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Thursday, June 4, 2020

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 6

Philip Rivers upset

Week 6 saw two winless teams finally get into the win column — though one came at the expense of another hopeless franchise. It also saw some surprising and electrifying performances, while highly-touted contenders gave fans and observers some reasons to be concerned going forward.

Who disappointed in Week 6? Here are ten letdowns.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers

Rivers’ stats may look good on the surface — 320 passing yards and two touchdowns — but things were much worse than that on Sunday night. Rivers buried the Chargers from the start, beginning the game with a punt and consecutive turnovers deep in their territory to give the Steelers great field position. Before they knew it, the Chargers were down 14-0. The Chargers had two punts, two turnovers (one for a touchdown on a botched swing pass/lateral) and a missed field goal in the first half. After rallying the team to within a score, Rivers ended his night with an interception on an overthrow. He really did not give his team a chance to win against a vulnerable opponent.

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers

Another week, another setback for the former No. 1 pick. Winston turned the ball over six times against Carolina on five interceptions and one lost fumble. Not every pick was entirely his fault, but it’s symptomatic of Winston’s long-term turnover problem. He absolutely has to get these things cleaned up going forward — it’s basically impossible to win a football game when you’re responsible for six turnovers, no matter what the details of them are.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans

Sure, expectations are generally low for Mariota these days, but he managed to underwhelm even by his standards. Mariota completed just 7-of-18 passes for 63 yards, and was picked off twice before being benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill. While the Titans were still shut out, Tannehill outperformed Mariota statistically, and it’s reasonable to ask whether the former No. 2 overall pick will be given his job back for Week 7.

Will Fuller, WR, Texans

On the surface, Fuller’s day was okay. He caught five passes for 44 yards but didn’t find the end zone. There’s more to it than that, however, as Fuller blew a chance to have a huge afternoon. Deshaun Watson hit fuller for what should have been three touchdown passes — except Fuller dropped all three of them. He’s fortunate that the Texans beat the Chiefs anyway, but they did it largely in spite of him on Sunday, not because of him.

Matt Bryant, K, Falcons

Even since rejoining the Falcons this season, Bryant has been his usual reliable self — until Sunday. He made two field goals and three extra points, but it was his fourth extra point attempt that crushed Atlanta. Bryant missed an extra point with 1:53 left that would have tied the game. The Falcons failed to get a stop, meaning Bryant’s missed extra point stands as the difference between a potential overtime — or at least a defensive stand — and yet another Atlanta loss.

Brian Flores, coach, Dolphins

There’s no problem here with Flores opting to go for two after Ryan Fitzpatrick heroically led the team to a late touchdown. There is absolutely a problem with the playcall. According to Flores, this is what the Dolphins were rehearsing for that spot all week, and it’s hard to fathom why. Even if it works out, it seems like more trouble than necessary to get two yards. In this instance, it fell apart quickly, and even if Kenyan Drake had made the catch, the play was doomed. This was ugly.

Freddie Kitchens, coach, Browns

Kitchens continues to be a mess when it comes to red zone decision-making. One passage summed up his shortcomings: after the Browns were stuffed on 3rd and goal, Kitchens threw the challenge flag just as the Browns were snapping what should have been a sure touchdown. Kitchens lost that challenge, then ran the same play on 4th down, and was stuffed again. This left Kitchens out of challenges, and he might’ve wanted one when D.K. Metcalf made an iffy first down reception with about 2:30 left. This is not the first time Kitchens has had playcalling issues, and it’s hindering the Browns.

Los Angeles Rams’ offense

Full credit to the 49ers and their animated defensive coordinator for standing strong when they needed to, but the Rams were brutal on Sunday. Jared Goff was held to a miserable 78 yards passing, and his day was summed up when he badly missed a wide open Gerald Everett late for what would have been a certain touchdown. The Rams managed to go 0-of-9 on third downs and 0-of-4 on fourth downs, many of them from only a yard or two out, as the Niners repeatedly stuffed them. They looked out of ideas on Sunday, and Goff looked off, too.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers

For whatever reason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem to have a defensive scheme that McCaffrey does not like. Though he came up with two touchdowns, McCaffrey was held under 100 total yards for only the second time this season — and the other time it happened was also against Tampa Bay, which has a defense focused on stopping the run. 57 total yards is way below expectations for McCaffrey, and this was his worst rushing performance of the entire season. Fortunately, he won’t have to see the Buccaneers again in 2019.

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars

Perhaps reality set in for Minshew a bit in Week 6. The standout rookie was completely stuffed by the New Orleans defense, throwing his first interception of the season while being held to a poor 163 yards. He failed to find the end zone or really get anything going against the Saints, and one has to wonder whether the book on him is starting to make its way around the league. Next week will be interesting to watch.

Philadelphia Eagles’ defense

Moral of the story: do not taunt Kirk Cousins. Eagles linebacker Zach Brown did during the week, and Cousins thoroughly shut him up. The Eagles as a whole struggled with Cousins, particularly when it came to the deep ball. Stefon Diggs had his biggest game of the year, and Cousins threw for over 300 yards. The Philadelphia secondary had no answer to what Cousins was doing on Sunday, and that’s not a good sign going forward.

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