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Cowboys roll, QB injuries and Will Levis’ debut

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Cowboys roll, QB injuries and Will Levis’ debut

NFL Week 8 winners and losers: Cowboys roll, QB injuries and Will Levis’ debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There were some frightening moments across the NFL in Week 8.

Off the field, players dressed in their best Halloween costumes ahead of the spooky holiday.

Once they took the field, there were a number of thrilling moments and devastating injuries.

Here are all the winners and losers from the eighth Sunday of the 2023 NFL season:

WINNER: Cowboys, Eagles on a collision course after two more wins

It’s time for the NFC East showdown we’ve all been waiting for. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, after winning again in Week 8, will face off next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Cowboys won in convincing fashion on Sunday. They rolled past the Los Angeles Rams, 43-20, after jumping out to a 33-3 lead in the first half. Now 5-2, the Cowboys have four victories of at least 20 points this season. But in their only game against a team above .500, Dallas was blown out by the San Francisco 49ers. Next week is a huge test for CeeDee Lamb (12 catches, 158 yards, two touchdowns) and the Cowboys.

For much of their game against the Washington Commanders, Jalen Hurts and the Eagles appeared to be in trouble. They trailed 14-3, then 17-10 and then 24-17 before coming to life in the fourth quarter. The Eagles left FedExField with a 38-31 victory, with Hurts putting up a stellar statline (29 for 38, 319 yards, four touchdowns, 0 interceptions). A.J. Brown posted his NFL-record sixth straight game with at least 125 receiving yards as Philly is now 7-1 heading into their critical game against Dallas.

LOSER: Quarterback injuries across the league

It was a bad day to be a quarterback. Five starters were knocked out with injuries in the early slate: Kenny Pickett (ribs), Tyrod Taylor (ribs), Matthew Stafford (thumb), Kirk Cousins (Achilles) and Desmond Ridder (concussion).

Pickett was hit just before halftime and then briefly returned before being ruled out. Taylor was seriously injured, as he was taken to a hospital for further evaluation while Tommy DeVito took over for the Giants. In Dallas, Stafford exited for the Rams after hitting his right thumb on a Cowboys helmet. Cousins went down with a non-contact injury late in the Vikings’ win over the Packers and was quickly ruled out, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting that he suffered a torn Achilles. Ridder, meanwhile, cleared concussion protocol but remained on the bench while Taylor Heinicke played for the Falcons.

Tennessee Titans quarterbacks had two passing touchdowns entering Week 8. In Will Levis’ first career start, he had four — and he led the Titans to a 28–23 win.

The second-round rookie was dominant in his debut, going 19 of 29 for 238 yards and four touchdowns while sporting the iconic Houston Oilers throwback uniform.

Perhaps the most promising development was Levis’ connection with star wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who was quiet over the first several weeks. The former All-Pro had four receptions for 128 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.

LOSER: New York football fans

Sure, the New York Jets beat the New York Giants in Week 8. But did anyone watching really win?

The game, played as a “home” contest for the Giants at MetLife Stadium, saw the two teams go a combined 4 for 34 on third down with 24 total punts. The Jets had 58 rushing yards and two lost fumbles. The Giants had -9 passing yards (!). To make matters worse, the game went into overtime.

The Giants missed a field goal while leading 10-7 with 28 seconds to play. Then, the Jets drove down and tied the game with a 35-yard field goal as time expired. In the extra period, a pass interference call set up Greg Zuerlein for a 33-yard game-winning kick for the Jets. The Zach Wilson-led squad is now 4-3 on the season, while Brian Daboll’s Giants fell to 2-6.

WINNER: Tua Tagovailoa against Bill Belichick, always

Tua Tagovailoa has no worries when he sees Bill Belichick on the opposing sideline.

The Miami Dolphins quarterback, after another victory on Sunday, is now 6-0 in his career against the legendary New England Patriots head coach. Tagovailoa’s latest outing was his best yet against Belichick — 30 for 45, 324 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. It was his first multi-touchdown game against the Patriots.

Miami is now 6-2, controlling the AFC East, while New England dropped to 2-6.

LOSER: 49ers’ season at a crossroads

Literally everything that could’ve gone wrong for San Francisco went wrong. The 49ers dropped their third in a row after a 5-0 start, losing 31-17 at home to the rising Cincinnati Bengals. Brock Purdy, coming off a concussion, had a turnover-prone night with two picks and a lost fumble. He completed 22 of 31 passes for 365 yards and a touchdown otherwise, but his mistakes proved costly.

The defense didn’t impress, either. Joe Burrow, like Kirk Cousins in Week 7, carved the 49ers’ defense with Halloween right around the corner. He completed 28 of 32 passes for 283 yards, three touchdowns and no picks while also running for 87 yards and a score. He played like the NFL’s highest-paid player, while the highest-paid defender in Nick Bosa was yet again another no-show.

Then there’s the fact that the Seattle Seahawks are on top of the NFC West now following their comeback home win vs. the Cleveland Browns. Their upcoming head-to-head games twice in three weeks will be pivotal, but it’s all bad vibes in the Bay going into their bye week.

WINNER: Broncos earn colossal win vs. Chiefs

It wasn’t always pretty, but it was definitely a gritty home win for Denver vs. AFC West-leading Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes was stifled, completing 25 of 39 passes for 243 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. Travis Kelce also was limited to six catches for 58 yards in the 24-9 loss.

Denver capitalized on turnovers, with Russell Wilson getting it done unaesthetically. He completed just 14 of 21 passes for 132 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Javonte Williams added 85 rushing yards on 27 carries. The Broncos also broke a 16-game/eight-year losing streak to Kansas City, beating them for the first time since September of 2015.

The win moved the Broncos to 3-5 as they slowly attempt to turn their season around. If the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders keep struggling, second place and a wild card spot may not be out of the question. There’s a lot of ball to be played, though.

LOSER: Browns blow opportunity vs. Seahawks

Cleveland led 20-17 late in the fourth with a chance to earn a key road win in Seattle. Had the Browns held on, they would’ve moved to 5-2 in what is proving to be a tough AFC North division.

Instead, P.J. Walker saw a pass get tipped and picked by star safety Jamal Adams. Seattle would go on to get the winning score from rookie wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba with less than a minute remaining.

The loss dropped Cleveland to 4-3. It’s not a bad spot given the injuries it’s facing, but considering the Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers are also 4-3, it’s a missed opportunity not to stay above at least the former with the way Burrow and Co. are now performing.

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