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.
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.
Through the first five weeks of the NFL season, some familiar names sit atop the offensive statistical categories. Quarterbacks like Rodgers and Brady lead many passing categories, while receivers like A.J. Green and Antonio Brown top many receiving categories. But there are some fresh faces in the league doing big things, as well as a few surprises emerging with their clubs.
Here’s a look at each NFL team’s best offensive skill player so far in 2017.
Arizona Cardinals — J.J. Nelson, WR
Larry Fitzgerald still has more catches and yardage, but in terms of big plays, it is Nelson who has paced the Cardinals this season. He has the highest yards per catch of any Arizona wide receiver, and his two touchdowns are tied with Fitzgerald for the team lead. It’s only a matter of time before he is the No. 1 receiver in Arizona. Nelson is already getting plaudits now — his five catch, 120 yard performance in Week 2 earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Atlanta Falcons — Devonta Freeman, RB
Impressively, Freeman alone has five touchdowns this season — as many as quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for over the same amount of games. Those five touchdowns are good enough to tie him for the NFL lead with Leonard Fournette of the Jaguars. His yardage total doesn’t jump off the page — at 285 yards, he’s only 13th in the NFL — but he’s scoring touchdowns. That’s been huge for the Falcons in a year where Ryan hasn’t quite rediscovered his best form yet.
The San Diego Chargers fear that wide receiver Keenan Allen suffered a torn ACL in his knee during the team’s Week 1 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Allen was running a route and tried to break away from his defender, but instead he went down in pain (video here).
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the team fears an ACL tear.
Allen had six catches for 63 yards prior to the injury.
If he suffered an ACL tear as feared, that would take him out for the season and put his ability to be ready for the start of next season in jeopardy. Allen also missed significant action last season with a lacerated kidney.
San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen was carted off the field Sunday with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
Allen was very emotional as he was being wheeled away, which would seem to indicate he knew it could be bad.
There was very little contact on the play where Allen went down, which is typically a bad sign.
Allen looked like one of the best receivers in the game last year before he missed the final eight games with a kidney injury. He’s capable of making some incredible catches (like this one), and Philip Rivers will certainly miss the former Cal star if he misses time.
A pair of Chargers players faced significant backlash for their call to San Diego fans.
Friday night, Melvin Ingram and Keenan Allen both tweeted to fans telling them to show up to games since the team is staying. While well-intentioned, it’s easy to argue that they came off as standoffish. Here’s just a small sampling of fans who felt the same way:
Perhaps these messages were meant to rally the fanbase, but they both come off rather standoffish. The fans noticed, and were very loud and clear in their response: we were there all along, how about you win some games?
So, uh, in short, whoops. Bad idea, guys. This is just a small sampling of the responses that were lobbed their way. Both were quick to clarify their remarks upon seeing the torrent of angry tweets.
The fact of the matter is the Chargers could sell out every game and make the playoffs, but none of it would matter if the team can’t get the deal it wants to build a new stadium in light of the agreement with the Rams.
A disappointing season for the San Diego Chargers could be about to get a lot worse, as wide receiver Keenan Allen has been ruled out indefinitely with a kidney injury.
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy told reporters on Monday that Allen is “going to miss some time.” As Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes, McCoy is usually tight-lipped when it comes to injury information. The fact that he was open in discussing Allen could mean the 23-year-old is going to miss several weeks.
After bursting onto the scene his rookie year, Allen had somewhat of a sophomore slump in 2014. He has bounced back in a huge way so far this season, ranking second in the NFL with 66 receptions and third with 725 yards receiving. Allen appeared to injure himself while making an incredible touchdown catch against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.
With Antonio Gates banged up since he returned from suspension, Philip Rivers is running out of people to throw to. Losing Allen is really going to sting.
The San Diego Chargers got the best of the defending Super Bowl champions on Sunday, and part of the reason for that was their willingness to throw toward Richard Sherman. Rather than ignoring Sherman’s side of the field completely like the Green Bay Packers did, the Chargers stuck to their game plan and came out on top. And Keenan Allen was apparently not impressed with Sherman’s skills.
After the game, Sherman would not speak with the media but did send a tweet addressing the Chargers players who said he was “exposed.” Allen, who caught five passes for 55 yards, downplayed Sherman’s ability.
“He’s just a normal guy,” Allen said, via ESPN.com’s Terry Blount. “We can go at him. We took some shots at him. We are not going to shy away from him. He’s not really a shutdown corner. We definitely wanted to come out and show we could go any way we wanted to and that we were in control of the game.”
There was one play in particular where Allen beat Sherman on a nice double move (you can watch it here), but Sherman allowed only three catches. Most people wouldn’t call that getting “exposed.” Allen is the Chargers’ No. 1 receiver and was dominant as a rookie last season, so you could even argue that Sherman did his job. Malcolm Floyd didn’t see it that way.
“Keenan was lighting up Sherman,” Floyd said.
I definitely wouldn’t call that type of production “lighting up” anyone, but I will say that Sherman ignoring the media after the game was not a good look. No one loves to talk more when they’re successful than Sherman. If you’re going to talk that much when you win, you shouldn’t run and hide after a loss.
San Diego Chargers rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen is having a phenomenal season. One of his best plays of the season came on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos when he scored a touchdown in the second quarter.
Allen caught a pass from Philip Rivers at around the 18-yard line. Several Broncos defenders closed in on him, seemingly giving the rookie out of Cal no chance of scoring. He thought differently as he hurdled one Denver defender and went right through another en route to the end zone.
With over 60 receptions and closing in on 1,000 yards this season, Allen has all the makings of a true No. 1 receiver.
GIF via GIFD Sports
Keenan Allen wasn’t about to let anything keep him from scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
The San Diego Chargers rookie receiver caught a pass from Philip Rivers across the middle on 3rd and 6 and saw two Broncos converging on him. He decided the best way to handle the situation was to go airborne, so he took off, hurdled one man, and powered his way into the end zone for a 19-yard score. It was awesome.
Look at how much air he got:
Here’s another angle of the hurdle:
A number of fairly significant injuries across the NFL in Week 6 should lead to a fairly hot waiver wire in fantasy football leagues heading into Week 7. With offensive approaches becoming more clear, we are now able to tell which sleepers are for real and which ones will likely turn out to be duds. We’re hoping the players on our Week 7 fantasy pickups list turn out to be studs.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: Michael Vick missed Philadelphia’s Week 6 game with a hamstring injury, and as many expected Nick Foles filled in admirably. Foles and Vick split most of the first-team reps throughout training camp, so Foles is plenty familiar with Chip Kelly’s offense. He doesn’t have the running ability that Vick has, but he can compensate for that with his superior passing ability. Foles threw for a combined 497 yards and five touchdowns against the Giants and Buccaneers over the past two weeks. More importantly, he has not thrown an interception. He has a good chance to put up solid fantasy numbers in Chip Kelly’s video-game offense. He should make for a great bye week filler if nothing else.
Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys: Surprise, surprise — Demarco Murray has gone down with an injury. He could miss several weeks with a sprained MCL, and backup running back Phillip Tanner is also injured. As a result, Randle is in line to handle most of the work for the foreseeable future. The rookie out of Oklahoma State ran for just 17 yards on 11 carries Sunday night, but he should make for a viable flex play from a pure volume standpoint. The Cowboys move the ball. Any running back that receives most of the carries in an offense that moves the ball is worth rostering.