NFL Fallout: Final unbeaten falls, Saints embarrassed, Cowboys owner concerned
With the season past its halfway mark, the National Football League enters the playoff stretch and Eurosport rolls into Week 11 with a few news and notes to get you caught up …
Any chance of a perfect season for the NFL’s final unbeaten team ended at the foot of Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers in overtime thriller on Monday night.
After missing a potential 47-yard game-winner from kicker Chase McLaughlin, San Francisco 49ers could only watch as the 42-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired in OT to end the game, 27-24.
However, it was McLaughlin’s who forced the tie-breaker session with another 47-yarder with one second remaining in regulation. The rookie, who started the season with the Los Angeles Chargers before being waived, was signed earlier in the week to replace injured Robbie Gould.
McLaughlin shanked the potential game-winning kick left. NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Jennifer Lee Chan posted a video of where the ball actually ended up.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” McLaughlin told NBC Sports. “I’ll have to look at it on film, but I rushed it a little bit and hit it a little high. Unfortunately, I missed it.”
The disappointed McLaughlin shared a few words of encouragement from Gould following the wayward kick.
“He just said, ‘Keep your head up,'” said McLaughlin. “This game has a lot of highs and some lows. Unfortunately, today was one of them.”
The win allowed the Seahawks (8-2), unbeaten on the road this season at 5-0, to move within a half-game of the first-place 49ers (8-1) in the NFC k.
Saints embarrassed by NFC South rival
Few, if any, expected the Atlanta Falcons to roll in to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with one-win and pull off a huge 26-9 upset against what had been a near flawless season for the Saints. But, that they did holding the Saints to the fewest points at home in the Drew Brees era.
The Saints looked flat from the get-go coming off the team’s lone bye week. It was almost a given that New Orleans would flatten the Falcons into submission with Brees back under center after returning from hand injury two weeks prior in a 31-9 drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals to improve their overall record to 7-1.
While Brees admitted the NFC Super Bowl contenders did not play to its potential, he claimed there was no ring rust heading into the Saints’ lopsided loss to its NFC South division rivals.
“We definitely didn’t execute as well as we normally do or expect to do,” stated Brees in the post-game media scrum. “I don’t think that had to do with anything. If we come off a week where it was flat all week in practice and it just carried over to the game, that’s one thing, but no were obviously rested coming off the bye.”
Brees never caught a break as the Saints offensive line looked anemic allowing six sacks on the hapless quarterback. The ground game was also halted despite the return of Alvin Kamara and previous performances from Latavius Murray, who entered the game with back-to-back 100-yard games in Kamara’s absence. The tandem combined for 52 yards on 11 carries.
As far as Brees, the NFL’s all-time leading passer, who eclipsed 75,000 career passing yards against Arizona in his return after missing six games due to thumb injury to his throwing hand, was never able to reach the end zone despite throwing for 287 yards on 32 completions in 45 attempts.
“Obviously nine points is not what we aspire to score, especially at home,” said Brees. “There’s just so many little things, so many plays here and there on every drive where it’s just a split second here, just an extra foot here, whatever it is, just better execution all the way around that I think would have resulted in a better result.”
Thomas shines in Saints lopsided loss
One bright spot in the previously once-beaten New Orleans Saints unexpected 26-9 loss to one-win Atlanta is the continued All-Pro play of wide receiver Michael Thomas.
The 26-year-old from Ohio State University had 13 receptions for 152 yards on Sunday.
Thomas has 407 receptions in 56 career games and surpassed Odell Beckham Jr (61 games) as the fastest player to reach 400 career receptions in NFL history. Currently in his fourth season, Thomas surpassed Jarvis Landry (400 receptions) for the most receptions by a player in his first four seasons in league annals.
Thomas, who has 1,027 receiving yards this season, joins Mike Evans (2014-17), AJ Green (2011-14) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998-2001) as the only players to have at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first four seasons in NFL history.
Downward spiral continues in Dallas
It didn’t take Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones long to state the obvious following his team’s fourth loss in six games. Dallas dropped a close one at home to Minnesota Vikings, 28-24, on Sunday night.
With a market value of $5 billion, the Cowboys were named the most valuable sports team in the world by Forbes for the fourth year in a row despite it being 23 seasons since the team has been to the NFC Championship game yet alone the Super Bowl.
The Cowboys, who have won five NFL titles in 10 tries with the last one coming in 1996 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, currently have the seventh longest active conference championship drought, which is just a bit better than the Buffalo Bills (25), Miami Dolphins (26), Cleveland Browns (26), Washington Redskins (27) and the Cincinnati Bengals (30).
Aside from the 6-3 Bills, the Dolphins (2-7), Browns (3-6), Redskins (1-9) and Bengals (0-9) have a combined record for the current season.
With the loss, the Cowboys fall to 5-4 overall and are currently 0-3 against teams with winning records. Dallas has four teams remaining with records over .500.
“It was disappointing. Disappointing,” Jones said of the team’s loss to Minnesota. “We’ll have to pay for this one. Hopefully, it won’t be terminal.”
Former NFL star pleads guilty of rape, sexual battery
Once the highest paid tight end in the NFL, the son of Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and namesake Kellen Winslow, Winslow II pleaded guilty last week to raping an unconscious woman in 2003 and sexual battery against a 54-year-old hitchhiker in March 2018.
The plea deal allowed Winslow to avoid a retrial on six felonies in San Diego County Superior Court, which included kidnapping and several other felonious sexual misconduct charges — all of which could have resulted in a life sentence. Instead, he now faces 12 to 18 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for February. He also will have to pay a $10,000 fine and register as a sex offender for life.
Winslow, 36, was previously convicted of raping homeless woman (58), exposing himself to woman (57) and committing lewd act in front of woman (77) at the gym.
“I’m satisfied that now Mr. Winslow has been held accountable for his conduct involving five separate victims over the course of 15 years,” San Diego County prosecutor Dan Owens said afterward.