Monday September 19th, 2011

Let’s face it: While there’s nothing better than NFL Sundays, it can be a little intimidating keeping up with what’s going on in every game. You can analyze the box scores or scan Twitter, but we’ll make it even easier. Here you’ll find the most important points from every game, so you’ll be prepared no matter what comes up at the water cooler Monday morning. We’ll be updating throughout the games, so keep checking back.

Cowboys 27, 49ers 24 (OT) (box score | recap)

1. Tony Romo showed off some major toughness Sunday. He reportedly fractured a rib late in the first half, forcing Jon Kitna into the game, but talked his way back into the game in the third quarter and rallied Dallas.

2. The Cowboys tried everything to get their run game going, using Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice in the backfield early. The results? Twenty rushes for 46 yards.

3. Every time you think Alex Smith might have turned a corner -- like when he started Sunday 10-of-13 with a TD -- he does something to negate it. His third-quarter interception set the Cowboys up for a game-tying TD.

Broncos 24, Bengals 22 (box score | recap)

1. Pretty decent criticism-silencing first drive for Kyle Orton: 5 of 6 for 48 yards to set up a Willis McGahee TD plunge. Orton also threw a pair of touchdown passes but coughed a costly fumble in the second half.

2. Well, John Fox listened to the fans' calls for Tim Tebow ... sort of. After Eddie Royal suffered an apparent groin injury, Tebow lined up as a slot receiver for the shorthanded Broncos. He did not make any catches in the game.

3. Andy Dalton took a nice step forward in the second half, and a big reason why was that Cincinnati finally hit on a couple of big plays. The biggest was an 84-yarder to Jerome Simpson that set up a Dalton-to-A.J. Green TD strike in the fourth quarter.

Patriots 35, Chargers 21 (box score | recap)

1. Chad Ochocinco made a tough third-down catch on the Patriots' opening drive, despite being interfered with, and got a huge ovation from the New England fans. They know as well as anyone how much Ochocinco could help the offense.

2. Vince Wilfork turned in one of the highlights of the early season, tipping a Philip Rivers pass into the air late in the second half, then picking it off and rumbling -- like the T-Rex in "Jurassic Park" -- back into San Diego territory. New England turned that play into three points. 

3. The turning point in the game came in the second quarter, when the Chargers opted to run wide with Mike Tolbert on a 4th-and-goal at the 1. Tolbert didn't make it and then the Patriots went 99 yards for a TD. San Diego shot itself in the foot time and time again Sunday.

4. The hearts of Patriots fans must have jumped into their throats early when Brady took a low hit early in the third quarter. His knee appeared to buckle, but Brady managed to get up and stay in the game.

Texans 23, Dolphins 13 (box score | recap)

1. Daniel Thomas might wind up getting a lot more carries going forward. On a Miami drive early in the second quarter, he had six carries for 30 yards and topped the 100-yard mark for the game.

2. Miami kicker Dan Carpenter drew boos from the home crowd by shanking a 34-yard field-goal attempt, just moments after he had a 22-yarder blocked.

3. Arian Foster's return to action did not exactly get him back on track for another huge season. Foster carried 10 times for 33 yards, then headed to the sideline as Ben Tate took over RB duties again in the third quarter.

4. Maybe it's time to take the Houston defense seriously. The Texans sacked Chad Henne twice and held him to 12-of-28 passing.

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