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NFL Week 10 winners and losers: All three NFC East teams win games

Former Giants Ryan Santoso among this week’s losers

Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

This was an interesting Week 10, to say the least. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Washington Football Team. There were also several blowouts. The Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and Buffalo Bills all scored more than 40 points, and there was a crazy tie where both teams made several maddening mistakes.

Russell Wilson returned from injury, but couldn’t get any points on the board against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. All three NFC East teams playing in Week 10 won which is just unfortunate, and we witnessed a Dan Quinn revenge game as one of those teams - the Dallas Cowboys - beat down the Atlanta Falcons, 43-3. Let’s go over some winners and losers from the week.

Winners

Get right game for Dallas

The Cowboys were run out of their own building in Week 9 by the Denver Broncos as Teddy Bridgwater and company had a 30-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys scored two garbage-time touchdowns and converted the two-point conversions to end the game 30-16. Well, it must have motivated the Dallas offense because they dismantled the Falcons in Week 10, 43-3.

Prescott finished with 296 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott added two rushing scores. Second-year wide receiver Ceedee Lamb was the beneficiary of both Prescott touchdowns.

Matt Ryan threw two interceptions and Josh Rosen threw one in relief of Ryan. The Falcons - who held the seventh wildcard seed in the NFC - looked lost in Jerry World while Dallas returned to offensive competence against a defense that seemed to be playing better over the last couple weeks. A lot of credit must go to Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who was the head coach of the Falcons from 2015-2020.

Washington Football Team

Taylor Heinecke won the redemption rematch against Tom Brady. The two quarterbacks played each other in the wild-card game last season and Heinecke earned some national notoriety in the Football Team’s 31-23 loss.

Heineke and the Football Team defeated Brady and the Buccaneers, 29-19. Defeating Tom Brady is difficult, but defeating him off of a BYE week is even harder. Brady finished the game with 220 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Heinecke had 256 yards through the air and a touchdown. Antonio Gibson had two rushing touchdowns to help secure the victory.

Cam Newton

He declared it - he’s back! Cam Newton scored this rushing touchdown and then threw a touchdown on his second play shortly after this touchdown scamper.

Newton’s shoulder issues were well documented in New England. He struggled throwing the football in an accurate manner. There is no denying that a healthy Newton can offer more to the Carolina Panthers than what Sam Darnold provided, or what P.J. Walker could potentially offer, especially in these goal-line packages. Newton, who was cut by the Patriots late in the summer, is now back on the team that made him the first overall selection in the 2011 draft. What better way to return than to cause two touchdowns on your first two plays, right?

Mac Jones

Newton’s former teammate, and the player who ultimately ended his time in New England, has to make this list after a great performance against the Cleveland Browns. Jones was 19 of 23 for 198 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. The yardage total doesn’t jump out, but some of the throws he made were golden.

This is a very impressive throw on a seven route to Hunter Henry.

Twitter was enjoying Jones’ performance. He ended up leaving the game early and Brian Hoyer added to the blowout to find Jakobi Meyers for his first career touchdown.

Meyers is included in this “winner,” as is Josh McDaniels. The Browns were a respected defense coming into this game, and the Patriots were able to earn the home victory - something that hasn’t come easy for them this season.

Green Bay’s defense

I don’t care if Wilson was returning for an injury - shutting down Seattle’s offense is still impressive. Green Bay’s defense has quietly been playing very good football. Maybe they weren’t good enough to defeat the Chiefs with Jordan Love under center, but with a fully functioning Aaron Rodgers, they’ll be a very dangerous team come playoff time. They only allowed Patrick Mahomes to score 13 points last week; two weeks prior to that in Arizona, they held a healthy Kyler Murray to 21 points.

The Packers defense has only allowed more than 20 points four times this year, and that’s including the wacky week one loss to the Saints. After an early struggle by defensive coordinator Joe Barry, the unit is really coming together - and that’s without injured star cornerback Jaire Alexander. Green Bay’s defense deserves the tip of the ole cap. They’ll look to continue their efforts against Minnesota next week.

Losers

Browns and Steelers

The Ravens were shocked by the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. This opened up a golden opportunity for the Steelers to tie the division against a winless Detroit Lions team at home; that’s, of course, if the Steelers secured the victory. It also gave the Browns the opportunity to keep the Bengals as the cellar dweller of the division.

Pittsburgh received the unfortunate news that Ben Roethlisberger would miss the game due to COVID-19, which forced Mason Rudolph to start the game. The Steelers made plenty of mistakes in this game to force the tie - not as many were a product of Rudolph’s mistakes who did have an interception. Even without Roethlisberger, this is a tough non-win to accept at home.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns were absolutely embarrassed by the Patriots. Mayfield couldn’t handle the Patriots defense as the Browns lost 45-7. In a week where Odell Beckham Jr.’s departure dominated the headlines, the Browns looked lost offensively. That, of course, is more of a product of RB Nick Chubb’s absence than Beckham’s departure. Mayfield was hurt in the second half of the game. Luckily for the Ravens, they remain at the top of their division.

Denver Broncos

The AFC West is arguably the best division in football, and the Denver Broncos made a statement last week in Dallas by defeating the Cowboys and inserting themselves back into the conversation for a possible run at the division. Prior to Sunday night, the Chiefs were 5-4, the Raiders were 5-3, coming off a loss to the Giants. The Chargers also failed to win against the Vikings as they fell to 5-4 as well.

Denver was playing Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles in Mile High and lost, 30-13. This is a pivotal loss for Vic Fangio, who finds himself on the hot seat. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur missed the game with COVID-19, which opened the door for Mike Shula. The offense couldn’t establish the run, Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t as efficient, and the Denver defense couldn’t contain rookie wide receiver Devonta Smith.

The former Heisman Trophy winner finished the game with two touchdowns on four catches for 66 yards.

One of the touchdowns was over fellow rookie, and former Alabama teammate, Patrick Surtain II. Then, there was this:

Darius Slay was able to return this for a touchdown to increase the Eagles’ lead to more than one score. The Eagles’ defense may be better than some imagine, but the lack of fire after such an upset win last week isn’t great for Fangio and company. The Broncos had a real chance to make noise in their division, especially with the Chargers losing, but they couldn’t make it happen against the Eagles.

Whoever bet the over in SEA @ GB

This game had an over/under of 49.5 points. The returns of Rodgers and Wilson - Rodgers from a COVID absence and Wilson from his finger injury - was much anticipated with plenty hoping for offensive greatness. However, both quarterbacks were incredibly rusty and the game turned into a defensive struggle in the cold.

The Packers won, 17-0, as the Wilson-led Seahawks were shut out for the first time in Wilson’s career. Wilson finished with two picks and 161-yards through the air. Rodgers also threw a pick, but added 292 yards. Seattle is now 3-5 with a home match against the Cardinals on the horizon.

Roughing the passer

I am all for protecting the quarterback, but some of these roughing the passer penalties are far too momentous and just flat out bad calls. The game moves so quickly and it’s difficult for referees to consistently make the correct call in a lot of these situations. The rules in the NFL are catered to the offense, and with every hard hit on quarterbacks being flagged, it seems almost impossible to play defense in 2021.

This was called roughing the passer to conclude a Titans’ drive at the end of the first half. The game was tied at this point, and this negated interception should have acted as a huge momentum swinging play for New Orleans. In no situation should the flag have been thrown on this play, and it proved to be crucial in this close 23-21 Saints’ loss. I honestly don’t know what addendum needs to be applied. A possible quick review after the hit is an option, although that would slow the game down. Game changing calls like this must be vetted; they’re far too impactful and the game is way too fast to be accurately officiated.

Ryan Santoso

NO! I don’t want to do it, but Santoso went from would-be hero to yet another disappointing chapter in the history of the Detroit Lions. However, this chapter isn’t nearly as disappointing because the Lions didn’t lose! Unfortunately, Santoso failed to lift them to victory.

The Steelers had two fumbles in overtime that provided the Lions with opportunities to win their first game since Week 13 of last season. After the first fumble in overtime - the one by Diontae Johnson, the Lions were able to get Santoso into position to kick a game winning 48-yard field goal. Santoso just hit it poorly. The environment wasn’t perfect, but these are the precious few opportunities that professional football players receive in high stress situations. For a fringe roster player like Santoso, these situations are valuable, so it’s unfortunate that he couldn’t rise to the occasion.