Week 7 in the NFL is just about over with, so with most of the action already in the rear-view mirror, we take a few minutes to digest what we just saw.
Teams notching their first win of the season, defending Super Bowl champs embarking on a losing streak, and the teams falling further out of the division races headline the Week 7 observations. Here’s a look at the seven takeaways from Week 7 in the NFL.
Broncos remain the class of the AFC
The difference between the Chargers of old and this year’s Bolts was that this year the team was winning the games it was supposed to. Finally, reality caught up.
San Diego fell 23-20 to Kansas City at home after being outscored 13-6 over the final two quarters, and with the loss their five-game winning streak snapped.
Now the Bolts drop to 5-2, a game back of the surging Broncos, who easily cruised past the 49ers on Sunday Night Football when Peyton Manning passed for four touchdowns to become the NFL’s all-time record holder in said category. We wondered if San Diego had what it took to go toe-to-toe with the defending AFC champions, but now they face an uphill climb to keep pace.
Not only did the loss have major ramifications for an AFC West title, but the now they’re in line from being a top two seed to perhaps a Wild Card team.
Cowboys, Murray continue to roll
Somebody break up the Cowboys! Dallas, winners of five in a row since dropping its Week 1 game against San Francisco, just knocked off the Giants to win its sixth game in a row to move to 6-1 on the season.
MVP candidate and perhaps front-runner DeMarco Murray eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for a seventh straight game, the first NFL running back to do so in league history, breaking Jim Brown‘s previous mark which stood for 56 years.
The loss is the second in a row for the Giants, who two weeks ago were considered by many to have a legitimate shot at making a run in the NFC East. Now the G-Men have lost two games in a row to the likes of Philadelphia and Dallas, certainly hampering their chances at a divisional title and a playoff spot.
The NFC South is simply awful
Thankfully, Tampa Bay was on a bye week; otherwise this next stat could be even more embarrassing.
The Falcons, Panthers and Saints all lost in Week 7, dropping the NFC South to a combined 8-17-1 record on the year. The Panthers are leading the division at 3-3-1. What’s worse — on the road, the four teams own a 2-12-1 mark.
It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite in this division, especially with the bad taste each team left in our mouth after this weekend. Carolina was run over by Green Bay, and the potent Falcons offense continues to be out of sync as the Ravens posted a shutout through three quarters. The Saints collapsed, allowing the Lions to rally from a 13-point deficit to win on a late field goal.
Defending champions reeling
We chalked up the Seahawks’ loss to the Dallas at CenturyLink Field in Week 6 to the upstart Cowboys, who are making believers out of all of us. But who can we blame for the team’s shortcomings in St. Louis?
The loss is the second in as many weeks for Seattle, which has already matched its loss total from all of 2013 (3).
The Rams pulled off a remarkable special teams play and found holes in the vaunted Seahawks’ D to pull off the upset and drop Seattle to 3-3 on the year. Seattle is 1-2 away from the Pacific Northwest and is beginning to lose ground on the 5-1 Cardinals.
Washington turns to McCoy
Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and now Colt McCoy? Washington coach Jay Gruden pulled Cousins at halftime and inserted third-string quarterback McCoy, who hasn’t played in almost two years. McCoy led a fourth-quarter game-winning drive to snap Washington’s four-game losing skid with a 19-17 win over visiting Tennessee.
McCoy may be in line to start Week 9, but RGIII is waiting in the wings. Griffin returned to practice earlier this week and was already anointed the team’s starter when he’s healthy. This should give us some insight about the futures of Griffin and Cousins in the nation’s capital.
Jaguars notch first win, cool off surging Browns
Well, there will be no winless season … at least for the Jaguars.
Jacksonville notched its first win of the season with a 24-6 romping over the upstart Browns. No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles threw for 159 yards and a touchdown, and making his first start in the backfield former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson rushed for 127 yards and a score as the Jags snapped Cleveland’s two-game win streak.
Not only did it end the Browns’ win streak, but snapped a nine-game Jaguars losing streak dating back to last year. Only Oakland has yet to win a game in 2014.
The loss drops Cleveland to 3-3, and pending the result of Monday night’s game between Pittsburgh and Houston, could be third or fourth in the AFC North.
Buffalo lost its top two running backs in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, who were forced from the game with a broken collarbone and groin injury, respectively. The team signed Anthony Dixon and traded for Bryce Brown this offseason, and both are in line to see an increased role going forward.
Bears first-round pick Kyle Fuller broke his hand against the Dolphins, but was able to return to the game. That was until he suffered a hip pointer and was sidelined for the remainder of the loss.
The Panthers, who already were functioning with a patchwork offensive line for the year, lost rookie guard Trai Turner and left tackle Byron Bell. Turner suffered a knee injury and Bell suffered an elbow injury.
Washington’s top pass-rusher Brian Orakpo sustained a partially torn right pectoral injury in the win over the Titans, and is set to undergo an MRI on Monday. Orakpo suffered that injury to his left pec back in 2011, then re-injured it in 2012.