NFL players took to the field Sunday, less than 24 hours after President Trump’s latest tweets urged them to stand for the national anthem and while many chose to make a statement of some sort — kneeling, raising a fist, locking arms — for the most part the league began to return to a semblance of normalcy through the conclusion of its 1 p.m. EDT games . . . with “normal” defined as a collection of stunning results and surprising upsets.
Somehow, after the 1 p.m. games, the New England Patriots trailed the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East Division, falling to 1-2 at home and 2-2 overall. At least the Pats had company at 2-2; the New York Jets — a team many believed was trying to tank this season — beat Jacksonville 23-20.
The Dallas Cowboys ran into a buzz saw in the form of, yes, the Los Angeles Rams. They’re 3-1 now and the Cowboys, on the shortlist of Super Bowl contenders at the start of the season, sit at 2-2 even with the services of running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Houston Texans won a game with offense, ringing up 57 points against Tennessee, including five touchdowns from Deshaun Watson, tying an NFL rookie record.
The Atlanta Falcons lost for the first time this season, leaving the Kansas City Chiefs as the NFL’s only undefeated team. And the New Orleans Saints took their much maligned defense all the way to London to shut out the Miami Dolphins.
There were some major injuries during the 1 p.m. games: Julio Jones left the Falcons’ loss to Buffalo with a hip injury and did not return, Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook left the team’s loss to Detroit with what is feared to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota left the team’s loss to Houston with a hamstring injury.