Well that was a fun week! Two teams scored over 50, Tom Brady got bench and the Bills scored over 40 points. Here goes…
Steelers 52 – 21 Panthers
The Panthers rolled in to Pittsburgh with a string of positive results. They roll out with their tails firmly between their legs. Roethlisberger had one of those days when all talk of retirement is clean forgotten as he threw more touchdown passes than incompletions. Five to be exact, all to different receivers, with James Conner running in a sixth. The Panthers were unable to match the fire power and whilst McCaffrey had a good day, the Carolina defensive line was unable to get close to Big Ben often enough.
Bears 34 – 22 Lions
The Bears raced to 34 points in the first three quarters and it was only 12 points from the Lions in the fourth that made this game look a little less embarrassing. This was the first time that quarterback Trubisky had beaten a division rival and it was a good time to do it as the Bears maintain their lead atop the NFC North. Stafford endured another six sacks – 16 in the last two games – with Kahlil Mack back on the Bears defense and running over and through whatever the Lions put in his path to notch up another two sacks on a productive debut season in Chicago.
Bengals 14 – 51 Saints
Ouch. Having 50 points put on you at home has got to sting, hasn’t it? It’s hurt Teryl Austin at least as the Bengals part ways with their defensive coordinator following this loss. It’s not a one off for the Bengals defense though as they’ve given up 500 yards in offense in their last three games. But the Saints are on fire at the moment and Drew Brees is fast becoming a prime candidate for league MVP. Three touchdowns, no interceptions and 265 passing yards being his latest stat line. Dalton couldn’t keep up and threw two interceptions and a touchdown before eventually being replaced by Jeff Driskel who ran in a touchdown late on.
Browns 28 – 16 Falcons
“I was feeling dangerous” said Mayfield about his state of mind when he awoke on Sunday morning. And dangerous he was as he completed 17 out of 20 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. What was more impressive was his partner in the backfield, Nick Chubb. Chubb rushed for 176 yards off 20 attempts including a 92 yard touchdown run – proof positive that the Browns have no need for Carlos Hyde. The Browns defense was also dangerous, stopping the Falcons in the red zone numerous times. This was temporary head coach Gregg Williams debut win and to be fair – they looked decent, who knows what may happen in the future…
Titans 34 – 10 Patriots
Didn’t see this one coming that’s for sure. The Titans have been getting better throughout the season, specifically on offense where new coordinator Matt LeFleur seems to have figured out how to get the best out of quarterback Marcus Mariota. Another assured performance from the quarterback alongside two touchdown runs from Derek Henry helped the Titans overcome their AFC rivals. Tom Brady was constantly hounded in the pocket buy the Titans pass rush and the corners kept the receivers on lockdown through most of the game. With little chance of reviving a win, Belichick eventually replaced his future Hall of Fame quarterback with Brian Hoyer. If that doesn’t say it all I don’t know what does.
Colts 29 – 26 Jaguars
It’s been a month since anyone has sacked Andrew Luck. A month. That’s ridiculous and a great indictment to the team building and coaching that this new look Colts team has had in place now. The so called “Sacksonville” defense need to take a look at themselves, this game wasn’t lost because of Bortles (who threw for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no intercepts), no, this was because of the Jags inability to stop Andrew Luck and co. Eric Ebron scored three touchdowns. THREE! Luck carried on his march to “Comeback Player of the Year” with 285 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. In the end, Bortles’ woeful receiving corps lost them the game when Rashad Greene coughed up a fumble which the Colts pounced on.
Chiefs 26 – 14 Cardinals
The Chiefs add another win to their total and the Cardinals another loss but this game was closer than many would have thought. The Chiefs offensive line struggled to contain the edge rush from Chandler Jones and the rest of the Cardinals, putting Mahomes under more pressure than he’s customarily used to with the Cardinals recording 13 hits on the quarterback and five sacks. On offense, the Cardinals finally got running back David Johnson a central role in their game plan. Johnson finished the night with 98 rushing yards and a touchdown as well as 85 receiving yards and receiving touchdown.
Jets 10 – 41 Bills
Last week I didn’t write too much about the Jets in the dismal loss to the Dolphins. This week they took it to the next step and got blown out by the Bills. After that defensive performance against Matt Barkely (a quarterback they picked up 11 days beforehand who last played when Kaepernick was still playing) Todd Bowles will be lucky to still be in a job next week and certainly won’t be come Black Monday! There are no positives for the Jets. None. It was an embarrassment to give up 41 points to a team who have only scored 91 all season before Sunday.
Buccaneers 3 – 16 Redskins
The Redskins stay atop of a stinking NFC East division with a win over the hapless Bucs. The Bucs actually managed to rack up over 500 yards of offensive but failed to convert any of their five red zone opportunities. Both Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson had average days for the Redskins but that’s enough to get past this Bucs defense.
Raiders 6 – 20 Chargers
The Raiders form continues. This is a team bereft of any playmakers on either side of the ball and so this season isn’t likely to get any better for them as they steam forward to the No.1 pick in next years draft. Again, Derek Carr was actually alright for the Raiders notching up 243 passing yards but the lack of talent led to no touchdowns but at least there were no interceptions. One of the biggest problems is directly in front of him. The offensive line is quite honestly just terrible. Carr has time to make one look and if that receiver isn’t open then he starts to prepare himself for the inevitable hit that’s about to be delivered. The Chargers (without star pass rusher Joey Bosa still) notched up nine hits on Carr with four sacks. The offense did enough to get past the woeful Raiders defense with Rivers and Melvin Gordon impressing still.
Packers 31 – 12 Dolphins
The Packers bounced back from their loss to the Patriots to beat the Dolphins in a pretty straight forward game. Star of the show was Aaron Jones. The running back who is finally been given more game time rushed for 145 yards off 15 carries and two touchdowns. That production meant that Rodgers action was a little more limited. The Dolphins gave up six sacks and were always chasing a game in which Brock Osweiler was asked to throw 37 times – never a recipe for success.
Rams 36 – 31 Seahawks
The Rams gave some respite to a city that is having a tough week. Coming off their loss to the Saints, the Rams were made to fight for this win against a Seahawks team that is better than the sum of their parts. Rookie running back Rashaad Penny finally has a game to warrant his first round pick with 108 yards and a touchdown. Not to be outdone, Todd Gurley notched up 120 yards and Jared Goff has another 300+ passing yard game with no turnovers. Despite the Rams defense giving up costly (and needless) penalties, they held firm in the final stretch with newly acquired pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr strip sacking Russell Wilson to record the game winning play.
Eagles 20 – 27 Cowboys
Consistency. Something both teams are lacking as they both flip-flop their way through the season. This week it was the Cowboys turn to win and the Eagles to lose. This week, the Cowboys stuck to their game plan and kept feeding Zeke Elliott who repaid them with 151 rushing yards and a touchdown. The offensive line was responsible for opening up the gaps for the star running back to get through. In previous seasons the Cowboys would often be without their defensive leader, Sean Lee which would create issues but in first round pick Leighton Vander Esch they’ve found a more than adequate replacement. The rookie linebacker notched up 13 tackles on the night. The absence of a running game continues to hurt the Eagles, whilst Wentz is still playing at a high level it’s not enough to see out games.
49ers 23 – 27 Giants
The Giants record a much needed second win of the season and Eli throws three touchdowns and no interceptions. Despite significant investment in the 49ers defense, the unit still needs improving and doubts will be raised about defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s role in the weeks and months to come. On the offensive side of things though things are still going ok. Inexperienced quarterback Nick Mullens came down to earth a bit following his dream debut with two interceptions though it’s debatable how much fault there was for either on the young quarterback. Matt Breida impressed with some explosive runs on his way to 101 yards and a touchdown. And the offensive line is quickly becoming one of the team’s strongest units