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Winners at Last: The Rams flag flown with pride as the first victory of the season was sealed
The NFL is at the half way point of the regular season and Week 8 was full of thrills, chills and spills in a fitting way for Halloween.

There wasn't any scares expected in St Louis for New Orleans Saints when they visited the Rams but they would be in for a nasty shock. With the NFL leaders the Green Bay Packers not in action it was left for the rest of the league to show their play-off potential with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions certainly showing theirs. 

Week 8 Highlight - New Orleans Saints @ St Louis Rams

After thrashing the Indianapolis Colts last week 62-7, no one expected the Rams to have a chance against the in-form Saints. 

The Saints' 62 points last week was more than the Rams had accumulated all season but it was to be the surprise victory of the season so far as the St Louis Rams put on a sensational performance to get their first win of the season in a 31-21 victory on Sunday. 

With the St Louis Cardinals winning the World Series on the Friday, the city was hoping that the Baseball team's achievement of an 11th title could brush off on the Rams.

However, The Rams were starting off on the back foot even before the game began as they were without first choice Quarterback Sam Bradford who was out with an ankle injury. With the Saints smelling blood before kick-off the Rams were inevitably expecting the worst.

At the end of the first all was looking fine for the rams with them not scoring a point but yet they hadn't conceded any either in an uneventful first quarter.

The Rams defence has been poor so far this season but they were finally showing their true capabilities and prevented the Saints from making a break through; a team which boasted the best offence record so far this season.

It took another ten minutes of game time to find the first score and it was surprisingly the Rams who drew first blood getting themselves into field goal range for Josh Brown to make it 3-0 with a third of the 2nd quarter left.

Even though the Rams were not finding themselves a score, the Saints were struggling too with the red-hot Drew Brees not finding much leeway in the passing game and had to succumb to being sacked and shut down by a fearless defence; Brees was sacked a total of six times in the game (three of them by Rams Defensive End Chris Long).  

With under two minutes to go of the first half a punt by the Saints was blocked by rookie defensive end Robert Quinn which went out of bounds at the Saints 14 yard line. This resulted in a rushing touchdown for Rams running back Steven Jackson (10-0).

The Saints looked stunned and on the next drive Drew Brees was picked off by cornerback Josh Gordy with a still a minute left of the 2nd quarter. The Rams would then drive forward and stand-in quarterback Adam Feeley threw is first and only touchdown of the game with 20 seconds to go to Brandon Lloyd to put the Rams 17-0 up at half time. 

The Saints were still expected to come roaring back in the second half but it wasnt to be. Half-way through the 3rd quarter Steven Jackson rushed for 30 yards to the Saints 3 yard line before being pushed out of bounds. He was then handed the ball again on the 11th play of the drive and he rushed it in for another touchdown to make it 24-0 to the Rams.

The Saints needed to act quickly but they still struggled to find a break through, but finally scored a touchdown with just over one minute to go of the third. On 3rd down close to their own endzone, Rams QB Feeley was hit by the Saints' Free Safety Malcolm Jenkins resulting in fumble which led to Jonathan Vilma gathering it and diving in for a touchdown to give New Orleans a glimmer of hope before the fourth quarter. (24-7)

Five minutes into the final quarter and the Saints gathered more momentum in a 10-play drive ending with a 3 yard rushing touchdown for Pierre Thomas to make it 24-14.

The Saints tried to find another score on the next two drives but were unsuccessful. They then got the ball back again and on the next drive Brees was intercepted again this time by Darian Stewart who ran it back for a 27-yard return touchdown with only three minutes of the game remaining to all but win the game for the Rams. (31-14)

A late touchdown pass from Brees to Lance Moore was too little too late with a stunning victory for the Rams capping off a good week in Sport for the city of St Louis. 

Round Up of Week 8
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Big Ben is back: Roethlisberger is now at his very best for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Miami Dolphins 17 New York Giants 20
The Dolphins remain winless as the pressure on coach Tony Sparano mounts after Quarterback Eli Manning helped the Giants fight back to grab victory at Meadowlands.

Jacksonville Jaguars 14 Houston Texans 24
Running-back Arian Foster was in form yet again running for 112 yards and a touchdown against the NFL's worst offense.

Indianapolis Colts 10 Tennessee Titans 27
The Titans got back into winning-ways after a two game losing streak against a winless and seemingly helpless Colts. 

Minnesota Vikings 24 Carolina Panthers 21
In the battle of the 2011 first round quarterbacks, it was the Vikings' Christian Ponder who had the last laugh over the ever impressive Cam Newton (three passing touchdowns - career best) with a little help from Ryan Longwell who kicked a 31-yard field goal with two minutes and 43 seconds left.

Game of the WeekArizona Cardinals 27 Baltimore Ravens 30
The Ravens came back from a 21-point deficit (biggest comeback in the franchise's history) to stun the Cardinals who had stormed into a commanding 24-3 lead in the second quarter. Ravens running back Ray Rice ran for 63 yards and a career high of three touchdowns.

Detroit Lions 45 Denver Broncos 10 
Tim Tebow went from hero to zero as the Broncos Quarterback was sacked seven times and his two turnovers went for two return touchdowns on a nightmare day at Mile High. Opposite QB Matthew Stafford had a near perfect day throwing three touchdowns for 267 yards.

Washington Redskins 0 Buffalo Bills 23
The Bills were in Toronto again for their one-off game they have had in Canada since the 2008 season with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and RB Fred Jackson obviously not minding the change of scenery. They were in top form to see the Bills (5-2) go 4-0 at home for the first time since 1995. Fitzpatrick threw two touchdowns (262 yards, 77%), Jackson ran for 120 yards and the Buffalo defence sacked Redskins QB John Beck nine times in an impressive all-round display. 

New England Patriots 17 Pittsburgh Steelers 25
The Steelers took victory in the clash of the AFC giants giving themselves more confidence before a greater battle against bitter rivals the Ravens in Week 9. QB Ben Roethlisberger was in scintillating form passing for 365 yards and two touchdowns to finally beat Tom Brady, who had only previously lost once to the Steelers.

Cleveland Browns 10 San Francisco 49ers 20
Frank Gore continued his rich vein of form as he ran for more than 125 yards and a touchdown for the fourth game in a row to move the 49ers to 6-1 as they sit comfortably at the top of the NFC West.

Cincinnati Bengals 34 Seattle Seahawks 12
QB Andy Dalton continues to improve in his rookie year as he threw two touchdowns for 168 yards including a 43 yarder to Adriel Green. The rest of the hard work was done by the defence who kept the Seahawks at bay giving the Bengals coach Marvin Lewis his 65th victory - most wins by a coach in the franchise's history.

Sunday Night Football - Dallas Cowboys 7 Philadelphia Eagles 34
The Eagles are back in business after a poor first half of the season. They seem to do much better after a bye week in recent history and it looks like its going that way yet again - coach Andy Reid has never lost a game after a bye week at the Eagles. Running back LaSean McCoy had a dream game rushing for a career best of 185 yards with two touchdowns as the Eagles brushed aside the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Monday Night Football - San Diego Chargers 20 Kansas City Chiefs 23
He may of thrown for an impressive 369 yards but Chargers QB Philip Rivers will want to forget this Monday night game soon. Rivers threw two interceptions and then messed up a snap on a first down with only 48 seconds to go with the Chargers were on the verge of a stunning victory only 15 yards from a touchdown. The ball was then clawed away by Chiefs outside linebacker Andy Studebaker. The Chiefs couldn't get a score on their own in regulation time but an overtime field goal from Ryan Succop was enough to tie for first place in the AFC West.

Players of the Week

Eli Manning (Giants), Arian Foster (Texans), Matt Hasselbeck (Titans), Nate Washington (Titans), Cam Newton (Panthers), Steve Smith (Panthers), Christian Ponder (Vikings), Adrian Peterson (Vikings), Ray Rice (Ravens), Joe Flacco (Ravens), Calvin Johnson (Lions), Matthew Stafford (Lions), Marcell Dareus (Bills), Fred Jackson (Bills), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Frank Gore (49ers), Alex Smith (49ers), Andy Dalton (Bengals), LaSean McCoy (Eagles), Michael Vick (Eagles), Matt Cassel (Chiefs) 

Winner of the Week - LeSean McCoy, Running Back (Eagles)

With the Eagles on their way back to form, its not Michael Vick who seems to be running the show. LeSean McCoy is getting better and better as the season progresses and all the early season blues and the four game losing streak seem to be a forgotten past. McCoy is probably the best running back in the league now alongside Fred Jackson and Darren McFadden, and the scary thing is at 23 he can only get better. The simple fact is that if Vick doesn't play well, McCoy will. The Eagles will now be a force to be reckoned with. 

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Loser of the Week - Tim Tebow, Quarterback (Broncos)

Its been a roller-coaster season so far for Tebow. He was called for by the fans as his popularity went through the roof and then a heroic display last week against Miami looked to be the start of the new Broncos era. However, Tebow and Denver came crashing back to earth with a bang.


At Mile High on Sunday, Tebow was sacked nine times and at times looked useless in the pocket. 

His release is still astronomically slow compared to the top performers in the league and if he doesn't sort it quickly then he could find himself falling down the depth chart and off the Broncos' fans good books. 


 


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