Wait, What? The Biggest Surprises from Week 6 in the NFL

Week 6 started off with an upset, as San Diego took down the defending champs on Thursday night. It was a sign of things to come. Following a “business as usual” week 5, there were stats jumping off the bottom line of everyone’s TV this week. Jay Ajayi rushed for 200 yards. Case Keenum tossed 3 touchdowns in a loss. The Saints and Panthers combined to score 79 points, without overtime. The Cowboys continue dominating everything in their wake and Odell Beckham Jr. got penalized for celebrating a spectacular touchdown, but plenty of other results were hard to see coming.  

Buffalo’s offense looks like the real deal: Firing Greg Roman seemed a curious move at the time. It now looks brilliant. Behind LeSean McCoy and a strong offensive line, the Bills bruising offense is rejuvenated. They dropped 45 on San Francisco… FOR-TY FIVE! This is the same 49er defense that shut out the Rams in week 1. Beating New England without Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t shock anyone, however dominating Arizona and a subsequent cross-country road win over Los Angeles raised some antennas. With this wrangling of San Francisco, the AFC is officially on notice. Rex Ryan ain’t going down without a fight.

The Packers wearing throwback uniforms: The NFL needs to fine whoever is responsible for this decision. America was robbed of an enjoyable game, less because of the Packers poor performance and more due to the abominable uniforms the home team sported. First: nobody likes the retro uniforms, so teams should stop wearing them. Second: if they must be worn, make both teams wear throwbacks. Seeing the 2016 Dallas Cowboys line up against the 1948 Green Bay Packers felt like watching a Madden game between two kids who don’t follow football. Finally: if they must be worn, don’t pick a big game. People enjoy traditional aesthetics with a rivalry like Green Bay and Dallas. No one alive today would consider those uniforms part of an active tradition.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-1-53-12-pm
Justin Durant showing his disgust for the Packers’ uniforms by trying to remove Aaron Rodgers’ jersey

Brian Hoyer threw 49 passes: It’s hard to imagine losing a 16 point 4th quarter lead against the Jaguars. Yet, calling 49 pass plays with a middling quarterback feels like the recipe for such a meltdown. Hoyer is mediocrity personified. Promising rookie Jordan Howard only managed 34 yards on 15 carries, but Ka’Deem Carey ran well. Running the ball well is important for any offense, it’s especially crucial for teams without a good quarterback. Hey John Fox, give it a try sometime.

The Titans won 2 games in a row: The last time the Tennessee Titans won back to back games was in 2013. That’s more than two full seasons. With those consecutive victories, they have now matched their win total from last year. At 3-3, no one in the media is standing on the table for this team just yet, but they’re the only non-disappointing AFC South team thus far. Houston is an ugly 4-2, while Jacksonville and Indianapolis are fortunate to have wins at all. With all three of them looking quite flawed, Tennessee has a chance to compete for the division crown, even if they only manage 8 or 9 wins.

Aaron Rodgers isn’t right: The only thing worse than Green Bay’s uniforms on Sunday was Aaron Rodgers mojo. Everything was set up for A-Rod to shine. Speculation over his poor play abounds and in come longtime conference rival, and the NFL’s hottest team: the Dallas Cowboys. This had all the makings of an ESPN Classic, Aaron Rodgers all time performance type of game. It was the NFL’s game of the week. Instead of critic-silencing dominance, Packer fans got singeing legitimacy for their previously half-hearted doubts. Whatever the reason, whether it’s State Farm or Olivia Munn, Green Bay’s MVP doesn’t look great and he needs to be if this team wants to bring home another Lombardi trophy.

Bortles service: The foolishness of John Fox’s decision to live and die by Brian Hoyer’s right arm need not diminish the greatness of the Jaguars’ comeback. Blake Bortles, known for filling up the stat sheet in garbage time, served up some top shelf dimes in crunch time on Sunday. Scoring 17 points won’t silence his skeptics, but a win is a win and a confidence boost would do some good for the beleaguered Jacksonville quarterback.

The Dolphins handling the Steelers: A week after getting physically dominated by the Titans at home, the Dolphins looked like the better team on Sunday. Pittsburgh did lose Ben Roethlisberger to a knee injury late in the second quarter but their offense was struggling even before he went down. Surely the pain affected his play in the second half, but the storyline was Miami’s offense. The O-line looked dominant in both run blocking and pass protection. With a balanced attack, Adam Gase’s offense shimmered in Hard Rock stadium, giving hope to Dolphins fans on the brink of desperation.

Things that shouldn’t have surprised anyone

The Super Bowl loser is struggling: The Panthers were so dominant last season, it was hard to imagine them regressing this year. The offense bounced back this week, but the defense is unrecognizable from last year’s squad. The secondary misses Josh Norman’s coverage skills and the rest of the unit misses his attitude. The entire Carolina team lacks the bite that made them so formidable in 2015.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-10-26-17-am
The Saints’ offense is really good

Drew Brees carving up Carolina: Speaking of a weak secondary… Brees fills up the stat sheet every Sunday, often throwing for 400 yards in a loss. With 467 and 4 touchdowns this week, the Saints were able to outmatch Carolina’s 38 points. Sean Payton’s offense is so much fun to watch, it’s a shame every game looks like the arena league because of his defense. Since these two teams are done, and the Bucs look a year away, the Flacons should run away with the NFC South this year.

Colin Kaepernick didn’t help the 49ers: In the modern day NFL, it’s almost difficult to throw for fewer than 200 yards and complete less than 50%. In Chip Kelly’s offense it’s even harder to fathom. Kaep didn’t throw any interceptions, but he also didn’t exactly silence his skeptics. Starting him for the rest of the season is the right decision. That doesn’t mean anything is going to change, though.

 

Author: Zac Howard

Freelance Journalist based in NYC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s