The best and worst of Week 8 in the NFL (8 items)
This past week in the NFL gave fans much to be excited about with intense games, disastrous injuries, Herculean performances, and everything in between.
As the halfway point in the season progresses, the cement has been poured, and fans are beginning to see what every team in the league will become — for better or worse. Here is the best and worst from Week 8.
1 of 8. Best: Lions pull out thriller; Calvin Johnson has a monster game
Four passes and 79 yards later, Stafford found himself hurrying his team to the line of scrimmage at the one-yard line with 12 seconds remaining on the clock. He motioned and yelled at every player on his team that he was going to spike the ball.
That was when Stafford did something that not even his team saw coming. Instead of spiking the ball, Stafford leaped over his offensive line and stretched the ball toward the end zone. The late-responding defense reacted by trying to shove Stafford back. Stafford landed on his feet, and then proceeded to run into the end zone, finishing off the drive and the comeback.
Stafford passed for 488 yards and a touchdown in the 31-30 win. Calvin Johnson set an NFL regulation record with 329 yards receiving, including a touchdown.
When reflecting on the final touchdown run by Stafford, not even the offense knew what he was about to do.
"I was just as fooled as the defense was," offensive guard Larry Warford told ESPN.
According to Stafford, the plan was originally to spike the ball, until he saw the way the defense set up.
"I was yelling that I was going to spike the ball," He said. "But their linebackers were just standing there."
With the win, the Lions now sit at 5-3, one game behind the Green Bay Packers for the division lead.
2 of 8. Worst: Eagles quarterback woes get worse; lose 10th-straight at home
Vick opened the game by throwing an early interception, and the way that he moved made it clear that he wasn't himself. Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly benched Vick for rookie Matt Barkley.
Barkley wasn't much better, however. He threw for a mere 158 yards with an interception. With Vick out, the Eagles weren't nearly as big of a threat running Kelly's read-option offense. It requires a mobile quarterback to run it successfully. Because of Barkley's lack of speed, the Giants defense easily met LeSean McCoy at the line of scrimmage and held him to only 48 yards for the game.
When it was all said and done, the Giants came out on top, 15-7. With the loss, the Eagles have now lost a franchise-record 10 straight home games.
If Vick isn't 100 percent, and Kelly isn't willing to alter his offense, then looking to a free-agent mobile quarterback like Vince Young or Tim Tebow might not be such a bad idea.
3 of 8. Best: Alex Smith, Chiefs maintain perfect record
With the 23-17 win over the Cleveland Browns, the Chiefs improve to 8-0 behind quarterback Alex Smith, who threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Because the Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, every week the pressure will get bigger and the games will get tougher, but Smith and the Chiefs welcome that pressure.
"We love it," Smith told ESPN. "You want the stages to get bigger. That's why you put all the work in. You want this opportunity. You want that honor."
If the Chiefs leave their feet on the gas, expect them to trounce the 3-5 Buffalo Bills next week and improve to 9-0.
4 of 8. Worst: Matt Ryan throws four INTs
The Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 27-13, Sunday, and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed only 34 for 61 passes (55 percent) with four interceptions.
With Jackson working is way back into the rotation, the Falcons' new run game should open up the pass so that Ryan can make plays. Either way, Jones' season-ending injury will be a thorn in Atlanta's side the rest of the way.
5 of 8. Best: Andy Dalton, Bengals look like Super Bowl contenders
The Bengals looked like a true Super Bowl contender on both sides of the ball, dominating the Jets in every way.
While the Broncos, Chiefs, and Colts are getting most of the attention in the AFC, with Dalton at the helm, the Bengals look to be very much deserving of discussion with the rest of the dominant teams.