We have our first tie – of course, it would involve the Lions. There were upsets of the Dolphins beating the Ravens, the Washington Football Team besting the Bucs, and the Panthers decimating the Cardinals. Let’s get into Sunday, Week 10.
ATL 3, DAL 43
After a no-show in Week 9 when they lost to the Broncos, the Cowboys had no problem steam-rolling the Falcons. Matt Ryan only passed for 117 yards and two interceptions and was later benched so that Josh Rosen could also throw an interception. Kyle Pitts (4-60) was the only receiver with more than 22 yards. The leading rusher was Wayne Gallman (15-55) because the Falcons eventually gave up in the second half and let second-stringers get some playing time. The Falcons drop to 4-5 and host the Patriots this week.
The Cowboys were “re-focused” after their humbling defeat to the Broncos and just ran away with this game. Dak Prescott passed for 296 yards and two scores, plus he ran in a touchdown before sitting out the entire fourth quarter. Ezekiel Elliott (14-41, 2 TD) scored twice as a rusher and added three receptions for 15 yards before skipping the fourth quarter. CeeDee Lamb (6-94, 2 TD) caught both touchdowns and Tony Pollard ended with 42 rushing yards and six catches for 56 yards mostly during late game mop-up. The 7-2 Cowboys get back on track and head to Kansas City for Week 10.
JAC 17 , IND 23
The Jaguars drew to within three points late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t stop the Colts from kicking a field goal with two minutes left to play. The Jags reached the IND 35-yard line before giving away the ball on downs because a field goal wouldn’t tie the game. Trevor Lawrence threw for 162 yards but almost all of that was late in the game. Dan Arnold (5-67) was the top receiver, and James Robinson was active and led the rushers with twelve runs for 57 yards and a touchdown, plus four catches for 27 yards. Jamal Agnew failed to catch any of his five targets but ran in a 66-yard end-around in the first quarter. The difference in the game was a blocked punt returned for a 12-yard touchdown by the Colts. The 2-7 Jaguars host the 49ers this week.
The Colts started the game with Jonathan Taylor running wild, and he ended up with 116 yards on 21 carries and one score. He also caught six passes for ten yards. The game appeared to be a blowout at 17-0 in the first quarter but the Jaguars defense improved significantly for the rest of the game. Carson Wentz only passed for 180 yards and no scores and Michael Pittman led the receivers with five catches for 71 yards. No other Colts gained more than 31 yards or scored. The Colts did well enough just to hang on for the win but they rise to 5-5 on the season and head to Buffalo for Week 11, where they’ll probably duck down below .500 again.
CLE 7, NE 45
Few teams run as hot and cold as the Browns who won in Cincinnati 41-16 in Week 9, and then turn around and assume the fetal position at the Patriots the following week. D’Ernest Johnson (19-99) was the top rusher and receiver (7-58) while the Browns lost Baker Mayfield near the end of the third quarter to a knee injury because he didn’t already have enough physical ailments. No other receivers topped 26 yards but Austin Hooper (4-25, TD) caught the lone touchdown. It was the Browns’ turn to fail to show up for a game and they fall to 5-5 but at least host the Lions for Week 11.
The Patriots took over in the second quarter and never looked back. Or allowed the Browns to score again. Mac Jones passed for 198 yards and three scores in a nearly flawless performance and even let Brian Hoyer clean up at the end of the game. Kendrick Bourne (4-98, TD) was the leading receiver and even ran three times for 43 yards. Jakobi Meyers (4-49, TD) and Hunter Henry (4-37, 2 TD) also scored. With Damien Harris out, the Pats started Rhamondre Stevenson (20-100, 2 TD) who also caught four passes for 14 yards and even he was pulled near the start of the fourth quarter of this blowout. The 6-4 Pats continue their pursuit of the Bills and play in Atlanta this weekend.
BUF 45, NYJ 17
This matchup was never close and didn’t figure to be. After the embarrassing loss to the Jaguars when the Bills offense never got off the team bus, there was no taking it easy. Josh Allen threw for 366 yards and two scores between Stefon Diggs (8-162, TD) and Matt Breida (3-22, TD) who also rushed in a touchdown on his three carries for 28 yards. Devin Singletary (7-43, TD) and Zack Moss (7-27, TD) also scored along with wideout Isaiah McKenzie (2-17, TD) who had two rushes because everyone was scoring. The big win lifts the Bills to 6-3 and they host the Colts in Week 11.
All that Mike White magic was gone on Sunday when he passed for 251 yards and four interceptions. The lone passing score was by Joe Flacco who finished up the debacle. Corey Davis (5-93) and Elijah Moore (3-44, TD) were the only notable receivers. Michael Carter not only rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown on his 16 carries, but he also caught four passes for 43 yards. With all the surprising results in the NFL in the last few weeks, this was everything that we expected. The 2-7 Jets host the Dolphins this week.
NO 21, TEN 23
The Saints were without Alvin Kamara and starting Trevor Siemian but still came without a failed two-point conversion from sending the game into overtime. Mark Ingram stepped up as the starter and ran for 47 yards and a touchdown on 14 rushes, plus gained 61 yards on four receptions. Siemian threw for 298 yards and two scores between Tre’Quan Smith (4-44, TD) and Marquez Callaway (2-37, TD) while Deonte Harris (3-84) was the leading receiver. The Saints trailed 23-12 midway through the fourth quarter but almost pulled off the comeback. They fall to 5-4 and play at the Eagles this week.
The Titans once again won without Derrick Henry and while posting far lower stats than their opponent. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 213 yards and one score while Marcus Johnson (5-100) turned in his annual 100-yard game which has never been followed by more than 39 yards the next week. D’Onta Foreman ran for 30 yards on 11 carries and gained 48 yards on two catches. Adrian Peterson (8-21) saw less use this week than in his debut and none of the Titans did much other than Johnson. The 8-2 Titans host the Texans this week.
TB 19, WAS 29
Every week serves up a few surprising results and the Buccaneers losing their last two matchups more than qualifies. Tom Brady only passed for 220 yards and two scores along with two interceptions. Mike Evans (2-62, TD) and Chris Godwin (7-57) were the top receivers though Leonard Fournette added eight catches for 45 yards to his 11 rushes for 47 yards. Washington features one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and yet the Buccaneers’ two scores came in the second half and were not enough. The Bucs fall to 6-3 and host the Giants on Monday night.
The Nameless Football Team pulled off their trap game with Taylor Heinicke throwing for 256 yards and one score to DeAndre Carter (3-56) while Terry McLaurin (6-59) was the top receiver. Antonio Gibson was surprisingly effective against a very good run defense when he gained 64 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. This was another one of those mail-in games by a top team that caught them with an upset loss and the Football Team won despite no standout performances. They rise to 3-6 and head to Carolina this weekend.
CAR 34, ARI 10
The Panthers dominated the Cardinals that missed their starting quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. The offensive effort wasn’t anything special but was more than enough for the error-prone Cards to handle. Christian McCaffrey ran for 95 yards on 13 carries and led the receivers with ten catches for 66 yards. Chuba Hubbard (9-27, TD) stole a rushing touchdown as did Cam Newton, who also threw four passes including the only touchdown through the air. That went to Robby Anderson (4-37, TD) while D.J. Moore was held to only 24 yards on four catches. P.J. Walker threw for 167 yards but the writing is on the wall – Newton is likely the starter when the 5-5 Panthers host Washington this week.
The Cardinals were without Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and Chase Edmonds and it made a difference this week. James Conner scored but only gained 39 yards one ten carries. Colt McCoy was terrible, completing just 11-of-20 for 107 yards, one interception, and a 49.4 QB rating. Christian Kirk (7-58) and Zach Ertz (4-46) were the top receivers but the beatdown was total and complete. The Cards trailed 31-3 until finally scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The 8-2 Cardinals hope to get the band healthy again for Week 11 at Seattle.
MIN 27, LAC 20
The Vikings end their two-game losing slide with a second-half comeback with two touchdowns. Dalvin Cook ran for 94 yards and a score on his 24 carries and added three catches for 24 yards, Kirk Cousins passed for 294 yards and two scores to Tyler Conklin (3-11, 2 TD). Justin Jefferson (9-143) and Adam Thielen (5-65) were the top receivers and no one else accounted for more than 24 receiving yards. Cook managed another good game but still hasn’t taken over matchups like he did in 2020. Jefferson was the difference-maker that the Chargers couldn’t stop. The 4-5 Vikings host the Packers this week.
The Chargers have lost three of their last four and have gone cold after a hot start to the season. Yet again, Justin Herbert only passed for 195 yards and one score to Austin Ekeler (3-15, TD) who was also limited to only 44 yards on 11 rushes. Keenan Allen (8-98) led the receivers and Mike Williams (4-33) continues to struggle after a great initial month to the season. The lone rushing score was given to Larry Rountree on his five rushes for ten yards. The 5-4 Chargers keep dropping and host the Steelers for Week 11.
PHI 30, DEN 13
The Broncos’ impressive performance in Dallas for Week 9 did not carry over to this matchup. The Eagles bounced back from their loss to the Chargers. Jalen Hurts passed for 178 yards and two scores to DeVonta Smith (4-66, 2 TD) but no other receivers gained more than 33 yards. The Eagles won with the run. Hurts gained 53 yards on a team-high 14 rushes, but both Jordan Howard (12-83) and Boston Scott (11-81) picked up chunks of yardage. The Eagles controlled the ball on offense and let their defense handle the Broncos. The win sends the 4-6 Eagles back home to host the Saints.
The Broncos couldn’t connect enough with Jerry Jeudy (6-48) or Courtland Sutton (2-29), and Teddy Bridgewater passed for 226 yards mostly to his tight ends Albert Okwuegbunam (3-77) and Noah Fant (5-59). Javonte Williams (8-48) and Melvin Gordon (9-45, TD) both were effective when they ran, they just didn’t get the volume to produce much. The 30 points in Dallas was an aberration since the Broncos are back to sub-20 point games. They drop to 5-5 and head into their Week 11 bye.
SEA 0, GB 17
The return of Russell Wilson resulted in his worst game of the season. Wilson completed just 20-of-40 passes for 161 yards and two interceptions. He was already struggling prior to his hand injury and still wasn’t effective passing. DK Metcalf (3-26) and Tyler Lockett (2-23) both had one of their worst performances of the year. Gerald Everett (8-68) had his best game of the year but that isn’t how this offense is supposed to work. Chris Carson is still out and Alex Collins (10-41) never had enough touches to get on track. The Seahawks fall to 3-6 and host the Cardinals this week. This was the first shutout of the Seahawks while Wilson has been on the team.
The Packers got Aaron Rodgers back but he was only marginally effective in the cold game. He passed for 292 yards and no scores and connected mostly with Davante Adams (7-78) as usual. The next best receivers were the running backs of Aaron Jones (4-61) and AJ Dillon (2-62). Jones only ran for 25 yards on seven rushes but suffered a knee sprain that will require an MRI on Monday. Dillon was born to run inside on a cold, snowy day and gained 66 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Adams is a constant, but the rest of the receivers still don’t offer much help. The 8-2 Packers head to Minnesota this week.
KC 41, LV 14
The Chiefs finally looked like the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes passed for 406 yards and five touchdowns which were more than his last four games combined. Travis Kelce (8-119), Darrel Williams (9-101, TD), and Tyreek Hill (7-83, 2 TD) all turned in big performances and Williams added 43 yards on 11 runs. Not only did the passing offense come roaring back, but the Chiefs’ defense showed up with one of their best showings of the year. The game was classic Mahomes and hopefully the start of a turnaround for the normally prolific offense that went cold for several weeks. The 6-4 Chiefs host the Cowboys for Week 11 in what now carries the potential to be an epic shootout.
The Raiders struggled in all phases. The defense couldn’t slow down Patrick Mahomes, the rushing of Josh Jacobs totaled just 16 yards on seven carries, and Derek Carr was unable to keep up from the start of the second quarter. Bryan Edwards (3-88, TD) and Hunter Renfrow (7-46, TD) were the top receivers, but Darren Waller (4-24) couldn’t connect with Carr. He did catch a fourth-quarter touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty. The Raiders have persevered throughout all their distractions, but it looked like they suffered a team-wide letdown. The Raiders drop to 5-4 and host the Bengals this week.
DET 16, PIT 16 OT
Technically, they are still winless. The Lions and Steelers now force all standings to carry that third column but it is the first tie of the 2021 season. The Lions ran shockingly well between D’Andre Swift (33-130), Godwin Igwebuike (2-56, TD), and Jermar Jefferson (3-41, TD) all had surprising performances. Igwebuike is an ex-safety converted to running back this year. Jared Goff only passed for 114 yards and was ineffective but didn’t throw any interceptions. The Lions went to a run-heavy attack that kept the passing at a minimum. Goff completed just 4-of-7 for 11 yards at the half. Amon-Ra St. Brown (4-61) was the only receiver with more than 29 yards. The Lions missed their 48-yard field goal attempt in overtime that would have won the game. The Lions are the first team with a 0-8-1 record since the Baltimore Colts strike-shortened 1982 season and it was the Chicago Cardinals in 1953 before that. The Lions play in Cleveland this week.
The glass is half full since the Steelers did not lose to the visiting Lions. But they were without Ben Roethlisberger and let Mason Rudolph throw for 242 yards and one score. Diontae Johnson (7-83) led the receivers and Ray-Ray McCloud (9-63) replaced Chase Claypool. James Washington (2-15, TD) caught the only touchdown. Najee Harris (25-105) added four catches for 28 yards for a solid performance. The Steelers reached the Lions’ 39-yard line with 15 seconds left to play but Pat Freiermuth lost a fumble and prevented a game-winning field goal attempt. The 5-3-1 Steelers play at the Chargers this week.