As Halloween approaches, there have been plenty of trick and lots of treats when it comes to the 2013 NFL season. But as some teams will tell you, it’s hard to mask some of your issues. Just ask clubs like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a pair of Florida teams still looking for their first win this year.

Then again, everything is just fine in Kansas City, where the Chiefs might be on the verge of a real masterpiece. Eight weeks into the season, one of the team's with the worst record in the NFL in 2012 now owns the league’s best mark at 8-0. And once again, speaking of "the best ..."

Calvin Johnson, Andy Dalton And Jimmy Graham Headline The NFL's Week 8 Honor Roll Slideshow


QB Andy Dalton

Once upon a time, the Jets had a pretty good linebacker named Marvin Jones. On Sunday at Cincinnati, they could have used his help in some way or form against Dalton and the Bengals. The improving quarterback threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns (four to wide receiver Marvin Jones) in the team's 49-9 victory over the Green and White. Dalton hit on 19-of-30 passes and was picked off once. In his past three games, the Bengals signal-caller has thrown 11 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.


RB Andre Ellington

Last season, the Cardinals finished dead last in the league with only 1,204 yards rushing. That totaled was surpassed by 10 players in 2012. And until Sunday’s 27-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Bruce Arians’ club had been held below 100 yards rushing in six of their first seven games. But thanks to Ellington, a sixth-round pick from Clemson in April, Arizona rolled up 201 yards rushing on Sunday. The rookie carried 15 times for 154 yards and a touchdown as Arians’ team evened their record at 4-4 this season.


WR Calvin Johnson

Instead of talking about what the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver said and didn’t do (Dez Bryant did score a pair of touchdowns on Sunday), let’s focus on what Johnson did. Teammate Matthew Stafford targeted the star wideout 16 times and he pulled down 14 passes for 329 yards and a score in Detroit’s 31-30 victory. Johnson's yardage total was the second-highest by a player in a game in NFL history. A year after setting a league record with 1,964 yards receiving, Johnson again leads everyone with 821 receiving yards.


TE Jimmy Graham

It was not a big week in terms of production for tight ends but it was nice to see Graham back on the field at the Superdome. The rangy target caught just three passes for 37 yards but two went for scores in the Saints’ 35-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. Graham has totaled 40 receptions this season and has now caught eight of quarterback Drew Brees' 19 touchdown passes in 2013.


Offensive Line: 49ers

Those wanting to discount the Niners’ performance just because it was against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars should always remember that it is not who you play but how you play. San Francisco rolled up 221 yards rushing and did not allow a sack in their 42-10 conquest of the Jaguars in London. Running backs Kendall Hunter and Frank Gore as well as quarterback Colin Kaepernick all gained at least 50 yards on the ground with Gore and Kaepernick each running for a pair of scores.


DE Bruce Irvin, Seattle Seahawks

Yes, Rams defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long combined for nine tackles and six sacks (three sacks each) in the team's Monday night loss to the Seahawks. But we're opting for Irvin, who was on the winning side of Seattle’s 14-9 victory. The 2012 first-rounder totaled nine tackles, one sack and one forced fumble, knocked down a pass and picked off Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens downfield in the Seahawks’ narrow win.


LB Sio Moore

Dennis Allen's team was returning from its off week and faced a Pittsburgh Steelers team that had put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season. But the Oakland defense harassed Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into a pair of interceptions and sacked him five times in a 21-18 win. Moore, a third-round pick this spring from the University of Connecticut, totaled five tackles and two of those sacks. Allen's defense limited Mike Tomlin's team to 35 yards rushing on the afternoon.


CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Down 21-7 in the third quarter to the Redskins, the Broncos were in danger of dropping a second straight game after their 6-0 start. But John Fox's club answered the call by scoring the final 38 points of the game in a 45-21 victory. Denver's defense has taken its lumps this season but held Washington to 266 total yards and forced five turnovers Sunday. Rodgers-Cromartie totaled five tackles, knocked down three passes and picked off Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins in the final minutes and returned the theft 75 yards for a score.


K Josh Brown

Neither team from New York scored a touchdown Sunday. But while the Jets were getting clawed in "The Jungle"at Cincinnati, the Giants were busy scratching out their second win in seven days. Big Blue’s 15-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles snapped an eight-game road losing streak by the team. Brown connected on five field goals covering 40, 44, 33, 46 and 27 yards in the win.


Coach: Jim Schwartz

Let us flash back to the closing seconds of the Lions' stirring 31-30 comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys. So just exactly whose idea was it for quarterback Matthew Stafford to give the fake-spike signal to everyone and then vault over the pile for the game-winning touchdown? Regardless, give Schwartz and his team credit for rallying from a 10-point deficit with less than seven minutes to play. Detroit is 5-3 this season after finishing 4-12 a year ago.

previous next

-- Read more of Russell S. Baxter at Follow him on Twitter @BaxFootballGuru.