By Steve Silverman
The Los Angeles Rams set the tone for a memorable week with a superior performance on Thursday night over the fading Minnesota Vikings. Last-second wins by the Titans, Cowboys and Bengals highlighted Sunday’s action, but Baker Mayfield fell just a bit short in the first start of his career.
Oh, and how about those Ravens? Winning by double-digits in Pittsburgh is a pretty solid statement.
Rams 38, Vikings 31
Los Angeles Rams: A, Don’t even try to argue that the Rams aren’t the best team in the NFL, because that argument can’t be won at this point.
Minnesota Vikings: D+, While the offense came back after a terrible week, the defense is supposed to be head coach Mike Zimmer’s pride and joy. That unit has fallen down, and it can’t get up.
Jaguars 31, Jets 12
Jacksonville Jaguars: B+, The Jaguars are who we thought they were: a very strong team that can beat bad teams. Still, they need to take a couple of steps up on offense.
New York Jets: D+, The Jets just aren’t making progress, and the heat is mounting underneath Todd Bowles. The natives are once again disappointed, and, well, they should be.
Patriots 38, Dolphins 7
New England Patriots: A-, Panic in New England has been extinguished for a week, as Tom Brady returned to form with three TD passes, and the defense had no problems shutting down the previously sharp Ryan Tannehill.
Miami Dolphins: D, While a win against the angry Patriots was probably too much to ask, the Dolphins should have played a more effective role than punching bag They were pounded for 60 minutes.
Titans 26, Eagles 23
Tennessee Titans: A-, A win over the defending Super Bowl champions is huge, as the Titans showed more heart than they have in many years. The game-winning TD pass by Mariota on the final play could spur the Titans to a solid winning streak.
Philadelphia Eagles: C+, The bottom line is that the Eagles had a road win in their grasp several times and let it slip away against an opponent they should have beaten. Not good enough.
Texans 37, Colts 34
Houston Texans: B, The Texans picked it up and got their first win, and Deshaun Watson has to breathe a sigh of relief. Still, something is not right with this team, and it could be head coach Bill O’Brien.
Indianapolis Colts: C, Head coach Frank Reich doesn’t realize a tie is better than a loss. If he did, he wouldn’t have made the reckless decision to go for it in the final seconds of overtime from Indianapolis territory.
Packers 22, Bills 0
Green Bay Packers: A-, The offense did just enough, but Mike McCarthy has to be very happy with the defense. A rare shutout is impressive, even if it came against the lowly Bills.
Buffalo Bills: C-, After their signature win over the Vikings in Week 3, reality smacked the Bills in the face. While they showed some fight and did not concede, they were outclassed all the way.
Cowboys 26, Lions 24
Dallas Cowboys: B+, The Cowboys came through with a great last-minute drive, and Dak Prescott played his best game. Still, the Cowboys needed a near miracle to win on their home field.
Detroit Lions: B-, The Lions made a memorable comeback and took the lead on a late fourth-quarter TD pass from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate. Still, they couldn’t stop the ordinary Cowboys offense when it was needed.
Bears 48, Buccaneers 10
Chicago Bears: A, The Bears are putting it all together, and they took advantage of an opponent that was not prepared. Everybody already knew how good the defense is, and Trubisky did his part with a magical six-TD performance.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D-, After a sharp 2-1 start, the Bucs were non-competitive against the suddenly awesome Bears. Tampa Bay’s defense allowed Mitch Trubisky to look like an MVP candidate.
Bengals 37, Falcons 36
Cincinnati Bengals: A-, While the defense was unable to come up with key stops, Andy Dalton led a remarkable last-second drive to give the Bengals a road win that could propel them to a very strong season.
Atlanta Falcons: C, The Falcons are well on their way to becoming this year’s hard-luck NFL team. A week after losing in overtime to the Saints, they suffered an even more painful loss to Cincinnati.
Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17
Seattle Seahawks: B-, The Seahawks did just enough to get the win on the road, but the offense wass bare bones, and the defense took a blow with the Earl Thomas injury.
Arizona Cardinals: C+, The Josh Rosen era began in earnest, and it nearly began with a victory. Better days are ahead for the young quarterback with the golden arm.
Raiders 45, Browns 42
Oakland Raiders: B, Gruden is breathing easier, and so are his players. However, the Raiders are not a good team, and wins will be few and far between.
Cleveland Browns: B-, the Browns have obviously improved, and they may have been done in by bad call. However, they just don’t know how to win yet.
Saints 33, Giants 18
New Orleans Saints: A-, The Saints played their best game of the year and have started to look like the team that was so efficient a year ago. The Saints have won three straight –including two in a row on the road — and they are just hitting their stride.
New York Giants: C-, The Giants could not carry over any momentum from last week’s win against Houston, and Giants fans wondering where ODB’s big plays are
Chargers 29, 49ers 27
Los Angeles Chargers: C-, Much more is expected from a team that still has powerful aspirations. The Chargers don’t look anything like a playoff team.
San Francisco 49ers: B, The Niners could have felt sorry for themselves following the Jimmy G injury, but they played a full 60 minutes and nearly took down the Chargers on the road.
Ravens 26, Steelers 14
Baltimore Ravens: A, A sharp start on offense and a brilliant finish on defense propelled the Ravens to a double-digit road win over arch their rivals. This team may turn into an AFC power.
Pittsburgh Steelers: C-. Keep telling yourself that the Steelers are taking the right tact with Le’Veon Bell. Something is rotten in Pittsburgh.
Chiefs 27, Broncos 23
Kansas City Chiefs: A-, Oh my! Patrick Mahomes is the real deal. Throwing a left-handed pass with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter is indicative of his talent, poise and creativity.
Denver Broncos: B+, Definitely the best grade for any non-winner this week. Broncos put it all on the line and nearly took down undefeated Chiefs. There’s much to feel good about, Vance Joseph.
Bye week: Panthers, Redskins