NFL Sunday Recap, Week 8: Patriots, Falcons pick up huge divisional wins while Philly cruises to 7-0

Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Bazemore/AP/Shutterstock (13578746af) Atlanta Falcons place kicker Younghoe Koo (7) is congratulated by teammates after kicking a field goal overtime of an NFL football game to defeat the Carolina Panthers 37-34, in Atlanta Panthers Falcons Football, Atlanta, United States – 30 Oct 2022

NFL Sunday Recap, Week 8: Patriots, Falcons pick up huge divisional wins while Philly cruises to 7-0

Broncos 21, Jaguars 17

The Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars met in London Sunday morning, a matchup between 2-5 teams, each desperately seeking to get their season back on track. Russell Wilson’s horrendous season continued in the early going, as he came close to throwing an interception on the game’s first play and eventually did throw one on Denver’s second drive. Jacksonville jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 22-yard reception by Evan Engram, but a red zone interception by Trevor Lawrence kept the offense from making it 14-0 on their next drive. Jacksonville added another field goal in the second quarter. Denver finally responded with a touchdown of their own – a six-yard reception by Jerry Jeudy – to make it 10-7 heading into the break. After getting a defensive stop to start the second half, the Broncos’ offense looked as sharp as it has all year on a 98-yard drive culminating in a one-yard Melvin Gordon touchdown run. Both defenses dominated the game for most of the second half, as the teams exchanged six consecutive punts heading into the final minutes of the contest. Jacksonville finally broke through with just under four minutes to play, a Travis Etienne touchdown run to put them ahead 17-14. Denver responded with a sudden burst of offense themselves, scoring a touchdown to retake the lead with 1:43 left as Latavius Murray scored from one yard out to make it 21-17. Needing a touchdown on their final drive, Jacksonville took over with two timeouts to work with – but Broncos’ cornerback K’Waun Williams came up with a timely interception to nip the threat in the bud despite a cast on one of his arms. Denver ran the clock out from there, picking up a huge win to keep this season’s hope alive. 

Next Week: Denver: Bye, Jacksonville: vs Las Vegas

Saints 24, Raiders 0

New Orleans came into Sunday afternoon’s tilt with the visiting Raiders seeking to keep pace in a division that’s struggled all around. The Saints opened the scoring late in the first quarter with a short run by Alvin Kamara. New Orleans’ defense stepped up next, forcing a turnover on downs early in the second quarter that they’d convert into a field goal and a 10-0 lead. Alvin Kamara’s second touchdown of the half, this one on a reception, made it 17-0 Saints with just over seven minutes to go before halftime. Derek Carr finished the first half with just 43 passing yards, and an interception as Las Vegas went into the locker room at the Superdome in search of answers. They certainly wouldn’t find those answers on the Saints’ first drive of the second half, another powerful march downfield capped off by Alvin Kamara’s third touchdown of the game, this time a 36-yard reception to make it 24-0. New Orleans’ defense continued to dominate the rest of the way, preserving the impressive shutout win. The 24-0 loss was the first time Las Vegas has been shutout eight years, halting the Raiders’ momentum and sending them to 3-5 on the year. 

Next Week: New Orleans: vs Baltimore, Las Vegas: at Jacksonville 

Falcons 37, Panthers 34 (OT) 

The Carolina Panthers traveled to Atlanta for Week 8’s divisional battle, with the Falcons looking to build on their huge upset last week while Atlanta tried to get back on track after a disaster in Cincinnati. Just as everyone expected, the winners would potentially find themselves alone in first place in the NFC South by the end of the afternoon. The game was tight through the first half, as touchdowns by Kyle Pitts for Atlanta and D’Onta Foreman for Carolina made it 10-7 Panthers late in the first half. PJ Walker made a critical mistake before halftime, an interception returned by Lorenzo Carter for a 28-yard touchdown to give the Falcons a 14-10 lead. Carolina kicked a field goal to pull within one, but Tyler Allgeier broke free for a 25-yard score to make it 21-13 Atlanta late in the third. D’Onta Foreman’s big afternoon continued early in the fourth quarter, as he punched in both a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game at 21 with just under 12 minutes to go. The Falcons kicked a field goal to take a 24-21 lead with 7:33 to play, but the back-and-forth scores were just beginning. D’Onta Foreman’s third touchdown of the game gave Carolina a 28-24 lead with three minutes to play, but Atlanta’s Damiere Byrd answered with a 47-yard reception for a score of his own to put Atlanta on top 31-24 with 2:14 to play. The Falcon’s defense got a key stop on Carolina’s next drive and kicked a field goal with 40 seconds left to put the Panthers on the ropes down 34-28. Unfazed, Panthers’ quarterback PJ Walker unleashed a miraculous touchdown pass to D.J. Moore with just 12 seconds to play – but after Moore was penalized for excessive celebration, kicker Eddy Pineiro missed the 48-yard extra point. Regulation finished with the two teams tied at 34, and Atlanta won the overtime coin toss to give them a chance to win it. An ill-advised deep pass from Marcus Mariota led to a quick Panthers’ red zone opportunity with a chance for the win, but Eddy Pineiro missed a 33-yarder to keep the game going. Marcus Mariota made a huge play with his legs on the ensuing drive, ultimately setting up Atlanta kicker Younghoe Koo with a 41-yard field goal to win it. Koo drilled it, moving Atlanta to 4-4 and into first place alone in the NFC South heading into Week 9. 

Next Week: Atlanta: vs LA Chargers, Carolina: at Cincinnati

Dolphins 31, Lions 27

The Detroit Lions have struggled mightily on offense in the month of October, scoring a combined two points over their last two games with a bye week in between. They’d get off to a hot start Sunday, driving down the field in a flash to set up Jamaal Williams’ seven-yard touchdown run on the opening drive. The Lions continued to look sharp on their second possession, making it 14-0 on D’Andre Swift’s touchdown reception with five minutes to play in the quarter. The Dolphins’ offense awakened next, cruising downfield quickly and pulling within seven on Jaylen Waddle’s five-yard touchdown catch in the waning moments of the opening quarter. The track meet of first-half offense continued on the next Detroit drive, and Jamaal Williams polished it off with his second rushing touchdown of the day to make it 21-7. Jaylen Waddle’s second touchdown of the first half made it 21-14. The teams exchanged field goals to close out the half making it 27-17 Lions at the break. The fireworks continued in short order to start the second half, as Miami immediately drove downfield to pull within three after fullback Alec Ingold’s first career rushing touchdown. The Dolphins kept the pressure on after getting a defensive stop, taking a 31-27 lead on Tua Tagovailoa’s touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki. Detroit put together a solid looking drive of their own in the fourth quarter, but a failed fourth-and-two play with 2:52 to go gave the Dolphins back the football with a chance to potentially ice the game. Detroit’s defense couldn’t get the stop they needed in the final moments, and the Dolphins closed it out, leaving Detroit with a huge 31-27 win. 

Next Week: Miami: at Chicago, Detroit: vs Green Bay

Vikings 34, Cardinals 26

The Minnesota Vikings hosted the Arizona Cardinals coming out of their bye, looking to improve to 6-1 and increase their lead in an otherwise struggling NFC North. The Vikings got off to a great start, as quarterback Kirk Cousins ran for one touchdown and passed for another to build a 14-3 first-half lead. Arizona kept fighting back in the second quarter, pulling within four on an unbelievable DeAndre Hopkins catch in the end zone. The Cardinals’ special teams came up big to keep it at 14-10 heading into the half, blocking a Greg Joseph field goal attempt. The Cardinals broke through to take the lead in the third quarter on a touchdown reception by Zach Ertz, but the Vikings quickly grabbed it back as Alexander Mattison scampered into the end zone to make it 21-17 Minnesota. The Vikings found themselves in a position to extend their advantage moments later, taking over at the Cardinals’ 31-yard line after a Kyler Murray interception. This time it was Dalvin Cook running in another Vikings touchdown, pushing Minnesota’s advantage to 28-17 with four minutes to go in the third. Kyler Murray’s next drive looked a ton better, connecting on two big plays to Rondale Moore – the second of which went for a 38-yard touchdown after some impressive elusive running. It was Arizona’s defense that came up with a big play next, a strip-sack by Isaiah Simmons to give them the football immediately in the red zone looking to take the lead. They’d settle for a field goal instead, making it 28-26 early in the fourth quarter. Arizona’s defense forced a Minnesota punt on the next drive, but a Greg Dortch muff set up Minnesota deep in Cardinals’ territory. The Vikings extended their lead with a touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to K.J. Osborn but failed to make it a two-possession advantage when Greg Joseph missed the extra point. Kyler Murray threw yet another interception on Arizona’s next possession, but the defense continued to stand up and give the Cardinals’ offense additional opportunities to tie the game. The Cardinals’ final chance started on their own 13-yard line with 1:52 to play, needing to drive the length of the field without a timeout available. Minnesota’s defense held firm again to salt away the 34-26 win and move the Vikings to 6-1 on the season. 

Next Week: Minnesota: at Washington, Arizona: vs Seattle

Patriots 22, Jets 17

Much has been made of the quarterback position in New England in recent weeks, but it was Mac Jones who got the starting nod for the Patriots’ divisional game against the Jets. Despite two drives of more than 60 yards through four total possessions, New England settled for just three points as the first half wound down. Zach Wilson found Tyler Conklin for the first touchdown of the contest in the second quarter, an eight-yard completion to put New York ahead 10-3. New England’s offense found itself with a great opportunity to close the deficit in the final moments of the first half, intercepting Zach Wilson deep in his own territory. They’d almost hand the Jets an even larger lead with what appeared to be a pick-six, but a roughing the passer call gave New England new life. The Patriots would settle for a field goal, sending the game into halftime with New England trailing 10-6. New England came out sharp to start the third quarter, capping off a 62-yard drive with a five-yard pass to Jakobi Meyers for a 13-10 lead. The Patriots kept steadily leaning on the Jets as the third quarter wore on, kicking two field goals to make it 19-10 with two minutes before the final period. Zach Wilson’s play deteriorated as the second half went on, throwing two more interceptions as Nick Folk’s fifth field goal of the day put New England ahead 22-10 in the fourth. New York finally scored a touchdown with less than two minutes to go but couldn’t recover their onside kick. New England ran the clock out from there, preserving a 22-17 win to push their win streak over the Jets to 13. The win was Bill Belichick’s 325th, officially moving him into second all-time behind Don Shula. 

Next Week: New England: vs Indianapolis, New York: vs Buffalo

Eagles 35, Steelers 13

Sunday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field got off to a hot start for the undefeated Eagles, who held the Steelers scoreless on their first possession before marching downfield on a drive that ended with a 39-yard touchdown reception by AJ Brown. Pittsburgh responded with a score on their second drive, converting a trick play that saw wide receiver Chase Claypool pass for a tying score. The AJ Brown show continued the fireworks in the second quarter for Philadelphia, as his second touchdown catch – this one for 27 yards – gave the Eagles back the lead. Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown connected for a ridiculous third touchdown in the first half later in the second quarter, a 29-yard strike to put Philadelphia ahead 21-7. Steelers’ backup kicker Nick Sciba added a field goal in the second quarter, and the battle for Pennsylvania went into the intermission with the Eagles ahead 21-10. Philadelphia’s offense picked up right where it left off to begin the third quarter, as Jalen Hurts connected with Zach Pascal for a 34-yard touchdown and a 28-10 advantage. Pittsburgh added yet another field goal to pull back within two scores, but the Eagles extended their lead again on Miles Sanders’ 11-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles’ defense handled business from there, preserving a 35-13 win and moving them to 7-0 on the year. 

Next Week: Philadelphia: at Houston, Pittsburgh: Bye

Commanders 17, Colts 16

The Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts each started Sunday’s game in search of consistency, and both started a backup quarterback at Lucas Oil Stadium. Each team punted on their first two possessions, keeping it scoreless heading into the second quarter. It was Indianapolis who eventually broke through first, taking a 3-0 lead on Chase McLaughlin’s 46-yard field goal. Washington’s offense woke up immediately on their next drive, connecting on a long pass to Terry McLaurin and a short touchdown throw to Antonio Gibson to take a 7-3 lead that would last into the half. Both defenses continued to make big plays as the second half got underway, but Indianapolis steadily began to build some momentum with the ball in the third quarter. Chase McLaughlin added a field goal to make it 7-6. Indianapolis was driving deep into Washington territory again late in the third quarter – but a Jonathan Taylor’s fumble gave the Commanders back the football with three and a half minutes to play in the third. Indianapolis’ defense continued to pile up the stops, and eventually, the Colts added a third field goal to take a 9-7 lead early in the third. The Colts’ defense immediately stepped up, intercepting Taylor Heinicke to set the offense up with a short field. Nyheim Hines made it count with a six-yard touchdown run, and Indy suddenly held a two-possession lead at 16-7. Washington continued to fight, converting a field goal to pull within six and picking up a huge stop that allowed them one last desperate drive for a score in the final seconds. The cardiac Commanders made play after play in the final minute, highlighted by an incredible pass and catch to Terry McLaurin to give them the ball on the one-yard line with 41 seconds to play. Heinicke ran the ball into the end zone on the following play, completing an improbable comeback drive to give the Commanders a 17-16 lead. Washington’s defense did the rest, giving them a massive third consecutive win to move to 4-4 on the year.

Next Week: Indianapolis: at New England, Washington: vs Minnesota

Seahawks 27, Giants 13

Two of the more pleasant surprises in the league met Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field in Seattle, each looking to further legitimize their claims as playoff contenders. Defense ruled the day early, as the teams combined for six consecutive punts before anyone scored. It would eventually be Seattle getting on the board first, as Geno Smith connected with DK Metcalf on a three-yard pass to cap off a 15-play drive in the second quarter. On the Seahawks’ next possession, the Giants continued their season-long trend of forcing turnovers on defense when they recovered Tyler Lockett’s fumble on the Seattle two-yard line. Two plays later, Saquon Barkley would punch it in from one yard out to tie the game at seven. New York’s defense, relentlessly pressuring Geno Smith, forced another Seahawks punt – but after fumbling the punt return, Seattle took a 10-7 lead on a Jason Myers field goal. The Giants tied the game with a 31-yard Graham Gano field goal with six minutes to play in the third, setting up a potentially fun finish at Lumen Field. Both teams exchanged field goals again as the game moved into the fourth, but it was Geno Smith’s 33-yard strike to Tyler Lockett that put Seattle ahead 20-13 with nine minutes left. New York’s second fumbled punt return of the day cost them dearly after they picked up a big stop, setting up Seattle in scoring range with a chance to put the game away. Kenneth Walker cut through the Giants’ defense with an impressive 16-yard run to give the Seahawks a 27-13 advantage. Seattle held on from there, picking up a huge win to move to 5-3 and stay in first place alone in the NFC West.

Next Week: New York: Bye, Seattle: at Arizona

49ers 31, Rams 14

The San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams renewed what’s become a heated rivalry for the second time this season Sunday afternoon at SoFi Stadium, as the 49ers searched for their eighth consecutive regular-season win in the series. Each defense held serve early, forcing back-to-back punts – but Los Angeles’ second drive of the afternoon steadily moved deep into San Francisco territory. Stafford’s one-yard touchdown run capped off the drive, a 17-play, 88-yard march that ate more than nine minutes of clock. San Francisco’s tying score didn’t take nearly as long, a six-play sprint culminating in a beautiful touchdown pass thrown by running back Christian McCaffrey to Brandon Aiyuk. The offensive explosion continued on Los Angeles’ next drive, ending with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp to take a 14-7 lead. San Francisco then answered with a field goal, making it 14-10 with one minute to play until halftime. San Francisco finally put together another strong drive late in the third quarter, capping it off with an impressive nine-yard touchdown reception by Christian McCaffrey for a 17-14 lead. The 49ers’ defense forced a punt on the following Rams’ drive and kept their foot on the gas with another touchdown to extend their lead to 24-14 moments later. This time, Christian McCaffrey ran in the score, making him the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005 to throw for a touchdown, catch a touchdown pass, and run for a touchdown in the same game. San Francisco continued their second-half blitz with another lightning-fast drive the next time they touched the ball, this time polishing it off with a seven-yard throw to Kittle in the back of the end zone to make it 31-14. The 49ers finished the job on defense from there, but the big news on Los Angeles’ final drive was a potential injury to star wideout Cooper Kupp. San Francisco moves to 4-4 with the win, keeping pace behind the Seahawks atop the NFC West standings.
Next Week: San Francisco: Bye, Los Angeles: at Tampa Bay

Bills , Packers

Bills fans packed Highmark Stadium to the gills early Sunday night, excited about the prime time matchup between Buffalo and the Green Bay Packers. Buffalo would reward them with a great start, jumping out to a 14-0 lead by early in the second quarter behind two Josh Allen touchdown passes -one to Dawson Knox and one to Stefon Diggs. Green Bay finally responded midway through the second quarter, as Romeo Doubs’ acrobatic 19-yard touchdown catch made it 14-7 Buffalo. The Bills kept on pouring it on though, adding another touchdown pass form Josh Allen to Isaiah McKenzie to extend their lead to 21-7 and a field goal as the half expired to make it 24-7. Green Bay added a field goal on their first drive of the second half, pulling back within two touchdowns with ten minutes to go in the third quarter – but Buffalo re-extended the lead to 17 on their next drive with a field goal of their own. Defenses dominated much of the second half, as four straight drives ended in turnovers – three by interception, and one on downs – as the clock ran into the fourth quarter. Green Bay’s offense eventually broke through for its second touchdown of the night, a 37-yard toss from Aaron Rodgers to Samori Toure making it 27-17. Green Bay put one final drive together in the final minutes, but the Buffalo win was sealed officially with Mason Crosby’s missed field goal with under a minute to go. The win moves Buffalo to 6-1, maintaining their dominance over the AFC East while pushing Green Bay further behind the first place Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.

Next Week: Buffalo: at NY Jets, Green Bay: at Detroit

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