With the wind whipping in Buffalo, maybe the Philadelphia Eagles stumbled upon the way to fix their disappointing season.
The Eagles aren’t in great shape at 4-4. But a win at Buffalo helps, and it’s not too late for them against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East race.
Philadelphia got back to basics on Sunday. Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott each scored rushing touchdowns as the Eagles’ run game torched a very good Bills defense in a 31-13 victory. The Bills were 5-1 coming in. A week ago, in a blowout loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles looked dead. Things can change fast in the NFL.
The Eagles defense had its best day of the season. Not that it was easy to throw the ball in gusting winds, but Philadelphia still kept Josh Allen mostly off the board.
The offense got a 65-yard rushing touchdown from Sanders, and that helped the Eagles take control of a close game. Howard finished it off with a late touchdown. The Eagles rushed for 218 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
Philadelphia is still down a half-game to the Cowboys, who had a bye. And they lost a key head-to-head game. But the Eagles still get the Cowboys in Philadelphia later this season, and the Cowboys’ schedule gets harder. The Cowboys should win at the Giants next week, although it’s on the road. Then they have a stretch of vs. Vikings, at Lions, at Patriots, vs. Bills, at Bears and vs. Rams before the Dec. 22 showdown in Philadelphia. None of those games are easy.
Given the Dallas schedule, it would be a big challenge to put the Eagles away in the NFC East race. Of course, the Eagles have to hold up their end of the deal and continue to play well. That should be easier with some key players getting healthy, most notably receiver DeSean Jackson.
Consistency has eluded the Eagles all season. Even when they’ve won, it generally hasn’t been too pretty. And it’s not necessarily one big problem with Philadelphia, but different issues with each loss. Sunday was the Eagles’ most complete game of the season. They had to take the load off Wentz’s shoulders and rely on the running game due to strong winds, and that worked well. Wentz was pretty efficient when he did have to throw, especially considering the weather. Given the Eagles’ stellar offensive line, maybe that’s their path to a good second half of the season.
The Eagles are by no means all the way back just because of one game, even if it was an impressive one at a good Buffalo team. But there’s more than enough time for them to still chase down Dallas in the division, even with how awful they looked against the Cowboys a week ago.
Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Sunday’s Week 8 action around the NFL:
Bosa family: It was a pretty good day to be a Bosa.
In the first set of games, the family could settle in and watch Joey Bosa dominate in a win over the Chicago Bears. The Los Angeles Chargers’ end had four tackles for loss, including two sacks, helping the Chargers to a much-needed 17-16 victory.
Then when that game ended, the Bosas could have switched to see rookie Nick Bosa make another step toward NFL defensive rookie of the year honors. The second pick of this year’s draft had three sacks and an amazing interception, leaping to snatch the ball out of the air at the line of scrimmage. The 49ers improved to 7-0 with the win over the Panthers.
Joey Bosa won NFL defensive rookie of the year a few years ago. His brother might get it this season.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints should head into their bye week feeling very, very good about themselves.
New Orleans missed either Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara or both for six straight games. They went 6-0. Hopefully voters don’t forget this stretch by the time coach of the year is selected, because Sean Payton probably deserves the award.
Brees returned on Sunday after missing five starts and looked like his old self in a 31-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. He had no rust at all. The Saints weren’t explosive on offense but they were more than good enough against the Cardinals. Latavius Murray has had a fantastic run with Kamara sitting out with a high ankle sprain. Kamara got some extra rest and Murray made sure the Saints didn’t miss him. He scored each of the Saints’ first two touchdowns. Murray finished with 157 total yards.
New Orleans faced a critical stretch in its season before the bye week. The Saints aced it, and go into the second half of their season pretty healthy, looking like the NFC’s best team.
Rams getting their mojo back: Sure, it has been against the Falcons and the Bengals, but the Rams have mostly looked like the Rams the past couple weeks.
Take that awful loss against the 49ers and put it aside. Maybe Jared Goff will revert back to that when the schedule gets tougher, but he has rebounded very well from one of the most miserable games of his career. Even though the Rams lost Brandin Cooks early to a concussion and it just meant more for Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds. Kupp had a huge day, going past 200 yards with a 65-yard touchdown on a trick play. Reynolds scored too, and has generally been reliable whenever he is needed. Jared Goff had 372 passing yards and two touchdowns.
For a while it looked like the Rams offense had lost a lot of the steam it had the first two seasons with Sean McVay. The Falcons and Bengals can’t stop many teams, but the Rams needed some momentum after being shut down by the 49ers in a 20-7 loss. They look more like what we expected of them all along.
Adam Vinatieri: For a while, it seemed like Vinatieri would have another rough day this season. He had a missed field goal and a missed extra point. The Colts trailed 13-12 late.
But behind Jacoby Brissett’s clutch drive, which included a questionable horse collar call on the Broncos, Vinatieri got another shot. And with less than a minute to go, Vinatieri drilled a 51-yarder. The Colts got a final stop and won 15-13.
This season hasn’t always been easy for Vinatieri. There was even speculation he could retire after some early season struggles. But he stuck around, and the Colts were happy about that on Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders and their never-ending road trip: In a normal season, the Raiders would have been in pretty good shape after taking care of the Colts on the road and the Bears in London. Those were quality wins. They were 3-2.
But the brutal schedule did them no favors. The Raiders haven’t played in Oakland since Week 2. They went to Green Bay last week and lost to the Packers, then gave up a lead in the fourth quarter and lost to the Texans. It’s no fun having to face Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson on the road in consecutive weeks, especially when Watson is throwing touchdowns after getting kicked in the eye.
The Raiders finally get back home next week, and will play three straight home games. That’s good, because they seemed to run out of gas at the end of this scheduling nightmare.
Darnold had 104 yards in the first quarter and 114 yards in the three quarters after that, as the Jaguars beat the Jets 29-15. Darnold threw three interceptions. He was under pressure often. He might not have been “seeing ghosts” but it didn’t look good.
Darnold has had a weird career so far. His good has been very good, but he has also turned the ball over too often when it’s going bad. The past couple weeks haven’t been too good for him or the Jets.
Ryan Tannehill is nobody’s idea of a star, but he has looked good in both of his starts. In the process, it has made the benched Mariota look pretty bad.
Tannehill is doing a far better job taking advantage of his weapons in the passing game than Mariota did. Tannehill threw for more than 300 yards in a win over the Chargers last week and threw for three touchdowns against the Buccaneers on Sunday in a 27-23 victory. Not that there was a lot of remaining doubt about Mariota’s future with the Titans, but at the moment it looks impossible to believe he’ll be back in Tennessee. The past couple games for the Titans’ offense with Tannehill haven’t reflected well on him.
Mitchell Trubisky: Do you remember Trubisky’s great drive at the end of last season’s playoff loss to the Eagles?
Probably not, though “double doink” is likely still in your vernacular.
Trubisky has been run ragged by Chicago Bears fans this season. Sunday’s late drive was going to be at least a small measure of redemption. Trailing 17-16, Trubisky moved the Bears in position for Eddy Pineiro to hit a 41-yard field goal. And Pineiro missed. The Bears lost, as their disappointing season continues.
A win would have bought Trubisky some goodwill. He didn’t play great but he wasn’t bad, and he made plays on that final drive. That’s what would have been remembered had Pineiro made the kick, much like last season’s playoff loss to the Eagles. Instead, everyone in Chicago will be angry for another week, and Trubisky will bear the brunt of it.
Yes, Dan Quinn once again: At some point, the Falcons might be doing Quinn a favor by letting him go. This has to be miserable.
The Falcons are embarrassing. There are some bad teams in the NFL this season, but among the group of the NFL’s worst teams, the Falcons have by far the most talent. They were without injured quarterback Matt Ryan (ankle) on Sunday, and that would make Sunday’s loss excusable if they didn’t look terrible every other week with Ryan.
Atlanta lost 27-20 but it was much worse than that. The Falcons trailed 24-0 at halftime on Sunday. On one particularly brutal play, the Falcons couldn’t get lined up before the snap, and D.K. Metcalf was uncovered for a short touchdown as the Falcons scurried around. The sloppiness on that one play summed up the Falcons this season. Metcalf had another wide-open touchdown later in the half.
Quinn also made a strange coaching decision. The Falcons had fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 33 in the first half. Instead of going for it, he had Matt Bryant try a 51-yard field goal. Bryant missed. What exactly did the 1-6 Falcons have to lose by going for it?
Team owner Arthur Blank didn’t tip his hand after the game.
Clip of Falcons Owner Arthur Blank speaking after the game. He said they will take the next few weeks to evaluate everything. He said he understands this is a results driven business. He also later said a key thing to keep in mind is that the players love Dan Quinn. pic.twitter.com/RD4CAHfZ7W— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) October 27, 2019
The Quinn watch has been fierce for weeks. Blank has resisted making a move, even with his team in free fall. At this point it might be best for everyone to have a clean break. Quinn included.
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