Welcome to week 10, folks. In an up and down year for the NFL in 2015, I would have to say week 10 should be marked down as a down week. More injuries, poor officiating and some generally sloppy play were thrust upon this Sunday. It appears that the catch rule will be called however the referees see fit in any given game at this point and is due for a massive overhaul this offseason. It’s impossible to know how catches will be ruled at this point and it had a major impact on games this weekend. Let’s break this weekend’s games.
Buffalo Bills 22, New York Jets 17
Christmas came early on Thursday Night Football as this game was the debut of the NFL’s Color Rush jerseys. With the Jets in Green (but not Jets green) and the Bills in bright red, it looked much more like Christmas than early November. Overall, they weren’t bad (unless you’re colorblind, but that’s another story). Once again, the Thursday game was a bit difficult to watch. The quality of play wasn’t great, but the quality of coaching was even worse. Buffalo built a decent lead in this one before New York came storming back. However a pair of horrible 4th down play calls did the Jets in and the Bills were able to hold on for the victory.
Jacksonville Jaguars 22, Baltimore Ravens 20
Let’s jump into this one in the closing seconds. Jacksonville is down, 19-20 and on the Baltimore 49-yard line. Blake Bortles takes the snap less than a second before the play clock expires, begins to drop back and is sacked by Baltimore’s Elvis Dumervil. But wait, there’s a flag. Dumervil took Bortles down by the facemask – the game can’t end on a defensive penalty. So after the 15-yard penalty, the Jaguars send out the kicker for a 53-yard field goal. He had missed a 26-yarder earlier in the game, so this was no guarantee. Snap, kick, good. This one was a crazy finish and seems par for the course for the Ravens.
Detroit Lions 18, Green Bay Packers 16
Speaking of ugly. Most of us were expecting an easy win for the pack in this one and a good opportunity to get back to their winning ways. Detroit had other plans. This was more of the Packers looking terrible than it was the Lions looking good. Green Bay offense was out of sync again and simply couldn’t get it together long enough to sustain a drive. The Lions took advantage and stole their first win at Lambeau since 1991.
Minnesota Vikings 30, Oakland Raiders 19
Is it 1998 again already? The Vikings are playing well and have taken sole possession of first place in the NFC North. This game was all about Adrian Peterson. AP ran for over 200 yards on the Raiders, battering them all day long, and then sealed it with an 80-yarder late in the 4th. The Viking D did a great job in shutting down the up and coming passing tandem of ACDC – Amari Cooper and Derek Carr.
Kansas City Chiefs 29, Denver Broncos 13
Yikes. What can you say about this one? Peyton Manning set the record for career passing yards in what is likely the worst start of his entire career. 5 of 20 passing with 4 interceptions and was benched. And it looked even worse than that, if that’s possible. The Chiefs handed the ball to Charcandrick West and rode him to victory after destroying Manning. Makes you wonder what will become of the Broncos in the coming weeks.
New England Patriots 27, New York Giants 26
So, what is a catch? I’m not sure anyone knows anymore. At the end of this terrific game, the Giants thought they had won it after Odell Beckham Jr. pulled in a pass in the end zone. However, the catch was overruled because the ball was knocked out of his hands – even though it was after he definitively got both feet down in the end zone. It ended up being the difference in the game as they Giants settled for a field goal before Brady led another great game – winning drive capped off by a Gostkowski field goal as time expired. Perhaps we’ll see another rematch in the postseason?
Miami Dolphins 20, Philadelphia Eagles 19
Simply put, a disappointing game for the Eagles. Philly jumped out to an early lead after scoring 16 points in the first quarter. It looked like a commanding lead as the Dolphins put up just 3. But the times they were a changing. Sam Bradford and Ryan Mathews each left the game due to injury and the Miami defense held the Eagles to just 3 points the rest of the game. Mark Sanchez was driving down the field to steal this one back for Philly late in the fourth quarter, but was intercepted by Reshad Jones. It wasn’t pretty, but the Dolphins offense was able to put together 17 points in the final three quarters to snag a victory.
Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Cleveland Browns 9
The Browns didn’t get what they bargained for in this one. Ben Roethlisberger was sitting this one out with a foot sprain and Landry Jones was at the helm. A much better matchup, if you’re Cleveland. But Landry Jones never made it out of the first quarter. Usually, when you knock the backup quarterback out of the game, the third stringer comes into the game and things are looking good. In this case, Roethlisberger came into the game and threw for almost 400 yards. Classic Cleveland. Who would have thought you’d be punished for knocking the 2nd string QB out of the game?
Chicago Bears 37, St. Louis Rams 13
Well, I didn’t see this coming. The Bears have gone from brutally bad to competitive in the last few weeks and really put it on the Rams. In a game where Matt Forte was on the bench and Alshon Jeffery was a non-factor, the Bears somehow still put up 37 points. Magic. Rookie runningback Jeremy Langford accounted for 182 yards from scrimmage while tight end Zach Miller added another 100 yards receiving as they absolutely smoked a talented Rams defense. Nick Foles continued his woeful play and rookie sensation Todd Gurley was held to just 45 yards on the ground. St. Louis won’t win many games with those stat lines.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10, Dallas Cowboys 6
Oh, you don’t know what you’ve got, til it’s gone… Oh, how the Cowboys miss Tony Romo. Yet another lackluster performance by the Cowboys offense. They couldn’t get it done even when the defense limited the Bucs to just 10 points. The good news is that they get Romo back next week. Jameis Winston wasn’t great, but did manage to “run” in the game’s only touchdown – the game-winner – for Tampa.
Carolina Panthers 27, Tennessee Titans 10
As expected, Carolina improved to 9-0 this week with a win over the terrible Titans. It was actually pretty close at the half when Carolina only led by 4, but they cruised to victory in the second half with 13 unanswered points. Tennessee really struggled to get anything going against a stingy Panther defense minus one explosive run by Dexter McCluster that generated the Titans’ only touchdown. Greg Olsen continues to be Cam Newton’s favorite target as it’s been no wide receivers, no problem, for the Panthers.
Washington Redskins 47, New Orleans Saints 14
Captain Kirk Cousins lead the way on Sunday as the Redskins absolutely torched what is supposedly the Saints’ defense. They more closely resembled a turnstile with the amount of players running by them. Cousins was at the helm of a truly dynamic offense (on Sunday, at least) that put up a boatload of yards and points. He threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. I guess anything is possible when you play the Saints. The only thing you can really say for sure about New Orleans, is that you never know what you’re going to get. Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan was let go on Monday following this atrocity.
Arizona Cardinals 39, Seattle Seahawks 32
This was a wild one. Arizona jumped out to a commanding 19-0 lead in the first, but Seattle eventually woke up and began to storm back. Strip sacks on back to back possessions by Seattle’s defense got them right back in the game and had the Cardinals on their heels. But the seasoned vet, Carson Palmer would not be denied. He was able to rally the troops and battle back, holding onto the victory for the NFC West-leading Cardinals. Once again, Marshawn Lynch wasn’t much more than a ghost in this one and you have to wonder what his role will be going forward with Thomas Rawls looking so good.
Houston Texans 10, Cincinnati Bengals 6
Yikes, this one was tough to watch. If you’re a Bengals-hater, this is what you’ve been waiting for. Andy Dalton and the Bengals’ offense struggled mightily against JJ Watt and company. Specifically, Tyler Eifert, who had 3 drops and AJ Green who fumbled the ball away to end the game. The Texans didn’t look great either, but it was enough to get the job done. DeAndre Hopkins made the play of the game, hauling in a one-handed touchdown in tight coverage – which ended up being the game-winner. The biggest question coming out of this one is which way will each of these teams go?
Another wild week is in the books. We’re wrapping up the byes in the coming weeks really getting into the grind of the second half. It will be exciting to see how some of these divisional races play out as we enter the stretch. How long will New England and Carolina remain undefeated? Can the Texans win the AFC South with Andrew Luck injured? Who will come out of the NFC East? See ya next week!