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NFL Rewind: Steelers, Dolphins revise some opinions

Sometimes looks are deceiving. A lot of NFL teams are not as good as they looked a few weeks ago and others are not as bad as the cynics think.

Based on what we saw the first four weeks of the season, we were ready to proclaim the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams as solid playoff contenders. The Kansas Chiefs looked like the dominant team in the AFC.

On the other hand, the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins looked like losers. Would the Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers win more than one or two games, and what's wrong with the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Sunday, the Dolphins and Bears were among seven underdogs who triumphed. Pittsburgh knocked Kansas City from the unbeaten ranks at Arrowhead while the Jets threw a scare into the Patriots, the 49ers lost by only two at Washington and the Chargers won on the road at Oakland.

It's time to reassess a lot of conventional wisdom.

A capsule look at Sunday's Week Six NFL games:

Game of the day

Dolphins 20, Falcons 17

The scoop: Miami rallied from a 17-0 deficit to take the lead on two Jay Cutler touchdown passes and two Cody Parkey field goals. DeShon Jones intercepted Matt Ryan's pass with 39 seconds to play  when it appeared Ryan was driving the Falcons toward a tying field goal or winning touchdown after they had reached the Miami 26.
Why the Dolphins won: Atlanta was shut out in the second half and moved the ball on only two of its four series after the half.

Not as good as ...

Steelers 19, Chiefs 13

The scoop: Pittsburgh's three marquee offensive stars all came through. Ben Roethlisberger completed 17 of 25 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown. LeVeon Bell carried 32 times for 179 yards and a touchdown and Antonio Brown caught eight passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. At the same time the Steelers were limiting KC rookie Kareem Hunt to 21 rushing yards on nine carries although he did catch five passes for 89 yards. The only Chiefs touchdown came on a 57-yard pass from Alex Smith to D'Anthony Thomas.
Why the Steelers won: They dominated the Chiefs physically, rolling up 459 yards total offense and controlling the ball for 36 minutes, 39 seconds.

Redskins 26, 49ers 24

The scoop: Washington led 17-0 but saw the winless Niners come back and tie the game on Carlos Hyde 1-yard run late in the third quarter. A 21-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal and a 7-yard run by Kirk Cousins put the Redskins back in the lead before Aldrick Robinson scored on a 45-yard pass from 49ers rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard with 1:58 left. San Francisco got the ball back for one last desperation pass but Ken Fuller intercepted it with 0:03 left.
Why the Redskins won: Their defense stuffed the 49ers in the first half, not letting them cross midfield on their first five series.


Patriots 24, Jets 17

The scoop: It looked like New England was in trouble when Josh McCown directed two Jets touchdown drives for a 14-0 first half lead. He passed to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jeremy Kerley for touchdowns. However, Tom Brady had the Pats even by halftime and they took the lead for good on his second TD pass to Rob Gronkowski, a 33-yard play, in the third quarter.
Why the Patriots won: They got a huge help from the Referee Tony Corrente and the officials on the field and the video replay center in Manhattan. An apparent touchdown by Sefarian-Jenkins was taken off the board by replay and  one flag was picked up despite an a apparent targeting by the Patriots and there were two borderline calls against the New York defense.

Rams 27, Jaguars 17

The scoop: Each side scored a touchdown in the game's first 25 seconds. Pharoh Cooper returned the opening kickoff 103 yards for the Rams. Jacksonville replied with a 75-yard touchdown run by Leonard Fournette. The Rams went in front for good on a 4-yard pass from Jared Goff to rookie tight end Gerald Everett with 22 seconds left in the first quarter. Malcolm Brown returned a blocked punt 8 yards for the Rams to make it 24-14 at halftime. A field goal on each side was the only scoring in the second half. Sammy Watkins caught one pass for 11 yards and Robert Woods had five receptions for 70 yards for Los Angeles. Nickell Robey of the Rams had an interception and 31-yard return in the fourth quarter.

Why the Rams won: The Jaguars special teams gave up a 103-yard kickoff return and a blocked punt.

Vikings 23, Packers 10

The scoop: The injury to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone fracture) was the big news in this game and the outcome put Minnesota into a tie with Green Bay for first place at 4-2 in the NFC North Division. ... Rodgers was injured late in the first quarter and replaced by Brett Hundley. After he went out, the Vikings took a 14-10 lead as Jerick McKinnon scored on a 27-yard pass from Case Keenum and ran 3 yards for another score. The only scoring in the second half was on three Kai Forbath field goals for the Vikings.
Why the Vikings won: Without Rodgers, the Green Bay offense could not sustain a drive until its final series, and that ended with Hundley throwing his third interception of the game.

Not as bad as ...

Bears 27, Ravens 24

The scoop: Chicago ended a 10-game road losing streak by upsetting the Ravens, but needed a 40-yard Connor Barth field goal with 2:06 left in overtime after blowing a 24-13 lead. Adrian Amos returned a Joe Flacco pass 90 yards for a Chicago score to make it 24-13 with 5:08 left. After Justin Tucker kicked a 50 yard field goal for the Ravens, Michael Campanaro tied it for Baltimore with a 77-yard punt return with 1:37 left. Earlier, Bobby Rainey, a recent Ravens free-agent acquisition, returned a kickoff 96 yards. Chicago's last road win was at Tampa Bay in December of 2015. Amos' return was the longest for the Bears since Todd Bell ran one back 92 yards in a 23-7 loss to Detroit at Soldier Field in 1981. Rookie QB Mitch Trubisky got his first NFL victory although he completed only 8 of 16 for 113 yards and was sacked four times.
Why the Bears won: Led by Jordan Howard (36 carries, 167 yards) they ran for 231 yards against once-formidable Baltimore defense.

Saints 52, Lions 38
The scoop: New Orleans outscored the Lines 38-3 over a 28 1/2 minute span from the first quarter to the third then held off the Lions, who got as close as seven points (45-38) with 6:41 left after Jamal Agnew returned a punt 74 yards and defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinsons sdcored on a 2-yard interception return. Cameron Jordan intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass in the end zone to give the Saints some breathing room.  Drew Brees passed for two New Orleans touchdown. and Mark Ingram (25 carries, 114 yards) ran for two others. Stafford completed 25 of 52 for 312 yards and three touchdowns but was intercepted three times.
Why the Saints won:  New Orleans scored three defensive touchdown, a fumble recovery, a 27-yard interception return by rookie Marshal Lattimore and Jordan's pick.

Chargers 17, Raiders 16

The scoop: Nick Novak kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play to win it. Derek Carr returned to action for the Raiders and completed 21 of 30 passes but for only 171 yards and one touchdown. Philip Rivers of the Chargers was 25 for 36 for 268 yards and a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch carried 13 times for 63 yards for the Raiders, who lost their fourth in a row.
Why the Chargers won: The difference turned out to be a missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio.

Cardinals 38 , Buccaneers 33

The scoop: After Arizona had built a 31-0 with 3:02 gone in the third quarter, the Buccaneers rallied behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and nearly made it all the way back Fitzpatrick relieved an ineffective Jameis Winston in the third quarter and passed for three touchdowns with 22 completions in 32 attempts. He was intercepted three times. Fitz's last TD was a 37-yarder to Mike Evans with 2:02 left, but the Bucs never got the ball back. Adrian Peterson (26 carries, 134 yards) scored on runs of 27 and 1-yard for the Cardinals. Carson Palmer passed for three Arizona touchdowns. Tampa Bay failed on three two-point conversions after touchdowns
Why the Cardinals won: They scored three touchdowns, then a field goal after long drives in their first four possessions

Dog of the day

Texans 33, Browns 17

The scoop: Houston built a 33-3 lead before giving up two fourth-quarter touchdowns, one on a 56-yard interception return by Jason McCourty. Deshaun Watson passed for three Texans touchdowns givinghim 17 for his rookie season. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 225 yards. Kevin Hogan, who started at quqrterback for the Browns was intercepted three times and tackled in the end zone for a safety. One interception was returned 82 yards for a touchdown by Johnathan Joseph in the second quarter to make it 16-3.
Why the Texans won: The Browns made too many errors at the wrong time. One of Hogan's three INTs came from the Houston 22 when it was a 10-3 game.






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