NFL Week 6 Scores: 10 Biggest Surprises To Unfold
Although Monday Night's game between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars is yet to be played out, Sunday's fixtures left most NFL fans with high blood pressure over the weekend, following an all out assault of upsets, storylines and blockbuster news.
Whether it was Dan Carpenter's last minute heroics in Green Bay or Colt McCoy's new found brilliance under center, just about everybody got the feeling that Week 6 was going to go down as a week to remember.
But as much excitement surrounded the weekends events, funnily enough, several new and surprising storylines also unfolded that weren't exactly predicted heading into the occasion.
Realistically every game had a minor story that could be mentioned on this list. But while I'd like to sit here and detail them all, here's a quick look at the top 10 surprises to unfold from Week 6, along with a small recap of the action.
10. Despite Tony Romo's Efforts, Dallas Falls to 1-4
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Mall of America Field has always been well known for its hostile fans, and although the Dallas Cowboys are more than familiar with this fact following their trip to Minnesota last season, it was evident from the very beginning on Sunday that Tony Romo and Wade Phillips' offense were in for a tough day.
On the scoreboard, Dallas fared quite nicely. The end result was far from impressive for the Cowboys, but as the 21-24 scoreline suggests, the Boys in Blue did give it there all.
But like the Cowboys so clearly knew heading into Week 6's blockbuster matchup, one team was a surefire pick to wind up as the ultimate loser.
Unfortunately for Cowboy fans, their team felt the wrath of Minnesota yet again. Given that the scoreline wasn't as big a blowout as it was back in January, Dallas now find themselves in a 1-4 hole that is looking near impossible to climb out of.
To be perfectly frank here, if the Texas Rangers weren't doing so well in the ALCS against the New York Yankees, we would all be hearing a lot more verbal concern in regards to America's team.
Still, sooner or later, the Cowboys are going to cop the criticism they deserve. While most analysts have already written the Cowboys out of postseason action, many people are yet to criticize Dallas, even though the realistic thought would be to jump on the hate bandwagon as soon as possible.
On the positive side for Jerry Jones, Tony Romo played a decent game. As untimely as his two interceptions were, Romo's 220 yards and three touchdowns acted as one of the sole reasons for the Cowboys potential win chances.
In the coming weeks, the Cowboys face tough tests against the likes of the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Both of these games are doable, but with a performance like Sunday Night, the Cowboys aren't exactly winning themselves any favoritism votes right now.
9. Kevin Kolb Continues to Add Spice to the Eagles Quarterback Carousel
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It was originally stated that Andy Reid had a dire strait problem on his hands this time five weeks ago. Kevin Kolb was out with a concussion sustained by a Clay Matthews hit, and with this news, in came questionably talented quarterback Michael Vick, fresh from his benchwarming position as the Eagles back up.
But boy how things changed.
Looking at the Eagles now, most head coaches have grown envious of Andy Reid's situation. Not only does Reid now have two very capable quarterbacks on his hands, he also has the fun decision of determining who is better suited for the starting role—given that both have obvious talent.
On the weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, the entire Eagles team was impressive. When wide receiver DeSean Jackson suffered a hard hit and was helped off the field, the air was sucked out of Lincoln Financial Field momentarily, only to be replaced with confidence thanks to Kolb.
So what did Kolb's stats look like at the end of the day?
Easy, they looked great. With 336 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on the day, No. 4 added his own brand of spice to Andy Reid's quarterback carousel and more or less has made a very convincing argument in the future.
To go ahead and say that this surprise is over would be ludicrous. It is yet to be determined when Michael Vick will return, but keep in mind that when the quick footed quarterback does arrive back on the scene, some serious competition will heat up.
For now though, this is Kolb's team, and he's doing a great job. A win over Atlanta is never easy, and the first-year starter seemed to look almost Donovan McNabb-like in the Eagles seventh ranked point scoring offense on Sunday.
8. San Francisco Says Goodbye to 0-5, Hello To First Win
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It wasn't pretty, and at times, it resembled a car wreck, but the San Francisco 49ers finally placed a W in the win column on Sunday, barely knocking off the Oakland Raiders 17-9.
When watching other games around the league, I couldn't help but notice people's reactions to this game. Some were calling it a snorefest, while others simply laughed at both teams' inconsistency, as the game was as sloppy as a schoolyard hamburger.
To place a small dampener on the 49ers first win this season, Alex Smith once again heard boos in San Francisco. Although fans did return home contempt with a win, the 49ers now have some decision making to do ahead of the teams clash with Carolina next week, which contains major implications for the remainder of the year.
For those that missed the game, I don't totally blame you. However to fill you in, Smith passed for 196 yards and two touchdowns on the day, and even though he remained without a pick, his lack of accuracy at times frustrated faithful 49er fans.
Away from the quarterback position, the 49er offense really started to role in the second half. Inspired by star tight end Vernon Davis and promising young receiver Michael Crabtree, it's no wonder that Smith threw two touchdowns in the second half to hand San Francisco the victory.
As for Oakland, they weren't all bad. A record of 2-4 now follows The Black Hole, but somehow the Raiders still find themselves in second place in the AFC West.
Finally the time has come—San Francisco has won a game. Whether or not this means that they will kick off their "impressive" season remains to be seen, but until then, it's good to see some happiness come out of Candlestick Park.
7. Fizzle and Pop: The Atlanta Falcons Story
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Entering Week 6, criticism surrounded the Atlanta Falcons league wide, as it had been said that Mike Smith's men hadn't beaten anybody of reasonable talent, other than the New Orleans Saints this season.
To all of the doubters out there, you now look like geniuses. On Sunday against Kevin Kolb and the Philadelphia Eagles, the Falcons barely left the starting gates in the first half, falling behind in more ways than one.
As every NFC East team knows, Philadelphia isn't an easy place to play. But this fact still doesn't excuse the Falcons inconsistent ways on Sunday, especially for a team that had cracked the top spot in many professional power rankings.
Statistically speaking, Atlanta weren't all bad. Starting quarterback Matt Ryan accumulated 250 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but unfortunately, Atlanta's big time playmakers Michael Turner and Roddy White were left scoreless on the day.
In terms of opinions, some may say that the Eagles were simply better. Yet at the same time, could it be said that the Falcons just played a poor game?
Yes and no.
It seemed for Atlanta, that luck certainly wasn't on their side. Eagles head coach Andy Reid stated how frustrating it was for his kicker David Akers to miss several field goals, and one would think with this statistic, that the score would be much closer.
To continue the bad luck trend, when tight end Tony Gonzalez had a pass deflect off his hands for an interception, things turned from bad to sour very quickly.
Moving forward, this loss may be insignificant for the Falcons but has labeled them as a mild pretender in the league. More importantly, it has narrowed the lead over New Orleans and Tampa Bay in the NFC South, leaving many tough games ahead for the birds.
6. Jay Cutler Endures Six More Sacks in Loss Against Seattle
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Most people expected to see Jay Cutler's true colors shine sooner or later, and here we are in Week 6, and Jay Cutler has yet again endured a boatload of sacks at the hands of a dominating defense.
In relation to Seattle, this season yet again acquaints itself with the term "hot and cold." One week the Seahawks are dominating, while the next they slip up to the likes of the St. Louis Rams, in a complete no-show performance.
But as for the Chicago Bears, Lovie Smith's crew has let a prime opportunity slip. With Green Bay falling to the Miami Dolphins at Lambeau Field, Chicago had a chance to really grasp the NFC North and take a big time lead into the second half of the year.
Unlucky for Chicago though, this thought was just too much to endure.
What came as more of a disappointment, however, was of course Jay Cutler's six sacks. In Week 1, the Bears offensive line showed signs of weakness, but it did manage to hold up for a solid month, before recently collapsing.
It now appears, since the Bears visit to New York, that the Giants have really intimidated this offensive line. Everywhere else on the roster confidence and talent beams, but on the o-line, struggling times await.
Six sacks and a loss is tough to swallow, and now, the Bears take on the persistent Washington Redskins back home in The Windy City.
A loss may not mean much in the long run, but we saw division foes Green Bay lose a series of games due to a weak offensive line last year. The Bears a playing with fire right now and could get burnt.
5. Rookie Quarterback Colt McCoy Caps off Browns Loss in Impressive Fashion
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Say what you want about Colt McCoy, the former Texas Longhorn turned up in impressive fashion this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For the most part, what Mack Brown produces, is almost always good for a few points. To keep that theory going, No. 12 now appears to be Mack Brown's latest addition of success to the NFL, following a 281-yard effort against the Steelers.
For Cleveland fans, this is a very promising sign. It could be said that the Browns season is just about over right now, but with Jake Delhomme failing, and Seneca Wallace out injured, McCoy may act as a diamond in the rough in the coming weeks.
For those fans that choose to ignore McCoy's brilliance due to some silly Texas Longhorn grudge, McCoy's two picks on the day weren't ideal. But with this in mind, McCoy managed to at least show up against Pittsburgh and make some big time plays happen.
It's way too early right now to say that McCoy is the real deal, but he's on the right track. We all know that Browns quarterbacks can look great one week and fail the next, so we won't jump the shark just yet.
But boy, if Colt McCoy can get going, opposing teams had better watch out.
4. Green Bay Falls to 3-3 Following Yet Another Overtime Loss
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I recently bought an issue of Sports Illustrated that featured an article entitled "New Spirit in Green Bay." I guess at the time it was all well and good, but now it seems the only spirit left in Titletown is one of a losing attitude.
To be fair to the Packers, many of their losses haven't been all that large. With an overtime loss to Washington last week, Green Bay were always a major question returning home to Lambeau Field to face the Miami Dolphins, and even though Aaron Rodgers was set to start, no one knew for sure what was about to unfold this Sunday afternoon.
On the weekend, the Packers really went head-to-head with Miami. The Packers rallied early and jumped to a three point lead, only to see the Dolphins tie it up at 10-10 a piece heading into the second half.
In the dying stages of the game, Green Bay were down and out. In typical Aaron Rodgers fashion though, No. 12 hit Greg Jennings with an accurate red zone pass and then carried it in himself for a touchdown to send it to overtime.
However, this is where the good fortune ran out.
In overtime, the Packers rattled the Dolphins, forced the stop, than produced nothing but a poor drive on the back end. The next play was a poor punt, and with great field position, all the Dolphins had to do was run a few plays over the weak Packer linebacker core to set Dan Carpenter up for the game winning field goal.
So now the Packers sit at 3-3, and not many people know for sure where the green and gold are heading.
The Minnesota Vikings now await the Packers in Week 7, and it seems that this game could send the Packers to 3-4 if they aren't careful. A tough loss to swallow this week, but Mike McCarthy really needs to correct some problems, before this downward spiral gets out of hand.
3. Ben Roethlisberger Returns In Typical Pittsburgh Steeler Fashion
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A large ovation greeted Ben Roethlisberger at Heinz Field on Sunday, and the two-time Super Bowl champion didn't leave much to the imagination in the passing game.
During the early goings, Ben Roethlisberger threw his first pick of the year, but then went on to pass for 257 yards and three touchdowns in the Steelers 28-10 rout of the Cleveland Browns.
Realistically, no one expected anything different. As disappointing as the Steelers 2009 non-postseason campaign was, Ben Roethlisberger was once again at his best and was always favored to return hot following a four-game suspension this year.
As the headline reads, Ben Roethlisberger returned in typical Steeler fashion.
So how did he do this exactly?
Simple, he hit his favorite target in Hines Ward consecutively and managed to really bring the Steelers together as a football team—even though Pittsburgh fared just fine without him.
Moving on forward, the debate now grows as to whether or not the Steelers are the best team in football. If I know Pittsburgh like I do, Steeler Nation won't take any notice of this and rather focus on the Miami Dolphins next weekend.
Credit is due for Ben Roethlisberger on a stellar performance, and it's great to see No. 7 back where he belongs at the helm in Pittsburgh.
2. The New England Patriots Topple The Baltimore Ravens in Foxboro
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It would be a little unfair to say that the Patriots totally upset the Baltimore Ravens in Foxboro this past weekend, but when the Patriots successfully picked off the Ravens, many people stood to attention.
Entering into the game, every fan recognized how vital this game was for both teams. Although each party has had their fair share of wins this season, gaining the upperhand over a very strong AFC opponent would act as a huge morale booster for either franchise.
When it was all said and done, the Patriots were the ones left with the morale injection. Nearly 10 months since New England's embarrassing loss against the exact same Ravens outfit in the AFC Wildcard Game last year, the Patriots leapfrogged the Ravens in big time fashion.
Similar to saying that the Patriots win was an upset, it could also be said that the Patriots weren't at all pretty in this affair. Numerous times New England's defense struggled against Joe Flacco, and the new addition of Deion Branch wasn't helping out Tom Brady at all.
Luckily for Bill Belichick though, things panned out.
At the end, New England walked out of Gillette Stadium with a 23-20 win and more importantly a very close reach with New York in the AFC East.
Tom Brady threw for 292 yards and one touchdown, and as missed as Randy Moss is, this Patriots offense is starting to click.
A big surprise in Foxboro and a very big confidence builder for the remainder of the season.
1. FedEx Field Tests Mistake Riddled Indianapolis Colts
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Don't let the headline fool you, as the Indianapolis Colts' defense made a handful of impressive stands in the second half, to grant the blue and white their forth win on the season.
But aside from the Colts' defensive ways, Jim Caldwell's team suffered a minor surprise in FedEx Field, as those pesky Washington Redskins wouldn't take no for an answer in the nation's capital.
As per usual, quarterback Peyton Manning was stellar. He continued to fire sugar coated bullets in Week 6 and ended the game with 307 yards and two touchdowns.
What was perhaps more impressive on the Colts behalf though, was the team's ability to stick the game out for four quarters and turn a low-scoring affair into a very tight contest, particularly in the second half of play.
Indianapolis running back Joseph Addai also showed that he does have what it takes on the ground game, rushing for 128 yards and one touchdown, and receivers Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon were far from just remarkable on Sunday night.
Tomorrow night, the ball will change courts when the Jaguars take on the Titans in Jacksonville. The Colts are now firmly above .500, and are still tied with the Houston Texans in the AFC South. With one team prepared to endure a loss tomorrow night, the Colts have done themselves many favors for the upcoming weeks.
Indianapolis now takes the week off to prepare for that very same Houston Texans team. A tough game lies ahead and expect Peyton Manning himself to regain some form of revenge over Houston for the Colts' Week 1 loss.
To keep the talk in the present though, FedEx Field rattled Indianapolis at times like it did the Green Bay Packers in Week 5, but the true grit and determination of this standout team once again prevailed when the chips were starting to fall.