Saturday, June 22, 2024

NFL Week 8 overreactions, reality checks: A.J. Brown NFL’s best WR? Brock Purdy not clutch?

This week in the NFL had some interesting results, including a “barn burner” in the Meadowlands between the New York Giants and New York Jets. The Philadelphia eagles survived a thriller against the Washington Commanders to get to 7-1 while the Kansas City Chiefs had a surprising loss.

The San Francisco 49ers can’t beat anybody all of a sudden, while the Dallas Cowboys blew out another opponent. Once again, the NFL is a week-to-week league. 

This week was a good one for overreactions. Which are actually overreactions and which are reality? 

A.J. Brown is the best WR in the NFL

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

This has to be brought up after Brown finished with eight catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ comeback victory over the Commanders. Brown is the first player in NFL history to have six consecutive games with 125-plus receiving yards, giving him 49 catches for 831 yards and five touchdowns during the stretch. 

Tyreek Hill has over 1,000 yards in eight games, but Brown is right behind him with 939 in his first eight games. Brown is on pace for 1,995 receiving yards on the year, looking to set a single-season NFL record (assuming Hill falls off from his historic pace). 

Brown is a top-three wideout in the league this year and deserves to be in consideration for the best in the league. Right now, that honor goes to Hill — but Brown is right there in the discussion. 

Vikings should tank the rest of the season

Overreaction or reality: Reality

This is really painful to write regarding any team, knowing how hard players work to win games. Regarding the Vikings, the front office may have to do what’s best after losing Kirk Cousins to an Achilles injury.

The Vikings did manage to win and get to 4-4, still in the thick of the NFC playoff race (and in the NFC North race if the Lions lose Monday). Minnesota will have to accomplish this without Cousins and however long Justin Jefferson remains on injured reserve. That’s their two best offensive players sidelined for a while. 

Minnesota has Jaren Hall at quarterback and the franchise was already facing an uncertain future with Cousins anyway. Is Hall the future or does the front office have other plans? 

Again, really tough to ask a 4-4 team that’s currently the No. 7 seed in the NFC to just punt on the year. For the long-term future of the Vikings — they may have to do that. 

Jets-Giants was the worst football game of the season

Overreaction or reality: Reality

For those who decided to watch that battle of the MetLife Stadium teams for three-plus hours, that was not aesthetically pleasing to the game of football. The Jets won 13-10 in overtime, as both teams couldn’t figure out how to get out of each other’s way. 

Both teams combined for 24 punts, the most in an NFL game in 25 years. The 16 combined three-and-outs are the most in a game since at least 2000 and they were 4-for-34 on third down — the worst by two teams in any game since 2009. The Giants and Jets were 0-for-18 on third down in the first half. 

The Giants had -9 passing yards, the lowest in a game since the Browns in 2000. Some guy named Tommy DeVito, not the “Goodfellas” Joe Pesci version, played quarterback for the Giants. 

This was the worst game of the year. Bar none. 

Will Levis is the QB of the Titans 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

After the performance Levis had in his first career start, the Titans can’t go back to Ryan Tannehill. Levis finished 19 of 29 for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Tennessee’s win over Atlanta. Levis connected with DeAndre Hopkins on three touchdowns, bringing back the fountain of youth in one of the league’s great receivers. 

Levis freed up Derrick henry to rush for 101 yards as Tennessee put up 375 yards of offense. He’s the third player in NFL history with four passing touchdowns in his NFL debut (Marcus Mariota and Fran Tarkenton are the others).

The Titans put up a season high in total yards, passing yards, and points — and they won. Levis is a high second-round pick and clearly is good enough to play at this level for the rest of the year. 

Tannehill is a free agent at the end of the year anyway. Easy decision to go to Levis. 

Brock Purdy is not a clutch quarterback 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

As the 49ers continue mired in a three-game losing streak, the league is starting to find some hard truths about Purdy. When San Francisco is tied or trailing in the second half, Purdy has three touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has eight touchdowns to zero interceptions when leading.

Five of those interceptions have come in the last three games. This after a performance when Purdy was 8 of 11 for 83 yards with a touchdown, interception, and fumble in the fourth quarter before getting 69 passing yards in garbage time at the end. 

Purdy finished 22 of 31 for 365 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for a 94.2 rating. His second-half numbers when trailing are something to monitor going forward, especially with the 49ers at 5-3. 

The Chiefs have no offensive identity

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Perhaps Taylor Swift needs to come to Chiefs games outside of Arrowhead Stadium, since the Chiefs offense put up just nine points and 275 yards of offense in a shocking loss to the Broncos. Patrick Mahomes had his first career game with no passing touchdowns and three turnovers as Travis Kelce was held to just six catches for 59 yards. 

The Chiefs didn’t have anyone else stand up with Kelce slowed down. Nine players caught a pass, but no pass catchers had over 50 yards outside of Rashee Rice. Isiah Pacheco had 40 yards rushing and the rest of the team had 22. This is against a Broncos defense that was ranked 31st in points allowed and 32nd in yards allowed heading into the game. 

Kansas City has been held to under 30 points six times in eight games, lacking the No. 1 wide receiver who can take the pressure off Kelce and get the offense going. The identity of the Chiefs is Mahomes to Kelce, but nothing if that connection is off. 

The Chiefs are very good, but a top playmaker would make them great — again. No reason to worry after a bad performance, but a lot rides on Mahomes and Kelce to get the team moving. 

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