Another Sunday, another wild week in the NFL. The New York Giants and New York Jets can't stop winning games, Christian McCaffrey played his first contest for the San Francisco 49ers and Josh Jacobs established himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. I'm not sure anyone saw all of this happening a few weeks ago.
Believe it or not, those three truths did not make our top five list of wildest things to happen on Sunday. Let's take a look at what did. From upsets to standout performances to game-winning plays, we've got it all for you.
5. Potential major shift in Offensive Rookie of the Year race
I've started to become fascinated with the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year race. Sportsbooks are updating their odds for this award, among others, every day, and how some of these lines have fluctuated is wild to see. At one point, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London was the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Then, it was Jets rookie running back Breece Hall and New Orleans Saints wideout Chris Olave as co-favorites. After Olave missed a game due to a concussion, Hall became the clear-cut favorite. Now, we are about to see another major movement.
Hall injured his knee during Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos. Afterwards, head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that the diagnosis is "not good," and the team suspects that Hall may have injured his ACL. Unfortunately, availability is one of the best abilities for this award, so Hall may now be out of the running despite an incredible few games.
There are two running backs who could supplant Hall as the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year in Dameon Pierce of the Houston Texans and Kenneth Walker of the Seattle Seahawks. Pierce has rushed for at least 92 yards in each of the past three contests, and Walker exploded for 168 yards and two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 7. I think he's my pick now, and I wish I put money on him last week.
4. Packers looney laterals
We had a play like this in the Chicago Bears-Giants matchup a few weeks ago, but I like this one more. Down just two points with time for one play left, the Packers had to attempt to create some Music City Miracle-esque magic in Landover.
What I like about these plays is that the longer they go on, it feels like something epic is about to happen. There are five total laterals here, but the final one is my favorite. Jon Runyan lets the ball bounce between his legs out of bounds to end the game, and then he just sits there on his knees completely defeated as the cameraman inches in for the close-up. Then, we see Aaron Rodgers face-down -- defeated as well. It's like a tragic scene from a movie.
Even if Runyan caught the lateral and ran it into the end zone, it wouldn't have counted. Either way, a fun play.
3. Panthers turn down two first-round picks
One of the wildest things we saw on Sunday in the NFL occurred before games even kicked off. Sunday morning, ESPN reported that the Panthers were offered two first-round picks for star pass-rusher Brian Burns ... ! I get the Panthers not hosting a fire sale, but I really have a hard time believing they turned down two first-round picks for Burns.
Burns is a legitimate star, as the Pro Bowler has recorded nine sacks in each of the last two seasons. He's on pace for even more QB takedowns this year, as he's recorded five sacks in seven games. The Florida State product is reportedly expected to sign a big-time extension this offseason, and as CBS Sports cap expert Joel Corry pointed out on Twitter, if two first-round picks aren't enough for him, then he has to argue he's valuable enough to become the highest-paid pass-rusher in the NFL.
The Panthers sent star running back Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers for a second-round pick, third-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2023 and a fifth-round pick in 2024. Carolina also picked up a future sixth-round pick and future seventh-round pick from the Arizona Cardinals for wide receiver Robbie Anderson. Still, a couple of future first-round picks may have helped in the rebuild.
Carolina has a couple of other intriguing trade targets such as wide receiver D.J. Moore, defensive tackle Derrick Brown and cornerback Jaycee Horn, but ESPN reports that the team has informed clubs they will not be trading them.
2. Giants stand up Jaguars on final play
The Giants scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars on Sunday to move to 6-1, but those points almost didn't go unanswered. Down six points with just over one minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Trevor Lawrence took the Jaguars all the way down to the Giants' 17-yard line. On the final play of the game, he hit Christian Kirk at the 1-yard line, where he was stood up by a host of Giants defenders.
What an ending.
1. Former XFL QBs get wins over NFL legends
Both P.J. Walker and Taylor Heinicke once found themselves out of the NFL, and in the XFL. Walker starred for the Houston Roughnecks, while Heinicke was a member of the St. Louis BattleHawks. Both were given another chance in the NFL, and both took advantage. Sunday, as the quarterbacks not only started, and not only won, but did so against legendary quarterbacks. Now, Walker and Heinicke are pushing to start moving forward for their respective teams.
Walker completed 16 of 22 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers' shocking 21-3 victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina was a 13-point underdog, and won straight-up! Now, Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks is considering moving forward with Walker as the starter over Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.
"It's going to be hard to pull him out," Wilks said after the win, via Pro Football Talk.
With this Week 7 loss, Brady has a losing record through his first seven games of a season for the first time since 2002, which was his first full season as an NFL starting quarterback, per NFL Research.
As for Heinicke, he's starting again for the Washington Commanders with Carson Wentz on injured reserve. Some fans have been wanting this all season, and they may not be crazy, as the former Old Dominion star completed 20 of 33 passes for 201 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the 23-21 win over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
It's worth mentioning that Heinicke was helped by Washington's defense, which held Rodgers to 0 of 6 on third down. Sunday actually marked the first game in Rodgers' career in which he did not convert a third down, per The Athletic. The Packers hadn't gone without a third-down conversion in a game since Oct. 17, 1999! Still, if you watched the game, Heinicke provides a different kind of juice that almost makes the Commanders competitive with anyone. We all remember his playoff start against Brady and the Bucs a couple years ago. I totally understand why there is a group of people who say he should be the starting quarterback.