Published: Nov 13, 2022 at 12:32 PM
Around The NFL breaks down what you need to know from all of Sunday’s action in Week 10 of the 2022 NFL season. Catch up on each game’s biggest takeaways using the links below:
Grant Gordon’s takeaways:
- No. 1 defense wins the night. On an evening positioned to be the unveiling of a healthy and restocked Niners offense, it was the No. 1-ranked San Francisco defense that requires commendation. With the game in peril late, Nick Bosa and Co. led the way to victory. Trailing by the final score, Justin Herbert and the Chargers were held to a turnover on downs on just four plays after taking the ball with 2:02 to play. They got the ball back, but for just one play as Charles Omenihu hit Herbert’s arm and forced a wobbly throw that was intercepted by Talanoa Hufanga. There are myriad questions remaining to be answered by a sputtering Niners offense, but the club’s top-ranked defense stood tall on Sunday night, holding the Chargers to 52 yards of second-half offense and closing out the win.
- Bolts D loses battle of attrition: For a good portion of Sunday night’s game, the Chargers defense looked like the unit many predicted it would look like ahead of the season. Drue Tranquill, Derwin James and Khalil Mack keyed an effort that held the Niners’ superstar-laden offense to just three points for most of the first half, but as the game wore on, the Chargers got worn out by a lack of warm bodies and the Niners’ bruising running game. Having lost defensive lineman Austin Johnson for the season due to injury and waived former first-rounder Jerry Tillery this past week, the Chargers then lost defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia (knee) and Christian Covington (pectoral) on Sunday. The Niners had the ball for 37 minutes and the toll taken on the Chargers showed by game’s end. There were signs of what this defense could and should be, but also the harsh reality of their current situation with a long list of starters and contributors on the shelf (see also Joey Bosa, J.C. Jackson and Chris Rumph II).
- Elijah’s surprising return. A lot has changed since Elijah Mitchell last played in Week 1. Jeff Wilson is now in Miami and Christian McCaffrey is his new backfield mate, for starters. But Mitchell returned from a knee injury and played a pivotal role in the Niners’ win, carrying the ball a game-high 18 times for a game-best 89 yards. Perhaps more than anyone, Mitchell led the way in grinding down the Chargers’ defense in the second half, when he had 13 carries for 66 yards. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Mitchell or McCaffrey leads the way when it comes to touches or if it changes by game. Sunday was supposed to mark the first time seeing what a fully healthy and fully acclimated McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel together would lead to. But even in the glow of a win, offensive questions abound (see George Kittle getting targeted just twice on 27 routes, per Next Gen Stats). The 49ers scored just two touchdowns against an undermanned Chargers defense and Samuel and McCaffrey were smothered for the most part. It was Mitchell, in his return, who produced the most positives.
Next Gen stat of the game: Justin Herbert was pressured on 35.1% of his dropbacks Sunday night (29.9% from Weeks 1-9).
NFL Research: With Nick Bosa’s sack on Sunday, the Bosas — brothers Nick and Joey, and father John — became the seventh family in league history to combine for 100-plus sacks since they became an official statistic in 1982. The Bosa’s now have 100.5 career sacks.
Eric Edholm’s takeaways:
- Jeff Saturday is 1-0 as a head coach. The most controversial head-coaching hire in the league in some time (since Urban Meyer?) had a hell of a week before he ever put on the headset for the first time. Former NFL coaches (such as CBS analyst Bill Cowher) and players (such as NFL Network’s Joe Thomas) ripped the Colts for hiring Saturday and Saturday for even accepting the interim job. Perhaps their criticism has some real merit, but Saturday led a wayward Colts team to a road win, a man-bites-dog headline if we’ve ever seen one. Pass game specialist/assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier, elevated to his new role midweek, called a really nice game — especially considering he’s never called plays at the college or NFL levels. Yes, the return of Jonathan Taylor helped, as he ripped off a 66-yard touchdown and had his most rushing yards since Week 15 of last season. But the Colts also blocked better, tackled better and looked more cohesive than they have in weeks. Does Saturday deserve some credit for that? We think so. Whether this is a good Raiders team is not the argument here. The fact is that Saturday walked into a pretty terrible situation and pulled off a very respectable win after a week when many killed him for even taking the job.
- Matt Ryan starting was a surprise. If you’ve lost track of who is doing what with the Colts, you’re forgiven. A lot has happened the past few weeks. But as a refresher, Sam Ehlinger had been starting at quarterback and Ryan was sat down/benched/whatever in what was billed at the time as a semi-permanent move. But the new staff made a switch pregame, starting Ryan for the first time since a Week 7 loss to the Titans. And Ryan played well! He hit on 17 of his first 21 passes (with at least one drop in there) before taking a bad sack just prior to a missed field goal. But the Colts have to be thrilled with a one-sack, zero-fumble performance from Ryan, who even stunned the Raiders with a 39-yard scramble — the longest of his career by 19 yards. He was prepared, efficient and mostly on point in this game, even if the Raiders’ defense provided next to no pass rush and some open looks in coverage.
- Raiders turn in another sad effort. There’s really no way to put a bow on this pig. The Raiders just lost a game they had little business losing, and things are getting really ugly in the desert. Sure, there was no Hunter Renfrow or Darren Waller out there, nor Divine Deablo (or Johnathan Abram or Blake Martinez, we suppose) on defense. It was a busy week in Vegas, but considering the opponent and where this game was played, this loss stings pretty badly. It raises even more doubts about the viability of Josh McDaniels’ head-coaching ability after the team’s 2-7 start and fourth straight loss on Sunday. He made some adjustments on offense, getting Derek Carr going after an 0-for-5 start and making Davante Adams the focus. But those are moves any coach off the street would make. For the cherry on top, the Raiders committed 10 penalties for 74 yards, also wiping out 55 yards’ worth of plays. It’s been a lost season for some time now, but losses such as this one raise bigger questions about the future of the team.
Next Gen stat of the game: Jonathan Taylor reached a top speed of 20.64 mph on his 66-yard TD run, his first 20-plus mph carry this season. Taylor has reached 20-plus mph on 16 touches since entering the league in 2020, trailing only Tyreek Hill (29).
NFL Research: Josh McDaniels started his head-coaching career 6-0. His record since then is 7-24.
Nick Shook’s takeaways:
- It pays to have an experienced veteran backup. Thanks to an unfortunate hamstring injury for Kyler Murray and a mid-week concussion protocol placement for Matthew Stafford, Sunday became a showdown of second-stringers. The Week 10 result proved just how important it is to have a trusted veteran capable of stepping in for a starter. Colt McCoy operated Arizona’s offense in place of Murray and received a hefty workload as a passer, completing 26 of 37 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown. His main two targets — DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore — carried the load for the Cardinals, who threw it plenty early in the game before turning to James Conner to salt the game away. Even A.J. Green showed up, making a fantastic touchdown grab to push Arizona’s lead to 17-3 just before halftime. The other side of the equation — Rams signal-caller John Wolford — didn’t fare quite as well, completing 24 of 36 passes for 212 yards and one interception. His lone touchdown pass came in the final seconds of a game that was already decided, proving again how important it is to have a player like McCoy ready to step in when needed.
- The margin for error gets slimmer for the Rams. Los Angeles’ offense was already trudging through deep mud entering Week 10, and the loss of Stafford only made the going more difficult. The worst development came Sunday, though, when receiver Cooper Kupp — the only consistently productive playmaker in the Rams’ offense — exited early in the fourth quarter of a one-score game with a leg injury that appeared to be fairly serious. Kupp did not return, and the Rams’ offense suffered accordingly, punting and turning the ball over on two of its final three possessions. If Kupp is out for multiple weeks, we might just have to stick a fork in these Rams.
- Rondale Moore*is rising.A week after seeing twice as many targets as Arizona’s No. 1 option DeAndre Hopkins, Moore continued to build on his mid-season success, catching nine passes for 94 yards, including a phenomenal grab on fourth down that led to James Conner’s second rushing touchdown of the day. Moore’s role in this offense has become increasingly important opposite Hopkins with Marquise Brown sidelined by injury, and it appears that even as Arizona has struggled to sustain momentum offensively, Moore is going to continue to play an important part going forward. A game like Sunday certainly helps his case to be a featured target, and if he can continue to produce, the Cardinals’ chances of digging out of their now 4-6 hole will be improve.
Next Gen stat of the game: Colt McCoy completed 8 of 11 passes of 10-plus air yards for 123 yards and one touchdown in Sunday’s win.
NFL Research: The Cardinals are now 11-3 on the road (.786 win pct.) since 2021, the best road record in football.
Kevin Patra’s takeaways:
- Packers keep season alive, storming back for OT victory. Green Bay will not go quietly into the night. Aaron Rodgers hit Allen Lazard for a 36-yard gain on third-and-1 to help set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal to push the Pack to 4-6 and keep their season alive in a muddled NFC. Down 14 in the fourth quarter, Rodgers threw two touchdowns to Christian Watson, and the Packers’ defense made stops late to force the extra period. Dallas received the ball first in OT and marched into potential field-goal range. But Mike McCarthy, returning to Lambeau Field, elected to eschew a long attempt and called a pass on fourth-and-4. Dak Prescott was pressured and threw incomplete, setting the Packers up in excellent field position needing just three points to win. McCarthy chucked his headset after the failed fourth down, likely knowing his former protégé, Rodgers, would make him pay for the decision.
- Hello there, Christian Watson! The Packers’ rookie receiver had a massive day, catching four passes for 107 yards and three TDs. Every single one of Watson’s receptions was big. He scored on a 58-yard bomb from Rodgers to get the Pack on the board in the first half. In the fourth quarter, he added another 39-yard score and a game-tying 7-yarder just ahead of the two-minute warning. Watson’s lone non-TD grab was a third-down conversion. It’s been a struggle for the rookie, who has had trouble staying healthy and had several drops and miscues this season. His afternoon could have been even bigger had he not slowed on another perfectly thrown bomb from Rodgers. But Sunday showed the promise the Packers expected when drafting him in the second round. The rookie has speed to burn and cooked a banged-up Cowboys secondary. Green Bay clearly entered the game planning to pound the ball at a soft Dallas run D. It did so to the tune of 207 total rushing yards and an Aaron Jones TD. The consistent run game set up Rodgers’ deep shots to Watson. It’s the type of game we expected from the Packers’ offense all season and have rarely seen.
- Cowboys waste big day from CeeDee Lamb. The Cowboys’ wideout cooked the Packers’ secondary repeatedly, getting open every which way. Lamb generated a career-high 150 yards and two TDs on the game. Prescott will kick himself for two interceptions by safety Rudy Ford, one in the end zone, that kept the Packers in the game. Green Bay turned both of Prescott’s first-half interceptions into touchdowns. The miscues and penalties bit the Cowboys badly. Dallas went three-and-out five times. Penalties in overtime particularly stung, with a holding call wiping out a big Malik Davis run that would have set up a first down near the red zone. Instead, the Cowboys were forced to settle for an ill-fated fourth-down attempt. The disappointing loss drops Dallas to 6-3 behind the Eagles and Giants in the hotly contested NFC East.
Next gen stat of the game: Micah Parsons generated zero QB pressures on just eight pass rushes, the first game with no pressures in his career.
NFL Research: Christian Watson is the second rookie with three receiving touchdowns against the Cowboys. The other was Hall of Famer Randy Moss on Thanksgiving in 1998.
Eric Edholm’s takeaways:
- Right when it looked like the Vikings’ luck would run out … Some had poked holes in the Vikings’ 7-1 record entering Sunday, citing their many close wins and wins against backup quarterbacks. Neither of those factors worked in their favor, as Josh Allen played in spite of an elbow injury, and with 45 seconds left in regulation it looked like Allen and the Bills would hand the Vikings a close loss. But following a wild sequence of events that led to a Bills’ goal-line stand, all hell broke loose. With the ball inside the Bills’ own 1-yard line, Allen fumbled and the Vikings not only converted but scored a go-ahead touchdown. Have you ever seen that? Watching Dalvin Cook drop a third-and-goal pass near the end zone and Kirk Cousins get stopped on a fourth-down sneak had to make Vikings fans sick. But a few real-time minutes later, they were winning. Then the Bills tied it and sent it to overtime. But the Vikings did what they had to do offensively in OT, and Patrick Peterson’s second interception ended it. This was a classic, as good a regular season game as you’ll get. And the Vikings proved they’re no fool’s gold.
- Josh Allen played through pain but couldn’t get it done. It was a mystery almost right up until kickoff whether or not Allen would start, despite reports in the hours leading up to the game that he would gut his way through an elbow injury. Allen took a little bit to warm up, but he led the Bills on three touchdown drives and a field goal in the next five possessions to give Buffalo a 24-10 halftime lead. The Bills did stall too often in the second half, and Allen is to blame for an end-zone interception on fourth down that could have given them a 17-point lead. Who was to blame on the fumble inside the Buffalo 1-yard line that gave the Vikings a lead? Hard to say. Allen did lead the Bills on the game-tying field-goal drive, however, even if the completion to Gabe Davis looked like it could have been incomplete. Allen also had several tough — and critical runs — making him a threat when his arm might have been giving him issues. Yet his interception in overtime ended it, just a poor decision at the wrong time with a field goal able to tie the game. A game effort, but Allen and Co. came up short.
- Justin Jefferson is not real. Make no mistake about it: Jefferson had one of the best games you’ll ever see from a wide receiver. His 22-yard touchdown to kick off this wild contest was a fine grab, but it was maybe his fifth-most impressive play of the game. He hauled in a critical 14-yard catch on third down that helped the Vikings on a field-goal drive and kept it a one-score game in the first half, but he saved his best work for the fourth quarter and overtime. Jefferson’s 32-yard catch on fourth-and-18 is not only a Catch of the Year candidate, but it might be the best he’ll ever haul in from an artistic standpoint. The Vikings also don’t win if he misses it. Jefferson (10 receptions for 193 yards) appeared to score the go-ahead TD near the end zone at the end of regulation, but it was ruled short, and the Vikings almost blew it thereafter. Once it went to overtime, Jefferson hauled in a 13-yard catch and drew a pass interference call that set up the game-winning field goal. He’s simply playing at an unreal level, with 814 yards since Week 4 alone, and his heroics helped deliver a statement victory for Minnesota.
Next Gen stat of the game: Dalvin Cook reached a top speed of 21.68 mph on his 81-yard TD run, the third-fastest speed by a ball carrier this season. The current top three: Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III (22.09 mph), Jets RB Breece Hall (21.87 mph) and Cook.
NFL Research: Justin Jefferson now has 20 career games with 100-plus receiving yards, the most by any player in his first three NFL seasons. Jefferson broke a tie with Odell Beckham Jr. and Hall of Famer Randy Moss (19 such games).
Eric Edholm’s takeaways:
- The rest of the league really let the Chiefs get Kadarius Toney, and that’s a problem. In his first game as a Chief last week, Toney received nine offensive snaps, touched it twice and gained 12 yards. That was his preseason, if you will. Consider him fully indoctrinated into the Chiefs now. On Sunday against the Jags, Toney was a full-fledged playmaker — and the possibilities with him are limitless. His first touch of the afternoon was a 9-yard TD catch (his first in the NFL), hopping along the sideline to get in. His second was a 32-yard jet sweep that set up a touchdown. Toney’s third touch was a 23-yard catch to set up another score and a 20-0 lead. Later, he’d fight through illegal contact to sky for and haul in a 23-yard catch on another TD drive. The Chiefs had him all over the place, including returning punts. On the day, he finished with 33 yards rushing and 57 more receiving, officially adding another weapon to Andy Reid’s offense. Like the Chiefs needed one. Be very scared, folks.
- Doug Pederson had the right approach to this game. The Jaguars shocked Arrowhead Stadium when, before some fans had even settled in, they onsides kicked on the opening kickoff — and recovered. That was an indication that Pederson knew what kind of game this was coming in, a gutsy move against a team that demands playing that way. Granted, the Jaguars did nothing with that drive and arguably should have gone for it on fourth-and-1 (really, they were about a foot shy) from their own 30-yard line late in the first half. The Chiefs went on a 10-play, 86-yard drive to make it a 20-zip lead, but the Jaguars raced down to score before the half. Still, they recovered two fumbles and an onsides kick in the first half and trailed by 13 points. Missing the end-of-half field goal was a tough blow, as was settling for three points on the opening drive of the third quarter after driving to the Kansas City 4-yard line. The Jaguars had the right idea, but never really threatened the Chiefs despite winning the turnover battle, 3-0. It’s a sign how far they still must go to get on the Chiefs’ level.
- Chris Jones needs to be in the Defensive Player Of the Year conversation. The DPOY debate has centered around Micah Parsons most of this season, with others — Nick Bosa, Matt Judon and Myles Garrett predominantly — also mentioned in the picture. But we really do need to add Jones to that list based on how he’s played lately. He entered Sunday’s game with 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his past three games, and Jones was the best defensive player on the field against the Jaguars. His half-sack on the opening drive prevented the Jaguars from scoring on that stolen possession. Then Jones took down Lawrence by himself on third-and-goal when the Jags were threatening to make it a one-score game. Those two plays helped keep the Jaguars from clawing their way into the game, and the Chiefs had five sacks total in the game.
Next Gen stat of the game: Trevor Lawrence was sacked five times on Sunday, the most in a game in Lawrence’s career. Entering Week 10, Lawrence had the third-lowest sack rate (14.0%) under pressure.
NFL Research: Patrick Mahomes, who made his 72nd career start on Sunday, has the most touchdown passes (174) in a player’s first 75 career starts in the Super Bowl era. With his second TD pass of the game, Mahomes passed Hall of Famer Dan Marino (173).
Kevin Patra’s takeaways:
- Lions take advantage of Bears miscues, overcome 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. Dan Campbell earned his first road win as a head coach. It was a doozy. Detroit trailed, 24-10, early in the final quarter in a game the Bears controlled. Jared Goff tossed a bad interception that was wiped out by a Chicago penalty. Detroit took advantage with a D’Andre Swift touchdown on the next play. On the ensuing drive, cornerback Jeff Okudah intercepted a wayward Justin Fields pass for a pick-six to tie it. The Lions also took advantage of a Cairo Santos missed extra point to win by one point. It wasn’t always pretty, but the Lions’ defense stood up late. Aidan Hutchinson made a great read on a tight end screen that forced Fields’ INT. Julian Okwara ended the Bears’ threat with his second sack of the day on fourth down. It’s the type of gritty win Campbell promised his club could get this season. They finally did.
- Justin Fields is a box-office wonder. Fields will be kicking himself for the game-changing INT and taking two sacks on the final drive, but the young QB again made a ton of plays with his arm and legs. He scampered for 147 rushing yards on 13 carries with two TDs, including a mind-bending 67-yard gash that gave the Bears the lead back in the fourth quarter. The QB also tossed two TDs to Cole Kmet, including a 50-yarder. With the designed QB runs integrated into the offense, the Bears are dangerous on the ground, generating 258 rushing yards — their fifth straight game with 225-plus yards on the ground. Fields became the only QB in the Super Bowl era with multiple rushing touchdowns of 60-plus yards in the same season, per NFL Research. As the offense has come on strong, however, the other areas of the Bears have collapsed, including poor discipline, as Chicago was called for nine penalties for 86 yards, many in crucial spots.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown paces Lions’ offense. On the same field with his brother, Equanimeous St. Brown, Amon-Ra got back on track Sunday, netting his first 100-yard game since Week 2. The Lions wideout caught 10 targets for 119 yards, many in big spots and on third downs. When St. Brown is churning out yards after the catch, it makes life much easier for Goff and opens the entire operation. It wasn’t a banner day for Goff, but the QB stepped up late on the game-winning drive, hitting Tom Kennedy in stride over the middle for a 44-yard gain to set up the game-winning score.
Next Gen stat of the game: Justin Fields reached a top speed of 20.15 mph on his 67-yard TD run, his seventh carry of 20-plus mph this season (most in NFL). All other quarterbacks have combined for nine carries exceeding 20 mph this season.
NFL Research: Jeff Okudah’s pick-six was the first for the Lions in 60 games.
Nick Shook’s takeaways:
- T.J. Watt came back bearing gifts. The reigning AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year took the field for the first time since Week 1, and although he didn’t record a sack, his presence and impact was evident throughout the game. Watt tripped up Andy Dalton on a key third-and-11, forcing the Saints to settle for three points, and he finished with four tackles. Most importantly, it seemed as if Watt’s return energized Pittsburgh’s defense, which recorded two crucial interceptions in the fourth quarter, leading to a Kenny Pickett rushing touchdown and eventually ending New Orleans’ comeback hopes. The Saints aren’t a good team, of course, but at 2-6 entering Sunday, Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly feared, either. Thanks in part to Watt’s return and opportunistic play from Pittsburgh’s defense, the Steelers recorded their second win over an NFC South opponent in 2022.
- Another week with no answers for New Orleans’ offense. On Monday night, it appeared as if the string had run out on Dalton’s time as Saints starting quarterback. Instead of switching to Jameis Winston, Dennis Allen stuck with the veteran in Week 10, and predictable results followed. New Orleans struggled to sustain drives all afternoon, converting just 3 of 12 third-down attempts and losing the time-of-possession battle by more than 17 minutes. The Saints’ running game was nonexistent, finishing with 29 yards, and Dalton completed 17 of 27 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown just before halftime, and two crushing interceptions. New Orleans can own the best defense in the league, and with this offense, the Saints still wouldn’t be a contender. We now enter another week wondering whether Allen will turn to Winston, or keep doing the same and expecting a different result.
- Pittsburgh’s young backfield is a throwback — and it’s fun. Much of this season has been filled with lamentations regarding the Steelers’ inability to run the ball effectively, but on Sunday, they finally broke through. Najee Harris rushed 20 times for 99 yards, nearly averaging five yards per carry, and rookie Jaylen Warren played a key role in the running and passing game, finishing with 77 yards on 12 touches and picking up 21 yards on a game-sealing drive. Pittsburgh’s offense is still far from being an explosive unit, but the hard-running ability of these two brought some much-needed balance that could go a long way toward helping this group graduate to a consistently competitive level. On Sunday, it helped win the Steelers the game.
Next Gen stat of the game: Andy Dalton completed 6 of 11 passes for 66 yards and two interceptions when targeting receivers aligned wide Sunday.
NFL Research: With Sunday’s win over New Orleans, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has now defeated every NFL team except his own. Entering Sunday, New Orleans was the only team Tomlin’s Steelers hadn’t defeated during his tenure in Pittsburgh.
Kevin Patra’s takeaways:
- Giants saddle Saquon Barkley, run over Texans. Facing the worst run defense in the NFL, Big Blue predictably went Barkley’s way repeatedly. Barkley didn’t have a ton of long gashes, but he took 6- and 7-yard runs. The Giants handed the ball to Saquon a whopping 35 times for 152 yards and one touchdown. The 35 totes were a career high. The grind-it-out performance from the back underscores he’s 100 percent over the injury issues and the frontrunner for the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. It wasn’t a pretty offensive performance for the Giants, who got stymied for long stretches. But a gutty throw by Daniel Jones that Darius Slayton took for a 54-yard TD opened up a two-score lead on the first possession of the second half, and New York leaned on Houston. Head coach Brian Daboll looked frustrated at times with miscues from his operation, but it’s the type of game good teams win while not playing their best.
- Texans’ offense remains stuck in the mud with Davis Mills under center. Houston went three-and-out on its first three drives. Through two quarters, the Texans had 86 yards, 44 of which came on one run by Dameon Pierce. On the other 25 plays of the first half, the Texans generated 42 total yards. Woof. The offense opened up a bit in the second half, as the passing game found some life against the Giants’ secondary. But Mills misses far too many throws, even when he has a clean pocket. The QB also had an awful interception in the end zone into double coverage in which his receiver never gained separation, and the safety was coming over. It’s the type of head-scratching play from Mills that garners questions about his future as an NFL starter. At this point, the Texans, currently owning the No. 1 pick, feel all but certain to draft a first-round QB.
- Giants’ defensive line leans on Houston. Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence controlled the line of scrimmage, making life miserable for the Texans’ offense. Williams generated a team-leading nine tackles (an excellent sign for a defensive lineman) to go along with half a sack, one QB hit, and a forced fumble. Lawrence generated an eye-popping eight QB hits, per Next Gen Stats, with a sack, a pass defended, a tackle for loss, and five total tackles. When Williams, Lawrence, and the rest of the Giants’ D-line are swarming like Sunday, it makes life easier for the secondary to operate.
Next Gen stat of the game: Darius Slayton reached a top speed of 20.97 mph on his 54-yard TD reception, his fastest speed as a ball carrier in his career. Slayton gained +34 YAC over expected, the most by a Giants player on a reception over the last three seasons.
NFL Research: Daniel Jones’ 153.3 passer rating is a career-high, and the sixth Giants QB (11th instance) since 1950 to have 15-plus pass attempts and a 150-plus passer rating in a single game.
Nick Shook’s takeaways:
- Put this game atop Tua Tagovailoa’s demo reel. Tagovailoa has been attracting some once-unlikely MVP attention in recent weeks, which is only surprising to those who haven’t checked Tyreek Hill’s stats for the year. On Sunday, though, Tagovailoa lit up the scoreboard without relying heavily on the NFL’s receiving leader. Tagovailoa was dialed in all afternoon, connecting with eight different targets and tossing touchdown passes to three different pass-catchers ( Trent Sherfield, Alec Ingold, Hill). Miami’s leading receiver, Jaylen Waddle, finished with 66 yards on four catches, while Sherfield came in right behind him with four receptions for 63 yards and the score. Tagovailoa looked composed, confident and decisive all afternoon, putting together perhaps his best single performance in his career to this point. Thanks to the play of its quarterback and rushing attack (more on that later), Miami had no issue dispatching the Browns.
- Browns’ good mojo evaporates in Miami. Cleveland entered its Week 9 bye feeling good about where it stood after a dominant showing against the Bengals on Monday Night Football, but Sunday wiped out that feeling. After taking an early 7-0 lead, the Browns gave up 24 unanswered points and never stood much of a chance in the second half. A 13-play, 77-yard touchdown drive served as the nail in Cleveland’s coffin. The Miami march was an embarrassing showing from the Browns’ defense, which was rounding into form in recent weeks before taking multiple steps backward Sunday. The Dolphins didn’t punt once all day. That statistic alone will be difficult to explain for Kevin Stefanski, who is now tasked with salvaging a disappointing campaign.
- The former 49ers are making a heck of a backfield. Credit is due to general manager Chris Grier, who acknowledged Miami’s inability to effectively run the ball earlier in the season by trading for 49ers running back Jeff Wilson. The former San Francisco runner went from the de facto lead back with the 49ers to Christian McCaffrey’s backup in a flash, then found himself in a better situation thanks to the trade. He also met up with another runner, Raheem Mostert, who knows a little bit about running in a Mike McDaniel offense. The two have made quite a tandem in a short amount of time, and against Cleveland, they were downright dominant. Wilson led the way with 119 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries, while Mostert chipped in 65 yards and a touchdown on just eight attempts. The Browns had no answer for the Dolphins’ offense, which got that much stronger with the addition of Wilson. It’s time to take Miami seriously, folks.
Next Gen stat of the game: Jeff Wilson gained 35 rushing yards over expected, bringing a positive total to a Dolphins rushing attack that ranked last in RYOE in Weeks 1-9.
NFL Research: Tua Tagovailoa joined Dan Marino as the only two quarterbacks in Dolphins history with three-plus passing touchdowns in three straight games. Miami also did not punt once in the game, marking the first time the Dolphins did so and scored 30-plus points since Week 15 of the 1988 season (a 38-31 win over the Browns).
Michael Baca’s takeaways:
- Banged-up Titans pass rush gives Russ fits. Tennessee entered Sunday’s game without several star players on defense, but the unit stepped up with six sacks and 18 QB hits of Russell Wilson to help get the Titans back in the win column. The strong effort especially paid dividends in the final possession of the game with the Broncos trying to secure a late touchdown to tie it. Wilson was quickly swallowed up by Rashad Weaver and DeMarcus Walker on the very first play of that final drive with three minutes to play, but the Broncos weathered the storm with the aid of Titans penalties and broken plays to get them past midfield. Weaver then strip-sacked Wilson as Denver approached the red zone, which aided the Titans’ defensive stand despite not recovering a fumble that seemingly fell in their lap. Weaver’s ensuing offsides penalty gave Denver another shot on fourth-and-8, but Mario Edwards pressured Wilson into an errant throw near the end zone that was tipped by Joshua Kalu and intercepted by Terrance Mitchell to seal the game. Those final moments encapsulated the Titans’ great defensive effort against the Broncos, which figures to give any team fits once it gets back to full strength.
- NWI’s career day boosts Titans’ offense. Ryan Tannehill’s return to the lineup opened the playbook a bit for Tennessee, but it was Nick Westbrook-Ikhine who made the difference with a couple of key plays. The Titans offense stumbled out of the gate with six straight punts, but got on the scoreboard with a successful two-minute drill at the end of the first half that ended with a Westbrook-Ikhine touchdown catch. Tennessee went back to the NWI well during its second possession of the third quarter; drawing up a flea-flicker that had the third-year wideout wide open for a 63-yard score. Westbrook-Ikhine’s day ended with five catches for 119 yards and two scores, becoming the first Titans wide receiver to eclipse the 100-yard mark this season. On a day when Derrick Henry was held to just 53 yards (2.8 yards per carry), the Titans might not have found the end zone without NWI’s stellar effort.
- Lack of rushing attack making life tough for Russ. Despite the constant pressure in his face, Wilson made a couple of key throws to get the Broncos to an early 10-0 lead in the second quarter, including a 66-yard TD pass to undrafted rookie Jalen Virgil. With the Broncos defense forcing punt after punt to start the game, any remnants of a reliable rushing attack might have changed the outlook for Denver in this one. Running backs Latavius Murray and Melvin Gordon led the team with 24 yards apiece while Chase Edmonds (nine yards) barely saw the field in his debut with the team. Injuries to guard Billy Turner and backup center Graham Glasgow midway through made things all that harder for an inept rushing attack that was seemingly ditched by the third quarter. The Broncos were rendered into a predictable offense in the second half, dialing up pass plays far more often than not, and Wilson (8 yards, seven carries) having to scramble for his life in order to evade even more sacks. Denver’s offense continued its struggles coming off a bye week, adding its fourth loss in a one-score game to this season and spoiling what was a solid effort from its defense.
Next Gen stat of the day: Russell Wilson was pressured on 47.9% of his dropbacks (7 of 17, 88 yards, six sacks).
NFL Research: Russell Wilson has been sacked three-plus times in seven straight games, which extends the longest streak of his career (never had six-plus straight with SEA).
- Buccaneers rediscover the run, head into bye on a high. Tampa Bay entered Sunday’s overseas mission ranked dead last in the league with 60.7 rushing yards per game. But in Munich, the Bucs treated their German hosts to a steady ground game, paced by Rachaad White (a career-high, by far, 105 yards), allowing them to dominate time of possession. The rookie accounted for nearly 65% of Tampa Bay’s RB snaps, siphoning carries from the veteran Leonard Fournette, who was enjoying his best game in weeks (57 yards, touchdown) before exiting with a hip injury. The Bucs took advantage of a 27th-ranked Seattle run defense, running the ball 44 times (the most of the Tom Brady era) and picking up 10 of their 26 first downs via the ground. Tampa Bay, for the first time perhaps all season, resembled a three-dimensional offense, getting every one of its weapons involved, even the oft-M.I.A. Julio Jones, who flashed the afterburners on a crosser for six in the first half. Brady, save for a streak-busting pick in the second half, was accurate and daring, as always, giving the fans in attendance their Euros’ worth of strikes and conversions. At .500, the Bucs are sitting (uncomfortably) atop the sickly NFC South entering their bye week. But unlike its division rivals — the faulty Falcons, banged-up Saints and talent-poor Panthers — Tampa Bay is getting hot at the right time. A home playoff game is in the offing for these balanced Bucs.
- Geno saves Seahawks from blowout. With the Bucs shutting down OROY candidate Kenneth Walker III (1.7 YPC) and the Seahawks’ ground attack, Geno Smith needed to carry Seattle to victory on foreign soil. The quarterback, enjoying a career renaissance in 2022, nearly resuscitated a D.O.A. Seahawks offense in the second half, leading three scoring drives to pull the 12s back within a TD. The highlights of his evening came on Seattle’s final drive of the game, as Smith, navigating a frequently collapsing pocket with ease, converted two fourth downs, the latter of which was a perfectly placed tight-window end-zone shot to Marquise Goodwin. The comeback attempt, fruitless as it ended up being, was further proof of Smith’s newfound ability to carry a team on his arm. A critical third-quarter lost fumble inside the 10-yard line notwithstanding, Geno yet again was the reason why Seattle, now at 6-4, was in position to win.
- White back on the horse. It’s been a rough few weeks for former top-five pick Devin White. The Pro Bowl linebacker has been much maligned by analysts and alumni alike for his play this season, graded poorly by Pro Football Focus and called out by the likes of Warren Sapp for apparent loafing. But the LB was a force in Munich on Sunday, putting to bed for one game at least concerns about his play. White led Tampa Bay with nine combined tackles and logged two crucial sacks, the latter of which resulted in a forced fumble with the Seahawks driving inside the Bucs’ 10 down, 14-3, in the third quarter. White’s strip-sack of Smith ignited a 14-point swing and assured Tampa Bay its fifth win of the season. Considering also that the LB’s father passed away during the week, White’s Week 10 outing has to be one of the most emphatic of any defender all season.
Next Gen stat of the game: Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker had just 11 yards on seven carries outside the tackles, his fewest in a game with at least five carries, and negative-33 rushing yards over expected. Walker entered Sunday sixth among RBs with +144 RYOE.
NFL Research: With the win, Tom Brady moved to 4-0 in international games. He is the first QB to start (and win) a game in three different countries outside of the United States (U.K., Mexico, Germany).