NFL Week 7 Breakdown
Sunday, October 24, 2010 | Author: Mad Typist
And then there was one. There's nothing worse than going an entire season without a win. Just ask the Detroit Lions what that did to their psyche. The Carolina Panthers took advantage of Alex Smith's injury and pulled out the tough first win of the year for them. Credit to coach John Fox, who prematurely benched QB Matt Moore earlier in the year, for admitting his mistake and reinserting Moore this week.

So that leaves on the Buffalo Bills as the lone team who hasn't won yet this year. You can't really fault the offense, however. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick played magnificently (29/43, 374 yds, 4 TDs), as he did in a close loss against New England earlier in the season. However, as the saying goes, "Good teams find a way to win, bad teams find a way to lose," and that was true yet again. Great players like Ray Lewis know how to force the big turnover when the game is on the line. Bad players commit devastating penalties, such as the Bills player who took his helmet off after Lewis forced the fumble, drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty. The 15 yard penalty pretty much moved the ball from the 45 yard line, where the defense MIGHT have made a stand, to the 30 yard line, where it was well within field goal range.

Of old men and young whippersnappers. Kudos to Kerry Collins, who proved why he's one of the best backups in the league right now. The 37 year old QB is one of the few players who can come into a game cold and run an offense without a hitch. At the same time, he's very clear about the fact that he's just the backup and has no intention of challenging Vince Young for the starting position. That creates an ideal situation - you've got a veteran who can come in and have instant trust with the other guys in the huddle, but won't rock the boat in terms of creating a QB controversy.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the age spectrum, you have to love the youth movement the Kansas City Chiefs have going. This is a team that's going to be scary for a long time. I think they could make the playoffs this year, though I don't predict a postseason win for them yet. While I love the speed they show on offense and defense, they still could use a seasoned old man to help guide them - I remain unconvinced that Matt Cassel is the answer for this team at QB. I dislike his throwing motion, and am not sure that he has the leadership required to make this team a true contender.

Studs of the week. This week was the sort of game that showed what the Raiders were looking for when they drafted Darren McFadden (196 total yds, 4 TDs) in the first round. After the Redskins DEF got raked over the coals last week for not being able to catch a ball, DeAngelo Hall responded this week with a dominating performance (4 INTs, 1 returned for a TD). Kenny Britt had an amazing day for the Titans (7 catches, 225 yds, 3 TDs). Consider that those gaudy numbers came in a game where Britt was benched for an entire quarter for off-field problems. Roddy White doesn't get as much attention as other WRs, because he's pretty much the anti-diva. All he does is keep his mouth shut and perform week after week. This week he was devastating, posting 11 catches for 201 yds and 2 TDs. Finally, how great is Peyton Hillis? He touched the ball at least 10 times in a clock-crushing drive in the 4th quarter, not only ripping off touch runs, but even throwing a pass at one point.

Duds of the week. I love Drew Brees, but boy, did he kill his team today with 4 INTs (two of which were returned for TDs). I don't love Brett Favre, and he has hurt his team much more than he's helped them this year. You can look into his eyes and see this "Jesus, my ankle hurts and my head hurts and I am too old for this crap and man why didn't I stay down on the farm?" expression in his eyes.

Teams I like this week. I like the Atlanta Falcons, who are sitting on top of a pretty sweet 5-2 record at this point, for sole possession of first place in the NFC South. I also like the Cleveland Browns for playing tough on defense and showing some guts and ingenuity in their play calling. I also really like the Washington Redskins who keep finding ways to win, even they are UGLY wins. However, the knock on this team is that they find a way to play up to the level of better teams and play down to the level of worse teams, so with the Lions due up next week, we'll see if they can head into the bye week at 5-3. Finally, I like the Oakland Raiders for coming out huge on the road, putting up 31 points in the first quarter alone.

Teams I don't like this week. The St Louis Rams need to win games against teams like Tampa Bay. Next week's matchup at Carolina will tell us a lot about whether the Rams have what it takes to make a run for the playoffs in the second half of the season. I also don't like the Philadelphia Eagles, who let Old Man Collins tear them apart. Is it finally time to acknowledge that this is more than the usual "slow start" for the San Diego Chargers?


Photo credits:
*Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis strips the ball from Buffalo Bills tight end Shawn Nelson during overtime in an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010. The Ravens won 37-34. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

*Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) runs with the football as Denver Broncos defensive tackle Ronald Fields (91) gives chase during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Denver. (AP Photo/ Joe Mahoney)

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