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NFL Football 2013: 5 Things We Learned From Week 8

Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson
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Spectacular individual performances highlighted the Week 8 NFL action. Here’s what we learned on Sunday:

Aaron Rodgers Is Still a Winner

Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers completed 24 of 29 passes for 285 yards and two scores, and Green Bay rolled over Minnesota, 44-31. Even though these teams met in last season’s NFC playoffs, the Packers (5-2) have stayed among the conference’s best teams, while the Vikings (1-6) have not. Much of the credit for Green Bay’s continued success goes to Rodgers, who has put up MVP-like numbers even with injuries to receiver James Jones and tight end Jermichael Finley and the defection of Greg Jennings to Minnesota. Jennings had just one catch in Sunday’s game, and he embraced Rodgers on the field afterward. Maybe he was asking his former teammate to rescue him from the listless Vikings?

Marvin Jones Plays Wide Receiver for the Bengals

Marvin Jones
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Andy Dalton threw five touchdown passes, and Cincinnati clobbered the N.Y. Jets, 49-9. The score showed the Bengals (6-2) are a real playoff contender in 2013, especially when a reserve wide receiver like Marvin Jones gets career highs of eight catches, 122 yards and four touchdowns against a Rex Ryan secondary. Jones and budding superstar A.J. Green give Dalton two stellar targets. The Jets (4-4) joined in the touchdown pass barrage, too: rookie quarterback Geno Smith had two interceptions returned for scores by the Bengals’ defense.

The Broncos Can Score Points Fast

Peyton Manning
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After Peyton Manning had an interception returned 26 yards for a touchdown by DeAngelo Hall, the Redskins held a 21-7 second-half lead over Denver. Big trouble? Yes, for Washington (2-5): the Broncos (7-1) scored the last 38 points en route to a 45-21 win. While Manning threw three interceptions and fumbled on Sunday, he also had 354 passing yards and four TDs. Redskins’ second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III had three turnovers of his own and left with a knee injury in the second half. The win came at the expense of former Broncos’ coach Mike Shanahan, who could be spending his last days in D.C. if this losing trend continues.

Terrelle Pryor Is a Record-Setting QB

Terrelle Pryor
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Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor is an impact player, but usually not as quickly as he was during Sunday’s 21-18 win over Pittsburgh. Pryor broke loose on a 93-yard touchdown run on Oakland’s first play from scrimmage. The gallop set an NFL record for the longest touchdown run ever by a quarterback, and the Raiders (3-4) never trailed in the game. The Steelers (2-5) made it interesting by rallying within three points late in the fourth quarter, but they could not notch their third win in a row. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did some running of his own, mostly away from the Raider pass rush which sacked him five times.

Matthew Stafford & Calvin Johnson Make People Mad

Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson
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Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten argued on the sideline at the end of the Cowboys’ 31-30 loss to Detroit on Sunday. While the two players had to be separated, no one could blame them for being frustrated by the Cowboys (4-4) lack of ability to stop the Lions (5-3), namely quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The duo hooked up 14 times for a staggering 329 yards and a score, but it was Stafford’s fake spike and dive over the goal line that won the game for Detroit. The angriest Cowboy? Likely Jerry Jones, the owner who signs all of their pay checks.

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