By Anthony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus
As we reach the midway point of the season, we see that the number of Field Generals that began the year have dipped a bit.
Whether it be injury in Big D, in-house shenanigans in D.C., or general ridiculousness in San Diego, emotions have run the gamut throughout the first eight weeks.
On the other end, we see the record books getting a major tweak in K.C. and Seattle. Two former MVP’s in Baltimore and Foxboro are still trying to find their way through on and off the field circumstances as well.
It’s going to make the second half of this season just that much more interesting.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina (Loss vs. Atlanta)
To say that No. 5 was under siege all night would be an understatement. Teddy Ballgame was held to 176 yards passing as the Panthers (3-5) lost their third straight game. He was also knocked out of the game for two possessions with a neck injury following a late hit by Charles Harris. Give interim head coach Raheem Morris credit for making adjustments on both sides of the line just three weeks following a Carolina thrashing in Dixie. Here’s the good news: RB Christian McCaffrey may be activated this weekend. The bad news: The Panthers will be facing the defending World Champion Chiefs in K.C.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (Loss vs. Pittsburgh)
The whispers from his critics have become louder as Jackson is trying to rebound from one of his worst games in the NFL. In the loss to Pittsburgh, he committed a career-high four turnovers, throwing two interceptions (including a pick-six) and fumbling twice. Jackson became the fourth reigning NFL MVP in league history to produce four turnovers and a completion rate below 50% in a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He currently ranks 29th in completion rate (60.5%), 27th in passing yards (1,343) and 22nd in yards per-attempt (7.07).
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (Win vs. N.Y. Jets)
The scariest aspect of the Chiefs’ efficient win against Gang Green could be that K.C. and No. 15 still may not have peaked this season. Mahomes was 31-of-42 for 416 yards and five touchdowns, including a shorter touchdown toss. It was his second career game with 400-plus yards and five touchdown passes, making him only the sixth player in history to have multiple games with such stats. Three of Mahomes’ touchdowns went at least 25 yards in the air, making him the first quarterback to achieve that since he did it in a game against the Oakland Raiders last season. No other quarterback has achieved that feat since the start of the 2019 season.
Cam Newton, New England (Loss at Buffalo)
While the Patriots played better, it still wasn’t good enough for a win at Buffalo. No. 1 was more efficient on the day (15-of-25, 174 passing yards, and a late game-tying touchdown in the 4th), but again New England fell. It was the Bills’ first win over New England since October 2016 and marked head coach Sean McDermott’s first win over Patriots coach Bill Belichick after he lost in his first six tries. The win also pushed the Bills to 4-0 in the AFC East and 6-2 overall, giving them a 3½-game lead over the slumping Patriots.
Russell Wilson, Seattle (Win vs. San Francisco)
Talk about bouncing back from a tough loss. No. 3 completed 27 of 37 passes for 261 yards, 4 TDs, and no interceptions, teaming up with DK Metcalf to do most of his damage. Metcalf caught Wilson’s first two touchdown passes and finished with 12 catches for 161 yards on 15 targets, all career highs. As for Wilson, he’s now 32-8 following an in-season loss. That .800 winning percentage is the best by any starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Also, Wilson’s 26 TD passes is one shy of Tom Brady’s record from 2007 for the most through seven games in NFL history.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes passed for 416 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 144.4 rating in the Chiefs’ 35-9 win over the New York Jets in Week 8. Mahomes has 10 career games with at least four touchdown passes and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (12 games) as the only quarterbacks with 10 such games in their first four seasons in NFL history. Mahomes has six career games with at least four touchdown passes and zero interceptions, tied with Jeff Garcia (six games) for the most by a player in his first four seasons in league annals. He also has 11,727 passing yards and 97 passing touchdowns in 39 career games, both the most by a player in his first 40 career games in NFL history.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at email@example.com.