Miami 22 (3-7), Baltimore 10 (6-3): For the second time in five days the Dolphins’ defense smothered the offense of an AFC divisional leader. After holding Josh Allen and the Bills in check Sunday, Week Ten started with Miami making Lamar Jackson look human on Thursday night. While the Dolphins’ own offense was forced into playing QB Tua Tagovailoa after an injury to Jacoby Brissett, the hosting Dolphins did just enough to keep the Ravens at arm’s length and pull out the win in what was a boring game for the first 45 minutes of play. A late TD drive lead by Tagovailoa helped seal the Miami victory while the vaunted Ravens’ defense failed in their attempt to get the ball back and stage a comeback. It appears that the best teams in the AFC may have difficulty matching up with the best of the NFC; but we won’t know for sure until mid-February.
Dallas 43 (7-2), Atlanta 3 (4-5): The Cowboys would have won this game even if you took away their 29-0 second quarter with their first and third quarter touchdowns. It is that 29-0 second quarter that allowed Dallas and their fans to rest easy for most of the second half as they have finally played a complete game where their offense and defense played well during the same sixty minutes. How far the Cowboys will go in January will be one of the storylines of this year’s postseason; however, right now, Dallas is the class of the NFC East and are destined to have a seat at the table when the postseason arrives.
Buffalo 45 (6-3), NY Jets 17 (2-7): Despite losing by 28 points, this lopsided AFC East game was not this close once the third quarter started. After jumping out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first five minutes of play, Buffalo scored a late first half TD and then racked up 21 more points in the third quarter when the game was still on the line. Meanwhile the legend of Mike White faded like the early afternoon sunlight in this game for the Jets as the backup QB was finding as many Bills’ defenders to complete passes to as his own wide receivers. For a Jets team who has a former defensive coordinator as their head coach, Buffalo make their defense look terrible in this game, while their offense came crashing back to Earth hard. The Bills needed this win, and they got it, but it is not one they should be impressed with since the Jets are a weak team.
New England 45 (6-4), Cleveland 7 (5-5): With convincing wins over the Chargers and the Browns, the NFL must be asking themselves one question: Are the Patriots really this good on defense? Sadly, for those in the AFC East and the rest of the conference, the answer is probably yes after their compelling win over Cleveland. New England racked up 452 yards of offense with QB Mac Jones experiencing his first fourth quarter on the bench thanks to his work in the game’s first 45 minutes. The question being asked around the western Great Lakes is if Baker Mayfield is the QB of the future for the Browns; and with him on the last year of his deal and the team once again struggling, the answer may be a clear as the winner of this game is.
Detroit 16 (0-8-1), Pittsburgh 16 (5-3-1): With their future Hall of Fame QB in the starting lineup, the Steelers had their hands full at home against the winless Lions. Despite that, in the final moments of overtime, they were getting set up for a game-winning field goal before a fumble gave the ball back to Detroit, forcing both teams to settle for a tie. Both teams were able to run the ball well, but without a solid passing game from either QB, those yards were never enough to break this game over, keeping things close throughout, with the final scored ending up even. In the very evenly matched AFC North, a tie is better than a loss for the Steelers in this game and will make it easier for them to determine their spot in the playoff chase for the rest of the 2021 season as the Detroit Lions continue to look for their first win this year.
Indianapolis 23 (5-5), Jacksonville 17 (2-7): The Colts have found their place in the NFL this season: They are just good enough to beat the bad teams in the close game, and just not good enough to overcome the talent gap and defeat the better teams. This is proven out by their .500 record and why they had their hands full with the Jaguars on Sunday. A 17-point first quarter was almost wasted at home by the Colts as they could only kick two FGs the rest of the way while Jacksonville did all they could to make a comeback. Carson Wentz is not the answer for Indy’s QB spot, so unless you want to see his foot injury is the different, it is clear they make a mistake trading for him this offseason and will not be mired around .500 for the rest of the 2021 season.
Tennessee 23 (8-2), New Orleans 21 (5-4): The Titans are surviving without Derrick Henry running the ball for them and have shut down two above average offensive teams in the process. QB Ryan Tannehill did not light up the scoreboard with his stats but did enough to allow his team to score FGs to stay in this game and eventually win it late after Tennessee’s defense turned away a Saints’ game-tying two-point conversion. While no one will probably say the Titans are better without Henry in the lineup, their defense is championship caliber this season; but for their sake let’s hope the lack of Henry in the backfield doesn’t wear down the defense before January, take away just enough to bring them back to the pack and see them knocked out of the AFC Playoffs.
Washington 29 (3-6), Tampa Bay 19 (6-3): When a team played well off their bye week, they are said to be refreshed and refocused. For Tampa Bay, however, when you are embarrassed as they were on the road this week in Washington, you are called rusty and out of sync. Tom Brady and his offensive teammates looked lost against Washington while the team they were facing played as if they would return to the NFC Playoffs of a season ago if they won this Wild-Card rematch. Mark this loss down for the Buccaneers, because in their division and conference, one extra L in the standings might be the difference between a road or home playoff game; and unlike last year, 2021 is not the year Tom Brady wants to see his road to the Super Bowl not include Tampa Bay.
Carolina 34 (5-5), Arizona 10 (8-2): A second backup quarterback fell flat this week after setting the world on fire in his first start. This time it was Colt McCoy, who could do little to help the Cardinals in at home Sunday over a Panthers team who found ways to work newly signed QB Cam Newton into their game plan. The former Carolina MVP was part of the Panthers’ goal line package, with “Superman” throwing and running into the end zone for two TDs. Don’t overall Carolina’s defensive effort in this game, because even thought they were playing against a weakened Arizona offensive unit, pitching a first half shutout is nothing to sneeze at as this team, once again returns to .500 in the topsy-turvy NFC South.
Minnesota 27 (4-5), LA Chargers 20 (5-4): The Vikings are clearly serious about trying to win the NFC North, or at least trying to save their jobs in Minnesota since it has been a while since QB Kirk Cousins has looked like the blockbuster free agent player he was signed to be. Cousins was 25/37 for 294 yards with RB Dalvin Cook adding 94 yards and 24 carries as the duo combined for Minnesota’s three TDs. It appears the NFL has figured out Chargers’ QB Justin Herbert and the former Oregon Duck unable to adjust to what the league is throwing at him. The result are that the Chargers are fading in November for the second straight season, and few commentators see this LA pulling out of their tailspin in time to make a second half push into the playoff picture.
Philadelphia 30 (4-6), Denver 13 (5-5): Eagles QB Jalen Hurts might have been the best player on the field in Denver Sunday afternoon as the former Alabama player posted two TDs as part of his solid afternoon. Eagles fans probably wish their were at the blackjack tables with their team dropping a pair of tens on the scoreboard in the first and second quarter as their defense held Broncos’ QB Teddy Bridgewater in check most of the afternoon. While a playoff berth is probably not realistic for Philly’s team this year, this road win is impressive and something to build upon for the rest of the season. As for Denver’s fans, the AFC West continues to be filled with landmines that every team in the division is unable to avoid, with the Broncos still keeping pace with the Panthers as one of the streakiest teams in the NFL this season.
Green Bay 17 (8-2), Seattle 0 (3-6): Just as the potential snow that could have fallen during this game was a disappointment, so too was the triumph return of quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers to the field. For most of this game the only thing to talk about was field position, punting and schemes to stop two of the NFL’s best QBs. In the end it was Rodgers on his home field who broke a 3-0 game open with two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to seal the win and help the Packers move back ahead of Arizona in the NFC Playoff picture. As for the Seahawks, Russell Wilson might wish he had been traded to the Bears this past offseason because fans in Seattle are going to have a lot of questions for him (like did he come back too fast from his injury/surgery) and where would he like to play in 2022? Sorry 12’s, but your 2021 season is over.
Kansas City 41 (6-4), Las Vegas 14 (5-4): With first place in the wild AFC West on the line, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense restored some order to the NFL as the quarterback tossed five TD passes in this blowout win. It appeared to the Sunday Night Football broadcasting team that the hosting Raiders miss Henry Riggs in their passing game since the Silver and Black no longer have a deep ball threat. Of course, Riggs needed to be, and was released by the franchise after a night of drinking led to him causing a car accident that took the life of another driver. As for the game, the win puts KC atop the division with everyone still in striking distance, but seeming going in different directions for different reasons. If KC can play anywhere close to as well as they did tonight for most of the season’s second half, then this game will mark when they took the lead in the AFC West and never gave it up on their way to at least one postseason home game.
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NFL Week Ten Recap | TooAthletic.com