NFL Week 8 Recap — The Cowboys Run The NFC East & Other Things We Learned
Two overtime games and lots of other close finishes highlighted Week 8 of the 2016 NFL season. Here’s what we learned this week:
Tom Brady Still Owns The Bills
Tom Brady threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns, and the New England Patriots held off the Buffalo Bills, 41-25, on Sunday. Brady won his 26th game versus Buffalo (4-4), tying Brett Favre for most wins by a starting quarterback against a single team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Danny Amendola's 73-yard kickoff return to open the second half all but sealed the win, a fitting revenge for the Bills shutting out the Pats, 16-0, in Week 4. New England (7-1) led 24-10 at halftime en route to the somewhat easy victory. Rob Gronkowski caught five passes for 109 yards and his 69th career touchdown, which allowed him to pass Stanley Morgan for the franchise record.
The Cowboys Control The NFC East
Dak Prescott threw a game-winning 5-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 29-23, in overtime on Sunday night. Dallas (6-1) won its sixth consecutive game and took a two-game lead in the NFC East as a result of the come-from-behind win.
Down 23-13 early in the fourth quarter, Prescott rallied the Cowboys late, including a tying touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 3:04 to play. Philadelphia (4-3) couldn’t score late and never had a chance in overtime, as Dallas rode off with the win and the NFC East lead.
The Seahawks Tackled The Refs Better Than They Did The Saints
Drew Brees threw for 265 yards and a touchdown and he ran for another score, as the New Orleans Saints upset the Seattle Seahawks, 25-20, on Sunday. Seattle (4-2-1) made several big plays, but couldn’t rally past New Orleans (3-4) in the closing seconds.
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas returned a Saints fumble for a 34-yard touchdown, but he hugged official Alex Kemp afterward, which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the ensuing kickoff.
New Orleans seized the lead when Brees hit Brandin Cooks with a 2-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter. The teams traded field goals to account for the final score.
Russell Wilson had a chance to rally Seattle, but his pass into the end zone was incomplete to end the game. The punchless Seahawks have just one offensive touchdown in their last 23 possessions.
Neither The Panthers, Nor The Cardinals Will Be NFC Champs
Jonathan Stewart ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers drilled the Arizona Cardinals, 30-20, in Charlotte on Sunday. Carolina (2-5) looked like defending NFC champs, sacking Carson Palmer eight times and stomping Arizona (3-4-1) throughout the game.
Palmer completed 35 of 46 passes for 363 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, but most of the yardage came after his team was far behind. The Panthers built a 24-0 lead and cruised to the win.
Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis returned a Palmer fumble 46 yards for a touchdown, but it’s hard to believe that either of these teams will play well enough in the season’s second half to make it back to the NFC title game again.
The Raiders Set An NFL Record For Penalties And Still Won
Derek Carr threw for a career-high 513 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winning 41-yarder to Seth Roberts on fourth down with 1:45 to play in overtime, and the Oakland Raiders beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 30-24, on Sunday.
Oakland (6-2) won despite setting a new NFL record for most penalties in a game with 23 (for 200 yards) and having kicker Sebastian Janikowski miss two 50-yard field goals that would have won the game well before Roberts’ touchdown.
Carr was MVP-level brilliant, completing 40 of 59 passes, and piling up the points after trailing Tampa Bay (3-4) at halftime, 10-3. Amari Cooper caught 12 passes for 173 yards and a score for the Raiders.
The victory sets up a huge AFC West game between Oakland and Denver next Sunday night in prime time.
The Chiefs Just Keep Winning
Kansas City lost quarterback Alex Smith and running back Spencer Ware to concussions, but the Chiefs still drubbed the Indianapolis Colts, 30-14, on Sunday. Backup quarterback Nick Foles and backup running back Charcandrick West helped Kansas City (5-2) win and keep pace with the Raiders and Broncos in the AFC West.
Foles completed 16 of his 22 pass attempts with two touchdowns for the Chiefs. Indianapolis (3-5) couldn’t stay in the game. The Colts allowed quarterback Andrew Luck to be sacked six times and they turned the ball over twice in key situations.
Ties Are All The Rage In The NFL
Forget about two-point conversions and wildcat formations; bad teams playing to ties are the newest NFL innovation. A week after the Cardinals and Seahawks played a full game and overtime without producing a winner, the Redskins and Bengals did the same thing, resulting in a 27-27 tie in London.
Dustin Hopkins missed a 34-yard field goal with 2:13 left in overtime, which meant Washington (4-3-1) and Cincinnati (3-4-1) each left Europe without a victory. Much like the Arizona-Seattle game last Sunday, the Redskins and Bengals played awful football at times.
Washington’s Kirk Cousins completed 38 of 56 pass attempts for a season-high 458 yards and two touchdowns, but he couldn’t rally his team in overtime. Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton completed 27 of 42 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown. Neither of these teams have been removed from playoff contention, but it’s difficult to imagine them going to the postseason after Sunday’s dreadful display.
Thursday, Oct. 27
Tennessee 36, Jacksonville 22
Sunday, October 30
Houston 20, Detroit 13
N.Y. Jets 31, Cleveland 28
Atlanta 33, Green Bay 32
Denver 27, San Diego 19
Los Angeles, Miami, N.Y. Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore