The Day After: The NFL's Week 7 Story Lines
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It was a crazy week in football.
Brett Favre's magic wore off in Lambeau.
Tony Romo left the Monday Night contest with a broken clavicle.
The Oakland Raiders romped over the Denver Broncos, putting up 59 points.
T.O. was complaining about not getting the ball on a crucial goal-line pass.
Jay Cutler was picked off four times by DeAngelo Hall and insists that he wouldn't change how he played if he faced the Redskins again.
Kenny Britt had a huge game for the Titans.
All of these story lines and more made up this week in the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings 24 (2-4), Green Bay Packers 28 (4-3)
Brett Favre was "devastated" after the loss to the Packers.
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Favre, the former golden boy of the Green Bay Packers, returned to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field and looked like he was orchestrating another magical comeback. However, the season has not gone according to plan for Favre, especially in comebacks. A replay review wiped off a Favre touchdown at the end of the game, and instead his three crucial interceptions are what highlighted the finish.
Favre commented about the game’s conclusion by saying, "It's devastating. I don't know how else to put it. I take a lot of pride and ownership in all phases of the game. You've got the ball in your hand, you hope to win those. You just feel like you let everybody down."
The call in question was a touchdown catch by Percy Harvin with 48 seconds remaining that was overruled when it was recognized that Harvin came down with only one foot in bounds.
Aaron Rodgers also played below average, throwing two costly interceptions that removed easy points in the red zone in the first half.
After the game, an X-ray showed that Favre has two fractures in his ankle, and his status for next week’s game against the New England Patriots is up in the air.
The Packers face a surging New York Jets team at the New Meadowlands Stadium in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals 32 (2-4), Atlanta Falcons 39 (5-2)
Terrell Owens became the fifth wide receiver in history to record 150 TD receptions.
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Frustrations for the Bengals continued this week, and it was seen on the field and on the sidelines. Carson Palmer was visibly upset at Chad Ochocinco for giving up on a route up the sideline, and then T.O. was upset about not getting a chance to tie the game with a pass in the corner of the end zone.
For the Falcons, Roddy White had the game of his career. Several spectacular grabs highlighted White’s amazing game. He had 11 receptions for 201 yards and scored two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
The game went back and forth, and ultimately the Falcons came away with the victory. Both quarterbacks had huge games: Palmer threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns and Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns. The Falcons forced a key fumble by Cedric Benson, leading to a drive that put the Falcons up by two touchdowns late in the game.
For the Bengals, it won’t get any easier facing the Miami Dolphins next week, who lost a heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.
The Falcons face a 4-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team who eked out a win against the Rams this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23 (5-1), Miami Dolphins 20 (3-3)
The Steelers eked one out on a controversial goal line call.
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In Ben Roethlisberger’s second start since his suspension, the Steelers quarterback almost handed the Miami Dolphins the game. Down by two points at the 2-yard line, Roethlisberger ran a quarterback sneak, and before he crossed the plane of the end zone, the ball was stripped. Upon review, however, it was inconclusive who recovered the football, despite the fact that Ikaika Alama-Francis came up from under the pile with the ball.
NFL rules stipulate that there must be “indisputable visible evidence” that the opposing team had possession of the ball, or else the ball remains with the team on offense.
Jeff Reed kicked a chip-shot field goal to put the Steelers on top late in the game.
This season, Miami has three wins on the road and three losses at home.
Next week, the Dolphins are on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, who lost a shootout to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to the Superdome to face last year’s Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints, who were upset by the Cleveland Browns.
Washington Redskins 17 (4-3), Chicago Bears 14 (4-3)
Jay Cutler had a rough day, he lost a fumble, and threw four interceptions to DeAngelo Hall.
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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was still arrogant after being intercepted four times by Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who returned one of the interceptions 92 yards for a touchdown. In an interview after the game, Cutler was asked if he would have thrown away from Hall’s side of the field: “Not at all. I've played against him before. There's no reason to shy away from him. I mean, that's hard for me to say throwing four picks to the guy, but I still think if we had to play him tomorrow, I'd go after him every time.”
That kind of arrogance was what led Hall to a career game against Cutler. He joins 18 others who have had four interception days, and he is the first to do it since Deltha O’Neal did it with the Broncos in 2001.
Both offenses were sloppy as Donovan McNabb was intercepted twice in the game and Ryan Torain and Matt Forte each lost a fumble. Jay Cutler also lost a fumble on a play that looked like he crossed the goal line and scored, but the play was never reviewed.
The Bears face an “improving” Buffalo Bills team next week, who almost upset the Baltimore Ravens.
The Redskins play against the Detroit Lions, who are coming off of a bye week.
New York Giants 41 (5-2), Dallas Cowboys 35 (1-5)
Tony Romo left the game on Monday night with a broken collarbone.
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The Cowboys suffered a huge blow in their divisional loss to the New York Giants when, unabated, the Giants linebacker Michael Boley crushed Tony Romo and broke the quarterback’s left collarbone.
The highlight of the night was when Eli Manning came back from two early interceptions to lead the Giants on five straight scoring drives, putting up 31 points.
The Cowboys' loss puts journeyman Jon Kitna into the starting slot for the time being as Romo is expected to miss 6-8 weeks recovering. Kitna recorded 187 yards passing and threw two touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Manning recorded his fourth career game with four touchdown passes.
The Romo-less Cowboys host the Jacksonville Jaguars in Cowboys Stadium in Week 8.
The Giants have some rest this week as they have a bye.
Philadelphia Eagles 19 (4-3), Tennessee Titans 37 (5-2)
Kenny Britt had a career day against the Eagles with 3 TDs and 225 yards.
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Backup quarterback Kerry Collins led the Titans to a come-from-behind victory on Sunday by throwing the ball up to Kenny Britt.
Britt was benched because of his role in a bar fight on Friday night at a downtown Nashville bar. Rookie Damian Williams started the game in place of Britt, who now has had three embarrassing incidents this year. In August, he received a misdemeanor citation for driving with a revoked driver’s license. In January, Britt was arrested in New Jersey because of outstanding traffic warrants.
The Kerry-to-Kenny connection hooked up for seven receptions, 225 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came in the fourth quarter when the Titans pulled away from the Eagles.
Kevin Kolb has already been benched for the Eagles' next game against the Indianapolis Colts two weeks from now, when Michael Vick will be healthy. Kolb threw for 231 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble. The Titans capitalized on Kolb’s miscues and scored 17 points off turnovers.
The Titans next face the San Diego Chargers, who came up short on a missed field goal with seconds remaining against the Patriots.
Cleveland Browns 30 (2-5), New Orleans Saints 17 (4-3)
Former Saint, Scott Fujita had a key interception of Drew Brees that helped the Browns beat the former Super Bowl Champions.
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This is one game that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will want to forget. Brees threw four interceptions in the huge loss to the Cleveland Browns. David Bowens, a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, returned two interceptions of Brees for scores.
This season has been tough on Brees, who threw 11 interceptions all of last year and already has 10 thus far.
The former Saint Scott Fujita, a fan favorite and defensive leader in New Orleans, also intercepted Brees as the Saints were knocking on the Browns' doorstep early in the second quarter.
Despite being significantly outgained on offense, huge defensive plays and special teams plays were the difference for the Browns.
The Saints play a red-hot Pittsburgh Steelers team at home in New Orleans.
The Browns host a 5-1 New England Patriots team who survived a late push by the Chargers that was thwarted by a missed field goal.
Buffalo Bills 34 (0-6), Baltimore Ravens 37 (5-2)
In his return to football Ed Reed had two interceptions and a fumble recovery after missing six weeks recovering from hip surgery.
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The last-place Buffalo Bills almost upset the Baltimore Ravens, who some predict may win the Super Bowl. This week, the Bills showed that: 1) They aren’t dead, and 2) The Ravens are overrated.
The Ravens took more than four quarters to put away the winless Bills in Baltimore on a game-winning field goal from Billy Cundiff in overtime.
The Ravens gave up 505 yards to the Bills, ranked 30th on offense in the NFL. Despite the Bills huge numbers, at the end of the day the Ravens pulled off the victory. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to progress every week. He had 373 yards passing and threw four touchdowns.
The Ravens welcomed back Ed Reed, who missed the first six weeks recovering from hip surgery. Reed had two interceptions and forced a fumble in his first start.
The Bills take on the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in Week 8, and the Ravens have a bye.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 (3-4), Kansas City Chiefs 42 (4-2)
Derrick Johnson made a key interception for a touchdown that changed the momentum in the Chiefs favor.
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With their top two quarterbacks out with injuries, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Todd Bouman, whom they had cut in training camp, to play quarterback in their game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Bouman kept the Jags in the game, as they trailed by only one point with over five minutes left in the third quarter. However, the wheels starting coming off when Derrick Johnson intercepted Bouman and ran 15 yards for a game-sealing touchdown. The Chiefs scored 14 more unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Rookie safety Eric Berry was the other Chiefs player to intercept Bouman.
Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles combined for another huge game, each scoring a touchdown and totaling 196 yards.
Next week, the Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills, who nearly upset the Ravens.
The Jaguars face the Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled all season and fallen well below most people’s expectations. On Monday night, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was knocked out of the game with a broken collarbone.
Oakland Raiders 59 (3-4), Denver Broncos 14 (2-5)
The Oakland Raiders crushed the Denver Broncos in Denver.
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This was the greatest debacle in Broncos history, and for the Raiders, it may be what propels them on to contending for the AFC West title.
The Broncos' psyche may be in serious trouble as they flee the country to face the 49ers in London. If they are humiliated for a second straight week, this time by a struggling 49ers team, the Broncos season will be finished and head coach Josh McDaniels may be looking for a new job come March 2011.
The Raiders were very impressive in their thrashing of the Broncos. Darren McFadden rushed for four touchdowns in his contribution to a 328-yard rush game for the Raiders. Even backup quarterback Jason Campbell looked like a superstar in Denver with his performance. The Seahawks will be the next test for the Raiders that will show if this team is for real.
San Francisco 49ers 20 (1-6), Carolina Panthers 23 (1-5)
Matt Moore propelled his team past the San Francisco 49ers in week 7
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A week after getting their first victory of the season, the 49ers handed the Carolina Panthers their first win. Backup quarterback David Carr threw a late interception into double coverage that gave the Panthers the field position to put up the go-ahead field goal late in the game.
Alex Smith left the game in the Niners first possession in the second half after he was slammed to the turf by Charles Johnson.
Matt Moore played perhaps his best game this season, throwing for 308 yards and two touchdowns. He also was intercepted on a hurried pass to Jonathan Stewart.
The 49ers travel across the country and across the pond for an international game against the Denver Broncos, who were absolutely embarrassed by the Oakland Raiders. The 49ers beat the Raiders to record their first victory of the season.
The Carolina Panthers face the St. Louis Rams in the dome next week.
Arizona Cardinals 10 (3-3), Seattle Seahawks 22 (4-2)
The Seahawks beat the Cardinals to seize control of the NFC West.
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The Seahawks' star of the game was Olindo Mare, who kicked five field goals to boot Seattle past the Cardinals, putting them into first place in the NFC West. Dating back to last year, Mare has made 30 straight field goals.
The Cardinals did their part to give away the game by handing over five turnovers, two of which led to easy field goals for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks journey south to take on the Oakland Raiders in Week 8.
The Cardinals face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in Arizona.
New England Patriots 23 (5-1), San Diego Chargers 20 (2-5)
It has been a difficult season for Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.
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The San Diego Chargers continued to falter at key times in their game against the New England Patriots. In the final seconds of the game, newly acquired kicker Kris Brown had a 50-yard field goal clank off the right post as the Chargers watched another one slip through their fingertips. An offsides penalty pushed Brown's attempt back five more yards.
Due to four turnovers, the Chargers trailed at halftime 13-3, and the Patriots had only gained 38 total yards.
The loss puts them tied for last with the Denver Broncos in the AFC West, who suffered an ugly slaughter by the Oakland Raiders.
Philip Rivers had huge game, amassing 336 yards passing, while Tom Brady’s day was anything but stellar. He threw for only 159 yards.
Sloppy play by the Chargers marked another bad loss as the Chargers watch the season slip away.
The Chargers play the Tennessee Titans, who pulled off a come-from-behind win against the Eagles, and the Patriots take on a Minnesota Vikings team with an injured Brett Favre and a whole lot of question marks concerning their performance so far.
St. Louis Rams 17 (3-4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18 (4-2)
Josh Freeman is leading the Bucs to a winning season so far this season.
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Josh Freeman is a winner. He has continually found ways to help his team win. This time it was with 10 seconds remaining on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Cadillac Williams.
Sam Bradford had a pedestrian day, throwing for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Steven Jackson also surpassed Eric Dickerson’s mark of 7,245 yards for the most career rushing yards ever by a St. Louis Ram.
The Rams host the Carolina Panthers, who tallied their first win of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Bucs go against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8, who lost to division rival Seattle.