Sunday, December 4

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs get back on track while Ravens’ struggles continue | Plus, Bryce Young injured in win


The Football FiveūüŹą

  • Kenny Pickett replaced¬†Mitchell Trubisky at halftime of¬†Jets-Steelers, but it was Zach Wilson who ultimately got the win in his season debut, 24-20. Breece Hall provided the game-winning score for New York. Pickett threw three interceptions, and the Steelers’ quarterback situation remains murky.
  • Another rookie quarterback who unexpectedly made his debut? Bailey Zappe. With Mac Jones out, Brian Hoyer started for New England but suffered a concussion. Zappe had his ups and downs, and the Packers¬†escaped with a 27-24 overtime win.
  • The Cowboys dominated the Commanders, 25-10, for their third win in a row. Cooper Rush became the first Cowboys quarterback to win his first four career starts.
  • The Giants are also 3-1 after beating the Bears,¬†20-12, despite having to run the wildcat offense with quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor injured.
  • In London, the Vikings kicked off Sunday with a dramatic win over the Saints that included a game-ending double-doink.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

If Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs had any frustration over last weekend’s loss to Colts — and there seemed to be plenty — they took it out Sunday night against the Buccaneers with a 41-31 statement win.

  • Kansas City set the tone early:¬†The Chiefs forced a Rachaad White¬†fumble on the opening kickoff return, and Mahomes threw a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce two plays later. Kansas City scored a touchdown on each of its first three drives.
  • Mahomes produced highlight after highlight and finished with three touchdown passes.
  • The Chiefs racked up 189 rushing yards, the most any team has had against the Buccaneers since 2018.
  • Under Mahomes, the Chiefs are now 11-3 following a loss. They’re averaging 31.5 points per game in those contests.

The Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes tandem has produced some masterpieces, and this one is right up there with the best of them, writes NFL guru Cody Benjamin.

  • Benjamin: “The road favorites had their way all night. No. 15 spread the ball around, hitting Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Travis Kelce early for splash plays, and once again Reid’s red-zone creativity was impeccable. Whether Mahomes was scrambling and making last-second shovel passes into the back of the end zone or tight end Noah Gray was lining up under center, they could not be denied in scoring range.”

As for the Buccaneers, it was a difficult week. They practiced in Miami¬†as Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on the west coast of Florida, and while they’d never use it as an excuse, it certainly couldn’t have helped. Tom Brady threw for 385 yards and three scores, but much of that came with the game out of reach. The running game produced just three yards — second-fewest in franchise history — and the defense had no answers all night.

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Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…

THE BALTIMORE RAVENS


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The¬†Ravens could be 4-0 this season. But “could” doesn’t mean anything. They’re 2-2, and the reasons behind that span far and wide. Sunday,¬†Baltimore blew a 20-3 lead in a 23-20 loss to the Bills that comes with many questions, including…

  • Why did they do that? Tied 20-20 with just over four minutes left, the Ravens went for it on 4th-and-goal, and Lamar Jackson was picked off. John Harbaugh explained the decision, and while I understand it, I’m not sure I agree with it.
  • How did this happen… again? The Ravens are the first team to blow a 17-point lead in two of their first four games (also Week 2 vs. the Dolphins) since the 2011 Vikings.
  • Where’s the supporting cast?¬†Ravens running backs are averaging 3.1 yards per carry, 28th in the NFL. Ravens wide receivers have an 8.5 percent drop rate, third-highest in the NFL. Rashod Bateman, a first-round pick last year, has four drops, tied for most of any wide receiver. Defensively, only the Texans have missed more tackles according to Pro Football Focus.

The Bills obviously deserve credit. After a very slow start, Josh Allen showed why he’s the MVP favorite. The Buffalo defense is relentless. But these are games we’re used to seeing Baltimore win. Prior to these two huge blown leads, the Ravens had won 75 straight games in which they led by at least 17. The inability to do the basic things, though — run the ball, catch the ball and make tackles — are proving quite costly.

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The Ravens earned a “D” in our weekly grades.

Not so honorable mentions

Eagles come back to beat Jaguars, remain NFL’s only undefeated team ūüĒ•


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Come wind, rain or shine, shootout or defensive slugfest, air-it-out or ground-and-pound, the¬†Eagles¬†find a way to beat you.¬†The NFL’s lone undefeated team¬†showed that once again in¬†an impressive 29-21 comeback win over the¬†Jaguars¬†in¬†miserable conditions.

  • Philadelphia’s defense stole the show,¬†forcing five turnovers, all by¬†Trevor Lawrence¬†(four lost fumbles, one interception).
  • The Eagles ran for 213 yards against a Jacksonville defense that entered the day having allowed an NFL-low 165 rushing yards through three weeks.¬†Miles Sanders¬†had a career-high 134 rushing yards and two scores.

What’s impressed me most about the Eagles is their versatility. They outgunned the¬†Lions¬†in Week 1, shut down the¬†Vikings¬†in Week 2, imposed their will on the¬†Commanders¬†in Week 3 and now¬†showed their perseverance against the Jaguars in Week 4. The Eagles trailed this game 14-0 early.¬†Jalen Hurts¬†threw a pick-six on the first offensive series, and the next two drives resulted in a punt and a turnover on downs. But then they scored on three straight drives and took over on defense.

This is a game the Eagles might not have won last year. It starts with Hurts. This season, he’s third in the NFL in expected points added per dropback when his team is trailing, behind only¬†Lamar Jackson¬†and¬†Tua Tagovailoa. Last year, he ranked 14th in that category.

Hurts has always had an uncanny ability to remain calm and rarely let outside factors impact him. Now, combining his own improvement and his much-improved supporting cast with his even-keeled nature,¬†his Eagles are¬†4-0 for the first time since 2004… when they went on to make the Super Bowl.

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College football roundup: Bryce Young hurt in Alabama win; Georgia survives ūüŹą


USATSI

Alabama picked up another impressive top-25 road win, beating Arkansas 49-26, but it came at a cost: Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young exited the game in the second quarter and did not return with a shoulder sprain.

  • Young landed awkwardly after throwing the ball away near the sideline. The severity of the injury is unknown.
  • Redshirt freshman Jalen Milroe came in and performed admirably, throwing for 65 yards and a score and running for 91 yards and another score. The biggest play came with Alabama leading 28-23 and facing 3rd-and-15. Milroe ripped off a 77-yard run. Alabama scored shortly thereafter, and Arkansas never got any closer.
  • Jahmyr Gibbs had 206 rushing yards and two scores.

No matter the question, Nick Saban seemingly always has an answer, writes college football insider Dennis Dodd.

As for the other SEC frontrunner, Georgia narrowly escaped Missouri, 26-22, and the second straight underwhelming performance sent the Bulldogs to No. 2 in the latest AP Poll. Here’s the top 10.

  • 1. Alabama (prev: 2)
  • 2. Georgia (prev: 1)
  • 3. Ohio State (prev: 3)
  • 4. Michigan (prev: 4)
  • 5. Clemson (prev: 5)
  • 6. USC (prev: 6)
  • 7. Oklahoma State (prev: 9)
  • 8. Tennessee (prev: 8)
  • 9. Ole Miss (prev: 14)
  • 10. Penn State (prev: 11)

Alabama is also first in the Coaches Poll.

As for everything else from a busy weekend:

MLB roundup: Braves sweep Mets to take control of NL East, Judge struggles ‚öĺ


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Last year, the Braves played their best at the best time and won a World Series. Now, with the calendar flipping to October again, they’re following that exact same formula. The Braves swept the Mets and now lead the NL East by two games.

  • The sweep included wins over the Mets’ two best pitchers, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
  • Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson both homered in all three games.
  • The Braves only need one more win or one more Mets loss to win the division.

As for other highlights from the final weekend of the regular season…

What we’re watching Monday ūüďļ

ūüŹÄ Rams at 49ers, 8:15 p.m. on ESPN



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