May 26, 2024

What an odd Sunday in the NFL.

Outside of the Miami Dolphins‘ video game antics, the offensive highlights weren’t particularly obvious. Defenses were forced to make stands against repeated trips onto their side of the field. In Cincinnati, the Bengals forced the Seattle Seahawks to go 1-for-5 in the red zone and held on. In Atlanta, the Washington Commanders also held strong. Same deal in Houston, where the Texans held the New Orleans Saints to 0-for-3 in the red zone in a 20-13 win. As an aside, the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens each won, but each just went 1-for-6 in the red zone.

But the huge headline to come out of a day that was kind of blah was the two titans from the NFC — the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles — taking losses on the road in games they led late. The Niners lost Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey to injury. They had a couple very sketchy penalties called against them late and still would have won a game in which Brock Purdy looked very ordinary if they made a 41-yard FG near the end. They didn’t.

Philadelphia has proven very good at erasing double-digit deficits in the rare instances they find themselves behind. On Sunday, they dropped to 20-2 under Nick Sirianni when they held a double-digit lead. They gave up a 14-3 lead against the New York Jets, whose defense really stepped up. Incidentally, New York now has a pair of home wins over the Buffalo Bills and Philly, and I think we’re all trying to figure out how they got them. Philly is typically a lot more buttoned up than it was Sunday — a missed FG and a pick trying to put the game away. That will get you beat in the NFL. Hurts now has more picks than he had all of last year.

Those losses combined with an impressive road win for the Detroit Lions in Tampa means the Lions’ record is tied for best in the NFL. I don’t know about this being a scoragami, but the Lions have now won two of their first six games by the exact same 20-6 score. Seems pretty random.

In a game in which the team was thin at RB because of injury, Jared Goff was excellent, with 353 yards and two touchdowns without a pick. It was his 17th career game as a full-time starter with at least 350 passing yards — more than anyone other than Patrick Mahomes over that time.

The culture we saw building from “Hard Knocks” last summer through the 2022 season, when the Lions won eight of 10 to end the season, hasn’t slowed down, and we will be in Detroit for “Monday Night Football” in a couple weeks, the day before Halloween. I can’t wait to go; they’ve been waiting forever for a season like this one. Still early — but the Lions appear to have the goods.

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