Cleveland, Buffalo and Chicago have piled up wins early this season, even if they haven’t come in dominating fashion.
Those three teams are all 5-2 after seven games despite being outscored by the opposition. The Browns have been outscored by 21 points thanks to blowout losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, while the Bills have been outscored by four points and the Bears by two.
Before this trio, the last team to begin the season by winning at least five of the first seven games despite being outscored was the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were outscored by 27 points. The Bucs finished that season 10-6, but missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker.
It’s the first time since the merger that three teams have done this in the same season. Jacksonville and Atlanta did it in 2004, the Rams and Falcons in 1995, and Chicago and Detroit in 1991.
Of the 15 teams that have done it since the merger, six made the playoffs, including the eventual Super Bowl champion Raiders in 1976. The other nine fell short of the postseason.
COVERING GROUND: Seattle’s D.J. Metcalf might have had the play of the year when he tracked down Arizona’s Budda Baker on a 90-yard interception return and made the tackle short of the end zone despite Baker having a head start of several yards. Metcalf raced 108.8 yards on the play, according to NextGen stats, and reached a top speed of 22.64 mph. That was the second-fastest speed for a player on a tackle this season, behind Seattle teammate Shaquill Griffin’s 22.75 mph chasing down Dallas’ Michael Gallup in Week 3.
Metcalf didn’t cover the longest distance in Week 7. San Francisco’s Emmanuel Moseley ran 129.6 yards on a play in which he intercepted New England’s Cam Newton and returned it 51 yards.
TRADING PLACES: Tom Brady threw four TD passes last week for Tampa Bay to move past New Orleans’ Drew Brees for the most in NFL history with 559. Brees passed Peyton Manning last season for the most TD passes only to lose the record, at least temporarily, to Brady this season. The two could trade it back and forth the rest of the season.
ROOKIE QBS: Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa is set to become the third rookie quarterback to start this season when the Dolphins face the Rams. The other two have had quite an impressive start to their careers that Tagovailoa will try to follow as the fifth overall draft pick.
No. 1 pick Joe Burrow began the season as the starter in Cincinnati and became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for at least 400 yards and three TDs and run for a score in last week’s loss to Cleveland. Burrow has five 300-yard passing games already this season, one shy of Andrew Luck’s rookie record.
Justin Herbert, the No. 6 pick, has been playing at an extremely high level after taking over as starter for the Chargers in Week 2. Herbert’s 1,542 yards passing are the second most for a QB in his first five starts to Cam Newton’s 1,610. Herbert has 12 TD passes, including 10 in his past three starts.
ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER COMEBACK: For the seventh straight week, a team rallied from at least 13 points down to win a game, with Arizona doing it against the Seattle. This is just the third season since the merger that featured a 13-point comeback in each of the first seven weeks, after it also happening in 2003 and 2015.