Ell’s NFL Weekly: Week 6

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November 28, 2013 by Ell and Mike Sports

Week 6

bears

Giants 21 vs. Bears 27

The Bears get a big win to put them atop the NFC North as Giants QB Eli Manning continues to commit turnovers leading the league with 15INTs. Bears QB Jay Cutler had a good game with 262yds and 2TDs doing the majority of his work in the 1st half. RB Matt Forte had 67yds rushing on 19carries and 6 catches for 44yds. WR Brandon Marshall led the way with 9 catches for 87yds and both of Cutler’s TD passes. TE Martellus Bennett continues to be a reliable 2nd option for Cutler in this offense and added 6 catches for 68yds.The Bears D had a good game with 1 sack, 3INTs, and a TD. CB Tim Jennings led the way as he continues to force turnovers with a tackle, 2 INTs, and a TD (pick 6). The Bears are #1 in the league in points off of turnovers. On the Giants side, Manning threw for 239yds, a TD, and 3INTs (1 pick 6) on the day; this was surprising because the O-line played well and Eli had help. RB Brandon Jacobs had his best output in years with 106yds on 22carries and 2TDs, as he looked rejuvenated. The Giants WR trio had decent games as WR Reuben Randle led the way with 3 catches for 75yds including a 37yd TD, Hakeem Nicks had 4 catches for 70yds, and Victor Cruz had 4 catches for 68yds.  The Giants D didn’t make any game changing plays, but held up well against the run and only allowed 3pts in the 2nd half. However, with Manning’s INTs they played from behind (poor field position) most of the game. The Bears improve to 4-2 on the season behind an efficient offense and a good defense that forces turnovers. The Giants continue their winless streak at 0-6 in a game that they could have won, but Eli must cut down on his turnovers. It is a good sign that the play of the rest of the team has improved and win could come soon. However, it is evident that the pass rush is missing and they need to find it.

Bengals 27 vs. Bills 24

The Bengals get their 1st road win of the season beating the Bills without rookie starting QB E.J. Manuel as they win by a field goal in OT. QB Andy Dalton had a good game throwing for 337yds, 3TDs, and an INT. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the rushing attack with 18 carries for 86yds. Rookie RB Giovani Bernard struggled on the ground with 28yds on 15 carries, but was 2nd on the team with 6 catches for 72yds and a TD receiving as the 3rd down back. WR A.J. Green had a great game with 6 catches for 103yds and TD, including a 54yd catch and run (WR screen) play behind nice blocking. 2nd year WR Marvin Jones had a good game with 3 catches for 71yds, a TD, and 1 run for 34yds. 2nd year WR Mohamed Sanu had 5 catches for 44yds getting in on the action, giving them a solid trio going forward. The Bengals D impressed with 5sacks and a forced fumble led by MLB Vontaze Burclift with 8tackles and a fumble recovery and DE Carlos Dunlap with 5tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. The Bengals Special Teams unit came up with a big play in overtime as KR/WR Brandon Tate had a 29yd punt return to help setup game winning field goal. On the Bills side, 2nd year QB Thad Lewis started his 1st NFL game and played well under the circumstances with 216yds, 2TDs passing, and a rushing TD, doing most of his damage in the 4th quarter. Lewis led a game tying drive with a 40yd TD to rookie WR Marquise Goodwin to send the game into OT. However, Lewis did have a fumble that he loss in the game, but mistakes should have been expected.  RB C.J. Spiller ran well with 10 carries for 55yds, but Fred Jackson didn’t play well with 10 carries for 35yds. Without WR Stevie Johnson, 2nd year WR T.J. Graham led the receiving attack with 4 catches for 74yds and rookie WR Marquise Goodwin stretched the field with 2 catches for 51yds and a TD. TE Scott Chandler continues to be a big target to throw to as he had 2catches for 47yds and a 22yd TD. The Bills D gave up too many big plays in the secondary, but they did have 3sacks and an INT on the day. The defense was led by 3rd SS Da’Norris Searcy with 13tackles and a sack; which is also not a good thing as this means people were getting to the last line of defense. The Bengals improve to 4-2 standing atop the AFC North playing well on both side of the football, but the defense can’t afford another 4th quarter collapse. The Bills fall to 2-4 and could have won the game, but surprisingly it was the defense that needed to step up as they didn’t have a dominate pass rush and the secondary played poorly. However, good performance by Thad Lewis and the Bills will miss Manuel until he returns.

Packers 19 vs. Ravens 17

The Packers win a big one on the road against the Ravens in a much needed win situation for the Packers with the success of the Bears and Lions (division rivals). QB Aaron Rodgers played well despite the pressure with 315yds a TD and an INT, but they loss WRs Randall Cobb and James Jones early in the game due to knee injuries. Rookie RB Eddie Lacy continues to impress as the new starter with 120yds on 23 rushes against a tough Ravens run D which helped open the passing game. With the injuries, WR Jordy Nelson stepped up to the plate with 4 catches for 113yds and a nice 64 yd TD grab. WR Randall Cobb had 4 catches for 53yds before leaving and TE Jermichael Finley had 3 catches for 75yds including a 52yd catch on a 3rd down conversion to seal the game at the end of the 4th quarter. The Packers D had 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles (1 recovered) despite not having star OLB Clay Matthews. However, veteran ILB A.J. Hawk led the way with 8tackles and 3sacks. Kicker Mason Crosby went 4/5 on the day with a long of 50yds to make the game a two-possession game in the 4th quarter. On the Ravens side, QB Joe Flacco played well statistically with 342yds and 2TDs (1 fumble), but both TD passes didn’t come until the 4th quarter. The run game was non-existent again with RB Ray Rice with only 34 yards rushing and 15 receiving and RB Bernard Pierce only had 9yds rushing including getting stuffed on 4th and goal and 22yds receiving. WR Tandon Doss had his best outing in his 3yr career with 99yds receiving on 4 catches including a 63yd bomb to keep the game alive. TE Dallas Clark had a good game with 4 catches for 81yds and a TD. Rookie WR Marlon Brown continues to impress as he stretched the field with 3 catches for 71yds. WR Jacoby Jones has finally returned from injury and had 2 catches for 42yds and a TD also stretching the field. The Ravens D played well most of the game applying pressure to Rodgers behind OLB Elvis Dumervil with 2 sacks as the Ravens D had 3sacks, 2INTs, and 2ffs (1 recovered). Packers improve to 3-2 as they show that they can be tough on both sides of the football and can win through injury; this will be good for them going forward. The Ravens fall to 3-3 as the run game struggles continue and they struggle to stop the power running game, but the passing game showed improvement and the defense played well against the pass.

Lions 31 vs. Browns 17

The Lions pull off a needed win on the road against a tough Browns team which led 17-7 at the half (scoring all 17 in the 2nd quarter) with the QB Matt Stafford leading the Lions in the 2nd half. Stafford had a good game with 248yds, 4TDs, and an INT. RB Reggie Bush had a good game with 17 carries for 78yds and 2nd on the team with 57yds receiving and a TD. Big 6’6 WR Kris Durham led the way with 8 catches for 83 yards in the receiving game as Megatron (WR Calvin Johnson) was a game time decision and appeared rusty with only 25yds. The person who made a name for themselves on this offense was undrafted rookie TE Joseph Fauria out of UCLA. Fauria is a big 6’7 target who showed flashes in the preseason and had 3 catches for 34yds and 3TDs on the day; proving that he could develop into another target in this offense. The Lions D played well other than the 2nd quarter, with 2 sacks, 2INTs, and a forced fumble (not recovered) on the day. OLB DeAndre Levy led the way with 7 tackles and 2INTs; one INT was on a horrible throw by QB Brandon Weeden. Weeden had a good 1st half, but could not move the ball in the 2nd half as he had 292yds for 2TDs and 2INTs. The running game struggled behind Willis McGahee as he had 10 rushes for only 37yds. RB Chris Ogbonnaya continues to be a good 3rd down back with 5 rushes for 24yds and 7 catches for 61yds and a TD as a power rusher who is hard to take down in space. KR/WR Travis Benjamin had 1 rushing play for a 45yd gain to help move the ball. WR Josh Gordon continues to impress as he had 7 catches for 126yds and ditto for TE Jordan Cameron, who had 5 catches for 64yds on the day. The Browns D played well in the 1st half, but the secondary was carved in the 2nd half and Reggie Bush found his holes in the D. The Lions improve to 4-2 making a statement that they are ready to take the next step to compete for the NFC North. The Browns fall to 3-3 as Weeden appears to not be the answer at QB now that he has gotten the job back and the defense must be able to compete for 4 quarters if they want to keep the team competitive. It’s not too late for them to improve on one of their best starts in a while.

newton

Panthers 35 vs. Vikings 10

The Panthers win big on the road behind a great game by Cam Newton; however the bigger story was Adrian Peterson playing after the death of his 2yr old son. Newton went 20/26 with 242yds 3TDs, 30 rushing yards and a TD. He moved the ball all types of ways including a shovel pass and a flea flicker to go with rushing the ball. RB DeAngelo Williams was efficient with 17 carries for 64yds and 5 catches for 53yds as the 2nd leading receiver in the game. WR Brandon LaFell led the receiving attack with 4 catches for 107yds including a 79yd TD, stretching the field. The Panthers D played well containing Peterson and shutting down the Vikings offense behind Thomas Davis with 8 tackles and 2 sacks and Safety Mike Mitchell with 6 tackles, a sack, and 2INTs. On the Vikings side, QB Christian Ponder struggled with 2INTs, but he did throw for 241yds and a TD. Adrian Peterson had 62yds on 10carries as the Vikings were down big early as the defense had no answer for Cam. TE Kyle Rudolph led the team in receiving with 9 catches for 97yds and the only TD. Rookie DT Sharrif Floyd had the only sack of the game as the Vikings defense struggled against the pass. The Vikings defense loss CB Xavier Rhodes, S Harrison Smith and OLB Desmond Bishop to injury in the game. The Panthers improve to 2-3 with a much needed win on the road and a great game for Newton which is important going forward. The Vikings fall to 1-4 in a horrible start to the season thanks to poor QB play and a poor pass defense which has been the story of their season so far.

Rams 38 vs. Texans 13

The Rams pull off the surprise win on the road vs. the Texans playing well on both sides of the football for the 1st time in a long time. QB Sam Bradford played well going 12/16 for 117yds and 3TDs. Rookie RB Zac Stacy played well in his 2nd start with 79yds on 18 carries and 11yds receiving; he should be the starter going forward. TE Jared Cook led the receiving game with 2 catches for 45yds. The Rams special teams unit scored a TD as they forced a fumble on WR/KR Keshawn Martin forcing him to leave with a shoulder injury late in the game returning it for an 11yd score. The Rams D played well with 5 sacks, 2 INTs, and 2 forced fumbles on the game (1 recovered). All of the Rams young defensive stars put up stats: DT Michael Brockers, rookie OLB Alec Ogletree, CB Janoris Jenkins, and DEs Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Ogletree had a nice 98 yard INT return for TD to go with his 7 tackles and forced fumble.  On the Texans side, QB Matt Schaub played well finally not committing any turnovers, but he struggled to move the ball under constant pressure and was injured on a sack by Chris Long. Schaub went 15/21 for 186yds before leaving with a right ankle injury and a home crowd that cheered after his injury. Backup QB T.J. Yates struggled with 2 INTs as he threw for 98yds going 12/17. Despite the poor QB play, RB Arian Foster had a good game with 141yds on 20 carries and 2nd in receiving with 4 catches for 57yds. WR Andre Johnson led the way in the receiving game with 7 catches for 88yds. The Texans D struggled all game against the Rams especially since the offense couldn’t do much to help them. The Rams improve to 3-3 as they try to keep up with the Seahawks and 49ers; balanced play will be the key for them going forward. The Texans fall to 2-4 thanks to poor QB play by Schaub, but now that he’s hurt could things get worst? The defense no longer looks dominate and this team needs to wake up before it’s too late.

Raiders 7 vs. Chiefs 24

The Chiefs manhandled the Raiders led by their strong defense which held the Raiders to only 7pts and forced 3INTs. The Chiefs offense was led by RB Jamaal Charles who led the team in rushing and receiving with 78yds rushing with 2 TDs and 5 catches for 50 yards. Alex Smith didn’t play well thanks to a tough Raiders D, but he made plays when it counted and helped convert turnovers into points. WR Dwayne Bowe finally had some production with 3 catches for 46 yards stretching the field, as the only other receiver with significant yardage other than Charles. WR Donnie Avery had a costly fumble which stopped the Chiefs on a drive in a field goal range. The Chiefs D continued to dominate behind LBs Tambi Hali (2.5 sacks) and Derrick Johnson (2 sacks) along with sacks from others and 3 interceptions (1 for TD to seal the game in the 4th). For the Raiders, QB Terrelle Pryor started off well with a 39 yd TD pass to lead the game 7-0, but it was all downhill from there as he threw 3 INTs trying to force a comeback.  However, he did have 7 rushes for 56 yards to help the running attack. RB Darren McFadden was held to 52yds on 16 carries and 31yds receiving, as the Chiefs D aimed to stop the rushing attack. WR Denarius Moore led the team with 82yds and TD on 5 catches as he continues to impress as their #1 WR. The Raiders D played well despite not having much help from the offense as they had 3sacks and 3 forced fumbles (1 recovered), but this group continues to show improvement and play with toughness which is a good sign going forward. The Chiefs improve to 6-0, continuing to lead with an elite defense and efficient offensive play this season. The Raiders fall to 2-4 losing to a quality opponent, but Pryor will continue to improve, but needs more help around him especially on the O-line. The Chiefs crowd was the 12th man in the game as they set a record for the loudest crowd to attend an outdoor event.

steelers

Steelers 19 vs. Jets 6

The Steelers finally show up on defense and beat the Jets on the road to get their 1st win of the season. QB Ben Roethlisberger was abused all game as he was sacked and pressured, but still went 23/30 with 264 yards and a TD. Newly acquired Tackle Levi Brown was scheduled to play, but injured his triceps in pregame warm-ups. The run game was non-existent again this game with RBs Le’Veon Bell (34yds, 22yds receiving), Felix Jones (18 yards, 15yds receiving), and Jonathan Dwyer (10yards). The Steelers receiving game had a good day as WR Antonio Brown had 9 catches for 86yards (1 pass for 15 yards), TE Heath Miller had 6 catches for 84 yards, and WR Emmanuel Sanders had 3 catches for 70 yards and a TD of 55 yards on a nice double move put on CB Antonio Cromartie. The Steelers D played well all over the field with 3sacks, 2INTs, and a forced fumble; their best effort on the season including a strong hit by Safety Troy Polamalu on WR Stephen Hill. Surprisingly, this was the Steelers defense first turnovers of the season which shows you how their season has been going. Kicker Shaun Suisham went 4/4 in the game. For the Jets, after a good game 6days prior on Monday Night football, QB Geno Smith struggled to move the football with 201 yards and 2INTs on poor decisions with the football. The run game wasn’t efficient thanks to Smith’s poor play as RB Bilal Powell had 30yds rushing (20 receiving), RB Mike Goodson had 29 yards rushing (10 receiving) and RB Chris Ivory had 16 yards. TE Jeff Cumberland continues to impress leading the team in receiving with 59 yards on 4 catches. WR Stephen Hill was the leading wide receiver with 3 catches for 46 yards, but could have had a long bomb for a TD to put the Jets up in the 2nd quarter if he wasn’t over thrown. The Jets D played well with 4 sacks and a forced fumble keeping the Steelers under constant pressure, but the big play to Sanders sealed the game thanks to poor play from offense. The Steelers improve to 1-4 with a long uphill battle against them, but they get their 1st W and the defense appears to have life. Hopefully, the run game can improve and Levi Brown can help the offensive line struggles. Jets fall to 3-3 losing a winnable game behind their rookie QB, but they must continue to ride the wave. The defense still looks impressive and they definitely should have run the ball more.

Eagles 31 vs. Bucs 20

With Mike Vick out with a hamstring injury, QB Nick Foles led the way with a great game on the road and may challenge Vick for his job after this performance. Foles went 22/31 with 296yds 3TDs passing and a rushing TD. RB LeSean McCoy had another 100yd performance with 116yds on 25 carries and 2 catches for 55yds; however he did have a fumble that he loss. WR Riley Cooper continues to impress leading the team in receiving this game with 4 catches for 120yds including a 47yd TD, stretching the field. WR DeSean Jackson had 6 catches for 64yds and 2TDs. The Eagles D played well shutting down the run game and getting pressure on rookie QB Mike Glennon, but they continue to give up plays in the secondary. On the Bucs side, QB Mike Glennon played well for this to be his 2nd start as he threw for 273yds 2TDs and an INT. RB Doug Martin was contained by the Eagles defense with 67yds on 16 carries and 24 yards receiving. WR Vincent Jackson led the receiving attack with 9 catches for 114yds and 2TDs. Rookie TE Timothy Wright continues to show his pass catching skills as he has 7 catches for 91yds. The Bucs D got carved on the ground and through the air all day, but OLB Lavonte David had 10 tackles and a sack on the day and CB Darrelle Revis finally had an impact play with a forced fumble. The Eagles improve to 3-3 behind a good offensive performance, but the question is if Foles is the QB Coach Chip Kelly has been looking for and not Vick. The Eagles D needs to play better if they want to eventually be the division winner. The Bucs fall to 0-5 and continue to play tough, but will Coach Schiano be fired if they streak continues? The growth of QB Mike Glennon will be the key for this team going forward, but the defense must play up to their standards.

Jags 19 vs. Broncos 35

The Broncos have been hot offensively and people expected them to really light up the Jags, but the score was 14-12 Broncos at the half as they pressured Manning early in the game; until he began to shred them in the 2nd half. Peyton Manning had a good game with 295yds 2TDs and an INT, but he did lose 2 fumbles. The run game was shared well as RB Knowshon Moreno had 42yds on 15 carries 3 TDs, and 62 yards receiving, RB Ronnie Hillman had 4 rushes for 20yds and 16 yards receiving, and rookie RB Montee Ball had 3 carries for 15 yards. WR Demaryius Thomas led the way with 78yds on 3 catches and WR Wes Welker had 63 yards on 6 catches and a TD. The Broncos pass rush was led by 2nd year DE Malik Jackson with 2 sacks and INTs by OLB Danny Trevathan and rookie CB Kayvon Webster (filling in at the slot). The Jags continued to struggle despite keeping the game close at the half as QB Chad Henne threw for 303yds, but 2INTs and no TDs which will not cut it against the Broncos. RB Maurice Jones-Drew continues to not run up to his standards, but he had 71yds and a TD on 21 carries. WR Justin Blackmon led the way on offense with 14 catches for 190 yards. The Jags D pressured Manning early, but gave up a lot of yardage. Their key plays were a pick 6 by MLB Paul Posluszny which put the game at 14-12 and a forced fumble by rookie Safety Johnathan Cyprien who continues to impress as one of the few bright spots on this team. The Broncos improve to 6-0 continuing to show they are one of the best teams in the league. The Jags fall to 0-6 and finally show some offense, but they needed TDs in a game like this. The defense needs to play with more consistency, but balance on both sides will be the key going forward. However, QB Chad Henne hasn’t shown to be worthy of a starting job or QB Blaine Gabbert who is even worst.

Titans 13 vs. Seahawks 20

The Seahawks pull off a tough win at home in the battle of two good defenses behind RB Marshawn Lynch, but the Titans were without QB Jake Locker again. QB Russell Wilson had an efficient game as he went 23/31 with 257yds, but he had no TDs. Wilson also added 61yds on 10 carries. Lynch added 77yds on 21 carries and 2TDs in the game and led the team in receiving with 4 catches for 78yds; one TD was late in the 4th quarter to put the game away. The Seahawks D continued to play tough and had 2sacks and 2INTs; one INT by star CB Richard Sherman was the game changer late in the game. The Titans offense struggled to move the ball without QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who only had 171yds passing with 2INTs, but sadly he tied the team high in rushing with 33yds matching RB Chris Johnson. WR Kendall Wright continues to impress as he led the team in receiving with 5 catches for 69yds. The Titans special teams forced a blocked field goal for a TD return right before halftime to take the lead, as they hurt Kicker Steven Hauschka leading to a bad snap because the usual holder had to kick the ball. The Titans D played well with 2 sacks and 4 forced fumbles (2 recovered), but they didn’t get help from their offense at all. The Seahawks improve to 5-1 rebounding from a loss to the Colts last week, but they continue to win through smart QB play, running the football, and good defense. The Titans fall to 3-3 and appear to be in need for their starting QB to return as the offense has been inefficient. The run game also is in need of improved play as the offensive line is much improved this season.

brady

Saints 27 vs. Patriots 30

The Pats pull off the last minute win at home against the Saints on a drive with 1:08 left on the clock and no TDs after the Saints thought they put the game way with an INT by CB Keenan Lewis and a Garrett Hartley FG. QB Tom Brady managed the ball well, until the he showed good leadership on his 4th quarter drive as he had 269yds, a TD, and an INT. RB Stevan Ridley led the way on offense with 20 carries for 92yds, 14 receiving yards and 2 rushing TDs, carving the Saints D. Rookie WR Aaron Dobson led the way with 6 catches for 63 yards and WR Julian Edelman and TE Michael Hoomanawanui both added 57yds receiving. Undrafted rookie WR Kenbrell Thompkins had 3 catches for 45yds on the day including the game winning 17yd TD as a good option for Brady out of the slot. WR Danny Amendola left the game with a head injury after a hard hit in the 3rd quarter and did not return. WR Austin Collie had 2 catches for 24yds on the game winning drive as he finally got a chance to play this year after past concussion issues left him unemployed before signing with the Pats last week. The Pats D played decent, but only had 1sack and 1 INT on the day; although it is rare for Saints QB Drew Brees to throw an INT. CB Aqib Talib did a great job on TE Jimmy Graham getting physical with him, but Talib left the game with an injury. On the Saints side, QB Drew Brees was pressured and TE Jimmy Graham was on lock so he struggled with his accuracy, but he threw for 236yds 2TDs and an INT. RB Pierre Thomas ran for 51yds on 11 carries and had 29yds receiving, but he did lose a fumble on the day. RB Khiry Robinson complemented Thomas well with 7 carries for 53yds and a TD as the change of pace back. 3rd down back Darren Sproles had 15yds rushing on 5 carries, but 6 catches for 58yds receiving as the 3rd down back. Rookie WR Kenny Stills continues to impress with WR Lance Moore out as he led the team in receiving with 3 catches for 64yds and a TD. With Graham held without a catch and on lock most of the game, TE Ben Watson was 2nd in receiving with 3 catches for 61yds stretching the field, despite being mostly a blocker. The Saints D played well with 5sacks and an INT pressuring Brady all game, but the defense allowed Brady to march up the field for the game winning score and they couldn’t stop Ridley. The Pats improve to 5-1 coming off a loss last week, but they beat one of the top teams giving them confidence going forward and they still haven’t played their best football. The Saints fall to 5-1 getting their 1st loss of the season, showing that they have work to do on both sides of the football, mostly stopping the run on defense and finding another options when Graham is shutdown.

Cardinals 20 vs. 49ers 32

The 49ers pull off the much needed win in a big divisional game vs. the Cards who fought hard until giving up 10pts unanswered in the 4th quarter allowing the 49ers to seal the victory. QB Colin Kaepernick had a decent game with 252yds 2 TDs, an INT, and a fumble that he loss. The offense was run through the running game as RB Frank Gore had 101yds on 25 carries. TE Vernon Davis had a career day leading the team in receiving with 8 catches for 180yds and 2TDs as the star of the game.  The 49ers D played well as they had a sack, 2INTs, and 2 forced fumbles (recovered). OLB Corey Lemonier recorded his 1st sack while starting in the place of star OLB Aldon Smith who is in rehab. On the Cards side, QB Carson Palmer threw for 298yds, 2 TDs, and 2INTs; he moved the ball well until the 2nd half. RB Andre Ellington continues to impress as he had 7 carries for 56yds, a TD, and 36yds receiving as the 3rd down back. RB Rashard Mendenhall was efficient with 40yds on 10 carries.  Star WR Larry Fitzgerald had a good game with 6 catches for 117yds including a 75yd TD as he returned from a hamstring injury; however, he did lose a fumble in the game. WR Michael Floyd complemented him well with 5 catches for 44yds and a TD. The Cards D played well with 2 sacks, an INT, and a forced fumble (recovered) despite getting carved by the run game and having no answer for Vernon Davis. MLB Karlos Dansby led the way with 10tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. The 49ers improve to 4-2 as they try to keep pace with the Seahawks for the divisional lead. The defense played well, but must play better in the secondary and the offense played well playing through their best two playmakers in Gore and Davis. The Cards fall to 3-3 proving to be a lot better than last season and a lot more competitive, but Palmer can’t keep turning the ball over and the defense must play better against the run.

Redskins 16 vs. Cowboys 31

The Cowboys get a big win after a big offensive output last week, but they win off of special teams and defense against the divisional rival Redskins.  Tony Romo threw for 170yds, a TD, and an INT. RB DeMarco Murray had 7 carries for 29yds and 21yds receiving before leaving with a knee injury. Rookie RB Joseph Randle struggled in Murray’s absence with 11carries for 17yds and a TD, but his TD run was a tough fought as he had to power his way into the end zone. 2nd year WR Cole Beasley led the receiving attack out the slot with 4 catches for 44yds. KR/WR Dwayne Harris was the story of the game with an 86yd punt return for TD and a 90yd kick return to setup a TD. The Cowboys defense played well with 3sacks, 2INTs, and 2 forced fumbles (1 recovered) led by DT Jason Hatcher with 2sacks and a forced fumble and DE Kyle Wilber who had 3tackes and sack/ff to change the game giving another short field late in the game. The Cowboys lose their defensive star, OLB DeMarcus Ware, to a quad injury in the game. On the Redskins side, QB Robert Griffin III struggled with 246yds, an INT, and 2 fumbles (1 loss). However, he did display some of his usual rushing ability this game with 9 rushes for 77yds.  RB Alfred Morris led the rushing attack with 16 carries for 81yds including a 45yd TD late in the 3rd quarter in a comeback attempt. RB Roy Helu Jr. provided good balance as a 3rd down back with 6 carries for 42yds and 35yds receiving. WR Pierre Garcon led the receiving attack with 6 catches for 69yds and WR Santana Moss had 2 catches for 42yds. Rookie TE Jordan Reed continues to prove he is another weapon as he had 4 catches for 58yds. The Redskins D struggled with only 1sack and 1INT as the Special Teams unit put them in a hole or the offense with turnovers or poor play. The Cowboys improve to 3-3 in a fight with the Eagles for the NFC East, but they suffered two big injuries with Ware and Murray so it will be interesting to see what happens. The Redskins fall to 1-4 as they continue to struggle on defense and Griffin is not the same QB, but the defense tried this game. Also, the Special Teams unit can’t afford to play like they did today giving up big plays that change the context of the game.

Colts 9 vs. Chargers 19

The Chargers get a big win over a good AFC opponent as they beat the Colts at home led by an efficient offense and solid defense. The Chargers finally got a good game out of RB Ryan Matthews as he pounded the rock 22 times for 102 yards, but he did make some mistakes of running out of bounds when they needed to run off some clock. QB Philip Rivers had a good game going 22/33 with 237 yards and a TD. Rookie WR Keenan Allen took over the receiving game with 9 catches, 107 yards, and the only TD of the game. RB/WR Danny Woodhead spelled Matthews on the ground with 36 yards on 9 rushes and he was 2nd in receiving with 5 catches for 47 yards. The defense played well led by CB Derek Cox who had 5tackles and an INT as the D held the Colts to only field goals and no long gains besides a 35 yard pass on a flea flicker. Kicker Nick Novak went 4/4 including a 50 yard 4th quarter field goal to put the Chargers up double digits. On the Colts side, QB Andrew Luck struggled with only 202 yards passing and an INT. There were a lot of drops in the receiving game which led to stalled drives. WR Reggie Wayne led the Colts in receiving with 5 catches for 88 yards. RB Trent Richardson was efficient with 10 carries for 40 yards and RB Donald Brown complemented well with 15 yards on 3 carries and 2 catches for 19 yards in limited play as the 3rd down back. The Colts D didn’t play well getting carved by the running game surprisingly and they also loss improving ILB Jerrell Freeman to a concussion in the 1st half. The Chargers improve to 3-3 playing well on both sides of the ball as they need to continue to win to keep up with the Broncos and Chiefs. As long as Philip Rivers continues to play well, they could continue to win big games. The Colts fall to 4-2 with a loss in a very winnable game, but it is a learning experience for this young team which is off to a good start so far.

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