Six teams were on a bye this week, which meant we were deprived of more football on Sunday than should ever be allowed. I blame the government shutdown for allowing this travesty to occur. Neverthless, with a game or two less than usual, the rest of the teams did their part to amp up the craziness during the midpoint of the NFL season. So let's recap the good times from Week 8 one inch at a time -- it's Fifth Down.
Heading into the game against the Detroit Lions, Dez Bryant proclaimed confidently that he can do anythingCalvin Johnson can do. On Sunday, Megatron caught 14 passes for 329 yards (seven yards shy of Flipper Anderson's all-time single-game record) and a touchdown, while Dez Bryant did this:
The wild game in Detroit also gave us THIS little gem. Gotta love animated coaches like Schwartz. Had this been Mike McCarthy, Leslie Frazier or Marc Trestman, they likely would have sanitized the headset before politely passing it to the appropriate staffer. It's nice having one wild card coach in the NFC North to spice things up now and again.
Closing time in London
The NFL's International Series came to a close for 2013, when the San Francisco 49ers obliterated the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10. What I love about fans in London, though, is that they just want football. Over 83,000 people crammed into Wembley to watch this blowout. At least, the Jaguars rewarded them by having their mascot Jaxson De Ville make a cameo as a mid-game streaker breaking through security. If only Jacksonville were as clever in their offensive game-planning they might not be 0-8.
The Geno-coaster is one violent ride
The last month has featured hope-inspiring, gutsy performances from Geno (Falcons, Patriots), followed immediately by epic, mistake riddled collapses (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati). I know Geno's a rookie, but when was the last time a rookie quarterback had such polarizing performances in back-to-back weeks two times in a row? It's a good thing Fireman Ed retired last year, or this up-and-down season may have given his pizza-coated New York heart fits.
NFC LEast finds new ways to unimpress
Dallas gained 268 yards of total offense, or 61 yards less than Calvin Johnson gained by himself. The Giants beat the Eagles 15-7, in a game where the only touchdown was scored on a botched snap on a punt. The Redskins were blown out after leading the Broncos by 14 points in the third quarter. And now, after starting out 0-6, the Giants are only a mere two games out of first place in the division. Bravo, NFC East, bravo, you've become the Bravo network of the NFL. While the rest of the league produces quality television, your intra-divisional contests are like a catfight between the Real Houswives of Atlanta, and the Real Houswives of Beverly Hills. Everyone involved loses, especially people who took time out of their day to watch.
Two iconic franchises clashed in a battle of awfulness
Sure, Terrelle Pryor's 93-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game was awesome, but after that, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders combined for 15 punts, and five turnovers. This was a game in which Darren McFadden scored two touchdowns. No, that was not a typo. Yet, it was still far more entertaining than anything else you would have watched on Sunday. Come on, another episode of House Hunters, or Steelers at Raiders? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Tom Brady was down 17-3 at halftime, and after throwing a pick-six Peyton Manning was down 21-7 midway through the third quarter. Both the Dolphins and Redskins had to be feeling pretty good at those points except for one little mitigating factor. They were playing Tom Brady and Peyton Manning respectively. The result? Yeah, Brady and Manning notched the comeback wins while Dolphins and Redskins fans are left pounding their foreheads against their coffee tables in frustration.
Sproles is a popular flex option in fantasy leagues this year, as he ranks fourth in the NFL in all purpose yards and he's a dangerous weapon for the Saints both on the ground and in the passing attack. Yet, on a day when Drew Brees threw five touchdown passes, Sproles reeled in just four passes, for zero yards. Oh, and he didn't even have a rushing attempt. Not a single attempt. He clocked in a stellar 0.0 fantasy points for his owners while the Saints rolled to a 35-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Sorry to pour salt on your wounds Sproles owners, but the truth hurts -- even in fantasy football.
*- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar for his delayed reactions to "Homeland" which is collecting digital dust on his DVR, and the occassional insightful football comment. But don't get your hopes up.