The Eagles tried their hardest to blow this game. They were dominating the Giants, generating about 100 more yards of offense in the opening half. However, Carson Wentz, however, was destroying his team’s chances with countless mistakes. Wentz threw an interception in field goal range and missed Travis Fulgham for multiple touchdown opportunities. He was also lucky he didn’t get pick-sixed on a pass he threw way across the field on one play. Add in a missed 29-yard field goal, and a botched fourth-and-goal miscue, and the Eagles left anywhere between nine and 21 points off the board.
Instead of trailing 14-10, the Eagles could have been up 31-14. Instead, the Giants rammed the ball down the exhausted Eagles’ throats to go up 21-10. All hope seemed to be lost at that point for Philadelphia, but that’s when the Giants began screwing up. Evan Engram dropped a third-down reception that could have sealed the victory. Two key defensive penalties later, the Eagles took a 22-21 lead. New York had one more chance, but Daniel Jones was strip-sacked to end the game.
Wentz came up big in the fourth quarter to make his stat line look great. Wentz was 25-of-43 for 359 yards, two passing touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed in a third score. However, Wentz wasn’t nearly as good as those numbers indicate. He missed several players for scoring opportunities, and he didn’t see open receivers. Pass protection is an issue – Lane Johnson once again left the game prematurely – but Wentz is playing horribly at the moment.
Boston Scott scored the decisive touchdown. He struggled to run on the tough Giants’ ground defense – 12 carries, 46 yards – but he caught three passes for 46 receiving yards and the score.
Scott finished fourth in receiving on the Philadelphia side. Ahead of him were Richard Rodgers (6-85), who started in favor of the injured Zach Ertz; Fulgham (5-73), who drew a whopping three interference or holding penalties and should have scored a couple of touchdowns; and John Hightower, who caught a 59-yard bomb to set up a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Elsewhere in the receiving corps, DeSean Jackson was a disappointment with just three catches for 34 yards. The anti-Semitic receiver’s season may be over when a Giant landed on the back of his knee on a punt return late in the game.
As for the Giants, we saw some good and more bad from Daniel Jones. The second-year quarterback made a huge play when he ran for an 80-yard scramble, and he would’ve scored if he didn’t trip over his own two feet. Jones also had a nice drive in the fourth quarter to put his team up 21-10, and he would’ve pulled off the victory if a nice toss to Engram would’ve been complete. Conversely, Jones took some bad sacks and committed two more give-aways. He’s been a turnover machine.
Jones finished 20-of-30 for 187 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to go along with four scrambles for 92 rushing yards. The stat line looks fine, but Jones played much worse than that. The poor offensive line didn’t help matters, as rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas was abused once again.
Devonta Freeman is another player who suffered an injury. He managed just eight yards on three carries before hurting his ankle. Wayne Gallman was a nice replacement, running for 34 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Speaking of injured players, Darius Slayton was limited with a bum foot, which is why he caught just two passes for 23 yards. Sterling Shepard (6-59) and Golden Tate (1-39) both caught touchdowns. Engram snatched six balls for 46 yards, but let his team down with a huge drop.
Lions 23, Falcons 22
For those who watch college football, you may have seen Penn State throw away a potential win because their running back accidentally scored a touchdown instead of falling short of the goal line so that his team could kneel down to win the game. Somehow, the same exact thing happened in the NFL the following day. That occurred when Todd Gurley tried to kneel down shy of the goal line, but momentum caused him to tumble into the end zone. The Falcons, who otherwise would’ve knelt down and kicked a chip-shot field goal, went up six instead of one, but there was too much time remaining on the clock even though Detroit had no timeouts remaining.
Like Indiana, Detroit took advantage of this golden opportunity. Matthew Stafford drove down the field in a hurry, getting into the red zone, thanks to an amazing 29-yard pass to Kenny Golladay, who made a diving grab. With just two seconds remaining, Stafford moved around the pocket and found T.J. Hockenson to win the game.
The Falcons were robbed of a victory by their own incompetence, but this was ultimately a good result for both teams. They’ll have a better chance to land Justin Fields or Gregory Rousseau, while the Lions can stay alive for one of the three wild-card spots in the NFC playoff race.
The final touchdown capped off Stafford’s great afternoon. Stafford went 25-of-36 for 340 yards and a score. His 29-yard connection to Golladay allowed the dynamic receiver to eclipse the century mark; Golladay finished with six receptions for 114 yards.
Elsewhere in the Detroit receiving corps, Marvin Jones finally rebounded with a decent performance, catching five passes for 80 yards. Hockenson also caught five balls for 59 yards with the decisive score.
The Lions once again opened the game with Adrian Peterson running the ball. Peterson continued to waste carries, as his 11 attempts went for 29 yards. This includes a fourth-and-1 stuff in the red zone. For some unknown reason, D’Andre Swift saw fewer attempts despite looking better than the veteran. Swift ran for 27 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts, and he also caught four balls for 21 receiving yards.
The best fantasy back in this game was Todd Gurley, who rushed for 63 yards on 23 carries. He salvaged his day with two touchdowns, including the one he wasn’t supposed to score. He dropped a pass, though Matt Ryan’s pass was slightly off the mark.
Ryan had a solid passing line, going 31-of-42 for 338 yards, a touchdown and a lost fumble on a strip-sack. The lost fumble was enormous, as it occurred in his own territory with five minutes remaining when Jake Matthews was beaten easily by Romeo Okwara. The stat line could have been better, as a beautiful Ryan touchdown pass to Russell Gage was negated by Calvin Ridley’s offensive pass interference.
Speaking of Ridley, he had an eventful game. He caught five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown, but negated the aforementioned Gage score. Ridley also drew an interference flag in the end zone, so his own stat line could have been better. He finished behind only Julio Jones (8-97) on the stat sheet.
Browns 37, Bengals 34
It seemed as though the Browns would lose this game right after their first possession concluded. Baker Mayfield, playing with a rib injury, threw an interception on the opening drive. The pass was horribly underthrown, and the result of the turnover was Odell Beckham Jr. and center J.C. Tretter getting hurt on the play. Already down Wyatt Teller, the Browns would somehow have to win with an injured quarterback, an absent top receiver and an offensive line missing two starters.
And yet, that’s exactly what happened. Mayfield, despite the cracked ribs, abused Cincinnati’s injury-ravaged secondary. He completed 15 consecutive passes at one point, and when all hope seemed to be lost following a Cincinnati touchdown with one minute remaining, Mayfield engineered a game-winning drive, firing the decisive touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones.
This was a big moment for Mayfield. Granted, he was battling a Bengal secondary missing two starting cornerbacks, but he came through in the clutch while missing personnel around him as well. Following the early pick, he was every bit as majestic as his stat line of 22-of-28 for 297 yards, five touchdowns and an interception suggests.
Mayfield wasn’t alone in performing well. Joe Burrow was stellar in what appeared to be his second victory. Like Mayfield, Burrow was down two starting offensive linemen because Jonah Williams and center Trey Hopkins left the game in the opening half. Going against Cleveland’s stellar defensive line without two blockers, Burrow somehow was unstoppable following an ugly start. Burrow opened this game with an interception tipped at the line of scrimmage and a lost fumble as a result of holding the ball too long in the pocket. This didn’t shake him, as the Bengals seemingly scored on every drive after that.
The result of this was Burrow’s first 400-yard passing performance of his career. He went 35-of-47 for 406 yards, three touchdowns and the two aforementioned turnovers. He also was big as a scrambler, rushing for 34 yards and a touchdown on six runs. The Browns had severe tackling issues in this game, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Burrow’s magnificent performance.
Burrow’s touchdowns went to different players. The leader on the stat sheet was Tyler Boyd, who caught 11 of his 13 targets for 101 yards. He also drew an interference flag. Tee Higgins continued his strong rookie campaign with five catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Giovani Bernard (5-59) also found the end zone. A.J. Green did not, but he snatched seven of his 13 targets for 82 yards.
Speaking of Bernard, he did most of his damage as a receiver out of the backfield. He was limited to 37 yards on 13 carries as a runner.
The Browns predictably had better success moving the chains on the ground, though Kareem Hunt certainly missed the law offices of Tretter and Teller. He ran for 76 yards on 18 carries, though he saved his fantasy owners with a receiving touchdown, as he caught three passes for 26 yards.
Despite Beckham being injured, Jarvis Landry didn’t have a big day because he was hurt as well. Nursing a rib injury himself, Landry caught five passes for 48 yards, finishing behind three teammates in the box score. Those were Rashard Higgins (6-110), Harrison Bryant (4-56) and Peoples-Jones (3-56). Bryant, a promising rookie tight end, found the end zone twice, starting in place of an injured Austin Hooper.
Saints 27, Panthers 24
Most Saints-Panthers battles tend to be close, and this was no exception. It seemed as though New Orleans might run away with a blowout victory when it went up 14-3 early in the second quarter, but Teddy Bridgewater made a number of great plays to keep his team in the game.
Bridgewater began with a tremendous 22-yard dart with Curtis Samuel after he somehow avoided multiple sacks while escaping the pocket. Bridgewater then heaved a 74-yard bomb to D.J. Moore, who was wide open as a result of Bridgewater doing a great job of looking off safety Marcus Williams. Bridgewater completed a high number of passes, doing all he could to engage in a shootout with New Orleans. However, Bridgewater made a grave mistake on the final offensive drive when he took a sack to seemingly take the team out of field goal range. The Panthers, marrooned with a fourth-and-19 as a result of the sack, had to try a 65-yard field goal. Joey Slye was predictably short, allowing New Orleans to escape with a 27-24 victory.
Bridgewater finished with a great stat line, going 23-of-28 for 254 yards and two touchdowns. It’s a shame for Bridgewater that the sack spoiled what would’ve been an amazing afternoon and a potential upset.
Thanks to Bridgewater’s 74-yard bomb to D.J. Moore, the young receiver led the team in receiving with four grabs for 93 yards and a pair of scores. Robby Anderson (6-74) wasn’t too far behind.
Bridgewater needed to be successful aerially because Carolina couldn’t run the ball against the Saints’ tough ground defense. Mike Davis was limited to just 12 yards on seven carries. He caught five passes as a receiver, but registered just 24 receiving yards.
This was, of course, supposed to be a matchup between Christian McCaffrey and Kamara. The former should be back soon, while the latter had a stellar performance. He rushed for 83 yards on just 14 carries, and he also caught all eight targets for 65 receiving yards. Kamara made a great play to convert a third-and-14 in the third quarter.
Kamara had to anchor the offense with the Saints missing their top two receivers. Despite this, Drew Brees misfired on just seven occasions, going 29-of-36 for 287 yards and two touchdowns. Brees, who had a third score negated by penalty, was a perfect 9-of-9 for 74 yards in the opening quarter. Brees’ one blunder was a lost fumble on a strip-sack when he didn’t see the blind-side pressure.
With Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders sidelined, it was up to the likes of Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris to step up. Callaway was the best of the bunch, reeling in eight of his 10 targets for 75 yards. He also had a touchdown negated by offensive pass interference. Harris (4-46) caught a touchdown, while Smith (4-54) was the usual disappointment.
Redskins 25, Cowboys 3
Ezekiel Elliott crushed his team’s chances of beating the Cardinals early in the game last Monday night. His two lost fumbles set up the Cardinals with possession in Dallas territory on both occasions, leading to a pair of Arizona touchdowns to go up 14-0. Elliott had a chance to redeem himself six days later in Washington, but he once again derailed his team’s hopes with a mistake.
The Cowboys were down 22-3 just prior to halftime, but they finally had some momentum going with a positive drive. They moved the ball into Redskin territory, but just when they were about to score, an Andy Dalton pass ricocheted off Elliott’s hands and into the arms of a Redskin linebacker. Washington was able to maintain its 22-3 lead going into halftime, allowing the team to come away with its second victory.
It could be argued that the pass to Elliott was off the mark, but the Pro Bowl running back still should’ve secured the ball. Of course, this was just one of several blunders from Dalton, who was guilty of a lost fumble that resulted in a safety earlier in the contest. Dalton gave the Cowboys no hope to win, even against a terrible Washington squad.
Dalton, in fact, didn’t even get a chance to finish this game. He scrambled in the third quarter and took a dirty hit to the helmet. He was motionless on the field for a while and then was replaced by rookie Ben DiNucci. Dalton finished the game with 9-of-19 for 75 yards and the two turnovers, while DiNucci didn’t get to do much (2-3, 39 yards), as he took three sacks in less than a half of action.
Elliott also completed the game as a major disappointment. He rushed for just 45 yards on 12 carries, and he was also responsible for that aforementioned turnover. With four absent offensive linemen, Elliott has no chance to run. However, it’s puzzling as to why he saw just two targets against a linebacking corps that can be beaten. Mike McCarthy is a terrible coach, so he undoubtedly has no answers for us.
Only two Cowboys had double-digit receiving yardage: Amari Cooper (7-80) and Dalton Schultz (2-22). CeeDee Lamb didn’t catch a single pass on five targets, thanks in part to a brutal drop that could’ve gone the distance. This is what happens when a backup quarterback plays behind an injury-ravaged offensive line.
Meanwhile, the Redskins had plenty of success against a putrid Dallas defense. Antonio Gibson put together a great game, rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Curiously, however, Gibson didn’t catch a single pass and saw just one target.
Kyle Allen went 15-of-25 for 194 yards and two touchdowns. This was a refreshing outcome for Allen after two of his turnovers gift-wrapped a win for the Giants last week.
Allen’s touchdowns went to Terry McLaurin (7-90) and Thomas (4-60). They were the only Redskins with more than 22 receiving yards.
Steelers 27, Titans 24
The Titans were undefeated heading into this game, but many of their victories were close calls over losing teams. They defeated the 2-3 Broncos, 1-5 Jaguars, 1-5 Vikings and 1-5 Texans. The lone exception was a blowout victory against the Bills, but Buffalo was extremely banged up in that contest.
This would be the first real test for the Titans in 2020 if the Buffalo game is disregarded. If so, the Titans seemed to be failing miserably. The Steelers dominated in every facet of the early stages of this game. They were able to score easily by converting third downs at a very high rate; they were able to disrupt Tennessee’s offense completely; and even special teams contributed with a great punt return that set up a touchdown.
The Steelers led 27-7 early in the third quarter, and it seemed as though the Titans had no chance to be competitive. However, things changed when A.J. Brown broke away from Pittsburgh defenders on a 73-yard touchdown catch-and-run. Ben Roethlisberger was then intercepted on a deflection, ultimately resuting in a field goal. Roethlisberger’s troubles continued later after another potential pick off a deflection that hit the ground and a Derrick Henry touchdown, as he was picked again on a shot to JuJu Smith-Schuster into the end zone. Linebacker Jayon Brown did a great job of knocking the ball out of the receiver’s hands.
Thanks to this latest give-away, the Titans had one final chance to either win or force overtime. Tannehill took a shot into the end zone on third down, but overthrew Corey Davis. This was fine because Stephen Gostkowski had a chance to send this game to an extra session with a 45-yard field goal. Gostkowski, however, whiffed, allowing the Steelers to hang on to a three-point victory.
Roethlisberger had a hot start to this game, going 17-of-24 for 160 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on a Hail Mary in the opening half. He collapsed following intermission, however. He was just 15-of-25 for 108 yards and two picks after the break, and he was lucky that he wasn’t intercepted thrice. His final numbers were fine (32-49, 268 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs), but he’ll need to be much better to beat the Ravens next week.
In a huge upset, Chase Claypool didn’t do very much in this contest. He saw just one target, catching it for a 2-yard loss. He fumbled the ball, but was lucky to recover. He also drew an interference flag to help set up a field goal. The reason for this lack of production was a constant double team, plus the return of Diontae Johnson, who snatched nine of his 15 targets for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Johnson, he suffered an injury late in the game, so Claypool may have to do more next week.
Elsewhere in the receiving corps, Smith-Schuster led the team in receivng with nine grabs for 85 yards, though he didn’t find the end zone, thanks in part to the great defensive play by Jayon Brown. He at least made a great diving catch to convert an early third-and-12. Eric Ebron (6-50) nearly scored as well, but was tackled shy of the goal line. He made a great, leaping catch to convert a third-and-14 in the opening quarter. This ultimately led to a touchdown to give Pittsburgh a 14-0 lead.
Speaking of missing out on touchdowns, James Conner nearly had two scores. He rushed for 82 yards on 20 carries, but didn’t find the end zone. However, he had a touchdown negated by a face mask on the backup right tackle, and he also dropped a touchdown. Benny Snell (2-2) vultured a score later on the drive.
Henry, meanwhile, did well despite a tough matchup. He had nothing going in the first half – eight carries, 27 yards – but he had some nice runs against the tired Steelers as the game progressed. Henry ended up with 75 yards and a touchdown on 20 attempts. Give the Tennessee coaching staff major credit for sticking with the running game despite trailing 27-7 in the second half.
Tannehill finished 18-of-30 for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Things were looking rough for Tannehill in the early going, as he had a dropped pick-six on the opening drive and completed just six passes in the first half. However, Tannehill’s play improved as the afternoon progressed. He was on point with a third-and-12 connection on the final drive, but an intentional grounding made Gostkowski’s field goal harder than it should have been.
Tannehill’s touchdowns went to his top receivers: Brown (6-153) and Davis (6-35). They were the only Titans with more than 20 receiving yards. Brown was as tremendous as the stats indicate. In addition to his long touchdown, he also came up huge on a third-and-12 conversion on the final possession.
Packers 35, Texans 20
The Packers were missing a bunch of players in this game, namely Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari, but that wasn’t going to keep Aaron Rodgers from rebounding off an embarrassing defeat last week. Rodgers was out for blood against the Texans, whom he torched mercilessly.
Rodgers misfired just five times in the opening half, going into the break with a 21-0 lead. He was on pace to throw for nearly 400 yards at that point, but because the Texans couldn’t remain competitive, Rodgers didn’t need to throw very much late in the game. That’s why he had 21 attempts prior to intermission and just 13 after halftime.
Rodgers finished 23-of-34 for 283 yards and four touchdowns. Despite missing Jones, Bakhtiari and Allen Lazard, Rodgers was unstoppable in this game.
With Jones out, Jamaal Williams handled the majority of the workload. Williams rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also caught four passes for 37 receiving yards.
Despite Rodgers’ passing total, Williams’ 37 receiving yards were good for second on the team. The first was Davante Adams, and no one was close to him. He caught 13 of his 16 targets for 196 yards and two touchdowns. With Bradley Roby ruled out with an early injury, there was no stopping Adams. Imagine how great his stat line would’ve been if Rodgers had to throw more than 13 times in the second half!
Deshaun Watson did what he could to keep up, but it wasn’t enough against an unstoppable Rodgers. Watson had successful drives until crossing midfield, and then the offense would just bog down due to a lacking running game and poor pass protection.
Watson went 29-of-39 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled seven times for 38 rushing yards. For an instant in the second half, it looked like the Texans would have a chance to get back into the game, but Watson was stuffed by Preston Smith on a fourth-down scramble.
Former Packer Randall Cobb did his best in a revenge spot, leading the team in receiving with eight catches for 95 yards. Brandin Cooks (7-60) was next. Will Fuller (3-35) caught a touchdown in garbage time.
David Johnson scored Watson’s other touchdown, as he hauled in four passes for 42 receiving yards. He needed to do this to save his fantasy owners, as he rushed for the exact total on 14 attempts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If there’s an investigation 20 years from now to determine which NFL games are fixed, I expect the researchers to begin with this one. The Bills outgained the Jets by 300 yards, and yet conveniently failed to cover. I had no stake in this game, so this is just an unbiased opinion!
The Jets flirted with disaster, as into the third quarter, they were outplaying the Bills and had the lead. Buffalo’s offense moved the ball throughout the game, but the team struggled mightily once getting into Jets territory. Eventually, however, Buffalo got enough Tyler Bass field goals to keep New York in the driver’s seat for Trevor Lawrence. The Bills have disappointed in recent games, and this was an ugly win, but a much-needed one for them to improve to 5-2.
New York took the opening drive down the field thanks to Darnold making some short completions and Lamical Perine running well, which set up a field goal for New York. Buffalo promptly got moving with Josh Allen firing the ball to receivers to get into Jets territory, but the Bills missed the field goal. New York took advantage of the momentum with Sam Darnold converting a third-and-20 via a beautiful pass to Braxton Berrios, but the Bills got a stop on fourth-and-1 to end the drive inside the Buffalo 20. Allen got the Bills moving to get inside the 10, but on a third-and-goal, Tarell Basham strip-sacked Allen and New York recovered.
Perine (11-39-1) ripped off a run of 20 yards, and Darnold found Denzel Mims for a couple of completions for 27 yards. Perine finished the drive with a short touchdown run to put the Jets up 10-0. Buffalo responded with a 53-yard field goal,and with less than a minute before the half, Dane Jackson picked off a poor throw by Darnold. Allen fired a few missiles to Stefon Diggs (6-48) and Cole Beasley to set up a second Bass field goal that cut New York’s lead to 10-6 at halftime.
A rare kick return happened to open the second half, with Andre Roberts raceing past midfield for a 58-yard return that led to another Bass field goal. Bass kicked his fourth field goal a short time later to give the Bills their first lead of the day midway through the second half at 12-10.
The Jets blew coverage at one point in the fourth quarter, allowing Buffalo tight end Tyler Kroft to get wide open for a 38-yard gain. This time, however, Bass missed on his field goal attempt – his second of the game. Another Bills drive came close to the end zone, but a Quinnen Williams sack forced a field goal, though Bass was good this time, pushing the lead to 15-10. He tackled on his sixth field goal late in the fourth quarter. The Jets offense had a few more chances to tie the game, but the Bills defense shut the door when Jerry Hughes intercepted a deflected pass.
Josh Allen completed 30-of-43 passes for 307 yards. He also led Buffalo in rushing with 62 yards on 10 carries.
Devin Singletary (8-29) was unable to get into any running groove for Buffalo.
Beasley led the Bills in receiving with 11 receptions for 112 yards.
Darnold was 12-of-24 for 120 yards and two interceptions.
Frank Gore led the Jets with 60 yards on 11 carries.
Mims led New York in receiving with four catches for 42 yards.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was the ultimate trap game for the Buccaneers, and yet they dominated the competition. They’re 5-2 now, and yet they’ll have Antonio Brown on the roster soon!
Las Vegas was competitive for a time, but Tampa Bay pulled away because the Raiders’ defense was no match for the Buccaneers. With this win, the Bucs extended their control over the NFC South, while the Raiders fell further behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.
Derek Carr got the scoring started by ripping the ball down the field, in part hitting Nelson Agholor on two receptions for 48 yards, including a 20-yard scoring strike. The Bucs responded with a drive that ended with Tom Brady diving into the end zone. Las Vegas pulled off a gutsy fake punt, and then Carr hit Henry Ruggs III for 29 yards to set up a Daniel Carlson field goal. That 10-7 lead was short lived for the Raiders.
Leonard Fournette got involved with a reception for 12 yards and a 25-yard run to get into Las Vegas territory. A 26-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski (5-62-1) set up a first-and-goal, and Gronkowki put Tampa Bay ahead with a touchdown catch over Nevin Lawson. Just before halftime, Brady led a 2-minute drill that ended with Scotty Miller hauling in a 33-yard touchdown to put Tampa Bay up 21-10 at intermission.
Miller beat Lamarcus Joyner for a 35-yard reception in the third quarter, helping set up a field goal that expanded Tampa Bay’s lead to 24-10. After a few Tampa Bay penalties, the Raiders got moving with a 40-yard completion to Agholor to set up a first-and-goal. Darren Waller (6-50-1) beat Lavonte David on a quick slant for a touchdown. Carr produced another field goal drive soon after, leaving the Raiders behind by just four points early in the fourth quarter, but it was all Tampa Bay after that.
A reception by Fournette, a pass interference on Trayvon Mullen, and a completion to Mike Evans (2-37) moved the ball inside the Raiders 25 yardline. A pass to Miller moved the ball to the three, and Brady fired a scoring strike to Chris Godwin (9-88-1) to put Tampa Bay back up by 11. Agholor had a pass hit off his hands on the Raiders’ ensuing drive, and Antoine Winfield caught the deflection to clinch the win for Tampa Bay. A few plays later, Ronald Jones (13-34-1) scored from the goal line.
Brady was very good against Las Vegas, completing 33-of-45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns. It was an easy game of domination for Brady, with the Raiders completely unable to put any pressure on him.
Fournette led the Bucs in rushing with 50 yards on 11 carries.
Miller led Tampa Bay in receiving with six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Carr completed 24-of-36 for 284 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The Bucs shut down Josh Jacobs, holding him to 17 yards on 10 carries. Devin White was phenomenal in this game.
Agholor had five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown to lead the Raiders.
Chiefs 43, Broncos 16
If you were to look at this score without watching the game or gazing at the box score, you’d assume that in a 43-point affair, Patrick Mahomes threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns. That couldn’t be further from the actual result, as Mahomes had half as many yards and three fewer touchdowns. Instead, he let everyone else achieve the team’s sixth victory of the year.
And by “everyone else,” I mostly mean the defense and special teams. The Chiefs and Broncos were engaged in a close game in the second quarter – Kansas City was up just 10-6 – when this entire affair changed. Drew Lock was pick-sixed on a late pass that he telegraphed. Daniel Sorensen took the turnover and went 50 yards to put the Chiefs up 11. And if that wasn’t bad enough for the Broncos, they watched Byron Pringle take a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. Suddenly, a close 10-6 contest turned into a 24-9 blowout. Down 15, the Broncos’ plans of running the ball and keeping Mahomes off the field were thwarted, especially when Melvin Gordon fumbled a flea flicker attempt to set up yet another Kansas City score.
Mahomes went just 15-of-23 for 200 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t scramble a single occasion. With the Broncos self-destructing, Mahomes could’ve run the Bobby Boucher offense and still won this game. This has to be a relief for the Chiefs, who were down two starting offensive linemen.
With Mahomes not needing to throw very much, Mecole Hardman was the team leader in receiving with two catches for 57 yards. Tyreek Hill (6-55) wasn’t too far behind him, and he also caught a touchdown. Travis Kelce (3-31) didn’t do anything despite the strong matchup.
The Chiefs didn’t run the ball very well either, outside of 27- and 16-yard bursts from Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell, respectively. Edwards-Helaire rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts, while Bell gained 39 yards on six tries. Edwards-Helaire’s 11-yard touchdown was very impressive, as he slipped through multiple tackling attempts. However, he also dropped a touchdown, though the score was 24-9 by then, so it didn’t end up mattering.
Meanwhile, the Broncos saw Lock play a miserable game. He went 24-of-40 for 254 yards and two interceptions, including the crushing pick-six. In addition to the poor numbers, Lock hurt his team by taking a couple of bad sacks as a result of holding on to the ball too long. One such sack took his team out of field goal range. There was also one instant in which Lock had an open player, but opted to throw to a covered tight end instead. Lock has looked good at times, but this was definitely a step backward for him.
Lock struggled to connect to Jerry Jeudy, who caught just two passes for 20 yards. His leading receiver was tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who snatched all seven of his targets for 60 yards, even finishing ahead of a hobbled Noah Fant (3-38). Perhaps the Redskins will trade for Okwuegbunam.
Gordon, who had two lost fumbles in total, rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Despite having nearly double the number of carries as Phillip Lindsay, he was still outgained by Lindsay, who tallied 79 yards on nine attempts. Lindsay appeared to be on his way to cracking the century mark, but he led the game early with a concussion.
49ers 33, Patriots 6 It didn’t seem too long ago that we all thought the Patriots would compete for a playoff spot with Cam Newton playing well. Newton went toe to toe with Russell Wilson and then dominated the Raiders back in September. At 2-1, Bill Belichick looked like he would somehow coach the post-Tom Brady Patriots into the postseason.
That does not appear to be the case anymore. Newton looked dead in this game. He wasn’t on the injury report, but he looked like he was playing with one arm and a single leg versus the 49ers. He repeatedly tossed passes way shy of the line of scrimmage on third down and planted passes into the dirt. He barely scrambled. He looked lifeless.
Newton finished his afternoon going 9-of-15 for 98 yards and three interceptions. He threw a late duck on his first pick, while his second interception was a deep shot. The third interception got Newton benched. Newton threw behind Julian Edelman, causing the pass to pop into the air when Edelman got one hand on the ball. Bill Belichick approached Newton on the bench right after that to inform the decrepit quarterback that he would be going with Jarrett Stidham for the rest of the game.
Here were Newton’s lowlights, not even counting the interceptions:
– On a third-and-4, Newton threw the ball just one yard in the air.
– On a third-and-5, Newton tossed the ball just two yards in the air.
– On a third-and-5, Newton heaved a duck into the ground, with the ball landing nowhere near his intended target, Damiere Byrd.
– Speaking of byrd, Newton overshot Byrd on one pass by a mile.
It’s fair to wonder if Newton was injured heading into the game. If that was the case, the Patriots deserve a hefty penalty for not putting Newton on the injury report.
While Newton was absolutely atrocious, this loss wasn’t all on him because the receivers couldn’t get open despite the 49ers missing their top two safeties. Jakobi Meyers (4-60) led the team in receiving, followed by Rex Burkhead (3-35). They were the only Patriots with more than 20 receiving yards. This includes Edelman, who caught just one pass for 13 yards.
The Patriots couldn’t run the ball either. Damien Harris gained 58 yards on 10 carries, but much of that came late in the game when the 49ers stopped trying.
Of course, another reason why the Patriots lost is because their defense was putrid. It was odd to see this, as Bill Belichick was going up against a former quarterback missing his starting center. Yet, the 49ers did whatever they wanted offensively, save for one early drive when Jimmy Garoppolo was picked on an overthrow. The 49ers steamrolled the Patriots on the ground, giving Garoppolo easy play-action opportunities.
With Kyle Shanahan making things very easy for Garoppolo, the former Patriot quarterback went 20-of-25 for 277 yards and tw interceptions. The second pick wasn’t a big deal, as Garoppolo took a deep shot at the end of the opening half.
The 49ers, as mentioned, pounded the Patriots mercilessly. The Patriots were pushed back pathetically, allowing Jeff Wilson Jr. to rush for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Unfortunately, Wilson was carted off the field after suffering a leg injury late in the game.
With Wilson and Raheem Mostert hurt, JaMycal Hasty must be added in fantasy. Hasty looked good against the Patriots, rushing for 57 yards on nine carries. He played ahead of Jerick McKinnon, who was nowhere to be found.
Brandon Aiyuk had a big game, catching six passes for 115 yards. He finished well ahead of Deebo Samuel (5-65) and George Kittle (5-55). Kittle’s stat line wasn’t a surprise, as the Patriots shut down tight ends well.
Chargers 39, Jaguars 29
This has been a bizarre year. Perhaps the strangest thing of 2020 has been the difference between Justin Herbert at Oregon and Justin Herbert in the NFL. The Herbert of Oregon was an inconsistent quarterback who looked like he wasn’t quite ready for the pros. The Herbert in the NFL went toe to toe with Tom Brady and Drew Brees in two shootout losses prior to the bye. Herbert had played well versus tough foes, but still was mired with an 0-4 record. His losing streak is over now, however, as Herbert achieved his first victory of the year.
Herbert was stellar in this game. Granted, he didn’t have much competition, as the Myles Jack-less Jaguars have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Still, a win is a win, and Herbert got his first victory with four touchdowns.
Herbert finished 27-of-43 for 347 yards and three passing scores to go along with nine scrambles for 66 rushing yards and an additional rushing touchdown. If the 2020 NFL Draft were re-done today, Herbert would be a top-two selection.
Herbert continued to pepper Keenan Allen with tons of targets. Coming off the injury suffered against the Saints, Allen snatched 10 of his 13 targets for 125 yards. He didn’t score, and neither did Mike Williams (1-4). Herbert’s touchdowns went to Jalen Guyton (2-84), Virgil Green (1-26) and Daniel Parham (1-22).
With Austin Ekeler sidelined, the Chargers split the touches between Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson. Kelley saw more work, though he rushed for just 29 yards on 12 carries. Jackson (5-12) was even worse. Both disappointed greatly against Jacksonville’s abysmal defense, though three starting offensive linemen being sidelined didn’t help.
Despite being outclassed in talent, the Jaguars were able to stay within striking distance of the Chargers, thanks to a blocked punt returned for a touchdown to give them life when they were down 16-0. Gardner Minshew moved the chains well after that, but things changed in the fourth quarter. The Chargers finally clamped down on him despite Melvin Ingram limping on and off the field with an injury.
Minshew finished 14-of-27 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. His deep ball continued to be lackluster. There’s some chatter that Minshew could be benched soon.
Jacksonville was able to move the sticks primarily through the running game. James Robinson shockingly finished with 119 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. He also caught four passes for 18 receiving yards and a second score.
With D.J. Chark hobbling through an injury, it wasn’t a surprise to see him reel in just one of his seven targets for 26 yards. Laviska Shenault was the leader in that category with three grabs for 44 yards.
Cardinals 37, Seahawks 34
Kyler Murray told the NBC analysts that he never expected to lose this game, but I felt the opposite way. It never seemed like Arizona would win. The Cardinals, after all, had never led for a single second, as Russell Wilson was dominating for most of the evening. Wilson lofted beautiful bomb after beautiful bomb, while the Cardinals made mistakes, whether it was a DeAndre Hopkins fumble, a blown opportunity on a pick-six that never happened, or a Murray interception following a Wilson interception. When Lil’Zane Gonzalez whiffed on a 41-yard field goal in overtime, the Seahawks were all but assured victory.
However, the Seahawks, who led by scores of 20-7 and 27-14 at various points in this contest, made mistakes of their own late in the game. Wilson threw an interception on a deep shot and then had another pick when he didn’t see Isaiah Simmons dropping into coverage. Even then, the Seahawks seemingly prevailed on a long D.K. Metcalf score, but that touchdown was called back by a David Moore hold.
All of these blunders gave the Cardinals one final chance, and following completions to Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald, Murray moved Gonzalez into field goal range once again. This time, Gonzalez connected on a 48-yarder to clinch the victory.
Murray posted a terrific stat line, going 34-of-48 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception that was way overthrown. He also led his team in rushing with 67 yards and another touchdown on 14 scrambles. Murray didn’t play his best to begin the game, but he got better as the evening progressed, and he ultimately came through in the clutch. This was a huge win for Murray, as the Cardinals made a statement that they are a legitimate threat in the NFC playoff picture.
It should be no surprise that Hopkins paced the Cardinals in receiving. He snatched 10 of his 12 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown in which he impressively planted both feet inbounds before falling out of play. He was guilty of a fumble, but that was his only blunder of the night.
Elsewhere in the receiving corps, Christian Kirk (5-37) caught two touchdowns out of his eight targets. Larry Fitzgerald, meanwhile, crossed 1,400 receptions for his career. He now needs fewer than 150 catches to pass Jerry Rice on the all-time list. Fitzgerald added eight to his count in this game for 62 yards.
The Cardinals lost Kenyan Drake to an injury in the fourth quarter. Drake picked up a fourth-and-short, but had to be carted into the locker room. Drake wasn’t having a good game – 14 carries, 34 yards – and his injury might be a blessing in disguise because it gave Chase Edmonds more opportunities. Edmonds looked way more explosive, as his mere five carries went for 58 rushing yards. He also caught seven passes for 87 receiving yards. Edmonds seems like the better player compared to Drake, so it will be a good thing if he’s featured more in the offense.
Drake wasn’t the only running back who left the gae. Chris Carson barely played, as he rushed for 34 yards on five carries before departing with a foot injury. Carlos Hyde took over and played well, rumbling for 68 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts.
With Carson injured, Wilson had more on his plate, but it looked like he was going to have a career game for a while. He threw for a ridiculous 250 yards in the first half alone, so a 500-yard performance seemed likely. Wilson, however, made some mistakes in the second half and overtime. He finished 33-of-50 for 388 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. To be fair, however, Wilson had a long touchdown to Metcalf called back because of a hold; otherwise, he would’ve eclipsed the 400-yard barrier easily.
Like Murray, Wilson led his team in rushing with 84 yards on just six scrambles. Wilson was under more pressure than he’s used to because his star rookie guard, Damien Lewis, was knocked out with an injury.
As a Metcalf owner, this was a very frustrating night. Metcalf made two spectacular plays in this game, but neither counted for fantasy purposes. Metcalf had the aforementioned long touchdown nullified, and he also chased down what appeared to be an easy Budda Baker pick-six. Cris Collinsworth called this “one of the plays of the year,” yet it didn’t count in the fantasy column.
Even more frustrating, Metcalf owners had to watch Tyler Lockett make play after play after play despite seeing tight coverage from Patrick Peterson. Lockett collected a whopping 15 of his 20 targets for an even 200 yards and three touchdowns.
Rams 24, Bears 10
Despite how lopsided this score looked when it was 24-3 in the final quarter, this was a close game for a while. The Rams led just 10-3 in the third quarter, as the Bears squandered countless opportunities. They drpped some passes, including a potential pick-six by safety Tashaun Gipson. They negated their own fourth-down conversion because of a false start. Nick Foles heaved an interception into the end zone on an underthrown pass. The Bears also failed to recover a Khalil Mack-forced strip-sack.
The Rams moved the chains better than the Bears throughout the evening, but Chicago’s defense came up with key stops in the opening half. That changed after intermission, as a gassed Bears defense looked especially dispirited following Foles’ interception. The Rams, as a result, expended their two-touchdown lead to 24-3 when Gipson blatantly whiffed on a Gerald Everett touchdown.
Of course, the Rams’ defensive line had a big hand in Chicago’s struggles. The Bears’ simplistic and dumb offense that calls for Cordarrelle Patterson to run on fourth down never had a chance versus Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd. Los Angeles limited Chicago to just 182 net yards and nine first downs in the first three quarters. The defense also should’ve scored on a safety, but the officials missed that a flagged holding call occurred in the end zone.
The pass rush rattled Foles despite the Super Bowl LII MVP completing nearly all of his passes. Foles went 28-of-40 for 261 yards and two interceptions, but the pass rush forced many short throws. It also led to some hurried tosses, including one where Foles had a wide-open Darnell “Mad Eye” Mooney for what was going to be an 80-yard touchdown. There was no one within 10 yards of Mooney, but Foles had to rush the pass, and he overshot the rookie receiver as a result.
None of the Chicago play-makers did anything of note either. Allen Robinson caught four passes for 70 yards, but 42 of those yards came on a reception in garbage time. Not included in this was a drawn pass interference that set up the Bears in the red zone, though this was wasted by Foles’ interception. Cole Kmet (2-45) and Mooney (3-40) were the only other Bears with more than 35 receiving yards.
David Montgomery didn’t do much either. The Rams clamped down on him, limiting him to 48 yards on 14 carries. He caught five passes, but registered just 21 receiving yards in the process.
The Rams, meanwhile, struggled to move the chains early in the game, but that changed as the afternoon progressed. Goff was lucky he didn’t have numerous turnovers, but still finished with a solid stat line: 23-of-33, 219 yards, two touchdowns. It was a positive result for Goff considering how strong Chicago’s pass rush is, but he was very lucky not to have a worse outcome.
It wasn’t Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods who led the Rams in receiving. It was Josh Reynolds, who had four grabs for 52 yards and a touchdown. Kupp (6-43) and Woods (3-22) trailed him. Woods had a rough game, as he lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Eddie Jackson.
Everett’s numbers were expected to balloon with Tyler Higbee sidelined. In addition to the aforementioned touchdown, Everett caught four passes for 28 yards.
Speaking of touchdowns, Malcolm Brown scored in addition to registering 57 yards on 10 carries. He moved the pile 13 yards on one ridiculous red-zone run. That said, he trailed Darrell Henderson (15-64) on the stat sheet. Once again, Cam Akers was nowhere to be found.
For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.