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NFL Football 2013: 5 Things We Learned From Week 10

Colin Kaepernick
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Record-setting performances and huge intra-conference wins highlighted the action from Week 10 of the 2013 NFL Season. Here are five things we learned:

The Saints Set a New NFL Record

Drew Brees
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Drew Brees completed 34 of 41 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns as his Saints routed Dallas, 49-17, on Sunday night. New Orleans (7-2) amassed an NFL record 40 first downs on the way to 625 total yards. Dallas (5-5) has had a suspect pass defense all season, but it looked terribly vulnerable — and just plain terrible — against the Saints’ attack. Marques Colston and Darren Sproles each had seven catches for New Orleans, which still looks like it can beat anyone in the confines of the SuperDome.

The Lions Control Their Destiny

Calvin Johnson
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Calvin Johnson caught a 14-yard touchdown pass with 2:22 to play, and the Lions topped the Bears, 21-19, in a battle for the NFC North lead. Detroit (6-3) walked away with sole possession of the division lead as a result of its win and the Packers’ loss to the Eagles. The Lions may be running out of inventive ways to win games, but the team finds itself in the driver’s seat of the division race with seven games remaining. With Green Bay and Chicago each currently missing their respective starting quarterback, the NFC North will be won — or lost — in the Motor City.

The Packers Third-String QB is Scott Tolzien

Scott Tolzien
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It’s OK if you didn’t know who Scott Tolzien was before Sunday. The Packers’ third-string quarterback was pressed into service when Seneca Wallace, who was starting for the injured Aaron Rodgers, suffered a groin injury early in the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-13 home loss to the Eagles. Tolzien wasn’t bad — 280 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions — for Green Bay (5-4), but Nick Foles was better for Philadelphia (5-5). The second-year quarterback threw three touchdown passes to run his season total to 16 — all without an interception. That mark equals an NFL record. Week 1 starting QBs Rodgers and Michael Vick must have found the entire scene very surreal — and not just because of the Cheeseheads at Lambeau Field.

Tavon Austin Is a Star in the Making

Tavon Austin
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Until Sunday, Tavon Austin had been largely invisible this season. The Rams’ first-round draft pick hadn’t scored a touchdown since Week 2 against the Falcons. All that changed on Sunday as Austin scored three times in St. Louis’ 38-8 win over the Colts, including TD receptions of 57 and 81 yards and a 98-yard punt return. The Rams (4-6) win was just as improbable as Austin’s big game. Indianapolis (6-3) had already knocked off Denver, Seattle and San Francisco this season. Somehow, St. Louis and Austin found a way to win and stay on the fringe of the NFC playoff picture.

The Panthers Are a Playoff Contender

Colin Kaepernick
Getty Images

After years of struggling, Carolina (6-3) might be ready to make a playoff run. The Panthers outplayed San Francisco (6-3) at the home of the defending NFC champs and came away with a 10-9 win when Drayton Florence intercepted a pass by Colin Kaepernick in the final minute. While QB Cam Newton is the face of the team, the defense is the unquestionable heart. It held the 49ers to just 196 total yards, no touchdowns and sacked the mobile Kaepernick six times.

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