Before we get into the juicy goodness that was week 8 in the NFL, we’re going to start out with a shameless request for help. We recently set up a four-question survey for our readers. If you have two minutes (we swear, that’s all the time it would take), it would mean a lot to us if you could answer the survey questions and tell us how we can improve The Snap. You will have our eternal gratitude and could possibly be rewarded with another picture of Michelle in a mascot costume. Click here to complete our survey.
I guess we can also take this opportunity for apologize for skipping week 7 game summaries. Val was still in Europe (“I don’t know how the NFL can expect people in Europe to consistently watch games with the time difference unless they’re in London”) and she does the heavy lifting on these posts. Michelle was in DC cheering on (and carb loading) with Snap Super Fan Laura, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon with our friend Caroline. Doesn’t Laura look good after running 26.2 miles?
OK, that’s enough with the non-football stuff. Let’s get down to business.
Here’s what we thought about week 8 in the NFL…
Miami (7), New England (35) – We’re trying not to get ahead of ourselves here, but it might be easier to just copy and paste the following sentence in every New England game summary the rest of the year: Tom Brady is a beast. The AFC Player of the Week continued his revenge tour with 4 TDs against a tough defense. Pats RB Dion Lewis and his shifty spin moves continue to be a lot of fun to watch. The Dolphins lost defensive end Cameron Wake to Achilles injury that will keep him out the rest of the year.
Detroit (10), Kansas City (45) – After a rough start to the season, the Lions fired their offensive coordinator last week. Things didn’t look too much better as the offensive line struggles to block and QB Matt Stafford continues to struggle with his decision-making. WR Calvin Johnson (a.k.a. Megatron) did become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 receiving yards. The Chiefs defense is better than their 3-5 record would indicate.
Tampa Bay (23), Atlanta (20) (OT) – The Falcons lost this game in OT despite another great game from WR Julio Jones and QB Matt Ryan. The Bucs were able to score 20 points off Falcons turnovers. Bucs rookie QB Jameis Winston continues to show more improvement as the season progresses. The Bucs defense stepped up – in particular rookie Kwon Alexander was recognized by the team for his performance (11 tackles, interception, fumble recovery), which came only two days after his younger brother was killed.
San Diego (26), Baltimore (29) – Both QBs, the Ravens’ Joe Flacco and the Chargers’ Philip Rivers deserve credit for anything they’re able to accomplish on the field with all the injuries their teams have suffered. The Chargers will be without their main weapon WR Keenan Allen for the remainder of the season after he lacerated a kidney. The Ravens lost WR Steve Smith for the rest of the year with a torn Achilles. Smith planned to retire after this season, but rumors are starting he doesn’t want to end his career being carted off the field. We’d love to see him come back to finish his HOF career on a high note, in part for the entertainment value. A few plays before his injury he passed Cris Carter for 10th place on the all-time receiving yards list.
Minnesota (23), Chicago (20) – Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater was not very consistent in his play, but led the Vikes to 10 points in the last 5 minutes for the win (it was his 5th career 4th quarter or OT comeback for a win). Besides having the services of RB Adrian Peterson, he’s being helped by the play of rookie WR Stefon Diggs, who is probably getting snapped up in fantasy leagues after having 80+ yards in the last four games. Bears QB Jay Cutler is quietly having a solid season under new offensive coordinator Adam Gase. He’s also been helped by the return of WR Alshon Jeffery. The bad news for the Bears is RB Matt Forte left the game with a knee injury, and could be out for a while.
Arizona (34), Cleveland (20) – This game looked like it was heading for an upset when Cleveland took the lead and the Cardinals fumbled 4 times. Then Arizona and QB Carson Palmer found their groove and put up 27 unanswered points. The Browns are hurt by their lack of a run game. QB Josh McCown took another big hit and will be out this upcoming week.
Tennessee (6), Houston (20) – Football is a tough business. To the surprise of many, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired on Tuesday, not even making it through two full seasons in Tennessee and leaving with a record of 3-20. Mike Mularkey has been named interim coach. It’s hard enough to adjust to life in the NFL, but rookie QB Marcus Mariota (who sat out Sunday with injury) will now have to adjust to a new coach and system going into his second year. This was the type of dominant defensive performance people have been expecting from the Texans all year – they had a franchise record 7 sacks! J.J. Watt had 2.5 sacks, 8 QB hits, and a forced fumble.
New York Giants (49), New Orleans (52) – There are a few ways to look at this game: Stellar QB play by Drew Brees and Eli Manning or terrible defensive performances that allowed a total of 101 points. Brees’ 505 yard, 7 TD performance tied an NFL record for most TDs in a game. Manning passed Joe Montana to move into 10th place all-time in passing TDs. Neither team is out of the play-off race yet.
Cincinnati (16), Pittsburgh (10) – The Bengals are 7-0 for the first time in franchise history, despite having trouble handling the Steelers’ young defense. They sacked Bengals QB Andy Dalton 3 times and forced 2 interceptions. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger returned after missing several games and got off to a great start. However, the Steelers lost star RB Le’Veon Bell for the rest of the year with an MCL injury, which will have a huge impact on their offense going forward.
San Francisco (6), St. Louis (27) – The Todd Gurley show continued this week. The Rams rookie RB had his fourth straight game with at least 120 yards. The other big story to come out of this game was the concrete slab that caused an injury to 49ers RB Reggie Bush. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick did not have a good day. In fact, it was a “we’re benching you for Blaine Gabbert in week 9” kind of a day. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gabbert, he has a 5-22 record in the NFL.) Niners coach Jim Tomsula said two weeks ago that there was no quarterback controversy, but watch the video below and you might understand why some people think Kaepernick is regressing.
New York Jets (20), Oakland (34) – The Raiders have been the butt of jokes for years, but there is optimism QB Derek Carr and rookie WR Amari Cooper are turning things around under the leadership of new head coach Jack Del Rio. Shout out to 39-year-old CB Charles Woodson, who currently leads the NFL in interceptions. The Jets encountered some QB issues – Ryan Fitzpatrick tore ligaments in his thumb. He’ll need surgery, and it will be able to wait until after the season. Geno Smith (he who missed the first few weeks of the season after being punched in the jaw by a teammate) came into the game before he was injured and Fitzpatrick had to come back in to replace him for a few plays. As of Wednesday, both players were able to participate in practice and the plan is for Fitzgerald to start this upcoming week. The situation bears watching as the only other QB on their roster is Bryce Petty, who the Jets were hoping could use this year to red shirt.
Seattle (13), Dallas (12) – Even though QB Matt Cassel had WR Dez Bryant back from injury, the Cowboys offense couldn’t capitalize on the strong performance by their defense as well as several miscues by the Seahawks. They managed only four net yards in the 4th quarter and remain winless since QB Tony Romo broke his clavicle. A positive sign for the Seahawks was that their troubled offensive line did not allow a sack of QB Russell Wilson. A scary moment during the game was when WR Ricardo Lockette was knocked out cold and had to be taken out on a stretcher. Don’t know about other people, but it certainly brought up some uncomfortable feelings for us. It was definitely a reminder of how violent the sport is and made us wish we liked baseball more.
On a lighter note, Dez Bryant has a pet monkey now. His name is Dallas…because what else would you name your monkey when you play for the Cowboys?
Green Bay (10), Denver (29) – What a game for Denver’s defense, their run game and QB Peyton Manning as they handed the Packers their first loss of the season. It looked like the offense put their bye week to good use in continuing to adapt to head coach Gary Kubiak’s offense. Manning tied Brett Favre for most wins by a QB in NFL history (186). The Packers couldn’t get much going – their WRs were held to 37 yards, and QB Aaron Rodgers passed for only 77 yards and was sacked 3 times – which speaks to the talent of Denver’s defense. Green Bay doesn’t have a strong run game, and they are feeling the impact of being without WR Jordy Nelson this year. Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips threw some shade at Green Bay over Twitter and probably got away with it more than most coaches could.
Indianapolis (26), Carolina (29) – The drama continues for Indy after they had a bizarre rainy game full of turnovers (on both sides) against the perfect Panthers. Injured QB Andrew Luck is facing some serious adversity for the first time in his career and his performance probably didn’t help Pep Hamilton, the Colts offensive coordinator who was fired after the game. Despite a 3-5 record, the Colts remain in first place in the AFC South. Carolina is one of four teams that remains undefeated – the Patriots, Broncos, and Bengals are also in that club.
Buffalo had a bye week, but they have made headlines by contributing to the great “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate.
Aaaaaand here are this week’s standings in our Weekly Pick ‘Em league.
Before we end this post, we’d like to give a well-deserved shout-out to Momma O, who recently won our family’s survivor league. The woman says she has no clue what she’s doing, but her results say otherwise.
– Val and Michelle