The two best matchups of the week were both rescheduled because of positive coronavirus tests — Patriots-Chiefs will played on Monday night and Steelers-Titans will be played in Week 7 — but Sunday managed to pack in enough action to help distract a league that is doing its best to avert a crisis.
Here’s what we learned:
The spirit of Jameis Winston lives on in Tampa Bay. Last season, Winston kept Buccaneers fans on an emotional roller coaster with 33 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions, and he broke a record that had stood since 1966 by having seven of his interceptions returned for touchdowns. Tom Brady has stabilized the team quite a bit in a 3-1 start to the season, and his five touchdown passes on Sunday powered a come-from-behind win over the upstart Los Angeles Chargers. But Brady also threw a pick-six in the first quarter, giving him an N.F.L.-leading two and already matching his career-high, which he set in 2001 and matched in 2015.
The Rams and Giants have very convenient amnesia. Shortly after the Rams-Giants game — a 17-9 victory for Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. — a fight broke out between the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey and the Giants’ Golden Tate. Giants Coach Joe Judge said he didn’t know “all the details,” Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald “didn’t see it,” and Giants center Nick Gates, who got in the middle of the fight, was “just trying to protect my teammate.” They all walked entirely around the drama between the players that has come as a result of Ramsey’s tumultuous relationship with Tate’s younger sister (Ramsey and Breanna Tate have two children). Neither Ramsey nor Tate was made available to the news media.
One* Sentence About Sunday’s Games
*Except when it takes more.
Seahawks 31, Dolphins 23 Russell Wilson had what qualified as a great game for anyone else and a good one for him (360 yards passing, two touchdowns), but he had a ton of help, with Chris Carson rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and Seattle’s struggling defense providing a pair of interceptions.
Browns 49, Cowboys 38 Dak Prescott is not particularly interested in the passing records he has set in his team’s 1-3 start to the season, saying “I’d give all those yards back for a different record. I care about one stat and that’s to win, so when we don’t do that no other stats matter.”
Ravens 31, Footballers 17 Baltimore got right back to its usual business after last week’s loss, steamrolling a lesser opponent in a performance that was simultaneously well below the Ravens’ top gear, but also far easier a win than the final score suggested thanks to a garbage-time interception from Robert Griffin III that helped gift-wrap seven points for Washington.
Buccaneers 38, Chargers 31 Los Angeles was leading by 24-7 with less than a minute to play in the second quarter when Tampa Bay’s Ndamukong Suh forced a fumble that seemed to steal the game’s momentum. The turnover led to a quick Buccaneers touchdown, and it set the stage for a huge comeback win in which Tom Brady completed touchdown passes to five different receivers.
Bills 30, Raiders 23 This one played out a lot like every other Buffalo game this season, with Josh Allen dominating, the team’s defense struggling and it all adding up to a victory. The Bills are 4-0 for just the second time since 1992, when they made their third consecutive Super Bowl appearance.
Saints 35, Lions 29 It’s not particularly noteworthy for New Orleans to have a big day on offense, or for Detroit to collapse, but it gets more exciting when factoring in that the Saints were missing six injured starters and had an incredibly late night after one of the team’s players had a false positive result on a coronavirus test.
Vikings 31, Texans 23 Minnesota had a lot to be happy about, with Dalvin Cook rushing for 130 yards and two touchdowns, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson both surpassing 100 yards receiving and the team’s defense holding tough even after safety Harrison Smith was ejected. As for the Texans, who dropped to 0-4: Yikes.
Bengals 33, Jaguars 25 Running back Joe Mixon’s availability was uncertain coming into the game thanks to a chest injury that came up late in the week, but he appeared to be extremely healthy while piling up 181 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns in his team’s first win of the season.
Panthers 31, Cardinals 21 Kyler Murray threw three touchdown passes, but Arizona was simply outgunned, with Carolina’s defense doing a great job of either limiting wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (seven catches for 41 yards) or taking advantage of him being slowed some by an ankle injury.
Colts 19, Bears 11 A garbage-time touchdown made the score seem somewhat close, but the Indianapolis defense thoroughly dominated this game, making Nick Foles look a lot like Mitchell Trubisky, the quarterback he supplanted.
Rams 17, Giants 9 It was another loss for the Giants — they’re used to those — but some uninspired play from Los Angeles, and a few great plays from Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, had Big Blue driving with a chance to tie the game in the final minute. Jones threw an interception that effectively ended the game, but that the Giants were in it at all after coming in as 12-point underdogs was impressive.