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Cal in the NFL: Week 8

Welcome to the NFL, Devante Downs!

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Our newest Bear in the NFL!

Devante Downs finally made his NFL debut on Sunday.

  • Finally! While it was brief, Devante Downs played during the Minnesota Vikings 30-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. He only recorded one tackle, but it was the first of hopefully many in a long, successful career!

Well, They Played

These guys will show up on the stat sheet but may have not had the greatest of contributions in their respective games.

  • Tyson Alualu continues to play a small role in the Pittsburgh Steelers defense, making a single tackle in a 33-18 win over the Cleveland Browns.
  • After failing to receive a carry in each of the past two weeks, CJ Anderson took five carries for 20 yards in a 36-21 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Anderson was more efficient than Christian McCrapfrey on the day, and actually has been more efficient on the season. Is it time to campaign for Anderson to take over the starting job? Unfortunately, I don’t think the Panthers will be willing to listen to us.
  • Maurice Harris caught both of his targets for 20 yards in the Washington Redskins’ 20-13 win over the New York Giants.
*Note: I was notified that I hadn’t included Harris in the past few editions of this article. The end of week stats have been adjusted to include the oversights.

Solid Performances

Some solid, albeit unspectacular, performances from our former Bears.

  • Cameron Jordan continues to have a solid season, although not quite as spectacular as we have come to expect from him. He made three tackles in a 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
  • With Alex Mack on bye, it seemed silly to have a dedicated offensive line section like we normally do. However, Mitchell Schwartz is plenty deserving of being included in the solid performances, as he continues to be one of the best offensive linemen in the league. This week, he blocked for a Kansas City Chiefs offense that put up 30 points in a 30-23 win over the Denver Broncos.
  • Despite a 37-34 loss, Bryan Anger had another solid punting performance. He punted three times for an average of 49.7 yards with a long of 61.

The All-Cal QB Showdown

A great game between two great quarterbacks.

This match-up was highly hyped up by Cal and NFL fans alike, as it was a showdown between to premier teams and two premier quarterbacks. It definitely didn’t fail to live up to expectations, as we witnessed a very close 29-27 game that featured solid performances from our beloved quarterbacks.

  • Jared Goff and the undefeated Los Angeles Rams came out victorious, with Goff having a great game to the tune of completing 19/35 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Once again, he did all the Rams needed him to do and allowed their offensive weapons and stifling defense to take care of the rest.
  • Aaron Rodgers came out on the losing side, but had a very good performance in his own right. He completed 18/30 passes for 286 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions on the game. He would have gotten a chance to lead the Packers on a possible game-winning drive if it weren’t for Ty Montgomery fumbling a kickoff in the games closing minutes. I think any Cal or NFL fan would know that if it weren’t for that unfortunate fumble, the Rams probably would no longer be undefeated.

Stars of the Week

The top performances from Week 8.

  • After struggling in recent weeks, Lorenzo Alexander had arguably his biggest game of the season in a Monday Night loss to the New England Patriots. Alexander made six tackles, with two of them being sacks. One of the sacks actually forced a fumble, although it was eventually recovered by the Patriots. Despite the big game from Alexander, the Bills offense struggled immensely, throwing a pick six in an eventual 25-6 loss. However, a lot of credit should go to Alexander and the Bills defense for holding the Patriots to only 18 offensive points, their lowest total of the season.
  • DeSean Jackson continues to have a big season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers primary deep-threat receiver, catching a 60 yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston in the first half of a 37-34 loss. Jackson ended up with three receptions on eight targets for 68 yards and the touchdown on the day.

Something to watch for: the unproductive Jameis Winston was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the third quarter of the game. Fitzpatrick almost led the Buccaneers to a comeback but fell just short. If you remember, DeSean Jackson enjoyed his best performances of the season with Fitzpatrick at quarterback, so you can anticipate some huge performances from Jackson in the coming weeks.

Player of the Week

After struggling in recent weeks, Jones broke out with his biggest game of the season on Sunday, catching 7/10 targets for 117 yards and two touchdowns. However, the Lions lost the game by a score of 28-14 to the Seattle Seahawks. Some good news followed, as the Lions traded away receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles. Jones’ struggles could be attributed to the Lions’ overcrowded receiving corps, and now that a spot has been freed up, some more big performances from Jones could be in the folds.

Week 8 In Recap

  • Despite some great individual performances, our Cal players went just 6-6 on the week.
  • The average scores of those games favored us, albeit just barely, giving us a 26-25 win.

Season Record: 68–42–2

Weekly W/L Record: 5-0-3

Pythagorean Win-Loss: 6–2

Bears Record: 5–3 (I am still not quite over the Washington win, as should you)