Amidst the sports-talk banter and endless critiques of the Saints' loss in Dallas, at the end of the day, they fell by three points on the road. Sure, without a few penalties on the Cowboys, it could have been worse, but the point is that New Orleans narrowly lost despite Drew Brees being off his game for much of the night (even when he was not under heavy duress).



The Saints' defense was fantastic, proving its No. 1 ranking against the run does not stem solely from opponents deciding to ignore the ground game in hopes of catching Brees and the offense through the air. New Orleans bottled up Ezekiel Elliott, or at least held him in check for most of the contest (23 carries for 76 rushing yards, though he did catch six balls for 60 yards). As for Sean Payton's offensive line? Yeah, those guys got destroyed. You can panic about that.

セインツのディフェンスは素晴らしかった。リーグ1位のラン守備の実力を証明し、相手にラン攻撃を諦めさせた。カウボーイズとしては、パス攻撃でブリーズに離されないようにすることに望みを託すよりなかった。ニューオリンズはRBエゼキエル・エリオットを封じ、または少なくともほとんどの時間抑えた(ランは23キャリーで76ヤード。ただしレシーブは6回で60ヤードを許した)。オフェンスラインはどうかって? ああ、崩壊していた。その部分は、パニックになっていい。

(※hold ~ in check:~を抑える)





Call Sunday's victory a gut-it-out win. The offense milled about without putting points on the board ... until it mattered. Tom Brady engineered two late scoring drives, with Josh Gordon paying off the first and fullback James Develin completing the second, while the defense battened down the hatches, closing off in the fourth quarter whatever leaks sprung early in the third. The Pats stopped Kirk Cousins on downs when the game was in doubt, then secured an interception late to preserve the two-score victory.




(※gut it out=がんばり通す、耐え抜く)


Top moment: Brady, who reached 1,000 career rushing yards with a 5-yard scamper early, pulled a savvy self-preservation act late. Needing to kneel down at the end of the game, Brady made sure to step forward, then point to the ref as if to show he reached the line of scrimmage. Hall of Famers know their stats, apparently -- even the oddities.





Can you imagine how good this Chargers team would be if it was at full steam? The operation has been devoid of many of its parts this season. On Sunday, we all saw what Anthony Lynn's group is capable of when both sides of the ball play cohesively.

今季のチャージャーズがフルパワーを出せたとしたら、どれほどの強さになっていたか想像できるだろうか? ここまで、チームは多くのパーツを欠いた状態で戦ってきた。日曜の試合で見たとおり、ヘッドコーチ、アンソニー・リン率いるこのチームは、攻守の充実したプレーが揃った時に強さを発揮する。

(※at full steam=全速力で)


The Bolts lost tight end Hunter Henry and cornerback Jason Verrett -- two Pro Bowl-level players who are difficult to replace -- early in the year. (Verrett has only appeared in 25 of 92 possible games since the Chargers drafted him in 2014, but Henry was supposed to be central to the offense, particularly in the red zone.)



Then Joey Bosa, who didn't make his first start this season until Week 11, had his 2018 coming-out party, notching two sacks against the Cardinals in Week 12 -- only for running back Melvin Gordon to be lost in the same game. After all that, there was Los Angeles on Sunday, coming back from a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat a Super Bowl contender on the road.



Defense rocks. It's not out of vogue, it's not out of print. It hasn't gone the way of CD liner notes, either. No, it's still an integral part of pro football. And the Cowboys own the signature unit in the league. Top to bottom, this group is stacked.



After Dallas held the Saints to their lowest yardage total (176) since Week 17 of the 2001 season (when Aaron Brooks was New Orleans' QB), you could see why Cowboys brass had so much enthusiasm for the young secondary.



Byron Jones, who has performed at an All-Pro level, probably did the best job anyone has done covering Michael Thomas all season. Even Jones' DPI was merely a result of him slipping and running into Thomas. Leighton Vander Esch should be an All-Pro, as well. Jaylon Smith has become the unit's white-out ... eraser ... whatever you want to call him, possessing enough acceleration to negate mistakes made by himself or his teammates.



Couple these studs with a front four that's getting after it, and it makes sense that the Cowboys rank second in the NFL in points allowed per game. Drew Brees threw for 127 yards ... 30 of which came after a roughing-the-punter penalty extended a Saints drive. What an outing.




Yeesh. Maybe people would notice what bad luck Jay Gruden has absorbed this year if his brother's Raiders weren't so cruddy. As it stands, fans see the standings and see the Redskins plummeting.

ああ… もし兄(※)のレイダースがあんな状態になっていなければ、ヘッドコーチのジェイ・グルーデンが今季見舞われている不運に、人々は注目したかもしれない。今のところ、ファンが見ているのはチームの成績と、それが急降下していることだ。



But, boy oh boy, Washington is coming apart at the laces. Alex Smith is gone for the year. So is the QB2. With Colt McCoy's injury, Gruden's playoff hopes ride on the right arm (and the, umm, decision making) of Mark Sanchez -- who, you'll note, will be throwing to a wide receiver corps sans Paul Richardson, behind an offensive line down multiple starters.



The most rotten thing about all this for the Redskins? They are still in prime position to take a wild-card spot, with not one future opponent north of .500 right now. Unreal.

そんな状況のレッドスキンズにとって、一番ひどいことは何か? それは、彼らが十分にワイルドカードを狙える位置にまだいることであり、残り4試合の対戦相手に、5割を超える成績のチームがいないことだ。考えられない。