Close Calls - Week 8

Close Calls - Week 8

Close Calls - Week 8
By Joe Nelson

Glancing at the scoreboard won't tell you the whole story in most games. Here are the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the Week 8 NFL games. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows, get the details in this weekly column.

Indianapolis Colts (+3½) 19, Tennessee Titans 13 (47): The Titans led, 10-6 entering the third quarter and that lead was pushed to 13-6 as Tennessee had to settle for a very short field goal early in the final quarter. That would prove costly as the Colts rallied to score the tying touchdown with just over three minutes to go. Tennessee went 39 yards on its final possession, but ultimately had to punt and in overtime the Colts got the ball first. Indianapolis had a nine-play drive to go 80 yards, ending the game with an acrobatic touchdown as the Titans never got the ball. In the loss, Tennessee only had seven possessions and 56 total plays.

Detroit Lions (-3) 28, Seattle Seahawks 24 (42½): Seattle led 17-7 early in the game, but the Lions were able to get within three before halftime. Neither team would score in the third quarter, allowing Detroit to take a 21-17 lead early in the fourth, sitting just past the spread. Seattle would connect on the go-ahead score with just over five minutes to go, but Detroit burned out nearly all of the time on a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that resulted in the four-point final margin, scoring with just 20 seconds left on the clock. The low-scoring game was also pushed just 'over' with the final flurry of touchdowns.

Miami Dolphins (+1) 30, New York Jets 9 (39): Miami took control early in this game even with limited yardage and an injury to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The total was an interesting case, as the number bounced around throughout the week between 38 and 40½, settling right on 39. With 30 points through three quarters things looked promising for the 'over,' but when the Jets scored a touchdown, they opted to go for two and failed. Miami moved into scoring range, but was content to kick a field goal to leave the scoring right at 39. On their last possession, the Jets drove into the red zone, but there was no point in kicking a field goal and they were stopped on downs.

Chicago Bears (-7) 23, Carolina Panthers 22 (41½): The Panthers looked safe for the underdog cover with a 19-7 lead entering the fourth quarter, but after an interception was returned for a touchdown, the Bears suddenly had a 20-19 lead in the game with less than seven minutes to go. Another touchdown from Chicago could have earned the cover, but to his credit, Cam Newton led the Panthers into field goal range and the go-ahead kick banged through. There was enough time for the Bears and Chicago would answer in the closing seconds with a field goal to win the game and the two late kicks sent the game 'over' the total.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-4½) 27, Washington Redskins 12 (44½): This total dropped all week with expected bad weather and the 'over' almost hit as one touchdown would have pushed past the closing number. In the fourth quarter, both teams were stopped on downs deep into opposing territory and with the final margin out of hand neither elected to kick a field goal, leaving the game 'under'.

Oakland Raiders (+1) 26, Kansas City Chiefs 16 (42): With a 23-9 lead entering the fourth quarter, Oakland was in great position to pick up a big divisional win and the Raiders would add a short field goal halfway through the quarter. The Chiefs marched deep into Oakland territory on the next possession, but Matt Cassel was intercepted inside the 10-yard line to the chagrin of those on the 'over.' The Chiefs would add a touchdown late to match the closing total of 42 and the game ended with Oakland sitting inside the Kansas City 10.

New York Giants (-2½) 29, Dallas Cowboys 24 (48): New York stormed out to a 23-0 lead in Dallas, but the Cowboys got a little momentum back to close to within 23-10 at halftime. Dallas took over the in the third quarter with great defense and two long scoring drives, the second coming off an Eli Manning interception, leading 24-23 entering the final frame in a great comeback. Dallas stalled on its next possession, allowing New York to kick a field goal to get the lead, but still sat short of the spread. Another Dallas turnover set the Giants up for another field goal a few minutes later as the Giants extended the lead to five points, just past the spread. Dallas went deep into New York territory twice, but failed to come up with points in the final minutes, including connecting on a long pass to Dez Bryant that was initially ruled a touchdown in the final seconds. Bryant's hand just came down out of the end zone in what would have been a spread result changing play.

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