Week 7 NFL Game Recaps
49ers 13, Seahawks 6
What Harbaugh pulled was very sketchy, and if you take into account some strange occurrences in the red zone, including a weird Alex Smith interception and an unnecessary tripping penalty by one of the offensive linemen, as well as the non-Marshawn Lynch fumble at the Seattle 2-yard line that was mysteriously wiped out because of forward progress, it makes you wonder if San Francisco, or someone, shaved points. It wouldn't be the first time it's happened in the NFL, and it certainly won't be the last.
Vernon Davis, meanwhile, didn't catch a single pass for some strange reason. He was noticeably absent, as was Colin Kaepernick, who didn't even take the field until the beginning of the fourth quarter. San Francisco had an awful, Andy Reid-like game plan, so it's a borderline miracle it was able to prevail.
Even Lynch could be blamed. He was responsible for one of those drops, and as mentioned, he fumbled on his own 2-yard line. The ball clearly came out even though the official ruled him down by contact. Harbaugh appeared to try to challenge it, but the ref then announced that forward progress was stopped, even though that wasn't the call on the field. Perhaps Harbaugh, who wanted to make sure Seattle covered, told the official to make that ruling (#trollingbuthalfserious).
*Note - Many are arguing that Harbaugh made the right call because the Seahawks would have attempted an onside kick. No, he didn't. What if the 49ers fumbled the snap on the kneel down, a la Philip Rivers? Going up two possessions with 20 seconds remaining would have been the right move. Even if the Seahawks recovered, they would've had to have scored twice.
If you think declining the safety was the right move, think about it for a second. What's more likely to happen:
A) Fumbled snap on a kneel down (has happened before)
B) Onside kick recovery
Onside kick recovery
30-yard play to put the team in field-goal position
...All in 22 seconds and no timeouts?
A no-brainer to decline the safety, right?
Cowboys 19, Panthers 14
Cowboys: Tony Romo missed Miles Austin-Jones for an easy touchdown in the first quarter.
Panthers: Cam Newton was picked in the end zone as he was getting hit later in the opening quarter.
Cowboys: Austin-Jones lost a fumble in Carolina territory in the second quarter.
Panthers: Newton overthrew Jonathan Stewart in the end zone later in the period.
Cowboys: Doug Free was whistled for a false start on a 3rd-and-4 in Carolina territory after halftime. Dallas consequently failed to convert in longer yardage.
Panthers: Carolina did the same thing in a 3rd-and-10.
Cowboys: Jay Ratliff's personal foul and Brandon Carr's defensive holding helped the Panthers score a touchdown. Dez Bryant then dropped a score of his own.
Panthers: The Panthers committed a strange personal foul penalty as Dallas was running the clock out. This gave the Cowboys a first down, allowing them to run off more time. This also let them kick a field goal, which covered the spread. The FOX announcers were befuddled by this infraction, and so was I. It was almost as if the officials wanted to make sure that Dallas would win by more than a field goal.
After the game, a sullen Newton told the media that he's demanding change. I'm not sure what sort of change, but it appears as though he's defeated mentally.
Titans 35, Bills 34
Don't think that Johnson is back to CJ2K form though; he did plenty of needless dancing at the line of scrimmage. What sparked his 195-yard output was his offensive line's great blocking. His 83-yard score was the product of a massive hole that Johnson just burst through easily.
Hasselbeck came through at the very end, hitting Nate Washington for a game-winning touchdown, which capped off a 52-yard drive. Washington was actually Tennessee's leading receiver, catching six balls for 43 yards.
It's a shame for Fitzpatrick because he had a great game otherwise, going 27-of-35 for 225 yards, three touchdowns and the pick. His scores went to Fred Jackson (8 catches, 49 receiving yards), Steve Johnson (5-71) and Donald Jones (4-47).
Texans 43, Ravens 13
And then reality set in. Cam Cameron, who forgot that he had Ray Rice in his backfield, asked Joe Flacco to throw way too often. Flacco took a couple of sacks on the drive, one of which was in the end zone for a safety. The Ravens then didn't even cross midfield until there was a minute remaining in the first half. Flacco was terrible, completing just three of his first 11 passes for 25 yards and a pick-six by Johnathan Joseph, which was tipped at the line of scrimmage by J.J. Watt, of course. Flacco was far from elite, looking like a rookie quarterback rattled by Houston's relentless pressure.
Watt wasn't the only one tipping passes. Houston's entire front seven was doing this, prompting the announcers to say that the Texans were treating this like a volleyball game. One of the other key tips was made by rookie Whitney Mercilus, allowing the ball to fall into Glover Quin's hands for another pick right at the end of the first half. Flacco ended up finishing 21-of-43 for 147 yards, a touchdown and the two interceptions.
Defensively, meanwhile, the Texans completely embarrassed Baltimore after three poor drives. They outgained the Ravens, 420-176, as Arian Foster couldn't be stopped, gaining 98 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. Matt Schaub, meanwhile, went 23-of-37 for 256 yards and a couple of scores.
After the Texans went up by double digits, the Ravens looked like they were sleepwalking. The only player showing any sort of effort was Suggs, who was all over the place. He even had some decent stints in pass coverage. I have no idea how he performed so well just six months after tearing his Achilles. The Ravens may have actually been competitive if the other players showed the same sort of heart that Suggs did.
Colts 17, Browns 13
I don't quite understand what Cleveland was possibly thinking. I know it's not part of the team's scheme, but sometimes you have to adjust. Andrew Luck has only one play-maker at his disposal. The Jets, who used Antonio Cromartie to blanket Wayne, completely disrupted Indianapolis' offense as a consequence. The Browns had the opportunity to do so by asking Haden to shadow Wayne. They elected not to do so, and as a result, the Colts compiled 321 total yards of offense, with Wayne leading the team with six catches for 73 yards.
Luck, meanwhile, went 16-of-29 for 186 yards with two rushing touchdowns. He started hot, and then just handed the ball off to Vick Ballard (20-84) and Delone Carter (11-41) with a lead throughout, as Indianapolis went conservative.
Cleveland committed another egregious error, which was a Josh Gordon (2-59, TD) dropped touchdown in the fourth quarter. It looked like he lost the ball in the sun, as the roof was open because it was an unseasonably warm October day in Indianapolis.
Vikings 21, Cardinals 14
Skelton began the game by being strip-sacked in the red zone by Brian Robison, who easily beat beleaguered rookie right tackle Bobby Massie. He forced terrible throws the entire afternoon, including one completely unnecessary one at the beginning of the second half, which was picked off by rookie safety Harrison Smith, who returned it for a touchdown. Skelton finished 25-of-36 for 262 yards, one touchdown and the pick-six, but most of his positive stats came in garbage time when he was down 14 points.
Skelton, however, wasn't helped by his blocking (sacked seven times; three by Robison), play-calling and his own clock management. The coaching staff called for a Skelton bootleg on a 4th-and-2 deep in Minnesota territory in the middle of the third quarter. Skelton scrambled right, but couldn't find anyone open. He took a loss in the process. Later on, Skelton was responsible for a delay of game on a 4th-and-5 on the Vikings' 32. He was sacked immediately after the penalty on a 4th-and-10.
Giants 27, Redskins 23
I said "save for a couple of plays" because both Griffin and Manning had some poor turnovers. Manning, who went 26-of-40 for 337 yards and a touchdown, tossed two poor interceptions. The first was an overthrow in Washington territory, which took a potential score off the board. The second led to a Redskin field goal.
As for Griffin, he tossed an interception and fumbled twice. At one point in the second half, the Redskins committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions. They were back-breakers, as they all occurred in New York territory. Washington left points off the board in those instances. It also did so in the first quarter when a Griffin-to-Josh Morgan touchdown was wiped out by a mysterious illegal shift that had the FOX announcers befuddled.
Having said all of this, the turnovers that these quarterbacks committed were overshadowed by the clutch plays they made. Griffin was awesome in his first divisional game. He converted multiple fourth downs, including one in his own territory where he danced around to avoid pressure and found his tight end for a 19-yard gain. He then scrambled for a 24-yard run and capped off the drive with a beautiful 30-yard lob to Santana Moss for a touchdown, finishing 20-of-28 for 258 yards, two scores and an interception along with 89 rushing yards on nine scrambles - stats that would've been much better had Leonard Hankerson not short-armed a deep pass.
Manning, meanwhile, hit Cruz for the 77-yard game-winner and was also extremely sharp on third downs, going 8-of-12 on those situations.
Packers 30, Rams 20
Rodgers was awesome throughout, save for the first drive when he was sacked by Robert Quinn. The Packers went three-and-out, but Rodgers responded by going 4-of-4 for 79 yards and a touchdown to Jordy Nelson on the ensuing possession. At one point in the beginning of the second half, Rodgers was 20-of-22 for 232 yards and two scores. He would've been in for a much bigger day had the Rams been able to match them point-for-point. It was close for a while - St. Louis actually outgained Green Bay in the first half, 190-186 - but once the Packers established a big lead, the Rams couldn't do much offensively because the running game was taken away.
Having said this, I still find it remarkable that the Rams can move the chains very well in between the 20s. They amassed 402 total yards of offense with crap wideouts and an offensive line missing three starters and one top reserve. Bradford was sacked only three times - once by Clay Matthews, who now has nine sacks on the year.
Saints 35, Buccaneers 28
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
This game featured tremendous aerial assaults by Freeman and Brees, but both Tampa Bay and New Orleans played awful defense. Neither secondary could cover, and both teams had little pass rush. The tackling by the Bucs and the Saints was absolutely abysmal. Both defenses were painfully bad, and that point can't be emphasized enough.
Vilma tipped a pass later on the same drive and almost intercepted it. Doug Martin (16-85) finished the possession with a 36-yard touchdown run. Freeman then opened up a 21-7 lead by hitting Vincent Jackson for a 17-yard touchdown.
Brees answered with a deep pass to Devery Henderson for 39 yards in busted coverage. That led to a 17-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston (7-73). Brees then went to Henderson (3-75) after he beat Eric Wright down the field, and Mark Barron missed a tackle on the sidelines. That set up a short touchdown pass to Darren Sproles (5-27 rushing, 4-32 receiving).
The Saints' defense then finally got a stop, and Brees rewarded the effort with a 48-yard touchdown pass to Joe Morgan (only catch). The wideout shed tackles by Barron and Wright, who he'd already burned running down the field.
The mistakes continued as the Bucs were called for an unsportsmanlike conduct on a pre-snap field goal attempt that gave the Saints a first down. Brees made Tampa Bay pay by the moving the ball close, setting up Pierre Thomas (13-32) to finish the drive with a short touchdown plunge. Brees finished 27-of-37 for 377 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Lance Moore (9-121) was his favorite target, as Jimmy Graham was out.
Freeman finished 24-of-42 for 420 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson set a franchise record for receiving yards (216) and a score on seven receptions.
Patriots 29, Jets 26
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
Tom Brady took the lead for the Patriots by moving the ball with Ron Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Gronkowski finished the drive with a diving 17-yard touchdown catch. New England tacked on two more after a botched handoff by Sanchez and Greene rolled into the end zone. Sanchez kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Massive penetration by Vince Wilfork caused the fumbled handoff.
Sanchez got lucky on a few passes that could've been intercepted. His suspect decisions caught up with him when he threw a ball too late for an open receiver. It hung up in the air and that let Patriots corner Alfonzo Dennard recover to make a leaping catch. Sanchez should've had a touchdown on the play, but blew it by waiting. He did help move the ball down the field for a 54-yard field goal from Nick Folk just before halftime.
Brady had a nice drive in the third quarter with a few third-down conversions by hooking up with Wes Welker (6-66). Hernandez (5-54) had a catch to bring it to the goal line and Brady went to Gronkowski (6-78) for the score.
In the fourth quarter, down by 10, Sanchez engineered a nice drive with a short touchdown pass to Keller (7-93). It was a laser into a tight window. The game-tying drive started with a good completion to Keller, but rookie Stephen Hill (4-55) dropped a catch after getting wide open at the 13-yard line. Folk tied the game at 23 with a 43-yard field goal.
New England gave it right back on the kickoff after McCourty fumbled the ball away. Sanchez took an idiotic sack by Dont'a Hightower, but Folk bailed him out with another 43-yarder to give the Jets a 26-23 lead with under two minutes remaining.
Brady ripped the ball down the field to set up a 43-yard field goal to force overtime. That same scenario played out in overtime as Brady quickly led the Patriots to a 48-yard field goal. The Jets were completely incapable of getting any pass rush on Brady throughout the game, but especially late when they need it the most.
The game ended when Sanchez was rocked for a sack-fumble by Jermaine Cunningham and Rob Ninkovich. Brady finished 26-of-42 for 259 yards. Stevan Ridley (17-65) led the Patriots on the ground.
Raiders 26, Jaguars 23
The Jaguars had a 20-6 lead at the end of the third quarter of this contest despite losing both Maurice Jones-Drew to an ankle (on the second play of the game) and Blaine Gabbert to a shoulder. It's a shame for Gabbert, who was having a relatively decent performance. He finished 8-of-12 for 110 yards and a touchdown to a wide-open Cecil "Salute Your" Shorts that looked like a punt. Yes, most of Gabbert's passes were checkdowns and he nearly tossed two picks on one drive, including one into triple coverage, but this, sadly, was one of his better outings.
Chad Henne stepped in and the drop-off was immediately noticeable. Henne, who went 9-of-20 for 71 yards, displayed zero pocket awareness and terrible accuracy. He didn't even look like he was sober. It seemed like he just walked out of a Michigan frat party and a Jacksonville coach ran up to him and said, "Chad, we know you're over the legal limit, but Blaine is hurt and we really need you to play!"
Mularkey's horrible coaching first was apparent when he went for it on a 4th-and-1 at midfield in the second quarter with a 17-3 lead. The Raiders had nothing going on offense, yet Mularkey had Henne run a bootleg, which resulted in a loss of downs. Oakland scored an ensuing quick field goal - three points that would have been extremely useful for Jacksonville late in the game.
In the second half, Mularkey continuously had Henne pass the ball despite never trailing. It's a borderline miracle that he was never picked off.
The Raiders eventually tied it. They tried their best to lose this game themselves, wasting timeouts and turning the ball over (thrice). Carson Palmer, who went 26-of-46 for 298 yards, two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) and a weird interception (a 10-yard shovel pass that bounced off a helmet), nearly tossed a second pick in the end zone, but the ball was dropped. On the very next play, Aaron Ross was whistled for pass interference, ultimately leading to a Palmer sneak for a score.
After the Jaguars punted the ball at the end of regulation, the Raiders tried to run out the clock. Mularkey called a timeout even though he didn't have enough stoppages to force an Oakland punt, so Palmer decided to attempt a long pass. He actually completed it to Rod Streater for 23 yards, setting up what would've been a record-setting 64-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. He was short by a few yards, but later nailed the game-winner in overtime following a Shorts lost fumble.
Steelers 24, Bengals 17
- Mike Wallace, who has been having issues with drops since the bye, had three balls fall through his hands prior to intermission. He had a fourth drop (and nearly a fifth that was reviewed) after the break. He did manage to snag eight receptions for 52 yards, so it's not like he had a completely miserable outing.
- Fifth-string running back Baron Batch, who had to play because both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman were out, dropped a touchdown in the second quarter from Antonio Brown (7 catches, 96 yards) on a trick play. This was doubly unfortunate for the Steelers because Ben Roethlisberger would throw an interception in the end zone later on the drive. It was a poor decision, as he forced a pass to Heath Miller into double coverage.
- The Steelers had a whopping four penalties on returns, three of which negated big returns. Brown had about 100 yards worth of returns nullified by those infractions.
- Roethlisberger was guilty of another mistake; he was strip-sacked deep in his own territory which led to a quick Cincinnati touchdown.
This third-stringer was outmatched by Casey Hampton. Cincinnati suddenly couldn't open up any holes for BenJarvus Green-Ellis (18-69) or block pass-rushers up the middle.
Andy Dalton was also at fault. The Red Rifle went 14-of-28 for 105 yards, one touchdown (a gift from the Steelers following the Big Ben strip-sack) and an interception. He made some nice throws, but was terribly inconsistent.
For thoughts on Bears-Lions, check out my updated 2012 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 17
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 16
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 15
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 3
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
2012: Live 2012 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
2012 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 10
2012 NFL Week 2 Recap - Sept. 17
2012 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 24
2012 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 1
2012 NFL Week 5 Recap - Oct. 8
2012 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 15
2012 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 22
2012 NFL Week 8 Recap - Oct. 29
2012 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 5
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2012 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 19
2012 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 26
2012 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 3
2012 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 10
2012 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 17
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2012 NFL Week 18 Recap - Jan. 7
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Super Bowl XLVII Recap - Feb. 4
Super Bowl XLVII Live Blog - Feb. 4
2011: Live 2011 NFL Draft Blog - April 28
2011 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 12
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2011 NFL Week 3 Recap - Sept. 26
2011 NFL Week 4 Recap - Oct. 3
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2011 NFL Week 6 Recap - Oct. 17
2011 NFL Week 7 Recap - Oct. 24
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2011 NFL Week 9 Recap - Nov. 7
2011 NFL Week 10 Recap - Nov. 14
2011 NFL Week 11 Recap - Nov. 21
2011 NFL Week 12 Recap - Nov. 28
2011 NFL Week 13 Recap - Dec. 5
2011 NFL Week 14 Recap - Dec. 12
2011 NFL Week 15 Recap - Dec. 19
2011 NFL Week 16 Recap - Dec. 26
2011 NFL Week 17 Recap - Jan. 2
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Super Bowl XLVI Live Blog - Feb. 6
2010: Live 2010 NFL Draft Blog - April 22
2010 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 8
2010 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 9
2010 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 13
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2010 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 18
2010 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 25
2010 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 1
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2010 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
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2010 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 3
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Super Bowl XLV Live Blog - Feb. 6
2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
2009 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 10
2009 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 10
2009 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 14
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2009 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 28
2009 NFL Week 4 Review - Oct. 5
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2009 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 26
2009 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 2
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2009 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
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Super Bowl XLIV Live Blog - Feb. 7
2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
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NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 8
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NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 22
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NFL Wild Card Playoffs Review - Jan. 4
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NFL Championship Sunday Review - Jan. 19
Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog
2007: NFL Draft: Day 1 Review Blog - April 28
Quarterback Rankings - June 25
NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 6
Chief Carl Has Lost a Step - Sept. 9
The NFL Cheated the Patriots - Sept. 16
NFL Week 3 Wrap-Up - Sept. 23
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NFL Week 5 Wrap-Up - Oct. 7
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NFL Week 17 Wrap-Up - Dec. 30
NFL Week 18 Wrap-Up - Jan. 6
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2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
Super Bowl XLII Live Blog - Feb. 3
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