Never in the 103-year history of the NFL have five games been decided by game-winning field goals on the same Sunday.
But it happened this week, with the Cardinals, Browns, Lions, Texans and Seahawks all winning on field goals at the buzzer. Notably, 10 of 13 Week 10 games were decided by one score or less, and to date, nearly 70 percent of games this season have been decided by fewer than eight points.
In other news, Josh Dobbs’ story adds a new chapter. The Steelers keep winning, the Packers keep losing. Dan Campbell’s Lions are 7-2. The Cowboys did what they’ve done for much of the season – beat a bad team, beating the Giants 49-17 – while Deshaun Watson had his finest moment as a Brown.
The Patriots mess is getting worse and there are serious questions about Bill Belichick’s future.
DeMeco Ryans Texans look real. And after a long, long time away, Kyler Murray is officially back and performing highlights again.
Here’s what came out of Week 10 of the NFL:
Josh Dobbs as MVP?
Make fun of.
A type of.
The Vikings are having the strangest season in football: They started 0-3, lost their franchise quarterback for the year, were without their All-Pro for a month and yet, somehow, won five in a row.
Josh Dobbs started his Sunday by showing up at U.S. Bank Stadium to ask a stadium employee for directions on how to get to the home locker room. (To his defense, he had never been there before.) He finished with his second straight win as the Vikings’ quarterback—and, remember, he was with the team all 12 days. Twelve days! Dobbs’ 312 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns were enough in Minnesota’s 27-19 win over New Orleans.
Josh Dobbs didn’t know where the Vikings home locker room was 😂😅 pic.twitter.com/UiC1mgC1FW
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 12, 2023
“It’s fun,” he said after the game. It’s hard to blame him. A surprise move at the trade deadline is paying off in a big way for a Minnesota team that’s suddenly back in the NFC North race.
Dobbs’ 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter may have been the game’s biggest play, a highlight-reel run that somehow turned into six points. So far, Dobbs has totaled 426 passing yards, 110 rushing yards and no interceptions in his first two games as a starter for the Vikings, becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and no picks in his first two games with the Vikings. to the team.
TJ Hockenson was incredible for the Vikings, catching 11 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. A season that seemed doomed from the start suddenly has new life – with Justin Jefferson set for a return, potentially as soon as next week. With the Broncos and Bears following, the Vikings (6-4) could very well continue to win and push the Lions (7-2) into the division race.
The Saints, meanwhile, fell to 5-5. Quarterback Derek Carr left the game with a concussion and a right shoulder injury; backup Jameis Winston came in and threw two touchdowns to bring New Orleans within one score, but two interceptions followed.
2024 NFL Draft QB Tracker: Jayden Daniels is a cheat code, Carson Beck rises
Patriots stumble to 23-year low
Not since his first year in New England, way back in 2000, has Bill Belichick faced serious doubts about his job security. Six championships and a two-decade streak of unprecedented success will do that.
But after Sunday’s ugly 10-6 loss to the Colts in Germany — game owner Robert Kraft wasn’t shy about boasting about how much he wanted to win — it’s fair to wonder how this will all end for one of the game’s greatest coaches.
Because every week it seems like things get worse.
“We’re all disappointed in the season,” Belichick said somberly after the game.
And now, his players are being asked if they believe in him, something that would have been unthinkable just a year ago. But Sunday’s loss dropped the Patriots to 2-8, their worst start to the season since Belichick’s first in New England. The team is on track for its first top-five draft pick since 1994.
“I have as much faith in Bill Belichick as I ever have,” veteran special teams ace Matthew Slater said.
The results simply aren’t there this season. The Patriots are among the worst teams in football. They average 14.1 points per game, second-lowest in the league. They have failed to score a touchdown in three games this year, including Sunday, and Mac Jones threw an incomprehensible red zone interception in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead. Belichick then benched Jones for backup Bailey Zappe, who threw another errant interception to signal the loss. Adaptation.
It appears the Patriots’ faith in Jones is gone.
It remains to be seen whether they will feel the same about their legendary coach.
“Ice in the Veins”
After playing mistake-free football for much of three quarters, with his team leading by 10 points on the road against a Super Bowl contender, CJ Stroud finally buckled. The Texans’ rookie quarterback threw a terrible, ill-timed interception late in the fourth quarter at Cincinnati and, for a moment, it looked like it would be the spark the Bengals needed for a stunning fourth-quarter rally.
On the sideline, Stroud approached his coach, DeMeco Ryans, and left him with three words.
“I got you.”
Translation: I will fix it.
“I trust you,” the coach said.
Good thing I did. Stroud was right. Even after the Texans’ 10-point lead disappeared and the raucous Paycor Stadium crowd began to think about a comeback, the rookie was unfazed. With just 93 seconds on the clock and a timeout, Stroud confidently drove his team down the field in five plays to set up a game-winning 38-yard field goal by a kicker, Matt Ammendola, who had been on the roster all five days . .
It does not matter. Texans 30, Bengals 27.
Houston suddenly won four of five — their revival spurred by Ryans’ influence and Stroud’s rapid rise — and the Bengals’ five-game winning streak was over.
“Ice in my veins, that’s all I’ll say,” Texans cornerback Shaquil Griffin said, referring to Stroud, who has now led two game-winning drives in as many weeks. “For a guy to make a mistake like that and then immediately tell his coach, ‘Give me the game,’ and then go out and win? “He IS a guy I can fight any day of the week.”
In nine games, Stroud passed for 2,626 yards, the third-most in history for a rookie in that span, behind only Justin Herbert (2020) and Andrew Luck (2012).
The 49ers losing streak is history
Something had to give on Sunday in Jacksonville: two teams, each fresh from their bye, arrived with very different streaks. The Jaguars had won five straight, climbing to the top of the AFC South, while the 49ers – after a perfect 5-0 – were coming off three consecutive losses and were facing doubts about quarterback Brock Purdy and a defense that suddenly didn’t he looked entirely so intimidating.
San Francisco put those concerns to rest Sunday with the kind of dominant performance this team had become accustomed to in the first month of the season. This was the 49ers looking like the 49ers again, beating the Jags 34-3, reminding everyone that they are still very much in contention for the Super Bowl in February, three straight losses or less.
Purdy was sharp, throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of work; Deebo Samuel scored a touchdown in his first game in a month and the defense picked off Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence twice. The only bad news: Christian McCaffrey’s touchdown streak ended at 17 games. It remains tied for the longest period in league history.
Along with the Eagles, the 49ers remain top contenders in the NFC. Sunday reminded us why.
The Browns put out the fire
For a few stretches on Sunday in Baltimore, Deshaun Watson was simply awful. In the first quarter, the Browns’ $230 million quarterback was 1-of-9 for 19 yards, a pick-six and a 0.0 passer rating. Cabbage. He finished the half a dismal 6-of-20 for 79 yards and no touchdowns. Damn again.
But by the end of the game, he had pulled off the best comeback of his brief tenure in Cleveland, rallying the Browns from a 15-point deficit to win 33-31 against their division rivals.
Watson finished the second half 14-of-14 for 134 yards and a touchdown. And after kicker Dustin Hopkins missed an extra point that would have tied the score midway through the fourth quarter, he earned some redemption as time expired by drilling a 40-yard field goal for the win.
“I feel a little bit like an arsonist who manages to put out his own fire and then gets a pat on the back,” Hopkins said after the game.
And just like that, a confusing division becomes even more confusing. It’s a dear loss for the Ravens, who led for much of the game and led 31-17 early in the fourth quarter. With Pittsburgh’s win on Sunday, the AFC’s toughest division is even tighter. The AFC North now looks like this: Baltimore is still ahead at 7-3, but the Steelers and Browns are only half a game behind at 6-3, and the Bengals are lurking at 5-4.
Just what the Cardinals needed
Welcome back, Kyler Murray.
The Cardinals starter told his new coach, Jonathan Gannon, to “let me lead” in his first game in 335 days. Murray tore his anterior cruciate ligament last season and was making his first start of 2023.
It turned out to be memorable.
After the Falcons took a 23-22 lead with 2:33 left, Murray orchestrated an 11-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a 23-yard Matt Prater field goal to win, 25-23. Murray’s 13-yard run – it was vintage stuff, with the QB probably running about 40 yards in all to evade defenders in the backfield – and 33-yard connection with tight end Trey McBride were key in setting up the kick Prater’s winner.
Murray finished 19 of 32 for 249 passing yards, one rushing touchdown and one interception. Arizona has its second win of the season and its six-game losing streak is over.
After starting 2-0, the Falcons hit a wall midway through the season, falling to 4-5 on the year after losing four of their last five.
(Top photo by Josh Dobbs: Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
“The Football 100,” the definitive ranking of the NFL’s 100 greatest players of all time, is now on sale. Order it Here.