On Sunday, Lamar Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens in a stellar effort against the Detroit Lions, while the New England Patriots took on the visiting Buffalo Bills and came out victorious, earning Bill Belichick the 300th win of his career. And in the highest-scoring affair of the day so far, the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts went back and forth trading scores in the fourth quarter until the Browns prevailed.
Our NFL Nation reporters reacted to all the action, answering lingering questions coming out of each game and picking out who — or what — is rising and falling for every team. Let’s get to it.
What is up with Deshaun Watson? Watson exited the game in the first quarter after taking a shot from Colts DE Dayo Odeyingbo. The team announced that Watson had cleared the concussion protocol, but it didn’t say why he didn’t return. Watson had missed Cleveland’s previous two games with a rotator cuff strain in his right (throwing) shoulder. It’s unclear whether he reinjured the shoulder. It’s also unclear when the $230 million passer will be back on the field again. “I just did not want to put him back out there,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I wanted to protect our franchise quarterback. That was my decision.”
Stock up after the win: DE Myles Garrett. Garrett delivered one of the best performances of his All-Pro career, becoming the first player since at least 2000 to have two sacks, force two fumbles and block a field goal — all of which led to 17 of Cleveland’s points.
Stock down after the win: Passing game. With the quarterback uncertainty, the Cleveland passing attack remains a shell of what the Browns were hoping it could be going into the season. Watson and PJ Walker were a combined 16 of 37 for 166 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns. — Jake Trotter
Next game: at Seahawks (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
How far can the Colts go with Gardner Minshew at QB? The Colts got an uneven performance from Minshew as he committed four turnovers (one interception, three fumbles) a week after he turned it over three times in a loss to the Jaguars. But Minshew also took advantage of opportunities as he threw two TD passes and rushed for two more. If the Colts want to remain competitive with Anthony Richardson on injured reserve, then Minshew is going to have to play a bit cleaner, so the Colts aren’t having to overcome his giveaways.
Stock up after the loss: CB Kenny Moore II. He finished with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks, providing a huge presence as a pass-defender, pass-rusher and in run support. It was the kind of all-around performance that earned Moore the reputation of being one of the better nickel cornerbacks in the game.
Stock down after the loss: HC Shane Steichen. The Colts had a good game plan but also had to overcome some curious decisions, including a 60-yard field goal attempt early in a tight game that was blocked by Myles Garrett, and using a deep pass drop in the end zone with Minshew in the final moments of the second quarter — leading to a defensive touchdown. — Stephen Holder
Next game: vs. Saints (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Kareem Hunt powers in late go-ahead TD for Browns
Kareem Hunt fights through tackles to give the Browns a lead with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Why is Atlanta having red zone turnover problems? It might be because the offense’s best option, Bijan Robinson, was primarily used as a decoy for reasons unclear. But either way, quarterback Desmond Ridder, following a 2-yard touchdown run on the Falcons’ first drive, proceeded to lose three red zone fumbles — marking the first time that has happened in 45 years. It also marks the first time a team had three red zone turnovers of any kind in a game since quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions for the New York Jets in 2016. It’s beyond Ridder, though. Critical errors have plagued the offense. But a game-winning drive, once again punctuated by a Younghoe Koo field goal, saved the day.
Stock up after the win: RB Tyler Allgeier. With Robinson barely used, Allgeier became the featured back and had 20 carries for 59 yards and 53 receiving yards, highlighted by a career-long 46-yard reception.
Stock down after the win: CB A.J. Terrell. Terrell didn’t necessarily have a bad game, but he had three big penalties called on him, which is a rarity for Atlanta’s top cornerback. — Michael Rothstein
Next game: at Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Can the Bucs remain afloat if they have to rely on the defense? The defense was able to recover three fumbles in the red zone, but pre-snap penalties, a paltry 41 rushing yards from the running backs and more struggles on third down were certainly not what quarterback Baker Mayfield envisioned when he called for the offense to get “pissed off” and “put more points on the board” last week. Running back Rachaad White‘s production in the passing game was encouraging, but they need more from the offense.
Stock up after the loss: The defensive rookies. Defensive tackle Calijah Kancey had a half sack (to go with his first career sack last week) and linebacker Yaya Diaby recovered a botched snap at the Tampa Bay 3-yard line.
Stock down after the loss: QB Baker Mayfield. Mayfield led a drive late in the fourth quarter that set up a game-tying field goal with less than a minute left, but he also overthrew tight end Cade Otton and was intercepted with the Bucs trailing by three and in field goal range on the previous drive. — Jenna Laine
Next game: at Bills (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Desmond Ridder fumbles 3 times vs. Bucs
Desmond Ridder turns the ball over three times against the Buccaneers.
Can this spark some sort of run? The four-game losing streak is over. The Giants finally scored a touchdown after almost four games of offensive impotence. Wink Martindale’s defensive unit had six sacks after recording five over the first six games. They allowed just one touchdown, which came on a short field after a muffed punt. The Giants now have a chance to string together some wins with upcoming games against the Jets and Raiders. It’ll help that quarterback Daniel Jones and left tackle Andrew Thomas have a realistic chance of returning next week.
Stock up after the win: TE Darren Waller. It was only a matter of time given the talent and target share, but Waller finally had a breakout game as New York’s No. 1 receiver with seven catches on eight targets for 98 yards and his first touchdown as a Giant.
Stock down after the win: The punt returners. The Giants muffed two punts Sunday, including one by Sterling Shepard that changed the shape of the game. Shepard was in for rookie Eric Gray, who muffed one earlier in the contest as his struggles continued. — Jordan Raanan
Next game: vs. Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Where do they go from here? Washington has now lost to the previously 0-4 Chicago Bears and the previously 1-5 New York Giants in the past three weeks. The Commanders have looked woeful at times on offense, and their defense has not lived up to expectations. They are now 3-4 with an upcoming home game versus Philadelphia and then hit the road for two weeks. This was a measuring-stick season for the football staff, and they have yet to make a case for their 2024 return.
Stock up after the loss: WR Terry McLaurin. The wideout finished with 90 yards on six catches — all coming in the second half and providing the only real energy on offense.
Stock down after the loss: The offensive line. It generated no push in the run game, allowed six sacks (to be fair, the game plan didn’t help them at all) and were called for seven penalties. — John Keim
Next game: vs. Eagles (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Saquon shakes off multiple Commanders for a 32-yard TD
Tyrod Taylor throws short to Saquon Barkley, who weaves through tackles and scores a 32-yard touchdown.
Can this performance be the catalyst for the Patriots to turn their season around? The Patriots are still 2-5, but this is something players needed to experience — a clutch win in the final minutes in a back-and-forth game against one of the NFL’s better teams. QB Mac Jones hadn’t led a comeback win like it in his career. It looked like the Patriots were going to blow it in the fourth quarter, only to show impressive resolve on the game-winning drive that ended with tight end Mike Gesicki‘s touchdown catch with 12 seconds remaining. They started faster and outside of a late fumble by receiver Kendrick Bourne, took care of the football (even turnover differential), which is a winning formula.
Stock up after the win: WR Demario Douglas. The 2023 sixth-round pick out of Liberty is the team’s most dynamic playmaker, as he provided the type of spark the offense badly needed after returning from missing last week due to a concussion (4 catches for 54 yards; 1 rush for 20 yards; 1 punt return for 25 yards).
Stock down after the win: Defensive backs. Jabrill Peppers missed a tackle on James Cook‘s 8-yard TD catch in the third quarter, fellow starting safety Kyle Dugger whiffed on third-and-15 on the ensuing drive, and CB J.C. Jackson couldn’t bring down Stefon Diggs on his 25-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter. — Mike Reiss
Next game: at Dolphins (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Can the Bills’ offense reverse the trend of slow starts? The Bills’ offense has a problem. Over the past three games, the team has averaged 5.7 points in the first three quarters of each game (second lowest in the league) and was forced to attempt late comebacks, only one of which was successful. It’s a stunning reversal from the three straight games of 37-plus points that preceded this stretch. Quarterback Josh Allen was pressured on a season-high 42.9% of dropbacks Sunday, one of several things that needs to be corrected.
Stock up after the loss: TE Dalton Kincaid. After missing last week’s game while in concussion protocol, the rookie got more involved in the offense, finishing as the Bills’ leading receiver and setting career highs in targets (eight), receptions (eight) and receiving yards (75).
Stock down after the loss: Defensive tackles. The Bills will be without DaQuan Jones (pectoral) for significant time, but with Ed Oliver (toe) out of this game, the depth problems at defensive tackle were on full display. The Patriots averaged 4 yards per carry, up from their season average of 3.4, and quarterback Mac Jones was pressured on just 20% of his dropbacks. — Alaina Getzenberg
Next game: vs. Buccaneers (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Does this win stamp the Ravens as a Super Bowl contender? An emphatic yes. Baltimore destroyed an upstart Lions team that entered tied for the best record in the NFL and on a streak of four straight wins by double digits. The Ravens ran the Lions out of M&T Bank Stadium from the start, becoming only the second team in the NFL this season to hold a 28-point lead in the first half. Lamar Jackson looked like an NFL MVP again, leading Baltimore to touchdowns on its first four drives. After disappointing losses to the Colts and Steelers, several Ravens players talked this week about how this team should be undefeated. This was Baltimore’s statement game — one with an exclamation point. This was the third-largest margin of victory against a team with the NFL’s best record entering Week 7 or later, according to research from the Elias Sports Bureau.
Stock up after the win: Jackson. This was among Jackson’s best passing games of his career. He finished with his second-most passing yards (357) and threw three touchdowns for the first time since Week 3 of last season.
Stock down after the win: RB Justice Hill. He was part of a botched exchange with Jackson that led to Baltimore’s eighth lost fumble, which is tied for second most in the NFL. Jackson had words with Hill after the play and threw his helmet at the bench on the sideline. Hill finished with four carries for 27 yards and one 2-yard target. — Jamison Hensley
Next game: at Cardinals (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Did Lamar Jackson expose the Lions’ defense? The Lions allowed the Ravens to score a touchdown on each of their first four possessions, led by dual playmaker Lamar Jackson. Detroit, which has struggled against mobile quarterbacks dating back to last year, allowed Jackson to set the tone early with 156 passing yards in the opening quarter alone. After the Lions held Tampa Bay to six points last week, they let the Ravens put up 503 total yards of offense with 38 points.
Stock up after the loss: RB Jahmyr Gibbs. There weren’t many positives to take away from Sunday, but Gibbs returned from a two-game absence with a hamstring injury to score the Lions’ first touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter — also the first of his NFL career. Without David Montgomery, Detroit’s ground attack got off to a slow start, but the No. 12 overall pick was one of the few bright spots in the Lions’ first road loss of the season as he ended with 68 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards while getting the majority of the rushing workload.
Stock down after the loss: QB Jared Goff. The Ravens’ defense has given the veteran fits throughout his career as they’re one of two teams he never has thrown a touchdown against, including the Pittsburgh Steelers. Goff struggled again while under constant pressure, completing just 33 of 53 passes for 284 yards. Detroit had 337 total net yards. Goff is now 0-3 versus Baltimore in his career. — Eric Woodyard
Next game: vs. Raiders (Monday, Oct. 30, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Lamar Jackson picks up 4 TDs in dominant win
Lamar Jackson shines with three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, leading the Ravens to a huge win over the Lions at home.
How did Tyson Bagent unlock the Bears offense? The rookie quarterback was efficient (21-of-29, 162 yards, TD), calm and in control during his first career start in place of an injured Justin Fields. He threw with anticipation and connected with seven different receivers in the passing game. The elements of this offense that had struggled in recent weeks seemed to find solutions with Bagent at QB, like the screen game (5-for-5 for 30 yards) and third down conversions (8-of-13). Bagent’s poise helped the Bears earn their first home win since Sept. 25, 2022, and gives the offense something to build on entering Week 8.
Stock up after the win: RB D’Onta Foreman. The Bears running back had a team-high 89 rushing yards (5.6 yards per carry) and put himself among a list of Chicago greats when he rushed for two touchdowns and caught a TD pass, becoming the fifth Bear to do so in the same game in the last 60 seasons, joining the company of Matt Forte, Neal Anderson, Walter Payton and Gale Sayers.
Stock down after the win: Offense’s clock management. Chicago botched an opportunity to lead a two-minute drive at the end of the first half after burning 27 seconds between a 6-yard reception by Darnell Mooney and third-down catch by DJ Moore that got the offense to the Vegas 47-yard line. The Bears only used one of their three timeouts, and not until after Bagent was sacked and created a third-and-17 from the Bears’ 46-yard line. — Courtney Cronin
Next game: at Chargers (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
Can Jimmy Garoppolo ‘fix’ the offense next week? He better, after the offense looked so listless under Brian Hoyer against the Bears. Hoyer, in his 15th NFL season, got the start in place of Garoppolo, out with an injured back, because he ostensibly gave the Raiders a better chance of success than rookie Aidan O’Connell. The plan backfired as Hoyer was just 17 of 32 for 129 yards and two interceptions, including a pick-six, with several more off-target throws before being benched in the fourth quarter. The defeat extended his personal losing streak to 13 games, dating to 2016.
Stock up after the loss: WR Davante Adams. After voicing his frustrations on not being a bigger role on the offense, the All-Pro receiver had three catches for 29 yards on the Raiders’ first drive, bettering and equaling his numbers from last week’s game (two catches for 29 yards). In fact, through three drives, Hoyer was 5-of-7 for 48 yards targeting Adams, 0-for-3 with an INT targeting all others as Adams finished with seven catches for 57 yards on 11 targets.
Stock down after the loss: Rush defense. Sure, the Bears entered the game with the NFL’s No. 7-ranked rushing offense, but the way Chicago ran over and around the Raiders could provide a chilling blueprint for future opponents. The Bears rumbled for 173 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, as Foreman had two rushing TDs and another through the air. — Paul Gutierrez
Next game: at Lions (Monday, Oct. 30, 8:15 p.m. ET)
What will it take for the Jaguars to put teams away? The past three weeks have been the same story: build a lead early, stagnate on offense, allow the opponent to come back and make a play late to win. It’s not a sustainable way to win in the NFL. The defense is doing its part — a league-high 16 forced turnovers — but the offense has yet to put together a complete game. Getting injured players back should help, but so would playing better in the third quarter. The Jaguars average 210 yards (62 rushing) in the first half, but just 59 and 27 in the third quarter.
Stock up after the win: QB Trevor Lawrence. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to play Thursday because of a sprained left knee, but all he did was rush for a career-high 63 yards and beat out Saints RB Alvin Kamara by a yard to be the game’s leading rusher. It certainly wasn’t planned for him to run five times, but he wasn’t going to limit himself.
Stock down after the win: WR Calvin Ridley. He was targeted only four times — and the first didn’t come until the third quarter — and had just one catch for 5 yards. That was mainly because the Saints put CB Marshon Lattimore on him. — Mike DiRocco
Next game: at Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
How do the Saints get on the same page offensively? The Saints have 10 long days to figure out how to fix their problems that have plagued them since the opener. The Saints continue to mention inconsistency and miscommunication issues, but as the midpoint of the season draws close, they need to figure out ways to work as a unit on offense.
Stock up after the loss: RB Alvin Kamara. The offense hasn’t come close to putting it together, but Kamara was the only one consistently making plays — catching 12 passes for 91 yards, his fourth-highest total for receptions in a game.
Stock down after the loss: QB Derek Carr. Coach Dennis Allen said that “somehow, some way” Carr and the receivers need to get on the same page after another game in which he passed for 300 yards but couldn’t find a way to score when it counted. — Katherine Terrell
Next game: at Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)