First Down, Fourth Down: Seahawks, RGIII magical
First Down, Fourth Down takes a weekly look at the good (First Down) and bad (Fourth Down) from NFL Sunday.
On a vintage Tom Brady day, the Seattle Seahawks might have found themselves down three or four touchdowns in the fourth quarter Sunday. That’s part of the home-field magic that Seattle has cultivated, though: No matter the circumstances or the opponent, you simply cannot write the Seahawks off at home.
Just ask the Cowboys, who were run out of Seattle’s building in Week 2; or the Packers, victims of maybe the greatest example of home-field mojo in recent memory.
The Seahawks jumped out to a 10-7 lead on New England in Week 6, then ground their gears offensively for two-plus quarters as the Patriots rallied to grab a 23-10 lead. All the while, though, the Seattle defense kept coming after Tom Brady — forcing a huge intentional grounding call late in the second quarter, then picking off two passes in the second half.
And, eventually, the Seahawks’ offense woke up again. When it was over, the Seahawks and their fans were in celebration mode again on the strength of [si_launchNFLPopup video='fb91e7724a9245c7b8622b63d7772cf9']a 24-23 win[/si_launchNFLPopup], and the legend of rookie QB Russell Wilson had grown thanks to the pair of late TDs he tossed.
Seattle may not be a great road team and may not make the playoffs this year, but it’s pretty clear that no team should want to venture onto the Seahawks’ turf.
Now for the rest of Week 6′s notable performances.
First Down: Robert Griffin III.
Fellow Redskins Lorenzo Alexander (1.5 sacks, fumble recovery) and Madieu Williams (10 tackles, interception return for TD) were battling for the nod here. But Griffin is just too darn good to ignore.
He did throw an interception Sunday, but the Redskins’ rookie QB also put up 320 total yards (182 passing, 138 rushing) and three TDs (one passing, two rushing), including a nail-in-the-coffin [si_launchNFLPopup video='c42a369e58a54b3c9ee43b0dbbfa405a']76-yard scoring scamper[/si_launchNFLPopup] on a third down in the waning moments — a play that killed a frantic Minnesota rally. Oh, and don’t look now, but the Redskins’ Week 7 game with the Giants is for first place in the NFC East.
Fourth Down: The Philadelphia Eagles (over the last few minutes of regulation and in overtime).
Neither Philadelphia nor Detroit was particularly sharp on Sunday, but the Eagles — [si_launchNFLPopup video='419b93a42edf4e579ab423cbfed51734']despite two turnovers by Michael Vick[/si_launchNFLPopup] — were in position to come up with a win after taking a 23-13 lead with 5:18 to go. The Eagles melted down after that, though, allowing the Lions to force overtime with 10 unanswered points. Vick’s offense then lost 21 yards on three OT plays, and the Lions won it on the ensuing possession.
First Down: John Abraham.
The Falcons’ veteran pass-rusher was a total menace for Oakland and QB Carson Palmer on Sunday. Abraham recorded three sacks, with all coming in crucial spots.
His first takedown of Palmer came with Oakland at the Falcons’ 39 and pushed the Raiders out of field-goal range. His next one, in the third quarter, led to an Atlanta field goal. And his third snuffed out an Oakland drive with less than 10 minutes to play.
Fourth Down: Kickers.
Quick props to Jay Feely for drilling a 61-yarder to get Arizona to overtime against Buffalo. But Feely [si_launchNFLPopup video='8105a8049e354ae7bf3a3d9d98056cc8']also missed a chance to win the game[/si_launchNFLPopup] from inside 40 yards — and the Cardinals went on to lose to Buffalo.
Dan Bailey also hooked a last-second field goal that would have given Dallas a win over Baltimore, and big-legged rookie Greg Zuerlein missed three FG tries, including an epic 66-yarder at the closing horn.
Matt Bryant is excluded here. The Atlanta kicker drilled a 55-yarder for the win with one second left.
First Down: Shonn Greene.
Why, hello there, Jets run game. Over his past four games, Greene had mustered a total of 123 yards on the ground. He ripped off 161 on Sunday, plus three touchdowns, as the Jets bullied the Colts, 35-9. Greene also had 32 carries, which marked his highest total since a 27-carry, 94-yard effort in a Week 1 win over Buffalo. Greene had some help out of the backfield, too — most notably from Joe McKnight, who set up one of Greene’s TDs with a 61-yard gain.
Fourth Down: Brady Quinn.
So, maybe this mess in Kansas City is not all Matt Cassel’s fault. Chiefs fans got their wish for a QB change on Sunday, with Cassel out of the lineup due to injury. But Quinn, up against a tough Tampa Bay defense, showed why he’s been clinging to a backup role recently. The ex-Brown finished with a QB rating of 48.1, while averaging just 4.7 yards per attempt.
Quinn also threw a pair of interceptions, one of which was taken back to the house by Ronde Barber to turn a 14-3 Bucs lead into an insurmountable 18-point edge.
First Down: Josh Gordon.
Congrats to the Cleveland Browns, who became the last team to pick up a win in the 2012 NFL season. And kudos to the franchise for rolling the dice by using a second-round pick in the supplemental draft to land Josh Gordon.
The speedy Gordon had a pair of TD catches last week against the Giants, and he came back Sunday with another one — the latest [si_launchNFLPopup video='9a74d0e0a4414af79d460387c4bb293a']a 71-yard home run[/si_launchNFLPopup] from Brandon Weeden to erase an early 7-0 deficit against Cincinnati. Gordon finished the Browns’ 34-24 win as the team’s leading receiver with 99 yards on just three catches. He still has some developing to do, but the early returns on Gordon are splendid.
Fourth Down: St. Louis away from home.
Seems like a lot of teams have the problem of not being able to win on the road, but the Rams are making an art form of it. Dating back to the 2010 season, St. Louis is now 3-13 away from home — that’s a full season’s worth of letdowns.
The latest setback came Sunday in Miami, as the Rams jumped out to a 6-0 lead and then went into a shell until the fourth quarter en route to a 17-14 loss. Given that the Rams had extra time to prepare for this one, having played the Thursday night game in Week 5, the apparent lack of energy in the middle two quarters had to be disheartening.
First Down: The defending champs.
Talk about a statement game. The Giants visited San Francisco in a rematch of the 2011 NFC title game and what many people think could be a preview of the 2012 conference championship.
Only one team looked ready for the spotlight Sunday, and it wasn’t the hosts. New York totally dominated San Francisco from start to finish, displaying a balanced offense, forcing three Alex Smith interceptions and shutting down Colin Kaepernick in his cameos.
There’s a long way to go until we get to the NFC title game, and the Giants are still in a tough fight for the division at 4-2. But it sure looks like the NFC might go through New York.
Fourth Down: Arizona’s offense.
The Bills came into Sunday having allowed a league-worst 176 points — an average of more than 35 per game through five weeks. And yet, Arizona could not establish anything offensively, as its sieve of an offensive line allowed five more sacks. Of course, the Cardinals still managed to put themselves in position to win, only to see Feely’s overtime FG try clip the upright.