One week after getting embarrassed by the Saints on national television, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers responded by taking out all of their frustrations on the Carolina Panthers in a 46-23 blowout win. The Buccaneers made a lot of changes after their 38-3 loss to New Orleans and they all seemed to pay off. One of the most notable changes this week came on the offensive line, with Ryan Jensen being moved from center to guard. With Jensen no longer snapping the ball to Brady, the job was given to A.Q. Shipley.
The decision to make the switch paid off dividends as Brady rarely faced pressure in the win. The 43-year-old quarterback had plenty of time to throw almost every time he dropped back, and Brady definitely took advantage of that as he ended up completing 28 of 39 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns.
One of Brady's most impressive passes came on a 44-yard strike to Rob Gronkowski that the Buccaneers desperately needed. At the time of the pass, the Buccaneers were facing a second-and-13 with just under two minutes to play in the first half while trailing 17-10.
Gronk's catch took the Buccaneers from Carolina's 48-yard line all the way down to the 4. Three plays later, Brady would hit Mike Evans for a three-yard score that seemed to give Tampa Bay all the momentum. Including that touchdown, the Buccaneers would outscore the Panthers 36-6 from that point on.
It was a wild Week 10 Sunday, and there's a lot to go over. John Breech, Ryan Wilson and host Will Brinson break it all down on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Speaking of Evans, he was a hot topic in Tampa this week and that's because Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians was clearly frustrated that Brady didn't look to Evans more during Tampa Bay's 38-3 loss to New Orleans.
"Mike was open a bunch in that ball game," Arians said after the Week 9 loss. "He didn't get targeted, that was all. Mike was open."
Brady clearly took the criticism to heart, because he looked to Evans early and often against the Panthers. Of the 39 passes Brady threw in the game, 11 of them went to Evans, who caught six passes for 77 yards and a three-yard touchdown that you can see below.
The scary thing about the Buccaneers offense is that it's still a work in progress. Changes on the offensive line after Week 9? Not enough targets for Evans? Those are two of the issues that got fixed this week, and unfortunately for the Panthers, they were the team that just happened to be on the field on the day where the Buccaneers offense seemed to figure everything out. Even Antonio Brown got in on the action, catching seven passes for 69 yards.
Although the Buccaneers were impressive through the air, the play of the game for Tampa Bay came on the ground in the third quarter when Ronald Jones recorded the third-longest touchdown run in NFL history.
That touchdown seemed to deflate the Panthers defense, who just couldn't do anything to stop the Buccaneers in the second half. Jones' 98-yard run tied Ahman Green for the third-longest in NFL history, trailing only Tony Dorsett and Derrick Henry, who both scored on a 99-yard run.
The win over the Panthers puts the Buccaneers one step closer to a playoff berth, and although they might not win the division, they should have their sights set on the fifth seed in the NFC because that would allow them to play the NFC East winner in the wild-card round. That's the draw that every NFC team is going to want.
Alright, let's get to the grades for every game from Week 10. If you're looking for a deeper dive on the Colts-Titans game that was played Thursday, be sure to click here.
Tampa Bay 46-23 over Carolina
|The Panthers kept it tight in the first half and the offense was clicking. The foundation began to crumble in the second half, however, when the Carolina offense tallied just 20 total yards of offense. Relative to expectations, Carolina continues to impress but today made it clear that there is a long way to go before Matt Rhule's young team can compete within the NFC South. |
|The Buccaneers defense finally arrived in the second half and held Carolina to six points. Meanwhile, the offense continued to cruise. Tom Brady and Co. amassed over 500 total yards after being stifled by the rival Saints last weekend. Most of that yardage came from Brady (341) and Ronald Jones (192). Tampa Bay was all smiles after regulation came to a close, as they will not lose any ground within the division this weekend. |
Buccaneers-Panthers grades by Josh Edwards (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cleveland 10-7 over Houston
|This game basically came down to bad fourth-and-2 calls for the Texans. The first one came from the Browns' 2-yard line in the first quarter. With horrible weather in Cleveland and points at a premium, the Texans could have kicked a field goal, but instead ended up calling a draw that lost two yards. The ugly part of the play-call is that it was a run all the way, when a play with a run-pass option would have made way more sense when you have a QB like Deshaun Watson. In the third quarter, the Texans faced another fourth-and-2, but instead of going for it, coach Romeo Crennel decided to attempt a 46-yard field goal, a kick that had no chance on a day where the wind gusts reached 50 mph. In bad weather where both teams struggled on offense, coaching proved to be the difference in this one.|
|There are ugly wins in the NFL, and a level below that, you have what the Browns did on Sunday. With heavy rains and high wind in Cleveland, this wasn't a game where either team could really throw the ball, which ended up working out perfectly for the Browns, who finally had Nick Chubb back on the field. Despite missing four weeks due to injury, the Browns had no problem making Chubb their workhorse, and the plan worked to perfection as he carried the ball 19 times for 126 yards. Kareem Hunt also had his fair share of carries with 19 rushed for 104 yards as the Browns ground game dominated the Texans defense.|
Detroit 30-27 over Washington
|Although there's no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL, we should go ahead and make an exception in this game because of Alex Smith, who was starting for the first time since a November 2018 injury that almost ended his career. Despite a 728-day layoff between starts, Smith didn't show any rust as he threw for a career-high 390 yards and three touchdowns while leading Washington back from a 24-3 deficit over the final quarter and a half of play. Washington made multiple mistakes on Sunday that will likely come back and haunt them, including a missed 43-yard field goal, a lost fumble that led to a Lions field goal just before halftime and an opening drive where they moved the ball down to Detroit's 14-yard line but failed to come away with any points.|
|After watching a 24-3 lead melt away in the second half, this game seemed like it was going to be another disastrous loss for the Lions, but then the two Matts saved the day. With 16 seconds left to play and the game tied at 27, Matthew Stafford drove the Lions 34 yards to set up Matt Prater's game-winning field goal from 59 yards out. The final drive put an exclamation point on what was a fantastic game for Stafford, who threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns, including a 55-yarder to Marvin Hall. The Lions also got some serious production from D'Andre Swift, who totaled 149 yards and a touchdown in the win (16 carries for 81 yards on the ground and five catches for 68 yards and a TD through the air).|
Green Bay 24-20 over Jacksonville
|With a rookie QB making his first career road start in a game where the Jaguars were a 14-point underdog, no one really gave Jacksonville much of a chance on Sunday, but despite that, they still almost pulled off the upset. The Jags were able to keep this game close thanks to big plays from their defense and special teams. Not only did they get a 91-yard punt return for a TD from Keelan Cole, but their defense also forced two turnovers in the second half, which led to 10 points for Jacksonville. One thing the Jags couldn't do was move the ball on offense. Their longest drive of the day was just 43 yards and it ended in a punt.|
|The Packers were a disaster on offense and a disaster on special teams, but their defense came through in this win, holding the Jaguars to just 260 yards. This game was close because the Packers made multiple mistakes, which came from their best players with both Aaron Rodgers (interception) and Davante Adams (fumble) turning the ball over in the second half. However, Rodgers more than made up for his mistake with two TD passes, including a 78-yarder, and a TD run that ended up being the difference in the game. The 78-yard score went to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had a career day with 149 receiving yards.|
N.Y. Giants 27-17 over Philadelphia
|The Eagles gave up 382 yards and 5.7 yards per play to an offense that entered the game second-to-last in yards and points scored. They didn't convert a third down on nine attempts, and Doug Pederson went for two down 21-17 with an extra point making the score 21-18 in the third quarter. Philadelphia averaged 6.8 yards per carry but only ran the ball 23 times in a game where Carson Wentz was just OK. Wentz didn't turn the football over but did overthrow plenty of receivers and his mechanics were off. The Eagles brought Alshon Jeffery back (one target and no catches), hindering an offense that was the healthiest it has been all year. |
|It wasn't pretty, but that doesn't matter for the Giants, who beat the Eagles for the first time in 1,470 days. Daniel Jones was flawless in the victory, making a clutch 40-yard pass to Darius Slayton to seal the win over the Eagles. Jones didn't turn the football over and led the Giants in rushing yards, including a 34-yard touchdown to give New York a lead it wouldn't relinquish. The Giants rushed for 151 yards and gashed an inept Eagles defense all day, while New York's defense held the Eagles to 0 for 9 on third down. The Giants are right in the NFC East race heading into their bye week and they've now won consecutive games for the first time since last December. |
Eagles-Giants grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Pittsburgh 36-10 over Cincinnati
|Cincinnati's offense went 0-of-11 on third down during the game's first three quarters. The Bengals' offense once again relied too much on Joe Burrow, who attempted at least 40 passes for the fourth time this season. While they held the Steelers to two early field goals, the Bengals' defense was unable to sustain their early success against Pittsburgh's formidable passing attack. Cincinnati's special teams also had a night to forget, as they suffered a lost fumble in the first quarter (which led to Pittsburgh's first points, a 41-yard field goal by Chris Boswell) and allowing Ray-Ray McCloud's 45-yard return in the fourth quarter. The Bengals received a solid statistical game from rookie receiver Tee Higgins, who caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown that included a 54-yard pass that set up the Bengals' only touchdown.|
|Pittsburgh enjoyed a vintage performance from Ben Roethlisberger, who threw four touchdowns despite not practicing until Saturday after spending the week on Pittsburgh's reserve/COVID-19 list. The Steelers' running game continues to be a cause for concern for Pittsburgh fans, as the Steelers rushed for less than 50 yards for a third straight game. The Steelers' defense minimized Joe Burrow's success downfield, as Burrow was often forced to check down and settle for short completions. Pittsburgh's defense also tallied four sacks while holding the Bengals' offense to 0-of-13 on third down.|
Bengals-Steelers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Miami 29-21 over L.A. Chargers
|The Chargers were always in striking distance, even though it didn't always feel like it. L.A. didn't necessarily play a bad game, but the Chargers just didn't register any big plays that would earn the offense some momentum. The Dolphins blocked a punt and picked off Herbert once, but even Miami's lone turnover came by their own hand -- as center Ted Karras mishandled a snap. Justin Herbert is certainly a special talent and a legitimate starting quarterback, but is he going to have to will this team to victory every single week?|
|Another week, another Dolphins "total team" victory. It started early, as Andrew Van Ginkel blocked a punt after the Chargers went three and out on their first drive. The loose ball was recovered by Miami on the one-yard line, and Salvon Ahmed punched it in for the first score of the game just one play later. Xavien Howard picked off Justin Herbert in the second half and the defense limited the Chargers to just 273 total yards of offense, while the offense added a total of three touchdowns. Tua Tagovailoa may be 3-0 as a starter, but the past three wins have been total team efforts -- which is a characteristic successful NFL franchises share.|
Chargers-Dolphins grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Rams 23-16 over Seattle
|Yikes. Seattle dropped from first to third in the division with this loss. It was the Seahawks' third defeat in their last four games. Wilson has now turned the ball over 10 times in the last four, and he had just the fourth zero-touchdown, two-interception game of his career. Neither Tyler Lockett nor DK Metcalf did much of anything, the running game was a non-factor, the defense was invisible as usual, and Pete Carroll went back to his conservative ways by punting the ball on fourth-and-inches near midfield, then defended the decision in his postgame press conference. Bad stuff all around. |
|This was a fantastic win for the Rams. Jared Goff threw the ball efficiently all game, which is a given against the Seahawks but a nice development after he struggled so badly in the team's previous game. The running backs all capitalized on the scoring opportunities provided by the passing game. The defense forced Russell Wilson into three turnovers and held the Seahawks to just one touchdown on three red zone trips. Plus, the Rams jumped the Seahawks in the standings. This went about as well as possible.|
Seahawks-Rams grades by Jared Dubin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Arizona 32-30 over Buffalo
|This grade couldn't been higher, and not simply if they had won the game, but if Josh Allen hadn't put himself in position to try and overcome his own mistakes. Kudos to the young QB for making it happen on the drive that led to the Bills retaking the lead late in the fourth -- fueled by big plays from Cole Beasley and the aforementioned grab by Diggs -- but Allen also tossed two interceptions in the second half and if not for two drops by Patrick Peterson in the first half, there would've been more. Carried by the defense for much of the game, the Bills were simply gassed at points late in the contest, having been tasked with trying to contain Murray for 60 minutes. They were far more successful than some thought they'd be but, in the end, the Buffalo offense made the task much more daunting with giveaways. A valiant effort it was, but a futile one, because Murray.|
|This was far from the perfect game from the Cardinals, considering they were mostly shut down for the entire first half. It's now how you start though, but instead how you finish, and me oh my what a finish it was. It's a team that has no quit in them, led by the former Rookie of the Year at quarterback -- taking on his will to overcome against all odds. Kyler Murray finally broke out in the second half in the air and on the ground and refused to believe the game was over when Josh Allen threw what was likely the walk-off touchdown in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Instead, with 11 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, Murray rolled out under duress and heaved a prayer to the end zone that was answered by All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins for the game-winning score; instantly wiping away all memory of whatever mistakes the Cardinals made before halftime and at certain points in the final session.|
Bills-Cardinals grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Las Vegas 37-12 over Denver
|The Broncos are going to have to start seriously thinking about whether Drew Lock is their quarterback of the future because on Sunday, he definitely didn't look a guy they'd want to keep long term. The Broncos QB had a disastrous game with four interceptions. The worst one came with just a second to go until halftime after the Broncos had moved the ball down to the Raiders' 5-yard line. The Broncos had a shot at a touchdown or at worst, a field goal, but they got neither due to Lock's ugly pick.|
|The Raiders didn't do anything flashy in this game, they just sat back, played mistake-free football and let the Broncos beat themselves. The Raiders game plan on Sunday was to run the ball down Denver's throat and that's exactly what they did. The Raiders ground attack imposed its will on the Broncos' defense, totaling 203 yards on 41 carries. Josh Jacobs did most of the damage (21 carries, 112 yards, two touchdowns), but he also got some help from Devontae Booker (16 carries, 81 yards, 2 TDs). Defensively, the Raiders forced five turnovers in a game for the first time since 2013.|
New Orleans 27-13 over San Francisco
|This game was a special teams disaster for the 49ers, who actually kept things relatively close in New Orleans despite two back-breaking mistakes from their punt return team. The 49ers had two muffed punt returns against the Saints and not only did New Orleans recover both of them, but the Saints ended up getting a touchdown on each possession (The first muffed punt set up a 21-yard TD drive for New Orleans in the second quarter. The second muffed punt set up a 22-yard TD drive for New Orleans in the fourth quarter). In a game the 49ers lost by touchdowns, those two mistakes proved to be the difference. The ugly errors overshadowed an amazing effort by a defense that held the high-flying Saints offense under 240 yards.|
|With New Orleans offense on life support for most of this game (especially after Drew Brees was knocked out with a rib injury), it was up to the Saints' defense and special teams to make the big plays and that's exactly what they did. Defensively, the Saints picked off Nick Mullens twice and they were both pivotal because both interceptions happened after the 49ers drove into Saints territory. From a special teams perspective, the Saints recovered two muffed punts -- one in each half -- that set up two touchdowns. The offense wasn't on it's 'A' game, but everyone else was, which is why New Orleans was able to escape with a win.|
New England 23-17 over Baltimore
|The Ravens had little to no answer for New England's ground attack, which was apparent right out of the gate with Damien Harris ripping off five positive runs to begin the game. Those struggles only continued as the game went on and that physicality by the Patriots offense seemed to lead to a lot of frustration on the part of Baltimore, factoring into their eight penalties on the night. The death blow for the Ravens came on either side of halftime where New England was able to score twice and go up by double digits. The weather was certainly a factor at times, but the Ravens came into this matchup the better team on paper and it just never materialized.|
|Bill Belichick should be pleased with how his team performed in the upset win over Baltimore. Offensively, his unit dominated on the ground, rushing for 173 yards on 4.4 yards per carry and a touchdown. Damien Harris led the way for the backfield, notching a career-high 121 yards. Meanwhile, the defense was able to give Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense fits while also picking off the reigning MVP prior to halftime. Overall, it was a complete effort by the Patriots, who won the turnover battle, imposed their will offensively, committed fewer penalties, and consistently had success on defense.|
Ravens-Patriots grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Minnesota 19-13 over Chicago
|It took eight years, but Kirk Cousins finally won the first Monday night game of his career. With the Bears holding Dalvin Cook under 100 yards, it was up to Cousins to get the Vikings offense going and he was up to the challenge. Cousins threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears secondary had no answers for Justin Jefferson (135 yards), who continues to look like one of the best rookies in the NFL. One thing that will thrill Mike Zimmer is how well his defense played. Going into the game, the Vikings had surrendered the third-most yards in the NFL, but they absolutely shut down the Bears, holding them to just 131 total yards. Sure, it was just the Bears, but the defensive performance was impressive no matter how you spin it. The game marked the first time since 2006 that the Vikings have held a team under 150 yards of offense.|
|If the Bears learned one thing in this game, it's that their offense is terrible no matter who's calling the plays. For this game, the play-calling job went to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who took over for Matt Nagy, and things didn't get better at all. The Bears totaled just 14 yards in a disastrous second-half where their only sign of life came from Cordarrelle Patterson, who returned a kickoff 104 yarsds for a touchdown. The only reason this grade isn't worse is because the Bears defense kept things close by forcing two turnovers and holding Dalvin Cook under 100 yards rushing.|