The Houston Texans played their first game ever in London on Sunday and it definitely didn't look like they were suffering from any of the travel ailments that Jaguars coach Doug Marrone had warned them about in the days leading up to the game.
Deshaun Watson put on a show for everyone in England as the Texans rolled to a 26-3 win over the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium. The Texans didn't seem to have any issues with the long trip even though Marrone had warned that flying to London for the first time can be rough on teams.
"I'm glad I've done it before," Marrone said this week. "I've got this secret I don't tell anyone, but I think it's awful for people who haven't done it before. You feel bad. You want to throw up. You have diarrhea. There's a lot of things bad that go on."
Nothing bad seemed to be going on for Watson, who threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns in a game where he constantly wowed the crowd with amazing play after amazing play. One of Watson's most impressive passes of the game didn't even go in the scorebook as a pass. On a second-and-6 play in the second quarter, Watson looked to be left for dead, but he somehow managed to toss a backward lateral to Carlos Hyde, which turned a potential seven-yard sack into a seven-yard gain for Hyde.
A wild Week 9 is in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately, Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here to get daily NFL news fired into your eardrums.
As if that's not impressive enough, Watson also made a similar play right before halftime.
With the Texans facing a second-and-20 on their own 43, it looked like Watson was going to be sacked, but just before his knee hit the ground, he managed to uncork a pass to Duke Johnson, which ended up going for a 17-yard gain.
Watson running around and making things happen was half of the Texans' playbook on Sunday.
If the Texans keep winning, Watson could soon insert himself into the MVP conversation. Keep in mind, not only was he impressive against the Jags, but he did all this even though he could barely see out of one eye after taking a kick to the face against the Raiders in Week 8.
When Watson's on his game, the defense spends so much energy trying to stop him that it opens things up for everyone else, and Carlos Hyde was the biggest benefactor of that in England. Hyde rushed for 160 yards, a total that actually would have been slightly higher if he wouldn't have fumbled on the 1-yard line.
With the win over the Jags, the Texans are now sitting at first place by themselves in the AFC South, and if Watson keeps playing the way he's playing, they're going to be a lock to win the division.
Houston 26-3 over Jacksonville (in London)
|Deshaun Watson wasn't the only Texans player who brought his 'A' game to London. Defensively, things couldn't have gone any better for a Texans unit that just lost J.J. Watt to injury. Despite not having Watt, the Texans pass rush managed to sack Gardner Minshew twice, with both of those tackles coming from Brennan Scarlett. The Texans secondary, which has had its troubles this season, also came to life in England, as they picked off Minshew two times. |
|Gardner Minshew was so bad in London that he might have actually played his way out of the Jaguars starting quarterback job. With Nick Foles set to return in Week 11, Minshew didn't exactly inspire any confidence during a disastrous second half performance that saw him complete barely 50 percent of his passes (17 of 32) while also turning the ball over four times (two interceptions, two lost fumbles). The Jaguars were almost as bad on the ground as they were through the air. Leonard Fournette, who went into the game as the NFL's second-leading rusher, was held to a season-low 40 yards. |
Buffalo 24-9 over Washington
|The Redskins' offense has been struggling all season, and the debut of Dwayne Haskins didn't do anything to change that. For the third straight game, the Redskins were held without a touchdown, marking the first time in the the team's 88-year history that they've gone three straight games without a TD. Although Haskins didn't get his team in the end zone, he did make several impressive plays in a game where he led three scoring drives, which all ended with Dustin Hopkins field goals. One of the few bright spots for the Redskins was Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries. |
|Putting a rookie quarterback up against the Bills defense is almost unfair and that's exactly what we got in this game with Dwayne Haskins. The Bills basically spent four quarters punishing Haskins, who was making the first start of his career. Not only did they Bills sack him four times, but the Buffalo also came up with multiple stops in key situations as the Redskins converted just 2 of 11 third down attempts. Offensively, the Bills had their own rookie (Devin Singletary) who ended up having his biggest game of the season. Not only did Singletary rush for 95 yards and a touchdown, but he also caught three passes for 45 yards. |
Miami 26-18 over N.Y. Jets
|When you lose to a team that's tanking, you get an "F." This game was a disaster from start to finish for the Jets, who actually seemed like they were getting worse as the game progressed. The Jets followed a missed field goal in the first quarter with an ugly goal-line interception in the second quarter, and if that wasn't bad enough, they also gave two free points to the Dolphins when they safetied themselves in the third quarter.|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick must have been getting tired of all the tanking jokes, because he almost single-handedly carried the Dolphins to their first win of the season on Sunday. Going up against his old team, Fitzpatrick threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns, which all came in the second quarter. After gaining the lead late in the first half, the Dolphins basically gave the Jets a shovel and let them bury themselves. Defensively, the Dolphins were also pretty impressive. Not only did they sack Sam Darnold three times, but Jomal Wiltz came up with a huge goal line interception in the second quarter that kept the Jets out of the end zone on a key drive. After running Adam Gase out of Miami, the Dolphins might have just done enough to get him run out of New York.|
Philadelphia 22-14 over Chicago
|The Bears offense is just pitiful, and that's putting it nicely. Chicago had no business being on the field in the first half as the Bears had just nine yards of offense and started the game with five consecutive three-and-outs. The Bears had zero first downs until a Mitchell Trubisky scramble late in the second quarter. The Eagles took a 19-0 lead before the Bears tried their second pass attempt over 40 yards midway through the third quarter (a 53-yard pass to Taylor Gabriel). The Bears did score on two of three possessions to get back in the game, but then their defense allowed the Eagles to run 8:14 off the clock on a 16-play drive that essentially sealed the Eagles victory (offense never got the ball back). The offense had just 164 yards of offense, went 2 of 10 on third down and averaged 4.3 yards per pass. That's not a formula to win games, which the Bears aren't doing. |
|This wasn't a perfect performance by the Eagles, but they held on and earned a win against a top-five defense in the NFL, scoring enough points and taking a big enough lead where the Bears couldn't come back from. Head coach Doug Pederson abandoned the run with the team up 19-0, but Carson Wentz converted four consecutive third down conversions on the 16-play, 74-yard drive that took 8:14 off the clock after the Eagles got the ball up 19-14 with 8:39 left. Wentz was solid, completing 26 of 39 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown in the win, aided by the Eagles having 146 rushing yards and averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The defense was dominant in the first half and had lapses in the second half, but had a third down stop when they needed one up 19-14 in the fourth quarter. Not a perfect game for the Eagles by any stretch, but they won a game they needed to win. |
Bears-Eagles grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Carolina 30-20 over Tennessee
|The Titans continuously shot themselves in the foot in this game. They had 11 penalties for 99 yards to go along with three total turnovers. They also didn't have a third down conversion until the end of the third quarter, which is concerning for Ryan Tannehill's offense. They were able to show some resiliency late in this game, but their early miscues were just too much to overcome. |
|Carolina took advantage of nearly every mistake the Titans made on Sunday. They were able to score off Ryan Tannehill's first interception of the day and even matched the Titans after they scored two touchdowns at the beginning of the second half. Per usual, Christian McCaffrey was a stud, scoring three total touchdowns on the day. The only reason this grade isn't higher is because the Panthers allowed Tennessee to almost make a game of this one late. You need to close. |
Titans-Panthers grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Pittsburgh 26-24 over Indianapolis
|The Colts received an inspiring effort from Brian Hoyer, the last Cleveland quarterback to lead the Browns to victory over the Steelers, after Jacoby Brissett left due to injury. Hoyer's play was complimented by an Indianapolis rushing attack that amassed 139 yards on 29 carries. Indianapolis' defense also played well, holding Mason Rudolph to under 200 passing yards and Pittsburgh's rushing attack to just 90 yards on 25 attempts. The main issue was special teams. Adam Vinatieri missed an extra point as well as a go-ahead 43-yard field goal attempt with just over a minute remaining. A fumbled by Chester Rogers on a kickoff resulted in three Pittsburgh points while contributing to the Colts' first loss in four games.|
|Pittsburgh won a gritty game against a feisty Indianapolis team that played without Jacoby Brissett for most of the day. While Pittsburgh's defense allowed three Brian Hoyer touchdown passes, it also came up with several key second half stops while recording five sacks of Indianapolis quarterbacks. Minkah Fitzpatrick, who picked off two passes in Monday night's win over Miami, came up huge with a 96-yard interception return for a score with the Steelers trailing 10-3 in the second quarter. The Steelers offense, playing without running backs James Conner and Benny Snell, mostly played it safe while relying heavily on Jaylen Samuels, whose 13 receptions Sunday broke Le'Veon Bell's franchise record for the most receptions by a running back in a game. Chris Boswell, who has missed just one field goal on the season, made all four of his attempts, including what ended up being the game-winning kick from 26 yards with 6:39 left.|
Colts-Steelers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Kansas City 26-23 over Minnesota
|Yes, they were within three points on the road. And yes, Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns. But he was also off the mark on some wide-open opportunities, and the Vikings beat themselves with a variety of issues, including penalties, clock management, and third-down play-calling. To cap it all off, Trae Waynes was absolutely roasted on the outside against Tyreek Hill, surrendering big play after big play.|
|They had to fight until the very end to win it, but the Chiefs, remember, were once again without Patrick Mahomes. And Matt Moore did about as well as he could've done in relief. Damien Williams and Tyreek Hill both looked like they were shot out of a cannon at different points in the game, and Chris Jones stepped up to lead an interior rush in crunch time. Close or not, they deserved this "W."|
Vikings-Chiefs grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Seattle 40-34 over Tampa Bay (OT)
|The Buccaneers went toe-to-toe with the Seahawks on Sunday thanks to the play of Jameis Winston, but like all things with Winston, his brilliance came with a price. Although Winston was sharp for most of the game (335 yards, two touchdowns), he made a costly mistake in the fourth quarter when he lost a fumble on a drive where the Bucs were in Seahawks territory with just under 11 minutes to play in a 24-24 game. Weston's gaffe led to a Seahawks field goal and Tampa would never lead again in a game where they led for most of the first three quarters. Although Winston made a huge mistake, it wasn't his fault the Bucs lost. Most of the blame should be pinned on a Tampa defense that absolutely couldn't stop Russell Wilson, who threw five touchdown passes while helped the Seahawks rack up 492 yards of offense. Wilson's performance marked just the fourth time in the past 25 years that the Bucs have given up five or more TD passes in a game. |
|The Seahawks kicker couldn't make a field goal on Sunday and their defense couldn't stop anyone, but Seattle was still able to pull out a win against the Bucs thanks to a clutch performance from Russell Wilson, who almost single-handedly willed his team to victory. Wilson tied a career-high with five touchdown passes, and the Seahawks needed every single one of them in a game where they trailed 21-7 at one point. Wilson's favorite target was Tyler Lockett, who caught 13 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. D.K. Metcalf also had a big game, catching 6 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Although Wilson had a big day, not everyone in Seattle did. Kicker Jason Myers struggled big time, missing two field goals and an extra point. This game could have ended in regulation, but Myers missed a 40-yard kick on the final play of the fourth quarter. |
Denver 24-19 over Cleveland
|The Browns' season has turned into a full-fledged disaster and a big reason for that is because they can't score in the red zone. Cleveland has been struggling in the red zone all year and those struggles were once again on display this week. The Browns made five trips inside of Denver's 20-yard line in this game and only came away with one touchdown. One problem for Cleveland is that Freddie Kitchens seems to be in way over his head. The Browns coach made multiple questionable decisions in this game, including the fact that he took Nick Chubb off the field after he decided to go for it on a key fourth down (The Browns didn't convert). Hiring Kitchens was a gamble, and so far, it's a gamble that's simply not paying off at all for Cleveland. |
|Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen wasn't perfect during his first career start on Sunday, but he did do more than enough to embarrass the Browns during Denver's win. Although Allen only threw 20 passes in this game, he made the most of them with a 193-yard performance that included two touchdowns passes. Allen's biggest throw came in the second quarter when he hit Noah Fant for a 75-yard score that put Denver up 14-3. Allen also got plenty of offensive help from Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries. As for the Broncos defense, although they didn't shut the Browns down, they did come through with multiple clutch plays, which included stopping forcing the Browns to go 0-for-2 on fourth down attempts. |
L.A. Chargers 26-11 over Green Bay
|If there was a grade lower than F, the Packers would've earned it with what they put on film in Week 9. They delivered only 184 yards of offense, had the ball for just 24:09 out of 60 minutes of football, went 2-10 on third down, 0-1 on fourth down, and Rodgers passed for 161 yards -- most of which came when the game was already well out of hand and the Chargers played to prevent the big play. No real contribution from running back Aaron Jones or wideout Davante Adams in his heralded return from turf toe only served to further torpedo the team's efforts. Za'Darius Smith, Blake Martinez and Preston Smith did what they could to help the defense but, in the end, the Packers walked into a lion's den with their chest poked out -- only to have their collective heart ripped out of it.|
|From the moment they came out of the locker room, and until they did a victory knee to end the game, the Chargers bullied the Packers like they were shaking them down for lunch money in the schoolyard. Aaron Rodgers had the lowest passing output of the season, which fueled the lowest offensive production on the whole for the Packers as Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram led a rabid defensive effort that hasn't been witnessed all year. Phillip Rivers was locked in and in full control of the offense, while Melvin Gordon's two touchdowns helped the Chargers pull away and ultimately slam the door on Green Bay. It would've been an A+ effort for Los Angeles if not for their continued struggles in the red zone, but other than that, it was black belt-level brutality.|
Packers-Chargers grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Oakland 31-24 over Detroit
|Matthew Stafford and Co. moved the ball without any problem in the first half, but things changed after the halftime break. The Raiders' secondary began to clamp down on Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., who dominated the first two quarters. Stafford's offense managed just 10 points in the second half, while the Raiders scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Despite failing to connect with Logan Thomas on fourth-and-goal at the end, Stafford still had one of his better games this season. But the defense had trouble stopping Derek Carr in the second half.|
|This was a back-and-forth affair, and while Carr didn't throw for as many yards as Stafford or as many touchdowns as Stafford, he's a big reason Oakland won. He kept the chains moving and made some very difficult throws when it mattered. The other reason the Raiders escaped with a victory was their defense. They gave Stafford trouble in the second half and then of course had the huge goal-line stand at the end to secure the win. You have to be impressed with the Raiders and how they gutted out a victory on Sunday.|
Lions-Raiders grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 37-20 over New England
|Bill Belichick is probably going to have nightmares watching film of this game and that's because this team was uncharacteristically both sloppy and undisciplined. The Patriots made multiple mistakes, including a fumble from Julian Edelman that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. Tom Brady also threw an ugly interception in the fourth quarter. The Ravens also appeared to discover a possible weakness in the Patriots defense: They can't stop the run. The Patriots surrendered 210 yards on the ground, which is the most New England has given up in a game since 2014. |
|The Ravens went into Sunday night's game with a plan to run all over the Patriots defense, and that's exactly what they did. The Ravens set the tone early by scoring on each of their first three possessions. The Patriots had no answer for Mark Ingram, who steamrolled them for 115 yards on 15 carries. Of course, the star of the game was Lamar Jackson, who was a riddle that the Patriots just couldn't solve. Although Jackson's accuracy has been an issue at times this year, it definitely wasn't a problem against New England, as he completed 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards. Jackson also did plenty of damage with his legs, rushing for 61 yards and two touchdowns. |
Dallas 37-18 over N.Y. Giants
|The Cowboys got off to a slow start, but once their offense got rolling, the Giants couldn't slow them down. Dak Prescott threw three touchdowns passes in New York, including two that went for more than 40 yards. The biggest one for Dallas came in the third quarter when Prescott hit Amari Cooper for a 45-yard score on third-and-12. The TD put the Cowboys up 30-18 and basically iced the game. Prescott threw for 257 yards with Cooper on the receiving end for 80 of them. The Cowboys also made sure to feed Ezekiel Elliott, who had 23 carries for 139 yards. Of course, this game wasn't just one big offensive fireworks show for the Cowboys. The defense also came up big with three turnovers and a touchdown. The Cowboys also sacked Daniel Jones five times with one of those coming from Michael Bennett, who was playing in his first game since being traded to Dallas in late October. |
|This was a one-score game with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, and it's game the Giants could have won if not they hadn't completely fallen apart in the red zone against the Cowboys. The Giants got inside the Cowboys 11-yard line a total of five times on Monday, but were only able to come away with one touchdown. On the other four trips, the Giants walked away with field goals from Aldrick Rosas (21, 25, 26, 29). With the Giants at 2-6, you'd think that Pat Shurmur would have thought about going for it instead of taking the short field goals, but that wasn't the case. The Giants other issue in the game was Daniel Jones, who continues to be a turnover machine. Not only did Jones throw an interception, but he also lost a two fumbles, including one that was returned for a touchdown. Jones has now fumbled 10 times on the season, which is tied for the second most in the NFL.|