Eight weeks into the 2022 NFL season, it’s fair to say it’s a year of surprises.
The New York Giants have six wins, the Seattle Seahawks lead the NFC West and the two preseason NFC favorites, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers, have slumped to 3-5 starts.
It’s a campaign that’s unpredictable, and as such, three of the top four quarterback screens heading into Week 8 on Monday Night Football perfectly fit the theme of 2022.
A star still shaking off the rust after an injury layoff delivered the game most expected of him, with the accuracy of the trio of signal-callers surrounding him at the top of Stats Perform raising the odds table at the end of Sunday’s action, to say the least.
And there was a quarterback who tried and failed to find a new team in the offseason that stood above the rest.
Jimmy G’s Perfect Day
There will never be a game that definitively settles the endless Jimmy Garoppolo debate in the Bay Area, where the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who should have been elsewhere this season, remains a beloved but polarizing figure.
But no one could argue that Garoppolo wasn’t outstanding in Week 8, as the 49ers scored 24 unanswered points to sweep the Los Angeles Rams with a 31-14 win at SoFi Stadium.
In the immediate aftermath, much of the focus was rightfully on Christian McCaffrey. He became the fourth player since the 1970 combine to have a touchdown pass, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in a game. Carolina Panthers.
However, Garoppolo also deserves a share of the spotlight after a perfect game by at least one measure from a quarterback often criticized for his volatility.
Garoppolo finished the loss of the Rams with a good 100 percent shooting rate. Every one of his 25 passes was considered accurate and well-thrown, except for throws.
He is the 35th player and second this season since Trevor Lawrence for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Although Garoppolo threw for just 6.76 yards per attempt, he still had a number of big throws, including a third-down strike to a leaping McCaffrey and a 56-yard bomb down the left sideline to Ross Dwelley. placed the ball in the back of the end zone with George Keith on a game-tying sprint-out pass.
Parting ways with a star-studded offense in a 4-4 and a streak of players still returning from injury on defense, the 49ers are in an ideal position for a boost down the stretch. They won’t get Garoppolo perfect every game, but if he maintains anything close to the level he produced in Inglewood on Sunday, San Francisco will be a top threat in the NFC.
Air Marcus has Falcons on it
Marcus Mariota was hardly trusted by coach Arthur Smith to throw the ball over four games before Atlanta’s wild win over the Carolina Panthers.
Only once in those four games did he record more than 20 pass attempts, but Mariota was allowed to air it Sunday, and the Falcons should be pleased with the way he did.
The former second overall pick delivered an accurate 92.6 percent of his 27 pass attempts and maintained remarkable accuracy while consistently pushing the ball down the field in an attractive throw.
Mariota averaged 10.15 yards per attempt against Carolina. Only five quarterbacks — Josh Allen (12.96), PJ Walker (12.33), Tua Tagovailoa (11.79), Russell Wilson (11.04) and Jalen Hurts (11.04) — were more aggressive in that regard.
Of that quintet, Tagovailoa (82.4 percent) and Wilson (84.6 percent) were the only two signal callers to top 80 percent.
Mariota combined accuracy and aggression on the deep ball in a way that most quarterbacks struggle to replicate, and while he prevented overtime that cost the Falcons a game, his performance could convince Smith to diversify his approach and switch to a more balanced offense. The 4-4 Falcons are looking to make a surprise run at the NFC South title.
Dak looks back
An argument could still be made that the Cowboys ran a ‘Cooper Rush’ offense in Prescott’s first game back from a finger injury in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions.
Dallas put some effort into it before being pulled, and while the Week 8 performance wasn’t flawless from Prescott, it raised hopes that the Cowboys could legitimately contend for an NFC playoff berth with him at the helm of the offense. .
Prescott shot a career-high 92.3 percent in the Cowboys’ 49-29 win over the Chicago Bears , with arguably his most aesthetic throw coming on his first touchdown pass when he split safety Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker for 21. yard rope to CeeDee Lamb on third and nine.
The third didn’t trouble Prescott at any point. He completed five of six third-down throws for 85 yards and a touchdown, ill-equipped to stop a Bears defense that was consistently frustrated when the Cowboys got into position to punt.
Jackson’s interception was the only blemish of the day for Prescott, who also had a rushing touchdown and still room for improvement after a performance of that caliber, which should have created a lot of excitement in the 6-2 Cowboys’ offense. second half of the season.
Fields fills Chicago with hope
The Bears didn’t have the all-around performance to keep up with the Cowboys, but it was another effort by last year’s first-round pick Justin Fields to fuel optimism around his prospects of becoming one of the league’s better quarterbacks.
After finally building a game plan around his athleticism in a win over the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, the Bears once again relied on Fields’ mobility. He threw seven times in action, and Chicago implemented the quarterback in play-action and offense.
The results were impressive, as Fields finished the game with a field goal percentage of 90.9 percent and averaged 9.5 aerial yards per attempt. Plus, he didn’t throw a single interceptable pass, though there was one pick that was called back due to a roughing the passer penalty.
Fields was perfect in play-action, with all six of those touchdowns well thrown, and would have had more than 151 passing yards to his name had it not been for rookie receiver Velus Jones throwing a perfectly placed moonball down the right sideline. Chicago 47-yard line in the second quarter.
But Fields still had three touchdowns, two catches and another run on a 60-yard screen on the ground. While the Bears’ decision to trade defensive stars Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith played a role in limiting their wins in 2022, the Bears will be increasingly confident that Fields is the right man to rebuild the team if he continues in this form.