas Cowboys (2-0) @ Green Bay Packers (2-0)

This game has all the potential to be great but I am not sure if Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are ready to go toe to toe with Dallas and keep up with them. Dallas has potential to explode at any given time and if the lead gets out of hand Rodgers is sure to make more than a few mistakes. Green Bay's defense needs to step up and even if they do it will be a surprise if they can win this one.

Predicted Winner: Dallas Cowboys


Monday, September 22nd


New York Jets (1-1) @ San Diego Chargers (0-2)

The Jets need to go to a new level of play to beat this powerful Chargers team and based on the first two games I would say it's next to impossible for Brett Favre to pull off some magic in this one. The Chargers can't let their egos and their recent past get the best of them or Favre will get an unlikely opportunity to hand them their third straight loss.

Predicted Winner: San Diego Chargers


The Ten

  1. Dallas Cowboys (2-0) [Last week: 1] - The Boys picked up a big one over the Eagles and continue to roll.

  2. New York Giants (2-0) [Last week: 3] - Eli Manning and co. continue to impress.

  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) [Last week: 2] - The Steelers get a hard fought win over the Browns.

  4. Carolina Panthers (2-0) [Last week: 4] - Carolina didn't disappoint in it's second test.

  5. Denver Broncos (2-0) [Last week: 8] - Marshall's return causes an air show like Denver has not seen in years.

  6. Buffalo Bills (2-0) [Last week: 9] - The Bills are proving how tough this year is going to be for those who take them lightly.

  7. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) [Last week: 10] - Donovan McNabb might just be back the big test comes Monday against Dallas.

  8. Tennessee Titans (2-0) [Last week: 5] - They win again but Kerry Collins doesn't give them a lot to work with.

  9. Green Bay Packers (2-0) [Last week: Unranked] - Aaron Rodgers has his Packers running strong.

  10. Chicago Bears (1-1) [Last week: 7] - They had the fight in them but the Panthers overcame them.

The Ten is based on performance and strength of opponent, positioning on the list is taken into account as teams rise and fall.


Hero of the Week


This week I couldn't help but split this honor amongst three players for their heroic performances. Your Heroes of the Week are Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Eddie Royal. Cutler completed 36 of 50 passes for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns and while his two biggest mistakes nearly cost the Broncos the game the way he handled himself in the final moments showed the kind of poise Denver hasn't seen since a guy who wore the number 7 was driving down the field.

Cutler overcame the odds and he did it in style but he didn't do it on his own. A week ago Brandon Marshall was watching the game from home but on Sunday he was back in the saddle and Cutler reaffirmed his faith in his favorite target by delivering 18 passes to Marshall's eager hands, shattering the Broncos all-time record of 14 by Rod Smith who was in attendance as an honorary captain and tying the second best mark in history now only behind T.O. who hold s the record with 20. Marshall's 166 yards were a yard behind the most receiving yards of the week and his 18 catches give him a three catch lead on the league after only playing a single game. Marshall also hauled in a touchdown at the end of the first half.

Eddie Royal impressed me a whole lot in the first week, I almost had him as the Hero of Week 1 but after a less standout performance, I am even more thrilled. Royal finished with 5 catches for 37 yards and 1 touchdown, decent numbers but what was really impressive was that his touchdown was on 4th and goal with the game on the line! Not impressed yet? The rookie was sent a second pass on the same route as he was entrusted to make the catch on the make or break two point conversion! Royal pulled the feat off like a pro and that is what makes these kids the Heroes of the Week.


What's Next?


Last Minute Heroics returns next week in its weekly Tuesday spot. It will include the following:

  • In the Books - Week 3

  • Game of the Week

  • Week 4 - Who's in It and Who's Gonna Win It

  • The Ten

  • Hero of the Week

I hope everyone enjoyed this week's edition of Last Minute Heroics; I welcome any feedback and/or suggestions to be left as a comment below or sent by email to It's been a pleasure, thank you for reading.


- Love Hope Hero -

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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