Monday, October 18, 2021

This or That: Top performances and biggest moments of Week 8

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Back to Oakland

Three years after returning to the team that gave him his big break, star wide receiver Michael Crabtree has put together one of the best starts to a season ever by a player playing under the franchise tag. Crabtree’s five touchdown catches lead the NFL, while his average of 19.5 yards per catch makes him one of only five players in league history to have a touchdown reception in all four quarters of the game. Crabtree’s receiving rating (92.3) is the highest since 2007, while his drop percentage of just 1.03 percent ties him for sixth in the league. And the only player with a higher value (174.7) is Julian Edelman.

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A fix for the Colts has made the MVP-caliber running game whole

Since James Conner debuted in Week 4 against Atlanta, the Indianapolis Colts have averaged 27.5 points per game, their second-highest output of the season behind a Week 1 outburst against the Dallas Cowboys. Conner, who was selected as the AFC’s offensive player of the week last week, has been even better than the Colts have expected him to be. The former Pittsburgh Steelers rookie ran for 181 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in a Week 4 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and is averaging 117 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in Indianapolis’s last three games. Receiver T.Y. Hilton has also posted three 100-yard games and scored in six straight contests.

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Andy Reid, Sean McVay and Adam Gase get the NFL attention they deserve

For so long, Chiefs coach Andy Reid struggled in the NFC West, even in his prime. But now he has the balance between defense and offense that most teams look for in any coach, and his favorite player, running back Kareem Hunt, has taken off. Hunt has emerged as a monster in the passing game after showcasing his power and vision in an outstanding performance against the Miami Dolphins last week. He caught five passes for 60 yards and one touchdown, and his 128 total yards against the Dolphins ranked third in the NFL. All things considered, Hunt’s game this season is already better than all of his stats last season. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Sean McVay has fully capitalized on the Goff-to-Young-QB pairing, leading the NFL in red zone touchdown conversions through two weeks. Finally, Jared Goff’s relationship with Gase has won the Los Angeles Rams quarterback rave reviews for his production and chemistry with receiver Robert Woods.

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Lions WR Marvin Jones had a decent game in Week 3

Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones might be too good to be true. The speedy 27-year-old, a former first-round pick in 2011, has been producing at a historically high level for the last two seasons. While both of his two touchdown catches against the New Orleans Saints last week proved to be a bit of a mirage, his overall performance was a game-changer. His 110 receiving yards and one touchdown ranked third and fifth in the NFL, respectively, and was more than enough for Matthew Stafford to complete 18 of 28 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown. Jones also brings a sure-handed, experienced presence to the group of receivers Detroit trots out there each week.

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Peterson’s own physical limitations show

Last year, Adrian Peterson (1829 rushing yards) was the only player to run for more than 1,000 yards and average more than four yards per carry. This year, he is on pace to do it again, but with a caveat. The highest he’s ever run the ball came in 2016, when he ripped off eight consecutive 100-yard games. He will now be 31 when the season concludes, and his legs have turned to gel on many occasions in recent years. Peterson, who has run for 104 yards on his last 21 carries, might finally have exhausted his dominant potential.

The Most Valuable Player race has been weak this season

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is again the favorite to be named NFL MVP, but he’s hardly the best signal-caller in the league. At one point last week, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson led the league in passing yards and touchdown passes, and he came away with a five-touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys. In his past two games, the 23-year-old has thrown for 576 yards and eight touchdowns, and he will likely lead Houston to a playoff berth. Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback

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