Best NFL Week 8 Performances: MMQB Hands Out Game Balls

Best NFL Week 8 Performances: MMQB Hands Out Game Balls

Week 8, on the NFL schedule , is almost over. We still have Monday Night Football to go, and the best performances deserve recognition by our MMQB team. Our staff may award a game ball to one of your favorite coaches or players, even if you feel down about your team’s loss.

Here are this week’s standouts:

Mitch Goldich: Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott vs. Tony Pollard has been raging for some while now and I don’t need to add more fuel to the flame. The No. 2 man on Dallas’s RB depth chart was the last game Zeke missed this season. The No. 2 man on Dallas’s RB depth charts thrived. He racked up 131 yards on just 14 carries, taking three of them into the end zone. The Cowboys romped over the Bears 49-29, scoring touchdowns on their first drives and never looking back. It is obvious how many playmakers this team has, so it must be a great feeling to see the offense really come alive for the first time in a season. The Cowboys had not topped 25 points in a game all season. (Yes, we know that Cooper Rush piloted the offense for many of those games instead of Dak Prescott. A running game like this can help Prescott get into a rhythm. (Look how efficient was he on Sunday ),, as Dallas looks to hang in the tough NFC East).

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard in Week 8

Pollard scored three touchdowns and rushed for 131 yards in the Cowboys’ 49-29 win over the Bears.

Michael Fabiano: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints. Alvin Kamara puts up a 40-burger against the Raiders. Kamara was a treat for fantasy fans this week, as he totaled nine catches, 158 scrimmage yards, three touchdowns and 42.8 fantasy points in a win over Las Vegas. His scores came on a three-yard run and catches of 16 and 36 yards. It was his best game of the season, nearly doubling up the 23.4 points he scored in Week 5. It was also his best fantasy game since he posted six touchdowns and 56.2 fantasy points on Christmas 2020 against the Vikings. Kamara had struggled to get off to a good start, but he’s improved since Andy Dalton was replaced by Jameis Winston.

Claire Kuwana: Kamara. Talk about how you can do it yourself. With three touchdowns in the Saints’ 24-0 win over the Raiders (two receiving, one rushing) Kamara became the first player in NFL history to have 10 games with at least one of each in his first six seasons. After recording zero touchdowns in the first seven weeks of the season, the running back exploded on the field Sunday–conveniently timed after reports of trade talk, in which the Saints rebuffed the Bills’ potential trade request, came out–proving his price point should be a lot higher than it may have seemed, and helping New Orleans to one of the best efforts it’s had in weeks.

John Pluym: Za’Darius Smith, DE, Vikings. Minnesota’s signing of the former Packer might be one of the most memorable offseason deals. Smith signed a three-year, $42 million deal with the Vikings after backing out on the Ravens’ four-year, $35 million offer just a day after agreeing to it. Smith has been a key part of the Vikings’ pass rush and that was exactly what he did against Kyler and the Cardinals. Smith had three sacks, including one that basically sealed the 34-26 win for the Vikings. Smith now has six sacks for Minnesota, which struggled last season to close out games. That hasn’t been the case in 2022, with the Vikings now 4-0 in one-score games.

Conor Orr: Arthur Smith, head coach, Atlanta Falcons. You say that no one wants to win NFC South? Arthur Smith wants this division to win! Yes, all it took for the Falcons to win this game was a missed extra point and field goal after an abhorrent surrendered Hail Mary, but the fact that he has this team on a playoff path to begin with is admirable.

Gary Gramling: Christian McCaffrey, RB, 49ers. Uh….. I think I’ll pick McCaffrey. The pass-run-catch-a-touchdown thing is neat, but (with apologies to the late David Patten), it’s more of a statistical anomaly than anything else. His short rushing TD was set up by a long, winding run that fewer than 10 players in the NFL could have pulled off. His TD catch was made on a second-reaction (not his quarterback’s strength) where he figured where he needed be. Then, his body control as well as footwork to make the catch in the endzone were as good or better than any receiver’s. McCaffrey’s true value is not in formation or creating mismatches. His value as a creator with the ball in hand is what makes him special.

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