What We Learned from Week 8 of the NFL Season


A Packers home loss to lowly Minnesota. Pittsburgh toppling the Ravens in Baltimore to stay undefeated. The Dolphins and the Bengals pulling off wild upsets behind rookie quarterbacks. The theme of Week 8 was to expect the unexpected, though the Jets proved to be a stabilizing force by losing to Kansas City in as ugly a fashion as predicted.

Here’s what we learned:

*Except when it takes more.

Steelers 28, Ravens 24 Baltimore was playing at home, and was up by 10 at halftime, only to have it all fall apart in the second half. Pittsburgh now has a commanding two-game lead over the Ravens in the ultracompetitive A.F.C. North.

Bengals 31, Titans 20 Cincinnati was again without running back Joe Mixon, but Giovani Bernard did his part in the upset with 78 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. The Bengals have a way to go before anyone will be scared of them, but Coach Zac Taylor got his first career win over a team with a winning record and the Bengals matched their 2019 win total (two).

Vikings 28, Packers 22 Minnesota gave Aaron Rodgers the ball down by 6 with 47 seconds remaining at Lambeau Field. All too many times in Rodgers’s career a setup like that meant Green Bay was about to storm to victory. This time, the Vikings’ beleaguered defense held strong, allowing a few completions before getting a devastating strip-sack from D.J. Wonnum that sent the ball flying and allowed the clock to run out.

Colts 41, Lions 21 Jordan Wilkins picked up the bulk of the Colts’ yardage on the ground, but his fellow running back Nyheim Hines stole the show with a pair of receiving touchdowns, each of which he celebrated with gymnastlike floor routines in the end zone.

Chiefs 35, Jets 9 After failing to cover an outrageous 19.5-point spread in this blowout, the Jets fell to 0-8 for just the second time in franchise history, a feat that matched the 1996 Jets, who finally won in Week 9. A “Monday Night Football” matchup against the reeling Patriots is theoretically the team’s best bet for a win for this year’s Jets as well, though even that is far from a given.

Dolphins 28, Rams 17 Miami didn’t get big offensive yardage the way it did with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, but the team increased its winning streak to three games, outscoring opponents by 95-34 in that stretch.

Bills 24, Patriots 21 Josh Allen was limited once again, and Buffalo barely held off New England despite the Patriots missing several key players. The Bills have a solid lead in the A.F.C. East, but it’s worth noting that their point differential for the season is -1, while the second-place Dolphins are +58.


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