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NFL scores and more, Week 8: What happened Monday night

If you decided to turn off the TV and head to bed early as the fourth quarter got underway on Monday Night Football, you missed a hell of a finish as the Panthers beat the Colts in overtime, 29-26. I'm guessing there were more than a few on the East Coast that saw Cam Newton hit Corey Brown for a touchdown to put the Panthers up 23-7 with 10:44 to go, and decided that was that. Hell, more than a few West Coasters likely did the same.

But Andrew Luck, battling rib and shoulder injuries and an atrocious start to the game, wasn't quite finished. Luck -- who passed for 191 of his 231 yards in the 4th quarter and overtime -- led the Colts on three scoring drives (two touchdowns and a field goal) in the final frame to even up the game at 23 and send it to overtime. It was a wild finish that included a couple of dropped interceptions by the Panthers on the Colts' game-tying drive, including one by Luke Kuechly in the endzone that would've sealed it, a few new refereeing flubs, and dropped touchdown pass by Ted Ginn Jr. in overtime. It was also a redemption story, as Kuechly picked off Luck in OT to redeemed his drop earlier drop, which set up a Graham Gano 51-yard field goal for the win, redeeming a missed extra point earlier in the game that allowed the Colts to even send it to an extra frame.

The Panthers stay perfect on the year, becoming the NFL-record fourth 7-0 team, and have now won 11-straight regular season games going back to Week 14 of last year. Cam Newton threw for 248 yards, two touchdowns to one pick, and added 41 yards rushing on ten attempts. Josh Norman and Luke Kuechly continued to star for the Carolina defense.

Meanwhile, the Colts' woes continue as they lost their third straight game, and they now share the lead in the AFC South at 3-5 with the Houston Texans. Luck tacked on three more picks to his 2015 total (now at 12, worst in the NFL) and he has now thrown multiple interceptions in five of the Colts six games this year, already eclipsing his number of multi-pick games from last season. Luck, injured or not, has been a turnover machine since the beginning of the 2014 season, and his 35 turnovers in that time is worst in the league.

Prior to that crazy fourth-quarter comeback (and again after the game finished), there were more than a few beat writers and analysts on Twitter seriously questioning if backup Matt Hasselbeck would be the better option, considering the state of Luck's play. Luck would not comment on the impact his injured ribs have had after the game, but it's an interesting situation to monitor as the Colts look to hold on to their division title streak.


The human side of the football really hit home during the NFL's Week 8 Sunday slate as we witnessed a parade of major injuries befall key players for multiple teams. Seattle WR Ricardo Lockette's was the scariest -- after being hit on a special teams play, he laid apparently unconscious on the field for an agonizing amount of time before trainers stabilized him and stretchered him off. It ended up being diagnosed as a concussion for Lockette and he had full movement of all his limbs, but there were real fears initially that he suffered a life-altering injury.

In addition to Lockette's hit, Steve Smith tore his Achilles tendon, Reggie Bush tore his ACL, Matt Forte left with a knee injury and nearly the entire Chargers team got hurt at one point or another. The biggest-impact injury is almost certainly that of Le'Veon Bell, whose season is reportedly over due to a major knee injury. It was a strong reminder that NFL seasons are a true battle of attrition, and often the healthiest (read: luckiest) teams end up having the most success.

Week 8 gave us a few intriguing story lines.

First off, the biggest game on the morning and afternoon schedule was Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, and the Bengals once again asserted themselves as the power in the AFC North and the main contender for the Super Bowl behind the Patriots. It wasn't Andy Dalton's best game ever -- he threw two picks and the whispers of 'the same old Andy Dalton' left more than a few lips -- but he did enough to lead Cincinnati to the win, and their defense impressively held the Steelers to just 10 points in Ben Roethlisberger's return to the field. The bottom line? It was a very tough division game on the road, and the Bengals passed a huge test to remain perfect. This is the first time they've started a season 7-0.

The Broncos remained perfect as well with a dominating win over the Packers at home. Peyton Manning looked fresh after a bye, completing 21 of 29 passes for 340 yards. There are now just four undefeated teams: the Patriots, Bengals, Broncos and Panthers. Carolina will have its shot to keep its perfect record intact tonight on Monday Night Football.

A few surprising performances: Drew Brees tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in leading the Saints to victory over the Giants in a shootout, and paired with an Atlanta loss, put New Orleans back into the discussion in the NFC South at 4-4 at the midway point. It wasn't too long ago we were wondering about the health of Brees' shoulder and asking if his best days were behind him. A career day of passing sure shut that narrative down for the time being. I don't know if the Saints are actually a good team (they did give up 49 points, after all), and say what you will about them, but they have beaten two first-place teams in consecutive weeks (the Colts last week), and with a gunslinger like Brees leading their offense, it gives them a shot week in, week out.

SB Nation presents: Drew Brees is the NFL's forgotten QB treasure

The Buccaneers picked up a huge win on the road in Atlanta to improve to 3-4 and don't look now, but over his last three games, Jameis Winston is 50 of 77 (64.9 percent) with 683 yards passing, four touchdowns (plus one rushing) and zero turnovers. Tampa Bay moves to 3-4 and really should've won last week at Washington, so maybe this team is a little bit better than we thought? The NFC South is undoubtedly better than pretty much anyone expected.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs, who I'd all but left for dead, won their second game in a row by absolutely demolishing the Lions in London. Around the rest of the slate, the Seahawks came back late to win a key game in Dallas to improve to 4-4 heading into their bye week, and the Vikings beat the Bears to improve to 5-2, proving that the preseason hype declaring them potential playoff contenders wasn't just hot air. The Rams look like contenders themselves as they powered over the Niners at home, and the Raiders improved to 4-3 with an impressive win over the Jets at home.

Elsewhere in bad football, the Texans beat the Titans and the Ravens beat the Chargers.

Win the water cooler

Arm yourself with a few interesting tidbits from Sunday's action so you can impress your coworkers around the water cooler.

A big week for quarterbacks

Big Ben Roethlisberger became the fifth active quarterback with 40,000 passing yards during the Steelers' opening touchdown drive against the Bengals. He joins Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Eli Manning on that list.

Speaking of Eli and Brees, the two signal callers combined for 13 touchdown passes in New Orleans on Sunday, the most in a single game in NFL history (via Elias Sports). Brees passed for 511 yards, joining Roethlisberger as the only two players in NFL history to throw for 500-plus yards in a game twice.

Meanwhile, after Tom Brady passed for 356 yards on Thursday and Philip Rivers threw for 301 yards on Sunday, both are now on pace for more than 5,500 yards, which would eclipse the all-time record Peyton Manning set in 2013 (5,477).

It's obvious that we're living in the golden age of passing, but weeks like this really help put that into context.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks' late-game offensive struggles have been well documented this season, but when Seattle needed a score down 12-10 to the Cowboys with 6:41 left, Russell Wilson led his offense down the field on a 17-play, 79-yard drive that culminated in the game-winning field goal by Steven Hauschka. Wilson did it with his arm and with his legs, converting three key first downs in the process. It was Wilson's 16th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime of his career, the most in NFL since he entered the league as the Seahawks' starter in 2012.

Defenses: Hot or not?

Speaking of the Seahawks, their defense shut down Matt Cassel, which you'd expect, but holding him to just 92 yards passing and just 3.88 yards per attempt was impressive. It's the second straight week that the Seahawks have held opposing teams to under 100 net yards passing (they've given up a total of 172 yards passing in the last two weeks, total), and for context into that stat -- there have been just six teams to throw for less than 100 net yards in a full game this year, and three of those times it has come against Seattle. Granted, they're facing some bad quarterbacking (bad, bad, bad), but The Legion of Boom is definitely taking advantage.

As for the Broncos, no caveats need be applied for the beat down they put on the Packers. Denver's elite defense -- the best in the NFL, no question -- held Aaron Rodgers to just 77 yards passing on 14-of-22 passing. That's the worst start for Rodgers in his entire career. Incredible.

On the other hand, the Giants, who still appear to be one of the favorites in the NFC East (I think?) are going in the wrong direction. In their last three games, the Giants have allowed 1,502 yards to opposing offenses. That's ... not very good.

Todd Gurley is absurd

Rams running back Todd Gurley continues to take the league by storm, rushing for another 133 yards against the 49ers to become the first rookie in NFL history to rush for 125 yards in four consecutive games. Think about that. Those four consecutive games were the first four starts of his career. Obviously, Gurley's 566 yards over his first four starts is an all time record, outpacing Billy Sims' 539 yards for the 1980 Lions.

Final Scores for Week 8:

New England Patriots 36, Miami Dolphins 7 (Thursday)
Kansas City Chiefs 45, Detroit Lions 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, Atlanta Falcons 20 (OT)
Arizona Cardinals 34, Cleveland Browns 20
St. Louis Rams 27, San Francisco 49ers 6
New Orleans Saints 52, New York Giants 49
Minnesota Vikings 23, Chicago Bears 20
Baltimore Ravens 29, San Diego Chargers 26
Cincinnati Bengals 16, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
Houston Texans 20, Tennessee Titans 6
Oakland Raiders 34, New York Jets 20
Seattle Seahawks 13, Dallas Cowboys 12
Denver Broncos 29, Green Bay Packers 10

Biggest Moments

The Lions' offense is not off to a great start in the Jim Bob Cooter era.

Titans QB Zach Mettenberger completed a pass with the help of the Texans' defense.

Julio Jones never quits ... but neither do his defenders.

SB Nation presents: Julio Jones and Kwon Alexander get the best of each other

The Rams didn't even bother covering the 49ers' receivers because they have no respect for Colin Kaepernick.

Larry Fitzgerald stiff-armed a Browns player for a full seven yards.

At least Texans punter Shane Lechler tried.

Justin Tucker hit the game-winning field goal for the Ravens and immediately started a dorky kicker dance.

The Bucs failed to convert on fourth-and-1 and the Falcons scored on the following drive, sending the game to OT.

The craziest play of the most bananas game was the Giants' fumble return touchdown.

Eli Manning threw six touchdowns and no interceptions, but we're still gonna LOL at this incompletion.

Odell Beckham Jr.'s touchdown dance was a mashup of "The Whip" and Michael Jackson.

Ben Roethlisberger reached 40,000 passing yards in his career.

Drew Brees threw seven touchdown passes, tying an NFL single-game record.

Brees and Manning combined for the most passing TDs ever in a game.

La'el Collins is a human bulldozer.

Major injuries

Reggie Bush hit the same concrete wall that Josh McCown ran into last week. Bush left the game and is feared to have a torn ACL.

Just when the Steelers get Big Ben back, Le'Veon Bell was carted off with a potentially serious knee injury.

Matt Forte exited the Bears' game against the Vikings with a knee injury and did not return.

Steve Smith, who was set to retire at the end of the year, is out for the rest of the season with a torn Achilles.

Josh McCown took a lot of hits before leaving late against the Cards with a rib injury. He was replaced by Johnny Manziel.

Geno Smith entered the game against the Raiders early after Ryan Fitzpatrick left with an injured hand.

This isn't the most major of injuries, but the Chargers as a whole need to be mentioned. King Dunlap, Corey Liuget, Chris Hairston, Chris Watt and Jason Verrett were just some of the players who left that game due to injury.

Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was stretchered off the field after a violent collision. He has full movement in his limbs, which is great news.