By Anthony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus
As the second half of the NFL campaign begins, we saw another mixed bag of games amongst the Field Generals.
We saw a near upset at Arrowhead as the Chiefs held off the Panthers, Kyler Murray getting out dueled in the Valley of the Sun, and a bizarre night at the Meadowlands.
Let’s take a peek
Russell Wilson, Seattle (Loss at Buffalo)
For the first time this season, not even No. 3 could save the Seahawks as they lost for the second time in the last three weeks. Wilson threw two interceptions against Buffalo and lost a pair of fumbles on strip sacks as the Bills attacked him with a blitz-heavy game plan of their own, sacking him five times and finishing with 11 official QB hits. Wilson finished 28-of-41 for 390 yards, two passing touchdowns and another rushing score. Defensively, Seattle was scorched by Josh Allen who threw for 415 passing yards and four combined TDs — three throwing and one rushing.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (Win at Indianapolis)
After a slow start, Jackson not only overcame a 10-7 halftime deficit, he was flawless throwing the ball in the second half, when he completed all 10 of his passes for 119 yards. He also ran for a 9-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Overall, Jackson totaled 170 yards passing and 58 yards rushing against the Colts to beat his first team with a winning record this season. The reigning NFL MVP is 25-5 (.833) in the regular season since taking over as the Ravens’ starter in the middle of the 2018 season, tying Dan Marino for the best start by a quarterback since 1966.
Deshaun Watson, Houston (Win at Jacksonville)
It took nine games, but the Texans finally won a road game. Mr. Watson completed 19-of-32 for 281 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 109.0 passer rating. Watson also added 50 yards rushing on 10 carries. No. 4 also improved his career record to 6-1 against the Jaguars. As for the much-maligned defense, Houston compiled two sacks and four quarterback hits, which marked the sixth game with at least two sacks this season.
Ted Bridgewater, Carolina (Loss at Kansas City)
The Panthers nearly pulled off the upset of the season as they pushed the Super Bowl champs to the limit before losing their fourth straight. Teddy Ballgame did his best to match Patrick Mahomes blow for blow, throwing for 310 yards and two scores with a passer rating of 103.3. But as has been the case far too often this year, Carolina came up short in the end, largely because a defense that allowed almost 400 yards of offense couldn’t get stops when it needed to. The Panthers did just about everything right against the Chiefs, dominating in time of possession and putting up more than 30 points on the road.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (Win vs. Carolina)
The reigning Super Bowl MVP completed 30-of-45 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday, becoming the first player in NFL history to record back-to-back performances with 370+ passing yards, 4+ touchdowns and no interceptions in a single season. Additionally, he tossed the 100th career touchdown of his young career on Sunday, and with just 40 games under his belt, Mahomes became the fastest player in NFL history to ever do so. The Chiefs scored 23+ points for the 23rd straight game on Sunday, breaking the NFL record that this same squad set back between the 2018-19 seasons. In other words, Kansas City has scored at least 23 points in 45 of their last 46 games.
Kyler Murray, Arizona (Loss vs. Miami)
Very good just wasn’t good enough for No. 1 as the Cards fell to the Dolphins. Murray played as good as he has in a season in which he’s been consistently good, running for a career-high 106 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 283 yards and three scores. He also became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to rush for eight touchdowns in a team’s first eight games. However on this Sunday, he was out dueled by Miami rookie Tua Tagovailoa who finished 20-of-28 for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
Cam Newton, New England (Win at N.Y. Jets)
One of the ugliest Monday Night Football games in recent history turned out to be a thing of beauty for the struggling Patriots. Following their very vanilla offense, Newton completed his first 11 passes, which reflected that approach, as he nearly matched his record of 14 straight passes with a completion against Seattle in Week 12 of 2018. Overall, he completed 27 of 35 for 274 yards as the Patriots stopped a four-game losing streak.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Houston’s Deshaun Watson passed for 281 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s the fifth different quarterback with at least 275 passing yards and a passer rating of 105-or-higher in five consecutive games within a single season in NFL history, joining Aaron Rodgers (seven games in 2011), Drew Brees (five games in 2011), Peyton Manning (five games in 2012 and five games in 2013) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young (five games in 1994).
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at email@example.com.