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  • Also, the Steelers right the ship, the Vikings start their climb back by beating Philly, the Lions get Aaron Rodgers after getting Tom Brady, the Broncos are a semi-pro team on the road, the Giants can’t catch a break in Carolina, and the Bengals D does it all in fourth-quarter rally
By Gary Gramling
October 07, 2018

Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened on Sunday afternoon. Get the full Sunday breakdown from Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling on The Monday Morning NFL Podcast. Subscribe to The MMQB Podcasts now and it will be in your feed first thing Monday morning

Things That Made Me Giddy

Graham Gano For All the Kickers!: A 63-yarder to beat the Giants at the buzzer! And it bails out the coaching staff for a stunningly bad decision to run the ball in the middle of the field with no timeouts, forcing Gano to save the day. That might be the greatest game-winning kick you’ll ever see.

A Beautiful Kick to End a Beautiful Game: Greg Joseph’s kick barely knuckles over the crossbar from 37 yards out, probably the worst-looking play to win a game that you’ll ever see. A fitting end to a game that ranged from uneven to sloppy over three-and-a-half hours. But bottom line: Browns are multiple-game winners! (We'll pretend that's an accomplishment for a team more than talented enough to compete for a playoff spot in 2018.)

Dan Bailey With a Dagger: After missing from 28 and 45 earlier, Mike Zimmer sends Bailey out for a clinching 52-yarder late, and he delivers to seal it in Philly. Kicker redemption!

That Sneaky Jared Goff: A fourth-down sneak in their own territory to clinch 5-0 with a win in Seattle. (I would have never forgiven Sean McVay if he punted there.)

Vikings Are Getting There Defensively: It wasn’t a vintage Vikings performance; they were helped by a fluky fumble return TD by Linval Joseph and a Jay Ajayi giveaway that took points off the board, but sometimes you just need to win, even if it’s ugly.

A Bengals Rally!: Two defensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter help turn a 17-0 deficit into a 27-17 win. Andy Dalton got to kick his feet up and relax for most of this comeback for the 4-1(!) Bengals.

Steve Wilks Wins! Now Everyone’s a Winner!: The NFL’s last winless team is on the board, and Wilks has his first career win, even if there were few style points en route to beating the injury-plagued 49ers.

Lions Eating Legends: They join the 2011 Giants, 2012 Seahawks, 2012 49ers, and 2017 Panthers as teams to beat Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in the same season.

Thielen and Diggs Vs. That Eagles Secondary: Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals.

Josh Rosen Opens It Up Early: A 75-yard TD pass to Christian Kirk on the Cardinals’ first play from scrimmage. It feels like the beginning of a franchise QB. I’m not sure this is the staff that will get him there though.

Denzel Ward Mutombos Justin Tucker to End the First Half: It’s the only way Tucker ever misses from inside 60!

Isaiah Crowell From Downtown: He had a 77-yard TD run against the Broncos on Sunday, then later had runs of 54 and 36 in the blowout of Denver. To go with the 62-yard TD run he had back in Week 1. The Broncos also tackled him by the hair at one point. Rude!

Curtis Samuel: Effort. (But also, three Giants should be able to tackle a 185-pound player in close quarters.)

Jakeem Grant Is a Joy: A 70-yard punt return TD for the speedster on Sunday, to go with that 52-yard TD catch from Albert Wilson two weeks ago and a 102-yard kickoff return TD in the opener.

That’s More Like It, Eli Manning: Yes, a losing effort, but that’s the kind of aggressive passing attack you want to see from this offense, more than balancing out the two interceptions (unless you’re one of those goobers obsessed with quarterback rating).

Chiefs Pass Rush Creating Some Heat: A solid overall day for a suspect K.C. defense that still has issues at linebacker and in the secondary. Don’t pay attention to the 502 (mostly garbage) yards allowed though. They consistently won in the red zone and had a big part in creating those five turnovers. And the pass rush was everything it could and should be in a dominating win over Jacksonville.

Sam Darnold Opens Things Up: Finally, a love connection with Robby Anderson, with TDs of 76 and 35 yards in the second quarter to pull away from the listless Broncos. Forget the 10-for-22 performance, it’s big plays that win games. Darnold delivered a couple on Sunday.

An Old-Fashioned Bills Win: They win the turnover battle 3-to-1, Josh Allen makes a timely play or two, they outgain the Titans 223-221 and Steven Hauschka wins it as time expires. Easy!

Dolphins Are Red-Zone Thieves!: An interception of Andy Dalton as Reshad Jones jumps a post route and Kiko Alonso secures the deflected ball. That’s three red-zone takeaways this year for Miami. Which is a lot of red-zone takeaways through five games.

Seahawks’ Goal-Line D: They stopped Todd Gurley from inches out in the first half, forcing a field goal, and nearly foiled another first-and-goal from the 1 with a couple of stuffs before Gurley went in.

Eric Reid: He peacefully protested racial inequality before the game, then provided an upgrade to a hampered Panthers secondary.

Saquon Jump Cut: Bounced one outside to turn a loss of yardage into 20-yard pickup.

Chargers Win a Second Straight at Home: And the crowd sits in quiet indifference!

Courtland Sutton’s Game-Saving Tackle of a Meaningless TD: Marcus Maye tried to run the interception back 104 yards for the meaningless TD as time expired, but Sutton was there to spoil it. And there weren’t even any gambling implications. What a guy!

Steven Hauschka for the Win!: From 46 yards out to get the win for Buffalo. And he used to want to be a dentist!


Marcus Peters Spontaneously Combusts: He takes chances, so this is how it goes sometimes. He looked like Jalen Mills West in Seattle, getting torched on at least three double moves, two of them going for long touchdowns. There’s no getting around it: He was a liability on Sunday.

Jaguars-and-Goal: They turned it over on downs (why Austin Seferian-Jenkins?!). Then, a few minutes later, a red-zone interception off this. (LMAOOO indeed, young man on the internet.)

Ford Field Wind Playing Tricks on Mason Crosby: Unreal, as Crosby misses from 41, 42, 38, 56 and an extra-point in the dome. He did hit from 41 with two seconds left to cut the deficit to 31-23 though.

Doug Pederson Challenging an Obvious Diggs Catch in the Fourth Quarter: After confusingly going for two when trailing 20-12 (the latter worked, the former did not).

Broncos on the Road: That’s 1-9 away from Mile High under Vance Joseph, the only win coming over Indianapolis last year when the Colts were coming off that snowy slugfest in Buffalo. They were not competitive against the Jets.

Jarvis Landry Doesn’t Step Out of Bounds Like a Goober: Mind-bogglingly dumb football. With one timeout and 38 seconds left, a catch-and-run to Landry up the left sideline goes for 17 yards to the edge of field goal range, but instead of stepping out of bounds Landry lowers his shoulder and stays in-bounds. The Browns lost 12 seconds and had to sacrifice a down to spike the ball. Three plays later Greg Joseph missed a desperation 55 yarder, costing the Browns a chance to win it in regulation.

Giants Special Teams: Doing their impression of the Chargers. Odell lets it bounce off his heel, after which Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple finish off the Three Stooges bit that ends with the Panthers falling on it in the end zone.

Cooks, Kupp Concussed: As sad an alliteration as you can get.

Sean Davis Fails Geometry: Mohamed Sanu turns a short catch into a 43-yard TD as the young safety takes an almost impossibly bad angle. Mohamed Sanu should not outrun your angle, ever.

Blake Bortles Can’t Hold the Ball: Literally. Apparently it was wet at Arrowhead, but maybe invest in one of those gloves, guy.

Defensive Holding and Intentional Grounding Shouldn’t Offset: Russell Wilson was flagged for grounding after Marcus Peters tackled Tyler Lockett downfield. That’s a dumb rule that should have been corrected years ago. There was only intentional grounding because of the defensive holding. It’s another one of those rules that the competition committee should discuss this offseason rather than spend three hours quietly staring into the middle distance when they get together.

Ryan Tannehill Has Issues: Namely that, the past two weeks, he’s often looked like he’s never stood in a pocket in an NFL game before. Those guys are trying to tackle you, buddy!

Shaaaaady-Ish(?) Call Goes Against Browns: On a fourth-and-5 in overtime, though technically that had to be pass interference or nothing because the ball was already in the air when the contact happened. You could argue it miiiiiiight have been catchable if Jarvis Landry had a free run at it.

Throwing Swing Passes Backwards: Kirk Cousins turned an incomplete pass into a lost fumble with this one in the fourth quarter. It’s just bad execution. Nobody likes that, Kirk. Nobody.

Brutal Roughness Call in Carolina: It’s unclear if the call was on Landon Collins for almost catching the ball and then having Devin Funchess head-butt him in the back, or one of the other defenders who didn’t touch Funchess, but this was on a third down in Panthers territory in a four-point game, and the Giants went on to get a touchdown after the drive was kept alive.

Ben Roethlisberger’s Second-and-Goal Jump Ball: The theme of the day for the Steelers was forcing the ball to Antonio Brown, which included Roethlisberger’s intercepted lob late, over the middle and into triple coverage at the end of the first half. I’m still unclear on this “500” game, but I’m told this tweet from MMQB fam Brian Canter is spot on:

People Kicking 60-Yarders to Beat the Giants: Graham Gano on Sunday, Jake Elliott a year ago. It seems unfair. Maybe make a rule against it.

Chris Jones: Dismissed!: Can’t hit people in the head (if you play defense).

Matt Schaub Time for Atlanta: Mop-up duty in a blowout loss. A fitting end to a dud in Pittsburgh. But then, the Falcons gave up on the 2018 season when they opted not to makes a move for Eric Reid or Earl Thomas after losing one or both of their starting safeties.

Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About

Beckham to Barkley: And Eli helped!

Chris Jones Could Play Some Tight End, Right?:

Kirk Cousins’s Gentle Touch: There was this TD to Adam Thielen over Ronald Darby’s head. In the third quarter he went for a lesser degree of difficulty by dropping a 68-yard throw to Thielen over Jalen Mills’s head.

Josh Allen Rushing Attack: Dedicated to all the goobers we heard from via Twitter last spring in regards to our Josh Allen=poor man’s Cam comp:

Linval Joseph, Olympic Middle-Distance Hopeful: That’s some pretty good endurance for a 320-pounder!

What We’ll Be Talking About This Week

Rams Survive Seattle: They lost Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp to concussions, and Marcus Peters was as bad as it gets on the other side of the ball. To come away with a road win against the only team that could possibly push them in the NFC West shows just how good this team is.

The Steelers Are Back, Or Something: It was a complete de-pantsing of the Falcons at Heinz Field, and with the Ravens dropping one in Cleveland the Steelers are in pretty good position in the AFC North. Against Atlanta the defense was more aggressive, Le’Veon Bell says he’s ready to return, and they still have two matchups against a 4-1 Bengals team that they’ve beaten six straight times.

Eagles Have Plenty of Time: No one is running away with the NFC East. Philly has to iron some things out on the offensive side of the ball, but they’ve got as good a chance as anyone at winning this division.

More Questions About Bortles: But isn’t this just what Blake Bortles is? He’s streaky. Sometimes he shows up, sometimes he doesn’t. In their two losses this year, he didn’t. But, most importantly, Mark Brunell is not walking through that door. Or, if he does, he’s not playing because he’s 48 years old. The Jaguars don’t have an alternative to Bortles.

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