The Tuesday Touchdown
With the first week of football without an undefeated team playing, who is going to stake their claim as the best team in each division? Did we get the only team yet to win actually get a win? Is there a new best team in the league? Seven divisional matchups made for a great weekend of football, including a blockbuster game between the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens
Houston Texans 7 – 41 Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is quite simply a cheat code. Four passing touchdowns and 86 rushing yards. In a game that was pitted as two MVP-worthy candidates only one stepped up. Watson and the Texans didn’t do much of anything and were held scoreless until the fourth quarter. Could the game have been different if the right call had been made on the DPI in the first quarter? Probably not, but it has made for some interesting debates this week.
The Ravens rush offense is unstoppable and they are looking more and more like a Super Bowl worthy team week by week. The Baltimore Ravens are the best team in the football right now and its going to take something special to knock them from the top.
Pittsburgh Steelers 7 – 21 Cleveland Browns
In the first of our seven divisional matchups, this one was a true AFC North battle. In a game that should have been remembered by Cleveland Browns fans as a great win against a rival, will instead be remembered by a horrendous final few seconds that saw Miles Garrett hit Mason Rudolph on the head with his own helmet.
The Browns did manage to get a good win but they will now be without their elite pass rusher for the rest of the season and their playoff push. Odell Beckham Jr. still cant get back into the end zone, but did come within millimeters of doing so. Maybe next week? If the Steelers still think they have a playoff shot they have to get going on offence, their defense cannot keep covering for them.
Dallas Cowboys 35 – 27 Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions again had to try and get a win without their starting quarterback, and to be fair, Jeff Driskel gave the Lions a great chance. Two touchdown passes to Marvin Jones and 209 passing yards was a decent outing for the backup, but Dak Prescott answered in a big way. 444 passing yards and three touchdown passes was enough for the Cowboys to hold on, and take the lead in the NFC East. Since 2016, Dak Prescott now only trails Tom Brady for most wins. The Lions defense continues to struggle and with the Packers and Vikings continually winning, their chances at the playoffs appear to be gone.
Buffalo Bills 37 – 20 Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins pulled off a great onside kick in the second quarter after scoring their first touchdown of the day only to go and fumble the ball on the very next play and give it back to the
Bills. That completely sums up the Dolphins season as they lose to their divisional rivals at home in this one.
Josh Allen to John Brown was working in a great way on Sunday with 137 of Josh Allen’s 256 passing yards going to the speedy receiver. Allen once again demonstrated how much of a running threat he is with another rushing touchdown to go with his three passing ones. The Bills stay in the hunt for the AFC East division for another week.
Jacksonville Jaguars 13 – 33 Indianapolis Colts
In an AFC South matchup the Colts relied heavily on their run game to defeat the Jaguars. Brissett managed just 148 passing yards with one touchdown pass and one interception, but his running backs helped blow this game way out of the Jags reach. With two running backs both surpassing 100 yards and three different players running in touchdowns, the Jags could do nothing to stop the Colts in this one. Losing Marlon Mack to a broken hand could be a big blow to the Colts playoff hopes if the other backs do not step up.
Nick Foles he played fairly well on his return, going 33-of-47 for 296 yards and two touchdowns. The Jags are not out of this division but really need to start putting wins in the board, and they will be hoping Foles is the man to do it.
Atlanta Falcons 29 – 3 Carolina Panthers
In one of two NFC South matchups the Atlanta Falcons blew away a divisional rival for the second week in a row. Is Dan Quinn making a late surge to save his job? The Falcons defense is certainly stepping up for their head coach and trying to keep him there. They picked off Kyle Allen four times and stopped the Panthers from scoring any touchdowns, with their solitary field goal not coming until the fourth quarter.
The great Christian McCaffrey couldn’t do anything to help his Panthers win this one, although his 122 receiving yards and 70 rushing yards will help his MVP case. It’s too little to late for Atlanta but they are doing their best to ruin their divisional rivals chances.
Denver Broncos 23 – 27 Minnesota Vikings
After three quarters the Denver Broncos were on there way to a great win away from home. After being held to five punts and two fumbles on their opening seven possessions the Vikings were struggling badly. Then in the fourth quarter the Vikings came to life. The running game never really got going, but Kirk Cousins had another big game and Stefon Diggs reaped the benefits of that. Diggs finished with 121 yards on just five receptions and added a touchdown. Kirk Cousins had another game of over 300 passing yards and multiple passing touchdowns.
Are the Vikings finally getting the Cousins they paid all that money for? Their fans will hope so as the race between them and the Packers heat up for the NFC North title.
New Orleans Saints 34 – 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans bounced back after their shock defeat to the Atlanta Falcons by beating another divisional rival in the Buccaneers. For the fifth consecutive game Jameis Winston threw for over 300 yards, threw the ball more than 40 times, and for about the 276th consecutive game Winston threw multiple interceptions. Bruce Arians needs to take the ball out of Winston’s hands and give it to literally anyone else at this point. Meanwhile on the other side of the ball Drew Brees was his usual consistent accurate self and in combination with the always lethal Michael Thomas helped the Saints leave Tampa with a controlling grip on the NFC South.
New York Jets 34 – 17 Washington Redskins
Sam Darnold!!! Four touchdown passes and just seven yards shy of 300 passing yards. Are we finally seeing what Darnold can do, or was this just a normal performance against a weak defense?
LeVeon Bell made it into the end zone again but has now gone 10 games in a row without surpassing 100 rushing yards, his longest drought since his rookie season. Despite that the Jets get their third win of the season and leave Miami dead last of the AFC East all on their own.
It took him till the fourth quarter but Dwayne Haskins in his second start managed to get the Redskins into the end zone twice. That ended the franchise record of 16 straight quarters without a touchdown. If nothing else this season at least Washington get a chance to have a look at their new play caller.
Arizona Cardinals 26 – 36 San Francisco 49ers
The scoreline makes this game look like a comfortable victory for the 49ers, but that was not the case.
Early in the second quarter San Francisco found themselves in a bit of hole down 16-0. Then up stepped Jimmy Garoppolo, as he started off on his way to a career high game. He finished the day with 424 passing yards and four touchdowns. His performance was slightly hindered by two interceptions, but it was not enough for the Cardinals to come out on top in this divisional matchup.
The Cardinals held it close right to the end of the fourth but then two costly fumbles in their final two possessions stopped them from having a shot at the end zone to tie the game. The latter of the fumbles was recovered by San Francisco and returned for a touchdown to put the game to bed. Jimmy G and his 49ers stay top of the competitive NFC, and the Cardinals up and down season continues.
Cincinnati Bengals 10 – 17 Oakland Raiders
The Cincinnati Bengals are still the worst team in football and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. On their first possession of the game they gave up a fumble from a sack. That set the tone for their passing offence for the remainder of the game.
In a strange twist of events the Bengals running game actually performed better than the passing game in this one. The Bengals managed 173 total rushing yards with Joe Mixon getting 86 of them and a score. Ryan Finley had a pretty terrible game with only 115 yards from 13 completions. He made 31 throws in total giving him a measly completion percentage of 41.9% and an interception.
On the other side of the ball Derek Carr had a near perfect day, completing 25-of-29 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown. There was one blemish in the form of an interception but the Bengals could only get a field goal from that turnover. In a low scoring game, the Raiders did what they needed to and got the win. The AFC West remains one of the closest divisions and could go all the way to the end of the season.
New England Patriots 17 – 10 Philadelphia Eagles
The New England Patriots have clinched their 19th consecutive winning season (2nd longest streak in football) but they did it with Tom Brady having one of his poorer games. In the first half
of the game Brady had 14 incompletions, which is the most in his career, has age caught up with the famed quarterback?
Brady couldn’t even throw a touchdown pass in this game and had to rely on his wide receiver and the ex-high school quarterback to get the ball into the end zone. In typical Josh McDaniels fashion when his offense is struggling he dives into his mystery bag of trick plays and conjures up a 15 yard pass from Edelman to Dorsett. This gave the Patriots a lead early in the third quarter and would be the final points of the game.
Neither offence could get going and the game finished with 11 punts and one turnover on downs. The Eagles couldn’t break down the Patriots defense and the offense of the Patriots continued to struggle. If the Patriots want to win their seventh Super Bowl and set a new NFL record, they need to sort their offense out and quickly.
Chicago Bears 7 – 17 Los Angeles Rams
In a game that featured two of last seasons most exciting head coaches and entertaining offenses, there was very little to talk about in this one. Combined the Bears and Rams had just 550 offensive yards and Jared Goff only completed 11 passes.
Even with the win the Rams had more punts (6) than 3rd down conversions (3). Todd Gurley was perhaps the lone bright spark offensively for the Rams offense, with 97 rushing yards, a score and 36 receiving yards.
The main difference between the two teams was last LA managed to capitalise on a turnover and turn it into six points. Trubisky was finally benched/sat down with a minor hip injury after only managing a measly 3.9 yards per attempt. His time in Chicago appears to be up, and it could be over to Chase Daniels to save the Bears season. The Rams stay alive in the NFC West but they need to improve in the hope of catching Seattle and San Francisco.
Kansas City Chiefs 24 – 17 Los Angeles Chargers
Phillip Rivers threw at least three interceptions for the second consecutive week, taking him to a season total of 14. The Chargers had all week to plan for the leagues 31st ranked run defense and what did they do, put it all on Phillip Rivers to pass the ball. 19 rush attempts compared to 52 pass attempts is a bizarre game plan in a game that was close for large parts. The even more confusing thing is that when they did run the ball, they ran it well. Melvin Gordon averaged 4.9 yards per carry and Austin Ekeler 4.8.
The Chiefs couldn’t get their run game going at all, outside of Patrick Mahome scrambling, and then in the second quarter they lost Tyreek Hill to a hamstring injury. Mahomes then turned to his big tight end, Travis Kelce, who led the Chiefs in catches (10) and yards (92). The Chiefs stay undefeated in the AFC West and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders.
Teams on Bye: Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and New York Giants
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