1. Seahawks gut one out
Well, it wasn't pretty for the defending champs, but they did just enough to win a game they desperately needed while enduring reports of discord following the trade of Percy Harvin. The Seahawks' offense bungled several good opportunities, but when they needed it most, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch led the Seattle offense down the field 80 yards on nine plays, ending with a Wilson touchdown pass to tight end Luke Willson to make it 13-9 with 47 seconds remaining.
The Seattle defense, which had previously dropped two interceptions, missed out on three Panther fumbles, and whiffed on a sure safety when Cam Newton eluded a free-rushing Michael Bennett in the end zone, came up with a huge stop when the Panthers got the ball back with the chance to win the game. Bruce Irvin sacked Newton twice and the Panthers turned it over on downs.
It was a crucial win for the Seahawks, who were in a do-or-die type of mindset, or as Bruce Irvin put it, "at the point in the season where we were going to continue to go down, or we were going to turn it around." Seattle has a long way to go to put themselves in a position to defend their title, but consider this stat: Since realignment in 2002, teams with 4-3 records have made playoffs 51 percent of the time. As for 3-4 teams, that number drops to 15 percent. Seattle will take that coin flip.
2. The Chicago Bears are a dumpster fire
By Eric Sollenberger
NFL Replay needs to offer this game with "Entrance of the Gladiators" playing as the soundtrack because it was a mess from beginning to end, and especially at the beginning. New England put 38 points on the board in the first half, at one point scoring three touchdowns in the span of 57 seconds.
Chicago's secondary is reeling from injuries and it showed as they gave up five passing touchdowns on the day. Rob Gronkowski is healthy as he's been all season, and even though he clearly doesn't have the same speed as he once did, Gronk was still dragging over-matched Bears defenders with him through the red zone all afternoon.
The game was already out of hand in the fourth quarter when Bears' defensive end Lamarr Houston added injury to insult. After notching a meaningless sack he jumped into the air and injured his right knee in celebration. The fear is that it could be as serious as a torn ACL which is the last thing that the Bears D needs, to say nothing of the impact to Houston himself.
If things were bad in the Bears locker room last week, they are going to be even worse after this performance. Fortunately, Chicago is heading into the bye week, so they have a break to get their act together or fall further apart before a Sunday night match-up at Green Bay on November 9.
By Danny Kelly
The Cardinals moved to 6-1 by beating the Eagles 24-20 in a wild one. The relatively innocuous final score belies the type of shootout this really was, with Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and Eagles signal-caller Nick Foles combining to throw the ball 104 times while racking up 740 yards through the air. The lead changed hands four times, and no one play was more important than Palmer's deep bomb connection with rookie John Brown for a 75-yard touchdown strike with 1:33 remaining.
The Eagles weren't ready to go gentle into that good night, though, and marched back downfield. Ten plays in about a 68 seconds put Philly at the 18-yard line with a first down, and Nick Foles took three shots at the win. The first two were deflected away, and on the third, with Todd Bowles' Arizona defense bringing an all out blitz, Foles missed Jordan Matthews in the back corner of the endzone for what would've been the game-winner with time expired. It was close. Very close. Very very close. Game of inches, right?
With the win, the Cardinals move to 6-1 and are in full control of the NFC West after eight weeks. Arizona is is now 13-3 in their last 16 games going back into last season, which is tied with the Broncos for best in that time frame, and they keep getting wins with gutsy play calling on both sides of the football.
By Danny Kelly
Speaking of shootouts, the Steelers knocked off Andrew Luck and the red-hot Colts 51-34 Sunday in Pittsburgh, and continue rolling with their second straight impressive win. Pittsburgh and Indianapolis combined for 85 points on 1,087 yards of offense, including 922 yards and nine touchdowns passing, and while both Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger were ultimately impressive, Big Ben stole the day on an incredible 40 of 49 passing for 522 yards and six touchdowns, good for a 150.6 passer rating and a place in history. Roethlisberger hit nine of his receivers and kept the pressure on late in the game as the Colts tried to make a comeback.
Meanwhile, with a loss by the Ravens to the Bengals and a Browns win over the Raiders, the AFC North is still wide, wide open. Cincy stays in first place at 4-3-1, Pittsburgh (5-3) and Baltimore (5-3) don't plan on going away anytime soon, and Cleveland moves to 4-3 with their win. The AFC North is the only division in football with all four teams above .500, and one game separates first place from last place.
Our favorite shareable moments from Sunday.
1. The Jets tried to hide a guy in the end zone. It failed miserably.
3. Sammy Watkins got caught celebrating a little too soon.
5. Leave it to the Buccaneers to lose on a walkoff fumble.
6. Jeremy Maclin redefines the Gatorade bath.