Cheerleader of the Week: Vincent Hendricks of Houston nominates Summer of the Texans' pep squad. According to her team bio, Summer "works as an engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center." A rocket scientist cheerleader! She also has a VFR pilot's license and is working on her instrument rating. If her team photo is an indication, Summer is not only a rocket scientist cheerleader, she's a sultry rocket scientist cheerleader. This really must be the third millennium!
Sweet Series of Plays of the Week: On "series" plays, one action sets up another. Game tied at 7, Indianapolis was on its own 31. Marvin Harrison lined up wide right, with tight end Dallas Clark also on the right as a slot receiver, and ran a middle crossing pattern as Clark ran an out; Harrison caught a pass for 38 yards. Two plays later the Colts lined up the same way. This time Harrison came in motion back toward the formation. At the snap, Harrison headed for the middle cross again, but from the inside of Clark, while Clark ran for the sideline and tailback Dominic Rhodes ran a flare right. Two Jax defenders went with Harrison. Two came up to cover Rhodes. That left no one on Clark; Peyton Manning saw this and motioned Clark up the field, where he caught a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Sweet Play of the Week No. 2: Trailing Pittsburgh 17-14 early in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati faced fourth-and-1 on its own 30. Following professor David Romer's advice, the Bengals went for it and converted. Cincinnati did not score on the possession, but Marvin Lewis' decision to go for it on his own 30 communicated to his charges that he was challenging them to win the game, which they did.
Sweet Play of the Week No. 3: Leading 3-0, Denver had third-and-1 on the New England 32 with 56 seconds remaining in the first half. Normally it's best to rush on short-yardage downs: but if you're going to pass, throw the home run, not some dinky three-yard out. The Broncos play-faked, Javon Walker went deep up the right sideline single-covered and caught the touchdown that made it 10-0 at the half. Flying Elvii defensive backs -- there were only 56 seconds remaining, why were you surprised Denver went to the end zone?
Sweet Play of the Week No. 4: On a 23-yard completion to Muhsin Muhammad, Rex Grossman of the Bears play-faked left, then play-faked right, then threw. You don't often see two play-fakes on the same down. But was this pass-wacky unit really the Chicago Bears? At one point in the game, the Bears' coaches had called 26 passes versus eight rushes.
Sweet 'N' Sour Player of the Week: Grossman was the epitome of Sweet 'N' Sour. His touchdown pass won the game as the clock ticked toward all-naughts. But on the first snap of the fourth quarter, the Ming Ding Xiong ("Bears whose outcomes are decided by fate" in Chinese) having a first-and-10 on their 12, Grossman sprinted 15 yards backward into his own end zone. About to be tackled, he threw a nutty heave-ho that was intercepted by Minnesota and returned for a touchdown. Yes: He threw an interception to avoid a safety!