NFL Week 10 Observations

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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Houston's winning streak is up to nine

Astros secure series over Orioles as winning streak continues

Zack Greinke provided another long outing for his team on Tuesday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After continuing their recent dominance with a lopsided win over this Orioles team on Monday in the rain-plagued opener, the Astros eyed number nine in a row if they could do it again on Tuesday. Though not as one-sided, the Astros would get the victory to secure the series win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Orioles 1

Astros' Record: 45-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (8-2)

Losing Pitcher: Jorge Lopez (2-9)

A tame start for Houston's offense

After a scoreless first inning on both sides, Myles Straw started the scoring with two outs in the top of the second, sneaking a ball off and over the left-field wall just out of the grasp of Austin Hays for a solo homer to put Houston ahead 1-0. After Baltimore tied the game in the third, the game remained gridlocked 1-1 until the top of the seventh, when Chase McCormick would reach on a one-out infield single then raced around to score on a Myles Straw RBI single, putting Houston back in front 2-1.

Greinke pitches into the eighth

Over that span, Zack Greinke was getting efficient innings against Baltimore's lineup. He allowed that trying run in the third, which came after a one-out walk moved to third on a single, then scored on a sac fly. That was one of his few moments with runners in scoring position, as he erased a single in the first, a single in the fourth, and a double in the seventh to maintain the new 2-1 lead.

The Astros loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth but came away with only one run of insurance on a McCormick sac fly, making it 3-1 as Greinke returned to the mound to continue working. He allowed a leadoff single then retired the next batter before Dusty Baker would come out to get him as the left-handed portion of the lineup was due up and a better match for Brooks Raley, who had been warming. Greinke's final line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 91 P.

Astros make it nine in a row

Raley completed the eighth for Greinke with two strikeouts to strand the inherited runner. With it still a two-run game in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save. He erased a two-out single to finish things off, giving Houston their ninth win in a row and securing the series with a chance at the sweep in the finale.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set will be another 6:05 PM Central start time on Wednesday. Thomas Eshelman (0-0, 1.93 ERA) will be on the mound for Baltimore to face the Astros, while Jose Urquidy (5-3, 3.65 ERA) will start for Houston.

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