Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 10/31/12
Each week, various members of the Helmet2Helmet forum community — known as Team Ugly (which includes yours truly) — will analyze, criticize, praise, and mock all of the happenings from the prior week of NFL action in their own unique way. Previously: Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 Week 8 marks the approach of the halfway point in the 2012 season. Some teams excelled in the first half, some were awful, most lie somewhere in between. The results of Week 8 alone leave some teams answering questions. Are the Vikings becoming what everyone expected? Are the Jets done, not even looking like they had a pulse against the division rival Dolphins in front of the home crowd? Is it time to dismantle the Eagles? Is Arizona, well, Arizona? Then there is the other side of the coin. Are the Broncos with Manning a strong contender? Will the Giants actually walk away with the NFCE? How far will Atlanta extend this run? Are the 49ers ready to take the next step? Have the Steelers, Packers, and Lions recovered? Have the Pats turned a corner? Then there are the rhetorical questions, like how bad are the Chiefs, Jags, and Panthers? Will the real Rams please stand up. Seattle just missed in Detroit, which kept the Lions in the hunt. Dallas “missed it by that much” against the Giants in Big D, after coming back for an initial 23 point debacle of a start. Both Romos were on display in the same game. Week 8 also revealed some of the ugliest throwbacks witnessed on an NFL field. The Steelers showed why they stopped wearing those digs in the 1930′s. All they needed were the Broncos vertically-striped socks to create vertigo. Somehow, Sandy missed the NFL as she tore up the Northeast Corridor. She did not miss much else. As we make the turn to Week 9, some answers may be found. The Chiefs and Chargers square off (sort of) to start the week. I’m sure we will all be on the edge of our seats for that one. The “only slightly more interesting” ledger has a few more entries, ending with Monday’s Eagles-Saints matchup. Sandwiched in between are some decent pairings. On paper, the best may be the Steelers and Giants. But the Vikings head to Seattle, with both teams needing a win to boost their hopes for greater bounty. The Dolphins and Colts wrangle to see who will go 5-3, in the “Whodathunkit Bowl.” The Cards visit the Packers, in the derby of teams heading in opposite directions. The Broncos visit the Bengals, both hoping to bolster their resumes for later potential endeavors. Atlanta hosts Dallas, hoping to keep their record unblemished. But here is one last look at Week 8, GBU style. Good Atlanta Falcons – While we don’t really know what to make of Philadelphia, this did appear to be a trap game for Atlanta. So much for that. Atlanta took the game’s opening possession 80 yards in 16 plays and held the ball nearly 9 minutes before Ryan hit DJ Davis for a 15 yard TD. Their second possession they held the ball another 4-plus minutes before Ryan shuttled the ball to fullback Jason Snelling for their second TD. In the first quarter, the Falcons held the ball over 13 minutes, ran 24 plays, and posted 14 points, compared to 4 offensive plays and no threat to the scoreboard for Philly. When the Eagles did narrow the gap to 14-7 on their second possession, Ryan and company answered in short order, thanks to a 63 yard TD to Julio Jones, then a half-ending drive resulting in a field goal to extend the gap to 24-7 at the half. The second half was less overwhelming, but almost by necessity. If this was a trap game, somebody forgot to tell the Falcons. Denver Broncos – What lands the Broncos here is not just the magnitude of their win over New Orleans. It was not amassing 530 yards, 29 first downs, holding the ball for 35 minutes, rushing for 225 yards, or putting up 34 points. Those who have seen the Saints regularly this season are not surprised by any of that, especially when Peyton Manning is under center for the team running up those numbers. The icing on this cake was holding the Saints to 252 yards, 1 third down conversion in 12 attempts, and only 14 points. It is simply hard to find fault with anything Denver did Sunday night. Sure, it was at home, and the offensive effort was against something that looks a little like a defense, only different, but it was a complete pounding of a team that has generally made itself competitive in games despite its shortcomings. Manning, McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Ronnie Hillman, and a cast of defensive characters too long to be named here made being Good look easy. Miami Dolphins – Some days you are the hammer and some days you are the nail. Both of these teams have been on both sides of that over the years in this rivalry but it was the Dolphins’ turn to do the pounding this time. They came out with a mildly successful opening drive ending in a field goal but decided to go for the throat, attempting and recovering an onside kick. Even though their second drive stalled immediately, that boldness seemed to set the tone for the entire day. Miami’s defense was stifling, only allowing two first downs in the first 27 minutes of play, and when the Jets finally did have a nice looking drive going to end the first half, the Dolphins held in the red zone and blocked the FG attempt. Along with that block, the special teams had a field day with a blocked punt/TD, 3/3 on FGs, a handful of punts pinning the Jets behind their own 20, and some nice returns of the few New York kickoffs. The offense had to adjust to the loss of Tannehill early, just about the only thing that didn’t go Miami’s way, but even that didn’t spoil their day as Matt Moore, arguably one of the best backup QBs in the league, came in and had a solid game. With this win the Dolphins find themselves, against all odds after a tumultuous offseason, right in the thick of the crowded AFC playoff picture as we head into November. Tampa Bay Bucs – The Bucs are almost enough to drive a madman to sanity. Right about the time they convince the world that they are focused on finding creative ways to lose games, they go on the road and put up a performance like they did in Minnesota. They controlled the ball, which controlled the clock, which minimized the damage Adrian Peterson did (and he did damage). The Bucs jumped out to the game’s first 13 points thanks to Josh Freeman’s arm and Doug Martin’s feet. When the Vikings challenged , the Bucs answered. By the time the dust settled, the Bucs amassed over 400 yards of offense, didn’t turn the ball over, converted three Viking turnovers into 10 points, and didnt’ do anything cute or bravado to bring the rest of the effort to its knees, which was more than enough to counteract the wounds inflicted by Peterson and Percy Harvin. It was a solid, Good win on the road. Bad Arizona Cardinals – After a surprising 4-0 start, the Cardinals have entered a free fall that would make the ghosts of past Buffalo Bills teams proud. How discombobulated was this effort? Well, the good news is John Skelton had 290 yards passing. The bad news is that represents about 110% of Arizona’s total offense. Subtract 32 yards in sacks, then add a whopping 7 yards rushing in 9 attempts to get to the final 265. Meanwhile, the defense contained Frank Gore, only to have Alex Smith complete 18 of 19 passes and toss three TDs. Still, the defense was not bad, absent a couple of gaffes. When a team comes back to earth after a 4-0 start, there will be games that are potential rebound points. This one was a prime example, and Arizona’s response was Baaaaddd. Only a decent defensive effort, the lack of complete self destruction, and the fact the offensive one-dimensionality can be partially explained by the 49ers defense prevents it from being worse. This may just be who the Cardinals are. Philadelphia Eagles – Things continue to go from bad to worse in the City of Brotherly Love. Not only did the Eagles suffer their fourth loss of the season, but, with Andy Reid facing more pressure than ever before, we may soon see the Nick Foles era begin. Michael Vick didn’t have a disastrous outing, though he didn’t do enough to pull out the win, either. Reports indicate that Reid is evaluating the situation and may lean toward playing Foles, a rookie, in Week 9 against the Saints. The bigger problem, however, is the team’s defense, which continues to surrender a bevy of yards and points. If it wasn’t already clear,Juan Castillo, who was relieved of his duties (and some say scapegoated) wasn’t the sole problem. Coaches coach and players play. The latter needs to happen more proficiently and effectively for Philadelphia to remain in contention. Kansas City Chiefs — After dropping their fourth-straight game, nudging their record to 1-6, the Chiefs have cemented themselves as arguably the NFL’s worst team. In fact, it’s not even arguable. They have a general manager whose job appears to be hanging in the balance, a coaching staff that refused to feed its best player — RB Jamaal Charles had just 5 carries — and the league’s most ineffective starting quarterback. There are a few talented pieces, namely WR Dwayne Bowe and CB Brandon Flowers, but other than that, they’re pretty much devoid of worthwhile talent. That falls on the shoulders of the GM, Scott Pioli. He was brought in from New England with a ton of expectations, but has largely failed to live up to them or turn the Chiefs into a contender. If the losses continue to mount, expect a full house-cleaning in KC. Ugly NY Jets – In the span of just two seasons, the Jets have gone from AFC contenders to AFC East basement dwellers. Facing a virtual must-win against the Dolphins — who’ve arguably leapfrogged New York in the conference pecking order — Rex Ryan’s bunch pulled a no-show, and all three phases of the team crumbled in a blowout loss. At 3-5, the Jets are facing a litany of questions. Does Mark Sanchez remain the starting quarterback? Will Tim Tebow be utilized for more than one play per game? Is Ryan on the hot seat? The Jets enter their bye in a bad situation, and the answers to those questions will determine how the remaining eight games unfold. The 2012 campaign is shaping up as disastrous for Gang Green, a pitfall Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum would be lucky to survive. For now, though, they’ve landed comfortably in this column, likely not for the last time. St. Louis Rams – OK, so they have a barrel of excuses to choose from. Injuries are mounting, a six-hour jetlag differential had to take its toll, and, of course, the old standby “It’s the Rams, what did you expect?” While these are all valid (the last one less than years past, as the Rams have occasionally shown signs of life this season) if we’ve said it once we’ve said it a hundred times, just because there was a good reason for it to be Ugly, that doesn’t make it any prettier. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers tried to fool the world in September that this year would be different, jumping out to a 3-1 record instead of the customary 1-3. The swoon merely waited until October, and was in full force Sunday in Cleveland. Their primary sin on defense was giving up 122 yards on the ground to Trent Richardson, who accounted for all 7 of Cleveland’s points and over half their yardage when his 12 yard reception is added. On offense, San Diego was almost completely inert. They produced only two field goals on the day, 265 yards, and not much else. Their day was summed up on two plays. Their first drive, a good 10-play, 51 yard effort, ended when a fourth and one play at the Brown 31 was stuffed. Then jump 6 minutes into the third quarter, with the ball near midfield and trailing 7-3, Rivers hit a wide-open Robert Meachem between the numbers inside the Browns 25 and should have been a touchdown. If Meachem had fallen down after catching it, the worst would have been another field goal (important, when you ultimately lose by one). But Meachem dropped the pass. This was just an empty effort, and it lands the Chargers here. Honors Doug Martin – Martin was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bucs, with 135 yards on the ground in 29 carries, and 79 in 3 receptions, with a touchdown each way. That’s 214 yards in 32 touches, over half of Tampa’s yards in about 40-percent of its offensive plays and half of its TD’s. Not half bad! Peyton Manning – He gets overlooked a lot because, well, he is Peyton Manning. On Sunday he showed up for the gunfight with Brees, but wound up putting on a solo show. 305 yards in 22 completions of 30 passes with 3 TDs and nary an interception. He kept up his end of the bargain in what was expected to be a shootout. Matt Ryan – 22 of 29 with 3 Falcon TD passes. He was key in the Falcons grounding of the Eagles. Alex Smith – The 49ers QB completed 18 or 19 Monday night in Arizona, including 3 touchdowns. Olivier Vernon – Big plays were an important part of Miami’s success and Vernon led the charge with a blocked punt TD recovery in the end zone and a blocked field goal Dishonors Drew Brees – The football world waited eagerly to see a Brees-P. Manning shootout when the Saints and Broncs squared off. The football world is still early waiting. Mark Sanchez – What more needs to be said? He’s a turnover machine and seemingly has lost all confidence in himself and his abilities. If his backup wasn’t as equally unreliable, Sanchez would be firmly planted on the bench. Tony Romo — Completing the troika of quarterbacks in this column is Romo, who tossed a staggering three interceptions in sixteen minutes. Though he mounted a comeback in the second half, it was too little, too late for the Cowboys, thanks to Romo’s early miscues. Awards Ciron Black (Best of the Good) – This week, a couple of teams caught our eyes for the CB. Atlanta looked good enough in Philly to deserve a drink, as did Denver. It came down to which was a bigger surprise, in terms of magnitude. So, give Atlanta a shot of the good stuff, but leave the bottle for Denver for shutting down a normally potent Saints offense to the point they looked very pedestrian. Aunt Esther (Ugliest of the Ugly) – The Jets have epitomized the concept of an up and down season this year, but this was a new low. Just 5 weeks earlier they’d played the front end of the doubleheader in Miami and despite it being a very sloppy game, they managed to pull a win out of the chaos so hopes had to be high for a chance here to undo some of the pain of last week’s heartbreaking OT loss to the Pats. Instead they got fishooked and crawl into a bye week in the worst possible way…surveying the wreckage from Esther’s couch. Here is what they see: A renewal of the media circus style QB controversy that seems to follow Tebow wherever he goes, a tough schedule (by combination of opponent quality and West coast road games) that makes a winless November look very possible, a Head Coach on the hotseat admittedly searching for answers, and even GM Mike Tannenbaum, whose farts had been composed mostly of sunshine over the last few years in the eyes of Jets fans is taking some serious flak. Lone Ranger (Who Was That Masked Man?) – Every now and then we have a tough call in determining who did the most for his team’s positive outcome. This week came down to a flip of the coin between Peyton Manning and his superhuman arm or Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Bucs. Manning just completed 22 of 30 for 305 yards and a trio of TD’s, while Martin carried the ball 29 times for 135 yards and a touchdown, then added catches for 79 yards, including a 64 yard touchdown. The coin wound up on edge, so both get to wear the mask this week. Amber Alert (Greatest Disappearance) – you know you’ve reached true elite status when a 2 TD, 200+ yard day is considered serious failure. We also know that Drew Brees is one of those players who will bounce back quickly after going walkabout this week but in the meantime, he missed a golden opportunity to participate in a classic shootout. (Photo: Jack Dempsey/AP)
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Everson Griffen asks for help naming son after sack

Manny Pacquiao trying to bait Conor McGregor into fighting him

Chad Johnson blasts Cowboys for poor playcalling in Twitter rant

Watch Chargers punter Drew Kaser somehow miss kicking net on practice attempt

Marvin Jones makes amazing catch in between Vikings defenders

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lions' Matthew Stafford suffers ankle injury on TD pass

Report: Chip Kelly could make decision by Sunday

Lane Kiffin reportedly would be open to Tennessee return

Jay Cutler reportedly throws passes in practice

Stefon Diggs shows off Eminem-themed cleats for Thanksgiving game in Detroit

Joel Embiid: I'm ‘the best defensive player in the league’

Biggest sports turkeys of 2017

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

NFL Week 12 predictions

College football Week 13 predictions

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker