B Duane Cross
Monday November 24th, 2003

Al Franken made a mint off his observations of a not-to-be-named radio talk show host who a) underestimated Donovan McNabb and b) recently did a stint in rehab for addiction.

Imagine what Franken could do after spending Sunday afternoon on the sideline with Mike Holmgren. It would be a best-seller, for both the New York Times and amazon.com. I even have a title: Mike Holmgren is a Big Fat Idiot.

Seattle gave up 17 fourth-quarter points -- 10 in the final 72 seconds -- as Baltimore rallied to tie the score at 41, forced overtime and eventually won 44-41. I don't know what is more shocking, that the Ravens scored 10 points in 72 seconds or their 44 points total.

For his part, here's what the Walrus had to say after the Seahawks' stunning loss: "We let them back in the football game. ... It was just a bizarre, bizarre ending."

You think? What was your first clue, bub -- the first, second, third or fourth touchdown by Marcus Robinson?

I stand corrected -- Marcus Robinson catching four TD passes is the most shocking detail of the game. Yes, the same Marcus Robinson who had three TDs all of last season. Yep, one in the same who had nine catches for the year before Seattle got into the holiday spirit.

And don't think, Ray Rhodes, that you don't bear some of the blame. Sure, it was Holmgren's decision to have Matt Hasselbeck run a QB keeper -- for no gain, no less -- on fourth-and-1 at the Ravens' 33 with 44 seconds to play. ... But just where was punter Tom Rouen, in the bathroom? Forget that Ed Reed had blocked Rouen's previous attempt and returned it for six; Rouen puts 40 percent of his kicks inside the 20 -- punt it, back 'em up and make the Ravens drive the field in less than 45 seconds.

It was the defense's epic collapse that allowed Anthony Wright -- that's right, Anthony Wright; it wasn't even noted long-ball thrower Randy Wright -- to make Brian Billick's offense look like something out of Sid Gillman's playbook. Well, that and Marcus Trufant's pass interference that went for a 44-yard penalty to set up Matt Stover's game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.

During the Ravens' recent four-year stretch, when Baltimore's offense turned back the hands of time 50 years as far as the forward pass is concerned, much has been made over Billick's inability to nurture a quarterback into grasping his philosophy. On Sunday, the Ravens lit up Seattle for 319 yards through the air -- generally a good month's worth of work for Baltimore quarterbacks.

Holmgren snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Sunday. We'll know in five weeks whether or not the Seahawks will be bird of prey or pray -- as in pray for a miracle to get into the playoffs.

• Patriots 23, Texans 20 (OT): While the Seahawks walked off the field with their feathers between their legs, the Texans had nothing to be ashamed of after their disappointing loss to the Patriots.

Nonetheless, giving up the final 10 points will leave a mark not soon to be forgotten.

Trailing 20-13 with 3:04 to play, New England began its game-tying drive with a 13-yard completion to Deion Branch. After two Tom Brady incompletions, Daniel Graham made a 33-yard pickup on third-and-10. Five plays later, the Brady-to-Graham combination tied the score with a 4-yard TD.

The Patriots' drive covered 80 yards in nine plays, but most unnerving for the Texans has to be that only six of those plays netted yards -- a 13.3-yard average per play. That is not the kind of defense that wins close games in the fourth quarter.

In overtime, Texans QB Tony Banks, who completed passes to nine different receivers on the day, was a lowly 2-for-6 with an interception, including incompletions on his final three attempts. Oddly, each of the incompletions came at the Patriots' 40-yard line on two separate drives.

New England's final nine-play, 76-yard series ended after 3 minutes, 35 seconds when Adam Vinatieri kicked a 28-yard field goal to give the Patriots their seventh win in a row.

St. Louis is 29-0 when Marshall Faulk rushes for at least 100 yards. ... Minnesota's Randy Moss is 56 yards shy of eclipsing Jerry Rice (7,866) for the most receiving yards gained in the first six years of a career. ... Rice had the 1,500th reception of his career Sunday (a TD, of course) to extend his streak to 267 consecutive games with a catch.

The 49ers are 0-5 on the road for the first time since going 0-8 in 1979. ... Stephen Davis became the Panthers' single-season rushing leader (1,143). ... Dom Capers is 0-2 against the Patriots -- both OT losses. ... Indy's Peyton Manning tied Len Dawson for third place in history with his sixth consecutive 3,000-yard passing season. ... With two touchdown passes against the Niners, Green Bay's Brett Favre tied Dan Marino's league record with his 10th consecutive 20-TD season.

Fourth-and-goal from the 1 and Butch Davis calls for a double-reverse. If the Browns score, he's a genius. Cleveland didn't; he's a putz. ... Then again, the Browns were inside the Steelers' 20 four times (inside the 10 three times) and had only a field goal to show.

New England is 9-2 for the first time in franchise history -- and 62-41-1 against AFC South teams, the only division in which the Pats have a winning record against each team.. ... Brian Westbrook has nine TDs, the most by an Eagles player since Ricky Watters' 13 in 1996. ... The Jets' Santana Moss has a TD catch in seven consecutive games. ... The Rams have scored at least 30 points in their past three games against the Cardinals.

The Titans are 20-7 since 1997 in interconference play, tops in the league. ... K.C. leads the all-time series with Oakland 43-42-2. ... After blowing a 21-point first-quarter lead, the Falcons are 0-5 when leading at halftime. ... Seattle and Baltimore combined to score 62 second-half points -- more than any other game except for Tennessee-Atlanta (69).

Ryan Longwell's fourth-quarter field was the 174th of his career, eclipsing Chris Jacke for the Packers' record. ... Dallas' Quincy Carter set career highs with 29 completions and 44 attempts for 254 yards. ... Drew Bledsoe's 1-yard TD dive in the second quarter was the Bills' first touchdown in 218 minutes, 17 seconds (Oct. 19 vs. Washington).

Philly's Donovan McNabb has not thrown a pick in his last 124 attempts. ... The Jags' Fred Taylor rushed for 119 yards, his 26th career 100-yard game. ... Minnesota's Brian Williams' three INTs Sunday tied a Vikings record, done most recently by Jack Del Rio in 1993.

Denver's Clinton Portis had 165 yards rushing against Chicago to mark his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. His 11.79 per-carry average broke the team record of 11.0 set by David Rolle against Oakland on Oct. 12, 1960. ... St. Louis' Marc Bulger is doing his best Kurt Warner immitation: 10 INTs in the past four games.

Morten Andersen's game-winning FG for the Chiefs was the 500th of his career. ... K.C.'s Priest Holmes, who leads the NFL with 15 TDs rushing, had 91 yards rushing to go over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the third consecutive year. ... The Chiefs have won 11 consecutive home games, tying the franchise record.

San Diego is on pace to have the top pick in the draft for the second time in four years; the Chargers have lost 16 of their last 20 games under Marty Schottenheimer. ... On the bright side, LaDainian Tomlinson had 95 yards rushing to top 1,000 yards for the third year in a row. ... Sheez, those are some ugly orange tops, Miami.

• Carolina need not look any further than the 8:14 mark of the fourth quarter. With Dallas facing fourth-and-4 at the Panthers' 37, Terry Cousin was flagged for defensive pass interference. The result: First down, Dallas. And to rub salt into the wound, Dallas threw at Cousin on its next two attempts, resulting in two completions for 15 yards.

In games that come down to only a handful of plays, Cousin's miscue could mean the difference between home field throughout the playoffs or, possibly, packing the bags for a trip to St. Louis, Dallas or Philly.

• Ravens QB Anthony Wright: 20 of 37 for 319 yards, four TDs -- For a guy who had only five career touchdown passes (all in 2001 with Dallas), Wright certainly knows how to roll out the welcome mat! The anticipated birth of his second child Sunday probably will overshadow his four-TD day, but it'll give him something to tell the grandkids.

• Saints RB Deuce McAllister: 19 carries, 184 yards, two TDs -- Even though New Orleans lost to Philadelphia, he posted 100 yards for the eighth consecutive game, tying the franchise's record for the most 100-yard games (16 by George Rogers). ... I guess it's time now to wonder if Ricky Williams will ever become the back that Deuce is ....

• Bengals WR Chad Johnson: 10 catches, 107 yards, three TDs -- No guarantees this week -- after all, where's the fun in going out on a limb and projecting victory against the Chargers? -- but still another win for AFC North-leading Cincinnati due in large part to the play of CJ.

Note: Marcus Robinson's seven-catch, 131-yard, four-TD performance was disqualified from consideration after he divulged this in the postgame locker room: "Personally, I needed it big. Knee surgery, back surgery, everybody's looking at me as injury-prone, things like that. I even started doubting myself for a minute. But I kept praying, and my wife kept praying for me. She kept pushing me and telling me, 'Marcus, you're the best receiver in the NFL.' " ... Truly love is blind.

Once upon a time, I understood the NFL's argument that it cannot have a flexible Monday Night Football schedule. Too many this, too many that ... hey, stop the bellyaching; you're the N-F-frickin'-L. And because there are too many this, too many that, we get to see the 4-6 Giants against the 4-6 Bucs?!

Instead of getting a game that means a hill of beans (this is the stretch run for some teams, you know), we get Chucky's Three Mile Island Men playing host to the G-Shock Men. Thanks, Tags. Just what we needed, a national TV game for Jeremy Shockey to shill some more watches.

Yeah, yeah, I know: It looked like a good game when we drew it up in the summer, the NFL will counter. And Michael Vick looked like a world-beater before Aug. 16, didn't he?

Why not just skip the game and have a scowl-off between Jim Fassel and Jon Gruden? The winner gets to go one-on-one with their choice -- a disgruntled season-ticket holder in the Meadowlands' Section 202 or Keyshawn Johnson -- during FOX's pregame show next week.

• For more on the Monday night game, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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