The Games that Shaped the 2019 Season: Week 7
The 2019 season began on September 5th 2019 and culminated at Super Bowl LIV on February 5th 2020. However, in between those games at Soldier Field in Chicago and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the season took a number of twists, all of which impacted the path to Super Bowl LIV for many teams. In this series we will take a look back at the games that shaped the 2019 NFL season, with this article focusing on Week 7.
Week 7 is when we really start to see the contenders beginning to separate themselves from contenders. However, with some teams having stumbled in the first six weeks of the season, now is the time when they need to bounce back and make that statement.
This was a relatively quiet week for the NFL, with just three games decided by less than one score. However, there were still two games that were crucial in shaping the 2019 season.
Kansas City Chiefs 30 - 6 Denver Broncos
This game could not have been more important for the Kansas City Chiefs. Coming off back-to-back losses against AFC South teams the Chiefs were now on a short week against a division rival who were coming off back-to-back victories of their own.
Those concerns for the Chiefs only increased when Royce Freeman put the Broncos up 6-0. However, the Chiefs struck back immediately and were actually in the lead by the end of the first quarter, 10-6.
The second quarter was when this game had its major flash point. On a quarterback sneak, an already hobbled Patrick Mahomes remained on the floor for an extended period of time. Mahomes would leave the game with a dislocated kneecap leaving the Chiefs 2019 future looking uncertain.
Matt Moore would come in and guide the Chiefs to a comfortable victory. However, despite the massive need to win this game enter Week 7, the result was a relatively small footnote on Thursday Night Football for the Chiefs.
What was the games significance?
Initially the worst fears were that Mahomes would miss months with his knee injury. Ultimately, there would be no structural damage and he would end up missing just two games. However, during that time the Chiefs would lose their third game of the season, which would leave them fighting an uphill battle to take either of the top-two seeds.
For the Broncos this game stunted all of the good work they had done the previous two weeks and left them fighting for their life at 2-5. Losing to the Chiefs is not an embarrassment, but to lose to them with their backup QB under centre was less than ideal.
Los Angeles Chargers 20 - 23 Tennessee Titans
The importance of this game was never in doubt, with both teams entering at 2-4. The winner would keep themselves afloat in the race for the playoffs in the AFC, while the loser would be left in serious trouble at 2-5.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw the teams end the half tied 10-10. With zero points scored in the third quarter the Titans nosed ahead at 16-10. They would then stretch that lead out to 10 points with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Chargers would hit back immediately with a monster 43-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler. The Titans would bleed the clock down under three minutes, but the Chargers would have one more chance.
When Ekeler was tackled at the one-yard line with 44 seconds remaining the Chargers looked set to steal the game. A defensive pass interference penalty would see them get another first down at the one-yard line with 39 seconds remaining on the clock. Two plays later, a Melvin Gordon fumble was recovered by Jurrell Casey, clinching the game for the Titans.
What was the games significance?
When the Titans chose to turn to Ryan Tannehill in Week 6, and then stick with him in Week 7, it was in a desperate attempt to save their season. They came so close in this game to the miraculous turn around that was the Titans season potentially never happening. This victory gave the Titans the confidence to push through the second half of their schedule as they crept in the playoffs as the sixth seed.
For the Chargers this was the game that really put the nail in their coffin. The Chargers are known for their heart-breaking losses but this one was a real gut punch. They had the game in their grasp and instead they were sitting at 2-5 looking up at the AFC playoff picture.
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