NFL Wrap-Up: Week 8 North Divisions

The Ravens escape, Steelers defeat Tom Terrific, and Matt Stafford shows Denver how it's done in week 8.

J. Lance Mooseby J. Lance Moose

Brady loses his second game of the season after passing under 200 yards on the game, Tebow does not deliver a return performance, and the Green Bay Packers rest up for next week.  The North didn't deliever too many suprises this week, but the games were good.

AFC North

Cleveland Browns  10
San Francisco 49ers  20

In what turned out to be a tight match-up statistically, the Browns gave up an early touchdown to 49er running back Frank Gore and were never able to get the momentum to swing in their favor long enough to mount a comeback.  The Browns fall to 3-4.

Cincinnati Bengals  34
Seattle Seahawks  12

Touchdowns in the 4th quarter off of a 56 yard punt return by Brandon Tate and a 75 yard interception return by Reggie Nelson sealed the victory for the Bengals in a game that was closer than the final score would show.

New England Patriots  17
Pittsburgh Steelers  25

Ben Roethlisberger (36/50 365 yards, 2TD) took advantage of what continues to be one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.  Big Ben often looked more like Tom Brady than Tom Brady did, carving apart the New England secondary completing passes to nine different receivers and converted eight times on third down through the air including both of Roethlisberger's touchdowns.

Arizona Cardinals  27
Baltimore Ravens  30

The Ravens once again played poorly against what seemed to be inferior competition, but unlike last week's loss to Jacksonville, Baltimore was able to pull off the comeback victory against the Cardinals.  While Joe Flacco (31/51 336 yards) and Anquan Boldin (7 catches, 145 yards) moved the Raven's offense down the field it was Ray Rice who had the ball when it counted most rushing for only 63 yards, but scoring all three of Baltimore's touchdowns.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers (7-0) had a bye this week.  They travel to San Diego to take on the chargers in week 9.

Chicago Bears (4-3) had a bye this week.  The Bears will be in Philadelphia to face the Eagles in week nine's Monday night match-up.

Detroit Lions  45
Denver Broncos  10

Matt Stafford (21/30 267 yards, 3TD) led the Lions over the hapless Broncos as the Detroit snapped a two game losing streak.  The Lions defense abused the horrendous Bronco offense for seven sacks while forcing two turnovers, returning one fumble and one interception for touchdowns.

Game of the Week
Minnesota Vikings  24
Carolina Panthers  21

In a match-up of two rookie quarterbacks, Christian Ponder (18/28 236 yards, 1TD) gained the first victory of his career over the Cam Newton led Panthers.  Running Back Adrian Peterson led the way for the Vikings with 162 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in a dominant effort throughout the game.  The deciding score in this game was a 31 yard field goal by Ryan Longwell with 2:43 left in the game.  Panthers kicker Olindo Mare had a chance to tie the game with only seconds remaining but hooked his 31 yard field goal attempt wide left.  This is the second consecutive week that the Vikings have been a part of my game of the week, which are also the only two starts of Christian Ponder's career thus far.  I think it's safe right now to say that the Vikings have found a good one at quarterback.

Offensive Player of the Week
Matthew Stafford – 21/30 267 yards, 3 TDs
Stafford got his team back on track even after taking a hit on his throwing hand in the 2nd quarter and spending the rest of the game with that hand obviously causing him problems.  Stafford showed the Denver crowd what they've been missing since John Elway retired…the play of a competent quarterback.
Runner up – Anquan Boldin (7 catches 145 yards), Ben Roethlisberger (36/50 365 yards, 2TD) Ray Rice (99 total yards, 3TD)

Defensive Player of the Week
Cliff Avril – 3 solo tackles, 2 sacks 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown
The Lions defense was dominant against the Broncos and this defensive end epitomized that. Taking advantage of a poor offensive line, Avril's fumble recovery for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter set him apart as defensive POTW.
Runner up – Chris Houston (4 tackles 1INT for a TD), Reggie Nelson (5 tackles 1INT for a touchdown)

Division Standings

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers  6-2Cincinnati Bengals  5-2
Baltimore Ravens  5-2
Cleveland Browns  3-4

NFC North
Green Bay Packers  7-0
Detroit Lions  6-2
Chicago Bears  4-3
Minnesota Vikings  2-6