By Nick Shook
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We’ve had some pretty strong weeks from road teams in recent weeks. Week 7 was not that.
Squads away from home went 5-8 in the first 13 games of the week, which includes the neutral-site game at Twickenham Stadium, which went to the designated home team of the Los Angeles Rams. But don’t fret! The winners of the week had some true stars, including a unit that is living up to its self-provided hashtag.
Let’s not waste any more time trying to lure you into reading. Here are your greatest on the road of Week 7.
Greatest on the Road
Praise be, a team that lives up to its billing! The Jacksonville Jaguars are a squad that can run the ball effectively with Leonard Fournette, and need to, lest they have to rely on Blake Bortles. But Jacksonville was without Fournette on Sunday, sidelined with an ankle injury. How ever would the Jaguars bounce back from a loss to the Rams?
Enter the Jacksonville defense. The Jaguars rushed Coltsquarterback Jacoby Brissett with reckless abandon and went to the well with 50-gallon drums, ready to collect over and over. Jacksonville sacked Brissett 10, yes, 10 times, handcuffing Indianapolis’ offense with a vice grip. Yannick Ngakoue led the way with 2.5 sacks, followed closely by Calais Campbell, who took the league lead in sacks (10) with two more of his own. Myles Jack (1 sack), Dante Fowler (1.5 sacks), Malik Jackson (1.5 sacks) and Sheldon Day (1 sack) got in on the party as well.
This is the second time Jacksonville’s defense has found itself in this place, winners of the weekly award brought to you by Courtyard by Marriott, and this time they did it without the help of Leonard Fournette! The unit pitched a shutout and caused T.Y. Hilton to call out his team’s offensive line. Nothing like dominating a division rival and wrecking its locker room in the process.
Also considered …
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Concerns over the demise of the Cowboys‘ running game (yours truly had his own, covered in this piece) have been vanquished. Elliott and the Cowboys‘ offense is as good as ever.
Dallas entered the Bay Area with what looked to be a decent matchup ahead of it, and promptly knocked down the walls of Levi’s Stadium with the disrespect reserved for a Cowboys–49ers meeting. Elliott rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts, and added a 72-yard touchdown catch to his stat line to break 200 all-purpose yards and drive the Cowboys to a blowout win. Backups were able to take the field in the fourth quarter. That’s how much of a blowout this was.
Dak Prescott also tossed three touchdowns on 16-of-25 passing in the Cowboys‘ most complete game of the season. Who says the bye week doesn’t fix everything?
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
With the Atlanta Falcons having now lost three straight, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers foundering and the Carolina Panthers taking an ugly L against the Chicago Bears, the NFC South is officially free for the taking. The Saints want a piece of it.
Brees passed the Saints right past the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, completing 27 of 38 passes for 331 yards and a touchdown. We’re even forgiving his two interceptions on this day, because his touchdown pass put the Saints right back into the game when trailing 14-7 in the second half. Brees’ connection with Brandon Coleman cut the Packers lead to 1 and set up the Saints to battle for the lead in the second half, which they eventually took on a pair of Wil Lutzfield goals and then extended for good on a Mark Ingram touchdown run.
Brees commanded an offense that went into Green Bay, took advantage of an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers team and left for the airport with a win that gave the Saints a half-game lead over the Panthersatop the division. That’s worth a little recognition.