Week 5 Sunday Morning

Well my favorite team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are in a bye week this week, so with things a little out of sorts we're going to take this opportunity to bring you a new feature, the debut of a semi-regular column here called Sunday Morning with Rob Holecko.  Sunday mornings, along with Larry Schmitt's bi-weekly series A Head To Head History, I'll be offering up this column to help you kick off the viewing of your football Sunday.  The rest of our blog lineup remains the same through the season, as Bill Schaefer will bring you another division of the NFL in his march to what all 32 teams would have looked like if they wore uniforms from the Golden Age of Pro Football on Tuesdays, and on Thursdays, Tim Brulia will offer his rankings of the previous week's uniform matchups.

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We knew Tennessee had a tough schedule, but we didn't know it was this tough:

According to this FOX graphic from the Week 3 Detroit at Tennessee game, the Titans are playing five consecutive road games, including two games in three days. (!)  They do play a Thursday game on the 11th against the Steelers, but the Colts game is on October 28, not the 23rd.  And the Pittsburgh and Indianapolis games are both at home, not on the road.  Showing this incorrect graphic must have been a bad omen for the Titans, because on the next play a Titans interception in the end zone, which would have clinched the game for them with a 41-27 lead, was erased by a phantom penalty (called by replacement officials) and Detroit then scored a touchdown, recovered an onside kick and scored on a Hail Mary pass at the end of regulation to tie the game.  The Titans prevailed in overtime when Detroit's center snapped the ball when he wasn't supposed to on a crucial fourth down.  

That game was during a wacky weekend two weeks ago -- the Sunday night game ended with a FG over the top of the uprights and Bill Belichick grabbing an official as they raced off the field and we all know how the Monday Night game ended.

But the regular officials were back for on Sept. 27 for the following Thursday night game between the Browns and Ravens, and not a moment too soon, as this sign (above) by a fan at the Patriots-Ravens game can attest to.

Speaking of bad officiating, the baseball playoffs started Friday with the first ever baseball "wild card" games.  The Atlanta Braves lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in Atlanta on a questionable infield fly rule call and the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Texas Rangers in Arlington, TX.  Starting this year, in a effort to make the three division winning teams in each league have a enjoy an advantage over the wild card teams, they added a second wild card in each league with the #5 playing a one game Wild Card playoff round at the #4 team.

The NFL expanded to 5 playoff teams in each conference and added their Wild Card game in 1978.  In the first ever NFL Wild Card games, on Christmas Eve of that year, the Philadelphia Eagles, like this year's baseball wild card, also went to Atlanta to face the Falcons, while the Houston Oilers played at Miami.  It was Atlanta's first playoff appearance ever, and the Eagles' first postseason game since their 1960 NFL Championship.

Atlanta won and went on to Dallas the following week where they lost in a NFC Divisional game, while the Oilers defeated Dolphins and won the following week as well, before losing to the Steelers in the first of two consecutive AFC Championship losses in Pittsburgh.

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There are six inter-conference games today, including the Eagles-Steelers, Packers-Colts, Browns-Giants and Bears-Jaguars.   The Bills and 49ers played a memorable game in 1992 in which there were no punts.  In this excerpt from"...and then Levy said to Kelly" about this game:
"It was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever played in," said Kelly. "When you don’t punt, either team, and you rack up as many yards as we did and wind up winning the game, we were very fortunate. Andre [Reed] was a key. Of course, Kent Hull was a key and Thurman was a big key. But as far as the passing game, Andre was my man. He was the guy that I knew to go to in certain situations. I knew that he was the guy that not many could handle one-on-one on the inside. He was my go-to man, without a doubt!

"Pete (Metzalaars) was a guy that if I was ever in trouble, I knew I could look for that big ol’ frame, and he was going to be there. He ran the best routes probably of anybody on the team. Not much as far as run after catch, but Pete was one of those guys who was Mr. Reliable. We were on the same page every single play."

As far as what turned out to be a Quarterback Challenge that was not a made-for-television event and did not involve trying to hit a target on a moving golf cart? "I remember playing him [Young] in the USFL, too," recalled Kelly. "‘The Greatest Game That Nobody Saw’ was the Sports Illustrated caption. We dueled out in Los Angeles, and the final score was like, 38-35, or something like that. They [L.A. Express] were beating us [Houston Gamblers] by three touchdowns, and we came back to beat them. Every time I played against Steve Young it was a battle."
The Chargers and the Saints will meet on Sunday Night for the first time since they played in London in 2008, and if Drew Brees can throw a touchdown pass, he will break Johnny Unitas' record for most consecutive games with a touchdown.  Finally, on Monday Night the Texans and the Jets will meet in what will sure to be a yawner if how the Jets have recently been playing is any indication.  Although maybe it will be Tebow Time, so you never know.

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Our Larry Schmitt will be back next week with another installment of Head To Head History as he takes a look at two NFC powerhouses who will meet on Oct. 14.   I may be offline for much of the day Sunday, so the head-to-heads may not get updated until late tonight or Monday morning, but have a good day and enjoy the football.

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