Biggest Stories and Best Highlights from NFL Week 8

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 15: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans cal[ls out instructions on the line against the Cleveland Brownsat NRG Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The NFL's Week 8 action got off to an early start from the United Kingdom, where the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns, 33-16.

Elsewhere in the early games, there were multiple blowouts for yet another week, as the Carolina Panthers shut down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17-3, and the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 33-10.

But there were some close calls as well, such as the Atlanta Falcons squeaking by the New York Jets, 25-20, and the Indianapolis Colts pushing the Cincinnati Bengals to the final minutes in a 24-23 loss.

No doubt the most exciting game Sunday afternoon was the clash between the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks (and shootout between Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson).

The game featured five lead changes, but the final score was for all the marbles. Trailing 38-34, Seattle marched down the field in the final minute to win, 41-38. Seattle extended its winning streak to four games. 

Here's a look at all the notable highlights and storylines for Week 8.


Texans Protest After Comments by Team Owner Bob McNair

Texans players kneeled before the start of their game at the Seahawks. Josina Anderson of ESPN shared an image of the protest on Twitter:

ig: josinaanderson @JosinaAnderson

Many #Texans players kneeling, as reported. https://t.co/50CRSdAR73

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported before the game the players could kneel, peel the decals off their helmets, raise their fists or remain in the locker room, and all but 10 players ended up kneeling, per Art Thiel of SportspressNW.com.

The demonstration was in response to Texans owner Bob McNair's comments about "inmates running the prison," according to ESPN.com, which reportedly caused star wideout DeAndre Hopkins to skip a practice, per Schefter. McNair later released an apology.


Plays of the Day

On the Seahawks' game-winning drive against the Texans, Russell Wilson launched a laser to tight end Jimmy Graham, who pulled in his second score of the day to give Seattle the win:


OH MY GOODNESS, @SEAHAWKS! https://t.co/7yZ2pbwHpZ

The Texans put an end to the Seahawks' streak of not allowing a touchdown in the fourth quarter all season, per the CBS broadcast, when Deshaun Watson scrambled around to find Lamar Miller in the end zone for this spectacular touchdown:


HOW? @DeshaunWatson somehow finds @Millertime_6 in the end zone! Incredible. #Texans https://t.co/7hp3VCwlyr

Alshon Jeffery of the Eagles bullied his way to a score against the 49ers:


"GET OFF ME." - @TheWorldof_AJ, probably. Touchdown, @Eagles! #FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/aMeckAYr3i

In a battle between teams riding three-game winning streaks, Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon struck first by gashing the New England Patriots for an 87-yard touchdown:


HE WILL GO ALL THE WAY! @melvingordon25. 87 yards to the HOUSE. #Chargers https://t.co/mOTI7SKWm9


Defensive Players Come Up Big

Sunday featured jaw-dropping plays by defenses as well, such as this pick-six by Seahawks safety Earl Thomas:


Know where @Earl_Thomas is on the field at ALL times... PICK-6. #Seahawks #LOB https://t.co/j4EZXZHlMs

Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills also scored, taking advantage of a bad pass by 49ers rookie C.J. Beathard:


🚨🚨 PICK-6 ALERT! 🚨🚨 @greengoblin takes it to the HOUSE! #FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/RrBs9r7OfN

And the Buffalo Bills tallied one of their own after a fumble by the Oakland Raiders:


The Raiders couldn't hang on to the 🏈... So the @BuffaloBills took it to the HOUSE 😱😱😱 #GoBills https://t.co/QJ4LYYY0kG

Bengals end Carlos Dunlap, presumably upset his team was down against the Colts, returned a tipped pass for a touchdown:


🚨🚨 PICK-6! 🚨🚨 @Carlos_Dunlap to the HOUSE! #Bengals50 https://t.co/Blj8qAdxK5


Players Reach Milestones

Several players hit career milestones Sunday.

On the defensive side of the ball, Panthers end Julius Peppers recorded a sack against the Buccaneers to move into fourth place all time with 151 career sacks.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees joined Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to complete 6,000 passes:


Brett. Peyton. And now @drewbrees! The only QBs to have at least 6,000 career completions. #GoSaints https://t.co/cUhYqcP8ex

It didn't take long for Watson to enter the record book thanks to a long touchdown connection with Will Fuller V:

Randall Liu @RLiuCBS

Deshaun Watson has 15 pass TDs in his past 5 games, the most by a rookie over any 5-game span. There is still 57:38 to go in his 5th game https://t.co/52Q7TuT1pz


Notable Individual Performances

The matchup between the Seahawks and the Texans was a shootout for the ages, and each team had pass-catchers with multiple scores. 

For Seattle, Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson had two touchdowns apiece. Russell Wilson passed for 452 yards, a career high, per Curtis Crabtree of Sports Radio KJR. Richardson was on the other end of 105 of those yards. 

For Houston, wideout Will Fuller V found the end zone twice and also connected with Deshaun Watson for 125 yards. Watson compiled 402 yards and four touchdowns in one of the best games of his young career.

It wasn't just about Fuller in Houston, though; DeAndre Hopkins added a score for the Texans and also a whopping 224 receiving yards. 

Ezekiel Elliott helped lead the Dallas Cowboys past the Washington Redskins with 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

But it was the Buffalo Bills' LeSean McCoy who totaled the most rushing yards of the day, with 151, as well as a score in Buffalo's win over the Oakland Raiders. 

Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett finished 25-of-39 for 233 yards and two touchdowns on the road against the Bengals. Tight end Jack Doyle had a career day as well, catching 12 passes for 121 yards. Cincinnati got a breakout performance of sorts from rookie back Joe Mixon, who led the team in receiving with three catches for 91 yards.

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon had a great performance in a 21-13 loss at the Patriots, rushing 14 times for 132 yards and a score.


Trade Rumors Dominate Pre-Kickoff Discussion

With the trade deadline Tuesday, rumors have commandeered the conversation recently.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Seahawks could look to acquire left tackle Duane Brown from the Texans, while the Patriots are one of several teams interested in Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Martavis Bryant, per Rapoport. Rapoport reported the Detroit Lions have fielded calls for tight end Eric Ebron, too.

According to Schefter, the Lions have also talked with two teams about trading the rights to retired wideout Calvin Johnson. And the Colts have received calls on cornerback Vontae Davis, per Schefter.


Still to Come

Sunday Night Football will feature the Steelers visiting the Lions in a cross-conference showdown. The visitors own a 5-2 record and first place in the AFC North behind a defense that allows just 16.6 points per game. The hosts are 3-3 and have lost two straight, but Matthew Stafford's 12 touchdown passes have gone to six different targets, so the prime-time matchup will feature teams with opposing strengths.