Close Calls - Week 10
November 14, 2017
By Joe Nelson
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NCAAFB - 4th Quarter Covers
Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in Week 10 of the NFL regular season.
Seattle Seahawks (-6) 22, Arizona Cardinals 16 (40): Seattle picked up a pair of field goals in the final two minutes of the first half to lead 15-7, but Arizona was within the number after hitting a field goal midway through the third quarter and remained down by five heading into the fourth quarter. After four straight punts, the Seahawks finally pulled away going 80 yards in just seven plays with most of it coming on a highlight reel pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin for 54 yards.
Arizona converted a fourth down play just across midfield, but could not convert going for it on 4th-and-8 from the Seattle 15-yard line with about four minutes remaining, leaving the margin at 12. On Arizona’s final possession, they did find the end zone but with only 20 seconds remaining in the game. That score made the margin six points, even with the closing number and incredibly Phil Dawson’s extra-point was blocked in a critical play for everyone involved.
Green Bay Packers (+5) 23, Chicago Bears 16 (38): The Packers held a 12-6 lead through three quarters as the ‘under’ pace was strong, but with 10 points in the first five minutes of the final frame the Packers led 16-13 and all results were in play. Brett Hundley hit Davante Adams for a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining to put Green Bay in a commanding underdog position up by 10. The Bears answered with a field goal with just over three minutes remaining to push the game just ‘over’.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-5) 20, Los Angeles Chargers 17 (40½): This AFC battle was tied 14-14 through three quarters ahead of a wild finish. The Chargers hit a 50-yard field goal to lead by three with about 10 minutes remaining as an underdog of anywhere from +3½ to +6 depending on the timing. Four straight punts followed before Jacksonville was intercepted on the first play after the two-minute-warning in what felt like a game-sealing play for the Chargers. On first down, the Chargers incredibly fumbled with the initial ruling giving Jacksonville a touchdown return. On review, the Jaguars had the ball at the 36-yard-line of Los Angeles in great position to at least tie the game. Pass interference on first down put Jacksonville in great field goal position but two plays later a taunting penalty pushed the Jaguars back 15 yards.
On third-and-25, Blake Bortles was again intercepted to seemingly seal the game for the Chargers again. Jacksonville still had all three timeouts and less than a minute came off the clock before the Chargers had to punt, giving Jacksonville ball just short of midfield with a 50 second remaining. Just outside of field goal range, Jacksonville was put back in position for a tying kick with a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty with 20 seconds remaining and former Charger Josh Lambo sent the game to overtime, keeping all spread and total results still in play.
The Jaguars crossed midfield, but had to punt pinning the Chargers at the 10-yard-line. Philip Rivers took a shot on third down and was intercepted near midfield with A.J. Bouye immediately celebrating while still a live ball carrier and eventually finding room to run and a path down the sideline. He was pushed out of bounds at the 2-yard-line by Rivers to save those on Los Angeles as a touchdown that would have given Jacksonville the win and cover. On the play, the Jaguars were again hit with a taunting penalty to push the ball back another 15 yards and also force the Jaguars to look for a field goal rather than a short touchdown. Jacksonville stayed conservative and set-up a 35-yard field goal try that was made 30-yards with another Los Angeles penalty and Lambo again delivered with the Los Angeles still holding the underdog cover and the total also staying just ‘under’.
Tennessee Titans (-5) 24, Cincinnati Bengals 20 (40½): The Titans dominated the yardage in this game, but led just 17-13 at halftime as the underdog Bengals were narrowly in position to cover. A scoreless third quarter featured six punts and Tennessee fumbled for a touchback early in the fourth quarter allowing the Bengals to stay within four while also providing a big boost for those looking for the ‘under’ to hold on. Another nine minutes ran off the clock with no scoring as Tennessee stayed conservative with the lead but A.J. Green broke free for a 70-yard touchdown with five minutes remaining to suddenly put the Bengals up by three with little margin for error remaining on the total.
Tennessee crossed midfield just after the two-minute warning and then was bailed out with a big third down penalty with a defensive holding call. Into the final minutes, the Titans would have had to attempt a tying field goal to go to overtime but on third-and-goal, they connected for the go-ahead touchdown, sealing the ‘over’ as well. Cincinnati reached midfield for a Hail Mary try but the Bengals did enough to cover on the majority of lines.
Detroit Lions (-10) 38, Cleveland Browns 24 (43): The Browns led 24-17 late in the third quarter seeking their first win of the season and those with underdog tickets as high as +12 had to feel good about their chances. The Lions took just over a minute to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter. The Browns were held to three consecutive three-and-outs and the Lions scored two more touchdowns the second of which came on just four plays with just over four minutes remaining as Detroit led by 14. The Browns were a threat to at least take the underdog cover back in the final minutes, converting three fourth down plays but on first-and-goal, DeShone Kizer was intercepted in the end zone.
Los Angeles Rams (-13) 33, Houston Texans 7 (45): The Rams took over in the second half with Jared Goff delivering three touchdown passes in a span of about nine minutes as the Rams led by 23 heading into the fourth quarter and a game with 16 first half points suddenly had 37. Los Angeles settled for a short field goal halfway through the fourth quarter to put the total score at 40, with one touchdown able to clear the ‘over’. Houston was a strong threat to find the end zone, but with four plays inside the 16-yard-line, the Texans came up short including a 4th down interception as the ‘under’ held.
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