Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions failed their biggest test against a stingy defense.
Three of the NFL’s most-hyped teams had a rough Sunday.
The Dolphins (5-2) had a chance to showcase the league’s most prolific offense in a prime-time matchup in Philadelphia. Instead, they got knocked around by a defense wearing throwback uniforms who looked and played like Buddy Ryan’s ferocious group led by Reggie White and Jerome Brown.
“It’s an important building block along your progression for the season. If you’re going to lose games, you want it to be against a really good team and you want it to hurt,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said.
This one stings.
Miami came in leading the NFL in several offensive categories, including 498.7 yards and 37.2 points per game. The Eagles held them to 244 yards and 10 offensive points in a 31-17 victory.
Tagovailoa had his least productive game. He was sacked three times and threw an interception when the Dolphins were driving down 24-17.
“It’s tough when you come on the road against a really good team and you’re not able to execute the way you expected to execute,” Tagovailoa said.
Even the dynamic Hill dropped what would’ve been a 21-yard TD pass over the middle in the third quarter and then Tagovailoa threw incomplete to Cedrick Wilson on fourth-and-3.
The Dolphins’ five wins are against five losing teams with a combined record of 8-25. They lost at Buffalo 48-20 in their only other game against a team with a winning record. Until they beat a winning team, they can’t be in the conversation with the Chiefs (6-1), Eagles (6-1) and 49ers (5-1).
The Lions (5-2) had their four-game winning streak snapped in a lopsided 38-6 loss at Baltimore. Facing a defense that started the day ranked No. 2 in the league, Goff looked more like the guy the Rams gave away than the Pro Bowl quarterback he has become in Detroit.
He threw one interception, fumbled twice and was sacked five times.
“Clearly we were not ready to play, which falls on my shoulders, and there’s no way around that, I know that,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said.
Detroit opened the season with a 21-20 win at Kansas City on the night the Chiefs celebrated their Super Bowl championship. All-Pros Travis Kelce and Chris Jones didn’t play in that game but it still was an impressive victory.
The Lions lost to Seattle in Week 2 before winning four straight against so-so teams. After getting hammered by the Ravens, there will be questions about whether Detroit is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
“I just think that you don’t want these to happen, but when it does, it re-centered you, it refocuses you and that’s all I know. I don’t want it to happen. Nobody wants it to happen,” Campbell said.
The Bills (4-3) should’ve lost last week but barely escaped with a 14-9 win over the Giants because of New York’s ineptitude. The Giants couldn’t score from the 1 on the final play in both halves.
Buffalo came out flat against lowly New England, fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter and didn’t get going until the fourth. The Bills trailed 22-10 with 7:40 remaining before Allen led a rally only to watch the defense allow Mac Jones to drive the Patriots 75 yards for the winning score.
“We’re not playing complementary football,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “We’re beating ourselves at times, and we’re not linking up in all three phases to control a game.”
The Bills were flying high after a convincing win against Miami in Week 4. But they lost to the Jaguars in London, slipped past the Giants and lost to the Patriots (2-5).
“I wish I knew the exact answer because we’d have it fixed by now,” Allen said about the team’s slow starts. “We’re going to watch this film and find a way to get there, whatever it is. Our season is not over. It’s a long season. Feels pretty bleak right now, but we’re going to figure it out.”
Championships aren’t won in October and the best teams have to overcome adversity during the season.
How the Dolphins, Lions and Bills rebound will determine whether they have a shot to play deep into January and possibly February.