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“Press” — Cherries Focus on Comets Amid Improbable Opportunities


FavoriteSpread (O/U)Underdog
Saturday, October 28, 7:30 pm
Baltimore4½ (43)PHILADELPHIA
CONNECTICUT1½ (50)Delaware
ALBANY4 (43)Pittsburgh
Providence2½ (45)WASHINGTON
NEW YORK1 (47)Richmond
Sunday, October 29, 10:00 am
SYRACUSE5½ (43)Atlantic City
home team in CAPS


These injured players will not play in Week 12 games:
  • CB Ellis Hobbs, ALB — KR only until week 13
  • C Chukky Okobi, ALB — out for the season
  • DE Renaldo Wynn, ALB — will return week 13
  • DT Corey Williams, BAL — out for the season
  • CB Al Harris, CON — will return week 13
  • LB James Harrison, CON — out for the season
  • G Stephen Neal, CON — will return week 13
  • S Gibril Wilson, CON — will return week 13
  • TE Daniel Graham, DEL — will return week 13
  • WR Travis Taylor, DEL — will return week 13
  • WR Troy Williamson, NYE — will return week 14
  • S Marlon McCree, PIT — will return week 14
  • C Jeff Hartings, SYR — will return week 14

These skill position players were last-second scratches for Week 12 games due to “fatigue”:

  • WR Reche Caldwell, ALB
  • QB Ben Roethlisberger, BAL
  • QB Marc Bulger, PRO
  • QB Daunte Culpepper, WAS

Week 12 Results

October 28, 2006
at Philadelphia
Philadelphia 17, Baltimore 3
Philadelphia (4‑8) snapped their eight game losing streak, holding Baltimore (5‑7) to just nine first downs and forcing last second starter J.P. Losman into a dreadful 10-for-30 passing performance. Brett Favre threw a 5‑yard touchdown pass to Donald Lee with 8:39 left in the first quarter to give the hosts a 7‑0 lead and they stayed in front. Deion Branch caught eight of Favre’s passes for 49 yards. Nick Barnett had 18 tackles for the losers.
Box   Drive Chart

October 28, 2006
at Albany
Albany 29, Pittsburgh 16
Jeff Wilkins booted five field goals in five attempts as Albany (6‑6) easily dispatched Pittsburgh (4‑8). With 5:55 left in the first quarter Steve Foley recovered a DeShaun Foster fumble and returned it 47 yards to the Pittsburgh 10. Three plays later Trent Green scrambled one yard for a touchdown to put the hosts ahead 10‑0. They would later translate four interceptions of Eli Manning into 13 points.
Box   Drive Chart

October 28, 2006
at Washington
Washington 19, Providence 16
A 46‑yard field goal by David Akers with 2:00 to go gave Washington (7‑5) the upset of Providence (9‑3) completing the hosts’ sweep of the two Northern Division powers. First half touchdown drives of 96 and 89 yards put the visitors into a 13‑7 second quarter hole, but they got a pair of Mike Nugent field goals to tie the score at 13 going into the break and a third Nugent field goal in the third quarter to temporarily take the lead. Torry Holt had 11 catches in the losing cause.
Box   Drive Chart

October 28, 2006
at New York
Richmond 34, New York 31
Madison Hedgecock scored on a 3‑yard run to give Richmond (5‑7) the lead with 9:50 left, but the visitors needed a 44‑yard Matt Stover field goal with just over a minute to go to claim the road win at New York (4‑8). In all there were six lead changes. Donovan McNabb hit on 26 of 33 passes for 275 yards with touchdown strikes to Todd Heap and Steve Smith. Chester Taylor contributed 113 yards on the ground on 25 carries.
Box   Drive Chart

October 29, 2006
at Syracuse
Atlantic City 32, Syracuse 11
Six Adam Vinatieri field goals without a miss propelled Atlantic City (6‑6) past slumping Syracuse (9‑3). Vinatieri was the only player to score until Jay Feely finally got the hosts on the scoreboard with a 35‑yard field goal with 8:03 to go. The winners responded by driving 73 yards for their first touchdown, a 57‑yard run by Tiki Barber. Barber rushed for 159 yards on 21 carries. The ASPN telecast was beset by technical difficulties right before kickoff and had to be scrubbed.
Box   Drive Chart


October 28, 2006
at Connecticut
Connecticut 27, Delaware 21   Box   Drive Chart
Connecticut (6‑6) held off a late Delaware (7‑5) rally, ended the visitors’ streak of consecutive wins at three, and prevented them from clinching the Central Divison title. Critical penalties negated big plays by the Cherries; the Comets, on the other hand, were penalty-free in the second half.

Delaware took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards in 15 plays. Mike Minter sacked Drew Brees on 3rd and goal from the 7, and the Cherries had to settle for a 26‑yard field goal by John Kasay.

Kasay’s kickoff was short, and a nice return by B.J. Sams gave Connecticut great field position on their own 45. Ten plays later Willis McGahee went in untouched from the 8 to give the Comets the lead.

They would not relinquish it.

In fact, they built upon it throughout most of what remained of the first half by cashing in on two Delaware turnovers, an interception by Bryant McFadden and a fumble recovery by Erasmus James. Michael Bennett scored after the latter on an 8‑yard run to increase the Connecticut lead to 17‑3.

Brees then ran the one-minute drill to near perfection, and the Cherries were able to make a small dent in the deficit on a 49‑yard field goal by Kasay just before the break.

Starting from their own 7 midway through the third quarter, the Comets extended their lead to 24‑6 by driving 93 yards, with 24 of them coming on Delaware penalties, a roughing the passer call and a personal foul call. The touchdown was yet another 8‑yard play, this one a pass from Tom Brady to William Henderson. The drive’s key play, though, came early: Facing a 3rd and 8 on their own 9, Brady found Marcus Robinson on a crossing route for 12 yards.

The first Cherries comeback initiative was short-lived. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Brady underthrew Samie Parker. David Barrett picked off the pass and returned it 20 yards to the Connecticut 17. The takeaway was negated, however, because Delaware was offsides.

Then the tide turned in favor of the Cherries.

On the play after the negated takeaway, Delaware stuffed Bennett for a 3‑yard loss forcing a Chris Gardocki punt. It was then that the Cherries finally sustained a touchdown drive. And they followed with another.

  • On the first, LaDainian Tomlinson converted on 4th and 2 on the Delaware 39. He ended the drive with an 11‑yard touchdown run up the middle.
  • On the second, Brees collaborated with Eric Parker on a catch-and-run on 3rd and 5 for a 30‑yard score. Tomlinson ran around left end for the two-point conversion reducing the Comets’ lead to 24‑21 with 2:47 left.

Samie Parker then recovered Kasay’s onside kick.

The Cherries would get the ball back but not until after Brady converted a key 3rd and 5 situation with a 13‑yard completion to Keary Colbert and Nate Kaeding connected on a 48‑yard field goal with 1:30 to go to make it 27‑21.

Penalties then completely foiled Delaware’s attempt to complete their comeback:

  • They were whistled for an illegal block on the kickoff return and had to start from their own 15.
  • On 2nd and 10 a holding penalty backed the Cherries up to their 8.
  • On 4th and 17 Delaware was again flagged for holding. This penalty was particularly costly for on the play Brees had connected with Dante Hall on a bomb and Hall had motored 53 yards to the Connecticut 39 before being pushed out of bounds.

Brees missed Hall on the next play, and Brady took a knee to preserve the win for the Comets.

All told the Cherries were penalized 85 yards on 12 infractions. Connecticut was whistled only twice for 25 yards. The difference made up for Delaware’s edges in total offense (347-270), first downs (20-17), and time of possession (32:25-27:35).

In the losing cause Tomlinson gained 100 yards on the ground on 20 carries and caught five passes for 37 yards.