Every week, we’ll go through some of the best and worst of the notable Sunday performances and plays. Here they are for Week 8.
Offensive Player of the Week: Derek Carr, Raiders
Carr probably has a few pounds of ice on his arm today, after destroying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary on Sunday. The 25-year-old quarterback completed 40-of-59 passes (67.8 percent) for 513 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Oakland’s 30-24 overtime win. His passer rating of 117.4 and Total QBR of 72.3 were both excellent as well.
Carr is having a breakout season. He’s led the Raiders to a 6-2 record — 5-0 on the road — and boasts 17 touchdowns against just three interceptions. His passer rating (100.9), Total QBR (65.9), completion percentage (66.3) and yards per attempt (7.19) are all at career-best levels.
Carr is not yet an elite quarterback, but he’s showing more and more that he can join that group. He just became the 18th quarterback in NFL history to surpass 500 yards in a single game.
Defensive Player of the Week: Star Lotulelei, Panthers
Lotulelei blew up on Sunday, dominating the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive line and helping lead the struggling Panthers to a 30-20 win. Lotulelei had six tackles but racked up three sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. For comparison, the Tongan had never had a season with more than three total sacks.
This is the kind of domination the Panthers expected when they drafted Lotulelei with the 14th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Talent-wise, he’s capable of taking over games. He just needs to do it more often.
Most Impressive Rookie of the Week: Jordan Howard, Bears
Howard has flown under the radar thanks the Ezekiel Elliott’s fantastic season, but the fellow rookie running back has been good for the Bears. On Monday Night Football he announced his arrival by rushing for a Week 8-best 153 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries (5.9 yards per carry). He added 49 yards on four receptions as Chicago topped the Vikings 20-10.
The Indiana product now has three 100-yard games this season, is averaging 5.1 yards per carry (which is higher than Elliott’s 5.0 average) and has 177 yards on 18 receptions. His 117 touches have come with just one fumble, and he’s shown the strength and speed to last in the league. He has all the makings of a bell cow back.
Howard is giving the Bears tremendous value, considering he was the 150th pick in the 2016 draft.
Hottest Seat of the Week: Gus Bradley, Jaguars
How does this guy still have a job? Bradley seems like a nice guy, but the Jaguars are 2-5 and look terrible in his fourth year with the team. He’s now 14-41 after 55 games in charge.
Bradley’s Jags hit rock bottom Thursday night as the Titans dominated them 36-22 that looked a lot closer thanks to some late Jacksonville scores. The Titans led 27-0 at the half, and 36-8 with five minutes to go in the contest. And — spoiler alert — Tennessee is not a good football team.
Bradley fired offensive coordinator Greg Olson this week, but that’s not going to change anything. The 50-year-old head coach should have polished up his résumé a few weeks ago. Now he’s just waiting for the ax to fall.
Randy Fasani Award: Philip Rivers, Chargers
Man, this was a bad week for Philip and company. The Chargers quarterback was under near-constant pressure thanks to Denver’s defensive front and San Diego’s sieve-like pass offensive line. Still, Rivers didn’t help himself. He completed just 20-of-47 passes, for 267 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions (one was a pick-six). He was sacked four times, posted a Total QBR of 31.1 and a passer rating of 48.8.
Rivers’ receivers didn’t help him, as two of his picks went off his targets’ hands and on the third, Griff Whalen ran to the wrong spot because he’s Griff Whalen.
Here’s a look at all three miscues:
Rivers is the only reason the Chargers have been competitive at all this season, so we’ll forgive him for having an off week.
*The Randy Fasani Award is given weekly to the NFL quarterback who turns in the worst performance. Fasani is the award’s namesake because he had one career start and turned in a 0.0 passer rating. That makes him the worst starting quarterback in NFL history.
Mike McCoy Update:
The Chargers trailed by eight with 2:54 left on Sunday had first and goal from Denver’s two-yard-line. San Diego opted to throw the ball from the shotgun four times, despite the fact that Melvin Gordon rushed for 111 yards and was averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
Fire. McCoy. Now.
Cam Newton Outfit of the Week:
Bold choice for Cam to go as Chalky White’s butler for Halloween.
Catch of the Week: Travis Benjamin, Chargers
Offensive Pass Interference of the Week: Michael Crabtree, Raiders
Hey, if you’re going to push off, at least get your money’s worth.
Uncalled Offensive Pass Interference of the Week: Willie Snead, Saints
I don’t want to tell them how to do their jobs, but I think the officials missed this one.
Catch of the Week Runner-Up: Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
Someone Photoshop a cape onto Sanders’ back mid-dive, please.
Cheap Shot of the Week: Karl Joseph, Raiders
I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure you can’t lead with your helmet or hit a guy in the head. Nice of the officials not to flag Joseph, though, after all, he’s only a rookie.
Hit of the Week: Melvin Gordon, Chargers
It’s either sad or hilarious that the biggest hit of Gordon’s two-year career came on a porcine 69-year-old defensive coordinator.
TFW you realize it’s Taco Tuesday: