NFL Week 10 Observations

The good, bad and ugly from the NFL Week 10

The good, bad and ugly from the NFL Week 10
James Conner (left) and Big Ben have the Steelers rolling. Karl Roser/Steelers.com

Sometimes I watch football and wonder: “What the hell is going on out here?” (in Vince Lombardi voice). Seems like every week, something crazy happens. Good or bad, the NFL never fails us. Let’s dive into what I observed this week:

The Good

-The Steelers did two things with Thursday with their 52-14 dismantling of the Panthers: they proved themselves to be a legit AFC contender ad poked a small hole in the Panthers’ balloon. James Conner is making them not miss Le’Veon Bell. Big Ben has turned back the clock, and Antonio Brown is being Antonio Brown. Oh, and the defense not bad either

-The Titans upset the Patriots 34-10! How Sway?!? Holding Tom Brady to 21 of 41 passing and no touchdowns, while also only giving up 40 yards rushing is how. Conversely, Marcus Mariota had a great day, and they added 150 yards rushing.

-The Chargers are the team no one wants to see. Two of the main reasons are quarterback Philip Rivers and running back Melvin Gordon. Rivers is turning back the clock while Gordon is having his breakout year. In their 20-9 win over the lowly Raiders, Rivers completed 69% of his passes while Gordon tallied 165 total yards and a touchdown.

The Bad

-The Falcons started the season 1-4, went on a three game win streak to draw them back to .500, and promptly lost to the Browns 28-16. Injuries have played a large part in their struggles this season, but so has Julio Jones not getting his first touchdown catch until last week. The struggle bus continues rolling in Atlanta since their Super Bowl collapse.

-After another loss Sunday (31-12 to the Packers), Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler said “I’ve got to play better.” It sounded very familiar. Sounds like a guy who’s had a ton of practice saying that same line after a poor performance. Wonder where we’ve heard that before?

-Monday Night Football featured another abysmal matchup of the moveable force against the resistible object. The Giants played the 49ers and won their second game of the season 27-23. NFL schedule makers need to do better. Flexing games to the Sunday night spot has worked, but Monday’s now suffer due to poor foresight.

The Ugly

-The Jags are now 3-6 and on a five-game losing streak. The Colts handed them a 29-26 loss Sunday and it wasn’t Blake Bortles’ fault. It ended for them on a fumble after a catch that put them in field goal range by Rashad Greene. They’ve gone from the AFC title game and considered a Super Bowl contender this year, to potential top 10 draft selection.

-The Bears beat the Lions 34-22 despite kicker Cody Parkey missing both field goal attempts and 2 of 4 extra points. Eight points in a 12 pint win doesn’t seem like much. But if you’re leading your division and have a defense that is one of the league’s best, that could mean a playoff loss if it happens in early January.

-The Bucs lost to the Skins 16-3 to drop their record to 3-6 on the season. The ugly comes from them amassing 501 yards of offense in doing so! The four turnovers they committed aided in this dreadful mockery. Start looking at quarterbacks in the draft Bucs fans.

Things are starting to settle. We now have several legit contenders in each conference. Saints and Rams are the class of the NFC, with the Bears, Skins and Panthers vying to make a case. The Chiefs, Steelers, and Patriots seem to be top dogs in the AFC, while the Chargers and Texans make cases of their own. The stretch run will be a rollercoaster ride to the end.

 

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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