NFL Nation: 2012 Week 9 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Saints 28, Eagles 13

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
11:48
PM ET

NEW ORLEANS -- Some quick thoughts on New Orleans Saints' 28-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on "Monday Night Football."

What it means: After starting 0-4, the Saints have won three of their past four games and sit at 3-5 and in third place in the NFC South, well behind the 8-0 Atlanta Falcons. The season isn’t over for New Orleans, but with the way its defense is playing, it will be hard-pressed to go on a run.

For the reeling Eagles, this was their fourth straight loss and fifth in their past six games after starting the season 2-0. They now sit at 3-5, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for second place in the NFC East behind the 6-3 New York Giants. This certainly isn’t what Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Lurie had in mind. He said before the season started that a second consecutive 8-8 finish would be grounds to fire Andy Reid after his 14th season. The Eagles will have to finish at worst 6-2 to avoid a .500 record, and even that might not be good enough.

So what becomes of Reid? NFL owners don’t like to get embarrassed on national television, and that’s what happened to the Eagles, who got behind early -- again -- and couldn’t keep up with a Saints offense that can put points on the board. The Eagles trailed 21-3 at halftime. They showed signs of life in the third quarter with a strip sack that led to a 77-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson followed by a forced fumble on the ensuing kickoff.

But one of the Eagles' chronic problems continued. They couldn’t score touchdowns in the red zone. Five appearances led to two field goals. Vick also threw a pick-six when a pass bounced off Brent Celek's fingertips and was returned 98 yards by Patrick Robinson for a touchdown that gave New Orleans a 7-0 lead.

As ugly as it’s going to be in Philadelphia this week, where acute apathy has set in, I’d be shocked -- shocked -- if Lurie fired Reid midseason under any circumstances. That’s not how Lurie operates. But it certainly seems like Lurie will be looking for a new coach in January.

Saints defense holds: The Saints had been historically bad coming into the game this season. They had given up consecutive 500-yard games and had allowed at least 400 yards of offense in all seven games. They ranked 30th in scoring, 32nd in total yards allowed, 30th in passing yards allowed and 31st in rushing yards allowed.

While New Orleans allowed LeSean McCoy to gain 119 yards, 101 of those yards came on 13 first-half carries. They held the Eagles to 13 points even though they entered the game giving up 30.9 per game. They sacked Vick seven times and forced three turnovers.

Yes, they ended up giving up 400 yards in garbage time, meaningless yards that only padded losing statistics. The Saints have plenty of work to do on defense, but they made headway on Monday.

Eagles lose another lineman: The Philadelphia offensive line has taken a beating this season, and against New Orleans the Eagles were forced to play the majority of the game without right tackle Todd Herremans, who injured his right ankle/foot late in the first quarter.

Herremans is the fourth starter on the offensive line to miss time with an injury, which is one of the major reasons the Eagles have struggled this season.

Saints' streaks continue: New Orleans has not lost a November game since falling to Tampa Bay on Nov. 30, 2008, a streak of 12 straight games. They’ve now won 14 of their past 15 games in November. They’ve also won eight straight games on Monday night.

What’s next: The Eagles return home to an environment in Philadelphia that will be toxic, and they will host the Cowboys on Sunday. The Saints host the undefeated Falcons.

Rapid Reaction: Falcons 19, Cowboys 13

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
11:42
PM ET


ATLANTA -- The season is now in jeopardy for the Dallas Cowboys.

They came here trying to knock off the undefeated Atlanta Falcons but failed, 19-13, at the Georgia Dome on Sunday night. The Cowboys have now lost eight consecutive games on Sunday night and are 3-5 overall at the halfway point of the season. The Falcons improved to a perfect 8-0.

What it means: The Cowboys are two games under .500 and most likely will have to win seven of the next eight to get into the playoffs. If the Cowboys win six of the next eight, they might need some help to reach the postseason.

Scandrick with some gaffes: Slot cornerback Orlando Scandrick struggled in the fourth quarter against the Falcons. He missed a tackle on a 31-yard run play by Michael Turner on a third-and-6, then was flagged for defensive holding on a third-and-8 play against Roddy White. Both plays extended the last drive of the night for the Falcons. It's these kinds of plays that Scandrick has to make, especially with the game on the line.

Running back rotation: Felix Jones started, but Lance Dunbar (North Texas) got a majority of the snaps as the backup instead of Phillip Tanner. For the game, the Cowboys rushed for 65 yards on 18 carries. Jones had 39 yards on nine carries and Dunbar, on eight carries, picked up 26 yards. It's clear the Cowboys miss starting running back DeMarco Murray, who was out with a sprained foot. His return for the Philadelphia Eagles game next week is a possibility.

Witten makes Cowboys history: Coming into the game, tight end Jason Witten needed three catches to tie Michael Irvin as the franchise's all-time leader in receptions. Witten finished with seven catches for 51 yards. But once again, he had no touchdowns.

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No Bryant in second half: Dez Bryant started despite a sore hip and finished with one catch for 15 yards, none in the second half. Quarterback Tony Romo didn't target him in the second half. Instead, Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree were the main targets, along with Witten.

Ratliff plays hurt: Nose tackle Jay Ratliff hurt his left ankle late in the first half. While he didn't start the second half, he played through the injury. There were no other major injuries for the Cowboys.

Who's next? The Cowboys finish their toughest stretch of the season (four of five on the road) with a trip to see the Eagles on Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Falcons 19, Cowboys 13

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
11:30
PM ET

ATLANTA -- Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' 19-13 victory against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: The method was by no means pretty, but the Falcons remained the only unbeaten team in the NFL. At 8-0, they’re well on their way to clinching the NFC South and still in the NFC lead for home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Falcons have been accused plenty of times this season of not always having pretty wins. But the bottom line is they’re winning and, if they keep doing that, they’ll get the respect their fans so desperately crave.

The Turner point: For most of the night, Atlanta running back Michael Turner looked old and slow and the lack of any threat in the running game was taking a toll on the passing game. But that all changed late in the third quarter when Turner broke off a 43-yard run to set up his own 3-yard touchdown run that broke a 6-6 tie. The Dallas defense was loading up and going after Matt Ryan, until Turner showed he still can turn a corner. Turner finished with 19 carries for 100 yards.

Dynamic duo: Julio Jones (118) and Roddy White (129) each topped the 100-yard receiving mark. White also set a new franchise record for receptions when he broke Terance Mathis' mark of 573 career catches.

Best surprise: Even without injured linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who might be Atlanta’s best defensive player, the Falcons played perhaps their best all-around defensive game. They limited the Cowboys to just two field goals until allowing a touchdown pass with 5:21 remaining.

Worst surprise: Atlanta’s Matt Bryant usually is one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers. But not on Sunday night. Bryant missed two field goal attempts. The last time Bryant missed two field goals in one game was Sept. 17, 2006. That’s when Bryant was playing for Tampa Bay. The opponent that day? The Falcons. But Bryant did hit a 36-yard field goal with 7:49 remaining and a 32-yarder with 17 seconds left to give the Falcons some insurance.

What’s next: The Falcons play at New Orleans next Sunday.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A look at a wild game the Oakland Raiders led 10-7 at the half. Yes, 57 points were scored after halftime. The Buccaneers held on for a 42-32 victory.

What it means: The Raiders fell to 3-5 and had their two-game win streak get snapped. The Raiders trail the first-place Denver Broncos by two games and second-place San Diego Chargers by a game.

Nice comeback fails short: The Raiders turned a 28-10 fourth-quarter deficit into a 35-32 game. But Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer, who was good for much of the game, threw a terrible interception with the Raiders trying to take the lead. The Buccaneers then scored to seal the game.

Martin runs wild: Tampa Bay rookie running back Doug Martin had touchdown runs of 45, 67 and 70 yards. He ended up with 251 yards on 25 carries. Oakland was feeling good about its improved run defense going into the game. Not so much now.

Injuries pile up: The Raiders suffered several injuries, including one to running back Darren McFadden. He departed the game with an apparent lower leg injury. There is no word how long he will be out.

Sloppy game: Both teams made a lot of mistakes. Tampa Bay was penalized 14 times for 116 yards, and Oakland was flagged nine times for 80 yards. Tampa Bay committed pass interference on fourth down with Oakland down by 11 with less than six minutes remaining.

What’s next: Oakland plays at the Baltimore Ravens in what will be its toughest task since it faced Atlanta three weeks ago.

Rapid Reaction: Steelers 24, Giants 20

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
7:37
PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

What it means: The end of a four-game winning streak and a poor start to the second half of the season after the Giants' standard 6-2 start. This loss in their ninth game of the season will raise easy questions about the Giants' record in the second halves of their seasons during the Tom Coughlin era, but of greater concern is that they appeared to lose the physical battles up front on offense and especially on defense for most of this game.

Superman slumping? This was the fourth consecutive game in which Giants quarterback Eli Manning saw his passer rating drop. It was 103.3 in the Week 5 victory over Cleveland, 87.4 in Week 6 in San Francisco, 78.9 in Week 7 against the Redskins, 58.4 last week in Dallas and 41.1 on Sunday against the Steelers. Manning has thrown four interceptions and one touchdown pass in his last three games. He looks surprisingly jittery in the pocket and he's missing open receivers with his throws. Without Manning at his best, the Giants cannot expect to compete with the league's best teams. The Giants were 2-for-10 on third-down conversion attempts Sunday.

Soft in the middle: The Steelers ran the ball up the gut all day against the Giants with Isaac Redman, who's basically their third-string running back. It was not a banner day for Mark Herzlich, who got the first start of his career in place of injured middle linebacker Chase Blackburn. The Steelers seemed to spot a weakness in the Giants' defense in the middle of the field, and they were able to reliably take advantage of it.

A little help: The Giants' 14-10 halftime lead came with a lot of help from their opponent. The Steelers racked up 87 yards' worth of pass interference penalties in the first half, and a personal foul penalty by Ryan Clark in the end zone on third down set up the Giants' first touchdown. Once the breaks stopped going the Giants' way, the Steelers were able to take control of the game in the second half as the Giants were unable to get their offense going.

What's next: The Giants travel to Cincinnati where they will play the Bengals at 1 p.m. ET next Sunday. The Bengals have lost four games in a row after a 3-1 start and have allowed a total of 106 points in those four games.

Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
7:19
PM ET

SEATTLE -- Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' victory over the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field in Week 9:

What it means: Seattle improved to 5-4 overall, 5-1 outside the division and 4-0 at home. The victory kept the Seahawks on pace for a winning record if they can continue to win their home games. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson continued trending in the right direction with three touchdown passes and heady scrambles. His recent performances suggest a bright future for Seattle even as its once-formidable defense sprung additional leaks. The Seahawks are alone in second place behind San Francisco in the NFC West.

What I liked: Wilson came out firing with two first-quarter touchdown passes, building upon his recent improved play. The Seahawks opened up the playbook early, including when they had receiver Sidney Rice throw to tight end Zach Miller for a 25-yard gain. Wilson's three first-half scoring passes helped Seattle take a 20-17 halftime lead despite having no answer for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Wilson took one sack after taking zero on 35 drop backs at Detroit last week. Offensive lines tend to get credit and blame for sack numbers, but quarterbacks play a critical role, too. Wilson is showing a very good feel for the pocket. He turned at least one sure sack into a short gain Sunday. Wilson ran the four-minute offense effectively to help close out the game.

Marshawn Lynch topped 100 yards rushing for the third game in a row. He continued to break tackles and overcome missed blocks. Lynch gives the offense attitude. He should have an easier time if Wilson continues his recent improvement.

Seattle's pass defense was effective, particularly considering how well Minnesota was running the ball. Jeron Johnson, Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, Leroy Hill and Greg Scruggs had sacks or half-sacks. Irvin roughed up Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in the second half. Ponder was limping after that play. The second-year quarterback did not hurt the Seahawks much with his scrambling.

The Seahawks held Ponder to 2.9 yards per pass attempt. They sacked him four times and picked him off once. Brandon Browner's diving interception was the catch of the game. Earl Thomas narrowly missed another shot at picking off Ponder.

What I didn't like: Seattle's once-fearsome run defense continued to struggle. The Seahawks entered this game ranked 19th in yards per carry allowed over their previous three games. They promptly allowed a 72-yard run to Peterson on the Vikings' first drive. Peterson had 144 yards by halftime. And when he scored on a 4-yard run in the second quarter, Seattle's defense had allowed 28 points in its last 28 minutes of clock time. Peterson had more yards rushing than Seattle allowed during its first three games combined.

Seattle had an extra point try blocked in the first half. Coach Pete Carroll, who admittedly botched a replay challenge against Detroit last week, lost a questionable second-half challenge in this game. Running back Robert Turbin and receiver Jermaine Kearse dropped passes.

Moffitt's role: John Moffitt started at left guard after the Seahawks named James Carpenter inactive. There had been some thought Moffitt might start at right guard, where he started previously. Moffitt got backed up and lost his helmet to blow up a short-yardage run in the first half. Moffitt later helped clear the way for Lynch's 23-yard run to the 9-yard line with 5:30 left in the third quarter. Moffitt also helped clear the way for Lynch's 3-yard scoring run later in the drive.

Injury watch: K.J. Wright, the Seahawks' starting strongside linebacker, left the game in the first quarter after suffering a concussion. Mike Morgan replaced him.

The Seahawks lost center Max Unger, their best offensive lineman this season, to a hand injury in the third quarter. Lemuel Jeanpierre replaced him. Unger returned to the game after undergoing X-rays.

The Vikings lost receiver Percy Harvin to a leg injury in the third quarter. Harvin had just returned after a hamstring injury had forced him to the sideline. Harvin was injured when Wagner tackled him on the perimeter. Harvin returned the game, but he was limping and did not pose the same threat from that point forward.

What's next: The Seahawks are home against the New York Jets in Week 10.

NASHVILLE -- Chicago Bears fans took over the streets of downtown Nashville on Saturday night.

Then the team took control of LP Field the next day, destroying the Tennessee Titans 51-20 in a road outing that seemed more like a game at Soldier Field. Throughout the beat down in a stadium filled more with fans from the visiting team than the home squad. chants of “Let’s go Bears” reverberated all day.

The Bears scored touchdowns in every phase in the first half -- on special teams with Corey Wootton’s blocked punt return; on offense with Matt Forte’s 8-yard run; and on defense, thanks to Brian Urlacher running back an interception 46-yards for a TD.

Jay Cutler and the Bears offense jumped into the mix too, with the quarterback slinging three touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall in unquestionably the team’s most dominating performance of the season.

What it means: The Bears maintained their NFC North lead with a dominating performance on the road.

More takeaways: The Bears entered Sunday’s game ranked No. 2 in the league with 23 takeaways, but racked up four more in the first half alone against the Titans. Charles Tillman accounted for three of the team’s four forced fumbles, with Urlacher forcing another in addition to returning a Matt Hasselbeck interception 46 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Kelvin Hayden boosted the team’s takeaway total to 28 with his fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.

Another defensive TD: Urlacher’s first-quarter INT return for a TD gave the defense its seventh INT return score of the season, which ties for the third most in a season in NFL history. The 1961 Chargers (9) and 1998 Seahawks (8) are the only two teams to score more defensive TDs.

With Urlacher’s score, the Bears became the first team in NFL history to return seven INTs for TDs in the first eight games of a season. The Bears are also the first team with INT returns for TDs in five games during a six-game span since the ’61 Chargers.

Obviously, it’s no secret the Bears win when the score defensive touchdowns. Since 2004, the Bears have scored 32 defensive touchdowns, including 25 on INT returns and are 23-5 when they score a defensive touchdown. Since 2005 the Bears hold a 20-2 record when they score on defense.

AFC South champions: The Bears obviously own the AFC South, based on what they’ve done in three matchups against teams in that division this season. The Bears scored 41 points or more in all three of their wins against AFC South foes, starting with the Colts in the opener, followed by the Jaguars and the Titans.

In the three wins, the Bears outscored AFC South opponents 133-44.

What’s next: The Bears will receive the customary “victory Monday” when they return home to Halas Hall, before beginning preparation Wednesday to host the 7-1 Houston Texans in a prime-time clash next Sunday night at Soldier Field.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts after witnessing Sunday's events at Lambeau Field:

What it means: The Green Bay Packers won their fourth consecutive game and will take a 6-3 record into their bye. They'll need the extra week of rest, however, after another round of injuries to key players. The Packers have struggled to put away inferior teams at home the past two weeks, but those victories count in the win column the same as blowouts would.

Injury report: Receiver Jordy Nelson, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, rolled his right ankle in the first quarter on the only pass thrown his way and did not return. A hip injury sent right tackle Bryan Bulaga to the sideline in the second quarter, forcing the Packers to move T.J. Lang to right tackle and insert Evan Dietrich-Smith at left guard. And linebacker Clay Matthews injured his hamstring and did not return after limping off in the third quarter. After Matthews departed, the Packers used rookie Dezman Moses and veteran Erik Walden as their outside linebackers. We'll get you updates on Nelson, Bulaga and Matthews as soon after the game as we can.

Tom Crabtree?!? With Nelson sidelined and the offensive line in flux, the Packers offense struggled after halftime. The Cardinals pulled within a touchdown at 24-17, but tight end Tom Crabtree put the game away on the final play of the third quarter. Lined up in the backfield, Crabtree slipped through the line, got a step on Cardinals linebacker Paris Lenon and turned Aaron Rodgers' pass into a 72-yard touchdown play. It was the longest reception by a Packers tight end since 1979. (Paul Coffman, 78 yards.)

RodgersWatch: Rodgers hit on only 14 of 30 passes, but he made the completions count. Four went for touchdowns, including two to Randall Cobb and one to Crabtree and James Jones. Through nine games, Rodgers has 25 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Cobb has five touchdowns in his past three games.

Running game: James Starks replaced Alex Green in the starting lineup for this game and the pair split carries in what amounted to the Packers' best rushing performance of the season. Starks finished with 61 yards on 17 carries and Green had 53 yards on 11 carries. Overall, the Packers piled up 176 yards on 39 attempts, both season highs. Starks had one fumble that Rodgers recovered but probably curtailed some of his snaps. But I was fine with Starks getting on the field. Green hasn't been productive in three starts. You can only spend so much time waiting for a player, young or not, to find his groove.

What's next: The Packers have their bye and return to the field Nov. 18 at the Detroit Lions.

Rapid Reaction: Colts 23, Dolphins 20

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
4:28
PM ET

Here are some thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' exciting 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins:

What it means: The Dolphins snapped a three-game winning streak and fall to 4-4. Miami had a chance to pull out a big road win but came up just short on the final drive. This was a crucial game for Miami’s playoff chances because it's battling Indianapolis (5-3) potentially for a wild-card spot in the AFC. The Colts are now up one game on the Dolphins. Indianapolis also picked up a conference win and the head-to-head matchup if it comes down to that at the end of the season.

Luck vs. Tannehill: The first meeting of highly touted rookie quarterbacks was even better than advertised. The first round in this new rivalry goes to Luck. Luck threw for 433 yards and two touchdowns. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Luck became the second rookie in NFL history to throw for 300 yards or more four times. Tannehill also had a solid game. He threw for 290 yards and one touchdown. Both quarterbacks made some amazing throws in an exciting and well-played game. Luck was drafted No. 1 overall, and Tannehill was taken with the No. 8 pick.

Hartline sighting: Miami receiver Brian Hartline got off to a fast start this year. But his production has slowed down as defenses put more focus on stopping Hartline. He finally had another big game and was Tannehill’s favorite target against the Colts. Hartline had eight receptions for 107 yards. It was Hartline's first 100-yard game since Week 4. The Dolphins need more big games from Hartline in the second half of season.

Highlight play by Bush: Miami starting running back Reggie Bush was criticized earlier in his career for running east and west too often. But Bush had a flashback to his USC days with a second-quarter touchdown run. Bush ran a designed play to the right, then cut back left where three defenders were waiting. Bush stopped on a dime, shook all three defenders and cut back right for a touchdown.

Wake's sack streak: Miami defensive end Cameron Wake registered a sack for the fifth straight game. He got a sack and fumble against Luck in the third quarter. Wake now has 8.5 sacks on the season.

What’s next: The Dolphins will try to bounce back with an interesting two-game stretch coming up. They return home next week to play the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 11. Then, Miami has a quick turnaround on Thursday Nov. 15 with a road game against the struggling Buffalo Bills (3-5). Both are winnable games for the Dolphins, but they must stay focused with two games in five days.

Rapid Reaction: Bears 51, Titans 20

November, 4, 2012
11/04/12
4:21
PM ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Thoughts on the Titans' 51-20 loss to the Bears at LP Field:

What it means: The Titans’ hopes of even a .500 season absorbed another giant dent with a very poor showing against the Bears. If a young team uses its games against top competition as a measuring stick, then this clubbing and the Sept. 30 38-14 loss in Houston show just how far away this team is from matching up with the league’s best.

What I didn’t like: A disastrous first quarter that put the Titans in a 28-2 hole. Overall, the Titans lost four fumbles on offense, threw a pick-6 and had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. Kenny Britt, Chris Johnson, twice, Craig Stevens and Jared Cook couldn’t hold on to the ball against a defense notorious for forcing turnovers -- incredibly disappointing for a team looking to bounce back from last week’s disheartening loss to the Colts. Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman forced four of the Titans’ five offensive fumbles.

Can’t handle him: The Titans had no answers for Chicago’s No. 1 receiver, Brandon Marshall. After each of his three touchdowns, defenders turned to look at each other or officials to question the help that never arrived. Marshall finished with nine catches for 122 yards.

Injury concern: Kendall Wright suffered a sprained right elbow and didn’t return to the game. If he misses time going forward, it’s a blow to the Titans' depth with their weapons and will slow down his growth. The progress of kids is one of the few things the Titans can be encouraged about and sell right now.

Hard to stomach: The Bears take a lot of fans on the road and there are plenty of them who live in and near Nashville, too, but the Titans couldn’t have been pleased with the chants and cheers for the visitors throughout the game.

What’s next: The Titans travel to Miami to face the Dolphins, a surprising playoff contender halfway through their season. Will Jake Locker be ready to return from his shoulder injury or will the young quarterback wait until after the bye to return to action for Tennessee?

CLEVELAND -- My thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns:

What it means: The Ravens failed to hold onto a 14-point lead and needed a late touchdown to Torrey Smith to escape with their 10th straight win over the Browns. Baltimore, which had lost by 30 points at Houston before its bye, improved to 6-2 and kept its lead atop the AFC North. The Browns (2-7) lost for the first time at home since Sept. 23. Cleveland lost because it couldn't finish off drives in the red zone. The Browns' scoring was five field goals from Phil Dawson: 32, 28, 29, 33 and 41 yards.

Coming through late: The Ravens went three-and-out on six straight drives and didn't have a first down in the second half until the offense woke up after the Browns took their first lead of the game. Joe Flacco completed his final three passes for 43 yards on the winning drive (which included a roughing the passer penalty on Browns safety T.J. Ward). Flacco's 19-yard touchdown pass to Smith put the Ravens ahead with 4:26 remaining. He then found Anquan Boldin for a two-point conversion.

Costly penalty: It looked like the Browns had taken a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter when Josh Gordon scored on an 18-yard reception. But an illegal formation penalty negated the touchdown. The Browns decided to run the ball on third-and-11 and settled for their fifth field goal. Instead of a five-point lead, the Browns led by one, which later hurt them.

Hot and cold: Flacco started off hot with 10 straight completions as Baltimore jumped out to a 14-0 lead. But Flacco went through a 2-of-10 rut as the Ravens couldn't gain any momentum on offense.

Richardson goes back to back: Trent Richardson gained more than 100 yards for the second straight game. He becomes the third rookie -- and first since 1998 -- to crack 100 yards against the Ravens.

Weeden's streak ends: Brandon Weeden threw his first interception in three games when he was picked off by Cary Williams. It was the first pick in 117 drop backs for Weeden. Williams has two interceptions in two meetings with the rookie first-round pick. But Baltimore didn't convert the turnover into points.

What's next: The Ravens return home to face the Raiders. The Browns have a bye before playing at Dallas on Nov. 18.

A look at the Chargers' 31-13 AFC West wipeout of the Chiefs:

What it means: The Chargers showed they can hammer a bad team, and the Chiefs showed there is no reason to think they aren’t the 32nd-best team in the NFL. The Chargers now are 4-4 and have ended a three-game losing streak. The Chiefs are 1-7, and moved a step closer to the No. 1 overall draft pick and having to decide between Matt Barkley and Geno Smith.

Winning for Norv: The chances were very strong that the Chargers would fire coach Norv Turner had the team lost its fourth straight game and fallen to 3-5, with 10 days before its next game. It would have been a perfect time to make a move. But Turner’s team loves him, and it played hard for him. Turner might be safe for the rest of the season now unless things unravel badly again. The Chargers are very much in the AFC playoff hunt and will be tied for first place if the 4-3 Broncos lose at Cincinnati. Give credit to Turner for keeping his team focused and credit to the Chargers for keeping their coach employed.

Rivers almost perfect, but still maddening: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was in a slump for the previous 10 quarters. But he was brilliant Thursday night. He was 18-of-20 for 220 yards and two touchdowns with a depleted receiving crew. But he threw a terrible interception in the end zone at the end of the first half. It’s those plays that Rivers has to eliminate from his game. He still is a top quarterback, but he makes too many mistakes.

Bad streaks continue for Chiefs: The Chiefs committed four turnovers and now have 29 in half a season. They had 29 all last season. It’s the highest turnover total through eight games in the NFL in 15 years. Kansas City still has not led in a game in regulation all season. The Chiefs haven’t scored a touchdown on their opening drive in 25 straight games. Folks, this stuff is historically bad.

Cassel not that bad: Yes, Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel committed two turnovers that turned into two defensive touchdowns for San Diego in the fourth quarter. But Cassel wasn’t that bad. He had his moments. Still, I’m sure the Chiefs will go back to Brady Quinn when he is cleared from a concussion. Cassel just doesn’t have the confidence of this team, it seems.

Charles not a factor: Against Oakland on Sunday, Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles had just five carries. On Thursday night, he had 12 carries for 39 yards, and that's a big reason the Chiefs couldn’t stay close. They are wasting a fine player.

Chargers run well: The Chargers’ run offense really helped. It provided a dimension that had been missing all season. San Diego had 123 rushing yards on 26 carries, and Ryan Mathews had 67 yards on 13 totes. This type of running effort must continue in order to help the Chargers’ passing game.

Berry makes strides: Kansas City safety Eric Berry had a solid game, and he is improving after missing nearly all of last season with a torn ACL.

Chargers strike in fourth quarter: The Chargers didn’t score in the fourth quarter in October. On the first day of November, San Diego scored 21 points in the quarter.

What’s next: The Chargers play at Tampa Bay in a matchup with receiver Vincent Jackson, who departed San Diego in free agency in March. In another reunion game, Kansas City meets Pittsburgh and former coach Todd Haley on Nov. 12 on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Yes, another prime-time game for America’s worst professional football team.

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