Week 8 was brutal for a multitude of NFL teams, this was not like any other week I have ever witnessed. If it wasn’t one injury it was another, all ranging from a severe concussion to an Achilles tear. Despite these devastating loses teams still have eight more weeks to make their push into the post-season, and as we know the healthiest teams often see the most success. Let’s not let the injury plague this week overshadow the record breaking Saints-Giants game, the ending of Bears-Vikings, or overtime of Buccaneers-Falcons game. All of these games have had impressive performances associated with them let’s see if their players made the cut.
In spite of facing a team whose passing defense has been impressive all year long, Derek Carr led his team to victory on Sunday. Against the New York Jets defense, Carr moved the pocket and made plays with his arm. At times he put his trust in the receivers by targeting them in close coverage, which paid off down the stretch. Under his leadership the Oakland Raiders were able to defeat the Jets 34-20.
On paper Carr completed 23 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns, amassing a quarterback rating of 130.9. If you were able to watch this game then you would agree in saying that his composure was just as striking as his stats. The Jets’ defense brought the pressure, but the Raiders offense stayed calm and delivered their own style of play. After this game it is reasonable seeing the Raiders name on the list of top ten teams by passing yards per game.
In week 9 the Raiders will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which compared to the Jets, they have a weaker pass defense. The Steelers make up for this setback with their defense against the run, so expect to see Derek Carr putting the ball in the air more this game. Things have finally began to click for the Raiders making the AFC West an even scarier place to play.
The St. Louis Rams have struck gold in their rookie Todd Gurley, and he has only been starting since week four. On Sunday, Gurley help boost the Rams over the San Francisco 49ers, who have been on a lot of teams highlight tapes lately. The rookie has proved his worth, after tearing his ACL, Gurley continued to enter the draft where the Rams picked him up with the 10th picked.
Not only did Gurley have an outstanding performance on Sunday, but he also set a record while doing so. The rookie running back ran for 133 yards on 20 carries, and topped it off with one touchdown. This is his fourth game where he has rushed for 100+ yards, totaling 566 yards in his first four starts. This breaks the existing record for highest rushing total (539) for a player in their first four career starts.
Since Gurley has been starting the Rams have won three of their last four games. Their next opponent they face will be the Minnesota Vikings who has had a pretty solid defense so far, only giving up 104 rushing yards per game. This will be a good matchup for the rookie, with the comparisons to Adrian Peterson he will finally to a chance to set himself apart.