Upsets are beautiful things. You have to like it when the underdog wins — unless it’s your team they’re beating. It’s great to see a team that hasn’t tasted victory earn their first W. It’s even better to see their fans react to that victory.
Week 6 in the NFL was one of those weeks when the little guy was king: one of those marvelous occasions when the underdogs ruled. Pittsburgh beat Tampa Bay in its house. Cleveland took revenge on Art Modell and the Ravens. Buffalo won its first game, over Jacksonville. New England trounced Peyton Manning and company, AGAIN. Chris Chandler and the Falcons beat the Saints in the Big Easy. Minnesota made Brett Favre and the Pack look foolish. San Diego beat the Broncos. And the Redskins earned their first victory, defeating the Panthers in overtime.
Now, despite the fact that it was their first win of the season, and the Redskins chances of making the playoffs are slim to none, the tune to “Hail to the Redskins” is permanently ingrained in my head. Why? My roommate is a die-hard fan of the ‘Skins.
I had to feel for him. His team was on Monday night football twice, and was humiliated both times. Four weeks into the season they were statistically the worst team in the history of the NFL. And now this. One little victory and things seem so much brighter.
Football’s a beautiful thing. Just don’t ask me about my other roommate, the Lions fan.
Week 6 Highlights
New England at Indianapolis: New England may have beaten Indy once before, but this time the Patriots really proved that they’re a lot tougher team than anyone originally thought. In the first game against the Colts, the Pats were playing at home, and their defense scored two touchdowns. This time the game was in the RCA Dome, and the defense didn’t provide Tom Brady any cushion. Turns out Tom Brady didn’t need it. New England looked like the team with the high-powered offense in this one, winning it 38-17. David Patten came out of nowhere to be the first guy since Walter Payton to throw, catch and rush for a touchdown in one game.
Green Bay at Minnesota: Doug Chapman may have rushed for 90 yards, but Daunte Culpepper showed he’s the best runner on the Vikes, pounding out 71 yards and a score on just nine carries. He also showed Brett Favre that you can’t come into the Metrodome and expect to win, no matter how badly you beat the Ravens last week. No chance for Favre to work his magic in this one, as the Vikes poured it on, 35-14.
Chicago at Cincinnati: Da Bears? No way. Not the Bears. Can this be real? Oh yes, the Monsters of the Midway are back. Granted it was the Cincinnati Bengals that Chicago roughed up 24-0, but hey, the Bengals are much improved. What got the Bears to 4-1 and first place in the NFC Central? Why, defense of course. After all, it was defense, with a little help from a man called “Sweetness,” that got the Bears their title in ’85. With Anthony Thomas rushing for 188 yards Sunday, Dick Jauron ’73 looks as though he’s doing a pretty good job of copying the Bears of old.
Denver at San Diego: The AFC West just got a lot tougher. Denver entered the season thinking they had three of the best running backs in the AFC. The best on the field Sunday? LaDanian Tomlinson. Brian Griese figured he’d be the premier passer in the AFC. On Sunday? Doug Flutie. The Broncos defense was supposed to be greatly improved. On Sunday? The Charger defense pushed Denver around, holding them to zero points in the second half. Broncos get bolted, 27-10.
Pittsburgh 17, Tampa Bay 10 — The Bus airs it out? Now I’ve seen it all.
Washington 17, Carolina 14 — Sammy Baugh. Sonny Jurgenson. Joe Theismann. Tony Banks?
Cleveland 24, Baltimore 14 — Quoth the Ravens: Nevermore!
Tennessee 27, Detroit 24 — You can’t kill a Titan with three blows. Or with a Lion for that matter.
Atlanta 20, New Orleans 13 — Saints can’t knock Chandler out of this one.
St. Louis 34, NY Jets 14 — MVP? We’ve got a new Canidate.
Arizona 24, Kansas City 16 — Chiefs fold against the strength of the Cards?
Buffalo 13, Jacksonville 10 — Rob Johnson finishes a game, Bills win Thursday Night Bore-athon.
Monday Night Preview: Philadelphia at NY Giants
At long last, a Monday night game that should be worth watching. New York looks to bounce back after a tough loss to the Rams last week. Philly looks to break the curse of the Giants.
The Verdict: McNabb puts on a show. Eagles win a tight one, 27-24.