Chops316 Monday Morning Quarterback: 2021 Week 10 Part One
Welcome to Part I of my Monday Morning Quarterback Post for Week 10. This week's secret phrase is "missed extra-point attempt". It's going to occur a lot in this post and it was very costly for some teams. Especially for a certain atrocious team from Michigan who may have blown their best chance to win a game this season.
The bonus secret word is "blowout". Plenty of them too this week. Not many close, competitive games. Luckily for me my Cowboys were on the right side of a blowout, more of an annihilation really. It makes for a pleasant Sunday and a good week.
This post will cover the Thursday night game and the early slate on Sunday. Part II will cover the late games plus the Monday Night affair. The Bears, Texans, Bengals and Giants were all on a bye this week and lets be honest, nobody missed them.
Just remember I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and I'm extremely biased. Last week I was also sickened and pissed. This week I am elated and joyous. What a difference a week can make! Feel free to agree or disagree about anything mentioned here. All comments are welcome.
Cowboys 43 Falcons 3
Last season it took a meltdown of epic proportions (even by Atlanta’s standards) for the Cowboys to defeat the Falcons. This season Dallas came out and punched them right in the mouth. This game was never in doubt as the Cowboys looked determined to prove that last week’s loss to the Broncos was an aberration.
Dallas scored on their opening possession, driving the ball quickly down the field. Atlanta responded with a field goal and the 1st quarter ended 7-3 in favor of the good guys. That was it for the Falcons offense. Literally, they couldn’t do anything the rest of the game.
The Cowboys had plenty of juice left as they exploded for 29 points in the 2nd quarter. The offense scored 3 TDs and the special teams decided to get in on the fun as they blocked a punt that they recovered for another TD. After the blocked punt Mike McCarthy figured what the hell, might as well go for two and Dallas converted. Halftime score Dallas 36 Atlanta 3.
That was a historic 2nd quarter as 29 points set a new Cowboys franchise record for most points scored in a quarter. Atlanta’s 33 point deficit was the biggest they faced at halftime since 1967. The Cowboys 33 point lead was the biggest they garnered since 1971.
Dallas added another TD in the 3rd quarter and were driving for a second one when Zeke Elliott fumbled the ball deep in Falcons territory. Dammit Zeke! Ah never mind, I can forgive this one time. But only once! At the start of the 4th quarter both teams pulled their regulars and the final period was a grab bag of backups playing like trash.
I think the Cowboys were embarrassed by their performance against Denver last week and rightfully so. They took out their frustrations this week and pulverized the Falcons. Dak Prescott (24/31, 296 yards, 2 TDs, 1 rushing TD) put up big numbers in only three quarters. Michael Gallup (3 receptions, 42 yards) finally returned to the lineup after being out since Week One, but it was CeeDee Lamb (6 receptions, 94 yards, 2 TDs) who was the top target for Prescott.
The running attack was very mediocre, but it mattered little since Dallas moved the ball through the air so easily. Neither Zeke Elliott (14 rushes, 41 yards, 2 TDs) nor Tony Pollard (11 rushes, 42 yards) found much traction on the turf. Pollard did add 6 receptions for 56 yards.
The Cowboys defense was mighty as they held Atlanta to 1/13 conversions on 3rd and 4th down. They also grabbed three interceptions. Total domination by the Cowboys and I am loving it. Dallas improved to 7-2, first place in the NFC East. They start a rough patch in the schedule next week in Kansas City.
Can you believe entering Week Ten the Falcons actually occupied the final playoff spot in the NFC? How was that possible? They didn’t even look like they could beat a high school team this week. Matt Ryan (9/21, 117 yards, 2 INTs) was awful and mercifully benched after the 3rd quarter. You know things went bad when Josh Rosen (1/6, 14 yards, 1 INT) got to play.
The defense had no answers, especially on 4th down as Dallas went 3/3. The Cowboys racked up 431 yards of total offense, easily could have topped 500 if the starters played the entire game. Atlanta should just burn this game film and pretend it never happened. The Falcons fell to 4-5, last place in the NFC South. Quick turnaround for the birds as they host the Patriots on Thursday night.
Music City Showdown
Titans 23 Saints 21
Nashville and New Orleans are both famous for their rich musical history. In Week 10 the two cities showed they know some football as well. A little at least, it wasn’t the prettiest of games. The Titans carried a tune just a little better as they held off a late rally by the Saints that came up just short.
The game figured to be a little ugly with the stars that were missing. The Titans of course are carrying on without the beast known as Derrick Henry. The Saints had it even worse as not only were they missing starting quarterback Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara didn’t suit up either due to injury.
The game started slow with four consecutive punts. The Titans broke the ice with a field goal and 3-0 lead as the 1st quarter ended. The Saints responded with a TD drive early in the 2nd quarter, but missed the extra-point. That became a recurring problem. Tennessee found a bit of a groove on offense to score 10 more points before the quarter ended and took a 13-6 lead into halftime.
New Orleans received the opening kickoff for the second half and fumbled during the return. Tennessee set up shop on the Saints 19-yard line and took advantage of the short field with a Ryan Tannehill TD pass that gave them a 20-6 lead. The Saints scored a TD later in the quarter, but once again missed the extra-point. 20-12 Titans after three quarters.
The two teams traded field goals early in the 4th quarter. The Saints trailed 23-15 when they got their last chance with 3 and a half minutes left on the clock. Trevor Siemian made a few crucial plays and the Saints scored a TD to cut the lead to 23-21. If they had connected on their two previous extra-points they would have been able to kick to win. Instead they needed a two-point conversion to tie. The conversion failed and Tennessee ran out the clock for the win.
Boy did the Titans miss Derrick Henry this week. The running back committee could only muster 65 yards on 24 carries. The only thing that worked for the Tennessee offense was Ryan Tannehill (19/27, 213 yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD) throwing the ball to Marcus Johnson (5 receptions, 100 yards).
Tennessee was able to win because they didn’t turn the ball over, converted a forced turnover into a TD and Randy Bullock made all his kicks. It wasn’t pretty, but style points don’t count anyway. This win was the 6th in a row, five consecutive over 2020 playoff teams. Tennessee is on a roll. The Titans improved to 8-2, first place in the AFC South and the AFC in general. They get a reprieve next week when they host the Texans. Don’t fall for the trap game boys!
The Saints were game without some big guns, but poor kicking and a brutal turnover were mistakes they weren’t good enough to overcome. Trevor Siemian (19/34, 298 yards, 2 TDs) played well. What he lacked in accuracy he made up for in long completions. He got decent support from the running back committee: 21 rushes, 86 yards, 1 TD.
The defense was good, but a super short field TD was costly. They lost a golden opportunity take over first place in the NFC South as they fell to 5-4. The Saints will travel to Philadelphia next week.
Are You Kidding Me?
Lions 16 Steelers 16
Congratulations to the Detroit Lions, who will not become the first team to go 0-17 this season. 0-16-1 has a nice ring to it, right? For the Pittsburgh Steelers all I have is shame, great shame. I don’t want to hear any excuses yinzers, you couldn’t beat the Lions at home. You deserve scorn and abuse.
I watched a chunk of this game and I swear my eyes started bleeding. It was so horrible, neither team looked like they wanted to win. Both of them blew several opportunities to get a victory. When the NFL releases the “highlight” reel to youtube it shouldn’t show any game footage, just an angry fan giving us the finger for fifteen minutes.
The Steelers scored a TD on their opening possession. It was the last time they saw the endzone the entire day. Lions head coach Dan Campbell took over play calling this week and he’s seen enough of Jared Goff so he went run heavy. It worked for three quarters as the Lions held a 16-13 lead heading into the 4th quarter. The Lions could have had 17 points, but they missed an extra-point. Big surprise, it came back to haunt them.
Pittsburgh kicked a field goal to tie the game at 16-16 early in the fourth quarter. Then both offenses simply died. Regulation time ended with five consecutive punts. Woof. Just what this crapfest needed, overtime.
Overtime was a horror show. The Lions won the toss and took the ball. They punted after four plays. The Steelers hit a big pass play, but Diontae Johnson fumbled the ball and Detroit gained possession on their own 45-yard line. With the help of a penalty they got into field goal range, but missed a 48-yard kick badly.
The Steelers took possession and lost 15 yards before punting. The Lions lost 13 yards and punted back. Ugh, at this point I was ready to vomit. The Steelers got one last chance with a minute and a half left. They actually moved into long field goal range when tight end Pat Freiermuth fumbled the ball and Detroit recovered. The Lions had 8 seconds left and went nowhere with a desperation trick play. Game over 16-16 tie. Gross.
Ben Roethlisberger missed the game as he was on the covid list, but that is no excuse. The Lions are pitiful. Mason Rudolph (30/50, 242 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) was what you would expect. Garbage. Remember those stats got pumped up with overtime. Najee Harris (26 rushes, 105 yards) ground out some yards. Pittsburgh was hurt by three turnovers, two which came in overtime.
Burn those terrible towels yinzers. The Steelers fell to 5-3-1, second place in the AFC North. They travel to L.A. next week to take on the Chargers.
The Lions had chances to win, but blew them. The game never would have even went to overtime if they hadn’t missed an extra-point attempt. The Lions went run-heavy with D’Andre Swift (33 rushes, 130 yards) leading the way. As a team the Lions rushed for 229 yards and two TDs. Jared Goff (14/25, 114 yards) was worse than Rudolph. What’s worse than garbage, puke? OK he was puke, barely topping a hundred yards passing in 5 full quarters. And 30 of those yards came on one pass. The other 13 completions went for 84 freaking yards.
Detroit plays with spirit, but they are so bad it doesn’t matter. The Lions fell to 0-8-1, last place in the NFC North and football in general. You might as well celebrate the tie Detroit fans, it probably won’t get any better. Detroit heads to Cleveland next week.
Upset Of The Week
No-Names 29 Buccaneers 19
What do buy the team that has everything? A calendar I guess. The Buccaneers played like their bye was this week, not last. Tom Brady was outplayed by Taylor Heinicke. And no I am not drunk as I write this. The No-Names defense from last year finally showed up as Washington avenged their playoff loss last season.
Apparently Brady forgot to practice during the bye as his two 1st quarter interceptions helped Washington race out into a 13-0 lead. The 2nd quarter was a field goal fest and the No-Names took a 16-6 lead into the half.
Each team scored a TD in the 3rd quarter and Washington maintained their ten point lead, 23-13 into the final quarter. Then the game got interesting for a minute. The No-Names fumbled the ball and Tampa Bay recovered at mid-field. Brady finally woke up and hit Mike Evans with a 40 yard TD pass. Yet Tampa missed the extra-point and Washington still led 23-19.
The No-Names got the ball back with nearly 11 minutes left in the game and a small lead. They needed to score and keep Brady off of the field. Difficult situation right? Not this week as the No-Names embarked on a 19 play, 80 yard TD drive that chewed up 10 and a half minutes off the clock. They failed on a two-point conversion, but a 10 point lead with 30 seconds left was good enough. Even a miracle worker like Brady can’t pull that much magic out of his ass and Washington scored the huge upset.
Taylor Heinicke (26/32, 256 yards, 1 TD) was under a ton of pressure all afternoon, he was sacked five times, but still stood tall in the pocket to make plays. The No-Names converted two turnovers into 10 points, which was how they jumped out to a big lead. They held on by grinding out yards, needing 34 rushes to gain 94 yards on the ground. The offense was able to dominate time of possession by converting 13/21 third and fourth down plays.
Washington was able to hold the Bucs 150 yards under their average on offense, a combination of controlling the clock and good defense. The defense couldn’t sack Brady, but those turnovers were huge. The No-Names improved to 3-6, third place in the NFC East. They travel to Carolina to face the Panthers next week.
Last season the Buccaneers came out of their bye sharp and began their drive to the Super Bowl. This year they came out flat and laid an egg in Washington. Tom Brady (23/34, 220 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) had a brutal first half and recovered somewhat in the second. The ground game was an afterthought after falling behind big early, the Bucs only rushed the ball 13 times for 53 yards.
Tampa’s defense pressured Heinicke, but they couldn’t keep the No-Names off the field as Washington held a two to one edge in time of possession. Not a great way to kick off the second half of the season. The Bucs fell to 6-3, first place in the NFC South. They host the Giants next Monday night.
Around The League
Dolphins 22 Ravens 10
Thursday night matchups tend to stink, which leads to stinky games. It was no different to start Week 10, except it was the wrong team that stunk out the joint. Who expected the Ravens to struggle to score against the 29th ranked defense in the league?
If you love punting this was the game for you. Also you are not right in the head. Both teams punted eight times. The 3rd quarter alone featured six punts and obviously no scoring. At one point the Ravens punted on seven straight possessions, the streak was snapped when Sammy Watkins lost a fumble.
Baltimore simply got their dupas kicked by the Miami defense. The Dolphins sacked Lamar Jackson 4 times, forced two turnovers, scored a TD and only let the Ravens convert 2/14 third down opportunities. The normally impressive Ravens offense only averaged a paltry 4.3 yards per play.
Jacoby Brissett (11/23, 156 yards) started the game for Miami and was mostly unimpressive. Brissett got injured in early in the third quarter and Tua Tagovailoa came in to replace him. Remember last season when Tua was regularly pulled from the lineup in the second half? Big difference this week. Tua (8/13, 158 yards, 1 rushing TD) sparked the offense, leading the drive for the Dolphins one offensive TD of the night which cemented the win.
As usual the Dolphins running game was M.I.A. as they only gained 60 yards on 22 carries. The defense carried the team with a little help from Tua. The Dolphins improved to 3-7, third place in the AFC East. Congrats Miami, you finally pulled ahead of the Jets! The Dolphins have a bye next week.
Boy for a team fighting for a division and playoff seeding the Ravens sure laid an egg. Lamar Jackson (26/43, 238 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) was badgered all night. He couldn’t get the ball down the field and Miami quickly tackled his check downs and screens.
The usually potent Ravens rushing attack was stopped. Jackson (9 rushes, 39 yards) was the leading ground gainer. The other running backs only added 55 yards on 14 carries. 94 total rushing yards for a team that averages 161 yards per game. The Ravens fell to 6-3, first place in the AFC North. They travel to Chicago next week.
Patriots 45 Browns 7
The Browns looked like they turned their season around last week as they hammered the Bengals. This week the Patriots flipped the Browns back into a downward spiral with a pummeling. Ooh boy, it sure was ugly.
The Browns took the opening kickoff and embarked on a nice 11 play TD drive. Then the offense fell off the face of the earth. The Patriots on the other hand scored also scored a TD on their first drive and they kept scoring the entire game. The Patriots offense was balanced, they moved the rock at will in the air and on the ground.
Mac Jones (19/23, 198 yards, 3 TDs) is looking like the steal of the 2021 draft, at least as far as quarterbacks are concerned. He began the season as a game manager, but each week the Patriots are opening up more of the playbook for him and he is responding with success. This game got so out of hand Jones was sat down in the 4th quarter and Brian Hoyer (3/3, 85 yards, 1 TD) came in to do some damage.
The Patriots running backs, led by Rhamondre Stevenson (20 rushes, 100 yards, 2 TDs), piled up 184 yards on the ground. Defensively the Patriots gave the Browns nothing after their initial scoring drive. Cleveland barely cracked 200 yards of total offense. Don’t look now but after last years speed bump the Patriots are looking like contenders again. New England improved to 6-4, second place in the AFC East. They travel to Atlanta to face the demoralized Falcons on Thursday night.
The Browns were embarrassed on both sides of the ball as the offense and defense had no answers for the Patriots. Baker Mayfield (11/21, 73 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) was awful before leaving the game in the second half with a leg injury. Nick Chubb was out with covid, but D’Ernest Johnson (19 rushes, 99 yards) filled in admirably. Johnson (7 receptions, 58 yards) was also the Browns leading receiver, which says a lot about how bad the passing game performed.
The Browns defense only forced one punt and no turnovers as New England moved the ball up and down the field. Myles Garrett called out the coaching staff after the game, complaining they made few adjustments as the Patriots scored relentlessly. He has a point. The Browns fell to 5-5, last place in the AFC North. They have a home game against the Lions next week and if they lose that one should just go home for the balance of the season.
Bills 45 Jets 17
Last week the Bills shit the bed against a terrible opponent. They weren’t about to make that same mistake two weeks in a row. Buffalo destroyed the Jets. The final score could have been much worse as New York scored two late TDs in garbage time.
After a putrid showing against Jacksonville, the Bills offense looked robust as they averaged a healthy 9.1 yards per play on offense. If Buffalo hadn’t got a little sloppy with two turnovers in the second half they probably would have topped 50 points.
Josh Allen (21/28, 366 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) faced little resistance. He gained most of his yards by throwing to Stefon Diggs (8 receptions, 162 yards, 1 TD) and Gabriel Davis (3 receptions, 105 yards). A cast of thousands on the running back committee gained 139 yards and 4 TDs on 24 carries.
The Bills defense forced 5 turnovers and only surrendered three points until garbage time. All around complete game for the Bills, who improved to 6-3. Still holding first place in the AFC East, Buffalo will host the Colts next week.
Well the Mike White hype in New York came to a thudding halt. White (24/44, 251 yards, 4 INTs) stunk up New Jersey, which isn’t easy as Jersey already stinks. The running backs weren’t any better, only gaining 70 yards on 22 carries. The Jets fell to 2-7, last place in the AFC East. They host the Dolphins next week in a game nobody will care about. Not even Fireman Ed.
Colts 23 Jaguars 17
The Colts raced out to a 17-0 1st quarter lead with the help of a blocked punt returned for a TD. The rout was on! Whoops, I jumped the gun. Indianapolis stood around doing nothing the rest of the day and damn near blew a win against the lowly Jaguars.
It was like the Colts thought they won at the end of the 1st quarter and went home. This game was a yawner for a good chunk of the time, at one point there was six consecutive possessions that ended with punts. I know the Colts love Pat McAfee’s For The Brand, but this was getting ridiculous.
Jacksonville had a few shots to steal this game, but were done in by their own mistakes. They started with special teams as a punt was blocked and turned into a Colts TD. And tell me if you heard this before, but the Jaguars also missed an extra-point attempt. The Jags mistakes ended with a fumble on their last possession on the Colts side of the field.
Jonathan Taylor (21 rushes, 116 yards, 1 TD) had a grand day running the ball and he was the engine that drove the offense. Carson Wentz (22/34, 180 yards) struggled to move the pigskin downfield. After a hot start the offense was pretty flat for the final three quarters.
Indy’s defense was run over by the Jaguars. Luckily for them they got that late turnover or this game could have ended in disaster. The Colts evened up their record at 5-5, second place in the AFC South. They’ll have much stiffer competition next week as they travel to Buffalo.
Trevor Lawrence (16/35, 162 yards) was not good, but like Indy the running game drove the Jaguars offense. Jamal Agnew (3 rushes, 79 yards, 1 TD) led a running back committee that gained 179 yards and 2 TDs on only 24 carries. Maybe if Jacksonville focused more on the run and less on the pass they could have pulled off the upset. Maybe. The Jaguars fell to 2-7, third place in the AFC South because they share a division with the Texans. They host the ailing 49ers next week.
We've reached the end of Part I. Have you enjoyed the ride so far? Don't tell me, I'll just assume you have. Part II will come out later this week.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below.