Winston was downright brutal in the first half, completing just 8 of 16 passes for 71 yards. He was better in the second half, leading the Bucs to a near comeback. But the early damage was done. Winston ended his night with 334 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-46 passing.
Perhaps the Patriots defense finally woke up after being the worst in the league over the past three weeks, but Winston’s performance simply wasn’t good enough. He badly overthrew his receivers, sailing passes over their heads multiple times. He got happy feet in the pocket, panicking and dumping off checkdowns instead of waiting for receivers to get open. He should’ve had an interception that went through a Patriots defender’s hands. He didn’t throw his first touchdown until deep into the fourth quarter, and his heroic comeback efforts were too little, too late.
We’re looking at that. A lot of times you got someone in there, you got a missed tackle, you got everyone else coming through the ball, you got a pileup going and he squirts out. It’s just not acceptable. They shouldn’t happen and we understand that.
A bounce-back win over the Raiders this week coupled with a home win against the Denver Broncos (3-2) next week would give the Chiefs a commanding lead in the division and put them in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s top playoff seed at the season’s midpoint.
We understand where we’re at, we understand what happened Sunday, Smith said. I think a little bit you’re flushing that. You realize what a big game this is — on the road, short week, division game, Raiders. I think that’s enough said. We’ve got to go full steam ahead, do whatever we can to get a win.
The short week, however, presents a different set of challenges. Del Rio knows from experience, having played in four Thursday games during his career as an NFL linebacker.
The Packers have run RPO concepts with Rodgers in the past, and they might rely more heavily on those plays with Hundley to try to create quicker reads while relying on the offense’s playmakers to do work after the catch.
The Jaguars are 3-3 and have alternated wins and losses, but they’re still tied for first place in the AFC South. That’s why there should be no panic. Every team in the division is flawed and it’s not unreasonable to think that a .500 record could win it. The Jaguars have the easiest remaining schedule, so if they can find a way to string a couple of victories together they can make a bit of a run. But the offense has to start making some plays in the pass game for that to happen, because the defense has carried the team thus far. — Mike DiRocco
Bradford definitely dodged a major bullet. If he would have torn his left ACL for the third time in his career, he would have missed the season — and the Vikings probably wouldn’t re-sign him in 2018. Bradford missed 25 games in his career because of two consecutive ACL tears.
However, Bradford isn’t completely healthy.
At this point, you’re going to have to play through some discomfort, Bradford said after practice Friday. I would like it to be 100 percent, but I don’t even know if that’s possible until the bye week or the end of the year.
As of right now, though, the Vikings and Bradford can divert their attention to winning games to eventually clinch a playoff spot. But, again, the Vikings will only go as far as Bradford takes them.