NFL Week 8 takeaways – Lessons, big questions for every game

Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season featured an early riser and plenty of games of significance.

The Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked things off on Thursday with the Ravens pulling out a 27-22 victory, handing Tom Brady a 3-5 record for the first time in his career as a starter.

On Sunday morning, the league played its third and final game in London this season. Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos‘ offense were far from perfect, but they were good enough to get past the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-17.

The Philadelphia Eagles will try to improve to 7-0 when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers; and Aaron Rodgers will see if the Green Bay Packers respond to his public challenge when they face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night.

The “Monday Night Football” game features an all-Ohio battle when the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Cleveland Browns on ESPN.

Our NFL Nation reporters react with the biggest takeaways and lingering questions coming out of this week’s matchups and look ahead to what’s next. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted.) Let’s get to it.

Jump to a matchup:


What to know: Well, the Broncos certainly did bring everything to London, including penalty woes (10 in the first half alone), spotty quarterback play from Russell Wilson (his second pass attempt was intercepted) and a pile of offensive troubles that have plagued the Broncos all season, including repeated stumbles on first downs. It was all there on display in Wembley. Right up until they somehow, some way put together an 80-yard drive for a game-winning touchdown with 1:43 to play for a 21-17 lead, and K’Waun Williams made it stand with an interception. No team or coaching staff likely needed a win more than this one.

Will the Broncos be sellers at the trade deadline? General manager George Paton said Thursday in London the Broncos were “not in a mode where we want to get rid of our best players,” but now we’ll see whether that’s really the case. Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb has, and will, draw the most interest as Tuesday’s deadline approaches. Chubb is in the last year of his rookie deal and having his best all-around season as a pro. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who scored Sunday in London, has also gotten some interest, but the player who could have the best chance to move is tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. He was a game-day inactive for the third consecutive week and had been clearly displaced in the offense by rookie Greg Dulcich. Okwuegbunam has rare speed (4.49 at the combine) and was in John Elway’s last draft class as the Broncos’ top football decision-maker. — Jeff Legwold

Next game: at Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: Any concerns about whether Travis Etienne Jr. could handle the RB1 role should be put to rest after Sunday. Etienne ran for a career-high 156 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per carry. His one TD run should have been good enough for the game-winning score had the defense not given up a TD drive late. This is why the Jaguars felt comfortable trading James Robinson earlier in the week.

Has anyone seen Josh Allen? Allen had just two tackles against the Broncos and has just two QB hits in the past four games and one sack in the past five games. This was a game in which the Jaguars’ pass rush was critical with Russell Wilson dealing with a hamstring injury, but Allen was practically invisible. A top-10 pick should be counted on to make plays when the game is on the line, and Allen isn’t. — Mike DiRocco

Next game: vs. Raiders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Ravens need to embrace their ground-and-pound identity. In the first half, Baltimore scored three points when Lamar Jackson threw the ball 30 times. In the second half, the Ravens totaled 24 points when they ran the ball 26 times for 204 yards. It’s tempting to want to let Jackson throw the ball more in his fifth NFL season. He just hasn’t shown enough consistency to do so. Since Jackson took over as starter midway through the 2018 season, Baltimore is 37-8 (.822) when the Ravens run the ball 30 or more times.

How signficant are the injuries to Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman? Andrews and Bateman were ruled out for the entire second half, but coach John Harbaugh said neither suffered “serious” injuries. Andrews injured his right shoulder, and Bateman aggravated his left foot injury that sidelined him for two games earlier this season. The good news is the Ravens only play one game over the next 23 days (Baltimore plays at the Saints on Nov. 7 before going on a bye). The Ravens did learn they can win without Jackson’s top two targets. Isaiah Likely (6 catches for 77 yards) and Demarcus Robinson (6 for 64 yards) stepped up to fill the void. — Jamison Hensley

Next game: at Saints (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Bucs’ stunning free fall continues. Despite scoring on their first possession and ending the NFL’s fourth-longest opening drive scoring drought, the Bucs couldn’t keep it rolling. They failed to score another touchdown until 53 seconds remained, when Julio Jones hauled in an 8-yard grab in his first game back since aggravating a knee injury in Week 4. They managed to contain the Ravens’ offense until Shaq Barrett suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter, surrendering three touchdowns after.

How do the Bucs climb out of this? The one thing going for them right now is the NFC South is looking extremely weak, with the Bucs at 3-5, just behind the 3-4 Falcons but holding the head-to-head tie-breaker over Atlanta. But there aren’t many real ‘gimme games’ remaining on this schedule, although the combined record of their remaining nine opponents is 30-39. Next week features a game they’ve been eyeing since the schedule came out – a rematch of the NFC divisional playoff against the Los Angeles Rams, whom they lost to 30-27. Brady has gone 0-3 against the Rams since joining the Bucs. — Jenna Laine

Next game: vs. Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Source link

Leave a Comment