WATERCOOLER CHAT: MONDAY WRAP UP

FOOTBALL

Week 11 in the NFL begged the question, could both undefeated teams, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints go 10-0.  That’s a very difficult task, and for there to be TWO teams still eligible is simply amazing.

Josh Freeman.jpgThe Saints had to beat their division rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Bucs have been pretty sloppy this season, but have become rather unpredictable the last few weeks.  Their rookie quarterback, Josh Freeman, seems to be for real, and their defense isn’t too shabby.  Could Drew Brees and the Saint march into to Tampa and get the job done?  The answer:  Yes, big time.  Brees only threw for 187 yards, but he did connect for 3 touchdowns.  And his new favorite target in the red zone appears to be second year man Robert Meacham. He hit Meacham twice for TDs.  The Bucs meanwhile just couldn’t do much, short of an impressive 18 yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Michael Clayton in the back of the end zone.  Perhaps it was a sign of good things to come from the Buccaneers.  For now, however, all that matters it that the Saints are 10-0.  New Orleans 38, Tampa Bay 7.

Peyton ManningOver in the AFC, the Colts faced a much tougher opponent in the Baltimore Ravens.  Would Peyton Manning be able to work his magic on Ed Reed and the always stingy Baltimore defense.  Well, not really.  Manning threw for 299 yards, but also threw 2 picks.  It was an off-day for him.  Fortunately for the Colts, Joseph Addai had a nice day on the ground with 74 yards and a TD.  On the other side, the Ravens simply couldn’t get in the end zone and hoped that field goals would give them the victory.  But against the Colts, you need touchdowns, and they just didn’t have the fire power.  A 25 yard field goal from Matt Stover (a long time Raven, and now Indy Colt), put the Colts ahead in the 4th quarter and gave them the win.  That’s 10-0 for Indy.  Indianapolis 17, Baltimore 15.

And over in Oakland, the Raiders looked for a fresh start with a new quarterback at the helm, Bruce Gradkowski.  They pretty much used their old quarterback, JaMarcus Russell as a scapegoat for losing.  Well, this game was a different Raiders team.  Gradkowski threw for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns (close to Drew Brees’ performance), and spread the ball around nicely to his receivers.  And they were doing this against a very good Bengals defense.  The game looked like it would go into overtime, tied at 17, but then the Bengals’ Andre Caldwell fumbled a kickoff return, the Raiders recovered, an had excellent field position to win the game.  That’s exactly what they did, as Sebastian Janikowski booted a field goal to give the Raiders a win.  Good news in Oakland, and bad news for Bengals fans who saw that their team has some weak points.  The Bengals are certainly having a fine comeback season, but the odds that they go deep in the playoffs are slim.  Oakland 20, Cincy 17.

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