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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 8

Sean McDermott

We are more or less at the halfway point of the NFL season, meaning the most meaningful games are right around the corner. That makes this week’s action all the more intriguing. Add in the fact that the trade deadline is looming, and there’s a lot of incentive for teams to show their best selves this week to enable front offices to select the best course of action.

So who stood out and who fell short? Here are ten big disappointments from NFL Week 8.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills faced very real questions about how legitimate they were as a 5-1 team. They failed to answer those questions on Sunday with a very poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, who had a lot to prove themselves. The Bills were gashed on the ground, giving up 218 rushing yards, while the offense barely surpassed 250 yards. The Bills have had a lot of success leaning on their pass defense and doing enough on offense, but when Philadelphia ran so successfully, that gameplan was blown up. It’s not easy to replicate, but the Bills definitely look more vulnerable now than they did before.

Carolina Panthers

Absolutely dreadful in every aspect. It was no secret that the Panthers would be in for a tough day against San Francisco’s defense, and that played out. Kyle Allen threw for only 158 yards and was picked off three times, while Christian McCaffrey was basically the only player who could do anything on offense. Defensively, it was even more embarrassing. The 49ers aren’t really known for being a dominant offense, but they put up 388 total yards and 51 points on the helpless Panthers. This was bad all around.

Breshad Perriman, WR, Buccaneers

Perriman looked like he was playing in a different game than the rest of his Tampa Bay teammates on Sunday. The first incident was when he absolutely wiped out teammate Dare Ogunbowale on a run play. Maybe it wasn’t his error, but Perriman was the man in motion. The second incident came on Jameis Winston’s final pass, when Perriman miscommunicated with his quarterback on a play that led to a game-ending interception. Perriman’s been around all year. On Sunday, though, he just looked confused.

Eddy Piniero, K, Bears

Some would say that Piniero is officially a Bears kicker now that he’s missed a game-winning field goal try. 41 yarders aren’t automatic, but the reality is, the Bears controversially went to great lengths to set Piniero up the way they wanted him set up, and he missed to the left. It was a game the Bears could ill-afford to lose, too, and they seemed to have done what they needed to do to see off the Chargers. Instead, they’ve now lost three straight and are fading from the NFC North race.

Cleveland Browns’ ball control

It may not look like it, but the Browns really should have made the Patriots sweat much more than they actually did. It all unraveled on three consecutive drives late in the first quarter. Nick Chubb fumbled on two consecutive plays, the first of which was returned for a New England touchdown. On the drive after those, Baker Mayfield’s inexplicable pitch was intercepted by Lawrence Guy. Just like that, the Patriots had a 17-0 lead. It’s errors like this — and poor coaching moves — that are keeping the Browns from reaching their potential. They could have troubled the Patriots on Sunday but instead gave the game away — more or less literally.

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets

If Darnold was seeing ghosts against the Patriots, things didn’t get a lot better against the Jaguars. He threw three interceptions, primarily his fault, and was sacked eight times by a ravenous Jacksonville defense. The Jets got nothing going until it was far too late, and a lot of that was on Darnold, though the game wasn’t exactly scripted well. To make things worse, he was on the wrong end of a lot of trolling, too.

Denver Broncos’ offense

Joe Flacco is not known for stepping out of line or raising his voice, so it’s telling that his frustration boiled over Sunday. Denver played not to lose and lost, the result of some conservative play-calling against the Indianapolis Colts. Flacco let the coaches know exactly what he thought of that gameplan, and he’s right. Denver’s offense is being held up by a lack of talent, but the gameplan is terrible too, and is failing to make the most of what they do have.

Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals

Edmonds has been tantalizingly good in limited duty in recent weeks splitting time with David Johnson. Johnson was inactive Sunday, and things looked prime for an Edmonds breakout. It didn’t happen at all. He ran seven times for eight yards, caught two passes for five yards, and left in the second half with a hamstring injury. The game script worked against him and the Saints are no picnic, but this was a letdown after what looked like a big week.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers

This may be a one-off week, as the Bears are a gifted defense. However, just when it looked like Ekeler might be moving ahead of Melvin Gordon as the Chargers’ preferred backfield option, he put up a stinker. Ekeler got just three carries and three targets, though he did catch a touchdown. Gordon was clearly the preferred running back here. Ekeler will hope this isn’t a sign of things to come — he’s been very good, after all.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Raiders

Williams caught half of his targets, tallied 91 yards, and scored a touchdown, but he was found wanting in the fourth quarter. Williams had two key drops, including one very catchable pass that he was simply unable to reel in on the final drive with the Raiders in need of three points to tie the Texans. He also couldn’t haul in the last pass from Derek Carr, though he was covered well. Williams certainly could have made a big play on that drive that could have at least forced overtime. It just didn’t happen.

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