What we learned from Sunday's Week 13 games

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Here's what we learned from Sunday's Week 13 games:

Houston Texans 28, New England Patriots 22


1. Sunday night might not have marked the end of the Patriots dynasty (at least not yet), but it did signify the end of Bill Belichick's dominance over one of his disciples. Houston, for the first time in six tries under head coach Bill O'Brien, defeated New England in resounding fashion, holding the Patriots to three points through three-plus quarters and bewildering the Boogeyman defense. Entering Sunday evening, New England had surrendered just four passing touchdowns all season; Houston threw four on the Pats in one outing, three by the arm of Deshaun Watson (237 yards) and one by that of DeAndre Hopkins, whose trick-play TD pass (to Watson!) was the ceremonial cherry on top of a tasty Sunday. In the two games since Baltimore blew their doors off, the Texans have clamped down and stepped up, resembling the playoff contender they were thought to be before the season. Watson's deep ball to Hopkins, Will Fuller and even Kenny Stills is clicking. Even without J.J. Watt, Houston's pass rush is picking up steam; Jadeveon Clowney trade compensation Jacob Martin has made a name for himself with 2.5 sacks in the last two games. Houston's secondary, boosted by Vernon Hargreaves and on Sunday, the return of Bradley Roby, is playing up to its potential, as well. O'Brien and company went all in this offseason, when they swung a trade for Laremy Tunsil and sent Clowney packing. With a quarter left in the season, Houston is sitting pretty with a full house, having on Sunday night finally slayed the conference's king.

2. New England's offense is in the worst shape it's been all season. The running game, though efficient, is not enough to sustain drives; Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead combined to average 5.1 yards per carry, but the Patriots need more than chunky ground gains to build sustainable drives. Tom Brady (326 yards, 3 TDs) struggled mightily against the blitz on Sunday night, but was also hamstrung by his dearth of reliable receivers. This isn't news, but the effect was marked against Houston. Brady's ol' reliables, Julian Edelman (106 yards) and James White (98), were the only two wideouts with more than three receptions and most of their production came in garbage time. Brady's connections with the likes of Jakobi Meyers, Phillip Dorsett, Mohamed Sanu and N'Keal Harry were noticeably off from the start (eight receptions on 19 targets for 75 yards). This manifested in a costly first-quarter interception in the direction of Harry that handed Houston an early lead and then with sideline shots of the Patriots QB yelling at the pass-catchers. Though New England's final numbers, boosted by a death-knell charge, will suggest otherwise, the Patriots offense is in trouble. Brady entered halftime with a 28.8 passer rating and led six straight drives with nary a field goal, one week after leading five straight drives without a score. New England could get away with subpar offensive play when its defense was being touted as a second coming of the '85 Bears. When that side of the ball comes down to earth against legitimate competition (Baltimore, Houston), Brady, Josh McDaniels and the offense have nowhere to hide. Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs, New England's opponent next week, would qualify as legitimate.

3. The AFC was reshaped by Sunday night's result. New England (10-2) fell out of the top seed, ceding pole position to the surging Ravens (10-2), and dropped a game in the AFC East standings to the Bills (9-3), who are now just one game behind them. A loss by the Patriots to Kansas City and a Bills win over the Ravens next weekend would put Buffalo of all teams into the driver's seat in the AFC with three weeks to go. Meanwhile, the Texans (8-4) stayed one game clear of the Titans (7-5) in the AFC South, a distance which will prove vital over the season's final quarter as Houston and Tennessee square off twice in the last three weeks. After three straight games against winning sides, the Texans should get a breather next week when Drew Lock's Broncos (4-8) come to NRG Stadium.

-- Jeremy Bergman

Denver Broncos 23, Los Angeles Chargers 20


1. No team loses in more heartbreaking and/or ridiculous fashion on a weekly basis than the Chargers. Sunday afternoon was no exception. Down by 14 points at one point to a woebegone Broncos side quarterbacked by a rookie signal-caller making his first start, Los Angeles clawed back to tie Denver at 17 early in the fourth quarter on the legs of Melvin Gordon (99 yards) and Austin Ekeler (67 total yards). After surrendering a go-ahead field goal to Brandon McManus with 4:26 to go, the Chargers faced a fourth-and-1 from their own 34 with just over two minutes to go. After timeouts from both sides, L.A. was called for back-to-back false starts, pushing the fourth-and-manageable back to a fourth-and-11 attempt. Miraculously, Philip Rivers completed a 38-yard desperation heave to Mike Williams, who leaped over Isaac Yiadom to corral the deep ball with one hand. The conversion gave L.A. extra life and a chance to tie the game, which the Chargers did on a 46-yard Mike Badgley field goal with 19 seconds left.

Destined for an overtime showdown with their AFC West rivals, the Chargers (4-8) somehow wrested defeat from the jaws of victory. On the Broncos' ensuing possession, Drew Lock launched a prayer along the right sideline in the direction of Courtland Sutton, but the receiver was interfered with by Casey Hayward at the Chargers' 35-yard line. The refs threw the flag, and "New York" didn't call for the PI call to be reviewed. All of this set up a game-winning try from McManus from 53 yards out with three seconds left. The kicker, who had been seen throwing a tantrum in the first half after being denied a crack at a long field goal try, nailed it, his second successful 50-plus-yard try in less than five minutes. As the ball flew through the uprights, so flew Los Angeles' chances at making the postseason. All eight of the Chargers' losses this season have come by one score. So close, so far, so long, L.A.

2. Activated off injured reserve this week after missing Denver's first 11 games with a thumb injury, Lock finally made his regular-season Broncos debut. The second-round rookie's first game was mostly a tale of two halves. Lock led touchdown drives on two of his first three drives, including a 12-play, 80-yard march that featured five first downs and a beautiful 26-yard TD pass to a diving Sutton. The rook found Sutton (four catches, 74 yards) for another score on Denver's next drive. Lock was 12-of-19 for 123 yards and the two scores at halftime, but he didn't have nearly as much success coming out of the break. In the second half, Lock threw a bad pick over the middle to Denzel Perryman, completing six of nine passes for just 13 yards, none of them to wide receivers. With the downfield element mostly eliminated, Lock still showcased smart play on Denver's go-ahead drive midway through the fourth quarter, especially on a third-down conversion to Jeff Heuerman that extended the march. But the Broncos relied mostly on Lock's stellar first half and second-half dump-offs to running backs to hold on for the victory. Denver (4-8) compiled just 218 net yards in the win, which was an improvement on the 134 Brandon Allen's Broncos offense mustered last week against Buffalo but left Lock room for improvement in the season's dying weeks.

3. The returns of Derwin James and Adrian Phillips to Los Angeles' secondary might have helped eliminate a vertical attack from Lock's Broncos -- James logged all but one defensive snap, while Phillips rotated in -- but it did not ignite what has been a dormant Chargers pass rush. The Bolts, led by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram in the front seven, didn't log a single QB hit on Lock, leaving the green signal-caller with nary a green grass strain. Los Angeles enjoyed a great game from rookie linebacker Drue Tranquill, whose seven solo tackles and three TFLs led the team, but the Chargers should be worried they are still not seeing such production from Bosa, Ingram and the like at this point in the season.

-- Jeremy Bergman

Baltimore Ravens 20, San Francisco 49ers 17


1. On a rain-soaked afternoon in Baltimore, with puddles dotting the field, John Harbaugh had no qualms about setting up Justin Tucker for a long field-goal attempt to win a slobber-knocker. The best kicker in the NFL didn't flinch, nailing a 49-yard attempt to give the Ravens a hard-fought win over the NFC-leading 49ers. With rain swirling down all game, Lamar Jackson had zero deep passing attack (no completions of 20-plus air-yards), but made enough plays with his legs to dash past a good 49ers D. Jackson became the first QB with four 100-yard rushing performances in a single season, gobbling up 101 rushing yards to go with just 105 passing and a TD both running and throwing. Jackson was a wonder with his run fakes, often getting San Francisco defenders to crash down hard on the running back and scampering for big gains to the edge. The Niners seemed intent to stop the RBs, swallowing up Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, but allowed Lamar to do damage on keepers. Credit the Niners for slowing a Baltimore offense that had steamrolled through defenses, including Marcell Harris stripping Lamar on long run -- Jackson's first lost fumble on the season -- to keep the Ravens from extending the lead out of halftime. After each team failed on fourth downs in the fourth quarter of a tied ballgame, Harbaugh's offense ground out the final 6:28 of the contest to win the game on Tucker's boot. The lesson once again, even when you slow Lamar Jackson, he's dang near impossible to shut down.

2. Raheem Mostert carried the 49ers offense, gashing Baltimore for big gallop after big gallop. Great blocking by the 49ers front, including some beauties by tight end George Kittle, opened massive holes in the Ravens defense. Mostert averaged a whopping 7.7 yards per carry on 19 attempts for 146 yards, with a 40-yard TD sprint. With the rain hailing from the sky, Jimmy Garoppolo lacked a deep passing game outside of a first-quarter fourth-and-2 shot to rookie Deebo Samuel, who made a great move on the ball to bully by corner Marcus Peters for a 33-yard touchdown. Miscues, however, haunted Kyle Shanahan's squad on the road. A Garoppolo fumble on the second possession that set up a Ravens TD, a tipped missed field goal at the end of the half (after the 49ers seemed content to settle for a long attempt), a failed fourth-down late and a couple of personal fouls hitting Jackson hurt San Francisco in the end. Even so, given the conditions and the opponent on the road, the Niners still out-gained Baltimore (331 to 283) and proved every bit of the fighter we've come to expect this season.

3. If this was a preview of a potential Super Bowl rematch, sign us up. The scoreboard wasn't lit up, but the Ravens and Niners each made plenty of plays, and neither coach called the game scared -- attempting a combined five fourth-down conversions throughout the contest. Good defenses, deceptive offenses, vital plays both ways. In the muck, this was a football fistfight at its finest. The victory pushes the Ravens to 10-2, keeping the pressure on the New England Patriots for the top spot in the AFC (Baltimore holds the tiebreaker), and gives Harbaugh's squad eight straight victories. No one wants to face Baltimore right now. The loss drops the Niners drop to 10-2 and muddles the NFC further with Seattle (9-2) playing Monday night. It will be a fight to the finish in the NFC West and for the two playoff byes in a tightly contested conference.

-- Kevin Patra

Los Angeles Rams 34, Arizona Cardinals 7


1. There's no better way to follow up getting thrashed at home on national television than with an evisceration of a divisional opponent on the road. Los Angeles looked like a completely different team Sunday, riding its best first half of 2019 (390 total yards) to a 20-0 lead. Jared Goff (32 of 44 yards, 424 yards, two touchdowns, 118 passer rating) utilized play action rollouts to connect with Robert Woods 13 times for 172 yards. Sean McVay's offense attacked Arizona's weakness -- covering tight ends -- finding Tyler Higbee seven times for a career-high 107 yards and one touchdown. Todd Gurley even flirted with 100 yards, finishing with 19 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown. This isn't some costume change for the Rams into an explosive offense, despite them outgaining Arizona 549-199, but it is encouraging.

2. The Rams racked up a ton of yards, yes, but also had the chance to do it because of their suffocating defense, which rose from giving up 45 points to allowing just seven Sunday. The strength behind the unit was its pass rush, which harassed Kyler Murray all afternoon, producing one interception (a Taylor Rapp pick-six) that could have been three, if not for penalties. That's what the Rams missed last week and in previous weeks, and what they'll need going forward.

3. It's tough to get much of a read on the Cardinals' offense when it was trailing and forced to throw from early in the game through its conclusion. Having said that, much of the positive momentum built by close losses to Tampa Bay and San Francisco (twice) seemed to evaporate through the open roof of State Farm Stadium on Sunday. The Cardinals couldn't get much of anything going in the run or pass game and fundamental mistakes contributed to their blowout loss, exemplified by Kenyan Drake dropping an open pass in the flats in the fourth quarter simply because he didn't keep his eyes on the ball. This is a game that reminds a young, rebuilding team of the difficulty that is winning a game in the NFL. The positive: There's plenty of teachable film here to be used for improvement going forward.

-- Nick Shook

Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Cleveland Browns 13


1. Every football team meets a turning point or two in a season, and this one feels like the final one for the 2019 Browns. Cleveland jumped out to a 10-0 lead and even had CBS broadcaster Ian Eagle referring to them as "rolling" -- a comment that felt premature even in the moment -- before the Browns seemingly just stopped. Credit Pittsburgh, of course, for its effort throughout the final three quarters of action, but Cleveland's offensive rhythm and defensive fight vanished, particularly in the final minutes of the first half which saw the Steelers tie the game at 10-10. It seemed as if the Browns thought the shorthanded Steelers would just lay down after falling behind.

They did not. Pittsburgh won the physical battle at all levels of the field, running through half-hearted tackle attempts and gaining extra yards that ended up proving to be the difference. Cleveland now slides to 5-7 and faces an almost insurmountable climb to a postseason berth, as the Browns will have to stare at Pittsburgh and a few other teams above them in the wild card race and still have a date with Baltimore ahead.

2. The question now becomes: Does Freddie Kitchens survive to the end of the season? His team's lack of fight, injuries aside, and quick meltdown in a must-win game reflects poorly on the coach, whose play-calling decisions in the second half with the game still in reach were questionable at the very least. Kitchens has slowly improved in his first season as a head coach, but it's not enough for a team that has assembled as much talent as the Browns have. And again, what might end up looking worse than anything is the Steelers simply wanting Sunday's game more than Kitchens' team.

It's been something with this team nearly every week, beyond the brawl two games ago. This week, it was Damarious Randall's strange benching and Kitchens' T-shirt (the latter of which was admittedly overblown). For a team that arrived with plenty of "revenge" motifs in its attire, it sure didn't play like it was out for vengeance.

3. Duck Hodges has moxie, and more importantly, he doesn't turn the ball over nearly as often as Mason Rudolph. That alone -- and the heroics of James Washington -- was enough to propel the Steelers to 20 straight points and a home win that both sends the Browns well down the postseason mountain and keeps themselves afloat in the second wild-card spot. That's not to say that there's legitimate belief that this team can make a deep run -- Pittsburgh can because any given Sunday, but it likely won't because of more talented competition -- but Mike Tomlin deserves a ton of credit for what he's done with the scattered pieces with which he's been left. Consider: Pittsburgh was without Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Maurkice Pouncey and Artie Burns, and still overcame a 10-point deficit and is two games above .500 with four to play. Rookie Benny Snell set the tone on the ground, battling to salt away the game with physical runs. The Steelers (7-5) still have a chance to win 10-11 games without their franchise quarterback, and it's largely because of the decisions Tomlin has made -- including the one to turn to Hodges in a must-win game against a rival.

-- Nick Shook

Tennessee Titans 31, Indianapolis Colts 17


1. In the topsy-turvy state that is the AFC South, here come the Titans. Ryan Tannehill is reinvigorated, Derrick Henry is rumbling and the special teams were clutch. Tye Smith's blocked field goal and subsequent 63-yard return for a score stood as the game-winner, while Tannehill's beautiful deep ball to Kalif Raymond for a 40-yard touchdown was the game-sealer. The Titans triumphed over the host Colts, 31-17, on Sunday, rallying from a 10-point deficit, shining in all facets and upping their record to 7-5 with their third victory in a row and fourth over the last five. By the time the night ends and the Texans-Patriots game falls into place, Tennessee could all of a sudden be tied for first place in the AFC South. The Titans are alive and well. Punter Brett Kern averaged 48.8 yards per five punts with an outstanding four inside the 20. Tennessee had two blocked kicks. Ryan Succop made good on all five of his kicks (four PATs, one field goal). On a day in which the offense was balanced and effective and the defense was stifling, the special teams stood out just as well. This was a team win and Tennessee is a team on the rise and very much in the postseason equation.

2. When Henry rumbles for more than 100 yards, as he did for the third straight game, the Titans are 8-0. With Tannehill starting, Tennessee is 5-1. A winning formula has been concocted in Tennessee. Henry was outstanding as a gang of Indianapolis defenders was needed on nearly every play to take him down on his way to 149 yards in 26 carries and a 13-yard score that began a string of 24 straight points for the Titans. As the Tennessee defense began to clamp down on Indy in the second half, Henry wore down the Colts. Meanwhile, Tannehill continued his stellar starting ways since replacing Marcus Mariota and reinvigorating a Titans season that seemed to be lost after falling to 2-4 following a shutout loss to the Broncos. Tannehill was efficient (17-for-22 for 182 yards, two touchdowns and 131.2 rating) and continues to steer a Titans turnaround driven by the strong legs of Henry.

3. It's been a season of struggles for Adam Vinatieri and Sunday's showing was dreadful. He missed three of his four field goal attempts with two blocks. While Vinatieri will surely draw criticism, this loss isn't on him. When Tye Smith streaked to the game-winning touchdown, he was one of three Titans behind the line of scrimmage on the block. Vinatieri's misfortunes weren't his alone, just as the offense's struggles can't be put squarely on Jacoby Brissett's shoulders. Brissett had two crucial interceptions that turned into 10 Titans points. But he's very much the last man standing on an offense ailing from a depleted receiving corps and running back Marlon Mack still missing. The Colts (6-6) have lost four of their last five with injuries and miscues mounting. All is not lost, but the roof is very much beginning to close on this season without a drastic turn of momentum.

-- Grant Gordon

Washington Redskins 29, Carolina Panthers 21


1. Three times this season the Panthers (5-7) have been inside the 5-yard line at the end of the game with either the chance to win or force a tie. Three times this season Carolina has come up short. The latest Sunday spoiled a frantic attempt at a comeback against the Redskins. Following an excellent onside kick from Joey Slye, Kyle Allen drove to the 1-yard line following a 21-yard strike to D.J. Moore. But the offense stalled from there. Christian McCaffrey, who was held in check all day, lost a yard on back-to-back runs. An incompletion brought up fourth-and-game but a mad scramble by Allen ended in a fumble sealing a fourth-straight loss. If Panthers owner David Tepper decides to move on from Ron Rivera after the season, you can point to Sunday as the beginning of the end. The Panthers, still clinging to wild card hope, were overwhelmed by a Washington team that no one will confuse for a playoff contender.

2. Don't look now but the Redskins (3-9) are on a two-game winning streak. That sentence didn't seem possible the way the game began, however, as the Panthers opened with consecutive touchdowns to jump out to a 14-point lead. But the Redskins proceeded to shut down McCaffrey (44 yards rushing, 58 receiving) and pressure Allen, who was sacked seven times on the day. The Panthers' drives after those first two scores? Punt, punt, punt, interception, punt, punt, punt, punt until Allen scored on a scramble with less than two minutes remaining. While Carolina's offense turtling, the Redskins imposed their will with a dynamic ground game. Second-year pro Derrius Guice rushed for a career-best 129 yards highlighted by two touchdowns and a 60-yard scamper. Adrian Peterson was equally effective gashing the Panthers' 27th-ranked run D. Buoyed by a strong run game, rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins did a solid job of eliminating mistakes (zero turnovers) to earn another win.

3. A scary moment for Greg Olsen and the Panthers came in the third quarter. Olsen made his second catch of the game and was immediately hit in the head on a helmet-to-helmet blow by Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson. Olsen appeared to go limp on the play and briefly lost the football. But fortunately Olsen was able to get up on his own power and run into the locker room. Olsen was quickly ruled out and currently is in the league's concussion protocol, while Anderson was ejected and can expect a fine from New York later this week.

-- David Ely

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 11


1. Three Jaguars possessions, three turnovers and 22 Buccaneers points later, Tampa Bay was well on its way to a 28-11 triumph over Jacksonville buoyed by a stunningly stupendous defensive effort. On a day notable for a Jaguars quarterback change, it was the Buccaneers' opportunistic defense that caused it. First-round pick Devin White became the first rookie in Bucs history with an interception, fumble recovery and defensive TD in a single game. Tied for the NFL lead in sacks, Shaq Barrett added two more to up his season tally to 14.5. At afternoon's end, the Tampa Bay defense had four takeaways and five sacks, allowed only 242 yards of Jaguars offense and held Jacksonville to a miserable 4-for-14 on third down. It all began in startling fashion. White intercepted Foles on the Jaguars' opening drive. Barrett's strip sack on the ensuing Jacksonville march was returned 14 yards for a score by White. Carl Nassib forced another Foles fumble and Ndamukong Suh recovered to conclude the defensive blitz that began and, for all intents and purposes, sealed the Bucs' win on Sunday. As Tampa Bay (5-7) emerges from this Floridian battle against Jacksonville (4-8), neither really clings to realistic playoff hopes, but the Bucs all of a sudden have a defense they can build off, while the Jaguars are left with a defeat and a decision at QB.

2. Blake Bortles is off to L.A. as a backup and the Jaguars were supposed to have moved on to a new franchise quarterback, one with a Super Bowl pedigree. While Jacksonville might well have ended Sunday with its new franchise QB under center, it wasn't Nick Foles. Sent to the bench following a three-turnover showing in a scoreless first half, Foles gave way to Gardner Minshew. Minshew took over in Week 1 after Foles was injured. This time around it was because Foles was driving the struggle bus that is the Jaguars offense, concluding the first half with a 41.7 passer rating. Minshew came on in the second half, led a pair of scoring drives, threw a touchdown and a two-pointer to Dede Westbrook and even kinda, sorta made a game of it. Still, Minshew was far from outstanding. He was 16-of-27 for 147 yards, the touchdown, an interception and a 71.1 rating. As the Jaguars' season seemingly limps to its conclusion, there are questions to be answered for the remainder of the season and going forward for the franchise. In that respect, not much has changed.

3. Jameis Winston's reign as the king of the ugly 300-yard game came to an end. Winston had thrown six straight 300-yard-plus games coming in, but finished shy of that mark with 268 yards and most importantly a win. Winston had his 25th giveaway (he lost a fumble) and made some adventurous throws as usual. But for the most part played well enough for the Bucs to win. Even in defeat, the Bucs, whether it be Winston or 1,000-yard receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (who combined for eight catches for 103 yards) have put up gaudy numbers. Instead on this Sunday, the Bucs won with defense and conservative offensive numbers. Perhaps it's just an aberration during Bruce Arians' first season at the helm or perhaps it's a sign of changes to come.

-- Grant Gordon

Green Bay Packers 31, New York Giants 13


1. Following the Packers' blowout loss to the 49ers and ahead of their Week 13 matchup, Aaron Jones said Green Bay's mindset was that "good teams don't lose two in a row." The approach paid off as Green Bay bounced back and got a much-needed victory on the road in the Meadowlands against the Giants. Playing in unfavorable conditions -- rain, hail, sleet, snow and then rain again - both teams had the deck stacked against them. Aaron Rodgers tossed four touchdown passes, including a pair to his favorite target Davante Adams. After being stifled by the stingy 49ers defense last week, Allen Lazard came up clutch with 103 receiving yards on three receptions. Lazard, whose 43-yard catch helped set up a Packers TD, continues to be an asset for the offense. Facing a Giants' run defense that ranks 22nd in the league, the Packers' run game was held to a mere 79 yards in the slick surroundings. The Packers got the win over the lowly Giants and righted the ship, for now. To Green Bay's benefit, three of the four opponents remaining on its docket are currently below .500. Ideally, the Packers (9-3) will be able to cruise to postseason play.

2. A Giants offense sans Golden Tate, Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison did not bode well for Big Blue. New York showed flashes of excitement but ultimately lacked consistency, which is par for the course this season. Daniel Jones was 20-for-37 for 240 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Jones relied on Kaden Smith and Darius Slayton to shoulder the load in the passing game, especially with the run game putting up 95 yards. Jones suffered an ankle injury late in the second quarter and had it examined before coming back and playing the remainder of the game. For a moment, it appeared Eli Manning might make his return to the field. But those hopes were dashed. Second-half turnovers proved to be costly for the young Giants signal-caller, who has now tossed 11 picks this season, and for the chances of a comeback.

3. Saquon Barkley's ankle appeared to be bothering him throughout the game. Barkley hasn't returned to his former self since suffering a high-ankle sprain earlier this season. In his last three games, he's averaged 62 yards from scrimmage. Against the Packers, Barkley toted the ball 19 times for 83 yards with his longest run coming on a 16-yard burst. But to be completely honest, it didn't look like a 83-yard game for the running back. Not having Barkley at full strength and missing other key offensive weapons have become weekly deficits for the Giants. New York (2-10) has two tilts with Philly and matchups with Miami and Washington remaining. If the Giants can sustain their flashes of competency, perhaps the woeful team can close out the 2019 campaign strong.

-- Andie Hagemann

Cincinnati Bengals 22, New York Jets 6


1. The Bengals (1-11) tasted victory for the first time this season. Andy Dalton returned as their starting QB after being benched for rookie Ryan Finley in Week 9 and led the Bengals to their first win. After a rusty first drive, Dalton (243 yards, TD) threw a perfect pass between three Jets defenders for a 17-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd. He was able to get rid of the ball so fast and worked the Jets' corners the entire game. Dalton became the Bengals' all-time leader in passing touchdowns (198) and career completions (finished with 2,669) all before halftime. Boyd, C.J. Uzomah and Auden Tate had their way with the Jets secondary. The team congratulated Zac Taylor with a Gatorade bath at the end of the game for registering his first win as an NFL head coach.

2. Cincinnati's defense deserves some credit after the way they played today. This was the unit's best game of the season, especially the Bengals secondary. The Jets couldn't get anything done on offense. Carlos Dunlap had Sam Darnold running for his life and was able to sack him three times (four total for the team). The Bengals defense recorded its first safety in 1,099 days (first since Week 12, 2016 vs. Ravens), per NFL Research.

3. The Jets (4-8) were bullied by a 0-11 team. They became the first team in NFL history to have lost to two teams 0-7-or-worse entering their matchup in the same season. Mistakes up front and penalties (10 for 106 yards) cost the Jets today. Anytime they did anything promising, it was wiped out by penalties. For example, Le'Veon Bell's longest run of the season (22 yards) was wiped out by a holding call. The Jets faced the league's lowest-ranked run defense and could not get the run game going. They only ran the ball 17 times the entire game. Their key player on defense, Jamal Adams, did not show up today and was seen wearing a walking boot after the game. Adams was emotional when he told reporters he was able to finish the game in pain but "couldn't perform."

-- Lakisha Wesseling

Miami Dolphins 37, Philadelphia Eagles 31


1. Ryan Fitzpatrick throws an interception on the first play from scrimmage. Carson Wentz throws a touchdown pass to Miles Sanders on the fourth play from scrimmage. At the onset it looked as if the remedy to the Eagles' ills was a trip to South Beach. It wasn't that easy for Philadelphia, though, as the Fitzpatrick-led Dolphins fought and rallied for win No. 3 and put the Eagles' playoff hopes very much in danger. Chris Lammons clutched an interception on Carson Wentz's last-second Hail Mary attempt to end the upset, add a highlight to a Dolphins season largely lacking them and perhaps begin to put the finishing touches on the Eagles' aspirations for an elongated season.

Miami (3-9) rallied past Philly (5-7) with a little FitzMagic, plenty of DeVante Parker and some razzle-dazzle. Draft position is more important than AFC East standing in the real world that is the Dolphins' 2019 season, but with Fitzpatrick at the helm there is fight to be had in every game right along with entertainment. Journeyman is a term often read or said with a negative connotation. When you look it up, there should be a picture of the bearded wonder that is Fitzpatrick and you should smile. He became the only player in NFL history to throw a touchdown against an opponent (said Eagles) with seven different franchises. Yep, Fitzpatrick spreads his magic around. Against Philly, Fitzpatrick (27-for-39, 365 yards, three touchdowns) spread the ball around to seven pass-catchers, including Parker. In the midst of a career season, Parker had a career game with seven catches for a career-high 159 yards and his first two-touchdown performance. While Fitzpatrick connected with seven receivers, eight Dolphins caught passes...

2. The Philly Special may live on as the most storied play in Eagles history, but on Sunday it was Philly who relinquished a trick touchdown. Late in the second quarter, Miami faced a fourth-and-1 at Philly's 1-yard line. With everyone but Fins punter Matt Haack and the long snapper lined up wide, Haack took a direct snap and then unleashed the fury of a pinpoint shovel pass to wide-open kicker Jason Sanders (because why not) for six glorious points of trickery. Sanders then got back to scoring via more conventional means with a go-ahead extra point off a hold from Haack and the Dolphins owned a 14-13 lead against the reeling Eagles. Anything can happen on Sundays and anything did happen in Miami.

3. Wentz's play has come under fire as of late and rightfully so as he had four turnovers in the Eagles' loss the week prior to the Seahawks in which they scored a season-low nine points. The struggles extended beyond just last week and time will tell if a turnaround extends past the former first-rounder's showing on this Sunday, as Wentz had 310 yards, three touchdowns and an ample-if-not-outstanding 93.6 QB rating. No doubt helped by the return of Alshon Jeffery (nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown), Lane Johnson and Nelson Agholor, Wentz and the Eagles still didn't have enough to stave off the upset. Philadelphia missed another chance to catch the Cowboys (6-6) -- who spent the weekend working out kickers after their Thanksgiving loss to Buffalo -- lost their third in a row and most importantly lost more time in a season that's running out. If the NFL Gods have a sense of humor, the winner of the NFC East will clinch after a loss. Even after Sunday's defeat, it could still be Philly.

-- Grant Gordon

Kansas City Chiefs 40, Oakland Raiders 9


1. The Chiefs put a stranglehold on the AFC West by suffocating the Raiders in a snoozing blowout. The Chiefs defense clamped down on a limited Oakland offense, completely obliterating the Raiders. Tyrann Mathieu picked off Derek Carr on the first possession of the game, and K.C. smothered the Raiders' passing attack the rest of the way. Defensive lineman Chris Jones played game-wrecker all afternoon, setting up shop in the Oakland backfield, compiling a sack, QB hit, tackle for loss, pass defended, and a bevy of other pressures. The backend of the Chiefs defense was superb, giving Carr nowhere to go with the ball on multiple occasions. Rookie safety Juan Thornhill jumped a Tyrell Williams slant to swipe Carr's pass late in the first half and danced to the end zone for a 21-0 lead to basically put away the game early. Josh Jacobs was the Raiders lone bright spot, as the rookie dashed for 104 yards on 17 carries. The pounding Jacobs became the first Raiders rookie running back to go for 1,000 yards rushing in his first season. A garbage-time TD from Carr with 39 seconds left broke a Raiders touchdown-less streak that stretched back to the second quarter of Week 11 (147 plays) -- apropos, the PAT was blocked and returned by K.C. for two additional points. Yes, it was against a beleaguered Raiders offense, but the Chiefs defense appears to be jelling down the stretch, which could prove huge for K.C. come January.

2. If someone told you that Patrick Mahomes would be held below the 200-yard passing mark, and the Chiefs would have one offensive play that went more than 20 yards, you'd probably think the game was at least close. Nope. Despite getting relatively healthy for the first time in weeks, the K.C. offense, playing in gusty elements that occasionally sent even Mahomes' normal bullets flying wayward, wasn't crisp. It mattered naught, with the Chiefs offense taking advantage of short fields and Raiders penalties to blow out the division rival. Rookie running back Darwin Thompson entered late after Darrell Williams left with a hamstring injury. The sixth-round pick looked good, generating 44 yards and a TD late in the fourth quarter as the Chiefs salted away the game. It will be interesting to see if Andy Reid gives the rookie more run down the stretch after the optimistic performance.

3. The victory, in which the Chiefs were flagged for zero accepted penalties for the first time since 1974, per CBS, puts K.C. in position to win the AFC West for the fourth straight season. At 8-4, Reid's team has a two-game edge on Oakland (6-6) in the win column. After beating the Raiders twice to earn the tiebreaker, the advantage is three games with four to play. Jon Gruden won't be happy with how his team came out in a rivalry game, which included 12 penalties for 99 yards (one DPI called on a booth review that wiped out an end-zone INT), that essentially handed the Chiefs the division. Oakland has had positive moments this season, but back-to-back losses by 31 points take some shine off the Raiders' good games.

-- Kevin Patra

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