Best: The Patriot’s dominant win over the Browns was thanks to two rookies, QB Mac Jones and RB Rhamondre Stevenson, who combined for nearly 300 of their 450 total yards and 5 of their 6 TDs. Stevenson got off to a rough start to the season but went off this week, pounding his way to 114 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones is looking like the best QB in this draft, racking up 2,333 yards and 13 TDs and 7 interceptions on the year. He leads all rookies in terms of yards, yards/game, completion percentage, and touchdowns. It seems Belichick has found his Brady replacement and it’s crazy how similar their playstyle is. Safe and accurate passes and the occasional beautiful deep ball. Jones is not the most athletic or most gifted passer in his class, but he fell right into the perfect system that fits his skill sets. That’s more than I can say for Lawrence or Fields. New England has quietly played great football lately, winning 5 of their last 6 games, bringing their record on the season to 6-4 and right in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Is it too soon to say that the Patriot’s future is in good hands with these young offensive playmakers?
Worst: If you ask me, Mike White shouldn’t think of himself as a first overall pick, but maybe the latest one-game wonder in the NFL, along with the likes of Jonas Gray, Jerome Harrison, and Chris Matthews. After his incredible first start upsetting the then number one seed Bengals, and only playing a few drives against Colts, White Lightning was ready to come back from an injury and attempt another upset against the rival Bills. Well, that didn’t happen. He threw for 251 yards, zero TDs, and 4 picks. He was eventually replaced by veteran Joe Flacco. It seems the Jets are right back where they started with their QB situation, lost and confused and devoid of any actual talent. RIP Mike White Lightning, you were a legend, for one game.
Best: Cam Newton is back and he’s letting everyone know. Cam had only just signed back with the Panthers organization a few days before Sunday’s game, but he was still a key component in them upsetting the Cardinals. He played only a handful of snaps but on his first two plays, he ran it in for a score and threw a touchdown pass to Robby Anderson. That’s 14 points from someone who, at this time last week, was eating cereal. Newton’s role is likely to grow more and more as the season goes on, as he gets more knowledgeable of the offense. Even though he’s only two years removed from the organization, the team has seen much change, offensively. But Panthers fans shouldn’t worry about his leadership skills as he was seen speaking to the offense on the sidelines. It’s unsure what is being said exactly but by looking at the body language of his teammates around him, he already has them believing in Superman. As long as he isn’t exposed to kryptonite, we may get another glimpse of the Cam Newton that was so electric in 2015.
Worst: For the first time in the Russell Wilson era, the Seattle Seahawks failed to put any numbers on the board. In a pitiful performance, they barely mustered over 200 yards of total offense. Wilson’s comeback from injury was supposed to bring life back to Seattle and save their season but instead, he only managed to complete 20 of 40 passes for 161 yards and two ugly interceptions. All game it looked like he was struggling to throw the ball. His deep passes were floaters and his short to medium throws were off target. It’s clear that his finger still has some healing to do. Maybe he shouldn’t have rehabbed 18 hours a day, every day, and let his finger rest another week or two. Geno Smith has been a serviceable backup for Wilson since his injury, and there’s no way he could’ve played worse. Mr. Unlimited is a strange dude, but his incredible performances week in and week out kind of overshadow his bizarre habits, like this one. I imagine in a few weeks he will be back to his old self, but after receiving his first shutout, and falling to 3-6, the Seahawks are all but out of the playoff race now.
Best: The Taylor Heinicke revenge game! After losing in the Wildcard round last year, Heinicke was looking to avenge that playoff loss. the Football Team has next to no aspirations left this year. They’re a long shot at making the postseason but giving Tampa their second consecutive loss has got to feel pretty good for Washington fans. Tampa is much better than Washington and everyone, myself included, thought there was no shot at Washington coming out with a W. But the stout defense Washington was supposed to field all season decided to show up on Sunday. Washington had one of the most impressive drives this season. A 19 play 80-yard drive, that took 10 minutes off the clock and ultimately ended the game late in the 4th. Congrats Football Team! You were the upset of the week.
Worst: The AFC West had a chance to finally be free of the Chiefs. Denver, Vegas, and LA all had multiple games leads in the standings. Kansas City was stumbling. All you had to do was keep that pace, keep beating beatable teams. But instead, the AFC West decided they didn’t like change. They didn’t feel comfortable being at the top where everyone can see you, being in the spotlight, the center of all media attention, the MVP chants for Herbert and Carr. It’s all too much! They decided they like the cozy warm wildcard spot, with less scrutiny and dissection of every little aspect of their game. At one point the Chargers were 4-1, while the chiefs were 2-3, playing bad football. Denver Started 3-0 despite no one really believing in them due to the easy schedule they had, facing the Giants, Jags, and Jets. Despite that, they were still ahead of Kansas City. The Raiders were also hot early in the season, riding on Derek Carr, who I claimed was an early MVP candidate. I look like a fool now. Vegas started 3-0 and is now 5-4. Denver is now 5-5, LA is now 5-4, and the Kansas City Chiefs are now sitting back atop the AFC West at 6-4, following a 3 game win streak. I don’t think they’ll be giving it back up any time soon. I said last week that the Chiefs were a bad team and that they had been figured out offensively. Turns out I was wrong. They may be flawed but they found ways to win. But a win is a win, and 6-4 puts you at the top of the division. You had your chance to take a commanding lead in the division, LA, Vegas, and Denver, but you blew it. All hail the Chiefs, kings of the AFC West.
Chaos: We have a tie! I love ties. They are as close to comedy as we can get in the NFL. Two teams bust their ass for 60 minutes plus OT, just to leave with neither a win nor a loss. All their hard work amounts to a draw. This game was the best combination of awful and entertaining. As chaotic as it was, both teams had multiple chances to win this game. The Steelers played down to their opponent like they always do, allowing an inferior team to hang in the game. They had sloppy turnovers and struggled to move the ball all game. The Lions failed to capitalize on turnovers late in the game, they missed a PAT, and they embarrassingly had a 48-yd field goal attempt in OT that didn’t even make it to the crossbar. I was honestly rooting for Detroit to get their first win, but with the missed field goal it was clear that neither team should win. We won’t see a 0-17 team this year, but 0-16-1 is still on the table. Chaos, everyone.
Depending on how much chaos ensues the rest of the season I may make this a weekly column.