We have made it through 8 weeks of the NFL regular season now and the Steelers survived a test in Baltimore to remain the only unbeaten team. Elsewhere, we saw Tua make his debut, the Titans struggles continue, the NFC East continue being horrible, and we are entering trade deadline day. Exciting times to be a football fan and so let’s get into my 3 takeaways.
The Rams Throw The Ball 61 Times And Lose
There. I fixed the headline. You could always say “Rams give up 14 offensive points, score 17, and lose”. Listen, I get everyone is hyped around the first career start from Tua, but really the win shouldn’t be attributed to him at all.
He did throw his first career TD pass, I will give him that, but the other 21 points they scored?
Scoop-six, Punt return for a TD, and a 1 play, 1 yard run for Myles Gaskin.
I’m not only fixated on the lack of production, but he couldn’t get them down the field. He didn’t complete a pass longer than 16 yards. The Dolphins didn’t have a drive longer than 33 yards (turns out they didn’t need it) and so when the headlines were all about Tua, it was a little misdirected.
On the Rams side of the ball, what in John Madden’s green Earth are you doing?
Jared Goff threw 61 passes, Cooper Kupp had 11 receptions for 110 yards on 22 targets, and the Rams ran 90 plays.
The Dolphins ran 47 plays.
Goff had 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles, but still on paper they should’ve beaten this Miami team.
The good news?
The Rams are 5-2 with this loss.
The bad news?
They are in a very competitive division in the NFC West so 5-2 gets them third place heading into Week 9.
The Bengals are…good?
Is that the appropriate reaction to what we saw when they beat the Titans on Sunday?
Obviously Bengals fans should be thrilled by the performance from Burrow and the young Bengal receivers with no Joe Mixon in the lineup. This game mirrors the game above in the sense that Derrick Henry had 112 yards and a TD rushing while Corey Davis tagged in as WR 1 on the week had totaled 8 receptions for 128 yards and a TD.
Even with this offensive output, the Titans scored 20 points and lost 31 to 20 to the Bengals.
One of the big takeaways on the Titans side of the ball is their play calling. Whether they were thrown off from their first loss of the season to the Steelers last week, or whether it was just an incorrect game plan, even with 18 carries, Henry needs the ball more.
On the 3 TDs that they Titans scored? They went exactly 75 yards driving the field. The difference in this game came down to an INT by the Titans and a missed FG. They should still be competitive atop the AFC South, but you have to expect Henry might go into practice this week letting everyone know he is getting no fewer than 25 touches going forward.
Those young WRs I mentioned?
Just a casual 12 receptions for 145 yards and a TD. Throw in good performances by veteran RB Gio Bernard and the younger Samaje Perine and the Bengals offense was showing off how high the ceiling could be for this offense.
Notice who wasn’t a factor?
In a division that is out of reach for the Bengals already, the franchise should trade him for draft pick and continue building up this high potential offense.
Midpoint Division Round-Up
The Steelers are the only undefeated team left and are making a habit of doing just enough to win. Not a bad habit, but may fall late game.
The Ravens are in 2nd and Lamar is looking very human compared to his superhero status last week. On track to make playoffs, but Playoff Lamar is worse than regular season Lamar so figure it out Ravens.
The Browns are brown-ing the way only they know how. Starting out 4-1, injuries are crushing them and they are now 5-3 heading into their bye week. The Bengals are hopeful for the future and are getting Burrow and Co. a lot of good reps.
The Titans looked like the team to beat in this division, but coming off of two losses with the Colts getting hot, this one could be down to the wire as the two teams play twice in November.
The Colts are back in the win column although Jonathan Taylor was largely contained this week. It was Nyheim Hines that was the hero for the Colts against a bad Lions team. The Texans are recovering from a head coaching swap and will be coming off of a bye next week only to face the Colts.
The Texans should be looking to the future, but can’t because they still don’t have a first or a second round pick next year.
The Jags are back to being the Jags. Off in Week 8, Mike Glennon is slated to start Week 9 with Minshew out from injury.
Oof this division is a rough one.
The Jets are the worst team in football plain and simple.
The Patriots are riding the struggle bus for the first time in a year that starts with 20.
The Dolphins are riding high off of Tua Time, and this is the Bills division to lose which they seem to try to do every week.
The Chiefs have basically won this division already after taking the early embarrassing loss to the Raiders. Look for them to sacrifice the Panthers as their next victim in week 9.
The Raiders have flashes of greatness, but at other times look like a college football team. I can’t tell if they need to buy or sell at the trade deadline and I think that weird limbo is the worst place this team can be.
Drew Lock led a comeback victory against the Chargers on Sunday and any reps that he and Jerry Jeudy can get together at this point will only help them in the future when their team is fully healthy and competitive.
The Chargers can’t possibly blow any more 4th quarter leads right?
This division looks way more competitive than it should be.
The Packers lead at 6-2 with the Bears now at 5-3 after an OT loss to the Saints. This should still wind up being the Packers division, but it is worrisome they lost to a Vikings team they should’ve dominated. Learn to stop the run.
The Bears are a terrible 5-3 team and the fact that they went to OT with the Saints confuses me so much.
The Vikings (Kirk Cousins) are horrible. Let Dalvin cook and see what happens.
Lions are back to being horrible, they had like 1 week where they weren’t.
Skip. The Eagles should win this division because they are the best team on paper, but does anyone care? Injuries are going to be too insurmountable for the Cowboys.
The Giants can’t keep a running back healthy and their QB is now a dual-threat QB, but he will trip over his own feet. Jones looks good against the Buccs defense on Monday Night, but he didn’t have any deep ball accuracy.
The WFT need to just regroup and rebuild next season around a decent defense.
The Tompa Brady Buccaneers are sitting at 6-2 on top of the division. I still think they are clear cut favorites with AB coming in and if they can stay healthy. I will say, I did NOT expect them to struggle against the Giants like they did so it may not be as smooth sailing as previously thought.
The Saints are in second after beating the Bears in OT. Brees continues to flash that he is done, but Alvin Kamara is going to have to hold him up in the backfield just like he is putting the rest of the team on his back. Where has Michael Thomas been?
The Panthers should be happy with the job Matt Rhule is doing. You’re obviously not happy with being 3-5, but coming into this season I believe it is going better than expected and next year Rhule should rule the NFC South. The Falcons lost to the Lions because they scored a TD and because of that are dumb and need to rebuild with Matt Ryan’s successor.
One of the more competitive divisions in football with Russell Wilson and Russell Wilson Jr. leading the way. Actually, Russell Wilson looks like an MVP favorite and their top two receivers are taking turns putting up 12 reception dominant games.
The Cardinals were gifted DeAndre Hopkins and haven’t missed. Murray is having a great sophomore season and improves with each game. The Cardinals/Seahawks game from Week 7 is still my game of the year so far.
The Rams have to figure stuff out after that disappointing loss to the Dolphins. The Niners are there too and need to find an offense that can all be healthy and stay healthy for the same game.
If you want more NFL Recaps check out this podcast breaking down the games:
Look forward to the week 9 preview coming out later this week from Shootin The Sports Ish!