The wildest game of the NFL season took place on Sunday, and if you blinked or went to the bathroom during the three-plus hours that the Lions and Saints were on the field in New Orleans, you probably missed at least three touchdowns.
By the time game had ended, the Saints and Lions had given us 90 points, eight turnovers and five non-offensive touchdowns as New Orleans almost blew a 35-point lead in a 52-38 win over Detroit.
The craziest thing about this win for the Saints might have been the fact that Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense had almost nothing to do with it.
Although the Saints defense has struggled over the past few seasons, they put on a show against Detroit with three touchdowns. Not only did Cameron Jordan and Kenny Vaccaro both score after the Lions turned the ball over in their own end zone, but we also got a 27-yard pick-six from Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
That touchdown shot the Saints' lead to 45-10, which seemed safe, but apparently it wasn't because the Lions came roaring back.
Jordan's fourth-quarter touchdown might have been the biggest of the game because it kept the Saints from possibly blowing that 45-10 lead. After the Lions cut the lead down to 45-38, Jordan caught an interception in the Lions' end zone that pushed the lead back to two touchdowns.
The Saints picked off Matthew Stafford a total of three times in the game.
The Saints' scoring outburst marked the first time in team history that New Orleans has scored three defensive touchdowns in a game. It also marked the first time since 2011 that any NFL team had scored three or more defensive touchdowns in a game.
The Saints also racked up five sacks in the game, marking only the second time since the beginning of last season that New Orleans has sacked an opposing quarterback five or more times.
If Drew Brees was your quarterback in Fantasy Football and you're trying to figure out how he basically scored zero points on a day where New Orleans scored 52, it's pretty simple: He struggled.
Brees threw his first two interceptions of the season on Sunday and only threw for 186 yards. A late pick-six by Brees is how the Lions almost got back in the game. With New Orleans leading 45-31, Brees got picked off by A'Shawn Robinson, who took the pick two yards to the end zone for a touchdown with just under seven minutes left to play.
The good news for Brees is that, for once, the Saints didn't really need him. Not only did the Saints get a strong performance from their defense, but they also got an impressive performance from their ground game. In their first game without Adrian Peterson, the Saints totaled 193 rushing yards.
The most important part of this win for the Saints (3-2) is that they're now over .500 for the first time since 2013. That season is notable because it also happens to be the last time that New Orleans went to the playoffs.
New Orleans 52-38 over Detroit
Matthew Stafford went into this game pretty banged up after suffering an ankle injury in Week 5, and he's probably not going to be feeling much better after the loss in this game. A beat-up Stafford got even more beat up in this game, with the Saints defense sacking him five times. Stafford has now been sacked five or more times in three of Detroit's six games this season. At this rate, it's a surprise that his ankle is the only injury he's dealing with.
It looks like the Saints finally figured out how to get their run game going, and as it turns out, all they needed to do was get rid of Adrian Peterson. With Peterson now in Arizona, Alvin Kamara (10 carries, 75 yards) and Mark Ingram (25 carries, 114 yards, two touchdowns) responded by helping the Saints rush for a total of 193 yards. The team's rushing total marked the first time this season that they rushed for over 150 yards as a team. It also marked just the third time since 2015 that they've rushed for more than 190 yards in a game.
Chicago 27-24 (OT) over Baltimore
The 'B' in this grade stands for bulldozing because that's exactly what Jordan Howard and the Bears' offensive line did to the Ravens' defense on Sunday. The Ravens had no answer for Howard, who rushed for 167 yards on 36 carries. Thanks in large part to Howard, the Bears totaled 231 yards on the ground, marking just the second time since 1989 that they've topped 230 yards rushing in a game. The Bears' backfield is basically a walking talent show. Besides Howard, we also saw an impressive performance from Tarik Cohen. Although Cohen didn't dominate on the ground, he did throw a huge 21-yard touchdown pass . Also, Mitchell Trubisky can now brag that he's the first rookie quarterback to win in Baltimore since 1997.
At this point in the season, it's starting to look more and more like Joe Flacco is the one big thing standing in between Baltimore and a successful season. Flacco has struggled this year, and those struggles continued on Sunday as he threw two interceptions. Due in large part to Flacco's ineptitude, the Ravens struggled on third down -- converting just 3 of 18 attempts -- and came away with zero touchdowns on two trips to the red zone. Flacco's biggest mistake was a pick-six that he threw with under six minutes left in the game.
Houston 33-17 over Cleveland
Somehow, the Browns manage to get worse every week, which doesn't even seem possible when you think about how badly they've played through the first five weeks of the season. This week, coach Hue Jackson thought that benching DeShone Kizer and starting Kevin Hogan at quarterback might solve the team's problems, but this is Cleveland, so you know it didn't. Hogan threw three interceptions in a performance that was so bad that Kizer might have just won his job back by default.
Under Bill O'Brien, the Texans have never really been known for having an explosive offense, but that's all changed thanks to Deshaun Watson. Watson threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns against the Browns, and in the process became the first rookie in NFL history to throw three or more touchdown passes in three straight games. If Texans fans are excited about their new offense, you can't blame them: Watson already has as many TD passes through six games this season (15) that Brock Osweiler threw all of last season. Defensively, the Texans didn't seem too bothered by the loss of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The Texans sacked Kevin Hogan four times and even scored a touchdown on a Johnathan Joseph pick-six.
Minnesota 23-10 over Green Bay
It's hard to grade the Packers on this game because they had to play three and a half quarters without Aaron Rodgers, which is something they're going to have to get used to because Rodgers might miss the rest of the season in the first quarter. This game marked the first time since 2015 that the Packers didn't put up at least 250 yards of total offense. Without Rodgers for most of the game, Green Bay was only able to muster 227 total yards.
The Vikings might want to just let Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater spend the rest of the season healing because Case Keenum has been on fire. Not only did Keenum have an efficient game, but he put up decent numbers (24 of 39, 239 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) despite the fact that he was playing without Minnesota's lead receiver, Stefon Diggs. Of course, the star of this game for Minnesota might have been Harrison Smith, who racked up 1.5 sacks and pulled off one of the best interceptions of the day in the NFL.
Overall, the Vikings' defense sacked Brett Hundley four times and picked him off three times.
Miami 20-17 over Atlanta
Twenty points isn't considered an offensive explosion for most teams, but it's definitely one for the Dolphins, who had only scored a total of 22 points over their past three games combined. To get the Dolphins' offense rolling, coach Adam Gase took things out of Jay Cutler's hands and put them in the hands of Jay Ajayi, who carried the ball 26 times for 130 yards. The Dolphins are now 11-0 all-time when Ajayi gets 18 or more carries. As for Cutler, he didn't make Ajayi do everything. The Dolphins quarterback threw two touchdown passes to spark Miami's comeback. The Dolphins' 17-point comeback was their largest since 2005.
There aren't many things worse than blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, but blowing a 17-0 second-half lead to one of the worst offensive teams in NFL history might just be one of them. The Dolphins' offense has been so bad this year that they still haven't scored an offensive touchdown in the first half. Fortunately for Miami though, they didn't need one as the Falcons suffered a total meltdown. With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Falcons' offense had only totaled all of 29 yards in the second half. Dating back to last February, the Falcons have now blown halftime leads to pretty much the entire AFC East (Patriots, Bills, Dolphins).
New England 24-17 over N.Y. Jets
Tom Brady set an NFL record with his 187th career regular-season win, but he had to sweat this one out until the end thanks to a Patriots team that had some serious trouble stopping the Jets. Going into the game, the Patriots had given up 300 or more passing yards to every quarterback they've played this season, and that ugly trend continued against the Jets (Josh McCown threw for 354 yards). Fortunately for the Patriots, their defense was actually able to make at least one big stop in this game and it came in the final two minutes when the Jets were driving to tie the game.
We aren't grading the refs here, but if we were, we'd probably give them an 'F' after making the most baffling call of the season. After Austin Seferian-Jenkins appeared to score on a short touchdown catch, officials decided to overturn the touchdown and give the ball to the Patriots because they ruled that ASJ had fumbled the ball out of the end zone. The only problem is that Seferian-Jenkins never actually appeared to fumble it.
Of course, the Jets can't completely blame the refs for the loss. Josh McCown threw two interceptions and the Patriots turned those two picks into 10 points. The Jets' offensive line also struggled and gave up four sacks to a Patriots defense that hadn't really been able to pressure any quarterback all season. The four sacks were a season-high for the Pats' defense.
Washington 26-24 over San Francisco
The 49ers might just be the best 0-6 team in NFL history. Of the 49ers' six losses this season, five of them have come by three points or less, including Sunday's loss in Washington. The 49ers kept this close despite the fact that they benched their starting quarterback (Brian Hoyer) in the middle of the first half and threw a rookie in the game (C.J. Beathard). Beathard played well enough (19 of 36, 245 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) that the 49ers will going forward.
If the Redskins' goal in this game was to send their fans on a roller-coaster ride of crazy emotions, then they definitely accomplished that. The Redskins almost blew a 17-0 lead, but they were able to hang on in this game thanks to a wild day from Kirk Cousins. The Redskins quarterback threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for a touchdown in the win. Thanks to his performance, Cousins is probably now at the point where the Redskins are just going to have to give him a blank check if they want to keep him after this season.
L.A. Rams 27-17 over Jacksonville
Aaron Donald might finally be in midseason form after missing the Rams' first game all of training camp due to a holdout. The Rams' didn't get much from their offense, but they got a lot from Donald, who gave the Jaguars' offensive line fits all day. Donald put nonstop pressure on Blake Bortles and picked up one of the Rams' five sacks on the day. The Rams also got another big game from Todd Gurley, who rushed for 116 yards on 23 carries.
It's not often that your special teams single-handedly cost you a win, but that's exactly what happened to the Jaguars in this game. From the very first play (a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by the Rams) to the Jaguars last play (a missed field goal), Jacksonville's special teams was a total nightmare. Not only did they surrender the kick return for a touchdown, but they also gave up another touchdown on a blocked punt that the Rams returned eight-yards for a score. The Jaguars also got an ugly performance from kicker Jason Myers, who missed two field goals. The putrid play of the Jaguars' special teams overshadowed a solid day from both Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette.
Arizona 38-33 over Tampa Bay
Although the Bucs had to play more than half of this game without Jameis Winston, who was injured in the second quarter, that's no excuse here because things got ugly long before Winston left. By the time he exited the game in the second quarter, Tampa was already trailing 24-0. Winston played a total of three possessions in the game and the Bucs punted on each one. It's almost fitting that the Bucs gave up 38 points in this game because they got torched by a bunch of people in their 30s, including: Carson Palmer (37), Larry Fitzgerald (34) and Adrian Peterson (32).
Like most people getting near retirement age, it looks like all Adrian Peterson needed was a new home in Arizona. After struggling with the Saints in four games (81 rushing yards, zero touchdowns), Peterson exploded in his Cardinals' debut with 134 yards and two touchdowns. The presence of Peterson didn't just revive the Cards' ground game, it also brought back to life Arizona's ability to run fantastic play-action fakes. That's Carson Palmer's bread-and-butter play, and the Cardinals quarterback had one of his best games of the season with Peterson in his backfield, going 18 of 22 for 283 yards and three touchdowns.
L.A. Chargers 17-16 over Oakland
After watching their kicker cost them two games earlier this season, the Chargers finally found out what it was like to have a kicker hit a game-winning field goal for you. This game wasn't over until Nick Novak nailed a 32-yard field goal on the final play.
For once, the Chargers' kicker wasn't the goat of the game. This time around, that honor went to Raiders' kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, who missed an extra point in the fourth quarter that helped set up the Chargers' win. Of course, the Chargers wouldn't have been in a position to win if not for Melvin Gordon. The Los Angeles running back totaled 150 yards in the game (83 rushing , 67 receiving) and scored both of the Chargers' touchdowns.
If the Raiders have proven one thing during Derek Carr's career, it's that they can't win when he throws multiple interceptions. Carr threw two picks in this game and never was really able to get into a rhythm, throwing for just 171 yards. The Raiders are now 0-9 all-time when Carr throws multiple picks. The Raiders offense has completely fallen apart over the past four weeks, averaging just 13.25 points per game during the team's four game losing streak. That's a giant drop off from the 35.5 scoring average the Raiders had through two weeks.
Pittsburgh 19-13 Kansas City
After the Steelers lost to the Jaguars in Week 5, Le'Veon Bell called on the coaching staff to get him the ball more often, so that's exactly what the Steelers did in this game. Bell carried the ball 32 times for 179 yards and gave the Chiefs' defense fits for four quarters. The Chiefs also had some trouble stopping Antonio Brown, who caught eight passes for 155 yards, including a 57-yard TD in the fourth quarter that you have to see to believe.
Roethlisberger still wasn't great, but he was better than last week, which was all the Steelers needed.
If you've been following Andy Reid throughout his career, then you know that It's almost a guarantee that he's going to cost his team at least one game per year due to his questionable late game coaching decisions, and that game came on Sunday. For some reason, Reid passed on kicking a field goal early in the fourth quarter of a game the Steelers led 12-3. A field goal would've cut the lead down to one score, but Reid decided to go for it on fourth down and the Chiefs failed to convert. It was an inexplicable decision that defied all logic. The Chiefs had some odd errors in this game, including a first quarter safety where center Zach Fulton snapped the ball over Alex Smith's head and out of the end zone for a safety.
N.Y. Giants 23-10 over Denver
With roughly half the Giants' offense out of this game due to injury, New York needed a huge performance from their defense, and that's exactly what it got. Jason Pierre-Paul single-handedly kept Trevor Siemian and the Broncos' offense in check with a huge game that included three sacks. We also found out that the Giants are actually capable of running the ball. With Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard all out, the Giants basically had no choice but to run the ball, and somehow, that ended up working out for them. The star of the show was Orleans Darkwa, who carried the ball 21 times for 117 yards against the NFL's top rushing defense. The biggest surprise of this game wasn't necessarily that the Giants won, it was how they won. In a game where no one gave the 12-point underdogs from New York a chance, the Giants handed the Broncos their biggest home primetime loss since 2009.
When you get dominated by a winless team in your home stadium on national television, you get an "F." The Broncos were so bad on Sunday that it was almost like they didn't practice during their entire bye week. Pretty much everyone on the Broncos' roster was equally bad in this game, from Trevor Siemian (two interceptions) to Brandon McManus (two missed field goals) to Demaryius Thomas (lost fumble) to the Broncos' top ranked running defense that got bulldozed for 148 yards. Before this week, the Broncos hadn't given up more than 75 yards rushing in a game all season.