Pats, Saints, Jets highlight Thanksgiving
The Cowboys came agonizingly close to upsetting the Saints for their third straight win under interim head coach Jason Garrett. Tom Brady had a flawless day passing against the reeling Lions and the Jets found a way to win a game without giving their fans a heart attack, dispatching the Bengals. With another exciting day of football in the books, we take a look at the biggest stories you may have missed on Thanksgiving.
Watch out for the Saints
After Drew Brees and the Saints rattled off 17 first-quarter points and held the Cowboys scoreless, it looked like New Orleans was in for an easy afternoon. But midway through the fourth quarter the Saints found themselves trailing, possibly on their way to a stunning loss. After a huge Cowboys turnover by Roy Williams it was up to Brees, and the Super Bowl MVP delivered. He drove the team 89 yards for a go-ahead TD, and New Orleans survived a 59-yard, potential game-tying field-goal attempt that was just wide. The Saints have now won four straight to improve to 8-3 and look like a legitimate threat to return to the Super Bowl.
Brady is Mr. Perfect
Just days after outdueling his nemesis Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, Tom Brady came out against the Lions and was even better. After a sluggish start that saw the Pats fall behind by 11 late in the second quarter, Brady erupted for four second-half touchdowns. Brady connected with familiar target Deion Branch for two scores, one a 79-yard thriller to tie the game at 24. Brady finished 21 for 27 for 341 yards and no interceptions, good for a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Lions center Dominic Raiola said it best: “He's like a surgeon.” He certainly is.
Old habits are hard to break
The Cowboys were minutes away from pulling off the upset against the Saints and winning their third straight game under interim head coach Jason Garrett. With ’Boys wide receiver Roy Williams streaking toward the end zone, it looked like Dallas, already leading 27-23, was about to put the game away. Then, New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins came up with the play of the game, stripping the ball loose and recovering it. While the Cowboys have indisputably been playing better football without Wade Phillips, it seems they still can find ways to beat themselves.
Brad Smith is no longer a secret weapon
What more can be said about the Jets’ X-factor? He’s the focal point in the Jets’ “Seminole” offense, which is Rex Ryan’s take on the wildcat. Smith also returns kicks and lines up in multiple positions within New York’s offensive formations. If he wasn’t considered a threat before Thanksgiving evening, he sure is now. Smith racked up 200 total yards including a scintillating 89-yard touchdown run on a kickoff return. Oh, and despite losing his shoe halfway through the return, he still dashed past Bengals defenders.
The Bungles are back
Despite loads of talent, Marvin Lewis’ Bengals can’t seem to get it together. Terrell Owens didn’t have much to show for all his talk before his matchup against the Jets and cornerback Darrelle Revis. T.O. was held to three catches for 17 yards. Any time the Bengals looked like they had a shot to make it a game against the Jets in the second half, they shot themselves in the foot. Quarterback Carson Palmer threw two interceptions, the running game was ineffective, and the Bengals even turned the ball over after a punt by Steve Weatherford was ruled to have hit a Cincinnati player. It’s been a long season for the Bengals, we’re beginning to wonder what else is on TV.