1st and 10 | Salute to Joe Thomas

Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas (73) leaves the field with a trainer after getting hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
AP Photo/David Richard

One of the greatest, most mind-boggling NFL streaks ended on Sunday in Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas – one of the NFL’s all-time best bad-team players – left a loss to Tennessee with a triceps injury. He is set to have an MRI Monday to determine the severity of it. It could be serious.

We do know that it was the first time in his 11-season NFL career that Thomas missed a snap. He played 10,363 straight snaps in the NFL. That’s an NFL record. So, to be clear, this means that Thomas has never missed one snap in his entire career.

Not one.

What an iron man. God speed, Mr. Thomas.

Below are 10 other observations from Sunday’s Week 7 action:

Salute to Drew: Drew Brees may be one of the most overlooked players in the NFL these days. He’s not Tom Brady, balling out at the age of 40. He is not Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, making headlines for showings signs of slippage in their advanced NFL age. No, Brees is quietly still dominating at the age of 38. He is just Drew Brees-ing his way through another spectacular season. Sunday, in the Saints’ fourth-straight win, at Green Bay, Brees surpassed the 500-touchdown pass mark. Brees is quietly amazing. Still.

Salute to Dwight: The San Francisco 49ers honored legendary former receiver Dwight Clark at halftime of their loss to Dallas on Sunday.

It was a special, but so sad moment for Clark, who is afflicted with ALS. Kudos to the 49ers for the moment.

Chargers finally like home cooking: The Los Angeles Chargers started 0-4, with three of the defeats coming at home. We all know the backstory. The Chargers can’t sell out their 27,000-seat soccer stadium, and most of the occupied seats are cheering for the opponent. That was the case on Sunday against Denver as well. But the difference is, the Chargers won. They have now won three straight games and are still alive in the AFC wild-card picture.

Jaguars’ defense is real: The Jacksonville Jaguars are 4-3 and factors in the AFC playoff race. The big reason is a suffocating defense. It is one of the best in the NFL, and it is still very young. The Jaguars had 10 sacks in a blowout win at Indianapolis on Sunday. The Jaguars also had 10 sacks in Week 1 at Houston. The Jaguars have an NFL-high 33 sacks.  They are on pace for 75 sacks this season. The NFL team record for sacks is 72 by the 1984 Chicago Bears.

Reality hits Green Bay: The Green Bay Packers are now 0-1 in the “after Aaron Rodgers” season. The Packers competed at home against New Orleans. Rodgers’ replacement, Brett Hundley, threw for just 87 yards. We all knew this, but Hundley is no Rodgers. Expect the losses to pile up as Rodgers tries to come back from a broken collarbone late in the season.

Panthers are in trouble: After stinking it up at home on Thursday night in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, the well-rested Carolina Panthers went to Chicago on Sunday and offered a complete stinker in a 17-3 loss. The Panthers have gone from looking great at 4-1 to struggling at 4-3. This team needs to find its identity, and do it soon.

Browns are lost: Not only did the Browns have the Thomas injury Sunday, but they lost again. And, once again, they showed that they have no stability at the most important position on the field. During an eventual, 12-9 overtime home loss to Tennessee, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson benched rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer in favor of veteran Cody Kessler. Kizer, a second-round pick who started on Week 1, was benched for Week 6. He was then reinstated after sitting against Houston and rookie star quarterback Deshaun Watson – who was picked at No. 12 with a selection traded to the Texans by the Browns. It’s clear that the Browns, who are 1-22 in the Jackson era, will be looking for a quarterback yet again in 2018. What a mess this franchise is.

Is this the end of Palmer? Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer is out for eight weeks after breaking his left arm in a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams in London on Sunday. Palmer will turn 38 in December. Perhaps we’ve seen the last of Palmer as an NFL player.

The Colts are dreadful, and Luck doesn’t need this: The Indianapolis Colts fell to 2-5 on Sunday after a 27-0 home loss to the Jags. Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton ripped his team’s offensive line after the game. Things are bad in Indy, and, of course, there is no sunshine in sight with quarterback Andre Luck having a setback in his injury recovery. At this point, does it make any sense to bring Luck back this year? The best bet is to get a high draft pick, get a new coach (Chuck Pagano’s time is probably up there) and get Luck healthy for next season.

Rams show sign of maturity: Traveling to London and winning can be tricky. The travel is brutal, and the week is totally different from the normal routine. However, rookie Rams coach Sean McVay navigated through the challenge perfectly, and the result was a 33-0 win over Arizona. These Rams are growing up very quickly. Expect them to stick around all season.


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