As usual there were a ton of strange scores on the scoreboard this week. The NFL always gives us a bunch of upsets we never saw coming, but we rarely see the crooked numbers some of the teams put up Week 7.
Officially it was the highest scoring week in the NFL since 1983. Is this a preview of how life is going to be in the new, less dangerous NFL? Here’s what happened around the league Week 7:
Browns 30 @ Saints 17
Not only did the Browns defeat the Saints in New Orleans as 14 point underdogs, they crushed them by 13. That makes three years in a row the Browns have defeated the reigning Super Bowl champs.
They did it this time was Saint-like creativity and daring on special teams, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Browns’ linebacker David Bowens. Drew Brees threw four interceptions total on the day and was completely bewildered by Rob Ryan’s UFO defense.
Browns punter Reggie Hodges added a 68-yard run on a fake, and Josh Cribbs threw a lateral across the field to Eric Wright who returned the ball 50-yards on another punt. Running back Peyton Hillis even completed a crucial pass to Quarterback Colt McCoy to ice the game, and get McCoy his first NFL win.
Bottom line: The Browns played like they had nothing to lose and it paid off. They now get to enjoy their bye-week knowing that any given Sunday, they can beat the likes of the Saints, Patriots, or Jets.
Raiders 59 @ Broncos 14
The Oakland Raiders humiliated their arch rival Broncos in Denver with 508 yards of total offense in the biggest blowout of the season. For those of you keeping score at home, maligned Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels’ resume now includes trading away franchise QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall, choking away a 6-0 start and missing the playoffs, and *NEW – losing to the inept Raiders at home by 45 points. Oh yeah, and trading Peyton Hillis to the Browns for Brady Quinn.
Darren McFadden was a fantasy hero for Oakland in this one, rushing for 165 yards and recording four scores.
Bottom line: Part of the reason the Browns schedule seems so brutal is because they don’t face either the AFC West or NFC West this year. We get the NFC West next year, but won’t see the AFC version again until 2013.
Bills 34 @ Ravens 37, OT
The Bills joined the Browns as double digit dogs on the road this week, and they covered as well. They came up short of the win in overtime however, but still hung an incredible 34 spot on the vaunted Ravens defense in Baltimore.
The Ravens may have been looking to their bye week a little early, but Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick was brilliant with 373 passing yards and should force the league to take notice now. WR Lee Evans scored three times and 7th round wonder Steve Johnson added his fifth score of the young year.
Bottom line: Joe Flacco was able to dig his team out the surprise hole they found themselves in the same week Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees could not.
Bengals 32 @ Falcons 39
Touted as a defensive struggle, this game turned into another one of Week 7’s scoring bonanzas. Roddy White shredded a very good Bengals pass defense to the tune of 201 yards and two scores. He also added a two point conversion.
Cincinnati was able to climb out of 24-3 deficit by scoring 22 straight points in the span of eight minutes, but a Cedric Benson fumble in the fourth quarter cost them a crucial possession. That turnover led to an easy Michael Turner score and another Falcons’ 14 point lead.
Colt McCoy’s college buddy Jordan Shipley did manage to catch his first NFL touchdown pass.
Bottom line: Do the Browns have a shot at third place in the AFC North? The Bengals also only have two wins, and have yet to play the Dolphins, Saints, Jets, Colts, and Steelers… twice.
Steelers 23 @ Dolphins 22
The NFL might be cracking down on violent hits, but they are still trying their best to make life easy for their sexual deviants. A fourth quarter Ben Roethlisberger fumble was ruled a touchdown, and after the subsequent Dolphins’ challenge, head referee Gene Steratore admitted his crew missed the call but did not possess significant evidence to overturn what was called on the field, even though they realized what they called on the field was wrong. Seriously.
The Steelers were awarded the ball and kicked a field goal to take the final 23-22 lead.
Bottom line: Whether it’s a first down being called on a ball clearly two inches short, or the refs not ejecting James Harrison for punching opposing players in the Super Bowl, or illegally hitting Browns players, the Steelers get all the breaks while the Browns just break.
Jaguars 20 @ Chiefs 42
Jacksonville was asking to get blown out in this one starting back-up QB Todd Bouman, who hadn’t played an NFL game since 2005. The Chiefs returned one of his picks for a score and got two more from wide receiver Dwayne Bowe en route to crushing the Jags.
The win coupled with the San Diego and Denver losses gives the Chiefs an astounding 2 game lead in their division.
Bottom line: The new Arrowhead stadium is fast becoming one of the toughest places to play in the NFL again, and the Chiefs can suddenly score in lots of ways.
Eagles 19 @ Titans 37
The Titans have now blown out their opponents in back to back games and appear to have rediscovered the defense that made them an AFC force just two years ago. Titans WR Kenny Britt was benched for a quarter and still scored three times and racked up 225 receiving yards.
Eagles QB Kevin Kolb struggled enough to make head coach Andy Reid’s decision to start backup Michael Vick after the bye week an easy one. They surrendered a nine point lead despite forcing Titans QB Kerry Collins to turn the ball over three times.
Bottom line: Both teams have two capable QBs in different molds, and will continue to suffer from the highs and lows that come with playing both of them.
Vikings 24 @ Packers 28
The Vikings season is just about down the tubes. Brett Favre threw three interceptions, in the span of seven passes, with one being returned for a touchdown that turned out to be the difference in the game. Afterwards, Vikings’ coach Brad Childress said he contemplated pulling Favre from the game due to his erratic play, but then remembered he doesn’t have the courage to look Brett in the eye.
Lost in Favre’s shower of tears was the power of replay challenges, overturning three Viking touchdowns ruled good on the field. The Packers Aaron Rodgers wasn’t his normal self either, throwing two more interceptions and missing receivers time and time again on sideline timing routes. He was finally better than Favre however, who was seen crying by his locker after the game. Seriously.
Bottom line: Jake Delhomme… err Favre, suffered two fractures in his ankle in Browns’ fashion when a Packers’ defender rolled up on his legs from behind, causing the injury and one of his crucial interceptions.
Giants 41 @ Cowboys 35
The Giants crushed Toni Romo, the Cowboys, and all Super Bowl dreams in Dallas Monday night. Eli Manning threw interceptions deep in his own territory on the Giant’s first two possessions, but was able to weather the storm and guide his team to the 41 point win with four TD throws.
The Cowboys got another punt returned for a touchdown from rookie Dez Bryant, but the air jumped out of the building (or at least turned to boos) after QB Toni Romo was lost in the second quarter with a broken collarbone.
Bottom line: The pregame show included a special message from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. While it was meant to be inspiring, it came off as a desperate attempt to fire up a team and fan base on the edge of collapse. At 1-5 and with Romo out, they’re now officially toast.