What We Learned From Week 7 In The NFL

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel couldn’t ignore the obvious a week ago. After another virtuoso performance of the 247-pound freight ...


Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel couldn’t ignore the obvious a week ago. After another virtuoso performance of the 247-pound freight train that was Derrick Henry razing the Buffalo Bills in “Monday Night Football,” he admitted the team’s over-reliance on his carrier. ball.

“We keep jumping on Derrick’s back,” Vrabel said, “and he’s willing and able to carry us.”

Yet, we also saw how far a player can take this Titans team: to the conference title game.

Seeking to go further in the playoffs, the Titans (5-2) acquired Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones in June, but started the regular season with the same old formula. Jones and AJ Brown weren’t in good health, the defense was getting slashed and quarterback Ryan Tannehill isn’t in anyone’s top 10. In six games, Henry was once again on the verge of setting the NFL season racing record after losing 100 yards in the 2020 season.

But on Sunday, Tennessee dominated Kansas City, 27-3, in a deciding game that showed the Titans taking a step towards the title.

Henry is special, and any offense with the slightest dream of lifting the Lombardi Trophy had better showcase such a convenience store.

But the victory turned a magnifying glass over the rest of the Tennessee roster, starting with the quarterback. Six of the other seven NFL teams to produce a 2,000-yard runner had terrible to below-par players under center. The 1973 Bills (Joe Ferguson), the 1984 Rams (Jeff Kemp), the 1997 Lions (Scott Mitchell), the 2003 Ravens (Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright), the 2009 Titans (Vince Young and Kerry Collins) and the 2012 Vikings (Christian Ponder) received minimal transient threats. Ultimately, it didn’t matter how good Barry Sanders or Eric Dickerson were. The tusks charged into the box and the rushers basically dug into the brick walls.

The only exception among the 2,000-yard full-backs, of course, was the Broncos’ Terrell Davis, who had a 38-year-old John Elway quarterback to balance Denver’s Super Bowl run in the 1998 season.

Against Kansas City, Tannehill proved once again that he was no placeholder, completing 21 of 27 passes for 270 yards with a 105.3 passer rating.

It’s also the best receiving corps Tannehill has had in Tennessee. Brown and Jones, struggling with hamstring injuries to start the season, are starting to exploit individual coverage on the outside. In his 24-yard first-quarter touchdown reception on Sunday, Brown knocked out Kansas City cornerback Mike Hughes and twisted his body at the last moment to make the catch. The falls that plagued Brown until September seemed like a distant memory as he finished with eight catches on nine targets for 133 yards.

Jones isn’t close to 100 percent, but he’s proven on his own circus take against Buffalo that he is not about to end. Tannehill completed assists for nine different players against Kansas City (3-4).

They will allow the Titans to follow a few simple calculations. Opponents can charge the box to stop the 2,000-yard running back and Tannehill can charge them in the air, turning games into airy pitch-and-catch affairs.

The Henry effect was also evident in the red zone in the second quarter. When Henry was pissed off at second and at the 1-yard line, Tannehill slipped to third base for an easy touchdown on false ground at Henry, and celebrated with an Air Jordan finger roll.

It was clear in their AFC Championship loss to Kansas City in the 2019 season that Tennessee, like every other NFL team, had no way of stopping Patrick Mahomes. He then mocked the Titans’ defense, strutting into the end zone on too easy, a 27-yard touchdown run that will loop forever on Mahomes’ flagship rollers.

Since then, however, the Titans have reset their secondary and added an antidote to Mahomes in on-board rusher Bud Dupree, which the Titans signed on a five-year, $ 82.5 million contract this offseason. That’s the cost of finding a player who can single-handedly harass Mahomes and reverse the momentum of a match.

Dupree tore his anterior cruciate ligament with the Steelers in December 2020, and admitted recently he tried to come back from surgery too early. On Sunday it looked like a stopper worth investing in again.

With Tennessee in the lead, 7-0, halfway through the first quarter on Sunday and Kansas City facing midfielder third and 7, Dupree embarrassed left tackle Orlando Brown, speeding up the double Pro Bowler to find Mahomes. for a strip bag that forced Kansas City to make a punt.

In the meantime, Mahomes had to play at a ridiculously extreme pace to keep Kansas City alive, and it’s proving unbearable. We now know the Chiefs’ defense is bad – really bad – but the 27-point deficit Mahomes faced at halftime was the biggest of his career.

He threw an interception in his sixth straight game and, in a final fourth and -18 to end his day, he was brutally sandwiched between two Titans defensemen. Jeffery Simmons, every 6ft 4in and 305lbs from him, flew over the summit and spun Mahomes’ head at an awkward angle. Mahomes cleared the concussion protocol, but, 27-3, coach Andy Reid decided to keep him out of the game.

Making up for a sieve of a defense, Mahomes is now tied for the league lead in interceptions.

On the other side, Henry, or King Henry as he is sometimes called, didn’t need to do much, thanks to the help of the other Titans. Henry even threw a touchdown pass out of the wild lineup and ran just 89 yards on 29 downs (an average of 3.0 yards per carry).

For one game, Henry was just human and the Titans were always dangerous.

During the off-season, teams acted out of desperation for the most important position in football. The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams threw out first-round picks as Oprah Winfrey offered cars to acquire new franchise quarterbacks.

Still, there were a few win-now teams that took more half-baked approaches to position. It cost the Carolina Panthers a paltry sum – a sixth round pick in 2021 and second and fourth round picks in 2022 – for former third overall pick Sam Darnold. The Washington football team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke on the cheap. Denver mortgaged little for Teddy Bridgewater.

Where did he leave these teams? Outside, look.

Week 7 highlighted exactly why teams go bankrupt at the quarterback in the spring. Trying to get by with the B-minus talent doesn’t steal.

Darnold continued to regress in a 25-3 loss to the Giants. Clearly affected by the continued absence of running back Christian McCaffrey, the former Jet threw for a meager 111 yards and was benched. The Panthers have lost four straight games.

Heinicke is fun to watch in Washington. The poor version of the quarterback he idolized, Brett Favre, Heinicke sprints and dives all over the pitch and has perfected heroic feats this season. But against Green Bay, his limits were exposed and his touchdown (and Lambeau Leap) was canceled.

Bridgewater collected just 14 points Thursday night against a stiff defense from the Browns and looked bankable for Drew Lock.

Taking a big swing out of season doesn’t always work. We’ll soon know if Matthew Stafford can get the Rams over the hump, and it will be years to determine if Trey Lance was worth the full price in San Francisco. But such swings give their teams at least a chance.

Bengals 41, Ravens 17: It’s official. The Bengals are real. Against the same defense that smothered Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert a week ago, Joe Burrow threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns. Almost half of that production (201 yards) went to his former college teammate, Ja’Marr Chase. That connection alone should scare everyone in the AFC

Packers 24, Washington 10 football team: Who Said Aaron Rodgers Has No Guns? Wide receiver Allen Lazard and tight end Robert Tonyan combined for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and Green Bay sailed with ease at home.

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28: Miami suffered another heartbreak, losing by a field goal. Tua Tagovailoa’s two interceptions did nothing to silence Deshaun Watson’s business rumors.

Patriots 54, Jets 13: Dates with the worst teams in the NFL always seem to come at the right time for Bill Belichick’s club. After another devastating loss, the Patriots faced the hapless Jets and reached 31 first downs and 551 total yards. New England didn’t return the ball and kicked once.

Giants 25, Panthers 3: After tearing up the soft part of their schedule early on, the Panthers came back to earth. It’s about as pathetic as it gets offensive in the NFL today. Sam Darnold averaged 4.4 yards per passing attempt, Chuba Hubbard averaged 2.3 yards per carry and Carolina converted 2 of 15 on third downs. Against, uh, the Giants.



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