NFL News and Rumors: Kickers are people too; unless they miss
NFL through week 7
Week 7 presented more and more NFL news with kickers missing chip shots, quarterbacks getting benched, and a rookie quarterback continually proving he is up there with the great's.
Scroll through to find the latest NFL news through week 7 of NFL action:
- Extra points not so automatic
- Blake Bortles on the hot seat?
- Super Cam showing up late to the party
- Chiefs offense putting up video game numbers
- Where is Le'Veon Bell?
Kicked to the curb
Seems like with each week, each kick, a kicker is on the hot seat. The Cleveland Browns proved that back in September when they released kicker Zane Gonzales after missing four field goals vs. the New Orleans Saints. The Minnesota Vikings also had their woes with kicker Daniel Carlson who missed three, two of which in overtime.
Ever since the NFL moved the extra point yardage back 33 yards, extra points don’t seem so automatic anymore and fans have their hearts racing until they see the ball go through the uprights.
Well, it happened again last night. It was a cool, slightly breezy night in Baltimore when quarterback Joe Flacco marched his team down the field late in the fourth quarter vs. Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. With :24 seconds left in the game, Flacco hit a wide open John Brown for a 14-yard touchdown reception. And for a moment, it looked like this game was headed into overtime. But just like that, and jaws on the floor, the ever-stable veteran kicker Justin Tucker misses the extra point. Saints win 24-23.
Now, rumors of Tucker’s job on the hot seat haven’t surfaced, but with the way the league and owners are handling kickers and missing field goals, one can question a kickers job status after any kick.
The heat is rising in Jacksonville
When you think of an NFL quarterback who has had an up-and-down career, do you think of anyone else more so than Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles? Having a standout career at University of Central Florida, to a shaky start for the Jaguars, and then to an AFC championship, this has been quite the roller coaster ride.
The ride continued last Sunday vs. the Houston Texans. Bortles committed two first half fumbles and was benched in the second half.
His backup is Cody Kessler, a University of Southern California QB selected by the Browns in 2016 and was in Cleveland for two seasons before coming to Jacksonville. Kessler finished the game recording 21-for-30 for 156 yards and one touchdown in the Jaguars’ 20-7 loss at home.
No news from Jacksonville yet on whether Bortles or Kessler will start next Sunday. Bortles recently signed a three-year extension back in February to stay in Jacksonville in 2019.
Jacksonville drops to 3-4 and will host the reigning Super Bowl Champ Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) next Sunday in London, UK.
Super Cam saves the day
Better late than never, right? What was a frustrating three quarters for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday vs. the defending Super Bowl Champ Philadelphia Eagles, turned into quite a performance by Panthers QB Cam Newton.
Down 17-0 heading at the start of the fourth quarter was the moment when football fans, fantasy owners, and the Carolina fanbase needed a super hero to turn this game around. Cam Newton, aka Superman, rose to the challenge. In the fourth quarter, Cam hit WR Curtis Samuel on a 14-yard reverse for a touchdown, threw 16-for-22 for 201 yards, and threw for two touchdowns (Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen).
Panthers win, 21-17.
After a disappointing loss last week to rival Washington, Newton assured fans that this week would be different. Following the game, Newton said, "I took last week's loss [at Washington] personal. I could have been better last week. We were in the same situation today and I didn't want to let anyone down. I wanted to hold up my end."
Carolina (4-2) hosts the red-hot Baltimore Ravens (4-3) next Sunday at 10 AM (PT).
Can anyone slow down the Chiefs’ offense?
Patrick Mahomes has weapons to throw to, and he is doing just that. Through eight games, he has thrown 22 touchdown passes, breaking the NFL record previously set by Kurt Warner.
Kansas City is in a good spot. A young, rookie quarterback who is continually proving himself with each passing game and leading the league in passing yards (2.223); one of the fastest wide receiver and a Fantasy Football owners dream in Tyreek Hill (fourth in the league in receiving yards at 635); a strong run-game lead by Kareem Hunt (who is third in the league in rushing yards with 542). That’s three top-5 offensive weapons causing opposing defenses a lot of trouble.
Last night was another example of “How to Offense: 101.” Mahomes threw for 358 yards on 28-for-39 and four touchdowns for 45 points on the Cincinnati Bengals. The defense also stepped up only allowing 10 points.
Kansas City moves to 6-1 and will host the Denver Broncos (3-4) next Sunday at 10 AM (PT).
Check out Mahomes' season stats HERE.
Where is Le’Veon Bell?
Wasn’t he supposed to show up during Pittsburgh’s BYE week? Well, that came and went and running back Le’Veon Bell is still no where to be seen.
LG Ramon Foster says, “I haven’t talked to him, nobody has. We’re in a wait-and-see situation like you guys.”
According to Darin Gantt for NBC Sports, “At this point, it’s unclear when he’ll be back. We’re sort of assuming it’s not “if” he returns, because his goal is to get to free agency, and he needs to accrue a season to do that. That means showing up soon.”
“Soon” is such a tough word. Depending on the person, soon can mean you are just looking for parking as you are meeting a friend at Starbucks or soon can mean you haven’t even left your house yet. Nevertheless, Bell plans on returning “soon” but soon can’t come soon enough with the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1) hosting division rival Cleveland Browns (2-4-1) next Sunday at 10 AM (PT).
The Steelers are currently leading the AFC North due to only two division losses and one tie, however, a loss on Sunday could drop them down to third putting Cincinnati and Baltimore above them.
Read more on Bell HERE.