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Favre has made Vikings' offense seemingly impossible to stop

Jim Mone / Associated Press
The Vikings' Cedric Griffin lunges at Ravens WR Derrick Mason in order to make the tackle.
» Best of Week 6 | More photos


Vikings 33, Ravens 31
The addition of Brett Favre is the biggest reason the Vikings are unbeaten after six games. The wily veteran has been the ideal complement to Adrian Peterson and the rushing attack. Minnesota's newfound balance has made its offense seemingly impossible to stop. The Vikings forced the Ravens to get away from their customary eight-man fronts by throwing downfield to Sidney Rice and Visanthe Shiancoe. With Ed Reed unable to hover around the box, Peterson found plenty of running room in the late stages of the contest. The Vikings have emerged as one of the frontrunners in the NFC thanks to a superbly balanced offense.

Patriots 59, Titans 0
Tom Brady silenced his critics with his scintillating performance against the Titans. He connected on 29 of 34 for 380 yards and six touchdowns. Brady displayed the trademark accuracy that had been missing in recent weeks and also rediscovered his superb deep-ball touch. Brady connected with Randy Moss on three touchdowns and repeatedly found Wes Welker on an assortment of underneath throws. With their star quarterback on point in all aspects, the Patriots finally showcased the diversity that made their offense such a difficult unit to slow down in 2007. If Brady is able to build on the momentum gained in the team's 59-0 romp, then the rest of the league should be worried about the potential offensive juggernaut coming together in New England.

Raiders 13, Eagles 9
The Eagles' refusal to run the ball allowed the Raiders to pull off an unlikely upset. Andy Reid's offense called just14 runs and the decision to throw 46 times allowed the Raiders to load up against the passing game. Defensive coordinator John Marshall used a mixture of man and zone coverage with two-deep safeties over the top. The frequent use of the two deep safeties prevented Donovan McNabb from taking shots down the field and allowed the Raiders to suffocate the Eagles' attack. Additionally, Oakland played physical with Philadelphia's receivers at the line of scrimmage, which allowed Richard Seymour and Co. more time to get after McNabb in the pocket. With the Raiders amassing six sacks and only allowing nine points, the Eagles' one-dimensional game plan played into Oakland's hands.

Saints 48, Giants 27
The Saints completely dismantled the Giants by showcasing a versatile passing game out of multiple formations and personnel groupings. New Orleans' ability to routinely switch from conventional two-back sets to three- and four-receiver formations kept New York off balanced. It also enabled Drew Brees to attack a defense that was sitting back in conventional coverage. With the Giants playing a heavy amount of two-deep zone, Brees repeatedly attacked the middle of the field with seams and deep crosses. The Giants' underneath defenders were unable to disrupt the timing or release of the receivers' routes, which allowed Brees to routinely find an open target in the zone. Brees capitalized on the Giants' tactical error, and the Saints topped the 40-point mark for the third time this season as a result.

Texans 28, Bengals 17
Matt Schaub's spectacular performance keyed the Texans' surprising win at Cincinnati. He completed 28 of 40 for 392 yards with four touchdowns. Although Houston normally attacks opposing defenses with the deep ball, the Texans used a "dink and dunk" strategy to exploit the Bengals' soft-zone coverage. Schaub repeatedly found Owen Daniels and Andre Johnson on short passes over the middle and used an assortment of screens to get the ball to Steve Slaton. The Bengals routinely gained too much depth in their drops and the Texans' playmakers racked up a ton of yardage after the catch before the defense could corral them. Given Houston's inability to run the ball consistently, the effective use of the short passing game led to a big road win.

Packers 26, Lions 0
The Packers relied on a host of big plays to overcome the sloppiness of their offense. Aaron Rodgers completed 29 of 37 for 358 yards with two touchdowns. Green Bay connected on five passes over 20 yards and exploited a defense that was unable to find an answer. Although the effort was marred by the Packers' numerous penalties (13 for 130 yards), the output provided a glimpse of the offensive potential when Rodgers and Co. are clicking.

Jaguars 23, Rams 20 (OT)
Coach Jack Del Rio apparently heeded Maurice Jones-Drew request to put the offense on his shoulders. The Jaguars gave him the ball 38 times (33 rushes and five receptions) and he responded by tallying 178 yards from scrimmage with three scores. Jones-Drew did the majority of his damage on an assortment of power runs from the I-formation. His success between the tackles eventually allowed David Garrard to repeatedly throw outside to Torry Holt and Mike Sims-Walker off play-action. Although Garrard had two interceptions, the Jaguars' suddenly balanced offense was enough to thwart the Rams' upset bid.

Steelers 27, Browns 14
The offense is absolutely horrible with Derek Anderson at the helm. The former Pro Bowler is erratic as a passer and his inability to make simple throws prevents the Browns from moving the ball consistently. In addition, Anderson's penchant for turnovers forces Cleveland to play a conservative style that results in few points or big plays. The offensive output was so bad, that the Browns resorted to using Josh Cribbs as a "Wildcat" quarterback to generate some production. While Cribbs gave the team a little spark with his running skills, the Browns were unable to use the gimmick to upset the Steelers. Until Cleveland gets better play from its quarterback, the Browns will continue to rank as one of the NFL's worst offensive units.

Panthers 28, Buccaneers 21
The Panthers turned to their running game to boost an offense reeling from Jake Delhomme's inexplicable turnover woes. With Delhomme struggling to take care of the ball, Carolina ran the ball 48 times and threw the ball just 17 times. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 262 rushing yards. Turning to the running game also made sense with the extra attention the Buccaneers paid to Steve Smith. With only seven men in the box on some downs, the Panthers were able to exploit the bubbles in the Bucs' front by running an assortment of powers and leads between the tackles. On the winning drive, the Panthers put the ball in the hands of their runners on 15 of 16 plays. John Fox has always been an advocate of smash-mouth football, but his quarterback's shaky play is making the coach rely on it now more than ever.

Chiefs 14, Redskins 6
Jim Zorn's controversial decision to bench Jason Campbell at halftime in favor of Todd Collins failed to spark a unit that has been inept for the entire season. While Collins quickly connected on a 42-yard strike to Santana Moss on his first pass, he failed to continue to attack down the field and settled for the same check-down passes to the running backs that Campbell had been criticized for by the Redskins' coaching staff. With the decision failing to yield better results or a win, Zorn has not only crippled Campbell's confidence but also created chaos in the locker room.

Cardinals 27, Seahawks 3
The win was keyed by an unexpected performance from Arizona's defense. The unit harassed Matt Hasselbeck (10 of 29 for 112 yards with one interception) and forced the Seahawks into five three-and-outs in 11 possessions. Using a mixture of conventional two-deep coverage and five-man pressures, the Cardinals kept Hasselbeck from finding a rhythm in the pocket. In addition, the defense bullied Seattle's receivers early in their routes to disrupt the timing of the passing game. With Hasselbeck unable to throw on time, the Cardinals collected five sacks and numerous hits on Hasselbeck to suffocate an offense that entered the game with a ton of momentum.

Bills 16, Jets 13 (OT)
Mark Sanchez's poor performance wasted a stellar effort by Thomas Jones and Leon Washington on the ground. The duo combined for 309 rushing yards (Jones rushed for 210 yards on 22 carries; Washington tallied 99 yards on 15 attempts) and repeatedly found openings against the Bills' smallish front seven. However, the Jets' attempts to utilize the threat of the run to pass were derailed by a series of poor decisions by Sanchez. The rookie repeatedly forced balls into coverage and failed to find open windows downfield on his way to throwing five interceptions. Without the ability to capitalize through the air, the Jets were unable to score and allowed a scrappy Bills team to hang around in a game that had the potential to turn into a New York blowout.

Falcons 21, Bears 14
The Bears' inability to run the ball is making it difficult for Jay Cutler to have success. Although he passed for 300 yards (27 of 43 for 300 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions), Chicago's upside down run-pass ratio (23 runs compared to 43 passes) makes it tough for Cutler to find open windows to pass. The Falcons routinely dropped seven and eight men into coverage with two deep safeties over the top. The design of coverage kept Cutler from taking deep shots and the high number of players defending the aerial attack resulted in tipped passes or overthrows. With turnovers occurring as a result, the Bears need to find a way to make the underneath defender stay closer to the line of scrimmage to give Cutler a better chance. Matt Forte's dismal output (15 carries for 23 rushing yards) didn't warrant enough attention for the Falcons to sell out to stop the run. If Forte can't muster more yards in the coming weeks, the Bears will watch their star quarterback stumble while trying to carry the weight of the offense on his shoulders.

 

Seven from Sunday

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played during the sixth week of the 2009 season.

» New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for 380 yards and tied a franchise record with six touchdown passes in the Patriots' 59-0 win against Tennessee. Brady threw five touchdowns in the second quarter and became the first quarterback in NFL history with five touchdown passes in a quarter.

» Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner threw for 276 yards in the Cardinals' 27-3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Warner (30,032) surpassed 30,000 career passing yards in his 114th career game, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the fewest number of games to accomplish the feat in NFL history.

» New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 369 yards in the Saints' 48-27 win over the New York Giants. Brees has passed for 15,310 yards in 53 games since joining the Saints in 2007, becoming the fastest quarterback to reach 15,000 passing yards with a team. The previous mark was 56 games set by Marino (Miami) and Marc Bulger (St. Louis).

» New Orleans had seven different players score a touchdown against the New York Giants to improve to 5-0. The Saints became the fourth team since 1970 to have seven different players score a rushing or receiving touchdown in a game. The Seattle Seahawks (Oct. 30, 1977 vs. Buffalo Bills), Cincinnati Bengals (Dec. 17, 1989 vs. Houston Oilers) and Jacksonville Jaguars (Dec. 23, 2007 vs. Oakland) also accomplished the feat.

» Jacksonville wide receiver Torry Holt had five receptions for 101 yards in the Jaguars' 23-20 overtime win against St. Louis. Holt, who had 12,670 receiving yards in 10 seasons with the Rams, became the first player in NFL history to post 100 yards in his first game against a team for which he had at least 10,000 receiving yards.

» Holt also reached 13,000 receiving yards (13,066) in his 164th career game, becoming the third-fastest to accomplish the feat. Only Jerry Rice (154) and Marvin Harrison (162) reached 13,000 yards in fewer games.

» Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings' 33-31 victory over Baltimore. Favre has now passed for at least two touchdowns in 11 consecutive games at the Metrodome (eight with Green Bay, three with Minnesota), tied for the third-longest streak ( Jim Everett, Anaheim Stadium, 1989-90) with the most consecutive games with multiple TD passes at one stadium. Favre (Lambeau Field, 1994-96) and Kurt Warner (Trans World Dome/Edward Jones Dome, 1999-2000) each had a streak of 12 games, the longest in NFL history.

» Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a 27-14 victory over Cleveland. Roethlisberger has now won all 10 of his starts against the Browns and is only the second player since 1970 to win each of his first 10 regular-season starts against one team. The last player to start 10-0 against one opponent was Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (against New England).

Monday night

Broncos at Chargers: Football fans get one last good look at the Broncos' throwback uniforms, which commemorate the 50th anniversary of the inaugural season of the AFL, as the powder-blue clad Chargers play host in this pivotal AFC West showdown.
» Game preview

Injury report

» Lofa Tatupu, LB, Seahawks: Pectoral. More ...

» Trent Edwards, QB, Bills: Concussion. More ...

» Daunte Culpepper, QB, Lions: Hamstring. More ...

» Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals: Ankle. More ...

» NFL.com blogs: More updates

Fantasy studs

Who was this week's best fantasy player? Was it Drew Brees? What about Tom Brady, following that six-touchdown effort? Or, was it Maurice Jones-Drew? Check out all of Michael Fabiano's nominees and cast your vote.
» Vote for Week 6 fantasy stud

Photos

The NFL delivered more exciting games and performances in Week 6, including the Patriots' record-setting performance against the Titans while sporting old-school AFL throwbacks. Check out the memorable moments with the best images from Week 6.

» Fans of the NFL
» NFL cheerleaders during Week 6
» NFL.com photo gallery archives

Weekly Countdown

NFL Weekly Countdown, which airs each Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NFL Network, lets fans program the show. Check out the 15 nominations for the best performances, and then rank in the order you want to see those on the show. Come back Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. to see the results.

Top 15 moments of Week 6:

» Mr. Irrelevant becomes relevant | Vote
» Vikings move to 6-0 | Vote
» Schaub carves up Cincinnati | Vote
» Roethlisberger goes for 400 | Vote
» Raiders sack Eagles in upset | Vote
» Panthers' 1-2 RB punch | Vote
» Patriots catch on in snow | Vote
» Jones-Drew runs over Rams | Vote
» Jones sets Jets record | Vote
» Driver grabs Packers record | Vote
» Colston burns Giants | Vote
» Brees cool in rout | Vote
» Brady throws for six TDs | Vote
» Bills collect six picks | Vote
» Can't-miss Cribbs | Vote

» Vote: Week 6's top performances

Ahead ... Week 7!

Sunday (all times ET)
Green Bay at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
San Francisco at Houston, 1 p.m.
San Diego at Kansas City, 1 p.m.
Minnesota at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Indianapolis at St. Louis, 1 p.m.
New England vs. Tampa Bay (London), 1 p.m.
Buffalo at Carolina, 4:05 p.m.
N.Y. Jets at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.
Chicago at Cincinnati, 4:15 p.m.
Atlanta at Dallas, 4:15 p.m.
New Orleans at Miami, 4:15 p.m.
Arizona at N.Y. Giants, 8:20 p.m.
Monday
Philadelphia at Washington, 8:30 p.m.

Bye week: Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Seattle, Tennessee.

» Complete schedule


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