After Sunday of week 7 of the NFL season, we are now down to only one undefeated squad, we’ve seen more upsets that continue to shake up the outlook of the entire league, and some teams are still in the playoff hunt despite some embarrassing starts. Here’s a recap of Sunday’s action as it played out.
Although in the back of our minds we thought that any remaining life that might be left in the Falcons would come out on Sunday and they would run up the scoreboard on the winless Buccaneers, things played out exactly like they should and the Falcons barely escaped with their second win of the season. Matt Ryan led the shorthanded Falcons as he had 273 yards on 20-26 passing. You can’t ask more from Ryan, who has been trying his best to find ways to turn this frustrating season into something positive. Another bright point for the Flacons was the emergence of Harry Douglas, who has waited in the wings behind Julio Jones and Roddy White for his chance to shine. On Sunday he seven receptions for 149 yards. As for the Bucs, Mike Glennon got another start as he looks to be a temporary solution for the struggling Bucaneers. Overall he went 26-44, for 256 yards. It may be positive to note that he didn’t have any turnovers, although he was sacked three times for 30 yards. Doug Martin did lead the Bucs offense, although not with any intimidating force. He had 47-yards on eleven carries. The Bucs are now 0-6 and will play the Panthers next weekend. The Falcons will hope to keep their winning streak alive as they face the Cardinals.
We mentioned last week that the Bengals and Lions game would be a good one to watch, and anyone who saw it on Sunday would agree. Sure, the Bengals have had a few hiccups this season, but a win like this on Sunday is huge for their current squad that is looking to be considered a legit threat in the AFC North. At 5-2, Andy Dalton and company have a two game lead over the Ravens and Browns. On Sunday, it was business as usual for Dalton and A.J. Green, as the same can be said for Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. These tandems put on a show and neither one had a running game that was even existent. Dalton went 24-34 for 372 yards and three touchdowns. 155 of those yards went to Green on six different receptions. As for Stafford, he went a modest 28-51 for 357 yards, with three touchdowns of his own. Johnson also had 155 yards receiving and two touchdowns on the day. These numbers are so ironically close that it shows how much these teams rely on their quarterback-receiver duos. Although it was the Bengals special teams that set them apart on Sunday. Two blocked punts, a blocked field goal and a 54-yard field goal of their own helped seal it for the Bengals on Sunday. Now the Lions will look to regroup before facing the Cowboys next weekend, which may actually be an interesting game as both teams are both 4-3. The Bengals will face the Jets, who are coming off a huge win of their own this weekend as well.
Speaking of the Jets, they probably didn’t get nearly enough credit going into this weekends game. In our preview for this week, we boasted about terrific Tom’s stats against the Jets and that he must be riding high after a weekend where they knocked off the previously undefeated Saints. However, the Jets were able to give the Patriots a struggle in week two, and this weekend they didn’t allow to make the same mistakes. It took overtime, but the Jets, now 4-3, won 30-27 with a controversial call in extra time. After it looked like New England would hold the Jets, they were called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave Nick Folk another shot at a 42-yard attempt. He wouldn’t miss this attempt and the result would leave a lot of people confused on the field. The call, against the Patriots Chris Jones, was the first call of its kind in the NFL this season, after being instituted this past offseason. The Patriots, who have been known for getting their own fair share of calls over the years, can be chalked up as the first victim to the new personal conduct penalty. But aside from all that, the only reason the game was close was because of otherwise unproductive numbers from the Patriots. Sure, Brady was 22-46 for 228 yards, but he had no passing touchdowns and instead threw an interception that was crucial for the Jets. Although the Patriots rushing numbers weren’t huge, this is where all their points came from and it shows the continuing weakness that the Patriots have at receiver. This win was huge for the Jets, as it kept them a game within the Patriots for first place in the AFC East. Next week the Jets will place the aforementioned Bengals, while the Patriots will face divisional foe Miami.
As for Miami, add them to the list of teams that really disappointed us this weekend. After a really great start, followed by a two game losing streak, we assumed that the Dolphins would use their bye week to get every bit of advantage they needed to beat Buffalo on Sunday. Instead, a 23-21 victory for the Bills put both teams at 3 wins on the season, and at the bottom of the AFC East. We mentioned last week that Ryan Tannehill would need to get some time this weekend against an average Buffalo that has only one x-factor in Mario Williams. Well, Williams made his role felt as he forced a fumble with three minutes to go that set up the game winning field goal for the Bills. But in truth, this game shouldn’t have been as close when you look at going into it. However, going 19-37 for 194 yards, including two interceptions, Tannehill obviously had his worst start of the season. That Lewis wasn’t a whole lot better, going 21-32 with no touchdowns and an interception. The only difference is, we don’t expect numbers from Lewis like we do from the first round draft pick Tannehill. The Dolphins looked really entertaining in the first few weeks of the season, but at 3-3 and headed to New England next weekend, things don’t look good on South Beach. They could be on the verge of a four game losing streak that would be disastrous for the remainder of their season. And while Buffalo can take the moral victory from a win on Sunday, we don’t see them surpassing the Jets or Patriots for first place in the AFC East anytime soon either.
When Michael Vick went down with an injury a few weeks ago, Philly fans could sigh in relief knowing they had Nick Foles in the wings ready to play. But after the Cowboys knocked out Foles on Sunday, a bit of concern may be brewing in Philly as Matt Barkley came in and threw three interceptions. Granted, this game was already lost in the third quarter, as both teams played surprisingly well on defense, despite the lopsided 17-3 final score for the Cowboys. But nonetheless, neither team played well enough to earn the top spot in the NFC East that the Cowboys now control. Tony Romo had an okay game, throwing for over 300-yards. But his two interception to one touchdown ratio is still enough to keep fans in Dallas frustrated. All that we really learned on Sunday between these teams was that the NFC East is still really bad. The Giants are still winless, the Redskins are barely treading water, and it appears like there is a strong likely hood that whoever wins this division, will likely do so by default. Nonetheless, the Cowboys will enjoy the victory and prepare for the Lions next weekend. As for the Eagles, we can’t really keep saying that this high-paced Chip Kelly offense is worth the hype, considering it has yet to really show itself in repeated fashion this season. But they’ll have a chance next weekend against the Giants to rack up a load of points in bunches. The good news in the NFC East is, nobody is out of it even 7 weeks into the season.
Back to the teams that surprised us this weekend, the Redskins were able to hold off the Bears in the fourth quarter for a 41-45 win on Sunday. We didn’t see this one coming at all last week. Despite the game being played in the nation’s capital, the Redskins have had major identity issues this season, while the Bears looked to finally be finding themselves in recent weeks. This win is a major one for the Redskins, who have needed something to look forward to all season. RGIII threw for just shy of 300-yards, including 2 touchdowns. He did have a costly interception, but luckily for the ‘Skins, it wasn’t enough to change the outcome of the game. This game might’ve been a lot closer had Jay Cutler not left the game in the second quarter, although Josh McCown played admirably in his place. McCown went 14-20, for 204 yards and a touchdown. However, we can’t help but think that the leadership of Cutler (did we just give Cutler a leadership title?) would’ve been helpful in the final minutes of this one. Either way, RGIII finally looked like we remember him from last year and this will hopefully continue for the Redskins. Because they are just two games behind the Cowboys, they aren’t quite out of the picture yet. The bad news is, they’ll be playing the Broncos next weekend, who aren’t likely to be in a good mood after this weekend. As for the Bears, they’ll be happy to have a bye week next week to rest Cutler, as before heading to Green Bay on November 4th.
Despite a major loss to Arizona two weeks ago, we mentioned that the Carolina Panthers have an easy stretch of their schedule that they could use to capitalize on. Well rack up another win for the Panthers, and they may be getting hot at exactly the right moment. Sunday’s 30-15 win was a crucial one, as things got heated up after Sam Bradford went down with an injury and the Rams were flagged for five personal foul penalties. As multiple scrums broke out in this game, that’s never the type of thing that we enjoy seeing. However, for the Panthers, they should look at it as a strong showing that they could prevail in such a situation. Cam Newton only threw 17 times on Sunday, but he completed 15 of those attempts, one of which was for a touchdown to Steven Smith. The Rams will await the results for Bradford, but they don’t think things look good. At 3-4 in the NFC West, they’ll play divisional opponent Seattle next week on Monday night, and they certainly will hope to have Bradford back by then. As for Carolina, they’ll look to stay hot against the winless Buccaneers.
We were pulling for the Jags this weekend. After all, there is only so much that you can take before you start to hope for a team to get their first win of the season (this includes you too, Tampa). However, San Diego was able to get its first two-game win streak of the season, as they beat Jacksonville 24-6. Behind Philip Rivers, the Chargers are continuing to prove that they are a heck of a team. And you have to give credit to their efforts, considering they are in the same division as the Broncos and Chiefs, and only two teams are likely to come out of that division. As for the Jags, well they are 0-7 and despite Chad Henne throwing for 318 yards, there isn’t much to talk about. In the second NFL game played this season in London, the Jags will head to Wembley Stadium to face the 49ers next weekend. Miracles can happen, but we expect the 49ers to make a point to our friends across the pond and prove their prowess against Jacksonville.
Speaking of the 49ers, they are another team that is on a hot streak as of late. After a rocky 1-2 start, the 49ers have now won 4 in a row and find themselves in second place in the NFC West. With their win over Tennessee on Sunday, they also proved they can beat good teams as well. We mentioned last week that we didn’t think Jake Locker would start, just two weeks after an injury that was supposed to keep him out at least a month. However, much to our surprise, Locker made a return and threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns on 25-41 passing. As for Colin Kaepernick, his numbers weren’t magnificent, but he did what he had to in order to control the ball and was able to score on a rushing touchdown when needed. Frank Gore had another big game, picking up two touchdowns of his own. Despite only getting 70-yards rushing total, Gore is proving to be a pivotal option in the red zone for the 49ers. As we mentioned, the 49ers will have a long week of traveling as they head to London to face Jacksonville. And although it can be tough traveling across the Atlantic, at least they’ll be looking at the winless Jaguars when they get there. As for the Titans, they’ll look to rebound in two weeks against the Rams after a bye week.
The Browns had the a lot of people shaking their heads a few weeks ago. It’s been talked about over and over, how trading Trent Richardson should’ve been a disastrous element to their team, but instead it turn them onto a winning streak and the best record in 10-years. But after back-to-back losses, the Browns are back where most people expect them at 3-4. This weekends 31-13 loss to the Packers wasn’t even close, and what might be more recognizable other than the Browns current skid is the Packers are now 4-2 and alone atop the NFC North by percentage. And with three wins in a row, this may be the Packers team that people have been looking for over the last 16 months or so. Aaron Rodgers threw for 260-yards on 36 attempts, and was able to rack up three touchdowns and no turnovers. Brandon Weeden on the other hand, who has gotten a lot of the slack for the Browns lack of success in weeks that they haven’t won, went 17-42. It’s obvious that Weeden may not be welcome in Cleveland, but while Brian Hoyer is out with an injury, the Browns options are limited. We’ll have to keep an eye on what they do next weekend as they face the undefeated Chiefs in the toughest stadium in the league. The Packers will look forward to improve their record on Sunday Night Football against the mediocre Vikings.
Despite a ton of injuries, the Texans were able to give the Chiefs a bit of a scare on Sunday. Both teams traded blows throughout the game and the final score of 17-16 showed just how well both defenses played for their respective side. Case Keenum made his first start of the season, going 15-25 and throwing for 271 yards. He did have a touchdown, but he was also sacked by K.C.’s swarming defense a total of 5 times for 50 yards. Alex Smith went 23-34 on Sunday, but couldn’t find the end zone with his arm. Although he did rush for a touchdown and also relied on Jamaal Charles to score as well. The Chiefs can look at this scare to show that they aren’t perfect. Even against teams that are struggling like Houston is, they need to prepare accordingly ever weekend and be ready to play. They’ll have to keep this lesson in mind when they welcome Cleveland to town next weekend. As for the 2-5 Texans, things aren’t getting easier and they’ll face divisional foe Indianapolis in two weeks.
Speaking of the Colts, they are riding high after the emotion that was called “The War of 1812” that took place on Sunday night. For a few weeks now the Broncos have gained momentum and were considered to be the top team in the NFL after the Seahawks went down. However the Broncos had a tough time on Sunday night, as their first half woes continued to be a major issue. Time and time again, the Broncos had to settle with three-and-outs, which is never good for someone like Peyton Manning who needs to get his rhythm going. By the time the Broncos really started to get the ball moving, it was too little too late in the fourth quarter. As for Andrew Luck, he played exceptionally well behind the power of his arm. However it may have been an 11-yard run for a first down in the second quarter that stands out most in this game. The Broncos have now suffered their first loss of the season, and it should be interesting to see how this team reacts in the situation. We assume that Peyton Manning will bounce back with his guys. However, we can only imagine how bad Peyton wanted this win, and how sour the taste will be in his mouth without the victory. As for Luck, he’s proven to fans in Indy and around the league that he was an appropriate heir to the Colts franchise that Manning left just two seasons ago.
Lastly, the game that took place in Pittsburgh on Sunday opens up a lot of eyes, at least around the AFC North. We mentioned last week that despite a 0-4 start, the Steelers have the potential of getting hot right now and making a push in their division. They proved this to be true on Sunday, with a 19-16 win over Baltimore. This game may have not been decisive, as it was a game winning field goal by Shaun Suisham that sealed it as time expired. However, as the Steelers now ride a two game winning streak into Oakland next weekend, we can’t help but think this team could quickly make things interesting in the AFC South. As for the Ravens, they continued to prove that no matter how good their defense is, their offense is lacking this year. That has to be frustrating for a franchise that had to let go of a load of good players just to make Joe Flacco happy. On Sunday, Flacco only threw for 215 yards and a touchdown. Roethlisberger wasn’t much better, only accumulating 160 yards for himself. Either way, the win is huge for Pittsburgh and they’ll look to keep it rolling in Oakland next weekend.