WhatIfSports Duel to the Death Season: Week 8 (Part 2)

Week 8 action of my simulated Greatest of All Time season wraps up today; if you missed yesterday’s action, well, then you’re SOL, it’s gone forever. Just kidding! Here’s the link. Six more games wrap up this week’s action, including ’90 Bills-’07 Patriots and ’62 Packers-’69 Chiefs. I realize the past couple times I’ve been hyping that Packers-Chiefs game, I’ve noted the simulated game will be played at the raucous atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium. Sadly, I now realize that 1969 was one of the last years the Chiefs played at Municipal Stadium and the ’62 Packers will have no chance to live through the Arrowhead mystique. We regret the error. LET’S GET SIMMING.

1976 Oakland Raiders (2-5) 24, 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) 21

Fred Biletnikoff’s 34-yard touchdown reception from Ken Stabler with 11:57 remaining turned out to be the winning score, as the Raiders rallied from an early fourteen point deficit and snapped their four-game losing streak. Stabler was his usual high-risk, high-reward self, throwing two interceptions but also two touchdowns and gaining 209 passing yards on just 18 attempts. Mark Van Eeghen and Clarence Davis added 215 rushing yards on 27 combined attempts for Oakland. Mark Brunell threw three touchdown passes for the Jaguars, including a two-yard score to Fred Taylor on the first play of the fourth quarter that briefly gave the Jaguars a 21-17 lead. After Biletnikoff’s answer on the following possession, however, the Jaguars could only gain one total first down on their last two possessions.

2007 New England Patriots (7-1) 30, 1990 Buffalo Bills (4-3) 23

Tom Brady went 19-of-32 for 318 yards and two touchdowns – 101 of those yards and both touchdowns going to Ben Watson – and the Patriots finished a season sweep of the Bills, placing them in complete control of the AFC East. Stephen Gostkowski added five field goals for the Patriots, who racked up 461 total yards of offense. Buffalo’s defensive struggles ruined a fabulous effort from Thurman Thomas, who ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 attempts and also added receptions of 51 and 32 yards through the air. Jim Kelly also hit a huge number of big plays, gaining 267 passing yards on only 18 attempts; his two turnovers in the second quarter, however, set up ten New England points, which may or may not have had a major impact on the game’s outcome.

2000 Tennessee Titans (6-1) 24, 2005 Carolina Panthers (3-5) 10

Steve McNair was an efficient 16-of-20 for 174 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and the Titans moved two games ahead of both the Jaguars and Oilers in the loss column in the AFC South. Eddie George added 110 yards on 26 carries and one receiving touchdown for Tennessee. Carolina kept the game close into the fourth quarter, but two Brad Hoover fumbles on consecutive possessions eventually proved to be their undoing; the second gave the Titans the ball on the Panther 15, setting up a McNair-to-Yancey Thigpen touchdown pass and subsequent two-point conversion.

1972 Miami Dolphins (3-5) 41, 1960 Philadelphia Eagles (1-6) 3

The Eagles’ one-game resurgence proved to be short-lived, as they gave up an unfathomable 442 rushing yards to the Dolphins and returned to their place as probably the worst team in the league. That rushing total actually represents far more total yards given up than when they faced the Packers two weeks ago and let Jim Taylor set the new single-game rushing record. Mercury Morris rushed for 258 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, Larry Csonka had 116 and two TDS on 19, Jim Kiick added 53 and a score on 11 – heck, even Paul Warfield had a fifteen-yard run and he was a wide receiver. Naturally, the Dolphins’ offensive success did not extend to their passing game – Bob Griese somehow managed to only go 9-of-19 for 81 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Just goes to show how you need to ESTABLISH THE RUN in order to win in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.

2009 New Orleans Saints (4-3) 29, 2005 Seattle Seahawks (2-4-1) 27

Drew Brees went 14-of-24 for 242 yards, John Carney kicked five field goals and the Saints gained 490 total yards of offense to come away with a road victory and get above .500 for the first time all season. Marques Colston added 78 receiving yards on four catches and somehow had a 55-yard touchdown run as well – because when you think of speedburner wide receivers, you think of Marques Colston first. Whatever. The Seahawks had quite a few offensive standouts themselves – Matt Hasselbeck went 21-of-28 for 205 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and Shaun Alexander had 146 rushing yards on 19 carries. Still, the fact that they were more efficient than New Orleans in the red zone couldn’t make up for the massive disparity in total yardage (490-387).

1962 Green Bay Packers (6-1) 13, 1969 Kansas City Chiefs (3-4) 3

Jim Taylor’s 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter proved to be all the scoring Green Bay would need as the Packer defense harassed Len Dawson into three interceptions and held the Chiefs to 91 total passing yards. Taylor finished with 101 yards on 20 carries and added 39 yards on three catches to serve as Green Bay’s leading receiver as well (an offensive masterpiece, this game was not). The costliest, by far, of Dawson’s three interceptions came on a 2nd-and-goal play from the Packer 3-yard line in the third quarter when Willie Wood picked him off, ending Kansas City’s last major scoring threat.

Next week: The ’62 Packers continue their swing out west with a game against the ’98 Broncos, the ’79 Chargers try to move to 7-1 against the 5-3 ’99 Jaguars, and the ’92 Cowboys and ’91 Redskins renew their storied rivalry at RFK Stadium.

AFC East

  1. ’07 New England: 7-1
  2. ’90 Buffalo: 4-3
  3. ’72 Miami: 3-5
  4. ’68 NY Jets: 2-6

AFC North

  1. ’75 Pittsburgh: 5-2
  2. ’81 Cincinnati: 4-3
  3. ’58 Baltimore: 2-5
  4. ’64 Cleveland: 1-6

AFC South

  1. ’00 Tennessee: 6-1
  2. ’99 Jacksonville: 5-3
  3. ’91 Houston: 4-3
  4. ’06 Indianapolis: 2-5

AFC West

  1. ’79 San Diego: 6-1
  2. ’98 Denver: 4-3
  3. ’69 Kansas City: 3-4
  4. ’76 Oakland: 2-5

NFC East

  1. ’91 Washington: 5-2
  2. ’92 Dallas: 5-2
  3. ’86 NY Giants: 2-6
  4. ’60 Philadelphia: 1-6

NFC North

  1. ’62 Green Bay: 6-1
  2. ’85 Chicago: 6-2
  3. ’52 Detroit: 2-5
  4. ’73 Minnesota: 1-6

NFC South

  1. ’02 Tampa Bay: 5-2
  2. ’09 New Orleans: 4-3
  3. ’05 Carolina: 3-5
  4. ’12 Atlanta: 1-5

NFC West

  1. ’99 St. Louis: 5-2
  2. ’08 Arizona: 4-3
  3. ’05 Seattle: 2-4-1
  4. ’89 San Francisco: 2-5-1
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