All the drama surrounding Giants’ kicker Josh Brown threatened to put a damper on Week 7, but that didn’t happen.The last undefeated team fell, the Browns are still the Browns and the NFL had its first tie in almost two years. It was an awesome week; let’s get to the recaps.
Chicago vs Green Bay: Thursday night football started the week off with a dud as Green Bay beat Chicago 26-10. The game was 6-3 at the half, but it was never that close. The Packers controlled the ball for almost 40 minutes and Chicago almost had as many penalty yards (110) as total yards (189). Bears’ quarterback Brian Hoyer exited the game with a broken arm and Matt Barkley’s 81 yard and two INT performance was awful in relief. Hopefully, Jay Cutler will be ready to go next week against the Vikings. With the win, Green Bay (4-2) was able to gain a game on the NFC North leading Vikings.
New York Giants vs Los Angeles: Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum tossed four INTs (one returned for a touchdown) which ultimately doomed the Rams in London. Fans are clamoring for rookie Jeff Goff to take over, but head coach Jeff Fisher, smartly, defended his embattled quarterback. There isn’t much Keenum can do when receivers are running the wrong routes, dropping balls, and letting balls hit off their heads, etc. The quarterback position isn’t the issue in L.A., it’s the run game which is averaging only 79.9 rushing yards/game.
New Orleans vs Kansas City: Kansas City fell behind 7-0 then scored 21 unanswered points to hold on for the win. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (17/24, two TDs, 85.3 QBR) was efficient yet again and the running game went over 100 yards with Spencer Ware leading the way with 77 of them. Smith is quietly having an excellent season; maybe he will start getting the respect he deserves from Chiefs fans. The Saints, on the other hand, can’t seem to put things together when they aren’t playing in the Super Dome as they drop to 2-4 on the season.
Indianapolis vs Tennessee: Tennessee just can’t seem to solve Andrew Luck as the Colts signal caller moved to 10-0 against the Titans in his career. Luck was almost perfect (353 yard, three TDs, 87.5 QBR) and did a fantastic job of spreading the ball around (eight different Colts caught at least one ball). The Colts and Titans are now in a tie for 2nd place in the AFC South. Note: Colts’ kicker Adam Vinatieri, the ageless wonder, set the NFL record with 43 consecutive field goals made.
Minnesota vs Philadelphia: There has been plenty of talk about Sam Bradford playing above his means; maybe the real Bradford showed up in this one and it resulted in a 21-10 loss. Bradford was late on reads which resulted in an interception and fumble in scoring position. The Vikings special teams also gave way to 98 yard kickoff return for an Eagles touchdown. Maybe the Vikings weren’t ready to play coming off the bye after all? At 5-1 and with Chicago coming to town, there’s no need to panic yet. The Eagles (4-2) moved into sole possession of second place in the NFC East.
Cleveland vs Cincinnati: The Browns seem to be the tonic that can get any team going. The Bengals picked up the 31-17 win and were able to keep pace in the AFC North. Andy Dalton went over the 300 yard mark and Jeremy Hill (168 rushing yards) slashed through the Browns front seven. Cleveland continued their futile pace and lost another quarterback in the process. If Cody Kessler can’t play, rookie Kevin Hogan will become the sixth Browns QB to start a game this year. That’s gotta be a record!
Detroit vs Washington: There was talk going into the season that Matthew Stafford would regress with the loss of future Hall of Fame WR Calvin Johnson. It’s safe to say that Stafford has dispelled that notion as he is playing the best football of his career. Stafford, who now has 23 fourth quarter comeback victories (most in NFL since 2011) is starting to make a case for MVP. The Redskins actually outplayed the Lions for most of this game by winning the totals yards, time of possession and penalty battles. Unfortunately, they also led the turnover margin which ultimately cost them the game.
Oakland vs Jacksonville: Oakland moved to 5-2 with a 33-16 win over Jacksonville. Oakland played significantly better than Jacksonville for about 12 minutes and that was more than enough to secure the victory. This was not a well-played game by either side with a combined 24 penalties for 229 yards. It might be time to wonder if Blake Bortles will be able to take the next step in his development as a starter.
Buffalo vs Miami: In the upset special of the week, the Dolphins beat the Bills 28-25 and snapped Buffalo’s four game winning streak. Dolphin’s running back Jay Ajayi (214 yards) tied an NFL record by rushing for over 200 yards two games in a row. Head coach Adam Gase promised to be more consistent in handing his running back more touches and Ajayi has taken full advantage of that.
Arizona v. Seattle: Arizona and Seattle played in the first tie since 2014. Arizona can blame the kicking game for the outcome all they want but the real story was not putting the ball in the end zone with five attempts in the red zone. Seattle is probably thanking their lucky stars for the tie because the reality is they were outplayed and probably should have taken an L.
Baltimore vs New York Jets: Maybe Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick does play better angry? He came on in relief of Geno Smith (torn ACL) to lead the Jets to victory. Fitzpatrick orchestrated three scoring drives and the defense was solid. The Ravens have now lost four games in a row and can’t seem to get anything going. The only solace for Baltimore is that they play in a division with Cleveland.
New England vs Pittsburgh: New England stayed perfect when Tom Brady is behind center and picked up an impressive road win. LeGarrett Blount (127 rushing yards) had his way with the Steelers D and the Patriots defense did just enough. Steelers quarterback Landry Jones played mediocre in the loss, as they should be able to keep pace with him behind center.
San Diego vs Atlanta: I’m not sure what type of team Atlanta is. After a huge road win at Denver, the Falcons have lost back-to-back games and are now only a 1/2 game ahead of Tampa Bay in the NFC South. In the process, San Diego picked up its first road victory of the year.
Tampa Bay vs San Francisco: Tampa Bay fell down early and then reeled off 27 straight points to secure the 34-17 road victory. Jameis Winston threw three TDs and Jacquizz Rodgers continued to fill the void at running back (150+ yards). The 49ers have now dropped six straight, the longest losing streak since 2008. Chip Kelly’s job should be in jeopardy because this team just looks lost.
Houston v. Denver: With a chance to go back to Denver and show the Broncos faithful what they should be missing, Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler came up lame in a 27-9 loss. Osweiler was terrible (see below) and didn’t give his offense a chance to succeed. He doesn’t seem to have any chemistry with All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Osweiler also became the first quarterback in NFL history to have at least three games in a single season with fewer than 200 yards passing on at least 40 attempts in each game. That’s just awful! The Texans have a chance to be a good team but they won’t reach their full potential until Osweiler starts to at least resemble a competent NFL QB.
- Jay Ajayi (MIA) – 214 rushing yards, 1 TD in a win over Buffalo.
- Davante Adams (GB) – 13 catches, 132 yards and 2 TDs in a win over Chicago.
- AJ Green (CIN) – 8 catches, 169 yards, 1 TD in a win over the Browns.
Honorable Mention: Melvin Gordon (121 totals yards, 6 catches, 3 TDS); Jeremy Hill (192 total yards, 1 TDs); Andrew Luck (353 passing yards, 3 TDs), T.Y. Hilton (87 catches, 133 yards, 1 TD).
- Brock Osweiler (HOU) – 22/41, 131 yards, lost fumble in loss to Denver.
- Jordan Howard (CHI) – 22 rushing yards in a loss to Green Bay.
- Jordy Nelson (GB) – 1 catch (4 targets), 9 yards in a win over Chicago.