NFL Week 8 Recap: Saints top Giants in shootout, Seahawks/Cowboys an ugly one
By Roger Sinclair
Patriots 36 Dolphins 7
Maybe my belief in Dan Campbell was overzealous, or maybe the Patriots are paralleling their 2007 squad. New England got a relatively easy victory at home on Thursday night (unlike Pitt) and took care of business. Dion Lewis’s affect on the Patriots became apparent in his abscnese last week against New York, and his return this week made the team far better. Lewis finished the game with 112 all purpose yards and a receiving touchdown. Miami only mustered 15 yards rushing and Ryan Tannehill tossed two interceptions. The Dolphins defense couldn’t stop the Patriots’ high powered offense, as they gained 437 total yards. The Patriots didn’t even play incredibly efficient offense until the second half, but still managed to earn a dominant victory. More bad news for Miami, who lose Cameron Wake for the season with a ruptured Achilles. New England takes on Washington next week, and barring another Kirk Cousins comeback, New England should stay undefeated on the year. Miami takes on Buffalo in a battle of underperforming AFC East teams.
Lions 10 Chiefs 45
Firing Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator seemed to have minimal effect on the anemic Detroit offense, who struggled all game against a Chiefs defense that is finally beginning to show up this season. The fans at Wembley stadium hardly got a good game, as Kansas City led 24-3 at halftime and never looked back. The Chiefs ran for 206 yards and four touchdowns, continuing to excel despite losing Jamaal Charles for the season. Detroit’s defense did not help their cause at all and were still unable to create any rushing defense or coverage ability. This team looks old, uninspired, and quite possibly like the worst team in the NFL. It’s hard to fault Matthew Stafford for his offense’s horrid showings the last two games, as he has been sacked 13 times during them. The Lions have a bye this week and hopefully can figure out how to finish the season respectably after a 1-7 start. Kansas City, on a two game winning streak, also have a bye week and hope that their little hot streak doesn’t cool off too much.
Cardinals 34 Browns 20
The Cardinals wanted to make this game interesting and allowed Cleveland to take a 20-7 lead in the first half. Arizona proceeded to outscore the Browns 27-0 and quite easily pick up this victory. The Over-the-Hill Gang continues to impress the NFL, and the Cardinals sit at 6-2 and in control of the NFC West. Carson Palmer threw for 374 yards and four touchdowns, Chris Johnson ran for 109 yards (and appears to have a new contract coming his way) and Larry Fitzgerald finished the day with 84 yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals also were 13-16 on third down, or 81.3%. In other words, their offense is incredible. Cleveland lost its third straight game to fall to 2-6, lost Joe Hadan and Donte Whitner to concussions, and travel to undefeated Cincinnati on a short week. I think we can pencil in the Browns at 2-7.
Bengals 16 Steelers 10
This game could have very well decided the AFC North title race, as Cincy now has a 3.5 game lead in the division and appears to be able to win even when they insist on handing the game over to Pittsburgh. Andy Dalton had a rough day passing, throwing two interceptions and one horrid pick in the end zone to Antwon Blake. However, his 4th quarter touchdown to AJ Green proved to be the difference. Ben Roethlisberger lost this game for Pittsburgh, as interceptions on two straight passes sealed the deal. While we could talk about that point, the only thing that matters in the Steel City is the loss of Le’veon Bell for the rest of the season with a torn MCL –an unfortunate James Conner parallel. The third year running back suffered the injury when his leg was caught between a defender and the ground. Reggie Nelson, whose cheap shot knocked Bell out of the 2014 Playoffs was in on the play, probably shouldn’t come to Western PA anytime soon. The Bengals host the lowly Browns Thursday night and Pittsburgh hosts the upbeat Raiders on Sunday as they look to find life after the loss of Le’veon Bell.
Giants 49 Saints 52
Unfortunately, there was no way for both of these teams to win this shootout in the Super Dome on Sunday. Many people saw this game as an uninteresting contest, but it turned into two amazing quarterbacks slinging it against the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Eli Manning and Drew Brees combined for 13 touchdowns (a new NFL record) and both appeared unstoppable. It seemed like the team who had the ball last would win this one, which is exactly what happened. Kai Forbath kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired and New Orleans improved to 4-4 on the season. New York falls to 4-4 on the season, but they have to be feeling good about Eli Manning after he had a relatively poor game against the Cowboys. New York heads to Tampa Bay next week and hopes to go above .500 as their bye week approaches. New Orleans heads into their bye week with back to back victories. While their chances of winning the NFC South may be slim, they have a chance of gaining a Wild Card berth.
Buccaneers 23 Falcons 20 OT
Tampa Bay barely held onto their lead this week, as it took overtime to beat the red hot Falcons. Jameis Winston performed admirably and was able to guide the Bucs offense efficiently all game. This is Winston’s second game in a row where he appears to have figured out the NFL and may be turning the corner. Atlanta had another anemic game offensively, and if not for Tampa Bay’s bad defense and Julio Jones, would have been embarrassed again. It’s okay to score 10 points against the Titans, but Tampa Bay taught the Falcons that they still have work to do. We have to remember that this Falcons team finished 6-10 last year and have already matched their win total from last year. Tampa Bay (3-4) already has more winds than last year and Jameis appears to be turning a corner. Atlanta heads to San Francisco next week, hoping to get back on their winning ways. Tampa Bay hosts the Giants and look to improve off of an impressive win.
Seahawks 13 Cowboys 12
A game that was way closer than it should have been, Seattle scoots by in Dallas to improve to 4-4 on the season. In another embarrassing offensive showing, Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks struggled to be consistent. Wilson connected with Luke Willson for the only touchdown of the game in the 2nd quarter and also led Seattle to the game winning field goal in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately for Dallas, even the return of Dez Bryant couldn’t prevent their 5 game losing streak. Matt Cassel only mustered up 97 yards passing with no touchdowns. Dallas continues to get close to a victory, however it is now incredibly apparent that the team can’t perform competitively without Tony Romo. Dallas takes on the Eagles next Sunday night on what should be one of the worst primetime football games in recent NFL history. Seattle has its bye week, which will hopefully fix their putrid offense.