The Panthers made a stunning comeback, the Bears didn’t, the Rams march on and the Chargers won a narrow one on foreign soil. All in a weeks work in the NFL, here’s our look back at week seven:
Cardinals 10 v 45 Broncos
In response to Elway claiming that they were soft, the Broncos defense got back to winning ways with five turnovers and six sacks against a Cardinals team that is fast losing it’s way. Head coach Steve Wilks sacked his offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, the next day but he can’t be blamed for an offensive line that is lacking quality and has all the similarities of a good sieve. Von Miller was the star of the show for the Broncos with two sacks and a forced fumble. Rookie undrafted running back Phillip Lindsay continues to impress in the run game for Denver with 90 rushing yards and a touchdown. Nothing much positive to say about the Cardinals which says as much for them in this game than anything else.
Eagles 17 v 21 Panthers
The Eagles were 17-0 up in the third quarter and then it all just imploded. This was the first time that a Newton led Panthers team had failed to score in the first three quarters of a game but they soon made up for it. Newton threw two TDs and Curtis Samuel ran in for another to give the Panthers an unlikely victory. Luke Kuechly was leading from the front on defense recording 14 tackles. For the Eagles, Wentz had a good three quarters but wasn’t clutch in the fourth, holding on far too long to the ball at times and struggling to see the field clearly enough.
49ers 10 v 39 Rams
Only two positives I can say about the 49ers – their white throwback uniforms looked really good and George Kittle is getting better with each game he plays. That’s all though. The 49ers were outplayed on offense, defense and special teams. The Rams dominated the game and Aaron Donald dominated the 49ers with four sacks whilst the rest of the team had another three. Gurley wasn’t the lead rusher for the Rams as they sensibly wrapped their superstar running back in cotton wool after he’d already ran in two touchdowns.
Chargers 20 v 19 Titans
Big call by Vrabel to go for two points at the end of the game to win it rather than send it to overtime with the kick. It didn’t work and whilst hindsight is 20/20, at the time half the stadium were shocked at the decision, me included. Aggressive play calling is all fine and dandy, but the offense hadn’t exactly been lighting up the game with only Dion Lewis and Tajae Sharpe producing solid numbers. The Chargers barely had the ball thanks to the Titans slow game play but when they did, they looked electric, scoring from their first play of the game a 75 bomb pf a pass from Rivers. I’m still not sure how the Titans managed to keep the score so tight but they did and they had the momentum at the end, going for two will be applauded by some but not me.
Bears 31 v 38 Patriots
The Patriots march on, this time by securing their first away win of the season and the expense of the Bears. The Bears defense isn’t as impressive with only a partially fit Khalil Mack. They did manage to pick off Brady twice, a fact Brady later described as ‘annoying’. The Pats are getting Josh Gordon more and more involved in the game, on Sunday recording four passes for 100 yards. For the Bears, Trubisky continues to struggle completing just over 50% if his passes. His running game is good but any QB who relies on running with the ball is doomed to failure. The biggest issue I have with Trubisky is that he’s failing to see open receivers quick enough, this is costing his team yards, first downs and as a result, games.
Colts 37 v 5 Bills
This got ugly for a Bills team facing a very difficult season with issues at QB, offensive line, receivers and now with McCoy injured – running back. Derek Anderson was on par with the rest of the quarterbacks to have played for Buffalo this year. Not even the Bills defense were able to perform as they were consistently put back on the field by the inept offense. Luck didn’t have to do all that much, with the benefit of good field position and a return to form of Marlon Mack. Mack had 126 yards on the ground and a touchdown, as well as 33 receiving yards and another touchdown. For the Colts though, they have a defensive rookie of the year in waiting with Darius Leonard who carried on his impressive debut season by recording 17 tackles (yes, 17!)
Dolphins 21 v 32 Lions
The Lions recorded their most yards on the ground in an away game since the great Barry Sanders was doing his thing in the Lions jersey! 248 yards in total against a Dolphins defense that wasn’t able to replicate its performance from last week. Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson was the top performer with 158 yards on the ground. Stafford, with the ability to lean on a running game finally, is looking back to his best, completing 18 of 22 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Brock Osweiler didn’t have a terrible game, throwing for 239 yards and two touchdowns but the Dolphins defense was just unable to stop Detroit from marching all over them.
Jets 17 v 37 Vikings
The run game wasn’t working and Darnold’s receivers lacked quality – no wonder the rookie quarterback looked a shadow of what he’s been over the last couple of weeks. In fairness, this was the Jets biggest test in a run of three home games. The Vikings are getting back to the form that saw them go to the NFC Championship game last year. Still no Delvin Cook, but Latavius Murray was decent on the ground running for 69 yards and two touchdowns and Kirk Cousins continues to impress in purple. A day to forget for Darnold, but not one to be overly concerned about – just move on and be better.
Buccaneers 26 v 23 Browns
Hue Jackson has bemoaned his sluggish offense, saying he needs to get more involved in every part of it to ignite more production. Not too sure how offensive coordinator Todd Haley will feel about that. The Browns couldn’t take advantage of the four turnovers that they managed to produce. Winston is right back in form with another two interceptions this week, though he was able to run in a touchdown. Thankfully for the Bucs, he wasn’t the only player that was finally able to produce some form on the ground – both Ronald Jones and DeSean Jackson were also able to run in scores. Rushing yards are still lacking though. Mayfield’s numbers look good with 215 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions but with only three successful third down attempts from 14, the Browns weren’t able to really capitalise in their defenses good work.
Jaguars 7 v 20 Texans
Oh dear Jacksonville. This slump in form is starting to get pretty serious and cracks in the dressing room are starting to appear, literally. Bortles had just 61 yards from six completed passes from 12 attempts. It led to coach Doug Marone benching Bortles in favour of Cody Kessler who had a better pass completion rate but also threw an interception. Newly acquired running back Carlos Hyde should be ready to roll next week in London for the Jags which should give them a lift. The Texans weren’t great but did enough to get the win – Clowney had two sacks and Lamar Miller finally looked to be in form this week with 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. After the game, a Jags PR opened the dressing room door to let the press in, only for all to see Calais Campbell being held back from trying to have a fight with someone. Troubling times.
Ravens 23 v 24 Saints
Shock! Justin Tucker missed his first ever PAT which effectively handed the Saints the win. Fair play to Tucker though, he fronted up after the match and came out to face the press. He didn’t have to, his teammates and coaches know what an asset he is, this isn’t a regular thing. More records for Drew Brees as he threw for his 500th career touchdown and is now the third player to beat all 32 franchises. The Saints also became the first team to score a touchdown in the second half against this mean Ravens defense after being 10-0 down. A good game for both quarterbacks and just that missed point between them. Tough loss for the Ravens but they’ll bounce back.
Redskins 20 v 17 Cowboys
Both teams are flip-flopping their way through this season and both were due to lose this week so the pattern had to be broken one way or another. Despite the loss, Prescott had another decent game at quarterback with 273 yards a touchdown and no picks. However it was the running game that let the Cowboys down, Zeke could only manage an average of 2.2 yards against a Redskins defensive line led by former Alabama teammates Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne who are fast becoming a tough unit for opposition running backs to break down. On the flip side, Peterson carried on with his impressive form running for 99 yards and a good running game means a good game from Alex Smith. The Redskins squeaked out a win when the Cowboys missed a long range field goal at the end. Jerry Jones refused to comment after the match, an out of character move for an over the top character. Doesn’t bode well for Garrett…
Chiefs 45 v 10 Bengals
Two things of note here; Mahomes really is very good and the Chiefs defense decided to turn up against an offense that’s probably been above average so far on the year. The Bengals defense however is just terrible – so many missed tackles which allowed Chief players to make more yards than they really should of. Mahomes has now thrown more touchdowns in the first seven games of the season than anyone else – adding four this week to one interception. Kareem Hunt looks every inch the star running back that he’s billed to be and there are so many receivers playing well on this team that it’s hard to figure out how to stop them.
Falcons 23 v 20 Giants
Was billed as a shootout based on each teams woeful defenses but really, it wasn’t all that, especially in the first half where just one touchdown was scored. Both defenses were able to get pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, as usual Eli looking particular uncomfortable behind an offensive line that’s more welcoming to pass rushers than a good maître d’. Julio Jones’ search for a touchdown goes on – another 100+ receiving game but this time the receiving touchdown going to Marvin Hall. Barkley was kept reasonably quiet for a change, getting only 43 rushing yards and 51 receiving. He still ran in a touchdown though so not all lost!