NFL Close Calls – Week 4
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 or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 4 of the NFL regular season.
Philadelphia Eagles (+3½) 34, Green Bay Packers 27 (46½): The 3-0 Packers jumped out to a 10-0 early lead but Philadelphia scored twice in the span of two minutes late in the second quarter thanks to Aaron Rodgers fumble to lead 21-13. They couldn’t get to the break with that score however as Rodgers delivered a touchdown with nine seconds to go to get back within one and to the delight of those on the ‘over’ with 41 first half points. Both teams added third quarter touchdowns but up seven Philadelphia went for two and failed in a bid to make it a two-score game. Green Bay was then able to the tie game heading into the final frame. Jordan Howard scored his second touchdown early in the fourth to put the Eagles back up by seven and another tie appeared imminent with Green Bay reaching 1st-and-goal at the 1-yard-line. Four straight incomplete passes followed as the Eagles kept the lead. Philadelphia gained 50 yards from that tough field position but had to punt back to the Packers with about five minutes to go. The Packers again reached 1st-and-goal but on second down Rodgers was intercepted as the Eagles avoided falling to 1-3 to start the season.
Carolina Panthers (+6) 16, Houston Texans 10 (47½): Kyle Allen had three fumbles getting consecutive starts for the Panthers after a great performance last week but the Carolina defense kept the team in the game. A 10-3 Panthers halftime lead was knotted 10-10 through three quarters after Houston cashed in on a short field following Allen’s third fumble. Early in the fourth quarter the Panthers hit a 55-yard field goal for a key play for those on the underdog, leaving room for the cover with a Texans touchdown on a spread that was commonly +4 but rose by Sunday. The Panthers held on defense and reached Houston territory on a late possession before pinning Houston deep. Deshaun Watson would give the ball up on a sack and Carolina added three more to lead by six. The Texans wound up with 28 seconds for one more chance but with no timeouts Houston only reached the Carolina 47 before needing to heave to the end zone.
Los Angeles Chargers (-14½) 30, Miami Dolphins 10 (44): The Dolphins attracted plenty of attention in this game having not lost to the Chargers in 38 years and the line dipped from as high as -17. The Dolphins trailed by seven at the break and by just 10 through three quarters but an early fourth quarter put Los Angeles up 17. An interception gave the Chargers the ball right back and they hit a field goal to lead by 20. Miami crossed the 50 on its final possession but was never a serious threat to score, gaining only two yards on the final 4th-and-12.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+2½) 26, Denver Broncos 24 (37½): Looking for its first win Denver stormed out to a 17-3 edge but the Jaguars managed a field goal just before halftime to get within 11. Out of the break the Jaguars spent over 10 minutes of game clock but eventually completed a 16-play touchdown drive that included a 4th down conversion to climb within four on a spread that dipped from +3 to +2½. Jacksonville’s defense forced a three-and-out and on the next possession the Jaguars needed only three plays to 93 yards for the go-ahead score. The Broncos could not answer with back-to-back punts before the Jaguars milked another seven minutes off the clock, getting a field goal to lead by just six. The door was open for Denver to go in front and Joe Flacco led an efficient 75-yard drive putting the Broncos up by one at the 1:32 mark. Gardner Minshew nearly lost a fumble early on Jacksonville’s final drive but in a scenario similar to the Week 2 loss to the Bears, the Broncos were hit with a costly penalty to advance the Jaguars 15 yards. Jacksonville was able to pick up a few more solid gains and Josh Lambo hit from 33 yards to give the Jaguars the outright win as Denver fell to 0-4 despite competitive results.