What We Learned in Week 7 in the NFL:
- Late finishes make for exciting early games
- Obscure rule gives Jets second chance at victory over Patriots
- Luck out quarterbacks Manning on Manning’s homecoming night
- Bengals win again with last minute FG
- It’s good to beat the Ravens no matter what the Steelers record is
Another Sunday of NFL action is in the books and we are once again reminded of why we watch this game so faithfully. The early games on Sunday provided some thrilling finishes as four games finished with surprise endings, each within minutes of each other. The Jets beat the Patriots in OT thanks to a rule no one knew about before now; the irony of that is just too much to handle. The Redskins outlasted the Bears in a shootout that combined for 86 points; the Bengals won another last minute game on a 54-yard field goal against the Lions. And the Bills kicked their winning field goal with 31 seconds remaining, and hung on to prevent a last-second Hail Mary from Tannehill.
The Jets not only spoiled the return of Gronk for the Patriots, they also got the benefit of a rule that no one had ever heard of before yesterday. After rebounding from a 21-10 halftime deficit the Jets came back to get a pick six off of Brady, take the lead late, and then hold on for dear life into overtime. Then, as Nick Folk’s 56-yard potential game-winning field goal sailed wide left, the Jets got a second chance. New England’s Chris Jones was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for pushing his teammate into the opponents’ formation, which apparently is a penalty now as of this past offseason. The Jets took the 15 yards to get closer for Folk, who then nailed the 42-yarder for the Jets win. Rex Ryan was obnoxiously grateful following the game.
“I was like, you know what? It’s about time we got a break. That’s really what I was thinking. It just worked out.” – Rex Ryan
Yeah, because the Jets have had it so rough and none of it was self-inflicted whatsoever that they really deserved a break. Oh well, anything that gives a loss to the Patriots.
The prime-time event for this weekend was always set to be the return of Peyton Manning to Lucas Oil Stadium in a Broncos jersey. The idiotic ramblings of Jim Irsay during the week provided fuel to a fire that didn’t need any fuel, because the game was compelling enough already. The way the Broncos had been playing so far this season; it was more a question of how many touchdowns he’d rain down over his former team, not really giving the Colts much of a chance. Well, the Broncos looked beatable and were beatable in the Colts 39-33 victory. The Broncos pass protection was terrible and their secondary looked almost as bad as they did for the AFC Divisional game against the Ravens. Maybe Peyton got it into his head that this game had a “playoff” feel to it and he did what, um, he normally does in the playoffs.
Another week for the Bengals, another Mike Nugent game-winning field goal. The Bengals and Lions had a shootout of their own with Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford throwing for a combined 729 yards. Super start wide-outs A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson each caught for 155 yards apiece. Cincy meets the Jets next week for a battle of teams who have accounted for most of the last-second victories so far this season. Who will get the break this time?
The Steelers put together their best offensive performance of the season so far in a game that featured the Steelers running the Wild-Cat and their first 100+ yards on the ground in a game since November of 2012. Aside from the 8:00 Ravens drive that tied the score with just less than two minutes remaining, the defense played one of their best games as well, although didn’t earn a turnover at all. That game-tying drive by the Ravens was just what this game called for, though. It’s not a Steelers vs. Ravens matchup if you’re not filled with anxiety and intense abdominal pains in the final two minutes. Thankfully, Ben led the Steelers in a game-winning drive ending with a Shaun Suisham field goal to give the Steelers the 19-16 victory, their second of the season. The Steelers are far from perfect, as they still are having red zone deficiencies, but a win against the Ravens is still pretty friggin good.