Michael Lavery looks back on an eventful Week 8 in the NFL.
In what was perhaps one of the busiest news weeks for the NFL in quite some time, the dust of the week eight earthquake is finally beginning to settle. With on field heroics and off the field issues filling our news feeds, wading through it all would take you some time and even then, you might not be fully up to speed. I usually have these takeaway articles done by a Tuesday or a Wednesday, but the news just kept coming this week and hence I’ve waited until Thursday to try and recap it all. So, in an attempt to try and make it all make sense, here is the good, the bad and the ugly week eight takeaways article.
Backup QBs make a name for themselves
It was a good week to a backup quarterback in the National Football League. With injuries to several starters, it was the time for the number two’s to step up and prove their worth. And prove it they did. In New York, Zach Wilson was sidelined with a minor injury that looks to be keeping him benched for around four weeks. In his absence it was the turn of Mike White under centre against the conference leading Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals, who were playing in their third of three consecutive road games arrived at MetLife with a 5-2 record and left 5-3. In a shock to just about everyone, Mike White had a record-breaking performance throwing for 405 yards and 3 TD’s. He became the first player to throw for more than 400 yards on their debut start since Cam Newton did it in 2011 and only the second ever to do it in NFL History.
Sunday Night Football saw Cooper Rush take centre stage as the Dallas Cowboys elected to bench Dak Prescott to preserve his long-term health. Prescott had been nursing a calf injury and could have played if absolutely necessary, but the Cowboys chose to negate the risk of further injury and benched him. Now, Rush didn’t have the type of world beating performance that White had in New York, but on the road, in primetime and with less than two minutes to go, Rush threw a perfect goal line fade to Amari Cooper in the back left corner of the endzone for the go ahead score.
Although the success of these backups is unlikely to create any real QB1 controversy, it’s still nice to see the underdog doing so well.
Von Miller to the Rams
It is the end of an era in Denver. Von Miller’s time as a member of Broncos Country has come to an end. The eight-time pro-bowler, three-time first team All-Pro and Super Bowl winner was traded to the Los Angeles Ram’s during the dying hours of Tuesday’s trade deadline. His departure from the Broncos leaves Kicker Brandon McManus as the sole remaining player from the Super Bowl 50 victory. Miller joins a Ram’s team who are in serious contention for a Super Bowl this season. He teams up with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey on a defense which looks like it was created on Madden and not in real life. The Bronco’s received a second and a third round draft pick as compensation for Miller but paid of nine million of the remaining $9.7 million on his current deal, meaning practically zero cap hit for the Rams.
To Be (Vaccinated) Or Not to Be… That is the question
Remember before the season, when no matter who stood in front of a podium to face questions from the media, they would be asked about their vaccination status? And there was basically two answers: “Yes, I am vaccinated” or “I believe that’s a personal matter and I do not wish to discuss” (Translates to “No I am not vaccinated”).
There was, however, one answer that was slightly different to the norm. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers responded to the question with “Yeah, I’ve been immunized”. Now at face value, that sounds like he’s saying he has got the jab, but his description of vaccinated and the League’s description are apparently, very different. This week the Packers front man was diagnosed with Covid-19 and due to his vaccination status, he will now miss Sunday Night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
This has caused a bit of a stir around the league considering how Rodgers has been adhering to the protocols for vaccinated individuals all season long. With Rodgers out, it will be Jordan Love under centre for the Packers in a huge game against the Chiefs who will now see themselves as having a considerable advantage in this fixture.
Calvin Ridley steps away from Football
I don’t want to say much on this, as it is obviously a very personal issue for Ridley, but I felt like it shouldn’t go unmentioned. The Falcons star wide receiver announced on Sunday that he will be stepping away from football to focus on his mental health. It is unclear whether this is a retirement from Ridley or a long-term break with no scheduled return. In what was a very brave move to step up and speak about his problems, Ridley I imagine has now paved the way for more players to be open about their mental struggles and he should be commended for doing so.
Browns, Baker and Beckham in unenviable situation
Odell Beckham Jr’s time in Cleveland has always been a difficult one and this week it has reach a boiling point. Beckham is clearly unhappy with his relationship with Baker Mayfield and the on field connection they have. The star wide-receiver who joined from the New York Giants in a blockbuster trade two seasons has never really settled into a rhythm in Cleveland. Although no deal for a trade was struck this week, Beckham has been excused from team duties and will not play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Henry Ruggs Situation
Again, another situation I won’t be dwelling on too much. In tragic news, Henry Ruggs III, now formerly a Las Vegas Raider, was involved in a car crash which saw the death of a 23-year-old woman and her dog. Ruggs was travelling at 127mph when his airbags deployed. He was driving over twice the legal blood-alcohol limit and his car had a loaded gun inside. Reports suggest Ruggs will now be charged with DUI resulting in death. A tragic situation which had fatal consequences.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there was just so much that happened this week. Absent from this article: Derrick Henry’s foot injury, Cooper Kupp’s record season continues, Brady falls to the Saints again and The Chiefs stopped the bleeding with a hard-fought win against the Giants.
Week 9 begins tonight with the New York Jets taking on the Indianapolis Colts. Will we see another Mike White masterclass or will the Colts bounce back from their overtime loss to the Titans?