When you completed bagging the leaves early sufficient Sunday that you simply bought to look at the early window NFL video games, you had your self a deal with. Wild finishes, comebacks, shut video games and star-caliber performances on each display screen you may muster.
The Lions pulled out an impossible victory over the Falcons with a last-second touchdown. The Steelers held off the Titans in a battle of the unbeatens. The Panthers made the Saints sweat it out. Baker Mayfield beat Joe Burrow in a back-and-forth battle of No. 1 picks. Heck, for a short while it regarded as if the Jets might upset the Bills.
And in addition, the Cowboys performed.
When you missed the Cowboys’ recreation, congratulations. It was pure rubbish. Sunday’s early window slate was a museum corridor stuffed with Picassos and Rembrandts, and the Cowboys’ 25-3 loss to Washington was a spot on the wall the place any individual sneezed. They had been out of it virtually instantly, falling behind 2-0 — quarterback Andy Dalton fumbled into the top zone on a sack — and by no means actually challenged.
Dallas ended up with 142 complete yards, which is a decrease quantity than the person Sunday yardage totals of Davante Adams (196), A.J. Brown (153) and Alvin Kamara (148). The Cowboys possessed the ball for 23 minutes, 36 seconds of the sport’s 60 minutes and had 12 first downs to Washington’s 21. They had been outclassed, uninterested and embarrassed.
Briefly, they had been virtually begging to steer this week’s overreaction column.
Mike McCarthy will probably be one-and-done in Dallas
Oh, there are many excuses. Dallas is lacking 4 beginning offensive linemen and its beginning quarterback. Backup quarterback Andy Dalton bought knocked out of the game because of a concussion on a unclean hit and was changed by rookie seventh-round decide Ben DiNucci. The Cowboys clearly haven’t picked up new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s scheme, which should contain some type of hyper-advanced calculus that Nolan simply invented this previous March or one thing.
There are many the explanation why the Cowboys are 2-5 and forward of solely the Giants within the historically weak NFC East, however no matter all or any of them, they anticipated to be so much higher than this.
The decision: NOT AN OVERREACTION. Look, Jerry Jones’ status as an proprietor who fires coaches willy-nilly is outdated and, frankly, was by no means actually deserved while you have a look at the historical past. And nobody likes to confess a mistake. But when we get to the top of the season and the NFC East champ has solely six or seven wins and the Cowboys aren’t it? They must be thought of the largest failure of any crew within the league.
McCarthy was introduced in, after a yr off from teaching following his firing in Inexperienced Bay, to interchange longtime coach Jason Garrett. The difficulty with Garrett was that his groups had been typically good however not good sufficient. McCarthy was alleged to get them over the hump. This crew has one way or the other bought itself caught below the hump.
Admitting a mistake may be robust, however is not it worse to double down on one? We’ve got greater than half a season to go, but when the Cowboys get to the top of it and nonetheless appear to be this lackluster bunch that hasn’t related with the brand new workers, it is in no way wild to assume McCarthy might find yourself being a footnote in crew historical past.
The Patriots must bench Cam Newton and discover out what they’ve in Jarrett Stidham
Newton was horrible on Sunday, for the second recreation in a row, and he did not have two weeks’ worth of COVID-related rust to blame this time. The 49ers scored 33 factors in Foxborough — 5 greater than the full variety of factors the Patriots have scored over their previous three video games mixed. In these three video games, New England has turned the ball over 11 occasions and scored solely two touchdowns. The run recreation that was so spectacular in the season opener mustered solely 94 yards on the bottom Sunday.
Newton did not even end the sport — it was so out of hand within the fourth quarter that Invoice Belichick put Stidham in at quarterback. Requested after the sport whether Newton was still the starter going forward, Belichick mentioned, “Yeah, completely.”
However the Patriots are 2-4, in third place within the AFC East, 2.5 video games behind the first-place Payments, whom they play subsequent week in Buffalo. In the event that they lose that recreation, they may very well be too far behind to consider the postseason. And if that is the case, they want to consider whether or not they should draft a quarterback or discover one in free company. Understanding what they’ve in Stidham might assist them make that call.
The decision: OVERREACTION. So long as he is wholesome — and he insists he’s — Newton nonetheless offers the Patriots the higher likelihood to win. They’ve a run-based offense, and the working menace Newton presents enhances the run recreation when it is working. New England is not out of it but, and a win subsequent week in Buffalo would change the narrative.
What it does at quarterback subsequent yr stays a thriller. Newton is on a one-year deal and Stidham hasn’t proven a lot, so all choices are on the desk. However a crew that has received its division 11 years in a row and 17 of the previous 19 is not able to surrender on its season and take into consideration the long run whereas it is nonetheless mathematically alive within the playoff race.
Whereas his outdated crew was getting smoked by the Niners, Brady was in Vegas throwing 4 landing passes in a 45-20 victory over the Raiders. (He ran one in, too.) 9 completely different gamers caught passes from Brady on Sunday. 4 completely different Bucs caught touchdowns. He isn’t even utilizing Mike Evans, actually. The main receiver in Sunday’s win was Scotty Miller.
However the wealthy get richer, and final week the Buccaneers agreed to terms with Brown, the previous Steelers, Raiders and Patriots receiver who’s serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s private conduct coverage. Brown, who was the perfect receiver within the NFL not way back, is eligible to join the Bucs in Week 9 assuming no extra league self-discipline is coming.
Tom Brady connects with Rob Gronkowski, who goes as much as take the ball away from the defender and rating a 5-yard landing to provide the Buccaneers a 14-10 lead over the Raiders.
The decision: NOT AN OVERREACTION. Brown is a luxurious in Tampa, not a necessity. Coach Bruce Arians can say no matter he desires about “Tom had nothing to do with this,” however the info are that Brady and Brown have stayed in contact and Brady was so impressed with Brown within the one recreation he performed with him final season that he is wanting to work with him once more.
What meaning for the remainder of the Buccaneers’ receivers is anybody’s guess. Brady most likely will preserve throwing to whomever’s open, and extra video games the place he spreads it round like this are possible with or with out Brown. What it means for the Bucs’ competitors most likely is not excellent. If Brown is even 80 p.c of what he was two or three years in the past in Pittsburgh, he is the ultimate Infinity Stone that ought to empower Brady to wipe out half the universe with a snap of his fingers. Or not less than get the Bucs to the Tremendous Bowl.
After per week during which exterior hypothesis (although no inside information) had Mayfield at risk of being benched for Case Keenum, the Browns’ quarterback began Sunday’s game against the Bengals 0-for-5 with an interception. Worse, large receiver Odell Beckham Jr. left the sport early due to a knee damage.
Mayfield rebounded and went 22-for-23 after that tough begin, together with 21 completions in a row, with 5 landing passes. The final of the 5 put the Browns forward for good with 11 seconds left after Burrow had put the Bengals forward a minute earlier. It was the sort of recreation the Browns must see from Mayfield — one during which he put the crew on his again and delivered within the clutch with out his working recreation carrying him and with out his finest receiver.
The decision: NOT AN OVERREACTION. What are we speaking about right here? Mayfield is not going to finish 21 passes in a row and throw 5 touchdowns each week. And the Browns’ offense will perform higher when working again Nick Chubb returns from damage and so they can lean on the bottom recreation. However Mayfield’s coaches have stood by him via the robust elements of this season, and so they imagine he may be the quarterback they want him to be.
Sunday was proof that they is perhaps proper. The Browns are 5-2 and within the hunt for the postseason. There is not any cause to do something with Mayfield however preserve working to make him higher and extra constant. Which is their plan, and has been all alongside.
Todd Gurley is the rationale the Falcons misplaced Sunday
Let’s set the scene: Atlanta trailed Detroit 16-14 with the ball on the Lions’ 10-yard line and simply over a minute to go within the recreation. The Lions had used all of their timeouts, which meant that the Falcons might run down the clock run to virtually zero, name their very own timeout, and kick a profitable chip-shot discipline aim.
As a substitute, Gurley ran 10 yards for a landing — he tried to stop at the goal line — to place the Falcons forward. A 2-point conversion gave them a 22-16 lead, but it surely additionally left Matthew Stafford the 1:04 he wanted to take the Lions down the sector for the profitable landing.
It was the Falcons’ third loss this season in a recreation during which that they had not less than a 98% likelihood to win, in line with ESPN’s win likelihood metric. The opposite 31 groups within the NFL have performed a complete of 4 such video games this season.
Todd Gurley bursts up the center towards the top zone and tries to cease himself from scoring in an try to run day without work the clock, however the ball breaks the aircraft of the aim line for a landing.
The decision: OVERREACTION. I by no means like the thought of not scoring while you’re behind. The brief discipline aim is almost automated, positive, but it surely’s not really automated. What if the snap goes unsuitable? What if it is blocked? You are behind and you’ve got an opportunity to take the lead, you do it. Plus, there’s nothing within the guidelines that claims the Falcons’ protection is not allowed to cease anyone in an enormous fourth-quarter scenario.
The Falcons told Gurley not to score there, so yeah, that is a bonehead play by him. However it’s robust to rein in a participant’s instincts (particularly one who scores as a lot as Gurley does) to get to the top zone. And once more, they had been behind within the recreation. In the event that they had been tied or forward, I see the logic. However while you’re behind and you’ve got an opportunity to take the lead, I’ve at all times thought the correct factor was to do it.