What do Calvin Johnson, Mike Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Vincent Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have in common? All five had amazing 100-yard or more receiving performances this week, but were all on the losing side of the football in Week 7 NFL action. Thanks to tough defenses, timely kicking and untimely injuries (Jay Cutler, Arian Foster, Sam Bradford, Brian Cushing and Jermichael Finley were among the stars injured in Week 7) the fortunes of several NFL teams appeared to have turned in a variety of directions.
Here's what else we learned:
Kickin' It Up: The Bills, Bengals, Jets and Steelers all got into the win column this week thanks to game-winning field goals, with Gang Green's coming in OT over the New England Patriots. With their victories, The Jets snuck into second place in the AFC East, while the Bengals stay firmly atop the AFC North.
Andrew Luck Doesn't Need Any: Although Peyton Manning made it interesting, Andrew Luck's performance against the Denver Broncos Sunday night transcends numbers. Aside from his four TDs, Luck was poised from the first snap and was never rattled. For a player that has already proved himself, this was a statement game. Although other younger quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III get more mainstream media attention, Luck is clearly in a different league all together.
Chiefs Stay Perfect: Jamaal Charles ran for 86 yards and a TD, while Alex Smith connected with seven different players to squeak out a 17-16 win over the Matt Schaub-less Texans. The Chiefs defense was stellar as well, powered by a wonderful performance by Tamba Hali. The outside linebacker had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles to keep the Texans offense mostly quiet.
Bucs and Jags Misery Continues: Philip Rivers went six-for-six on the Chargers' first drive and was super solid the rest of the game, going 22/26 with a TD against a minuscule Jaguars offense that could only produce two field goals in a 24-6 loss. While Tampa Bay had more success on offense, especially Vincent Jackson (10 catches, 138 yards) they were limited to just two field goals in the fourth quarter in a tight game against a Falcons defense that finally stepped up in a 31-23 Atlanta win. With an injury to star RB Doug Martin as well, Tampa Bay's season won't get any easier.
Bears and Dolphins Befuddled: Both teams started the season 3-0, but are fading fast. Chicago's offense hasn't been a problem, but after QB Jay Cutler left with a groin injury after a sack in the second quarter in a 45-41 loss to the Redskins, the Bears may have more questions to ponder. Miami had a 21-17 lead late in the third, but two Dan Carpenter field goals in the fourth quarter and a two-sack, three tackle, forced fumble performance from the Bills' Mario Williams (who leads the NFL with 10 sacks) caged the Miami offensive attack in a 23-21 Buffalo win. Like the Bears, you have to wonder where the Dolphins go from here.
Baltimore Sack-a-Palooza Not Enough: While the ineffective Joe Flacco and injured Ray Rice have done little to keep the Ravens above .500 this season, the Ravens defense has been dominant at times, especially towards opposing quarterbacks. For the 15th week in a row, Baltimore got at least two sacks. Through seven weeks of play, Terrell Suggs leads the team with seven sacks, while Elvis Dumervil isn't far behind with five.
Hope for the Skins and Steelers? Robert Griffin III is back. 298 yards passing and 84 yards rushing led the team to a win in an offensively-driven game against the Bears, while the Steelers run game came alive in a 19-16 win over the Ravens, thanks to a 93-yard performance from rookie Le'Veon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger was 17/23 with a TD. After six weeks, both teams are just 2-4, but have momentum on their side.