NFL Rewind

NFL Week 8: Good, bad and ugly

49ers.com

Nail-biters, blowouts, close games, and games that looked closer than what the final score indicated. Week eight of NFL action had a smorgasbord of the type of games played. Here are my observations:

The Good

-49ers running back Tevin Coleman had a historic performance in their 51-13 romp over the Panthers. He's the first 49er since Roger Craig in '88 to have at least two rushing and one receiving touchdowns in a game; and only the third to have four touchdowns in a game (Jerry Rice in '90 & '93, Billy Kilmer in '61). Oh...and rookie defensive end Nick Bosa had three sacks to aid the 49ers 7-0 start to their season. This was a guy I wanted the Texans to sign in the offseason. Did I mention quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 81.8% of his passes?

-Sticking the best division in the NFL (the NFC West), the Rams had quite a day against the Bengals in London. Jared Goff threw for 372 yards and two touchdowns. 220 of those yards and one of those touchdowns came from Cooper Kupp. While their pass to run ratio was more balanced this game (31 to 26), the offensive attack was still pass heavy. It happened to work this game, but only because it was more balanced.

-Despite losing to the Lions 31-26, the Giants have a bright future. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones threw four touchdown passes and completed 68% of his passes, Saquon Barkley had 27 touches for 143 yards, and the team traded a 2020 3rd & a 2021 5th round pick for Jets' defensive lineman Leonard Williams. If they resign Williams and continue to develop around Jones and Barkley, this team will be fun to watch for years to come.

The Bad

-In a game pitting the teams with the top two picks in the 2015 draft, the Titans came out victorious 27-23 over the Bucs. One would've expected Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston to battle it out. However, Mariota has been benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill (63% completion percentage and three touchdowns), and Jameis completed less than 50% of his passes. Mariota is most likely out in Tennessee, but Jameis appears to have his coach in his corner as Bruce Arians called out the receivers for Jameis' bad day. Total bleep show.

-Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton is still rehabbing his foot injury according to his coach Ron Rivera. So the team is sticking with Kyle Allen moving forward. The real question is: will they stick with Allen once Cam is healthy? Or even more provocative: will they trade Newton before deadline or get rid of him in the offseason?

-Falcons quarterback, and former Texan, Matt Schaub threw for 460 yards and completed 75% of his passes, but only threw one touchdown pass in a 27-20 loss to the Seahawks. This was one of the games that looked closer than what the score indicated because the Seahawks jumped out to a 24-0 lead at the half and cruised to victory. Schaub's stat line was reminiscent of his Texans days. (I apologize to any Texans' fans for opening up this wound.)

The Ugly

-Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco drove a bus over his coaches, reversed it, and ran over them again in his postgame presser. Flacco (rightfully so I might add) was upset at the lack of aggression, specifically the decision to punt on 4th&5 with the ball on the Colts' 43-yard line. At 2-5, now 2-6, what do you have to lose? The salt in the wound: Flacco expected to miss "significant time" with a neck injury.

-The 3-3 Bears were down 17-16, 1st&10 with the ball on the Chargers' 21 yard line, :43 seconds left in the game and a timeout. Bears' coach Matt Nagy chose to let the clock run, kneel the ball, and opted for a field goal. Given their kicker woes over the last season plus, you'd think they'd go for a touchdown, or a closer field goal at least. The field goal of course went wide left and they lost. What a terrible way to lose.

-After eight weeks of football, there are approximately 207 players placed in injured reserve (give or take a few here and there). Some may have a designation to return, some won't. Football is a tough sport. It won't get any less tough without fundamentally changing it. That said, the league and the owners need to give the players more when negotiating the next CBA. They play the most violent game, and have the least amount of job security and guaranteed money among pro athletes.

Week eight brings about a midpoint of sorts for the NFL season. By the time most of you read this, the trade deadline will be quickly approaching, or have passed. There's already been some player movement as teams who are "tanking" or punting on this season have off-loaded players in favor of draft picks to build for the future. An active NFL trade deadline is another way for the sport to have more mass appeal, as if it needed anymore. The second half of the season should bring about more exciting action. I'm especially looking forward to the lesser teams upsetting their playoff bound opponents. Feeling cheesy. May write a midseason award type of article next week. IDK.

Vikings 28, Cowboys 24

Cowboys-Vikings: Good, bad and ugly

Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Sunday's night's game between Minnesota and Dallas left a lot to be desired for Cowboys fans. Although it was a good game from a football perspective and competitive until the very end, poor play calling in the Red Zone cost them another victory as the Vikings secured a 28-24 win in Arlington.

The Good

Dak Prescott had a strong game with 397 passing yards and only one interception on a Hail Mary to end the game. Prescott seemed to be playing with an abundance of confidence as compared to previous games in which the Cowboys lost. The Vikings' defense was able to stop the Cowboys' run game early and often which forced Prescott to try and beat the Vikings through the air. He performed admirably and almost led the Cowboys to a comeback victory.

Both teams had great offensive performances with tons of crazy circus-like catches. Amari Cooper had two of those crazy catches. One gem was a toe-tapping reception that set up a 23-yead Michael Gallup touchdown two plays later. His other catch was a 12-yard touchdown to put the Cowboys up 21-20. Cooper led the game in catches with 11 receptions on 14 targets for 147 yards. Prescott and Cooper have looked in sync since his return from his injury that forced him to miss the Eagles game.

Randell Cobb recaptured some of his old Packers' magic and had his best game as a Cowboy. He had six receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown. Both Prescott and Cobb were on the same page for multiple plays, and it is a good indication that he will be utilized more going forward.

The Bad

The Cowboys could not get the run game going against Minnesota's stellar defensive line. After three straight 100-yard games, Ezekiel Elliot only rushed for a total of 47 yards on 20 carries. This forced the Cowboys to adjust their game plan and made Prescott prime to beat the Vikings defense. Everything worked in the Vikings favor early on when they scored two quick touchdowns.

Normally it is the Cowboys' offense that gets off to slow starts, but this time it was the defense that couldn't step up in the first quarter. Kirk Cousins was able to torch the Cowboys' secondary for 220 yards and two passing touchdowns to Kyle Rudolph. Even without their Pro Bowl Receiver Adam Thielen, the Vikings receivers feasted on the Cowboys' secondary. The Kubiak offense was on full display as his famous bootleg screens and run blocking schemes left the Cowboys dazed and confused as to how to stop the Vikings.

Dalvin Cook had a field day with the Cowboys' defense, rushing for 97 yards and had seven receptions for 86 yards. Compared to last week, guys like Sean Lee and Demarcus Lawrence had subpar games. Leighton Vander Esh returned from his one game absence, but was practically a no show when it came to stopping the Vikings run game.

The ugly

Jason Garret and Kellen Moore could be credited for some gutsy play calls on offense Sunday night. The Cowboys even lined up in the Wild Cat formation at one point. The change in offensive strategy worked in the first half, but the play calling regressed when they were insistent on running the ball. This was most apparent in the 4th quarter when the boys were down by four in the red zone. The Cowboys had a first down at the Minnesota 19 but insisted on continuing to force the ball to Elliott when the Vikings had made it clear they could shut him down. After three dismal running plays, Prescott then tried to force a pass to Elliot which was deflected by Vikings Linebacker Eric Kendricks. This pitiful selection of plays ultimately cost the Cowboys the game and put Jason Garret back on the hot seat.

For the Vikings, Kyle Rudolf had a great game. It seemed as though anyone who the Cowboys sent to cover him would be in trouble. He had a total of three red zone scores, two touchdowns and one 2-point conversion. His first touchdown was a great one-handed catch that Sean Lee couldn't do anything about. On his other two scores both Lee and Chidoble Awuzie couldn't cover him. He scored 14 of the Vikings 28 points and was their biggest weapon in the red-zone.

For the third straight game, Jeff Heath left with an injury. I give kudos to his toughness and willingness to come back to the field as soon as possible, but if he is hurt he should not be on the field. When healthy, Heath is a pro bowl safety and could have been an answer for Rudolf. Heath suffered a shoulder injury which caused him to leave the game in the first half. If he is still hurt, the Cowboys should consider resting him a week or two.

The next team the Cowboys will see is the injury-riddled Lions. Although this game may look easy on paper, the Cowboys should never underestimate their opponent again after what happened during the Jets game. The Cowboys are currently tied with the Eagles atop the NFC East. Both team schedules get tough after next week, so expect a grueling race to take place in the NFC East going forward.




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