What We Learned From NFL Week 7

Deshaun Watson’s Houston Texans are rolling. What’s good with the Bears defense? Lamar Jackson sighting.

Deshaun Watson had the signature win of his second NFL season on Sunday. The Texans’ 20-7 AFC South battle with the Jaguars —  a popular pick to get to the Super Bowl before the season began — put any skepticism about Watson to bed. He’s back and he’s leading the Texans towards a playoffs apperance, picking up where he left off last season.

Houston Texans on Twitter

@DeAndreHopkins IS THAT DUDE. #HOUvsJAX https://t.co/BXcq7uQZpv

Coming into the 2018-19 NFL season, Watson knew he had to prove himself all over again.  The six-game sample of historic prominence in 2017-18 didn’t hold much weight once he returned from his knee injury. In the NFL, you can go from worst to first or first to worst in a eye blink. A player can go from future legend to lost in La La land in a few seasons.

There was some concern that Watson wasn’t the same QB after a brutal performance in the season opener. Watson admitted he was “terrible” against the Patriots while going 17-of-34 for 176 yards, a touchdown, a lost fumble and an interception. Watson also criticized himself for a lack of energy in his first regular season start since tearing his ACL six starts into his rookie season.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien didn’t really sweat it. Even after an 0-3 start.

The MMQB on Twitter

A year ago Deshaun Watson was lighting up the NFL as the league’s hottest rookie. Now, coming back from his ACL tear, the Texans are struggling. What’s the foundation of their issues? (by @Andy_Benoit) https://t.co/Oo5G128R2Z

“We all have to do better,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “We have to put them in better positions coaching-wise, he has to make better readers, make better decisions. Again, it’s only I think his seventh game as a starter in this league. He hasn’t played football in a live game, a regular season game, in a while. Played in the preseason but not in a regular season game. There’s a little bit of rust involved in all of those things and I know that he will improve. He’ll work very hard to improve but there’s a lot of work to do.”

Four consecutive wins later and the Texans are 4-3 and sit alone atop the AFC South. Watson’s stats rank him among the Top 10 NFL quarterbacks and he’s got his swagger back. Truth.

Houston Texans on Twitter

Watson. Hopkins. Touchdown. ? #HOUvsJAX https://t.co/IQuBj5FlKa

 

What Happened To The Bears Defense?

The Khalil Mack-inspired Bears defense was a terror through the first two games of  the NFL season, racking up 10 sacks  which put them on a pace to record an NFL-record 80 sacks.

Through the first four games of the season, the Bears were 3-1 and allowed a total of just 65 points and were looking like division title contenders. In the last two games, weak links in the 11-man defense have been exposed as Chicago has allowed 69 points in losses to the Dolphins and Patriots on Sunday (38-31). They got shredded by Tom Brady who threw three TD passes, which is understandable, but last week they got destroyed by Brock Osweiler.

NFL on Twitter

Brock Osweiler put up 31 points against the tough Bears’ defense. Breaking down how the @MiamiDolphins pulled off the win with their backup QB. (via @BaldyNFL) https://t.co/HPrvrnle8a

With the elevated play of second-year QB Mitch Trubisky, you’d think Chicago finally had all the pieces, but as Trubisky has improved, his reliable defense has faltered.  Was Mack’s early impact indicative of what we can expect from Chicago?  Maybe it was just the adrenaline of his presence and some fortunate early season matchups that made them look so formidable.

 

LaMar Jackson’s First NFL TD

There was a Lamar Jackson sighting on Sunday as the rookie scored his first NFL TD on a rushing play from undercenter with Baltimore Ravens veteran Joe Flacco spread as a wide receiver.

FOX Sports on Twitter

Lamar Jackson punches it in for his first NFL TD! #NOvsBAL https://t.co/AD4DFYCRau

Jackson is theonly first-round rookie QB still backing up. The other four quarterbacks have already won starting positions with their teams. Flacco  has been inspired by Jackson’s threat and is having one of his best seasons.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.