by ANDREW HORN
I have never seen so many standout performances in a single week. In my matchup alone, there were eight non-QB players who scored 20 or more points, led by his Arian Foster with 40.3 points. This was a crazy week for the offenses, with Pittsburgh putting up 51 points in a win against Indianapolis. With so many standout performances, there are a ton of winners in Week 8:
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) 74.1 points– 522 yards and six touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts were both career highs for Roethlisberger. In fact, he was just 32 yards short of tying Norm Van Brocklin’s all-time passing record of 554 yards in a single game. Big Ben leads the Steelers against division rival Baltimore Ravens in Week 9.
Tom Brady (NE) 55.7 points– Only in Week 8 could Brady’s five touchdown performance be an afterthought. There is no fancy word to describe what Brady did to the Bears’ secondary. I hope he has a hunting license because Brady made it open season. The Bears should be happy the Patriots allowed them to reach their bye week. Brady will clash with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Week 9.
Andrew Luck (IND) 43.6 points– Luck refused to let the Colts go quietly. His “never say die” attitude probably contributed to Roethlisberger’s numbers being so inflated. Luck put in a good performance with 400 yards and three passing touchdowns, but two interceptions really hurt his chances at winning a shootout. Luck will have until Monday night to redeem himself against the New York Giants, a team that has given up the sixth fewest points to opposing quarterbacks in Fox Sports leagues.
Kyle Orton (BUF) 40.5 points– E.J. who? Orton is making Bills fans forget about the first round pick they have sitting on the bench. Orton is making Bills fans forget about the season ending injury to CJ Spiller. Kyle Orton is playing like he did in his prime. Does this mean that three games from now, Orton will be back to normal? Orton will get a bye week before playing Kansas City in Week 10.
Loser: Geno Smith
The second round draft pick in 2013 was benched Sunday after throwing three interceptions in the first quarter. Smith has 37 career turnovers (31 INT, 6 fumbles) in just 24 career games. Smith clearly lacks the ability to make smart decisions as a quarterback. Smith needs to find confidence, but more importantly his passion for football. He lacks the energy necessary to be a good leader for the Jets. It may be time to stick with Vick and cut Smith.
Arian Foster (HOU) 40.3 points– Once again, it was Arian Foster against the world on Sunday as he single-handedly beat the Tennessee Titans. Foster scored 18 points by himself, the Titans only scored 16 as a team. He rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Foster caught four balls for 22 yards and a touchdown. Foster will be running against a Philadelphia defense which held Andre Ellington to just 73 rush yards.
Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis (KC)– The superstar starter (Charles) and the relatively unknown backup (Davis) combined for 49.6 points. The two-headed rushing attack ran for three touchdowns against the Rams, with Davis adding a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown in the second half. Kansas City plays the New York Jets next week. Both backs will get opportunities, but unfortunately for Davis owners, Charles is still the starter.
Mark Ingram (NO) – Sunday night, Ingram looked like a man who won the Heisman Trophy in college. 172 rushing yards on 24 carries led the Saints to a surprisingly easy win over the Packers. Ingram has scored double digit points in three of his four games this season. Ingram is starting to live up to his potential, giving the Saints another dimension to the offense. If Drew Brees gets a competent running game, there is no limit to what the Saints can accomplish. Remember, Brees had a pretty good running back in San Diego by the name of LaDainian Tomlinson.
Loser: Toby Gerhart
The former Stanford back has yet to find his legs in the NFL. Gerhart posted another weak game against Miami, rushing for only 10 yards. Even worse for Gerhart, former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson rushed for over 100 yards for the second consecutive week. Gerhart is clearly second to Robinson and can only go down as Storm Johnson develops into an NFL running back.
Jeremy Maclin (PHI) 35 points– Maclin caught 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns in Week 8 after reading my blog for Week 6. While I can’t take all the credit, his last performance caused him to be one of my losers in Week 6. Maclin’s 12 catches were a season high. The only negative for Maclin was that his performance wasn’t enough for the Eagles to win. Start him in Week 9 against the Texans.
Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) 33.6 points– Another three touchdown game for a Broncos receiver. Julius Thomas was the recipient of one earlier this season. Sanders posted his fourth 100-yard receiving game this season. He has four touchdowns over the past two games and is quickly becoming one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets. The Broncos play the Patriots in Week 9, a matchup every person in America should watch.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) 24 points– Welcome to the 2014 season Larry Fitzgerald. I wish his seven catch, 160-yard performance came on a week where he could be spotlighted by himself. Fitzgerald is a man of class, elegance and world-class skill. Even more impressive, Fitzgerald scored his first touchdown this season. With a carousel of quarterbacks, it’s a feat that Fitzgerald has any catches this year. Next up is a key NFC matchup with the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys.
Loser: Torrey Smith
Smith’s streak of two consecutive games with a touchdown is over. More impressively, Smith managed not to receive a single target on Sunday. It befuddles me how a player of Smith’s caliber can go untargeted, but that’s the Ravens way I guess. This continues a disturbing trend in Smith’s numbers this year, which have been incredibly feast or famine. Hopefully Smith is hungry when the Ravens clash with the Steelers in Pittsburgh, who are fresh off the destruction of Indianapolis.
Winner: Rob Gronkowski (NE) 35.9 points
Another position that had a number of standout, but Rob Gronkowski was in a league of his own. Gronk smashed Chicago on Sunday, catching nine passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He was the ninth highest scoring player at any position (yes, including quarterbacks). Gronkowski joins Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas as thigh ends with three touchdown games this season. Both Thomas and Gronkowski face each other in Week 9, making for a matchup for the ages.
Loser: Jordan Cameron
This is bigger than football for Cameron. He suffered his third concussion in the past three years. With all of the attention around the concussion issue in football, Cameron has potentially put his career in jeopardy. This is not supposed to sound like I am blaming Cameron for his concussions; I promise you I am not. What I am saying, as someone who has had a concussion, these injuries can act weirdly at any time without warning. Hopefully Cameron can make a full and speedy recovery and continue his promising career.