Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill inspired the Tennessee Titans to an overtime win, Julio Jones came up big for the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants head coach Joe Judge dished out a lesson in discipline and the Chicago Bears moved to 5-1; here’s a look at what we learned from Week Six…
Houston Texans 36-42 Tennessee Titans (OT)
Henry may have just made an unbeatable case for the best running back in the NFL. The 2019 rushing yards and rushing touchdown champion absolutely lit up the Houston Texans in a wild game on Sunday.
He had 22 carries for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Including a massive 94-yard touchdown run, showcasing his elite speed to go with his size and power. He also added two receptions for 52 yards.
The former Heisman Trophy winner won the game for the Titans in overtime with a short touchdown run to cap off an incredible performance. Sonny Cohen
Up Next – Panthers v Packers (Sunday, 5pm); Titans v Steelers (Sunday, 5pm)
Denver Broncos 18-12 New England Patriots
While the Titans have looked unfazed by their lengthy spell away from the facility, the Patriots’ defeat to the Broncos was perhaps the first sign of how disruptions to practice in the wake of positive COVID-19 cases can cause an impact. It was an uncharacteristically sloppy display from Bill Belichick’s side.
Cam Newton struggled with two interceptions and two fumbles behind depleted protection, second-year receiver N’Keal Harry was a non-factor and the Patriots look in need of greater production from their tight ends.
But take nothing away from the Broncos’ Von Miller-less defense, led by Malik Reed with two sacks, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits. And we shouldn’t forget about Brandon McManus, who was money as he went six for six on field goals to account for all 18 of Denver’s points. The only negative in that respect is the subsequent question marks over Drew Lock after he went a disappointing 10 of 24 for 189 yards and two interceptions. Cameron Hogwood
Up Next – Broncos v Chiefs (Sunday, 8.25pm), Patriots v 49ers (Sunday, 8.25pm)
Cincinnati Bengals 27-31 Indianapolis Colts
It’s the season for comebacks, so the Colts decided to add their name to the list, recovering from a 21-0 deficit early on to record their fourth win of the season.
It will anger head coach Frank Reich that other than a win over the Jets, which shouldn’t count given how bad the Jets are, none have been convincing. What will please him is the spirit in coming back and the fact that Philip Rivers led the charge with 371 yards and three touchdowns.
The veteran has been brought in to smooth the cracks on offense, and perhaps for a swansong charge at a Super Bowl. The Colts don’t quite look ready, but they will hope the second half is a sign of things to come.
At the other end of the QB scale, it’s another defeat but with every week Joe Burrow looks like the best No 1 pick at quarterback since the Colts took Andrew Luck in 2012. Paul Prenderville
Up Next – Bengals v Browns (Sunday, 5pm), Colts BYE WEEK
Atlanta Falcons 40-23 Minnesota Vikings
Last week head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were both fired as the Falcons slumped to an 0-5 start. This week interim head coach Raheem Morris helped lead his team to their first win of the season.
The Falcons did all of their damage through the air as Matt Ryan threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns. It was also a massive game for Julio Jones who showed up in a big way, hauling eight receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst also chipped in with a touchdown apiece. Sonny Cohen
Up Next – Falcons v Lions (Sunday, 5pm), Vikings BYE WEEK
Washington Football Team 19-20 New York Giants
Joe Judge is off the mark as head coach of the Giants in a game of so many sub-stories, starting with Andrew Thomas. Judge reminded all that his strict approach regarding discipline applies to all as he benched the rookie left tackle for Matt Peart to start the game, later explaining that Thomas had violated team policy by turning up late to a team meeting.
Cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez, both free agency acquisitions in the offseason, continued as major ticks in the plus column for under pressure general manager Dave Gettleman, while linebacker Tae Crowder, Mr Irrelevant at the 2020 NFL Draft, became relevant with a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.
Washington meanwhile underlined the importance of fine margins with 36 seconds remaining, cutting the deficit to 20-19 with a Cam Simms touchdown before failing on the two-point conversion attempt as opposed to taking the field goal to send the game into overtime. Cameron Hogwood
Up Next – Washington v Cowboys (Sunday, 5pm), Giants @ Eagles (Friday, 1.20am)
Baltimore Ravens 30-28 Philadelphia Eagles
It’s the Ravens, who scored more than 20 points for the 29th consecutive game, that take the win – somehow after a barnstorming Eagles comeback that featured three touchdowns in the final quarter.
It’s difficult to know what Baltimore can take from this one. Everyone knows what their high-octane offense is capable of and despite leading 17-0 they never quite got going and aren’t quite firing on all cylinders.
Teams seem to have found a way to bottle them up and perhaps a big wide receiver threat is where they should be looking with a couple of weeks to go until the trade deadline. Despite all that, they are still Super Bowl contenders, but in a tough AFC North they still need to iron out a few things.
Lots of credit for the Eagles who’ve had their problems, but they are missing virtually an entire offense through injury. They remain just a game behind the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC East no-one wants to win – but somebody has to! Paul Prenderville
Up Next – Ravens BYE WEEK, Eagles v Giants (Friday, 1.20am)
Detroit Lions 34-16 Jacksonville Jaguars
The Lions handled the Jaguars with authority as rookie running back D’Andre Swift had his best game yet. His 116-yard two touchdown effort made him the second Lions back with 100+ yards in a game since 2014.
It was a pretty comprehensive performance by the Lions who also showed some strength on defence. Duron Harmon picked off Gardner Minshew and James Robinson was restricted to just 29 yards on 12 carries. It helped move the Lions to 2-3 on the season as they chase down the Bears and the Packers in the NFC North. Sonny Cohen
Up Next – Lions @ Falcons (Sunday, 5pm), Jaguars @ Chargers (Sunday, 8.25pm)
Chicago Bears 23-16 Carolina Panthers
Chicago have won five of their six games, for the first time in 14 years they have started with three straight victories on the road and they have arguably one the league’s best defenses and, in this season, that might be pivotal.
Perhaps it’s time everyone began taking them seriously, because they’ve been one of the least talked about five-win teams in recent memory. Issues at quarterback are probably the key reason for that. A superstar under centre will ensure plenty of headlines and so far this season the defence has been the star.
Chicago look to have moved on from Mitchell Trubisky, the number two overall pick selected ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017, and it’s now Nick Foles’ team – the Super Bowl’s MVP from three years ago.
But maybe a team doesn’t have to be about its quarterback, this Bears defense can carry the team and Foles can manage the offense, while proving the occasional spectacular burst. Paul Prenderville
Up Next – Bears @ Rams (Tuesday, 12.15am), Panthers @ Saints (Sunday, 5pm)
New York Jets 0-24 Miami Dolphins
The Jets are now officially the worst team in New York. If the Giants had muddied the water at all with their own desperate start to the season before getting off the mark this weekend, it’s now official as the Jets registered a big fat zero to mirror their win total for the season.
Head coach Adam Gase is surely now weeks, days, if not hours away from getting the boot, especially after being shut out by his former employers – making victory all the sweeter for Dolphins fans.
The Jets were so bad that we were treated to a first glimpse of Tua Tagovailoa in action in the NFL in the final throes of this blowout Dolphins victory, as he came on in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick and completed two-of-two for nine yards. David Currie
Up Next – Jets v Bills (Sunday, 5pm), Dolphins BYE WEEK
That’s more like it Jimmy!
Well, sort of. This still wasn’t 2019 vintage Garoppolo or 49ers, but they looked somewhat back to their old selves in this Sunday night beating of their NFC West rivals.
The offense was clicking in the first half – Jimmy G erasing the memories of his two picks in that drubbing by the Dolphins last week with scoring strikes to Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk – and then they just did enough to get the job done in the second period.
Garoppolo, it appears, is still troubled by the ankle injury that kept him out of the team for a couple of weeks, but Kyle Shanahan game-planned around it better this time round, helping his QB out with a lot of designed check-downs, allowing him to get the ball out quickly and to the Niners’ offensive playmakers in space. David Currie
Up Next – Rams v Bears (Tuesday, 12.15am), 49ers @ Patriots (Sunday, 8.25pm)
Now then, who expected to see Tim Boyle and Blaine Gabbert under center to finish this one? For the Packers to move to protect Aaron Rodgers by pulling him out of the game with six minutes to play spoke to just how dominant the Bucs were.
It was no doubt the most satisfying and most complete performance from a Tom Brady-led Tampa side that we’ve seen so far this season. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles suffocated Rodgers all afternoon, linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White wreaking havoc with 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss and four quarterback hits between them.
A Packers team that had been averaging 38 points per game were limited to just 10, with Davante Adams rarely able to create separation upon his return from injury and Aaron Jones managing just 15 yards rushing and a touchdown from 10 carries.
As for the Bucs offense, rookie Tristan Wirfs impressed against Za’Darius Smith, Ronald Jones was outstanding yet again, Rob Gronkowski finally arrived as a weapon in the open field and Chris Godwin completely opened things up as he made his return from injury. Oh, and zero penalties for a team with a league-high 42 heading into the game. Cameron Hogwood
Up Next – Packers @ Texans (Sunday, 5pm), Buccaneers @ Raiders (Monday, 12.20am)
Same old Browns!
This game had promised so much; Cleveland entered with four wins on the bounce, the league’s No 1 rushing attack – taking on the No 1 run defense – and with hope of a first win in Pittsburgh for 17 years, only for them to fall flat on their face in true Browns fashion.
A badly beaten up Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions, one of them a pick six, and the Steelers never looked back. Side note: rookie receiver Chase Claypool is some player! David Currie
Up Next – Browns @ Bengals (Sunday, 5pm), Steelers @ Titans (Sunday, 5pm)
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