Decyfr’s Week 8 Roundup

We are now halfway through the 2023 NFL season – the Las Vegas Raiders have just fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager David Ziegler, teams were busy making trades and lucrative contracts have been signed all in the hopes of having a better second half, in the run-up to the Playoffs.

With multiple new faces in new places, here is Decyfr’s roundup of the Week 8 action.

Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys

Final Score: 20 – 43

DaRon Bland has made quite the name for himself in the Cowboys’ secondary. With his third pick-six of the season, he, alongside Stephon Gilmore, helped keep the LA Rams offense to 20 points. Dak Prescott also had a commanding game at quarterback for Dallas, throwing 304 yards and four touchdown passes with one interception. Prescott found his favourite receiver Ceedee Lamb for two of those touchdowns and 158 yards – the connection between the two looked to be back after being visibly frustrated with just the four catches in Week 5 against the 49ers.

The win now takes the Cowboys to 11 straight victories at AT&T Stadium, the franchise’s longest streak since the 1991-92 season when they played at Texas Stadium. The Dallas special teams also continued their impressive season, with Sam Williams blocking a punt for a safety and KaVontae Turpin returning the resulting punt for 63 yards to set up Ceedee Lamb’s first touchdown of the game.

The Rams now sit third in the NFC West and will be looking to get their first win since Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Meanwhile, Dallas remains second in the NFC East behind Philadelphia.

Player Of The Game: CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys.

Atlanta Falcons @ Tennessee Titans

Final Score: 23 – 28

After a disappointing draft day for Will Levis, having been invited to the green room for the first round and slipping into the early second round, he made it clear that he is capable of becoming a starter in the NFL. Sporting their Houston Oilers-themed throwback jerseys, the Titans initially started Malik Willis at quarterback but after a lacklustre first drive, he was replaced by Levis. The former Kentucky man threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns, three of which went to star receiver DeAndre Hopkins who had 128 yards on four receptions.

Atlanta benched quarterback Desmond Ridder for former Washington Commander Taylor Heinicke, who threw their only touchdown in the air. Despite the defeat, Atlanta still sits at 4-4 atop the NFC South, whilst Tennessee progressed to 3-4 and drew level with the Houston Texans in the AFC South.

Player Of The Game: Will Levis, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Commanders

Final Score: 38 – 31

After sustaining an injury in the previous game, Jalen Hurts wore a brace on his left knee, which seemed to halt his normally effervescent rushing attack. However, his ability to stand in the pocket and deliver passes with accuracy helped the team to rally from a double-digit deficit against their NFC East rivals.

Hurts threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns, while his Washington counterpart, Sam Howell, had his best game of his season so far, completing 39/52 passes for 397 yards and four touchdowns. Philadelphia’s offense proved too much for the Commanders, especially wide receiver A.J. Brown, who became the first player in NFL history with 125+ receiving yards in six consecutive games.

The Eagles went on to win the game and move to 7-1. With the NFL trade deadline looming, Washington decided to move on from star pass rushers, Montez Sweat and Chase Young, sending them to Chicago and San Francisco respectively.

Player Of The Game: Jalen Hurts, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos

Final Score: 9 – 24

Kansas City had beaten their AFC West rivals Broncos twice every year since 2015 coming into this game. However, Denver got off to a hot start against the defending Super Bowl champions, scoring on their first drive and holding their opponents to a field goal. From then on, the Broncos made light work of one of the best offenses in the league by sacking Mahomes three times, securing two interceptions and holding them to just nine points in the game.

Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns with only 114 total passing yards, relying on their defense and the ability of Javonte Williams who totalled 85 rushing yards. Denver still sits fourth in the AFC West while the Chiefs remain top at 6-2.

Player Of The Game: Justin Simmons, Safety, Denver Broncos.

Cincinnati Bengals @ San Francisco 49ers

Final Score: 31 – 17

After going undefeated in their first five games this season, the 49ers have since faltered, losing three on the bounce. The Bengals, who had started the season poorly with quarterback Joe Burrow struggling with a calf problem, had finally found some rhythm going into Week 8.

Burrow looked back to his best again after throwing three touchdown passes, one of which was to star receiver Ja’Marr Chase who racked up a total of 100 yards from 10 targets.

Christian McCaffrey has now matched Lenny Moore’s record for the most consecutive games with a touchdown with 17 and has the opportunity to break it against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10 after the 49ers’ bye week.

Player Of The Game: Joe Burrow, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals.

Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Chargers

Final Score: 13 – 30

Justin Herbert, who had struggled in recent games following a broken finger on his non-throwing hand, showed his incredible talent and accuracy once again. Completing 31 of his 40 passing attempts, Herbert threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns going to Austin Ekeler, Donald Parham Jr and Simi Fehoko.

The Chargers’ defense also looked to exploit the inexperience of Bears rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent, who had an electrifying game against the Raiders last weekend. Safety Derwin James Jr. and cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor both had an interception each on Bagent, but despite those costly picks, Bagent threw for 232 yards and moved the ball well.

Player Of The Game: Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Detroit Lions

Final Score: 14 – 26

With running back David Montgomery out injured, the responsibility of carrying the ball was handed to rookie sensation Jahmyr Gibbs. The young running back out of Alabama impressed with 189 total yards, scoring one rushing touchdown. Rookie tight end Sam Laporta also made a name for himself as he put up 57 receiving yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.

The Raiders struggled on offense with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throwing an interception and only 126 passing yards. The offensive line could not keep him protected in the pocket as he was sacked six times for a loss of 49 yards by the likes of Alex Anzalone and London-born Julian Okwara. Las Vegas suffered their fifth loss of the season which led to Raiders owner Mark Davis relieving head coach McDaniels and general manager Dave Zeigler of their duties.

Player Of The Game: Jahmyr Gibbs, Running Back, Detroit Lions.

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