Week 10 of the NFL season was a bye week for the New England Patriots, but even without the hometown team playing there were a few highly interesting matchups.
Detroit vs. Chicago
This was the first game missed by Detroit’s starting QB Matthew Stafford in 136 games. You have to go all the way back to 2010 to find the QB’s last DNP. Jeff Driskel got the spot start (and may see more in the near future) and did pretty well. 27-46 with 269 passing yards to go with a touchdown and an interception. With the game in Chicago, all eyes were on their starting QB Mitchell Trubisky who got booed during the first half but when the team went with a quick offense, those boos turned into cheers. The Bears QB finished his day 16-23 with 173 passing yards and 3 touchdowns to quiet the naysayers for at least a week.
Getting back to Driskell, the Lions QB. He ended the game as only a Detroit QB could. On the last play of the game, Driskell almost connected for a potential score that would have been a PAT short of a tie with Marvin Jones Jr. That would have been big for Detroit, it also would have been flagged as Driskell was two yards over the line of scrimmage. Maybe Trubisky will allow the Bears to watch 30 minutes of TV after the division win.
Buffalo vs. Cleveland
Many would have had the records swapped when the season started. 6-3 Buffalo vs. 3-6 Cleveland. This game was UGLY. In a game that took place in Cleveland, the Browns were stuffed on THEIR OWN GOAL LINE! Eight plays from the Buffalo one, stopping Nick Chubb five times and the Bills had two pass interference calls on them. Down 16-12 with 1:44 left to go in the game, Baker Mayfield connected with Rashard Higgins for a five-yard TD connection to go up 19-16. Stephen Hauschka had a chance to send the game to Overtime but missed the 53-yard attempt.
Baker Mayfield didn’t have a bad day connecting on two TD passes, one to Rashard Higgins and one with Jarvis Landry. No Odell Beckham Jr. TD receptions again, could look interesting playing at 1 Patriot Place, just throwing it out there.
Another newsworthy item from this game was the Cleveland debut of Kareem Hunt who was suspended for the first half of the season after video of him punching and kicking a woman was released. After the game Hunt said of his debut, “I was thankful, sad. A couple of times, I thought I was going to shed a tear. It’s really good to be back home with the Browns.”
Kansas City vs. Tennessee
This may go down as the finish of the season. With the Chiefs up 32-27 and 1:27 remaining in the game, Dustin Colquitt bobbled the snap on a potential field goal that would have upped the Chiefs lead to 8 and essentially seal the Titans fate. Instead of just falling on the ball or throwing the ball near a receiver, Colquitt attempts to throw the ball to Knoxville and launched it near the sideline causing an intentional grounding call. This set up a 4 play, 61-yard drive that only took 0:58 off the clock culminating with a Ryan Tannehill 23-yard connection to Anthony Firkser. The Titans scored a two-point conversion giving them the 35-32 lead. Harrison Butker had a chance to tie the game with a 52-yard field goal, however it was blocked giving the Titans playoff hopes a potential new life at 5-5.
The one thing everybody wanted to see was how “Patty Playoff” would return from dislocating his kneecap. Apparently he would be just fine including completing a jump pass for a touchdown but as the season continues especially into the Chiefs match up with the Patriots, Mahomes’ knee will continue to bear watching. Will teams heavily blitz Mahomes through a heavily injured offensive line which took big hits against Tennessee.
The players of the game were Derrick Henry for the Titans (23 Carries, 188 Yds) and the returning Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs (36-50, 446 yds, 3 TD). Perhaps the most interesting stat was time of possession. Kansas City had the ball on offense for nearly 38 minutes compared to the Titans who only had 22. This game drops Kansas City to 6-4 and a potential date on wild card weekend in January.
Although Patriots fans didn’t have any football with their own team to watch, it was interesting watching these games and other close match ups with not a lot on the line for the Patriots. New England has seven games left and still some big games including @ Philadelphia, @ Houston, at home against Dallas and at home against Kansas City. Patriots fans wanted to know when the real season starts. Guess what? It’s about to get real.
-John Luck (@jluck_89)