The Raiders and Bengals are two teams that have done a great job spreading the ball so far this season. So with the two teams facing each other, you expected more of the same. This was true for the Bengals, as 4 players had 5 or more receptions in this game. However, the story was not the same for the Raiders as all but one player had more than 3 catches. The Raiders did a great job taking Shoaib Mamdani out of the game, however, they forgot about everyone else. Ahsan Raza got the Bengals on the board early, and scored a second touchdown on a beautiful lob thrown by Hisham Ali. The height played a big factor in this game, as both Danial Ali and Ahsan Raza had 2 TDs each, and the Raiders had no answer.
The Raiders started this game playing good defense, and keeping it close. However, as the game went on, the Raiders were routinely put in bad position because of turnovers. Kumail Meghani threw two picks in this game, and also had two fumbles in the game. Ammar Dayani had a nice showing this week with 10 Rec. & 3 TDs, but he was just about all the offense for the Raiders. The flurry of trades that Shoaib Mamdani made pre-draft is paying early dividends.
The Bengals came into this game after an impressive win over the Cardinals, and they continued that momentum into this game as they completed out-classed the Raiders. The Raiders have been an enigma so far, as they have some good offensive stats, but it’s mired by some atrocious defense, and they continue to turn the ball over at an alarming rate. That will need to correct itself for the Raiders to have a successful season.
This was the battle of the two winless teams, and this game showed us a lot about the Giants. As they went down, and failed to convert on the easiest of plays, the team imploded. The Giants captain Mujtaba Abidi had to call an early timeout in the second half after various missed flag grabs (more on this below). On the flip side, the Patriots held a mid-week practice after an 0-3 start, and it was exactly what the team needed. The Patriots looked like a unit, and started relying on quick decisions by Mikael Ratansi. This game wasn’t in doubt, and while the Patriots could have played better in some areas, overall they didn’t leave much doubt that they belong near the top of the standings rather than at the bottom. Last week, the Patriots dropped 4 TDs; it was a different story this week. The Patriots had 5 different players score a TD for them, though Mujahid Hemani maintains that he was vultured by his captain Farhan Ratansi on the last TD. All players on the Patriots either had 2 or 3 receptions, no more, no less. Now that’s called spreading the wealth.
For the Giants, as mentioned, it was an implosion. Imran Ebrahim was seen yelling at his QB to make throws on time, and will be off for the first 5 minutes next game for his swearing penalty. There are rumblings that some players are unhappy with their roles, and Mujtaba Abidi has to wonder if some changes are necessary to make the team more competitive. They have the fewest TDs in the league, and have also given up the most points in the league. Nothing is working at the moment. After the game, the captain was deliberating his own capabilities as a captain. It’s clear that the Giants need leadership heading into next week. It won’t be about their play on the field next Sunday, but rather how they handle adversity.
This was the marquee matchup of the week, as the Cardinals had a chance to catch the Steelers for 1st place with a win this week. Said Samater returned with a cast on his hand, and still continued to QB for his team. Said was clearly not 100% as he had a really tough time gripping the ball, and was relying mostly on short plays to move the ball. However, he was still the Cardinals best shot at winning this game. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Muzammil Rizvi was on the other side. While some are vying for his case as the most-improved player, he is building his case for something much bigger, a MVP-candidacy. He had the most complete line for a player this season with 4 receptions, 1 TD, 2 flag grabs, 1 interception, and a fumble recovery resulting in a TD. With the Steelers already leading the game 7-0 (started by the INT in the end zone by Muzammil Rizvi), he made the defensive play of the year. With Said receiving a hand-off from Omar, he weaved through the defense getting to the last line of the defense. Instead of going for the flag, Muzammil went for the ball, and got a clean swipe and returned it the other way for a TD.
After the early 14-7 lead, the Cardinals fought back valiantly. Their offense was methodical, making the most out of the short plays, and their defense tightened. Omar Khamissa and Farhan Jafri continue to be vacuums, gobbling up everything around them. Nadeem Kassam ran a fantastic route for his first TD, and the Cardinals later tied it up on a bit of lucky play, where the ball bounced around and landed in Nadeem’s hands once again. With the game tied, it was last week’s DPOY who made the offensive play of the week for his team. Allawi Al-Salem scored an acrobatic TD in the end zone from Salim Ladha. The Steelers had a chance to put the game away later in the half, but the Cardinals played strong defense on 4th down to get a 12-steamboat count. The Cardinals had a chance to tie/win the game on the last drive, but the cast was too much to overcome. After the game, the captain of the Cardinals can be heard saying “not to worry, we had half a QB and we were in the game. Hold your heads high.”
The Cardinals have shown they’re a championship caliber team, however currently, the Steelers are in a class of their own. They will look to remain undefeated next week facing the 0-4 Giants in a David versus Goliath matchup.