NFL Game Recaps: Week 5, 2021




NFL Game Recaps of previous weeks and seasons can be found via links at the bottom of the page.


Rams 23, Seahawks 17
  • This will forever be known as the Finger Bowl. This uncreative name was created because, as you may guess, both starting quarterbacks injured their fingers in this contest, with one having a much worse problem than the other.

    It began when Matthew Stafford banged his finger in the second quarter, which caused his throws to be off for a while after he got the finger wrapped. There was a stretch in which Stafford overthrew Robert Woods and then misfired toward Cooper Kupp. Stafford followed that up with a deep shot to DeSean Jackson, which was woefully underthrown. Jackson, however, made a great adjustment to haul in a 68-yard reception to set up a Darrell Henderson touchdown.

    This score gave the Rams the lead, but things still looked good for the Seahawks because they had the healthy quarterback. That changed when Russell Wilson dislocated his finger when it collided with Aaron Donald’s arm. Here’s what it looked like:



    Wilson remained in the game for a while, but the Seahawks eventually pulled him. Down two scores, all hope seemed to be lost for the Seahawks because Geno Smith was Wilson’s replacement, but Smith was much better than expected. Delivering accurate passes with confidence and using his legs to buy him time in the pocket, Smith led Seattle down the field for a touchdown and a field goal. He trimmed the Rams’ lead to six, but instantly heaved an interception on the final possession because Tyler Lockett fell down on the route. And that is how the Rams prevailed in the Finger Bowl.

  • The winner of the Finger Bowl, Stafford went 25-of-37 for 365 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He had a rough stretch that was detailed earlier, and he made a dumb mistake with his pick when he threw the ball right to Quandre Diggs when he was trying to launch the ball out of bounds while under pressure. However, he caught fire in the second half after the inaccurate drive. It didn’t appear as though the finger was much of an issue in the fourth quarter.

    Wilson, conversely, was extremely affected by his injury. He finished 11-of-16 for 152 yards, one touchdown and an interception that was batted in the air by Jalen Ramsey. Wilson looked like he couldn’t grip the ball while trying to do so on the sideline. He’s the ultimate gamer, so if he couldn’t play, you know the injury was bad.

  • Smith, as mentioned, was shockingly terrific in place of Wilson. He went 10-of-17 for 132 yards, one touchdown and the interception, which wasn’t his fault. I don’t understand how Smith was so effective, but I’ll need to see more of this before I believe that Smith has revived his previously failed NFL career.

  • The best skill-position player in this game was a Rams receiver, but it wasn’t Kupp. It was Woods, who hauled in 12 of his 14 targets for 150 yards. Kupp had a fine game – seven catches, 92 yards – but it paled in comparison to what Woods was able to accomplish. Van Jefferson (1-16) dropped a touchdown in the opening quarter.

    As for the Seattle receivers, D.K. Metcalf was also a monster with five catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Lockett, meanwhile, snatched five balls for 57 yards. It was a rough game for Lockett, and not just because he was responsible for the game-ending interception. He had a touchdown negated for a hold, and he had another potential score never come to fruition because Wilson overthrew him.

  • Darrell Henderson was easily the leading rusher in this game with 82 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. This was despite missing a first-half drive with an injury, which didn’t end up being a big deal. Sony Michel (11-37) did a good job in his place, but only because he was battling Seattle’s league-worst ground defense. He scored late in the game.

    The Seahawks’ rushers were led by Alex Collins, who gained 47 yards on 15 attempts. He also caught two passes for 25 receiving yards. Collins was stuffed by Donald on a fourth-and-2 run on what was a horrible call by the Seahawks in the first half.




  • Falcons 27, Jets 20
  • The Jets won an overtime thriller against the Titans this past Sunday, yet that victory suddenly feels like ages ago. Whereas the Jets were terrific offensively against Tennessee, they endured a sluggish performance in what turned out to be a one-sided affair despite what the final score says.

    Zach Wilson was dreadful in a very easy matchup. It’s difficult to determine what was worse between his ball placement and field vision. Wilson constantly whiffed on receivers, even if he was attempting short tosses. On one drive, he skipped a pass to a running back in the flat and then threw the ball at his offensive lineman’s helmet on an attempted screen. Meanwhile, Wilson failed to see open receivers downfield on numerous occasions. This was against one of the worst defenses in the NFL, so it’s difficult to feel optimistic about Wilson right now.

    Wilson finished 19-of-32 for 192 yards and an interception that occurred because he stared down his receiver. Despite these numbers being ugly, they were a byproduct of garbage time, as the Jets trimmed a 20-3 deficit to 20-17 when the Falcons took their foot off the gas. At halftime, Wilson was just 5-of-13 for 42 yards and the pick.

  • It looked like the Falcons would inexplicably blow this game despite outgaining the Jets by a large margin (450-230). However, Matt Ryan hit Kyle Pitts for a 39-yard connection to set up a touchdown to seal the victory. This was just one of many impressive plays from Pitts, who had his best performance of his pro career by far. Pitts caught nine of his 10 targets for 119 yards and a touchdown.

    Ryan, meanwhile, went 33-of-45 for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Despite missing Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, Ryan was able to pick apart the Jets’ sorry defense. Ryan had all the time in the world despite his poor blocking in previous games. The Jets desperately need a dynamic edge rusher, even when factoring in Carl Lawson’s return next year. I have them picking one in my 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

  • Cordarrelle Patterson continued to thrive. In addition to being the team’s leading rusher – he gained 54 yards on 14 carries – he also caught seven passes for 60 receiving yards. He nearly scored, but was tackled at the 1-yard line in the opening half. Patterson barely edged out Mike Davis (13-53), who scored after Pitts’ long reception. Davis lost a fumble when the Falcons were in field goal range in the third quarter.

  • The Jets couldn’t run nearly as much as the Falcons because they trailed throughout and couldn’t sustain drives until garbage time. Michael Carter led the team with 38 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

  • Corey Davis paced the Jets in receiving with four grabs for 45 yards. Jamison Crowder (4-24) disappointed, but that was Wilson’s fault. Rookie Elijah Moore didn’t catch a pass on two targets, but he drew a deep interference flag.




  • Packers 25, Bengals 22
  • This was a bizarre game in which both teams had multiple chances to win, yet the kickers and coaches seemingly did everything in their power to make sure they would lose.

    The madness began in the final minutes of regulation. The Bengals made a terrible play call on a third-and-5 on Green Bay’s 42-yard line where they had backup running back Samaje Perine run for a 3-yard gain. This put them in a situation where they had to either kick a 57-yard field goal or go for it on a fourth-and-2. They opted for the former, only to see Evan McPherson doink his attempt off an upright. The Packers would surely convert a field goal to win after that, but Mason Crosby whiffed from 51 to force overtime.

    All hope seemed lost for the Bengals when Joe Burrow threw an interception to start overtime, heaving the pass right to linebacker De’Vondre Campbell on what seemed like a miscommunication. However, Crosby inexplicably missed from 40. On the ensuing drive, the Bengals drove into Green Bay territory, but they opted to kick on a fourth-and-1, only to have McPherson miss from 49, as the ball hit the upright once again. Crosby had one more chance, converting this time from 48 after the Bengals surrendered a 15-yard completion to Randall Cobb on a third-and-16.

  • Aaron Rodgers came up big on the near-conversion on third-and-15 to give his team the winning field goal. This game began poorly for Rodgers, who threw an interception in the opening quarter, thanks to great coverage by Chidobe Awuzie. The Bengals’ top cornerback returned from missing last week’s game with an injury, but had to leave this game early. That opened up the passing game for Rodgers, who was 27-of-39 for 344 yards, two touchdowns and the pick.

  • Davante Adams had a monstrous game, hauling in 11 of his 16 targets for 206 yards. He hogged most of the receptions, as no other non-running back on Green Bay’s roster registered more than 34 receiving yards.

  • Aaron Jones ran the ball just 14 times, gaining 103 yards in the process. A.J. Dillon (8-30) did well as a receiver out of the backfield with four catches for 49 receiving yards and a touchdown.

  • Cincinnati’s ground attack wasn’t as impressive. Joe Mixon, who was iffy coming into this game, rushed for just 33 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Mixon didn’t do much outside of his scoring run in which he broke the ankles of a Packer defender. Otherwise, Perine led the Bengals in rushing with 59 yards on 11 attempts. He also caught four passes for 24 receiving yards and a score.

  • Burrow ended up going 26-of-38 for 281 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions, one of which was a horrible decision where he heaved a pass late across his body. He played well at times, but this was a rough afternoon for him. He was injured on a hard hit during a third-down run in the first half. He was tested for a concussion, but was cleared. However, he went to the hospital after the game for a throat contusion. It’s unclear when he suffered this injury.

  • Ja’Marr Chase didn’t exactly match Adams’ receiving yardage, but he actually came close. He caught six of his 10 targets for 159 yards and a touchdown, which includes a 70-yard bomb and a terrific sideline catch in overtime. Tee Higgins (5-32) was next on the receiving list.




  • Titans 37, Jaguars 19
  • The Titans suffered an utterly embarrassing defeat last week, losing to the No. 2 overall quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft in an overtime affair. They couldn’t possibly lose to the No. 1 overall quarterback seven days later. The offense was expected to improve this week with A.J. Brown returning from injury, but it was the defense that set the tone in this game. The stop unit sparked the team immediately, as the newest Jaguar, Dan Arnold, lost a fumble on the opening drive. Kevin Byard scooped and scored to give the Titans a lead they would never relinquish.

    The offense, however, had a huge hand in the victory. Derrick Henry was a monster, trampling over Jacksonville’s defense with ease. He rumbled for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries. He didn’t catch a pass, but it’s not like the Titans needed that to happen with a constant lead.

  • Henry also wasn’t needed on a key fourth-down play when this game was in doubt. That’s because Ryan Tannehill was able to scramble for a first down. Tannehill wasn’t as effective as a passer, but only because he attempted 22 throws. He was 14-of-22 for 197 yards and a touchdown. He’s lucky that an apparent lost fumble of his was ruled incomplete despite replay review. He also had a potential interception dropped.

  • Despite Brown’s return to action, he didn’t lead the Titans in receiving, finishing second in that category with three catches for 38 yards. He was tackled just shy of the goal line to the chagrin of his fantasy owners. Marcus Johnson beat him out in receiving with three receptions for 52 yards.

  • Trevor Lawrence can’t be blamed for this loss, as he played very well for the most part. Lawrenc had a string of nine consecutive completions in this game. On one drive in the second quarter, Lawrence showed great touch on a 24-yard pass to Marvin Jones, then fired a dart to Tavon Austin for a 23-yard gain. Lawrence capped off the drive by hurling a nice touch pass into the end zone to Jacob Hollister.

    It wasn’t all bright for Lawrence. He made some mistakes as well, though the positives far outweighed the negatives. He had an interception fired into the end zone overturned by penalty, then missed Arnold and Laviska Shenault for potential touchdowns.

    Lawrence went 23-of-33 for 273 yards, one touchdown and an interception that occurred on the final play of the gam when he was just trying to make something happen. Lawrence also scrambled into the end zone once, rushing for 28 yards on seven runs. He had a second rushing touchdown negated replay review.

  • Arnold did his best to make up for his early lost fumble. He led the Jaguars in receiving with six catches for 64 yards. Shenault was next on the stat sheet with 58 yards, but only had one reception. The TV announcer barked, “They just waited until the right time to unleash him!” which is a horrible strategy, if true.

  • Despite the 18-point loss, James Robinson had a big rushing performance. He dashed for 149 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts. He had a 58-yard sprint in the first quarter to eventually set up his own score. However, for some reason, Urban Meyer, in typical Urban Meyer fashion, called for a Carlos Hyde run on an important fourth-down play while down by 12. Hyde (5-13) was predictably stuffed.




  • Vikings 19, Lions 17
  • The No. 1 killer in Detroit might be cardiac arrest, given how many absolutely brutal losses they’ve suffered this year. Two weeks after losing because of a 66-yard field goal, they lost in the final seconds when the Vikings drilled a 54-yard field goal to cap off a final drive that began with 33 seconds remaining in regulation.

    Then again, this game shouldn’t have gotten to that point. The Vikings held a double-digit lead with 3:30 remaining, but a long missed field goal gave the Lions a short field. They hit a three-pointer themselves, trimming the lead to seven. In a conservative attempt to run out the clock, the Vikings handed the ball off to Alexander Mattison on a third-and-long. Mattison’s forward progress was stopped, but the officials seemingly forgot that rule when giving possession to Detroit upon a Mattison fumble. The Lions quickly scored a touchdown and converted the gutsy two-point conversion, but it was all for naught.

  • Mattison’s fumble spoiled what was a brilliant performance otherwise. Starting for the injured Cook, Mattison fumbled for 114 yards on 25 carries to go along with seven catches for 40 receiving yards and a touchdown.

  • Kirk Cousins had a solid game, going 25-of-34 for 275 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He came up clutch at the very end, and he was also very good on third-and-long connections to Justin Jefferson.

  • Speaking of Jefferson, he had a monster game, catching seven passes for 124 yards. Adam Thielen, conversely, was limited to two catches for 40 yards, but had a long completion wiped out by a penalty that would have otherwise set up the Vikings with a first-and-goal at the 4-yard line. That said, both of Thielen’s receptions came on the final drive, as gains of 19 and 21 helped set up the decisive field goal.

  • As for the Lions, Jared Goff had some late-game heroics, but crushed his team with some earlier mistakes. He lost a fumble on a strip-sack in field goal range in the opening quarter, and he was guilty of an interception in the second half. Goff was 21-of-35 for 203 yards and a pick otherwise.

  • It was another week with yet another Detroit receiver leading his team in yardage. Amon-Ra St. Brown was the player this week with seven catches for 65 yards. D’Andre Swift was next in receiving with six receptions for 53 yards. Swift did well as a rusher with 51 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, but saw two fewer opportunities than Jamaal Williams (13-57).




  • Steelers 27, Broncos 19
  • The Steelers looked dreadful against the Packers last week, and with there being news of Ben Roethlisberger’s hip giving him issues, it seemed like everyone was ready to give up on the team. However, the reports of Pittsburgh’s demise were greatly exaggerated, at least for this week. The Steelers completely dominated the Broncos in this lopsided victory to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

    Roethlisberger made it known that he was just fine instantly, as he made a huge play on the opening drive. He launched a 50-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson to open up with a quick 7-0 lead. Roethlisberger made some mistakes after that, and it looked like things might unravel when he grabbed his side as he was hit on a strip-sack, but the Steelers put together some nice drives and had their defense make some huge stops to give them a 24-6 lead entering the final quarter.

    The Broncos, however, caught fire in the final frame, albeit getting the spark in garbage time. Still, they were able to draw to within 24-19, and following a Pittsburgh field goal, Teddy Bridgewater drove the Broncos into the red zone, thanks to a great sideline catch by Kendall Hinton. A fourth-down attempt from Bridgewater was intercepted, however, giving the Steelers their second win of the season.

  • Roethlisberger finished 15-of-25 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. The stats look good, but Roethlisberger also lost a fumble and had an interception that was dropped. Still, it was a dramatic reversal from last week’s disaster, as Roethlisberger played well against a tough defense.

  • Though Johnson had the big play early in the game, Chase Claypool finished as the leader in receiving yardage. Claypool had his own huge gain, snatching a 59-yard reception that allowed him to tally 130 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Johnson (2-72) was next on the list. Not registered in the stat line was that Johnson drew an interference flag in the end zone.

    It wasn’t all good news for the Steeler receivers. JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered an injury early in the game, which is why he went catchless on the afternoon.

  • With the Pittsburgh receivers doing all the work, Najee Harris caught only two passes for 20 receiving yards. However, he made up for it on the ground with 122 yards and a score on 23 attempts. Denver hadn’t surrendered 60 rushing yards to a single player this year, yet Harris somehow lit them up for 122. Go figure.

  • The Broncos, trailing throughout, never had a chance to establish a ground attack. Javonte Williams had a 49-yard burst where he was tackled at the Pittsburgh 1-yard line, but gained 12 yards otherwise. His 61 yards came on eight attempts, as he outgained Melvin Gordon (9-34).

  • Bridgewater racked up plenty of yardage in garbage time, going 24-of-38 for 288 yards, two touchdowns and an interception at the very end of the game. While the numbers were solid, Bridgewater didn’t look completely there in this contest. He was flagged for a delay of game on the first offensive snap of the game, then on second-and-goal at the 7-yard line in the second quarter, he took a 13-yard sack. Bridgewater seemed to give up at times as well, tossing ineffective checkdowns on early third downs.

  • Bridgewater’s sole score went to Courtland Sutton, who caught seven passes for 120 yards, though he was guilty of a third-down drop. Tim Patrick (7-89) was the only other Bronco with more than 25 receiving yards.




  • Buccaneers 45, Dolphins 17
  • The Buccaneers had an issue with their secondary entering this game, as their top two cornerbacks were sidelined. This gave the Dolphins an opportunity to move the ball, which they did to start the game. They opened up a 10-7 lead when Jacoby Brissett hit Myles Gaskin for a touchdown.

    And then, everything unraveled, with the Buccaneers closing the first half with a 17-0 run. Tampa’s secondary didn’t matter because the offense scored a touchdown on all but one drive prior to the half expiring. The lone exception was a lengthy drive that concluded with a chip-shot field goal. The Dolphins had no answer for Tom Brady and his receivers.

    ]The onslaught continued in the second half, as Brady ultimately finished 30-of-41 for 411 yards and five touchdowns. This was despite missing Rob Gronkowski and going against one of the best defensive-minded people in the NFL in Brian Flores, who used to coach Brady.

  • Four of Brady’s touchdowns went to two people: Antonio Brown (7-124) and Mike Evans (6-113). The fifth score was tossed to Giovani Bernard, who made his return from injury. Chris Godwin didn’t join in the scoring fun, but he caught seven of his 11 targets for 70 yards.

  • Bernard wasn’t the only Tampa running back who found his way into the end zone. Leonard Fournette did as well, tallying 67 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

  • The Dolphins, trailing throughout, didn’t get much of a chance to establish the run. However, Myles Gaskin still had a big game despite barely playing last week. Gaskin rushed for 25 yards on five carries, but did most of his damage as a receiver out of the backfield. He caught all 10 of his targets for 74 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

  • Jacoby Brissett had a nice matchup entering this contest because the Buccaneers were missing their top two cornerbacks. He got off to a good start, but struggled for the most part due to two factors. One was his dreadful offensive line betraying him, while the second was a hamstring injury he suffered. Brissett remained in the game, but wasn’t quite the same. He lost all mobility and was stranded in the pocket the entire time. His numbers were still fine though, as he went 27-of-39 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

  • DeVante Parker was a Sunday morning scratch, so Brissett’s top options were projected to be Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki. Yet, neither did much. Gesicki caught four passes for 43 yards, while Jaylen Waddle reeled in just two of his six targets for 31 yards.




  • Saints 33, Redskins 22
  • With the illegal contact rules helping the quarterbacks, it’s not often that we see a game these days in which both signal-callers fail to complete more than half of their throws. That’s exactly what happened in this contest, however, as both Jameis Winston and Taylor Heinicke struggled despite an affair that saw the Saints and Redskins combine for 55 total points.

    There were both big plays and ineptitude on Winston’s part. He began the game by throwing an interception, which he released as he was hit. He followed that up with a 72-yard touchdown bomb to Deonte Harris. Winston then made another mistake, losing a fumble on a Chase Young strip-sack. He did a 180 again after that, getting very lucky when a Hail Mary attempt of his was answered just prior to halftime when Marquez Callaway somehow came down with the reception.

    Winston’s second half was more even, as he ultimately went 15-of-30 for 279 yards, four touchdowns and the aforementioned interception. He still completed just half of his passes following intermission, but didn’t commit any turnovers. The same can’t be said of Taylor Heinicke, however. Heinicke was guilty of an interception before and after halftime. The first pick was an ugly, underthrown pass, while the second occurred after he held on to the ball too long in the pocket.

    Heinicke finished 20-of-41 for 248 yards and two interceptions. His best moments in this game were as a scrambler, as he rushed for 40 yards on five runs. That said, this day could’ve been way worse for Heinicke, as he was nearly intercepted twice on the opening drive.

  • Of Winston’s four touchdowns, two went to Callaway, who reeled in four balls for 85 yards, including the 49-yard Hail Mary. Harris (1-72) didn’t catch a single pass after his deep reception because he left the game with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Alvin Kamara snatched five of his eight targets for 51 yards and a score after not getting a ball thrown his way during the prior week. Kamara also did well as a runner, gaining 71 yards and another touchdown on 16 attempts.

  • Antonio Gibson also thrived to help his fantasy owners. Like Kamara, he scored twice, rushing for 60 yards on 20 attempts. Gibson’s health was questioned heading into this contest, but he produced despite the low YPC figure.

  • Terry McLaurin wasn’t as productive. He hauled in just four of his 11 targets for 46 yards, as Marshon Lattimore smothered him. Adam Humphries (3-73) led the Redskins in receiving, with someone having to step up with Curtis Samuel getting knocked out of the game with a groin injury.




  • Eagles 21, Panthers 18
  • It’s still hard to believe that the Eagles won this game. They trailed 15-6 late in the third quarter, as Carolina was in full control of the game. The Eagles were completely inept in every facet. They once again weren’t running the ball – Miles Sanders had just three carries at the half – and they had a touchdown nullified by a penalty, which was a big problem last week. Worst of all, Hurts was missing numerous open receivers. He either didn’t see them, or failed to connect with his targets because of poor accuracy.

    Everything changed, however, late in the third quarter. Sam Darnold finally became the quarterback to make a mistake, as an interception of his that featured poor ball placement allowed the Eagles to finally reach the end zone. The Eagles then blocked a punt and eventually put together a drive late in the game that would put them ahead. Goedert dropped the game-winning touchdown, but Hurts then ran into the end zone to take the lead.

    This ended up being the winning score, as Darnold was too inept to answer. On the Panthers’ final offensive drive, Darnold missed his tight end with a routine throw and then tossed his third interception of the afternoon when he stared down the receiver. The Eagles were able to run out the clock despite some drama I’ll discuss later.

  • Hurts finished 22-of-37 for 198 yards and an interception, which was a horrible overthrow. He predictably was much better on the ground, scrambling nine times for 30 yards and two scores. This was a tough matchup against a talented defense, but Hurts still should be criticized for his struggles. He had an opportunity to make this win much easier for the Eagles, but missed numerous throws he should have completed.

    To be fair, Hurts had a potential passing touchdown negated by offensive pass interference. This was to DeVonta Smith, who still managed to lead the team in receiving with seven catches for 77 yards. Quez Watkins (3-48) was next on the receiving chart, thanks to a 53-yard bomb, though he would’ve enjoyed a much better game had Hurts hit him for a possible deep score in the second quarter when he was wide open. Goedert (2-28) also missed out on a touchdown because of his horrible drop.

  • Sanders ended up running more in the second half, gaining 45 yards on 11 carries. However, he was pulled in favor of Kenneth Gainwell because he made the foolish mistake of running out of bounds twice on the final drive. Gainwell touched the ball just three times.

  • The leading rusher in this game was Chuba Hubbard, who tallied 101 yards on 24 carries. He also caught five passes for 33 receiving yards. Don’t blame this loss on Christian McCaffrey’s absence, as Hubbard’s lone blunder was a dropped pass in the first half.

  • Darnold, on the other hand, deserves the most criticism. He threw three interceptions, going 21-of-37 for only 177 yards and a touchdown otherwise. Darnold ruined Carolina’s chances of prevailing, and I’m not just referring to the final drive. During one possession in the first quarter, Darnold missed Robby Anderson on a deep ball, and on the very next play, he whiffed in Terrace Marshall’s direction for a third-down conversion.

  • D.J. Moore wasn’t his usual dominant self, though he led his team in receiving. Moore caught five passes for 42 yards. Anderson (2-30) barely did anything on his seven targets, but that wasn’t his fault; he would’ve enjoyed a much better stat line with a competent quarterback.




  • Patriots 25, Texans 22
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: Was Bill Belichick drunk when he put together his game plan? He usually dominates against rookie quarterbacks, yet Davis Mills looked like the second coming of Joe Montana in this game.

  • The Patriots were outplayed by the Texans for a lot of the game, but eventually Houston’s brand of mistake-filled football gifted New England a win in the fourth quarter. The Texans inept special teams really blew the game with multiple missed extra points, a missed field goal, and a pathetic punt that created point swings in favor of the Patriots.

  • Houston’s opening drive was phenomenal, totaling 18 plays for 79 yards and chewing up over 10 minutes of clock. A critical pass interference on J.C. Jackson and a fourth-down conversion to David Johnson were the key plays. To cap the drive, Davis Mills fired a fastball into a tight window to tight end Anthony Euclair for a touchdown. Ka’imi Fairbairn, however, missed the extra point and then sent the kickoff out of bounds to set up the Patriots at the Texans’ 40. New England quickly moved down the field, with Kendrick Bourne accounting for about 30 yards, and Damien Harris finished the drive with a short rushing touchdown. Nick Folk missed the extra point, leaving the score tied at 6-6.

    Houston quickly took the lead again, with Mills rolling out and throwing a pass up for grabs. Chris Moore outjumped Jackson for the catch and took off down the field to score a 67-yard touchdown. Fairbairn then missed another extra point for Houston. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones quickly responded by ripping the ball through the Texans secondary using a variety of receivers. Harris ran the ball into the end zone, but he was stripped just before the goal line and Houston recovered the fumble for a touchback. Mills converted two fourth-down conversions, with the second being a 40-yard completion to Chris Conley, but Matt Judon had two sacks to force a field goal. Jones then led a field goal drive in the final minutes of the half to make it a 15-9 Texans lead at the intermission.

    In the first minute of the third quarter, Jones threw an ill-advised pass and Lonnie Johnson made a diving interception to set up the Texans just across midfield. A couple plays later, Houston executed a flea flicker perfectly, with Mills finding a wide open Chris Conley for a 37-yard touchdown. The extra point was good this time, giving the Texans a 22-9 lead.

    New England caught a break when Houston’s punter did not line up deep enough and his punt went off the back of the helmet of one of the Texans blockers. That gave the Patriots possession at the Houston 36. Nick Folk would hit his second straight 52-yard field goal to cut the Texans’ lead to 10 points.

    After getting the ball back, a completion to Nelson Agholor (3-32) moved the Patriots inside the 20, but once again they settled for a field goal to cut Houston’s lead to 22-15 entering the fourth quarter. Mills responded by hitting Moore for 27 yards, but Fairbarn missed a 56-yard field goal to give New England good field position. Harris ran well to get inside the 20, and Jones connected with Hunter Henry for a game-tying touchdown.

    After a Patriots stop, a roughing the passer penalty on Maliek Collins gifted New England a third-down conversion, and Jones soon hit Henry to get across midfield. Brandon Bolden then took off on a 24-yard run to get inside the 20 and lock up the game for New England. The Patriots ran the clock down from there, and with just seconds remaining, Folk hit a 21-yard field goal to seal the win.

  • Jones completed 23-of-30 passes for 231 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was fortunate that multiple would-be interceptions were dropped or just barely out of the reach of the Houston defenders.

  • Harris saw 14 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown. He also lost a fumble. He left the game with an injury.

  • Hunter Henry led the Patriots in receiving with six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.

  • Mills completed 21-of-29 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns. It could have been even bigger, but Laremy Tunsil went out with an injury and the Texans’ offensive line struggled in protection as the afternoon progressed.

  • Chris Moore led the Texans with five receptions for 109 yards.

  • Mark Ingram ran for 41 yards on 16 carries.




  • Bears 20, Raiders 9
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: It appears as though the strategy of blowing up the offensive line isn’t going as planned, eh?

  • The Bears’ defense showed their toughness and talent while leading the team to a road win in Las Vegas. The Raiders’ offense played flat, and it seemed that they had a hangover from their Monday night loss to the Chargers, or perhaps their preparation was off after dealing with the distraction of the Jon Gruden controversy that broke late in the week. Regardless, the Las Vegas offense struggled and was not the same unit that started the year so well in Weeks 1-3.

  • After trading punts, the Raiders got moving with a 28-yard pass to Darren Waller (4-45) on a third-and-9. Josh Jacobs took off on a good run to get inside the 20, but the drive stalled, and the Raiders settled for a Daniel Carlson field goal.

    Chicago got underway thanks to a roughing the passer penalty on Yannick Ngakoue and a completion to Damien Williams for 18 yards. A roughing the passer on Maxx Crosby and another penalty gifted extra first downs inside the 10, and Justin Fields put the Bears in front with a touchdown pass to Jasper Horsted. The Raiders moved into Chicago territory, but they were stuffed on fourth down for no gain by Khalil Mack. The Bears responded by moving the ball down the field with a balanced attack, and Damien Williams added a short rushing touchdown to go up 14-3 at halftime.

    In the third quarter, both teams traded punts before the Raiders put a drive together midway through the fourth quarter. Some Chicago unnecessary roughness penalties aided the drive, and Josh Jacobs reached the ball over the goal line for a touchdown. Mack continued his torrid game, as he sacked Carr on the two-point conversion to keep the Bears’ lead at 14-9.

    Midway through the fourth quarter, Fields engineered a field goal drive to put Chicago up 17-9 with just under three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Bears’ defense did their job to force a four-and-out, and Cairo Santos tacked on an insurance field goal to ice the victory for Chicago.

  • Fields was just 12-of-20 for 111 yards and a touchdown, but he played mistake-free football and came up with some clutch plays to support the great effort by his defense.

  • Damien Williams (16-64-1) and Khalil Herbert (18-75) did a nice job of combining to help control the clock for Chicago.

  • Darnell Mooney (3-35) led the Bears in receiving.

  • Carr was 22-of-35 for 206 yards and an interception.

  • Jacobs ran for 48 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown.

  • Hunter Renfrow led the Raiders in receiving with six catches for 56 yards.




  • Chargers 47, Browns 42
  • What an absolute blood bath for the Browns. Not the final score, but rather all the injuries they suffered in this game. Already down Jedrick Wills, Greg Newsome and Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns lost Denzel Ward and Jack Conklin to injury. Myles Garrett also got hurt, but he was able to remain in the game.

    Given the number of injuries that occurred, it’s a miracle Cleveland was able to keep this game so close. In fact, the team led by one in the final minute when they allowed Austin Ekeler to score so they could have one final chance. Unfortunately for the Browns, it wasn’t much of one because the makeshift offensive line couldn’t give a banged-up Baker Mayfield enough time to throw downfield. This allowed the Chargers to come away with a victory.

  • Things looked great for the Browns for a while. They ran all over the Chargers for most of the game. Nick Chubb gashed the San Angeles defense for 161 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, while Kareem Hunt tallied 61 yards and two scores on 12 attempts. He also caught five passes for 28 receiving yards. It’s truly remarkable that the Browns lost despite all the damage that Chubb and Hunt inflicted on the ground. That shows you how impactful the injuries happened to be.

  • Despite laboring through a torn labrum on his non-throwing shoulder, Mayfield went 23-of-32 for 305 yards and two touchdowns. He was much better early when he had one of his tackles on the field, though he fumbled on a strip-sack early in the game, only to see a teammate of his recover.

  • It was odd to witness David Njoku lead the team in receiving, but he had a terrific performance. He caught all seven of his targets for 149 yards and a touchdown. This sort of production almost certainly won’t happen again, but this is what the Browns expected from Njoku when they spent an early draft choice on him.

    Elsewhere in the Cleveland receiving group, Rashard Higgins (3-29) caught Mayfield’s only touchdown. Conversely, Odell Beckham Jr. struggled. He caught just two passes for 20 yards and dropped a pass on fourth down.

  • Despite what Njoku did, he wasn’t the leader in receiving yards in this game. That was Mike Williams, who hauled in eight balls for 165 yards and two touchdowns, which includes two deep bombs. He also drew an interference flag that set up a touchdown.

    Williams’ yardage total completely eclipsed Keenan Allen, who caught six passes for 75 yards. However, Justin Herbert went to Allen on a pair of fourth downs, which Allen converted on both occasions.

  • Speaking of Herbert, he was brilliant, going 26-of-43 for 398 yards and four touchdowns. He also scored once on the ground, scrambling four times for 29 rushing yards. It’s hard to believe he was the third quarterback chosen in his class.

  • Ekeler, as mentioned, scored the winning touchdown. This was one of three trips he made into the end zone. He rushed for 66 yards on 17 carries and also caught all five of his targets for 53 receiving yards. He lost a fumble in the second quarter to set up a Cleveland field goal, but more than made up for that mistake.




  • Cowboys 44, Giants 20
  • It was on this exact week last year in this same exact matchup when Dak Prescott suffered his season-ending knee injury. These Giants at Cowboys affairs seem to be cursed because it was the Giants who were victimized by injuries this time.

    The misfortune began in the first half when Saquon Barkley collided with Kadarius Toney, who was eventually carted off the field. Daniel Jones later dived toward the end zone, but his helmet collided with one of a Dallas player’s, knocking him out of the game with a concussion. And if that wasn’t enough, Kenny Golladay also left early with a knee injury.

    The Cowboys, as a result, won this game easily. Prescott, thankful to be the one not getting hurt this time, went 22-of-32 for 302 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, which was an impressive play by edge rusher Lorenzo Carter, who batted the ball up into the air and caught it. This occurred on the opening drive, as Prescott was prolific after that failed possession.

  • Prescott’s touchdowns went to his usual receivers, CeeDee Lamb (4-84) and Amari Cooper (3-60). The team leader in receptions was the blossoming Dalton Schultz, who hauled in six balls for 79 yards.

  • The Cowboys were able to trample the Giants in the running game, with Ezekiel Elliott gashing them for 110 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts. He caught a receiving score as well. Tony Pollard also joined in the fun, gaining 75 yards on 14 carries to go along with four receptions for 28 receiving yards.

  • With Barkley sidelined, it was difficult for the Giants to get anything on the ground. Devontae Booker, Barkley’s primary backup, mustered 42 yards on 16 carries, but he scored two touchdowns, with one coming aerially. Booker caught three passes for 16 receiving yards.

  • Playing just shy of one half, Jones went 5-of-13 for 98 yards. He appeared to throw an interception, but Trevon Diggs couldn’t stay inbounds. Mike Glennon replaced him and was 16-of-25 for 196 yards, one score and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. Much of what Glennon accomplished came in garbage time.

  • If there’s one silver lining for the Giants, it’s the emergence of Toney. The first-round rookie was stellar in this game, catching 10 of his 13 targets for 189 yards. Toney was every bit as good as those numbers indicate, and he was productive no matter who was his quarterback; he caught four balls for 80 yards from Jones. Unfortunately, Toney was ejected for throwing a punch. He also accidentally head-butted a coach on the sidelines. He’s a hot head, but he’s also a spark plug the Giants sorely need with Barkley hurt.

  • In addition to Toney, there was one Giant who logged more than Booker’s 16 receiving yards. That was Evan Engram, who snatched four balls for 55 yards. The injured Golladay failed to log a single reception on three targets.


  • Cardinals 17, 49ers 10
  • The 49ers gave the Cardinals everything they could handle. They disrupted the offense well enough to limit them to 17 points, swarming the backfield well enough to bother Kyler Murray. Trey Lance, meanwhile, wasn’t very effective as a passer, but he nearly hit 100 rushing yards. In fact, he was an inch away from potentially beating the only undefeated team in the NFL.

    Lance began the game poorly with an interception on an overthrow, but then eventually started running circles around the Cardinals. He drove his team down to the goal line in the second quarter, but was tackled a fraction of an inch prior to breaching the end zone. Lance went on to play relatively well in the second half, eventually leading a touchdown drive, but his offensive line ultimately betrayed him by constantly getting flagged for holding penalties. So many of San Francisco’s positive plays were wiped out by frustrating holds. That said, Lance tossed an errant pass on a key third down with about seven minutes remaining, then had a fourth-down pass tipped by J.J. Watt at the line of scrimmage.

    Lance ultimately finished 15-of-29 for 192 yards and an interception to go along with 16 scrambles for 89 rushing yards. He was the leading rusher in this game by far, with Eli Mitchell coming in next with his 9-43 line. Lance would’ve posted a better passing stat line had Mohamed Sanu not dropped a considerable gain on an opening-half third down. Remember, Lance also was robbed of a rushing touchdown as well.

  • Deebo Samuel was the leader in receiving yardage once again, catching three passes for 58 yards. He also scored on a “rushing” touchdown on what was a short toss. No one else on the 49ers registered more than 35 receiving yards.

  • As for the Cardinals, Murray went 22-of-31 for 239 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers did a great job of limiting Murray’s running ability; he scrambled seven times for just a single yard. As mentioned, San Francisco swarmed Murray in the backfield, and Murray was visibly frustrated at times in the second half. Murray can’t just blame the offensive line because he missed DeAndre Hopkins for a potential touchdown.

  • Speaking of Hopkins, he rebounded off some dud performances to catch six passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. His own score was set up by a 30-yard completion of his. He made a great, diving catch in the first half.

    Elsewhere in the Arizona receiving corps, Rondale Moore finished with five catches for 59 yards, which includes an amazing sideline catch. He nearly scored, getting tackled at the 1-yard line in the first half. Christian Kirk (3-39) and A.J. Green (1-3) didn’t contribute very much. Tight end Maxx Williams was carted off the field with a leg injury in the second quarter.


  • Bills 38, Chiefs 20
  • The Bills lost to the Chiefs twice last year, including in the AFC Championship, so beating their new nemesis on their home field would have allowed them to make a huge statement. With that in mind, they displayed much more energy than a sleepwalking Kansas City squad that constantly shot itself in the foot.

    All were to blame for the Chiefs, from the coach – Andy Reid should have gone for it on some fourth-and-short situations near midfield – to the quarterback, who was more inaccurate than normal, to the skill-position players. Kansas City still had a chance when a ball went right through Tyreek Hill’s hands, turning the pass into a pick-six.

    The Bills, meanwhile, took advantage of all the blunders. Josh Allen was especially terrific, both as a runner and a deep passer. Allen remarkably had seven completions in the opening half for 219 yards and two touchdowns, as he constantly dropped bombs on the Charvarius Ward-less Kansas City secondary. Allen was also able to sprint past the Chiefs, which includes a hurdle on a fourth-down run in the final quarter. Allen scrambled eight times for 62 rushing yards and a touchdown, though that paled in comparison to his brilliant passing stats: 15-of-26, 316 yards and three scores. His only mistake was an interception he threw while under heavy pressure that was negated by a bogus roughing-the-passer penalty. What’s especially impressive is that Allen did this in a heavy downpour that featured a lightning storm that delayed the game at halftime by about an hour.

  • Mahomes, meanwhile, wasn’t quite himself. He committed three turnovers compared to two touchdowns. The pick-six wasn’t his fault, while the second interception was batted up into the air by Gregory Rousseau, who caught the ball. Mahomes then fumbled the ball on a shotgun snap. Only the last one was completely on him, but Mahomes’ accuracy was off throughout the evening. The rain may have had something to do with it, but Buffalo’s defense was excellent.

    Mahomes finished 33-of-54 for 273 yards and the three give-aways. He was at least able to help his fantasy owners with eight scrambles for 61 rushing yards. Like Allen, Mahomes paced his team on the ground.

  • The leading receiver for either squad was Dawson Knox, who caught three passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, though he got away with a push-off on a deep reception. Knox edged out Stefon Diggs (2-69) and Emmanuel Sanders (3-54), who reeled in Allen’s two other scores.

  • The Chiefs’ top receiver was Mecole Hardman, who had nine receptions for 77 yards. Hardman dropped a ball on fourth down, but was bailed out by a roughing-the-passer penalty that was also questionable. Tyreek Hill (7-63) and Travis Kelce (6-57) were next. Kelce scored a touchdown, but was removed from the game with a hard hit to the helmet in garbage time.

  • Speaking of injured Chiefs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire (7-13) was knocked out of the game in the second half with an injury. Darrel Williams (5-27) looked better in relief.

  • Excluding Allen, the Bills’ top rusher was Zack Moss (11-37). Devin Singletary (6-25) was predictably more productive on fewer touches.


  • Ravens 31, Colts 25
  • Even the most passionate Ravens fans wouldn’t have given their team a chance at times in the second half. Baltimore was down 22-3 following intermission, and the Colts had full control of the game. They were moving the chains with ease, especially on the ground, and Baltimore’s offense couldn’t get anything going. The lifeless Ravens looked like they had given up, especially after Lamar Jackson fumbled the ball at the Indianapolis 1-yard line.

    Everything seemed to change once the Colts lost multiple defensive backs to injury. Baltimore’s offense began having consistent success for the first time, scoring multiple touchdowns in the fourth quarter. However, it needed help from another unit. It wasn’t going to be the defense, which continued to struggle. Instead, the special teams came up huge once again. It wasn’t Justin Tucker this time, but rather Calais Campbell, who blocked a short field goal that would’ve given Indianapolis a two-score advantage. Down eight instead of 11, the Ravens drove down the field and tied the game when Jackson found Mark Andrews in the end zone. They still needed a stop, which wasn’t possible because of Tavon Young’s personal foul penalty, but injured Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship whiffed from 47.

    The Ravens won the coin toss, which practically decided the game. Their hot offense zipped down the field, and Jackson was able to hit Marquise Brown for the decisive touchdown to pull off yet another improbable victory for Baltimore.

  • Baltimore missed out on 100 rushing yards, so it didn’t get to extend its precious record. The Colts did a masterful job of limiting Jackson’s scrambles, which is what they did in the matchup last year. Jackson rushed 14 times for 62 yards.

    Jackson was able to beat the Colts when their defensive backs were knocked out of commission. He put together a terrific aerial performance in the second half and overtime, finishing with this amazing stat line: 37-of-43 for 442 yards and four touchdowns. He also tossed a pair of two-point conversions.

  • Both two-pointers went to Andrews, who led the team with 11 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Brown (9-125) also managed to score twice. Sammy Watkins (2-35) left the game early with an injury.

  • Jackson paced the team in rushing, as Latavius Murray (6-17) and Ty’Son Williams (4-6) failed to find any running room. But it’s OK because tons of teams around the league are allegedly interested in trading for Baltimore’s running backs.

  • The most productive running back in this game, by far, was Jonathan Taylor, who caught a 76-yard touchdown to open the game. Taylor finished with 53 rushing yards (15 carries), 116 receiving yards (3 catches) and two total touchdowns. Taylor and Marlon Mack (5-47) were in the winning DraftKings showdown lineup.

  • It’s a shame that Carson Wentz, who wore a mask on the sideline for some reason, didn’t get the win because he was terrific. Showing no signs of his ankle sprains, Wentz went 25-of-35 for 402 yards and two touchdowns. His only blemish was losing a fumble on a Jayson Oweh strip-sack in the red zone during the first quarter.

  • Save for Taylor, Michael Pittman led the Colts in receiving with six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. Parris Campbell (4-56) also had a nice game.


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



    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23


    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21


    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12








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    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