Another week NFL Action is in the books, and boy did Week 10 deliver a lot of drama. The 49ers embarrassed the Jaguars. Joshua Dobbs did it again in Minnesota. And the Browns stunned the Ravens with a last-second field goal.
Which players, coaches and teams deserve the most praise (or criticism) after the weekend? Here are our winners and losers:
Winner: Future of the Texans
A year ago, the team was 3-13-1 with Lovie Smith controlling the sidelines. Right now, quarterback CJ Strode and head coach DiMeco Ryans are the stars of the show; They both exude the composure typically associated with 10-year vets, and that was evident in crunch time against Joe Burrow and the Bengals, in which Houston went up 5-4. The club should remain in the wild-card race, but it’s also shaping up to be one of the most popular leap-forward candidates beyond 2023.
Loser: The entire Patriots franchise
If Houston is bullish in the short and long term, New England does the opposite. No one expected the Patriots to find new life in Germany Sunday morning, but somehow their hapless loss to the Colts left owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick knowing more than expected. The weekly rotation at QB — Mac Jones here, Bailey Zappe, no results anywhere — has become their sad legacy.
Winner: Joshua Dobbs
Even after Jameis Winston replaced the injured Derek Carr, the Vikings gave the Saints several chances to come back and steal a Week 10 win. But they held on to a 24-point halftime lead thanks to Topps’ continued form. The journeyman QB has now led back-to-back wins while using both his arm and legs (and missing key weapons like Justin Jefferson). Don’t be surprised to see his jersey popping up all over US Bank Stadium as the year goes on.
Loser: The Ravens’ reputation
All week, experts said Baltimore might be the best team in the lineup NFL What is their dominant point differential in the AFC at midseason? Then the Ravens went and blew another late lead to the rival Browns, whose early pick-six put them on the road to a blowout loss. Lamar Jackson is infallible, throwing a Big-Six himself, but the bigger concern is this team’s consistent inability to finish important plays; The Ravens have lost nine games when leading by 7+ points in the last three years alone.
During the 49ers’ bye week, many openly wondered if Purdy’s magical run as Kyle Shanahan’s ultra-efficient gunslinger had already come to an end. The second-year QB certainly contributed to the club’s three-game slide with several poor crunch-time throws. But he got back on track against the Jaguars, hitting 73% of his passes with three scores and zero picks. Perhaps most importantly, he was very good against the blitz, ending the perception that he couldn’t handle pressure.
Loser: Silence of the Giants
It’s tough to keep it all together when you’re down 28-0 at halftime or 42-7 after three. Especially since those kinds of results are not unusual. So cut the Giants some slack. Everyone just wants to be good and no one knows how to do it. But Sunday wasn’t a pretty sight against the rival Cowboys, who went on to another blowout of the “rivals.” Brian Dabold finds himself at the center of an “animation debate” once again, and his players can’t be on the same page.
Winner: Don Campbell
The Lions’ showing against the Ravens a few weeks ago spoiled their brief attempt to be considered the NFC’s most balanced contender. They’ve rebuilt that goodwill, and with Sunday’s shootout win the Chargers confirmed they still belong in the conference’s class. On a day when Justin Herbert threw four scores to move LA, Campbell’s aggressive fourth-down strategy and late-game management helped Jared Goff and co. Detroit Lions 7-2!