NFL Nation: 2010 Week 8 Decisive Moment AFC

AFC West Week 8 decisive moment

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
1:01
PM ET
NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Winning teams make the big plays when needed.

Sunday, it just took the Kansas City Chiefs a little longer than usual to come up with the decisive plays. How long? As long as possible.

After scoring only 10 points in nearly 74 minutes against the winless Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense awakened, perhaps alarmed by the thought of tying the visiting Bills. After Kansas City’s defense made yet another stop, the Chiefs took over at their 31-yard line with 1:13 remaining in overtime of a 10-10 tie.

Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki took over. Cassel hit Charles for a 16-yard catch and then found Moeaki, a rookie tight end, on back-to-back plays for 18 and 11 yards, respectively. After Charles gained the final eight of his 177 yards on the ground, the Chiefs set up kicker Ryan Succop perfectly for a 35-yard field goal. However, Succop had missed a 39-yarder earlier in overtime because of a wind gust.

No such problem this time. The kick was good and so are the Chiefs, sitting atop the AFC West at 5-2. Why did the Chiefs win? They made enough plays. Just in time.

AFC South Week 8 decisive moment

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
1:00
PM ET
NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

The Cowboys were poised to cut into the Jaguars’ 14-3 lead and head into intermission with things turned around.

But in four downs starting at the Jacksonville 9-yard line, Dallas couldn’t break through.

Miles Austin caught a pass out of bounds. On the next play, Jon Kitna ran for 8 yards. Then Marion Barber ran off right guard and was stopped by Daryl Smith and Kirk Morrison.

On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Barber ran off left tackle and the same duo of linebackers stuffed him.

I’m not sure, however, that Barber’s second or third effort wouldn’t have broken the plane if Justin Durant had not run down the line and made the final push to rebuff the effort.

A booth challenge was upheld and the Jaguars went into the locker room fired up. They returned and built on their 11-point lead to win with ease, 35-17.

AFC East Week 8 decisive moment

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
1:00
PM ET
NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

In Halloween black and orange, the Cincinnati Bengals were like zombies in awkward, relentless pursuit of the Miami Dolphins.

The Bengals stumble-stalked. The Dolphins seemed vulnerable regardless of their wherewithal to get away.

Had the Dolphins managed to turn one of their five field goals into a touchdown, they would have been comfortably ahead. Had Dolphins safety Chris Clemons not bobbled a surefire interception right to Terrell Owens for a freak touchdown at the end of the first half, the game would have been over.

Instead, the Bengals were in a one-score game and driving with about three minutes left.

On the 15th play of a series in which the Bengals converted three third downs and a fourth down, Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith knocked the zombies' heads off.

Smith, who lost his starting job at right cornerback to Jason Allen just before the regular season began, recorded his first NFL interception.

Carson Palmer threw a fluttering ball to Owens, but it went right to Smith at Miami's 7-yard line. Smith returned it 18 yards to give the Dolphins possession with 2:43 to play.

The Bengals had one timeout to burn. After two Ricky Williams runs, the Dolphins were in victory formation to kill the clock.

More than a decisive moment for the game, the play could prove decisive for Smith, a young player who has lost his swagger since the Dolphins drafted him in the second round last year and started him all 16 games.

AFC North Week 8 decisive moment

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
1:00
PM ET
NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

There were a lot of unusual things we saw from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Halloween night. Troy Polamalu had a rare bad game, Pittsburgh looked rattled by the New Orleans Saints in the second half and reliable tight end Heath Miller fumbled the football.

That last item is this week's decisive moment in the AFC North. With Pittsburgh's offense finally getting in rhythm, Miller's late fumble killed a golden opportunity for the Steelers to tie the score or take the lead in the fourth quarter.

With the Steelers down 10 points, tailback Rashard Mendenhall broke off a 38-yard touchdown run to cut the Saints' lead to 13-10 with 10:38 remaining. The reigning champs responded by driving into Pittsburgh territory. But Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees fumbled, giving the Steelers hope for a late comeback.

Three plays later, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found Miller open over the middle. But in the process of Miller breaking a few tackles, Saints linebacker Marvin Mitchell jarred the ball loose and safety Darren Sharper recovered.

Miller was not the reason the Steelers lost the game. But his fumble represented Pittsburgh's final chance of leaving New Orleans with a victory.

SPONSORED HEADLINES