Around The NFL breaks down what you need to know from all of Sunday's action in Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season. Catch up on each game's biggest takeaways using the links below:
- Indianapolis Colts 10, New England Patriots 6
- Cleveland Browns 33, Baltimore Ravens 31
- Houston Texans 30, Cincinnati Bengals 27
- San Francisco 49ers 34, Jacksonville Jaguars 3
- Minnesota Vikings 27, New Orleans Saints 19
- Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Green Bay Packers 19
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Tennessee Titans 6
- Teams on bye: Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, Rams.
Brenna White's takeaways:
- Spillane, Raiders' defense lead Antonio Pierce to 2-0. Throughout a defense-heavy matchup, the Raiders were the ones to prevail. All the way until the fourth quarter, Las Vegas was at a deficit or tied in this low-scoring matchup. That changed when Aidan O'Connell and Michael Mayer hooked up for the game's first and only touchdown. Thereafter, Robert Spillane came up huge when he jumped in front of a Zach Wilson red-zone pass for an interception. It was a spectacular play on a spectacular night for the linebacker, who had a team-high seven tackles, the pick and one of the Raiders' two sacks. O'Connell and the offense were unable to get a first down to run out the clock, but the Raiders defense survived a last-gasp Jets drive and a Wilson Hail Mary into the end zone. The Jets were held to a total of 365 total net yards and out of the end zone. It added up to a 2-0 start for interim head coach Antonio Pierce, who was fittingly the team's linebackers coach prior to taking over for the fired Josh McDaniels.
- Jets riddled with miscues, get in their own way. Zach Wilson had some big plays and impressive ones, throwing for 263 yards and rushing for a team-high 54 yards. But Wilson and the offense came up short of the end zone time and again, having run their NFL-worst touchdown drought to 36 straight offensive drives without a TD. During the second quarter, Wilson and the Jets seemed to score twice on one drive, but neither made it on the board. The Jets had to settle for a field goal after Wilson dove into the end zone on a 23-yard TD run, but replay showed he stepped out of bounds, and a subsequent Breece Hall 3-yard TD run was nullified due to a holding penalty. It was not only the offense altering the game through penalties. Thanks to a roughing the passer call, the Raiders were able to make it a three-point game before halftime with a field goal. After losing the lead in the second half, Wilson threw his crushing INT -- his seventh turnover in the fourth quarter, the most in the league. The Jets were penalized eight times for a total of 83 yards, solidifying their fifth loss of the year.
- Raiders rookies come through for game-winning TD. Aidan O’Connell struggled in the first half, throwing an INT to Jordan Whitehead that was intended for Davante Adams, and for much of the game. However, O’Connell brushed that off late in the second half and was able to get the Raiders on top. O’Connell hit fellow rookie Mayer with a dart for a 7-yard touchdown. None of this would have been possible without Josh Jacobs, though, who set up this score with a 40-yard run just two plays prior. Jacobs ended the night with a season-high 27 carries for 116 yards. Adams also contributed with six receptions for 86 yards. The Raiders offense showed potential; it just took some time for it to get there.
Next Gen stat of the game: Davante Adams accounted for 87% of the Raiders' total team air yards, the sixth-highest air yards share in a game in the NGS era (since 2016).
NFL Research: Robert Spillane is the first Las Vegas player with one-plus sacks and one-plus interceptions in a game since Khalil Mack in Week 12, 2016, versus the Carolina Panthers.
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- READ: Kyler Murray captains Cardinals to comeback win
- READ: Falcons QB Taylor Heinicke injures hamstring in loss
Kevin Patra's takeaways:
- Kyler Murray leads game-winning field goal drive in first game back from injury. Murray's return from an ACL tear suffered 335 days ago couldn't have gone much better. The quarterback made game-winning plays to earn the Cardinals their second victory of the season. Murray showed no ill effects from his surgically repaired knee, flashing playmaking ability with his legs and arm. With Arizona trailing by one point with 1:50 left, Murray’s vintage running ability was on display as he avoided pressure and scampered for a 13-yard gain on third-and-10. The QB then lofted a 33-yarder to tight end Trey McBride to set up a chip-shot game-winner from Matt Prater. Murray showed good touch and didn't look rusty as a passer, getting the ball out in rhythm. Any questions about his ability to scramble post-injury were answered on Sunday. It wasn't all perfect, as the QB threw an INT and missed several other throws, but all things considered, the Cardinals have to be thrilled with how Murray looked running a new offense.
- Falcons back to the drawing board after latest disappointment. At least Arthur Smith might avoid questions about Bijan Robinson's usage this week. The dynamic running back took 22 totes for 95 yards with a red zone TD. But the quarterback issues that have plagued the Falcons continued. Atlanta didn't turn the ball over -- a bugaboo this season -- but nothing about the passing attack worked in Arizona. Taylor Heinicke got the start and was mostly ineffective, completing 8-of-15 throws for 55 yards with a 2-yard TD pass. The QB attempted only one pass of 10-plus yards and was sacked three times before exiting early in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Desmond Ridder took over and didn’t fare much better, completing 4-of-6 attempts for 39 yards, scoring a 9-yard rushing touchdown. The Falcons averaged 2.9 net yards per pass play against a Cardinals defense that entered the contest as one of the worst against the pass. Atlanta couldn't take advantage of a defense prone to giving up big plays. That's an indictment of Smith's offense.
- Give Cardinals TE Trey McBride his flowers. Kyler Murray displayed an uncanny comfort with the second-year tight end. McBride got open early, making himself an easy target for the QB, who peppered the TE with passes out of the gate. McBride ate up the Falcons’ defense, generating eight catches on nine targets for 131 yards. No other Cardinals pass-catcher gained more than 43 yards. McBride's 131 receiving yards were the most by a Cardinals tight end since Hall of Famer Jackie Smith posted 149 receiving yards in Week 4 of the 1970 season, per NFL Research. Murray displayed his trust in McBride late, heaving a 33-yarder downfield that the TE came back to snag. With less than a minute remaining, hoisting a pass into traffic could have been dangerous, but Murray showed conviction that the TE would make a play. McBride proved him right. With Murray back, James Conner (73 yards) also returning, McBride flashing, and youngsters like Michael Wilson making key plays, the Cards have some blocks to build upon down the stretch.
Next Gen stat of the game: Kyler Murray was blitzed on 44.4% of his dropbacks against the Falcons, tied for his fourth-highest blitz rate faced in a game in his career. Murray completed 8-of-13 passes for 114 yards with an INT against the blitz.
NFL Research: Both Kyler Murray and Clayton Tune scored a rushing TD in Week 10. This marked the first time the Cardinals had two QBs each score a rushing TD in the same game since the Chicago Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9 of the 1956 season (QBs Lamar McHan and Jim Root each scored one rush TD in that game).
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- READ: 'Fast, physical and violent' Lions buoyed by four fourth-down conversions
- READ: Staley takes blame for 41 points allowed in loss to Lions
Coral Smith's takeaways:
- Detroit’s fourth-down play secures win. The Lions were aggressive on fourth down from the jump, converting on two attempts in the first quarter. They kept that mindset throughout the game, culminating in a final fourth-down conversion that helped put the game away. Facing fourth-and-2 from the Chargers’ 26-yard line with less than two minutes remaining. Dan Campbell could have chosen to have his team kick a field goal from that spot, a feasible distance, and bet on his defense to hold the Bolts for the final 100 seconds. Instead, he put it all on the line, trusting QB Jared Goff to convert. Goff found tight end Sam LaPorta for a six-yard gain and the first down, and the Lions subsequently ran down the clock before kicking for the win, closing it out without allowing the Chargers another possession. The Lions finished the game 4 of 5 on fourth-down attempts, an aggressive approach that paid off.
- Chargers’ defensive woes return. Los Angeles had held its opponents to 13 and 6 points in the last two games, so one could be forgiven for thinking the defense might have turned a corner and found its footing. But those wins came versus the Bears and Jets. The Bolts’ D faltered against the much more offensively inclined Lions. They gave up 533 yards of offense, failing to hold the line in both the run game (200 yards allowed) and the pass game (333 allowed), while surrendering multiple big plays. And when it mattered most, with the game on the line and Detroit driving, the defense was unable to get the stop it so desperately needed. It might be back to square one for this Bolts unit.
- Lions RB duo runs wild. There was plenty of intrigue about how the Lions were going to split rushing duties with David Montgomery returning from injury to rejoin Jahmyr Gibbs at RB. Detroit clearly had a winning formula. The team utilized the backs almost equally, finding success with each player. Gibbs found the end zone first, moving 52 yards on four straight carries during the Lions’ second drive to score the game’s first touchdown. He finished the game with 14 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Montgomery made a splash in the second quarter with a 75-yard touchdown run and ended his night with 12 attempts for 116 yards and the TD. The Lions have options in their backfield, and they used both to great effect in Sunday’s win.
Next Gen stat of the game: Lions running back David Montgomery gained +68 rushing yards over expected on his 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the most rush yards over expected on a run play this season.
NFL Research: With his 323 passing yards on Sunday, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert now has 16,438 passing yards in his career, passing Pro Football Hall of Famers Peyton Manning (16,177) and Dan Marino (16,418) for the most pass yards in a player’s first four seasons all-time.
Eric Edholm's takeaways:
- Dak Prescott shakes off early hiccups, leads dominant victory. It might come as a surprise given the final margin, but the Cowboys turned the ball over on downs and by interception on two of their first four possessions. The Giants appeared to show man coverage before dropping into zone on the interception. CB Cordale Flott undercut Prescott’s pass and ran it back 21 yards to the Dallas 12-yard line. That was the Giants’ first-half highlight. It was also the one play you’d like back for Prescott, who otherwise played a strong game. He threw for 239 yards and two TDs in the first half alone, building a 28-0 lead with a 10-yard TD run late in the second quarter. When the Giants were in zone, Prescott peppered them with chain-moving throws. When they went man, he picked them apart completely, hitting several shot plays. Once again, CeeDee Lamb (two TDs) was terrific, but this was also Brandin Cooks’ finest hour as a Cowboy by a mile. He caught nine passes for 173 yards (more yards than he had coming into the game) and a TD. Prescott has been locked in recently, hitting four different Cowboys for TD passes on Sunday and logging 404 yards passing. The run game also shined. When the Cowboys are dialed in, they’re dominant. Eventually, they’ll need to do it against a contender, but the good vibes are back.
- Giants look like a team in disarray. If the Giants didn’t have bad luck, they’d have no luck at all. But that doesn’t mean the team has dealt with adversity well, either. That the offense struggled as it did against the Cowboys wasn’t shocking, considering how many injuries there have been -- especially at QB. The big disappointment in this game was the showing of the defense, which had held three straight opponents to under 300 yards before the Raiders dismantled them last week. The Giants had few answers for the Cowboys’ offense, allowing six TDs in an eight-possession span at one point. Even the improved run defense was nowhere to be found on this day. Nearly everything went wrong in this one, and the Cowboys outscored the Giants, 89-17, in their two meetings this season. The Giants just couldn’t find any kind of real counterpunches.
- Cowboys have been absolutely dominant at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys haven’t exactly played the toughest competition at home so far this season, but the results speak for themselves, with the team riding a 12-game winning streak at AT&T Stadium dating back to last season. In home victories over the Jets, Patriots, Rams and now the Giants this season, Dallas has outscored its opponents by a combined count of 170-50. The Cowboys haven’t scored fewer than 30 points at home and haven’t allowed more than 20. Also, the defense has yet to allow an opponent more than 280 yards in a home game -- with the Giants failing to reach 175 on Sunday. Granted, Tommy DeVito was swimming way upstream in his first start, but the Giants didn’t gain more than 17 yards in a possession until their ninth time with the ball. This home dominance bodes well for the stretch run, which features four more home games, including three straight following the Week 11 game at Carolina. The Cowboys just have a different level of juice at home, and they have to hope they can save enough for crucial games there against Seattle, Philly and Detroit down the stretch.
Next Gen stat of the game: Brandin Cooks caught nine of his 10 targets for 173 yards and a touchdown (+77 receiving yards over expected) in Week 10 against the Giants, his highest RecYOE total since Week 15 of the 2016 season. Cooks accumulated most of his production Sunday while lined up in the slot, hauling in all six targets for 128 yards and a TD (+41.9% CROE).
NFL Research: CeeDee Lamb is the first WR to have 10+ receptions, 150+ receiving yards, 1 receiving TD and 1 rush TD in a single game since at least 1950.
Nick Shook's takeaways:
- Geno Smith comes through in the clutch. The Seahawks are 2-1 in their last three games, and in each of those wins, Smith had to be the one to lead them to their final objective. In Week 8, it was all about scoring a touchdown late to beat the Browns. On Sunday, it was about getting in range for kicker Jason Myers to finish the job. Smith and the Seahawks regained possession with 52 seconds left in a tie game, then promptly covered 50 yards in seven plays, with Smith completing 4-of-5 passes for all 50 yards, leaving just enough time to spike the ball and bring on the kicking unit. That wasn't even Smith's best sequence of the day, though. That came earlier in the fourth quarter, when he led a 10-play, 75-yard drive that included a handful of excellent completions, some assistance from a fourth-down defensive pass interference penalty, and an expert-level pass fired into the arms of Tyler Lockett inside the front right pylon for a go-ahead touchdown. When Smith is dialed in, it's fun to watch, especially when the stakes are raised.
- Sam Howell gave his team a chance to win. Washington's quarterback has been playing good football for the last three games. Sunday’s performance wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing to observe at times (especially early), but Howell showed the same perseverance that has convinced his coach, Ron Rivera, that the Commanders have their answer at quarterback. Howell's numbers were stellar: 29 of 44, 312 yards and three touchdowns, including two fourth-quarter scoring tosses that were both beautiful and thrilling. His last TD pass -- a strike over the middle to Dyami Brown that seemed to shock everyone at Lumen Field -- was precisely the type of play we've seen him make consistently, no matter the opponent. He's truly learning how to play the position as if he's an entrenched starter, while in reality, he's still only in his first full NFL season as a QB1. While he's still good for an ugly mistake or two each week (on Sunday, it was getting too aggressive on a scramble and fumbling away possession), Howell is elevating the offense. It's just unfortunate for him that his team didn't score last in a tight affair.
- Don’t judge a game based on how it starts. If you were watching Commanders-Seahawks live and turned it off around halftime, you likely were shocked to see the final score. There wasn't much evidence early on that either club would figure out how to produce multiple TD drives before time expired, with the score tied at nine going into halftime. That's the beauty of football, though. It’s a four-quarter sport worth watching from start to finish. The last five possessions between Washington and Seattle all ended with points being added to the scoreboard, with the sequence going field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal. The game was tied at three different junctures in the second half and it wasn't decided until the final play. And truthfully, it's part of a trend I'm witnessing in games lately, where teams feel each other out for two quarters before finally hitting their stride midway through the second half. That's when the magic happens, and it's precisely when these two (surprisingly evenly matched) teams started to truly throw the haymakers. So, what did we learn, you ask? We learned to treasure all four quarters of a football game, for they can bring us gridiron beauty when we least expect it.
Next Gen stat of the game: Leonard Williams, who finished tied for the team-high in pressures (4), was 1 of 7 Seahawks defenders who recorded multiple pressures against Sam Howell. Williams has generated an 11.8% QB pressure rate since joining the Seahawks in Week 9 (Weeks 1-8 with the Giants: 9.6% pressure rate).
NFL Research: It was YAC City in Seattle on Sunday, where the Seahawks recorded 254 receiving yards after the catch -- the most by any team in a game in 2023, per Pro Football Focus. Washington posted the third-highest YAC total with 226.
Michael Baca's takeaways:
- Colts get back to .500 despite posting season-low 10 points. Indianapolis entered Week 10 as the only NFL team this season to score 20-plus points in each game. Shane Steichen’s squad earned the win on Sunday despite ending that streak in Germany. Accompanied by great play by the Colts’ defense, Indy secured the victory by executing in the most crucial moments on offense. Jonathan Taylor’s number was called on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line late in the first quarter and the star running back was brilliantly patient on the TD run. Gardner Minshew (18 of 28 for 194 yards, INT) was shaky most of the game, but scrambled away from pressure often and connected with Michael Pittman Jr. (eight receptions, 84 yards) to extend drives. Minshew’s 28-yard throw to Josh Downs late in the fourth quarter was a beauty and flipped the field to make it a long one for the Patriots’ last gasp. Despite converting only 5-of-13 third downs and being outgained 340-264, the Colts managed to pull out a win with some clutch plays on offense.
- Patience running thin at quarterback for New England. Down four points with a little more than four minutes to play, Mac Jones threw a ghastly interception in the red zone that led to his benching for the Patriots’ final drive of the game. Bailey Zappe proceeded to seal New England’s fate with another appalling pick, setting up what will be a long flight home from Frankfurt. Jones’ underthrow was especially hard to fathom considering Mike Gesicki was open for the go-ahead score. The turnover was an example of the red-zone struggles New England experienced all game (0 for 4), which ultimately proved to be the difference in a low-scoring affair. There’s no question where the weak point was for an offense that saw Rhamondre Stevenson (88 yards) and Ezekiel Elliott (54 yards) provide an efficient rushing attack. Jones, who finished 15-of-20 passing for 170 yards (INT), was harassed for five sacks in the first half, but the Patriots didn’t allow a sack after halftime. The play-calling didn’t exactly show trust in the starting QB, however, and Jones seemed hesitant at times. Bill Belichick didn’t commit to a starting quarterback for next week when asked by reporters after the game.
- Indy’s defensive line feasts in Germany. Dayo Odeyingbo notched a career-high three sacks to lead a Colts defensive front that set the tone in the early going. Kwity Paye and Tyquan Lewis also joined the sack party in the first half, and the play of DeForest Buckner up the middle has to be recognized (one tackle for loss, two QB hits). The Patriots’ O-line tried its best to double-team the 3-technique, which allowed Buckner’s teammates to get after Jones. The Colts posted nine QB hits on the afternoon and did it all without blitzing very much. Perhaps that constant pressure contributed to Jones’ reluctance to throw downfield, even though the Colts were held sack-less in the second half. Zaire Franklin continued his great season with a game-high 15 total tackles, and safeties Julian Blackmon and Rodney Thomas were the benefactors of the errant throws from Jones and Zappe to end the game.
Next Gen stat of the game: Mac Jones was pressured on 12 of his 27 dropbacks in Week 10 (44.4% pressure rate). Ten of Jones’ 12 pressures came against 4-man rushes.
NFL Research: The Patriots’ 2-8 start is tied for the worst in the Bill Belichick era (also started 2-8 in 2000, his first season in New England).
Nick Shook's takeaways:
- Browns show incredible fight in win. Cleveland made enough mistakes to lead most anyone to believe they're a pretender masquerading as a contender. James Proche's muffed punt, four defensive penalties on third downs (each gave the Ravens a fresh set of downs) and a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit sure seemed like the proper combination to prevent Cleveland from scoring an upset win on the road. And yet, the Browns continued to battle. They moved down the field remarkably quickly to make it a one-score game, got the defensive score their fans have been waiting for, and even overcame the disappointment of a missed extra point, earning a key defensive stop and using all of the remaining time to march down the field into Dustin Hopkins' range. When Hopkins converted from 40 yards out, Ravens fans were left only with a sickening, empty feeling -- while the Browns were able to prove they’re not going to lay down for anyone, no matter the circumstances. This could be a turning point for a Cleveland team that appeared headed for a loss, and instead pulled a spicy W out of their magic hat.
- Ravens fall victim to fourth-quarter blues. Baltimore's three losses have each included eerily familiar collapses. While Sunday's wasn't the most embarrassing, it certainly was the most dramatic of the three. The Ravens seemingly had the game in hand after Gus Edwards’ 1-yard touchdown run, making it 31-17 early in the fourth quarter. But a defense that propelled Baltimore to an early lead wilted down the stretch, allowing Cleveland to piece together a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that included a big chunk of yards gained via defensive pass interference. Like the Ravens' Week 5 loss to the Steelers, a Lamar Jackson interception -- this time, one deflected into the air and intercepted by Greg Newsome, who returned 34 yards for a touchdown -- opened the door for Baltimore's opponent to mount an unlikely comeback. And when the Ravens needed one more stop to hang on for a one-point win, Cleveland bludgeoned them with the ground game, with one play -- a 12-yard Jerome Ford run that saw nearly all 10 of his teammates push him forward for extra yards -- showing which team wanted it more in the final minutes. It was a shocking result, and a concerning one for a team many saw as one of the NFL's best. Title contenders don't let wins slip away, especially at home.
- Deshaun Watson posts first memorable performance as a member of the Browns. Watson began the game in all too familiar fashion, with a turnover on the second play of the game. He struggled to get comfortable in the first half. But as the game progressed, Watson began to settle in, although he was apparently battling an injury, as he was in a walking boot after the game. He used all of his abilities in the second half, scrambling for key first downs, extending plays with his legs (the best example being his 10-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Moore) and delivering on-target passes to move the Browns' offense when the game entered its final stages. Watson's stat line won't reflect it, but for the first time in his career in Cleveland, Watson -- and a strong running day from Ford -- powered the Browns to an unlikely win that won't be forgotten by the folks in Cleveland any time soon.
Next Gen stat of the game: Deshaun Watson completed every one of his 14 pass attempts in the second half for 134 yards and a touchdown, posting a completion percentage over expected of +18.2.
NFL Research: The Ravens are only the third team in NFL history to lose a game despite holding four separate leads of 14-plus points in a game, and the first to do so in nearly 20 years. The Seattle Seahawks did so and lost to Baltimore in Week 12 of the 2003 season, while the Giants also lost despite holding four separate leads of 14-plus points in a game against the Browns in Week 13 of the 1966 season.
Kevin Patra's takeaways:
- C.J. Stroud overcomes late error, leading Texans to big road win. The rookie quarterback continued his stellar campaign, displaying savvy pocket movement and immaculate accuracy. He generated eight pass plays of 20-plus yards. Sunday wasn't without its stumbles for the QB, though. Stroud fumbled twice in scoring range early. Clinging to a 10-point lead late, with a first down needed to ice the contest on a third-and-2, Stroud made a bad throw to Tank Dell that was picked off, leading to a Bengals TD. On the ensuing drive, Stroud undershot Dell again deep on third down. After a Cincinnati field goal tied the game, Stroud answered. The rookie led a quick drive, hitting Dalton Schultz for a 25-yard gain and threading the needle to Noah Brown to set up the game-winning field goal. The drive proved Stroud's mettle. Seemingly a shoo-in for Offensive Rookie of the Year, Stroud tossed his hat into the MVP discussion as the upstart Texans moved to 5-4.
- Bengals will rue mistakes. After a 32-yard TD dime from Joe Burrow on the opening drive, Cincinnati's offense went in the tank, including four consecutive non-kneel three-and-outs over the second and third quarters. The offense couldn't capitalize on two early turnovers forced by the defense. Burrow's explosive ability got the Bengals back in the game, with a 64-yard touchdown to Ja'Marr Chase cutting the deficit to three points late in the third quarter. After Tyler Boyd's 64-yard catch-and-run at the two-minute warning, Cincy had a chance to take the lead late. However, Boyd dropped a wide-open would-be touchdown. Then, the defense muffed tackles on the Texans' final drive. Credit the Texans’ D for making life difficult on Burrow all game, but the way the comeback fell short will sting Cincinnati heading into Thursday night's showdown with Baltimore.
- Houston found a run game. Devin Singletary added much-needed punch for a Texans' offense that has struggled to gain traction on the ground this season. Singletary displayed good vision and burst to the edge. The veteran generated 150 rushing yards and a TD on 30 carries. Importantly, Singletary avoided the negative runs that have plagued Houston. With Stroud splashing dimes and Singletary gobbling up yards, the Texans dropped 544 total yards on Cincinnati while averaging 7.4 yards per play. Houston outgained Burrow's Bengals by 164 yards in the big road win.
Next Gen stat of the game: C.J. Stroud completed 11 of his 19 passes over 10 air yards for 259 yards and he averaged a career-high 11.9 air yards per attempt. Stroud has thrown for a league-high 1,513 yards and +85.6 EPA on throws over 10 air yards this season.
NFL Research: Noah Brown had a career-high 172 receiving yards on seven receptions, topping his previous high that he set in Week 9 versus Tampa Bay (153 receiving yards). Brown joins CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson as the only players with 150-plus receiving yards in consecutive games this season.
Eric Edholm's takeaways:
- 49ers regain Super Bowl form, with Brock Purdy leading the way. Back in Week 1, the 49ers went to Pittsburgh, asserted their dominance early and poured it on in the second half of a dominant victory. Coming out of the bye with three straight losses, the Niners seemed to reprise their Week 1 formula for victory in a dominant win at Jacksonville. No one needed a clean performance more than Purdy, and he delivered one of his best games of the season. Purdy completed 19-of-26 passes for 296 yards and three TDs. Most importantly, Purdy didn’t turn the ball over, which had been an issue in each of the three losses. He really took flight in the third quarter. Purdy was in the thick of a muddy pocket when he hit George Kittle on a 66-yard TD -- Purdy’s longest completion of the year -- catching the Jaguars in a rare man-defense look. Later, he led an 81-yard drive that might have been one of Kyle Shanahan’s prettiest play-calling strings of the season. It was as dominant a performance as the Dallas win was for the 49ers earlier this season, and it was a sign that anyone who buried this team after the losing streak might have made a mistake.
- Turnovers finally come back to bite Jaguars. The Jaguars committed eight turnovers during their five-game winning streak, but the defense created 12 turnovers during that span. The offense had been afforded some leeway with ball security in previous games, but that was not the case on Sunday. Trevor Lawrence had a tough afternoon, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. Lawrence’s first two turnovers didn’t turn into 49ers points, but they ended promising drives in San Francisco territory. Christian Kirk then coughed up a fumble inside the 49ers’ 10-yard line, and it could have been worse, as the 92-yard fumble return was called back by penalty. Jacksonville’s fourth turnover -- a fourth-down prayer by Lawrence with the Jaguars down 27-3 -- was the bow on top. The Jaguars forced zero takeaways defensively, only the second time this season they’ve been held without one. The Jaguars were certainly outplayed even without the turnovers, but preventing those might have changed the arc of the game.
- 49ers’ pass rush roars again. The San Francisco pass rush had been a bit quieter than usual in recent games, but the trade for Chase Young before the deadline gave the defense some hope for improvement. On Sunday, that hope turned into results. Young was one of five 49ers with at least two pressures and half a sack against Trevor Lawrence on Sunday. They totaled five sacks and gave the Jaguars’ pass protection all kinds of fits. Nick Bosa had 1.5 of them (which was half his season total coming into the game), recovering his own strip sack of Lawrence. But it wasn’t just the edges. Javon Hargrave arguably had his finest game as a 49er, as he and Arik Armstead really collapsed the middle of the Jaguars’ O-line and also helped contain Travis Etienne and the run game. This was the kind of performance the 49ers needed and might be able to expect in more games down the stretch.
Next Gen stat of the game: All three of Brock Purdy’s passing touchdowns on Sunday were over 10 air yards and had an average time to throw over 2.5 seconds, despite being pressured on a career-high 53.6% of his pass attempts.
NFL Research: Christian McCaffrey did not score a touchdown for the first time since Week 11 of last season, ending his streak (including playoffs) at 17 straight games with a TD. That ties McCaffrey for the longest streak in league history with Lenny Moore, who set the original mark in the 1963 and 1964 seasons.
Kevin Patra's takeaways:
- The Joshua Dobbs Show rolls on in Minnesota. The Passtronaut showed last week's magic wasn't a mirage. Dobbs frustrated the Saints' defense early, avoiding sacks with deft movement, miraculous spins and strong legs to slip out of tackles. Houdini has nothing on Dobbs' escape tricks. Yes, Dobbs used his legs at times (44 yards and a TD on eight runs) but he also does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield to find targets when the pocket breaks down. Dobbs diced up the Saints’ D early, building a 24-3 halftime lead after a pinpoint TD pass to T.J. Hockenson late in the second quarter. Minnesota put up points on five of its first seven possessions. Things bogged down late, with three consecutive three-and-outs keeping New Orleans’ hopes alive, but ultimately, Dobbs proved he can keep the Vikings in the playoff hunt. With Kevin O'Connell's ability to scheme up wide-open targets each week and Dobbs' headiness in making the right reads and avoiding the big negative plays, the Vikings aren’t going away in the NFC.
- Jameis Winston provides some pop, but comeback falls short. The Saints’ offense can't find consistency and continues to shoot itself in the foot. New Orleans generated 110 total yards in the first half with Derek Carr under center. Compare that to the 297 yards Minnesota put up through two quarters behind Dobbs. Bad passes, dropped balls and head-shaking penalties characterize the Saints far too often under head coach Dennis Allen. After Carr exited the game midway through the third quarter (right shoulder injury/concussion), Winston entered and provided some excitement. He made several big plays, including TD passes to Chris Olave and A.T. Perry. As we've seen throughout Winston's career, the big plays don't come without mistakes. Winston threw several wobblers and was picked off twice late in an 8-point game. Winston might not be the answer that cures what ails New Orleans, but there is no doubt that he injects some excitement into a sleepy operation.
- Vikings’ D makes plays late to seal the win. Living by his MO, Brian Flores brought waves of pressure that kept the Saints’ offense on its heels early and silenced New Orleans late. A whopping 12 Vikings defenders generated at least one pressure on Sunday, per Next Gen Stats, led by Danielle Hunter's seven. Hunter lived in the backfield, earning a sack and three QB hits. Minnesota forced five three-and-outs, held New Orleans to 280 total yards and limited the Saints to 4 of 14 on third downs. Flores' crew iced the game with back-to-back INTs after the offense sputtered.
Next Gen stat of the game: Vikings QB Joshua Dobbs finished 20 of 30 for 251 yards and a touchdown when holding the ball for longer than 2.5 seconds. Dobbs attempted only four quick passes on the day (3 of 4, 17 yards).
NFL Research: Minnesota currently has the longest active win streak in the NFL at five games. All five wins came without star wideout Justin Jefferson.
Eric Edholm's takeaways:
- Pittsburgh rides run game to another thrilling victory. The Steelers have been outgained in every game this season. They’ve been outscored by 26 points. But they have a formula that seems to work, moving to 6-3 after a late defensive stand against Green Bay. And part of that emerging recipe is the run game, which has been more effective of late. On Sunday, Pittsburgh rode RBs Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris for a combined 183 yards on 31 carries, with each scoring a touchdown on the ground in the first half. They also leaned on the duo late to help close it out. The second of two critical field-goal drives in the second half changed the math, putting Pittsburgh up four points late, forcing Green Bay to go for a touchdown on its final two drives -- both of which ended in picks. Warren and Harris did a lot of damage running outside, as young OT Broderick Jones had a few big blocks to spring runs. It seems the Steelers finally have figured out how best to use each of their lead backs, helping make up for a sometimes sluggish Pittsburgh passing game.
- Rough fourth quarter sinks Jordan Love, Packers. Love threw two pretty first-half touchdown passes and looked to be getting into something of a groove early against the Steelers. The Packers eliminated a 10-point deficit to take a 19-17 lead after a pair of field-goal drives in the third quarter, but they would come up empty on their final four possessions in the fourth quarter. A three-and-out was followed by another punt, yet Love got them back into the red zone twice in the final four minutes, needing a touchdown both times. Both drives ended in Love interceptions. On the first, Love never should have attempted the pass to Christian Watson in the end zone, with tight coverage and safety help in tight quarters. Love’s second INT -- on the final play of the game -- never had a chance, with Watson again the intended target. Love’s deep-ball prowess was on display early, but his fourth-quarter collapse is a tough one to swallow given his turnover troubles this season.
- Steelers’ defense wasn’t perfect, but it came up with timely big plays. There were some coverage busts and missed tackles. It remains to be seen how they’ll handle recent injuries to LBs Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander, with the latter suffering a torn Achilles on Sunday, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. But the Steelers made up for their lack of closing speed in the secondary to make two interceptions in the final three-plus minutes, closing out a clutch victory. Patrick Peterson read Jordan Love beautifully on the first INT, tipping it to Keanu Neal in the end zone. Damontae Kazee then jumped Love’s last-ditch pass at the goal line to clinch the win. Levi Wallace had a tough game in coverage, but the defensive front did have some success. T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith heated up the edges late, and rookie DT Keeanu Benton also provided some serious push up front. The big plays Pittsburgh allowed are a concern, but the scoreboard is the ultimate decider. As long as the Steelers can keep teams out of the end zone, the yards don’t matter as much.
Next Gen stat of the game: Jordan Love had success down the field in Week 10, accumulating 145 of his 289 passing yards on deep passes (20-plus air yards).
NFL Research: The Steelers are the first team since 1940 to have a winning record despite being outgained in each of their first nine games of the season.
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- READ: Evans on dropped TD: I was 'thinking about what fan I was going to give the ball to'
Nick Shook's takeaways:
- Buccaneers finally break through. Tampa Bay's month-long nightmare is over. At long last, after four straight losses, the Bucs have a reason to celebrate thanks in large part to Baker Mayfield, who completed 18-of-29 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and one arm punt of an interception. Mayfield has steadily carried the team, even when the Bucs lacked any semblance of a run game. On Sunday, he overcame some disappointing early missed opportunities, rediscovering his rapport with Mike Evans to power an offense that needed to create most of its scoring chances through the air. It was a refreshing result for a team that had been desperate for a win. It's only right that Mayfield was the one to lead the Bucs to it.
- The Titans offense is in a bad place. Tennessee has found the going to be exceptionally difficult on offense in each of the last two games. In Week 9, the Titans’ struggles made more sense on a short week against a Pittsburgh defense that doesn't make anything easy for most offenses. Tampa Bay's defense had been its strength until recently. After C.J. Stroud reset the rookie passing record against the Bucs last week, there was reason to believe Will Levis might find some success. Instead, it was another frustrating day. Levis threw one interception, and the total easily could have been three. DeAndre Hopkins was quiet for a second straight week, and Derrick Henry averaged just 2.2 yards per carry on 11 attempts. In Levis' defense, Tampa Bay sent additional pressure at him at a remarkably high rate, blitzing on 56.8 percent of Levis' dropbacks, per Next Gen Stats. He was constantly under pressure and handled it better than most rookie quarterbacks would, but the frequent blitzes only hurt an offense that already struggles to move the ball. With a nonexistent run game, too much responsibility was placed on Levis' shoulders to carry the group, and it predictably fell short. At 3-6, the Titans need to reflect on where they are right now offensively, regardless of who is playing quarterback.
- Mike Evans, symbol of persistence. Evans went through a lot in this game. He dropped a couple of passes and was clearly frustrated. Fortunately for Tampa Bay, Evans' struggles didn't last long. He bounced back to finish with six catches for 143 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter to give Tampa Bay a 17-3 lead. Evans helped Mayfield find some solid footing, and the offense as a whole figured out how to go win a game. In what is potentially his final campaign in Tampa Bay -- Evans is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason – the 10th-year veteran found his stride just when the Bucs needed him most.
Next Gen stat of the game: Mike Evans caught five of his seven targets on passes of 10-plus air yards on Sunday, finishing with 116 yards and a touchdown on such attempts.
NFL Research: Evans' six catches, 143 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown marked his 18th game since 2014 with 120-plus receiving yards and one-plus receiving touchdown, the fourth-most of any receiver in that span.