A look back on Week 10 of the NFL’s 2017 season:
1. The New Orleans Saints beat the Buffalo Bills, 47-10, for their seventh victory in a row after a 0-2 start. The only other team to win seven in a row after an 0-2 start was Dallas in 1993, although that was because Emmitt Smith held out the first two games. The Saints crushed Buffalo on the ground, rushing for 298 yards and six touchdowns, becoming just the fifth team to rush for over 295 yards and six touchdowns in NFL history. Mark Ingram led the way with 131 yards and three touchdowns. The Bills are going in the opposite direction of the Saints. They started off 5-2 but have given up 492 rushing yards in their last two losses to the Jets and Saints. It is easy to say the Bills missed defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who was traded to Jacksonville, but that is probably too simplistic. The Bills have beaten only one winning team (Atlanta) and probably aren’t as good as they looked earlier. And quarterback Tyrod Taylor was benched for rookie Nathan Peterman late in the game, and Peterman will get his first start Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. It probably means the end of Taylor’s career in Buffalo, as he will likely move on next year.
2. It was no surprise that the Dallas Cowboy’ first game since Ezekiel Elliott started his suspension didn’t go well as they lost to Atlanta, 27-7. The surprise was that they missed left tackle Tyron Smith as much as they missed Elliott. Atlanta defensive end Adrian Clayborn had a career day against backup tackle Chaz Green. He had six sacks – one shy of league record of seven set by Derrick Thomas – along with seven quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. At 5-4, the Cowboys are in danger of missing the playoffs, and that’s not good for the league in an era of declining TV ratings because they’re the league’s best TV attraction.
3. The start of the Jimmy Garoppolo era in San Francisco was probably delayed when the 49ers beat the New York Giants, 31-21, as rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard had his best day, throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns and running for a third. The 49ers can’t make the switch to Garoppolo as long as Beathard keeps playing that well. Meanwhile, it was another embarrassing loss for the Giants and made coach Ben McAdoo’s hot seat even hotter, even though the Giants owners said they will make no decisions until the end of the year.
4. The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers remain tied for the best record in the AFC at 7-2 even though they did it in different ways. The Patriots clobbered the Denver Broncos, 41-16, while the Steelers had to rally to beat the Indianapolis Colts, 20-17. Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes for the Patriots, but they were helped by the fact the Broncos imploded as they muffed a punt, had a punt blocked and gave up Dion Lewis’ 103-yard kickoff return. The Broncos fell to 3-6, will likely miss the playoffs and GM John Elway has a lot of work to do in the offseason, starting with finding a quarterback. Meanwhile, the Steelers continued to be inconsistent as Le’Veon Bell gained only 80 yards in 26 carries and Antonio Brown caught only three passes for 17 yards. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns to help pull it out.
5. After three consecutive road victories, the surprising Los Angeles Rams returned home and crushed the Houston Texans, 33-7 to boost their record to 7-2, tied for the second best mark in the NFC with the Saints and Vikings. The Rams play at the Vikings Sunday. The Rams got off to a slow start, gaining only six yards in the first quarter and leading just 9-7 at halftime. But Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes in the third period to break the game and wound up with 355 total yards. The Rams appear headed to the playoffs in their second year in Los Angeles. And the Texans continue to struggle without quarterback Deshaun Watson and are probably out of the playoff chase at 3-6.