Purdy and the 49ers lose for the first time – Dolphins explode after being behind including a cell phone somersault
As one of only two undefeated NFL teams, the San Francisco 49ers traveled to Cleveland in Week 6 – and were defeated for the first time. There were several reasons for this, including a dramatic finale. Also: Dolphins magic, quarterback skepticism in Atlanta and Texans celebrations.
Celebrating 49ers spoilsport: The Cleveland Browns inflicted their first defeat of the season on San Francisco.
Scuffle, rain, drama: Browns pull Niners tooth
According to kicker expert Adrian Franke, Brock Purdy is “not yet in the top 10” of the best NFL quarterbacks. The San Francisco 49ers playmaker didn’t rise in the rankings this Sunday either, after all the first stumbling block was placed in the way of him and his team led by Kyle Shanahan. And indeed, the Niners struggled, suffered, stumbled – and fell. In the end, the narrow 17:19 at the Cleveland Browns resulted in the first defeat of the season after a 5-0 start – and Purdy himself lost a regular season game for the first time as a starting quarterback (previously ten wins from ten games).
In the end, the touchdown scored at the beginning by all-purpose weapon Christian McCaffrey didn’t help, as he recorded at least one score for the 15th time in a row – an NFL record. Rather, the local Browns proved to be a real opponent on an equal footing, equipped with a nasty defense and the will to bring San Francisco to the ground for the first time this regular season.
This started during the warm-up together in the rainy stadium, when many players got into each other’s hair and it was only with the arrival of “Bear” Trent Williams that some calm was restored. Rest was not the word for 49ers playmaker Purdy, who was supposed to record a touchdown pass – but otherwise had a used day with his first interception of the season and only a meager 125 yards. Three bags included. Until shortly before the end of the game, the “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2022 NFL Draft had only achieved one (!) yard with passes in the entire second round – and just one interception. But that was also because, in addition to O-Liner Williams with an ankle injury, figurehead McCaffrey (abdominal muscle) and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) also dropped out with injuries.
On the other hand, Cleveland simply never let up and, despite two picks from quarterback PJ Walker (192 yards, no TD), always had answers ready with running backs Jerome Ford (84 yards) and Kareem Hunt (47 yards, one TD). – and took the lead after an initial 0:10 deficit after a total of four field goals from kicker Dustin Hopkins until 1:40 minutes before the end. This was also achieved because the Niners had a few flags – at least one of them was debatable. But something else happened: With the last seconds on the clock, the guests from California worked their way forward again, but here rookie kicker Jake Moody lost his nerve from 41 yards.
Overslept at the beginning? Doesn’t matter! Dolphins roll over Panthers
At the Hard Rock Stadium at home in front of 65,529 fans, the offensively powerful Dolphins initially apparently fell into the mode: “We’re playing against the still winless Panthers… We’re too strong anyway… It’ll be okay, right?” It wasn’t at first: Led by first overall pick Bryce Young (217 yards, one touchdown, no interception), Carolina caught the favorite from Miami on the completely wrong foot and led after the run by running back Chuba Hubbard and the catch by Adam Thielen after the quarter one surprising with 14:0.
However, that should be the wake-up call for the Fins, who subsequently flexed their muscles – and above all their speed. By the end, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had collected 262 passing yards and had three touchdown passes to his once again outstanding star receiver Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, who was also extremely fast, and runner Raheem Mostert.
But Mostert was the keyword for even more: The 31-year-old not only acted as a receiver at times, in his main job as a running back he reeled off 115 yards and ran into the end zone two more times – three total TDs for him that day. In the end there was a clear 42:21 victory, so even a pick six from replacement QB Mike White, who came in for the rested Tagovailoa, didn’t make a difference. Rather, the Dolphins improved their already crazy NFL points average from 36.2 to 37.1 per game.
In between, Dolphins star Tyreek Hill took off for a somersault with his cell phone.
With his 163 receiving yards, Hill also became the first player in NFL history to record at least 150 yards in this category four times in his first six games of the season. Of course, that had to be celebrated, which is what the 29-year-old did after his touchdown. He ran to a fan, grabbed his cell phone, set the camera to video – and shot a clip of him doing a somersault with his face in the lens. He will certainly be able to cope with the flag and fine that will follow.
For the Panthers, who are now 0-6, this defeat in Florida marked their weakest start to the NFL season since 1998.
Will Ridder have to go soon?
Desmond Ridder went into his Falcons’ home game against the Washington Commanders with a 31-0 record in his college and NFL career – and ruined this strong series in the process. While on the other hand Capital quarterback Sam Howell delivered solidly with 151 yards and three touchdown passes (no picks), Atlanta’s playmaker had a whopping three interceptions in addition to a decent 307 yards plus two TDs. And some wild ones at that, which cost us the chance to win. For example, at the end, when the clock was stopped with a spike – only to have to take the last time-out shortly before the delay-of-game penalty and then the last glimmer of hope with the last of the three interceptions Seeing smoke rising.
This immediately led to increased speculation in the US media as to whether Ridder, who is now 31-1 in home games, is still the right choice – especially for the more distant future. Overall, the 24-year-old has made many more mistakes this season and is “only” 3:3 with his team, which is actually strong and focused primarily on a very strong running game – just like Washington, which is behind 24:16 with this one recently got back on track after three defeats in a row.
What else was going on?
An eagerly awaited exchange of blows took place in Cincinnati, where the Bengals, who had started poorly, faced off against the Seattle Seahawks (3:2), who had recently been out of action – and ultimately improved their record to 3:3 with a hard-earned 17:13. In addition to quarterback Joe Burrow (185 yards, two TDs, one int.), the key was the defense, which allowed a few plays but stood its ground in the end and picked Hawks playmaker Geno Smith (323 yards, no TD) twice.
The fans in Jacksonville, Florida were able to marvel at 57 points – better distributed for the local Jaguars (4:2), who scored 37:20 against the Indianapolis Colts (3:3) after their two successful games in London. There was no sign of a “London hangover” that some suspected: Trevor Lawrence, apart from one interception, achieved two touchdown passes, runner Travis Etienne sprinted into the end zone twice and the defense gave Gardner Minshew three picks plus a fumble.
Even without his star receiver Justin Jefferson (injured for several weeks), Kirk Cousins led his Minnesota Vikings (2:4) to their important second win of the season against NFC North rival Chicago (1:5). 181 passing yards and a touchdown pass were enough for the veteran, also because Jordan Hicks sprinted 42 yards into the end zone during a fumble recovery and on the other side Bears quarterback Justin Fields (58 yards, no TD, one int. ) was injured with an injury to his right hand.
Allowed his first interception, but still got the Texans’ third win of the season: rookie CJ Stroud.
Last but not least, the home game of the Texans (3:3), who started surprisingly well, against the Saints (3:3), where a strong series should come to an end. Houston’s strong quarterback CJ Stroud made his first-ever NFL interception early in the game – after 191 passes without (a new NFL rookie record). But immediately afterwards, his teammates stood up for him, grabbed the “egg” via fumble recovery – and at the end of the day everyone together ensured a 20:13 win against New Orleans led by Derek Carr (353 yards, one TD, an Int.). Stroud himself helped diligently and managed two touchdown passes. The defense of rookie head coach DeMeco Ryans – who came from the San Francisco 49ers as defensive coordinator in the offseason – successfully held off the Saints late.