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With one game remaining on the Week 8 slate in the NFL (Monday night’s matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants), we’ve reached the halfway point of the season, as the elite separate from the pack and playoff positioning further rounds into shape.
Each week, a notable injury (or multiple injuries) seems to steal the headlines, and this Sunday was no exception as the Ravens lost left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the year with a broken ankle. Lamar Jackson loses his blind-side protection just days after Baltimore made him the highest-paid tackle in the league. Baltimore suffered when Stanley departed, falling to the Steelers in the marquee matchup of the afternoon.
Let’s take a look at the best individual performances from the skill position players on Sunday.
Dalvin Cook, RB Minnesota Vikings
Cook returned from a groin injury in a major way, becoming the first visiting player to amass more than 200 yards of total offense and score four touchdowns at Lambeau Field in the Vikings’ win over the Packers. The Minnesota tailback has scored six total touchdowns in the two meetings with Green Bay this year, rushing for a combined 317 yards in his last two trips to Lambeau.
DK Metcalf, WR Seattle Seahawks
Metcalf was basically shut out a week ago in Arizona, being flanked all night by Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson. But his impact was felt when he chased down Budda Baker after the latter picked off Russell Wilson near the goal line, preventing a length-of-the-field pick-six and making his mark on the play of the year so far.
Metcalf responded to a quiet game offensively in Week 7 with a breakout performance against the 49ers on Sunday, going off for 12 catches, 161 yards, and two touchdowns in the Seahawks win over San Francisco. He kept Wilson in the front of the line for the MVP conversation and earned the nickname ‘Baby Bron’ from LeBron James himself.
Patrick Mahomes, QB Kansas City Chiefs
These types of performances are becoming commonplace for the defending Super Bowl champion, and it should come as no surprise as the Chiefs handled the Jets with ease, 35-9 as a near three-touchdown favorite. Mahomes was 31-42 for 416 yards and 5 TD, including an under-handed flip to Travis Kelce for some extra showmanship. The Chiefs are rolling again at 7-1, and Mahomes won’t let Wilson run away with the MVP just yet.
The Not So Great from Sunday
Cam Newton, Jimmy Garropolo, Baker Mayfield, and Carson Wentz all struggled mightily on Sunday. Wentz was fortunate as he was the only one of those four to come out with a win after facing a Dallas team that was forced to turn to unproven rookie Ben DiNucci at QB.
Each faced criticism immediately following their games, including questions about their job security. But it appears Garropolo is the only one in danger of losing his spot in the short term, as he was forced to leave Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.