Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season featured exciting plays and plenty of dominant performances.
Here’s a look at some of the winners and losers from Sunday’s action:
Winner: Tight Ends
Tight Ends around the league celebrated National Tight Ends Day in the best way possible. Scoring touchdowns. Derek Henry threw a pass to his tight end, Mycole Pruitt, for the Tennessee Titans’ first score of the day.
Kyle Pitts has emerged as one of the top tight ends in the league for the Atlanta Falcons.
The first-round pick made one-handed and over-the-shoulder grabs all day against the Miami Dolphins, tallying 163 yards on seven receptions.
Pitts was a unanimous All-American for the Florida Gators and won the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end in 2020. It’s only fitting that Pitts would have his second straight breakout performance on National Tight Ends Day.
But the Tight End fun did not stop there.
Aaron Rodgers made sure to find his tight end Robert Tonyan for a 20-yard TD in the third quarter of the Packers win over the Washington Football Team.
Raiders tight end Fabian Moureau, filling in for star Darren Waller also made a spectacular 18-yard touchdown catch in Las Vegas’ second straight win with interim head coach Rich Rich Bisaccia.
What started out as a t-shirt campaign from San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle has become a movement and apparently quarterbacks around the league are listening and made sure to give their security blankets plenty of love on Sunday.
Winner: Tennessee Titans
Now sitting on a lofty 5-2 record with wins against the Chiefs and Bills, the Tennessee Titans are a team that nobody wants to play against.
Head coach Mike Vrabel has turned the Titans into a well-oiled machine, capable of snuffing out dangerous drives on defense and grinding out scoring drives on offense.
Standout running back Derrick Henry has already amassed 10 rushing touchdowns and nearly 800 rushing yards this season while also tossing a passing touchdown today versus the Chiefs. A.J. Brown also gave the opposition plenty to worry about downfield as usual, picking up 133 receiving yards along with a touchdown.
Veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill has looked poised and capable while throwing for almost 1,500 yards so far this season, racking up another 270 today.
Watch for this Titans team to make another strong playoff run, and in a year with no clear favorite, Vrabel will like his chances at leading the team to its first-ever Super Bowl victory.
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals and Ja’Marr Chase
When the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Chase with the fifth overall pick in April, some questioned the decision.
No one can second guess the Bengals now after Chase went off for his second straight game.
The LSU product took another big step towards winning the offensive rookie of the year award, catching eight passes from QB Joe Burrow for 201 receiving yards and one touchdown in the team’s 41-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon.
Chase already has 754 receiving yards on the season, the most by a player through his first seven games in NFL history.
His 82-yard catch-and-run, breaking through tackles in the Ravens secondary was the highlight and turning point of the game.
The Bengals improved to 5-2, good for first place in the AFC North. Chase had gotten some negative publicity for drops during the preseason but those are now a thing of the past. The rookie should enjoy a productive career is emerging as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Loser: Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins
As the Miami Dolphins drop to 1-6, Tua Tagovailoa’s time in south Florida may be coming to a close.
The Dolphins lost 30-28 to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as the former University of Alabama quarterback threw four touchdowns but two interceptions. The pressure is building for the young quarterback, and not just because of the average performances.
The Dolphins have been rumored to be in the market for former Texans QB Deshaun Watson, who left the Houston team after a spate of sexual assault allegations against him. Though the Dolphins are keen on Watson,
Watson’s 10 criminal complaints against him will eventually be brought before a grand jury. However the Dolphins’ front office feels about that, it’s clear they’re focused on bringing in a different option for the Miami offense.
Loser: Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos seem to get weaker and weaker this season, demonstrated by a feeble outing last Thursday in their 17-14 loss versus the Cleveland Browns.
There are plenty of areas to blame, including but not limited to another subpar performance from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater threw two touchdowns but was intercepted once and had a 69.7% completion rate. But the blame for the Broncos’ mediocrity must go higher than the players, namely towards head coach Vic Fangio and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
The two haven’t coached egregiously badly but have failed to turn the Broncos’ offense into anything hard to deal with.
Undynamic and stale, the coaching has not made sufficient use out of the talented roster with weapons like Melvin Gordon rushing for only 18 yards on Thursday.