Week Eight of the regular season concluded this evening as the underdog Washington Redskins knock off the Dallas Cowboys as one of the NFL most heated rivalries renewed Monday night. The mid-season mark of the regular season provided some very exciting and high scoring contests. As the season unfolds, each week brings some new surprises. So what did we learn in Week Eight?
The vaunted offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys was perplexed by the defensive looks the Redskins presented all night. RB DeMarco Murray posted another big night, but he’s on pace to have 477 total touches this season. There is no way he holds up all season under that workload.
Nine quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards in the pass driven league. Four elder statesmen of the game- Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees– combined to go 122 for 151-1,473 yards-17 touchdowns and no interceptions. Hard to believe that Roethlisberger, who threw six scores, is now in his 11th season.
The New Orleans Saints appeared to be making a run in the weak NFC South. Could someone please tell head coach Sean Payton to stop the running back by committee approach and simply feed Mark Ingram the ball as a primary ball carrier?
The Seattle Seahawks finally got back in the win column on Sunday but exactly why is Marshawn Lynch’s workload decreasing this season?
Three head coaches appear to be dead men coaching for the remainder of the season- Falcons’ Mike Smith, Jets’ Rex Ryan and Raiders’ Dennis Allen.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is having trouble adjusting to the speed of the NFL game in the regular season. He is leading the league with 12 interceptions at this point, four of which have been returned for touchdowns going the other way. Stick with him Jacksonville. He doesn’t have a great supporting cast around him and remember- Peyton Manning tossed 28 picks his rookie season.
The Kansas City Chiefs were written off a few weeks ago. They are suddenly back in the playoff discussion. The San Diego Chargers now have 2 division losses. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles now has 25 touchdowns since Week One of the 2013 season- the most of any non-quarterback during that span.
Speaking of being written off, the New England Patriots are back from their 41-14 defeat at the hands of the Chiefs and are back to blowing opponents out in games. New England has scored 158 points in the last four games while Tom Brady is suddenly red hot. The ageless one has 14 touchdowns and no interceptions in the last four contests.
Bruce Arians deserves coach of the year consideration at this point. After posting a 10-6 record in his first year in Arizona and missing the playoffs last season, Arians has the Cardinals in the drivers seat in the NFC West this season with a two game division lead. He also has Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton as his quarterbacks.
The Buffalo Bills might be knocking on the door to the playoffs this season. Injuries to running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller might hurt the offense but Kyle Orton is playing better than EJ Manuel and Buffalo has a solid defensive unit. Given their remaining schedule, Buffalo should win 9 games.
As bad as the Oakland Raiders are, and they’re bad, I like rookie QB Derek Carr. Of all the rookies in this year’s draft class, I like where his game is at at this point. He needs a much better supporting cast. He’ll have a new head coach next season.
Johnny Manziel has yet to start a game for the Cleveland Browns. The over-hyped rookie spends his Sundays on the sidelines with a clipboard and a ski cap. That must be bad for his image when he goes clubbing.
Speaking of clubbing, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is coming off a monster weekend. He went full blown Gronk against the Bears with 9 receptions for 149 yards and three scores. A few more games like that and the internet will be flooded with pictures of him posing with strippers and porn stars once again. Please stay healthy Gronk.
Does someone at the Detroit Lions facility have Eddie Murray or Jason Hanson’s phone number? The Lions are a league worst 47% on field goal attempts this season. If not for a delay of game penalty Sunday in London, they would be 0-8 from the 40-49 yard range. That used to be the money range for the Lions. 17 NFL teams are perfect from that range so far this year.
The ball seemed to bounce the right way for Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles last season. In 13 games, Foles threw 27 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. Foles has tossed nine picks so far this season and is on pace for 21 interceptions. That isn’t going endear him to second-year head coach Chip Kelly.
Lovie Smith had an open checkbook from the Buccaneers front office this offseason. Tampa led the league in free agent signings and the roster changes have not made a difference. Tampa has just one more win at the week eight mark than they had in 2013 under Greg Schiano. The team has two overtime losses and is winless at home. Smith, known as a defensive genius has the Buccaneers at a -90 point differential and only the Oakland Raiders defense is worse in the league stopping opponents on third down.
Can we simply hand the Defensive Player of the Year award to J.J. Watt right now? Watt is a force on the field. 32 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 7 passes defensed, 1 interception return for a touchdown, 1 fumble recovery and three forced fumbles. His talents are being wasted with the Houston Texans. A player of this caliber deserves a shot at a Super Bowl trophy.