NFL Sunday Recap, Week 7: Panthers pull off upset of the year while New York teams continue to roll

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jacob Kupferman/AP/Shutterstock (13488841be) Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Charlotte, N.C Buccaneers Panthers Football, Charlotte, United States – 23 Oct 2022

NFL Sunday Recap, Week 7: Panthers pull off upset of the year while New York teams continue to roll

Bengals 35, Falcons 17

Cincinnati’s offense came out firing in the early going Sunday afternoon, as Joe Burrow quickly connected with Tyler Boyd on a 60-yard deep ball to give the Bengals a 7-0 lead just two minutes in. They’d extend their lead to 14-0 before the end of the first quarter, their second touchdown coming on a one yard rush by Joe Mixon. Cincinnati continued its first half dominance on the first play of the second quarter, a 32-yard beauty of a throw from Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase for a three touchdown lead. Atlanta would finally cut into the lead with just under five minutes to play in the half, punching in a one yard touchdown with rookie Tyler Allgeier to make it 21-7. Burrow and Chase would connect on another long touchdown before half to extend the lead, a 41-yard strike to make it 28-7 in the final minute. Instead of heading into the locker room quietly, Marcus Mariota and the Falcons continued the fireworks to pull back within 28-14 on a 75-yard touchdown reception by Demiere Byrd. Unbelievably, the Falcons would force a punt, return it all the way into field goal range, and kick a field goal all within the final 39 seconds of the half to make it 28-17 at the break. After each defense stepped up with stops to start the second half, Cincinnati would score on a Joe Burrow sneak with just over five minutes to go in the third for a 35-17 lead. Both defenses held the rest of the way, preserving a huge win for Cincinnati that saw Joe Burrow throw for a ridiculous 481 yards.

Next Week: Cincinnati: at Cleveland, Atlanta: Bye

Titans 19, Colts 10

The Titans and Colts already met for their second time this season in Week 7, this time in Nashville. The Titans entered having won four of the last five over Indianapolis and jumped out to a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter on a short field goal by Randy Bullock. The defensive struggle continued into the second quarter, but Tennessee would suddenly extend their lead to 10-0 on a 76-yard pick six of Matt Ryan by Andrew Adams. Matt Ryan’s nightmare first half continued with another interception with just over five minutes to play in the half, this one hauled in by linebacker David Long Jr. Tennessee added another field goal before the half, shutting out the Colts 13-0 at the break. Indianapolis would finally find the end zone late in the third quarter, a four-yard reception by Parris Campbell to make it 13-7 Tennessee. Malik Willis would take over at quarterback for the Titans early in the fourth quarter following an apparent injury to Ryan Tannehill, but Tennessee would kick a field goal to make it 16-7 before he got to throw his first pass of the day. Tannehill would re-enter the game on the next Titans’ drive, and a strange gadget play in which he tried to hand the ball off to backup Malik Willis resulted in a Titans’ lost fumble. Each team exchanged fourth-quarter field goals as the defensive struggle continued, leaving Indianapolis facing a two-score deficit in the game’s final five minutes. Michael Pittman Jr’s fumble with three minutes to play sealed the Titans’ win, giving them complete control of the AFC South through seven weeks. 

Next Week: Indianapolis: vs Washington, Tennessee: at Houston

Commanders 23, Packers 21

The Packers entered Sunday a very disappointing 3-3 on the season, fresh off two straight surprising losses to New York’s NFL teams. After Green Bay and Washington traded stops to open the game, the Packers broke the seal with a short touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Aaron Jones. A big mistake by Green Bay’s special teams would give Washington their first opportunity deep in Packers’ territory moments later, but the Commanders would settle for a field goal to make it 7-3. Washington’s backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, starting in place of the injured Carson Wentz Sunday, made a mistake of his own early in the second quarter leading to De’Vondre Campbell’s 63-yard interception touchdown and a 14-3 Green Bay lead. Heinicke and the Commanders responded well on their next drive, scoring on a 9-yard reception by Antonio Gibson to make it 14-10 in the second quarter. The Washington Commanders would take their first lead of the day on their first drive of the third quarter, as Taylor Heinicke dropped an absolute dime of a 37-yard touchdown throw into the arms of Terry McLaurin to make it 17-14. Washington added a field goal as the third quarter ended, sending the game into the final period with the Packers down six. Washington’s defense continued to come up with huge stops, and eventually, the Commanders would add yet another field goal to make it 23-14 with under seven minutes to play. Green Bay put together a fourth-quarter drive when they really needed one on the ensuing possession, as Aaron Rodgers pushed the ball downfield and eventually found Aaron Jones in the end zone to make it 23-21. The Commanders’ offense drove the ball into Packers’ territory in an attempt to run out the clock but would punt back to Green Bay with less than 30 seconds to play. Rodgers and the Packers did all they could in the final seconds to make a wild play, but the Washington defense did just enough to preserve the 23-21 upset. 

Next Week: Green Bay: at Buffalo, Washington: at Indianapolis 

Panthers 21, Buccaneers 3

Things have begun looking increasingly grim in Carolina, where the Panthers have fired their head coach, are on their third-string quarterback and traded away star running back Christian McCaffrey to San Francisco earlier this week. If there is a strength for the Panthers’ it’s clearly their defense – and on Sunday afternoon, their defense kept them in the game early with several stops as the game remained scoreless deep into the second quarter. Carolina would put together an impressive drive to end the half, taking an improbable 7-0 lead on D.J. Moore’s 20-yard reception in the final minute. The panic would really begin to set in for Tampa Bay in the third quarter, as D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard gained more than 70 yards on two rush plays to make it 14-0 Panthers. The Buccaneers finally got on the board early in the final quarter, settling for a Ryan Succop field goal to make it 14-3 Panthers. PJ Walker would come up with another huge throw on the Panthers’ next drive, this time a 29-yard touchdown to Tommy Tremble that made it 21-3 with 9:33 to play. Brady and the Bucs would turn it over on downs on the ensuing drive, all but sealing the league-shattering loss by Tampa Bay at Bank of America Stadium. 

Next Week: Tampa Bay: vs Baltimore, Carolina: at Atlanta

Giants 23, Jaguars 17

The New York Giants 5-1 start has arguably been the biggest story of the young NFL season, yet in the eyes of many, they’ll need to win a few more against a soft schedule to legitimize their results. Daniel Jones got the Giants off to a hot start Sunday afternoon, connecting with Darius Slayton for a 32-yard touchdown on the opening drive to put New York ahead. Jacksonville, badly in need of a win after a 2-4 start, responded in kind with a strong drive of their own capped by Travis Etienne’s seven-yard touchdown – and a surprising two-point conversion – to take an 8-7 lead. Each team added a field goal to make it 11-10 Jaguars for the majority of the second quarter, and New York added another FG in the final minute to take a 13-11 lead into the break. The Jaguars would put together a strong first drive in the second half, as a long run by Travis Etienne set up Trevor Lawrence’s sneak into the end zone from one yard out to make it 17-13. Each defense held up for a while, but Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley keyed a huge fourth-quarter drive by New York to make it 20-17 with five minutes to play. After coming within inches of icing the game on their next drive, New York would settle for a field goal with 1:07 to go for a 23-17 lead. Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars took over with no timeouts, but the Giants’ defense did just enough to hold on for a 23-17 road win. New York improves to 6-1 with the triumph, continuing their excellent start and keeping them on the heels of the undefeated Eagles. 

Next Week: New York: at Seattle, Jacksonville: vs Denver

Ravens 23, Browns 20

The Cleveland Browns entered Sunday needing a hot start after three consecutive losses, and they’d get one on their first drive as Nick Chubb punched in a two-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 with more than eight minutes to play in the first quarter. The two AFC North rivals would trade field goals on their next two possessions, giving the Browns a 10-3 lead as the first quarter came to a close. Baltimore would score ten straight from there, combining another Justin Tucker field goal and Gus Edwards’ first rushing touchdown since 2020 to take a 13-10 lead late in the half. The first big play of the second half came from the Ravens’ defense, a strip sack of Jacoby Brissett that set them up with an immediate scoring opportunity. Gus Edwards would convert another short touchdown run to extend the Ravens’ lead to 20-10, a familiar second-half lead that Baltimore had already failed to turn into a win twice this season. Justin Tucker’s 55-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter extended the Ravens’ lead back to ten, allowing fans at M&T Bank Stadium to exhale at least for a moment. Cleveland wouldn’t go away, driving downfield with powerful runs and eventually punching it into the end zone with Kareem Hunt to make it 23-20 Ravens with nine minutes to play. With just over three minutes to go and Baltimore looking primed to finish the job, a fumble by backup running back Justice Hill gave Cleveland new life. The Browns’ ensuing drive took them into Baltimore territory, but two massive penalties on Cleveland made Cade York’s game-tying field goal attempt with 2:09 to go a near impossible task, and it was never close. The tight win for Baltimore was a breath of fresh air for the Ravens, allowing them to keep pace with the Bengals atop the division while pushing Cleveland into the cellar. 

Next Week: Cleveland: vs Cincinnati, Baltimore: at Tampa Bay

Jets 16, Broncos 9 

The surprising 4-2 New York Jets headed west to Denver Sunday afternoon on a mission to prove they’re a legitimate contender in the AFC. They jumped out to an early lead on a hobbled Denver squad without quarterback Russell Wilson in the first quarter, leading 7-0 after a 62-yard rush by rookie Breece Hall. Denver responded late in the first quarter with a score of their own, a short run by Latavius Murray to pull the Broncos to within one after a missed extra point. Brandon McManus would help atone for his miss by converting a 44-yard field goal late in the second quarter, giving Denver a 9-7 lead. The first half proved particularly troubling for the Jets on the injury front, as three offensive starters (Corey Davis, Breece Hall, Alijah Vera-Tucker) all exited the game in the second quarter. The Jets would manage to add a field goal going into the break, taking a 10-9 lead. After a quiet third quarter dominated by the defenses, New York would extend their lead to 13-9 early in the fourth quarter on a second Greg Zuerlein field goal. It was Zuerlein again extending New York’s lead with just under five minutes to play, this time connecting from 40 yards out to make it 16-9 Jets. The Broncos’ attempt at a drive to tie the game in the final minute fell short, sealing the road win and sending New York to 5-2 on the season. 

Next Week: New York: vs New England, Denver: at Jacksonville 

Seahawks 37, Chargers 23 

The Seattle Seahawks’ 3-3 start had been a pleasant surprise to a fan base that entered 2022 with low expectations, but Seattle entered Sunday afternoon wanting to prove they were for real against the AFC West-leading Chargers. They’d come out on fire in the early going, turning the Chargers over on downs and intercepting a Justin Herbert pass to set up two early scoring drives. Geno Smith made a big throw to Marquise Goodwin to make it 7-0, and Kenneth Walker II broke a 12-yard rush on their ensuing drive to give Seattle a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter. Justin Herbert would fumble the ball away on the next Chargers’ possession, a mistake leading to a Seattle field goal to make it 17-0 as the game moved into the second quarter. Things began to turn south a bit from there for the Seahawks, as star wide receiver DK Metcalf was carted off the field with an injury and Austin Ekeler punched in a Chargers’ touchdown to make it 17-7 in the second quarter. After a Dee Eskridge fumble cost Seattle another possession, Los Angeles would quickly convert again – this time a 13-yard touchdown reception by Mike Williams to make it 17-14. Geno Smith and the Seahawks grabbed the momentum back with yet another touchdown before halftime, this time a 23-yard pass to Marquise Goodwin, his second of the half to make it 24-14 at the break. Both defenses made big plays to keep the score the same for much of the third quarter, and it wasn’t until the 1:10 mark of the period that Jason Myers’ 34-yard field goal broke the seal to make it 27-14 Seattle. Los Angeles would finally get on the board in the second half in a rather unconventional manner, stuffing Kenneth Walker II behind the goal line for a Safety to pull within 11. Walker had his revenge with under seven minutes to go on Seattle’s next drive, breaking a 74-yard run for his second touchdown, giving him 168 yards on the ground and giving Seattle a 37-16 lead. Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler connected for a two-yard score in the final few minutes to make it 37-23, but it was far too little and too late. Seattle’s 4-3 record earns them a spot alone atop the NFC West, an incredible feat for a team expected to finish fourth.

Next Week: Seattle: vs NY Giants, Los Angeles: Bye

Chiefs 44, 49ers 23 

The crowd at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was buzzing ahead of Sunday afternoon’s 49ers showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, not only because of the big matchup facing their team but also because new acquisition Christian McCaffrey was to make his San Francisco debut. The 49ers would reward their enthusiasm with a hot start, picking up ten early points on a Robbie Gould field goal and an eight-yard touchdown pass to Ray-Ray McCloud III. Kansas City wouldn’t stay quiet for long, putting together a strong drive of their own to make it 10-7 after Mecole Hardman’s eight-yard touchdown catch. San Francisco added another field goal, but the Chiefs’ offense continued to roll as Hardman scored a second touchdown from 25 yards out to make it 14-13 in the second quarter. Kansas City’s defense got a big stop late in the half, but Skyy Moore’s inability to catch Wishnowsky’s punt set up the 49ers deep in Chiefs’ territory anyway. However, Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers threw the opportunity away, as Joshua Williams’ interception at the goal line gave Kansas City back the football. The Chiefs would miss a field goal as the first half ended but came out firing in the third quarter with a touchdown drive capped off by Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 16-yard run to make it 21-13. San Francisco would respond with another Robbie Gould field goal on their next drive to make it 21-16, but Kansas City’s onslaught of touchdowns continued shortly thereafter with a four-yard pass to Justin Watson to make it 28-16. Needing touchdowns and not field goals for any chance to get back into it, Jimmy Garoppolo connected with George Kittle for a 15-yard touchdown on third and ten to make it 28-23 early in the fourth quarter. The Kansas City offense put together a third straight touchdown drive next – yet another rushing score by Mecole Hardman to make it 35-23. San Francisco’s next drive ended in disaster, as Jimmy Garoppolo was sacked for a safety that made it 37-23, with time quickly slipping away from the 49ers. The Chiefs would turn it into a blowout on their next drive with yet another touchdown, this time a 45-yard strike from Patrick Mahomes to JuJu Smith-Schuster to make it 44-23. The win takes Kansas City to 5-2, leaving them alone in first place atop the AFC West with the Chargers’ loss to Seattle. 
Next Week: Kansas City: Bye, San Francisco: at LA Rams

Dolphins 16, Steelers 10

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already seen plenty of highs and lows this season but entered Sunday Night Football looking to stack two straight positives in a row after last week’s 20-18 upset win over Tampa Bay. Kenny Pickett made his second career start Sunday night in Miami, but it was Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who would impress early in his return from a concussion. Miami jumped ahead 7-0 on their first drive, polished off by an 8-yard Raheem Mostert reception. The Dolphins had chances to deliver a knockout blow early, but their next two successful drives stalled out, both resulting in Jason Sanders’ field goals. Trailing 13-0 in the second quarter, rookie Kenny Pickett started to get things rolling for Pittsburgh. The Steelers would put together two straight drives deep into Miami territory, totaling ten points on a Chris Boswell field goal and an acrobatic touchdown catch by George Pickens to pull within three. Miami answered with Jason Sanders’ third field goal of the night in the first half’s final seconds, making it 16-10 at the intermission. Both defenses stepped up throughout the third quarter, sending the game into the final stanza without a score change. Kenny Pickett finally drove Pittsburgh deep into Miami territory in the final minutes, completing pass after pass to matriculate downfield in search of a go-ahead touchdown. It became more evident in the final minutes that Pittsburgh’s fans had a massive presence at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida, seemingly willing the Steelers along – but back-to-back penalties on the offense forced Pittsburgh into a third and 16 with just over three minutes to go. Kenny Pickett tried to force a throw to the line to gain, but Jevon Holland’s interception snuffed out the opportunity and put the onus on the Steeler defense to give them another chance. They would do just that by promptly forcing a punt, giving Pickett and the offense one more shot with just over two minutes to play. Pittsburgh would drive past midfield again, but Noah Igbinoghene’s interception at the goal line iced it for Miami. The Dolphins’ win was the first NFL game without a single second-half point since Week 2 and made them 4-3 while dropping the Steelers to 2-5 through seven weeks.

Next Week: Miami: at Detroit, Pittsburgh: at Philadelphia

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