2014 Week 8 Recap
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos was the Thursday night game. After a scoreless opening quarter, Peyton Manning extended his NFL record for touchdown passes by playing pitch and catch with Emanuel Sanders all night. A 2 yard touchdown between them made it 7-0 Broncos. Philip Rivers led a 13 play, 84 yard, 7 1/2 minute drive that tied the game 7-7 with a 2 yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen.
The Broncos just had too much firepower. A 31 yard touchdown connection between Manning and Sanders had the Broncos up 14-7 at halftime. In the third quarter Manning and Sanders hooked up a third time. Manning’s 513th touchdown pass from three yards out made it 21-7 Broncos. Denver got it back and scored on the ground when Thompson ran it in from 2 yards out to make it 28-7 Broncos.
Rivers tried to rally the Chargers as a 4 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates got San Diego within 28-14. Yet Thompson in the fourth quarter scored again from the one to make it 35-14 Broncos and put the game out of reach. Rivers and Gates hooked up again on a 10 yard score but it was too little, too late. Consecutive division losses may put the Rivers MVP talk on hold. Only one player has been the league MVP more than three times. Manning has won it five times, and is on pace for number six. 35-21 Broncos
Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons in London — The first half was all Falcons as Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes of 7 yards to Freeman and one yard to Pascoe in the first quarter and Stephen Jackson had a one yard touchdown run in the second quarter. A 21-0 lead is not safe for the woeful Falcons, especially not against the resilient Lions.
In the third quarter Matthew Stafford led a 15 play, 76 yard drive that took 7 minutes off the clock. Matt Prater hit a 22 yard field goal. Detroit got it back and Stafford then threw a 59 yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate to get Detroit within 21-10 after three quarters. At the end of the third quarter Matt Ryan was intercepted, giving Detroit the ball at the Atlanta 7. Yet again Detroit could not get past the 2 and settled for a 20 yard Prater field goal to get within 21-13.
Detroit got it back and with 4 minutes left in regulation Stafford completed a 13 play, 69 yard drive that took 7 1/2 minutes off the clock. Stafford hit Riddick for a 5 yard touchdown but the 2 point conversion failed. Down 21-19, Detroit needed the ball back. Atlanta moved the ball after a touchback but on 3rd and 10 from the Detroit 40, Ryan threw incomplete. With 1:46 to play, Mike Smith opted against going for it or trying a 58 yard field goal to make it a 5 point game. Detroit only needed a field goal to win it now, but a good punt pinned the Lions at their own 7.
Stafford quickly went to Tate for a 32 yard gain. With 4 seconds left, Prater came in for a 43 yard field goal to win it. The kick was no good, but Detroit was called for delay of game. That penalty cant be declined, so Detroit benefitted from the penalty against them. From 48 yards out, Prater was good and the Lions had the thrilling comeback win. 22-21 Lions
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Blair Walsh hit a 46 yard field goal on the last play of the half for Minnesota. In the third quarter Teddy Bridgewater threw a 17 yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings to make it 10-0 Vikings. In the fourth quarter Murray hit 54 and 45 yard field goals to get the Buccaneers within 10-6. Just before the 2 minute warning Mike Glennon hit Seferian-Jenkins for a 7 yard touchdown for the comeback 13-10 lead. Yet the one game that did not deserve overtime got it as Walsh hit a 38 yarder at the gun to tie the game 13-13. Thankfully the extra session lasted only one play. An awful game between awful teams ended with awful football, as a fumble by the Buccaneers was returned 27 yards for the winning Minnesota touchdown. 19-13 Vikings, OT
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots — Tom Brady threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to make it 7-0 Patriots. Brady led a staggering 17 play, 68 yard drive that took 7 minutes in the second quarter, but the Patriots settled for a 23 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a 10-0 lead. New England actually gambled on 4th and goal from the one and lost yards, but benefitted from a false start against them. That penalty cannot be declined. New England got it back and 10 plays, 76 yards and 5 1/2 minutes later, Brady was hitting Wright from one yard out to make it 17-0 Patriots.
Jay Cutler would throw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Matt Forte to get the Bears on the board down 17-7.Brady bought the Patriots back 80 yards in 10 plays as a 2 yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski just past the 2 minute warning made it 24-7 Patriots.
Chicago went 3 and out and Julian Edelman returned it 42 yards. On 1st and goal from the 9, Brady hit LaFell for the score and a 31-7 Patriots lead with just over one minute left in the half. After a touchback, Cutler was promptly sacked, causing a fumble that was recovered by Rob Ninkovich. Ninkovich returned the fumble 15 yards for a score as the Patriots were blasting the Bears 38-7 at halftime. In the third quarter Brady threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game, a 46 yarder to Gronkowski to make it 45-7. Brady finished 30 of 35 with 354 yards passing. 51-23 Patriots
St. Louis Rams at Kansas City Chiefs — Austin Davis threw a one yard touchdown pas to Kendricks to make it 7-0 Rams in the battle of Missouri. Jamal Charles got in from the one in the second quarter to tie it 7-7. Carlo Santos hit a 53 yard field goal to make it 10-7 Chiefs at halftime. The third quarter began with a bang as Davis returned the kickoff 99 yards to make it 17-7 Chiefs. Santos added a 28 yarder in the third quarter to make it 20-7 Chiefs. Jamal Charles broke off a 36 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it 27-7 Chiefs.
Davis closed out the scoring with a 3 yard touchdown to complete the blowout and make Andy Reid one happy Walrus Lite. In typical dink and dunk game manager fashion, Alex Smith went 24 of 28 without a touchdown pass or an interception. Kansas City fans then had to decide whether to watch another sport that night or Chiefs highlights. 34-7 Chiefs
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers — For the third straight year, Seattle traveled to Carolina. Seattle won the last two n defensive slugfests. In this one Graham Gano hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Panthers. In the second quarter Gano hit from 26 as a pair of 6 1/2 minute drives did not reach the end zone. Percy Harvin is gone, but Richardson returned a kick 47 yards for Seattle. Needing a spark, Pete Carroll had Steve Hauschka try a 58 yard field goal. Hauschka leveled it and the Seahawks were within 6-3. Russell Wilson led the Seahawks deep when a short pass to the end zone bounced straight off the receivers hands. The touchdown instead became a ricochet and an interception. Early in the fourth quarter Hauschka hit from 29 to tie it 6-6. With 4 1/2 minutes left Gano hit from 46 to make it 9-6 Panthers.
With 47 seconds left, Wilson found his near namesake Willson in the end zone for a 23 yard touchdown pass to give Seattle the 4 point lead.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets — Kyle Orton threw a 22 yard touchdown pass to Woods to make it 7-0 Bills. Geno Smith then threw a 26 yard pass to Williams, who plays defense for Buffalo. Smith’s second interception set up the Bills at the Jets one yard line, where Orton hit Smith for the score to make it 14-0 Bills. Rex Ryan began sending out his resume.
Smith completed five of his first eight passes, but three of those completions went to the Buffalo defense. After 10 1/2 minutes, Rex Ryan benched him for Michael Vick. Ryan might be coaching the Jets next year had he made his move six games ago.
Vick did lead a 13 play, 76 yard drive that took 5 minutes. Chris Ivory ran it in from the 2 to get the Jets within 14-7 in the second quarter. Buffalo then faced 3rd and 7 from their own 11 when Orton went deep to Sammy Watkins for an 84 yard gain. Summers got the last 2 yards to make it 21-7 Bills. After Vick fumbled, Dan Carpenter hit a 53 yard field goal to make it 24-7 Bills.
Yet Vick bought the Jets back as a 74 yard drive finished with ivory getting in again from the 2 to get the Jets within 24-14 with 1:55 left in the half. Buffalo went 3 and out and the Jets got it back at their own 42 with 33 seconds left in the half. Nick Folk nailed a 55 yard field goal as the half ended with the Jets only down 24-17.
In the third quarter a field position game gave the Bills a short field. Carpenter hit from 36 to make it 27-17 Bills. Vick was then sacked and fumbled, giving Buffalo the ball at the Jets 10. Buffalo settled for a 29 yard Carpenter field goal to lead 30-17. The third quarter saw Vick intercepted again and the Bills starting at the Jets 14. Orson threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Chandler to make it 37-17. Orson would later throw a 61 yard touchdown to Sammy Watkins to make it 43-17. Rex Ryan is a good man. He deserves better. His team does not.
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars — On the first play of the second quarter, Blake Bortles was intercepted by Delmas, who returned it 81 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Dolphins lead. Bottles responded and led a 14 play, 66 yard drive that took nearly 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. Yet the Jaguars had to settle for a 30 yard Josh Scobee field goal to trail 7-3. Caleb Sturgis hit from 43 to make it 10-3 Dolphins at halftime.
In the third quarter Bortles was intercepted by Grimes, who returned it 22 yards for another Miami touchdown and a 17-3 Dolphins lead. Scuba would hit a 40 yard field goal to get the Jaguars within 17-6. Ryan Tannehill then moved the Dolphins 95 yards as a 3 yard touchdown pass to Ryan Matthews made it 24-6 Dolphins.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans — This rivalry is as nasty as the Arab-Israeli conflict, which makes sense given that Titans Quarterback Zach Mettenberger could be Jewish and Houston is within driving distance of Palestine, Texas. The Jake Locker era appears over as rookie Mettenberger got the start instead of the oft-injured Locker and the ineffective Charlie Whitehorse. Dexter McCluster returned a punt 48 yards to set up a 35 yard field goal by Ryan Succop to make it 3-0 Titans. Randy Bullock responded from 30 in the second quarter to make it 3-3.
Arian Foster broke off a 34 yard touchdown run to make it 10-3 Texans. Ryan Bullock hit a 29 yarder to send the Texans to the locker rooms up 13-3. In third quarter after a sack caused a Mettenberger fumble, Houston took over at the Tennessee 20. Foster ran it in from 5 yards out to make it 20-3 Texans. Houston got it back and moved 98 yards, as a 43 yard run by Foster down to the one was followed by Foster getting the final yard for a 27-3 Texans lead.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals — Red Rifle Andy Dalton completed an 80 yard drive by sneaking in the last yard himself to make it 7-0 Bengals. Justin Tucker hit 45 and 50 yard field goals in the second quarter to get the Ravens within 7-6. In the third quarter an interception of Joe Flaco set up the Bengals near midfield. Bernard got in from the one to make it 14-6 Bengals. Flacco was intercepted again to set up the Bengals at the Ravens 18. Mike Nugent hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 17-6 Bengals.
Taliaferro ran it in from 10 yards out and the 2 point conversion was good as the Ravens only trailed 17-14. Nugget hit a 33 yard field goal to make it 20-14 Bengals with 11 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
With the Bengals facing 2nd and 6 from the Baltimore 32, Dalton as sacked and fumbled. Haloti Ngata returned the fumble 39 yards to the Cincy 8. Taliaferro scored on the next play to make it 21-20 Ravens with 6 1/2 minutes to play. Dalton was then quickly intercepted. Tucker hit a 53 yard field goal to make it 24-20 Ravens with 4 minutes left.
After a touchback, Dalton moved the Bengals to the play of the game, fourth and goal at the one with one minute left. Dalton took the quarterback sneak and the line surged forward for the touchdown. On 3rd and 10 from the Baltimore 20, Flacco went deep to Steve Smith for an 80 yard touchdown. Before the Ravens could celebrate another thrilling miracle win, offensive pass interference on Smith nullified the score. The Bengals held on for the tough division win. 27-24 Bengals
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals — Nick Foles moved the Eagles 80 yards early as a 21 yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin made it 7-0 Eagles. A 13 play, 80 yard, 6 minute drive in the second quarter saw Andre Ellington get in from the one to tie the game 7-7. On the third play of the third quarter with the Cardinals facing 3rd and 10 at their own 20, Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald, who outraced everybody for an 80 yard touchdown and a 14-7 Cardinals lead. Parker hit a 54 yard field goal to get the Eagles within 14-10. Later on Foles went deep to Jeremy Maclin for a 54 yard touchdown to make it 17-14 Eagles.
An interception of Foles gave the Cardinals a short field in the fourth quarter. Catanzaro hit a 28 yard field goal with 9 minutes left in regulation to tie the game 17-17. Folks then led a 79 play, 7 minute drive. On 3rd and 1 from the 2, LeSean McCoy got stopped. Now it was decision time in what turned out to be the most exciting two minutes to end a game this year.
At the two minute warning Chip Kelly on fourth and goal at the Arizona one went for the field goal. The Eagles led by 3 instead of 7. Moments later Carson Palmer threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to John Brown with 90 seconds left. With the Eagles down by four instead of tied, it came down to one play from the Arizona 16 with one second left. Foles went to the end zone, but it was caught out of bounds incomplete and the Cardinals won another desert thriller. A rematch in the NFC Title Game would be a blockbuster. 24-20 Cardinals
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers — Adam Vinatieri hit a 31 yard field goal to put the Colts on the board first. Ben Roethlisberger moved the Steelers 80 yards as an 18 yard touchdown pas to Wheaton made it 7-3 Steelers. Big Ben then led a 12 play, 76 yard, 6 1/2 minute drive. On the first play of the second quarter, Roethlisberger hit Bryant for the 5 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Steelers. 2 plays later Andrew Luck had an interception returned 33 yards for a touchdown by William Gay to make it 21-3 Steelers.
Luck would move the Colts 86 yards as a 21 yard touchdown pass to Allen got the Colts within 21-10. Big Ben quickly moved the Steelers 87 yards as an 8 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown made it 28-10 Steelers. Soon after Big Ben went back to Brown for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 35-10 Steelers. At that point Roethlisberger was 18 of 20 for 274 yards passing and four touchdowns.
Five minutes still remained in the half, and the team that overcame a 28 point second half playoff deficit last year was not going to fold. Andrew Luck hit TY Hilton for a 28 yard touchdown. Then the Colts blocked a punt, leading to a 23 yard Vinatieri field goal to end the half with the Colts within 35-20.
In the third quarter Roethlisberger quickly moved the Steelers 80 yards as his fifth touchdown pass of 2 yards to Bryant made it 42-20 Steelers. Late in the third quarter Ahmad Bradshaw scored from 12 yards out to get the Colts within 42-27. The Steelers fumbled on the first ensuing play from scrimmage to give the Colts a short field. Luck went deep to Moncrief for a 31 yard touchdown as the Colts only trailed 42-34 after three quarters.
Pittsburgh moved to the Colts 11 early in the fourth quarter, but Blount fumbled the ball and the Colts took over at their own 5. Luck had led a 28 point playoff comeback last year, and he was working on another miracle. Yet this time Luck was sacked for a safety after tripping on his own offensive lineman. Although it looked like Luck was just outside the end zone, the call stood and the Steelers led 44-34.
Pittsburgh held onto the ball for 7 minutes to a critical 4th and 1 at the Colts 11. Mike Tomlin went for it and Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass to Heath Miller to finally put the pesky Colts away. Roethlisberger nearly broke the NFL record in finishing with 522 yards passing while completing 40 of 49 passes and six touchdown passes without an interception. Those who want to anoint the Colts and bury the Steelers should remember that Roethlisberger has been to three Super Bowls, winning two rings. 51-34 Steelers
Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns — The winless Raiders saw a ray of hope at the beginning of this game when Derek Carr moved them from the Oakland 20 to the Cleveland 37. Tony Sparano decided to go to the bag of tricks, as Carr handed to Darren McFadden, who threw it deep to Carr. Despite defensive pass interference, there was no call. On fourth and 12 Sebastian Janikowski came in for a 57 yard field goal try. Backup quarterback Matt Schaub was the holder. Sprain called a fake field goal. After a bad snap was mishandled by Schaub, his first pass of the year was intercepted. The short field allowed Billy Cundiff to kick a 52 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Browns.
Carr moved the Raiders from their 15 to a 3rd and 2 at their 40 before an incomplete pass ended the drive. From the Cleveland 28, A short pass from Bryan Hoyer to Gabriel went for 48 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Oakland 24, a completion came up one yard short. However, defensive holding meant an automatic first down. The defense finally held and Cundiff hit a 33 yarder to make it 6-0 Browns. On the next Oakland series the Raiders faced 3rd and 1 at their own 47, and a run went nowhere except to another punt. Hoyer moved the Browns 83 yards in 11 plays and 5 minutes but got no further than the 3 yard line. Candid hit from 25 to make it 9-0 Browns with 6 minutes left in the half.
The Raiders finally got on the board when Seabass hit from 46 to get the Silver and Black with 9-3 just past the 2 minute warning. Oakland held on defense and got it back at their own 36 with 1:24 left in the half. Carr quickly hit Andre Holmes for a 31 yard gain. A completion to Tomkins wet for 15 as Carr spiked the ball with 18 seconds left. From the Cleveland 22, whoever thought Dennis Allen was still coach called a short West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass that nearly ended the half. Carr spiked it again with 2 seconds left and Seabass hit from 38 as the thoroughly outplayed Raiders only trailed 9-6 at halftime.
The Browns went 3 and out to start the second half, as did the Raiders, as did the Browns again. The Raiders punted again and Cleveland fumbled it. However, the Browns dodged a bullet by retaining possession before punting again. Carr moved the Raiders on a 6 1/2 minute drive from the Oakland 9 to a 2nd and 6 at the Cleveland 29. Well within tying field goal range, McFadden gained 9 yards and a first down before fumbling the ball alway. Joe Haden returned it 34 yards to the Cleveland 47. One play later Bryan Hoyer went deep to Hawkins for a 32 yard gain as the third quarter ended.
Hoyer would hit Hawkins for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 16-6 Browns. With 3:20 to play from the Oakland 14, Carr was sacked and fumbled. Cleveland took over at the 9 and Tate got in from the 5 to make it 23-6 Browns. Carr hit Holmes for the garbage touchdown with 7 seconds left. Carr finished 34 of 54 for 328 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. The only statistic that matters is zero wins and seven losses, as the Raiders try to avoid the third winless season in modern NFL history. 23-13 Browns
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints was the Sunday night game. 2009 Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees & 2010 Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers meant a possible pinball machine. These teams kicked of the 2011 season where a goal line stand on the final play preserved a 42-34 Packers thriller in Green Bay. This time they played in New Orleans. 2 minutes into the game, Rodgers went bombs away to Randall Cobb for a 70 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Packers lead. Bree came right back with a 45 yard bomb to Kenny Stills to set up a 4 yard run by Cooks to tie the game 7-7.
After that both Rodgers and Brees kept firing but for the rest of the half had to watch Mason Crosby kick field goals to give Green Bay the lead and Shane Graham respond to tie the game. Crosby hit from 31, 49 and 27 while Graham hit from 31, 29 and 37 in a game that was deadlocked 10-10 after one quarter and 16-16 at the half.
Rodgers finished 28 of 39 for 418 yards while Brees was 27 of 32 for 311 yards. The difference was that Brees had three touchdown passes, all of them after halftime, to break open the game. Brees was not picked off while Rodgers opened the game with a touchdown bomb but the rest of the way only threw a pair of interceptions in the second half.
In the third quarter the Packers had third and goal at the 5 when Rodgers threw a killer interception at the 2. Brees went to Cooks for a 50 yard touchdown to give the Saints the lead they would not relinquish. Green Bay then gambled on 4th and 1 from their own 40 and Eddie Lacy got nothing. Brees took the short field and hit Graham for the 22 yard touchdown to make it 30-16 Saints. In the fourth quarter Rodgers again threw an interception as the Saints took over at their own 29. Bree would hit Hill for a two yard score to make it 37-16.
Rodgers would scramble for a 14 yard touchdown with 5 minutes to play but it was not enough. For the second time in the game, an onside kick failed as the short field again led to a Saints touchdown. Mark Ingram ran it in from 22 yards out to complete the scoring. 44-23 Saints
Washington at Dallas Cowboys was the Monday night game. A turnover filled first half saw Kai Forbath hit a 44 yard field goal in the first quarter. In the second quarter Tony Romo found Dez Bryant for a 5 yard touchdown as Bryant lunged just past the marker and had the Cowboys up 7-3 at halftime. In the third quarter Alfred Morris ran it in from five yards out to cap an 80 yard drive and put the Redskins up 10-7.
Midway through the third quarter Romo got belted on a clean blindside hit and stayed down for several minutes. He eventually got up and walked off under his own power, but Brandon Weeden took over. Romo’s health is the difference between Dallas being a real Super Bowl contender and missing the playoffs entirely.
DeMarco Murray broke off a 51 yard run but got caught at the 5 yard line. Washington held on defense as a 21 yard field goal by Dan Bailey tied the game 10-10 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter on 3rd and goal from the 6, Colt McCoy ran the quarterback draw for the touchdown and the 17-10 Redskins lead. Weeden bought the Cowboys back and a 25 yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten tied the game 17-17 with 9 1/2 minutes left in regulation.
With 3:45 to play the Redskins faced 4th and 1 just past midfield. Jay Gruden decided to go for it. Meanwhile Tony Romo came out of the locker room and demanded to come back in the game when Dallas got the ball back. McCoy converted the first down but with the Redskins driving, a pair of critical mistakes killed them. After a delay of game penalty, McCoy was sacked. Jay Gruden decided against a 60 yard field goal at the 2 minute warning. A perfect punned the Cowboys back at their own 3 yard line. Romo reentered the game.
Romo got belted again on a blitz and fumbled the ball. Somehow Dallas retained possession with one minute left. On 3rd and 8 Romo threw a pass that was somehow caught for a first down reception rather than an interception. After twice nearly giving the game away, the Cowboys were lucky to make it to overtime as Gruden and his defensive coordinator Jim Haslett brought the house.
Washington got the ball to start overtime and McCoy moved the Redskins from their own 20 to a 3rd and 3 at the Dallas 22. McCoy completed a pass for no gain. Forbath made the field goal to give the Redskins the lead, but the Cowboys would still have one chance with the ball. Dallas soon faced 4th and 3 from their own 27. Under heavy pressure, Romo fired incomplete and the Redskins had the stunning road win. 20-17 Redskins, OT