Washington was a mess, and no match for the Steelers in 38-16 loss

If you checked the box score just prior to the half, you might have been surprised to see that the Pittsburgh Steelers were leading Washington. The statistics for each team were pretty similar through the first half, but Pittsburgh was able to capitalize on Washington’s mistakes and overcome their own, earning the win with a final score of 38-16.

Washington looked solid early, sustaining drives but settling for field goals on its first two possessions. Bashaud Breeland helped out, picking off Ben Roethlisberger on the Steelers’ second possession, but 24 unanswered points for the Steelers in the second and third quarters created what would become an insurmountable deficit for Washington.

Rams’ Aaron Donald ejected after scuffling with a 49er and making contact with a ref. It’s got to be frustrating being one of the game’s best players stuck on a team that is never going anywhere near the playoffs.

Colin Kaepernick responds to Trent Dilfer comments. Dilfer had pointed comments about Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem. Kaepernick responded after the 49ers’ Week 1 win.

Colin Kaepernick’s protest is working. The ugly internet comments aside, a lot of people are actually thinking about what Kap is saying about how minorities are treated in America.

Washington was a mess, and no match for the Steelers in 38-16 loss. Washington couldn’t get out of its own way, and the Steelers took advantage. For instance, Washington paid big money for Josh Norman, then let Antonio Brown demolish its second-best CB. Part of Washington’s problem was a schematic decision allowed Brown to feast on Bashaud Breeland while Norman stood on the other side of the field.

Even Jay Gruden acknowledged that he got “outcoached.” He added that there “could be merit” to the idea of letting Josh Norman cover a team’s best receiver. YA THINK???

Antonio Brown air thrusted 5 times, which was one too many to not get flagged. Five times was apparently too many.

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a knee injury. He says he’s fine, but Steelers fans are watching this situation nervously.

DeAngelo Williams is still a beast. The Steelers leaned on Williams for 26 carries and six receptions, and they got 143 rushing yards, two touchdowns and another 28 yards receiving. Not bad!

Adrian Peterson will be out months after knee surgery

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus. On Thursday, the Vikings announced that Peterson had successful lateral surgery and no other issues with his knee were found.

One day later, the running back was placed on injured reserve, meaning he will be unavailable to return until at least the end of November so long as the Vikings choose to use the injured reserve with a designation to return tag on him.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Peterson suffered what’s known as a bucket handle tear of the meniscus, and the expected recovery time following surgery is a minimum of three to four months, and could take as long as six months for a full recovery.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer he said Wednesday he won’t have a timetable for Peterson’s recovery until the procedure is complete.

Minnesota also signed running back Ronnie Hillman Wednesday. Zimmer was unsure when Hillman would be able to get on the field for the Vikings, and he added that Jerick McKinnon will get the start against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Zimmer said the Vikings will continue to run the ball without Peterson.

The Vikings will look to Matt Asiata, McKinnon, and Hillman to fill the void created by Peterson’s injury. Asiata has just 27 yards on 10 carries this season, and McKinnon has carried the ball three times for 8 yards. Last season, Asiata finished with 112 yards on 29 carries, and McKinnon had 271 yards on 52 carries. Hillman, who played for the Denver Broncos last year, rushed for 863 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015.

The Vikings face the Panthers this week in Carolina.

With the win, Belichick now trails only Don Shula (328), George Halas (318), and Tom Landry (250) in career wins, although he’s already the record holder for postseason victories with 23.

It seems unlikely that he’ll come close to pushing for Shula’s record, even if he hasn’t indicated that he’s even thinking about retirement. However, he previously said that he doesn’t plan on coaching that much longer.

“I won’t be like Marv Levy and coach in my 70s,” Belichick said in 2009. “You don’t have to worry about that.”

Belichick’s 70th birthday is six years away, but for now he hasn’t slowed his winning ways. The Patriots are on a streak of 13 consecutive seasons with double-digit wins and off to a 3-0 start to the 2016 season, despite Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for DeflateGate.

Fittingly, the win Thursday night was proof of Belichick’s coaching acumen. The Patriots, with a third-string rookie Jacoby Brissett under center, completely dominated the defending AFC South champions, the Houston Texans.

David Johnson could be Cardinals’ best running back ever

Johnson has been threatening to break into the group since late last season. Monday night he joined the likes of Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy with a 111-yard, three-touchdown performance in front of a national TV audience in the Arizona Cardinals’ 28-3 win over the New York Jets.

Johnson has shown all the traits of an elite back: speed, quickness, vision, feet, moves. He combined them all on a 58-yard run against a Jets defense that entered Monday night’s game ranked No. 1 against the run.

“When you got a back like David Johnson, I mean, you got to feed him and he’s going to make something happen,” Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “He’s just got a knack for the big play. You just got to feed him.”

First, as bad as Monday night seemed, it wasn’t the most heavily penalized game of the young 2016 season. That happened in Week 2, when the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans combined for 31 accepted and declined penalties. Monday’s game was also nowhere close to the NFL record, which is 37 accepted penalties in a 1951 game between the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears.

That discrepancy is one reason NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has acknowledged an interest in rotating crews, ostensibly to even out tendencies. This season, the NFL is selectively maneuvering individual members of crews, mostly with the purpose of ensuring experienced officials in high-profile games.

Given that context, it isn’t so difficult to understand why Boger called a series of penalties for mild contact in pass defense early in the game. His crew skews toward calling a tight game, and teams scout those tendencies.

By running his way into the conversation of the NFL’s best rushers, Johnson has done something Arizona hasn’t seen in years. And years. And years.

He made a Cardinal one of the NFL’s top running backs.

Arizona has had its share of big-name backs. Emmitt Smith and Edgerrin James come to mind, but both were at the end of their careers when they came to the Cardinals. The franchise’s best running backs played from the 1940s to the 1980s.

The same is true about the teams of 2016. Yes, the Vikings are good, and the Browns are not. Beyond that, we just don’t know very much about the league so far. Take the Ravens. They looked to be a resurgent team after jumping out to a 3-0 start, but a closer look revealed they had won those three games by a total of just 13 points. Since then, they’re in a free fall, going 0-3, and losing those games by a combined 11 points. The reality is that they’re somewhere in the middle, but we have no idea where.

There are a lot of unsolved mysteries in the NFL through six weeks. There are players who haven’t launched the way we’ve expected, teams who have put on a Jekyll and Hyde show, and decisions which beggar belief in 2016. Some of those mysteries won’t be resolved until the season’s over for good. Others can be cracked with a closer look. Given that this is the week when Darrius Heyward-Bey trucked a defender on the way to a rushing touchdown and Dontari Poe caught a bubble screen for a receiving score, let’s run through some of those unsolved mysteries (with apologies to Robert Stack) after a strange Week 6.