The two best matchups of the week were both rescheduled because of positive coronavirus tests — Patriots-Chiefs is expected to be played on Monday night and Steelers-Titans is rescheduled for 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:
Top Passer: Tom Brady
Justin Herbert was technically more efficient, but if you ask Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, O.J. Howard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn or Cameron Brate, they would be likely to say Brady had a better game, as he threw touchdown passes to each of them during the Buccaneers victory. It looks like last week’s breakout was not a one-week affair for Brady and that a shift to Tampa Bay — and its solid collection of pass-catchers — was just what the 43-year-old quarterback needed.
Top Runner: Joe Mixon
Mixon had fantasy football players scrambling before the game, as no one seemed to know if he’d be able to play. Hopefully they started him as he complemented his 151 rushing yards with 30 receiving yards and he found his way into the end zone three times. Mixon’s slow start to the year appears to be over.
Top Receiver: Odell Beckham Jr.
His game-sealing 50-yard touchdown run was the play of the day — it will be one of the plays of the year — but it shouldn’t entirely overshadow the execution on a trick play in which Jarvis Landry received a pitch in the backfield and hurled a perfect 37-yard pass to a waiting Beckham in the end zone. What was shocking about the play was how easy it looked for both players. Beckham finished the day with 154 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns.
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 It isn’t leading to many wins so far, but there is no denying that Gardner Minshew (351 yards passing, two touchdowns), James Robinson (75 yards rushing) and D.J. Chark (eight receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns) are a formidable combination on offense.
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.
Eagles 25, 49ers 20 It has been a trying season for Philadelphia, with losses to Washington and the Rams and a tie against Cincinnati, but after this wild upset of San Francisco — aided mightily by one of the more brutal interceptions you’ll ever see — the Eagles are inexplicably leading the N.F.C. East.
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.