I’m replacing Gary Gramling on the week 7 issue of Sunday FreakOut. We will continue to react and exaggerate to everything that happened on Sunday. late games, but with 50 percent less wit, with Gary out. For the full podcast-style Sunday recap, be sure to subscribe to The MMQB podcast, in your feed every Monday morning …
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The Bengals show us that they are for real. It was hard to know what to make of the Bengals earlier in the season. They had a 3-1 start, including an overtime win against the Vikings, a loss to the Bears and a hard-fought victory against Jacksonville. But since then, they have gone toe-to-toe with the Packers and comfortably beat the Ravens in Baltimore this week, 41-17, to earn their spot at the top of the AFC North. It was the team’s biggest win against Baltimore, and at the risk of over-emphasizing a Week 7 game, it was also Cincinnati’s biggest win in a long time, especially in terms of where this young team is headed with players like Joe Burrow. and Ja’Marr Chase.
Cardinals-Packers on the Week 8 schedule. The Cardinals remain undefeated after a Week 7 game against the Texans that we didn’t expect to be competitive. Arizona has already beaten the Rams; now, in four days, they will face another of the NFC’s top contenders.
NFL offenses are trick or treating. To kick off Week 7, Mac Jones threw a swing pass to WR Kendrick Bourne, who threw a pass (a bit wobbly!) To Nelson Agholor for a 25-yard TD. Soon after, the Titans’ Derrick Henry took a direct cross and threw a short TD pass to TE MyCole Pruitt. Later, in the first window, Daniel Jones caught with one hand on a pitch from catcher Dante Pettis, the third Giant to touch the ball. What fun!
The beautiful partnership between Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. In a random game from Week 7, he gives us moments like Rodgers’ fourth and third pass as he rolled to the right and dived over his body, as he fell, for a 17-yard TD to Adams. Or Adams’ starter catch where he was all tangled up with CB Kendall Fuller but somehow came out with the catch. These two are still so good. How lucky we are to be able to see you work together.
Derrick Henry has an average rushing day by his standards, with 86 yards and no rushing touchdowns (but a TD pass!), And the Titans still dominate the Chiefs. The Titans defense stepped up in a 27-3 win, with three takes to go and four sacks, and Denico Autry, Bud Dupree and Harold Landry affirmed their presence in the top seven.
The Green Bay defense makes a stop in the red zone. Four, in fact. This is newsworthy due to the remarkable statistic that, for the first six games of the season, Green Bay zero red zone stops. But in a 24-10 win against Washington, the Packers made stops at all four of the soccer team’s red-zone possessions.
The Bengals and Falcons had good reason not to go to the offensive line at the top of the draft. Because Ja’Marr Chase and Kyle Pitts just couldn’t be overlooked. Chase had 201 receiving yards against the Ravens, including an 82-yard TD. Pitts racked up 163 receiving yards in Atlanta’s win at Miami, including a 28-yard catch as he equaled Xavien Howard, Miami’s best cornerback, putting his team in position for the game-winning field goal.
New England’s offensive plan is beginning to take shape. These were just the Jets, and there’s still a long way to go. But the 54-13 win over New York showed more than the team had in mind as it came together with rookie quarterback Mac Jones and the team’s offseason spending spree. Here’s an example: Hunter Henry scored a TD in his fourth straight game, the first TE Pats to do so since Rob Gronkowski.
Kyle Dugger’s INT is somewhat reminiscent of Julian Edelman’s gravity-defying catch in Super Bowl LI. Much less is at stake, of course, at the end of a blowout against the lowly Jets. But a remarkable effort nonetheless to prevent the ball from skimming the grass.
Rich Bisaccia’s second win. Without Darren Waller, inactive with an ankle injury, and Josh Jacobs, who left early with a chest injury. And without Jon Gruden, who resigned two weeks ago after emails using hate speech towards various groups of people were posted.
Dan Campbell, the head coach of a winless team that rivals the Texans for the worst roster in the NFL, does his best against the Rams. We’ve talked about how we like Campbell’s style, despite the results, and how this game started against the Rams was yet another reason. After opening the game with a 63-yard TD on a D’Andre Swift catch-and-run, Campbell used a side kick and false punt to immediately score again and open a 10-0 lead. The best chance of beating Matthew Stafford and the Rams’ offense would be to minimize their chances. The Lions kept things interesting until Jared Goff threw a goal-line INT that broke Jalen Ramsey’s back while under pressure from Aaron Donald. You have to respect how Campbell opened the bag of tricks to give his team the best chance against a team they weren’t paired with.
Things you are not likely to see again
A 44-year-old quarterback throws his 600th TD pass in the regular season. In some ways, it was emblematic of Tom Brady’s Patriots and Bucs tenure: a quick hit on a third down (a very Patriots play) to the incredibly talented and burly Mike Evans (why he went to Tampa). The next active player is Aaron Rodgers, with 427, a total of 173 TD passes behind Brady, who of course continues to add to his total.
Things you don’t like to see
The Chiefs’ tough day goes beyond the scoreboard. Patrick Mahomes had to be helped to steer clear after Jeffery Simmons knelt on his head, though he later told reporters that he had approved the concussion protocol. According to Andy Reid, the two cornerstones of the defense also suffered injuries: Chris Jones hurt his groin and Tyrann Mathieu hurt his ribs.
A knee injury could stop Zach Wilson’s learning curve. Wilson will undergo further tests tomorrow, but told reporters that the initial indication is that he has a PCL injury. The Patriots had already built a 17-0 lead before Wilson left the game, following hits from Lawrence Guy and Matthew Judon, the latter in what has been a bumpy rookie season for Wilson. But his development has been the Jets’ main goal this season, and this injury would slow his progression.
It turns out that Matt Rhule didn’t actually “buy” himself from Sam Darnold. Those were the words of the Panthers head coach earlier this week, but the QB was benched early in the fourth quarter of Carolina’s 25-3 loss to the Giants. Rhule said the move was due to the team needing a spark and that Darnold will start next week. But early-season optimism about the Panthers and Darnold has faded, in large part due to the return of a family problem: Darnold’s decision-making and ball safety. Darnold gave the Giants a safety with an intentional ground penalty in the end zone, and threw his seventh interception in the last four games.
Three field goals blocked in the first hour of action on Sunday of Week 7. The Falcons deflected a 49-yard shot from Miami, and Green Bay and Washington each blocked one shot from the other in the second quarter of their game.
Justin Fields has the expression on his face that you hope you don’t see in a rookie quarterback. After his fifth loss of the game, this was an interception, CBS cameras showed Fields slumped on the bench, his face betraying defeat and frustration. While the Jets once instituted a good body language system for a young Mark Sanchez, Fields’ emotions were understandable. Yes, Matt Nagy had wanted to wait to play Fields, certainly in part because the conditions around him weren’t ideal, and a big loss to Tom Brady and defending champion Bucs is probably the least flattering sample size. But there are serious questions from both the coaching staff and the front office as to why they haven’t created a more favorable environment for their first-round QB to enter. The one thing he doesn’t want to happen is for Fields’ experience this season to hurt him physically or mentally.
Mike Evans gives Brady’s 600th touchdown to a fan in the stands. He clearly didn’t realize this until after the fact, based on his reaction on the television broadcast. Of course, a Bucs staff member was going to negotiate to get it back, according to CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, for the very low price of another ball and a signed jersey.
Things we are left wondering
Where do the Chiefs go from here? Now at 3-4, it’s not just the AFC West title that appears to be in jeopardy, it’s also the team’s viability in the playoffs. After two seasons in which everything seemed so easy for Patrick Mahomes and Co., they hit a wall in Super Bowl LV and still haven’t been able to break through. There are still a lot of games to go, and I agree with Gary that at some point his onslaught of turnovers has to recede toward the average. But the question is, what arrangements can the Chiefs make during the season and can they make them fast enough to save their season?
How did the Titans lose to the Jets in Week 4? The Oct. 3 failure is a distant memory after Tennessee defeated the two teams that competed in last year’s AFC Championship Game in consecutive weeks. Ryan Tannehill’s celebration of Air Jordan on his ground TD, which gave his team a 24-0 lead in the first half, showed the confidence with which the team is playing now.
Has Bill Belichick changed his role selection? The Patriots coach has always taken notes on the bench, with the pencil tucked behind his ear. But he always remembered it using a small sheet of pocket paper. At Sunday’s game, however, he appeared to be using a thick 8.5 x 11 full-sheet package. What is behind this change?
Who is the best team in the NFL? Before I say, duh, it’s the Cardinals, I refer you to Gary’s excellent note on Football Things this morning: This time last year, there were three teams left undefeated. The Titans, Steelers and Seahawks would win exactly zero postseason games. We could have a very healthy debate on which team is the strongest contender, but I’m sure the team is in the NFC, which has four teams with six wins or more (plus the five-win Cowboys, who were free this week) . ).
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.