PFF senior analysts Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo reviewed the film, advanced stats and grades to offer their key takeaways from Week 10 of the 2019 NFL season.
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Chiefs' defense is the team's Achilles heel
Patrick Mahomes made his return, threw for almost 450 yards, another three touchdowns and looked very much like the MVP quarterback we know him to be, but it wasn’t enough to win because his defense allowed Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to make hay on the other side. Tannehill only passed for 181 yards in the game but found the game-winning drive all too easy against a Chiefs secondary that can’t hold up on the back end. Henry gained almost 200 yards on the ground, most of which came after contact. As good as this Chiefs' offense is, they need the defense to at least be passable if they are going to be Super Bowl contenders because they are bad enough to make any opposing offense look just as good as their own at this rate.
Trubisky isn’t as bad as he has been most of this year
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Mitchell Trubisky’s play this season has been just how badly he has been playing compared to his previous career baseline. Heading into this weekend, his overall PFF grade was just 48.5, lower than all but one other quarterback and around 15 points lower than his worst season grade before 2019. He shouldn’t be that bad, and against the Lions this weekend, he wasn’t. His 78.6 grade is by far the best of his season so far and represents a potential that the Bears can win with moving forward. Even if Trubisky doesn’t hit that level again, he can lead this team to wins with merely average quarterback play, just not the disastrous play he has had for most of this season.
Everson Griffen having a career year
Typically, elite pass-rushers running up against elite pass protectors get neutralized, but Everson Griffen maintained his excellent season against Tyron Smith on Sunday Night Football. That’s not to say that Smith played badly, but overall, Griffen racked up seven total pressures and registered a sack. Griffen now ranks second in total pressures (56), and his overall grade marks the best figure of his career to date. Minnesota’s pass-rush has been formidable this season, and Griffen firing on all cylinders is a big reason why.
Ryan Finley has no shot
Ryan Finley probably isn’t a very good quarterback, but he has almost no hope of showing well given the toxic situation around him within the Cincinnati offense. Cincinnati’s offensive line is horrendous this season – wrecked by injuries to anybody that looked good on paper as well as the baseline play of those that aren’t. Finley was actually under pressure more in this game than he was kept clean, which if it held for the entire year would be the highest rate in football. Some of that pressure is on Finley himself, but Cincinnati’s line has been a sieve all season. Between that and the absence of playmaking talent, he is little more than a sacrificial lamb out there.
The Saints must throw the ball downfield
New Orleans' offense is usually an unstoppable force when playing at home in the dome, but yesterday marked the first time in the Drew Brees era that they scored fewer than 10 points in a home game. Brees has only 149 dropbacks on the year, but he’s yet to register a big-time throw (PFF’s highest-graded throws, usually further downfield), and his average depth of target of 6.5 is second-lowest to teammate Teddy Bridgewater. At his best, Brees will carve up the short and intermediate area while still stretching the field with above-average accuracy, but the downfield attack has been nonexistent in New Orleans this season. Brees finished 0-for-2 on attempts of 20-plus air yards in the loss to the Falcons.
Jamal Adams showed why he’s one of the games best all-around safeties
It’s rare that a safety can take over a game in all facets of play, but that’s just what Jamal Adams did for the New York Jets in their win over the Giants. His 93.3 overall grade is the second-best we’ve seen from a safety so far this season (behind his own 93.8 grade back in Week 3). He had two strip-sacks, one of which he just took out of quarterback Daniel Jones’ hands and returned for a touchdown. The rest of the stat sheet was just as absurd, as Adams had four other defensive stops, two hurries and a pass breakup in one of the better games you’ll see from a safety.
The offensive lines are crushing the hopes of both Los Angeles teams
The Chargers played Thursday night, and their poor offensive line was on full display. They lead the league with 147 pressures allowed through 10 weeks, and this week’s effort got to quarterback Philip Rivers like few others as he finished just 1-for-10 with three interceptions and five sacks on his 15 pressured dropbacks. As for the Rams, quarterback Jared Goff posted a passer rating of just 37.2 to go with four sacks on his 16 pressured dropbacks against the Steelers, and he’s now faced the seventh-highest percentage of pressure this season after ranking 26th in that department a year ago.
Lamar Jackson looks dominant
In one of the best performances you’ll see at quarterback, Lamar Jackson posted a 97.8 overall grade, including a 97.1 passing grade. He went 15-for-17 with one of his incompletions being a spike and the other a well-placed seam route that easily could have been another touchdown. Jackson was accurate down the field, throwing away from the leverage of defenders and even firing strikes when facing pressure. Of course, everyone will remember his spectacular 47-yard touchdown run, but it’s his precision in the passing game that is one of the stories of the season in the NFL and the key to Baltimore’s playoff and Super Bowl hopes.