After Additional Evaluation: Titans, Dion Lewis make Patriots really feel the burn | NFL


Everybody had been trying on the flawed Patriots playoff sufferer, it appears now. And even on this playoff sufferer, everybody was trying on the flawed exiled Patriot.

Good factor it turned out this fashion, although. The Titans look way more able to sustaining the success that they had Sunday in opposition to the Patriots than the Jaguars do after they avenged a loss from final postseason. And Dion Lewis’ barbs about his exit from Foxborough stung excess of something Malcolm Butler was inquisitive about claiming.

Within the week main as much as the sport in Nashville, the questions Invoice Belichick frolicked deflecting had been about Butler, who Belichick benched within the Tremendous Bowl. Lewis, who had additionally performed within the final two Tremendous Bowls for the Patriots, profitable one, was a much less attractive plot line.

Not any extra; not after the Titans’ 34-10 domination, and never after Lewis unloaded on the staff that did to him what it does to nearly each veteran free agent not named Brady: “Hell yeah it is private. That’s what occurs once you go low-cost. You get your ass kicked.”

How private? This private.

You possibly can name Lewis petty, however you’ll be able to’t name him flawed. And you may’t put him down as some small-timer, as a result of he was an enormous contributor within the 2016 season that ended with the Tremendous Bowl win over the Falcons. Simply because the Patriots have excelled within the interchangeable-back philosophy over time (ask LeGarrette Blount about that) does not imply the backs that get modified out respect the remedy.

If it gave Tennessee some additional juice in a recreation few anticipated it to win, all the higher. Nonetheless, not like the Jaguars, do not anticipate the underside to fall out for the Titans within the subsequent two months.

WATCH: Mariota’s finest performs vs. New England

The Titans hit that ugly stretch already with three straight losses following a comeback win over the Eagles. That coincided with the elbow issues for Marcus Mariota; these have all been nonexistent the final two weeks of their wins over the Cowboys and Patriots.

Coach Mike Vrabel, who left New England on much better phrases than his aforementioned two gamers did, is squeezing the whole lot he can out of Mariota and all of the items on their good-but-not-great roster. They usually cleaned up some unfinished enterprise from final 12 months, beneath Vrabel’s predecessor, Mike Mularkey, once they began robust however light of their second-round playoff assembly with the Patriots.

They earned the gloat. Lewis earned his.

— NFC East’s three weeks of future —

The Cowboys’ 27-20 Sunday evening win in Philadelphia raises the query that’s been raised various occasions this season: Who within the NFC East will be trusted? The reply will likely be clearer within the subsequent three weeks, when the backloaded division schedule heats up in earnest.

The Eagles, in fact, may have put Dallas in a deep gap and turned up the quantity on the shouts for Jason Garrett’s job. They did neither. As a substitute, the Cowboys made themselves an element once more. Dallas can capitalize massive if it wins subsequent week in Atlanta (which appears susceptible once more after face-planting in Cleveland, of all locations) after which on Thanksgiving … in opposition to Washington, now growing as one of the significant Turkey Day conferences between these rivals in years.

In these subsequent two weekends, the Eagles, with yet one more exasperatingly shut loss on their ledger, go to New Orleans to play a Saints staff on an eight-game profitable streak, then get a seemingly winnable recreation in opposition to the Giants.

And of their two video games after that, their first of two video games in opposition to Washington, on the street, then a rematch with the Cowboys in Dallas.

What they’ve gotten flawed in opposition to the Titans, Panthers and Cowboys within the final 5 weeks, they’ve acquired to repair instantly, or else.

— The top for Todd Bowles … and Maccagnan? —

Preventing for Todd Bowles’ job, after that abomination at residence in opposition to the Payments, is just about fruitless and a waste of power. There’s actually no extra case to be made for holding him. He mentioned all of the issues coaches are alleged to say after a staff beginning a quarterback it had simply pulled off the road (Matt Barkley, signed on Halloween) whips you 41-10: “We stunk it up as coaches, and we stunk it up as gamers on the similar time.”

So sure, Bowles is just about unsalvageable now. However the case that’s exhausting to make is eliminating him and letting basic supervisor Mike Maccagnan keep. They had been a package deal deal 4 years in the past, and whereas the perplexing skids and walking-dead performances that hold popping up the final three seasons land in Bowles’ lap, the appalling lack of expertise and dreadful drafts are on Maccagnan.

Examples for each: Bowles mentioned the final time he noticed his staff get overmatched this badly was “the Indianapolis recreation, the evening recreation” — 41-10, coincidentally, in 2016, additionally at residence, on a Monday evening in December. The screams to fireplace Bowles had been by no means louder than they had been following that recreation, and the Jets ended up purging the roster that offseason and beginning basically from scratch.

Jets pad go rush with top-10 decide

In the meantime, each facet of the quarterbacking debacle that has contaminated this staff since its arrival till it took Sam Darnold final spring, in addition to the parade of draft washouts (additionally together with quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg in back-to-back years), fall at Maccagnan’s toes.

It’s exhausting to justify something aside from one other purge this offseason. The Jets haven’t fired a coach in midseason since 1975 (for the report, Lou Holtz give up earlier than the ultimate recreation in 1976). That is their bye week. In the event that they do pull the plug, on both or each, it could be exhausting guilty them.

— Bucs working out of Magic —

The Buccaneers’ offense gained 501 yards in opposition to Washington, had almost twice as many first downs … and produced three factors, due to 4 turnovers (together with an interception on the objective line and a fumble that was knocked 20 yards ahead by the top zone) and two missed discipline targets.

After the thunderously boring, 16-Three loss, coach Dirk Koetter revealed that he had taken again the play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Todd Monken, saying, “I had my causes.” He additionally mentioned there was an opportunity that he was contemplating altering quarterbacks once more, from Ryan Fitzpatrick again to Jameis Winston after two video games.

So hold Koetter on the watch checklist together with Bowles. And hold Bucs basic supervisor Jason Licht on the “clarify your self” watch checklist together with Maccagnan.

— Norman grateful for residence followers’ help … or not —

In the meantime, Washington acquired to 6 wins, one in need of final season’s whole, and three of the wins had been on the street.

Fairly good, proper, Josh Norman?

To place this into context: The 2 greatest eggs the staff has laid this season had been losses at FedEx Area — to the Colts in Week 2, coming off of a rout in Arizona within the opener, and final week at residence (once more) in opposition to the Falcons, 38-14, a failure in each class that snapped a three-game profitable streak.

That simply covers this season, not the roughly twenty years earlier than it, beginning lengthy earlier than Norman arrived, when the connection between the franchise and the fan base started its gradual deterioration up to now.

Unconditional love may be a bit a lot to ask, a lot much less to demand after a win wherein you scored one landing and gave up 500 yards to a three-win staff.

— Saints made proper name on Thomas —

A great way to begin a combat with anybody from the state of Louisiana is to checklist the highest 5 receivers within the NFL and depart of the Saints’ Michael Thomas. It’s reaching the purpose the place the combat over that may come from anyplace.

As ordinary, the issue is who will get left off to place Thomas on, however Thomas shouldn’t need to accept a spot behind anybody anymore.

Thomas was once more integral in a Saints scoring orgy, 51 factors in opposition to the Bengals (on the street and within the chilly) every week after they rolled up 45 on the Rams. Final week, he set a franchise report with 211 yards receiving, a feat he celebrated with the infamous (and costly) cell-phone name. On Sunday, he caught two landing passes, each within the first half to all however wrap the sport up early.

By 9 video games, he’s on tempo to set profession highs in catches and yards, to catch over 100 passes for the second time, and to go 1,000 receiving yards for the third time. All of this, on a unit loaded with weapons.

The Saints wouldn’t have the ability to do what they do with out Thomas, nonetheless simply 25 and in his third season.

If it is nonetheless not clear how a lot the Saints worth him, bear in mind this: Two seasons in the past, they traded Brandin Cooks to the Patriots after simply three seasons himself and 215 catches, proper earlier than they must signal him to an enormous extension. (Cooks finally acquired it from the Rams this offseason.)

They felt comfy sufficient to make that transfer due to what Thomas has proven them … as a rookie. That gamble, of kinds, is paying off.

— The reality of Trubisky’s scorching streak —

One would assume that something happening with the quarterback of the Bears, a flagship franchise in one of many greatest markets within the NFL, couldn’t presumably occur with little consideration. However, Mitchell Trubisky — the second decide of the 2017 draft, no much less — is managing to string collectively some eye-popping performances with comparatively minor discover.​

Trubisky fully outplayed the Lions’ Matthew Stafford in the Bears’ 34-22 blowout in Chicago: 355 yards, three touchdowns passing, one dashing, no interceptions, a 148.6 passer score. In his final six video games, relationship again to the six-touchdown recreation in opposition to the Bucs, he has thrown for 17 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, has 4 300-yard passing video games, has accomplished 70 % of his passes thrice and has been over 100 in passer score 4 occasions.

The Bears are 4-2 in these video games. One loss was in Miami, the place they missed a game-winning discipline objective in additional time; the opposite was to the Patriots when the Hail Mary to Kevin White was halted on the 1-yard line. (For the sake of steadiness, the Bears’ protection scored two touchdowns final week of their 41-9 rout in Buffalo; Trubisky solely tried 20 passes.)

And the Bucs recreation was a clear breaking level: The week earlier than that, the Bears had been hit-or-miss in opposition to the then-winless Cardinals. Josh Rosen was rushed into the sport late for his NFL debut, and the Bears’ protection stopped him twice and held on 16-14. The notion was that Trubisky could be higher off not screwing issues up for Khalil Mack and the protection.

Since then, the Bears have averaged 34.Three factors per recreation. And Mack missed two video games throughout that run with an injured ankle.

It is all occurred, one way or the other, quietly.

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