Michael Lavery looks back on an eventful Week 7.
Week seven of the season had a little bit of everything. Big wins, blow outs and upsets. Some of the results will have us walking away scratching our heads thinking, “How?!”. Others, not so much as the season rolls on and we come to expect certain results from certain teams. There is never a dull week in the National Football League and with results now beginning to directly impact playoff seedings, it’s only going to get better. With all that said, here are my five main talking points from this weekend, enjoy!
The Chiefs are in a worrying free fall
The Kansas City Chiefs and their star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, are in unfamiliar waters right now. Currently sitting with a record of 3-4 and sitting third in the AFC West, these are troubling times for the Chiefs. Having got a much-needed win under their belt against Washington last week, the Chiefs came crashing back to earth at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. A 27-3 blowout from the Nashville side moved the Chiefs to below .500 and into a perilous position in regard to playoff seedings. Mahomes left this game early following a nasty collision in the fourth. Head Coach Andy Reid said Mahomes cleared all the obligatory concussion protocols and that it was his decision to keep his quarterback sidelined for the remainder of the game. Chad Henne stepped in as the backup.
Despite being third in total offense, the Chiefs are at the opposite end of the rankings when it comes to defense. Sat in 28th, they are allowing over 400 yards and 29 points per game and are behind the Lions (0-7), Texans (1-6) and Jets (1-5). This is certainly not the position any of us saw the Chiefs being in at the start of the season and with the Packers, Raiders and Cowboys making up three of their next four opponents, the situation in Kansas could go from bad, to worse, very quickly.
Bengals pull out huge win over Ravens
“Ja’Marr Chase can’t catch” Remember in the preseason when everyone was saying that?
The rookie from LSU, in just his seventh regular season game in the NFL had an incredible stat line: 8 catches for 201 yards and 1TD. That’s an average of 25 yards per reception in what was a shocking win for the Cincinnati Bengals over their division rival Baltimore Ravens. Joe Burrow threw for more than 400 yards as the Bengals moved into first place in the AFC North in what was an extremely well-rounded performance from the Ohio team. The Ravens are ranked 4th in total offense and were held to just 17 points by Cincinnati’s 10th overall defense. This was a statement win from the Bengals who are averaging 27 points per game and who are really becoming on of the League’s more likeable units.
They travel to MetLife Stadium next to take on a New York Jets team who are in terrible shape, and with Zach Wilson now sidelined for a number of weeks, the Bengals could feast on a Mike White led Jets team. On the other side of the ball this could be an opportunity for the Bengals to run up the numbers in Ja’Marr Chase’s pursuit of the Rookie of The Year award. The Jets are currently conceding 275 passing yards per game and 127.5 on the ground. If the Bengals show up fit and healthy, this could be another cricket score game.
Patriots put Fifty on the Jets
Speaking of the Jets, their return to action following the Bye week was certainly one to forget. They lost to the Mac Jones led New England Patriots, 54-13. In what was truly a dominant performance by the Patriots, they scored fifty points in a game for the first time since 2015 when they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 51-17. It’s also the third time the Patriots have scored fifty points against the New York Jets with the previous two coming in the 1978 and 1979 seasons respectively.
Mac Jones had an impressive day, completing 24 passes on 36 attempts for 307 yards and two touchdown passes. Brian Hoyer saw game time in this match, with the Patriots comfortable in the lead the veteran took over control of the offense in the fourth quarter and led a scoring drive. Special mention has to go to the Patriots JJ Taylor who scored his first and second NFL touchdowns on Sunday. He may have only had 9 carries for 21 yards but finding the endzone twice is what’s most important. The Patriots backfield was productive all game with Damien Harris finding huge gaps up the middle of the Jets defense. He took 14 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns as well.
As mentioned earlier, Zach Wilson got injured in this game. The diagnosis is a sprained PCL which will see Wilson sidelined anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Backup QB Mike White took over and put in a respectable performance given the circumstances: 20/32 for 202 yards, 1TD and 1INT.
The expectation is that White will be under centre next week against the Bengals while Joe Flacco will serve as the backup following a trade between the Eagles and Jets to bring the veteran back to Florham Park.
Giants trounce the Panthers
There was at least, some good news for one of the New York teams this weekend. The Giants chalked up their second win of the season in a big win over the flailing Carolina Panthers. A convincing 25-3 victory for the Giants came as a result of a great team effort. Offensively, the Giants were solid – Daniel Jones had 203 yards and a touchdown… and a one handed 16-yard reception! That’s right, in true Odell Beckham Jr. style, Jones hauled in a pass from Dante Pettis on a designed “Philly Special” type trick play.
Defensively, the Giants held the Panthers to just 173 total yards. Sam Darnold’s afternoon was ended prematurely, he was benched in favour of PJ Walker, the XFL MVP while it was running. Although that didn’t necessarily help the Panthers either. Walker was just 3/14 for 33 yards and 16 yards rushing.
Speaking to the media after the game, Carolina Head Coach Matt Rhule justified his decision for benching Darnold and confirmed that he will remain the starter moving forward: “Just felt like we needed some sort of a spark. Not that anything was necessarily him, I think it was all of them. Hoping P.J. would go out there and make a run or do something to kind of get us going. Sam will be our quarterback next week, he'll be our quarterback moving forward."
That’s four losses in a row now for the Panthers who fall to 3-4 following a 3-0 start in what has been a disheartening U-turn. As for the Giants, well, the play the Chiefs on Monday Night Football next week and might be meeting them at just the right point of the season if they want to come away with a result.
Tom Brady throws TD pass #600 & Mike Evans gave the ball away!
Tom Brady etched his name even further into the history books this weekend when he threw career touchdown number 600, 601 & 602. Brady is now 31 touchdowns clear of second place, which belongs to the retired Drew Brees. Brady’s achievements are almost indescribably good. No amount of hyperbole could quantify just how could his career has been and for that reason I won’t attempt to any further.
However, what gives this story the edge over other Tom Brady record breaking weekends, is the story behind the ball. Brady’s 600th touchdown pass of his career was a trademark redzone strike to Mike Evans, who celebrated by handing the ball to a fan sitting behind the endzone. The broadcast camera’s caught the moment Evans realized what had just happened and then followed one of the great negotiations in modern history.
Valued at more than $500,000 it’s unlikely that anyone would ever want to return or giveaway such a prized possession. But following a conversation with one of the Buccaneers equipment staff, the fan returned the ball and was quite handsomely compensated for doing so.
The fan will receive: 2x signed jerseys, a Tom Brady helmet, a signed Mike Evans jersey + his game worn cleats (Boots), $1,000 credit for the team store and season tickets for the remainder of this season and all next season. Tom Brady also added that he will be giving the fan a Bitcoin. Not a bad haul for being in the right place at the right time, eh?!