This weekend in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings took their rookie signal caller for a test drive, The Green Bay Packers rode their reliable QB to victory and the Carolina Panthers' young gun looks legit. Then there's that guy named Tebow.
It was an action packed week seven that can't be replayed. But it can be relived in the The Source's Tuesday Takeaways. Here are The Source's takeaways from week seven.
1) The Minnesota Vikings have found themselves a quarterback. Rookie Christian Ponder (pictured) made his first career start Sunday against the Packers and looked solid. While his stat line doesn't jump off the page - 13/32 (41% comp. percentage), 219 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTS - Ponder immediately changed the Vikings offense. What Ponder did, and what Donovan McNabb didn't do, was he forced the ball down the field. Ponder's average yards per pass completion was 16.8, McNabb was averaging 6.6 yards per completion as a starter. Ponder's ability to complete passes downfield made the Vikings offense less predictable and opened up (a lot of) running room for RB Adrian Peterson (175 yards, 1 TD). Another reason Vikings fans should be optimistic, Ponder has converted 6 of 8 (75%) third downs. Previous to his benching, McNabb was converting third downs 44% (42-96) of the time.
2) Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers posted his second highest passer rating in his career in Sunday's 33-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers finished Sunday with a 146.5 passer rating, which was 8.9 points lower than his career best of 155.4, which came against the Cleveland Browns in 2009. Through the first seven weeks of 2011, Rodgers has had a passer rating of at least 110 or greater in every game, he's the only QB in NFL history to accomplish this feat. A league MVP trophy will look nice next to his other awards.
3) Despite playing awful football for 57 minutes, Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow continued to prove he's a valuable fantasy football quarterback. Tebow managed 15 fantasy points on Sunday's 18-15 win over the Miami Dolphins, continuing his impressive fantasy run dating back to last season. In his past five games (games where Tebow saw significant playing time), he has scored 15, 17, 21, 16, 15 fantasy points (standard leagues). The guy throws an ugly, inaccurate ball, but he scores fantasy points.
4) I mentioned Peterson's big game against the Packers, but it was another former Oklahoma Sooner running back who stole the show on Sunday. Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray was filling in for the injured Felix Jones and rattled off a ridiculous 253 yards rushing, including a 91-yard touchdown. What Murray did on Sunday was remarkable for two reasons:
- Coming into Sunday's game, Jones had 255 yards rushing ALL SEASON.
- Murray is now the Cowboys all-time single-game rushing leader, outperforming Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. Not bad company.
5) All Larry Fitzgerald wanted before he signed his big contract this offseason was a commitment from the Cardinals that they would get him a quarterback. As it turns out, Arizona still haven't lived up to their end of the bargain. QB Kevin Kolb has been inconsistent this season, throwing for 1,553 yards, 7 TDs, 7 INTs. (with a 58% completion percentage). More importantly, Kolb's arrival hasn't improved Fitzgerald's numbers much over last year.
- 2010: 35 rec. 403 yards, 4 TDs (seven games)
- 2011: 31 rec. 505 yards, 2 TDs (six games)
6) I can't say Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson took the money and ran when he signed his new contract this offseason - mostly because he hasn't done much running this season. After a miserable performance (10 carries for 18 yards) on Sunday against a leaky Houston Texans run defense, Johnson is now on pace to rush for 715 yards this season. That's startling bad, especially when you consider Peterson currently has 712 yards rushing after seven weeks.
7) Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton continues to prove his critics wrong. Newton tied a rookie quarterback record by scoring his seventh rushing touchdown of the season in Sunday's 33-20 win over the Washington Redskins. Newton tied Vince Young, who set that rookie rushing TD mark with the Tennessee Titans in 2006. Newton has nine games left to break the record. My guess is he'll break the record soon and then make that record unbreakable.
8) Something very rare happened Monday night and Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice would like to forget it. Rice lost a fumble against the Jacksonville Jaguars snapping a 522-carry streak without a fumble. The last time Rice fumbled was December 27, 2009. Jay Sean's song Down featuring Lil Wayne was the number one song in America the last time Rice fumbled.