For the third time this NFL season, Monday night represented a doubleheader due to COVID-related issues. It was a fun evening of action starting out with the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Buffalo Bills.
Later in the evening, the Arizona Cardinals had their way with a mistake-filled Dallas Cowboys squad by the score of 38-10. Kyler Murray continued to play excellent football. Without Dak Prescott in the mix, the Cowboys just couldn’t get anything right en route to losing their fourth game in six attempts.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from this NFL Week 6 “Monday Night Football” doubleheader.
Winner: Clyde Edwards-Helaire continues dominating rookie season
Heading into Monday night’s game, this rookie first-round pick had shown flashes of brilliance. In fact, the LSU product was on pace to tally north of 1,640 yards at a clip of 5.1 yards per touch. Edwards-Helaire then decided to put up the single-best performance that we’ve seen from a rookie running back in some time.
Taking advantage of a weak Bills run defense, CEH went off for 161 yards on 26 attempts. He was actually a bigger part of the Chiefs’ offense than Patrick Mahomes. Think about that for a second. It also seems that the rookie is not ready to give up his starting job to the recently-acquired Le’Veon Bell.
Loser: Bills’ run defense absolutely gashed
Week 5 saw Buffalo’s defense give up 139 rushing yards to Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans. That came two weeks after this unit was gashed for 167 rushing yards in a controversial win over the Los Angeles Rams. Needless to say, Sean McDermott’s squad has had a major issue stopping the run.
In addition to Edwards-Helaire putting up 161 yards on Monday evening, Patrick Mahomes, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson combined for 79 yards on the ground. That’s simply not going to cut it for a Bills defense that was among the best in the NFL last year.
Winner: Patrick Mahomes continues to make history
Mahomes put in a workmanlike performance against the Bills Monday night. The reigning Super Bowl MVP completed 21-of-26 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was not the awe-inspiring outing we’ve become accustomed to. Despite this, Mahomes made some NFL history.
Whenever you’re mentioned in the same sentence as Dan Marino, you know you’re doing something right. Mahomes has made history at nearly every turn during his roughly 2.5 years as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback. He added another layer to that Monday night.
Loser: Josh Allen continues to take a step back
Including this game-ending interception, Josh Allen completed 14-of-27 passes for 122 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. This comes one week after he tossed two interceptions in a blowout 42-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Playing at an NFL MVP level through the first four weeks of the season (15 total touchdowns and one interception), Allen has taken a major step back over the past couple games. He will need to perform at a higher clip if the Bills expect to be legit Super Bowl contenders, especially with their surprising issues on defense.
Winner: Christian Kirk takes the top off the defense
This second-year receiver from Texas A&M had not made the impact most anticipated through the first five weeks of the 2020 NFL season. Dogged by some injury concerns, Kirk entered Monday night having put up 11 catches for 154 yards in four games. He tallied more than half those receiving yards on this 80-yard touchdown bomb from Kyler Murray.
It’s this ability to take the top off the defense that could loom large for the Cardinals moving forward. They have one of the game’s top receivers in that of DeAndre Hopkins and future Hall of Fame pass catcher Larry Fitzgerald. Adding another element to the passing game will be big. And while Kirk caught all of two passes against the Cowboys Monday night, that one reception opened the game up big time.
Loser: Ezekiel Elliott‘s fumble issues continue
It’s more than troubling. The Cowboys need Elliott to step up with star quarterback Dak Prescott lost for the NFL season to an ankle injury. In no way did this come to fruition Monday night against the Cardinals. Elliott was actually pulled from the game for some time after he lost two fumbles in the first half. Each one ultimately resulted in a Cardinals touchdown and a 14-0 Cowboys deficit.
Elliott has now put the ball on the ground five times in six games after coughing up the ball all of three times last season. Given the Cowboys’ issues on defense, this is not going to help them turn things around following a 2-4 start to the season. Just an ugly performance from Elliott on Monday night in Dallas.
Winner: Kyler Murray has another big game
This reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year opened up the 2020 season on fire. In fact, there was some MVP chatter surrounding Murray. That came crashing down during a three-interception performance in a Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions. Since then, the dynamic dual-threat quarterback has been at the top of his game.
Murray might have only completed 9-of-24 passes Monday night against the Cowboys. However, he led his Cardinals on five touchdown-scoring drives. He added three more total touchdowns in the process while going for 74 yards on the ground. All said, Murray has tallied seven touchdowns compared to one interception over the past three games. It appears that the one game against Detroit was a fluke.
Loser: Mike McCarthy did not have the Cowboys ready
It seems like a broken record. Mike McCarthy struggling with in-game coaching during his first season on the Cowboys’ sideline. That came back to haunt the Cowboys big time during Monday night’s blowout loss to the Cardinals. Who in their right mind kicks a 58-yard field goal down 28-3 in the latter half of the third quarter? This is exactly the type of coaching decisions that McCarthy has struggled with through six weeks.
Equally as important, the veteran head coach just didn’t have his team ready to play Monday night. While the defense was good initially, turnovers and mistakes on both sides of the ball doomed the Cowboys to their fourth loss in six tries this season. It’s ugly in Big D right now.