AFC South Week 7 Recap

By Erik Marberger

Indianapolis Colts

Saints 27-Colts 21

At the beginning of the season, not many people thought it would be this much of a struggle for the Indianapolis Colts. Plagued by inconsistent play on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, the Colts find themselves at a 3-4 record, the latest loss coming at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.

The ground attack for the Saints was strong, as the duo of RBs Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson combined for 171 rushing yards and 3 TDs. QB Drew Brees also continued his good play as of late, passing for 255 yards and 1 TD.

New Orleans jumped out to a 20-0 lead at the half, and, not surprisingly, that did not sit well with the Indianapolis fans. The Colts ran into the locker room amidst a sea of boos, mostly directed towards the anemic offense. According to ESPN, Colts QB Andrew Luck “at times, looked as bad as he ever has”, and Coach Chuck Pagano called the Colts’ first half performance “unacceptable”.

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In spite of this poor first half performance, the Colts outscored the Saints 21-7 in the second half, and Andrew Luck rebounded to throw for 333 total yards and 2 TD passes. Colts WR T.Y Hilton also had a good day, finishing with 4 receptions for 150 yards, which included an 87-yard TD pass from Luck in the 3rd quarter.

Even with the loss, the Colts still remain atop the AFC South, but their record does not reflect where many experts thought they would be at this point in the season. They look to rebound next week with a big Monday night game in Charlotte against the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars 34-Bills 31

Whenever the NFL heads to London, the British are always in for a good show. They certainly got that Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 9:30 game that was broadcasted on Yahoo was not only a business success, but also and on-field success as well.

The Bills jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st quarter, but the Jaguars went on to score 27 unanswered points and lead 27-3 early in the 2nd quarter. The Jacksonville onslaught began with a 10-yard TD pass from QB Blake Bortles to WR Allen Robinson, which was then followed on the next defensive possession by a Chris Clemons fumble return for a touchdown. Shortly after, the defense stepped up once again as LB Telvin Smith intercepted Bills QB EJ Manuel and returned it for a 26-yard TD. Capping it off was a 28-yard TD run by RB T.J. Yeldon.

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Now, it was Buffalo’s turn for a scoring onslaught, and that’s just what happened. It started with a 16-yard TD strike from EJ Manuel to Robert Woods and was followed by 2 straight Dan Carpenter field goals. Now at 27-16, the Bills were back in the game. They got even closer with a 58-yard TD pass from Manuel to Marcus Easley, making it 27-22, and the two point conversion afterwards made it 27-24 (ESPN). The exclamation point came when Corey Graham intercepted Blake Bortles and returned it for a TD, giving the Bills the lead with only 5:21 left in the 4th quarter.

This game would’ve been satisfying for the fans if it ended here, but it just kept getting better. Following the Buffalo TD, the Jags drove down the field and found themselves on the Buffalo 31 yard line. The ensuing play, Blake Bortles took the snap, rolled to his left, and fired a pass that was hauled in by a diving Allen Hurns for the go ahead TD. The Jaguars got a stop on the next drive and held on for their second win of the season.

The win put a stop to Jacksonville’s 4-game losing streak and brought them to 2-5 on the season, which is tied for 2nd in the AFC South. Following a bye week next week, they will head to MetLife Stadium to battle the New York Jets on November 8.

Tennessee Titans

Falcons 10-Titans 7

In a game which featured 10 punts, 4 interceptions, and a missed field goal, the Atlanta Falcons were able to win the low-scoring battle at Nissan Stadium against the Tennessee Titans. It was a struggle all day for both teams offensively, as there were only three scoring plays combined between the Falcons and Titans.

The first score came on 19-yard TD pass from Titans QB Zach Mettenberger to Kendall Wright early in the 2nd quarter. The Falcons responded with a Matt Bryant field goal to make it 7-3, and that was the score at the half.

The last and most important scoring play came in the third quarter, as Falcons QB Matt Ryan found Julio Jones in the end zone for an 8-yard TD strike. Neither team would score again, giving the Falcons the 10-7 victory.

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Top performers for Atlanta were QB Matt Ryan (251 yds 1 TD), RB Devonta Freeman (25 rush 116 yds), and WR Julio Jones (9 rec 92 yds, TD). For Tennessee, QB Zach Mettenberger struggled in place of the injured Marcus Mariota, throwing for only 187 yards and 2 interceptions.

The Titans have now lost 5 straight games and still have not won at home this year. They also fell to last place in the division with Sunday’s loss. On the bright side, Coach Ken Whisenhunt is “optimistic” that starting QB Marcus Mariota will be able to return to the practice field this week. However, Mariota’s status is still unknown for next week’s battle with the Texans in Houston.

Houston Texans

Dolphins 44-Texans 26

The Texans had their hands full on Sunday with the offensive attack of the Miami Dolphins, and the halftime score of 41-0 sure reflected that. The firing of Head Coach Joe Philbin after the 1-3 start was not an encouraging sign for Miami, but the Dolphins have played great football under interim Head Coach Dan Campbell, posting a 2-0 mark under his direction. The latest win against the Texans came in convincing fashion.

It was difficult to hand out a game ball for the Miami Dolphins in this game because there were so many big contributors. First, there was QB Ryan Tannehill who, at one point in the first half, was a perfect 8-8 for 192 yds and 4TDs. He finished the day with a not too shabby 18-19 for 287 yds and 4 TDs. Next, there was RB Lamar Miller, who put together a crazy stat line of 14 rushes for 175 yds and one rushing TD. He also added a 54-yard receiving TD. Finally, there was WR Jarvis Landry, who had a productive 5 catches for 83 yds and 2 TDs. Oh, and there was also the Dolphins’ defense, who shut out the Texans in the first half.

The rout was on in the first half, but the Texans still had a lot of pride left to play for. They ended up outscoring the Texans 26-3 in the second half, scoring 4 touchdowns in that stretch. QB Brian Hoyer threw for 273 yds and 3 TDs, and WR Nate Washington hauled in 9 catches for 127 yds and 2 TDs. RB Arian Foster also added a rushing TD in the defeat.

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The Texans were manhandled on Sunday by the Dolphins, and when asked about their performance, Head Coach Bill O’Brien said it was “terrible” (ESPN). Adding to the turmoil in Houston, the Texans announced on Tuesday that they have cut ties with former starting QB Ryan Mallett after Mallett missed the team flight to Miami. Mallett was the starting QB at the start of the season for the Texans, but was recently replaced by Brian Hoyer because of an injury. The Texans have signed QB T.J. Yates as a backup to replace Mallett’s roster spot.

The loss to the Dolphins brings the Texans to 2-5 on the season, which is tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 2nd place in the AFC South. It has been a tough stretch for the Texans, but they look to turn things around next week as they host the division rival Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium.

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