The seventh week of the 2023 NFL season has now concluded – with some highly-anticipated matchups, shock comebacks, and upsets along the way. Here’s Decyfr’s roundup from an enthralling week of football.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
Final Score: 25 – 29
Prior to the game, news broke that Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick had signed a lucrative, multi-year extension in the off-season. With New England sitting at 1-5 before kick-off, the Bills were unsurprisingly considered favourites.
With Buffalo’s first play on their first drive, Josh Allen was acrobatically intercepted by veteran safety, Jabrill Peppers, setting up an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown. After leading for most of the game, the Patriots gave up their 22-10 lead late in the fourth quarter after a Kendrick Bourne fumble gave Buffalo possession just outside of the Patriots’ red zone and the Bills capitalised. This left Mac Jones and the Patriots with less than two minutes to try for a game-winning touchdown. Mike Gesicki subsequently scored the game-winning touchdown on National Tight Ends Day to give New England their second win of the season and Belichick his 300th career win as head coach, making him the third-ever to do so, joining the legendary George Halas and Don Shula.
Player Of The Game: Mac Jones, Quarterback, New England Patriots
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) October 23, 2023
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts
Final Score: 39 – 38
After losing Deshaun Watson to injury in the first quarter, the Cleveland Browns had to once again rely on their defense and backup quarterback, PJ Walker. The prolific Myles Garrett spearheaded the Browns’ defense with two sacks on Gardner Minshew III, surpassing Reggie White for the most sacks by a player prior to their 28th birthday. His performance also included a moment of brilliance on special teams after an incredible block on a field goal attempt from Matt Gay. Browns’ running back Kareem Hunt contributed with two touchdowns, while Minshew threw for 305 passing yards including two touchdowns, with another two rushing scores for himself. Despite a heroic Colts performance, it was the Browns who prevailed in a game that changed leads eight times.
Player Of The Game: Myles Garrett, Defensive End, Cleveland Browns
Las Vegas Raiders @ Chicago Bears
Final Score: 12 – 30
In a remarkable cinderella story – undrafted rookie free agent Tyson Bagent led the Chicago Bears to a win, in the absence of Justin Fields. The 23-year-old quarterback put on a masterclass against the Raiders, throwing for 162 yards and a touchdown whilst looking like a seasoned veteran.
D’onta Foreman was equally as impressive, as he rushed for two touchdowns and 89 yards on 16 carries, halting a 10-game losing streak at home. The Bears remain bottom of the NFC North, while Las Vegas stay second in the AFC West despite their 3-4 record.
Player Of The Game: Tyson Bagent, Quarterback, Chicago Bears
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Final Score: 17 – 31
The Kansas City Chiefs continued to play in ‘Style’, with Taylor Swift in attendance, as they came out the victors against divisional rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers. Patrick Mahomes put on yet another immense performance, with 424 passing yards and four passing touchdowns, each to a different receiver, whilst tight end Travis Kelce had 179 receiving yards.
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) October 24, 2023
The Chargers proved they could go toe-to-toe with Kansas City in the first half, but were unable to score at all in the second. Justin Herbert threw for 259 yards and a touchdown with a 75-yard touchdown run from third-year running back, Joshua Kelley being their highlight of the evening. The second highest-scoring defense of the Kansas City Chiefs were once again the difference, as they sacked Justin Herbert five times for a loss of 40 yards and intercepted him twice.
Player Of The Game: Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles
Final Score: 17 – 31
The return of the Kelly Green uniforms to Lincoln Financial Field saw a matchup between two of the league’s hottest offenses. The Philadelphia Eagles had 355 yards of total offense and showcased grit and discipline – committing zero penalties on either side of the ball. Jalen Hurts proved prolific with two touchdowns and 279 passing yards, while star receiver A.J. Brown dominated against the depleted Dolphins secondary with 10 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown sealing the win in the fourth quarter with a big catch for 42 yards.
The Eagles extend their lead at the top of the NFC East to 6-1 over the Dallas Cowboys, while the Miami Dolphins remain top of the AFC East at 5-2 following the Buffalo Bills’ defeat to the New England Patriots.
Player Of The Game: AJ Brown, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) October 25, 2023
San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings
Final Score: 17 – 22
The 49ers were odds-on favourites against a Minnesota side that had largely underwhelmed leading up to this game. However, the Vikings fought impressively, sealing an improbable victory over the 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Wide receiver Jordan Addison starred for the home team as he caught two first half touchdown passes from Kirk Cousins. He then went on to record figures of 123 yards from seven catches, whilst Cousins’ impressive display saw him throw for 378 yards.
Meanwhile, Brock Purdy and the 49ers struggled in Minneapolis without wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who missed the game due to injury. Purdy threw for 272 yards and one touchdown, but crucially, threw two interceptions. Despite the defeat, running back Christian McCaffrey continued his touchdown scoring streak with two in this game – taking his tally to 16 consecutive matches, one short of the all-time record. The 49ers remain top of the NFC West, now with a 5-2 record.
Player Of The Game: Jordan Addison, Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings
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