Poor Old Field Goal Kickers
Field Goal kickers are often pathetic and maligned figures in the NFL. There are some great Field Goal kickers, however when it comes to the clutch you can see many shrivel up and want to dig a hole. Never was it more evident during the gripping 6-6 Tie between bitter rivals Arizona and Seattle in an astonishing Sunday Night Football game in Arizona. Ties are extremely rare in the NFL, indeed this was the 1st tie in Seattle's history, while the Cardinals had not had one since 1986.
Here both field goal kickers missed regulation chip shots in overtime which would have won their team the game. Arizona desperately needed a win to close the gap on their rivals and kicker Chandler Catanzaro could barely believe his eyes as his 24-yard attempt banged off the upright. The Seahawks appeared to have stolen it at the death, marching all the way down to the Arizona 10-yard line with 7 seconds remaining. However, somewhat unbelievably, Steven Hauschka hacked his attempt well wide.
Sometimes the pressure is just too much for kickers in the NFL. Most do not look like footballers, they look more like accountants. They spend all their time stewing on the sidelines practising their kicking into a net, waiting for their moment. Despite probably never made tackle, or scored a touchdown they often run on to the field with the game, the division, or even the Super Bowl riding on the result. It seems a little off kilter that guys, who often have no business being on an NFL field apart from their kicking, can so often determine the outcome of a game.
Jay Ajayi Propels Dolphins to Back-to-Back Wins
It is pretty rare for a running back to have a 200-yard game, let alone back-to-back 200-yard games, but that is exactly what Jay Ajayi achieved for the Dolphins on Sunday. It is just the 5th time in NFL history that a running back has gone back-to-back 200+ yard games and it could hardly have come at a better time for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins were seemingly reeling at 1-4 coming into home games against the surging Steelers and Bills. However, in large part courtesy of Ajayi, they have put together back-to-back victories to keep their season alive. Twenty-three year old Ajayi was the subject of trade talk in the off season and did not even travel with the team for their Week 1 clash in Seattle. However Ajayi's performance on Sunday showed he is now here to stay after carrying 10 times for 9 yards or more. It was a damaging loss for the Bills which snapped a 4-game winning streak.
The Bills are looking to go to the playoffs for the first time since 1999, however at 4-3 are now back in the muddled middle of AFC teams vying for a Wild Card Slot.
Vikings the Last Team Beaten as Eagles Cruise
The Vikings were the last undefeated team in the NFL heading into Week 7, however they suffered a 21-10 beat down in Philadelphia on Sunday. It was not a happy homecoming for former Eagles' quarterback Sam Bradford, as he was intercepted once and harassed all day as the Vikings offensive line fell apart. In truth, this game was a sloppy affair with the teams turning the ball over 8 times through some shocking fumbles and miscues leaving several points on the field. The Vikings had just two turnovers heading into this game, but had mainly rested on a suffocating defence to rise to the top team in the NFC. While the defence kept Carson Wentz to just 138 yards and intercepted him twice, special teams gave up a 98-yard touchdown as the Eagles got on top and stayed there.
It was not too damaging a defeat for the Vikings who remain 1 game ahead of the Packers at 5-1 atop the NFC North. It was a crucial win for the Eagles as they jumped ahead of Washington and closed to within a half game of the Cowboys who sit at 5-1.