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The 'A Gap' - NFL week 10

Ezekiel Elliott playing for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. By Keith Allison - https://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/29150185404, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52228416 College football American football Dallas Cowboys
Roar Guru
15th November, 2016
2

What a sensational week of NFL action it was. After the terrible product that was Week 9, I think we all heard the sigh of relief exhaled from Commish Goodell once the classic match that was Sunday Night Football concluded.

It was great to see:
The game that promised so much in Seattle versus New England deliver. With the narrow victory, Seattle continue their recent ways of getting their act together in the second half of a season. They were without their great defensive lineman Michael Bennett and were on a short week, plus they had the big road trip across country.

Russell Wilson is back! He’s overcome his injury induced slump and connected with Doug Baldwin for three TDs.

Tom Brady eventually went 258 passes this season before DeShawn Shead came up with an interception. That’s the best start to a season by quarterback ever. The Patriots dropped only their second home game when leading in the fourth quarter, making it 102-2 since 2001.

The refs came out on top too. Gronk certainly initiated contact against Chancellor on the fourth down pass by Brady and it was a great no call in an environment where the judgement is at it’s toughest – with the game on the line, lots of contact and home field fans crying for the call.

And how was the match between the old firms Pittsburgh and Dallas? They combined to produce three TDs in the last two minutes, two of them to wonder-rookie Ezekiel Elliot. Big Ben put the Steelers ahead on a terrific fake spike play, before a terrible loss of gap alignment on a run blitz by the Steelers meant that Elliot had a massive hole and he strolled in for his third TD and the go-ahead score.

Who would have thought:
When the NFL introduced the rule to move the extra point back 10 yards that it would matter so much? There can be so much drama now in the conversion and this was the case in the Denver and New Orleans game.

The game tying TD to Brandin Cooks was amazing, yet he was outdone on the block by Justin Simmons and then the recovery and race back by Will Parks, who took it to the house for the two-point go-ahead score.

After trailing by 17 points, who would have thought that KC would bounce back with the next 20? Their secondary stars were unbelievable. Eric Berry was spectacular with a multi-spinning INT returned for a TD and then Marcus Peters stripped Kelvin Benjamin, helping to set up the go-ahead field goal.

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It wasn’t good that:
In an era of ten-second soundbites, the Browns gave the national media more reasons to laugh. They started their game with a timeout before a play was run. They then had two players attempt to field a punt and run into each other.

Despite the fact that they have played harder week in and out than the Bears and 49ers to date, fans and family see what ends up on ESPN. It’s hard to retain talent and build a culture when everyone outside is making so much negative noise.

Trending up:
How good is Landon Collins? The second-year safety is the only player in 2016 to lead his team in sacks, tackles and interceptions – and he just made his fourth INT in three weeks in the Giants’ win over the Bengals.

He’s a major reason why the Giants have been able to turn their defence into something sound. They are now in second place in the East and with games against the Bears and Browns to come, a wildcard spot should be theirs.

The Titans are now 5-5 and are just two games off the uninspired Texans for the lead in the AFC South. They’ve put up 35 points or more in three straight games for the first time in franchise history. Second-year quarterback Mariota is playing sensational football; producing 17 touchdowns to three interceptions in his last six games and benefitting from the strong run game as was promised by HC Mularkey. Kudos to them.

Questions over:
The Packers have lost three in a row and their humiliation in Tennessee is easily the worst regular season loss under HC McCarthy in his 11-year tenure. The Packers were meant to be contending for a Super Bowl this year. Instead, they were pummelled 47-25 by a team that is in a rebuilding phase. The pressure is seriously on McCarthy now and if the Pack fail to make the playoffs then he will be replaced.

The Bears are at 2-7 now – their worst start since 2002. And wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey has just been suspended 4 games for PED use. Fair to say he won’t be back next year after signing a franchise tag in July. He’ll play somewhere else next year and it will be for a lot less money after a deplorable 2016 season that has produced just one TD.

Looking forward to watching:
Can the Titans continue their winning ways against the Colts? It shapes up as a shootout of epic proportions.

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The Vikings lost again – their 4th in a row. If their playoff hopes are to be salvaged they must beat the inconsistent Cardinals.

The Eagles have another tough game this time out in Seattle. Two of the better defences go up against two young and mobile quarterbacks.