Week 8 is where things really start to take shape and you can see who is starting to emerge as playoff contenders and who isn’t. This week saw Houston continue to roll, with Cam Newton showing flashes of his past MVP season, the Seahawks looking like they can put together a very efficient offence and the Saints keep showing dominance among NFC opponents.
Oh, and the Rams stay undefeated!
Let’s get started!
Miami 23-42 Houston
This was not a sexy matchup on paper, but both these teams have shown some potential through the first seven weeks of the season. The Texans have been hot as of late winning four in a row including an impressive win over the Jaguars last week where they dominated the once fearful Jacksonville defence. Miami has had an up and down year but still found themselves coming into the Thursday nighter with a 4-3 record.
Brock Osweiler got his third straight start with Ryan Tannehill still out with a shoulder injury. Several hours after an NFL official was fired midway through a season for the first time in league history the game took a little extra time to get going with the opening kickoff being delayed on a questionable kicking violation call. Something that seemed like a referee debacle.
After both teams swapped drives the Dolphins got on the board first with a field goal. Hold on though, on the successful kick appeared another phantom penalty. This time it was called on the Texans for illegal contact on the centre and gave Miami a first down. On the next play Kenyan Drake took the ball 12 yards for the touchdown and 7-0 lead.
Houston would answer that score with one of their own on the following drive. They ran nine plays eating up 75 yards to the end zone. DeShaun Watson hit Will FullerV for 34 yards setting up a 2-yard TD run by Lamar Miller for the 7-7 tie.
The home team Texans kept things rolling, with Miami taking possession after the TD. Justin Reid came up with the interception over the middle of the field. Two plays later Watson hit Jordan Thomas for a 13-yard TD and the 14-7 lead. Houston scored two TD’s in 77 seconds.
Houston thought they scored a TD to end the second half with Brock Osweiler fumbling the ball on a sack, which was returned for the score. After a review it was determined Osweiler’s arm was moving forward despite it looking like he tried to pull the ball down at the last second, resulting in an incomplete pass. The Texans took a 14-10 lead into the half.
The Texans took the ball to open the second half and after a 58-yard Lamar Miller run they got back into the end zone. Twice. First Watson found his target for the TD, but it was called back on illegal participation down field. On his next attempt Watson scrambled before hitting Jordan Thomas for his second TD of the game and the 21-10 lead.
Miami would make it a game with five minutes left in the third quarter. Osweiler threw what looked like a screen to Danny Amendola, who then dropped back and threw a 28-yard bomb across the field to Kenyan Drake for the touchdown and 21-17 score.
It didn’t last long however! Two plays later Watson connected with Will FullerV on a beautiful 73-yard TD strike, the longest play from scrimmage all year for the Texans. The former Notre Dame receiver’s long TD run gave Houston a 28-17 led.
The Texans would not be stopped. After a crazy play for Miami where the ball bounced off Jakeem Grant and landed into the hands of DeVante Parker for a 46-yard gain led to a field goal, Watson got his team back into the end zone. Watson found DeAndre Hopkins wide open in a busted coverage by the Dolphins who ran it the rest of the way for the 49-yard TD extending the lead out to 35-20.
Watson added another TD to Hopkins as the domination continued to the 42-23 victory. Houston continues to be on fire now winning five in a row on way to a 5-3 record atop the AFC South. Their offence looks dynamic and explosive and they could see themselves on the verge of ground shaking run to the playoffs. While the Dolphins continue to tailspin with a no real answer at QB and secondary that looks like Swiss cheese.
HOU: D.Watson: 16/20 239YDs 5TDs L.Miller: 18CAR 133YDs 1TD W.Fuller: 5CAT 124YDs 1TD D.Hopkins: 6CAT 82YDs 2TDs
MIA: B.Osweiler: 21/37 241YDs 1INT K.Drake: 12CAR 58YDs 1TD D.Parker: 6CAT 134YDs
Baltimore 21-36 Carolina
Both the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers have held respectively efficient seasons. The Ravens (4-3) were in a three-way fight with the Steelers and Bengals for the AFC North division. They were coming off a crazy last second loss to the Saints on a missed PAT.
The Panthers (4-2) on the other hand were chasing the Saints, coming off an impressive comeback win over the defending champion Eagles.
Baltimore got on the board first with an 11-play 80-yard drive to open the game. Joe Flacco drove the team down the field with help from Lamar Jackson taking off for a 17-yard run before Alex Collins bounced off defenders for a 14-yard touchdown run and the early 7-0 lead.
A few drives later Baltimore punted from their own 5-yard line, Carolina took four plays to answer the Ravens’ score. Cam Newton found Devin Funchess and DJ Moore each for 18-yard passes before Christian McCaffrey took it in from 11 yards out for the score and 7-7 tie.
When the Ravens took possession following the score they would give it right back. Alex Collins took the handoff and would fumble with Carolina retaking possession at the Ravens’ 12-yard line. Three plays later Newton found Greg Olsen for the TD and 14-7 lead.
The Panthers defence then forced another Ravens punt, and Cam Newton took it right back down the field. After he found DJ Moore for 33 yards, Newton tried to fire one into the end zone to Funchess, but the ball would be tipped up into the air. Luckily for Carolina Christian McCaffrey dove for the catch and the 6-yard TD extending the lead out to 21-7.
Carolina took advantage of two Baltimore turnovers and added two field goals, one in the second quarter and one in the third. First Flacco threw one over the middle before running out of bounds, with Mike Adams coming up with the pick. Then in the third quarter Flacco threw one short and low to Willie Snead, with Captain Munnerlyn diving for the interception.
Baltimore would get back into the end zone in the third quarter. They ran a 10-play drive eating up 75 yards with Flacco finding Willie Snead for 19 yards and again for 18 yards before he found Javorius Allen for a 9-yard TD cutting the Panthers lead down to 24-14.
On the very next drive however Cam Newton took his team down the field as well on an 85-yard drive. Newton kept the ball himself for a 12-yard TD run pushing the lead out to 33-14.
After Carolina added another field goal Baltimore took the ball with three minutes left. Joe Flacco was nowhere to be seen with Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson taking the team on a run-heavy drive chewing up 64 yards before Lamar Jackson hit Hayden Hurst for a 26-yard TD trimming the Panthers lead down to 36-21 with a minute left.
It wasn’t enough however as Carolina would run the clock out finishing the 36-21 victory. The Panthers continue to roll with their second straight win as they sit at 5-2 fighting with New Orleans for top spot in the NFC South. Cam Newton has had two dominant weeks in a row now, controlling the game while leading the team in rushing.
Baltimore has now lost two in a row and after starting out hot now fall to 4-4 in a crowded AFC North. Joe Flacco had a rough game with too many turnovers and if he struggles the team will continue to fall.
CAR: C.Newton: 21/29 219YDs 2TDs 10CAR 52YDs 1TD D.Moore: 5CAT 90YDs G.Olsen: 4CAT 56YDs 1TD
BAL: J.Flacco: 22/39 192YDs 1TD 2INTs L.Jackson: 4/5 46YDs 1TD W.Snead: 5CAT 54YDs
Seattle 28-14 Detroit
Seattle was coming off the bye since blowing out the Raiders in London. They found themselves at 3-3 sitting behind the undefeated Rams in the NFC West. The week off for the Seahawks allowed KJ Wright to jump back into the lineup since missing the first half of the season after knee surgery.
The Lions were in their own dogfight in the NFC North with all four teams floating around the same record. Detroit sat in the middle of the pack offensively and defensively and despite their even record have been more disappointing than not.
Detroit forced a quick drive for Seattle, taking possession and driving down the field and into the end zone. Matthew Stafford picked the Seahawks secondary apart on third downs finding Golden Tate for 18 yards on the drive. As they moved down the field to the Seahawks’ 39-yard line, Stafford avoided pressure and floated a beautiful TD pass to Marvin Jones for the 7-0 lead.
Russell Wilson wasn’t having any of that however, as he took his team down the field on the following drive. Led by runs by Chris Carson and Wilson himself Seattle drove down the field ending the 7-play drive in a 24-yard play-action TD pass to Tyler Lockett, with Wilson making an equally amazing throw to that of Stafford’s.
On the ensuing kickoff Ameer Abdulalh took the ball to the 30-yard line for the Lions but on the tackle, he would fumble the ball with it being recovered by Barkevious Mingo giving Seattle possession at the Detroit 34-yard line. Three plays later Wilson threw a 15-yard TD pass to David Moore, who juggled the ball while re-catching it in the end zone for the 14-7 lead.
Seattle wasn’t done there. They took the ball back and on a 3rd and 7 Wilson threw one up for David Moore. Moore made the catch but juggled the ball and after hitting the ground it came loose resulting in an incomplete pass. Pete Carroll challenged the play and with the new rule change on what qualifies as a catch it was deemed that Moore took three steps with the ball in his possession was deemed as him making a football move. The play would be overturned resulting in a 27-yard gain for the Hawks.
With more power running by Seattle and a 20-yard pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks would end the 12-play drive with a 12-yard TD pass to Ed Dickson in his first game of the year, for the 21-7 lead.
The Seahawks drove back down the field to open the second half setting up at the 1-yard line. After being stopped on three straight plays they would go for it on fourth down. Wilson found Nick Vannett for the TD, but it would be called back with an illegal touching penalty, as Vannett stepped out of bounds before making the catch. The penalty resulted in a loss of downs giving Detroit possession at their own 1.
Fortunately for Seattle the Lions would end up punting after eight plays. Seattle kept piling on as the fourth quarter came around. Russell Wilson found David Moore for a huge 45-yard bomb setting up Chris Carson for the 7-yard TD run and 28-7 lead.
Detroit jumped back into the game with just over 10 minutes left. Stafford led his team on a 10-play 70-yard drive before getting into the end zone. He capped the impressive drive off with a 19-yard fade pass to Marvin Jones, over Seattle DB Shaq Griffin for the score cutting the lead down to 28-14.
The Lions continued to fight back with what looked like a promising drive. Stafford hit Jones for a 19-yard gain then found him again for another 14 with just over seven minutes left.
Unfortunately for Detroit, Stafford would be sacked by Jarran Reed forcing a fumble, with Reed recovering giving Seattle possession at their own 47-yard line.
Detroit kept fighting though, with some help from the officials. Bradley McDougald would be called for a very questionable PI penalty moving the ball 56 yards to the Seattle 16-yard line. The Seahawks defence came up big with Justin Coleman coming up with a massive pick at the 1-yard line with three minutes left.
Seattle would run the rest of the game out with a crazy fake punt where Michael Dickson ran it out his own end zone for a first down on 4th and 8 sealing the 28-14 victory.
The Hawks have now won two in a row with a dominating run game and a defence that has been stout with forcing turnovers. The Lions continue their up and down year, where their offence couldn’t get anything going.
SEA: R.Wilson: 14/17 248YDs 3TDs C.Carson: 25CAR 105YDs 1TD D.Moore: 4CAT 97YDs 1TD
DET: M.Stafford: 27/40 310YDs 2TDs 1INT M.Jones: 7CAT 117YDs 2TDs K.Johnson: 6CAT 69YDs
Green Bay 27-29 LA Rams
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers looked to be the first to knock down the undefeated LA Rams. The Packers have struggled on the defensive side of the ball so the offensively explosive Rams looked to take full advantage of that. But no team can ever look over or past Rodgers and his ability to beat any team in this league. This was set to be either exciting or extremely one-sided.
The Packers would strike first with a 5-play drive led by a 48-yard bomb from Rodgers to Davante Adams. The drive would end in what looked like a 22-yard Jimmy Graham TD catch, but he was ultimately ruled down at the 1-yard line. Fear not Packer fans as two plays later Jamaal Williams took it in for the 7-0 lead.
Green Bay added a field goal before ending up pinned against their own goal line. The Rams defensive line then tackled Aaron Jones in the end zone for the safety and the 10-2 score. The defensive battle continued with no other points being scored until the final minute of the half.
Jared Goff found Brandin Cooks for a beautiful 25-yard diving catch along the sideline that was ruled incomplete at first but was overturned after Sean McVay challenged the play. Goff then hit Todd Gurley for another beautiful pass over the shoulder for a 34-yard gain.
Two plays later Goff found Josh Reynolds in the end zone for the TD. After a failed 2-point attempt halftime came with a 10-8 Packers lead. The Packers opened the second half with a nine-play drive however they only moved 38 yards having to settle for the 53-yard booming field goal from Mason Crosby pushing the lead out to 13-8.
LA answered right back though, only they were able to get into the end zone. After an 11-yard run by Gurley and a 22-yard pass from Goff to Gerald Everett, Goff found Gurley again who took it 30 yards for the TD. Gurley then caught the 2-point covert pass in the end zone allowing the Rams to jump out to the 16-13 lead.
LA would not be stopped! The defence forced a three-and-out then took the ball 71 yards for the score. Goff found Cooks for 17 yards then Robert Woods for 19 before hitting Josh Reynolds who ran it in for the diving TD, his second of the game pushing the lead out to 23-13.
But the Packers jumped right back into the game on their ensuing drive. Rodgers threw one up to Davante Adams who came up with the leaping 41-yard catch. Two plays later Aaron Jones took off up the middle for a 33-yard TD run cutting the lead down to 23-20.
The exchange of fireworks continued into the Southern California night. After the Rams added a field goal, Aaron Rodgers did what Aaron Rodgers does. He found Adams for two passes for 35 yards before throwing a 40-yard TD strike to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and the 27-26 lead.
The Rams drove back down the field on seven plays and after a 23-yard run by Gurley, Greg Zuerlein kicked a 34-yarder for the 29-27 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Ty Montgomery took the kick out of his own end zone and while being tackled would fumble the ball. Ramik Wilson recovered the ball giving LA possession at the Green Bay 21-yard line with 1:56 left in the game.
Todd Gurley converted on a 3rd and 10 running for the first down killing the clock and ending the game for the 29-27 Rams win. Both teams’ defences sent pressure at the opposing QB’s. The key for Green Bay was getting to Goff and they did very efficiently throughout the game. This one was a masterful match up that was filled with excitement from start to finish.
Aaron Rodgers was never given a chance to come back at the end of the game with the fumble, but it would have been more than interesting to see what he could have down with two minutes on the clock.
LA continues to be a powerhouse in the league moving to 8-0 on the year while Green Bay drops to 3-3-1 in the NFC North. Todd Gurley was a true force piling up almost 200 yards of total offence as this team continues to roll.
LA: J.Goff: 19/35 295YDs 3TDs T.Gurley: 25CAR 114YDs 6CAT 81YDs 1TD B.Cooks: 3CAT 74YDs
GB: A.Rodgers: 18/30 286YDs 1TD A.Jones: 12CAR 86YDs 1TD D.Adams: 5CAT 133YDs
New Orleans 30-20 Minnesota
Sunday Night Football was a rematch of the NFC Divisional playoff game from last season between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. Both offences have shown the ability to light up opposing defences. But the Saints defence has been better this year than a few years past. New Orleans looked for revenge and to redeem themselves from the last second loss which sent Minnesota on to Philly last year.
The Saints opened the game with an 8-play 81-yard scoring drive. Drew Brees hit Michael Thomas for 20 yards then Taysom Hill came in for a snap and threw a 44-yard bomb to Thomas setting New Orleans up at the Minnesota 8-yard line. Two plays later Brees dumped it off to Alvin Kamara for the 3-yard TD and 7-0 lead.
Minnesota and Kirk Cousins did an excellent job at delivering what we expected on their opening drive. The Vikings ran 13 plays moving 96 yards from their own 9-yard line to the end zone. Cousins picked apart the Saints secondary left and right and after a 31-yard pass to Stefon Diggs. He found Diggs again for the 1-yard TD and 7-7 tie.
The Vikes didn’t stop there. On their next drive they ran the flea-flicker with Cousins taking the flip-back pass and hitting Adam Thielen for a 28-yard gain. The Saints would then be called for PI in the end zone setting Minnesota up at the 1-yard line. Latavius Murray leaped the extra yard over the pile for the TD. Dan Bailey missed the PAT for the 13-7 lead.
After the Vikings kicked a field goal it looked like they would score again. Cousins took the team from his own 33-yard line to the New Orleans 30. He connected on a pass with Adam Thielen at the Saint’s 14-yard line.
On the tackle however, Thielen would fumble the ball with it being scooped by Saints DB Marshon Lattimore who returned it to the Vikings’ 33-yard line. After the play Laquon Treadwill would be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing his helmet, giving the Saints an extra 15 yards.
Alvin Kamara then ran the ball 17 yards to the 1-yard line before taking it in on the next play for the TD and the 17-13 New Orleans halftime lead. Minnesota took the ball to start the second half but on 4th and 1 Cousins threw an incompletion to Treadwell for a turnover on downs.
The Saints would add a field goal off the turnover for the 20-13 lead. Things continued to snowball for the Vikings. After it appeared that Cousins fumbled the ball it would be overturned on review. Unfortunately for Cousins he would still turn the ball over.
Four plays later he tried to escape pressure and threw a side armed pass for an interception to PJ Williams who returned it 45 yards for the pick-six and 27-13 New Orleans lead. The Saints added a field goal in the fourth quarter to make it 30-13.
Minnesota tried to make it interesting as the fourth quarter died down. They ran a 13-play drive eating up 65 yards on way to a 1-yard TD pass to Adam Thielen. It wasn’t enough however as the Saints held onto the lead and eventual 30-20 win.
The Saints continue to roll winning three in a row now and moving to 6-1 atop the NFC South and creating separation between them and the Panthers. While the Saints offence wasn’t as explosive as usual with Brees only throwing for 120 yards, but the defence came up huge with turnovers and touchdowns of their own. The Vikings fall to 4-3-1 in the NFC North in a very crowded division while their up and down season continues.
NO: D.Brees: 18/23 120YDs 1TD 1INT M.Ingram: 13CAR 63YDs A.Kamara: 13CAR 45YDs 1TD 7CAT 31YDs 1TD M.Thomas: 5CAT 81YDs
MIN: K.Cousins: 31/41 359YDs 2TDs 1INT L.Murray: 13CAR 56YDs 1TD S.Diggs: 10CAT 119YDs 1TD A.Thielen: 7CAT 103YDs 1TD
**A.Thielen ties Calvin Johnson for most consecutive 100-yard games with 8
Philadelphia 24-18 Jacksonville
C.Wentz: 21/30 286YDs 3TDs 1INT J.Adams: 9CAR 61YDs J.Matthews: 4CAT 93YDs/B.Bortles: 24/41286YDs 1TD 8CAR 43YDs T.Yeldon: 7CAT 83YDs
**L.Johnson leaves with sprained MCL
NY Jets 10-24 Chicago
M.Trubisky: 16/29 220YDs 2TDs J.Howard: 22CAR 81YDs 1TD T.Gabriel: 4CAT 52YDs/S.Darnold: 14/29 152YDs 1TD D.Burnett: 4CAT 61YDs
**K.Long carted off with leg injury
Tampa Bay 34-37 Cincinnati
A.Dalton: 21/34 280YDs 2TDs J.Mixon: 21CAR 123YDs 2TDs T.Boyd: 9CAT 138YDs 1TD A.Green: 5CAT 76YDs 1TD/J.Winston: 18/35 276YDs 1TD 4INTs R.Fitzpatrick: 11/15 194YDs 2TDs P.Barber: 19CAR 85YDs 1TD M.Evans: 6CAT 179YDs 1TD
**J.Winston benched after throwing 4 interceptions
Denver 23-30 Kansas City
P.Mahomes: 24/34 303YDs 4TDs 1INT K.Hunt: 16CAR 50YDs S.Watkins: 8CAT 107YDs 2TDs T.Kelce: 6CAT 79YDs 1TD/C.Keenum: 23/34 262YDs 2TDs 1INT P.Lindsay: 18CAR 95YDs 1TD C.Sutton: 3CAT 78YDs
**E.Sanders & B.Roby left with injuries
Washington 20-13 NY Giants
A.Smith: 20/32 178YDs 1TD A.Peterson: 26CAR 149YDs 1TD/E.Manning: 30/47 316YDs 1TD 2INTs O.Beckham: 8CAT 136YDs S.Barkley: 9CAT 73YDs
**T.Williams leaves with thumb injury
Cleveland 18-33 Pittsburgh
B.Roethlisberger: 24/36 257YDs 2TDs 1INT J.Conner: 24CAR 146YDs 2TDs 5CAT 66YDs A.Brown: 6CAT 74YDs 2TDs/B.Mayfield: 22/36 180YDs 2TDs 1INT N.Chubb: 18CAR 65YDs
Indianapolis 42-28 Oakland
A.Luck: 22/31 239YDs 3TDs M.Mack: 25CAR 132YDs 2TDs N.Hines: 11CAR 78YDs J.Doyle: 6CAT 70YDs 1TD/D.Carr: 21/28 244YDs 3TDs D.Martin: 13CAR 72YDs J.Cook: 4CAT 74YDs
**A.Vinatieri set all-time points record passing Morten Andersen with 2,550.
San Francisco 15-18 Arizona
J.Rosen: 23/40 252YDs 2TDs 1INT D.Johnson: 16CAR 59YDs 4CAT 41YDs L.Fitzgerald: 8CAT 102YDs 1TD/C.Beathard: 14/28 190YDs 1TD K.Bourne: 7CAT 71YDs G.Kittle: 5CAT 57YDs
**R.Foster leaves with hamstring injury
New England 25-6 Buffalo
T.Brady: 29/45 324YDs J.Edelman: 9CAT 104YDs J.White: 10CAT 79YDs/D.Anderson: 22/39 290YDs 1INT L.McCoy: 6CAT 82YDs
BYE: Atlanta, Dallas, LA Chargers, Tennessee
1.Chiefs (7-1) 2.Chargers (5-2) 3.Broncos (3-5) 4.Raiders (1-6)
1.Patriots (6-2) 2. Dolphins (4-4) 3.Jets (3-5) 4.Bills (2-6)
1. Texans (5-3) 2.Titans (3-4) 3.Jaguars (3-5) 4.Colts (3-5)
1.Steelers (4-2-1) 2.Bengals (5-3) 3.Ravens (4-4) 4.Browns (2-5-1)
1.Rams (8-0) 2.Seahawks (4-3) 3.Cardinals (2-6) 4.49ers (1-7)
1.Washington (5-2) 2.Eagles (4-4) 3.Cowboys (3-4) 4.Giants (1-7)
1.Saints (6-1) 2.Panthers (5-2) 3.Falcons (3-4) 4.Buccaneers (3-4)
1.Bears (4-3) 2.Vikings (4-3-1) 3.Packers (3-3-1) 4.Lions (3-4)