SportsPulse: Between Eric Reid and Malcolm Jenkins’ beef to Baker Mayfield’s face there was plenty to digest from Week 7. Trysta Krick recaps it all.
The 32 things we learned from Week 7 of the 2018 NFL season:
1. On the milestone front, Drew Brees became the fourth player to throw 500 career TD passes, joining Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Tom Brady. The Saints’ defeat of the Ravens also allowed Brees to match Favre and Manning as the only quarterbacks to defeat all 32 NFL teams.
2. On the opposite side of the milestone spectrum, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker missed the first extra point of his career after converting 222 in a row. His misfire, occurring with 24 seconds remaining, proved fatal in his team’s 24-23 defeat.
3. We can only imagine Brees and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco commiserating post game after watching their backups, Taysom Hill and Lamar Jackson, respectively, combine for nine carries while operating packages that minimize the old guys. Jackson did score the first TD of his career on a 1-yard run. Hill contributed 35 rushing yards, however his wayward pitch ruined New Orleans’ game-opening drive, which lasted nearly 10 minutes but produced no points because of the fumble. Best policy … in our opinion? Keep Brees out there.
4. The Rams’ bid for a perfect season continued in style. Wearing their all-yellow Color Rush uniforms, L.A. moved to 7-0 by beating the 49ers, clad in 1994 throwbacks, 39-10.
5.Todd Gurley scored three TDs, giving him an NFL-high 14 and putting him on pace for 32. (Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson set the single-season record, 31, in 2006). On the defensive side, the Rams’ Aaron Donald is clearly past another of his slow starts. After failing to record a sack in the first first three games, Donald — he had a career-best four Sunday — has eight in his past four outings. Donald had one sack in his first four games of 2017 before turning it on on his way to defensive player of the year honors.
6. The NFL continues to serve up bonus football. The Browns-Bucs game marked the seventh straight week at least one game went into overtime, extending a new record to start a season. Cleveland has already reached OT four times — the most of any team in one season since 2011 — meaning the Browns have played nearly an extra game in 2018.
7. Three of the last four No. 1 overall draft picks shared the field in Tampa: Jameis Winston, Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield. Despite failing to throw a TD pass, Winston — he did run for a score — notched his first win of the year … matching the total from his previous 11 starts.
8. Winston was helped by Carl Nassib — surely you remember him as one of the Browns’ leading lights from “Hard Knocks” before he was unceremoniously dumped. He collected his first two sacks as a Buccaneer, including one of Mayfield in overtime that ended Cleveland’s final possession.
9. Tampa Bay K Chandler Catanzaro’s 59-yard field goal — the longest ever in an NFL overtime — marked the 13th game this season to be won on the final play. It remains to be seen how Catanzaro’s flair for the dramatic serves him given he missed a PAT and a 40-yard field goal on the final play of regulation. (Roberto Aguayo … still available.)
10. Under new coordinator Mark Duffner, the Bucs limited the Browns to 305 yards after failing to hold any of their previous opponents below 400. Sorry, Mike Smith … “results-based business,” as they say.
11. The Arizona Cardinals’ league-worst offense hasn’t gained more than 268 yards in a game this season. Sorry, Mike McCoy … “results-based business,” as they say.
12. On a day they were without all-pro TE Rob Gronkowski (back injury), the Patriots benefited from two special teams TDs — a kickoff return from Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Van Noy’s return of a blocked punt — as they outlasted the Bears.
13. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky amazingly covered 71.9 yards on his circuitous 8-yard TD run in the first quarter — per the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, it was the most distance covered on a run that gained fewer than 50 yards this season and most covered by a quarterback in 2018. Unfortunately for Trubisky, he came up just short on his game-ending Hail Mary, which was caught by Bears WR Kevin White … who was tackled at the 1-yard line as New England prevailed 38-31.
14. #TB1K update: Brady, uh, exploded for 6 yards on his only run Sunday. Brady, who averages 1.7 yards per carry during his 19-career, therefore took a huge step toward his goal of reaching 1,000 career rushing yards. He’s now up to 989.
15. The Titans made their first trip to London on Sunday, marking their maiden appearance in an NFL International Series game. The only clubs that haven’t played a regular-season game on foreign soil are the Packers, Panthers and Eagles — and Philadelphia will play Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium next weekend.
16. After starting his four-year career with 41 TD passes in the red zone, Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota was picked off inside the 20 on Sunday for the first time.
17.The Titans lost to the Chargers 20-19 after failing to convert what would have been a game-winning two-point conversion with 31 seconds to go. Tennessee actually had two cracks at it after an L.A. penalty, but neither of Mariota’s passes connected. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Titans are now 0-for-7 on two-point attempts — all pass plays — going back to Mariota’s rookie season (2015). Sooo … wouldn’t a pivotal two-point try be a good time to remove the invisibility cloak from RB Derrick Henry? Just sayin’.
18. Much of the narrative leading up to the Jets’ 37-13 loss to the Vikings was how pleased New York brass was to have wound up with rookie Sam Darnold at quarterback rather than paying Kirk Cousins — did he spurn and/or use New York, or not really? — at least $30 million annually. The J-E-T-S could be better off in the long run, but Cousins (241 yards, 2 TDs passing) was clearly the better player Sunday, when Darnold finished with four turnovers — while surrounded by an obviously inferior supporting cast.
19. Speaking of supporting casts, Minnesota WR Adam Thielen tied Charley Hennigan (1961 Houston Oilers) by surpassing 100 receiving yards in seven consecutive games to start a season. If Thielen does it again in Week 8, he’ll tie Calvin Johnson’s mark for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games at any point.
20. Rookie Kerryon Johnson rushed for 158 yards in Detroit’s win at Miami, becoming the first Lions player with multiple 100-yard games on the ground in the same season since Reggie Bush in 2013. Detroit, the NFL’s worst rushing team in 2015 and 2017, exploded for 248 yards, the Lions’ most since 1997 (when Barry Sanders was still playing).
21. Panthers all-pro MLB Luke Kuechly had 14 tackles Sunday, four of them producing negative-yardage plays for the Eagles.
22. Carolina’s first five drives ended in punts as Philadelphia built a 17-0 fourth-quarter lead. But the Panthers’ capped their next three possessions with touchdowns as they mounted a stunning comeback to win 21-17.
23. Ten-gallon hats off to the Texans, who have overcome an 0-3 start to reel off four consecutive triumphs. Sunday’s defeat of Jacksonville gave Houston sole possession of first place in the AFC South. The Texans (4-3) also claimed first place in Texas after the Cowboys, who lost in Houston in Week 5, dropped to 3-4 after coming up short in Washington. Dallas has alternated wins and losses in its past 10 games — average defined — and is undefeated at home in 2018 but winless on the road.
24. Cowboys’ unsung villain Sunday: long snapper L.P. Ladouceur. His (admittedly questionable) 5-yard snap infraction proved too much for K Brett Maher’s margin of error. Maher’s 52-yard field-goal attempt to tie the game in Washington drilled the left upright on the final play … but likely would have been good from 47.
25. Redskins’ unsung hero: Tress Way. He dropped five of six punts inside the Dallas 20-yard line. … That’s first-place Redskins BTW.
26. If the Chiefs are going to play defense, too (season-low 239 yards and 10 points allowed to Cincinnati), then Patrick Mahomes doesn’t need to throw for 358 yards and four TDs every week … even though he did in Sunday night’s 45-10 walkover.
27. The Bengals are 0-6 on ‘Sunday Night Football’ in the Andy Dalton/A.J. Green era, which dates to 2011.
28. One of this season’s biggest disappointments? Jags CB Jalen Ramsey is no longer walking the walk or talking the talk amid his team’s three-week spiral.
29. Hey, @BortlesFacts, your boy had his first INT-free game since Week 3! Unfortunately, he fumbled twice and was ingloriously benched for Cody Kessler. Said Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone afterward: “He should be pissed” … as you surely are, @BortlesFacts.
30. But some good news, @BortlesFacts, your boy’s next game is in London. Blake Bortles is 21-43 in America but 3-1 in the United Kingdom.
31.“Dearest mother —” … Andrew Luck became the third Colts quarterback with 150 career TD passes, joining Manning (399) and Johnny Unitas (287). Luck’s sidearm has now hit pay dirt in 30 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league.
32. Perhaps even better, “Dearest mother —” … Luck, who entered Week 7 with the NFL’s most passing attempts (288), only needed his sidearm a season-low 23 times in Indianapolis’ 37-5 demolition of Buffalo‘s “Bison men.”
Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis