Ian Evans NFL Week 8 Love/Hate Weekend Recap
Co-Founder, Contributor, ISM
We are halfway through the 2020-2021 NFL Regular Season and things could not be more interesting! The trade deadline ends today as many teams will try to add some additional talent to help their chances in making the playoffs. Many fans and experts are also keeping a close eye on the divisional races, as well as teams that need to prove themselves for the remainder of the season. Interestingly enough, we are only 3 week away from Thanksgiving football! But before I get ahead of myself, allow me to recap what I loved and hated from Week 8. From blown leads and game-winning drives coming up short, to outstanding performance on both sides of the ball, there’s a lot to talk about from this week. With that being said, there will also be honorable and dishonorable mentions at the end of the list.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Love: Patrick Mahomes
Photo Courtesy: Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports
We can all agree that the Chiefs were going to win against the winless Jets correct? Good. Anyway. The Kansas City Chiefs routed the New York Jets 35-9 Sunday afternoon behind the incredible play of Patrick Mahomes once again. Mahomes threw for 416 yards and 5 touchdowns and only missed 11 of his 42 passes. He looked like he could do no wrong, picking apart a porous and befuddled defense all afternoon long. He shared the wealth amongst his receivers as 11 of them caught passes, 4 of them catching touchdowns as well. Mahomes is once again proving why he is worth the mega-deal of a contract that he signed before the season started. The Chiefs, once again are looking like the favorite to win the AFC and potentially win back-to-back Super Bowls. If Mahomes keeps playing efficiently and consistently as he has been, good luck to everybody.
Hate: Green Bay Packers
Photo Courtesy: Mike Roemer/AP
In a tight race for the NFC North crown, the Green Bay Packers are just barely holding onto to sole possession of 1st place. Most fans believed that the Packers would find a way to improve to 6-1 and be a game and a half ahead of the Chicago Bears who keep applying pressure. However, that was not the case. The Packers suffered a crushing loss to their divisional rival Minnesota Vikings 28-22. The reason why I hate this is not because of how they played. I mean Aaron Rodgers threw for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns. The reason why I put them here is because this was a perfect opportunity to apply pressure on the rest of the NFC South but squandered the opportunity. I mean the Vikings were 1-5 going into this game after all. On top of that, they lost AT HOME, and were undefeated at home before the loss. I believe the final play of game puts into perspective as Aaron Rodgers tried to air it out deep with roughly 7 seconds left but ended up getting rocked. The Packers, especially in their division, have to put up consistent wins in their division from here on out. They cannot afford to keep splitting the season series with their rivals as they have now Minnesota.
Love: Dalvin Cook
Photo Courtesy: Mike Roemer/AP
Calling Dalvin Cook’s performance against the Green Bay Packers a monster game is an understatement. He singlet-handedly carried Minnesota to a 28-22 victory over Green Bay to hand the Packers their first home loss of the season. This also helps them stay somewhat afloat in the NFC North as most fans saw this team as a laughing stock. Cook rushed for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns and caught 2 passes for 63 yards and a receiving touchdown as well. He showed his dominance at Lambeau Field as he did everything and more for the Vikings to help them improve to 2-5. Cook made fantasy owners extremely happy as he racked up 48.6 fantasy points. Imagine not starting him…..could never be me. Hopefully Minnesota can have a tale of two halves of the 2020-2021 season and can string together some wins after beating a formidable opponent. Expect Dalvin Cook to continue to produce on a weekly basis.
Hate: Tennessee Titans
Photo Courtesy: Bobby Ellis/Getty Images
This is not a knock on the Cincinnati Bengals whatsoever, as I believe they are probably the best 2-5-1 team in the league. But the Tennessee Titans, after playing a close game with the Pittsburgh Steelers a week before, completely shocked and confused me as they lost to the Bengals 31-20 Sunday afternoon. On the offensive end, Derrick Henry did is job, but Tannehill looked off and inconsistent from time to time, missing many open targets and even throwing an interception in the loss as well. He also ended with a QBR of 46.4 which isn’t that great as well, especially against a Bengals defense that has struggled against above .500 teams all season long. On the defensive end, I can understand why they traded for Desmond King to bolster their secondary. Joe Burrow picked apart the Titans defense as he threw for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns. They couldn’t find a way to sack Burrow or force a turnover as well, which was surprising to see. If the Titans want to prove that they are a top-5 team in the NFL, they have to stop playing close games against teams who won’t make the playoffs. Simple as that.
Love: The Miami Dolphins Defense
Photo Courtesy: Greg Cote/Miami Herald
I am one of those people who definitely slept on the Miami Dolphins before the season started. Oh how they are proving the doubters wrong. The Dolphins defeated a formidable opponent in the Los Angeles Rams 28-17 Sunday afternoon. This defense is proving to be a top-tier defense in the league as they intercepted and sacked Goff twice. They also forced 2 fumbles, one of them was a strip sack that was returned for a touchdown. This defense has had 5 interceptions and has only allowed 34 points in their last 3 games. Brian Flores is proving to be an incredible hire for this team as he has found ways to improve this team on many fronts. The Dolphins are a team that should not be taken lightly as they are finding their stride, winning their last 3 games. They have also had the NFC West’s number as they crushed the San Francisco 49ers in Wee 5 43-17. Their next test is another team from the NFC West, Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, and it will be a must-watch game for Week 9.
Hate: Javon Wims
Photo Courtesy: Nam Y. Huh|Associated Press
I was debating whether I wanted to put this in the “Love” list as that sequence was hilarious to watch altogether. Every time I watch the “fight” I am on the verge of crying of laughter. However, I ultimately put him in the “Hate” column. I mean what was Javon Wims thinking!!! There are better ways to stand up for a teammate than to straight up box with your opponent or someone who has disrespected your comrade. Let me set the scene, Wims and the Bears are having a tough night moving the ball on offense, per usual. Javon Wims and Anthony Miller are having words with C.J. Gardner-Johnson all night. At one point Gardner-Johnson rips out Wims’ mouthpiece and even sticks his finger in Miller’s face. Along with the frustrations on offense, it can be understood why Wims would be upset. But what is not understandable is punching him while he has his helmet on (something that is foolish and I will never understand) and hurting your team even more. The funniest part of this fight was when Wims lands his first punch, Gardner-Johnson looks genuinely confused as to why he wants to throw hands. Wims has said that Gardner-Johnson spat in his face some plays before, however, Gardner-Johnson denies that claim. Because of Wims’ foolish yet hilarious antics, he has been suspended two games, although he is appealing that ruling. Again, there are multiple ways to stand up for your teammate and confront an opponent after a dirty play or being disrespected. Although watching the skirmish was hilarious, in retrospect, not a good look for Javon Wims.
Love: Pittsburgh Steelers
Photo Courtesy: Gail Burton/Associated Press
The only undefeated team left is continuing to prove on a weekly basis why they are one of the best teams in the NFL. The Steelers played a crucial divisional rival in the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, a game that would set the precedent for the AFC North. The game was close early on as the Ravens lead the game 17-7 at halftime. However, the Steelers found a way to comeback and score 21 of their 28 points in the second half. The defense limited Lamar Jackson and a high-powered Ravens offense to 7 second half points as well. Ben Roesthlisberger threw for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns as this receiving core is showing that they are one of the toughest cores to defend in the secondary. The defense picked off Jackson twice, sacked the elusive quarterback 4 times, and forced 2 fumbles as well. Ultimately, the Steelers defeated the Ravens 28-24 in an entertaining game that lived up to the hype. The Steelers, besides the Kansas City Chiefs, might be the most well-rounded team in football. Pittsburgh will look to continue their dominance deflated Dallas Cowboys team next week and will most likely improve to 8-0. Spirits are through the roof in 412.
Hate: Jared Goff
Photo Courtesy: Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
I believe that Jared Goff is one of the most overpaid quarterbacks in the league, and Sunday afternoon proved it. In a 28-17 loss to the Dolphins, Goff threw for 355 yards, a touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Where did the 355 yards come from? He threw the ball 61 TIMES completing only 35 of them. If you’re throwing the ball 61 times you better be garnering more than 300 yards. That’s almost a given. Goff struggled all game long as he could not escape pressure, missing pass after pass, and giving up the ball early and often. It was as if Halloween carried over into November as Goff was haunted and scared by a hounding Miami defense. The Rams are now 5-3 and cannot afford to lose too many games as the NFC West is in a tight race for the division crown. However, if Goff continues to play in this manner, coughing the ball up and turning the ball over multiple times, they can kiss that NFC West crown goodbye.
Love: Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf
Photo Courtesy: Scott Eklund/Associated Press
A quarterback loves a dependable and trustworthy wide receiver. Fans love when there is a healthy, stable, productive quarterback-wide receiver connection as well. Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf might be the best example of that. Against the division rival San Francisco 49ers, it seemed as if these two could do no wrong and were on the same wavelength every time they stepped on the field. Wilson threw for 261 yards and 4 touchdowns as he is consistently improving his MVP resume week after week. He only missed 10 of his 37 passes and flaunted a QBR of 88.6. Wilson had his way with the 49ers secondary as he found a way to move the ball with ease.
Photo Courtesy: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
It was also clear that DK Metcalf was Wilson’s favorite receiver as he caught 12 of his 15 targets for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns. It still baffles me that DK, who is a first-round talent, fell to the second round. He is tall, strong, fast, athletically gifted and an all-around physical specimen. It must be a nightmare trying to defend this him in man coverage. DK is proving week after week why Wilson praises his efforts and why he is a serious deep ball threat. The two carried the Seahawks to a 37-27 victory on Sunday and will look to continue their dominance against the 6-2 Buffalo Bills on the road.
Hate: Los Angeles Chargers
Photo Courtesy: David Zalubowski/Associated Press
If there is another team besides the Atlanta Falcons that has gained a reputation of squandering leads, it’s the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers before Week 8 blew a 17-point lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, another 17-point lead against the New Orleans Saints, and almost blew a 16-point lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars. You would have thought that they would get it together and not get comfortable with a lead again right? Wrong. They did it again Sunday afternoon, blowing a 24-3 lead in stunning fashion. This team allowed the now 3-4 Broncos to score 21 points in the 4th quarter alone. The final drive of the game was where the Chargers faltered. They had many chances to make the Broncos go three and out. However, blown coverages and pass interference penalties on 3rd down allowed Denver to drive the ball with 2 minutes left in the game. On the final play of the game, Lock just barely found rookie KJ Hamler sitting on his butt in end zone as time ran out, while Brandon McManus’s kick was the icing on the cake. Head coach Anthony Lynn and the Chargers suffered another demoralizing defeat, losing 31-30 and now sit at 2-5, last in the AFC West. If you look ahead in Los Angeles’ schedule, they face off against the Falcons in Week 14. Wow. That game is going to be hectic to watch. Which team will blow the team? Tune in Sunday, December 13th at 4:25pm on FOX.
-Phillip Rivers (22-33, 262 yds, 3 TDs in win)
-Sunday Night Football (Cowboys vs. Eagles)
-The Jets….just because
-Cam Newton’s game-ending fumble against the Bills