February 26, 2024

Six consecutive touchdowns by the San Francisco 49ers in punishing fashion made an awfully loud statement Sunday in Philadelphia. The kind that echoes. It wasn’t subtle or fluky — we might see it again. It could be in San Francisco as the Philadelphia Eagles‘ stranglehold on home-field advantage gets a bit wobbly after this one. Even if it is in Philly, why would that bother the Niners after this demolition?

Remember the Niners’ three-game losing streak? Yeah — me either. This season the 49ers are 5-0 against teams that entered the game with a winning record, and they’re outscoring those teams by 22.2 points per game.

We’re going to have to wait for the Miami Dolphins‘ final three games for them to play anyone who is in their weight class. In the meantime, they continue to invent new choreography and bring the track meet to town — even on a soggy day. They’re averaging 6.9 yards per play this season, which hasn’t been done since the Greatest Show on Turf, the 2000 St. Louis Rams. Tyreek Hill alone had his eighth 100-yard receiving day and fifth with 150 or more.

Both the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts move to 7-5. I’m still trying to process how the Colts won a game that included more from the buffet than most games you’ll see. As for the Texans, it’s been C.J. Stroud winning them games going on drives at the end. But this one required the defense to make stops, and there was a bunch of young talent on that side of the ball as well who made the lead stand up.

The Colts and Texans are currently the seventh and eighth seeds in the AFC, respectively, and they’re on a collision course for a Week 18 meeting in Indy.

For the Detroit Lions, it was a first down on a third-and-9 that allowed them to exhale and beat the New Orleans Saints for their ninth win. That felt really important. Their defense has been leaking oil, and a 21-0 lead was down to only five by the fourth quarter.

Coach Dan Campbell’s aggressiveness on fourth down is well-documented — they didn’t have to throw on third-and-9, they could have run clock — but they let Jared Goff and Josh Reynolds make a play. This was just the third time in the past 25 years the Lions attempted a third-down pass inside the two-minute warning with a lead. It was Reynolds’ one catch of the day. But it was a big one, and it secured win No. 9. The Lions now have their best 12-game start in more than 60 years.

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