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Tuesday, September 13, 2005 

Kicking for Joy

The New Orleans Saints won an emotional game over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday on a last-second FG by John Carney. It looked like my prediction of a late win by Carolina was going to come true, but New Orleans held the Panthers to a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter, the second one coming with 1:04 left to tie the game. That gave the Saints plenty of time to drive for the winning score. Now that their "home" schedule is set (next Monday night in New York, then 3 games in San Antonio and 4 at LSU) it will be interesting to see if the emotions from this game have any carryover effect.

As usual, there were a few big injuries over the weekend. Green Bay WR Jevon Walker is out for the year with a knee injury, Carolina's DT Kris Jenkins is also out for the season, and Baltimore's Kyle Boller will miss at least one game after being hurt in the Ravens 24-7 Sunday night loss against the Colts.

There were also some big surprises - who would have guessed that Drew Bledsoe and Gus Frerotte would combine for 5 TDs and two victories? Frerotte had a little help from the heat and two Broncos injuries (Champ Bailey and Mike Anderson), while Bledsoe was 18-24 for 226 yards and 3 TDs against the Chargers. The Dallas defense certainly looked improved over last season, but you have to wonder if their young draft picks will hit the wall at some point. Keeping Julius Jones healthy (26-93 yds) will also be important.

Lastly, San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson will be going for a new NFL record for most consecutive games with a rushing TD. On Sunday, he tied the record of 13 set by John Riggins and George Rogers. The Chargers will be visiting the Broncos next week, and while Denver surrendered 151 yards rushing to Miami in their opener, 61 of those came on a Chris Chambers reverse, and I'm sure Mike Shanahan will have his team fired up after their embarrassing opener.

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