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

Week 2 of the Greatest of All Time season (simulated through the WhatIfSports sim engine) continues on with several exciting matchups, including the ’07 Patriots facing the Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh, the (16-1 in real life) ’76 Raiders and (17-0 in real life) ’72 Dolphins meeting in a battle of 0-1 teams, and Kurt Warner taking on Kurt Warner as the ’99 Rams visit the ’08 Cardinals. If you missed yesterday’s results, which included the ’62 Packers-’86 Giants and ’90 Bills-’64 Browns, click here.

2008 Arizona Cardinals (2-0) 33, 1999 St. Louis Rams (1-1) 30

Arizona Warner gets the best of St. Louis Warner, as ’08 Kurt went 24-of-33 for 311 yards, three touchdowns and no picks and the ’08 Cardinals get off to a most surprising 2-0 start. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin combined for 14 catches, 208 yards and three touchdowns and even three-levels-beyond-washed-up Edgerrin James was effective, gaining 95 yards on 16 carries. Maybe these Cardinals are just treating all of these games like they’re playoff games and that’s why they’re starting so well? Who knows? ’99 Warner was only 12-of-28 for 149 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions; Paul Justin came in at the end of the game and randomly threw a 24 yard touchdown pass to Marshall Faulk (171 combined yards on 17 touches, 3 combined touchdowns). When Paul Justin’s outplaying Kurt Warner, I’m sorry, I’ve got to start to questioning the accuracy of the simulation.


1968 New York Jets (2-0) 33, 1992 Dallas Cowboys (1-1) 16

Joe Namath went 15-of-24 for 236 yards and three touchdowns (all to Don Maynard) and the Jets blew out the Cowboys at Shea Stadium. Emmitt Smith was held to just 30 yards on 20 carries and outside of a 74-yard run by Kelvin Martin, the Cowboys never got much going offensively. Maynard ended up with 80 receiving yards to go along with those three touchdowns and George Sauer added 90 receiving yards of his own.

1952 Detroit Lions (1-1) 31, 1973 Minnesota Vikings (1-1) 7

The Lions avenged their embarrassing opening week loss at San Diego in a big way, rushing for 242 yards and holding the Vikings scoreless until the final minute of the game. Bobby Layne went 11-of-19 for 238 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, plus a rushing touchdown; Bob Hoernschemeyer ran for 133 yards on just 15 carries; and both of Pat Harder’s catches went for touchdowns. Leon Hart also added an 80-yard touchdown catch. Fran Tarkenton went 14-30 for 252 yards, a touchdown (which came with 50 seconds remaining) and an interception.

1969 Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) 16, 1979 San Diego Chargers (1-1) 3

The Chiefs held the Air Coryell Chargers to just 208 total yards of offense and played methodical, ball-control offense to earn their first victory of the season. Frank Pitts’ two-yard touchdown catch from Len Dawson capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the second quarter that provided the only touchdown of the game. Dan Fouts was limited to 131 yards on 26 attempts and was also sacked twice.

1998 Denver Broncos (1-1) 13, 1985 Chicago Bears (1-1) 10

Just as we all figured after they lost to the ’99 Jaguars last week, the Broncos went into Soldier Field and beat the ’85 Bears, holding Walter Payton to 13 yards on 18 carries in the process. Jason Elam kicked two field goals, including a 27-yarder less than a minute into the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner. Terrell Davis made up for a mediocre performance from John Elway, rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Matt Suhey picked up the Bears’ lone touchdown but was also the team’s leading rusher at just 22 yards.

2007 New England Patriots (2-0) 30, 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) 20

Tom Brady threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 25 attempts and Laurence Maroney rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries as the Patriots defeated the Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium. One of Brady’s touchdown tosses was a 67-yarder to Wes Welker on the second play of the second half, which gave the Patriots a 20-14 lead they would never relinquish. Terry Bradshaw played well for the Steelers, throwing for 246 yards and three touchdowns on 26 attempts but also threw two interceptions, one of which occurred in the Patriot end zone. Lynn Swann was the main beneficiary of Bradshaw’s passing success, gaining 127 yards and two touchdowns on six catches.

1976 Oakland Raiders (1-1) 26, 1972 Miami Dolphins (0-2) 23

In the unquestionable game of the day, Ken Stabler led an amazing last second comeback to tie the game in regulation, then drove the Raiders into short enough field goal position for Fred Steinfort (who had missed four field goals and an extra point already in the game) to convert a 21-yard field goal for the victory. After a holding penalty negated a first down, the Raiders were faced with a 4th-and-20 from their own 27-yard-line with only 31 seconds in the fourth quarter. Stabler then incredibly scrambled for 34 yards to convert for the first down and on the very next play hit Dave Casper with a 39-yard touchdown pass with twelve seconds left. Because of Steinfort’s repeated issues earlier in the game, the Raiders were forced to go for two to send the game into overtime but converted when Stabler hit Cliff Branch in the end zone. After both teams failed to score on their first possession in overtime, Stabler’s 30-yard pass to Clarence Davis set up Steinfort’s game-winner. The shocking collapse dropped the ’72 Dolphins to 0-2 and ruined a fine game from Mercury Morris (108 yards on 14 carries).

1991 Washington Redskins (1-1) 35, 1960 Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) 13

Mark Rypien threw four touchdown passes and the Redskins limited the Eagles to 198 total yards in a lopsided divisional game. The Eagles only gained 39 yards on 27 carries and Norm Van Brocklin went a miserable 13-of-34 for 172 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Rypien threw two interceptions of his own but two touchdown tosses to Gary Clark and one each to Ricky Sanders and Don Warren more than offset that damage.

Next week: The ’76 Raiders head into Green Bay to take on the ’62 Packers; Joe Namath leads the somewhat surprising 2-0 ’68 Jets into Foxborough to take on the not-so-surprising 2-0 ’07 Patriots; the ’92 Cowboys meet the ’85 Bears in Chicago in a battle to avoid a disappointing 1-2 start; Johnny U. takes the ’58 Colts into St. Louis to take on the Greatest Show on Turf; and the ’06 Colts and ’09 Saints meet in a battle of desperate 0-2 Super Bowl champions.

The WhatIfSports Duel to the Death Season Standings

AFC East

  1. ’07 New England: 2-0
  2. ’68 NY Jets: 2-0
  3. ’90 Buffalo: 2-0
  4. ’72 Miami: 0-2

AFC North

  1. ’75 Pittsburgh: 1-1
  2. ’81 Cincinnati: 1-1
  3. ’58 Baltimore: 1-1
  4. ’64 Cleveland: 0-2

AFC South

  1. ’00 Tennessee: 2-0
  2. ’91 Houston: 2-0
  3. ’99 Jacksonville: 1-1
  4. ’06 Indianapolis: 0-2

AFC West

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

NFC East

  1. ’92 Dallas: 1-1
  2. ’91 Washington: 1-1
  3. ’86 NY Giants: 0-2
  4. ’60 Philadelphia: 0-2

NFC North

  1. ’62 Green Bay: 2-0
  2. ’52 Detroit: 1-1
  3. ’85 Chicago: 1-1
  4. ’73 Minnesota: 1-1

NFC South

  1. ’02 Tampa Bay: 2-0
  2. ’05 Carolina: 1-1
  3. ’09 New Orleans: 0-2
  4. ’12 Atlanta: 0-2

NFC West

  1. ’08 Arizona: 2-0
  2. ’99 St. Louis: 1-1
  3. ’89 San Francisco: 0-1-1
  4. ’05 Seattle: 0-1-1