1) Injuries — Every season there seems to be a week where fans and media see the “physicality” of the NFL game. It is truly “Next Man Up” time as marquee players like Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee – season), Eagles QB Nick Foles (concussion), Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee – season), Bears QB Jay Cutler (groin – 4 to 5 games), Rams QB Sam Bradford (ACL – season), Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles – season) and many others went down for extended periods of time. Unfortunately for NFL GM’s there are not a lot of players left on the street, unless you are talking about unwanted retreads like Tim Tebow, T.O, Chad Johnson, and Richard Seymour.
2) Not so happy homecoming for Peyton Manning – Maybe it was the long heart-felt ovation from the Indy faithful, but Peyton wasn’t Peyton for a large portion of a 39-33 “road” loss to the upstart Colts (5-2). Denver (6-1) lost their chance for an undefeated season and their 17-game winning in one swoop. Manning’s final numbers were good (29-49, 386 pyds, 3 TDs, 1 INT) but he clearly rattled (sacked 4 times and hit 10 times). There was a 5 for 12 stretch where the 4-time MVP wobbled pass after pass, which many attributed to a big sack/FF/safety recovery by Manning’s former teammate Robert Mathis. I know it was only 1 game, but the Broncos now trail the undefeated Chiefs (7-0) and they look vulnerable in two big areas (Pass Defense and running the football — only 64 ryds). We will see if Manning and the rest of John Fox’s team can respond at home in Week 8 vs. the upstart Redskins (2-4)… BTW is there any question that the Colts will win the pitiful AFC South (2-game lead over TEN).
3) Some horrible QB play – I was once asked if this is the “Golden” age of NFL quarterbacks? To answer the question, “No Way”! Sure passing numbers are up, but Sunday showed that there are not even 32 QB’s who should be playing on a weekly basis in the NFL. Sure, Andy Dalton (24-34, 372 pyds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) had a “career” day as he led the Bengals (5-2) to a big 27-24 win over the Lions in a real shootout, but so many other signalcallers stunk-up the joint. I will start with new Eagles starter Nick Foles. After enduring a week of hearing that Foles was the next Unitas and “better” than injured former starter Michael Vick (hamstring) — including some fans saying that he was smarter — the 2nd year passer, making his 8th career start, was a “Deer in the Headlights”. In a horrible performance (), against the hated Cowboys, with the division lead on the line, Foles was too scared to make throws (too many checkdowns). And when he did have chances to make “big” game-changing throws (McCoy on a Wheel Route, a wide-open Avant in the endzone, Celek downfield along the sidelines, D-Jax deep, and many others) Foles looked like Tebow in terms of his accuracy and just plain didn’t take advantage of opportunities. Mercifully for Eagles’ fans, the tentative passer’s day ended in the 3rd quarter with a concussion after Cowboys DE George Selvie slammed Foles to the ground after he refused to throw the ball after holding it for what seemed to be an eternity (at least 7 seconds). We will see who Eagles rookie HC Chip Kelly picks to be his starter versus the Giants (1-6) in Week 8 at home — PHI has lost 9 straight at the Linc — but right now a gimpy Vick is probably his best option. Other lowlight quarterbacks in Week 7 were Eagles backup Matt Barkley (3 INTs), Vikings starter Josh Freeman (Why did they start him on MNF?… Completed under 40% of his passes ), Titans’ Jake Locker (Ineffective in his return from injury), Browns’ Brandon Weeden (Get ready for the draft CLE), Rams Kellen Clemens (average at best after replacing Bradford), Dolphins Ryan Tanneyhill (horrible 4th quarter) and Cardinals Carson Palmer (just looks old as he missed too throws)