The Slant

By Desmond Bieler
Monday, November 17, 2008

Cardinals 26,

Seahawks 20

After the vicious hit he took from the Jets' Eric Smith, Anquan Boldin had to have eight plates inserted into his face. Is there a bowl in his future? You know, one of the Super variety? If so, it would be well deserved, because in a league full of tough guys, no one is tougher -- or more productive -- than this wide receiver, who helped keep his team on track for a home game in the playoffs.

Steelers 11,

Chargers 10

Unprecedented! Apparently, the NFL had never witnessed an 11-10 final. Actually, a last-second return by Pittsburgh made the score an extremely precedented 17-10, and had legions of degenerate gamblers who took the Steelers at minus-5 whooping in delight and dreaming of getting the college fund back. But that score was waved off, as might be the Chargers' playoff hopes, now that they're two games behind Denver.

Dolphins 17,

Raiders 15

After last year's 1-15 debacle, no kind of win is anything for Miami to be ashamed of, so the Dolphins and their fans can beam like proud papas even at this pug-ugly home squeaker past woeful Oakland. Especially when prodigal son Ted Ginn, who has spent too much of the time since his first-round selection in the 2007 draft wandering the fields of NFL mediocrity, had so much to do with Miami's win.

Buccaneers 19,

Vikings 13

Jeff Garcia led Tampa Bay to the win, displaying the veteran savvy of someone who forms, with Minnesota counterpart Gus Frerotte, the last remnants of the quarterback class of '94. (Where are you now, Perry Klein?) Of course, while Frerotte went in the seventh round that year, Garcia wasn't drafted at all, so the Bucs quarterback was only too happy to show Frerotte where he could stick that superior pedigree.

Packers 37,

Bears 3

Against Green Bay's kleptomaniacal defense, Chicago was excited to have Kyle Orton back in place of Turnoversaurus Rex. But Orton proved to some sort of terrible-dactyl (a terrible-dact-Kyle? Okay, maybe not) as his team looked like it was firmly in the "Land of the Lost." Which, to extend this incredibly dated reference, casts the Packers in the role of those fiendish green-and-yellow creatures known as Sleestak.

Saints 30,

Chiefs 20

Say this much for Kansas City: The Chiefs are 1-9, but they're not really a joke anymore, having lost their past four games by a total of 18 points. That comes as bad news to those of us who get paid to make fun of various NFL goings-on. Thanks a Thigpen-load, K.C.! Appropriate for French-flavored New Orleans that its effort was led by a guy named Pierre (last name Thomas), who displayed much savoir-faire with the ball.

Eagles 13,

Bengals 13

Now Cincinnati, there's a team that's still a joke, even if it's slightly better than 1-9. It's a glorious 1-8-1 because after scratching its way to a game-winning field goal attempt with seven seconds to go, its kicker, who had been perfect on distances of 40 to 49 yards, pushed the 47-yarder wide right. As if Bengals fans aren't long-suffering enough, they had to suffer through overtime just to go home without enjoying a win.

Panthers 31,

Lions 22

Did someone say joke? Without any further ado, we present the league's foremost punch line/punching bag, the Lions! This week's embarrassment included giving up a team-record 264 yards rushing to Carolina, as Detroit let itself get trampled like a laggard at the annual wedding gown sale at Filene's Basement. Which makes sense, since the 0-10 Lions are obviously determined to always be the bridesmaid this season.

Colts 33,

Texans 27

Given how badly Sage Rosenfels imploded the last time his Texans played the Colts, and how Indianapolis has always proven to be a house of horrors for Houston, it's a testament to Rosenfels's fortitude he didn't just drop the ball and run away shrieking at the first sight of guys with horseshoes on their helmets. Of course, he did still have a turnover and, of course, his team still lost, but there was a minimum of shrieking.

Titans 24,

Jaguars 14

Jacksonville Coach Jack Del Rio had spent the week referring to Tennessee as "Goliath." (Not inaccurately, in the case of Albert Haynesworth; see page E2 for more details.) But Del Rio forgot to tell his David, a quarterback named Garrard, he didn't want him literally to throw the rock at the enemy. Garrard's late interception hardly slew Goliath; rather, it helped the Titans remain large and in charge -- and undefeated.

Broncos 24,

Falcons 20

Was Spencer Larsen wearing a leather helmet? The Bronco was certainly keeping things old school, as he not only started on both offense (as a fullback) and defense (as a linebacker), but he also started the game on special teams. A suitably inspired Denver showed a little bit of old-fashioned balance, running the ball fairly well and playing some defense. For its part, Atlanta gave a throwback (to 2007) performance by losing.

Giants 30,

Ravens 10

Speaking of harkening back to yesteryear, much was made during this contest of this being the 50th year since the 1958 title game between the Giants and, well, a team from Baltimore. That overtime thriller is often called "the Greatest Game Ever Played," a designation yesterday's one-sided affair will never earn. But thanks to Matt Stover, it did see the Greatest Point-After Streak Ever Accomplished, so there's some history.

49ers 35,

Rams 16

Remember when the Rams shook off their awful start and actually played pretty well for a few weeks? Well, they're back to being about as relevant to the national conversation as Joe the Plumber. Over its past three games, St. Louis has been outscored in the first half by a total of 99-10. We haven't seen lopsided figures like that since the numbers started rolling in on Election Night! Sorry, Joe.

Cowboys 14,

Redskins 10

Art Monk and Darrell Green were honored on the field before the game, which prompted Monk to note, "I never had the privilege of playing in FedEx Field, but I'm sure it seats the same loyal and committed fans that cheered for me while playing at RFK Stadium." Then, after surveying the stands, Monk expressed relief that those same fans never had to resort to waving cheap towels at RFK.

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