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NFL Debrief: Falcons upset, concussion week for QBs and a tie

The top stories from Week 10 include one big upset, three concussions and the first tie in four years.

Chris Graythen

The story of Week 10 should be the NFL's only unbeaten team falling when the Saints were able to hold on and beat the Falcons, but with three high-profile players suffering concussions, the story lines have changed. Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Michael Vick all exited their Week 10 games with concussions, putting their Week 11 status in doubt.

Just one week in the NFL can change so much.

We have a tie between the 49ers and Rams, 21 points from the Cowboys in less than three minutes, the Titans forgetting that they're a bad team, and more in Week 10.

Undefeated no more

The dream dies in Atlanta.

The Falcons lost to the Saints, 31-27, becoming the last team to lose a game. The Falcons are now 8-1 on the season, going through half the schedule chasing perfection.

This game was still very winnable by the Falcons. Atlanta had a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line with 2:26 remaining. First down was a nine-yard pass to the one-yard line. Second down was an incomplete pass to Tony Gonzalez. Third down was a one-yard loss run by Michael Turner. On fourth down, it was an incomplete pass to Roddy White.

Two things about that stretch of plays. First, Turner is incapable of getting the tough short yards anymore and should not have been a factor in this series. Second, the right decision would've been throwing four consecutive fade routes to Tony Gonzalez, who is among the best in NFL history at using his body.

We're spending all of our time on the Falcons but that's not to say the Saints don't deserve a nod here. This is a team that was once 0-4 and left for dead. They're now 4-5 with a game coming up against the Raiders (in other words, they're going to be 5-5).

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

This is concussion week

After a streak of relative good health in the NFL, three starting quarterbacks went down with head injuries in Week 10.

1. San Francisco's Alex Smith was hit by the Rams' Jo-Lonn Dunbar, knocking him to the ground. Smith later exited the game and was ruled to have a concussion. He was replaced by Colin Kaepernick.

2. Eagles' Michael Vick scrambled for a fairly routine short gain but a defender landed on him, sending him to the sidelines. The hit didn't look vicious, but it gave Vick a concussion. He was replaced by Nick Foles.

3. Chicago's Jay Cutler was drilled by Tim Dobbins and drew penalty flags for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Cutler was helped up and stayed in the game before exiting at halftime due to a concussion. He was replaced by Jason Campbell.

Of those three, Cutler's is the one that will have people worked up the most because it came on a completely preventable hit by Dobbins. There were calls for Dobbins to be ejected from the game. And calls for the Bears to explain why Cutler stayed in the game seven plays after getting hit in the head.

The NFL still has ties

For the first time since Nov. 16, 2008, an NFL game ended in a tie. The Rams and 49ers played the full extra quarter and still couldn't decide a winner, so they're kissing their sisters.

Reactions to the tie from our 49ers and Rams communities were of utter confusion . . . a tie?!

From Turf Show Times:

We tied? That's possible?


Ok, how did that happen?

I don't know.

What do you mean you don't know?

I really don't.

Come on now, there has to be an explanation?


From Niners Nation:

A tie is better than a loss but worse than a win. That's fairly logical. However, given that the 49ers had no business winning this game, I can understand the conflicting feelings. You could argue in some sense a tie was a gift, and in another sense, they blew a lot of opportunities. It is just a confused, muddled feeling. I am sure some people are very clear on how they feel, and others like me who are just wondering what the hell just happened.

So, yeah. A tie.


The schizophrenic Titans

Seriously, who is this team?

Are they the Titans who lose by 21 points to the Patriots, 28 points to the Chargers, 24 points to the Texans, 23 points to the Vikings and 31 points to the Bears?

Or are they the team that drops 41 on Detroit and 35 on Buffalo, upsets the Steelers and pulls out a 34-point victory over playoff-contending Miami?

I don't remember a team having two such distinct personalities in a long time. The Titans have no idea who they are, but as long as it's the Titans team that can put up five touchdowns a game, I guess it doesn't matter.


21 points in under three minutes

The rare 21 points in just two-and-a-half minutes. How do you score three touchdowns in less than three minutes? The Cowboys let us know in their victory over the Eagles:

:04 left in the third: Tony Romo to Dez Bryant for a 30-yard touchdown.

13:52 left in the fourth: Dwayne Harris returns an Eagles punt 78 yards for a touchdown.

12:37 left in the fourth: Brandon Carr picks off Nick Foles and returns it for a touchdown.

Twenty-one points in less than three minutes.

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