Week 7 of the NFL season has come to a close, as the league continues to surprise with the results of certain games. The New York Giants and New England Patriots earned upset victories, while the Minnesota Vikings pulled off a shocker over the San Francisco 49ers.
Three games were decided by a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation of the fourth quarter, as the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, and Patriots were the teams earning the wins. Including Jacksonville's go-ahead touchdown, Week 7 marked the first time since Week 6 of the 2022 season that there were at least three game-winning touchdowns in the final five minutes of regulation in a single week.
While Week 7 was fun -- and unpredictable -- here's what we learned from every team that played this week (six teams were on bye).
Not a great fourth-quarter team: The Cardinals have been outscored 67-7 in the fourth quarter this season, including zero points in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. Their seven fourth-quarter points are the lowest for any team through seven games since the 1995 New York Jets, coached by Rich Kotite of all people. Arizona has fought hard under Jonathan Gannon all year, but the talent discrepancy catches up to them in the fourth quarter.
What was the deal with Bijan Robinson?: Robinson had just one carry for 3 yards in Sunday's win over the Buccaneers, dealing with a head injury that wasn't listed on the injury report. Robinson played just six snaps and didn't get a touch in the first half. Robinson had headaches Saturday night that didn't go away, only coming in during a two-minute situation. This may be a fluke occasion, but the situation was a gray cloud over a good divisional win.
The big-play offense came to life: Everything the Ravens talked about regarding their offense came to fruition in Sunday's blowout win over the Lions, as they had nine plays of 20-plus yards in the first 30 minutes -- tied for the most 20-plus-yard plays by any team in the first half since 2000. Lamar Jackson finished 21 of 27 for 357 yards with three touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. He has a 71.0% completion rate and 363 rushing yards this season -- the third quarterback with a 70% completion rate and 50-plus rushing yards per game in a seven-game span. Jackson is playing his best football and Todd Monken's offense is coming into fruition. This could be the start of something big in Baltimore.
Slow starts continue to plague Buffalo: The Bills have been playing catch-up of late, being outscored in the first half of the last three games by a combined score of 30-10. Josh Allen's interception on the first play from scrimmage didn't help, but the offense had just three points at halftime. The Bills have proven they can play catch-up and take the lead, but they use a lot of energy to get back in the game (hence the close losses to the Jaguars and Patriots). They have just led for 9:53 in last three games, a telling sign of their slow starts.
Opportunistic defense starting to show up: Lost in the Tyson Bagent start was how the Bears defense forced a season-high three takeaways against the Raiders. Chicago has six takeaways in its last three games, this after only having two in its first four games. The Bears actually have a plus-three turnover ratio in their last three games, a huge reason why Chicago is 2-1 in its last three contests. Chicago has allowed only 17 points per game in its last three games and 28 points off eight takeaways. The Bears are in games because of their defense making plays.
Backup quarterback needs to improve: The Browns are tied into Deshaun Watson's contract -- and it's clear he can't stay on the field. PJ Walker was just 15 of 32 for 178 yards with an interception (51.3 rating) and did lead a game-winning drive of 12 plays for 80 yards (went 3 of 9 for 56 yards on drive). The Browns need more from Walker, which is a harsh reality since he has filled in admirably over the last two games. This team has a defense capable of making a deep playoff run, needing a better backup quarterback option to have an offense capable of backing up that unit.
Sean Payton trusts his running game: Last week, Javonte Williams was mentioned as a player who appeared to have his explosiveness come back. The Broncos clearly trust Williams as he had a rushing attack that had 25 carries for 145 yards, an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Williams had 15 carries for 82 yards (5.5 yards per carry) while Jaleel McLaughlin had fiev carries for 45 yards (9.0 yards per carry). Williams and McLaughlin are a nice combination for Payton's offense and he's trusting it more by the week.
Jared Goff immensely struggled under pressure: The Ravens were able to pressure Goff all day, as he went just 6 of 14 for 47 yards with an interception under pressure in the blowout loss -- a passer rating of just 22.0. Goff saw zone coverage 68.4% of the time when facing pressure and was sacked five times, an uncharacteristic day for him and the Lions offensive line. Goff has two touchdowns and three interceptions under pressure this season, a 60.9 passer rating. This is something to monitor, a blueprint on how to beat the Lions.
First-half performance was rough: The Broncos entered Sunday allowing the most points and yards allowed per game in the NFL. The Packers offense in the first half? Four possessions -- three punts and a missed field goal. Green Bay scored zero points and had just 86 yards of offense. Jordan Love was only 10 of 13 for 47 yards, averaging just 2.4 air yards per attempt. The Packers got things into gear in the second half with 17 points on their first three possessions, but the game plan heading into Sunday certainly wasn't efficient. Love has only completed 53.7% of his passes with a 63.9 passer rating in the first half, so that has to be better.
Shane Steichen continues to impress with his quarterbacks: What Steichen has done with Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts was incredible, and Anthony Richardson was on the same path prior to his season-ending injury. Gardner Minshew had a poor showing in Week 6, but he's QB1 for the rest of the year. Minshew went 15 of 23 for 305 yards with two pass touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, the first Colts quarterback to ever do that. Steichen used the read option to counter the Browns strong defense and Indianapolis put up 38 points. Even though the Colts lost, the franchise is on the upswing with how Steichen develops quarterbacks.
Trevor Lawrence can move on the knee brace: While it wasn't the plan for Lawrence to wear a knee brace, his mobility was more than fine with it on. He finished with five scrambles for 62 yards, including a 26- and 23-yard run in the game. Lawrence had a season high in rushing yards despite his presumed limited mobility. He also went 20 of 29 for 204 yards with a touchdown and a 100.4 rating. Whether Lawrence plays with the knee brace next game is up in the air, but he was very good in his first game with it on.
Travis Kelce shows up when Taylor Swift does: Swift has been at four games since she and Kelce's friendship/relationship became public, and Kelce has played well in each of those contests. Since Swift first saw Kelce play in Week 3, the All-Pro TE has averaged 108 receiving yards. In the games Swift isn't there? Kelce has averaged only 46.5 receiving yards. Kelce has 34 catches for 424 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 12.5 yards per catch with Swift in attendance. Perhaps Swift needs to show up more -- or Kelce is just a future Hall of Famer (it's both).
Las Vegas Raiders
Aidan O'Connell should have started over Brian Hoyer: Easy to say this in hindsight, but Hoyer gave the Raiders offense nothing against a resurgent Bears defense. Hoyer was 17 of 32 for 129 yards with two interceptions (37.1 rating) before being benched late in the fourth for O'Connell after his second interception. The Raiders couldn't run the ball anyway, so it probably didn't matter, but O'Connell getting more snaps against the Bears would have been beneficial for his development. Hoyer was with Josh McDaniels in New England, but he's not part of the team's future. At this rate, McDaniels and Hoyer could be on the same path.
Is Justin Herbert regressing?: Herbert is certainly in the midst of a slump right now, having four touchdowns and four interceptions over his last three games. He has completed under 60% of his passes in three straight games, the longest streak of his career. The Chargers are averaging just 19.3 points over the last three games and have scored 17 points or fewer in their last two games. Herbert has completed just 57% of his passes with a 75.9 passer rating in his last three games, not numbers he is accustomed to. Herbert is still a good quarterback trying to mask all the problems surrounding his team, which is affecting his game.
Brett Maher had Cowboys flashbacks: Remember when Maher couldn't make an extra point for the Cowboys last year? He revisited those bad memories in Sunday's loss to the Steelers, missing two field goals and a PAT attempt in a seven-point defeat. Maher missed field goals of 51 and 52 yards, while clanking the PAT try at the end of the first half. Easy to calculate those seven points in a seven-point loss, but Maher is hitting just 73.9% of his field goals on the year. And now he's on the unemployment line again as the Rams released him on Tuesday.
Was the offense exposed?: The Dolphins offense put up just 10 points and 244 yards in Sunday's loss to the Eagles, having trouble finding the end zone against a defense that didn't bite on motion (which Miami runs more than anyone in the league). Miami's offense averages just 18.5 points per game and 318.5 yards per game against teams with winning records, but those teams also didn't have a trailer in the motion offense. The Bills and Eagles also have good pass rushers, exposing Miami's offensive line. Miami still has an excellent offense, but the offensive line is a bigger concern over the lack of production against good teams.
Jordan Addison may be the next star wideout: Addison finished with seven catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings' win over the 49ers, showcasing how good he can be as a No. 1 wide receiver. Addison has six touchdowns through seven games, which is tied for the most by a rookie through his team's first seven games in the Super Bowl era -- with Randy Moss. Addison has 29 catches for 400 yards and six touchdowns on the year, on pace for 971 yards and 15 touchdowns in Year 1. He's certainly a player, and looks to be an excellent 1A to Justin Jefferson.
New England Patriots
They still don't blow games under Bill Belichick: The Patriots had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and squandered it. However, Mac Jones was able to bring New England back, going 11 of 13 with 127 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter (147.0 rating) to give the Patriots a victory they desperately needed. In what was Belichick's 300th regular-season win, the Patriots are 128-0 at home with a 10-plus-point fourth-quarter lead under Belichick (including playoffs). No matter how bad Belichick gets, New England gets the job done when it has a lead.
Pass rush nonexistent against Trevor Lawrence: The Saints had just an 8.0% pressure rate against Lawrence in Thursday's loss, the lowest in any game this season (they didn't even have a pressure in the second half). New Orleans has just a 34.1% pressure rate this season, which is 20th in the NFL. The Saints have just 13 sacks on the year, which is 24th in the league. New Orleans has a good defense, but doesn't generate enough pressure on a consistent basis. The lack of pressure contributed to the Saints giving up 31 points against the Jaguars.
Tyrod Taylor should get another start: The Giants did pay Daniel Jones, but Taylor has been the better option in his two starts. In Taylor's starts, the Giants have averaged 336.5 yards per game. In Jones' five starts, the Giants offense has only 255.8 yards per game. The Giants offense has averaged only 12.4 points in Jones' starts and 11.5 in Taylor's starts, yet the offense has moved more fluently with Taylor. The offensive line has only allowed six sacks in Taylor's two starts. Taylor even led New York to two offensive first half touchdowns while Jones has led them to none. For another week, Taylor deserves a chance to lead the offense.
Jalen Hurts shines after pick-six: The great quarterbacks tend to rise up after crucial mistakes. Hurts did that in Sunday's win over the Dolphins, finishing 10 of 13 for 115 yards with a touchdown and a 128.7 rating -- as the Eagles scored touchdowns on consecutive drives. He also had three carries for 16 yards with three first downs. Hurts has 10 turnovers in seven games -- including two Sunday night -- yet found a way to play his best football when the Eagles needed it. Hurts' fourth-quarter numbers haven't been great this year, but he showcased he can still deliver his team a win in spite of his mistakes (he's 23-2 in his last 25 starts).
Diontae Johnson's return gets most out of offense: The Steelers have badly missed Johnson, who has been out since Week 1 with a hamstring injury. Of course, Johnson had five catches for 79 yards -- including a 39-yard catch-and-run play that sparked Pittsburgh's tying touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. George Pickens racked up over 100 yards and Kenny Pickett completed 17 of 25 passes for 230 yards and a 97.1 rating. The Steelers were also 3-for-3 in the red zone and the passing game had a pulse. Getting Johnson back was massive for the Steelers, no matter if they've been outgained in every game thus far.
San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy is in a funk: Purdy hasn't been the quarterback who has gone 10-0 in his first 10 regular-season starts. In his last two games, Purdy has completed just 58% of his passes with two touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 69.1 passer rating -- both 49ers losses. He was 4 of 8 for 40 yards and two interceptions on his last two drives. When Purdy trails in the fourth quarter, he's 12 of 31 for 166 yards with three interceptions and a 17.1 rating. Things go well for Purdy when the 49ers are ahead. When he trails, the game speeds up.
The defense is on a hot streak: Give Seattle's defense a lot of credit, as this was one of the worst units in the NFL through three weeks (allowing 29.3 points and 407.3 yards with 7.5 yards per attempt). Over the last three games, Seattle has allowed just 10 points, 237 yards, and 4.1 yards per attempt -- while having 18 sacks. The pass defense has allowed only 142 yards per game, and that was with Joe Burrow facing them in that stretch. Seattle is in the NFC West race thanks to its defense, which will be tested against the Ravens in two weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Offense letting the defense down: The Buccaneers are a defensive team, as only the Eagles have scored over 20 points against this unit. Yet Tampa Bay sits at 3-3 thanks to an offense that averages just 17.2 points per game. The unit has scored only 15.0 points per game over the last three games, coinciding with the struggles of Baker Mayfield, who has completed just 63% of his passes with five touchdowns and four interceptions during that stretch. Mayfield's four-game interception streak is hurting Tampa Bay, but so is a run offense averaging only 3.1 yards per carry.
Third-down offense is atrocious: Forget about the poor offensive line for a week, Washington's numbers on third down are abysmal. The Commanders were 1 of 15 on third down in Sunday's loss to the Giants -- the worst third-down conversion percentage by any team in a game this season. They have converted just 29.4% of third downs on the year (31st in the NFL) and 24.3% over the last three games (32nd in NFL). The Commanders are disjointed on offense right now, but situational football has not benefitted them all year.