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Published on 25 Oct 2022 6:01 pm (UK Time)
Week 7 in the NFL. The point of the season when bye weeks prevent in-form teams from playing. This happened this week, as Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Minnesota all had a week off. But in their absence, we were treated to some classics. Let’s look back at what we saw.
The Giants, The Jags, and The Yard
The New York Giants came into this game with a 5-1 record and having defeated both number-one seeds from last year’s playoffs and the Baltimore Ravens last week, you would think that they would be favorites to beat the Jaguars. They were not.
The Giants came right out of the gun. On their opening drive, a 32-yard dime from Quarterback Daniel Jones found Darius Slayton, who found the endzone to put the Giants in the lead. That is the first time since November last year that the Giants had scored on a opening possession. The Jaguars then responded with a good drive of their own, caused by the Jaguars’ offensive finding massive holes in the Giants’ defense. This culminated in a Travis Etienne 7-yard touchdown. Then, during the PAT, a flag was thrown against the Giants. This led to the Jags moving to the 1-yard line, and a 2-point attempt, which was successful.
The Jags would widen their lead to 4 points after a 70-yard drive stalled in the Giant’s red zone, leading to a 27-yard field goal. The Giants would reply with a 33-yard field goal of their own, reducing the Jags’ lead to a single point. On their next possession, the Jags would again take advantage of the Giants’ defensive mistakes and move the ball into the Giant’s RedZone. Then, Travis Etienne would fumble the ball on the Giants ‘ 5-yard line. The ball would be recovered by the Giants’ defense for a touchback. Another 33-yard Giants field goal would be scored before the half, giving them a 13-11 lead.
The Jags would regain the lead at the beginning of the second half. A 1 yard Trevor Lawrence run into the endzone would put them 7 points ahead. However, on the extra kick, the Jags were penalized, moving them back 5 yards. In their new position, the field goal attempt was blocked by the Giants, putting them one touchdown behind. It looked like the Giants would close the gap in their next drive, as they made it to the Jaguars’ 3-yard line on 3rd down. 3rd down was incomplete, so normally, you would take the 3 points from the field goal, as you have more than enough time to score again. The Giants did not decide to do this. They decided to go for it on 4th down. A successful attempt would tie the game. It was not successful, as Daniel Jones’ throw was short. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Jags attempted their own 4th down attempt, from the Giants’ 20-yard line. Another unsuccessful attempt, which handed possession to the Giants during the fourth quarter, where they have always begun their comeback. Today would be no different.
A 14-play 69-yard drive was marred however by 3 successive penalties for the Jaguars, moving the Giants to their 1-yard line. Quarterback Daniel Jones then moved the ball into the endzone, and Giants kicker Graham Gano scored the PAT, to put the Giants level with the Jaguars. The subsequent Jags drive did not go anywhere, so possession returned to the Giants. Time was on their side, and as the Jags had used all of their timeouts, all they had to do was to find the endzone. 3rd and 10 at the Jags’ 20-yard line, with 1:11 left on the clock. Saquon Barkley ran to the 16-yard line and was ruled inbound, meaning the clock would keep moving, giving Gano enough time to score the game-winning field goal for the Giants. But, after a review, Barkley was ruled out of bounds, meaning the clock would not move. Gano would hit a 34-yard field goal to give the Giants a 6-point lead, but Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars still had enough time to score.
What followed was probably the longest 67 seconds ever. The Jags began to drive up the field, conceding the occasional penalty moving them back. Then, with 19 seconds to go, Lawrence throws a 28-yard pass from their own 40-yard line. Penalty on the Giants. The ball would be moved to the Giants’ 17-yard line. 2 incomplete attempts from Lawrence would follow. Then, with 7 seconds left, Christian Kirk would catch the ball, and was tackled at the Giants’ 1-yard line. 0:00 left on the clock. The Giants won by a yard, in a match that lasted around three and a half hours.
The win means that the New York Giants go to 6-1 for the first time since 2008, and next week go to Seattle to face the Seahawks. The Jags fall to 2-5 and will make their annual trip to London next week to face the Denver Broncos.
A High Scoring Thursday Night in New Orleans
In the last couple of weeks, the game of Thursday night has been, to put it nicely, dreadful. After two weeks of games with little scoring, could the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals entertain us with points?
Turns out they could. On the opening drive of the game, Saints Quarterback Andy Dalton threw a 53-yard touchdown to wide receiver Shaheed. The Cardinals scored on their first drive as well, through a 50-yard Rodrigo Blankenship field goal. On their next possession, the Saints drove the ball down to the Cardinals’ 10-yard line. However, this 16-play drive did not end well for New Orleans. Andy Dalton’s pass was intercepted at the back of the endzone. Arizona then utilized their rushing game, highlighted by a 45-yard Enoch Benjamin run for the Cardinals. Their success on the ground did not translate to success in the air, however. A Kyler Murray pass into the end zone was juggled by wide receiver Moore. Another Blankenship field goal, this time from 28 yards, would end their drive.
The Saints then scored another touchdown, a 3-yard pass to Taysom Hill capped off a drive that included a 64-yard pass for the Saints. Success in the endzone finally found the Cardinals. A 2 yard rush from Ingram gave them their first touchdown of the game, and the game’s third, which is the most that has been seen on a Thursday night for a while. A defensive holding penalty occurred on the PAT attempt, putting the Cardinals into a 2-point attempt to level the scores. This attempt was successful, although it did look like Benjamin lost possession.
Things then got worse for the Saints. A Dalton was tipped and intercepted by the Cardinals’ defense, who ran it in for a pick 6, giving them the lead. On his next drive, Dalton would again be intercepted by the Cardinals, who would again run it into the endzone for a pick 6. To add further insult to injury, they would score a 2-point attempt on this second pick 6.
Dalton would improve in his first drive in the second half. A 9-play 54-yard drive brought the ball to the Cardinals’ 7-yard line. However, he could not convert it into 7 points, and the Saints had to settle for a 25-yard Will Lutz field goal. After a couple of drives where neither team could move the ball, it was Arizona who put something together. After a drive that started on their own 15-yard line, Ingram scored a 12-yard touchdown. Except he did not. The replay showed that the play ended at the 1-yard line, overturning the touchdown. Murray would find Dortch for a 5-yard touchdown pass 2 plays later, however, to give the Cardinals a 35-17 lead.
The Saints would strike back in the fourth quarter. A 17-yard touchdown pass closed the deficit. It did not last long, as, during the next drive, the Cardinals also scored a touchdown, through a 5-yard rush from Benjamin. On their next drive, the Saints scored another touchdown (Dalton’s 4th of the game), and later in the quarter would score a 45-yard field goal, but it was not enough. The Cardinals had beaten the New Orleans Saints by 42-34, and go 3-4 on the season. The Saints fall to 2-5, and welcome the Las Vegas Raiders to the big easy next week, while the Cardinals travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings.
The Chiefs beat McCaffrey
The last time these two teams met was at Super Bowl LIV, which the Chiefs won. A lot has changed since then. Just in the last week, running back Christian McCaffrey was traded from Carolina to the 49ers. Could he make a difference?
As the 49ers had the opening possession, we could see very early on where McCaffrey would fit in this offense. On their opening drive, he rushed twice, (a 10-yard run followed by a 9-yard run) in a drive that would stall at the Chiefs’ 12-yard line. Kicker Robbie Gould then hit a 30-yard field goal. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was then intercepted, and with the subsequent possession, Jimmy Garoppolo threw an 8-yard pass to McCloud, who dove to catch the ball in the endzone and to give San Francisco a 10-point lead.
The Chiefs would then respond. Shaking off his interception in the previous drive, Mahomes would pass to Mecole Hardman, who would find the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown. In a replica of his last possession, Garoppolo would again drive the ball into Chiefs territory. McCaffrey would again be useful for the 49ers, recording 13 receiving yards and a 12-yard run on this drive. But, it would again stall, and after Grappollo was sacked, Gould hit a 50-yard field goal. Another Chiefs touchdown would follow as Hardman rushed for 25 yards, scoring his second touchdown of the game and giving Kansas City the lead.
Then, mistakes would occur. Kansas City would muff the punt return, handing possession to the 49ers deep into their own territory. But Jimmy G could not deliver, as his pass was intercepted on the goal line by Kansas City. Mahomes then quickly moved the ball up the field and threw to Juju Smith-Schuster for the touchdown. Except there was a penalty against the Chiefs on this play, removing the touchdown. The Chiefs then decided on 3rd down to take the field goal, but the usually reliable Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker missed. 14-13 Chiefs at the half.
The second half began strong for both teams. A 50-yard kickoff return aided by penalties gave the Chiefs a very good field position to begin the second half. They converted this into a touchdown, with Edwards-Helaire rushing for 16 yards. All the 49ers could reply with was a 49-yard field goal. It felt like the Chiefs were unstoppable now, as, on their next drive, Mahomes found Justin Watson for a 4-yard touchdown to widen their lead. Garoppollo quickly struck back with a touchdown of his own, as he found Tight End George Kittle for a 15-yard touchdown.
The scoring continued on the next drive, as Hardman scored his third touchdown of the game for the Chiefs, giving them an 8-point lead. The 49ers’ offense then, just stopped moving. Garoppolo was sacked twice, with the second one recording a safety, widening the Chiefs’ lead to 10 points. The lead became widen soon after, as Mahomes found Smith-Schuster for a 45-yard touchdown. The 49er’s offensive had well and truly collapsed by this point, and on their next two possession, fumbled the ball, and backup quarterback Brock Purdy was intercepted, to give the Chiefs a 44-23 win.
With this win, Kansas City goes to 5-2 on the season. San Francisco fall to 3-4, and face divisional rival the Los Angeles Rams next week, while the Chiefs are on a bye.
The Green Bay Offense: More Holes than a Cheesehead
Something must have happened during halftime of their London match because the Green Bay Packers have been struggling ever since. With consecutive losses to both sides of New York, could Aaron Rodgers and company get back into the win collum against the Washington Commanders?
After both teams failed to get anything going in their opening drives, it would be the Packers to score first. A 4-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Aaron Jones put the Packers into the lead. While the Commanders’ offense, now lead to Taylor Heinicke after Carson Wentz had an injured thumb, struggled, the Commanders’ defense performed well. A Washington punt was muffed by the Packers and recovered by the Commanders, giving them a good field position. All they could do with this was to score a 22-yard field goal.
The offensive problems would continue for the Commanders. A Heinicke pass was intercepted by the Green Bay defense, who ran it in for a pick 6, strengthening their lead. The Commanders will soon have some luck offensively. A 14-play drive that mostly used their running game ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Gibson, who was at the very back of the endzone. We then had a period of the game where both teams struggled to catch the ball. Many people say that Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. If you saw his plays in this game (and in his games against the New York teams), you would not think he has won a Superbowl and 4 MVPs. Washington did try to get points during this period, but Joey Slye’s 47-yard field goal hit the uprights. 14-10 to the Packers at the half.
The Commanders started the second half on fire offensively. This was capped off by a 37-yard touchdown pass from Heinicke to Terry McLaurin., to put the Commanders in the lead. Green Bays’ struggles on both sides of the ball would continue, as they struggled to move the ball, and allowed Taylor Heinicke (who is a backup quarterback) to completely dominate them. While this did not turn into touchdowns, the Commanders hit two field goals, to put them 9 points in the lead. Could the Packers lose in the fourth quarter again?
Luck finally arrived for the Packers, as the two Aarons (Rodgers and Jones) combined for a yard touchdown to bring the score within two points. With time running out, all the Commanders had to do was make a few first downs and victory would be theirs. While they made a few, they could not run down the clock. So, while a potential game-winning drive was happening in Jacksonville, another one was happening at the same time in Landover.
Rodgers managed to get the ball to their own 46-yard line, with 6 seconds left on the clock. Could we see some Aaron Rodgers magic? No. What we saw was a messy play, full of lateral passes, fumbles, and flags that did not get anywhere. The Commanders had won, beating the Green Bay Packers 23-21, and go to 3-4 on the season. For the Packers, this is their third loss in a row to opponents they were expected to beat. They fall to 3-4 on the season, and next week face a much more difficult test as they travel to Buffalo for the Sunday Night game, while the Commanders go to Indianapolis to face the Colts.
New England can’t win with two quarterbacks
Monday Night’s game was between the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots. The Patriots are currently going through a quarterback battle between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. Who would come out on top against the Bears?
It did not start well for Mac Jones and the Patriots. Their opening drive did not get anywhere, and they quicked punted possession away. In response, Bears Quarterback Justin Fields put a successful drive together. Then he fumbled the ball on the Patriots 29-yard line, and the Bears had to take a 42-yard field goal to put them into the lead. The next Patriot drive for Mac Jones? Another punt. Fields and the Bears would again take advantage of the poor-performing Patriot offense by scoring a touching, giving them a 10-point lead. On the next drive, the offensive problems continued for New England. Mac Jones was intercepted and it was time to bring in the other guy.
Zappe started better than his teammate. On his opening drive, he threw a 30-yard touchdown, to close the gap on the Bears and to give Bill Bellichek something to smile (read: not frown) about. It kept on getting better for the Patriots, as the Bears were incepted, and with good field position, running back Stevenson scored a 4-yard touchdown to give them the lead. The good times have to end at some point though, as Justin Fields found Herbert for a 25-yard touchdown, and Zappe then fumbled the ball on a snap, losing position in turn. The Bears would score a 23-yard field goal from this, and take the lead 20-14 going into the half.
The second half began just as the first half ended. Two Bears field goals (38-yards and 50 yards) were split by a Patriots offense that again could not get anything going. The Bears would continue scoring, as Montgomery found the endzone for a 1-yard touchdown at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Zappe was intercepted on two more occasions during the 4th quarter, confirming a humiliating defeat for the Patriots. The Bears had won 33-14, but no Patriots quarterback won their battle. With this win, the Bears go to 3-4 and face the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington next week, while the now 3-4 Patriots face the in-form New York Jets.
What happened in the other games?
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals were on fire again, this time against the Atlanta Falcons. Burrow threw for 481 yards and scored 3 touchdowns in the Bengals’ 35-17 win.
Coming off their defeat to the New York Giants last week, Baltimore played rival Cleveland in a game that went down in the last play. With three points in it, Browns Quarterback Jacoby Brissett knew what he had to do. In the end, he fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Ravens, giving them the 23-20 victory.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott returned to action for the Dallas Cowboys in their game against the low-achieving Detroit Lions. While Dak had some success, throwing for 207 yards and scoring one touchdown, victory was handed to them by Detriot who played terribly. Quarterback Jared Goff threw 2 interceptions and the team fumbled the ball on 3 separate occasions. No surprise that the Cowboys won this game 24-6.
It’s not going well for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is it? After last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they faced eternal strugglers in the Carolina Panthers. The first half of this game was a punt fest, with the only highlight being a 20-yard touchdown scored by the Panthers. The second half would bring much of the same, with Brady’s offense never getting started. Carolina would score two more touchdowns to seal their dominating 21-3 win over Tampa Bay, who now have a 3-4 record on the season.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan had a day to forget against the Tennessee Titans. He threw two interceptions in a game where both offenses struggled to deliver. The Titans would win 19-10 in the end, and Matt Ryan would be benched for former Texas Longhorns Quarterback Sam Ehlinger for the foreseeable future. Let’s hope he can do better.
After last week’s shocking win against the Green Bay Packers, The New York Jets did it again against the Denver Broncos, who were not playing in primetime for only the second time this season. In a game of mostly field goals, the Jets outkicked the Broncos 16-9 to go 5-2 on the season.
It’s always fun when the worst teams come face to face. In a surprisingly high-scoring battle of the 1-win teams, Texans Quarterback Davis Mills threw for 302 yards and scored two touchdowns, but it was not enough, as the Raiders rallied in the fourth quarter to win 38-20. Don’t worry Houston, you’ve still got the Astros, and their attempt to win a World Series without cheating (that we know of)
Justin Herbert continued his streak of fairly good performances while losing in this game. He threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not enough as the Seahawks dominated them with their rushing game, to win 37-23.
The Steelers and the Dolphins faced each other on Sunday Night. Through a lot of the game, and if you look at the stats, they were very much alike. Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett threw for 3 interceptions, however, and neither team scored any points in the second half of the game probably lead to a lot of people watching deciding to have an early night or turn over to something more interesting. Anyway, the Dolphins beat the Steelers 16-10.
And that was week 7 in the NFL. Week 8 is highlighted by the Packers-Bills game and the NFL returns to Wembley for the Jaguars-Broncos matchup.