What We Learned in N.F.L. Week 6

The Jets, Cardinals and Redskins all won, the Chiefs lost a second consecutive game at home, and the backup quarterbacks for Carolina and New Orleans improved to a combined record of 8-0. Week 6 saw the Patriots and 49ers both stay undefeated, but it was filled with lots of surprises.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Lamar Jackson will take what you give him. Baltimore’s quarterback has grown a lot as a passer, and on the heels of a turnover-heavy performance against Pittsburgh in Week 5 he absolutely dominated Cincinnati on Sunday, winning by 23-17 and joining Colin Kaepernick as the only quarterbacks in N.F.L. history to top 200 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in a single game (Kaepernick’s 263-181 performance came in a playoff game following the 2012 season.) Jackson’s big day on the ground came mostly via option plays rather than designed runs, with the 22-year-old quarterback showing a keen ability to see the field in front of him and figure out how to best exploit the defense. By N.F.L. rules the performance counts even though it came against winless Cincinnati.

  • Something is amiss in Kansas City. After scoring 26 or more points in his first 21 career starts, Patrick Mahomes has been held to fewer than 25 in consecutive weeks, losing a pair of winnable games at home, including Sunday’s 31-24 loss to Houston. While Mahomes was bolstered by the return of Tyreek Hill — who scored two touchdowns — Kansas City could not get anything going with its running game and that, combined with poor play by the Chiefs’ defense, led to a comical disparity in time of possession, with Houston holding the ball for 39:48 of the game’s 60 minutes.

  • Jameis Winston just wants to do great things. Tampa Bay’s quarterback threw five interceptions and lost a fumble in his team’s 37-26 loss to Carolina in London, and now has an N.F.L.-high 86 turnovers over the five seasons since he was the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. In trying to explain his frequent mistakes, he said they are a matter of ambition. “Sometimes I do want to do great things,” Winston told reporters. “But you can do great things but protect the team at the same time.” The Panthers, meanwhile, improved to 4-0 since shutting down the injured Cam Newton (also a No. 1 pick) in favor of Kyle Allen, a second-year player who was not drafted.

  • You should be careful with your challenge flags. A confusing scene unfurled in Cleveland’s 32-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks when Coach Freddie Kitchens stopped a play in which it appeared that the Browns had an easy touchdown because he wanted to challenge the previous play in which he believed Jarvis Landry had scored. He lost the challenge, did not get a touchdown on the drive, and, as a result, was not able to challenge a potential dropped third-down pass on Seattle’s final drive that could have resulted in Cleveland getting one more possession in a game they lost by just four points. Oops.

  • The Rams no longer own the N.F.C. West. The 49ers have not won a division title since 2012 and came into Sunday as road underdogs against the Rams, last year’s N.F.C. champions. But in front of a crowd at L.A. Memorial that was packed with 49ers fans, San Francisco’s terrific defense held Jared Goff to 78 passing yards and the 49ers’ offense did enough to win easily, 20-7. The 49ers are 5-0, the Seahawks are 5-1 and the Rams, at 3-3, are in big trouble.

  • “Any Given Sunday” is a phrase for a reason. The previously 0-4 Jets, riding high off Sam Darnold’s return, held on to upset the Cowboys, 24-22, and the Cardinals got Coach Kliff Kingsbury his first N.F.L. winning streak by upsetting the Falcons. Atlanta’s defense struggling hardly qualifies as news, which helps explain Arizona’s success, but good luck figuring out what happened to the Cowboys, who were dominant through three weeks and have been awful since.

There was not a lot of defense to speak of as the Cardinals beat the Falcons, 34-33, but fans of passing in bulk were able to enjoy Matt Ryan and Kyler Murray combining for 696 passing yards and seven touchdowns.

Russell Wilson of the Seahawks, meanwhile, had yet another stellar game, with 295 yards through the air and two passing touchdowns to go with one rushing touchdown. Wilson has had a passer rating of 102.6 or higher in every game this season.

Lamar Jackson had more yards — coming within 21 of Michael Vick’s single-game regular season record for a quarterback — but Chubb scored two touchdowns, and would have had three if not for his coach’s decision to needlessly challenge the previous play.

For Adrian Peterson, his 118 yards in Washington’s win over Miami represented the 55th 100-yard game of his career and his first since Week 15 of last season.

A few weeks after tensions erupted between Stefon Diggs and the Minnesota Vikings, the wide receiver put together a dominant performance in Sunday’s blowout win over Philadelphia.

Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans had two rushing touchdowns on Sunday after Tom Brady of the New England Patriots had two on Thursday. They were joined by Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers and Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals, each of whom had one.

According to the N.F.L., the 10 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback this week surpassed Week 13 of the 2015 season for the most in a week since the A.F.L.-N.F.L. merger in 1970, while the 31 overall this season are the most through six weeks since the merger.

In his first game back after dealing with mononucleosis, Sam Darnold helped lead the Jets to victory. As much as Darnold’s return sparked the offense, the game was saved by a defensive play in the fourth quarter when the Jets denied Dallas a 2-point conversion in the 24-22 victory.

“It was a beautiful sight to see,” Jamal Adams said of the play. “Usually we panic and guys are not sure about what’s going on or if we’re going to stop it. Everybody believed, and we made it happen.”

Read more from Danielle Allentuck.

Washington beat Miami, 17-16, but the Dolphins, who have been outscored by 138 this season, were trying to find positives to only being beaten by a point rather than losing in a blowout.

“It’s already Week 6 and we’re scratching our heads about what’s going on,” Jesse Davis, an offensive lineman, said. “Days like today, when you have progress, that’s what makes us go, ‘O.K., there it is, we can do it.’ Just because you’re 0-5 doesn’t mean that you’re horrible. It’s still the N.F.L.”

Read more from Ben Shpigel.

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