NFL Nation: 2013 Week 10 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

November, 11, 2013

TAMPA -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 22-19 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

What it means: The Dolphins continue to struggle with consistency. Miami lost its fifth game in six tries to fall to 4-5 on the season. This was perhaps the Dolphins’ worst loss of the season, and their playoff hopes took a big hit. Miami fell behind early, 15-0, in the first half and had to fight back the entire game. The Dolphins got a brief lead in the third quarter but still lost. You have to wonder how much distractions from the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin controversy played a part in Miami losing to Tampa Bay.

Stock watch: The Dolphins got a nice showing from new slot receiver Rishard Matthews, who is replacing the injured Brandon Gibson. Matthews caught 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first 100-yard game of the season.

In terms of stock down, Miami’s running game was terrible once again. The Dolphins rushed for just 2 yards on 14 carries. They had zero yards on seven carries in the first half. Miami’s offensive line was dominated at the line of scrimmage and couldn’t get many running lanes against Tampa Bay’s defensive line. Dolphins tailback Lamar Miller (2 yards, seven carries) also didn’t do his part to break many tackles.

Owner speaks: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross met with the media before the game and promised to make organizational changes to fix their locker-room culture after the Incognito-Martin fallout. Ross backed Miami head coach Joe Philbin but said no one is above repercussions if they’re found culpable in the NFL investigation. Ross will meet with Martin on Wednesday to discuss what happened.

What’s next: The road only gets tougher for Miami. The Dolphins will play host to the San Diego Chargers (4-5) in a game that could have AFC wild-card implications. Miami is 2-2 at home this season.

Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers

November, 11, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 22-19 win against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.

What it means: The Bucs are no longer winless. This wasn’t pretty by any means. After jumping out to a 15-0 cushion, the Bucs let the Dolphins take the lead in the second half. That brought back some haunting memories of last week’s loss to Seattle. But the Bucs found ways to win this one. Bobby Rainey's fourth quarter running put the Bucs back in the lead and the defense, which found a late pass rush and an interception by Darrelle Revis, did its part. At 1-8, Tampa Bay remains in a tie with Jacksonville for the first overall pick in the NFL draft.

Bad timing: Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon hadn’t thrown an interception in the previous three games. But that streak came to an end with 1:34 left in the third quarter. A Glennon pass intended for Vincent Jackson was intercepted by Jimmy Wilson. That set up a Miami field goal and gave the Dolphins a 19-15 lead.

A place in the record books: With a scoring grab on a tackle-eligible play, Donald Penn (340 pounds) became the heaviest player to catch a pass in the NFL this season.

Stock watch: Second-year linebacker Lavonte David quietly has been having a very good season. Maybe his second-quarter sack for a safety will help get him some Pro Bowl votes.

Injury woes continue: Rookie Mike James had taken over after Doug Martin went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. But James’ night was cut short. He suffered an ankle injury little more than five minutes into the game and didn’t return. After James went out, the Bucs split their carries between Brian Leonard and Rainey.

Rapid Reaction: New Orleans Saints

November, 10, 2013

NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 49-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The Saints move to 7-2 on the season.

What it means: Just in case anyone fell asleep on the Saints over the past few weeks, they woke everyone up with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. Their 625 yards were a franchise record and the most by any NFL team since 1982. They converted a NFL-record 40 first downs.

All it took was the Saints getting back in their comfort zone -- at home in prime time, where they have been untouchable over the past five years, winning 12 straight. Now the job will be for the Saints to make sure they’re playing back here in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as much as possible in the postseason. And that won’t be easy. Their schedule is grueling over the next six weeks -- including a Monday night game at the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 2.

Stock watch: Just about everyone on the Saints’ offense got involved. Receiver Marques Colston (seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown) and running back Darren Sproles (88 combined yards, two touchdowns) helped to ease the stress of their fantasy owners after a few quiet weeks. But the biggest surprise was running back Mark Ingram, who ran for a career-high 145 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Ingram was actually booed by the home crowd early in the game when he dropped a short pass. That’s how far his stock had fallen with the fan base after a slow start to the season, followed by a lingering toe injury. But he exploded in the second half -- and showed a lot of emotion throughout.

Ryan’s revenge: The happiest guy in the building, however, had to be Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Although he downplayed the significance during the week, you know he was dying to make the Cowboys regret firing him after last season. He did that with an exclamation point. The Saints gave up a few leaky running yards early, but they shut down Dallas’ passing attack. Tony Romo completed just 10 of 24 passes for 128 yards, and Dez Bryant caught just one pass for 44 yards.

Up next: The Saints will be back home next week, but the test gets stiffer against a physical San Francisco 49ers team that has given them matchup troubles over the past two years. The Saints will prove even more with a win in that game before hitting the road for trips to Atlanta and Seattle.

Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys

November, 10, 2013
NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

What it means for the Cowboys: By the time the Cowboys play again on Nov. 24 against the New York Giants they could be out of first place in the NFC East.

They are currently tied with the Philadelphia Eagles at 5-5 and are technically in first place because of their 17-3 win at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 20. The Giants and Washington Redskins are only one game back in the loss column.

This was the worst loss of the Jason Garrett era. The previous one was a 34-7 loss at Philadelphia in 2011.

Stock watch: Jerry Jones, falling. On a night in which nothing went right it's too easy to point out a player or a coach. The owner and general manager is in the crosshairs tonight. He put together this lot and believes there is a chance to compete for a championship. The defense was awful. The offense was stone cold. Other than that Jones had a fine time in New Orleans.

Defense shredded again: The Saints scored on eight of 11 possessions and one ended on a missed field goal. The Saints showed mercy on their final possession and took a knee.

They had 40 first downs, setting an NFL record. The Cowboys gave up 625 yards. They allowed Mark Ingram to rush for 145 yards. They saw Marques Colston get 107 receiving yards.

The good news: Drew Brees did not throw for 400 yards. He finished with 392 yards and threw four touchdowns.

Blame the absences of Jason Hatcher, J.J. Wilcox and Morris Claiborne at the start of the game and the in-game absences of Sean Lee (hamstring) and Justin Durant (hamstring). Know that DeMarcus Ware was in and out in his return to the lineup after a three-game absence with a quadriceps strain.

It wouldn't have mattered. Maybe it would've made the outcome a little closer, but the Saints rolled all over Monte Kiffin's defense the way the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions did.

Missed opportunity: On a night when the Cowboys knew it would be a struggle for the defense, they needed to take advantage of every chance they got.

Darren Sproles' fumble gave the Cowboys a chance at the Saints' 22 in the first quarter, but the Cowboys had to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal. A third-and-1 play was turned into third-and-6 after a James Hanna false start. Tony Romo's third-down pass was incomplete and would have been wiped out anyway by a Ronald Leary hold.

In the past five games the Cowboys have had 11 takeaways and scored just two touchdowns after those turnovers, and both of those drives started inside the opponents' 5.

What's next: The Cowboys are off until Nov. 24, when they visit the New York Giants. Players will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before getting their first prolonged break since their first training camp practice on July 21 in Oxnard, Calif.

Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

November, 10, 2013
Thoughts from the Houston Texans' 27-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:

What it means: Houston is now on the longest losing streak in franchise history. The Texans have lost seven in a row and things went from bad to worse. They are now only one win better than the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars, who beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Stock watch: Case Keenum fumbled on the very first play of the game and Cardinals linebacker Matt Shaughnessy returned the fumble for a touchdown. On the next series, Keenum threw a pass that was nearly intercepted. He did well to recover after that, having a commendable first half. Keenum completed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a passer rating of 101.3. Things changed in the second half. Keenum attempted only two passes in the third quarter and completed one for 4 yards. It went about like that for most of the fourth quarter, too, until the Texans' defense recovered a fumble inside the Cardinals' 10-yard line.

More vintage Dre: Andre Johnson made two tightrope touchdown grabs, one in the first quarter and one in the fourth. Both times he got his feet down in the end zone by margins that were tough to see with the naked eye. Both times Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson had great coverage on him. It's astounding to think that before last weekend's three-touchdown performance, Johnson had zero touchdown catches this season. It's even more astounding to think he has never caught double-digit touchdowns in a season.

What's next: The Texans will host the Oakland Raiders in the hopes (again) of breaking out of their slump.

Rapid Reaction: San Diego Chargers

November, 10, 2013

SAN DIEGO -- A few thoughts on the San Diego Chargers' 28-20 loss to the Denver Broncos.

What it means: The Chargers (4-5) fall under the .500 mark for the first time since a Week 5 loss at Oakland. San Diego is 0-2 against the AFC West this season.

Comeback falls short: Down 28-6 in the second half, the Chargers could have easily packed it in and mentally started getting ready for next week. They didn't. San Diego scratched its way back to 28-20 with just over 10 minutes left, but failed to get past midfield on the potential game-tying drive.

Demaryius Thomas thrives: San Diego's smallish corners had trouble dealing with Denver's big-bodied receiver Demaryius Thomas, who finished with seven receptions for 108 yards, including three touchdowns. The Chargers' secondary has struggled with big receivers all year. Denver tight end Julius Thomas -- another big, fast player -- finished with three receptions for 96 yards and one touchdown.

Redemption for Mathews: After gaining just 34 yards on seven carries last week, Ryan Mathews rebounded with a solid performance, finishing with 59 yards on 14 carries, including a 35-yard run. Mathews also had a 1-yard touchdown run on a goal-line play that San Diego would have been wise to use last week, when the Chargers failed to get the winning score from a yard out against Washington. The Chargers rushed for 131 yards as a team, but 113 of those yards came in the first half.

Cox benched again: For a second straight game, San Diego’s top free-agent addition, cornerback Derek Cox, was benched for poor play. Cox failed to get Denver tight end Julius Thomas out of bounds on his 74-yard reception for a score in the opening quarter, and received an earful from defensive coordinator John Pagano on the sideline after the play. Cox later returned to the game after fellow cornerback Shareece Wright suffered an apparent leg injury. Cox was benched in the second half of San Diego’s overtime loss to Washington last week.

What’s next: The Chargers hit the road and travel to Miami for an afternoon game next Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals

November, 10, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 27-24 win against the Houston Texans.

What it means: There's still work to do, but the Cardinals seem to have found an offensive rhythm. Sunday's win against the Texans showed two things: a running game does wonders for an offense and the Cardinals can come back. Everyone knows how good the defense is, and while it produced a touchdown on Sunday, the offense finally came into its own. The Falcons' win could've been considered a fluke, but the Cardinals' win over the Texans showed this offense can win games, unlike in the first seven. A few tweaks, such as on third down and red zone -- the two areas that plagued Arizona all season -- could make this a fully-operational, and highly dangerous, team down the stretch.

Stock Watch: Rob Housler finally broke out of his slump with a 12-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and finished with 57 yards receiving. His return signifies the addition of another playmaker on offense, rounding out a tight-end unit that benefited from the addition of Jake Ballard. Housler's role may increase if Michael Floyd's shoulder injury ends up being serious. Throughout the game, Housler seemed to become more comfortable, shedding the burden that followed him because he wasn't living up to expectations.

He's still got it: The Cardinals' defense played well before John Abraham became an every-down linebacker but they've flourished with him playing the majority of the snaps. His two sacks against the Texans showed it. The sack on the first play of the game, in which he stripped Houston quarterback Case Keenum led to Cards linebacker Matt Shaughnessy scooping and scoring. Sunday was Abraham's 30th multi-sack game of his career.

Up and running: At first, it didn't look like the Cardinals learned a lesson from their win over the Falcons, but as the game progressed coach Bruce Arians went to the running game more, even lining rookie running back Andre Ellington at quarterback for three straight plays. Having a running game has opened the passing attack for the Cardinals, proved by wins against Atlanta and Houston.

What's next: The Cardinals travel to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars at 11 a.m. MT on Sunday at EverBank Field.

Rapid Reaction: San Francisco 49ers

November, 10, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' 10-9 home loss to the Carolina Panthers:

What it means: The 49ers' five-game winning streak is over. They are 6-3 and 2 games behind 9-1 Seattle in the NFC West. The Panthers -- who recovered two fumbles in their territory in the final two minutes -- extend their win streak to five games. The 49ers fell to 3-2 at home, and it is just the second loss at home under Jim Harbaugh after Nov. 1. This was a hard-fought, close game, but the 49ers could not make enough plays on offense to win.

Smith plays on a limited basis: 49ers star pass-rusher Aldon Smith was in for a handful of plays in his first action since Week 3. Smith returned after treatment for substance abuse. He looked good and had a strong burst on the plays he was in. The 49ers are easing him back in as he regains his conditioning.

Injuries stack up: The 49ers came out of the bye in terrific health. But they were beat up Sunday. Tight end Vernon Davis and rookie safety Eric Reid both left with concussions. They will have to pass NFL protocol before being cleared to play next week. It is Reid’s second concussion of the season. Defensive tackle Ray McDonald also left with an ankle injury.

Stock watch: The 49ers had very little passing success with Davis out Sunday. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for just 91 yards. Receiver Mario Manningham made his season debut after being out with a knee injury. He had three catches for 30 yards.

What’s next: The 49ers have another huge test at New Orleans on Sunday in a game that has major NFC playoff implications.

Rapid Reaction: Carolina Panthers

November, 10, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few thoughts on the Carolina Panthers' 10-9 victory against the San Francisco 49ers.

What it means: Relevance. Big-time. Those who didn't take the Panthers (6-3) seriously before Sunday will now. They won their fifth straight game and sixth in the past seven to go from a possible playoff contender to a serious threat in the NFC. Not only did Carolina win, it proved it can win a big game, and it proved it can win a close big game. Carolina's record in games decided by a touchdown or less was 2-14 -- 0-2 this season -- coming into the day.

Stock watch: For the second straight game quarterback Cam Newton saw his consistency plummet. But for the second straight week he did enough to get the win thanks to another stout defensive effort. A 9-yard completion to Steve Smith on third-and-9 with 2:18 left and the Panthers trying to run out the clock might have been one of the biggest plays of his career. Oh, and his recovery of his own fumble on third-and-2 with under two minutes left that almost was disastrous.

Bad and good timing: Kicker Graham Gano had been perfect this season on all 12 field goal attempts until missing a 48-yarder with 3:41 left in the third quarter that would have given Carolina a 10-7 lead. There was no wind at Candlestick to blame that one on either. He came back with a 53-yarder to make it 10-9 with 10:05 to play. He is 5-for-5 from 50-plus yards.

Say what? Still don't see how the officials didn't rule that a catch and fumble by San Francisco's Vernon Davis late in the first half. The incompletion call led to a 49ers field goal and 9-0 lead.

Defense stout: The Panthers may have beaten up on some also-rans en route to this game, but that shouldn't take away from what this defense has accomplished. It is playing at a championship level, holding San Francisco to 143 total yards.

What's next? The Panthers play host to the New England Patriots on Nov. 18 on "Monday Night Football." It will be the first meeting between the teams that met in the 2003 season Super Bowl since 2009, a 20-10 New England victory.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos

November, 10, 2013

SAN DIEGO -- A few thoughts on the Denver Broncos' 28-20 win over the San Diego Chargers:

What it means: It means we get an AFC West showdown next Sunday night when the 9-0 Chiefs come to Denver to face the now 8-1 Broncos. It will offer the age-old question about defense against offense, with the highest-scoring offense in the league’s history after nine games facing the league’s sack leaders who have not surrendered more than 17 points to any opponent this season.

Stock watch: Tight end Julius Thomas was limited in practice this past week because of an ankle injury, but it took just one play for Thomas to show he felt just fine and what he means to the offense when he is healthy. On the third play from scrimmage for the Broncos, Thomas took a short flip from Peyton Manning 74 yards up the right sideline for the Broncos’ first touchdown. In the Broncos’ three-wide receiver set Thomas continues to be the riddle for opposing defenses when they move their help toward Denver’s wide receivers.

Blindside issues: In Week 7, the Colts’ Robert Mathis terrorized Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, putting two of the hardest hits on Manning of the season from the blind side -- a rush from the defensive right -- including one that caused a fumble. The Chargers’ Tourek Williams beat Broncos left tackle Chris Clark Sunday to swipe the ball out from Manning’s blind side. The momentum changed in the game for a bit and with the Chiefs next up on the docket, it is a concern.

Variety pack: With cornerback Champ Bailey having missed his seventh game of the season because of a foot injury and safety Duke Ihenacho out with an ankle injury, defensive coordinator/interim coach Jack Del Rio obviously made the decision to use everybody else in uniform Sunday. Del Rio played all nine active defensive backs at some point in the defense. He mixed and matched in all of the personnel groupings, especially at cornerback, where Quentin Jammer got the start in the base defense. Kayvon Webster, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris also played at cornerback in the base defense during the game.

What’s next: The Chiefs (9-0) are coming off a bye, so they will have had some extra time to get ready for the Broncos’ offense. Kansas City has 36 sacks, but while Justin Houston (11.0) and Tamba Hali (9.0) are the outside rushers who have done the most damage, it’s Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe (4.5) who may be the most difficult matchup for the Broncos overall.

Rapid Reaction: Cincinnati Bengals

November, 10, 2013

BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 20-17 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

What it means: All of a sudden, the same Bengals team hyped as one of the best in the NFL isn't looking like it. A second straight loss has them reeling a bit. The division championship that once appeared to be a lock no longer appears that way. Now at 1-2 against AFC North teams, the Bengals will have to win every division game from here on out and rely on help from others. The Bengals didn't look very good for much of the contest offensively, and lost in overtime for the second consecutive game.

Stock watch: Andy Dalton: falling. During the windiest conditions he has dealt with this season, Dalton had trouble getting into a passing rhythm. The result of his syncopated play was a 24-for-51 showing for 274 yards, with two touchdown passes and three interceptions. It was his fourth three-interception game, and marked the first time in his career that he has thrown three interceptions in back-to-back games. All of that said, it might not be reasonable to say his stock has completely fallen. After all, he did rally the Bengals for the game-tying score that sent the game to overtime. After making a few questionable time-management decisions at the start of the drive, he ended it with a Hail Mary throw that was tipped and resulted in a 51-yard touchdown reception by A.J. Green.

Replacing Rey: For the past two weeks, second-year Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey has been tasked with replacing Rey Maualuga in the middle of Cincinnati's defense. Coach Marvin Lewis said last week that he was pleased with the way Rey filled in during last week's loss at Miami. He had five tackles on 60 snaps. If Lewis was impressed by that, he had to be beyond thrilled with Rey's play Sunday. Once again playing in relief of Maualuga, whose knee injury likely will keep him out two more weeks, Rey had 13 tackles that included three sacks. He also deflected three passes and had his first career interception.

What's next? With their marathon tour of four road games in five weeks now over, the Bengals (6-4) return home for a rematch next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns (4-5). The Browns, who were idle this week, won the season's first meeting 17-6. Ahead of the Bengals' own bye week, the division matchup marks a second straight must-win scenario for them.

Rapid Reaction: Baltimore Ravens

November, 10, 2013

BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 20-17 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

What it means: Justin Tucker's 46-yard field goal with 5:27 left in overtime allowed the Ravens to save their season. Baltimore (4-5) ended its three-game losing streak by knocking off the AFC North-leading Bengals (6-4), edging closer in the standings and moving into a second-place tie with the Cleveland Browns. It marked the fourth straight time that the Ravens have beaten the Bengals in Baltimore. The Ravens made it interesting at the end after failing to hold a 17-point lead and letting the game go to overtime.

Momentum swing: After allowing a 51-yard Hail Mary touchdown to tie the game at the end of regulation, the Ravens' defense stopped the Bengals on fourth down when cornerback Corey Graham tackled Bengals running back Giovani Bernard behind the line. Joe Flacco completed passes to Ray Rice and Ed Dickson to set up the game-winning field goal in overtime.

Stock watch: Rising: James Ihedigbo. The Ravens safety didn't have an interception in 77 career games, but he came up big Sunday by picking off Andy Dalton twice. His first one featured a 37-yard return that set up the Ravens' second touchdown. His second one stopped a Bengals drive in Baltimore territory late in the fourth quarter. But his tip on the last play of regulation fell into the hands of A.J. Green for the tying touchdown.

Mixed results for Flacco: It was a hit-or-miss type of game for Flacco. In the red zone, he threw two touchdowns, scrambling to buy time on the first one and hitting Torrey Smith on a slant for the second. Outside of the 20-yard line? Flacco was often off the mark. He finished with 140 yards passing and three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble).

Rare fast start: Flacco's 1-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Clark was the Ravens' first touchdown in the first quarter since the season opener. The Ravens, who had scored 16 points in the first quarter in the first eight games, jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opening period. This also represented Baltimore's first lead at any point in a game since Oct. 6 in Miami.

What's next: The Ravens go back on the road for the third time in four games, when they play at the Chicago Bears.

Rapid Reaction: Green Bay Packers

November, 10, 2013

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

What it means: The Packers lost their second consecutive game and are now down to their third quarterback of the season. At 5-4, they are a game behind the Detroit Lions in the NFC North and are facing injury-related issues on both sides of the ball. It's hard to conceive of the Packers as a playoff team at the moment.

Injury report: Starter Seneca Wallace departed after the Packers' first possession due to a groin injury, leaving Scott Tolzien -- who was in training camp with the San Francisco 49ers and a member of the Packers' practice squad until last week -- to navigate the majority of this game. The Packers also lost center Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), Don Barclay (undisclosed) and cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring), finishing the game with only two offensive linemen in the same position they were in when it started.

Tolzien time: All things considered, Tolzien played well -- and much better than Wallace did in relief after Aaron Rodgers was sidelined this past Monday night. You could make an argument for Tolzien (24-of-38, 280 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) as the Packers' best option until Rodgers' fractured collarbone heals.

Defensively speaking: The Packers might have had a difficult time winning Sunday even if Rodgers had played. Their defense broke down repeatedly in coverage, allowed 155 rushing yards to LeSean McCoy and got no juice from the return of linebacker Clay Matthews -- who played with a substantial club protecting his injured right thumb and was ineffective in the pass rush. Cornerback Tramon Williams missed two interceptions on big Eagles passing plays, one a 55-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson, and receiver Riley Cooper broke open for touchdown receptions of 45 and 32 yards.

Challenge awry? Despite it all, the Packers had a genuine opportunity to get back in the game with 9 minutes, 32 seconds remaining. Referee Mike Carey ruled that receiver Jordy Nelson did not control the ball in the end zone on a fourth-down pass that would have made it a one-score game. Replays indicated the call was close, but coach Mike McCarthy's challenge was denied. The Eagles ran out the rest of the clock. In the end, there wasn't enough evidence to prove conclusively that Nelson controlled the ball underneath him.

What's next: The Packers will play next Sunday at the New York Giants at 4:25 p.m. ET.

Rapid Reaction: Philadelphia Eagles

November, 10, 2013

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Observations on the Philadelphia Eagles' 27-13 victory against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

What it means: The Eagles are 5-5, are in contention in a weak NFC East and seem to have a legitimate quarterback in Nick Foles. A week after throwing seven touchdowns in Oakland, Foles threw for three at Lambeau Field. For the season, he has thrown 16 touchdowns and no interceptions. That was the NFL record for 53 years until Peyton Manning broke it this season. The victory also means the Eagles have some luck on their side. The Packers, already without Aaron Rodgers, lost second-team quarterback Seneca Wallace in the first quarter. Scott Tolzien made his NFL debut. The Eagles have wins against Mike Glennon, Terrelle Pryor and Tolzien this year.

Body count: Both teams were afflicted by injuries. The Eagles lost three starters: Left tackle Jason Peters went out twice, once to be evaluated for a concussion and once with a knee injury. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks and safety Earl Wolff left with knee injuries. Allen Barbre replaced Peters and did a solid job protecting Foles’ blind side. Veteran Patrick Chung replaced Wolff. Najee Goode took Kendricks’ inside linebacker spot and was used a couple of times to blitz Tolzien.

Stock Watch: Riley Cooper -- Rising fast. After catching three of Foles’ record-tying seven touchdown throws last week, Cooper caught two more against the Packers. The first was a fluky 45-yard play. Foles underthrew the ball. Cooper saw it and circled back under it as two Packers defenders overran the play. At the end of the third quarter, Cooper shook safety Morgan Burnett and was wide-open on a corner route for a 32-yard score.

What’s next: The Eagles’ 10-game home losing streak is on the line as NFC East rival Washington comes to Lincoln Financial Field. Although they’re 0-4 there under Chip Kelly, a win would keep them in contention in the division race as they go into their bye week. The Eagles, who are 5-1 on the road, opened the season with a 33-27 win at Washington.

Rapid Reaction: Atlanta Falcons

November, 10, 2013

ATLANTA -- A few thoughts after the Atlanta Falcons' 33-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: It's still hard to imagine that a Falcons team picked by many to be the NFC's No. 1 seed is looking at a 2-7 record. Most figured the Falcons would be overmatched by the powerful Seahawks, but no one could imagine the Falcons being manhandled at home. Folks are sure to start questioning head coach Mike Smith's future despite his tremendous success since taking over the team. The remainder of the season should be an audition for the young players who might make an impact for years to come.

Stock watch: Running back Steven Jackson was supposed to make a great impact for the Falcons after coming over from the St. Louis Rams. Instead, Jackson has struggled to catch his stride, in part, due to a hamstring injury. The Falcons needed Jackson to provide balance on Sunday. Instead, he came out and picked up just 14 yards on his first seven carries. In fact, the Falcons' best run option in the first half was a scrambling Matt Ryan. That should never happen, and Jackson should take that personally. He needs to be better, although the offensive line doesn't help his cause.

Back in action: Wide receiver Roddy White, sidelined for the past three games with hamstring and ankle injuries, returned to the lineup Sunday but had little impact as the offense struggled. White had a 20-yard catch down the middle in the first half. But the most fireworks he sparked was a confrontation with nemesis Richard Sherman, during which White slap-boxed with Sherman for a few moments. Again, it was hard for White to get involved with the offense struggling and Ryan under duress most of the day. Ryan couldn't go deep most the game thanks to the pressure in his face.

Big letdown: The Falcons' defense just hasn't learned. Once again, it gave up a number of big, explosive plays, including a 43-yard touchdown from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse off a flea-flicker from running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch had a 37-yard run of his own on his way to a 100-yard day, while the Seahawks also had a 46-yard pass play. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is no doubt pulling his hair out weekly. Maybe the return of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon from injured reserve next week will help the defense. But it's a little too late.

What's next: The Falcons travel to Tampa Bay to face the winless Buccaneers, one of two teams the Falcons beat this season, along with the Rams. In Week 7, the Falcons escaped with a 31-23 win while facing rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. But the Buccaneers showed in an overtime loss the Seahawks that they can be competitive. The Buccaneers next face the Dolphins on "Monday Night Football."