Sunday’s Week 6 NFL action started out in ugly fashion overseas with Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers turning it over seven times against the Carolina Panthers.
From there, we weren’t deprived of key stories. The San Francisco 49ers went into Los Angeles and absolutely dominated the defending NFC champion Rams.
In Minnesota, Kirk Cousins had himself yet another brilliant outing in a blowout win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile, it’s pretty much over for the Falcons and Browns after mistake-filled losses.
These are among the top takeaways from Sunday’s Week 6 NFL action.
Might be time to bench Jameis Winston
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was not happy about his quarterback’s performance in a 37-26 loss to the Carolina Panthers overseas Sunday morning. It became clear that Arians was growing frustrated with Winston’s turnover proneness.
At the end of the day, the former No. 1 overall pick threw five interceptions and lost another fumble in a disastrous overall performance. Winston just didn’t give Tampa Bay a chance to win the game. It now has us wondering whether Arians and Co. should ultimately bench him in favor of Ryan Griffin.
It’s over in Atlanta
When Matt Bryant’s potential game-tying extra point missed wide left late in Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, reality set in for Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons. At 1-5 through six weeks, the Falcons’ season is already over. It likely would have been with a narrow win here. But losing to a rookie quarterback in the fashion we saw Sunday ends any notion that this team can rebound.
Kyler Murray put up 372 total yards of offense with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Falcons’ defense was utterly helpless going up against the No. 1 pick. It now has us wondering how long Quinn might last in Atlanta.
Kirk Cousins continues great play
Any lingering issues between Cousins and Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs can now be put to rest. One week after putting up a tremendous outing against the New York Giants, Cousins took on a much better Philadelphia Eagles team. In what has not been a theme throughout his career, Cousins came to play against a winning squad.
The former Pro Bowler completed 22-of-29 passes for 333 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in a 38-20 win. Even the one interception was on a perfectly thrown ball by Cousins. Beyond those basic stats, Cousins continues to take shots down the field. That’s also been a rarity throughout his career.
49ers make major statement in Southern California
There was a narrative surrounding the undefeated San Francisco 49ers heading into Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. Despite joining the Patriots as the only team without a loss this season, the 49ers weren’t getting respect primarily due to their lackluster schedule. That changed big time against the defending NFC champs on Sunday.
After seeing Los Angeles drive 56 yards for a touchdown to open the game, Robert Saleh’s defense pitched a shutout against the Rams the rest of the way. In fact, Sean McVay’s squad racked up 109 yards after that initial drive. Jared Goff accumulated 56 net passing yards. It was a good old-fashioned butt whooping for the 49ers in a 20-7 win over Los Angeles. It’s now time to take this team seriously.
Saints defense shows out again
New Orleans went into Duval and had its way on defense against Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew on Sunday. They held Jacksonville to 11 first downs and 226 total yards of offense in a 13-6 win. That included getting to Minshew for two sacks and forcing just his second interception of the season.
This is the latest example of the Saints’ defense stepping up with Drew Brees sidelined. New Orleans is now 4-0 with Teddy Bridgewater under center. He wasn’t asked to do much on Sunday with the Saints’ defense stepping up. And this has Sean Payton’s squad looking like a legit Super Bowl contender.
Baker Mayfield throws game away
Cleveland had a real opportunity to take out the Seattle Seahawks at home on Sunday after a blowout loss last week. Mayfield and Co. opened a 20-6 lead early in the second quarter and seemed to be in domination mode on offense. That’s when the bad version of Baker Mayfield showed up.
Boasting the most turnovers in the NFL since taking over as the Browns’ starter, Mayfield threw three interceptions. That included a pick to ice the game late in the fourth quarter with Seattle up 32-28. Now at 2-4 on the season, things are unraveling fast for Mayfield and his Browns.
Cowboys can do no right in upset loss
Most figured the Dallas Cowboys were ripe for a get-right game against a winless New York Jets team on Sunday. In no way did that come to fruition. Returning from his bout with mono, Sam Darnold came to play big time. That included a 92-yard touchdown pass to open up a two-score lead in the second quarter. From there, the Cowboys could do nothing right.
Dallas coverted on just 2-of-10 third-down opportunities and committed a whopping eight penalties for 105 yards. Once Dak Prescott’s two-point attempt fell incomplete late in the fourth quarter, Dallas fell by the score of 24-22 for its third consecutive loss. This team is in shambles right now. We’re highly intrigued to see how it plays out over the short term with Dallas’ difficult remaining schedule.
Chiefs lose again as Patrick Mahomes deals with injury
The Kansas City Chiefs opened up a 17-3 lead at home against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Making his first appearance since Week 1, Tyreek Hill started the game out in grand fashion. It sure looked like the Chiefs were going to bounce back in a big way after losing to the Indianapolis Colts last week.
That did not come to fruition. Mahomes tweaked his ankle injury in the first half and was not the same player. He threw for less than 100 yards after the opening quarter. And despite seeing his receivers with a bad case of the drops, Deshaun Watson outplayed Mahomes in a 31-24 Texans win. We’re not too sure how serious Mahomes’ injury is. But with games coming up against the Packers and Vikings over the next three weeks, there has to be some level of concern in Kansas City.
Dolphins embarrass themselves once again
Days after anointing Josh Rosen as their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, the Dolphins benched the second-year signal caller in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday. This came after Rosen put up just 55 net passing yards on 25 attempts. However, it did nothing to change the outcome of a game between two winless squads.
When all was said and done, the Washington Redskins earned their first victory of the season by the score of 17-16. That came after Miami attempted a two-point conversion for the win late in the fourth quarter. It failed miserably.
We understand head coach Brian Flores going for the win. We can’t blame him for that. But what a horrible play call. Meanwhile, the decision to bench Rosen after naming him the starter was pretty odd for a Dolphins squad that’s now 0-5 on the season.
Lamar Jackson makes major statement
Fresh off a two-game losing streak that saw him turn it over at an unnerving clip, the winless Bengals acted as just the tonic Jackson needed on Sunday. He became the first quarterback in regular season history to account for 200-plus passing yards and 150-plus rushing yards in the same game. That included this brilliant 21-yard touchdown run.
When all was said and done in Baltimore, Jackson tallied 388 total yards while avoiding the turnover bug in a hard-fought 23-17 win. Talk about overcoming recent struggles and putting your team in a position to win. Jackson proved himself and more on Sunday.
End of Marcus Mariota’s tenure?
Tennessee did the unthinkable Sunday against the Denver Broncos and benched its former No. 2 overall pick for Ryan Tannehill. It came after Mariota led the Titans to just north of 70 total yards while throwing two interceptions in about three quarters of play.
Anemic would be the best way to describe this offense. The Titans put up 12 first downs and 202 total yards of offense. They converted on just 2-of-14 third-down opportunities. It led to a 16-0 shutout loss and renewed questions about Mariota’s future in Nashville.
Chargers are toast
Even at 2-4 on the season and just two games out in the AFC West, it’s about time the Chargers throw in the towel. Sunday night’s 24-17 “home” loss to a Steelers team starting their third-string quarterback magnified this further.
Veteran Philip Rivers has not been himself with his Chargers having lost four of the past five games. The defense gave up chunk plays to Pittsburgh’s offense. Meanwhile, the offense was a Benny Hill skit waiting to happen. Sure they are still alive in the division, but there’s nothing that tells us the Chargers are going to make a run similar to what we saw last season.
NFC West is setting up to be something
We already covered the San Francisco 49ers’ blowout win over the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams. That loss puts Jared Goff and Co. three games behind San Francisco in the loss column heading into Week 7. That’s going to be a massive hole for the team to dig out of.
However, the Seattle Seahawks also made a statement on the road in Cleveland. It included Russell Wilson entering into the NFL MVP conversation after completing 23-of-33 passes for 295 yards. He now has Seattle at 5-1 on the season and just a half game behind San Francisco. These two teams play twice over the final eight weeks of the season starting on “Monday Night Football” in Week 10. That’s going to be an absolute blast.