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Biggest Winners, Losers from NFL Week 10

The 49ers sack Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) spins from a host of San Francisco 49ers defenders during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Week 10 turned out to be one of the better slates of the 2023 NFL season with several games coming down to the final play. We saw multiple winning field goals, several upsets, and some really good football on Sunday. Let's look at the biggest winners and losers.

Biggest Winners, Losers of Week 10

Winner: San Francisco 49ers

After three straight losses, there were some serious questions about the San Francisco 49ers going into their Week 9 bye. Kirk Cousins and Joe Burrow shredded the 49ers defense in consecutive games. But it appears the bye week came at a perfect time. After a week off, the 49ers looked like a Super Bowl threat again. Playing on the road, they bullied the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game wasn’t as close as the 34-3 score suggested.

San Francisco dominated in the trenches, forcing QB Trevor Lawrence to play one of the worst games of his career. DE Nick Bosa had a monster day, handling rookie right tackle Anton Harrison. The entire 49ers defensive line produced, and it was a race to the quarterback for most of the second half.

49ers QB Brock Purdy also had a big bounce-back performance after a few less-than-stellar weeks. He completed 73.1 percent of his passes and averaged a whopping 11.4 yards per completion with three touchdowns. It was obvious he was playing with a ton of confidence and the offense was clicking. The 49ers are back as we enter the second half of the season.

Loser: Baltimore Ravens

Over the past few weeks, there has been a push to say that the Baltimore Ravens are the best team in the AFC. Through the season's first nine weeks, a strong case could have been made for that. But too many times, this team hasn't been able to close out games it should have won. Baltimore led the Colts at home earlier this season and let that game slip out of their hands. The Ravens held a two-score lead over the Steelers in the second half a few weeks ago, only to allow Pittsburgh to steal the game right out from under them. It happened again in Week 10.

The Ravens had the Cleveland Browns right where they wanted them. Baltimore led 31-17 late in the fourth quarter. But Lamar Jackson's pick-six to Greg Newsome II changed the game. Cleveland cut it to 31-24 and then later to 31-30. Dustin Hopkins, who missed a tying extra point, won the game with a walk-off field goal. That came about because, at the end of the game, the Ravens just needed to get one stop to beat the Browns. But every time the Browns needed a play, they made one. Cleveland stole a game on the road that it had no business winning.

It also didn't help that Jackson had a sub-par game. He was among the favorites to win the MVP award going into the week, but he completed just 13 passes and threw two costly interceptions.

The Ravens are still a good team and one loss doesn't change that. However, it's hard to trust them going forward with their struggles to put teams away. It's the third time they were favored by six or more points this season and failed to win the game.

Winner: Noah Brown, WR, Houston Texans

C.J. Stroud could have easily made this list after leading the Houston Texans on a winning drive to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. But Stroud has gotten so much love over the past month that it’s time to share the love.

Nico Collins was out of the lineup in Week 10 due to injury, which put more on the shoulders of veteran receiver Noah Brown. Whenever the Texans needed Brown to step up, he’s always been there. That's pretty incredible, considering how Brown's NFL career has gone up to this point.

In the first three seasons of his career, he had nine receptions for 87 yards and zero touchdowns. In six years with the Cowboys, he totaled 980 yards and three touchdowns because he was primarily a special teams player. He never had a 100-yard receiving day in Dallas but now has posted back-to-back 150-yard games for the Texans.

Brown made the winning play in Week 10, catching a pass over the middle and putting the Texans in field goal range. Without his heroics after the catch, the Texans would have settled for a 50-plus-yard field goal with a new kicker. Instead, Brown made it a chip shot for Matt Ammendola, and the Texans improved to 5-4.

Brown finished with 172 yards on just eight targets, making big plays at monumental moments. He's helped keep Houston's playoff hopes alive while racking up 382 yards over the past three games. Brown isn’t the Texans' No. 1 receiver, but he’s developed into a playmaker for Stroud in big moments. Brown is one of several reasons the Texans have improved so much this season.

Loser: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

There is no doubt that Trevor Lawrence is supremely talented. He and the Jacksonville Jaguars are playing better. They are 6-3 and have a fantastic chance to be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the AFC. But it’s OK to want more from Lawrence.

The 49ers played fantastic in Week 10. That’s why they made our list as one of the week's biggest winners. However, Lawrence made this list after throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns. He finished with 157 net passing yards on 34 dropbacks. That isn’t good enough if the Jaguars are going to beat good teams, especially ones like the 49ers. The Jaguars were home and coming off a bye, but Lawrence had his worst game of the season.

Lawrence is a good quarterback, but we are waiting for him to take that next step and become an elite passer. There are too many games like this against good defenses where he just doesn’t step up. The Jaguars need more from the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, especially if they want to be viewed as a real contender in the AFC.

T.J. Hockenson catches a pass for the Minnesota Vikings

Winner: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Minnesota Vikings

NFL players are known for being tough. That isn’t anything new. They play through a litany of bumps and bruises each week. But T.J. Hockenson deserves a lot of praise for what he did on Sunday. Hockenson didn’t practice much last week due to dealing with a back/oblique injury.

However, he got on the field in Week 10 with the Minnesota Vikings on a four-game winning streak.

Justin Jefferson remained on injured reserve and K.J. Osborn was out because of a concussion, so Hockenson had to shoulder a bigger load on offense. He led the team in targets, but he paid the price. He took several big shots in the middle of the field and hobbled to the sideline multiple times. At one point, he even went back to the locker room because he was dealing with so much pain.

The Vikings needed Hockenson to be on the field because he was their best offensive weapon. Without him, the offense wasn't overly explosive. He fought through the pain to deliver one of his best games since joining the Vikings at the trade deadline in 2022. Hockenson caught 11 of his 15 targets for 134 yards and a score. He was the best player on the field, despite clearly being in a lot of pain. His production helped the Vikings (6-4) beat the New Orleans Saints 27-18 and keep their playoff hopes alive. That kind of play will endear him to his teammates.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley

Loser: Brandon Staley, Coach, Los Angeles Chargers

There are only a handful of elite quarterbacks in the NFL and the Los Angeles Chargers have one. Despite missing his No. 2 and No. 3 receivers because of injuries, Justin Herbert threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns, helping the Chargers score 38 points. And yet, it wasn’t good enough because their defense allowed 41 points on their home turf.

Brandon Staley is a defensive-minded head coach, but far too often, the defense is the reason why the Chargers lose. They allowed 533 yards and 41 points without creating a turnover. That is a major problem, especially considering the Chargers were healthy on that side of the ball. They had no answers for the Detroit Lions, which ultimately cost them the game.

After making the playoffs in 2022, the Chargers are in real danger of not making it this season. They are 4-5 with a difficult schedule ahead of them. If Staley can't get the defense to play better soon, it would be a major shock if he returned in 2024. You just can’t have this little success with one of the top-five quarterbacks in the NFL and continue to stick around.

Marcus Mosher is an NFL writer with a decade of experience in podcasting and writing for various NFL websites, including Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic. He is currently a managing editor at USA Today Sports Media Group and the host of the Locked On Cowboys Podcast. Marcus has been working full-time covering the NFL since 2015 and works as a betting expert for You can follow him at @Marcus_Mosher.