BY Josh Hatt
Better Late Than Never
It was a day of late comebacks in the NFL on Sunday, with 3 dramatic last second wins. The Detroit Lions scored a touchdown as time expired to defeat the Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Donovan Peoples- Jones caught the game winning touchdown with 11 seconds left to win the Battle of Ohio over the Bengals. It wasn’t all good news for Cleveland However, as they lost star wideout Odell Beckham JR for the season to a torn ACL. The late drama continued into Sunday Night, as the Arizona Cardinals stunned the Seattle Seahawks by erasing a double digit deficit in the second half, and winning te game in Overtime with a field goal. The Arizona defence forced Russel Wilson to throw 3 interceptions, including a crucial pick in overtime by Isiah Simmons to set up the game winning kick by Zane Gonzalez. The NFC West is the best division in the league, with Seattle, Arizona and the LA Rams all with 5 wins, and the San Francisco 49ers with 4.
And Then There Was One
The Pittsburgh Steelers are now the only undefeated team in the NFL, as they handed the Tennessee Titans their first loss of the year in Nashville. Pittsburgh raced out to an early 24-7 lead, but the Titans staged a comeback, only to fall narrowly short as kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a potential game tying kick with 19 seconds left. If these two teams meet again in the playoffs, it could be a classic.
The End of an Era?
The New England Patriots have long been one of the most dominant teams in the league, winning 6 Superbowl’s and not missing the playoffs since 2008. However, that remarkable run may be coming to an end this year, as the Patriots were blown out by San Francisco 33-6 at home. New England Quarterback Cam Newton threw 3 interceptions and was benched late on. 49ers running back Jeff Wilson scored 3 touchdowns, although he suffered a high ankle sprain when scoring his third. New England has now lost 3 straight and sits at 2-4 in 3rd place in the AFC East. It seems likely that their run of dominance is over, for now at least.
Other talking points:
Former Patriots QB Tom Brady is thriving in Tampa, as the 43-year-old threw 4 touchdowns at the Bucs won 45-20 in Las Vegas. Brady is now also the all-time leader in touchdown passes after this impressive showing from the all time great.
Dallas’s horrendous season continued, as QB Andy Dalton was knocked out of the game with a concussion, and Dallas lost heavily in Washington. Dallas has now suffered 2 Quarterback injuries, although their defence was poor before that. Questions will be asked of head coach Mike McCarthy, as the team has totally failed to live up to expectations. Dallas is not out of the playoff hunt in an awful NFC East, with no team in the division having more than 2 wins. But right now it is difficult to see Dallas winning many games the rest of the season with 7th round rookie Ben DiNucci at the helm, and a defence that cannot seem to defend anything.
LA Chargers QB Justin Herbert got his first career victory, helping the Chargers beat Jacksonville 39-29. It appears that the Chargers have found their QB of the future, with the 1st round rookie throwing for 3 touchdowns, and rushing for another.
The Kansas City Chiefs looked back to their best as they dominated Denver in the snow 43-16.
The Buffalo Bills got off to a slow start but still managed to beat the winless Jets 18-10, with their kicker Tyler Bass accounting for all of Buffalo’s points with 6 field goals. Buffalo is 5-2, but will have to improve offensively against better teams than the Jets.
The Philadelphia Eagles staged a late comeback to beat the New York Giants 22-21 on Thursday night. Philly now sits in first place in the NFC East despite only managing 2 wins and a tie through the first 7 weeks. They face bitter rivals Dallas next week.