Around the NFL

NFL Week 9: What we learned from Sunday's games

1) Drew Brees is once again the NFL career TD passes record-holder, having surpassed Tom Brady, and most importantly for the here and now, keyed a season sweep for the Saints (6-2) over the Buccaneers (6-3). This ballyhooed Sunday nighter was a one-sided walloping. Brees was in vintage form, while the Buccaneers found no answers against a stellar New Orleans defensive effort. As stunning as it was to see the Bucs buckle and tumble under the lights, it was striking seeing Brees and the offense go to work with an arsenal seemingly healthy and on its game for the first time in a long time. A returning Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’quan Smith, an exciting Deonte Harris, Taysom Hill looking as versatile as ever, Jared Cook and, oh, that Alvin Kamara guy were all in the mix. Nobody had a huge game because everyone played a part with 12 Saints catching passes, seven running the ball and three passing it. Brees (26-for-32 for 222 yards, 135.2 rating) was the tone-setter, though, captaining the lambasting as he stood up to the Bucs blitz time after time and tossed four touchdowns to give him 564 on his career -- three more than Brady's latest tally -- and the Saints a half-game lead in the NFC South.

2) On the game's initial play from scrimmage Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan pressured Brady. First play or not, it was a foreshadowing. The Saints defense was tremendous and the Buccaneers offense was disastrous. Tampa didn't have a first down until the second quarter of the ball game and Brady was pressured all night and followed that with a troubling amount of bad decisions (three interceptions). Excellent performances were had by many -- Trey Hendrickson, Jordan, Malcolm Jenkins, Janoris Jenkins and Demario Davis, among them -- as the Saints held the Buccaneers out of the end zone and to a meager 194 total yards. On this Sunday night, the Saints defense and the New Orleans offense looked like the dominant entities many forecasted them to be ahead of the season. If this play continues, the Saints are very much the Super Bowl contender prognosticated prior to the season. It's a big if, though.

3) Antonio Brown was back on Sunday, had three catches for 31 yards and made as much impact on the Buccaneers offense as anyone, which is to say none. This was a reminder that this Buccaneers team lost to the Bears a few weeks ago and struggled out of the gate to begin the season. A three-game winning streak now stopped, Brady's bunch was inept on Sunday thanks in large part to the Saints' stellar play, but at the same time Tampa showed it's a mercurial squad. It struggled against the Giants and was dreadful against the Saints after it looked sensational in the weeks prior. The Bucs defense -- No. 3 in the league in total defense coming in -- could do nothing to thwart the Saints offense. Tampa's offense ran the ball an NFL all-time-low five times and had only 13 first downs while going just 1-for-9 on third downs. Like any bad loss, this is one the Bucs must flush and move on from, but it will remain as evidence that there is much work that lies ahead.

-- Grant Gordon

1) We're not saying an injury made Ben Roethlisberger play better Sunday, but there's no doubt the former preceded the latter. Following a blow to the knee on a hit by Cowboys rookie DL Neville Gallimore late in the second quarter, a visibly hobbled Roethlisberger stayed in the game long enough to complete four straight passes, the last of them for a TD, before heading to the locker room before the half ended. He returned for the second half, showing all the mobility of a redwood tree, and continued to carve up the Dallas defense from the pocket only. Credit Pittsburgh's pass protection as well, which held Dallas without a sack.

2) The expected line-of-scrimmage mismatch between the Dallas offensive line and the Steelers defensive front didn't exactly materialize. Dallas outrushed the Steelers, 144-46, and opened some nice holes up front, particularly for RB Tony Pollard (nine for 57). Pass protection wasn't quite as strong -- QB Garrett Gilbert faced more pressure than the Steelers' two sacks would indicate -- but overall, a Cowboys offensive line with two starters on injured reserve held up as well as could be expected against the league's sack-leading pass rush.

3) The Steelers made a curious decision late in the game that didn't end up being costly, but begged for explanation. On a fourth-and-1 from the Dallas 15 with 0:43 remaining, leading 24-19, they passed on a relatively easy field goal attempt that likely would have provided an eight-point lead. Instead they handed off to James Conner, who took a loss and gave the Cowboys 38 seconds with a chance to win the game with a touchdown. Perhaps kicker Chris Boswell's wild day -- a missed PAT and a blocked PAT spoiled his franchise-record 59-yard field goal -- went into the thinking. Still, there would have been plenty of explaining to do had Dallas put together a game-winning drive.

-- Chase Goodbread

1) Among all that makes Patrick Mahomes a special talent is that he defies the notion that offensive balance is necessary for big production. Sunday's win over Carolina showed that as well as any, as the Chiefs rushed for a putrid 30 yards on 12 carries, and still rang up 33 points on the strength of another monster passing day from Mahomes. He ended up with 45 pass attempts, almost four times Kansas City's run calls, and threw for 372 with four touchdowns. When he's well-protected -- and Sunday, he was sacked just once -- the man needs no help from Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

2) In a league where quarterbacks are coached to slide, get out of bounds, and avoid contact in traffic as much as possible, you've got to admire the occasions when they sell out with a key first down at stake. Enter Carolina's Teddy Bridgewater, who scrambled up the middle on a crucial third down in the fourth quarter, and leaped for the stick-mover just as he was hammered by Chiefs LB Ben Niemann. A few plays later, Bridgewater took a QB draw into the end zone to pull Carolina within a field goal.

3) Nobody can accuse the Panthers of easing Christian McCaffrey back into the offense too slowly. In his first action since a September ankle injury, the star rusher was the focal point of the Carolina offense right from its opening drive, which finished with a McCaffrey touchdown catch. He ended up with 28 touches, more than twice as many as any other Panther, for 151 total yards.

-- Chase Goodbread

1) A sizzling showdown between Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray came down to the kickers. Dolphins booter Jason Sanders nailed a 50-yard field goal with 3:30 left to give Miami a lead. Murray quickly guided his birds into field-goal range, but a low throw on third and 1 led to a Zane Gonzalez 49-yard attempt that came up short. Tua then converted a QB sneak on the ensuing possession to ice the game. For as many fireworks as the young QB sparked all afternoon, it was an anticlimactic ending. But Brian Flores' team once again proved it can win in a multitude of ways to move to 5-3 on the season and slide into the final wild card spot in the AFC.

2) After not being asked to do much in his first game, Tua was lights out Sunday, completing 20 of 28 passes for 248 yards and two TDs. The southpaw dropped dime after dime, zipped darts over the middle, and threaded the needle numerous times. If there were any questions about Tagovailoa's athleticism, mobility or health, the rookie answered them with several open-field jukes. The young Dolphins signal-caller didn't fear fitting balls into tight windows, including a gorgeous TD to Mack Hollins over a defender to pull Miami even in the fourth quarter. Tua spread the ball around, targeting nine receivers, and wasn't afraid to stretch the field to DeVante Parker and Preston Williams (before he left with a leg injury). Like all young QBs, Tua had his rookie moments -- particularly on two bad throwaways -- but proved he's got special talent and accuracy. With little run game to help out, Tua shouldered the load with aplomb. The Dolphins made a rare midseason QB change while having a winning record. Tagovailoa proved Sunday he is ready for the spotlight.

3) Murray shined once again as a dangerous dual-threat. The QB led the Cards with 11 rushing attempts for 106 yards and a TD to go along with his 283 passing yards and three additional scores. Murray was a blur in the open field, weaving his way through Dolphins defenders to pick up first down after first down. When he wasn't scampering in space, Murray threw BBs all over the field and dropped several beautiful deep bombs to Christian Kirk (5/123/1), who Miami couldn't cover Sunday. Murray's speed in space is a dangerous weapon against every defense, but particularly threatening to a Dolphins defense that likes to bring pressure. Kliff Kingsbury also trusted Murray with two fourth-down runs on his own side of the 50-yard-line that the QB converted. However, on a third fourth-down try, a handoff to Chase Edmonds was stuffed, leading to Miami's go-ahead field goal. The close loss hurts on a day Arizona could have made up ground in the NFC West after Seattle fell earlier in the day. Instead, the Cards (5-3) remain one game back in the division and battling for wild card position.

-- Kevin Patra

1) In the earlier years of the Sean McDermott era, the Bills (7-2) won these games by relying on their defense and hoping the Josh Allen-led offense would do enough to leave Buffalo on the winning side of the scoreboard at the end. No more. Buffalo is now just as good offensively as it is defensively. In a game in which the Seahawks would only be able to win by relying on their offense, Buffalo answered by matching Seattle's 419 yards with 420 of its own. The main driver of that was, of course, Allen, who completed 31 of 38 passes for 415 yards and three scores. In the first half, Allen put on a clinic, ripping passes to a number of targets and looking as if he was picking apart his opponent in a seven-on-seven summer tournament, not an NFL game in November. Allen found his usual suspects -- Stefon Diggs and John Brown combined for over 210 receiving yards -- but his ability to hit the open man was the difference Sunday, with Allen connecting with Tyler Kroft, Isaiah McKenzie and Gabriel Davis for touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is having a career year with his well-timed and expertly designed play-calling, and with Allen's ability to improvise added into the mix, Buffalo's offense is humming. Their win Sunday was a statement to the rest of the NFL.

2) Russell Wilson's trophy case might be glad he chose Nov. 8 as the day to have his nightmare outing, because if he did this later in the season, he might cost himself MVP in a single outing. Wilson looked uncomfortable for a good portion of the afternoon, double-clutching before throwing an early interception (snagged by Jordan Poyer) in the end zone, and hesitating again before almost throwing a pick in the fourth. In between, Wilson lost a fumble, threw another interception to Tre'Davious White on a desperate attempt on third and 25, and finishing things off by fumbling again thanks to a bone-rattling hit by A.J. Klein. While Wilson is still in the midst of an MVP-level season, Sunday produced game tape he'll likely want to burn after watching. Seattle (6-2) simply needs to be better offensively, starting with Wilson, if it wants to legitimately contend in the NFC.

3) Six. That's the number of quarterbacks who have thrown for 300-plus yards against the Seattle defense. The Seahawks threw their defensive spaghetti at the wall Sunday, and the only noodles that even somewhat stuck were the blitzing ones. After watching Allen pick the Seahawks apart on an incredibly easy touchdown drive -- his third of the first half -- Seattle decided its only path to remaining in the game was blitzing. Jarran Reed recorded 2.5 sacks before exiting due to injury and the group combined for seven sacks, but even Seattle's best strategic approach didn't work all that well, with Allen finishing with a passer rating of 138.5 and over 400 yards. His passer rating was even better under pressure, and it became clear before halftime the Bills didn't even need to consider running the ball consistently because of how easy Allen found the going through the air. That type of defense is highly concerning for the Seahawks, who simply will not win the NFC title at this rate. It must improve.

-- Nick Shook

1) Credit the Ravens pass defense, even without star CB Marlon Humphrey who was out with COVID-19, for blanketing Colts receivers on what proved to be a tough day for QB Philip Rivers. Marcus Peters notched an interception and a pass breakup, and the linebacking corps was all over most of the short stuff that Rivers incessantly settled for. His longest completion went for 21 yards, and it came in the fourth quarter with the outcome already put to bed. It didn't help that the Colts' top receiver, T.Y. Hilton, was out with an injury, but Baltimore (6-2), not Hilton's absence, was the reason the rest of the Colts (5-3) offense showed no explosiveness.

2) Lamar Jackson spent the first half of this game in a funk as Baltimore went to the break with just 56 total yards, but looked more like the 2019 MVP in the second half. A key was his aggressiveness in throwing more downfield, hitting Nick Boyle and Marquise Brown with deeper throws on each of Baltimore's first two drives of the second half. Jackson still finished with just 170 passing yards, but stretching the Colts' tough defense helped open the running game to spark Baltimore's win.

3) Dez Bryant's NFL comeback will have to wait at least another week if it is to add any juice to the Ravens offense. The three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was activated from Baltimore's practice squad for his first action since 2017, but played very little and finished without a catch. With Baltimore's offense dormant for the first half, it would've been a great time for a little splash from Bryant. Didn't happen.

-- Chase Goodbread

1) A.J. Brown is a monster. The Titans receiver paced an offense that wasn't asked to do a ton against an excellent Bears defense. Brown was the difference as the Titans (6-2) jumped out to a 10-0 first-half lead. The YAC demon picked up a big play on Tennessee's first field-goal drive. Then, midway through the second quarter, Brown caught a picture-perfect Ryan Tannehill pass down the sideline and muscled his way for a brilliant diving 40-yard TD. The play gave Tennessee a double-digit lead that felt like the game-winner against a Bears team struggling to move the ball. Brown accounted for 101 yards of the Titans' 228 total yards on the day. With the run game stymied and Tannehill swarmed by Bears, Brown's big plays stood out and were enough to put Chicago away.

2) Matt Nagy's offense is broken. The Bears earned just three first downs through two quarters and didn't score a point until the fourth quarter against a defense that was missing its top pass rusher. Nick Foles looked afraid to take shots and was off-target the majority of the game. Foles stacked up empty stats, earning 335 yards on 52 passing attempts, as the Bears sneaked back into the game late with two garbage-time TDs. For the majority of the game, Chicago's O was brutal on the eyes. The run game was nonexistent even before David Montgomery got dinged up. Chicago's longest run of the day was a fake punt by linebacker Barkevious Mingo that went 11 yards. Not trusting the offensive line to protect Foles, the Bears tossed a bevy of balls well short of the sticks on third-and-longs. You know an offense is hurting when it seems a Herculean task to gain four yards on a third and 13. Even when the offense did start moving the ball late, it couldn't get out of its own way with two fumbles killing any chance of a comeback. Once again, a majestic defensive effort was wasted by Chicago (5-4).

3) Corner Desmond King was welcomed to Tennessee with a touchdown. The trade to bring in King paid immediate dividends, as the corner scooped up a fumbled forced by Jeffery Simmons and scampered 63 yards for a score to put the Titans up, 17-0. The Tennessee defense took advantage of a sieve Bears offensive line, with linebackers Jayon Brown and Harold Landry living in the backfield. Brown gobbled up 10 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a tackle for loss, and a pass defended. Landry earned a sack and three QB hits. With Jadeveon Clowney out, the Titans forced two turnovers, squashed the Bears ground game and compiled three sacks. Taking advantage of a bad Bears offense, Tennessee handled its business without needing a massive day from its offense.

-- Kevin Patra

1) The numbers might not show it this week, but the Raiders (5-3) go as Derek Carr goes. Last week, Jon Gruden said Carr was Las Vegas' "secret sauce" in the team's win over the Browns, and that proved itself again against the Chargers (2-6). Carr's best play Sunday was much like those that saw him extend drives in Week 8: Facing third and 10, Carr scrambled and sacrificed his own safety to instead dive for extra yards, soaring over a tackle attempt to set the Raiders up with first and goal from the 4. Two plays later, Carr found Darren Waller for a touchdown. Las Vegas won with a great mix of run and pass, with Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker combining for over 130 yards and two total touchdowns, but as demonstrated by Carr's own 41 rushing yards on six attempts, this is the quarterback's offense. When he's effective, teams are forced to find a way to keep up with the Raiders, not try to slow them down. They're having a tough time doing the latter, too, with Las Vegas again posting a third-down conversion rate of 50% or better for the second straight week. Those conversions largely depend on the play of Carr, who has proven no task is too tall, and no risk too great for him to set aside all concern and go for the sticks. It got the Raiders their second-straight win Sunday.

2) Justin Herbert continues to show the world why Charger fans should be very excited about the decade ahead. Herbert put together his latest solid outing as Los Angeles' rookie starter, completing 28 of 42 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns, and nearly led a game-winning drive in the contest's final possession. Those standing together against the use of goal line fades scored a victory Sunday when two straight fades to the same corner pylon ended in consecutive incompletions, with the latter coming as a result of an accurate replay review that wiped out what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass from Herbert. Criticize offensive coordinator Shane Steichen all you want, but save it when it comes to Herbert, who looks seasoned beyond his years and will continue to keep the Chargers competitive in the weeks ahead, even if they still haven't quite figured out how to consistently win the close one.

3) I had a simple question posed to me earlier this week: "So, what is the Raiders' defense?" Frankly, I think we can expand that question to wonder who the Raiders are as an entire team. Right now, we don't quite know what their true identity is, but what we can definitively say after two weeks of close wins is this: The Raiders are closers (at least in November). A week after bleeding nearly nine minutes of clock in a one-score game that became two thanks to a field goal that capped the drive and ultimately secured victory, the Raiders turned to their defense for one last stop and got it thanks to two pass break-ups in the game's final two plays. The Raiders may have handed the Chargers three points with an untimely fumble at the end of the first half, but they didn't make a similar mistake on the defensive side with the game on the line. Las Vegas heads into Week 10 feeling good yet again, thanks to its third win in four weeks.

-- Nick Shook

1) Dalvin Cook shot out of a cannon, blasting through a massive hole, shedding a tackle attempt, and dashed 70 yards for a game-sealing touchdown. For the second-straight week after returning from injury, Cook carried a Vikings offense that gobbled up yards on the ground. Cook dominated shoddy Lions tackling, taking 22 carries for 206 yards and two scores. He added two catches for 46 yards. When Cook is baking, the Vikings offense is an efficient operation that allows Kirk Cousins to find wide-open receivers off play-action. To wit: On Minnesota's first two drives, the Vikes marched down for touchdowns without attempting a third-down play. Mike Zimmer's squad got itself to 3-5 with back-to-back division wins after a disastrous start to the season. With Cook cruising, Minnesota is threatening to jump back into the playoff discussion and has a favorable schedule down the stretch to make noise.

2) Matthew Stafford's week started with the QB on the reserve/COVID-19 list and ended in the locker room getting evaluated for a concussion. Stafford was knocked from the contest early in the fourth quarter after a sack and never returned, though he was cleared of concussion protocol. Before the injury, Stafford looked like a QB who missed a week of practice, throwing two brutal interceptions in scoring range as the Lions (3-5) threatened to stay in the contest. Stafford's errors wiped out any chance. After taking a deep shot on the opening play, Stafford didn't stretch the field against a Vikings defense that had been getting torched this season. Chase Daniel took over when Stafford exited and threw his own ugly INT. When the Lions turn the ball over, and the offense goes two of five in the red zone, Detroit has no shot at winning given how bad their defense has been this season.

3) The Vikings special teams unit will likely face Zimmer's wrath this week. The group gave up two punt blocks Sunday. Detroit hadn't had a blocked punt since 2007 until last week. Zimmer's team saw them collect two in one half of football. Against a bad Lions team, the miscues didn't kill Minnesota. They could against better clubs. 

-- Kevin Patra

1) Calvin Ridley's absence isn't ideal for the Falcons (3-6), but you couldn't really notice it Sunday. Matt Ryan's receiving corps stepped up in Week 9, with pass-catchers like Olamide Zaccheaus (four receptions, 103 yards, one touchdown) and Hayden Hurst (seven catches, 62 yards) filling in nicely. Ryan spread the ball among eight targets on his way to posting a line of 25-of-35 passing for 284 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and the Falcons needed all of it to hold off a late charge from the scrappy Broncos. A key victory for the Falcons came in time of possession, with Atlanta finishing on the positive side with a 33:27-26:33 difference, even after finishing with less than 100 rushing yards as a team. The weight again landed on the arm of Ryan, who did his part in helping the Falcons win their third game in their last four contests following the firing of coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Talks of dealing Ryan have quieted thanks to performances like the one we saw Sunday.

2) Atlanta's defense has taken a positive turn since the firing of Quinn, which should largely be credited to the return of key players. Keanu Neal's presence has helped add attitude, and the combined performances of Deion Jones and promising linebacker Foye Oluokun have made the Falcons into a legitimate group on the defensive side of the ball. That reality is what propelled the Falcons, at least early, when Atlanta harassed Drew Lock, forced multiple stops and turned them into a 27-6 lead. Denver's offense woke up in the fourth quarter, diminishing some of what had been a very positive day for the Falcons defense, but it stiffened in the key moments, forcing a turnover on downs while clinging to a one-score lead. Sunday's game was the latest in a month filled with mostly impressive defensive performances, and makes one wonder where the Falcons might be standing had they turned their early season close losses into victories. Above all, though, the unit is a great reason for optimism going forward.

3) It's fun to imagine what the Broncos (3-5) might become when at full offensive strength. Denver's offensive awakening arrived too late Sunday, but still provided a glimpse of why the Broncos are confident in the future of Lock, who completed 11 of 21 passes for 151 yards and two passing touchdowns (while also running one in himself) in the final quarter. Lock spread the ball among six targets in the fourth, connecting with rookie K.J. Hamler four times for 52 yards, twice with Jerry Jeudy for 61 yards and a score, and twice with Tim Patrick for 13 yards and a touchdown. Add in Courtland Sutton and this is a group that has plenty of cause for excitement going into 2021. For now, we're receiving weekly examples of how they're continuing to grow together, and with a quarterback with the toughness, leadership and moxie of Lock, it's hard not to like them -- even if it took them too long to get going Sunday.

-- Nick Shook

1) When every team in the division is bad, every divisional game means that much more. The New York Giants and Washington Football Team are still playing for first place and the first pick in the NFC East, if not the entire draft. Big Blue (2-7) beat WFT (2-6) for the second time in four weeks, leaving both teams just one win behind the top spot in the division. New York, of course, still has to prove it can beat teams other than Washington if it's going to contend in the NFL's worst division. A plus-five turnover margin is typically the blueprint for a blowout, yet it took two takeaways in the final minutes to prevent a collapse.

2) While New York earned the head-to-head tiebreaker Sunday, Washington holds the advantage for the draft. It might come in handy next April. Halfway through the season, Washington's quarterback question remains unanswered. Kyle Allen's season is likely over after he suffered a dislocated and fractured ankle. Alex Smith, in just his second appearance since breaking his leg two years ago, got hot but cooled late. He threw for 325 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter to seal the loss. Coach Ron Rivera said afterward that Smith will be the starter moving forward. Dwayne Haskins can't get out of D.C. soon enough. At the very least, Washington might have something in Cam Sims. The second-year wideout entered Week 9 with all of six receptions in his career. His big-play ability -- his three receptions went for 32, 33 and 45 yards -- woke up a sleepy offense and sparked the double-digit rally.

3) Daniel Jones didn't commit a turnover. It's worth celebrating given that he had at least one in every game this year prior and his 13 for the season were second-most in the league coming into Sunday -- Jones still has a whopping 36 turnovers in 22 career games. His game-managing skills didn't extend much further against Washington. He took five sacks and averaged just 6.2 yards per attempt while leading one long touchdown drive, though he capped that off with a dime to Evan Engram. New York won because of an opportunistic defense and strong rushing attack. Jones did his part in helping build a 20-3 lead in the first half. But similar to Monday's narrow loss to the Buccaneers, the second-year starter needed to do a lot more in the second half to put the game away. It's why New York might also be looking for a new QB after the season.

-- Adam Maya

1) Amid a season where the effort hasn't always been there, Deshaun Watson again left it all out on the field in an effort to will his team to victory. And, with Watson's arm and legs leading the way, Houston (2-6) managed to hang on for its first road win. Facing a defense not known for generating pressure still proved to be a challenge for the Texans' O-line, but Watson's shiftiness and playmaking ability kept numerous drives afloat. His first pass of the afternoon turned into a 57-yard Brandin Cooks catch-and-run score, which was the Texans' first opening-drive TD of the season. Not longer after, Watson would lose David Johnson (concussion) for the rest of the day, adding more to his plate. Watson made good on his opportunities to scramble and finished with a team-high 50 rushing yards. Watson did take more than a few hits for his troubles – two sacks, five QB hits – but his running game effort coupled with his 281 pass yards and two TDs capped off another all-around showing.

2) Jake Luton's path to QB1 status nearly mirrored the man he replaced, but the performance the rookie put on ended up outdoing what Gardner Minshew managed in his debut a year ago. After having his first pass batted down at the line, Luton connected with D.J. Chark (7/146/TD) for a booming 73-yard touchdown pass to give the Jags (1-7) an early lead and their first opening drive score of 2020. With fellow rookie James Robinson (25/99/TD) trudging away on the ground, Luton settled in a bit and displayed a good arm and solid pocket presence. His performance wasn't without its woes, namely failing to evade an incoming J.J. Watt for a strip-sack and launching an errant pass for a pick. But his effort to close was rather impressive. Down 27-19 with under three minutes remaining, Luton capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive with a nifty 13-yard TD run to cut the Jags deficit to two. An incomplete pass on the ensuing two-point conversion, however, provided a bittersweet ending. He finished 26-of-38 for 304 yards, a TD and an INT.

3) It wasn't a particularly great day for either defense, which was expected considering how shoddy both have been. But a shoutout is in order for Houston, which made a few difference-making plays. The aforementioned pick set up a 77-yard Will Fuller TD, which luckily wasn't flagged for delay of game despite the ball being snapped well after the play clock reached zero. Consecutive run stuffs by Tyrell Adams and Justin Reid forced a turnover on downs on the Jags' first fourth-quarter drive. Watt, who became the 35th player in NFL history to reach 100 sacks, ended their second. Jacksonville's last series resulted in a score, but the Texans' coverage held up to eek out a post-bye week W and complete the season sweep over Jacksonville.

-- Jelani Scott

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.