LONDON: Gridiron made its annual hop across the Atlantic to spread the message that American football is for all, not just for those who live west of New York. Here’s what we learned from that excursion and the rest of the action in Week 6.
You have to feel for the legions of British NFL fans. Sunday’s match-up at London’s Wembley Stadium between the Seahawks and the Raiders was a one-sided washout — the sixth game in a row the UK capital played host to a tedious procession for one of the teams. The last decent game in London was the Redskins-Bengals tie in 2016. Considering the whole point of the these games is to spread the game, should these match-ups not be a spectacle for the sport? Are the players taking it easy when away from the glare of scrutiny from their hometown fans and media? Whatever the reason, fans on the other side of the Atlantic
At last, we finally got to see what the Minnesota Vikings are capable of. We always knew they had the weapons capable of winning a game comfortably, and it was pleasing to see the Vikings finally put a team to bed. It was a strong team effort from front-to-back, with sublime performances from key players in an improving defense and an offense, led by Kirk Cousins, putting the Vikings back on track as they head into Week 7 against the New York Jets. They will need the momentum with games against the Saints, Packers and Patriots all to come.
How long will Andrew Luck’s happy-go-lucky approach last at the Indianapolis Colts? Having been ruled out of the entire 2017 season after shoulder surgery, his passion and enthusiasm for the game he loves was there for all to see at the beginning of this year. But despite his best efforts in another disappointing defeat — this week 42-34 to the Jets — you have to wonder how long that exuberance will last, forced to carry this extremely poor Colts side and as his Super Bowl dream fades yet again for another year. Or how long will Luck stick with a side that appears to be going backwards since their appearance in the Big Game back in 2010?
THE PUPIL VS. THE MASTER
The Patriots-Chiefs game on Sunday — one of the best games of the season so far — was the perfect metaphor for the old sporting cliche “form is temporary, class is permanent.” The newest kid on the block, Patrick Mahomes, has had the start to a season rookies can only dream of, displaying scintillating form in the opening five weeks of the season. And yet it was Tom Brady, in his 18th season, who came out on top. While his opposite number ducked and dived out of collapsing pockets and threw the ball from side to side erratically, Brady was a model of calmness under pressure. His final drive saw New England seal the win with a field goal three seconds from time. Classy.