Week 8 NFL Recap

The Royals World Series win was the biggest sports story of the weekend, but NFL offenses provided plenty of fireworks and record-breaking as well. Quarterbacks ruled Week 8 with ten (the Jets QB combo is counted here) signal callers throwing for at least 300 yards. Two 6-0 teams met for only the 4th time in NFL history. The Patriots and Broncos are still looking unbeatable. Also, Cincinnati looked to set a franchise record by starting 7-0. New Orleans might have put themselves right back in the NFC playoff picture with a third straight victory. And Seattle is still alive in the NFC west race. Please don’t tell the Texans and Colts that they’re somehow tied for 1st place despite 3-5 records.

 

AFC

The Dolphins came into Week 8 flying high, but were quickly reminded of their place in the AFC East pecking order.  One week after scoring 41 points and gashing the Texans for 150 yards rushing, the Dolphins were on the other side of a lopsided shutout trailing the Patriots 19-0 by halftime. Tom Brady continued his torrid pace by passing for 356 yards (8 different receivers had at least 1 catch) and 4 TD’s. This game was a snoozer from the start but not necessarily devoid of record-breaking potential. Stephen Gostkowski set the New England team record for consecutive successful field goals (25), while Miami place kicker Andrew Franks attempted to tie the NFL record with a 64 yard FG just before the end of the first half, a kick which sailed wide right. It was that kind of night for Miami. The Chiefs picked up an impressive win across the pond by completely dismantling the lifeless Lions 45-10. Kansas City rushed for 206 yards (Alex Smith added 78 yards on 5 attempts) and four different rushers found pay dirt. Smith finished the day with the highest QBR (97.6) of Week 8 and at 3-5, the Chiefs are still alive in the AFC playoff race.

After a disappointing start to the 2015 season, the Ravens are playing for pride. Baltimore players are still showing plenty of fight for Coach Harbaugh by beating the Charges 29-26. The Bengals stayed perfect by winning a tough AFC North matchup against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. This was a typical AFC North grudge match where both defenses stepped up. In a game that the Steelers saw the return of QB Ben Roethlisberger, they lost Le’Veon Bell for the year with a torn MCL. Talk about snake-bitten. The Raiders jumped out to a 28-3 lead on the Jets and didn’t let up in route to a 34-20 win. Derek Carr was brilliant again (333 yards passing, 4 TDs) and the ageless Charles Woodson increased his league leading total with his 5th INT on the season. The Raiders finally have an offense worth talking about; if the defense can get on track, this team has a chance to stay in the playoff race.

 

NFC

Drew Brees reminded every one of his greatness by throwing for 511 yards and 7 TDs against the Giants. Brees hit CJ Spiller with under a minute to go for a 49-49 tie, then a 21 yard punt return accompanied with a face mask set up the winning field goal. Brees has seen his entire core of offensive weapons change overnight, yet he still puts up Pro Bowl numbers. He might be the best QB of this generation. The Vikings went on the road and picked up a much-needed game on Green Bay with a 23-20 victory in Chicago. The November 22nd matchup with Green Bay is starting to look like it will have real implications of who reigns supreme in the NFC North.

Speaking of the Packers, they were completely dismantled on the road in Denver. The Pack had its’ worst offensive performance in recent memory and couldn’t get anything going against the vaunted Broncos defense. Aaron Rodgers (14/22, 77 yards passing) had his worst game as a pro and the running game couldn’t sustain any drives. With a road matchup against the Panthers looming on the horizon, Green Bay could find themselves in a tie atop the division in short order. The Falcons (losers of 2 out of the last 3 games) lost a very winnable game against Tampa Bay. In the NFL, home wins are essential and games like that simply can’t happen. Good thing that the 49ers are coming to town because Atlanta is in real danger of squandering a terrific start. Carolina saw a 17 point lead evaporate in the 4th quarter, but held on to beat the Colts in OT, 29-26.

 

Top Performances

  1. New Orleans’ Drew Brees – 40/50, 511 yards passing, 7 TDs (1 INT) in a win.
  2. St. Louis’ Todd Gurley – 133 yards rushing (over 6 yards per carry) 1 rushing TD; 3 catches, 13 yards in win (four straight games 100 + yards rushing).
  3. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker – 5 FGs (three FGs 40+ yards) and game winner .

 

Honorable Mention

These guys put up RIDICULOUS numbers in losses: Eli Manning (350 yards passing, 6 TDs); Odell Beckham (130 yards receiving, 3 TDs); Julio Jones (12 catches, 162 yards, 1 TD); Alshon Jeffery (10 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD).

 

Worst Performances

  1. San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick – 20/41. 162 yards in a loss (teammates calling for him to be benched).
  2. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford – 22/36, 217 yards (2 INTS), sacked 6 times in a loss.
  3. Dallas’ Matt Cassell – 13/25, 97 yards (43 rushing yards) in a loss.