Week 7 gave NFL fans a “carwash treatment” worth of surprises. There was a successful Hail Mary, a tie, and another 200+ rushing performance from Jay Ajayi. Those three things have literally never happened on the same day before. Beyond that, the Vikings finally lost and a wide receiver (Ty Montgomery) had more rushing yards than Todd Gurley. Sure, Gary Kubiak got revenge on his old team and the Pats took care of business against the Roethlisberger-less Steelers, but most of week 7 was unpredictable.
Jay Ajayi making history: When the Dolphins took Boise State running back Jay Ajayi in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft, they couldn’t have known he was the next Ricky Williams. If Ajayi continues to run for 200 yards a game, he’ll likely end up as the greatest running back of all time. Eight days ago, he was best known for being left in Miami, after he pitched a fit when Arian Foster was named the starter in week 1 against Seattle. Now he’s playing so well that Foster has decided to retire. Someone go find Cam Newton and ask him which player is better, since they both hate losing so much.
The Vikings laying an egg: The Eagles own two of the season’s most impressive victories, beating the Steelers (at full strength) and now the Vikings, so they’re no scrubs. Minnesota losing a game was inevitable and a road loss in Philly is no cause for panic. It’s how they played that stood out the most. Mike Zimmer called it “embarrassing.” Sam Bradford looked uncomfortable in his return to Philly, largely due to the Eagles’ unremitting pass rush. With dropped passes, four turnovers, and a performance from the offensive line, which Zimmer called “soft,” it’ll be a long week of practice in Minnesota.
Cardinals and Seahawks combining for 12 points (including a full OT): In a game that truly did not deserve a winner, both teams went home embarrassed. Sure, two good defenses played well… against two offenses that set the NFL back a half century. The stars of the night were undoubtedly the kickers, though. The real losing team is comprised of everyone who watched the game.
Jets QBs lighting it up: The lowly J-E-T-S were 1-5 hosting the reeling Ravens on Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick got benched for Geno Smith, just one day after Todd Bowles vocally endorsed Fitz remaining the team’s starter. Geno started off nicely, throwing for 95 yards and a touchdown before tearing his ACL in the second quarter. Fitzpatrick threw for 120 yards and a touchdown in relief. Following the game, he admitted to playing with a little extra fire because of the demotion. Today, head coach Todd Bowles said, “If pissed off is going to stop the turnovers, I’m more than happy to have him play pissed off.” Mic. Dropped.
The Eagles winning despite 4 turnovers and a 13.0 QBR from Carson Wentz: That’s pretty much the recipe for how to lose a game. What’s particularly surprising is that the Eagles didn’t overcome 4 turnovers against a team like, say, the Browns. They beat the NFL’s lone defeated team, the Vikings. A team, it’s worth mentioning, that routinely preys on opponent’s blunders en route to victory. Give Jim Schwartz and the Eagles defense credit for playing aggressive, getting to the quarterback, and forcing turnovers. Carson Wentz gets to use one of his remaining “rookie free passes” against a formidable Viking defense, but he’s doesn’t have many left.
Case Keenum is still starting: At 3-4, it might be time to give the rookie a shot. That’s not to suggest the season is beyond salvage, rather that Keenum has reached his ceiling and it doesn’t include reaching the playoffs. If Jeff Fisher wants to have any shot at returning to the postseason, he should consider throwing Jared Goff into the fire. Then again, after agreeing to a contract extension earlier this year, he doesn’t really need to rush.
Things that shouldn’t have surprised anyone
A.J. Green’s spectacular Hail Mary catch: Someone ask the Ravens if they were surprised to see A.J. Green come down with that Hail Mary on Sunday. The guy has some of the best ball skills the league has ever seen and knows how to juggle. Still, knowing he make catches like that is one thing; watching him do it is something else.
Anquan Boldin making plays at 48 36: Are we sure Boldin didn’t go through some sort of procedure like Wolverine in X-Men 2? Because the man is invincible. It’s a reported fact he received 7 titanium plates and 40 screws in his face, returned to the field three weeks later, and still looks normal. Boldin winning the 2015 Man of the Year seems unfair, since he is clearly no mere mortal.
Osweiler getting booed (and losing) in his return: Who can fault Brock Osweiler from leaving Denver? Gary Kubiak benched him for old man Peyton, ostensibly denying him a (meaningful) Super Bowl ring, and Houston offered him more money. Similarly, who can fault John Elway and the Broncos for refusing to fork out $72 million for a quarterback who showed little promise in limited experience? Osweiler’s 2015 tape was minimal, but it pointed towards middling. His 2016 tape might be pointing towards the bench.
Andrew Luck beating the Titans: The eye test says the Titans are a better football team than the Colts, but history says they simply can’t beat Andrew Luck. For all his inconsistencies, Luck has never lost to Tennessee. There are countless examples that prove certain players own certain teams. For whatever reason, psychological or otherwise, the Titans can’t seem to conquer the Colts. Don’t call it bad Luck, though.