NFL Week 8 Takeaways

Dallas Cowboys
Joseph Sohm /

Week 8 of the NFL schedule featured this season’s final game in London, an undefeated team continuing their winning ways in dominant fashion and some running back performances that will continue to be discussed in the days to come.

A.J. Brown Is Worth Every Penny

While most of the focus during NFL Draft night is on the prospects coming into the professional ranks from college, there are also big moves made involving current players. Perhaps no transaction that evening had more significant ramification than the Philadelphia Eagles’ trade for and subsequent contract extension of wide receiver A.J. Brown.

The Tennessee Titans were not willing to fork over a lucrative payday to their star playmaker, and the Eagles jumped at the chance to bring in one of the game’s elite. Brown has almost singlehandedly jumpstarted a passing offense that was often dormant in 2021.

His signature performance this season came on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he eviscerated their secondary for three touchdowns and 156 yards on six catches. His most memorable play came on his third scoring play, where two Steelers bounced off of the solidly built Brown and could do nothing to contain him.

Backfield Controversy In Dallas?

It’s been a topic of conversation for the better part of a year, but the changing of the guard for the Dallas Cowboys’ backfield may have unofficially taken place on Sunday. The organization has expressed undying loyalty to incumbent starter Ezekiel Elliott, but Tony Pollard had a tremendous showing against the Chicago Bears.

Elliott was not available due to a knee injury, and Pollard took full advantage of his opportunity to shine. He scored three touchdowns with 131 explosive yards on the ground. He averaged over nine yards per carry, and was virtually unstoppable on the day.

Even after the game, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stated that Elliott will receive his usual complement of carries once he is healthy, but it is fair to wonder whether the team is doing themselves a serious disservice by not unleashing Pollard more often.

The Surprising NFC South

Even with all of their internal questions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were expected to have little trouble winning their division. There’s still a good chance that they’ll finish on top when all is said and done, but it looks like the rest of the NFC South is not going to make things easy.

The New Orleans Saints thumped the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, shutting them out 24-0. The fact that they won is not incredibly surprising, but how they imposed their will on a Raiders team with some legitimate star power was pretty impressive. Running back Alvin Kamara sliced and diced Las Vegas’ defense via traditional carries and as a receiver.

One of the craziest games of the day took place in Atlanta, as the Falcons and Carolina Panthers did battle into overtime. Carolina was able to force extra time thanks to a miraculous play by P.J. Walker and D.J. Moore, the latter of which caught a 62 yard bomb. The Falcons were able to regroup and hold on thanks to Younghoe Koo’s game winning field goal.