NFL Week 13 grades from around the league

A Sunday involving a host of contender matchups injected several storylines into the NFL’s December equation. The Bengals continued their Chiefs’ success, while A.J. Brown made the Titans pay for their April trade. The 49ers’ defense humbled the Dolphins, but Brock Purdy’s new role becomes the obvious story. Here are the grades from Week 13. 


1 of 28

Joe Mixon-less Bengals gash Chiefs defense

Joe Mixon-less Bengals gash Chiefs defense

Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

Showing cracks at points during the latest Patrick Mahomes-driven run to the AFC’s summit, the Chiefs’ defense again failed to stop the Bengals. Providing a less emphatic breakdown compared to Ja’Marr Chase’s explosion or the 18-point playoff rally soon after, Kansas City could not prevent Joe Burrow and the again-relevant Samaje Perine from moving the chains. Ex-Bengal Carlos Dunlap blowing up a goal-line jet sweep did fuel the Chiefs (9-3) for a bit, but the Bengals’ final two drives displayed some issues Steve Spagnuolo’s unit must iron out ahead of what could well be a fourth KC-Cincy meeting in a 13-month span. The Chiefs boast an easier homestretch schedule than either the Bills or Bengals; this loss by no means foils a run at another No. 1 seed.

CHIEFS GRADE: C | NEXT: at Broncos (Sun.)


2 of 28

Cincy cools down Mahomes again

Cincy cools down Mahomes again

Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks after allowing 30 points to the Steelers, the Bengals’ defense came through in its toughest assignment to date. The Bengals (8-4) gave up two second-half touchdowns but bought Burrow and Co. enough time by preventing a Mahomes late-game takeover. Germaine Pratt’s crucial strip of Travis Kelce highlighted a frustrating game for the future Hall of Famer (four catches, 56 yards), and Joe Ossai’s ensuing third-down sack set up Harrison Butker’s long miss. After flummoxing Mahomes late in the AFC title game, Lou Anarumo’s unit allowed just two 20-plus-yard plays to a Chiefs team that entered Week 13 leading the NFL in that area. Cincinnati’s schedule might be too menacing for a true 1-seed push, but this is again a Super Bowl contender.

BENGALS GRADE: A | NEXT: vs. Browns (Sun.)


3 of 28

Dolphins faceplant in Mike McDaniel reunion

Dolphins faceplant in Mike McDaniel reunion

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In another example of an elite defense containing a high-flying offense, McDaniel’s San Francisco return brought a jarring second half. Despite this year’s Mr. Irrelevant quarterbacking the 49ers, the Dolphins could not seriously threaten during a four-turnover half. Bad Tua Tagovailoa moments and Nick Bosa stampeding past an O-line housing two backup tackles led to Miami’s failure in this strength-on-strength matchup. The QB-win stat’s obvious flaws aside, Tagovailoa failing to come within two scores of a Brock Purdy-piloted 49ers team made the Dolphins (8-4) appear unready for this stage. Terron Armstead’s return will help, but Sunday showed a thinner Miami margin for error in what will be a stacked AFC playoff field.

DOLPHINS GRADE: F | NEXT: at Chargers (Sun.)


4 of 28

Brock Purdy suddenly central figure in Super Bowl chase

Brock Purdy suddenly central figure in Super Bowl chase

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s 262nd overall pick, Purdy looked readier for NFL passing duty than 2021 No. 3 choice Trey Lance did in his debut. But it will still be a tough ask for the Iowa State product, whose sudden relevance illustrates a 49ers era defined by QB injuries. Kyle Shanahan managed Purdy well, though the ex-Big 12 starter (1,467 college attempts) made several solid throws — some in some big spots, including the quick-strike Christian McCaffrey TD, find — against a blitzing Dolphins defense. The 49ers (8-4) feature an amazing setup for a young QB — the NFL’s best defense, a four-All-Pro offense, and Shanahan — but they are 9-29 in non-Garoppolo starts under Shanahan. Garoppolo to Purdy is a bit different than Carson Wentz to Nick Foles. Just a brutal break for a team that had seemingly assembled all the pieces.

49ERS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: vs. Buccaneers (Sun.)


5 of 28

Jet wideouts’ miscues contribute to close loss

Jet wideouts' miscues contribute to close loss

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

While Mike White’s 369-yard outing will keep Zach Wilson on the bench — perhaps for the season’s remainder — the Jets let this one slip. Jet wideouts notched plenty of wins against the Vikings’ secondary, with Garrett Wilson’s 162-yard day effectively showing the troops’ gratitude for the Wilson-for-White swap. But the air cadre also offered near-misses. Corey Davis both dropped a first-quarter pass that led to an INT and took an odd angle after a fourth-and-10 grab that should have produced a fourth-stanza TD. That set up the Braxton Berrios drop, ending Gang Green’s best chance to be the team that hands the Vikings a narrow loss. Obviously, karma for refusing to wear green. This loss could sting a team (7-5) that still has road tilts in Buffalo, Seattle and Miami left. 

JETS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: at Bills (Sun.)


6 of 28

Vikings hatch another escape plan

Vikings hatch another escape plan

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Against a Jets team down its top two running backs, the Vikings allowed 486 total yards. This is the third time this season Minnesota’s defense yielded exactly 486 yards. Keeping the Jets from 500, however, makes the Vikings (10-2) an eye-opening 9-0 in one-score games. Their 21st-ranked defense stood up to save this one. After Davis’ post-catch favor, the Vikings forced a fourth-and-goal. Following Berrios’ drop, Camryn Bynum’s goal-line INT kept a Jets team that largely held Kirk Cousins in check (4.9 yards per attempt) from leaving Minneapolis victorious. It would be nice if the NFC’s likely No. 2 seed were more convincing, but the Vikes’ schedule points to a 14- or 15-win season. It will be hard to ignore such a record.

VIKINGS GRADE: B | NEXT: at Lions (Sun.)


7 of 28

Titans’ offseason misread leads to revenge showcase

Titans' offseason misread leads to revenge showcase

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Either misreading the wide receiver market or misjudging A.J. Brown’s importance, the Titans zagged by giving up on Brown. The other teams with marquee fourth-year wideouts — Washington, San Francisco, Seattle — did not let theirs get away, paying the new going rate. Brown lived up to the $25 million-per-year cost Sunday, beating top Titans corner Kristian Fulton on one of his two TDs and outmuscling backup Tre Avery for his second. Brown’s eight-catch, 119-yard day, and 950-yard season line would not look as bad were the Titans (7-5) not in abysmal form at receiver. Beyond raw Brown replacement Treylon Burks, there is nothing here. And the Eagles followed the Bengals in taking out Derrick Henry. The Titans are limping toward a division crown.

TITANS GRADE: F | NEXT: vs. Jaguars (Sun.)


8 of 28

Course reversal reveals Eagles’ rare capabilities

Course reversal reveals Eagles' rare capabilities

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a run at a franchise single-game rushing record, the Eagles (11-1) bothered little with the ground game in Week 13. Jalen Hurts’ 380 passing yards — his first game north of 300 since September, his first north of 200 in a month — came despite an early removal and occurred on a day in which the Bengals cuffed Patrick Mahomes. With the Eagles now two games better than the Chiefs, Hurts is a clear MVP threat. Playing behind perhaps the NFL’s best O-line and with Brown, a WR1 upgrade, Hurts reminded of the aerial refinements he has made since a sluggish close to last season. Brown and DeVonta Smith are the first Eagle wideouts to drop a 100-100 game since DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper nine years ago. It may take 15 wins to secure the NFC’s top seed. Devoid of clear weaknesses, Philly looks capable.

EAGLES GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: at Giants (Sun.)


9 of 28

Davante Adams minces Chargers secondary

Davante Adams minces Chargers secondary

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Asante Samuel Jr. and Bryce Callahan combined on a tipped pick-six in the first quarter. By game’s end, Adams had beaten each for TDs in his latest detonation. The Chargers (6-6) could not contain the Raiders’ hired gun during a 177-yard effort, and the L.A. pass rush (two QB hits) did not do much to fluster Derek Carr. Adams, the only Raiders pass catcher to worry about, has posted 140-yard games in three of his past five. Yes, the Bolts are down Joey Bosa and J.C. Jackson, but they have let the AFC West’s best playmakers take over games. Jackson’s contract aside, Adams and Travis Kelce’s production reveals more investments are needed in the secondary. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are up next in what is close to a do-or-die spot.

CHARGERS GRADE: C | NEXT: vs. Dolphins (Sun.)


10 of 28

Chandler Jones awakens, at long last

Chandler Jones awakens, at long last

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Not exactly forming a top-flight duo with Maxx Crosby like the Raiders envisioned, Jones entered Week 13 with a half-sack. While the former All-Pro has a long way to go to justify Las Vegas’ three-year, $51 million deal, he helped his new team craft a comeback. Facing a Chargers team down both its starting tackles, Jones collected three sacks, stopped Justin Herbert on a fourth-and-short scramble, and batted away a third-down pass. This is Jones’ fifth three-plus-sack game. A year after Crosby took over the Raiders’ win-and-in game against the Bolts, Jones laid the groundwork for another Carr-Adams montage. With Jones’ contract guaranteed through 2023, the Raiders (5-7) will need to see more of this. 

RAIDERS GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: at Rams (Thu.)


11 of 28

Commanders can regroup for momentous rematch

Commanders can regroup for momentous rematch

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

While the Giants prepare for their first Eagles tilt, a scheduling quirk will allow the Commanders’ staff to spend two weeks planning for a high-stakes rematch. Following its bye, Washington will host the Giants in Week 15. With this tie settling nothing between the wild-card-chasing rivals, the D.C. encounter could represent high noon for the NFC’s No. 7 seed. Chase Young’s debut will likely happen then, providing more ammo for a resurgent team. The Commanders (7-5-1) lost starting O-linemen Tyler Larsen and Sam Cosmi but still received a solid day (115 scrimmage yards) from Brian Robinson. Although the Commanders needed a slick Jahan Dotson TD late to forge this tie, they remain on solid playoff terrain. 

COMMANDERS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. Giants (Dec. 18)


12 of 28

Daniel Jones not fading just yet

Daniel Jones not fading just yet

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Conversely, the Giants should feel OK about their playoff hopes after Jones paired a six-incompletion passing line with 71 rushing yards. The immaculately dressed team only converted 4 of 13 third downs, but Jones continues to make his seemingly untenable receiver situation (Darius Slayton and scraps) work. In the fifth-year option era, no team has ever extended a QB after passing on his option. Jones is pushing to make the Giants the first. After their first tie since the Gus Frerotte headbutt game 25 years ago, the Giants (7-4-1) still have two Eagles matchups and a Vikings contest. And Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury may drop a better 49ers team into the wild-card chase. Brian Daboll’s Coach of the Year case likely hinges on Week 15.

GIANTS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. Eagles (Sun.)


13 of 28

Because there is little left to say about Denver’s offense…

Because there is little left to say about Denver's offense...

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

This woeful Broncos season has still raised DC Ejiro Evero’s stock, as it could be downright hideous if Denver’s defenders did not consistently deliver. That consistency, however, has involved recent late-game cracks. The usual Broncos scoring parameters were in place in Baltimore. Justin Simmons intercepted two passes, and a defense that lost Bradley Chubb via trade and has not seen Randy Gregory return sacked Raven QBs four times. But Tyler Huntley crafting a 91-yard game-winning drive stained a splendid defensive outing. On a day in which the defense allowed 10 points and Russell Wilson did not submit a complete dud, the Broncos (3-9) still lost. Can Nathaniel Hackett avoid joining Urban Meyer as the only modern HCs to be fired before their first year ends?

BRONCOS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: vs. Chiefs (Sun.)


14 of 28

Final drive at least buys Ravens time

Final drive at least buys Ravens time

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens were not exactly receiving top-notch work from Lamar Jackson in recent weeks, but the electric talent missing games will be a problem. The Broncos held the Ravens (8-4) without a touchdown until the final minute, with Huntley and wideout James Proche — the latter in Leeroy Jenkins fashion, as triple coverage loomed on that reverse-pass heave — throwing INTs. Huntley (228 total yards) both displayed skill in his 2021 audition and during Baltimore’s 16-play closeout march — one including just two plays of double-digit yardage. Huntley’s 27 completions in abbreviated duty matched Jackson’s season-best total, but Baltimore — intermittently down Ronnie Stanley and without Rashod Bateman henceforth — was already fairly limited on offense with the former MVP.

RAVENS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: at Steelers (Sun.)


15 of 28

Colts’ turnover machine offers eventful stretch

Colts' turnover machine offers eventful stretch

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With the coaching community undoubtedly chuckling at a close Colts-Cowboys contest’s devolution into fumble-sixes and kettle jumps, Matt Ryan’s giveaway propensity resurfaced in a rough spot. The Colts’ turnover-prone QB committed a season-high four during a five-turnover performance from Indianapolis (4-8-1). Despite missing two games, Ryan leads the NFL with 13 INTs; the 15th-year passer pairs that with five lost fumbles. With Sam Ehlinger having a rough PR week when Jeff Saturday took over, does Nick Foles have a say in this situation anymore? The 33-year-old former Super Bowl MVP is finishing off another lost season as a QB3. 

COLTS GRADE: F | NEXT: at Vikings (Dec. 18)


16 of 28

Malik Hooker, Cowboys secondary key blowout

Malik Hooker, Cowboys secondary key blowout

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A 2017 Colts first-round pick, Hooker saw injuries derail his time in Indianapolis. But the ex-Ohio State standout is still just 26. The Cowboys did well to ink Hooker to a two-year, $7 million deal this offseason, and he reminded his old team his 2020 Indy finale will not define his career. Forcing the only Dallas turnover that did not occur in the fourth quarter, Hooker added a fumble-six in the bizarre final stanza — tied for the second-most fourth-period points ever (behind the 2007 Lions’ 34). In addition to DaRon Bland’s two fourth-quarter INTs, Next Gen Stats awarded Trevon Diggs a shutout in 33 coverage snaps on Michael Pittman Jr. A nice moment for a secondary that a dynamic pass rush consistently overshadows.

COWBOYS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: vs. Texans (Sun.)


17 of 28

Browns D/ST’s effort covers for Deshaun Watson rust

Browns D/ST's effort covers for Deshaun Watson rust

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In terms of EPA per attempt, Watson’s Browns debut (12-for-22, 131 yards, a horrid end zone INT) was the NFL’s fourth-worst QB outing all season — worse than any of Russell Wilson’s offerings. Fortunately for Watson, his old team has no interest in fielding a competitive operation. The Browns (5-7) followed Donovan Peoples-Jones’ impressive punt-return score with two stroll-in defensive touchdowns from Denzel Ward and linebacker Tony Fields. Watson again passed on showing any remorse for the actions that created his near-two-year hiatus and had Jacoby Brissett started, this is likely a Cleveland romp. The polarizing QB’s form in his old stomping grounds certainly paints a bleak picture for the Browns’ chances to stay alive in Cincinnati.

BROWNS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: at Bengals (Sun.)


18 of 28

Texans laying it on a bit thick

Texans laying it on a bit thick

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

At 3-10, the Bears are the closest team to the Texans (1-10-1) for draft purposes. Houston left nothing to chance in Week 13. Despite their offense outscoring the Browns’, the Texans were again noncompetitive. Jalen Pitre made 16 tackles and intercepted Watson in the end zone, and Houston stopped Nick Chubb for a safety. Allen, however, fumbled on a QB sneak and (justifiably) panicked against an unblocked Myles Garrett rush. Both scenes led to easy Browns TDs. Davis Mills played poorly against Washington in Week 11, but Allen (Week 13 QBR: 3.0) has somehow reduced the Texans’ capabilities. As planned?

TEXANS GRADE: D-minus | NEXT: at Cowboys (Sun.)


19 of 28

Eventful D.K. Metcalf day closes out Rams

Eventful D.K. Metcalf day closes out Rams

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday was only Metcalf’s second 100-yard game this season, but the former second-round pick both overwhelmed Jalen Ramsey’s sidekicks and then finalized the effort by beating his top rival. Metcalf (eight catches, 127 yards) at one point demanded Ramsey follow him in motion, showing little interest in Rams play designs, and followed that up with a personal foul for a Ramsey argument. Metcalf did most of his damage against other Rams but came through for Geno Smith — who relied on his two anchor wideouts during a day in which the Seahawks lost multiple running backs — with a game-winning TD against Ramsey. Garoppolo’s injury changes the equation for the Seahawks (7-5). Unreliable defense and all, this is again an NFC West title threat.

SEAHAWKS GRADE: B | NEXT: vs. Panthers (Sun.)


20 of 28

Rams squander inspired Bobby Wagner effort

Rams squander inspired Bobby Wagner effort

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Wagner will be best remembered for his Seahawks years, but the future Hall of Fame linebacker has quietly kept on his previous pace amid the Rams’ freefall. That continued against his old team, which made him a March cap casualty. The 11th-year veteran sacked Smith twice and intercepted him by ripping the ball away from last-man-standing running back Tony Jones Jr. Wagner’s five sacks match his 2013 career high, and Pro Football Focus rates the 32-year-old as the league’s best off-ball ‘backer by a wide margin. It is unfortunate the Rams, whose 3-9 start is the worst by a defending Super Bowl champ, have wasted this campaign. But Wagner’s form does suggest he can be a premier player again for a (presumably) better Rams squad in 2023.

RAMS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: vs. Raiders (Thu.)


21 of 28

Jaire Alexander redeems himself after coverage issues

Jaire Alexander redeems himself after coverage issues


Signed to the league’s richest cornerback contract (four years, $84 million), Alexander has not quite lived up to that deal this season. Returning after a shoulder injury cost him most of 2021, Alexander gave up deep connections to Equanimeous St. Brown and N’Keal Harry. The first of those strikes led to Chicago taking a 16-3 lead. A loss to this Bears team would have represented a new low for a disappointing Packers outfit, but Alexander stepping in front of St. Brown for a fourth-quarter INT ended realistic Bears victory hopes. Will Aaron Rodgers be playing when the Pack (5-8) return from their bye?

PACKERS GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. Rams (Dec. 19)


22 of 28

Bears pass rush cannot lay a glove on Aaron Rodgers

Bears pass rush cannot lay a glove on Aaron Rodgers

Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Another Christian Watson fantasy-point fusillade transpired; the second-rounder now has eight TDs since Week 10. Chicago’s secondary was missing three starters, including back-line anchor Eddie Jackson (done for the season). The team’s healthier but less talented pass rush did not compensate, failing to notch any QB hits. Rodgers took advantage, finding Watson on a fourth-and-4 score early. The Bears also let Watson run freely on a jet-sweep TD. The Bears (3-10) exited Week 13 with a league-low 16 sacks. No Bear D-linemen or outside linebacker has accumulated more than two. The team staying on the losing track and securing the No. 2 pick would stand to provide a Jalen Carter-or-Will Anderson choice upfront; the team needs multiple new starters. 

BEARS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: vs. Eagles (Dec. 18)


23 of 28

Per usual, Jaguars cannot build on big upset

Per usual, Jaguars cannot build on big upset

David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

After creating intrigue with a 2-1 start, the Jaguars showed in October they were far from ready for contender hobnobbing. They fell off that radar but re-emerged as a buzzy rebuilder, thanks to Trevor Lawrence’s Ravens dissection. Again, Jacksonville (4-8) could not build on progress. Travis Etienne lost a fumble and dropped two passes, and Lawrence’s receiving corps is still missing at least one difference-maker. The Jags totaled 266 yards, many of those coming well after the Lions put the game out of reach. An embarrassing display. Calvin Ridley could help, but the ex-Falcon’s unreliability should prompt the Jags to do more to upgrade their pass-catching contingent. Lawrence’s upside is too high for the moribund team to mess around here.

JAGUARS GRADE: F | NEXT: at Titans (Sun.)


24 of 28

Jared Goff kind of landed in nice situation

Jared Goff kind of landed in nice situation

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Forced to watch the Rams celebrate a Super Bowl title largely possible because of his exit, Goff began his Lions career on a team that started 0-10-1. But this Detroit stay has both allowed Goff to stay on his Rams-designed contract ($33.5M AAV) and rebuild his reputation in low-stakes environments. The former No. 1 overall pick kept feeding Amon-Ra St. Brown and ex-Jaguar DJ Chark during a 340-yard, two-TD display. The Lions (5-7) also unveiled first-rounder Jameson Williams 11 months after his ACL tear. Having St. Brown, Chark, and Williams together for the stretch run will give Goff a nice opportunity to keep rebuilding his stock — ahead of a possible third Detroit bridge season or a stopgap stay elsewhere. 

LIONS GRADE: A-plus | NEXT: vs. Vikings (Sun.)


25 of 28

Steelers assembling Kenny Pickett’s skill corps

Steelers assembling Kenny Pickett's skill corps

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Six days after George Pickens helped the Steelers fend off the Colts, Pat Freiermuth’s rugged sideline journey reminded me of the team’s future at tight end. The 57-yard, George Kittle-ian rampage set up Pickett’s TD toss to Connor Heyward — the Steelers’ only TD. The Steelers (5-7) do not have as extensive a track record of tight-end development compared to their receiver-staffing chops, so Freiermuth (597 yards) already topping his 16-game rookie-year receiving total (497) in 11 games is important for Pickett’s future. Assuming Pittsburgh will nab another viable wideout on Day 2 next year, the team is stocking a nice skill crew. Also, Mike Tomlin’s .500-or-better streak … not dead yet.

STEELERS GRADE: B-plus | NEXT: vs. Ravens (Sun.)


26 of 28

Falcons authoring confounding script

Falcons authoring confounding script

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have not offered a 200-yard passing game since Week 8 and have hit that pedestrian benchmark just three times all season. Arthur Smith’s Marcus Mariota bridge made this a lost season for Kyle Pitts, and although Drake London resurfaced with 95 yards against Pittsburgh, Atlanta (5-8) still made the decision to use back-to-back top-10 picks on pass catchers and design an offense inconducive to pass catching. The Falcons, who held Pickens to one reception for two yards, could not get their hopeful final drive off the ground (via Minkah Fitzpatrick’s INT). Even in a slightly run-heavier NFL, Atlanta’s 2023 offseason will need to be about distancing itself from this low-ceiling setup.

FALCONS GRADE: C-plus | NEXT: at Saints (Dec. 18)


27 of 28

James Cook adds intrigue to Bills backfield

James Cook adds intrigue to Bills backfield

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Slow-played this season, Cook dropped his best game in Foxborough. The shifty rookie’s 105 scrimmage yards showcased another tool in Buffalo’s arsenal. Cook profiles as the Bills’ backfield centerpiece come 2023; Devin Singletary is a pending free agent. The Bills backfield is a bit more interesting now, with Cook teaming with Singletary and gadget add Nyheim Hines. After seeing J.D. McKissic renege on his free agency agreement, the Bills (9-3) doubling down on pass-catching backs made for an interesting strategy. But as a (for now) Von Miller-less Buffalo aims to hold off Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Miami for the AFC’s top seed, its offense will need to be consistently effective. This bevy of backs will help.

BILLS GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: vs. Jets (Sun.)


28 of 28

Matt Patricia’s offense reverts to form

Matt Patricia's offense reverts to form

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Josh McDaniels’ Patriots finale (stint No. 2, that is; a 2024 return is in play) produced the NFL’s sixth-ranked total offense, despite it deploying last year’s fifth quarterback selected and a bottom-tier receiving corps. After the Patricia experiment led to 242 total yards against the Bills — a chunk of those coming on a meaningless, check-down-filled final drive — New England’s current offense ranks 20th. That actually is a bit surprising, considering Patricia’s unusual background. But Belichick greenlit a plan that has led to Jones’ regression. The Pats (6-6) keep failing the Bills measuring-stick test, this one ruining Pat the Patriot’s triumphant return to national TV. Hiring a real offensive coordinator next year will be vital.

PATRIOTS GRADE: D | NEXT: at Cardinals (Mon.)

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