The NFL went streaking in Week 6. Just two weeks after the most chaotic Sunday so far this season, we were treated to another unpredictable day when some trends ended and others kept trucking on.
The Chiefs have their first home losing stretch in the Patrick Mahomes era, while Deshaun Watson has now gone TWO WHOLE GAMES without getting sacked. That’s not just a first for Watson in his NFL career. It’s the first time since 2014 that the Texans haven’t given up a sack in two straight games.
The Cowboys and Rams have stumbled during three-game losing skids. The 49ers are still unbeaten, the Seahawks are still perfect on the road, Kyle Allen and Teddy Bridgewater are still undefeated as starters this season, and the Dolphins’ quest for the No. 1 pick is still right on course — if they can fend off the Bengals.
However, other teams saw streaks halted, good and bad. The Titans finally turned the ball over for the first time in 2019 and then proceeded to do it two more times. Mahomes threw his first pick of the season (in controversial fashion). The Jets and Washington put an end to their winless slides. The Vikings stopped forgetting that Stefon Diggs existed.
Such disorder led to an unusually high number of dumbest mistakes — 11 this week, in fact:
11. Stefon Diggs let the ball bounce off his helmet for an INT
It was long overdue, but Diggs finally had an explosive game for the Vikings this season. Diggs entered Week 6 with an average of 3.2 catches for 50.6 yards per game and had just one score. Then he exploded against the Eagles with seven catches for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
It was a good day to be Diggs. Except on this play:
Maybe he was just doing his former teammate, Andrew Sendejo, a solid. After all, it was a rough afternoon for the Eagles’ secondary.
10. Noah Fant lost a ball in the sun and gave Kevin Byard an easy interception
Here’s a shot of Joe Flacco hitting his tight end right on the numbers in a showdown with the Titans:
Of course, since Fant couldn’t see the perfectly placed ball, it bounced squarely off the back of his jersey and into the waiting hands of Byard, who hauled in a gimme interception:
The turnover didn’t count for much in the long run — it came on third down and effectively served as a well-returned punt. Tennessee got the ball back on its own 45 and promptly turned it into a three-and-out in a game in which it scored zero points.
9. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a VERY ugly interception
The 49ers had a big day against the Rams. They looked amazing on defense, good on offense, and there was little to complain about overall. But early in the second quarter, there was a play that was so awful that it has to be included here, final result be damned.
Jimmy Garoppolo, in all of his handsomeness, threw a pass that was so bad it could easily have turned the tide of the game. That pass was this wobbler, which was picked off in the end zone:
The 49ers, with one of the top running games in the NFL, passed on consecutive plays at the 1-yard line. It’s unclear who Garoppolo is even throwing to there. It’s possible it was meant for George Kittle, but there’s really no excuse for the trajectory of that football.
Had the San Francisco defense not been as good as it was on Sunday, that pick could have been the catalyst that spurred the Rams to offensive success and victory. Luckily for the 49ers, that didn’t happen.
8. The Rams’ fumbled pitch gave the 49ers their first lead of the game
There isn’t much the Rams’ offense did right in the first half against the 49ers. At halftime, Jared Goff had only completed 7 of 8 passes for 27 yards, and on their final drive of the second quarter, they had turned it over on downs after two straight runs at the 1-yard line. However, rookie Darrell Henderson was a little bit of bright spot with Todd Gurley out. The rookie had rushed for 40 yards on three carries.
Somehow, the game was still tied too.
Then, this was the first play from scrimmage in the second half:
Henderson’s fumble on Goff’s pitch gave the 49ers the ball in good field position in a 7-7 game. The 49ers scored a touchdown four plays later and never looked back.
Maybe this is a lesson for all West teams: stop trying to pitch the ball.
7. The entire Falcons defense lost David Johnson
The defense has been abhorrently bad all season, but yikes, just look at what the entire unit did in coverage on this pass from Murray to running back David Johnson:
Two plays after that 30-yard gain, the Cardinals punched the ball in to go up 17-7.
Was it the most egregious mistake for the Falcons? Nah, that probably goes to Matt Bryant, who missed the extra point attempt that would’ve tied the game with under two minutes to go.
But it’s the kind of play that epitomizes the 2019 Falcons.
6. The Buccaneers cut the Panthers’ 3-score lead into a 3-score lead
Tampa Bay dug a huge hole for itself and couldn’t do enough in the fourth quarter to climb out of it. It didn’t help that Bruce Arians didn’t do the best math during the team’s attempt to rally.
With a little over 20 minutes left in the game and the Panthers leading 27-7, the Buccaneers were stuck with a fourth-and-6 on Carolina’s 36-yard line. But instead of trying to move the chains, Tampa Bay settled for a 54-yard field goal.
Matt Gay nailed the kick (something Buccaneers kickers haven’t often done) to cut the Panthers’ 20-point lead to a 17-point lead. The problem is that the Buccaneers were still three possessions away from tying or taking the lead from Carolina. According to ESPN’s win probability calculator, the field goal dropped the Panthers’ shot at winning from 98.3 percent all the way down to 96.6 percent.
Another four points could’ve been a big deal too. It’s hard to play the “what if” game, but the field goal proved pretty useless when the Buccaneers ended up losing by 11. Arians says “no risk it, no biscuit” and wound up with no biscuit by playing it conservative.
5. The Chiefs intercepted Deshaun Watson on 4th down, setting off a chain reaction of shame
The Texans gambled on fourth-and-short from the Kansas City 40-yard line late in the second quarter. Deshaun Watson launched a deep ball to a crowded corner of the end zone, giving the Chiefs an easy opportunity to swat the ball away and take over near midfield.
Instead, Juan Thornhill came down with the ball in the end zone, resulting in a touchback and costing his team 20 yards in field position with 32 seconds to go before halftime. That wouldn’t have been so bad — no team is capable of making up more yardage in less time than the Chiefs — but then this happened:
1 play earlier: Chiefs intercept Watson instead of knocking a deep 4th down pass down, costing them 20 yards— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) October 13, 2019
then: Mahomes fumbles, Texans somehow recover THIS
then: Watson runs 3 yards into the end zone, Texans take the lead pic.twitter.com/fjrljMEDGS
Mahomes’ fumble set the Texans up on the 3-yard line. One play later, Houston turned what was once a 17-3 deficit into a 23-17 lead headed into the half.
4. Mark Andrews should stay on the ground
When you’re a 6’5, 256-pound tight end, it’s probably a better idea to go through defenders instead of over them. Andrews tried the latter and his hurdle ended poorly for the Ravens.
The Bengals couldn’t do a whole lot offensively Sunday, but the turnover put them in Ravens territory and set up a field goal to make the score 17-10 at halftime.
Andrews doesn’t plan on changing his approach, though.
With that philosophy, don’t be shocked if Andrews winds up on our dumbest mistakes list again this year.
3. The Eagles bet 3 points on a fake field goal that fooled no one
It made sense for Philadelphia to attempt a pass on fourth-and-4 at the Minnesota 21-yard line late in the first half. The Eagles trailed 24-10 and had little success stopping the Vikings’ suddenly potent passing game throughout the first two quarters. They needed to take advantage of every touchdown-scoring opportunity they could find in a game shaping up to be a shootout.
It did not, however, make sense for kicker Jake Elliott to be the one throwing that pass.
at least you tried, Eagles pic.twitter.com/Glm3H3yipd— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) October 13, 2019
Elliott took a direct snap and then looked downfield as each of his potential targets were swallowed up in a sea of purple. He had no choice but to hurl a futile attempt into traffic, where it was tipped and then picked off by Everson Griffen.
2. Patrick Mahomes’ first interception of the year was a result of the refs messing everything up
The Chiefs have lost back-to-back games, but Patrick Mahomes still has 14 touchdowns and just one interception. He’d have zero interceptions if the officials in Week 6 didn’t completely blow it on a call in the second quarter Sunday.
The deep ball Mahomes lobbed into traffic that was hauled in by Texans safety Tashaun Gipson was probably only thrown because the quarterback saw a flag on the field. He correctly assumed that the officials threw the flag because Travis Kelce was tackled while running a route. So, hey, why not take a shot at the end zone?
The interception was initially overruled by a pass interference call. After a discussion, interference was waved off because the pass wasn’t intended for Kelce. Instead of (correctly) calling defensive holding that would’ve also nullified the interception, the pick stood.
NFL officiating is still disastrous, part 729 pic.twitter.com/bwR8QFA9uS— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) October 14, 2019
The Chiefs were up 17-9 at the time of the turnover and were in Houston territory threatening to add to that lead. Instead, the Texans got the ball and drove the field for a touchdown to make the score 17-16.
1. The Browns screwed themselves, but not as much as the officials did
The Browns have had some atrocious playcalling in the red zone this season. NFL refs have called some atrocious penalties this season. On Sunday, we got to see both in action together.
Down 25-20 to the Seahawks early in the fourth quarter, the Browns got themselves into another fourth-and-goal situation at their opponent’s 1-yard line. Freddie Kitchens decided to go for it and called a quick pass to Jarvis Landry, who fumbled it into the end zone, where it was recovered by Nick Chubb.
Despite the ball looking like it had crossed the plane before the fumble, the refs said the fumble happened beforehand and the Browns couldn’t advance it. Cleveland got a chance to replay the fourth down, but just as a Chubb looked like he would saunter into the end zone, Kitchens called a timeout and asked for a review on the fumble.
The officials upheld the call, Kitchens lost his challenge (foreshadowing!) and then he ... ran the same play that the Seahawks were now ready for:
Freddie Kitchens called a play, challenged the previous play just as his team snapped it (showing the play), then tried to run the same play again. You’ll never guess what happened— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) October 13, 2019
Chubb was stuffed and Jadeveon Clowney clearly got a hold of the Chubb’s facemask in the process. Not that the refs threw a flag.
The Browns still had a chance to win late if they could get the ball back. However, the Seahawks ended up extending their final drive when Russell Wilson found DK Metcalf for 8 yards on third-and-7. A closer look at the play shows Metcalf didn’t appear to have completed the catch before he fumbled out of bounds. Not that Kitchens could challenge it:
Update: Kitchens blowing this challenge meant he couldn’t challenge a critical third down catch by the Seahawks with just over 2 minutes to go.— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) October 13, 2019
Week 6 wasn’t a banner day for the Browns, who lost 32-28 and turned the ball over four times. The worst performance might have been from the refs, though.