Here are some quick hits on Week 7 of the NFL Season.
Will the real Arizona Cardinals please stand up? After starting the season 4-0, the Cardinals lost to the Minnesota Vikings 21-14 to fall to 4-3 overall on the season. If there is any solace for the Cardinals, it is that the game stats were in their favor. They lead in first downs 21-12, plays 69-47, yards passing 262-58, and time of possession 35:05-24:55. The Vikings had a slight edge in rushing yards 166-126. The difference was turnovers. While both teams had two, the Cardinals were more costly. One was a 31 yard interception that was returned for a touchdown by Vikings safety Harrison Smith. The Cardinals need to turn this negative momentum around quick or they can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye in the ultra competitive NFC.
Well, I suspected the Baltimore Ravens would lose to the Houston Texans after losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb to season ending injuries the week prior, but I did not expect it to be this ugly. The Texans thrashed the Ravens 43-14. The once vaunted Ravens defense gave up 256 pass yards and 181 yards rushing. Even scarier was the inefficiency of the Ravens offense. They had 202 total yards. Running back Ray Rice had 42 yards on only nine carries. If the Ravens want to give themselves a shot at doing big things despite the defensive injuries, they must run the ball more. Not only will a balance on offense help the offensive attack, it will also help keep the defense off the field a bit longer.
Did you see the end of the New Orleans Saints 35-28 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? On the last play of the game, quarterback Josh Freeman found wide receiver Mike Williams for a touchdown that would have given the Buccaneers a chance to tie the game with the extra point. Unfortunately for the Bucs, Williams illegally touched the ball as he had been pushed out of bounds. Once going out of bounds, a player cannot re-enter and be the first to touch the ball. I’ve known that for a long time. However, I am surprised that a defensive player can push an offensive player out of the back of the end zone and the rule remains the same. How is this not a penalty? If it really is not a penalty, why don’t more players just push players out of the back of the end zone when they have a chance? It seems odd to me, but no one made a fuss about it.
The end of the New York Giants 27-23 win over the Washington Redskins was crazy. Robert Griffin III threw a 30 yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss to put the Redskins up by three with 1:32 left in the game. On the Giants second play on the ensuing drive, Eli Manning connected on a 77 yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. It proved to be the game winner after the Redskins final drive stalled out. Talk about a swing of emotions.
The New York Jets gave the New England Patriots a 29-26 overtime victory at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Seriously, the Jets could not have done more to help the Patriots than they did. They used Tim Tebow at all the wrong times. He was doing big things in short yardage situations, but the Jets did not put him in around the goal line. One touchdown in a situation and this game is dramatically different. There was the dropped pass in the fourth quarter by a wide open Stephen Hill that would have given the Jets a first down and chance to score a touchdown instead of having to kick a game tying field goal. There was also the Jets ineptitude to take advantage of the Devin McCourty kickoff return fumble that set the Jets up in great field position. They had the ball on the 18, but lost seven yards over three plays. They could only muster a field goal to take a 26-23 lead and left too much time on the clock. The Patriots thank the Jets for their cooperation in this victory.