NFL Week 8 Review: Broncos Country rode, The Eagles soared, and The Dolphins swam to victory

Week 8 in the NFL had it all. An international game, a rematch of the Super Bowl people wanted a few ago and two interstate battles were on the card. Let’s review it.

Thursday night in Tampa with Tom

Tom Brady has had a hard week on and off the field. His Tampa Bay Buccaneers side is struggling to win games and are in no shape to make the playoffs, and his marriage to Gisele has collapsed. Could things get worse for Brady, as the Ravens came to town on Thursday night?

Right from the off, Tampa Bay were in trouble. After forcing the Ravens to punt on their opening drive, all they had to do was catch the punt and start their possession. . The Buccaneers’ receiver muffed the punt, and the loose ball was recovered by the Ravens at the 6-yard line. Surely Raven’s quarterback Lamar Jackson could convert this into 7 points. He couldn’t, and Baltimore had to settle for a 22-yard Justin Tucker field goal. After a short delay, it was time for the now single 7 times Super Bowl champion to take to the field. In their opening drive, the Buccaneers drove the ball down deep into Raven’s territory, aided by a 44-yard Brady pass. Running back Lenard Fournette then ran the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown and gave Tampa Bay the lead.

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The Ravens were still struggling on offense. On their next two drives, Jackson struggled to move the ball at all. The same could not be said for the Buccaneers, who scored a 31-yard Ryan Succop field goal between the failing Raven’s drives. The game’s second quarter was full of failing drives. Both team could not get the ball moving. When Baltimore had some luck, their drive was limited due to penalties on their offense, including a 20-yard penalty for Jackson for Intentional Grounding. Before the half, an opportunity to score was finally seen for the Ravens. A 4th and 2 attempt on the Buccaneers’ 9-yard line failed due to another incomplete attempt by Jackson. The Ravens redeemed themselves on their next drive into field goal territory, again aided by penalties against Tampa Bay. But to add to everyone’s misery, Justin Tucker’s 61-yard field goal was blocked. Tampa Bay had a 10-3 lead at the half, in what was at this point, another boring Thursday Night game.

The second half began just as the first one ended, with a Tampa Bay drive going nowhere. But then, the sports gods woke up. We had a score! A 10-play 77-yard drive for Baltimore ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Kendall Drake. On their next drive, the Ravens scored another touchdown. This time a 10-yard pass from Jackson found Likely for the score and an increase in their lead to 10 points. Brady had to respond with something. In a drive that had more incomplete passes than complete passes, Brady and company moved the ball for the first time in the second half. Well, I say that. The ball was moved mostly on one play, a 51-yard pass from Brady found Mike Evans. The lack of movement in the rest of the drive led to a 30-yard Ryan Succop field goal to make it a one-possession game.

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While the Buccaneers were finding one long play in a sea of incompletions, the Ravens were more consistent. In their next drive, Baltimore successfully had no incompletions in a 93-yard drive ending with a 15-yard Duvernay touchdown to increase the Ravens’ lead. Tampa Bays’ response was a quick drive that ended in a 26-yard field goal. The Ravens scored a 30-yard field goal of their own to put it mostly out of reach for the Buccaneers. Brady did end the game by throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass but it was not enough, as the Ravens held on for a 27-22 victory.

With this win, the Ravens move to 5-3 on the season, while Tampa Bay are now 3-5, which is the worst start to a season Tom Brady has ever had. Brady threw for 325 yards and had a completion rate of 59.09% (26/44), which is surprising considering the number of incomplete passes, but not his worst performance this season. Next week, the Buccaneers welcome another former successful side now struggling in the Los Angeles Rams to Tampa Bay, while the Ravens visit New Orleans on Monday night.

Overtime in Atlanta

For the last couple of years, the NFC South has been dominated by either the New Orleans Saints or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This year, it is different. The matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons has additional significance, as the winner would be the sole owner of first place in the NFC South.

The game started in the worst possible way for Atlanta. Falcons Quarterback Marcus Mariota was intercepted on his opening play of the game. Luckily for them, Panthers quarterback PJ Walker could not do anything with it, and the drive resulted in a punt. However, the Panthers would be the ones to open the scoring. A 37-yard field goal gave Carolina a 3-point lead. The Falcons would soon reply. A near-perfect drive, ended in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Kyle Pitts, to get the Falcons the lead. A lead they would not have for very long. On their next drive, Foreman ran the ball into the endzone for a 2-yard rushing touchdown for the Panthers to give their lead back. Again, this lead would not last. On the Panthers’ next possession, PJ Walker was an interception by the Falcons’ defense, who ran the ball into the endzone for a pick 6, and a 14-10 lead at the half.

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Carolina would be somewhat more successful at the beginning of the second half. Their stalled drive resulted in a successful 42-yard field goal to reduce the Falcon’s lead to one point. After two drives that resulted in punts, the Falcons struck again. A 25-yard pass from Mariota to Allgeier found the endzone to increase their lead to 8 points. The lead would last one drive. Another Foreman rushing touchdown for the Panthers and a successful 2-point conversion tied the scores up at 21-21 going into the final quarter. But, as it has been throughout this, it did not last long. On the next drive, Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo scored a 30-yard field goal to put them back into the lead. A third Foreman rushing touchdown returned the lead to the Panthers on the next drive. Which was then followed by a 47-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to give Atlanta a 3-point lead going into the two-minute warning. Another Koo field goal with 36 seconds to go increased this lead to 6 points.

PJ Walker then did what Trevor Lawrence could not do. In three plays, the Panthers moved the ball into the endzone, highlighted by Walker’s 62-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore. The scores were tied. It was up to Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro to score the PAT and win the game for the Panthers. He missed. Overtime was upon us.

The opening for overtime was very similar to the opening of the game. A Mariota interception gave Carolina possession, and all they needed was a field goal to win the game. They were in field goal territory. It was again up to Eddy Pineiro to win it. Could he redeem himself? No. He missed. Again. Do you want to know who did not miss it? Falcons Kicker Koo scored a 41-yard field goal in overtime to win the game for the Falcons 37-34, and go to 4-4 on the season. The Panthers’ bad season continues as they fall to 2-6 and have to trip to Cincinnati next week, while the Falcons face the Los Angeles Chargers.

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Buffalo beat broken Green Bay

Sunday Night’s matchup was on paper a fantastic game. That is if you use last year’s teams. This was my dream Superbowl matchup for the last two seasons. This year, while the Bills one of the best teams again, and are favorites to reach the Superbowl where they might be facing Philadelphia (I do not think the world will be able to cope with a Buffalo- Philadelphia Super bowl) the Packers have been struggling since their London game against the Giants. It is also worth mentioning that the Green Bay Packers have never won in Buffalo. Could they do it this time?

The game did not start well for either team. The Bills opening drive when nowhere and the Packers turned the ball over on downs.  The Bills finally then showed why they are one of, if not the best team in the league this season. In a drive that was all rushing yardage, Bills Quarterback Josh Allen passed the ball one yard to Dawson Knox, who scored. After another Packers drive that ended in a punt, the Bills were at it again. This time, a 26-yard pass from Allen found Stefon Diggs, who found the endzone to give the Bills a 14-0 lead. 

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The Packers then finally got going. A 16-play, 80-yard drive ended with a 19-yard pass from Quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Doubs to finally give Wisconsites something to smile about. It did not last long. On the Bills’ next drive, Isaiah  McKenzie found the endzone on a 7-yard run to return the lead to 14 points. A 42-yard Tyler Bass field goal increased the Bills’ lead to 17 points at halftime. 

The best way to describe the second half of this game is weird. It began with another Packer drive stalling, but it did lead to points, as Mason Crosby hit a 38-yard field goal. Tyler Bass then replied with a 38-yard field goal for himself. Then it got weird. For the second time in the game, the Packers lost possession on a failed fourth-down attempt. On the following Buffalo drive, Josh Allen was intercepted. Possession Green Bay. On the next play, Aaron Rodgers was intercepted. Possession Buffalo. Allen would move the ball up to the Green Bay 3-yard line, mostly through a 41-yard pass. But then, for the second time in minutes, Josh Allen was intercepted. Possession Green Bay.  The Packers would score a touchdown on this possession, with Rodgers throwing a 37-yard pass to Toure. But it would not be enough. A missed 55-yard field goal from Mason Crosby did not help the Packers, as they fell to a 27-17 defeat, and lost their fourth game in a row.

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With their win, the Bills go to 6-1 and will face the New York Jets (Or as Bills fans always like to insist that they are New York’s only team, the New Jersey Jets, which does sound nicer)  next week, while the Packers can finally end their slump against the Detriot Lions. 

The London game no one wanted

The two London games we’ve had this season have been amazing. The Minnesota Vikings beat the New Orleans Saints on the last kick of the game. The whole state of Wisconsin came over to London to watch the Packers lose to a New York Giants side that dominated the second half. I was at that game, and it was an experience that will never be forgotten. Now it was the turn of “London’s Team”, the Jacksonville Jaguars. After losing by a yard to the Giants last week, they faced Russell Wilson’s struggling Denver Broncos. Would Bronco’s Country be riding in London?

The game did not start well for both sides, as both opening drives had a combined yardage of 6 yards. It got even worse for Denver, as they were intercepted on their next drive. The first score of the game followed, as a 22-yard pass from Jaguars Quarterback Trevor Lawrence found Evan Engram for the touchdown. After another drive that went nowhere for Denver, Lawrence again moved the ball up the field. The Jags were now into the Denver 5-yard line, points would surely come to the Jags. On the next play, Trevor Lawrence’s pass was intercepted on the goal line.

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The Jags would increase their lead in the second quarter through a 37-yard field goal. On the next drive, the Broncos would finally put something together. A 13-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Jeudy. With the trade deadline approaching, that touchdown could increase the interest for Jeudy from teams needed a wide receiver. The first half ended with two dismal drives from both teams, to give the Jaguars a 10-7 lead at halftime.

In an impressive drive to begin their second half, the Broncs moved the ball 98 yards up the Wembley field, with plays including 22 and 38-yard passes from Russell Wilson. This culminated in a 1-yard Melvin Gordon touchdown to put the Broncos into the lead. What would follow next is what the majority of people expected this game to be. A festival of punting. The next 6 consecutive drives ended in punts. I guess these teams decided to give English football a try as they were at Wembley. The monotony was finally broken when Travis Etienne scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown, in an impressive drive from the Jaguars which put them back into the lead. Not to be outdone by this, the Broncos immediately replied with a touchdown of their own. A 2-yard Latavius Murray run into the endzone returned the lead to Denver with around 90 seconds left on the clock.

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This was very similar to the position Trevor Lawrence was in last week, with the Jags needing a game-winning drive. Could he be successful this time, or would he again fall 1 yard short? Turns out, the drive would not even get going, as, on its opening play, he was intercepted, sealing a 21-17 victory for the Broncos, who go to 3-5 on the season. For the Jaguars, it is another close loss, as they fall to 2-6 on the season. Both teams have byes next week.

Probably the weakest game in London out of the three we have had this season. But that was expected. The NFL makes its debut in Germany in a couple of weeks, let’s hope they have a good game.

Eagles soar to 7-0

Sports in Philadelphia are currently doing very well. That’s annoying for this writer, but I’ll put my annoyance aside to admire (and take notes on) how well it is all going for the Eagles, Phillies, and Union. The same can’t be said for the fellow Pennsylvanian city of Pittsburgh. The 2-6 Steelers traveled along I-76 to face the still-unbeaten Eagles.

The Eagles opened the scoring, throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jaylon Hurts to AJ Brown. The Steelers quickly replied, however. A 1 yard Chase Claypool found Watt for a touchdown. This did not last long. On their next drive, Hurts and Brown again, throwing a 27-yard touchdown pass to return the lead to the Eagles. After three drives that did not go anywhere for either team, the Eagles found the endzone again. Just like the first two touchdowns, Hurts found Brown for a 29 yards touchdown. If you had AJ Brown in your fantasy team this week, you probably won. Pittsburgh would score a 38-yard field goal before halftime, with the Eagles leading 21-10 at halftime.

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Philadelphia’s lead would widen at the beginning of the second half, as Hurts did not find AJ Brown, but Zach Pascal for a 34-yard touchdown pass. The Steelers would again score a field goal, this time from 29 yards. But it was all meaningless. Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett was sacked and fumbled the ball for it to be recovered by the Eagles, who would convert it into another touchdown. This time Saunders ran it in for an 11-yard touchdown. Pickett was intercepted during the fourth quarter, and the Eagles just sat on the ball until time ran out, recording an easy 35-13 win to stay unbeaten. As for the Steelers, the high of beating Tom Brady a couple of weeks ago is gone, as they fall to 2-6 on the season and have a bye next week. The Eagles go to 7-0, which begs the question of who will beat them. They next play on Thursday night against Houston, at the same time the two cities’ baseball teams are playing the world series against each other. Friday morning is going to be fun.

High Scoring in the Motor City

What can we say about the Detroit Lions? Not a lot of positive things. This week, the 1-5 Lions face the Miami Dolphins. In the wild, a Lion probably could kill a Dolphin, would we see a lionhearted performance from Detroit in this game?

It started very well for them. On their opening drive, they scored a touchdown. A 7-yard Williams rushing touchdown gave the Lions the lead. Things got even better for Detriot, as on their opening possession that was looking like it would result in some points, Dolphins receiver Braylon Sanders fumbled the ball, which was scooped up by the Lions. From this, the Lions scored another touchdown. A 7-yard pass from Quarterback Jared Goff found the endzone, giving the Lions a 14-0 lead. Not wanting to be embarrassed by the Lions, the Dolphins scored on their next drive. An 85-yard drive ended in a 5-yard pass from Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovalloa, who found Jaylen Waddle for a touchdown. Cue the Waddle celebration, and now we’ve got Lions, Dolphins, and a Penguin.

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The scoring continued in the game’s next drive, as another Williams rushing touchdown returned the Lions 14 point lead. This was short-lived, as Tagovalloa and Waddle combined again for a 29-yard touchdown. Three field goals (2 from Detroit and 1 from Miami) would end a very entertaining and high-scoring first half, with Detroit leading the Dolphins 27-17 at halftime.

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More scoring opened the second half. A 1-yard rushing touchdown from the Dolphins reduced the Lions’ lead to 4 points and continued the game’s streak of consecutive drives ending in points to 8 drives. But like the majority of Detroit Lions seasons since the new millennium, they struggle to get to 9. The Lions punted on their next drive. Then at the end of the third quarter, Tagovalioa found Gesicki for an 11-yard touchdown to give the Dolphins the lead, and what would be the final score of the game, as the Lions struggled during the fourth quarter, and failed on a 4th down attempt near the end of the game to give Miami a 31-27 victory. The Dolphins are now 5-3 on the season and will face the Chicago Bears next week. The lions fall to 1-6, and face Green Bay next week. Paper bags at the ready Detriot, but save some for Green Bay, they are not doing well either.

What happened in the other games?

In a very high-scoring affair, Cowboys running back, Tony Pollard scored 3 touchdowns and rushed for 131 yards, and Quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 250 yards as the Dallas Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 49-29 to stay in the race in the very competitive NFC East.

The 5-1 Minnesota Vikings had a strong second half to beat the Arizona Cardinals 34-26 to continue their amazing start to the season and take control of the NFC North. Even though they lost, the Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray threw for 326 yards and scored 3 touchdowns.

After scoring nearly 40 points in last week’s win to the Houston Texans, the Las Vegas Raiders became allergic to the endzone this week, as they lost 24-0 to the New Orleans Saints.

The New York Jets were on a 4 game-winning streak as divisional rival the New England Patriots came to the Meadowlands. It was all eyes on the Quarterbacks in this meetup. Patriots QB Mac Jones played the whole game, while Jets Quarterback Zach Wilson got into the Halloween spirit was saw ghosts, in a game where he recorded 3 interceptions. The Patriots would win the game 22-17, ending the Jet’s streak.

In a game where former Liberty University quarterback Malik Willis made his NFL debut, it was all about Derek Henry. He scored two touchdowns, ran for 219 yards, and had 32 carries in the Titans’ 17-10 win over the Houston Texans. If you had both AJ Brown and Derrick Henry in your fantasy squad this week and you did not win, you are bad at fantasy football. On the subject of being bad, the Houston Texans still are. Luckily for Houston, the World Series is not over.

Former Texas Longhorns Quarterback Sam Ehlinger made his NFL debut in this game, and like the Texas Longhorns, he struggled. Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for 279 yards as another festival of kicking took place, this time in Indianapolis, as the Commanders beat the Colts by one point.

Christian McCaffrey ran for one touchdown, and scored another one as quarterback for a play, as Garoppolo and the 49ers beat the struggling Los Angeles Rams 31-14. A quick reminder, the Rams are the current Super Bowl champions. You wouldn’t think it.

The New York Giants are the surprise story of the year. They faced a tough test in Seattle. In a game that for the Giants was very similar to what they faced in London in terms of Atmosphere, first-half performance and even Daniel Jones’s hand became bloody in the same place as it did in London. It all meant nothing in the end. Putting on my New York Giants fan hat for a moment, All I have to say is this. Richie James made TWO muffed punt returns that resulted in touchdowns for the Seahawks, in their 27-13 win over the Giants. Take 14 points away, and you get 13-13. After the victory Seahawks quarterback, Geno Smith thanked former Giants coach Ben Mcadoo for the win, to add further salt to the wounds.

In the last two weeks, Joe Burrow and JaMarr Chase have teamed up to dominate their opponents. JaMarr Chase did not play on Monday night, where the Bengals met the Browns in the Battle of Ohio. I say Battle loosely, it was more of a massacre. Without Chase, there was little offense from Cincinnati, who suffered a 32-13 loss, where all of Cincinnati’s points were scored in the final quarter.

And that was week 8 in the NFL.

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