By Nimai Shukla || Sports Editor & Jack Gilroy || Developmental Editor
With Mike McCarthy and 5 coaches not making the trip after testing positive for COVID, the Dallas Cowboys were still able to scrape together a win against the Kamara-less New Orleans Saints, starting Taysom Hill in place of the benched Trevor Siemian. With the Saints in the midst of a four-game (now five-game) losing streak, the Cowboys win wasn’t as convincing as it could have been. Dak Prescott completed just 65% of his passes for 238 yards and passed for only one touchdown while also throwing an interception. CeeDee Lamb caught 7 passes for 89 yards, and also took a screen 33 yards for his lone touchdown of the night. Tony Pollard also had 71 rushing yards, passing Ezekial Elliot’s rushing total in just over half his snaps. The Saints didn’t do any better, as Taysom Hill completed 19 of his 41 attempts for 264 yards and two touchdowns, but also four interceptions. Running out an Athlete at quarterback probably wasn’t a great idea, but Hill was also able to put together 11 rushes for 101 yards, including a highlight-reel run when hurdled a Cowboys defender. Deonte Harris was the leading receiver for the Saints, bringing in 4 receptions for an astounding 96 yards, while Lil’Jordan Humphrey caught both of his only targets for 49 yards and a touchdown. With Taysom Hill now battling mallet finger on his throwing hand, an injury occurring from a stretched or torn tendon in a finger, Alvin Kamara’s expected return versus the Jets should be huge for the Saints’ offense. The Cowboys will also have a chance to get back in their rhythm after a tough couple of weeks with a divisional game versus the Washington Football Team coming off a tough 2 point victory versus the Raiders.
After racing out to a fast lead, and then almost blowing it in the second half, the Detroit Lions have ended their year-long losing streak, stretching back to December 6th, 2020. Jared Goff hit Amon-Ra St. Brown for a touchdown at the last second of the game after driving down the field for the win. St Brown had a career day versus the Vikings secondary, bringing in 10 catches for 86 yards. Kirk Cousins has continued his excellent season, completing 30 of 40 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns. Alexander Mattison put in 90 yards and a touchdown in place of Dalvin Cook, while Justin Jefferson had another incredible game, bringing in 11 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Vikings’ defense just couldn’t make a stop when it counted, letting the Lions drive down the field when it mattered. This doesn’t change much for the Lion’s long-term outlook, however, as along with Goff’s three touchdowns on the night, he also threw a stunning interception by throwing into triple coverage when he had St. Brown open for the first down. They also scored a combined nine points (not counting the field goal for their last-second touchdown, which was waved off since the game was already decided) in the second half, while allowing 21. With a record of 1-10-1, the first pick is still safely in Detroit’s hands, so hopefully, their scouts were busy during the NCAA season. The Vikings on the other hand can try to squeeze into the playoff hunt with a crucial game versus the Steelers on Thursday night.
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Arizona blew through the Bears for their 10th win of the year, taking their throne at the top of the NFL standings. After a rough loss to the Warriors by the Suns on Friday night, the state of Arizona really needed the dub. The Cardinals defense shut down backup Andy Dalton while Kyler Murray became one of the youngest players in league history to pass for 10,000 yards at just over 24, with 11 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals rushing attack was the more powerful force, as Murray rushed for 59 yards and two touchdowns, while James Conner tacked on another 75. With Justin Fields sidelined for another week, Dalton stepped in but couldn’t deliver, mustering 229 yards and two touchdowns on 26 catches, but also tossing 4 interceptions to the Cardinals D. It wasn’t all bad for the Bears, however, as David Montgomery racked up 141 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, while new acquisition Jakeem Grant caught 5 catches for 62 yards and another touchdown. The Bears are definitely gonna be happy to have Justin Fields back for Sunday night, when they’ll face their long-term divisional and regional rival, the Green Bay Packers, while the Cardinals face one theirs in the Los Angeles Rams.
It was the return of Minshew Mania as the Eagles beat the Jets on a gorgeous Sunday in Metlife. Getting to see the new look Jets for the first time this season in person was quite the ride. With an eruptive first quarter seeing a quick three touchdowns from our rookie QB Zach Wilson, it seems like the Jets could put together a convincing performance. That was until the Jets started playing like the Jets, blowing their chance at a win. After taking a lead early in the second quarter, the Eagles ‘flew’ away with the game. Even with Zach Wilson racing to a hot start, the Jets had no chance, because their defense couldn’t get a stop to save their lives! Miles Sanders ran all over them with 24 carries for 120 yards, with Kenneth Gainwell adding a rushing touchdown as well. Gardner Minshew came out strong and went 20/25 for 242 yards and two TDs, targeting the newly-extended Dallas Goedert for 106 yards and two TDs. Despite the Jets’ woes, Zach Wilson finished with 226 yards 2 TDs passing and 1 rushing, and no turnovers. With a more talented, or even just a slightly better performing defense, the Jets could have stuck out for a win. But instead, the Jets’ offense barely held possession of the football, totaling all of one minute and ten seconds of offense in the third quarter, and just three plays. The Eagles were easily able to run out the rest of the game for the win, no pun intended, 33-18 final.
Fresh off leaked rumors about his retirement, Big Ben Roethlisberger outdueled Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, leading the Steelers to a closely fought 20-19 victory. Roethlisberger completed 21/31 passes for 236 yards and two touchdown passes, while hitting Diontae Johnson with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns, and Chase Claypool for two receptions and 52 yards. Najee Harris has continued his gadget role from his Alabama days, rushing for only 71 yards on 21 attempts, but added another five receptions for 36. Lamar Jackson had a rough game against the Steelers’ defense, completing 23/37 passes for 253 yards and one touchdown and one interception, which Minkah Fitzpatrick was able to snag in the Ravens’ endzone. Sammy Watkins caught the lone Ravens passing touchdown, but had only 4 receptions for 39 yards in the game. Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews were both also fairly ineffective, with Brown catching five for 55 yards, and Andrews bringing in four for 50. Jackson was also the leading rusher for the Ravens with 55 yards, while Devonta Freeman had only 52 on six more rushes but also scored the Ravens a touchdown. The Ravens have another tough game coming up against the Browns, while the Steelers can look to catch some heat leading into the playoffs against the reeling Vikings.
It was the Wind Bowl up in Buffalo, NY as we saw a Monday night AFC East matchup between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills. This game was straight chaos, with reports of 40-50 MPH winds on the field prior to kickoff, it was sure to be interesting. The opening kickoff was a perfect representation of the game, as it sailed past the field and deep into the stands, giving a lucky fan a game ball less than a second into the game. With 41 total rushing attempts from the Patriots and only three passing attempts in the entire game, the offense was a sight to see, ignoring the past twenty years of NFL gameplan evolution. Damien Harris led the way with 11 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Mac Jones had an efficient two completions for 19 yards on three attempts. Buffalo QB Josh Allen went 15/30 for 145 yards and a TD while Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox both had catastrophic drops in the absurd weather conditions. This was a classic Belichick game, as he solidified the Patriots as the top seed in the AFC and only one game behind the NFL-leading Cardinals. Only passing the ball 3 times and beating a very good Bills team is impressive, but it goes to show what was the most effective offense in the weather conditions. This matchup will surely be seen later in the year, and it’ll be interesting to see that outcome when the teams can actually throw the ball. It seems like Belicheck hasn’t had his last words in the argument of whether he carried Tom Brady, or if it was the other way around. The Patriots will look to continue their seven-game winning streak versus the Indianapolis Colts, while the Bills can try to regain their footing in the AFC with a game versus Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.
Sophomore Nimai Shukla is the Sports Editor and his email is email@example.com. Senior Jack Gilroy is the Developmental Editor for the Sports Section and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.