Perhaps the day will come when the mention of Pat Mahomes conjures memories of Tom Brady. That’s certainly what the Kansas City Chiefs are depending on.
That seems unlikely. There may never be another Brady. And with the young quarterback and a Sunday Night audience watching, the indefatigable, unflappable, magical New England Patriots superstar proved once again that he runs the NFL.
It was the game of the year in every way. Big plays, plot turns and moments that launched you from your sofa. But when it was over, Brady again had the last say and the Pats had ended Kansas City’s unbeaten season at five with a 43-30 win. It was Brady’s 200th career regular season win. He threw for 340 yards. He was brilliant.
Of course, the Patriots don’t need to prove themselves to anyone. But every time the league thinks they might be vulnerable, they manage to prove it wrong and once again they seem to be the team to beat in the AFC.
Mahomes threw two interceptions in the first half and four touchdown passes in the second, three to Tyreek Hill. That turned their 15-point halftime deficit into a 33-30 lead early the fourth quarter. The Patriots had won 88 straight games when leading by at least 14 points at the half.
But Kansas City’s defense could not hold Brady back, even after Mahomes’ 75-yard TD pass to Hill tied the game 40-40 with three minutes left to play, the last of their 31 second-half points.
Brady, who helped the Pats control the ball for 36 minutes, who was 9-of-12 in the fourth quarter, took them down the field 65 yards and Stephen Gostkowski ended it with a chip shot 28-yarder.
If you have lost count, it was Brady’s 55th game-winning drive. And New England did not punt once. Maybe these teams will meet again for the AFC Championship. Do yourself a favor. Do not bet against the Patriots.
Ravens Put Titans In a Sack
Before the Patriots reasserted themselves, the Baltimore Ravens made up for their loss last week to the Cleveland Browns by demolishing Tennessee and QB Marcus Mariota.
Despite no injuries to the Titans’ offensive line, the Ravens dropped Mariota 11 times, the second-most in game in league history. According to ESPN, that hadn’t happened since the San Diego Chargers sacked New York Jets’ QB Greg McElroy 11 times in 2012. The league record is 12, set by the Dallas Cowboys against the Houston Oilers in 1985.
What’s more, the Ravens piled up more sacks that Mariota had completions (10). They sacked him five times in Tennessee’s first 17 plays after the Titans had only allowed nine sacks in the first five games.
In the process, the Ravens set a team record for fewest net passing yards allowed (51) and yielded the second-fewest yards in franchise history (106), their lowest in 12 seasons. The Titans are in trouble. They have scored only 12 points (four field goals) in the last two weeks.
Dolphins Swim Past Bears
So it seems there may be a QB debate in Miami, although Dolphins’ coach Adam Gase was reluctant to offer any insight after his team upended the Chicago Bears 31-28 in overtime.
Without any warning, the Dolphins scratched Ryan Tannehill just before the game with what was later referred to as a sore shoulder. The media obviously asked Gase after the game what was up.
“I don’t know. I think there’s some kind of like HIPPA law or something like that. I can’t talk about it,” an agitated Gase said. “I don’t know. I don’t sit there and ask him all these questions. I just know the guy couldn’t go today. All right? Go ask him. I’m tired of answering this question about this guy. I got it; but you know what, I’m over it. Me and him, we know that he’s not right now, OK? The details of it, we’ll keep that to us. You guys don’t need to know that.”
Tannehill has banged up the shoulder twice this season, the latest last week against the Cincinnati Bengals on a play that caused a fumble and resulted in a touchdown for the defense.
That turned things over to Brock Osweiler, the undistinguished veteran who had foundered in previous stops in Houston and Denver. Do you remember the four-year, $72 million deal the Texans gave him? Well, what do who know? The guy slung for a career-high 380 yards and three TDs, something he hadn’t done since 2015. Miami gained 541 yards.
It’s not as if Gase didn’t expect it. Osweiler played for him for three years in Denver (2012-14) when Gase was the Broncos’ QB coach and offensive coordinator.
“I got a little emotional driving to the stadium this morning. …being out there with him (Gase) calling plays and playing football,” Gase said.
Now what does Gase do?
Patience With Eli Eroding
Watching Eli Manning in the pocket can be painful. He has never been particularly mobile and the plodding has become more noticeable over the last three or four seasons. Please note the Giants are 43-59 in the six seasons since winning Super Bowl XLVI.
After a 3-13 season in 2017, and a 1-5 start this year, Manning’s inability to improvise when under pressure – which seems to be on every pass play – seems to be making his teammates on the New York Giants antsy.
Thursday night’s 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was just the latest example. Manning also seems to have lost his touch, missing badly on many routine routes. He threw an interception on New York’s second play of the game.
Bad body language from his receivers, particularly Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham, Jr., seems to illustrate the growing impatience with a QB who would have lost his job last season had so many not decried former coach Ben McAdoo’s decision to bench him for Geno Smith. That would have ended Manning’s streak of 210 straight starts.
What’s more, the Giants obviously decided that Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen were not talented enough to use their No. 2 draft pick on in April. They bypassed all potential heirs to Manning’s throne to take running back Saquon Barkley from Penn State.
Instead, they used a late-round pick on Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta and reaffirmed their confidence that Manning, 37, still had a lot left. The Giants will soon make a decision on Manning’s future based on money. He is owed $17 million next season ($23.2 million cap hit) although not a penny is guaranteed.
If the Giants again fall into a prime draft slot, they might have a chance to take Oregon’s Justin Herbert, who at 6-foot-5 is considered the top QB pick of the draft. The Giants have scouted him many times this season. But its possible Herbert, an underclassman, may not declare for the draft.
Cowboys Dent Jacksonville’s D
What has happened to the Jacksonville Jaguars?
The team that opened the season by beating the Patriots was humiliated 40-7 by the Dallas Cowboys, of all teams. While this isn’t as shocking as Buffalo beating the Minnesota Vikings, the size and scope of the rout was just as surprising. The Cowboys were averaging only 16.6 points – 30th in the NFL – before the game.
“We got our ass beat,” safety Jalen Ramsey told The Athletic.
For the second straight week, the Jags were out of it by halftime. Last week, they were down 20-0 at Kansas City. On Sunday, it was 24-0 and they had only 64 yards of offense.
After throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble against the Chiefs, Jags QB Blake Bortles completed only 15 passes for 149 yards