Redskins, Jay Gruden

NFL Week 6: Notes and observations

The NFL promised the Game of the Year with the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots on Sunday night. Boy, they didn’t disappoint.

New England won a shootout with Patrick Mahoems and the Chiefs, 43-40, with Stephen Gostkowski kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired. The game appeared to be headed towards a rout after Mahomes threw his second interception to the game to cap the first half with New England leading 24-9.

Then, Mahomes and Kansas City got rolling something fierce in the second half, with the first-year starter throwing for four touchdowns in an explosive second half. All told, Mahomes launched four scoring strikes, giving him 18 for the season against only four interceptions.

 

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Still, it was Tom Brady leading New England down in the end as he has so many times before. Brady went for 340 yards and a score himself, finding the range late with big passes to Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan to seal the win.

If these two teams link up in the playoffs, it’s must-see TV.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers played a thriller at Paul Brown Stadium, only for the home team to come out on the agonizingly short end of the proverbial stick. Cincinnati was trailing 20-14 in the final two minutes before Joe Mixon ran in to the end zone, giving the Bengals a 21-20 lead. Incredibly, with 15 second left, Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown to beat the blitz on a 31-yard touchdown pass, putting Pittsburgh in the driver’s seat of a 27-21 win.

 

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Pittsburgh still trails both the Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens by a half-game in the AFC North, but it’s hard to see the Steelers as anything but the favorite. The Steelers have long owned this division, especially over the Bengals. At 3-2-1, Pittsburgh still has clear issues on the defensive side of the ball, but will that be enough to keep the Steelers from eventually overtaking Cincinnati or Baltimore? Tough to see it.

In the NFC, give credit to a couple of plucky teams in the East. The Dallas Cowboys were home underdogs against the Jacksonville Jaguars and methodically took them apart, winning 40-7 in a laugher at AT&T Stadium. At 3-3, Dallas is only a half-game behind the Washington Redskins, who throttled Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to improve to 3-2.

Washington isn’t going to overwhelm anybody on paper. The Redskins have some talent with Alex Smith, Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson and others, but so far they have proven to be greater than the sum of their parts. If Washington can find a way to beat Dallas this coming Sunday, it has to feel pretty good at 4-2 with a soft schedule ahead.

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