Week 7 Recap: Big Winners and Big Losers

Week 7 Recap: Big Winners and Big Losers

Week 7 saw a few good games, including an early-morning clash in London, a close game on Monday Night Football, and a big comeback by Cam Newton and the Panthers. But, the biggest headlines from this week are the lopsided scores from plenty of games around the league. If your team wasn’t on a bye, there was nearly a 50/50 chance your team was in the middle of a blowout. Great to be on the winning end, but brutal to be on the losing end. Which side of the rout did your team end up on?

Cardinals 10, Broncos 45

Arizona (1-6): At home against a relatively weak divisional opponent, the Cardinals were looking to make a statement. They did, but for the other team. Josh Rosen (21-39, 194 yds, TD, 3 INT) was bullied by a Broncos defense that looked like the Orange Crush defense of old, giving up 5 turnovers, and getting sacked 6 times. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired just hours after the final whistle. Fans of other NFL teams are begging for Larry Fitzgerald to escape the sinking ship that is the Cardinals to try and get another Super Bowl ring elsewhere. Either way, Arizona is officially on tank watch.

Denver (3-4): The NFL may be a passing league now, but Denver is going to win with defense and the run game. Case Keenum (14-21, 161 yds, TD, INT) didn’t need to throw much as the Broncos jumped out to a massive 35-3 halftime lead. The throw of the game actually goes to WR Emmanuel Sanders, who found fellow wideout Courtland Sutton in the endzone for a 28-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, the running backs chewed the clock while rushing for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns. The defense also scored 2 first-quarter pick-sixes. This game was over just minutes after kickoff, and Denver looks to build on their momentum to get back to .500.

Chargers 20, Titans 19

Los Angeles (5-2): The Chargers nearly let the game slip away in the final minutes, but yet again, the defense held strong, and the Chargers are still one of the best teams in football. Philip Rivers (19-26, 306 yds, 2 TD) continues to have one of the best seasons of his career,and put on a clinic for the fans across the pond. The running game was pretty much non-existent, but when the quarterback is on fire, you don’t really need big games from the running backs. Luckily for Melvin Gordon, week 8 is the Chargers bye week, so his “Iffy” hamstring has plenty of time to heal up before LA begins the second half of their season.

Tennessee (3-4): To be fair, had the Titans converted their last-minute 2-point conversion, we’d be praising Mike Vrabel’s courage right now instead of ripping him for losing the game. Marcus Mariota (24-32, 237 yds, TD, INT) did what he could, but mostly let the running backs dominate the offense against a tough Chargers D-line. Dion Lewis racked up 91yards, helping the run game total 164 yards and a touchdown in front of the London crowd. Still, a bold decision on their final play cost the Titans a possible win. This loss drops them out of the division lead, and below .500 yet again.

Bears 31, Patriots 38

Chicago (3-3): In what proved to be the game of the afternoon, a weakened Bears team came within 1 yard of overtime against the Patriots at Soldier Field. Mitch Trubisky (26-50, 333 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT) was a true dual-threat QB, rushing for 81 yards and a TD to go along with his big passing day. Against most other teams that would have been enough for the W, but the Bears were playing Tom Brady and the Patriots. LB Danny Trevathan also racked up 10 tackles, while WR Kevin White should change his name to Kevin Dyson.

New England (5-2): Remember when this team was 1-2 and everyone (including myself) was saying that it was over? And that the Patriots had finally reached the end of their rope? When will we learn? Tom Brady (25-36, 277 yds, 3 TD, INT) has led the offense to 38+ points in each of their last 4 games as Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon have slotted right into New England’s system. The defense is still suspect (they’re giving up 28.7 points per game to teams not named the Dolphins), but if you put up 38 points every game, it doesn’t really matter.

Colts 37, Bills 5

Indianapolis (2-5): If this game was later in the season, perhaps Indy would have pumped the brakes and eased up on a belly-up Bills team. However, it’s still October and the Colts meant business. Andrew Luck (17-23, 156 yds, 4 TD) was methodical in picking apart Buffalo’s defense, while the running game racked up over 200 yards, as the Colts broke Buffalo’s will in the second half. A big win like this is hard to judge (Especially since the Bills themselves are a struggling team.), but the Colt’s O-line is finally improving. They have not given up a sack two games in a row for the first time since 2016.

Buffalo (2-5): Nathan Peterman was skipped over in favor of 3rd-string QB Derek Anderson, and things didn’t go much better. Anderson (20-31, 175 yds, 3 INT) was able to string a few passes together and get some yards, but the outcome was the same as previous weeks. 5 Bills turnovers, 4 of which led to a total of 24 Indianapolis points (The 5th would have also resulted in points, but the Colts let the clock run out.), doomed any chance of a good afternoon for Buffalo. They find themselves in the thick of the #1 pick conversation.

Dolphins 21, Lions 32

Miami (4-3): The Dolphins are in an interesting position. They started hot at 3-0, and were holding every opponent under 21 points. Then, they got blown out by the Patriots, and fell apart. Miami has averaged over 31 points allowed in their last 4 games, despite a consistent offense, and has lost their lead in the AFC East. Now, they have the Texans on Thursday Night Football, then the Jets, and Packers before their bye. If the Dolphins want to stay in the playoff hunt, they’ll need to win at least one of those games.

Detroit (3-3): Matt Stafford (18-22, 217 yds, 2 TD) was nearly perfect against the Dolphins defense, and the running game was incredible as it totaled nearly 250 yards. It felt like we were watching a video game, as Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount ran all over Miami all game long. At 3-3, Matt Patricia has turned things around in Detroit, and are in the thick of the division race.

Jets 17, Vikings 37

New York (3-4): Another week, another turbulent game for the Jets. New York has blown out 2 teams, gotten blown out twice, fallen short in 2 tight games, and won in a shootout. Sam Darnold (17-42, 206 yds, TD, 3 INT) was erratic, even when there were holes in the Vikings secondary to throw into. And the Jets defense just wasn’t up to the task. Just like life, the Jets are like a box of chocolates.

Minnesota (4-2-1): Kirk Cousins (25-40, 241 yds, 2 TD) and the Vikings have righted the ship after a 1-2-1 start. The offense is really starting to gel, but the true improvement is on the defensive side of the ball. In 2017, the Vikings had the #1 defense, but in the first 4 games of this season, the Vikings averaged 27.5 points allowed, and looked like a shadow of last year’s juggernaut. Over the last 3 games, however, the Vikings improved to just over 18 points per game, while the offense has only gotten better. The NFC North race is getting very entertaining.

Eagles 17, Panthers 21

Philadelphia (3-4): The Eagles led 17-0 with less than 11 minutes to go. That’s really all that needs to be said. Poor play calling on both sides of the ball let the Panthers come back, and then a fumble by Carson Wentz (30-37, 310 yds, 2 TD) ended what was a promising final drive to reclaim the win. Like I said, there isn’t much to say on this one.

Carolina (4-2): If you weren’t sure about Carolina going into this game, your doubts should be gone now. Cam Newton (25-39, 269 yds, 2 TD) showed incredible resolve in the 4th quarter, going 17-23 for 201 yards, 2 TDs, and a 2-point conversion on the 3 scoring drives. The running game was successful when used, but Carolina stuck to the passing game for most of the day since they were playing from behind. Just a game back in the NFC South, this season looks to be a repeat of last year’s taxes between Carolina and New Orleans to claim divisional supremacy.

Buccaneers 26, Browns 23, F/OT

Tampa Bay (3-3): Have the Bucs finally exorcised the ghost of Nick Folk from Raymond James Stadium? That remains to be seen. What matters today is that the Buccaneers hit a clutch field goal to win a game they tried so hard to lose. Before Catanzaro’s 59-yard game-winner, Jameis Winston (32-52, 365 yds, 2 INT, rushing TD) watched his team’s 14-point 4th quarter lead vanish, and then watch his kicker miss a game-winner from just 40 yards out. But, the football gods had other plans, and Tampa came away with a win despite their best efforts to lose.

Cleveland (2-4-1): Hue Jackson’s seat is starting to heat up, with rumbles that he might not last until the Browns’ week 11 bye, and at first glance, that seems warranted. Cleveland is still last in the division, and is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Aside from a few moments here and there, they still look like the Browns of old on offense. But before you grab your pitchforks and torches, think about this; 3 of Cleveland’s losses are by a total of just 9 points, and the Browns have been in 4 overtime games already this season (Going 1-2-1 in those games). Maybe that argument just bolsters the cause to fire Jackson. Whatever the case, the Browns need to be thoughtful moving forward. Rash decisions are what created the Cleveland Browns we know today.

Jaguars 7, Texans 20

Jacksonville (3-4): Blake Bortles (6-12, 61 yds, 2 fumbles) got benched for Cody Kessler, a man who hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass in nearly 2 years. That is all.

Houston (4-3): Despite an 0-3 start, the Texans are alone atop the AFC South with tiebreakers against the Jags and Colts. Deshaun Watson (12-24, 139 yds, TD) had a tough day against the Jags front 7, but the rest of his team picked up the slack, and brought Houston their 4th straight win. Lamar Miller topped 100 yards for the first time since 2016. The defense forced 3 turnovers at crucial points in the game, and the offense was able to convert those turnovers into points. A solid win to build on for the Texans.

Ravens 23, Saints 24

Baltimore (4-3): Outside of the Patriots-Bears matchup, this was the game of the week. The Ravens went up 17-7 heading into the 4th quarter before letting the lead slip away. On the final drive, Joe Flacco (23-39, 279 yds, 2 TD) led the offense down the field and hit John Brown in the endzone with just 24 seconds remaining. Then, Justin Tucker, the most accurate kickers in NFL history, missed the first extra point of his career, and Baltimore came away with the loss. Everyone else in the division lost (Pittsburgh was on bye), so this isn’t too bad, but it’s still a painful way to end a game.

New Orleans (5-1): Drew Brees (22-30, 212 yds, 2 TD) became the 4th player to throw 500 touchdown passes in the regular season, keeping up with Tom Brady score for score. The Saints as a whole looked dead in the water at the hands of Baltimore’s league leading defense for 3 quarters before the offense came alive and overcame a 10-point 4th quarter deficit. 134 rushing yards helped take the pressure off Brees, holding the Ravens to just 1 sack on route to a huge road win that kept the Saints’ lead over Carolina in the NFC South.

49ers 10, Rams 39

San Francisco (1-6): Let’s be real; Nobody really thought this game was going to be close. Even though the 49ers are better than their record suggests, they’re nowhere close to the quality of the Rams. C.J. Beathard (15-27, 170 yds, TD, 2 INT) isn’t Jared Goff, and no one in the Niners backfield is anywhere close to Todd Gurley, and the stats show. The lone bright side is that, at the time of writing this recap, Richard Sherman is playing out of his mind. When opposing quarterbacks throw to Sherman, their QBR is lower than if they just threw the ball in the dirt every play. That’s a very promising stat moving forward.

Los Angeles (7-0): Jared Goff (18-24, 202 yds, 2 TD) didn’t have to do much more than manage the game against San Francisco, and simply let Todd Gurley go full beast mode. Gurley totalled 86 yards and 3 TDs off just 19 touches, solidifying his claim as the MVP frontrunner. On defense, LA shut down the 49ers, and forced 4 turnovers to remove any doubt very early on. Still undefeated, the Rams play at home next week against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This will be one of their tougher tests of the season.

Redskins 20, Cowboys 17

Washington (4-2): The Redskins got their first home win against the Cowboys since 2012, and are now in sole possession of 1st place in the NFC East by 1 1/2 games. Alex Smith (14-25, 178 yds, TD) and Adrian Peterson (107 total yards) have become one of the more efficient duos in the NFL this season. Peterson is averaging 97 yards per game, and has a touchdown every other game for a Redskins team that’s lacked an offensive presence in recent years. If they hang on, Washington could be a dark horse in the playoffs.

Dallas (3-4): A late comeback attempt fell short as Brett Maher missed a 52-yard field goal to send the game to overtime by hitting the crossbar. Dak Prescott (22-35, 273 yds, TD) had one of the best games of his season in the nation’s capital, but it wasn’t enough. Jerry Jones has finally decided to get his young quarterback a #1 receiver, trading a first-round pick for Raiders wideout Amari Cooper. The price may be steep, but Prescott needs people to throw the ball to if the Cowboys have any hope of going back to the playoffs.

Chiefs 45, Bengals 10

Kansas City (6-1): Any worries that the Chiefs would mimic last season’s mid-season slump we’re erased on Sunday night. Mahomes (28-39, 358 yds, 4 TD, INT) keeps carving up defenses, and Kareem Hunt continues to improve. All Kansas City needs is for the defense to get more consistent, and the Chiefs have a real shot at going back to the Super Bowl.

Cincinnati (4-3): Let’s just forget that this game ever happened, ok?

Falcons 23, Giants 20

Atlanta (3-4): After a rocky start, the Falcons seem to be back on track after 2 straight wins. Matt Ryan (31-39, 379 yds, TD) is still torching opposing defenses as much as other quarterbacks are torching his own secondary, but he’ll need to keep up this blistering pace (333.6 YPG) if Atlanta has any shot at going back to the playoffs.

New York (1-6): Saquon Barkley racked up another 100 yards with a touchdown, but the Giants lose again. This has become the pattern. Eli Manning (27-38, 399 yds, TD) was able to make plenty of throws when the offensive line actually blocked for him, but the defense couldn’t hold, and the G Men still lost. OBJ and Sterling Shepard both topped 140 yards, so there’s at least some promise in the Meadowlands.

Bye Week

Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson got the week off to rest and heal up before gearing up for the second half of the season next week. Pittsburgh (3-2-1) still hasn’t seen or heard from Le’Veon Bell, once again failing to show up after reports said he’d be there for the third time this season. The Steelers still find themselves at the top of their division despite having the week off.

To finish things off, the Raiders traded away ANOTHER star player, this time shipping former 1st round pick WR Amari Cooper off to Jerry’s World in exchange for a 1st round pick. With the trade deadline next week, I don’t think anyone is safe in Oakland.

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Photo Credit: Associated Press, Getty Images, USA Today Sports, the Washington Post, NFL, Fox, Duluth News Tribune, Newsday, Dongwe Ocean

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