PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY
We have reached the halfway point of the NFL season and we still have a long way to go.
The Steelers remain undefeated after a 28-24 victory over their arch-rival Ravens, but we will further discuss that later on.
The Jets remain winless on the season as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs beat them down 35-9. The good news in that is the fact that they are in prime position for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, where they will likely draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, assuming he enters the draft.
Mahomes threw for 416 yards and five touchdowns. He did this by completing 31 of 42 passes. To put that into a crazier perspective, the Jets have four passing touchdowns on 270 attempts. So tell me again why some consider Sam Darnold a franchise quarterback…
The Raiders defeated the Browns at their own game; pounding the rock on the ground and controlling the time of possession. Las Vegas had the ball for nearly 38 minutes of the game. Josh Jacobs led the way with 128 yards on 31 carries.
Despite Derek Carr throwing a touchdown, this was a game not meant for quarterbacks. The weather was a huge factor, with all the seasons coming into play. There was snow, rain, hail, and winds up to 36 MPH. The stats won’t indicate it, but Baker Mayfield didn’t play a bad game. He completed 12 of 25 passes for 122 yards. Of the 13 incompletions, six of those were dropped passes, including an overturned touchdown from Jarvis Landry.
What the hell is a catch in the NFL these days?
Joe Burrow continued his impressive rookie campaign by throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals 31-20 upset victory over the Titans.
It was the Dalvin Cook show in Green Bay as the running back returned from injury and rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns while catching two passes for 63 yards and another score. Minnesota knocked off the Packers 28-22.
Don’t look now, but the Dolphins are looking to be a real contender in the AFC East. Miami has won three-straight games by 10+ points for the first time since 2014. On Sunday, it was the Dolphins defense that stepped up big time against the Rams. Miami got a sack and forced a fumble which Andrew Van Ginkel returned 78-yards for a touchdown. After forcing a three-and-out, Jakeem Grant returned a punt 88-yards to pay dirt. Miami recorded two fumble recoveries and two interceptions in a 28-17 victory over the Rams.
The Patriots have lost four consecutive games for the first time since 2002. The Lions lost their seventh-consecutive home game. Yikes.
Russell Wilson went off for 261 yards and four touchdowns with DK Metcalf catching 12 passes for 161 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Seahawks improved to 6-1 after defeating the 49ers 37-27. In the game, the Niners lost tight end George Kittle for up to eight weeks due to a foot injury and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo indefinitely due to an ankle injury. The injury bug continues to plague the 49ers.
Steelers Down Ravens to Improve to 7-0
Pittsburgh improved to 7-0 for the second time in franchise history, the other time being in 1978 in route to a Super Bowl.
Robert Spillane got the game started with a third-down pick-six off Lamar Jackson 54-seconds into the game. Baltimore responded with a nine-play, 65-yard drive and tied the game when Jackson found Miles Boykin from six-yards out.
Pittsburgh coughed up the football when Chase Claypool fumbled after a 10-yard reception. Baltimore gave the ball back nearly two-and-a-half minutes later when Bud Dupree sacked Jackson and forcing a fumble. The Steelers were unable to capitalize and punted the ball away.
Baltimore marched downfield on a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive finished off by Gus Edwards from a yard out. The Ravens rushed for 69-yards on the drive with Edwards rushing for 32 of those yards. After yet another Steelers punt, Baltimore struck again, driving 64-yards on 15 plays, mostly on the ground again. They settled for a field goal to extend the lead to 17-7 at the half.
The Steelers started the third quarter with a three-and-out but got the ball back on the first play of the ensuing Ravens drive as Alex Highsmith picked off Jackson. Pittsburgh would capitalize by scoring two plays later when Ben Roethlisberger found tight end, Eric Ebron, for an 18-yard touchdown. 17-10.
After a Ravens three-and-out, the Steelers put together a 10-play, 57-yard scoring drive capped off by James Conner’s fifth rushing touchdown of the season. Conner had four all of 2019. 21-17 Steelers.
The two teams exchanged punts and then the Ravens regained the lead on an eight-play, 63-yard drove, finished by a three-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Marquise Brown. 24-21 Ravens.
Pittsburgh retaliated as Roethlisberger orchestrated an eight-play drive, all through the air and aided by two crucial Baltimore penalties, and capped it off by finding rookie wide receiver, Chase Claypool, for an eight-yard touchdown. 28-24 Steelers.
Baltimore continued to run the football right down the field to the Pittsburgh eight-yard line. Then on fourth-and-three with two minutes remaining, it appeared that Jackson was about to rush for a first down. That was until Isiah Buggs slowed him down allowing Minkah Fitzpatrick to jar the ball loose and Spillane pounced on it, his second takeaway of the game.
Baltimore drove once more after getting the defensive stop, but Jackson’s pass intended for Willie Snead fell incomplete, thus ending the game.
Big Ben threw for 182 yards with 158 coming in the second half. Jackson finished with four total turnovers. The Ravens rushed for 265 yards including 113 from J.K. Dobbins, who became just the second player (Gus Edwards) to rush for over 100 yards on the Steelers since 2019.
Pittsburgh recorded a sack for the 64th consecutive game, the second-longest streak since 1982 when sacks became an official stat. They have won 17-straight when getting a defensive touchdown.
AFC: 1. Steelers 2. Chiefs 3. Bills 4. Titans 5. Ravens 6. Colts, 7. Browns
NFC: 1. Seahawks 2. Packers 3. Saints 4. Eagles 5. Cardinals 6. Buccaneers 7. Rams
MVP: Russell Wilson – SEA – Russ has the Seahawks out to a 6-1 start. He has thrown an NFL-leading 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions while completing 71.5 percent of his passes, a career-high.
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett – CLE – Garrett has recorded nine sacks (tied for first with Aaron Donald) this season, with four of them being strip-sacks. The Browns are undefeated when he records a strip-sack and are 5-3 overall. He is a difference-maker on the field and is a huge part of the team’s success.
Rookie of the Year: Justin Herbert – LAC – Listen, you can’t go wrong with either Herbert or Joe Burrow, but for now, give me Herbert. He has thrown for 1,820 yards, 15 touchdowns, five interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 104.5. This was in just six games and is a bit more impressive due to the nature in which Herbert was named the starter. This is going to be a fun race to watch in the second half of the season.
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin – PIT – Tomlin has his team as the last unbeaten team in the NFL. 7-0 for the second time in franchise history. The defense has an elite pass rush and the offense is balanced. This team is a Super Bowl contender and led by Tomlin, who continues to find success in the league.
Comeback Player of the Year: Ben Roethlisberger – PIT – Big Ben isn’t in the MVP discussion, but he’s still having a quality season. He has thrown for 1,628 yards, 15 touchdowns, and just four interceptions while completing 67.9 percent of his passes. He showed this past week why he is one of the best when operating the no-huddle offense.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Queen – BAL – Queen has had one hell of a start to his NFL career. He has 48 combined tackles, 35 solo, with two sacks, five QB hits, four tackles for loss, two forced and recovered fumbles, including a return for a touchdown. He’s been a big contributor on defense and a big reason Baltimore is 5-2.
Quarterbacks that played well in Week 8
Patrick Mahomes – KC – 31/42, 416 yards, 5 touchdowns – W vs NYH
Matthew Stafford – DET – 24/42, 336 yards, 3 touchdowns, INT – L vs IND
Aaron Rodgers – GB – 27/41, 291 yards, 3 touchdowns – L @ MIN
Russell Wilson – SEA – 27/37, 261 yards, 4 touchdowns – W vs SF
Philip Rivers – IND – 23/33, 262 yards, 3 touchdowns – W @ DET
Running backs that played well in Week 8
Dalvin Cook – MIN – 30 carries, 163 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 receptions, 63 yards, TD – W @ GB
Josh Jacobs – LV – 31 carries, 128 yards – W @ CLE
J.K. Dobbins – BAL – 15 carries, 113 yards – L vs PIT
Derrick Henry – TEN – 18 carries, 112 yards, touchdown – L @ CIN
Alvin Kamara – NO – 12 carries, 67 yards, 9 receptions, 96 yards – W @ CHI
Wide receivers that played well in Week 8
DK Metcalf – SEA – 12 receptions, 161 yards, 2 touchdowns – W vs SF
Julio Jones – ATL – 7 receptions, 137 yards, – W @ CAR
Corey Davis – TEN – 8 receptions, 128 yards, touchdown – L @ CIN
Cooper Kupp – LAR – 11 receptions, 110 yards –L @ Miami
Brandon Aiyuk – SF – 8 receptions, 91 yards, touchdown – L @ SEA
Key Matchups in Week 9
Seahawks (6-1) @ Bills (5-2) 1 PM CBS
Bears (5-3) @ Titans (5-2) 1 PM FOX
Ravens (5-2) @ Colts (5-2) I PM FOX
Dolphins (4-3) @ Cardinals (5-2) 4:25 PM CBS
Saints (5-2) @ Buccaneers (6-2) Sunday Night Football NBC
That wraps it up for Week 8. Be sure to hit me up on Twitter @KingEdward15 and let me know who you have as award winners and what you’re looking forward to most in Week 9.