Riverboat Ron eliminates another undefeated team

Ron Rivera and Washington are making a habit of shocking undefeated teams.

For the second time in three seasons, Rivera took a losing-record Washington team on the road to hand an undefeated team its first loss of the season.

The Commanders, who entered the game with a 4-5 record, traveled to Philadelphia and handed the Eagles their first loss after an 8-0 start with a 32-21 victory Monday night.

The victory came two years after Rivera led a Washington team 4-7 to a 23-17 victory at 11-0 Pittsburgh.

Only two of the other 29 Super Bowl-era teams that started a season 8-0 or better lost their home opener to a losing record with Houston (3-5) vs. Cincinnati (8-0) in 2015 and the Rams (4-6) did it to San Francisco (10-0) in 1990.

Five other teams that started 8-0 or better lost their first game against a team with a losing record on the road.

Rivera became the second coach in the Super Bowl era to give two teams that started 8-0 or better their first loss. Don Coryell did it too, leading the Cardinals over the Cowboys 8-0 in 1977 and the Chargers over the Dolphins 11-0 in 1984.

FIELD DAY

Chicago’s Justin Fields is on a record streak in his first full season as a starter.

Fields has rushed for 555 yards over the past five games — the most for any QB in five games in the Super Bowl era. Fields needs just 458 yards over the past seven games to break Lamar Jackson’s single-season record for quarterbacks of 1,206 set in 2019.

Fields threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Detroit on Sunday, becoming the second player in NFL history with at least 100 yards and two touchdowns rushing and through the air in the same game. The only other player to do so was Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs after the 2012 season against Green Bay.

Fields is the fifth Super Bowl-era player with at least one TD assist and one TD run in four straight games. He can tie Kyler Murray’s 2020 record of doing it in five straight games on Sunday in Atlanta.

Fields is also the only Super Bowl-era QB with more than one TD rush for at least 60 yards in the same season.

His work on the field helped the Bears become the first team in NFL history to rush for at least 225 yards in five consecutive games.

Fields’ production hasn’t spelled success for the Bears, who have lost the last three games. They are the first team to lose three straight while scoring at least 29 points in every game in NFL history.

JUMPING JEFFERSON

Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson pulled off one of the greatest catches in NFL history with his one-handed catch against Buffalo on Sunday’s fourth and 18th.

The catch had a 28.8% completion probability according to NFL NextGen stats, but Jefferson made a habit of making catches unlikely.

He had nine catches on Sunday with a success probability of less than 50% – three more than any other player in an NGS-era game dating back to 2015.

Since entering the league in 2020, Jefferson has a record 54 catches with a completion probability below 50%.

Jefferson finished with 10 catches for a career-high 193 yards and a touchdown. His 20 games with at least 100 receiving yards are the most ever for a player in his first three years, passing Randy Moss and Odell Beckham Jr.

Jefferson, who has 4,076 receiving yards in 42 career games, tied Lance Alworth and Beckham for the fewest games needed to reach 4,000 receiving yards.

WORLD TRAVELER

Tom Brady added another country to his list of places with an NFL win.

Tampa Bay’s 21-16 win over Seattle in Munich, Germany took Brady to 4-0 in internationals with two wins in London and another in Mexico City.

Along with his 244 regular season wins on American soil, Brady became the first QB to earn starts in four countries, breaking a tie he had with Derek Carr, Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Russell Wilson.

Brady missed another record when he threw an interception, ending a streak of 399 consecutive passes without one. That was three shy of the record Aaron Rodgers set in 2018.

WINNING TIME

Kyle Shanahan hopes the seventh time will be a charm.

The San Francisco coach has a 48-48 career record with the Niners and is looking to enter winning territory for the first time. He lost the previous six times had a chance to be above .500.

It started with a loss to Carolina in their first game of 2017, which led to an 0-9 start that put them in a big hole. Shanahan came back to 25-25 before losing the Super Bowl after the 2019 season to Kansas City.

He had two shots in 2020 but lost to Philadelphia in Week 4 and Seattle in Week 8.

Shanahan came back to 43-43 in his career in the playoffs last season before losing the NFC title game to the Rams. He also lost in Week 6 at Atlanta with a 46-46 record.

Shanahan still has a long way to go to catch up with Hall of Famer Tom Landry, who had no winning record with Dallas until his 11th season when the Cowboys beat the Giants in Week 2 of 1970 to improve his record to 70-69-2.

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