A triumphant return. A previously interception-free quarterback who met a brick wall. We saw it all from the signal callers around the league in NFL Week 8.
What looked like a tepid early slate of games turned out to be quite interesting, and the afternoon games provided some drama. Along the way, quarterbacks turned in some amazing and putrid performances.
These are the best and worst from Week 8.
Best: Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Minshew Mania was back in full force during Week 8 as the Jaguars hosted the New York Jets. He capitalized on a 66-yard run by Leonard Fournette on the game’s opening drive by throwing a nice touchdown to Keelan Cole.
Then, the real magic happened. Minshew pulled a magnificent Houdini act on an apparent sack, then threw a dart to Chris Conley, who romped 70 yards for a touchdown.
All told, Mishew finished with 279 yards and three touchdowns. He did lose a fumble on a sack, but didn’t throw a single interception as the Jaguars beat the Jets, 29-15.
Worst: Sam Darnold, New York Jets
While Minshew was playing an outstanding game, the same could not be said for Sam Darnold, who put together a second consecutive turnover-plagued outing.
Just like we saw against New England last week, Darnold was under constant pressure. He endured eight sacks and ended up seeing ghosts again during a three-interception game.
The second-year passer did complete a high percentage of passes (21-of-30) and threw two touchdowns. But these turnovers are absolutely killing the Jets.
Best: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Quietly, Matthew Stafford is putting together a magnificent season for the Lions. On Sunday, he threw dart after dart after dart in a big win for his team over the New York Giants.
Completing 25-of-32 attempts, Stafford passed for 342 yards and three touchdowns, including that awesome flea-flicker to Kenny Golladay. He had one interception in the game, but overall he was just tremendous.
Worst: Matt Schaub, Atlanta Falcons
Here’s a guy who did a lot of good things, but unfortunately Matt Shaub also made a couple of key mistakes along the way.
Schaub tossed the rock to the tune of 460 yards on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. He also threw a touchdown pass to Austin Hooper. That’s the good stuff.
Now here’s the bad: Schaub also threw a brutal interception to linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and he lost a fumble on a sack/strip by Jadeveon Clowney. The interception turned into seven points for Seattle’s offense, and that was the difference in the game.
Best: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
The Giants gave the Lions a run for their money in Detroit Sunday. Early on, it looked like rookie Daniel Jones was in for another long game when he panicked, fumbled and had the Lions score a defensive touchdown. After that mistake, though, he came alive in a big way, and so did Big Blue’s offense.
Jones ended up going for 322 yards on 28-of-41 passing. He threw four touchdowns, showing a continued affinity for fellow rookie Darius Slayton, and didn’t throw a single interception. It was a performance to build on, to be sure, even in a loss.
Worst: Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
The Chicago offense has taken a significant step backwards the past couple of weeks ever since Mitch Trubisky returned after missing time with a shoulder injury. The third-year quarterback continues to prove he cannot be counted on to make good decisions and contributed heavily to the Bears losing against a very bad Los Angeles Chargers team.
Trubisky was unable to throw a single touchdown, going 23-of-35 for 253 yards. He threw one interception, which was the result of a heavily underthrown ball. He also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. Shortly afterward, the Chargers scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.
Best: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams had a get-right matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in London Sunday, and Jared Goff took full advantage of the opportunity.
To be fair, Goff got a ton of support from one of his teammates. Cooper Kupp had a legendary game, going off for 220 yards and one touchdown, which was simply amazing to watch unfold. Thanks to that effort, Goff and the Rams won by two touchdowns, with the quarterback racking up 372 yards and two touchdowns passing.
Worst: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When it comes to Jameis Winston, it’s now time for Bruce Arians to come to the same realization Mike Vrabel did in Tennessee about Marcus Mariota. He simply has to be benched.
Coming off a six-turnover game against the Carolina Panthers, Winston once again torpedoed his team’s chances of winning with another godawful performance Sunday against the Titans. Winston fumbled three times, losing possession twice, and threw two interceptions — the last of which occurred on the final drive of the game as the Bucs attempted a comeback win.
Folks, that’s 10 turnovers in the last two games. That should be the end of the road.
Best: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
The Saints are morphing into a top-three team in the NFC and still aren’t at full strength. On Sunday, Drew Brees made his return from thumb surgery after missing five games, and to nobody’s surprise the veteran had a big game.
Brees completed nearly 80% of his attempts against the Arizona Cardinals. Though he showed a bit of rust with an interception and a few long throws downfield, everything else was incredibly precise. Brees finished with 373 yards and three touchdowns, and the Saints improved to 7-1 on the season.
Worst: Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers
It’s’ becoming a weekly theme: Quarterbacks that take on the San Francisco 49ers have not found success. Kyle Allen was the victim on Sunday in Santa Clara, and his experience against the 49ers can only be described as a nightmare.
The poor guy was sacked seven times and hit nine times. He completed just 19-of-37 passes for 158 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions as the Panthers — previously 4-0 with Allen as a starter — were blown out of Levi’s Stadium, 51-13.
Best: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Both Deshaun Watson and Derek Carr played very well overall on Sunday in Houston. Their stats are similar, but the reason we chose to highlight Watson here is that he played his best with the game on the line, while Carr withered down the stretch.
The third-year gunslinger was superb in the second half. He led three straight long, time-consuming scoring drives to come from behind and lead the Texans to a hugely important 27-24 victory, saving his best for last.
All told, Watson passed for 279 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and the Texans are right back in the thick of things, tied in the win column with the Indianapolis Colts atop the AFC South.
Worst: Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins, Washington
Not surprisingly, the Minnesota Vikings defense had no trouble bottling up Washington’s passing game on Thursday night. Case Keenum was pretty toothless before exiting with a concussion, and then rookie Dwayne Haskins showed once more that he isn’t ready to play in the NFL without absorbing significant lumps.
The two quarterbacks combined to pass for just 131 net passing yards while completing 15-of-21 attempts. Keenum fumbled twice, losing one, and Haskins threw a brutal interception. Washington is just not good, and currently, neither are the quarterbacks on its roster.
Best: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
It was a bit tougher than many probably expected for Aaron Rodgers to lead the Packers over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night. But despite getting roughed up by the Chiefs’ impressive defensive front, Rodgers found a way.
And along the way, he conjured some wild magic.
Despite the fact that his top-producing receiver, Jake Kumerow, managed two catches for 48 yards, Rodgers piled up 305 yards through the air. He and running back Aaron Jones were on fire, as Jones hauled in seven passes for 159 yards and two of the three touchdowns Rodgers tossed.
It wasn’t the prettiest win, but it was a win nevertheless. And Rodgers continues to play outstanding football, which should scare the rest of the NFC.