As expected, Week Seven of the NFL lived up to its billing as the standouts from the NFL Regional Combine went to work, and made some history.
THIELEN TIES RECEIVING YARDS RECORD AT SEVEN STRAIGHT
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had nine receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown in his squad’s victory over the New York Jets.
Thielen has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in each of the Vikings’ first seven contests this season, tying wide receiver Charlie Hennigan (seven consecutive games in 1961 for the Houston Oilers, now Tennessee Titans) as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more receiving yards in each of their team’s first seven games to start a season.
Thielen became the fifth player to record seven consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history.
Thielen went undrafted in 2013, but caught the Vikings attention after a solid NFL Regional Combine trial (2014) in Chicago. Thielen is the fourth undrafted player in the common draft era to record at least seven games with 100 or more receiving yards in a single season. He is accompanied by a couple of Super Bowl champions in wide receivers Rod Smith (Denver, eight games in 2000) and Victor Cruz (New York Giants, seven in 2011) and Wes Welker (New England Patriots, eight games in 2011).
“I got a lot of really good people around me,” said Thielen, according to ESPN. “You know this game — obviously, life is all about the people that are around you, and I have so many great people in this locker room and the coaching staff, obviously, that have helped me get to where I am.
“So there’s too many people to thank, just to be able to play this game that I love and that I’ve been playing since a little kid.”
Thielen’s record setting moment came in the fourth quarter with 7:01 left in the game, facing third-and-6 from the Vikings’ 43-yard line. The Pro Bowl receiver was lined up trips right on the inside, ran a short delay and broke out on a corner route to catch a 21-yard pass before being pushed out by Jets rookie safety Parry Nickerson.
“He’s (Thielen) a great player,” voiced Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. “Ultimately, he’s a great person. It starts there and the way he approaches everything he does. I’m lucky to play with him. The Vikings are lucky to have him. He’s a special player and a special teammate and deserves the success that he’s having.
“Hopefully there’s much more ahead because he’s the kind of guy, along with a lot of guys on this team, that deserve to do great things.”
TAVECCHIO KICKS DEEP TO SEAL THE DEAL
The Atlanta Falcons are struggling to stay afloat in the NFC South, and their matchup against the New York Giants was crucial. With early challenges getting into the end zone, the Falcons put their season on newly signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio‘s foot.
“I was excited for Giorgio to have that opportunity,” said Falcons punter Matt Bosher, according the atlantafalcons.com. “I loved seeing him ice it. It was fantastic.”
Tavecchio was called upon three times and he converted all three, including the game icing 56-yard attempt to seal the game. Up 20-13 with 2:00 remaining in the contest, the Falcons were slightly out of field goal range. Facing fourth-and-3 from the Giants’ 38-yard line, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn called Tavecchio’s number for the 56-yarder and he nailed it.
“For him to go 3-for-3, one from 50 and 56, what a hell of a way to start,” stated Quinn.
This was not the first time Tavecchio delivered on a win. Last season in the Oakland Raiders’ season opener against the Tennessee Titans, Tavecchio went five-for-five, including a pair from 52 yards out to help seal the victory.
Tavecchio re-signed with the Falcons on Oct. 10th after longtime kicker Matt Bryant injured his hamstring the previous week. Tavecchio kicked in relief for Bryant during the preseason, which was when the Italian kicker impressed the coaches. Tavecchio came through the RC in 2012 and bounced around the league since.
While spectators held their breath with thoughts of “what if,” Tavecchio’s mind was clear with no doubt because – it is his job.
“Just blank,” said Tavecchio when asked about his mindset during his 56-yard field goal attempt. “Blank like the other couple kicks. When I step on the field, I have a pretty set routine and I just went through my breathing and went through the kick checklist. Great snap, great hold, great protection and I was able to do my job.”
This win was important for the Falcons as they enter their bye week, tying to keep pace with their challenging division.
-Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II was all over the place bashing up Buffalo Bills players. In the first quarter with 12:33 on the clock, Bills running back LeSean McCoy took the hand off and tried to get to the outside. Moore came falling over and a destroyed McCoy forcing him out of bounds.
McCoy was injured after the one yard run. He was on the ground briefly before walking off under his own power. McCoy was accompanied by a trainer to the Bills’ locker room and never returned. Moore still went on a terror with seven tackles and an interception.
-Chicago Bears defensive tackle Roy Robertson-Harris did not get a tackle, but he did force New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to throw a pass early, which led to an interception.
With 6:31 left in regulation, Brady took the snap and dropped back on third-and-2. Robertson-Harris burst through the offensive line causing Brady to throw a catchable short pass to full back John Develin, but he bobbled the ball and it went into the hands of cornerback Kyle Fuller for the turnover.
-Tight end Alan Cross had his first catch of the season in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win over the Cleveland Browns (six yards).
-Giants fullback Elijhaa Penny got his first carry of the season (two yards).
-Vikings wide receiver Brandon Zylstra caught his first NFL pass, which was for 23 yards.