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Crossing the Line - Week 13
By Todd Gray and Fritz Schlottman
November 28, 2003
 
San Diego vs. Kansas City

San Diego Offense

Sacked/G=1.91

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.=5.3

Kansas City Defense

Sacks/G=2.64

Rush TDs Against/G=.73

Rush Avg. Against=4.9

San Diego Defense

Sacks/G=2.09

Rush TDs Against/G=.73

Rush Avg. Against=4.4

Kansas City Offense

Sacked/G=1.45

Rush TDs/G=1.64

Rush Avg.=4.4

When the Chargers have the ball - The Chargers weren't bad when they had the ball on Sunday, but they had to keep settling for less and couldn't keep pace with the suddenly explosive Bengals. San Diego scored on three of its first four drives, but twice settled for field goals thanks to its failure to convert on third down - a problem that plagued the team throughout the game (3-of-11).

RB Ladanian Tomlinson had 95 yards on 16 carries and carried only seven times in the second half, including a six-yard TD run. QB Doug Flutie was 15-of-33 for 210 yards and WR David Boston awoke with nine catches for 139 yards, including TDs of 37 and 26 yards.

C Jason Ball and RG/T Soloman Page should start on Sunday. Page may see time at guard in order for rookie T Courtney Van Buren to remain at right tackle.

The Chiefs' D finally faced a little adversity in the form of injuries. ML Greg Maslowski (knee) became the first Kansas City starter to miss a game this season when he was declared inactive against the Raiders.

For the second straight week, the Kansas City defense looked anything but unbeatable. Oakland amassed 379 yards of offense and held the ball four minutes longer than the Chiefs. To make matters worse, a unit that's made its living this season on takeaways failed to force a turnover for the second straight week.

When the Chiefs have the ball - The Chiefs' offense seemed undeterred by the defense's woes. RB Priest Holmes racked up 191 total yards and a TD on 21 rushes and six receptions, and QB Trent Green had a passer rating greater than 100 for the fifth time in six games. Green's streak of 156 passes without an interception is the league-high for the season.

Over the past three weeks, San Diego has allowed averages of 33 points and 454 yards while allowing their opponents a 55 percent third-down conversion rate. The Chargers have given up more first-half points (188) than five teams have allowed all season. San Diego committed penalties on the first three plays from scrimmage and had four overall in the Bengals' first TD drive.

In a nutshell, teams have run and thrown with abandon against San Diego of late. The 225 yards surrendered on the ground to the Bengals was the most against the Chargers in 16 years.

So.Kansas City may score a point or 57 this Sunday. It's difficult to consider what may slow down the Chiefs - the first thing that comes to mind is an act of God.

Oakland vs. Denver

Oakland Offense

Sacked/G=2.45

Rush TDs/G=1.09

Rush Avg.=4.2

Denver Defense

Sacks/G=2.27

Rush TDs Against/G=.45

Rush Avg. Against=3.8

Oakland Defense

Sacks/G=1.36

Rush TDs Against/G=1.27

Rush Avg. Against=4.6

Denver Offense

Sacked/G=1.73

Rush TDs/G=.73

Rush Avg.=4.9

When the Raiders have the ball - This is how it was supposed to work: a steady run game complimented by a smooth-if-not-explosive passing game and solid play up and down the offensive line. Control time of possession and convert 8-of-15 third downs and your golden. Unfortunately, things didn't go right on the other side of the ball for the Raiders

Oakland executed its most balanced attack of the season, passing for 213 yards on 31 attempts and running the ball 35 times for 166 yards (4.7 yards per carry). QB Rick Mirer enjoyed a comfortable pocket most of the day, avoided big mistakes, and even ran for 38 yards, including a 13-yard TD scamper. Mirer has thrown zero interceptions in his three starts this season.

Denver's defense worked with a short field for most of the day against the Bears, which legitimized Chicago's 217 yards of total offense. The Broncos missed LDT Daryl Gardener and put little pressure on Bears' QBs Chris Chandler and Kordell Stewart outside of DE Trevor Pryce's pair of sacks.

The Broncos did limit Chicago to 3.2 yards per carry (106 yards) but were burned on a handful of Stewart scrambles, including his game-winning TD at the goal line.

Oakland will seek to continue its success running the ball, but Denver will provide the biggest test to date. Mirer will most likely have a greater load on his shoulders and will have to beat the Broncos through the air if RBs Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner get shut down.

When the Broncos have the ball - Two hundred yards on the ground and zero turnovers couldn't even give Denver an advantage in time of possession or field position, let alone help the Broncos score more than 10 measly points against an average albeit improving Chicago defense.

RB Clinton Portis had runs of 59 and 49 yards, but the Broncos could muster only three points total on those drives. QB Jake Plummer was relatively efficient, completing 19 of 35 passes with one TD and zero interceptions, but he was victimized by missed passes and often frustrated by mediocre blocking and lots of Chicago blitzes. Denver was 4-of-12 on third-down conversions.

Once again, Oakland gave up too much on the ground and couldn't harass the opposing QB. Granted, it was Kansas City, but this problem is more than a trend. RB Priest Holmes was "limited" to 91 yards on the ground, but burned the Raiders for 100 more yards largely on short screen passes.

Denver will try to do the same to the Raiders, and Portis should have a big day. Plummer accounted for three first-quarter TDs against Oakland the first time these teams met in Week 3, and this could be the springboard game that gets the Broncos back on track following a largely demoralizing six-game stretch.

Indianapolis vs. New England

Indianapolis Offense

Sacked/G=.91

Rush TDs/G=1.09

Rush Avg.=3.4

New England Defense

Sacks/G=2.27

Rush TDs Against/G=.73

Rush Avg. Against=3.6

Indianapolis Defense

Sacks/G=2.18

Rush TDs Against/G=.91

Rush Avg. Against=4.7

New England Offense

Sacked/G=2.09

Rush TDs/G=.55

Rush Avg.=3.5

When the Colts have the ball - RB Edgerrin James had another impressive performance with his fourth 100-yard game of the season and his second in as many weeks. James (28 carries, 108 yards) was a workhorse in the second half, rushing 16 times for 72 yards and two TDs against one of the league's toughest run defenses in the Bills.

The offensive line played well despite the absence of LT Tarik Glenn, who missed his fifth game with a knee injury. QB Peyton Manning had time to pick his receivers most of the day, and completed 26 of 42 passes for 229 yards. WR Marvin Harrison was a bit rusty in his return, but other receivers picked up the slack.

The Colts will have their hands full with the Patriots' front seven, who owned the line of scrimmage against the Texans. New England bottled up rookie RB Domanick Davis and allowed the Texans just fewer than three yards per rush. This all came with QB Tony Banks at the helm - a far stretch from Manning.

When the Patriots have the ball - The Patriots beat Houston through the air despite 41 rushing attempts through five quarters. QB Tom Brady completed 29 passes for 368 yards with three of his top four receivers on the sidelines. Brady did throw two interceptions and fumbled twice, and these miscues turned into 14 Houston points. Still, he was huge in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

New England ran the ball just well enough to win against a Houston defense that has been anything but tough against the run. RB Kevin Faulk added eight catches for 108 yards to his 80 yards on the ground. As a team, the Patriots averaged only 3.1 yards per carry against a unit that had allowed 100-yard rushers in the first half of its three previous games.

The Colts' run defense rebounded from a string of poor performances to limit RB Travis Henry to 77 yards on 22 carries. Buffalo ran for 110 yards on 27 carries, but 21 yards came on a run by P Brian Moorman following a botched punt attempt. Indy sacked QB Drew Bledsoe twice and harassed him into another poor performance.

St. Louis vs. Minnesota

St. Louis Offense

Sacked/G=3.00

Rush TDs/G=1.09

Rush Avg.=3.4

Minnesota Defense

Sacks/G=2.18

Rush TDs Against/G=1.18

Rush Avg. Against=5.1

St. Louis Defense

Sacks/G=2.09

Rush TDs Against/G=.55

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

Minnesota Offense

Sacked/G=2.55

Rush TDs/G=.91

Rush Avg.=4.5

When the Rams have the ball - The trouble that was lurking just beneath the surface now is becoming all-too-apparent for the Rams. QB Marc Bulger had another inconsistent performance with 329 yards passing and a TD to go along with four interceptions. The offensive line was dismantled by the blitz against the league's worst pass rush, giving up four sacks and giving Bulger little time in the pocket.

Bulger has thrown four touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his past four games with a QB rating of 62.2. He's also led the Rams to fourth-quarter comebacks in three of those games and was at his best again late against the Cardinals.

RB Marshall Faulk carried the ball 24 times for 100 hard-earned yards and a TD. Faulk didn't benefit from the best run blocking and was again hit a few times behind the line of scrimmage.

Bulger's recent tendency to throw the ball to the wrong team could give the Rams even more fits against the Vikings. Minnesota has thrived on interceptions this year with a league-leading 22.

Minnesota shut down the Lions on Sunday, which was actually something of an accomplishment since the Vikings hadn't stopped anyone since October and had surrendered an average of 221 yards rushing in its previous three games.

Shutting down the Rams in St. Louis is another matter altogether. Bulger should rebound well enough against one of the league's worst defenses to duplicate his early-season stats. If not, let the Kurt Warner mumblings begin.

When the Vikings have the ball - The Vikings' offense was outscored by its defense, generating only 10 points and a season-low 307 yards. Minnesota posted 81 rushing yards on 15 carries (5.4 average) in the first half before mustering only 30 yards on 13 carries after halftime.

RB Moe Williams fumbled for the first time in 183 carries this season when his third-quarter drop was returned 80 yards for a touchdown. RB Michael Bennett, getting most of the team's carries, ran for 62 yards and a 25-yard touchdown in the first half and only 11 yards on four carries in the second half.

Minnesota committed 11 penalties and has been guilty of 10 or more infractions for three straight weeks. G Chris Liwienski committed back-to-back penalties after the Vikings had reached the Lions' 1, and Minnesota settled for a 24-yard field goal.

St. Louis escaped the Cardinals despite a near-collapse on defense. Despite putting little pressure on QB Jeff Blake, allowing a 50 percent third-down conversion ratio (7-of-14) and allowing 5.5 yards per carry on the ground, the Rams made up the difference with a pair of interceptions and by allowing the Cards only one TD in four visits to the red zone.

The Rams have been giving up more points lately, which should make this a high-scoring affair. St. Louis has faced little in the way of big-time receivers, and Moss can be counted on for a huge play or two after being largely shut down by the hapless Lions.

NY Giants vs. Buffalo

NY Giants Offense

Sacked/G=1.73

Rush TDs/G=.45

Rush Avg.=4.1

Buffalo Defense

Sacks/G=1.73

Rush TDs Against/G=.91

Rush Avg. Against=3.6

NY Giants Defense

Sacks/G=2.55

Rush TDs Against/G=.91

Rush Avg. Against=4.2

Buffalo Offense

Sacked/G=2.91

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.=3.8

When the Giants have the ball - The Giants have scored two touchdowns on offense in the past three weeks. Penalties stalled a handful of drives against the Buccaneers, with New York managing only two field goals and an interception in three chances inside the Bucs' 20.

QB Kerry Collins, who hasn't looked comfortable in weeks, fumbled twice, threw two interceptions and was sacked three times. Collins, benefiting from little protection of late, faced substantial pressure from Warren Sapp and the Bucs. He also hasn't been offered much protection during that time. The Giants were penalized nine times for 71 yards.

Buffalo's defense was once again its saving grace until the Colts mounted 61- and 83-yard touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. The Bills allowed Indy 15 yards or less on five of the Colts' eight drives through three quarters.

New York may have more margin for error against a Bills' defense that has played poorly against the pass on the road. Assuming Barber has at least an average game, Collins may try to open things up with a couple of long tosses to his receivers. If that works, the Bills will be in for another long day.

When the Bills have the ball - QB Drew Bledsoe led Buffalo on two assertive touchdown drives, but the Bills' long drive among its eight remaining possessions was 28 yards. Inconsistent play along the offensive line, which included some untimely penalties, once again plagued the Bills.

RB Travis Henry played through a fractured right fibula and fought for 77 yards on 22 carries. Henry also caught a team-high four passes for 21 yards. Despite his effort, Henry's limited mobility resulted in six runs for zero or negative yardage.

Bledsoe finished with 135 yards passing and a 51.9 QB rating. A meltdown by his blockers on the team's final possession was largely responsible for his last-minute interception, but he shouldn't have eaten the sack.

Tampa Bay's second-quarter TD against the Giants was the 13th consecutive time a Giants opponent scored a touchdown after reaching the red zone. Opponents have routinely been burning New York in the middle of the field, but there are no guarantees these days with Buffalo's passing offense, except for that it will do little to help the Bills win.

Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati

Pittsburgh Offense

Sacked/G=2.64

Rush TDs/G=.55

Rush Avg.=3.3

Cincinnati Defense

Sacks/G=1.82

Rush TDs Against/G=.73

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

Pittsburgh Defense

Sacks/G=2.36

Rush TDs Against/G=.91

Rush Avg. Against=3.6

Cincinnati Offense

Sacked/G=2.09

Rush TDs/G=.73

Rush Avg.=3.9

When the Steelers have the ball - The Steelers' offense barely did anything on Sunday, but they did what they had to do when they had to do it. Pittsburgh finished 168 total yards, including two yards and zero first downs in the first quarter and six plays totaling nine yards in the third quarter.

Pittsburgh was 2-of-14 on third-down conversions and managed only 11 first downs. The Steelers' No. 31 ranking in rushing is the lowest such ranking in team history.

LT Marvel Smith returned to start at left tackle after missing all but three snaps in the previous seven games. He allowed a sack on the Steelers' third offensive play, but settled down and finished strong.

Cincinnati used to be the perfect cure for what ailed the Steelers. This week, Pittsburgh finds itself two games behind the Bengals with five games left on the slate. The Steelers will try to exploit a Cincy D known for bending a lot and breaking on occasion. Not that Pittsburgh has a cupboard full of big-play options.

The Bengals had zero takeaways against the Chargers but held San Diego to 2-of-11 on third downs. The defense almost let a 14-0 lead slip away in the first half, but rallied to hold two San Diego drives to three-point outcomes.

When the Bengals have the ball - Cincinnati may be shedding its reputation as a horrible road team. It seems like every game these days is a revenge game for a pasting undertaken in the past. Sunday's game against the Steelers is no exception.

The Bengals continued their dominance on offense with a season-high 33 first downs while converting 13 of 20 third down chances. It all added up to a 16:36 advantage in time of possession. The running game gained at least 200 yards for the third straight game and Jon Kitna continued to play smart and to maximize the talent around him - or the lack thereof across the line (note: San Diego secondary). Kitna completed 24 of 38 passes with four touchdowns.

RBs Corey Dillon (18 carries, 108 yards) and Rudi Johnson (16-65) led a strong ground game.

The five-turnover advantage created by Pittsburgh's defense was the difference-maker against the Browns, and also a rarity for the Steelers this season. Not the plus-five, but any positive margin at all. Pittsburgh's pass coverage was great, which allowed the line to harass QB Kelly Holcomb without blitzing often. The Steelers also stopped a 16-play, 76-yard Cleveland drive at their own 1 when the Browns turned it over on downs. Four Cleveland trips into the red zone resulted in 14 plays, 12 yards and zero TDs for the Browns.

Cincinnati has not given the ball away much at all of late. The Steelers stole the ball often against the Browns, but in the previous four games managed only one fumble recovery and zero interceptions.

Kitna didn't play well in the teams' first meeting but seems to have grown immensely since then. For starters, he's become much better at using all of his resources. This is also not the Pittsburgh defense of old despite recent signs to the contrary.

Carolina vs. Philadelphia

Carolina Offense

Sacked/G=1.55

Rush TDs/G=.73

Rush Avg.=4.2

Philadelphia Defense

Sacks/G=2.18

Rush TDs Against/G=.73

Rush Avg. Against=4.3

Carolina Defense

Sacks/G=2.36

Rush TDs Against/G=.45

Rush Avg. Against=3.7

Philadelphia Offense

Sacked/G=2.91

Rush TDs/G=1.36

Rush Avg.=4.8

When the Panthers have the ball - Dallas' No. 1-ranked defense was a great test for the Panthers, who failed in most respects on offense. The offensive line was pushed around all day, giving RB Stephen Davis little room to run and QB Jake Delhomme few options otherwise.

Delhomme, facing regular pressure, completed 9 of 24 passes with a TD and an interception. Davis averaged 2.3 yards a carry and WR Steve Smith was the only receiver with more than two catches.

The Panthers were penalized 11 times, including three false start penalties by LT Todd Steussie, and went 1-for-11 on third down conversions.

Philadelphia gave up 466 yards to the Saints, but allowed only 20 points. New Orleans QB Aaron Brooks' fumble at the 1-yard line made those 466 yards much more bearable. The Eagles put little pressure on Brooks and allowed 199 rushing yards, including 184 by RB Deuce McAllister. In the past four games, Philly's sagging run defense has allowed 28 runs of eight yards or more.

When the Eagles have the ball - The Eagles' three-back rotation continues to pay dividends. RBs Duce Staley (8 carries), Correll Buckhalter (7) and Brian Westbrook (9) gained a combined 147 rushing yards and caught six passes for 73 yards. QB Donovan McNabb chipped in with 54 yards on seven rushes.

McNabb, benefiting from solid protection, was great again. He connected with 10 different receivers, completed 16 of 25 passes for 259 yards and didn't throw an interception for the fourth straight game.

Carolina's run defense shut down the Cowboys with the exception of a costly trick fullback option pitch that turned into a 16-yard touchdown. However, the Panthers put little pressure on QB Quincy Carter, who completed a career-best 29 passes.

The Eagles are well-suited to mimic the Cowboys' game plan of mixing in numerous passes underneath Carolina coverage. Dallas tight ends and running backs had success as receivers, and Staley and Westbrook both should benefit from a similar strategy.

Baltimore vs. San Francisco

Baltimore Offense

Sacked/G=2.82

Rush TDs/G=.82

Rush Avg.=4.8

San Francisco Defense

Sacks/G=2.73

Rush TDs Against/G=.55

Rush Avg. Against=4.0

Baltimore Defense

Sacks/G=2.82

Rush TDs Against/G=.45

Rush Avg. Against=3.5

San Francisco Offense

Sacked/G=1.91

Rush TDs/G=.82

Rush Avg.=4.4

When the Ravens have the ball - Baltimore used career games from two relative unknowns and a big game from their consummate All-Pro to keep up with the Seahawks. QB Anthony Wright set career highs in pass attempts (37), completions (20), yards (319) and touchdowns (4), WR Marcus Robinson had four touchdowns among his seven catches and RB Jamal Lewis broke 100 yards again with 117, including 56 on 10 carries in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Despite six sacks, Wright remained unshaken and was accurate for much of the game. With rookie QB Kyle Boller out until possibly the second-to-last regular season game, Wright will start for the Ravens until that time and possibly beyond.

The 49ers were simply overwhelmed by the Packers superior offensive line and league-best running game. Whoever ran the ball for Green Bay ran it well, and the Packers finished with 243 yards on the ground. Suspect tackling didn't help San Francisco's cause.

When the 49ers have been weak against the run, it's been in matchups like this one - on the road and against a bruising back. Lewis should enjoy a big game, which is good because the Ravens aren't ready to count on Wright to win ballgames for them.

When the 49ers have the ball - The offensive line pulled a stinker on surprising QB Tim Rattay and the 49ers normally potent rushing attack. Rattay benefited from little pass protection (4 sacks) and responded by showcasing his heretofore untested mobility (it's not too good) and by misfiring on a handful of passes.

RB Kevan Barlow's blocking challenges and the 49ers' deficit kept Barlow on the sidelines after four carries in the games first 16 minutes. RB Garrison Hearst handled the bulk of the carries but was limited to 59 yards on 16 carries.

Injuries to All-Pro RG Ron Stone (hamstring) and backup Dwayne Ledford (ankle) hurt the 49ers' cause. Stone left after the first series and likely won't play against Baltimore. Ledford struggled early in relief before sustaining his injury and may miss the rest of the season.

Despite allowing 133 yards on the ground, Baltimore didn't die by the rush. The secondary was ignited to the tune of a season-high 293 yards passing allowed. The Ravens entered the game third in the league, giving up an average of 170.9 yards.

Baltimore allowed 54 yards RB Shaun Alexander's first 13 carries, then held him to 18 yards on his final nine attempts.

DE Anthony Weaver re-injured his neck in the first quarter on Sunday and may be out this week.

Houston vs. Atlanta

Houston Offense

Sacked/G=2.09

Rush TDs/G=.82

Rush Avg.=3.9

Atlanta Defense

Sacks/G=2.55

Rush TDs Against/G=1.55

Rush Avg. Against=4.7

Houston Defense

Sacks/G=1.45

Rush TDs Against/G=.91

Rush Avg. Against=4.4

Atlanta Offense

Sacked/G=2.36

Rush TDs/G=1.09

Rush Avg.=4.6

When the Texans have the ball - The Texans' struggles on offense caught up with them against a tough New England defense. Houston compiled 169 total yards in its worst showing of the season.

The Patriots controlled the middle and forced rookie RB Domanack Davis to run to the outside - not his style - and rushed QB Tony Banks into some poor throws while sacking him three times. Banks' receivers were guilty of a handful of drops.

Davis failed to score in three tries from the 1-yard line in the first quarter and the Texans settled for a field goal. In overtime, Davis had one run for no gain and a five-yard loss on another that backed Houston out of field goal range.

QB David Carr (shoulder) may return against the Falcons, but Tony Banks will most likely make another start.

Atlanta fell back into old habits after jumping to a 21-0 lead against the Titans. The Falcons made Eddie George look something like the E.G. of old, allowing him runs of 19, 18 and 17 yards en route to a 115-yard day - his highest output of the season. His 4.4 yard average was also a season high.

The Falcons had only one sack after accumulating 10 in their previous two games. The pressure on the QB was poor enough that unknown Billy Volek made a name for himself in relief of Steve McNair. Atlanta was without the services of NT Ed Jasper (flu).

When the Falcons have the ball - If it starts with the running game, then the Falcons never started. Atlanta managed only 25 yards rushing on 20 carries for an average not worth mentioning against the NFL's No. 1 rush defense. Dunn, who had rushed for 178 and 162 yards in his previous two games, injured his left foot and may be out for the season.

QB Doug Johnson was a welcome replacement for Kurt Kittner. Johnson passed for 276 yards, which far exceeded Kittner's total of 200 in the three previous games. Johnson received good pass protection and threw only a handful of bad passes.

After rolling up 123 yards of offense in the first quarter, the Falcons mustered only 159 yards the rest of the way.

If Atlanta is to prove it can run the ball without Dunn, this Sunday is the time to do it. Houston allowed "only" 128 yards rushing to the Patriots, which is a big improvement over the previous three weeks. The Texans limited New England to 3.1 yards per carry and a long run of 11 yards. Houston did allow RB Kevin Faulk to burn them out of the backfield with two short passes that he turned into long gains.

The Texans' four sacks were not indicative of the line's overall play. Houston pressured QB Tom Brady on a number of occasions but the rush disappeared at critical times.

Texans' Pro Bowl CB Aaron Glenn (groin) is likely out this Sunday.

Chicago vs. Arizona

Chicago Offense

Sacked/G=2.73

Rush TDs/G=.82

Rush Avg.=4.0

Arizona Defense

Sacks/G=1.18

Rush TDs Against/G=.82

Rush Avg. Against=3.6

Chicago Defense

Sacks/G=1.18

Rush TDs Against/G=.82

Rush Avg. Against=4.7

Arizona Offense

Sacked/G=1.73

Rush TDs/G=.27

Rush Avg.=4.0

When the Bears have the ball - The Bears' offense wasn't exactly on, but it worked well enough to give Chicago important advantages in time of possession (32:43-27:17) and in numerous big short-yardage situations. The Bears converted only 4-of-17 third down conversions but were perfect on three fourth down tries.

Five players ran the ball, with Anthony Thomas leading the way with 60 yards on 21 carries. QB Kordell Stewart's 11-yard TD scramble was the Bears' longest run of the day, and he also went up the middle for a 1-yard score on fourth-and-one early in the fourth quarter.

Both Stewart and starting QB Chris Chandler were asked to do relatively little, and made their living on short passes (126 total yards passing). Neither QB threw an interception.

Arizona rose to the occasion versus the Rams before falling back to Earth. The Cardinals sacked QB Marc Bulger four times and picked off four of his passes, but still allowed him to throw for 69 yards on the Rams' game-tying drive in the fourth quarter. Arizona allowed 100 yards on 24 carries to RB Marshall Faulk, which is about what one would expect.

When the Cardinals have the ball - QB Jeff Blake was given decent protection and the offensive line led the way for 166 yards on the ground, but Blake threw two costly interceptions and RB Michael Shipp lost five yards on a run and three yards on a pass during the Cardinals' disastrous final possession in regulation.

Shipp finished with 95 carries on 24 attempts, while Blake completed 15 of 27 passes for 192 yards two TDs.

It was classic bend-but-don't break defense for the Bears in Denver. Chicago allowed only one sustained drive to the Broncos, a 12-play, 78-yard trek on their first possession - this despite giving up 200 yards on the ground and not forcing a single turnover. The Bears allowed RB Clinton Portis 49- and 59-yard runs, but allowed a total of three points on those possessions.

With the exception of a few bootleg passes, Chicago gave Denver little through the air and sacked QB Jake Plummer two times - nearly twice their season average - while batting down three of his passes at the line of scrimmage.

Washington vs. New Orleans

Washington Offense

Sacked/G=3.09

Rush TDs/G=.55

Rush Avg.=3.9

New Orleans Defense

Sacks/G=2.18

Rush TDs Against/G=.91

Rush Avg. Against=4.6

Washington Defense

Sacks/G=1.45

Rush TDs Against/G=1.18

Rush Avg. Against=4.2

New Orleans Offense

Sacked/G=2.27

Rush TDs/G=.82

Rush Avg.=4.8

When the Redskins have the ball - Oddly enough, Washington coach Steve Spurrier opted to pass five times against only three rushes as the 'Skins lost a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. This despite the Redskins' relative success on the ground throughout much of the game.

RB Trung Canidate and scatback Chad Morton combined for 116 yards on 28 carries behind solid run-blocking. The offensive line gave good pass protection to QB Tim Hasselbeck in the first significant action of his career, and Hasselbeck responded by hitting 10 of 14 first-half passes after he replaced starter Patrick Ramsey on the team's second series. He didn't fare so well in the second half under increased Miami pressure, hitting only five of 16 throws.

LT Chris Samuels (knee) is likely out against New Orleans. Reserve Brandon Winey played well filling in for Samuels against the Dolphins.

New Orleans allowed Philadelphia to score on seven of 11 possessions and, minus run-stopper Willie Whitehead, surrendered at least 50 yards on the ground to three different Eagles. The Saints allowed 6.3 yards per carry and let QB Donovan McNabb spread the ball to 10 different receivers due to sporadic pressure (three sacks).

Whitehead (knee) is questionable for this Sunday, and should he miss the game DT Kenny Smith will start in his place.

When the Saints have the ball - Four hundred and sixty-six yards and only 20 lousy points? Four fumbles - including three on the Saints' first three possessions - and eight offensive penalties nullified another outstanding performance for RB Deuce McAllister (19 carries, 184 yards, 2 TDs). The Eagles scored 17 points following Saints' turnovers.

New Orleans' rushed for 199 yards at 8.3 yards per carry. QB Aaron Brooks posted good numbers, as well, but faced a good deal of pressure and was sacked twice.

LG Kendyl Jacox will miss another week or two after having a bone chip removed from his right knee. Rookie LG Montrae Holland will continue to start in Jacox' absence.

Washington held RB Ricky Williams in check for three quarters before letting him get away for 56 yards on 10 carries in the fourth quarter, including TD runs of 1 and 24 yards. Miami's struggling offensive line should have been tiring at that point, especially when considering the Redskins' advantage in time of possession for the game (34:10-25:50).

Seattle vs. Cleveland

Seattle Offense

Sacked/G=2.91

Rush TDs/G=1.00

Rush Avg.=4.5

Cleveland Defense

Sacks/G=1.82

Rush TDs Against/G=.55

Rush Avg. Against=4.5

Seattle Defense

Sacks/G=2.09

Rush TDs Against/G=.73

Rush Avg. Against=4.1

Cleveland Offense

Sacked/G=2.18

Rush TDs/G=.45

Rush Avg.=3.6

When the Seahawks have the ball - QB Matt Hasselbeck was sacked six times, but managed to hold together well enough to thrown for 333 yards and five touchdowns. Hasselbeck's receivers seemed to be cured of a case of the dropsies that's plagued them all season.

RB Shaun Alexander ran 22 times for 72 yards against a tough Ravens' run defense, and the Seahawks finished with 133 yards rushing. FB Mack Strong's fumble late in the game probably sealed Seattle's fate.

Cleveland limited Pittsburgh to 168 yards of offense and 11 first downs, and has allowed only one touchdown in the past two games. The Browns prevented the Steelers from having even one sustained drive, despite a decent game from RB Jerome Bettis.

It's hard telling which Cleveland defense will show up against the Seahawks, but the Browns haven't beat a good team in some time, especially on the road. Seattle will try to control the game with Alexander and if that doesn't work, won't hesitate to let Hasselbeck air it out. It will be interesting to see if the Seahawks' receivers can catch the ball for another week.

When the Browns have the ball - Cleveland ran a season-high 75 plays on offense, yet turned the ball over five times and failed to score a touchdown in four trips to the red zone.

A pair of fumbles, both leading to Steelers' points, tarnished RB James Jackson's 143 yards running and receiving. Pittsburgh scored all of its points on fumbles by Cleveland backs.

C Jeff Faine (ankle) was injured against Pittsburgh and could be out for several games.

Seattle was decent against the run and shaky against the pass, which isn't too unusual. What was unusual was the Seahawks' secondary getting torched by Baltimore, of all teams. Seattle sacked QB Anthony Wright six times, but he maintained his composure well enough to pick apart the Seahawks' secondary.

Jacksonville vs. Tampa Bay

Jacksonville Offense

Sacked/G=2.18

Rush TDs/G=.73

Rush Avg.=4.0

Tampa Bay Defense

Sacks/G=1.91

Rush TDs Against/G=.55

Rush Avg. Against=4.0

Jacksonville Defense

Sacks/G=1.36

Rush TDs Against/G=.82

Rush Avg. Against=3.1

Tampa Bay Offense

Sacked/G=1.45

Rush TDs/G=.18

Rush Avg.=4.1

When the Jaguars have the ball - Rookie QB Byron Leftwich continued to make numerous mistakes and has lost six of eight starts. In that time, Leftwich has thrown 12 interceptions and lost six fumbles, with 17 of those turnovers coming in the six losses.

RB Fred Taylor's sore knee didn't prevent him from gaining 119 yards on 32 carries. Jacksonville outran the Jets 158 yards to 61 and outperformed New York on paper for the most part. Big mistakes at inopportune times cost Jacksonville in the end.

Tampa Bay shut down the Giants' running game and forced New York to try to play catch-up with the pass, which it could not do. No one wants to be in that position against the Bucs, least of all Leftwich and anyone who is Leftwich's teammate. Key for Jacksonville will be springing Taylor against Tampa Bay's so-so rush defense.

When the Buccaneers have the ball - Largely due to New York's ineptitude on offense, the Buccaneers were able to control the ball 15 minutes longer than the Giants. QB Brad Johnson fared quite well without WR Keyshawn Johnson and completed 18 passes to wide receivers among his 22 completions.

Tampa Bay averaged only 2.4 yards per carry on 38 carries and stuck with the running game despite the meager results. It was just enough to move the chains at crucial moments even though the Bucs earned only five first downs rushing to 11 passing. RB Thomas Jones' first-half TD run was Tampa Bay's first rushing score in seven games.

Jacksonville stopped the run against a Jets team that had been running the ball well coming into the game despite not doing so earlier in the season. Defense hasn't been the Jags' problem, and they should be able to contain the Bucs' running tandem of Michael Pittman and Jones.

NY Jets vs. Tennessee

NY Jets Offense

Sacked/G=1.45

Rush TDs/G=.36

Rush Avg.=4.0

Tennessee Defense

Sacks/G=2.55

Rush TDs Against/G=.45

Rush Avg. Against=3.7

NY Jets Defense

Sacks/G=2.64

Rush TDs Against/G=1.36

Rush Avg. Against=4.2

Tennessee Offense

Sacked/G=1.64

Rush TDs/G=.82

Rush Avg.=3.1

When the Jets have the ball - The Jets' rushing game took a step backward against a strong Jags' front seven. New York was held to 61 yards and one first down on the ground, leaving things up to QB Chad Pennington.

Pennington wasn't at his best, but he did deliver again late in the game. On the Jets' final possession, he completed 9-of-11 passes and converted a pair of third downs before capping the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to WR Santana Moss.

The Titans' No. 1-ranked run defense was as strong as ever, allowing the Falcons only 25 yards on 20 carries. Martin will likely struggle, a problem compounded by FB LaMonte Jordan's injured hand. If Pennington can't turn it on until the fourth quarter of this game, it may be too late.

When the Titans have the ball - RB Eddie George ran for season-highs of 115 yards and a 4.4-yard average and looked much like his old self in doing so. His performance gave a boost to backup QB Billy Volek, who replaced starter Steve McNair (calf) and responded by going 9-of-15 for 117 yards and a TD. Volek's numbers would have been even better without a few drops from Titans' receivers.

One would think the Jets could have done a better job stopping the run against the Jags considering how poorly Jacksonville QB Byron Leftwich played. But this is the Jets' run defense, after all. On a positive note, New York did hold the Jaguars to only 3.0 yards per rush on 17 second-half carries.

Despite Volek's strong game on Sunday, the Titans aren't banking on the second coming of Steve McNair. Tennessee will hope to take advantage of the Jets' infamous rush defense, which would allow Volek to play a smart, conservative game. If he has to throw to win the ballgame, there is hope against the Jets' secondary, but there's also a chance it will be the last time we hear of Volek.