Skip to main content

NFL Week 10: What we learned from Sunday's games

1) What an incredibly wild, fun, entertaining and unbelievable game. Kyler Murray dazzled viewers once again, completing 22-of-32 passes for 245 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and Kenyan Drake's 100 rushing yards combined with Murray's 61 and Chase Edmonds' 56 to help Arizona (6-3) break the 200-yard mark on the ground. But that's not all. In this game, we were treated to several eyebrow raising occurrences: Isaiah McKenzie threw the game's first touchdown pass to Josh Allen, of all people; Larry Fitzgerald recorded his first drop in ages (his last drop came during the 2018 season), which resulted in one of the stranger interceptions you'll ever see; Allen turned back the clock to 2018 to throw a classic interception that looked like it might sink Buffalo's chances; The diminutive Cole Beasley out-jumped his shadow to make a one-handed snag that extended Buffalo's late scoring drive, in which Allen rebounded from the earlier interception to give the Bills a late lead. And finally ...

Murray rolled left with seconds remaining, evaded a rusher, continued toward the sideline and heaved a prayer to DeAndre Hopkins, who leapt above three defenders to snag the pass for the game-winning touchdown. This might have been the best game of the 2020 season, which is saying a lot, considering the Cardinals already earned a win over the Seattle Seahawks in what was then the most thrilling contest of the campaign. Only one team could win, but both should be proud of the show they put on in Glendale.

2) In case you were still on the fence, we can use Week 10 as our concrete proof that these Cardinals are, in fact, for real. Arizona not only managed to rip up over 200 yards on the ground against a traditionally stout Buffalo defense, but also overcame a late deficit to take home a stunning win that left this writer at a loss for more than 15 minutes following its conclusion. That type of stuff doesn't come from pretenders. Arizona's legitimacy extends beyond the heroics of Murray and Hopkins. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph called a great game for the Cardinals, harassing Allen and stuffing Buffalo's rushing attempts. A week after shredding Seattle's historically bad defense to the tune of 44 points, Allen completed just 4 of 14 passes for 28 yards and an interception when under pressure, per Next Gen Stats. Arizona couldn't keep Allen out of the end zone late, but its defense had done its fair share in keeping the Cardinals within striking distance after falling behind by two touchdowns in the third. That deserves recognition in a game that ended up coming down to the final few plays, an outcome that wouldn't be possible if not for Joseph's group.

3) There were really only two notes of concern for the Bills (7-3) in this game. Usually the strength of Buffalo's team, the Bills' defense couldn't quite bottle up Murray, allowing a 23-9 third-quarter lead to melt away in under 10 minutes of game time. The other is Buffalo's lack of a consistent rushing attack. Allen led the Bills in rushing for the fourth time this season, and the absence of a legitimate option on the ground kept Buffalo from protecting its lead, allowing the Cardinals plenty of time to get back into a game that appeared to be getting out of hand for a brief moment early in the second half. That won't fly when we get to December and January, and the Bills need to ice a close victory against a contender. The bright side, though, is the Bills were this close to securing what would have been a confidence-boosting win. Allen rebounded from his two turnovers to expertly engineer a 12-play, 78-yard scoring drive capped by a strike to Stefon Diggs, who made the type of catch that proves a blockbuster deal for a No. 1 receiver is worth it. The connection would have stood as the game's defining highlight, if not for Murray's game-winning heave to the end zone. This loss will sting, but the Bills aren't going anywhere but up in the weeks ahead.

-- Nick Shook

1) Having lingered through a four-game losing streak that encompassed October and led off November, the Patriots -- and Cam Newton's productivity as an NFL starting quarterback -- were having their season's obits penned. And now, almost suddenly, the Patriots are 4-5, having found shelter from the storm of a rainy Sunday night and the aforementioned skid to win two in a row. On this stormy eve, Newton had two total touchdowns and captained the offense to do its part in an upset win. Though it's difficult to truly judge any offense among such elements, it makes it all the more impressive that Newton and Co. finished without any turnovers. As much as anything that was pivotal and more so when reminded that it wasn't all that long ago that Newton was benched on a four-turnover Sunday. The outcome gives pause certainly that the Patriots' NFL-record 11-season streak of making the postseason will be concluded. And how the outcome was achieved -- with Newton using his legs and a compliment of short passes coupled with the help of an emerging group of weapons matching an impressive defensive effort -- is a reminder that these Pats are not just still alive in the postseason discussion, but also built to do well when the weather is roughest and the calendar turns to right now.

2) It wasn't until a stunning playoff upset that last year's Ravens unraveled in shocking form. The stunners are coming far earlier this time around. Baltimore (6-3) has now lost two of three and has the misfortune of sharing the AFC North with the NFL's only undefeated team. Lamar Jackson certainly didn't look like his MVP self yet again, but at least on this night, a more prevalent problem was the defense, lending further detail to just how substantial a blow losing Calais Campbell to an injury was. The Ravens struggled in multiple facets as is often the case when you're on the wrong end of an upset. However, Jackson fell to 0-6 in his career when trailing by 10 or more points. This isn't a team built to make comebacks, it's a frontrunner. And the Ravens' punishing offense isn't what it was last year. By the time the Ravens' loss came to a final, it was difficult to see through the downpour, but it's quite clear that there are issues aplenty within Baltimore.

3) For all the critiques of Newton's game -- many of them warranted -- he hasn't exactly been bolstered by a surrounding arsenal. Perhaps that's changing. Jakobi Meyers was coming off a career-high performance in terms of catches and yards and though that wasn't happening again amid the New England elements Sunday, the former high school QB chucked a 24-yard TD to Rex Burkhead, who had two TD catches, and has become a valuable contributor over the last few weeks. And then there's Damien Harris, who's struggled to stay healthy, but is looking sensational when he is. Harris had a game-high 121 yards on 22 carries, gaining hard yards and delivering shots to Ravens tacklers along the way. If this keeps up, the Patriots can move on from being a Cam-only offense that wasn't exactly doing all that well.

-- Grant Gordon

1) A hotly contested first half between division rivals turned into a blowout on a quick-change third quarter. Up three points and backed up to his own 2-yard-line, Tampa running back Ronald Jones blasted up the gut, broke two tackles and outraced Panthers DBs for a 98-yard touchdown. Jones became just the fourth player in NFL history with a run of 98 yards or longer. On the next scrimmage play, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul dropped into coverage and made a fantastic interception of Teddy Bridgewater. The pick led to a field goal, and a comfortable lead Tampa wouldn't relinquish. A week after setting history with just five carries, the Bucs rode RoJo despite an opening-drive fumble. The starter took 23 totes for 192 yards and the score. Jones rewarded Bruce Arians' faith after the fumble, running through arm-tackles, spinning out of defender's grasp, and scampering away from tacklers. The balanced attacked allowed Tampa (7-3) to move the chains consistently, gobbling up 30 first downs, 544 total yards, and didn't punt once.

2) So much was made about Tom Brady and Mike Evans connection after a poor game last week. TB12 made sure the star wide receiver was in the action often. Evans saw a team-high 11 targets, catching six for 77 yards and a TD. Evans' stats could have been even more prolific if Brady didn't miss him long a couple times. Brady's deep ball wasn't on target, but in every other area, the veteran QB was money. He threaded several passes on the sideline and remains one of the best touch-throwers in the game. Brady was clinical on third downs, converting eight first downs through the air on 11 attempts. Once again, Brady bounced back from a poor outing, completing 28-of-39 passing for 341 yards and three touchdown passes, adding a TD sneak. The Bucs offensive diversity was on display with Evans, Chris Godwin (6/92), Antonio Brown (7/69) and Rob Gronkowski (2/51/1) all making big plays. Outside of going 4-of-8 in the red zone, there isn't much to quibble about this week from Tampa. 

3) Bridgewater exited with just over five minutes left in the contest after a low hit and gingerly walked to the locker room of the blowout loss. His status is currently unknown, though NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the initial word is it's not serious. Before exiting, Bridgewater and the Carolina offense was a mixed bag. Teddy Two Gloves completed his first 13 passes early, staking the Panthers (3-7) to a first-quarter lead, but the QB was slightly off the mark even while completing passes. The Panthers offense was smothered in the second half, earning just four first downs and seven points on six drives. The Carolina run game sorely missed Christian McCaffrey against a good Bucs run D. Matt Rhule supplemented the run attack with a quick passing game, but the lack of downfield shots hurt the Panthers once they got down by two scores. On the whole, it was another spunky effort for a Panthers squad that continues to build blocks for the future. If Bridgewater's injury lingers, P.J. Walker would take over.

-- Kevin Patra

1) Hold the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense to 16 points, and game balls go all around on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams' stop unit picked off Russell Wilson twice, both by Darious Williams, limited the Seahawks' rushing attack to little more than Wilson improvisation, and gave Seattle just two shots in the red zone. Throw in half a dozen sacks, three from former Bears cast-off Leonard Floyd, and you have what will probably turn out to be Seattle's worst offensive stinker of 2020. The problems were primarily up front, where Seattle's offensive line looked overmatched for much of the day as the Rams held an opponent under 20 points for the sixth time in nine games.

2) One of the NFL's hottest receivers, Seahawks WR DK Metcalf, met his match Sunday. Rams star CB Jalen Ramsey drew Metcalf in man-to-man coverage frequently, and blanketed the second-year pro well enough to turn Wilson to other options. Not only did Metcalf catch just two passes for 28 yards, he didn't even get his first target until less than a minute remained in the third quarter, and was targeted just three times thereafter. Metcalf's size and strength almost demands targets regardless of coverage, but Ramsey gave him almost no breathing room.

3) It's little wonder the Seahawks gave up two first-round picks and change to the Jets for Jamal Adams; he doesn't have much help in the Seahawks defensive backfield. He was one of the few bright spots with two sacks, giving him 5.5 on the season, and provided as much glue as he could for a leaky defense that has been the NFL's worst. Rams QB Jared Goff spread the ball to eight receivers for 302 yards against little resistance, either from the pass rush or the coverage. For his role as more of an enforcer than a coverage man, Adams is splendid. But the Rams' diverse offense exposed Seattle in too many other ways.

-- Chase Goodbread

1) If you want to hand the Steelers (9-0) their first loss of 2020, you can't fall behind. Cincinnati did exactly the opposite, looking up at a 12-0 deficit that could have been much larger after one quarter. The Steelers published the blueprint for frazzling rookie passer Joe Burrow, hitting him 13 times, registering a total of 21 pressures and limiting Burrow to 1-of-11 passing when under pressure for 20 yards and a passer rating of 39.6. If Burrow is struggling, these Bengals (2-6-1) don't have much of a chance of competing. Such was the case Sunday.

2) Pittsburgh's defense continues to carry the Steelers to victories by small and wide margins in 2020. With an early lead propelling it, Pittsburgh kept all Cincinnati rushers from establishing a rhythm on the ground Sunday, with all Bengals ball carriers finishing below 50 yards individually. Tee Higgins had himself a day, but it was largely the result of the Bengals being forced to air it out in order to try to cut into their early deficit. And when it came to getting off the field on third down, the Steelers were perfect, denying the Bengals a single third-down conversion on 13 attempts. That produced nine Bengals punts, kept Cincinnati out of the end zone on all but one possession and resulted in a runaway win for the still-unblemished Steelers.

3) If it weren't for the remarkable and inspiring return of Alex Smith to an NFL field, Ben Roethlisberger would have Comeback Player of the Year wrapped up. Roethlisberger posted another stellar day through the air, completing 27-of-46 passes for 333 yards, four touchdowns and a passer rating of 110.1. His favorite target Sunday was Diontae Johnson, who caught six of 11 targets for 116 yards and a score, and Chase Claypool continued to demonstrate his nose for the end zone, scoring twice on four receptions for 56 yards. It was a total team effort in the passing game, with JuJu Smith-Schuster catching nine passes for 77 yards and a score, and Eric Ebron and James Washington combining for 42 yards on six completions. Roethlisberger is the engine that powers this Steelers offense, and right now, they're a legitimate contender at the front of the pack because of him.

-- Nick Shook

1) A game pitting two impressive rookie quarterbacks pivoted twice following two turnovers. As the Dolphins marched down the field looking poised to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, a bad snap Tua Tagovailoa couldn't handle led to a Chargers (2-7) touchdown that cut the lead in half. Miami was in a battle instead of a blowout. The Dolphins (6-3) returned the favor early in the fourth quarter with a Xavien Howard interception of Justin Herbert that set up a score and restored Miami's two-possession lead. A match billed as Tua versus Herbert was a slugfest. The Dolphins proved better in all three phases, and Brian Flores' team particularly took advantage on special teams where a blocked punt led to an early score, and Jason Sanders' three field goals were enough for Miami to secure its fifth-straight win.

2) Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey doesn't garner enough credit for Miami's place in the playoff hunt. Not only has Gailey had the Dolphins offense humming all season, he's handled the QB change with aplomb. Gailey helped guide Tua through a so-so performance by giving the QB quick reads. The final touchdown call -- a throwback pass to tight end Durham Smythe -- was beautiful. Tua wasn't at his best and got lucky he didn't throw a couple of INTs. Still, the rookie flashes elite accuracy and fearlessness threading the needle. Some of his passes into tight windows were fortunate not to go the other way, but the best QBs aren't afraid to make those types of plays. Gailey and the Dolphins also leaned on running back Salvon Ahmed, who gained 85 yards and a TD on 23 carries. Ahmed makes smooth cuts and can run through arm tackles. He could keep the lead role even when Myles Gaskin returns.

3) The Dolphins defense forced Herbert into his worst game as a pro. The big-armed QB looked flustered as Miami's defensive backs Byron Jones, Howard, Bobby McCain, Eric Rowe and Nik Needham blanketed receivers. Jones led the way, but the entire group was lights out on Keenan Allen, holding Herbert's favorite target to 39 yards on three reception and one late TD. With Allen mostly silenced, Herbert struggled to find consistent throwing lanes, and L.A. was poor on third downs (4 of 13). Herbert threw for just 187 yards passing -- the fewest of his young career -- with two TDs and the pivotal INT. As his career progresses, he'll face teams who have better scouting reports. The great QBs find new ways to win each week. After taking a lump in Week 10, the next test for Herbert to pass is bouncing back from a subpar performance.

-- Kevin Patra

1) The Saints handled their business against an injury-ravaged 49ers club, but the main storyline exiting the victory is the health of Drew Brees. The future Hall of Fame QB took a big shot near the end of the first half, but finished out the quarter as the Saints took a 17-10 lead to the break. After halftime, Jameis Winston took over under center as Brees stood on the sideline with a rib injury. Winston threw mostly short passes, attempting just two balls more than 11 air yards -- both incompletions -- despite the reputation for having a big arm. Winston completed 6-of-10 passes for 63 yards. The backup particularly looked shaky in the red zone, where he danced like a jitterbug on a hot plate. Fortunately, the Saints were able to lean on Alvin Kamara (98 scrimmage yards, three TDs) and the running game to put the contest away. Taysom Hill subbed in for Winston quite a few times -- particularly on third downs -- to mixed results. Hill rushed eight times for 45 yards and also fumbled. If Brees misses more than one half of football, it will be interesting to see how Sean Payton juggles his QB rotation this year.

2) Credit the Saints defense for carrying the load Sunday with Brees on the sideline. After giving up a long touchdown drive to open up the game, New Orleans' D was lights out, clobbering Niners QB Nick Mullens and snuffing out the run game. The Saints earned a whopping nine tackles for loss, eight QB hits, two sacks, nine passes defended and a Malcolm Jenkins INT. The Saints did it with a bevy of pressures, sending corner Chauncey Gardner-Johnson off the edge (one sack) multiple times to discombobulate plays. Linebacker Demario Davis played possessed, gobbling up 12 tackles, a sack, two QB hits, a tackle for loss and a pass defended. Former 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander even got in on the action against his old club, earning four tackles, including a big stuff in the first half. When the Saints D is playing like it did Sunday, and the special teams unit is coming up with big plays (recovering two muffed punts) to set up the offense on short fields, New Orleans is nearly impossible to beat -- even if the HOF QB is standing on the sideline.

3) Mullens fared better than last week but still struggled for stretches, throwing two interceptions and was befuddled at times by the Saints pressure. Getting Brandon Aiyuk back on the field this week was a difference-maker for Mullens, even if the outcome was the same. The rookie receiver caught seven of 14 targets for 75 yards and a TD. Aiyuk showed he's a potential star in the making, snagging passes in close quarters and muscling through tacklers. The wideout helped his QB out several times on wayward tosses, where Aiyuk went down low to pluck the ball before it hit the turf. The Niners fell back to the NFC West cellar this year, but they found a keeper in Aiyuk, which should prove beneficial once the team is fully healthy.

-- Kevin Patra

1) Winds of up to 30 mph gusting at Lambeau Field boded poorly for quarterbacks, but Aaron Rodgers has navigated that challenge many times before, and his counterpart, Jake Luton, was making just his second career start. On the first play of the second quarter, his first snap with the wind at his back, Rodgers took his first deep shot of the game and hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 78-yard score, the Packers' longest play all season. Despite both of Green Bay's starting cornerbacks being inactive, Luton couldn't take similar advantage. The Jaguars got their only boost from the breeze when the Packers' J.K. Scott outkicked his coverage for a 59-yard punt that went for a 91-yard return by Keelan Cole.

2) Not to be overlooked in the factors that kept Jacksonville (1-8) competitive for four quarters was the effort of Jaguars punter Logan Cooke. He absolutely buried the Packers (7-2) for field position, downing punts at the Green Bay 2, 3 and 9. One of those set up a critical takeaway for the Jaguars defense, which in turn set up a game-tying touchdown pass. Cooke just missed another that bounced out of bounds about a yard behind the pylon, and pinned the Packers at their 14 on his final punt. He averaged 45.8 for the day with a long of 59, giving a valiant Jaguars defensive effort all the field position it could have asked for.

3) Despite the win, the Packers defensive front will have its collective head in its hands in film review. The Jaguars offensive line blew Green Bay off the line of scrimmage for most of the day, paving a path for James Robinson to run 23 times for 109 yards. It's not as though Green Bay didn't know it was coming -- Luton's inexperience made the Jaguars' offensive game plan obvious enough -- but Jacksonville opened creases for Robinson all day. The silver lining came in how the Packers pass rush finished the game. With Jacksonville driving for what could have been a game-winning touchdown, Green Bay clamped down with sacks on back-to-back plays to seal the win.

-- Chase Goodbread

1) On an off-day for the Raiders passing attack, the rushing tandem of Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker proved more than capable of carrying the Las Vegas offense on the ground. Jacobs did a lot of the early damage while Booker salted much of the clock in the fourth quarter against a Broncos rush defense that appeared, with the outcome already determined, to want nothing to do with him. They combined for 193 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries, much of it between the tackles. It came with ideal timing, as Raiders receivers dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone (Nelson Agholor ), a deep ball that might've gone for another score (Darren Waller ), and another deep pass that went through the hands of rookie WR Henry Ruggs III. A frustrating day for QB Derek Carr, to be sure, but the handoff was a surefire play call for the seven-year veteran.

2) The Las Vegas defense has struggled all year to force turnovers, entering the game with an NFL-worst five takeaways. The Raiders doubled that total on a single afternoon, forcing Broncos QB Drew Lock into four interceptions, and recovering a fumble by WR DaeSean Hamilton in the second half. They were the primary factor in what was easily the club's largest margin of victory on the season. Safety Jeff Heath came up with two picks, including one in the end zone just before the half that gave Las Vegas all the momentum entering halftime. Nick Kwiatkoski's one-handed interception to close out Lock's forgettable day was poetry in motion for a defense that hadn't ball-hawked much all season.

3) The Raiders notching just two sacks does no justice to the beating Lock absorbed Sunday. In the first half alone, he was drilled in the back by Arden Key, who came unblocked from Lock's blind side, and took a blow to the chin from DE Clelin Ferrell that drew a 15-yard penalty. Lock took another shot from LB Nicholas Morrow on his third interception of the game, threw several balls off his back foot, and never looked comfortable. By game's end, his jersey looked more than ready for the washing machine. Not bad for a pass rush that entered with just nine sacks all year.

-- Chase Goodbread

1) After trudging through a life without Nick Chubb, the Browns (6-3) regained their ground-dominant form Sunday. It took a while, though, for Kevin Stefanski to again realize his best chance of victory was on a path cleared by the rushing attack, with the Browns turning to the run in the second half to power a nine-play, 64-yard scoring drive that produced the game's first touchdown on a nine-yard run by Chubb. Chubb showed some minor signs of rust or lingering effects from his MCL sprain suffered more than a month ago, but by the time came for Chubb to help the Browns ice their sixth win of the season, he took a toss around the left side and galloped toward the end zone. With a touchdown in sight, Chubb stepped out of bounds at the 1-yard line, allowing the Browns to kneel to burn the remaining time in the game to secure the victory. Together, Chubb and Kareem Hunt powered Cleveland's offense on another ugly weather Sunday along Lake Erie. The two combined to rush for 230 yards and the lone touchdown on 38 carries, with 168 of those yards coming in the second half. As the Browns proved way back in Week 2, they have the best backfield tandem in the NFL, and one that is fully capable of putting a game away.

2) Houston's Achilles heel -- its rushing defense -- appeared ready to sneak through Week 10 without being noticed, at least through two quarters. After forcing the Browns to attempt to win the game through the air and keeping things close for a half, Cleveland stubbornly returned to its strength, and the Texans (2-7) acquiesced. Deshaun Watson tried mightily to will the Texans to a victory, but with Houston unable to keep the Browns from finding success on the ground -- and winning the time of possession battle by over six minutes -- the Texans simply didn't stand much of a chance. Houston's offense awoke too late, waiting until there was just 4:59 left to play to finally put points on the board, and dropped its seventh game of the season. A missed Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal attempt can carry some of the blame, but on a day like Sunday, the Texans' best chance of victory rested in their ability to run the ball -- nonexistent for much of 2020 -- and convert their few opportunities afforded. The missed field goal and an inability to get a stop proved to be the difference for a team that just hasn't been able to find ways to win often in 2020.

3) We're spending a point on weather because it was very significant Sunday. The game's 1 p.m. kickoff was delayed to 1:35 due to a sudden November thunderstorm that rolled into Cleveland just before the start of the game, bringing with it heavy rain, hail, lightning and gusts of wind nearing 50 mph. Even with the delay, the uneventful first half that saw just three points scored in total helped bring the game in line with the rest of the early slate and hindered both offenses' ability to move the ball through the air. Watson and Baker Mayfield combined to throw for 295 yards and just one touchdown, with Watson's strike to former Brown Pharaoh Brown serving as Houston's lone score of the day. In a more pleasant environment, this one might have looked different, but after the Browns lost an ugly weather contest to Las Vegas two weeks ago, Cleveland can smile thanks to its Week 10 victory.

-- Nick Shook

1) In nine career NFC East matchups, Daniel Jones had managed four wins, all of which came against Washington. The 2019 first-rounder's sharp effort on Sunday finally brought about the good fortune that eluded him in the other divisional contests. Jones led an up-tempo Giants attack that the Eagles struggled to contain en route to an efficient 21-of-28 day for 244 yards. He was unable to log a TD pass, but he did turn a QB keeper into a 30-yard TD run for the game's first points. He also made timely throws to set up scoring plays. Following a Philly TD that cut N.Y.'s lead to 14-11 in the third quarter, Jones notched back-to-back 25-plus yard completions to Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate that led to three short Wayne Gallman runs for a score. Gallman (18/53/2) and the deceptively quick Jones (9/64/1) anchored another great rushing effort as the Giants (3-7) topped 100 rush yards for a fifth straight week.

2) For a team clinging to first place in the NFL's worst division, the Eagles (3-5-1) did not look like they were fresh off a bye week. The defense couldn't get timely stops and the offense was out of sync, as evidenced by the number of botched snaps, drops, and passes that either went through a receiver's hands or were too high. Carson Wentz (21-of-37 for 208 yards) looked off his game and was often seen with his head down or viciously popping his helmet straps off after another failed drive. The Eagles were held without a third-down conversion (0-of-9) for the first time since 2004. The Giants' pass rush, led by Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson and Blake Martinez, contributed to his frustration, as well. Their most impressive play came in the third when a lead block from Jason Kelce sprung Boston Scott loose for a career-best 56-yard TD run. But, outside of that, this was a bad day on both sides of the ball.

3) In a game featuring the league's top-two turnover-prone QBs, giveaways figured to be a big storyline. A second-straight TO-free Jones outing buoyed New York to another W. In the previous nine games, Jones either fumbled or tossed a pick in each. Against Philly, he displayed better decision-making and managed to stay aggressive, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. Jones also made sure to tuck the ball in close with both hands when he ran and protect it as he went down. Neither defense forced turnovers but New York managed to snuff out enough opportunities and bring enough pressure to lead to a victory. 

-- Jelani Scott

1) Matt Prater hit a 59-yard walk-off field goal to get the Lions (4-5) their first home win of the season. The sequence of events that got them there was just another repeated chapter in the Lions' topsy-turvy campaign in 2020. After Washington tied the game at 27, Detroit had just 16 seconds and two timeouts remaining to get Prater within range. Somehow, they got there, but not without a little help. On a play where quarterback Matthew Stafford almost connected on a deep bomb for a game-winning touchdown, Washington rookie pass-rusher Chase Young was flagged for roughing the passer and put the Lions at the 50-yard line. A nine-yard throw to Marvin Jones and quick timeout set the table for Prater's walk-off, and the Lions avoided what would've been the ninth time in the Matt Patricia era where Detroit blew a lead of 10 points or more in a loss.

2) Nearly two years to the day after suffering a life-altering leg injury, Alex Smith made his return as Washington's starting QB and helped orchestrate what could've been a storybook comeback. Washington was down 24-3 midway through the third quarter and seemingly out on its feet as the Lions were in full control on both sides of the ball. Smith and the Football Team never wavered, however, scoring three consecutive TDs that coincided with two consecutive three-and-outs forced by their defense. Down three with 2:37 left to play, Smith led Washington toward an eventful two-minute drive that saw big throws from Smith, untimely penalties from the Lions defense, and a Dustin Hopkins FG that was sure to send this one into overtime until it didn't. Smith's day was calculated yet mistake-free, completing 38 of 55 pass attempts for 390 yards that were mostly gained amid their late-game comeback. Washington (2-7) will host the Bengals in Week 11.

3) D'Andre Swift's first official start was a rousing success for the Lions offense. The rookie running back had 149 total yards from scrimmage (81 rushing, 68 receiving) and his speed threat set up big plays through the air. Following a run where Swift hurdled a defender to punctuate a big gain, Stafford found a wide-open Marvin Hall for a 55-yard touchdown, which was the game's first score. Jones' 27-yard TD catch was also the result of a Washington defense wary of Swift's presence. In the second half, Swift set a tone for the Lions through the air, breaking a big play on third and long to start the third quarter and ending that same drive with a bruising catch-and-run for a TD. It's a wonder why Swift didn't get the ball more (16 carries, five receptions), but considering the big-play potential he showed in this one, more opportunities will follow for the Georgia product. 

-- Michael Baca

Related Content