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Breaking Down the Pivotal Moments of NFL Week 7

Alessandro MiglioFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2014

Breaking Down the Pivotal Moments of NFL Week 7

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    It was the same as it ever was in the NFL during Week 7. That meant drama in expected and unexpected places and surprises everywhere. Teams crack and fall, while others survive by whiskers.

    Key moments in games tend to let drama in the door. Which were some of the more pivotal moments in game action from Week 7?

    Click ahead to find out.

Terrell Suggs Surprise Start

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    Some drama comes from a game that was well out of reach early.

    There was much speculation and even a report refuted by Terrell Suggs himself saying the Ravens defensive end would play in Week 7. It was a preposterous notion considering he had torn his Achilles tendon just six months earlier.

    Well, the preposterous became reality when Suggs was activated just before the game, then made the start for a Ravens defense that has been ravaged by injuries.

    Suggs not only started, he was the best-performing Raven on Sunday in a largely forgettable game against the Texans.

    In a J.J. Watt-like performance, Suggs tallied four tackles, a sack, two quarterback hurries and a batted ball. It was a miraculous performance.

    Too bad for Baltimore that the rest of the team fell flat.

Rams Failed Fourth-Down Conversion

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    It seemed like a good idea at the time, and the Rams did face a tough Green Bay team that could put up a lot of points. But, the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions, as they say.

    St. Louis lined up on a 4th-and-1 play in lieu of giving their leggy kicker, Greg Zuerlein, an easy chance to pull within 10-6.

    Sam Bradford's pass to Brandon Gibson fell incomplete, and the Packers took over. It was not a momentous moment in the game all things considered—the Packers would not score again in the half, as it turned out—but the Rams could have gone into halftime down 10-9 instead of 10-6. 

    Or, had Bradford converted the fourth down, the Rams might have been up 13-10 at the half.

RGIII Leaves Eli Too Much Time

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    You might think that one of the many turnovers in the game was a pivotal point in the game—and many of them were—but this might have been the most pivotal of the game.

    Robert Griffin III threw a gorgeous pass to Santana Moss, lofting it over the defender's head and nestling it beautifully between Moss' hands over his shoulder. The reason this might have been the most pivotal point in the game was not because it gave Washington the lead but because it gave Eli Manning an opportunity to do what he does best: come back to win the game.

    The Redskins simply left too much time on the clock. Over 90 seconds may as well be an eternity for Eli, who barely needed any of it to throw a long touchdown pass to Victor Cruz.

Malcolm Jenkins Runs Vincent Jackson Down

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    Predictably, the Buccaneers found themselves in a shootout. Drew Brees caught fire like dry brush getting struck by lightning, and the Saints defense continued its sieve-like ways against Josh Freeman.

    That included a 95-yard catch-and-run they allowed to Vincent Jackson in the second quarter. Normally, that kind of yardage would wind up as a touchdown, but that Malcolm Jenkins had other plans.

    Perhaps, Jenkins would not have caught him if Jackson did not run like he had swallowed a piano at halftime, but the talented receiver looked like he was already on fumes after 40 yards. Jenkins hustled over at an angle and tackled Jackson at the 1-yard line, saving a touchdown.

    Had the Buccaneers not followed that up with a horrific goal-line sequence that netted them zero points, the hustle play from Jenkins would have been rendered moot. Unfortunately for Jackson and the Buccaneers, the Saints managed a goal-line stand, and the lost touchdown wound up being the difference in the game.

Russell Wilson Throws a Terrible Interception

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    San Francisco looked vulnerable on defense.

    Despite having given up just six points to that point, Marshawn Lynch was finding running room, and Seattle's offense had moved the ball relatively well through nearly three quarters. The 49ers lead was slim, and all it would take was one good drive to come back and take a lead.

    Then, Russell Wilson made a horrible decision. Aside from throwing the ball to Braylon Edwards—a decision that works out about as often as Edwards drops passes—the decision to throw into double coverage was a poor one. It was exacerbated by the fact that it was a terrible throw.

    The 49ers took over and continued to tighten their vise grip on the game, extending their lead to a touchdown, which may as well have been four from that point forward.

The Robot Returns for Jacksonville

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    Maurice Jones-Drew exited the game early with a foot injury. By Odin's Beard and Shad Khan's Mustache, the Jaguars still managed to run out to a 14-3 lead.

    Then, disaster struck.

    Blaine Gabbert was hit and knocked out of the game, leaving Chad "The Robot" Henne to lead his team to defeat. The former Dolphin completed 45 percent of his passes for a putrid 3.55-yard average.

    As such, the Jaguars slowly leaked the game away until Sebastian Janikowski put them out of their misery in overtime.

Devin McCourty Nearly Fumbles Away the Game

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    A malaise has overtaken the Patriots; they are no longer the juggernaut they once were. Or, at the very least, the juggernaut sleeps. 

    Still, they had the Jets dead to rights heading into the fourth quarter. Despite holes on defense, New England was leading 23-13 heading into the fourth quarter. The lead shrank and disappeared, however, thanks in part to some anti-heroic efforts by the offense and Tom Brady.

    The Jets kicked off after tying the game in the fourth quarter and Devin McCourty coughed it up on a hit by Lousaka Polite. With all the momentum the Jets possessed, it seemed like they would wrest control of the AFC East from their foes. 

    Unfortunately, they played it safe and kicked a field goal to take a short-lived lead. Mark Sanchez fumbled the ball away in overtime and lost.

    But, for a fleeting moment, it seemed like the Patriots would lose, vindicating Mark Sanchez and his sponsor, Rex Ryan.

Josh Gordon Drops the Go-Ahead Touchdown

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    The Browns have been feisty over the past couple of weeks.

    Brandon Weeden kept pace with Andrew Luck on the day, and the defense tightened up after looking like they might give up 42 points to Andrew Luck. 

    He had already thrown a beautiful, long touchdown pass to Josh Gordon earlier in the day, and the Browns were driving to try to take a late lead. Weeden launched another beauty that hit Gordon perfectly in the hands at the goal line.

    The ball fell harmlessly to the turf as the announcers wondered aloud if the sun had affected the catch attempt. To his credit, Gordon took responsibility for the drop instead of blaming the sun.

     

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