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NFL Week 8: Five Observations From Sunday

Jeremy Shapiro |
October 29, 2012 | 12:49 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Manning and the Giants nearly blew a big lead -- but instead go to 6-2. (Mike Morbeck/Creative Commons)
Manning and the Giants nearly blew a big lead -- but instead go to 6-2. (Mike Morbeck/Creative Commons)
There were 12 games in the NFL on Sunday, and we can understand if you were not able to keep track of them all. But with the baseball season all wrapped up, it's time to put a direct focus on football. Here are five key takeaways from the Week 8 action, including the Manning brothers staying on the winning side.

1. Giants Escape With A Victory From Big D

The New York Giants capitalized on four Dallas Cowboys turnovers within the first seventeen minutes of the game to gain a 23-0 lead. Eli Manning and Co. appeared to be in cruise control, but a furious rally by Tony Romo and his supporting cast changed the complexion of the game. The Giants' lead quickly evaporated, as the Cowboys exploited the Giants secondary with a huge aerial performance led by Jason Witten, who had a career high 18 catches.

The Giants' offense fell stagnant as Manning’s receivers failed to haul in many catchable passes, and RB Ahmad Bradshaw found little room to run against the stout Cowboys defense. After Dallas took the lead briefly in the fourth quarter, they found themselves down by five points, hoping Tony Romo could orchestrate a last-minute drive that would have sent shockwaves throughout the NFL.

The Cowboys came up an inch short, literally. Dez Bryant appeared to have hauled in a 37-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone with six seconds to go, but instant replay showed that Bryant’s hand was one inch out of bounds before the rest of his body hit the turf. The Giants escaped from Jerry World with a huge win that gives them a comfortable two-and-a-half-game lead in the division.

2. Jets Dominated By Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins thoroughly decimated the New York Jets on Sunday, after Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez failed to find a rhythm despite throwing the ball 54 times. Miami QB Ryan Tannehill was replaced by competent backup, Matt Moore, after suffering a leg injury in the first half. The Jets' wide receivers failed to create any separation, and Miami’s front seven was constantly in the Jets backfield, making it very difficult to gain any sort of momentum on offense.

Gang Green lacks locker room unity, and appears to be more concerned about making headlines in the media than winning games. In their defense, the Jets have suffered devastating injuries to several of their top players. But an ugly season that appears to be spiraling out of control leads me to wonder if Rex Ryan will be in the Big Apple long enough to guarantee a fourth straight Super Bowl championship.

Peyton's strong Sunday Night outing has Denver back over .500. (Jeffrey Beall/Creative Commons)
Peyton's strong Sunday Night outing has Denver back over .500. (Jeffrey Beall/Creative Commons)
3. Peyton Manning in Midseason Form

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos rolled over the Saints at home with a 34-14 victory. Expect the Manning-for-MVP campaign to start gaining steam after another stunning performance from the 36-year-old quarterback whose touch, accuracy, and football acumen is as sharp as ever.

Demariyus Thomas has proved to be a nightmare for defensive backs, and the reliable Eric Decker and Willis McGahee have benefited from Manning’s unrivaled ability to orchestrate the offense. After starting the game 7-7 in just over a quarter of play, Manning and the potent Broncos offense reeled off 27 consecutive points, burying the Saints.

New Orleans QB Drew Brees was unable to move the ball like he routinely does, as the Broncos defense was flying around the football all evening. Manning and the Broncos are the clear-cut favorites in AFC West, and appear poised to make a run at the postseason with a very winnable schedule down the stretch.

4. Eagles Continue To Falter

There were mammoth expectations in Philadelphia this season after last year's disappointment. The Eagles' roster, oozing with talented skill position players, dominant pass rushers, and a stacked secondary, was supposed to make a run at the NFC East.

But quarterback Michael Vick has been a turnover machine over the first seven games of the season. While he didn’t have an interception in Sunday’s 30-17 loss against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, it is evident that he does not poses the accuracy and decision making that it takes to be a successful quarterback in the NFL.

Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was fired last week due to a 3-3 start by his underachieving defense. To the Eagles defense, they were beat soundly by the NFL's best team Sunday, but a 3-4 start is not what Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had in mind when he brought back the coaching staff after last year's debacle. Vick is on his way down, and it appears that he is taking head coach Andy Reid with him.

5. Colts Rally In Overtime

NFL experts and pundits expected that the Indianapolis Colts would be in a three-year rebuilding mode after selecting QB Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft—Chuck Pagano's crew didn’t get the memo. The Colts are currently sitting at 4-3 after this week’s gritty 19-13 overtime victory against the Tennessee Titans, and find themselves right in the thick of the AFC South hunt.

Luck has been exceptional through his first seven games and has helped rejuvenate a dominant Reggie Wayne, who many believed was well past his prime. Running back Vick Ballard won the game for the Colts when he took a 16-yard screen pass to the house in overtime by corkscrewing in mid air to position his body over the pylon, giving the Colts a crucial divisional win in Nashville.


Reach Staff Writer Jeremy Shapiro here.



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