The week featured what is likely to be the play of the year in the Saints-49ers game when the 49ers faced 4th and 2 on their 33-yard line late in the game. George Kittle caught a short pass and bulldozed his way for 39-yard gain while his face mask was being pulled. Then the 15-yard penalty was added on and 49ers won with a late field goal.
The win vaulted the 49ers from fifth to first seed in the NFC while the Seahawks dropped from first to fifth with the loss to the Rams. It also means the Saints are in danger of going on the road if they get to the NFC title game, which is always challenging for a dome team.
In the AFC, Baltimore kept a grip on the top seed by beating Buffalo.
—Jimmy Garoppolo boosted his record to 19-4 with four touchdowns and 349 passing yards as he outdueled Drew Bree’s. The Saints scored on their first four possessions and lost. Going into the game, teams that scored on their first four possessions were 44-0 since 2000.
—The rejuvenated Rams beat the Seahawks with defense as they survived two interceptions by Jared Goff, including a Pick Six.
—The Ravens also relied on their defense as they held the Bills to 278 yards of offense as they retained the top seed in the AFC. They have now won nine in a row, seven against winning teams.
—Ryan Tannehill boosted his record to 6-1 since replacing Marcus Mariota as the Titans crushed the Raiders, but Derrick Henry has been the key to their four-game winning streak with 599 yards and seven touchdowns. He got 103 against the Raiders.
—The Eagles rallied for a tying touchdown in the fourth quarter and then marched for a game winning touchdown in overtime to beat the Giants and tie the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East. They did it even though Carson Wentz was down to one healthy receiver. But it is hard to imagine the Eagles going deep into the playoffs even if they make it.
—The home team usually gets the calls, but the officials blew critical calls that went against the Patriots in their loss at home to the Chiefs. They cost them two touchdowns, blowing the whistle on a scoop and score and nullifying a second touchdown by ruling the runner was out of bounds when he wasn’t. Still, the Patriots didn’t play well and Tom Brady seems to be showing his age.
—Kyle Allen apparently isn’t the Panthers quarterback of the future. After a 5-0 start, he has lost six of seven, including the loss to Atlanta. If they don’t keep Cam Newton, finding a new quarterback will be Job One for the new coach.
—The Houston Texans beat New England a week ago but then were drilled by Denver and rookie quarterback Drew Lock. The Texans now face the Titans twice in the last three weeks and are in danger of missing the playoffs.
—The Indianapolis Colts also are in danger of missing the playoffs after blowing a 14-point third quarter lead and losing to Tampa Bay. If they don’t make the playoffs, it will be the fourth time in the last five years they are failed to make it.
—The Lions fell to 3-9-1 with the loss to the Vikings but coach Matt Patricia tried to claim the team is better than its record. The team was 6-1 in his first season after replacing Jim Caldwell, who was fired for going 9-7. Patricia seems likely to be the latest Bill Belichick assistant to fail as a head coach.