June 26, 2019, 18:05

NFL Grades: Week Seven: Rams impress in London, Cowboys, Pats and Steelers rise

NFL Grades: Week Seven: Rams impress in London, Cowboys, Pats and Steelers rise

It’s Week Seven, and we are beginning to separate the contenders from the pretenders. We reflect on another week of action, drama and blowouts. Which teams stood out and which flopped?

The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers continued their AFC dominance with two more impressive wins this week. In the NFC, Dallas looked to be back at their best and the Los Angeles Rams put on a show in London.

On the other side, there were a number of teams who didn’t show up in Week Seven, including the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.

Here’s a look at our weekly team grades…

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys (W 40-10 @ San Francisco)

No matter what his future is off the field with a potential suspension hanging over his head, Ezekiel Elliott finds comfort running the football. He piled up 219 total yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on Sunday. Dak Prescott had his best game of the season, and Dallas looked like the 13-3 team of last season. Grade A+

Watch as Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott dances down the sideline for 72-yard touchdown against San Francisco 49ers

New York Giants (L 7-24 v Seattle)

The Giants shocked the NFL last week with their win in Denver. This week, they crashed down to earth with an uninspired performance at home. Outside of standout rookie tight end Evan Engram, New York conjured up nothing on offense, and the defense couldn’t contain Russell Wilson, who tossed three scores. Grade D

Philadelphia Eagles (W 34-24 v Washington)

Carson Wentz goes from strength to strength and he produced arguably his best performance in an Eagles shirt to steer them to victory over the Redskins in a thrilling Monday night display. The defense stood firm as well and improving to a NFL-best 6-1 record they get score highly in the week’s marks. Grade A

Washington Redskins (L 24-34 @ Philadelphia)

The Redskins slip to a 3-3 record and face the Dallas Cowboys next in another crucial divisional contest. They will need to improve if they are to stop Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott who seem to be finding their feet. Kirk Cousins impressed but with the receiving corps still struggling it was left to Jordan Reed to lead the way, however there is much work to do for the Redskins. Grade C-

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears (W 17-3 v Carolina)

Bravo, Eddie Jackson. The rookie safety was the star of the show, becoming the first player in NFL history with multiple 75-yard plus defensive TDs in the same game. After going up 14-0, the Bears stifled Cam Newton and ran the ball all game. Mitch Trubisky had as many completions (four) as sacks, yet he’s managed to win his first two starts! Grade A-

Eddie Jackson scoops up a fumble and takes it 75 yards for a score. Later in the game, he took an interception back 76 yards for another

Minnesota Vikings (W 24-16 v Baltimore)

It wasn’t pretty, but the Vikings jumped to the top of the NFC North with their third straight win. Kai Forbath kicked six field goals, and Minnesota got their run game going through Latavius Murray – who broke out with 113 yards on 18 carries. The swarming defense also brought down Joe Flacco five times, and this team has found their formula for success. Grade B+

Green Bay Packers (L 17-26 v Saints)

The good news for the Packers: they might have found themselves a star in rookie running back Aaron Jones. He had 131 yards on the ground, including a 46-yard scamper in the first quarter. The bad news: Brett Hundley was exposed, and the lack of offense ultimately cost his team a chance at this game. Hundley had only 87 yards on 25 pass attempts, and no receiver had more than 17 yards or two catches. It could be a long season after Aaron Rodgers. Grade C-

Detroit Lions (Bye)

NFC SOUTH

New Orleans Saints (W 26-17 @ Green Bay)

The Packers’ offense didn’t turn up for this game, but Drew Brees and company deserve credit for taking over in the second half. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 217 yards from scrimmage, and the Saints have now won four straight and are one of the hottest teams in the NFC. Grade A

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (L 27-30 @ Buffalo)

The Buccaneers are turning out to be one of the most disappointing teams this season, as they fell to 2-4 this weekend. Jameis Winston threw three touchdowns and the team had a 27-20 lead with three minutes to go, but they still managed to blow it as Adam Humphries fumbled the ball late in the game. It’s going to be a long road back for Tampa. Grade C

Carolina Panthers (L 3-17 @ Chicago)

A couple of weeks ago, the Panthers were 4-2 and one of the hottest teams in the league. In two straight losses, Cam Newton has thrown five interceptions and no longer looks like a player impossible to defend. Carolina also simply can’t run the ball, and it’s not going to get easier as we get closer to the second half of the season. Grade F

Atlanta Falcons (L 7-23 @ New England)

A lot of the blame for Atlanta’s loss will be placed on offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, and rightfully so. Against the worst-ranked defense in the league, they scored just one touchdown (in garbage time) and looked thoroughly outmatched. Including the Super Bowl, Atlanta surrendered 54 straight points to New England before Julio Jones’ consolation TD. Grade F

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones out duels New England Patriots Malcolm Butler in epic endzone leap for a brilliant touchdown NFC WEST

Los Angeles Rams (W 33-0 v Arizona) (at Twickenham)

The Rams put on a show against the Arizona on Sunday, gaining over 400 yards of offense while shutting out the ageing Cards. Although Carson Palmer was knocked out the game, he wasn’t having any success before he left. Sean McVay has this young Rams team surging, and this might have been their most impressive performance yet. Grade A+

The Los Angeles Rams impressed in their 33-0 shutout of the Arizona Cardinals at Twickenham

Seattle Seahawks (W 24-7 @ New York Giants)

Seattle needed a win to keep up in the race for the NFC West, and they took over this contest in the second half. Russell Wilson had a fantastic game, with three touchdowns and no picks, while the defence regained its swagger and held the Giants to 177 total yards. Seattle put themselves firmly back in the playoff hunt with this win. Grade B

Highlights of the Seattle Seahawks' trip to the New York Giants in Week Seven of the NFL

Arizona Cardinals (L 0-33 @ Los Angeles) (at Twickenham)

The Cardinals have been the most unpredictable team in the NFL so far this season. They have alternated wins and losses, and a week after putting on a stomping of the Buccaneers, they got shut out against their division rivals at Twickenham – the first time they’ve been held scoreless since 2012. The loss of Carson Palmer is a damning blow for a team who thought they’d just added their missing piece. Grade F

San Francisco 49ers (L 10-40 v Dallas)

The game started badly with a fumble by Trent Taylor inside the first minute, and it only got worse for the Niners. Dallas were up 40-3 before a late consolation score by rookie C.J. Beathard. In their five previous losses, San Francisco had lost by a combined 33 points. In this game, they didn’t show up and got blown out by 30. Will they manage a win this season? Grade F

AFC EAST

New England Patriots (W 23-7 v Atlanta)

New England decided not to leave things so late this time around in dispatching Atlanta in this Super Bowl re-match. Far from trailing 28-3 in this contest, the Patriots – who have struggled all season long on defense – incredibly kept their opponents’ high-powered offense scoreless until late in the fourth quarter. Grade A

Highlights of the Atlanta Falcons' trip to the New England Patriots in Week Seven of the NFL

Buffalo Bills (W 30-27 v Tampa Bay)

LeSean McCoy rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyrod Taylor passed for 268 yards and a TD as Buffalo came from behind to defeat Tampa Bay. The win takes them to 4-2 on the season as they continue to keep pace with New England at the top of the East. Grade A

Miami Dolphins (W 31-28 v New York Jets)

Back-up QB Matt Moore (188 yards, two TDs) helped Miami rally from a two-touchdown deficit to avenge their loss to the Jets four weeks ago. Jay Cutler had earlier left the game with a chest injury, though he wasn’t hugely missed and might find himself struggling to regain his job. Grade B

New York Jets (L 28-31 @ Miami)

Dolphins defensive back Bobby McCain intercepted a Josh McCown pass at the New York 27-yard line with 47 seconds left in the fourth quarter. A spirited effort for the three quarters and 14 minutes and 13 seconds prior to that, all in vain. Grade C-

AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh Steelers (W 29-14 v Cincinnati)

Weren’t the Steelers supposed to be in some sort of crisis only a couple of weeks ago? Well, now they’re sitting pretty at 5-2, comfortably top of the North after a win over the previously unbeaten Chiefs and then this solid effort to down the Bengals. Ben Roethlisberger was just that – solid – as he threw for 224 yards and two TDs. Le’Veon Bell, meanwhile, was the definition of a workhorse, pounding away on the ground for 34 carries, and 134 yards. Grade A

Watch Pittsburgh Steelers safety Robert Golden hit wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey for 44 yards on a fake punt

Cincinnati Bengals (L 14-29 @ Pittsburgh)

The Bengals had entered into this one with spirits high following two straight wins, but were brought back down to earth with a bump! Cincinnati kept pace early on, matching first-half TDs from their hosts to have the game tied up at 14-14, before Pittsburgh then took hold. Grade D-

Baltimore Ravens (L 16-24 @ Minnesota)

Baltimore’s soporific offense continues to struggle, with the team having to wait until late in the fourth quarter – too late! – to veer away from their field goal kicking and score a first and only touchdown in the game. Grade E

Cleveland Browns (L 9-12 v Tennessee) (OT)

It doesn’t get any easier being a Browns fan! Which is harder to take, a loss of blowout proportions or one of these heartbreakers? In truth, Cleveland – other than on defense – did little to deserve victory, particularly their QB carousel. This week, it was DeShone Kizer (114 yards, two INTs) and Cody Kessler (121 yards, one INT) left to struggle. Maybe a trip to London next week can help cure the team? No? I’m not convinced either… Grade F

AFC SOUTH

Jacksonville Jaguars (W 27-0 @ Indianapolis)

If you weren’t a believer already, this Jaguars defence is legit! The Colts shut out at home, while Blake Bortles also played lights out at QB – throwing for 330 yards and a touchdown. The run game didn’t miss a beat either, despite the absence of star rookie Leonard Fournette. T.J. Yeldon had a 122-yard day, with a 58-yard score! Chris Ivory also got in the endzone. Grade A

Tennessee Titans (W 12-9 @ Cleveland) (OT)

Not vintage stuff from the Titans, who needed overtime to edge past the hapless Browns! But, a win is a win… and this one puts Tennessee in a share of the lead with Jacksonville atop the South. Grade B-

Indianapolis Colts (L 0-27 v Jacksonville)

Poor Jacoby Brissett! The back-up QB has been very serviceable over the past few weeks, but what thanks does he get? Very little in the way of thanks… In fact, his offensive line allowed him to be sacked a staggering 10 times! I can’t imagine Andrew Luck will be itching to return to action any time soon. Grade E

Houston Texans (Bye)

AFC WEST

Los Angeles Chargers (W 21-0 v Denver)

How about them Chargers! Having started the season with four straight defeats, they’re now edging into contention in the West thanks to three straight successes. This one owed a lot to their defense, which shut out Denver, as well as Travis Benjamin – who had a 62-yard punt return TD and a 42-yard reception for a score. Grade A

Oakland Raiders (W 31-30 v Kansas City)

The Raiders looked more like the explosive outfit destroying defences in the first couple of weeks, with key offensive playmakers standing up. Derek Carr was back to his best after injury – 417 yards and three TDs, Amari Cooper (210 yards, two TDs) finally showed up this season, and Michael Crabtree clung on to that game-winning TD with no time left. The only minus mark… Marshawn Lynch’s one-game suspension for shoving a referee. Grade A-

Highlights of the Kansas City Chiefs' visit to the Oakland Raiders in week seven of the NFL

Kansas City Chiefs (L 30-31 @ Oakland)

No shame whatsoever in losing to Oakland on Thursday night. Plenty of positives in defeat, including Alex Smith’s MVP-worthy campaign continuing – 342 yards and three TDs, another 100-yard game from scrimmage for Kareem Hunt (117 yards), and speedster receiver Tyreek Hill (125 yards, one TD) once again wreaking havoc deep. Grade B-

Denver Broncos (L 0-21 @ Los Angeles Chargers)

As much as it’s all rosy now in Los Angeles, the reverse is true in Denver. The Broncos have now lost three of their last four, with the latest two of those coming against an 0-5 Giants and 2-4 Chargers. Tougher tests lie in wait… Grade E

Follow the NFL on Sky Sports when Week Eight gets underway on Thursday night when the Miami Dolphins (4-2) visit the Baltimore Ravens (3-4) on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event from 12.30am

Miami Dolphins v Oakland Raiders

November 6, 2017, 1:00am

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