Monday Morning Quarterback: Week 8
Tampa Bay BuccaneersMinnesota Vikings
Josh Freeman is giving the Bucs much-improved play at the quarterback position. He came through with an excellent game against the Vikings, completing 19-of-36 passes for 262 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions. Freeman is playing with confidence and poise.
The Vikings got off to a great start as they kept mistakes to a minimum. Christian Ponder was holding up his end in the early part of the season, but he is struggling now. He threw for 251 yards against the Bucs, but he tossed a key interception and was sacked three times.
Chicago BearsCarolina Panthers
Cam Newton seemed to play with a new resolve throughout most of the game and it appeared like the Panthers were on track for a huge road upset over the Bears. Newton threw for 314 yards and he also ran effectively. Despite an ordinary statistical game, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler led the Bears on two key fourth-quarter scoring drives.
Newton did not throw a touchdown pass and he also had two interceptions, one of which was returned for the go-ahead touchdown by Chicago cornerback Tim Jennings. Cutler was ineffective for long stretches and may have been feeling the impact of sore ribs.
Cleveland BrownsSan Diego Chargers
Not much to report on the positive side in this game, except that Cleveland rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden did not throw an interception. Neither did Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, but much more is expected from him.
Rivers is struggling quite a bit in recent weeks. Perhaps it’s the high expectations of playing for the AFC West favorites, but Rivers is not throwing the ball consistently and could not solve the Cleveland defense. Weeden is learning, but he lacks dependability.
Detroit LionsSeattle Seahawks
The Lions got a badly needed win as quarterback Matthew Stafford came through in the fourth quarter with a rushing touchdown and then threw the game-winning TD pass. Stafford threw for 352 yards and had 3 touchdowns with 1 interception.
Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson had a decent game, but he could not trade punches with Stafford. Wilson needed an explosive game, not a good game if the Seahawks were going to win on the road. He threw 2 TDs and 1 interception.
Green Bay PackersJacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars got an unexpectedly solid performance from quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who threw for 303 yards and 1 TD. Aaron Rodgers was not spectacular for the Packers, but he threw for 2 TDs and did was not picked off.
After a couple of sensational weeks, Rodgers came back down to earth and threw for 186 yards. If the Packers were facing a better team than the Jaguars, Rodgers’ ordinary effort might not have been enough to bring the Packers a victory.
Miami DolphinsNew York Jets
After starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was knocked out of the game due to a left knee injury, Matt Moore came in and did not miss a beat. He completed 11-of-19 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown and he did not throw an interception. Moore also had a 37-yard run.
The Jets were desperate for a win over a team they should have beaten, but they got taken apart. Mark Sanchez struggled throughout the game and completed 28-of-54 passes for 283 yards. His only touchdown pass came after the outcome was no longer in doubt. The Jets’ offense has rarely shown any consistency this season.
Atlanta FalconsPhiladelphia Eagles
The Falcons are undefeated but they continue to play with a chip on their collective shoulders because they know there are a lot of skeptics who don’t believe in them. Matt Ryan continues to perform like an MVP candidate. He completed 22-of-29 passes for 262 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions.
Michael Vick and the Eagles needed a victory coming off the bye week, but they were unable to deliver. Much of that was due to the play of the Philadelphia defense, but Vick did nothing special. He threw for 191 yards and a touchdown and he hinted after the game that head coach Andy Reid is thinking about benching him.
Pittsburgh SteelersWashington Redskins
The Steelers were not about to let a home game against the Redskins slip away. Ben Roethlisberger came out and played a decisive offensive game, completing 24-of-33 passes for 222 yards with 3 TDs while he did not throw an interception. He was sharp, strong and confident throughout the game.
Robert Griffin III may be the best of the rookie quarterbacks but he struggled against the Steelers’ aggressive defense. He competed less than 50 percent of his passes and he did not run the ball effectively.
New England PatriotsSt. Louis Rams
The Patriots had one of those games where they completely overwhelmed their opponent. Playing like London’s Wembley Stadium was their second home, they devastated the Rams as Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and 4 TDs without throwing an interception.
Sam Bradford got out of the gate quickly, hitting wide receiver Chris Givens with a touchdown pass on the game’s opening possession. However, Bradford was unable to sustain his passing game the rest of the way against perhaps the most vulnerable pass defense in the league.
Indianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans
It wasn’t a substantial statistical game for prize rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, but he led the Colts on a tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter and a brilliant game-winning drive in overtime. He threw for 297 yards and played well on the road.
Matt Hasselbeck was not overly impressive even though he had decent numbers for the Titans. He completed 22-of-29 passes for 236 yards with 1 TD, but he could not do much in the second half when the Titans had a chance to take control of the game.
Oakland RaidersKansas City Chiefs
The Raiders got their second victory in a row and Carson Palmer did what necessary to beat the Chiefs. He threw touchdown passes in the second and third quarters to give the Raiders control of the game and they were not threatened seriously by Kansas City.
Brady Quinn went out of the game with a head injury and that meant Matt Cassel had to play. He had decent numbers in completing 20-of-30 passes, but his only TD pass came when the game was no longer within reach.
New York GiantsDallas Cowboys
Tony Romo was both brilliant and awful for the Cowboys. He brought Dallas back from a 23-0 deficit and allowed them to take the lead with sharp play in the second and third quarters. He threw for 437 yards and would have had the game-winning TD pass if Dez Bryant’s hand had not hit the end line after he caught a pass in the end zone.
Eli Manning was ordinary in the victory. Romo threw four interceptions, including one that was returned 28 yards for a touchdown by New York defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. His turnovers put the Cowboys in a big hole.
Denver BroncosNew Orleans Saints
Peyton Manning continues to play sharp and efficient football. He was brilliant against the soft New Orleans defense, completing 22-of-30 passes for 305 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions. He dictated the pace and remained in control throughout the game.
There’s a ton of pressure on Drew Brees to help this team remain competitive, but he had a difficult time against the Broncos’ hard-hitting defense. Brees threw for 213 yards but could not sustain the offense in the second half.