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#pounditFriday, December 4, 2020

5 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 7

Cam Newton

We’re getting close to the halfway point of the NFL season, which means the playoff races will really be heating up soon. That means the stakes are getting higher, and the pressure is rising as well.

Plenty of NFL stars are succeeding in responding to that pressure. Some, however, aren’t doing quite as well. Here are five players who disappointed in Week 7.

Cam Newton, QB, Patriots

The predictions about Newton having a rebound season and getting back to his MVP form look about as off the mark as some of his passes do these days. Newton went 9/15 for 98 yards and three interceptions in Sunday’s loss to San Francisco. He didn’t have his peak strength or accuracy, and things got bad enough that he was benched once the game became a blowout. Newton’s play is a real concern for New England at this point, and one has to wonder if the Pats are considering a switch with Jarrett Stidham waiting in the wings.

Stephen Gostkowski, K, Titans

The Titans have stuck by Gostkowski so far, even though they’d have been entirely justified in moving on based on his stats. Now he’s cost them a game. He missed a 45-yard field goal at the end of regulation against the Steelers that would have forced overtime. Even Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t believe it. The veteran has now missed six field goals and two extra points, and doesn’t look reliable right now. The Titans are 5-1 and look well-positioned for a playoff run. They will want to get a better kicker first, though.

Jon Bostic, LB, Washington

Bostic produced the worst moment of the day with this hit on Andy Dalton that knocked the Dallas Cowboys quarterback out of the game. It was so bad, in fact, that Washington coach Ron Rivera apologized and publicly chastised Bostic for his lack of control. Rivera is right. Bostic is a veteran who needs to be better than that. It was a low hit that looked like head-hunting, and a suspension would be fully deserved.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Elliott continues to look fairly lost in the Dallas backfield with or without Dak Prescott. He was held to 45 yards on 12 carries Sunday against Washington, keeping a worrying trend going. It’s the second consecutive game Elliott has been held under 50 yards, and the third time in five weeks. He has yet to go for 100 yards this season. Some of that is due to game script, but Elliott is also dealing with fumbling problems, and has at times looked uncertain running out of the backfield. The Cowboys need him more than ever with Prescott and possibly Dalton out, but he’s not giving them much.

Todd Gurley, RB, Falcons

Gurley will be having nightmares about scoring a touchdown, strange as that is to say. While he tried to avoid crossing the plane, Gurley accidentally scored late to put Atlanta ahead 22-16 against Detroit. The problem? Doing so left the Lions over a minute to go downfield and score a game-winning touchdown themselves. We always praise running backs who are mentally sharp enough to take a knee short of the end zone in order to burn more clock in a spot like this. Gurley didn’t do that, and his team ultimately paid the price. Crazily, this was the second time this happened over the weekend.

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