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:
-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.
-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.)
-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.
Houston Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker is open to a long-term contract and says preliminary dialogue had begun.
“Personally, I think we have the best team in the league," Tucker said Monday as the Astros started full squad workouts. “That’s the vibe around the clubhouse. You have to have that mindset, but you still have to earn it."
José Altuve agreed two weeks ago to a contract that will pay $125 million from 2025-29, raising the Astros' commitment to the second baseman to $151 million over the next six seasons.
Tucker has a $12 million, one-year deal and is eligible for free agency after the 2025 season. Houston faces an uncertain future with third baseman Alex Bregman, who gets $28.5 million in 2024, the final season of a $100 million, five-year contract.
Astros GM Dana Brown anticipates making offers.
“I’m always open to having those conversations and talk it through,” Tucker said. “I’d rather not prolong it forever.”
A two-time All-Star, the 27-year-old Tucker hit .284 last year with 29 homers, 30 stolen bases and a career-best 112 RBIs.
Bregman, who turns 30 on March 30, also is a two-time All-Star. He batted .262 with 25 homers and 98 RBIs last year.
“I expect to have the best season I’ve ever had,” he said Sunday. ”My body feels in incredible shape, my swing feels better than ever."
Bregman is represented by agent Scott Boras, who usually prefers his clients test the free-agent market.
“We’re listening to everything the team has to say," Bregman said. “I’m letting Scott and the Astros do that together and handle that for me. So that way I can be fully focused on baseball and winning and do the things I love to do playing ball for this great city."
“I absolutely loved every single second here," Bregman added. “Being able to put on this jersey is a dream come true. When it comes to a contract, I let Scott do that. That’s why I have an attorney working for me."