By Around the NFL staff
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These are the ties that bind us to football. For the second week in a row, we saw a draw — this time in England! After tying the Patriots‘ TD record, Rob Gronkowski broke it on Sunday with his 69th touchdown grab. The Raiders and Bucs were heading toward a scoreless overtime period before Derek Carr pulled off some “Black Jack” magic. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
1. Whether it was Alex Smith or Nick Foles, the Chiefs repeatedly found ways to extend drives deep into Colts territory. Smith was efficient as usual but not as effective at sliding, twice being knocked out of the game after getting hit while attempting to give himself up. Foles stepped in and proved why his joining Kansas City in the preseason made sense. He looked familiar with and comfortable in the Chiefs‘ offense, completing 16 of 22 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas City didn’t miss a beat.
2. The Chiefs took a 10-point lead and managed to sit on it for much of the game by answering each Colts rebuttal with one of their own. The advantage required Foles to go 80 yards on six plays, including a big connection with Tyreek Hill — with whom Foles established a rapport that went back to their preseason action — and ended with a touchdown run by Spencer Ware. Kansas City experienced some lulls in the second half, but kept rolling later even without Ware, who left with a concussion.
3. When the Colts looked poised to make the game tighter, they repeatedly failed to follow through. Indianapolis struggled against the pass rush, allowing Luck to get sacked six times. When it came to third-and-long situations, Luck frequently pulled the ball down to escape the pocket, resulting in scrambles that came up short. The pressure showed even more when, late in the first half, Luck fired a ball in the general direction of no one specific (the box score listed Donte Moncrief as the intended receiver), which ended up in the hands of Phillip Gaines, who caught the ball while falling down. It was that inaccurate, and indicative of a day on which the Colts frequently couldn’t get out of their own way.
— Nick Shook