One thing you have to love about the NFL is you never know what to expect. Just like multiple other Sunday’s this week, we had a ton of weird games that took place with outcomes that really surprised us. The first one started off on Halloween night as the Bengals and Dolphins kicked off in South Beach. The Dolphins started out well, leading at halftime 10-3. But late surges by the Bengals allowed them to pull the game to a 20-20 score that went into overtime. Neither team could really get the ball rolling in the extra time and it looked as if we might be playing for a tie. But on a routine third and eight from his own 8, Andy Dalton dropped back and was sacked in the end zone for a game ending safety. It’s only the third time in history that a game has been ended on a safety, the first in over a decade. It was such an interesting game, in both the end result and as well the implications that it has for each team. The Bengals needed this game to further themselves in the AFC North, but instead drop to 6-3. As for the Dolphins, their win puts them at 4-4 and keeps them right in the thick of things in the AFC East. Despite the sack, Dalton did throw for 338 yards, however he had no touchdowns and three interceptions, and we won’t harp on the sack that ended the game. As for Ryan Tannehill, his 208 yards was modest, and although he didn’t have any touchdowns, he also didn’t turn the ball over. The Dolphins will now have a lot of time to rest, as they won’t play again till November 11th on Monday Night Football against the Bucs. The Bengals will play division rival Baltimore next Sunday.
The Chiefs continued to roll as they improved to 9-0 after a win against the Bills. While the Chiefs still have concerns on offense, as Alex Smith only threw for 124 yards, it was their defense that carried them once again this game. Sean Smith had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown and TambaHali got his own 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown as well. Add in a handful of Ryan Succop field goals and the Chiefs now have their best start in franchise history. As they enter their bye week, it will next be a huge showdown on November 17th as they play the Broncos. The Bills started undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel on Sunday in place of Thad Lewis. Lewis was thought to be the starter, as the replacement to EJ Manuel, but it was announced that he had sustained bruised ribs. The start for Tuel was efficient, going 18-39 for 229 yards. Not too shabby for an undrafted rookie under the big lights, but beating an undefeated team would’ve been nicer. If the Chiefs can beat the Broncos on November 17, the entire football world may start buzzing over the potential this team has. But in the meantime, they’ll enjoy their bye week as the only undefeated team left in the NFL.
It’s nice to know that in a weekend full of upsets and surprises, a few teams went out and actually lived up to expectation. The Panthers were supposed to win this game. With three wins in a row and playing a lifeless Falcons team, this was Carolina’s chance to make a statement in the NFC South. And though we have seen plenty of disappointing Panther letdowns in years past, they came out this game and handled business in a 34-10 defeat of the Falcons. Cam Newton had 249 yards on 23-37 passing. The blemish in his stats were the two interceptions he threw, which luckily didn’t come back to haunt him on Halloween weekend. As for the Flacons, Matt Ryan was 20-27 for 219 yards, but he had three interceptions of his own. With another divisional loss, this season is looking even more and more disappointing for the Flacons, who are highly unlikely to make any runs now. At 2-6, they’ll face the Seahawks next weekend. The Panthers will look to win their fifth straight, this time against San Francisco.
Going from a game that went exactly as it should have, the Saints and Jets game proved that you never know what will happen on Sunday in the NFL. Last week nobody, us included, gave the Jets a chance and thought this would be even further dominance for the Saints in the NCF South. However, in what may have been only one of a handful of surprising games on Sunday, the Jets edged out the Saints for a 26-20 victory. Drew Brees was typical Drew Brees, going for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, in atypical Drew Brees fashion, he also three two interceptions that led to points for the Jets. Last week the Saints defense was highly praised for their work this season under Rob Ryan, so it was unique to see how well the Jets D did against the highly touted Saints offense. Part of that offense was Jimmy Graham, who had 9 receptions that totaled up to 116 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets, who improve to 5-4, have alternated wins and losses all season long. This pattern is the longest streak in NFL history to start a season, and is what we’ve come to know and expect from the Jets. They’ll look to snap that trend in two weeks as they face divisional opponent Buffalo after their bye week. As for the Saints, they’ll try and recover from their second loss of the season and get ready to play the Cowboys on Sunday night next weekend.
Speaking of the Cowboys, they almost added themselves to the list of surprising outcomes this weekend, but were able to overcome Minnesota for a 27-23 win. After throwing a late game interception, Tony Romo would get another chance with 35 seconds left in the game when he connected on a touchdown to Dwayne Harris. The Cowboys have been a last minute team all season, with close calls that always leave them scrambling in the fourth quarter. But while they’ve lost last minute games to Detroit and Denver, the win this weekend puts them at 5-4 and atop the NFC East. Romo had one other touchdown and 337 total yards passing. Christian Ponder started for the Vikings as the carousel continues to spin with starting quarterbacks for Minnesota. Despite 236 yards on 25-37 passing, we’ll have to see if this was enough to keep Ponder in the starting role or if Josh Freeman or Matt Cassel will get another chance on Thursday against the Redskins. The good news for the Vikings is that Adrian Peterson had his biggest game of the season, rushing for 140 yards on 25 caries and scoring a touchdown. This is a major increase in workload for AP in comparison to previous weeks. Either the Vikings have learned that Peterson needs to touch the ball in order for his team to have a chance, or they are simply try to raise his trade value for this upcoming offseason. It’s nearly unimaginable to think that AP would be traded, but at 1-7 the Vikings may be looking to a rebuilding process very soon. And there are few better ways to do that than trading one of the top players in the league for valuable pieces.
Another running back who had a big day was the Titans’ Chris Johnson. Johnson had two touchdowns and 150 yards rushing on 23 carries. Johnsons’ 150 yards is more than his entire accumulative total for the rest of games this season, which may be disappointing for a team that expects so much from the speedy back. Nonetheless, they’ll take his productive Sunday in a win over a surprisingly tough Rams squad. Despite losing Sam Bradford a few weeks ago, the Rams have been competitive in their last two games. This weekend Kellen Clemens had 210 yards and one touchdown, but it just wasn’t enough to outpace the Titans. Jake Locker seems to still be getting back into form from his injury earlier this season. He went 13-22 and had a pair of interceptions without finding the end zone on Sunday. Either way, the Titans will likely appreciate the win and the 4-4 record that keeps them close to the Colts in the AFC South. Next week they’ll play another AFC South team in the winless Jaguars, while the 3-6 Rams will face the Colts.
With less than a minute to play, Danny Woodhead looked to have clinched the game for the Chargers. However, after it was reviewed that Woodhead didn’t quite reach the end zone, the Redskins would hold off the Chargers and eventually get the win in overtime to add another strange game to this weekends list. If the final score of 30-24 wasn’t strange enough, if it wasn’t strange enough that the Chargers lost another game that they should’ve won, and if it wasn’t strange enough the Redskins did just enough to remain relevant in the NFC East, then how about the strange fact that three touchdowns scored by Darrel Young of the Redskins would come on only 12 yards rushing. Young, who typically doesn’t get a load of carries behind Aflred Morris and Roy Helu, was a red zone workhorse on Sunday, accounting for majority of the Redskins points, including the game winner in overtime. RGIII looked good in the outing, throwing for 291 yards on 23-32 passing. Phillip River crossed 300 yards yet again this season, going for 341 on 29-46 passing. But with the loss and a 4-4 record, the Chargers have to be frustrated. Knowing they are in the same division as the Broncos and Chiefs, these are the games they need to stay relevant. Instead, at .500, they fall back even further of any potential playoff or wildcard spot. As for the Redskins, their second win in the last three games keeps them in contention in the NFC East. They’ll also get Minnesota next week, which doesn’t hurt when it comes to trying to bolster the win column.
The NFL weekend after Halloween wasn’t only full of tricks like many of the games that played out. Instead, it had a handful of treats as well. One of which was the seven touchdowns that Nick Foles threw for in the Eagles game against the Raiders. The mark, which ties the NFL record for touchdowns in a game, was part of Foles 406 yards on 22-28 passing. Not bad for a second year player out of Arizona who has played behind Michael Vick for most of his career. Now with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions on the season, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in Philadelphia. Michael Vick lit the league on fire when he first returned from his suspension from the NFL a few years ago. But since he has been moderately effective at best, as teams have been able to plan better for his running style of play. Just like the Redskins, and, well, every other team in the NFC East, the Eagles are right in the thick of things with a 4-5 record. This division is up for grabs and if Foles seems to be the logical decision to go with from here on out, it may mean Vick going to the bench. After all, Chip Kelly loves big scoring games and a 49-20 win is exactly what will keep him happy. As for the Raiders, Terrelle Pryor threw for 288 yards and rushed for 94. But he was replaced in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury. This is the third time that Pryor has left the game due to injury, so it’ll be important to see how that progresses. But more importantly, we’ll keep an eye on what happens for the quarterbacks in Philly in the coming weeks.
As wild as a weekend as it was, it could’ve been much more so had the Buccaneers not fallen apart in the second half against the Seahawks. At halftime, some people may have thought the score was a misprint that read 21-7 in favor of the Buccaneers. And when they came out of halftime with another field goal to make it 24-7, it looked like Tampa may get their first win of the season. That is, until Russell Wilson decided to show up and ruing everything. In the final two quarters of play, Wilson would rush for a touchdown and throw for two more to bring the score to 24-24 at the end of regulation. A field goal in overtime sealed it for the Seahawks, saving them the embarrassment of losing to a winless team. As for the Bucs, this has to be yet another heartbreaking loss. Not only to lose in overtime when you were leading the entire game, but to do so to such a talented team like the Seahawks has to hurt even more. However, this has to add to the concern of the Seahawks. Despite an 8-1 record, they haven’t looked like the typical Seahawks team in recent weeks. While they may be one of the only one-loss teams still left in the league, they seem to be having more trouble with certain teams than other top-tier teams are. The next two games will be against Atlanta and Minnesota, who have combined for three wins on the season. Seattle fans will hope that they can get to the bye week at 10-1, no matter how close the games are.
The game between the Ravens and Browns had surprisingly important implications, as the winner of the game would move to four wins and keep in the hunt of the AFC North lead. The fact that the Browns hadn’t beaten the Ravens in the last 11 tries, this was even more motivation for the surprising Browns. And that was all the motivation they needed as they knocked off the Super Bowl defending Ravens. Jason Campbell started again for the Browns, and he went for 262 yards and had three touchdowns. Flacco had just 12 yards less, throwing for 250 of his own. The embarrassing part is neither of these teams got the ball going on the ground, as the Ravens finished with 53 rushing yards and the Browns had 73. This has to be frustrating for Ray Rice, who was a perennial back before this year. While the Browns are just two games back of the Bengals for the AFC North lead, the Ravens find themselves to only be one game ahead of last place Pittsburgh. We don’t expect either team to do much more now that we are on the tail end of this season and they’ll start planning for next year.
The woes continued for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. And for the Patriots, things seemed to be firing all on cylinders for the first time all season. The 55-31 final score was just as every bit of a blowout as the final score suggested. This was Tom Brady’s best game of the season, completely nearly 70% of his passes for 432 yards total. He also racked up four touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over at all. Through the first eight games of the season, Brady had a total QBR of 48.6. On Sunday, it was 97.7 and you could visibly see how pleased he was throughout the game. Rob Gronkowski had a big game, grabbing 143 yards and Aaron Dobson had two touchdowns and 130 yards of his own. As for the Steelers, they are a lot like the Falcons. A team that came into the season with high expectations, but as week 9 passes and they only have two wins to their name, it seems to all be over for them now. Ben Roethlisberger had 400 yards of his own. But their defense, which has been a staple for the Steelers franchise for decades, simply hasn’t been able to stop teams this year. This was especially apparent on Sunday. The Patriots will hope to ride this momentum into and out of their bye week as they then head to Carolina. The Panthers have won 5 in a row, but this will be their first test in as many weeks. The Patriots will hope to prove that there is still a big difference between them and the up and coming Panthers. As for the Steelers They’ll play the Bills in a game that doesn’t have many implications.
As Sundays games came to an end, the strangeness of the weekend continued. And unfortunately for Texans fan, they were on the brunt end of the joke. The Texans came out huge, led by Andre Johnsons 190 yards and three touchdowns before half. At halftime the score was 21-3 and things looked to be looking down for the Colts who were once again getting shown up on national TV. But as both teams went to their respective locker at halftime, a commotion started going on the field that had everyone wondering what was going on. Word soon spread that head coach Gary Kubiack went down on the field and was immediately rushed to the hospital for further evaluation. The good news is that tests revealed that he didn’t suffer a heart attack, a main concern considering this had happened to Broncos’ coach John Fox just a few days ago. However the concern for Coach Kubiak was apparent and the Texans would let the rest of the game get away from them in the second half. Unless you’ve been in the position, it’s nearly impossible to imagine the concern that you must have as a player for your coach when something happens. The Colts used this distraction to mount a comeback and finished the game with 15 points in the fourth quarter to win, 27-24. Despite the sadness and concern that goes out for Coach Kubiak, this was the perfect ending for a wild and crazy NFL weekend. Our thoughts go out to Coach Kubiak and hope he recovers quickly and safely.