Well my Pittsburgh Steelers were on a Bye week last week and it seems that my immune system decided that was the perfect time to take a bye week too! But I’m back and bringing another weekly recap, a week of controversial calls by the refs, shocking upsets, nail biting finished and the attemped murder of Sam Howell!
Teams on Bye
Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans
Thursday Night Football
Jacksonville Jaguars 31 – New Orleans Saints 24
Even with a dodgy knee, Trevor Lawrence led the Jaguars to a big win on TNF, his dodgy knee did not stop him being the Jaguars lead rusher on the night with 59 yards on 8 attempts. The Jaguars continue to impress and are looking like a strong contender in the very tight AFC play off race. Their defence stepped up with a crucial pick-six in the 3rd quarter which is expected from the defence with a league high 15 takeaways prior to this game.
The Saints offense still isn’t performing as well as many expect it to, while they kept this game close with the Jaguars they couldn’t keep pace and close the game out. Michael Thomes hauled in his first touchdown since Week 2 of last season on the night but Derek Carr and the Saints offense still has plenty of work to do even following back to back 400-yard outings!
Sunday Early Window
Baltimore Ravens 38 – Detroit Lions 6
Are the Lion’s really the real deal? After their lacklustre performance against the Ravens, many are questioning are we seeing a team that has already peaked and will now falter to an average season? Jared Goff had no answer for the Ravens pass rush, he couldn’t escape it and was kept on his back foot the entire game, forcing passes into questionable coverage. If it wasn’t for the rookie Jahmyr Gibbs the Lion’s would have been shut out!
Lamar “MVP” Jackson put on a clinic against a Lion’s team that many expected to challenge if not beat the Ravens at home, but this was not happening on Jacksons watch! He guided the Ravens to four straight TD drives and seemed like he was playing against a college level defence at times and he done the majority of this from the pocket, sure he scrambled when needed but he displayed amazing pocket passing in this match up.
Chicago Bears 30 – Las Vegas Raiders 12
Tyson Bagent, a Division II undrafted rookie quarterback stepped up in place of Justin Fields and provided the Bears their first home win since Week 3 of this season. While the playbook was limited for Bagent he made hay with what he was given throwing for 162 yards and a TD with a passer rating of 97.2, nothing to complain about! The Bears rushing attack was fierce on the day, Foreman, 89 yards & two TDs to go with 31 receiving yards and another TD made the Raiders defence look pedestrian.
The backup quarterback battle seen Brian Hoyer under centre for the Raiders and he regularly forced the ball to Adams and couldn’t finish in the red zone, he was benched after a pick-six for Aidan O’Connell who also threw an interception but at least allowed the Raiders to score. Josh McDaniels will have to deal with the fall out of not starting O’Connell.
Cleveland Browns 39 – Indianapolis Colts 38
What can we say about this game other than the refs gave Cleveland the win, two controversial pass interference penalties called against the Colts gave the Browns the ball at the goal line allowing them to pick up the win. Minshew-Mania continues to run wild in Indianapolis as he threw two TDs and rushed for two TDs. However the Colts defence needed stops to prevent the Browns hanging around but they couldn’t generate them.
The Brown’s normally stingy defence didn’t show up in this contest, even with Myles Garrett trying to win the game himself, they still allowed 38 points to be put up against them. With Deshawn Watson’s status as a starter going forward unknown due to shoulder issues, PJ Walker needs to play better otherwise the Brown’s will quickly find themselves sinking in this AFC playoff race!
New England Patriots 29 – Buffalo Bills 25
Belichick wanted his 300th victory and he got it against a division rival in a game everyone thought would be over before half time, however Mac Jones actually looked like a starting quarterback this week. While the win wasn’t pretty it marks a game where Jones wasn’t benched for once and the Patriots grabbed a much needed win.At 2-5 it’s hard to see the Patriots season turning around but never count out Belichick!
The Bills started slow once again, the Madden curse has tracked down Josh Allen and is making him pay for being on the cover. Playing catch up once again the Bills couldn’t get enough going on either side of the ball to topple the Patriots. In this league of faster scoring offenses, you cannot afford to start slow, the Bills have struggled and many question the possibility of them making it further than a wild card at this stage!
New York Giants 14 – Washington Commanders 7
Is Sam Howell okay? Is he still alive? After being sacked six times by the Giants defence and throwing 20 incompletions on the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if Howell wasn’t dead inside. His offensive line cannot keep him safe, they have allowed 40 sacks through seven games, no other quarterback has been sacked 30 times this season. At this rate Sam Howell will break the wrong record, he’s on pace to be sacked 97 times in the season (David Carr holds that record currently at 76). If the Commanders want to win, they need to give their quarterback time!
The Giants defence has stepped up since they got destroyed by the Dolphins, they allowed fewer than 300 yards to go along with their six sacks. Tyrod Taylor filling in for Daniel Jones done just enough to lead the Giants to the win even getting Darren Waller his first TD and showing how much of treat he is in the passing game, something Jones has yet to do!
Atlanta Falcons 16 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
Mayfield is having a good season however on Sunday his old habits returned, forcing a throw into coverage like he used to which was intercepted and killed any hopes of a tie or a win for the Buccaneers. Baker has built a connection with Mike Evans and even is managing well without a successful running game but seeing these old mistakes creeping back in is not something Buccaneers fans want or need to see happening again. They are in a tight race for the NFC South and losing to your division rival in a tight game is always heartbreaking!
Desmond Ridder needs to watch the fumble caused by Antonie Winfield Jr on repeat until it’s drilled into his head, you don’t celebrate or slow down until the ball has crossed the goal line! This fumble ensured this game was closer than it needed to be and in an NFC South that’s wide open, you cannot afford to make simple mistakes like this!
Sunday Late Window
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 – Los Angeles Rams 17
Welcome back Diontae Johnson! The return of DJ to the Steelers line up, took pressure off George Pickens allowing the 4th quarter Pittsburgh Steelers to capitalise on a Rams team who’s kicker missed multiple field goals on the day. Kenny “4th Quarter” Pickett played a solid game overall but the offense only came alive in the 4th, which seems to be the norm with the Steelers. Of course the spark to start all this came from no one other than TJ Watt as he intercepted Stafford and set up Picketts rushing TD. Both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren scored rushing TD’s on the night, the first rushing TD’s of the season and even Matt Canada celebrated, maybe the fact the pressure is off slightly on him for the moment!
The Rams had questionable time management, they missed multiple field goals and even with all these issues and a selection of running backs that had to step in at the last minute the Rams kept the game closer than expected. Aaron Donald was kept quiet all night and so was Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua however went off against the Steelers secondary for a total of 154 yards but once the Steelers put Joey Porter Jr on him, his night of terror came to an end. The Rams need a new kicker and to remember time outs exist and to use them sparingly!
Seattle Seahawks 20 – Arizona Cardinals 10
With no DK Metcalf, rookies Jaxon Smith-Njiba and Jake Bobo stepped up to fill the void and helped Geno Smith lead the Seahawks to the win! The Bobo toe tapping TD is a thing of beauty and even with a fumble, an interception and various three and outs the Seahawks were able to kneel the game out.
The Cardinals could not capitalise on three turnovers, only generating three points from them. Dobbs didn’t have an impressive day nor a bad day, he was just there and was sacked four times. When you cannot capitalise on turnovers for points there is a question on your ability, with Kyler Murrary slowly approaching his return, is this the final run for Dobbs as the Cardinals starter?
Denver Broncos 19 – Green Bay Packers 17
LET’S RIDE! The Broncos actually won another game off the connection between Wilson and Sutton and their running backs. Whatever Sean Payton changed this week, the Broncos grounded and pounded the ball against the Packers who had no answer for their rushing attack which opened up the Wilson/Sutton connection. While not a high scoring game, they did enough to get the win!
The Packers started slow, slow starts in this NFL is almost a death rattle for a team and Jordan Love and the Packers were on life support as they faced a shut out at the end of the half. A brief rally in the 4th quarter gave them the lead but they could not hold onto it and with this loss the Packers push for any postseason action isn’t looking possible.
Kansas City Chiefs 31 – Los Angeles Chargers 17
We expected a close shootout but Mahomes and Kelce decided that they wanted to lock this win up as quickly as possible against their division rivals. Gaining 321 passing yards and three TDs in the first half, half of those passes were to Kelce who scored in the first half and gained 143 yards but the Mahomes/Kelce connection died down in the second half as the Chargers doubled him but the damage was done and the win was assured.
Coming out in the second half, many hoped Herbert would rally the troops and bring the game to an electrifying finish, however an opening drive interception killed any hopes for this. Herbert’s finger injury may be causing issues in his passing game especially after seemingly injuring it after being sacked in the second half. The Chargers problems extent further than Herbert’s injury and they need to right them to stay in contention!
Sunday Night Football
Philadelphia Eagles 31 – Miami Dolphins 17
Hurts and Tua faced off for the first time since Tua replaced Hurts at Alabama, as we were told every waking second during this game! Hurts played the game hurt, sporting a knee brace in the second half and even following a fumble and an interception, Hurts kept on pushing until he brought home the win with help from AJ Brown who gained 137 yards and a score. The Eagles cooled down the red hot Dolphins on Prime Time!
Without the power of their rushing attack the Dolphins are exposed. Tua played well, not fantastically but without an explosive rushing attack the Dolphins couldn’t hang with the Eagles. It seems the key to defeating the Dolphins is to force them into being one dimensional, this is something they need to avoid otherwise they can find their hot streak turning cold and remaining cold the reason of the season!
Monday Night Football
Minnesota Vikings 22 – San Francisco 49ers 15
The 49ers are stumbling, against the Brown’s they drove down the field with Purdy leading the way but his kicker failed him and the 49ers were handed their first loss and again this week Purdy was tasked to drive the field and score but he threw an ugly interception sealing their second loss of the year after starting hot. Purdy is currently struggling and is missing Deebo who is injured and Purdy might miss this week’s game due to concussion, the 49ers could continue to slide!
The Vikings came to play! In the absence of Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison stepped up and caught seven passes for 123 yards and two TDs and Kirk Cousin showed that he can win the big games on Prime Time. Even when Addison and Hockensen were briefly out of the game getting checked for injuries, Kirk kept moving the ball and ensured the 49ers couldn’t rally back.
Week 7 is in the books, as winter rapidly approaches so does the wet, the snow and the mud. It’s gonna be hard hitting football for the next while and we’ll start to have a clearer picture of the playoffs before long!