Column: Throw a flag on these NFL refs

Roughly a third of the way through the NFL schedule, it’s been a pretty rough go of it for the league’s officials — whether or not they chose to recognize it.

There’s not only been an uptick in penalties from last season’s all-time record — excluding the Monday night game in Green Bay, there has been an average of nearly 15 per game, up from the average of 13.3 all of last season — but the new system of using replay to correct pass interference is the disaster we all predicted it would be.

Remember this play from the Thursday night game in New England?

Arguably, the biggest crime was not missing the PI call initially, but upholding the call via replay. What the hell good is being able to challenge such a blatantly awful call if the ref is just going to double down on it?

Of course, the blatantly awful no-call that cost the New Orleans Saints their rightful place in Super Bowl LIII is the whole reason why this new rule was enacted, so it’s especially confounding that the officials aren’t even trying to demonstrate a desire to prevent such a miscarriage of justice from ever happening again. If anything, they appear to be flexing in hopes of reasserting themselves as the on-field authorities and showing up the corner-office rules experts like Mike Pereira, Gene Steratore and Dean Blandino.

Which calls to mind the point that the best refs seem to all have cushy TV gigs. Things weren’t perfect with Blandino in the role of senior vice president of officiating currently occupied (poorly) by Al Riveron, but they were better. At a minimum, it felt like there was some level of accountability. That feeling doesn’t exist with Riveron co-signing horrible on-field decisions like the one in New England last Thursday.

As much as we loved to joke about Ed Hochuli’s traveling gun show, his 2018 retirement contributed to this current void in the NFL officiating ranks — one that opened the door for his son, Shawn, to become one of four rookie referees last season. That lack of experience within the ranks (six referees have six or fewer years of NFL experience as an official of any kind) is bringing down a product that should be at its zenith thanks to the presence of transcendent stars like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Oh, that game between Mahomes and Watson in Kansas City? The Chiefs and Texans were tagged for 21 official penalties for 149 yards — but that’s not including nearly a dozen that were declined, overruled or offsetting. In a matchup between two of the game’s brightest young talents at the most important position, the referees stole the show. Ditto for the game in New York, where there were six straight penalties called during the Cowboys’ potential game-tying drive at the end of their loss to the Jets.

Did you see what happened in Green Bay on Monday night? The 14 combined penalties were a tad shy of the league average, but the NFC North basically belongs to the Packers because of the horrific late-game calls against the Lions.

Nobody’s attending or watching NFL games to see play dragged down by a bevy of yellow flags. Hell, even their own players watching from home can’t stand it.

The NFL has a referee problem it needs to first admit, then correct before people follow the GOAT’s lead and tune them out.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

<p><b><i>Steelers 24</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chargers 17</i></b></p>
<p>On a night when the literal last man standing among the QB Class of &#8217;04 was supposed to <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/12/rivers-closing-in-on-eli-ben-on-career-passing-yards-list/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">strut past his contemporaries</a>, Philip Rivers was outplayed in his own stadium by <a href="https://twitter.com/SNFonNBC/status/1182784388863614977?s=20">undrafted duck caller Devlin Hodges</a> to fall from playoff contender to last-place afterthought.</p>
<p>But give Mike Tomlin credit: Pittsburgh is some <a href="https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/juju-smith-schuster-calls-overtime-fumble-that-led-to-steelers-loss-the-worst-feeling-ever/">bad JuJu</a> away from going 3-0 after their 0-3 start, even amid an onslaught of injuries and <a href="https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27835125/source-mike-tomlin-redskins-far-fetched-browns-gm-denies-obj-trade-rumor">bogus rumors</a> of leaving the Steel City for a quasi-homecoming in Washington. This probably isn&#8217;t a playoff team but it&#8217;s one that won&#8217;t be an easy game on the schedule.</p>
CARSON, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 13: Quarterback Devlin Hodges #6 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball down the field against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on October 13, 2019 in Carson, California. (Getty Images/Katharine Lotze)
<p><b><i>Cowboys 22</i></b><br />
<b><i>Jets 24</i></b></p>
<p>Sam Darnold returned from mono to lead Gang Green to their first home win in a calendar year, and BWAHAHAHAHA DALLAS! HAHAHAHA!</p>
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 13: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets rushes against the Dallas Cowboys in fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 13, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Getty Images/Michael Owens)
<p><b><i>Titans 0</i></b><br />
<b><i>Broncos 16</i></b></p>
<p>How do you know your season is over? When your coach says, “We’re really just trying to find a way to move the football, score some points,” when justifying playing Ryan Tannehill in a game against a Joe Flacco-led team. Yikes.</p>
DENVER, COLORADO – OCTOBER 13: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans is sacked against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on October 13, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Getty Images/Matthew Stockman)
<div><b><i>Falcons 33</i></b></div>
<div><b><i>Cardinals 34</i></b></div>
<div></div>
<div>Give it up for Kyler Murray, y&#8217;all. The rookie outdueled a former MVP and became only the third player in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in half of his first six games. His future is bright, even if Arizona&#8217;s present fortunes aren&#8217;t necessarily.</div>
<div></div>
<div>And if this was Step 1 of <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/dan-quinn-has-three-games-to-turn-things-around/">Dan Quinn&#8217;s three-week process</a> of turning around the most disappointing team in the league … he&#8217;s already fired.</div>
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)
<p><b><i>49ers 20</i></b><br />
<b><i>Rams 7</i></b></p>
<p>Considering this is what <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/09/nick-bosa-says-jared-goff-hasnt-done-anything-to-anger-him-yet/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/09/nick-bosa-says-jared-goff-hasnt-done-anything-to-anger-him-yet/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHH2cnRq3dHaFieQ4SLWnv0GMO70A">the Niners defense does to a QB they&#8217;re not mad at</a>, Kyle Shanahan is <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/kyle-shanahan-embraces-the-challenge-of-replacing-injured-players/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/kyle-shanahan-embraces-the-challenge-of-replacing-injured-players/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH88CWDX-Tc6GOckQ4uh2c0w9CADg">proverbially plugging his fingers in holes</a> extremely well and Jimmy G <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183524732295110657?s=20" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183524732295110657?s%3D20&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGA3fSzXOqgC7Qs-v4L6Q7zJeODMw">wins more than DJ Khaled</a>, San Francisco looks poised to run away with a division that&#8217;s a helluva lot closer than most expected it to be at this point in the season.</p>
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 13: Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams and Dante Fowler #56 put pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers who would fumble the ball in the fourth quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. San Francisco won 20-7. (Getty Images/John McCoy)
<p><b><i>Bengals 17</i></b><br />
<b><i>Ravens 23</i></b></p>
<p>Lamar Jackson has three 100-yard rushing games — two against Cincinnati alone — in his first two seasons, which matches only Billy Kilmer in the last 70 years. Every record Michael Vick owns is in jeopardy, and Baltimore gets a front-row seat for one of the greatest shows the NFL has to offer.</p>
BALTIMORE, MD – OCTOBER 13: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Getty Images/Scott Taetsch)
<p><b><i>Eagles 20</i></b><br />
<b><i>Vikings 38</i></b></p>
<p>Given the difference between what Zach Brown had to say about Kirk Cousins <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/zach-brown-trashes-kirk-cousins-ahead-of-sundays-game/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/zach-brown-trashes-kirk-cousins-ahead-of-sundays-game/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGx4NNcj9uon8gBdTy20cQRZeqkFw">before</a> this game and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/zach-brown-doesnt-want-to-talk-about-kirk-cousins/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/zach-brown-doesnt-want-to-talk-about-kirk-cousins/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFWiAu0i0ZWSo3vzyryQGauTw87Mw">after</a>, I shall heretofore refer to Brown as Smokey because this felt a lot like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw31fE_AWsI" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DKw31fE_AWsI&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNF09WA4twTkBpxtxjT8KlEwAW57QA">his (NSFW) attitude about Deebo</a>. If Philly misses the playoffs, we&#8217;ll certainly point to this early-season underachieving.</p>
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP/Bruce Kluckhohn)
<p><em><strong>Saints 13</strong></em><br />
<em><strong>Jaguars 6</strong></em></p>
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Deonte Harris (11) is brought down by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Andrew Wingard, left, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP/Stephen B. Morton)
<p><b><i>Texans 31</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chiefs 24</i></b></p>
<p>I see you, Carlos Hyde. The former Chief helped Houston pull off a big road win to spoil Tyreek Hill&#8217;s return and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/carlos-hyde-league-should-be-on-notice-after-this-win/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/carlos-hyde-league-should-be-on-notice-after-this-win/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH8e1zlF7OTdZCaxjclQHyuR25vPg">put us on notice</a> that the Texans are for real. A win in Indy next week will hammer home that point.</p>
KANSAS CITY, MO – OCTOBER 13: Bashaud Breeland #21 of the Kansas City Chiefs holds on to the jersey of Carlos Hyde #23 of the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Getty Images/David Eulitt)
<p><b><i>Seahawks 32</i></b><br />
<b><i>Browns 28</i></b></p>
<p>Ohio-native Russell Wilson&#8217;s first game in Cleveland went a helluva lot better than any of the three Baker Mayfield has played there this season. The Browns are 2-4, including an 0-3 start at home, and it&#8217;s starting to look like this team is closer to <a href="https://riggosrag.com/2019/06/27/redskins-2000-super-team-not/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://riggosrag.com/2019/06/27/redskins-2000-super-team-not/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGCUPsk5Lz2IlxFnGsPkqs6MQycxA">the Fortune .500 Redskins</a> than anything resembling their preseason hype.</p>
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, right, scrambles against the Cleveland Browns during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP/Ron Schwane)
<p><b><i>Panthers 37</i></b><br />
<b><i>Bucs 26</i></b></p>
<p>Jameis Winston established himself as the heir apparent to Blake Bortles for the title of &#8220;<a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183408328875106311?s=20" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183408328875106311?s%3D20&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGQOO5Hxt2HC4VDIB2jYct6WxLl5Q">The Human Turnover</a>,&#8221; and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/panthers-used-gerald-mccoys-knowledge-of-jameis-winston-against-him/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/panthers-used-gerald-mccoys-knowledge-of-jameis-winston-against-him/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGFyBP3iD392thOZojah-V_mjRifA">Gerald McCoy was a big reason why</a>. With the Panthers defense swarming, Riverboat Ron <a href="https://deadspin.com/the-panthers-tried-an-ultra-rare-fair-catch-kick-1839009200?utm_source=deadspin_facebook&amp;utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_facebook&amp;utm_medium=socialflow" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://deadspin.com/the-panthers-tried-an-ultra-rare-fair-catch-kick-1839009200?utm_source%3Ddeadspin_facebook%26utm_campaign%3Dsocialflow_deadspin_facebook%26utm_medium%3Dsocialflow&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH5dtV8tGIsj9MIgFuLSg_-CM6UwQ">exploiting obscure rules</a> and Christian McCaffrey helping Kyle Allen play way above his own head, Carolina looks destined for a wild card playoff spot.</p>
Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) reacts during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP/Tim Ireland)
<p><b><i>Giants 14</i></b><br />
<b><i>Patriots 35</i></b></p>
<p>On a night when Tom Brady passed longtime rival Peyton Manning for the second-most passing yards in NFL history, Tom Terrific became the oldest player in NFL history to rush for two touchdowns in a game and the Patriots&#8217; defense <a href="https://deadspin.com/its-neat-to-think-of-the-patriots-someday-playing-again-1838959982?utm_medium=socialflow&amp;utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_facebook&amp;utm_source=deadspin_facebook&amp;fbclid=IwAR1RAs3CsXoHe1wNlNdRvgZWjBdY9luEwZJx4QWnzy9zpgh_DcmqIl8H9yg" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dominated another patsy</a> to extend their home win streak to 19 games. Go figure.</p>
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after scoring a one-yard touchdown against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter in the game at Gillette Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Getty Images/Maddie Meyer)
(1/14)
<p><b><i>Steelers 24</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chargers 17</i></b></p>
<p>On a night when the literal last man standing among the QB Class of &#8217;04 was supposed to <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/12/rivers-closing-in-on-eli-ben-on-career-passing-yards-list/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">strut past his contemporaries</a>, Philip Rivers was outplayed in his own stadium by <a href="https://twitter.com/SNFonNBC/status/1182784388863614977?s=20">undrafted duck caller Devlin Hodges</a> to fall from playoff contender to last-place afterthought.</p>
<p>But give Mike Tomlin credit: Pittsburgh is some <a href="https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/juju-smith-schuster-calls-overtime-fumble-that-led-to-steelers-loss-the-worst-feeling-ever/">bad JuJu</a> away from going 3-0 after their 0-3 start, even amid an onslaught of injuries and <a href="https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27835125/source-mike-tomlin-redskins-far-fetched-browns-gm-denies-obj-trade-rumor">bogus rumors</a> of leaving the Steel City for a quasi-homecoming in Washington. This probably isn&#8217;t a playoff team but it&#8217;s one that won&#8217;t be an easy game on the schedule.</p>
<p><b><i>Cowboys 22</i></b><br />
<b><i>Jets 24</i></b></p>
<p>Sam Darnold returned from mono to lead Gang Green to their first home win in a calendar year, and BWAHAHAHAHA DALLAS! HAHAHAHA!</p>
<p><b><i>Titans 0</i></b><br />
<b><i>Broncos 16</i></b></p>
<p>How do you know your season is over? When your coach says, “We’re really just trying to find a way to move the football, score some points,” when justifying playing Ryan Tannehill in a game against a Joe Flacco-led team. Yikes.</p>
<div><b><i>Falcons 33</i></b></div>
<div><b><i>Cardinals 34</i></b></div>
<div></div>
<div>Give it up for Kyler Murray, y&#8217;all. The rookie outdueled a former MVP and became only the third player in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in half of his first six games. His future is bright, even if Arizona&#8217;s present fortunes aren&#8217;t necessarily.</div>
<div></div>
<div>And if this was Step 1 of <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/dan-quinn-has-three-games-to-turn-things-around/">Dan Quinn&#8217;s three-week process</a> of turning around the most disappointing team in the league … he&#8217;s already fired.</div>
<p><b><i>49ers 20</i></b><br />
<b><i>Rams 7</i></b></p>
<p>Considering this is what <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/09/nick-bosa-says-jared-goff-hasnt-done-anything-to-anger-him-yet/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/09/nick-bosa-says-jared-goff-hasnt-done-anything-to-anger-him-yet/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHH2cnRq3dHaFieQ4SLWnv0GMO70A">the Niners defense does to a QB they&#8217;re not mad at</a>, Kyle Shanahan is <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/kyle-shanahan-embraces-the-challenge-of-replacing-injured-players/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/kyle-shanahan-embraces-the-challenge-of-replacing-injured-players/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH88CWDX-Tc6GOckQ4uh2c0w9CADg">proverbially plugging his fingers in holes</a> extremely well and Jimmy G <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183524732295110657?s=20" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183524732295110657?s%3D20&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGA3fSzXOqgC7Qs-v4L6Q7zJeODMw">wins more than DJ Khaled</a>, San Francisco looks poised to run away with a division that&#8217;s a helluva lot closer than most expected it to be at this point in the season.</p>
<p><b><i>Bengals 17</i></b><br />
<b><i>Ravens 23</i></b></p>
<p>Lamar Jackson has three 100-yard rushing games — two against Cincinnati alone — in his first two seasons, which matches only Billy Kilmer in the last 70 years. Every record Michael Vick owns is in jeopardy, and Baltimore gets a front-row seat for one of the greatest shows the NFL has to offer.</p>
<p><b><i>Eagles 20</i></b><br />
<b><i>Vikings 38</i></b></p>
<p>Given the difference between what Zach Brown had to say about Kirk Cousins <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/zach-brown-trashes-kirk-cousins-ahead-of-sundays-game/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/11/zach-brown-trashes-kirk-cousins-ahead-of-sundays-game/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGx4NNcj9uon8gBdTy20cQRZeqkFw">before</a> this game and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/zach-brown-doesnt-want-to-talk-about-kirk-cousins/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/zach-brown-doesnt-want-to-talk-about-kirk-cousins/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFWiAu0i0ZWSo3vzyryQGauTw87Mw">after</a>, I shall heretofore refer to Brown as Smokey because this felt a lot like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw31fE_AWsI" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DKw31fE_AWsI&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNF09WA4twTkBpxtxjT8KlEwAW57QA">his (NSFW) attitude about Deebo</a>. If Philly misses the playoffs, we&#8217;ll certainly point to this early-season underachieving.</p>
<p><em><strong>Saints 13</strong></em><br />
<em><strong>Jaguars 6</strong></em></p>
<p><b><i>Texans 31</i></b><br />
<b><i>Chiefs 24</i></b></p>
<p>I see you, Carlos Hyde. The former Chief helped Houston pull off a big road win to spoil Tyreek Hill&#8217;s return and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/carlos-hyde-league-should-be-on-notice-after-this-win/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/carlos-hyde-league-should-be-on-notice-after-this-win/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182804000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH8e1zlF7OTdZCaxjclQHyuR25vPg">put us on notice</a> that the Texans are for real. A win in Indy next week will hammer home that point.</p>
<p><b><i>Seahawks 32</i></b><br />
<b><i>Browns 28</i></b></p>
<p>Ohio-native Russell Wilson&#8217;s first game in Cleveland went a helluva lot better than any of the three Baker Mayfield has played there this season. The Browns are 2-4, including an 0-3 start at home, and it&#8217;s starting to look like this team is closer to <a href="https://riggosrag.com/2019/06/27/redskins-2000-super-team-not/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://riggosrag.com/2019/06/27/redskins-2000-super-team-not/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGCUPsk5Lz2IlxFnGsPkqs6MQycxA">the Fortune .500 Redskins</a> than anything resembling their preseason hype.</p>
<p><b><i>Panthers 37</i></b><br />
<b><i>Bucs 26</i></b></p>
<p>Jameis Winston established himself as the heir apparent to Blake Bortles for the title of &#8220;<a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183408328875106311?s=20" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/1183408328875106311?s%3D20&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGQOO5Hxt2HC4VDIB2jYct6WxLl5Q">The Human Turnover</a>,&#8221; and <a href="https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/panthers-used-gerald-mccoys-knowledge-of-jameis-winston-against-him/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/13/panthers-used-gerald-mccoys-knowledge-of-jameis-winston-against-him/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGFyBP3iD392thOZojah-V_mjRifA">Gerald McCoy was a big reason why</a>. With the Panthers defense swarming, Riverboat Ron <a href="https://deadspin.com/the-panthers-tried-an-ultra-rare-fair-catch-kick-1839009200?utm_source=deadspin_facebook&amp;utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_facebook&amp;utm_medium=socialflow" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://deadspin.com/the-panthers-tried-an-ultra-rare-fair-catch-kick-1839009200?utm_source%3Ddeadspin_facebook%26utm_campaign%3Dsocialflow_deadspin_facebook%26utm_medium%3Dsocialflow&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1571101182805000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH5dtV8tGIsj9MIgFuLSg_-CM6UwQ">exploiting obscure rules</a> and Christian McCaffrey helping Kyle Allen play way above his own head, Carolina looks destined for a wild card playoff spot.</p>
<p><b><i>Giants 14</i></b><br />
<b><i>Patriots 35</i></b></p>
<p>On a night when Tom Brady passed longtime rival Peyton Manning for the second-most passing yards in NFL history, Tom Terrific became the oldest player in NFL history to rush for two touchdowns in a game and the Patriots&#8217; defense <a href="https://deadspin.com/its-neat-to-think-of-the-patriots-someday-playing-again-1838959982?utm_medium=socialflow&amp;utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_facebook&amp;utm_source=deadspin_facebook&amp;fbclid=IwAR1RAs3CsXoHe1wNlNdRvgZWjBdY9luEwZJx4QWnzy9zpgh_DcmqIl8H9yg" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dominated another patsy</a> to extend their home win streak to 19 games. Go figure.</p>

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up