The NFL season hasn’t disappointed this year, delivering some big hits and big surprises. Week 6 was no different, with several games delivering action that many fans weren’t expecting to see. Sitting down as an armchair quarterback a day after the games, it’s easy to pick up on some of the mistakes and figure out what went wrong.
The biggest upset of the day had to have been the Dallas Cowboys losing to the New York Jets. The Jets hadn’t won a game all season, while the Cowboys have been playing relatively well. Only relatively because they lost last week’s game against another team they should have beaten, the Green Bay Packers, and the previous week’s contest against the New Orleans Saints. However, losing 24-22 to a winless team was an even bigger disappointment.
The Cowboys started off well enough, but then the clock hit the second-minute mark and it all fell apart. They couldn’t put any pressure on the Jets, which says a lot since the team had allowed 23 sacks before yesterday, and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was able to connect with seven different receivers. He was all over the field and the Cowboys seemed to be lost on how to cover.
The Cowboys only made it to the red zone twice on four attempts – the Jets made it twice on three. Looking at all of the stats, there’s no reason the Cowboys should have lost. The team had more plays for more yards, less turnovers and less yards lost due to penalties. However, when it comes down to it, they just have not been able to keep focused and this is going to be their downfall.
The Carolina Panthers pulled off a key win as the team met the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London and the game saw some action that hasn’t been seen in years. The Panthers, led by quarterback Kyle Allen, moved to 4-2 as they took down the Bucs 37-26 in what was definitely a crucial game for the team. It keeps them in second place in the NFC South and in good standing to battle against the Saints for the first-position slot. Both the Saints and the Panthers are coming off four-game winning streaks, and Carolina has a bye week, which will allow it to recuperate its energy and design some new plays.
Seven forced turnovers are a good way to lose a game and the Bucs will have to relive that nightmare for weeks to come. Carolina’s defense was on the ball – literally and figuratively – and two fumble recoveries and five interceptions kept the Bucs having to fight for everything they wanted.
English fans got to see something that hasn’t been seen in over five years. The NFL has an obscure “fair catch free kick” rule that allows, in certain circumstances, a team to fair catch a punt and try for a free kick. According to the rule, the team receiving the punt, after making the call, can try for a field goal and the defense can’t interfere. In fact, it has to line up ten yards off the ball and can’t try to block the kick. Carolina tried it just before the end of the first half and, while it wasn’t successful, it showed that head coach Ron Rivera is paying attention.
As much as the NFL has tried to make the game safer, it needs to be remembered that football is still a physical game. Ask Geoff Swaim of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was hit by a freight train whose name is Demario Davis in the fourth quarter of the Jags 13-6 loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints and will need some extra time in the tub this week.
The hit wasn’t intentionally illegal, but it still results in an unnecessary roughness call. Davis, a defensive linebacker, was doing his job when he came into stop Swaim from catching a ball from Jags quarterback Gardner Minshew. As Swaim came back down to Earth, Davis came in and ran over him like he was a rag doll. Swaim went one way, the ball went another and it took a little bit before Swaim realized that he wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
Davis was a good sport about the issue, staying close to the downed player until he finally got up and was able to walk off the field, albeit with a concussion. It just goes to show that there will always be some dangerous situations that can’t be avoided, no matter how much protection the league tries to implement.