Sunday’s Week Eight NFL motion supplied us a bit of little bit of every thing. The Cleveland Browns took a uncommon lead into halftime in London in opposition to the Vikings earlier than completely blowing it within the second half. Later within the morning, the Buffalo Payments blew out the Oakland Raiders at dwelling, resulting in the group’s greatest seven-game begin in over twenty years.
However that wasn’t the extent of it. Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson engaged in a quarterback duel of historic proportions in a recreation that noticed the previous pull off an amazing comeback. Then in D.C., Jay Gruden’s recreation plan got here again to chew his Washington Redskins within the again finish.
These are among the many prime takeaways from Sunday’s Week Eight NFL motion.
The Payments are legit within the AFC East
These aren’t your mother and father’ Buffalo Payments. For the primary time since 1999, we are able to logically conclude that Buffalo is an actual menace within the AFC East. It comes following a blowout 34-14 win over the instantly hapless Oakland Raiders. And it was a factor of magnificence for a Payments group that now sits at 5-2 on the season.
Tyrod Taylor was methodical by way of the air, finishing 20-of-27 pbades with a landing and 0 picks. LeSean McCoy dominated on the bottom, going for 151 yards on 27 rushes. In the meantime, Buffalo’s protection held the Raiders to seven factors after a game-opening touchdown-scoring drive.
Previous to Sunday’s win the Payments weren’t blowing individuals away. They have been doing simply sufficient to win video games. That modified huge time in opposition to a group many anticipated to compete for the convention crown in the beginning of the season. And now, they’re off to their greatest seven-game begin since Marv Levy was the top coach again in 1996. Sure people, this group is legit below first-year head coach Sean McDermott.
Russell Wilson is a witch
Russell Wilson is sort of superhuman. What he did for the Seahawks on Sunday was nothing in need of astonishing. Right here’s a man that put up 452 pbading yards and 4 scores in a recreation that noticed his operating backs mix for 5 yards on 16 rush makes an attempt. 5 yards, guys. Wilson was additionally hit seven occasions all through the sport and pressured on a constant foundation.
Regardless of this, Wilson led a fully heroic comeback. Down by 4 factors with lower than two minutes left, Wilson led the Seahawks on a three-play, 80-yard touchdown-scoring drive for the win. These three performs? Pbades of 48, 19 and 18 yards. Keep in mind, he did all of this along with his operating backs going for 5 yards on the bottom and his protection yielding 509 complete yards of offense.
This may not be sufficient for Seattle to contend for a Tremendous Bowl. As talked about above, there’s points on the bottom. Seattle’s offensive line is so unhealthy that current experiences counsel the group is likely to be seeking to transfer Jimmy Graham for a left deal with. By the way in which, Graham caught Wilson’s successful landing Sunday. Although these points have been prevalent all through the season, Wilson’s heroics on Sunday are one thing we shall be speaking about for years to return.
So is Deshaun Watson
Certain he threw three interceptions, together with a pick-six within the first half and a game-ending interception to shut issues out. However Watson continues to show himself to be among the many most-impressive rookie quarterbacks within the historical past of the sport.
On Sunday in opposition to the Legion of Growth, Watson threw touchdowns of 72, 59 and 20 yards. All stated, he eclipsed the 460 complete yard plateau within the slender and irritating loss.
Main as much as Week Eight, there was loads of buzz about what Watson has been in a position to accomplish since taking up as Houston’s starter halfway by way of the opener. By advantage of throwing that early landing to Will Fuller, he made some historical past. And regardless of the loss, Watson has now gained almost 1,350 complete yards with 19 complete touchdowns over the previous 5 video games. That’s some absurd stuff proper there.
Manufacturing facility of Disappointment takes its act to London
Issues have been trying up for the Cleveland Browns early of their recreation in opposition to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The group took a 13-12 halftime lead in London, finally resulting in this absurd landing celebration from the gamers (watch right here).
It was all downhill from there. Even with out its beginning backfield of Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook dinner, Minnesota scored 21 of the sport’s closing 24 factors. Backup Case Keenum led the squad to 2 consecutive landing scoring drives of 75-plus yards. In the meantime, Cleveland misplaced a fumble and missed a subject purpose on successive possessions to open the second half.
Now at Zero-Eight on the season, Hue Jackson and Co. are on the verge of constructing all of the mistaken sorts of historical past. And for his half, Jackson is now 1-23 because the Browns’ head coach. One actually now has to begin questioning how lengthy Hue is for the job. Certain the brbad in Cleveland knew this is able to be a long-term rebuild. Nevertheless it wants to begin exhibiting up in a roundabout way on the scoreboard. All through Jackson’s first 24 video games as Cleveland’s head coach that has not occurred.
Saints protection stays NFL’s greatest shock
Following a 20-12 win over Chicago on Sunday, New Orleans finds itself at 5-2 on the season and within the midst of a five-game successful streak. Not like the success this group had up to now below Sean Payton, it’s the protection that’s stepped up huge time.
The Bears put up north of 300 complete yards on Sunday, however the Saints performed large protection when it counted probably the most. Of the six occasions Chicago entered New Orleans’ aspect of the sphere, it scored a grand complete of 12 factors. Speak about taking part in bend, however don’t break, protection.
New Orleans has now given up 17 factors or much less in 4 of its previous 5 video games. The one exception there being a 52-38 win over Detroit again in Week 6. Even then, the Saints’ protection scored an absurd three touchdowns in that win.
If this unit continues to play prefer it has over the previous month-plus transferring ahead, there’s no cause to consider New Orleans can’t win the NFC South. It’s probably the most balanced badault we’ve seen from a Payton-led Saints group since their 2009 Tremendous Bowl marketing campaign.
These aren’t final yr’s Oakland Raiders
Oakland is now one late-game miracle in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs from being 2-6 on the season. It’s been a catastrophe of epic proportions for Jack Del Rio’s squad. And it has this group on the verge of being utterly irrelevant within the AFC heading into the second half of the season.
The Raiders’ newest meltdown got here within the type of an offense that simply couldn’t maintain on to the ball. Oakland fumbled 4 occasions, shedding two within the course of. All stated, the group turned the ball over 4 occasions within the recreation. It led on to 10 factors for the Payments. One other turnover on downs late within the recreation gave Buffalo a brief subject to place the sport away with a landing.
There’s an entire heck of rather a lot mistaken with this Raiders group, and it appears not possible that Del Rio will be capable of repair it midseason. It will probably result in probably the most disappointing seasons within the fashionable historical past of the Raiders’ franchise. It additionally comes one yr after Oakland earned 12 wins and a shock playoff berth.
“Pooh butt,” certainly.
49ers not even taking part in for delight
Earlier within the season, San Francisco prided itself on having the ability to stay aggressive whereas boasting a talent-striken roster. The group began Zero-6 with 5 of its defeats coming by a mixed 13 factors. Then, final week, the 49ers laid an entire egg en path to a 40-10 dwelling loss to Dallas.
This lack of competitiveness got here again in an enormous approach Sunday in opposition to an NFL-best Eagles group on the street. San Francisco was shut out within the first half, discovering itself down 17-Zero when the groups headed to the locker room. That was aided by a C.J. Beathard pick-six into the palms of Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills.
By the point the fourth quarter bought going, Kyle Shanahan’s group discovered itself down 27-7. That’s when the first-year head coach determined to kick a subject purpose. Like clockwork, it was blocked. That ended any hope of a comeback. San Francisco finally fell by the rating of 33-10 after kicking a subject purpose in rubbish time.
There’s rather a lot mistaken with how this group has carried out over the previous two weeks. It’s simply not taking part in aggressive soccer. Now, it appears the teaching workers isn’t taking part in to win. The group’s two subject purpose makes an attempt within the closing stanza is a primary instance of this. At Zero-Eight on the season, any tradition change Shanahan and fellow first-year common supervisor John Lynch had hoped to carry to Santa Clara simply isn’t existent proper now.
What on this planet is Jay Gruden doing?
Somebody would possibly need to check the top coach’s short-term reminiscence, as a result of what we noticed Sunday was completely not acceptable. Operating again Chris Thompson had put up over 400 complete yards with a mean of north of six yards per contact over the previous 4 video games.
In Sunday’s loss to Dallas, the teenager noticed 4 rush makes an attempt for 18 yards. Certain he had 76 yards on eight receptions. That’s not the purpose right here. How on this planet did Robert Kelley put up extra rush makes an attempt than Thompson? Heck, why did Kirk Cousins toss the rock 39 occasions in a detailed recreation that was being performed in a downpour within the nation’s capital?
None of this provides up. None of this is sensible. And it led to a depressing 33-19 dwelling loss to drop the Redskins to Three-Four on the season. Gruden himself is totally in charge right here.
One other brutal efficiency from Winston
One factor is changing into readily obvious right here. So long as Winston continues to battle with consistency, his Buccaneers haven’t any shot of contending for a playoff spot. We noticed it an entire lot final season. When Winston is taking part in good soccer, Tampa Bay wins. When he struggles with turnovers, the group loses much more than it wins.
As soon as once more, this was the case Sunday afternoon at dwelling in opposition to what had been a struggling Carolina Panthers squad. Tampa scored a grand complete of three factors with Winston turning the ball over thrice. Two of these turnovers got here in plus territory with the opposite main on to a Panthers landing.
Now at 2-5 on the season, Tampa Bay is just about toast. And in actuality, loads of the blame has to go within the path of a quarterback that merely hasn’t progressed on the stage most anticipated. Winston is unquestionably in charge for this most-recent loss.
Mistake-filled Chargers return
Winners of three consecutive video games, the Los Angeles Chargers had a possibility to make a press release Sunday in opposition to the defending champs. As a substitute, it was the home-standing New England Patriots who took benefit of a mistake-killed Chargers squad.
It began early within the second quarter with Los Angeles up 7-Zero. Following this large Melvin Gordon landing run, Los Angeles’ protection determined it made no actual sense to cowl Rob Gronkowski ultimately zone. The tip consequence was a two-yard landing from Brady to his favourite goal, tying the sport up at seven. Then, later within the second quarter, Travis Benjamin muffed a punt. And as an alternative of simply sitting on the ball, he ran backwards. It resulted in a security and a brief subject for a Patriots squad that will finally put up a subject purpose to go up 12-7.
We’re not near executed right here. Together with his Chargers down eight late within the fourth quarter, Philip Rivers drove all the way down to the Patriots 23-yard line with move after move. Then, on second down with simply 14 seconds left, a Rivers move was intercepted by Patriots nook Jonathan Jones ultimately zone to finish the sport. This concluded a recreation by which errors have been prevalent for Anthony Lynn’s squad.
It’s laborious to win on the street within the NFL. It’s nearly not possible to beat Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium. Committing key errors at vital occasions solely add to that. That is what we noticed from Los Angeles in an enormous approach on Sunday.
Cowboys get it
We centered a bit on Jay Gruden’s failure earlier than. It was a downright disgusting teaching efficiency from the Redskins’ head man. On the opposite aspect of the spectrum, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett knew precisely what he was doing right here.
Coping with horrible climate circumstances at FedEx Subject in D.C, Dallas handed the ball off to All Professional operating again Ezekiel Elliott to the tune of 33 occasions. Elliott gained 150 yards and scored two touchdowns within the course of. For his half, fellow teenager Dak Prescott accomplished 14-of-22 pbades in a mistake-free efficiency. It’s this kind of efficiency that lends credence to the concept that Dallas’ offense ought to run by way of Elliott.
Following the 33-19 win, Dallas now finds itself at Four-Three on the season. The group is likely to be 2.5 video games behind Philadelphia within the NFC East, nevertheless it’s righted the ship and is clearly within the NFC wildcard race. That’s huge after Dallas misplaced three of its first 5 video games.
Cincinnati’s newest win means nothing
It’s a query followers in Cincinnati have been asking for a while now. It began throughout a five-year stretch by which Cincinnati misplaced every of the 5 playoff video games by which it appeared in. Certainly Lewis’ success within the common season throughout that span purchased him a while. However since then, it’s been an unmitigated catastrophe for the Bengals.
Regardless of incomes their third win of the season at dwelling in opposition to a hapless Colts squad on Sunday, any narrative surrounding Lewis has not modified. It took a late-game pick-six from Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (watch right here) for Cincinnati to tug this recreation out.
Extra so than the efficiency of the gamers on the sphere, this recreation was shut primarily to an inexcusable recreation plan. Boasting one of many worst pbad-protecting offensive traces within the recreation, Lewis and Co. figured it made sense to go together with a ton of five-wide units.
This left the struggling Andy Dalton out within the chilly most of the time. In consequence, Dalton was in a position to full simply 17-of-29 pbades. He was additionally sacked thrice by a Colts protection that headed into Week Eight having recorded simply 13 sacks in seven video games.
Certain it was a pleasant win, however this group goes nowhere quick this season. Why not reduce your losses and transfer on from Lewis proper now? It’s now clear that his teaching is having an opposed impression on the group’s success. How will that translate in video games in opposition to precise good groups transferring ahead on the season?
Vikings proceed to defy expectations
There’s no cause on this blue world why the Minnesota Vikings are 6-2 midway by way of their season. The group misplaced star rookie operating again Dalvin Cook dinner again in Week Four. Since then, it’s Four-Zero. Mike Zimmer’s squad has additionally seen beginning quarterback Sam Bradford play a grand complete of lower than two quarters of soccer since Week 2. The Vikes are 5-1 since then.
Whereas Minnesota’s newest win wasn’t tremendous horny and got here in opposition to a hapless Browns squad, the group remains to be discovering methods to win. On Sunday in London, it got here within the type of Case Keenum main two consecutive lengthy touchdown-scoring drives within the second half to take management of the sport. These two drives noticed him full 7-of-Eight pbades for 77 yards.
It’s unlikely a Keenum-led offense will badist this group contend for a convention title. However with Bradford’s standing up within the air and Teddy Bridgewater doubtlessly set to return a while quickly, there might be an answer below heart right here over the brief time period. And with among the finest defenses within the NFL, that would result in rivalry within the NFC transferring ahead.
Matthew Stafford’s valiant effort comes up brief
The king of fourth quarter comebacks was making an attempt so as to add to his resume on Sunday night time in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Down 5 with slightly below 5 minutes remaining, Stafford led his Lions in a nine-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in an incomplete move to Eric Ebron to just about finish issues.
It was a bitter disappointment for a Lions group that entered Week Eight having misplaced three of its previous 4 video games. Nevertheless it had nothing to do with Stafford’s efficiency. NFL’s richest man accomplished 27-of-45 pbades for 423 yards with out an interception.
Sadly, Stafford did not get his group ultimately zone within the 20-15 loss. As a substitute, Matt Prater kicked 5 subject targets. It clearly didn’t badist that Detroit’s operating backs gained a grand complete of 60 yards on 21 makes an attempt within the loss. Now at Three-Four on the season, one has to surprise if Stafford’s magic from final yr is a factor of the previous. In that case, Detroit shall be watching January soccer from dwelling.