Thirty-nine things you need to know from Week 7

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  • By Around The NFL staff
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The Seattle Seahawks didn't look very good on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers looked far worse. What does this mean for the rest of the NFC?

The Seahawks have been a sub-.500 team since they wiped out the Packers on the opening night of the season. That must feel like forever ago for Pete Carroll, who had everything clicking (not to mention Percy Harvin) way back then. The Rams had to break out every trick in the book to beat the defending champions on Sunday, but it worked and showed -- just as the Cowboys did a week earlier -- that the Seahawks are a work in progress.

The Niners' situation is more complicated. Jim Harbaugh's team had actually won three straight before Peyton Manning turned them into a play thing during his record-setting night in Denver. San Francisco hits its bye week at 4-3, an enviable position for some but a precarious one for a team that -- from what we hear -- might not have the internal disposition to handle true adversity. The Niners are hardly the first team to let a game get away against Manning at Mile High, but Harbaugh teams aren't usually bullied like that.

So the Seahawks and 49ers are a combined 7-6. It's unexpected, yes, and very good news for the Packers, Eagles, Lions, Cardinals, and yes, Cowboys. Just be careful to read too much into the early obituaries that are sure to come in the next few days. The Seahawks and Niners are vulnerable right now, but will you really be surprised if we hit mid-January and they're the last two teams standing in the NFC?

Here's what else we learned during Week 7:

Denver Broncos 42, San Francisco 49ers 17


1. It's fitting that Manning had one of his most efficient performances while making history. His 157.2 passer rating fell just 1.1 points shy of a perfect game and ranks in the top 10 for his storied career. By early in the third quarter, Manning tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the evening, dropping a perfect throw into the Demaryius Thomas' bucket for 40 yards. The Broncos are averaging 38 points and 447 yards since the Week 4 bye. Those numbers are almost identical to Manning's record-breaking 2013 offense.

2. The Broncos' 35 points are the most allowed by the 49ers under coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. San Francisco was facing one of the NFL best offenses on a short week without the services of All-Pros Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, as well as cornerback Chris Culliver and nickelback Jimmie Ward. The bye week is coming at the perfect time for a defense that was third in Football Outsiders' metrics entering Sunday night's game. It will also giveVernon Davis (back) and Michael Crabtree (foot) a chance to get back to full health.

3. 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox's surprising breakout season ran into a Demaryius Thomas buzzsaw. Healthy and explosive now after battling an early-season foot injury, Thomas is the hottest wide receiver in the league over the past three weeks, averaging nine receptions for 174 yards while scoring five times.

-- Chris Wesseling


Baltimore Ravens 29, Atlanta Falcons 7


1. The Ravens held the Falcons to less than four yards per play in a dominant defensive effort against one of the worst road teams in football. Elvis Dumervil and Pernell McPhee each had two sacks.

2. Roddy White was the lone bright spot on offense for the Falcons. The veteran wide receiver finished with nine catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. It was White's first 100-yard game of the season.

3. Justin Forsett is establishing himself as The Man in Baltimore's backfield. Forsett rushed for 95 yards on 23 carries and has 206 rushing yards in the past two weeks.

-- Dan Hanzus

Buffalo Bills 17, Minnesota Vikings 16


1. Trailing 16-10, Kyle Orton drove Buffalo on a gutsy 15-play, 80-yard drive that saw him connect with four different pass-catchers before finding rookie Sammy Watkins in the end zone with one tick left on the clock. Orton's biggest toss on the march saw wideout Chris Hogan make an outstanding 28-yard catch that set up the Bills at the Minnesota 2. It's a critical win for Buffalo, one that keeps them alive in the AFC East.

2. The win didn't come without a cost to Buffalo. After Bills running back Fred Jackson was lost for the day to a groin injury, C.J. Spiller was carted off the field with the broken collarbone he suffered on a dazzling 52-yard sprint in the second quarter. With enigmatic Bryce Brown inactive for the seventh straight game, Anthony Dixon -- the only running back left -- held his own to rumble for 51 yards at 3.9 yards per clip.

3. After throwing an ugly interception last week against the Lions, Teddy Bridgewater flung a pair of picks to Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin. The second of those interceptions saw Teddy underthrow wideout Adam Thielen, who couldn't stop McKelvin from jumping the route to give Buffalo the ball back at the Minnesota 26. Orton hit Watkins one play later for the 7-3 lead.

-- Marc Sessler

Miami Dolphins 27, Chicago Bears 14


1. Ryan Tannehill was flawless early. The quarterback diced up Chicago's defense with an on-point quick passing scheme. Tannehill completed his first 14 passes and finished 25-of-32 passing for 277 yards and two touchdowns (123.6 rating). The signal-caller also did it with his feet. The former college receiver ran for 48 yards on six carries -- including a big 30-yard keeper on a fourth-and-1 play. The biggest negative was Tannehill's tendency to take sacks when in field-goal range; he cost Miami points on a couple occasions.

2. This was the type of Bill Lazor-led offense we expected entering the season. The Dolphins used a lot of misdirection early and got Tannehill out of the pocket for easy passes. Miami utilized eight different receivers with at least two catches. Most notable was tight end Charles Clay, whom the Bears could not cover. Clay had four receptions for 58 yards and a score.Lamar Miller carried the load (18 totes) but Lazor also mixed and matched with Daniel Thomas (eight carries) and Tannehill. Expect to see the quarterback on more runs in the future.

3. Chicago's turnovers killed them once again in a loss. Jay Cutler had another brutal drive-killing interception on what was either a terrible decision or a bad miscommunication (inexcusable at this stage of the season). Cutler also lost a fumble on a strip sack -- which came after a Brandon Marshall offensive pass interference. The subsequent drive ended in another lost fumble, this time byDante Rosario. The Bears fell to 0-3 at home.

-- Kevin Patra

Detriot Lions 24, New Orleans Saints 23


1. Golden Tate deserves the game ball. On a day in which Matthew Stafford mostly couldn't shoot straight, Tate turned this game around by himself. Down 23-10 with under four minutes left, Tate took a routine short throw and turned it into a 73-yard touchdown. He finished with 154 yards on the day with a number of huge third-down grabs. Tate has been one of the most valuable receivers in the entire NFL this year. Really.

2. This looked like a throwback game for Drew Brees until the fourth quarter. The Lions' pass rush rattled him late, and Brees had a stretch where he didn't complete a pass for 10 straight attempts, including a backbreaking interception to Glover Quin. Brees telegraphed the pass, setting up the Lions in the red zone for the go-ahead score. On a day in which Detroit's offense struggled to move the ball, it was an unforgivable mental mistake. Brees has forced too many passes this year.

3. These are the types of games the Saints are used to closing out -- and the Lions are used to losing. But Mark Ingram only rushed for 16 yards on 10 attempts in his return, and the rest of New Orleans' run game wasn't much better. Detroit's defensive line was disruptive, finishing with six tackles for loss.

-- Gregg Rosenthal

Green Bay Packers 38, Carolina Panthers 17


1. Aaron Rodgers is in the midst of the longest streak without an interception of his career. He has been unstoppable early in games, completing 24 of 28 first-quarter passes over the past four contests. This game was in the bag after the Packers racked up 172 first-quarter yards to just five for the Panthers. Riding a four-game winning streak with an 18:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and two of his three career single-game passer ratings over 150.0, Rodgers is rivaling Philip Rivers as the leader in the MVP discussion. He tied Tom Brady's 2007 record with his fourth consecutive game featuring three touchdowns without an interception.

2. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly was ejected late in the third quarter after making contact with an official. We saw it as an unfair decision, as Kuechly was grabbed from behind by a referee and simply swung his arm to shake loose.

3. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb make up the most effective wide receiver duo in the league right now. Nelson is first in receiving yards (812) while Cobb is first in touchdown receptions (eight). Even with Jarrett Boykin active this week, rookie Davante Adams held on to the No. 3 receiver job.

-- Chris Wesseling

Indianapolis Colts 27, Cincinnati Bengals 0


1. It took the Colts more than a half to convert a third down, so Pep Hamilton and Co. aren't exactly free from criticism, but the Bengals put up an absolutely horrendous offensive performance on Sunday. Their 27 yards at the half were the fewest by an NFL team at the half since Week 3 of last season. It took them until the 30-second mark in the second quarter to register a first down. Hue Jackson's insistence on the intermediate passing game worked last week against Carolina, but without a dramatic shift, his players were sitting ducks for a barrage of big hits from the Indy defense. The Bengals did not cross midfield until the 11:14 mark of the fourth quarter. That is not a typo. They finished with 135 yards of total offense.

2. The Bengals should force Vontaze Burfict to sit out for a few weeks, not only to give him time to truly rehabilitate his head and neck injuries, but to allow him to develop as a tackler. Burfict has already missed time this year with a concussion, went through concussion sideline protocol last week against the Panthers and missed almost the entire game Sunday with a neck injury. Burfict's form on a tackle of Andrew Luck was shoddy. His head was almost completely down, and he buried his neck into a charging 240-pound ball carrier. When Burfict is out of the lineup, the Bengals' defense is so obviously weak against a power running game. Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw, who combined for 129 yards and a touchdown, were free to exploit the defense on Sunday.

3. On a deeper level, where do the Bengals go from here? A blowout loss to the Patriots in Week 5and a gut-wrenching tie to a suspect Panthers team in Week 6. This week? A heartless effort against the Colts. On several occasions Sunday, we saw Andy Dalton spike the ball, throw up his hands or roll his eyes, which is not a good sign from a franchise quarterback in development. With a locker room that is potentially volatile enough to turn if the season hits the skids, Marvin Lewis has some serious coaching to do over the next few days. The window in the AFC North won't linger for long, and with a game against the Ravens looming, he might need to come up with something in a hurry.

-- Conor Orr

Jacksonville Jaguars 24, Cleveland Browns 6


1. This season's better moments from Blake Bortles and the Jaguars told us this was coming. Facing a flat Browns squad, the rookie quarterback overcame three interceptions to puncture Cleveland for 159 yards and one score. The story of the game, though, was Jacksonville's frisky defense, which owned the line of scrimmage and locked down the secondary to keep the Browns four of 17 on third downs.

2. Sunday marked Brian Hoyer's ugliest afternoon yet. The Browns passer completed just 16 of 41 throws at 5.2 yards per clip. Hoyer struggled to find open targets, saw passes batted down and threw a crushing fourth-quarter interception -- just his second all season. Hoyer has thrived in boot action, but Jacksonville erased that approach, swallowing up Cleveland's small wideouts and holding tight end Jordan Cameron to one catch for five yards.

3. The Browns desperately miss Alex Mack. Entering the game third in the league with 146.4 rushing yards per game, Ben Tate and company were held to 69 yards at 2.3 yards per clip. John Greco wasn't a disaster filling in for Mack, but the interior line struggled to push the pile and open holes. Nothing play-caller Kyle Shanahan dialed up seemed to work.

-- Marc Sessler

St. Louis Rams 28, Seattle Seahawks 26

1. The Rams were facing a fourth-and-3 from their own 18 with 2:55 to play when punter Johnny Hekker took the long snap and flicked a pass to running back Benny Cunningham, who rumbled 19 yards to convert the first down. It was a wildly gutsy call by Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who must have had a hunch he was going to lose if the Seahawks got the ball back.

2. And if Fisher had that hunch, Russell Wilson is the reason why. The Seahawks' quarterback was a dominant force in the second half, leading touchdown drives of 82, 91 and 80 yards on Seattle's final three possessions. Wilson became the first player in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game. The third-year pro is taking his game to another level.

3. The Seahawks looked just fine without Percy Harvin. Seattle amassed 463 yards of total offense and had three players finish with 50 or more receiving yards. Doug Baldwin led the way, with seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.

-- Dan Hanzus

Washington Redskins 19, Tennessee Titans 17


1. A composed Colt McCoy completed 11 of 12 passes in the second half, generating a gaudy 138.9 passer rating. He responded to Tennessee's go-ahead touchdown by leading a three-minute drill to set up a Kai Forbath chip shot for the game winner. The Titans were only in the game because Kirk Cousins set up both of their first-half scores with turnovers. Based on their respective play Sunday, McCoy should be the favorite to start at Dallas in Week 8 if Robert Griffin III isn't ready to return. Coach Jay Gruden said after the game the coaching staff will gauge Griffin's status after he practices on Wednesday.

2. Gruden isn't the only one looking forward to seeing RGIII under center. For his career, Alfred Morris has averaged 24 more yards per game and 1.2 more yards per carry with Griffin at quarterback as opposed to Cousins. The threat of Griffin's legs opens wider lanes for Morris to exploit.

3. The Titans desperately need Jake Locker back. Settling for too many checkdowns, Charlie Whitehurst couldn't get the ball to playmakers Delanie Walker and Justin Hunter.

-- Chris Wesseling

Dallas Cowboys 31, New York Giants 21


1. The Cowboys won because their Big 3 -- Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant -- looked like the three best players on the field. Bryant couldn't be covered in the second half, piling up 136 yards on seven catches in the final two quarters.

2. DeMarco Murray became the first player in NFL history to begin the season with seven consecutive 100-yard games. Murray broke the record previously held by Browns legend Jim Brown. If you're curious: Murray needs to average 132.4 yards over the last nine games to break Eric Dickerson's all-time single-season record.

3. Giants fans are probably cool with Odell Beckham Jr. now. The rookie had two touchdown receptions on Sunday and has made an immediate impact since returning from that nagging hamstring injury. Beckham did most of his work out of the slot, delivering the game the Giants needed with Victor Cruz out.

-- Dan Hanzus

Kansas City Chiefs 23, San Diego Chargers 20


1. The Chiefs borrowed the Chargers' blueprint, using a "death by a thousand paper cuts" offense to control the tempo and keep Philip Rivers' high-scoring offense on the sidelines. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs owned a 3-to- edge in time of possession -- and were still trailing by a point. Smith outplayed Rivers in the all-important final frame, taking the lead with an early-fourth quarter touchdown and breaking a tie in the two-minute drill.

2. After a record-setting five consecutive games with a passer rating of at least 120.0, Rivers slipped to 83.4 on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and DeMarco Murray have made up ground in the admittedly premature MVP discussion.

3. With another sack on Sunday, Justin Houston is now tied for the NFL lead with seven. Over the past two years, the two-time Pro Bowl selection has averaged over a sack per game. Although far from a household name, he's one of the league's premier outside linebackers.

-- Chris Wesseling

Arizona Cardinals 24, Oakland Raiders 13


1. Carson Palmer came out sizzling, completing 13 of his first 16 throws to build a 14-0 lead offtouchdown strikes to Stepfan Taylor and Michael Floyd. The Raiders tightened up against the pass in the second half, but Palmer countered by repeatedly finding Andre Ellington in the screen game. Oakland deserves credit for putting up a fight, but the Cardinals have too many weapons and too much speed for an average defense to contain.

2. Derek Carr was a revelation last week, but looked very much like a rookie out of the gate against Arizona's resilient defense. With 4:18 to go in the first half, Carr had 13 yards passing. From there, he rattled off an 18-yarder to Mychal Rivera and a 55-yarder to Brice Butler to set up Oakland's first touchdown. As mentioned in our recent look at the rookie passers, Carr -- still a work in progress -- does a strong job evading pressure and trusting his young receivers in one-on-one coverage. He's the silver lining to a lost season.

3. Cardinals running back Andre Ellington remains a tantalizing talent by land and sea. While he hasn't passed 100 yards on the ground all year, Ellington's speed in the screen game essentially serves as Arizona's running attack when it's working. Ellington piled up 76 of Arizona's 80 yards on a key third-quarter touchdown march en route to 160 total yards off 30 touches. The Cardinals, though, lack a clock-chewing thumper to pair with their jitterbug, one reason Arizona came into the game ahead of only Jacksonville and Oakland in rushing yards per outing.

-- Marc Sessler

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 7 game, and breaks down Peyton Manning's record-breaking night. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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