Washington Redskins kicker Graham Gano claims he knew Texans coach Gary Kubiak would call a timeout to ice him in overtime of the Texans-Redskins game. Despite Gano's omniscience, Kubiak's strategy worked: Gano's initial game-winning field goal was negated and he missed the ensuing attempt wide right. The miss allowed the Texans to kick their own game-winner later in overtime.
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Steelers rookie wide receiver Antonio Brown wasn't even in uniform during Week 1. But in Week 2, Brown was not only in uniform, but also igniting the Steelers' offense. On the opening kickoff, Brown took a handoff from Mewelde Moore on a reverse and raced untouched for an 89-yard touchdown. Coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers called for the trick play because he knew the Steelers would have trouble moving the ball against a stout Tennessee Titans defense.
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Trailing the Steelers 19-11 in the fourth quarter, Titans kicker Rob Bironas lined up for an onside kick. In a clever form of deception however, Bironas faked to the left before kicking at an unsuspecting Steelers defender in the middle of the field. Unprepared, the Steelers defender muffed the ball, and Titans defender Colin Allred recovered. Unfortunately for the Titans, they failed to score and lost 19-11.
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After 2.5 seasons of JaMarcus Russell, the Oakland Raiders, you would think, would have more patience for a mediocre quarterback. But after a middling first half by Jason Campbell against the St. Louis Rams, Raiders coach Tom Cable pulled him and inserted Bruce Gradkowski. He sparked the Raiders, passing for 162 yards as they came back to defeat the Rams 16-14.
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Against an attacking Dallas Cowboys defense, the last thing a surging Bears squad needed was an injury along the offensive line. But when starting left tackle Chris Williams went down with a hamstring injury, the Bears didn't fret. New offensive line coach Mike Tice simply moved right tackle Frank Omiyale to left tackle. Whether it was the scheme or Omiyale simply excelling outside of his comfort zone, the Cowboys didn't sack Cutler again.
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Critics had said LaDainian Tomlinson was done, and at best, he could be a change-of-pace back or a safety valve for Mark Sanchez. Instead, Tomlinson has discovered the fountain of youth and proved he can still carry an offense. In Week 2, Tomlinson rushed for 76 yards, including three yards on a crucial fourth-and-one with 2:44 left in the fourth quarter that sealed the New York Jets victory over the New England Patriots.
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Immediately after the two-minute warning, the Kansas City Chiefs were faced with a fourth-and-one that threatened their 16-14 lead over the Cleveland Browns. Having confidence in his players, Chiefs coach Todd Haley decided to go for it and called Thomas Jones' number. Jones, another player many thought was washed-up, hurdled the line, securing the first down and the game for the Chiefs.
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Knowshon Moreno threw only one pass in his collegiate career; a touchdown strike called back because of a penalty. So when the Denver Broncos asked Moreno to throw a pass in their gadget play, "toss-238-gator-throwback," he was nervous. But Moreno, who took the pitch and then threw a lateral back across the field to Kyle Orton, executed the play perfectly and sparked the Broncos to a 31-14 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
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In last year's loss to the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman threw five interceptions. Thus, it must have been particularly satisfying for the young quarterback to lead the Buccaneers to a 20-7 victory over the Panthers this year. The biggest measuring stick of Freeman's growth came midway through the second quarter on a third-and-17. Freeman took the snap and displayed his innate elusiveness by shrugging off two Panthers defenders. Keeping his eyes downfield, Freeman found a waiting Kellen Winslow for a 40-yard gain and a step toward elite quarterback status.
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The pregame hype centered on the Manning brothers, but the star of the Colts-Giants game was the game plan of Colts offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. Using a relentless running attack, Christensen set up the play-action pass, which Peyton executed to perfection on a 50-yard touchdown lob to Dallas Clark. The strike put the Colts up 14-0 and they never looked back. What play would you add to the list? Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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