News and Notes

Sunday Scaries: The Undefeated

Through seven weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be the team to beat after overcoming the Baltimore Ravens in Charm City on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s big win, another Chargers collapse, and more bad NFC East football highlighted Week 8 as we approach (sadly) the season’s halfway point.

LAMAR, WE HAVE A PROBLEM:

STEELERS 28, RAVENS 24: The Pittsburgh Steelers are 7-0 for the first time since the 1978 season after escaping Baltimore with a four-point win. Steelers safety Minka Fitzpatrick broke up a Lamar Jackson pass in the end zone to secure the victory with just seconds remaining.

Even though Pittsburgh gave up 24 points, their defense turned in a star performance. The Steelers D forced four turnovers from the 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson including a first quarter pick six.

Baltimore still managed to grab a 17-7 lead at halftime. However, a pair of Ben Roethlisberger touchdown passes and timely stops by Pittsburgh’s defense allowed the Steelers to seize control of the game before Baltimore’s last gasp drive.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON IS ALRIGHT FOR FIGHTING:

SAINTS 26, BEARS 23: The Saints almost blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead as the Bears fought back to force overtime. New Orleans eventually grabbed the win.

Drew Brees regained the all-time touchdown passes lead from Tom Brady (perhaps for a little over 24 hours) with a pair of scoring strikes. Yet, that was not the most notable item from Sunday’s win.

Bears wide receiver Javon Wims punched Saints cornerback Chancey Gardner-Johnson (that seems to be going around these days) in the helmet and was ejected.

I mean, this was odd. Following the incident, Gardner-Johnson posted a message on Instagram saying Wims punched like a woman. Then, Wims claimed that CGJ spit on him, which led to him throwing punches like he is 1980 Sugar Ray Leonard.

The Bears receiver’s pleas fell on deaf ears.

Here’s hoping we get a Saints/Bears playoff game.

MORE THAN ONE-WIN PONIES:

BENGALS 31, TITANS 20: As previously mentioned, the Tennessee Titans have a defense problem. They couldn’t slow down Smokin’ Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals from going up and down the field. The Bengals finished the game hitting on 10 out of 15 third down conversions. Unreal.

For a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, that is a full stop on their defense. The Titans dropped to 5-2 after their second loss in a row.

VIKINGS 28, PACKERS 22: In perhaps the biggest shocker of the day, the Minnesota Vikings waltzed into Lambeau Field and hung an L on the NFC North-leading Packers.

How did Green Bay lose this game? Dalvin Cook. Minnesota’s star runner scored four times including three rushing touchdowns. Cook’s 226 yards of total offense took the pressure off of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who only attempted 14 passes.

The Packers a rather short turnaround as they head out to California to face the 49ers in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game.

STICK A FORK IN ‘EM:

BILLS 24, PATRIOTS 21: Well, on the most recent edition of The JMRA Football Podcast, I covered the state of the New England Patriots. Sunday’s performance did little to sway my thoughts that the Patriots as we knew them are toast.

Cam Newton coughed up the ball as the Patriots appeared heading for an eventual game-winning or game-tying score. Instead, another unforced error by Newton doomed the Patriots, who fall to 2-5.

As for the 6-2 Bills, they have shaken their greatest tormenter over the past 20 years. Now, they’ve got bigger fish to fry….or should I say Dolphins?

SEAHAWKS 37, 49ERS 20: DK Metcalf is awesome and so is soon-to-be NFL MVP Russell Wilson. However, this is the saddest shot from Sunday’s 49ers loss:

The 49ers lead the civilized world in injuries. Unfortunately, get ready to add Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle to the list of injuries. Garoppolo is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain again; while Kittle suffered a broken bone in his ankle and will miss eight weeks.

And just like that, it was over for the 49ers.

EAGLES 23, COWBOYS 9: This was one of the worst football games I’ve seen in the last decade. Dallas basically let anyone within a 50-mile radius of the stadium that had quarterback experience take a snap from center. Anyhow, here is the most damning stat line from Sunday’s atrocity between the Eagles and Cowboys that was a close until an Eagles defensive scoop and score sealed Dallas’s fate:

Ben DiNucci QB Rating: 64.6

Carson Wentz QB Rating: 61.2

That’s right. DiNucci basically played Wentz to a draw. Wentz turned it over four times to two for DiNucci. The latter’s turnovers were killers though that both happened in Eagles territory.

This division stinks.

WE’VE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE:

DOLPHINS 28, RAMS 17: The ghost of Super Bowl LIII visited Sean McVay, Jared Goff, and the Los Angeles Rams again. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who called defensive plays for the Patriots against the Rams, was annoying Los Angeles once again last Sunday. Miami coasted to a 28-10 first half lead behind four turnovers. They managed to hammer the Rams with a defensive score and punt return for six in the second quarter.

The starting debut for Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was relatively quiet. He threw his first NFL touchdown pass but the Dolphins amassed just 145 yards on offense to 471 for the Rams.

Just like that, the Dolphins are right in the thick of the AFC East race.

BRONCOS 31, CHARGERS 30: BIG BEN, PARLIAMENT. The Chargers have a double-digit second half lead…and blow it again. This time, Drew Lock and the Broncos rally back on a last-second touchdown to get the W. Two things stood out about this game.

  1. Justin Herbert is awesome.
  2. Drew Lock is also awesome…..at dancing:

THE REST:

COLTS 41, LIONS 21: Detroit has lost seven straight home games. Philip Rivers fired three touchdown passes in the win.

CHIEFS 35, JETS 9: Presenting the most unnecessary trick play of the day. The Chiefs were aware they were playing the Jets right?

Patrick Mahomes threw for 416 yards and five touchdowns in an emphatic win over the Jets.

RAIDERS 16, BROWNS 6: I felt this was quietly a must-win for the Raiders if they wanted to make a run at the playoffs. Now, they pick up a big win that could help them out in tiebreakers for a wild card spot down the line.

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