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Upon Further Review

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Neil Rackers, and other observations from NFL Week 7

Upon Further Review

Week 7 of the NFL played out like it should have - sort of.  There was not one matchup between two teams with records above .500 (there were a few .500 teams playing against teams with winning records, though), but there was still plenty of entertaining football played.  CHARGED will run through the action fresh with a Jean Claude Van Damme reference in this week's "Upon Further Review."

Offensive Performances

- Offenses around the NFL put on some impressive performances this week.  Arian Foster and the Houston Texans got the action going against the Tennessee Titans.  Foster lit up the Titans defense, which was number one in the league after three weeks.  He rushed for 115 yards and scored two touchdowns while also reeling in 119 receiving yards, including a 78-yard touchdown catch to put the Texans up 17-0 late in the second quarter.  Backup running back Ben Tate also rushed for over 100 yards, and all in all it was a great bounce-back performance by the Texans in a game that could be the difference in the AFC South.

But Arian Foster wasn't the only one getting his licks in against the Titans.  Check out this hit by Texans kicker Neil Rackers during a second-half kickoff:

THAT is a hit, no matter who you are. 

- The Carolina Panthers got their second win of the year against the free-falling Washington Redskins.  Cam Newton was impressive again, throwing for 256 yards and a score while also rushing ten times for 59 yards and another touchdown.  Here's Newton accumulating 25 of those rushing yards:

That kind of scrambling is going to keep defenses very honest while opening up more passing lanes for Newton.  What impressed me about Newton's performance yesterday was his accuracy.  He completed 18 of his 23 passes against a fairly stingy Redskins defense.  He can do it with his legs (the video above is evidence of that) but he has done it with his arm for the most part this year.  Unlike that Tim Tebow guy up in Denver, Newton has the mechanics to beat you through the air. Forget all the jibber jabber that you're hearing about Tebow, Newton is the real deal.  Tebow is not.

- If Newton is the future, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are the present.  Both quarterbacks were at the height of their powers yesterday.  Rodgers was 24-30 for 335 yards and three touchdowns in a surprisingly close 33-27 win over Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings.  Brees had an even more impressive outing, going 31-35 for 325 yards and five touchdowns in just three quarters during a 63-7 blowout of the Indianapolis Colts. Think about that. More TOUCHDOWN passes than INCOMPLETE passes.  Through seven weeks, both are putting up MVP-caliber seasons.  Rodgers leads the league in passing TDs, completion percentage, and QB rating.  Brees leads the league in passing yards and barely trails Rodgers in completion percentage.  Right now, I give the nod to Rodgers because of how masterful he and that team have been thus far in 2011.

- Who is DeMarco Murray?  He was the guy running all over the St. Louis Rams in Dallas yesterday.  The rookie running back took his first carry 91 yards to the house and didn't stop running.  He finished with 253 yards rushing on 25 carries, breaking the Cowboys single-game rushing record previously held by Emmit Smith. Pretty good fantasy value with that performance.

Locked Up

- Phil Mushnick of the New York Post made an interesting point in his column this morning about that Vikings/Packers game.  He said:

The Vikings, yesterday went with their 9-1-1 defense. During Fox’s Packers-Vikings, Thom Brennaman dutifully and quickly reported that Vikes starting CB Chris Cook wasn’t playing because he “was arrested two nights ago.”

Brennaman didn’t add that Cook was arrested for domestic battery, nor that he was still in jail, having not been released on bail, nor did he add that in March, Cook was arrested -- later acquitted -- for showing a gun during a fight with a neighbor. Cook has/had a concealed weapons permit.

Also left unsaid is the Vikings have had six arrests in the last nine months, and, according to a credible website that tracks such things, have passed the Bengals for most arrests, with 36 since 2000.

Mushnick never fails to bring the heat.

- Vikings defensive lineman Brian Robison did something during that game that might get you arrested in some states.

- In related news, Plaxico Burress and Ben Roethlisberger had themselves nice games on Sunday.  Plax caught all three of Mark Sanchez's touchdown passes in New York's 27-21 win over the San Diego Chargers.  Roethlisberger also had three touchdown passes as the Steelers moved to 5-2 with a win over the Cardinals.

Forgettable Days

- The Colts and Dolphins are in a heated battle for worst team in the NFL honors.  Both are without wins this year, though the Colts have the edge with seven losses.  Both teams have been competitive in defeat, but both have also lost in embarrassing fashion.  The Colts were completely incompetent against the Saints, and the Dolphins let Tebow and the Broncos score 15 points in the final three minutes to force overtime, where the Broncos eventually won.  These teams are bringing "Suck For Luck" to new lows.

- The Carson Palmer era got off to a rocky start in Oakland yesterday.  Kyle Boller threw three interceptions to the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half, and Carson Palmer repeated the act when he replaced him.  If Darren McFadden has to miss time, Palmer will not fair well having to carry the rest of that Raiders team.

- The Cleveland Browns beat the Seattle Seahawks 6-3.  It's definitely in the running for worst game of the year. This game had less action than a Jean Claude-Van Damme marathon on TBS. But at least he'll dance for you.

- The Lions dropped their second straight game at home yesterday to the Atlanta Falcons.  Matthew Stafford's play has slipped in these two losses, especially his ability to complete passes.  He failed to throw for 200 yards and two touchdowns for the first time this season while also completing just 46.9 percent of his attempts.  With Jahvid Best out, Stafford has to elevate his play if things are going to remain positive in the Motor City.

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