The Final Word: Derrick Henry headed for Hall of Fame and Dak Prescott playing at MVP level

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It was mixed bag in Week Six as the NFL served up some thrillers that went down to the wire – including three overtime games on Sunday and a massive Monday night win for the Tennessee Titans thanks to a late defensive stand on a fourth-and-one play against the Buffalo Bills.

But there were also some lopsided games that had promised much heading into the weekend. That’s where my look back at Week Six begins…

Five Major Takeaways from Week Six

1) The Cardinals are for real!

Highlights of the Arizona Cardinals clash with the Cleveland Browns in Week Six of the NFL

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Highlights of the Arizona Cardinals clash with the Cleveland Browns in Week Six of the NFL

Highlights of the Arizona Cardinals clash with the Cleveland Browns in Week Six of the NFL

Sunday’s visit to Ohio to face the Cleveland Browns looked like a tricky test for the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. They were without head coach Kliff Kingsbury, Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson and star pass rusher Chandler Jones. But these Cardinals are making believers of us all.

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Arizona ran out comfortable 37-14 winners over a banged-up and under-performing Browns side. It would have been even more of a rout had it not been for Baker Mayfield’s Hail Mary touchdown pass just before the half. Cleveland never scored again.

Hail Mary TD! Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield's 57-yard heave finds receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones!

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Hail Mary TD! Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield’s 57-yard heave finds receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones!

Hail Mary TD! Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield’s 57-yard heave finds receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones!

The Cardinals have an embarrassment of riches on offense, with Kyler Murray distributing the ball to Chase Edmonds, James Conner, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore. You can soon add Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to that mix. But the defense – led by veteran JJ Watt – was also strong on Sunday, sacking Mayfield five times and coming up with an interception. This is a complete team and a genuine contender.

2) Ravens bully the Chargers

After Buffalo’s loss on Monday night, the early-season mapping indicates the AFC road to the Super Bowl will travel through Baltimore. The perennial winners had a nightmare preseason filled with key injuries and were being written off after a Week One loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Watch the highlights as Los Angeles Chargers headed to Baltimore to face the Ravens in Week Six of the 2021 season.

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Watch the highlights as Los Angeles Chargers headed to Baltimore to face the Ravens in Week Six of the 2021 season.

Watch the highlights as Los Angeles Chargers headed to Baltimore to face the Ravens in Week Six of the 2021 season.

But the Ravens have won five in a row since then, including Sunday’s 34-6 absolute beatdown of the Los Angeles Chargers. Most impressive to me was that such a comprehensive victory could be recorded without a single star shining brighter than the others.

No runner gained more than 53 yards, yet the Ravens rushed for 187 and three scores. Lamar Jackson threw for just 167 yards and was picked off twice and no receiver topped 68 yards. Defensively, Baltimore looked at their peak best; holding the Chargers to just 26 rushing yards and making Justin Herbert uncomfortable on a long and miserable day.

3) Chiefs blow hot and cold

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown eight interceptions already this season, more than he had in the entire 2020 campaign

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown eight interceptions already this season, more than he had in the entire 2020 campaign

Let’s start with the good news. The Kansas City Chiefs gained 499 yards and Patrick Mahomes threw for 397 of those and two touchdowns in a 31-13 win over the Washington Football Team that evened up Kansas City’s record at 3-3.

But there is much to be concerned about as the Chiefs produced three more turnovers to let a bad team hang around for far too long. Against a quality opponent, Kansas City would have been in a lot of trouble. The Chiefs have an NFL-high 14 turnovers on the season.

Mahomes threw two more picks and now has eight interceptions this season. That is already more than he threw last term and there are still 11 games to go. Mahomes is special and makes so many special throws, but he has to dial down his confidence just a notch or two.

He contributed to an interception against the Chargers earlier this season with an unnecessary no-look pass and his pick on Sunday was foolish. He fumbled the snap, picked up the loose ball and threw up a dolly for an easy interception when he should have taken a sack. It did not hurt KC on Sunday, but such carelessness will bite in the future.

4) Jones struggles in New York

Daniel Jones had a torrid afternoon as the New York Giants slipped to a heavy home defeat to the Los Angeles Rams

Daniel Jones had a torrid afternoon as the New York Giants slipped to a heavy home defeat to the Los Angeles Rams

It’s a very worrying time for Daniel Jones, of the New York Giants. The under-fire quarterback has his doubters and this is very much a prove-it year for him. With that in mind, it’s not a good time for Jones to see his skill-position stars dropping like flies through injury.

Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are all key losses, but how much should that excuse Jones for the shoddy display he put forward during Sunday’s 38-11 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams?

Jones continues to be far too careless with the football. On Sunday, he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. The man who had led the NFL in turnovers during the previous two seasons posted a passer rating of just 44.7. I am not sure the Giants are going to pay much attention to the mitigating circumstances when they conduct their end-of-season review and I think Jones is in trouble.

5) Dak in MVP form

A year on from the horrific ankle injury that ruined his 2020 season, Dak Prescott is in MVP form while leading the Dallas Cowboys to a 5-1 record. Like all good teams, Dallas have won in a variety of ways this term. During Sunday’s 35-29 overtime win over the New England Patriots, it was very much on Dak.

Walk-off TD! Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to receiver CeeDee Lamb to see them beat the New England Patriots in overtime

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Walk-off TD! Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to receiver CeeDee Lamb to see them beat the New England Patriots in overtime

Walk-off TD! Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to receiver CeeDee Lamb to see them beat the New England Patriots in overtime

Prescott threw for 445 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to CeeDee Lamb in overtime. He suffered a calf strain during the win but the Cowboys have said they are “optimistic” he will be good to go against the Minnesota Vikings in Week Eight – once Dallas come off their bye.

Such outstanding games have become the norm this season. Dak has completed 73 per cent of his throws for 1,813 yards, 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions. You need an elite quarterback to go all the way in today’s NFL and the Cowboys have one. There is a long way to go, but Dak has Dallas very much in the Super Bowl conversation.

Player of the Week: Derrick Henry

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry's best plays from his three-TD game against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football

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Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry’s best plays from his three-TD game against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry’s best plays from his three-TD game against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football

That was a Hall of Fame runner in his absolute prime on Monday Night Football, as Derrick Henry rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns in Tennessee’s 34-31 win over Buffalo.

The Titans are looking more and more like a one-man team these days. Through six weeks of action, Henry has racked up 921 yards from scrimmage and scored 10 touchdowns. He is on pace for 2,609 total yards and 28 TDs in 2021 – both, of course, would be NFL records.

Play of the Week

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry notched the fastest ball-carrier speed of 2021 on his 76-yard touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills

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Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry notched the fastest ball-carrier speed of 2021 on his 76-yard touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry notched the fastest ball-carrier speed of 2021 on his 76-yard touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills

Henry’s 76-yard touchdown sprint should be played on a loop the night he goes into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will go to Canton one day, trust me.

Henry made a great cut at the line of scrimmage and was past the linebackers in the blink of an eye. Buffalo safety Micah Hyde still appeared to have a decent enough angle and I think he backed himself in that moment to cut off the big back in full flight. But Henry is not just a defensive end-sized runner, he is a sprinter and a ballet dancer. He is the complete package. He hit top gear and went over 21 miles per hour while dashing through the secondary. Then it was over. Nobody was catching the king.

Coach of the Week: Rich Bisaccia

Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia got a win in his first game in charge against the Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia got a win in his first game in charge against the Denver Broncos

Leading the Raiders into Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos could have been a daunting task for interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. The Raiders were in turmoil following the resignation of the disgraced Jon Gruden. They were riding a two-game losing streak and there were concerns about how the offense might suffer with Gruden out of the picture. Add in the fact Bisaccia was serving as a head coach for the first time in 38 years of coaching at various levels and it could have all proven too much.

But Bisaccia had the Raiders playing hard out of the gates, they racked up 426 yards of offense, Derek Carr threw for 341 yards and two scores and the Silver and Black moved to 4-2 on the season with a 34-24 victory.

On my Radar

I broke my ‘no tweeting during live shows’ rule on Sunday night because I was so angry to hear of so many families – including my wife and two young girls – having their day ruined by drunk fans at the contest between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

I have received numerous reports suggesting there were elderly ladies being hit on the head by flying beer cups and tales told to me via social media of multiple fans receiving cuts to the head and eye injuries. Children were scared and drunk fans were downing pints and just launching their empties into the crowd.

This is not what we expect or have ever seen at London games in the past. I don’t care if it started out as high-jinks and got out of hand. It cannot be allowed to happen again. If you’re not really that into the NFL but enjoy making mischief at sporting events, clear off and find another sport. We don’t want you! We have enough thoroughly decent fans who struggle to get tickets to these games. This is very much on my radar and I’m not going to allow a mindless few to wreck the sport that I – and all of you – love.

Throwing beer cups made of hard plastic – the cups are reusable so pretty sturdy – is not funny, even if you might think it’s a giggle. Check out my Twitter feed to see how funny it was to read about pensioners being helped out with cut heads or five-year-old children asking their parents if they could go home because they were scared. That’s not my NFL. Nor yours! Let’s make sure this never darkens our NFL door again.

Join Neil Reynolds and guests for Inside The Huddle, every Tuesday from 9pm on Sky Sports NFL for a look back on the best of the weekend’s NFL action.

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