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Monday, March 25, 2019

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 10

Derek Carr

If you like NFL upsets, you probably enjoyed Week 10. Some big names went down, often in surprising fashion, and some lesser teams lost in ways that are going to put their coaches firmly on the hottest of hot seats. One team also suffered a potentially serious injury that could have major implications in the postseason.

Who disappointed in Week 10? Here’s a look at 15 teams, players, and situations.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

The Raiders’ offense remained weak on Sunday, with most of their yardage coming in garbage time. Carr threw for 243 yards, but failed to find the end zone and did nothing terribly positive of note. One play in the fourth quarter may serve as the perfect microcosm of Oakland’s 2018 season. On 4th and 5, Carr seemed to lose track of the game situation and threw the ball away, not realizing that doing so would cause a turnover on downs. That’s the Raiders in a nutshell.

Atlanta Falcons

The Cleveland Browns aren’t quite the “gimme” win that they were last year, and the Falcons had to find that out the hard way on Sunday. Their defense, in particular, fell well short of what they needed to do. The Browns posted 427 total yards against the beleaguered Falcons and had them playing catch-up all day, with Cleveland carrying a three score lead into the fourth quarter. Atlanta still had playoff dreams coming into this one, but their flat performance may well have killed those.

James White, RB, Patriots

Sony Michel’s return to action didn’t hurt White that much. The Titans defense, in fact, had more to do with both of them proving rather inept on Sunday. White only had one carry for a loss of five yards. He didn’t demonstrate his utility as a receiver much, either, catching five passes for 31 yards. It was his second-worst yardage total of the season, and broke a string of six consecutive games where he had 50 receiving yards or more.

Philadelphia Eagles’ first-half performance

The Eagles were at home in primetime for a Sunday night game against a big division rival. They needed a win to stay in the race with Washington and to avoid having the same record as Dallas. They had just acquired Golden Tate in a trade and were coming off a bye week with extra time to prepare for Dallas. Everything seemed to point towards them coming out smoking in the first half, yet they did the complete opposite. Philly punted twice, turned the ball over on downs, threw an interception, and managed just a field goal to avoid the goose egg. They were so listless that they got booed going into halftime. Though they came alive in the second half, the 13-3 deficit proved too large for them to come back.

Cincinnati Bengals’ defense

Cincinnati’s defense had been a major issue all season, but they still managed to enter Week 10 with a 5-3 record. What they couldn’t overcome was the New Orleans Saints. The entire game was a mismatch. New Orleans went for 509 yards, scored 51 points, and left a team with genuine playoff ambitions unable to explain what exactly had happened. The real explanation was a simple one: the Saints have an elite offense and the Bengals have a terrible defense. The latter will likely cost them.

Tampa Bay in the red zone

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers posted 501 total yards on Sunday. That in itself isn’t hugely remarkable; under Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bucs have generally been able to gobble up yardage. What is remarkable is the fact that, after all that, Tampa Bay scored just three points. Their first red zone attempt ended with an interception, the second a missed field goal from 30, the third a successful field goal, and the fourth was a sack and fumble on a play that started at the Washington two-yard line. It was one of the most brutal and inefficient red zone performances in recent memory.

Cooper Kupp’s injury

Kupp suffered a non-contact knee injury in Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, leaving the Rams instantly worried. Before it was derailed by his initial injury, Kupp was on pace for an excellent season, and it looked like he still was before Sunday’s devastating injury. The injury will cost Jared Goff his favorite target, and might take a bit of juice out of the Rams’ offense.

Detroit Lions

The Lions, to be blunt, looked unprepared to play Sunday. They were outplayed and outcoached across the board by the Chicago Bears. Their injury-hit secondary was exposed over and over, particularly in the first half when Mitchell Trubisky basically feasted. The offensive line can no longer protect Matthew Stafford, who has taken 16 sacks in the last two games. The coaching often appears indecisive. After a brief upswing, they look like a hopeless team, and it’s fair to wonder if the Golden Tate trade sent a very bad message to the players, even if it may have been right for the franchise.

Cody Parkey, K, Bears

What are the odds of attempting four kicks and missing by hitting the upright on all four of them? They’re probably quite low, but Parkey managed it on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Parkey missed field goals of 34 and 41, but more alarmingly, he also banged two extra points off the uprights. It was bad enough that one has to wonder if Parkey’s job is endangered at this point, and the only good news for him is that he didn’t cost Chicago the game with his misses.

Jacksonville Jaguars’ pass rush

It wasn’t that long ago that the Jaguars had dubbed themselves “Sacksonville” and boasted one of the most feared pass rushes in the league. On Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, they came up with zero sacks — the fourth straight game Indy has not allowed a sack. Andrew Luck was comfortable all day as he threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and Jacksonville simply couldn’t lay a finger on him. The deterioration of that pass rush is a major reason that the Jaguar defense has regressed this season — and why they suddenly find themselves dead last in the AFC South.

New England Patriots

It looked like the Patriots had addressed their road woes, but they were brutal on Sunday against the resurgent Tennessee Titans. Tom Brady didn’t find the end zone once. They were outgained by 101 yards. The offense struggled to move the ball. They ended up looking rather foolish on a trick play. The bye is coming at a good time for Bill Belichick’s team, as this performances raises a lot of questions going forward, especially with the amount of pressure Brady took from the Tennessee defense.

New York Jets

The Jets did not have Sam Darnold under center on Sunday, but Josh McCown has plenty of NFL experience and they were up against one of the league’s worst teams in the Buffalo Bills. What’s more, the Bills were starting Matt Barkley, making his first start since the end of the 2016 season. Barkley managed to become the best quarterback on the field, the Bills scored 41 points, and the Jets were held to 199 yards of offense. No wonder Todd Bowles’ job security was a hot topic after the game.

Los Angeles Rams’ run defense

Run defense has been one of the Rams’ few weaknesses this season, and it showed once again on Sunday. LA allowed 273 rushing yards to Seattle on an average of 8 yards per carry. Even without Chris Carson, Seattle did well, with rookie Rashaad Penny rushing for 108 yards on just 12 carries. This was even worse of a showing than the first meeting in which they allowed 190 rushing yards to Seattle. The rush defense has been an ongoing problem for Los Angeles, and one of their players has slammed their work as “terrible.” That feeling will likely be pervasive after Sunday, even with a win.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons

Ridley couldn’t stop finding the end zone for much of the early party of the season, generally at the expense of the more established Julio Jones. On Sunday, Jones was back in the end zone, but Ridley could barely get a look. Despite Matt Ryan’s 52 pass attempts, Ridley was only targeted five times, catching three of them for 37 yards. If anyone had known before the game that Ryan would throw that many passes and Ridley would only catch three of them, it would definitely be viewed as an underwhelming day for the Atlanta rookie receiver.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers came into Pittsburgh 6-2 and looking to make a Thursday night statement. It was the Steelers who had the last word, putting up 52 points as the Panthers were unable to do much of anything or even stay competitive. The offense only managed 242 yards, while Pittsburgh’s put up 457. Carolina remains on track, but losing by such a large margin to a potential playoff opponent is worrisome. Also alarming: they’re 5-0 at home but just 1-3 on the road.



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