The 10 biggest takeaways from NFL week seven: Patriots continue to struggle while Steelers remain undefeated

Jake Goodwill
·7-min read
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton watches from the sideline after being replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass.  - AP
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton watches from the sideline after being replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. - AP

Steelers win battle of undefeated teams

Pittsburgh against Tennessee saw two undefeated teams do battle. It was expected to be a close affair but the Steelers dominated the first half, gaining themselves a considerable lead with Ben Roethlisberger moving the ball nicely.

The Titans then staged a dramatic comeback that gave them the opportunity to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, only for kicker Stephen Gostkowski to pull the field goal wide of the uprights.

Despite the Steelers late wobble, Mike Tomlin’s side look as complete a team as there is in football. They have playmakers on both sides of the ball and experience in key positions.

After Sunday’s results, Pittsburgh are now the only unbeaten team in the NFL.

Packers bounce back

After a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Bucs, the Packers needed to get their season back on track with a win. Green Bay achieved that in style.

From the first quarter Aaron Rodgers moved the ball with ease, finding Davante Adams in space time after time. Rodgers passed for 283 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions while Adams had 13 receptions for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers' 35-20 win at Houston.

Despite missing star running back Aaron Jones, the Packers offensive proved too hot to handle for the Texans. The defense also made a couple of crucial stops, which is easier said than done against a quarterback as talented as Deshaun Watson.

On the evidence of this performance, last week’s defeat to Tampa was just a blip.

Justin Herbert continues fast start to life in the NFL

Justin Herbert’s bizarre entrance to the league has proven to be a godsend for the Chargers. The tall quarterback out of Oregon has taken to the NFL seamlessly, throwing the ball with power and precision.

On Sunday, he excelled once more. The rookie quarterback passed for a career-high 347 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, as well as adding a rushing touchdown in the Chargers' 39-29 win over Jacksonville.

Herbert looks the real deal and he has the potential to transform the Chargers from a middling team to a playoff contender.

The Bucs back it up

Tampa could not have been more impressive against the Packers last week. But could they back it up against a Raiders team that had beaten the Chiefs already this season?

Tom Brady answered in resounding style. The former Patriot threw for 369 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, as well as a rushing touchdown. The re-emergence of tight end Rob Gronkowski also continued. Gronk registered a touchdown reception in the Buccaneers' 45-20 win at Las Vegas.

Up until this point, the Bucs defense looked the stronger unit on the team. However, Tampa’s offensive performance on Sunday illustrates that they - along with the Steelers - may be the most well-rounded team in the league.

Cardinals take down Seahawks

Seattle has been formidable this season and it looked as if it would be business as usual. On the first drive of the game Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett shredded the Cardinals defense, scoring a touchdown at the end of the drive with ease.

The Cardinals responded through DeAndre Hopkins, setting off a back and forth game between two dynamic offenses - including a mandatory jinking rushing score from Kyler Murray.

With just three points separating the sides in the fourth quarter, the two quarterbacks threw back-to-back interceptions, handing possession back to one another. The Seahawks capitalised, stretching out to a 10-point lead with just over two minutes to go.

Arizona scored a touchdown and field goal on successive drives to take the game to overtime. A missed field goal then gave Wilson the chance to win it for Seattle. However, he was picked off by Isaiah Simmons, allowing a second overtime field goal attempt. This time it was good.

Seattle have been in plenty of close games this year but they came undone on this occasion, ending their winning streak. The Seahawks remain contenders, but their defense is cause for concern.

Disaster strikes Dallas again

The Cowboys season was in a worrying place last weekend, following the injury to star quarterback Dak Prescott. Things got even worse on Sunday. Not only were Dallas well beaten by divisional rivals Washington, their back-up QB, Andy Dalton, was injured leaving the Cowboys in the hands of Ben DiNucci.

The seventh round pick out of James Madison, unsurprisingly, could not turn the tide in a game that was already going badly.

The NFC East is currently the worst division in football, and possibly the worst ever, with none of the four teams registering more than two wins after seven weeks of action. For that reason, the Cowboys are somehow still very much in the race to top the division and earn a playoff spot.

Dallas will hope that Dalton can recover quickly from his injury or the fate of this roller coaster campaign will be placed in the hands of DiNucci.

The battle for Ohio is alive and well

Baker Mayfield executed a last minute touchdown pass to secure the Browns a 37-34 win over the Bengals. The lead swapped back and forth in the final quarter with Cleveland coming out on top.

These two teams played a close game back in week two, with the Browns edging the result then too. The battle for Ohio, with rookie quarterback Joe Burrow playing another outstanding game, looks to have become a genuinely interesting rivalry for the first time in a while.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) talks with wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones after Peoples-Jones' touchdown reception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. - AP
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) talks with wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones after Peoples-Jones' touchdown reception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. - AP

The Patriots are struggling

Is the Patriots dynasty finally disappearing? On a day when Tom Brady was outstanding for Tampa, Cam Newton was pulled from the field after throwing three interceptions in New England’s 33-6 loss to San Francisco.

For the third successive week, the Patriots’ offense stuttered, failing to get anything of substance going. They were bullied all afternoon by the 49ers who are resurgent after a rocky start to the season.

It has always been foolish to write off the Patriots, however. They take on the Bills next week in a huge divisional clash. It is sink or swim time for New England.

Falcons throw away a lead, again

Atlanta’s season goes from bad to worse. Having fired their head coach and general manager, the Falcons bounced back with an impressive win against the Vikings. They looked set to win again Detroit on Sunday, only to butcher managing the final quarter.

Todd Gurley ran in for a touchdown when he should have stopped short of the goalline, thereby handing the ball back to the Lions who went down the field and scored a touchdown to win the game with zero seconds left on the clock. A rookie mistake from an experienced player proved costly.

The Falcons managed a truly remarkable loss against Dallas earlier this season, blowing a monumental lead. Sunday saw another spectacular loss, albeit with a different style of incompetence. 

Bills scrape past the Jets

Buffalo were on fire at the start of the season, winning four straight games with Josh Allen in the form of his life. The Bills then lost back-to-back games against two strong teams in the Titans and the Chiefs.

Sean McDermott’s team desperately needed a win to regain some momentum and playing the worst team in football seemed a great opportunity to do so. The Jets made it difficult however, taking a 10-point lead which was gradually overturned via six field goals to leave the final score 18-10 to the Bills.

It was not a vintage performance. But the Bills got the win they needed.