This week is a special week. After 6 teams had a bye week last week, no teams were on the bye this week. This meant that we had a full slate of 16 games and tonnes of action, we looked at the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals
So, let’s review week 8 of the 2023 NFL season.
Great No More
The San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals are two teams going in opposite directions. The Bengals started the season poorly, but are now strong, while the 49ers were unbeaten after 5 games before losing two in a row. To add to the 49ers’ woes, Quarterback Brock Purdy had reported concussion-like symptoms after the game against the Vikings last weekend. However, he was cleared to play this game. Would he make the difference?
The 49ers had the opening possession of the game, but could not do anything with this possession and quickly punted away. In reply to this, the Bengals were able to find some offense on their opening drive of the game. Led by quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals were able to drive down the field to the 49ers’ 7-yard line. From there, Burrow found Tyler Boyd for a 7-yard touchdown pass to give Cincinnati an early lead.
But, this lead would not last long. After their poor opening drive, the San Francisco offense had a strong performance. 49ers Quarterback Brock Purdy led his offense down to the Bengals’ 2-yard line. From there, the 49ers’ star running back Christian McCaffrey would score a 2-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game.Embed from Getty Images
Directly after this, the Bengals would immediately take back their lead. Their drive started from their 42-yard line due to a strong punt return from their punt returner from the one-yard line. Burrow and company would lead his offense down to the 49ers’ 2-yard line. From there, Burrow would find Andrei Iosivas for the touchdown pass to hand the lead back to the Bengals.
Cincinnati would try to add to their lead from their next drive. They started from their 20-yard line and the Bengals offense found its way down to the 49ers’ 25-yard line, aided by a penalty against the San Francisco defense. Then, Burrow was sacked on 3rd down, moving him back to the 32-yard line. This forced the Bengals kicker Evan McPherson to attempt a 50-yard field goal. McPherson would miss this kick but Cincinnati would still have the lead.
While the Bengals could not kick à field goal, the 49ers were able to on their next drive. Brock Purdy’s offense stalled at the Cincinnati 18-yard line, setting up 49ers’ kicker Jake Moody, who has been inconsistent with his kicking ability, with a 36-yard field goal attempt. Moody would be successful with this attempt, and the lead would be reduced.
Just before halftime, the Bengals would again make their way down inside the 49ers’ red zone. They would make it to the 3-yard line before disaster struck. What should have been a simple Joe Burrow touchdown pass turned into a Bengals fumble? The ball would be scooped up by the 49ers’ defense to end the half. At halftime, the Bengals would have a narrow 14-10 lead.
Cincinnati would have the opening possession of the second half and would be able to gain some points from the drive. They would be able to make it down to the 49ers’ 38-yard line before the drive stalled. This set up McPherson with a 56-yard field goal attempt. Unlike his previous attempt, he would be able to make the attempt, widening the Bengals’ lead.
After two drives that ended in punts, the 49ers would be next to have an attempt to score. Brock Purdy and company would be able to make it down to the Bengals’ 8-yard line. From here, Purdy intended to throw a pass to Elijah Mitchell. However, this pass was intercepted by the Bengals’ defense, ending their drive. Luckily for San Francisco, Cincinnati could not do anything with their subsequent drive and punted the ball back to the 49ers.Embed from Getty Images
Unfortunately for San Francisco, they would not have the ball for long. The 49ers returned the Bengals punt at their 20-yard line. From there, Purdy would throw another interception. Unlike their previous interception, the 49ers this time would not be lucky with the Bengals’ response. From the 49ers’ 17-yard line, Burrow would find JaMarr Chase for the touchdown pass to increase the Bengals’ lead to 2 touchdowns.
In reply to the Bengals touchdown, the 49ers would finally have some luck on offense in the half. Purdy would shake off the two interceptions he threw and moved his offense down the field to the Bengals’ 4-yard line. From there, Purdy would find Christian McCaffrey for the touchdown pass to make it a one-possession game in the middle of the fourth quarter.
However, the 49ers’ hope for a chance of victory was soon dashed by the Bengals’ next drive. Starting from their 22-yard line, Joe Burrow and his Cincinnati offense droved down into the 49ers’ red zone and then down to the San Francisco 5-yard line. From there, Joe Mixon would run the ball into the endzone for the rushing touchdown to all but seal the game.
San Francisco had one more attempt to try to launch a late comeback. Their drive started well, crossing into the Bengals’ territory and down to the 26-yard line. Here, Purdy was sacked and then fumbled the ball. The ball was scooped up by the Bengals and this ended the game.
The Cincinnati Bengals had defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-17.
For the Bengals, this is an important win that can boost their season. They improved to 4-3 on the season and are getting better every game. The opposite can be said about the 49ers. Their 5-0 start seems a distant memory now, as they lose their third game in a row, and give their worst performance since Brock Purdy became the quarterback. Next week, the Bengals face the Buffalo Bills in what could be a preview of at least a divisional-round playoff game, while the 49ers are on a bye week.
The snow game that never was
The Denver Broncos were a team that conceded 70 points a few weeks ago. They have improved since then, and last week defeated the Green Bay Packers. This week they faced division rivals the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated them earlier in the month. However, that is not what people were talking about before this game. It was predicted that this game would be the first snow game of the year. Unfortunately for everyone, the field at Mile High was a shade of green with the only white stuff being the lines. So, who would succeed in the snow game that never was?
The Chiefs had the opening drive of the game but were unable to do much with this, and had to punt quickly. On the other hand, the Broncos were able to convert their drive into points. Their drive would start in the Chiefs’ territory thanks to a strong punt return from Denver. From the Chiefs’ 39-yard line, the Broncos would run down to the 4-yard line. From here, Broncos’ quarterback Russell Wilson would throw the 4-yard touchdown pass to Javonte Williams. This gave the Broncos an early lead.
In reply to this, the Chiefs would get an offense going for this drive. Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes would lead his offense deep down into the Broncos’ red zone. However, they could not score a touchdown from the 3-yard line. This set up Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker with a 23-yard field goal attempt, which he would be successful with.
The usually unflappable Chiefs’ offense would then make a costly mistake. From their 43-yard line, Mahomes would make a pass to Marquise Valdez-Scantling. He would make the catch but would fumble the ball. The ball would be scooped up by the Broncos defense, which is something that would haunt Kansas City. With the new possession, Wilson and company made their way down to the Chiefs’ 11-yard line. From here, Wilson would find Jerry Jeudy for the touchdown pass to widen their surprising lead over the Chiefs.Embed from Getty Images
The mistakes would keep coming for Kansas City as on their next drive, Mahomes would throw an interception. Luckily for the Chiefs, the Broncos could not do anything with this and would turn the ball over themselves on down from this drive. Unlike Denver, the Chiefs would be able to convert this turnover into points. Aided by a long pass from Mahomes to take them into the Broncos’ red zone the Chiefs offense would make their way down to the Broncos’ 16-yard line before the drive stalled. Butker would then successfully kick the 34-yard field goal.
We would then see a pair of fumbles which each team lost possession from. Kansas City would have the final drive of the half. With time running out, the Chiefs had set Butker up with a 56-yard field goal attempt as time ran out. Butker would be successful with this, and as the teams returned to the locker rooms, the Broncos held a 14-9 lead.
The Broncos would open the second half, and their drive to open the half would take about half of the third quarter to complete. The Broncos offense would run it down to the Chiefs’ 13-yard line. Then, on a 3rd down attempt, Russell Wilson would be sacked, forcing Broncos kicker Will Lutz to attempt a 38-yard field goal try. The Lutz field goal attempt would be blocked by the Chiefs special team and possession would be turned over to Kansas City, who were unable to capitalize on it, and quickly handed possession back to the Broncos.
The Broncos would punt on another drive soon after. However, this would not end in a normal manner of team A punts, team B gets possession. The Chiefs would make another mistake that a team of that quality should not make. The Chiefs punt returner would muff the punt, creating a live ball. The Broncos would gain possession from this and were already deep into Chief’s territory. Could they do anything with this?
It took Denver 2 plays. From the Chiefs’ 6-yard line, Wilson would find Courtland Sutton for the touchdown pass to widen the Broncos’ surprise lead.
In reply to this touchdown, the Chiefs would try to score something to keep them in the game. The Patrick Mahomes lead offense made its way down to the Broncos’ 26-yard line. From here, they would attempt a 4th down conversion attempt to stay in the game essentially. Mahomes needed 2 yards, but he could not get any, handing possession back to Denver.Embed from Getty Images
Kansas City would try again soon after. But this drive also went nowhere. To make things even worse, Mahomes was intercepted deep in his own territory. From this generous field position, Broncos kicker Will Lutz would make a 28-yard field goal to put the game to bed. In the end, the Denver Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 24-9.
For the Broncos, this is their first victory over the Chiefs since 2015, before Patrick Mahomes had even started his NFL career. They improved to 3-5 for the season. For the Chiefs, this is a poor performance on their behalf. But playing Devil’s advocate for a second, could this have been down to the conditions in Denver? No, because the Chiefs visit Mile High every season, so you cannot really blame it on this. You could blame Mahomes poor performance on an apparent stomach bug he got this week, but that just defers the fact that Kansas City was just bad in this game. Next week, the Broncos are on a bye week, while the Chiefs face the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt.
Long pass levis
The Tennessee Titans faced the Atlanta Falcons this week. The Titans had a bye week last week, while the Falcons defeated the Buccaneers. Who would win this game?
The Titans had the opening drive of the game, but very quickly lost the ball. From their 37-yard line, Malik Willis fumbled the ball, which would be scooped up by the Falcons. This gave Atlanta a strong field position to find some points, which is what the Falcons would do. Led by quarterback Desmond Ridder, the short Falcons drive stalled at the Titans’ 10-yard line. This set up Falcons’ kicker Younghoe Koo with a 29-yard field goal attempt, which he would be successful with.
The Titans would shake off their previous mistakes and find success. Titans’ quarterback Will Levis, he who infamously put mayonnaise in his coffee, moved this offense down to the Falcons’ 47-yard line. From there, Levis threw an impressive dime to DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins would then find the endzone from this pass, recording a 47-yard touchdown pass to give Tennessee the lead.
After 4 drives that would end in punts, the Falcons would have possession of the ball but would make a massive mistake. Ridder and company would make his way down to the Falcons’ 40-yard line. Then, Ridder would be sacked, and from the sacked, he fumbled the ball. The ball would be recovered by the Titans’ defense.
This mistake would prove costly for the Falcons. Levis would move his offense down to the Falcons’ 16-yard line. Then, he would again pair up with Hopkins for another touchdown pass. This meant that at halftime, the Titans would have a 14-3 lead.
The Falcons would have the opening possession of the second half and would immediately start the half well. The Falcons’ offense would make it down to the Titans’ 31-yard line, before stalling. This set up a 49-yard field goal for Koo to kick, which he successfully did. Koo would repeat this on the next drive from Atlanta, but this time from 39 yards out.Embed from Getty Images
In reply to these two field goals, the Titans would very quickly find the endzone for a score of their own. In a quick 3 play, Tennessee would advance to their 39-yard line, before Levin and Hopkins would combine again for another long touchdown pass. However, in reply to this, the Falcons would also score on a quick drive. This one took 5 plays, and the Falcons, now with Taylor Heinicke in as quarterback made it into the Titans’ red zone aided by a long pass from Heinicke to KhaDarel Hodge. Then, from the 13-yard line, Bijan Robinson would run the ball into the endzone to make it a one-possession game.
The one-score lead would not last long. In the middle of the fourth quarter, Will Levis would again throw a long touchdown pass. From the Falcons’ 33-yard line, Levis would find Nick Westbrook for a touchdown which widened the Titans’ lead. But this would not last long as on the next drive, the Falcons offense would find themselves down at the Titans’ 8-yard line. From there, Heinicke would throw the touchdown pass to Scott Miller to make it a one-possession game again. With time running out, could the Falcons come back?
The simple answer is no. No other drive would cross into Tennessee territory. This meant that as the time ran out, the Tennessee Titans had defeated the Atlanta Falcons 28-23.
For Tenneesse this victory puts them at 3-4 for the season, while the defeat puts Atlanta 4-4 for the season. Next week, the Titans will continue the strong performances from Will Levis against the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Atlanta Falcons, who have now benched Desmond Ridder, face the Minnesota Vikings.
A First Win
We had a battle between the number one and number two picks of the most recent draft this weekend. The Houston Texans led by emerging talent and number 2 pick C.J. Stroud faced off against the winless Carolina Panthers and their new quarterback, number one pick Bryce Young. Who would win this game?
The Texans had the opening possession of the game, but the offense was unable to do anything with this possession and quickly punted the ball away to the Panthers. In reply to this, the Panthers’ offense was also unable to move the ball far down the field and also punted.
Two more punts that ended similar drives like above gave possession back to Houston. We would then see a long drive from the Texans. Led by rookie quarterback C.J Stroud, the Texans offense started from their 8-yard line. From here, the Texans very slowly made their way across the 50-yard line and down into the Panthers’ red zone. The Texans would then make it down to the 2-yard line. From here, Dameon Pierce would run into the endzone to score a 2-yard rushing touchdown to take the lead. Or did he? The play went to a review, as all scoring plays do, and the ruling on the play was that Pierce was down at the one-yard line. This removed the touchdown from the board.
However, on the next play of the game, Texans’ running back Andrew Beck found the endzone for a one-yard rushing touchdown. This capped off a 17-play, 92-yard drive lasting nearly 10 minutes.Embed from Getty Images
In reply to the Texans finding their way down into the endzone, the Panthers were close to doing it themselves. Led by quarterback Bryce Young, who has not had the best of starts to his NFL career, the Panthers’ offense was able to make their way down deep into the Houston red zone, aided by a 31-yard pass from Young to Adam Thielen. From the 5-yard line, Carolina would make it down to the one-yard line at one point, before the drive stalled at the 2-yard line. The Panthers would attempt a fourth down conversion in an attempt to score a touchdown. Young’s pass to Thielen would be incomplete, and the possession would be handed over to Houston.
Carolina would be successful in their next drive, which had them moving forward and backwards due to a range of penalties. They would again find themselves down at the Texans’ one-yard line. From here, Young would find Tommy Tremble for the touchdown pass. However, the Panthers’ PAT attempt would be unsuccessful. This would mean that at halftime, the Texans would have a 7-6 lead.
The Panthers would have the opening possession of the second half, and this drive would end in some points for Carolina. The Bryce Young-led offense would stall at the Texans’ 28-yard line. This set up Panthers’ kicker Eddie Piñero with a 46-yard field goal attempt. He would be successful with this, and the Panthers would take the lead in this game.
Things would soon get better for Carolina on the next drive of the game. The Texans would have the ball on their 22-yard line. C.J. Stroud would find Beck for an 8-yard pass. However, Beck would fumble the ball which would be scooped up by the Panthers’ defense. In response to this, Carolina would be able to increase their lead through a 37-yard field goal from Piñero.
However, this lead would not last long. At least in relation to game drives. The Texans would have possession again, and the Stroud-led offense would make their way down from their 25-yard line to the Panthers’ one-yard line. There, Houston would have three attempts at finding the endzone. Their first two attempts failed. But, it would be third time lucky for the Texans as Stroud would run the ball into the endzone. The Texans would then attempt a two-point conversion. They would be successful with this and would take a 2-point lead over the Panthers, as we entered the final quarter.Embed from Getty Images
Not a lot happened in the early part of the final quarter. We did have 4 consecutive punts. I would call it a “Festival of Kicking”, but compared to another game that is being reviewed below, this was nothing. This would all end when the Panthers had the ball with over 6 minutes to go.
Bryce Young and company would very slowly drive down the field and into the Texans’ Red Zone. Then, with time running out, they set up a 23-yard field goal attempt to win the game. Eddie Piñero stepped up and his kick was successful. He kicked three separate field goals, but there were penalties in two of them. But, it was again third-time lucky in this game. The Carolina Panthers had defeated the Houston Texans 15-13.
This is the first win of the season for the Panthers and for Bryce Young. They move to 1-6 on the season. For the Texans, this is a narrow defeat, but it should not ruin any momentum they have. With the defeat, Houston falls to 3-4 for the season. Next week, the Panthers face the Indianapolis Colts, while the Texans face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Worst Game Ever
When deciding on which games to pick to do a long review of, I normally choose the biggest games of each week or a game that has a storyline to it. I then give these games a “play by play” like review. This game, I can’t do that. The sole reason is that not a lot happened.
This week was the Battle of New York/New Jersey between the New York Jets and the New York Giants. As a Giants fan, I full-heartedly apologize to everyone for my team’s performance and to anyone who had the displeasure of having to watch this game.
A lot happened. Giants backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor injured his ribs, so the Giants put in their third-string quarterback Tommy DeVito in the game. Apart from scoring a touchdown to give the Giants the lead, he did nothing. It was almost like he was scared of the ball.
We would have a range of field goals from both teams in the game, including the winning field goal from the Jets in an overtime period that only happened due to a frankly incompetent decision from the Giants’ coaching staff.
There would be two things that people will remember from this game. Firstly the fact that the Giants offense had a combined -8 yards on offense, the lowest ever in a game that went to overtime. If that wasn’t bad, there were 24 punts in this game. There were more punts in this game than there were points (both teams combined for a total of 23 points). I call periods in games where many kicks happen “Festival of Kicking” but, like any fair, it doesn’t stay for long and the offense arrives. This game was not a festival, but a permanent display of Kicking with the occasional bit of offense in the gaps.
Again, as a football fan, but mostly as a fan of the New York Giants, I am sorry. Now let’s hope it never happens again.
What happened in the other games?
After their loss against the New England Patriots last week, the Buffalo Bills faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. Buffalo would return to normal form, with Josh Allen throwing for 2 touchdowns in their 24-18 victory.
Early in the season, the Dallas Cowboys were destroying teams and scoring many points. They returned to this in their game against the Los Angeles Rams. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott would score 4 touchdowns in the Cowboys 43-20 demolition.
Rivals met at Lambeau Field as the Green Bay Packers faced the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings would win the game 24-10 but would lose quarterback Kirk Cousins late in the game. His future is still unknown, but the Vikings traded for Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs on the trade deadline day, so expect Kirk to be out for a while.
The New Orleans Saints traveled to Indianapolis to face the Colts. In a high-scoring game, the Saints would defeat the Colts 38-27
In the last couple of years, the New England Patriots have struggled to defeat the Miami Dolphins in Florida. This year would be no different. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa would have another standout day, scoring 3 touchdowns in Miami’s 31-17 winEmbed from Getty Images
The Jacksonville Jaguars continued their strong season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a game where another quarterback was injured (Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett), the Jags would win 20-10
The NFC leading Philadelphia Eagles faced fellow NFC East Side the Washington Commanders. Early in the game, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts appeared to develop a knee injury. This did not stop him, from scoring 4 touchdowns in the Eagles’ 38-31 victory.
The Cleveland Browns faced the Seattle Seahawks and looked like they were going to win the game up until the last minute. Then, Geno Smith threw the winning touchdown to give the Seahawks a 24-20 victory.
The Arizona Cardinals continued their poor season this week against the Baltimore Ravens. Ravens running back Gus Edwards would score 3 touchdowns in Baltimores’ 31-24 victory.
The Sunday Night Football game featured the Chicago Bears visiting the Los Angeles Chargers. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert would score 3 touchdowns and Cameron Dicker, the Chargers kicker would kick 3 field goals in their comfortable 30-13 victory over the BearsEmbed from Getty Images
Monday night’s game featured the Las Vegas Raiders facing the Detroit Lions. Unsurprisingly, the Lions would win this game 26-14. The loss would mean a lot more for Las Vegas, as days later their entire front office, including head coach Josh McDaniels would be fired.
So, that was week 8 in the NFL. We had everything. Comebacks, first-time winners, and whatever you could call the Giants game. Next week, the Bye weeks return and the NFL goes to Frankfurt for the first time ever.