Deshaun Watson intercepted early by Texans rookie Jalen Pitre

Deshaun Watson’s return to the NFL saw a serious blip when Watson threw an interception to Texans rookie safety Jalen Pitre.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson hadn’t taken the field in 700 days before Sunday’s start against the Houston Texans, and we all know why.

Deshaun Watson’s massive deal is a repugnant black eye for the NFL

So, one would expect Watson to be rusty at the start. He certainly was, especially when the Browns got into the red zone late in the first quarter. Watson did help to facilitate that with a 27-yard deep pass to receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, but when he tried to hit receiver Amari Cooper in the end zone, Texans rookie safety Jalen Pitre came away with his third interception on the season.

The Browns traded for Watson. The Browns signed Watson to an unprecedented five-year, $230 million contract that is fully guaranteed. The Browns sat by while Watson served his 11-game suspension for multiple accusations of sexual assault, and now, the Browns have to hope that what they’ve seen from Watson to start is nothing more than rust.

Cyber Monday NFL deals: Best sales for fans of each team

Save big on the perfect gift for any football fan this holiday season.

Happy holidays, football fans!

Whether you’re dreaming of the Super Bowl or planning ahead for next season, Touchdown Wire is here to give you something to cheer about this holiday season.

Fanatics is offering 30% off your entire order with the code “BOLT”. Act now, this deal is only available on Monday, Nov. 28.

Whether your favorite football fan would love a jersey, hat, sweatshirt or a decoration for the man cave, check out the individual team lists below.

We occasionally recommend interesting products and services. If you make a purchase by clicking one of the links, we may earn an affiliate fee. Touchdown Wire operates independently, though, and this doesn’t influence our coverage.

Eagles DI Javon Hargrave has five sacks in the last five days

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave saved his team’s undefeated season Thursday night, and he has five sacks in the last five days.

The Philadelphia Eagles were short on depth on their interior defensive line as they faced the Houston Texans on Thursday night. Rookie Jordan Davis is out for at least four games on injured reserve with an ankle issue, and veteran Fletcher Cox was working through his own ankle issues in this game. Philly’s run defense certainly reflected Davis’ absence, as it had all season in a situational, as opposed to injury-related sense.

So, with all that going on, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave decided to take over the game, and just house both left guard Kenyon Green and center Scott Quessenberry all game long. Hargrave had three sacks and multiple pressures in the Eagles’ 29-17 win to take them to 8-0 as the NFL’s sole undefeated team, and given the extent to which this team played with its food in the first half, it could be said that Hargrave saved his franchise’s unblemished record.

Here’s Green, the rookie guard, getting bull-rushed twice on the way to quarterback Davis Mills…

… and here, he just blows by Quessenberry for another takedown.

Last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 35-13 win, Hargrave was similarly unblockable. He had two sacks, two quarterback hits, and five quarterback hurries against Pittsburgh’s overmatched offensive line.

Here, left guard Kevin Dotson thought he had Hargrave pushed out of the pocket, but Hargrave made a great recovery to take quarterback Kenny Pickett to the turf.

On this sack, Dotson didn’t stand a chance; Hargrave just rode him right into the quarterback.

At his best, Hargrave is as disruptive as just about anybody at his position in the NFL, and he turned it up to 11 at exactly the right time.

4-Down Territory: Packers and Bucs, Dak and Tua, best 2022 draft classes

In this week’s 4-Down Territory, Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling discuss Bucs, Packers, Dak, Tua, and 2022’s best draft classes!

Every week in “4-Down Territory,” Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire and Draft Wire go over the things you need to know about, and the things you need to watch, in the NFL right now. With Week 7 of the 2022 NFL season in the books, there was a lot to cover!

This week, Doug and Luke discuss:

  1. Among surprise disappointments at 3-4, whether the Green Bay Packers or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have more to deal with on the way back up;
  2. If Dak Prescott looked about like we expected in his return from injury;
  3. If Tua Tagovailoa can take the Dolphins to the top (or near-top) of the AFC East;
  4. Between the Houston Texans and the Seattle Seahawks, which team has had the best 2022 draft class so far?

You can watch this week’s “4-Down Territory” right here:

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The Raiders might want to do something about Josh Jacobs’ contract

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is demolishing enemy defenses, The team might want to do something about his contract status.

Before the 2022 season, the Las Vegas Raiders decided to pass on exercising the fifth-year options on any of their three first-round picks in the 2019 draft. Understandable in the cases of edge-rusher Clelin Ferrell and safety Johnathan Abram, as Ferrell and Abraham have not produced to their draft status. But running back Josh Jacobs has been a plus starter through most of his career, and that was even true when Jon Gruden was calling the plays and establishing the overall culture, and Tom Cable was in charge of the offensive line.

If you can succeed under those circumstances, odds are, you’re a pretty good player.

Jacobs, who we ranked as the NFL’s eighth-best running back before the season started, absolutely is. Even in a disastrous 2021 season for the Raiders, Jacobs carried the ball 230 times for 955 yards and nine touchdowns. 683 of his rushing yards came after contact, he forced 60 missed tackles (third in the NFL behind Jonathan Taylor and Javonte Williams), and he had eight carries of 15 or more yards for 169 total yards.

At the 2022 scouting combine, new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels was asked about Jacobs’ future.

The Raiders would have been smart to seal Jacobs’ future before the season, because at this rate, the Alabama alum is going to cost come team more scratch this offseason than McDaniels’ team would have had to pay before the season began.

Especially as the season has progressed, Jacobs has been a true force multiplier in McDaniels’ offense. To a historic degree, in fact. Jacobs riddled the Broncos and Chiefs in Weeks 4 and 5, respectively, with 28 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos, and 21 carries for 154 yards and another touchdown against the Chiefs.

In Lax Vegas’ 38-20 Sunday win, coming off their bye, Jacobs ran 20 times for 143 yards and three more scores.

With all that, Jacobs attached his name to recent NFL history, and all-time Raiders history.

Unless the Raiders re-sign Jacobs or give him the franchise tag, they’ll have a lot to replace in their offense.

NFL Week 6 Power Rankings: No lead is safe!

Week 6 NFL power rankings! Here’s how all 32 teams stand in a season where there’s been as much scoring volatility as we’ve ever seen.

In the 2022 NFL season, no lead is safe.

Per NFL Research, there have been 23 games decided by a game-winning touchdown within the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime this season, the third-most such games in the first six weeks of a season in pro football history. Only 2021 (25 games) and 2012 (24) have more.

There have been 18 games in which a team overcame a deficit of at least 10 points to win or tie this season, tied for the fourth-most such games through Week 6. Only 2020 (19 games), 2011 (19) and 1987 (19) have more.

12 of 14 games in Week 6 were within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter. There have been 73 games within one score in the fourth quarter and 57 games decided by one score, both the most such games through the first six weeks in pro football history.

On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts overcame an 11-point deficit to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cincinnati Bengals overcame a 10-point deficit to beat the New Orleans Saints. The New York Giants overcame a 10-point deficit to beat the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants have now won three games this season in which they had a deficit of 10 or more points, and the Ravens have now lost three games in which they once had a double-digit lead.

On Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles got out to a 20-0 lead against the Dallas Cowboys, and had to hang on for dear life after Dallas came back to make the score 20-17. And on Monday night, the Los Angeles Chargers overcame a 10-point deficit to beat the Denver Broncos in overtime.

More than ever, teams are turning seemingly certain losses into wins, and vice versa. With all that volatility going on, here’s how all 32 NFL teams measure up in our Week 6 power rankings.

4-Down Territory: Rookie CBs, Packers in trouble, NFC Best, and roughing the passer!

On this week’s 4-Down Territory: Rookie cornerbacks, the Packers in trouble, the NFC East as the NFC Best, and horrible roughing the passer calls!

Every week in “4-Down Territory,” Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire and Draft Wire go over the things you need to know about, and the things you need to watch, in the NFL right now. With Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season in the books, there was a lot to cover!

This week, Doug and Luke discuss:

  1. Which of the five rookie cornerbacks who had interceptions on Sunday has been most impressive through the season so far;
  2. Why the Packers are in trouble, and how they can turn things around;
  3. Whether the NFC East has become the best division in football after years of justifiable “NFC Least” jokes; and
  4. What it will take for the NFL to get roughing the passer calls right.

You can watch this week’s “4-Down Territory” right here:

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Amazon Prime Day NFL Deals: One gift for fans of each NFL team

The holidays have come early for NFL fans thanks to Amazon Prime’s Early Access Sale.

While Prime Day has come and gone for 2022, Amazon is giving Prime members another reason to be thankful this holiday season.

Amazon Prime Early Access Sale is a two-day event exclusive to Prime subscribers, who can start their holiday shopping with thousands of exclusive discounts.

We know just how challenging it can be to shop for the NFL fan in your life, so we put together a list to ensure no fan gets forgotten this year.

Looking for some team apparel? Got it. Big tailgater? No problem. Want a Halloween costume that shows your fandom? We got you covered.

If you see something you like, but it’s featured in your rival’s colors, don’t worry. Almost all of the items below can be found sporting the colors of your favorite NFL team.

 

Five rookie cornerbacks grab interceptions in Sunday’s early games

Five rookie cornerbacks grabbed interceptions in the early Sunday games, Here’s how they all happened, and what to expect from all five players.

Interceptions are far from the best arbiter of defensive back excellence. There are cornerbacks who pick off all kinds of passes, and that tends to obscure the plays they allow. Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs was an optimal example in 2021. The second-year man from Alabama had 11 interceptions, one of the highest single-season totals in pro football history — but he also allowed 27 catches on 101 targets for 1,068 yards, 453 yards after the catch, five touchdowns, and an opponent passer rating of 70.8.

It could easily be argued that Diggs’ 2022 season, in which through the first four weeks he allowed 14 catches on 25 targets for 156 yards, 63 yards after the catch, one touchdown, two interceptions, and a 54.8 opponent passer rating, to be the better season overall — at least, to start.

That said, we like our cornerbacks to grab interceptions. And in Sunday’s early slate of games, there was an absolute festival of picks taken by rookie cornerbacks. Five first-year cornerbacks had thefts n those games, and perhaps even more interestingly, there were three first-round cornerbacks with their first career interceptions… and two third-day picks who had already picked off passes earlier in the season.

Let’s go through all five of these plays, and look at how they happened.

After 2 weeks, the AFC South has combined for 1 win

The AFC South has combined for 1 win over the first 2 weeks of the NFL season

The NFC East has been displaced as the worst division in the NFL.

The AFC South has cemented its position as the foundation at the bottom of league standings.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in first place. That is because they have the only win the division has.

And, does that won actually count? Because it came against a division foe, the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts are 0-1-1. They have managed to fall behind the Houston Texans and Jaguars at different points over their first two games by a combined 44-3.

For perspective, the Jags and Texans were a combined 7-27 in 2021.

The Tennessee Titans were the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs last season.

They have opened the 2022 season by blowing a double-digit lead against the New York Giants and getting blown out by the Buffalo Bills on “Monday Night Football.”

Do the math and after 2 weeks and 8 collective games, the AFC South is 1-5-2 and can’t go much further south if it tried.