By Anthony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus
As we reach double digits in play weeks for the league, we had another mixed bag of news on and off the field for the Field Generals. While Jon Gruden’s lawsuit was one of the major off-the-field stories, a series of comebacks dominated the news on the field.
In Seattle, Russell Wilson returned from his finger injury just in time for a key road matchup at Lambeau Field. The Chiefs’ offense made a comeback of sorts as they took advantage of the Flying Elvis’ in Vegas otherwise known as the Raiders’ defense.
And in a pair of tag-team matches, Tua and Jacoby combined to upset the Ravens while a former MVP dabbed his way back on the field for the first time this season and made an instant impact in a shortened role.
Contrary to what Uncle L likes to say, at least for Week 10, you can call it a comeback.
Let’s take a look back at the action.
LAST WEEK: 4-3 (48-44 overall)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (Loss at Miami)
It was a perfect storm for the Ravens heading into South Beach on a steamy Thursday night. Except the Fish decided to spoil the party. The Dolphins (3-7) got three field goals from Jason Sanders in what became their second win in five days. Tua Tagovailoa — who couldn’t start because of a fractured finger on his left, or throwing, hand — threw for 158 yards in relief of Jacoby Brissett, who passed for 156 yards before needing to depart in the third quarter with an injured right knee. Baltimore’s streak of 51 regular-season games with at least 14 points — the second-longest such streak in NFL history behind a 63-game run by New England from 2009 through 2013 — came to an end. As for No. 8, he completed 26 of 43 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown for Baltimore (6-3).
Jacoby Brissett/Tua Tagovailoa, Miami (Win vs. Baltimore)
With their second straight win, Miami also snapped a three-game losing streak to Baltimore, which saw the Ravens dominate Miami in the teams’ most recent three meetings going into Thursday — winning by a combined 137-16 score. Miami’s defense carried an offense that had one quarterback get hurt, have an injured one take his place, and saw its only trip to the end zone in the first 57 minutes come from offensive lineman Robert Hunt who reached just far enough on a backflip to get the ball over the goal line — only to have it not count because he wasn’t an eligible receiver. It was a late 64-yard pass to Albert Wilson with about three minutes left that set up Tua’s game-winning sneak.
Cam Newton/P.J. Walker, Carolina (Win at Arizona)
While Mr. Walker had a very good game (22-of-29, 167 yards), the story of the day was the 2021 debut of Mr. Newton. The 32-year-old provided a flashback to his MVP days in his second debut with the Panthers, throwing for one touchdown, running for another, and sparking Carolina to the road win. Newton — the 2015 NFL MVP who was signed by the quarterback-thin Panthers earlier in the week — made his presence felt on his first play of the game, entering on third down, running for the touchdown, and immediately giving Carolina a 7-0 advantage. On Carolina’s next drive, Newton threw a 2-yard TD pass to Robby Anderson as the Panthers (5-5) built a stunning 17-0 lead in the first quarter and a 23-0 advantage by halftime. Playing without Kyler Murray for the second straight week, the Cardinals (8-2) had the best record in the NFL coming into the game but looked discombobulated from the beginning. Arizona managed only 169 total yards and could never mount a response after Carolina’s opening onslaught.
Dak Prescott, Dallas (Win vs. Atlanta)
To say the Cowboys were angry and embarrassed after their loss to the Broncos would be an understatement. Dak and the Boys showed absolutely no mercy against the Falcons. Prescott also threw for two TDs, Zeke Elliott scored twice and Nahshon Wright recovered a blocked punt in the end zone a week after touching one kept Dallas from getting the ball as the Cowboys rolled to the win. Offensive execution was among them, starting when coach Mike McCarthy tried to send a message by taking the ball to start the game instead of deferring after Dallas won the coin toss. The first half ended with a sequence that led to the highest-scoring quarter in franchise history (29 points in the second) and Dallas’ biggest halftime lead (36-3) since 1971. Prescott was 24 of 31 for 296 yards before sitting in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys held the Falcons to season worsts in first downs (11) and third-down conversions (1 of 11). With 214 yards, Atlanta had just 1 more than its season-low.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia (Win at Denver)
Rookie DeVonta Smith hauled in two TD passes from Hurts and the Eagles (4-6) rushed for 214 yards in winning their fourth road game. They prevented the Broncos (5-5) from sweeping the NFC East teams on their schedule just one week after Denver dominated Dallas in one of the biggest upsets of the season. However, it was Darius Slay’s 83-yard fumble recovery on the final play of the third quarter that all but iced the game for Philly.
Teddy Bridgewater, Denver (Loss vs. Philadelphia)
It was another day of missed opportunities for the offense. Five times the Broncos crossed the Eagles’ 25-yard line and just once did they reach the end zone, on Gordon’s 1-yard run in the first half. They frittered away several golden opportunities, including a 22-yard field goal try that was blocked by safety K’Von Wallace, who sliced through the line untouched just like a Dallas defender did on a punt last week. The Broncos had hoped to hit their bye week at 6-4 and in the thick of the AFC West race as they try to end a long playoff drought.
Russell Wilson, Seattle (Loss at Green Bay)
No. 3 struggled in his return after missing three games with an injury to the middle finger on his throwing hand that required surgery. He went 20 of 40 for 161 yards with two interceptions. Green Bay recorded its first shutout since a 22-0 victory over the Bills on Sept. 30, 2018. The Seahawks hadn’t been shut out since falling 24-0 to the Steelers on Sept. 18, 2011, the year before Wilson’s arrival in Seattle. Green Bay’s 3-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter matched the second-lowest score through three quarters of any NFL game since 2008. Dallas and Philadelphia were scoreless through the third quarter of a 2017 game that Dallas eventually won 6-0.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (Win at Las Vegas)
Yeah, that’s more like it! Mr. Mahomes threw five touchdown passes and after a surprisingly shaky stretch this season and the Chiefs raced past the Raiders on Sunday night. The Mahomes of old was back Sunday night and the Chiefs are back at their usual spot atop the division. Mahomes and the Chiefs (6-4) showed little resemblance to the team that overpowered the AFC the past three seasons over the first nine weeks, raising questions about whether they could make it back to a third straight Super Bowl. But they used a dominant performance over the Raiders (5-4) on a day everyone else in the division lost to return to the top of the standings. Las Vegas has turned the ball over five times the past two weeks, matching the total from the first seven games, and the improved defense was unable to slow down Mahomes.
Bye Week: Justin Fields (Bears), Tyrod Taylor (Texans).
STAT OF THE WEEK
Carolina’s Cam Newton recorded two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) in the Panthers’ 34-10 win at Arizona. Newton has 71 career rushing touchdowns and 43 career games with both a passing and rushing touchdown, both the most by a quarterback in NFL history.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at email@example.com.