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Sunday, December 16, 2018

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 7

Falcons Patriots

NFL Week 7 offered another nasty spate of injuries, a few blowouts, and some remarkable performances by numerous players. As usual, though, there were a good number of players who didn’t really show up when their teams needed them to. Be it an unexpected change in plans or simply being outclassed by their opponents, a list of stars and units with high expectations simply left a lot to be desired in Week 7.

Here’s a list of 15 big disappointments from this week’s slate of NFL games.

Atlanta Falcons

Few teams had more motivation entering their Week 7 game than the Atlanta Falcons. After blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl last season, the Falcons surely wanted revenge on the Patriots. Instead, they served up a stinker in Foxboro.

Facing what’s been one of the worst defenses in the league this season, the Falcons were shutout nearly the entire game and managed just seven points, which were scored with only around four minutes left in the contest. Atlanta didn’t commit any turnovers, but they found other ways to shoot themselves in the foot. They had one field goal blocked, missed another, and they failed to punch things in from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. The Falcons were only 2-for-9 on third-down conversions and 1-for-3 on fourth-down conversions. This was not their finest moment.

Vontaze Burfict, LB, Bengals

Burfict’s statline was unremarkable, as he contributed four tackles but little else. The real issue is his conduct. The Bengals linebacker was spotted kicking Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix in the head as a play came to a halt. This would be bad enough by itself, but it’s even worse when you consider who did it. This is Burfict — one of the league’s dirtiest players — who should really know better by now. He doesn’t, and he’ll probably never learn, and the NFL will probably want to speak with him about this — with good reason.

New York Giants

There was some thought — or perhaps “hope” would be the better choice of word — that last week’s surprising win over the Denver Broncos might kickstart the Giants. And while it was probably too late to salvage their season either way, they could at least show some signs of life going forward. Not so much.

The Giants generated just 177 yards of total offense, gave up 425 yards to the Seattle Seahawks, and came away looking every bit as bad as they have at any point all season. If Ben McAdoo isn’t fearing for his job yet, he should probably start to worry.

DeShone Kizer, QB, Browns

Things were looking up for Kizer, who had reclaimed his starting job for Week 7 after a week on the bench. That was pretty much the last good thing that happened to him.

The rookie was benched early in the second half against the Tennessee Titans after throwing interceptions on consecutive passes, capping off a day in which he threw for only 114 yards. To make matters worse, his coach is not happy with him over his nightlife activities. Kizer might not be getting that starting job back anytime soon after this fiasco.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks

Graham had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown in his team’s win over the New York Giants, but he could have done so much more. The veteran tight end’s drops are becoming a legitimate problem — he dropped at least two straightforward passes during the game, one of which would have been a touchdown and another for a potentially huge gain. Graham simply doesn’t look like the same player he was in New Orleans. Sure, he got in the end zone, but he could have had a huge day, only to simply fumble it away — pretty much literally.

Carolina Panthers’ offense

There was really nothing doing for Carolina on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. It starts with Cam Newton, who turned the ball over twice in the 17-3 defeat. He received little support from the running game, as Jonathan Stewart only picked up 48 yards on 14 carries and Christian McCaffrey was a non-factor on the ground, with ten yards on seven carries. None of Newton’s wide receivers offered much, either; only Kelvin Benjamin picked up more than 50 yards. Carolina’s offense is maddeningly inconsistent, and it’s holding them back in a big way.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts

Hilton stunk up the joint on Sunday, catching just two passes for 27 yards despite being targeted eight times by quarterback Jacoby Brissett. That was bad enough for the man who is supposed to be the star attraction of an Indianapolis offense that was shut out at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars. But to make matters worse, he decided to deflect attention away from himself by throwing the offensive line under the bus after the game. Hilton may well have a point, but nothing constructive will come from saying it publicly — especially when didn’t have the best of games.

Cincinnati Bengals’ defense

The Bengals have endured plenty of problems this season, but defense hadn’t been one of them. The Bengals entered Week 7 second in the league in scoring defense, with a particularly sturdy unit against the pass. That all fell apart on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers got at them. Pittsburgh put up 420 yards, with Ben Roethlisberger turning in a composed performance and Le’Veon Bell repeatedly gashing holes in the Bengal defense. It was Cincy’s defense that was supposed to make this a competitive game — and it was because of their failures that Pittsburgh ended up running away with the second half.

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