Monday Night Football might not have pitted two of the better teams in the NFL against each other this week, but it was still a big game. Both the Tennessee Titans and the Dallas Cowboys came into the game with identical 3-4 records and each needed a win in order to stay in the playoff race despite both teams’ divisions being incredibly tight and full of parity. On this night, it would be the Titans denying the Cowboys in a 28-14 win. It didn’t start so well for them, though. Quarterback Marcus Mariota fumbled the ball on each of the opening two possessions as the Cowboys took a first-quarter lead.
But the Titans roared back in the second quarter to take the lead at 14-7 before the scores were evened up by half-time. Come the second half, it was all Titans, with the Mariota throwing for a second touchdown of the day and then running one in with less than five minutes left that all but iced it. The win puts the Titans at 4-4 in the AFC South, good enough for second place. A loss would have hurt them badly in the Wild Card standings, but they are still just about holding on. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are now 3-5, putting them in third in the NFC East. They are only two games off the top of the pile, with this division looking the weakest in the entire NFL currently. Owner Jerry Jones spoke after the game and made it clear that he would not fire his coach during the season and that he still believed in QB Dak Prescott. We’ll see if that’s the case if they continue to flounder.
There was some good news and some bad news on Monday night for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They got their fifth straight win, to take them to a 5-4 record, with a 122-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. They were aided by a big third quarter that saw them outscore the Pelicans 38-23. But the win didn’t come without a cost. In that same big quarter, they saw their star man go down. Russell Westbrook picked up an ankle sprain late in the period, and despite the X-rays coming back negative, he is expected to miss some time for them. In a very competitive Western Conference, the Thunder need their star man, and without him, they could realistically end up losing out on making the playoffs if they drop enough games. It’s a terrible blow for them, but at least this injury isn’t any worse than it is.