NFL Game Recaps: Week 9, 2019

49ers 28, Cardinals 25
  • This was a rollercoaster of a game where it initially appeared as though the Cardinals would pull the upset, then the 49ers would run away with an ugly blowout, then Arizona would have a chance to prevail at the end after all. Let’s discuss each element:

    First, the Cardinals opened the game with an impressive touchdown drive. Following a good kickoff return, a long Kenyan Drake run and a horse-collar tackle on Kyler Murray, Drake was able to plunge into the end zone. George Kittle was injured on the ensuing possession when an Arizona helmet collided with his knee cap, so it appeared as though San Francisco would be in danger of losing.

    Things changed soon after, as the 49ers dominated the second and third quarters of this contest. Kittle returned from injury, which was huge. Jimmy Garoppolo was very precise on third down, as Arizona’s defense couldn’t get off the field. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ offense was in a funk, as Murray was making bad decisions, including some bad sacks. One sack was a 19-yard loss! Murray also had a potential pick-six that was dropped by linebacker Fred Warner. Things went from bad to worse when head coach Kliff Kingsbury iced his own defense on a fourth-down stop in the red zone. Kingsbury’s timeout negated the play, and San Francisco went on to score after that.

    The 49ers looked like they would run away with a blowout victory, but Murray caught fire by going into an up-tempo offense. Arizona was down 28-17 with about five minutes remaining when Murray found Andy Isabella for a decent gain. Thanks to a poor decision by a defender and some bad angles by the other San Francisco players, Isabella scored on an 88-yard touchdown. Just like that, it was a field goal game, and all the Cardinals needed was a stop. That never happened, however, as Garoppolo converted a third-and-9 to a backup tight end to ice the game.

  • The big fantasy story regarding this game was Drake’s debut with his new team. Despite serving as a mediocre pass-catching back in Miami, Drake proved that the Dolphin coaching staffs had no idea what they were doing. Drake was very explosive, rushing for 110 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries. He also caught four passes for 52 receiving yards. Drake looked like the dominant back we saw out of Alabama when he entered the NFL Draft. It’s a small sample size, but this performance makes me wonder what the hell the Dolphins were thinking for A) trading Drake for almost nothing, and B) not utilizing him very much in the first place. Adam Gase was the first to have this idea, and we’ve learned since that Gase doesn’t like players who have talent.

  • The 49ers, shockingly, didn’t run the ball nearly as well. Tevin Coleman was a huge disappointment following his huge Week 8 performance. He mustered only 23 yards on 12 carries, though he managed to convert a key third-and-3 on the final drive. He also appeared to score a touchdown, but the play was negated by a hold. On the other hand, he dropped a screen pass that appeared to be a long gain. Matt Breida was much better, gashing the Cardinals for 78 yards on 15 attempts.

  • Garoppolo picked up the slack with the running game not working very well. Garoppolo struggled mightily in the preseason and had a slow start to the year, but he has improved each week. Garoppolo was unstoppable against an Arizona defense that is better now that Patrick Peterson is playing. Most of his throws were on the money, and the Cardinals had no answer for him. He finished 28-of-37 for 317 yards and four touchdowns.

  • It’s helped Garoppolo that he has a viable receiver at his disposal for the first time in his San Francisco career. That would be Emmanuel Sanders, who was a monster versus Arizona. The Cardinals looked inept trying to defend him, as Sanders hauled in seven of his nine targets for 112 yards and a touchdown.

    Garoppolo’s other touchdowns were thrown to Kittle (6-79), Dante Pettis (1-21) and Kendrick Bourne (1-7). Deebo Samuel, who caught four passes for 40 yards, was the highest-producing receiver not to find the end zone in this game, officially. I wrote “officially” because Samuel dropped a touchdown.

  • As for the Cardinals’ passing attack, the numbers don’t look bad, as Murray went 17-of-24 for 241 yards and two touchdowns to go along with five scrambles for 34 rushing yards. However, keep in mind that 88 of Murray’s yards came on the Isabella play, which was very fluky. Murray put together a couple of nice drives, but the offensive line couldn’t give him enough protection against San Francisco’s stalwart front for that to be consistent.

  • Save for Isabella and Drake, Arizona’s leader in receiving yardage was Larry Fitzgerald (4-38), who was a disappointment, much like Christian Kirk (2-8). KeeSean Johnson (2-22) reeled in Murray’s other touchdown, but he dropped a wide-open pass in the first half.

  • Texans 26, Jaguars 3
  • When missing several defensive players, including one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL and several starters in the secondary, it’s often wise for the team in question to sit on the ball offensively in an attempt to control the clock and keep the injury-ravaged stop unit off the field. That’s exactly what the Texans did in this contest, as they killed the clock in the opening half. As a result, they ran 32 of the initial 42 plays in this game.

    Despite this, the Texans mustered just nine points in the opening half, as Jacksonville’s defense stiffened twice in the red zone. This kept the Jaguars alive when they threatened to score to open the third quarter. However, a D.J. Chark offensive pass interference that negated a first-and-goal inside the 5-yard line and a botched snap on the ensuing field goal attempt put the Texans into favorable field position. The Texans kicked a field goal to establish a two-score lead, then lengthened it on a Duke Johnson touchdown run on the following possession.

  • The NFL Network broadcasters described Deshaun Watson as “magical,” and they were right on the money with that word. Watson was facing heavy pressure from a talented Jacksonville front going against an offensive line missing Laremy Tunsil. Watson was able to somehow escape out of pressure to make enough plays for his team to prevail.

    Watson misfired on just six occasions, going 22-of-28 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled seven times for 37 rushing yards. Watson nearly scored a rushing touchdown, but the officials ruled that play incorrectly. Watson, however, found DeAndre Hopkins for a score on the very next play.

  • Speaking of Hopkins, the elite receiver didn’t have a huge performance because Watson didn’t have enough time in the pocket to locate him for deep gains. However, Watson kept peppering Hopkins on short completions, which would explain Hopkins’ eight catches on 11 targets. Hopkins logged 48 yards and scored a touchdown at the very end.

    Two Houston players had more receiving yards than Hopkins: Duke Johnson (5-68) and Kenny Stills (4-52), who was knocked out of this game twice with injuries, only to return to action shortly later. Darren Fells, who caught one pass for a single yard, hauled in Watson’s other touchdown.

  • Carlos Hyde nearly had a terrific fantasy performance. He rushed for 160 yards on 19 carries, but was robbed of a touchdown. He was able to burst for what appeared to be a 60-yard score, but a Jaguar punched out the ball a couple of yards before Hyde reached the end zone.

  • The Jaguars didn’t have nearly as much success running the ball, as Leonard Fournette gained just 40 yards on 11 carries. He helped his PPR owners with five catches for 32 receiving yards.

  • As for Gardner Minshew, it appears as though his magical run has come to an end. Nick Foles will return following the bye, so he’s expected to take over, especially after this outing. Minshew threw for 309 yards, but did so on 27-of-47 passing, and he had two interceptions on horrible overthrows. Minshew was hurt by a couple of drops, but he really struggled with his accuracy against an injury-ravaged Houston secondary.

  • Chark was also a huge disappointment. He caught just four of his nine targets for 32 yards to go along with the aforementioned offensive pass interference that wiped out a nice gain. Meanwhile, Chris Conley (2-32) dropped two passes, including one on fourth down that effectively ended the game for Jacksonville. Keelan Cole (5-80) led the Jaguars in receiving, as he was replacing the injured Dede Westbrook.

  • Panthers 30, Titans 20
  • The Titans never gave themselves a chance to win this game, as they made several blunders throughout the afternoon. This includes:

    – The Titans eschewed going for it on Carolina’s 25-yard line on a fourth-and-1, opting for a 43-yard field goal instead. Ryan Succop missed.

    – Tennessee’s offensive line committed three penalties on a single drive following an interception.

    – Dion Lewis fumbled near midfield, ruining a potential score.

    – The Titans should’ve intercepted Kyle Allen again, but dropped the ball.

    – A.J. Brown dropped a pass, resulting in an interception. The Panthers scored on the following play because Tennessee forgot to cover Christian McCaffrey on a fourth down.

    – The Titans surrendered a third-and-14 on a short toss to D.J. Moore. Adding injury to insult, linebacker Jayon Brown suffered an injury. The Panthers capitalized with a touchdown on the drive, extending their lead to 17-0, effectively putting the game out of reach.

    – And if that wasn’t enough, Ryan Tannehill took a bad sack right before halftime to put the team out of field goal range.

    All of this transpired in the opening half, where Tennessee gave Derrick Henry just three touches even though Tevin Coleman trampled this same defense last week. The Titans finally got on the board in the third quarter when they began feeding Henry. However, the Titans surrendered a first down on a fake punt, setting up a McCaffrey touchdown that put Carolina up 24-7, effectively ending the game.

  • McCaffrey finished with a terrific stat line, rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, while also catching three passes for 20 receiving yards and a third score. The Titans did a good job of bottling up McCaffrey in the early going – he had 58 yards on 15 attempts in the opening half – but McCaffrey’s 58-yard burst put him over the century mark.

  • Kyle Allen didn’t get off to an ideal start with and a poor throw on a tipped pass that should’ve been picked, and then some bad luck on the ensuing drive, as he threw an interception that bounced off wide receiver Jarius Wright’s hands. He also got away with a dropped pick later, that was referenced earlier. However, he made some key third-down conversions to keep Tennessee’s offense off the field. That said, Allen was entirely accurate, as he went 17-of-32 for 232 yards, two touchdowns and the pick.

  • Allen’s second touchdown went to Curtis Samuel, who caught three passes for 64 yards. He was shy of D.J. Moore, who hauled in seven of his 10 targets for 101 yards.

  • Going back to the Titans, Tannehill struggled early, but picked up some garbage-time yardage in the fourth quarter to finish 27-of-39 for 331 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. One pick wasn’t his fault, while the second occurred when Tannehill was pressing in the second half.

    For betting purposes, it’s worth noting that Tannehill nearly got the back-door touchdown at the very end, but he stupidly spiked the ball on a third-and-3 on the Carolina 27 when he had plenty of time remaining. This set up Succop with a 44-yard field goal, which he doinked off the upright. The Titans needed a field goal at some point, but they weren’t close enough to guarantee themselves three points, especially after Succop whiffed from the same distance earlier in the afternoon.

  • Tannehill’s sole touchdown was thrown to Henry, who never had a chance to put together a big game because of the constant deficit and dumb first-half coaching. Henry still scored twice though, as he picked up 63 yards on 13 carries to go along with three catches for 36 receiving yards.

  • Though Brown was responsible for Tannehill’s first interception, he still flashed his potential, catching four passes for 81 yards. Corey Davis (4-48) was a big disappointment.

  • Chiefs 26, Vikings 23
  • It was obvious that Kirk Cousins would implode at some point this season because that’s what he always does. I personally thought this would begin next week versus Dallas because he was battling a soft Kansas City defense this Sunday. As it turned out, Cousins couldn’t even handle the Chiefs.

    Cousins had a dreadful game, losing outright to Matt Moore. He made so many errant throws. He missed Adam Thielen early, then overthrew Stefon Diggs. He overshot Alexander Mattison by a mile and then missed Stefon Diggs for a deep touchdown. He failed to complete half of his passes in the opening half. He also made some poor decisions, including when he slid early on a third down, rather than diving past the first-down marker.

    Cousins ended up completing 50 percent of his throws. He went 19-of-38 for 220 yards. He threw three touchdowns, but one score was fluky, as it was set up via a Mecole Hardman lost fumble on a kickoff return. Cousins simply couldn’t maintain drives, as he was 5-of-15 on third downs.

    It must be noted that part of the reason Cousins struggled so much is because he lost Thielen to a hamstring injury early in the afternoon. Thielen apparently tried to return too early from his previous injury, causing him to aggravate his hamstring. As a result, it could be difficult for Thielen to play versus Dallas next week.

  • With Thielen out, one would think that Diggs would lead the team in receiving, but that was hardly the case. Diggs caught just one pass for four yards in what was an utterly horrible performance. Oddly, he saw just four targets, as the Chiefs erased him from the game plan with upstart cornerback Charvarius Ward and forced Cousins to look elsewhere.

    That “elsewhere” was Laquon Treadwell, who led the Vikings with 58 receiving yards on three catches. Kyle Rudolph (3-23), Olabisi Johnson (1-4) and Ameer Abdullah (1-16) caught Cousins’ touchdowns.

  • It wasn’t shocking to see Cousins struggle, but Dalvin Cook’s pedestrian performance was a huge surprise. Thanks in part to Chris Jones’ return to the middle of Kansas City’s defense, Cook was able to muster just 71 yards on 21 carries. He helped his PPR owners with four catches for 45 receiving yards. He led the Vikings in targets with seven.

  • Matt Moore managed to outplay Cousins, as he misfired on just 10 occasions, going 25-of-35 for 275 yards and a touchdown. Moore made some mistakes – he had Travis Kelce open for a touchdown twice, but missed him on both occasions – but he also made some impressive completions, including a deep bomb to Tyreek Hill and a clutch conversion to Hill to move the team into field goal range that set up the game-winning field goal.

  • Hill was a monster despite catching passes from Moore, hauling in six of his eight targets for 140 yards and a touchdown. Kelce, meanwhile, missed out on those two touchdowns, but still caught seven passes for 62 yards. He was a bit behind Sammy Watkins (7-63), who had the most targets on the team with 10.

  • Damien Williams had more carries than LeSean McCoy, 12-3. McCoy gained just nine yards, while Williams picked up 125 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 91-yard burst. This was Kansas City’s longest touchdown run in franchise history.

  • Dolphins 26, Jets 18
  • The Dolphins are the worst team in NFL history, and people in the future will never know it because of this win. Miami earned a victory over the Jets, but only because New York was so banged up that it couldn’t even dress enough healthy players. That, and some horrible coaching and quarterbacking resulted in this Jets “loss.”

    That word, loss, should be used loosely, as the Jets effectively were the winners in this contest because they strengthened their draft positioning. Conversely, the Dolphins are so bad that they can’t even tank properly. They could lose out on Tua Tagovailoa as a result of this win, so Brian Flores must be fired immediately.

  • Adam Gase should be fired as well, as no one’s stock has plummeted more than his this month. Gase’s inability to scheme a great game plan against his former team was staggering. Also, Gase doesn’t seem to understand that Le’Veon Bell can catch passes. Bell saw nine targets, reeling in eight for 55 receiving yards (to go along with 17 carries, 66 yards), but this was not enough. Jaylen Samuels saw 13 targets, for example, and this 8-of-9 target count for Bell was a rare occurrence in New York. If Gase were a better coach, he’d scheme plays for Bell, much like Matt LaFleur has been doing for Aaron Jones in Green Bay.

  • Sam Darnold, meanwhile, continues to regress. He started the game hot, putting together a touchdown drive with plenty of completions to Jamison Crowder, but Darnold couldn’t really get anything going after that. He took a bad sack to get his team out of field goal range when his squad was up 7-0, and then he heaved an interception on a horrible throw while under pressure.

    Darnold’s overall numbers were OK – 27-of-39, 280 yards, one touchdown, one interception – but he played much worse than that. Darnold showed poor pocket awareness and looked like he was panicking at times, as he hasn’t exorcised all of the ghosts that haunted him in that infamous Monday night loss to the Patriots. Granted, his pass protection sucks – the CBS announcers repeatedly made note of this – but Darnold should be playing better right now.

  • Darnold’s sole touchdown went to Jamison Crowder, who led the team in receiving with eight catches for 83 yards. Ryan Griffin (6-50) also should’ve scored, but replay review said he dropped the touchdown when it wasn’t clear and obvious that he did. Robby Anderson (2-33) was a major disappointment in a great matchup. It’s clear that he’s not a No. 1 receiver.

  • As for the true losers of this game, Ryan Fitzpatrick did his best to derail another franchise, going 24-of-36 for 288 yards and two touchdowns in this hollow win. He played well, though he was battling a defense that barely had any starting-caliber personnel on the field. Fitzpatrick’s one blemish wasn’t really his fault, but he took a safety when sneaking the ball out of the end zone.

  • Two of Fitzpatrick’s touchdowns went to the promising Preston Williams, who continues to impress despite being an undrafted rookie. Williams hauled in five of his nine targets for 72 yards, but suffered an injury in the fourth quarter. DeVante Parker (4-57) had the third score. He dropped a pass, but made up for it a bit later with an impressive back-shoulder reception. Mike Geiscki led Miami in receiving with six catches for 95 yards.

  • Mark Walton was a popular streaming option this week, but he ended up disappointing. He mustered just 29 yards on 12 carries. He’s not an NFL-caliber player. Here’s a list of 2020 NFL Draft Running Back Prospect Rankings for Miami to consider this spring if it can’t trade up for a quarterback.

  • Eagles 22, Bears 14
  • The Eagles are one of the most underrated teams in the NFL. They were 4-4 entering this week, but they would be 6-2 had some backup receivers not dropped passes at the end of a couple of games earlier in the year. The Bears, conversely, have major problems, stemming from offensive line regression, an injury to a dominant defensive lineman and dreadful quarterbacking. Thus, it should not be a surprise that Philadelphia absolutely demolished Chicago.

    This game was so lopsided that by the time the Eagles established a 19-0 lead early in the third quarter, they were outgaining the Bears, 277-9. That’s right, the Bears had NINE net yards in more than two quarters of action. They managed just two first downs and were 0-of-6 on third down on their six possessions. The Bears had no chance, as the Eagles welcomed back a couple of defensive players who had been out with injuries.

    Philadelphia’s offense, meanwhile, faced very little resistance against the Bears. The Eagles made sure to pound the ball with Jordan Howard, who was seeking revenge against his former team. In fact, it was Howard who scored the touchdown to put the Eagles up 19-0. Philadelphia fell asleep and began making mistakes in the second half, and the Bears made things interesting, but the Eagles put together one final drive where they converted several third downs to keep the Bears off the field for good, all while kicking a covering field goal, to boot.

  • Howard ended up with 82 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, as he found plenty of room against the Akiem Hicks-less Chicago run defense. He also had a gain of about 15 negated by a hold. Miles Sanders contributed with 42 yards on 10 attempts, and he also caught three balls for 31 receiving yards. One reception occurred on the aforementioned fourth-quarter drive to convert a third-and-long.

  • Carson Wentz didn’t have to do much with his rushing attack working so well. Wentz went 26-of-39 for 239 yards and a touchdown. His score was thrown to Zach Ertz, who caught nine of his 11 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown. Ertz’s owners waited for far too long for a performance like this. Hopefully it wasn’t too late.

  • Excluding Ertz, Dallas Goedert was the team’s leader in receiving, as he caught four passes for 39 yards. Alshon Jeffery (4-36) wasn’t able to claim revenge against the Bears like Howard was able to. He dropped three passes, and making matters worse, he got banged up late in the game. He joined DeSean Jackson – one catch, five yards and a drawn pass interference – on the sidelines, as Jackson aggravated his injury in the opening half.

  • The Bears, meanwhile, had just two players with double-digit receiving yardage against a struggling secondary, which is just embarrassing. Neither of these players happened to be Allen Robinson, who would’ve hauled in a deep reception had it not been for a great play by Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills. Robinson caught just one of his five targets for six yards. Taylor Gabriel (3-69) and David Montgomery (3-36) were the only productive players in the passing attack.

  • Speaking of Montgomery, he had a big fantasy performance even though he managed just 40 yards on 14 carries. That’s because he was able to score twice. His only mistake was dropping a pass, but Montgomery made up for it with several spectacular runs in the second half.

  • Last and very much least, Mitchell Trubisky failed to complete half of his passes, going 10-of-21 for 125 yards. He’s absolutely terrible, and the poor pass protection isn’t doing him any favors. I saved Trubisky for last because I want to go into detail about how terrible he was in this contest. Here’s a rundown of what we saw from Trubisky:

    – Trubisky threw wide of Robinson the opening drive.

    – Trubisky took a couple of sacks because he held the ball too long.

    – There were numerous occasions in which Trubisky drifted back in the pocket and threw off his back foot. His mechanics continue to be horrible.

    – Trubisky was nearly intercepted twice: once on a pass fired to a place where there was no Bear in the area, and another that was a dropped pick-six.

    Let me remind Bears fans once again that they could’ve obtained Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes if they had a smarter front office.

  • Steelers 26, Colts 24
  • As if the Colts didn’t have enough grief with Andrew Luck retiring just before the season, they lost Jacoby Brissett to a knee injury early in this contest. Brissett had the Colts in the red zone, but Quenton Nelson stepped on his foot, causing his knee to twist. Brissett, as a result, threw just five passes against the Steelers.

    Brian Hoyer was the next man up for the Colts, and he played surprisingly well. He completed 17-of-26 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns, including an amazing throw to Zach Pascal on a third-and-19 to set up a short fourth-down conversion. He also put Indianapolis into position to prevail with an Adam Vinatieri field goal, but that was missed because of an error on the holder, who shifted the laces to face the future Hall of Fame kicker.

    While Hoyer did a good job, he made one crucial mistake that decided this game. He stared down his receiver in the red zone and released a weak throw. The pass was picked by Minkah Fitzpatrick and taken back for six, which greatly aided Pittsburgh in prevailing.

  • Of course, Hoyer wasn’t helped by T.Y. Hilton’s absence. The Colts have a habit of dropping plenty of passes when Hilton misses action, and this wasn’t any different, as Chester Rogers let some passes slip through his hands, while Deon Cain was responsible for a single drop. Rogers also fumbled on special teams. Conversely, Pascal played very well, as he hauled in five of his six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. Rogers (3-22) and Jack Doyle (3-22) also found the end zone. Meanwhile, rookie Parris Campbell snatched all five of his targets for 53 yards, all while running some end-arounds. Campbell nearly scored on one occasion, but tripped over his own two feet with nothing but daylight in front of him. Campbell is fortunate that the ball trickled out of bounds, and not into the end zone, as that would’ve resulted in a touchback.

  • Marlon Mack was rock solid, especially given the circumstances. He accumulated 89 yards on 21 carries, which was impressive, given that the Steelers were able to focus on the run with Brissett and center Ryan Kelly sidelined.

  • The Steelers had about the same amount of success on the ground, though Jaylen Samuels wasn’t largely responsible for that. Fourth-string running back Trey Edmunds dashed for 73 yards on 12 carries, though most of that came on a 45-yard rumble early in the afternoon where Edmunds simply was able to benefit from a wide-open running lane. Samuels mustered just 10 yards on eight attempts, but he pleased his fantasy owners with 13 catches for 73 receiving yards. Samuels, however, made a terrible blunder when he lost a fumble to set up an Indianapolis touchdown.

  • Mason Rudolph didn’t perform very well. His completion rating was nice, as he went 26-of-35, but he accumulated just 191 yards, to go along with one touchdown, an interception and a safety because he took a dumb sack in his own end zone. The pick wasn’t Rudolph’s fault – the ball went off JuJu Smith-Schuster’s hands – but Rudolph was a checkdown machine in this contest and otherwise didn’t show that he had any sense of pocket awareness.

  • Speaking of Smith-Schuster, he had a miserable game despite a favorable matchup. He caught three passes for just 16 yards, though it’s difficult to blame him, given how bad Rudolph was. Diontae Johnson (one catch, three yards) also barely did anything.

    Conversely, James Washington was Pittsburgh’s leading receiver with four grabs for 69 yards, while Vance McDonald (5-30) caught Rudolph’s sole score.

  • The Steelers won this game, but they were nearly victimized by some horrible officiating at the end of regulation. There was a pass interference flag thrown on an uncatchable ball, and no flag thrown on very clear and obvious offensive pass interference. Mike Tomlin challenged the calls, but lost him both. The first was more of a judgment call, but there’s no reason Tomlin should have lost the second challenge. It doesn’t appear as though the NFL knows how to handle pass interference challenges, as evidenced by their inability to overturn clear and obvious calls.

  • Bills 24, Redskins 9
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: Ugh, I really liked the Redskins to cover this spread if Case Keenum happened to start this game. Dwayne Haskins didn’t give Washington much of a chance, which ruined a potential great betting opportunity. Come on, Case, can’t you play through a concussion for betting purposes!?

  • The Bills improved to 6-2 by cruising over the Redskins and their rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was making his first NFL start. Buffalo maintained its place as the top wild-card team in the AFC, while Washington is in the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

  • The Bills started the scoring from their first possession, with Josh Allen leading them down the field and finding Cole Beasley for a short touchdown pass. Buffalo started to get in position for more points with a screen to Devin Singletary for 49 yards, and that led to a field goal for a 10-0 lead. On the ensuing Redskins drive, Adrian Peterson started to get rolling, showing his Hall of Fame form by breaking tackles and ripping off yards after contact. That ended with a Washington field goal.

    A rare sight in the NFL happened next when a kickoff was actually returned, which must be infuriating to commissioner touchback Roger Goodell. From midway in his own end zone, Andre Roberts exploded for 64 yards to set up the Bills’ offense. A few plays later, Allen connected with Dawson Knox to get to the goal line, but the Redskins’ defense stuffed three runs by Frank Gore before Allen sneaked in for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal. Peterson kept running well and produced another field goal drive for Washington to cut the Bills’ lead to 17-6 at halftime. At intermission, Peterson had over 100 yards, but Haskins was only 5-of-8 for 57 yards.

    The Redskins tacked on a field goal to trail by eight points in the third quarter, but the Bills later put together a drive on which Allen threw a strike to Josh Brown to convert a third-and-18, which basically clinched the win for Buffalo. A few plays later, Devin Singletary scored a short rushing touchdown to lock up the game (and cover) for Buffalo.

  • Allen was 14-of-20 for 160 yards and a touchdown passing and a rushing touchdown.

  • Singletary broke out with 95 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown while catching three passes for 45 yards.

  • John Brown led the Bills with four catches for 76 yards.

  • Haskins was 15-of-22 for 144 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He was conservative and did not have terrible mistakes, but he also missed some big plays with some passes off the mark. He also didn’t see some open wideouts downfield.

  • Peterson ran for 108 yards on 18 carries and had only seven yards in the third and fourth quarters after running for 101 in the first half. He also had a 22-yard catch.

  • Paul Richardson had four catches for 42 yards.

  • Seahawks 40, Buccaneers 34
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: Jason Myers is officially on my s**t list for missing that field goal at the end of regulation. As soon as he whiffed, I knew the game would go to overtime, and that Seattle would win with a touchdown. F**king idiot kicker.

  • The game figured to be a shootout because both Seattle and Tampa Bay feature terrible secondaries going against potent passing attacks. In the end, Russell Wilson was just too good, pushing the Seahawks to 7-2 and dropping Tampa Bay to 2-6 on the season despite Jameis Winston playing well for the Buccaneers.

  • The Bucs’ first drive saw completions to Mike Evans and a run by Ronald Jones to move inside the Seattle 25 in a few plays. The drive stalled with a third-down incompletion, but a roughing-the-passer penalty gifted the Bucs a first down, and Jones scored. Russell Wilson quickly responded, leading the Seahawks down the field, and Tyler Lockett then burned Jamel Dean for a 19-yard touchdown. After trading punts, Tampa Bay got moving with Winston using Evans for completions, plus Evans drew a pass-interference call. To end the drive, it looked like Winston was about to make one of his critical mental mistakes as he rolled out on a third-and-11 and forced a pass into a crowd with three defensive backs there, but the ball was deflected up in the air and Breshard Perriman caught the deflection for a 15-yard touchdown.

    Winston used Evans and Chris Godwin (7-61) to move down the field following a Seattle missed field goal. Winston found Evans for a touchdown, giving Tampa Bay a 21-7 lead. In the final minutes of the half, Wilson moved the ball to midfield and then drew a 48-yard pass interference on linebacker Devin White in the end zone to move the ball to the 1-yard line. Wilson finished the drive with a scoring pass to Jacob Hollister (4-37-2). Myers missed the extra point, and the Bucs had enough time to move into field goal position, but Matt Gay missed a 50-yard field goal and the Bucs took a 21-13 lead into the locker room.

    In the third quarter, Carson ripped off a 59-yard run, and to end the drive, Lockett made a tremendous catch in the back corner of the end zone on a perfect throw from Wilson. The two-point conversion was good on a pass to D.K. Metcalf (6-123-1) to tie the game at 21.

    Seattle couldn’t stop the connection of Winston to Evans, and they moved the ball into Seahawks territory with a pass of 18 yards to Perriman getting to the 20. Bucs penalties took away touchdowns twice and moved Tampa Bay back, but this time Matt Gay was good from 41 yards to give the Buccaneers a 24-21 lead midway through the second half. Wilson quickly responded with passes to Lockett and Hollister to move it into Bucs territory to get a game-tying field goal.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Jadeveon Clowney started a strip-sack of Winston, and Rasheem Green scooped up the loose ball to return it 34 yards into Tampa Bay territory. Jamel Dean broke up a third-and-goal pass, forcing Seattle to settle for a field goal to take a 27-24 lead. The Bucs answered by moving into field goal range thanks to Winston connecting with Evans again and then Ronald Jones bursting inside the 30 to set up Gay for a 45-yard field goal to tie the game again. A few plays later, D.K. Metcalf torched Dean for a 53-yard touchdown. Tampa Bay had one more chance in the final minutes of the second half, and a completion to Evans put the ball past midfield before Winston ran for a first down on fourth-and-5. A completion to Jones moved the ball to the 18, and a 16-yarder to Evans then moved it to the 1-yard line. From there, Dare Ogunbowale scored to tie the score at 34.

    Wilson used his arm with a completion to Metcalf and his legs to run into field goal range, but Myers missed a 40-yard field goal with no time remaining. In overtime, however, Wilson targeted Dean and used Metcalf for a few completions to move the ball down the field and inside the 10-yard line. Seattle won the game with a touchdown pass to Hollister a couple of plays later.

  • Wilson was 29-of-43 for 378 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Lockett had 13 receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Carson ran for 105 yards on 16 carries.

  • Winston was 29-of-44 for 335 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

  • Evans had 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown.

  • Ronald Jones led the Bucs in rushing with 67 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. He had two receptions for 15 yards.

  • Raiders 31, Lions 24
  • The Lions had a chance to eclipse .500 with a victory in Oakland. They outgained the Raiders and picked up more first downs, but lost because of a couple of horrible mistakes that ruined their chances of prevailing.

    The first blunder occurred early in the game, when the Lions fumbled as a result of a botched handoff between Matthew Stafford and J.D. McKissic. Stafford then threw an interception when a pass of his was ripped out of the hands of Kenny Golladay by cornerback Daryl Worley. Despite this, the Lions were in a position to potentially tie at the very end, but because of an earlier hit to the head T.J. Hockenson suffered, Stafford was forced to throw the ball to third-string tight end Logan Thomas on the final play of the game. Still, it was a mistake to avoid Golladay and Marivn Jones when they had been dominating the entire afternoon. Raiders safety Karl Joseph was able to knock the ball out of Thomas’ hands to secure the victory for Oakland.

    This was a nice win for the Raiders. They were able to get lucky with some of Detroit’s blunders, but the entire offense performed very well. That especially includes Josh Jacobs, who trampled Detroit’s defense quite easily. Jacobs was unstoppable, accumulating 120 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.

  • Derek Carr was solid as well. He went 20-of-31 for 289 yards and two touchdowns. He was very accurate and didn’t just toss checkdowns, as he had three completions of longer than 30 yards.

  • Darren Waller has been dominant this season, but didn’t do much in this contest. He caught just two passes for 52 yards. He was even “vultured” by backup tight end Foster Moreau, which had to frustrate Waller’s owners. Tyrell Williams (3-48) didn’t do much either.

    With Waller and Williams disappointing, it was Hunter Renfrow who had the big game. Renfrow converted six of his seven targets for 54 yards and a touchdown, while Jalen Richard led the team in receiving with three grabs for 56 yards.

  • Conversely, both of Detroit’s primary receivers went over the century mark. I noted that Golladay and Jones had been dominating Oakland’s secondary, and I wasn’t exaggerating. Golladay had four catches for 132 yards, while Jones collected eight receptions for 126 yards. Both scored touchdowns. Hockenson, meanwhile, did just fine, catching three passes for 40 yards.

  • With two receivers eclipsing the century plateau, Stafford was able to reach the 400-yard mark. He was 26-of-41 for 406 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. He should’ve thrown a fourth touchdown, but as mentioned earlier, an Oakland corner was able to rip the ball out of Golladay’s hands in the end zone.

  • The Lions continued to use a running back by committee, which is very frustrating for fantasy purposes. Ty Johnson (9-29) had the most carries, but McKissic had nearly as many touches. McKissic gained 32 yards on four carries, while catchiing three passes for 40 receiving yards and a touchdown.

  • Broncos 24, Browns 19
  • Freddie Kitchens just lost to Brandon Allen. I never would’ve imagined that the Browns would fire coaches in the middle of the season in consecutive years, but losing to Allen certainly warrants that. Kitchens once again coached miserably, as he called a poor game and once again challenged the spot on the field on a fourth-down play in which he didn’t put Nick Chubb on to the field. At this point, I imagine he’s incapable of learning from his mistakes.

    Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield was dreadful as well. The numbers don’t say he was that bad – he went 27-of-43 for 273 yards and a touchdown – but he didn’t play a good game, as he missed some receivers and didn’t see open players. For example, he had Odell Beckham Jr, open for a touchdown to win the game in the final quarter on a fourth-down attempt, yet didn’t notice that he was free for the score. Mayfield instead threw into tight coverage toward Jarvis Landry, who dropped the ball.

    The defense wasn’t any better. Cleveland tackled miserably throughout the afternoon, including a play in which Noah Fant scored on a 75-yard touchdown. The Browns hilariously whiffed on three tackles on the play.

  • Fant was one of two Broncos to finish with more than 14 receiving yards. The rookie tight end caught three passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, while Courtland Sutton (3-115) also found the end zone via a terrific, diving grab over Denzel Ward.

  • Allen threw two touchdowns, but did little else. He went 12-of-20 for 193 yards and the pair of scores. He had trouble sustaining drives, as the Browns won the time-of-possession battle by about 12 minutes.

  • Despite the Broncos never trailing, Phillip Lindsay carried the ball just nine times, which he turned into 92 yards and a touchdown. Royce Freeman (5-15) struggled by comparison. It’s mystifying why Denver continues to insist on giving Freeman a healthy workload compared to Lindsay when it’s very evident that Lindsay is the far superior player.

  • The best running back in this game, Chubb, mustered just 65 yards on 20 carries, while catching four passes for 26 receiving yards. Chubb had some tough runs – there was one attempt where he carried a defender for a gain of 11 when he should’ve been stuffed for two yards – but he didn’t get much help from his team.

  • Beckham led the Browns in receiving with five grabs for 87 yards, but as mentioned earlier, he was open for a touchdown and Mayfield didn’t see him. Jarvis Landry (6-51) hauled in Mayfield’s lone score.

  • Chargers 26, Packers 11
  • This is the most inexplicable result we’ve seen thus far this year. The Chargers were outplayed by the Bears despite winning last week. Before that, they lost to the Titans and were blown out by the Duck Hodges-led Steelers. And yet, they completely dominated the Packers in this game, from start to finish.

    Nothing really made sense. The Packers were battling a Charger defense missing six starters, yet crossed midfield just once prior to the end of the third quarter. The Chargers haven’t been able to stop the run or the pass all year, yet contained both against Green Bay’s prolific offense, which welcomed back Davante Adams from injury. Oh, and the Chargers won this game in front of a crowd that was 80-percent comprised of Packer fans!

    I could maybe understand it if the Chargers prevailed in a close contest, but for them to completely dismantle the Packers made no logical sense. The effort level wasn’t there for Green Bay – the team had four pre-snap procedure penalties during the first three drives, while the Chargers looked like they had more energy – but I wonder why, given that the Packers didn’t have anything to look forward to next week.

  • Aaron Rodgers went 23-of-35 for 161 yards and a touchdown, but even that was generated in garbage time. Rodgers had just 35 passing yards at halftime! There was one point in which Keenan Allen caught a 20-yard pass in the third quarter, and I exclaimed, “That’s almost as many yards as Rodgers has!”

    Rodgers saw lots of pressure from Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, as the two were used on the same side of the line of scrimmage, which seemed to befuddle both Rodgers and the Green Bay coaching staff. This caused Rodgers to fire some ugly ducks in this contest, tossing behind receivers and throwing the ball at some of his receivers’ feet.

  • Rodgers’ sole touchdown went to yet another running back, as Jamaal Williams caught all six of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown. Williams rushed just twice for 10 yards, as he ceded more attempts to Aaron Jones (8-30). The Packers didn’t run the ball nearly enough against a Charger run defense missing both of its starting defensive tackles.

  • While Adams returned, this wasn’t quite the performance that his fantasy owners had been waiting for. Adams caught seven of his 11 targets, but for only 41 yards. He was guilty of a drop. Allen Lazard (3-44) logged more yardage.

  • Meanwhile, the Packers entered this game with the superior and healthier defense, yet couldn’t get off the field whatsoever. Philip Rivers sliced through their stop unit with absolute precision, going 21-of-28 for 294 yards.

  • Rivers didn’t throw any touchdowns, but that’s because Melvin Gordon did all of the scoring. Having a resurgence with a new offensive coordinator, Gordon rushed for 80 yards and a pair of scores on 20 carries, all while catching three passes for 29 receiving yards. Austin Ekeler was also a force on the ground – 12 carries, 70 yards – and he caught four passes for 23 receiving yards.

  • The Packers had no answer for Rivers’ downfield targets either, save for Allen, who was limited to three catches for 40 yards. Mike Williams (3-111) and Hunter Henry (7-84) both had fantastic performances.

  • Ravens 37, Patriots 20
  • While many may have viewed this game as a big test for Lamar Jackson, it could also have been seen as a test for the Patriots. New England had feasted against poor offenses the entire first half of the season, yet was battling a dynamic quarterback who had led his team to a 5-2 record to start the season.

    The Patriots failed, while Jackson helped his team prevail with a 17-point victory. The Patriots had a major breakdown in fundamentals trying to defend Jackson on the ground, and Jackson made them pay. He rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns on 16 scrambles. He also misfired just six times, going 17-of-23 for 163 yards and a touchdown.

    While Jackson was electric as a runner and accurate overall, he didn’t do anything spectacular as a passer, and he missed a couple of throws he should have completed. We all know that Jackson is the most dynamic runner in the NFL, but it remains to be seen if he can beat a good defense with his arm in a big game when he doesn’t have a huge motivational edge on his side. This was just one victory where the Ravens were underdogs and had a crazy crowd on their side, all while having the luxury of two weeks to prepare for this affair. I imagine things won’t go the same way under different circumstances in future games.

  • Jackson wasn’t the only Raven who gashed the Patriots on the ground. Mark Ingram ripped through New England’s defense with 115 yards on just 15 carries. He had a great night, save for a fumble, but his owners watched Gus Edwards (7-27) vulture a touchdown.

  • With Jackson’s passing limited because of the constant lead, no Raven accumulated more than 50 receiving yards, and only one (Marquise Brown; 3-48) had more than 30 receiving yards. Mark Andrews (2-21) disappointed, and he was vultured as well; Nick Boyle (5-27) hauled in a touchdown.

  • The Ravens moved the chains well and also had some luck go their way, as Julian Edelman lost a fumble for the first time in three years. Edelman’s blunder was returned for a touchdown when it seemed as though the Patriots would take the lead after falling behind 17-0. That play completely derailed the Patriots’ attempted comeback, allowing the Ravens to reestablish momentum.

    Edelman still managed to lead the Patriots in receiving with 10 catches for 89 yards. Newcomer Mohamed Sanu equaled the reception count, as he hauled in 10 of his 14 targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. They, along with James White (2-46), were the only Patriots with more than 30 receiving yards, as Ben Watson (4-28) had a brutal, deep drop.

  • Tom Brady struggled early in the game, but got into a groove when the Patriots went into a no-huddle. Brady ended up going 30-of-46 for 285 yards, one touchdown and an interception on an overthrow, which Earl Thomas picked. This occurred following Watson’s deep drop and another potential interception that was dropped.

  • The Patriots struggled to run versus Baltimore’s tough ground defense. Sony Michel was given just four carries, which he turned into 18 yards. In fact, White outgained him on the ground with 38 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts.

  • Cowboys 37, Giants 18
  • The final score may not show it, but the officials decided this close game with two horrible calls, both of which went against the Giants. New York was in the red zone in the fourth quarter following a 65-yard Saquon Barkley reception. Daniel Jones threw a pass to Evan Engram, who was interfered with, though no yellow flag was thrown. Pat Shurmur opted to toss his own flag, a red one, to challenge the play. Replay showed that the defender clearly and obviously interfered with Engram. He hit him early and even climbed on his back prior to the ball arriving. And yet, official Clay Martin refused to overturn the call because it would’ve made him look bad.

    Later in the fourth quarter, the Giants needed a stop and appeared to get one on a third down, as a deep Dak Prescott pass fell incomplete. However, the officials threw a flag on Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker, who was called for pass interference even though there was no contact on the play. Shurmur likely would’ve challenged that call had he won the other one, though he likely would have lost this as well because the arrogant Martin wouldn’t have wanted his call questioned.

    The NFL has a ridiculous problem with its enforcement of pass interference reviews. Many say that this rule should be abolished, since no pass interferences get overturned. I say the NFL should fire any arrogant officials like Martin who refuse to change calls because they don’t want their authority questioned. The NFL should be able to get this right, and Roger Goodell needs to do something about it.

  • This was a one-score affair in the middle of the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys leading 23-18. Dallas was able to open up a two-touchdown lead on the same drive as the Baker pass interference. They had a third-and-12 just over midfield, and Dak Prescott find a wide-open Amari Cooper for the score. With this 45-yard reception, Cooper was able to lead the team in receiving yards with 80 on four catches to go along with that touchdown.

    This was one of three touchdowns Prescott threw, as he was able to rebound from throwing an interception on the very first play of the game. He wasn’t too penalized, as the Giants kicked just a field goal. This was one of four field goals the Giants settled for, as they had major issues converting in the red zone.

    Prescott ended up 22-of-35 for 257 yards, three touchdowns and the interception. He began slowly, but was very sharp in the second half, going 11-of-15 for 120 yards and a pair of scores following intermission.

  • Prescott’s other touchdowns went to Blake Jarwin (1-42) and Michael Gallup (2-33). Jason Witten was also a big part of the offense with eight catches for 58 yards.

  • Ezekiel Elliott had plenty of success rushing the ball despite the Giants’ trade for Leonard Williams. He rumbled for 139 yards on 23 carries, but couldn’t find the end zone. He wasn’t targeted in the passing game, which was odd.

  • Barkley was a much bigger factor in the aerial attack, though most of his yardage came on that 65-yard burst. He caught six of his eight targets for 67 receiving yards, but he was limited to just 28 yards on 14 carries on the ground.

  • Daniel Jones had a mostly negative performance against a defense missing one of its top players, Leighton Vander Esch. Jones went 26-of-41 for 210 yards, one touchdown and an interception on a stupid, punt-like pass. He also had two lost fumbles that gave the Cowboys 10 free points. Jones also moved at a suspiciously glacial pace in garbage time, as he seemed unwilling to score. His fumble return for a touchdown sealed the cover for the Cowboys and took this game over the total.

    Jones made some good throws in this contest, but his pocket awareness is lacking, while his ball security continues to be abysmal. Still, he’s just a rookie, and he should make big strides next year, assuming the Giants can find an upgrade for the offensive line.

  • Jones’ sole touchdown went to Cody Latimer, of all people. Latimer caught just two passes for eight yards, notably trailing Barkley, Engram (6-48) and Golden Tate (6-42) on the stat sheet.

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

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    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