The Chargers did it again.
Los Angeles became the first team in NFL history to blow at least a 16-point lead in four consecutive games in Sunday’s 31-30 loss at Denver.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw three touchdown passes as L.A. jumped out to a 24-3 lead, but could only watch as Broncos' quarterback Drew Lock hit Penn State rookie K.J. Hamler on the final play to tie it and Temple alum Brandon McManus nailed the extra point.
Herbert joined Deshaun Watson as the only rookies ever to throw three touchdowns in four consecutive games. He has one win in that span.
If there was ever any question who was more responsible for the Patriots dynasty the last two decades — the coach or the quarterback — it has been answered in these last two months.
Tom Brady was.
The Patriots allowed their quarterback to sign with Tampa Bay in the offseason and they’ve been running uphill ever since. The loss to Buffalo on Sunday was their fourth in a row. They are 2-5 and the ESPN folks now have to sell us on a Patriots-Jets Monday Night game next week. The Jets are 0-8.
Cam Newton, the former MVP brought in by coach Bill Belichick to replace Brady, has not been the answer. The Patriots were in position to take the lead in the final minute at Buffalo, but Newton fumbled on a quarterback keeper with 31 seconds left. Buffalo, which went 3-32 against Brady, took a knee and skated out with a 24-21 win.
“It affects me more that I still am jeopardizing this team’s success because of my lackluster performances protecting the football,” Newton said. “Coach trusts me with the ball in my hands and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve got to do a better job of protecting it.”
Newton has seven interceptions, two touchdown passes, and six TD runs.
Bills head coach and La Salle High product Sean McDermott had never beaten Belichick/Brady in six tries. His team is now 6-2 and sitting atop the AFC East. Miami (4-3), which surprised the Rams, is in second place.
In Newton’s defense, the Patriots wide receiving group is in as bad of shape as what the Eagles have endured. Leading receiver Julian Edelman (knee) did not play and is not expected back any time soon. N’Keal Harry (concussion) also sat out.
The Patriots dressed five wide receivers on Sunday. Four were undrafted players. The only one drafted is special-teams ace Matthew Slater, who hasn’t caught a pass in nine years.
Jakobi Meyers had six receptions, Damiere Byrd (Timber Creek H.S.) had three. And that was it for the wide receivers. They used to have a quarterback who could help compensate for those holes. But he’s in Tampa now, and the Patriots are in third place.
A bettor at PointsBet put up $125,944 lost a six-leg parlay on the two biggest upsets of the day. The winning wagers were Chiefs to lead at half, a first quarter TD in Baltimore-Pittsburgh, the Bills to score at least five points in the first half and a first quarter touchdown in Indy-Detroit. The losses were money-line plays on the Packers and Titans, who were touchdown favorites but lost outright to the Vikings (1-5 entering the game) and Bengals (1-5-1), respectively. The bet would have won $499,997. Ouch.
“Nothing about this game was pretty from an offensive perspective until the end and we looked at the scoreboard."
— Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
“I look for Tua to light them up today.”
— ESPN analyst Rex Ryan around 12:30 Sunday afternoon
“DK Metcalf is an absolute freak. In a league of freaks, he’s the freakiest of freaks.”
— Fox analyst Mark Schlereth
Nick Bellore? Sounds like somebody from a Bond film. Shoutout to Sean Connery. The late, great.
— NFL Red Zone host Scott Hanson after running a highlight of the Seahawks fullback’s 9-yard reception.
“There’s no one to leap to. It’s sad, actually.”
— Fox announcer Kevin Burkhardt after Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook leaped into the empty stands at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.
Consensus odds via VegasInsider.com as of Sunday evening.