By Anthony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus
We’re now six weeks into the season which should give us a better understanding of many teams now. First of all: death, taxes, and the Chiefs’ offense are becoming absolutes in this gridiron world.
Dallas got their first true look of a Dak-less offense and it was as ugly as you thought it would be. That being said, the dirtiest two words in Texas are Houston defense.
On the other side, Mr. Murray came into Jerry’s Place and started rearranging furniture and kicking the dog. The Patriots looked flatter than most pancakes while Carolina’s modest win streak came to a halt at the hands of a decent Chicago defense.
Let’s take a look back.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina (Loss vs. Chicago)
After not allowing being sacked over the last two games, No. 5 faced some pressure that would lead to Carolina’s loss. Bridgewater was sacked on the game’s second play. He threw an interception on the third. He scrambled four times on his next series. He was on the run for most of the game including his late interception which sealed the game for the Bears. Bridgewater was 16 of 29 for 216 yards, but struggled within the red zone. The QB was forced to scramble on four of 12 red zone plays in the first half.
DeShaun Watson, Houston (Loss at Tennessee)
With apologies to “Animaniacs”, here is the Texans’ edition of “Good Idea/Bad Idea”. Good idea: In the last two games, Mr. Watson has thrown for 694 yards and seven touchdowns. Bad idea: Houston’s defense allowed 601 yards and allowed Tennessee to score twice in the fourth quarter and put the game in overtime. In fact, the Texans are giving up an average of 30.5 points and 423 yards per game in their 1-5 start. So once again, despite another Herculean effort from No. 4 (28 of 37 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns), Houston falls again. Watson now has six games with at least four passing touchdowns since his rookie year in 2017.
Cam Newton, New England (Loss vs. Denver)
For the first time since Week 5 of 2001, the Patriots are under .500 at 2-3. Sunday’s sluggish performance at home against the Broncos might have been somewhat predictable considering the long layoff in Foxboro. As for No. 1, he finished 17-of-25 for 157 yards, with two interceptions on tipped passes. He added 10 rushes for 76 yards and one touchdown. The game marked the first time the Patriots didn’t score a first-half touchdown at home since Week 4 of the 2016 season — a 16-0 loss to Buffalo. Also, Newton is 0-3 against the Broncos, with the most notable loss coming in Super Bowl 50.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (Win at Philadelphia)
Despite the win at Philly, many pundits are playing the “What’s wrong with the offense” game with the Ravens. Jackson’s 37-yard touchdown run on Sunday was a highlight, but there are those who are not satisfied. Here are the facts: heading into their bye, the Ravens have scored in each of their first 24 quarters this season, which ties the 2000 Rams for the longest streak to start an NFL season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau data. Baltimore also had scored the most points in the league (179) before Monday’s games. Their biggest problem actually is penalties. In Sunday’s game, Baltimore committed nine penalties on offense (12 overall for 132 yards), the franchise’s most since at least 2001
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (Win at Buffalo)
The scariest aspect of the Chiefs’ victory against the Bills? The adding of RB LeVeon Bell to the roster which gives K.C.’s favorite son even more weapons to their already potent offense. Rookie RB Clyde Edward-Helaire produced a season-high 161 yards and the Chiefs had more than 200 yards rushing for the first time with Mahomes starting a ballgame, per NFL Research. As for No. 14? Just another solid day at the office: 21-for-26 for 225 yards and two touchdowns. The rich getting richer is a vast understatement.
Kyler Murray, Arizona (Win at Dallas)
The Bedford, Texas native started off slow playing in his professional game in Big D. It wasn’t a particularly efficient night for Murray, who completed just nine of 24 pass attempts for 188 yards, but he capitalized on most of his opportunities as they presented themselves, going three of four in the red zone. He finished the night turning in 262 total yards and three total touchdowns in a lopsided win against the Cowboys.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Arizona’s Kyler Murray is now 7-0 dating back to high school when playing on the Cowboys’ home field — AT&T Stadium — accounting for at least three touchdowns in all seven games, according to NFL Research.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.