Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Following a tough loss to the Oakland Raiders, the 3-4-1 Detroit Lions traveled to face the struggling 3-5 Chicago Bears for the first time this season. The biggest news coming into the game was that gritty Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was ruled out for the game due to fractured bones in his back, breaking his streak of 136 consecutive regular-season games started, which was sixth-longest all-time. In his place, Jeff Driskel would make his sixth career start. The Bears would finally break their four-game losing streak, hanging on to beat Detroit 20-13 and moving up in the NFC North. They face off again on Thanksgiving.
Trubisky Throws a Mix of Touchdowns and Hospital Passes
Fans of the third-year Bears quarterback will say three touchdowns by Trubisky brings hope for the rest of the season. Critics will claim his performance was only against a reeling team struggling in pass defense and without their starting quarterback. What did I see? A mix of classic Trubisky-special dump offs on third downs, a few clutch touchdown throws, and a few passes that would make any receiver terrified to see him throwing to them. His 18-yard touchdown to tight end Ben Braunecker and 33-yard pass to Allen Robinson were throws of beauty that remind Bears fans why they took him at number two overall. And then there was the throw that led receiver Anthony Miller straight into a crunching blow that left fans curled up and feeling his pain. It was one of a few passes thrown by Trubisky against the Lions that put his receiver in dangerous situations. Yikes. Not much was asked of Trubisky, only completing 16 of his 23 passes attempted. Nine of them were within five air yards. However, three of his throws were thrown 20 air yards or deeper, two of which were for touchdowns. He ended the day with 173 passing yards and three touchdowns, but the offense still struggled to generate yardage as seven out of 12 total drives were three-and-outs.
Jeff Driskel Does His Best Stafford Impression
Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel had a daunting task ahead of him. Matthew Stafford had been the driving force behind a Lions team struggling to find a defense and a run game. Driskel played well for his sixth-career start, completing 27 of his 46 passes for 269 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also was the leading rusher for the Lions with 37 yards on five carries. Taking a deeper look at his stats on the day, 11 of his completions were behind the line of scrimmage and another seven were within five yards, leaving only 10 further than five air yards downfield. Still, credit must be given to Driskel for nearly bringing the Lions to a victory, with the only thing standing in his way being receiver Kenny Golladay’s drops in key situations. Whether it was a lack of practice time with his wide receivers or simply the pressure of being in-game, Driskel and his receivers looked to be on different pages at times.
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
In one of the most anticipated games of Week 10, the undefeated San Francisco 49ers hosted their NFC West division rival 7-2 Seattle Seahawks for what promised to be an intense battle between Super Bowl contenders. The two teams put on a show in a sloppy game filled with turnovers and scores from both offense and defense that extended into multiple drives in overtime. It was then that Seattle kicked the game-winning field goal as the clock ran out to win 27-24.
The Wacky, Wacky World of Turnovers
In a game that some described as feeling like the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks and 49ers dueled it out into a multiple-possession overtime with heart-attack moments for fans of both sides. To trace all of these turnovers would require going back to the first half, when the 49ers were up 10 points. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and the Seahawks forced a fumble on a 49ers drive after a series of punts by both teams. Two drives later, the Seahawks made it within one yard of the end zone when rookie receiver DK Metcalf had the ball stripped away just before the endzone on a 26-yard catch-and-run. On the first drive of the second half, Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny had the ball stripped and recovered by the 49ers, ending a promising drive. Two possessions later, a pass bounced off the hands of 49ers receiver Kendrick Bourne and into the hands of cornerback Quandre Diggs for an interception. Jimmy Garoppolo would fumble again to give the Seahawks prime field position to score once more. With the Seahawks having scored 21 unanswered points, it was time for the 49ers to strike back with a fumble recovery touchdown of their own two drives later to put them within three points of tying early in the fourth quarter. Following traded field goals, Garoppolo drove the 49ers offense down the field and, with the help of a few lucky dropped interceptions by the Seahawks, allowed rookie free agent kicker Chase McLaughlin to make his third field goal of the game to send it into overtime. Seattle got the ball to start the extra period and Russell Wilson began to drive his team down the field, getting within 14 yards of the end zone before an underthrown loft was picked off by Dre Greenlaw, who returned it 47 yards the other way. No more than seven plays later, McLaughlin would miss his first field goal of the game, a 47-yarder sent wide left into the stadium tunnel. Both the Seahawks and the 49ers would go three-and-out before the Seahawks finally drove 40 yards to kick the 42-yard game-winner as time expired in overtime. If only this had been the kind of game we were treated to in the Super Bowl last year.
Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo Struggle Under Pass Rush
The mindset of both teams going into the game was to apply as much pressure as possible to the opposing quarterback. The Seahawks collected five sacks and 10 hits on Jimmy Garoppolo as they sought to keep him from throwing deep. Garoppolo completed 24 of his 46 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown, but the strategy was effective as only three of his 18 throws of 10 air yards or more were completed. 18 of his completions were thrown within five yards of the line of scrimmage or behind the line. The pass rush also forced an interception and two lost fumbles. Meanwhile, the run game struggled with Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, and Matt Breida carrying a combined 25 times for 86 yards after much. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers defense also picked up five sacks and eight hits on Russell Wilson, who was often left running for his life as designed blitzes by the 49ers were effective. Wilson completed 24 of 34 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown, along with a pass in overtime intercepted, but was also able to contribute in the run game with six carries for 53 yards. Running back Chris Carson faced a stacked box on only 8% of his runs and he took advantage with 89 yards on 25 carries to give Wilson extra time to throw on play action passes. Both Wilson and Carson fumbled once, but did not lose possession.
Minnesota Vikings @ Dallas Cowboys
The 6-3 Minnesota Vikings were coming off a close loss after the Kansas City Chiefs kicked a game-winning field goal in the last seconds, while the 5-3 Dallas Cowboys have had two straight wins in previous weeks. Running back Dalvin Cook continued adding to his great season, accounting for much of the team’s offensive yardage, but it would be the Vikings defense that ultimately held Dallas out of the endzone on two consecutive potential game-winning drives to close out the game with a 28-24 victory.
Dalvin Cook Paves Way For Vikings Victory
Whether through the air or on the ground, Dalvin Cook was unstoppable against the Cowboys. He accounted for 97 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, along with 86 yards on seven receptions. With an agile Minnesota offensive line, he gained the most yardage (78 yards) on 20 outside runs and was also dangerous on screen plays. If it wasn’t Cook, it was Alexander Mattison, who had eight carries for 52 yards. Together, they opened up play action opportunities for Kirk Cousins, who took advantage by completing seven of his 11 play action passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, Cousins completed 23 of his 32 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns while only taking one sack.
Vikings Defense Fends Off Cowboys Offense
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott played a solid game, completing 28 of his 46 attempts for 397 yards and three touchdowns, only throwing an interception, which came on the final play of the game. He found plenty of success all over the field, completing an amazing 17 passes for 10 air yards or more. However, the Vikings defense would hold on at the very end as the Cowboys drove all the way downfield as far as Minnesota’s 11 but came away without a score. They would get one more chance with only 24 seconds remaining in the game, but would ultimately be unsuccessful on their final desperation heave to the end zone with no time left. The Vikings defense also held Ezekiel Elliott to only 47 yards on 20 carries.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans
With Patrick Mahomes returning to the lineup of the 6-3 Kansas City Chiefs, it seemed the 4-5 Tennessee Titans would have their hands full trying to contain KC’s multitude of weapons. Yet, mistakes by the Chiefs kept the Titans in the game through turnovers and miscues, and would result in a 35-32 win by the Titans after blocking a game-winning field goal attempt by KC’s Harrison Butker.
Mistakes Cost Chiefs Victory
In his first game back from a dislocated kneecap, Patrick Mahomes didn’t seem to miss a beat as he completed 36 of 50 attempts for 446 yards and three touchdowns. While 13 of his completions were behind the line of scrimmage and 13 of them were within 10 air yards, 10 were thrown 10 air yards or deeper to truly spread the ball all over the defense. It’s just another one of the many impressive performances Mahomes puts on nearly every week, but alas this one would be spoiled by errors. In the second quarter, the Titans returned a Damien Williams fumble for a touchdown, which would keep the game tied going into the second half. In the fourth quarter, with 1:27 remaining in the game, the Chiefs had a bad snap on a field goal that forced holder Dustin Colquitt to take an intentional grounding penalty after throwing the ball away and would allow the Titans to drive down the field for their final touchdown.
Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry Drive Titans To .500
In what continues to be a perplexing and unpredictable season, Ryan Tannehill has brought the Titans back into the playoff hunt after going 3-1 in his four starts in place of Marcus Mariota. The offense for the Titans struggled in the first half with a fumble by Tannehill, two punts, and only one touchdown to show for their efforts. The Titans seemed unable to sustain drives throughout the games, but were able to break through the KC defense on big plays. Out of their four touchdown drives, one had only two plays, two of them had four plays, and one went for 10 plays. The Chiefs had almost 16 minutes of possession more than the Titans, but the Titans were simply able to make the big plays for scores. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry made the big splash plays on offense that allowed them to upset the Chiefs. Tannehill only completed 13 of his 19 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Derrick Henry ran 23 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns and was ranked the most efficient running back in Week 10, only traveling for 2.4 yards for every north-south rushing yard gained and tying for first in average time spent behind the line of scrimmage. The Chiefs simply couldn’t stop them when it mattered.
Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers
The 7-2 Green Bay Packers hosted the 5-3 Carolina Panthers on a snowy evening as versatile running back Christian McCaffrey faced off against the always-dangerous Aaron Rodgers. The Panthers held the edge early on but mistakes took away their momentum and allowed the Packers to gain control. Despite a roaring comeback, the Packers held off the Panthers at the goal line to end the game with a 24-16 win.
Kyle Allen Turnovers Still Problematic
The Carolina Panthers are still in the playoff race, but mostly due to Christian McCaffrey putting up solid numbers in the rushing and passing games. Quarterback Kyle Allen has been solid but unpredictable starting in place of injured starter Cam Newton, adding another fumble and interception to his stats in this game. To make matters worse, the fumble gave the Packers possession at midfield after the Panthers defense had forced a punt, while the interception gave the ball away as the Panthers were at Green Bay’s 11-yard line looking for another score. Both were potential chances for the Panthers to take control of the game, but instead delivered momentum back to a Packers team that struggled last week against the Chargers. Kyle Allen finished with 28 completions out of 43 attempts for 307 yards, a touchdown, and interception, and a fumble. Christian McCaffrey was productive again with 20 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 33 yards receiving on six catches.
Packers Lean On Rushing Game
With running backs Aaron Jones carrying 13 times for 93 yards and three touchdowns, and Jamaal Williams carrying 13 times for 63 yards, the Panthers were forced to commit to stopping the run game. Jones faced a stacked box almost 70% of the time while Williams faced a stacked box on 46% of the time against him. This commitment to stopping the run created issues downfield with pass coverage as Aaron Rodgers had four completions deep downfield for air yards of 32, 30, 20, and 17 air yards and taking an average of 3.08 seconds to throw. Rodgers finished completing 17 of 29 attempts for 233 yards and no touchdowns. It’s not the typical box score we’re used to seeing from the veteran quarterback, but having a solid run game to lead the way is certainly something that no quarterback would pass up.