What an interesting weekend for football fans. Six teams in the top 25 lost this weekend, and a handful of others had scares that they barely escaped from. The confusion continued into Sunday, as plenty of NFL games also left fans scratching their heads at the end of the fourth quarter. Here’s a recap of the NFL action from Sunday.
The Bills gave the Bengals all that they could handle this weekend. We mentioned last week that the Bengals are the type of team that play to their competition, and this game was the perfect example. The Bengals came out hot, leading at halftime 17-10. Things continued to go well as Cincinnati was the only team to score in the third quarter and had a 24-10 lead going into the final quarter of play. But the Bills, led by Thad Lewis, stormed back in the fourth and put up 14 unanswered points to tie the game at 24. As the game went into overtime, it took a 43-yard field goal from Mike Nugent to cap the victory for the Bengals on the road. The aforementioned Lewis went 19-32 for 216 yards. He also had two touchdowns and no interceptions. On the other side, Andy Dalton went 26-40 for 337 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. No matter the fact that it was ugly, Cincinnati is happy to walk away with a win in this game. The Browns and Ravens both lost this weekend, which means that the win gave the Bengals sole position of first place in the AFC North. But if they want to keep that lead, they’ll definitely have to play better against the Lions next weekend. As for Buffalo, they fall to 2-4 and will play Miami.
Staying in the AFC North, the Browns had everyone in Cleveland glued to their TV to see if they could keep up their winning streak. And with a 17-7 lead at halftime, it looked as if they might get another win against a tough team in the Lions. However, Matt Stafford was able to rally his troops after halftime and the Lions came out of the locker room to score 24 unanswered points in the second half. While fans in Cleveland may immediately point the finger at Brandon Weedon for this loss, the second year quarterback just barely put up better stats than Stafford. Weeden went 26-43 for 292 yards, while Stafford went 25-43 for 248 yards. But while Weeden had two touchdowns and two interceptions, Stafford had four touchdowns and only one pick. Another bright spot for the Lions was the 135 yards rushing from Reggie Bush, 121 of which came in the second half. We already mentioned that the Lions will play the Bengals next weekend, and the Browns will head to Lambeau to play Green Bay. For the sake of all fans in Cleveland, they will be hoping that the letdown in the second half of this weekends game isn’t a sign for the rest of things to come for the remainder of this season.
As for Green Bay, they played an AFC North team this weekend as well, as they edged out the Ravens 19-17. Even with the win, Green Bay showed that they have some major issues with their offensive line. It seemed as if throughout the entire game, Aaron Rodgers was dodging incoming defensemen and rushing to get the ball off. At the end of the day he was only 17-32 and had only one touchdown and an interception to match. On the other hand, Joe Flacco wasn’t particularly that great either, although we’ve come to expect more from Rodgers. Nonetheless, Flacco went 20-34 with a pair of touchdowns. The big story in this game was the scare that the Ravens gave the Packers in the fourth. Despite being down the entire game, the Ravens put up 14 in the final quarter and gave fans in Green Bay reason to be concerned in the final two minutes. Green Bay will be happy to take the win and look forward to playing against another AFC North foe next weekend, but they will hope that the end result offers a bit more breathing room than this weekend. The Packers are still trying to piece things together, and they should first look to their offensive line to begin. On defense, the Packers will hope to get Clay Matthews and Brad Jones back soon. The Ravens play divisional rival Pittsburgh next weekend.
As for Pittsburgh, they finally got their first win of the season this weekend against the Jets. In typical Jets fashion, just when you thought things were going good, they come out and lay an egg at home that makes the entire Big Apple shake their heads. The Jets were unable to score any touchdowns on Sunday, relying on two field goals in the first half as their only points. Ben Roethlisberger on the other hand was able to put up one touchdown of his own, while going 23-30 and putting up 264 yards. With losses from the Ravens and Browns, and a modest win for the Bengals, the Steelers needed this win to remain in the AFC North contention. They certainly have an uphill battle, but they could make some serious ground with a win over Baltimore next weekend. After that, they could squeeze another win out of Oakland, before heading to New England. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but with a three game wining streak going into New England, you never know what could happen. As for the Jets, we tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and a win over Pittsburgh would’ve been a great statement for the way things are going this year. But instead, they gave up a win to a win-less team, further disappointing fans in New York. The Jets are now two games behind New England, who had a huge win of their own on Sunday.
There was a buzz in the air in Kansas City on Sunday that Andy Reid and Dwayne Bowe compared to a college-like atmosphere. It’s pretty obvious that fans in K.C. are excited about the start for their undefeated Chiefs. And the home team used that advantage on Sunday to continue their streak, as they defeated Oakland 24-7. With just a few minutes left in the game, those fans in K.C. were able to ring up a 137.5-decibel rating, breaking the Guinness World Record set earlier this year by fans in Seattle. Having great fans like this is going to come in extremely helpful, especially on days like this when Alex Smith didn’t have it all going for him. Smith was 14-31 for only 128 yards. He also didn’t ring up any touchdowns, as Jamal Charles was able to account for two of his own. For Oakland, Terrelle Pryor went 18-34 for 216 yards. However, it was his three interceptions that will be a glowing red flag as people reevaluate this game. The young quarterback still has some growing pains to get through, and these are obvious signs of it. The win gave the Chiefs their second-best start in franchise history, and they’ll look to keep it rolling next weekend against a troubled Houston Texans squad. We mentioned earlier last week that the anticipation for the showdown between the Broncos and Chiefs will only build even greater as both teams remain unbeaten.
Despite all the fun and excitement that comes from the NFL on Sundays, there was an overwhelming sense of gloom and sadness that was going on when the Vikings took the field against the Panthers. Mid-day Friday, news was released that Adrian Peterson’s son was in critical condition in a hospital in South Dakota. It was only a few hours later that news broke that the 2-year old boy had died due to severe child abuse trauma. It was a complete heart-wrenching story, hearing that the mother of the child had left her boyfriend alone with the baby, which turned into the story that broke on Friday. Nonetheless, Peterson was able to put on his shoes on Sunday and still got on the field ready to play. He only had 10 carries on the day, going for 62 yards. These numbers are just small, yet rewarding stats for someone who must be going through an indescribably difficult time. As for the new quarterback controversy that is stirring in Minnesota, Matt Cassel tried his best to show why he deserves to stay in the starting role. He went 32-44 for 241 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately the two turnovers may be more glairing that he had hoped, especially with Josh Freeman waiting in the wings. Cam Newton looked good on Sunday, going 20-26 for 242 yards. He also threw for a trio of touchdowns and didn’t throw any picks. This is the type of performance that Carolina will need on a regular basis from Newton if they want to become a contender. Unfortunately, Newton has yet to prove that he can put up stats like this on a routine basis. The Vikings will hope that things can settle a bit more in their locker room, as they face the Giants next week on Monday night in a matchup between teams that have a combine record of 1-10. As for the Panthers, they’ll look to keep things rolling against St. Louis, who had a big win of their own this weekend.
While teams like the Steelers and Panthers used wins this weekend to show that they aren’t completely out of this season just quite yet, teams like New York and Houston proved that it doesn’t matter how touted you are at the beginning of the season if you don’t show up on Sunday. We predicted last week that the Texans would use Sunday’s game against the Rams to end their losing streak and regain their footing in the AFC South. Instead, a loss to the Rams is their fourth in a row on the season, and stuff looks to be hitting the proverbial fan in Houston. In all reality, the Texans just look bad. On defense, on offense, on special teams, anywhere you look, they don’t seem to have the pieces to put together to get a win. A Pathetic display from a team that some predicted would go to the Super Bowl this year. The problem is, the Texans have been in the picture for a few years now, yet haven’t been able to take a huge leap. We could see things fall apart quickly in Houston, and the first piece could be Matt Schaub. Things haven’t been so easy on the starting quarterback and his play reflected that this weekend. Before leaving the game due to an ankle injury, Schaub was 15-21 for 186 yards. Things didn’t get much better for the Houston offense when T.J. Yates came in and threw two interceptions. As for the Rams, Sam Bradford didn’t have eye-popping numbers, but he did throw three touchdowns in this game as he led his team to victory. The Rams are trying to stay afloat in an obviously difficult NFC West division. And with a win on Sunday, they remain right there in the thick of things.
Things may start to get interesting in Philadelphia after the Eagles beat the Bucs 31-20 on Sunday. For the second week in a row, Nick Foles stepped into the lineup and was able to deliver big plays when the Eagles needed them. Overall, Foles went 22-31 for 296 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Eagles are now on a two game winning streak and are tied atop the NFC East with the Cowboys at 3-3. It’s not sure as to how things will play out once Vick gets back into the lineup, and whether or not Chip Kelly will entrust Foles to continue being this teams quarterback. After all, most fans would think that Kelly’s system was made perfectly for Vick, even if Foles is the one to have more success in it thus far. As for the Bucs, they join the Giants as the only winless teams left in the NFL. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon threw for 273 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough. Overall, this team needs a lot of work and is far off from being a contender anytime soon. For the Eagles, they’ll just enjoy the win and the fact that they are still in the conversation in the NFC East.
Vegas went crazy last week when it was announced that the Broncos were a favorite in their game against Jacksonville by more than 30 points. But the happy gamers will be those who said that kind of spread was just too much to be realistic. The Broncos are quickly proving themselves to be one of the worst first-half teams in of football. But it doesn’t really matter because they have been the hottest squad in the second half of every game this year. The same was to be said on Sunday. While the Broncos started out looking like they’d route the Jags, their 14-point lead quickly evaporated and it was 12-14 at half. But right out the gate the Broncos scored 14 in the third and tallied another touchdown in the fourth. Surprisingly, Chad Henne had more yards, 303, than Peyton Manning, 295; and Maurice Jones-Drew ran for more yards, 71, than Knowshon Moreno. However it was Manning’s two touchdown passes and Moreno’s three touchdown runs that were the main numbers in this game that carried the Broncos to victory. For the Jags, Justin Blackmon continued to play like a beast in only his second game back from a four game suspension. He had 190-yards on 16 catches, so Jags fans will hope he remains a target for quarterbacks who may be interested in playing in Jacksonville. While the Broncos moved to 6-0, the Jaguars fell to 0-6 for the first time. But they may just be happy that they didn’t get blown out like Vegas predicted. As for the Broncos, they’ll get ready for one of the most anticipated games of the season. Next week, they’ll go to Indy to play the Colts for the first time since Manning was acquired by Denver.
Last week we mentioned that there was no way that Seattle would lose to games in a row. Surprisingly, Tennessee made it more of a game than we expected. This game had a lot of weird plays that could’ve benefited Tennessee, but the Seahawks were always able to bounce back and get back on the right side of things. Marshawn Lynch was the real hero in this game, rushing for two touchdowns when the Seahawks needed them most. But the interesting thing to note may be the fact that this is now the third straight game that Seattle has had trouble. After having a scare in Houston, which looks to be more concerning with how the Texans have played lately, and then losing last weekend to Indy, and now needing 10 in the fourth quarter to beat Tennessee, the Seahawks may not be as unbeatable as expected. If they have a hard time with Arizona next week, there may even be greater room for concern. Granted they are 5-1, but we imagine that everyone in Seattle would feel much more comfortable with decisive and impressive victories. As for the Titans, luckily they are in a division with the Texans and Jags. At 3-3, they are still in the mix of things, bearing how Indy does on Monday night against San Diego.
One of the most watched games on Sunday might’ve been the Saints versus the Patriots, and certainly for good reason. We said last week that as good as the Saints have been looking, coming across the Patriots after a loss is never a good thing. Furthermore, with the troubles that New England has had this year, they needed a statement win against a team like the Saints to justify their record. This game was back and forth throughout most of the competition. Going into the fourth quarter, it was 20-17 in favor of New England. It would go down to the final drive when Brady was able to hit his new favorite target in Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds left for the victory. Drew Brees had two touchdowns of his own, but he wasn’t impressive statistically, going 17-36. Overall, this game proved that the Patriots deserve to be 5-1, and because of the competition, the Saints shouldn’t take too much of a knock either. These are two great teams and are proving that the Broncos, Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers aren’t the only teams deserving to be considered a threat to win it all.
Speaking of the 49ers, their train kept rolling as they beat the Cardinals 32-20. Sure, we expected the 49ers to win this game, but they still needed to prove that they could win against an average team, especially considering some of the trouble that they’ve had so far this year. In their third straight win, Vernon Davis had a beast of a game, catching eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Frank Gore also surpassed 100 yards and added a valuable ground game for San Francisco. Davis, Gore and Colin Kaepernick will all need to keep up the success they have had in recent weeks. They certainly look like the team that we expected them to be with their three-game winning streak. Next weekend they will play the Titans, who will be looking to stop their own losing slide. But we’ll also keep an eye on how well the 49ers do against the Titans, as a gauge in comparison to how the Seahawks did this week. As for the Cardinals, they are still 3-3, but they’ll switch places with the Titans and face the Seahawks next week. Both of these games will be a good measure to see how the 49ers and Seahawks compare to one another.