It was not the day many expected. The Broncos, Falcons and Bears all pulled distractions along the way. The Buccaneers did easy work with the Packers, the Eagles gave the Ravens a scare, and the Browns went from looking like an offensive juggernaut in weeks 2 to 5 to being absolutely humiliated by the Steelers.
However, considering that several NFL teams treated closed practice facilities this week due to positive coronavirus tests, the fact that the games were even played was almost as surprising as the results on the field.
Here is what we learned:
One * sentence about Sunday’s game
* Except when it takes more.
Buccaneers 38, Packers 10 Almost everything went Tampa Bay’s way, but the sharpest thing about this game was probably the passing protection, as Aaron Rodgers, who had only been fired three times over his team’s first four games, was put down four times by Buccaneer’s fearsome pass rush. Rodgers ended the day with a passer rating of 35.4, the third worst sign of his career.
Titans 42, Texans 36 (over time) It’s hard to stifle a game where a team’s offense cleared 601 yards in total, but Tennessee should really be worried about its defense, allowing 412 yards and 36 points for a team that fired its head coach and general manager for two weeks since.
Steelers 38, Browns 7 Cleveland averaged 37.5 points over his previous four games, but could do absolutely nothing against Pittsburgh, where quarterback Baker Mayfield appeared to be beaten and ineffective while throwing in 119 yards, a touchdown and two wiretaps. The Browns have topped 30 points four times and have been held to less than 10 twice.
Colts 31, Bengals 27 It was an emotional week for Indianapolis as the team briefly had to close its facility due to a couple of false positive tests for coronavirus, fell behind 21-0 to Cincinnati and then ran back to win and tie the franchise’s record for biggest comeback in a regular season games.
Ravens 30, Eagles 28 Baltimore were overwhelming Philadelphia with its running game during its 17-0 start, but in rare cases of the Ravens taking their collective foot off the gas, they almost let the Eagles pull off to be saved as Carson Wentz did not run the ball in. to a 2-point conversion with barely two minutes left.
Bears 23, Panthers 16 It’s hard to get excited about Chicago’s offense, regardless of the team’s record, but the Bears’ defense had a comeback day, forcing three turnovers including a game-saving interception in the final two minutes.
Falcons 40, Vikings 23 The dismissal of Coach Dan Quinn and Julio Jones’ return were certainly factors in Atlanta’s first win of the season, but having Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins melt down to the tune of three interceptions in the first half helped Atlanta to such a wide lead, the team was in cruise control most of the day.
Broncos 18, Patriots 12 It looked like New England wanted an easy victory at home when it was announced that Cam Newton was active, but Denver got six field goals from Brandon McManus and just barely kept a comeback. Newton took his team to Denver’s 24-yard line in the final minute of the game, down by just six points, but the Patriots turned the ball around on setbacks as Newton’s pass to N’Keal Harry fell incomplete.
Dolphins 24, Jets 0 It was the full Ryan Fitzpatrick experience as the veteran quarterback threw for three touchdowns, was caught twice and made an imitation of Patrick Mahomes by completing a short left-hand pass in the easy win. Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut, but it was wiping a laugh rather than replacing his team’s unstable starter – and Fitzpatrick led the cheers for the rookie who will eventually replace him.
Lions 34, Jaguars 16 Matthew Stafford threw a touchdown pass – he now has one against all 31 teams besides Detroit – D’Andre Swift ran for 116 yards and the Lions won so convincingly that Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone recognized after the game that his job could be in jeopardy .
Giants 20, footballers 19 Tae Crowder’s fumbling recovery for a touchdown put Big Blue up with seven with less than four minutes to play, but this game between also-rans was decided when coach Ron Rivera, desperate to stay in the NFC East playoffs, got his football players to gamble with a 2-point conversion attempt in the final minute of the match to only get Kyle Allen to throw an incomplete pass under pressure. Rivera wanted a clean win rather than a chance for it in overtime, but he had to pay for a loss.