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9 surprises from NFL Week 6 that we never saw coming

Not even Tony Romo could predict everything that happened this week.

Tony Romo has reinvented himself this year as our favorite NFL analyst on TV. When he’s not predicting plays, he’s making corny dad jokes or looking like he’s auditioning for the Dave Seville role in a new Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon. It’s the perfect second career for him.

But even for all his clairvoyance, not even Romo could have seen everything that happened in Week 6 coming. It was a doozy of a Sunday, for reasons to celebrate, lament, and scratch our heads.

Deshaun Watson is currently the NFL’s leader in TD passes

OK, so Deshaun Watson being an absolute dream to watch in the NFL isn’t surprising to anyone who even half paid attention to college football for the last few years. And Watson already throwing for more touchdown passes than Brock Osweiler did all last season for the Texans isn’t surprising, either. But leading the NFL in touchdowns? Yeah, wasn’t expecting that one after the first six weeks of the season.

After a three-touchdown game against the Browns, Watson’s total is now more than Tom Brady. More than Drew Brees. More than Alex Smith. He tops the league with 15 passing touchdowns (and for good measure, he’s got two more on the ground).

This is probably the time we remind you that the Browns, who have scored 12 touchdown as a team this year, had the chance to draft Watson. Instead, they traded the pick to the Texans.

Aaron Rodgers is probably done for the season

Sometimes, the unpredictability nature of sports is our favorite thing about it. Other times, there are injuries, like a bucket of ice water poured over our souls.

Aaron Rodgers, fresh off ripping the still-beating hearts out of the chest of every Cowboys faithful, took a hard (but legal) hit in the first quarter of the Packers’ game against the Vikings. Anyone who saw the play instinctively knew the bad news that would soon be coming: broken collarbone, could be out for the season.

Rodgers is one of the NFL’s most important players. He’s every superlative you could say about a quarterback. His injury doesn’t just affect the Packers or the NFC North race. It has major implications for the rest of the NFL.

And in true 2017 fashion, it’s something we’ve seen way too much this year:

That list doesn’t even include three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and his underrated teammate Whitney Mercilus, who were both lost for the season a week ago.

Injuries are unavoidable in a sport where large men collide, but man, it sucks royally every time it happens.

Sunday’s biggest underdogs came to play

Whether you gamble on sports or not, well that’s your business. But this week was a reminder why some stay far, far away from putting down any money on NFL games:

The 49ers were the only double-digit road underdogs to lose, but it wasn’t without a fight. Keeping up with their streak of losing by agonizingly close margins — they’ve lost their last five games by a total of 13 points — the 49ers lost 26-24 to Washington.

The weekend’s other big long shots both pulled off major upsets. The Giants looked like a totally different team in their first win of the season, effortlessly taking down the Broncos Sunday night. And the Dolphins came back from a 17-0 deficit to shock the Falcons (and revive the 28-3 jokes just in time for the Falcons’ Week 7 rematch against the Patriots).

The NFL’s final unbeaten team also lost this week at home. The Chiefs fell to 5-1 with a 19-13 loss to the Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium, but that’s hardly a shocker considering the Steelers’ recent history against the Chiefs.

Drew Brees only threw for 186 yards — and the Saints still scored 52 points

Drew Brees is one of the NFL’s most prolific passers ever. He’s closing in on 70,000 career passing yards and only trails Peyton Manning and Brett Favre on the all-time list. He hadn’t thrown for fewer than 200 yards in a game since a date with the Legion of Boom four years ago. Until Sunday against the Lions, that is.

If you saw Brees’ stat line — 186 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions — it’d be fair to assume the Saints lost. Or maybe even won with a score of, like, 20-17. Instead, they won what was the NFL’s highest-scoring since Brees’ 52-49 duel with Eli Manning two years ago:

So how did the Saints put up so many points in a ho-hum performance from Brees? Thank the defense (really!), which scored three touchdowns of its own in a game that was off the rails for all the right reasons.

The Chargers won on a field goal

Earlier this season, the Los Angeles Chargers picked up right where the San Diego Chargers left off: losing heartbreaking games seemingly every week. In the first two weeks of the season, missed field goals were to blame.

Rookie Younghoe Koo missed a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation against the Broncos in Week 1. The next week, his potentially game-winning try sailed wide right against the Dolphins.

Unsurprisingly but still disappointedly, Koo was waived and replaced with Nick Novak.

Fast forward 10 days and the Chargers got another shot to win a game on the leg of their kicker. This time, Novak nailed it for a 17-16 win over the Raiders:

Sorry, Koo. We still love you, but I’m afraid we jinxed you.

Adrian Peterson looked damn good for the Cardinals

If you thought Adrian Peterson was washed up, you weren’t alone. He averaged just 1.9 yards per carry last season when healthy, and he was barely a factor in his first four games with the Saints. Then Peterson was traded to Arizona. He took the field with the Cardinals for the first time on Sunday and he looked like the same guy who rushed for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015.

Peterson had 26 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns in Arizona’s win over the Buccaneers. In four games with the Saints, he had 27 carries for 81 yards. Peterson had more rushing yards in the first half than the Cardinals had managed in any full game this season.

Peterson should keep getting most of Arizona’s carries, at least until David Johnson returns. And the 32-year-old is exactly what the league’s 32nd-ranked rushing attack needed.

Bad rushing attacks were actually good on Sunday

The Falcons have the 11th-ranked backfield in the league, with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman averaging over 120 yards per game. Jay Ajayi out-rushed them both by himself in the Dolphins’ win over Atlanta.

Miami was ranked 27th in the league coming into Sunday’s matchup with just 87.4 yards per game. It didn’t matter, not against the Falcons. And it wasn’t just the Dolphins.

The Giants not only won a game for the first time this season, but also actually got a ground game going. Orleans Darkwa had 122 yards through the Giants’ first five games. He finished with a career-high 117 yards against the Broncos, which nearly matched his total to that point of the season.

And Adrian Peterson was a revelation for the Cardinals. He looked like vintage AD as opposed to the guy who barely got any carries over four games with the Saints. Need more proof? Watch him juke a Tampa Bay defender out of his shoes.

Oh, and the Cardinals, Dolphins, and Giants all won games they were expected to lose. It’s not a coincidence.

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Cameron Brate made Harvard-to-Harvard history

If Ryan Fitzpatrick is on the field in an NFL game, you know one thing for certain: The announcers will mention that his alma mater is Harvard University. Cameron Brate, Fitzpatrick’s teammate in Tampa Bay, also went to Harvard. And on Sunday, Fitzpatrick and Brate made some history when Fitz hit Brate for a touchdown against the Cardinals.

Fitzpatrick had to enter the game when Jameis Winston was pulled with a shoulder injury. He made a little Fitzmagic when he hit Brate in the end zone for six despite throwing directly into double coverage, which is a very Ryan Fitzpatrick thing to do.

Fitzpatrick also hit his fellow Harvard alumnus on a 21-yard pass to convert a fourth-and-4.

Winston has a sprained AC joint and may be able to play through it. If not, we’re sure to see some more Harvard-to-Harvard action between Fitzpatrick and Brate.

Mitchell Trubisky got his first NFL win in a weird-ass game

Joe Flacco was far from elite Sunday against the Bears. Flacco put up 180 passing yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions and tried to throw a touchdown even when he knew he was a few miles past the line of scrimmage

Yet the Bears still managed to blow an 11-point lead. It took a 96-yard kick return touchdown from Bobby Rainey and a 77-yard punt return score from Michael Campanaro to keep the Ravens in the game. But that was enough to do it, and the game went to overtime.

Mitchell Trubisky, in his first win as a pro, completed just half of his 16 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. But the combination of Trubisky doing just enough after regulation, Jordan Howard going off for 167 yards, and the Ravens’ offense generally being putrid led the Bears to a 27-24 win.

That’s not a phenomenal stat line. Trubisky still managed to become the first rookie quarterback to get a win in Baltimore since Jake Plummer in 1997, according to NFL Research. And he may have saved John Fox’s job in the process.


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