After a wild weekend of NFL action, which also saw the Colts face-off against Jacksonville at Wembley, it’s still tricky to know exactly where we stand.
The previously unbeaten Patriots looked lifeless against divisional rivals, Buffalo. A hobbled Russel Wilson and his leaky offensive line made mincemeat of the New York Jets, The Steelers bounced back from their underwhelming loss to the Eagles and Julio Jones caught 12 passes, for 300 yards.
Starting in New England though, Bill Belichick’s men bounced back to earth after three crazy weeks. Held scoreless for the first time at Gillette stadium – they last fired a blank back in 1993 loss to the Jets – the Patriots were far from the polished unit we’ve grown accustomed too. Still, with Tom Brady’s four-game suspension now over, we can expect a return to normality next week as the Patriots travel to Cleveland to face the 0-4 Browns.
Staying in the AFC East, the New York Jets’ season appears to be heading in the wrong direction following their 27-17 loss to the Seahawks. Finishing with 309 yards and three touchdowns, Wilson was only slightly hampered by the brace on his injured knee – unlike his counterpart Ryan Fitzpatrick who continues to look more than a little unsure of himself. Fresh from a meltdown of epic proportions (he threw six interceptions in last week’s lost to Kansas City) Fitzpatrick continued to struggle against the league’s top-ranked defence. Sitting on a 1-3 record already, the Jets may find themselves in an even deeper hole next week as they travel to face a dangerous Pittsburgh team boosted by the return of Le’Veon Bell.
Returning from suspension, the Steelers’ running-back appeared to be in mid-season form as he notched 178 yards on only 23 total touches against a woeful Kansas City defence. Offering another breakaway dimension to an offence already brimming with talent, Bell’s return should cause plenty of headaches for opposing defences, beginning next week when they face the underwhelming Jets.
Finally, in a game few would have predicted prior to kick-off, the Atlanta Falcons handed the Carolina Panthers their third loss of the season as they emerged unscathed thanks to a 48-33 win.
More remarkable than the scoreline, however, was the performance of receiver Julio Jones as he recorded the sixth-highest one game receiving yard total.
Jones, who only needed 12 catches to achieve his feat, also became half of the first receiver-quarterback tandem of the Super Bowl era to combine for 300 receiving and 500 passing yards as the Falcons put the Panthers to the sword.
It represents a fall from grace for last year’s Super Bowl losers who are clearly struggling to replace Josh Norman following his off-season move to Washington. (For the record, Norman was torched for 178 yards when these two met last season – evidence of just how deep the Panthers’ woes go.)
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