Week 7 NFL takeaways: Packers’ points bonanza

NFL

The Colts and Vikings got big division wins, but it was Aaron Rodgers’ six total touchdowns for the Packers that stole the offensive show in Week 7. And while it wasn’t pretty, the 49ers survived brutal conditions in Washington D.C. to move to 6-0 on the season. In the afternoon slate, Baltimore made a statement in a win over Seattle.

All that and more in Week 7’s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Jump to a matchup:
HOU-IND | MIN-DET | LAR-ATL
OAK-GB | SF-WSH | MIA-BUF
JAX-CIN | ARI-NYG | LAC-TEN
NO-CHI | BAL-SEA | KC-DEN


The Colts can do more than run the ball. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was 26-of-39 for a career-high 325 yards with four touchdown passes. Brissett has 14 touchdown passes in six games this season, surpassing the 13 touchdown passes he had in 15 games during the 2017 season. The Colts are in first place in the AFC South with a favorable schedule ahead of them, as Indianapolis doesn’t face a team with a winning record again until it travels to Houston for a rematch against the Texans on Nov. 21. The Colts’ next four games are against Denver, at Pittsburgh, vs. Miami and Jacksonville. — Mike Wells

Next game: vs. Denver (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

Houston beat themselves and squandered an opportunity. Coming off a victory over the Chiefs, the Texans were being talked about as one of the best in the AFC. But on Sunday, Houston lost to the Colts in part due to what Bill O’Brien called “self-inflicted mistakes.” The Texans had a chance to take a commanding lead in the AFC South going into Week 8, but failed to do so.— Sarah Barshop

Next game: vs. Oakland (4:25 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


This is the offense Mike Zimmer envisioned for the Vikings in 2019. A scheme predicated off a dynamic rushing attack with heavy play-action usage and plenty of bootlegs gives Kirk Cousins an opportunity to hit some deep passes. Minnesota’s playcalling is in a really good rhythm seven weeks in, knowing how to catch teams off-guard when they least expect it (i.e. the 66-yard bomb to Stefon Diggs that offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski dialed up with three minutes to play, setting up Minnesota’s final touchdown), and it’s bringing out the best in Cousins. “He’s playing the best I’ve seen him play since he’s been here,” Zimmer said. “It’s a credit to him, it’s a credit to the offensive coaches, what they’re doing, and I feel like we’re playing to his strength.” — Courtney Cronin

Next game: vs. Washington (8:20 p.m. ET Oct. 24)

The Lions have to fix their run defense. After yet another team sliced through its front, Detroit has major problems stopping anyone. It was a performance linebacker Devon Kennard called “embarrassing” and left coach Matt Patricia saying he’ll look at everything in search of answers. If the Lions even want to think about the postseason after three consecutive losses to playoff-level teams, fixing the run defense has to be the first area to start. — Michael Rothstein

Next game: vs. N.Y. Giants (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


In Jalen Ramsey‘s debut, the Rams shut down the Falcons and ended a three-game losing streak. They sacked Matt Ryan five times, and Ramsey blanketed Julio Jones. The Rams will remain in Atlanta before they depart Thursday for London, where they will face the winless Bengals. A week of bonding certainly could solidify the defense and help the offense regain its traction. — Lindsey Thiry

Next game: vs. Cincinnati (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

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Jalen Ramsey reviews his first game with the Rams and expresses the need to find the groove along with his new teammates.

The struggling Falcons’ problems just got worse. Ryan suffered a right ankle injury, the extent of which is unknown. Having its QB miss any time would cripple an already struggling offense. The Falcons aren’t going to win games scoring just 10 points, not with all the talent on that side of the ball. If Ryan can’t play against Seattle next week, the Falcons could get blown out of their own building in consecutive weeks as they stare at a 1-6 record. Whatever Dan Quinn’s status is doesn’t matter now. The Falcons have to be cautious with their franchise quarterback. And whenever Ryan gets back in there, the offensive line has to protect better — he got hurt absorbing a sack from Aaron Donald. — Vaughn McClure

Next game: vs. Seattle (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


Bring on Kansas City and perhaps bring back Davante Adams. Yes, the Packers showed once again they can win without their best receiver — and Aaron Rodgers can dominate with six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) like he did in Sunday’s win over the Raiders. But Rodgers would love to have his Pro Bowl receiver back from his turf-toe injury sooner rather than later. “I can promise you we need him, and we’re a better offense with 17 on the field,” Rodgers said. — Rob Demovsky

Next game: at Kansas City (8:20 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

The Raiders can’t make big mistakes, like Derek Carr‘s ill-timed fumble through the end zone late in the second quarter. “It sucks, man,” Carr said. “It’s my fault. I let my team down on that one.” Yes, it did shift momentum immeasurably, as the Raiders went from looking at a possible 17-14 halftime lead to a 28-10 deficit before they touched the ball again in the third quarter. “We all love Derek and … just one play doesn’t put a blemish on who he is to us and who he is as a quarterback,” tight end Darren Waller said. Coach Jon Gruden acknowledged there is a fine line between trying to make a play and trying to do too much. However, the Raiders can’t afford big mistakes from their QB if they’re going to make playoff push. — Paul Gutierrez

Next game: at Houston (4:25 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


The 49ers, especially their defense, are built for any conditions. They seemingly have found a different way to win every week this season, but Sunday was probably their most difficult task. With torrential rains making points a precious commodity, the defense pitched a shutout, and the Niners did just enough to walk away with their fourth consecutive road win and remain unbeaten through six games. With what figures to be a tough matchup against the well-rested Panthers looming next week, this was game the Niners couldn’t afford to let slip away.— Nick Wagoner

Next game: vs. Carolina (4:05 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

The Redskins are not getting good quarterback play. Some of it stems from losing key players on offense, and some of it stems from just poor play overall. But Washington’s reluctance to put rookie Dwayne Haskins into the game, even at 1-6 and the season headed nowhere, is very telling. It was never just Jay Gruden who felt Haskins wasn’t ready. While the Redskins are saying Haskins is more attentive of late, the fact that Bill Callahan said after the game they’re sticking with Case Keenum is a big tip-off of where they feel Haskins is in his development. Washington always knew it would take time with Haskins, and that’s exactly how it’s unfolding. But at some point, the Redskins will have no choice but to play him. — John Keim

Next game: at Minnesota (8:20 p.m. ET Oct. 24)


The Bills are content with “winning ugly.” Buffalo didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter and trailed the winless Dolphins most of the game. Sunday’s performance left several fans worried with the Eagles coming to town in Week 8, but the ability to win through adversity is a hallmark good teams share — and players say it beats the alternative. “I’ll take an ugly win over an ugly loss,” safety Micah Hyde said. “Good teams win ugly games, and that’s what you saw today.” — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Next game: vs. Philadelphia (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

FitzMagic is here to stay for a while. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins to their best offensive performance of the season, scoring 21 points and throwing for 282 yards against the vaunted Bills defense. Brian Flores has already said he will start next Monday at Pittsburgh, and Fitzpatrick said postgame that he feels he’s the “perfect man” to lead the rebuilding Dolphins. For better or worse, it looks like we’ll get a little more FitzMagic. — Cameron Wolfe

Next game: at Pittsburgh (8:15 p.m. ET Oct. 28)


It took a while, but the Jaguars’ offense finally got into the end zone on Sunday. In fact, it took three weeks. The Jaguars hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown since the third quarter of a Week 5 loss to Carolina, also the last time the Jaguars scored one in the red zone. One of the reasons the Jaguars had so much success two years ago was its offense’s success in the red zone, ranking second in TD percentage (64%). This year? They are ranked 29th (38.5%) entering Sunday’s game. Increasing their efficiency in the red zone has to be a priority over the next several weeks. — Mike DiRocco

Next game: vs. N.Y. Jets (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

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0:30

Doug Marrone says the Jaguars’ defense was lights-out vs. the Bengals, but the offense needs to finish.

For the first time this season, Bengals coach Zac Taylor had to answer questions about making a potential quarterback change. Andy Dalton threw three interceptions, and all three occurred in the fourth quarter, as the Jaguars scored 18 consecutive points to keep Cincinnati (0-7) winless. Taylor was reluctant to comment on Dalton’s status moving forward immediately after the game. Dalton, a ninth-year player whose contract expires at the end of next season, said the rough start to the season has also been the most difficult stretch he’s experienced emotionally. After Sunday’s game, Dalton’s number of touchdowns and interceptions are identical (eight). “I’m going to do everything I can to prepare each week to win,” Dalton said. “That’s all I’m focused on.” Fourth-round pick Ryan Finley is the backup. — Ben Baby

Next game: at L.A. Rams (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


Just how good is this Arizona team? The Cardinals are 3-3-1 after three touchdowns by Fordham product Chase Edmonds, who shouldered the rushing load after David Johnson played just three snaps while the rain was pouring. But some perspective is needed. The Cardinals’ three wins have come against teams that are a combined 3-18. Next week’s game against the Saints will be the true barometer of where this Cardinals team is at. There’s no doubting the offense is figuring itself out and the defense can get to the quarterback — but the question is can they do it against a good team? — Josh Weinfuss

Next game: at New Orleans (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

The turnovers were the difference between Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray. Jones, who was under relentless pressure and sacked eight times, had an interception and two fumbles. It led to 17 points, and he now has 11 turnovers in five starts. Jones knows it needs to be cleaned up. He’s been concentrating on it in recent weeks, but still didn’t get rid of the ball quickly enough throughout the game. The Giants (2-5) have no chance if Jones continues to turn the ball over at his current pace. — Jordan Raanan

Next game: at Detroit (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


The offense finally had life. The Titans gained 404 yards on offense and scored 23 points, a far cry from the seven total points they scored in the two previous games. Ryan Tannehill made it a point to give his receivers a chance to make plays, and they cashed in on his two touchdown passes and multiple conversions on third down. Coupled with Tannehill’s decisiveness, some better play by the offensive line led to only two sacks, something that will need to continue from a unit that had given up a league-high 29 sacks entering Week 7. Tennessee needs to stack another good performance next week, when it faces Tampa Bay’s Shaquil Barrett, who leads the NFL with nine sacks. — Turron Davenport

Next game: vs. Tampa Bay (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

The Chargers still have not solved their goal-line issues. Melvin Gordon twice failed to get into the end zone from a yard out, fumbling the second time with Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey recovering in the end zone to seal the win. Per ESPN Stats & Information, the Chargers have now turned the ball over five times in goal-to-goal situations this season, including Gordon’s game-ending fumble. That’s already tied for the most goal-to-goal turnovers by a team in the last 15 seasons. Losers of three straight, the Chargers are three games behind the AFC West-leading Chiefs (5-2) and will hit the road again next week to face the Bears. — Eric D. Williams

Next game: at Chicago (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


New Orleans just keeps winning without its starting quarterback. Drew Brees said he plans to return to practice this week, and hopefully even play in Week 8 if all goes well. But in the meantime, these Saints just continue to prove each week that they’ll be alright if he doesn’t rush back. They are a stunning 5-0 since Brees underwent thumb surgery. And they somehow played their best game yet in a win over the Bears on Sunday, even though they also went into the game without injured running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook. — Mike Triplett

Next game: vs. Arizona (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

The 3-3 Bears are in real trouble. Green Bay leads them by three full games in the NFC North standings, Minnesota is right there at 5-2 and the Lions are no pushovers. Chicago is in crisis mode after just six games. There is no offense to speak of. The defense isn’t as good without defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (injured reserve). The season may have completely unraveled in Week 7. — Jeff Dickerson

Next game: vs. L.A. Chargers (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


Lamar Jackson and the Ravens stamped themselves as title contenders in running over the Seahawks. Outplaying MVP favorite Russell Wilson on his home turf, Jackson became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to produce 100 yards rushing and a rushing touchdown in back-to-back games. The Ravens (5-2) entered Sunday atop the AFC North, but there were questions about where they stood in the NFL. The four teams Baltimore previously beat — the Dolphins, Cardinals, Steelers and Bengals — are a combined 5-20-1. “I felt like no one thought we could win,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said, but after Baltimore upset Seattle, no one can question whether it ranks among the top teams in the NFL anymore. — Jamison Hensley

Next game: vs. New England (8:20 p.m. ET Nov. 3)

Russell Wilson is human, after all. The Seahawks’ quarterback was putting up MVP-caliber numbers before his underwhelming performance against Baltimore, which included a pick-six on a poor throw and decision. The Seahawks have an excellent bounce-back opportunity next week against the 1-6 Falcons, who are dealing with an ankle injury to Matt Ryan, and they’ll need it with the 49ers improving to 6-0. It’s a good thing for the Seahawks that Baltimore isn’t in their division, or even their conference, because they won’t want to face Jackson again anytime soon. — Brady Henderson

Next game: at Atlanta (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)


Can the Chiefs continue to be productive with Matt Moore as their quarterback? A better test will come in their next game against the Packers. Moore threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill but otherwise accomplished little Thursday night against the Broncos after the Chiefs lost Patrick Mahomes with a dislocated kneecap. That’s to be expected since Moore has had little practice time with the starters since he joined the Chiefs late in the preseason and replaced Mahomes after a short practice week. But they can tailor the playbook to his abilities now. Still, the Chiefs will lose a lot of big-play ability without Mahomes, and no amount of practice for Moore will change that. — Adam Teicher

Next game: vs. Green Bay (8:20 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

The biggest issue is the Broncos can’t protect Joe Flacco. The Chiefs finished with nine sacks, including one on a dismal fake punt attempt, and the Broncos will have limited ability to fix it beyond the same personnel on the roster. Ja’Wuan James‘ return from a knee injury to play right tackle should help some, but the Broncos will have to consider a move at left tackle where Garett Bolles continues to struggle to recover from mistakes. — Jeff Legwold

Next game: at Indianapolis (1 p.m. ET Oct. 27)

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