NFL Nation: rapid reaction 7

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Seahawks combined inept offense with an often pedestrian defense to fall further from relevance in the NFC West. They are 1-5 heading into a Week 8 matchup at San Francisco, a game featuring teams that have suffered a combined seven defeats in a row.

Seattle lost more than the game against Tampa Bay. Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, already suffering through a subpar season by his standards, did not return after suffering an unspecified injury of unknown severity.

Injured quarterback Matt Hasselbeck may or may not return in the next week or two, but the Seahawks shouldn't fool themselves into thinking everything will be fine if and when Hasselbeck returns to the lineup. The Seahawks' season was spiraling downward before a recurring back issue sidelined Hasselbeck indefinitely.

Seattle converted only twice on third down. The Bucs converted 10 of 18 times. The Seahawks' defense still kept the score close enough for a team with a competent offense to challenge. But the Seattle passing offense poses virtually no threat in its current state. The situation at receiver remains disjointed at best. The offensive line isn't meeting expectations.

The running game and special teams were problematic for Seattle last season. Those areas were relatively strong against the Bucs, no consolation after a third consecutive defeat.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

The Houston Texans were able to run out to a big lead and hold on against Detroit.

Along the way Matt Schaub twice found tight end Owen Daniels wide open in the end zone on play-action passes from short range for his first two touchdown receptions of the season.

Back in training camp I wondered if the Texans would look to find more ways to get the ball to Daniels in the end zone. He's a solid option in their passing game and he had five scoring catches as a rookie but just three last year.

I guess it might be easier to feed him if Houston saw the Lions more regularly. Look over the box score and dramatic edges in rushing yard (150-77), first downs (29-15) time of possession (40:04 to 19:56) suggest the Texans did well to control this game and make you wonder how the final score wasn't of blowout proportions.

It all would have showed up better in the score if they didn't allow big-play quick scores in the form of a 26-yard run by Kevin Smith and a 96-yard touchdown catch and run by Calvin Johnson. (Cornerback DeMarcus Faggins just won his way back into the starting lineup, then let Johnson get behind him with all that green space? Ouch.)

Posted by's Tim Graham

That comfortable stretch of games for the New York Jets, the one that was going to help them climb back toward the top of the AFC East, turned unkind.

One week after bopping the winless Cincinnati Bengals, the Jets dropped in on the troubled Oakland Raiders. The Jets sputtered to a 16-13 overtime loss and are back at .500.

Jay Feely kicked a 52-yard field goal (on his second try because the Raiders called timeout before he missed his first one) to send the game into sudden death. Sebastian Janikowski made a 57-yard field goal with plenty to spare to give the Raiders their second victory.

Oakland was the second opponent in a three-game New York stretch against sub-par teams. The Kansas City Chiefs drop by the Meadowlands next Sunday.

Defensively, the Jets were fine. They gave up 344 yards, but held the Raiders to only four third-down conversions.

The Jets were homely on offense. Although Thomas Jones rolled up 159 rushing yards, he didn't get into the end zone.

Brett Favre threw for only 197 yards. He was intercepted twice and was sacked three times. He fumbled three times, but didn't lose any.

The Buffalo Bills won Sunday, pushing their record to 5-1. That leaves the 3-3 Jets two games back and two games ahead of the last-place Miami Dolphins. The 3-2 New England Patriots host the Denver Broncos on Monday night.

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Green Bay did exactly what it needed to against resurgent Indianapolis: Control the time of possession and let the Colts self-destruct.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy actually called more running plays (21) than passes (20) in the first half at Lambeau Field. More importantly, Green Bay limited the chances for Colts quarterback Peyton Manning by holding onto the ball for 20:25 of the first half.

In building a steady lead, the Packers' defense was able to sell out against the pass. Safeties Nick Collins and Aaron Rouse both returned interceptions for touchdowns, and overall the Colts committed 12 penalties.

Tailback Ryan Grant produced his first 100-yard game of the season. But perhaps the best news for Green Bay is that Grant -- who was slowed earlier this season by a hamstring injury -- has now carried 64 times in the past two games. He'll have the bye week to rest up and conceivably provide the Packers a consistent weapon for the rest of the season.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

An anemic Oakland passing game came to life just when it had to.

After not creating any offense in the first two series of overtime, Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell hit receiver Javon Walker and tight end Zach Miller for big pass play. It setup a 57-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski with 2:30 to go in overtime. It was an Oakland record for a field goal.

Just when it looked like the game was headed for a 13-13 tie, the Raiders' offense showed unfamiliar life. Will this be the start of something big or was it simply good timing to give a bad team a rare win?

We'll see, but right now, in Oakland, where the Raiders won in overtime for the first time in eight years, it doesn't matter.

Was it a textbook win for Oakland? No, but that's not the point. The Raiders were desperate for good feeling and they left the field feeling fine Sunday for first time since Week 2 in Kansas City.

Posted by's Tim Graham

For those out there wondering if the Buffalo Bills are for real, you can start believing now.

The Bills rebounded from their ugly, pre-bye loss to the Arizona Cardinals to defeat the resurgent San Diego Chargers, 23-14, in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bills are atop the AFC East with a 5-1 record. The other division teams, meanwhile, can't exactly be described as scintillating

The Bills haven't gotten off to that hot of a start since 1995, and they haven't played a divisional opponent. They'll visit the Miami Dolphins next Sunday.

Trent Edwards needed to clear no cobwebs. In his first game since suffering a concussion, Edwards was masterful. He completed 25 of 30 passes for 261 yards and one touchdown without an interception. He used seven different receivers.

But the game MVP might be linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who intercepted a Philip Rivers pass in the end zone, preventing the Chargers from taking a lead in the final few minutes. Mitchell also forced a fumble to end the Chargers' final possession.

It was another balanced performance from the NFL's most-balanced club.

Posted by's Kevin Seifert

It's nice that the Lions can be plucky and all, but they're going to have to figure out a way to stop getting blown out of games in the first quarter.

Houston led 14-0 when the first quarter ended Sunday and it was 21-3 with two minutes, 47 seconds gone in the second quarter. Sure, the Lions made it a one-score game in the fourth quarter. But they spent too much energy coming back and ultimately allowed the Texans to run off all but 10 seconds of the final 4:17.

By my count, the Lions have been outscored 54-0 in the first quarter this season. Before the end of the first half, they've been down by scores of 21-0 twice. There's been a 21-7 in there and a 17-0 mixed in for good measure.

There's lots of ways to look at why a team starts slow. Some are slow to make adjustments. Others have poor game plans. In the Lions' case, it seems a direct result of having a substandard team.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Baltimore game was supposed to signal a reversal.

The Colts were finished struggling. They'd found themselves against the Ravens, forced the action, controlled the game.

If rookie Matt Ryan could bring his Falcons to Lambeau Field and win, surely Peyton Manning could do the same for the Colts, who'd pick up where they left off in the impressive win over the Ravens, right?

Um, no.

The sloppy Colts failed miserably in Green Bay, falling to 3-3 as they couldn't put together sustained drives, couldn't deal with the Packers excellent pass coverage and couldn't stop running back Ryan Grant.

They didn't look like they belonged on the same field as their hosts. The biggest indicators of the Colts' inability to get in sync? Twelve penalties for 110 yards and two interceptions of Peyton Manning returned for touchdowns.

The Colts, who've won the AFC South for the last five years, now trail the Titans by three games.

They play Tennessee in Nashville a week from Monday, and another loss could effectively end whatever hopes remain for a sixth straight crown. When they review this game, it's safe to presume a division title will be the furthest thing from their mind.

Posted by's James Walker

The high-powered offense the Cleveland Browns displayed six days ago disappeared Sunday outside the Nation's Capital.

In a defensive struggle, Cleveland fell to the Washington Redskins, 14-11, Sunday. After scoring just three points through three and a half quarters, the Browns attempted to mount a comeback in the final five minutes but came up short.

With a chance to tie the game, Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson missed a 54-yard field-goal attempt wide right with 25 seconds remaining.

The Browns lost because they couldn't stop the run. Washington tailback Clinton Portis had 175 rushing yards to help the Redskins control the pace of the game. Cleveland has just 236 total yards in the game, compared to 351 for the Redskins.

The loss drops the Browns to 2-4 on the season with a road game upcoming against Jacksonville. Already two games below .500, Cleveland's playoffs hopes are on very thin ice following Sunday's loss.

Posted by's Matt Mosley

LANDOVER, Md. -- Losing to the Rams at home last week was supposed to be a wake-up call for the Redskins, but it took more than a half of Sunday's game for the alarm to go off. Redskins running back Clinton Portis turned in another dominating performance in leading the Redskins (5-2) to a 14-11 victory over the Browns at Fed Ex Field.

The Browns' defense was gashed in the running game, but they refused to let the Redskins in the end zone until midway through the third quarter. Jason Campbell, who kept his uncanny non-interception streak alive, found Santana Moss on a deep out for 35 yards with 10:27 left in the third quarter. Moss spun around twice, and left two Browns defenders in his wake.

The Redskins used a lot of stunts along the line to put pressure on Derek Anderson, who continued his habit of playing horribly on the road. Of course, it didn't help that wide receiver Braylon Edwards had four drops, three of which would've gone for first downs.

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher made two huge plays during a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter, but a fumble by Portis gave the Browns another opportunity. This time, Derek Anderson found Josh Cribbs for a 1-yard touchdown pass on third down.

The Browns held the Redskins to a three-and-out on the final drive, and put Phil Dawson in position to attempt a 54-yard field goal. Dawson had the distance, but he pushed it right.

Portis finished the game with 27 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown. With Ladell Betts injured and a rusty Shaun Alexander backing him up, Portis had to put the Redskins on his back for most of the game. Mike Sellers had some devastating blocks on the outside and Portis showed excellent vision to find gaps in the Browns' defense.

The Redskins now head to Detroit with a chance to improve to 6-2 at the midway point. The win also allowed the Redskins to take a one-game lead over the fading Cowboys. Much more to come.

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The Giants looked sloppy on offense for the second consecutive game, but the defense bailed them out this week.

Replacing Antonio Pierce at linebacker, Chase Blackburn had the best game of his four-year career. He had 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in Sunday's 29-17 win.

On Monday night, the Browns muted the Giants' pass rush, but 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan was under siege from the start. Defensive end Justin Tuck had two sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Giants won the turnover battle, and that was the difference. Tom Coughlin will be upset about a special teams breakdown on a blocked field goal attempt that was returned for a touchdown in the second half.

But it was the defense's ability to eliminate Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore that made the 49ers one-dimensional.

Eli Manning was 16-of-31 for 161 yards and a touchdown. He never got in a rhythm, but he didn't make the back-breaking mistakes that occurred against the Browns.

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs was held to 69 yards, but he found the end zone twice.

And for the first time this season, the Giants gave Ahmad Bradshaw some meaningful carries. New York continues to get the most of its running backs. Derrick Ward had three catches for 50 yards.

Giants safety Michael Johnson had the first two interceptions of his career. O'Sullivan was running for his life most of the game, and four different defensive linemen had sacks for the Giants.

Posted by's Matt Mosley

A month ago, the Cowboys were talking about wanting to fast-forward to the playoffs. But after being dominated in a 34-14 loss to the Rams, this team will be doing well to even qualify. Right now, that seems like a long shot.

The Cowboys thought they could surround 40-year-old quarterback Brad Johnson with enough talent to win a game while Tony Romo recovered from a broken right pinkie. But Johnson never had a chance. He finished 17 of 34 for 234 yards and three interceptions. The Rams took Cowboys running back Marion Barber out of the game by taking a 24-7 halftime lead, and they didn't put up a fight in the second half.

It's not surprising that new wide receiver Roy Williams wasn't a factor, but for the fourth consecutive game, Terrell Owens was pretty much non-existent.

Dallas took itself out of scoring opportunities with dumb penalties, and the offensive line did little to help an overmatched Johnson. Oshiomogho Atogwe, one of the heroes in last week's win over the Redskins, had two interceptions for the Rams.

Jerry Jones said Sunday's game was, in many ways, more important than upcoming games against Tampa Bay and the New York Giants. But the team played with no sense of urgency. Head coach Wade Phillips kept a disgusted look on his face for most of the game -- and for good reason.

He's already on the hot seat in Dallas. Now, there will be talk of an in-season firing. (Hey, it worked for the Rams). But who do you replace him with? Jason Garrett, a man who can't devise a scheme for getting T.O. off the line of scrimmage?

The Cowboys spent all last week trying to convince us the sky wasn't falling. Well, it's officially falling. Romo will try to return against Tampa Bay, but it's not like he'll be at full strength.

Jerry Jones has tried to remain optimistic while his team continues to implode. Let's see how he handles Sunday's loss. If someone doesn't show a little anger after this one, you might as well as pack it in until next season.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

A long flight from Buffalo to London just became a long, miserable flight from Buffalo to London for the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers just began a crucial, long road trip the worst way imaginable. They blew a chance to win in the fourth quarter in Buffalo. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers made two critical mistakes late in the game to spoil San Diego's chances.

The Chargers are now 3-4 as they head to London to face New Orleans next week. This game is extra disappointing for San Diego because it again showed no consistency.

The Chargers have been inconsistent all season. They played their best overall game last week in a 30-10 win over New England. The thought was perhaps the Chargers were ready to take off.

However, once again, the team has sputtered and now San Diego is 3-4 as it heads to Europe.

Posted by's Mike Sando

The 49ers can keep talking about close defeats and not getting blown out, but at some point the team needs to win a game.

It wasn't going to happen against the Giants at the Meadowlands.

Quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan tossed two more interceptions. Yes, one was on a pass delivered as the first half ended.

But he lost a fumble for a safety late in the game, and the 49ers struggled again on third down. Frank Gore never got going on the ground.

The 49ers should bounce back at home against the Seahawks in Week 8, but there are no guarantees with O'Sullivan turning over the football. A loss to Seattle would mark five defeats in a row, a tough way for coach Mike Nolan to head into the bye week.

Posted by's James Walker

Apparently, a Raven can tame a Wildcat.

In an interesting battle of two teams fighting to get back to .500, the Baltimore Ravens rode their top-ranked defense to accomplish that feat in a 27-13 road win over the Miami Dolphins.

Opponents had struggled this season stopping Miami's dual-threat "Wildcat" rushing attack of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. But the Ravens (3-3) held both tailbacks to 43 combined yards on the ground and extended their streak to 25 straight games without a 100-yard rusher.

Baltimore broke a three-game losing streak to claim its spot for second place in the AFC North. The Ravens have three of the next four games on the road, but they begin that stretch with a home date against the Oakland Raiders Oct. 26.