This game was evenly played for the most part. Both teams led for healthy stretches of the evening. However, the difference was that the Texans made some big plays in the passing game, while Indianapolis did not.
Not only did Deshaun Watson deliver touchdown passes of 35 and 30 yards to DeAndre Hopkins, but he also hit Will Fuller for a 51-yard bomb in the second half. Fuller then made a huge catch on the final possession, hauling in an 11-yard pass on third down to keep the Colts' offense off the field for good.
The Colts, conversely, had two opportunities to stay on the field before that possession. Jacoby Brissett found T.Y. Hilton on a pair of third downs, but Hilton dropped both passes. A cornerback did a good job of breaking up the second pass, but Hilton still should have caught it. Hilton was not 100 percent, and it showed, as he let his team down on those two blown opportunities. Had Hilton converted on just one of them, there's a good chance Indianapolis would have prevailed.
Watson finished 19-of-30 for 298 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that was tipped by Jabaal Sheard. Watson did a great job to buy time for himself so that he could deliver deep throws to his talented receivers. That said, Watson is very lucky he wasn't charged with a lost fumble on the final drive. He scrambled and dived for extra yardage, but lost control of the ball before he hit the ground. It appeared as though an Indianapolis defender pounced the loose ball, but the officials couldn't determine a clear recovery, so the play was never reviewed.
Both Hopkins and Fuller were monsters in this game. Fuller made a number of clutch catches, ultimately finishing with seven receptions for 140 yards. He grabbed his hamstring after making his 51-yard catch, but he didn't miss much action. Fuller didn't find the end zone, but DeAndre Hopkins did twice; Hopkins reeled in six of his nine targets for 94 yards and the two scores that were referenced earlier.
The Texans struggled to run the ball in this contest, which wasn't a surprise because Indianapolis has done much better versus ground attacks ever since stud linebacker Darius Leonard returned from injury. Plus, Carlos Hyde is a very mediocre player. Hyde mustered just 67 yards on 16 carries, and half of his yardage came on a fluky 33-yard burst. Hyde did nothing otherwise. If Bill O'Brien weren't a completely inept coach, he'd recognize that he needs to give Duke Johnson more than six touches.
The Colts, conversely, rammed the ball down Houston's throat. In fact, they had a touchdown drive in which they ran the ball 10 times on 11 plays. Indianapolis' ability to run so well was shocking because the Texans are usually stellar versus the run, yet head coach Frank Reich didn't care. He gave Jonathan Williams 26 attempts, and the upstart back turned those opportunities into 104 yards and a touchdown. Nyheim Hines did well, too, gaining 51 yards on nine tries.
Brissett's stat line, meanwhile, looks very mediocre. He went 16-of-25 for only 129 yards. He began poorly by missing Eric Ebron for a big gain, but as mentioned, he delivered accurate balls to Hilton in the fourth quarter, but his No. 1 receiver couldn't come up with the catches. Brissett played better than the numbers indicate, but he wasn't nearly as great as Watson either.
Hilton was just third on the team in receiving, as he clearly wasn't 100 percent. He caught three balls for only 18 yards. Ebron (4-44) and Jack Doyle (3-28) finished ahead of him. Zach Pascal saw just one target.
Buccaneers 35, Falcons 22
The Falcons prevailed in two shocking upsets entering this game, and thus were favored by more than a field goal despite having the same record as the Buccaneers. It looked like their hot streak would continue early when there was a big pass from Matt Ryan to Jaeden Graham, but this would turn out to be the sole positive highlight from the Falcons' offense in the opening half.
The Buccaneers absolutely dominated, though there was some drama from the usually inconsistent Jameis Winston. It looked like this would be a Bad Winston day when he threw an interception right to Desmond Trufant. Good Winston showed up after that, as he fit the ball perfectly into a tight space on a pass to Chris Godwin for a 71-yard touchdown. Bad Winston reemerged after that, tossing a pick thrown behind his receiver. Good Winston then took Bad Winston's place, heaving another touchdown pass to Godwin, though that came on a lucky deflection when an Atlanta player inadvertently batted a pass right to Godwin.
Despite the two appearances from Bad Winston, this was mostly a Good Winston afternoon. Winston went 18-of-28 for 313 yards, three touchdowns and the two aforementioned interceptions. He was eager as a scrambler, showing no ill effects of his sprained ankle. He ran eight times for 38 rushing yards.
Godwin had a monster afternoon, making big catch after big catch. He hauled in seven of his eight targets for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, when Godwin goes off, Mike Evans can do nothing, and that was the case in this contest. Evans was limited to just four grabs for 50 yards. He hurt his own cause by dropping two passes.
The Buccaneers didn't do much on the ground, save for Winston's scrambles and a tough 25-yard run by Ronald Jones. The second-year back gained 51 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, but most of his yardage came on that one long gain.
The Falcons had no running game to speak of as well. Brian Hill was given the most carries (9), but did nothing with them (14 yards). Qadree Ollison had more yardage (20) on one fewer attempt, and he vultured a touchdown away from Hill, if you want to call it that.
Atlanta didn't have much more success throwing the ball, which was absolutely shocking. The Buccaneers have been stout against the run all year, but their secondary has been awful. This, apparently, didn't matter in this contest, as Matt Ryan was absolutely dreadful following a promising opening drive.
Ryan completed just half of his passes, going 23-of-46 for 271 yards, an interception and a lost fumble returned for a score. The pick was in desperation time, as Ryan just threw the ball up for grabs. However, he was very lucky not to have two other interceptions; on one instance, a Tampa defender dropped what appeared like a potential pick-six. This looked like the Ryan from early in the season, except he didn't get the garbage-time yardage; Matt Schaub did instead.
If you're puzzled as to why Ryan struggled so much against Tampa's poor secondary, look no further than the offensive line. Ryan was pressured almost every single time he dropped back in the pocket. The Buccaneers sacked him six times, and that number would have been much greater if Ryan had a slower release or didn't have such terrific pocket awareness.
Calvin Ridley was the recipient of the Schaub garbage time, as he caught a touchdown at the very end of the game, making his six-catch, 85-yard stat line look even better. Julio Jones' fantasy owners watched in frustration as Jones missed some time with a shoulder injury and was restricted to just five catches for 68 receiving yards.
Bills 20, Broncos 3
The Bills have navigated through the easiest schedule in the NFL, and this would be their final battle against a soft opponent before a gauntlet that features the Cowboys (on short rest), Ravens, Steelers, Patriots and surging Jets. They easily could have looked past the horrible Broncos, and it appeared as though that was the case when it was just 6-0 in the third quarter - thanks in part to some horrible sloppiness by the offense just prior to halftime - but they made enough big plays to give them their eighth victory of the year.
While Josh Allen wasn't great as a passer in this game, he had some effective runs. He made a great scramble in particular in the first half when pinned deep in his own territory. He managed to run around Von Miller to pick up a huge first down. Allen ended up scrambling 10 times for 56 rushing yards. Unlike another young quarterback in Chicago with mobility, Allen isn't afraid to use his best asset.
Allen didn't do too poorly when throwing the ball either. Allen went 15-of-25 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The pick was overthrown, and the ball may have slipped out of his hand. Allen nearly had a second pick, but the ball went through Denver defensive back Duke Dawson's hands.
Allen wasn't the only Buffalo runner who had success against Denver's defense. The Broncos have been stout against the run lately, but the Bills wore them down as the afternoon progressed. You could see it on a 10-yard burst in the third quarter when Devin Singletary moved the pile forcefully. Singletary had a great game, gaining 106 yards on 21 carries, looking like the electric player I was smitten with during the summer when I declared him to be my top fantasy sleeper.
While Singletary was great, Frank Gore will make the headlines. Thanks to his 66 yards on 15 carries, he passed Barry Sanders to be the No. 3 all-time leading rusher in NFL history, trailing only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. Congrats to Gore on an amazing career!
Allen's touchdowns went to Cole Beasley (6-76) and John Brown (2-39). It's not a surprise that Brown's production slipped from last week, given that he had to battle Chris Harris Jr. in this contest.
Before moving on to the Bills, it's worth noting that the Bills' rock-solid center, Mitch Morse, left this game in the second quarter with a thumb injury.
The other Allen, Brandon, was an abomination in this contest. He failed to complete half of his passes or eclipse the 100-yard passing barrier, going 10-of-25 for 82 yards and an interception. While Brandon Allen sucked, the pick wasn't really his fault, as it seemed as though Courtland Sutton ran the wrong route. However, Brandon Allen easily could have tossed several more picks. He fired early into double coverage then had two possible interceptions dropped in the fourth quarter. Brandon Allen does not look like an NFL quarterback, as he repeatedly threw off his back foot and sailed helpless passes that fluttered in the wind the entire afternoon. The Broncos, luckily, can move on from him in the next week or two with second-round rookie Drew Lock.
Thanks to Brandon Allen's incompetence, Sutton was able to haul in just one of his eight targets for 27 yards. Amazingly, Sutton was the team leader in receiving yardage.
I thought the Broncos would be able to run on the Bills' poor ground defense. For some reason, Phillip Lindsay had just 13 carries. He turned those into 57 yards, so it's not like he performed poorly. For whatever reason, Denver's coaching staff thought it was a good idea to give Brandon Allen double the number of throws compared to Lindsay rushes. It should be noted that Royce Freeman was given just two carries (20 yards).
Bears 19, Giants 14
We've seen NFL fans throw beer bottles onto the field before to protest horrible officiating. I thought that the Chicago faithful would do the same thing at one point in this contest, but to make their feelings known about Mitchell Trubisky instead. The young quarterback had a very easy matchup against the Giants, yet struggled mightily in the opening half. He threw for just 107 yards on 23 attempts prior to intermission, and he also heaved an interception when he threw off his back foot while staring down his receiver. He had a potential touchdown dropped by tight end Ben Braunecker, but was otherwise the same miserable play we've seen from Trubisky over the years, except he was performing horribly against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.
I thought there was a chance Trubisky would've been benched at halftime if it wasn't for a promising drive prior to intermission. Trubisky kept his job and performed much better in the second half, going 12-of-18 for 271 yards, one touchdown and an interception following the break. The pick was a dumb throw where Trubisky heaved up the ball like a punt despite being up 19-7. Still, this was his sole blunder after halftime. Trubisky, who went 25-of-41 for 278 yards, two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) and a pair of picks, saved his job - and Chicago's season - at least for one more week.
Conversely, the Giants' young quarterback never really played well throughout the afternoon. In fact, Jones gave this game away when he was strip-sacked deep in his own territory to set up Trubisky's rushing touchdown. Ball security has been a huge problem for Jones, dating back to his impressive preseason.
Jones had a couple of nice moments as a passer, especially when he hurled a touchdown to Golden Tate on fourth-and-long to cover the spread. Still, Jones was forced into dinking and dunking for the most part because of Chicago's terrific defense. Jones threw 36 passes (completing 21 of them) for only 150 yards, but was able to salvage his fantasy day with two touchdowns. He's very fortunate he wasn't intercepted twice; once on the first drive on a dropped ball by a defender, and a second when Jones appeared to heave a pick-six, only to see Sterling Shepard break up the pass, being flagged for offensive pass interference as a result.
Because Trubisky was better than Jones, it makes sense that the Chicago receivers posted better stat lines. Allen Robinson had a monster day, catching six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, and yet it could have been even better had a 60-yard completion of his not been negated by illegal hands to the face. Anthony Miller, meanwhile, continued to see tons of targets, as he hauled in six of his nine targets for 77 yards.
Meanwhile, only one New York receiver crossed 33 receiving yards. That was Darius Slayton, who snatched four passes for 67 yards. Tate (3-33), as mentioned, caught the all-important covering touchdown, but dropped a ball on third down earlier during the afternoon. Tight end Kaden Smith (5-17) also found the end zone.
Neither team had much success running the ball. This was shocking to me, as Saquon Barkley had a great matchup against a Chicago rush defense that had been porous ever since losing Akiem Hicks. The Giants gave Barkley just 17 carries for some reason, which he turned into 59 yards. This was obvious incompetence by the horrible coaching staff. There was more proof of that on a third-and-1 play in the opening half. The Giants had the ball in the red zone, and probably could have gotten the first down with a Barkley run up the middle. Instead, they opted to have Jones pitch the ball to Barkley to the outside. This allowed the strength of the Bears' defense to stop Barkley with two defenders. The result was a loss of four yards, ultimately leading to a missed 43-yard field goal.
Still, Barkley, despite a dropped pass, did better than David Montgomery, who squeaked out just 22 yards on 13 carries. Tarik Cohen (6-25) was the best back in this game, and he continued to be a big factor as a receiver out of the backfield, catching seven passes for 29 yards.
Steelers 16, Bengals 10
The Steelers won this game, but Mike Tomlin clearly was not satisfied with his quarterbacking. Mason Rudolph was as dreadful as ever despite battling one of the worst defenses in the NFL. He was 8-of-16 for 85 yards and an interception on a deflected pass when Tomlin decided to yank him, a decision that was long overdue.
Tomlin inserted third-string quarterback Duck Hodges into the game to inject some life into his team, which was trailing 7-3 at the time. This turned out to be a brilliant decision. Hodges instantly completed a pass, then heaved a deep bomb to James Washington, which turned out to be a 79-yard touchdown.
It wasn't all great for Hodges, who went 4-of-10 for just 39 yards if the Washington touchdown is excluded. He was able to draw a couple of pass interference penalties on the same drive, but fired several balls off his back foot. Still, he was better than Rudolph, so I expect Hodges to make the start next week against the Browns.
As you might suspect, Washington was the only Steeler with more than 35 receiving yards. He caught three balls for 98 yards and a touchdown. Diontae Johnson (3-29) was a disappointment, but that wasn't his fault. He at least made one terrific play, as he hauled in a diving catch on a third-and-long in the opening half.
It's unclear if James Conner will play next week against Cleveland, but the Steelers at least know that they have a viable option if Conner can't return. Rookie Benny Snell played well in his first game back from injury, rushing for 98 yards on just 21 carries. He also made a nice, leaping catch early in the game for a 5-yard gain. That was the only target he saw, but perhaps that'll convince the coaching staff that he could stand to catch more passes.
Joe Mixon had some nice runs as well, but the Bengals didn't give him enough carries; Mixon was handed just 18 attempts, which he turned into 79 yards. He made some nifty moves to pick up a first down in the second half, but didn't do much else.
Ryan Finley struggled, much like the Pittsburgh quarterbacks. He failed to complete half of his passes, going 12-of-26 for 192 yards and a touchdown. He once again showed poor pocket awareness, taking horrible sacks throughout the afternoon. On one instance, he held the ball forever awkwardly, allowing T.J. Watt to have an easy strip.
As bad as Finley's numbers look, this could have gone far worse for him. He nearly took a safety and was strip-sacked twice, with the second instance ending a final chance for Cincinnati to mount a comeback. Finley was also nearly intercepted on back-to-back passes in the fourth quarter. He went three-and-out on seven occasions. Even the CBS announcers were highly critical, with one of them saying, "He's never giving his receivers a chance."
Finley's score was a wobbly pass into the end zone, and Tyler Boyd made a great grab. Boyd caught five passes for 101 yards and that touchdown. It wasn't all positive for Boyd, however, as he fumbled inside the red zone in the fourth quarter, as Cincinnati was threatening to either tie the game or take the lead.
Saints 34, Panthers 31
For a while, it looked like the Saints would run away with this game. They had leads of 14-0, 17-6 and 31-18. The Panthers didn't seem to have an answer for Drew Brees, especially in the first half when the future Hall of Fame quarterback threw just three incompletions. With Brees hot, and the Panthers suffering through some bad luck - an unfortunate bounce on special teams gave the Saints a short field when it was 7-0 - this seemed like a sure blowout.
Everything changed during the final drive prior to halftime. Cameron Jordan nonsensically elbowed Kyle Allen in the helmet to extend a drive that would end up lasting nearly seven minutes, culminating with a Christian McCaffrey touchdown. This allowed the Panthers to enter the third quarter with just a two-point deficit.
This contest got closer in the second half, and the Saints maintained possession in the fourth quarter in a tie game. Sean Payton made a huge gamble on a fourth down, opting to run with Alvin Kamara. The elite back was stuffed, giving the Panthers great field position. Following a review that overturned a pass interference call that had the Superdome crowd in a frenzy, the Panthers had a chance to take the lead with a chip-shot field goal. Joey Slye inexplicably whiffed, giving New Orleans once more chance. Thanks to a couple of great plays by Kamara, as well as a 24-yard Michael Thomas reception to convert a third-and-6, the Saints set up their own chip-shot kick, which they converted to get their ninth win of the year.
Brees misfired just nine times, going 30-of-39 for 311 yards for three touchdowns and an interception. The pick was one of Brees' two errors, as he fired a pass into double coverage. The second mistake was an underthrow of Ted Ginn, who was open for a touchdown deep downfield.
As mentioned, Kamara made some big plays on the final drive, which helped salvage his PPR stat line. He struggled overall from a non-PPR fantasy perspective, rushing for 54 yards on 11 carries with nine catches for 48 receiving yards. Making matters worse, his fantasy owners saw Latavius Murray (7-54) vulture a touchdown.
Thomas was also huge on the final possession. He was once again highly productive, hauling in 10 of his 11 targets for 101 yards and a touchdown. Along with Thomas, Jared Cook (6-99) and Tre'Quan Smith (1-13) caught Brees' touchdowns. Cook would've eclipsed the century mark had a 41-yard completion of his not been negated by offensive pass interference.
While Thomas was great, the two best fantasy performers in this contest both were Panthers. McCaffrey was a monster once again. He only rushed for 64 yards on 22 carries, but he scored two touchdowns, one on the ground, and one through the air. He caught all nine of his targets for 69 receiving yards. Meanwhile, D.J. Moore had a terrific performance as well. He caught six passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He has transformed into a dominant No. 1 receiver over the course of this season, so his stat line shouldn't have been a surprise. Moore got hurt at one point during this game, but he remained on the field.
Kyle Allen was shaky to start - he should've been intercepted on an early pass - but opened things up with a 51-yard bomb to Moore to get on the board. He played well for the most part, though he took some bad sacks. Allen went 23-of-36 for 256 yards and three touchdowns.
Excluding Moore and McCaffrey, only one Panther logged more than nine receiving yards. That was Greg Olsen (5-44). Curtis Samuel had a disappointing afternoon with just one grab for nine yards. He dropped a pass that was nearly turned into an interception.
One final note on an injury: Saints left tackle Terron Armstead left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury when he was carted off the field. He'll be missed, as Armstead is one of the best tackles in the NFL.
Jets 34, Raiders 3
The Jets have been hot in recent weeks because of Kelvin Beachum's return and the emergence of cornerback Blessuan Austin. Sam Darnold has played better with his left tackle on the field, and that continued to be the case this week in New York's upset victory over the Raiders.
That said, Darnold and the Jets had some luck aiding them in the early stages of this contest. It started when Tyrell Williams dropped a pass when he was wide open on a third-and-13 that would have put the Raiders into scoring range. Darnold later took a bad sack in the red zone, but was bailed out by a bogus roughing-the-passer penalty. Darnold ran into the end zone on the very next play. The Jets, as a result, were able to take a 13-3 lead into halftime, and they expanded it right after intermission when Darnold connected with Braxton Berrios on a 69-yard pass to put the Jets at the 1-yard line. A short toss to Ryan Griffin gave the Jets a 17-point advantage to effectively clinch the victory.
Darnold had a great game, going 20-of-29 for 315 yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). It was nice to see him shake off his early miscue and thrive as the afternoon progressed. Darnold was especially terrific in the second half, going 8-of-12 for 147 yards and two scores following intermission.
Robby Anderson finally got on track after struggling for weeks, as Adam Gase did a great job of scheming open routes for him. Anderson caught four passes for 86 yards and a score. Jamison Crowder, surprisingly, didn't do much; he caught two of his four targets for 18 yards.
Le'Veon Bell didn't find the end zone, but he had a positive performance overall despite battling a tough run defense. He gained 49 yards on 12 carries, as he did most of his work as a receiver. He caught all five of his targets for 59 receiving yards.
The Raiders struggled to run the ball, which wasn't a surprise, given that this Jets defense limited Saquon Barkley to just one rushing yard a couple of weeks ago. New York restricted Josh Jacobs to 34 yards on 10 attempts. Curiously, Jacobs didn't receive the ball on a crucial fourth-and-inches attempt, as the fullback was stuffed instead. You'd think the Raiders would use their first-round pick on such an important play.
Oakland didn't have much success passing either, as Derek Carr was just 15-of-27 for 127 yards and an interception against the Jets' improved secondary. He was pick-sixed off a deflection.
Only three Raiders logged more than 20 receiving yards: Jalen Richard (6-47), Darren Waller (3-41) and Hunter Renfrow (3-31). Williams, who had the aforementioned bad drop, caught just two of his six targets for 18 receiving yards.
Redskins 19, Lions 16
Dwayne Haskins won this game, but he celebrated prematurely, opting to take selfies with people in the stands rather than kneel down at the very end. This epitomized what we saw from throughout the afternoon, as he made constant blunders despite having success.
Haskins made mistakes right away, as he was strip-sacked on his very first snap. He wasn't penalized for this because Detroit's 39-yard field goal blew right by heavy winds. Haskins then had two opportunities to throw a touchdown, but missed an easy score to Terry McLaurin, and then sailed a ball out of bounds despite having an open receiver. Haskins wasn't done overthrowing receivers after that, as he heaved a ball over McLaurin's head in the second quarter for what would've been a long gain. He later missed McLaurin again for a potential deep touchdown.
Haskins also showed poor pocket awareness throughout this contest. He took a sack in the red zone because he dropped back 13 yards in the pocket. He took another bad sack because he didn't recognize a Jarrad Davis blitz. He followed that up by throwing an interception into tight coverage.
It wasn't all bad for Haskins, as he made some nice plays and was able to be clutch late in the game. However, he showed many flaws that indicate that he's very far away from becoming a franchise quarterback. Haskins failed to complete half of his passes, going 13-of-29 for 156 yards and an interception.
It's a shame that Haskins isn't very good, as it's wasting McLaurin's talent. The dynamic rookie receiver saw 12 targets, yet was able to haul in just five of them for 72 yards, thanks to Haskins' inaccuracy. McLaurin would've scored twice if he were paired with a superior passer. However, he made a clutch catch at the end of regulation to set up the victory for the Redskins.
Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson split carries evenly, gaining 32 and 27 yards, respectively. It's hard to recommend either back, given the shared workload.
The Lions ran the ball much better than the Redskins, as Bo Scarbrough continued to show why he received praise from NFL talent evaluators prior to his injury concerns coming out of Alabama. Scarbrough rumbled for 98 yards on 18 carries, though he lost a fumble in the second quarter. Jeff Driskel also picked up a healthy amount on the ground, scrambling nine times for 63 rushing yards.
While Driskel ran well, he didn't excel as a passer. He went 20-of-33 for 207 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Driskel's penultimate pick was a killer, as he threw the ball right to a Redskin at the end of regulation to give Washington the win. Amazingly, this occurred one play after a potential Driskel pick-six was dropped. Earlier, he missed an open Marvin Jones in the end zone. Driskel should consider moving to a different position because he doesn't have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. He's not accurate whatsoever, and his poor pocket awareness and decision-making are very apparent.
Thanks to Driskel's incompetence as a passer, only two Lions logged more than 25 receiving yards. Predictably, those were Kenny Golladay (4-61) and Marvin Jones (5-46).
Seahawks 17, Eagles 9
When the Seahawks scored a touchdown to open a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, I saw one columnist tweet that this game was over because the Eagles wouldn't be able to score eight points, given all of their injuries. That almost turned out to be the case, as Philadelphia was stuck on three points for the majority of the afternoon.
The Eagles, already missing their top three receivers and All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson, got some more bad injury news during the game when Brandon Brooks, one of the top guards in the NFL, left the game with an illness. On the very next play, Carson Wentz was strip-sacked at midfield. Wentz, meanwhile, also went into the locker room to get checked for something, but didn't miss a snap. It didn't matter, however, as Wentz had zero protection and no one to throw to besides his tight ends, whom the Seahawks were able to smother.
Despite this, the Eagles were able to hang around because of some Seattle mistakes. Russell Wilson had an open Jacob Hollister, but overtshot him. Wilson then delivered a perfect deep ball to D.K. Metcalf, who dropped a touchdown. Wilson was also intercepted on a deflection on third-and-long. As a result of this incompetence, the Seahawks were up just 10-3 in the fourth quarter.
All hope was lost for the Eagles when the Seahawks finally broke free, as Rashaad Penny scored on a 58-yard run to give the Seahawks an insurmountable two-touchdown lead. The Eagles finally found the end zone in garbage time, but a failed onside kick sealed the victory for Seattle.
Wilson didn't have a great stat line, thanks to all of the miscues. He barely completed half of his passes, going 13-of-25 for 200 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He also didn't run very much, scrambling just thrice for 15 yards.
The Eagles frustrated Wilson by erasing his best receiver. They sent constant double- and triple-teams at Tyler Lockett, which would explain why Lockett caught just one of his two targets for 38 yards. Despite this, Lockett led the Seahawks in receiving, barely eclipsing Metcalf (3-35).
Penny saw nearly double the number of carries as Carson, who lost a fumble in the second half after he had a fumble that he was able to recover. Penny gained 129 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Carson was limited to 26 yards on eight attempts. The workload can't be ignored, and Penny must be added in all fantasy formats in case this was not a fluke.
As for the Eagles, Wentz somehow threw for 256 yards despite missing all of his receivers. He was 33-of-45 passing and seemed to be able to move the chains on his side of the field, but he and the rest of the offense constantly imploded at or just over midfield. Wentz was guilty of four turnovers. He was strip-sacked at midfield, then threw an interception while under pressure. He later lost a fumble when he inexplicably ran into his own teammate, and then followed that up with a pick that was underthrown.
Wentz's garbage-time touchdown went to Zach Ertz, who reeled in 12 of his 14 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. Dallas Goedert (7-32) lost a fumble.
Miles Sanders didn't have much of an opportunity to run the ball, as he had 12 attempts that went for 63 yards. Jay Ajayi (6-16) was able to burst for an 11-yard gain, but did nothing otherwise.
EDITOR'S NOTE: It was Ryan Fitzpatrick's 37th birthday Sunday, and he delivered a present to those of us who bet/picked against him. Happy birthday, Ryan!
Miami made the game interesting in the third quarter, but for the most part, this contest played out like how these teams were viewed entering the season, with the Browns being a dynamic team of play-makers and the Dolphins being a squad in rebuilding mode. Cleveland rolled early on, jumping out to a 28-0 lead before Ryan Fitzpatrick made things interesting, but the Browns were able to circle the wagons to close out the win. The Browns' slim playoff hopes stayed alive with this win, as they improved to 5-6 on the season.
The first play from scrimmage was a screen to Nick Chubb, who grabbed 32 yards by powering through tacklers. That set the tone for an excellent game for the former Georgia Bulldog. Baker Mayfield hit an 18-yard pass to Jarvis Landry, and a Dolphins penalty then set up a short touchdown pass for Landry. Odell Beckham Jr. then made a nice adjustment to the ball to snatch a 35-yard touchdown.
Landry made a leaping touchdown-scoring grab early in the second quarter to put Cleveland up 21-0. The Dolphins started to put a drive together, but a Joe Schobert interception got the Browns set up for more points. Mayfield moved the ball down the field, and that drive ended with a short rushing touchdown for Kareem Hunt. Miami scored a field goal before the half to make it 28-3 at the end of the frame.
In the third quarter, Fitzpatrick kept moving the ball and threw a bullet to Mike Gesicki (3-28-1) for an 11-yard touchdown. Fitzpatrick continued to move the ball and ended a drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to cut the Browns' lead to 28-17. The risky gambler nature of Fitzpatrick worked against him, however, when he threw back across his body into Schobert, who added his second interception midway through the fourth to essentially clinch the win for Cleveland. Chubb added a touchdown run in garbage time, and Fitzpatrick threw a score to Allen Hurns (4-42-1) in the final minute.
Mayfield completed 24-of-34 passes for 327 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Chubb ran for 106 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown and had three receptions for 58 yards.
Landry had 10 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns against his former team, while Odell Beckham Jr. had six catches for 84 yards and a score.
Fitzpatrick completed 21-of-39 passes for 214 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
DeVante Parker had six receptions for 91 yards to lead the Miami receivers.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Call me crazy, but I'm beginning to think that the Jaguars overpaid for Nick Foles.
The Titans improved to 6-5 and are now 4-1 with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Tennessee stayed in the AFC playoff race, while the Jaguars continued to climb in the 2020 NFL Draft order. Once the Titans got a big lead, the Jaguars had some quit in them, and that could be seen in some of the tackling efforts on Derrick Henry. It does not look like the Jaguars players are trying hard for head coach Doug Marrone, and a change is definitely needed in Jacksonville for next season.
The Titans were threatening to score midway through the first half, but Yannick Ngakoue strip-sacked Ryan Tannehill and the Jaguars recovered inside their own 20. When the Titans got the ball back, Tannehill lead them down the field before taking off on a 21-yard touchdown run on which he flipped into the end zone. The Jaguars responded with a field goal, and the Titans took a 7-3 lead into the locker room.
A chunk gain to A.J. Brown in the third quarter set up the Titans in Jacksonville territory. The drive ended with a short touchdown pass to Dennis Kelly, an eligible tackle lined up as a tight end near the end zone. Shortly later, Henry did it to the Jaguars again with a long touchdown run. After coursing through a big hole, he bolted downfield and stiff-armed tacklers away on a 74-yard scoring run.
The Jaguars fumbled the ball to Tennessee on the ensuing kickof, and within 15 seconds of his first score, Henry bulldozed into the end zone. The Titans quickly got the ball back, and the blowout was on when A.J. Brown got open against A.J. Bouye on a short crossing route and then turned downfield for a 65-yard touchdown to go up 35-3. Jacksonville got into the end zone with a short rushing touchdown from Leonard Fournette, and a two-point conversion to D.J. Chark (5-38) made it 35-11.
Henry fumbled the ball away to open the fourth quarter after Calais Campbell ripped the ball out, and that set up another short rushing touchdown for Fournette. The Jaguars almost pulled off an onside kick, but the dumb NFL rule changes have made those all but impossible. The Titans turned the short field into a rushing touchdown for Tannehill.
Tannehill was 14-of-18 for 259 yards with two touchdowns. Brown had four receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown.
Henry ran for 159 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns and had a 16-yard reception. A lost fumble hurt his fantasy output.
Foles was 32-of-48 for 272 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Fournette ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. He also caught nine passes for 62 yards. He got a pep talk from Marcus Allen last week and played tough, motivated football.
Westbrook led the Jaguars in receiving with eight catches for 69 yards.
Patriots 13, Cowboys 9
Jerry Jones expressed his frustration about his team following this game. He cited the Cowboys' struggles on special team, referencing all of the blunders the team made in that regard throughout the course of the evening. Dallas surrendered a blocked punt that turned into a New England touchdown, and then the players apparently weren't told what to do in rainy and windy conditions because the players didn't seem to know where to line up on returns in those situations. I'd be shocked by this if I didn't know how incompetent Jason Garrett happens to be. Bill Belichick will always outclass the opposing coach, but the chasm was very wide in this game, which is why the banged-up, inferior squad was able to prevail.
The Cowboys had a chance to win at the very end. They had a third-and-1 exiting the 2-minute warning, but center Travis Frederick was flagged for a completely bogus tripping penalty. Dak Prescott appeared to salvage things when he connected on a fourth-down heave to Amari Cooper. However, replay review showed that Cooper dropped the ball, meaning that he didn't log a single reception in this contest, thanks to Stephon Gilmore's elite coverage.
Prescott, by the way, didn't even wear a glove until the third quarter, which is another sign of bad coaching. Prescott was erratic in this game, going just 19-of-33 for 212 yards and an interception, which occurred when he panicked after a high snap. Prescott has shown that he can thrive when the conditions are perfect against poor and middling opponents, but it doesn't seem as though he can beat elite competition.
It didn't help that a hobbled Cooper was smothered. Michael Gallup (4-55) was also well covered, so Randall Cobb led the team with four catches for 86 yards. Cobb should've had a better outing, but Prescott missed him with a routine throw on third down.
Ezekiel Elliott had a mediocre day, as he rushed for 86 yards on 21 carries, all while catching all four of his targets for 40 receiving yards.
Sony Michel nearly matched Elliott's total, gaining 85 yards on 20 attempts. The Patriots moved the chains on the ground better than they did aerially, thanks to the windy and rainy conditions. It also didn't help that Tom Brady was missing his top two outside receivers.
Brady went 17-of-37 for 190 yards and a touchdown. He made some nice throws - he hit N'Keal Harry with a back-shoulder touchdown and converted a third-and-20 on a pass to Julian Edelman - but the weather, depleted receiving corps and pass rush all bothered him. Pertaining to the middle item, Brady was victimized by several drops.
Jakobi Meyers had several of those drops. Despite this, his 74 receiving yards put him second on the team in that category behind Edelman (8-93). Harry, meanwhile, made an impressive back-shoulder reception for a 10-yard touchdown, but did nothing but drop passes otherwise.
49ers 37, Packers 8
Aaron Rodgers has put together some poor performances when he's been injured, but this may have been his worst career showing when he's been fully healthy. He barely threw for 100 yards, and he didn't convert a single third down in this contest. The Packers somehow were 0-for-13 on third down when Rodgers was on the field.
Rodgers' outlook was dubious when he was strip-sacked on his initial drive. This set up a Tevin Coleman that set the tone for the game. If that didn't, it surely was Bryan Bulaga's injury. The talented right tackle was knocked out with an injury in the opening quarter. This severely hindered the pass protection, and Rodgers was constantly under siege as a result. Rodgers had to hurry his throws, thus resulting in inaccurate balls downfield.
Rodgers finished 20-of-33 for just 104 yards, a touchdown and the aforementioned lost fumble. He endured some drops from his receivers, but the poor blocking was the catalyst for the horrible performance.
Rodgers' sole touchdown went to Davante Adams, who led the team in receiving with seven catches for a mere 43 yards. Only one other player, Jamaal Williams, accumulated double-digit receiving yards. Jimmy Graham and Geronimo Allison both dropped important passes.
It seemed as though Aaron Jones would be able to have success on the ground against a San Francisco run defense that hasn't been great recently. The 49ers, however, bottled up Jones for 38 yards on 13 carries. Jones was stuffed on a crucial fourth-and-1 in the opening half when the game was still close.
As for the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo was very sharp with his receiving corps intact for the first time in several weeks. Garoppolo misfired on just six occasions, going 14-of-20 for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Garoppolo's touchdowns went to George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. Kittle was a monster in this game, hauling in all six of his targets for 129 yards. The Packers inexplicably left him wide open on a play that resulted in a 61-yard touchdown. The Green Bay defenders were fooled by Garoppolo's devastating play-action all night, and this huge gain from Kittle was a prime example of that.
The Packers were so afraid of the run even though they limited Coleman to 39 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, so you have to wonder what they were thinking and why they were so undisciplined. Raheem Mostert (6-45) also scored, but that happened late in the game when the Packers stopped trying to tackle.
Ravens 45, Rams 6
Lamar Jackson became the first quarterback in Monday Night Football history to throw for five touchdowns in his debut. What's crazy is that Jackson nearly scored a sixth touchdown. He had one of his trademark, amazing runs in the second quarter, but slipped and landed inches shy of the goal line. He was that close to scoring six times, doing so in just three quarters of action. Jackson was pulled in the fourth quarter because his team was so far ahead.
Jackson was so dominant in this game that he didn't misfire on any of his nine passes in the opening half. His first incompletion was a drop, and two ensuing misfires were thrown away because of pressure. Jackson eventually finished 15-of-20 for 169 yards and five touchdowns to go along with eight scrambles for 95 rushing yards. The Rams had no answer for him, as Jackson solidified his case to be the MVP this season.
Jackson's ability to keep the chains moving - he was 9-of-11 on third down - allowed the Ravens to hold on to the ball for 30 of the first 44 minutes. So, not only could the Rams not stop Jackson; they didn't even have a chance to keep pace with him.
Jackson threw a pair of touchdowns to two players: Marquise Brown (5-42) and Willie Snead (2-14). Mark Ingram caught the fifth, and he also scored on the ground to go along with his 111 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Before moving on to the hapless Rams, it must be noted that there's a dark cloud over this victory for the Ravens, and that would be center Matt Skura being carted off the field in the first half. Skura will be missed, though he wasn't one of the Ravens' better offensive linemen.
As mentioned earlier, the Rams didn't have much of a chance to do anything offensively. Jared Goff had just 93 passing yards at halftime, while Todd Gurley was given only five carries in that same span. Goff had more attempts in the second half, thanks to the Ravens easing on the gas pedal a bit in garbage time.
Goff finished 26-of-37 for 212 yards and two interceptions. His second pick wasn't his fault - Cooper Kupp had the ball ricochet off his hands - but the first interception was poorly underthrown, with Marcus Peters getting some revenge. Peters, by the way, got into a post-game altercation with Jalen Ramsey, and the two had to be separated.
Kupp's night ended poorly, and it was frustrating overall. He saw 10 targets and caught six of them, but logged just 35 yards. To illustrate how things went for the Rams, Kupp was still the second-leading receiver. He trailed Robert Woods, who hauled in six passes for 97 yards. Brandin Cooks (2-32) barely did anything.
Gurley finished the game with just six carries, which he transformed into just 22 yards. He caught three passes, but lost three yards in the process.
For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.