Matthew Stafford's performance through his first eight games in a Los Angeles Rams uniform put him in the NFL MVP conversation, but Sunday felt more like the bad old days in Detroit for the veteran quarterback. 

Hounded throughout the game by the Tennessee Titans' defence, Stafford threw two critical interceptions as the Rams fell 28-16 at home.

The turning point of the game occurred early in the second quarter, when Stafford tried to throw the ball away while being pulled down by Jeffrey Simmons in the end zone. 

His blind heave landed in the arms of Titans linebacker David Long, who returned it to the two-yard line and set up a Tennessee touchdown on the next play. 

The Rams (7-2) got the ball back after the kick-off and Stafford took to the air again, trying to hit Robert Woods, but Titans defensive back Kevin Byard jumped it and went 24 yards for the Titans' second TD in 11 seconds. 

It was the 24th time Stafford had an interception returned for a touchdown, the most of any active NFL quarterback. 

"I mean, I basically spotted them 14 points," Stafford told reporters. "Can't do that in the NFL, especially against a good team like that that wants to get out in front, run the football, mix coverages, do all that kind of stuff. Just wasn't good enough early in the game.

"Turnovers really killed us and those are on me, so if I clean those up and I know I will, I've got a lot of confidence in this team to go out there and play some really good football."

Though Stafford could have made better decisions on both of those plays, Tennessee's defenders were flying around the field all game. 

The Rams had surrendered an NFL-low eight sacks through the first eight games, but the Titans (7-2) brought down Stafford five times on Sunday.

"Those guys played fantastic," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said of his defence. "It was fun to watch them play. 

"We really think that group is playing with a lot of confidence right now. They would be able to come in here and play the way they did and hold them to field goals, and we played great in red zone."

Tennessee twice forced the Rams to settle for field goals in the red zone and did not surrender a touchdown until Stafford threw a three-yard pass to Sony Michel with 24 seconds to play in the game. 

It all added up to a winning formula for the Titans even as they managed just 194 yards of total offence while playing without their injured star Derrick Henry. 

"Those guys played some great ball defensively. It made up for our lack of offence," said veteran running back Adrian Peterson, who signed with Tennessee this week and scored his 125th career touchdown.

"You hear all this talk about the Rams' defence. What about the Titans' defence? Those guys came out and played outstanding."

Half a minute made all the difference as the Tennessee Titans' defence made two huge plays in quick succession to stun the Los Angeles Rams 28-16 in the NFL on Sunday.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions in a 26-second span early in the second quarter, leading to a pair of rapid-fire Titans touchdowns. 

The first was an ill-advised attempt to throw the ball away while being dragged down in the end zone that David Long intercepted at the Rams' eight-yard line.

After Geoff Swaim scored on a two-yard TD pass from Titans QB Ryan Tannehill on the ensuing play, Stafford's next pass was picked off and returned 24 yards for a TD by Kevin Byard. 

Tannehill would run the ball in for another score prior to half-time as the Titans built a 21-3 lead before handing the game over to their ferocious defence, which sacked Stafford five times after LA entered the game with only eight sacks allowed all season. 

Titans recruit Adrian Peterson scored his 125th career TD, joining 11 other players to score 125-plus career touchdowns.

The Rams (7-2) would not find the end zone until Stafford hit Sony Michel for a short TD with 24 seconds remaining in the game as they fell behind the victorious Arizona Cardinals (8-1) in the division race. 

Tennessee (7-2) now hold the best record in the AFC despite being out-gained 347-194 as star running back Derrick Henry remains sidelined with a foot injury.

Tannehill completed 19 of 27 passes for just 143 yards with a TD and an interception but his 79.7 passer rating was still better than Stafford's 71.0 after the Rams QB finished 31-of-48 passing for 294 yards. 

The Green Bay Packers head into Week 9 with a 7-1 record, though coach Matt LaFleur will have to figure out a way past the Kansas City Chiefs without his star quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers – who has thrown for 1,894 yards and made 17 touchdown passes this season – will miss his first Packers game since 2017 after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Arizona Cardinals are also now at 7-1 after losing their unbeaten record with a defeat to the Packers last week, and will be looking to get back to winning ways against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Los Angeles Rams are the only other team in the NFL that sits at 7-1 going into Week 9, and are set for a fascinating contest with the 6-2 Tennessee Titans.

 

Green Bay Packers (7-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (4-4)

Overcoming Rodgers' absence will be no easy feat for Green Bay. Since the 37-year-old took over as the starter in 2008, the Packers are 133-64-1 with him, and 6-11-1 without.

The Packers knocked off the last unbeaten team in Week 8 with a 24-21 win at Arizona and are now on a seven-game winning streak, their longest within a single season since going 13-0 in 2011 on their way to a 15-1 record. Their only loss that season came in Kansas City.

The Chiefs hold a 7-4-1 record over Green Bay, but the Packers have won three of the last four meetings. They most recently played in Week 8 in 2019, with the Packers triumphing 31-24 at Arrowhead. Kansas City went 10-1 following that game on their way to winning the Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to that championship and since he took over as the starting quarterback in 2018, Kansas City have had just six games with 20 or fewer points, including the postseason. Three of those games have come this season (Weeks 5, 7 and 8).

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill had 12 receptions in the Chiefs' 20-17 win against the Giants on Monday, one shy of tying a career high (set in Week 12, 2020 at Tampa Bay). The Chiefs are 15-2 (regular and postseason) when Hill has at least eight receptions.

Arizona Cardinals (7-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (3-4)

This will be the second meeting in the NFC West for these two teams this season, with Arizona already enjoying a 17-10 home win over San Francisco in Week 5. It is, though, the only game in which the Cardinals have not scored at least 21 points this year. The Cardinals have won five of their last six road games against the Niners, with three of those wins coming by at least 10 points.

The 24 points scored against the Cardinals by the Packers in Week 8 in their first loss of the campaign was the second most allowed by Arizona this season (33 against Minnesota in Week 2). Their average of 17.3 points allowed per game ranks third in the NFL.

San Francisco beat the Chicago Bears 33-22 last week, breaking a four-game losing streak and scoring their most points since a 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Since the start of last season, the Niners are 1-10 at home and 8-4 on the road.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and ran for two touchdowns in Chicago. The only 49ers player with more passing yards in a game while also rushing for multiple scores is Steve Young, who had games with 355 yards (1994), 348 (1991) and 331 (1998).

Tennessee Titans (6-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (7-1)

Including their win in Super Bowl XXXIV, the Rams have an all-time record of 8-5 against the Titans/Oilers franchise. The Titans' last game at the Rams in southern California came in Week 9, 1990, which saw a 17-13 Rams win over the then-Oilers in Anaheim.

Tennessee beat the Indianapolis Colts 34-31 in overtime last Sunday. It was their third overtime game this year, tying the franchise record for most overtime games in a single season (1983).

The Rams, meanwhile, defeated the Houston Texans 38-22 after leading 38-0 heading into the fourth quarter. They are one of two teams (along with the Dallas Cowboys) to score at least 20 points in every game this season.

Cooper Kupp had 115 receiving yards and a touchdown in that win in Houston, his third straight 100-yard game. Kupp has 10 touchdown catches from the first eight games of the season, second in Rams history only to Elroy Hirsch (12 TDs in 1951).

Elsewhere...

The New England Patriots travel to Carolina to face the Panthers on Sunday, where Mac Jones is set to make history. The rookie quarterback has 1,997 passing yards in his eight games in the NFL so far. Drew Bledsoe currently holds the record for fewest games needed to reach 2,000 passing yards with the Patriots (11). Butch Songin and Tom Brady managed it in 12 games.

The Minnesota Vikings will be hoping to end Lamar Jackson's impressive record against NFC teams. The Baltimore Ravens quarterback is 11-0 all-time as a starter in those meets, throwing for 1,901 yards and 17 touchdowns while running for 995 yards with six scores. 

Despite differing seasons, it could be a close contest in Jacksonville. Including the playoffs, the Bills (5-2) and Jaguars (1-6) have split eight all-time encounters when the Jags are the home team, with both teams scoring exactly 161 points. 

A clash in the AFC North sees the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) host the Cleveland Browns (4-4), where Joe Burrow will be trying to become the first quarterback in Bengals history to throw three or more touchdown passes in four straight games. Andy Dalton also had three straight games of three or more TD passes in October 2013.

Von Miller may have to wait to make his Los Angeles Rams debut, with head coach Sean McVay wanting to "ease him back in" after an ankle injury.

Miller, 32, joined the Rams from the Denver Broncos in a blockbuster trade on Monday, which significantly boosts McVay's 7-1 side and their NFL Super Bowl prospects.

A Super Bowl winner and MVP, Miller arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday and underwent a physical and onboarding but sat out practice on Wednesday, ahead of Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

Miller missed the Broncos' Week 8 game due to an ankle injury suffered against the Cleveland Browns in Week 7, putting his availability to face the Titans in doubt.

"He'll do some limited work off to the side, just getting a feel for where his ankle is at. He hasn't been with us," McVay told reporters about Miller on Wednesday.

"Want to be smart, want to be able to ease him back in. We'll see what that looks like a day at a time."

McVay said the eight-time Pro Bowler was eager to play for his new team.

"Oh yeah, he's going to do everything in his power to try to play," McVay said. "But I think there's an element of let's take it a day at a time and let's be smart, let's get a feel for how he's doing, but this guy is an elite competitor and he definitely wants to be able to do that."

Miller has a pressure rate of 24.8 per cent, which was well above the pre-Week 8 average of 17.2 per cent for edge rushers.

McVay also revealed quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Robert Woods should both face the Titans, despite not practicing on Wednesday.

"We're fairly banged up so we're going to take a little bit more modified approach to practice this week," McVay said, adding later, "it's more about just being smart, being safe."

The Rams beat the Houston Texans 38-22 on the road last week after leading 38-0 heading into the fourth quarter. They are one of two teams (also the Dallas Cowboys) to score at least 20 points in every game this season, according to Stats Perform.

Meanwhile, the Rams have scored points in every half dating back to Week 13 in 2019 – their streak of 58 consecutive halves is the second-longest active streak (Baltimore, 135), per Stats Perform.

The Titans (6-2) will be without running back Derrick Henry, who underwent foot surgery on Tuesday.

Derrick Henry faces foot surgery on Tuesday after suffering what could prove a season-ending injury in the Tennessee Titans' win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The star running back is reported to have suffered a broken bone, with Titans coach Mike Vrabel saying Henry will "work extremely hard to get back".

The Titans have leaned on Henry as the focal point of their offense for the last three seasons and his absence will come as a major setback.

Tennessee improved to 6-2 with their 34-31 overtime victory in Indianapolis on Sunday, but Henry was placed on injured reserve a day later.

"Derrick is going to have surgery in the morning [on Tuesday]," Vrabel said, quoted on the Titans' official website. "We are not going to put a timeline on when he may return.

"I know that he'll do everything that he can to work himself back, to be able to help this football team. And whenever that is, that's when it will be."

This year, Henry has produced consistency that was putting put him in position to threaten Eric Dickerson's 1984 record of 2,105 rushing yards in a single season.

He leads the NFL with 937 yards, 288 more than his nearest challenger, the Colts' Jonathan Taylor.

Henry carried the ball a league-leading 303 times in 2019 and increased that number to 379 last season, winning the rushing title in back-to-back years.

The former Alabama star had already tallied 219 rush attempts this season, putting him way out ahead in the NFL, with backup Jeremy McNichols used predominantly as a pass-catcher.

Vrabel said: "We'll have to move on unfortunately without him in the short term, and not look back. I hate to speak for our players, but Derrick is disappointed, everybody is.

"We spent a lot of time together with the coaching staff and with the players, so you never want to see any of them injured in any capacity. So I know that Derrick is going to work extremely hard to get back to do everything he can to help this football team."

Dickerson's record no longer appears to be in any danger, and the AFC South-leading Titans are likely to put an increased burden on quarterback Ryan Tannehill in Henry's absence.

A lot has gone right for the Tennessee Titans in 2021. With three straight wins, two against the supposed class of the AFC in the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs, and a 6-2 record, they can afford to feel extremely positive about the season to date.

But if anyone in Tennessee was plotting a deep playoff run akin to the Titans' unlikely charge to the AFC Championship Game back in the 2019 season, a huge wrench has just been thrown in those plans.

Indeed, the Titans must now deal with a significant piece of adversity following the news Derrick Henry suffered a foot injury in their Week 8 victory over the Indianapolis Colts that could keep him out for the rest of the season.

There is some hope Henry could return this campaign but the reality is they will be without the clear focal point of their offense for the majority of a run that will determine their playoff seeding, the Titans appearing destined for the postseason having taken a commanding three-game lead in the AFC South.

Gone are Henry's hopes of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, though his absence does not necessarily mean the end of the Titans' hopes of seriously contending in the AFC.

While the Titans have piled much of the offensive burden on a running back who has 288 more rushing yards than any other in the NFL, there has been enough evidence from Ryan Tannehill to suggest he can handle the increased pressure not having Henry will bring, and his connection with a third-year receiver living up to his burgeoning reputation may help him do that.

Tannehill on target

His performance in Sunday's dramatic 34-31 overtime win over the Colts was not Tannehill's finest.

Tannehill was intercepted twice in the first half, his first setting up Indianapolis' second touchdown to put the Colts 14-0.

The second pick was fumbled back to the Titans on the return, Tannehill taking advantage of that reprieve to lead the Titans down the field and tie the game at 14-14.

From that point on, Tannehill was largely in rhythm, displaying timing and accuracy that was reflected by his well-thrown percentage from Week 8.

Per Stats Perform data, Tannehill delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 84.4 per cent of his 33 pass attempts.

Tannehill's ratio in that regard being so high is not a surprise, given he has excelled throughout the season at producing on-target throws.

Among quarterbacks with at least 50 pass attempts, only Joe Burrow (84) has a superior percentage of well-thrown balls than Tannehill (82.9).

With his 7.95 air yards per attempt below the league-wide average of 8.19, Tannehill may need to get more aggressive to help Tennessee record more explosive plays minus the services of a back in Henry who leads the NFL with 20 rushes of 10 yards or more in 2021.

Yet when he is in a groove, Tannehill can be a difficult quarterback to slow down, especially when his top receiver is performing at his highest standard.

Brown at this best

The Titans did not have Julio Jones against the Colts, but his absence was ultimately immaterial as A.J. Brown emphatically rose to the challenge of replacing his production in a monstrous showing.

Brown finished with season highs in catches (10) and receiving yards (155) and galloped in for a 57-yard catch and run that tied matters in the second quarter, demonstrating his upside with ball in hand by shrugging off a weak tackle attempt from Xavier Rhodes and surging down the sideline and into the endzone.

His chemistry with Tannehill evident throughout an undulating contest, Brown proved near-impossible to stop on the slant route, getting open on 90.9 per cent of his targets according to Stats Perform data.

While Brown appears to be coming into form, the Titans will need more from Jones having traded for the former Atlanta Falcons star in the offseason.

Jones is producing a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on 59.3 per cent of his targets, below the average of 60.8 for receivers (min. five targets) this season.

With the safety net of Henry gone, the Titans will likely need to lean on the passing game more to allow them to set up running opportunities against two-high safety defenses with lighter boxes designed to stop the aerial attack.

The Titans do not require Jones to separate to the extent Brown did against Indianapolis, but more consistency in beating defenders from the seven-time Pro Bowler is a must if Tennessee's offense is to excel without Henry against defenses of the standard they will face in Week 9.

Huge test out west

The credentials of the Henry-less Titans will be tested sternly right off the bat, as they travel to take on a Los Angeles Rams team that just received a huge boost to their defense.

On Monday it was reported the Rams had struck a deal for three-time first-team All-Pro Von Miller, who leads the league in sacks since 2011 with 110.5 and is still performing at an elite level at the age of 32. 

Miller's arrival sees him join Aaron Donald on the Rams' defensive front, giving Los Angeles two players who feature in the top four in Stats Perform's adjusted pass rush win percentage.

Prior to Week 8, Donald led the way with a stunt-adjusted win percentage of 60.2, while Miller was fourth on 47.1. That duo now gets to face a Titans offensive line that went into the week ranked 30th in pass protection win percentage.

Tannehill, therefore, should expect to come under plenty of fire in this primetime road game, meaning he will need to get the ball out quickly to negate the pass rush.

His snap to release time of 2.59 seconds is quicker than the average of 2.65 seconds, but a significant part of his potential success in maintaining that will be receivers expediently gaining the separation to give him the confidence to let rip with those quick-game throws that can keep him in rhythm.

That may be a tough ask against a secondary featuring an All-Pro corner in Jalen Ramsey who, prior to Week 8, had lost just six of his 70 coverage matchups.

But when Brown and Jones are both are healthy, the Titans have the receiving weapons to lean on the pass-catchers who do not draw Ramsey's coverage.

Tennessee's success in exploiting the matchups where the Titans have the advantage will play a critical role in deciding who wins the meeting with the Rams. The trip to Los Angeles figures to serve as an excellent barometer of where the Titans are without Henry, and it is the play of Tannehill, Brown and Jones that will determine how much of a threat they can be without their most feared weapon.

Derrick Henry reportedly suffered a potential season-ending foot injury in the Tennessee Titans' win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Titans improved to 6-2 with their 34-31 overtime victory in Indianapolis on Sunday.

However, it may have come at a massive cost, with ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting Henry could now miss the remainder of the campaign.

Subsequent reports have revealed Henry is believed to have broken a bone in his foot and is set to undergo an MRI scan.

It is tough to oversell Henry's importance to the Titans, who have leaned on the running back as the undisputed focal point of their offense for the last three seasons.

This season, Henry has produced consistency to put him in position to threaten Eric Dickerson's record for rushing yards in a single season.

He leads the NFL with 947 yards, 288 more than his nearest challenger, the Colts' Jonathan Taylor.

Averaging 117.1 yards per game, he is on pace for 1,990, though several more performances of 100 yards or more could put him within striking distance of the 2,105 Dickerson racked up in 1984.

Now that record seems set to stand, with the AFC South-leading Titans likely to put more of the burden on quarterback Ryan Tannehill in Henry's absence.

Henry had continued to deliver despite a workload that would see lesser running backs break down under the strain.

He carried the ball a league-leading 303 times in 2019 and increased that number to 379 last season, winning the rushing title in back-to-back years.

The former Alabama star had already tallied 219 rush attempts this season, with backup Jeremy McNichols used predominantly as a pass-catcher.

Tennessee will not lean on McNichols or Darrynton Evans in the same way, meaning the onus will be on Tannehill to lead the Titans on what they hope will be a deep playoff run.

Carson Wentz conceded he was beating himself up after a pair of interceptions doomed the Indianapolis Colts to an overtime defeat to the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans took command of the AFC South with a thrilling 34-31 victory on the road in overtime, which owed to two huge errors from Colts quarterback Wentz.

With the game tied 24-24 late in the fourth quarter, Wentz tossed a wobbly throw into the air as the pass rush surrounded him inside the Colts' endzone and Titans cornerback Elijah Molden leaped to bring it down and stroll in for a two-yard interception return and hand the Titans the lead.

Wentz responded by leading the Colts down the field, with the aid of a pass interference penalty that put them at the Titans' one-yard line, for the tying score to force overtime.

But the extra period was effectively decided by another Wentz miscue, as he was intercepted by safety Kevin Byard on the Colts' second possession of overtime, putting the Titans in position for Randy Bullock's game-winning field goal.

It means the Colts are 3-4 in second place in the division behind the Titans, who at 6-2 have a three-game lead and a tiebreaker over Indianapolis.

"Beating myself up over those ones at the end of the game there, for sure," said Wentz.

On the comedic pick-six to Molden, Wentz added: "They had it covered up pretty good, obviously.

"Terrible play, terrible play. One-on-one, trying to find a way to just get rid of the ball and next thing you know I'm about to go down.

"So, yeah. One I definitely want back. That one hurts a little bit."

Head coach Frank Reich, however, put the blame for that play on his shoulders.

"That was 100 percent my fault," said Reich. "It was a bad call. It was a screen to Mo [Alie-Cox] and they were sitting right on it.

"We hadn't thrown that. Didn't think they would ever be thinking that at that point in the game. I've been around too long to know that you don't call a screen backed up in that situation.

"I told Carson right after that play, he came over to the sideline, I said, 'That's 100 percent my fault. That's a terrible play call. Now, just go make it right. Go make it right.'"

Wentz was unable to do so and accepted full responsibility for the second and ultimately decisive interception.

"Probably tried to do too much," Wentz explained. "Tried to force that one there to Pitt [Michael Pittman], he had a step on the underneath coverage but Byard came out of the sky and make a heck of a play.

"I'm sure, in hindsight, I had the checkdown – probably wide open. Thought I had Pitt, Byard made a great play. Those two definitely hurt for sure."

The Pittsburgh Steelers overcame the loss of kicker Chris Boswell for the whole second half as they beat the Cleveland Browns 15-10 on Sunday.

D'Ernest Johnson rushed 10 yards for the game's first touchdown in the third quarter to put Cleveland seemingly in control at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Steelers' chances were already damaged by the loss of Boswell to a concussion following a huge hit from Browns tackle Jordan Elliot, but Najee Harris' touchdown closed the gap to a point.

Ben Roethlisberger threw two yards on fourth down for Pat Freiermuth to earn the decisive score with a little over 11 minutes on the clock.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett came in costume as the Grim Reaper to mark October 31, his cape inscribed with the names of his sacked quarterbacks, but it was the Steelers' trick play that proved far from a treat in the first half: Boswell took a direct snap from 28 yards and, after rolling right and throwing for the end zone, he took a powerful hit from Elliot.

After rookie Harris had dragged Pittsburgh back into contention following Johnson's score, Roethlisberger, who is now 24-3-1 in career starts against the Browns, made his mark.

The 38-year-old, who finished 22 of 34 for 266 yards, almost saw his two-yard pass fumbled by Freiermuth but the tight end recovered to land both feet in the end zone.

By contrast, Jarvis Landry's handling let him down as he was stripped by Joe Schobert with a little over six minutes left.

The 4-4 Browns will hope for better next time out against the 5-3 Bengals, who were stunned by a New York Jets 34-31 comeback win in which Mike White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns on his first NFL start.

Rams rout Texans, Lions looking toothless

The Philadelphia Eagles ran in four touchdowns as they snapped a two-game losing streak to crush the Detroit Lions.

As coach of the NFL's only winless team after eight straight defeats, Dan Campbell will head into a bye week to try to arrest a terrible run of results that culminated in Sunday's 44-6 loss, in which the Lions only got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.

The Houston Texans (1-7) are faring little better, their 38-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams (7-1) looking only a little more respectable after they ran in 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, Davis Mills throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

49ers down Bears through sensational Samuel

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 3-4 after a 33-22 defeat of the Chicago Bears in which Deebo Samuel set pulses racing with a spectacular 83-yard catch-and-run.

After being denied an apparent touchdown for being ruled out of bounds, Samuel's run still allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to score from two yards out just a handful of plays later to cut the Bears' advantage.

Not only did Samuel produce the Niners' longest play of the season, he passed Jerry Rice for the most receiving yards for the franchise across the first seven games of an NFL season.

After another disastrous outing, at least the Kansas City Chiefs can take solace in knowing Patrick Mahomes does not appear to have been seriously injured in Sunday's 27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans – but all is not well, either. 

The Chiefs' star quarterback left the game midway through the fourth quarter after taking an inadvertent shot to the head from Tennessee's Jeffery Simmons while being dragged down by Denico Autry. 

Mahomes did not return to the game, as Chad Henne took the reins for Kansas City's final possession, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Mahomes cleared the NFL's concussion protocol and it was his decision not to send him back into the lopsided game. 

The most prominent indicator that Mahomes does indeed "feel fine" as he told reporters post-game was that he spoke to the media at all. If he was still in the concussion protocol he would not have been compelled to do so. 

"Y'all saw the hit," Mahomes said. "I took my time getting up, but I felt fine. I did everything I needed to do to be here."

The overriding question now is what Mahomes and the Chiefs can do to get back on track moving forward.

Since Mahomes took over as Kansas City's starting quarterback for the 2018 season, the Chiefs have never lost more than four regular-season games. Sunday's ugly defeat dropped them to 3-4. 

While Mahomes was hardly the only man at fault, he turned in one of the worst games of his career, including an all-time low 62.3 passer rating. 

He also lost a fumble and threw his ninth interception of the season, tying him for the league lead. He threw just 11 interceptions across 29 games over the last two regular seasons combined. 

"Today, it was probably me," he told reporters. "Just pressing a little bit too early in the game. And then we got down, and we were in that mode where you’re no-huddle, which you don’t want to be in the NFL. You can execute it a little bit, but it’s hard to sustain drives."

The pressure of defending their AFC title appears to have been a strain on the Chiefs in general and Mahomes in particular. Sunday was the second game in his NFL career in which he did not lead a touchdown drive, the other being the 31-9 Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February. 

"I want to win," Mahomes said. "At the end of the day, I want to win. So I try to do whatever I can to win. But you have to believe in the guys around you. You have to know you can go the long way. You can take a short pass, and guys will make guys miss. You can hang in the pocket and make throws. "

"But at the end of the day, I just want to win. Whatever that takes, I’m going to try to do. I’ll look at this film, learn from it, and try to come out better Monday night this week."

Even in an age where the passing game is king, the best teams in the NFL can still fall victim to a dominant rushing performance.

Derrick Henry proved as much on Monday Night Football in Week 6, putting the Buffalo Bills to the sword with a 143-yard, three-touchdown performance as the Tennessee Titans claimed a thrilling primetime win.

It was Henry's fifth successive 100-yard game and his third this season with three touchdowns.

Unsurprisingly, the man who has won the rushing title in each of the last two seasons again leads the league in yardage on the ground.

More noteworthy, however, is the fact Henry is on pace to comfortably break Eric Dickerson's record for most rushing yards in a single season.

Dickerson's mark of 2,105 has stood since 1984, but Henry critically has the benefit of a 17th game in which to make NFL history.

But is Henry's pace sustainable? And, beyond writing one of the most incredible chapters in the NFL record books, what would it mean if Henry does surpass Dickerson?

Henry's potentially historic average

Following his dominant showing against Buffalo, Henry is averaging 130.5 yards per game, putting him on track for 2,219.

Such a gaudy average would be unsustainable for most backs. However, Henry has the exceptional skill set to again prove as the exception.

He finished last season with similar numbers, putting up 126.7 yards per game while leading the league with 378 carries – Dalvin Cook was second with 312 –  as the Titans star surpassed 2,000 for the first time in his career.

And his frightening combination of his size and speed has allowed Henry to display durability beyond most players at his position.

Henry has missed only one game across the previous two seasons, a period in which he carried the ball a league-high 681 times, with his 6ft 3in and 247lb frame and his explosiveness ensuring it is opposing defenders who typically come off worst in collisions.

A favourable schedule

Speaking to that explosiveness is Henry's 2021 yards before contact per attempt average of 3.01. That figure is comfortably above the league average of 2.40 and the difficulty in stopping Henry once he bursts to the second level of the defense is reflected by his number of big-play runs.

Henry leads the league with 19 rushes of 10 yards or more while he is the only player in the NFL with two runs of at least 50 yards.

Simply put, being in the path of this behemoth when he breaks into the open field is the most difficult position for an NFL defender to be in, and he will face plenty of defenses vulnerable to run during the remainder of the season.

On Sunday, the Titans face a Kansas City Chiefs defense ranked 30th in rush yards per attempt allowed (5.15), with six of the last 11 weeks of the season seeing Tennessee meet a team ranked in the bottom half of the league by that metric.

The blend of Henry's proclivity for big gains and a schedule that should present a plethora of opportunities for displays akin to his devastating effort in Week 6 is a perfect recipe for the former Alabama star sustaining his current pace and shattering Dickerson's record, which would be significant for several reasons.

Destined for Canton?

The magnitude of Henry breaking the rushing record cannot be overstated.

At present, it is only the advent of the 17th game that would make his current pace enough for him to surpass Dickerson, who averaged an astonishing 131.6 yards across 16 games.

Yet that would not detract from the scale of Henry's achievement, with that potential piece of history standing as a monument to his consistency.

In addition to claiming a record that has long since seemed unbreakable, Henry would become the first player in NFL history to record multiple 2,000-yard seasons, doing so in successive years.

Putting that into context, no player in NFL history has even posted back-to-back 1,900-yard seasons, with Dickerson the sole player to go over 1,800 yards in consecutive years, his record-breaking 1984 following a 1983 campaign he finished with 1,808 yards as a rookie.

Henry may only be in his sixth season as a pro but, should he maintain his pace and make NFL history, he can surely look forward to a place in the Hall of Fame.

The argument could be made that he would require a longer spell of dominance to secure a spot in Canton. However, Henry is on course for an unmatched two-year run at a time where the unstoppable bell-cow running back is considered a thing of the past.

This is the era of committee backfields, one where any running back taken in the first round can be viewed as a reach, and yet Henry is producing at an unprecedented rate amid a workload that would physically break many tailbacks and carrying the Titans to victories that have helped establish a two-game lead in the AFC South as they look for back-to-back division titles.

Tennessee's flaws on defense will likely prevent the Titans from seriously contending for a deep playoff run this year, but Henry has the distinct opportunity to make sure this season is memorable for entirely different reasons that would be worthy of him being immortalised and receiving a gold jacket after an increasingly astounding career comes to a close.

Kyle Shanahan needs to get the San Francisco 49ers winning again if their playoff potential is to be fulfilled, and this Sunday looks like a major opportunity.

To snap a three-game losing streak, the Niners (2-3) must get the better of an Indianapolis Colts side who, much like San Francisco themselves, have made an inconsistent start to the season.

By contrast, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are riding a three-game run of wins and have started 5-1 for just the fifth time in the history of the franchise, heading into a tussle with the Chicago Bears (3-3). Tom Brady has been a driving force so far as the Super Bowl winners carry on where they left off last season.

Patrick Mahomes has been hit and miss for the slow-starting Kansas City Chiefs, who will hope the NFL's highest-paid player can cut out throwing interceptions as they face the Tennessee Titans.


Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers

If coach Shanahan's 49ers are to turn around their season, then facing a Colts side who have begun 2-4 seems like a pretty good place to start. Yet the Colts have dominated this series of late, winning on their last four meetings, albeit most recently in 2017 when they snatched a 26-23 overtime success. It would not be stepping out of line to predict this could be tight, given the 49ers have played nine consecutive games that have been decided by eight or fewer points, going back to last season.

That is the longest active streak of such close games in the NFL and the longest streak in team history, and the Niners do not have the best recent return when games go close, posting a 3-6 record in this sequence.

San Francisco fell 17-10 to the Cardinals in their most recent game, two weeks ago, while the Colts hot-footed their way to a 31-3 trouncing of Houston last Sunday. That came despite Indianapolis earning just 15 first downs for the entire game. It was the first time the Colts had won by 28 or more points while only having 15 or fewer first downs since 1972 against New England.

In his 21st career game, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, meaning he surpassed 1,500 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and chalked up his 15th rushing touchdown in the NFL. Only four running backs in NFL history have hit all three of those milestones in fewer games than Taylor, with two of those doing so with the Colts – Edgerrin James and Marshall Faulk.

San Francisco will hope to be recharged after a bye week. Deebo Samuel scored the fourth rushing touchdown of his career against the Cardinals, with Jerry Rice (10) the only wide receiver with more rushing touchdowns in 49ers history.

Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a dispiriting loss to the Green Bay Packers last time out, the Chicago Bears encounter a Tampa Bay team in sparkling recent form. Tampa Bay have started the season 5-1, doing so for the fifth time in franchise history, and on each of the previous occasions (2005, 2002, 1997 and 1979) they backed it up by reaching the playoffs. History could be made on Sunday, given the Buccaneers have never started a season with six wins through their first seven games.

Yet this is a game in which the Bears have traditionally, and recently, had the upper hand. Chicago have stacked up 40 wins in 60 all-time meetings against Tampa Bay, which is the most wins by any team against the Bucs. The Bears have also won the last two in the series, scoring victories in 2018 and 2020.

Tampa Bay can seemingly do no wrong when Brady is pulling the strings so masterfully. Brady leads the NFL with 2,064 passing yards, the second-highest total he has ever had through six games of a season – beaten only by his 2,163 passing yards at this stage in 2011. Prior to this year, no Tampa Bay quarterback had ever thrown for more than 1,800 yards through six games.

What have the Bears got to offer? Chicago are averaging 246.2 net yards per game, which is more than 20 yards per game less than any other team. The 1,477 yards is the fewest Chicago has had through six games since the 1993 season. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields needs to make something happen, but others must step up too. In his first career start, Khalil Herbert ran for 97 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay last time out.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans

"He's trying to make things happen," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, explaining away the two interceptions thrown by Patrick Mahomes in Week 6 against Washington. For Mahomes, that was a second straight game with at least two interceptions. He is tied with Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence in second position on the list of the most interceptions thrown this season, with his tally of eight so far only topped by Zach Wilson of the Jets.

This is only the second run that Mahomes has endured of throwing two or more interceptions in consecutive games, the previous dating back to Week 5 and 6 of the 2018 season, and Reid will hope his radar is better set for the clash with the Titans. Mahomes is still doing an awful lot right in 2021, but the fact remains he threw just six interceptions last season.

The Chiefs' unsteady 3-3 opening is their worst of the Mahomes era, and it was 2015 when they got off to a slower start. On that occasion they followed a 1-5 opening with 10 consecutive wins, a single-season record for Kansas City that was matched last season.

Tennessee's bright start has featured some notable performances. The Titans ran for 146 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in the 34-31 win over Buffalo on Monday night, taking them to 985 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for the season. It is the first time in franchise history that the Bills have 10 or more rushing touchdowns and at least 975 rushing yards through six games.

Running back Derrick Henry has 10 rushing touchdowns so far, beating his career best of seven through six weeks in 2020. It puts him tied for the fourth most rushing touchdowns of all time through six weeks (Jim Brown 14, Shaun Alexander 12, Emmitt Smith 11).

Elsewhere...

The Detroit Lions face a tall order on the road against the Los Angeles Rams (5-1). Detroit are 0-6 for the first time since their 0-16 season in 2008 and have not scored more than 17 points in any of their last five games. Former Rams quarterback Jared Goff, now with Detroit, has thrown zero touchdown passes and an interception in each of his last two games.

The 5-1 Baltimore Ravens have recent history on their side ahead of a clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, having won five successive games in their head-to-head series, including the last three by a brutal average of 31.7 points.

Heading into a home game against the Houston Texans (1-5), the Arizona Cardinals are on a 6-0 roll. This has only happened twice before in franchise history, but never before in Arizona. The St Louis Cardinals in 1974 and Chicago Cardinals in 1922 are the teams who both started their seasons 6-0 as well.

Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts could match an NFL record as the Eagles (2-4) tackle the Las Vegas Raiders. Hurts has rushed for two touchdowns in each of his last two games. Billy Kilmer, for San Francisco in 1961, is the only quarterback to achieve the feat in three straight games.

The Green Bay Packers last lost at home to Washington in 1988, winning five in a row since with home-field advantage, and they put a 5-1 season record to the test when the teams meet again. Washington (2-4) are yielding an NFL-worst 31.0 points per game in 2021, matching the team's worst mark through six games of a season in the Super Bowl era (1998).

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel says Derrick Henry is "willing and able to carry us" after another barnstorming performance in a thrilling 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills in Monday Night Football.

Henry finished with 143 yards and three touchdowns as the Titans moved to 4-2 in the AFC South this season.

It marked the fifth straight game Henry surpassed 100 yards for rushing, while it is the third occasion this season he has ended with at least three touchdowns.

Henry joined Jim Brown (1958) as the only players in NFL history to rush for three-plus touchdowns in a game three times in the first six games of a season, according to Stats Perform.

Through Week 6, Henry has three games with 125 or more rushing yards and three-plus rushing touchdowns – it is tied for the most such games in a single season in the Super Bowl era.

Speaking after the game, Vrabel said of Henry: "We continue to jump on Derrick's back and he's willing and able to carry us. 

"It's something that you know you have in your back pocket, your front pocket and you can use it. He gave us a big shot right there."

For his part, Henry said he is just trying to perform his best for the team every time he takes to the field.

"I just love to come out here and try to be the best player and team-mate I can," he said. 

"Come out here and try to take advantage of my opportunities and make plays for this team. Whatever I can do to help us win, I am willing to do.

"This, today, was incredible. The whole atmosphere, it felt like a playoff game. The crowd was in it – they came and packed the stadium out. It's something that we'll always remember, especially on a big stage like this."

Derrick Henry came up big in the fourth quarter and the Tennessee Titans thwarted Josh Allen at the death in a thrilling 34-31 NFL victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Henry scored his third touchdown for the Titans (4-2) with just over three minutes remaining against the AFC East-leading Bills (4-2) on Monday.

The Titans then held up Bills signal-caller Allen on a fourth-down quarterback sneak in the final seconds to snap Buffalo's four-game winning streak.

Henry joined Jim Brown (1958) as the only players in NFL history to rush for three-plus touchdowns in a game three times in the first six games of a season, according to Stats Perform.

Through Week 6, Henry has three games with 125 or more rushing yards and three-plus rushing touchdowns – it is tied for the most such games in a single season in the Super Bowl era.

After a tense opening quarter – Tyler Bass' field goal for the Bills was the only score – Buffalo and Tennessee traded touchdowns in the second period.

Henry sparked the Titans with a memorable 76-yard TD run before Allen threw a 14-yard pass to Stefon Diggs just over three minutes later and the see-sawing battle continued – Allen's pass to Cole Beasley cancelled out Ryan Tannehill's (18-of-29 passing for 216 yards and an interception) four-yard run to give the Bills a 20-17 half-time lead.

Bass' third field goal and Allen's third TD pass (finishing 35 of 47 for 353 yards, three TDs and an interception) to Tommy Sweeney outweighed Henry's touchdown run as the Bills stretched their lead to 31-24 heading into the final period.

But Tennessee's defence came up big after Henry scored the only TD of the fourth quarter, having watched Randy Bullock convert his 38-yard field goal.

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