15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 7
NFL Week 7 featured some close games, excitement, and even a handful of meltdowns. The latter category is inevitably going to lead to some disappointments, and a lot of good teams were left wondering what was going on. There were also game-changing mistakes, including one missed kick from one of the most reliable kickers in the league.
Here are the 15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 7.
Dallas Cowboys’ special teams
Against all odds and despite more road struggles, the Cowboys looked all set to tie their game against the Washington Redskins as time was set to expire in regulation. Down three, they lined up for a 47-yard field goal that would have sent the game to overtime, but long snapper L.P. Ladouceur was called for a snap infraction before the kick, backing kicker Brett Maher up to 52. His kick curved at the last moment and hit the upright. It may well have been good from 47. The call was controversial, but ultimately cost them a chance at the game.
Philadelphia Eagles’ 4th-quarter play
The Eagles looked safe through three quarters, leading 17-0 and dominating at home against Carolina. Their defense looked great, while Carolina’s offense barely could get anything going. Then they totally collapsed. Carolina scored 21 points on three drives in the span of ten minutes, two of them 80 yards or better. The alarming part is this is the second time the Eagles let a fourth-quarter lead slip this season, being outscored 10-3 in the final frame by the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 that ended with an overtime loss. The Eagles are now 3-4, and nowhere near where they would have wanted to be at this point.
Justin Tucker, K, Ravens
When it comes to extra points, Tucker is as reliable as it gets. He stepped up with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter Sunday having converted all 222 of his career extra point attempts, and his team was down a point. The tie seemed inevitable, until Tucker somehow missed. He’ll likely recover fine from this, as he has one of the best records of any NFL kicker, active or otherwise. But sports can be cruel, and of course the one miss off Tucker’s boot comes in a situation where he simply couldn’t afford to miss.
Once a Super Bowl contender, the Jaguars are licking their wounds and trying to figure out if they can still win their division. Blake Bortles has been benched and looks like he’ll be sitting for at least the foreseeable future. The running game is little threat without Leonard Fournette, the player around whom the offense was built. The vaunted defense wasn’t awful, but still gave up 272 total yards to a Houston offense trying to survive with an injured Deshaun Watson. After the game, the Jags’ locker room turned ugly. It’s unclear where they go from here.
Jabrill Peppers, PR, Browns
With about three and a half minutes left in overtime, Peppers was set to return a punt that would have given Cleveland excellent field position near midfield. He got close to his own 45-yard line and promptly fumbled the ball, allowing Tampa Bay to recover with a very short field in front of them. The Bucs still almost blew it — they needed a 59-yard field goal to clinch the victory — but Peppers’ fumble still set them up for the win when it should have been the Browns trying to drive for the decisive score. It was a brutal mistake that cost Cleveland the game.
Washington’s red-zone offense
Washington narrowly survived at home against the Dallas Cowboys, but a more efficient offense likely would have had the game put away long before it actually was. Washington’s offense stalled out on the first drive of the second quarter, when they got down to the Dallas one-yard line but couldn’t punch it in, forcing them to settle for a short field goal. It happened again early in the fourth when the Redskins moved down to the Dallas 7 before stalling again, kicking another field goal. That’s not counting a turnover on downs at the Cowboys’ 39 to end the first half. The eight points left on the board kept the score close and allowed Dallas a shot to tie things late.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets
Darnold continues to mix very good performances in with very bad ones, and Sunday’s effort fell into the latter camp against the talented Minnesota Vikings defense. Darnold’s performance couldn’t be chalked up solely to the defense, though. He completed just 17 of his 42 pass attempts during the windy game. He also threw three picks, none of them particularly unlucky, and simply didn’t offer the Jets any real chance of winning the game. There will be weeks like this, and he’s already shown the ability to bounce back from them, but it doesn’t make them any easier to swallow now.
Taking on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead in primetime was an extremely tough matchup for the Bengals, but more was still expected of them. Instead, they completely tanked. The defense failed to contain Kansas City, allowing four touchdown passes by Patrick Mahomes and 198 yards on the ground. They had a particularly tough time bringing down Kareem Hunt, who scored three TDs. Their offense couldn’t even come close to keeping up with KC. Andy Dalton threw for just 148 yards and was replaced late by Jeff Driskel. This was the kind of game that has resulted in the Bengals earning a reputation for being terrible in primetime contests.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
Washington managed to do to Elliott what few other teams have: bottle him up completely. The star running back had 15 carries, but only got 34 yards out of them, failing to find the end zone. To make matters worse, he wasn’t particularly involved in the passing game either, getting just nine yards on two catches. The Cowboys didn’t really get the offense going until late in this one, and Elliott’s inability to be his usual self was a big reason why.
Miami Dolphins’ rush defense
The Detroit Lions are notorious for lacking an elite running game. Kerryon Johnson’s 101-yard game earlier in the season against New England was Detroit’s first 100-yard rushing game in five years, in fact. That made Miami’s performance on Sunday even worse. The Lions posted 248 yards rushing, including 158 from Johnson alone, as the Dolphin run defense was gashed for chunk plays over and over again. They made it too hard for the offense to turn things around and overcome the 32 points the Lions were allowed to put up.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears
Trubisky had a hard time getting going on Sunday, and even once he did, the downfield throws weren’t really there for him. He converted barely half of his attempts — 26 of 50 — and while he racked up the yardage and a pair of touchdowns, he threw two interceptions. He missed some throws and left big yards on the table. Trubisky just wasn’t quite consistent enough against the Patriots, and his decision-making still needs to sharpen up.
San Francisco’s ball security
The 49ers were always in for a challenge against a tough Los Angeles Rams team on Sunday, but they didn’t give themselves much of a chance to compete. The Niners ended up with four turnovers, including two fumbles in their first three drives, one by C.J. Beathard and the other by Matt Breida. Both came in their own territory, and led to 10 total points. Beathard ended up throwing two more interceptions, both of which led to touchdowns, though by that point the Rams were out of sight anyway. They also had a punt blocked for a safety. The Rams are good, but giving them the ball on the plus side of the field is a recipe for heavy defeat.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears
On a day when the Bears weren’t struggling to get passing yardage, Robinson just couldn’t get in on the act. He had a pretty bad drop on Chicago’s second drive and was only targeted five times, the bulk of them coming in the first half. He caught just one of them for a total of four yards. It was easily Robinson’s worst performance of the season, and unless he was injured, the context it came in was pretty surprising, as this looked like a decent matchup.
Buffalo Bills’ offense
The Bills have really left themselves in a mess. They may have expected to take a big step back after their playoff appearance, but they may be even further back than they intended. Derek Anderson wasn’t really any better than Nathan Peterman had been, with the new starter throwing three interceptions and failing to find the end zone in a blowout loss to the Colts. LeSean McCoy’s concussion only made matters worse. Josh Allen will come back eventually, but that won’t fix the problems inherent in Buffalo’s setup.
Arizona Cardinals’ offense
Against a team that had been struggling badly, the Cardinals managed to struggle even more and get their offensive coordinator fired. Arizona only barely broke 200 yards of total offense — 223 in total — and frankly aren’t putting the pieces in place to help rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who was intercepted three times and lost two fumbles. Against a team whose head coach may have been coaching for his job, the Cardinals were thoroughly outclassed by the Denver Broncos, raising serious questions about their own ability and readiness. These problems likely won’t be fixed quickly.