NFL Week 6 coaching grades: Bill Belichick helps Bailey Zappe shine; what's up with Packers?
Week 6 is all wrapped up. The Philadelphia Eagles are 6-0 after they beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. The New York Giants and New York Jets have already surpassed or matched their win totals from a year ago, and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made history.
On the negative side, the Green Bay Packers have lost two consecutive games, the Carolina Panthers look dysfunctional, and the DeAndre Hopkins-less Arizona Cardinals offense is out of sync.
How much of an influence did coaches have on the outcomes in Week 6? USA TODAY Sports examines the performances of several coaching staffs.
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New England Patriots coaching staff: A
Belichick recorded his 324th career win (combined regular season and playoffs), tying him for second all-time with Hall of Famer George Halas. Belichick only trails Hall of Famer Don Shula (347) on the career wins list.
Belichick did an impressive job game planning against the Cleveland Browns. Bailey Zappe registered a 118.4 passer rating in the win, making him the third rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to record a passer rating of 100 or better in each of his first two career starts.
Zappe’s play-action fake and his ability to maneuver in the pocket before delivering an accurate pass here are excellent:
On defense, New England held a stout, No. 1-ranked Browns rushing attack to only 70 yards(3.9 yards per carry). Browns running back Nick Chubb went into Sunday averaging 118 rushing yards a game, but he gained 56 rushing yards versus New England. Credit to the Patriots defensive coaching staff for the game plan.
Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff: B
A Steelers defense playing without outside linebacker T.J. Watt, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and cornerbacks Cam Sutton Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon managed to contain Tom Brady and the Bucs to one offensive touchdown (with 4:38 remaining) and forced Tampa Bay to a 4 of 14 on third down.
The Steelers had a bend-but-don’t-break defensive philosophy all game. Tampa Bay finished 1 of 4 inside the red zone.
On third-and-goal inside the 5-yard line in the second quarter, the zone coverage resulted in a coverage sack. The Steelers frustrated Brady for most of the game.
Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for creating a winning game plan for the short-handed Steelers, who won behind quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett.
Los Angeles Rams coaching staff: C
The Rams played a lethargic first half and got booed at halftime as they trailed 10-7. But they rallied in the second half after coach Sean McVay made adjustments to include other pass catchers not named Cooper Kupp. A lot of it is incumbent on the players to win their assignments, but McVay did a nice job of putting players like Allen Robinson in a position to succeed.
The Rams offense produced 232 yards and scored 17 points in the second half.
Eight different players caught passes in the win, including Robinson who had a season-high five catches and 63 yards with a touchdown.
Green Bay Packers coaching staff: D-
Aaron Rodgers said the Packers need to simplify some things after a 27-10 loss to the Jets, whose defense did a good job of bottling up Green Bay’s offense. The defense blitzed Rodgers, ran stunts and just simply won the battle upfront.
Rodgers was pressured 19 times and took four sacks as the Packers fell to 3-3.
The Jets defense deserves a shoutout for its showing in Green Bay, but Packers coach Matt LaFleur and offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich have to figure out how to get the offense going. They have no identity on that side of the ball. Green Bay has had six different leading receivers in six games. That's an indication the Packers don't have a true reliable target there. Tight end Robert Tonyan led Green Bay in catches and yards in Week 6.
The Packers performed Sunday as if they weren’t prepared in all three phases. Green Bay even had a punt blocked that was returned for a touchdown.
Arizona Cardinals coaching staff: F
The Cardinals offense was listless in a 19-9 loss at Seattle. Arizona went 4 of 16 on third down, got to the red zone twice (0 for 2) and had two turnovers.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury should have decided to kick two field goals and take the points in the second half, but he decided to go for it on fourth down and the team failed to convert each time. It went 1 of 5 on fourth down in the loss.
Quarterback Kyler Murray was sacked six times and the Cardinals offense failed to produce a touchdown.
Arizona doesn’t have any rhythm on offense. Hopkins, who returns from a six-game suspension in Week 7, can’t come back soon enough. The acquisition of Robbie Anderson should also help.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.