It was not expected to be much of a week, with oddsmakers declaring nearly every game a mismatch and only two games scheduled between teams with winning records. But Tennessee had a huge upset of New England, the Buffalo Bills crushed the Jets, and the Cleveland Browns won a third game in a season for the first time since 2015. It wasn’t all pretty, but plenty of fun was had. Here’s what we learned.
• The Rams and Chiefs may have been knocked down a notch. Both teams have been considered the top teams all season — and both won on Sunday. But over the last few weeks, the New Orleans Saints have been even better, especially on offense. The Saints’ latest romp was a 51-14 demolishing of Cincinnati on Sunday, giving New Orleans 96 points over its last two games.
• All Matt Barkley needed was some rest. A lot of rest. He may never have lived up to the hype he generated as a quarterback at Southern California, but after throwing a pair of interceptions in a Week 17 loss in 2016, he took 678 days off before exploding in Sunday’s win over the Jets. He threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns, helping to crush the Jets, 41-10.
• The battle for wildest touchdown celebration is officially on. A week after Michael Thomas brought back Joe Horn’s cellphone celebration, Tyreek Hill celebrated a score by taking over a television camera. Included in the footage he shot was an official flagging him for an excessive celebration. The return to the days of Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and Horn may be good news to many fans, but Coach Andy Reid was not thrilled. “That was too much,” he said. He added, “I was not happy.”
• Yards don’t equal points. It’s been proven before, but never quite so emphatically as on Sunday, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put up 501 yards of offense and scored just 3 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time a team had had 3 or fewer points in a game of 450 or more yards, which is, presumably, the dark version of FitzMagic.
• Jerry Rice’s record is safe. Larry Fitzgerald, a truly remarkable wide receiver who has missed a grand total of six games over 15 seasons, moved into second place on the career receiving yards list on Sunday, when he had 50 in Arizona’s loss to Kansas City. He now has 15,952, or 6,943 fewer than Rice. If Fitzgerald stayed at this year’s rate of 44.2 yards a game, he’d need 154 more games, or just under 10 seasons, to take over the top spot.
• Cleveland’s rookies can take care of business. They won’t all be like this one, but the Browns’ kids had quite a day against Atlanta. Baker Mayfield had three touchdown passes and a 151.3 rating and may have been only the second most valuable rookie on offense, as Nick Chubb rushed for 176 yards on 20 carries, including a 92-yarder that was the longest rushing touchdown in franchise history.
Here’s what happened in N.F.L. Week 10, from The Associated Press
Green Bay Packers 31, Miami Dolphins 12
Aaron Jones ran for career highs of 145 yards and two scores, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams connected for two touchdown passes and the Green Bay Packers beat the Miami Dolphins 31-12 on Sunday.
The Packers (4-4-1) pulled away in the second half, sandwiching scoring drives around cornerback Bashaud Breeland’s interception deep in Miami territory. Green Bay went ahead 28-12 on Adams’ 25-yard touchdown catch with 7:24 left in the third quarter.
Maybe this is the game that will get the Packers going in the tight N.F.C. North race following a choppy first half of the season.
Jason Sanders tied a Dolphins franchise rookie record with four field goals, but Miami (5-5) couldn’t find the end zone. The Dolphins squandered another opportunity on the game-opening drive after Brock Osweiler fumbled away a shotgun snap.
The Packers cashed in on that turnover, too, when Rodgers and Adams connected on their first touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
But Jones, who finished with 15 carries, gave Green Bay some much-needed balance.
A slashing style and an explosive burst through the hole make Jones a threat to bust a big run on any carry. He accounted for 54 yards of total offense on the opening drive alone.
Jones added a career-long 67-yarder to give him 96 yards on four carries in the first quarter alone.
Los Angeles Rams, 36, Seahawks 31
Brandin Cooks rushed for a 9-yard touchdown with 5:49 to play on the first snap after Dante Fowler forced and recovered a fumble by Russell Wilson, and the Los Angeles Rams bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Jared Goff passed for 318 yards and two touchdowns, and Todd Gurley rushed for 120 yards and a score as the Rams (9-1) swept the season series with their division rivals.
Los Angeles moved into commanding position for its second consecutive N.F.C. West title, but only after plenty of late drama in a rivalry that’s never lacking in excitement.
Wilson threw three touchdown passes, rushed for 92 yards and nearly rallied the Seahawks (4-5) all the way back after his fumble.
He hit Mike Davis for a short touchdown catch to cap a 90-yard drive with 1:56 to play. After the Seattle defense held, he got the Seahawks to the Los Angeles 35 before throwing four straight incompletions in the final minute.
Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee caught touchdown passes for the Rams, who survived a topsy-turvy game with just enough big plays. Although the perfect season ended last week in New Orleans, Los Angeles still has never lost back-to-back games under coach Sean McVay.
Fowler, the pass-rush specialist acquired from Jacksonville late last month, made up for his costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third quarter by stripping Wilson of the ball and then recovering the fumble, setting up Cooks’ run for a 12-point lead.
Wilson also threw touchdown passes to Nick Vannett and Tyler Lockett while joining Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to throw 20 touchdown passes in each of their first seven N.F.L. seasons. But the Seahawks have lost two straight after winning four of five.
Tennessee Titans 34, New England Patriots 10
The Tennessee Titans made sure New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn’t finish his 300th game.
The Titans sacked Brady three times and hit him repeatedly as they beat New England, 34-10, Sunday, snapping a seven-game skid against the Patriots in Mike Vrabel’s first game as head coach against the team he helped win three Super Bowls.
It was the most sacks allowed in a game this season by the Patriots (7-3), and Coach Bill Belichick pulled Brady for Brian Hoyer midway through the fourth quarter.
Only Brett Favre (326) has played in more games, both regular season and postseason, as a quarterback than Brady. The three-time N.F.L. Most Valuable Player also needed only three touchdown passes to tie Peyton Manning (579) for the N.F.L. record for most touchdown passes all time for both the regular season and postseason. He left having thrown for 254 yards and no touchdown passes.
The loss snaps a six-game winning streak going into New England’s bye. The Patriots, who routed the Titans 35-14 in January, also lost to Tennessee for the first time since Dec. 16, 2002.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota capped each of the first two drives with touchdown passes, and Derrick Henry ran for a pair of touchdowns.
New Orleans Saints 51, Cincinnati Bengals 14
Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes in the first half, moving ahead of Brett Favre for second place on the career list, and the New Orleans Saints rolled to their eighth straight victory Sunday, 51-14 over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Brees led the Saints to touchdowns on all five first-half possessions with a nearly perfect performance — only two incompletions. His 17-yard touchdown to Michael Thomas with 2 seconds left in the half gave him 509 career touchdown passes, one more than Favre.
Up next: Peyton Manning’s record 539.
In the first half alone, the Saints piled up 311 yards and had 21 first downs on 40 plays. Brees was 18 of 20 for 214 yards with three touchdowns.
A Tribute to Dez Bryant
Dez Bryant tore his Achilles’ tendon before he could officially debut for the New Orleans Saints, but his new teammates made sure he did not feel left out Sunday against the Bengals.
Mark Ingram threw up some love after a 28-yard touchdown reception …
Kansas City Chiefs 26, Arizona Cardinals 14
Patrick Mahomes will always have some special TV footage of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrating his record-setting touchdown pass in a win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
That’s because Tyreek Hill was the one recording it.
Mahomes threw for 249 yards, with two touchdown strikes to Hill, but it was the second one that sent the Chiefs’ first-year starter past Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the single-season touchdown record. It was the 31st for Mahomes — with six games yet to play — and it helped lift Kansas City to a 26-14 victory over the Cardinals and another game closer to the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Hill celebrated the score by leaping into the stands, then commandeering the CBS camera — earning him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the officials and a sharp rebuke from Coach Andy Reid.
“The celebration just came into my head,” Hill said. “For him to come in and do that, that’s amazing, man. People doubted him — ‘He wasn’t going to do this, he wasn’t going to do that.’ I’m proud of him.”
Hill had seven catches for 117 yards.
Arizona quarterback Josh Rosen had 195 yards passing with a touchdown, but two interceptions and several brutal hits in the fourth quarter no doubt left a lasting impression. David Johnson ran for 98 yards with touchdowns on the ground and through the air, while Larry Fitzgerald had six catches for 50 yards and passed Terrell Owens for No. 2 on the N.F.L.’s career receiving yardage list in the closing minutes.
Fitzgerald has 15,952 yards in 15-year career, trailing only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
Cleveland Browns 28, Atlanta Falcons 16
Rookie Baker Mayfield threw a season-high three touchdown passes and rookie Nick Chubb streaked 92 yards for a touchdown and the Cleveland Browns ended a four-game losing streak with a stunning 28-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
The Browns (3-6-1) played their most complete game this season under interim coach Gregg Williams, their defensive coordinator who improved to 1-1 since replacing the fired Hue Jackson.
Mayfield completed his first 13 passes and finished 17 of 20 for 216 yards. He threw a 28-yard scoring pass to Rashard Higgins, a 13-yarder to Chubb and 11-yarder to Duke Johnson.
Ryan and the Falcons (4-5) had their three-game winning streak — and any playoff momentum — stopped cold.
And while Mayfield did damage, Chubb’s record run was the backbreaker.
With the Browns backed up at their 8, Chubb, who had 176 yards on 20 carries, took a handoff and headed right. He cut toward Atlanta’s sideline, picked up a block and then showed his surprising breakaway speed while finishing the longest run in team history.
Chicago Bears 34, Detroit Lions 22
Mitchell Trubisky locked in right from the start, and it added up to one of his best performances as a pro, not to mention a rare win for Chicago against Detroit and an NFC North rival.
Trubisky threw for a career-high 355 yards and three touchdowns, and the first-place Bears beat the Lions 34-22 to snap a 10-game losing streak against division opponents on Sunday.
The Bears (6-3) had dropped nine of 10 against Detroit (3-6) and were seeking their first victory over a division opponent since Oct. 31, 2016, against Minnesota.
Chicago jumped out to a 26-7 halftime lead with Trubisky and Allen Robinson leading the way.
“We were just out there having fun today,” Trubisky said. “Everyone was doing their job.”
Trubisky completed 23 of 30 passes and finished with a 148.6 rating. He also ran for a 4-yard touchdown.
“He’s playing his tail off right now,” Coach Matt Nagy said. “I love where he’s at.”
About the only downer for the Bears was Cody Parkey hitting uprights while missing two extra points and two field goals.
Things were so bad for him that fans cheered sarcastically when he made an extra point late in the first half and let out a loud roar when the Bears went for a 2-point conversion after a touchdown by Robinson in the third.
“Of course (coaches are) frustrated with me but who’s more frustrated than myself?” Parkey said. “This is my job, this is what I’m supposed to do and I’m missing out there. So I mean I’ve just got to trust in what I’m doing.”
Buffalo Bills 41, New York Jets 10
Matt Barkley stunningly sparked Buffalo’s bumbling offense with two touchdown passes, including one to offensive tackle Dion Dawkins. LeSean McCoy broke out of a season-long slump with 113 yards rushing and a pair of touchdown runs, and the Bills embarrassed the New York Jets 41-10 on Sunday.
Barkley made his first start in nearly two years, and looked the best of any of the four quarterbacks the Bills (3-7) have trotted out this season. The 28-year-old journeyman was 15 of 25 for 232 yards while helping Buffalo snap a four-game losing streak as the Bills put up 451 yards of total offense.
Meanwhile, the hot seat under coach Todd Bowles has reached a boiling point as the Jets (3-7) got completely manhandled by a team that entered with a league-low 96 points and had two touchdowns in its previous four games.
New York started 39-year-old Josh McCown in place of injured rookie Sam Darnold. McCown was 17 of 34 for 135 yards with two interceptions.
What Do Players and Refs Talk About?
The blitz is fierce and well timed, slamming the quarterback to the ground. As the crowd roars and defenders rise to celebrate, the fallen passer rolls onto his back and looks up at the first person he sees standing over him: a referee.
Four Rookie Quarterbacks. Four Struggles.
In April, for the first time in N.F.L. draft history, four quarterbacks were selected among the top 10 picks. It was considered by many draft analysts to be the most impressive class of rookie quarterbacks entering the league since 1983, when Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly arrived.
But despite each showing brief flashes of success, the early returns have not been pretty. By the end of September, all four — Darnold of the Jets, Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, Josh Rosen of the Arizona Cardinals and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills — were starting. Six weeks later, each has a losing record and a quarterback rating among the bottom six in the league. Two have been injured, and two have seen their offensive coordinators fired.