Photo via Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post
Week 7 of the NFL season brought about some crazy endings and some teams and players making emphatic statements as we approach the halfway point of the season. Kirk Cousins continues his resurgence as he produced another four-touchdown performance in the Vikings’ 42-30 win at Detroit. The San Francisco 49ers’ defense continues to impress with a shutout 9-0 victory at Washington. However, the highlight of the week was the ending of the Chargers-Titans game. The Chargers in the final minute while down 23-20 had two touchdowns taken off the board as replayed deemed Ekeler and Gordon short of the goal-line with a pass interference on Tennessee in between. Then, Gordon tried to punch it in again but fumbled at the goal-line and the Titans recovered to hold on for a victory. With all the drama, here are the thoughts after this week’s action.
- Starting with the Chargers, it is amazing the domino effect losing one or two pieces on either side of the ball can do to an entire unit. The Chargers lost deep threat wide receiver Tyrell Williams and left tackle Russell Okung, and the Chargers’ offense has plummeted from an efficient machine last year, to a middling and turnover-prone offense. While they are top 10 in total yards, they are bottom 10 in points per game. They aren’t efficient at finishing off drives and they aren’t finishing games. They sit at 2-5 and their point differential is -1. They need to focus on bolstering their offensive line and their interior defensive line if they are going to rebound next season.
- Kirk Cousins is feeling it right now. Whenever he plays a secondary that isn’t great or a team with an elite pass rush, he looks like a top-five quarterback in this league. With his receivers and the NFL’s leading rusher in Dalvin Cook, they have a dangerous offense and if they take care of business against teams they should beat like Washington on Thursday Night Football, they should find themselves in the playoffs.
- San Francisco continues to have an elite defense that is balling out for them. In a bad weather game, they went into DC and shut down the Redskins. While 9-0 is not very impressive on paper, the conditions were wet, muddy and overall miserable to play in. They won with a defense that is just as good as winning 45-27.
- I was wrong about the New Orleans Saints. Their offense is very efficient and their performances on the defense and special teams are nothing to sneeze at. They dominated the Chicago Bears, a team that was supposed to beat the Kamara and Cook-less Saints. Their defense is overall better than last season and they are tied for second in the NFL in fewest turnovers. They don’t turn the ball over and that allows their offense to hum along efficiently without Drew Brees.
- The Seahawks just traded for Quandre Diggs and that’s huge because they need all the defensive help they can get. They were absolutely lit up by the Ravens, especially on the ground. It’s no coincidence the first game Russell Wilson isn’t spectacular, they lost. They need to acquire defensive help at the deadline or else their defense will prevent Seattle from exceeding their performance last year.
- The Patriots’ have some silly numbers. They have had 18 interceptions and one passing touchdown allowed. Also, if their offense had never taken a single snap this season, the Patriots would be 3-3-1. However, when they travel to Baltimore to take on a red-hot Lamar Jackson in two weeks will be the judge of whether this defense is that great, or if it was a by-product of their competition.
- There is a difference between a great team and a dynasty. A great team wins the Super Bowl, then feels they’ve accomplished everything, then doesn’t win again with their core while a dynasty always has that hunger regardless of their previous success. This is the Philadelphia Eagles vs the New England Patriots. Head coach Doug Peterson wrote a book after winning one Super Bowl and has been just 13-12 since their championship. They are an arrogant mess that has fallen into complacency. They don’t have Nick Foles to bail them out again and if they don’t make moves at the deadline, they may miss the playoffs after coming into this season with Super Bowl aspirations. The Patriots, on the other hand, are gunning for another championship and sit at 7-0 after winning last years’ Super Bowl and three of the last five.