Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs endured a miserable loss to the Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady reached another career milestone, Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals put the NFL on alert and Deshaun Watson trade talk continued in Miami – we look back on Sunday’s NFL action.
WEEK SEVEN RESULTS
Kansas City Chiefs 3-27 Tennessee Titans
Washington Football Team 10-24 Green Bay Packers
Carolina Panthers 3-25 New York Giants
Atlanta Falcons 30-28 Miami Dolphins
New York Jets 13-54 New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles 22-33 Las Vegas Raiders
Detroit Lions 19-28 Los Angels Rams
Houston Texans 5-31 Arizona Cardinals
On National Tight Ends Day it seems only right that they take centre stage here, starting with rookie Kyle Pitts as he followed up his breakout performance in London with seven catches for 163 yards in his second successive 100-yard game to help the Falcons to victory over the Dolphins.
Zach Ertz capped his Cardinals debut with three catches for 66 yards and a 47-yard touchdown catch-and-run against the Texans, while C.J. Uzomah provided three receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals’ ‘pay attention to us’ victory over the Ravens.
Cincinnati bolstered their stock as one of the NFL’s early surprise packages in 2021 behind more LSU fireworks from Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals quarterback throwing for a career-high 416 yards and three touchdowns as his former college receiver put up 201 receiving yards including an 82-yard catch-and-run to the house.
Giants rookie outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari had 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in Big Blue’s win over the Panthers, and Rashan Gary chipped in with two sacks, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble for Green Bay against Washington.
Defensive end Denico Autry finished with two sacks and seven quarterback pressures in Tennessee’s blowout victory against the Chiefs, with AJ Brown leading the Titans on offense in the form of eight catches for 133 yards and a touchdown.
Cooper Kupp added to his tally on the year with 10 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns to help the Rams finally see off a persistent Lions team, for whom second-year running back D’Andre Swift impressed with 144 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
Brady meanwhile brought up career touchdown pass No. 600 in Tampa’s rout of the Bears, three of his four on the night going to Mike Evans.
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH MAHOMES, CHIEFS?
Questions that had stalked the Chiefs heading into Week Seven were underscored as the Super Bowl LIV champions slipped to 3-4 on the year after a crushing 27-3 defeat to the Titans, during which quarterback Patrick Mahomes left the field having taken a strong hit to the head.
Even before his departure Mahomes had gone 20 of 35 for 206 yards and an interception alongside a lost fumble amid more worrying signs of an off-colour Chiefs offense, not helped by a porous secondary and oomph-less pass rush.
“I’ve seen our guys do it and make the plays, we’re just not doing it now,” admitted head coach Andy Reid. “We weren’t doing it offensively, we weren’t finishing it defensively. We really need to get both sides playing well. We have to eliminate the turnovers and penalties, these are things that haven’t been common to us. I’m seeing things I haven’t seen before.
“Guys that I’ve seen perform did not do certain things. We’re right there to do the right thing and make something happen, and it’s bouncing the other way. We have to fix that.”
‘CAN I HAVE MY BALL BACK, PLEASE?’
One Bucs fan thought he had bagged the ultimate collector’s item when Evans handed him the ball after catching Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass.
Brady, the Bucs and an apologetic Evans soon realised what had happened before sending a trainer over to the supporter to politely negotiate a ‘backsie’.
TUA, DARNOLD IN THE SPOTLIGHT?
Tua Tagovailoa threw two brutal interceptions in Miami’s loss to Atlanta, including one in the RedZone, but he is not the problem. A turnstile offensive line remains a problem, injuries are a problem, the play-calling has been a problem, a dip in defensive production has been a problem.
And yet there feels like an increasing sense of inevitability to Tagovailoa being the one that pays the price amid reports that the Dolphins are in talks to acquire Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson ahead of the NFL’s trade deadline.
Watson currently faces 22 civil lawsuits following allegations of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions in addition to 10 criminal complaints.
“I hear it. I do hear it. I just don’t listen to it. So that’s that,” said Tagovailoa of Watson talk.
The 2020 first-round pick finished 32 of 40 for 291 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in the 30-28 defeat to the Falcons.
Sam Darnold’s Panthers tenure meanwhile garnered unwanted attention as he was benched for PJ Walker during Carolina’s 25-3 defeat to the Giants. The former Jets quarterback went 16 of 25 for 111 yards and an interception while being sacked six times.
“Just felt like we needed some sort of a spark,” said head coach Matt Rhule. “Not that anything was necessarily him, I think it was all of them. Hoping P.J. would go out there and make a run or do something to kind of get us going. Sam will be our quarterback next week, he’ll be our quarterback moving forward.”
The Panthers are also said to be in the market for Watson, who has a no-trade clause and can therefore decide on his preferred destination.
Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is due to undergo an MRI exam on the knee injury that forced him off in the second quarter against the Patriots, for whom tight end Jonnu Smith (shoulder), defensive lineman Carl Davis (wrist), linebacker Harvey Langi (knee), right guard Shaq Mason (abdomen) and safety Devin McCourty (abdomen) also left the game.
Chiefs quarterback Mahomes insisted he was “feeling fine” after clearing concussion protocol in the wake of a huge hit against the Titans, while Tennessee offensive tackle Kendall Lamm exited with an ankle knock.
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was ruled out with a chest problem against the Eagles, whose own lead running back Miles Sanders departed with an ankle injury.
Washington rookie wide receiver Dyami Brown suffered a knee injury against the Packers, Ravens right tackle Patrick Mekari was unable to continue due to an ankle injury against the Bengals and the Falcons lost both cornerback AJ Terrell (head) and safety Erik Harris (shoulder) against the Dolphins.
The Giants’ injury woes continued with linebacker Lorenzo Carter (ankle) and safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle) in their win over the Panthers, Matt Rhule’s side seeing cornerback C.J. Henderson unable to continue after an early shoulder problem.
Miami lost running back Malcolm Brown (quad), linebacker Jerome Baker (knee) and defensive back Jason McCourty (foot) early against Atlanta.
- Ja’Marr Chase’s 754 receiving yards are the most by any player through the first seven games of his career in NFL history
- Tom Brady is the first player in NFL history to reach 600 career touchdown passes
- Patrick Mahomes has now thrown nine interceptions so far this season and at least one in six successive games, marking the longest streak of his career
- The Jets have been scoreless in the first quarter of each of the opening six games this season – the first team to do so since the 2008 Detroit Lions team that went 0-16 (ESPN Stats & Info)
- Cooper Kupp is the first player in the Super Bowl era to have 800-plus receiving yards and nine-plus receiving touchdowns in his team’s opening seven games of a season
- Kyle Pitts’ 163 receiving yards against the Dolphins are the second most by a rookie tight end since 1970
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