NFL Game Recaps: Week 8

Broncos 35, Chargers 21

  • It’s better to be lucky than good, but when you’re lucky and good, you’re very difficult to beat. That happened to be the case for the Broncos in this Thursday night victory.

    There were three key plays that could’ve gone either way that pretty much decided the outcome of this game:

    1. The Broncos returned a kickoff at the end of the first half with the game tied at seven. The player fumbled the ball, and the Chargers recovered. Or so it seemed. Though both CBS announcers and ex-ref Mike Carey believed the ball to be coming loose prior to the elbow being down, official Terry McAulay inexplicably overturned the ruling. Granted, it was close, but the play should’ve stood either way because there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were both taken aback by the decision. Had San Diego maintained possession, it would’ve been set up just outside of the red zone with a chance to take the lead. Instead, the Broncos took over and marched down the field, taking a lead that they never relinquished. It was a crushing, 10- or 14-point swing for the Chargers.

    2. The stat box says Peyton Manning was never intercepted, but he was. Eric Weddle impressively snatched the ball in the end zone with one hand, thwarting a Denver drive. However, a flag came out after the pick, and McAulay announced that “prior to the pass” there was holding. Once again, Nantz, Simms and Carey were all miffed by the call. There was barely any contact, and it was within five yards anyway, so there shouldn’t have been any sort of infraction. And if the penalty occurred “prior to the pass,” why was the flag thrown after the actual interception? Once again, the Broncos took advantage, scoring a touchdown.

    3. Emmanuel Sanders, who had a brilliant game, committed his sole blunder when he fumbled in his own territory. The Chargers appeared to have recovered the ball, but it bounced around and fell into Wes Welker’s arms. That was a chance for San Diego to get back into the game, down 14 at that point, but the Broncos maintained possession, bled the clock and pulled through with the spread-covering victory.

  • The Broncos were very lucky in this game, but they didn’t need all of that great fortune to prevail. They were the better team on the field, outgaining San Diego by 119 net yards and averaging 1.2 more yards per play. The Chargers were competitive for a while, but Denver ultimately ran away with this victory in the second half.

    San Diego simply couldn’t do anything about Peyton Manning. The NFL’s career touchdown record-holder was an unstoppable force, going 25-of-35 for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He had that one interception that should’ve stood, but was otherwise flawless. He simply took advantage of a secondary that was missing its top two cornerbacks. Brandon Flowers was out with a concussion, while Jason Verrett was in the lineup to begin the contest, but didn’t last the entire 60 minutes, as he aggravated his shoulder injury.

  • All three of Manning’s scores went to Sanders, who reeled in all nine of his targets for 120 yards. Demaryius Thomas also had a big game with eight grabs for 105 yards, but he dropped a pass.

  • Two of Denver’s prominent play-makers barely did anything. Julius Thomas snatched just two passes for 23 yards, while Welker (2 catches, 5 yards) made his sole positive contribution by recovering Sanders’ fumble.

  • It was a rough night for Ronnie Hillman fantasy owners. I would know because I am one. Hillman gained 109 yards on just 20 carries and also hauled in three balls for 29 receiving yards. The problem is that Hillman was vultured twice by Juwan Thompson (7-24). Hillman also had a touchdown run called back an Orlando Franklin hold.

  • As for the Chargers, they didn’t have nearly as much success running. It seemed like there was at least one Bronco around to smother Branden Oliver whenever the undrafted rookie touched the ball. Oliver managed 36 yards on 13 carries, though 23 of those yards came on the final play of the game when the Broncos were playing prevent. Oliver at least helped his PPR owners with a seven-catch, 27-yard receiving performance, but again, a large gain (22 yards) came late.

  • Philip Rivers had a mostly positive performance. Going 30-of-41 for 252 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, Rivers made some brilliant passes, including a 30-yard connection to Antonio Gates on a third-and-20 in the second quarter. One of the picks wasn’t his fault, as his receiver slipped. However, the second interception was a back-breaker, as Rivers carelessly flung the ball into double coverage late in the game. It was a desperation heave, but Rivers still had time; there were five minutes remaining in regulation, and he had possession around midfield. He didn’t have to hurry like that at all. The pick effectively ended the game, as San Diego’s defense couldn’t get Denver’s offense off the field.

  • Two of Rivers’ scores went to Gates (5-54), while the other was thrown to Keenan Allen, who had a big game. Allen snatched nine of the 13 targets thrown to him for 73 yards and a touchdown. Malcom Floyd, meanwhile, had four grabs for 58 yards. He was knocked out with an arm injury after making an awesome catch, but was able to return to action.

    Lions 22, Falcons 21

  • The Lions are such a dog team. They can play great when they want to, but it’s amazing how many games they take off, especially when coming off victories. Detroit put zero effort into this contest, and it was quite apparent, as the Falcons went up 21-0 in the middle of the second quarter.

    Detroit ultimately prevailed, but it took an epic collapse by the Falcons. Mike Smith’s second-half management warrants a firing. All Atlanta needed to do was kneel down three times after the two-minute warning, and Detroit would’ve received possession deep in its own territory with about 20 seconds and no timeouts remaining. A hold by the center on a run and a drop by Julio Jones allowed the Lions to operate with 1:50 on the clock instead. Sure enough, Matthew Stafford drove the team into field goal range, thanks in part to a great, one-handed catch by Theo Riddick. The Lions strangely opted to run the time out, settling for a 43-yard field goal despite their horrible kicking issues this year. They naturally missed the kick, but their own delay-of-game penalty negated the whiff. Matt Prater got another chance from 48 yards and improbably connected.

    The Lions prevailed, but their issues are still prevalent. They barely try some weeks, and regardless of whether they do or not, they commit dumb errors like having a delay of game during a game-winning kicking try. Their offensive line sucked. In addition to allowing Atlanta’s anemic pass rush to apply pressure, they were guilty of holds and blindside blocks to nullify big gains.

  • Matthew Stafford was especially terrible, at least prior to the game-winning drive. He went 24-of-47 for 325 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that he forced into triple coverage. The completion percentage is an indicator of what sort of day it was. He was horribly inaccurate, throwing behind and way past his receivers on numerous occasions. Granted, he didn’t have Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush or any of his tight ends at his disposal, but that shouldn’t have affected his accuracy. He nearly had two other picks. One occurred when Osi Umenyiora pressured him on a third-and-long. The other was nearly snatched out of the air by Tyson Jackson.

    Stafford’s scores went to Riddick and Golden Tate, both of whom had huge outings. Tate reeled in seven of 15 targets for 151 yards and his touchdown, which was a 59-yard bomb on third-and-long, while Riddick had eight grabs for 74 receiving yards. He didn’t run very much – three carries, five rushing yards – but he did a good job of replacing Bush as the pass-catching back.

  • Detroit had a rough time running the ball despite battling a struggling Atlanta defense. Joique Bell managed just 39 yards on 14 carries. He also nearly lost a fumble when he didn’t expect to get an attempt. Bell has been a huge disappointment, as Megatron’s absence allowed the Falcons to put eight men in the box.

  • Going into this affair, many wondered how the Falcons would protect Matt Ryan against Detroit’s ferocious pass rush. They did so quite easily, apparently. The Lions had absolutely no pass rush without blitzing early on. When they brought extra defenders, Ryan did a great job of releasing the ball quickly. He was absolutely flawless in the first half, and it was apparent he would be so effective when he found Roddy White on a tough third-and-8 on the opening drive. This ultimately led to a passing score to Devonta Freeman. By halftime, he was 14-of-17 for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He heaved a pick-six toward Rashean Mathis, but the play was negated by defensive pass interference.

    Ryan, however, struggled following intermission. He was just 6-of-10 for 68 yards and an interception in the second half. The pick was terrible, as it sailed right to a Detroit defensive back with no Atlanta player in the area. Ryan finished 20-of-27 for 228 yards, two touchdowns and that interception. He saw much more pressure following the break. He also fumbled twice, but his linemen recovered both loose balls.

  • Roddy White also recovered a fumble, making fortunate Atlanta 3-of-3 on loose balls. White led the team with five grabs for 66 yards. Julio Jones (4-58) had a disappointing outing. His drop at the end of the game was an absolute killer.

  • The Lions strangely struggled against the run. Steven Jackson ran like it was 2006, gaining 60 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Detroit couldn’t stop Jackson on Atlanta’s final drive, which is why it was curious why the Falcons even attempted a pass.

  • Detroit suffered a potential serious injury in this contest. Nick Fairley was carted off with what appeared to be an MCL injury.

    Seahawks 13, Panthers 9

  • Any great team can go through a two-game funk. The Seahawks even did so last year when they nearly lost to the lowly Buccaneers and Rams in the middle of the season. They managed to snap out of it with a blowout victory over an NFC South team (Falcons), so I wondered if they would do the same against another struggling opponent from that division. Well, Seattle prevailed, but it was way closer than it should have been.

    The Seahawks have blown so many opportunities this season, and that trend continued Sunday afternoon. It began early when cornerback Tharold Simon dropped a Cam Newton interception. Seattle then had Newton wrapped up for a sack on two occasions on the same play, but Newton muscled out of the tackles and picked up a first down.

    There were more egregious mistakes, however. Russell Wilson should’ve thrown a touchdown to Marshawn Lynch, but the running back let the ball pop out of his hands, and it ended up falling to cornerback Josh Norman for an interception. Wilson then missed a score of his own; he had Cooper Helfet wide open for a score, but the attempt inexplicably fell way short. Luke Willson followed that up with a drop near the goal line on the same possession. After that, Wilson had issues holding on to the ball. He dropped a read-option exchange. He was lucky to retain possession, but only temporarily, because he gave away a turnover when there was a botched snap.

  • Wilson still came away with the victory though, and that’s all that will matter during the playoff push. Wilson went 20-of-32 for 199 yards, one touchdown and the aforementioned pick that wasn’t his fault. Wilson missed several open targets, but picked up some decent chunks on the ground, gaining 35 rushing yards on six scrambles.

  • Wilson’s sole score ended up going to Willson, which won the game. Doug Baldwin was the only Seahawk with more than 32 receiving yards. He caught six of his eight targets for 61 yards.

  • Chris Mortensen reported that this will be Marshawn Lynch’s final season with the Seahawks, but that Lynch would not be traded. Had Lynch been on the block, he would’ve lost some value based on this performance. He was responsible for Wilson’s interception, negating at least three points. He also rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries, but didn’t do much on the ground until a late, 25-yard burst. He was at the three-yard-average mark for most of the afternoon.

  • As for the Panthers, Cam Newton had a miserable second half. He did a good job of moving the chains prior to intermission, but he had a complete meltdown after the break, going 4-of-12 for 81 yards and an interception to finish the game. The pick was terrible, as it was an ugly shovel pass. His only long completion following halftime was an amazing 51-yard reception by Kelvin Benjamin, who skied over Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas to pull down the completion.

    Newton finished 12-of-22 for 171 yards and the interception. He was able to elude potential sacks and pick up some rushing yardage in the first half, but Seattle’s pass rush swarmed him as the afternoon progressed. The Seahawks did a great job of bottling Newton up, limiting him to five rushing yards after intermission.

  • Benjamin, as mentioned, had an incredible reception. That helped him finished the game with a decent stat line (4-94). He was the only Panther with more than 33 receiving yards, as Greg Olsen (1-16) barely did anything.

  • The Seahawks continued to struggle against the run. Jonathan Stewart, who hasn’t enjoyed success against anyone, actually looked like a decent runner, gaining 79 yards on 16 carries.

    Bengals 27, Ravens 24

  • Teams usually try to win football games, but it appeared as though both Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton were trying their best to lose. Both signal-callers had miserable performances, with each being responsible for multiple turnovers. Dalton, however, was the least worse of the two, and he managed to stop being inept enough to lead his team to a victory at the very end.

    Dalton’s completion percentage and yardage don’t look terrible – 21-of-28, 266 yards – but he had the fans moaning and groaning in the fourth quarter. Most of Dalton’s errors came late. He had an overthrow in the end zone, missing a potential touchdown. He then did a poor job of securing the football and lost a fumble. Dalton followed that up with an interception on the next drive, but that was really a Mohamed Sanu fumble; it would’ve been ruled that way if Sanu had possession of the ball for a second longer. Dalton managed to heave a low pass to Greg Little, which had the fans booing him.

    As mentioned though, Dalton put together a game-winning drive, highlighted by a 53-yard bomb to Sanu on third-and-10. He capped it off with a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, scoring for the second time on the ground.

  • With Green out, all Dalton had to work with was Sanu, who stepped up with five grabs for 125 yards, though he was responsible for the interception. On the bright side, he also made an amazing, one-handed catch. Dalton will need A.J. Green to return soon, as he had to rely on Greg “Mr. Dependable” Little to be his second receiver. Mr. Dependable (3-42) did make a catch on third-and-long in the first half and also had a big gain wiped out by an Andre Smith hold.

  • Giovani Bernard didn’t find much running room, but managed to score once. He gained 45 yards on 16 carries otherwise. Unfortunately, he left the game with a hip injury. Jeremy Hill had even less success, mustering just 25 yards on 10 attempts.

  • Meanwhile, Flacco was far worse than his counterpart. The numbers show it, as he went 17-of-34 for 195 yards and two interceptions. The first was horrible, as Flacco never saw linebacker Emmanuel Lamur. The second was a weird one, as Torrey Smith appeared to have suffered a concussion and screwed up on the play. Flacco had some other near-picks, including one where a Cincinnati defender bobbled one of his passes in the first half.

    Having said that, this loss wasn’t all on Flacco. Smith, as mentioned, suffered a concussion. He also lost two starting offensive linemen – Eugene Monroe and Marshal Yanda; two of his best – to injuries. Some of Flacco’s receivers dropped passes as well. This includes Kamar Aiken, who let the ball fall through his hands on fourth-and-goal during the opening half.

    Despite this ineptitude, it appeared as though Flacco won this game when he fired a deep bomb to Steve Smith, who caught the pass and ran into the end zone. However, the officials called offensive pass interference and negated the play. Smith did appear to push off a bit, but the CBS color analyst was skeptical, calling safety George Iloka a flopper. Tony Dungy agreed later Sunday evening.

  • Smith’s nullified touchdown ruined his fantasy day. He saw nine targets, but snared only three of them for 35 yards. Only Lorenzo Taliaferro (2 catches, 42 yards) and Michael Campanaro (3-40) had more yardage. Torrey Smith didn’t log a single reception before leaving the game with a concussion.

  • Bernard Pierce was a healthy scratch in this game. Taliaferro worked as the short-yardage back, scoring twice while tallying 27 yards on seven carries. It’s a shame for Justin Forsett owners, as their runner totaled 68 yards on 17 tries but had a pair of potential touchdowns stolen from him.

    Dolphins 27, Jaguars 13

  • Would you believe me if I said the Jaguars dominated this game? No? Not even a little bit? Well, they did. As proof, I’d like to note that Jacksonville had outgained Miami at halftime by a whopping margin of 219-56. The Jaguars also held the ball 13 more minutes, as the Dolphins didn’t even have a first down until there were four minutes remaining in the opening half. The Jaguar defense was extremely forceful, while Denard Robinson was running well. The reason why they were ultimately blown out on the scoreboard was Blake Bortles.

    Saying Bortles was awful is an understatement. He didn’t even look like a functional NFL quarterback. He threw wobbly passes throughout the afternoon and looked hesitant on most of his plays. He also threw short of the first-down marker on third down and missed several open receivers.

    Bortles (18-of-34, 221 yards, one touchdown, two picks), made his most egregious errors occurred when he lost a fumble and tossed two interceptions, both of which were pick-sixes. The first occurred when he unnecessarily forced it in Miami territory. The second occurred because he stared down Cecil Shorts. By the time the Dolphins ran the second interception into the end zone, they went up 17-3 despite doing absolutely nothing on offense. It seemed like the Jaguars became dispirited and stopped trying very hard on defense. Who could blame them?

  • As mentioned, Denard Robinson ran well – at least during the first half. He gained 108 yards on 18 carries, but struggled following intermission, managing just 18 yards on seven attempts.

  • Both Jacksonville Robinsons had big games. Allen Robinson led the team with five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Allen Hurns (3-49) and Shorts (3-41) weren’t big factors.

  • The Jaguar defense did a great job of getting pressure early on Tannehill. They sacked him just three times, but brought plenty of heat while this game was competitive. Tannehill, as a result, went just 16-of-29 for 196 yards, one touchdown and an interception on a tipped pass. He was hurt early by countless Brian Hartline drops and the pressure the Jaguars brought, but he got into a groove in the second half once Jacksonville gave up. He helped himself out by scrambling, picking up a 30-yard rush in the second half.

  • No Dolphin had more than 60 receiving yards. Mike Wallace led the way with two grabs for 59 yards. Rishard Matthews caught Tannehill’s sole touchdown.

  • Lamar Miller inexplicably was barely used in the first half, so it’s not a coincidence that Miami’s offense finally got moving once the coaching staff remembered to give him the ball. Miller finished with 78 yards on just 14 carries.

    Chiefs 34, Rams 7

  • The Rams established a 7-0 lead in the early stages with an impressive opening drive by Austin Davis, but didn’t score a single point after that. The primary reason were the injuries to three offensive linemen and Brian Quick, who was carted off the field with a left arm injury in the second quarter. The linemen who went down were guard Rodger Saffold, center Scott Wells and left tackle Jake Long. The latter could be done for the year with a torn ACL.

    It’s amazing how unfortunate the Rams have been. They’ve had injury issues to their linemen for years. They’ve missed Sam Bradford over the past couple of seasons. Chris Long has been out this year. And now this. Perhaps it’ll be a blessing in disguise, as it’ll help the Rams land either Marcus Mariota or James Winston in the 2015 NFL Draft (go here for my 2015 NFL Mock Draft).

  • Davis couldn’t do anything without four key players, completing 10-of-18 passes for only 92 yards in the second half. He finished 15-of-25 for 160 yards, one touchdown and an interception that he heaved into double coverage early on.

  • With Quick out, Kenny Britt led the team in receiving with just two grabs for 52 yards. Tavon Austin (2-12) was barely a factor.

  • The Rams promised to split their carries among their three running backs, and they kept their word. Tre Mason was the most effective (7-32), while Benny Cunningham (4-27) wasn’t too far behind him. Zach Stacy (5-17) looked sluggish outside of one 9-yard burst. You can get away with dropping him in your fantasy league.

  • The Rams were able to upset the defending Super Bowl champions last week because of some dynamic special-teams plays. The script completely flipped just a week later, as their special teams betrayed them in this blowout. It began innocently enough early when they missed a field goal from just 38 yards. The Chiefs then hit a longer field goal. What changed this entire game though was a kickoff return to begin the second half. This was a tight, 10-7 affair until Knile Davis took the opening kickoff of the second half 99 yards for a touchdown. It completely broke open a game in which Kansas City had outgained St. Louis by just 17 yards until that point.

  • The Chiefs were able to ice this game following the kickoff return with Alex Smith’s precision passing and some long Jamaal Charles gains. Smith misfired just four times, going 24-of-28 for 226 yards. He struggled with pressure early – his offensive line couldn’t deal with Robert Quinn’s great pressure – but the Chiefs made the appropriate second-half adjustments. It also helped that the Rams displayed very poor tackling after halftime and couldn’t maintain possession on offense because of their injury woes.

    Smith did a good job of spreading the ball around, as a quintet of Chiefs had four or more targets, yet none of them saw more than six. Dwayne Bowe (6-64) and Travis Kelce (4-45) led the way.

  • Charles, meanwhile, mustered 73 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries to go along with four catches and 44 receiving yards. Most of his production came in the second half, as he messed up early with a lost fumble on a handoff. This didn’t hurt the Chiefs, however, as the Rams whiffed on that aforementioned field goal. Knile Davis (16-49) also scored, though that occurred in garbage time.

    Patriots 51, Bears 23

  • It’s crazy to think that everyone thought the Patriots were done a month ago. Following a huge loss to the Chiefs, they’ve now ripped off four consecutive victories, beating three of those teams in blowout fashion. The hapless Bears were their latest victim; this score isn’t even indicative of how much of a destruction this contest was.

    Here are some numbers to give you an idea: By the time the score was 45-7 in the beginning of the third quarter, the Patriots had outgained the Bears, 378-119. New England, at that point, averaged a whopping 7.9 yards per play. That’s nearly a first down every time it snapped the football!

    Tom Brady was just unbelievable, and it seems so crazy now that many pronounced him finished at the end of September. Brady misfired on just five occasions, going 30-of-35 for 354 yards and five touchdowns. One of his incompletions was dropped by Julian Edelman. The Bears offered absolutely no resistance, even surrendering an early third-and-18 completion after the Patriots took a big loss following a botched snap.

    Chicago’s defense played like trash, but the bigger factor was that Brady finally has all of his weapons healthy. Rob Gronkowski doesn’t have limitations anymore; he reeled in all nine targets thrown to him – including that aforementioned third-and-18 conversion – for a team-leading 149 yards and three touchdowns. It’s amazing how much better Brady looks with a completely healthy Gronk at his disposal.

  • Brady’s other two touchdowns went to Brandon Lafell and Tim Wright. Unlike the past few weeks, Wright was actually productive outside of a fluky score; he snatched all seven balls thrown to him for 61 yards. LaFell, meanwhile, had an even greater afternoon, hauling in 11 balls for 124 yards.

  • It was surprising to see Shane Vereen used so sparingly. Vereen was given just five carries, which he turned into 22 rushing yards. He also had only three catches for 23 receiving yards. The Patriots used Jonas Gray primarily; the big back pummeled his way for 86 yards on 17 carries, though he was stuffed on an early fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line – only, it didn’t count because the Patriots false started. The penalty actually gave New England an opportunity for points, as it set them up with a field goal.

  • The Bears finished with some pretty offensive stats, but don’t be fooled; almost all of it came in garbage time. For instance, Cutler went 20-of-30 for 227 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. However, he was just 7-of-13 for 66 yards, one score and the pick by intermission. Cutler had two other turnovers negated; an interception was wiped out by an illegal contact and ultimately led to a score to Matt Forte, while a strip-sack returned for a touchdown was nullified because it was ruled that Cutler’s forward progress was stopped.

  • More bogus stats: Martellus Bennett (6-95, TD) and Alshon Jeffery (5-59, TD) both pleased their fantasy owners, but they did nothing when this game was in doubt. Jeffery had just two grabs for 14 yards at the break, thanks to Darrelle Revis, while Brandon Marshall (3-35) didn’t log a single reception by that juncture. Marshall even took himself out of the game on a fourth down.

  • Matt Forte was the only truly productive Bear. He rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries and also snagged Cutler’s third touchdown, securing six catches for 54 receiving yards. Forte had 105 total yards and a touchdown in the first half.

  • As if this loss wasn’t bad enough for the Bears, two key players suffered major injuries. Lamarr Houston could be out for the year with a knee tear, which he incurred after a celebration on a routine play, while guard Matt Slauson sustained a major chest malady.

    Bills 43, Jets 23

  • This was more of a comedy show than a football game, and Geno Smith provided most of the laughs. Smith nearly had as many interceptions (3) as passing yards (5) and was benched before the first quarter even concluded. The first, which occurred following a pass way behind the target, was good coverage by Stephon Gilmore, but was forced to Percy Harvin, who did not look comfortable running the route. However, the other two picks were brutal; the second was a short pass off Smith’s back foot, while the third wasn’t even close to his target. At that point, I tweeted out – @walterfootball – a completely accurate stat: “Geno Smith is on pace for 18 interceptions today.”

    Unfortunately, we wouldn’t get our 18 picks because QBDK entered the game. Not to defend Smith or anything because he was an abomination, but the play-calling was terrible. After the first three drives, Smith had six passes compared to just one Chris Ivory (13-43, 2 TDs) run. what happened to “Ground and Pound?” Why would Marty Mornhinweg sling the ball so willingly with such a pedestrian quarterback?

  • QBDK was only a bit better, but only because he ran so much. He scrambled eight times for 69 rushing yards, but posted mediocre passing numbers, going 18-of-36 for 153 yards and an interception that occurred late when he was hit as he released the ball. He also fumbled twice, losing the ball once. QBDK’s big issue was missing receivers; not just in terms of accuracy but just not seeing open targets downfield. A hectic Buffalo pass rush didn’t help matters; the Bills registered four sacks, 1.5 from Kyle Williams.

    Smith’s benching shouldn’t be permanent. Smith had a solid outing against the Patriots, so the Jets should allow him to have another chance. At 1-7, it’s not like they’re going to the playoffs anyway. They need to make sure Smith is a bust before deciding on whether they want to draft Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston.

  • Harvin made his debut for the Jets, but served as an inefficient receiver – I already mentioned him being thrown to on the first pick – hauling in just three of nine targets for 22 yards. He also had four carries for 28 rushing yards. He made a nice return to open the game, but then stupidly took a kickoff out of the back of the end zone in the third quarter. He sprinted to the 3-yard line and stopped to throw a pass back, but decided against it and was promply tackled.

  • The Jets’ leading receiver was Jace Amaro, who hauled in all five of his targets for 51 yards. Eric Decker (7-40) was also semi-productive.

  • Of course, the top wideout in this contest was Sammy Watkins, who’s getting better and better each week. New York’s secondary, which had to use a receiver as a cornerback, didn’t even stand a chance. Watkins caught just three passes, but logged 157 yards and a touchdown. He probably should’ve had a second score, but he celebrated prematurely before getting tackled at the 5-yard line.

  • Kyle Orton didn’t have to do much because his defense took care of everything. He completed only 10 passes (17 attempts), but generated a whopping 238 yards and four touchdowns. He had deep opportunities open to him all afternoon against New York’s horrific group of defensive backs.

    Orton’s four scores were thrown to Watkins, Robert Woods (3-50), Scott Chandler and Lee Smith.

  • The Bills couldn’t run the ball at all, but that’s hardly a surprise because both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson were out, while the Jets maintain one of the top ground defenses in the NFL. Anthony Dixon got most of the work, but did very little with it, mustering 44 yards on 22 attempts. Bryce Brown (7-15) didn’t look much better, but should probably be given more opportunities.

    Vikings 19, Buccaneers 13

  • Teddy Bridgewater gets all the hype, but Minnesota’s “other” first-round pick won this game. If you somehow missed it, Mike Glennon found Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a short reception in overtime, but linebacker Anthony Barr stripped the ball away, recovered it and scored the game-winning touchdown to help the Vikings improve to 3-5.

    While Barr helped his team triumph with eight tackles, one sack and the strip-fumble for a touchdown, Bridgewater didn’t have as good of a game. He spent most of the afternoon dinking and dunking, struggling to convert first downs as a consequence. The Vikings were just 6-of-15 on third down, mostly because Bridgewater constantly tossed passes short of the first-down marker.

    Having said that, Bridgewater’s game-tying drive at the end of regulation was a thing of beauty. He found Greg Jennings for a couple of decent gains and moved his team well into field-goal range. He could have kept the possession going, but simply ran out of time. Part of the reason for this is because the officals screwed up on one play, ruling that Jennings didn’t go out of bounds when he clearly did. His forward progress wasn’t stopped or anything, so the refs blew it by allowing 30 or so seconds to run off the clock. Bridgewater even had to hurry as a result, and he nearly threw a pick, as his pass was dropped by a defender.

    Bridgewater finished 24-of-42 for 241 yards and a touchdown to Jennings (3-38). He scrambled just once for three rushing yards. Bridgewater isn’t a running quarterback, but he can move around and do stuff with his legs, as we all saw in the Atlanta victory, so he should use more of his mobility going forward if he’s too worried about taking chances downfield. Otherwise, he’s just Matt Leinart.

  • It was nice to see Cordarrelle Patterson bounce back. Patterson tied for the team lead in receptions with Chase Ford. They both caught six, with Patterson accmulated 86 receiving yards.

  • Jerick McKinnon got almost all of the carries once again, tallying 83 yards on 16 carries. Matt Asiata caught four passes for 26 receiving yards, but did nothing with his quartet of rushing attempts, gaining only one yard in the process.

  • The Vikings weren’t great on third downs, but the Buccaneers were far worse, converting just one of 12 tries. Tampa couldn’t get anything going offensively until the end when Glennon pulled out what appeared to be a game-winning drive out of nowhere.

    Glennon was awful otherwise. He went 19-of-28 for 171 yards, one touchdown and an interception on a deep shot, but those numbers aren’t indicative of how poorly he played. Glennon constantly panicked in the pocket and stopped looking downfield. Barr and Everson Griffen terrorized him. Griffen achieved only one sack, but harassed Glennon with numerous hits and pressures.

  • Glennon’s score went to Seferian-Jenkins (3-26). Tampa’s other rookie, Mike Evans, led the team in receiving with four grabs for 78 yards. Meanwhile, Vincent Jackson managed to catch only one ball for 13 yards. This could be Jackson’s final game in Tampa; rumors have been swirling that he could be dealt to the Eagles, Patriots or Seahawks.

  • Doug Martin struggled once again, managing 27 yards on 10 carries. He also hurt his ankle, but that could be a blessing in disguise, as Bobby Rainey was more effective. Rainey gained 25 rushing yards on eight carries and also caught six balls for 41 receiving yards.

    Texans 30, Titans 16
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • Editor’s Note: I’ve been hesitant to slot a quarterback to the Titans in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft because Zach Mettenberger was going to get a shot, but I may change my tune during my live update on Tuesday.

  • Arian Foster and J.J. Watt were too much for the Titans, as the Texans cruised to an easy victory. Zach Mettenberger was making his first NFL start, but he struggled to move the ball before garbage time and played tentatively for three quarters. It can’t be stated strongly enough that Watt and Foster were just awesome for Houston and carried the Texans to their fourth win in eight games.

  • Early in the first quarter, Dexter McCluster (2-1 rushing, 4-39 receiving) returned a punt 47 yards to set up the Tennessee offense at Houston’s 21-yard line. The Titans went three-and-out and settled for a field goal. Houston then put a drive together with passes to Andre Johnson (7-55). Foster dropped a pass that could have gone for a touchdown, and the Texans settled for a field goal. Foster made up for it on the next drive as he broke off a 35-yard touchdown run. He made a great cut back in the backfield to dodge two tacklers before bolting downfield for the score.

    Just inside of the 2-minute warning, D.J. Swearinger (three tackles, 1 pass breakup, 1 interception) undercut a pass from Mettenberger, picked it off and returned it to midfield. That play killed one of the only drives where the Titans were moving the ball. Fitzpatrick threw a rope to DeAndre Hopkins (5-95) to the 2-yard line, but the Texans had to settle for a field goal.

    To start the third quarter, Mettenberger was strip-sacked by J.J. Watt, and Houston recovered at the Tennessee 20-yard line. Foster ran it inside the 10 and caught a short touchdown pass in the flat to put the Texans up 20-3. The next Houston possession saw the Texans start on their own 2-yard line. Fitzpatrick then hit a few throws to move the ball out of the danger zone. Foster kept coming with a tremendous 43-yard run, as he juked two defenders before being forced out of bounds at the 1-yard line. He scored his third touchdown of the game on the next play.

    Mettenberger hit a 48-yard pass to Kendall Wright (3-53), who was wide open in the middle of the field. The drive ended with Mettenberger throwing a short touchdown to Delanie Walker (4-37). In the final minutes of the game, Mettenberger led another scoring drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown to Justin Hunter (4-31), but it was too little, too late.

  • Fitzpatrick completed 19-of-35 passes for 227 yards with a touchdown. Foster did the heavy lifting, totaling 151 rushing yards on 20 carries with two scores while catching four passes for 22 receiving yards and another score. Without Foster, the Texans would struggle to move the ball. The offensive line really struggled in pass protection, although some sacks were Fitzpatrick’s fault.

  • Mettenberger completed 27-of-41 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He looked better in the fourth quarter and should improve over the bye week without having to go against Watt in his next game. Bishop Sankey (9-35) and the Titans’ ground game never got going.

  • Watt continued to show why he is the league’s MVP this year. Watt had a tackle for a loss, drew two holding penalties, had a strip-sack, beat Chance Warmack for another sack and batted down a pass. Watt was dominaint versus Warmack and Michael Oher. He couldn’t be stopped.

  • Texans’ outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney saw his first game action since Week 1. He hurried Mettenberger on his first play and drew a face mask from Taylor Lewan on the second snap. Clowney added a few other pressures, but looked rusty.

  • Defensively for the Titans, Jurrell Casey was a load and hit Fitzpatrick often. Tennessee notched sacks from Michael Griffin, Avery Williamson, Daimion Stafford, Ropati Pitoitua and Kameron Wimbley. Casey, Griffin (eight tackles) and Williamson (10 tackles) played really well for the Titans.

    Browns 23, Raiders 13
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • Editor’s Note: I thought all along that the Raiders were the right betting side, but I didn’t want to gamble on them because they are so poisonous. Sure enough, Oakland looked like it was going to cover for most of the contest – and then Darren McFadden fumbled and gave the Browns a gift touchdown to beat the spread. Poisonous team confirmed.

  • Cleveland improved to 4-3 after dropping the worst team in the NFL, and the win keeps the Browns in the AFC playoff race. After losing to Cleveland, the Raiders are in real danger of going 0-16. Check out the Monday Morning Draft to see the murderous schedule that Oakland has remaining and what the franchise could do with the first pick.

  • In the first quarter, the Raiders ran a trick play on a fourth-and-11 with two quarterbacks in the game. Derek Carr split out wide and Matt Schaub dropped an errant snap. After recovering the ball, the veteran threw one of his telegraphed passes for an interception to Tashaun Gipson. Gipson returned the ball to midfield, and the Browns turned the big play into a field goal. Cleveland added two more field goal drives in the first half, but paid the price after tight end Jordan Cameron took a hard hit to the head and went into the locker room with the training staff. He didn’t return to the game, and his status going forward looks questionable.

    The Raiders got a drive going with a beautiful 21-yard, one-handed reception by Mychal Rivera (7-83) to set up a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. Carr moved the ball again for three with a perfect strike for a 30-yard gain to Andre Holmes, who got open against Justin Gilbert. Kenbrell Thompkins (4-34) made an awesome one-handed, back-shoulder reception to give Janikowski an easy 38-yarder. The Browns took a 9-6 lead into the half.

    In the third quarter, Carr had a nice drive going with accurate passes to a variety of receivers, but at the 20-yard line, Darren McFadden (12-59 rushing, 4-26 receiving) fumbled the ball after getting blasted by Donte Whitner. Joe Haden caught the fumble in the air and returned it to midfield. On the next play, Brian Hoyer hit a 32-yard pass to Andrew Hawkins. Hoyer then hit tight end Jim Dray for 16 yards to the five. Hoyer finished the drive with a short touchdown pass to Hawkins (7-88).

    To clinch the win, Austin Howard was knocked back into Carr, who fumbled the ball away. Barkevious Mingo recovered at Oakland’s 9-yard line. Ben Tate (15-26) scored to put the game on ice for Cleveland. In the final seconds of the game, Carr threw a short touchdown pass to Holmes (5-69), as he powered through Gilbert for six.

  • Hoyer finished 19-of-28 for 275 yards with a touchdown. The Browns really never got into a groove offensively, as they had only 39 yards rushing.

  • The Browns’ defense was the real star of the game. Haden has been criticized for his play this season, but he had a bounce-back performance against Oakland. Haden had two impressive pass breakups in the fourth quarter. He led Cleveland with nine tackles. Paul Kruger had his best game as a Brown with three sacks and a forced fumble. Whitner (8 tackles), Dansby (8 tackles) and Gipson all played well for the Browns.

  • Carr completed 34-of-54 for 328 yards with a touchdown. He made some nice passes, but his fumble, McFadden’s turnover and Schaub’s interception killed the Raiders’ offense.

  • Oakland’s defense actually played well for a change, but the turnovers put the stop unit in impossible situations. Sio Moore, Khalil Mack and Charles Woodson were all standouts for the Raiders.

    Cardinals 24, Eagles 20

  • What a crazy game. These teams combined for 921 net yards of offense, 44 first downs, 104 pass attempts and 21 penalties. It’s only fitting that it would go down to the wire. Carson Palmer lobbed a 75-yard touchdown bomb to John Brown to take the lead with 1:21 remaining in regulation. Nick Foles then had his chance and did a good job of moving Philadelphia into the red zone. He fired a pass toward Jordan Matthews for what could’ve been the decisive score. Matthews caught the ball, but landed out of bounds, giving Arizona the victory in this battle of 5-1 teams.

    The Eagles were competitive and nearly triumphed, but their offensive game plan was highly questionable. Having Foles attempt 62 passes compared to giving LeSean McCoy just 21 rushes was not a winning formula. Philadelphia never trailed by more than seven points, so there was no reason not to run McCoy as much, especially considering that he did a good job of picking up yardage on the ground. McCoy gained 83 yards on 21 carries and didn’t have a rush of more than 13 yards, so it’s not like he had just one great burst and did nothing else. McCoy is the team’s best player, so giving him just 24 touches – he also had three catches for 14 receiving yards – was inexcusable in a game that could potentially determine playoff seeding.

    Foles, meanwhile, had a mixed night. His numbers look pretty from a fantasy perspective – 36-of-62, 411 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions – but the picks were killers and part of the overall persisting red-zone issues. His fist interception was a telegraphed throw late over the middle of the field. The second was a throw well behind Riley Cooper. Those weren’t the only give-aways, as Josh Huff lost a fumble inside the 10-yard line.

    Had the Eagles converted in the red zone, they would have won easily. However, this has been an ongoing problem for them all year. They just can’t find the end zone deep in enemy territory for some reason. Perhaps this aspect of their offense will improve once Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce return from injury.

  • Both of Foles’ scores went to Jeremy Maclin, who had a monstrous outing with 12 catches for 187 yards. Maclin torched Patrick Peterson early on and then proceeded to do the same with Jerraud Powers once Peterson left with a concussion. Maclin and Peterson collided in the second quarter. Peterson was knocked out, while Maclin had to leave temporarily because of a brutal cut on his ear.

  • Three other Eagles secured at least five catches: Cooper (5-88), Zach Ertz (5-48) and Matthews (6-47).

  • The Cardinals were outgained by more than 100 net yards, but they played a much cleaner game. They committed just one turnover, as Andre Ellington fumbled near midfield. Ellington rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and also caught three balls for 14 receiving yards.

  • Palmer nearly had a turnover himself when he was strip-sacked in the first quarter. However, it was nullified by a Nate Allen penalty. Palmer went 20-of-42 for 329 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were 75 yards or longer. Palmer’s first big score went to Larry Fitzgerald on a short slip screen, while the other was the aforementioned bomb to Brown, who torched Allen.

    Both Fitzgerald and Brown saw 10 targets. Fitzgerald logged seven catches for 160 yards, while Brown notched five receptions for 119 yards. Meanwhile, Michael Floyd didn’t secure a single catch. He was injured on a deep pass attempt in the first half, but came back in a bit later. It’s possible that getting banged up like that slowed him down a bit.

    Steelers 51, Colts 34

  • Where the hell did this come from? Everyone had the Colts winning this game, which was understandable, given how great they looked and how much Pittsburgh had struggled this season. Indianapolis’ defense had been surging, yet it couldn’t apply any sort of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger in this affair. As a consequence, Roethlisberger posted the fourth-most passing yardage in any NFL regular-season game.

    Roethlisberger was unstoppable. His final numbers undoubtedly made fantasy football owners cry, as he went 40-of-49 for 522 yards and six touchdowns. It’s a shame he didn’t have one more drive because he would’ve passed Norm Van Brocklin’s single-game record of 554. The Colts were missing Vontae Davis, who left this game with a knee injury, and Roethlisberger took full advantage, torching Indianapolis mercilessly. The Steelers tallied a ridiculous 634 net yards of offense. The team didn’t even punt until midway through the third quarter.

  • Pittsburgh’s blemishes on offense were few and far between. Dri Archer had a drop; LeGarrette Blount coughed up a possession; while Darrius Heyward-Bey, who appeared to be playing the sleeper agent role, lost a fumble while getting up after a reception, allowing the Colts to score a touchdown to help fuel their attempted comeback. They ultimately fell short, however, as Pittsburgh was too forceful, converting 8-of-13 third downs.

  • Two players caught multiple Roethlisberger touchdowns. Those were Antonio Brown, who was able to have a big game with 10 catches for 133 yards because of Davis’ absence, and Martavis Bryant, who exploded for five grabs for 83 yards in his second NFL game. Roethlisberger’s other scores went to Heath Miller (7-112) and Markus Wheaton (5-56).

  • Le’Veon Bell didn’t find the end zone, but he had a great performance. He rushed for 92 yards on 24 carries and also caught six passes for 56 receiving yards.

  • Andrew Luck did his best to attempt a comeback, but simply didn’t get the help from his offensive line. Luck was under siege throughout the afternoon. It was so strange because the Steelers struggled to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks all year. Luck was sacked just twice, but he was hit and pressured countless times. This was quite apparent on the deciding play of the game. Down just eight points after tailing by 35-10, Luck was backed up near his own goal line. Pittsburgh brought heavy heat, and Luck tripped and fell. He fired a pass from the turf that sailed out of bounds, and he was flagged for an intentional grounding as a consequence. This resulted in a safety, putting the Steelers in control for good.

    Luck went 26-of-45 for 400 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six that was telegraphed. He played mostly well otherwise considering the circumstances. He torched Cortez Allen relentlessly. Allen had a nice pass break-up early on, but was horrible for the duration of the afternoon until the Steelers started using Antwon Blake instead.

  • Luck’s scores went to T.Y. Hilton (6-155), Donte Moncrief (7-113) and Dwayne Allen (1-21). He nearly had a fourth touchdown to Hakeem Nicks (1-27), but he just missed him in the end zone in the first quarter.

    Hilton’s production was expected, while Moncrief’s was legitimate. A 52-yard gain of his was all him, and he saw 12 targets thrown his way – two more than Hilton did.

  • Trent Richardson was a surprise active for this game, but didn’t touch the ball. Ahmad Bradshaw got all but one of the carries, but given that the Steelers were so far ahead, he was given just six attempts, which he turned into 35 yards and a touchdown.

    Saints 44, Packers 23

  • This game looked like it was going down to the wire, with the winner being the last team that had the ball. Both Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees were unstoppable in between the 20s, and every single possession in the first half led to some sort of scoring output. Everything changed, however, when the Packers were driving in the third quarter. They reached the red zone and had a nice scramble from Rodgers, but the Packer quarterback pulled up. He grabbed his left hamstring and shouted expletives. Cris Collinsworth picked up on it immediately, saying this was a huge deal for Green Bay. He was right, as the Packers were outscored from that point on, 28-7.

    Rodgers was on fire early, and it helped that he had all day to throw for the most part. That changed a bit after T.J. Lang went down with an ankle injury, but he was still able to drive down the field with ease, going 13-of-18 for 278 yards and a touchdown in the opening half. The hamstring ruined his evening, however, as he threw an interception a couple of plays following the scramble, which was a deflection off a throw into the end zone to Andrew Quarless. Rodgers then had another pick that was an inaccurate heave toward Davante Adams. He completely lost his mobility and couldn’t escape pressure.

    Rodgers finished 28-of-39 for 418 yards, a pair of touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) and the two interceptions. The good news for the Packers is that they have a bye coming up, so Rodgers will get to rest his hamstring before a divisional matchup against the Bears at home.

  • Drew Brees, meanwhile, was pretty much flawless, as he usually is in the Superdome. He misfired on just five attempts, going 27-of-32 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t let the ball hit the ground a single time in the second half, completing all 11 of his attempts for 124 yards. Some of his first-half misfires weren’t even his fault. For example, Brandin Cooks had a deep drop, though he made up for it on the very same drive by making a great reception that popped into the air and fell back down to him.

    Brees’ scores went to Cooks (6-94), Jimmy Graham (5-59) and Josh Hill. Cooks’ touchdown was a thing of beauty, as the speedy rookie blew by two defenders and let a perfectly thrown ball just drop into his hands. Graham, meanwhile, didn’t register a single first-half reception, but came alive after intermission.

  • A big part of New Orleans’ offense in this contest was the running game. With Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas both out, Mark Ingram received a full workload. He made the most of it, bulldozing his way for 172 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Travaris Cadet, meanwhile, handled the Thomas aspect of the offense. He caught four balls for 40 receiving yards.

  • Before I move on to the Packers, there are two things that bothered me about the Saints. The first was Brees’ clock management at the end of the first half. For whatever reason, he refused to spike the ball to stop the clock, and as a consequence, things got dicey. Brees threw a pass over the middle of the field without any timeouts, and the clock would have expired if there wasn’t a defensive penalty. Brees did the same exact thing at the end of the Detroit loss. He would be so much better off spiking the ball, so I have no idea why he won’t do that.

    Also, Sean Payton made a poor decision in the third quarter. Stationed just past midfield, Payton called for a run with his fullback on third-and-1. He was unsuccessful, but Payton opted to go for it on fourth down. He had Ingram run, but the former first-rounder was stuffed. It was strange that Payton didn’t even try a pass with one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks on one of these crucial plays. Fortunately for Payton, it didn’t hurt him, as the Packers didn’t score on the short field because Rodgers proceeded to hurt his hamstring on the very next drive.

  • Some notes on the Packers:

    – Rodgers’ sole aerial score went to Randall Cobb, who had five catches for 126 yards and a 70-yard touchdown, beating Keenan Lewis.

    – Lewis covered Jordy Nelson for most of the evening and did a good job; Nelson secured just three of his five targets for 25 yards.

    – Davante Adams tied Eddie Lacy for the team lead in targets. Adams snared seven catches for 75 yards, though a couple of his receptions came when Matt Flynn entered the game at the very end.

    – The Packers used Julius Peppers on one offensive play during the second drive. He was in the goal-line package, and Rodgers actually lobbed it up for him. Peppers, however, couldn’t come down with the score.

    – Eddie Lacy had an awesome performance in front of his hometown crowd. His rushing numbers weren’t great – 13 carries, 59 rushing yards, including one stuff on fourth-and-1 – but he was a big part of the passing attack, reeling in eight catches for 123 receiving yards. Lacy was extremely difficult to tackle, as he broke free from countless defenders.

    Redskins 20, Cowboys 17

  • For about a half hour, Dallas’ season looked like it could be completely over. Tony Romo took a sack in the third quarter and bent backward. He was on the ground for several minutes and had to be helped to the locker room. Word was that Romo re-injured his troublesome back, which he had surgery on, and it sounded like he would be done for the evening and might even miss multiple games.

    Romo, however, improbably reentered the game with a couple of minutes remaining in regulation. He did not do anything, aside from completing an 18-yard pass that was nearly intercepted, and was even out-performed by Brandon Weeden (4-of-6, 69 yards, touchdown), who held up well in his absence. Romo fumbled on his first pass attempt, and he was extremely fortunate, at the time, that a teammate of his recovered the loose ball because Ryan Kerrigan had a great chance to scoop it up. After that, Romo was flagged for an intentional grounding call and failed to complete a single pass in overtime after the Redskins kicked a field goal on their extra-session drive.

  • Romo wasn’t even having a great game before he got hurt. He finished 17-of-27 for 209 yards and a touchdown, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Romo struggled immensely with Washington’s pressure, as he failed to diagnose Jim Haslett’s chaotic blitz schemes. Romo took a whopping four sacks on third down, and that doesn’t even include that crucial intentional grounding. It’s fair to wonder if Jason Garrett should’ve stayed with Weeden. It was a tough call; had Weeden failed, Garrett would’ve been criticized, just like he is now for trotting out Romo, who looked like he was completely overwhelmed to handle Haslett’s blitzes.

  • While Washington’s pass rush was incredible – especially with Brian Orakpo out – the secondary stole the show. Cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and David Amerson both had great performances; particularly the former. Breeland, a fourth-round rookie, had struggled entering this contest, so his level of play Monday night was shocking, to say the least. Breeland shut down his receiver and broke up numerous passes, including a potential touchdown to Dez Bryant. Breeland nearly caught an interception at the end of regulation that would have allowed the Redskins to attempt a decisive field goal without going to overtime.

    As a result of this great corner play, Dez Bryant was limited to just three catches for 30 yards and an impressive touchdown where he muscled his way toward the goal line. Terrance Williams made six grabs for 69 yards.

  • Dallas’ two leaders in receiving yards weren’t wideouts. Jason Witten (5-70) caught Weeden’s touchdown, while DeMarco Murray (4 catches, 80 receiving yards) paced the team. Murray was brilliant – he also rushed for 141 yards on 19 carries – but he once again lost a fumble. This time, he coughed it up in the red zone while fighting for yards after an impressive gain. Murray is trying his hardest to squeeze out extra yardage, but he needs to start taking care of the football. Dallas could have used those three or seven points.

  • On the other side, Colt McCoy waited three years to make a start, and he made the most of it. McCoy admittedly made some mistakes early on – he underthrew DeSean Jackson twice, hurled a careless interception into the end zone and was partly responsible for some procedural penalties – but he played extremely well in the second half. McCoy misfired on just two passes after the break and picked up some gains on the ground, including a touchdown in which he dived into the end zone. The key play in this game from Washington’s perspective was when McCoy rolled out left and lofted a pretty ball to Jordan Reed (7 catches, 40 yards) along the sideline to set the team up in field goal range.

    McCoy finished 25-of-30 for 299 yards and an interception. He also picked up 16 rushing yards and the aforementioned touchdown on the ground. He did a great job of converting third and fourth downs in the final quarter of regulation and overtime.

  • As mentioned, McCoy overthrew Jackson a couple of times. With that in mind, it’s impressive that Jackson logged 136 receiving yards on his six catches. Pierre Garcon, meanwhile, didn’t do much, registering just four receptions for 47 yards.

  • The Redskins couldn’t run the ball in the first half, but Alfred Morris was able to get going after intermission. He tallied 73 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts.

  • A player not named Romo sustained a major injury in this game. Cowboys’ linebacker Justin Durant, who played extremely well this season, is done for the year with a torn bicep. Durant’s loss will definitely be felt.

    For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.

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    2015 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
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    2015 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 5
    2015 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 12
    2015 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 19
    2015 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 26
    2015 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 4
    2015 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 11
    2015 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 18
    2015 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 25
    2015 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 4
    2015 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 11
    2015 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 18
    2015 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 25
    Super Bowl 50 Recap - Feb. 8

    2014: Live 2014 NFL Draft Blog - May 8
    2014 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 5
    2014 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 12
    2014 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 19
    2014 NFL Week 4 Recap - Sept. 26
    2014 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 3
    2014 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 10
    2014 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 17
    2014 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 24
    2014 NFL Week 9 Recap - Oct. 31
    2014 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 6
    2014 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 13
    2014 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 20
    2014 NFL Week 13 Recap - Nov. 27
    2014 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 5
    2014 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 12
    2014 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 19
    2014 NFL Week 17 Recap - Dec. 29
    2014 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 4
    2014 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 11
    2014 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 18
    Super Bowl XLIX Live Blog - Feb. 1
    Super Bowl XLIX Recap - Feb. 2

    2013: Live 2013 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2013 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
    2013 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
    2013 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
    2013 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
    2013 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 8
    2013 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 15
    2013 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
    2013 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 29
    2013 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 4
    2013 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 11
    2013 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 18
    2013 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 25
    2013 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 2
    2013 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 9
    2013 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 16
    2013 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 23
    2013 NFL Week 17 Recap - Dec. 30
    2013 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 6
    2013 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 13
    2013 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 20
    Super Bowl XLVIII Recap - Feb. 3
    Super Bowl XLVIII Live Blog - Feb. 2

    2012: Live 2012 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2012 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
    2012 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
    2012 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
    2012 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
    2012 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 8
    2012 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 15
    2012 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
    2012 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 29
    2012 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 5
    2012 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 12
    2012 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 19
    2012 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 26
    2012 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 3
    2012 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 10
    2012 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 17
    2012 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 24
    2012 NFL Week 17 Recap - Dec. 31
    2012 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 7
    2012 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 14
    2012 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 21
    Super Bowl XLVII Recap - Feb. 4
    Super Bowl XLVII Live Blog - Feb. 4

    2011: Live 2011 NFL Draft Blog - April 28
    2011 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 12
    2011 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 19
    2011 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 26
    2011 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 3
    2011 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 10
    2011 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 17
    2011 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 24
    2011 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 31
    2011 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 7
    2011 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 14
    2011 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 21
    2011 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 28
    2011 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 5
    2011 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 12
    2011 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 19
    2011 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 26
    2011 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 2
    2011 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 9
    2011 NFL Week 19 Recap - Jan. 16
    2011 NFL Week 20 Recap - Jan. 23
    Super Bowl XLVI Live Blog - Feb. 6

    2010: Live 2010 NFL Draft Blog - April 22
    2010 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 8
    2010 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 9
    2010 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 13
    2010 NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 20
    2010 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 27
    2010 NFL Week 4 Review - Oct. 4
    2010 NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 11
    2010 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 18
    2010 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 25
    2010 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 1
    2010 NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 8
    2010 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 15
    2010 NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 22
    2010 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 29
    2010 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
    2010 NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 13
    2010 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
    2010 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2010 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 3
    2010 NFL Week 18 Review - Jan. 10
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 17
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 24
    Super Bowl XLV Live Blog - Feb. 6

    2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
    2009 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 10
    2009 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 10
    2009 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 14
    2009 NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 21
    2009 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 28
    2009 NFL Week 4 Review - Oct. 5
    2009 NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 12
    2009 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 19
    2009 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 26
    2009 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 2
    2009 NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 9
    2009 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 16
    2009 NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 23
    2009 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 30
    2009 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
    2009 NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 13
    2009 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
    2009 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2009 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 4
    2009 NFL Week 18 Review - Jan. 11
    2009 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 18
    2009 NFL Week 20 Review - Jan. 25
    Super Bowl XLIV Live Blog - Feb. 7

    2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2008 NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 4
    NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 8
    NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 15
    NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 22
    NFL Week 4 Review - Sept. 29
    NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 6
    NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 13
    NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 20
    NFL Week 8 Review - Oct. 27
    NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 3
    NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 10
    NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 17
    NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 24
    NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 1
    NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 8
    NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 15
    NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 22
    NFL Week 17 Review - Dec. 29
    NFL Wild Card Playoffs Review - Jan. 4
    NFL Divisional Playoffs Review - Jan. 11
    NFL Championship Sunday Review - Jan. 19
    Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog