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Monday, July 22, 2019

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 8

Jim Caldwell Lions

Week 8 started on Thursday night with a blowout win for the Baltimore Ravens. The rest of the week produced games that were closer, with the Houston-Seattle game delivering a particularly awesome ending. The Jaguars had the week off, which means at least one quarterback was spared an embarrassing game. But between special teams, poor rushing attacks, and some quarterbacks, there were plenty of disappointments in the week.

Here’s a look at the biggest disappointments of Week 8.

Detroit Lions’ red zone offense

The Detroit Lions looked incredible on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers … as long as you don’t count what happened in the red zone. Their offense simply could not deliver in the red zone, and that cost them the game. They took five trips to the red zone and came away with only nine points. They failed to score a touchdown, settled for three field goals, and turned the ball over on downs twice.

They had a first-and-goal from the 10 in the second quarter and ended up kicking a 37-yard field goal. They had a 1st-and-10 from the 16 before halftime and kicked a 34-yard field goal. In the third quarter, they had a 2nd-and-goal from the 1 and got stopped three plays in a row and turned it over on downs. Then they gave up a 98-yard touchdown pass. Then for the second possession in a row they got a 1st-and-goal at the 4 and took the ball to the 1, but this time they took the field goal. After going for the field goal that time, they were down 20-15 on their next trip to the red zone. They were forced to go for it on 4th-and-7 from the 8 and turned it over on downs again.

Detroit’s defense kept them in the game. The red zone offense failed them badly.

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers

Winston would probably be near the top of any list of disappointments of the season, as the third-year quarterback is still making mistakes and failing to correct them despite being surrounded by plenty of weapons. On Sunday, Winston threw two more interceptions, lost a fumble, threw the ball all over the place, and failed to get the ball into the end zone. His Bucs fell to 2-5 with their home loss to the Carolina Panthers. Perhaps his lingering shoulder issue has something to do with his poor performance, but if that’s the case, he shouldn’t be playing — he was not good on Sunday.

Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots

It was widely expected that, with Julian Edelman out for the season, Tom Brady would look to Amendola frequently to keep the passing game moving. That has not been the case for the last three weeks, and Amendola’s numbers did not improve much on Sunday against the Chargers.

Just when you thought he couldn’t do much worse than the 17 yards he racked up a week ago, Amendola had just two catches for 14 yards on six targets. For whatever reason, Amendola hasn’t been able to get it done, and it’s clear and understandable that Brady prefers to look to Rob Gronkowski at this point, and Rex Burkhead now that he’s available.

C.J. Beathard, QB, 49ers

Well, we already knew that Brian Hoyer was not the long-term answer for San Francisco at the quarterback position. On the evidence, neither is Beathard. He completed only 17 of his 36 passes, managed just 167 yards, turned the ball over twice, and looked lost and aimless for much of the afternoon. Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are good, but so many of Beathard’s issues were just down to him not being good enough. There’s no shame in the 49ers trying to see what they have in the rookie quarterback, but at the moment, the answer seems to be “not much.”

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

Carolina may have won this game, but Newton continues to look nothing like the quarterback who electrified the NFL two seasons ago. He offered little in the way of a deep threat and didn’t show off an accurate arm all day, turning the ball over once on an interception. It’s debatable how much of that can be attributed to his poor receiving options.

Newton can win games for the Panthers, and his legs will ensure that he’s always a threat. But doing a little comparison, what’s the difference between Newton and Tyrod Taylor right now? In fact, is there any evidence that he’s as good as the Buffalo quarterback?

Oakland Raiders’ offense

Oakland’s defense gave up 34 points, but they did everything they could to keep their team in the game as long as they could manage. It was the Raiders’ offense that never took advantage.

Oakland turned the ball over four times, including two Derek Carr interceptions and a fumble that the Buffalo Bills scooped up and turned into six points. The Raiders gained yards, they got in position, but converted only three of their ten third down opportunities and couldn’t hang on to the football.

Travis Benjamin, WR, Chargers

Travis Benjamin actually had a good game receiving in Week 8. His problem came on a punt return in the first half against the Patriots. Benjamin was drifting back and towards the sideline to try and catch a punt, but he was unable to haul it in cleanly around the 11-yard line. He scooped the ball up, tried to reverse field by running the opposite direction, but he kept going backwards as he tried to outrun the Patriots’ punt coverage team. That plan did not work out. He was tackled in the end zone for a safety, giving the Patriots a 9-7 lead.

As if that weren’t enough, the Chargers had to do a free kick afterwards, and the Patriots ended up with great field position at their 43. They ended up with a field goal. Not only did the Chargers lose two points and a possession because of Benjamin’s blunder, but the Pats ended up adding a field goal thanks to their excellent starting position. That blunder essentially cost the Chargers five points.

As a receiver, Benjamin at least was productive and led his team with five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Mitch Trubisky, QB, Bears

Mitch Trubisky continues to deliver very little in the statistical department for the Chicago Bears. The rookie quarterback was 14 of 32 for 164 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception in a 20-12 loss to the Saints. To be fair, he should have had one touchdown pass, but the officials overturned a call on Zach Miller’s catch. He did rush for 53 yards, including a big 46-yard scramble to set up a touchdown that made it a one-score game in the fourth quarter.

Trubisky’s numbers this season have been very pedestrian. His 14 completions and 164 yards were both career-high marks, though his 43.8 completion percentage was a low for him. Maybe his passing numbers will get better when he has better options, but for now, they’re less than impressive.

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