NFL Week 10 Recap: Record 6 game-deciding, Final-Play Field Goals
Taking on the “what have you done for me lately” mentality that is the NFL, we went into Sunday’s slate of games skeptical that it would match the entertainment value of Week 9.
How does an unprecedented six game-winning field goals in one weekend grab you?
Week 10 produced a batch of instant classics, including a dramatic AFC North clash in Baltimore. In another thriller, Texans Rookie sensation C.J. Stroud went to Cincinnati and stood toe to toe with his quarterback idol.
Elsewhere, in Jacksonville, the 49ers started their game in fifth gear and pretty much stayed there. The surging Cowboys continued to feast on Big Apple teams. A former No. 1 overall pick returned to his team, hoping to play spoiler in the desert. The Minnesota Vikings looked to keep rolling while riding perhaps the best storyline to come along this season.
And, in Buffalo...let us just say the term "12th man" is no longer used to describe a passionate fanbase.
Off we go to recap Week 10 of the NFL season.
—WEEK 10 RECAP—
Denver 24, Buffalo 21 (MNF)
Denver's Will Lutz made one of the aforementioned game-winning kicks — but not after a critical game-management misstep by Buffalo turned the placekicker from goat to hero.
Broncos QB Russell Wilson led a last-minute 57-yard drive — the key play a 28-yard pass interference call on Buffalo's Taron Johnson — to put Lutz in position to make his first chance at a game-winner. Lutz, who earlier missed two extra points, pushed the 41-yard kick wide right as the clock expired, giving the Bills an apparent win.
Except Buffalo was penalized for 12 men on the field. With a second chance at redemption, Lutz split the uprights on a 36-yarder, giving Denver the hard-fought win.
The game-winning drive came after Buffalo marched 75 yards for the go-ahead score. All the yardage on the drive came on the ground. The irony of a team dogged all season by a weak running game not once putting the ball in the air was not lost on most observers.
That drive seemed to encapsulate what an odd night it was for the Bills' offense. And a mistake-filled one. Running back James Cook, who finished with 109 yards, fumbled on the game's first play from scrimmage. Josh Allen threw two interceptions, including one at the very end of the first half that giftwrapped three points to Denver. Buffalo had three turnovers in its first six possessions, and a fourth came later when Allen fumbled in the third quarter.
For most of the evening, the road Broncos outplayed the Bills. They too ran the ball effectively and had a huge advantage over Buffalo in total plays and time of possession. Wilson looked the closest to his Seattle prime since becaming a Bronco last year, making acrobatic flips under duress and using his legs to keep plays alive. Wilson threw two touchdowns, none more spectacular than his off-balance fourth-down throw to Courtland Sutton, who somehow managed to keep both feet in bounds while securing the catch.
The seven-yard touchdown gave Denver a 9-0 lead. The Bills immediately responded with 75-yard scoring drive to make it 9-8, setting the stage for the drama to unfold in the second half.
The win puts the Broncos (4-5) remarkably close to joining the hunt for a wild card. The loss, at home, should certainly concern the 5-5 Bills, who now likely have survival on their minds rather than a deep playoff run.
(Update: In the wake of their loss to Denver, the Bills fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey Tuesday. Quarterbacks coach Joe Brady will take over as interim OC. Interestingly, the special teams coach is still employed.)
Raiders 16, New York Jets 12 (SNF)
For the second straight week, the Jets' offense polluted the nation's prime-time airwaves and cost the team a chance to improve its position in the AFC wild card race.
Another late-game interception by Zach Wilson shortcircuited the Jets' best chance to nail down a crucial road win. New York (4-5) saw one final opportunity fall short when a Wilson Hail Mary throw on the game's final play fell incomplete.
Wilson's interception, made by Vegas' Robert Spillane at the Vegas 15-yard line with 1:22 left, ruined what was an otherwise solid performance by him — 263 yards on 23-of-39 passing and 54 yards rushing. The Jets' offensive line, torn apart last Monday my Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, gave up just two sacks and neutralized Raiders DE Maxx Crosby (zero sacks) as best it could.
For the Raiders (5-5), they did not get a huge game from QB Aidan O'Connell, but he limited the turnovers (one INT) against a tenacous and thievish Jets pass defense. However, New York's defense once again encountered problems defending the run. Las Vegas RB Josh Jacobs ran for 116 yards and dominated on the Raiders touchdrive drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters. O'Connell capped off the march with a seven-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Michael Mayer to give Vegas a 16-9 lead.
Indianapolis 10, New England 6 (Frankfurt, Germany)
In the only thing less entertaining to German fans than spending a Sunday Oktoberfest in Boston, this game featured little spark or points after each team mounted scoring drives on their opening possessions.
The Patriots (2-8) scored first on a 37-yard field goal by Chad Ryland. The Colts (5-5) took their opening drive 75 yards on 14 plays, with RB Jonathan Taylor banging it over from one yard out.
From then on, nothing much to speak of — well, that is not entirely true: The Patriots moved the ball well enough, totaling 21 first downs and 340 total yards.
But then Mac Jones started hanging around with turnovers again.
Jones committed just one miscue but it was punishing. Midway through the fourth, Colts safety Julian Blackmon picked off a Jones pass intended for TE Mike Gesiki at the 1-yard line, effectively ending the quarterback's day. An exasperated Bill Belichick turned to backup Bailey Zappe, but he too threw an interception later in the fourth.
Not all the blame for the loss can be pinned on New England quarterbacks. Though the Patriots and Rhamondre Stevenson (88 yards) ran the ball fairly well, the offensive line still allowed five sacks.
The Colts should feel fortunate in coming away with a win, despite putting up 10 points and failing to run the ball effectively. Taylor picked up 69 of the team’s 70 yards rushing, but his running back partner Zack Moss, who came in third in the NFL in rushing, carried the ball just one time for two yards. A curious usage rate to be sure.
Indianapolis even its record and draws a game closer to AFC South-leading Jacksonville, who was about to be annihilated across the pond.
San Francisco 34, Jacksonville 3
The 49ers defense returned to its hell-raising self, and San Francisco (6-3) roared out of the gate to blast host Jacksonville (6-3), ending its three-game losing streak. QB Brock Purdy finished 19-of-26 for 296 yards, and threw touchdown passes to three different receivers, including an impressive season-long scoring toss of 66 yards to George Kittle. The star tight end finished with three catches for 116 yards.
On defense, the pairing of newcomer Chase Young with fellow Ohio State teammate Nick Bosa paid immediate dividends. The two came together on a sack of Jags QB Jacob Lawrence in the second quarter, with Bosa stripping the ball from Lawrence on the way to the ground. The turnover was one of three collected by 49ers defense. During their three-game skid, the unit managed just four turnovers total.
Lawrence was harried most of the day and played maybe his worst game of the season. The much-criticized 49ers defensive line, reinforced by Young’s arrival, sacked Lawrence five times, with Bosa and Javon Hargrave each recording one and a half sacks.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense, which led the league in generating turnovers, produced none. The 49ers offense found their running game (144 yards), which set up their play-action passing game and gave Purdy time to throw.
The only “blemish” on San Francisco’s victory was that star RB Christian McCaffrey failed to score a TD, ending his NFL record-tying streak consecutive games with at least one score at 17. We are guessing that CMC, who still churned out 95 yards rushing and 142 all-purpose yards, is happy to trade sole possession of some NFL history for shared possession of the NFC West lead.
Cleveland 33, Baltimore 31
Dustin Hopkins kicked a 40-yard field goal, his fourth field goal of the game, with no time left on the clock to punctuate a tremendous Browns comeback and a shocking loss for Baltimore (7-3).
Given the stakes between two division rivals, this tussle packed in the most drama of any Week 10 game.
It did not start out that way. After Kyle Hamilton deflected a pick-six to himself on the second play of the game, and rookie running back Keaton Mitchell burst 39 yards for a score, it looked like another M&T bank runaway for the Ravens.
Down 14-0, then 17-3, then by as many as 15 points, the Browns kept chipping away until, in the fourth quarter, they scored 14 points in a span of 41 seconds. Cleveland safety Greg Newsome II — reportedly a game-time decision with an injury — picked off a Lamar Jackson pass deflected by Cleveland’s Ogbo Okoronkwo and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown to pull the Browns within a single point.
Hopkins, who made four field goals on the day, missed the ensuing extra point to tie the game. But the Browns defense forced a Baltimore punt, and Deshaun Watson drove his offense 58 yards to set up Hopkins’ game-winner. Overlooked in that final drive was a great play by Browns offensive tackle Wyatt Teller, who dove on top of a Watson fumble to retain possession for Cleveland.
Playing against the top two defenses in the NFL, neither Watson nor Lamar Jackson stuffed the stat sheet. Key to Cleveland staying close was the running game, led by Jerome Ford’s 117 yards on 17 carries. WR Amari Cooper totaled 98 yards on six catches and Elijah Moore caught Watson’s lone TD pass in the fourth quarter, moments before Newsome’s game-changing INT return.
For the Ravens, Odell Beckham Jr. made one of his biggest plays since joining Baltimore, grabbing Jackson’s only TD throw, a 40-yard score.
Cleveland (6-3) moves to within a game of the Ravens in the AFC North. Baltimore lost not only a game off their lead but perhaps the aura of invincibility the team established at home in recent wins.
Houston 30, Cincinnati 27
Houston placekicker Matt Ammendola connected on 38-yard field goal with time running out to win a thriller on the road for the Texans.
Houston QB C.J. Stroud continues to astound. In besting maybe the hottest team and quarterback in the NFL, the standout rookie QB passed for 356 yards, threw for one touchdown and ran for another. His TD pass went to fellow rookie Tank Dell, a six-yard strike that tied the game, 7-7. Stroud’s eight-yard run up the middle early in the fourth quarter gave Houston a 10-point lead.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals stormed back to tie the game at 27, but Stroud drove the offense drove 55 yards, with receiver Noah Brown catching a Stroud 22-yard pass with 15 seconds remaining to set up Ammendola’s game-winner, his third field goal of day. For the second week in a row, Brown came through with an enormous performance: seven catches, 172 yards (24.6 average). The other major star for the Texans, RB Devin Singletary, ground out 150 yards on a whopping 30 carries and a touchdown run.
Burrow also threw for big yards (347) and two TDs, one a 66-yard bomb to his favorite target, Ja’Marr Chase, who finished with six catches and 124 yards receiving. The Bengals QB also threw two interceptions, both in the fourth quarter with the Bengals trailing 27-17, but Houston did not capitalize on either to build its lead.
A crushing loss for the Bengals (5-4), who missed an opportunity to close within a game of first-place Baltimore in the AFC North. For Houston (5-4)…we are beginning to wonder whether the “C” in “C.J.” stands for Cinderella.
Pittsburgh 23, Green Bay 19
Pittsburgh safety Damontae Kazee intercepted a Jordan Love pass at the Steelers’ 2-yard line with two seconds remaining to shut down the Packers’ final threat and preserve the four-point win. Kazee’s theft was the second consecutive Green Bay drive shut down by an interception. The first came when Steelers safety Keanu Neal intercepted Love off a deflection by veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson with 3:20 left.
Love did his best to lead Green Bay (3-6) back into the game, throwing for 289 yards and two TDs. But the two interceptions were killers.
In a game featuring two notoriously slow starting offenses, both squads took their respective opening drives for touchdowns. For Pittsburgh (6-3), it was the second straight game in which scored a TD on their first drive. In fact, they scored TDs on their first two drives and led 17-7 midway through the second quarter. So much for slow starts
A 35-yard scoring strike from QB Jordan Love to rookie Jayden Reed brought Green Bay to within 17-13 at the half.
Aside from the Love interceptions, the difference in the game was Pittsburgh’s ability able to move the ball on the ground. Struggling to find a consistent running game all year, the Steelers busted out today, rushing for a season-high 205 yards. Jaylen Warren rushed for 101 yards and scored Pittsburgh’s second TD on a 16-yard bolt.
Minnesota 27, New Orleans 19
Josh Dobbs threw for one touchdown and ran for another and the Vikings’ defense held off a furious late Saints rally to lock down Minnesota’s fifth straight win.
Dobbs, still finding his way around his new home, threw for 268 yards. But as he did in his Vikings debut in Week 9, the quarterback dazzled viewers and frustrated defenders with his legs. On his seven-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Dobbs spun out of a collapsing pocket, broke containment and outran New Orleans defensive backs into the end zone to make it 17-3 Minnesota. On the day, Dobbs ran for 44 yards.
It did not look like things were going to improve for a New Orleans offense that could neither run the ball nor move it through the air. Down 27-3 midway through through the third quarter, starting QB Derek Carr was shaken up after taking a vicious hit from two Vikings defenders. Jameis Winston (13-of-25, 122 yards) replaced him and threw touchdown passes to A.T. Perry and Chris Olave, respectively.
The TD pass to Olave brought the Saints to within a single possession.
With less than five minutes remaining, New Orleans had two chances to tie the game but both possessions ended with Winston interceptions deep in Vikings territory.
The Vikings (6-4) find themselves two games behind Detroit but now are in the thick of the wild-card chase. They visit Denver next week. Imagine telling a Minnesota fan when the Vikes were 1-4 that their team would reel off five straight wins without Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins. They would have thought you lost your mind.
Tampa Bay 20, Tennessee 6
Tampa Bay QB Baker Mayfield threw two touchdowns and the Bucs’ defense frustrated Tennessee QB Will Levis as Tampa pulled into a tie for NFC South lead.
RB Rachaad White put the Bucs' offense in a gear when he took a Mayfield screen pass 43 yards to give Tampa a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
Mayfield, who finished 18-of-29 for 278 yards, threw his second TD of the day, to Mike Evans, who fought through tacklers on his way to a 19-yard score near the end of the third. The TD put the Bucs up, 17-3. Evans came up huge with six catches and 143 receiving yards.
From that point onward, Tennessee (3-6) abandoned Derrick Henry and the running game. For the day, the Titans’ offense could manage just two Nick Folk field goals. Brilliant in his four-touchdown debut in Week 8, Levis came back to earth. He completed less than 50 percent of his 39 pass attempts, and the Tampa D held the rookie to 3.9 yards per pass play, intercepted him once (Antoine Winfield, Jr. doing the honors), and sacked him four times. The defense also held Henry to 24 yards on 11 carries.
With the Saints losing, the Bucs (4-5) pull within one-half game of first place in the NFC South.
Detroit 41, Los Angeles Chargers 38
What looked to be a potential barnburner almost set nearby crops ablaze. Lions’ placekicker Riley Patterson kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to lift Detroit (7-2) to victory and keep the Lions within a game of idle Philadelphia for the NFC’s best record.
The game was filled with offensive fireworks throughout, but the two offenses really put on mesmerizing show in the fourth. And the biggest plays came on fourth down.
On 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Chargers QB Justin Herbert hit Quentin Johnson for the rookie reciever’s first NFL touchdown to tie the game, 31-31, early in the fourth. Detroit responded with quarterback Jared Goff finding tight end Brock Wright to culminate a seven-play 75-yard drive. Back came Los Angeles. On 4th-and-1, Herbert threw a 38-yard TD to Keenan Allen, who weaved his way into the end zone with 3:34 left.
Detroit’s game-winning drive started with a 40-yard catch and run by WR Kalif Raymond. With 1:47 left, and at the Chargers’ 26-yard line, the Lions converted a 4th-and-2, and then ran down the clock before Patterson’s game-winner.
All told, the two teams posted 954 yards of total offense. Facing star edge rushers for both teams, neither offensive line gave up a sack. Given consistent protection, both quarterbacks were terrific. Herbert threw 323 yards and four touchdowns, two of them to the veteran Allen, who caught 11 passes for 175 yards and continued his brilliant 2023 season.
For the Lions, running back David Montgomery returned to the lineup and rushed for 116 yards, 75 of them coming on a late second-quarter TD run.
Detroit maintains its two-game cushion over the Vikings in the NFC North. For the Chargers (4-5)…yet another brutal late-game loss that drops them farther behind in the AFC wild-card race. Coach Brandon Staley's seat is now just a little warmer.
Seattle 29, Washington 26
Jason Meyers kicked a 43-yard field goal with no time remaining to keep Seattle (6-3) in first place in the NFC West. Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith drove his team 50 yards to set up Meyers’ kick, making two critical throws to receiver D.K. Metcalf of 17 and 25 yards.
The Seattle drive came shortly after Washington quarterback Sam Howell tied the game in dramatic fashion, connecting with WR Dyami Brown for a 35-yard score. It was Brown’s first NFL touchdown.
An important game for both teams and a tightly contested battle throughout, neither squad enjoyed a lead bigger than a single possession. Despite the 91 combined passes they threw, neither Howell nor Smith were intercepted.
The Commanders (4-6) opened the scoring when QB Howell stepped up against pressure and flipped a short pass to RB Brian Robinson, who ran untouched along the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown. Howell posted his third strong performance in a row, throwing for 312 yards, with Robinson’s catch and run the first of three touchdown passes.
Howell’s counterpart for Seattle, Smith, enjoyed a big day himself, throwing for 367 yards and two scores. The most electrifying was the 64-yard catch and run by Kenneth Walker II, which gave Seattle its first lead, 16-12, early in the second half. Walker also chipped in with 64 yards rushing.
The tough loss damages for the time being the Commanders’ hopes for a wild card. Seattle remains tied with victorious San Francisco, with a Thanksgiving night matchup between the two teams looming.
Arizona 25, Atlanta 23
In another late-window down-to-the-wire game, Arizona QB Kyler Murray drove his team 70 yards to set up a winning 23-yard field goal by Matt Prater to give the Cardinals their second win of the season.
Murray, a former No. 1 overall pick, returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 14 of last season. He finished 19-of-32 for 249 yards. But even more than the statistics, Murray's playmaking gave a jolt to a dormant franchise sorely in need of kickstart.
Nowhere was that more evident than on the Cardinals' game-winning drive, when, on a critical 3rd-and-10, Murray eluded pressure, reversed his field and picked up 13 yards into Atlanta territory. He then completed a 33-yard pass to tight end Trey McBride to set up Prater's short game-winner. McBride was Murray's go-to guy most of the day, catching eight passes for 131 yards.
Running back James Conner returned from injury and led the Cardinals in rushing with 73 yards.
For the Falcons (4-6), the spoiled the best day in weeks for rookie back Bijan Robinson, who rushed for 95 yards on 22 carries.
But the Falcons' passing game was nowhere to be found. The QB combination of Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder threw for just 84 yards — an uncomfortable reminder to Arizona fans of their own offense's dismal performance a week ago in Cleveland. Heinicke injured his hamstring in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Ridder, the former starter. Ridder took the Falcons on a touchdown drive, scoring himself on a nine-yard scramble. The score put Atlanta up 23-22 with 3:10 left.
Plenty of time for Murray to work his magic.
For Atlanta, this was a wrenching loss, as the team blew a golden opportunity to move into a tie for the NFC South lead. For Arizona, the return of Murray will not rescue the season, but he should provide enough electrifying plays to keep Cardinals fans entertained through December.
Dallas 49, New York Giants 17
The Cowboys (6-3) finished up its series with the Giants (2-8) in convincing fashion. The combined score of the two games? 89-17.
The eye-popping lopsidedness speaks as much to the Giants’ ineptitude as it does to Dallas’ lethality. The New York offense finished with 171 total yards, but even that number was padded by a 75-yard drive late in the game.
Giants QB Tommy DeVito could have been Danny DeVito for all that he and 86 passing yards accomplished — though Dallas’ defense and New York’s woeful offensive line accounted for much of the young quarterback’s struggles. Dallas sacked DeVito five times and forced him into an interception.
His counterpart, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, accounted for five TDs on the day, four throwing and one rushing. He distributed his touchdown passes to four different receivers, including to CeeDee Lamb, who continued his scorching midseason roll with another 11 catches and 151 yards receiving. In each of his last three games, Lamb racked up double digits in receptions and 150+ receiving yards. During that same stretch, Prescott threw 11 touchdown passes. Dallas’ recovery from the blowout loss to the 49ers in Week 5 clearly coincided with Prescott and Lamb magnetizing their connection.
Dallas stays within striking distance of the idle Eagles for the NFC East lead. As for the Giants, there is one positive contribution they make to New York faithful: “Thank God for the Giants,” Jets fans can heard muttering.
Chicago 19, Carolina 16 (Thursday Night Football)
In a mostly defensive struggle that saw just one offensive touchdown and 10 total points in the second half, the Bears withstood a last-minute Carolina march to come away with the win.
Trailing by three with seven minutes remaining, the Panthers went on a tortuous 15-play drive but made it no closer than Chicago’s 41-yard line. Facing 4th-and-10 with 1:40 left, the Panthers opted for a 59-yard field goal attempt by kicker Eddy Pineiro to tie the game. It fell short.
Chicago trailed 10-9 at halftime thanks to a 79-yard punt return by Ihmir Smith-Marsette, which gave the Panthers a 7-0 first-quarter lead. In the third quarter, the Bears special teams and defense pinned Carolina deep and forced a punt. Taking over already in Panthers territory, Tyson Bagent and the Chicago offense went 38 yards in nine plays, going ahead when RB D’Onta Foreman plunged in from four yards out.
Foreman was the offensive star for the Bears. His 83 yards helped Bagent and the offense control both the clock and field position. Bagent completed 20 of 33 passes for 162 yards. He did not throw a TD pass but he also avoided the turnovers that sank Chicago in the fourth quarter against New Orleans.
His counterpart for Carolina, Bryce Young, also played error free football — remarkably, there were no turnovers in the game — which was noteworthy given the pressure the rookie QB faced much of the night. The Bears sacked Young three times, and newcomer Montez Sweat recorded six pressures.
Yes, pass protection is apparently not in the job requirements of a Panthers’ offensive lineman. Given that size and durability questions surrounded their franchise quarterback heading into the draft, the Carolina coaching staff and front office must secretly wish that this season could end now.
Then they could focus on building up their offensive line in free agency and next spring’s draft.