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Future NFL Stadium? Wembley could be one of the common sights of the NFL in the future
The NFL came across the pond to British shores this week as London staged its 5th game at Wembley as a part of the NFL's International Series. 

With rumours of a possible new franchise emerging from the capital, it was yet another chance for the NFL and UK american football officials to show how successful it could be.

In America, the New Orleans Saints thrashed the Indianapolis Colts, the Minnesota Vikings gave the Green Bay Packers a huge scare and it was the Tim Tebow show in Miami on 'Gator Day'. But my highlight game for this week is certainly the UK's NFL showpiece event. 

Week 7 Highlight - Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Wembley, London


Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their 2nd trip to London, but they couldn't improve on their last visit as they were beaten by the Chicago Bears 24-18 at Wembley Stadium.

Chicago Bears were at Wembley for the first time and can have Matt Forte to thank for a win which puts them 4-3 this season but are 3rd in the NFC North division behind the impressive Packers and Lions. The loss for the Buccaneers also puts them at 4-3 however they sit one better in 2nd in the NFC South behind the New Orleans Saints. 

The Bears opened the scoring half-way through the first quarter as Matt Forte rushed for 32 yards for a touchdown which would set the tone for his performance. The Bears' running back's contract-renewal is still up in the air and if the Bears want to be realistic play-off contenders they must keep the 25-year old.

Tampa Bay got themselves on the scoreboard in the first quarter when cornerback Ronde Barber tackled Matt Forte for a safety with just under five minutes remaining (7-2). 

Former Dallas Cowboy Marion Barber rushed 29 yards in the second quarter to set up a 25 yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler three plays later. Wide receiver Roy Williams (also a former cowboy) was on the end of it to score his first touchdown of the season. A field goal from the Buccaneers made it 14-5 to the Bears at half time. 

Soon into the second half, Marion Barber was causing Tampa Bay all sorts of problems and five minutes in he increased the Bears lead running in for the touchdown to make it 21-5. 

Without any other score in the third quarter, the Buccaneers had it all to do in the fourth.  It didnt start very well when on the first drive and in the Red Zone, Josh Freeman was intercepted by Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. 

However, Jay Cutler almost immediately gave Tampa Bay the ball back with Corey Lynch intercepting the pass. On the resulting drive, Freeman would eventually find Kellen Winslow for their first touchdown of the game. The Bucs went for two but failed leaving the scored at 21-11. 

Five minutes later the Buccaneers were back on the attack, and with confidence gained, Josh Freeman found Dezmon Briscoe for a 24-yard touchdown to put Tampa Bay within touching distance (21-18).

Chicago were slightly knocked back by the Buccaneers fighting spirit but Cutler remained calm finding Roy Williams who just managed to hold onto the ball for a big first down with five minutes to go. 

After Barbers sack on 3rd down was overturned for unsportsman like conduct by Aqib Talib, Forte tried to make the most of it but he was also stopped 7 yards short of the end zone. Chicago would have to settle for a field goal to move one score ahead with less than two minutes to go (24-18).

On the Tampa Bay's final drive and with only 35 seconds to go, Freeman threw long but was intercepted by Bears cornerback D.J Moore to make sure the game was won and give the Windy City their first victory in the UK. 

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NFL at Wembley - Past Results


2007 - New York Giants 13-10 Miami Dolphins

2008 - New Orleans Saints 37-32 San Diego Chargers

2009 - New England Patriots 35-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2010 - San Francisco 49ers 24-16 Denver Broncos

2011 - Chicago Bears 24-18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Round up of Week 7

Game of the Week - Denver Broncos 18 Miami Dolphins 15
Quarterback Tim Tebow turned it on late in the 4th quarter throwing two touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown to force overtime on his return to the state of Florida on Gator Day. A 52 yard field goal from Matt Prater stunned the Dolphins as the Broncos took victory home to Denver from the Sunshine State. 

San Diego Chargers 21 New York Jets 27
Plaxico Burress caught three touchdown passes as the Jets came back to beat the Chargers and continue their road to recovery

Houston Texans 41 Tennessee Titans 7
The Texans put on a masterful display in the AFC South rivalry clash with the star of the show being Texan running-back Arian Foster who ran for two touchdowns for 115 yards, and also received a touchdown for 199 yards as they go 4-3 and sit on top of the division - the victory was also the largest margin in the Texans franchise history.

Atlanta Falcons 23 Detroit Lions 16
Michael Turner ran for 122 yards and Matt Ryan threw one touchdown for 218 yards as the Falcons saw off the Lions as they lose their second game in a row. 

Washington Redskins 20 Carolina Panthers 33
Cam Newton continued his impressive form in his rookie season as the Panthers quarterback threw accurately for one touchdown (256 yards, 78% completion) and a rushing touchdown to see off the Redskins. 

Seattle Seahawks 3 Cleveland Browns 6
It was hardly a classic, as Phil Dawson converted two field goals for the Browns to scrape past the Seahawks in a forgettable game in Cleveland.

Pittsburgh Steelers 32 Arizona Cardinals 20
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was in supreme form as he threw three touchdowns for 361 yards with the Cardinals crumbling to the fifth consecutive defeat in this rematch of Superbowl XLIII. Additionally, Big Ben's 95 yard pass play with Mike Wallace was the longest in the Steelers history.

Kansas City Chiefs 28 Oakland Raiders 0
New quarterback Carson Palmer's debut for the Raiders couldn't of gone much worse as he came on to throw three interceptions after starting QB Kyle Boller threw three interceptions himself. The Chiefs took advantage of the turnovers returning two of them for touchdowns as the Raiders suffered a demoralising scoreless defeat.

Green Bay Packers 33 Minnesota Vikings 27
The Packers' unbeaten record stays intact for another week - just. The Packers were behind 17-13 at half time but blasted back in the second half. Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdowns for 335 yards to cancel out the valiant effort from Vikings' quarterback Christian Ponder (219 yards, two TD's) and running-back Adrian Peterson (175 rushing yards, one TD).

St Louis Rams 7 Dallas Cowboys 34
The Rams continue their winless start (0-6) as Dallas running-back DeMarco Murray ran for a Cowboys' franchise record of 253 yards including a 91-yard touchdown (2nd longest in Cowboys history).

Indianapolis Colts 7 New Orleans Saints 62
The Saints destroyed the Colts in the second Superbowl rematch of the day (Superbowl XLIV). Drew Brees continued where he left off in Miami as he threw for a completion percentage of 88% (31/35) with 325 yards and five touchdowns. The victory also saw the Saints break two franchise records - biggest points margin and most points in one game. 

Baltimore Ravens 7 Jacksonville Jaguars 12 
The out-of-character Ravens side suffered a sloppy loss in Jacksonville as the Jaguars' running-back Maurice Jones Drew rushed for 105 yards and Josh Scobee kicked four field goals in a touchdown-less victory for the Jaguars.


Players of the Week

Matt Forte (Bears), Marion Barber (Bears), Tim Tebow (Broncos), Plaxico Burress (Jets), Arian Foster (Texans), Cam Newton (Panthers), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Greg Jennings (Packers), Adrian Peterson (Vikings), Michael Jenkins (Vikings), DeMarco Murray (Cowboys), Drew Brees (Saints), Marques Colston (Saints)


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Winner of the Week - Drew Brees, Quarterback (Saints)

Drew Brees was at his super human best. He threw five touchdowns in the demolishing of the helpless Indianapolis Colts. The Superbowl XLIV MVP was facing the Colts for the first time since that day in 2010 when he rose to become one of the NFL's superstars.

Since then he hasnt looked back and despite going out last year in the wild card to the Seattle Seahawks, Drew Brees looks to be the one to carry the Saints to the playoffs again. If he keeps this form up then dont write the Saints off from making the latter stages of the Play-offs, if not the Superbowl.


Loser of the Week - Joe Flacco, Quarterback (Ravens)

On a five match winning streak, the Ravens travelled to the Florida in what looked like a simple game with everyone expecting Baltimore to make light work of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Flacco had a nightmare first half. The quarterback threw for only 8 yards without a single first down with 6 completions out of 16 efforts. 

Flacco did eventually throw a touchdown in the fourth quarter but it wasn't enough. The Ravens quarterback had looked good at the start of the season but inconsistency is creeping in and this week he was at his poorest in a shocking display.
 


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