The Saints lost by 17 points to the Falcons. And even with Patrick Mahomes back under center, the Chiefs couldn’t outlast the Titans. The Jets got by the Giants in a Battle of New York, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson piled on offense against an overmatched Cincinnati team and the Browns held off the Bills for their third win.
In the afternoon, Miami upset Indianapolis, and Green Bay made a late stand to beat Carolina in the snow.
All that and more in Week 10’s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.
The Titans rediscovered the importance of using Derrick Henry as the focal point of the offense. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s decision to stick to the run despite being down by nine points to Kansas City in the fourth quarter paid off. Henry finished with 23 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Tennessee’s win keeps it in the playoff mix and allows the team to get healthy during the bye week. — Turron Davenport
Next game: vs. Jacksonville (4:05 p.m. ET, Nov. 24)
Even with Patrick Mahomes back in the lineup and on top of his game, the Chiefs won’t be able to outscore every opponents. If they don’t clean up their sloppiness on special teams and improve on defending the run, they won’t win the AFC West title for the fourth consecutive season. The Chiefs can be get caught by the 5-4 Raiders, who are a half-game behind and come to Arrowhead Stadium in Week 13. — Adam Teicher
Next game: at L.A. Chargers (8:15 p.m. ET, Nov. 18)
The Falcons, who had a league-low seven sacks coming into Sunday, generated consistent pressure against Drew Brees with six sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett led the way with 2.5 sacks and five QB hits. The coverage and communication from the defensive backs was solid, and the rushers up front took care of the rest. If the Falcons can rush with such consistency next week at Carolina and the rest of the season, they could be in every game, especially if the offense continues with long scoring drives. — Vaughn McClure
Next game: at Carolina (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
New Orleans needs to figure out how to start faster. The Saints’ stunning loss at home to the Falcons feels like a bit of a one-off, since they won the six previous games. But Brees agreed afterward the Saints do need to be concerned about their uncharacteristic trend of slow starts on offense this season. They have scored a total of 25 first-quarter points in nine games. They need to start setting the tone more in a critical month with three more division games coming up, starting next week at Tampa Bay. — Mike Triplett
Next game: at Tampa Bay (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Bears coach Matt Nagy refuses to change. He opened the doors to Club Dub, the Bears postgame locker room dance party, after Sunday’s victory over Detroit, even though the team had lost four straight coming in and is 4-5 on the year. “I never considered not doing it,” Nagy said. “It’s who we are.” He recalled one year in Kansas City when the Chiefs were 1-5 and found a way to make the playoffs. “I keep reminding myself of that,” Nagy said. The Bears face long odds, but there is no quit in the second-year head coach. — Jeff Dickerson
Next game: at L.A. Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Life without Matthew Stafford, as expected, was not kind to the Lions. While the stats might appear better than one would think in Jeff Driskel‘s first start with Detroit, the reality is it was a much different offense without Stafford playing for the first time since the start of the 2011 season. It will be a long season for Detroit, who is now close to needing to win out to reach the postseason, if Stafford can’t return soon. — Michael Rothstein
Next game: vs. Dallas (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
The Bucs finally found a way to finish. After the Buccaneers surrendered an eight-point lead to the Seahawks last week — their fifth blown lead of the season — and having their secondary called out by coach Bruce Arians for a “disappointing” year, cornerback Jamel Dean made a touchdown-saving interception late in the fourth quarter. “I’m just really elated that we finished,” said quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw two interceptions but delivered three touchdown drives. “That was a really, really ugly win. That was an ugly win. But we found a way to do it.” Arians added, “I can’t be happier for anybody than Jamel Dean. He [won] the game. Last week he [was] the goat. He’s gonna be a hell of a player.” — Jenna Laine
Next game: vs. New Orleans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Ronald Jones II, O.J. Howard and Peyton Barber all fine the end zone for the Buccaneers in a 30-27 win over the Cardinals.
The Cardinals blew an opportunity to inch closer to .500. Arizona’s offense looked impressive at times, with Kyler Murray setting a new mark for consecutive passes by rookie without an interception (211), per the Elias Sports Bureau. However, too many mistakes — including a pick by Murray late in fourth quarter — cost Arizona a win. After the demoralizing loss, the Cardinals now have to gear up to travel to San Francisco for their fourth road game in five weeks. — Josh Weinfuss
Next game: at San Francisco (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Lamar Jackson made his most complete statement that he’s the MVP in the NFL. He became the third player in the past 30 years to record at least three touchdown passes, one touchdown run and a perfect passer rating in a single game. But what everyone will talk about is his highlight-reel 47-yard touchdown run in which he faked out one defender and spun around another. Coach John Harbaugh said: “I said to offensive coaches on the headphones: ‘They’ll be watching that run for decades and decades. That’s one that everyone in the country is going to see by tomorrow afternoon.'” Thanks to Jackson, the Ravens (7-2) won for the fifth consecutive time, closing to within one game of the Patriots (8-1) and the top seed in the AFC. — Jamison Hensley
Next game: vs. Houston (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Almost everything that happened during the Bengals’ blowout loss against the Ravens was part of the bottoming out that comes with the rebuilding process. Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley had some positive moments but also had a couple of costly turnovers that were returned for touchdowns (one fumble lost, one interception). The Bengals went with rookies like Drew Sample and Germaine Pratt in an effort to make progress in their development. And while all of that is necessary to build for the future, it comes at a cost. Cincinnati needed a late field goal to avoid the biggest loss in franchise history. But it was Cincinnati’s 11th straight defeat dating back to last season, which ties the longest in franchise history. The ninth consecutive loss in 2019 makes this the franchise’s worst start since 1993. — Ben Baby
Next game: at Oakland (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)
After getting stuffed on goal-to-go on two previous possessions, Cleveland finally broke through in the final two minutes. Cleveland has owned one of the worst red-zone and goal-to-go offenses in the NFL, and those struggles continued Sunday. But with one final opportunity, the Browns kept their season — and faint playoff hopes — alive with a gutsy, 82-yard touchdown drive, concluding with a 7-yard pass from Baker Mayfield to Rashard Higgins. Too often this year, the Browns have found ways to lose. Sunday, they found a way to win. Now, in the span of five days, they have an opportunity to double their season win total, with Pittsburgh coming to town Thursday night. Beat the Steelers, and suddenly Cleveland’s season outlook quickly could begin to change. — Jake Trotter
Next game: vs. Pittsburgh (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)
This loss may go down as a pivotal moment in Buffalo’s season. The Bills made things interesting for the AFC’s potential wild-card teams after Sunday’s loss to the Browns, adding fuel to the critique that this team’s record is more a result of a weak schedule than anything else. Unfortunately for Buffalo, that “weak schedule” has come to a screeching halt; its next two games against Miami and Denver can no longer be overlooked before a four-game stretch against Dallas, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New England. Now 10 weeks into the season, the Bills are 1-3 against their four toughest opponents and haven’t created any sort of confidence they can beat good teams. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Next game: at Miami (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
There was finally a sign of life for the Jets. Quarterback Sam Darnold even said the Jets (2-7) have a chance to make the playoffs if they run the table. Easy there, young pup. The Jets are in no position to think that way, but give them credit for showing a pulse. Instead of quitting on coach Adam Gase, they rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Giants. The defense suffocated Saquon Barkley and the Giants’ run game, and Darnold played his first interception-free game since Week 1. Baby steps. — Rich Cimini
Next game: at Washington (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
This Giants’ season keeps getting worse with their sixth consecutive loss heading into the bye week. “We lost six straight. … Don’t feel good,” said safety Jabrill Peppers. “Definitely embarrassed.” Have to wonder now if any changes will be made by ownership considering the embarrassment of this game and season. The Giants (2-8) are worse than last year after 10 games, and the Jets came in averaging 12 points per game. Asked after the games if he wanted to comment, owner John Mara didn’t break stride. He immediately exited the building, clearly upset with what is transpiring with his struggling franchise. — Jordan Raanan
Next game: at Chicago (1 p.m. ET, Nov. 24)
The Dolphins appear to have found the right coach in Brian Flores. A two-game winning streak doesn’t mean much for 2019, but it does show positive signs for the culture Flores is building in Miami. The Dolphins might have the NFL’s least-talented roster, one that has often dealt with sudden, dramatic changes at inopportune times, and yet players and coaches have stepped up over the past month. This is a disciplined, hard-fighting team, even in a year that means little record-wise. If this is the ground-level stage of the new Dolphins, the future has some real promise behind Flores. — Cameron Wolfe
Next game: vs. Buffalo (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
The Colts continue to ruin their chances to take control of the AFC South. They followed up a road loss to Pittsburgh in Week 9 by losing to the struggling Dolphins on Sunday. The loss kept the Colts out of first place in the division. Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer, starting in place of the injured Jacoby Brissett (knee), threw three interceptions, and kicker Adam Vinatieri continued to show he’s hurting the Colts more than he’s helping them by missing an extra point attempt — bringing the total of missed kicks on the season to 11 (six extra point attempts and five field goal attempts). General manager Chris Ballard can’t sit back and be loyal to Vinatieri. He has to start looking for a replacement for the NFL’s all-time leading scorer. — Mike Wells
Next game: vs. Jacksonville (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Quarterback Mason Rudolph said it best in his postgame news conference: The Steelers’ defense is playing like the 1985 Bears. Pittsburgh didn’t give up a single offensive touchdown in its win against the Rams, and the defense forced four turnovers, including three interceptions. Minkah Fitzpatrick sealed the win with a pick, his fifth since being traded from Miami after Week 2. Still in the playoff hunt at 5-4, the Steelers’ stagnant offense needs to capitalize on the momentum to make a continued push toward the postseason. — Brooke Pryor
Next game: at Cleveland (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)
The Rams continue a run in the opposite direction, now 5-4. The offense has underperformed throughout most of 2019, and did so again Sunday, as Jared Goff passed for 243 yards, threw two interceptions and also lost a fumble. The run game is a shadow of its former self, with Todd Gurley II and a rotation of backs combining for 88 yards. Now the Rams must regroup and hope for the return of two injured offensive linemen in time to play the Bears, who last season had no trouble solving the Rams’ offensive game plan. — Lindsey Thiry
Next game: vs. Chicago (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)
If the Packers keep playing the way they did Sunday for the rest of November and into December, they’ll have important games to play — perhaps even at home — in January. On a wintery Green Bay day, the Packers improved to 4-1 at home with a steady mix of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, along with a timely goal-line stop on the last play of the game to stop the Panthers in their snowy tracks. “It seems like this place is becoming what it was for so long: a very difficult place to play,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “And we’re putting ourselves in position to have an opportunity to get one of these meaningful [games] down the line.” — Rob Demovsky
Next game: at San Francisco (4:25 p.m. ET, Nov. 24)
Kyle Allen gives the Panthers a chance to win. Tight end Greg Olsen said the quarterback’s performance in the fourth quarter was as good as any he has been around, considering the environment of Lambeau Field and heavy snow flurries. If you want a positive from the loss to the Packers, it’s that the second-year undrafted QB showed he can be successful against the league’s best teams, posting a career-best 307 passing yards and managing the game despite two costly turnovers (fumble, interception). As Allen said afterward, if he can play “clean football,” the Panthers can win a lot of games. — David Newton
Next game: vs. Atlanta (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
The Raiders are legitimate playoff contenders and in the middle of their best stretch since Jon Gruden returned to the sideline last year. Beating the Chargers on national TV on Thursday night served notice, and with the Chiefs falling at Tennessee on Sunday, Oakland finds itself a half-game behind Kansas City in the AFC West. The Raiders have two winnable games up next against the winless Bengals and at the 2-7 Jets, setting up a potential first-place showdown at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 1. Buckle up. — Paul Gutierrez
Next game: vs. Cincinnati (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Stephen A. Smith can see the Raiders making a playoff push.
Philip Rivers had three costly interceptions that proved too much for the Chargers to overcome. He struggled against an improved Oakland defensive front that sacked him five times. To his credit, Rivers battled playing in front of a banged-up offensive line that included two backup offensive tackles, but the growing number of turnovers from Rivers is a critical issue for head coach Anthony Lynn, who prioritizes taking care of the football. The Chargers are 16-36 when Rivers turns the ball over at least two times. — Eric D. Williams
Next game: vs. Kansas City (8:15 p.m. ET, Nov. 18)
Chargers’ Philip Rivers on 4-turnover night — ‘Obviously I need to cut them out’
However, so far through 11 games, Rivers hasn’t found the magic elixir.
“It’s a football game,” he said. “If you could just pick and choose and never throw them ever, I’d choose to throw zero. So I certainly don’t want to throw them, but I know it’s hurting us right now. So obviously I need to cut them out.”
Rivers finished with four interceptions in a 24-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, including a dagger on the final offensive play for the Chargers where he underthrew Austin Ekeler in the end zone, with the ball falling into the hands of Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen.
Rivers threw three interceptions last week in a loss to the Oakland Raiders, becoming the first Chargers quarterback since Erik Kramer in 1999 to throw at least three interceptions in consecutive games.
Rivers now has 14 interceptions on the year and 16 turnovers total, the most he has had in a season since 2016.
A priority for Chargers coach Anthony Lynn when he took over in 2017 was curbing turnovers. Rivers did a better job the first two years under Lynn, but has regressed this season.
“Philip just has to execute better, as far as turnovers,” Lynn said. “Now, when you look at his turnovers, it’s not always on the quarterback. I mean, sometimes the quarterback is getting hit late, or sometimes a receiver may slip down, so you can’t put all of those turnovers on Philip.
“But his turnovers are a little higher than I would like. He knows that. And we have to get better in that area, period.”
A team that expected to be in the conversation for a potential Super Bowl run at the start of the year, the Chargers fell to 4-7 and out of playoff contention.
All seven of the Chargers losses’ this season have been by seven or fewer points. The Chargers are the first team since the 2005 Packers to lose seven games by seven or few points within their first 11 games of the season.
That’s tied for the most such losses in a team’s first 11 games in the Super Bowl era.
Rivers has lost 61 games by seven or fewer points as a starting quarterback, the most such losses in the Super Bowl era. The next on the list is Vinny Testaverde with 59.
Rivers turns 38 in December and is in the final year of his deal. However, Lynn’s not ready to turn his attention to 2020.
“I don’t have that luxury to think about Philip and the future and his contract,” Lynn said. “My focus is on preparing for the next game and the Denver Broncos. At the end of the season, that will take care of itself. But right now, we’re just trying to finish the season on a positive note.”
Like Lynn, Rivers isn’t ready to give up on the season, either, as the Chargers head into their bye week.
“The only way I know is to fight, and we’ll just keep fighting,” Rivers said. “You sign up for them all, regardless of what your record is. We’ve been in this spot before, and you just keep playing. You never know what can happen, but whether that happens or not, you just keep fighting.
“That’s the beauty of this game. Believe me, while it hurts like crazy, we know that we’re all playing as a team and what our goals are. This game is way more than between the lines. It’s the things you learn, the toughness and all of the things you have to work on help you be a better person, man, husband and father. We’re in one of those spots. I’m certainly in one of those spots. You just keep fighting.”
Panthers owner David Tepper, frustrated by latest loss, says he won’t accept long-term mediocrity
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper would not address the future of coach Ron Rivera and general manager Marty Hurney during a Monday meeting with Charlotte-based reporters, but made it clear he will not accept long-term mediocrity.
Tepper also made it clear no decision has been made on the future of quarterback Cam Newton, saying that can’t happen until the first pick of the 2015 draft is completely healthy.
Newton, who has one year left on his contract, recently was placed on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury that sidelined him after an 0-2 start.
Tepper’s meeting with reporters was held 24 hours after the Panthers fell to 5-5 with a 29-3 loss to Atlanta that put a big dent in their playoff aspirations.
Tepper said he didn’t sleep well after the Atlanta loss, the second time in four games the Panthers were blown out by an opponent. They were beaten 51-13 at San Francisco on Oct. 27.
“Every time we have a loss, my mood is s—-y,” said Tepper, adding that he never accepted losing on the business side, where he accumulated a $12 billion net worth as a hedge fund manager.
The Panthers have a 13-14 record since Tepper purchased the organization for an NFL-record $2.275 billion from former owner Jerry Richardson in 2018. If they post a losing record this season, it will be the second in a row and third in the past four seasons since reaching the Super Bowl in 2015.
Carolina’s record against NFC South opponents since 2015 is 7-14, compared to 14-4 in the three previous seasons.
Tepper’s frustration over losing was evident as he continually said long-term mediocrity would not be accepted. He also said fans, many of whom left the stadium early on Sunday, were smart enough to recognize long-term mediocrity.
Rivera, who this year surpassed John Fox as the winningest coach in team history, has an overall record of 76-61-1. The Panthers have a record of 195-198-1 since becoming a franchise in 1995.
Tepper made wholesale changes to the business side after purchasing the team from Richardson, who put the team up for sale amid allegations of sexual and racial workplace misconduct. The NFL fined Richardson $2.75 million after a lengthy investigation.
Tepper did not make changes to the football staff last season after a 7-9 record following a 6-2 start because Newton’s sore right shoulder played a factor in a seven-game losing streak.
Newton’s shoulder healed after offseason cleanup surgery, but he suffered a Lisfranc injury in the third preseason game and re-aggravated it in the second game. Tepper said that ideally Newton, 30, will recover fully from the injury and perhaps one day lead the Panthers to a Super Bowl.
Tepper said Newton has done a lot of good for the team and Charlotte, calling him one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Tepper also made it clear he liked Newton’s replacement, Kyle Allen, suggesting the second-year, undrafted quarterback has played above expectations despite throwing four interceptions against Atlanta and nine in the past four games.
The Panthers are 5-3 under Allen this season and 6-3 overall dating back to a victory in last season’s finale at New Orleans, where the Panthers play on Sunday. Allen started his career with a 5-0 record, making him the seventh quarterback in NFL history to get off to such a start.
Tepper defended the organization’s decision not to go to Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Atlanta on Saturday, saying the team has a young quarterback in Allen, a third-round pick in Will Grier, and Newton, so there was no interest in signing a veteran quarterback.
Tepper also said he has a copy of the video of Kaepernick’s workout, so attending the session wasn’t necessary.
Neither Rivera nor Hurney were a part of Tepper’s meeting. Earlier in the day, Rivera expressed hope the Panthers still could make a playoff run. He said they still control their own destiny with two games left against the Saints (8-2), a rematch against Atlanta (3-7) and contests against Washington (1-9), Indianapolis (6-4) and Seattle (8-2).
“Probably the biggest thing is we control it,” Rivera said of the team’s playoff hopes, even though the Panthers currently stand ninth in the NFC playoff hunt. “It’s one game at a time. It’s one focus at a time. That’s probably the biggest thing we have to do, is focus in on the next opponent.
“That’s just getting ready for New Orleans.”
Tepper’s focus, with future plans to move the team headquarters to a state-of-the-art facility in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and ultimately get a new stadium in Charlotte to host the Panthers and an MSL team, is to give fans hope and end the long-term mediocrity.
While he didn’t mention Rivera or Hurney, he appeared to be putting them on notice.
As Tepper indicated the day he was hired, his first priority is winning.
Raiders ink Preston Brown to 1-year deal
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have been searching for a prototypical middle linebacker for their 4-3 base defense since the NFL suspended Vontaze Burfict for the remainder of the season after Week 4.
They believe they have found one in Preston Brown, unemployed since last Tuesday after the Cincinnati Bengals cut him nine games into the three-year, $16.5 million contract ($4.8M guaranteed) he signed there this offseason.
The Raiders, who are 6-4 and riding a three-game winning streak into playoff contention, signed Brown to a one-year deal Monday and reportedly will be on the hook for the remainder of his base salary, estimated to be about $400,000.
“He’s 27 years old,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Brown. “We really liked him coming out of Louisville. He had [four] straight 100-tackle seasons as a Buffalo Bill, went to Cincinnati and, obviously, things didn’t work out.
“But he has the intangibles, first of all, that you look for in a middle linebacker. He’s charismatic, he’s intelligent, a physical guy, football junkie and he’s been productive in the league. We’ll put him in the room with [linebackers coach David] Lippincot and [defensive coordinator Paul] Guenther and see if he can get caught up quickly and we’ll try to fast-track him.”
The Bills selected Brown in the third round (No. 73 overall) of the 2014 draft. He led the NFL with 144 tackles in 2017. And he had 54 tackles with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in nine games (eight starts) for the Bengals this season.
With so many injuries, the Raiders have added defensive pieces over the past few weeks in linebacker Will Compton, safety D.J. Swearinger and edge rusher Dion Jordan. All three played key roles on Oakland’s 17-10 defeat of the Bengals on Sunday.
In the corresponding roster move, the Raiders placed return specialist/receiver Dwayne Harris on season-ending injured reserve. He has been limited to only three games with ankle and foot issues.
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