Tara O’Leary, Staff Writer |
Week 8 marks the halfway point for many in the 16 game NFL season. With the approaching trade deadline, some of the teams won’t be the same in Week 9.
The Pittsburgh Steelers came up big on a somber Sunday afternoon, following the shooting at a synagogue nearby. The game started with a moment of silence as the city mourned the lives that were lost. By beating the Browns with a score of 33-18, the Steelers were able to give Pittsburgh a distraction from the horrific events that took place just a day before. “We’re thankful for the victory, but we also understand there are bigger things,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, “I’m glad we could give people maybe three hours of a break, of maybe not thinking about it all the time.”
The Browns made some big moves following their loss to the Steelers. On Monday, Cleveland fired both their head coach Hue Jackson and their offensive coordinator Todd Haley. After going 0-16 last season and starting off slow in 2018, the move does not come as a surprise. Jackson’s record as the Browns head coach was an abysmal 3-36-1, earning him the second lowest win percentagemin NFL history. The news of Todd Haley came shortly after Jackson was let go. It had recently been reported that the two coaches had not been on the same page as Jackson was unhappy with the way Haley was running the offense. NFL insider Ian Rapoport knew that the Browns were going to make a change with either Jackson or Haley if their game against the Steelers didn’t go well. Cleveland is now sitting at 2-5-1 and will be moving forward with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as their interim head coach.
In Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers continue to go back and forth at the quarterback position. In Sunday’s game against the Bengals, coach Dirk Koetter decided to pull Jameis Winston for former starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Prior to being benched late in the third quarter, Winston threw four interceptions. “We can’t turn it over seven times in two weeks,” said Koetter. Fitzpatrick was able to make a big impact in his short amount of time on the field, almost leading the Bucs to victory. On Monday the team announced that Fitzpatrick will be their starter next week. The veteran QB had started the season strong for Tampa Bay before Winston took over the job in Week 5. However, he can go from Fitzmagic to Fitztragic pretty quickly. The decision to switch starters may have a big impact on their offense, not just if Fitzpatrick is at his best but it could also change the mind of one of their key receivers. Desean Jackson had recently requested a trade from the team to make better use of his talents somewhere else. He got off to a hot start with Fitzpatrick earlier this season, but had no chemistry with Winston. Maybe now he’ll be content to stay put.
The Los Angeles Rams managed to remain undefeated after a close encounter with the Green Bay Packers. Los Angeles was up 29-27 with just over two minutes left in the game and kicked off to give the ball to Aaron Rodgers. Rams quarterback Jared Goff described it as a scary moment. “All our work on offense was done, and the ball was gonna be in his hands. I put on my hat and thought, ‘it’s his show now.’ It wasn’t a very good feeling,” said Goff. However, in a surprising turn of events, Packers return man Ty Montgomery fumbled the issuing kickoff and the Rams recovered. Los Angeles would run out the rest of the clock, and Rodgers never got the ball back.
Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri made history on Sunday. With a 25-yard field goal in the second quarter of the Colts game against Oakland, Vinatieri became the NFL’s all-time leading scorer. Following their defeat of the Raiders, the veteran kicker has 2,550 career points. This is the second time this season that Vinatieri has achieved such a huge milestone. Four weeks ago, he also broke the all-time mark for field goals.