New England 24, Indianapolis 20
This game was billed as the midseason Super Bowl, but there were two major differences with that February affair. One was that, at halftime yesterday, Prince didn't show the world he has a really big . . . guitar. The other was that, in Tom Brady, the Colts were facing a slightly better quarterback than Rex Grossman. Brady did his thing, and Peyton Manning and Co. are the artists formerly known as undefeated.
Minnesota 35, San Diego 17
Adrian Peterson's performance may be described thusly: Holy guacamole!! It's not like the Chargers' defense, which is actually pretty good, had any reason to key on anyone else, what with Kelbrookvis Hollingerson throwing the ball. But the uber-rookie went ballistic, even rendering San Diego's Antonio Cromartie (an NFL-record 109-yard return) as minor a footnote as LaDainian "Oh, he played, too?" Tomlinson.
Washington 23, N.Y. Jets 20 (OT)
Gang Green got off to a great start, but it's what it can't stop -- the run -- that proved fatal. Clinton Portis had previously appeared to have lost a step but looked positively frisky yesterday. So while the rest of us set our clocks back an hour, the Jets can go ahead and set theirs to 3 p.m., April 26, 2008, and use what will inevitably be a high pick to draft someone, anyone, who can help slow down opposing ballcarriers.
Detroit 44, Denver 7
Earlier in the week, Lions QB Jon Kitna had apologized for showing up at a team Halloween party in the guise of assistant coach Joe Cullen, who was arrested last year for pulling up to a Wendy's drive-thru in the buff. But Kitna had nothing for which to apologize after playing well in his squad's de-pantsing of the Broncos. And really, he should be thanked for reminding the world that a Lions coach showed up at a drive-thru in the nude.
Tennessee 20, Carolina 7
In the hotel world, W's are known for their stylishness. In the Titans' world, W's are anything but. The team hasn't had a passing touchdown since late September, but hard running and tough defense have been enough for a 6-2 record.
Atlanta 20, San Francisco 16
Coming into the season, fantasy leaguers figured Atlanta's Warrick Dunn could be summed up by his last name, and they went after his promising backup, Jerious Norwood. But despite the latter averaging about six yards a carry, Falcons Coach Bobby Petrino keeps feeding the ball to the veteran, leaving Norwood owners to bemoan the fact that Warrick Dunn isn't.
Buffalo 33, Cincinnati 21
With the Bengals visiting the Bills, this was a "Bee Movie," featuring two teams who have received worse reviews than Jerry Seinfeld's flick. But Buffalo proved master of its domain, while Cincinnati's season continues to be a show about nothing.
New Orleans 41, Jacksonville 24
Welcome back, New Orleans! The Jags had a depleted secondary, and quarterback Drew Brees took full advantage, helping his team reach .500 after an 0-4 start. On the other hand, Jacksonville hopes to welcome injured QB David Garrard back soon, as his replacement did little to shake the label of Former Practice Squad Wide Receiver Quinn Gray.
Green Bay 33, Kansas City 22
Brett Favre's decision not to retire keeps looking better, as he got his first win over the Chiefs, the last NFL team he had yet to beat (beside his own, of course). In addition, the Packers became the first team to drop more than 20 points on the Chiefs this year, despite another unimpressive rushing total that may prompt cries to lure Corey Dillon out of his rocking chair.
Tampa Bay 17, Arizona 10
The Buccaneers made Earnest Graham their workhorse, giving him the ball 34 times for 124 yards. Meanwhile, the Cardinals came in averaging an NFL-worst 8.4 penalties per game, and kept it up with another eight for 64 yards. You thought it was just their fans who were the most penalized in the league.
Cleveland 33, Seattle 30 (OT)
Before the game, Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck said, "We could conceivably end up with the best record in football." It sounded unlikely at the time, and one loss later (not to mention yet another Pats win), it sounds ludicrous. But no more so than if Derek Anderson had said before the season, "I will lead my Browns to a 5-3 record through Week 9." So, by all means, Matt, keep dreaming -- and making laughable comments.
Houston 24, Oakland 17
The Raiders made the score respectable with a pair of late touchdowns, which is nice for them. But their play in the first half was harder to contemplate than the romance between Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olsen.
Dallas 38, Philadelphia 17
This game was overshadowed a bit by Eagles Coach Andy Reid's family troubles. His two sons are in jail, and a raid of Reid's house turned up so many pills that a judge described it as a "drug emporium." As someone who has had his own high-profile problems with prescription drugs, Rush Limbaugh was asked to comment; he declared it a tragedy for Reid that Donovan McNabb was so overrated.