If there was any concern about the Packers' ability to rebound from a blowout loss, we can probably go ahead and throw those concerns out the window. One week after getting trounced by Tampa Bay, the Packers responded by pulling off one of their best all-around performances of the season in a 35-20 win over the Houston Texans. Aaron Rodgers painted another offensive masterpiece with 283 passing yards and four touchdowns.
The Packers didn't have running back Aaron Jones in this game, but as it turned out, they didn't actually need him, because they had Rodgers and Davante Adams to carry the offense. A healthy Adams is nearly impossible to stop, and he proved that on Sunday. The Packers receiver caught 13 passes for a career-high 196 yards, which also serves as the eighth-highest single-game total in franchise history.
It became clear pretty early in the game that the Texans were going to have a few problems covering Adams. For instance, on this third-and-9 in the first quarter, Adams was covered well, but then Rodgers made a fantastic throw that was followed by an even better catch:
Rodgers credited that completion as the one that got the Packers' offense rolling on Sunday.
"It was really the catch down the left sideline on third down that got us going," Rodgers said after the game, via NBC 15. "With some beautiful late hands by [Adams] ... when he's in the game, obviously we're tough."
It was a wild Week 7 Sunday and there's a lot to go over. John Breech and Ryan Wilson join Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to break it all down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
The 28-yard throw to Adams was actually one of two catches of more than 25 yards that he had on the drive. Two plays later, Adams would catch a 36-yard pass that set the Packers up at Houston's 5-yard line. The Packers eventually scored a touchdown on the drive to go up 14-0, and after that, the blowout was on.
Rodgers and Adams connected at key times in this game. Not only did they convert the third-and-9 above, but later in the game, the Packers converted a third-and-4 after Rodgers hit Adams with a 45-yard touchdown pass.
The was TD was one of seven times where the duo connected on third down. To make that stat even crazier, just consider this: The Packers converted 7 of 12 third downs in the game and Adams was on the receiving end on ALL seven conversions (third-and-goal, third-and-1, third-and-4, third-and-5, third-and-7, third-and-9, third-and-10).
On almost every third down, it was pretty clear where Rodgers was going with the ball, but the Texans still couldn't stop it. Although the Packers offense had a hiccup last week, it doesn't look like that loss is going to have any long-term effects. The Packers still look like one of the best offenses in the NFC, if not the best, and they looked like that even though they were missing a key player in Jones.
Alright, let's get to the grades for every game from Week 7. If you're looking for a deeper dive on the Giants-Eagles game that was played Thursday, be sure to click here.
Green Bay 35-20 over Houston
| Green Bay took full advantage of a Houston defense that is truly one of the worst in the NFL. The Texans allowed the second-highest passer rating in the league heading into this one, and Rodgers made things worse with 283 yards and four touchdowns for a 132.4 passer rating. Rodgers went to Davante Adams early and often, as the wideout had 13 catches for 196 yards and two scores. Adams set a career-high in receiving yards, which was also the eighth most in a game in Packers history. Green Bay's defense allowed 13 points in the final quarter, but the game was out of hand when Houston could generate anything significant on offense. The secondary can improve, but this was a good bounceback win.|
| The Texans just aren't a good team, and their defense gave them no chance at the upset. Houston allowed Green Bay to score touchdowns on three of their first five possessions as the Packers led 21-0 before the offense could even get going, which took too many possessions anyway. Deshaun Watson has the most passing yards through seven games in franchise history and has thrown for 250-plus yards in all seven games, but the lack of a running game and consistency on the offensive line is hurting Houston. The offense is what it is, but the defense is atrocious. Now we understand why Romeo Crennel went for two to win the game against the Titans last week.|
Packers-Texans grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Detroit 23-22 over Atlanta
|When bad things happen in a Lions game, they're usually happening to Detroit, but on Sunday things finally went their way. In one of the wildest games you'll ever see, the Lions scored 10 points over the final 3:16 to pull out the win. After Todd Gurley gifted them a possession with one minute left, Matthew Stafford took advantage of it. Stafford drove his team 75 yards in 64 seconds to get the game-winning touchdown. The Lions QB completed four passes on the drive with two going to T.J. Hockenson, including the game-winning TD with no time left. Kicker Matt Prater also came up big. Not only did he hit three long field goals (49, 50, 51), but he also nailed a 48-yard extra point that won the game on the final play.|
|The Falcons have found some improbable ways to lose this year, but somehow they might have topped themselves in this game. A 10-yard TD run by Todd Gurley with 1:04 left to play set the stage for the Lions to win. The problem for Gurley is that he didn't need to score; if he had fallen down at the 1, the Falcons could have run more time off the clock and won the game with a short field goal. The Falcons also made a befuddling decision to go for it on fourth-and-5 from Detroit's 13-yard line while clinging to a 14-13 lead late in the game. Basically, the entire fourth quarter was a comedy of decision-making errors for a Falcons team that probably should have won this game.|
New Orleans 27-24 over Carolina
|In his first trip back to New Orleans, Teddy Bridgewater did everything he could to help the Panthers beat his former team, but he just didn't get enough help from his defense. Bridgewater made multiple big plays in this game, including a 74-yard TD to D.J. Moore in the second quarter. Bridgewater did make one mistake though and that was taking a sack with under 2:30 to play. The sack lost eight yards and let to the Panthers sending out Joey Slye for a 65-yard field goal that would have tied the game. Slye's kick fell just inches short but would have easily been good from 57. Defensively, not only did Drew Brees toy with the Panthers defense, but even when he wasn't throwing the ball, Carolina struggled. The Panthers surrendered 5.2 yards per carry to Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray while allowing New Orleans to convert 12 of 14 third downs in the game.|
|With Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both out of this game, the Saints needed someone to step up on offense and that's exactly what Alvin Kamara did. The Panthers had no answer for the Saints running back, who totaled 148 yards on 22 touches (14 carries for 83 yards and eight catches for 65 yards). The Saints also got some serious offensive help from two unlikely sources in Marquez Callaway (eight catches for 75 yards) and Deonte Harris (four catches, 46 yards and a TD), who had just 55 yards on the season going into Sunday. The Saints moved the ball at will, scoring on six of their first seven possessions.|
Buffalo 18-10 over N.Y. Jets
|The Bills were fortunate to be playing the Jets on Sunday, because if they had been playing anyone else, they might have lost. Although the Bills racked up plenty of yardage, their offense went absolutely dead anytime it got anywhere near the red zone. The Bills drove into Jets' territory on all nine of their possessions (minus a kneel down at the end of the game) and they came away with zero touchdowns, which includes going 0 for 5 in the red zone. Due to their offensive struggles, the Bills were forced to attempt eight field goals, which is tied for the second most in NFL history. Although Tyler Bass didn't hit every kick, he did nail enough of them (six) that the Bills were able to escape MetLife Stadium with the win. Bass' made kicks came from 29, 37, 40, 46, 48 and 53 ( and he missed from 37 and 45).|
|There's no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL, unless you're the Jets and unless it's this game. For the first time all season, Adam Gase gave up play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and surprise, surprise, the Jets were able to move the ball up and down the field in the first half, which allowed to them to shoot out to a double-digit lead for the first time this season. Of course, this is the Jets we're talking about, so there were also plenty of errors, including a Sam Darnold interception and a failed fourth-and-1 attempt from Buffalo's 18. The Jets offense also completely disappeared in the second half as they totaled just FOUR years (Their five possessions ended with four punts and another Darnold interception).|
Washington 25-3 over Dallas
| Oof. For the second consecutive week, the Cowboys embarrassed themselves. No one expected the patchwork offensive front to stop one of the best -- if not the best -- defensive line in the NFL, but the fact they couldn't even slow them down is disgraceful. Dallas has now mustered only 13 points in their first two games without Dak Prescott, and a defense that has been historically abysmal all season continued their losing ways in Week 7, making one of the worst offenses in the league look dominant. Allowing Antonio Gibson to rush for 128 yards (with over 200 combined rushing yards for Washington on the day) and Kyle Allen to find Terry McLaurin streaking down the field broke the Cowboys' fragile ego into a hundred pieces. And that's how it stayed for the rest of the game.|
| It's one thing to have a plan, but it's another thing to actually execute it. Ron Rivera schemed it perfectly against a Cowboys offense decimated by injury. Washington's defense racked up six sacks on the day between both Andy Dalton and rookie backup Ben DiNucci. The pressure led to a safety for Washington and an interception by Dalton that was as much a bad pass as it was a tip drill created by Ezekiel Elliott, and the fact it occurred in the red zone served as another gut punch that stole what little wind the Cowboys had in their sails. Washington was excelsior on offense as well, taking full advantage of a beleaguered defense that can't stop anything on the ground or in the air. It was great coaching and great execution by players that left the Cowboys reeling, and landed Rivera and Co. a stellar grade.|
Cowboys-Washington grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cleveland 37-34 over Cincinnati
| The reality is that it was a tale of two halves for the Cleveland offense. Baker Mayfield failed to complete his first five attempts but then went on to complete 22 of 23 passes for five touchdowns. This grade would be much higher if the defense could have stopped Cincinnati at all sans a Myles Garrett strip sack. The reality is that Terrance Mitchell had the chance in the fourth quarter but failed to convert. In the past, an accumulation of mental errors would have doomed the Browns but their ability to overcome those problems in 2020 has been a pleasant sight for a team mired in ineptitude since their 1999 return.|
| How did Cincinnati get a better grade in a loss? It is relative to expectations, and few expected the Bengals to be so efficient on offense. Despite injuries to Joe Mixon and a few starting offensive linemen, Joe Burrow marched his team up and down the field against the Browns defense, throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow has shown the ability to exceed the situation surrounding him. The Bengals defense can not stop anyone though. Just think how much more excited Bengals fans would be if they had traded veterans last year for additional compensation in what appears to be a home run 2020 draft haul. |
Browns-Bengals grades by Josh Edwards (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Pittsburgh 27-24 over Tennessee
| While they had to hang on for the victory, Pittsburgh was able to hold on in a game between two undefeated teams. The Steelers' offense, led by JuJu Smith-Schuster (nine catches, 85 yards), Diontae Johnson (nine catches, 80 yards, two touchdowns) and running back James Conner (111 all-purpose yards), went 13 of 18 on third down while helping Pittsburgh race out to a 17-point halftime lead. Ben Roethlisberger's three interceptions and several big plays permitted by Pittsburgh's secondary are among the things Mike Tomlin's team will look to clean up in the coming weeks. We'd be remiss not to mention the strong play of Pittsburgh's special teams. Ray-Ray McCloud's punt return was big, as was Boswell's two made field goal attempts. Jordan Berry, acquired late last week, booted a 51-yard yard punt in his first game of the 2020 season.|
| The Titans, dead last in the NFL in third down and red zone efficiency heading into the game, allowed Pittsburgh to go 8 of 9 on third down and 3 of 4 in the red zone in the game's first 30 minutes. And while Ryan Tannehill made some big plays, the Titans didn't get enough production from Derrick Henry, who was held to 75 yards on 20 carries. The Titans did receive a monster game from A.J. Brown, who caught six passes for 153 yards that included his 73-yard touchdown. While the Steelers enjoyed solid special teams play, the Titans allowed McCloud's long return before suffering a muffed fourth down punt that nearly resulted in a Pittsburgh score just before halftime. Stephen Gostkowski's missed 45-yard goal in the game's final seconds sealed the Titans' fate.|
Steelers-Titans grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tampa Bay 45-20 over Las Vegas
| I think it's safe to say Tom Brady is finding his rhythm with the Buccaneers. He completed 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards, threw for four touchdowns and ran for another. He hooked up with nine different receivers and threw all four of his touchdown passes to different targets. The defense wasn't perfect, but they certainly did enough to win. They kept the Raiders out of the end zone for the majority of the matchup and forced an interception that basically put the game on ice. When this team is hitting on all cylinders, they're scary. It's also worrisome for the rest of the league when you consider Antonio Brown is on his way to Tampa in a couple of weeks.|
| This Raiders team has plenty of potential, but the Buccaneers proved they were more talented on both sides of the ball and were riding a bigger wave of momentum. The offense as a whole struggled to find consistency and the run game was virtually nonexistent. As for the defense, they struggled to pressure Brady and also had trouble covering his stockpile of weapons.|
Buccaneers-Raiders grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
San Francisco 33-6 over New England
| San Francisco didn't need to do too much to get the W in this game. Defensively, they forced a number of turnovers, got Cam Newton benched and held the Patriots offense in check from start to finish. The running game was dominant as Kyle Shanahan's pre-snap motions and misdirection plays completely had the New England defense befuddled. The only reason they don't get an A+ is because of Jimmy Garoppolo's two interceptions. That said, you can't ask for much better from the Niners.|
| It was a rare wire-to-wire poor day for Bill Belichick's team. Cam Newton threw three interceptions before being benched for Jarrett Stidham late in the second half. While Newton was the one who ended up riding the pine, the entire offense was stagnant and got off to an extremely sluggish start that consisted of just 59 total yards over the first two quarters. The defense was also extremely poor, allowing Jeff Wilson Jr. to run for 112 yards and three touchdowns in a game that was never close.|
49ers-Patriots grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Chargers 39-29 over Jacksonville
|This game got off to an ugly offensive start for the Jaguars, who had zero first downs and just 14 total yards at the end of the first quarter, and fortunately for the Jags, when you have their defense, you can't afford to get off to an ugly start. The Jags surrendered 30 or more points for the sixth straight game, tying an NFL record for the longest streak ever. Despite the defensive troubles, the Jags still came close to pulling off a shocking win. After blocking a put in the third quarter and returning for a TD, Jacksonville took a 21-16 lead, but once again, the defense let the team down. The Jags were also let down by kick returner Dede Westbrook who lost a fumble on what turned out to be the most decisive play of the game. The fumble led to a 19-yard scoring drive for the Chargers, who put the game away with a touchdown.|
|This game was all about Justin Herbert and a Chargers defense that suffocated Garnder Minshew. On Herbert's end, the rookie QB did everything in his power to make sure he came away with the first win of his career. Of the Chargers 484 yards of offense, 413 of them came from Herbert, who threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a team-high 66 yards and another TD. All three of Herbert's TD passes went for 20 or more yards, including a 70-yarder to Jalen Guyton. Herbert also seems to have a growing connection with Keenan Allen, who caught 10 passes for 125 yards. Defensively, the Chargers beat up on Gardnew Minshew, sacking him five times.|
Kansas City 43-16 over Denver
|If the Chiefs proved one thing in this game, it's that they can beat you in multiple ways. In their best all-around performance of the season, the Chiefs dominated the Broncos in all three phases of the game, and we mean dominated. Of the five touchdowns Kansas City scored, only three of them came from the offense. The other two came on a special teams play (Byron Pringle's 102-yard kickoff return) and a defensive play (Daniel Sorensen's 50-yard pick-six in the second quarter). Even backup quarterback Chad Henne managed to score a TD. Although the Chiefs didn't have many offensive highlights, this game did feature the Chiefs' debut of Le'Veon Bell, who averaged an impressive 6.5 yards per carry (Six rushes for 39 yards). The only reason the Chiefs didn't get an A+ is that they failed to convert a single third down in the game.|
|It's hard enough to beat the Chiefs when you're on your 'A' game and it's impossible to beat them when you give a D-worthy performance as the Broncos did on Sunday. The Broncos made way too many big mistakes. Not only did they give up a kickoff return for a touchdown, but they also turned the ball over four times, which led to 17 points for Kansas City. Although the defense held the Chiefs offense to under 300 yards, that simply just didn't matter because of all the mistakes. The Broncos lost two fumbles with both of those coming from Melvin Gordon, who somehow continues to get more playing time than Philip Lindsay. One of Gordon's fumbles came on a failed flea flicker where he botched the pitch back to Drew Lock. If the defense hadn't kept Kansas City's offense somewhat in check, the Broncos might have lost by 50.|
Arizona 37-34 over Seattle
| This loss is going to sting for Seahawks fans, and unless John Schneider has a big trade up his sleeve (or Jamal Adams comes back and fills multiple holes on the defense by himself), Seattle's defense remains a long-term issue. Arizona walked up and down the field at will. And yet they might even deserve a better grade considering they scored 34 and nearly won a division game on a night Russell Wilson threw three ugly interceptions -- a rarity for him. If that is a bad night for Russ (and it was, in key spots), they can rest assured they'll still be in every game. Lockett was on fire. Carlos Hyde was quietly solid in place of Chris Carson. It was really ugly, and again, the loss hurts. But Wilson still showed so, so much in an entertaining shootout.|
| Not sure Haason Reddick and Isaiah Simmons can always be counted on to deliver you crunch-time plays, but that's exactly why Sunday night's performance was so good: It was inspired. Arizona had no business winning on a night in which Tyler Lockett dropped 200 yards receiving, Russell Wilson led Seattle to a 10-point advantage late in the fourth and Kliff Kingsbury somehow successfully iced his own kicker in overtime. But they did it! Kyler Murray stayed cool and shifty from start to finish. Chase Edmonds is the real deal. Zane Gonzalez redeemed himself with a game-winning kick in OT. And that battered defense played hard. They deserve this upcoming bye.|
Seahawks-Cardinals grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Rams 24-10 over Chicago
|Someone must have forgotten to tell the Bears offense there was a game on Monday, because they simply didn't show up. Nick Foles was under relentless pressure the entire night and when he wasn't getting sacked, he was throwing interceptions. The Bears tried to take some pressure off of Foles by running the ball, but that didn't work either as Chicago totaled just 49 yards on the ground. This could have been a different game if the Bears offense didn't fall apart in the red zone. Chicago came away with zero points on two separate second-half drives that both went inside of the Rams' 10-yard line. Defensively, the Bears were good, but they weren't great. They gave up more than 160 yards rushing and struggled to get any pressure on Jared Goff, who threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but they did provide Chicago with its only TD of the game when Eddie Jackson returned a fourth quarter fumble for a score.|
|As crazy as it sounds, punter Johnny Hekker might have been the best player on the field in this game. Hekker punted a total of five times and on all five punts, he pinned the Bears inside their own 10-yard line. The punting by Hekker led to the Rams offense getting great field position on multiple drives. The Rams defense also put on a show as they put the clamps on everything Chicago tried to do in the game. Not only did they sack Nick Foles three times, but they picked off two passes, they made two key fourth down stops and they didn't surrender an offensive touchdown.|