John Clayton's game balls
Bengals QB Carson Palmer
executed six touchdown drives and one field goal drive in a 45-10 destruction of the Chicago Bears
. His performance was flawless. He was 20-of-24 for 233 yards and five touchdowns. He connected with Chad Ochocinco
for 10 completions, including two touchdowns, for 118 yards. His passing success opened up easy running lanes for Cedric Benson
, the former Bear who had 189 yards on 37 carries.
Even though the Bills had plenty of depth at safety, they invested a second-round pick on Jairus Byrd
of Oregon because he was considered a ball hawk. He had two interceptions in the Bills' 20-9 victory over the Panthers, and both came at key times. He set the tone of the game by intercepting Jake Delhomme
with 5:16 to go in the first quarter. The interception set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch
, giving the Bills a 7-2 lead. His third-quarter interception, which he returned 30 yards to the Panthers' 27-yard line, was the game-breaker. Six plays later, Ryan Fitzpatrick
hit Lee Evans
for a 2-yard touchdown to open a 14-2 lead.
• Special teams:
For the second consecutive week, Percy Harvin
was playing with a shoulder injury. But Harvin is a gamer and a game-breaker. He returned five kickoffs for 167 yards and scored his second touchdown of the year on a return. His spectacular 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown cut a 10-point Steelers lead to three. Even though the Vikings lost 27-17, Harvin gave them momentum heading into the fourth quarter. Harvin said there were two other returns in which he felt he was only one or two steps away from breaking a long touchdown. As Brett Favre
said after the game, Harvin is a game-breaker and one of the most exciting young players in football.
Week 7 rundown
• Houston 24, San Francisco 21
's three TD passes in relief are one more than he threw over the past two seasons combined (he didn't play in 2008).
• Green Bay 31, Cleveland 3
Trap game for the Packers, who play host to Brett Favre
and Minnesota in Week 8? Not quite. The Browns' offense simply isn't capable of competing against above-average teams.
• Indianapolis 42, St. Louis 6
A predictable result for teams going in opposite directions. The Colts have now won 15 straight regular-season games. The Rams are mired in a 17-game losing streak.
San Diego 37, Kansas City 7
The most underrated WR in the league? Here's a vote for the Chargers' Vincent Jackson
, who now has three 100-yard receiving games and has caught four passes or more in every game this season.
Pittsburgh 27, Minnesota 17
Big plays in big games. That's becoming the trademark of the Steelers' defense.
New England 35, Tampa Bay 7
The Bucs' ineptitude probably made some of the fans in London think they were witnessing a World League game.
N.Y. Jets 38, Oakland 0
Has JaMarcus Russell
hit rock bottom? Well, being benched for Bruce Gradkowski
is never a good sign -- especially if you're a former No. 1 draft pick.
Buffalo 20, Carolina 9
Are the Bills (two straight road wins) a playoff contender? Probably not, but they're definitely taking some heat off their head coach.
Cincinnati 45, Chicago 10
The Bengals' offense has improved, but it's far from a juggernaut. What does that say about the Bears' once-mighty defense?
Dallas 37, Atlanta 21
No fluke. Cowboys WR Miles Austin
(6 catches, 171 yards, 2 TDs) backed up his scintillating Week 5 performance with another strong game.
New Orleans 46, Miami 34
Still going strong at 32, Miami's Ricky Williams
tied a career high with three rushing TDs, including a 68-yarder, the longest run of his career.
Arizona 24, N.Y. Giants 17
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
The Cardinals improved to 3-0 away from the desert, matching their road win total from 2008.
• Philadelphia at Washington (ESPN, 8:30 ET)
An early look at next weekend's biggest games:
• Denver (6-0) at Baltimore (3-3): Probably the toughest road test yet for Josh McDaniels and the unbeaten Broncos.
• N.Y. Giants (5-2) at Philadelphia (3-2):
Can the Giants stop the bleeding?
• Minnesota (6-1) at Green Bay (4-2):
Brett Favre returns to Lambeau Field. Let the hype begin -- again.
• Week 8 schedule