NFL Keys, Quotes From Week 9

We review Sunday's action around NFL, with an extended look at Green Bay's victory over San Diego with the player of the game, the key number and the big moment.

Packers 45, Chargers 38

Key: Not since his freshman year at North Carolina State had Philip Rivers thrown three interceptions in a game. His 91-game streak to start his pro career without a three-interception game was an NFL record. Two of those were returned for touchdowns in the first quarter, giving Green Bay a 21-7 lead.

The number: 3 — Rivers' interception total for the game matched Aaron Rodgers' interception total for the entire season. With four touchdowns and no interceptions, Rodgers recorded his third game this season with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions.

The player: The Chargers' chances of forcing overtime were remote given the time remaining, but given the way the Packers' pass defense had been turned inside out and upside down during San Diego's furious fourth-quarter comeback, Green Bay needed to make a play with Rivers driving the Chargers into scoring position. Charlie Peprah delivered it, with an easy interception as Rivers tried forcing the ball to star receiver Vincent Jackson against Peprah and Tramon Williams. It was Peprah's second big play of the game, with his pick-six in the first quarter putting the Packers in front for good.

The moment: The big ones came on the Packers' final drive of the first half. Faced with a third-and-9 after a dubious false start on center Scott Wells, Rodgers dropped back and saw plenty of real estate to his left. With the defenders' backs turned, Rodgers took off for a 25-yard run to the Chargers' 48 in which running back James Starks and receiver Jordy Nelson delivered key blocks. Then, on third-and-1 from the Chargers' 16, Rodgers threw a sublime back-shoulder pass to Nelson against Sunday's whipping boy, Marcus Gilchrist. Nelson caught the ball while tumbling to the ground, with his momentum carrying him into the end zone. That made it 28-17 with 18 seconds remaining in the half.

Packers said: "I don't think we're ever satisfied. We've got a coaching staff that is definitely going to pick out the mistakes we've made. Not being able to finish the game with the ball is somehting that we're frustrated with. They get paid too. They're defense did some nice things out there." — Rodgers on being 8-0

Chargers said: "He's playing at an MVP level and he made some plays today. He made some great, great throws in some tight spots, tight coverage. That's the guy who won the Super Bowl MVP last year. My hat's off to him. He played a great game." — cornerback Quentin Jammer on Rodgers.

Broncos 38, Raiders 24

Key: The Broncos killed the Raiders on the ground, rushing for 298 yards, with running back Willis McGahee gaining 163 and quarterback Tim Tebow 117. Most of those yards came on read-option plays that seemed to befuddle the Raiders' defense.

Raiders said: "We're not down in the dumps. We have good focus. We have a good understanding of what's going on around us and what's ahead of us. This is a big bump in the road, but we'll get over it, and we'll get focused and get ready to go down to San Diego." — Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer

Broncos said: "Honestly, I just put that pressure on myself more than anybody else to try to get better and try to improve and ultimately find a way to get a victory no matter how it looks. Today it was a special one." — Broncos QB Tim Tebow on whether he felt pressure to play well Sunday to keep his starting job.

Bengals 24, Titans 17

Key: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton connected with fellow rookie A.J. Green for a 20-yard gain on third-and-18 from the Tennessee 27-yard line, giving the Bengals a first-and-goal early in the fourth quarter. Three plays later, Dalton's 5-yard pass to Andre Caldwell produced the go-ahead touchdown.

Titans said: "We can't worry about everyone else's record. We have to worry about ourselves and winning more games. There's plenty of time left in the season." — Coach Mike Munchak, about being 4-4 in a conference with six teams boasting at least six wins.

Bengals said: "We're OK. I wish we were better, but that's where we are." — Coach Marvin Lewis, asked about being 6-2 halfway through the season.

Giants 24, Patriots 20

Key: Eli Manning took his team 80 yards in just 1 minute, 21 seconds, hitting tight end Jake Ballard with a 1-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds left to cap a wild finish and give the Giants the win. Ballard caught a 28-yard pass on a third-and-10 from the New York 39 that keyed the drive.

Giants said: "New England is a good football team and it was a dog fight and we persevered at the end and got the win. It was a big win for us." — running back Brandon Jacobs

Patriots said: "Look, everyone hates losing, man. It sucks ... it sucks when you lose but nobody's going to feel sorry for you." — quarterback Tom Brady

Cardinals 19, Rams 13

Key: It came down to one play and rookie Patrick Peterson, the fifth overall player taken in the 2011 draft, provided a thrilling 99-yard punt return for a touchdown in overtime to win the game. Peterson fielded the punt at his own 1-yard line, darted around traffic and fought off a series of would-be tacklers before finding daylight at the 30-yard line and then out-sprinting everyone to the end zone. The Cardinals also blocked a field goal at the end of regulation to force overtime.

Cardinals said: "I knew we had a chance. Our guys have been real good over the last few years getting pressure on field goals. Calais does a great job of that. I think our team willed that today. They believed in what we were doing, they believed we could do it, and it was big." — coach Ken Whisenhunt on Calais Campbell blocking Josh Brown's potential game-winning 42-yard field goal attempt

Rams said: "I felt confident in our best football player getting the ball. There was still time there, they had no timeouts. I was looking to finish the game on a field goal to win. That was the thought process. Defensively, we had just come off of a series where we were a little bit tired, a little bit worn down. In hindsight, maybe it was a bad decision." — coach Steve Spagnuolo on his decision to go for it on fourth-and-one at the Cardinals' 33-yard line with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter. Steven Jackson was stopped for no gain

Jets 27, Bills 11

Key: The Jets' defense shut down Ryan Fitzpatrick and Company, forcing three turnovers that resulted in 13 points. New York also controlled time of possession, 37:52-22:08.

Jets said: "It's totally attitude. It's 'Jets-titude" the way we look at it. It's playing like a Jet, aggressiveness, going out there in attack mode. I think today we kind of displayed just what Jet football is all about." — defensive tackle Sione Pouha

Bills said: "We just didn't show up. We didn't show up how we usually do. When it started out in the first half, we were three-and-out, three-and-out. We can't do that against a team like that. And that's pretty much what it was." — Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson

Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13

Key: The Cowboys forced three turnovers, two leading to points in the second half, to wear down Seattle. After failing to take advantage of opportunities in the red zone in the first half, Dallas scored 17 straight points in the second.

Cowboys said: "It was definitely important for us to get this win for our confidence level." — running back DeMarco Murray.

Seahawks said: "We didn't finish the drives. We had a field goal blocked today. We got down and had our chances. This was a game where efficiency would have won the game for us and it wasn't good enough." — coach Pete Carroll.

49ers 19, Redskins 11

Key: The 49ers jumped ahead of a Redskins team that had averaged just 11 points during its three-game slide by a count of 13-0 and smothered Washington's pass-challenged offense.

Redskins said: "You can't start pointing fingers or coming up with excuses." — safety LaRon Landry

49ers said: "It was just something special to come back to this place (where) the fans still love me ... talk a little junk on the sideline ... get this win." — cornerback Carlos Rogers, a Redskins regular from 2005-10.

Falcons 31, Colts 7

Key: Julio Jones' two first-half touchdown catches, 50 and 80 yards from quarterback Matt Ryan, helped the Falcons build a 21-0 lead and maintain control throughout the game. Atlanta also kept the Indianapolis offense from scoring. The Colts' only touchdown came on a 6-yard interception return by cornerback Jerraud Powers.

Colts said: "We did the things that you can't do against a team that certainly does have some firepower on offense." — coach Jim Caldwell.

Falcons said: "Anytime you have a new player, it takes a little bit of time to get a feel for how they fit in with what you do. Today was a good representation of how he fits in." — quarterback Matt Ryan on Jones

Texans 30, Browns 12

Key: Houston had two backs rush for more than 100 yards for the second time in three weeks. Arian Foster finished with 124 yards and one touchdown, becoming the franchise's career rushing TD leader (24) in the process. Ben Tate added 115 yards and one TD.

Texans said: "They play off each other so well. It's so rare in the NFL these days to count on one guy through the course of 16 weeks. You need to have multiple backs that can run the football, and we have that. It's just a marathon of a season, so to have two guys that can do that, and then Derrick (Ward) coming back, getting healthy from his ankle, he can come in and help out, too." — quarterback Matt Schaub on Foster and Tate

Browns said: "He re-injured himself on Friday. He has a hamstring strain. That's the deal. We'll go back tomorrow, and he'll get treatment with the rest of the team, and we'll have to see where he's at. At this point, what we are trying to do is get him healthy so he can play." — coach Pat Shurmur on running back Peyton Hillis

Saints 27, Buccaneers 16

Key: The Saints averaged 7.0 yards a carry (195 yards on 28 attempts) and had better run-pass balance. They ran successfully behind left tackle Jermon Bushrod and left guard Carl Nicks and also got a big lift in the running game with the return of right tackle Zach Strief and tight end Dave Thomas. The Saints also stepped up their run defense. The Bucs ran just 20 times for 84 yards.

Saints said: "We're past that (a 31-21 loss to the previously winless Rams). We're not scratching our heads. We're on to the next opponent. It was disappointing, but we're not going to allow that game to lead to another tough game." — coach Sean Payton

Bucs said: "We made foolish penalties (nine penalties for 80 yards, including a personal foul on LeGarrete Blount for punching Will Smith after the whistle). Those are the ones that absolutely kill you. We just can't tolerate it, especially versus an elite team. There is no excuse for being young. It's not good enough to come to the sideline and apologize to your teammates, coaches or whoever. It's just selfish, undisciplined football." — coach Raheem Morris

Dolphins 31, Chiefs 3

Key: Miami's ability to hold onto the football and not turn it over. The Chiefs had been relying on takeaways in their four-game winning streak, but the Dolphins did not have a turnover. Without that edge, the Chiefs' defense was unable to stop the Miami offense.

Chiefs said: "This was not the kind of performance that we expected or wanted. They outplayed us. They outcoached us in all facets of the game. We felt going into the game that this team was playing at a level higher than its record. They just did a better job than us." — coach Todd Haley

Dolphins said: "We were determined to go out and get a win today. It was a little different energy than we've had." — cornerback Will Allen


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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